Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Resuming the articles from A Proposed New Constitution. I begin by reposting the Introduction.

This and all articles at it may be reposted in full or in part freely under Creative Commons.
Introduction to A Proposed New Constitution

America’s constitution is a sacred cow. Some cows should not be worshipped. For nothing should be so revered that one cannot question it, and blind worship is always to be avoided.

 There is, among those on both the political left and right, what can only be called widespread constitution worship. Most on both sides hold up the constitution the way a vampire hunter in the movies holds up a cross to ward off vampires. Everyone from the most stoned pot smokers to gun toting militia groups calls on the constitution as support for causes, beliefs, and attitudes they hold dear.

 This constitution worship is every bit as blindly enthusiastic as it is unknowing of the actual history of the constitution, and how and why it was adopted. For this, most people are blameless. People cannot be faulted for what they were not taught, or more often, falsely taught. I made the same argument in Presidents' Body Counts, and others, notably James Loewen in Lies My Teacher Told Me, argue likewise.

 For the founders themselves did not think much of the constitution. Jefferson wanted a new constitution every twenty years. Other founders disagreed, largely because they were not sure the constitution would last twenty years. For the founders, it was a pragmatic even temporary measure, not holy or intended to be permanent. Constitution worship did not become a regular feature of American society until near the start of the twentieth century, in part as a way to assimilate immigrants.

 I often tell my students that America is great not because of the constitution, but in spite of it, and especially in spite of the founders. The constitution itself is clearly at the root of many of our worst problems in American society today. If it were up to the American public, the following solutions would have become law many decades, even half a century or more, before today:

1. Abolishing the Electoral College.
 2. Ending the buying of elections.
 3. Limiting the time campaigning for office, as they do in Great Britain.
 4. Ending wars quickly in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Each war continued over half a decade after the American public wanted to get out.
5. Reforming the office of vice president, widely regarded with contempt by most, and
producing candidates that even most voters of the same party as the presidential candidate did not want.
 6. Ending corporate welfare and other wasteful spending.
 7. Ending most foreign military aid, and support for tyrants and dictators around the world.
 8. Limiting the power of the Supreme Court.
 9. Ending the political monopoly of wealthy elites.
 10. Guaranteeing privacy from government intrusion.

 Each of these proposals have widespread bipartisan support and are hugely popular across the political spectrum by great majorities. But none of these proposals, not too surprisingly, have majority support among elected political elites, economic elites, or the leadership of either party.

 The constitution itself is the biggest barrier to solving these problems. Not one of these problems have been, or ever could have been, quickly solved, precisely because the constitution makes it difficult. Most of these problems require a constitutional amendment, something made deliberately long and difficult by the founders. A few of these could be solved temporarily by ordinary laws, which could then be easily overturned next election.

 So why not go to the root of these problems? Why not a new constitution?

 Constitution worship is the reason. Most Americans have been so heavily propagandized to think of the US Constitution as undeniably great and downright sacred, something you just don’t question without being seen as un-American.

 What is pretty comical is to see the most idealistic of leftists, who are deeply cynical of everything else that is elitist and coming from powerful and wealthy institutions, become like a fundamentalist when the constitution is brought up. What is equally comical is to see populist conservatives or libertarians become enamored of government power when it is enshrined in a document written by, after all, Deists and Enlightenment thinkers who did not trust organized religion or nobility. Both are smitten by constitution worship.

 There are two obvious ways to deal with that. One is to challenge the holy stature of the constitution. Write the true history, which most historians and political scientists already know is not a noble one, but one of elitists hijacking a popular revolution.

 The other solution is to keep what is best about the old constitution while adding to it. Propose a new constitution and a new constitutional convention, but make one of the first proposals to keep the best of the old document.

 For the best of the constitution is not the original document at all. The best part is the amendments. The original document is not about rights and all about power, who has it and how they can wield it, and that it will always remain in the hands of elites. The amendments are what most rightly revere. Keep the amendments, and amend the original document of power to spread the power to the mass of people, and add more amendments to limit the power of elites, for good.

 That is what this proposed constitution tries to do. It adds to the best of the document, keeping all the original constitutional amendments with Article 1. The rest of the articles serve the same purpose as amendments.

