Compiled by Tori Kim, a Summer 2012 Leadership Conference Education Fund Intern
Destroying the Soul (Opinion)
In this opinion article, Dayan strongly denounces the practice of solitary confinement and the existence of Supermax facilities, which isolate inmates in small, barren cells for 23 hours without human contact. Citing firsthand accounts from prisoners, he suggests that this inhumane form of treatment causes individuals to develop violent tendencies and psychological disorders that they did not previously possess. According to Dayan, of the 25,000 inmates in Supermax detention centers and the 80,000 confined in other solitary facilities, many have been placed in such conditions for administrative convenience or unsupported accusations of gang membership. Ultimately, these institutions disregard the humanity of inmates and lead to the “gradual destruction of mind and loss of personal dignity.”
Many Native Americans Live Next to Power Plants
The Moapa River Indian Reservation and the Navajo Nation are two of many reservations within the United States whose proximity to coal-powered plants is having harmful consequences on the health and wellbeing of residing tribe members. With “about 10 percent of all power plants operat[ing] within 20 miles of reservation land,” numerous tribes complain about the severe environmental impacts caused by the burning of coal and the excessive use of electricity to fuel the plants. While some tribes have embraced the coal industry as a source of economic development, many threaten to sue coal-producing companies for suspected links between the power plants and the emergence of asthma, premature death, cancer clusters, and dramatic weight loss in tribe members. Fearful of future health implications, tribe members have refrained from harvesting crops on their ancestral land, allowing their children to play outside, and even from opening a window.
NAACP Still Growing, Still Fighting
Joe Holley and Cindy George
After 103 years of landmark civil rights advocacy, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (NAACP) relevance has been questioned in recent years. While the era of Jim Crow segregation has passed, the NAACP continues to fight for the equal opportunity of all racial and minority groups, by broadening its scope to address issues like mass poverty, mass incarceration, voting rights, education, and healthcare. Despite criticisms that the NAACP’s influence rests only in the memory of its historical achievements, the organization continues to wield power in the civil rights world, while never allowing the American people to forget the important social and political injustices suffered in years past.