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Why hundreds of women in Spain protested in black, the ongoing effort to honor journalist and activist Ida B. Wells, and designer Céline Semaan answers our questions.
Ever since Justice Anthony M. Kennedy announced his retirement two weeks ago, abortion rights activists have been concerned about how a more conservative Supreme Court will decide cases that could overturn Roe v. Wade.
The 1973 ruling legalized abortion nationwide. Before then, states decided whether the procedure was allowed or banned. An analysis by The Washington Post found that if Roe were overturned, four states would automatically ban all or some abortions: Louisiana, Mississippi and North and South Dakota. Only eight states have laws that explicitly protect abortion rights.
Elizabeth Rowe, a principal flutist for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, is suing her employer and requesting more than $200,000 in unpaid wages, WBUR reports. On the day after Massachusetts’ equal pay law went into effect last week, Rowe filed a lawsuit accusing the orchestra of paying a male peer significantly more than her. Rowe, who says she is the top-paid female principal player in the orchestra, makes 75 percent of what the top-paid male in her position earns, she says.
Hundreds of people in Spain wore black on Friday to “mourn” victims of sexual assault and harassment. The act coincided with the beginning of the annual San Fermín festival in Pamplona, which lasts eight days and is anchored by the Running of the Bulls. For the festival, people typically wear white pants, a white shirt, a red scarf around the waist and a red neckerchief.
Those who wore black stood out. Earlier in the week, they staged demonstrations in Pamplona to protest the recent release of five men who were found guilty of sexually assaulting a woman at the 2016 San Fermín festival. In April, the men involved in the "Wolf Pack” case had been sentenced to nine years in prison for “continuous sexual abuse,” not rape, as prosecutors had fought for.
YouTuber Kelsey Ellison became an Internet sensation earlier this year when a video of her dancing while dressed up as Hermione Granger, a studious and talented witch in J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series, went viral. On Saturday, Ellison attended Pride in London, where she performed in the crowd as “dancing Hermione.”
Ellison later explained why she chose to don the outfit.
In May, government delegates from around the world gathered for the World Health Assembly. They planned to pass a resolution that encouraged breast-feeding and took a stance against marketing that inaccurately promotes the benefits of breast-milk substitutes. However, the U.S. delegation actively opposed the measure, according to a recent report from the New York Times. U.S. officials pushed for certain passages to be removed from the resolution for it to be passed. At one point, American delegates suggested the United States would reduce its financial contribution to the World Health Organization.
“What happened was tantamount to blackmail, with the U.S. holding the world hostage and trying to overturn nearly 40 years of consensus on the best way to protect infant and young child health,” Patti Rundall, the policy director of Baby Milk Action, told the Times.
A human papilloma virus test detects precancerous changes of the cervix earlier and more accurately than the Pap smear, according to a large clinical trial published Tuesday. Some experts said the study’s results mean an HPV test could eventually replace the Pap smear.
San Bernardino County’s deputy district attorney is under investigation in California for offensive comments on social media that targeted Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), former first lady Michelle Obama and Mexican immigrants. Deputy District Attorney Michael Selyem used two expletives to describe Waters, the San Bernardino Sun reported. In his comments, he called Waters “loud-mouthed” and “ghetto.” He also wondered why someone hadn’t “shot” the congresswoman yet.
Selyem has been the subject of an internal investigation since someone in the District Attorney’s Office complained on June 25, the Sun reported. The posts, along with Selyem’s Facebook and Instagram accounts, have been deleted.
Early last week, a Manhattan grand jury voted to charge Harvey Weinstein with two counts of predatory assault and an additional count of criminal sexual act in the first degree. Now, Weinstein faces a total of six charges, including rape in the first and third degrees. He could be sentenced to life in prison if he is convicted, prosecutors said.
For the past decade, Michelle Duster has been trying to raise money to erect a monument in honor of her great-grandmother, Ida B. Wells, in Chicago. The legendary African American journalist, who exposed the crime and shame of lynching, spent half her life in the city. If all goes as planned, the monument will be placed in Bronzeville, the heart of Chicago’s black community during the Great Migration, and designed by prominent sculptor Richard Hunt.
As of now, there are very few landmarks dedicated to Wells, a prominent activist who fought racial injustice and championed women’s rights. Wells died in 1931, and she shares a grave marker at Oak Woods Cemetery with her husband, Ferdinand Lee Barnett.
After years of work by Duster, more people are paying attention to her efforts, in part because of a revived focus on Wells. The New York Times published Wells’s obituary for the first time this year. The newly opened National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Ala., includes a stone inscribed with her name, along with a selection of her quotes. A progressive group in Chicago, led by Delmarie Cobb, formed the Ida B. Wells Legacy Committee, a political fund to advance the candidacies of African American women.
But despite the attention, Duster — and the friends who are helping her — still haven’t reached their goal of $300,000. In early June, Duster tweeted, “It’s #Idastime, but it should not be this hard.” Theodore Karamanski, a specialist in public history at Loyola University of Chicago, said that “the movement to have [Wells] represented is long overdue,” noting that Chicago has very few monuments to women.
Brooklyn-based creative Céline Semaan is the ultimate multi-hyphenate. As the founder of Slow Factory, a fashion activism brand that partners with non-governmental organizations, Semaan creates thoughtful products that give back and act as a form of political protest. She also runs The Library, a sustainable fashion archive run in connection with MIT Media Lab. The Library aims to improve “sustainability literacy” in the fashion industry through talks, product collaborations and campaigns. On Aug. 26, Semaan will host Study Hall, a conference in Los Angeles that will explore circularity, denim and human rights.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What does “sustainable literacy” mean to you?
My background is in open web, open data, access to information and digital literacy. Open access to information empowers the public [to make] better decisions about their health, their government and their habits. Sustainable literacy is the access to information around sustainability, both for the public and for the industry. It takes sustainability outside of its niche where upper-middle class and aristocrats are now in control of [it], and includes the 90 percent of the population that usually feels disempowered [by] this topic.
Can you share more about the aim behind the Study Hall conferences?
Study Hall is a conference series in collaboration with MIT Media Lab and Ace Hotel. Each Study Hall focuses on a theme and gathers experts from all sectors to discuss, collaborate, workshop and design new viable solutions for the industry and for the public.
In our upcoming event with G-Star Raw as our partner, we will focus on denim and circularity. The denim industry is one of the most damaging and wasteful on the environment. One pair of jeans [can require] 3,781 liters of water. That is the equivalent of three days of household use in the United States.
What kind of message do you want to pass onto your children by running companies like Slow Factory and The Library?
We talk a lot about my work with my children because they spend a lot of time with me. My studio is built with them in mind. We have toys around, a trampoline, a rocking horse and a lot of candy. We talk together about what I do, about the scarves we make being biodegradable and what that means. We talk about the cycle of life of most things: from humans to objects [like] their toys. I feel that my children’s generation is far more advanced than we were, just like we are far more progressive than the generation before us. The message is a conversation that we have continuously.
—Sara R. Radin, Lily contributor
I like carrying a water bottle with me, but my Nalgene was starting to smell, so it was time to move on. After hearing a friend rave about her Healthy Human water bottle, I decided to give it a try. Now, I carry it with me absolutely everywhere. It’s sturdy, and if I don’t lose it, I can see myself having it for a long time. I recommend buying the Flip N Sip lid. It doesn’t come with it, which is my only gripe, but it’s so worth it.
—Rachel Orr, Lily senior art director
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