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All the Current and relevant Events activists need to know in 2020

When the Moria refugee camps caught fire

In Greece, Europe’s largest refugee camp caught fire, leaving thousands without any shelter and food. 

Located on the island of Lesbos, Moria camp has been home to thousands of refugees. Since 2015, migrants have been coming here. At the time of the fire, there were more than 12,000 people present at the campsite, and this number is four times the camp’s maximum capacity. 

The fierce fire that erupted on Tuesday and a second-round on Wednesday burned everything to the ground. Thousands had to escape the campsite and spend the night in the open, without any supplies. The tents and the water infrastructure burned down. The place is no more inhabitable. 

After the incident, the Greece government has launched an investigation to find those responsible for this disaster. 

However, the aid workers reported that the fire started Tuesday after 10 p.m. According to them, the migrants at the camp were protesting against the lockdown restrictions. They had intentionally created a fire series, but it spread quickly due to the high wind and the explosion of the gas containers. 

Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi said, “what is certain is that the fire was started because of the quarantine by asylum seekers in the facility.” He added that “Instances of unlawful behavior such as the ones we experienced yesterday will not be left unpunished. Such behavior is not acceptable, and also respect for law and order is a necessary precondition for the asylum process.”

Many are criticizing the Greek authorities and the EU for the inadequate arrangements at the campsite. 

Erik Marquardt, a Member of the European Parliament(M EP) with Germany’s Greens, tagged this incident as a “political disaster.” He said this reflects Europe’s poor management 2015 migration crisis.

“The situation we have here is a big problem. This kind of catastrophe can happen every time.” Marquardt said. “We should feel ashamed of that.”

Many countries have reached out and offered help to Greece.” We will not leave Greece alone with this situation — and above all — we will not leave the people in this camp alone. “I believe that the European Union as a whole has a responsibility,” said Heiko Maa, German Foreign Minister.

As of the latest reports, Greece has sent three ships to help the refugees on Lesbos Island. 

Defunding the police protest image 2

Black Lives Matters protests And Defunding The Police movement

What is Black Lives Matters? It’s been around for a while now, but the movement got significant momentum and became the top trend after George Floyd’s death.

George, a 51-year-old Black American, died in the custody of the Minneapolis police department. This was mainly due to an officer named Derek Chauvin pressing against his neck for approximately 8 minutes and 46 seconds.

After this incident, many protests over racial discrimination erupted across the states and other countries. For weeks thousands of people marched on the streets, enchanting Black Lives Matter and demanding justice for Floyd.

The black lives matters protests that followed George’s death have not settled yet.

Especially now that another scandal has added to the anger, that scandal was the shooting of Jacob Blake. Jacob was in an altercation with the police when things went sideways. That confrontation resulted in his hospitalization, with seven bullet holes in his back.

“Blake’s paralyzed and, because those bullets severed his spinal cord and shattered some of his vertebrae, it is going to take a miracle for Jacob Blake Jr ever to walk again.” Reported his lawyer.

Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes said,” Jacob Blake got shot in the back seven times in front of his children. The shooting wasn’t an accident. The officer’s deadly actions attempted to take a person’s life in broad daylight. Like many of you, the video is burned into my mind like all the past videos just like it.”

After the Jacob Blake incident, mass protests started across Kenosha against racial discrimination. These protests became a hotbed for anti and pro-police sentiments. Agitators such as Kyle Rittenhouse descended on Kenosha.

One night, Kyle Rittenhouse, a seventeen-year-old Illinois native, opened fire at the protesters in Kenosha. Two individuals died as a result. After his subsequent arrest, public sentiments are only more divided.

We were all chanting ‘Black lives matter’ at the gas station, and then we heard, boom, boom, and I told my friend, `That’s not a firework. And then this guy with this huge gun runs by us in the middle of the street, and people are yelling, ‘He shot someone! He shot someone!’ And everyone is trying to fight the guy, chasing him, and then he started shooting again.

Protester Devin

The ‘Black Lives Matter protests continue, and every day more and more people join them. It is not yet clear how these protests would end, but many hope that all these efforts would be worth it, and black people would get equal rights, which they deserve.

