It’s the holidays. It’s the buying season. You’re supposed to run out immediately and buy everything you can afford — and actually much more than you can afford — because you can dump everything on credit cards and not worry about paying it off until later. And later won’t suck — the stores promise! But of course truthfully it will. Later will suck. Later always sucks, for most people. But no matter — go quick and get the brand new model of the thing you didn’t like the first time around. Better yet, buy it for someone else because even though they might get as little use out of the gadget as you did, they won’t be able to tell you that — so they’ll just say “Thank you!” because it’s part of the social code.
As people around the country prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, and the manic day of discount shopping that follows, one network of activists has already been celebrating a different kind of Black Friday for the past two months. This initiative, connected by the Twitter hashtag #BlackFridays, has resulted in a number of symbolic walkouts across the country led by a network of women of color. Spurred into action by the Kavanaugh hearings, #BlackFridays began when a group of “womxn” – acknowledging the historic exclusion of gender expressions – signed a public letter urging people to wear black and disrupt “business as usual.” Their aim was to express rage and resistance against the “places that gave us the Kavanaughs, the Trumps and the CEOs who harm us.”
The British-based Legatum Institute, which ranks the United States 18th in overall “prosperity,” ranks it 28th in “personal freedom.”[i] The U.S.-based Cato Institute ranks the United States 24th in “personal freedom” and 11th in “economic freedom.”[ii] The Canadian-based World Freedom Index ranks the United States 27th in a combined consideration of “economic,” “political,” and “press” freedoms.[iii] The U.S.-government-funded Freedom House ranks the United States 16th in “civil liberties.”[iv] The French-based Reporters Without Borders ranks the United States 43rd in “press freedom.”[v] The U.S.-based Heritage Foundation ranks the United States 18th in “economic freedom.”[vi]The Spanish-based World Index of Moral Freedom ranks the United States 7th.
By Staff of Tele Sur - Oberlin City Council members met Monday following a public discussion with town residents and voted unanimously to replace the controversial holiday. The small Ohioan city of Oberlin has decided to no longer celebrate Columbus Day, replacing it instead with Indigenous Peoples Day, out of respect for its Indigenous population. City Council members met Monday following a public discussion with town residents and voted unanimously to remove the controversial holiday, which celebrates Christopher Columbus’ arrival to the Americas in 1492 and his subsequent colonization of the region. “Christopher Columbus was an agent of and continues to be a symbol of the genocide of the Indigenous peoples of the Americas,” said Elissa Washuta, who attended a demonstration Saturday together with around 100 protesters demanding the removal of the statue of Christopher Columbus, the Columbus Dispatch reported. Oberlin councilwoman Sharon Pearson defended the move, employing the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “It’s never too late to do the right thing,” she quoted, according to the Morning Journal. “And I think that it is time for us as a community to take the words of our indigenous people and do the right thing.”
By Ben Becker for Dominion of New York - What we now know as Memorial Day began as “Decoration Day” in the immediate aftermath of the U.S. Civil War. It was a tradition initiated by former slaves to celebrate emancipation and commemorate those who died for that cause. These days, Memorial Day is arranged as a day “without politics”—a general patriotic celebration of all soldiers and veterans, regardless of the nature of the wars in which they participated. This is the opposite of how the day emerged, with explicitly partisan motivations, to celebrate those who fought for justice and liberation.
By Frida Berrigan for Waging Nonviolence - I picked up a call from an unfamiliar local number. It was someone organizing to give toys to needy families. “We picked your family,” she said happily. I stumbled and stuttered over myself a little as I tried to be gracious while also clear: We do not need or want the beautifully wrapped, ready-made Christmas morning her group had envisioned for our kids. “Thank you so much for thinking of us, but we try to downplay the whole presents part of Christmas,” I managed. “But I know there are lots of people who would really appreciate your generosity.” The whole presents part of Christmas kind of seems like the biggest part of it, right?
The stories of homelessness told in this series are but a few of thousands unfolding every day in the Nation’s Capital. These photos depict people who told their personal struggles but there were many more who could not or would not tell their story. There are thousands more in the Nation’s Capital whose stories won’t be told. Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 9.33.55 PMThey are extraordinary people who went to school, learned skills, and held jobs. Some owned homes, others paid rent, some are fathers and mothers, others are children. They are the ones abandoned by our society. They have hopes and dreams, families and loves, needs and fears, and…they are a little bit like you and me: they are us.