A young girl climbed up a step ladder to stand at the podium before a tense Charlotte City Council meeting.

Petite in size, with braids in her hair and hearts on her t-shirt, Zianna Oliphant collected herself and delivered her message loud and clear.

“It’s a shame that our fathers and mothers are killed and we can’t see them anymore. It’s a shame that we have to go to their graveyard and bury them. We need our fathers and mothers to be by our side.”

USA. Illinois. Chicago. 1970. Free Breakfast Program.

“By the end of 1969, the Black Panthers were serving full free breakfasts (including milk, bacon, eggs, grits, and toast) to 20,000 school aged children in 19 cities around the country, and in 23 local affiliates every school day.

Flores Forbes, author of Will You Die With Me, a book about his years as a Black Panther, says he worked in the breakfast program, cooking, serving the children and cleaning up. “We had a lot of jobs,” Forbes says.

Forbes says that most of the funding for the program came from donations from within the communities being served. “We got support from local stores, churches, and groceries,” Forbes says. The Panthers believed in the importance of education, and of kids showing up at school full and ready to learn, he says.

Bobby Seale, one of the founders of the Black Panther Party, said at the time: “There are millions of people who are living below subsistence; welfare mothers, poor white people, Mexican-Americans, Chicano peoples, Latinos, and black people.“

Forbes says that the breakfast program was just one of many programs the Panthers ran to address the needs of the poor. In fact, they developed more that 60 Serve the People programs, including efforts to provide free clothing and shoes, medical services —including drug and alcohol awareness, —legal aid education, and what was thought to be some of the first true early childhood education programs in the nation, preceding Head Start.

But the Panthers’ image and focus on self-determination drew the attention of then FBI chief, J. Edgar Hoover. He singled out the Black Panthers as national hate group, and the breakfast program as an act of subversion.

Once Hoover went after the Breakfast Program, the handwriting was on the wall. Even though the organizers were careful to consult with nutritionists to make sure the children got high quality, balanced meals, and made sure they had the necessary permits from the health and fire departments for the kitchens and halls where they served meals, they became regular targets of local officials. The children they served were caught in the middle.

Inspired in part by the ideas and actions of the Black Panthers in the 1960s, the U.S. Department of Agriculture started the School Breakfast Program [in 1975]. It now feeds nearly 13 million students every single day.” [x]

Photograph: Stephen Shames/Polaris

Signs watching the presidential debate

Aries: Isn’t - literally just looking up memes ABOUT the debate

Taurus: *passionately supports bernie to the bitter end*

Gemini: hahaha idk they both fake as fuck america’s screwed

Cancer: “….did trump even answer the questions or did he just-”

Leo: is the one MAKING the memes about the debate

Virgo: “I’m literally only watching this bc my teacher said she’d give me extra credit if i could write a half-page summary on this”

Libra: “mexico’s ass isn’t paying for a damn wall fuq u mean trump”

Scorpio: “the way trump answered his questions are the way i answer online writing assignments when they’re due in like 2 minutes”

Sagittarius: “Where were all u bernie fans when he needed you most”

Capricorn: “Ok but if i bribed the government with enough money maybe we can make obama president for life ??????”

Aquarius: “this is why we can’t have nice things”

Pisces: *laughs, but starts crying after realizing that one of these two candidates would become the next leader of america*

We were told that there was a huge wall in Berlin, and that if you got anywhere near it, the Russian and German military would shoot you on sight. That wall was the greatest symbol of governmental oppression on the planet, and America’s number-one goal was to tear it down. We were told that Russian police would regularly execute its citizens in the street in broad daylight. That if you protested anything for any reason, you risked death, serious injury, or spending years in prison. We pretty quickly got the picture that Russia wasn’t a country – it was a murder factory.

We were taught that there were many people in Russia who didn’t agree with their government, but if they spoke up about it, they would be beaten or killed. Even if the police didn’t do it, other citizens who supported the government would. We were taught that there were cameras on every street corner, documenting everything you did, and there was no escaping the eye of the police and military. And if Russia ever did start a war with the U.S., and they happened to win … well, this is what we could all expect our country to become. 

So why am I bringing this up 34 years after that classroom incident? 25 years after the Cold War ended? Because I can’t even do something simple like log onto Twitter without getting that same feeling of dread that I got as an ignorant third-grader way back in 1982. Everything we were warned about is happening, without a single Russian soldier policing our streets.

Why The Modern-Day U.S. Is Basically Cold War Russia

It was so weird watching the US Presidential Debate. It’s hard to really summarise it because there were so many moments where Trump did/said something ridiculous and the fact that people are undecided at this point is baffling. At one extended point Trump wouldn’t let Clinton speak for longer than 30 seconds without interrupting or yelling over her. He then said he had a better temperament than Clinton (”I have a winning temperament”) He would randomly mention that he owned property. At one point he kept saying “cyber” in every sentence and it genuinely seemed like he didn’t know what the word even meant. Literally every deal that wasn’t brokered by him was “the worst deal I’ve ever seen” according to him. He has no idea what Clinton has or hasn’t done and just attacks her randomly regardless of what she says. Clinton actually answered questions. Trump would whinge. Clinton called him out on him saying terrible thing after terrible thing and he would respond with “I’ve never said that.” She has since retweeted him on twitter where he said exactly the things he said he didn’t. (Like how he said that climate change is made up by the Chinese) When told Stop and Frisk was unconstitutional he said it wasn’t (that wasn’t up for debate, that was context for the question about how to heal the racial divide in the country caused by the police) and then instead of providing a solution to how to fix gun violence against unarmed black men he basically said police doing stop and frisk was fine (despite it being stated it had issues with racial profiling). He just straight up denies reality. He doesn’t back himself up. He kept railing on how politicians have business interests so that makes them untrustworthy… but he’s a businessman who wants to be a politician. Clinton called him out on sexist and racist remarks and his response wasn’t to defend himself, but to moan about how cruel it was that Clinton has made a political attack ad? As if he’s never made a negative ad about Clinton? Saying your political opponent is an inferior choice for President isn’t nearly on par with being a sexist/racist asshole. It’s part of the job. I don’t know how he meant to twist that into sympathy for him.

Basically Trump demonstrated time and time again that he is completely delusional, self-absorbed, and petulant. It’s bizarre. How has he been rewarded with being a presidential nominee… It was like watching a man self destruct and loudly proclaim simultaneously how little self-destructing he’s doing. I’m baffled. Is this deliberate? Is he trolling us? Does he literally not remember anything past 30 seconds ago? Is every moment a new moment for Trump? When he says “I didn’t say that” does he genuinely believe it because the world only extends so far as 30 seconds into the past and he’s perpetually finding himself in a strange alien situation to him where all he knows how to do is pretend he knows what he’s doing by stating over and over “I’m so good at… whatever it is that is happening right now…”?

Sweet fuck. Trump is a nightmare of paradoxical absurdism and aggressive egotism. He is a disaster. If America elects him they’re well and truly fucked.