Graphic artist creates Ethiopia’s first female superhero comic
- Beserat Debebe, founder of Etan Comics, has developed Hawi in the wake of creating Jember, billed as the first Ethiopian superhero comic in a growing African comics market.
- Hawi features the intertwined stories of Ement, a young woman of Ethiopian descent living in the U.S. coming into her powers, and Queen Yodit, a powerful figure from 10th-century Ethiopia.
- The comic will be published in both Amharic and English and is currently available for preorder as part of the project’s kickstarter campaign.
“Ethiopia’s First Female Superhero Comic ‘Hawi’ is Here” (OkayAfrica | March 2019)
“Ethiopia Gets Its First Female Superhero Comic” (CBR.com | March 2019)
“Meet Ethiopia’s first female superhero character who returns from the U.S. to rescue her abducted mother” (Face2Face Africa | March 2019)
New Zealanders rally in support of Muslim community as government takes action
- Some 15,000 people attended a rally in Christchurch to honor the memory of the 50 who died in the recent terror attacks.
- The country’s chief censor issued a ban on the attacker’s manifesto, classifying the document in the same way as other terroristic propaganda such as Islamic State materials.
- More than 1,000 voluntarily turned in their weapons as the government moved to ban military-style semiautomatic weapons, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announcing she expects legislation to be in place by mid-April.
“Thousands attend New Zealand vigil, rally to fight racism, remember Christchurch victims” (Reuters | March 2019)
“Censor bans ‘manifesto’ of Christchurch mosque shooter” (The Guardian | March 2019)
“Christchurch shootings: New Zealand to ban military style weapons” (BBC News | March 2019)
China’s Growing Body Art Movement
Changing economic and cultural conditions in socially conservative China have given birth to a burgeoning body art movement, and Chinese women are battling mores to ink up. Shanghai in particular has become the center of tattoo production in the country, with some estimates putting the number of tattoo artists in China’s largest city as high as 2,000. While several ethnic groups (including the Dulong, Dai, and Li) have had historical tattooing traditions, contemporary Chinese body art has emerged from the relaxation of legal and cultural prohibitions on tattooing in China and the resurgence of tattooing in global popular culture. For women in particular, body art has come to mark an assertion of both identity and bodily autonomy. Recent media coverage has chronicled the dismantling of the tattoo taboo and the uptake of body art among Chinese women.
“Tattooed and proud: Chinese women peel away stigmas” (Agence France-Presse, via France 24 | December 2017)
“Good girls, not gangsters? Tattoos no longer taboo in China” (CNN | August 2015)
“Shanghai Inked: The Artists Redefining Tattoos in China” (That’s Shanghai | November 2015)
Wen Shen: The Vanishing Art of Chinese Tribal Culture
U.K. elects most diverse parliament in history
- 51 MPs of color (black and minority ethnic, or BME) were elected to the House of Commons, an increase of some 25% from the 41 elected in the previous election cycle.
- 208 women were elected, an electoral record though still only 32% of Parliament, and more than 40 LGBT MPs now form the largest cohort of openly queer politicians in the history of the House of Commons.
- The new parliament also features the first Palestinian, first female Sikh, four black female, first turban-wearing Sikh, and four openly disabled MPs.
“Election results: Record number of black, Asian and ethnic minority MPs elected to parliament” (The Independent | June 2017)
“The New Parliament Has More Black, Asian, And Women MPs Than Ever Before” (BuzzFeed News | June 2017)
“Election 2017: Record number of female MPs” (BBC News | June 2017)
(Image Credit: Facebook, via The Independent)
Irish governing party elects first out gay, Indian-descendent PM
- The Fine Gael voted Leo Varadkar its new leader, a gay, half-Indian man set to become the youngest PM in Irish history.
- Varadkhar, 38, was born to an Indian immigrant father and an Irish mother and has become a polarizing conservative firebrand in Irish politics since his first election in 2007.
- The election has been lauded as a monumental moment for the predominantly Catholic country that in 2015 became the first in the world to codify marriage equality into law through referendum.
