In a public announcement, students expressed that “Until the University of Kentucky stops denying students the right to food and housing, we will deny ourselves food […] We have tried rallies, phone zaps, and student assemblies. Nothing has worked. What we are facing is not just resistance to the Basic Needs Campaign. We face a University of Kentucky that puts profit over people. It is time for UK administrators to acknowledge the magnitude of the problem we face and act in proportion.”
Beginning at sunrise on 25 March 2019, 300 Ava-Guarani hailing from twelve villages in Guaíra, Paraná and Terra Roxa, São Paulo occupied the Ayrton Senna Bridge, which spans the Rio Paraná in Brazil. The location of this protest was a strategic disruption for two reasons; the bridge serves as the connection between the municipalities of Guaíra and Mundo Novo, and the highway that runs atop it is an access point to nearby Paraguay.
Vermont Migrant Farmworkers picket and march for Ben and Jerry’s to sign pledge for Milk With Dignity
Migrant Justice conducted a survey of Vermont farm workers in June 2014 to find potential areas of concern. The group found that businesses paid 40 percent of workers less than the state minimum wage of $8.73, 40 percent worked every day each week, and 28 percent consistently worked shifts or 7 hours or more without breaks.
On 5 January 2019, Metropolitan Detention Center Brooklyn (MDC Brooklyn), a federal jail in Brooklyn, New York that housed 1,500 incarcerated people, lost power for the first time that year for unknown reasons. Three weeks later, an electrical fire caused the entire building to lose heating capabilities as well. This loss of power and heat took place over some of the coldest days and nights of the 2019 winter in New York City (NYC).
Bangladeshis use art and performance to demand the release of Bangladeshi photographer Shahidul Alam, 2018
In 1992, OPIP, the Confederación de Nacionalidades Indígenas de la Amazonia Ecuatoriana (Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities and of the Ecuadorian Amazon, or CONFENIAE) and the Confederación de Nacionalidades Indígenas del Ecuador (Confederation of the Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador, or CONAIE) organized a caminata, or march, with the explicit goals of “1.) The legalization of our territories” and “2.) The amendment of the constitution to reflect the rights of the plurinational and multicultural reality that is Ecuador today.”
On 8 December 1965, the British government passed the Race Relations Act, the first legislation to address racism and xenophobia in the United Kingdom. The act addressed significant disparities in the UK, like the 1963 Bristol Bus Boycott, which demonstrated against income and work inequalities faced by West Indian and African communities. The act made it a civil offense to incite racial violence and for businesses to not serve people based on race.
A series of revolutionary movements aimed at freeing India from British colonial rule started in the early 1900s. In an effort to overthrow the British Empire and to end colonial rule, Indian revolutionaries and organizations undertook several tactics to free the region and become an independent country. Under colonial rule, the British government authority started penal colonies––one of which was established in Pakistan––to house Indian prisoners where they faced forced labor and worse conditions in contrast to English prisoners.
Just across the US-Mexico border from El Paso, Texas in the Mexican state of Chihuahua lies Ciudad Juárez, where the wages of workers in the maquiladoras, export-oriented factories run by foreign businesses, are significantly lower than in other parts of the country. Among the many maquiladoras in the city is a 2,800-worker printer-cartridge plant owned by Lexmark, a multinational company based in Lexington, Kentucky.
Sasun and Anousche Tamrazyan, a married couple, and their children Hayarpi, 21, Warduhi, 19, and Seyran, 15 were originally from Armenia, but they fled from political persecution to the Netherlands in 2010 due to Sasun’s political actions. Although they had been living in the Netherlands for nine years, there was a legal battle surrounding their ability to stay in the country. The Dutch government attempted to deport the family three times, but the courts twice overruled the attempts.
Before protests against racial discrimination and harassment began at University of Missouri campuses in 2015, tensions had risen for a number of years. For example, on 26 February 2010, two students spread cotton balls on the fields of the Gaines/Oldham Black Culture Center as a racist mockery of enslavement. A lack of substantive administrative action in response to such cases of racial discrimination provoked the ire of the university’s Black students.
New York University students sit-in for NYU to change its Labor Code of Conduct (End Deathtraps Campaign, 2013-2014)
The deadliest disaster in the history of the Ready Made Garment (RMG) industry occurred in Bangladesh on 24 April 2013 when a sweatshop, Rana Plaza, collapsed and killed 1,134 people. The day before the collapse an engineer expressed concern over a crack in the building. Unfortunately, the factory remained open to fulfill overdue orders and collapsed when generators restarted after a power blackout.
