Summit Briefing: Week of 3/15/21

Isaac Hawkins Hall at Georgetown

Isaac Hawkins Hall at Georgetown University. Isaac Hawkins was the first enslaved person listed in the university’s documents. CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn, via America the Jesuit Review.

Your Summit Weekly Briefing

By Alex Tananbaum and Ashwath Vimal

 

 Disclaimer: Though the Weekly Briefings are no longer tagged in the Opinions section of Summit News and we try to remain as unbiased as possible, our opinions may show through in this article, especially in the “Actions” section.  

 

 

1. Summit: Working for minimum wage

The last few weeks, we have discussed President Biden’s COVID-19 relief package and the inclusion (and then lack thereof) of a $15 minimum wage. In the article “Interview With Minimum Wage Worker as Minimum Wage Debate Captures the Nation”, staff writer Skyler Sauer interviews Denali junior Ella Chen on her experience working for a $15 local minimum wage and the difference a switch to the $7.50 federal minimum wage would make. Though she does not need that extra $7.50, as her family “is very financially stable”, she states that the money allows her to “save [more] money for college and spend money on things that make me happy.” The article goes on to examine the effect a higher minimum wage would have on those working lower paying jobs and inflation. I found the article a very interesting first hand perspective of a subject I have been writing about in a more abstract sense and would highly recommend it. 

 

2. General News: Society of Jesus Plans to Give $100 million to Decadents the Society Once Enslaved, Google-Microsoft Feud

Members of the Society of Jesus who ran Georgetown University in the 1800s had many enslaved people and sold 272 of them to pay off debt. The Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States have promised $100 million to descendants of the enslaved people to support their education. Many of the descendants are partnering with the Jesuits to try to fund a $1 billion dollar plan to eradicate racism in the future. Georgetown University alumni also created the Georgetown Memory Project to find out who was sold in that deal in 1838 and their descendants, identifying around 200 people so far, with 8,000 descendants found. 

 

Many descendants also worked together to form The Descendants Truth & Reconciliation Foundation, with the help of Jesuits, to try and help descendants with their education, to fund anti-racism movements and to support elderly descendants. The Jesuits have already contributed $15 million of the $100 million promised, and when the goal of $1 billion is reached, $50 million will be distributed each year. However, that is only the beginning of the foundation, says descandent Joe Stewart, who wants the foundation to expand beyond just the focus of the 272 enslaved people, and to help reduce anti-Black racism nationally.

 

 Microsoft is preparing testified at a congressional hearing on the impact of  big tech companies on news, and targeted Google through a written testimony, with Microsoft President Brad Smith saying, “The problems that beset journalism today are caused in part by a fundamental lack of competition in the search and ad tech markets that are controlled by Google.” Smith goes on to say that he is not trying to argue whether or not Google has broken the law, but that government action needs to be taken when companies indirectly affect markets and societies negatively. 

Google fired back, with Google SVP of Global Affairs Kent Walker saying on a blog post, “…it’s no coincidence that Microsoft’s newfound interest in attacking us comes on the heels of the SolarWinds attack and at a moment when they’ve allowed tens of thousands of their customers … to be actively hacked via major Microsoft vulnerabilities.” They also accused Microsoft of returning to being “anti-google” in the blog post. This comes after Microsoft complied with Australia’s new law where big tech companies have to share revenue with news publishers, while Google did not want to. Microsoft supported a similar bill in the U.S., something Google may not do based on the Australia situation. 

 

3. Covid-19: LA and Other Counties Reopens Many Businesses, Higher Air Quality Due to the Pandemic, New U.S. Variant 

 

In Los Angeles Country, restaurants, movie theaters, fitness centers, and more are all starting to open. This was made possible due to that the county was allowed to move from purple tier to red tier because California has administered two million doses to low-income communities. Restaurants can allow indoor seating at 25% capacity, with all employees required to wear masks. Health officials have advised that restaurant employees get vaccinated if they can. More new guidelines include museums, zoos, aquariums and movie theaters being allowed to open at 25% capacity as well, and gyms can now open at 10% capacity. Furthermore, theme parks will be able to open soon at 15% capacity, and in-person education will be allowed in middle school and high school in the county. 24 other counties have also adopted new guidelines similar to the ones in LA county.

