Black Women Can’t Wait 106 Years for Equal Pay

Today is National Equal Pay Day and it is only right to address the fact that black women work twice as hard as their counterparts, if not harder, yet still earn less. According to research conducted by the Institute for Women’s Research Policy, if trends in the pay gap persist like they have over the last 30 years, black women will have to continue to work hard until 2124 just to receive equal pay.

We spoke with Teresa C. Younger, president and CEO of the Ms. Foundation, about closing the pay gap and how women can persevere as they work toward receiving equal pay.

What does closing the pay gap mean for women beyond the dollar signs?

The pay gap is really about how we value women. And in this country, we have continually under-valued women. Particularly women of color and particularly black women. So for us, and as a black woman, this is how we place value on who we are and what we bring into our society.

It’s not “just” about the dollars and cents.

Although, it is about the dollars and cents because if you can pay your bills, put some money in the bank, and transfer that wealth to the next generation then that’s critical and that helps to build what our society could look like. If we can start making sure that our women are paid for their worth in our society, it will show and reflect their value. And help them uphold a level of self-confidence they will carry into other aspects of their lives.

How can women be more involved in being a part of the change they want to see?

There is so much going on in life that feels completely overwhelming. And we often ask ourselves, ‘what can any one person do?’ and ‘what can I do because this feels like so much?’

Whether you’re registered to vote; whether you’re able to talk to your manager or supervisor; how you’re able to ask a question; or whether you’re able to mentor somebody, we want women to walk out of this room today knowing that there is something that they can do. And if everyone does something that adds up to a whole lot of things and that’s how we create the momentum for change.

What advice do you have for women as they fight to close the pay gap?

There are a couple of things that we have to come to terms with when we recognize that we’re going to be about making change happen:

  1. It does not happen overnight.
  2. We do not get to be tired. We have a responsibility to those shoulders that we stand on and those generations that come behind us. We have to step in, fight wholeheartedly, and do it with full honesty and integrity to who we are. And, we have to hold other people accountable.
  3. We have to engage with people one on one. We can’t just stand outside and scream at the air—we actually have to start talking with people.

When I think about this fight for pay equity, it is about at this moment in time us finally placing value on women of color. At this moment in time, it is about holding those [people in high places] accountable. This moment in time, it’s about opening the doors so that others can come in behind us and come in strong.


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5 Games We Can’t Wait To Play This January

A new year is here, and that means we have an entire twelve months of new games to look forward to! It’s going to be an odd year for gaming, with the life-cycle of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One winding down, and rumors of the next console generation already picking up steam. However, if tradition holds true, that means we are in store for some of the best and most ambitious games we’ve seen on these systems yet as developers push this generation of hardware to their very limits.

January 2019 looks like it’s going to kick this year in gaming off on a high note. With some tremendously anticipated sequels, a good number of ports and remakes, and some of the most talked about games in recent memory, there are going to be plenty of games to play and discuss. Set your 2019 gaming resolutions now —  once January begins there will be loads of great games to play right out of the gate.

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe

  • Release Date(s): January 11
  • Developer(s): Nintendo EAD
  • Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
  • Genre: Platformer

Here it is, the game that spun Super Mario lore on its head with the introduction of Peachette, and inadvertently spawned countless amounts of gender-bent fanart, New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe! Continuing the trend of any remotely good Wii U game getting a Nintendo Switch Port, this platformer will receive a few added features, like new playable characters, in its migration to the portable console. As the third best selling game on the Wii U, Super Mario Bros. U definitely deserves a place on Nintendo’s latest, and maybe greatest, hardware.

While there’s no shortage of 2D Super Mario platformers, New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is likely to be one of the best ones. The original had a staggering amount of content, and this port is set to have even more to do over the course of its Mushroom Kingdom adventure. At the very least, this is going to be one more incredible couch co-op game on the only console that seems interested in continuing that aspect of gaming.

The Walking Dead: The Final Season Ep. 3

  • Release Date(s): January 15
  • Developer(s): Telltale Games, Skybound Games
  • Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
  • Genre: Adventure

Telltale’s The Walking Dead will premiere the third installment of the game’s final season this January, following a good amount of development turmoil and controversy. With the abrupt bankruptcy and imminent closure of Telltale Games, it seemed like the final two episodes would never come out. That is, until Skybound Games announced that they were talking over the project. Moreover, it seems like Skybound Games brought on most of the original staff behind the project, so purchasing this game will, in fact, benefit those who put countless hours into creating it.

It’s fair to say that the quality and fan reaction to The Walking Dead games are not what they used to be, but this is still the series that brought adventure games back into the mainstream. With just two episodes to go, this macabre and morally ambiguous adventure is drawing to a close, and it’s definitely worth seeing this piece of gaming history through to its conclusion. We can only hope that this former powerhouse of a franchise manages to sprint to its conclusion, rather than limp to the finish line.

Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes

  • Release Date(s): January 18
  • Developer(s): Grasshopper Manufacture
  • Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
  • Genre: Action

After almost nine years to the day, a new No More Heroes game will have players once again take control of the lovably insufferable Travis Touchdown as he fights to escape from a deadly video game. Even if it’s closer to a spin-off than a proper sequel to No More Heroes 2, Travis Strikes Again is likely to be a bizarre blast of a time. With apparent influences from Hotline Miami and an even more bizarre premise that its predecessors, Travis Strikes Again is on track to be one of the most distinctive games on the Nintendo Switch.

The No More Heroes series is definitely a more niche collection of games, which is a shame considering how much these games have to say about gamers and the gaming community. Just barely underneath the extravagant battles against superhuman assassins is a story about a man reluctantly leaving his own isolated lifestyle. If TSA commits to and executes its bizarre premise as well as the first two games did, it will definitely be worth checking out.

Resident Evil 2 (2019)

  • Release Date(s): January 25
  • Developer(s): Capcom R&D Division 1
  • Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
  • Genre: Survival Horror

The original Resident Evil 2 is considered by many to be the best installment in the long-running horror franchise, which is probably why it has so many ports. More than twenty years after its initial release, the classic horror game is getting a proper remake that promises to make full use of the affordances of modern hardware. Especially following the critical and commercial success of 2017’s Resident Evil 7, there are a lot of reasons to be excited about this REmake.

It’ll be fascinating to see how Resident Evil 2 translates into a modern horror game. The original game used the clunky controls and delayed inputs common at the time of its release to play up its horror and really drive home how powerless the player was against its undead foes. Hopefully, this remake manages to hold onto the fear and tension of the original while making the game more approachable to new audiences.

Kingdom Hearts III

  • Release Date(s): January 29
  • Developer(s): Square Enix Business Division 3
  • Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  • Genre: Action RPG

After more than a decade since the launch of Kingdom Hearts II, Kingdom Hearts III will finally premiere at the end of January. Even with several canonical side games and numerous collections premiering in the interim, Kingdom Hearts III is still one of the most anticipated games in recent memory. Featuring numerous classic cartoon characters and themes that most people can relate to, it’s no wonder that this series means so much to so many people.

Fans of the Kingdom Hearts series were always going to play this game, but newcomers shouldn’t be afraid to give it a try either. While the series’ complex lore and numerous entries may seem like a hurdle, the Kingdom Hearts: The Story So Far collection contains just about everything players need to know to get caught up. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with going into this game fresh and then checking out the previous titles, either. If it lives up to its predecessors, there’s sure to be something worthwhile in Kingdom Hearts III for everyone who plays it.

The Kingdom Hearts Timeline Explained (UPDATED)

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How Long Must Incarcerated Women Wait for Dignity?

It’s been fits and starts for the FIRST STEP Act, the prison reform bill that’s been resurrected in the news after the Senate drafted its own version including modest sentencing reform. In a matter of five days, the President signaled his approval of the bill, the Majority Leader rejected the notion and the incoming Senate Judiciary Committee Chair said to press that he would push it forward. The religious right and the ACLU, in a unique partnership, have been lobbying for the legislation for the past two weeks.

What will happen now with the FIRST STEP Act is anyone’s guess. But even if it stumbles, meaningful prison reform is imminently achievable in this Congress. Protecting women, the fastest-growing prison population, should be a priority—but instead, The Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act has been stalled in Congress since it was introduced in 2017.

Women in U.S. prisons are routinely denied free tampons and sanitary pads, and pregnant women are shackled and housed in solitary confinement. About 80 percent of women in prison are mothers, and their incarceration—through distance, high phone rates and suboptimal visiting policies—separates them from their children in multiple ways; about 94 percent have a history of physical or sexual abuse, and can’t get the appropriate treatment they need on the inside.

The Dignity Act, introduced in July 2017 to much fanfare by Senators Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Richard Durbin, would remedy these maladies, giving women in prison the lives they’re already entitled to under the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners.

Within just a week of its introduction alone, the bill spurred the Bureau of Prisons to implement new procedures. In Congress, it was quickly referred to the Judiciary Committee, chaired by Senator Chuck Grassley, a relatively recent convert to belief that our prisons are in crisis who likely would have wrangled the Republicans on the committee to getting it to the floor—and its passage was never likely to be a partisan war.

When similar “dignity acts” were presented this year in the state legislatures of California, Connecticut, Kentucky, Louisiana and Virginia, not one opposing vote was cast. That’s not surprising: The various “dignity acts” are each a referendum on human rights, and voting against them is hard. Who would vote to shackle pregnant women? Hopefully no one.

