Yemen Day of Action, spike in carjackings and a conversation with Ernest Green
Plus a Ta-Nehisi Coates’s film adaptation on HBO Max
Welcome back to the newsletter, everyone! It’s your newsletter team — Francesca, Justin, Robin, Grace, Emmanuel, Aneesah and second time newsletter-er Claire Malon — back for another week of updates, news and more. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover, so let’s get into it:
Today is also the Global Day of Action against the War on Yemen, and there are both in-person and online forms of protest happening across the globe. If you are interested in learning more or getting involved, here are some helpful resources to get engaged:
A Conversation with Lifelong Activist Ernest Green
On January 19th, I had the immense pleasure to speak with Ernest Green, a member of the Little Rock Nine and a lifelong anti-racist activist, via a Zoom call hosted for the celebration of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Remembrance hosted by the university. Green was the first Black student to graduate from Little Rock Central High School, going on to attend Michigan State University on a scholarship from an anonymous donor, later found to be university president John Hannah. He touched on Hannah’s impact on him, regaling those present with tales of Hannah’s secret commitment to Green’s success, down to choosing a roommate that would best suit his academic needs.
Obtaining his bachelor’s and master’s at the university, Green went on to work with civil rights leaders Bayard Rustin and A. Phillip Randolph to find ways to advance the careers of educated Black women. His commitment to the upward mobility of Black people was apparent in the Zoom call. When I asked why he chose to do the work that he did in an era notably difficult for Black women, he said that “it (the work) was recognition of one that was an untapped pool of resources of qualified people, that employment discrimination against Black women was denying them an opportunity and that we had both the increase in opportunity, and underutilization of minority women,” also stating that “it was just a logical case that made sense to try and see if you could do a better match and utilize [their] talent.”
I was also amazed by his candor on the last days of the Trump administration. He touched on the polarizing ex-president Donald Trump’s lack of empathy, cautioning that the Republican Party will have to spend time on recuperating their reputation in a post-Trump United States. He also emphasized that as university students, in order to participate as activists, we must “get involved and stay involved,” as well as utilize our own university to our advantage to make change, especially minority students in the coming years.
On Sunday, the Chicago Teachers Union announced that its members had voted to remain virtual despite Chicago Public Schools’ plan to have 6,500 students return to the classroom today as a part of its reopening plan. Mayor Lightfoot said that CPS is still in bargaining with CTU over the opening plan, from the Chicago Tribune’s Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas and Bill Ruthhart.
Today, the mayor posed for pictures as she received her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. While the vaccine continues to be handed out, half of the Chicagoans who have received it are white, WBEZ reports. The disproportionate access to the vaccine is particularly striking considering Chicago’s Black and Latinx residents have been impacted the most.
In 2020, Chicago saw a 135 percent jump in carjackings — now victims and their families are calling on city and state leaders to take action. Read more from Block Club Chicago’s Hannah Alani.
Have you been wondering how Chicago’s City Council operates? The 48th Ward IPO will be holding a teach-in this Wednesday, January 27, from 7:30 to 9 pm. You can read more about the event and sign up to attend virtually here.
After a long year of uncertainty, DePaul has released the first sight of hope as to when a sign of normalcy will return to campus. In a statement released Friday, university administration gave a glimpse into what the road ahead looks like for a full shift back to in-person learning.
For Spring and Summer Quarters, the plan largely resembles the university’s plans for this quarter and last. Only a limited number of in-person classes will be offered, residency hall occupancies will stay the same, and financial burdens such as the U-Pass and athletic fees will remain optional or canceled.
In Fall, the biggest shift since the digital transition of classes will be seen, with all classes planned to have an in-person counterpart to a digital component.
This lofty goal is not set without several initiatives taken by the university to ensure the best possible safety for its students when returning to campus. First, a surveillance COVID-19 testing program conducted with students will begin next month to determine those most at risk.
Second, despite the low prioritization of COVID-19 vaccines expressed by DePaul President A. Gabriel Esteban during a meeting on January 14, the university released a new update on Thursday expressing its encouragement for faculty, staff and students to receive the vaccine when they are eligible to do so. The update also announced DePaul’s cooperation with the city to distribute the vaccine to its campus community and current legal uncertainty over whether a mandatory vaccination guideline would be possible.
Though the promise of vaccines and a return to a somewhat normal campus is on the horizon, there are a few guidelines the university would like to remind on-campus personnel of current COVID-19 guidelines. For entrance into any DePaul building, students must identify any possible COVID-19 symptoms or lack thereof and show a “good to go” confirmation through the #CampusClear app. Face masks must be worn at all times when on campus, and a distance of six feet must be maintained between you and everyone else. And, as always, stay home if you feel sick and get tested.
In response to the January 6 insurrection on Capitol Hill, the Black Student Union (BSU) issued a statement calling upon the university to give greater concern to the voices of students of color on campus. The Student Government Association expressed its support of the BSU’s concerns and issued a statement of its own, denouncing the capitol insurrection, reasserting solidarity with students of color and issuing further calls for the end of DePaul’s partnership with the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), following FOP President John Catanzara’s support for the insurrectionists. These statements are part of a long and growing chain of outcries against the university’s treatment of its Black and Brown students and faculty and express an urgency to the administration to take action in response to the demands raised, thereby living up to DePaul’s Vincentian mission.
