Wednesday, August 23, 2023

"We hear you, Joan Meyer. Your loss stings. But we won’t forget that you took a stand when it mattered."

 Via The Kansas Reflector

August 23, 2023

"But we won’t forget that you took a stand when it mattered."

Joan Meyer, the 98-year-old co-owner of the Marion County Record, finally had her say Monday.

Boy, did we get a talking-to.

Meyer’s previous silence was sadly excusable. She died of cardiac arrest Aug. 12, a day after unconstitutional police raids on her home and beloved newspaper. But the whole world heard her loud and clear Monday, thanks to a video released by the Record showing her confrontation with officers.

Suffice to say, she had some choice words.

“Don’t you touch any of that stuff. This is my house!” she tells the police, who are clustered at the other side of the room around a table. “You ***holes. Get ’em out of here. They’re here.”

She then confronts an officer, vigorously pushing a walker ahead of her: “Does your mother love you? Do you love your mother? You’re an ***hole, police chief. You’re the chief? Oh, God. Get out of my house. You’re (unclear). Get out. Stand outside. You can stand outside that door and still see him. I don’t want you in my house.”

The video continues, with Meyer muscling herself and the walker past two officers to see exactly what was happening at the table.

“What are you doing?” she demands. “Those are personal papers.”

An officer limply explains the now-withdrawn search warrants, and Meyer responds with: “You people —” before the footage cuts off.

Those following the Marion County fiasco since Kansas Reflector broke the story probably have conjured an image of Meyer in their mind. She was a sweet elderly lady, gentle and caring, face wreathed with white curls and harboring angelic disposition. Accounts written after her death painted her as a community fixture, someone who dedicated 60-plus years to the newspaper.

Sure, she was many of these things, at least some of the time. But we can also see that she was a tart-tongued firebrand, not just feisty in the face of adversity but downright impassioned.

The police raid may have led to Meyer’s death. It most certainly did not break her spirit or misdirect her moral compass.

Watching the video, I thought about both of my grandmothers. They were each about her age, which meant their youths were shaped first by the Great Depression and then by World War II. My maternal grandmother went to work for Pratt and Whitney’s aircraft engine division during the war and stayed on at the Veterans Administration a few years afterward. Once my grandfather retired, she went to business school and landed a new job. My paternal grandmother spent her career as a schoolteacher in southeast Kansas and kept tutoring after she retired.

They were tough ladies. They raised families, loved grandchildren and didn’t stand for malarky. Although they both died some dozen years ago, I miss them still.

Would either have reacted like Meyer, cussing out local police, if officers had intruded on their homes and families?

I can only guess. But between the two of them, I bet at least one would have tried.

Meyer tried. She was still here. She had survived the passings of so many other people of her generation, and from the available video clip, she had no plans to go anywhere. That makes the overreach of Marion County Police Chief Gideon Cody and Magistrate Judge Laura Viar even less tolerable. They not only violated the First Amendment. They appear to have contributed to this newswoman’s death.

As Kansas House Minority Leader Vic Miller said Tuesday: “It had literally grave consequences in this instance, with the mother passing away. I’ve watched the video, there’s no doubt in my mind that the stress of this event added or contributed to her loss. But the chilling effect, the absolutely chilling effect that this can have on the rest of our press is intolerable.”

All of us need similar courage today. We face assaults on individual rights and freedoms from all directions. Leaders at the Kansas Statehouse have been more than happy to target minority groups for political advantage, pamper the privileged and spread lies about people in need. They expect us to blithely take it and treat them politely along the way.

Listen, I don’t advocate cussing out anyone. At least not instantaneously. But at a certain point, raising your voice for justice and freedom doesn’t just make sense. It’s the only way to be heard.

We hear you, Joan Meyer. Your loss stings. But we won’t forget that you took a stand when it mattered.

