World News Report: 2/25/21

Both Africa and the United States faced major events over the past week. The country watched as former President Donald J. Trump was tried for a second time for impeachment. The Senate voted on whether Trump was guilty of starting the government insurrection that occurred on January 6th of this year. The final vote passed to acquit the former president. This means that he was found to be not guilty.

Africa was highlighted this week due to a combination of an Ebola outbreak and a push for Covid vaccines. China plans to give covid vaccines to Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe will be one of the first countries to receive vaccines from China

For more information, check out the world news segment.

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Black History Month: “Pay it No Mind”

Marsha P. Johnson

It was a quiet night at the Stonewall Inn. So quiet something was bound to happen. A few days before, police had raided the bar, arresting LGBTQ+ people and confiscating illegal liquor. Once again, on June 27, 1969, police began to target and use excessive force against employees, drag queens and anyone who didn’t fit the status quo. But many people were tired of this unjust treatment, and so they raised their voices. One of those voices belonged to Marsha P. Johnson. Johnson was born Malcolm Michaels, Jr., in Elizabeth, New Jersey, on August 24, 1945, to a Christian family. It is said that she would often switch between the two names until finally settling on Marsha P. Johnson. She quickly left her home town after high school, as both her parents and town discouraged being queer. But life would not get any better. Johnson faced poverty, homelessness, and became a prostitute to make ends meet in New York City. She soon found solace in drag and became a renowned figure, helping struggling and homeless LGBTQ+ teens. Johnson was also a successful drag queen with the NYC drag theatre company known as Hot Peaches. “I was no one… until I became a drag queen… that’s what made me in the world,” Johnson said in a 1992 interview. She was known for her straightforwardness, along with her extravagant hats and elegant jewelry. The “P” in her name stood for “pay it no mind,” a phrase she would often say those who felt the need to pry about her gender. At age 24, at the Stonewall Inn, Johnson was one of the first people to fight back against the police. But the movement soon shifted towards white cisgender men and women, leaving transgender and people of color out of the picture. In spite of this, Johnson and her friend Sylvia Rivera founded the Street Transvestite* Action Revolutionaries, or STAR. It provided a safe place for homeless youth across the country and would continue its work until the 1970s. Tragically, Johnson’s body was found in the Hudson River off the West Village Piers on July 6, 1992. She was 46. It was deemed a suicide by the police, but everyone knew that she wasn’t suicidal. Her case was reopened in 2017. People can learn more about her and this investigation in The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson on Netflix. In the end, the progress of acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community wouldn’t have been possible without her.

— Maya Ross

*Transvestite is what Marsha called herself, as the word transgender had not yet been coined

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Black History Month: The Writer of the Civil Rights Movement

James Baldwin

Meet the civil rights writer that moved a nation through his essays and plays, who broke the norm as he discussed topics such as same sex relationships and interracial marriage. His name was James Baldwin. Born in Harlem, New York, on August 2, 1924, Baldwin’s passion for writing began at an early age, as well as his association with the church due to his stepfather. After finishing high school, he worked many jobs to support his family while also writing his novel. However, in 1948, he made the choice to move to Paris. Five years later, his debut novel Go Tell It on the Mountain, a loose biography, was published. It explored themes of representation while also having a hopeful tone for the future. His essay Notes of a Native Son came out in 1955. Once again, Baldwin dove into themes of race, class, and culture. In 1978, he published Just Above My Head, which explored same-sex relationships. He believed that sexuality isn’t as set in stone as the U.S. claimed it was, but is instead more fluid. His other works include interracial marriage. His play The Amen Corner would be on Broadway in the mid 1960s, and his 1963 novel The Fire Next Time was an assortment of essays. Its main goal was to educate white Americans by putting them in a Black person’s perspective. Emmett Till’s murder was adapted by Baldwin in Blues for Mister Charlie, which played on Broadway in 1964. Nothing Personal was published as a tribute to Medgar Evers, a civil rights leader. The assassinations of activists Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X impacted his writing, as his work became more urgent. No Names in the Street (1972) was the beginning of this change. While Baldwin wasn’t a traditional activist, he was considered one of the Civil Rights movement’s leaders. He also worked with Alec Haley during this time to write the screenplay for a film adaptation of The Autobiography of Malcolm X. He also shared his experiences as a college professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and at Hampshire College. Baldwin died on December 1, 1987, in his home at St. Paul de Vence, France. He described himself as a “witness to truth.”

