‘Whose Streets?’ Tracks Inspirational Call For Social Justice

A scene from the new documentary "Whose Streets?" about the rise of social justice activism in Ferguson, Mo. (Magnolia Pictures)

By Jordan Riefe for Truth Dig – On Aug. 9 three years ago, unarmed teen Michael Brown was shot dead by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Mo. The killing took place under disputed circumstances, and Wilson was never charged for the shooting. In the days that followed, peaceful demonstrators were met by a military show of force that escalated into violence, mayhem and looting. “A riot is the language of the unheard” is Martin Luther King Jr.’s answer to those who ask why the disaffected don’t pursue justice through established channels. “Ain’t no Constitution in Ferguson,” says a protester in the gritty new documentary “Whose Streets?” as he ponders Barack Obama’s days as a constitutional law professor. “Tell that n—– he needs to teach a new class and bring his ass to Ferguson, Missouri, and tell us why there ain’t no Constitution.” While a wide majority of protests in the wake of Brown’s killing were peaceful, the media focused on looting and destruction of property. In the eyes of the public, the images shown on TV rationalized the militarization of police forces, newly fortified after the Department of Defense 2013 decision to provide surplus MRAPs (mine-resistant ambush protected military vehicles), bayonets, grenade launchers, assault rifles and other tactical weapons to local law enforcement.

Arizona Would Ban Discussion Of Social Justice Solidarity In Schools

Arizona already passed a law banning all ethnic studies classes in 2010, despite statewide protests. (Photo: Ross D. Franklin/AP)

By Nika Knight for Common Dreams. Arizona state representative Bob Thorpe, a Republican, has just proposed a bill that would ban any school courses or extracurricular activities that “promote” any kind of “social justice” or “solidarity” based on race, class, gender, politics, or religion. The legislation, House Bill 2120, also appears to connect classes on social justice and solidarity with “promotion of the overthrow of the United States government,” which it also explicitly outlaws. Tucson.com reports that “Thorpe said Thursday his bill is aimed specifically at things like a ‘privilege walk’ exercise (pdf) sponsored by the University of Arizona and a course entitled ‘Whiteness and Race Theory’ at Arizona State University.” The law is sweeping yet fails to define many of its tenets—for example, it allows the teaching of “accurate” history of an ethnic group, but doesn’t define who or what would determine what is accurate.

‘We Have To Shift The Table Of Power’

Abortion restrictions continue to pile up, and criminalization of pregnancy outcomes is escalating at the same time that the president-elect has nominated anti-choice and racist candidates to his cabinet while promising to overturn Roe v. Wade.	
 Lauryn Gutierrez / Rewire

By Lauren Rankin for Rewire – If we let the election extinguish our inner fire and vision of a just future, then that’s worse than anything we lost at the polls in terms of votes or anything coming down the pike in the next four years, said Jill Adams, chief strategist for the Self-Induced Abortion Legal Team. The results of the November election shook many reproductive health, rights, and justice advocates to their cores. We’re left with questions about what happened, and how to defend and expand our issues in the face of a likely regressive administration. Abortion restrictions continue to pile up, and criminalization of pregnancy outcomes is escalating…

America’s Heart Problem

Flickr/ Daniel Lobo

By Josh Hoxie for Inequality – The United States has a heart problem. We need justice-loving people to come forward and act as moral defibrillators for the nation. We need more people like North Carolina’s Rev. William Barber. Rev. Barber sees the social and political ills plaguing America — everything from moves to cut school funding and make voting more difficult to attacks on LGBT and immigrant rights and drives to slash taxes on the wealthy — as all part of a single national moral problem. His solution: a moral revolution.

Witnessing New Age Of Social Justice Movements—Including Labor

Now our movement has a slew of journalists who dig deep and follow campaigns and movements over the long haul. The result is not just that good campaigns get press attention, but that movements grow and expand as people read about them and get inspired to join or do something similar. (Michael Kappel/ Flickr)

By Shaun Richman for In These Times – Something is happening. Socialism is no longer a dirty word (the “S-word”), but something a sizeable portion of Americans tell pollsters is their preferred vision for society. It’s no longer an anachronism to speak of “the Left.” A brave and quickly organized movement for black lives has not only sparked a new civil rights movement but has gotten many of us to see the criminal justice system for what it is: the evolution of Jim Crow. Oh, and a hell of a lot more workers are striking than before.

Winning Our Movements Inside And Out

The best way to predict your future is creates Scottish independence protest 9-14

By Jardana Peacock for The Feminist Wire – Trauma is everywhere. It lives in between the lines of the articles we scan on Facebook, in our interactions with others, in our holistic health clinics, in our social justice organizations, and in our organizing work. It also lives in our bodies, psyches and spirits. Changemakers, in particular, are living with and working through two kinds of trauma simultaneously: primary and secondary trauma.

