1. “The Politics of Mass Murder.” After Sunday’s shooting in an Orlando gay club, some politicians and advocates have emphasized homophobia and gun control, while others have focused on Islamic extremism.
“On the Democratic side, leaders were much more eager to show their solidarity with the LGBT community. Obama noted that ’the shooter targeted a nightclub where people came together to be with friends, to dance, and to sing, and to live,’ and Vice President Biden said ’the violence is not normal, and the targeting of our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans is evil and abhorrent.’ Hillary Clinton addressed the LGBT community directly: ’Please know that you have millions of allies across our country. I am one of them.’ Leaders of left-leaning organizations including the National Center for Transgender Equality, the NAACP, the National Council of La Raza, and Muslim Advocates gathered outside of the Human Rights Campaign building in Washington, D.C., to decry the violence. Like Obama, Clinton, and other Democratic politicians, though, they also emphasized a policy issue: gun control.”
2. “Please Don’t Stop the Music.” The Orlando shooter violated a sanctuary, but his desecration will not defeat us.
“We may never know how much homophobia drove Mateen to do what he did, or what other springs of madness and extremism he drank from. But we can definitely say this: Just as Dylann Roof preyed upon the specific openness and hospitality of the Mother Emanuel Church, Omar Mateen exploited the specific things that make gay bars magic. He took the dark, the loudness, the density, the chaos of the dance floor—and he made them his accomplices in what is the largest mass shooting in this nation’s history.”
3. “What We Lose with Every Mass Shooting.” Orlando is not merely the destruction of innocence. It’s worse.
“So before we start talking about banning anyone from a Muslim country, or even before we wring our hands again about how easy it is to get your hands on an AR-15, a weapon that is built for, and exists only, to kill people in this country, we should all accept that, for all the advancements that have been made in ensuring equal rights for our fellow citizens who are gay, there is still a kind of virulent hate that we can see in its more polite forms in our legislatures and some of our courtrooms, and now we can see it in its most raw and unreconstructed form in our nightclubs.”
4. “Choosing a School for My Daughter in a Segregated City.” How one school became a battleground over which children benefit from a separate and unequal system.
“At the heart of Faraji’s concern was a fear that grips black families like ours. We each came from working-class roots, fought our way into the middle class and had no family wealth or safety net to fall back on. Faraji believed that our gains were too tenuous to risk putting our child in anything but a top-notch school. And he was right to be worried. In 2014, the Brookings Institution found that black children are particularly vulnerable to downward mobility—nearly seven of 10 black children born into middle-income families don’t maintain that income level as adults. There was no margin for error, and we had to use our relative status to fight to give Najya every advantage. Hadn’t we worked hard, he asked, frustration building in his voice, precisely so that she would not have to go to the types of schools that trapped so many black children?”
5. “Maxwell: Hostage of Love.” With his first new album in seven years out soon, the R&B survivor opens up about moving past family trauma and shame, and how it feels to be a 43-year-old bachelor singing songs of everlasting romance.
“I’m a little bit more confident now. I’m older and I have a lot of things that I really want to clarify about why everything was so secretive and bizarre with my life, just things I was ashamed of that I shouldn’t have been ashamed of. Because the circumstances of my life—my mother’s origin, my father’s origin, how she was 16 when she had me and he was much older, being shipped off here—I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me. I felt transformed through this music thing. It was like I finally felt good about myself. That’s why I didn’t really connect myself with the energy people gave me onstage back then. It was like, This is happening…but, really? Because most people grow up with parents and family that really love them and nurture them to the point where they believe the world revolves around them. I didn’t really have that.”
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