In DePaul leadership news, Brian Sullivan assumed the role of DePaul’s new treasurer last week. The Grace School of Applied Diplomacy also has a new face at its helm, welcoming Geoffery Wiseman as its chair.
The Associated Press reports that the Senate is moving forward with Trump’s impeachment, while the GOP opposes the move. This is the first former president to face an impeachment trial and arguments in the Senate trial will start the week of Febuary 8. Although a vote to dismiss the trial won’t succeed, given the opposition to this trial, several GOP senators may vote to acquit Trump. Democrats need votes from 17 Republicans in order to convict.
The New York Times reports that vaccines will not end the pandemic in the United States alone as other measures are needed to slow the virus’ growth. In tandem with a vaccine, working remotely, limiting travel and wearing masks will still have to be done widely and consistently. There are about 105 million people who have already been infected and more people will be on track to contract the virus. Dr. Jeffrey Shaman, an epidemiologist at Columbia University, says that current restrictions should remain until July.
President Joe Biden reinstated COVID-19 travel restrictions on non-U.S. travelers, according to The Los Angeles Times. The restrictions are on travelers from Brazil, Ireland, the United Kingdom and 26 European countries that allow for open border travel. South Africa will also join the list amid concerns about a variant of the virus circulating there.
Former President Donald Trump made 30,573 false or misleading claims during his presidency, according to The Washington Post. Half of these claims came during his final year in office. Trump on average made six false or misleading claims a day in his first year, 16 a day in his second, 22 a day by his third and 39 a day in his final year.
Back in April, the entirety of Community was released on Netflix for audiences across the country to stream. Since then, the show’s cult-like following has grown as new fans join in singing praise for the genius that is Community. Centered around a community college study group, each episode is almost its own self-contained story, allowing the showrunners to cover multiple genres, tropes and storylines throughout the course of each season. Such an approach allows the writers’ creativity to shine, as they manage to work utterly insane storylines into the show seamlessly. Among the many examples of the show’s hilarious absurdity are when the school’s Spanish teacher turns into an insane dictator and a schoolwide paintball competition breaks out across campus. Despite the show’s creative consistency and unwavering ability to make its viewers laugh, what really sets Community apart from the thousands of other sitcoms available for streaming is its soul. The undeniable emotional attachment viewers grow to feel towards Troy, Abed, Shirley, Britta, Annie, Pierce and Jeff is rare in any show, let alone in a sitcom. So whether you already saw the show when it was still on air, or if you’re like me and had never seen it before, treat yourself to this purely entertaining watch. All six seasons of “Community” are available to stream on Netflix and Hulu. | Claire Malon
For LSP 200-511, I watched “Between the World and Me” on HBO Max. I rewatched it for this recommendation because I spent the first view watching it as a student, finishing materials for class; I took note of the actors and less of the story and meaning of their dialogue. This film requires more than one viewing –– on second watch I captured the true art that the team behind this film wanted everyone to view in wake of the Black Lives Matter protests last summer. Full disclosure, I probably should’ve listened to the more accessible podcast episodes on Spotify for this HBO special. Everyone should listen and watch an accessible and pertinent film where Black families prepare their children for the reality of police murdering Black individuals with no accountability. The audacious behavior from police and one-sided racial family conversation has gone on too long for many subscribed to this newsletter to tolerate ourselves or our families’ turning away from it. “Between the World and Me” creates an entirely separate rendition for the Ta-Nehisi Coates’s book “Between the World and Me.” The film serves as an eye-opener about Blackness in the United States and the tyranny of centuries of white supremacist, capitalist, elitist systems of oppression. | Emmanuel Flores
All of these testing sites can be accessed for free and without insurance.
Howard Brown offers free, walk-in COVID-19 testing at multiple locations from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday, in addition to mobile testing sites that are updated weekly, which you can access here.
The Illinois Department of Health and the City of Chicago have opened more free COVID-19 testing sites in the city and surrounding counties, which are listed with more information here.
In the spring, the City of Chicago partnered with CORE Response to set up free drive-thru and walk-in testing sites in the city, primarily on the South and West sides, with appointments available Monday through Friday. Register here.
The city has also updated its COVID-19 testing program with more mobile sites, which change weekly. More info here.
Mental Health Resources
At Open Counseling, there’s a list of people and nonprofits with counseling services available for free or low cost.
This website compiles mental health resources, including therapist/counselor directories and other online resources.
The Center on Halsted offers behavioral health, anti-violence and educational resources for LGBTQIA+ people.
Howard Brown Health offers anti-racism resources and sliding scale counseling specializing in the LGBTQ+ community.
This document is a resource for Black people experiencing racial trauma. This master list includes specific resources as well as protesting tips and donation links.
This link is a directory of Black therapists in Chicago.
This link is a directory of Black therapists in Chicago who provide services for under $75.
And the Trans Lifeline’s Peer Support Hotline is a resource operated by transgender and nonbinary staffers for the trans community: 877-565-8860.
The Center for Religion and Psychotherapy in Chicago is a nonprofit that provides affordable, sliding-scale counseling. Call (312) 263-4368 extension 9081 to schedule an intake appointment (counseling is not religious-centered).
That’s all from us, folks. Stay warm, stay safe and we’ll see you next week!
Francesca, Justin, Robin, Grace, Emmanuel, Aneesah and Claire
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