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Here’s our pick of news, writing, and research this week that investigates political questions at the intersections of gender, race, and region.

1. “Hunger-striking immigrant moms and kids allege retaliation
More than 70 mothers being held at Karnes County Residential Center in Texas have been participating in a hunger and work strike, protesting their conditions and bringing attention to allegations of sexual abuse. Amanda Sakuma at MSNBC.com reports that lawyers and advocacy groups are now alleging those women are facing retaliation for their strike.

2. “New Legs for ‘This Bridge Called My Back’
Miriam Zoila Pérez interviews Cherríe Moraga, co-editor of the formative 1981 anthology “This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color” that was re-released last month. “To really be a politically conscious person, you have to be really hopeful,” Moraga says in the interview.

3. “The Radical Vision of Toni Morrison
Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah writes in the New York Times Magazine about Toni Morrison’s work as an author and editor, and her impact on American literature. Ghansah: “Morrison wanted to not only broaden the tastes of the industry, she also wanted to change the fate of a literary culture… By publishing black geniuses, she was also forcing the ranks of the big publishing houses and the industry to become more hospitable to her point of view, to the idea that a black writer could write for a black audience first and still write literature.”

4. “Transgender Woman Cites Attacks and Abuse in Men’s Prison
The Justice Department has intervened on behalf of Ashley Diamond, a transgender woman incarcerated in a men’s prison in Georgia, in her federal lawsuit against state corrections officials. Deborah Sontag writes for the New York Times about Ashley’s life in Rome, Georgia, her experiences while incarcerated, and her advocacy for safer conditions.

5. “Not Just a Ferguson Problem: How Traffic Courts Drive Inequality in California
A new study by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area investigates traffic court policies in California and their impact on poor and working-class residents. “A litany of practices and policies turn a citation offense into a poverty sentence: the revenue incentives of fine collection lead to increased citation enforcement, add-on fees for minor offenses double or quadruple the original fine, and people who fail to pay because they don’t have the money lose their driver’s licenses… over 4 million people, or more than 17% of adult Californians, now have suspended licenses for a failure to appear or pay.”

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