 

While COVID-19 has brought about plenty of hardship for countless families, every cloud has a silver lining. One positive change this pandemic has created is the fact that air quality has improved in many countries. IQAir’s World Air Quality Report shows that 65% of cities around the world have had better air quality than they did in 2020. IQAir researchers measured PM 2.5, an air pollutant that causes health problems, and Singapore, Beijing, and Bangkok had the amount of this pollutant decrease the most. While this is a silver lining, it most likely will not last too long, as the many restrictions placed upon us due to COVID-19 are the main reason air quality has improved globally. 

 

The highly transmissible B.1.17 variant of COVID-19, which was first noticed in the United Kingdom, is supposed to become the variant with the most amount of cases starting in March or April. Experts say that because it so can be transmitted so easily, a surge of cases is to be expected, even with the current amount of vaccinated people. Dr. Richard Bresser believes that people are letting their guard down by not social distancing and wearing masks, which will make this variant much more deadly. The variant also has a 64% higher chance of death from COVID-19. However, researchers say that current vaccines should be able to combat the B.1.1.7 variant well, 

 

Click here for what each tier means and a map of what counties are in what tier.

 

On a personal note: Last Friday, my dad and I received our first doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. I am based in the Bay Area and got the vaccine fairly early on, and as such my personal experience may differ from yours. However, parts of the experience should be fairly universal. The jab was incredibly quick and fairly painless. We were then told to wait 15 minutes in a socially distanced area to make sure we did not go into shock, then allowed to leave. In total, the process took around 20 mins. While our arms were very sore for a day or so afterwards, we did not experience any other issues. I understand that you may have some hesitancy when it comes to the vaccine, but I promise it was quick, easy and overall worth it. If you have questions we have not yet answered in this briefing, I would encourage you to talk to a doctor you trust, as they have a wealth of information. 

 

Stay Informed: CNN reports live, bite-sized updates on Coronavirus here.

 

4. Politics: Stimulus package implementation

The House voted to pass President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package Wednesday the 10th and, with Biden’s signature, implementation has begun. To review, the package includes:

  • $1,400 stimulus checks for individuals making less than $75,000 a year and two checks for married couples with a joint income of less than $150,000 per year. From there checks will decrease, phasing out for individuals making $80,000 or more per year and married couples making $160,000 per year.
  • Extension of $300 per week unemployment benefits, tax breaks on $10,000 unemployment benefits.
  • Child tax credit. Most Americans will receive $3,600 a year for children under 6 and $3,000 a year for children 6-17. 
  • $350 billion in aid for state, city and tribal governments.
  • COVID-19 testing and vaccination.
  • $20 billion in relief for unhoused people and rental assistance, another $10 billion for mortgage and homeowner assistance.
  • $130 billion for K-12 school reopening assistance, $40 billion for colleges, universities and other higher education institutions, as well as assistance for child care. 
  • $86 billion for failing pensions. 

 

CNBC has some suggestions on where to spend this money. Kristen Holt, president and CEO of Greenpath Financial Wellness, suggests spending your stimulus check on any immediate needs, such as groceries and rent. As for the unemployment checks, Ms. Holt recommends creating a budget and sticking to it, then depositing any money leftover into a savings account. Rental assistance should be applied for quickly, as the bill will most likely not extend the eviction moratorium set to expire this month. Check this bank of rental assistance programs to see what your family qualifies for.  Carrie R. Welton, director of policy at advocacy group The Hope Center for College, Community and Justice, also suggests applying to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Though rules can be a bit strange, author of the article Annie Nova notes that it “doesn’t hurt to apply.”

 

The stimulus package is expected to reduce poverty in America overall, especially if some aspects continue post-pandemic. According to Columbia University’s Center on Poverty & Social Policy, the bill would cut the poverty rate among Black Americans by 38%, Hispanic Americans 43% and white and Asian Americans 24%. In total, 16 million fewer people could be living in poverty in 2021 (the Urban Institute). These numbers would most likely be a result of the child tax credits, stimulus checks and unemployment and food stamp boosts. 

