Biden Addresses Congress
President Joe Biden addressed Congress and the nation with a reflection of his first 100 days in office, leading off with: “Madam Speaker, Madam Vice President — no President has ever said those words from this podium. No President has ever said those words, and it’s about time.” He was celebrating the fact that Kamala Harris is the first woman Speaker and woman Vice President in American history.
He then addressed the triumphs and devastations that occurred. He reflected on the beginning of his term, and how far we have come since, highlighting how he surpassed his goal of 100 million vaccines administered (over 220 million administered shots were administered). He also mentioned the passing of the American Rescue Plan. He stated that he intends to pass more plans and bills to continue to help those struggling get back on their feet, and improve America as a whole.
The Derek Chauvin Trial
This past week, the trial of Derek Chauvin—the police officer who killed George Floyd back in May of 2020—ended after an intense and emotional three-week trial. After many witness testimonies and a two-day jury deliberation, they finally came to a decision. Chauvin was found guilty on two counts of second-degree murder and now faces up to 40 years in prison. That being said, it is unlikely that he will carry out a full 40 years in prison, as Minnesota’s sentence for second degree murder is only 12.5 years.
Considering the fact that police officers are rarely held accountable and convicted for murders, especially ones which are suspected to be racially motivated, this case is seen to be quite a large step in the fight for racial equality. This battle is nowhere near over, and many are still not satisfied with the outcome of this case. Even more uproar was caused by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi thanking Floyd for “sacrificing his life for justice.” Many feel as though this was an extremely disrespectful statement, because Floyd did not choose to lose his life—he was murdered.
Mass Shootings in America
Whilst we were in the pandemic, it seemed like the world took a pause. All other news was cast aside and forgotten about. But mass shootings never stopped—they were only silenced. In 2020 alone, there were over 600 mass shootings, and as of the middle of April 2021, there have already been 147, with 11 of them being classified as mass murders. Coinciding with the increase in shootings, the sales of firearms increased as well, hitting their peak in June 2020.
Since the early stages of guns and automatic weapons, there have always been shootings. Although the rates have increased over the years, they are now rising at an alarming rate. While media coverage of mass shootings intensified following the Sandy Hook and Columbine shootings, many citizens of America are unaware of the dangerous gun violence happening right in their own country as the pandemic continues to unfold.
Pressure comes from the White House, however, supporting more gun reforms and restrictions. President Biden has spoken numerous times on the topic, quoted saying, “Enough “thoughts and prayers'' from Congress...Pass the legislation [allotting for more background checks, restricting loopholes in gun shows.]“
It is unacceptable for gun violence to continue in America. Stay educated, aware, and informed on news and events happening in the nation. Remember, people are affected by gun violence and shootings everyday. It is spreading too far, and affecting too many people, to be ignored any longer.
Earth Day 51 At Home and Abroad
Last Thursday, Americans observed the 51st Earth Day, celebrating the environment and conservation efforts. The Biden administration took a strong stance on climate change and the environmental protection movement. The President initiated a Leader’s Summit on climate with 40 world leaders from the Chancellor of Germany to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh present. Biden announced that he would try to cut U.S. emissions in half by 2030. He focused on the economic impact of “a clean energy revolution,” touting that switching to renewable energy sources from fossil fuels would generate safe, well-paying, fair jobs. Although Biden spoke at length about America’s actions, he urged the international community to take action as well. According to the White House Press release, the administration believes that “given that more than 85 percent of emissions come from beyond U.S. borders, domestic action must go hand in hand with international leadership. “ As a result of negotiations during the summit, over half of the global economy committed to the measures needed to keep increasing temperatures capped at 1.5o C, the critical point just short of causing serious catastrophe.
This comes as environmental activism, especially youth organizing, is ramping up. Greta Thunberg, a global eighteen-year-old climate activist icon, told ELLE magazine this spring “there is a lot of hope that we will change, but now we have to start treating the crisis like a crisis. Just imagine if the media and people in power actually started treating the crisis like a crisis—it would have a snowball effect.”
The NYC Mayoral Race: Who and What We Know
As November slowly approaches, New York City natives are starting to become informed and opinionated on the 2021 mayoral race. Over 30 men and women are up for the role, and with the primaries in June, we will be able to narrow the choices down. Some standout candidates include Andrew Yang, Eric Adams, Maya Wiley, and Paperboy Prince. Bill de Blasio, the current and longstanding mayor of the city, will be reaching his term limit, which makes him unable to rerun for election. Lately, there has been much criticism of NYC's leadership and government, from all political angles. Hopefully, with a new candidate as mayor, unity and prosperity will return to the city once again.