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Civil Rights

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Active Voice

The 26-year-old activist is reimagining new social and political norms

At the time of Trayvon Martin’s murder in 2012, Brea Baker was only 17. The now 26-year-old racial and gender justice activist recalls the tragedy being a defining moment in how social media served as a catalyst for activism in the United States. Black Lives Matter proliferated on Twitter and the overall digital space, playing a key role in Baker’s coming-of-age. Though she initially pursued a degree in physics while attending Yale, Baker’s growing involvement in activism pushed her to switch her major to political science. …


Hello GEN reader! Medium is hosting a big event tomorrow and we’d love for you to join us. “The Purpose of Power will be a live Zoom conversation between #BlackLivesMatter co-founder Alicia Garza and Vanessa De Luca, editor-in-chief of ZORA.

The event starts at 4:15 ET/1:15 PT and you can register for free here.

As the architect of one of the most notable civil rights movements of the 21st century, Alicia Garza has forever redefined what it means to organize with impact. In her chat with De Luca, she’ll answer questions about what constitutes a movement and what doesn’t, how to create coalitions around causes even when everyone doesn’t always agree, and the importance of purpose-driven leadership in these turbulent times.

Again, here’s that registration link. We hope to see you there.

All best,
Brendan Vaughan
Editor-in-chief, GEN


Carrie Severino has been reshaping the judiciary, while Roger Severino has been undermining the laws it upholds

Carrie Campbell Severino posed for a masked selfie last Monday night on the darkened White House grounds to watch her former boss, Justice Clarence Thomas, swear in 48-year-old Amy Coney Barrett to a lifetime seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. As the president and public face of the Judicial Crisis Network (JCN), the financial muscle behind President Donald Trump’s takeover of the federal courts, Carrie had returned to the executive mansion where, weeks earlier, her years of behind-the-scenes work had paid off: three Supreme Court justices in three and a half years.

JCN is a conservative nonprofit that bankrolls the…


THE UPRISING MARCHES ON

Too often our schools gloss over the intricacies and struggles of Black liberation

This piece is part of The Uprising Marches On, a package on what’s next for the movement for Black lives.

If LaGarrett King were to write a high-school U.S. history textbook, he’d create a unit on Black Lives Matter. It would start with the killing of Trayvon Martin in 2012. “Then Black Lives Matter enters the lexicon,” King said. “The death of Michael Brown kind of explodes it all. George Floyd obviously will be in there.”

But that’s as far as King, a social studies education professor at the University of Missouri and founder of the Carter Center for K-12…


I cried for George Floyd, but I couldn’t be out there for him

I’ve been glued to my phone for weeks. Since May, social media has given me 24-hour access to the protests over systemic racism. The barrage of camera footage and live feeds have bookmarked my Groundhog Day–esque shelter-in-place routine; these check-ins are as much a part of my day as brushing my teeth or tucking my kids into bed.

Watching the protests against police brutality day after day, I’m reminded of Dave Chappelle’s recent Netflix special 8:46. In the act, Chappelle shares gratitude for the African Americans out on the streets protesting police brutality and the eight minutes and 46 seconds


From 1960 until her death, Patricia Stephens Due had to wear dark glasses, a symbol of her lasting trauma

In the last six weeks, police around the country have met Black Lives Matter protesters with extreme responses — from rubber bullets to tear gas. For some, the result can be a lifelong disability.

It’s a reality writer Tananarive Due knows well; her mother, the civil rights activist Patricia Stephens Due was teargassed by police in 1960 and lived with severe light sensitivity until her death in 2012. GEN asked Due to share what that experience was like for her mother and what current protesters can learn from the movement of the 1960s.

GEN: Your mother had a history in…


Counterprotests combatting the recent Ku Klux Klan rallies in North Carolina show that silence is not an option

While standing at a crosswalk waiting for the traffic light signal to change, I watched as a van pulled up beside me with its side door flung open. A group of white men emerged from inside, their fists wrapped around hockey sticks as they screamed in my face, “Nigger!” Within seconds, one of them hopped out of the van and began pacing toward me. I turned and ran away as fast as I could. I was just 12 years old at the time.

Ever since that day, I have thought about dying. Just hours before the attack, I had traveled…


The Justice Department wants to make it legal to fire someone for being trans — or for just not resembling what it thinks a woman should look like

There is no way to embrace discrimination against transgender women without embracing discrimination against women. This should have been painfully obvious to all of us a long time ago. But, if you somehow missed the memo, the Trump administration’s latest attack on trans rights — formally urging the Supreme Court to rule that firing transgender and gender nonconforming people for how they dress does not constitute workplace discrimination — should clue you in.

The matter centers on a Supreme Court case, R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC. The plaintiff in that case, Aimee Stephens, was fired because she…


The right to legal abortion in all 50 states has been in crisis for years. Why weren’t we panicking?

Last Wednesday night — a few hours after Justice Kennedy announced his retirement from the Supreme Court, a few hours after the overturn of Roe v. Wade had become inevitable — I realized that my relationship to my body had changed.

I’m speaking as if the loss of Roe is a foregone conclusion, because it mostly is. Donald Trump has said that any justice he appoints will overturn Roe. There are not enough Democrats in Congress to block Trump’s nominee or delay the vote until after the 2018 midterms, and despite some remarks from the relatively moderate Senator Susan Collins…


Oversight

Stomping out speech we dislike will cause more harm than good

If you read the New York Times op-ed page or make the mistake of looking at political Twitter for more than two minutes, you’d think “free speech” had become an obscenity.

The argument — put forward by Bret Stephens, Bari Weiss, and countless others — goes something like this: Students, young people, and progressives are now actively hostile to the free speech protections that are afforded to everyone under the Constitution. Colleges are full of undergraduates demanding “safe spaces” and refusing to recognize the rights of those they disagree with. …

GEN

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