The Other 9/11: Chile in the time of Pinochet

A few days ago, my 10-year-old son asked me why I’d scheduled an event on 9/11. “Bad timing!” he said. He knew about the Twin Towers. But he didn’t know about 9/11/73, a date of infamy in Latin America. 9/11/73 was the day General Augusto Pinochet launched a military coup that ousted democratically elected Chilean…

Nelson Mandela – happy centenary, Madiba!

Happy birthday, Madiba. He would have been 100 on July 18th, 2018. Mandela was the greatest man of our time. Courageous, unrelenting, humble, forgiving. I cannot state how much his example has meant to me and countless others. His story is well-known: his fight for racial justice, the Rivonia trial, his lost years (27 of…

“Human Flow”: a film by Ai Weiwei

For a film with ‘flow’ in its title, the only surprise in this superlative documentary is that the most powerful images are those of stillness. An old refugee woman sits incongruously on a bench in the middle of nowhere. A young man stares out at us, daring us to enter his life. The implacable sea,…

PEN America announces Writing for Justice Fellowship

  PEN America has run a prison writing program for over forty years. The program provides mentors, free resources and an audience for the incarcerated. This program benefits the prisoners, who get a chance to reflect on their lives through the written word and to express themselves in new ways. But the program also benefits…

10 Martin Luther King Quotes for MLK Day

From the tradition that led to Barack Obama, Martin Luther King was among the most lyrical of leaders. He combined the tones of a preacher in the black southern tradition with the rhythms of a poet. Especially for MLK Day, here are some of his words.   1. “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is,…

“Feeling the Unthinkable: Essays on Social Justice” by Donald Gutierrez

If Donald Gutierrez were alive today, what would he think of the USA now? He’d be horrified. And disgusted. Gutierrez, who died in 2013, shortly after this collection was published, was a social conscience. He passionately confronted inequity and government abuses, particularly that of his own country, the United States of America. Here, 48 of…