Middlebury Magazine has just published my cover story featuring Meron Benti, an Ethiopian student who suffers from albinism, a rare genetic trait that dramatically reduces the body's ability to produce the pigment melanin. Her appearance drew unwanted attention on the streets in Ethiopia and difficulty in fitting in with the schools:
She doesn't remember her first day of kindergarten, or much of kindergarten at all. Of course, she wasn't privy to the fact that the school in her neighborhood didn't want to take her, that the teachers didn’t want to teach her, that she was thought to be incapable of learning in a "regular" classroom, and that the school administrators felt they had no way to accommodate "her differences."
She soon left Ethiopia to live with her brother in Italy, and later on, the United States. Head over to the Middlebury Magazine website to read more about Meron's struggle.
A recent Republican-backed change in how the Congressional Budget Office values federal lands has made it easier to pass legislation which would hand off large areas of public land to state and local officials. Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz has introduced HR 621 a bill to sell off federal lands in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming. Chaffetz claims these lands have little value and create great expense for taxpayers, but much of this land is leased to cattle ranchers for grazing and the fossil fuels industry for drilling.