Young political advocates: How young people are using the Internet to speak up

Sydney McCall | Staff Writer

A new generation of young people are not afraid to speak up about their beliefs, and they’re using social media to do so. 

Claudia Conway, 16, and daughter of presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway, uses TikTok and Twitter to voice her opinion about President Donald Trump and other members of the White House administration.

“You’re a [expletive] idiot,” Conway tweeted about Trump to her 589,000 Twitter followers.

She regularly uses her platform to voice her support for qualified immunity, defunding the police and Black Lives Matter, ideas that the current administration has openly opposed. As a result, Conway has consistently found herself trending.

Conway also broke the news that her mother tested positive for COVID-19 after attending the nomination of Amy Coney-Barrett at the White House. 

After President Trump revealed his diagnosis, Conway posted a TikTok captioned “my mom coughing all around the house after Trump tested positive for COVID,” with an attached audio saying “That’s suspicious.” Hours later, she posted that her mom had tested positive. 

Kellyanne Conway was forced to announce her positive test after speculation began due to her daughter’s post. Two days later, Claudia Conway announced that she had also tested positive for the virus. She used her social media networks to urge Americans to take the virus seriously by wearing masks and social distancing. 

After the President was released from his three-day stay at Walter Reed Medical Center for COVID-19, many speculated as to how he recovered so quickly. His verbiage suggested that he was healed and that the virus should be taken lightly. 

“He literally is not OK,” Conway said, referring to the President on her TikTok. She was named a “reporter” and “whistleblower” by many in the media. 

“Claudia Conway is the only source I trust on Trump’s condition” said Lorie Liebig, a publicist for Lucky Bird Media. 

Conway is just one of many outspoken members of Generation Z, those born between 1997 and 2012, and who use social media to discuss politics. 

“I really think my generation isn’t afraid of saying how we feel,” said Xavier Wilson, a first year strategic communications major at HU. “If we disagree with something we are going to speak up, especially since we have social media.”

Conway is not the only child of a politician who is voicing their dissenting opinion. Caroline Giuliani, the daughter of Rudy Giuliani, former New York mayor and affiliate of Donald Trump, endorsed Joe Biden. She said that while coming out against her father’s beliefs is hard, no one can afford to be silent right now. 

“If being the daughter of a polarizing mayor who became the president’s personal bulldog has taught me anything, it is that corruption starts with yes-men and women,” Carolina said in a Vanity Fair Op-Ed.

Slaying of teacher sparks protests across France

William Paul Ellis | Staff Writer

The murder of a teacher from France has become a source of outrage throughout the country, inspiring teachers and activists to engage in protests for freedom of expression and the protection of educators. 

Samuel Paty, 47, was found decapitated in a Parisian suburb on Oct. 16. Later that day, before being gunned down by French police, Abdoullakh Abouyezidovitch, 18, took credit for the killing on Twitter.

Eleven other people, including two school children, have been taken into custody in connection to the crime, according to the BBC News.

The murder was allegedly committed out of anger over a lesson Paty recently taught in a freedom of expression class at the Collège du Bois d’Aulne. During the lesson, Paty showed a caricature of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad from Charlie Hebdo magazine. 

French President Emmanuel Macron charterized the incident as an “Islamist terroist attack.” French Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer also spoke out in support of the rights and safety of French teachers, adding that the nation would work to defeat the opposition against democracy. 

“What has happened is beyond words,” Blanquer said. “There are no words for it, and we must fight against it.”

Teachers and accompanying  protestors held demonstrations throughout France in the wake of Paty’s murder, carrying posters with the words “I am a teacher” and  “I am Samuel.”

A local French teacher told Le Monde newspaper that she came to the protests after she “realized you could die teaching.”

Many fear that Paty’s death will further create a divide over secularism within France, a value that the country and its citizens have long celebrated.

Secularism, the idea that religious institutions should be separate from the state, is partially responsible for freedom of expression in France, another noted cultural value. 

