Category Archives: Human Spirit

Men, We Can Do Better

Survivors of sexual assault like Christine Blasey Ford deserve our support, not our opposition.

By . Published 9-28-2018 by YES! Magazine

Rally against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh outside the Supreme Court, Washington DC. Photo: Avery Jensen {CC-BY-SA-4.0} via Wikimedia Commons

Like millions of Americans, I sat riveted before the television on Thursday watching the quiet, calm, and dignified testimony of a woman, Professor Christine Blasey Ford, who was scarred for life by sexual assault. She sat in a room full of powerful men and described her ordeal at the hands of another powerful man.

Then I watched that accused man, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, yell and scream about how it was all just unfair and a political hit job and a conspiracy by Democrats to get revenge for the 2016 election. His unbridled rage was shared by several other powerful men in the room, especially Senator Lindsay Graham, whose rant seemed to be an audition for a senior appointment in the Trump administration. Continue reading

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Nobel Peace Prize Goes to Two ‘Courageous’ Campaigners Against Sexual Violence as Weapon of War

“Both laureates have made a crucial contribution to focusing attention on, and combating, such war crimes.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-5-2018

Dr. Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad were awarded the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday in recognition of their work to end sexual violence as a weapon of war. (Photo: European Parliament/Bundesministerium für Europa/Flickr/cc)

Two influential figures in the fight against sexual violence as a weapon of war were chosen as 2018’s recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.

Dr. Denis Mukwege was recognized for treating victims of rape, while Nadia Murad, a Yazidi woman who has spoken out about being held as a sex slave by ISIS, was awarded the prize for her work as a human rights campaigner following her experience. Continue reading

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World to Flint Kids: We Still See You

An 11-year-old social media celebrity collects thousands of encouraging letters from around the globe to remind her Flint schoolmates they are not forgotten.

By . Published 8-29-2018 by YES! Magazine

Eleven-year-old Mari Copeny helped raise funds to purchase 15,000 backpacks, which she and her team will stuff with school supplies and distribute to Flint children this week. Photo courtesy of Mari and her family

About 15,000 Flint children will return to school next week with new backpacks stuffed with goodies, some including letters of encouragement and support from people across the globe.

Dear Flint Kids: It’s the start of a new school year, which means it’s a new start for you … I feel really special that my letter would reach such a special person like you …

Dear Flint Kids: It’s the start of a new school year and anything is possible. Believe in yourself …

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‘Take Away Our Poverty, Not Our Children!’: Poor People’s Campaign Caps Off 40 Days of Action

‘We will keep coming back until everyone has housing, voting rights, clean water, peace, and justice!” says Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-23-2018

A portion of the Poor People’s Campaign’s poster for the action on Saturday.

Thousands of people gathered in Washington, D.C. on Saturday where the Poor People’s Campaign capped off 40 days of action with a rally and march to further energize its call for a “moral revival” and intention to “move forward together, not one step back.”

Twin banners declaring “Fight Poverty Not the Poor” flanked the stage, where rousing speeches by noted figures including Rev. William Barber, Rev. Jesse Jackson, American Federation of Teachers leader Randi Weingarten, as well as others on the front-lines of the fight for justice—and those who amplify their voices—drew cheers. Continue reading

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How Native American food is tied to important sacred stories

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The First Salmon ceremony being performed. U.S. Department of Agriculture , CC BY-ND

Rosalyn R. LaPier, The University of Montana

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling, on June 11, that asked Washington state to remove culverts that block the migration of salmon. The ruling has significant implications for Northwest Coast tribes, whose main source of food and livelihood is salmon.

The legal decision stems from the 1855 Stevens treaties when Northwest Coast tribes retained the “right to take fish” from their traditional homelands. Fighting to protect salmon habitat, however, is more than just upholding tribal rights. Salmon is viewed as sacred. Continue reading

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On Earth Day, Trump Gives Giant Pro-Capitalism ‘Middle Finger’ to Entire Planet

And so at least a few people gave it right back.

