Global mayors are declaring their commitment to divest from fossil fuels and invest in a sustainable future
The epidemic of violence against Indigenous women in America is one of the country's most disturbing trends. A major reason it persists is because it's rarely discussed outside of the native community.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, murder is the third-leading cause of death among American Indian and Alaska Native women under age 19.
Women who live on some reservations face rates of violence that are as much as ten times higher than the national average.
<p>The problem stems from a lack of community resources, prejudice, poverty, and poor communication between Native communities and law enforcement.</p><p class="shortcode-media shortcode-media-rebelmouse-image"> <img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDQzMTMyNS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwNzA2NDgyMH0.I6PPu6UV9DLksYr0rrtkCn-tfzOxONfC6TyFemuFDOY/img.jpg?width=980" id="43c75" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="750143a493f36cfe5c45f7700c2e853a" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image"> <small class="image-media media-caption" placeholder="Add Photo Caption...">Red dress display to honor missing and murdered Indigenous women.</small><small class="image-media media-photo-credit" placeholder="Add Photo Credit..."><a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/kerron/44421156294/in/photolist-2aFm3a5-G6Ee2i-GY3Arb-GY3PUy-GSJXd3-H21p4M-GY87yh-H21qZv-GSHwTd-GV8W4F-GY6mCJ-GY42P5-G6zsMK-G6zpMC-G6D3UM-vWefZL-GY5qbh-H22RXp-GV4L3B-H259Lk-H1ZBb4-G6yoJs-H1YZfg-G6CPLT-G6Ah3r-GXYqnb-2hXA9dW-GXZ5Zb-G6sL8b-2hXwxWB-vgY7Ua-GXYJKU-G6BNde-GY2w3d-2hXz7yu-2hXA9oF-H1VH9V-2hXz753-H1WXmk-2hXA8CY-2inewVm-2inc16B-dgRehk-2inewBA-2inc13k-2infEXH-2inc1en-dgRfbP-2inewxh-2inewHC" target="_blank">via Kerron L / Flickr </a></small></p><p>Many women disappear from remote reservations without a single law enforcement officer. "The resources are spread so thin, it allows people to fall through the cracks," Billy J. Stratton, an expert in Native American studies at the University of Denver,<a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/09/us/native-american-murdered-missing-women/index.html" target="_blank"> told CNN.</a><br></p><p>But the problem goes much deeper than law enforcement.</p><p>"When you're talking about a group of people who is among the lowest socioeconomic class in the US, they're more susceptible to violence than others," Stratton said.</p><p>"Poverty is the main driver; dispossession, lack of empowerment, isolation, and those other social problems I think flow from that," he added.</p><p>Violence against Native people also gets very little attention from the mainstream media.</p><p>"I live on a reservation, it's word of mouth. We can report [someone missing or dead] to the authorities," Tillie Aldrich, an Omaha Tribe of Nebraska member,<a href="https://www.teenvogue.com/story/savannas-act-missing-and-murdered-indigenous-women-crisis" target="_blank"> told Teen Vogue.</a> </p><p>"If we have a non-Native [person] missing in a city 25 miles north of us, it's all over the news, the newspapers, posters going up," she continued. "If we have someone missing, one of our Native missing, they try to keep it quiet."</p><p>The response to cases of violence against native American women is so poor that in 2016 <a href="https://www.uihi.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Missing-and-Murdered-Indigenous-Women-and-Girls-Report.pdf" target="_blank">there were 5,712 cases</a> reported of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, but only 116 cases were logged by the Department of Justice database.</p><p>However, a new bill passed by Congress hopes to reverse this trend in violence and law enforcement inaction.</p><p>On Monday, the House of Representatives passed Savanna's Act, which will go to the desk of President Trump for final approval.</p><div id="c63f6" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ce4fd53d3db9b48119cce745567d7404"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1308136566347509763" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind's murder left a hole in the hearts of North Dakotans. Today, we honor her life by passi… https://t.co/VEBxhpiXHx</div> — Congressman Kelly Armstrong (@Congressman Kelly Armstrong)<a href="https://twitter.com/RepArmstrongND/statuses/1308136566347509763">1600719036.0</a></blockquote></div><p>The bill is named after Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, a member of the Spirit Lake Sioux Tribe from Fargo, North Dakota. In 2017, at the age of 22, while eight months pregnant her unborn child was cut out of her womb and she was murdered. The baby survived.<br></p><p>The bill requires federal, state, tribal, and local law enforcement agencies to update policies and protocols to address missing or murdered Native Americans. </p><p>It also requires the U.S. Department of Justice to develop new guidelines for response to missing or murdered Native people and provide database training to law enforcement agencies at all levels.