"We see the good in everyone, and we believe in offering jobs to felons who have shown a commitment to turning their lives around. Our goal is to serve as an example to other employers that being a convicted felon should not be a deterrent to finding gainful employment. Our success with this practice shows that there is a largely untapped pool of loyal and hardworking people who simply have made bad decisions in their past. Currently about one-third of our workforce are felons. "
Social Justice Warriors and the New Culture War, by Laurie Penny and her in-your-face feminism. [more inside]
Privilege and oppression explained through math - specifically, matrices and Venn diagrams.
"Ruin Jam is a game jam celebrating the nonexistent demise of video games, inspired by a lot of current events and a certain blog post. It's open to anyone and everyone who has been, is being, or plans to be accused of ruining the games industry. All Ruiners are welcome to contribute to the death of video games, provided that they adhere to the spirit of the jam." [more inside]
I have been struggling with how to do the work many of us call “Social Justice”. I understand the why - at least I believe I do. I am on a journey to understand my role in changing the world, which is no doubt a privilege. It has taken some time to get over the fear of doing the work correctly and instead operate from the heart - continuously challenging my perspective. As I began to engage this work in a healthier manner, I noticed patterns of bad habits that educators exhibit while being change agents. These habits, in the name of justice and equity, get in the way of making authentic, strategic, and sustaining change. Below are ten counterproductive behaviors of Social Justice educators, all explored from the unique intersections of my privileged and oppressed lens.
The Sad State of America’s Aging Sisters: Why are there so few nuns today?
You may wonder whether the global church the sisters belong to is interested in keeping the convents open. It sure seems like it isn't. By 2005, the Catholic Church had spent $1 billion on legal fees and settlements stemming from priests sexually abusing children. Yet church leaders have allocated no funds to take care of elderly sisters, and while priests’ retirement funds are covered by the church, the sisters have no such safety net. When their orders run out of money, that’s it.[more inside]
“Why would you want to be a nun if the archdiocese is going to treat you like they do?” Ann Frey at the Wartburg said. “Their whole lives they’ve been obedient and done what they were asked to do, and now nobody is helping them?”
A federal judge declared California's death penalty unconstitutional Wednesday, saying delays of 25 years or more in deciding appeals and carrying out occasional executions have created an arbitrary and irrational system that serves no legitimate purpose. Executions in California have already been on hold since 2006, due to problems with the procedures associated with lethal injection. If the ruling is upheld, California will join 18 other states (plus D.C.) that have abolished capital punishment. (Read the court's opinion here.)
As the twittersphere ridicules a White Man March in NYC, perhaps now is the time to watch Aamer Rahman, one half of the comedy tour Fear of a Brown Planet (with Nazeem Hussain), on the topic of Reverse Racism.
On what seems to be just another ordinary day, a man is exposed to sexism and sexual violence in a society ruled by women. [SLYT; NSFW; Nudity; Sexual violence]
10 Examples of Asian American and Pacific Islander's Rich History of Resistance counters the notion that "there is a prevailing notion out there that, in contrast to other minorities, Asian Americans “lack a history of resistance” (or that we think we do), and that this invisibility and dearth of civil rights history actually confers upon the Asian American community a form of racial privilege."
Inspired by her father's struggle against fundamentalism in Algeria in the 1990s, Karima Bennoune interviewed hundreds of people of Muslim heritage from dozens of countries who also work for social reform. She hopes their stories will counterbalance oversimplified narratives about majority Muslim nations. Bennoune's website provides an excerpt from the book, and she is interviewed on Open Democracy (transcript).
The Trans 100 is a list curated by We Happy Trans based on nominations of 100 key trans people breaking ground in American culture, arts, social justice, and politics. [more inside]
On Monday, the British Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, made a rather rash claim on BBC Radio 4. Hijinks ensue. 'Duncan Smith came under pressure after he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Monday that he could live on £53 ($81/week) after he was asked about a market trader, David Bennett, who claimed that he had to live on that amount after his housing benefit was cut. "If I had to, I would," Duncan Smith replied." ' from The Guardian. Since then a petition has started challenging him to try it. Petition has gathered 440,133 signatures in 5 days. Original report. There is a secondary petition going: this one is guaranteed to be debated in Parliament if it gets 100,000 signatures. [more inside]
Ariel Meadow Stallings (creator of Offbeat Mama and Offbeat Bride) on liberal bullying: "...what's the biggest challenge we deal with every day? The challenge that has my editors second-guessing every post and quaking in fear, just waiting for the awfulness to begin? It's attacks from our fellow progressives... Increasingly, I've started recognizing this kind of behavior for what it is: privilege-checking as a form of internet sport. It's a kind of trolling, with all the politics I agree with, but motivations and execution that turns my stomach. It's well-intended (SO well-intended), but when the motivations seem to be less about opening dialogue about the issues, and more about performance, righteousness, and intolerance for those who don't agree with you… well, I'm not on-board." [more inside]
Our planet is inhabited by two distinct kinds of intelligent beings — individual humans and corporate entities — whose natures and interests are intimately linked. To co-exist well, we need to ﬁnd ways to deﬁne the rights and responsibilities of both individual humans and corporate entities, and to ﬁnd ways to ensure that corporate entities behave as responsible members of society. (SLAX)(pdf warning)
Divided We Stand: Why Inequality Keeps Rising is the latest report from the OECD Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs. It finds:
In the three decades prior to the recent economic downturn, wage gaps widened and household income inequality increased in a large majority of OECD countries. [...]Launching the report in Paris, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said “The social contract is starting to unravel in many countries. This study dispels the assumptions that the benefits of economic growth will automatically trickle down to the disadvantaged and that greater inequality fosters greater social mobility. Without a comprehensive strategy for inclusive growth, inequality will continue to rise.”Links to Overview [.pdf]; press release; notes [.pdf format] for Australia, Canada, the UK, the USA; data link (excel format).
