The hard work by so many before us to improve gender equality sits on a precipice. We are still nowhere near being able to tell our daughters that they can grow up confident in enjoying everything their male counterparts have with absolute equality, and safely for that matter. Violence against women, harassment, slut-shaming, pay disparity, the under-representation of women in politics, professional sport and management are just the tip of the iceberg. What I have learnt is that we need to throw our support behind those who speak out and find themselves at the back end of a social media dump truck. We have a very long way to go before we enjoy a world without discrimination on a daily basis. That path is not one to tread quietly.
I learned about Pittsburgh’s unique connection to modern Judaism and civil rights. Reform Jewish leaders developed and adopted the Pittsburgh Platform, which states, “We deem it our duty to participate in the great task of modern times, to solve, on the basis of justice and righteousness, the problems presented by the contrasts and evils of the present organization of society.” As an athlete I competed against Jewish boys from another integrated school, Taylor Allderdice in Squirrel Hill. Sometimes after track meets, we got pizza at Mineo’s. Squirrel Hill’s vibrancy didn’t come by chance. We learned how to live together. There was a deliberate investment in inclusion and peace.
There were nearly 5 million English language learners in U.S. public schools in fall 2015, according to the most recent available data from the National Center for Education Statistics. This represented 9.5% of U.S. public school enrollees, an increase from 8.1% in 2000.
Today, on October 3, 2018, the 1997 murder charges against Innocence Project client John Nolley were dismissed based on actual innocence.
These tattoos were traditionally inscribed on women’s skin by women’s hands to commemorate various achievements and points in a woman’s life, such as one’s first menstrual period, the mastery of a new skill and childbirth. But as Western colonization swept Alaska in the 19th and 20th centuries, including the establishment of boarding schools where indigenous languages would not be spoken, many Alaska Natives were prohibited from practicing the rituals that had bound them to one another. Tattooing was one of those traditions. In the last decade, women in Alaska and other areas of the circumpolar north have been working to revitalize the tattooing tradition. For them it is a response to the long-ago efforts to wipe out cultural practices and entire populations of people, and a celebration of cultural resilience.
Trump’s reaction to the news that some among his staff are working against him is wrong. It may be betrayal. It may be disloyal. It may even be dishonest, but a crime it is not. In fact, the opposite is true. What these staffers are doing, if in fact they are actually doing what is being claimed, is patriotic and it is 100% consistent with the oath they took upon joining the government. The oath each federal appointee takes swears that they will “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic” and that they “will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office” they hold. No where in that oath does it say they will be loyal to Trump, or to follow down a dangerous path that could prove detrimental to the country.
When in the face of this incontrovertible history of Israeli “ethnic cleansing” and international conventions on the rights of refugees, I cringe when I hear of the Trump Administration’s intention to take the refugee issue “off the table.” What they are, in fact, taking off the table is so much more. At stake is: the lives and fortunes of innocent Palestinians and their families; the rule of law; simple human justice; and the possibility of peace. The more than 5 million Palestinians living under occupation and in refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria cannot be erased and in their attempt to do so, it is not only the Israelis who are guilty of the war crime of ethnic cleansing. The Trump Administration is making itself complicit in this crime.