Trump hasn’t even been president for a year and it already feels like he has been there for 10 years. Whether he is attacking Gold Star widows or speaking with the “president” of the Virgin Islands, I have had enough of this man’s ignorance, pettiness, and incompetence.
This time last year, we had a respectable, decent, and smart man named Barack Obama as our president. When you listen to Obama and then Trump, you quickly realize which one is the grown up in the room. Even war criminal George W. Bush looks like a more sympathetic person than Trump at this point.
Last month I went to the Brooklyn Book Festival and attended a panel discussion on mass incarceration. The panel included many important voices on the topic, including Central Park Five’s Yusef Salaam, attorney James Forman, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Heather Thompson and Soros Justice Fellow Marlon Peterson.
Peterson spoke about his experience with incarceration in New York prisons and the lack of respect and rehabilitation incarcerated men and women receive by correctional officers and the larger criminal justice system.
“In prison, you don’t deserve dignity,” he said. “They [correctional officers] do things to embarrass you.”
It is always important to include the voices of ex-offenders in this highly contested subject. Much of the time, the discussion is dominated by lawyers, judges, academics, and correctional officials with very limited input from those who suffer the most from an unequal criminal justice system.
I want to bring your attention to Peterson’s awesome and insightful podcast called Decarcerated, where he gives real talk about the struggles of being an ex-offender in America.
Because Trump is president and our civil liberties are under threat!
The American Library Association Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) promotes awareness of challenges to library materials and celebrates freedom of speech during Banned Books Week, which took place this year September 24 – September 30. Here are the top ten most challenged books as reported in the media and submitted to ALA by librarians and teachers across the country in 2016.
Top Ten for 2016
Out of 323 challenges recorded by the Office for Intellectual Freedom
This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
Reasons: challenged because it includes LGBT characters, drug use, and profanity, and it was considered sexually explicit with mature themes
Drama by Raina Telgemeier
Reasons: challenged because it includes LGBT characters, was deemed sexually explicit and was considered to have an offensive political viewpoint
George by Alex Gino
Reasons: challenged because it includes a transgender child, and the “sexuality was not appropriate at elementary levels”
I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings by Shelagh McNicholas
Reasons: challenged because it portrays a transgender child and because of language, sex education, and offensive viewpoints
Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
Reasons: challenged because its cover has an image of two boys kissing, and it was considered to include sexually explicit LGBT content
Looking for Alaska by John Green
Reasons: challenged for a sexually explicit scene that may lead a student to “sexual experimentation”
Big Hard Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Chip Zdarsky
Reason: challenged because it was considered sexually explicit
Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread by Chuck Palahniuk
Reasons: challenged for profanity, sexual explicitness, and being “disgusting and all around offensive”
Little Bill (series) written by Bill Cosby by Varnette P. Honeywood
Reason: challenged because of criminal sexual allegations against the author
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Reason: challenged for offensive language
I just started re-reading Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States for a book discussion series happening at my local library soon. This is one of those types of books everyone has in their personal library but never gets around to reading because it is so long – nearly 800 pages! This book discussion series is meant to get people to not only read but really think about how the book relates to issues going on in America today. According to Zinn, American history is to a large extent the exploitation of the majority by an elite minority.
Zinn has left a great literary masterpiece behind for the rest of us to enjoy!