5th Tuesday Guest Post // Food Insecurity: The Hunger Next Door

“I cannot feed the world. But I can do my best to make sure fewer people have to stare down the last can in their pantry.”

Huge thanks to Vershal Hogan for offering to write a second guest post for us! You can see his first Tuesday Justice post here: The Day I Became a White Man Was the Day I Became a Black Man: A Story About Race.

by Vershal Hogan

I will never forget that can of stewed tomatoes and okra.

The pantry in our dingy-walled apartment, where the rent was late but we were still within the grace period, was empty. Margaret-Holmes-Tomatoes-and-Okra-14.5-OZ

Except for that can. 

It had come, I think, from a box of government commodities my grandmother had received. I am not sure how it ended up in our pantry, but it sat there, waiting for someone to figure out what to do with it. It was not appealing.

For the past couple of days, my wife and I had been slowly scaling back how much we ate to make sure our children didn’t go hungry and that the groceries would last. That evening, the family had eaten the last of everything, and I had quietly skipped the meal. Payday was the next day.

Everyone else was in bed, and I was alone in the pantry, staring at that can, the last food in the apartment. Hunger finally said, “Enough.”

I took it off the shelf and walked over to the counter where I slowly opened it, and — crossing the room to sit at the table — ate one of the worst meals of my life directly from the can.

How I had gotten there was a mix of personal mistakes and bad timing. I’d left my former job to return to school, but the national recession that almost immediately followed that decision had made finding work difficult; I had three over-the-table jobs (my wife also had an under-the-table childcare arrangement) and still didn’t work enough combined hours to be considered full-time. Rent claimed most of that (minimum wage) money, fuel prices were high and we lived without frills. Because work was slower than anyone anticipated when we made our plans, we were forced to eat the savings we had.

We were able to buy groceries the day after I ate the tomatoes and okra. We came close to repeating that story a few times — our pastor even pulled us aside in a couple of instances and said we could avail ourselves of the church’s food pantry if we needed to — but we never got quite that desperate again.

That experience changed how I saw food security, and it has remained with me in better times.

What is food security?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines food security and insecurity in four categories:

Food Security

  • High food security (old label=Food security): no reported indications of food-access problems or limitations.
  • Marginal food security (old label=Food security): one or two reported indications—typically of anxiety over food sufficiency or shortage of food in the house. Little or no indication of changes in diets or food intake.

Food Insecurity

  • Low food security (old label=Food insecurity without hunger): reports of reduced quality, variety, or desirability of diet. Little or no indication of reduced food intake.
  • Very low food security (old label=Food insecurity with hunger): Reports of multiple indications of disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake.

Reports at the USDA’s Economic Research Institute show that in 2016 12.3 percent of households in the U.S. — nearly 15.6 million people — were considered food insecure at some point that year, and 7.4 percent of households — 9.4 million people — were considered to have low food security. The ERI reported that, like in my own story, parents and caregivers worked to shield children from reductions in food intake, but 298,000 households still saw children face disruption in how often they were able to eat. 

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So why is this a justice issue?

It seems obvious on its face, but many people don’t realize how critical food — especially healthful food — is to a functioning society. People who are hungry are very often people who are not healthy, and people who are hungry and unhealthy are not going to be able to function as well in their jobs or in their schools.

Food insecurity likewise tends to affect groups that are already in danger of disenfranchisement, which means — because they are less likely to perform well or be healthy — they will continue to be marginalized.

The rate of food insecurity for all groups is 12.3 percent, but as the USDA statistics note, some groups tend to face it at higher rates than others:

  • All households with children (16.5 percent),
  • Households with children under age 6 (16.6 percent),
  • Households with children headed by a single woman (31.6 percent),
  • Households with children headed by a single man (21.7 percent),
  • Women living alone (13.9 percent),
  • Men living alone (14.3 percent),
  • Black, non-Hispanic households (22.5 percent),
  • Hispanic households (18.5 percent), and
  • Low-income households with incomes below 185 percent of the poverty threshold (31.6 percent; the Federal poverty line was $24,339 for a family of four in 2016).

Issues of food security are especially high among those with disabilities, with 33 percent of households with a person with a reported disability keeping them from the workforce reporting food insecurity.

But even for those who fall outside the groups typically identified as marginalized, food insecurity mostly likely means whole-life insecurity. Studies have associated food insecurity with diminished mental health status.

So what can I do?

First, be aware that many people are hiding their own food insecurity. I volunteer at a local food bank every week, and one of the things that strikes me is how very normal most of the people look. Many come through after finishing a shift at work, or in their work uniforms. In some cases, people who qualify for the assistance have someone else picking it up for them, often because they are unable to do so themselves. 

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Second, recognize that it is likely not a choice. While an adult with food security issues may look typical, they may in fact have a hidden disease such as a mental illness or neurological condition that may have good and bad days that makes consistent or full-time work difficult. They may be a caregiver for someone with a disability, or they may be stuck in a cycle of unemployment or trying to exit an addiction. They could be a child or young person without the capacity to fully provide for themselves.

Third, donate. Give money or food to a local food pantry or a backpack program, which — in cooperation with local schools — distributes backpacks of food to students in need before they leave each weekend.

When you donate, don’t send expired food or food you wouldn’t eat yourself. While some food banks have some wiggle room on expiration dates, it’s not much and they will have to throw them away. Besides, what are you really saying if you’re giving a food insecure person a can that expired in 2014 and telling them, “I wouldn’t eat this, but you can.”

You should also likewise consider giving a little variety of food. Food drives tend to bring in lots and lots of cans of corn and green beans. Those are needed, but man does not live on grain and legumes alone.

While many food banks need most of their food to be shelf stable, some — including the one where I volunteer — have freezers and can put up meat and dairy. Check to see if they can accept those items. Families appreciate being able to receive items such as cheese or butter.

