Recent Must Reads: A Weekly Roundup

I remember napalm and helicopters over dense jungles on tv. I remember flag covered coffins, every night, lowered out of cargo planes. I remember machine guns and the blast of grenades, of fires and bunkers. I remember names of places I’d never heard before: Cambodia, Saigon, Laos. I remember a beautiful woman weeping. Her young son, John Jr, and getting in trouble for giggling at all his cute freckles. I remember moon orbits and the moon landing, my older brother visibly upset watching a Kennedy brother flat on his back in a pool of blood. I remember Dorothy, long after Toto, all grown up and dead. I remember NOW and Shirley Chisolm. I remember Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and maybe the Watts riots. I remember Altamont.

I don’t remember Kent State or Medgar Evers on tv. I don’t remember the Birmingham Church bombing or the original opening of the Berlin Wall. I don’t remember Cassius Clay or Sonny Liston. I don’t remember Malcolm X or Selma, Alabama. I don’t remember the revolution of The Pill, or The Chicago 7 or the Bay of Pigs. I don’t remember Greensboro or the Tonkin Gulf Incident. I don’t remember Mary Jo Kopechne. I don’t remember Freedom Riders. I don’t remember seeing a Monk’s self-immolation or Patsy Cline’s crash. I don’t remember Marilyn until later. I don’t remember Dylan going electric. I don’t remember the Boston Strangler or the Zodiak killer. I don’t remember Wharlest Jackson, his assassination, or the Six Day War.

I remember jumping on the couch in the basement as the Beatles first performed on Ed Sullivan. I remember Elvis, Walter Cronkite, LBJ. I remember Peace protestors with flowers and maybe, just maybe, attack German Shepherds on chains. I remember the half naked bodies, mud and garbage of Woodstock. I remember hearing about Martin Luther King, Jr and seeing a black and white photo of a terrified Vietnamese girl, running toward the camera. I remember Manson and Nixon and George Wallace. I remember Black Panthers and Wounded Knee. I remember My Lai and Lt. Calley and the poems I wrote on pink and orange lined paper. I remember the first Earth Day at Fairmount School and our cruel teacher who humiliated a classmate who wouldn’t sing America the Beautiful.

And the first time I ever recall being aware of lynching was in 1972, age 14, when I sat in a theatre in Syracuse, NY watching Lady Sings the Blues with my best friend, Jesse. The scene cast Diana Ross on a bus with musician friends, being attacked by fire-wielding, flag carrying KKK. Though it would be years before I truly took action, that movie did more than anything else in my life to spark my desire to become involved in understanding and un-doing racial stereotypes. The film was eye opening in a way that television news hadn’t touched me.

We’ve seen a rise in nooses being placed in prominent spots in DC and other areas lately, but an article in this week’s round up has taught me that lynchings never ended; they’ve simply taken a different form. With police rarely held accountable for killings in the black community, these militarized shootings have become the 21st Century equivalent of lynchings. In her Washington Post article, Keisha N. Blain writes, “As historian Isabel Wilkerson and several other scholars have pointed out, these killings represent the continuation of lynching culture in the United States. Today, black Americans die at the hands of police at a rate that is almost equivalent to the number of documented lynchings during the early 20th century.” Please read her full article to understand the deep truth of her argument.

Also this week, I have included articles that range from immigration, Native American water access, the unacceptably high rate of mortality in child bearing in the United States, the experience of being Asian in America, or Muslim, or part of the trans or disabled communities. We have a long way to go before equality is achieved, so I’ve included an article from March 2017 in Luna Luna that offers suggestions to white women practicing Intersectional Feminism.

For these stories and more, Please Read On! Your comments are always welcome.

 


  1. The delivery “was supposed to be a walk in the park,” Charles said. But soon after her scheduled C-section, Kira, 39, began to hemorrhage. Obstetric bleeding is one of the most common causes of maternal deaths in the U.S.; 70 percent of such deaths are preventable, researchers in California have found. In Kira’s case, her family contends, the medical team delayed treatment too long. Her abdominal cavity filled with blood and she died 12 hours after giving birth.
“Lost Mothers”/ by Nina Martin, Emma Cillekens, and Alessandra Freitas/ ProPublica/ July 17, 2017

 


2. My Pakistani auntie, a brown, Muslim woman, was my first feminist teacher. It is her voice I hear when I hear the word “feminism.” She did not need to be saved. She was one of the most strong-willed women I have ever known. This is not just my personal revelation. This is about showing how racism works as an assumption of who is passive and who is active. The binary passive/active is racialized as well as gendered. If we challenge the distinction, we change the script.
“Sara Ahmed: Notes from a Feminist Killjoy”/ by Nishta J. Mehra/ Guernica/ July 17, 2017

 


3. Given that the past half-century of police reforms have yielded such miserable results, it is time to reimagine the problem as one not of police but of extralegal killings of black Americans. In other words, as the problem of lynching.
“Ida B. Wells Offered the Solution to Police Violence More Than 100 Years Ago”/ by Keisha N. Blain/ Washington Post/ July 11, 2017

 


4. I am trying to be more open about my identity, to spread my father’s story, in a political climate that is deeply hostile toward immigrants and refugees. My very existence points back to Asia. A small part of my DNA carries on a family bloodline influenced by years of oppressive Dutch colonization broken only by the Second World War. Honoring my father and his Indonesian family means owning my racial background.
“Am I Asian Enough?”/ by Elisabeth Sherman/ Catapult/ April 18, 2017

