President Barack Obama will speak at a White House ceremony Monday honoring a Zimbabwean women’s rights group, which will receive this year’s Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award.
The award will be presented to Magodonga Mahlangu and her organization, Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) by Ethel Kennedy, Robert Kennedy’s widow.
Zimbabwe’s political turmoil in recent years has often overshadowed human rights issues in the southern African country. Mahlangu has been credited for her relentless struggle to organize peaceful protests that spotlight injustices faced by the women of Zimbabwe.
As a result, she has been arrested more than 30 times.
by Devlin Barrett | Associated Press
Reports of hate crimes against gays and religious groups increased sharply in 2008, according to new FBI data released Monday.
Overall, the number of reported hate crimes increased about 2 percent. These same figures show a nearly 11 percent increase in hate crimes based on sexual orientation, and a nearly 9 percent increase in hate crimes based on religion.
New York Times editorial
Gay people will eventually win full civil rights — including the right to marry — throughout the United States. Between now and then, there will be many more disputes like the one unfolding between the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington and the District of Columbia City Council over a bill recognizing same-sex marriages that could be voted on as soon as next week.
City lawmakers who are negotiating with the archdiocese over the language of the bill should try to settle it without acrimony — but not by abandoning the District’s equal-rights tradition or by selling out same-sex couples.
by Roxana Tiron | The Hill
Levin, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has always opposed the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and had hoped to hold a hearing in November, but this month appears out of question and December appears unlikely.
by Marcus Franklin | Associated Press
A year ago this month, Lateisha Green, a transgender woman, was shot to death as she sat in a car outside a house party in upstate New York. In July, a Syracuse jury convicted Dwight DeLee of manslaughter as a hate crime.
And on Friday, people from New York to the Netherlands gathered to remember Green and other hate crime victims like her on the 11th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.
Several nurses at Jackson Memorial Hospital have personally apologized to Janice Langbehn, a lesbian from Washington state who said that a Jackson social worker wouldn’t allow her to be with her dying partner in 2007.
“We certainly are sorry for the pain and suffering she felt,” said Martha Baker, a registered nurse and president of Service Employees International Union Local 1991, the union representing about 5,000 healthcare professionals at Jackson, which is in Miami.
“I apologize,” said registered nurse Norberto Molina, chairman of the union’s gay Lavender Caucus. “I can’t imagine what you went through.”
by Ariel Levy | The New Yorker
Caster Semenya, the current world champion in the eight hundred metres, was a member of the Moletjie Athletics Club until a year ago. She was born in Ga-Masehlong, a village about fifteen miles from the track, and she was, Coach Sako said, “a natural.” Even before Semenya left Limpopo for college, in Pretoria, she had won a gold medal in her event at the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games, in Pune, India, with a time of 2:04, eleven seconds behind the senior world record set by the Czech runner Jarmila Kratochvílová in 1983. “I used to tell Caster that she must try her level best,” Sako said. “By performing the best, maybe good guys with big stomachs full of money will see her and then help her with schooling and the likes. That is the motivation.” He added, “And she always tried her level best.” Semenya won another gold medal in July, in Mauritius, at the African Junior Athletics Championships, lowering her time by a remarkable seven and a half seconds, to come in at 1:56.72. This beat the South African record for that event, held by Zola Budd, and qualified Semenya for her first senior competition, the 2009 World Championships, in Berlin.