Desserts are also a nice donation. Some people might want to gripe about poor people eating sweets (thinking that being poor is a moral failing that deserves to be punished), but if they’re coming through our pantry, they’re receiving other foods. When life is hard, sometimes a piece of cake may serve its own purpose. food-pantry-northjerseyDOTcom

And one final thing on donations — consider cash. I mentioned it above, but it bears repeating. Food donations help stock shelves, but during some seasons (i.e. when it’s not Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter) they tend to slow down. Having cash on hand helps the pantry not only keep the lights on but restock when needed.

Fourth, donate time. I know not everyone can do this, but food security organizations — whether they are independent or linked to a faith community — overwhelmingly rely on volunteer labor. It’s not glamorous, but someone needs to move boxes and stock shelves.

Fifth, vote for people who are going to support food security policies. Many pantries are able to operate in part because they participate in USDA commodity programs or other local, state and federal initiatives. Discussions in recent years have hinted that funding for those services may be reduced or ended altogether.

I cannot feed the world. But I can do my best to make sure fewer people have to stare down the last can in their pantry.

 

The Purpose of Protest

Protesting isn’t super convenient, and it’s not my favorite way to spend a Saturday, but it’s important and awesome and worth it.

by Michelle Palmer

capital protest

On Saturday, March 24th, I joined hundreds of others in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and hundreds of thousands across the country (and the world) in protesting gun violence. It was my first “real” protest march (and Lord willing, not my last). As I drove down, feeling a little anxious, I thought a lot about whether or not it’d be worth all the effort. “Why am I doing this? Will it matter that I’m there? I hope the letters don’t fall off my signs. Where am I going to park?”

Now, I would loooooove to have the time and energy to dig really deeply into the gun control debate and lay out a clear summary of the arguments. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. In the time that I actually have, I wouldn’t be able to do justice to the complexities of the issue. Instead, I’m just going to tell you why protesting is a good idea based on the experience I had at March for Our Lives and give you some resources if you want to learn more about the gun control debate. Channon has already discussed The Power of Peaceful Protest, but here, I want to share my first-hand experience and give you some ideas about why protesting is a pretty darn good idea.

  1. It pushes the conversation forward. In the wake of many school shootings, the script is the same. It’s a tragedy, we lament, people call for stronger gun control, others tell them it’s not the right time to politicize the tragedy, and nothing changes. In the wake of Parkland, there has been a momentum shift – more people talking about the issues, more people joining organizations like Everytown and Students Demand Action. Protests make a splash, they make headlines, and they get people talking.IMG_1455
  2. It’s a visible statement to politicians. Calling your politicians is great, showing up at the voting booth is ESSENTIAL, but I think showing up, in public, makes an impactful statement that the constituents have a passionate and vested interest in change. (Also, at our event, there were at least a dozen volunteers getting people registered to vote.)
  3. It gives people a platform to speak. In Baton Rouge, we had speakers (students, parents, politicians) who were able to share their hearts for change and their plans for action. The speeches given at the DC march were heard by thousands on the day and millions more after the fact. Here are a couple of the most moving: Emma Gonzalez, Naomi Wadler, D’Angelo McDade.
  4. It’s a visible statement to the public. When I told people I was going to march in Baton Rouge, a lot of folks gave me the “are you sure you wanna do that?” look. Like, “It’s Louisiana….how many people do you think will be there? Is it gonna be just you or what?” But there were nearly 1000! I think it was even bigger than the organizers anticipated. It shows the skeptics that there are people who care. And for every protester, there are others who want change but aren’t able to march. IMG_1479
  5. It’s good for the protesters. How? 

So no, protesting isn’t super convenient, and it’s not my favorite way to spend a Saturday, but it’s important and awesome and worth it.

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And if you go to a protest, here are my (super practical, mostly obvious) tips:

  • Wear comfortable shoes and sunscreen.
  • Bring water, sunglasses, and a poncho. (In other words, be prepared to handle whatever Mother Nature throws at you.)
  • If you have trouble standing for long periods of time, bring one of those nifty portable stools. (I seriously could’ve used one.) 
  • If you can’t make a sign, go anyway. There will be extras. And even if there aren’t, your presence without a sign is a billion times better than nothing! 
  • Speaking of signs, white poster boards aren’t the same color on both sides. You think they are, but they’re not. IMG_1457Finally, I wrote very briefly about gun control last year. You can read the full post here, but the gun control bit is re-posted below:

The issue of gun control has come up (again) in light of the Las Vegas tragedy, as it so often does.

[SIDENOTE: If this seems like a particularly controversial issue for us to be tackling without much context, consider this: The majority of Americans are in favor of sensible gun control measures (reports here and here). And according to the CDC, there are an average of 33,880 gun deaths per year from 2011-2015, and those numbers are on the rise for 2016 and 2017.]

When I looked for organizations working for gun control, I found several lists, but there were four organizations that appeared on every list I saw. (This article from Bustle is particularly helpful.) These organizations are linked below, and each website has an action section.

I also came across an article that I found particularly interesting, “What If We Made Gun Culture Uncool Like We Did Cigarettes?” Here’s an excerpt:

“On the legislative front it seems America has made its choice and there is little chance for legal reform in the near future except at the margins deemed acceptable by the gun industry and a current generation of gun owners who believe that ‘things happen’ is an appropriate reaction to gun deaths. When lawmakers can’t lead, a social solution is certainly worth a shot.”

 


For more information…

Black Panther Resource List

As I thought about how to address Black Panther on the blog, I realized the best thing that I could do is exactly what we always do at Tuesday Justice: provide LOTS of resources! It’s been by reading various articles that I have come to better understand why this film is so needed, so beautiful, and so loved.

by Michelle Palmer

IMG_0905I’ve purchased advance tickets for a grand total of three films in my life, Black Panther being the most recent. One of the friends I went with told me as soon as the credits rolled, “You have to do a Tuesday Justice post on this!” (At least, that’s how I remember it. I was still reeling from the overwhelming beauty of the whole thing.) My first thought was, “But how?!” How do I, especially as a white woman, write about what this film means? How do I try to communicate its importance? There were so many issues that the film touched on that we talk about here (modern slavery, historical slavery, mass incarceration, immigration, refugees), but I wasn’t sure I was up to the task.

