Recent Must Reads: A Weekly Roundup

Another crazy week is behind us: from the chaos caused by Trump’s Immigration Ban to his comments on Frederick Douglass’ rising contributions. Lies abound, as Trump declines to join the Situation Room after giving his approval to the Yemen Raid. Arkansas has passed a law that allows family members to inhibit abortions. Religious and Gender Rights are on the verge of being rescinded. Everyday, a new catastrophe presents itself in the United States.

The articles I’ve chosen this week range from reportage to personal testimony. From one Muslim woman’s experience to a Disabled woman’s life saving self questioning behaviors. Rebecca Solnit declared a recent Washington Post article on climate change as, “the biggest and most horrific news today, this year, this decade.” At the same time, protesters in Berkeley prevented a White Supremacist from speaking at the University; many feminist publications are honoring Africans and African Americans for Black History Month; and there’s talk of Veterans returning to Standing Rock due to Trump’s reversal of Obama’s halt of the Dakota Pipeline.

More marches are being planned across many states and lawyers all over the country are assisting refugees and immigrants effected by Trump’s ban. A true hero stood up for the Constitution: Sally Yates defied the ban and was fired from her position as acting Attorney General. Not all of us are in a position to lose our jobs; however, heroic acts come in many forms. Resistance comes in many forms.

We have role models; we are surrounded by average people taking extraordinary actions every day. Many websites and articles, such as the one here from The Guardian, offer specific steps we can take to make a difference, to fight back. So, in case you missed it, READ ON!

  1. Of course, nonviolent resistance often evokes brutality by the government, especially as campaigns escalate their demands and use more disruptive techniques. But historical data shows that when campaigns are able to prepare, train, and remain resilient, they often succeed regardless of whether the government uses violence against them.

“It May Only Take 3.5% of the Population to Topple a Dictator—With Civil Resistance”/by Erica Chenoweth/ The Guardian/ February 1, 2017.

2. At the North Pole, the mercury has rocketed to near the melting point twice since November, and another huge flux of warmth is projected by models next week. Their simulations predict some places in the high Arctic will rise over 50 degrees above normal.

“ ‘Beyond the Extreme’: Scientists Marvel At ‘Increasingly Non-Natural’ Arctic Warmth”/ by Jason Samenow/ Washington Post/ February 1, 2017.

3. A woman’s spouse, parent, guardian, or physician is allowed to sue the abortion provider “for civil damages or injunctive relief that could stop the abortion.”

“New Arkansas Law Allows Family Members to Sue to Block a Woman’s Abortion”/ by Prachi Gupta/ Jezebel/ February 2, 2017.

4. The draft order seeks to create wholesale exemptions for people and organizations who claim religious or moral objections to same-sex marriage, premarital sex, abortion, and trans identity, and it seeks to curtail women’s access to contraception and abortion through the Affordable Care Act.

“Leaked Draft of Trump’s Religious Freedom Order Reveals Sweeping Plans to Legalize Discrimination”/ by Sarah Posner/ The Nation/ February 1, 2017.

5. The woman knows something of my disability, and offers some help, but not enough. She slings my computer bag over her shoulder and yanks my travel bag behind. Still, even with her burden, she walks too fast for me. There are no cabs for me to flag. I struggle on but stay silent, hoping as I have for decades that this won’t be the day I die.

“Am I Too Embarrassed to Save My Life?”/ by Jane Eaton Hamilton/ The New York Times/ February 1, 2017.

6. In November 2015, Trump said: “You’re going to have to watch and study the mosques.” Four days later, he was asked if Muslim Americans should be legally required to sign up to a database and replied: “I would certainly implement that. Absolutely … There should be a lot of systems beyond databases.” A month later, he called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States”.

“A Chronicle of Fear: Seven Days as a Muslim Immigrant in America”/ by Mona Chalabi/ The Guardian/ February 1, 2017.

7. Around 4 p.m., according to witnesses, police and National Guardsmen approached the protest camp on the pipeline route near the Missouri River, where activists had erected tepees. The police convoy included bulldozers, Mine Resistant Ambush Protected trucks, and Long Range Acoustic Device sound cannons, according to several eyewitnesses.

“Arrests and Anxiety at Standing Rock as Trump Pushes DAPL Ahead”/ by Wes Enzinna/ Mother Jones/ February 1, 2017.

8. The repeal of Prohibition in 1933 darkened many of the speakeasies, while a 1935 Harlem riot scared off many whites from traveling uptown when they could legally drink closer to home anyway. The Clam House was “just another cellar” by 1938. Around the same time, a crackdown on risqué acts “also wrecked the drawing power of Gladys Bentley of Harlem, who preferred to wear male clothes and sing off-color songs,” according to columnist Ralph Matthews in The Afro-American.

“Gladys Bentley Was The Gender Nonconforming, Lesbian Superstar Of The Harlem Renaissance”/ by Lynn Peril/ BUST/ February 1, 2017.


Joyce Hayden left her university teaching job two years ago in order to pursue her own artistic work. An assemblage artist, painter, and writer, Joyce is currently in the process of acquiring an agent to represent her memoir, The Out of Body Girl, which describes her 8 year relationship with a charismatic gambler and the dangerous road that eventually led to her freedom. Her chapbook of poems, Lost Handprint, is forthcoming from Dandelion Review. A freelance editor and writing coach, Joyce’s writing services and a selection of her artwork can be found at her website Joyce is available for commission art work, including celebration shrines for loved ones and pets.

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