‘We’re going to stand up for ourselves’: Why this lawyer sued two towns that denied mosques

Having come home late from work, his wife and two sons already asleep, Adeel A. Mangi was changing for bed one night in December 2015 when an email came across his phone. The message, from a friend at the Muslim Bar Association of New York, said there’d been a problem with a group in New Jersey that was denied permission to build a mosque, according to Mangi, a litigation partner at Manhattan law firm Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP. It also asked if he’d be interested in talking to them and possibly taking on the case. I viewed it as critically important, as a Muslim, to be standing up for every community that is under attack and whose rights are being taken away from them. I viewed it as critically important, as a Muslim, to be standing up for every community that is under attack and whose rights are being taken away from them. “I thought to myself, 'boy it’s going to be really hard for me to take on something new and big right now,'” Mangi said. “So I tapped out an email response to him saying, ‘I wish I could, but I’m just so busy right now.’” But then Mangi paused and deleted his reply. “I wrote it again, and I deleted it again,” he said. “And then I thought about it for five minutes — still standing there half dressed getting ready for bed — and then I said, ‘Look, I’m really busy right now, but if they want to meet, tell them I’d like to meet.’” Mangi and a litigation team at his firm wound up representing the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge pro bono in a federal religious discrimination lawsuit they filed in March 2016 against Bernards Township. The suit — along with a second one brought by the Department of Justice — accused the New Jersey township of caving to anti-Muslim animus in the community and discriminating against the society in denying its years-long bid to build a mosque. Last year, a settlement Continue Reading

Will ‘Stand Up for Something’ finally earn songwriter Diane Warren an Oscar?

Songwriter Diane Warren is overdue for an Oscar, and she has no reservations about admitting it. "I am not going to say, 'I don't need to win. I don't care,'" Warren said in a phone interview. "I want to win. Come on, it's been eight times that I haven't." related advertisement video "Stand Up for Something" video   Warren joked she was the Susan Lucci of songwriters. Her previous nominations include well-known songs such as "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing," by Aerosmith, featured in "Armageddon," and Trisha Yearwood's "How Do I Live," featured in "Con Air." But the Grammy-winning songwriter said she's never been more excited for a nomination than she is for "Stand Up for Something," which she wrote for the Thurgood Marshall biopic "Marshall." The song, nominated for best original song, features singer Andra Day and was co-written with rapper Common. The 90th annual Academy Awards will air live on ABC on March 4. "It would be really great if it does (win)," Warren said. "I'll probably faint." Warren thought her best chance at winning an Oscar came in 2015 when a song she wrote with Lady Gaga, "Til It Happens to You," was nominated after appearing in a documentary about sexual assault on campus called "The Hunting Ground." Warren said she was so sure the song would win that a friend posted copies of her planned acceptance speech around her home so she could practice it. The song was incredibly personal to both writers, and Lady Gaga delivered an unforgettable Oscar performance in 2016 surrounded by assault survivors. "I looked around and everybody is sobbing," Warren recalls of the performance. Ultimately Sam Smith and Jimmy Napes won in the best original song category for "Writing's on the Wall" from "Spectre." But Warren did get to give her speech when she won an Emmy for outstanding original music and lyrics. This latest nominated song feels like an extension of "Til It Happens to You," Warren said. "The interesting thing about those two songs is Continue Reading

How This Entrepreneur Helps Passionate People Stand up for Their Beliefs With Socks