Just your classic corporation-meets-social-good, corporation-funds-social-good, corporation-dumps-social-good story. Cable giant Comcast meets ReelGrrls, a Seattle-based nonprofit dedicated to supporting young women in becoming filmmakers. Comcast funds ReelGrrls. Comcast buys NBC, giving their cable network (presumably cheaper) access to NBC's vast back catalog of content. FCC approves the union. FCC head Meredith Attwell Baker leaves and becomes head of Comcast. ReelGrrls tweets about her career move. Comcast yanks funding for ReelGrrls. ReelGrrls says, "OMG, you broke up with me over a tweet?" (SLYT) [more inside]
What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love. -MLK (SLYT)
What Food Says About Class "As more of us indulge our passion for local, organic delicacies, a growing number of Americans don’t have enough nutritious food to eat."
The United States Social Forum (USSF) is being held in Detroit, MI, starting tomorrow, June 22nd-26th. Organizers are expecting as many as 20,000 people to attend. Could this meeting make Detroit a model for growth that can be propagated elsewhere?
It's been estimated that the average UK adult is now registered on more than 700 databases and is caught many times each day by nearly five million CCTV cameras. So how hard would it be for an average citizen to disappear completely? That’s the subject of a new documentary film: Erasing David, (Trailer: YouTube, Vimeo) which premieres this evening in the UK on More4. It's also now available worldwide online at the iTunes store and through several Video On Demand services, as well as through Good Screenings. [more inside]
It is not our role to take power. It is our role to make the powerful frightened of us. And that's what we've forgotten. Give up that dream! Chris Hedges talks neoliberalism and neofeudalism, the civil rights movement, Camden, Obama, Clinton, Tea Parties, moral nihilism, inverted totalitarianism and corpocracy, NAFTA, welfare reform, health care, labor, poverty, Yugoslavia, post-industrial capitalism, economic crisis, imperial collapse, socialism, and democracy, among other things. [more inside]
December 4th, 2009 marked the fortieth anniversary of the assassination of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton. [more inside]
Just ahead of a re-election referendum in Venezuela (scheduled for February 15), The Chávez Administration at 10 Years: The Economy and Social Indicators [PDF][Via]
Newcomers, with the zeal of recent converts, are often the most vocal in resisting change to the neighborhood they have just discovered. An exploration of NIMBYism. If not in your backyard, then whose? Probably a low-income minority group. Opposition to affordable housing is often thinly-veiled racism. How NIMBYism affects a seven-year old boy on LA's skid row. [more inside]
Osocio is a blog that covers some of the best social marketing and non-profit advertising worldwide - whether it be through a careers fair, a "beauty" ad, or even through sex education.
Satya Magazine's final issue is online. They're closing down after 13 years. Some articles from their back issues are also online.
axisofjustice.org No need to comment... Just wanted to share.
"Look at her, brothers and sisters! She's young and sweet and pretty! But never forget...she's Whitey!" The (Abridged) Adventures of Black Lois Lane.
From MIT's Media Lab: "The Corporate Fallout Detector reads barcodes off of consumer products, and makes a noise similar to a gieger counter of varying intensity based on the social or environmental record of the company that produces the product"
Cesar Chavez Day With our focus on the war lets not forget what DOES make this country great, its people! I have to confess ignorance of this mans accomplishments until I turned my calendar today. Read,enjoy, learn something about a man who fought injustice with the most powerful weapon...his mind!
Dancing with Systems: What to do when systems resist change. Is an excerpt from the late Systems Theorist and Enviromentalist Donella Meadow's unfinished last book. There is beautiful information here. If you are confused and wondering about some of the ideas that has infused the world-wide peace, enviromental, social justice and anti-globalization movements (That is of course Globalization as defined by the Washington Consensus policies) you would be very hard pressed to find a better place to start. Here are points in the essay. Listen to the wisdom of the system. Expose your mental models to the open air. Stay humble. Stay a learner. Honor and protect information. Locate responsibility in the system. Make feedback policies for feedback systems. Pay attention to what is important, not just what is quantifiable. Go for the good of the whole. Expand time horizons. Expand thought horizons. Expand the boundary of caring. Celebrate complexity. Hold fast to the goal of goodness.
The American Friends Service Committee is a quaker-based, multi-faith national group advocating for peace & social justice on a variety of fronts. They have a sample letter urging peaceful government responses to terrorism which you can send or email to your representatives and Sheriff W. Better yet, use their email contact system and write your own letter.