Clay Wirestone is Kansas Reflector opinion editor. Through its opinion section, Kansas Reflector works to amplify the voices of people who are affected by public policies or excluded from public debate.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Nina Berman on Panel: Civilizing Interventions: Humanitarianism and Gender Violence

 Via Columbia Journalism School

screenshot of The Cunning of Gender Violence: Geopolitics and Feminism book cover and text description

Civilizing Interventions: Humanitarianism and Gender Violence

Panel and Book Launch for The Cunning of Gender Violence: Geopolitics and Feminism

Time & Location
September 13, 2023
6:00PM - 8:00PM ET

World Room, Pulitzer Hall, Columbia University
2950 Broadway, New York, NY 10027
Important Information

Registration required. Seating is available on a first-come first-served basis, RSVPs do not guarantee admission.

- - - - - - - - - -


Welcome by Jelani Cobb (Columbia Journalism School Dean)

Introduction by Lila Abu-Lughod (CSSD Director, Columbia)

Author Panel:
Nina Berman (Columbia Journalism School)
Rema Hammami (Birzeit University, Palestine)
Sima Shakhsari (University of Minnesota)
Dina M. Siddiqi (New York University)

Moderator: Shenila Khoja-Moolji (Georgetown University)

Sponsored by Columbia’s Center for the Study of Social Difference (CSSD) and School of Journalism. With generous support from the Henry Luce Foundation.

Co-Sponsors: Columbia University Department of Anthropology, Institute for the Study of Sexuality and Gender, Middle East Institute, and South Asia Institute

Friday, August 18, 2023

Anna Boyiazis' "Finding Freedom In The Water" For World Photography Day

Via World Press Photo on Instagram

August 18, 2023

In honor of World Photography Day on 19 August, we asked our executive director to share an image from our archive that she finds impactful. Joumana selected this image by Anna Boyiazis (@annaboyiazis), from the project ‘Finding Freedom in the Water,’ awarded in the 2018 Contest.⁣

There is a mesmerizing quality to this image that is both relaxing and daunting. Relaxing in the peace that you feel when you look at the girl’s faces floating in the water and daunting in its unfortunate reference to migrants dying at sea. However when you understand that the girls are students learning how to swim and perform rescues in Zanzibar, then you start to read the image in a new light. And, when you know that one of the highest causes of mortality in Zanzibar is drowning, especially for girls who have been discouraged from learning to swim because of the absence of modest swimwear, then you understand the image differently.

What I am moved by here is not only the extraordinary beauty of the photograph itself, but also the symbol that lies in these girls taking the power in their hands and learning how to swim, in order to challenge and change their reality and our misconception.” - Joumana El Zein Koury, World Press Photo executive director

Pictured here, students from the Kijini Primary School learn to swim and perform rescues in the Indian Ocean, off Muyuni Beach, Zanzibar. Traditionally, girls in the Zanzibar Archipelago have been discouraged from learning how to swim, largely due to the absence of modest swimwear. But in villages on the northern tip of Zanzibar, the Panje Project (panje translates as ‘big fish’) is providing opportunities for local women and girls to learn swimming skills in full-length swimsuits, so that they can enter the water without compromising their cultural or religious beliefs.

View more from Anna Boyiazis' "Finding Freedom In The Water' here.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Marion County attorney withdraws search warrant against Kansas newspaper; returns items


Ad featuring black and white portrait of Congressman John Lewis with text "In solidarity with the Marion County Record" and his quote "If you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have the moral obligation to do something about it"

Via KHSB Kansas City

August 16, 2023

By: Jessica McMaster

County attorney sites 'insufficient evidence' for search, seizure

MARION, Kan. — A search warrant that cleared the way for the raid of a Kansas newspaper last Friday has been withdrawn, KSHB 41 I-Team reporter Jessica McMaster learned late Wednesday morning.

Marion County Attorney Joel Ensey withdrew the warrant that served as the basis for the raid of the Marion County Record by the Marion Police Department last Friday.