 What of the first solution to ending constitution worship? Tell the true history of the constitution, uncensored, without the heavy doses of patriotic propaganda that leave out its elitist nature. That story has already been told many times in the fields of history, political science, etc. But to help the curious and open minded, and for the less patient, let me summarize the history of the adoption of the constitution. To do that, one has to go back to the American Revolution.

The American Revolution was not a real revolution at all. It was just an independence movement. In actual revolutions, elites are overturned, killed off, imprisoned, or forced to flee the country. America's elites, plantation owners like Washington and Jefferson, were actually strengthened. They no longer had to listen to British authorities. Many scholars, the best known being the eminent Charles Beard, argued the real motive for the founders' rebellion was economic. The British Empire was run by mercantilism, which required colonies to trade only with the mother country. The founders wanted primarily more profit from free trade, not political freedom.

 But there were many in the middle and working classes who wanted a true class revolution. There had been class warfare in the earlier English Revolution, Roundheads who were middle class and anti nobility, and the Levelers, primitive versions of communists who wanted to level off the wealth anyone could have. In the American Revolution, there were anti elite groups like the Sons of Liberty, and populist rabble rousers like Samuel Adams, George Mason, and most of all Thomas Paine.

 There was a populist wave of the American Revolution before it was hijacked by the largely elitist founders. The Massachusetts Revolution of 1774 happened a year before the Battles of Lexington and Concord. The public took control of Massachusetts courts, forcing judges and the Governor and Lieutenant Governor to resign. They overthrew every county government in Massachusetts. That is why the British were occupying Boston in the first place at the time of Lexington and Concord.

 This was just the start of a populist revolution. There were over 90 Declarations of Independence before Jefferson's, from counties, cities, and states. Most were based on George Mason's in Virginia. Jefferson's was simply an elite attempt to seize control of a popular uprising. There were popular uprisings, attempted class revolutions within the elite-led revolution. There were mutinies within the US Army, in Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Congress was forced to use a draft, bounties, even the promise of slaves to gain recruits.

 After the war, there were early experiments in anarchism, socialism, and other revolutionary notions for that time. For a year, Pennsylvania tried shutting down the government entirely. Pennsylvania also tried outlawing the collection of debt, a form of wealth redistribution. Slavery ended in seven northern states. One out of eight slaves in the US were freed. New Jersey even gave women the right to vote. First done in 1776, it stayed on the books until 1807.

Aristocracy and feudalism were ended in the US. Noble titles, primogeniture, and entailment (the wealthy being able to seize public property) all ended. There was enormous confiscation and redistribution of wealth during and after the revolution. (Try telling that to a Tea Party member.) Most British loyalists and many aristocrats, whether they sided with the colonists or with Britain, lost their property. Established state churches in nine of the thirteen colonies were abolished. These were all fairly radical changes, and many Americans wanted to go even further.

American elites’ fear of class warfare created the US Constitution. The most pivotal event was Shay’s Rebellion. Farmers in western Massachusetts tried to stop foreclosures on their farms, so they shut down state courts. Jefferson called this, “liberty run mad.” Washington called it, “anarchy and confusion.” What horrified the founders was not the size of the rebellion. It was minor, with few deaths. The fact that it took so long to break the rebellion worried them. And at the same time, the French Revolution was going on. They feared this minor rebellion might grow into a similar class revolution. All the radical experiments in wealth redistribution added to that fear. The founders called the convention in direct response to Shay's Rebellion.

 The constitutional delegates had a low opinion of the public. They believe people without wealth were just one hungry belly short of becoming a howling mob, that working class people were selfish, unreliable, and easily misled. They wanted the nation to be run by “men of quality,” the very wealthy, and argued the wealthy must be protected from the general public above all else. “Those who own the country ought to govern it,” as John Jay argued.

The Constitutional Convention was secretive. There were no notes taken, except Madison's, done at the end of the day in his room, against the wishes of the convention. The public was barred. So were the press. The delegates, just like Colonial Congresses before them, took oaths of secrecy to keep debates from the public. There was almost no debate on expanding the power of the government. The elite delegates already agreed in advance on most questions.

 The US Constitution was and is deliberately anti democratic, designed to look like a democracy without actually being one. Great power was given to the president. The assumption was Washington would be the first, and the clumsy Electoral College put in. Electing a president was deliberately made cumbersome to stop anyone not as admired as Washington from being elected. The founders did not want competitive elections, but presidents chosen almost by acclamation.

