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Abolitionist | Intersectional Feminist | Founder & Executive Director of Initiate Justice (opinions are my own)

Vaccines are some of the most significant medical advancements in modern history. Life expectancy in the United States has more than doubled over the last 200 years, due in large part to the development of vaccines and the elimination of many diseases such as polio and the mumps. Getting vaccinated is one of the most cost-efficient ways that we can not only protect our own health, but the health of others as well, by preventing the spread of contagious illnesses.

Yet, many people in our community still question the necessity of vaccines and even refuse to get vaccinated. Why? The…

by Taina Vargas-Edmond

George Floyd should still be alive. So should Breonna Taylor, who was killed by Louisville police who violently entered her home in March. So should Tony McDade, a Black trans man who was shot and killed by Tallahassee police last week.

Black Americans are drowning in a sea of state-sanctioned violence and death. Every news story of another person killed by police hits like a wave, the grief and anger and fear threatening to pull us down with each swell. We are tired of trying to keep our heads above water.

The recent uprisings across the country…

by Richie “Reseda” Edmond-Vargas

“You know what the difference is between Finland and the U.S.?
In the U.S., you have to earn being a human.”

-Kenneth Hartman
Formerly sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. 38 years in prison. 2 years on parole.

As a person who has spent over 14 years involved with the United States criminal legal system, 7 of which I spent incarcerated in California state prison, it was emotional for me to study the public safety systems of Finland and Norway. More than once, I cried. I was overwhelmed by the ache that accompanied discovering…

By Taina Vargas-Edmond

When I was in the ninth grade in 2003, my father went to jail, leaving my siblings and I to live in a motel with our mother who struggled with addiction. I got a job to help take care of the family and sank into a deep depression. I did not want to go to school and explain to my friends where my dad was or where we lived, so I missed about 80 percent of that school year. No one ever asked me if I was alright, or why I kept skipping school.

Instead, at the…

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