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Social Justice Posts

Social Justice Posts

Police Use of Deadly Force : Something Must Be Done

Brief #14—Social Justice
By Erika Shannon
The police use of deadly force  in America is a plague; the Washington Post reports that cops kill around 1,000 people per year, a number that has remained steady since 2015. There is an even bigger problem with the police use of deadly force – they disproportionally target black Americans in deadly force incidents, and this issue is unfortunately nothing new.

The numbers are alarming in cities across America. If we take a look at Minneapolis, where ex-police officer Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd, Minneapolis Police use force against black people seven times more than against white people. Since 2015, there were 11,5000 instances of force documented in Minneapolis; at least 6,650 of those instances involved black people. While white people make up 60% of the population in Minneapolis, force was only used against them 2,750 times. These numbers are similar to the rest of the country, where black Americans are twice as likely to be killed by police as white Americans. The Washington Post reports that police will kill 36 out of a million black Americans, while police will only kill 15 out of a million white Americans. The statistics are troubling, considering that black Americans only make up 13% of the population, yet account for so many instances of police-involved deadly force.

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Derek Chauvin Found Guilty in Trial over George Floyd’s Death

Brief #13—Social Justice
By Erika Shannon
For almost a month, the nation has been watching the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. He was on trial for murdering 46-year-old George Floyd; the unfortunate events leading to Floyd’s death unfolded when police were called to a convenience store over a counterfeit twenty-dollar bill. Former officer Chauvin  responded to this call (with 3 other Minneapolis police officers), and ended up kneeling on George Floyd, cutting off his air supply for approximately 9 minutes and 29 seconds.

On April 20th, Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all three counts that he was facing in the trial: unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. Sentencing will be in eight weeks, and while the charges collectively add up to 75 years in prison, focus will be on the most serious charge of second-degree murder. This charge carries with it up to 40 years in prison. Many are holding their breath and hoping for the maximum sentence possible.

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Amazon Workers Vote Against Union in Alabama

Brief #12—Social Justice
By Lily Lady Cook
In the United States, Amazon operates 110 fulfillment centers, and has increased its employees in the past year to around 1.2 million workers worldwide. Those employed in Amazon’s fulfillment centers have become highly visible during the pandemic, as the nation becomes more aware of our essential workers and the mechanisms of the global supply chain.
Since Amazon’s inception in 1994, there have been multiple attempts at collective organizing; workers in Staten Island, Chicago, Virginia, and now Alabama have attempted but ultimately failed to unionize. In this latest instance, warehouse workers began a union voting process in Bessemer, Alabama, in coordination with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). The results were announced earlier this month, and indicated a resounding victory for Amazon. Of the 5,800 workers, 3,215 cast ballots. 1,798 of those voted against a union and 738 in favor. In order for the union to proceed, at least 30 percent of voters would have had to indicate support; in this case, a mere 13 percent of workers were in favor.

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President Biden calls for Gun Reform in the U.S.

Brief #11—Social Justice
By Erika Shannon
In the wake of several recent mass shootings, there is pressure on President Biden to reform gun laws here in the U.S. With mass shootings in Georgia, Colorado, Texas, and South Carolina recently, many are urging the President to do something before the violence continues to spiral out of control. While some are concerned that President Biden’s reforms will infringe on their Second Amendment rights, Biden alleges that is not the case. A major first step was the President’s nomination of David Chipman to lead the ATF, or Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Chipman is a gun owner, a former ATF employee, and  staff member at Giffords, the gun reform organization founded by US Senator Mark Kelly.

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Political Comments About Coronavirus Help Spark Rise in Asian-American Hate Crimes

Brief #10—Social Justice
By Erika Shannon
Over the course of the past year, there has been a rise in the number of hate crimes against Asian Americans. This is being credited to COVID-19 originating in Asia, along with the rhetoric of former president Donald Trump. Trump often referred to COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus” on Twitter, and continued to defend his use of the term at a later press conference. While he finally agreed to not use the term, it had already done damage; it sparked a Twitter movement of anti-Asian sentiment and gave some people the fuel they needed to take that hate off the web and into the real world. According to The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, anti-Asian hate crimes spiked from 49 crimes resulting in charges in 2019 to 122 crimes in 2020. The findings are particularly disturbing because overall hate crimes actually dropped by 7% in 2020 due to the ongoing pandemic and associated business and school closures. In 2021, the racism towards Asian Americans seems to unfortunately not be slowing down.

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Who are the Proud Boys?

Brief #9—Social Justice
By Erika Shannon
During the Presidency of Donald Trump, many events unfolded that left the American people feeling uneasy. One of these events was the January 6, 2021 Capitol riots that were planned by white supremacists and Trump supporters. While the end of his Presidency was near, Donald Trump sat idly by and allowed his supporters to get carried away with their actions. This is synonymous with his attitude for much of his time in office, where we saw the emergence of white supremacist groups at an alarming rate. Our then-President had the chance to condemn them, and chose not to. For that reason, many of these organizations have gained a larger following than they ever had before. One of these white supremacist organizations, the Proud Boys, was actually formed  as Donald Trump came into power. Since then, the Proud Boys have been involved in countless acts of violence and harassment here in the U.S.

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Status Update on the Prosecution of Capitol Rioters

Brief #8—Social Justice
By Erika Shannon
On January 6th, as Congress was counting electoral votes, a crowd of far-right extremists rioted outside and eventually made their way into the Capitol building. Their actions prompted members of Congress, as well as former vice-president Mike Pence, to go into hiding and leave their session behind. Criminals sat in the offices of congressmen and congresswomen, and in the end lives were lost. Many people view the actions of these extremists as terrorist acts, for they were attempting to interfere with the results of an election that was already deemed fair by the DOJ and FBI. Whether they will be charged as terrorists or not, the Justice Department will be pursuing criminal charges against as many of the protest attendees as possible. It is no secret that the path to a trial is not always speedy here in the U.S., so many of those involved with the January 6th riots have only been charged and have not yet been tried for their crimes.

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Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Trump on Emoluments Cases

Brief #7—Social Justice
By Zack Huffman
The U.S. Supreme Court halted a pair of ongoing emoluments lawsuits against former president Donald Trump on Monday, Jan. 25, noting that the cases stopped being relevant when Trump left office. One of the lawsuits was filed days after Trump’s inauguration in 2017 by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. The suit claimed Trump’s vast business empire, from which he refused to divest, created numerous ways for foreign interests to buy influence over the president.

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President Biden Signs Four Executive Orders Aimed at Racial Equality

Brief #6—Social Justice
By Erika Shannon
On January 20th, Joe Biden was finally sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. In his first week in office, there has been a flurry of executive orders being signed by the new president-elect; some of these are aimed at repairing what Trump may have broken, and others are aimed at making America a better and more inclusive place for all. Of the 24 executive orders signed by President Biden so far, four of them involve promoting racial equality. These four executive orders are comprised of: directing the Department of Housing and Urban Development to “take steps necessary to redress racially discriminatory federal housing policies,” directing the Department of Justice to end its use of private prisons, reaffirming the federal government’s “commitment to tribal sovereignty and consultation,” and combatting xenophobia against Asian American and Pacific Islanders. It is important to familiarize yourself with the executive orders being signed, as they are laying some of the groundwork for Joe Biden’s plans for his presidency.

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