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Fancy Fascists, Drones over Brooklyn, Georgia's Election Heroes
KTF Weekly Newsletter
This is one of our occasional newsletters that is free for everyone. Please consider sharing it with someone you think would like what we do! And now, on to this week’s highlights!
On Monday, thousands took to Brooklyn’s streets for J’ouvert, a Caribbean celebration of cultural heritage and/or the end of slavery, depending on where in the Caribbean you’re from. In response, the NYPD rolled out its new surveillance drones, which it said it would use on backyard parties when it received complaints. This understandably alarmed civil liberties groups. It also reminded me of the police helicopters flying over celebrations in Harlem the night Barrak Obama became president, or the throngs of officers scouring the protests of Eric Garner’s death for violence that never materialized. I don’t know if America will ever stop seeing Black people celebrating their freedom or asserting their dignity as a threat. But we should pray anyway that the truth will prevail in the policies and decisions of our political leaders.
For a much more positive story, read this article about the integrity and courage of two Black women poll workers from Georgia, Ruby Freeman and her daughter Wandrea Moss. You may have seen them counting ballots late at night in video footage, which Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani repeatedly used to claim that democrats were illegally siphoning votes from Trump (a defamation lawsuit forced Giuliani to concede his statements were untrue). The article, using details from the recent RICO indictment, tells the story of how Freeman and Moss stood firm in the face of bullying (some of it from Trump himself), racism, and threats to their safety to ensure the accurate results of Georgia’s vote would stand. We all owe them, and God, some serious praise and gratitude.
My wife co-wrote an article about the racism Haitian migrants faced throughout the Western Hemisphere as a myriad of political and economic factors drive them to new destination countries. She also outlines some of the history and nuances of anti-Black immigration policy in the Americas. She has started a fantastic new hemisphere-wide network of advocates to confront discriminatory policies, elevate Haitian-lead advocacy groups, and help NGOs better serve Haitians. This is something she’s been thinking about doing for a long time, and I’m extremely proud of her for getting it off the ground. Check it out!
In this article, Katherine Stewart of The New Republic lays out how the once mainstream-conservative Claremont Institute is now an openly anti-democracy think tank and a foundational player in the “New Right.” These are not fanatics spewing conspiracy theories on Truth Social. These are influential former federal government officials and well-connected, well-resourced people who desire to usher in authoritarianism in the United States. They may be better dressed and more polite than others in their camp, but they are no less dangerous. Their aims align with those of Christian and White nationalists, so we would do well to be resistant to this latest strain of toxicity that promotes unjust policies against the most vulnerable people in our society.
There is a potential genocide looming, detailed in this article, against ethnic Armenians living in Azerbaijan. A Russian-negotiated armistice between the two countries from 2020 left ethnically Armenian people connected to Armenia by only one road, which Azerbaijan’s government is now blockading, cutting off deliveries of food and other supplies. The weapon of choice here isn’t guns or gas, but starvation. Advocates want a referral to the International Criminal Court. This would force a vote from the UN Security Council, pitting Russia, which is supposed to be maintaining free travel along the blockaded road, against the US, which would likely want the referral. Advocates fear the tension due to the proxy war between Russia and the US in Ukraine will prevent the two nations working together on this issue. I mourn alongside my Armenian brothers and sisters who desire peace for their people. I pray that the imperial fights between more powerful nations do not lead to more death and violence to an already marginalized group.
Teenage Palestinian rapper MC Abdul wrote “Shouting at the Wall” about the struggles of his people in Gaza. With the ruins from bombings behind him, he explains in rhythmic detail the oppressive realities of his life to which many in our country have become desensitized. This article about Abdul’s career is powerful. This young man’s words intersect with the struggles of BIPOC people in the United States and the backgrounds of his idols like Tupac and Eminem. His words ensure that his struggle will be seen and heard. Make sure to share!
Thanks for reading, and see you next week!
Jonathan and Sy