Tag: justice

Vermont Autism Task Force

Author Highlights Importance of Autism Awareness Day

Yesterday was Autism Awareness Day, which, each year, yields much discourse about how people with autism are treated, showing there are still great strides to be made.

 

Marieke Nijkamp, #1 New York Times bestselling author of This is Where It Ends and Before I Let Go, editor of Unbroken: 13 stories starring disabled teens, and writer of the upcoming Oracle: Rising, tweeted out some extremely important points.

Let’s look at the tweets.

This is right on the money. I’m sure we all are aware that autism exist, but being aware of something isn’t the same as accepting it. I can be aware of you, the reader, but to say I accept you is something totally different.

See how it sounds? “I’m aware of you”. Harsh, a little blunt, and you’re not sure what I’m getting at.

Now if I say, “I accept you,” there’s something kinder and much more honest in those words.

See the difference?

You definitely should.

You may think: it’s the 21st Century. We have history books that tell us condemning differences is bad, bad bad. Do we really need to go over this again? The answer is, yes, we do, because we can’t afford to forget about it.

Make an effort to better yourself, be willing to change your mind, and LISTEN.

 

 

Stan Lee, "Nuff said"

Image Via Imgflip

Autism Acceptance Day is meant to give those on the spectrum the spotlight. That doesn’t mean you should forget about them tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that. It means the fight isn’t over.

 

 

 

Featured Image Via mariekenijkamp.com

‘Justice’ Is Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year

The fight for racial and gender equality; Brett Kavanaugh’s hearing; the controversy surrounding Robert Mueller’s investigation; this year has been a tumultuous news cycle and this is expected to continue in 2019.

 

In response to all this, Merriam-Webster crowned the word ‘justice’ as the word of the year for 2018.

 

 

“The concept of Justice was at the center of many of our national debates in the past year: racial justice, social justice, criminal justice, economic justice,” the company said. “In any conversation about these topics, the question of just what exactly we mean when we use the term justice is relevant, and part of the discussion,” it said.

 

There was a 74% in webs search compared with 2017, and the company acknowledged its features in many news outlets.

 

Image Via Brandon Briggs CNN.com

 

Oxford Dictionary named ‘toxic’ its word of the year, and Dictionary.com’s crowned ‘misinformation’ as the winner.

 

It comes after Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison, during a week when sweeping criminal justice reforms look set to dominate the US Senate’s agenda.

 

Image Via Merriam-webster.com (Photo: Romolo Tavani)

 

‘Justice,’ succeeds last year’s winner, ‘feminism.’ There are many other examples of successes in the past of the companies word choices of 2018:

 

Image Via Merriam-webster.com

 

Searches for the word ‘nationalism’ saw an 8000% spike when Trump described himself as a nationalist at a rally in Houston; ‘Pansexual’ was buzzing when Janelle Monáe identified herself as such; ‘Lodestar’ increased when the anonymous writer published an explosive New York Times opinion piece; ‘Laurel’ spiked in searches after the death of the ‘Queen of Soul,’ Aretha Franklin, in August.

 

Image Via Legalinsurrection.com 

 

‘Socialism,’ ‘austerity,’ and ‘bailout,’ have all been crowned by the company in the past decade.

 

 

Featured Image Via Usatoday.com (Photo: Mark Lennihan, AP) 
collage

5 Novels About Justice to Get You Fired Up

At times, we can feel helpless or disconnected from the injustices or indeed the justice, taking place around us and around the world. Here are five novels from around the world that deal with themes of justice and injustice to get you feeling engaged, informed and ready to stand up for what you believe in! 

 

Good as Gold by Bernard Martin 

 

Image Via Amazon

Image Via Amazon

 

This amazing novel from Australian author Bernard Martin tackles the injustices inflicted upon the Aboriginal people of Australia by white settlers, and how those injustices still effect modern Australian society. 

