Monthly Archives: February 2021

Black History Month

Affected by the pandemic, the Black History Month events in Chabot College will all be held online this year. Anyone can learn about African American students in Chabot College to share their experiences and recognize their achievements in Chabot College and their contributions to the community.

A total of nine related activities will be carried out online throughout February at Chabot College. Anyone can obtain information and register through the official website at Chabot. (

These activities covered a variety of topics, including discussions on social and educational aspects of black people, speeches by students and teachers, and recognition of Black students at Chabot College who earned 3.0 or more GPA in Fall 2020.

Through these activities, Chabot College provides a platform for black students to share information and exchange, research and preserve black culture, and promote the unity of black communities.

Brian Augsburger is one of the heads of Black History Month events. He talked about people heard from presenters on the Black-Latinx experience, Anti-Blackness in Education and Educational Equity, and the experience of Black women educators in STEM.

Black Scholars Night highlighted the accomplishments of our Black students in the Fall ’20 semester and honored the Educators of Excellence at Chabot who are part of their support system.

Brian said on Mar 9, 2021, “This event is a way for us to acknowledge and show support for Black students along their educational journey here at Chabot College.”

Professors Orellana Johnson & Carmen Johnston both facilitated wonderful events this Black History Month. Carmen said she organized a panel called “Anti Blackness in Education” sponsored by Change It Now! The panelists discussed their experiences with anti-blackness throughout their educational careers and what instructors could do to support Black excellence in their classrooms.

“Everyone who attended found the presentation very insightful. A few instructors shared how they were going to implement the suggestions right away in their classrooms,   ”Carmen said on Mar 10, 2021.

Brain finally said, “I encourage our whole Chabot community to seek out opportunities to learn about the experience of the Black students on our campus. I hope that we can continue to be intentional about learning from and supporting one another.”

Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans. Originated from “Negro History Week” by the famous historian Carter G. Woodson. In 1976, President Gerald Ford officially recognized February as Black History Month, calling on the American people to commemorate the neglected contributions made by African Americans.

In addition to the United States, other countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom, Netherlands, and Ireland have also been officially recognized by the government to celebrate Black History Month. Until now, different countries are celebrating in various ways.

According to, every year Black History Month will choose a theme. This year’s theme is The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity. Explore the complexity of African families immigrating to different states, countries, and continents and explore the past to the presence of African families.

Texas Storm Impacting COVID-19 Patients

Texas — Severe winter storms continue to bombard Texas statewide as the vaccine distribution and supply chain comes to a halt.

According to CNN’s Miguel Marquez, Texas is dealing with burst water pipes, lack of boiling water, and low water pressure as of Feb. 24.

As stated by Texas Hospital Association’s Carrie Williams, this condemnation has arrived on top of the intense COVID-19 situation.

Hospitals in Texas are running low on supplies of food, linen, and water. The shelter-in-place progressed from a suggestion to stay inside to a compulsory safety warning for Texans.

“This was a sprawling natural disaster that has hit us statewide and arrived on top of the pandemic,” Williams said.

According to Williams, power outages and food shortages are just the shallow elements of the Texas situation. Dialysis patients are contemplating shortages of dialysis equipment and a crucial treatment shortage in Texas.

According to Dr. Ben Saldana, Houston Methodist’s emergency department’s medical director, water was back on for a while. Still, hospitals were in a dilemma with low water pressure.

According to CNN’s Marquez, around 13 million Texans, nearly half the state’s population, were under a boil-water advisory. Almost 25 million people were “under a hard freeze warning” for Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

However, Saldana did state, “COVID-19 vaccine administration is full speed ahead at all Houston Methodist sites.”

According to the CNN, this Texas weather situation shows that a major global warming solution such as the Green New Deal, a spirited solution for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, would not effectively draw up by Democratic dynamos, would be ineffective.

CNN’s Zachary Wolfe articulated that the Green New Deal is a strict proposal to convert America’s energy sources into more effective and safer alternatives. It would involve tackling the United State’s energy policy and evolving it into a more futuristic, cleaner approach.

This would involve creating millions of American jobs and would attempt to solve the greenhouse gas issues.

According to Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbot, “This shows how the Green New Deal would be a deadly deal for the United States of America. Our wind and our solar got shut down, and they were collectively more than 10% of our power grid, and that thrust Texas into a situation where it was lacking power on a statewide basis.”

