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During COVID-19, there have been blatant racial disparities among communities that are getting hit the hardest. Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous Americans pass away at about three times the rate white Americans pass from COVID-19. For some, statistics like these may be shocking, but for the people in those communities, this is only part of a larger problem in our country.
The COVID-19 pandemic has surely taken a toll on us all, in one way or another. But for people with disabilities, the toll is much more complex. It’s not just the fact that they are likely in a high-risk category, or being de-prioritized in the rollout of vaccinations. It’s seeing firsthand how accommodations are made for healthy individuals, while disabled people aren’t given that same courtesy.
It’s been less than a month since Eli Savit was sworn into office, and the Washtenaw County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has already released 10 policies the office will now be using in future cases. They range from the elimination of unjust policies to implementing new policies that keep various areas of the justice system accountable.
At the top of the last month of 2020, Michigan stands in a precarious position regarding the spread and impacts of COVID-19, along with the rest of the country. Michigan has had up to 404,386 confirmed cases, with 9,947 deaths. In comparison, the United States as a whole has had roughly 14,462,527 confirmed cases of the virus, with 280,135 deaths so far. Further, many Michigan residents are on unemployment insurance because of the pandemic, with up to 3 million unemployment claims since March. But over half a million residents are set to lose that stream of unemployment income under either the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) or the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). Since these are both provided through the CARES Act, those benefits end when the legislation expires, which in this case is set for Dec. 26.
The past four years under the Trump administration has given many people the sense that American democracy is fragile and threatened. A president so blatantly misusing power and so outwardly discriminatory to so many communities has been shocking to people who had never really had to pay attention to politics before.
Joe Biden is now president-elect, after he passed the 270 electoral vote threshold from winning Pennsylvania on November 7th. The race had been close the first few days following election day, with Biden gradually expanding his lead later in the week. A record number of Americans cast their vote this year, with an increase in turnout across party lines. Coupled with the devastating handling of the COVID-19 crisis by the Trump administration, one would think Biden and other Democrats would have won in a landslide. But they did not.
Late last Monday night, only hours after the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmed her appointment, Amy Coney Barrett was sworn in as the newest Supreme Court Justice. She fills the seat left vacant by Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s unfortunate passing in September. But seating Barrett on the Supreme Court 8 days before the 2020 presidential election is not a win for the people—it's the last nail in the coffin for conservative’s takeover of the court.
The old Michigan state fairgrounds may become the site of a new Amazon warehouse, after Detroit’s City Council voted on October 20th to allow the sale of the grounds to Amazon. The warehouse is currently set to be up and running by 2022. Amazon would be acquiring 142 acres of the property, while the remaining area will go to various other buyers.
On Monday, Oct. 12, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed into law a package of bills to expunge the criminal records of hundreds of thousands of Michigan residents. These bills aim to break down the barriers that follow having a criminal record. An expungement of criminal records will open up many doors for folks who have not been able to obtain a good paying job, housing, and other necessities because of a past mark on their record.
The 2020 presidential election is only a couple weeks away and many folks have already decided who they’re voting for, with nearly 30 million people having already cast their ballot. But there are also people undecided on whether to vote at all this year. For undecided voters who are debating whether to vote for Joe Biden, I’m going to be making my case on why you should.
Breonna Taylor was 26 years old, and grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She was an EMT technician, and lived in Louisville with her boyfriend Kenneth Walker III, who had planned to propose soon. Her life was just beginning, as she was truly coming into her own.
Michigan went into a State of Emergency on March 10th due to the rapid spread of COVID-19. This was ordered by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, as well as the Stay-at-Home order shortly after. Under these orders many businesses had to close until the rate of COVID-19 infections were deemed managed, leaving many folks laid off and filing for unemployment. For businesses deemed “essential,” mask mandates were enforced along with other health and safety measures.
The fall semester is underway for most universities, where the effectiveness and the scope of their respective safe back-to-campus plans are being put to the test. And for many students and faculty, including the graduate student workers at the University of Michigan, the safety measures put forward are simply not enough.
The virus is likely coming into the prisons through staff. In a pandemic where we’re all asked to stay inside, inmates don’t have much choice in doing anything but that. Yet they’re suffering the consequence of getting sick from others that are going out and socializing.