Outside Reading — Being Verda Tetteh edition

A High School Senior Won a $40,000 Scholarship. Then She Gave It Up. by Maria Cramer

To my dismay, I tend to focus on the individuals and institutions that are causing the most untoward disruption, sowing chaos with their ineptness and cruelty. This news article, published about a week ago in The New York Times, reminds me that there is a lot of good in the world, including people who act with astonishing generosity. Verda Tetteh is one of those people. Here’s to hoping that she, and others like her in her generation, are the ones who prevail. The sooner they shunt aside the dinosaurs of stubborn thinking that occupy too many places in our culture, the better off we will all be.

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It’s Hard to Make America More Fun When There Are So Many Guns by Henry Grabar

One of the surest signs that U.S. society is burbling back to life is the revived practice of dastardly people raising firearms against random victims, followed in short order by gun nuts shrugging off the tragedies as the price of freedom. Writing for Slate, Henry Grabar notes that we’ve reached the point where any large gathering is automatically a target, attendance carrying a level of risk that is entirely unfair to those who long for celebratory community. Most of the same cranks who spent the past year and a half decrying public health measures as tyranny are perfectly content with mass casualties at a block party, concert, or church.

Juneteenth Reminds Us Just How Far We Have to Go by Kate Masur

With a measured, deeply fact-based approach befitting her status as an esteemed academic, Kate Masur details the anguished history of Black Americans being forced, over and over again, to fight for the most basic rights. The designation of Juneteenth as an as official federal holiday should be the beginning of an ongoing reckoning with the cruelest parts of the nation’s legacy so that we can move forward together with a true version of the principle of liberty and justice that has been promised and denied for far too long. Masur’s piece makes for a good primer for anyone looking to understand why there is more work to be done. This article is published by The New York Times.

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