Grief, rage, unemployment, lack of housing, food insecurity, police brutality, wildfires, lies, deportation, climate change, quarantines, loneliness, despair. We know this list is not new. We know the sexist, homophobic, racist, and classist institutions governing much of the world have created untenable conditions of domination and violence for a very long time. And yet, in late fall 2020, as governments fumble and a global pandemic wreaks ever greater havoc, a sense of urgency is palpable. “Do something,” the world cries. “Do something.”

My task is to write this editorial note. But I’ve been stalling, feeling lethargic, and wondering what, after all, can words really do? Who will read them and when, and what does it matter anyway? Then I reread the contents of this issue. When a transgender programmer from the 1970s pounds a fist on the computer...

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