Ryan Berman is on a mission to sock society's problems -- literally. Entrepreneur Staff Published 11:30 am, Thursday, February 15, 2018 Photo: Sock Problems Image 1of/1 CaptionClose Image 1 of 1 Photo: Sock Problems How This Entrepreneur Helps Passionate People Stand up for Their Beliefs With Socks 1 / 1 Back to Gallery In this ongoing series, we are sharing advice, tips and insights from real entrepreneurs who are out there doing business battle on a daily basis. (Answers have been edited and condensed for clarity.) Who are you and what’s your business? I’m Ryan Berman, co-founder of a new startup called Sock Problems. Sock Problems is out to ‘sock' problems in the world with cause-centered socks. If you aspire to sock inequality, sock breast cancer, sock hate or sock climate change, we most likely have a sock for you. We hope passionate people will have the courage to take a stand while standing in our socks. What inspired you to create this product?   I was in the process of writing my book called Return on Courage, which helps brands address their business fears head on — so that they can get unstuck and take action on new ideas. I realized through the book writing process that I was stuck and taking no action on the idea I was most passionate about. If you’re going to write a book about courage you might as well live the premise. So, after sitting on Sock Problems for 5 years, I finally put the idea in motion. Local Channel Now Playing: Now Playing Woman ejected from SUV dies when vehicle lands on top of her San Antonio Express-News Squatter blamed for blaze at Continue Reading

As we say goodbye to 2017, Nikki Haley stands up for the US and the UN’s true ideals

Each September, dictators, tyrants and appeasers from nations around the world arrive in New York City for the opening of the United Nations General Assembly and lie to the world about their own actions, denounce Israel as an illegal “occupier,” blast America as an imperialist aggressor and attack some of our allies. No matter how small, weak, poor and insignificant they are, all nations have an equal vote in the General Assembly. And far too many cast those votes not based on fairness and justice, but to lash out at their enemies and flatter their friends – even when their actions have no basis in fact. Americans have a love-hate relationship with the U.N. We appreciate its charter, which guarantees the sovereignty of its member states and holds out the hope of a more just and humane world. But we realize that the conduct by nations at the U.N. often does not live up to the institution’s great ideals. Fortunately, from time to time a diplomat comes along who stands up to the dictators and tyrants with such force that the original promise of the U.N. re-emerges. America has been served by four such ambassadors – Democrats Adlai Stevenson and Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and Republicans Jeane Kirkpatrick and John Bolton. Each of them is remembered for a defining moment at the U.N. Last week, with her defiant speech in defense of President Trump’s announcement that the U.S. is moving its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, Ambassador Nikki Haley joined this distinguished group. Earlier this Continue Reading

Why Upper-Caste Men Need To Stand Up For Raya Sarkar

There’s a certain kind of ‘woke’ person very commonly found on the interwebs — upper-caste men who rail about gender and caste inequities while retaining their innumerable privileges. Yes, I’m included in that list. Even when we sporadically speak up for DBA (Dalit Bahujan Adivasi) people — usually when they’ve been victims of horrific caste-based violence — we occupy those roles as white knights with ease. It’s a perspective we’ve easily inherited like family heirlooms from the likes of Gandhi and Ram Mohan Roy.Ever since Raya Sarkar put out her crowdsourced list of sexual predators in academia, the rhetoric around it has grown more and more divisive by the day. And while the arguments rage on within the feminist movement, most of the men on the list have maintained a studied silence. Its time to shift the focus back to the men on the list; to acknowledge how we, as upper-caste men, are complicit in this silence and to understand why we desperately need to break it. We are quiet because the list makes us deeply uncomfortable. We may not know them personally, but the list indicts men like us — men who occupy certain caste and socio-economic spaces; men who are well-educated, cultured, and can speak about systemic privilege at the drop of a hat. We present ourselves as allies, as empathetic and self-aware, as the good guys. But when our resolve is tested by iconoclasts like Sarkar who cause disarray to our checkered view of justice, we shut up or worse, gaslight them.It’s understandable that some of us are concerned about Sarkar’s methods. But if actual trials haven’t stripped some of these men of their institutional power, it’s unlikely that media trials will achieve the same.The fact that so many women shared their stories of sexual harassment with Sarkar is an indictment of our institutions which are still largely exclusionary cocoons of male Brahminical privilege. As Continue Reading

