Stop and Frisk, A Hopeful Vision of Egypt, An Inside Look at School Reform, OCD Slam Poetry, Apophenia, and Inspiring People

It’s one of those days/weeks/months where there is just too much going for a single cohesive thought/post. So instead here is a collection of things on my mind/from around the internet tonight:

Those of us in NYC (and other big cities in the U.S.) are likely familiar with Stop and Frisk — the practice of  stopping (almost exclusively minorities) who are deemed “suspicious” and frisking and questioning them in case they might commit a crime. Well this week a judge deemed it a violation of civil rights because this practice is essentially racial profiling. According to MSNBC, “While black and Latino men between the age of 14 and 24 only make up 4.7% of the city’s population, in 2012 they made up about 41% of the stops.”

And despite the assertions of NYC police commissioner Ray Kelly and Mayor Bloomberg,  it’s pretty widely known that it’s not an effective program: “Of the 4.4 million people stopped, and the 2.3 million people frisked between 2004 and 2012, a weapon was found in less than 1% of the cases.”

This segment from the Daily Show puts it into perspective perfectly (btw, John Oliver has been killing it this summer–he needs his own show):

Also in the news is all of the horrible death and violence in Egypt. A wonderful photojournalist I know (in fact I once hired him as an intern at Popular Photography) posted a series of portraits that he took in Egypt in 2012  on his website today  along with this note:

“Over the course of the past 36 hours I’ve watched a nation, who’s struggle for freedom and democracy is very near to my heart, fall into all-out chaos and disaster. Keeping an eye on the steady flow of images coming out of Egypt, many of which depict horrific death and destruction, is no easy task, and one that breaks my heart. 

What follows is a series of portraits taken during a much brighter, more hopeful time in Egypt’s history, perhaps one of the most hopeful periods this North African nation has ever seen.”

Check out his photos here.

And speaking of talented photographers that I know: I am soooooo lucky to know the amazing  Yosra El-Essawy, who aside from taking beautiful photos of lucky couples like Mark and I, recently completed the amazing gig of being Beyonce’s official world tour photographer (yeah that’s right, she’s THAT good). She is battling cancer right now and she is doing it with so much strength, positivity, and gratitude…to say that she is inspiring would be a huge understatement. I can’t imagine I would be anywhere near as graceful in her place. I feel so lucky to know her, and so happy that she is surrounded by so much love.
A real-life superhero

And in keeping on the theme of inspiring people I know, my former boss (former Editor-in-Chief of Popular Photography), John Owens, has written a book about the state of the Education system in the U.S., prompted by his recent experience as an English teacher in the Bronx. It came out earlier this month and my copy just arrived today.

I’m very excited to read a book written by one of the best mentors I’ve had in my career. I have a feeling all of my teacher friends will want to pick up a copy as well. Confessions of a Bad Teacher by John Owens:

And now after all that heaviness… a little levity:

Today I learned (on Facebook of course) about a psychological phenomenon known as  apophenia  which is seeing meaningful patterns or connections in random or meaningless data, which sounds pretty cool if not abstract and nerdy. Until you find out that it translates into finding faces in inanimate objects. (I sense my next version of a pun safari coming on!) Here are a couple of amazing examples:

smiling-pots

sad-monkey-orchid

And here is a full list of 50.

And finally, I also saw this posted on Facebook today, and it makes me miss my slam poetry days in college. As my friend Joan said, is is “sweet and sad at the same time (with a dash of crazy).” Enjoy.

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One response

  1. […] remember my post last month when I mentioned friend Yosra and the inspiring way she’s battling cancer? Well, you are going to want to take a look at this beautiful video with Yosra, put together by the […]

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