The House of Representatives passed an important bill to help expand voting rights called the For the People Act, also known as H.R. 1, on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. Some of the changes this bill would make include expanding the voting pool, mandating independent redistricting, ensuring voting rights, requiring presidential tax returns, and increasing election security. All of this comes after the mass amounts of voter suppression in the 2020 election, especially in states like Georgia and Arizona.
H.R. 1 will expand the access to mail-in voting and absentee voting, which were some of the ways to vote during the 2020 election. During the 2020 election, there was much controversy about mail-in voting due to misinformation and several statements made by former President Donald Trump and his campaign. Despite the misinformation, many Americans made the decision to vote from home, largely because of the pandemic. 2020 was the year with the most mail-in voting, having about 46% of voters voting from home, according to Pew Research. By making mail-in and absentee voting more accessible to Americans, it would give many people with disabilities and people out of the country the ability to vote without having to present themselves at a polling place.
H.R. 1 will also expand the voter pool, which means that it would make voting more accessible to people over the age of 18. It also includes things like automatic voter registration, restoring voting rights to people with completed felony sentences, and a reversal of state voter ID laws that would allow citizens to make a sworn statement affirming their identity if they were unable to produce an ID. With automatic voter registration, the struggle and almost endless process of applying to vote will become much simpler and quicker.
Gerrymandering is a tactic used by politicians to favor one party or the other. By doing this, the politicians are able to gain more votes in their districts and win elections much easier. While “mandating independent redistricting,” may sound crazy, it would just require states to redraw their congressional districts every 10 years. By doing this, it would lessen the influence of gerrymandering, which has long been a political tactic on both sides. While a great addition to the bill, if passed, it would not take effect until 2030 due to decennial census.
It is no secret that during Donald Trump’s presidency he hid his tax returns, never releasing them and fighting legal battles to keep them hidden. Well, H.R. 1 would require the president, vice president and candidates to the White House to release their annual tax returns. It would also require the president and vice president to fill out a financial disclosure form within 30 days of taking office. This would prevent presidents from having a financial conflict of interest like the ones with Donald Trump. This clearly seems to be the motive in adding this section to the bill.
By adding more security at the ballots it would crack down on voter intimidation tactics and the spread of misinformation. This would also hopefully make voters feel safer on their way to vote and while at the ballot. This was also a big story during the 2020 election, where many Trump supporters would stand outside polling places to prevent many people of color from entering.
H.R. 1 will also take aim at “dark money,” which would require organizations to disclose their large donors and also creates a system for small donations.
On the importance of H.R. 1, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated, “Our democracy is in a state of deep disrepair. During the 2020 election, Americans had to overcome rampant voter suppression, gerrymandering, and a torrent of special interest dark money just to exercise their right to vote. Across the country, people of all political persuasions — including Democrats, Independents, and Republicans — are profoundly frustrated with the chaos, corruption and inaction that plague much of our politics.”
Lastly, to ensure voting rights, H.R. 1 would, “improve voting protections that civil rights groups say have been eroded, notably by a 2013 Supreme Court decision.” The court decision mentioned is Shelby County (Alabama) v. Holder, the Supreme Court’s decisions threw out a section of the 1965 Voting Right Act which stated that states with a history of voter discrimination would have to obtain “pre-clearance” from federal officials before making election changes. By making this change, the Supreme Court has allowed many states and districts to get away with voter discrimination for years now, which this bill is trying to eradicate.
Although passing this bill would be a huge win for voters everywhere, many Democrats believe that this bill will not get past the Senate due to the very slim majority Democrats hold. Many Republicans continue to fight the simplification of the voting process, even passing laws in some states to make it more difficult to vote–the state of Georgia, for example–as well as passing several laws that would discriminate against many voters and make the application process more difficult for new voters.
It was the week of February 13, 2021 when an unusual snowstorm hit Texas, leading to massive damages including power outages, no water, no electricity, and very limited supplies, including food.
The storm left millions of people in a very dire situation. Many of their houses’ pipes burst open causing water to gush and flood the floors. This led to the point where they had to boil water from the snow for the heat inside their homes. The storm was so bad that it also delayed the federal government’s delivery of Covid-19 vaccines which had caused many other shortages.
