Recent Must Reads: A Weekly Roundup

I can recall weeks where, in general, there was often a lack of interesting and important stories. But it’s been at least a year. This week, I haven’t posted any articles on the discussion around Lady Gaga’s tummy. However, fat shamers trolled her all over social media. Fortunately, many feminists entered the conversation to point out that the shamers’ claims were nothing but more objectification of female bodies, and the focus should, as always, be on the message. Other posted links focus on racial economic inequality and the inhumane acts that “regular” people have conducted since the Ban on Muslims was implemented. Ladonna Bravebull Allard updates readers on the current situation at Standing Rock, and, in her Establishment essay, Ijeoma Oluo challenges white women to understand themselves rather than trying to comprehend women of color. Writers sound off on climate change in a Huffington Post article, and 37 writers describe their coping mechanisms since the Inauguration. Alaina Leary points out the necessity of including the Disability Community in any, and every, discussion regarding Health Care Activism. An Atlantic article compares Antebellum America to Middle eastern refugee camps, while Haneen Oriqat shares her first person perspective as a Muslim-American, in her article which was originally published in Angels Flight-Literary West.

During the week, I came across a piece published in (b)OINK. When she shared her article, Jennifer Fliss wondered if other writers were beginning to don an attitude of “Does this matter anymore?” Several writers agreed with Fliss’ post….struggling with what is important in the world of publishing, here in the age of Trump. Fliss’ article was beautifully written, sharing her story of childhood abuse. I was moved by the writing; it made me feel more connected. It was, for me, a perfect reminder of why all of our stories matter. It’s our personal experiences that connect us with each other. It is those experiences that will help us survive the restrictive nature of our current political climate. Storytelling, and sharing the truth, is a act of resistance and resilience. So, if you missed any of these articles, please Read On. Your comments are welcome.

  1. But really, it was the monster on the other side—the same side as me—that I needed to escape from but, that too, was unsuccessful.

“the things I wish for. the things I cannot have.”/ by Jennifer Fliss/ (b)OINK/ February 2017.

2. So many of my kids had tears in their eyes when I saw them that day. Several of them asked me in hushed tones if I thought that Trump would make their immigrant families leave America. An LGBTQ student asked if he would be forced to go to the conversion camp.

“How are We Surviving the Days? A Group Essay in 37 Parts”/ curated by Sonya Huber/ LADY/LIBERTY/LIT/ February 7, 2017.

3. We need to move away from colonization impulses and toward a radical intimacy with the planet and everything on it.

“We Asked Sci-Fi Writers About the Future of Climate Change”/Various Authors/ The Huffington Post/ February 6, 2017.

4. Your survival has never depended on your knowledge of white culture. In fact, it’s required your ignorance. The dominant culture does not have to see itself to survive because culture will shift to fit its needs.

“White People: I Don’t Want You to Understand Me Better, I Want You to Understand Yourselves”/ by Ijeoma Oluo/ The Establishment/ February 7, 2017.

5. But a new study from public policy nonprofit Demos says that “individual choices are not sufficient to erase a century of accumulated wealth: structural racism trumps personal responsibility.”

“STUDY: When it Comes to Racial Wealth Gap, Structural Racism Always Wins”/ by Kenrya Rankin/ COLORLINES/ February 7, 2017.

6. The men and women who reportedly handcuffed small children and the elderly, separated a child from his mother and held others without food for 20 hours, are undoubtedly “ordinary” people.

“Ordinary Americans Carried Out Inhumane Acts for Trump”/ by Chris Edelson/ The Baltimore Sun/ February 7, 2017.

7. We must rid ourselves of comforting myths. It is going to get worse.

“Our Part in the Darkness”/ by Rahib Alameddine/ The New Yorker/ February 5, 2017.

8. We must not sell our people’s blood, land, and water to uphold the dysfunction we live under now. We have no choice but to break the cycle of trauma so our future generations can have a better life.

“To Save the Water We Must Break the Cycle of Colonial Trauma”/by Ladonna Bravebull Allard/ February 4, 2017.

9. Disability is commonly left out of diversity panels, lists of diverse books or authors to read, or any discussion about marginalized communities, even though we are one of the largest minority groups worldwide.

“Why You Need to Start Including Disabled People in Your Health Care Activism”/ by Alaina Leary/ The Establishment/ February 7, 2017.

10. Hope and dread marched on all sides in antebellum America, as they do today in a Jordanian refugee camp, overcrowded boats leaving the Libyan coast, a detention center in Germany, in the border patrol cues at Heathrow Airport, or a customs line at JFK. As his band of potential runaways nervously plotted, “we were confident,” Douglass claimed, “bold and determined at times; and, again, doubting, timid and wavering; whistling like a boy in the graveyard, to keep away the spirits.”

“Frederick Douglass, Refugee”/ by David Blight/ The Atlantic/ February 7, 2017.

11. There’s talk of leaving the country. Jokes and serious conversations. For me, that’s not an option. I’m unapologetically Muslim American and proud. I’m not going anywhere. My family is Muslim-American. We’re not going anywhere. My Muslim-American community isn’t going anywhere. We are part of the fabric of this country, in all parts of life.

“Being Unapologetically Muslim-American and Proud”/ by Haneen Oriqat/ This is Worldtown/ February 6, 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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