What Defunding The Police Is, And How Far It’s Going

2020 has been challenging for the whole world. But for the US, it’s been more challenging than anyone else. Along with the challenges of the COVID-19 and its subsequent impacts on the economy, the “Black Lives Matter” protests have added to America’s difficulties. Follow along as we explore the question of what does defunding the police means?

The protests against racial discrimination and police brutality erupted after George Floyd, a 51-year-old, Black American died in the Minneapolis police department’s custody. Thousands of people joined the protests over racial discrimination. They demanded justice for George and the police reforms by defunding the police.

After the public’s outrage, lawmakers in thirteen states decided to cut police funds and relocate the money into the social programs. All did not appreciate their decision, as many people criticized them for this step. Saying that defunding the law and enforcement would only escalate the crimes. Considering this, is it an excellent decision to defund the police?

David Harris, JD, University of Pittsburgh Law Professor, must have anticipated this as he said, “We should not assume that the most poorly-paid cops are the worst cops. But the chances increase that you don’t attract the best officers.”

American policing has never been a neutral institution. The first U.S. city police department was a slave patrol, and modern police forces have directed oppression and violence at Black people to enforce Jim Crow, wage the War on Drugs, and crackdown on protests.

Paige Fernandez

But, when the resources run out, this would consequently reduce the wages. As a result, the employees would have to do double shifts to make both ends meet. So, wouldn’t this affect the efficiency of the law and enforcement response?

So, how does the defunding proposal stands out? If this proposal is adopted, the department will have to remove many troops to balance the employees and the resources. This way, only the best officers would be selected, which, in theory, would improve the law and enforcement response.

Moreover, less force means that officers would not be dealing with every small issue. Such as those concerning mental illness and loud- music playing in the neighborhood. That would decrease police engagement and interaction with the people, which would lead to less police violence.

Whether to defund the police or not, this is considerable debate, and everyone has different thoughts on it. Many states’ representatives continue to oppose this notion, whereas others support it. On the other hand, President Trump doesn’t seem to be a great fan of this proposal. He said, “Sleepy Joe Biden and the Radical Left Democrats want to ‘DEFUND THE POLICE.’ I want great and well-paid LAW ENFORCEMENT. I want LAW & ORDER!”

How defund the police stands right now.

A lot of legislation is currently in the works. There is the Justice of Policing act of 2020. The George Floyd Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity act.

On June 16, 2020, The United States President signed an executive order. That order is called Safe Policing for Safe Communities. It seeks to create an independent review process that offers benefits, as well as promotes police training.

All in all, to date, 24 states have police reform legislation formally moving towards a vote. These bills range widely from state to state and cover many angles as far as policy. That range includes banning the police from using chokeholds, reevaluating practice standards related to using force de-escalation training, and ending “no-knock” warrants.

While falling short of the title defund the police, these measures show significant promise. But the fact that they were necessary should cause some real soul searching. Why did these common-sense reforms take so long to enact? More importantly, the issue of transparency is like an afterthought.

Protestors with End Systemic racism signage

On Tuesday, New York first lady Chirlane McCray announced a pilot program in New York’s two communities to respond to 911 calls. The program will be unveiled next year, and it will be unique in the sense that it will comprise social workers and EMS health workers to respond to 911 calls related to phycological issues.

Currently, all mental health and violence-related 911 calls are addressed by The New York City Police Department and Fire Based Emergency Medical Services. However, a new pilot program planned to launch in February 2020 will allow the mental health experts to deal with 911 calls involving suicide attempts, severe psychological and physical illness, etc.

“Emergencies are not all the same, and the skills needed to respond vary as well. Expanding the role of mental health in emergency services means that people with urgent behavioral health needs can quickly get appropriate and effective help from trained health professionals”, said Health Commissioner Dr. Dave A. Chokshi in a written statement.

According to the officials, the program will be dispatched through the 911 system, and police will be set as a backup in cases involving weapons or violence only.

In the recent few years, especially in 2020, the United States reported an alarming rise in Black deaths caused by police violence and brutality. The mayor took the initiative to reduce potentially deadly interactions between police and people in the United States, including New York.

