No Booze or Bikinis Allowed

Photo: Wikimedia Commons


Speaking of spring break, when I was just in DC, I met a college student who worked for the US Campaign for Burma who had taken a very different kind of vacation to Thailand: a fact-finding mission about the Burma crisis. It was one of American University’s “Alternative Breaks,”

and check out this superfun description of the itinerary: “Students critically examined refugee issues, US sanctions on Burma, governance within the Burmese government in exile and other sociopolitical organizations within the democracy movement, as well as the role of international institutions in responding to the complex humanitarian and political challenges to development in Burma.” Party!

I’m familiar with alternative cruises and alternative summer camps, but wasn’t aware that such a huge number of schools, from Stanford to Colorado State to the University of Virginia, offer opportunities to learn about topics like veterans’ health care, the Cherokee Nation, human services in Argentina, and Nepalese gender stratification on spring, summer, and Christmas breaks. The number of kids participating in these continually expanding projects outweighs the number appearing annually on MTV Spring Break Challenge. Who says we’re a nation of vapid and apathetic youth?

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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