Breathe March in Globe Park, New York, USA - 12 Sep 2020
Protesters move through the streets in the Bronx for the BREATHE march, Sept. 12, 2020 (Photo by Mike Logsdon/RMV/Shutterstock)

Cities under attack from the Justice Department; Louisville bracing for the Breonna Taylor murder charge; Twitter reveals its racist side; and More

Justice department attacks three U.S. cities, declaring them anarchist zones — despite most of the protests that took place in each city being peaceful marches in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

In a move designed to pull federal funding from New York City, Seattle and Portland, OR, the justice department has labelled all three locations “anarchist jurisdictions.” According to Attorney General William Barr, by allowing violence and mayhem to continue during racial justice protests brought about by the deaths of George Floyd and Daniel Prude, the elected officials in these cities have refused to undertake reasonable measures to counteract criminal activities. The Seattle Times reports that Democrat leaders from each of the cities are calling the announcement nakedly political and have threatened an immediate suit should the administration move forward with stripping federal funds.

Louisville braces for news of potential murder charges in the death of Breonna Taylor.

City officials in Louisville have restricted access to the downtown area and declared a citywide state of emergency, in advance of the state attorney general’s announcement on whether or not he will filing charges in the police-related murder of Breonna Taylor. The Courier Journal warns that a decision could come as early as today.

 

Mike Bloomberg vows to help felons who have carried out their sentences vote this November.

Former Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg has stepped in to help state felons who still owe fines, restitutions and court fees as part of their prison sentence pay those debts off so they are able to vote in the upcoming election. The move comes in retaliation to Florida Gov. Rob DeSantis’ recent court victory in a case designed to keep felons from voting until their debts were paid. Bloomberg has partnered with the Florida Rights Restitution Coalition to raise nearly $17 million that will then be used to pay off debts of $1,500 or less owed by 31,100 men and women. Florida helped George W. Bush win the 2000 Presidential election by a difference of just 537 votes.

 

Instead of blaming the children, Baltimore is fighting low virtual attendance by reaching out to help them log on.

Attendance in virtual classrooms continues to be a problem, with just 1 out of 4 students present in virtual classrooms on a regular basis, according to one recent survey. But educators in Baltimore are working to confront the problem head-on, The Philadelphia Tribune reports. With delays in the shipment of devices needed for remote learning, plus problems of accessibility to Wi-Fi or secure internet connections, school officials found that just 65% of their students were logging in regularly during the city’s first week of remote classes. But instead of sitting idly by as the problem worsened, administrators have begun personally tracking down students, calling their parents (even early in the morning or late at night if necessary) to make sure they don’t fall behind. “We are like MacGyver,” said district spokesperson Andre Riley in an interview with CNN. “We’re gonna do whatever we have to do to try to get the student in class. We want to get these kids in class.”

 

Prepared meals aren’t working for millions of school-aged children who are still food insecure; a pandemic-related expansion of EBT vouchers might be a better option.

Virtual classrooms continue to exacerbate the issue of food insecurity among 17 million American children daily. Even with an increase in “grab and go” meal pickup sites being offered across the country, many children still aren’t getting enough to eat each day without free or reduced-cost meals normally offered within schools. One possible solution? Amping up the availability of EBT vouchers in place of federal, state or community-funded school distribution centers or food banks. According to a report from the nonprofit Brookings Institute, less than 20% of mothers whose children are eligible for free meals report picking up those meals. In contrast, nearly 80% of these same families report going to the grocery story regularly. In a pilot-program testing the effectiveness of EBT vouchers against food insecurity published in the journal, Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, researchers found that a monthly voucher of $60 per child helped to reduce levels of food insecurity in children by up to 30% over other programs.

 

New allegations of racism raging against social media giant Twitter.

Twitter has come under fire for a potential racial bias written into the algorithm that controls how photos are cropped on the site. The problem came to light when a university manager in Vancouver noticed his Black colleague’s face was being hidden during a series of tweets he sent out. Once the news broke, other users found the algorithm preferred pictures of a white man in a suit over another that featured a Black man. Other users found that Twitter opted for pictures of U.S. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell’s face over that of former U.S. President Barack Obama. Dantley Davis, Twitter’s chief design officer, has vowed to look into and correct the problem immediately.

 

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.

 

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