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Gen Longreads

In GEN. More on Medium.

Can a century-old colonial crisis be solved before a once-in-a-generation opportunity passes the island by?

Illustration: Clay Rodery for GEN

Gabriela Medina was around 10 years old when she first learned in school that the United States’ president was her president, too. The Congress she’d heard about? The one that met thousands of miles away across the ocean? …

Illustration by Mark Wang for GEN

The Conversation

Alexander Chee and Cathy Park Hong on how the pandemic has cracked open discrimination against Asian American communities

In the fall of 2019 I received an email from the poet and critic Cathy Park Hong telling me she had written an essay collection, Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning. She asked me to read it and consider it for a blurb. I receive roughly three or four requests…

I live alone. It’s been a very long year.

Illustration by Derek Abella for GEN

It has been one year since I’ve been properly hugged. I have never been a casual hugger, and yet it was this fact I kept coming back to as we approached the first anniversary of the pandemic. …

The photographs in this series were taken in New York City between April and June 2020. Photos: Gaia Squarci

As long as we focus on deaths and statistics, the bigger story of Covid-19 will go untold

On Tuesday, March 3, 2020, Alex Goldstein, the founder of a Boston strategic-communications company, spent the entire day counting mail-in ballots for the Massachusetts presidential primary. He was locked into an unventilated, 20-by-20-foot room with 30 other volunteers, most of them elderly. …

Illustrations: Nicole Rifkin

The coronavirus has realigned the pleasure principle as we struggle between the need for desire and safety

Last March, while under New York’s strictest lockdown, I felt overwhelmed by before-times portrayals of lust, sensuality, and unencumbered joy. I’d have fleeting fantasies about flying to parts of the country where they were still having sweat-soaked orgies and raucous dinner parties. I watched movies like Call Me By Your…

Photo illustration: Anthony Gerace. Sources: Hill Street Studios / Andersen Ross Photography Inc / David Soanes Photography / Leon Halip / Getty Images

The future of journalism is being written at America’s college newspapers

In November 2019, former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions came to Northwestern University to make a speech he called “The Real Meaning of the Trump Agenda.” Sessions, who had been invited by the College Republicans, had been out of office for a year. …

For decades, the website’s harsh light of truth rooted out urban legends and conspiracy theories. Does it still work?

Over the past 25 years, the internet has gone from a place of possibility and promise to a dreary slog. Nowhere is this more evident than in the evolution of, a website that once brought a great deal of joy to the internet explorer. Since its founding in 1995…

Illustrations: Reina Takahashi

Our conversations could be frustrating, but they also gave me hope. Was I a fool to think we were getting somewhere?

Three days after the 2016 election, I posted an invitation on Facebook. I was looking for Donald Trump voters who wanted to come over for dinner at my house, which is just a short walk from the White House in Washington, D.C. I wanted to understand why over 62 million…

Illustration: Nicole Rifkin

The young Black mayor of Stockton, California, was a progressive superstar. Then a feisty local blog decided he had to go.

The plot against Michael Tubbs, the first Black mayor of Stockton, California, and the youngest person ever to run a major U.S. city, was conceived even before he took the oath of office, at the age of 26, on January 9, 2017.

The mayorship was not a job for the…

Illustration: Lucy Jones

The lie at the heart of the Pham family ‘pass to freedom’

In August, my mother forwarded me an email. “Trump administration taps Vietnam refugee as new ICE chief,” it said. I opened it, and learned that my cousin, Tony Pham, had just been appointed to lead U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Tony’s ascent to this position instilled great pride in…


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