Race Inquiry Digest (Dec 28) – Important Current Stories On Race In America


Black workers face two of the most lethal preexisting conditions for coronavirus—racism and economic inequality. By Elise Gould and Valerie Wilson / Economic Policy Institute

“We’re all in this together” has become a rallying cry during the coronavirus pandemic. While it is true that COVID-19 has affected everyone in some way, the magnitude and nature of the impact has been anything but universal. Evidence to date suggests that black and Hispanic workers face much more economic and health insecurity from COVID-19 than white workers. Read more 

Related: Unemployment benefits lapse for jobless Americans as Trump holds out on signing relief bill. By Tamu Lubby, Sarah Westwood and Nikki Cavajal / CNN

Related: Joe Biden warns of ‘devastating consequences’ in push for President Donald Trump to sign Covid-19 relief package. By Veronica Stacqualursi / CNN

Related: While 20 Million Americans Lost Their Jobs In 2020, US Billionaires’ Wealth Grew By $931 Billion. By Venessa Wong / Buzzfeed News

Political / Social

Trump’s demands for $2,000 stimulus checks, explained. By Li Zhou / Vox

Trump’s demands for bigger stimulus checks aren’t likely to go anywhere. At this point, it’s unlikely that the changes Trump wants will actually make it through Congress. Following Trump’s remarks, Democratic leadership — and some Republicans — said they support approving $2,000 stimulus checks, but they’re expected to face major opposition from GOP leadership. Read more 

Related: Trump’s grievances leave Americans in need in limbo. By Kevin Liptak / CNN

Labor Power Is the Key to Racial Equity. By Thomas Geoghegan / The New Republic

When President-elect Joe Biden takes office in January, he’ll inherit a country that’s riven with divisions along ethnic and socio-economic lines. The central tenets of his “Build Back Better” plan suggest that his administration will confront these divisions head on and seek to ameliorate them in a variety of ways. One of the guiding principles involves fostering a stronger sense of race equity—a goal that’s as large and amorphous as it is ambitious. But there are short, sharp steps the president can take to get his arms around the task. And nothing would have more hard-dollar value than organizing the working class—all of it, Black, brown, and white. It will go a long way toward bringing people together. Or at least it would put them in the same union halls out of individual self-interest. Read more 

Ossoff, Warnock each raised more than $100 million in two months, records show. By Cleve R. Wootson Jr. and Anu Narayanswamy / Wash Post

The two Democratic candidates in the upcoming Senate runoffs in Georgia each raised more than $100 million in the past two months — huge sums that put them ahead of their Republican opponents in closely watched races that will determine control of Congress’s upper chamber. Democrat Jon Ossoff raised almost $107 million, while his Republican opponent, Sen. David Perdue, took in $68 million, according to Federal Election Commission reports made public Thursday night. Democrat Raphael Warnock, the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, raised $103 million while his opponent, Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, raised nearly $64 million, the filings show. Read more 

I’ve never been courted the way I am being now. I’m a Georgia voter. By Tammy Joyner / Wash Post

Georgia is now home to thousands of Black professionals such as myself who’ve returned to the South. Many of my friends — Black, White, Latinx and others — moved here from other parts of the country for jobs and affordable homes. Young, educated, politically active people such as my 23-year-old son also are remaking the political landscape. The social and racial unrest this year is even more proof of that. In the past two decades, Georgia has added more than 2 million voters, most of them in metro Atlanta, an area that accounted for nearly 60 percent of the 10.6 million people living in Georgia in 2019 — and one that has become increasingly Democratic over time. Read more

Related: Turnout among young voters key to Georgia Senate runoffs. By Ben Nadler / Associated Press and ABC News

Related: Georgia Poll Closures Limit Black, Latino Voting In Senate Runoffs, Advocates Say. By TRavis Waldron / HuffPost

Related: Sí, se puede: Latino voters are helping turn Georgia blue — and could swing the runoff. By Ben Jealous and Delores Huerta / Salon

After historic election, 4 African American sheriffs in Georgia aim to fix “broken” trust. By CBS News

In November, voters in Georgia made state history when they elected four African American sheriffs to lead the most populous counties in Atlanta. Patrick Labat, sheriff-elect of Fulton County, Craig Owens, sheriff-elect of Cobb County, Keybo Taylor, sheriff-elect of Gwinnett County and Melody Maddox, sheriff-elect of DeKalb County, have been elected to be the highest-ranking law enforcement officials in their respective counties. Maddox also made history as the first female to assume the position of sheriff in DeKalb County. Read more 

