Hamilton Is Back!

Hamilton has returned to the stage. 

Hamilton, the musical production has returned to the stage after the 2019 pandemic surfaced. CVID-19 left Broadway as a whole shook as live showings are the key component. 

A recorded version of Hamilton was released on Disney Plus in 2020 with the original cast. Lin Manuel Miranda, the creator and lead role of Alexander Hamilton extended his vision for an at-home experience for all to see. 

Hamilton isn’t the first production to be released as a “movie.” Cats the Musical is one of the more famously known shows that has been recorded for the small screen back in 1998. 

One key aspect of any Broadway show is the set, and it doesn’t change much during a performance. The story works around the stage and part of Hamilton’s stage literally spins clockwise. Nothing compares to watching the show live!

San Jose was more than excited to be hosting the show at the San Jose Center for The Performing Arts. 

Three requirements were needed to get in. A ticket of course. Along with proof of vaccination and ID with the matching information. The lines were quite fast and the staff worked diligently. 

The show doesn’t slow down for latecomers, so be sure to get there on time, plus it/s quite distracting when people are crouching to the seats. 

The Northern American tour casting of Hamilton is currently made up of three different crews. The shows that were featured in the Bay Area were made up by the “ And Peggy” cast named after the third Schuyler sister. 

Julius Thomas III starred as the lead Alexander Hamilton and Donald Weber Junior as Aaron Burr. The cast is diverse and has been prevalent in a mostly POC cast. The casting director, “Bernie Telsey” has spoken to IndieWire on why that is. 

“It was created with the idea that anyone can do anything. . . it’s much more about consciously making a choice to do something, being seen for the color you are”

 Another unique approach, but not unseen, is the dialect. 

The songs are influenced by hip-hop and rap although taking place in 1776. A comparison could be made to the modern adaptation of Romeo and Juliet released in 1996 starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Romeo Montague. The setting is in modern times with the dialect and story being the same.  

While the show is titled Hamilton, the story is told by Aaron Burr as he is the one to open up the show with the famous line;

“How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore

And a Scotsman dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot

In the Caribbean by providence impoverished

In squalor, grow up to be a hero and a scholar?”

Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton Essentially want the same thing, to be someone important. Their means of achieving success are very different. Where Burr prefers to play by the rules and take the most logical choice, Hamilton is impatient and lets it be known what he wants. 

This becomes both men’s downfall. Hamilton’s pride ends up killing his image, marriage, and his life. Burr was the man to pull the trigger.

“I’m the damn fool who shot him,” Burr’s lyric speaks to his life after killing Hamilton. 

The success of Hamilton boomed in the mid-2010s, and although Lin-Manuel Miranda had already been working in the music and Broadway industry, this opened a door to more opportunities for Miranda. 

Miranda wrote music for the popular film Moana, released in 2016. He even features some of his vocals in the background of some songs. “In the Heights” was another musical that Miranda was able to bring to movie production. Miranda’s Hamilton castmate, Anthony Ramos, starred as the lead in the role that Miranda once played. 

The shows plan to continue well into 2022 so there’s still time to see when Hamilton will return to a city near you. 

Dining in Experiences; San Francisco

San Francisco requires proof of a COVID-19 vaccine for patrons to dine indoors. As of Aug. 12, businesses have had to adapt to more changes as the pandemic continues. 

The City and County of San Francisco (CCOSF) announced that this health order” [has been] designed to protect against the continued spread of COVID-19, particularly among the unvaccinated, while keeping businesses open and helping to ensure schools remain open.” 

Over 94,000 small businesses (corner stores/restaurants/shops) operate out of the city, according to the CCSOF. Some have had better experiences adjusting to the mandate. The common opinion among several businesses is to do the best they can to keep doors open and employees safe. 

Imperial Tea Court is a famous restaurant that opened in the early 90s located in The Ferry Building on Embarcadero. 

Another location is set in Northern Berkeley where the city requires proof of vaccination before entry. The City of Berkeley emphasizes how restaurant environments hold high risks, “airborne droplets or particles containing the virus spread easily”

One of the employees oF Imperial Tea Court, who wishes to remain unnamed, has worked at the Embarcadero location since its opening in 2005. 

He emphasized that he feels safe in his work environment and will continue to follow any guidelines presented by the city. He stated that he’s always been in favor of a vaccine, whether or not it was required to go to work. 

