Defend democracy in the South.

Human Rights

South Carolina tire workers expose corporate subsidy, human rights abuses

June 17, 2022 - Workers at state-subsidized Giti Tire, a Singapore-based company with operations in South Carolina, report exposure to toxic substances, forced overtime, and intimidation for pro-union views. Giti workers are in the midst of an organizing drive with the United Steelworkers, and a win could open the door to organizing in a state with the nation's largest tire manufacturing industry.

Will politicians who blame mass shootings on mental illness expand Medicaid?

June 9, 2022 - Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has blamed unaddressed mental health problems for the mass shooting of 19 schoolchildren and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde. So why isn't he pressing to expand Medicaid in his state and others to give more people access to care? Meanwhile, mental health advocates say they worry about politicians' rhetoric linking mental illness and mass shootings.

From the Archives: War resister Walter Collins on racism in the U.S. military

May 26, 2022 - For Memorial Day, we are republishing an interview from a 1973 issue of Southern Exposure with Walter Collins, a longtime Black Freedom Movement activist who was incarcerated in 1970 for refusing the draft. Collins was involved with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee as well as the Black nationalist group the Republic of New Afrika. His interview touches on questions of colonialism and anti-Black repression in the United States, and is an indictment of the racist aspects of the military.

TESTIMONY: In the crosshairs of public education's enemies

May 24, 2022 - A U.S. House subcommittee recently held a hearing into ongoing efforts to limit discussion in public school classrooms on American history, race, and LGBTQ+ issues — and to punish teachers who broach those topics. Among those who testified was James Whitfield, a high school principal from North Texas who lost his job after sending students an email in response to killings of Black people by police and white vigilantes that acknowledged systemic racism and called education "a necessary conduit to get liberty and justice for all."

INSTITUTE INDEX: The corporate money backing 'great replacement' politicians

May 19, 2022 - The racist and antisemitic conspiracy theory that claims elites are trying to replace the current electorate with immigrants has been tied to numerous domestic U.S. terror attacks, including the recent massacre of Black people inside a grocery store in Buffalo, New York. We look at some of the elected officials who promote the idea — and the corporate contributions flowing to their campaigns.

INSTITUTE INDEX: Ending subminimum wages for workers with disabilities

May 13, 2022 - A number of states, including several in the South, are bucking the federal policy that allows companies to pay workers with certain disabilities less than the basic minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. The Biden administration recently took an initial step to address that pay disparity for tens of thousands of disabled workers nationwide, while a bill to end the practice is stalled in Congress.