Social Justice For A Global Working Class

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By Wesley Bishop for LAWCHA – On June 10th students, activists, and scholars met at Purdue University for the 2016 annual Midwest Labor and Working Class History (MLWCH) conference. This year’s conference theme was “Social Justice for a Global Working Class,” and presenters were asked to tackle the question of how their research, and activism could contribute to a greater understanding of issues facing working class people around the world. Papers from the disciplines of sociology, political science, literature, labor activism, and history all dealt with this question in various ways.

Regenerative Economy Can Help Save Environment

Romolo Tavani/Shutterstock

By Iliana Salazar-Dodge for AlterNet – I am a Mexican immigrant and a senior at Columbia University who’s been organizing around fossil fuel divestment since freshman year. Two years ago, I had a bit of a crisis. I suddenly felt disillusioned with the movement—not with the tactic of divestment, but rather with the fact that national campaigns were solely focused on taking down the fossil fuel behemoth. Don’t get me wrong; it’s extremely satisfying to hear of another divestment win, to see the fossil fuel industry take a hit.

World Day For Social Justice 2016 – Time To Share The Wealth

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By Staff of STWR – Every year since 2009, the United Nations has highlighted February 20th as the World Day for Social Justice in a bid to underscore the glaring inequalities that increasingly characterise the world today – from growing levels of poverty and rising unemployment rates, to various forms of discrimination on the basis of class, race and gender. The pursuit of social justice has long been fundamental to the UN’s mandate to promote equitable development and human dignity for all, and the theme for this year’s social justice day is ‘A Just Transition…

Auschwitz, Hedy Epstein And Her Search For Justice

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By Pablo Vivanco for Tele Sur – After World War II, a teenage Hedy Epstein returned to Germany to search for her parents. At 90, she is still on the move, working for social justice in various parts of the globe. In the dying days of 1944, the Third Reich was crumbling under the weight of Allied attacks on all fronts. The Soviet Red Army was fast advancing against Japanese forces on its East, as well as on Nazi positions to its West. Sensing the impending defeats, Nazi Commander Heinrich Himmler first ordered the end to gassing, then in January of 1945, ordered the evacuation of all concentration camps into German territory.

Martin Luther King Jr. Had A Dream. We Can Make It Come True.

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By Steven Shafarman for Fusion – Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream and a plan. We hear about the dream every year on the holiday that honors his legacy, with replays of his 1963 speech: “that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed.” America “transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.” A nation where people “will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” The plan, though, is mostly ignored. King sought to promote justice, freedom, equality, and civil rights by abolishing poverty.

12 People Who Made A Difference

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By Ralph Nader. Can one person truly make a difference in the world? Far too many people think not, and thus they sell themselves far too short. A wave of pessimism leads capable people to underestimate the power of their voice and the strength of their ideals. The truth is this: it is the initiatives of deeply caring people that provide the firmament for our democracy. Take a sweeping look at history and you will discover that almost all movements that mattered started with just one or two people—from the fight to abolish slavery, to the creations of the environmental, trade union, consumer protection and civil rights movements. One voice becomes two, and then ten, and then thousands.

The Biggest Justice Movements Of 2015

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By Staff of RHRC – If we learned anything in 2015, it was that activists of all ages and backgrounds are up for the challenges that lie ahead. We at RH Reality Check are certain not a day went by this year without aRepublican presidential candidate oranti-choice public figure saying something awful about already marginalized groups, a person of color being killed or assaulted by the police, an anti-abortion bill being introduced that was more terrible than the last one (not an easy feat), or a woman being prosecuted for her pregnancy. You could say we’re seeing a half-empty glass. But what gives us hope are the dozens of justice movements happening nationwide to fight back against the anti-choice policies, state-sanctioned violence, wage violations, and so much more.

Activists Need To Realize Most Americans Actually Agree With Them

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By George Lakey for Waging Nonviolence – I admit to following the shenanigans of mainstream politicians, so much so that I sometimes slip into their assumptions even though I know I shouldn’t. One of their more seductive assumptions is that U.S. public attitudes over the years have moved to the right, an assumption I often hear echoed even among concerned people on the left. As a hobby I’ve been collecting public opinion poll numbers to try to stay centered. My sociological training taught me to be skeptical about opinion polls, but the consistent results of polls are actually better than who wins elections for learning what the public thinks about issues.

A Conversation Between An Elder And Youth On Activism

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By Steven Norris and Sydney Grange in Citizen Times – Steve: When we met a couple of years ago, you were obviously passionate aboutsocial justice and climate change. What in your upbringing brought you to this place? Sydney: The best memories from my childhood took place in nature. From exploring the redwoods, to collecting and observing roly-polys, to swimming in the Pacific Ocean — I have always been fascinated by nature. This connection I feel toward the natural world, combined with the loving nature of my parents, is where my passion for environmental and social justice became grounded. All life deserves respect and freedom from suffering. When something is working against this, it needs to be addressed.