Racist trolls interrupt Zoom town hall hosted by Jahana Hayes, Connecticut’s first Black congresswoman.
“I am not OK,” wrote Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.) in a moving post describing a violent attack that took place at one of her recent campaign events. Ten minutes into the Zoom town hall for one of the communities she represents, a group of organized racist attackers hijacked the meeting, yelling obscenities and posting vile messages in the chat room. The attack continued for a full six minutes as moderators muted participants and kicked them out of the call, only to have other members of the group pick up and join in on the assault. “We are left debating Zoom security, yet not addressing the underlying issue — that pockets of racism and hate still exist right in our own front yard,” Hayes said, reflecting on the horrific event. “The most painful part of it all is that no matter what you achieve in life, no matter how many degrees you earn or how good of a person you try to be — all some people will ever allow themselves to see is a N-word.” Her post concludes with a call to action: “The only way we can cut the cancer of racism out of our communities is by calling it out when we see it and raising our collective voices to get rid of it.”
Axios reports America’s “true” unemployment rate: a shocking 26.1%.
President Trump can campaign on jobs and the economy all he wants but the current job market in America is even more dire than many reports would lead us to believe. Writing for Axios and using data from the Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity, journalist Felix Salmon revealed that the “true” current unemployment rate in the U.S. — for people who are looking for a full-time job that pays a living wage but who can’t find one — is a startling 26.1%. (In contrast, government estimates the unemployment rate at 7.9%, as of September 2020.) “The official unemployment rate is artificially depressed by excluding people who might be earning only a few dollars a week,” Salmon reported. “It also excludes anybody who has stopped looking for work or is discouraged by a lack of jobs or by the demands of childcare during the coronavirus crisis.” By looking at true unemployment data using an adjusted definition of what constitutes unemployment, jobless figures soar. “If you measure the unemployed as anybody over 16 years old who isn’t earning a living wage, the rate rises even further, to 54.6%,” Salmon noted. “For Black Americans, it’s 59.2%.”
Texas social workers now legally able to turn away clients who are LGBTQ or who have a disability.
The shocking new ruling comes from a decision by the state’s regulatory board, which decided that LGBTQ and disabled individuals no longer need so-called “special” protections. The Texas Tribune reports that Gov. Greg Abbott recently recommended the change in policy since the social worker’s previously enacted nondiscrimination protection code went beyond protections approved by state law. Will Francis, executive director of the Texas chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, is one of many who have come out attacking the change in public policy, calling it “incredibly disheartening.”
Google launches site aimed at improving veteran mental health.
On top of existing problems with post-traumatic stress disorder, addictions and mental health concerns stemming from their time in service, America’s veteran community is also fighting the impact of COVID-19, including job loss, increased stress, loneliness and isolation. The Wounded Warrior Project reports a 54% in mental health issues for veterans as a result of the pandemic, while the military itself states that suicides among veterans have risen 20% in 2020 alone. To help combat the problem and provide a comprehensive resource site for veterans impacted by mental health, career or financial issues, Google recently launched the free resource site, Serving Veterans. “Men and women who served should be able to find help when they need it,” company spokesperson Jose Castaneda told the military website, We Are The Mighty. “We hope this website will provide helpful, authoritative information on mental health for veterans and their families.”
Idaho spends $400k in state funds fighting treatment for a trans woman which had already taken place.
Idaho prison inmate Adree Edmo was diagnosed with severe gender dysmorphia in 2012. Suicidal and self-harming, Edmo and her physicians decided her best hope for the condition was gender reassignment surgery. Desperate for approval to move ahead, her case wound its way through the legal system until the surgery was finally approved in 2017. The U.S. District Court’s decision ruled that denying the surgery was a violation of the Eighth Amendment in the U.S. Constitution, which forbids “cruel and unusual punishments.” Unhappy with the decision, the state continued to fight the verdict, taking it all the way to the Supreme Court, which this week declined to take up the appeal. Big Country News, a local Idaho news site, reports the state’s legal bills for the case against the already completed surgery now totaled $456,738.80 in taxpayer funds. Her original surgery and treatment cost Idaho prison health care provider Corizon Health just $75,000. Edmo is only the second incarcerated person in the country to receive gender confirmation surgery while in prison.
D.I. Fast Fact
99% of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender students between the ages of 13 and 21 report hearing disparaging comments about their sexuality or gender identity.
— Reuters report on a new study from GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network)
Are you registered to vote? Vote.org provides a number of resources for voters including a state-by-state rundown of important dates and regulations to know, plus information on registering to vote, how to successfully vote by mail and more. For more info, go to vote.org.