#140: What Fullness Is
Happy Thursday, Loyal Subscribers! Thank you for opening Issue #140 of The Highlighter. This week’s issue includes articles on weight loss surgery, lynching, prison practices, and rape. They’re heavy topics, I know — but they’re important, and they center on the sanctity of our bodies, and how they’re fragile. If that’s too much for you, head immediately to the pet photo, then skip down to Anne-otations, where you’ll find plenty of hope.
Also: It’s time for the Annual Reader Survey! I urge you to fill it out for 3 reasons: (1) It will make me happy, (2) It will make The Highlighter better, (3) You might win a big prize. Would you please? You’ll feel refreshed and new! Thank you.
In January, Roxane Gay (#82, #99) decided to get a sleeve gastrectomy, which greatly reduced the size of her stomach. “As a fat person,” Ms. Gay writes, “I am supposed to want to lose weight. I am supposed to be working on the problem of my body.” She told no one, not even her family, about the operation. Now she’s losing weight — but isn’t any happier. (21 min) (For more on weight and our sense of self, see #104, #105, #124)
Elwood Higginbotham was lynched by a white mob in 1935. Up until recently, his family had no information about the horrific event. But the work of the Equal Justice Initiative and the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation offered Mr. Higginbotham’s descendants a chance to learn the truth and to confront the past. (28 min)
Smudgkins, who belongs to loyal subscribers Nathalie and Tyler, is a very tired cat. Want your pet to appear in The Highlighter? j.mp/nominatepet
In most federal prisons, it’s common practice that inmates must share their 6-foot by 10-foot cell with another person. It doesn’t matter that the cells were originally built for one person. You don’t get to choose your cellmate. If you refuse, even because you fear for your safety, you end up in shackles. Sebastian Richardson was in chains for 28 days. (16 min)
This is a harrowing story. John, a 17-year-old boy in Michigan, gets sent to an adult prison after his conviction for home invasion. No matter how many times he requests new cellmates, John is raped, over and over again. Despite the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003, prison officials continue to turn a blind eye to sexual assault. (36 min)
Anne-otations: Youth Takeover Week at KQED
If you’re in the Bay Area, tune into 88.5 FM today and tomorrow to hear local high schoolers take over the radio station. On The California Report, they provide insight into PTSD in Oakland teens. On Forum, they discuss their version of the California Dream. On Perspective, they talk about their fear of being priced out of their hometown and wishing they had a different accent. Well done, Youth Takeover!
Thank you for reading this week’s issue of The Highlighter! Let me know what you thought of today’s issue by using the thumbs below. Also, let’s welcome new subscribers Kait and Geoff! If you like this newsletter, share it with a friend. You will feel outstanding as a result. If it’s not a great fit for you, please unsubscribe. I’ll see you back here next Thursday at 9:10 am. Have a great week!
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