Gabriel Arana is a senior editor at The American Prospect. His articles on gay rights, immigration, and media have appeared in publications including The Nation, Salon, The Advocate, and The Daily Beast. To contact him, visit his website.
Yesterday's major immigration-reform demonstration on the National Mall took a backseat to the 11th-hour wrangling over health care in the House of Representatives – and the histrionics of the much smaller Tea Party crowd yelling racial and homophobic slurs at members of Congress. That seemed to underscore the very reason the pro-immigration crowd is so frustrated: Despite having promised to make immigration reform a "top priority" in his first year, Obama's efforts have been concentrated on health care. But the demonstrators drew a line in the sand.
Most of the final negotiations over health care have turned on the abortion language, but last week members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus joined the fray, threatening to vote "no" on the Senate version because it prohibits undocumented immigrants from participating in insurance exchanges. In a recent appearance on On the Record, Illinois Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez pledged to vote down the bill, saying it prevented undocumented immigrants from abiding by the requirement that everyone have health insurance.
Citing declining enrollment and money issues, the Kansas City School Board plans to close 29 of its 61 schools. Kansas City's educational system has long been in decline, due to the hollowing out of the the city's urban core and the resulting re-segregation of area schools. Many scholars have cited Kansas City as a prime example of post-WWII white flight to the suburbs. Some blameBrown v. Board of Education for helping to spur it.
This morning, Angelisa Young and Sinjoyla Townsend were the first couple to legally get married in the nation's capital. At 1 p.m. the pair was still giving interviews to the press outside the Human Rights Campaign building, fielding questions about who made Angelisa's dress (a friend who works at Howard University) and how they intended to celebrate (sleep). What struck me about them was how ordinarily they portrayed their lives -- and how meaningful it was to have their 12-year-long relationship "official." In a sense, that's been the goal of the gay-rights movement all along: to live ordinary lives with the implicit support of our communities behind us.