First and foremost, I wanted my dear friend and Tuesday Justice co-founder to share her thoughts on the film. As a proud black woman, passionate about her heritage, I couldn’t wait to hear her reaction to the film. She graciously agreed to type it up for us!

Channon: “The excitement that I felt leading up to the evening that I was to go and see Black Panther was indescribable! I’m not normally someone who gets caught up in the hype of something, and that was the case leading up to the Black Panther’s release.seun and channon before black panther However, as I started to read more articles on the movie on Facebook and started to see all the of the clips of people going to see the movie decked out in their African attire, I started getting excited about going to see it!  The evening my husband I went to see the movie, we definitely dressed in our Nigerian and African attire (see pic) and even did a mini photo shoot before leaving for the theatre! LOL Getting to the theatre (45 mins before the movie even started!), we were with a long line of people waiting to enter. We finally got to go in and waited with anticipation for the movie to begin and once it did, man, were we blown away! It’s not just that there was an all-star cast or that the story was from the Marvel comic series or that the storyline was great and entertaining. It was the fact that I was watching a movie with an all black cast, with a black director, with a black woman as the costume designer, showing the masses what Africa is and will be as a continent when we unite, rise up and take back our voice and story that was taken so violently from us centuries ago. My favourite scene of the movie (there were many!) is when King T’Challa (played by Chadwick Boseman) goes to be crowned King of Wakanda and all of the various tribes and people of Wakanda were standing on the mountain in their various clothing and traditional jewelry. The colours in that scene were so bright, so colourful, so vibrant and all of those people represented the different people, traditions, customs, cultures and languages that make up the African continent today! I also really like all the symbolism and meaning that the movies contained (e.g. the Jabari people being reminiscent of the Maroon people of Jamaica) or the green, red and black outfits that Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o and Danai Gurira’s characters wore in the casino scene, representing the colours of the Pan-African flag. The movie was just full, and I thoroughly enjoyed it and was proud to see myself and my heritage represented!”

IMG_0607.jpgAs I continued to think about other ways we could talk about Black Panther here on the blog, I realized the best thing I could do is exactly what we always do at Tuesday Justice: provide LOTS of resources! As a “colonizer,” it’s been by reading various articles and editorials that I have come to better understand why this film is so needed, so beautiful, and so loved. Like Channon, I arrived at the movie theater 45 minutes early with my crew. We didn’t have a photoshoot beforehand, but I did manage to sneak a (terribly lit) selfie with the stunning Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o). And it really did feel like something special from the time we stood in line to the very last tag scene. And after three viewings, it still feels like there is so much more for me to unpack and understand.

I started a list, only to be surprised with a much more comprehensive list. Dr. Brian Keith Mitchell, history professor at University of Arkansas at Little Rock, produced a fantastic reader list for faculty to use in classroom discussions of the film, which made it way to my mom’s inbox (she’s on staff at UALR) and which she thoughtfully passed on to me! (Thanks, Momma!)

Admittedly, I’ve not read every single article on the list, but the ones that I’ve read (or watched) and that have helped me the most are listed first (with excerpts). The remainder are listed below and categorized, thanks to Dr. Mitchell.

