The equality watchdog should be given greater powe

first_imgThe equality watchdog should be given greater powers that would allow it to take more legal cases against organisations that breach the Equality Act, a disabled former commissioner has told MPs.Mike Smith, who chaired the disability committee of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) between 2009 and 2012, told the Commons women and equalities committee that it was impossible for many people to take legal action to enforce their rights under the Equality Act 2010.Smith (pictured, centre), who is now chief executive of the disabled people’s organisation Real, said: “For many disabled people it’s de facto impossible to achieve justice in many areas.”He said this particularly applied to cases alleging discrimination under the act by service-providers.He and other equality experts who gave evidence to the committee yesterday (Wednesday), as part of its inquiry into how the EHRC is enforcing the act, said the commission needed to be able to take far more legal cases.Smith said the EHRC should be allowed to take cases in its own name on behalf of claimants, which would allow legal action from individuals who “just didn’t have the life circumstances or the capacity” to do that themselves.He also suggested that the commission should be allowed to support class actions on behalf of multiple claimants, and that enforcement of the Equality Act should be amended so people could bring cases before the small claims court, which in England and Wales allows claims of up to £10,000.He said this could “allow a much deeper range of challenge to the kind of pervasive inequality and disadvantage that people often experience”.He said the risk of service-providers “getting caught” for breaching the Equality Act was “pretty low”.He said: “I don’t think most organisations think that there is much risk associated with breaking the Equality Act, either in terms of reputation or the financial consequences.”Smith contrasted this with the US, and its Americans with Disabilities Act, where courts produce far higher levels of damages.He said: “Any time I go to the States I am always amazed at how much more effective the manifestation of the legislation is.“Maybe we need to look harder at how there are consequences for organisations for breaking the law in the first place and that might sharpen their minds.”Smith also told the committee that the EHRC should find a way to hold the government to account on its failure to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.He believes the failure to realise rights in the convention is as big an issue – if not bigger – for disabled people as discrimination.But he told the committee that the commission had changed the lives of many disabled people with legal action it had taken recently, including forcing 13 NHS clinical commissioning groups to withdraw unlawful, discriminatory policies that could have seen service-users with complex healthcare needs forced into institutions.He also praised its support for a significant legal case which saw the high court rule last year that disability benefit rules were unlawful and “blatantly discriminatory” to people with mental distress.Niall Crowley, an equality and human rights expert and former chief executive of Ireland’s Equality Authority, told the committee that the EHRC was one of two equality bodies across the European Union (the other is Poland) that had suffered “disproportionate” cuts in funding, cuts which he said have “a hugely chilling effect on the work of equality bodies”.He said such cuts are “particularly damaging” to the efforts of such bodies to enforce equality legislation.Crowley was also critical of the commission’s policy of “strategic litigation”, taking only high-profile legal actions.He said: “If you pursue a strategic litigation strategy that is purely about high-profile, precedent-setting cases you get greater clarity about the law but you don’t get a culture of compliance.”He said equality bodies like the EHRC needed to take a “critical mass of cases” across the areas covered by equality laws.Barbara Cohen, a discrimination law consultant and former head of legal policy at the Commission for Racial Equality, told MPs that the EHRC needed to be more of an “enforcer”.She said it needed to do more to advertise its legal successes and create a “sense of fear”.She said: “Just beginning to shout, ‘We are the big bad wolf and we are coming for you,’ just hasn’t happened… people are not frightened of the EHRC.”Nick Webster, a senior solicitor at lawyers Leigh Day, said the government’s decision to remove the commission’s conciliation and mediation powers had not been helpful.He suggested that these powers should be returned, while the commission should also be given new powers to act as an ombudsman.This would mean that employers would know they do not have to just deal with a tribunal, the employee taking the case against then, and their union, but also with “a government body that is potentially going to come and look at what they are doing and issue fines as necessary”.He said: “You hope that people do learn [after losing an Equality Act case]. In my experience they don’t. You hope that they will change their behaviours. In my experience they don’t.“That’s because they can just deal with that issue… and move on.”But if employers know that losing a discrimination case “isn’t the end of it” and that they could face further action from the EHRC, they could be forced to make significant changes to how their organisations operate, he said. A note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS…last_img read more

