Social Justice Posts
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Brief #5—Social Justice
By Zach Huffman
President Joe Biden said that among his first priorities in office will be to pass a domestic terrorism law. Renewed interest in anti-terrorism legislation comes after frenzied attendees from President Donald Trump’s January 6 rally in Washington DC, rioted at the Capitol while Congress was confirming the electoral votes from last November’s election. The insurrectionist crowd breached the capital, with so-called protesters breaking into legislators’ offices and ransacking the building.
Brief #4—Social Justice
By Laura Plummer
Two-thousand and twenty was a year defined by unprecedented hardship. A deadly global pandemic ravaged the country and crippled whole sectors of the economy. A contentious presidential election divided the nation, and killings of black and brown people by police officers sparked yearlong protests against police brutality.
The Black Lives Matter movement gained popular support last year as it exposed the systemic racism inherent in American policing. More than any previous year, communities started organizing to demand comprehensive police reform and to hold their leaders and elected officials accountable. The following list explores the progress achieved in policing in 2020 at the federal and state levels.