Anna Clark

Anna Clark is a writer and journalist living in Detroit. She maintains the literary and social justice website, Isak.

Recent Articles

There's Something Rotten at the Komen Foundation

Karen Handel's exit from the organization reveals the discord surrounding the Planned Parenthood decision.

AP Photo/John Bazemore
Nancy Brinker, founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, had a placid expression on her face when she assured MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell last week that Karen Handel had nothing much to do with the foundation’s decision to cease funding breast cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood clinics. Brinker was speaking of Komen’s vice president for public policy, a recent hire who stated during her 2010 Georgia gubernatorial campaign that de-funding Planned Parenthood was a policy priority. When Komen cut funds last week to the largest provider of breast cancer screenings in the country, fingers pointed to Handel as the likely catalyst behind the move. Brinker denied it with a straight face. But Karen Handel herself said otherwise. She offered her resignation letter this morning in the wake of the Komen debacle, shortly after the foundation released a hedging statement about retaining Planned Parenthood’s grant eligibility in the future. Handel writes: “I openly acknowledge my role in the...

Komen Foundation Races for the Cuts

The breast-cancer awareness group caves to anti-choice groups and pulls its funds from Planned Parenthood.

AP Photo/Ricardo Thomas
Since its founding in 1982, the Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure has developed a massive network of breast cancer survivors and advocates, made its Race for the Cure ubiquitous, and has grown enough to call itself “the largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer in the world.” Over the years, the group has committed at least $1.2 billion to breast cancer research, advocacy, and services. At the same time, Planned Parenthood, has become one of the largest providers of breast cancer screenings in the nation, particularly for low-income women and women without insurance. In the past five years, more than four million breast exams were performed in Planned Parenthood clinics, along with more than 70,000 mammogram referrals. With a common cause of keeping women healthy, the two iconic organizations partnered together to make breast cancer screenings and education programs affordable. But that association came to an abrupt end Tuesday, when it was...

Death, Interrupted

AP Photo/Rick Bowner
Governor John Kitzhaber of Oregon put a moratorium on executions in his state last week, and he didn't mince words about why. At a November 22 press conference, he called the death penalty broken, unfair, and a "perversion of justice" and said he will urge legislators to consider reforms during their 2013 session. His move halts the execution of Gary Haugen, a man convicted of two murders and scheduled to die December 6. “I am convinced we can find a better solution that keeps society safe, supports the victims of crime and their families, and reflects Oregon values,” Kitzhaber said. “I refuse to be a part of this compromised and inequitable system any longer.” The governor is hardly alone. His decision is the latest step in the accelerating movement to abolish capital punishment in the U.S. through state-by-state moratoriums and voter initiatives. As several states across the country take concrete action to ban the death penalty, activists and political leaders are unabashedly...

Penn State Rallies for Victims

AP Photo
Why does the Penn State community cheer for Joe Paterno? We’ve seen nearly a week’s worth of rallying in support of the legendary football coach after a grand jury indictment made plain that Paterno enabled his longtime assistant’s sexual abuse of children. While the university’s Board of Trustees almost certainly gave Paterno the opportunity to resign immediately, he opted instead to announce his retirement at the end of the season (three regular games and a postseason away). This forced the board’s hand, leading it to fire the coach, along with university president Graham Spanier, Wednesday night. Student rallying turned feverish, and the night ended with rocks and bottles thrown, a lamppost dismantled, and a news van overturned. All of this to protest the firing of someone who could have intervened in the pattern of abuse of young boys by Jerry Sandusky—and did not. The shouts of Penn Staters protesting Paterno’s firing Wednesday night prompted the rest of the nation to look on in...

Pull Over for the Emergency Manager

A challenge to Michigan's anti-democratic law may bypass the courts.

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya) Michigan governor Rick Snyder answers media questions after appointing Roy Roberts the emergency manager of the Detroit school district.
A challenge to a Michigan law that runs roughshod over democracy may now leap-frog the courts. Michigan's emergency-manager law, enacted this spring, gives state appointees unprecedented power over local governments and school districts, including the power to strip elected officials of their authority and to amend and discard union contracts. Poor communities, then, are subject to an unelected person's near-total authority on how they should manage their affairs, creating an exception to democratic systems of checks-and-balances and nullifying the effect of citizen voting. It is unsurprising that communities assigned emergency managers are largely African-American. The Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice in Detroit challenged the new law in circuit court in June, but Governor Rick Snyder asked this month for the case to be fast-tracked to the state's Supreme Court -- which leans strongly conservative -- bypassing the circuit- and appeals-court process. Snyder's push...

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