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.
What does it mean to stand with Palau? There is more than meets the eye to this question, and this calling. I once had the honor of traveling to the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of South Africa. Where one expects to see the meeting of the Atlantic and the Indian oceans, one sees only ... ocean. Searching for north or south, for the southernmost point, for the meeting point, or any point, is futile. The world does not know such markers and borders, and the ocean least of all.
Donald Trump has made two moves that will intensify the refugee crisis, but only one is on the public's radar. The first high-profile move is Trump's controversial ban on many Muslim refugees who seek asylum in the United States. But the second move exacerbating the plight of refugees came earlier in Trump's first week in office, when he blindfolded and handcuffed the Environmental Protection Agency and shoved it in a closet under the guard of climate change denier Scott Pruitt.
With threats to blow up Jewish community centers and the overturning of Jewish cemetery graves, true anti-Semitism has reemerged in the US. Yet it bears absolutely none of the hallmarks of pro-Palestinian activism, which critics often decry as "anti-Semitic." Despite the West's historical anti-Semitism, it has created conditions for the Jewish state to be legitimately opposed due to Israel's oppressive policies. In turn, the West projects its own historical anti-Semitism onto those who oppose Israeli state oppression, namely Palestinians, and Palestinian rights supporters in the Arab world and across the globe.
Earlier this month, the state of Michigan announced that it will be cutting its assistance program for the citizens of Flint. Since lead was originally discovered in a Flint home's water supply on February 25, 2015, the people of Flint continue to be left without a clean water source. Instead, they are forced to travel to city centers to receive bottled water or water filters so that they can bathe and drink. And now, the government of Michigan has declared that it will be eliminating the already inadequate compensation program currently in place.
The emergence of "rogue" Twitter accounts by National Parks employees has attracted widespread positive attention, with many onlookers celebrating the accounts' tweets about climate change and efforts to resist the new president's administration. As noble as the current resistance by parks employees may be, however, ignoring the violent and racist history of the National Parks is part of a dangerous de-historicizing of natural space that is all too common in white perceptions and use of such spaces. The erasure of people of color within the history of the parks is not a long-gone phenomenon irrelevant to the use of National Parks today.
Tragedy struck Austin's Bar and Grill in Olathe, Kansas, when a gunman opened fire on three bar patrons, killing one, injuring two. Adam Purinton shot and killed Srinivas Kuchibhotla, and injured Alok Madasani, engineers from India employed by Garmin, the Kansas-based hi-tech electronics firm. According to witness accounts, Purinton opened fire shouting, "Get out of my country!" He later told a bartender 70 miles away that he had shot "two Iranians." According to The New York Times, the FBI has classified the shootings as a hate crime.
My plane landed at Dulles International Airport at 1:20 am. The fact that the airport was named for a former Republican Secretary of State who "continued his support for the Nazi platform right up to the time Germany invaded Poland" reminded me of what we were up against. I wrapped myself in a blanket and waited until 7 when the airport bus and the metro system started operating. It was March 10, the morning of the scheduled Native Nations Rise march through downtown Washington, DC.
Ariel, the 11-year-old daughter of a friend, was riding the school bus in Northern Arizona when two Native American girls boarded the bus. A high school boy yelled, "Got off of here, this is a white bus." Laughing, he turned to his friends and said, "Are y'all ready for Trump's inauguration?" They joked that the bus was for "white people only" the whole way home. Ariel sat clenching her fists, not knowing what to say or do. This is hate.
The resistance is a huge movement -- yuge! At least that's how it feels when you are in it. And it's true that the United States has not seen anything like this since the Vietnam War days. Still, Trump and the Republicans in Washington roll on, with some new horror every day. Maybe the resistance isn't yuge enough yet. It has plenty of chance to grow, though. The potential is clearly there. Let's look at the numbers.
I am an independent abortion care provider because of her. Her whole life, she has stood up for other women. She promoted education and empowerment amongst the women around her, despite living in a political climate that threatened her own safety every day. She taught me so much about how to treat people: with dignity and respect. She is the woman I watched keep her chin high while others tried to put her down. She is my mother. She is an independent abortion care provider.