Speakout is Truthout's treasure chest for bloggy, quirky, personally reflective, or especially activism-focused pieces. Speakout articles represent the perspectives of their authors, and not those of Truthout.
As Barack Obama prepares to exit his presidency, he leaves a list of accomplishments, but immigrant rights advocates judging his legacy will likely remember this president as the "deporter-in-chief." During the latest round of deportations ordered by his administration - whose most recent targets include children fleeing violence from Central America - the stalemate in Congress over immigration reform has been made worse by Obama's refusal to lead on this issue.
In Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin's 2015 inaugural address, she promised to pursue "smart on crime" solutions to over-incarceration, saying that nonviolent drug offenders "don't need to spend long stints at the state penitentiary," and that they "need to be returned to their communities as sober adults ready to support themselves and their families."
It's a common economic development strategy in the South: State policymakers offer deep tax incentives and relocation subsidies to lure big corporations from elsewhere, a tactic sometimes called "smokestack chasing." New evidence, however, suggests supporting in-state startups and existing local companies is a far more effective strategy for creating jobs and building strong economies.
As all eyes are on Michigan's poisoned water crisis, Reverend Edward Pinkney continues to servea prison sentence for effectively organizing against the first Emergency Manager put into place in the entire country in Benton Harbor, Michigan. There, the Emergecy Manager legally suspended thelocal city government and appointed himself supreme ruler of the city. Pinkney visited San Jose in 2011 warning us about the dangerous experience just beginning then.
Israel doesn't accept criticism. In fact, whether from friend or foe, even mild criticism is viewed as an existential threat, prompting Israeli officials to unleash a torrent of abuse in an effort to silence and/or punish critics. And given new initiatives being rolled out in Israel and here is the US by Congress and some state legislatures, this effort to silence critics is endangering free speech and the search for peace.
Jerry Brown basked in adulation during his whirlwind trip to Paris, and the evening of December 8 figured to offer more of the same. Standing alongside governors of states and provinces from Brazil, Mexico, and Peru, California's governor planned to tout his state's leadership role on global climate policy. The event was one of 21 presentations that Brown delivered during a five-day swing through France during the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The list of well-known Palestinian hunger strikers exceeds Al-Qeq, Adnan, Allan and Sharawneh and includes many others, not forgetting Samir Issawi, Hana Shalabi, Thaer Halahleh and Bilal Thiab. But what all of these former hunger strikers seem to have in common is their insistence that their battles were never concerned with the freedom of individuals only, but of an entire group of desperate, oppressed and outraged people.
If Portland is to ever become truly world class, it needs to finally atone for (among other transgressions) its role in the ethnic cleansing, internment and internal exile of its entire Japanese American population during WWII. Back then, the Rose City stood out as a hotbed of vicious racism that couldn't get its Japanese Americans - most of whom were American citizens - rounded up andremoved from the city fast enough.
Protests against Monsanto's Roundup - with its poisonous, weed-killing glyphosate - have spread around the globe. An arm of the World Health Organization declared it a probable cause of cancer in 2015. California's Environmental Protection Agency recently decided to label it as such. Environmental groups and activists in Northern California, a region known for its wines, advocate a moratorium on this herbicide as health concerns mount. Roundup is the world's most widely used pesticide.
The worst worry of a child's school day should be homework. Maybe a lost book, or an argument with a friend. No child's walk to school should routinely involve armed soldiers and fear of sometimes being chased and assaulted by angry adults. But for the Palestinian children who live with their families in the small rural villages that make up the South Hebron Hills, this is how the school day begins. Illegal settlements and outposts isolate and separate their villages and soldiers are a constant in their lives.