Stories written by Judith Scherr

For Disenfranchised Haitian Islanders, Tourism Signals a Paradise Lost

Calm waters lap the shore beneath stately coconut palms. Mango trees display their bounty alongside mangrove forests. Goats graze peacefully on hillsides.

California Cities Gear Up to Fight “Big Soda”

Mexico is fighting obesity and accompanying diseases with a one-peso per litre tax on sugar-sweetened beverages that kicked in Jan. 1. France implemented its “cola tax” in 2012. Several U.S. states tax sugar-sweetened beverages, including Vermont, Rhode Island, Arkansas, Tennessee, West Virginia and Virginia. Illinois legislators are considering such a tax.

Mental Illness Plus Police Often Equals Tragedy

Just before midnight on Feb. 12, Kayla Xavier Moore’s roommate dialed 911. Moore, 41, a paranoid schizophrenic, was off her prescription meds and highly agitated. The roommate thought he knew the drill – Moore would be taken to a psychiatric hospital, stabilised with medication and allowed to go home in 72 hours.

San Francisco Pride Draws Huge Crowd, Critics

Sporting wedding gowns, tuxedos, leather, beads, bangles, union t-shirts and Free Bradley Manning buttons – and some wearing just about nothing at all – some 1.5 million people poured into downtown San Francisco Sunday to celebrate lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender pride.

May Day Marchers Spread Their Wings

More than 1,000 people marched under the brilliant San Francisco sun on May Day. Their signs, such as “Work in America/Live in America/Dream in America. Immigration reform now,” their songs, chants and speeches wove together the twin themes of the day: worker justice and immigrant justice.

U.S. Fourth Graders Fight to Bring Home Deported Classmate

Rodrigo Javier Diaz Guzman was a fairly typical Berkeley, California kid. He loved playing baseball and video games, enjoyed school and got good grades, watched Ninjago on TV, and ate take-out burritos and Chinese food whenever he could.

A Tale of Love Letters and Poison Pens

Several dozen people filled the seats in a downtown storefront Tuesday night to plan how to save a landmark they say belongs to the community - a 99-year-old post office the United States Postal Service wants to sell.

Drones Come Home, to U.S. Privacy Activists’ Dismay

Better known as drones, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles piloted by military in the U.S. hunt and kill suspected enemy combatants abroad. Now the drones are coming home to beef up local law enforcement.

Occupy Celebrates Birthday, Forges Ahead

Led by a spirited brass band and waving placards decrying corporate greed, hundreds of occupiers took to San Francisco streets Monday to celebrate Occupy Wall Street’s first birthday, culminating in a ceremony where they symbolically ripped apart loan documents.

Book Exposes Violent Role of Paramilitaries in Haiti

Haiti’s brutal army was disbanded in 1995, yet armed and uniformed paramilitaries, with no government affiliation, occupy former army bases today.

U.S.: Being Young and Homeless Could Get Even Worse

Amber, 24, who’s been living on the streets half her life, was sitting on a sunny sidewalk in downtown Berkeley last week, cuddling her three-month-old puppy and talking to a friend. But if voters approve a measure the city council placed on the November ballot, sitting on the sidewalk – after a warning – could cost her 75 dollars.

Liberal Berkeley Poised to Acquire Armoured Vehicle

The city of Berkeley, California has long been regarded as a leader in the movements for peace, free speech and civil liberties. But this very city is now poised to follow the lead of hundreds of others around the United States where local police deploy armoured vehicles to fight crime and terrorism.

Activists from Many Nations Condemn Chevron

More than 100 people gathered Wednesday outside the gates of Chevron's sprawling headquarters in upscale San Ramon in the San Francisco Bay area of California, where police and security barred those without passes to the shareholder meeting from entering.

U.S.: Occupiers Reclaim Land for Sustainable Farming

With hoes, shovels, some 15,000 seedlings and a bolt cutter to break the locks that kept them out, students, community members and participants from nearby Occupy movements have laid claim to an undeveloped 10-acre parcel since Earth Day, Apr. 22, in Albany, California.

U.S.: Marches and Militancy at Occupy Oakland’s May Day

It was May Day and Oakland was bathed in sunshine. Union workers staged militant actions; immigrants and allies marched for justice with brass bands and drummers; spontaneous street parties erupted.

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