Posts made in December 2023

A Pitch-Perfect End to 2023

Here’s a pitch-perfect way to end the year.

This holiday season, ePa is sharing with you—our clients, friends, and collaborators—some of the songs that inspire us to keep working towards a more equitable, peaceful and cultured world.

Music is an essential part of our American culture. We turn to music to make change, question our government leaders, and inspire a diverse nation, even the world to action. From Marvin Gaye’s What’s Goin On, to Aretha Franklin’s Respect and Ever Changing Times.

What songs have struck a chord with you in 2023?

These are the songs that have struck a pitch-perfect cord with ePluribusAmerica in capturing 2023:

What’s Going On, Marvin Gaye, is a concept album. The narrative established by the song is told from the point of view of a Vietnam veteran returning to his home country to witness hatred, suffering, and injustice. And it almost didn’t get released because the “powers” behind the music industry, Berry Gordy, hated the song and refused to release it until Gaye put his foot down and demanded it be released. Decades later, the world is still asking the same question delivered in this powerful song. 



Strange Days, The Doors, the lyrics birth the truth of the matter, “Strange days have found us, Strange days have tracked us down, They’re going to destroy, Our casual joys, We shall go on playing or find a new town, Yeah!,” making this song a perfect description of the world today.


Near DT, MI, Black Midi, a short and simple reflection of our times that raises the issue of Detroit Michigan’s water crisis that went unchecked and unchanged for years under government watch and control. Our government turns a blind eye to our poisoned waters, social and economic needs, while they feed their war machines with trillions of our tax dollars. Michael Jackson’s cry, “they don’t really care about us” still echoes across America.



Lift Me Up, Rihanna, takes you to an internal place where only you and the ancestors reside. A reminder that they are watching over us and the work we do to carry on.



Rise Up, Andra Day, captures perfectly, not just how tough this year has been, but that our work to improve the world is ongoing and there is no rest for the weary. We must all rise up and together face the inhumanity taking root. 



Someday We’ll All Be Free, Donny Hathaway, reminds me of my father’s favorite quote by Benard Ighner, “There are few things in life you can be sure of, except Rain falls from the clouds, Sun lights up the day, And hummingbirds do fly.”


Get Up, Stand Up, Bob Marley, is a spiritual song that transcends time and generations. It continues to move and inspire people all over the world to get up and stand up for their inalienable human rights. Today, this musical message is more important than ever as people all over the world face over-militarized and corrupt governments, especially here in America where our elected officials continue to support the genocide in Palestine, in spite of the People’s objections, and even bypassing Congress to continue to provide weapons to Israel in its barbaric bombardment of Gaza and crimes against humanity.


Unknown Soldier, The Doors, the song recalls the death of a faceless soldier in combat, while life goes on at home, “news is read” and “children fed”. The Unknown Soldier brings back memories of those lost to war. It also reminds of our lust for and comfort with wars, in spite of its toll on mankind and our humanity. In America’s 247 years as a nation, only 15 of those have been without a war. We are a culture that prays to Ares, the god of war. This song also reminds that a human being sits inside each uniform holding a weapon aimed at others.


Wicked World, Black Sabbath, listening to this song and over-standing the lyrics, “The world today is such a wicked place, Fighting going on between the human race, People go to work just to earn their bread, While people just across the sea are counting the dead,” We, The People must face this new wrinkle in time with a united front and turn to those who are leading us, and ask: What has changed and where are you leading us?



A Change Gonna Come, Sam Cooke, is a personal reflection of the times. Cooke and many Black musicians and artists were experiencing blatant racism and discrimination, and were regularly turned away from whites-only establishments and hotels. Cooke felt compelled to write a song that spoke to his struggle and of those around him, and that pertained to the Civil Rights Movement and African Americans. Today, Americans from every walk of life are still hoping change will come, as our elected play their war games abroad and audaciously disregarding the needs and wants of We, The People here at home. A flagrant desecration of the Constitution. And so, a change MUST come in 2024. 



January 6 Attack: Trump’s Former Chief of Staff Epiphany and Turnabout

Mick Mulvaney Changes His Mind
You should, too, says President Trump’s former chief of staff.

On the morning of January 6, 2021, Mick Mulvaney met with new members of Congress in the Capitol. Mulvaney had served in the Trump administration since February 2017, first as director of the Office of Management and Budget, then as acting White House chief of staff from January 2019 to March 2020, and finally as special envoy to Northern Ireland. As the President’s rally against the election outcome devolved and whispers of a citywide lockdown spread, he flew home to South Carolina. There, his daughters asked him, “What are you going to do?” That evening, Mulvaney resigned.

“I didn’t quit at the time because I thought the President did anything illegal,” said Mulvaney Tuesday evening at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics. “I quit because he failed to meet my expectations as a boss…. That was a time when we needed the President to be the President, and he wasn’t.”

Three years later, Mulvaney says that listening to his former colleagues’ testimonies to the House January 6 committee “makes me change my opinion about the President’s conduct on January 6.” He now wonders “whether or not [Trump] did anything illegal on that particular day,” such as conspiring with paramilitary groups. Before, Mulvaney thought Trump acted legally, but when presented with new information, he questioned his original beliefs. But Mulvaney fears that most Americans are unwilling to reconsider their political positions when faced with contradicting facts.

Following four years in the South Carolina General Assembly, six years in the House of Representatives, and four years in Donald Trump’s administration, Mulvaney has left the public sector. Now, he wants to promote civil discourse—to help people disagree respectfully and forge fact-informed opinions. So far, that mission has failed. He said that Harvard is one of very few American colleges that have invited him to speak, multiple universities turned down his idea to start an institute for civil discourse (with $10 million of pledged donations), and CBS News fired him from his on-air contributor role (there, he “tried to restore integrity” to the media).

Describing his political career, Mulvaney highlighted the times when he convened groups that would debate, disagree, and compromise. During his 15 months as Trump’s acting chief of staff, Mulvaney said he was less focused on political outcomes than on ensuring that the President was well informed. His focus was, “Who is there? And are these sane people?” When someone that Mulvaney considered unreliable, like Peter Navarro (director of trade and manufacturing policy), briefed Trump, Mulvaney “made sure that somebody else was there to balance out what I consider to be his craziness.” Bringing together experts from different perspectives, Mulvaney hoped, helped the President understand the wide range of options and come to a decision.

Mulvaney learned about convening and debating while serving in the House of Representatives. In 2015, he cofounded the House Freedom Caucus. To determine who could enter the caucus, the cofounders devised “a sort of a litmus test”: members had to have voted both with and against the GOP leadership. “I’m interested in dealing with the people who can be swayed,” he said, “You could negotiate with them.” That membership method (initially) excluded far-right House members like Steve King and Louie Gohmert, Mulvaney said.