In one of the most unexpected snowstorms of early 2021, approximately 58 people died, including an 11-year-old boy who froze to death. The parents of this young child filed a lawsuit of $100 million dollars after not having any electricity. In Houston, a woman and her 7 year old daughter died inside her car while it was parked and running in the garage in an attempt to keep warm. Most families were cooking outside, charging phones in their car and using snow to melt and shower. All of the wild chaos made it very difficult for hospitals to take care of patients.
While some schools were open in Texas, the storm then led to them being closed for several days as their crews would have to repair pipes, damages, and clean the classrooms. The horrific snow storm temperatures were the coldest it has been since the year of 1989. Driveways were covered in snow, and without a car or road access, it was difficult for the residents of Texas to go to their grocery stores. The only way to get there was by walking. When residents could drive, the weather conditions caused more than 450 car accidents between the days of Sunday and Tuesday in the Houston area alone.
The stores looked like it was the beginning of Covid-19 all over again. There were long lines to get in, all shelves were empty, including all toilet paper and wipes. Water, first aid kits, and food were also eventually completely gone. When you’re in a situation like this, you don’t know what to do; so, some people started panicking.
Overall, around 290,000 Texas residents were left without power and more than 22 million other people across the South were put under frigid temperatures in the coldest winter of their lives.
There have been a great deal of historical events that have taken place within the month of March. All of us know about the events of last March (2020) which now overshadows previous historical events and achievements. Now let’s take a look back at five historical events that have taken place in the month of March.
The Ratification of The Articles of Confederation:
On March 1st, 1781, The Articles of Confederation were ratified, creating the first taste of a Government in the United States after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Although the Articles remained as the governing body of the U.S. Government until the end of the Revolutionary War in 1789, there were major flaws within it. It created economic disorganization among the 13 States and there was no executive leader. This paved a way to a signing of the current U.S. Constitution that is the backbone of current American Politics.
Franklin D. Roosevelt was Inaugurated as the 32nd President of The United States:
On March 4th, 1933 Franklin D. Roosevelt was inaugurated and was faced with getting the United States out of the Great Depression. He was offering a New Deal to America and bringing a much needed breath of fresh air to this crisis. In his Inauguration Speech, he would go on to say the famous words, “Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself…” This would rally the American people and cause him to win 3 more elections.
Ulysses S. Grant became commander of the Union army:
As the Civil War had been raging on for almost 3 years, the Union Army was in need of a new general. On March 9th, 1864, Ulysses Grant would be commissioned as the commander of the Union forces. Grant would go on to fight in numerous battles against the Confederate leader General Robert E. Lee. Eventually, Lee was defeated at the hands of General Grant’s army. This popularity of his successes in war helped him win the White House, becoming the 18th President of the United States.
Obamacare is passed through Congress being signed into law:
On March 23, 2010 in former President Barack Obama’s second year in office, he helped form a Universal Healthcare Reform Bill. This bill was going to allow healthcare to be offered to all Americans. However, this bill created enormous backlash from the Republican party believing it to be unconstitutional. This was the start of a majority of the division we see today in Washington. However, Obamacare was effective and popular among people who could not afford healthcare, helping Obama’s reelection in 2012.
The United States buys Alaska.
The Russian Empire at the time was looking to sell its Alaska Territory as it was across the Pacific Ocean and hard to defend. Also, Alaska was very sparsely populated. America was willing to purchase Alaska, however the Civil War postponed the sale until after the war. President Andrew Johnson’s Secretary of State William Seward set a deal to pay $7.2 million for Alaska, which was only about 2 cents per acre. So on March 30, 1867, Alaska was purchased by the U.S. However, Alaska would not be granted statehood until 1959, almost 92 years after the purchase.
Here are the facts on the amazing science behind the quickest vaccine ever produced
By Andrea Arias
In April 2020, amidst the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the question “When will the vaccine be ready?” first arose, the New York Times released an article where they projected that the vaccine could take until 2033, even though health professionals were aiming to get it done by August 2021. Little did they know that in a little over eight months, the first vaccine for COVID-19 would be approved. Remarkable.
Before the COVID-19 vaccine was created, the quickest vaccine was for the mumps in the 1960s, and that vaccine took 4 years. So, why was the COVID vaccine projected to take so long, and how were we able to get it done so quickly?
–Vaccine Development Process–
Vaccines have always been projected to take years, this is due to the process that takes place to create a vaccine. The process of creating a vaccine is done by using a deactivated version of the virus or a “live but mild version” of the virus that has grown to be less severe. This is then injected into someone, which allows our B cells to create and synthesize antibodies to fight the virus if we are ever to come in contact with a live version.
