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Racial Justice

Home In Tacoma For All Coalition Seeks Greater Equity In Zoning Reforms

Home in Tacoma aims to overhaul Tacoma’s housing rules to allow greater flexibility in building practices. It will allow denser housing to be built to house our city’s ever growing population. The initial framework passed in December 2021 bringing Tacoma are one step closer to that goal. Though forward thinking, the plan also falls short of its potential. As I’ve pointed out in previous articles, the reach of the plan is not exactly equitable or far reaching. In short, poorer communities of color are being disproportionately rezoned in comparison to their wealthier, whiter counterparts. Communities of color will be transformed while privileged communities get to maintain the status quo. Segregation with some window dressing, if you will.

Anthropology Association Apologizes To Native Americans

In 1901 the soon to be first president of the American Anthropological Association wrote that “through observation of a typical [Native American] tribe,” it was clear that “the savage stands strikingly close to sub-human species in every aspect.” An outgrowth of the pseudoscientific theory of racial and cultural hierarchy, William McGee’s words in American Anthropologist, anthropology’s flagship academic journal, echoed racist 19th-century views that justified mistreatment of Indigenous communities and propped up arguments for eugenics. In the decades that followed, anthropologists continued to support racist agendas, appropriate cultural knowledge, and steal material objects and human remains belonging to Indigenous peoples throughout the Americas in the name of scientific research.

How Vanguard Funds Harm And Fuels Extractive Industry

Pennsylvania based asset manager, Vanguard, is the world’s second largest asset manager, with over $8 trillion in assets under management. Vanguard is referred to as a “universal owner,” with ownership stake in over 10,000 corporations. The financial institution dominates market environments and consequently has the ability to set industry norms. Asset managers have largely ignored calls for divestment from extractive industries. Asset managers, like Vanguard, have failed to include a robust racial and environmental justice orientation in their business practices. In turn, they flood extractive industries with capital. Industries like the carceral and fossil fuel industries use those investments to extract from low-income and BIPOC communities.

How To Repair The Planet

The idea of paying reparations for slavery and other forms of racial injustice remains deeply controversial. Yet it has gained renewed support in liberal publications, city councils and state legislatures, and even the House of Representatives, which recently held hearings on legislation to create a commission to study and develop proposals for reparations. These developments present both a challenge and an opportunity for the left, which has been divided between recognizing the clear case for compensating victims of centuries of exploitation and abuse and concern that reparations are politically untenable and potentially detrimental to building a broad-based movement for social and economic justice.

Judge Halts Sale Of Apartment Complex Where Black Graves Were Buried

Bethesda, MD - A community coalition has provided “overwhelming evidence” that a portion of a suburban Washington apartment complex was used as a burial ground for freed Black slaves and their descendants and “many bodies likely still remain on the property,” a Maryland judge ruled Monday in a case by the group to thwart the sale of the property. The Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission's pending $50 million sale of Westwood Tower in Bethesda to a local investment firm, Charger Ventures, drew intense public opposition over the summer and led to the lawsuit filed by the Bethesda African Cemetery Coalition. The group had furnished historical accounts indicating the gravesite — known as Moses Cemetery — was paved over with asphalt for a parking lot when the apartments went up in the late 1960s.

Black Community And Climate Justice

There is an easy correlation between the frequency and magnitude of climate-related disasters and the negative impact that has on human beings, especially on Black and Indigenous communities, who disproportionately due to accompanying social and economic-political disasters are usually at the forefront of these impacts due to many factors, including blatant political negligence. In 2008, I lived in Atlanta, Georgia, and was the Director of Operations and Programs at the US Human Rights Network, when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, we were one of the first organizations (not the only one) to make the connections between using a human rights framework and this specific climate disaster and the impact that it was and would have on the human beings that it touched.

How Parent Organizing Has Shifted Classrooms Toward Racial Justice

Over the past year, much of the nation’s education discussion has been where learning was taking place: on Zoom? In the classroom? Both? While COVID-19 exacerbated existing inequities around access, focus is now being drawn to what students are learning. Debate over curriculum isn’t new, but has been contested in varying degrees for decades. Before the right-wing-stoked controversy over so-called “Critical Race Theory” there was anger over Common Core standards, and before that No Child Left Behind. What is new is the incredible strides parent and community organizing has made in shifting the curriculum of the nation’s largest school district. Founded in 2006, the New York City Coalition for Educational Justice (CEJ) is a citywide collaborative of community-based organizations organizing the power of parents and community to create a more equitable education system.

Unions Take Up The Fight For Racial Justice

Labor organizations are taking up the fight for racial justice in many ways. They’re developing in-depth member education on racial capitalism. They’re using bargaining to address structural racism and developing new leadership.