 

A quick note: Some Americans have run into issues in receiving this round of stimulus payments. Check this USA Today article for more information and possible troubleshooting techniques. This event appears to be fairly uncommon, so don’t panic. It’s possible you may have to wait slightly longer if the issue comes up. 

 

5. Sports: Hall of Fame Boxer Passes Away, NBA Star Fined for Using Slur 

Hall of Fame boxer Marvin “Marvelous” Hagler passed away this past Saturday at the age of 66, announced by his wife on Facebook. Hagler was a middleweight boxer (154-160 pounds) who dominated his division in the 1980s, being an undefeated champion for seven years. He finished his career with 63 wins, three losses, and 2 draws, quitting after he lost a fight he deemed unfairly judged. Many were shocked by the sudden death, with sports promoter Eddie Hearn and boxing streaming service company DAZN being among the many that extended their condolences and sadness at Hagler’s passing. He was inducted into the International and World Boxing Hall of Fames in 1993, cementing him as a legend in the sport of boxing.

 

The Miami Heat’s Myers Leonard was fined $50,000 for using an anti-semitic slur while streaming the video game “Call of Duty” last Monday. He was immediately suspended from any team activities and facilities for one week, with the fine being placed on Leonard on the Thursday of the same week. He issued an apology on social media the day after he used the slur, expressing regret for his actions and that he has learned the impact of the word, and will be mindful of what he says in the future. NBA commissioner Adam Silver stated that disrespectful comments like these would not be tolerated and that what Leonard said was “inexcusable”, and “will be expected to uphold the core values of our league — equality, tolerance, inclusion and respect” in the future. 

 

6. Entertainment: The Grammys 2021

The 63rd annual Grammys occurred this past Sunday at the Los Angeles Convention Center, hosted by comedian Trevor Noah. Due to the pandemic, there was no live audience, but there were some celebrity performers and nominees. Many famous artists received nominations, with Beyoncé getting 9, and Dua Lipa, Roddy Rich, and Taylor Swift each receiving six. Beyoncé also made history by obtaining her 28th grammy award, now having the title of the most Grammy wins ever for a female artist and by a singer. Swift also won her third album of the year, marking another monumental win. Many artists also showed up in interesting, but not necessarily bad, fashion choices, with Harry Styles wearing a green and purple feather boa and Noah Cyrus wearing a Schiaparelli Couture.  

 

The Grammys not only had some great artists but included some great performances as well. One of these includes Lil Baby’s performance of his song “The Bigger Picture”,  which is a protest song released after the killing of George Floyd. It also incorporated a re-enactment of the Rayshard Brooks shooting, a case of police brutality, which made this performance all the more important, as it addresses a common issue that occurs throughout America. Another great performance was by Dua Lipa and her rendition of her song, “Don’t Start Now”. From the disco-like setting to Lupa’s elegant dance moves, this performance was a very extravagant one. One more cool performance was by BTS, and the execution of their song “Dynamite”, which included a near-perfect background to recreate the Los Angeles Center when they were thousands of miles away in Seoul.

 

While the Grammys did have some great moments, it also had some awkward ones. One such occurrence is when Billie Eilish won record of the year for her song “Everything I Wanted”, and proceed to state that she didn’t deserve the award, that she thinks should have gone to Megan Thee Stallion (won three awards) and that she felt “embarrassed” for winning it. This was a very Déjà vu moment that reminded many of the time that Adele called Beyoncé “the artist of my life”, and of the time that Macklemore sent a text message to Kendrick Lamar, apologizing for winning best rap album.

 

For a full list of nominations and winners, click here

 

7. Weather

Atlas (West Seattle): Highs this week will rise then fall, with today’s being 51℉, Weds-Thurs up to 54-55℉, Fri 53℉, Sat and Sun back down to 50-51℉ and finally 53℉ Mon. Lows will, in general, stick in the 40-41℉, with the exception of 34℉ Tues snf 43℉ Thurs. This week will be a rainy one, with partial clouds today-Weds, rain Thurs, showers Fri, partial showers Sat, then rain again Sun and showers Mon. Stay dry, wear a mask, and have a good week. 

