At the thick of the pandemic in New York, I couldn’t read. I couldn’t do much of anything, really. It was all too overwhelming. I just stared at the TV, watching every brainless show I could find. As I scrolled through Twitter, I saw the same sentiment from others. With the weight of what was happening in our city, we simply couldn’t focus on anything.
While we’re still mostly spending our time at home these days, things in New York have calmed into a weird new normal. A weight remains, but it’s not as heavy as it once was. In the calm, my brain is starting to come out of the fog. In trying to find balance, I am spending a large portion of my days reading essays, articles, books, whatever I can find. If you follow me on social media, you know I share some favorites there, but I thought it would be fun to curate them in one place. Perhaps even start a conversation about them if you’re interested.
So, on this blog I’m going to post a selection of what I’m reading each week. Feel free to comment, send me suggestions, etc. Maybe we’ll all discover something new we weren’t reading before.
Preliminary Findings: Use of Crowd-Control Weapons on Protesters in Portland, Oregon Physicians for Human Rights
The organization Physicians for Human Rights was on the ground in Portland, OR in late July to study the impact of the use of crowd control weapons in the city. They teamed up with doctors from OHSU, and what they found is concerning to say the least. Their findings support what I’ve read before, that these weapons have the real potential to be lethal, and are used in very dangerous ways against otherwise peaceful protesters. “The response by federal agents that [PHR] documented in Portland was disproportionate, excessive, and indiscriminate, and deployed in ways that caused severe injury to innocent civilians, including medics.” (Read the article.)
‘We’ versus ‘Me’ Suffrage Centennial exposes vote gap in Black and White women by Errin Haines via The 19th
The 19th is a new outlet I’ve been following recently, and I am really enjoying the articles they have been putting out. This piece underscores that while we celebrate the Suffrage Centennial, it’s important to remember that not all women were given the right to vote 100 years ago; that women of color, indigenous women, and others were left out of this fight. They were barred from participation. Kamala Harris also noted this in her address Wednesday Night at the DNC. This article is a good introduction to this discussion. (Read the article.)
President Barack Obama’s Speech at the Democratic National Convention via NY Times
I watched the speech live on Wednesday, but there’s nothing like reading the words of a great writer, holding those words in your hands. Obama writes so poetically, and in this speech really pinpoints the importance of this election. “So I am also asking you to believe in your own ability — to embrace your own responsibility as citizens — to make sure that the basic tenets of our democracy endure. Because that’s what’s at stake right now. Our democracy.” The speech is worth both watching and reading. (Read the article.)
Letter from Beirut: After Grief, There is Rage by Farah Aridi via LitHub
I’m sure you have seen the news coming out of Beirut since the blast, covering the facts and details of what happened. In contrast, this essay really touches on the emotional impact the blast had on the citizens of the city. Farah Aridi writes so beautifully here about Beirut as if she’s speaking to a friend she’s lost. “I held you within me until you and I both imploded and exploded at the same time. And now we are both spilled over, scattered. But you have always been stronger than I am. And I have always been too fragile to write you when you are in distress.” (Read the essay.)
Humanitarian Groups Demand Trump Stop Yemen Aid Freeze by Jack Detsch, Robbie Gramer, Allison Meakem via Foreign Policy
The civilians in Yemen have long been the ultimate victims of ongoing conflict in the region. Their suffering has been compounded by the blocking of money funneling into aid groups on the ground to support families. The Trump Administration has pulled USAID funds as a political maneuver, but that ultimately only hurts those just trying to survive in a war zone. “Time is running out for tens of millions of Yemenis…As we do in challenging environments all over the world, humanitarians have stayed and delivered in Yemen in the midst of complex crises. But our ability to do so now is jeopardized unless the U.S. changes course.” (Read the article.)
The Truths We Hold by Kamala Harris
To be fair, I actually started reading this book last fall and just never finished it. I picked it back up this week, however, to find out more about Mamala! I realized there was a lot I didn’t know about Kamala, as prior to her presidential run I’d really only known her as the prosecutor who grilled people on the floor of Congress. I’d definitely suggest this book as it gives great insight into her story beyond politics.
See you next week!
Thanks for joining me this week. Feel free to share this list, drop a note in the comments, or send suggestions of what you’ve been reading. – Corrie