Creating Practical Utopias with Margaret Atwood, Joanna Scutts and the Craft of Book Reviewing, School Board Wars Rage On in Bucks County, and more!
What’s one thing you would do to change our world for the better?
I’m proud to have been selected as a Fellow in Practical Utopias: An Exploration of the Possible, which will be led by Margaret Atwood! I am one of 200 changemakers from around the globe who will collaborate to unlock practical solutions to some of humanity’s biggest challenges, the climate crisis being foremost. This begins Sept. 20 and will last for eight weeks. I’ll be writing a weekly update on here about my experiences, so stay tuned!
The Book Review & Beyond
I just finished Week 2 of a 6-week nonfiction writing workshop being led by Joanna Scutts, a cultural critic and historian, and the author of Hotbed: Bohemian Greenwich Village and the Secret Club that Sparked Modern Feminism. I’ll be workshopping two pieces, and these two reviews will help launch what will be a regular Anti-Fascist Book Review column at the Bucks County Beacon. You’ll get the reviews here first the day before they are published.
Speaking of fascism, the right-wing school board arsonists in Bucks County are burning down public education from within. The Central Bucks School District passed a new library policy that amounts to censorship and will lead to book banning. Yes, that is my opinion, but one informed by much smarter folks who work at the ACLU of PA, the Education Law Center of PA, the American Library Association Office of Intellectual Freedom, the PA School Library Association and the National Coalition Against Censorship. The Bucks County Courier Times and The Intelligencer newspapers’ editorial board unsurprisingly dropped the ball with their role as a journalistic watchdog on this issue. They didn’t have the foresight to come out with an editorial opposed to this beforehand, and instead published a too little, too late, and too flawed editorial on the topic that ends up putting lipstick on a pig, defending the indefensible and providing cover for other school districts, like Pennridge, to do the same. You can read my critique, which they actually published here: Newspaper's Central Bucks library editorial misses the mark.
Pennridge, not to be outdone by the Moms for Liberty cabal in Central Bucks, wants to gag students (and teachers) from expressing themselves in school and as a result trample on their constitutionally protected free speech rights. “There’s a significant fear that this is going to be used against students of color, and it’s going to be used against the LGBTQ+ community,” the ACLU of PA’s Vic Walczak noted.
Why? Here’s what the school board president had to say:
Her fellow school board member, while a candidate, said there is a need to hang crosses to designate a “safe space for Christians" and to create safe spaces for "white people" and "men."
This is the extremist Bucks County GOP.
Adrienne King, Pennridge parent and Chair of the NAACP Bucks County Education Committee is extremely alarmed by this as well. “The policies are particularly concerning for students of color, as teachers will not be free to speak in support of students facing racial bias that is a significant issue in Pennridge. The chilling effect of these policies will make Pennridge an even less welcoming and supportive district for students of color.”
Read new Bucks County Beacon writer Catherine Caruso’s coverage:
Pennridge School District’s Proposed Policy On Student Expression Is ‘Extreme’ And ‘Unconstitutional’
I also wanted to share this interview I conducted a while back about the Christian Right with Frederick Clarkson, a senior research analyst at Political Research Associates, a social justice research and strategy center that exposes the agenda and strategies of the U.S. and global Right, revealing the dangerous intersections of Christian nationalism, white nationalism, and patriarchy. Christian nationalism is a clear, present, and growing danger, and in Pennsylvania Republican Gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano embodies that threat. The Christian Right And Its Top Crusader Seek To Conquer Pennsylvania
Finally, a friend of mine and her family need some solidarity and support.
I just made a donation, and if you have a few extra bucks every bit helps. Thanks! https://www.gofundme.com/f/the-dejongs-need-your-help
Thanks for reading! I look forward to your feedback and suggestions. And most importantly, keep organizing!