Insight News

Aug 29th


Return of the weasels

Return of the weaselsThis column is not about the recent story making headlines in New York City on Mayor Bill de Blasio's proposal to lift a ban on pet ferrets. But it is about weasels. Age-old weasels still causing Americans pain and suffering and blocking progress towards a better, safer America for all. Sojourner Truth was a brilliant but illiterate slave woman, a great orator, and a powerful presence who possessed great courage. She challenged the racial and gender caste system of slavery by suing for the return of a son sold away from her. She got thrown off Washington, D.C. streetcars but kept getting back on until they changed the rules and let her ride. She stood up with fiery eloquence to opponents and threatening crowds who tried to stop her from speaking. When a hostile White man told her that the hall where she was scheduled to appear would be burnt down if she spoke, she replied, "Then I will speak to the ashes." When taunted while speaking in favor of women's rights by some White men who asked if she was really a woman, she bared her breasts and allegedly famously retorted, "Ain't I a woman?," detailing the back-breaking double burden of slavery's work and childbearing she had endured. When heckled by a White man in her audience who said he didn't care any more about her antislavery talk than for an old flea bite, she snapped back, "Then the Lord willing, I'll keep you scratching." And when decrying her exclusion from America's life and professed freedoms during a religious meeting where another speaker had just praised the Constitution, she told this story:

Climate change: The "distant future" is here

Climate change: The One of the classic commercials of the 1970s, when technological advances in food processing made it possible to enhance the flavor of margarine, posed an actress as Mother Nature about to ecstatically praise the taste of what she thought was her creation: "My delicious butter."

A pledge to keep to our youth

A pledge to keep to our youthAs young people graduate from high school, or finish the school year as sophomores and juniors, they begin to search for summer jobs. For the past several summers, the jobs have not been there, and this summer will be no different. It is true that economists are projecting a better employment situation for the college graduates who are entering the labor market now. At the same time, those high school graduates who must save money for college incidentals or for other needs will have a hard time finding work.

John Lewis to youth : Get in 'necessary trouble'

John Lewis to youth : Get in 'necessary trouble'Child Watch

Not every speaker tells a crowd of young leaders that their job is to get into trouble. But that's part of the message iconic civil rights warrior and now Congressman John Lewis (D-Ga.) conveyed at last year's week-long Children's Defense Fund (CDF) Freedom Schools®' National Training that began June 1 for nearly 2,000 college-age Freedom School servant leaders and site coordinators.

From hardship to hope

From hardship to hope"Foster care is not fun for anyone," says 24-year-old law student Amy Peters, who entered Nebraska's foster care system at age 12 and remained until she "aged out" at 19. Fortunately for Amy, she excelled in high school and was accepted at the University of Nebraska, and because she was attending college was eligible for housing, health care, and financial assistance until age 21 through Nebraska's Former Ward Program. Amy knows very well she was one of the lucky ones.

"Bring Back Our Girls": Why we should care

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly." – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Letter to the editor: Rejecting Ward 5 as an afterthought

Letter to the editor: Rejecting Ward 5 as an afterthoughtI take great exception to the notion that "I don't know who I represent" in Ward 5 as recently claimed by an unelected city department head in relation to the racial equity toolkit ("Rights Chief: Minneapolis insincere on civil rights legislation," May 14, 2014). Too often the people in Ward 5 seem to be an afterthought. The racial equity toolkit and plan need to be of excellent quality; specifically they need to reflect work that is thoughtful, competent, functional, and substantive. Most importantly, the effort needs to be crafted to substantially move the needle on closing the immense disparities suffered by people of color all over the city, but especially in Ward 5. This iteration of the racial equity toolkit does not yet meet those criteria, it needs work. I don't want to see the people of my ward short-changed and disappointed once more. I'll paraphrase Malcolm X who perhaps said it best: "A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything." Ward 5 has been the victim in that equation long enough. Either we do it right, or why do it at all.
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