According to the unnamed employee, there are more residents and businesses who are willing to follow guidelines than those who are not, “I haven’t heard of a business not wanting to comply. In San Francisco, people are very pro-vaccination.”

He also noted that although the business has picked back up again, it is not as busy as it used to be. The employee believes it’s due to the end of summer and there aren’t as many tourists. Johnson said visitors from all around the world come to Embarcadero, and he’s had several patrons who didn’t want to comply. 

“Sometimes I’m kind of fearful that a customer could be an anti-vaxxer and be volatile,” responded the employee when asked about those who don’t want to show vaccination proof. Thankfully nothing worrisome has occurred at the Tea Court. 

Locations with outdoor dining have the advantage, as they’re able to serve those who do not wish to show proof or have yet to get the vaccine. 

A popular location located right above the BART stop on Powell St. is the Westfield Mall. Thousands of people stop here to get to work or to enjoy the 170+ shops. The food court serves desserts, smoothie shops, and various Asian cuisines. However, to dine in, you must present your vaccine proof to a security guard before entering the dining area. 

One factor that some may not be aware of is that the mall has a terrace on the ninth floor where people can eat outdoors if they don’t have proof. There are plenty of tables and chairs, all with a delightful view of the Theater District. 

Jose Hernandez is a security guard for the mall and has worked in this location for about six months. According to Hernandez, for the most part, people are on board and comply with the rules.

“I haven’t had to remove anyone who didn’t want to comply.”

Hernandez has only worked as a security guard and is very used to the changing CDC guidelines. He, like Johnson, does believe the city is very used to the changes and comply. 

“There are a few ways that people can show proof, which makes it easier.” Hernandez refers to the physical vaccine card and apps (depending on where you got the vaccine) with the QR code you can download to your smartphone that holds your information. 

If you don’t have the vaccine card, you can download an online version of the verification through Digital COVID-19 Vaccine Record. (https://myvaccinerecord.cdph.ca.gov/ ) A QR code appears with your name and the dates you received the vaccine(s). 

Newsome Overcomes Recall effort

Gov. Gavin Newsom overcomes recall effort with 7,910,379 voting “No” to remove him. Relying on unions and community organizations to pull a massive voter turnout to win 62% of the vote.

“It’s not a persuasion campaign,” Newsom told reporters earlier in September. “I mean, you’ll still find people that may be on the fence, but it’s really about turnout. Labor knows how to turn out.”

The Governor acknowledged the support in the final days of the election, using the humbling moment as a warning sign and a jumping off point to prepare for his coming election in 2022.

Newsome at a Stop the recall rally.

“I am humbled and grateful to the millions and millions of Californians who exercised their fundamental right to vote, and expressed themselves so overwhelmingly by rejecting the division, cynicism, and negativity that’s defined our politics in this country over the course of so many years,”.

Newsom’s “Stop the Recall ” campaign scrambled early and ahead with a 10 week coordinated plan and a fund of over 71$ million. Tremendously outnumbering any of the GOP opponents raised funds. Still retaining 24$ million for his reelection campaign.

The Campaign was built from receiving more than 600,000 small dollar donations(any amount less than $100 dollars); 90% percent of which were from California.

Newsom partnered with over 90 community organizations. The head of Newsom’s ground game operation told CNN they have had “real conversations” with about 1.5 million voters over the course of about seven weeks – noting that’s “at a scale bigger than most of the presidential campaigns.”

In Los Angeles county alone, the entire affiliation of labor unions through the AFL-CIO called more than 1 million phone numbers and knocked on over 130,000 doors, according to the organization’s spokesperson Christian Castro. In total, the federation spent over $2.1 million on the recall effort and coordinated a total of 3,265 volunteer shifts.

They had walkers in 15 counties going door-to-door reminding folks to turn in their ballots. They’ve been averaging 600,000 attempts to reach voters each day via phone, messaging, and in person. Reaching out in 7 different languages: English, Spanish, Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.

“The goal is to hit two million door knocks by the end of the day. We tried to create a surround sound,” the adviser said.

“A multi-layered approach that meets voters wherever they are. I want to focus on what we said yes to as a state,” Newsom said, “We said yes to science, to vaccines, to ending this pandemic, to people’s right to vote without fear of fake fraud or voter suppression, to women’s fundamental constitutional right to decide for herself what she does with her body and her fate and future, diversity, inclusion, pluralism, to all those things that we hold dear as Californians and I would argue as Americans. Economic justice, social justice, racial justice, environmental justice. Our values, where California’s made so much progress. All of those things were on the ballot this evening…Thank you all very much, and thank you to 40 million Americans, 40 million Californians, and thank you for rejecting this recall,”.

