Good morning, gentle readers! The best way to start off the week is with some rich longreads, so, naturally, we’ve got your back with a mix of some of the things we’re loving this week — but in a wide world of journalism, there’s always something we’re missing, so please, tell us what you’re reading in the comments!
‘Trans, Teen and Homeless: America’s Most Vulnerable Population‘ (Laura Rena Murray for Rolling Stone)
An alarming percentage of the US homeless community is LGBQT, and many are youth. The nation is clearly failing to meet the needs of its most vulnerable, at great cost to trans kids struggling to survive in a world that wants them dead. This sensitive portrait examines the myriad ways in which trans people are exploited by a system designed to silence them.
Even in the shelter system, young people rarely have a chance to stabilize their lives. At a dinner for homeless LGBTQ youths at St. Luke’s Church in the West Village, two trans girls walk in with obvious injuries. One of them, Elii, a 24-year-old from Queens, keeps her left arm hidden in a gray hoodie that is covered in blood. Two nights earlier, her boyfriend stabbed her in the hand and left bicep during a drunken fight; her left earlobe still sports stitches from when he previously cracked her head open with a wooden board. Elii recently lost her bed at a youth shelter. “I was written up for going to the bathroom at night because I wasn’t fully dressed,” she says. “I was in my long T-shirt and underwear.”
‘Meet The “Young Saints” Of Bethel Who Go To College To Perform Miracles‘ (Molly Hensley-Clancy for Buzzfeed)
For all that it’s a subject of fascination, evangelical Christianity is often the subject of dismissive commentaries and coverage designed to expose it as foolish and laughable, serving to further alienate those living at the fringes of society. This thoughtful look at a Christian sect with an unusual view on miracles and prophets treats the subject seriously and respectfully, and the result is an intimate, thorough portrait.
The Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry is at the forefront of a burgeoning — and decidedly youthful — evangelical Christian revival. Some have called its movement the fastest-growing religious group in America — a loose network of churches, led by so-called apostles, who see supernatural gifts like prophecy and faith healing as the key to global conversion. While other religious movements struggle to retain members and draw in young people, Bethel attracts millennials in droves.
‘A Life on the Line‘ (Vivian Ho, et al for the San Francisco Chronicle)
What went so dramatically wrong in the case of Cecilia Lam, who was killed by an intimate partner after multiple contacts with law enforcement and a mounting pile of evidence suggesting that she was in grave danger? This deep dive into the handling of intimate partner violence cases in San Francisco, and Lam’s death, is superb reading.
Citing the lack of any injury and that Cecilia did not appear frightened, neither officer considered the visit a domestic violence call, according to their depositions. By doing so, they did not initiate several steps laid out in department policy. They did not offer Cecilia a victim referral card listing resources should she need them, nor did they inform her of her right to make a citizen’s arrest.
‘They thought they were going to rehab. They ended up in chicken plants‘ (Amy Julia Harris and Shoshana Walter for Reveal)
In the midst of the opioid epidemic and all the rhetoric it entails, courts are sending some people to rehabilitation in lieu of sentencing, claiming it helps people get on the right track. Sometimes, their intentions are derailed by exploitative systems, like fake rehabs that send them out as contract labour for slaughterhouses and meat processing facilities. Without pay.
McGahey had heard of Christian Alcoholics & Addicts in Recovery. People called it “the Chicken Farm,” a rural retreat where defendants stayed for a year, got addiction treatment and learned to live more productive lives. Most were sent there by courts from across Oklahoma and neighboring states, part of the nationwide push to keep nonviolent offenders out of prison.
‘Secrets of the South‘ (Kaitlin Greenidge for Lenny Letter)
It’s rare to get a glimpse into a private, intimate world like this — even as the larger US is waking up to the reality that Black women are tremendous powerhouses for social change and community power, they’re doing the work they’ve been doing for centuries, sometimes in utter obscurity.
This is a moment that exemplifies the spirit of the Tents. It is an organization made up of dozens of chapters all over the South and Northeast, with hundreds of members currently. It was founded on the ideals of freedom, independence, and self-autonomy, but it is also firmly rooted in the practical. The Tents is a massively successful, wonderfully efficient community self-help organization that has operated without outside help for over 150 years. But because it is run by and for black women — black churchwomen — it is largely unknown and in fact was deliberately kept secret for much of its existence.
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