As part of withdrawing the warrant, Bernie Rhodes, the attorney representing the newspaper, says all items that were seized as part of the raid have been released back to the attorney representing the newspaper.

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation shared Wednesday afternoon that its investigation will move forward independently "and without review or examination of any of the evidence seized on Friday, Aug. 11."

Rhodes tells the KSHB 41 I-Team that a forensics expert is on standby to examine the items that were seized. Once those items are in the possession of the expert, the expert plans to make a "forensic copy" and then check to see if anything was accessed or altered.

Ensey issued a press release Wednesday, stating the affidavits established probable cause that an employee at the Marion County Record may be guilty of unlawful acts concerning computers, but that there was not sufficient evidence between the "alleged crime and the places searched and the items seized."

The county attorney said he is asking the courts to publicly release the affidavits.

The KBI will submit findings of its investigation to the Marion County Attorney's Office.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

What Life Magazine Taught Me About Life

 Via The Atlantic

August 14, 2023

As a child, I saw the country in its photos, stories, and advertisements—and learned some hard truths about America.

By Drew Gilpin Faust

(Subscription required)

I grew up in the 1950s, on a farm in Virginia miles away from any town or neighbors. For most of my childhood we didn’t have a television, so my three brothers and I amused ourselves fighting pretend Civil War battles in the fields and woods around our house or vying over card and board games that we spread across the living-room floor.

But for me, the best entertainment was always reading. I read for pleasure, for company, and for escape from my contained Virginia world. I could explore other places and imagine myself into other lives—lives that went beyond the limited choices available to my mother and the women of her circle, who were all ruled by the era’s prescriptions of female domesticity. The written word introduced me to what girls could do: solve mysteries, like Nancy Drew; brave the Nazis, like Anne Frank; demand change, like the protagonist of Susan Anthony: Girl Who Dared. Reading could provide, to borrow Scout’s words in To Kill a Mockingbird, a way to escape “the starched walls of a pink cotton penitentiary closing in on me.” And words could carry me beyond the gentle slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains that rose behind our house. They offered a view of national and global affairs that caught me up in a sense of urgency. I was frightened by the fact that Sputnik had been launched and was passing by overhead every 96 minutes in its orbit of the Earth. I wondered how the Russians had beaten us into space. I was inspired by the courage of Hungarians fighting against communism. I was reassured by portraits of the confident prosperity of postwar America. Yet I felt growing doubt and unease as I read descriptions of the turbulence and conflict emerging to undermine it. (more - subscription required)

Exhibition: The LIFE Photographers

Sunday, August 13, 2023

David Butow Photographs for TIME Feature on Maui Wildfires

cover of Time magazine with scene of burnt vehicles and remains of homes looking towards the ocean

 Galley photographer David Butow contributed photographs to the TIME features:

What Remains After the Flames: Scenes From the Ash-Colored Streets of Maui

 What to Know About the Maui Wildfires

man in protective face mask clears debris of destroyed house where wildfires burned in Maui

Spencer Kim helps clear debris at the ruins of a house belonging to a friend in Kula, Hawaii on Aug. 12, 2023. This small hillside town on Maui suffered damage from deadly fires that hit several parts of the island on Aug. 8. David Butow for TIME

Saturday, August 12, 2023

In Marion County newspaper raid, a grim threat to Kansans’ First Amendment rights

 Via The Kansas Reflector

August 12, 2023

The outrageous law enforcement assault on the Marion County Record newspaper raises a veritable forest of red flags.

Why would a judge sign off on an apparently illegal search? What type of officials would willingly execute such an abuse of power? Could any convoluted sequence of liquor permit infighting possibly justify such drastic measures? Are we still living in a state and nation where the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution applies?

We don’t know definitive answers to any of these questions yet, and the story may well still surprise us. In the meantime, the Record itself and Kansas Reflector’s story offer starting points.