CNN’s Theresa Waldrop reported FEMA is sending help to Texas as relief for the harsh winter meteorological conditions.

CNN’s Waldrop also stated that the distribution of the vaccine throughout the South has evolved, and while power outages continue in Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma, states such as Florida are being affected by the inability of vaccines coming from the Midwest and Southwest.

Even places like Illinois, Kentucky, and South Carolina are being indirectly affected by the dismaying state of Texas.

According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the legitimate distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine won’t be available to the ‘general public’ until early June.

A statement released by Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, the weather and situation throughout the states affected in America “makes driving dangerous and threatens the health and safety of anyone exposed to the cold.”

According to CNN’s Waldrop, Dallas officials said specific vaccine centers closed due to severe weather conditions.

“We understand the urgency to administer second doses of the vaccine, but we must also balance people’s safety. As soon as we can safely open again, we will.”

Jeff Bezos speaking at Amazon SPheres Grand Opening in Seattle

Jeff Bezos’s Pledge to Addressing Climate Change: The Bezos Earth Fund

Founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, announced on Feb. 2 that he’d be stepping down as CEO of Amazon later this year to become its executive chair. Bezos explains his decision to focus his energy on his projects in a letter to his employees, including his $10 billion pledge to fight climate change through the Bezos Earth Fund. 

The Bezos Earth Fund, first launched last February, will be used to combat the effects of climate change by providing grants to fund scientists, activists, and other nongovernmental organizations in an attempt to “amplify known ways and to explore new ways of fighting the devastating impact of climate change.”

In November, Bezos announced in an Instagram post the first 16 recipients of the Earth Fund, committing to “protect Earth’s future.”

The initial recipients will receive $791 million from Bezos’s donation of $10 billion, accounting for only 7% of the allotted fund. 

Four of the most established environmental groups in the country — the Nature Conservancy, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the World Wildlife Fund, will be receiving $100 million from Bezos’s fund. 

Most grantees are being awarded money for specific projects, while others have been allowed to re-grant money to other nonprofits. “[World Resource Institute (WRI)] is pleased to announce that it has been selected to receive a grant from the Bezos Earth Fund for two major initiatives in support of global climate action,” says the company in a news release. 

The WRI announced on Mar. 9, its President and CEO, Dr. Andrew Steer, will be stepping down to become President and CEO of the Bezos Earth Fund. In a series of tweets, Steer offered up a few more details about the Earth fund, including that Bezos’s “goal is to spend it down between now and 2030.” This means that the Earth Fund will award about $1 billion a year for the next decade.

The WRI ($100 million), a global sustainability-research organization, will develop a satellite-based system that monitors carbon emissions and captures changes in the world’s wildlife. 

The Bezos Earth Fund has also awarded $151 million, so far, to groups that are dedicated to environmental justice. Those include; The Climate and Clean Energy Equity Fund ($43 million), Dream Corps Green For All ($10 million), The Hive Fund for Climate and Gender Justice ($43 million), NDN Collective ($12 million), and The Solutions Project ($43 million). 

The rest of the grantees are ClimateWorks Foundation ($50 million), Eden Reforestation Projects ($5 million), Energy Foundation ($30 million), Rocky Mountain Institute ($10 million), Salk Institute for Biological Studies ($30 million), and Union of Concerned Scientists ($15 million). 

Bezos’s Earth Fund comes after ‘ongoing concerns’ about Amazon’s environmental policies. Amazon has long faced pressures from within the company and others to address concerns surrounding its contribution to global carbon emission. 

In Sep. 2019, the company signed a climate pledge amid employee activism, asking for more comprehensive environmental policies. Amazon committed to being carbon neutral by 2030, 10 years earlier than the deadline set by the Paris Climate Accord. Amazon plans to operate with 100% renewable energy by 2025. The company will also invest $2 billion in technologies that will reduce carbon emissions. 

Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, a group of workers concerned with Amazon’s business within the oil and gas industry, praised Bezos Earth Fund and Amazon’s climate pledge- but said there’s still more to do in addressing the climate crisis. 

“We applaud Jeff Bezos’ philanthropy, but one hand cannot give what the other is taking away,” the activist group said in a statement on Feb. 17. “The people of Earth need to know: When is Amazon going to stop helping oil & gas companies ravage Earth with still more oil and gas wells?”

Image of a look inside the impeachment trial. Many people sitting at desks reviewing documents.

