Commentary on anti-lynching bill, DePaul SGA elections and Amazon workers unionize
Plus a Netflix recommendation
Hey there! It’s your newsletter team — Claire, Aneesah, Mariah, Monique, Emily, Grace, Cam, Kate and Billie — back this week with our full length newsletter coverage.
Today we have a feature story on the Emmett Till Antilynching Law, the low-down on Student Government Association’s spring election, the latest news on General Iron and another recommendation from our resident columnist. In addition to all that, this week 14 East is back to our regular publishing, so be on the lookout for some more great stories from our writers this Friday.
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That’s all from us, so let’s dive right into it!
Commentary: What Does the Emmett Till Antilynching Act Actually Mean for Black Americans?
By Aneesah Shealey
Editor’s note: The piece contains mentions of sexual assault as well as hate crimes and racial violence against Black people.
On March 29, 104 years after the first antilynching bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, President Joe Biden signed the Emmett Till Antilynching Act into federal law, codifying lynching as a hate crime. Racial terror lynchings are an act of domestic terrorism meant to uphold a racial hierarchy that devolved into an act of public spectacle and entertainment for white people to enjoy.
In their heyday during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, lynchings allowed white people to maintain economic and political power across the American South, as well as satiate the sexual anxieties of white men, who categorized Black men as brutes who wanted to rape white women. During these acts of extrajudicial execution, white people collected souvenirs to maintain a memory of the moment, including but not limited to photographs of lynched Black people and even body parts from a lynched person.
Though this bill officially classifies lynching as a hate crime under federal statutes, I cannot ignore the fact that this piece of legislation passed under the Biden administration concerning Black Americans is too little, too late. Furthermore, how is this legislation actively helping the Black community when there are far more pertinent issues such as housing and income inequality?
Where was the antilynching legislation when Sam Hose was burned to death by a white mob in Georgia in 1899? What about when James T. Scott, a Black janitor was lynched off of a bridge near Mizzou’s campus by students and community members in 1923? Or even when Michael Donald was lynched in Alabama in 1981?
This means that despite a reported 4,743 Black men, women and children murdered by white mobs between 1882 and 1968 (this timeline was tabulated by the NAACP, the true number remains unknown). It is absolutely shameful that despite a century’s worth of sustained efforts by Black activists, galvanized by Ida B. Wells-Barnett, the federal government is just now taking specific actions to legally categorize lynching as a hate crime.
To add insult to the injury, the bill is named in the supposed “honor” of Emmett Till, a child who was lynched by two men based on a lie told by Carolyn Bryant, who is still alive. This slap in the face comes after the Justice Department closed Till’s murder case in 2021, declining any prosecution against Bryant. How does it make sense to name a bill after a victim – a child at that – who will never see justice from the hands of the federal government?
At every turn, our government has denied protection to Black Americans suffering from state-sanctioned violence, and has waited until the final hour to pass legislation that could’ve saved the lives of thousands.
By Mariah Hernandez
DePaul SGA Spring Election
The DePaul Student Government Association is hiring for several positions for the Spring Quarter. A candidate must meet certain criteria made by the SGA such as a GPA of 2.5. Candidates must only run for one position. Information sessions to learn more about SGA and elections are held at 6 p.m. on April 5, April 12 and April 19 via Zoom. The application can be accessed here. Applications are due on April 27 at 5 p.m.
DePaul alumni make largest donation ever made to the university
DePaul alumni Eugene P. Jarvis and his wife Sasha L. Gerritson have made the largest donation ever received by DePaul. Jarvis, who works in the video game industry, donated specifically to the College of Computing and Digital Media.
With the donation came a research collaboration with the Ruff Institute of Global Homelessness and the Eugene P. Jarvis CDM Scholars Program, a new program that provides financial aid to stand-out students with interests in CDM. The donation will also help with the creation of the Jarvis Student Center for Innovation and Collaboration. You can read about the major donation here.
Former DePaul president John T. Richardson dies
DePaul’s ninth president John T. Richardson died on March 29. While he was a president, he also taught law at DePaul’s College of Law from 1955 to 1970. The Lincoln Park campus library was named after Richardson in 1992 when the university decided to build the library with help from an alumni donation. A funeral mass will be held April 5 at the Mother of God Chapel at 10:30 a.m. and will be livestreamed. You can read more about Richardson’s impact on DePaul here.
Lastly here is your weekend sports update (April 2 to April 3):
The softball team won against Villanova 7-1 on Saturday.
The women's tennis team won against Creighton 5-2 on Saturday.
The men’s tennis team won against Creighton 6-1 on Saturday.
The women’s tennis team lost to Marquette 6-1 on Sunday.
The softball team lost to Villanova 11-3 on Sunday.
The men’s tennis team won against Marquette 5-2 on Sunday.
By Maureen Dunne
Mayor Lightfoot, Police Superintendent Brown Announce New Gun Buyback, Security Camera Registration Programs – At a press conference Monday afternoon, Mayor Lightfoot and Police Superintendent David Brown announced three new initiatives aimed at improving public safety. Among the measures include an option for Chicago business owners and private citizens to register their security cameras with the police department for easier access to relevant footage in the case of an investigation. The City’s Community Safety Coordination Center will begin a program to assist Chicagoans in purchasing security cameras, lights and vehicle trackers. Mayor Lightfoot announced plans for business and philanthropic organizations to fund a $1 million gun buyback program. Chip Brewster of WGN News reports.
