With the 2021 Olympic Games wrapping up today, I’ve watched more sports in the last two weeks than I have in the last two years. I revel at the mastery, courage, stamina, dedication, and determination of these international athletes, rooting primarily for the Americans. For decades, Black parents have told their children that in order to...Read more
On June 29th the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that the eviction moratorium could be extended only to July 31st to give the Treasury Department and the states time to disburse cash to landlords to cover back rent owed by tenants during the pandemic. The Court ruled that future extension of the moratorium would...Read more
BACKGROUND - THE RIGHT TO COUNSELIn June, 1961, Clarence Earl Gideon was charged with a felony for allegedly burglarizing a pool hall in Panama City, Florida. At his first trial, he was denied his request for a court-appointed attorney. Prosecutors produced witnesses who saw Gideon outside the pool hall near the time of the break-in,...
An 1851 poster warning of police acting as slave catchersI’ve continued to read The New York Times magazine of August 18, 2019—The 1619 Project. One of the poems contained in the project is a redacted version of the first Fugitive Slave Act, signed into law on February 12, 1793 by George Washington. Below is a...
I’ve just returned from a two-week writing retreat conducted by one of my favorite authors, Natalie Goldberg, who is most well-known for her book, Writing Down the Bones, but has also authored many other incredible books about writing practice. During the retreat, she shared this poem, “The Blue-Green Stream” by Wang Wei (699–759), a Chinese poet,...Read more
Independence Day commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain on July 4, 1776. Although the vote for independence took place on July 2nd, the Continental Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence two days later. The tradition of setting off fireworks on the 4th of July began in...Read more
Some people in our country argue that systemic racism isn’t real—that it happened in the past, during slavery and Jim Crow, but that it doesn’t exist today. Yet earlier this month, the National Football League (NFL) confessed to a practice of systemic racism in determining awards for injuries suffered while playing. This practice has been...Read more
This past Wednesday, Congress voted overwhelmingly to establish Juneteenth as a federal holiday, marking the day—June 19th, 1865—when Union Army General Gordon Granger and his troops advanced into the remote, former confederate territory of Galveston, Texas and announced that slavery was officially over in the United States. "The...Read more
The cover of the August 18, 2019 New York Times magazine bears this quote: In August of 1619, a ship appeared on this horizon, near Pont Comfort, a costal port in the British colony of Virginia. It carried more than 20 enslaved Africans, who were sold to the colonists. American was not yet America, but this was the...Read more
Today, felon disenfranchisement laws continue to impose on the civil rights of felons – America’s most disadvantaged group. To be ‘franchised’ is to have the right to vote. This basic civil right is central to any democratic nation and essential to the fundamental principles of democracy. It’s how we – the people – exercise our power through a...Read more