Now, his feelings toward the caucus have shifted. During the Trump administration, the most ideologically conservative House caucus figured out that “there was a lot of money to be made in outrage,” he said. The caucus, in his opinion, is now “a machine for outrage” and no longer looks like the group he helped found: “I hate to see something that I helped start turn into something it’s not.”

In his introductory remarks, cochair of the IOP Conservative Coalition Michael Oved ’25 said, “The electorate and our politicians seem more divided than ever.” Although many people argue that politicians and their desire to stoke outrage are responsible for the gap, Mulvaney blamed the populace. “Government is always a trailing indicator, not a leading indicator,” he said. “The reason Washington looks like it does is [because] the country looks like it does.” Some factors responsible for the divide, he said, include the separation of rich and poor Americans and the loss of shared culture.

Above all, Mulvaney argued, America is being torn apart because people refuse to consider new perspectives. News networks are now “for entertainment, not for education,” he continued, and Americans “watch news for the purpose of having our own pre-existing beliefs affirmed.”

Such self-sorting into silos is not confined to the airwaves. In a discussion with University of California Los Angeles students, Mulvaney related, one student expressed her surprise that he was friends with ABC White House correspondent Jonathan Karl. After the Trump administration ended, despite their differing politics, the pair traveled together and spoke to groups. The center-left student asked Mulvaney how he could be friends with Karl if “you disagree with him on a lot of things,” and remarked that she would “never be seen…in public” with a conservative classmate. Mulvaney told the IOP audience, “We are living in a world where it seems like no one wants to change their mind about anything, and that frightens me because we won’t be able to deal with all the other stuff that does keep me up at night: the debt, Social Security, foreign policy.”

Reflecting on his government service, Mulvaney thinks back to January 6, 2021, and wonders how the day would have played out had he still been chief of staff. “After I left, apparently the sane people didn’t get in the room anymore,” he said. If President Trump had heard from a wide range of people, would he have instead condemned the rioters? “I’d like to think that it would have been different if I was in the building,” Mulvaney said. “I was proud to work for the guy, and at the same time, I was proud that I quit on January 6.”

Authored by Max J. Krupnick, Harvard Magazine

Open Letter From Academics in Defense of Robust Debate on History and Gravity of Israel-Hamas War

An Open Letter from Columbia University and Barnard College Faculty in Defense of Robust Debate About the History and Meaning of the War in Israel/Gaza:

   The most recent devastating violence in Israel and Gaza that began on October 7, 2023 has had very disturbing reverberations on our campus – for all of us, students, faculty, staff, and the larger Columbia community.  We write now to express grave concerns about how some of our students are being viciously targeted with doxing, public shaming, surveillance by members of our community, including other students, and reprisals from employers.  These egregious forms of harassment and efforts to chill otherwise protected speech on campus are unacceptable, and we implore every person in the Columbia University community – faculty, administrators, students, alums, public safety – to do more to protect all of our students while preserving Columbia University as a beacon for “fostering critical thinking and opening minds to different points of view,” as President Shafik wrote to the community in her October 18th message about upholding our collective values.

                As scholars who are committed to robust inquiry about the most challenging matters of our time, we feel compelled to respond to those who label our students anti-Semitic if they express empathy for the lives and dignity of Palestinians, and/or if they signed on to a student-written statement that situated the military action begun on October 7th within the larger context of the occupation of Palestine by Israel.  We have read that statement carefully, and it is worth pointing out that the arguments it makes echo those made by both governmental and non-governmental agencies and institutions at the highest level for a number of years.  

                The student statement begins with language that should satisfy any measure of decency: “The loss of a human life is a deeply painful and heartbreaking experience for loved ones, regardless of one’s affiliation. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the individuals and communities at Columbia University affected by the tragic losses experienced by both Palestinians and Israelis.”  The statement then turns to the claim that peace and safety for all the peoples of Israel and Palestine will remain elusive unless and until the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory ends and accountability for that illegal occupation is achieved.  This is not a radical or essentially controversial position – indeed, it is the position taken by many committees of the United Nations, the UN General Assembly, and respected human rights organizations.  The statement also describes the Israeli treatment of Palestinians as a form of “apartheid”, and while this term is viewed as controversial in some quarters, major human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have concluded that the occupation of Palestine and the treatment of Palestinians within Israel amount to a form of apartheid, a crime against humanity with definitions provided in the 1973 International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (“Apartheid Convention”) and the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Indeed, Desmond Tutu, noted South African civil rights leader who was the first Black archbishop of Cape Town, concluded in 2014 that: “[Palestinians’] humiliation is familiar to all black South Africans who were corralled and harassed and insulted and assaulted by the security forces of the apartheid government.”  And President Jimmy Carter has expressed the view that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians “perpetrates even worse instances of apartness, or apartheid, than we witnessed even in South Africa.”

                In our view, the student statement aims to recontextualize the events of October 7, 2023, pointing out that military operations and state violence did not begin that day, but rather it represented a military response by a people who had endured crushing and unrelenting state violence from an occupying power over many years.  One could regard the events of October 7th as just one salvo in an ongoing war between an occupying state and the people it occupies, or as an occupied people exercising a right to resist violent and illegal occupation, something anticipated by international humanitarian law in the Second Geneva Protocol.  In either case armed resistance by an occupied people must conform to the laws of war, which include a prohibition against the intentional targeting of civilians.  The statement reflects and endorses this legal framework, including a condemnation of the killing of civilians.

                The statement concludes with a demand that Columbia University reverse a decision to create curricular and research programs in Israel, a demand also made by over 100 Columbia faculty last year, and that the university cease issuing statements that favor the suffering and death of Israelis or Jews over the suffering and death of Palestinians, and/or that fail to recognize how challenging this time has been for all students, not just some.

                It is worth noting that not all of us agree with every one of the claims made in the students’ statement, but we do agree that making such claims cannot and should not be considered anti-Semitic.  Their merits are being debated by governmental and non-governmental agencies at the highest level, and constitute a terrain of completely legitimate political and legal debate.

                We are appalled that trucks broadcasting students’ names and images are circling the campus, identifying them individually as “Columbia’s Leading Anti-Semites”, and that some students have had offers of employment withdrawn by employers that sought to punish them for signing the student statement, or for being merely affiliated with student groups associated with the statement. In the absence of university action, students and faculty have undertaken the burden of blocking the images and identifying information broadcast on the doxxing trucks. It is worth noting that most of the students targeted by this doxing campaign are Arab, Muslim, Palestinian, or South Asian.

                One of the core responsibilities of a world-class university is to interrogate the underlying facts of both settled propositions and those that are ardently disputed.  As faculty we are committed to the project of holding discomfort and working across difference with our students.  These core academic values and purposes are profoundly undermined when our students are vilified for voicing perspectives that, while legitimately debated in other institutional settings, expose them to severe forms of harassment and intimidation at Columbia.

