Happy Black History Month!
The Skinny on COVID
The latest in numbers: 26M total cases & 441K deaths (+1M & +22K from last week)
A recent study ranked the US as the 5th worst country when it comes to managing the pandemic. New Zealand is #1.
Nearly half of the COVID-19 vaccines distributed in NYC have gone to white people, further demonstrating communities of color’s uncertainty around its safety.
All About the Tubmans, Baby??
Joe Biden recommitted to putting Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill and even wants to accelerate production, but...is there a better way to honor her? Critics say not only is the move not progressive, but it’s disrespectful to put her face on the very thing that her body was traded for—currency. They argue that if we want to insert Ms. Tubman into conversations about capital, we should instead be discussing the redistribution of funds and resources into Black communities.
What are your thoughts?
Keeping Up with Biden & Harris
Biden signed 4 executive orders related to racial equity last week. They centered on fair housing practices, ending the federal relationship with private prisons, recognizing tribal sovereignty, and denouncing anti-Asian sentiment amidst the pandemic.
Here’s an updated list on all executive orders he’s signed (42 to be exact) since he came into office.
Already facing criticism for appointing establishment Democrats to top posts, it appears as though this new administration is actually filling many of its sub-Cabinet posts with progressives. Could this mean substantial change is on the way?
10 GOP Senators have been invited to the White House to share their proposed COVID-19 relief package, which they hope will garner bipartisan support. Our expectations are low, but more details on the Senators’ proposal will be available at some point today.
Criminal Justice Round Up
Voters in New York & California want more civil rights lawyers nominated & appointed to federal judicial positions. Typically those positions go to corporate lawyers & former prosecutors.
A Georgia police chief resigns and an officer is fired after the two are recorded on a body cam having a vulgar conversation about Stacey Abrams & Keisha Lance Bottoms, using the N-word, and claiming that all Black people had to do during slavery was work.
Congress, What’s Good?
The filibuster fight is over because Democrats can’t stick together, even if their party’s platform depended on it. The Senate will now move forward with a 50-50 power sharing agreement in which Democrats will be in charge of what’s brought to the floor and all committees will have an equal share of representatives from both parties.
Newest Squad member Cori Bush (D-MO) teamed up with Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) to call for environmental justice to be served alongside climate change. Their bill would direct climate funding into areas that need it most (typically Black & brown neighborhoods) & create a national database of the research done that demonstrates the parallels between racial and environmental iniquities.
The topic of DC statehood emerged again after Democratic Senators proposed last week to make non-federal parts of the capital city our 51st state. The House passed a bill in June, but it stalled in McConnell’s Senate because DC is a democratic stronghold. Now with Democrats in control of Congress, the chances of the bill being passed are higher.
The impeachment trial will begin Tuesday February 9 (not the 8th), but that boy Trump is losing lawyers like they’re popular votes. All 5 of the attorneys on his defense team resigned late last week, prompting him to find two new stand-ins real quick. If his lawyers ain’t loyal though, he can still depend on Republican Senators. 45 of them voted to declare the trial unconstitutional. It wasn’t enough votes to stop things from proceeding, but it was a nice try.
On the meeting & hearing schedule this week:
Increasing vaccine distribution in the states
Examining the culture & climate at Fort Hood, which has been at the center of a few high profile scandals lately
Around the Diaspora
Montserrat hopes to boost its economy with a new remote work program. Joining other Caribbean islands with similar offerings, Montserrat is providing year-long visas for remote workers at a cost of $500-$750 USD.
This Bahamian teacher and her students have been working since 2013 to reduce ocean plastic. Last year, they successfully pushed for a ban on single-use plastics in their country.
Getting to the Money
How’s this for inspiration? Calendly, a Black-owned, cloud-based scheduling platform recently received a $3B valuation. Let this be a reminder to keep pushing your brightest ideas because the right people will see them and acknowledge their true value in due time.
Sony Music Entertainment is looking for Black, Indigenous, or Hispanic/Latinx applicants for their new Data Strategy and Analytics Rotation Training Program. The program is open to 2020 and 2021 college graduates (from both undergraduate and graduate programs) and will provide enrollees the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the music industry from a data perspective. The deadline to apply is February 26. Check it out for yourself or share with a loved one.
Ola & Mide provides sustainable dishware for babies and toddlers while honoring its owner’s Nigerian heritage. Try a combination of their spoons, bowls or bibs on your precious little ones and rest assured that their products are safe and FUBU.
Culture that Pops
We lost queen Cicely Tyson at the age of 96 last week. When you have time, take a look back at her iconic performances that solidified her legacy in our hearts forever.
Black Lives Matter was nominated for a 2021 Nobel Peace Prize, yall! While the organization's 3 founders would be taking home a prize, a potential win for BLM would underscore just how powerful of a force we are when we all come together.
If you’re in need of more books for the lil brown-skinned girls or boys in your life, the African American Children’s Book Fair is going virtual this year.