In 2007, a 46-year-old African American transwoman, Charlene Arcila, was told that she could not use her SEPTA commuter pass to board the bus she regularly used to get to her job in Philadelphia.
In 1983, the UNC-Chapel Hill Endowment Board agreed to stop investing with firms that rejected the Sullivan Principles, a code of business practices of foreign companies that wished to treat South African workers fairly which was developed by the Rev. Leon Sullivan, a civil rights activist.
The Massachusetts Bay Colony of the New World was a Puritan theocratic state in the early 1650s. Puritan leaders did not have much tolerance for people of other religions, and as a result, the Puritan government often persecuted and banished religious outsiders who tried to enter and live in their Puritan towns. A fear was embedded in the Puritan society that if they started to admit outsiders, they would lose their political and religious control of the colony.
The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) emerged in England in the late 1640's among those who challenged the standard doctrine of the Church of England. Quakerism began as a sect whose members believed that there was a piece of God within every person and that everyone could communicate with God directly. This was a radical view for the time. Out of this belief, Quakers developed a strong sense of equality and believed that every person could be a minister.
The political atmosphere in Japan in the 1950s was anything but calm. Still reeling from the Second World War, citizens were coming to terms with their newly democratic leaders—politicians who, before the war, had been ardently fascist. A growing nationalist movement was forming, as well as strong leftist political factions. These two movements opposed Japan’s strong ties with the United States, and disagreed with the American military presence in their country.
Halt All Racist Tours (HART) was organized in New Zealand in 1969 to protest rugby tours to and from South Africa. Their first protest, in 1970, was intended to prevent the All Blacks, New Zealand’s flagship rugby squad, from playing in South Africa, unless the Apartheid regime would accept a mixed-race team. South Africa relented, and an integrated All Black team toured the country.
Starting in the 1960’s, students in the United States started organizing against apartheid in South Africa. They targeted banks and other companies involved in South Africa, and by the 1970’s, many students were starting campaigns to encourage their universities to divest from all companies with investments in South Africa.
As early as 1965, students at Swarthmore College had signed a letter to the college president calling for a removal of investment with Chase Manhattan Bank, but the issue was overshadowed by activism against the Vietnam War.
University of Washington Student Worker Coalition strikes against cutting higher education budgets, 2010
The University of Washington Student Worker Coalition (SWC) is a group created to advocate for the rights of students who work on campus and employees of the campus. The SWC has protested against worker abuses, unfair labor practices, and most recently, against budget cuts affecting employees of the University, student workers, and the student body as a whole.
In 2001, the state of Pennsylvania started a process that eventually led to a full state takeover of the School District of Philadelphia. Governor Tom Ridge, followed by Governor Mark Schweiker, sought this takeover due to the dismal track record of the public schools in Philadelphia. With the takeover came the privatization of many of Philadelphia's lowest achieving schools. Edison Schools, Inc., a for-profit school management firm, eventually received a contract to run 20 schools in Philadelphia.
Beginning in 1983, students and student allies at the University of Toronto began creating the organizational structures needed to pressure the University to divest from South Africa. Students created an Anti-Apartheid Network, or AAN, drawing membership from the Student Christian Movement, the Communist Club, the African and Caribbean Students’ Association, and the New Democratic Party Club. The group had large support among the student body from very early on, but gained no traction with the University administration.
In 1948, the newly elected National Party introduced systematized and legalized segregation in South Africa. The apartheid regime sought white minority rule and the suppression of other racial groups in order to maintain a cheap labor supply. Government officials segregated public institutions and removed the oppressed black Africans from their land onto racially divided reservations. This system sparked internal protests, often met with violence. International groups of people were outraged at apartheid and asked companies to withdraw their holdings from the South African government.
In 2001, the communist party came to power in Moldova. The communist party would go on to acquire a parliamentary majority. Early in 2004, this parliamentary majority made a request that suspended the licenses of two oppositional media entities: a radio station, Antena C, and a television station, Euro TV. Both media outlets had supported oppositional candidates in the previous election. The government's decision would be met with outrage and resistance from both stations.
The Klamath was one of the largest and most important rivers in the American northwest, running through Oregon and California. It was home to four Native American tribes and many fishermen and provided irrigation water for nearby farmers. Between 1902 and 1962, energy producing PacifiCorp constructed five dams on the Klamath for hydropower purposes. Although PacifiCorp has turned a consistent profit since then, the environmental damage caused by the dams has been enormous.
