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What we’re reading

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A few picks from AFSC staff this week:

Loretta Lynch and the criminalization of trans people, by H Kapp-Klote and Angela Peoples, Truthout

While the Department of Justice has taken a stand for trans rights by opposing North Carolina’s “Bathroom Bill,” they continue to ignore the needs of trans and gender-nonconforming people who are funneled into the country’s prison system: "No matter how decisively the Department of Justice moves against North Carolina's repressive bathroom bill, Loretta Lynch cannot say that she supports transgender people while administering the largest carceral and detention system in the world. In order to create a truly safe world for transgender people, we have to abolish the carceral systems of incarceration and detention that cage so many of them."

 

Here’s what you should know about the state of Black America, by Lilly Workneh, Huffington Post

This week, the National Urban League released their 2016 “State of Black America” report. According to Marc Morial, the president of the National Urban League, “What struck me was that the poverty rate for whites and Black remained almost where it was 40 years ago,” he added. “It certainly demonstrates that for as much as the country’s economy has grown since 1976, that prosperity hasn’t been shared particularly with people at the bottom. That’s what the numbers show, that economic growth over a 40-year period has benefited some but not all.”

 

Empire of lies: How the U.S. continues to deceive the world about Puerto Rico, by Nelson A. Denis, Truthout

A century of U.S. colonialism in Puerto Rico has left the county’s economy in crisis. And the U.S. government is now making an effort to lower the minimum wage and impose increased austerity measures. According to Nelson Denis, author of "War Against All Puerto Ricans": “The entire 118-year history of the U.S.-Puerto Rico relationship is riddled with deception, but the lies have become unsustainable, and Puerto Rico is at a breaking point. The sales tax is 11.5 percent. Electricity rates are 300 percent higher than in New York. In 2013, the water rates rose by 60 percent. Thanks to the Jones Act, the cost of living is 12 percent higher than in the United States, yet the per capita income is hovering at $15,200. No tortured logic, no trickle-down theorist or hedge fund hustler can credibly argue that a minimum wage reduction to $4.25 will help the island -- especially when the rest of the U.S. is pushing for $15 per hour in all 50 states.”