However, after a murder so heavily influenced by religous belief, discussions surrounding the role of religion and religous extremisim in France are inevitable. 

Tierra Mack, a senior at Hampton University believes that while freedom of expression is important, so is religious tolerance. 

“Violence at any level should never be tolerated, but it’s also important to understand what can be offensive to other people and their religious beliefs,” Mack said. 

On October 21, Paty was posthumously awarded the Légion d’honneur, the highest honor given in France.

Harris and Pence face off in only vice presidential debate of election season

WILLIAM PAUL ELLIS – STAFF WRITER

Morry Gash | Associated Press

Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris, the Democratic candidate for vice president, met in Salt Lake City, Utah Oct. 7 to debate topics ranging from the COVID-19 pandemic to racial injustice.

The 90-minute debate was mod- erated by USA Today journalist Susan Page and was the second of three debates scheduled before the Nov. 3 election.

The debate was notably less com- bative than the previous debate with President Donald Trump and Former Vice President and the Democratic candidate for president Joe Biden, but the debate still featured moments of contention between Harris and Pence.

When asked if she would take a COVID-19 vaccine, Harris took the opportunity to highlight the division in public opinion between National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Dis- eases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci and President Trump.

“If Dr. Fauci, if the doctors tell us that we should take it, I’ll be the first in line to take it. Absolutely,” Harris said. “But if Donald Trump tells us to take it, I’m not taking it.”

Pence responded by reassuring the audience that the Trump administration was effectively handling the response to the pandemic, and then he scolded Harris for her statement.

“The fact that you continue to un- dermine public confidence in a vaccine, if a vaccine emerges during the Trump administration, I think is unconsciona- ble,” Pence said. “Senator, I just ask you, stop playing politics with people’s lives.”

The debate also discussed the current nomination of Judge Amy Coney-Barrett to the Supreme Court. Controversy has arisen from Trump’s nomination of Coney-Barrett due to the proximity of the election.

When asked by Pence if Biden would pack the court if nominated, Harris responded by reiterating that the nomination should be left to the President-Elect during an election year, drawing on precedent that dates back to the Lincoln presidency.

“Joe and I are very clear: The American people are voting right now. And it should be their decision about who will serve on [the court],” she said.

Harris went on to criticize Trump for the lack of racial diversity among his nominations for federal judges. More than 85% of federal judges nom- inated during the Trump presidency are white, according to the Pew Research Center.

As the election nears, many voters are closely watching the series of de- bates in support of their chosen candi- date, or to make an informed decision.

Trevor Hutson, a senior at Hampton University, believes that the Vice Presidential debate provided essential information for prospective voters.

“The Vice President is a very important position,” Hutson said. “So, I think understanding their positions on policies and other plans is crucial for voters.”

The second presidential debate was scheduled for Oct. 15, but on Oct. 8, President Trump refused to participate in the debate that would be held virtually after Trump’s diagnosis with COVID-19.

The final presidential debate is scheduled for Oct. 22 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Coronavirus impacts NFL games

JESSICA COLEMAN- STAFF WRITER

The National Football League is dealing with the repercussions of its inability to implement an effective plan to combat the spread of the coronavirus among players and staff throughout the league.

Some spectators, players and staff earlier this year thought the NFL would construct a bubble-like environment, similar to the one brilliantly cultivated by the National Basketball Association. The success of the NBA bubble was astonishing. Following the arrival of 22 teams to Orlando, Florida, only two players tested positive for COVID-19. The NBA implemented a 100-page safety plan to ensure the health and wellbeing of players and staff throughout their stay at the bubble. Unfortunately, the NFL is not experiencing the same success.

The NFL administers COVID-19 tests to players and other essential employees daily except on game day. Since players do not receive tests on game day, they are not permitted access to team facilities on the day after the game. The only two exceptions include the need for medical attention or if the team is operating on a short week.