Yet, despite its momentum, there’s been no significant movement for the Act. Instead, drafters of the FIRST STEP Act borrowed its ban on shackling, as well as the mandate for access to personal hygiene supplies. In September, a House bill that would ban the shackling of pregnant women also popped up.

Altogether, it seems like someone simply gave up on the Dignity Act long ago and didn’t bother to tell anyone—which is rather undignified. In its place, the FIRST STEP Act has become the sole focus of reform efforts, eclipsing holistic dignity without good reason, since we know from similar successes that the provisions in the Dignity Act have broad support from lawmakers of all persuasions.

Undoubtedly, there will be people who think the Dignity Act shouldn’t have priority in the midst of prison reform efforts in Congress, precisely because of its focus on women. But the reality is that the Dignity Act would be impactful across the system—and might even achieve more than the FIRST STEP Act even could.

The Vera Institute of Justice released a report last month calling for grounding correctional practice on human dignity and fostering respect for incarcerated persons within the prison system, and urged officials to “elevate and support personal relationships” and “respect a person’s capacity to grow and change.”

The recommendations from the Vera Institute are only partially enshrined in the FIRST STEP Act. FIRST STEP contains carve-outs that prevent people convicted of certain crimes from participating in certain programs—exceptions that don’t respect a person’s capacity to rehabilitate themselves. Close reading of the bill also reveals that there are specific populations which lawmakers don’t think deserve the dignity of inclusion and investment of government resources.

The Dignity Act, on the other hand, would establish an ombudsman and a mentoring program by formerly incarcerated people for all people held in federal custody—recognizing the standing that any inmate has to demand human treatment and rehabilitation. And because it addresses the rights of primary caregivers, it uplifts men and women serving time with family waiting on the outside.

This isn’t to say that the FiRST STEP Act isn’t a good bill. (It is.) And the approximately 4,000 people who will feel relief immediately if it passes into law will also include some female federal prisoners, including changes to mandatory minimum sentencing laws that could impact the more than half of women in prisons charged with non-violent property and drug crimes that carried grotesque mandatory sentences, sometimes for life in prison. Alice Marie Johnson, whose life sentence was commuted by President Trump this summer, was one of those women—sentenced to life without parole for selling drugs to make ends meet, her first offense.

It doesn’t matter which statute prevents men from snapping metal clasps and chains around the ankles of a pregnant woman or denying them a maxi-pad during a heavy flow day. As long as it gets done in this country, it’s a win. But we can’t let would-be victories siphon our attention away from the revised prioritization of the Dignity Act.

How women’s dignity got downgraded is just a replay of what happens routinely when we focus on the needs of incarcerated women. We hail efforts to help women in prison when they’re announced, but if our interest in this change doesn’t endure, the energy behind them inevitably gets redirected the needs of male prisoners.

The FIRST STEP Act doesn’t need to be the first step. There’s no good reason why the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act hasn’t already been made law or been brought to the floor for the vote it deserves.

If we don’t center women, they often get left behind. If we don’t continue fighting for them, there will be no victories for them. The well-being of women in prison should not need to be sacrificed for the “greater good” of the men serving time alongside them—men whose needs are entirely different than theirs.

Dignity for women is reform for all.

Every year, Ms. sends thousands of magazines to women in prisons and domestic violence shelters. To support our efforts and help us expand our reach—and to show women in prisons that they aren’t alone—please give to our Women in Prisons and Domestic Violence Shelters program today.

Chandra Bozelko writes the award-winning blog Prison Diaries  She’s a 2018 “Leading with Conviction” Fellow with JustLeadership USA and a 2018 Pretrial Innovation Leader with the Pretrial Justice Institute. You can follow her on Twitter at @aprisondiary.

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5 Games We Can’t Wait to Play This December

Winter is officially here. Now’s the perfect time to bundle up in a blanket, get something warm to drink, and play some video games. While there are a couple of highly anticipated titles coming in December, and a few eyebrow-raisers, the last month of the year is light on new releases.

This eclectic month in games will feature new installments in long-running and beloved series, a spiritual successor to a series gaining ground in the public eye once more, a long overdue remake, and a ridiculous number of rhythm games. In the season of “best ofs” and “year in reviews,” don’t forget to take a minute to check out these highly anticipated titles.

Just Cause 4

  • Release Date(s): December 4
  • Developer(s): Avalanche Studios
  • Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
  • Genre: Action-Adventure

The Just Cause series is back! After Just Cause 3’s mixed reception back in 2015, Just Cause 4 will have Rico Rodriguez face off against another criminal organization in a beautiful South American setting. Packed with more over-the-top action than even the zaniest of ’80s action flicks, this next game seems like it’ll be the most ridiculous entry yet. Traveling to the island nation of Solís in search of information about his father’s death, Rico will once again fight against the Black Hand criminal syndicate who now possess weather-controlling technology.