Despite Smooth Election, GOP Leaders Still Seek Vote Restrictions. By Anthony Izaguirre and Christina A. Cassidy / HuffPost

Changes to the way millions of Americans voted this year contributed to record turnout, but that’s no guarantee the measures making it easier to cast ballots will stick around for future elections. Republicans in key states that voted for President-elect Joe Biden already are pushing for new restrictions, especially to absentee voting. It’s an option many states expanded amid the coronavirus outbreak that proved hugely popular and helped ensure one of the smoothest election days in recent years. Read more 

Who Should Get the Covid-19 Vaccine Next? A Debate. By Emily Bazelon / NYT

In mid-December, before a key vote by an advisory panel for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a public debate flared up over what might well be the most momentous policy decision of 2021: how to distribute the Covid-19 vaccine. This particular fight centered on how to balance the vaccination of seniors (who die from the coronavirus at much higher rates than younger people) against that of essential workers (who, because they come into contact with many people over the course of any given day, risk getting sick themselves and becoming superspreaders). Read more 

Related: Despite mistrust, Native Americans’ participation in vaccine development proves vital. By Allie Yang and Tenzi Shakya / ABC News 

‘It’s been shattering’: Heartache and hope in America’s Black churches. By Curtis Bunn / NBC News

Black churches have certainly not been spared from the incalculable loss from the coronavirus pandemic. Churches have long been a haven for Black communities, as places for spiritual nourishment, social connection, community organizing. But with the pandemic hitting Black populations disproportionately, communities are reeling from the loss of pastors and other faith leaders. The deaths have tested churches’ resolve while expanding their imagination about how to function during and, eventually, after the pandemic. Shown is The Rev. Henry P. Davis III, pastor of First Baptist Church of Highland Park in Landover, Md.  Read more 

Related: Why you should apply a racial equity lens to your end-of-year giving. By Glen O’Gilvie / Wash Post

Black doctors are urgently needed in US: Morehouse, groups work to fix. By nada Hassanein / USA Today

Just 5% of American doctors identify as Black, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. Of the more than 21,000 students in U.S. medical schools in the 2018-2019 school year, roughly 7% were Black. There’s a nationwide movement to change that. Last week, Morehouse School of Medicine, a historically Black medical school, and health care company CommonSpirit Health announced an initiative to develop a pipeline of Black doctors. Read more 

Related: Dr. Susan Moore Dies of Covid-19 After Complaining of Racism at Indiana Hospital. By John Eligon / NYT

What Happened When Henry Yao Almost Went Bust. By Corina Knoll / NYT

There were two things customers could be pretty certain about any time they walked into Army & Navy Bags. Henry Yao would be there, and he would be kind. He had no staff, so sometimes a friend watched the counter if he had to step away. Otherwise, Mr. Yao worked every day, even weekends, with a four-hour commute back and forth from his upstate home. In January, he will reassess his future as a storefront. For now, he is not anxious about his prospects. He made it through an impossible year. It stoked his confidence, affirmed his love for what he does, revealed relationships, cemented bonds. And surely, someone with such fortune, someone so rooted and entrenched in his corner of the city, someone like Mr. Yao, can survive? Read more 

Body cam footage shows fatal shooting of unarmed Black man in Columbus, Ohio. By David J. Lopez, Laurie Ure and Jennifer Henderson / CNN

Body camera footage released Wednesday shows a Columbus, Ohio, police officer fatally shooting an unarmed Black man in a garage within seconds of their encounter. Officer Adam Coy was stripped of his badge and gun after killing Andre Maurice Hill, 47, who was walking toward the officer with a cell phone in his left hand and his right hand not visible when Coy opened fire, authorities said. Watch here 

The Haunting of Tulsa, Okla. A recently unearthed mass grave may soon provide answers about what happened to victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. By Brent Staples / NYT

The Tulsa, Okla., police department set the stage for mass murder in the spring of 1921 when it deputized members of a mob that invaded and destroyed the prosperous Black enclave of Greenwood. The armed marauders who swept into the community in the early hours of June 1 wreaked havoc in the spirit of a police directive that urged white Tulsans to “Get a gun, and get busy and try to get a nigger.” Two months ago, an archaeological team unearthed a mass grave in Tulsa that may answer questions that have troubled the city’s sleep for a century. Read more 

Sculpture honors 1st Black president of an American college. By Lisa Rathke / ABC News

