Cyntoia Brown Needs Support, Not 51 Years in Prison

United States (Conversation) – The Tennessee Supreme Court recently confirmed that Cyntoia Brown must serve 51 years in prison for shooting and killing a man in 2004 when she was just 16. News stories and social media have widely reported and shared Brown’s story. Many have compared her harsh sentence to lesser ones for white juveniles since the state of Tennessee first tried her case more than 10 years ago. The decision this week was the result of an appeal to her original sentence, submitted because it is now unconstitutional…

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Elkhart’s Acting Police Chief Has Previously Been Demoted, Reprimanded and Suspended

Elkhart, IN (ProPublica) – When Ed Windbigler was suspended last month as the police chief in Elkhart, Indiana, his No. 2, Todd Thayer, became the Police Department’s public face, appearing at a town hall meeting, before a civilian oversight commission and on the radio. In each setting, Thayer defended the department — the “thin blue line” protecting law-abiding citizens from “predators” and “all the other garbage” — and attacked the media, with references to “tabloid” journalism and “ambush reporting.” On Monday, Windbigler resigned under pressure from Elkhart Mayor Tim Neese, who said he wants “new…

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Texas Police Made More than $50 Million in 2017 From Seizing People’s Property. Not Everyone Was Guilty of a Crime.

Texas, United States (TexasTribune) –  In February 2016, prosecutors in Houston filed a lawsuit against a truck: State of Texas vs. One 2003 Chevrolet Silverado. Houston police had seized the vehicle after surveilling its driver, Macario Hernandez, and pulling him over after he left his house. They took the truck to court, hoping to keep it or sell it at auction to fund their operations, claiming the vehicle was known to be involved in the drug trade. But the truck’s owner, Oralia Rodriguez, was never charged with a crime. She wasn’t…

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Girls in West Africa Offered Into Sexual Slavery as ‘Wives of Gods’

West Africa (Conversation) –There are global efforts fighting modern slavery, but one traditional system is still holding strong in West Africa: Trokosi. The Conversation Africa’s Moina Spooner spoke to Wisdom Mensah about the system and what can be done to finally put a stop to it. What is Trokosi? Trokosi is a traditional system where virgin girls, some as young as six years old, are sent into Troxovi shrines (shrines for gods) as slaves to make amends for wrongs committed by a member of the virgin girl’s family. Until the…

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Court Ruling May Allow Migrant Families To Be Held Indefinitely.

United States (TexasTribune) – It had been six months since Maria fled for the U.S. She spent the first two weeks running from her tiny hometown in southern Guatemala, where she said gangs had threatened to kill her and her 7-year-old son, Jerson. After traveling through Mexico, they requested asylum at the U.S. border. They were separated for the next two months, with Maria detained at an adult detention center in Arizona and Jerson sent to a shelter in New York. Given the choice to reunite with her son in detention…

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#MeToo Movement Honored at Disobedience Award Celebrating the Power of Women

United States (WNV) – On Nov. 30, the MIT Media Lab hosted its second annual Disobedience Award presentation. It was a celebration of individuals who defied the law in conscientious efforts to promote justice in the areas of gender equity, immigration rights, economic fairness and environmental well-being. There were three winners, five finalists and two honorable mentions — every one of them was a woman. Ethan Zuckerman, director of MIT Center for Civic Media, opened the presentation by highlighting the importance of civil disobedience: When we dare to follow our conscience…

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Women Have Been Written Out of Science History – Time to Put Them Back

World Wide (Conversation) – Can you name a female scientist from history? Chances are you are shouting out Marie Curie. The twice Nobel Prize-winning Curie and mathematician Ada Lovelace are two of the few women within Western science to receive lasting popular recognition. One reason women tend to be absent from narratives of science is because it’s not as easy to find female scientists on the public record. Even today, the numbers of women entering science remain below those of men, especially in certain disciplines. A-level figures show only 12%…

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What Does Eleanor Roosevelt Have to Do with Black Lives Matter?

United States (Inequality) – Eleanor Roosevelt famously said that human rights must begin in “small places, close to home.” To speak to people’s everyday experiences in these places, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights — drafted with her leadership — protects not only civil and political rights but also socioeconomic rights “indispensable” for human dignity. These include the rights to work and to just and favorable conditions of work; to education; and to housing, medical care, and social services necessary to ensure an adequate standard of living. During her lifetime, Roosevelt…

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Ahed and Malala: Why We Revere Some Young Female Activists and Not Others

World Wide (Conversation) – After Israeli forces shot her 15-year-old cousin in the head with a rubber bullet last December, Ahed Tamimi, a Palestinian girl from Nabi Saleh in the West Bank, stood up to the occupying Israeli forces and was arrested and charged for slapping a soldier. The story of the activist went viral. But what Ahed was fighting for was largely buried beneath sensationalized media representations of her. Her story is unlikely to circulate in the same elevated spaces granted to Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who survived…

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US Senators Submit Draft to Hold SA Crown Prince Responsible in Khashoggi Case

Washington, DC (Sputnik) – Six US Senators have introduced a bipartisan resolution seeking to hold Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman accountable for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Senator Christopher Coons said in a press release on Thursday. “Senate Resolution… holds … Mohammed bin Salman accountable for contributing to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, the blockade of Qatar, the jailing of political dissidents within Saudi Arabia, the use of force to intimidate rivals, and the abhorrent and unjustified killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi,” the release said. The resolution was introduced by Senators Coons, Lindsey Graham, Dianne Feinstein, Marco…

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