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Southern politics

Grief, a (grand)mother tongue

Love, loss, and the limits of language.

How do you communicate love—much less grief—when you don't speak the same language? First-generation writer Mele Girma offers a makeshift grammar.

Illustrated: The South isn't so anti-abortion after all. Kentucky proved it at the polls.

A mother-daughter artist duo spoke to three activists to illustrate how organizers pulled off an electoral win for abortion in a red, anti-abortion state.

Activists across Kentucky organized voters against an amendment that would have prevented a right to abortion or abortion funds in the state constitution. In illustration, meet three folks who were part of the movement to defeat Amendment 2.

Blue County, Purple State

In Orange County, North Carolina, midterm preparations illuminate both liberal and conservative fears about voter intimidation, election security, and the struggle for the future of the swing state.

While the county might remain an uphill battle for Republicans, North Carolina as a whole is a political toss-up.

On abortion, count on Gen Z for more than votes

In a midterm election season rife with speculation about "the youth vote," these young Southerners fighting for abortion access know that their work doesn't end on election day.

For all the debate on how young voters will show up in 2022, there's a mismatch between campaigns to engage them and their experiences organizing for reproductive justice on the ground.

How we save ourselves: Interventions beyond the ballot box

As The South Votes, Episode 4. 'Don't boo, just vote' is a tired refrain. It takes more than an election to save ourselves—let alone Democracy.

Groups that employ continued, year-round civic engagement in the South walk us through the connection between electoral power and creating real opportunities for our communities to thrive.

Arts & Soul

Haunting the archive

The media's obsession with my mother changed my relationship to grief.

What happens when the child of a slave writes over the texts that conspired to kill their mother? Haunted by the headlines that dehumanized their mother even after her death, poet Victoria Newton Ford scrapes the media record in order to answer the question.

Bookmobiles to the rescue

In the state with the most book bans, Texas mobile librarians and booksellers are bridging the access gap.

In 26 states, students' access to books in school is under attack. Texas leads the nation with 16 districts enacting 713 individual bans.

Race & Place

Abolition on TV: Pop Justice Wrapped

Evaluating how the carceral system showed up—and was dismantled—in the most popular shows of 2022.

The top shows of 2022 crafted new realms, drew parallels to social issues and, whether intentionally or not, illuminated many elements within broader policing structures. 

There are 'Stranger Things' than abolition, but the show won't go there.

"Shows like Stranger Things engage 'abolition-baiting.' They trade in the ideals, world-building, and emotional resonance of abolition… without ever calling themselves abolitionist."

The show promotes an implicitly abolitionist message: You shouldn't need police to keep you safe, or to solve problems that you and your community can solve with more nuance on your own.

Long reads

Essays & Letters

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