                We ask Columbia University’s leadership, our faculty colleagues, Columbia alumni, potential employers of Columbia students, and all who share a commitment to the notion of a just society to join us in condemning, in the strongest of terms, the vicious targeting of our students with doxing, public shaming, surveillance by members of our community, including other students, and reprisals from employers.


Katherine Franke
James L. Dohr Professor of Law

Rashid Khalidi
Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies

Gray Tuttle
Luce Professor of Modern Tibet, EALAC, Columbia

Jack Halberstam
The David Feinson Professor of the Humanities, Columbia

James Schamus
Professor of Professional Practice, School of the Arts, Columbia

Alexander Alberro
Professor, Department of Art History, Barnard College

Premilla Nadasen
Ann Whitney Olin Professor of History, Barnard College

Ralph Ghoche
Assistant Professor, Architecture, Barnard College

Karen Seeley, Lecturer
Anthropology, Columbia

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
University Professor, Columbia

Mae Ngai
Lung Family Professor of Asian American Studies, Professor of History, Columbia

Michael Harris
Professor of Mathematics, Columbia

Marianne Hirsch
William Peterfield Tretn Professor Emerita, English and Comparative Literature, Institute for the Study of Sexuality and Gender, Columbia

Mahmood Mamdani
Herbert Lehman Professor of Government, Columbia

Neferti Tadiar
Professor, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Barnard College

Bruno Bosteels
Professor, Latin American and Iberian Cultures, Columbia

Nico Baumbach
Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies, School of the Arts, Columbia

Susan Bernofsky
Professor of Writing, Columbia School of the Arts, Columbia

Victoria de Grazia
Moore Collegiate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Columbia

Shelly Silver
Professor, Visual Arts, School of the Arts, Columbia

Frank Guridy
Dr. Kenneth and Kareitha Forde Professor of African American and African Diaspora Studies, Columbia

Zainab Bahrani
Edith Porada Professor Art History and Archaeology, Columbia

Susan S. Witte
Professor, School of Social Work, Columbia

Karen Van Dyck
Kimon A. Doukas Professor of Modern Greek Literature, Columbia

Najam Haider
Professor of Religion, Barnard College

Avinoam Shalem
Riggio Professor, Arts of Islam, Art History and Archaeology, Columbia

Christia Mercer
Gustave M. Berne Professor of Philosophy, Columbia

Catherine Fennell
Associate Professor, Anthropology, Columbia

Kadambari Baxi
Professor of Professional Practice, Barnard + Columbia Architecture

Reinhold Martin
Professor of Architecture, GSAPP, Columbia

Sheldon Pollock
Raghunathan Professor Emeritus, Arts and Sciences, Columbia

Robert Gooding-Williams
M. Moran Weston/Black Alumni Council Professor of African American Studies and Professor of Philosophy and of African American and African Diaspora Studies, Columbia

Partha Chatterjee
Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and MESAAS, Columbia

Mana Kia
Associate Professor, MESAAS, Columbia

Katharina Pistor
Edwin B. Parker Professor of Comparative Law, Columbia Law School

Martha Howell
Miriam Champion Professor of History, Emerita, Columbia University Arts and Sciences

Elizabeth Hutchinson
Associate Professor of Art History, Barnard College

Madeleine Dobie
Professor of French & Comparative Literature, Columbia

Natasha Lightfoot
Associate Professor, History, Columbia

Brian Boyd
Senior Lecturer in Anthropology & Co-Director of the Center for Palestine Studies, Columbia

David Scott
Department of Anthropology, Columbia

Bette Gordon
Professor, School of the Arts/Film

Lila Abu-Lughod
Anthropology, Columbia

Yannik Thiem
Department of Religion, Columbia

Debbie Becher
Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Barnard College

Nadia Abu El-Haj
Anthropology, Barnard College

Barbara J. Fields
William R. Shepherd Professor of History, Columbia

Shayoni Mitr
Senior Lecturer, Department of Theatre, Barnard College

Josh Whitford
Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Columbia

Celia Naylor
Professor, Africana Studies and History Departments, Barnard College

Teresa Sharpe
Senior Lecturer, Sociology, Columbia

Gauri Viswanathan
Class of 1933 Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia

Pablo Piccato
Professor of History, Columbia

Hannah Chazin
Assistant Professor, Anthropology, Columbia

Nara Milanich
Professor, History, Barnard College

Manijeh Moradian
Assistant Professor, WGSS, Barnard College

Adam Reich
Associate Professor, Columbia Sociology

Gregory Mann
Professor, History, Columbia

Mary McLeod
Professor of Architecture, Columbia

Joseph Slaughter
Associate Professor, English and Comparative Literature, Columbia

Jennifer Wenzel
Professor, English & Comparative Literature and MESAAS, Columbia

Lydia H. Liu
Wun Tsun Tam Professor in the Humanities, Columbia

Hiba Bou Akar
Associate Professor, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia

Jean Howard
George Delacorte Professor in the Humanities, Emerita, Columbia

Sarah Haley
Associate Professor of Gender Studies and History, Columbia

Richard Peña
Professor of Film and Media Studies, Columbia

D. Max Moerman
Professor, Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures, Barnard College

Stathis Gourgouris
Professor of Classics, English, Comparative Literature & Society, Columbia

Bruce Robbins
English and Comparative Literature, Columbia

Anupama Rao
History, Barnard College

Anooradha Iyer Siddiqi
Assistant Professor, Architecture, Barnard College

Jonathan Crary
Meyer Schapiro Professor of Modern Art and Theory, Art History, Columbia

Rebecca Jordan-Young
Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Barnard College

Gregory M. Pflugfelder
Associate Professor of Japanese History, Columbia

Tey Meadow
Associate Professor of Sociology, Columbia

Seth J. Prins
Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Sociomedical Sciences

Elizabeth Bernstein
Professor and Chair, WGSS and Professor of Sociology, Barnard College

Wael Hallaq
Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities, Columbia

Jo Ann Cavallo
Professor and Chair, Italian, Columbia

Zoë Crossland
Professor of Anthropology, Columbia

Paige West
Claire Tow Professor of Anthropology, Barnard College and Columbia University

Gregory Mann
Professor, History, Columbia

Paul Chamberlin
Associate Professor, History, Columbia

Joseph Albernaz
Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia

Lien-Hang Nguyen
Dorothy Borg Associate Professor, History, Columbia

Marisa Solomon
Assistant Professor, Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Barnard College

Bernard E. Harcourt
Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor,  Columbia Law School

Vanessa Agard-Jones
Anthropology, Columbia University

Nina Berman
Professor, Columbia Journalism School

Brent Hayes Edwards
Peng Family Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia

