Revolting Prostitutes: The Fight for Sex Workers’ Rights
by Molly Smith and Juno Mac
a documentary film directed by Stephanie Wang-Breal
Every year, on December 17, sex workers from Bombay to Zagreb gather to demand that the world stop killing their colleagues. The International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers started in 2003, to commemorate the dozens of women murdered by the Green River Killer in Washington State in the 1980s and 1990s, and has since grown into a collective cry of mourning, solidarity, and sex workers’ refusal to be ashamed. American sex workers are today more organized, and more oppressed, than they have been in years.
Escaping Wars and Waves: Encounters with Syrian Refugees
by Olivier Kugler
The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees
by Don Brown
In 2016, the year Macedonia completely closed its borders to Syrian refugees, I met a young Palestinian man named Walid in a squalid army-run camp on the Greek island of Samos. I was writing a magazine story on the conditions in such camps following the deal that March between the …
There will be hundreds, likely thousands, of claims for damages because of the police’s violence. Yet none of this comes out of the police budget: we, the broke and beaten residents and taxpayers, will be paying for their abuse of us. A police courts van sat on now-boarded-up Broadway, its windows smashed. Someone had scrawled FTP, short for “fuck the police,” on every side. When I walked by, a kid in black stood atop it while his friend shot photos. I asked to take his picture. He agreed. “You’re gonna get a million likes on Instagram,” he told me. He stood there as if astride the world.
In the worst of ironies, outrage at the system has, at least for now, made the system more terrifying than ever. Across social media, peaceful protesters have expressed unease that the police are no longer there to protect them, that—as much of the black community has sensed for years—that the police are menacing, heavily armed antagonists. For its part, the city authorities have struggled to maintain a semblance of order, without provoking yet further unrest—even as the president sends inflammatory tweets threatening more lethal force.
Anna Winger: “This year, a real plague is upon us. It will just be the four of us around the table—my husband, my children, and me. To celebrate this holiday of all holidays alone truly underscores our strange isolation. Here in Berlin, it’s never easy to gather what you need for a seder. This year, who knows? Maybe we’ll find a lamb bone, maybe a box of matzo, maybe not. Does it matter? I don’t think so. The story is what matters. The suffering of the Israelites gives us empathy, and their survival, strength. So we tell each other this story—over and over, this year more than ever, in every language.”
This week, on August 14, a federal appeals court will hear oral argument from attorneys for the Department of Homeland Security, on one hand, and Temporary Protected Status holders, on the other, as to whether the terminations should occur as originally scheduled. For Maribel Hernández Rivera, the litigation is personal: her husband, Giddel Contreras, is a TPS holder. A native of Honduras, Contreras has been in the United States for nearly twenty-five years, but was undocumented until he got TPS. His thirteen-year-old daughter, Madison, Hernández Rivera’s stepdaughter, is a US citizen. “We’re going to fight,” Hernández Rivera told me. “We’re going to do everything we need to do.”
Puerto Rico is a colony, and as such, its government has only those powers the US Congress grants it. Puerto Rican legislators might protest the closing of their schools, the cutting of their pensions, or the gutting of the great university that has produced so many of the island’s most subversive and iconic leaders, but ultimately, the Fiscal Control Board appointed by Congress overrule them. When I asked about what it would take to get rid of this junta, as activists call it, they offered me two options. First, the 5 million-strong Puerto Rican diaspora now living in the US could make Puerto Rico a political issue, advocating for their families on the island, who, as colonial subjects, are not allowed to vote in federal elections. Second, Puerto Ricans can make the island ungovernable.
“I have seen sex workers all of my life,” Jessica Ramos declared. “I have seen them denigrated by neighbors. The answer is always, call the police to fix this. Police do not fix anything.” She was speaking at a February 25 rally in Foley Square, New York, in front of 150 sex workers and supporters. This might seem like a small event, one of perhaps thousands of protests that take place every year in this city of ten million people, but it represented a radical break with the past. For Ramos is a state senator, and this spring, along with her colleague, Senator Julia Salazar, she promised to introduce a bill to decriminalize the sex trade in New York.