Tag: activism

Flint Water Crisis Book Selected as “Great Michigan Read”

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha’s groundbreaking What The Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City has been selected as this year’s “Great Michigan Read.”

 

 

Dr. Mona

Image Via Oakland University

 

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a pediatrician and public health expert, played an integral role in exposing the Flint Michigan Water Crisis nearly four years ago in 2014.

After the crisis, Dr. Mona was “[n]amed one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2016,” but many were still left wondering why this crisis had happened in the first place and how it got so bad.

 

 

Cover of "What The Eyes Don't See"

Image Via Society of Environmental Journalists.org

 

That’s the question this book sets out to answer. Published on June 19, 2018, What The Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City—written with the help of a team of researchers, parents, friends, and community leaders—delves into the ins and out of why this crisis even occurred in the first place and how hard it was to expose it. The book’s description informs not only of the work’s contents, but also of its significance:

Here is the inspiring story of how Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, alongside a team of researchers, parents, friends, and community leaders, discovered that the children of Flint, Michigan, were being exposed to lead in their tap water—and then battled her own government and a brutal backlash to expose that truth to the world. Paced like a scientific thriller, What the Eyes Don’t See reveals how misguided austerity policies, broken democracy, and callous bureaucratic indifference placed an entire city at risk. And at the center of the story is Dr. Mona herself—an immigrant, doctor, scientist, and mother whose family’s activist roots inspired her pursuit of justice.

What the Eyes Don’t See is a riveting account of a shameful disaster that became a tale of hope, the story of a city on the ropes that came together to fight for justice, self-determination, and the right to build a better world for their—and all of our—children.

 

 

Michigan Humanities Council
Image Via Publicity – Michigan Humanities CounciL

 

Thankfully, this book is now getting the recognition it deserves.

US News quotes Michigan Humanities CEO Shelly Hendrick Kasprzycki as saying she hopes the “book will increase opportunities for civil discourse in our state.”

 

The Flint Water Crisis in acation at a hospital

Image Via HuffPost

 

In the mean time, the crisis still continues. If you wish to donate, click here.

 

Featured Image Via Access

5 Excellent Books With an Environmental Message to Celebrate Earth Day

Happy Earth Day! Earth Day is a reminder about the planet we live on, about its resources and the ecological impact we do with every move we make. To remind you about how you can help the planet, not just on Earth Day but every day of the year, here are five compelling books with an environmental message to celebrate this day, covering from a variety of genres such as nonfiction to fiction.

 

5. No turning Back: The Extinction Scenario by Richard Ellis

 

Two extinct species stand next to each other, a wooly mammoth and a dodo

Image Via Goodreads

No Turning Back by Richard Ellis is a nonfiction scientific book which examines the topic of extinction. Author Ellis examines the finality of a species existence by using five periods of mass extinction to outline how a species meets its final end, including the meteorite that brought an end to the dinosaurs and humanity killing off animals such as the saber-toothed tiger, wooly mammoth, and cave bears when they crossed the Bering Land Bridge 15,000 years ago. Ellis offers a naturalistic view that is well worth the read and reminds us that no species, least of all our own, lasts forever.

 

4. Midworld by Alan Dean Foster

 

Image Via amazon

Midworld by Alan Dean Foster tells the story of a planet called Midworld, covered entirely by a vast rainforest that’s almost a mile high and rich with alien fauna. Home to a primitive society that’s in tune with the natural world, Midworld is changed when an exploitative human company arrives and begins attempt to mine the planet for its resources while ignoring the delicate ecosystem. A pulpy page turner, this one is an obvious metaphor for destructive of delicate environments by corporations but done extremely well and the planet itself is so richly described you’ll feel like you can live there.

 

3. Ecotopia by Ernest Callenbach

 

A tree grows in a natural field, its canopy designed to look like a green Earth

Image Via Amazon

Ecotopia heavily influenced the green movement when it was first published in the 1970s and is just as compelling today. Ecotopia tells the story of Northern California, Oregon, and Washington separating from the United States to create their own nation. Admitting its first visitor from the outside world, a reporter who finds a utopia inside the new nation’s borders, one economically and socially viable, showing a world that could be created if humanity would let it.

