Twelve days after his 22nd birthday, Kalief Browder wrapped an air-conditioner power cord around his neck and hanged himself. In 2010, at the age of 16, he was arrested after being accused of stealing a backpack. He would spend three years in New York City's Rikers Island prison, more than two of those years in solitary confinement. He was beaten by prison guards and inmates alike. He was not serving a sentence; he was in pre-trial detention. He declined all plea bargains. He wanted his day in court, to prove his innocence. A judge finally dismissed the case against him. After his release, Kalief Browder tried to reclaim his life. In the end, the nightmare he lived through overwhelmed him. Two years after his release, he committed suicide.
Evan Young was the valedictorian of this year's graduating class at Twin Peaks Charter Academy High School, in Longmont, Colo. On May 16, at his graduation ceremony, Evan planned to give his valedictory address. Earlier in the week, he submitted the text of his speech to the principal, as required. Just before the ceremony, Principal B.J. Buchmann told Evan he was not allowed to give his speech. Evan was shocked. He had been practicing for days. He had planned to come out as gay in the speech for the first time, to his own family, to his classmates and to the whole school community.
Tucked away on a side street in one of London's toniest neighborhoods, just across the street from the sprawling department store Harrods, sits a brick, Victorian-era apartment building that houses the Ecuadorean embassy. Julian Assange, the founder and editor of the whistle-blower website Wikileaks, walked into this embassy on June 19, 2012, and hasn't stepped foot outside since.
There is a vast military complex deep in the hills of eastern Tennessee called "Y-12." This is where all of the highly enriched uranium is produced and stored for the production of the U.S. nuclear-warhead arsenal. It is in Oak Ridge, the city that was created practically overnight during the Second World War, that produced the uranium for the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945. Today, the facility, dubbed "The Fort Knox of Uranium," holds enough of the radioactive element to make 10,000 nuclear bombs.
"Pacifica Station Bombed Off Air," read the Houston Chronicle's banner headline on May 13, 1970. KPFT, Houston's fledgling community radio station, had been on the air for just two months when its transmitter was blown to smithereens. "An explosion which demolished the transmitter of Houston station KPFT-FM (Pacifica Radio) was no accident and apparently the work of experts, authorities said today," George Rosenblatt of the Chronicle wrote. "The blast occurred at 11 p.m. Tuesday. The station was playing 'Alice's Restaurant' and at the precise moment of the explosion, Arlo Guthrie was singing, 'Kill, kill, kill' as he spoofed the draft."
"What do you hope to accomplish with this protest," I asked a 13-year-old girl marching in Staten Island, N.Y., last August, protesting the police killing of Eric Garner.
"To live until I'm 18," the young teen, named Aniya, replied. Could that possibly be the American dream today?
Aniya went on: "You want to get older. You want to experience life. You don't want to die in a matter of seconds because of cops." It's that sentiment that has fuelled the Black Lives Matter movement across the country.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- One hundred years ago, more than 1,000 women gathered in The Hague during the First World War, demanding peace. Britain denied passports to more than 120 women, forbidding them from making the trip to suppress their peaceful dissent. Now, a century later, in these very violent times, nearly 1,000 women have gathered here again, this time from Africa, Asia and Latin America, as well as Europe and North America, saying "No" to wars from Iraq to Afghanistan to Yemen to Syria, not to mention the wars in our streets at home. They were marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of WILPF, the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. Dr.
"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds," reads the unofficial motto of the United States Postal Service. We now can add to that "nor a national security no-fly zone," as demonstrated by mailman Doug Hughes. Hughes was doing what he felt was his duty, carrying letters. He had 535 of them: one for each member of Congress, and each signed by Hughes himself. He wrote about the corrupting influence of money in politics. Hughes chose a very high-profile method for delivering his letters, though. He piloted a bicycle-sized helicopter, called a "gyrocopter," 100 miles from Maryland, and landed on the west lawn of the U.S Capitol, passing through restricted airspace.
For the first time in more than half a century, the presidents of the United States and Cuba have had a formal meeting. Barack Obama met with Cuban President Raúl Castro at the 7th Summit of the Americas, held this year in Panama City. Cuba's participation has been blocked by the U.S. since the summit began in 1994. This historic moment occurs with some sadness, however: Eduardo Galeano, the great Uruguayan writer who did so much to explain the deeply unequal relations between Latin America and the U.S. and Europe, died as the summit ended.
A jury in Boston has returned a guilty verdict on all 30 counts against the Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Now the jury must deliberate on the punishment, which could be either life in prison or death. Capital punishment is outlawed in Massachusetts, but Tsarnaev was tried in federal court, where the death penalty is allowed. The jury will have to decide whether he lives or dies. The case provides a new reason to take a hard look at capital punishment, and why this irreversible, highly problematic practice should be banned.