While this is the traditional and most common vaccine (flu vaccines were created using this method), due to the severity and need for a Covid vaccine as quickly as possible, some companies decided to use a new method this time. Since SARS-CoV-2 was a new virus (SARS-CoV-2 is the name of the virus and COVID-19 stands for the disease, Coronavirus Disease 2019), with no previous research or understanding of the virus it would be difficult for a vaccine to be created.
The new method used to create the COVID-19 vaccine is called an mRNA vaccine. mRNA is messenger RNA, and its job is to produce proteins. So, how does an mRNA vaccine work? Well, by encoding mRNA with the information needed to produce the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, this allows the body to then realize that this protein is an invader and produces antibodies to fight it. Essentially, it is the same process as a traditional vaccine, but instead of using a version of the virus, a synthetic mRNA is injected and binds to human cells and then creates a “spike” protein (which is what allows coronavirus to infect other cells).
Only two companies decided to take the approach of using an mRNA vaccine, these two were Moderna and Pfizer. The latter is a company under a German government program that is pushing for a vaccine, and the former is a company under the Operation Warp Speed started by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. With the press release from Moderna and Pfizer, we are able to learn how Phase 1/3 went, and how quickly these two companies were able to come up with a solution and vaccine in just 8 short months. According to BioSpace, by Phase I both Moderna and Pfizer achieved outstanding results in non-human models that produced sufficient CD4+ T cells against the virus (see graphic, below). CD4+ cells are “helper” cells that trigger the body’s response to infections.
This is being attached to T cells which are the key white blood cells for the immune system. Along with this, within the first phase both Moderna and Pfizer realized the importance and essential need for a two-dose vaccine. This was discovered because it was found that 43 days or two weeks after the second dose participants had the same level of antibodies as people who had recovered from the virus. While during Phase I Moderna only managed to create a protein, mRNA-1273, that could protect against replication in the lungs of SARS-CoV-2, in a later phase they found how to also prevent infection from the virus.
–Other Promising Vaccines–
While the mRNA vaccines by Moderna and Pfizer have been the quickest to be created and released, they are not the only vaccines being created. There are three other types of vaccines being used by other companies to help put a stop to this pandemic. Novaxax is creating a protein-based vaccine, which uses related versions of the spike protein and injects this into a person. By doing this, the protein tutors the immune system in how to fight the virus. This, in turn, allows cells to be pushed into the frontlines, dedicated to fighting the virus. Protein vaccines have been around much longer and have been proven to be highly effective, but they are slower to produce than mRNA vaccines.
Research on the Novavax vaccine has found that it has the highest neutralizing antibodies reported yet. Another type of vaccine is the adenovirus-based vaccine; Johnson & Johnson as well as AstraZeneca have been trying to create this type of vaccine, and it appears that Johnson & Johnson has succeeded. Adenovirus-based vaccines are prepared by inserting a transgene cassette into the adenoviral backbone by homologous recombination, which is an exchange of genetic information from similar or identical molecules or DNA or RNA. According to the CDC, this is a vaccine that is taken orally and is only used in the military, and none exist for public or general use in the U.S. Similarly to the protein vaccine, adenovirus vaccine technology has existed for several years but has not been used to create a general vaccine for public use.
–Timeline of Historic Vaccines–
•December 31, 2020 The first case of Coronavirus Disease 2019 was reported in Wuhan, China.
•January 29, 2020 The first lab-grown 2019-nCov was created. This at the time was the first step for a traditional version of a vaccine for COVID-19 to be created.
•February 13, 2020 A radiologist from Wuhan published findings of a chest CT scan which suggested four evolutionary stages of COVID-19, these four stages being the early stage (0–4 days), progressive stage (5–8 days), peak stage (9–13 days), and absorption stage (≥14 days). Within this time, researchers found that there was an abnormality within the patient’s lungs.
•February 17, 2020 Just a few days later, it was revealed that warmer weather and humidity might not affect the spread of COVID-19 like many had suggested. This posed a problem as, unlike the flu, a person is likely to contract the disease at any point and time of the year.
•February 24, 2020 With shocking speed, Moderna, one of the companies to later release a well-developed vaccine, sent a vaccine to phase 1 testing in the U.S.
•February 26, 2020 Novaxax announces possible candidate against the Coronavirus.
•March 16, 2020 Moderna vaccine testing begins.
