This Week in People’s History, June 27–July 3
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Newspaper headline: World Court Supports Nicaragua

June 27, 1986. The International Court of Justice rules, by a 12-3 vote, that the Reagan administration's attacks on Nicaragua's Sandinista government had broken international law and violated Nicaragua's sovereignty. The court orders the U.S. to pay damages to Nicaragua. According to the Court's decision, the U.S. actions against Nicaragua  violated international law in four different ways: by using force against Nicaragua when the two countries were at peace, by intervening in Nicaragua's internal affairs, by violating Nicaragua's sovereignty, and by interferring with peaceful maritime commerce. So what did the Reagan administration do? The equivalent of using a get-out-of-jail-free card.  The Court's decision could not be appealed, but the decision's enforcement could be vetoed by any member of the U.N. Security Council. On October 28, 1986, the U.S. did just that.

June 28, 1970. The Christopher Street Liberation Day Committee holds a march to commemorate the first anniverary of the Stonewall rebellion, three days of spontaneous civil disobedence in reaction to anti-gay police violence in the Stonewall Inn and the surrounding Greenwich Village neighborhood.  More than 20 thousand join the 3-mile march from Christopher Street to Central Park, a turnout that pleasantly surprises the organizers. On the same weekend, Los Angeles and Chicago also host their first Gay Pride marches.…

June 29, 1923 (100 years ago). Citizens of upper Manhattan and the west Bronx win a 3-month struggle against the city government's plan to demolish the handsome 85-year-old High Bridge over the Harlem River.  The bridge had been built to carry drinking water, pedestrians and horse-drawn vehicles over the river, but a new water tunnel rendered the aqueduct on the bridge unnecessary.  Even so, the residents of the area did not want to lose one of the city's handsomest structures and to continue using it to carry people and goods. The bridge, which was designated as a New York City landmark in 1967, was reopened to pedestrians and bicyclists in 2015, after having been closed for about 50 years.   

June 30, 1980. In a landmark case, the federal Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit decides Filártiga v. Peña-Irala in favor of the plaintiffs, Dolly and Joel Filártiga. The court finds that U.S. courts have jurisdiction over non-U.S. citizens who commit acts that that are in violation of international law or treaties to which the US is a party, no matter where the action took place.  If, say, a person tortures another (a violation of international law) anywhere in the world and then travels to the United States, they can be arrested and held liable for their action in federal court.

July 1, 1970.  Over three dozen recent medical school graduates form the Lincoln Pediatric Collective to serve the community at Lincoln Hospital, an underfunded public hospital in the South Bronx. The Collective, in collaboration with the the Health Revolutionary Unity Movement, develops and implements the use of a “Patient Bill of Rights,” which was at the time an almost unheard-of initiative, but has since been become standard medical practice.

July 2, 1903 (120 years ago). The government of Cuba agrees to permanently lease 45 acres of land on the shore of Guantanamo Bay to the United States.  The Cuban government initially resisted the arrangement, but when faced with a heavy U.S. military presence that remained on the island after the defeat of the Spanish in the Spanish-American War, eventually gave in.
July 3, 1863 (160 years ago). The Confederate invasion of the North ends when Union forces prevail in the 3-day-long Battle of Gettysburg, the deadliest battle ever on U.S. soil. The Civil War continues for another 21 months, but the Confederates are never again able to conduct a strategic offensive.

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