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Today, two men were charged with the murders of two transgender women in Charlotte, North Carolina. Remy Fennell, 25, was found dead in a hotel room just 11 days after 29-year-old Jaida Peterson was killed in the same way on Easter Sunday.

The shootings took place about 10 miles apart, in a state where a new round of proposed legislation joins the other 80 anti-transgender bills that have been introduced in the 2021 state legislative session so far, surpassing last year's total of 79.

A record 45 trans people were violently killed last year. As usual, transgender women of color disproportionately account for a majority of the victims.
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In 2019, the American Medical Association declared anti-trans violence to be an epidemic. But we've seen how politicians respond to things like that by now.

Earlier this week, a police officer fatally shot Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota—about 10 miles from where Derek Chauvin is on the third week of trial for the murder of George Floyd. Some 265 people have been shot and killed so far by police this year, and there are about as many bills currently in motion to criminalize protests in response.

There's a heavy, disgusting irony in this confluence of events as the power struggles at play continue to show us the difference between performative and true value. No justice, no peace. Stay safe, friends.
The BAmazon Loss and the Road Ahead
Joe DeManuelle-Hall, Labor Notes

"You keep losing until you win."

Last week's high-profile defeat in the union vote in Alabama shouldn't be understood as a failed test of whether or not Amazon can be organized. The history of the union movement in the U.S. is full of losses that came before—and in the midst of—big wins.

Organizers can't afford to waste the opportunity to learn something new about how a particular strategy worked under particular conditions. That requires honest reflection by those directly involved—rank and filers, officers, and union staff alike. Our pals at Labor Notes are happy to report signs of that taking shape. What can union activists across the country take away from this new era? [Link]
The fall and rise of North Carolina's first Black school
Rupen Fofaria, EducationNC

"I hate that kids now are leaving with a dislike of where they come from. I was looking to go toward something when I left, not away from anything."

C.S. Brown, a high school in rural, northeastern North Carolina, has gone through many lives. It's been home to a private college, a teacher preparatory school, a public K-12 school. In the 1900s, it became the very first standalone high school for African-Americans in the state. It was the shining jewel of a thriving Black community, turning out politicians, pastors, doctors, authors, and state leaders.

But after desegregation caused enrollment to drop in the 1970s, the building began yet another new life: housing students from other schools for 45-day programs when they were in disciplinary trouble. In 2008, it reached its final transformation into an alternative school, with its own diploma program for students at risk of academic failure and dropping out.

C.S. Brown is a symbol of the story that education data tells about Black youth, recognized more for their potential to cause trouble than for their potential for success. This story on the school's latest resurrection was originally published by EdNC.org as part of a five-part series. It's a story about the struggles that befell a pioneering community, and the values that survive all these centuries later to sustain hope for the future. [Link]
1. 'It’s Attack After Attack': Trans Youth Speak Out on Health and Sports Bills Aimed at Them
Tim Teeman, The Daily Beast

Trans youth are speaking out about the onslaught of discrimination they face as the focus of many of the discriminatory health and sports bills working their way through state legislatures. In early April, Arkansas became the first state in America to ban the provision of gender-affirming treatments and surgery for transgender youth. Willow Breshears, an 18-year-old Arkansas activist, says she has received several calls from younger trans people who are contemplating taking their own lives should the anti-trans legislation there pass.

In North Carolina, a new bill would mean doctors would be banned from performing gender confirmation surgery on anyone under the age of 21—even harsher than many of the other anti-trans health care bills that use the age of 18 as the cutoff. The proposed legislation would also stop doctors from providing gender-confirming hormone treatment, puberty blockers, or surgery.

"It’s been a nightmare of mine for a couple of years that some legislation would be passed that would mean I could not access my hormones. I was deeply, terribly depressed and suicidal before I was on testosterone," says Ash, a 16-year-old trans North Carolina high-schooler. His two major hopes and ambitions for the future are to study creative writing at MIT. His other interest is epidemiology. “I find viruses fascinating. This past year I have gotten into the virus-nerding aspects of the pandemic. And I’m definitely going to keep living, and even if it’s not in this state I am going to keep fighting for the rights of trans people who still live here.”
2. Florida Senate passes ‘anti-riot’ bill, sends it to DeSantis to sign into law
Gray Rohrer & Mark Skoneki, The Orlando Sentinal

This week, the Florida Senate approved an “anti-riot” bill championed by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, which will do... a whole fucking lot. Democratic senators are calling it the death of the First Amendment—and I'm inclined to agree.

One part of the bill grants civil legal immunity to people who literally drive through protesters blocking a road. Another prevents people arrested for rioting from bailing out of jail until their first court appearance and imposes a six-month mandatory sentence for battery on a police officer during a riot. When he unveiled the proposal, DeSantis also emphasized the need to prevent bail for those arrested at protests. The bill also increases penalties for assault, battery, burglary, and theft during a riot—especially to Confederate statues. It includes a provision requiring municipal budget plans that would cut police budgets to be approved by the state.

Both the ACLU and NAACP—obviously—condemn the bill. It is on its way to the governor’s desk and would take effect immediately upon being signed into law. Get to the streets while you still can, folks.
3. Latino Immigrants and the Promise of the Prosperity Gospel
Tony Tian-Ren Lin, The Revealer

"Having received her papers for legal residency, Paulina will take the greatest step toward achieving her American dream—home ownership—the ultimate visible sign of her invisible blessings. Paulina’s story is rare, and is not the norm for most immigrants. Most do not obtain legal residency in this way—or at all. The fact that her non-Christian divorced sister was central in Paulina obtaining her residency was not mentioned in the testimony. It was only God, and God received all the credit. Yet the few wealthy people in the church are always lifted up as examples to the congregation. Her testimony was offered as an encouragement to the rest of the congregation: if they remain faithful to the formula, they too can achieve what Paulina did."

An excerpt from Tony Tian-Ren Lin’s book Prosperity Gospel Latinos and Their American Dream, which explores the rising popularity of the Prosperity Gospel—a version of Pentecostalism which teaches that believers may achieve both divine salvation and worldly success—among Latinx Americans. Weaving together firsthand accounts of both religious experiences and everyday lives, Lin argues that this narrative has gained power because it accounts for the contradictions of immigrant life—especially racialized experiences. After all, wealth, integration, psychological strength, and survival—that's the American dream, isn't it?
UPS Airlines all-Black crew to fly during Thunder Over Louisville
The crew of four spent about an hour in the UPS flight simulator on Thursday to practice the flight path just days before the big event. Louisville native Jordan Dorsey, a First Officer and co-pilot on the Thunder flight, called it an honor.
It's almost Derby Day, folks! The Thunder Over Louisville, the annual kickoff event of the Kentucky Derby Festival, is an airshow and fireworks display that usually draws about 700,000 people out to marvel in the crash and booms. There were doubts about whether or not it would take place this year given last year's pandemic cancelation—even though the fireworks can be viewed anywhere in the city—but it's on, and bigger than ever. This year, the performance is designed to be enjoyed from home, and UPS Airlines will fly an all-Black crew for the first time in the air show’s history.
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