Impeachment Trial Review

Former President Donald Trump has been acquitted after being impeached for incitement of insurrection, alleging that he incited his followers to storm the U.S. Capitol building.

In February, the acquittal of the former President by the Senate was voted through. This was just days after the House Democrats voted to impeach Donald Trump an unprecedented second time.

Although seven Republican congressmen and women voted with the democrats, a different story was told in the Senate where Trump would not be acquitted. Senate Democrats and impeachment managers from Congress debated Trump’s behavior in the time leading up to the siege on the Capitol.

“Donald Trump surrendered his role as commander in chief and became the inciter in chief of a dangerous insurrection, … He named the date, he named the time, he brought them here, and now he must pay the price … He told them to ‘fight like hell … and they brought us hell that day.’” Lead Impeachment manager Dem. of Maryland James Raskin stated.

In Congress, the argument was focused on three main points: The Big Lie, which stated Donald Trump as the proprietor promoting false, baseless, and debunked claims questioning the integrity of the 2020 election. Stop the Steal, which was said to be Trump’s campaign delegitimizing President Biden’s term. Trump did this by suing numerous states, supporting the rejection and denial of the election results. Fight like Hell was the last point noting Trump’s words argued by democrats to directly incite rioters to the Capitol hours before the insurrection on Jan 6.

“The base was completely prepared to believe the kind of outlandish things that Trump said,” said Rick Hasen, a professor and election law expert at the University of California, Irvine, told NBC News.

Democrats pleaded the danger that fell before the Capitol, stating someone must be held responsible for the damage and harm condoned. “Perimeters were broken, and the Capitol was breached,” Congressman and impeachment manager Eric Swalwell said.

In the Senate trial, the impeachment managers used unseen audio, video, and security footage displaying visceral and explicit evidence of rioters ravaging the Capitol. In the footage shown, Senators and Capitol employees are seen running for their lives. This all was occurring while Capitol Police constantly fought to keep them safe.

“It looked like a medieval battle scene, some of the most brutal combat I have ever encountered. At one point, I got tazed. People were yelling at me. ‘Y’all, we got one! We got one!’” A 20-year veteran of Capitol Police officer Micheal Pinome

Pinome is seen on footage during the trial as just one of three officers dragged down the stairs of the Capitol. Rioters then stole his badge, his radio, ammunition magazine and tazed him, triggering a heart attack during the attack. 

Congressman Swalwell and Raskin ran through the timeline of the siege on the Capitol, footage of the timeline, and the course of the rioters from the initial break into the final Police securing of the Capitol. But their choice of argument and strategy of not using witnesses fell short. 

The Senate voted to acquit Trump, 57 Guilty to 43, Not Guilty. Raskin claimed he did not attempt to bring in witnesses because “The point is that no number of witnesses demonstrating Donald Trump continued to incite the insurrectionists even after the invasion of the Capitol would convince them, they wouldn’t be convinced,” James Raskins told the public.

Upon the arrival of the Senate, vote not to convict former President Donald Trump. Chuck Schumer, Majority leader of Democrats, was left with distaste as he said, “My Fellow Americans never forget that day, Jan. 6th. There is nothing more un-American, nothing more antithetical, nothing more insulting to the Americans that gave their lives … look at what Republicans have chosen to forgive … over half the Senate Republican conference has voted to condone … the most despicable act any President has ever committed and the Majority of Republicans cannot summon courage or morality to condemn it. This trial was not about choosing country over party. It was about choosing this country over Donald J. Trump, and they chose Trump.”

Senate minority leader of Republicans, Mitch McConnell, a staple in the GOP through the Senate floor for a surprise as his ending statement was pushing back against his party.

 “There is no question; none, that Donald Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the event of the day, the people who stormed this building thought they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their President. Rioters were assaulting Capitol in his name. The criminals were carrying his banner, hanging his flag, and screaming loyalty to him. It was obvious,” 

This may sound contradictory to his vote of acquittal, but “He didn’t get away with anything, yet,” McConnell said, noting that “we have a criminal justice system in this country. We have civil litigation. And former presidents are not immune from being [held] accountable by either one.”

The storming of the Capitol came after a speech on January 6 by former president Trump where he claimed that he won the election and his followers need to “fight like hell” to “stop the steal” of the election. Trump’s legal team argued that he used the term “fight” only a few times and every time the word was used figuratively. Not in a way to sway followers to physically fight.

The legal team pointed out that Donald Trump did not go with the mob to the capital or tell them to storm the building in his speech on January 6th.