Jafari Sinclaire Allen
Professor of African American and African Diaspora Studies, Columbia

Hamid Dabashi
Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature, Columbia

Adam Tooze
Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Professor of History, Columbia

Alberto Medina
Professor, LAIC, Columbia

Emanuel Admassu
Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia

Glenn Mitoma
Lecturer in the Discipline, Institute for the Study of Human Rights, Columbia

Louisa Gilbert
Professor School of Social Work, Columbia

Wayne Proudfoot
Professor Emeritus, Religion, Columbia

David Rosner
Co-Director, Center for the History & Ethics of Public Health, Columbia

Elizabeth A. Povinelli
Franz Boas Professor of Anthropology & Gender Studies, Columbia

Ashraf Ahmed
Associate Professor, Columbia Law School

Jackie Dugard
Senior Lecturer, ISHR, Columbia        

Amelia Herbert
Assistant Professor, Education and Urban Studies, Barnard College        

Patricia Dailey
Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia

Alex Watson
Lecturer, Barnard College

Mabel O. Wilson
Architecture, GSAPP and Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies, Columbia        

Tom Slater
Professor of Urban Planning, Columbia                

Kim Phillips-Fein
Professor of History, Columbia

Joseph A. Howley
Associate Professor of Classics and Paul Brooke Program Chair for Literature Humanities, Columbia                

Walter Frisch
Gumm/von Tilzer Professor of Music, Columbia                

James Yeh
Adjunct Assistant Professor, School of the Arts, Columbia

Marc Van De Mieroop
Miriam Champion Professor of History, Columbia University Arts and Sciences    

Timothy Mitchell
Professor, MESAAS, Columbia  

Bahia Munem
Lecturer Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race (CSER)            

Camille Robcis
Professor of French & History, Columbia

Tom Kalin
Professor of Professional Practice, Film Program, Columbia    

Hugo Sarmiento
Assistant Professor, Urban Planning GSAPP, Columbia

Claudio Lomnitz
Professor of Anthropology, Columbia

Nina Berman
Professor, Columbia Journalism School            

Thea Renda Abu El-Haj
Professor of Education, Barnard College    

Harold Stolper
Lecturer, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia    

J. Blake Turner, Ph.D.
Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia        

Helen Benedict
Professor, Columbia Journalism School           

Samuel Kelton Roberts
History, Sociomedical Sciences, & AAADS, Columbia        

Ayten Gundogdu
Associate Professor of Political Science, Barnard College        

Asim Ansari
Professor, Columbia Business School    

Katryn Evinson, Ph.D.
Core Lecturer, Columbia

Nina Alvarez
Assistant Professor, Columbia Journalism School    

Frederik Denef
Professor of Physics, Columbia        

Kamel Jedidi
Professor of Business, Columbia Business School

Daniel Malinsky, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Biostatistics, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia

Sharon Schwartz
Professor of Epidemiology, Columbia

Joseph Massad
Professor, MESAAS, Columbia

A. Kayum Ahmed
Assistant Professor, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

Marwa Elshakry
History, Columbia

Marcus Folch
Associate Professor of Classics, Columbia

Victoria Frye
Professor, School of Social Work, Columbia

Kristele Younes
Lecturer in Humanitarian Policy and Practice, Columbia

Joanne Bauer
Adjunct Professor, SIPA, Columbia

Daniel Naujoks
Lecturer in International and Public Affairs, Director, International Organization and UN Studies, School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), Columbia

Aftab Ahmad
Senior Lecturer, Hindi-Urdu, MESAAS, Columbia

Nora Gross
Assistant Professor of Education, Barnard College            

Prantik Saha, MD MPH
Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons, Columbia University Irving Medical Center

Christine Marrewa
Lecturer in South Asian Studies, Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies, Columbia

Sabrina Hermosilla
Assistant Professor, Heilbrunn Department on Population and Family Health, Columbia

Jeffrey Fagan
Isidor & Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law, Columbia          

Ross Hamilton
Professor of English, Barnard College            

Ateya Khorakiwala
Assistant Professor GSAPP Columbia            

Homa Zarghamee
Associate Professor and Chair of Economics, Barnard College            

Duygu Ula Lecturer
Barnard College            

Tim Wyman-McCarthy
Associate in the Discipline, Institute for the Study of Human Rights, Columbia            

Meredith Benjamin
Lecturer, Barnard College            

Cecelia Lie-Spahn
Associate Director of First-Year Writing and Lecturer in English, Barnard College            

Laura Perez
Adjunct Professor, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia            

Joey De Jesus
Associate of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia; Adjunct Lecturer, Barnard College          

Daniel Alarcón
Assistant Professor, Columbia Journalism School            

Zeynep Celik
Sakip Sabanci Visiting Professor, History            

Kim F. Hall
Lucyle Hook Professor of English and Professor of Africana Studies, Barnard College            

Elizabeth Leake
Professor, Italian, Columbia            

Courtney Cogburn
Associate Professor, School of Social Work, Columbia            

Tim Wyman-McCarthy
Associate in the Discipline, Institute for the Study of Human Rights, Columbia            

Ruth Mukwana
Adjunct Professor, Columbia            

Chazelle Rhoden
Anthropology, Columbia            

Audra Simpson
Professor, Department of Anthropology, Columbia        

Kendall Thomas
Nash Professor of Law, Columbia        

Thanassis Cambanis
Adjunct Professor, Columbia SIPA            

Abigail Greenleaf
Assistant Professor, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia

Jon Kessler
Professor of Visual Arts, Columbia

Michael Wessells
Professor Emeritus, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia

Jhumpa Lahiri
Millicent C. McIntosh Professor of English, Director, Creative Writing Program, Affiliated Faculty, Department of Comparative Literature and Translation Studies and Program in Italian, Senior Fellow, The Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America, Columbia University

Isabel Huacuja Alonso
Assistant Professor, Department  of Middle Eastern, South Asian & African Studies, Columbia

Laila AbdelSalam
Instructor of Medical Psychology, Columbia University Irving Medical Center

Natalie Adler, Lecturer
University Writing Program, Columbia    

Betsy Apple
Adjunct Professor, International Human Rights Law, SIPA, Columbia

Illan Gonen
Lecturer, MESAAS, Columbia    

June Cross
Fred W. Friendly Professor of Media and Society, Columbia Journalism School    

Brittany Koffer
Core Lecturer, Philosophy Department, Columbia    

Nina Sharma
Adjunct Associate Professor, Barnard College English;  Adjunct Assistant Professor, Columbia UG writing    

Isabel Ortiz
Consultant, Writing Center, Columbia        


Biden’s Re-Election Hope Split Civil Rights Groups on Menthol Ban

“The fact that 85 percent of Black people who smoke cigarettes smoke menthol cigarettes, it’s not a mistake. It’s not happenstance. It’s not culture. It’s not a preference for the taste. It is a concerted marketing effort by industry that infiltrated these communities to peddle these drugs, and they’ve done so successfully,” said Mignonne Guy, an associate professor and former chair of the Department of African American Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University in an NBC News report.

