Passion Project: Bring Back Our Girls

Canadians everywhere have joined an international effort to free almost 300 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by a west African Islamic extremist group. Last week, I along with some notable peeps from the Toronto area, participated in shooting a short film to bring awareness to this tragedy. According to director Tristan Barrocks, this film was made as a cry in unity for our world leaders to bring them home safely.

In the nearly one minute video, you see a montage of faces staring straight into the camera, worried eyes and looks of sorrow almost piercing the lens. Some then take turns repeating the infamous hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. Here’s a look at one of several edited versions:

ESPN’s Bomani Jones Gives The Realest Take On Donald Sterling Controversy

Donald Sterling is a reported long-time racist, and by now you’ve read and heard all about his latest rant during a heart to heart on the phone with his conniving sugar baby

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling and girlfriend V. Stiviano

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling (left) and girlfriend V. Stiviano (white shirt)

ESPN host Bomani Jones knows all too well, Sterling’s history of racism. Back in 2006, the sports writer penned a column titled “Sterling’s racism should be news” after the US Department of Justice sued Sterling for housing discrimination. Sterling allegedly refused to rent apartments he owned to African Americans, Latinos and people with children and, though he denied the charges, agreed to a settlement of $2.765 million in 2009. There’s also record of a separate housing discrimination lawsuit in 2003.

Monday, on the Dan Le Batard Show, Jones gave a heated 10-minute speech on why, despite allegations of Sterling’s racism being well documented for decades, the story has people all wound up today.

“What they’re not tolerating about Donald Sterling is the fact that what he said was impolite,” Jones said on the ESPN program. “But when Donald Sterling was out here toying with people’s lives on things that really mattered and matters of life and death – the media, the NBA, these sponsors and all these people who now wanna get patted on the back didn’t say a mumbling word. They can all kiss my behind.”

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced Tuesday that Sterling has been banned from the NBA for life and will be fined $2.5 million.

Listen to Bomani Jones talk about the REAL Donald Sterling problem:

In The News: ESPN’s Stuart Scott Won’t Stop Fighting

photo courtesy of Rich Arden, ESPN

photo courtesy of Rich Arden, ESPN

Last month, The ESPN anchor’s private battle with cancer became a public one. Before reading the NY Times article, I was not privy to Stuart Scott’s ongoing struggle. After reading, I found his story to be incredibly inspiring, most notably his loving devotion to his two daughters. It helps put life’s real priorities back in focus when they tend to stray. Watch his touching interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts below on why the man who “put the ‘hip hop’ in sportscasting” continues to fight:



In The News: Single Moms, Unemployment And Day Care

*Repost from WGBH News


shanesha mugshot

In the picture Shanesha Taylor is staring straight into the camera with tears streaming down her cheeks. It’s her mug shot, taken after the Arizona single mother was arrested for leaving her children in a locked car with the windows slightly cracked.

Horrible as that sounds it’s only part of the story. As Shanesha explained to the arresting officer she had no one to watch her kids while she interviewed for a job. The 35-year-old mother is homeless; she risked leaving her children for a short time for the chance to get work.

Shanesha’s 2-year-old and 6-month-old were placed in protective services and she was roundly criticized for endangering them. But, even her harshest critics recognized that she was between a rock and a hard place. Millions of parents know first hand the struggle to find childcare.

And if they can find it, many parents can’t afford it. Massachusetts parents know this all too well. The organization, ChildCare Aware of America recently reported that here in Massachusetts, what is known as ‘center based childcare,’ is the most expensive in the country. At $16,430 for an infant’s yearly child care, a poor family of three would have to pay 86 percent of their income to put their kids in a day care center full time. The organization’s top official says the cost of childcare is “exceeding the cost of housing, college tuition, or even food.”

And cost is not just an issue for poor and working class parents. Middle class and even upper middle class parents –especially those in urban areas—are squeezed, too. Several well off couples interviewed by The New York Times last year, said childcare costs ate up a huge chunk of their double incomes. The story called, “Crushed by the Cost of Child Care,” cited couples considering having one parent stop working to care for the children at home.

Shanesha Taylor didn’t have that choice—and maybe that’s why her story drew such attention and sympathy. A local church took her in after her release from jail. Another single mother from New Jersey, Amanda Bishop, raised more than $60,000 to help Shanesha to pay bail, legal fees and to help care for her children.

Bishop notes,  “It’s not like Shanesha was out drinking and partying. She was trying to get herself out of the rut that she was in.” Even the Arizona police spokesperson acknowledged, “This is a sad situation all around… she needed the job.”

Still many judge her a bad mother, insisting she could have found another way to care for the kids. Too late now. And Shenesha still faces two felony charges of child abuse. I am haunted by her tear stained face, and saddened by the cruel irony that she was interviewing at an insurance company, hoping it would ensure her children’s future.

Callie Crossley is the host of Under the Radar with Callie Crossley