By Ben Mattlin | When you’ve grown up in a world not quite made for you or are forced into one from an accident or illness, and when you feel you should be able to do what everybody else seems to do, when you feel as if you’ve been inexplicably singled out for punishment, it can be utterly, achingly soul sinking. Worse still, it’s hard to shake. “Internalized ableism” is believing the prejudicial assumptions and expectations thrust on you by society, believing you’re inferior, undesirable, burdensome, don’t fit in, and/or in need of repairing or healing or fixing or curing.
A Q&A with Nora Neus | This decision was a key component of the book from the very beginning, and the thing I thought could (and almost did) sink the whole project. Prevailing wisdom from experts in this space say that interviewing and quoting white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and members of other hate groups either (1) gives them a “platform” from which to spew their hateful ideology or (2) minimizes the threat they represent if treating them as just another actor in the story.
By Jane Strauss | One of the things that many parents seem to be unhappy about when their child is labeled “Autistic” is this: “But they will not have play dates.” Friendship, “socializing,” and human interaction are seen as central to our very humanity. Females often fly under the radar for being labeled on the autism spectrum because their social development is different from that of males, generally resulting in more social orientation, better imitation skills at a younger age, and earlier speech, of whatever kind, than their male counterparts.
By Christian Coleman | We took the crushing news pretty hard. The TV adaptation of Octavia E. Butler’s “Kindred” didn’t get a fair chance when it was cancelled nearly a month and half after all eight episodes were uploaded in December 2022 to stream on Hulu. With the blessing of Butler’s estate, playwright and showrunner Branden Jacobs-Jenkins made bold choices—some of which might make Butler purists gasp—to modernize and expand upon Butler’s classic while staying true to her message.
A Q&A with Sarah Rose Cavanagh | I was drawn into this topic for a few different reasons. First, I was watching the news and reading articles warning about a growing mental health crisis in our youth—and this was even before the beginning of the pandemic. As a college educator who studies psychology, and as the parent of a teenager, this news was of high concern to me, both personally and professionally. Second, I was observing these battles taking place in higher education, where one side argues that youth need more compassion, care, and flexibility, and the other side says that we’ve already given too much, and that young people need more challenge, exposure, and risk-taking.
By Christian Coleman | Ah, Florida! The hottest tourist getaway where you can refine your tan, stoke your adrenaline on Disney World rides, and soak up state-sanctioned prejudice and ignorance under the sun. Joining fellow civil rights groups League of United Latin American Citizens and Equality Florida, the NAACP issued a travel advisory for the Sunshine State to warn tourists about the laws and policies that are “openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color, and LGBTQ+ individuals.” If Stefon from SNL were in charge of promoting DeSantisLand—gawd forbid!—he’d say this hot spot has everything.
By Margaret Peacock and Erik L. Peterson | “No moral code or ethical principle, no piece of scripture or holy teaching, can be summoned to defend what we have allowed our country to become,” Matthew Desmond says in his transformative book, “Evicted.” Six million Americans are out of a job. Many are surely losing healthcare, unable to pay the rent, have children going hungry. But this situation has been happening to the poor in our major cities long before the pandemic.
A Q&A with Annelise Orleck | It felt right, and urgent, to return to the story of “Storming Caesars Palace” in these times, precisely because this political moment feels both so different and so similar to the time when the book was first published in 2005. Back then, our country was still living in the shadow of 9/11 and the militarist backlash that followed.
By Jonathan Rosenblum | More than 1 million US workers are employed at Amazon today—the majority at its vast network of more than 1,300 warehouses and logistics centers, with tens of thousands in tech centers around the country. That’s more workers than UPS and FedEx combined, more than the entire US auto manufacturing industry. Another 600,000 work internationally for the company.
By Ricky Tucker | This portion of my July 26, 2020, interview with preeminent trans advocate, model, and icon Gia Love was pure joy for me on a lazy Sunday afternoon. She is a joy to be around, and accordingly, in the aftermath of a summer stricken with the murders of Black, trans, and Black trans people (which we discussed), I wanted to ask her about how she finds and leans into joy during these cruel times as a thinking and socially engaged person sitting at the intersection of those identities. Luckily, the concept of trans joy is central to her ethos, pathos, and logos. She also cast a spotlight on some of the limits of the not-for-profit industrial complex when servicing Black women of trans experience. Enjoy.
By Esha Chhabra | Unable to put all the secondhand clothes to use, Patricia Ermecheo, [who has been in the business of recycling trash for the past decade], began thinking about how to break down this clothing and turn it into yarn, ready to be spun into a new garment. That could create more systemic change in the industry.
By Naomi McDougall Jones | For female directors fortunate enough to be working, they can expect the average production budget for their film to be smaller than those of their male peers. Film budgets shrink by 20 percent when a woman has the starring role due to untrue but enduring industry “common knowledge” that “no one wants to see films about women.” Since female directors are more likely to either choose or be given films with female leading characters, they disproportionately suffer from these smaller budgets that are assigned to such films.
By Gayatri Patnaik and Christian Coleman | In her compelling Boston Globe article “Celebrating Black History Month as Black History Is Being Erased,” Renée Graham writes that Black History Month this year has a specific purpose and burden, “and that burden is not for Black people to bear alone.” The challenge, Graham notes, “is to save this crucial American history from being eroded book by book, law by law, and state by state.” We couldn’t agree more.
By Sheryll Cashin | As a daughter of civil rights activists from Alabama who knew Dr. King personally, it is a great honor to address you today for a Sunrise Celebration of him! And it is a joy for me, as a writer, to address librarians. I want to begin by thanking you for your service, for what you do to bring books and truth for free to the masses!
It confirms what we’ve known for the past two years—and then some. The January 6 committee’s report shows that our former despotic Cheeto in chief incited a mob with false allegations of voter fraud to storm the US Capitol and overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Talk about moving the goal post of being the sorest loser. In the most violent way possible, too. Available to the public, the testimony and findings stacked against him are steep—over 800 pages worth.
By Samira K. Mehta | I have never worn a “Meat Is Murder” t-shirt to Thanksgiving dinner. Clearly, I have thought about doing it, and while I would like to be able to claim that I have not done so because it would be rude or because I have deep-seated reservations about Morrissey, really, I have not done so because I have never been quite enough of a Smiths’ fan to have ever made the jump from buying CDs to buying t-shirts.
All right. 2022 has been cute—in a We-Lumbered-Through-Yet-Another-Plague-Year kind of way—but now it’s giving shabby and dogged. That’s right. Time to sashay away and to do so with some grace and dignity. But before then, we need to give it up for our authors and staff who blessed Beacon Broadside with their words and insight.
By Edward McClelland | The heat wave begins on the Great Plains, in the Dust Bowl, that dead, dry land whose barren fields have transformed it into a furnace. The summer of 1936 is the hottest anyone can remember. After killing the meager yield of crops in the farm states, the dome of heat spreads north and east, smothering the Great Lakes. In the second week of July, every afternoon, workers preparing for second shift at the General Motors plants in Flint, Michigan, look out the kitchen windows of their company-built Cape Cods and slope-roofed bungalows, at the thermometers bolted to the walls.
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.