Aug 16
Her eye on the news

Tadrint and Micah Washington were driving in a car near the site of the violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday, that turned deadly. The sisters weren’t participating in any way in the rally — they weren’t even there to protest. But thanks to all of the confusion in town, they followed a series of detours that ended up putting them in the wrong place at the wrong time.

An alleged Nazi-sympathizer came barreling down the street in his Dodge Charger, plowed into counter-protesters and slammed other vehicles. Authorities have charged James Fields Jr. with operating the vehicle. The driver then abruptly shifted the car into reverse and sped away from the scene driving backwards. One of the vehicles hit in the chaos caused by that Dodge Charger was the Toyota Camry the Washington sisters were riding in.

“It came out of nowhere,” 20-year-old Micah Washington, who was in the passenger seat when the Charger hit from behind them, said in an interview with The Washington Post. Her body was thrown forward upon impact and she smashed her head on the dashboard and windshield. Tadrint, 27, was disoriented  and said she felt a deep burn in her leg. After a moment or two, she said she regained her bearings and was able to realize “I’m alive.” Their car was splattered with blood and a few feet from them is where 32-year-old Heather Heyer was killed.

The sisters are suing a slew of white supremacist groups for what their lawyers argue amount to “an attempt to kill and maim as many individuals as possible” and “inspire mayhem, homicide and violence.” They’re seeking $3 million in damages. Below, watch them discuss the frightening ordeal.

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Read the full story at The Washington Post.


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Samantha Heaton, who has been working as a waitress at a Buffalo Wild Wings in Rockford, Illinois, for a year, had what must have been her least pleasant experience with a customer last week. Rather than tipping her, the customer wrote, “Can’t tip someone who doesn’t love Jesus! Bad tatoo [sic]” on the receipt, referring to the rainbow-colored bars on her arm, a widely recognized symbol for LGBT equality.

A friend’s Facebook post about the incident, in which she wrote that “being gay does not mean you don’t believe in God or Jesus. And people who are ‘religious’ should not disrespect or act in such ways to other people,” quickly went viral. “It was shocking. I couldn’t help but feel hurt,” Samantha told the BBC. “I would’ve openly discussed my tattoo with them, had they asked. I talked to them about their food. They kept me constantly busy, but were not openly rude to me. I’ve never had someone write anything like this.”

Many people expressed their support for Heaton on social media, including Samantha’s girlfriend who wrote that she is “so much more than a tattoo.” Some others doubted their motives, however, pointing out that it could be a ploy to get financially rewarded by sympathizers on the internet. Samantha and her friend who made the post denied that this was the case, and said they only wanted to spread awareness. “I hope I’ve been able to bring awareness to this issue of bullying and discrimination,” Samantha added. “We have a long way to go but love and kindness will thrive in the face of adversity.”

Read the full story at BBC.

‘Tired of waiting’

Takiya Thompson, 22, a member of the far-left Workers World Party and a student at N.C. Central University, has been arrested on felony charges for her role in taking down a Confederate statue in Durham, N.C., on Tuesday. She is facing felony charges, which could result in her spending years in prison. In a video circulated widely on social media, Thompson could allegedly be seen climbing a statue erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, a group known for glorifying the Confederate cause and rejecting the role of slavery in the Civil War. The footage appears to show Thompson tying a rope around the statue’s neck, and helping the crowd pull the statue to the ground. Police said that Thompson, who was arrested on Tuesday after holding a news conference about the protest alongside other activists at N.C. Central University, had confessed to climbing the monument.

“The people decided to take matters into our own hands and remove the statue,” said Thompson at the press conference before her arrest. “We are tired of waiting on politicians who could have voted to remove the white supremacist statues years ago, but they failed to act. So we acted.”

The statue, which was installed in 1924 amid a wave of other Confederate memorials, would have been difficult to remove through legal means. A 2015 law, passed in the midst of a debate over the removal of a Confederate statue on the University of North Carolina campus, made it illegal to remove monuments and other landmarks without state approval. Governor Roy Cooper, a Democrat who won a closely contested election last year, had called on the state legislature to repeal the 2015 law and to defeat a bill, recently passed in the State House, that would give drivers who hit protesters with cars legal immunity.

