Over 700 Jefferson County High School students are staging walkouts and protests over proposed changes to the Advanced Placement History curriculum. According to Colorado Public Radio:
Last week, a school board member proposed that advanced placement history classes be required to promote free enterprise and patriotism and be required to avoid classroom materials that encourage social strife or civil disobedience. Two high schools in Jefferson County closed Friday after dozens of teachers called in sick in protest.
Jeffco Public School Board has just proposed a change of curriculum stating that, “Materials should not encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law. Instructional materials should present positive aspects of the United States and its heritage.”
This means that important parts of our history such as the Civil Rights Movement, Native American genocide, and slavery will not be taught in public schools. If these important lessons are not taught, children will not learn from them, and what will stop them from happening again? This is a severe form of censorship intended to keep the youth ignorant and easy to manipulate. I’m hoping to get enough signatures to prove that this is a public issue, so, please, if this is important to you, please sign. Do not let our youth grow up in ignorance; we all deserve the truth!
Starting on Monday, thousands of university students in Hong Kong have been gathering at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Tamar Park (outside the government offices) to protest the National People’s Congress (NPC) of China’s decision to restrict the right to vote for Chief Executive, the city’s highest political leader in 2017.
Article 45 of the Basic Law (Hong Kong’s own mini-constitution implemented after the handover from Britain to China in 1997) states that the Chief Executive should be chosen by universal suffrage as an eventual goal. Time and time again the Communist Party of China have dodged/shut down any democratic progress. Last month the NPC announced that they would continue using the 1200-member committee, consisting of members loyal to the Communist Party, to vote for our CE. THIS IS ILLEGAL. THIS IS SHAM DEMOCRACY AND SHOULD NOT BE TOLERATED.
The sit-in of university students belongs to a movement called ‘Occupy Central with Love and Peace’ and is led by The Hong Kong Federation of Students (schedule and declaration of the strike included). This act of civil disobedience consists of absolute non-violence. It consists of free public lectures offered by university professors and writers on topics like Orwell’s ‘1984’, history of Hong Kong’s struggle for democracy, Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s fight to end injustice etc etc. I was one of the students sitting in Tamar Park on Tuesday and Thursday and it was one of the most rewarding, educational and, I must emphasise, peaceful political activities I have ever witnessed.
On Friday, high school students led by the student group Scholarism joined in the protest. They marched to Civic Square, pleading for our current CE to come out of his offices and listen to their requests, just like he promised during his ‘campaign’ in 2012. More and more citizens joined in the protest after work.
The police started cutting off access to Civic Square, which is a publicly owned area. They used shields to form a blockade against the protestors and started pushing them back. When people resisted with umbrellas, they started using clubs and pepper spray on the protestors, who started putting both of their hands up to show they are unarmed. Many students who managed to rush in Civic Square are arrested, including the leader of Scholarism. Many of them have visible injuries caused by police brutality and some of them still haven’t been released from police custody.
THE FIGHT IS STIL GOING ON. PEOPLE ARE STILL CROWDING OUTSIDE CIVIC SQUARE AND TAMAR. Resources are running thin and the police are still threatening violence. Some of my friends are at the protest and they are continuing the struggle despite the risks. It is predicted that the police will escalate their brutality with tear gas, more pepper spray and water cannons against innocent, peaceful protestors, many of them teenagers.
You can watch Occupy Central live here: x (Apple Daily livestream)
I know tumblr is a US-centric place but PLEASE PLEASE SPARE A SECOND TO REBLOG THIS POST. Hong Kong is a tiny city. We are anything but a formidable force in international politics. The only thing we can do is raise awareness among the world and force our corrupt government to answer to our protests.
PLEASE HELP US.
Articles on Occupy Central (English): x (The Economist), x (BBC News), x (Mail Online), x (Newsweek), x (CNN), x (Right Now I/O), x (NY Times)
Updates (Chinese): x (Campus TV, HKU), x (Apple Daily), x (Amnesty International Hong Kong), x (InMedia HK), x (926政總現場消息發佈)
While critics have tried to claim that allowing transgendered students to use same-sex school facilities is some kind of safety or privacy concern (we’re looking at you Mike Huckabee), a new report shows that there’s actually zero evidence of that being true. None of the 17 largest US school districts’ schools with trans-inclusive nondiscrimination policies have reported a single inappropriate act, harassment, or “negative consequence,” according to a report by Media Matters for America.
In these schools, trans students are allowed into the bathrooms, locker rooms and sports teams of their choice.
In fact, many of the schools within Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Washington, D.C., Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Colorado, California, Oregon and Washington State say their trans-inclusive policies have improved school safety.
Hopefully this report will push other states to follow suit.
