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.
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.
I see that you requested someone to look into who paid for the Tax Day rallies on April 15, which demanded that you release your tax returns. I have been compiling that information for you from the large rally we had in Massachusetts which I helped organize. But first, let me be clear that here in Massachusetts, we were not just asking you to release your tax returns. Mr. President, we are also scared to death of your budget proposal that moves $54 billion of our tax money into the war budget by taking it away from programs that help our families and from important programs to address climate change, worker safety, health research, Head Start, heating assistance and so much more.
Although the US corporate media helped to produce Donald Trump, his unpredicted rise to power delivered a shocking wake-up call to media professionals and catalyzed unprecedented global debates about "post-truth politics." Yet news media continue producing the spectacular and lucrative reality television show, "Trump Making America Great Again." While the crisis of polarized US is blamed on far-right news, filter bubbles and social media, traditional mainstream news media are not being held responsible. Business as usual is supremely risky in times of crisis: routinized reporting habits, amplification and repetition of lies dangerously normalize Trump and his administration.
At an April EU conference in Brussels called "Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region," the government of Lebanon made an impassioned pitch for billions of euros of additional humanitarian aid to help it deal with the massive influx of refugees -- now totaling about 1.5 million, or a quarter of its population. The large influx has definitely added social and economic pressures to an already fragile, dysfunctional country, and many Lebanese believe they themselves need aid and thus resent any additional burden.
President Trump's new "Buy American, Hire American" executive order signals a return to his economic nationalist agenda. Such ideology as economic nationalism -- a system stressing domestic control of labor, the economy and capital even at the expense of high restriction of finance, goods and work -- is a problem because our global economy is more interconnected and integrated today. Moreover, global developmental priorities led to labor markets being deregulated, national industries privatized and opened to global competition and the trade, investment and education sectors are more liberalized and open as global trade volumes continue to grow.
Friends, 10 days ago, we marked the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s prophetic "Beyond Vietnam" speech. Back then, he told us that, "When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered." Our tax system reinforces institutional racism, the materialism and wealth of a new super-rich nobility, and unprecedented militarism. Our country has been at war for the past 16 years -- almost a generation! We spend more on today's Pentagon than during the Cold War.