 

2. The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert

 

A skeleton of a mammoth on the cover of The Sixth Extinction

Image Via Amazon

There have been five major mass extinctions in Earth’s history. Now, in this nonfiction novel, Elizabeth Kolbert argues we are in the midst of a sixth and one that we are responsible for. Drawing on the world’s best scientific minds and researchers, Elizabeth Kolbert presents her case very bluntly, showing species that are already perished within humanity’s lifespan and others that are on the verge of dying out. This novel very starkly illustrates that a new mass extinction is underway and we can’t stop it, as its already too late for dozens of species. This one is a must-read and shows that if we do not taking action immediately, our legacy could be the sixth extinction.

 

1. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

 

A book with a pure green cover

Image Via Amazon

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson is the classic environmental novel. Published in 1962, it was first serialized in The New Yorker before being compiled as a full length novel. Gaining huge swaths of publicity and popularity, the book highlighted the extreme damage that unregulated usage of pesticides would cause if left unchecked. Carson faced ruthless backlash by chemical companies and unfortunately passed away in 1964 but her work changed the word, as sweeping changes were made to pesticides. This is a must read for anyone environmentally active and is the perfect book for Earth Day.

 

 

Featured Image Via Goodreads 

AslanTudor_via CBC

8-Year-Old Activist Publishes a Children’s Book About Standing Rock

Young Water Protectors: A Story About Standing Rock follows the experiences of 8-year-old Aslan Tudor, a young activist, accompanied his family in 2016,  providing support to the indigenous people of Standing Rock Indian reservation. The twelve-page children’s book highlights some of what he had experienced and witnessed during the Dakota Pipeline protests.

 

youngprotectors_1

Image via Amazon

 

Realizing there weren’t many resources for young children to learn about Standing Rock and the Dakota Pipeline controversy, both Aslan and his mother begin to write his book. His mother assisted with typing and grammar checking, but the content is all Aslan’s. It’s a great resource for young children to refer to as it is written from the perspective of a child. The book became available for purchase on August 8th.

 

 

Featured Image Via CBC

Rambo

How David Morrell and ‘Rambo’ Helped Dissolve the USSR

You may already know all about David Morrell, the legendary bestselling author of First Blood (the 1972 novel that the entire Rambo franchise is based on.) What you may not know, however, is that Rambo actually had a pretty big part in dissolving the USSR

 

David Morrell and Sylvester Stalone

David Morrell and Sylvester Stallone | Image via IMDB

 

Now, Morrell (AKA: Rambo’s Father) hadn’t actually set-out to achieve something so historic; he never could’ve known the power his words might hold while he was putting them on the page. And he didn’t actually learn about Rambo’s involvement in the dismantling of the Soviet Union until about fifteen-or-so-years after the initial Rambo adaptation was released.

 

At Thrillerfest this past weekend, Morrell recounted the story of how Rambo‘s influence in Poland came to his attention. 

During the early 2000’s, Morrell was visiting Poland on a book tour and noticed straight away that he was being treated, well, differently

 

David Morrell

Image Via davidmorrell.net

 

The flag that maybe things weren’t exactly as they seemed was that Morrell was visiting Poland at the same time as then-President Bill Clinton, and they happened to be staying in the same hotel. Despite the fact that the literal President of the United States was currently staying there, David Morrell was the one the hotel staff decided to place inside the Presidential Suite; Bill Clinton stayed in the second-best room, the suite usually left for authors.

 

Morrell thought that this was strange, but assumed that maybe there was a glitch in the system or something, so he didn’t really think too much about it…that is, until things got even stranger

 

The next clue was that, like clockwork, journalists were lining up to interview and speak with him, just one after the other in a seemingly-never-ending cycle:

 

It seemed like fifteen minutes would go by before a new journalist approached me…it got to the point where, eventually, I was being interviewed by this nice Polish woman, about thirty-five years old or so…and I just asked her, ‘what’s going on? why is everyone so excited to meet me?’

 

The woman informed Morrell that, during the late eighties and early nineties, while Poland was struggling to cut-ties with Russia, the Soviet Union had banned the Rambo film from entering the country. So, the people did what any citizens trapped within the confines of a fascist-ruled state would do; they smuggled copies of the film into the country, hosted illegal viewings, and soaked up every bit of activism, justice, and rebellion they could, before taking to the streets. 

 

In fact, demonstrators speaking out against the USSR found Rambo so inspiring that they drew from his speeches, wardrobe, and the entire energy he encompassed to make their protests that much more powerful.

 

The journalist looked at Morrell and stated,

 

So, you see, people love you here because Rambo helped dissolve the USSR.

 

It’s incredible just how powerful books and films can be, and the influence art can have on us; people have used music, novels, artwork, poetry, and more to protest injustices since the beginning of time.