•March 30, 2020 Johnson & Johnson announced a lead candidate for their version of the COVID-19 virus. The Janssen vaccine is not a mRNA vaccine but an adenovirus based vaccine.
•April 29, 2020 The first group for Phase I testing is injected with the Pfizer vaccine.
•May 15, 2020 The Trump administration announces ‘Operation Warp Speed.’ This is done to speed up the process of the vaccines currently being tested, which at the time were Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson.
•May 25, 2020 Novavax initiates the start of Phase 1/2 testing in Australia, for their NVX-CoV2373, protein-based vaccine.
•May 29, 2020 Moderna starts their evaluation of the vaccine in Phase II. They ran a placebo-controlled experiment to confirm the dose and evaluate the safety of the vaccine.
•May – July 2020 Seven pharmaceutical companies were approved into ‘Operation Warp Speed.’ These were: Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co., Moderna Inc., University of Oxford in collaboration with AstraZeneca Plc, and Novavax, Pfizer Inc. *Note: Pfizer was not initially involved but a deal was made for 100 million doses of their vaccine in mid-July*
•June 5, 2020 The BBC announced for AstraZeneca that they will begin producing potential Covid vaccines. Around this time, AstraZeneca’s vaccine also passed to Phase I. AstraZeneca’s vaccine is not an mRNA vaccine but instead a double-stranded DNA vaccination rather than a single-stranded mRNA. The vaccine is called ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 or AZD1222.
•July 27, 2020 Moderna begins Phase III testing of their mRNA-1273 vaccine. On this day, Pfizer also chose their lead mRNA vaccine to advance into Phase II.
•August 24, 2020 Novavax advances to Phase II of Phase 1/2 clinical trial of their NVX-CoV2373 vaccine.
•August 31, 2020 AstraZeneca’s advances to Phase III clinical trials in the U.S. for all adult groups.
•September 2, 2020 AstraZeneca temporarily pauses clinical trials of their Covid-19 vaccine, AZD1222, due to an unexplained illness that occured in the UK during their Phase III testing there. The clinical trials have to be stopped to ensure the safety of all participants.
•November 8, 2020 Pfizer conducted their Phase III trail revealing an efficiency rate above 90%
•December 8, 2020 The first person to receive the Pfizer vaccine is a 90-year-old woman in the United Kingdom.
•December 10, 2020 Pfizer publicized the results of the Phase III clinical trial. There were 43,448 participants, 21,720 of which received BNT162b2, the vaccine, and 21,728 received a placebo, using the two-dose regimen of BNT162b2, which was given 21 days apart. This demonstrated the vaccine to be 95% effective against COVID-19.
•December 11, 2020 The U.S. FDA approved the first Covid vaccine for emergency use in the U.S., the Pfizer vaccine.
•December 18, 2020 The FDA approved the Moderna vaccine to be the second vaccine approved for emergency use in the U.S.
•December 20, 2020 The U.K. authorized the use of the AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine.
•December 28, 2020 Novavax announces the start of their PREVENT-19 Phase III trial in the U.S. and Mexico.
•January 8, 2021 A Pfizer press release announced that their Covid-19 vaccine is effective against the multiple mutations recently discovered.
•January 28, 2021 In a press release by Novavax, they stated that in their Phase III trials in the UK proved their vaccine is 89.3% effective against Covid-19. (This test was conducted against the new variant in the UK as well as during a time of high infectious rate, meaning they are looking to create a strong vaccine to stop the multiple mutations of Covid-19, including the one in South Africa.)
•February 3, 2021 AstraZeneca announces that their vaccine is 100% effective against severe cases of Covid-19, making it likely the most effective vaccine to be released.*
*Note: this is only against severe cases, hospitalizations, and death; it is still likely to get coronavirus but the likelihood of being hospitalized is very slim from these results.
•February 4, 2021 Johnson & Johnson requested emergency authorization from the FDA for their COVID-19, vaccine which has been found to be 72% effective, less than both Moderna and Pfizer but large nonetheless for such a short period of time. The J&J vaccine was also able to test against the new variant of the virus present in the U.S., South Africa and Latin America at this time.
•February 7, 2021 Africa suspends the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine due to minimal protection it provided for the variant identified there.
For more constant updates on new vaccines and other vaccines not listed above check out the New York Times Covid-19 Vaccine Tracker which is updated constantly. They also do a great job in breaking down all the vaccines and their purposes.
