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Author: YES!

Racial Gerrymandering: Why politicians rig election maps to suppress growing communities of color

As she travels around Georgia to promote fair redistricting, Djemanesh Aneteneh has heard many tales of how partisan lawmakers create voting maps designed to take away the political voice of communities of color. She is not surprised. “Gerrymandering has always happened in the U.S., and both parties have always done it and will always do it,” said Aneteneh, a redistricting coordinator with Fair Count. “In the South, generally gerrymandering has hurt and continues to hurt communities of color.” Gerrymandering also tends to make many races uncompetitive. As a result of the last round of gerrymandering in Georgia in 2011,...

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A Building of Timber: Milwaukee’s Ascent tower could become the future of sustainable construction

Milwaukee’s proposed 25-story Ascent tower sounds like a conventional housing project. Scheduled to open in September 2022, It offers 250+ apartments with beautiful views of downtown Milwaukee and Lake Michigan. But one thing sets it apart from other housing towers in the United States, it is supposed to be the world’s tallest timber tower. Why timber? Firms working on timber construction believe that compared to typical construction materials like steel and concrete, timber is easier and cheaper to use, and more durable in the long run. The best part: It could benefit the environment. “Mass timber construction [a method...

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A distrust of the health care system: How to confront vaccine refusal in communities of color

The United States has more access to COVID-19 vaccines than perhaps any other country on the planet. We went from being one of the hardest-hit by the virus in 2020 to leading the world in vaccine access in 2021. Today, most drugstores offer shots without an appointment even as the rest of the world remains frustrated by vaccine scarcity. And yet, far too many Americans remain unvaccinated, many of them people of color. According to the latest available data, “While White adults account for the largest share (57%) of unvaccinated adults, Black and Hispanic people remain less likely than...

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The “dangerous neighborhood” trope: How wars overseas are linked to police brutality at home

With obvious links between anti-war movements against U.S. militarism and Black Lives Matter activism against police brutality, many are suggesting that it is time for activists to join forces. When U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar decried Israel’s 11-day aerial bombardment of Gaza in May and declared that “Palestinians deserve protection,” Florida’s Republican U.S. Senator Marco Rubio responded by saying that Israeli violence and U.S. support for it were justified because Israelis “live in a very tough neighborhood.” Rubio did not invent that phrase or its use in describing Israel’s place in the region where it sits. In 2016, 82 hawkish...

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When AIDS became an epidemic: Memories of finding joy during the struggle despite all of the grief and loss

Forty years ago the CDC reported the first cases of what would come to be known as AIDS among five previously healthy gay men. I was a teenager at that time, coming to grips with my sexual orientation. When I moved to San Francisco as a 23-year-old gay man, AIDS was a full-blown epidemic. With no treatment, vaccine, or cure in sight, the awakening of my sexuality came with a death sentence. While sex, sexuality, illness, death, and dying are not typical topics of conversation among young people, it was all my friends and I talked about. It wasn’t...

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Suffering that sells: When society would rather pay to bury us than support a life in which we are thriving

They say that sex sells, but more and more, it seems like trauma has taken its place. As a Black femme, I was taught from an early age that I shouldn’t ask for help until I absolutely, positively had no other choice. Being a child of immigrants from Haiti only reinforced this belief. If I expressed any mild discomfort, I was immediately reminded that no one had to or would help me, but more importantly, they shouldn’t. Someone is worse off than you. You’ve had harder times than this and never asked for help, so how dare you do...

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