Northern Ireland's police transformation may hold lessons for the US
Laura A. Weinstein
26 June 2020
Text / 800-1500 Words
With lessons for American police-reform advocates, the transformation of the Royal Ulster Constabulary – a militarized enforcer of inequality hated by the people of Northern Ireland – into an entirely new organization was founded on the necessity of community support. Neither easy nor simple, this 20-year process, following 30 years of conflict, intentionally included recruiting local Catholics in order to win local support. Citizen oversight served as another pillar of the new structure, which still has problems but has won critical political support from Sinn Féin, the leading nationalist political party.
In Germany, Confronting Shameful Legacy Is Essential Part of Police Training
The New York Times
23 June 2020
Text / 1500-3000 Words
To prevent its police forces from ever again being turned into militarized and politicized tools of an authoritarian state, Germany requires all police trainees to visit former Nazi concentration camps and learn in detail how the Nazi regime used police as a tool. Though the historical comparisons to American policing of racial minorities is not equivalent, the explicit effort to break from a shameful past as a mode of cultural change is instructive. Other reforms include strict separation of police and military and a decentralized structure to keep unchecked power out of the hands of a single agency.
Minneapolis theater community uses stagecraft skills to support businesses of color in the aftermath of protests
23 June 2020
Multi-Media / Under 800 Words
University Rebuild brings together theater members in Minneapolis who are not working due to Covid-19 to use their skills in support of the Black Lives Matters movement by helping communities clean up, make repairs, and create infrastructure to gather safely. Volunteers, numbering more than 100 within the first week, used set design and construction skills to help around 200 businesses impacted by protests following the killing of George Floyd. Windows and doors are boarded up and then prepped for murals painted by local artists and leftover materials were used to build stages for Juneteenth celebrations.
Streaming into the void
Montana Free Press
22 June 2020
Text / Over 3000 Words
Many Montana musicians are holding virtual streaming events to deal with the financial and psychological impact of canceled music events due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Early events were well attended, with up to 100 people, and brought in more money than they would have earned playing at local bars. Interest has slowed down over time, but many musicians want to keep streaming events after the pandemic as another tool to engage audiences now that they have embraced digital delivery. The virtual events allow musicians to experiment and be creative, but most are excited to return to the energy of live shows.
Native American groups address mental health amid COVID-19
Cronkite News - Arizona PBS
19 June 2020
Multi-Media / 800-1500 Words
Aware that already-high rates of mental health problems and suicide in native American populations could grow even worse during COVID-19 isolation, a number of support groups rolled out online sessions that have attracted thousands of attendees seeking connections and comfort. The Native Wellness Institute's daily Power Hour on Facebook Live and the Healing Indigenous Lives Initiative's online meetings offer storytelling, wellness training, peer support, and other lessons in self-care.
For Indigenous Zapotec Families, Spinning Becomes a Lifeline
17 June 2020
Text / 1500-3000 Words
Mark Brown has brought Ghandian economic principles of economic justice and local autonomy to the Mexican countryside to form a farm-to-garment textile business that employs villagers who once made woolen textiles until the industrial clothing era started producing cheap synthetic clothing and rendered their craft unprofitable. Khadi Oaxaca aims to regenerate the village way of life in a sustainable way and employs several hundred villagers who grow the cotton, spin the thread, design the clothing and bring it to market for tourists - bringing a previously economically depressed village out of poverty.