Voices

Open Letter to the Benton County Commissioners on Renaming the County

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By Joseph Orosco (June 27, 2020) Dear Commissioners Augerot, Malone, and Jaramillo: This June, you issued a statement in response to the historic protests across the globe reacting to the killing of George Floyd.  You recognized that communities were gathering together to “give voice to the centuries of inequality, exploitation and abuse suffered by Black and African American people in…
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Are We Living in a Dystopia?

State police officers during a “Reopen Virginia” rally around Capitol Square in Richmond on April 22, 2020. Getty/Ryan M. Kelly / AFP Shauna Shames, Rutgers University and Amy Atchison, Valparaiso University Dystopian fiction is hot. Sales of George Orwell’s “1984” and Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” have skyrocketed since 2016. Young adult dystopias – for example, Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger…
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Everything You Would Call the Cops For, The Cops Have Done to Me

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By Teka Lark (June 15, 2020) CW: sexual assault I heard someone say, “We need the police, what if you get home invaded.” Chances of that happening are almost nonexistent for boring people who worry about being home invaded on Facebook. That’s a crime you have to plan out, it’s not a dash-and-grab kind of situation, and it typically involves…
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There is a New Possibility in the Air

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By Louis Colombo (June 9, 2020) What’s striking about Democratic proposals for police reform, aside from the awful optics provided by Pelosi and Schumer (best forgotten), is that proposals that would have seemed to most people pretty bold and forward looking a few weeks are already being met by charges that they don’t go far enough (they don’t). But the…
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Why “Demilitarizing Law Enforcement” Will Make the Country Safer

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By Mark Naison (June 9, 2020) If we want to have a society where life expectancy and infant mortality are not at the bottom of advanced nations, and where 50% of the wealth doesn’t accrue to the top 1 percent, we have to gradually shift public funds from prisons and policing to education, health care, and affordable housing. As we…
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Labor Must Be Part of the Movement to Defund the Police

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By Hyung Nam (June 9, 2020) As we work to Defund Police and rethink public safety, it’s important for labor be a part of this struggle. We need to avoid the jobs vs justice argument we’ve dealt with in climate and #Medicare4All campaigns (people who work in insurance and billing). There are bad individual cops but a bigger problem is the role they play…
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The Good Old Days Weren’t Good For Everyone

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By Teka Lark (June 8, 2020) During WW2, over 127,000 Japanese Americans were put into internment camps. The Japanese American community lost $400 million, which would be $5 billion in today’s money. I don’t give a damn if Japanese Americans got a pathetic amount of reparations (if they were still alive), you never recover from someone uprooting your family and…
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Lessons About Police Brutality from the Chicanx Experience

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  By Joseph Orosco (June 3, 2020) The past week has seen an explosion of urban uprising that has not been experienced in the US in decades. Almost 5000 people have been arrested nationwide in protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd at the hand of police in Minneapolis. What is unique about this moment is that a majority…
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No Longer Defensive

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(Photo by Heather Mount, @heathermount) By S. (June 2, 2020) A number of thoughtful friends have reached out to ask me how I’m doing in the wake of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Christian Cooper and the riots that followed. Short answer: I’m optimistic. Longer answer: 20 years ago Amadou Diallo was murdered by the police and the conversations I…
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An Historian’s Thoughts on the Uprisings in Our Cities

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By Mark Naison (May 30, 2020) As an historian, I am am hardly surprised at the uprisings taking place in cities throughout the country. The murder of George Floyd pushed people filled with rage at their position in Trump’s America over the edge. It is not just that repeated murders of unarmed Black men and women, by police or self…
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