Across much of the world during the mid-1980s, students on university campuses led boycott, divestment, and other solidarity campaigns targeting the apartheid government of South Africa. This solidarity movement played a fundamental role in the ultimate dismantling of the apartheid state, spawning institutional and governmental pressure beyond just educational institutions. This student-catalyzed movement emerged around 1985, and by 1990, with the release of Nelson Mandela, most of the groups' campaigns were successful.
Bosnian, Croatian, and Macedonian parents protest conscription of sons and civil war in Yugoslavia, 1991
In the early 1990s the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) was a confederation made up of six constituent republics: Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia. However, the ethnic groups from each of these regions were spread throughout the SFRY, which blurred the borders between the constituent republics and made politics in each region much more complicated. For instance, Bosnia-Herzegovina was 44% Bosnian Muslims, 31% Serbs, and 17% Croats. In order to provide federal representation to each constituent republic, the leadership
East Timor, a portion of the Indonesian archipelago, was colonized by Portugal in the 16th century. It was not until 1975 that Portugal decolonized the area, at which point East Timor declared independence. Shortly after this, however, the Indonesian army, under the orders of Indonesian President Suharto, invaded and annexed East Timor. 60,000 East Timorese were killed or died of starvation during the invasion.
Seeking extra tax revenue to bolster a struggling state budget, the United States state of Pennsylvania passed a bill in 2004 authorizing casinos in the state. The bill, Act 71, legalized the construction of 15 new casinos in the state, two of which would be chosen from among five proposals in the city of Philadelphia. The location, size, management, and other details remained open-ended. As the permitting process began, Philadelphia community members voiced concern to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) about the intrusion of casinos into their neighborhoods.
For a half-century prior to the Acehnese campaign, the Indonesian government had ruled Aceh, located at the northwestern end of the island of Sumatra. The Acehnese suffered a high level of human rights abuses at the hands of the Indonesian government. From the 1950s until 1998, an Acehnese group resisted using violence. But in the late 1990’s, their resistance, led by student activists, took the form of nonviolence in a series of rallies, boycotts and strikes.
In 1894, William T. Love started construction on a power canal in an area outside of Niagara Falls in upstate New York. Although the canal was never completed, the neighborhood of Love Canal was born and soon became a locus of major chemical companies. In 1942, Hooker Chemical Company began dumping chemical waste into the abandoned canal. Through 1953, Hooker Chemical dumped 21,000 tons of chemical waste, including sludge, fly ash, and chlorinated hydrocarbon residues.
Many prisoners’ rights, human rights organization and European Union states have previously criticized Greece’s prison system and its jail conditions. The Council of Europe reported that the average waiting period of a detainee in pre-trial detention is 12 months—nearly three times that of other European Union states. The Greek prison population was 12,191, whereas the jails were designed to hold 8,243, making Greek prisons the most crowded detention sites in all of Europe. Eleutherotypia, a Greek newspaper, reported that, on average, one person a week died in prison in 2008.
In 1965 Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) announced its plans to build a new nuclear facility with six reactors and selected Diablo Canyon as the optimal site, even though the site included a sacred burial ground of the Chumash Native Americans and a large costal wilderness area as well as potential zones of seismic activity that could lead to earthquakes and a nuclear disaster. Construction was projected to cost $162,270,000 and the plant was forecasted to be operational in May 1972.
Due in part to the OPEC energy crisis in the 1970s, Germany began a transition to greater nuclear energy production. Demand for electricity was projected to grow by seven percent annually and the state’s solution was the construction of eight nuclear plants by 1990. Citizens in communities that were determined suitable for the building of a nuclear facility were worried about the potential dangers of nuclear energy – low-level radiation, the risk of a catastrophic disaster, the disposal of radioactive waste and other environmental impacts due to the construction and operation of the plant.
When Alice Paul emerged into the somewhat stagnant scene of the National American Woman’s Suffrage Association’s (NAWSA) campaign for the right to vote in 1912, the energy and momentum of the movement surged. Having just come from Britain where women were fighting a similar battle in which they were imprisoned, partaking in hunger strikes and smashing windows, NAWSA’s polite pleading over a cup of tea with political leaders and legislators was not only ineffective in the eyes of Paul and other emerging women leaders, it was a blow to the dignity of women to request basic human rights.
On February 12, 1968, sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee, began a labor strike to protest unfair wages, unsafe working conditions, and the city’s refusal to recognize their sanitation workers union.
In 1987, the HIV/AIDS epidemic was still localized to urban centers, most notably gay men in New York City (NYC). Despite thousands of sufferers within NYC, little city public health or housing funding was devoted to the population. Nonprofits that served sufferers attempted to provide palliative care, but did little in terms of advocacy or lobbying.