“The City” news outlet reported that the number of 911 calls related to mental health problems increased from 97000 in 2009 to 180000 in 2019. According to Dennis Kenney, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, about 25% of people killed by police suffer from mental health issues.

“One in five New Yorkers struggles with a mental health condition. Now, more than ever, we must do everything we can to reach those people before crisis strikes. For the first time in our city’s history, health responders will be the default responders for a person in crisis, making sure those struggling with mental illness receive the help they need.”

The recent movements for defunding the police and relocating money towards community-based interventions pushed the authorities to introduce this program.

New York’s officials stated that the program would effectively alleviate the unrest created by frequent police brutality incidents regarding the Black people. In most cases, they said these people were suffering from severe mental crises at the time of their death.

Some of the measures listed here show real promise. But there are a lot of roadblocks ahead for the defunding of the police movement. Police Unions come to mind in that regard. Plus, a Democratic President will most likely galvanize the Republican base.

Those roadblocks might be the icing on the cake to democratic infighting. The President-elect doesn’t have to distance himself from anyone. At least during the honeymoon phase of the presidency. However, local and state Democratic candidates don’t have that luxury.

The Shopping Holiday That Tried To Challenge Black Friday

Amid the ongoing pandemic situation, Core sight Research created an idea of organizing the biggest shopping event in the U.S, the 10 .10 shopping festival, to boost the shopping industry. Though the concept was provided four months ago to revive retailers, the event will be held from October 9, 2020, to October 12, 2020, while the inauguration ceremony will occur on October 9.

The festival involved hundreds of retailers and brands such as Kroger, Jos. A. Bank, Ulta    Lenovo, Moral Code, Kansas and ProFlowers, and many others. They will engage the customers with flash shopping deals, and customers will attend the festival without any invitation cards.

The event aims to provide the best shopping sales to customers before the holiday, along with fun and an opportunity to contribute to charity organizations.

The U.S 10.10 festival will offer online and in-store sales to attract customers who have been waiting long for exciting deals. Coresight Research directs the event in association with the Shopkick shopping app and fashion market Fashwire. Many Prominent philanthropic organizations such as Goodwill and St. Jude’s Children Hospital collaborated with Coresight Research to save many homeless children’s lives.

The U.S  shopping event has been decided after the colossal success of shopping festivals held last year. According to an estimate, customers spent almost $16.8 billion on Black Friday last year and nearly doubled around $38.4 billion during the 2019 Alibaba Shopping festival.  

“Shopping festivals, like Alibaba’s Singles’ Day in China, are a huge trend that has since expanded globally. Our research shows that most consumers plan to holiday shop earlier than ever this year, providing the perfect opportunity to launch the 10.10 Shopping Festival to support retailers in their efforts to keep up with demand now and through the entire holiday season,” said Deborah Weinswig, founder and CEO of Coresight Research.

More Activism relevant and relatively recent news stories

Often, we hear about activism-related news in the media, but it’s hard to keep up with everything that is happening. So, I’m going to write a summary of 5 recent breaking news stories.

1. The Gender Pay Gap: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed legislation into law on November 13th, 2017, requiring all employers with at least 20 employees to publicly report wage information by race and gender for work done in 2016 (NYC). The initiative’s goal is to pinpoint discrepancies between men and women when it comes to wages (NYC).

2. Obamacare Repeal: The Senate GOP health care bill was approved by the Senate GOP leadership Friday morning before being sent to the Congressional Budget Office for projections. This means that once CBO scores it, the bill can be passed with a simple majority (NYT).

3. Net Neutrality: Washington State’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit against FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on November 21st, 2017, according to Business Insider. The suit accuses chairman Pai of abusing his power and ignoring “countless consumers, businesses,” etc., in rolling back net neutrality rules last month (BI).

4. No Taxation Without Representation: House Republicans passed a $1.5 trillion tax-cut bill on November 16th, 2017, that aims to simplify the United States tax code. There are some caveats with this legislation, though; the bill would eliminate several deductions, including state and local tax (NYT).

5. Immigration: President Trump said he would sign an executive order on immigration next week once his new cabinet members are confirmed by Congress (CNN).

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