Al Sharpton Gets Funding From RJ Reynolds: He Is Pressuring Biden To Lift Ban On Newport Cigarettes

The report also stated, “a ban on menthol cigarettes has been in the works for more than a decade. A 2013 citizen petition prompted the Food and Drug Administration to ban menthol as a flavor in cigarettes, but rules to finalize a ban have been sluggish. In January, Brian King, the director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, said the agency was committed to completing the rulemaking process for the ban in 2023. The FDA went on to miss its own self-imposed deadline of August. Menthol use predominantly affects people of color. Nearly 85% of Black smokers use menthols, compared to 30% of white smokers, according to the FDA. Black men and women are far less likely than white Americans to be diagnosed with lung cancer at an earlier stage, when the disease is often more treatable. Black men have the highest lung cancer death rate in the U.S.

FDA proposed rules prohibiting menthol cigarettes.

A new report from The Hill points to the pebble in the way of progress, Black civil rights groups, causing delay in the ban, “Sharpton’s National Action Network has been among the most vocal in arguing about the consequences of a ban on Black communities, often invoking the name of Eric Garner, who was killed by police in 2014 after being confronted for selling loose cigarettes. NAN has opposed menthol bans across the country, holding town halls at prominent Black churches to talk about how menthol bans criminalize the Black community.  “The National Action Network has followed the lead of Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, who was killed by police during a cigarette enforcement stop. She, Attorney Ben Crump, and others have raised concerns that this ban will lead to the unintended consequences for Black people selling loose cigarettes,” Ebonie Riley, senior vice president of the National Action Network, said in a statement to The Hill.

“There’ll always be these kinds of red herring issues,” said Yolanda Richardson, president and CEO of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids., “For one minute it was over-policing, now we’re hearing the issue is that Black men are going to be upset because they’re not going to have their menthol cigarettes. So, there’s always a way for the industry to distort the facts, and there’s always a way for them to kick up sand in the gears.” 


Op-Ed: Solutions to Address Food Insecurity Facing Black Seniors

Food insecurity for Black elders is an escalating crisis with untold costs to individuals and society at large. It’s time to demand a more dignified path for this often invisible group.

I met Henrietta, a retired Washington, D.C. resident in her 60s in a meeting of the Client Leadership Council at the Capital Area Food Bank. I was there doing research for the University of the District of Columbia and I was struck by her continued advocacy around ensuring her neighbors have access to adequate and nutritious food and the infrastructure they need to create a resilient community.

Henrietta (not her real name) has a bright presence and speaks often of “opportunity,” even though she, her family, and her community are living through some of the darkest times in terms of not having the resources they needs from day to day.

She is diabetic and has been advised by her doctor to seek out vegetables, healthy proteins, and whole grains—but given her limited income, she struggles to afford those foods. Instead, she has resorted to buying Nestlé Boost, a drink designed to help her control her glucose intake. She buys a case every month and relies on it to fill the nutrition gaps in her diet. “A lot of stuff that I need to eat, like vegetables and stuff, I don’t get it. So, at night, when I get ready to go to bed, to keep my sugar from dropping too low, I drink a Boost,” Henrietta told me.

“It really makes me feel bad because I’m used to buying what I need,” she added. Now, when she goes to the store, the prices of gas and food are so high that she finds herself putting back a number of basic items—Spam, bread, eggs, milk­—because they’re just not in her budget. Grocery prices have gone up and Henrietta only receives a limited amount of federal support; even with the increased support during the pandemic, she continued to face challenges accessing a balanced diet.

“A lot of time when I didn’t have any meat, I would get me a couple of eggs, and eat them [instead], but now they’re almost always what I put down,” she said.

Henrietta is just one of many Black seniors in urban areas facing similar struggles. In the kaleidoscope of modern America, where supermarkets overflow with abundance and food trends flash across social media, a disquieting truth lingers in the shadows: An alarming number of seniors can’t secure sufficient and nutritious meals.

The latest State of Senior Hunger report from the nonprofit Feeding America revealed that 5.5 million seniors (60 and up) and 3.8 million older adults (50-59) experienced food insecurity in 2021. At that time, Black seniors and older adults were 3.8 times and 2.5 times more likely to experience food insecurity compared to their white counterparts, respectively.

This isn’t just about hunger; it’s a systemic problem rooted in socioeconomic disparities, geographic limitations, and ingrained barriers. The pervasive nature of food insecurity among Black seniors demands our attention and collective action, as it underscores the depth of inequality embedded within urban landscapes. Many Black seniors find themselves trapped in food deserts with limited transportation options.

Predominantly Black neighborhoods have fewer supermarkets, leading to restricted options for fresh and nutritious foods. The consequence is a reliance on convenience stores and fast-food outlets, perpetuating a cycle of poor nutrition and health disparities. Socioeconomic factors compound the problem. Limited financial resources mean that Black seniors are often forced to choose between paying for life-saving medications and nutritious meals.

And while many of these seniors and older adults may not be visible to people outside their communities, it’s our responsibility to change the structure that allows these patterns to continue. Often, it’s easy to overlook the disparities that exist in our backyard. Here in Washington, D.C., I’ve heard from a number of seniors who don’t have cars and must travel outside Wards 7 and 8 to get decent groceries. If they don’t have friends and family members close by to assist them, getting enough healthy food can feel nearly impossible.

It’s time to break the chains of food insecurity and demand a more dignified path toward support for Black seniors. In the wake of a fast-moving world, we must take a step back to unpack the current crises to create impactful opportunities for change and other critical developments.

Larger Implications of Food Insecurity for Black Seniors

The impact of food insecurity on the health and well-being of Black seniors is profound. Inadequate nutrition is intrinsically linked to an increased susceptibility to chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. Black older adults experience those illnesses—and the lower life expectancies that go along with them—at a significantly higher rate than their white counterparts.

According to the American Geriatrics Society’s Health in Aging website, the most frequent causes of death for older Black women are heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. The vicious cycle of poor health further exacerbates these women’s struggles, creating a scenario where the most vulnerable continue to experience a web of preventable health issues. Uncertainty about where the next meal will come from also has an emotional and mental toll that we cannot underestimate for seniors, often leading to anxiety and depression.

The repercussions of this crisis extend beyond individuals to permeate the fabric of society. Reduced productivity and elevated healthcare costs become the collateral damage of a population struggling to meet basic nutritional needs. The impact is not only felt in the health of our citizens but also in the economic burden borne by taxpayers. When diet-related illnesses, such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity escalate, people often end up in emergency rooms and hospitals.