The Release Of The Kraken

Four years after it was announced that Seattle would get a National Hockey League team, one year of being branded as the Seattle Kraken, 3 months after the expansion draft: Seattle hockey fans didn’t have to wait anymore. The first official game of the Seattle Kraken’s maiden season against the last NHL expansion team: the Vegas Golden Knights.

Concerns were high as many of the high-profiled Kraken players were on the COVID protocol list however most of them managed to be in the game including the player who took the first face-off.

The first of firsts for the Kraken was the very beginning of the game at T-Mobile arena on Tuesday (Oct 12). Jared McCann took the first ever face-off. McCann played for Pittsburgh last year and was an obvious choice for the Kraken to take in the expansion draft with 32 points in 43 games. However, knowing this, the Penguins flipped the forward to the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Kraken took McCann from them. He’ll pop up later in this historic game again. 

The first shot was taken by Mark Giordano 18 seconds into the first period. Giordano was another prime candidate to be taken in the expansion draft when protected lists were released. Giordano had been a long time player of the Calgary Flames. He played with the Flames since 2004 and became team captain in 2013. 

Giordano won the Mark Messier award in 2020 which is given to a recognizable leader on and off the ice. Giordano also won the James Norris award as best defenseman in the league in 2019. With a resume like that, Giordano was taken from the only team he had ever known. Flames fans were sad but probably became even more sad when Giordano was named captain of the Kraken and scored his first (unofficial) goal with the team in a preseason game against the Flames.

The Kraken’s first game and the whole momentum behind this new team was shortly cut off. 3 minutes and 10 seconds into the first period, the Knights scored to make the score 1-0. Welcome to the NHL. 6 minutes and 36 seconds into the period and the Knights score another goal making it 2-0 to end the 1st period. The Kraken would go down 3-0 at 6:43 in the second period. Not a great way to start an inaugural game or season.

11 minutes and 32 second into the second period and history was made. Joonas Donskoi was selected in the expansion draft from the Colorado Avalanche. He had been a solid point producer for the past 3 seasons with the Avalanche and Sharks. Donskoi makes a pass to Vince Dunn. Dunn was another selection in the expansion draft from the St Louis Blues. Dunn is a Stanley Cup champion, winning it with the Blues in 2019. Dunn shoots the puck on net and Vegas goalie Robin Lehner makes the save. The puck rebounds in front of the net where an unlikely player would be.

That is where Ryan Donato stands. Ryan Donato unlike most of the Kraken’s players didn’t come from the expansion draft. Donato has bounced around the league for a little bit. He was drafted by Boston, traded to Minnesota where he played for 2 seasons, and then traded once again this time to San Jose where he played last season. Donato went to free agency after the Sharks didn’t offer him a contract and didn’t actually get signed until August where the Kraken signed him to a 1 year, league minimum contract. Donato gets the puck and backhands it into the net. First goal for the Seattle Kraken in franchise history. Ryan Donato becomes a trivia question answer. Not bad for a player who has been across the league the past couple of years.

Shortly after Ryan Donato’s goal, Jared McCann scores the Kraken’s second goal. He is assisted by Jordan Eberle who was selected in the expansion draft by the Islanders and Jaden Schwartz who was signed in free agency by the Kraken. Schwartz is another Stanley Cup champion winning with the Blues in 2019. McCann’s goal makes the score 3-2. A comeback in their first game? Kraken fans hoped so. The Kraken fans who had waited so long to see their team hit the ice and so long for their city to even get a team got their wish.

 The 3rd period brought the 3rd Kraken goal. 7 minutes and 58 seconds into the game and Morgan Geekie: selected in the expansion draft from the Carolina Hurricanes, shoots a wicked shot to beat Robin Lehner. He is assisted by Jeremy Lauzon: the expansion draft pick from the Boston Bruins. The game is tied 3-3. The score was 3-0 at one point of time, now it’s 3-3.

Unfortunately, the Kraken wouldn’t get their Cinderella story that night. Soon after Geekie’s goal, Chandler Stephenson would score to make the score 4-3 Vegas and although the Kraken would get some good shots on goal, that would remain the final score.