Ratifying deliberately excluded opponents of the constitution. Special state conventions, not legislatures or the public, ratified the constitution. Even so, as word leaked out, the public turned against this document that most were not allowed to vote on. Elites at the special state conventions began to get nervous. Votes against the constitution were highest in Massachusetts, New York, Virginia, North Carolina, and Rhode Island. The Massachusetts convention only ratified after Governor John Hancock was promised (falsely) he would be the first president or vice president.

 In Virginia, George Mason and Patrick Henry successfully pushed for the Bill of Rights as a condition for ratifying. The first presidential election was planned without New York, North Carolina, or Rhode Island. New York actually prepared to secede and become their own country. Federalists in New York City then threatened to secede from New York. The New York convention backed down and narrowly ratified.

 North Carolina's convention defeated the constitution and held out a year before a new convention ratified. Rhode Island was the only state to hold a “popular” vote. (Not only minorities and women, except in New Jersey, were barred. There were property requirements to vote in every state.) The constitution was defeated in the state by a 10-1 margin, a good indication of what most of the public thought. Washington was actually elected without Rhode Island voting in the presidential election.

Ratification took three years of enormous elite effort against the general public. Ben Franklin owned most newspapers in the US. An economic boycott was used by wealthy elites to shut down many of the other papers opposing the constitution.

The original US Constitution, minus the amendments, has a deliberate anti democratic structure.
 1. The Electoral College means there has never been a direct election of presidents. Originally it was intended to be a veto by elites vs the general public. If they elected the “wrong” person, the electors were there to overrule the public.
 2. The US Senate is the most undemocratic part of the system. Wyoming has 75 times greater representation than California. Until the 20th Century, senators were chosen by state legislatures, not voters. (Some Tea Party leaders want to return to that.)
 3. The Supreme Court almost always defends wealthy elites.
 4. The winner take all/majority rule system is less democratic than parliament systems in most other nations. It leaves small groups unrepresented, cripples newer or smaller parties.
 5. There is no mention of rights in in the original constitution whatsoever, except a stricter definition of treason.

 And the US Constitution was illegally adopted. The Articles of Confederation's Article 13 states “…Articles of this Confederation…shall be perpetual; nor shall any alteration at any time be made in any of them; unless such alteration agreed to in Congress of the US & confirmed by legislatures of every State.” On both counts, the constitution is illegal. Neither Congress nor state legislatures ever confirmed it, only special state conventions.

 Obviously I am not suggesting resistance to the current constitution, or ignoring it. That argument leads to chaos, and only militias and sovereign citizens on the fringe embrace that. There is a legal concept which says even if a law was adopted by faulty means, it remains the law if it has been in force for a good length of time. My point was simply, when one hears that this is a nation of laws, remember that the founders ignored the highest law in the land, the Articles of Confederation. Being elites, and very elitist, they just went ahead and did it.

 Imagine a modern parallel to what the founders did. Imagine the wealthiest elites writing a document only they had any say in, and only allowing themselves to vote on it, and then declaring it the highest law in the land. That is what the founders did, and this is precisely why the original constitution deserves no reverence.

 Instead, let us resolve to craft a new constitution that preserves the best of the old, the amendments, and adds to it with a far better system of government and drastic limits on elite power.

 Unlike the original convention, any new constitution deserves, needs, and requires as much popular input as possible. While the proposals that follow were written by me, many of these proposals have been made in other forms before. Larry Sabato, a political scientist at the University of Virginia, proposed some parts of several of these articles, as have others. It is depressing, and proof that reform is needed more than ever, that none of his proposals were adopted in spite of public support. The call for a new constitutional convention is ongoing.

 These proposals, and any proposals, need to come from you, the general public. Send in your suggestions, criticisms, counter proposals, arguments and debates. Spread the word anywhere and everywhere you can. This cannot be done without you.

 The only real arguments for continuing the current constitution are stability, and a view of the American system based more on romanticism than actual history.

These are the proposed new articles' titles. In the coming weeks, I will post one article a week in full, with explanations and arguments for them.