Learn more about James Baldwin with this great video.

— Maya Ross

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Black History Month Profile: Amanda Gorman

At 22, Amanda Gorman is the youngest inaugural poet ever in the United States. She joins a small group of poets who have been recruited to help mark a presidential inauguration. In a year that’s beginning with a major milestone, with her appearance at the inauguration, Gorman is set to reach a much larger audience with her work. The poems Gorman writes focus on issues such as oppression, feminism, race, and marginalism.

In September, Gorman will release her debut poetry collection, also titled “The Hill We Climb,” which is aimed at teenage and adult readers and will include the inaugural poem.

As part of KTV’s Black History Month spotlight, here is a video profile of Gorman and the work she has done by Cade Verrico.

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Black History Month Profile: Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka is a three time grand slam singles champion and the reigning champion of the US Open. Osaka is also the first Asian woman to be ranked number one in the women’s tennis association. Well-known for her skills in tennis, Osaka uses her fame to bring awareness to police brutality and racial inequality in the United States.

After the Women’s Tennis Association and the ATP Tour paused matches in honor of her cause, Osaka used the time to attend a New York protest. The masks Osaka wore during matches later in the year all honored and brought awareness to victims of police brutality such as George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

As part of KTV’s Black History Month spotlight, here is a video profile of Osaka and the work she has done by Cade Verrico’s.

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Pandemic Perspectives: Impact on Educators

One of the professions most heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic is that of teachers and other educators. With the shift from regular school to virtual learning, and then from virtual to hybrid, it has been a difficult adjustment period for everyone involved, especially teachers. To
get a better understanding of how this crisis has impacted educators, I decided to sit down with Mr. Waite and Mr. O’Sullivan, two social studies teachers, to discuss their experiences while teaching during the pandemic.

1. Aside from the obvious fact that everything is virtual, what is the biggest difference in the way you teach during the pandemic versus how you normally would?

Mr. O’Sullivan: I’ve tried to as closely approximate virtually what I normally would be doing, but I realize that a lot of the productivity, meaning watching kids in class, is hard to do virtually. The dynamics of being with people is different – there are ways that you can connect together
that you can’t online.

Mr. Waite: I think if anything, one of the real benefits of teaching in virtual is that it has made me think more about how I teach. Even though I still lecture a lot, I’m still trying to move into doing more class discussions. I’ve stressed doing them more than I have in the past. I would agree with Mr. O’Sullivan that trying to create the classroom dynamics is difficult, and having to switch back and forth during hybrid has been an adjustment as well. I would say that we’re less changing our teaching styles than adapting and becoming more aware of things we weren’t in the past.

2. Back in March, when everything was just beginning to shut down, the way our online classes were taught was much different. What has changed in your online teaching strategy between last March and this year?

Mr. Waite: One thing I can say is that I was really worried about trying to do synchronous classes, like trying to teach each period. Looking back, I wish I did more classes on Zoom than trying to do asynchronous. Also, just the struggle of learning Schoology – it wasn’t just teaching virtually; we had to learn how to structure lessons within a block schedule. It was very painful at first, to be honest, but I think it’s put us in a better place. 

Mr. O’Sullivan: Both Mr. Waite and I had student teachers with us in March, and they were better than us at technology, which helped. I didn’t know how to use Schoology at all, and this fall was definitely a trial by fire. Elements of this virtual teaching will remain forever. I would say it’s a positive, though it hasn’t been comfortable. Things change every week.

