My parents used to help out an elderly couple on the nice side of town. Sometimes we’d help mow the lawn, rake leaves, carry the groceries my mom picked up, or straighten up the house. Sometimes while they were watching soap operas I’d sneak away to the book room and skim through whatever I could find. She gave me piles of books; Japanese Tanka was always my favorite.
I fell in love with Sonia Sanchez because of her haiku. When I met her in college, I fell even more in love with her advocacy and activism:
“What I’m trying to do is to tell young people that I teach them how to breathe before I teach the haiku. That one breath, that one breath, because the haiku keeps you alive. It keeps you going. If you learn how to breathe the haiku, you learn how to breathe. If you learn how to breathe, you’re much healthier.”
Great social movements are spurred on by grassroots organizing and coalition-building. During the labor movement, Americans fought to end child labor, to offer protection for retired and injured workers, and to create safer working conditions, better wages, and adequate work hours. The Civil Rights Movement desegregated schools, ended housing discrimination, initiated the Voting Rights Act, and paved the way for other movements that followed.
- There was an anti-Trump rally at my alma mater this afternoon.
- More than 4 million protestors joined The Women’s March in more than 600 U.S. cities. It may have been the largest demonstration in U.S. history.
- The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has received more donations in the past two weeks than it did during its entire last fiscal year.
- Travis Kalanick, C.E.O of Uber, stepped down from Trump’s advisory council. Kalanick joined the economic advisory council amidst internal pressures from staff members and external pressures as more than 200,000 customers deleted their accounts.
- Former Vice President Joe Biden launched a nonprofit organization to support cancer research and equal rights.
- After a fire destroyed the Victoria Islamic Center, the only mosque in Victoria, Texas, their Jewish neighbors gave them a key to their synagogue. In Texas.
- Marissa Alexander was recently released. She was convicted and sentenced to serve 20 years in prison after firing a single shot near her, now estranged, abusive husband. She was convicted despite Florida’s Stand Your Ground law that enabled George Zimmerman to go free.
- More than 50 lawsuits have been filed against Trump, most of them resulting from the travel ban against seven predominately Muslim countries. These lawsuits have been filed in more than 17 states. This is more than 10 times the number of suits filed against the three presidents that served before him (during their entire presidency). It’s week 2.
- Boy Scouts of America is now opening membership to transgender boys.
- They’ve started production on Marvel’s Black Panther. It’s set for release in February 2018. Yasssss!
- The Yemen raid resulted in the deaths of innocent civilians, including a child.
- More than 100,000 visas were revoked due to the travel ban. (As an aside, all 6 of America’s 2016 Nobel Prize winners are immigrants).
- The Bowling Green Massacre (and more alternative facts).
- Iran will bar the American wrestling team from the World Cup as a response to the ban against Iranians.
- Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education. The confirmation was delayed until next week.