The American Rescue Plan is a 1.9 trillion dollar economic stimulus bill created by President Joe Biden and signed into law on March 11, 2021. This bill includes many benefits for people who qualify.
This stimulus bill will bring aid to small businesses and communities as well as many others in need.
This new plan covers just a small portion of what is needed in order to rebuild what was of incredible destruction from the previous years, from the United States last administration. We all know how much of a struggle those last four year were.
Anyways, enough about that. It’s time to focus on the new, the better. We’ve finally got some good coming our way, let’s see what that’s all about.
As President Joe Biden stated, “It’s time that we build an economy that grows from the bottom up and the middle out. And this bill shows that when you do that, everybody does better.”
With this new plan, Americans are hopeful that the country will begin to recover from not only the consequences wrought by the traumatic pandemic but also from the period of national upheaval and unrest.
The new $1.9 trillion COVID-19 Stimulus Bill proposed by President Biden has been signed by the Senate and the President himself, so here’s what the bill includes:
Most likely, the first thing people are wondering about is the stimulus check, specifically how much they’re getting, and if it’ll be enough to support them. Those eligible are as follows: individual people get $1,400 per person if they earn up to $75,000 per year and for couples if they earn up to $150,000 per year. This means that for a family of 4–two parents and two children–they would receive a check for $5600.
Now, those that are unemployed get $300 a week, which was originally proposed as $400. This will extend up to September 6, 2021.
Public and Education
Over $128 billion in grants is being given to schools, which includes funding for colleges, transit agencies, housing aid, child care providers, and food assistance. $7.5 billion is being sent to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to aid the COVID-19 Vaccines.
Child tax credit has been increased to $3,000 for ages 6-17 and $3,600 for children under 6. As for couples earning $150,000 a year and individuals earning $75,000, this amount is reduced. However, those that are eligible for full credit will get payments up to $300 per month starting July and lasting until the end of the year. Additionally, $7.25 billion is included for a small-business loan program known as PPP which allows for more nonprofits to apply and also includes larger nonprofits to be eligible.
School is a big part of a student’s life and it will prepare them for adulthood, but since 2020 students have been in distant learning and taking classes over Zoom. If given the option to go back on campus, I wanted to see what the students would choose, so I created a Google survey and asked students to participate.
My question was simple, If high schools were to open again and you were given two options to choose from: (1) going back on campus, or, (2) staying home and continuing to do distance learning, which one would you choose?
Out of the fifty students who responded to the survey, the results were pretty close. 52% said they would opt to return to campus while 48% stated they would remain home.
When asked about her choice to continue distance learning, Cadet Paula Huerta stated,
“I personally do not think it is safe enough to go back. My dad is very prone to getting sick and it could be very risky. The vaccine is out but it doesn’t mean it is a cure.”
Personally, I agree with what Huerta has said because it is not yet safe to go back to school even if the vaccine has been released.
Cadet second class Briana Guvara shared that, “Yes I would go back on campus because distance learning is very distracting.”
Staff Sergeant Mia Martinez states, “I would like to go back on campus because I need to get out of the house. And because I miss seeing my friends even if we are conversing from 6 feet apart.” It’s easy to understand that students miss seeing their friends.
Those wanting to return to school have valid reasons. The distractions at home can really get in the way of learning, and all of us miss socializing with friends.
What to Consider?
In January, Harvard Health Publishing released information on the Coronavirus Outbreak, and it stated that younger kids can get COVID-19 too.
Still, Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District just reopened elementary schools beginning Monday, March 29th. But unfortunately, there has been no vaccine released for younger children under the age of 16.
Therefore, I don’t believe that it is safe to send them back to school; younger kids are very naive, and they do not always listen to what adults tell them to do. They may not wear their masks. They may share them with friends. If it is not safe for high school students, why would they send little kids to go back to school?
Just because a vaccine was released there are still many possibilities where it can go wrong and turn out for the worst.
UC Davis and WebMD both published articles that share why many people are still hesitant to take the vaccine.
The decision about whether or not it is safe and advisable to return to school remains quite controversial.
If you were given the option, which would you choose? Sound off in our comments section.
Starting in the month of March, President Biden’s administration has achieved a major breakthrough, providing relief to the millions of Americans who need it. Through Congress, Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion dollar Coronavirus Relief Bill was passed. This however, came with strong objections from the Republicans. Through the passing of this bill, almost every tax-paying American will receive a $1,400 stimulus check. Finally, with the steady decline in new Coronavirus cases, Joe Biden pushes for a nationwide school re-opening plan.
In the month of February, Biden increased the number of vaccine doses that were being shipped across the country, increasing the amount of people getting vaccinated to approximately 2 million people per day. This slowly started to reduce the spread and infection rates. A new vaccine under the company Johnson & Johnson was approved and provided only a one-shot dose. This was backed by President Biden’s strict mask mandates and messages to continue practicing social distancing.
Starting on January 20th, President Biden would set in motion numerous “campaign promised” executive orders, numbering at 17 orders on the first day. These executive orders consisted of addressing the Coronavirus Pandemic head on. An example of this would be the 100-day mask challenge, asking Americans to wear masks for 100 days. Also, continued to pause people having to pay for student loans and federal student loans. Finally, he put a freeze on foreclosures and evictions to March 31.
President Biden’s executive orders on Inauguration Day also reversed a great number of orders that the Trump Administration had previously signed into order. Joe Biden signed for the U.S. to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord and put a halt on withdrawing from the World Health Organization. Biden also lifted Trump’s travel ban on immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries. Finally, he also stopped the construction of the southern border wall, thus removing the national emergency declaration to fund it.
These first 3 months of the Joe Biden Presidency sets the mood for what we can expect from our President for the next 3 years. This also shows how, under Biden, this pandemic will start to diminish thanks to the vaccine roll out. Lastly, it offers hope and help to those all around the world, making the U.S. no longer just “America first” but also more towards our “Allies first.”
To mark International Women’s Day, the Bugle celebrates March as the month of women’s empowerment! In honor of Women’s History Month, we have a gallery of seven international female figures that have made an impact for women collectively.
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.
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.”