Can’t Wait Another Minute

Hope you had a safe and happy Memorial Day! This past weekend marked 100 years since the Tulsa Race Massacre. The Tulsa Massacre took place on May 31-June 1 in Greenwood, the Black neighborhood known as “Black Wall Street.” After their neighborhood was burned to the ground, the Black community rebuilt Greenwood in the 1940s and 1950s. But, the government later built an Interstate through the neighborhood, demolishing buildings in the name of urban renewal and using eminent domain to force sales of Black businesses and properties. These moves tore apart the community and dispersed many of its residents, pushing them further North. The effects of these actions are still in play today. 

One Effect of a Race Massacre

“One hundred years ago, a line of Black doctors’ offices in the Greenwood neighborhood were burned down during the Tulsa Race Massacre. After a brief recovery, the Black community’s medical infrastructure entered a long decline that never recovered. The health divide between North Tulsa, where Black residents make up around one-third of the community, and South Tulsa, the area where roughly 70% of residents are white and 10% are Black is large.”

“North Tulsans die up to 13 years earlier than their neighbors to the south. North Tulsans face a dearth of primary-care doctors and nearly three-fourths of them live in a “food desert” with limited access to a grocery store, fresh produce and nutritious food options. The district has the city’s highest death rates from heart disease, lung disease, diabetes and cancer. In Tulsa County as a whole, Black infants are 2.5 times more likely to die before their first birthday than white infants. North Tulsa lacks urgent-care centers, and its closest hospital is located downtown, considered by residents to be outside the community.” WSJ: In North Tulsa, Inequities in Medical Infrastructure Drive Health Gap The George Kaiser Family Foundation and the Tulsa Health Department have expanded outreach and opened a community health and wellness center. Other philanthropic groups have also provided backing for a grocery store, Oasis Fresh Market, to open in June. There is still a long way to go. Tulsa is just one of many communities in this country that still suffer the effects of racism and Jim Crow. Today, those effects can show up as health and wealth inequalities. It’s important to know this information so the situation can be addressed and to ensure current policies don’t reinforce the harm.

Dems Make a Run For It

“Texas Democrats staged a dramatic walkout in the state House late Sunday night to block passage of a restrictive voting bill that would have been one of the most stringent in the nation, forcing Republicans to abruptly adjourn without taking a vote on the measure. The surprise move came after impassioned late-night debate and procedural objections about the GOP-backed legislation, which would have made it harder to vote by mail, empowered partisan poll watchers and made it easier to overturn election results. Republicans faced a midnight deadline to approve the measure.” Washington Post: Texas Democrats block restrictive voting bill by walking off the floor to deny GOP-majority House a quorum  This was just the GOPs latest attempt to continue to spit on us and call it rain. Republicans are continuing to perpetuate lies and use their lies to enact legislation. I give the Democrats points for stalling this one. “Gov. Abbott tweeted that he would add the bill to a special session he plans to call later this year to address legislative redistricting.” Let’s hope the Dems have a few more tricks up their sleeves. In a hilarious comeback, “Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says he intends to withhold paychecks to state lawmakers after the walkout.”

Michelangelo’s Marbles 

“The statue, Michelangelo’s The Day, part of the tomb of Giuliano de’ Medici in the Medici Chapel was discolored due to timed environmental factors.  So a team of art restorers decided to smear some bacteria on the situation. The specialized microbes cleaned up centuries of grime, leaving the marble statues with a fresh new look.  The team selected specialized strains of bacteria to target different stains on the marble. Some types of bacteria can thrive in harsh environments and are adapted to eating things that can cause humans problems. These bacteria can break down things like pollutants into relatively harmless components. In this case, the team looked for bacterial strains that would eat away at the stains and other gunk, without harming the marble itself, and tested their top choices on an unobtrusive patch of marble behind an altar in the chapel. They found a few types that would work, and used gel to spread them across the statues. The different strains of bacteria ate away at residues, glue, and even the stains from an improperly disposed-of corpse that was dumped in one of the tombs in 1537.” The Verge: Bacteria get a fresh gig as art restorers in Italy  Why is this cool and gross at the same time?

Office Politics

“Companies in all industries are beginning to bring employees back to work. In an ongoing complaint, restaurant and other service industry employers say they can’t find workers. Yet, “a relaxation of mask mandates has brought new potential risks, with service workers now having to contend with more maskless customers. Meanwhile, some large employers are ready to get rid of the flexibility of the pandemic in order to bring all their employees back to the office. Hazard pay is long gone, and grocery store workers in some places are fighting for even the smallest wage increases. For example, Food 4 Less workers represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers union are negotiating a new contract, but management is offering a wage increase of just 50 cents an hour to 38 percent of its workers — and no increase to the rest. Some restaurant owners counter that with their low profit margins, they can’t afford to raise wages. But the whole debate feels somehow anachronistic, with employers trying to get workers to accept the same pay they were getting before the pandemic, or only a slight increase, as though the last year didn’t change everything about their jobs.” Vox: Bosses are acting like the pandemic never happened. The article points out that even before COVID hit,  millions of workers were dealing with stagnant wages and absent or inadequate benefits. This was all while CEOs and shareholders saw unprecedented salaries. The ratio of CEO-to-worker compensation was 320 to 1 in 2019, up from 293 to 1 in 2018 and just 21 to 1 in 1965, according to the Economic Policy Institute. So, I will keep saying this, the reason some employers have a worker shortage is NOT because of extra federal unemployment money.  There are many reasons and employers are going to have to step their game up.