Summary: Highs in the low 50’s, lows in the low 40’s, partial clouds, rain and showers. 

 

Olympus (Tacoma): Highs this week will range in the low to mid 50’s, with today’s being 51℉, Weds 55℉, Thurs-Fri 52-53℉, Sat down to 51℉, Sun 49℉ and Mon back up to 52℉. Lows will stay in the 38-39℉ range with the exception of 30℉ Tues and 41℉ Thurs. The majority of the week will be rainy, with partial clouds today-Weds, rain Thurs, showers Fri, partial showers Sat, rain again Sun and showers again Mon. Stay dry, wear a mask, and have a good week. 

Summary: Highs in the mid-low 50’s, lows in the high 30’s, partial clouds, rain and showers. 

 

Sierra (Seattle): Highs this week will hover around the low-mid 50’s, with 50℉ today, 53-54℉ Weds-Thurs, back down 52℉ Fri, 49-50℉ Sat-Sun and 51℉ Mon. Lows will mostly remain in the 39-40℉ range, with the exception of 32℉ Tues and 41 Thurs. Rain will be the theme of the week, with partial clouds today-Weds, rain Thurs, showers Fri, partial showers Sat, rain again Sun and showers again Mon. Stay dry, wear a mask, and have a good week. 

Summary: Highs in the low 50’s, lows in the high 30’s-low 40’s, partial clouds, rain and showers. 

 

Denali (Sunnyvale): Highs this week will remain in the 59-60℉, with the exception of 58℉ Thurs and 63℉ Mon. Lows will have a bit more range, with today’s being 39℉, Weds 46℉, Thurs 48℉, Fri-Sat 42-43℉ and Sun-Mon 44-45℉. Visible weather will vary as well, with full sun today, clouds Weds, rain Thurs, partial showers Fri and partial clouds Sat-Mon. Soak up that sun, wear a mask, and have a good week.

Summary: Highs in the high 50’s-low 60’s, lows in low-mid 40’s, sun, clouds, rain and showers and partial clouds. 

 

Everest and Prep (Redwood City): Highs this week will stay in the 56-57℉ range most of the time, with the exception of 58℉ Fri and 60℉ Mon. Lows will vary a bit more, with today’s being 40℉, Weds’ 46℉, Thurs 48℉, Fri-Sat 44℉ and Sun-Mon 45-46℉. Partial clouds will cover the majority of the week, with the exception of full sun today and rain Thurs. Enjoy that sun, wear a mask, and have a good week. 

Summary: Highs in the high 50’s, lows throughout the 40’s, sun, partial clouds and rain. 

 

K2 (El Cerrito): Highs this week will rise overall, with today’s being 59℉, Weds-Thurs 57℉, Fri-Sun 61-62℉ and 65℉ Mon. Lows will range throughout the 40’s with today’s being 43℉, Weds 47℉, Thurs 49℉, Fri-Sat back to 43℉ and Sun-Mon 46℉. Meanwhile, today will be sunny, Weds cloudy, Thurs rainy and Fri-Mon partially cloudy with the exception of full sun Sat. Soak up that sun, wear a mask, and have a good week. 

Summary: Highs in the high 50’s-low 60’s, lows throughout the 40’s, sun, clouds, rain and partial clouds. 

 

Tam (Richmond): Highs this week will rise overall, with today’s being 58℉, Weds-Thurs 56-57℉, Fri-Sun 60-61℉ and Mon 64℉. Lows will range throughout the 40’s with today’s at 42℉, Weds 47℉, Thurs 49℉, Fri-Sat 43℉ and Sun-Mon 46℉. The majority of the week will be partially cloudy, with the exception of full sun Tues and rain Thurs. Enjoy that sun, wear a mask, and have a good week. 

Summary: Highs in the high 50’s-low 60’s, lows throughout the 40’s, mostly partial clouds and some full sun and rain. 

