Money, war, and climate. It's why some people are coming to a country near you.
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Moving isn't fun. Honestly, it sucks. Squeezing your life into a handful of boxes can be trying for even the most organized person. But imagine if you were forced to move.

Like right now. No notice. No calling the homies to help pack up. No farewell bash. What if you were just pushed out of your house, your neighborhood, your city, your state, and your country? Then what?


Well, that happens to lots of people all of the time while we're calmly sipping on our lattes. Why?

According to a recent report from AJ+, at least 232 million people globally live in nations where they weren't born in or aren't citizens of. Host Dena Takruri breaks down why folks are leaving their homes. There are three main reasons.

Because it's scary out there — yo!

The ongoing presence of war and persecution is the main factor. It's done more than physical damage. It's really emotional too. People have to leave everything and sometimes everyone they know in the name of safety. Right now, the largest refugee communities are from Syria, Afghanistan, and Somalia. Smaller nations like Pakistan, Kenya, and Lebanon are taking these folks in. Dena says that in Lebanon almost 1 in 5 people is a Syrian refugee and that their "infrastructure and economy have been pushed to the breaking point." Wow.


Although larger nations have only taken in 14% of the world's refugees, they do have better-paying jobs.

The lack of economic resources is another reason why people escape their homelands legally or illegally. When a country like the U.S. has jobs that offer six times the pay in your country, potentially risking your life to feed your starving family may feel like the only option. Oftentimes these economic opportunities aren't the ones that everyone wants. Lots of migrants work heinous hours and make way below minimum wage. And that's not just in the U.S. "In the United Arab Emirates, Indians, Bangladeshis and Pakistanis make up 90% of the work force, despite poor working conditions, unfair treatment and low wages," Dena explains.

If you're lucky enough to side step war or a busted economy, you're favored if you don't have to leave your country because of the environment.

Natural disasters have displaced thousands upon thousands. Climate change is also very real and affecting people in a major way. “In Tuvalu, a tiny island nation in the South Pacific, rising sea levels are forcing people to move to nearby countries like New Zealand," Dena adds.

So, sure, moving voluntarily can irk, but it doesn't compare to the serious pain of having to uproot your life due to mostly uncontrollable factors. I wonder what would happen if we all thought about these things before judging someone else's perceived right to live on the same soil.

Courtesy of FIELDTRIP
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The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected diverse communities due largely in part to social factors such as inadequate access to housing, income, dietary options, education and employment — all of which have been shown to affect people's physical health.

Recognizing that inequity, Harlem-based chef JJ Johnson sought out to help his community maximize its health during the pandemic — one grain at a time.

Johnson manages FIELDTRIP, a health-focused restaurant that strives to bring people together through the celebration of rice, a grain found in cuisines of countless cultures.

"It was very important for me to show the world that places like Harlem want access to more health-conscious foods," Johnson said. "The people who live in Harlem should have the option to eat fresh, locally farmed and delicious food that other communities have access to."

Lack of education and access to those healthy food options is a primary driver of why 31% of adults in Harlem are struggling with obesity — the highest rate of any neighborhood in New York City and 7% higher than the average adult obesity rate across the five boroughs.

Obesity increases risk for heart disease or diabetes, which in turn leaves Harlem's residents — who are 76% Black or LatinX — at heightened risk for complications with COVID-19.

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The current COVID-19 "strategy" from the White House appears to be to push for theoretical "herd immunity" by letting the virus spread among the young and healthy population while protecting the elderly and immunocompromised until a certain (genuinely unknown) threshold is reached. Despite many infectious disease experts and some of the world's largest medical institutions decrying the idea as "a dangerous fallacy unsupported by scientific evidence," and "practically impossible and highly unethical," the radiologist Trump added to his pandemic team is trying to convince people it's a grand plan.

Aside from the fact that we don't know enough about the natural immunity of this virus and the fact that "herd immunity" is a term used in vaccine science—not as a strategy of purposefully infecting people in order to get through an infectious disease outbreak —the idea of "infect the young, protect the vulnerable" is simply a unworkable strategy.

Look no further than the outbreak among the college student population in Pullman, Washington to see why.


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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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Pete Buttigieg is having a moment. The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana keeps trending on social media for his incredibly eloquent explanations of issues—so much so that L.A. Times columnist Mary McNamara has dubbed him "Slayer Pete," who excels in "the five-minute, remote-feed evisceration." From his old-but-newly-viral explanation of late-term abortion to his calm calling out of Mike Pence's hypocrisy, Buttigieg is making a name for himself as Biden's "secret weapon" and "rhetorical assassin."

And now he's done it again, this time taking on the 'originalist' view of the Constitution.

Constitutional originalists contend that the original meaning of the words the drafters of the Constitution used and their intention at the time they wrote it are what should guide interpretation of the law. On the flip side are people who see the Constitution as a living document, meant to adapt to the times. These are certainly not the only two interpretive options and there is much debate to be had as to the merits of various approaches, but since SCOTUS nominee Amy Coney Barrett is an originalist, that view is currently part of the public discourse.

Buttigieg explained the problem with originalism in a segment on MSNBC, speaking from what McNamara jokingly called his "irritatingly immaculate kitchen." And in his usual fashion, he totally nails it. After explaining that he sees "a pathway to judicial activism cloaked in judicial humility" in Coney Barrett's descriptions of herself, he followed up with:

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Eight months into the pandemic, you'd think people would have the basics figured out. Sure, there was some confusion in the beginning as to whether or not masks were going to help, but that was months ago (which might as well be years in pandemic time). Plenty of studies have shown that face masks are an effective way to limit the spread of the virus and public health officials say universal masking is one of the keys to being able to safely resume some normal activities.

Normal activities include things like getting a coffee at Starbucks, but a viral video of a barista's encounter with an anti-masker shows why the U.S. will likely be living in the worst of both worlds—massive spread and economic woe—for the foreseeable future.

Alex Beckom works at a Starbucks in Santee, California and shared a video taken after a woman pulled down her "Trump 2020" mask to ask the 19-year-old barista a question, pulled it back up when the barista asked her to, then pulled it down again.

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