The first Black president of an American college is being honored with a sculpture installed in the Vermont city where he was born in 1826. The larger-than-life marble bust of Martin Henry Freeman, a scholar, sits on a stack of books in a downtown square as part of the Rutland Sculpture Trail. In 1856, Freeman became president of the all-Black Allegheny Institute and Mission Church in the Pittsburgh area, later named Avery College. He attended Middlebury College in Vermont, graduating at the top of his class in 1849. Freeman’s father fought in the American Revolution, one way for enslaved men to win their freedom. Read more 

‘Most Important Indian,’ And Treaty Rights Advocate Hank Adams Dies At 77. By Jaclyn Diaz / NPR

Native American civil rights advocate Hank Adams died at the age of 77 this week. Once referred to as the “most important Indian” by Native American rights advocate and author Vine Deloria Jr., Adams was central to the fight to uphold tribal treaty rights during the 1960s and 1970s. “An indispensable leader, and essential follower and a brilliant strategist, he shaped more Native American civil, human and treaty rights policies than most people even know are important or why,” the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission said in its announcement of Adams’ death. Adams was a Assiniboine-Sioux and a member of the Franks Landing Indian Community. Read more 

Ancient DNA Is Changing How We Think About the Caribbean. David Reich and 

How did Americans living under slavery experience the Christmas holidays? While early accounts from white Southerners after the Civil War often painted an idealized picture of owners’ generosity met by grateful workers happily feasting, singing and dancing, the reality was far more complex. Read more

“Bridgerton” is Netflix’s randy costume confection that you’ll want to put in your face straightaway. By Melanie McFarland / Salon

“Bridgerton” is a Shondaland creation through and through – an idealized vision of a world where everybody’s a little bit randy and nobody notices race. Specifically, it is the first product of Shonda Rhimes’ reported $150 million deal with Netflix, brought to us by protégé and series creator Chris Van Dusen. And while it may not qualify as an instant classic, or even very good, it is good enough to smooth out the raggedy ending of 2020. Read more  

Pixar’s animated movie ‘Soul’ is about ‘what makes us us,’ says actress Alice Braga. By Arturo Conde / NBC News

Many people often look ahead to the afterlife. But the Brazilian actress Alice Braga says Pixar’s new animated movie, “Soul” — which premieres Christmas Day on Disney+ — will compel viewers to look back at the reasons they want to live. “We always think, ‘What is afterlife?'” Braga said. “But we never think, ‘Is there something that comes before us arriving here?'” The film tells a touching story about Joe Gardner (voiced by Jamie Foxx), a Black middle school band teacher who falls through a New York City manhole and gets his body separated from his soul. Read more 


José Andrés and NBA players have made it clear: Stadiums must serve the public good. By Kevin B. Blackistone / Wash Post

The way Chef José Andrés sees it, Nationals Park isn’t just a baseball field. “It’s a gigantic kitchen,” he told me this month upon returning home to D.C. after a whirlwind tour of, he figured, at least eight countries to feed those in need, often from sports stadiums his World Central Kitchen converted into food prep and distribution centers. Or, as he thinks of them, gigantic kitchens. “It,” he said of Nationals Park, “becomes a field of hope.” So with the pandemic in the early stages of ravaging the economy this past spring, the Andrés nonprofit that produces meals in the wake of natural disasters teamed up with the Nationals, using the stadium’s kitchen facilities to cook and hand out thousands of free meals to whomever needed them but particularly the already needy in the poorest wards of D.C. near the park. Shown is José Andrés throws the ceremonial first pitch before Game 5 of the 2019 World Series at Nationals Park.  Read more 

K.C. Jones, Celtics Standout as Player and Coach, Dies at 88. By Richard Goldstein / NYT

K.C. Jones, the quietly tenacious Hall of Fame guard who played on eight consecutive N.B.A. championship teams with the Boston Celtics and later coached the team to two league titles, died on Friday. He was 88. His death was announced by the Celtics. According to The Associated Press, the team said Jones’s family confirmed that he died at an assisted living facility in Connecticut, where he had been receiving care for Alzheimer’s disease for the past several years. Read more 

Amar’e Stoudemire Is a Coach Now. But Don’t Call Him That. By Marc Stein / NYT

Stoudemire has reunited with his Phoenix Suns cohort of Steve Nash and Mike D’Antoni on the Nets’ staff. It’s weird to him, too. On the Nets’ organizational chart, Stoudemire has been officially named a player development assistant. He brings some experience to the role despite his ambivalence about the coaching label, having hosted a few Nike camps in his Suns and Knicks prime in which he worked briefly with future stars such as Blake Griffin, DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis. Read more 

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