 

Shasta (Daly City): Highs this week will rise uniformly, with today-Thurs at 54-55℉, Fri-Sun 56℉ and Mon 59℉. Lows will range throughout the 40’s, today’s being 43℉, Weds-Thurs 48-49℉, Fri-Sat 45℉ and Sun-Mon 46-47℉. The majority of the week will be partially cloudy, with the exception of clouds Weds, rain Thurs and full sun Sat. Enjoy that sun, wear a mask, and have a good week. 

Summary: Highs in the low-high 50’s, lows throughout the 40’s, partial and full clouds, rain and full sun. 

 

Tahoma (San Jose): Highs this week will remain in the 60-61℉ range, with the exception of 62℉ Weds and 65℉ Mon. Lows will have a bit more range, with today’s at 40℉, Weds 46℉, Thurs 49℉, Fri 44℉, Sat 42℉ and Sun-Mon 45-46℉. Most of the week will be partially cloudy, with the exception of full sun today, rain Thurs and partial showers Fri. Enjoy that sun, wear a mask, and have a good week. 

Summary: Highs in the low 60’s, lows throughout the 40’s, majority partial clouds with some partial sun and rain and partial showers. 

8. Cooking: Pizza rolls

This recipe is super easy, using completely pre-prepped ingredients. I’ve made it before for club meetings and it was a hit.

 

Ingredients:

1 loaf (1 pound) frozen pizza dough or white bread dough, thawed according to package instructions

½ cup pizza sauce, plus additional for serving

⅓ cup chopped pepperoni or mini pepperoni slices (half of a 2 ½ ounce package), if desired

9-10 slices fontina, provolone or provolone-mozzarella blend cheese (thin slices) if desired

 

Method:

  1. Grease a standard muffin pan
  2. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface into 12 x 10 rectangle. Spread ½ cup of pizza sauce over the dough. Make sure NOT to spread the dough all the way to the edge of the dough square, that’ll make it difficult to roll. Try to leave a ½ inch border. Sprinkle with pepperoni and/or  cheese, if desired.
  3. Starting with the long side, roll the sauce topped dough up jelly-roll style. Pinch to seal
  4. Cut crosswise into 1-inch slices. Place into the greased muffin cups. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes (or until doubled in size). While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 350℉.
  5. Once the pizza rolls are done resting, bake them for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Use a knife to loosen the bottoms and sides of the pizza rolls, turn them out onto a wire cooling rack or plate, let cool a bit.
  6. Serve warm, with some more sauce for dipping. 

 

From Cooking Hacks.

 

9. Actions: Protect trans athletes

Editor’s note: The “Actions” section includes petitions to sign, prompts and scripts to write officials with as well as other opportunities to engage in your local, national and global communities.

 

48 bills  attacking the rights of transgender student athletes are working their ways through legislative systems in 27 states. The majority of the bills force students to participate in the sport that aligns with their sex assigned at birth, not gender identity. They are often invasive, forcing students to bring a doctor’s note “proving” their genitalia if accused of being transgender, unnecessary and wil ultimately be incredibly harmful to the health of students, trans and otherwise. 

 

Take action at transathlete.com— write representatives and sponsors of the bills to make sure they do not pass. 

 

A reservation many have: In the context of these bills, transgender people and their allys often get the question “won’t allowing people assigned male at birth into women’s sports (and vice versa) give them an unfair advantage?” The answer is maybe— but no more than, say, swimmer Michael Phelps’ long torso, large wingspan and strong legs, which helped him win 23 gold medals. Additionally, these bills aren’t talking about the Olympics. They’re targeting student athletes, some of them elementary schoolers. At that point, who cares? Just let kids have fun. 

 

And, as always:

  • Watch or listen or listen to this playlist. All advertisement revenue goes to Black Lives Matter. I currently have it on in the background as I am writing this brief. Do not skip the ads, the donations will not go through otherwise.

 

  • Watch or listen to this video. All advertisement revenue goes to various aid organizations easing the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Please note it is blocked on school Chromebooks due to being in the “Entertainment” category

 

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