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June 17, 2017
by mara.ahmed
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Daughters of the Dust

Rita Kempley: “Daughters of the Dust” is an African American family heirloom, a gorgeously impressionistic history of the Gullah people set on the South Carolina Sea Islands at the turn of the century. In the hands of director Julie Dash and photographer Arthur Jafa, this nonlinear film becomes visual poetry…



June 16, 2017
by mara.ahmed
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Standing Rock Sioux Wins Major Legal Victory Against Dakota Access Pipeline

“The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has won a major legal victory in federal court on Wednesday, which may have the power to force the shutdown of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline. On Wednesday, District Judge James Boasberg ruled that the Trump administration failed to carry out an adequate environmental review of the pipeline, after President Trump ordered the Army Corps to fast-track and greenlight its approval. Washington, D.C., District Judge Boasberg has requested additional briefings next week on whether the pipeline should be shut off until the completion of a full review of a potential oil spill’s impacts on fishing and hunting rights, as well as environmental justice.” More here.

June 15, 2017
by mara.ahmed
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Akala’s view on blame for London tower

PATRICK GRAFTON-GREEN: Concerns about fire safety in the 24-storey building in west London have been raised for years and were not investigated during a renovation which was completed in May 2016, the residents claim.
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation, which manages the council’s housing stock, the local council and construction firm Rydon, which carried out an £8.6m refurbishment project in May 2016, have all been criticised.

Rydon carried out the project to modernise the outside of the building, and it saw new cladding and windows installed.
David Collins, of Grenfell Tower residents association, told the BBC: “We repeatedly reported concerns to the tenant management organisation of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, including fire safety concerns, which were not investigated during the regeneration works.

“Concerns over locations of boilers, concerns about escape, concerns about fire escape lighting, the list goes on.
“I spoke to Nick Paget-Brown [Kensington and Chelsea Council leader], I spoke to councillors and they refused to investigate.
“They wouldn’t believe the residents were concerned. 90 per cent of residents signed at independent petition asking to there to be an investigation into the organisation that runs this building because they were so incompetent and the council turned it down.

“68 per cent of residents felt they had been threatened, harassed, pressured or bullied by the same organisation or by the contractors doing the work.
“I personally had someone come round and threaten me at my own door, so that was the conditions we were dealing with, and they didn’t listen to our concerns.”

June 14, 2017
by mara.ahmed
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whose ideas?

is it a manifestation of white supremacy/christian hegemony if u are asked to explain ur vision, over and over and over again, only for it to be put on the back burner, until it’s revived but it’s like no one remembers anything that was ever said or written, and so u are asked to justify the same ideas once more, as they get challenged by different people, at different times, on different occasions. also, u are told, rather patronizingly, that this is how projects work and that if u’re not feeling like u are being supported, u’re not the only one. when u decide to step away from the project and make way for the power hierarchy to go to work as usual, it’s framed as lack of commitment or too much sensitivity. frankly, there’s only so many times one can repeat oneself. the pressure of the system can be felt upon one’s body. it’s cumulative and sometimes one has to exit in order to breathe. not complaining. just reflecting on how these things work.

June 10, 2017
by mara.ahmed
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In Free Speech Debates, LGBTQ and People Of Color At Risk

Commencement speakers and visiting lecturers are feeling the heat from the free speech debates raging on college campuses across the country. Both conservative and liberal speakers feel caught in the cross-hairs, though columnist Steven Thrasher from The Guardian argues that those most likely to experience real threats are the speakers who are neither white nor male.
“There’s a much higher price being paid from people who are not white men just to be able to speak in the first place,” Thrasher told WNYC host Jami Floyd.

…”A study commissioned by The Guardian last year showed that women and people of color receive the vast majority of violent threats in response to speaking out. After analyzing 70 million comments on articles published by The Guardian since 2006, the report shows that “of the 10 most abused writers, eight are women, and the two men are black.”
One of those writers is Steven Thrasher, a columnist for The Guardian whose most recent piece discusses free speech and the lack of access experienced by queer and trans people, women, and people of color. More here.

June 9, 2017
by mara.ahmed
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Local Muslims respond to anti-Sharia/anti-Muslim rallies taking place on June 10th

We, the Civic Engagement Committee at the Islamic Center of Rochester, would like to publicly reject the anti-Sharia rallies taking place in Upstate New York and all over the country. These demonstrations, organized by longtime neo-Nazi Billy Roper and ACT for America, the largest anti-Muslim group in the country and a designated hate group (according to the Southern Poverty Law Center), aren’t occurring in a vacuum. Anti-Muslim sentiment is being fed by inflammatory statements and policy prescriptions coming all the way up from the presidency, most notoriously through the failed Muslim ban.

The constitution protects the rights of people of all faiths to practice their religion. This is a core American value that cannot be compromised. Hostility and intimidation toward people of different faiths, which is what these rallies aim to express, chip away at the values we strive to defend as Americans and make our communities less safe.

Hate and violence against minority communities, including an increase in surveillance and profiling of Muslims and all people of color, the detention and deportation of immigrants, the school to prison pipeline and prison industrial complex, as well as other modes of systemic oppression, cannot be normalized.

We must continue to support initiatives led by members of these marginalized communities so that we can unite and form sustainable movements founded on principles of justice and equality. We can only be safe, if all of us are safe.

We invite the Rochester community to connect with the Islamic Center of Rochester. This is the month of Ramadan, a time for Muslims all over the world to focus on charity and good deeds, to empathize with those who do not get to eat three meals a day, to share food with our neighbors and friends, and work together to make the world a more just and peaceful place. All are welcome.

June 9, 2017
by mara.ahmed
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Jeremy Corbyn has caused a sensation – he would make a fine prime minister | Owen Jones

This is one of the most sensational political upsets of our time. Theresa May – a wretched dishonest excuse of a politician, don’t pity her – launched a general election with the sole purpose of crushing opposition in Britain. It was brazen opportunism, a naked power grab: privately, I’m told, her team wanted the precious “bauble” of going down in history as the gravediggers of the British Labour party. Instead, she has destroyed herself. She is toast. More here.