“The police in Iguala have been finding a lot of unknown tombs, but my heart tells me that our sons are still alive,” says Clemente Rodriguez, whose 19-year-old son Cristian Alfonso Rodriguez is one of the 43 Mexican students missing since September. Watch his interview on Democracy Now! today.
Hong Kong’s unprecedented protests & police crackdown, explained September 29, 2014
Protest marches and vigils are fairly common in Hong Kong, but what began on Friday and escalated dramatically on Sunday is unprecedented. Mass acts of civil disobedience were met by a shocking and swift police response, which has led to clashes in the streets and popular outrage so great that analysts can only guess at what will happen next.
What’s going on in Hong Kong right now is a very big deal, and for reasons that go way beyond just this weekend’s protests. Hong Kong’s citizens are protesting to keep their promised democratic rights, which they worry — with good reason — could be taken away by the central Chinese government in Beijing. This moment is a sort of standoff between Hong Kong and China over the city’s future, a confrontation that they have been building toward for almost 20 years.
On Wednesday, student groups led peaceful marches to protest China’s new plan for Hong Kong’s 2017 election, which looked like China reneging on its promise to grant the autonomous region full democracy (see the next section for what that plan was such a big deal). Protest marches are pretty common in Hong Kong so it didn’t seem so unusual at first.
Things started escalating on Friday. Members of a protest group called Occupy Central (Central is the name of Hong Kong’s downtown district) had planned to launch a “civil disobedience” campaign on October 1, a national holiday celebrating communist China’s founding. But as the already-ongoing protesters escalated they decided to go for it now. On Friday, protesters peacefully occupied the forecourt (a courtyard-style open area in front of an office building) of Hong Kong’s city government headquarters along with other downtown areas.
The really important thing is what happened next: Hong Kong’s police cracked down with surprising force, fighting in the streets with protesters and eventually emerging with guns that, while likely filled with rubber bullets, look awfully militaristic. In response, outraged Hong Kong residents flooded into the streets to join the protesters, and on Sunday police blanketed Central with tear gas, which has been seen as a shocking and outrageous escalation. The Chinese central government issued a statement endorsing the police actions, as did Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing chief executive, a tacit signal that Beijing wishes for the protests to be cleared.
You have to remember that this is Hong Kong: an affluent and orderly place that prides itself on its civility and its freedom. Hong Kongers have a bit of a superiority complex when it comes to China, and see themselves as beyond the mainland’s authoritarianism and disorder. But there is also deep, deep anxiety that this could change, that Hong Kong could lose its special status, and this week’s events have hit on those anxieties to their core.
This began in 1997, when the United Kingdom handed over Hong Kong, one of its last imperial possessions, to the Chinese government. Hong Kong had spent over 150 years under British rule; it had become a fabulously wealthy center of commerce and had enjoyed, while not full democracy, far more freedom and democracy than the rest of China. So, as part of the handover, the Chinese government in Beijing promised to let Hong Kong keep its special rights and its autonomy — a deal known as “one country, two systems.”
A big part of that deal was China’s promise that, in 2017, Hong Kong’s citizens would be allowed to democratically elect their top leader for the first time ever. That leader, known as the Hong Kong chief executive, is currently appointed by a pro-Beijing committee. In 2007, the Chinese government reaffirmed its promise to give Hong Kong this right in 2017, which in Hong Kong is referred to as universal suffrage — a sign of how much value people assign to it.
But there have been disturbing signs throughout this year that the central Chinese government might renege on its promise. In July, the Chinese government issued a “white paper” stating that it has “comprehensive jurisdiction” over Hong Kong and that “the high degree of autonomy of [Hong Kong] is not an inherent power, but one that comes solely from the authorization by the central leadership.” It sounded to many like a warning from Beijing that it could dilute or outright revoke Hong Kong’s freedoms, and tens of thousands of Hong Kong’s citizens marched in protest.
Then, in August, Beijing announced its plan for Hong Kong’s 2017 elections. While citizens would be allowed to vote for the chief executive, the candidates for the election would have to be approved by a special committee just like the pro-Beijing committee that currently appoints the chief executive. This lets Beijing hand-pick candidates for the job, which is anti-democratic in itself, but also feels to many in Hong Kong like a first step toward eroding their promised democratic rights.
I have seen many posts about protests in Hong Kong, Australia, Ukraine … but very little about what is happening in Mexico. Please put aside racism.
Some months ago, 43 students from a rural teaching school in the state of Guerrero —yes, the state in which Acapulco is located— were heading to a peaceful demonstration in a small town called Ayotzinapa. None of them did it to this event. They were seized by police officers who later handed them over to a vicious drug cartel. The said demonstration turned violent and the army was responsible for injuring dozens of innocent people who ended up in nearby hospitals.
