Tag Archives: #BlackLivesMatter

Thanksgiving 2019: Still Finding Hope

the first detailed photograph of a black hole

Laurie and Debbie say:

Hope can feel hard to come by in these times, is why we think it’s so important to name and celebrate people and things we’re thankful for:

The U.S. impeachment proceedings against Donald J. Trump are in full swing, and the evidence for the narrow case the Democrats are mounting is very hard to refute (which is why the Republicans are doing everything they can to distract from the case and raise red herrings). Polls vary, but it does seem clear that more Americans support impeachment and removal than oppose it. Many other cases and lawsuits against the current presidency are in various stages, including the three emoluments lawsuits, all of which have been granted standing and are moving forward.

In other U.S. national politics issues:

The 2020 census is proceeding without a citizenship question. The controversy around this frightened many Latinx and other immigrants and will have somewhat of a chilling effect on voting, but Latin voting rights organizations are doing terrific work countering that issue.

The practice of “deplatforming” right-wing voices is having a real effect. Both Milo Yiannopoulos and Alex Jones have more or less disappeared from the scene since they were removed from Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube in 2018. This year, after multiple mass-shooting “manifestos” were posted on the site, hate site 8chan was deplatformed and is still looking for a home.

In the realm of science, we have our first detailed photograph of a black hole (above), from the Event Horizon Telescope’s global network of radio dishes!

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved not one but two new drugs to treat sickle cell anemia, an extremely painful and often fatal condition largely found in people of African descent. (The rapper Prodigy died of sickle cell anemia in 2017.) These drugs are outrageously expensive; however, many drugs drop in price a year or two after approval, and some insurance companies will approve them now.

Like U.S. and U.K. politics, the global climate situation inspires a lot of hopelessness. So we’re thankful for Greta Thunberg and the Sunrise Movement, young people who care enough about the world they want to live in to mount an implacable assault on the powers-that-be. And knowing that the European Investment Bank is divesting quickly from fossil fuel investments helps too.

We’re thankful for Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, and the country’s Parliament, who knew how a state should react to a devastating mass shooting: change the laws quickly.

We appreciate the U.S. District Court ruling acquitting Scott Warren of “illegally harboring refugees” when in fact he was providing humanitarian aid to people in need.

One of the ways we survive in these times is through the work of investigative journalists — an imperiled profession. In that context, we want to name Julie K. Brown, who (mostly in 2018) dropped the hammer on Jeffrey Epstein, leading to his imprisonment.

Our home state of California has led the way in a number of important things to be thankful for:

  • The nation’s strongest law limiting police use of force: Officers may shoot only when lives are in immediate danger, not when they are “afraid for their lives.” The ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project is also doing great work in the area of police violence. And Laurie’s home city just elected Chesa Boudin, a superb progressive district attorney.
  • A law permitting (finally!) student athletes to make money from use of their names and images. This law, with similar ones passed by a few other states, has caused the NCAA to finally back down from it’s “we’re rich; you can’t make a dime” historic position, though details still have to be worked out.
  • Along with New York and several cities, a law protecting people whose hairstyles might otherwise be excuses to keep them from jobs and schooling. Of course, this has mostly been used against Black people, so this is an anti-racist trend.
  • A law making a roadmap for local public banks in the state. (Debbie was an organizer on this one.)

We want to mention our personal thanks for the work of Stacey Abrams, magnificent crusader for voting and human rights, and for the work of Ibram X. Kendi, a writer who is  reframing the conversation about racism. There are thousands more people whose work deserves thanks: this list from Bitch Magazine names 50 of them (only a couple of whom we named above). One person we found in the Bitch 50 list is Rebecca Alexander, whose AllGo app helps fat people find the places where the chairs and other furniture will work for them — a much-needed service.

We are grateful to every single person who is engaging in resistance here or in their own country: people doing the amazing work that needs to be done: all the thousands upon thousands of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quick Take: Momentous Anniversary

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Debbie says:

On this day, August 28, 1955, Emmett Till, a 14-year-old black teenager from Chicago, was kidnapped, tortured, and brutally murdered in Mississippi, for allegedly “flirting” with a white woman (who later denied the story).

His mother, Mamie Till, insisted on a open-casket funeral. Horrifying images of his drowned body were published, and were a major factor in galvanizing the Civil Rights movement.

His murderers were acquitted of any wrongdoing. They later confessed to the crime.

Laurie’s Memory Landscape photograph “Handkerchief” includes the last year he was alive, and invokes her memories of that time and of how little has changed.

On this day eight years later, a quarter of a million people gathered in Washington to demand change. Martin Luther King gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech that day.

Many of the gains of the civil rights movement have been dismantled. Black men and women face fear of white violence (both police violence and civilian racist violence) every day in America.  The struggle waxes and wanes.

Rest in power, Emmett Till. Rest in power, too many to name. Black lives still matter.