By Ruth Behar | When I called myself a vulnerable observer twenty-five years ago, most other scholars looked at me askance. The word “vulnerable” wasn’t on everyone’s lips then, so it always took a moment for colleagues to realize that it could be used in a positive way as something to be embraced rather than avoided at all costs. But since the 1990s, the word “vulnerable” has gone through a boom in the English language. We hear the word daily, referring to people, the environment, the planet.
By Meghan Privitello and Abbey Clements | When a child hears gunshots, she will say Mom is beating the pots and pans. She will say It sounds like home. Let’s keep it this way; our children misinterpreting the sound of dying as a crude percussion.
By Alicia Kennedy | The day after category 1 Hurricane Fiona had left the entire archipelago of Puerto Rico with no power, caused destructive flooding, and generally unleashed catastrophe in most places, tourists were back to normal in Old San Juan. My husband and I biked throughout the metro area to take stock of the damage and hear just how many generators were running—the hum and smell of burning diesel were constant—and when we returned, we saw the photo shoots continuing as planned: Women in their best dresses with full faces of makeup, flip-flops on their feet and Instagram-ready heels in hand; men attempting to keep up, carrying heavy cameras or maybe just a selfie stick. Bars were full because what else were we going to do? But you could tell who wasn’t local: They’d showered, their hotels being outfitted with cisterns for occasions such as this. The rest of us had no water. We couldn’t find a reason to put on our nicest clothes, but we could certainly find a reason to have a drink.
By Bev Rivero | To everyone’s delight, beloved ABC comedy, “Abbott Elementary,” has returned for its second season! The award-winning show has earned fans across every demographic and pulls off being sweet while still being grounded in the reality faced by staff and parents navigating the public school system.
Talk about an affront to human life. In a bait-and-switch tactic to push the Right’s anti-immigrant message, FL Governor Ron DeSantis paid to send 50 migrants like cattle on an airplane from San Antonio, TX, to Martha’s Vineyard, MA. The migrants were told they’d land in Boston, where they could get expedited work papers. On top of that, hundreds of thousands of people across Puerto Rico are waiting for water and power to be restored after Hurricane Fiona knocked out power lines and collapsed infrastructure with massive flooding. A rough way for Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month to start.
By Alan Levinovitz | As long as national parks have existed, people conceived of them in religious terms. In his book “Discovery of the Yosemite,” the nineteenth-century explorer Lafayette Bunnell described the valley as hallowed ground. Yosemite wasn’t just beautiful, it was holy, “the very innermost sanctuary of all that is Divine in material creation,” a place where visitors could “commune with Nature’s God.” When his companions failed to behave respectfully, Bunnell reacted as one would in church.
By Ricky Tucker | On July 29, 2022, our lordt and save-her, Beyoncé, released “Renaissance,” her long-awaited seventh studio album that, coming off its lead single, “Break My Soul,” promised to be redemptive to all of us who, in the past few years, have felt cast aside, if not full-on antagonized, by the powers that be, including that relentless microscopic militia known as COVID. That jerk . . . Anyhow, Beyoncé delivered. Us.
By Jonathan Rosenblum | Surrounded by the vistas of western Montana, the generals of the war against Starbucks baristas will gather on August 3 at a swanky Rocky Mountain resort for three days of discussing labor-management relations. Big Sky Resort is hosting the confab, and when attendees aren’t meeting, they can avail themselves of golf, guided trout fishing, luxurious dining, and spa treatments before retiring to their $600-a-night hotel suites.
By Jon Hale | News of the projected 30,000-student enrollment drop in New York reveals, yet again, that public schools are suffering from long-term effects of the pandemic. Beyond this, however, insidious politics are at play. Dramatic student disenrollment also illustrates that privatization efforts through charters and homeschooling have benefitted from the pandemic.
Nobody wanted long COVID on our collective pandemic Bingo card, but there it is. In her “The Daily Show” interview, OG disability rights badass Judy Heumann told Trevor Noah that the likelihood of his acquiring a disability, temporary or permanent, was statistically high. He took her statement as a threat in jest, but there’s truth in that for us.
This is not the time warp we want to do again. Or ever. The conservative-majority SCOTUS wants to take us on a detour back in time when folks who aren’t straight white cis men didn’t have rights. A time when we thought of the planet as nothing more than an ashtray. A time when . . . you get the idea. Overturning Roe v Wade was the lowest of blows. Gutting the Clean Air Act stripped power from the EPA to curb greenhouse gas emissions. What’s next?
By Solomon Jones | The first time I heard Geneva Reed-Veal speak of her late daughter, she did so with the passion of a preacher. Her voice rose and fell with righteous indignation and when she paused, I was anxious to hear more. Sandra Bland’s mother is a force to be reckoned with, and when I interviewed her for my radio program in 2016, she told me that her daughter was too. Sandra had shown as much while asserting her rights during her traffic stop arrest, and even through the pain of recalling what it was like to see that, Geneva made room for pride.
By James Baldwin | The American idea of sexuality appears to be rooted in the American idea of masculinity. Idea may not be the precise word, for the idea of one’s sexuality can only with great violence be divorced or distanced from the idea of the self. Yet something resembling this rupture has certainly occurred (and is occurring) in American life, and violence has been the American daily bread since we have heard of America. This violence, furthermore, is not merely literal and actual but appears to be admired and lusted after, and the key to the American imagination.
With Ricky Tucker | As a writer who narrows in on very specific LGBTQ artists, collectives, media, embodied experiences, and sensibilities, I’m not the broadest or most Olympic-level reader. I read selectively, slowly, and with intent. And I absorb media like everything bears repeating.
By Eboo Patel | Do you remember the first demonstration that your mother and I took you to? It was the fifty-year commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s march through the South Side neighborhood of Marquette Park. Do you know what King endured that day? Five thousand people lined the streets of the neighborhood to scream racist slurs and throw bottles and bricks at King and a few hundred peaceful marchers.
It’s raining men, and not the ones The Weather Girls sang about. They’re raining on Pride parades with violent intent. A U-Haul truckful of members from the white supremacist group, Patriot Front, was arrested before they could disrupt a Pride event in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Proud Boys stormed a Drag Queen story hour at a library in San Lorenzo, CA. Baptist ministers in Idaho and Texas went viral for calling on the government to execute gay people. Cancel all the hallelujahs for them.
By Christian Coleman | Take a breath. The end of May and the start of June have been brutal. Ten Black citizens died in the white supremacist mass shooting in Buffalo, New York. Nineteen children and two teachers died in the Uvalde, Texas, elementary mass shooting. And despite the pandemic that has become a smoldering backdrop, the shootings have not stopped. We are already up to 233 this year. It’s . . . a lot. So much grief.
By Philip C. Winslow | Shortly after a teenage gunman murdered seventeen people and wounded seventeen others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in 2018, I thought back over some American history and my own familiarity with guns, and wrote here on Beacon Broadside that “In 1970, historian Richard Hofstadter popularized the term ‘gun culture’ in writing about how Americans’ resolute possession of firearms dated back to colonial days, when farmer-settlers lived on a wild frontier . . .
Our gun violence nightmare strikes again. We’re mourning the nineteen students and two teachers who died yesterday in the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Sixteen others were wounded. To honor their memory, we’re sharing these poems from “Bullets into Bells,” a powerful call to end American gun violence from celebrated poets and those most impacted.
It’s flying graduation caps season! We’re not post-pandemic, but graduates are embarking on a world stage that looks different from what it was two or three years ago. Some of those differences are alarming.