</p><p>"Savanna's Act addresses a tragic issue in Indian Country and helps establish better law enforcement practices to track, solve and prevent these crimes against Native Americans," Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, said in a statement. </p><p>"We appreciate our House colleagues for passing the bill today and sending it on to the president to become law," the statement continues. "At the same time, we continue working to advance more legislation like this to strengthen public safety in tribal communities and ensure victims of crime receive support and justice."</p><div id="3ce02" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9b2408fcb869ed49a4fcf52aa7993d46"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1308291497926688768" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Congress Finally Passes #SavannasAct for Missing Murdered #Indigenous Women 22 yr old Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind… https://t.co/a1w7UTOAiM</div> — 🎲 (@🎲)<a href="https://twitter.com/MagicZoetrope/statuses/1308291497926688768">1600755974.0</a></blockquote></div><p>"Passage of Savanna's Act brings us one step closer to ending this epidemic by upgrading critical data and improving communication among law enforcement," Republican Representative from Montana Greg Gianforte said in a statement.<br></p><p>The bill is a positive first step toward combating the issue of missing and murdered Indiginous women, but much more will have to be done before the problem is solved. </p><p>"Stopping the #MMIW [Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women] crisis will take years and maybe decades," Sarah Deer, Muscogee, a professor at the University of Kansas, <a href="https://www.teenvogue.com/story/savannas-act-missing-and-murdered-indigenous-women-crisis" target="_blank">told Teen Vogue.</a> </p><p>"It must be a multi-faceted movement led by family members of missing Indigenous women," she added. "Those families are the experts on this crisis and should be the leaders of the movement."</p>
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Global mayors are declaring their commitment to divest from fossil fuels and invest in a sustainable future
The legality of abortion is one of the most polarized debates in America—but it doesn’t have to be.
People have big feelings about abortion, which is understandable. On one hand, you have people who feel that abortion is a fundamental women’s rights issue, that our bodily autonomy is not something you can legislate, and that those who oppose abortion rights are trying to control women through oppressive legislation. On the other, you have folks who believe that a fetus is a human individual first and foremost, that no one has the right to terminate a human life, and that those who support abortion rights are heartless murderers.
Then there are those of us in the messy middle. Those who believe that life begins at conception, that abortion isn’t something we’d choose—and we’d hope others wouldn’t choose—under most circumstances, yet who choose to vote to keep abortion legal.
<p>It is entirely possible to be morally anti-abortion and politically pro-choice without feeling conflicted about it. Here’s why.</p><h2><strong>There’s far too much gray area to legislate.</strong></h2><p>No matter what you believe, when exactly life begins and when “a clump of cells” should be considered an individual, autonomous human being is a debatable question. </p><p>I <em>personally</em> believe life begins at conception, but that’s my religious belief about when the soul becomes associated with the body, not a scientific fact. As Arthur Caplan, award-winning professor of bioethics at New York University, <a href="https://slate.com/human-interest/2017/04/when-does-life-begin-outside-the-christian-right-the-answer-is-over-time.html" target="_blank">told Slate</a>, “Many scientists would say they don’t know when life begins. There are a series of landmark moments. The first is conception, the second is the development of the spine, the third the development of the brain, consciousness, and so on.” </p><p>But let’s say, for the sake of argument, that a human life unquestionably begins at conception. Even with that point of view, there are too many issues that make a black-and-white approach to abortion too problematic to ban it.</p><h2><strong>Abortion bans hurt some mothers who desperately want their babies to live, and I'm not okay with that.</strong></h2><p>One reason I don’t support banning abortion is because I’ve seen too many families deeply harmed by restrictive abortion laws.</p><p>I’ve heard too many stories of families who <a href="https://www.scarymommy.com/loss-abortion-worst-thing-been-through-should-be-legal/" target="_blank">desperately wanted a baby</a>, who ended up having to make the rock-and-a-hard-place choice to abort because the alternative would have been <a href="https://www.scarymommy.com/abortion-a-choice-i-never-knew-id-have-to-make/" target="_blank">a short, pain-filled life </a>for their child. </p><p>I’ve heard too many stories of mothers having to endure <a href="https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/nekpw7/i-went-to-a-catholic-hospital-during-my-miscarriageand-it-nearly-killed-me" target="_blank">long, drawn out, potentially dangerous miscarriages </a>and <a href="https://www.thedailybeast.com/texas-forced-this-woman-to-deliver-a-stillborn-baby" target="_blank">being forced to carry a dead baby</a> inside of them because abortion restrictions gave them no other choice. </p><p>I’ve heard too many stories of abortion laws doing real harm to mothers and babies, and too many stories of families who were staunchly anti-abortion until they found themselves <a href="https://www.scarymommy.com/crisis-pregnancies-stillbirth-changed-views-abortion/" target="_blank">in circumstances they never could have imagined</a>, to believe that abortion is always wrong and should be banned at any particular stage. </p><h2><strong>I am not willing to serve as judge and jury on a woman's medical decisions, and I don't think the government should either.