Thompson’s bold show of defiance calls to mind a similar act in June 2015 by self-described freedom fighter Bree Newsome, who scaled the flagpole on the grounds of the South Carolina State House and removed the Confederate Flag that once flew there. Newsome was arrested, but the pressure the act put on government officials resulted in the flag being taken down for good within two weeks. Below, watch Thompson discuss why she decided to take part in ripping down the statue in Durham.

The defiant act won Thompson the praise of singer Solange Knowles, who before deleting her Twitter account posted a scathing message calling for Thompson to be freed, according to Mashable. “My son’s first day of school has been in the midst of seeing these bullshit images that still tell him this system was built to be against him,” Knowles wrote. “Thinking about demanding he not be required to take American History because its deep dark rooted ugliness continues to live right now, right before our eyes.” Thompson has been released on bail.

Watch video of the statue being taken down below.

Read the full story at The New York Post and The New York Times.


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‘Very fine people’

British Prime Minister Theresa May condemned U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday for comments made on Tuesday in which he praised some who marched in Charlottesville as “very fine people” while simultaneously criticizing the anti-fascism protesters who opposed them. Trump had also falsely claimed that the protesters had assembled without a permit and “viciously [attacked]” white supremacist marchers who Trump said had simply been “protesting very quietly the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee.”

In his comments, Trump neglected to mention that said marchers had also been seen giving the Nazi salute and chanting, “Jews will not replace us,” while carrying torches in a manner reminiscent of a Ku Klux Klan rally. An anti-fascist protester, Heather Heyer, 32, was also killed after an alleged Nazi sympathizer deliberately drove his car into a crowd of people protesting the white supremacists.

“I see no equivalence between those who propound fascist views and those who oppose them,” said May on Wednesday, after being asked about Trump’s comments. “I think it is important for all those in positions of responsibility to condemn far right views wherever we hear them.”

Activists have been pressuring the U.K. government for months to withdraw an invitation made to Trump to pay the country a state visit — an invitation that Trump reportedly told May in early June he would refuse until he could be assured that he wouldn’t be confronted by large-scale protests.

“Theresa May’s decision to invite Donald Trump for a state visit to the U.K. has always been highly controversial, but now that the President is nakedly sympathizing with neo-Nazis, there has never been a more obvious time that that invitation must be rescinded immediately,” said Nick Dearden, the director of Global Justice Now, which is part of the U.K. Stop Trump coalition. “What message is it sending to the people of U.K. if there is an open invitation to the most high-profile fascist-sympathizer of modern times?”

Read the full story at The Huffington Post and The Independent.


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Lisa Theris, a woman who went missing in mid-July, was found on Saturday near a highway in rural Alabama after she managed to survive more than three weeks in the wilderness by eating berries and drinking muddy water. Judy Garner, who found Theris lying naked by the side of Highway 82 said she initially mistook the woman for a deer.

“I started shaking. I was crying, I was scared, and I didn’t know what to do,” Garner recalled for NBC News. “So I went over to her and asked her if she would stay there while I get water out of my van. She stayed, and I called 911 and told them I had found a girl on the road.”

According to police, Theris, 25, had been in a car with two men driving along a remote road when she jumped out of the vehicle after the men told her they planned on robbing a nearby hunting camp. Police said they were waiting for Theris to recover so that they could ask her about the incident — the two men she was believed to have been in the car with were arrested on charges of burglary and theft nearly two weeks after Theris went missing. Theris, who was found covered in scratches and bite marks, reportedly suffered no severe injuries during her ordeal. She has since been released from a hospital after receiving treatment, and is now back with her family. For more on the story, watch the video below.

Read the full story at The Cut.


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‘Under attack’

Citing the recent protests and violence in Charlottesville — as well as the president’s seeming sympathy with the white supremacists who perpetrated it — Women’s March organizers have redoubled calls to meet for a Women’s Convention in October. The goal of the Women’s Convention, organizers say, is to harness the estimated 2.6 million people who marched on Washington and in cities across the country into a political force that can impact the 2018 midterm elections — and take more power out of the hands of Donald Trump and white supremacist sympathizers.

“People have always asked us how we are going to change from a march into a movement,” said Women’s March co-president Bob Bland. “Bringing us all back together, I think, will truly be a historic turning point for the women’s movement and all of the most marginalized groups in this country who, as you saw from Charlottesville, are under attack.”

