It’s a holiday weekend, and that means there’s an entire extra day to catch up on the latest news from Prism. In case you missed it, here are some highlights from our recent coverage of the biggest issues in electoral justice, gender justice, workers’ rights, criminal justice, and more:
Taking a strategic look ahead to the 2020 political landscape, Prism senior fellow and co-founder of Advanced Native Political Leadership Kevin Killer wrote about the power of Native American communities to swing elections.
There are seven key swing states that are needed for Democrats to win the presidency and the U.S. Senate in 2020, including Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Colorado, and Wisconsin. In each of those states, the margin of victory in the 2016 presidential election was within 1-2%—close enough for the current Native American voting population to make all the difference.
Elsewhere on the electoral justice beat, Prism staff reporter Anoa Changa dug into the way conservatives are using dubious voter fraud claims to short-circuit the democratic process.
Driven by fear of losing power in November, some Republicans and conservative groups are using false allegations of voter fraud as a rallying point. In addition to conflating election fraud with voter fraud, the inflammatory rhetoric around voter fraud and vote-by-mail persists as both a political tool to turn out a base fearful of a diversifying electorate and as a way to undermine the validity of election outcomes.
Prism staff reporter Tina Vasquez continued her ongoing coverage of the impact of COVID-19 on workers in the meatpacking industry, this time training her eye on a plant in Minnesota where the lack of protections is spiraling out to endanger workers’ families.
Meatpacking was already one of the most dangerous industries in the country, and rife with abuse, unsafe working conditions, and exploitation. In a work environment where losing a limb is already a possibility, the coronavirus has made conditions at meatpacking plants inconceivably worse. This also means that things have gotten worse for the families of meatpacking plant workers, a large, nationwide patchwork of low-income people, communities of color, and immigrants, the same populations already hard-hit by COVID-19.
Earlier this month, Prism staff reporter Tamar Sarai Davis raised this question: Is imposing exorbitant fines on people for violating stay-at-home orders really the best way to tackle a public health problem?
In New York, the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Andrew Cuomo doubled fines for noncompliance with stay-at-home orders to $1,000. In other jurisdictions, from the Bay Area to Orange County, Florida, fines for violating shelter-in-place orders or mandates to wear masks can come with fees ranging from $50 to $1,000. Criminal justice advocates, however, have long argued that fines are an overly punitive response and at this moment, their use is emblematic of how city and state governments have inappropriately used policing and the carceral system to address social and public health problems.
This Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Prism has launched our series on AAPI collectives, coalitions, and activism. As part of our coverage, Prism staff reporter Carolyn Copeland wrote about the growing relationship between the #BlackLivesMatter movement and Asian American communities, while guest writer Jenn Fang spotlighted how AAPI communities are supporting one another during the pandemic.
“Ending police brutality is also an Asian issue. Many people see Asians as being light-skinned and middle class, but ‘Asian American’ includes so many different populations, including people who are both Black and Asian,” said Cori Nakamura Lin, a member of A Just Chi, a community-ran organizing program of Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Chicago.
The FBI reports that anti-Asian harassment and violence has surged since January. Spurred by the complexities of this crisis and its growing impact on marginalized AAPIs and other groups, Asian American activists have rapidly responded with numerous campaigns that address the current climate of racial violence or provide aid for vulnerable populations.
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