This morning, though, I’d like to write about a part of the story that we do know. We know that law enforcement officials raided the office of a news outlet and carted away computers and cellphones. On its own, with no other background or context, this sets an incredibly destructive precedent.

Not just in Marion.

“Newsroom raids in this country receded into history 50 years ago,” said John Galer, chair of the National Newspaper Association and publisher of the Journal-News of Hillsboro, Illinois.

“Today, law enforcement agencies by and large understand that gathering information from newsrooms is a last resort and then done only with subpoenas that protect the rights of all involved. For a newspaper to be intimidated by an unannounced search and seizure is unthinkable in an America that respects its First Amendment rights. NNA stands by its community newspapers and calls upon top officials in Kansas to immediately return any property seized by law enforcement so the newspaper can proceed with its work.”

An attack on a newspaper office through an illegal search is not just an infringement on the rights of journalists but an assault on the very foundation of democracy and the public’s right to know. This cannot be allowed to stand.

– Emily Bradbury, executive director of the Kansas Press Association

Emily Bradbury, executive director of the Kansas Press Association, added strong words on behalf of local outlets: “An attack on a newspaper office through an illegal search is not just an infringement on the rights of journalists but an assault on the very foundation of democracy and the public’s right to know. This cannot be allowed to stand.”

Imagine for a moment that you’re the editor and publisher of a small weekly newspaper somewhere else in Kansas. Imagine too that you’ve been speaking with a source about potential wrongdoing by a prominent resident. That resident happens to have a friendly relationship with the local police department. You know that publishing the story, even in the best of times, will create a firestorm in your little community.

Now imagine that you read the coverage coming out of Marion County. You see that printing such a story — or even reporting it — might put you at risk of being raided. It might put your employees at risk. It might threaten the entire financial stability of your business.

So do you publish the story? Or do you think twice? Do you potentially delay the piece for a couple of weeks until this all blows over?

Well, do you?

That’s the damage already done in Marion. That’s the damage already done to Kansas journalism. No matter how the story shakes out — if officials return all the seized computers and cellphones this afternoon — a message has been sent. That message conflicts with the tenets of an open society. It conflicts with free expression. It shuts down the ability of democracy’s defenders to do their jobs, informing and educating the public.

Or as Record publisher and editor Eric Meyer told us yesterday: “It’s going to have a chilling effect on us even tackling issues.” What’s more, it will have “a chilling effect on people giving us information.”

A toothpaste tube has been squeezed, hard, and there’s no getting all that minty fresh goo back inside its container.

No matter the size of the outlet, no matter the reporter, the memory of this raid will linger. Stories will be slowed or go unwritten. Towns, cities, counties and entire states will lose out on vital knowledge about the misdeeds of powerful people. That’s why I care, and that’s why the Reflector cares. That’s why journalists across this country, when they learn about what happened in Marion County, will care too.

Look, I understand. Journalists and journalism can be pretty annoying at times. But no one should doubt our commitment to doing our best for both readers and our communities. Folks who stand in the way of us doing that job don’t just pick a fight with us. They pick a fight with the people we serve.

One more point. If you revere the Constitution — as so many conservatives and liberals claim to do these days — don’t just sit back and watch. Step up to defend our shared freedoms. Because if the Marion County Record can’t report and print freely, neither can the rest of us.

And neither can you.

Clay Wirestone is Kansas Reflector opinion editor. Through its opinion section, Kansas Reflector works to amplify the voices of people who are affected by public policies or excluded from public debate. Find information, including how to submit your own commentary, here.

Monday, August 7, 2023

Santa Fe's Monroe Gallery presents 'Good Trouble' taking a look at the impact of activists

 Via The Albuquerque Journal

Kathaleen Roberts

August 6, 2023

black and white photograph of a young woman Union organizer on a step stool giving a speech to office workers on the lunch break in New York's Wall Street area, 1936
Carl Mydans/Life Picture Collection
A Pioneer Organizer Of The Office Workers' Union, Wall Street and Broad Street, NYC, 1936

Many of America’s most cherished rights materialized because someone took action.