“We did a lot of good things, being down 3-0 in this building and being able to push back to get it back to even. It says a lot about this group in terms of sticking together and making plays but it’s disappointing not to come away with 2 points,” said head coach Dave Hakstol.

“I think we gave them too many grade A opportunities right away and it came to bite us so we need to correct some things and obviously we’ll learn from that,” Ryan Donato told the media after the game.

The Kraken would win their next game against the Nashville Predators which became the first win in franchise history. Meanwhile, although their debut in the NHL ended on a low, it was worth it all the same to Kraken fans everywhere. The sold out crowd on October 11th in T-Mobile arena, although consisting of a lot of Knights fans, had Kraken jerseys dispersed in the crowd as well. A dream 4 years long that came true.

Dodgers, Giants, and a Game 5

The San Francisco Giants had their season come to a close at the hands of the L.A. Dodgers in game 5 of the first round for the MLB. The final score was 2-1 with the Giants’ historic 107 win season ending when fans weren’t ready for it to end.

The scoring started in the top of the 6th with Corey Seager hitting a double and getting Mookie Betts to home making the score 1-0. The Giants then matched it with Darin Ruf homering one, tying the game. At the top of the 9th, Cody Bellinger hit a single bringing Justin Turner home to bring the Dodgers the lead 2-1.

Controversy struck at the bottom of the 9th. The Giants’ season was on the line and Wilmer Flores was up to bat. 2 strikes and Max Scherzer pitched. Scherzer pitched outside the zone and Flores checked his pitch. However the umpires said the pitch was in and the game between the 2 top teams in the MLB ended. Dodgers 2, Giants 1.

The Dodgers with their 106 win season will continue their chance to repeat as MLB champions. They will play the Atlanta Braves in the second round.

 Meanwhile the Giants end the season in disappointment. 

“Super tough. Obviously, you don’t want a game to end that way,” San Francisco manager Gabe Kapler said. “There’s no need to be angry about that. I just think it’s a disappointing way to end. There are other reasons we didn’t win today’s baseball game, so that was just the last call of the game.”

Giants fans reportedly booed and threw beer cans onto the diamond after the controversial miscall. However Giants fans shouldn’t be too disappointed about the result.

“We poured everything we could into this series and it took everything we had to beat these guys,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.

Logan Webb who pitched for the Giants pitched 7 innings and only gave up 1 run on 4 hits. It was a sold out crowd of 42,275 at Oracle Park and in the end, it’s a game that renewed the Dodgers-Giants rivalry that many Giants fans, Dodgers fans, and baseball fans can appreciate. However, the thought of the Dodgers losing is one thing that is definitely still on Giants fans minds everywhere.

“Biggest Braves fan here for the next 2 weeks,” said local Giants fan Joseph Paredes.

Chauvin, Rookie Cops Sentenced in Floyd Murder

Minneapolis — Officials convicted ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who pleaded guilty of suffocating George Floyd by kneeling on his neck and back for nine minutes and 29 seconds.

Trial officials convicted Chauvin on charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.

Floyd, along with Breonna Taylor, were two African Americans murdered unjustly by police in America. 

According to CNN’s Omar Jimenez, the officers committed a crime of “deliberate indifference to [Floyd’s] serious medical needs.” 

Jimenez stated in his article that three less experienced officers accompanied Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd. 

Officers Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane were all charged with civil rights violations in the fatal incident. 

According to Eric Levenson of CNN, the graphic description of the incident was documented.

“Lane and Kueng were the first responding officers on the scene when the Cup Foods store called police about a man using a suspected fake $20 bill. The two officers then went to a vehicle with Floyd sitting in the driver’s seat. Lane pulled out his firearm and pointed it at Floyd, yelling at the 46-year-old Black man to show his hands, according to their body camera footage.

A video recording, according to Levenson, showed that the officers being chaperoned by Chauvin tried to pull the resistant Floyd toward the police vehicle to arrest him. Chauvin, without hesitation, dragged Floyd away from the vehicle and onto the ground.

Levenson reported that Chauvin put his knees on Floyd’s neck and back, as Lane held Floyd’s legs and Kueng held his torso. Floyd, with whatever breath he had in him, exclaimed “I can’t breathe” and called for his “mama.” He was held to the ground for approximately 9 minutes and 29 seconds, as the video recording portrayed. 

Lane suggested multiple times that they should roll Floyd onto his side, but Chauvin instructed as a senior officer to “staying put where we got him.” The officers allegedly murdered Floyd after Kueng checked for a pulse unsuccessfully after the supposed ‘arrest.’

