Addressing Ableist Apologia: The Fixation on ‘Fitness’ in U.S. Politics

Addressing Ableist Apologia: The Fixation on ‘Fitness’ in U.S. Politics

By Co-Editor Jess Gallagher Content note: ableist language and disablism “Dear leftists, I see that many of you were offended by my Fetterman comments, calling me an “ableist.” After thinking about it, I’d like to apologize … for absolutely nothing. I expect potential senators to be able to form complete thoughts and/or sentences. You idiots.” –Donald Trump Jr.  And so, the age of ableism and apologia is among us, once again, in the political sphere. But where can we even begin to address this deeply ingrained rhetorical pattern amongst politicians? Let’s start with the most recent midterm election, and analyze what the victory of Pennsylvania State Senator, John Fetterman, shows us about the future of ableism in politics. In the Pennsylvania race for the state’s U.S. Senate seat, Democratic candidate John Fetterman has had to continuously defend his “fitness” to serve in office after experiencing a stroke in May. Republican candidate for Senate in Pennsylvania, Mehmet Oz, and his campaign continued to add to...
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Mind Over Matter: Why the MINDS Act is Essential Legislation

Mind Over Matter: Why the MINDS Act is Essential Legislation

By Guest Writer Emma McDonnell Playgrounds, sleepovers, and playdates; for a child, a carefree childhood is fundamental to a well-lived life. These innocent and relaxed days stand in stark contrast to the work and stress-filled days that often typify adulthood. The reality, however, is that the children of today face increased levels of stress and anxiety, sentiments which have been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, war, natural disasters, and famine, among other conflicts and issues. Children who live in conflict-torn areas are unable to live, grow, and develop in normality. They cannot play as normal children would do. They may be unable to attend school as normal children would do. In these formative years, children have little to no control over their lives and as such are incredibly vulnerable.  When the images and stories of children being imprisoned in cages and separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border first surfaced, many were horrified and shocked that these measures were being taken, but...
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Most Unusual Requests: Transgender, Jewish students targeted in the US, Ukraine

Most Unusual Requests: Transgender, Jewish students targeted in the US, Ukraine

By Guest Writer Ararat L. Osipian Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is asking state universities to fill the survey regarding the number and ages of students who sought gender dysphoria treatment, including sex reassignment surgery and hormone prescriptions. This survey has been sent to the universities by the state’s budget director, Chris Spencer: “Our office has learned that several state universities provide services to persons suffering from gender dysphoria. On behalf of the Governor, I hereby request that you respond to the enclosed inquiries related to such services.” The survey is to be completed as part of the obligation to govern institutional resources and protect the public interest. It did not take long for Democrats to respond. House Democratic Leader Fentrice Driskell said that “We can see cuts in funding for universities to treat students with this condition, and I think an all-out elimination of services is certainly on the table.” According to Driskell, the Floridian Governor is trying to remake the state’s...
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A Life and Legacy, Unmatched: Remembering the Activism of Lois Curtis

A Life and Legacy, Unmatched: Remembering the Activism of Lois Curtis

By Co-Editor Jess Gallagher   “Nobody’s free until we are all free.”  These are the words of Lois Curtis, the woman whose case determined the most influential court decision for people with disabilities in history. Ms. Curtis served as one of the plaintiffs in the landmark Supreme Court case, Olmstead v. L.C. (1999), which established the right of people with disabilities to live in the least restrictive settings possible under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  As the Disability Community mourns the loss of one of the nation’s greatest advocates, we reflect on her efforts to achieve justice for all. Her work secured the right of millions of people with disabilities to live within their own communities and away from the forced institutionalization that she faced throughout her life. Growing up in Atlanta, GA., Ms. Curtis was diagnosed with intellectual and developmental disabilities as a child and, due to a lack of support services for her family, she often wandered away from home. Missing person...
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Rights in Conflict: Competing Claims for Housing and Property in Brazil

Rights in Conflict: Competing Claims for Housing and Property in Brazil

By Co-Editor Winston Ardoin Written during the period of redemocratization after the repressive military dictatorship, the 1988 Constitution of the Federative Republic of Brazil is among the most progressive in the world. After the preamble and a short list of foundational principles, Title II explicitly describes all the fundamental rights and guarantees granted to every citizen by the State. One of the longest and most detailed declarations of rights in any national constitution, the drafters’ progressive and inclusive goals created a difficult problem for the Brazilian state: the potential for conflicts of rights. Like the American court system, Brazilian courts must choose which right to uphold and defend when competing groups bring opposing claims citing different constitutional rights. In a deeply unequal country where political and legal structures remain controlled by the elite, the question often also becomes whose rights matter more: those of the powerful or those of the marginalized? One collision of rights , especially present in major cities such...
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Reimagining Governance: The Visionary Potential of Chile’s Rewritten Constitution

Reimagining Governance: The Visionary Potential of Chile’s Rewritten Constitution

