7 Things: Alabama marks one year after George Floyd’s death, teachers want more money, 6-month-olds being tested for vaccine and more …
7. Good thing there is no history of Palestinians misusing aid
- After the 11-day war between Hamas and Israel, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that there will be aid given to Gaza, and he’s working to “rally international support” for this, but they’ll “ensure that Hamas does not benefit from the reconstruction assistance.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already said that Israel will have a “very powerful” response if there’s a break in the cease-fire from Hamas.
- Blinken went on to say that “we have to use the space created to address a larger set of underlying issues and challenges” to prevent more violence, but that effort has to start “with tackling the grave humanitarian situation in Gaza and starting to rebuild.” On Israel and Palestine relations, Blinken advised both “equally deserve to live safely and securely, to enjoy equal measures of freedom, opportunity and democracy, to be treated with dignity.”
6. Birmingham Promise receives $8 million
- There has been $8 million in corporate donations made to Birmingham Promise, Inc., which is the program meant to assist Birmingham high school students in affording college. Executive director Rachel Harmon and Mayor Randall Woodfin announced the donations.
- The funds came from Vulcan Value Partners, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, Protective Life Corporation, and Alabama Power Company. Woodfin said this program “is laying a foundation that will create economic opportunity and prosperity here for generations to come.”
5. This is just what Putin wants
- President Joe Biden will be meeting with Russia President Vladimir Putin in June, and White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that “[t]his is how diplomacy works,” adding that this isn’t a “reward” to Russia, but they view it “as a vital part of defending America’s interests.”
- Psaki went on to say that Biden will use this “moment of in-person diplomacy to convey areas where he has concern and look for areas of opportunity to work together in areas we have mutual agreement.”
4. No opposition on moving Space Command to Huntsville
- President Joe Biden’s nominee for Secretary of the Air Force, Frank Kendall, and nominee for the assistant secretary for defense for cost assessment & program evaluation Suzanna Blume were asked about cost review on moving the U.S. Space Command Headquarters to Huntsville, Alabama, but as the review isn’t completed, Kendall said he could discuss when data is available; Blume said she wouldn’t be involved in the process “unless asked to do so for some reason by the Secretary.”
- U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) spoke at the hearing to thank Kendall and Blume for not opposing the move that his “colleagues seem to continue to fight for some reason.” Tuberville added that there have been previous statements to the cost-benefit of moving to Huntsville, and added, “[C]o-locating Space Command with NASA, Blue Origin, and (United Launch Alliance) makes strategic sense.”
3. Moderna vaccine works for children ages 12-15
- With the announcement that the Pfizer vaccine was safe and effective for children 12-15 years old, it was anticipated that Moderna would make a similar announcement as they tested their vaccine further. Now, it’s been confirmed that the Moderna vaccine can be used on kids as young as 12-years-old.
- Moderna will be sending their data to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in early June, seeking approval for emergency use in the United States. In the Moderna study, there were over 3,700 participants, and they found the vaccine to be 93% effective. Testing by Pfizer and Moderna has already started on younger children, some as young as six months old.
2. Only the government is giving raises right now
- With the 2% raise that was approved for Alabama state employees, which includes teachers, teacher’s salaries in the state are now ahead of the rate of inflation. This is compared to in 2018 when inflation had been outpacing salaries for the last 10 years.
- Central Alabama AFT president Marrianne Hayward lamented, “Until the work that teachers do is really valued, it’s always going to be ‘let’s just throw them a little bit of money and then they’ll be quiet.'”
1. George Floyd demonstrations take place in Alabama
- There were protests across Alabama and across the country and across the nation yesterday to mark the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s death. In Huntsville, the speakers slammed Mayor Tommy Battle and the police chief while touting the defeat of an anti-rioting bill in the legislature and the removal of a Confederate monument from the courthouse grounds. Other remembrances were held across Alabama.
- In Washington, George Floyd’s family continued to push for police reform during a meeting with President Joe Biden, but it appears to be quite a gap between some Republicans who don’t want to end qualified immunity and some Democrats who want the criminal justice system “dismantled.”