Mashed Potatoes and Nuclear Sludge: What Our Editors Are Reading | Sojourners

Mashed Potatoes and Nuclear Sludge: What Our Editors Are Reading

My favorite part of Thanksgiving is the leftovers. If we’re being honest, most of the food tastes better the day after the feast. Cranberry sauce becomes a sandwich spread, ham goes into a breakfast taco, bones go into a pot to make enough broth for several weeks of soup. Some happenings are so big that there’s always much leftover.

But not all leftovers are good. Trauma, for instance, can linger for months or years after the initial act of violence, even if a court ruling lands on the side of justice. “Continuing to carry conflict with you at all times is traumatic,” explained Rev. Brittany Caine-Conley, an activist and pastor in Charlottesville, Va., who spoke to Jordan Green for Sojourners a year after largest gathering of white supremacists the United States had seen in two decades.

Even the earth holds the leftovers of violence in her belly. The small town of Mailuu-Suu fueled the Soviet Union’s nuclear program, processing 10,000 metric tons of radioactive uranium ore between 1946 and 1948. “The days of digging up ore at scale are long past, but throughout Kyrgyzstan, radioactive tailings remain close to water sources like rivers and streams, or along hillsides vulnerable to landslides and earthquakes,” writes Diana Kruzman for Gizmodo. Nuclear sludge might be the most loathsome leftover on Earth.

But earth, itself, is the best leftover in the universe. We are fellow creatures with the sun and moon not only because we were made by the same Creator, but because we are made of the same stuff,” writes astrophysicist Deborah Haarsma in the latest issue of Sojourners. We are beloved leftovers of the big bang; we are stardust. Here are some articles to mull over while you scarf down what’s left of the mashed potatoes:

1. How Can Highways Be Racist?
The roads we build pave over history and shape our future. By JR. Forasteros via

2. Could New Soil Practices Save Farmers from Climate Change?
Some farmers believe no-till soil management can insulate plants against extreme weather. Produced by Janet Weinsten and JP Keenan via ABC News.

3. The Truth About Black Women in Ministry
I spoke with a few of my sisters in ministry about the joys and challenges of Black women’s experience in the church and the world of theology. By Brittini L. Palmer via

4. Created From Stardust
We are fellow creatures with the sun and moon not only because we were made by the same Creator, but because we are made of the same stuff. The interstellar nebula called Westerlund 2 shows this process in action.” By Deborah Haarsma via Sojourners.

5. Under Trump, ICE Aggressively Recruited Sheriffs as Partners to Question and Detain Undocumented Immigrants
Emails reveal efforts to expand controversial 287(g) program despite longstanding concerns about discriminatory policing. By Debbie Cenziper, Madison Muller, Monique Beals, Rebecca Holland, and Andrew Ba Tran via The Washington Post.

6. All 3 Men Found Guilty in Murder of Ahmaud Arbery
Faith leaders expressed relief at the verdict and grieved for Arbery’s family. By Madison Muller and Mitchell Atencio via

7. A Tiny Town Was the Soviet Union’s Uranium Hub. Now, It’s Racing to Avoid Disaster
Mailuu-Suu powered the Soviet Union's nuclear program. But climate change and its nuclear legacy are putting the town in Kyrgyzstan at risk. By Diana Kruzman via Gizmodo.

8. The Lasting Trauma of White Nationalist Violence in Charlottesville (2018)
“There’s the trauma of knowing that your city is under siege. Many of us have become very vigilant. Many activists have been targeted online through doxing. Continuing to carry conflict with you at all times is traumatic. Many of us are trying to figure out how to exist in the new normal.” By Jordan Green via

9. Kyle Rittenhouse Was Acquitted. My Friends Got Gang Enhancements
As a prison chaplain, I see Black and brown kids with guns get harsh sentences — while white kids get mental health treatment. By Chris Hoke via

10. We’re Finally Getting a Bean Emoji
And if you really want to explain how much you love beans? All you’ve got to do is combine the new bean emoji with the new face-melting emoji.” By Chris Crowley via Grub Street.