According to Levenson, in addition to this relatively ‘minor’ charge, all three rookie police officers were convicted by state prosecutors of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

According to the census bureau of police killings, Taylor and Floyd were unfortunately not the only subjects to the main killer for African-American men — violence. In the 1,127 police killings recorded in 2020, only 16 of those cases — 1.4%, resulted in charges against those officers. Of the officers identified by Mapping Police Violence, at least 14 officers were guilty of shooting or killing someone in the past.

These police killings affect communities nationwide such as Poughkeepise, New York, where a teacher assigned students a prompt for an essay to assess the incident and come up with a verdict of Derek Chauvin by their own argument. 

Many parents and faculty questioned the assignment, including Sakinah Irizarry, a mother of two younger children in the same school district. She says she’s been advocating for diversity and inclusion within the district for several years and felt she should speak up as a Black mom of two children.

“There have been some calls saying, ‘People shouldn’t be having these discussions in school,’ and I’m like, schools are exactly where these discussions need to be had, but they need to be had in a constructive and forward-thinking way and absolutely not with lies,” Irizarry said. “When facts become up for debate, then we’ve really lost the focus of what all of us, the children, educators and community are there to do.”

These discussions revolving around violence against minority communities are necessary to discuss the actions needed to achieve justice.

Chabot Professor of Law and Paralegal studies, Cheryl Mackey, mentioned that despite the verdict of Chauvin being guilty, justice may not have reverberated throughout Floyd’s community. Black America is still debating on what real imprint the conviction of Chauvin might have on police departments across America and around the world.

Daniella Frazier recorded this event and discussed the anxiety she has from witnessing the traumatic death of Floyd. Frazier’s recording not only amassed a non-filtered perspective on the incident about the brutal and unforgiving behavior displayed by the Minneapolis police, but condensed the habitual targeting of the Black community and many other minorities by authority figures. 

This shows that not only is Black America a powerful community but a paradigm for justice worldwide and a powerful allocation of voices for reform from outside of the government.

“It’s been nights I stayed up apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting and not saving his life,” Frazier said. 

Frazier added, seemingly referring to Mr. Chauvin, “But it’s like, it’s not what I should have done, it’s what he should have done.” This entails the excessive violence practiced by officers that is not regulated or controlled allowing them to not take responsibility for their actions. Protests have been calling for the reform of police and justice served for hate crimes by authority figures.

According to Eloy Oakley, Chancellor of California Community Colleges, California schools look to assimilate the intention of students statewide in California to reorganize the policing system. 

 “We have asked as part of the call to action, which was initiated after the murder of George Floyd, for all districts to review all their agreements with their police or security details and ensure we are taking steps to provide culturally relevant training to security and police.” Oakley said.

In a statement released on May 6, Oakley said, “Some have their own security, some have their own police.” He said it was up to the district to determine their relationship with police and to determine their own policing system explaining that students and faculty should, from now on, be included in consensus decisions when officiating and controlling the police system before dangerous incidents happen.

“We have asked as part of the call to action, which was initiated after the murder of George Floyd, for all districts to review all their agreements with their police or security details and ensure we are taking steps to provide culturally relevant training to security and police, we are opening up a dialogue with them, ensuring that our student leadership have access to police and security … to remove any policing practices that are either discriminatory in nature or can cause harm to anybody who was being detained.” Oakley said. 

A substantiation of police affairs is governed within an organized system, but the reform for better policing will begin with the voting of students, faculty and staff and not just internal decisions made by the board or even the campus officers themselves. 

Oakley said, “What we have asked from the Chancellor’s office is that every district review its policies and procedures and that we ensure that students, faculty and staff are at the table and that they have the ability to engage in a dialogue with the police and security officers to determine how policing and security is done at each campus.”

There is a saying at the top: “More Love. Less Hate.” Underneath are five different colored hearts. The first heart is broken.

What is the Equality Act?

On Feb. 25, the House of Representatives passed the Equality Act, a landmark piece of legislation that would strengthen and expand the existing Civil Rights Act of 1964 to broaden its range of sex discrimination to protect LGBTQ people. 

This Act makes it explicit that existing federal statutes prohibiting sex discrimination also prohibit sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination. In many state and local governments, there is discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, and receiving federal financial assistance. 