America has suffered for the last four years because of the horrendous acts of former president Trump. Trump never behaved as a president should behave–putting his country and its people first–and this was as clearly seen not only by our own country’s citizens, but by the entire world.
Trump never once did anything to save or to really help the country as a whole, but he’s surely done much to help himself and his own personal political agenda.
From deeming different groups of people as “criminals, terrorists, rapists, drug dealers,” plummeting the economy like never before, and knowing the dangers of COVID-19 yet letting it worsen, Trump made his mark as the worst president ever.
Additionally, as a result of the Trump-incited insurrection that took place on January 6 and the resulting death threats to both President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. placed 25,000 National Guard troops and Secret Service, as well as other law enforcement personnel around them at the U.S. Capitol in order to ensure the safety and security of all involved on Inauguration Day.
Hope for the Future
Now that President Biden has taken office, Americans can breathe a sigh of relief as they finally have hope for a brighter and calmer future.
Life still won’t be easy, and as always, it will get tough at times. But, with the help of the new president and his cabinet, our country may finally receive what it needs–unity.
Biden and Harris will have tons of work to do working to rebuild everything the previous president ruined, but it is a challenge that they both are eager to take on.
President Joe Biden has proposed some wondrous and amazing policies. First, he promised to get the raging pandemic under control. He is making public announcements asking Americans to wear masks and take precautions, and he is working to obtain vaccines and distribute them as quickly as possible. He also wants to work towards more ways to reduce climate change, empower and protect women, and even advance LGBTQ+ equality!
Even though our leadership has finally changed, this is not the time for complacency.
The fight for our rights is over when the need for a fight is over.
The events that took place on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at our nation’s Capitol Building have rattled everyone, including cadets and students at Southeast Academy and JGHS.
Students in Shock
Many cadets watched in disbelief as events unfolded. Daniel Ramos, a junior at SEA, shares his impressions: “I feel ashamed [of] the people who made a fool of our country and [of] themselves.” Similarly, JGHS senior Joseph Nunez laments, “It is ridiculous and disgusting that these people with privilege are doing an act of domestic terrorism on our country.”
Our very democracy was challenged by these rioters, and students are questioning the motives behind it. “Why would they disrespect their country’s symbol of a democratic government?” asks Cpl. Sarah Shim. An article in the Washington Post attempts to answer that question. Trump lost the election, yet he convinced his supporters that it was “stolen” from them. President Trump further encouraged followers to go to the Capitol to intimidate Congress and stop the certification of the electoral college votes. This dangerous rhetoric is what instigated these heinous actions.
The United States is a country at war with itself, and this civil unrest will have long lasting ramifications. Senior 1st Lt. Nieto believes that our current leaders share much of the blame because not “all politicians” have a positive influence on their followers. Additionally, she states that, “Opposing political views not only have an impact on an individual, but [also on] all of society.”
All eyes are upon our nation. Since we as a country have wreaked “havoc” on ourselves, observes 1st Lt. Kushal Tavva, this insurrection has, “turned us into the laughing stock of the world.” SEA Journalism staff editor and reporter Ace Castro adds to this sentiment, stating, “Not only are our enemies laughing at us, but our allies might… be embarrassed to be ASSOCIATED with us!”
Students Call Out Inequity
The sharp inequity between how these mostly white rioters were treated as opposed to the treatment inflicted upon the protesters of color during the Black Lives Matter movement last summer did not go unnoticed by students.
Sophomore Paul Vargas noted that, had this been a BLM riot, “They would have armed guards and armor around the Capitol.” JGHS senior Kaitlyn M. agrees. The BLM protesters were calling for “basic human rights,” yet they were met with armed guards in “riot gear.”
Jon Schuppe of NBC News noted that while some police officers did try to deal with the insurrectionists, “Others took selfies and appeared to offer no resistance, allowing dozens of rioters to leave without being arrested.”
But not all students see it this way. At least one student believes that the difference in police response has more to do with the fact that the authorities learned a valuable lesson about using excessive force and less to do with discrimination or white privilege. Cadet Eric Rodrigueza explains, “I believe that the reasoning for [police] lack of action against the protesters/rioters is that they were trying to prevent what had happened before.” Rodrigueza adds, “I truly believe this is the reason why [the police] choose to let the protesters/rioters enter the U.S Capitol.”
No matter where we stand politically, I hope we can all agree that what happened at the Capitol Building on Jan. 6th was wrong.
