The week of January 18, 2015

A more perfect union

By Ramon Ramirez

Let me explain.

Assembling an issue about equality is like Michelle Obama encouraging children to plant vegetables: a good thing, an important thing, but a boring, cardboard idea. More tricky is honing in how to think about, define, and forge an issue around the notion.

For us, modern equality means building a more perfect union on the Web. That comes down to connecting everyone, and once there, eroding barriers through the dissemination of information, by breaking up bubbles that cling to dated preconditions, and morphing readers into watchdogs.

This issue is built around highly specific problems and moments that can’t wait and that you need to at least read the first few paragraphs of. To cite my all-time favorite hashtag, doing so will help you #StayWoke.

Speaking of hashtags: They matter now. In Daily Dot Politics Editor Andrew Couts’s irrefutable feature, he traces their history with the dude that invented them. Then he makes an airtight case about their development into pivotal keys to modern, peaceful assembly. That’s a digital activist spirit we likewise toast to internationally, in my piece about the rise of Mexico’s protest culture in the wake of unimaginable national tragedies.

But equality extends beyond examination of the headlines. Here, Aaron Sankin breaks into racial bias in online dating with a litany of expert sources. S.E. Smith audits the accessibility of leading news outlets—including our own. Thomas A. Panek, CEO for one of the world’s premier guide-dog schools, Guiding Eyes, beautifully outlines how painstakingly close we should be to a Web built for the visually impaired. Mona Behnaz Maali maps out her life as a person who stutters and how this underrepresented community is finding a voice online.

With Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend’s watchful eye veering, we encourage you to dedicate several tabs to this volume of humanist reporting.

Illustration by Fernando Alfonso III