With daily testing and strict guidelines, many were optimistic that the 2020 NFL season would go uninterrupted. However, the fact is, daily testing does not prevent the spread of the virus before detection. No players tested positive for the coronavirus within the first two weeks of play. However, in Week 4 things took a turn for the worse, beginning with the Tennessee Titans.

A total of 23 players and staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 since September 24. The Titans and Steelers game that was scheduled for October 4 was postponed until October 24. Also, the Titans’ game scheduled for October against the Buffa- lo Bills was moved to October 13.

Several players and staff members across the league are frustrated with the Titans’ decision to not follow protocols. Ultimately, the postponement of games is not just affecting the Titans but their opponents as well.

“Of course, we got the short end of the stick,” Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said in a news conference.

The positive COVID-19 tests are causing shifts throughout the league. The New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs matchup was postponed from Sunday to Monday in Week 4 as a result of positive COVID-19 tests from both teams. The rescheduling created a rarity of two matchups for “Monday Night Football.”

In efforts to control and deescalate the current predicament the league faces, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to all 32 clubs last Monday regarding COVID-19 protocol compliance. The memo introduced new measures for increased safety and repercussions if they are not followed.

“Protocol violations that result in the virus spread requiring adjustments to the schedule or otherwise impacting other teams will result in additional financial and competitive discipline, including the adjustment or loss of draft choices or even the forfeit of a game,” Goodell said in the memo, obtained by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

In the environment in which the NFL is operating, it is unrealistic to expect the league to eliminate positive tests. Yet if teams do not follow protocols and guidelines, the number of positive tests could increase, and more teams could have their seasons affected.

A look into the shooting of Breonna Taylor and the aftermath

SYDNEY MCCALL- STAFF WRITER

Maria Oswolt | Associated Press

Louisville Metro Police Department released the 4,470 page investigation file on the shooting of Breonna Taylor Oct. 7. Additionally, Daniel Cameron, Kentucky’s Attorney General, released 15 hours of recordings of the case that explain what led to the controversial verdict.

In the officers’ body camera footage from the night of Taylor’s death, you can hear Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, distressingly talking to a dispatcher after Taylor was shot.

Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, was shot and killed in her apartment on March 13, 2020. Police officers Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankinson and Myles Cosgrove were serving a no- knock warrant when they forced entry into her home.

Believing the officers were intruders, Walker fired a warning shot which struck Officer Mattingly, resulting in the officers firing 32 shots in return. Taylor was hit by six of those bullets and passed away.

Taylor received no medical attention until 20 minutes after she was shot, The Courier Journal reported.

Affectionately called “Breewayy” by her loved ones, Taylor worked as a full time emergency room technician for the University of Louisville Hospital and was working as an essential worker throughout the pandemic.

“She was a better version of me. Full of life. Easy to love,” said Tamika Palmer, Taylor’s mom, to the New York Times.

Taylor’s shooting quickly fueled outrage in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, and eventually gained attention worldwide. The news of her death broke around the same time as the unfortunate death of George Floyd, a Black man who died after Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeled on his neck for nine minutes. Chauvin was fired the day after Floyd’s death.

Protestors gathered in masses around the world, chanting phrases such as “Say her name,” “Justice for Breonna” and “Black Lives Matter.”

Many Black women saw themselves in her and felt it their duty to fight for the officers who shot her to be arrested and charged.

“I look at Breonna Taylor and see me,’’ said Jade Ford, a first year kinesiology major at HU. It scares me to live in a place where I am not seen as human or equal. Her death was a huge disappointment for black women.”

Taylor’s family received a settlement of $12 million in a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Louisville Sept. 15. The settlement is the largest in history for the death of a Black woman by cops, according to lawyer Ben Crump. In addition to the payment, the settlement included changes in policy with respect to police conduct in Louisville.

Despite the settlement, none of the police officers involved were charged until Sept. 23, when a grand jury indicted Officer Brent Hankinson with three counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree for endangering Taylor’s neighbors the night she was shot.

