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.
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.
You may already know all about David Morrell, the legendary bestselling author of First Blood(the 1972 novel that the entire Rambofranchise 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 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…
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.
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!
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!
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.
As a teenager, I had to struggle alone to learn about myself and what it meant to be gay. Now for  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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
This weekend, activists took to the streets all over America to call for immediate and effective gun-control legislation, in the wake of the Valentines Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in which seventeen students and teachers were killed.
Celebrities including Paul McCartney and Patti Smith joined the New York City march, while others such as George Clooney, Jimmy Fallon, Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Miley Cyrus, and Demi Lovato turned out in for marches nationwide. One of the most exciting elements of mass peaceful protests such as the Women’s March and March for Our Lives is often the brilliant and creative signs carried by marchers. Inspired by Teen Vogue’s article ‘”Harry Potter” Signs Were Everywhere at the March for Our Lives‘, we’ve put together a list of some of the best literary signs (including several Potter ones, of course) spotted at various Marches for Our Lives this weekend.
The author of the groundbreaking novel The Hate U Give has been on quest to open the eyes of those around her. Angie Thomas’ YA novel revolves around a protagonist whose friend was shot dead by police. After the senseless loss, the character in on a never-ending journey of activism. Although, the irony of it all is that activism is exactly what Thomas’ work is doing.
Image Via Amazon
This novel has spent 50 weeks on the New York Times’ best-seller list, that’s almost a year! It’s on the shortlist for a National Book Award and it’s getting a film adaptation starring Amandla Sternberg. Think that’s all? Think again. Thomas recently spoke with Entertainment Weekly about her next big work, a sort of sequel. On The Come Up is to be published on June 5th and serves as the author’s ode to hip-hop.
Image Via Entertainment Weekly
Bri’s connection to music has always been deep since she’s the daughter of an underground rapper. However, his death comes on the cusp of his big break. Now living with her mother, the bills are mounting, the food is low, and money is scarce. Bri has to make it big for her family, her father, and herself.
This is going to be a good one, we know it, but Thomas has been working to forget the expectations and remember her love of music. She’s taking us back to her roots.
I call this book my homage to hip-hop. Stylistically, it feels to me a bit grittier. It feels more hip-hop… For me, the heart of the book is about it’s overcoming. These kids come from rough circumstances and situations, but have so much beauty about them
We are sure Thomas’ new release is going to break ground and open our hearts. Read Entertainment Weekly’s exclusive interview here and check out the brand new cover for On the Come Up below.