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On Sunday, the United States officially surpassed 500,000 COVID-19 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

The grim milestone arrives just weeks before March 11th. That date marks one year since the outbreak was declared a pandemic. When the virus was first discovered in China towards the end of 2019, the Trump administration severely underestimated the ferocity of the disease, which quickly spread to the U.S. and other parts of the world.

In the early months of the pandemic, major cities such as Chicago and New York were hit the hardest. Nursing homes and factories saw their residents’ and employees’ death skyrocket as scientists raced to contain the deadly outbreak.

This milestone follows a fall and winter surge in cases. There were 81,000 reported deaths in December and 95,000 in January. This surge was partially due to the busy holiday season, where people elected to travel to see family.

On Monday, President Joe Biden encouraged citizens to remember those we have lost to COVID-19 as the country moves towards collective healing. To remember those who perished, he has also ordered the American flag to be flown at half-staff on federal grounds until Friday.

“As of this week during the dark winter of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 500,000 Americans have now died from the virus,” his statement read. “On this solemn occasion, we reflect on their loss and on their loved ones left behind. We, as a nation, must remember them so we can begin to heal, to unite, and find purpose as one nation to defeat this pandemic.”

Health officials are now racing to speed up the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, which has gotten off to a slow and unorganized start. Roughly 44 million people, which is about 13% of the population, have received at least one dose of either Pfizer’s or Moderna’s two-shot vaccines.

COVID-19 now sits among one of the leading causes of death in the United States, according to the CDC.




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NY Times Columnist Calls Out Pepé Le Pew For Perpetuating Rape Culture

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In keeping up with an ever-changing world, another childhood fave is being called out for problematic messaging.

Last week it was legendary children’s author, Dr. Seuss, for his work’s racist depictions of black and brown people. This week, in a NY Times Op-Ed article, a writer calls out some Looney Tunes cartoon characters. Most specifically, “Pepé Le Pew” for perpetuating rape culture.

According to TMZ, columnist Charles M. Blow wrote a thought-provoking op-ed piece titled “Six Seuss Books Bore a Bias” that highlights how deeply embedded racism is in American pop culture and points out just how early racist themes are fed to young children.

“Some of the first cartoons I can remember included Pepé Le Pew, who normalized rape culture; Speedy Gonzales, whose friends helped popularize the corrosive stereotype of the drunk and lethargic Mexicans; and Mammy Two Shoes, a heavyset Black maid who spoke in a heavy accent,” Blow wrote.

He maintained that the French skunk, who incessantly pursued Penelope Pussycat, time after time, normalized and perpetuated rape culture, and after some readers attacked his points, he took to Twitter with an example of Le Pew’s now-cringe-worthy, problematic behavior.

“RW blogs are mad bc I said Pepe Le Pew added to rape culture. Let’s see. 1. He grabs/kisses a girl/stranger repeatedly, w/o consent and against her will. 2. She struggles mightily to get away from him, but he won’t release her 3. He locks a door to prevent her from escaping.” It’s true … Penelope Pussycat was often in Pepe’s clutches,” Blow tweeted.

“This helped teach boys that “no” didn’t really mean no, that it was a part of “the game,” the starting line of a power struggle. It taught overcoming a woman’s strenuous, even physical objections, was normal, adorable, funny. They didn’t even give the woman the ability to SPEAK,” he explained.

Does he have a point?




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Prosecutors Move To Permanently Dismiss Charges Against Breonna Taylor’s Boyfriend, Kenneth Walker

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Prosecutors in Kentucky are moving to permanently dismiss criminal charges against Kenneth Walker, the boyfriend of Breonna Taylor, in the wake of legal battles that have lasted almost an entire year.

According to CBS News, the move will mean that Walker will be unable to be recharged for the crimes if the judge grants the request in the motion from the Commonwealth Attorney for Jefferson County.

Walker was originally charged with assault and attempted murder of a police officer after he allegedly opened fire and wounded a Louisville Metro Police Sergeant last March during a chaotic raid at Taylor’s apartment.

Officers stormed Taylor’s apartment looking for an ex-boyfriend of hers in a raid to search for illegal drugs. Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician with no prior criminal record, was fatally shot during the melee.

Walker said he thought that he and his girlfriend were the victims of an attempted home invasion, and his lawyers have argued that he was acting in self-defense.

While charges against Walker were dropped last May, they were dropped by prosecutors without prejudice — which meant he could face the same charges again in the future. At the time, Jefferson Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine said that more investigation was necessary and warned that Walker’s case could be brought before a grand jury again if necessary.




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Kehlani Shows Support to Women Accusing Actor Kaalan Walker of Sexual Assault

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Kehlani has come forward to use her platforms to show support for the women who have made claims of sexual assault against a rapper, actor, and photographer named Kaalan Walker.

Kehlani took to her Twitter account to help spread awareness about the claims made by numerous women.

“I apologize in advance if everything I’m going to be retweeting involves rape & assault, I am standing with the victims of a serial RAPIST who i knew personally to be aggressive, dangerous & twisted,” she tweeted after giving her followers a trigger warning.

Kehlani claimed Walker was released on bail & was already back to shooting photography. “Refer to all my retweets for all of the details on his case, stories from his victims, directly from their mouths. resources on how to support them/fight for them,” she continued.

Walker is a 23-year-old actor who appeared in the movie “Superfly.” He was arrested back in September of 2018, after multiple women came forward accusing him of sexual assault and rape in numerous of incidents that dated back to April 2016.

Walker was released Friday on a $1 million bail and immediately took to social media to proclaim his innocence posting videos of his release and thanking ASAP Rocky for “saving his life.”

ASAP Rocky responded to Walker’s post on Twitter saying, “Huh?? IDK That Clown And I Ain’t bail out Sh*t. Stop playing wit me.”

Walker also took aim at Kehlani for “breaking his heart” and vowed, “I will not be bullied, especially as an innocent black man. I’m just addressing the things that were said about me, I have a right to defend my character,” he wrote in his IG story. He also clarified that he never said ASAP Rocky bailed him out but “saved my life.”




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