Multimedia Journalist

The Guardian US

Drone markets open in Russia, China and rogue states as America's wars wane

The United States has been using drones as a weapon of warfare for a decade and it was only a matter of time before other nation-states were going to do the same.
— University of Utah law professor Amos Guiora, an international law expert on drone warfare

Last October, in a private ceremony held at a stately mansion on the campus of the California Institute of Technology, the Aerospace Historical Society awarded the reclusive, 78-year-old CEO of General Atomics, Neal Blue, with the prestigious Von Karman Wings Award, a sort of Nobel Prize in the field, for “pioneering novel applications" of military drones.

For Blue, whose life reads like a thriller of private jets, oil profits and secret sorties to the Nicaraguan jungle, and whose company makes military drones with names like Predator and Reaper, the award capped the dominance of profits from drone manufacturing for his company and for the US drone industry at large.

Read full story here.

Stop and frisk: NYPD's 'broken windows' policing 'criminalizes' young black men

Instead of fixing a broken window, you have criminalized those who live in those communities,” said Foy. “It’s a very dangerous policy; it slowly dehumanizes a community.
— Kirsten John Foy, north-east regional director for the civil rights organization the National Action Network

On an ordinary evening last November, Keeshan Harley left his mother’s walk-up apartment in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood and headed to his weekly volunteer-cop watch patrol in nearby Bushwick. He was equipped with a backpack crammed with two handheld video cameras, know-your-rights pamphlets, and flyers advertising an upcoming protest on Staten Island for the late Eric Garner. He also made sure to keep a low profile.

As he turned the block, however, there was an ever-familiar sight: two NYPD officers hopping out of their unmarked navy blue Chevrolet Impala. Within seconds, Harley was in handcuffs.

Read full story here.


Undocumented New York students undeterred in their fight for higher education

  Of the estimated 4,500 undocumented Dreamers who graduate high school every year in New York state, only 5-10% go to college. The reason: lack of access to financial aid. Monica Sibri, herself undocumented, wants to change that

Of the estimated 4,500 undocumented Dreamers who graduate high school every year in New York state, only 5-10% go to college. The reason: lack of access to financial aid. Monica Sibri, herself undocumented, wants to change that

Many people don’t understand what it means to be undocumented, and they don’t want to understand.
— Alondra Ramos, a member of CUNY Dreamers

On a recent bitterly cold afternoon, Monica Sibri hunches over her laptop in the College of Staten Island’s student center. Between constant phone calls, texts and emails, the senior student hardly manages to catch a breath.

She tends to every request before returning her attention to preparing talking points for a Latino civil rights conference she is attending the next day. Sibri, who is 22 and undocumented, says she manages 14- to 16-hour days. “I barely sleep,” she tells me in a rare pause from her duties. 

Sibri is the chair and founder of the CUNY Dreamers, a citywide student group with chapters on many of New York City’s public university campuses dedicated to advocating for the rights of 6,000 undocumented students in the CUNY system. 

Read the full story here.

New York City foster care: stories from children and parents the system failed, A Guardian US investigation

For me, it was better to not be in the system than to be in the system.
— Alyanna Camacho, who spent 4 years in foster care

“I was removed from a safe environment at home with my mom where I wasn’t abused or neglected to a situation where I was very much unsafe,” said Angelo Clement, 21, who signed himself out of the foster care system at 18.

Clement’s story is one of more than 75 collected in recent months through a phone hotline set up by the office of the New York City public advocate, the city’s watchdog agency, where current and former foster care children, relatives and social work professionals anonymously called in and shared their personal stories of hardship with the New York City foster care system.

I interviewed close to a dozen of these individuals, all former foster care children or current birth parents whose children remain in the foster care system. Their stories of frustration with ACS largely portrayed an inflated city bureaucracy that has at times abused its mandate in city family courts, failed to secure a safe living environment for children and in recent years not directed adequate resources to programs focused on providing children with a permanent living situation, known as permanency planning. 

Read the full story here

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