Article 1- Continuing and Expanding the Original Constitution and its Amendments
Article 2- Insuring Greater Democracy
Article 3-Guaranteeing the Right to Vote
Article 4-Ending the Buying of Elections
Article 5-Voting Guarantees Benefits
Article 6- Limiting Corporate Power
Article 7-Ending Colonialism
Article 8-Renouncing War
Article 9- Referendums and Recalls
Article 10- Nonprofits for the Public Interest
Article 11- Ending Institutional Support for Hatred and Discrimination
Article 12-Ending Class Bias in the Law
Article 13-Ending Special Treatment for Wealthy Elites
Article 14-Limiting Idle Wealth
Article 15- The Right to Privacy
Al Carroll
Assistant Professor of History
Northern Virginia Community College

Monday, August 10, 2015

Survivors: Family Histories of Surviving War, Colonialism, and Genocide

Introduction to a collection of essays from my students.

History is all around us. I constantly tell my students and readers that all of us, quite literally, make history every day. Our actions, those of “ordinary people,” create the history that will be taught tomorrow. I am a passionate believer in family history, oral history, and genealogy. All three are central to what I teach and the methods I use to teach. For those of us who teach at the college level and especially in humanities and social sciences, there are incredible resources, namely our own students.

Like many history professors and historians, I believe strongly in history from below, the practice of teaching, researching and writing from a bottom up view rather the history of elites. Getting students to know their family history and oral history is an important part of my practices. Oral history, and history broadly speaking, tie the individual to their family and community. That community includes both the local area and the nation, both the nation they live in and the nation(s) their family is from. I include nation to mean what Benedict Anderson famously defined it as, a community of like minds united by common language and culture. Nations can be political units, ethnic groups, or some mix of the two. One can speak of nations within nations, such as American Indian tribes.

Family histories also remove any sense of history being remote. Hearing stories of family members right in the center of major events, often literally struggling to stay alive, makes issues like war and peace, colonialism, and power struggles between nations or between elites and those struggling to get out from under their domination…suddenly such issues seem very immediate, and so real.

Northern Virginia Community College serves four of the most northernmost counties of Virginia, Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William, essentially the suburbs of Washington, DC. In one study after another, Loudoun County, the one I teach in, is ranked the wealthiest county per capita in America, followed by Fairfax. Average income per family in the county tops $100,000.

One might not think of these communities as home to refugees from dangerous and traumatized nations. Such a thought would be wrong. These counties are home to survivors of the most heinous kinds of atrocities.

The volume you hold in your hands was largely written by the children and grandchildren of these survivors, often telling the stories of their elders and loved ones describing why they fled brutality of the kind no one should ever have to bear. In most cases, the students did not know of these hardships and atrocities first hand, as they only experienced them from hearing about them from their immediate family member. In other cases, the stories have been passed down, carefully preserved for several generations. In still other cases, these students heard of their family member’s experience for the first time because of writing these student papers. While all of these stories are important to preserve, it is the last type I am most proud of having a role in, helping to build ties between generations.

There are few places in the US that can compete for diversity with Northern Virginia. That fact surprised me when I first moved here, not expecting to live in a small Virginia town and yet be able to go to Afghan, Burmese, Indian, Peruvian, Salvadoran, and Thai restaurants within a population of fewer than 20,000. I quickly found myself teaching with this incredible resource, students from such a variety of ethnic and national backgrounds.

One might not think of Virginia suburbs as a center of multiculturalism, but one would be wrong. Less than two decades ago, the counties of Northern Virginia were overwhelmingly white, with also a longstanding Black presence going back to the earliest colonial times. It was in Virginia that some of the most restrictive racial purity and control laws were passed after Bacon’s Rebellion. Most of the Native presence had also been erased or removed over a century before American independence. In a treaty in 1646, the English took most Virginia land, forcing Indians to pay tribute. The Native population dropped over 90% from war and disease and all Indians legally became subjects of the Crown.

Virginia’s colonial laws enforced white supremacy. All white males had to be armed, but no nonwhites could be. No white servants or workers could be hired by nonwhites. Natives and Blacks were both classified as “Negroes and Other Slaves.” All white women bearing mixed children were heavily fined, and the children sold into slavery. Most women found guilty could not pay the fine, and so faced a prison sentence instead. All nonwhites were barred from office, testifying in court, and voting, and each racial group could only marry in the same racial category. Some of these restrictions lasted until the 1960s.