Click here to see more student reactions to this historic event.
For all of us, the goal should be to get vaccinated and reach herd immunity in order for this pandemic to be over. According to experts, 85% of Americans need to be vaccinated in order for this to happen. As of February 8, 4,746,539 vaccine doses have been given out. About 40 million people live in California, and of these, only 9.6% have received the vaccine.
Here’s a round-up of more vaccine news:
Health-care workers were first on the list for these vaccines, along with long-term care facility residents.
On January 13, Governor Newsom announced accessibility to those 65 and older.
Newsom also announced major vaccination sites like Dodger Stadium, Disneyland, CalExpo, PETCO Park in San Diego, and more.
On January 25, it was announced that the next phase will be giving accessibility to age-based groups.
As of the first week of February, L.A. County has received 1.2 million doses, and 89% of those have already been used. 184,000 doses were received last week, too. Many of those were saved as a second dose. 218,000 doses are expected to be received this week and more than half of those are going towards the second-dose vaccine. In L.A. County, as of February 8, only those aged 65+, health care workers and residents/staff at long-term care facilities are eligible for the COVID vaccine. Those eligible can make appointments through this link: http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/acd/ncorona2019/vaccine/hcwsignup/
In L.A. County, starting on February 16, those in need of the second dose were able to obtain it at Pomona Fairplex, the Forum, Six Flags Magic Mountain, The Los Angeles County Office of Education in Downey, Cal State University Northridge, Balboa Sports Complex and El Sereno. Proof of the first dose will be needed in order to enter and get vaccinated.
When California Senator Kamala Harris became the new Vice President, her spot had to be filled by somebody new. Enter Alex Padilla.
Alejandro Padilla was chosen by California’s Governor Gavin Newsom to fill Kamala Harris’ seat in the senate for the remainder of her term. Newsom’s decision does not come as a surprise considering Padilla’s extensive experience as a public servant in California.
Senator Padilla and his family have been residents of Los Angeles since his mother and father immigrated to the United States from Mexico. After graduating from high school, Padilla attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At MIT he earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. After attending MIT, he was selected to become Los Angeles City Council President. He made history as the youngest Los Angeles City Council President. He later became a part of the state senate in 2006 and he went on to represent that people from San Fernando Valley.
During the time that Padilla served as a state senator, he managed to pass over 50 bills that helped the issue of climate change. Alejandro Padilla’s already extensive accomplishments led him to become the first Latino Secretary of State that California has ever seen. Padilla has been breaking racial and socioeconomic barriers since he first began his journey as a public servant in the state of California.
Kamala Harris only needed two more years to finish her term as a senator; so now that Mr. Padilla is filling in for her, a lot of politicians are watching. If Senator Padilla proves to be a productive and effective senator, it could mean that he would be able to get re-elected with the support of his party.
On January 20, 2021, the world looked to Washington D.C. as President Joe Biden was officially inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States, continuing the 232-year tradition of a peaceful transfer of power. However, this Inauguration Day looked vastly different due to the Coronavirus, as the national mall was not crowded with people but covered with American flags. Kamala Harris was also sworn in as the first woman Vice President in American history.
The tone of this inauguration was different as it was four years ago, as a theme of unity was a major bullet point in President Biden’s Inauguration Speech. “We look ahead in our uniquely American way – restless, bold, optimistic – and set our sights on the nation we know we can be and we must be,” stated Biden, as he spoke in the exact spot where weeks prior violent rioters stood trying to stop his certification as President.
Another difference in this inauguration compared to previous ones was that former President Trump did not show up to the inauguration, becoming just the fourth President in history to purposely not attend his successor’s inauguration. This showed the vast differences between Biden and Trump’s personalities and their feelings towards each other. Trump left the White House before the inauguration with Melania and his son Barron on Marine One. They landed at Andrews Air Force Base where Trump gave a farewell speech to his supporters at the same time as the inauguration. Trump’s Vice President Mike Pence did not join him, however. Pence attended the inauguration with his wife, showing the gap that was formed between the two after Pence did not stop the certifying of the 2020 electoral ballots like Trump wanted him to.
As Biden stepped into the White House, Trump stepped into a Senate Impeachment Trial. The trial lasted from February 9-13. Ultimately, Trump was acquitted on charges of “incitement of insurrection,” as the 57-43 senate vote fell ten votes short of the necessary ⅔ majority to convict him. The seven Republican votes for conviction represented the largest bipartisan vote for an impeachment conviction of a U.S. president.
