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Dispatches: Five Essential Reads From the Past Week

A collection of some of our most important and timely stories, from a feature on California's progressive history to a photo essay capturing the lifelong effects of trauma.

A rundown of five of our most important and timely stories from the past week.

  1. What happens after a lifetime of abuse and violence? Photographer Nina Berman met a young girl named Cathy on the streets of London in the early 1990s. After following her around the city for a night, she then began an on-again off-again documentation of the next 25 years of her life. Experience Berman's photo essay here.
  2. From its very origins to the present day, California has had a long history of taking a relatively progressive approach to the pressing issues of the day. Greg Orfalea looked back at the history of the Golden State, starting with explorer Junípero Serra, and followed these lines of exceptionalism to the modern day. Read Orfalea's feature here.
  3. America's symphonies are experiencing their own #MeToo movement. For most of their history, orchestras across America have largely excluded female composers and conductors, creating a large gender gap within classical music performance. Senior staff writer Tom Jacobs spoke to some of the people trying to change that. Read Jacobs' piece here.
  4. In Manila's cemetery slums, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's regime is carrying out its "War on Drugs" with bloody and reckless aplomb. The residents of these ramshackle shanty towns are forced to deal with extrajudicial killings and violence on an almost daily basis. Lynzy Billing went to these areas to document the suffering imposed by Duterte's regime. Read Billing's story here.
  5. In the past, information about human behavior collected by social scientists was largely held in public institutions. As a result, this information was predominantly used to solve some of society's biggest problems, but now, as staff writer Francie Diep writes, new research from the Social Science Research Council reveals that much of this data is held by private companies—and it's being used for private gain. Read Diep's story here.

This dispatch originally appeared in The Lede, the weekly Pacific Standard email newsletter for premium members. The Lede gives premium members greater access to Pacific Standard stories, staff, and contributors in their inbox every week. While helping to support journalism in the public interest, members also receive early access to feature stories, an ad-free version of, and other benefits.