Commission a $20 sketch from Bongo’s Jason Ho to help pay legal fees of cheerleader who refused to cheer for her rapist
By Laura Hudson
In case you hadn’t heard the latest news to make you doubt the fundamental humanity of the people around you, several years ago a 16-year-old cheerleader from Silsbee High School in Texas was assaulted at a party by Rakheem Bolton, a basketball player and football star whom she says held her down and raped her. Bolton later pleaded to a charge of misdemeanor assault, but here’s the part that’s going to make you want to set things on fire: Not only did the school allow him back on the basketball team, they told the girl it was her responsibility to lay low, stay away from the lunchroom and not go to Homecoming. And when the girl refused to cheer specifically for her attacker at games — while still cheering for the team at large — Silsbee High School officials did something so fundamentally awful that they might as well be twisting their mustaches: They threw her off the cheerleading squad.
She challenged the school in court and recently lost, so now in addition to suffering a horrendous assault, predictably being branded a “slut” in her community, and getting thrown off the cheerleading team for refusing to shout “put it in” at her attacker (seriously), her family has been ordered has to pay $45,000 in legal fees to the school.
Jason Ho, an illustrator and Assistant Editor at Bongo Comics wants to help, so he is drawing custom sketches at $20 a pop and donating the proceeds to the girl’s legal costs. They are both very attractive sketches and a small way to help someone who has been failed disgracefully over and over by the indecency and institutional cowardice of seemingly everyone around her.
Powerful Photo of the Day:
Keith Plessy and Phoebe Ferguson — descendants of Homer Adolph Plessy and John Howard Ferguson of the infamous racial-segregation-upholding Supreme Court case Plessy v. Ferguson — stand on the very same spot in New Orleans where Plessy was arrested for refusing to move from the whites-only rail car, triggering the landmark case.
Keith, the great-grandson of Homer Plessy’s first cousin, and Phoebe, the great-great-granddaughter of John Ferguson, met in 2004 and founded the Plessy & Ferguson Foundation — an organization dedicated to civil rights education — a short time later.
“The first thing I said to her,” Plessy says about their initial encounter, “was, ‘Hey, it’s no longer Plessy versus Ferguson. It’s Plessy and Ferguson’.”
Things to smile about today.
Plessy and Ferguson.
We Shall Overcome.
My father, who was trained in engineering at M.I.T. in the slide-rule era, often lamented the way the pocket calculator, for all its convenience, diminished my generation’s math skills. Many of us have discovered that navigating by G.P.S. has undermined our mastery of city streets and perhaps even impaired our innate sense of direction. Typing pretty much killed penmanship. Twitter and YouTube are nibbling away at our attention spans. And what little memory we had not already surrendered to Gutenberg we have relinquished to Google. Why remember what you can look up in seconds?
Last night PBS aired Stanley Nelson’s documentary Freedom Riders about the men and women who refused to ride segregated and traveled together on trains and buses during the Jim Crow era South.
Watch the entire documentary online HERE.
From Tim Kreider at The New York Times:
The Referendum is a phenomenon typical of (but not limited to) midlife, whereby people, increasingly aware of the finiteness of their time in the world, the limitations placed on them by their choices so far, and the narrowing options remaining to them, start judging their peers’ differing choices with reactions ranging from envy to contempt. The Referendum can subtly poison formerly close and uncomplicated relationships, creating tensions between the married and the single, the childless and parents, careerists and the stay-at-home. It’s exacerbated by the far greater diversity of options available to us now than a few decades ago, when everyone had to follow the same drill. We’re all anxiously sizing up how everyone else’s decisions have worked out to reassure ourselves that our own are vindicated — that we are, in some sense, winning.
It’s especially conspicuous among friends from youth. Young adulthood is an anomalous time in people’s lives; they’re as unlike themselves as they’re ever going to be, experimenting with substances and sex, ideology and religion, trying on different identities before their personalities immutably set. Some people flirt briefly with being freethinking bohemians before becoming their parents. Friends who seemed pretty much indistinguishable from you in your 20s make different choices about family or career, and after a decade or two these initial differences yield such radically divergent trajectories that when you get together again you can only regard each other’s lives with bemused incomprehension.
Yes: the Referendum gets unattractively self-righteous and judgmental. Quite a lot of what passes itself off as a dialogue about our society consists of people trying to justify their own choices as the only right or natural ones by denouncing others’ as selfish or pathological or wrong. So it’s easy to overlook that hidden beneath all this smug certainty is a poignant insecurity, and the naked 3 A.M. terror of regret.
The problem is, we only get one chance at this, with no do-overs. Life is, in effect, a non-repeatable experiment with no control. In his novel about marriage, “Light Years,” James Salter writes: “For whatever we do, even whatever we do not do prevents us from doing its opposite. Acts demolish their alternatives, that is the paradox.” Watching our peers’ lives is the closest we can come to a glimpse of the parallel universes in which we didn’t ruin that relationship years ago, or got that job we applied for, or got on that plane after all. It’s tempting to read other people’s lives as cautionary fables or repudiations of our own.
Link to the rest at The New York Times