What Mr. DiDonna is reading today

Recontextualizing the Ocean BlueItalian Americans and the Commemoration of Columbus 1 BY ON OCTOBER 4, 2017COMMENTARYPUBLIC HISTORY Unveiling of the Columbus Memorial in Union Station Plaza, Washington, D.C., June 8, 1912. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. Maledetto Cristoforo Colombo e quando ha scoperto l’America.
(Damn Christopher Columbus and his discovery of America.)
—A popular curse among Italian immigrants The attention on Confederate-focused statuary in public spaces has led to reflection on other historical figures carved in marble or cast in bronze. Perhaps no other individual has single-handedly spurred such impassioned ethnic controversy as the fifteenth-century Genovese navigator, Christopher Columbus. For nearly two centuries, many Americans have lauded Columbus as the heroic discoverer of a new world. Even so, in his time, Columbus was critiqued and investigated for his cruelty to Native peoples as the…

A Journey into the Matter of Blindness

A Deeper Darkness from Mr. DiDonna
This past summer I had the privilege of attending a permanent exhibit at the Israeli Children’s Museum in Holon, Israel. I was delivered to the venue by an Israeli host without forewarning of what was about to ensue. I could tell something was up by the look of mischief on her face, and this made me a bit suspicious. I mean, it was a “museum,” not a house of horrors. Upon checking in, I was led over to a small waiting area and handed a walking stick usually reserved for people who are blind. I was surrounded by a gathering of about a dozen fellow participants (with identical walking sticks) whom I had never met, and with whom I believed I had nothing in common. As I continued to focus on the sign overhead which read “Dialogue in the Dark,” I searched for clues as to what I was about to experience. My hosts remained silent. Soon, a concierge introduced herself and explained that we would be escorted through the “installation” for the next hour and a hal…

Yoga, Trauma and Social Justice

Hey all!

Yesterday I participated in a great workshop called "The Issues In Our Tissues: Yoga, Trauma and Social Justice." You may be wondering: what the heck does yoga have to do with trauma and social justice?


It's well documented that communities and subgroups of folks who suffer the injustices of the world are more likely to suffer trauma. Trauma is what happens when our ability to cope is overwhelmed, leaving us feeling helpless, hopeless and out of control. In situations of trauma and stress, our sympathetic nervous system activates and we go into fight / flight / freeze mode. Being in an activated state for a prolonged period of time takes its toll on our bodies and minds.

Whether we as individuals belong to an oppressed group, or whether we are taking part in social justice work, or even if we are just existing in today's political and social landscape, our nervous systems are, no doubt, activated. When we're in this state of high alert ac…

What Mr. Costello Is Reading Right Now: Ta'Nehisi Coates and "Black Panther"


Still Black History Month!

With "Black Panther" dominating the box office in a historic way since its release, an entire generation of action movie enthusiasts and comic book lovers will have a black superhero from the genre-defining, and predominantly white, Marvel Universe lead the way for hero narratives.  Marvel's "Black Panther" release continues a paradigm shift for the way that our society has viewed "the hero" in mainstream media for the last 60-70 years or so.  Rotten Tomatoes has ranked "Black Panther" as the "Best Super Hero Movie of All Time."  DC's "Wonder Woman" is equally as important for this cultural shift at #2.

In 2015, Ta'Nehisi Coates was asked to rewrite the "Black Panther" comic universe from the 1960's and revamp the narrative for our modern climate.  The result was published by Marvel and inspired the film.  Coates discusses his writing and the challenges that come wi…

What Ms. Strelke shared with Mr. DiDonna


In the hysteria following the murder of a New Orleans police chief, 11 Italian-Americans were lynched by a vigilante mob angry about the city's influx of immigrants. Here's how the past and future of American nativism may not be that different.

Click the link

What Mr. Costello Is Reading Right Now: "Dear Black Athlete"


It's Black History Month!

ESPN and "The Undefeated" air "Dear Black Athlete" this month.  "The Undefeated" is a corner of ESPN's franchise which is specifically designed "for exploring the intersections of race, sports and culture. [They] enlighten and entertain with innovative storytelling, original reporting and provocative commentary."  The show is a combination of different panel discussions, and letters from athletes, that address different issues that affect the black community.

Halfway through the program, embattled ESPN personality Jemele Hill responds to a question about the measure of responsibility that the black community has to facilitate a social change.  Her response was that black people have a lot of experience talking about race, and she acknowledged that almost the entire live audience of the program was black, and very interested in the topics being discussed.  Then she asked, "Where are the white people?…

Mateo on Justice, Power, Oppression, and other topics

Mateo Rull 12th grade Social Justice Magazine Club 01/29/2018

What is justice? What does it mean and look like within our school, community, and society?

Justice, similarly to the other abstract terms that will be discussed, derives its meaning entirely based off the personal, individual convictions people hold of it. If the definition and application of this particular concept is thus ambiguous, how is something veridically considered just or unjust? The answer is simple, yet very misleading; it has to be agreed upon by a majority (or the respective socio-political authority). This very incongruence in its definition has blurred the concept enough to be wrongfully attributed to its antonym, injustice. A system based by normative rule inevitably carries with it a possibility for the discussed incongruence. In times past, the people (and the power that rests with them) may have deemed something as radical as racial segregation just when, in reality (although the conflict indeed had been a…