Moments after President Biden thanked his team for their efforts in “bringing about a cease-fire” (that was actually brought about by Palestinian resistance), the social media posts of Palestinian and Arab American progressives across the U.S. echoed a similar sentiment: “We will not stop talking about Palestine just because a cease-fire was announced.” Two assumptions underpin this sentiment. First, for Arab Americans, the concept of “cease-fire” is meaningless as long as Israel continues colonizing Palestine. As we have learned from history, after every cease-fire, Israel has continued to expand its borders far beyond the areas of land it confiscated from Palestinians since 1947 by expelling and dispossessing Palestinians from their homes, as we saw in Sheikh Jarrah and intentionally killing Palestinians en masse. Second, Arab Americans are exceptionally aware that the struggle over Palestine is a battle over narratives. In other words, a persistent pro-Israeli doctrine stifles criticism of Israel in nearly every sector of public debate from the corporate media, to social media, education, and the non-profit industry. As Israel and the U.S. have institutionalized the idea of Israel as the victim, killing Palestinians only out of self-defense, Palestinian and Arab American social movement agendas have prioritized breaking the silence, shifting the narrative, and continuing to talk about Palestine. Over the last few weeks, the necessity of breaking the silence has been more urgent than ever before.
For centuries, Black and Indigenous writers have established loud and clear the great paradox of the Fourth of July: the U.S.’ purported democracy was founded on slavery and genocide. We must also remember that since July 4, 1776, the U.S. has not only continued its settler-colonial project and its containment of Black people within U.S. borders, but it has also expanded its colonial aspirations across the globe.
As it did with the health care system and economy, COVID-19 exacerbated the deep disparities in education by race and ethnicity that existed across the country’s public school system underscoring the importance of prioritizing equitable access to learning. In Chicago, school districts were overwhelmed and unequipped with the chaos of mass school closures and shifting to remote learning.
Chicago eviction rates significantly decreased in 2020 due to the statewide eviction ban, but it has not mitigated the risk of evictions for residents, particularly on the South and West sides. Thirty percent or more of renter households are predicted to face the risk of eviction this year, according to an Aspen Institute report. For Chicago, that would mean more than 20,000 evictions, according to a report by the Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing and Loyola University Chicago. LCBH reported that “majority Black areas continue to have eviction filing rates substantially higher than in other parts of the city. “The new data shows that majority Black areas had eviction filing rates five times higher than majority white areas, while rates in Latinx neighborhoods were twice as high as those in white areas,” as stated in an LCBH news release on Dec.
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Despite Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s agenda to curb unfair fees and fines, a little known program extracts millions in revenue annually from unpaid tickets, court fees and other debt from thousands of taxpayers without regard for their ability to pay.
The missteps in the COVID-19 vaccine distribution were predictable. How could anyone expect better from a broken health care system riddled with barriers for people of color due to deeply rooted structural racism and bias?