Prosecutor Quits Trump’s Law Enforcement Commission

An elected prosecutor who took a role in Donald Trump’s presidential commission on law enforcement has resigned, telling Attorney General William Barr that he is concerned the commission was “intent on providing cover for a predetermined agenda that ignores the lessons of the past” and will issue a final report that “will only widen the divisions in our nation.” Trump formed the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice late last October, announcing its formation at the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s annual meeting.

All Civilian Lives Are Equal, But Some Are More Equal Than Others

Washington’s record speaks for itself. Seen from the Potomac’s shores, the value of a civilian life almost directly correlates with how the US Government of the moment feels about the regime that man, woman, or child momentarily lives under. Consider it the obscenity of the arbitrary. A few examples should suffice, but one could fill volumes with consistent exemplars. "Heroic" Libyan rebels – and proximate civilians – mattered once, and only once, President Barack Obama decided their bizarre but harmless-to-the-homeland dictator Colonel Gaddafi had to go. Yet, ten times as many Yemeni lives-extinguished (including at least 85,000 starved-to-death children) didn’t and don’t, because their killers are Washington’s oil-rich Saudi allies. In fact, a complicit US military even lent those theocratic state-terrorists a vital murder-logistics hand. See how the macabre game works?

Cancel All The Student Debt: It’s About Economic And Racial Justice

Only full cancellation completely protects the vulnerabilities of Black students and students in general, while at the same time establishing higher education as a universal right and offering restitution to all those who have had to rely on debt finance. You might feel desensitized to the swelling student-debt figures, but guess who’s not? Graduates—who are paying an average of $400 a month for approximately forever. There are two major proposals from Democratic presidential candidates on this problem. One gets rid of it all, canceling the whole student-debt balance nationally.

The Forgotten, Radical Martin Luther King Jr.

By Matt Berman for National Journal. Martin Luther King Jr. was not just the safe-for-all-political-stripes civil-rights activist he is often portrayed as today. He was never just the "I Have a Dream" speech. He was an antiwar, anti-materialist activist whose views on American power would shock many of the same politicians who now scramble to sing his praises. The total spectrum of his beliefs may not be as easy as "let freedom ring," but the full MLK was much larger than the safe-for-everyone caricature that is often presented today. King's more radical worldview came out clearly in a speech to an overflow crowd of more than 3,000 people at Riverside Church in New York City on April 4, 1967. "The recent statement of your executive committee are the sentiments of my own heart and I found myself in full accord when I read its opening lines: 'A time comes when silence is betrayal,' " he began.

Create Positive Traditions To Celebrate Our Values Of Justice And Peace

‘Tis the season…for leftist ambivalence toward commercialist and patriarchal holiday traditions. It’s no wonder that many leftists have mixed feelings about holiday festivities, given their link to oppressive institutions and crass cooptation by capitalism. Celebrating the virgin birth of a male deity who was to become king can be alienating for those who have anti-hierarchal, feminist values, and likewise many anti-Zionist internationalists struggle with ethno-nationalist expressions of the Passover holiday.

Racial Justice Must Be Central To Our Movements

By Sonali Kolhatkar for Truth Dig - If progressives are to learn one lesson about American politics in the period between last November’s election and the recent Charlottesville, Va., clashes, let it be this: To win social progress on many fronts at once, we have to address racism first and foremost. That’s because this nation was founded on the white domination of people of color, and especially African-Americans and Native Americans. Until we collectively face this fact and work for a redress of the impacts of persistent and relentless racism, we will continue to witness the emergence of white populist racists like Donald Trump and the resurgence of white supremacist and Nazi groups. Meanwhile, a minority of wealthy elites will continue to laugh all the way to the bank, smug over having avoided blame for capitalism’s built-in failings once again. There is no better symbolism of our failure to address the horrors of slavery and Jim Crow segregation than the current controversy over Confederate statues. Yohuru Williams, history professor and dean of the University of St. Thomas’ College of Arts and Science, explained to me in an interview that many Confederate statues were not erected before or during the Civil War but soon after, “by groups like the Daughters of the Confederacy, who were doing this to commemorate a lost cause—the idea that the South would rise again.”

Colin Kaepernick Is Being Blackballed By Billionaire NFL Owners

By Colin Jenkins for Truth Dig - Colin Kaepernick took a courageous and principled stand last season by kneeling during the national anthem before NFL games. This was done in response to a society that continues to systematically, culturally, and institutionally devalue black lives. This devaluation is played out in many areas, including politics, economics, housing, employment, and perhaps most notably, within the criminal punishment system. Black lives are routinely extinguished by police in the streets without recourse, in the courts without pause, and in the prisons without hesitation. Entire generations of black Americans have essentially been destroyed through the “school-to-prison pipeline” and a system of mass incarceration, for which author Michelle Alexander has properly deemed, The New Jim Crow. Kaepernick recognized this and felt compelled to bring attention to it. He openly protested the national anthem, donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to community agencies, and started a national youth camp program to teach children from marginalized communities about self-empowerment.
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