According to recent studies, the economic cost of treating these illnesses amounts to billions of dollars annually, placing a significant strain on public healthcare systems and taxpayer funds. Addressing the nutritional well-being of our population is not just a matter of individual health; it is a fiscal imperative for the sustainability of our healthcare infrastructure and the economic prosperity of our nation. Lawmakers must recognize the interconnectedness of these issues and respond strategically.

A Path Forward: Solutions and Initiatives

Now is the time to confront and dismantle the barriers that perpetuate food insecurity among Black seniors. We need to advocate for a shift in perspective—from viewing Black seniors as victims of circumstance to recognizing their resilience and agency and naming the racist, capitalist system that has long extracted their labor without meeting their needs. It underscores the urgency not only to address immediate food insecurity but also to rectify the systemic injustices that perpetuate inequities among Black seniors.

There are some successful community-driven programs doing this work. For example, the Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research has created the Healthier Black Elders Center, which is ensuring Black seniors in the region are getting fed and working to reduce health disparities through research and education. There is a low representation of older African American adults in research and the program also aims to increase their participation.

As the echoes of the pandemic linger, the disparities among different populations of seniors are still present, exacerbated by the fact that pandemic-era assistance in now the rearview mirror. Along with rising inflation, the loss of those supports has intensified the economic challenges faced by seniors, particularly those in the Black community.

Notable organizations such as the National Council on Aging, AARP, Justice in Aging, Senior Medicare Patrol, and the Long-Term Care Community Coalition are advocating for policies that support seniors each and every day. They’re calling on lawmakers to recognize the silent struggle of Black seniors and actively engage in solutions.

If we want to ensure that Black seniors have access to the nutritious food they need, the following key actions are critical:

Increase Improvements to Quality Healthcare and Intervention Initiatives

Access to affordable long-term care services is crucial for improving health outcomes and addressing food access challenges among Black seniors. These services, empower Black seniors to maintain independence and give them control over their meals. Critical initiatives such as Food is Medicine programs and produce prescription programs are targeted strategies designed to connect healthcare institutions at the national level that will wider efforts to improve health through food. They have also been shown to improve participants’ quality of life, reduce work in hospitals, and cut healthcare costs, according to experts studying Food is Medicine efforts.

Expand SNAP and Other Federal Nutrition Programs

This would help reach the millions of older adults eligible for SNAP but not enrolled while also helping current recipients maximize the monthly assistance they receive from the program. Only three out of five older adults who are qualified end up enrolling in the SNAP program. Many others receive only the minimum benefit of $23 a month. Recently, the end of the public health emergency triggered a sharp decrease in SNAP support for millions of people. Many saw the assistance they receive drop by $250 per month. Policymakers should focus on the long-overdue adjustment in benefits to increase the minimum monthly amount for older adults on fixed incomes. This would also help alleviate financial burdens related to both healthcare and medical expenses.

Dial in Support for Nutritious Foods

In addition, federal programs should shift the focus from just ensuring food access to ensuring equitable access to nutrient-rich foods. Such an approach could have a profound impact on promoting healthy aging and reducing the prevalence of chronic diseases among Black seniors. In the long run, we need to take the new USDA-defined concept of Nutrition Security much further.

I was raised in a family of resilient Black seniors; in my formative years I witnessed their indomitable spirit amidst profound struggles. Their daily battles with food insecurity—and the moments of quiet dignity—were embedded into the fabric of my childhood, a poignant reminder of the harsh realities faced by many in our community.

These experiences have etched in my heart the imperative to delve deeper into the intricate challenges that contribute to food insecurity among Black seniors. It goes beyond statistics; it’s about the lived experiences of those who many of us hold dear. Let us use our collective empathy and determination to propel us toward meaningful, sustainable solutions.

As a food justice advocate, I want to see today’s Black seniors break the chains of food insecurity—not just for themselves but for every grandparent, aunt, and uncle who has weathered the storm before them. The time for comprehensive, systemic change is now.

Mya Price

Mya Price is a Washington, D.C.-based researcher focusing on racial equity and food justice. Her research has identified socioeconomic determinants contributing to the Black–white                                                        food insecurity gap at state and county levels, and her qualitative studies shed light on the disparities older black adults face in accessing food resources in U.S. metropolitan areas.

Will Black Entertainment Television Be Black-Owned Again?

It appears Paramount Global has had a change of heart regarding the sale of BET. In August 2023, the entertainment company announced that it had ended its plan to sell a majority stake in BET Media Group, which ​​includes the BET channel, BET+, VH1, and BET Studios, as previously shared by AFROTECH. The reasoning for the change of plans was that “a sale wouldn’t result in any meaningful deleveraging of its balance sheet.” However, on Dec. 20, Bloomberg reported that Paramount Global is in talks to sell BET to a management-led investor group. Among the potential bidders is Byron Allen, founder and CEO of Allen Media Group, who previously showed interest.

The media mogul has returned with a new offer as he pursues making the network Black-owned again. According to Bloomberg, Allen has placed an offer of $3.5 billion. The outlet also details that during his initial bid, he collaborated with four banks and two private equity firms to make a $3 billion offer.

“You are pursuing an inside sale at a below-market price with management that will not yield the highest price for the stockholders,” Allen wrote in an email to Paramount Global’s management and board, per the outlet. “We believe it would be an egregious breach of fiduciary duty by the Paramount Global management team and board of directors if BET is sold for anything less than the highest price, particularly, in order to provide a sweetheart deal to an insider at the expense of public shareholders.”

Allen’s letter comes after Tyler Perry described the previous bidding process as “disrespectful,” AFROTECH mentioned in October 2023.

Perry reportedly placed a bid of $2 billion at the time. “Don’t try to get me to pay for something that’s not worth anywhere near the value,” he said during Bloomberg’s Equality Summit, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. While Perry seems to have walked away from further pursuing BET, Allen has kept himself in the race. Other potential buyers that have been named are Scott Mills, CEO of BET, and CC Capital Partners Founder Chinh Chu.

Original Report by AFROTECH




Analysis: Leave The World Behind

Malcolm X once said that an enemy is someone who is retarding your growth as a people, someone blocking our direction, someone on the collision course of our upward mobility, someone standing in direct opposition to Black progress.

The message from Sam Esmail in his new Netflix film, Leave The World Behind is clear; when the world falls apart protect white people at all costs. Cater to their needs and ensure they get the best accommodations in your home, and never forget that their children are more precious than yours. And even if you’re a powerful, rich black man your own kid will be featured as a heavily tattooed pothead with a bad attitude. Even way up the ladder, there will be no breaks from negative black stereotypes. At least Kevin Bacon was on hand to do what he does best, be Kevin Bacon. In his film, Esmail’s stereotyping of certain groups of people spoke the loudest.