  • Why ‘Black Panther’ Is a Defining Moment for Black America by Carvell Wallace for the New York Times – “This is all part of a tradition of unrestrained celebration and joy that we have come to rely on for our spiritual survival. We know that there is no end to the reminders that our lives, our hearts, our personhoods are expendable. Yes, many nonblack people will say differently; they will declare their love for us, they will post Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela quotes one or two days a year. But the actions of our country and its collective society, and our experiences within it, speak unquestionably to the opposite. Love for black people isn’t just saying Oscar Grant should not be dead. Love for black people is Oscar Grant not being dead in the first place.”
  • Race, Barriers and Battling Nerves: A Candid Conversation With Oscar’s Only 4 African-American Directing Nominees in 90 Years by Lacey Rose for The Hollywood Reporter – John Singleton: “There are enough people now that you can go to, to have a conference with or to say, “I don’t understand this world, can you help me?’’ So, I’m not assailing against anybody white trying to do a black story — try it, but get someone to help you. What’s interesting when you see Black Panther is you realize it couldn’t have been directed by anybody else but Ryan Coogler. It’s a great adventure movie and it works on all those different levels as entertainment, but it has this kind of cultural through-line that is so specific that it makes it universal.” behind the thrills black panther costumes
  • Costume Design in Black Panther from OkayAfrica (Video)
  • Black Panther’s Costume Designer on Dressing Every Woman As a Queen By Lindsay Peoples for The Cut – “When you put on your shapely garments and your beautiful color palette, and you wrap your hair and you put that knot at the top, you feel a sense of pride. Even though Wakanda is made up, it is still a part of the continent from which our ancestors came, and it gives people a context with which to think of people of color in a positive way — instead of in a radical militant way or a negative way. We’re making Africa chic again, and I hope when women see that, they go, ‘Tomorrow when I go to work, I’m going to wrap my hair up!’” – Ruth E. Carter
  • Black Panther director Ryan Coogler thoroughly breaks down the symbolism and visual effects of the Casino Fight Scene from Black Panther from Black with No Chaser (Video)
  • Why museum professionals need to talk about Black Panther by Casey Haughin for The Hopkins Exhibitionist – “The first step after this movie is to publicly confirm the reality of the situation; museums need to step up and acknowledge the fact that Killmonger’s anger in the exhibition and the experience he had were not entirely fictionalized, but rather a magnification of museum practices in the modern world. The next step is to listen. Listen to people of color, to communities, and to whole countries who see themselves both robbed by and cast out from international institutions. By communicating openly with the audience of a museum, professionals can determine how better to adapt their practices and make the institution a place that is relevant and respectful for all visitors. Until a truly symbiotic dialogue is established, this scene in Black Panther will represent the reality of museum politics where fact is truly more alarming than any fiction.”
  • Ryan Coogler Breaks Down The Making Of ‘Black Panther’, Black Girl Power, & Building Wakanda from Hot 97 (Video)
  • ‘Black Panther’ is a chance for black moviegoers to finally just enjoy the show by Zack Linley for the Washington Post – “It’s something many white filmgoers just don’t get. I’ve seen it many times: someone claiming it’s a double standard to celebrate all-black movies while calling all-white movies racist, or resenting that race is being brought up at all. It’s only a movie! Can’t we all just enjoy it? This is a question you would ask only if you had been overwhelmingly represented in every genre in every era of American film, and you simply don’t understand the sense of urgency for those of us who have not.”
  • In ‘Black Panther,’ Black Women Thrive by Erin Canty for Man Repeller – “Because I am a 32-year-old black woman immersed in a cinematic universe where black women thrive, I am overjoyed for the children who will grow up seeing these confident, courageous women taking up space and telling stories that are larger than life. black-panther-latitia-lupita-danai-angela-1_13005521_ver1.0I think about the young black girls who will watch these women and grow up inspired to carry out big dreams of their own. I think about all of this, and I am delighted.”
  • Feeling White Privilege When Watching Black Panther by Zoe and Ama from Not So Young and Dumb (Podcast) Also available here for non-Apple users: CastBox
  • The Feminism of Black Panther vs. Wonder Woman BY SHOSHANAKESSOCK – “I could continue to break down the narrative even further by speaking about the power of all these women and their representation as women of color, but as I said there are POC out there far better equipped to handling that conversation. In the matter of that topic, I step back and want to speak less and listen more. But in contrasting Wonder Woman and its feminist ideology alongside that of Black Panther, I can only conclude that while Wonder Woman brings us a kind of exceptionalist feminism, Black Panther brings us a vision of what a truly gender-equal society can accomplish, breaking down the barriers of gender stereotypes to present opportunity for anyone to be anything they wish in their full complexity and freedom of choice.”
  • Black Panther Is the Most Feminist Superhero Movie Yet (Yes, including Wonder Woman.) by Aisha Harris for SlateMoving as it was to see so many little girls dressing up as Wonder Woman, the fact that Black Panther has a wider variety of Wakandan women is a crucial step toward truly progressive feminism on screen.
  • The Most Important Moment in Black Panther No One Is Talking About by Benjamin Dixon for Progressive Army – “It is in that sadness that the film demonstrates the potential for the greatest impact: There is no Black Panther coming to save us. There is no Wakanda to go home to. And in the absence of such wonderful dreams, we — Black people around the world — must continue to stand up and be the fantasies of which we dream — just as T’Chaka told his son, King T’Challa, as they stood in the solemn moment of the ancestral plane, ‘Stand up. You are a King.'”
  • The ‘Wakanda Curriculum’ Is One Teacher’s Attempt to Take Black Panther Conversations to the Next Level by Julie Muncy for Gizmodo – “Tess Raser, a teacher of sixth graders at the Dulles School of Excellence in Chicago, has built the “Wakanda Curriculum” to drive discussions in advance of and after viewing of Black Panther. As Blavity reports, Raser was inspired after her own conversations about the film to take those debates—about black revolution, black feminism, and the legacy of colonialism and anti-black racism—to her students.” The 46-page unit can be found HERE. (More resources for teaching about Black Panther: The Best Resources For Teaching About The Black Panther Movie)

19panther-students-superJumbo.jpgBut this next one was far and away, THE BEST….

  • ‘I Took 7th Graders to See “Black Panther.” Here’s What They Said.’ [The New York Times]

 


Academic Food for Thought  

  1. Introduction to the Wakandan Syllabus
  2. ‘“Black Panther” Forces Africans and Black Americans to Reconcile the Past’ [Buzzfeed]
  3. ‘The Revolutionary Power of “Black Panther”’ [Time]
  4. “Black Panther” and the Invention of “Africa”  by Jelani Cobb for The New Yorker
  5. ‘Behind the Scenes of “Black Panther”’s Afrofuturism’ [Wired]
  6. ‘How “Black Panther”’s Costume Designer Created a New Vision of Africa’ [Refinery29]
  7. ‘“Black Panther” Is Great. But Let’s Not Treat It as an Act of Resistance.’ [The Guardian]
  8. ‘“Black Panther” Is Not the Movie We Deserve’ [Boston Review]
  9. Black Panther Movie Boldly Tackles Black Excellence – Refinery29
  10. Killmonger is the real hero for those who refuse to assimilate into an elitist blackness that leaves many behind
  11. How Black Panther Echoes Afrofuturism and Disses French-Speaking Africa
  12. The Viral ‘Black Panther’ Middle School Curriculum Provides Parents Real Insight
  13. The ‘Black Panther’ Revolution – Elitist
  14. “Black Panther” Is Inspiring Black Brazilians to Occupy Elite, White Shopping Malls
  15. ‘Black Panther’ is a revelation but also a reminder of what we’ve been missing
  16. “Black Panther” villain Killmonger is a symbol of Black pain
  17. Opinion | The Afrofuturism Behind ‘Black Panther’ – The New York Times
  18. How ‘Black Panther’ Changes Marvel’s Message – Forbes
  19. The Real History Behind the Black Panther – History in the Headlines
  20. Black Panther’s symbolic African costumes – HeraldLIVE
  21. Black Panther: The Ultimate Alt-Right Hero | Squawker
  22. The Racial Politics of Black Panther | Psychology Today

Overviews/Ending

  1. Black Panther – Rate And Discuss With Spoilers
  2. Black Panther End Credit Scenes: What Happens, And What They Mean
  3. One Major Mistake Black Panther Makes
  4. Why Black Panther Included That Character In Its Post-Credits Scene
  5. The 9 Funniest Moments In Black Panther
  6. Why Black Panther’s Surprise Cameo Didn’t Happen Until The End Of The Movie
  7. The 9 Coolest Wakanda Inventions Shown In Black Panther
  8. Kendrick Lamar Gives ‘Black Panther’ a Weighty Soundtrack

