Chicago, IL

White Supremacist Jailed in Chasing Case

November 12, 2003
An admitted white supremacist was sentenced Wednesday to 20 months in federal prison for joining two knife-wielding friends in chasing four black youngsters and shouting racial epithets after a high school football game.
     Harley Hermes, 21, once a member of a skinhead group, had admitted to taking part in the Aug. 30 incident in Fox Lake, a Chicago suburb.
     Another man who pleaded guilty in the case, Shaun Derifield, is scheduled to be sentenced in the case by U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo on Nov. 19. Both men pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the civil rights of the four victims.

U.S. Muslims make civil rights top issue

September 01, 2003
American Muslim leaders, stung by the government's scrutiny of their community during the domestic hunt for terrorists, have pledged to express their anger at the polls.
     Leaders of the Islamic Society of North America announced plans Sunday during their annual meeting to register 1 million Muslim voters and make civil rights a top issue in any endorsement of a presidential candidate.
     "A defining moment of Islam in America is approaching," said Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a civil rights group based in Washington. "We cannot surrender our future and our destiny to hate in this country."

Blind woman sues landlord for eviction threat

July 16, 2003
A 65-year-old woman has sued her landlords, alleging that they threatened to evict her because she is blind.
     The building's owners deny the charge of discrimination and say the woman needs assisted living. They said she is a danger to herself and other tenants of the four-flat on Chicago's North Side.
     Steven Greenberger, attorney for Wanda Haras and a professor at DePaul University College of Law's Disability Rights Clinic, filed the lawsuit Tuesday in federal court naming building owners Hans and Teresa Hintzen. Greenberger called the landlords' claims outrageous and said Haras is a model tenant who has never caused problems.

Baker doesn't back down from comments

July 08, 2003
Cubs manager Dusty Baker didn't back down Monday when asked about his recent comments that black and Latin players were better suited to play in the heat than white players.
     "I meant what I said. ... I try to be as honest as possible, and if that's how I feel, then that's how I feel." he told reporters before Monday's game, a 6-3 win by the Cubs over Florida.
     On Saturday, in another pregame talk with reporters, Baker said: "We were brought over here for the heat. Isn't that history? Your skin color is more conducive to heat than it is to the lighter-skinned people. I don't see brothers running around burnt."

Asians face housing bias

July 01, 2003
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said the rate of discrimination against Asians in housing is similar to that found for African Americans and Hispanics. The HUD study looked at real estate practices in 11 U.S. cities with the highest populations of Asians and Pacific Islanders -- Anaheim/Santa Ana, Calif.; Chicago; Honolulu; Los Angeles; Minneapolis; New York; Oakland, Calif.; San Diego; San Francisco; San Jose, Calif.; and Washington.
     The study was based on 889 paired tests, in which minority and white homebuyers of similar incomes and other financial characteristics are matched and sent into the real estate market to document the treatment each receives. The experience of the paired testers, if unequal when compared, can provide evidence of possible discrimination.
     Specifically, the study found that Asian and Pacific Islander prospective renters experienced "consistent adverse treatment" relative to comparable whites in 21.5 percent of tests, about the same rate experienced by prospective African American and Hispanic renters.

Lawsuit charges Chrysler with redlining

February 03, 2003
A lawsuit filed Monday charges that DaimlerChrysler's financing subsidiary denied financing to creditworthy applicants in the Chicago area who were black on the basis of their race and where they lived.
     The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court on behalf of six Chicago-area residents but seeking class-action status, also charges that the financing subsidiary unlawfully repossessed vehicles from 70 black customers who did manage to get credit.
     The lawsuit charges that Auburn Hills, Mich.-based DaimlerChrysler and its subsidiary Chrysler Financial Co. knew about and tolerated redlining at its regional headquarters in Lisle.
     Redlining is the practice of denying credit or failing to provide services to people in certain areas based on the neighborhoods' ethnic makeup.

Integration in housing still a dream deferred

January 30, 2003
Public housing is supposed to be changing. Chicago's infamous projects, where many of the city's poor and black citizens have been warehoused since the 1960s, are being erased from both the skyline and memory. The new gospel in public housing is what used to be called Section 8 and now goes by the name Housing Choice Vouchers. Funded by the federal government but administered locally, these vouchers are meant to allow low-income residents to spread out into neighborhoods, integrated both racially and economically.
     But so far, in both Chicago and Evan-ston, this is just another dream deferred.
     That's why several public interest legal groups filed a class-action lawsuit against the Chicago Housing Authority last week, alleging the agency is perpetuating segregation by moving its tenants out of the Projects and into the old ghettos. The CHA evicted them, gave them vouchers and sent them off to the slums on the South and West sides. 

Study inspects discrimination in names

January 27, 2003
It's a game we've all played. When there's a name without a face, we try to fill in the blank. And in a society burdened by racial assumptions, we stereotype. Suzy? White. Clarence? Black.
     The exercise seems harmless. But the results of a study released last week signified more than a parlor game. Professors at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology sent out about 5,000 resumes in response to want ads.
     They found that resumes with "white-sounding" names elicited about 50 percent more callbacks than those with "black-sounding" names. And the quality of the credentials made no difference. 

Cohabitation law to be repealed in North Dakota 

January 14, 2003
The North Dakota House voted Tuesday to repeal a state law that bars unmarried couples from living together "openly and notoriously."
     The bill passed in the House with a vote of 60-32. Rep. Carol Niemier, D-Buxton, who described the bill in front of the House, said that more than 11,379 unmarried partners live together in North Dakota and that the anti-cohabitation law rarely was enforced. The last time such a case went to court was in 1938.
     The 2001 law allows a landlord to refuse to rent a place to "two unrelated individuals of opposite gender who are not married to each other." 

Woman who refused to wear pants gets paid

January 02, 2003
A woman who was fired for refusing to wear pants as part of her work uniform will be paid $30,000 by her employer, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Thursday.
      Carol Grotts, a Pentecostal, was hired by Brink's in Peoria as a uniformed messenger. She told the company that her religious beliefs precluded her from wearing pants, and she offered to buy culottes.
      Brink's fired her, then hired her back, allowing her to wear culottes, after she filed a religious discrimination complaint with the EEOC.


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