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Round-Up: Alum Writing from around the Web

By August 6, 2015No Comments


Our alums are incredible: we’re never short on news items featuring them to highlight on social media and in our newsletter.

Recently, we noticed our alums are not only the subject of news items, but often the authors, too. We pulled together a few of their latest posts to share with you here on the blog.

This list is mostly items we’ve come across ourselves, or that were sent to us, so it’s by no means comprehensive. If you have something you wrote online that you’d like us to feature, let us know!

Alum Writing Round-Up for July/Aug 2015

After attending the first Law for Black Lives Conference in New York, alum and ACLU Michigan Staff Attorney Brooke Tucker was struck with by the question of why it’s so much easier to use the constitution to save white lives than it is to use it to save black lives. She writes:

Most builders know that the most important part of the building is the foundation. If that is not sturdy—no matter what you put on top of it or how you try to dress it up—the end product will be flawed and unstable. 

Such is the case with our constitutional law system. 

Because that system is built upon a racist base, no matter how many times we try to tinker with it, dress it up or add some new words, the end result is still a system that continues to embody its foundation—the protection of white male lives and the oppression of all others.

Read more of Tucker’s experience at the conference, and her thoughts on constitutional law for the future, over at the ACLU Michigan blog.

In a world where social media and smartphones make privacy an ever-increasing commodity, calling for community accountability has more effect than ever before. But is it possible our processes for accountability are more harmful than they are helpful? Alum Adrienne Maree Brown thinks so:

When the response to mistakes, failures and misunderstandings is emotional, psychological, economic and physical punishment, we breed a culture of fear, secrecy and isolation.

So I’m wondering, in a real way: how can we pivot towards practicing transformative justice? How do we shift from individual, interpersonal and inter-organizational anger towards viable generative sustainable systemic change?

Brown’s post also includes a helpful list of actions to take to ensure transformative justice is actually transformative. See the full post on her blog.

Presidential election season is just beginning, and it’s bringing with it renewed efforts to tear down the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Alum Greg Speed of America Votes and America Votes Action Fund explains why upholding the VRA isn’t just an issue for Democrats:

Seeing bipartisan support in states this year for online registration and other laws expanding early voting, rights restoration and Election Day registration is very encouraging. Building modern election systems should not be a partisan issue. It embraces widely used technology and the realities of today’s world to expand voting for our younger, more diverse electorate, and makes the process simpler for election administration officials.

The post also gives a detailed overview of the current state of voting rights legislation in the country. Check it out over at the Huffington Post.

After Israeli Islamic leader Sheikh Kamal Khatib spoke out against women’s organizations in Palestine, alum Samah Salaime wrote him an open letter on +972, a web magazine independently run by journalists in both Israel and Palestine. Responding to Khatib’s comments, Salaime said:

The “Your Body Belongs to You” campaign, which you mocked while preaching from your pulpit, was started by Al-Siwar, an organization that provides support for victims of sexual abuse in Arab society. Do you support sexual abuse, sir? Shouldn’t you, as a religious figure, be supportive of this struggle? Do you want me to be afraid that a man will touch me without my consent? I support this campaign, and wish to be judged severely before judgement day. I demand justice from my God, because it seems that humans have forgotten what justice means.

Read the heartfelt piece over at +972.

This past week, the Obama administration released a plan to deal with climate change, which naturally received both praise and opposition. Former adviser to Obama, alum, and current CNN commentator Van Jones busted a few myths that the opposition has been spinning about the plan. Pointing out the ways in which the plan will positively affect low income communities and communities of color, Jones wrote:

On top of it all, the administration recently announced a low-income solar program. This initiative will lower utility bills, raise solar panels, and make solar the most diverse energy sector in America. It will do so through a national partnership between solar companies, housing authorities, rural electric co-ops, and states and cities.

Check out the full post to learn more about the Obama administration’s plan for climate change.

Efforts to defund and devalue Planned Parenthood have picked up in a major way lately in the wake of the release of misleading videos. Alum organization UltraViolet, which focuses on women’s rights, set up a new website that does only one thing: answer the question “What has Planned Parenthood done?”

Bustle, an online magazine about women’s issues, covered the story:

The Tumblr collects stories from people around the country who owe their health to Planned Parenthood, from those who use the organization for regular old check-ups to a woman whose doctor at the organization discovered her breast cancer. “But for the timely decisions at Planned Parenthood, I might well not be here today!” she wrote.

“I could not find any other service I could afford when I was in need,” reads another post. “Without Planned Parenthood, many do not have anywhere to go.”

The full post has statistics, screencaps, and more.

Written something lately? Let us know and we’ll include it in our next round-up!

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