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Our America

Our America: Some Mornings

- By Amal Zamam

On the 1st of October, a gunman using a series of semiautomatic rifles modified, legally, to fire like machine guns, killed 59 people and injured more than 500 others in what is now being called America’s deadliest mass shooting. When lawmakers once again pleaded for stricter gun control measures, the White House responded that it was wrong to politicize tragedy. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called any discussion of such legislation “premature”. “There's a time and place for a political debate, but now is the time to unite as a country,” Sanders said.

At the end of the same month, on my favorite day of the year, the 31st of October, ...

Our America

Our America: Quack-Quacking Indifference

- By Mark Gozonsky

On July 14 and 15 of 2017, I taught a class of between twenty-seven and thirty-two high school students at UCLA, as part of the University’s Early Academic Outreach Program. There was certainly an exact number of kids in the room, but I was never certain what that number was. The teenagers, teaching assistants, and I all tried counting early Friday morning and got different tallies, because counting youngsters is dicey. They squirm, shift, get up and move while you’re counting. We decided the number was right around thirty students, mostly of color, all on summer vacation between their sophomore and junior year of high school, recruited to get a taste of the good life at UCLA.

The theme of our course was “What do teenagers need to know about the global refugee...

Our America

Menstruation is Serious Business

- By Igiaba Scego

A ritual during the Rishi Panchami holiday in Katmandu, Nepal, September 18, 2015. According to tradition, this sacred bathing rite purifies women from the sins committed during the days they menstruate.(Photo: Navesh Chitrakar, Reuters/Contrasto)

[Ed. Note: Igiaba Scego first published this essay on the Tampon Tax, her most popular ever, in Italy’s Internazionale magazine on January 19, 2016. Since that time, an European Union measure against taxing femine hygiene products has been promised, and in the UK Parliament has passed legislation to eliminate their tampon VAT, due to go into effect in...

Our America

Our America: Everything that Rises

- By Jim Hicks

In his debut novel, John Barth admonishes people who pause when the world presents them with coincidence: “Nature,” he observes, “seems at times fairly to club one over the head with significance.” The sun suddenly appears, to rhyme with our newfound hopes; the road to the cemetery is a one-way street. “The man. . . whose palate is attuned to subtler dishes,” the novelist notes, “can only smile uncomfortably and walk away.” On the other hand, Lawrence Weschler, a writer hardly lacking in subtlety, has dedicated an entire book to...

Our America

Our America: Confessions of a Young Invincible

- By Emily Wojcik

In 2010, I was thirty-one years old, running twenty-five miles per week, doing yoga twice a week, and eating a vegetarian diet. My blood pressure was 110/60, I weighed 135 pounds, I took multivitamins and omega-3s, I flossed daily. I was so healthy I was smug about it—I’d never even broken a bone. I was invincible.

One day, I tripped over nothing when I was running. It kept happening but I kept running. “Clumsy,” I thought, but I was an athlete. I ran through it. And then I fell in the most epic way: head-first down a hill, in front of crowds of people, at the end of an annual 5K race—bruised face, skinned knees and hands, twisted ankle. I couldn't figure out why, except that my knee buckled. Weird.

A year of physical therapy later, I...

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