Just Cause 4 has a plot that feels like it was ripped straight out of a G.I. Joe cartoon and that could not be more perfect for a game whose protagonist can travel anywhere using a grapple gun and a wingsuit. If Just Cause 4 can rid itself of the bugs and technical issues that plagued its predecessor, playing as Rick will be a blast. The Just Cause series is at its best when it leans into the absurd, and thankfully, this upcoming game seems like it will be delightfully extra.

Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom

  • Release Date(s): December 4
  • Developer(s): The Game Atelier
  • Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
  • Genre: Platformer

Coming off the heels of last year’s delightful Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap — a remake of Wonder Boy 3 — Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom looks like a delightful side-scrolling adventure. Similar to The Dragon’s Trap, this game will have the player control a boy who gains various animal transformations as the story progresses, giving him new powers and the ability to explore new areas. This boy, Jin, must stop his evil uncle Nabu from using dark magic to destroy the kingdom they live in. While this might not be the most original set up for a fantasy game, it looks like this title will have enough quirky charm to make the idea their own.

Developed by the indie studio The Game Atelier, this title has the full endorsement and support of the creator of the original Wonder Boy series, Ryuichi Nishizawa. As this game is not trying to be a mechanically identical copy of a Wonder Boy game, like The Dragon’s Trap was, it’ll be interesting to see this title’s new take on platforming combat. It’s also hard not to get excited for a game that has a theme song with such a strong Saturday morning cartoon vibe.

Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection

  • Release Date(s): December 4
  • Developer(s): P-Studio
  • Platform(s): PlayStation 4
  • Genre: Rhythm

The Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection is technically three games rolled into one $ 100 bundle. Continuing the brand new Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight and Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight, this collection will also contain a PlayStation 4 port of Persona 4: Dancing All Night, which was previously only available on the PlayStation Vita. Additionally, Dancing in Moonlight and Dancing in Starlight are available on the PlayStation Vita for $ 40 each, but do not come with Dancing All Night. Considering the Vita is a dying system, it might just be best to pick up the collection for PlayStation 4 and get the entire series in one convenient package.

These rhythm games will delight anyone who enjoyed the charming and endearing characters in the mainline games. Mixing the iconic music of the franchise with extra character-focused content is a brilliant idea — even if rhythm games tend to cater to a more niche audience. If you want to spend a bit more time with the lovable Persona protagonists and enjoy some of the best music in gaming, this collection will make a terrific gift to yourself this holiday season.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

  • Release Date(s): December 7
  • Developer(s): Bandai Namco Studios, Sora Ltd.
  • Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
  • Genre: Fighting

Super Smash Bros Ultimate might be the most talked about and anticipated game of 2018. Since its surprise announcement back in March, every new piece of information about this game spawns dozens of articles, hundreds of analysis and opinion videos, and countless memes. Initially criticized as seeming like a port of the fourth Smash Bros. title, it’s now clear that there is enough unique and enticing content to call it a wholly new entry in the beloved fighting game franchise. It has more characters, a variety and single and cooperative modes, and an adventure mode where Kirby is the universe’s only hope. No wonder so many eyes are on this upcoming game.

Longtime fan of the Smash Bros. franchise will definitely love this latest entry in the series and all of its weird decisions, like the introduction of the Piranha Plant as a playable fighter. Newcomers will be drawn to Ultimate due to its tight controls and the genuine love shown for the many different franchises under the Nintendo label. Super Smash Bros Ultimate will likely be one of the best-selling games of this holiday season.

Katamari Damacy Reroll

  • Release Date(s): December 7
  • Developer(s): Namco
  • Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC
  • Genre: Puzzle, Action

When Katamari Damacy premiered in 2004, it received a decent amount of praise in Japan and became a sleeper hit in the United States. Featuring a minuscule cosmic prince who has to recreate the stars after his gigantic father destroyed them during a night of binge drinking, the quirky game definitely earned all of its praise. Its mechanics, which centered on rolling a ball around to collect random junk until it’s big enough to become a star, set Katamari Damacy apart from every other game in the early 2000s.

A remake of Katamari Damacy seems a bit overdue at this point. Luckily, Katamari Damacy Reroll will give younger players a chance to play and appreciate this eccentric title at an affordable price on either Switch or PC. It’ll also finally give gamers in the PAL region a chance to play this enjoyable game legitimately.

6 of the Most Ridiculous Videogame Titles

The post 5 Games We Can’t Wait to Play This December appeared first on FANDOM.



Trump says asylum seekers to wait in Mexico, incoming government denies

U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted on Saturday that migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border would stay in Mexico until their asylum claims were individually approved in U.S. courts, but Mexico’s incoming government denied they had struck any deal.

Reuters: Politics

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