by Emrys Westacott
On June 22, in Los Angeles, five police officers responded to a complaint about music being played too loud in the middle of the night. A pit bull attacked one of the officers. Armando Garcia-Muro, a 17-year-old high school senior, restrained the dog, but it got free and charged at the police. Two of the officers fired six to eight rounds at the charging dog. One of the bullets hit and killed Garcia-Muro.
In May of this year, Charleena Lyles, a 30-year-old pregnant woman, at home with three young children, reported a burglary. Two officers went to her apartment, aware of the fact that she suffered from mental illness and that there was a good chance they might encounter threatening or dangerous behavior. According to the officers' account, when Lyles threatened one of them with a knife, they both fired shots at her, killing her immediately.
In July 2016, Philando Castile was pulled over for a broken taillight. He was driving with his girlfriend and her four-year old daughter. He informed the officer, Jeronimo Yanez, that he had a firearm (for which he had a license). Yanez, apparently concerned that Castile was pulling the firearm out, shot him seven times. The incident was recorded on the police car's dashcam. Yanez was charged with manslaughter and reckless discharge of a firearm. Earlier this month, Yanez was acquitted of all charges.
The list of such incidents could be multiplied indefinitely. Trayvon Martin; Alton Sterling; Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Danroy Henry, Tashii Brown; Sam DuBose; Charles Kinsey; Terence Crutcher, Eric Garner…… It sometimes seems that hardly a day goes by without a news report of a black person (usually unarmed) being killed by police offers (often, but not always, white) in circumstances where the use of deadly force seems wildly excessive.
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by Claire Chambers
The current volatile state of global higher education raises urgent questions. Student protests broke out at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, in March 2015. These demonstrations initially called to remove the statue of the racist imperialist Cecil Rhodes from campus.
As Rachael Gilmour explains, the ejection of Rhodes's statue was rapidly achieved. Then a broader student protest movement spread across universities in South Africa under the banners of #RhodesMustFall and #FeesMustFall. Led, in large part, by an inspiring cohort of young black women activists and feminists, the movements aim to decolonize teaching methods and recruitment. Their influence is being felt outside South Africa in the #RhodesMustFall campaign at Oxford University in the UK, and on US university campuses such as UC Berkeley.
Similarly, in the United States and beyond, Black Lives Matter is gaining traction. It combats systematic racism and discrimination as well as police killings of black people. The movement emerged in response to the lack of justice for the 2012 murder of Trayvon Martin. There has been a vicious backlash against the group around the slogan “All Lives Matter,” whose participants attempt to paint Black Lives Matter as violent Marxists.
This July Patricia Leary, a professor at Whittier Law School, wrote an incisive rejoinder to a student letter criticizing her decision to wear a Black Lives Matter t-shirt on campus. In this reply, Leary dismantles the assumption that the motto “Black Lives Matter” is preceded by a silent “only”:
There are some implicit words that precede “Black Lives Matter,” and they go something like this:
Because of the brutalizing and killing of black people at the hands of the police and the indifference of society in general and the criminal justice system in particular, it is important that we say that…
This is, of course, far too long to fit on a shirt.
In India, Narendra Modi's BJP government has taken an increasingly sadistic stance towards artists, intellectuals, dissenters, and minorities. The killing of activists and writers Govind Pansare and Professor M. M. Kalburgi in 2015 led to many authors returning awards in protest.
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