San Francisco Could Be First in California to Give NonCitizens School Board

first_imgHis office declined to comment further on the supervisor’s opposition to the measure. The widespread support for Prop. N gives supporters hope for its passage.“Only two endorsements [against the measure] stood out: the Chronicle, which opposed it every time, and the Republican Party,” said Medina, the policy manager at MEDA. “It tells you where the Chronicle’s aligned nowadays.”Frank Lara, a teacher at Buena Vista Horace Mann, said the political involvement of parents in their children’s education is the only means to ensure representatives pay attention to them. Electing a Latino representative or ensuring that more money goes to west-side schools are victories that non-citizen voting could help achieve, he said.“The first step will be voting,” he said.Eric Guthertz, the principal at Mission High School, also enthusiastically supports the measure.Guthertz said undocumented immigrants in particular often come to the United States in hopes of a better education for their children. Proposition N, he said, would give families who “feel like they’re not sure they can speak out” or “aren’t sure how to navigate the system” an opportunity to become involved.That involvement, in turn, could change the dynamic of the school board so that it pays greater attention to ensuring immigrant children access to advanced classes and providing “culturally relevant courses,” he said.“I’m all for it. I think it’s terrific,” he said. “It would give [parents] more agency.”Catalina Rico, the principal of Cesar Chavez Elementary School in the Mission District, was more skeptical. Rico said she was unsure whether she supported Prop. N and worried that in this national climate, the measure would do little to make immigrant communities feel safe about becoming involved in politics.“Getting this passed is only one step in a greater education process that must aim to empower marginalized communities, such as undocumented people and other disenfranchised communities, to actually come out to vote without fear of reprisals,” she said.Medina, for his part, said the national rhetoric on immigrant issues was precisely the reason why the measure should pass. Voter ID laws enacted in several Republican-controlled states and Donald Trump’s comments against Mexicans bode ill for voting rights in the United States, he said, and Prop. N would set San Francisco apart from the national climate.“There’s been so much anti-immigrant rhetoric, this would be a really easy, positive win,” he said. 0% If a new ballot measure passes in November, San Francisco may become the first city in California to give non-citizens a vote in local school board elections. Proposition N, which would let parents and guardians of students in the San Francisco school district vote for school board members, is critical in a city where immigrants account for 35 percent of the population, say supporters. More than half of the children in San Francisco have one or more immigrant parents, they add. “This is tens of thousands of parents who don’t have a say in their child’s education,” said Gabriel Medina, a policy manager with the Mission Economic Development Agency, which is backing the measure to the tune of $11,564.42. “It’s our charge to help these parents bring to light what they want to work on, to be empowered, to be active.”If Prop. N passes, San Francisco would follow a few other cities in the nation like Chicago, Illinois and Cambridge, Massachusetts, in extending the school board vote to non-citizen residents. Several municipalities in Maryland also allow non-citizen voting in local elections.  Tags: education • election 2016 • Elections • vote Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%center_img Prop. N would expire after the 2022 school board election unless the Board of Supervisors allows it to continue. Medina said the measure would also help some low-performing schools in San Francisco by involving parents in their children’s education. Mission High School is one of three schools in San Francisco eligible for state grant funding meant to improve its low performance, according to the California Department of Education. That’s an improvement from six years ago, when half of the worst schools in the city — Bryant Elementary, Cesar Chavez Elementary, Everett Middle, and Buena Vista Horace Mann — were in the Mission District, but the neighborhood could still benefit from parental involvement, Prop. N supporters say.“Students with involved parents who are civically engaged are more likely to earn higher grades and test scores and attend school regularly,” Medina said, pointing to a report by the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory that found improved performance and greater post-secondary education enrollment in children with involved parents. “This seemed like a no brainer,” he said. “These are schools where parents need stronger voices.”Belkis, an undocumented Honduran immigrant who has been in the country for three years, said she would take advantage of the law to vote in school board elections. Mission Local is not using her full name.“Yes, of course, it is for the well being of all our families,” she said. She hasn’t yet picked out a school for her two-year-old daughter, but she will soon and would like a say in the officials who administer the school system. “The parents [will get] more opportunities to speak with the representatives who are going to preside over the school system,” said Nancy Arnez, a non-citizen resident who has three children in San Francisco schools aged six, nine, and 16. Arnez said representatives would be more likely to consider immigrant issues if there were significant numbers of non-citizens voting. For one, she said, the school board could improve its translation services.“They often don’t have translation in Spanish,” Arnez said. “I’d like for them to provide more translators.”San Franciscans have voted on similar ballot measures twice before, in 2004 and 2010. In 2004, the measure failed narrowly 51–49 percent, while in 2010 it failed by a margin of 55–45 percent.This year, the measure is widely supported. The Board of Education voted unanimously to support the ballot measure, and it’s also backed by the vast majority of political groups in the city. The Board of Supervisors also backs the measure and voted 10–1 to put it on the ballot, with only Supervisor Mark Farrell, who represents the Marina and the Presidio, voting against.At the time, he worried about a “slippery slope” if the measure passed that would allow non-citizens to vote in municipal and other elections.“Why not supervisors? Why not anything else in this country?” he asked then. “I think it’s part of a broader discussion.” EVEN THE NYT HAS DECIDED SUBSCRIPTIONS WILL DRIVE ITS BUSINESS MODEL. THOSE WHO READ MISSION LOCAL REGULARLY, PLEASE JOIN US SO THAT WE CAN CONTINUE TO COVER THE MISSION DISTRICT. last_img read more

