This week in OtherWords, Farrah Hassen remembers the legendary Harry Belafonte, who passed away recently at age 96 after an incredible life.

Farrah had a privileged view of that life for a short time. “He was my first boss after college,” Farrah writes. “I was just beginning my career, knowing only that I was drawn to social justice and the arts. There was no better person to learn about either than from Mr. B.” Her tribute is well worth reading.

Also this week, nonprofit immigration attorney Daniella Prieshoff unpacks the dehumanizing — and often just plain incorrect — language that’s become common in media reports about immigrants and asylum seekers. And Paul Armentano digs up some shocking quotes from the early architects of the federal government’s war on marijuana to show why legalization can’t come soon enough.

New This Week…

The Artist Who Taught Me About Justice | Farrah Hassen
In my first job after college, I was an assistant to Harry Belafonte. There was nobody better to learn from about justice and the arts.

Retire This Dehumanizing Language About Immigrants | Daniella Prieshoff
Human beings fleeing persecution are not a “flood” or “surge.” And it’s not “illegal” when they cross the border to seek asylum.

The Drug War’s Dark Origins | Paul Armentano
When you hear why politicians wanted to ban marijuana in the first place, you’ll understand why our century of prohibition can’t end soon enough.

Cartoon: The GOP’s One Great Obsession | Khalil Bendib
Hint: It’s not freedom.

In Case You Missed It…

Armed and Afraid: The High Price of Fear | Svante Myrick
As more senseless shootings claim lives, it’s time to turn away from apocalyptic rhetoric and focus on what actually makes us safer.

Stop the War on LGBTQ Teachers | Randy Fair
It’s hard enough being a teacher at all, but cruel new laws are putting dedicated LGBTQ teachers in particular danger. When will the madness end?

It’s Time for Supreme Court Term Limits | Sonali Kolhatkar
The mounting scandals surrounding Clarence Thomas show the danger of lifetime appointments without ethical standards.

Baseball’s Deadly Rule Change | Sam Pizzigati
Welcome rule changes have shortened MLB games — but owners are pushing beer sales later into shorter games. That could have deadly consequences.

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Peter Certo

Peter Certo is the communications director of the Institute for Policy Studies and editor of

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