</strong></h2><p>Most people's anti-abortion views—mine included—are based on their religious beliefs, and I don’t believe that anyone’s religion should be the basis for the laws in our country. (For the record, any Christian who wants biblical teachings to influence U.S. law, yet cries “Shariah is coming!” when they see a Muslim legislator, is a hypocrite.) </p><p>I also don’t want politicians sticking their noses into my very personal medical choices. There are just too many circumstances (<em>seriously, please read the stories linked in the previous section</em>) that make abortion a choice I hope I'd never have to make, but wouldn’t want banned. I don't understand why the same people who decry government overreach think the government should be involved in these extremely personal medical decisions. </p><p>And yes, ultimately, abortion is a personal medical decision. Even if I believe that a fetus is a human being at every stage, that human being's creation is inextricably linked to and dependent upon its mother's body. And while I don't think that means women should abort inconvenient pregnancies, I also acknowledge that trying to force a woman to grow and deliver a baby that she may not have chosen to conceive isn't something the government should be in the business of doing. </p><p>As a person of faith, my role is not to judge or vilify, but to love and support women who are facing difficult choices. The rest of it—the hard questions, the unclear rights and wrongs, the spiritual lives of those babies,—I comfortably leave in God's hands. </p><h2><strong>Most importantly, if the goal is to prevent abortion, research shows that outlawing it isn't the way to go. </strong></h2><p>The biggest reason I vote the way I do is because based on my research pro-choice platforms provide the best chance of reducing abortion rates. </p><p><a href="https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/67/ss/ss6713a1.htm?s_cid=ss6713a1_w" target="_blank">Abortion rates fell by 24%</a> in the past decade and are at their <a href="https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/01/17/509734620/u-s-abortion-rate-falls-to-lowest-level-since-roe-v-wade" target="_blank">lowest levels in 40 years</a> in America. Abortion has been legal during that time, so clearly, keeping abortion legal and available has not resulted in increased abortion rates. Switzerland has the <a href="https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/fertility-matters_the-secret-of-switzerland-s-low-abortion-rate/33585760" target="_blank">lowest abortion rate on earth</a> and their rate has been falling since 2002, when abortion became largely unrestricted. </p><p>Outlawing abortion doesn't stop it, it just <a href="https://www.pri.org/stories/2016-03-31/heres-what-happens-country-where-women-are-punished-having-abortions" target="_blank">pushes it underground </a>and makes it more dangerous. And if a woman dies in a botched abortion, so does her baby. Banning abortion is a recipe for more lives being lost, not fewer. </p><p><strong>At this point, <a href="https://slate.com/human-interest/2016/05/abortion-rates-are-constant-in-developing-countries-while-developed-ones-see-a-sharp-drop.html" target="_blank">the only things consistently proven to reduce abortion rates </a>are comprehensive sex education and easy, affordable access to birth control.</strong> If we want to reduce abortions, that’s where we should be putting our energy. The problem is, anti-abortion activists also tend to be the same people pushing for abstinence-only education and making birth control harder to obtain. But those goals can’t co-exist in the real world. </p><p>Our laws should be based on reality and on the best data we have available. Since comprehensive sex education and easy, affordable access to birth control—the most proven methods of reducing abortion rates—are the domain of the pro-choice crowd, that’s where I place my vote, and why I do so with a clear conscience.</p>
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Every day, I wake up feeling like Peeta at the end of "The Hunger Games" series asking Katniss what's real and what's not real.
The first thing I do is run through a series of thoughts to orient myself to this bizarre reality we're currently in: "What day is it today? Umm...Tuesday, I think. Who is president of the United States? Donald Trump. Wait, is that right? That can't be right....No, yes, that's right. Wow. Are we still in the middle of a global pandemic that has killed 200,000+ Americans in six months? Yes. Are people still acting like it's a hoax? Apparently so. Is there still a ridiculous number of people who believe that an elite cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles is secretly running the world and trafficking children to harvest fear hormones from their blood, and that Donald Trump is going to save us all from it? Yup."
Then I lie there in dumbfounded disbelief before semi-rallying: "Okay, here we go."
