March 8th marked International Women’s Day, which prompted thousands of marches and protests around the globe. In Pakistan there remain calls to end forced marriage, in Venezuela activists are calling for the release of seventeen women being held hostage as political prisoners, and in Poland, women are protesting the abortion ban. And although these are isolated events, around the world conversations are ongoing regarding violence against women. Half of the children being held at the Customs and Border Protection holding facilities, 1400, are being held in adult facilities beyond the legal 3-day limit. This comes after the White House announced plans to reform border policies. House Democrats are calling on Facebook to take accountability and make changes following the “dangerous” spread of gun accessory ads.
The recently passed 1.9 trillion dollars American Rescue Plan is set to provide millions of dollars in savings as it relates to healthcare. The bill allows for more people to qualify for healthcare under Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act, and allows lower and middle-class people to collect more tax credits under their healthcare premiums. The WHO has reported that 1 in 3 women will experience sexual violence in their lifetime, this comes a day after International Women’s Day and during Women’s Month. The CDC has announced that people who have been completely vaccinated for Covid-19 can congregate in groups without social distancing. The House has passed the “Protect the Right to Organize Act” with a vote of 225 to 206. Congress’s website reads “This bill expands various labor protections related to employees’ rights to organize and collectively bargain in the workplace…The bill also addresses the procedures for union representation elections…The bill further prohibits employers from taking adverse actions against an employee, including employees with management responsibilities, in response to that employee participating in protected activities related to the enforcement of the prohibitions against unfair labor practices.” A report by the Study of Hate and Extremism reports that “Anti-Asian hate crime in 16 of America’s largest cities increased 149% in 2020.”
Ohio Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge was confirmed by the Senate Wednesday morning as secretary of Housing and Urban Development by a vote of 64-33. She’s been a House member since 2008 and is a former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. A fourth and fifth juror has been chosen for the trial that decides the fate of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin who was responsible for the death of George Floyd. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed the bill, SB 6, which prohibits abortion in all cases except to save the life of the mother. Rape and incest cases are not considered exceptions under the law, even though Hutchinson said in a statement that he did not agree with that. The bill also charges anyone who performs a non-approved abortion with a felony punishable up to 10 years in prison.
A Minnesota judge in the Derek Chauvin case has granted prosecutors the right to bring up a third-degree murder charge. In May of 2020, Derek Chauvin, while on duty as a police officer, killed George Floyd after kneeling on his neck for 8 minutes. Newly confirmed Attorney General, Merrick Garland, announced that “normal” will return to the Justice Department. He is likely referring to former AG William Barr, who served under President Trump, many claim that he abused his power. Johnson & Johnson’s chief scientist expects that J&J will produce 3 Billion doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 10% of the U.S. population is vaccinated for Covid-19, many are now speculating the future of Covid-19 vaccine distribution. Senior military officials have recently come out in criticism of Fox TV host, Tucker Carlson, following comments he made about women in the military. He is quoted saying “While China’s military becomes more masculine as it’s assembled the world’s largest navy, our military, as Joe Biden says, needs to become more feminine —whatever feminine means anymore since men and women no longer exist…The bottom line is it’s out of control and the Pentagon is going along with it. Again, this is a mockery of the U.S. military and its core mission, which is winning wars.”
Increasing pressure on New York Governor Cuomo comes as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer joins Democrats in calling for Cuomo’s resignation. Cuomo insists that “I am not going to resign. I was not elected by the politicians, I was elected by the people. New Yorkers know me”. A Proud Boys member, Christopher Worrell, is now facing charges for pepper-spraying police during the Capitol insurrection. His lawyer says that he plans on pleading not guilty. Around 20 people associated with the Proud Boys have been charged for their involvement at the Capitol insurrection. The disappearance of Sarah Everard, who went missing on her way back home in London, sparked a social media outpour where women shared their experiences of sexual assault and harassment. A Metropolitan police officer was arrested on suspicion of Everard’s case. Another mass kidnapping at an academic institution occurred in Nigeria. This is the third one this year. A gunman attacked a college in Kaduna state, Northwest Nigeria, and abducted at least 30 students.
Several protests have ensued after the disappearance and murder of Sarah Everard, primarily in the United Kingdom. Many of these demonstrations have turned violent, unfortunately due to excessive force used by the London Metropolitan Police. The excessive force used against peaceful protests to advance women’s rights in comparison to other protests in the past has raised much backlash against police. The Metropolitan Police responded in a tweet blaming the actions of the protestors rather than taking accountability. On Monday, March 15, the Senate voted to confirm Deb Haaland as the first Native American cabinet secretary in U.S. history. Haaland has expressed that she will not be pursuing a ban on fracking, and that her agenda consists mostly of landscaping renovations and new recreational opportunities. An incredibly rare wildfire in New Jersey burned over 170 acres of land, damaged dozens of houses, and left one firefighter in critical condition. As of Sunday, March 14th, the blaze was approximately halfway contained. Large wildfires are very uncommon in New Jersey, so this occurrence raises many concerns over climate change.
When asked about Governor Cuomo’s pending sexual harassment inquiry President Biden said “I think the investigation is underway and we should see what it brings us.” This differs from many New York legislators who are calling on the Governor to resign. A hospital in Salt, Jordan ran out of oxygen which resulted in the death of 6 patients who were struck with Covid-19. This has prompted several protests, this comes while frustration mounts over Jordan’s economic instability and the restriction of civil rights.