Since the demise of the students, the entire country has witnessed a widespread indignation and impotence. Thousands of people have shown their support throughout Mexico to the families of the victims through peaceful demonstrations and messages on social networks.
On November 7, 2014, the General Attorney of Mexico, Jesús Murillo Karam, publicly announced that the 43 students had been found dead; actually, in ashes. The message of this officer was the official version of the federal government. The problem is that nobody believed them.
Since this announcement was made, Mexicans have come to protest because the truth to be told. The demonstrations have been massive and through social networks, many Mexican personalities have spoken out against the government’s version and have requested that the facts are clarified, that the search for the missing students continues and that real culprits are punished.
On November 9, a huge demonstration for the missing students and against the federal government was held in Mexico City, where protesters even demanded the resignation of the unpopular president, Enrique Peña Nieto. In social networks it is clear that no one, I mean, no one, supports the president, who, presumably, was imposed by an undemocratic and corrupt manner in 2012. The event came to a climax when a group of protesters set fire to one of the doors of the National Palace —building in Mexico City that houses the office of the President of Mexico— and attempted to overthrow more. Police violently attacked not only against those responsible for these acts, but much more completely innocent people.
Sadly no one on the national media covers the facts truthfully, with transparency and fairness. In Mexico there are very few broadcast networks —similar to ABC, NBC, etc. — and the biggest and most important is Televisa, the largest producer of “telenovelas”. Televisa’s “Channel 2”, in addition to telenovelas also offers news segments which unfortunately hide the reality: they didn’t televised demonstrations as they really were; the presidential family recently caused controversy by acquiring a mansion of over US$ 7 million, and this TV company never aired something about this.
One of the few reliable news brands in Mexico is CNN, which followed closely the case of the controversial mansion as well as the case of the 43 students, and were among the few who dared to criticize the government openly on national television and Internet.
Today, November 20, 104 years of the Mexican Revolution are celebrated. Such an important date is commemorated in Mexico City with an iconic military parade with the presence of the president of Mexico. But this year, the social outrage has surpassed the desire to celebrate and instead of parade —which was canceled just two days earlier— a massive demonstration against the current president of Mexico, corruption, impunity and of course, justice, for the case of the 43 missing students to be clarified, is being held.
Since 2006, over 22,000 people have disappeared in Mexico, because of the “drug war” caused and intensified by the huge consumption of drugs in the United States.
Please share this. It’s not your country, not your people, but outraged and tired of an ineffective and corrupt government young students are trying to change things. Please help this be known.
Furious students burn Mexican government building in protest over police corruption, demand justice for missing students October 16, 2014
Hundreds of residents in a southern-Mexican city smashed up the state capital building in a furious protest over the continued lack of information about 43 local college students, believed to have been abducted by corrupt police.
The local police are allegedly working with a powerful drug cartel and it’s feared that 10 newly discovered mass graves may contain the bodies of the students taken on September 26. “Up to 20” charred remains were discovered on Saturday.
As an investigation is underway, 26 police officers have so far been arrested, a number of which admitted to working with the Guerreros Unidos – an infamous drug cartel. Arrest warrants have also been issued for the mayor of Iguala, Jose Luis Albarca, his wife and his security chief, but they have gone into hiding.
The building in Chilpancingo, the capital of Guerrero state, was seen from a distance, engulfed in flames. According to local authorities, the crowds included hundreds of students and teachers from the Ayotzinapa teachers’ college, who blockaded the building and used sticks, rocks and Molotov cocktails to attack it.
They initially tried to get into the state congress, but police in riot gear repelled the crowd.
This comes more than two weeks after a serious incident in Iguala, also in Guerrero state, involving the shooting of six students by police during a rally in support of rural teachers’ rights. The law enforcers opened fire on a bus carrying protesters and arrested dozens of students, who have not been seen since.
The situation touches on a problem that’s been plaguing Mexico for a long time – police corruption and rampant organized crime by ruthless cartels.
Monday’s events come after a case of mistaken identity, during which the police shot and wounded German student Kim Fritz Keiser of the Monterey Institute of Technology, according to state authorities.
Keiser was travelling with her other foreign classmates in a van from Acapulco, which passes through Chilpancingo. At the time, the police were involved in another, unrelated confrontation with kidnappers, and erroneously assumed the people in the van had some sort of connection with the kidnapping. The state prosecutor’s office told AP that, as the officers tried to pull the van over, some crackling sound resembling a gunshot was heard from inside the vehicle. The police shot back, wounding the student.
Fearing that it was a case of armed men kidnapping students, the driver of the van refused to stop and drove away from the scene.
The officers involved in the incident have been detained and their weapons are being examined, authorities say.
Warnings have been issued by US authorities in the past to avoid the northwestern part of the state of Guerrero, because of frequent violence occurring in places like Iguala.