—Hélène Barthélemy focuses on the criminal justice system, activism and culture.
“Gruesome Tales Surface of Israeli Massacres Against Families in Gaza Neighborhood,” by Max Blumenthal. AlterNet. August 17, 2014.
The coverage of Gaza in the past month has for the first time truly become humanized, ceding more place to Palestinian voices and to reporting. The tragedy of one family drowns out another, and given the intensity and depth of the current massacre, so many disastrous events fall off the map: Max Blumenthal's article is a very moving description of what is happening in Gaza before and after the missiles start falling. It gives a sense of Israel's targeting, of the destruction of the infrastructure as well as that of lives, of the sense of panic before and during attacks, and the loss after them - but also, movingly, of small acts of solidarity which tie people together.
—Summer Concepcion focuses on race, gender and criminal justice.
"Mental Health Cops Help Reweave Social Safety Net in San Antonio," by Jenny Gold. NPR. August 19, 2014.
The idea of "smart justice"—diverting individuals with mental illness into treatment rather than jail—is evident in San Antonio with its six-person mental health squad. Through answering emergency calls where mental illness may be an issue, the unit acts more like a group of social workers than law enforcers. As a result, the jails aren't overcrowded and the city and county have saved $50 million over the past five years. It seems like San Antonio figured out what should have been common sense all along: having the dignity to take the needs of individuals with mental illness seriously.
—Erin Corbett focuses on national security and reproductive rights.
“Why don’t we hear about women victims of state violence?,” by Verónica Bayetti Flores. Feministing. August 14, 2014
In this piece, Bayetti Flores asks a very important question. And as you may have guessed from the headline, she questions why we have heard very little about cases of police violence against women and LGBTQ individuals. She talks about how we use social media to communicate with one another, and she explains how we bring with us to these discussions our internalized racism, our anti-black bias, we bring misogyny, homophobia and transphobia. She talks of how we calculate innocence and worth and how those most at risk of state violence don’t make the cut. They are sex workers, they are black, they are Latina, they are trans women, they are immigrants, they are queer, “or, God forbid more than one of those at once.” So why are we not also outraged about the deaths, the beating, the sexual violence against these women? And why do more people not know who they are?
—Victoria Ford focuses on African-American identity, feminism/womanism and the arts.
"Activists Connect Shooting of Michael Brown to Movement for Reproductive Justice," by the Feminist Newswire. Feminist.org. August 13, 2014.
It is important, perhaps more than ever before, to consistently integrate our conversations about the plights of this nation in an intersectional framework. Very fortunately, many activists have done just that and are beginning to widen the way in which we talk about Ferguson, civil rights, and how the genocide of black and brown bodies in this country is a feminist issue. In this article, the Feminist Newswire frames the murder of 18-year-old Michael Brown in the window of another very specific civil rights issue: reproductive rights. This article also touches on the hashtag activist movement happening called #reprojustice, a term, Imani Gandy, senior legal analyst at RH Reality Check has used when discusses the important of this intersectional discussion: “Black women are raising children and fearing that their children are going to be gunned down in the street. That affects their ability to parent freely."
—Douglas Grant focuses on labor and income inequality, gender politics and American politics.
"Republicans Hate the New AP History Exam,” by Avi Asher-Schapiro. VICE. August 20, 2014.
With the release of a new standard for the Advanced Placement US history exam, which aims to look more critically at the country's founding, conservatives are training their fury on what they see as undermining civic pride and patriotism and displaying history through a "leftist" perspective.
This is hardly the first time conservatives have tried their mightiest to rewrite history – there was an epic fight in the Sixties over historian John Hope Franklin's history Land of the Free that was so vitriolic that one man said he'd rather be thrown in jail than let his daughter be in the same room as the book. One of its big offenses: favorite treatment to Martin Luther King, Jr. Paying attention to the foundational parts of our country's history that subjugated its black citizens – who weren't treated as humans, let alone afforded the benefits of citizenship – and noting the exploitation of immigrant labor is a bridge too far for these conservatives. Better not teach history than learn from it.
—Hannah Harris Green focuses on South Asian Culture and Politics, and Sexual Assault.
“The Tenuous Future of Climate Migrants,” by Manish Vaid and Tridivesh Singh Maini. Himmal. August 11, 2014.
At least for now, Bangladesh has more at stake than other countries in the global warming crisis. The swampy country could have one-fifth of its territory submerged in water due to climate change. But this issue doesn't only affect Bangladeshis—the governments of the countries where the displaced may migrate must also pay attention. In Himmal magazine, Manish Vaid and Tridivesh Singh Maini argue that the Indian government must change its policies to accommodate "climate refugees" from its neighbor.
—Alana de Hinojosa focuses on immigration, race and racism, Latin@ identity and feminism.
“The Wisdom of the Exile,” by Costica Bradatan. The New York Times. August 16, 2014.
Costica Bradatan does the brilliant and beautiful work in this New York Times opinion piece of exploring the richness of the unknown, the depth of being uprooted and the arguably necessary experience of exile. Such an experience, through its lightness of being, yields the ability to create a world anew, he says, but also the chance the totally redraw the lines of yourself. "As an exile you learn that the world is a story that can be told in many different ways," he writes. "Certainly you can find that in books, there is no deeper knowledge than the one that comes mixed with blood and tears, the knowledge that comes from uprooting." Could it really be, as Bradatan suggests, that exile (in all its forms) be necessary for both the philosopher and the common wo(man)?
—Agnes Radomski focuses on labor, mass incarceration, the war on drugs and the military industrial complex.
“St. Louis: A City Divided,” by Jeanette Cooperman. Al Jazeera America. August 18, 2014.
"In St. Louis, segregation— geographic, cultural and economic—is normal," writes Jeannette Cooperman for Al Jazeera America. The Ferguson protests have a history that needs to be considered in any debate or discussion involving the current unrest. St. Louis has been "chopped into bits, remaining socially and economically segregated long after racist laws were erased from the books." The Mississippi and Missouri rivers have been used as racial divides and artificial boundaries carve the metropolitan into ninety separate municipalities, many of which can't afford good schools or highly trained police forces. In addition to this, the control of black people's movement can be traced back to the 1700's and in 1916, St. Louis became the first city to pass a segregation ordinance by referendum. This fascinating piece delves into the history behind today's Ferguson and is a must read for anyone interested in truly understanding the plight of a deprived yet resilient community.
Read Next: What Nation interns are reading the week of 08/015/14.