It's not really okay, though. How any of us are expected to be able to function in this reality is beyond me. When we've gone beyond merely having different perspectives on issues and instead are living in completely different versions of reality, I can't figure out how to feel okay. Or, to be more accurate, when some of us are living in objective reality and a not-insignificant-enough number of us are living in a completely made-up land of alternative facts and perpetual gaslighting, it's hard not to feel like I'm the one losing my grip.
<p>There's some comfort in knowing I'm not alone in this. It's always refreshing to hear from fellow citizens who feel like someone keeps slipping them crazy pills, which is why writer Chuck Wendig's recent <a href="https://twitter.com/ChuckWendig/status/1306292073692368898" target="_blank">Twitter thread</a> about people ignoring the toilet on fire in the living room resonated with me. Wendig has a way with words, and seeing him describe the surreal experience of life at this moment—and that it's totally normal to feel totally not normal about it—was immensely satisfying. </p> <div id="c6a87" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="f2d0ed42c85e05b08fb9e30d656cded6"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1306292073692368898" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Politics, Zoom school, people not wearing masks, gender reveal forest fires, and other assorted verses to We Didn’t… https://t.co/2PwJvKpdGp</div> — Chuck Wendig (@Chuck Wendig)<a href="https://twitter.com/ChuckWendig/statuses/1306292073692368898">1600279274.0</a></blockquote></div> <p>Wendig wrote:</p><p><em>"It's okay that you're not okay. That's not your brain misfiring. Your response is that you're not okay because things are very much not okay. I'm not okay. You're not okay. We aren't okay together and that's perfectly acceptable, normal, and expected. </em></p><p><em><span></span>Politics, Zoom school, people not wearing masks, gender reveal forest fires, and other assorted verses to We Didn't Start The Fire — JFC, shit is jaw-dropping right now. Reality is walking a tightrope between Absurdist Shitshow and Active Malevolence so, yeah, you aren't okay. </em></p><p><em><span></span>I went to an ice cream parlor and everyone had masks on (no dicknoses, even) and that was great. </em></p><p><em>I went to a doctor's office and the office manager of that doctor's office did NOT have a mask on and what the fuck is that shit.</em></p><p><em> <span></span>And I look outside and I see people acting like there's no pandemic and then online there are people who act like the president is doing a great job and Joe Biden (!) is a socialist (!?) and climate change is a liberal bogeyman and you start to feel like reality is unraveling.</em></p> <div id="37e83" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8ebecaa736ce20129370c3f8f6547931"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1306294066389356544" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">And all that makes you feel like you’re the fucked up one, like it’s not okay that you’re not okay. But it is okay.… https://t.co/Ezi3AyKjoD</div> — Chuck Wendig (@Chuck Wendig)<a href="https://twitter.com/ChuckWendig/statuses/1306294066389356544">1600279749.0</a></blockquote></div> <p><em>And you start to feel like YOU'RE the cuckoo bananapants person, like there's a toilet on fire in the middle of the living room and nobody else in your family will acknowledge it. "Nobody else sees the fire toilet?" "The fire toilet is antifa propaganda. Eat your Spaghettios." </em><br></p><p><em><span></span><span style="background-color: initial;"></span>And all that makes you feel like you're the fucked up one, like it's not okay that you're not okay. But it is okay. You're not okay and that's your reaction to a very not okay world. There is a toilet on fire in the living room. I see it too. </em></p><p><em><span></span><span style="background-color: initial;"></span>I've no answers how to make it okay. (Except, obviously, vote, give money, raise a ruckus.) Try to secure some peace and pleasure for yourself away from this Hell Realm. I walk and listen to birds and high-five pine trees and it feels a little better. Not okay, but closer to it. <span style="background-color: initial;"></span>(And I note that even going outside is a privilege right now, with many places experiencing ash and smoke or bad weather. I only mean to suggest you put down the phone and try to steal some moments of peace away from the maw of the maelstrom.) </em></p><p><em><span></span><span style="background-color: initial;"></span>I don't know that we're going to be okay. Individually or collectively. But we can try despite everything to care about ourselves and each other through whatever comes and that can be our true north, a star to light the dark. <span style="background-color: initial;"></span>It's okay that you're not okay. The toilet is on fire. I see it too. And I'm not okay either. </em></p><p><em><span></span><span style="background-color: initial;"></span>p.s. jfc wear a mask"</em><em> </em></p><p>Ah, thank you Chuck Wendig for putting the feelings of so many of us into words. We're not okay, and that is okay. If we were okay through all of this, it would mean that we're really not okay. </p><p>And since there's no season finale preview yet for this weird reality show we're living in, we have to learn to be okay with not being okay. That's okay, even though it's not. That's where we're at. That's reality at the moment. </p><p>The toilet is on fire. At least we're not the only one who can see it. </p>
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