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Black Boxes

Editor’s Note: This is an update to a powerful essay published on April 24, 2014 on storyofamerica.org, Not a Monster’s Daughter. It included this breathtaking line: "My name is Megan A. Collins, I am rape conceived and I should be afforded the right to my own history. This is my story." The update is in two sections: “Black Boxes" and "“Reflecting on the experience of publishing my story.” Black Boxes Though most adoptees could not imagine a time when record access would be open, on March 20, 2015, the state of Ohio opened all sealed adoptions finalized between 1964-1996. The option was given to birth parents to have their name redacted from the original birth certificate if they filed the correct forms by the March 19th deadline. A basic medical information packet was required to be completed for this to be an option. Of 400,000 records, one hundred and fourteen redactions were said to have been completed by the deadline. Continue reading

Baltimore Rising — Bob Zellner statement re. charges filed in Baltimore

On the historic day of May 1, 2015, I had the good fortune to be with Civil Rights legend Bob Zellner. In the early 1960's, Bob was arrested and tortured by police several times for leading peaceful Civil Rights demonstrations as the first white Southerner to serve as Field Secretary for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Below is his written statement. Bob Zellner, May 1, 2015: Today is May Day, an international day of solidarity among working people.  On this May Day, 2015, people will take away different things from the actions of the young State’s Attorney in Baltimore, Marilyn Mosby, charging six police officers with serious crimes including murder in the death of Freddie Gray.  Continue reading

"This Is Scary" my arrest at Occupy Los Angeles

I have just learned of a $2.45 million settlement between the City of Los Angeles and lawyers representing the nearly 300 people who were arrested at the Occupy Los Angeles protests during the 2 am hour of Nov. 30, 2011.  I was one of them.  I understand this means I may receive some money from the city. This would be a form of justice for two reasons: (1) the ordeal detailed below, and (2) Lord knows I've paid the City of LA enough money in parking tickets. This is the account I wrote a few days after my release from jail, with photos I shot with my phone. That first one — click to enlarge — was shot moments before I was arrested as a wall of militarized police marched toward me.     Continue reading

Sustaining a Lifetime of Movement: Advice From the Young at Heart

Today a friend in the justice movement texted me these words: "Happy New Year. I'm depressed." In trying to offer some advice, I summarized the remarks quoted below, which had made me feel better about life.     Continue reading

Divide between communities and police

As you know, Story of America aims to create greater understanding and civil engagement on divisive issues. One of our goals for 2015 is to create better dialogue between communities and law enforcement. We were able to contribute to the dialogue in Prince William County through our critically acclaimed documentary project 9500 Liberty, the youtube series and the feature film. This is the trailer for the film.  Continue reading