Reactions

  1. What Marvel’s Chris Pratt Thought Of Black Panther
  2. Oprah’s Review Of Black Panther Is Better If You Read It In The Oprah Voice
  3. What Marvel’s Kevin Feige Really Thinks About Black Panther
  4. What Michelle Obama Thought Of Black Panther
  5. How Disney’s CEO Reacted To Black Panther’s Success
  6. Review: ‘Black Panther’ Shakes Up the Marvel Universe
  7. Black Panther’ Brings Hope, Hype and Pride
  8. ‘“Black Panther” and the Revenge of the Black Nerds’ [The New York Times]
  9. Black Panther Review: the Marvel Universe Finally Shows Us Something New

MCU Connections

  1. How Black Panther Sets Up A Possible Future For Iron Man
  2. Black Panther Has Some Shocking Similarities To A Recent Marvel Movie
  3. How One Black Panther Scene Nods At The Original Iron Man Movie
  4. Why Black Panther Doesn’t Have More Ties To The Larger Marvel Cinematic Universe
  5. Ta-Nehisi Coates Helps a New Panther Leave Its Print
  6. The Black Panther Reading List
  7. Black Panther Royal Family Tree (Video)

Characters

  1. All The Major Characters You Need To Know In Black Panther
  2. Is Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger Marvel’s Best Villain Yet?
  3. Where Black Panther’s Shuri Goes From Here In The MCU
  4. Why Black Panther’s Agent Ross Is Different From The Comics
  5. Did Black Panther Reveal An Important Development For A Key Marvel Hero?
  6. In Defense of Erik Killmonger and the Forgotten Children of Wakanda
  7. ‘Black Panther’: Why Not Queen Shuri? (Guest Column)
  8. Why Black Panther’s T’Challa Is a Better Man Than Most Superheroes …

Gender

  1. Finally, “Black Panther” Is a Movie Black Women Can Celebrate’ [Independent]
  2. ‘Kevin Feige on the Future of Marvel’s Women’ [Vulture]
  3. Black Panther Breakout Letitia Wright Smashes Disney Princess Expectations
  4. Princess Shuri: The Hero We Needed | The Amherst Student
  5. There’s a True Story Behind Black Panther’s Strong Women. Here’s …
  6. The women of ‘Black Panther’ are empowered not just in politics and …
  7. Black Women Are Black Panther’s Mightiest Heroes – io9 – Gizmodo
  8. Black Panther, black women, and the politics of black hair | Cinema
  9. The power of ‘Black Panther’s’ army of African women – The Lily
  10. In ‘Black Panther,’ Wakanda’s Women Are Both Funny And Fierce
  11. The Powerful Women Of ‘Black Panther’ | HuffPost
  12. After Black Panther and Wonder Woman, Batgirl needs a female …
  13. The Women in ‘Black Panther’ Rock – Why ‘Black Panther’ is a Win for …
  14. Get to know the Dora Milaje, Black Panther’s mighty women … – Vox
  15. The Female Cast of Black Panther Is So Freakin’ Badass, I’m Crying Tears of Joy
  16. The Most Important Debate in Black Panther Is, Unsurprisingly … – Elle
  17. How Danai GuriraOkoye redefines the female warrior in ‘Black Panther’

LGBT

  1. ‘“Black Panther” Screenwriter Joe Robert Cole Addresses Rumors of a Deleted Gay Scene’ [ScreenCrush]
  2. ‘Don’t Play With Our Emotions: “Black Panther” and Queer Representation’ [The Root]
  3. Could There Have Been a Lesbian Romance in Black Panther? Let’s Investigate

Director/Cast Takes

  1. Ryan Coogler’s Open Letter To Black Panther Fans Is Wonderful
  2. The Amazing Black Panther Set That Led Daniel Kaluuya To Recognize The Epicness Of Black Panther
  3. The Best Wakandan Technology, According To Black Panther’s Michael B. Jordan
  4. Black Panther Director Ryan Coogler Explains His Infinity Stone Decision
  5. The Stars of ‘Black Panther’ Waited a Lifetime for This Moment
  6. Black Panther’s Director Ryan Coogler Breaks Down a Fight Scene
  7. Black Panther designer Ruth Carter reveals the African symbols … – Syfy

Box Office

  1. Why Black Panther Overperformed At The Box Office
  2. Black Panther Made Even More This Weekend Than We Thought
  3. Black Panther Box Office: There’s A Party Going On Over At Marvel
  4. After ‘Black Panther,’ Will Hollywood Finally Admit That Black Films …

Opposition to Black Panther

  1. ‘Alt-Right’ Group Takes Aim At ‘Black Panther.’ Ryan Coogler …
  2. Alt-Right Group Tries To Take Down Black Panther Film – Refinery29
  3. ‘Black Panther’ Targeted By Alt-Right Trolls Who Also Tried to Tank …
  4. An alt-right group threatened to attack ‘Black Panther’ on Rotten …
  5. Racist trolls are saying Black Panther fans attacked them. They’re lying …
  6. Black Panther: Twitter bans trolls who claimed white cinema-goers …

OTHER:

  1. Can Superheroes Be Woke?: Black Liberation and the Black Panther
  2. ‘Black Panther’ teaches women how to show up for themselves in life and in love
  3. The power of ‘Black Panther’s’ army of African women
  4. ‘Black Panther’ fully embraces its blackness — and that’s what makes it unforgettable
  5. Wakanda forever: The overt feminism of ‘Black Panther’
  6. ‘Black Panther’ Cast Made Sandra Bullock Cry ‘As A Mother’

 

 

 

 

 

Black Dresses & White Roses: Turning #MeToo Into Positive Change

by Michelle Palmer

“For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dare speak the truth to the power of those men. But their time is up. Their time is up.”  – Oprah

I first remember seeing #MeToo back in October. I specifically remember a particular post by Aisha Bain. I think this excerpt from that post sums up the heart of it better than I ever could:

I have said me too.

In the quiet spaces.

With a friend, when we discovered – yes, me too.

With other women bold in their sharing of their experiences to provide space and place for others to seek support.

I’ve said it silence.

When I lock eyes with another woman on a train or in the street when some guy is cat-calling or yelling horrible things.

