In 2018, we reported on social justice in all its forms—from issues facing indigenous people in Brazil and North Dakota to voting rights in America and online radicalization.
Below, we’ve collected 10 of our best stories from the last year. Some are on-the-ground reporting; others are first-person essays; some are a mix. They’re not all sad, either: Many are stories about persistence, problem solving, and triumph in the face of adversity.
- “Surviving Racism,” by Terese Marie Mailhot
A Native writer struggling against the ignorance of white culture finds that her stories are her lifeline, her wounds are her power, and though the scales have been weighted against her in almost every way, there are many reasons to survive.
- “Among the Gerrymandered,” by Ginger Strand
How redistricting in Michigan has disenfranchised voters and amplified the efforts of the right.
- “My Brother, the White Nationalist,” by Gabriel Thompson
When Josh Damigo finds out his brother is the new face of the white nationalist movement, finding the roots of radicalization becomes personal.
- “These Brazilians Traveled 18 Hours on a Riverboat to Vote. I Went With Them,” by Shannon Sims
Far from the urban hubs of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, thousands of poor Brazilians live in communities along the rivers of the Amazon basin. Many of them traveled hours by boat in order to cast their vote in Brazil’s most important presidential election in a generation.
- “Beatrice Fihn Is Banning Nuclear Weapons, With or Without Us,” by Emily Moon
The Swedish anti-nuclear activist led the United Nations to adopt the first legally binding global nuclear ban. Now, she’s changing the culture.
- “Canada’s Most Prominent Black Activist Is Fighting Doug Ford,” by Brian J. Barth
Desmond Cole says the recent election of Ontario’s right-wing premier is Canada’s Trumpian moment.
- “Bryan Stevenson on What Well-Meaning White People Need to Know About Race,” by James McWilliams
An interview with Harvard University-trained public defense lawyer Bryan Stevenson on racial trauma, segregation, and listening to marginalized voices.
- “The Selling of Two Timberlakes,“ by Hanif Abdurraqib
A look at Justin Timberlake’s rare flexibility in self-fashioning—a flexibility that his idols didn’t always enjoy.
- “Buried Justice,” by Lynzy Billing
The poorest victims of Duterte’s War on Drugs find themselves caught in a cycle of extrajudicial killings and police impunity in Manila’s cemetery slums.
- “For Native Americans, the Battle Against Voter Suppression in North Dakota Is Only the Beginning,” by Massoud Hayoun
Indigenous high schoolers are organizing to let their families vote in an election they argue is designed to block them from the polls.