Fight Hate by Standing Up for Immigrants

Take Action Now gives you three meaningful actions you can take each week—whatever your schedule. This week, we’re sharing some ways that you can plug into movements for racial justice, including today’s day of action to defend DACA and immigrant youth. You can sign up for Take Action Now here. For more on what you can do in the wake of this weekend’s events, check out our article from yesterday. NO TIME TO WASTE? Make one phone call and write one social-media post in support of today’s day of action to defend DACA. Today is the fifth anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allowed undocumented immigrants brought here as children protection from deportation. The program is in grave danger, as anti-immigrant Republicans have threatened to sue if the Trump administration does not end the program by September 5. To fight back, people across the country are rallying today in support of DACA and immigrant youth and families. You can support them by calling one of the elected officials listed on the Defend DACA website (they also provide a script for you) and posting a message of support on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #DefendDACA. GOT SOME TIME? Join the campaign to remove all Confederate symbols in the United States. If you know of a Confederate monument in your town, call your local government to demand that it be removed. The Southern Poverty Law Center has a community-action guide for beginning a local campaign that includes pointers for responding to common objections (something that is useful whether you’re responding to elected officials or in a discussion with your neighbors). Even if there is not a monument near you, you can sign and share ColorofChange’s petition to remove them all. READY TO DIG IN? Learn about the history of white supremacy in the United States and arm yourself with the knowledge you need to fight back. Students at the University of Virginia’s Continue Reading

NY Giants’ Antrel Rolle has advice for Jonathan Martin: ‘stand up for yourself’

To Antrel Rolle, it's at least a little bit Jonathan Martin's fault. Never mind any of the mistreatment that the Dolphins' second-year offensive lineman suffered at the hands of veteran Richie Incognito. According to multiple reports, Martin, who left the Dolphins last week, endured racist text messages and voicemails from Incognito, he was hassled for a $15,000 for a trip to Las Vegas that he didn't even attend, and he was repeatedly called names by Incognito on Twitter. But to Rolle, Martin could have - and should have - put a stop to all of the extreme hazing, and that's something the Giants safety made clear on Tuesday, during his weekly paid spot on WFAN. "Something like that would never ever happen to myself because I wouldn't allow it to happen," Rolle said on WFAN on Tuesday. "Was Richie Incognito wrong? Yeah, absolutely," said Rolle. "But I think the other guy is just as much to blame as Richie, because he allowed it to happen. At this level, you're a man. You're not a little boy. You're not a freshman in college. You're a man. So I think everything has its limits. There is no way that another man is going to make me pay for something that I choose not to pay for." Rolle added that if Martin continues on another team, the young offensive lineman should be able to "bounce back." But he must learn to stand up for himself, Rolle said. "This is just an incident on its own. Hopefully he is able to bounce back and recover from all that happened," Rolle said of Martin. "And take awareness of that, man, you're a grown-ass man. You need to stand up for yourself." "There's no punking that should go on on the NFL level. Hazing is one thing. Bullying is another thing." Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Angela Davis urges crowd to stand up for human rights

BREMERTON — Cousins Jazmurray Ungaro, 8, and Aaliyah Boston, 11, bubbled with excitement as they found their seats Wednesday night at Bremerton High School's Performing Arts Center.Outside the auditorium, the two girls had run into guest speaker Angela Davis, the civil rights activist who was to launch Olympic College's "Presidential Equity and Excellence" lecture series. The free series is intended to extend the conversation about combating discrimination and creating educational opportunity for all beyond the college campus, said Cheryl Nuñez, OC's vice president of equity and inclusion.Davis, 72, a professor emerita at the University of California-Santa Cruz, gained prominence in the late 1960s and '70s for her participation in the Black Power movement. She ran for U.S. vice president in 1980 and 1984 as a member of the Communist Party USA. Now as an international lecturer, she is focused on a broad range of human rights issues, including her stated goal to see U.S. prisons "abolished."The historical significance of the event was not lost on Aaliyah, who proudly displayed the selfie she got with Davis.Having studied the civil rights movement at West Hills STEM Academy, Aaliyah knows "that she's a political activist, and she's helped a lot of people and done a lot of speeches."Charlotte Felice, 70, of Port Orchard, remembers well Davis' radical activism that often put her at odds with the establishment and at one point had her on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list."There's something about being brave and standing up for your own rights," Felice said. "Things were really harsh for a lot of us."Now, decades later, Felice, a Head Start teacher, was eager to "hear what she has to say."Davis began by thanking "the indigenous people on whose land we gather," and she saluted the Standing Rock Sioux and allies protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline.She next launched a subtle yet stinging tirade against President-elect Donald Trump, Continue Reading

