This week: "Union Joe" thwarts a rail strike; Congress moves to protect same-sex and interracial marriages; police continue to achieve uncomfortable new levels of authority in NYC & SF; and CA's Reparation's Task Force throws out a very large number, but is it large enough?
What the Health
The latest COVID numbers: 99M total cases & 1M total deaths (+364K & +2K from last week) in the US.
Despite the concessions some of us might have made for COVID, 60% of Black folks are still not getting the flu vaccine. (Have you ever received the flu vaccine?)
Another World AIDS Day passes where Black people continue to be disproportionately affected by the disease. According to findings released earlier this year, we represented 43% of new cases despite being only 12-13% of the US population. The biggest culprit for these circumstances? Systemic racism.
2 Days Left, Georgia
GEORGIA. Tomorrow is the last day. If you haven’t already, please go vote in the Senate runoff election. We need Herschel Walker TF outta here.
Keeping Up with Biden & Harris
Rail unions threatened a strike over not having paid sick leave. The “pro-union” POTUS asked Congress to stop the strike, sick days not included.
The Supreme Court will hear full arguments from both sides on the legality of the student loan forgiveness program. While arguments will be heard in February, the Court’s decision is expected to come in June.
Making sure to bolster himself against potential Democratic challengers in 2024, Joe Biden switched the first Democratic primary election to South Carolina. Thanks to Black voters, he performed well in South Carolina during the 2020 primary.
Congress, What’s Good?
In a rare show of bipartisan support, the Senate passed the Respect for Marriage Act, requiring states to recognize same-sex & interracial marriages performed in other states. This comes as questions mount over the Supreme Court’s potential to strike down their 2015 ruling that legalized same-sex marriages. The act is now headed to the House to vote on it again (with a new religious freedom amendment) and then to Biden to make it official official.
In the latest edition of “I can give it to you, but what you gone do with it…” House Democrats finally have access to 45’s tax returns. What will they do with the documents? They’ll likely just examine whether Tr*mp mismanaged his taxes and how the IRS handled it, if so. Releasing them for public scrutiny is allegedly not in the cards.
Oh yeah: Nancy Pelosi is officially out and Hakeem Jeffries is officially in.
Ps. Those rail workers can thank Senate Republicans & Republican-lite Joe Manchin for not getting their sick days.
Among the topics coming up in this week’s committee meetings:
Social Justice Round Up
Elected officials in San Francisco have approved their police department’s use of robots that can deploy lethal force. These killer robots will be cleared to hit the streets after another vote tomorrow and the mayor’s eventual signing of the policy.
New York’s mayor wants to give police authority to involuntarily hospitalize the mentally ill based on if they appear to be having a mental health crisis. Raise your hand if you can see this program going well…
California’s Reparations Task Force is close to wrapping up its report of potential solutions and one of their recommendations is supposed to be a payment of $223K per descendant of US slavery currently living in the state. How we feeling about this? (Important to note before folks get too worked up…the report is still in progress & the state legislature isn’t bound to act on any of the suggestions the task force comes up with.)
Around the Diaspora
While the Continent collectively had a better World Cup performance this year than in previous years, Morocco is the last African team standing.
It’s still difficult for aid workers to reach those in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. This is due to the slow drawdown of forces in Eritrea (who wasn’t part of the peace agreement) and also in some parts of Ethiopia.
Nigeria’s schoolchildren will only learn in their mother tongue for the first 6 years of their education. English will no longer be part of their curriculum.
Barbados’ PM Mia Mottley is among this year’s “25 Most Influential Women,” according to the Financial Times.
Getting to the Money
Looking for your next gig in tech? Consider using the Black Tech Pipeline in your search. In addition to having a job board of organizations currently hiring nationwide, their talent match service will also recommend companies that are committed to hiring Black talent.
Greentop Gifts is an Atlanta-based company that creates gift wrap, plus holiday-themed apparel and accessories, for us. Check out their website for their full offering of products. You can also grab their products in Target stores, via macys.com, or on Amazon.
Culture that Pops
Morehouse is teaching Black history in the metaverse.
Y’all better come up here and get one of these. It’s a discounted flight to Ghana, thanks to Vic Mensa, Chance the Rapper & United Airlines.
Jackson State completed its first undefeated football season and won the SWAC championship shortly before it was confirmed that coach Deion Sanders was leaving for University of Colorado. The announcement has folks debating: Did he sell out for a bigger (and whiter) bag or was his work at Jackson State done?