Not comforting words, no. But their blunt acknowledgment of vigilance and fear in an unpredictable world resonates as the United States meets the mutability of a post-pandemic landscape — one in which a rising, highly transmissible Delta variant of Covid traverses a politicized map of the vaccine-hesitant.
This week, an analysis by Georgetown University researchers showed a handful of under-vaccinated states — mainly stretching across the South and Midwest, including Texas — were endangering the nation’s Covid recovery. And on Thursday, Republican US Sen. Rand Paul vowed to fight the public transportation mask mandate, requiring passengers to mask on planes, as soon as the Senate is back in session next week. Ayelet Haimson Lushkov addressed an open letter to Greg Abbott, the governor of her home state of Texas, who in May moved to bar government entities — including school districts — from imposing mask mandates or requiring vaccinations.
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A broken departure from Afghanistan
Biden’s departure process is endangering the lives of Afghans who supported the US presence, cautioned Noah Coburn and Sediq Seddiqi, who has worked as a researcher and translator for US entities and international organizations.
Haiti’s unraveling democracy
The enduring power of Black institutions
After a protracted controversy over whether the Board of Governors at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill would grant her tenure (it ultimately did), acclaimed journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones announced that she, along with writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, would instead be joining the faculty, with tenure, at Howard University. The move, and Hannah-Jones’s powerful statement explaining it, prompted probing conversations about historically Black institutions (including colleges and universities) and the experiences of Black Americans who learn and work at primarily White institutions.
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Fourteen-year-old Zaila Avant-garde holds three Guinness World Records for dribbling basketballs — and on Thursday with the word “murraya,” she became the first African American winner of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Avant-garde told CNN she hopes one day to play basketball at Harvard before a career in NASA, neuroscience or as an NBA coach.
Avant-garde’s win makes her only the second Black winner over 90 years of the Bee (the first, Jody-Anne Maxwell in 1998, is Jamaican). Celebrating having the Bee back after the pandemic canceled it last year for the first time since World War II, Shalini Shankar wrote about what a more equal Bee might mean for all kids, noting that the exclusionary history of this competition — and the roots of all US spelling bees, aimed at standardizing American English as part of the settler-colonial project — should be a catalyst for considering more enduring innovations that could promote equity.