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Mid-Week Round Up: April 30

April 30th, 2015     by Ronak Ghorbani     Comments

Illustration: Erin McPhee

The death toll from the Nepal earthquake has passed 5,000. You can donate the Canadian Red Cross Nepal Region Earthquake Fund here and read about the Red Cross’ international response here.

On April 19 Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African-American man, died while in a coma he was put in after he was arrested by police in Baltimore, Maryland a week earlier. While in police custody Gray’s neck was broken. As Democracy Now reports, “Freddie Gray’s family and attorney say his voicebox was crushed and his spine was ‘80 percent severed at his neck.’” Six police officers involved with the arrest have been suspended. In response to Gray’s death and to years of racial inequity and police violence in Baltimore, there have been protests in the city since Saturday. Much of the mainstream media coverage has been sensationalized and racist. Check out the following links instead:

Last Wednesday marked the two-year anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse in Dhakha District, Bangladesh which saw the eight-story garment factory collapse killing 1,129 people. In a report released Human Rights Watch Phil Robertson, HRW Asia deputy director, wrote:

“Building structures are safer … and there has been increase in unions that have been registered but there has also been a fight back by employers and the government. They have been working hard to intimidate (workers) verbally and physically for trying to unionize.”

Also check out: “Two years after Rana Plaza, have conditions improved in Bangladesh’s factories?”

Reflecting on the recent migrant shipwreck in the Mediterranean which had a death toll of over 800, British playwright Anders Lustgarten writes what refugees really need from the world is to stop making them refugees.

Also check out:

Independent Jewish Voices Canada has released a statement defending the right of Canadians to criticize the state of Israel. The statement highlights that the federal government is threatening to criminalize criticisms of Israel and criminalize the participation in Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaigns. Independent Jewish Voices Canada write: “We are unequivocal in our condemnation of all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism. It must be stressed that it is not anti-Semitic to criticize the state of Israel. Those who equate such criticism with a hatred of Jewish people are simply attempting to silence Israel’s critics.” The statement has received endorsement from 85 organizations to date.

Toronto-based journalist Desmond Cole has written the May cover story for Toronto Life magazine titled “The Skin I’m In: I’ve been interrogated by police more than 50 times—all because I’m black.” In the piece Cole recounts his experiences of racial profiling from Kingston, Ontario to Toronto:

“In Toronto, I thought I could escape bigotry and profiling, and just blend into the crowd. By then, I had been stopped, questioned and followed by the police so many times I began to expect it. In Toronto, I saw diversity in the streets, in shops, on public transit. The idea that I might be singled out because of my race seemed ludicrous. My illusions were shattered immediately.”

Radical Indigenous Survivance & Empowerment (R.I.S.E.) “a Native founded & operated artist/activist/warrior collective…dedicated to the education & perseverance of Native art & culture” has released a new Indigenous Feminism poster you can purchase here.

Orange is the New Black actress Laverne Cox has been named as one of the 100 most influential people by Time magazine. She was also named one of the most beautiful people in People magazine’s annual beauty list issue.

Butchbaby & Co. is a new clothing line designing genderqueer maternity clothes. Check out their interviewin New York Magazine.

This coming Mayworks arts festival, Shameless is co-presenting “The Erasable Woman: A One Woman (Burlesque)”featuring former columns editor Shaunga Tagore. “The Erasable Woman” is:

“a multidisciplinary play on intergenerational legacies, trauma and healing; both a coming-of-age super- queero’s tale and a lesson on how to talk to ghosts. Told through monologue, burlesque, astrology, song, dance, poetry and video, this story accounts for the invisible labour and pain as well as the hope and resilience shared between multiple generations of brown women across time, land and space.”

For more info click here.

Tags: art, gender, indigenous, media savvy, news flash, politics, queer, race, race and racism, recommended reading

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