By Co-Editor Varsha Vijayakumar. This coming Sunday, September 4, every Chilean citizen above the age of eighteen will vote to “approve” or “reject” a brand-new national constitution.  Chile’s existing constitution was established during the brutal dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, which lasted from 1973 to 1990. On September 11, 1973, the military general led a U.S.-backed coup d’etat that ousted Salvador Allende, the first Marxist in the world to have been democratically-elected to power. Today, the histories and lives of the murdered and disappeared are intentionally documented by organizations such as the Museum of Memory & Human Rights in Chile’s capital city.*  A national plebiscite is nothing new in Chile. In fact, the formal end of Pinochet’s dictatorship was brought about by a 1988 referendum in which 56% of Chileans voted “no” on the question of extending his regime. Critics have long argued that the current constitution prioritizes the neoliberal economic model that was established under Pinochet’s rule and generally enshrines the stark inequalities of...
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Institutionalizing the Revolution or Maintaining the Status Quo: The Question of Plurinationalism in Bolivia

By Co-Editor Winston Ardoin In a crucial victory for Evo Morales, Bolivia’s former leftist indigenous president, the state’s most recent constitution entered into force on February 7, 2009. The document reorganized the state around the concept of plurinationalism, defined by political scientist Michael Keating as “the coexistence within a political order of more than one national identity, with all the normative claims and implications that this entails.” Proponents of the new constitution saw the codification of plurinationalism as the institutionalization of their revolutionary struggle against the legacy of colonialism and long-standing inequality in Bolivia. Opponents, including some indigenous leaders, disagree, arguing that plurinationalism dilutes sovereign aims and maintains the unjust status quo. Understanding Plurinationalism in the Bolivian Context A uniquely Latin American idea developed in the 2000s, revolutionary Andean political leaders with indigenist convictions developed the concept of plurinationalism, defined by former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa as “the coexistence of several different nationalities within a larger state where different peoples, cultures and worldviews...
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The Consequences of Texas SB8: It May Become Impossible to Get an Abortion in Large Parts of the US

By Staff Writer Susanne Prochazka. The ripple effect of the Texas abortion ban, SB 8, has already impacted reproductive rights across the United States. As early as September 2021, following SB 8 taking effect, states neighboring Texas experienced an influx of patients seeking abortion care and related reproductive health care. States as far away as Illinois and New York reported an increase in patients from Texas scheduling abortion procedures, with Texans forced to travel hundreds or even thousands of miles for abortion access. Under SB 8, which effectively bans abortions as early as six weeks into the pregnancy, abortions in Texas have already fallen by almost 50%.  In the wake of Texas’ SB 8, a wave of equally restrictive abortion prohibitions has followed. 2022 is rapidly emerging as a devastating year for abortion rights and access, with more than 500 restrictions introduced nationwide since the start of state legislative sessions in January 2022.   Notably, three states have enacted bans as strict as Texas’...
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NYCHA’s Public Housing Fosters Crime, Poverty and Dreadful Living Conditions

NYCHA’s Public Housing Fosters Crime, Poverty and Dreadful Living Conditions

By Staff Writer Emily Ekshian   GRANT HOUSES, MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS - Is the government truly concerned, or are they simply clustering low income communities together to keep them immobile, and in one space?  The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), has a profound legacy as the country’s first government - sponsored public housing agency. Established in 1935, the 334 housing developments provided by NYCHA include apartment units, houses and shared small building units across New York City’s five boroughs. And the agency’s core mission is to provide decent, safe, and affordable housing primarily for low income New Yorkers, though tenants at the Grant Houses would disagree.   Casually leaning on an NYPD smart car on the collapsed curbside area facing 50 La Salle St, Officer Kang guards the Grant Public housing apartment park, where a shooting occurred down the street just about a week ago. “We’re close to the bottom here,” he says. “Bad living conditions, it tends to get crowded often, and most people are...
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The Rittenhouse Verdict Explained

The Rittenhouse Verdict Explained

By Staff Writer Susanne Prochazka On November 19th, 2021, a jury returned from 27 hours of deliberation and declared 18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty on all charges he faced after fatally shooting two people and wounding a third during a 2020 night of unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Rittenhouse shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum (36) an unarmed man who had chased Rittenhouse, and Anthony Huber (26), a demonstrator who had struck him with a skateboard and then lunged for his rifle, and severely wounded a third, Gaige Grosskreutz (now 28) a demonstrator and paramedic who was armed with a Glock pistol. Prosecutors had charged Rittenhouse with five felonies: first degree reckless homicide, use of a dangerous weapon; first-degree recklessly endangering safety, use of a dangerous weapon; first-degree recklessly endangering safety, use of a dangerous weapon; first-degree intentional homicide, use of a dangerous weapon; and attempted first-degree intentional homicide, use of a dangerous weapon. A sixth charge, possession of a dangerous weapon by a...
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