Other minorities largely were not in Virginia until recently. But today over 160 ethnic groups call Northern Virginia home. One in ten Virginians are foreign born, and one in nine Virginians speak a primary language that is not English. These numbers are likely several times higher in Northern Virginia than in the rest of the state.

Having Washington DC nearby has made Northern Virginia a magnet for well-educated immigrants. The medical centers also draw a high number of highly skilled immigrant doctors and other medical professionals. Research centers also bring in many highly educated scientists and other scholars. And contrary to the image many immigrant haters have of immigrants as poor, these skilled immigrants are precisely why Loudoun and Fairfax Counties have such high standards of living.

There are stories of survivors all around us, and their stories are of the utmost importance to tell. The genesis of this book came from a US History I class I taught. I became determined to gather these stories after a young Sudanese student’s essay told the story of her grandmother escaping from slavery. Not slavery as in exploitation, or the silly hyperbole of a conservative complaining about high taxes, but literal slavery, an African woman being bought and sold in the late twentieth century, abused and without rights, and finally having to escape in as dramatic a fashion as any Black American slave over 160 years ago.

That student, though, declined to have her story included, and ethically we must respect her wishes. About half of the students I approached are not included in this book. Many had moved on in their academic careers after the semester and their college email addresses were no longer in use. Others, for personal reasons, fear, shame, or worry about affecting relatives, did not want the stories they told to become public.

Among the stories students told to me in family histories for class, but not included in this collection:

A Peruvian student told the story of his uncle taking part in anti-insurgent campaigns, and his uncle’s memories of guilt following his part in the execution in the field of a rebel commander.
A student told of his ancestor’s life on death row before being executed for murder, and the family’s shame at being related to him. Some family members still refuse to speak of it decades later,
A survivor of the civil war in Burundi turned in a family history describing a relative who had to flee for their life to the United States.
A Salvadoran student described her father fleeing El Salvador following the civil war of the 1980s. It was after the military dictatorship, so he did not fear reprisals from death squads, but from others in his village for being in the military.
A Guinean/Togoan student describing her grandfather’s life as the village leader, married to multiple wives.
A Ghanan student described her grandfather being arrested by the British for being part of the independence movement.
A Japanese-American student listened to the story of her aunt’s experience in the US internment camps in World War II.
A student with one Choctaw parent and one Mexican-American described the family traditions on both sides and the prejudice he’s faced.
A student from southwestern Virginia describes a small community’s accounts of themselves as Cherokee descendants who had to hide their ancestry from outsiders for many generations. This student is pursuing an anthropology degree, and I strongly urged her to study her own community.

Here in this collection we have other stories of surviving civil war, of seeing families torn apart and then reunited, loved ones lost, atrocities witnessed, relatives that had to flee, and the survivors that brought their children and grandchildren to the US. We have stories of living through long periods of colonialism and still uncertainly not knowing if your people will ever be independent. We have stories of outright genocide, entire peoples in Cambodia, Greece, Poland, and Rwanda facing whole or partial extinction.

And finally we have the stories of American Indians here in northern Virginia, who have faced both colonialism and genocide, and whose descendants are still in this land in spite of everything done to the contrary. After almost entirely being driven out of Virginia in colonial times, today one meets similar, if not exactly the same, Native people if one knows where to look.

The immigrant stories confound the stereotypes that bigots have of them. Most immigrants to the United States, both the families in this collection or elsewhere, are not from the poorest of the poor. Most are middle class in their home countries. Northern Virginia especially tends to draw quite a few highly educated immigrants, both in the faculty and in the student body and the students’ family members. One frequently meets the offspring of immigrant doctors, business people, and high level bureaucrats.

The American Indian stories also confound many people’s expectations of the area. Most of Virginia’s American Indian population began to be ethnically cleansed as far back as the earliest colonial times. Most every Virginian and other Americans knows the (largely false) legend of Pocahontas and her dealings with Jamestown. What far fewer know is that, upon her death and that of her father Powhattan, the English colonists began an ugly war that, along with disease, killed nine tenths of the Powhattan Confederacy in one generation. The Anglo-Cherokee War and the French and Indian War wiped out or drove away nearly all remaining Native people in the state. As mentioned before, Virginia passed a strict series of racial purity laws, the first in what would become the US, barring interracial marriage or even contact, and classified all Indians in a rigid racial hierarchy.