There was even a question of the validity of the argument that Trump’s speech was inciting violence as he said during his speech, “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building peacefully to patriotically make your voices heard.”

The defense team also played a video montage of democrats using the word fight in speeches of their own to show that it’s a common phrase in politics that is not meant to be taken literally.

Trump’s team also argued that impeaching the former president would violate his first amendment rights. The legal team claims that the speech was Donald Trump exercising his freedom of speech and cannot be impeached on this basis.

Another point made by the defense team was that the legislature had no jurisdiction to impeach a former official as Mitch McConnell in an email to his colleagues stated that “While a close call, I am persuaded that impeachments are a tool primarily of removal and we, therefore, lack jurisdiction.”

The validity of having an impeachment for a president no longer in office was the main topic of the first day of trial. Maintaining a verdict against impeachment is key in Trump’s plans to run for office again. With still more legal battles to come, the acquittal currently leaves the door open for a 2024 election campaign. Regardless of both sides arguing for or against, the trial continued the following days.

Trump’s team also argued that the trial should be thrown out as they were not afforded due process. The legal team argued that investigations should be held and depositions should be taken. 

The legal term Bill of attainder was brought into question on this trial. Bill of attainder is something that prohibits enacting a law that legislatively determines guilt and inflicts punishment upon an identifiable individual without provision of the protections of a judicial trial. 

Trump’s legal team is arguing that impeachment allows the legislature to attain a guilty verdict against Trump without a judicial trial as he is a private citizen who has a right to be tried for criminal prosecution before a judge. 

“Congress has no jurisdiction to try people who are not currently in office.” states political commentator and legal analyst Alan Dershowitz.

The conclusion of this trial may just be the beginning of a much larger trial, as we wait to see what will happen involving a criminal trial against Donald Trump.

Parkland Tragedy Remembrance

February 14, 2021, marked the third anniversary of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that killed 14 students and three staff members. Memorials and tributes were raised in Parkland,FL, in honor of those who passed from the tragic event. 

The 2018 high school shooting was deemed one of the most deadly and horrific school shootings to date since the Sandy Hook Elementary school (located in Newtown,CT) mass shooting back in 2012. The perpetrator killed 20 students and six teachers.

Many survivors and affected families from both shootings still have PTSD and yet, are continuing their activism against gun control and violence till this day. 

An interview from NBC news on Feb 2021, featured a student survivor, Sam Grady, sharing her thoughts and ordeals from the horrific event.

She expresses, “There’s still trauma there, everyday honestly I do have to say it’s really hard to wrap my mind around for years like it seems so long ago, but at the same time it seems like it was [just] yesterday.” 

In the wake of the anniversary, President Joe Biden called for a renewal of gun reforms and bills to be enacted through Congress stating,“ This Administration will not wait for the next mass shooting to heed that call. We will take action to end our epidemic of gun violence and make our schools and communities safer … 

We owe it to all those we’ve lost and to all those left behind to grieve to make a change. The time to act is now.”

A Sandy Hook student survivor that goes by the name ‘Ashley’, stated her thoughts in an interview with Now This News on Biden’s efforts toward gun control. She expressed, “He understands what losing a child is like and he understands the amount of trauma and pain that comes behind losing a child … I think for him to be able to connect to that is so powerful because he can make a difference.” 

Gun control and reforms began their journey on the coattails of the Sandy Hook shooting, however, was continuously rebuffed and blocked by Republican representatives due to the belief of unfair restrictions and limitations placed on gun purchases. 

On March 11, 2021, Two bills passed through the House of Representatives, which consist of stricter vetting on gun purchases online and in-person and allow an extension of 7-10 more days for the FBI to complete comprehensive background checks. These bills concentrate on eliminating gaps in current gun laws, such as the Charleston loophole- which exposes the weakness of the 3 day background check on gun buyers to be unreliable and inaccurate. The loophole is termed after the deaths of the 9 people killed in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015 due to the shooter being able to purchase a gun and dismissing the 3 day background check. 

Gun reform has been called for action since the tragic events of the Columbine shooting in Apr 1999, but only now we are seeing legislation and action from our government. 

Gun violence and deaths have not stopped but increased. There are still many questions unanswered as to why our nation is still on the path of gun ownership and weak regulations. Only time will tell, when the people of the United States will finally stand together in the fight against gun violence.  

