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.
May is mental health awareness month, full of associated hashtags and promotional campaigns. The National Alliance on Mental Illness has called on Americans to "become inspired, informed, and involved." The Republican Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins, who helped create the Mental Health First Aid Act, has stated publicly that May is "the perfect time to break the silence and discuss what we can do to move mental health in America forward." Others are encouraging folks to "talk to their doctors."
Donald Trump's first 100 days in office were marked over the weekend by a 200,000-person march for climate justice in Washington, DC, multiple solidarity actions around the country, and a plethora of news stories marking the new administration's blunders and decisions. It is fair to say, even if the world isn't completely different than it was 100 days ago, the presence of racism, science denial, misogyny, wealth-worship, consolidation of corporate power and overall crudeness in mainstream behavior and political discourse has gained new acceptance.
Looking around the world at places like Turkey, Russia, Venezuela, the Philippines, and even the United States, an alarming truth has become increasingly apparent: Authoritarianism is on the rise. The best antidote to this authoritarian resurgence is organized and active citizenries, but Congress must act to ensure that civic spaces remain open, thereby giving civil society a forum to challenge regressive policies grounded in fear.In his first 100 days, President Trump has shown a surprising willingness to cozy up to authoritarians across the globe.
The People's Climate March on Saturday, April 29, 2017, flooded Washington, DC, with over 100,000 protesters. Organizers claimed 150,000, with marches in 330 other cities across the country and in three dozen solidarity events abroad. Coinciding with President Trump's 100th day in office, the marchers also protested his anti-environmental actions. The previous Saturday (April 22, 2017), thousands of scientists marched to protest the Trump administration's belittling of science. The demonstrations were planned for Earth Day to signal a particular concern with the enormity of current climate policy.
Whatever the intentions behind it, the possibility of renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) offers an opportunity forprogressives. The burgeoning movement to resist Trump has generated tremendous energy, but unless that energy is channeled productively, it will be wasted. In the case of NAFTA, this means advocating for a trade regime that has far stronger protections for labor and environmental rights than were included in the original version, or in any trade agreement since. An improved NAFTA would, in turn, provide a blueprint for an international system that leads to a better future for all.
On the morning of November 9, 2016, a tidal wave of resistance and democratic engagement was unleashed in the United States. That morning, millions of Americans woke up to the devastating reality that Donald Trump had been elected as the 45th president of the United States. In a crushing reflection upon American society, a billionaire running exclusively on the fear, anger and darkest realities of American culture had won the presidency. In the face of this, millions of citizens dedicated themselves to resistance and action. This dedication has not ceased. And it will not cease.
"Someone wearing a turban was meant to be someone who could be trusted, someone you could see on the street and ask for help if you need it." A Sikh American man featured in the "Who We Are" youtube video utters these words as part of the new $1.3 million marketing and advertising initiative for The National Sikh Campaign. Reportedly based on input from Republican and Democratic consultants, this effort is an attempt to counter hate crimes against Sikhs, who are often mistaken to be Muslims. About 500,000 Sikhs live in the US and the ads are mainly aimed at creating an awareness that the Sikh religion is founded on peace and tolerance.
On this International Workers' Day (May Day), we will be appearing before the Atlanta City Council to demand that the city adopt a policy limiting its cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). This is one step the city can take to meaningfully stand up to Trump and help protect our communities. On January 20, our organizations -- Project South, GLAHR and SONG -- joined more than 25 other Georgia-based groups for an action we called the People's Inauguration. Together, we demanded that the City of Atlanta declare itself a sanctuary city by addressing a list of demands to protect the human rights of our communities.
Despite broad consensus that previously long-held beliefs about race that emerged from social, economic and political agendas rather than anthropological, historical or biological facts, and despite forward strides made in the American civil rights and South African anti-apartheid movements, race is still used as an instrument to divide and subjugate. Ideologies and policies are continually concocted around race to justify institutionalized patterns of division. That race has been a dubious tool for classifying humans is nothing new.
After floating the idea in an initial draft, the US Census Bureau recently announced that the 2020 census would not include the option for LGBTQ persons to self-identify. This decision has rightly been met with outrage, because it denies lawmakers and their respective constituents access to data that would be used to shape policy and allow LGBTQ people access to opportunities and resources they've been denied for decades. Although some data on same-sex couples has been available since the 1990 census, there still lacks a definitive figure assessing the numbers and geographic distribution of LGBTQ-identifying Americans.