Current Event January 12, 2018
China has passed a new law that states people who protest its national anthem can face prison time. In places like Hong Kong, this law has sparked outrage. They believe that by singing the anthem, they are giving in to China's rule and lack of free speech. Legislators in Hong Kong are facing the dilemma of how they will enforce the new law, especially when masses of people refuse to sing the anthem, such as at a sports event. Listen to learn how those who oppose the law plan to get around it and then debate: Would you risk arrest for something you believe in?
Current Event October 27, 2017
Neighborhoods are often chosen by real estate prices and schools, and now they might be chosen by politics. Some people can feel like outsiders if they are living among others who don’t value or believe what they do. One idea is to create conservative Republican enclaves, where everyone shares the same values and feels connected to each other. Others think we should figure out how to exist together with different types of people. Listen to this story and then debate: Should we surround ourselves with people who have the same values and beliefs?
Current Event October 18, 2017
The white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA in August brought hundreds of people carrying shields, guns, and torches who marched while shouting racist chants. Many people shared photos of these marchers to publicly identify them as racists. But there was at least one person misidentified. A university professor was flooded with people threatening him online because he looked like someone who attended the rally. This event highlights the fact that most people are not experts at identification. Listen to this story to hear the consequences of being mistaken for someone else in the era of social media.
Current Event August 29, 2017
The white supremacist and neo-Nazi protest in Charlottesville, VA killed one woman and injured 19 people. Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke thanked President Trump for criticizing the counter-protesters and Duke then called Black Lives Matter a “leftist terrorist group.” Black Lives Matter is a national organization working to fight against anti-Black racism, spark dialogue and encourage social action and engagement. The violence of Charlottesville brought urgency and attention to addressing attacks against people of color in the United States. Listen to hear from the leaders of Black Lives Matter and the NAACP and their attention to safety concerns.
Current Event May 24, 2017
As the economic crisis deepens and the political climate intensifies in Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro announced he’s creating an assembly of representatives to propose changes to the country’s constitution. While Maduro says it is an attempt to bring peace, opponents see it as a move towards dictatorship. Opponents took to the streets in the capital city of Caracas in protest, adding to other protests that have been going on for months. Listen to hear more about what this means for Venezuela's future.
Current Event May 10, 2017
It has been 25 years since riots in Los Angeles left more than 50 people dead and lead to around 6,000 arrests and roughly $1 billion in property damage. Despite a massive campaign to invest in rebuilding the city, L.A. has still not been completely repaired to where it was before the riots. In the aftermath of the destruction, many hoped that the “Rebuild L.A.” campaign would lead to stronger communities with more black-owned businesses. However, Rebuild L.A. is seen by many as a failure. Listen to learn more about the legacy of the L.A. riots and how these communities are still dealing with the aftermath.
Current Event April 3, 2017
Thousands of Russians took to the streets this week in Moscow and other cities to demand the resignation of Russian prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev. Ten thousand people showed up to protest in St. Petersburg and about 20,000 people joined protests in Moscow, making this the largest anti-government protest the country has seen in years. Anti-corruption activist and government opposition leader Alexei Navalny organized the nationwide protests after publishing an investigation that alleged serious corruption charges against the prime minister. Listen to learn more about the mass protests and the motivations behind them.
Current Event January 26, 2017
Millions of people across the country and around the world marched the day after President Donald Trump took the oath of office. Women, men and children marched in hundreds of cities including Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Austin, New York, Chicago, Paris, Delhi and Bangkok. The purpose, marchers say, is to take a stand for women's rights and against Donald Trump's agenda. Climate, science, women's rights, human rights, LGBT rights and minority rights are just a few of the issues that were highlighted by those who attended the women's marches. Listen to hear more about these demonstrations across the country.
Current Event January 11, 2017
There are parallels between the race struggles of Martin Luther King half a century ago and the Black Lives Matter movement of today. This story tells of how attention is being brought to the disparities between races in the United States, and how the message has changed from an aspirational tone to a commitment to truth-telling. Protesters in both struggles were working to transform America and focus on respect. Listen to hear more about civil rights activism in this interview recorded on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
Current Event November 22, 2016
Hundreds of thousands of South Koreans from across the country gathered in central Seoul recently, in an organized and peaceful protest against the president, Park Geun-hye. They are demanding she resign because she has been charged with abuse of power and fraud. The South Korean president shared classified information with a friend and was advised by her on a range of state affairs. President Park says she understands the seriousness of this situation, but shows no sign she will resign. Listen to hear more about the government crisis in South Korea.
Current Event September 27, 2016
Parts of New Jersey and New York were rattled by several homemade pipe bombs set in different areas. One exploded in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York city injuring dozens of people. Police arrested Ahmad Khan Rahami based on evidence that he started buying materials to make explosive devices back in June, and that he recorded a video of himself setting off an explosive device near his home in New Jersey. Investigators think the motivation was tied to Islamic terrorism. Listen to hear more about this investigation and what may have motivated this attack.
Current Event September 26, 2016
Thousands of Native Americans and supporters are protesting the construction of an oil pipeline from North Dakota to central Illinois, that will transport 470,000 barrels of oil per day. They are against it because a section of the pipeline will run near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. The tribe and its supporters have serious concerns about the project affecting their land and water. President Obama has ordered a temporary halt on the construction of the pipeline, but the Sioux tribe wants a permanent halt to the construction. Listen to hear more about this controversy.
Current Event July 19, 2016
Americans have been shocked and saddened by the targeted killing of 5 Dallas police officers in apparent retaliation for the many police shootings of black men. The Black Lives Matter movement has organized peaceful protests to bring awareness to these events. Kwame Alexander, an award-winning poet and children’s author who touches on the themes of love, education and race, reflects on the shooting of the officers and the killing of two black men by police - Alton Sterling and Philando Castille. Listen to hear about how he communicates with kids, and why he thinks it’s important for students to think outside of themselves to understand these events.
Current Event April 20, 2016
The U.S. government has traditionally given money to Honduras to help with its military and police operations. However, some are arguing that Honduras is a repressive regime that does not deserve this money. Opponents of U.S. aid point to the many unresolved killings of Honduran political activists, arguing that the corrupt government neglects to fully investigate these murders. Listen to learn more about the controversy around giving aid to Honduras.
Current Event March 22, 2016
Supporters of Donald Trump clashed with protesters and became violent at a political rally in Chicago. The rally was cancelled. There have been tensions building around Trump's campaign for president. Some have accused Trump of encouraging violence others say he’s created a toxic environment in the presidential campaign. However, the voters don’t seem to have a strong reaction. Many people have already made up their minds about who they are voting for, and negative incidents such as this do not change their opinions. Listen to hear more about the volatile nature of this campaign.
Current Event February 18, 2016
After a pro-Beijing official was appointed to the University of Hong Kong, students protested. Nearly 20 years ago Hong Kong reverted to Chinese control. This protest shows it’s still an uneasy arrangement. Students boycotted classes for one week to push for more democratic leadership of their University. The new chairman of the University said that the students have been acting like they are on drugs. The chairman is a member of the Communist-controlled advisory body of China and also sits on Hong Kong’s Cabinet. Listen to this story to hear more about what is threatened in the mixing of politics, academics and the relationship between China and Hong Kong.