Now playing at a Mission District peephole near you its I Wanna

first_imgWhen I stop by the Creativity Explored studio, Makeya Kaiser greets me wearing a jacket she embroidered for her music video. Colorful thread stitched across the white fabric spells “Kelly Clarkson,” one of her favorite musicians.When I ask her about her contribution to the show, she hits “play.” As we watch her piece, A Moment Like This, other artists and volunteers gather around the table. Kaiser laughs as she watches herself sing the whole Kelly Clarkson song, karaoke-style.Kaiser’s joy is contagious. At the end of her impromptu screening, we all clap. I ask to take her photo and she instantly lights up.“Be a star,” I tell her as she poses. “I am a star!” she says.Kaiser is one of three artists whose work is featured in a three-part video exhibit that premiered this Sunday at Peephole Cinema in the Mission District. Titled I Wanna Dance in a Moment Like This, the show is a mashup of the artists’ favorite pop culture sensations: Mad Max, Kelly Clarkson, and RuPaul.Makeya Kaiser Photo by Annie Berman.The show is a collaboration between Creativity Explored and Peephole Cinema, a collective that shows miniature videos in San Francisco, Brooklyn and Los Angeles. Creativity Explored, founded in 1983, is as an art nonprofit that gives adults with developmental disabilities mentorship from professional artists. The supportive community allows artists to express themselves through art and earn income from their work.Exhibit curator Sarah Klein describes Kaiser’s piece as a form of self-assertion.“She’s really creating this world and making herself the star,” said Sarah Klein, the exhibit’s curator. “And in this way she’s saying, you know, ‘Look at me. Take me really as I am.’”What gives the show power is the artists’ fascination with pop culture icons, who serve as access points to connection, and communication. “It’s a really beautiful kind of way of understanding the world,” said Michael Korcek, who works at Creativity Explored, the nonprofit arts center that mentors Kaiser and the other artists in the show. “I think overall the show really speaks to the inspiration and the process of inspiration.”The video editing is what comes most naturally to animation artist Mack Mesler.“There’s no real boundaries,” he explains. “I can do whatever I want.”His piece is called The Burning Birds, and it pays homage to the post-apocalyptic action film Mad Max: Fury Road. It involves a gang of resourceful, hunted penguins who are always a few steps ahead of Max. It has what Mesler describes as “a Wile E. Coyote kind of humor.”“This video really shows my personality – or my kind of humor, at least,” he adds, smiling shyly.Mack Mesler. Photo by Annie Berman.Small sculptures brought to life through an animation app are the unlikely stars of Paul’s Drag Race, a short vignette directed by Paul Pulizzano, and inspired by the hit reality show, RuPaul’s Drag Race. The dancers are fluid, otherworldly.“Hello my pretty kitties,” demurs Candy Delight, one of the judges, whose face is many colors, a custom snapchat filter Pulizzano created. “May the best woman win.”Paul Pulizzano. Photo by Annie Berman.On a sunny afternoon in March – the day the show premieres – my navigation app leads me down a quiet alley painted in murals close to the 24th Street BART station. Peephole Cinema is a small, literal hole in the wall, about a child’s height, through which I Wanna Dance in a Moment Like This can now be viewed on a loop, at all hours of the day.Curator Klein describes Peephole Cinema as being part of a free public art tradition specific to the Mission District – but also a new way of slowing down and being intentional about the way we consume media. “We’re on our phones and laptops and we can see videos any old time. So to actually have a little cinema out there in this public way, I think we’re just asking for people to take a moment.”I walk by the spot twice before finding it. It is marked with a small plaque.With some apprehension, I crouch down to watch.The version of the three artists’ pieces that are playing at Peephole do not have any sound – just text captions, color, movement. But even so, I find that I can hear the artists.Through their art, through a little peephole, they are telling the world who they are.“I Wanna Dance in a Moment Like This” will be on display until May 18 at the Peephole Cinema in San Francisco.Creativity Explored at 3245 16th St. Photo by Annie Berman. Subscribe to Mission Local’s daily newslettercenter_img Email Addresslast_img read more