The bill is currently awaiting Senate approval, where 60 votes are needed for its passage. That means every Democrat, and at least 10 Republicans must vote in favor of this act. 

Currently, there are no federal anti-discrimination laws for LGBTQ people. At least 27 states lack a state anti-discrimination law, something that is sorely needed. A 2020 survey from the Center for American Progress found that 1 in 3 LGBTQ Americans, including 3 in 5 transgender Americans, experienced discrimination in just the past year alone. 

In 2020, the Supreme Court ruled in a landmark case, Bostock v. Clayton County, that it is illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to not hire, fire, or plainly discriminate against individuals based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. The Equality Act would solidify this interpretation into the country’s civil rights laws by defining existing sex discrimination protections that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. 

Under the act, the Fair Housing Act (FHA) would also be amended to clearly classify sexual orientation and gender identity protections, firmly prohibiting housing discrimination against LGBTQ people. This would include the prohibition of differential treatment in renting, selling, pricing, eviction, and other activities.

Within federally funded programs, like shelters, schools, community health centers, adoption agencies, and law enforcement, LGBTQ individuals face a higher amount of discrimination in these programs. The Equality Act would protect LGBTQ people and women from discrimination, mistreatment, and or refusal by any of these programs. 

The act would also benefit LGBTQ students in federally funded schools, ensuring that students have the right to use sex-segregated facilities and participate in sex-segregated activities in keeping with their gender identity. It also adds protections for transgender and nonbinary students from the widespread misgendering and harassment that many face. 

The Equality Act would establish provisions that businesses, such as restaurants and pharmacies, would face accountability if they were to discriminate against, mistreat, or refuse service to LGBTQ people. Women would also no longer be charged higher prices than men for the same services or be denied service by institutions that provide health care. The expansion of public accommodations under the Equality Act would ensure protections for race, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in public spaces. 

While on the campaign trail, President Biden championed this bill, saying it would be one of his top priorities for his first 100 days in office. However, he has since fallen short of that goal. During his first joint speech before Congress on the eve of his 100th day of presidency, Biden urged Congress to pass the Equality Act to protect LGBTQ people against discrimination. 

“I also hope Congress will get to my desk the Equality Act to protect LGBTQ Americans,” Biden said. “To all transgender Americans watching at home, especially young people who are so brave: I want you to know your president has your back.”

A report from the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) found that a survey of more than 10,000 Americans shows strong support for LGBTQ protections — more than 80% of Americans — against discrimination in jobs, public accommodations, and housing across every subgroup of Americans. Even groups least likely to support nondiscrimination protections show majority support — 62 % of Republicans and 62% of white evangelical Protestants support nondiscrimination policies. 

While the bill has received a lot of public support, many Republican representatives fear the bill may infringe on religious objections. The bill explicitly states that it overrules the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which gives people the right to air their grievances against something that infringes upon their religious freedom. 

Under the Equality Act, the RFRA could not be used to challenge the act’s provisions, nor could it be used as a defense to a claim made under the act. Ensuring that religion cannot be weaponized as a permit to discriminate — including against people of another religion. 

Opponents of the Equality Act fear that it would threaten businesses or organizations with religious objections to serving LGBTQ people, forcing them to choose between operating their business or following their beliefs. 

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney told the Washington Blade that he won’t support the Equality Act, citing religious liberty. 

“Sen. Romney believes that strong religious liberty protections are essential to any legislation on this issue, and since those provisions are absent from this particular bill, he is not able to support it,” his spokesperson told the Blade.

Previous arguments against the notable Equal Rights Amendment in the 70s argued that the adoption of the bill would undercut existing legal protections for girls and women, echoing a similar sentiment to the Equality Act. 

However, advocates for the LGBTQ community praised lawmakers for extending legal protections to include LGBTQ individuals around the nation. 

GLAAD called the House passage of the Equality Act “a victory for all Americans and for our country’s core values of equal treatment under law,” continuing to say, “ This landmark civil rights law secures those protections for every LGBTQ person, to live without fear of discrimination.”

The National Black Justice Coalition also applauded the Equality Act, adding that “it also fills in significant gaps within existing civil rights laws for women, people of color, immigrants, religious groups, and those of us who live at the intersections of those identities.

How Californians Get COVID-19 Vaccines

The covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer, Modena, and Johnson has now been used across the United States. All Americans can be vaccinated and protected in a variety of ways.