And in spite of all the glaring and disappointing subliminal messages throughout the film, the internet went into a frenzy over one ridiculous line uttered by Ruth, “don’t trust white people” confirming yet again the fragility of many whites who see black success and excellence as a threat to their own existence and well-being, (White Rage). And this film did not escape the chance to sexualize black women either. It’s an easy mark to aim for and Esmail reached for the low hanging fruit. Nevertheless, his art is meeting requirement in our current society, one that is steadily losing its freedom, its mind and very soul. The sexualization of Ruth, played by Myha’la Herrold was apparent in the film, but painting an even cruel and distasteful picture of rich black people, the film tells us what Esmail imagines goes on in these households. He shows us a black father laying in bed with his adult daughter as she utters the line, “he wants to fuck me” in recounting her exchange with Clay, played by Ethan Hawke. Mind you, Ruth is shown as the young sexual aggressor in their exchange at the pool, asking Clay if he’s ever “fucked one of his students” as she compliments his looks and offers him marijuana. Even high up the corporate ladder, this film still aims to portraits black folks in an uncomfortable light. I’m surprised Leave The World Behind didn’t include a scene reminiscent of Stepin Fetchit because G.H. or George, executed by Mahershala Ali is a complete disaster and mockery of successful blacks.

G.H. went above and beyond to come across as subservient, his sole mission to ensure the comfort and protection of a white family renting his home. Because, “it’s the right thing to do,” he explains to his frightened daughter who by now is begging him not to leave to go play hero for this family. It was frustrating to watch, especially when there are countless ways to truly reflect the lives of diverse black and brown people in films. G.H. was prepared to kill and even die for this precious white family he doesn’t even know. Compounding the foolery, the scene where he’s made to cuddle his adult daughter in bed, is in the basement. Why? Because again, “it’s the right thing to do” when called to appease whites during Armageddon. Leave The World Behind seems to suggest to black and brown people that they must protect and be subservient to whites when the Chinese, Arabs and or the Russians attack America’s White Lion.

And the film also depict G.H. as a black man who craves the attention of whites because he secretly wants to sleep with the white man’s wife. The two even share an intimate moment, denying their lust in an embrace. Never mind that two planes just fell out of the sky. And white men should also take notice of how they’ve been emasculated in this film. Bud Light is not the only company that has turned them into female caricatures like Dylan Mulvaney. Apparently white men can’t protect their families anymore. As portrayed by Clay, they become so frazzled that they’re unable to maneuver themselves or their family away from clear danger.  At least they still have Kevin Bacon. And these creatives didn’t forget to include “Karen” in this film either, using Julia Roberts for the role. Esmail presented Amanda, played by Roberts, as a mean-spirited and bona-fide Karen, complete with a performance of Seinfeld’s Elaine Benis dancing to…you guessed it, her favorite genre, rap. And she’s the levelheaded one in charge of leading her family from danger. She does it in full Karen face, using racially charged comments like, “because of your hair?” during the pool scene with Ruth.

The character Rose played by Farrah Mackenzie, captures perfectly what modern society has done to young people. We have a generation of the most selfish and self-observed humans the world has ever known, making it very fitting that Rose would sneak off on her own to gorge herself on junk food while her family worry and search for her, and putting themselves at risk. If this film got anything right, it is through Rose who captures the glaring reflection of a people that have lost their way and humanity to computer screens and an unrealistic world view they space out to. The film shows how we’ve failed our children. And the obsession of Rose with Friends is also a subliminal message. Friends, a show about a group of white friends is what’s important to her in the midst of chaos and world collapse, because having so much fun like Barbie or Taylor Swift and her cool jet-setting friends is what makes life truly worth living. Just tune out the noise of a collapsing world order and enjoy your favorite show. And as long as Rose is happy, apparently as God intended for her, all is well in the world.

It’s disappointing that a racially charged film without any creative depth is still what’s offered as art and entertainment today. But what’s even worse is this film delivered its subliminals courtesy of the Obama’s, a dismally revealing fact that reminds one of how Malcolm X described enemies of black progress and upward mobility.

Lois Lane , Contributing Writer

COP28 Draft Agreement Calls to Move Away From Fossil Fuels

Nearly every country in the world has agreed to “transition away from fossil fuels” – the main driver of climate change – at the COP28 climate summit in Dubai.

It is the first time such an agreement has been reached in 28 years of international climate negotiations.

The commitment is included in the first “global stocktake” of how countries can accelerate action to meet the goals of the landmark Paris Agreement.

However, many countries walked away from the talks frustrated at the lack of a clear call for a fossil-fuel “phase-out” this decade – and at a “litany of loopholes” in the text that might enable the production and consumption of coal, oil and gas to continue.

Despite an early breakthrough on launching a fund to pay for “loss and damage” from climate change, developing countries were left disappointed by a lack of new financial commitments for transitioning away from fossil fuels and adapting to climate impacts.

COP28 president and oil executive Dr Sultan Al Jaber hailed the “world-first” achievement of getting “fossil fuels” in a UN climate change agreement.

However, his presidency was overshadowed by allegations the UAE intended to use COP28 to make oil-and-gas deals.

Read the full report from CarbonBrief HERE.

Draft COP28 Agreement.

Freedom of Speech, Until Facts Hurt Feelings

“Facts don’t care about your feelings,” said Ben Shapiro famously in a staunch defense of his position on gender identity. Today, however, Shapiro is flipping the script to suit his own religious and cultural ideologies by demanding the heads of anyone who dares to disagree with him on the right of Israel to genocide the Palestinian people. This is a problem.

This unwise move to censure speech and freedom of expression is no different than the 2005 incident when the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published a series of derogatory cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad that set off a global battle over the relationship between free speech and religion. In defiance, some newspapers across Europe and the Middle East reprinted the cartoons to reaffirm the right to publish offensive material, even as violent protests erupted across the globe.

Human rights lawyer and author,  Jacob Mchangama said this about freedom of speech: “Elite panic is this recurring phenomenon throughout the history of free speech, where whenever the public sphere is expanded, either through new communications technology, or to segments of the population that were previously marginalized, the traditional gatekeepers, the elites who control access to information, tend to fret about the dangers of allowing the unwashed mob—who are too fickle, too unsophisticated, too unlearned—unmediated access to information. They need information to be filtered through the responsible gatekeepers and it may be even more dangerous to allow them to speak without adult supervision. That’s a phenomenon that we see again and again. And we’re seeing it play out now on social media. … [Elite panic is] one contributing factor to the free speech recession. Another is that democracies have shied away from protecting free speech and are much more likely now to view free speech as a danger rather than an unmitigated good. And so they don’t put in the same effort at protecting free speech, whether at home or away as they did, say, in the 80s, early 90s, when free speech was crucial to defeating communism.