 


5. According to Everytown USA, a gun control advocacy group, more than 50 percent of mass shootings are related to domestic violence. And in cases of domestic violence, if the abuser has access to a gun, the chance that a woman will be fatally shot increases by five times. Federal law prohibits anyone convicted of a felony, anyone under a domestic violence protective order, or anyone convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence from possessing a firearm. However, most states have several loopholes in the law, including one that allows abusers with a non-legally recognized relationship to the victim (a boyfriend or former partner, for example), to purchase guns from unlicensed or private sellers.
“Washington Law Will Alert Survivors When Domestic Abusers Try to Buy a Gun”/ by Prachi Gupta/ The Slot/ July 17, 2017

 


6. “There are really graphic scenes of dozens of people being plowed by tanks, and their heads being smooshed. And you see all of that violence and it’s like, that’s revolution. What you’re talking about is kind of nonsense. You don’t really understand what that word means. [Revolution] means you’re so fucking desperate that you’re willing to have your head smashed by a tank. And are you willing to have your head smashed by a tank for your cause? I really don’t think so.”
“Home is Here”/ by Katy Hershberger/ The Rumpus/ July 17, 2017

 


7. Reproductive justice encompasses more than merely birth control and abortion access. It also includes the right for Women of Color to raise their children without fear that they will fall victim to the school-to-prison pipeline, or be murdered by law enforcement for simply living while black. Fighting for body autonomy encompasses fighting against the systematic oppression People of Color endure.
“Intersectional Feminism: 6 Things White Women Need to Remember”/ by Kyli Rodriguez-Cayro/ Luna Luna/ March 13, 2017

 


8. “I want people to know that life is a lot harder than it looks for drag queens, and for trans women,” she said.
“”RuPaul’s Drag Race’s” Peppermint Is Making A Documentary About Being A Trans Drag Queen: BUST Interview”/ by Brianna Kirkham/ Bust/ July 18, 2017

 


9. The work has the potential of transforming how adults with developmental disabilities make their way in the world, and how the world listens to what they have to say.
“State Wants Adults With Developmental Disabilities To Have More Say In Life Choices”/ by Howard Weiss-Tisman/ Vermont Public Radio/ July 11, 2017

 


10. “Being an unwed mother as a conservative Mormon was just the worst thing I could have ever done,” Alex says. “Planned Parenthood was the first place that made me feel like ‘I’m going to be a mom and I’m going to be okay.’ There was no judgment. You don’t get that in a doctor’s office in a conservative area.”
“Iowa Just Gutted Planned Parenthood and the Results for Women are Brutal”/ by Hannah Levintova/ Mother Jones/ July 18, 2017

 


11. Residents say the well is one of two in the area, a couple miles from a small town on the Navajo Reservation. One well is a direct line to hotels. This one, leading to a one-spigot watering hole a few miles away, is the main water supply for about 900 people living nearby.
“Navajo Nation Residents Short of Running Water”/ by Ethan Millman/ Durango Herald/ July 9, 2017

 


12. “It’s hard to be reminded of those things,” Gomez said. “But this is our history, and it’s important for us to come here and see it.”
“L.A.’s Mexican American Cultural Center Begins to Blossom After a Rocky Start”/ by Esmeralda Bermudez/ Los Angeles Times/ July 15, 2017

 


13. If I had had proper health insurance when I was raped, it might not have taken me so long to finally accept what had happened to me; I might have been able to see a therapist right away, to learn coping mechanisms for my anxiety. Instead, I waited a year to tell my mom, because I couldn’t access therapy that would have helped me. My breaking point came when I watched our country defend a man who bragged about sexual assault, and then elect him into the nation’s highest office. That’s when I knew I needed to speak out.
“When I Was Raped, Christian Health Care Failed Me”/ by Korey Lane/ Bustle/ July 14, 2017

 


14. It might seem puzzling that an advocate of “no enemies” who actually worked to soften the language of the Charter should have been singled out for punishment during the government’s crackdown. Several of Liu’s colleagues were detained and interrogated, and had their computers confiscated, but only Liu was sent to prison. While it is a standard device in Communist Chinese political engineering to “kill a chicken for the monkeys to see,” the question remains why a pacifist chicken would be their choice.
“The Passion of Liu Xiaobo/ by Perry Link/ New York Review of Books/ July 13, 2017

 


15. Nearly every president arrives in office promising a new direction, especially those succeeding someone from the other party. But few, if any, have spent as much of their early months focused on undoing what the last president did rather than promoting their own proactive ideas as Mr. Trump has.
“Trump Finds that Demolishing Obama’s Legacy is not so Simple”/ by Peter Baker/ New York Times/ July 18, 2017

 


16. The goal, after all, of any truly great legislator has always been to see problems and come up with constructive solutions. Instead, the GOP continues to have growing pains in overcoming its image as the “party of no” in the Obama years. Unfortunately for Republicans, now they’re saying no to themselves.
“Where the Senate Health Care Defeat leaves Trump, GOP”/ by Domenico Montanaro/ NPR/ July 18, 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 joycehayden.com. Joyce is available for commission art work, including celebration shrines for loved ones and pets.

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