The neat thing is this is just a regular story about American values. If only everyone saw it that way.
Virginia is poised to become the 23rd U.S. state—and first state in the South—to ban the death penalty after lawmakers on Monday approved legislation prohibiting the practice.
"We're dismantling the remnants of Jim Crow here in the New South. Abolishing the death penalty is another step on that journey," tweeted Democratic Del. Jay Jones, who's running for state attorney general.
Both chambers of the General Assembly passed earlier versions already this month. On Monday, the Senate passed the House bill in a 22-16 vote; the House then voted 57-43 on the measure to ban capital punishment. Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam has indicated his support for the measure.
After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.
"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."
One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.
Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.
"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."
When the trailer for Sia's directorial debut movie "Music" was released in November, the Australian singer faced intense backlash from people in the autistic community who felt that the portrayal of an autistic character played by Maddie Ziegler (who is not autistic) was problematic. Advocates also expressed concern about the use of harmful restraint techniques shown in the trailer.
At the time, Sia engaged in heated public debate with her critics on social media, ultimately ending with the statement, "I really hope you see the movie (s)o you can be less angry."
Now the movie is out, and autistic people are commenting on the full film—and they are definitely not any less upset.
The Autisticats is a group of autistic young people who share their experiences with being autistic (among other things) online. On their Twitter account, one of them offered a "detailed & chronological review" of the film.
Just over a month after passing the grim milestone of 400,000 deaths from COVID-19, the United States has surpassed another one. As of today, more than half a million Americans have been lost to the virus that's held the world in a pandemic holding pattern for almost a year. It's a number that seemed unfathomable even six months ago, and yet here we are.
Despite increasing vaccine rollouts allowing us to see the light at the end of the tunnel, the loss we've experienced is immense. Having a president who not only understands loss on a personal level—having endured the tragic loss of his wife and baby daughter earlier in life and the death of his son just six years ago—but who conveys with compassion the grief of the nation as we mark this milestone is a comforting change.
Tonight, the White House honored the 500,000+ lives lost with a display of 500 candles lining the steps of the building, with each candle representing 1000 Americans. The president and first lady, along with the vice president and second gentleman, held a memorial moment of silence outside the South Portico as a military band played "Amazing Grace."