My mother passed in May of 2017, just a few days shy of Mother’s day and after only her 52nd birthday. I was shocked at the time but not surprised. For the past 15 or so years, she had been unwell with what I began to learn was depression. Much of my childhood was spent either watching her waste away at home while never leaving the house or wondering when she was coming back from the hospital on account of another mental health episode.
She spent months in and out of the hospital since I was in the 5th grade until the end of middle school due to her mental illness—the exact diagnoses I would never learn but through eavesdropping had the sense it was a mix of schizophrenia and depression. She often stayed at Woodhull Hospital, which is the same place we lost Erica Garner.
When she passed it wasn’t so much that now, in the wake of her death, I was left with the reality that my mother would not be there for me later in life. That fact was something that I understood since childhood. But the “why” was always a question for me. How does one go from raising 5 children and studying to be an accountant, to then flirting with the prospect of being committed to a mental facility for the rest of her life? Read More
This is why when we talk about passing a Clean Dream Act it is important to highlight how doing this also combats global anti-Blackness. It’s the same system building prisons that pipeline students into the carceral system and keeps people in fear of being sent to a detention center and subsequently deported. Fighting one side of the problem is actually a stand against both. Read More
Systemic racism means that, in The United States, the threats to public safety for Black people go pretty deep. This is because none of the institutions that uphold our society were built for Black people, so even today they work to hurt Black people, whether those who take part in those institutions know it or not.
Institutional racism in the pursuit of profit has structured the so-called criminal justice system. For example, in Ferguson, Mo., before the death of Mike Brown, Black residents had long been targeted by a system of over-policing that resulted in their being fined at rates grossly out of proportion to our population. Ava DuVernay’s recently released documentary 13th deftly shows how prisons today are descendants of the system of slavery supposedly abolished by the 13th amendment. The documentary correctly argues that mass incarceration is a more contemporary example of how racism in the United States works and how it is profit-driven.
The math is simple, mass incarceration plus prison labor equals profit for the 1%. This has led to a policing system where it is very clear the promise to “protect and serve” does not apply to Black and Brown people Read More
Last week, young black organizers across the country took to the streets to demand that the U.S. government, unions and police officers divest from the Fraternal Order of Police and declare #FreedomNow. Read More
During the October 2015 Democratic presidential debate, Bernie Sanders offered an accurate assessment of what it will take to make free higher education a reality in the United States. “If we want free tuition at public colleges and universities,” Sanders said, “millions of young people are going to have to demand it.”
This is exactly what is starting to happen across the country. Read More
For In These Times' December 2013 cover feature, “Generation Hopeless?”, the magazine asked a number of politically savvy people, younger and older, to respond to an essay by 22-year-old Occupy activist Matthew Richards in which he grapples with what the movement meant and whether Occupy’s unfulfilled promises are a lost cause or the seeds of the different world whose promise he glimpsed two years ago. Here is Biola Jeje's response: Read More
Rising tuition and a drop in diversity at senior colleges represent a larger shift that speaks to the restructuring of education happening across the country. Students are paying more for an education that is being watered down to allow for a mass production of degrees that are worth less in this economy. Read More
The quality of life that higher education promised US students via the American Dream has already withered away; at the same time, we are being overburdened with mounting student loan debt and the stress of finding increasingly scarce jobs after graduation. Read More