3. How do you think this situation will affect your teaching in the future, even when everything is back to normal?

Mr. O’Sullivan: Mr. Waite and I have the benefit of also being students together. We are taking a class at West Chester University together with lots of other teachers at Kennett. We’ve been on the student side of things, which while imperfect, was a positive experience. I’ve tried to model
that, because we’ve learned as students what made classes more fun and interesting. I’m going to be more forceful with having more production in class in the future, however. Both Mr. Waite and I are very student-centric anyways, and we’ve got a lot of empathy for the kids. Teaching is an art and a science, and a lot of this technology stuff is not an art.

4. There’s been a lot going on in the news lately – what is it like having to go into class every day and keep teaching when there is so much chaos and division in the world? Is it difficult, or is it a nice escape?

Mr. Waite: I think we both pull in a lot of current events. We try to weave in a lot of what’s happening in the world, either more formally or informally just talking about it in class discussion.

Mr. O’Sullivan: The courses that I teach [Honors World Studies II and Economics] are all directly related. The election was very much about the economy, our job is to make students think about the issues, and not tell them what to think. It’s not to point fingers one way or the other, but to try to talk about it. Neither side is right, but we need to understand both sides to come to a solution. I follow the news closely, and it’s fascinating, and it is our job to share that with you guys.

5. What is something that you would like your students to know, specifically regarding virtual learning?

Mr. Waite: My non-politically correct answer would be that it stinks and it can’t replace being in the classroom. The situation is different for everybody, but in the end, we all just want to move forward. Not ignore the subject material, but to acknowledge what is going on in the world is important.

Mr. O’Sullivan: This is a remarkable time to be in education. To me, nothing is more important than my students’ well-being. My #1 goal is for my students to feel welcome and happy in this environment. That’s our job.

Portions of this interview have been edited and condensed for clarity.

— Blake Ciresa

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World News Report: COVID Vaccination Distribution

It has been over a year since the first recorded case of the Covid-19 virus. The new vaccines are now providing hope to many people throughout the world. Many countries, however, have been struggling to distribute vaccines.

In the European Union, vaccination numbers are much lower compared to the United States. The slow rate of vaccination could be caused by factory delays and poor planning on release dates. France is struggling to keep up with the infection rate of 20,000 people per day, though current French president Emmanuel Marcon is against going into a nationwide lockdown. Similar to other world leaders, the he is concerned that another lockdown would have a negative impact on the economy.

Israel currently leads the world in vaccine distribution, but a vast disparity between those who have the vaccine ready and those who cannot afford to distribute the vaccine is apparent.

For more details on the current state of vaccine distribution, here is a video produced by Thomas Linderman and Lucas Piotrowski.

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Mahomes and Co. Get Shut Down in the Super Bowl

The year is 2001. A sixth-round draft pick out of the University of Michigan leads the New England Patriots to their first Super Bowl victory. Meanwhile, a young kid named Patrick Mahomes gets on the school bus. He is in first grade.

Jump to the present: this past weekend. Tom Brady, now playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at age 43, faced off against Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs. The greatest to ever play the game faced the man widely regarded as the next generation of football greatness. Two quarterbacks with cannons for arms and at least one previous Super Bowl win under their belts.

Spoiler Alert: Brady and the Buccaneers won. It wasn’t even close. Mahomes was unable to throw even a single touchdown, nor was his team able to rush for one. Brady, meanwhile, threw three touchdown passes for 201 yards with no interceptions. Leonard Fortunette of the Bucs also rushed for one score. More than anything else, this victory can be attributed to the stifling Tampa Bay defense. Patrick Mahomes spent most of his time running away from the top defensive line in the league. This chasing was led by top linemen Ndamukong Suh, Jason Pierre-Paul, Devin White, and their colleagues. Mahomes was sacked 3 times, took 8 hits, and was pressured a Super Bowl record 29 times.

Mahomes still has a promising future in this league. He’s only 25 years old, 18 years younger than Tom Brady. However, it seems like Brady has no intention to retire. His almost superhuman ability to stay healthy, accompanied by an extremely strict diet, means that he almost seems like he too is only 25. It’s a shame that former, longtime Philadelphia Eagles coach (and current Chiefs coach) Andy Reid couldn’t get another Super Bowl this year. But who knows what’s in store for the 2021 season?