 

It’s the mid 1950s, and racism is rife. Robert’s father, Jack Pickering, is confident he’s doing what’s best for Jim, a young Indigenous boy. Recognising the child’s athletic ability, Jack encourages him to train hard, to go for gold. But despite Jim’s outstanding success, something is wrong. Jack’s paternalism, and the injustices Jim faces every day, weigh heavily against the ‘advantages’ forced upon this Aboriginal child. When Jack finally dies, his white son Robert discovers something terrible about Jim that will ultimately explain everything. 

A unique, and powerful story of the stolen generation, reconciliation, the power of country and ultimately of hope.

 

 

 

A Civil Action by Jonathan Haar

 

Image Via Amazon

Image Via Amazon

 

Okay so this isn’t technically a novel, but it reads like a thrilling page-turner, and was adapted into a movie starring John Travolta. It follows the case of a lawyer who risks everything to represent a group of residents in a toxic chemical case.

 

This true story of an epic courtroom showdown, where two of the nation’s largest corporations were accused of causing the deaths of children from water contamination, was a #1 national bestseller and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award. 
 
Described as “a page-turner filled with greed, duplicity, heartache, and bare-knuckle legal brinksmanship by The New York TimesA Civil Action is the searing, compelling tale of a legal system gone awry—one in which greed and power fight an unending struggle against justice. Yet it is also the story of how one man can ultimately make a difference.  Representing the bereaved parents, the unlikeliest of heroes emerges: a young, flamboyant Porsche-driving lawyer who hopes to win millions of dollars and ends up nearly losing everything, including his sanity. With an unstoppable narrative power reminiscent of Truman Capote’s In Cold BloodA Civil Action is an unforgettable reading experience that will leave the reader both shocked and enlightened.

 

July’s People by Nadine Gordimer

 

Image Via Amazon

Image Via Amazon

 

This novel, written prior to the end of apartheid in South Africa, is set in a near-future, in which Gordimer has imagined Apartheid ended through civil war. 

 

For years, it had been what is called a “deteriorating situation.” Now all over South Africa the cities are battlegrounds. The members of the Smales family—liberal whites—are rescued from the terror by their servant, July, who leads them to refuge in his village. What happens to the Smaleses and to July—the shifts in character and relationships—gives us an unforgettable look into the terrifying, tacit understandings and misunderstandings between blacks and whites.
 

 

Dear Martin by Nic Stone 

 

Image Via Amazon

Image Via Amazon

 

Dear Martin examines racism in America, the American justice system and police brutality through this moving tale following one young man’s experience. 

 

Justyce McAllister is a good kid, an honor student, and always there to help a friend—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. Despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates.

Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up—way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack.

 

Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence by Doris Pilkington

 

Image Via Amazon

Image Via Amazon 

 

Doris Pilkington’s novel deals with the incredible story of three girls, victims of assimilationist policy in colonial Australia, as they embark on a journey of resilience, love and strength against all odds. 

 

This extraordinary story of courage and faith is based on the actual experiences of three girls who fled from the repressive life of Moore River Native Settlement, following along the rabbit-proof fence back to their homelands. Assimilationist policy dictated that these girls be taken from their kin and their homes in order to be made white. Settlement life was unbearable with its chains and padlocks, barred windows, hard cold beds, and horrible food. Solitary confinement was doled out as regular punishment. The girls were not even allowed to speak their language. Of all the journeys made since white people set foot on Australian soil, the journey made by these girls born of Aboriginal mothers and white fathers speaks something to everyone.

 

Featured Image Via Amazon

The Handmaid's Tale

13 Quotes from Dystopian Novels to Get You Fired Up

For as long as we have been granted freedoms, there have been people fighting to take those freedoms away; this is the most human of cycles. There has never been (and will likely never be, at least not right now) a time when people haven’t had to stand up against the systemic and societal oppression they’ve been forced to deal with everyday.

 

We’ve been warned about what can happen when we allow ourselves to stop caring about the state of the world and the other people inhabiting it by authors since the beginning of time; the entire dystopian genre is centered around it. So, don’t allow yourself to grow sedentary but also don’t grow too fearful; for as many greedy, selfish, oppressive, bad figureheads there are in existence, there are way, way more of us who really do care and move with empathy while fighting for a world of genuine equality.