Japan Shocked from Recent Earthquakes

On February 13, 2021, a 7.3 magnitude earthquake shook Fukushima, Japan and its residents awake and alert. It lasted for no more than 30 seconds but many feared a tsunami warning, which thankfully never happened. There were no deaths reported but more than 100 citizens were injured

Millions of homes across the region lost power and water, creating a small panic in the middle of the night. Landslides occurred but no injuries were discovered. The effects were also felt strongly in the Miyagi prefecture.

The event eerily reminded residents of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, also known as the “Great earthquake disaster of East Japan “, that had a magnitude of 9.1, making it the most powerful earthquake to be recorded in Japan.The region was devastated with a death toll of nearly 20,000 people, with many missing residents still not found. 

News coverage by AJ+ (Al Jazeera Media Network) regarding grieving services such as discontinued toll booths are being used by tsunami survivors by “calling” and sending messages to their missing loved ones. “I feel better when I talk and think he’s listening to me, so I come here a lot,” 76-year old Sachiko Okawa says, who lost her late-husband who was swept away by the tsunami. 

Unfortunately, since the 7.3 earthquake, Japan has been experiencing waves of aftershocks ranging from 4.2-5.3 magnitude earthquakes. Scientists speculate that they are still receiving the shocks from the 2011 earthquake.  

The most recent major earthquake reported was on March 20, 2021, located in the Miyagi prefecture with a scale of 6.9 magnitude. This earthquake also caused multiple structures to shut down, lose power and increase fear among Japan residents. 

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, the Miyagi earthquake was a confirmed aftershock from the 2011 Tohoku earthquake. Nevertheless, in the midst of concurrent earthquakes and the still ongoing pandemic lockdowns, it is safe to say that the Japanese government and its citizens are well prepared and will survive any outcome regarding any national crises that come their way.  

Prominent NBA Writer Sekou Smith Lost His Battle With COVID-19

Atlanta —- On Jan. 26, NBA writer Sekou Smith died of COVID-19 complications at the age of 48. 

Based in his hometown of Atlanta, Smith was a rising journalist and voice for the entire NBA. 

The Atlanta Hawks, the NBA TV Atlanta studios, and Turner Network Television (TNT) studios will honor Smith by renaming the broadcasting workroom in State Farm Arena, home of the Atlanta Hawks, after him. 

In addition, the Atlanta Hawks yearly summer league team, which coincidentally was deactivated for the past summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will be named after Smith.

Also, according to, one journalism student will be selected from the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) will be chosen to be a beat writer for the Atlanta Hawks NBA Summer League team.

Turner sports released a statement via CNN detailing, “We are all heartbroken over Sekou’s tragic passing.” 

According to the same source, Smith covered NBA action for more than two decades, including 11 years with Turner Sports.

According to CNN and Smith’s LinkedIn profile, Smith “started his career as a sports reporter at The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1994.” 

He also worked as a journalist in Indianapolis and Atlanta before representing Turner Sports.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver released a statement specifying Smith’s role and place in the NBA family.

“The NBA mourns the passing of Sekou Smith, a beloved member of the NBA family. Sekou was one of the most affable and dedicated reporters in the NBA and a terrific friend to so many across the league.

Our heartfelt condolences go out to his wife, Heather, and their children, Gabriel, Rielly, and Cameron.

Although Smith was never a player at the highest level, the NBA, or a player at any professional stage, his passion for the game was illustrious and renowned. 

Silver continued a statement entailing Smith’s eternal connection to the game, “Sekou’s love of basketball was clear to everyone who knew him, and it always shined through in his work.”

The Hawks also released a statement via CNN, “The Hawks organization is heartbroken by the passing of Sekou Smith. 

The Hawks’ beat writer for the AJC from 05-09, Sekou provided our fans with honest & fair coverage, sharing incredible insight on the team while establishing himself as one of the NBA’s top personalities.” 

While COVID-19 protocols have been thoroughly established in the NBA, professional sports, intercollegiate sports, and sports worldwide, necessary precautions and testing tend to obstruct sports, and sports, in general, tend to interrupt the intention of medical advice.

“I think for all of us, this COVID thing has been painful, to say the least. But when you lose somebody that you know, and that you admire and respect and who is young,” said current New Orleans Pelicans Head Coach Stan Van Gundy in a statement released by ESPN, “This thing is so scary and has brought so much grief to so many people. Today is one of those days. There’s a lot of people in Atlanta today grieving a great man in Sekou.”