Video recap by Carter Elliott

— Martin Heintzelman

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Black History Month: The Brave Journalist Ahead of Her Time

Ida B. Wells, 1920

On January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation stated that all slaves in seceded states “…shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free,” marking President Abraham Lincoln as a hero. However, this declaration was more of a façade, because true freedom wouldn’t be achieved until the end of January 1865, when the 13th Amendment was ratified. But even while physical freedom was achieved, basic human rights were yet to come as lynching and murders of Black people would soon follow. Among the chaos a brave journalist would rise and fight against the injustice. Her name was Ida B. Wells. Born only a few months after the Emancipation Proclamation was declared on July 16, 1862, in Holly Springs, Mississippi, she received her education at Shaw University, which her father, James Wells, helped establish. Tragedy soon stuck the family. When Wells was 16, both of her parents and younger brother died of yellow fever. She forsake her education in exchange for a job as a teacher in a segregated school to provide for the rest of her siblings. During this time she wrote many articles for Black newspapers on race and politics in the South under the pen name “Lola”. Long before Rosa Parks, Wells refused to give up her seat on a train and even won $500 dollars in a lawsuit against the railroad. Her focus would shift to lynchings soon after she was fired from her job. Three African American men, friends of Wells’ who were charged for damaging a white owner’s store, were lynched and murdered before the trial. She soon investigated lynchings and other African American deaths, risking her life for the truth. Wells’ most famous work, “A Red Record,” published in 1893, was a deep study of America’s lynchings. She led an anti-lynching protest at the White House in 1898. Wells also co-founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or the NAACP, but was later pushed away by her own organization as many feared her more radical ideas on justice. Wells also fought for women’s suffrage and clashed with white women of the movement. She died in Chicago, Illinois, at the age of 68, on March 25, 1931. Although she was ahead of her time, her determination of no compromise for justice made a huge impact on the civil rights movement.

— Maya Ross

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Black History Month: The First Black Woman to Sue a White Man and Win

Sojourner Truth

Against all odds, a Black woman and former slave sued her previous owner and became the first Black woman to win a court case against a white man. She used the gospel to speak against racial injustice and advocated for women’s rights. Her name was Sojourner Truth. Born Isabella Baumfree, a slave in Ulster county, New York, she would edvently be sold to a man named John Dumont. She was forced to marry another slave man that Dumont owned, since her lover had a different owner. After she gave birth to five children, Dumont promised to set her free so long as she “behaved.” However, when the time came, he went back on his word. So Truth ran away with her daughter, leaving the others behind as they were still Dumont’s. She met the Wagenen family, who helped her escape by paying her owner for her services. The Wagenens would have a lifetime affect on her, as she adopted their beliefs. Truth filed a lawsuit against Dumont, who illegally sold her five year old son Peter after the New York Anti-Slavery Law was established. With the help of the Wagenens, she won the case and was reunited with her son. Truth launched her career as equal rights activist in 1843, as she felt an obligation to preach against slavery and spread the gospel. She soon met famous abolitionist Frederick Douglass in 1844 at the Northern Association of Education and Industry. Her speech, “Ain’t I A Woman?” was delivered in 1851 at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention, where she met suffragists Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. During the Civil War, she helped recruit Black men for the war effort. She also worked for the National Freedom Relief Association and helped deliver employment to freed Black people struggling with poverty. In October 1864, she was invited to visit the White House by President Lincoln. Three years later, Truth continued to advocate against discrimination and women’s rights in Battle Creek, Michigan. She was “concerned that some civil rights leaders such as Frederick Douglass felt equal rights for black men took precedence over those of black women.” She died on November 26, 1883, but even after her death, Truth’s words still lived on through her many songs and autobiography.

Check out this video to learn more about Sojourner Truth.

— Maya Ross

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