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Just One of Dem Days

Today marks one year since George Floyd was murdered. What has changed? Not much. 30 states and many large cities have new rules limiting police tactics. Most common: banning neck restraints and requiring officers to intervene when a fellow officer uses extreme force. There has also been a bigger focus on racism by Corporate America. But that about sums up the changes we’ve made as a country. In fact, according to political scientists support for Black Lives Matter is waning. Most notibly in Republicans but also in Demnocrats the support is down from immediately following Floyd’s murder. 

Part of this divide comes from the disagreement on what to actually do to stop police from killing minorites. Many people balk at the “Defund the Police” movement. Some have rebranded it as “Reimagining the Police.” Re-imagining is probably more accurate because there has to be changes to the role of police, their protection such as qualified immunity, and their autonomy when it comes to investigating their own. History has shown that when given the opportunity they will lie, hide things, and protect each other at all costs. Changing a policy, however, is not enough. That only means that after they kill/harm someone there is a consequence. The goal for Black Americans: Prevent the killings. While it was necessary that Chauvin was convicted, Floyd is still dead. We want our brothers and sisters alive after interactions with police officers. And right now that is not guaranteed or even highly probable. 

On another note, President Biden and Congress are all still in negotiations on the police reform bill. “Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey said key lawmakers involved in police reform negotiations have made meaningful progress. But he said Democrats and Republicans aren’t budging when it comes to qualified immunity, which protects officers from civil lawsuits.” Newsy: Sen. Cory Booker Says Meaningful Progress Made For Police Reform

We Got Your Back

Ta-Nehisi Coates, Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore, and Martha S. Jones wrote a letter on behalf of Nikole Hannah-Jones, creator of the 1619 project. This is what they had to say: “We, the undersigned, believe this country stands at a crucial moment that will define the democratic expression and exchange of ideas for our own and future generations. State institutions across the country are attempting to ban frank and rigorous conversation about our history in the classroom. Few single works have been threatened with more restrictions than the 1619 Project, a landmark exploration of America’s deep roots in enslavement. And now, the 1619 Project’s founder, Nikole Hannah-Jones, has had her appointment as the Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill with tenure blocked by its Board of Trustees.”

“While the denial of tenure is egregious, it is not an isolated incident. The same anti-democratic thinking that blocked Hannah-Jones’ appointment at her alma mater has also fueled efforts in state and local legislatures to ban the teaching of histories of slavery and its legacies through the 1619 Project. We call on all people of conscience to decry this growing wave of repression and to encourage a recommitment to the free exchange of ideas in our schools, workplaces, legislatures, and communities.”  The Root: We Stand in Solidarity With Nikole Hannah-Jones  That is just part of the letter. If you have not heard: Nikole Hannah-Jones was recently offered a teaching position at her alma mater, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, but was not offered tenure. She was offered a 5-year contract renewable after that time. This is in spite of her many accolades: three National Magazine awards, one Peabody award, two Polk awards, a Pulitzer, a MacArthur Fellowship and an election as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Society of American Historians. Despite her being recruited and her tenure being supported by the faculty, the Board of Trustees claimed they needed more time to review her tenure case and declined to vote at all, effectively denying her tenure. The faculty are still supporting her and putting pressure on the Board, but so far they have maintained their position.

It May Be a Class Thing

Everyone has heard that minorities specifically Black and Latinos are hesitant to get the COVID vaccine. But that’s not the entire story. Part of the hesitation about vaccinations can be attributed to political affiliations. With Republicans having a general skepticism of government and science. But there is more.

“Many unvaccinated Republicans and minorities have something in common: They are working class. And there is a huge class gap in vaccination behavior. According to polling by Kaiser Family Foundation: working-class members of every group are less likely to have received a vaccine and more likely to be skeptical. “No matter which of these groups we looked at, we see an education divide,” Mollyann Brodie, who oversees the Kaiser surveys. In some cases, different racial groups with the same education levels — like Black and white college graduates — look remarkably similar. Asian-Americans have a higher median income than Black, Hispanic or white Americans and also a higher vaccination rate.” New York Times: The Vaccine Class Gap But it is also about race. Racial inequalities are real. There are reports that many Latino Americans want the vaccine but have not received them. And many other minorities are waiting to see how it affects other people. Additionally, Black Americans’ COVID-19 vaccination rates are still lagging, while Hispanics are closing the gap and Native Americans show the highest rates overall, according to federal data obtained by Kaiser Health News (KHN). KHN also found that only 22% of Black Americans have gotten a shot, and Black rates still trail those of whites in almost every state.