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 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.
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 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.
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.
A Q&A with Eboo Patel | Always remember: the goal is not a more ferocious revolution; the goal is a more beautiful social order. Those of us in advocacy have signed up to be the architects of a better society, not just tell other people what they are doing wrong. We need to defeat the things we do not love by building the things we do. What does a better school look like? What does a working grocery store in a food desert look like?
By María de los Angeles Torres | After a contentious campaign that ignited strong debate specially among Pedro Pans—Cuban children who came to the US unaccompanied in the early sixties—Governor DeSantis of Florida is poised to sign a new law effectively banning shelter for recent unaccompanied immigrant minors in the state fleeing violence in their homeland.
A Q&A with Margaret Peacock and Erik L. Peterson | Erik started collecting sources from China, including social media posts, in January 2020. Margaret had her own set of documents about how the US government was shaping the narrative surrounding the spread of the disease. And we had all this sitting on our computers. Between the two of us, we were worried (1) that we would lose sources, (2) that we would overlap what we were collecting and make each other’s work redundant, and (3) that we would be too siloed in what sources we located.
A Q&A with Jonathan Rosenblum | That’s a really good question, Matt. To the examples you gave, I would also add the fight to eliminate student debt. The Joe Biden administration is resuming mandatory debt payments for millions of workers in this country, which is going to be economically devastating. The Biden administration has also ended the eviction moratorium protecting people from eviction, millions and millions of working class people are now in jeopardy of losing their homes.
A Q&A with Margaret Peacock and Erik L. Peterson | Early in 2020, we realized we were each in the process of collecting sources from the unfolding pandemic. Erik began focusing on the unfolding epidemiology of the pandemic when it was still limited to East Asia, while Margaret was paying close attention to the ways the pandemic was playing out in global media. We realized that we could produce something exceptional if we each brought our areas of expertise to the table to write a book that attempted to cross many facets of the pandemic experience.
A Q&A with Jonathan Rosenblum | I’m really excited to be in this discussion with Canadian comrades about what’s going on here in the States and the prospects for organizing in the period ahead. I actually started out many decades ago as a rank-and-file union member in the newspaper industry, as a member of the International Typographical Union, which now I think is part of the Teamsters.
By Jonathan Rosenblum | It’s time for an all-labor national day of action to defend Starbucks workers. The Starbucks baristas, REI retail workers, Amazon warehouse workers, striking Warrior Met mineworkers and concrete truck drivers, along with other workers bravely organizing and fighting back, are at the forefront of resisting unbridled corporate greed in this new Gilded Age. But they won’t succeed if the fights are limited by region or industry.
By Leigh Patel | On January 24, the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear two cases that have upheld the use of affirmative action in college admissions. The cases, one filed against Harvard University and one against the University of North Carolina (UNC), have been organized financially and in media by Edward Blum, a legal strategist who has worked for years to lodge attacks against affirmative action. Although not a lawyer, Blum uses strategy of media and message and is also the president of Students for Fair Admissions, the organization that filed both lawsuits that will all be heard in the highest court in this land. What is affirmative action and what is at stake?
By Jonathan Rosenblum | Once again, Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant and her Socialist Alternative organization have beaten the political odds. Last month, she defeated a million-dollar recall campaign by real estate developers and landlords, Democratic Party leaders, big Trump donors, and newspaper editorialists, who all teamed up to evict the eight-year councilor from City Hall.
By Sheryll Cashin | Good afternoon. As a law professor, author, and former White House staffer in the Clinton Administration, I have spent nearly three decades grappling with the issue of US residential segregation—its origins, persistence, and calamitous effects in producing racial and economic inequality. My most recent book, “White Space, Black Hood: Opportunity Hoarding and Segregation in the Age of Inequality,” reflects these decades of examination and analysis. It argues that we have a system of residential caste, in which government over-invests and excludes in affluent white spaces, and disinvests, contains, and preys on people in high poverty Black neighborhoods.
By Christian Coleman | Break out the confetti and the champagne! We’re having a double celebration for civil rights activist Desmond Meade! First, he has been named a 2021 MacArthur Fellow! Secondly, it’s the first-year anniversary of his book, “Let My People Vote: My Battle to Restore the Rights of Returning Citizens.” The MacArthur Foundation selected him to join this year’s class of Fellows because of his work to restore voting rights to 1.4 million formerly incarcerated citizens in Florida and to remove barriers to their full participation in civic life.
By Sumbul Ali-Karamali | In this age of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion movements, twenty years after the tragedy of 9/11, why is it still acceptable to denigrate Muslims and what they believe without any knowledge of what they believe? Why are Muslims judged on the basis of stereotypes and not on facts? And why are we as Americans so reflexively quick to believe the worst of Muslims, given half an opportunity to do so?
By Joan Murray | Last week, I got a call from a stranger. She was an elder at a church planning a remembrance ceremony for the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and asked if I’d read a poem. It was a poem I wrote on an Amtrak train four days after the attacks, and when I read it on NPR four days later, it became something of an anthem. Thousands of people from all over the world wanted copies: A factory owner in the Midwest wanted to read it to his workers; a Maryland police sergeant wanted to read it to her officers before they went on duty; a Canadian physician wanted to read it at a conference. People said they needed the poem.