Category Archives: Economics

Charlottesville High School Students Demand Reform After Racist Threat

Zyahna Bryant, leader of the Charlottesville High School Black Student Union

Zyahna Bryant, leader of the Charlottesville High School Black Student Union, led protests for sweeping reforms after students of color were targeted by racist threats.

By Malcolm Speaks

Students at Charlottesville High School in Charlottesville, Virginia, walked out of classes, issuing a list of demands to the school district days after they were targeted by a racist threat.

Public schools were closed citywide this past Thursday and Friday after a user on the message board 4chan threatened to commit “ethic cleansing” at Charlottesville High, using racial slurs and warning students to stay home, according to the Huffington Post.

Police tracked the post to a 17-year-old male in Albemarle County on Friday, and charged him with felony threats, as well as misdemeanor harassment. They didn’t identify him because he is a minor. Also, the same day, another teen was arrested for an unrelated threat, also made on social media, against nearby Albemarle High School.

The walkout was organized by local activist and student Zyahna Bryant and the high school’s Black Student Union. The intent of the walkout was to obtain cultural reform and increased safety in the school. This is of even more significance given that the Unite the Right rally, which resulted in the death of one person and the injury of many others at the hands of white supremacists, took place in this very city in 2017.

By one estimate, another 200 people joined the Black Student Union and marched through McIntire Park in protest.

“There can be no reconciliation without redistribution of resources for Black and Brown students,” Bryant told the Huffington Post Monday afternoon.

Students called for the school district to focus more resources on African-American history courses, hire more Black teachers, give its resource officers racial bias training, and install a lock and buzzer system at high schools for safety, among other demands.

“In the wake of the recent school closings due to threats of racial violence that targeted Black and Brown students, the students of Charlottesville High School are calling on the Charlottesville City Schools to address racism in all its forms,” the Black Student Union said in a press release.

Early Pesticide Exposure Linked to Autism

Exposure to pesticides during pregnancy and early childhood has been linked to autism.

Exposure to pesticides during pregnancy and early childhood has been linked to autism in a recent study.

By MCNS Staff

A child’s exposure to environmental pesticides prior to birth as well as during their first year of life has been linked to an increased risk of developing autism, according to the largest epidemiological study to date which was just published this past Wednesday.

Ondine von Ehrenstein, a professor of public health at the University of Califorinia, Los Angeles led the study which showed that pregnant women who lived within 2,000 meters (approximately 1.2 miles) from a highly sprayed agricultural area were 10 to 16 times more likely to have children with autism. They were also 30 percent more likely to have children with severe autism. If these children were exposed to pesticides during their first year of life, they were 50 percent more likely to develop autism.

The study looked at nearly 3,000 children and was published in the health journal BMJ. For more on this research, click here.

MO Gets Rush of Weed Applications

By Free Radical

Missouri has been flooded by potential new companies to take part in the marijuana industry.

Missouri has been flooded by companies eager to take part in the marijuana industry.

Following the passage of Amendment 2 in November, Missouri will begin accepting licenses for marijuana cultivation, manufacturing, and dispensing in August. Nonetheless, the state has already received a tidal wave of applications from companies eager to take part in the industry.

According to local sources, more than 400 applications have been submitted. Altogether, more than $3 million have been paid in application fees.

Amendment 2 allowed the state to select at minimum 24 dispensary licenses for each of Missouri’s eight Congressional districts.

However, there are far more applications than there are available slots. Missouri’s first Congressional District, which encompasses St. Louis City and County already has 36 applications. The state’s 5th Congressional District, which includes Kansas City, has 58.

Missouri charges a nonrefundable fee of $6,000 for manufacturing and dispensing licenses. Cultivation licenses cost $10,000.

In all, 61 cultivation licenses, 87 manufacturing licenses, and 192 dispensing licenses will be issued.

As many early marijuana advocates predicted, the application revenue would be enough to jumpstart the program which had no funding resolution attached to Amendment 2. The money will be used to pay for staff and other administrative costs.

Nonetheless, despite the large numbers of applications, the total amount will likely continue to grow as August draws near. However, health officials claim that early application submissions will not receive preferential consideration.

Some observers believe that wealth rather than timing will be the primary determinant for success in Missouri’s marijuana industry. According to columbiamissourian.com, “Small business owners in Missouri who hope to acquire a license and start growing/dispensing medical marijuana will most likely be in fierce competition with people who are well-funded and who have backing from individuals with experience opening dispensaries and starting grow operations in other states.”

Suburbs No Refuge for Black Students

By Free Radical

New data show that students of color are subject to discrimination in suburban school districts.

New data show that students of color are subject to discrimination in suburban school districts.

Following World War II, the number of Blacks living in suburban areas skyrocketed. Here they often sought what they hoped would be safer neighborhoods and better opportunities for their children.

However a new study by the federal Civil Rights Data Collection suggests that the suburbs is more of a broken promise than a promised land. Reporting on new data, the USA Today outlined how students of color are more likely to be suspended and less likely to take fewer AP classes than their White classmates. In some suburban districts, Black students are even several grades behind White students.

Student Kennedy Jackson of the Rochester metropolitan area was featured. Jackson was regularly the target of racial epithets. Unfortunately, Jackson was not an anomaly. Bethany Beru had a similarly harrowing story. In the middle of a lesson, her teacher hurled a racial epithet at her. When Beru contacted administrators, nothing was done.

Corrective measures had been proposed by former president Barack Obama’s administration. According to guidelines, school districts could be penalized if they disproportionately target students of color for severe punishments. However, the Trump administration and its education head, Betsy Devos have indicated that they will move to rescind these protections.

For more on the experiences of students of color in the suburbs, click here.