Today is another day and that means more news of terrible inequality and injustice. However, today’s news also comes with stories of people bravely fighting against terrible odds to make America align a little bit more with the nation it claims to be. Thank you again to Newseum.org for helping to curate and highlight local reporting in a time when it is both increasingly vital and increasingly threatened.
Levin Federal Courthouse in Detroit, Michigan. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, reproduced courtesy of the Library of Congress
An Oakland County judge has refused to release a Black teenager incarcerated in May for not doing her schoolwork. According to the judge in question, juvenile detention is exactly where she is supposed to be. Advocates for the girl insist that failure to complete schoolwork was not a valid violation of the terms of her parole and it’s inhumane to incarcerate a teenager for something so petty during a pandemic.
Disagreements between families on the right way to open up schools continue, bridging the political divide but remaining no less contentious. Many families are hoping for the best and wanting a return to normalcy and the distance that separate lives outside the homes bring (fearing the continued emotional harms of quarantine), while many are equally worried about the physical harms that a premature opening could visit on students, staff, and families. For their part, staff are also gripped with troubling questions related to reopening: Namely, many staff stand to lose their health insurance if schools do not reopen and so they either face a pandemic in person or without any kind of health insurance.
Residents of western Georgia’s rural counties are having to drive to public locations to get the internet access they need to complete basic life tasks. Students crowd library and school parking lots trying to get the bandwidth needed to complete assignments and patients are having to wait for absurd hours to discuss vital health conversations with their doctors. The reason is that a full 10% of the state lacks any access to the internet, despite the fact that our entire society was built around it even before the quarantine forced us to remain home. This poses real health risks for already at-risk communities trying to weather the pandemic but unable to access basic, vital functions of society.
Photo of the Crispus Attucks Monument in Boston, by Malarkey83 reproduced under CC BY-SA 3.0 License
From the lionization of truly brutal and reprehensible would-be aristocrats like Thomas Jefferson to the very term “Founding Fathers,” discussions once only popular in academia are now commonplace. Many Black Americans feel that the country cannot move forward without reckoning with its (in some cases literal) idolization of people who literally owned their ancestors. One undeniably positive aspect of this renewed scrutiny of the period is the elevation of new icons like Crispus Attucks, whose story feels all the more relevant in the era of militarized police behaving like an occupying army and murdering Black citizens with an attitude of impunity.
Chicagoan service industry workers are striking for better working conditions in solidarity with other service industry workers across the country. At a time when Americans are reckoning with this country’s legacy of discrimination, we’re forcing the disproportionately-Black service industry workers to bear the brunt of the pandemic to keep our creature comforts functioning in a pandemic. Notably, workers are demanding sick leave and health insurance which seem particularly important to give them during an unprecedented pandemic.
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