When I wait to make sure my friend is in her home with the door closed before driving away.

When I walk down a street at night with keys in my hand and my head on a swivel.

When I walk behind all my women friends, always, using my height to keep track of everyone, using my brain to scenario plan what I would do to protect them.

When I avoid eye contact with a man. When I make eye contact with a man just be friendly and civil, and then regret it.

When I was silent, or polite, or laughed off some man’s advances just to stay safe.

When male hands grouped with entitled possession and you can’t even find the who did it in a crowded bar, train, or public space.

When I spoke out against it and the situation became more dangerous.

When I freaked out when I playfully wrestled a boyfriend, and he pinned me down, and somewhere, something so deep emerged, a panic, a fear so severe – I couldn’t control it, I didn’t understand it, and I couldn’t communicate why, all logic evaporated in my terror.

me too

me too

me too

I remember thinking, hoping, as I read her post (and countless others) that maybe a viral hashtag could somehow turn the tides. “Maybe this will help people understand.” But I think I doubted it deep down. I worried that it would fade from the headlines and fade from our social media feeds, the momentum would be short-lived, and no real change would happen.person-of-year-2017-time-magazine-cover1

But then it seemed to keep going. The Silence Breakers were Time’s Person of the Year. From Tarana Burke to Alyssa Milano. From Sandra Pezqueda and Isabel Pascual to Taylor Swift and Terry Crews. That was at the start of December.

It didn’t stop there. In January, actresses wore black to the Golden Globes, the first awards show of the season, a season when celebrities have even more visibility than usual. And it wasn’t just a fashion statement. It was the launch of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund. Actresses didn’t just wear black in solidarity, they spoke out (and spoke up) and brought activists as their dates; they shared the platform and passed the microphone.typorama (1)

And then, the movement reached the Grammys with white roses, Janelle Monae, and Kesha’s performance of “Praying.”

Before I get too far ahead of myself, let’s cover the basics. This is about both equality and ending sexual harassment. If you don’t know why it’s a big deal, read on. (And/or check out our earlier post on feminism.) These stats come from the Time’s Up website, and each has links to its source.  

  • 1 in 3 women ages 18 to 34 has been sexually harassed at work. Sexual harassment is pervasive across industries, but especially in low-wage service jobs. For example, more than 25% of sexual harassment charges filed with the EEOC in the last decade came from industries with service-sector workers. Source.
  • Nearly 50% of men think women are well-represented in leadership in companies where only one in ten senior leaders is a woman. Source.
  • 1 in 5 C-Suite leaders is a woman. Fewer than 1 in 30 is a woman of color. Source.
  • White non-Hispanic women are paid 81 cents on the dollar compared to white non-Hispanic men. Asian women are only paid 88 cents on the dollar. Black and Hispanic women are only paid 65 cents and 59 cents on the white male dollar, respectively. Source.
  • Only about half of the world’s working-age women participate in the labor force, compared to around three-quarters of their male counterparts. Closing that gap could add an estimated $12 trillion in global GDP by 2025. Sources: http://www.ilo.org/gender/Informationresources/Publications/WCMS_457317/lang–en/index.htm; https://www.mckinsey.com/global-themes/employment-and-growth/how-advancing-womens-equality-can-add-12-trillion-to-global-growth
  • Nearly half of working women in the U.S. say they have experienced harassment in the workplace. Source.
  • Research has shown that women in male-dominated occupations, especially those in male-dominated work contexts, are sexually harassed more than women in balanced or in female-dominated ones. Source: Berdahl, JL. (2007). The Sexual Harassment of Uppity Women (p. 427).
  • Approximately one-third of women think women are well-represented when they see one-in-ten in leadership positions. Source.
  • From 2007 to 2016, 4% of top-grossing directors were female. Just 7 were women of color. 1 in 1,114 directors across 1,000 movies was Latina. Source.
  • More than one-third of the world’s countries do not have any laws prohibiting sexual harassment at work—leaving nearly 235 million working women vulnerable in the workplace. Source.26063717_922994241203884_6359613113973307075_o

When I was prepping this post, I came across this photo on Facebook. It specifically says, “ladies.” I thought, “If that’s not a sign we need change, I don’t know what is.”

One of the most common requests from our survey last August was more info on what to do in light of whatever issue we dealt with in the post. Our top two suggestions are very often the same for every injustice we tackle. The first is this:  When you see it, call it out. If it’s happening in your vicinity, it’s your responsibility to give a voice to the voiceless, to bring light to the situation, to seek rectification, to do something.

The second is to find an organization already doing great work, donate your resources (time, energy, money, talent), and partner with them! Here’s a list to help you:

And last, but certainly not least, for lots more info on being an ally, check out the Better Brave website (and memorize it!).


For more information…

 

 

2017 Tuesday Justice Holiday Gift Guide

by Michelle Palmer

This year there are plenty of ways make a difference with your gifts! Here are some of my favorites:

DSC_1357_square_cb805d68-fe7e-49eb-885e-d9bd082fe2ff_1024x1024LottoLove – I think this one is so cool! I was first introduced to scratchcards at Christmas while I was in England when I received several in my stocking from Father Christmas. Pretty sure I won £3, and I realized how fun they are, no matter how much you win. Anyway, even the most anti-gambling gift-giver could probably get on board with these: Each card is a guaranteed winner. How? Each card donates something via a partner charity:  clean water, solar light, literacy tools, or meals. They run $10 each, but they’re currently advertising Black Friday and Giving Tuesday deals, which I’m FOR SURE keeping an eye on.

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Sevenly – When you shop with Sevenly, you can either shop by collection (if you’re looking for a specific item) or by cause (there are over a dozen to choose from), including human trafficking, women’s empowerment, and refugee care. There’s apparel, jewelry, and a ton of cool mugs!

162858ec13ef8d893_800x80031 Bits – Think of these guys as an alternative to Anthropologie. Their mission: “We use fashion and design to drive positive change in the world by providing artisans with dignified job opportunities and inspiring customers to live meaningful lives.” 