Jefferson Park Affordable Housing Welcomes Residents After Years of Debate — Full Circle Community’s development in the Northwest Side’s Jefferson Park neighborhood has welcomed its first residents. Construction began over two years ago and the development now contains 75 affordable and accessible units. Its completion comes in the wake of years of racially charged protests among community members against the development’s proposed size and location. Ariel Parrella-Aureli of Block Club Chicago reports.
Indigenous Activists Say They Weren’t Consulted Before Mayor Lightfoot’s Announcement to Return Columbus Statue to Grant Park — Prominent Indigenous activists say Mayor Lightfoot hasn’t done enough to consult them before vowing to return the controversial Columbus statue to Grant Park. The city removed the statue in the middle of the night last year in the wake of protests. The statue has been in storage while the city’s Monuments Project Advisory has flagged it and other monuments as problematic across the city. Melody Mercado of Block Club Chicago reports.
Controversial General Iron Metal Recycling Facility Applies to Move Back to Lincoln Park After Permit Denied on Southeast Side — A company affiliated with the scrap-metal business’ owner Reserve Management Group recently applied to reactivate its three permits for operation in Lincoln Park, where it operated until the end of 2020, in the wake of its rejection from the Southeast Side. Second Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins said Lincoln Park residents would oppose its return due to pollution. This new permit application is close in proximity to Lincoln Yards, a new high-end residential community planned for the corridor. Brett Chase of the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
By Monique Mulima
U.S. House Passes Bill Capping Insulin Copays – On Thursday the U.S. House of Representatives passed The Affordable Insulin Now Act which would cap the price of insulin at $35 a month or lower under private insurance or Medicare. The Act passed the House with a vote of 232-193 with all present Democrats and 12 Republicans voting in favor. The bill, if passed by the Senate and signed by President Biden, would take effect in 2023. Barbara Sprunt of NPR reports.
Staten Island Amazon Workers Win Unionization Vote – On Friday workers at Amazon’s Staten Island’s JFK8 Fulfillment Center won a vote to form a union under the Amazon Labor Union. If the vote is certified by the National Labor Relations Board, they would become the first Amazon union in the country. The union drive was led by Chris Smalls, a JFK8 worker who was fired in March 2020 for some of his organizing actions. Josefa Velasquez and Claudia Irizarry Aponte of THE CITY report.
LGBTQ+ Groups Sue Florida Over ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Law – Last week Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law the Parental Rights in Education bill, called by many the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill. This law would put strict limits on teaching about gender identity or sexual orientation in Florida schools. A group led by the law firm Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP and the National Center for Lesbian Rights are suing Florida over this law claiming that it violates the first and fourteenth amendments as well as Title IX. Andrew Atterbury of Politico has the details.
Sacramento Mass Shooting Leave Six Dead and a Dozen Injured – Shootings outside bars near California’s Capitol in Sacramento left six dead and 12 injured early Sunday morning. The Sacramento police have arrested one suspect in connection to the shooting. This was one of the largest mass shootings in the country so far this year. President Biden called for action on gun violence following the events. Adam Beam and Kathleen Ronayne of the Associated Press have more.
Hey, Check This Out!
With Featured Columnist Emily Soto
Welcome back to Spring Quarter, everyone! Let’s jump right into this week’s recommendation.
Back in 2017, Anna Sorokin was arrested and later indicted on six counts of grand larceny along with a list of other charges involving fraud and theft. Her story has made its way through media outlets, but not because of the charges she faced. Rather, her life and the events that led up to the arrest have been what captivated audiences over the years.
This had finally led us to the Netflix series we were all waiting for — Inventing Anna.
The series, starring Julia Garner as Sorokin, begins at the time of her indictment. When journalist, “Vivian Kent,” hears of Anna’s story she believes there is more to the story than a list of charges on a New York socialite. Once she finally comes in contact with Sorokin, who is known as Anna Delvey, we are taken back in time to when she was already mingling with New York’s elite society.
We continue to learn of Sorokin’s story alongside Vivian, as she navigates Anna’s world to talk with everyone who is willing to share their connection to her — which admittedly isn’t many people. But Vivian has her ways to convince people to talk to her. In fact, this story consumes her life to the point that she finds herself digging deeper into Anna’s story even after her article is published.
With a story such as this, I’ve always wondered if we could ever know what truly happened. Sorokin was said to have helped produce the story, yet the show seems to have the same question. Every episode begins with the premise that, “This story is completely true, except for the parts that are totally made up,” driving the perception of an elite society that has its reputation, and secrets, to protect.
So when it comes down to it, it's up to you to decide how much of this story you believe. Was Anna Delvey just a character invented by Sorokin, as the title suggests? Or was she always this same girl who fantasized of a life with money and influence, who could work her way into the hearts, and wallets, of whomever she wanted?
You’ll just have to watch and make your own opinions.
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Well, there’s the news for this week! We’ll see you back here next week with more updates, recommendations and a new episode of The B-Side. See ya!
The 14 East Newsletter Team