Tag Archives: Civil Rights

Brazil’s Indigenous peoples survived Bolsonaro. Now Lula has won, what next?

Bolsonaro’s genocidal policies devastated Indigenous communities. After four years of trauma, they can breathe again

By Sarah Shenker.  Published 2-3-2023 by openDemocracy.

Indigenous women in Brazil have led protests during Bolsonaro’s rule.. Photo: Survival International

The news broke on 28 October 2018. Through the crackle and hiss of the radio, we made out one sentence: “Jair Bolsonaro has been elected president of Brazil.”

It was a long way from Brasília to Maçaranduba, an Indigenous community in the Amazon rainforest, but the significance of the news was clear. Some of our Awá and Tenetehar friends paced up and down, others held their heads in their hands. One let out a visceral scream, before reaching for a bottle of sugarcane spirit. Continue reading

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ACLU Sues CIA, DOJ, and NSA for Records About Warrantless Spying on Americans

The legal group argues that information about the surveillance program “is key as Congress considers reauthorizing Section 702—the law used to defend this unconstitutional spying.”

By Jessica Corbett  Published 2-3-2023 by Common Dreams

Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee Screenshot: C-SPAN

The ACLU on Friday filed a federal lawsuit against top U.S. intelligence agencies that have failed to respond to public records requests for information about a “sweeping law that authorizes the warrantless surveillance of international communications,” including those of Americans.

The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, targets the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Department of Justice (DOJ), National Security Agency (NSA), and Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). Continue reading

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‘Death Sentence for Women and Families’: US Court Blocks Domestic Violence Gun Ban

“There is no real doubt that the 5th Circuit’s decision is going to lead to more abusers murdering their wives and girlfriends,” said one gun control advocate. “It will also increase mass shootings.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 2-2-2023 by Common Dreams

People participate in a March 24, 2018 “March for Our Lives” protest for gun control laws in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. (Photo: Peter Cedric Rock Smith/flickr/cc)

The right-wing 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday struck down a federal law barring people with domestic violence restraining orders from owning firearms, a ruling that gun control advocates said will cost lives.

A three-judge panel of the New Orleans-based appellate court said in its decision that the overturned law is an unconstitutional impediment to the right to bear arms. The judges based their ruling on New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, a June 2022 U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down that state’s limits on carrying concealed guns in public. Continue reading

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Advocates Cheer Revival of Bill to ‘Restore Critical Protections’ to Arctic Refuge

“We need a law on the books that will affirm these lands are not for sale, preserve the wilderness of the Coastal Plain, and uphold the sovereignty of Arctic Indigenous peoples,” said Sen. Ed Markey, one of the bill’s lead sponsors.

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 2-1-2023 by Common Dreams

A polar bear rests on a barrier island in the Beaufort Sea in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo: YangTS/flickr/cc)

Indigenous, climate, and conservation advocates on Wednesday welcomed the reintroduction of congressional legislation to restore protections and prevent fossil fuel development in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), along with Reps. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), reintroduced the Arctic Refuge Protection Act, the continuation of legislative efforts dating back to the 1980s to protect the critical wilderness and its inhabitants. Continue reading

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Pain of police killings ripples outward to traumatize Black people and communities across US

RowVaughn Wells, in gray jacket, mother of Tyre Nichols, who died after being beaten by Memphis police officers, is with friends and family members at the conclusion of a candlelight vigil for Tyre, in Memphis, Tenn., on Jan. 26, 2023.
AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

 

Denise A. Herd, University of California, Berkeley

As the video goes public of Black police officers in Memphis beating Tyre Nichols to death, it is a stark reminder of George Floyd’s murder by a Minneapolis police officer in 2020. That set up the largest protests in U.S. history and a national reckoning with racism.

But beyond any protests, every police killing – indeed, every violent act by police toward civilians – can have painful and widespread consequences.

Each year, U.S. police kill about 1,000 people, which equals approximately 8% of all homicides for adult men. This risk is greater for Black men, who are about 2.5 times more likely to be killed by the police than white men. Continue reading

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GOP Utah Gov. Signs Ban on ‘Lifesaving Medical Care’ for Trans Youth

“It undermines the health and well-being of adolescents, limits the options of doctors, patients, and parents, and violates the constitutional rights of these families,” the ACLU of Utah’s executive director.

By Jessica Corbett.  Published 1-28-2023 by Common Dreams.

