“Injustice Anywhere is a threat to Justice everywhere.” ~ Dr. King
This is an update from a Standing Rock volunteer. It’s not pleasant.
I have returned from Standing Rock with my mind blown, my heart broken and my spirit troubled with foreboding of a deepening tragedy. Volunteering as a legal observer with the Water Protector Legal Collective I witnessed several confrontations between Water Protectors (WP) and law enforcement: national guard, sheriffs and private security (LE).
All factual information from the Obama presidency is not lost! The President Obama White House website, including its Spanish language pages and its data catalog all remain publicly accessible at the ObamaWhiteHouse.gov website. Even the Obama White House social media feeds have been archived there.
Creation of this resource is another huge reason to thank President Obama: as of 23 January 2017, the incoming administration has already removed both climate change data and all Spanish language information. Pres. Obama’s team tells why he created the archive and what you’ll find there:
Trevor Noah speaks on The Breakfast Club about his autobiographical book on growing up knowing his birth – as a biracial child – was a crime in apartheid South Africa … a place where his mother had to dress as his nanny in order to be able to walk down the street with him.
Noah shares his questions and opinions on Donald Trump and speaks about his decision to invite Tomi Lahren to be his guest on The Daily Show. One reason for doing it was to have the chance to be heard by her audience, who otherwise would never learn anything about him.
Sung Yim wrote an essay to Columbia University after essays the Korean poet was asked to submit as a student representative of Columbia College Chicago’s Nonfiction writing department were twice rejected and the last essay, cut down to almost nothing to eliminate any controversial bits. The author writes about the author’s own work:
It’s important to keep in mind that my work has always been scathingly political. That is, I would think, part of why the writing faculty nominated my work. It’s also important to keep in mind that they were soliciting short work of a long-form artist. I was clipping and revising each piece I was submitting to them, which took hours of free labor.
Slate’s Executive Editor Josh Levin created a complex, in-depth multi-media story about the woman who was dubbed the “Welfare Queen” by Ronald Reagan. Mostly described by the media as a black woman, Linda Taylor was actually white and it seems she was also a kidnapper and murderer.
Ronald Reagan loved to tell stories. When he ran for president in 1976, many of Reagan’s anecdotes converged on a single point: The welfare state is broken, and I’m the man to fix it. On the trail, the Republican candidate told a tale about a fancy public housing complex with a gym and a swimming pool. There was also someone in California, he’d explain incredulously, who supported herself with food stamps while learning the art of witchcraft. And in stump speech after stump speech, Reagan regaled his supporters with the story of an Illinois woman whose feats of deception were too amazing to be believed.
Brian Fung of the Washington Post reports on a completely new phenomenon that came to life this week when Christina Xu started a letter online to explain to Asian elders why the #BlackLivesMatter movement has relevance and importance for the Asian community, called for community input and acquired hundreds of collaborators in the space of just a few hours.
In fact, let’s draft letters in our native languages to our parents and our communities. Get it passed around WhatsApp, WeChat, LINE, etc.
No man is an island entire of itself;
every man is a
piece of the continent,
a part of the main;
if a clod be washed
away by the sea, Europe is the less,
as well as if a promontory were,
as well as any manner of thy friends
or of thine own were;
any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send
to know for whom the bell tolls;
it tolls for thee.
– John Donne, Devotions upon Emergent Occasions Meditation XVII
This week saw the police murder father of five children Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana not long before school lunch supervisor and student mentor Philando Castile was murdered by a policeman near St. Paul, Minnesota.
New York Times writer Michael Eric Dyson offers a sizzling condemnation of white people for failing to hold brutal police accountable for killing people of color. Because ultimately, they don’t want to see that their greed for privilege has created and supports the social environment in which it is OK for this to happen. What a read:
Students who identify with Trump’s hate rhetoric are using it to justify bullying behaviour, persecution of certain students and threats … while immigrant and ethnic minority students across the country are voicing fear, expressing thoughts of suicide and having meltdowns in class.
This story should be unbelievable: a Chinese mom’s visit to a Queens Dunkin Donut this Monday past crazily took on a nightmarish quality. Before leaving the store, Peiyin Shih and her one year old son’s nanny had received abusive treatment from an employee and when Ms. Shih began filming his bizarre behaviour on her phone another customer approached her menacingly (that’s the guy shown with the crazy expression) and threatened to pull away her phone and throw it out the window.
Ms. Shih feared for the safety of her little family group and afterwards, wrote to Dunkin Donuts about the incident. I can’t find her post on the Dunkin Donuts Facebook page, so I guess it’s been removed but you can see that there is no suppressing this story. It’s well on its way to going viral with over 19K responses, 12341 shares and 3.9K comments already. Plus, the story has been picked up by the social stratosphere and news outlets in Taiwan, Hong Kong and the Asian-American press. Here’s an interview incorporating bits of Ms. Shih’s video.
Colette Pichon Battle returned to Louisiana to help the community members who had bought fish dinners cooked by her family members in order to pay the fees that helped her become an attorney … and stayed. Pichon Battle gave up her DC career to establish the non-profit Gulf Coast Center for Law and Policy, that helps with a variety of life and legal issues that confront people rebuilding their lives in the wake of Katrina and the burden of generations of endemic poverty and environmental justice challenges.
In Half the Sky, Nicholas Kristof and his wife and co-author Sheryl WuDunn told the stories of women oppressed by prostitution slavery – or just oppressive sentiment concerning women – in Asian and African countries. Now they are focusing on the disparities and injustice in American society that have been created by gender and wealth disparities and that favor people with certain racial or ethnic backgrounds, a project (and book) they call A Path Appears.
In a 2014 article, WaPo’s Emily Badger interviews Kristof on the topic of systemic racism: how it affects its victims and why it’s so difficult for white Americans to see that their advantages cause other people to be disadvantaged.
New Jersey Police Chief Benjamin Fox was suspended on 22 March 2016 for the statements made in a 2014 email to his staff which specifically – and in precise language – instructs Wyckoff officers to continue to “check out suspicious black people in white neighborhoods.”
But Fox claims that his statements aren’t racist and don’t promote racial profiling. Read the NJ.com article, let me know what you think.