 

So, let’s all take a piece of advice from David Morrell by creating the things we feel compelled to create, fearlessly and without a second-thought; we never know just how important they may turn out to be.

 

via GIPHY

 

 

 

 

Featured Image via Variety

Marsha P. Johnson

17 Quotes from LGBTQ+ Trailblazers

It’s Pride month!

 

Now is the time for freedom, celebration, liberation, and love! The LGBTQ+ community has fought hard (and is still fighting) against societal and systemic oppression every single day (especially the Transgender community; here’s a list of all the lives that have been lost in 2018 alone).

 

This month is a time to celebrate how far we’ve come, to acknowledge the oppressions and inequalities that are still so prevalent, and to keep marching toward and fighting for the revolution we need.

 

It is also a time to recognize and remember the activists who got us here. We wouldn’t have rights, Pride, or any of the freedoms we get to experience day-by-day if it weren’t for their bravery, selflessness, and perseverance. 

 

Here are seventeen quotes from incredible activists who paved the way!

 

Marsha P. Johnson:

Now they got two little nice statues in Chariot Park to remember the gay movement. How many people have died for these two little statues to be put in the park for them to recognize gay people? How many years has it taken people to realize that we are all brothers and sisters and human beings in the human race? I mean how many years does it take people to see that? We’re all in this rat race together!

 

Harvey Milk:

If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door.

 

Laverne Cox:

It is revolutionary for any trans person to choose to be seen and visible in a world that tells us we should not exist.

 

James Baldwin:

Everybody’s journey is individual. If you fall in love with a boy, you fall in love with a boy. The fact that many Americans consider it a disease says more about them than it does about homosexuality.

 

Barbara Smith:

Remember, goals are stars to steer by, not sticks with which to beat ourselves.

 

Audre Lorde:

When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.

 

Bayard Rustin:

When an individual is protesting society’s refusal to acknowledge his dignity as a human being, his very act of protest confers dignity on him.

 

Andrea Gibson:

It is untrue that bravery can be measured by a lack of fear. It takes guts to tremble. It takes tremble to love.

 

Barbara Gittings:

As a teenager, I had to struggle alone to learn about myself and what it meant to be gay. Now for [48] years I’ve had the satisfaction of working with other gay people all across the country to get the bigots off our backs, to oil the closet door hinges, to change prejudiced hearts and minds, and to show that gay love is good for us and for the rest of the world too. It’s hard work—but it’s vital, and it’s gratifying, and it’s often fun!

 

Jennicet Gutiérrez:

Immigrant trans women are 12 times more likely to face discrimination because of our gender identity. If we add our immigration status to the equation, the discrimination increases. Transgender immigrants make up one out of every 500 people in detention, but we account for one out of five confirmed sexual abuse cases in ICE custody. The violence my trans sisters face in detention centers is one of torture and abuse. The torture and abuse come from ICE officials and other detainees in these detention centers. I have spoken with my trans immigrant sisters who were recently released from detention centers. With a lot of emotional pain and heavy tears in their eyes, they opened up about the horrendous treatment they all experienced. Often seeking asylum to escape threats of violence because of their gender identity and sexuality, this is how they’re greeted in this country. At times misgendered, exposed to assault, and put in detention centers with men.

 

Frida Kahlo:

I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.

 

Sylvia Rivera:

I was a radical, a revolutionist. I am still a revolutionist…I am glad I was in the Stonewall riot. I remember when someone threw a Molotov cocktail, I thought, “My god, the revolution is here. The revolution is finally here!

 

Martina Navratilova:

I never felt I had anything to hide. I never felt being gay was anything to be ashamed of, so I never felt apologetic. I didn’t have issues with it, didn’t grow up with any religion, so I didn’t have any religious, you know, issues to deal with as far as homosexuality is concerned. So, I accepted it very easily. For me, it wasn’t that big a deal.

 

Mabel Hampton:

I, Mabel Hampton, have been a lesbian all my life, for 82 years, and I am proud of myself and my people. I would like all my people to be free in this country and all over the world, my gay people and my black people.

 

Christine Jorgenson:

Everyone is both sexes in varying degrees. I am more of a woman than a man.

 

Brenda Howard:

Bi, Poly, Switch—I’m not greedy, I know what I want.

 

Janet Mock:

Self-definition and self-determination is about the many varied decisions that we make to compose and journey toward ourselves…It’s okay if your personal definition is in a constant state of flux as you navigate the world.

 

 

via GIPHY

 

via GIPHY

 

 

Featured Image Via Famous Biographies