Susan Bro, the mother of a 32-year-old paralegal, Heather Heyer, who was killed by an alleged nazi sympathizer after he drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, pledged to continue her daughter’s fight against hatred, adding that she hoped her daughter’s death would prove a “rallying cry for justice and equality.” Describing Heyer as one of “us,” Bland said that the Women’s March needed “to answer her mother’s call through continuing to fight, to not allow this violence or weak condemnation to send a signal to white supremacists.”

Just 24 hours after Heyer’s death, leaders of the Women’s March had helped to organize 700 vigils across the country.

Read the full story at USA Today.


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Article 522

Government officials in Lebanon on Wednesday voted to repeal a law that allows rapists to avoid prosecution by marrying their victims. The law, a provision included in Article 522 of the country’s penal code, has come under intense criticism in recent months, and the decision to abolish it follows a similar action in Jordan earlier this month, and Tunisia late last month.

The news was welcomed by right groups who have rallied for change.

“Congratulations to women in Lebanon,” AbaadMENA, an NGO that’s been campaigning for the law’s repeal, wrote on its Facebook page. “Today’s win is a victory for the dignity of women. It is no longer possible to escape punishment for rape and sexual acts carried out by force and coercion.” Abaad was behind the influential “a white dress does not cover the rape” campaign, pictured above. It also celebrated the repeal of the law, which has been in effect for 60 years, on Twitter.

Earlier this year, Lebanese artist Mireille Honein installed an exhibit at a park in Beirut that was similarly themed, that featured 31 wedding dressings hanging from nooses. “I hung them up, because this type of law simply robs women of their essence,” she said at the time.

Read the full story at The Guardian.


No more marrying your rapist in Jordan, lawmakers have decided

Election fallout

Of all the many ways the 2016 presidential election has changed the lives of Americans, former Trump campaign staffer A.J. Delgado has undergone a radical change since a new president was elected, a series of changes, really, that has been bittersweet. And, she has suffered in virtual silence — until now. Speaking with McKay Coppins of The Atlantic, Delgado, who during the campaign had become a fixture on cable news, opened up about the loneliness and isolation she’s suffered through since Election Day — all while pregnant.

In the maelstrom of the homestretch of the presidential race, Delgado found herself romantically involved with one of her colleagues, campaign spokesperson Jason Miller. Miller was married, but she said he told Delgado he was separated from his wife. Within weeks of Trump’s surprise victory, and around the same time news of their affair hit the tabloids, Delgado learned she was pregnant. Shortly thereafter, she shared the news with Miller one night as they were lying in bed. Both were part of the transition team and Miller had been offered the job as White House communications director, which he turned down.

Delgado, Coppins reports, recalled Miller asking whether she might terminate the pregnancy. He denied that he did so. But after that, he soon distanced himself from her to focus on his family, leaving Delgado to go through the pregnancy alone. She gave birth last month to a baby boy named William.

Former Trump campaign senior advisor Jason Miller arrives at Trump Tower in New York, U.S. November 13, 2016. (REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz)

But arriving at that happy moment wasn’t easy for Delgado.

“Every time I would even peek at Twitter, there would be comments calling me a home-wrecker, an adulterer, a whore,” she explained. “I wanted to respond … but science says any stress you feel, the baby will feel. So I stayed quiet.”

Delgado also said she felt abandoned by people who fancy themselves as pro-life and have spouted rhetoric about making women with unexpected pregnancies not feel all alone in the world. One of those people who leaned heavily on such rhetoric is Kellyanne Conway. “Our message and our positive action must also reach those women who face unplanned pregnancies. They should know they are not alone. They are not judged. They, too, are protected and cared for and celebrated,” Conway boomed at the March for Life in January.

Delgado said she never heard from Conway once during her pregnancy.

As for Miller, who took a job at a Washington consulting firm and signed with CNN to be an on-air contributor, he “disappeared on the pregnancy, on his child, until June,” Delgado said. “I did it all myself. He never once called, texted, emailed to find out if I was receiving proper prenatal care, to find out the baby’s gender, to see if I had health insurance, or if there was anything he could help with. He never even inquired whether there was a baby registry so that he could send something.”

It wasn’t until after William was born that Miller suddenly seemed interested in Delgado again, and he became demanding too. Delgado explained to Coppins why she decided to speak out after remaining silent for so long and why “one of the first photos my son took was … like a mug shot. I hated seeing that picture of my son. That was a very ugly thing to do.”

Read the full story at The Atlantic.


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