“Good Trouble,” an exhibition of more than 50 photographs documents the power of the individual to inspire movements at Santa Fe’s Monroe Gallery of Photography.

Photographs can propel passion and inspire change, from the images of a spinning Gandhi to the Standing Rock protests.

The photographs document Civil Rights leaders as well as other lesser-known and everyday people who champion freedom across the globe, from labor to social to environmental issues.

“It’s showing the courage and the necessity for the everyday person to stand up for what’s right,” said Sidney Monroe, gallery co-owner.

The images extend from the 1930s to the present.

Life magazine photographer Carl Mydans captured an office workers’ union protest in 1936. An unidentified woman leads the group cradling an American flag. Mydans was known for his World War II photographs.

“Obviously, she is a young leader of a union,” Monroe said. “For a woman at that time, that’s pretty remarkable.”

The photographer Bill Eppridge, best known for his photographs of the late Sen. Robert Kennedy, took a portrait of the labor leader César Chávez working in a field in 1974.

Chávez was an American labor leader and Civil Rights activist. He co-founded the National Farm Workers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers labor union. Ideologically, his world-view combined leftist politics with Catholic social teachings.

“It’s presented as an everyman, a worker, which of course, he was,” Monroe said.

The collection also encompasses contemporary risk-takers, such as Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg, pictured sitting alone, dwarfed by the shadow of the Swedish Parliament building. Her sign reads “School Strike for Climate.” She was 15 years old.

“It’s become a worldwide movement,” Monroe said. “Apparently, they had some lessons in school, and she said if these parents and adults aren’t going to do anything, I’ll sit outside Parliament.”

Ryan Vizzions’ photograph of the Tennessee Three documents the three state representatives who were expelled from the legislature for protesting Republican inaction on gun violence. The shot captures a press conference after they were reinstated.

Gandhi, perhaps more than any other person, embodies the exhibition’s theme of a long-term commitment to a cause. His spinning in the face of provocations during India’s anti-colonial movement was symbolic of self-sufficiency. He spun daily for one hour beginning at 4 a.m. Famed photojournalist Margaret Bourke-White shot the portrait shortly before Gandhi was assassinated.

“Gandhi was very particular about having an audience with him,” Monroe said. “He insisted she learn how to use a spinning wheel. She wrote Gandhi called her his personal tormentor because she was using this large flash. It was disruptive to his meditation.”

The exhibition will hang through Sept. 17.


WHERE: Monroe Gallery of Photography, 112 Don Gaspar Ave., Santa Fe

WHEN: Runs through Sept. 17

INFORMATION: 505-992-0800;

screenshot of article page in Albuquerque print edition

Sunday, August 6, 2023

Federal Appeals Court Undercuts First Amendment Protest Rights

 Via The Brennan Center for Justice

August, 2023

A federal appeals court recently ruled that a protest leader can be sued for injuries caused by a different protester during a demonstration, even when the leader did not direct, encourage, or even approve of the actions involved. The 2–1 decision in the case, Doe v. Mckesson, manufactured a legal loophole large enough to swallow First Amendment rights. To get there, the court disregarded long-settled law and twisted or ignored Supreme Court precedents.

The opinion is so untethered from settled law that it is hard to resist the conclusion that the court punished Mckesson because of who he is: a Black Lives Matter activist protesting police violence.

Good Trouble is on exhibition through September 17, 2023. "Protest is an invaluable way to speak truth to power. Throughout history, protests have been the driving force behind some of the most powerful social movements, exposing injustice and abuse, demanding accountability and inspiring people to keep hoping for a better future. The right to protest encompasses various rights and freedoms, including the freedom of assembly, the freedom of association, and the freedom of expression. Unfortunately, these precious rights are under attack and must be protected from those who are afraid of change and want to keep us divided."