On January 13, 2021, Donald Trump became the first President in history to be impeached twice by the House of Representatives. The vote passed with 222 Democrats and 10 Republicans voting to impeach, breaking party lines. However, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnel did not push to have the senate trial start until after Trump was out of office. If the Senate had found Trump guilty in the impeachment trial he would have immediately been removed from office.
However, since Trump was already voted out by the people, he could have faced a different set of consequences. If the Senate had convicted Trump, then he would have been the first President to actually be convicted (although it would have taken another vote to have Trump barred from office, meaning he could not run for President again). Another vote from the Senate would have also stripped Trump from his post-Presidency benefits, such as a yearly salary and his own personal secret service for life.
Trump could still face a criminal prosecution or civil lawsuit arising from the Capitol assault, and The Shoemaker Bugle will update this story if anything comes up.
The Shoemaker Bugle honors Black History Month with profiles of these 12 American heroes.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Born on January 15, 1929, Dr. King’s goal was to relieve America of its racist values and bring unity among the races. He was the leader of the Civil Rights movement and fond of peaceful protest. The face and voice of human rights gained national recognition with the Montgomery Bus Boycott after Rosa Parks declined to give up her seat in a time of segregation. After 381 days of protest, the Supreme Court ruled segregation on buses was unconstitutional, and that paved the way for the Civil Rights Movement to expand with high respectability being generated toward Dr. King. Everyone believed in him and peaceful protest to progress history. Most notably known for his “I Have a Dream Speech” on August 28, 1963, as more than 250,000 people listened, King got to deliver his speech from the steps of the Lincoln memorial for all of America, even his enemies.
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.”
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Born on March 17, 1912, American leader Rustin was a popular protest organizer for social movements. Starting in his teens, he began to peacefully protest racial segregation. From there on, he would organize protests for movements anywhere he went. In its first breaths of the Civil Rights movement, in 1954, Rustin became Dr. King’s chief organizer and went onto organize the March on Washington a decade later, in 1963, which included King’s famous “I Have a dream” speech. His homosexuality was off-putting to leaders of the movement, so he didn’t get recognized for his actions until later in his life. 50 years after the Civil Rights movement, President Obama awarded him the presidential award of freedom which praised Rustin’s determination towards true equality.
“We need, in every community, a group of angelic troublemakers.”
Born May 19, 1925, American-Muslim minister and human rights activist Malcolm X is one of the most notable symbols of black liberation in modern history. With his extremely powerful words on racial issues, he was a hard-hitter with his speech and actions, differing in his views of peaceful protest from MLK. One of America’s biggest threats during his prime of activism, he cultivated a global following. His “less-than-appropriate” manner of speech came from anger about discrimination and inequality. So for all those too scared to speak like him would be his supporters.
“The injustice that has been inflicted on negroes in this country by Uncle Sam is criminal. The government is responsible for the injustice. The government can bring these injustices to halt.”
-Malcolm X, referring to police brutality
Born around 1818, American leader of the abolitionist movement and writer Douglass was a highly famous intellectual of his time that sought to abolish slavery. A self-freed slave, he never knew his age (as all enslaved were mostly never told of their birthday and/or maiden name to be kept ignorant of their own nature and being). On one of the many plantations he was on as a child, a slave owner’s wife took to him and taught him how to read. He was beaten for knowing how to read but gained more knowledge on his own. Then he went on to write books about his struggle and gained popularity. He would give speeches while traveling around the country and even was one of the key consultants who convinced Lincoln to abolish slavery in effort to support the civil war with more troops.
“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”
Born in the early 1820’s as “Araminta Ross,” Tubman was an American abolitionist. She freed over 300 people from slavery in the 1850’s realizing that slavery occurring anywhere in America was uncalled for. This feat in history caused her to move higher with her courage in which she became a Union Army nurse, scout, and spy during the Civil War. From these attributes, she became the first woman in U.S. history to lead a military raid and free enslaved people. Her plans to better the community of black people never stopped, from raising money to building schools and hospitals, to supporting women’s suffrage. Even on her deathbed, this prominent woman in history, continued to be of relief to America’s racism.
“I go to prepare a place for you.”
