Since the election of Donald Trump in November, there has been a 35 percent increase in hate crimes across New York City, according to Straus News. Throughout the presidential campaign, reported NYPD statistics of the city’s hate crime count has doubled in a year with 43 incidents in the 27 days following the election. The rhetoric and tone of the Trump campaign targeted many minorities and could be the reason for this rise.
These hate crimes and incidents included verbal and physical assaults on two Muslim women, a police officer and an MTA employee, and swastika graffiti in multiple places including the NYC subway and inside the elevator of state Senator Brad Hoylman’s apartment building. New Yorkers met for a workshop last month to educate themselves and help others by speaking up for victims of these attacks.
According to a study conducted by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), an estimated 643,000 undocumented immigrants live within the five boroughs of New York City. Advocates of the New York City Municipal ID card hoped that government-issued photo identification would bring many of those undocumented immigrants out of the shadows. With the newly elected President of the United States, Donald Trump, many are wondering whether the NYC Municipal ID was the right thing to do as the cards can put undocumented cardholders at greater risk of being harassed by government authorities and even of deportation.
Nisha Agarwal, Commissioner at the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, argues that the NYC Municipal ID card has helped many undocumented immigrants do things such as pick up their kids from school, access public and government buildings, interact more easily with police officers, and open bank accounts. Furthermore, the Commissioner argues that the Municipal ID has helped many undocumented immigrants increase their sense of belonging to New York City and to the United States. Given that sixty percent of NYC’s population is foreign born and less than half of the city’s population has a driver’s license, the Municipal ID proves to be an effective legal response to cope with the need for identification in NYC.
One of the biggest misconceptions about undocumented immigrants is that they take job opportunities away from American citizens. Many believe that immigrants do not pay any taxes and that they do not want to assimilate to the United States. However, studies conducted by the Pew Research Center suggests that these opinions are a product of anti-immigrant context which has been sustained and reproduced by the political climate. It is both unethical and immoral to punish individuals for choosing to migrate to another country without having the proper documents. The United States takes in a certain number of refugees per year, would it not be morally wrong to ignore and punish those already living in the country?
In the Carnegie Council video, “When to Begin Genocide Prevention,” led by Tibi Galis from the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation, Galis discusses the process and end goals of seeking to prevent genocide today, in relation to its origins in Nazi Germany. He begins by stating that “genocide is not only the moment when people are killed; it’s also the moment, if we take, for example, the Holocaust, when people had to wear a star to identify them as being Jewish. That has already set in place the dynamics that were necessary for achieving the killing at a later stage.” Galis expresses that both the process and end goal of understanding and achieving the prevention of genocide are equally important, and that if the end goal is to stop the mass killings, it will not simply come from preparing and taking action once the killings have begun. He emphasizes that preventative action needs must take place before the issue arises in order to prevent tragedies such as genocide from starting in the first place.
As Galis continues to discuss this notion, he brings into the bigger picture the comparison of the U.S. military to that of genocide prevention. He gives us the example of instances in which the military has been sent on missions to end violence in other parts of the world once killing has begun. He establishes that it is expected to make a difference in the long run in regard to the number of deaths occuring and reduction of violence, however it still does not prevent the genocide from ultimately happening. Galis also brings into focus another simpler example of alcoholism. He discusses a hypothetical situation in which an individual may be seeking to prevent alcoholism, and as a result he or she is “talking about going into the bars and knocking out people’s drinks while they are there.” Obviously this has the potential to make a possible impact, but overall it is an ineffective way of solving this problem. He continues that prevention is to be sought and acquired long before the actual spree of killing has commenced; that an intervention should be considered a last resort when all else has failed.
Often when a problem is too big or too scary we throw up our hands and announce that “there is nothing we can do” to solveit. Admittedly, climate change feels like one of those problems. It seems like a quagmire of depressing facts and statistics. It is now scientific fact that the polar ice caps are melting, our oceans are rising and becoming more acidic, and if we do not curb our consumption of fossil fuels, our planet will be rendered unlivable. The plethora of disturbing information on climate change is enough to cause anyone to have a sleepless night or make them wish they had never heard the truth about our warming planet. However, ostriches with their heads buried in the sand do not get much done, and once you know some truth, you cannot un-know it. And so the question at hand is not “is climate change happening?” for that question has been answered in the affirmative (although climate change deniers would like to see this issue removed from our national political discourse). The question right now is “what are we going to do about it, if anything?”
Bill McKibben, environmental scientist and founder of350.org, has spent his career writing about climate change and mobilizing communities as an activist for the cause. The mission of his website reads: “We believe in a safe climate and a better future– a just, prosperous, and equitable worldbuilt with the power of ordinary people.” This statement is in no way frightening beyond the scope of comprehension. In fact, it is probably what most people want out of the future. Unfortunately, the direction we are headed in is not conducive to this safe and equal future. In fact, it is quite the opposite. If we continue with our current rate of fossil fuel burning, we could be left with a planet that is ungovernable, uninhabitable and unrecognizable. This is a terrifying thought, but should climate change activists refrain from telling the truth about our planet’s situation?
At one point during the Carnegie Council’s featured video“Global Ethics Forum: Ethics Matter: A Conversation with Bill McKibben,”McKibben was asked about instilling fear in the general public so much so that the sheer magnitude of the problem may compel them not to act. To this, McKibben replied, “reality is what it is, and we should describe it.” In fact, it could be said that experts on ecology, such as environmentalists like McKibben and climate change scientists, have a duty to make this knowledge available to the public.
Presently, we have seen enough “100-year” storms and floods to be convinced of the boundless power and undeniable truth of climate change. Activists and scientists cannot be charged with attempting to use unwarranted scare tactics. However, if they have been guilty of scaring the public into action in the past, is that such a bad thing?
On Thursday, December 9th, the largest survey of transgender people ever conducted was published by The National Center for Transgender Equality. The anonymous online survey had nearly 28,000 participants and found transgender people are twice as likely to live in poverty and three times more likely to be unemployed, according to an article in TIME Magazine. Other findings included that one-third of respondents reported issues in finding healthcare and 42% reported higher rates of mistreatment by health care providers.
Fordham University Center for Ethics Education Director, Celia B. Fisher, Ph.D., lauded the recent national study highlighting the healthcare needs of transgender people in the United States. “More is needed on the health care experiences of transgender adolescents, especially their experiences with family physicians who often do not have the training to provide necessary gender affirming care,” she noted.
Fisher’s research with colleagues from Northwestern University, supported by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), has highlighted the critical need for physicians who are trained and open to providing gender minority youth with not only transitioning information, but also gender and sexual orientation specific sexual health information and services to prevent HIV and related STIs.
As one of the most groundbreaking sitcoms of all time, The Golden Girls introduced a range of bioethical issues on the show regarding medicine, the human body and women’s health.
In this TEDx Talk, Dr. Elizabeth Yuko, a Fordham University Center for Ethics Education fellow and adjunct professor, discusses how influential Golden Girls was, and still is, as a lens for the study of bioethics and its principles using examples from the show’s most notable episodes.
Dr. Elizabeth Yuko is also the Health Editor at SheKnows Media, a women’s lifestyle digital media company operating SheKnows.com. BlogHer.com. HelloFlo.com and STYLECASTER.com. Please visit her website and Twitter page for more information.
“World AIDS Day is held on the 1st December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day, held for the first time in 1988.”
Please visit the World AIDS Day website for more information about the history of the day and how to get involved, support and show solidarity with the millions of people living with HIV.