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What we’re reading: commutations, confirmations, protests

News & Commentary  |  By AFSC, Jan 18, 2017
Photo: AFSC

In his final days in office, President Obama granted commutation to hundreds of federal prisoners, including Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera and army whistleblower Chelsea Manning. Meanwhile, people across the country are mobilizing to mark inauguration day with protests and community events. Here's what we're reading to learn more.

The Women's March on Washington has released an unapologetically progressive platform, by Christina Cauterucci via Slate

"March leaders have gone further than supporting access to safe, legal abortion and reproductive health care to demand the right to abortion for women of all incomes. (Even many supposedly 'pro-choice' politicians have squeaked away from advocating an end to the ban on public funding for abortions, so this is commendable.) As for immigration, 'we reject mass deportation, family detention, violations of due process and violence against queer and trans migrants,' the statement reads. 'We recognize that the call to action to love our neighbor is not limited to the United States, because there is a global migration crisis. We believe migration is a human right and that no human being is illegal.'"

To understand the Women's March on Washington, you need to understand intersectional feminism, by Jenée Desmond-Harris via Vox

"'Intersectionality simply means that there are lots of different parts to our womanhood,' Brittney Cooper, an assistant professor of women’s and gender studies and Africana studies at Rutgers University, explained. 'And those parts—race, gender, sexuality, and religion, and ability—are not incidental or auxiliary. They matter politically.'"

President Obama grants clemency to Chelsea Manning & Oscar López Rivera via Democracy Now!
"President Barack Obama has commuted the sentences of two high-profile political prisoners. Chelsea Manning, who released a trove of U.S. documents to WikiLeaks to incite 'worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms," will be freed on May 17. Obama also commuted the sentence of Puerto Rican independence activist Oscar López Rivera, which will now also expire on May 17."

School's out: Inside Donald Trump’s extremist education agenda, by Jeff Bryant via Alternet
"In an op-ed for the New York Times, Katherine Stewart, an expert observer of the Christian right, writes, 'Betsy DeVos stands at the intersection of two family fortunes that helped to build the Christian right.' Stewart points to numerous examples of DeVos-related family foundations that have generously donated to 'conservative groups' pushing religious right doctrine including, the Alliance Defending Freedom,' the legal juggernaut of the religious right,' and 'Colorado-based Christian ministry Focus on the Family.'"

Groups protest Trump's immigration positions across the country, by Brakkton Booker and Michel Martin via NPR
"You know, one of the things that we want to convey in our communities is that we are strong and we are united. Like, there has been a lot of rhetoric of hate and a lot of fear in our communities, and we think this is a time to come together. This is a time to make sure we show our faces and to make sure that people understand that we're not going anywhere, that we're going to fight and we're going to continue doing what we need to do to get the dignity and respect we need and deserve."

"What We’re Reading" is a weekly feature on AFSC’s News and Commentary blog, where we share a curated collection of recent articles on timely issues. "What We're Reading" is meant to spark discussion, debate, and knowledge sharing, and the articles we highlight do not necessarily reflect the official organizational positions of AFSC. We encourage you to tell us what you're reading on these issues in the comments below.