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The Cobalt Crisis: How Innovation Is Fueling Injustice & Exploitation

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

Cobalt is a mineral utilized for lithium batteries in computers, electric cars, and cell phones.  The demand for cobalt continues to rise.  According to estimates by the World Economic Forum’s Global Battery Alliance, the demand for cobalt is expected to grow fourfold by 2030; mainly due to the electric vehicle boom.  The demand for cobalt has tripled in the last several years. 

Greater than 60% of the world’s cobalt comes from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).  It is often mined by impoverished men, women, and children for as little as $2 per day. Appalling human rights violations related to mining operations abound at artisanal mines in the DRC.  Workers at these mines typically have no safety equipment.  It is also well known that handling cobalt exposes workers to toxins that sicken workers and cause birth defects.  DRC has experienced significant conflict and disruption.  DRC has also faced the challenge of fighting Ebola and government corruption.  Child labor, serious injuries, fatal accidents, violent conflict between miners and security personnel occur regularly.

Continue reading “The Cobalt Crisis: How Innovation Is Fueling Injustice & Exploitation”

Acupuncture & Activism: Dr. Mutulu Shakur & The People’s Drug Program

Black History: Special Delivery!!

Dr. Mutulu Shakur (1950 – )

Established on 1970, The People’s Drug Program was launched at Lincoln Hospital in New York by the Young Lords, the Black Panther Party, and other community activists. The Young Lords is a Puerto Rican liberation organization founded in 1968. The Black Panther Party was Black power political organization founded in 1966. Instrumental in this cause was Mutulu Shakur, a member of the black liberation group, the Republic of New Afrika.  Shakur was interested in the use of acupuncture to treat addiction.  Shakur became aware of acupuncture when his son received it after a car accident.    Shakur received training and began to practice acupuncture as part of the People’s Drug Program in 1971 along with Walter Bosque and other community volunteers. 

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