Mattingly and Cosgrove, the other two officers involved, faced no charges, but all three officers involved in the shooting have all been terminated, according to the Louisville police.

Cameron has received backlash for the way he handled the case. In a press conference, Cameron stated that John Mattingly and Miles Cosgrove were justified in returning shots to Taylor’s boyfriend. Because of this, he decided not to recommend homicide charges against any of the officers involved.

Activists demand more serious counts of charges for the officers as demonstrators have come together in Louisville to protest.

“We’re going to keep marching, keep stepping, but we’re going to do it together as one,” said Chris Wells, a local activist in Louisville.

The Death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg: What it Means for the Nation

Sydney McCall- Staff Writer

Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away from complications due to pancreatic cancer on September 18, at the age of 87.

Ginsburg was appointed in 1983 by President Bill Clinton and was the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court. RBG, as she was affectionately called by her supporters, routinely made progressive votes on topics such as same-sex marriage, abortion rights, voting rights, and affirmative action.

Her death leaves a vacant seat in the court only two months before the presidential election. A majority of republican senators have already said they want to fill the vacancy while Trump is still in office. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell confirmed moments after the death of Ginsburg that “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the Senate.”

However, Ginsburg made her desire clear.

“My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed,” she said to her granddaughter, according to NPR.

It is indeterminate whether or not her wish will be granted. Trump is set to nominate a new seat in the incoming week, and he has enough republican senate votes to confirm his
decision.

Trump announced that his nominee will be a woman and has mentioned Amy Coney Barrett of the United States Court​ of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago and Barbara Lagoa of the Florida Supreme Court, according to the New York Times. Both are conservative right-wing women.

With Ginsburg’s death comes speculation about the possible overturning of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that guarantees a woman’s right to an abortion. This is terrifying to many women, especially younger women across the country.

“RBG’s death is a tragedy because she symbolized so much for women. I am sad how I cannot mourn her without being terrified for my future,” said Kennedy Sanders, a freshman business administration major at HU.

Regardless of one’s political beliefs, her life and work have been honored in the past week.

Department of Justice Labels Major Cities “Anarchist Jurisdictions”

William Paul Ellis- Staff Writer

Attorney General William Barr listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Republican state attorneys general about social media companies, in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Attorney General William Barr announced that the Department of Justice would be designating three cities as “anarchist jurisdictions” in connection to the wave of protests that have taken place.

The three cities, New York City, Portland, and Seattle have been the site of public demonstrations in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. The identification of the anarchist jurisdictions is a response to President’s Trump memorandum published in early September entitled “Memorandum on Reviewing Funding to State and Local Government Recipients that are Permitting Anarchy, Violence, and Destruction in American Cities,” according to the DOJ.

Both the White House and the Department of Justice contributed to developing the criteria that defines an anarchist jurisdiction.

Currently, the criterion includes a jurisdiction that has defunded the police, a jurisdiction that has prevented law enforcement from intervening in protests, and other requirements, with most involving punishing a jurisdiction for a perceived lack of support towards law enforcement.

“We cannot allow federal tax dollars to be wasted when the safety of the citizenry hangs in the balance. It is my hope that the cities identified by the Department of Justice today will reverse course and become serious about performing the basic function of government and start protecting their own citizens,” said Attorney General William Barr in a statement from his office.

The consequences of being identified as an anarchist jurisdiction include the possible loss of crucial federal funding during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While, the Attorney General maintains that the DOJ’s actions are to prevent crime, many took the announcement as a partisan attempt to influence public perception of the Black Lives Matter protests and President Trump’s leadership.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo criticized the current administration’s actions in a press conference with reporters, promising to legally challenge a cut of federal funding if necessary.

“I understand the politics, but when you try to manipulate and distort government agencies to play politics, which is what the Trump administration has done from day one … this is more of the same,” he said.

The mayors of the three cities, Bill De Blasio of New York City, Ted Wheeler of Portland, and Jenny Durkan of Seattle released a joint statement condemning what they believe to be an attack against cities led by Democrats.