Obama stands up for jobless Americans in speech, but employment office remains full

She works for the state's Department of Labor, Division of Employment Services and Workforce Solutions, on the sixth floor of a building down from the Jimmy Jazz store and across from Beauty Land on 125th St. All day long the elevator doors open in front of Judy Sullivan and people come in trying to find their way to a job. This was way before President Obama's big jobs speech in front of Congress Thursday night, the day like all others for Judy Sullivan in front of the blue-and-white "Work Force 1" banner: The chairs in the waiting room full, along with so many of the offices on this floor, people coming here to get career counseling and learn resume skills, have professionals on hand assess what is known as "job readiness" in a city and a country where there are not enough jobs, where unemployment has gone from 8% to 9% while Obama has been President. And, like this President or not, that one goes to the old Bill Parcells line, about how you are what your record says you are. Judy Sullivan, whose title is supervising labor service representative, is asked how long she has worked for the Department of Labor and says, "26 years." Smiling as she adds, "I began when I was 2." The elevator door opens again and a tall young kid, black, wearing a Yankees cap gets out. He comes to the desk, takes the cap off before he says to Judy Sullivan, "I'm here for the 11 o'clock registration." He means registration for all the services provided on this floor, the people here - mostly young, but not all of them young - not one of them having the luxury of waiting another day for a speech in Washington that does not put them back to work in New York. "You know what a lot of people here want to hear from [Obama]?" she says. "They want to hear something concrete. Something they can hold onto. They want something permanent." She shakes her head. "They want to work at something for 26 years the way I have." The elevator doors open again, two more get out, one man, one Continue Reading

IPS parents learn to ‘stand up’ for kids

What Ashley Thomas has to say is so important that the words physically move her, and she paces in a sweaty fervor in front of other Indianapolis Public School parents in the gymnasium of School 42, an F-rated school for three consecutive years on the Near Northwestside."They say," she says, "that we don't care about our children.""They say," she says, "that we don't show up."That night in October, about 40 parents did show up, intrigued by Thomas' pitch for a program to help them become more involved in their children's education.They are mostly moms with a sprinkling of dads, concerned aunties and grandmas. Some have kids in tow, with a young couple holding a baby on their laps and another dad throwing a football with a kid in the back of the room."Who says that we don't care about our children and the educational system?" Thomas is almost shouting in her insistence, in her imploring."Who says we don't care about the violence happening right outside these doors?"She counts the murders in the city so far: 115 on that day. By the year's end, the number would spike above 140."Some of them," she says, "are our babies.""Most of them," someone in the audience says softly.Thomas is here, she tells them, to help them rebuild their broken village. As a fellow IPS parent, and as a parent advocate with a local education reform group, she knows that low-income, African-American students in this city often end up at under-performing schools.Some fall behind. Some drop out. And so some will be left with fewer opportunities.Research from UNCF, an educational organization that focuses on black students, found that most low-income, African-American parents don't believe their children are getting a good enough education to send them to college. But they also often don't know how to best help their students.The research shows parent involvement enormously boosts students of color and those from low-income families in particular. And African-American parents tend to look to other Continue Reading