WIM LAVEN – The U.S. and Sudan showcase different stages of division. The people of the U.S. are well served to learn and get involved in Sudan through solidarity. People of the world can all push for frozen assets and travel bans on those responsible for the coup and thank President Biden for hisÂ swift actionÂ in suspending $700 million in aid to Sudan. Nonviolent but coercive measures like these can pressure the military to yield to the peopleâ€™s demands. We can also make strong condemnations to the use of political violence and the detainment of political prisonersâ€”who should be immediately released.Â
WIM LAVEN – Now, more than ever, it is necessary for the U.S. to be smart about our narrative and the appraisal of our role in the world.Â
WIM LAVEN – We can speak out against oppression, we can demand assistance for those in need, and we can strive to do better. The world depends on our collective action and commitment.
WIM LAVEN – Repeated efforts to undermine black votes and black voices is disgusting and we need to make sure the racist strategies are punished, but, sadly, for the moment Georgiaâ€™s Republicans are getting away with it.
WIM LAVEN – We will start healing as a country, as a people as soon as we start finding the humanity in each other. We are so busy angrily shouting at each other that we have forgotten to listen; letâ€™s take our power back, find our shared humanity, and take care of ourselvesâ€”weâ€™ve got work to do.
WIM LAVEN – Police departments all across America keep proving the same point: they are not training officers to honor the protection of human life.
WIM LAVEN – The Trump administration’s proposed budget is alarming in what it presents as the actual priorities of the White House. Among many other disastrous priorities, Trumpâ€™s budget for 2021 includes funding â€œfor the orderly closure of the [National Endowment for the Humanities].â€
WIM LAVEN – I get accused of â€œbeing over-the-topâ€ and using hyperbole by conservative friends and acquaintances with increasing frequency. This is caused, in large part, by me being a vocal and active contributor to the public discourse about issues of peace and justice. I am called a â€œsnowflakeâ€ for responding to those who supportâ€”or even promoteâ€”rape culture. My conservative friends say they cannot take me seriously, which is frustrating, but at least it is honest. The question is: how seriously should we consider the statements others make?
WIM LAVEN – The frustration I experience with dishonest politics reached a peak with Memorial Day this year. I saw protest signs and memes to the effect of: â€œSome gave all. All gave something. Trump gave nothing.â€ While it perfectly captured my frustration, it was oversimplified and failed to articulate the real failures.
WIM LAVEN – With a long holiday weekend lined up for the 4th of July most people are probably worried about having enough food for the barbeque, or hoping that their get-togethers arenâ€™t too political. Facebook will be littered with messages of freedom, and assorted dissents. I post a link to Frederick Douglassâ€™ 1852 speech “What to the Slave Is the 4th of July?” to mark the occasion most years. For many people this year will be different and it is important that we pay attention. The freedoms marked by the day are under attack.
WIM LAVEN – On May 4th 2013 I delivered the eulogy for my 33-year-old brother. Iâ€™m not sure that our political representatives understand what this feels like when they make decisions to take healthcare away from people.
WIM LAVEN – A riveting letter is making its rounds from Dr. Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian doctor volunteering in Palestine. In it, Dr. Gilbert describes his first-hand account of Israelâ€™s boots on the ground in Gaza – the sounds of F16s, drones and Apache helicopters, â€œSo much made and paid in and by US,â€ blended with the screams, the smells, the sight of shivers and blood. He pleads, â€œMr. Obama – do you have a heart? I invite you – spend one night – just one night – with us in Shifa â€¦ I am convinced, 100 percent, it would change history.â€ Like President Obama, Iâ€™m complicit in this campaign of aggression in Gaza. We all are. The U.S. is using our money to pay for Israelâ€™s party of death.