We Won’t Be Erased – Rally for Trans Rights, Washington, DC on 10-22-2018 Photo: Ted Eytan/flickr/CC

Defying the guidance of the nation’s leading medical organizations, Republican Utah Gov. Spencer Cox on Saturday signed into law a bill banning gender-affirming care for minors in the state.

Passed by the Utah House of Representatives on Thursday and the state Senate on Friday, S.B. 16 prohibits gender-affirming surgeries for trans youth and bars hormonal treatment for new patients who were not diagnosed with gender dysphoria before the bill’s effective date, May 3. Continue reading

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‘2022 Was Deadly’: Killings of Journalists Jumped by Nearly 50%

The deadliest year for media workers since 2018 was driven in large part by the war in Ukraine and a rise in killings in Latin America.

By Julia Conley.  Published 1-25-2023 by Common Dreams

The funeral of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in Ramallah. Photo: YouTube/Wikimedia Commons/CC

Driven in large part by Russia’s war in Ukraine and a rise in violence in Latin America, 2022 was the deadliest year for journalists in four years and saw nearly a 50% increase in murders, killings in crossfire, and deaths as the result of dangerous assignments, according to a report released Tuesday.

In its annual report on the killings of members of the press, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) confirmed that at least 41 journalists and media workers were killed in direct connection to their work, including nearly two dozen who were murdered in retaliation for their work. The group is still investigating the motives for the killings to 26 other journalists, bringing the total number of media workers killed last year to 67. Continue reading

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‘Free the Books,’ Say Opponents of New Florida Law as Teachers Remove or Cover Libraries

“Florida considers books to be more dangerous to students than assault rifles,” noted one observer. “This is truly a dystopian state.”

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 1-24-2023 by Common Dreams

A anonymous Manatee County, Florida middle school teacher shared this photo of a covered classroom library with students’ demands to “Free the Books” and another sign designating a “safe zone” for in the event of a shooting. (Photo: Tamara Solum/Facebook)

Teachers in at least one Florida county this week began removing or covering books in their classrooms to avoid running afoul of a new law requiring every volume to be vetted by a state-trained “media specialist”—violation of which could result in felony charges.

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports the Manatee County School District has directed teachers to remove all books that have not been approved by a specialist, who will ensure that all titles are “free of pornography,” are “appropriate for the age level and group,” and contain no “unsolicited theories that may lead to student indoctrination.” Continue reading

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Iowa Republicans Push ‘Profoundly Cruel and Petty’ Food Benefit Restrictions

Under the new legislation, Iowans would no longer be allowed to purchase fresh meat, white grains, nuts, canned fruits, American cheese, and other foods with SNAP benefits.

By Jake Johnson  Published 1-20-2023 by Common Dreams

Iowa House Speaker Pat Grassley, right, speaks during a committee hearing on January 18, 2023. (Photo: Pat Grassley/Facebook)

Republicans in the Iowa House introduced legislation this month that would impose a slew of fresh restrictions on the kinds of food people can purchase using SNAP benefits, sparking outrage among local groups who say the measure would exacerbate hunger in the GOP-dominated state.

The Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC), an interfaith group that operates the largest food pantry network in Iowa, noted in a statement earlier this week that if the bill passes, “Iowans could no longer use their SNAP benefits to purchase meat, nuts, and seeds; flour, butter, cooking oil, soup, canned fruits, and vegetables; frozen prepared foods, snack foods, herbs, spices—not even salt or pepper.” Continue reading

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Thousands Across US Demand Reproductive Freedom on Roe’s 50th Anniversary

“The overwhelming majority of Americans in all states support abortion rights—and women will fight to protect our rights and our lives,” said the executive director of Women’s March.

By Kenny Stancil.  Published 1-22-2023 by Common Dreams

People rally for abortion rights at the Wisconsin state capitol in Madison on January 22, 2023. (Photo: Hedi Rudd, Paisley Koch/Women’s March via Twitter)

Thousands of people called for reproductive freedom at rallies around the United States on Sunday—the 50th anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that made abortion a constitutional right until the Supreme Court’s reactionary majority overturned it last summer.

At more than 200 events in 46 states, demonstrators condemned the court’s 6-3 opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which enables states to curtail or even prohibit access to reproductive healthcare. Since the ruling was handed down on June 24, Republican lawmakers have enacted deadly abortion restrictions in 26 states, including near-total bans in several. Continue reading

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