Achy Obejas

writer & translator


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Mills College welcomes Achy Obejas as Distinguished Visiting Writer

achy omiami

The Mills College English Department is proud to announce the appointment of award-winning writer Achy Obejas as the new Mills distinguished visiting writer.

“The Mills College distinguished visiting writer position brings writers with acclaimed careers in writing, teaching, and the creative arts to the English Department,” said Cynthia Scheinberg, chair of the English Department and dean of graduate literary studies at Mills. “Achy will teach three classes per year and engage in the life of the English Department, working closely with students.”

Nestled in the foothills of Oakland, California, Mills College is a nationally renowned, independent liberal arts college offering a dynamic progressive education that fosters leadership, social responsibility, and creativity in approximately 950 undergraduate women and 600 graduate women and men.

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Who could beat Rahm Emanuel in 2015?

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel

It was just last week, right after the final announcement of the 50 CPS closings that protesters lined the sidewalks outside the meeting and chanted, “Hey hey, ho ho, Rahm Emanuel’s got to go!”

It may have looked like a turning point—citizens actually expressing their rage at the mayor—but a quick peek inside the proceedings would have revealed a different kind of evidence. Aldermen, especially African-American aldermen in whose wards Emanuel’s closings will have a disproportionate and deleterious effect, meekly sought to save this or that school, bowing before the mayor’s ferocious power.

Is there any chance, really, that Emanuel will go? He doesn’t have the charm of a Harold Washington, or the common touch of a Richard Daley, but he has a war chest of about half a million right now, and a unparalleled track record for fundraising for himself and others. He also has the weight of incumbency: the devil we know over the one we don’t, and the ability to get tons of free air time just because.

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The Kate Hunt saga

freekateThe deadline came Friday and Kate Hunt, the Florida 18 year-old accused  of “lewd and lascivious battery on a child 12 to 16 years-old,” rejected a plea deal offer by the state’s attorney, meaning the case goes to trial June 20.

The deal would have meant two years of house arrest, one year of probation and a conviction of child abuse (rather than be required to register as a sex offender for life). It would have, in effect, kept Hunt from going to college and likely ended any chance she could ever have a career involving minors, including her choice of nursing. In other words: Hunt would have been stigmatized for life.

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Hate is in the air: LGBTQ setbacks

(Instagram/Clayton)Marchers in New York

(Instagram/Clayton)Marchers in New York

Sometimes, there are reminders. Indications that, yes, the arch of justice bends… and sometimes breaks.  Here we are, poised maybe before the queer equivalent of the Dred Scott decision at the Supreme Court (if anybody was listening to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the University of Chicago law school a few weeks back, you know the court’s rulings on DOMA/Prop 8 are not going to be Brown) and hate—individual, societal, institutional—can still rear its gnarly head and wreck a life or two or three.

Consider:

*Earlier this month, a Texas judge enforced aso-called “morality clause” in the divorce decree between Carolyn Compton and her ex-husband, effectively destroying her current same-sex relationship. How’s that? Well, the clause, which is pretty common in Texas divorces though rarely enforced, demands that Compton—a grown woman—not be allowed to have anyone she’s dating or intimate with and who is not related by blood or marriage in her home after 9 p.m.

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Obama’s unnecessary scandals

Leave it to Barack Obama to bring together in genuine outrage Tea Party conservatives, sparked to life by his election and determined to undermine it, and the American press, technically unfettered but the administration’s best friend in times of crisis.

Sure, Obama can say his people really had nothing to do with the IRS scandal unfolding before us, in which the tax agency harassed Tea Party groups seeking not-for-profit status for their work. It’s true that the IRS is semi-independent. But does anyone believe Obama really found out about the mess from the media?

Obama is already perceived, even by many of his supporters, as aloof and above it all. Is he now saying he’s so beyond his own administration, so disconnected from his own aides, no one thought to tip him off a scandal was brewing?

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GOP leader quits amid eugenics-fueled immigration report

Last week, the Florida Republican Party’s Hispanic outreach director quit his job and switched sides.

According to Pablo Pantoja, the final straw came in the Heritage Foundation’s immigration report, ascreed authored in part by a racist named Jason Richwine who’d once told the American Enterprise Institute that “decades of psychometric testing has indicated that at least in America, you have Jews with the highest average IQ, usually followed by East Asians, then you have non-Jewish whites, Hispanics, and then blacks. These are real differences, and they’re not going to go away tomorrow, and for that reason we have to address them in our immigration discussions and our debates.”

Sound familiar?

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Why Assata Shakur was suddenly promoted to terrorist

Assata Shakur

Assata Shakur

Last week, on the 40th anniversary of her arrest, the FBI suddenly put Assata Shakur, aka Joanne Chesimard, on the Ten Most Wanted Terrorists List. She is the first woman to reach such criminal heights. The reward for her capture has been doubled to $2 million.

But that move might say less about Shakur’s alleged crimes than about President Barack Obama. His willingness to use a black woman—a black woman whose political roots date back to a time when official U.S. government policy was to destroy the black liberation movement—to play this kind of politics is soulless.

Because have no doubt whatsoever: putting Shakur—who is at worst a cop killer—on that list has less to do with her and any recent activities to justify her promotion to terrorist status than it does with helping to make an argument to keep Cuba on the terrorist nations list, an appointment that reflects political game-playing more than reality.

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