From the moment Beyoncé walked off the Super Bowl stage, halftime show sticking out of her back pocket after broadcasting black power imagery and black pride lyrics to an audience of 112 million people, the backlash began. From boycotts to criticism from senators and pundits alike, the goal here is to intimidate the pop star into silence because she holds power. But here's the thing; celebrity activists matter. Being an artist does not mean that you cannot speak out about injustice, but critics push that agenda because having a following for your art does mean that people might actually listen when you do.
What Iranians lived in that time -- what they channeled through their intellectual salons and prison letters, their dreams and childhood memories -- felt to me like an epic novel, replete with calamities and reversals, crescendos and epiphanies, and a sweeping arc of history that cut through its core.
It's not easy being Leonardo DiCaprio. While preaching that fossil fuel use is triggering a global climate catastrophe, Leo hops around the world on fuel-guzzling private jets. "If we do not act together, we will surely perish," he tells the United Nations. I'll say it again: Leo has a hard time aligning his message with his actions.
I am often reminded of Martin Luther King, who uniquely demonstrated that eloquence trumps bigotry, when researching Canada's earliest LGBT activists. They, like King, were at the forefront of a dramatic civil rights movement, making powerful and persuasive arguments for social justice in the face of sometimes brutal suppression.
Both Trudeau and his new ministers have their work cut out from them when it comes to really getting Canada back on course on climate. That's why today, I'm outside of Trudeau's home with dozens of other people kicking off what could be largest act of civil disobedience on climate change in Canada's history.
To deny the history of medical cannabis access does a disservice to our understanding of access in Canada and what it's actually like for patients trying to navigate this system. We've seen the framing of cannabis in the media change rapidly -- I don't doubt much of this is owed to the professionalization of the new federal industry, alongside more research, more interest and, of course, more money.
Consider the butterfly effect. Wings flap and set off a hurricane. Canada's most dramatic civil rights movement was set in motion by one man who quietly and privately pursued his carnal pleasures. His libido ignited a chain of events that continue to profoundly shape and redefine sexual, gender and cultural identities today. The butterfly in question was a mechanic named George Klippert.
Guo Yushan and He Zhengjun are accused of having written and published books and articles, and of having given lectures at universities, on such subjects as taxes, law reform, and environmental protection, with funding that included four foreign sources. They are just two of 1.4 billion Chinese citizens, but their work represented all that is hopeful and optimistic about China. Rather than jailing them, the government should free them, tap their confidence in their country and their dedication to their fellow citizen, thaw the chill that has accompanied their incarceration and help the country thrive.
A study from the University of Toronto recommends that a change in tactics is long overdue for Canada's culture of activism, one that does not include civil disobedience, shouting, or getting angry at all. There have been times and places where civil disobedience has changed the world for the better, there can be no doubt about that. But today, in Canada and in most cases, not only are such actions not helping, they are actually hurting.
As the SCOTUS decision permeates business and marketing discussions, there have been a few arguments against brands publicly supporting equal marriage and LGBT rights. And not always the kinds of truthiness inspired arguments you might expect, but rather, reasoned (if ill-informed) arguments based on a few common assumptions. I'd like to address those here.
My father, Robert Hunter, had coined the term "mind bomb" as an expression that our greatest tool for revolution was our own consciousness. He believed that mass media (early broadcast media at the time) could help spark that consciousness shift and a societal shift by changing the story of our times. The reality is the tides are turning. Despite the stories of impossibility in the fight against climate change, there are some new stories being written of possibility. It will still take many more of us -- millions and billions of us -- to continue to share these news stories and to create the "mind bomb" moments.
One year later, what has #BringBackOurGirls accomplished? It didn't bring the girls home. Second-hand reports suggest that 57 of the girls escaped their captors, but the rest are still out there, likely sold off as child brides (or sex slaves). Recently, a UN official said there's evidence they may be dead. It's a sad illustration of the limitations of "clicktivism" -- the use of online media to advance causes. There must be a plan to engage supporters once they've clicked, and keep them engaged, even after the hashtag stops trending.
The celebrants on April 20 don't necessarily know the history of how cannabis came to be illegal, but they do know cannabis is less harmful to users than all other illicit drugs and considerably less harmful than alcohol and tobacco. They know that the greatest threat from cannabis lies in its continued illegality by policy makers who wish the evidence would just go away.
On March 11, 2015, Toronto City Council finally approved funding for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and 2-spirit (LGBTQ2S) youth transitional housing. Although I am extremely disappointed that LGBTQ2S youth homelessness has been inadequately addressed for so many years, I am grateful that there is more understanding and awareness of this social justice crisis. I am also grateful that more organizations are now committed to developing campaigns and programs for LGBTQ2S youth experiencing homelessness.