Progressive Voices

Progressive Voices

COVID-19 Original Commentary Progressive Voices Top Story

The reopening picture at this UNC campus is not a pretty one

As with the other UNC System campuses, students began to return to Appalachian State this week, and the circumstances surrounding their arrival ought to give all North Carolinians cause for concern. Despite an outbreak of COVID-19 cases on the Boone campus just last week, thousands of students from across the country moved in to either off-campus apartments or small, shared dorm rooms on campus.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

NC must diversify its teaching corps. Here’s one obvious and proven tool to use.

I am a white woman, educated in Durham, by mostly white teachers. From preschool to high school, my classrooms were led by people who looked like me, talked like me, disciplined me like my parents did, and held me to high expectations. I skated through school with ease and “success.” After becoming a teacher myself and studying education policy at the graduate level, I now realize that my peers of color did not receive the same benefits of having a teacher that looked like them, and I didn’t have the opportunity to learn from adults with lived experiences different from my own.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Still white after all these years: One woman’s battle with racism and white supremacy culture

In 1986, I was a recent seminary graduate and working with Oakland’s interfaith community. I was earnest, liberal and definitely not “woke.” One evening, I met with Black church leaders to organize a city-wide event. Where would publicity go? We listed a few: the Oakland Tribune and church bulletins. Someone piped up “the Black Chamber of Commerce.” I knew it was somehow wrong to say, “the White Chamber of Commerce” so I blurted out, “And the normal Chamber of Commerce.”

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Progressive Voices Top Story

The virus and the vulnerable

The image of a perfect storm conveys a rueful irony – the storm whose components are so intertwined, so synchronized, so mutually reinforcing as to make it “perfect” in its destructiveness. Perfect storm, meet COVID-19. The overall dynamic is as simple as it is terrible: The coronavirus endangers people who come into contact with others who may be infected. People retreat into their homebound bubbles.

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Original Commentary Progressive Voices Top Story

#MeToo movement exposes failure of U.S. military to take seriously sexual assault

Editor’s note: The issue of violence committed against women in the U.S. military, including sexual abuse, and the military’s frequently inadequate response, has been much in the news of late. Click here to read a good and recent summary by reporters David C. Adams and Estephani Cano for Univision News. This past weekend, protesters gathered at the State Capitol Building in Raleigh and in at least two other locations to shine a light on the murder of Vanessa Guillen – a 20-year-old Army private stationed at Fort Hood in Texas who was murdered after telling friends about sexual harassment she had experienced.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

New U.S. Senate relief proposal comes up woefully short

The GOP HEALS Act fails to heal people harmed by the coronavirus, will cost millions of jobs, and protects bad employers Yesterday, Senate Republicans unveiled their coronavirus relief plan—almost two and a half months after the House of ...
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COVID-19 Progressive Voices Top Story

COVID-19 should spell the end of a controversial teacher licensure requirement in NC

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted U.S. public education to a greater extent than any other event in recent memory. And while, teacher licensure requirements are probably far down the list of concerns for policymakers as the state prepares for the new academic year, it will be important to account for the fact that changes to K-12 schools occurring as a result of COVID-19 are affecting many aspects of teacher education.

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COVID-19 Progressive Voices Top Story

COVID-19 proves that Senator Thom Tillis was wrong about rules for public health

In 2015, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina argued that we don’t need government rules for public health in the food service industry, because the free market would protect public health and safety. As an example, he said that the government should not require Starbucks to make their employees wash their hands after they use the restroom and before they handle our food and drinks.

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COVID-19 Other Voices Progressive Voices

I’m a UNC student, and I’m angry and scared

It’s difficult to put into words the rage I felt upon learning that UNC will not inform students if one of our classmates tests positive for COVID-19 this fall. Flouting federal guidelines about social distancing and who counts as a close contact, UNC-Chapel Hill announced at the end of last month that three feet between students is enough distance — despite the CDC clearly denoting the minimum safe distance as six feet.

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COVID-19 Original Commentary Progressive Voices Top Story

As homeschooling grows, children need protection

With the pandemic forcing children to remain at least partly out of school during the approaching fall semester, more and more parents are considering the homeschool option. Indeed, the interest in homeschooling surged so much in early July that the state website where parents must register a homeschool crashed.

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COVID-19 Original Commentary Progressive Voices Top Story

Colleges and universities should only reopen when it is safe to do so

The current August reopening plans of the University of North Carolina campuses are a serious threat not only to the campus communities but also to the state. As of now, the virus has sickened more than 3.4 million Americans, killed more than 136,000, and is spreading at 60,000 new cases a day, leading the world in pandemic disaster.

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Original Commentary Other Voices Progressive Voices Top Story

Reflections on systemic racism in higher education

CHAPEL HILL – Several of my White friends and colleagues have asked me recently what changes are required to address systemic racism in higher education institutions.  After reflecting on personal experiences as an African-American professor for four decades in two predominantly White institutions, I will highlight activities that have given me race fatigue over the years – things I no longer would have to do or experience if systemic racism did not exist.

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Original Commentary Progressive Voices Top Story

Black history matters!

For the past month, there has been much said about the current racial climate in America. The eyes of the world are focused on the plight of Black people in the good ol’ US of A. Everybody from politicians to professional athletes are putting their two cents into the discussion about how African Americans can achieve equality in this country. But what about those who are educating our future leaders?

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Original Commentary Progressive Voices Top Story

Sometimes love wins: reflections of a straight pastor on the struggle for LGBTQ equality

In 1980, I moved to San Francisco, living in a collective in an old Victorian in Haight-Ashbury. Sitting in the parlor one day, I saw our neighbor descending the staircase — a bearded man wearing a nun’s habit. I later learned he was “Sister Boom Boom” of the “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.”

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Veteran NC civil rights lawyer: The meaning, impact and promise of the Racial Justice Act

When I was a young Black lawyer in the late 1960’s and 1970’s, there was an unwritten rule in North Carolina’s courtrooms: Though race shaped every aspect of the criminal punishment system, we were not to mention it, let alone raise objections to it. Well over a decade before the U. S. Supreme Court outlawed racial discrimination in jury selection, I objected to Black people being excluded from a jury.

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Original Commentary Progressive Voices Top Story

Why NC needs to hit the pause on school choice until we meet students’ basic needs

When you’re stuck in a hole, the best advice is to stop digging. Few would dispute that North Carolina’s public schools currently find themselves in a hole. Over the past decade, Raleigh’s lawmakers have chosen to prioritize tax cuts for the rich over investing in our students. Over this period, student achievement has stalled with shockingly few high school graduates prepared for college-level coursework. The opportunity gaps faced by Black, Latinx and Native American students, and those from families with low incomes, have remained persistently high. Racial and economic segregation have increased.

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