“This is thoroughly political and unconstitutional. The President is playing cheap political games with Congressionally directed funds,” the mayors said.

As the Trump Administration continues to make sweeping actions against demonstrations across the country, many voters in the November election are still ardent supporters of the Black Lives Matter Movement.

Brianna Cry, a Senior at Hampton University, believes that the President’s and Attorney General’s actions can be interpreted as an attack against peaceful, and often Black, protestors.

“People have a right to protest when they deem it necessary, so it appears to me that they are only doing harm by attempting to punish cities and their residents for standing up for what they believe is right,” Cry said.

While New York City, Portland, and Seattle are currently the only three anarchist jurisdictions, the DOJ explained that more cities could be given this designation in the near future.

Coronavirus: What you must know

Kailah Lee | Staff Writer

kelly-sikkema-RmByg5kFfQg-unsplash

Photo Credit: Unsplash User  Kelly Sikkema

Many have heard about the Coronavirus (CoV), a recent epidemic. What makes it even scarier is that there are hourly updates on how much the disease is affecting hundreds upon thousands of people with little information on the prevention of it. 

According to Vox, the outbreak has reached more than 40,000 people and counting. Fortunately for us in the U.S., it hasn’t become as prominent of an issue as it is in China, but by no means should you take this virus lightly. 

The coronavirus and similar strains such as mCov, SARS and MERS are known as zoonotic, which is a fancy word for being transmittable by humans and animals. Originally, this is how the disease came to fruition. As stated by numerous sources, SARS and MERS allegedly evolved from bats and civet cats to affecting humans. But 2019-nCov seems to be a mystery. This raises some concerns considering that government officials are known to experiment in laboratories. Just like AIDS began with human and animal contact, many conspiracies suggest otherwise.

With little information on this outbreak, questions are pouring from the public. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a few symptoms begin with fever, cough and shortness of breath. In a previous report form The Lancet, more detailed symptoms such as fever, muscle pain, fatigue, headache and diarrhea have been seen. In extreme acute cases, pneumonia, kidney failure and death have occurred.

Deaths have occurred in China, and in little time, the infectious disease is spreading like wildfire.

“Is this the disease that is going to take us out and bring on the apocalypse like in Stephen King?” said Dr. James Peterson, a writer, educator and consultant in a STEM panel discussion.

To his credit, the public has no way of knowing what might come of it. It may seem a little cinematic, but with movies, history and research to suggest otherwise, it’s safe to be open-minded about the virus.

“You cannot believe everything you hear about it, but this virus is a serious threat to global humanity,” Peterson said.

With dangling research in multiple sources, there is no exact answer to our questions. The best thing we can do for ourselves is treat the disease as if it were flu or common cold.

World Health Organization international standards for preventing spread are regular hand washing, covering mouth—either by elbow or surgical mask while coughing and sneezing—and meticulously cooking most meats and eggs.

The continued spread of the coronavirus

Gabrielle Chenault | Staff Writer

The coronavirus disease has sent many people worldwide into a frenzy because it is continuing to spread outside of China, and the death toll continues to rise. Cases have been reported in Asia, Europe, Australia, North America and Africa as of Feb. 19.

“It’s scary to see how quickly this is spreading, especially since there is no current cure,” said Hampton University student Ra’ana Middleton, a sophomore nursing student.

This virus is spread through the respiratory system and mimics the symptoms of a cold. Due to this, it is easily spread and can be spread among a lot of people at one time. According to a CNN report, “more than 68,500 people have been infected and at least 1,669 have died worldwide.” 

As the virus spreads, President Donald Trump has taken precautions in an attempt to limit the cases of the virus in the United States. A temporary travel ban has been set in place for foreign nationals from entering the United States if they visited China in the 14 days prior to them flying into the United States. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) officially entered the Coronavirus or COVID-19 into their database Feb. 11. In a New York Times article, the World Health Organization called it “public health emergency of international concern.” 