Starting from the first dose of vaccination on December 14, 2020, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has begun a large-scale coronavirus vaccination program. It aims to achieve herd immunity against COVID-19 by injecting all eligible residents of the United States and participating countries with the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of June 3, more than 297 million doses have been administered, fully vaccinating over 136 million people or 41% of the total U.S. population. At present, the complete vaccination rate for the entire state of California has also covered 51.6%.

The new coronavirus vaccine is gradually opening up in California. According to the recent update COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Guidelines published on California Department of Public Health, beginning May 12, 2021, every Californian age 12 and older will become eligible for COVID-19 vaccines. Front-line workers such as healthcare workers and emergency services, as well as people over 65 years old, were the first to be vaccinated.

Vaccinations are provided in many places. Most of them need to make an appointment online in advance. Some pharmacies and schools can get the vaccine directly without making an appointment. Detailed information on how to obtain vaccines in your area can be found on the official website of the government or local health department.

For example, at the website https://www.vaccines.gov/ you can find the nearest vaccine site and make an appointment by entering the relevant information.

The United States currently uses three covid-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer, Modena, and Johnson. According to clinical trials and the actual situation of the people after vaccination, there will be various side effects such as pain, fever, chills, tiredness, and headache after vaccination.

My aunt Tina Wu is an employee working in a massage parlor. She said, “My second vaccination was in April. Two days after the vaccination, I developed severe physical discomfort and had to spend my time in bed all day. I feel really bad.”

“I have finished the vaccination. After that, I felt dizzy and weakened, and some mild fever,” Catharine Yu, a sophomore in Laney College, said in May, “I think vaccination can help people get antibodies against the coronavirus. Vaccination is helpful to the entire community and ensures that you and everyone are safe.”

Detailed descriptions of different types of vaccines and possible side effects, as well as some ways to relieve them, can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/expect/after.html.

For the latest news about the COVID-19 in Alameda County and the latest announcements and plans of Chabot College, it could be found at http://districtazure.clpccd.org/urgentalerts/index.php.

The US CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said in 2020 that the entire process of vaccination for the American public takes about “six to nine months”, and the United States is expected to have enough vaccines to allow Americans to return to “normal lives” by the third quarter of 2021″.

Japan Decided to Release Nuclear Wastewater into the Pacific Ocean

On April 13, 2021, Japan held a relevant cabinet meeting and officially announced that nuclear wastewater after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident would be discharged into the Pacific Ocean after treatment and dilution. It is expected that more than 1 million tons of nuclear sewage will be gradually discharged into the ocean in 2023 for a period of 30 years.

After the Fukushima nuclear power plant leak, the nuclear reactors were damaged and melted. In order to cool them down, Japan adopted a water cooling method, which produced a lot of nuclear wastewater. Ten years have passed since the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan. Today, the status quo of nuclear pollution in Fukushima is still not optimistic. Regarding how to dispose of these nuclear wastewaters, the Japanese government has previously proposed five schemes, among which the cost of discharging into the sea is the lowest.

According to data from TEPCO, as of March this year, the radioactive nuclear wastewater used to cool nuclear reactors has reached 1.25 million tons. At present, all nuclear wastewater is stored in storage tanks of nuclear power plants. It is estimated that by the autumn of 2022, about 1,000 storage tanks with a total capacity of 1.37 million tons prepared by TEPCO will be fully filled, and it is no longer possible to build new storage facilities in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Previously, TEPCO had stated that after purification treatment, most of the radioactive materials in nuclear wastewater can be removed, but the radioactive material “tritium” cannot be removed. Before discharging the nuclear wastewater treatment water into the ocean, they will dilute the concentration of “tritium” to one-fortieth of the Japanese national standard. Japan also claims that the treated water fully meets safety standards.

Japan’s decision was strongly opposed by countries and organizations around the world, especially its neighbors South Korea and China. According to the New York Times report on April 13, Eunjung Lim, an associate professor of international relations at Kongju National University in Gongju, South Korea, specializes in Japan and South Korea.

Whether their worries are rational or not, many people in the region “are going to be very, very anxious about what would happen if this radioactive material came into our near seas and contaminated our resources,” she said.

Even under the best of circumstances, Japan would find it “really difficult to persuade its neighbors to accept this kind of decision, because obviously, it’s not our fault. It’s Japan’s fault, so why do we have to experience this kind of difficulty?” she added.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China strongly condemns the decision made by the Japanese government on April 13, 2021, and stated that the nuclear wastewater discharge plan is extremely irresponsible, and pointed out that the Japanese government has acted in spite of domestic and foreign voices.