Better World Books – “The Online Bookstore with a Soul.” Think of these guys as an alternative to Amazon. 

05236Charity Pot Lotion by Lush – AKA “Philanthropic Skin Softener” I would legit love this! There’s an $8 size and a $28 size. You know it’s quality because it comes from Lush, and 100% of the proceeds go to “small grassroots organizations working in the areas of environmental conservation, animal welfare and human rights.”

Lip-Smoothie_1024x1024Thistle FarmsThey have tons of great gifts, but I’m especially here for the STOCKING STUFFERS! 6 items under $7. Never heard of Thistle Farms? Here’s their mission: “…to HEAL, EMPOWER, AND EMPLOY women survivors of trafficking, prostitution, and addiction. We do this by providing safe and supportive housing, the opportunity for economic independence, and a strong community of advocates and partners.”

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Macy’s – Yes, THAT Macy’s. I’ve never lived near a Macy’s, but as an avid Thanksgiving Day Parade Watcher/Miracle on 34th Street Fan, it will always be dear to my heart. And they have an entire line dedicated to “Gifts That Give Hope.” They also have what is possibly my favorite gift on the whole list….A NARWHAL ORNAMENT. How precious is he?!

GlobalGiving Gift Cards – These gift cards are the coolest. You choose the amount (starting at $10), the recipient chooses the project. And there are TONS of worthy projects to choose from.

Fig-Gift-Set_Sisterhood

Preemptive Love Coalition – I previously wrote about the amazing work that Preemptive Love Coalition does, and they have an entire catalog of cool gifts, many handmade by the refugees they support, t-shirts, and other cool ways to donate!

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Heifer International – Heifer’s gift catalog has a wide range of options from the adorable ornaments pictured to the right to actual flocks of geese and chicks for communities in need! “Heifer International’s mission is to work with communities to end world hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth.”

If none of those suit your gift-giving needs this year, check out the socially concious businesses below:

And a few more lists for good measure….

And if all that wasn’t enough, consider me your personal GOOD GIFT concierge!!! Seriously, Channon and I would be MORE than happy to help you find the perfect gift that gives back.

Happy Holidays!


For more information….

Find the Helpers: From Outrage to Action

 by Michelle Palmer

“If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.” 

Some weeks it’s really easy to know what to write about. There’s one thing dominating the headlines that deserves some thoughtful unpacking. Other weeks, increasingly it seems, there are so many it’s hard to even think about them all without losing hope.

So, today, I just want to remind us, like I did in the post on Syria, of what Mr. Rogers said:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”

In the midst of so much tragedy, so many events that outrage and infuriate us, I want us to look for the helpers. My purpose in this is twofold.

  • First, I want to give us some hope. (There are helpers. There are people doing something to make things better.)
  • Second, I want our outrage to lead us to action. (We can be helpers too.)

Gun Control:

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The issue of gun control has come up (again) in light of the Las Vegas tragedy, as it so often does.

[SIDENOTE: If this seems like a particularly controversial issue for us to be tackling without much context, consider this: The majority of Americans are in favor of sensible gun control measures (reports here and here). And according to the CDC, there are an average of 33,880 gun deaths per year from 2011-2015, and those numbers are on the rise for 2016 and 2017.]

When I looked for organizations working for gun control, I found several lists, but there were four organizations that appeared on every list I saw. (This article from Bustle is particularly helpful.) These organizations are linked below, and each website has an action section.

I also came across an article that I found particularly interesting, “What If We Made Gun Culture Uncool Like We Did Cigarettes?” Here’s an excerpt:

“On the legislative front it seems America has made its choice and there is little chance for legal reform in the near future except at the margins deemed acceptable by the gun industry and a current generation of gun owners who believe that ‘things happen’ is an appropriate reaction to gun deaths. When lawmakers can’t lead, a social solution is certainly worth a shot.”

Puerto Rico:

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Full disclosure: My love for Lin-Manuel Miranda knows no bounds. However, I can honestly say his Twitter account is an amazing resource for finding ways to help Puerto Rico. His feed is chock-full of ways to help, donation drop-off locations, and links for donating money. Click here: https://twitter.com/lin_manuel

Lin’s twitter feed can get a little overwhelming, so here’s a more concise list from NBC:  How To Help Puerto Rico Right Now

Also, go listen to “Almost Like Praying” on your iTunes or Spotify or Amazon or wherever you listen to your music. It’s catchy, it’s beautiful, it has Gloria Estefan, and all the proceeds go to hispanicfederation.org.

And if you need a smile on your face, check out THIS VIDEO of Stephen Colbert’s #PuberMe challenge to see how much he and Nick Kroll raised for Puerto Rico.

NFL Protests:

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Despite all the arguments regarding secondary issues (respecting the flag, the right to protest), the purpose of the protests from the start has been to bring attention to “systemic oppression against people of color, police brutality and the criminal justice system.” (Source.) If you’re still unsure about the protests, this is the best thing I’ve read on the issue, “What You Might Be Missing in the Kneeling Debate” by Ed Uszynski. And if you’re unsure about the issues being protested, we have lots of information on our Resource List page, and Channon and I would be more than happy to answer your questions.

The organizations below tackle the very issues that led to the protests, and again, each one has ways to support and get involved.

 


There is so much heartbreak in our world, so much to be outraged about today. If the thing pulling at your heartstrings right now hasn’t been addressed here, and you have little hope or don’t know how to help, let us know, and we’ll do our best to point you in the right direction. You can email us at tuesdayjusticeblog@gmail.com or message us on Facebook.

Whatever you do, don’t give up hope. Let your outrage move you to action.

