The Monday Politics Thread Demands Snacks

Covid: more than 200 leaders urge G7 to help vaccinate world’s poorest

More than 100 former prime ministers, presidents and foreign ministers are among 230 prominent figures calling on the leaders of the powerful G7 countries to pay two-thirds of the $66bn (£46.6bn) needed to vaccinate low-income countries against Covid.

A letter seen by the Guardian ahead of the G7 summit to be hosted by Boris Johnson in Cornwall warns that the leaders of the UK, US, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Canada must make 2021 “a turning point in global cooperation”. Fewer than 2% of people in sub-Saharan Africa have been vaccinated against Covid, while the UK has now immunised 70% of its population with at least one dose.

The Guardian

Male Teachers in Spain Wear Skirts to Support Student Bullied for His Fashion Choices

There are those emotional support teachers who let us spend lunch periods in their classrooms, and then there are these teachers in Spain who are taking emotional comfort one step further. On May 2, two men in their thirties who teach at the public school Virgen de Sacedón in Valladolid, Spain, showed up to school in skirts for a heartwarming reason.

Manuel Ortega and Borja Velázquez, the teachers in question, decided to do this after Ortega heard a student spew homophobic slurs at another classmate for wearing a hoodie featuring manga motifs. The student ended up taking the hoodie off and lowering their head in embarrassment after the insults. Though the other student was told off for his words, the teachers feared they did not understand just how much power mean words can harness. Ortega brought the skirt idea to Velázquez, the school’s head of studies, who supported it and agreed to participate as a way to take a stance on tolerance and diversity. The goal, according to Velázquez, was “to show that we should be open to change and that words cause harm.”

Teen Vogue

College towns felt ignored by universities and resented the students. Then COVID-19 hit.

A dozen mayors wrote to Big Ten officials last fall. Football was returning to their communities, and they wanted help.

“We humbly request,” the mayors wrote, “a few practical measures that the Big Ten Conference can take to ensure we have the tools we need to combat the spread of COVID-19.”

A humble request. The words are telling: about where power lies, and where it doesn’t. And about where the leaders of these Big Ten college towns — often dwarfed in size and in influence by their university neighbors — fit into the conversation. Which is to say, often on the side.

USA Today

Editorial: COVID-19 exposed truths that America and California can no longer ignore

There is no silver lining in this cataclysmic event. But to move forward, America must recognize the fractures, weaknesses and inequalities in many of our systems. We must move from toxic individualism toward collective uplift. We need to recognize the role of genocide and slavery in perpetrating systemic racism, while also pursuing policies that help all vulnerable families, who disproportionately bore the brunt of the pandemic. We must renew faith in expertise and science, which enabled the lifesaving vaccines that now must be distributed worldwide. It is imperative that the nation address — not merely acknowledge — the realities we cannot afford to ignore.

LA Times

As mask mandates are lifted some states are grappling with longstanding mask bans that were aimed at the Ku Klux Klan

As coronavirus mask mandates are lifting, some states are weighing how to address longstanding mask bans, many of which were passed in response to the Ku Klux Klan, The New York Times reported. 

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than a dozen states had laws banning masks that concealed the wearer’s identity, many enacted primarily as a way to deter the KKK, a white supremacist hate group. Now that nixing mask mandates will reinstate those laws, some states are trying to figure out how to allow people to continue wearing masks if they want to for health reasons.

At least 18 states had anti-mask laws that dated prior to the pandemic as of November 2020, according to the California Law Review.


Texas Valedictorian Switched Approved Graduation Speech to Address Abortion Rights

High school graduation is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. One Class of 2021 valedictorian from Dallas understood that and took full advantage of her opportunity to address a stadium of her peers. 18-year-old Paxton Smith ditched her approved valedictorian speech and instead, spent her three minutes at the podium expressing her stance on abortion rights — taking aim specifically at the anti-abortion bill that Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law on May 19.

Teen Vogue

Stonewall Riots Sparked the First Gay Pride March

America prides itself on diversity and inclusiveness, letting people openly show who they are without being prosecuted and discriminated against in their workplace, neighborhood, and homes.

The uprising of Gay demonstrations coincided with the Civil Rights Movement, Counterculture of the 1960s, and the Anti-Vietnam War Movement. The 1960s were a decade of intense social progress. Greenwich Village, a neighborhood in New York City that stretches from 14th Street to Houston Street, absorbed most of the global influence and exploded into Stonewall riots, a moment that changed the history for LGTBQ+ communities.


Forty years after first documented AIDS cases, survivors reckon with ‘dichotomy of feelings’

For Eric Sawyer, the 40th anniversary of the first scientific report that described AIDS as a new disease brings up “a dichotomy of feelings.”

When Sawyer, who was living in New York, first began exhibiting symptoms of HIV in 1981, he said he was urged by his friend, the late activist and playwright Larry Kramer, to begin seeing “a doctor who’s also gay, who is seeing patients with this disease.”

That same year, across the country, a young physician named Michael Gottlieb and his colleagues at UCLA wrote in an official Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report about patients diagnosed with a lung infection common in what would come to be called AIDS.

“In the period October 1980-May 1981, 5 young men, all active homosexuals, were treated for biopsy-confirmed Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia at 3 different hospitals in Los Angeles, California. Two of the patients died,” the report, published on June 5, 1981, in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, stated.

NBC News

Manchin says he’ll vote against For the People Act and digs in against eliminating filibuster

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin on Sunday defended his decision to vote against a sweeping voting rights bill and reiterated his opposition to gutting the filibuster, declaring in the strongest terms yet that he is not willing to change Senate rules to help his party push through much of President Joe Biden’s agenda.

“I believe that partisan voting legislation will destroy the already weakening binds of our democracy, and for that reason, I will vote against the For the People Act. Furthermore, I will not vote to weaken or eliminate the filibuster,” Manchin, a moderate Democrat from West Virginia, wrote in an op-ed published in the Charleston Gazette.


Covid has claimed more than 600,000 lives in United States

More than 600,000 people have died from Covid-19 in the United States, a grim reminder that even though cases are down as more people are vaccinated, the pandemic is not over.

As of Thursday evening, the country had seen at least 600,040 Covid-19 deaths, according to a count of reports by NBC News. More than 33.4 million cases have been recorded in the U.S.

The death toll crossed the 500,000 mark Feb. 21, according to NBC News’ count.

NBC News

What the “Fauci Gate” emails tell us about Covid-19 and American politics

In March 2020, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the United States’ top federal infectious disease expert, quickly became a character of contention whose audience was clearly split by political alignment. He was either known as a reliable source or a “disaster.” Much of the criticism he received was directly in line with the Trump administration’s scorn for health protocols and skepticism of safety measures like closed infrastructure and mandatory masking.

And although a majority of Americans today have been vaccinated and are ready to let all Covid-19 related news go, Fauci is once again under fire.