When asked if he was an advocate for absolute speech, Mchangama answered, “No, I don’t think that any serious person is in favor of absolute free speech. Where I may be more absolutist is when it comes to viewpoints. I don’t believe there’s any viewpoint in and of itself that should be prohibited.”

The right to your thoughts and to speak them freely is legally protected under the first amendment. So why is it under attack when it comes to condemning Israel and the callous genocide being committed in Gaza? Since the start of yet another conflict between Israel and Hamas on October 7, Israel has embarked on a vicious and collective punishment campaign in response to Hamas’ attack that fateful day. Dialogue on all major news sites can’t even begin without securing condemnation of Hamas and the October 7 attack. Also, any mention of context or the historical significance of the conflict between Israel and Palestine is condescendingly dismissed, derided as inconsequential or irrelevant, to uphold the propaganda machine’s marching orders in favor of Israel.

Must the whole world be wrong to make Israel right? Apparently so, and it’s evident with the retribution being exacted by large donors, congressional hearings to take to task university professors who dare to allow free speech on campuses, public shaming with forced apologies for risk of losing funding, and blatant threats launched by Wall Street CEOs with a stake in camp Israel. This is unprecedented and a dangerous slippery slope that is leading to loss of liberty. If there actually is a separation of church and state, why are Zionist Jews using our government to carry out their holy war against the people of Palestine? Are Christians, Muslims, and Buddhists next in line to use Congress against their enemies? The end game of this blind obsession to support Israel regardless of its crimes against humanity, regardless of the millions of Jews around the world denouncing the genocide in Gaza, regardless of the United Nations’ own call for an immediate ceasefire—in a nuclear weapon powered world—spells the writing clear on the wall. And tragically, the entire world will pay the heavy price to come. Because when elephants fight it is the grass that suffers.


The Unfolding Genocide In Gaza…



Illustrated by the U.S.

“There was never a good war, or a bad peace.” – Benjamin Franklin

Our eyes are not wide shut. Technology has flung open the blinds to an unimaginable cruel and unjust world. From police brutality, corrupt officials, abuses of unimaginable sorts, blatant racist injustices to the barbaric genocide being carried out against the Palestinian people by Israel. Compounding the atrocities the global community is witnessing, is America’s leading role in the callous inhumanity being exacted. And Israel, with gleeful indifference, has answered pushback with threats, insults, firings, doxing and even congressional punishment for anyone who dares to condemn the violence being carried out by the IDF. Holocaust survivors, including anti-Zionist Jews are not immune. Also, anyone against the purge of Palestinians off their lands is anti-Semitic. History is in spin cycle bringing back McCarthyism and even stoking memories of the holocaust that forced Jews from their homes in Europe to Palestine.

“Genius without education is like silver in the mine.”

It is abundantly clear, Congress is compromised. And the road to this outcome has long been paved with AIPAC’s passionate bricklaying for Israel’s manifestation of what they say God owes them: Palestinian land. Because what Israel wants, Israel gets. Whether We, The People or the entire world agrees, or not. That is the terrifying message that is copiously clear amid this global humanitarian crisis. Folks, we are in big trouble. And if you think the revolution is going to be about a man identifying as a woman or a Border Collie, you’ve sadly been dragnetted by the tactical distractions of the culture wars that are consistently being thrown at us like red meat. Divide and conquer still works as designed. Notice how we can’t tolerate one another in this beautiful “melting pot” we call America? Notice how the rich are getting richer, the poor, poorer? Notice what’s happening at our southern borders under big brother’s watchful eyes? Notice the decaying of a promising nation yet to actualize its full potential? Everywhere one turns, another is prepared to squeeze whatever they can from them, to fill the gaping hole being dug by our elected officials’ egregious disregard of the needs of the people they’ve taken an oath to serve. It’s a dog-eat-dog world for the working class, and a numb or drugged-out existence for the poor. And we are manipulated to believe that there’s absolutely nothing we can do to turn the tides of this blatant imbalance of power and defilement of the Constitution. Democracy, please stand up. Democracy? … Democracy? Hello, is there anybody out there?

“Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor liberty to purchase power.”

Because we’ve proven how easily fooled we are by the same old rhetoric, empty promises and propaganda, Biden and Harris—backers of the genocide—are working to secure your vote for another round of White House idiocracy, complete with the president’s wayward son, still a national liability. Completing the circus that our political arena has become, we have a batch of rotten war mongering bananas in red prepared to sell you their own brew of lies for votes and another chance at fattening their personal pockets as they serve the real ruler of the world, Israel.

“They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security.”

Apparently, as the planet breaths and the tides turn, it regurgitates the same sea scum we blindly vote for over and over again, no matter how many times they’ve circled the oceans certifying what they are; corrupt. Even so, we keep voting repeat, hoping this time, we will have a different outcome. Einstein surmised this phenomenon as insanity. America’s political industry has perfected the art of mass manipulation, and tactical bullying of an entire population, now living under an increasing military industrial complex where most of our tax dollars go, whether we like it, or not. Our elected officials in the highest office are no longer working for We, The People. They’re working to feed the profitable war machine that has kept us engaged in battle across the globe since the birth of this nation. In America’s 247 years, apparently only 15 of them have been without a war. Imagine that.

“Where sense is wanting, everything is wanting.”

Land of the free, home of the brave, indeed. But who are these freemen, and where are the braves we need to stand up right now and demand an end to the genocide? As one looks across the country, they will struggle to find evidence of these free brave men calling for a ceasefire because they’re too busy writing and passing a Resolution to reaffirm their unwavering support for Israel’s war crimes and equating anti-Zionism to being anti-Semitic. On the contrary, what you will see is desperation and hopelessness, weariness and apathy, fear and confusion. And it’s by perfect design, courtesy of the people who turn glutenous elites once elected to office. If you’re wondering what’s behind the curtain, just open your eyes. You’ll clearly see another genocide revealing the great Oz who now identifies as AIPAC.

“Even peace may be purchased at too high a price.”

We have reached a critical juncture where We, The People can keep swimming in the fishbowl avoiding all risks and insanely voting for a repeat, or risk a chance at taking back the power that has always belonged to us. The time has come for us to truly unite within the boundaries we’ve been corralled into and compartmentalized under personalized culture wars, identity politics and nonsensical ideologies. Because as I see it, we have nothing left to lose. Let’s hold hands. Let’s trust each other. Let’s risk a different choice for peace, and end all opportunities for future genocides. Together, I believe, we can face all we fear, including our own government, for a chance at a world where all people can enjoy true freedom and equal human rights.

“The nearest way to come at glory, is to do that for conscience which we do for glory.”