“Varadkar becomes Irish PM-in-waiting in social, generational shift” (Reuters | June 2017)
“Leo Varadkar wins: Ireland set to install first openly gay Prime Minister” (The Independent | June 2017)
“From Enda (66) to Leo (38): Ireland set to replace oldest EU leader with youngest” (The Irish Times | June 2017)
(Image Credit: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters)
Mandisa Maya first woman appointed President of South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal
- Justice Maya was named to the third-highest post in the South African judicial system by embattled President Jacob Zuma.
- Maya has been on the Court since 2006 and is the first woman to be appointed its leader in its 107-year history.
- The Supreme Court of Appeal is the nation’s highest appellate court and the second-highest court in the country.
“Justice Maya makes history as first female SCA head” (South African Broadcasting Corporation | May 2017)
“South Africa gets first female president of second highest court” (africanews | May 2017)
“Judge Mandisa Maya is new president of the Supreme Court of Appeal” (Times LIVE | May 2017)
(Image Credit: Simphiwe Nkwali/Gallo Images/Sunday Times, via Times LIVE)
First female chief executive chosen in Hong Kong
- Carrie Lam was elected chief executive of Hong Kong by an electoral committee in the semi-autonomous Chinese city, inheriting growing divisions between a youth-led pro-democracy movement and increasing Beijing influence.
- The election was mired in controversy as the committee is stacked with pro-China business and political figures, seen by critics as promoting more Communist Party control over Hong Kong affairs.
- Lam led the failed effort to reform Hong Kong’s electoral process, in which Beijing sought to pre-screen candidates before presenting options for direct popular vote.
“Carrie Lam Wins Vote to Become Hong Kong’s Next Leader” (The New York Times | March 2017)
“Hong Kong’s first female leader a ’tilted bridge’ over troubled water” (Reuters | March 2017)
“Newly elected Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam vows to unite sharply divided city” (South China Morning Post | March 2017)
(Image Credit: Bobby Yip/Reuters)
U.S. issues first birth certificate acknowledging intersex status
- Sara Kelly Keenan was issued a revised birth certificate by New York City acknowledging her intersex identity, which follows a California ruling earlier in the year that allowed Keenan to change her legal status to non-binary.
- The reality of 55-year-old Keenan’s biological identity was long hidden from her by her parents and doctors, who made a series of decisions regarding gender assignment and hormonal therapy without her consent.
- The movement for non-binary gender options on birth certificates has gained momentum in recent years in parallel with the increased visibility of the trans, queer, and nonbinary communities.
“Nation’s First Known Intersex Birth Certificate Issued in NYC” (NBC News | December 2016)
“First intersex birth certificate issued in the US” (The Independent | December 2016)
“‘The protocol of the day was to lie’: NYC issues first US ‘intersex’ birth certificate” (CNN | December 2016)
LGBTQ Community: Glossary of Key Terms (The Trevor Project)
(Image Credit: via The Independent)
The Growing Workforce Inclusion of the U.S. Autism Community
Companies like EY, Microsoft, and HP Enterprises have begun launching new neurodiversity initiatives at their firms, with a particular focus on recruiting people on the autism spectrum. The new outreach is welcome by advocates for the autism community, which faces a 58% unemployment rate despite having skills in high demand by employers in the knowledge economy. The Atlantic features an overview of industry efforts at inclusion, including innovation in recruiting, training, and management processes to ensure the successful identification and integration of people on the spectrum into organizations.
“Why Some Companies Are Trying to Hire More People on the Autism Spectrum” (The Atlantic | December 2016)
“Work in progress: An inside look at autism’s job boom” (Spectrum | July 2016)
“Changing Employers’ Perceptions, One Autistic Worker at a Time” (Inc. | May 2015)
(Image Credit: via The Atlantic)
The Subversive Visibility of Pakistan’s First Trans Model
Activist and model Kami Sid was the subject of a recent photo shoot in collaboration with photographer Haseeb M. Siddiqi, stylist Waqar J.Khan, and makeup artist Nighat Misbah, making her debut as the first out trans model in Pakistan. The photographs stand in stark contrast to the other forms of visibility that has kept the Pakistani trans community in the news in recent years, including sexual assaults and homicides. BuzzFeed features photos from the shoot and a look at the struggle to combat transphobia in Pakistan.