By Common Dreams. Published 4-22-2018

In Trump’s statement released by White House on Sunday, the president said, “We know that it is impossible for humans to flourish without clean air, land, and water. We also know that a strong, market-driven economy is essential to protecting these resources.” (Photo: Instagram/@jaaawsh)

In a giant “middle finger” to the planet on Earth Day, President Donald Trump on Sunday put out a statement in which he called for an even deeper evisceration of environmental protections as he claimed a “market-based economy” was essential to protecting natural resources and also reaffirmed his commitment to “removing unnecessary and harmful regulations that restrain economic growth.”

As experts and environmentalists have detailed ad nauseam, Trump—with the dedicated help from his EPA administrator Scott Pruitt—has been relentless, if not consistently successful, in destroying environmental protections and undermining any and all quality efforts designed to protect the nation’s air, water, and natural beauty. In addition, the president has become the leader of a Republican Party that continues its cynical denial of the threat posed by global warming and the associated climate crisis.  Continue reading

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#DeleteFacebook? Not in Indian Country

The social network has done more for bolstering the modern Indigenous rights agenda than perhaps any other platform of our time.

By . Published 3-23-2018 by YES! Magazine

“It’s not just Indian Country that would feel the extreme disconnect in a Facebook-less scenario. The entire Indigenous world would reel from its absence.” Photo: Sacred Stone Camp/Facebook

In the last 48 hours, I’ve seen several people turn to one social network, Twitter, to vent their frustrations about another one: Facebook.

In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which data from over 50 million Facebook profiles were secretly mined for voter insights, it sparked what some have called a #DeleteFacebook movement.

But not in Indian Country. Continue reading

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The March for Our Lives in Pictures: Demonstrators Mourn Those Lost to Gun Violence and Condemn Complicit Politicians

“Who here is going to vote in the 2018 election? If you listen real close, you can hear the people in power shaking.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 3-24-2018

Photo: Twitter

Taking the stage on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, high school student David Hogg offered hundreds of thousands of audience members a visual representation of his reasons for helping to organize the March for Our Lives, a worldwide gun control advocacy demonstration.

“I’m going to start off by putting this price tag right here as a reminder for you guys to know how much Marco Rubio took for every student’s life in Florida,” Hogg said, placing a price tag reading “$1.05” on the podium. Continue reading

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Ahead of ‘March for Our Lives,’ Student Manifesto Outlines Steps to Eradicate ‘Plague of Gun Violence’

“We will be marching this Saturday for those that we loved and lost, and we write this in the hope that no other community or publication will ever have to do the same.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 3-23-2018 

“We are firsthand witnesses to the kind of devastation that gross incompetence and political inaction can produce,” Parkland student journalists wrote in The Guardian. (Photo: March for Our Lives)

Ahead of the historic “March for Our Lives” demonstrations taking place nationwide on Saturday, student journalists from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida—the site of a shooting last month that left 17 dead—published a manifesto in The Guardian on Friday declaring that they can no longer “stand idly by as the country continues to be infected by a plague of gun violence.”

“We have a unique platform not only as student journalists, but also as survivors of a mass shooting. We are firsthand witnesses to the kind of devastation that gross incompetence and political inaction can produce,” wrote the students, who work for the Stoneman Douglas school newspaper The Eagle Eye. “We will be marching this Saturday for those that we loved and lost, and we write this in the hope that no other community or publication will ever have to do the same.”

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Because ‘Nothing Has Changed Since Columbine,’ Students, Teachers Call for Nationwide School Walkouts

“The time to act is now.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 2-17-2018

Image: National Student Walkout

As families continue to grieve and hold funerals for the 17 victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Fla., students and educators are calling for a nationwide day of action including school walkouts to protest lawmakers’ deadly inaction on gun control legislation.

The day set for the actions is April 20, which will be the 19th anniversary of the massacre at Columbine High School. Continue reading

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