The Norillag was a gulag labor camp, located in Norilsk, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia, a town in the Taimyr Peninsula on the coast of the Arctic Ocean, close to the mouth of the Enisei River. Inmates of the Norillag worked 12-hour days, in temperatures as low as negative 50 degrees Celsius during the winter. They worked in mines, brickyards, cement plants, and in the base camps, as well as on road and railroad construction.
In 1993, the Polish Parliament, with the support of the Catholic Church, passed a bill known as the “abortion compromise,” which was intended to decrease abortions and increase overall birth rates in Poland. The law prohibits abortion in all cases except rape, incest, or when the pregnant person or fetus’s life is in danger.
The Lusty Lady was a strip club in San Francisco. Opened since 1976, this North Beach club featured exotic dancers “Lusties” in a peep show on a stage and in individual booths. While being one of the most popular spots for nightlife in the city, the Lusty Lady was infamous among the dancers for its random firings and pay cuts, racist and ambiguous shift policies, and no-sick-day rules. According to Antonia Crane, a former stripper at the Club, “[the Lusty Lady] is playing the notoriously exploitative game in the adult entertainment world.”
Between 1970 and 1976, Russell Bliss used a toxic mixture of motor oil and dioxin to spray the unpaved roads in Times Beach, MO. The community hired Bliss, a career waste disposer, to reduce its dust problem. Unbeknownst to residents of the small town, Independent Petrochemical Corporation (IPC) paid Bliss for the disposal of its hazardous dioxin waste. Under the auspices of Northeastern Pharmaceutical and Chemical Company (NEPACCO), IPC generated dioxin through its production of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.
On 20 November 2014, a New York police officer Peter Liang, joined by his partner, Shaun Landau, entered the Louis H. Pink Houses for a routine patrol of the Brooklyn public housing complex. During the vertical-patrol of the building, Liang drew his weapon as he opened the door to the stairwell. According to Liang’s defense, a loud noise startled him which caused him to accidentally pull the trigger. The bullet ricocheted against the wall and fatally struck Akai Gurley, who had entered the stairwell with his friend, Melissa Butler, a floor below.
In 2009, the Century Aluminum factory in Ravenswood, West Virginia laid off 650 employees. However, the factory promised those laid off and those forced to retire that they would continue to receive their health care benefits. Retirees were shocked in June 2010 when the factory announced they were cutting the healthcare plan for retirees. Karen Gorrell, a leader of the ensuing movement to regain health care, stated, “[When the retirees are] actually beginning to suffer from the exposure [from hazardous chemical exposure], then the company comes in and just pulls out the rug.”
When Rudolph (Rudy) Giuliani took office as New York City’s 107th Mayor on 1 January 1994, the city had a budget deficit of $2.3 billion. The Republican candidate planned to close the city deficit by eliminating 15,000 city jobs. Police, firefighters, and teachers, which made up 60 percent of total city employees, were exempt from the job cuts. With these exemptions, the city administration had to find its staff reductions from less that 40 percent of its 216,000-strong work force.
From 1943 to 1982, Escambia Treating Company (ETC) operated in Pensacola, Florida. Located in an industrial/residential zone, the location of a wood treatment facility threatened the health of Escambia County residents, who were primarily Black. Until the mid-1950s, ETC dumped creosote and pentachlorophenol (PCP) into an uncovered pit. In March 1992, community members founded Citizens Against Toxic Exposure (CATE) and launched a five-year campaign for relocation of the 358 households closest to the Escambia plant.
In 2011, over 12,000 prisoners of California’s corrections system participated in a hunger strike to protest their inhumane conditions of confinement.
Cambodia’s garment industry, which is responsible for over 80% of the country’s total exports, is notorious for its frequent cases of labor exploitation and worker abuse. Garment workers, of whom 90% are female, are forced to endure intimidation tactics, bribes, and short-term contracts -- all of which work to prevent unionization.
At Yale University in New Haven, first year students are assigned to a residential college. These residential colleges function as communities and homes for the students and become an important part of life on campus. One of these colleges was named after John C. Calhoun, a Yale alum and the seventh Vice President of the United States. Calhoun was, however, an ardent defender and proponent of slavery, making the name of the college controversial. With racial tensions rising on campus and around the country, in 2015 student activists revived concerns and called for a name change.
In the early 1950s, Royal Dutch/Shell purchased land in the community of Diamond, Louisiana and built a chemical plant. Margie Richard, a Black resident of Diamond, founded Concerned Citizens of Norco (CCN) in 1989 after two large-scale accidents at the Shell/Motiva Chemical plant. A pipeline explosion in 1973 killed two Diamond residents, while another event in 1988 killed seven workers.