“Pakistan’s First Trans Model Did An Absolutely Stunning Fashion Photoshoot” (BuzzFeed)
“Pakistan’s first transgender model makes debut with stunning photoshoot” (The Express Tribune)
“Kami Sid becomes Pakistan’s first transgender model and her debut photoshoot is gorgeous” (Mic)
(Image Credit: Muhammad Haseeb Siddiqui, via BuzzFeed)
Raising the Voices of the Visually Impaired in Armenia
As the Internet has created new channels for the inclusion of marginalized communities, people with disabilities in particular have looked to the technology as a chance to discover and create new, accessible labor and creative opportunities. In Armenia, government agencies and international NGOs have worked together to promote information literacy and use among blind and visually impaired Armenians. One new program, Radio MENQ, has bridged the technical with the creative, offering blind and visually impaired people the chance to work as presenters and sound technicians for an internet radio station focused on issues and interests of relevance to the visually impaired community. Global Voices sat down with two of the project’s leaders to discuss the history and future of Radio MENQ and how opportunities like the station help combat pervasive unemployment and marginalization in the community.
“How is Online Radio Helping to Empower Visually Impaired People in Armenia?” (Global Voices)
(Image Credit: via Global Voices)
New joint Jewish-Muslim council arises to combat growing religious tensions in U.S.
- The American Jewish Committee and the Islamic Society of North America announced the formation of the Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council.
- The Council will advocate on behalf of religious minorities on issues of concern, including anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, immigration, and civil rights policy.
- Co-chaired by Stanley Bergman and Farooq Kathwari, the 31-person Council includes religious, business, and academic leaders from across the political spectrum.
“Trump Effect: Jewish and Muslim Organizations Form New Alliance” (Haaretz)
“New Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council Gears Up To Work With Trump Administration” (The Huffington Post)
“A new council will unite Jewish and Muslim-American groups in a US alliance after the election” (Quartz)
(Image Credit: Deanna Dent/Reuters, via Quartz)
Uyghur activist wins prestigious human rights award
- Chinese scholar Ilham Tohti, famed as a moderate bridge between Uyghur and Han Chinese cultures, was awarded the Martin Ennals Award, a human rights prize awarded by a jury including representatives from organizations such as Amnesty International.
- Tohti is a prominent advocate for Uyghur rights and visibility, including drawing attention to the oppression of Uyghurs by the Chinese government in Xinjiang.
- The Chinese government sentenced Tohti to life in prison in 2014, accusing him of ties to terrorism and promoting dissidence in the country.
Ilham Tohti 2016 Martin Ennals Award Laureate for Human Rights Defenders (Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders)
“Ilham Tohti, Uighur imprisoned for life by China, wins major human rights prize” (The Guardian)
“Chinese Uighur wins prestigious rights award” (Reuters)
(Image Credit: Andy Wong/AP, via The Guardian)
Pentagon opens up military service to trans people
- Effective immediately, trans men and women are able to serve openly in the U.S. Armed Forces under order of Defense Secretary Ash Carter.
- The decision comes in the wake of the 2015 decision to open up combat roles to women and the 2011 abolition of the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” law barring openly gay and bisexual people from serving in the military.
- Secretary Carter also indicated that the military would cover the medical costs for trans service members undergoing transition treatments.
“Transgender People Will Be Allowed to Serve Openly in Military” (The New York Times)
“The Pentagon’s ban on transgender service just fell — but the details are complicated” (The Washington Post)
“Pentagon ends transgender ban” (CNN)
(Image Credit: Alex Brandon/Associated Press, via The New York Times)
Sadiq Khan elected mayor of London, first Muslim to hold the post
- A member of the Labour party, Khan defeated his Conservative opponent Zac Goldsmith with 57% of the vote, ending eight years of Conservative rule of the British capital on pledges to build more affordable housing and freeze fare prices for public transit.
- Amidst rising Islamophobia throughout the U.K. and Europe as a whole, the mayoral campaign was marred by accusations from Goldsmith and PM David Cameron that Khan, a former human rights lawyer, was connected to extremists.
- Khan, 45, grew up in a South London housing estate, one of eight children of working-class Pakistani immigrants, and went on to become a lawyer before his election to Parliament in 2005.
“Sadiq Khan Elected in London, Becoming Its First Muslim Mayor” (The New York Times)
“Elections: Labour’s Sadiq Khan promises a ‘better’ London” (BBC)
“Top Conservatives condemn Zac Goldsmith’s ‘disgusting’ mayoral campaign” (The Guardian)