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Alum News Round-Up: June 2017

By June 9, 2017No Comments

Rockwood has thousands of alums doing incredible work all over the world, so it’s no surprise they often pop up in the news. If you’re an alum, keep us updated!


  • Andrea Cristina Mercado was named Executive Director of the New Florida Majority:

    “Andrea is the kind the extraordinary leader that NewFM needs to build on Gihan’s groundbreaking legacy. In her work at NDWA and throughout her career, Andrea has demonstrated deep political and ideological alignment with NewFM, including a strong focus on racial justice. She has proven experience as an organizational leader, manager and fundraiser, with an ability to build and lead at a significant scale and get real results.”

  • Linda Sarsour was a guest on Comedy Central’s The President Show (requires login to view).
  • Cristina Jimenez and Nikki Fortunato Bas co-wrote a piece for Colorlines, “No, The Anti-Immigrant Border Wall Isn’t the Infrastructure Project Americans Voted For”:

    “Building a wall and expanding the deportation machine is not the infrastructure our country’s working families voted for or need. Three major polls have shown that the wall is wildly unpopular among Americans. At least 13 companies have publicly said they will not compete for the wall project, including five of the largest 25 design-build firms in the country. And officials in at least eight states and four cities have proposed legislation to keep local funds from going to companies that support construction of the border wall. Despite this clear objection to dividing families, Trump is using the budget fight happening now to push Congress to devote still more money to detention centers and deportations.”

  • Ai-Jen Poo wrote a response in The Atlantic to its hugely viral piece “My Family’s Slave” by the late Alex Tizon, titled “Lola Wasn’t Alone”:

    “But I can tell you, having worked with domestic workers since the mid-1990s, that extraordinary acts of cruelty are unfortunately not limited to people of any one culture. To the contrary, completely ordinary people can be incredibly cruel when they have a decided power advantage and no checks on their power. There is a known pattern of abuse with foreign diplomats and professionals who import “help” from their home countries, but Americans enslave people too. There is a deep history of these arrangements among families at the U.S.-Mexico border where U.S. citizens regularly exploit the insecure citizenship status of workers by forcing them to clean, cook, and take care of children and elders. And across the country, community organizers have encountered enslaved and exploited domestic workers in city after city.”

  • Julia Bacha gave the commencement speech for Columbia University’s School of General Studies:

    “Remind yourself of the power that you all carry inherently inside of you and the responsibility that comes with it. Where you turn your attention every day has consequences for the world you live in,” she said. “We all carry the power to bring that forth. By changing the way we look at the world, we can change it.”

  • Opal Tometi wrote a piece for Time, “Trump Admin’s Haiti Emails Perpetuate the Myth of the ‘Black Criminal’”:

    “The U.S. has long characterized Haitian immigrants as criminals. Haitians are subjected to a U.S. immigration policy that is particularly unusual. The tradition of labeling Haitians as lawbreakers began in 1963 when the first boat of Haitians seeking political asylum was summarily rejected by U.S. immigration officials, while at the same time the U.S. admitted thousands of Cubans as refugees and political asylum-seekers. This practice continues with the detaining and deporting of Haitians in disproportionate numbers. The U.S. has exported these punitive, anti-Haitian practices throughout the Caribbean by training immigration enforcement officers in the region and directly supporting the building of border walls and detention centers in the Dominican Republic. The U.S.’ refusal to acknowledge the plight of displaced Haitians and maintaining inhumane practices of neglect, disrespect and violence amounts to a gross violation of human rights.”

  • Rajasvini Bhansali shared stories from Thousand Currents’ (formerly IDEX) partners with Alliance Magazine:

    “Raising resources is not easy. Building alliances and deepening relationships takes time. Our artists remind us if we emphasize joy, then we will move forward and more creatively with our work. Being vulnerable means being open to change. It means we can see the magic unfold.”

  • Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi, with their Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, were awarded the Sydney Peace Prize:

    “Last year’s recipient, Naomi Klein, said Cullors, Garza and Tometi “embody the core principle of the Sydney peace prize: that there will never be peace without real justice”.

    “This is an inspired, bold and urgent choice – and it’s exactly what our moment of overlapping global crises demands,” Klein said.

  • Malkia Cyril was featured in a Washington Post article on activists and smartphone surveillance:

    “Their fears go beyond the change in the White House. The Justice Department’s announcement in April that it would review police reform agreements reached during the Obama administration has heightened concerns that the federal government is sharply curtailing its oversight of state and local police forces. Many departments in recent years have expanded their capacity to track cellphones, collect massive troves of video and analyze social-media postings, yet these police forces often operate with fewer restrictions than those in effect at the federal level.”

  • Victor Narro was featured in the Los Angeles Times for his work teaching self-care practices activists across the country:

    “The project director at the UCLA Downtown Labor Center, who has organized immigrants on the front lines for decades, lately has dedicated himself to spreading the gospel of self-care to legions of overextended protesters, lawyers and outreach workers.“If you’re going to be at your best for the people you’re trying to help,” Narro tells them, “you have to take care of yourself.”

  • Kristin Schafer was named Executive Director of Pesticide Action Network North America:

    “It’s an honor to have the opportunity to lead this amazing organization,” said Schafer. “Now more than ever, PAN’s work to create meaningful change in the food and farming system is critically important. Our firm grounding in the value of independent science and our longstanding commitment to working in coalition with partners on the frontlines of industrial agriculture sets PAN apart in these challenging times.”

  • Alicia Garza gave the commencement speech at San Francisco State University:

    “Were it not for Black women, there would be no Underground Railroad, no one to campaign against Black bodies swinging from trees like strange fruit, there would be no protest songs like the ones that came from the toes through the womb up through the lungs and out of the brilliant mind and mouth of Nina Simone.”

  • Ben Jealous announced his candidacy for governor of Maryland:

    “We can grow our state, create opportunity, and leave a better future for our children,” Jealous told about 75 supporters outside Baltimore Blossoms, a Baltimore City flower shop in the Northwest neighborhood where his grandparents live. “It will not be easy, but no great undertaking ever is. But we don’t fear the challenge, rather we are up to it, we are inspired by it. . . . It is time for us to dream again and to make big dreams real again.”

  • Heather McGhee was a featured panelist on Meet The Press:

    “This is a moment of the people of the UK where they are experiencing a heightened sense of fragility walking into bars and concerts and crossing the street on the bridge and yet at the same time I know that people in the communities of color in this country are also seeing that the president and the right wing are ignoring domestic extremism in the United States … I think that there is a broad conversation to have about an administration that is tolerating right-wing extremism and hate, as well as continued threat of a war that we are continuing to not prosecute well overseas.”

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