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Author: YES!

The full scope of MLK’s dream took on the issues of poverty and war along with systemic racism

When Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech, he did something extraordinary for a speaker mounting a challenge to the existing order: he positioned those in his movement not as outsiders and dissidents, but rather as inheritors, indeed as the true inheritors, of the American Constitutional tradition. He laid hold of the “mystic cords of memory” that connect each generation of Americans. King—who had disobeyed the ordinances of many localities, defied the laws of many states, and written from the cell of a city jail—enveloped his cause and his message in the mantle of mainstream...

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Measuring Equity with Urban Forests: How planting trees helps build prosperous and healthy communities

The term “urban forest” may sound like an oxymoron. When most of us think about forests, we may picture vast expanses of tall trunks and dappled sunlight filtering through the leaves, far from the busyness of the city. But the trees that line city streets and surround apartment complexes across the U.S. hold great value, in part because of their proximity to people. “Per tree, you’re getting way more value for an urban tree than a tree out in the wild,” said Mark McPherson, founder and director of a Seattle nonprofit called City Forest Credits. In an increasingly urbanizing...

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Seeking Justice: History shows that civility is an ineffective tool to end racism

During his inauguration address on Jan. 21, 2021, Joe Biden pledged to end the country’s “uncivil war,” which had been raging during the four years of Trump’s presidency. Especially when it came to race, the theme of Biden’s winning campaign, “Redeem the Soul of the Nation,” as well as his appeal to many White voters, was that he could bring a sense of decency, unity, politeness, and reconciliation — in other words, civility — to a nation that was deeply polarized. Biden claimed he was motivated to run for president in the first place after being horrified by the...

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On Healing America: Using our anger to build bridges instead of burning them

President Biden campaigned on “restoring the soul” of America. His campaign slogan, “Build back better,” promised an end to deeply entrenched partisanship. Days before his monumental inauguration to the presidency, millions of Americans were praying that this toxicity plaguing our country will begin to dissipate under stable leadership, and that—with a new president — our political system will become functional. “We need to work together to give each other a chance to lower the temperature,” Biden said back in December. “We may come from different places, hold different beliefs, but we share in common a love for this country.”...

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Ending this Uncivil War: Unity is impossible without accountability

President Joseph R. Biden Jr. took the oath of office shortly before noon Eastern time on January 20, and in his low-key manner ended an era in which the evil in the U.S. government could not be underestimated, and started a new one that promises to be better. It is now up to Biden and his incoming team to make sure they use their powers for good. Simply not being a mendacious and corrupt would-be autocrat is an awfully low bar to reach. The times call for inspired leadership and an aggressive platform of reform. There have already been...

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Unequal Justice: Standing Rock activists react to passive response by police during Capitol Insurrection

On January 6, while Congress was certifying the 2020 election results, hundreds of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington DC. They smashed windows, broke through doors, breached the building, and ran through it, snapping photos of themselves carting off documents and artifacts. No attacking force has rampaged through the Capitol since 1814, when British soldiers torched it during the War of 1812. Tasked with protecting lawmakers and the building, the Capitol Police’s response was wildly disorganized. Their actions ranged from shooting a woman dead to taking a selfie with a rioter. Officers were pepper-sprayed and hit with...

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