 

Wearing Justice: Confronting the Problems of Fast Fashion  

Back in May, I began working on a post about slavery in supply chains. I hoped to cover three big offenders, chocolate, phones, and fashion, and quickly realized I had been overly ambitious in that hope. (The resulting post can be found here, covering only chocolate.) In preparation for that post, before throwing in the towel on phones and fashion, I was able to gather a number of resources from a single source: Whole Cloth. It dawned on me that there was someone much better suited to tackle fashion justice. Our guest author is “radical homemaker, renegade Ph.D.” Bethany Hebbard. She began the Whole Cloth project (a blog and a community) to explore “the relationship between cloth, craft, and justice.” I’m so thankful that she was willing to share with our Tuesday Justice community about the injustices within the industry and steps to fight for justice in our own closets. – MP – 

Guest Post by Dr. Bethany Hebbard

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“I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; my justice was like a robe…”

(Job 29:14 ESV)

What does it mean to wear justice? This question is as old as the Book of Job, one of the most ancient poems in the Hebrew Scriptures. Today, our relationship to clothing is entangled in the most significant questions of justice in our time: poverty, sustainability, race, slavery, and the meaning of work.

It can be overwhelming to discern where to begin in a conversation about clothing and justice. The most obvious starting point might be the prevalence of “fast fashion” in the global marketplace. “Fast fashion” refers to clothing that is sold at rock-bottom prices, encouraging consumers to purchase, wear, and dispose of clothing at staggering rates. The 2015 film The True Cost offers a highly-engaging introduction to this phenomenon, with a particular focus on the environmental and human rights problems it creates. If you’re interested in the history of fast fashion, Fashionista offers a helpful timeline here. Other resources focus on the environmental and social problems caused by consumer obsession with cheap clothing.

Screen Shot 2017-08-28 at 7.50.23 PM.png.jpgHowever, fast fashion has only accelerated the ethical concerns already at play in global textile systems. Since the development of synthetic dyes in the 1850s, textile dyes have become a major source of water pollution. Fibers such as cotton raise concerns for their water usage and pesticides. Synthetic fabrics, such as polyester and “microfiber,” shed millions of tons of plastic particles into our water systems each year. And industrial textile production has always been notorious for poor labor conditions, from the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911 to the Rana Plaza collapse of 2013.

How can we ever hope to clothe ourselves in justice, when the facts of global textile production are so bleak? One possible answer lies in the popularity of the phrase “ethical fashion,” which often pops up in articles about the best response to “fast fashion.” There are definitely some exciting developments in the realm of ethical fashion, but I’m reluctant to point to it as the solution for a few reasons. First, “ethical fashion” suggests that it is a subset of the larger “fashion industry.” This link limits its audience to people who are interested in fashion, trends, and style. People who aren’t interested in fashion per se may ignore the conversation, thinking it has more to do with design aesthetics than with basic consumer concerns. However, everyone (a few nudists excluded!) wears clothing, meaning that the ethical questions at hand are far larger than what happens during Fashion Week or on the cover of Vogue.Screen Shot 2017-08-28 at 7.48.26 PM.png

More importantly, “ethical fashion” implies that there is a shared, global ethic of clothing, which simply isn’t true. “Ethical” means action rooted in a coherent set of moral principles. These principles usually come from our understanding of how the world works: what “the good life” looks like; who or what determines right from wrong; and how our personal desires intersect with our responsibilities toward others. To speak of “ethical fashion” as though everyone in the world (or even in the US) shares a common ethic simply isn’t accurate. For some people, environmental concerns might be most important. For others, labor conditions or domestic jobs might be paramount. For others, religious convictions come first. Particular concerns such as these tend to get lost in large-scale public discussions of ethics. This is a problem because an ethic that is vaguely defined and impersonal is unlikely to provoke meaningful action.

In my experience, the most effective answer to the enormous problems of clothing justice come through personal conviction and local action. Here are some ways to begin:

  • Reflect upon and articulate your ethic of clothing.
    • How does your understanding of personhood, morality, and work intersect with concerns about clothing? What sources or figures from your tradition offer guidance on this subject? What concerns do you share with others, and what are distinctively yours? For example, as a Christian, my own ethic of clothing is rooted in the beautiful and prophetic imagery of the Bible. I call it my “Whole Cloth Manifesto,” and it is a living document, constantly undergoing revision as I share and discuss it with members of my faith community.  
  • Make a plan for translating your ethic into action.Screen Shot 2017-08-28 at 7.53.12 PM.png
    • Personally, this has meant strengthening my sewing skills, avoiding all synthetic fabrics, and supporting my local fiber economy (Fibershed is a stellar resource for this) by purchasing Texas cotton and domestically produced clothing whenever possible. It is, sadly, nearly impossible to find an article of clothing that is completely free from the problems described above. For that reason, it is important to have a sense of priority when it comes to your values for clothing. If you have to choose, does your ethic guide you to purchase a shirt made with organic cotton–mitigating significant environmental concerns–or one made with conventional cotton, but grown and sewn in the USA–allowing greater confidence in fair labor conditions?
  • Practice solidarity with those who make your clothes.
    • Learning at least one hands-on skill related to clothing will help you value your clothing more, and also build empathy for those who create our clothing. You might try mending, sewing, dyeing, or something more in-depth, such as weaving. Learning these skills can also empower you to take steps out of the industrial supply chain, whether by prolonging the wear of your clothes through mending, or crafting your own goods in ways that accord with your values.
  • Begin public action within your own community and people.
    • While there is a time for large-scale industry regulations, the most significant problems in the clothing industry are fed directly by consumer demand. By working within your own community–with people who know and trust you–you have an incredible opportunity to change the hearts and habits of people with buying power. By beginning your activism among those with whom you share a worldview and economic background, you will be able to present a specific and compelling ethic of clothing. Within my faith community, this has meant trying to expand the Christian preoccupation with “modesty” to a larger concern with issues of pride, conspicuous consumption, and environmental stewardship as they relate to clothing.

In the spirit of “Tuesday Justice,” it is important to remember that everyday decisions can add up to a lifetime of profound witness and change. If we begin by challenging our own assumptions and practices, we will soon find ourselves speaking (or dressing!) prophetically, mobilizing our own communities and challenging systemic problems. Whether that means wearing organic cotton or “shopping” from your grandma’s closet, you’ll soon find yourself wearing justice like a robe — and that never goes out of fashion.


For more information:

All photos taken by Bethany and stolen (with permission) from her blog, Whole Cloth.