-Harriet Tubman’s last words
Born August 2, 1924, Baldwin was an American writer and activist for his people. As a teen, he was a preacher and from that, he was able to develop his writing style; however, because of the limited outlook the church had for racism and the lack of support for homosexuality, he lost interest. In his early twenties, he moved to Paris and began to write his take on racism in America. One of his most famous works, “Notes from a Native Son,” depicted class, race, and sexuality and from that he became an influential prominent black writer, as well as a liaison in the Civil Rights movement. He debated Robert Kennedy, Malcolm X, and many others. With his uncanny ability to get respect from white people in debates and openness of his sexuality (during a time of rampant racism and homophobia), he was seen as a threat to the American government. He was ahead of his time and a path maker for the future.
“I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”
Born February 1, 1902, Hughes was an American writer, one of many leaders of the Harlem Renaissance, and an early founder of “jazz poetry.” He wanted African-American values intertwined with writing and a new form to be born in “jazz poetry.” Predominantly white people had been in the spotlight for literature since the dawn of reading literature, but Hughes gave poetry a new flow and style. Black representation could now be seen in writing and be shared in his community.
“Good morning daddy, ain’t you heard, the boogie woogie rumble of a dream deferred.”
-an example of Langston Hughes’ jazz poetry
Born July 25, 1941, Emmett Till was lynched at only fourteen years old for accusations of harassing a white woman. He was brutally beaten to death by two white men who claimed to be defending a white woman from Till. Mamie Till Bradley, mother of Emmett, was so distraught over her son’s death that she needed for the world to see what they had done to her son. By sending pictures of his distorted face to magazines and newspapers, along with a public open-casket funeral, publicity was given to Emmett Till’s murder. In the three-day trail for the murder of Emmett Till, the all-white jury found the killers not guilty. Seven years after its time, one juror confessed that most of the jury did find them guilty but deemed life in prison too harsh on white men for killing a black boy.
“I thought of Emmett Till, and when the bus driver ordered me to move to the back, I just couldn’t move.”
-Rosa Parks on Emmett Till’s impact
Born April 25, 1917, American jazz singer, Ella Fitzgerald is known as the first lady of song. Fitzgerald was, and still is, a highly influential part of music history. Having an impeccable voice to make the world swoon with tenderness and admiration, even Marilyn Monroe couldn’t get enough of her. After winning a singing competition at Harlem’s Apollo theater, she got connected with Chick Webb and recorded one of her first songs, “Love and Kisses.” From there on out, she would collaborate with big names in the jazz business like Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, The Ink Spots, and many more, which landed her as a prominent figure in jazz history forever.
“The only thing better than singing is more singing.”
Born January 31, 1919, Robinson, baseball’s Civil Rights leader, was the first African-American to break the color barrier and play Major League Baseball. He made history when he was sent out to the field to play first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947. A decade later he helped the Dodgers win their first World Series in 1955 (Brooklyn’s only championship). Even with his impact on cutting segregation out of the major leagues, racism still flowed through the stadiums and games. Having to endure immense bigotry throughout his character, he is a legend to have not have quit on us, history, and the black community. His number 42 is retired throughout all of Major League Baseball.
“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”
Born September 8, 1954, six-year-old Bridges made her impact on November 14, 1960, when she was the first African-American child to desegregate an all-white elementary school in New Orleans. In 1954, the Brown v. Board of Education supreme court case ruled that segregation in schools was unconstitutional, but the school still did not comply with the ruling. Finally, a federal order was issued five years later to slowly begin segregation, starting with four black children on their first day of first grade, and Bridges was one of them. U.S. Marshals escorted the girl to school and caused an uproar so badly that almost all students and faculty withdrew their positions in the school. She and the only teacher who would teach her, Barbara Henry, went on to manage the school year alone and Bridges went onto second grade successfully.
“My message is really that racism has no place in the hearts and minds of our children.”
Born January 26, 1944, America leader Davis is a human rights activist, intellectual, and advocate of prison abolition. An icon for once being on the FBI’s most wanted list and facing the death sentence in California, Davis has gone on her whole life fighting for justice of black people and reformation of the criminal justice system. Seen as a threat for leading the prison abolishment movement, she was ruled as “armed and dangerous” by the FBI. After being imprisoned for 18 months for connections to a murder, all her charges were acquitted and now she had an inside look of what is is to be a criminal in America, which encouraged her activism to continue and never stop. She is now a professor at UC Santa Cruz.
“I’m no longer accepting the things I cannot change… I’m changing the things I cannot accept.”