Here at NJ Spark, more than a dozen Rutgers students will be reporting on social injustices in and around the New Brunswick area.
However, these issues happen everywhere. Here’s some recent news highlights:
- District attorney, Jackie Lacey, considers whether to bring charges against an officer who shot a homeless man last year. The atmosphere in Los Angeles demonstrates the growing pressure that prosecutors now face to move aggressively against officers who kill civilians. The shooting occurred amid a roiling national debate over the police’s use of deadly force, particularly against minorities.
- A new law in Mississippi lets any person or business deny services to same-sex couples because of religious objections. In North Carolina, the governor signed a law banning cities from passing LGBT anti-discrimination ordinances and barring transgender people from using bathrooms that match their gender identity. Tennessee also has a “bathroom bill,” plus a bill that lets mental health professionals refuse to treat LGBT patients. There are more than 100 active bills like this right now, across 22 states. They fall into a handful of categories — some are bathroom bills, some let judges refuse to marry same-sex couples, some let businesses deny services to LGBT people — but they all have the same goal: legalizing discrimination against queer people.
- In 1838, the Jesuit priests who ran the country’s top Catholic university needed money to keep it alive. Up to 272 enslaved African-Americans were sold, along with scores of others, to help secure the future of the premier Catholic institution of higher learning at the time, known today as Georgetown University. What, if anything, is owed to the descendants of slaves who were sold to help ensure the college’s survival?
- In 2011, Mike Wilklow and five of his friends were fired by the Jimmy John’s franchisee they worked for, a company called MikLin Enterprises. The group had led an effort to unionize roughly 170 Jimmy John’s employees who worked at 10 shops in the Minneapolis area, coming painfully close to notching a landmark labor victory in the union-free world of fast food. The group of workers were fired after publicly shaming the company for not providing employees with paid sick days.
- At least 36,000 Verizon workers have been on strike since Wednesday after failing to reach a new labor agreement by the contract’s deadline. Among the union workers’ list of complaints: the offshoring of thousands of jobs to workers abroad, outsourcing work to low-wage, non-union contractors and the closing of call centers in the U.S. But one of their chief complaints is about being forced to work in locations far from home for months at a time.