Local residents in Japan firmly opposed such a decision, especially the Fisheries Association expressed serious concerns. The local fishermen in Fukushima Prefecture have endured fishing restrictions for ten years, and the industry has always hoped to usher in a rebound after ten years of self-restriction. The government’s decision made them very disappointed.

According to a poll conducted by the Japanese daily “Asahi Shimbun” in January 2021, 55% of Japanese people oppose the discharge of nuclear wastewater, and 86% of Japanese people are worried about international acceptance.

Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel, a marine research institute in Germany has previously warned that it would only take 57 days for the radioactive materials from Japan’s contaminated water to spread to most of the Pacific Ocean. Shaun Burnie, a nuclear power expert at Greenpeace Japan Office, pointed out in a media interview that decontamination technology is limited and radioactive materials will damage human DNA.

Amid the opposition, the United States expressed support for this. An article published by CNN on April 13 mentioned a statement from the US State Department, “In this unique and challenging situation, Japan has weighed the options and effects, has been transparent about its decision and appears to have adopted an approach. in accordance with globally accepted nuclear safety standards,” the statement said, “We look forward to the (Japanese government’s) continued coordination and communication as it monitors the effectiveness of this approach.”

Some experts pointed out that, in general, the discharge of nuclear sewage into the sea would have an impact on humans. Experiments have shown that long-term consumption of radioactively contaminated seafood may cause excessive accumulation of radioactive substances in the human body, causing various damages to the endocrine system and nervous system and causing diseases.

On March 11, 2011, an earthquake with a magnitude of 9 on the Richter scale occurred in the waters of northeastern Japan and triggered tsunamis. The nuclear power plant located in the Fukushima Industrial Zone in Japan was affected by the earthquake and tsunami. The hydrogen and air leaked into the reactor reacted and exploded, causing radioactive materials to leak to the outside of the nuclear power plant.

Reopen of Restaurants in the Bay Area

The Bay Area officially announces the reopening of indoor businesses from March 2021. Many indoor businesses such as restaurants have reopened, and the economy is gradually recovering.

Since August 2020, California started using a color-coded risk level assessment to determine a county’s reopening status, which could be found at https://covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy/. Whether to open indoor businesses depends on the risk level of the county. classified as “minimal” (yellow), “moderate” (orange), “substantial” (red), or widespread” (purple).

With people complying with effective measures such as social distancing and large-scale vaccination, the Bay Area has dropped from the initial purple tier to the less restrictive yellow and orange tier starting in March 2021, the Bay Area officially announced the reopening of indoor businesses.

Soon after the Bay Area announced the reopening of indoor businesses, some formerly lively business districts in San Francisco are recovering. At six p.m., on a certain eating street, many restaurants were already full of customers who came to have dinner, most of whom did not wear masks.

“It seems that the bustle here has returned to the past,” said Michael Xu, a man who lives a few blocks away from this street, while eating, “I often come here to eat. In the past few months affected by the pandemic, It’s always been very deserted here, and few people come to eat.”

Fusion Delight, a popular Chinese restaurant in San Leandro, only a ten-minute drive from Chabot College, is full of customers coming to dine at dinner time. There are also some customers waiting in line outside the restaurant.

It can be seen that despite a large number of customers, the restaurant still stipulates that each table must be separated by a certain distance to ensure compliance with social distancing under the pandemic.

A waiter in the restaurant said on April 9, 2021, “Although business is not as good as before the pandemic, there are still many people who come to dine. Our desserts have all been delivered.”

Prior to this, many restaurants only offered to order food through phone or mobile app and did not allow dine-in.

In the past year, many restaurants were affected by the pandemic and suffered cruel financial interruptions. Many companies closed down as a result, and a large number of restaurant employees faced unemployment.

According to the California Restaurant Association, thousands of California restaurants close permanently, estimated 30% of restaurants that have permanently closed statewide. Before the pandemic, 1.4 million Californians worked in restaurants. Since March, between 900,000 to 1 million of these workers have either been laid off or furloughed, and many continue to wait on an unemployment payment that never comes.

If you want to know which restaurants in your area have reopened for dine-in, you can use the local website or go directly to the restaurant website or call to check. According to the most recent update, On June 15, capacity and distancing restrictions will be lifted for most businesses and activities and California is preparing to get back to normal.