 

So, take a look at these thirteen quotes from dystopian novels and give yourself that extra push you may need to keep marching forward! 

 

“We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.”  Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

 


 

“Every faction conditions it’s members to think and act a certain way. And most people do it. For most people, it’s not hard to learn, to find a pattern of thought that works and stay that way. But our minds move in a dozen different directions. We can’t be confined to one way of thinking, and that terrifies our leaders. It means we can’t be controlled. And it means that, no matter what they do, we will always cause trouble for them.” Veronica Roth, Divergent

 


 

“Did you ever feel, as though you had something inside you that was only waiting for you to give it a chance to come out? Some sort of extra power that you aren’t using – you know, like all the water that goes down the falls instead of through the turbines?” Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

 


 

“If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” George Orwell, 1984

 


 

“There must be something in books, something we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing.” Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

 


 

“We can destroy what we have written, but we cannot unwrite it.” Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

 


 

“Of course they needed to care. It was the meaning of everything.” Lois Lowry, The Giver

 


 

“That was when they suspended the Constitution. They said it would be temporary. There wasn’t even any rioting in the streets. People stayed home at night, watching television, looking for some direction. There wasn’t even an enemy you could put your finger on.” Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

 


 

“Our lives are not our own. We are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.” David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas

 


 

“Tell freedom I said hello.” Lauren DeStefano, Wither

 


 

“But you can’t make people listen. They have to come round in their own time, wondering what happened and why the world blew up around them. It can’t last.” Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

 


 

“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it’s yours.” Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

 


“I may be the last one, but I am the one still standing. I am the one turning to face the faceless hunter in the woods on an abandoned highway. I am the one not running, not staying, but facing. Because if I am the last one, then I am humanity. And if this is humanity’s last war, then I am the battlefield.” Rick Yancey, The 5th Wave

 

 

 

via GIPHY

 

 

 

Featured Image via Romper

Rikers Island Poets

Rikers Island Inmates Use Poetry to Feel Free Behind Bars

The women who live at the Rose M. Singer Center on Rikers Island might be inmates, but they’re also accomplished authors. A small group of women gather together once a week for a writer’s workshop where they are encouraged to write what’s on their mind. The drop-in workshop sees about ten attendees on average, and each hour and a half session begins with a free write, followed by a prompt, and finally, the participants read their work out loud.

 

The room is small, with bars on the windows, and the women hold golf pencils, as anything larger could be considered a weapon. This past Tuesday, the group celebrated the publication of their third book of work, reading excerpts of their poetry and a few new pieces.

 

“It’s peace of mind. You basically get out of jail for a couple hours, you get to put your thoughts on paper,” said Leanna Franco, a twenty-six year old inmate who has participated in the workshop for six of the eight months she has been there. “You look out the window and you see gates, but the time that you’re in here it’s like you’re not behind the gates.”

 

Franco writes about her past and her future, just like many of her fellow inmates. She was shocked to see how much they have in common. “A lot of times we’re writing about the same stuff,” said Franco. “It’s nice.”

 

Marina Abramchuck, a twenty-eight year old Brooklyn-born woman who predominantly writes poetry, joined the workshop about a month ago. “I like writing, expressing myself,” she said. “It’s hard to talk to people around here. It’s the one time of the week I can get away from all the drama and the craziness.”

 

The workshop is run by the New York Writers Coalition. Deborah Clearman has been running workshops at the women’s prison since 2011, and has edited the book of collected prose, Can You Feel The Free In Me: Writing from Rikers Island

 

The seventy-page book features contributions from twenty-three different writers, both current and former inmates. They talk about addiction, abuse, fears and hopes for the future. 

 

“Jail life is very stressful and very chaotic. They always have a lot on their mind and the writing just flows out of them,” said Clearman. “What they get is a chance to express themselves, hear themselves. And they listen too.”

 

Aaron Zimmerman, the founder and executive director of the NY Writers Coalition, said the workshop allows the participants to have a supportive space. “Everyone has so much going on inside them. Naming things is very important. If you can name something, then you can examine it. Our focus is working with people who aren’t heard from often enough.”

 

Featured Image Via AM New York.