We have much to learn from The Caravan of Peace and the likes of Khaira Arby and Songhoy Blues. As in Mali, there is no shortage of political and economic oppression in the United States. Considering the ever-growing celebration and extension of ignorance, intolerance, hate and social violence, the prospect for our future generates no small measure of fear.
Whenever anyone of us is diminished, we are all demeaned, when anyone or any group remains institutionally and socially stigmatized, marginalized, excluded, or disenfranchised, when violence comes down upon any of us, the possibility for authentic community cannot be realized unless and until we challenge it in truly transformational ways.
For Nasrin the headscarf transcends aesthetics, it is a symbol of the Islamic Republic itself. A symbol of that which reduces her to something that she is not. A symbol of something that can quite literally smother her identity. Only in the alcoves of this rigid regime, such as the corner of her friend's café, could she be herself.
On my second night in Iran, I was invited to a party in a middle-class area of Tehran. Since we were a mixed gendered group with a foreigner in their midst, we had to be reasonably inconspicuous. As soon as we stepped over the threshold of the house, however, we were no longer in the Islamic Republic.
It's time for "nerds" to admit the things that make us "nerdy" -- social exclusion, unusual interests, atypical learning development -- don't erase the privileges we also have. That LGBTQ people, people of color, and, yes, women are all vulnerable to those things -- and have to deal with a pile of other issues as well.
The recent appearance of pastors and churches declaring their willingness to perform marriages for same-sex couples has led to some of the most amazing imagery of the marriage equality struggle. Imagery the likes of which seemed all too impossible not long ago, especially in the deeply-red states of America.
"American slaves were liberated in 1861 but did not get voting rights until 107 years later. So why can't Hong Kong wait for a while?" Recently Laura Cha, a Hong Kong politician, made this rather unnerving statement in reference to pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong who have been protesting having their election ballots limited to China-vetted candidates only.