SAINTS are delighted to showcase their fantastic M

first_imgSAINTS are delighted to showcase their fantastic Matchday Hospitality, Conference and Events facilities at the stunning new stadium that will open in January 2012.To find out about Matchday Hospitality you can click here.The new stadium will also feature some of the best Conference and Events facilities in the region.Once again, you can click here for further information.If you have any questions please do not hsitate to contact the Saints Events team on 01744 455 057 or email events@saintsrlfc.comlast_img read more

If you would like to donate to our cause please c

first_imgIf you would like to donate to our cause, please could we ask that you drop your toys/selection boxes off at the main reception of the Totally Wicked Stadium during opening times throughout the week.last_img

Columbus County Sheriffs office investigating Saturday homicide

first_img When deputies arrived on scene, they discovered the victim, Ricky Long, 57, of Fair Bluff, deceased.An autopsy will be performed Monday to determine the cause of death.  The investigation is being handled as a homicide.No further details are available at this time. TABOR CITY, NC (WWAY) – The Columbus County Sheriff’s Office answered a call for a possible assault Saturday only to find a man deceased at the home.Deputies responded to 366 PD Branch Drive in Tabor City around 9:30 Saturday night. They report that the call they received was in reference to a possible assault.- Advertisement – last_img read more

WPD TextaTip service temporarily down

first_img As of Tuesday the site still remains out of service.WPD says tipsters may use of the following numbers to give crime tips: Crime Stoppers at (910) 763-3888 or​ 1-800-531-9845 or you may call the 911 non- emergency number at 910-452-6120. Caller information on either of these lines is protected and will remain anonymous. WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington Police Department says the Text-a-Tip site used to report anonymous crimes is temporarily down and under repair.The vendor notified the WPD Friday that they were having technological problems with the site and hoped to have them fixed as soon as possible.- Advertisement – last_img read more

Gov Cooper tours Bladenboro pushes for a smart rebuild

first_imgBLADENBORO, NC (WWAY) — Governor Roy Cooper stopped by Bladen County Wednesday to visit with families and assess the catastrophic damage some areas saw from Hurricane Florence.Just like some of these other counties he has visited, Gov. Cooper calls it pure devastation.- Advertisement – “It’s pure devastation. So many homes and businesses under water. Along with churches and farms. Clearly there are a lot of people who are hurting right now,” said Governor Cooper.After Matthew tore through Bladen County in 2016, Gov. Cooper says the recovery process needs to be done differently this time.Comparing this to Matthew, he emphasizes the need for a smart rebuild.Related Article: Carolina Beach offers site for residents to dump yard debrisHe says they spent more than $700 million in recovery efforts with Matthew, but they need to build more sustainable structures.For the time being, they are working with FEMA to get people into temporary housing.“We’re working closely with FEMA on our temporary sheltering program, which provides people with subsistence to be in hotels, and to pay rent until they can find accommodations. We have the long term affordable housing issue that we’re going to attack with everything we’ve got,” said Cooper.He adds affordable housing remains an issue and they will tackle that head on during this recovery process.Bladen County has lifted their curfew for residents and crews tell me that a lot of the county does have power back.last_img read more

Surf City talks towns growth and where to focus for future developments

first_imgSURF CITY, NC (WWAY) — Surf City residents and leaders met Thursday at the community center to discuss the recovery of their beaches and the future of the town itself.Mayor Doug Medlin was the keynote speaker.- Advertisement – The city’s past, present, and future were on the agenda for the town’s 3rd Annual Real Estate Forecast.There were speakers from a variety of areas including engineers, business professors, and real estate agents.The meeting looked at the town’s economic growth over the last year to predict new development in the town’s future.Related Article: Amazon is now worth $1 trillion“There’s been tremendous growth in Surf City both on the island and off the island,” Realtor Ladd Gasparovic said. “Today what we’re doing is looking at Surf City on a macro level. We’re gonna be focused on different changes with DOT, road, infrastructure improvements and really where development is going.”Gasparovic says the new Surf City bridge is just one example of how the town has and will continue to accommodate for growth.last_img read more

Air Malta flight grounded in Munich due to technical fault

first_img <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> SharePrint A number of Air Malta passengers have been left stranded in Munich, Germany this afternoon after their aircraft was grounded following a technical fault.According to the airline’s spokesperson, the KM307 flight from Munich to MIA was grounded this afternoon for technical reasons, causing delays for passengers.They stated that the aircraft in question was currently being leased by Air Malta for the summer schedule and ahead of its new Airbus A320neo.‘The airline’s engineers together with the operator are doing their utmost to service the aircraft and return it to normal operations as soon as possible to minimise delays and inconveniences to these passengers.’‘Safety remains Air Malta’s topmost priority and the airline will leave no stone unturned in this area. The airline apologises for any inconvenience caused by circumstances beyond its control.’WhatsApplast_img read more