While there has been a variety of news alerts on social media about this virus, there have also been racist and untrue reports on popular apps such as Twitter and Instagram. 

“I get that in our society people love to joke about everything, but certain memes took it a bit too far,” said HU student George Mitchell, a sophmore political science major. “I saw that someone on Twitter made a meme where all the Disney princess had facemasks except Mulan, and the caption was something about how you can’t trust her. It was just unnecessary.” 

As this deadly virus spreads, there are measures you can take to protect yourself. The first is to educate yourself on the virus. There are many falsified reports on social media, so be sure to read reports from an accredited news source or from organizations such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC). 

Sadly, due to their being no cure, this virus will continue to spread, but there are steps that can be taken to help yourself and those around you stay healthy. 

The easiest way to prevent yourself from getting this virus is by using proper hygiene techniques and eating a balanced diet. Washing your hands, eating healthy and staying hydrated are ways that you can stop yourself from catching this illness. Gabrielle Johnson, a freshman kinesiology student, summed it up best.

“The only way to not catch the virus is to make sure you’re following the CDC’s regulations,” Johnson said. “But we must also not make fun of those who are sick because they and their families are going through a hard time.”

Federal investigation opened into Mississippi prisons after series of deaths

William Paul Ellis | Staff Writer

  For more than a century, the Mississippi State Penitentiary, most commonly known as “Parchman,” has served as the only maximum security prison for men in the state of Mississippi.

Now, after 16 inmate deaths in less than two months, the Department of Justice has agreed to open a civil rights investigation into the conditions of Parchman and other regional prisons including the South Mississippi Correctional Institution, the Wilkinson County Correctional Facility and the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility. According to ABC News, 10 of the 16 recent deaths occured in Parchman, which included five inmates beaten or stabbed by other inmates and three suicides.

Located in Sunflower County, Mississippi, the Parchman prison name is infamous, particularly within African American communities. According to the Prison Policy Initiative, Mississippi has the highest incarceration rate in the nation, with an overwhelming number of inmates being black. According to the Mississippi Department of Corrections, as of February 2020, Parchman currently has a capacity of 3,560 and houses approximately 2,700 inmates. 

In January, newly elected Governor Tate Reeves visited Parchman and promised his constituents new policies to improve the conditions of prisons across the state. Reeves also ordered the closing of a Parchman cell unit known for violence. 

“I’ve seen enough. We have to turn the page,” Reeves said in the ABC News report. “This is the first step, and I have asked the department to begin the preparations to make [the closure] happen safely, justly and quickly.”

The governor and Department of Justice’s responses come after much criticism from activists, including rappers Jay-Z and Yo Gotti, who funded a lawsuit against the State of Mississippi and the Mississippi NAACP and Southern Poverty Law Center, who with other organizations petitioned the Department of Justice for an investigation. 

“Those who are incarcerated still deserve basic human rights despite their past mistakes.”

–Kennedy Owens

For Hampton University students who call Mississippi home, the recent publicity surrounding the deaths of Mississippi inmates has been a reminder of the difficulties still present in their home state. 

Cailynn Gregory, a sophomore from Jackson, Mississippi, believes that the prison crisis in Mississippi has only furthered the negative perception held by many concerning the state. 

“As a Mississsippian, and particularly the daughter of a civil rights attorney, I am disheartened by the conditions in Mississippi Prisons,” Gregory said. “It hurts to see the videos and pictures on social media and know that humans are living in those conditions, and that people are losing their families. Mississippi is already last in the country for many things, and seeing inmates being treated as less than humans only heightens the cry for national assistance.” 

Kennedy Owens, also a sophomore from Jackson, Mississippi, views the criticism against the state as warranted due to the long legacy of the mistreatment of inmates in the prison system.

“These events are unacceptable,” Owens said. “Those who are incarcerated still deserve basic human rights despite their past mistakes.”