There are today eight very small state recognized tribes in Virginia, collectively less than 8,000 people on less than 2,000 acres. The ranches near where I grew up in Texas each had more land individually than those eight communities do altogether.

Yet Natives in Northern Virginia persist and thrive. Most Natives in northern Virginia came to the DC metro area for work, the same as many others. One Lakota I knew in graduate school works in the Department of the Interior, as does a Choctaw student who attended my class. The latter gave me the gift of a White House proclamation for Native American Heritage Month.

But the Native population of Virginia is shifting. As in much of the rest of America, the Native population of Virginia is increasingly from Latin America. It seems likely that the largest numbers of Natives in the area are not Mattaponi, Renape, or Cherokee, but Ayamara and Quechua from Bolivia and Peru, Pupile from El Salvador, and Maya from Guatemala and Mexico.

If one wants to go to Native powwows, the closest are at Washington DC universities. Virginia state-recognized tribes are mostly further south and east in the tidewaters region or close to Richmond. But the largest Native dances to be seen in northern Virginia are diabladas (devil dances, as the first Spaniards called them) and morenadas (dark skinned dances), both performed by Bolivian and Peruvian heritage groups in the area at festivals in the summer. These celebrations have both mestizo (mixed ancestry) and Indian people, but the latter are by far the majority. Both dances are indigenous to the Andes, though some theories claim the morenada has an Afro-Bolivian origin.

The structure of this collection is to group these accounts based on the experience of their family member, war, colonialism, or genocide, plus a separate category for American Indian accounts. Each account also has introductory historical background material on the nation of origin. The appendices include the release form each student signed, as well as the guidelines give to all students in my classes writing a family history paper. Each student’s bibliography is at the end of the essay. In some cases, the essay has no bibliography, reflecting when I had not yet required them for student family histories.

There are a number of recurring themes in these essays. One of the most prominent is gratitude that America is a haven for refugees. Another is how many of these students appreciate the struggles and discrimination that their mothers and grandmothers went through as women. Finally a number of these students describe their family member literally facing down evil. In a few cases, the family member largely avoided the great struggles going on in their nation, and that also is worthy of note.

More than a few works on oral history point to the limitations of the genre. Someone wanting exact data, of the kind put out by government and other institutions, should not rely on oral history. For analysis at a macro level, an average untrained person does about as well as one would expect. Some interviewee accounts are astonishingly insightful, while others may not know very much. These persons herein reflect very much the societies that produced them, and sometimes an oral history account may even show that person lazily reproducing falsehoods. One example that particularly stands out in this collection is a student’s family member’s story of “sex slaves” held by a rebel group during the Salvadoran Civil War, likely a government-spread rumor.

But for a micro view of personal and societal attitudes, worldview, and detailed daily life, oral history is outstanding. Oral history is often a study of memory, how these events are transmitted and remembered by members of a population, rather than exact reproduction. The mind does not record events like a camera or tape recorder. For studying what participants feel about what they went through, their perceptions and how they pass them along to family and other loved ones, oral history is ideal.

There certainly is room for many more studies like this one. At just one community college, teaching perhaps 2000 students over the course of five years, I found eleven families of wartime survivors, five of modern day colonialism, and five families with members who survived genocide, plus an almost equal number of survivors who chose not to be published. Had I chosen a different focus, there were any number of other collections that could have been gathered. Indeed, I argue and hope that other professors and even secondary high school teachers reading this should seek to gather family histories. Not just of the families of survivors such as these, but also military veterans, activists, immigration histories, studies focused on a particular ethnic group, and women’s history are all possible collections that could be gathered by teachers at schools.

Ideally, I would like to see the writing of family histories become standard practice in all US history survey courses, as well as other history classes. I could easily see a professor gathering veterans’ accounts either for an antiwar collection or for remembrance of service, or a combination of the two. Ethnic studies certainly could benefit from gathering students’ accounts. Most of the Latin American student essays were gathered in my Latin American classes, as most American Indian essays were in my American Indian classes. Some students chose to share their family experiences with their classmates, making events like the Salvadoran Civil War and Iranian Revolution seem every bit as real as any newsreel. I could also easily see women’s studies courses requiring every student to interview their grandmothers about their lives when younger to see the dramatic differences in women’s lives. Imagine students hearing about the days when abortion was illegal but sexual harassment was not.

Remembrance is important. Teaching about it is even more so