Indy Blog

1959 – “A fierce, bald, very dark Negro – glared at me from the glass. He in no way resembled me,” wrote reporter John Griffin as he looked in the mirror. A white man, he took pills and laid under ultraviolet light to brown his skin and travel the segregated South. Afterwards he wrote the famous 1961 book Black Like Me.

With the Supreme Court having decided that same-sex couples are married in all states, one question will be where to start the history that led to the moment? With Stonewall? With the founding of the Mattachine Society? With the Oscar Wilde trial? With Edward the Second and his lover Gaveston? With David and Jonathan?

When Columbia graduate student Longxi Zhao was dismissed from his job as a teaching assistant in the university’s Department of Chemical Engineering, he discovered there was no formal appeals procedure in place. So he turned to Graduate Workers of Columbia  University (GWC), the university's nascent graduate student union. On Tuesday, union members accompanied him to the office of Dean Mary Boyce in the School of Engineering where they delivered a petition, signed by 125 students across various departments, for Zhao’s reinstatement.

Pope Francis has released his long-awaited encyclical on climate change, entitled "Laudato Sii: On The Care For Our Common Home". The 183-page "teaching letter" is vast in it's scope, declares climate change a moral issue, and covers a broad range of global crisis from the destruction of biodiversity to the unacceptable treatment of the poor, immigrants and climate refugees.  

Bushwick resident Gladys Puglla has been living in her apartment for 18 years, and during that time she has constantly been fighting eviction. For her, rent hikes are only part of the story. Last Thursday, she stood in the hallway outside of a packed Rent Guidelines Board hearing at Brooklyn Borough Hall and talked about how, throughout her almost two decades living in the same building, she hasn’t had heat in her bedroom. “[In court] they say they’re supposed to come and repair, but they don’t enforce it,” she said.

Ellen Ray of New York City died on June 11 from complications of cancer. Born in Grand Island, Nebraska, in 1939, she was a documentary filmmaker and journalist. Her films include Standup Grenada, which documented Maurice Bishop’s first anniversary as Prime Minister and the U.S. government’s efforts to destabilize his government.

BETWEEN MAY 2010 and June 2013, Kalief Browder was held without trial--that's right, without trial--in one of the country's most notoriously inhumane prisons: Rikers Island in New York City.

For Browder, the traumatic horrors of Rikers Island continued to linger on long after his release. Despite heroic efforts to put himself through college and raise awareness of the plight of prisoners still in jail, Browder struggled with thoughts of suicide, surviving one failed attempt in November 2013.

One of our movement’s most tenaciously brilliant radical women, Jane Connor Marcus, passed on May 28 at the age of 76. An archivist, author, organizer, and teacher-comrade to many across the globe and at the City University of New York, Jane transformed our landscape of cultural histories with her work on socialist feminism, Black liberation, and internationalist modernism of the early 20th century.

ALBANY HAS long been infamous for a secretive political system in which "three men in a room" make the key decisions behind closed doors about the fourth-most-populated state--and the largest city--in the country.

In the last couple of months, two of those three men--Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Republican Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos--have been arrested on corruption charges, while the third, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, is currently under investigation.

Tenant advocates denounced Governor Andrew Cuomo’s ties to real-estate interests while participating in a sit-in outside his office on Wednesday. Scores of protestors were arrested alongside almost a dozen lawmakers demanding a repeal of deregulation laws that have devastated New York City’s affordable housing.