‘It will be years’ before life at Tyndall Air Force base returns to normal

Swimming in St. Andrew Bay was the first thing Jillian Arrowood wanted to do when she moved into her new home on Tyndall Air Force base on October 8. She and her two daughters had just joined her husband William, her son, and her father-in-law, an Army retiree who had recently had a stroke, in their new home by the water.

Her 12-year old daughter didn’t have a bathing suit, but was so excited that she jumped in the water with her clothes on. It felt like a perfect day: 85 degrees, sunny, and slightly breezy. There was no indication of the bad weather that was headed their way.

Just as the sun was setting, a nearby airman who had been fishing told them that Tyndall received evacuation orders. Less than six hours after Jillian and her daughters arrived on base, the Arrowood family was packing up to leave, and haven’t been back since.

They are one of hundreds of military families that have been displaced from Tyndall Air Force base as a result of Hurricane Michael. The eye of the Category 4 storm cut straight through the base on Wednesday, October 10, causing catastrophic destruction. The storm reduced houses to splinters, blew off roofs, and busted open hangars where top-grade aircraft such as F-22 planes were housed.

In total, Brig. Gen. Edward Thomas, the Air Force Director of Public Affairs, estimated that there were over 860 housing units on the base, and about 11,000 airmen and their families assigned there.

Debris litters Tyndall Air Force Base, severely damaged after Hurricane Michael, on Wednesday. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

He likened the damage to that seen on the Keesler Air Force base after Hurricane Katrina. He used Keesler as a comparison when estimating how long restorations would take.

“I think it would be fair to say it will be years to make Tyndall look like it did before the hurricane hit,” he said at a Tyndall press conference this week.

While the resumption of training missions could happen in mere months, he said a return to normal living on base does not look likely anytime soon. Those who have been displaced from Tyndall are stuck in limbo, uncertain of what will happen next.

Air Force members wait for orders

For some, the uncertainty lies in whether they will be reassigned and relocated. Reagan Gray’s husband, Zack Gray, is crew chief for the F-22, the premiere stealth fighter in the world — each with a roughly $110 million flyaway cost, before any added upgrades and software are added.

Tyndall was home to about 55 out of the total 187 F-22s in the U.S. fleet. Some were flown to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, but the Air Force refused to say how many were left behind.

Because there are so few F-22s, and so few bases that house them, Gray is now uncertain whether she and her husband will be relocated to another base. She said she knows families who have been ordered to other bases already.

For now, Gray has taken refuge with her two-year-old daughter at her parents’ house in Pensacola while she waits to see whether her deployed husband will be sent home to help with the transition.

Maj. Gen. Andrew Toth, the commander of Air Force’s personnel center, said that situations like these are being handled on a case-by-case basis.

They are asking each affected person, “Do you need to come back to Tyndall air force base to take care of your family?” Toth said.

Gray said the worst part is not knowing.

“It’s just all up in the air,” she said in a phone conversation. “They aren’t really giving anybody any information.”

Though she hates the uncertainty of waiting for Air Force orders, Gray considers herself among the lucky ones.

She was able to assess the damage to her house and gather some belongings when the Air Force opened up Tyndall for the first time this week. She has renter’s insurance for her property. She received financial assistance from the Air Force through a Stabilizing Assistance Grant. The Air Force is offering these grants to airmen, whether retired, active duty, or in the reserves, to help cover evacuation travel and hotel expenses. The grants are $750 for single airmen, and $1,500 for those with families.

Military retirees struggle to get assistance

The Arrowood family has none of that.

They’re taking refuge about 1,000 miles away, at their old house in Akron, Ohio. The short time notice given to them about the base temporarily re-opening and the cost of the trip prevented them from going back this week. The only knowledge they have of their home comes from aerial photos showing that part of their roof is gone.

They have no renter’s insurance, since Jillian’s husband, father-in-law, and nine-year old son had just moved into the home in September. They are also currently not able to get assistance from FEMA or the Air Force.

“My biggest frustration is that my father-in-law served not once but twice and he’s getting denied the same accommodations that others are getting because he’s not Air Force,” Jillian said in a phone conversation. “We all serve under the same flag.”

Her father-in-law, Marvin Arrowood, first served in Vietnam under the draft. Then he re-enlisted to the Army in the 1980s.

While the Air Force is offering Stabilizing Assistance Grants to airmen, whether retired, active duty, or in the reserves, the same aid and benefits are not being given to military retirees in other branches who had been living on Tyndall.

Instead, assistance for non Air-Force retirees has been left to the discretion of each military branch. When the Arrowoods contacted the Army for assistance, they were not given aid.

“The only options we have are loans,” Jillian said. “We can’t keep pooling loans.”

The Arrowoods are also not able to get assistance from FEMA until they make an appointment to look at their home with an inspector. The complication is that they are not able to go to Tyndall this week when it temporarily re-opened, and don’t know when the base will open again. A FEMA spokesperson confirmed that claims cannot be processed until an inspector is able to look at the house with someone present.

Hoping to go home

Zoe Reeves photographs the damage done to her bedroom by Hurricane Michael at Tyndall Air Force Base on Wednesday.
(Kelly Walker/U.S. Air Force)

William Arrowood, Jillian’s husband, is now looking for a job in Ohio, and the family is trying to live off of the retirement check that her father-in-law, Marvin Arrowood, gets each month. Jillian has begrudgingly re-enrolled her children into local schools, although she is eager and hopeful she will be able to transfer them back to schools near Tyndall soon.

“I want to be able to go back home,” she said. “The stuff can be replaced. My biggest fear is not to have the ability to go back on base.”

Finding Tyndall seemed like a miracle to Jillian — it offered a stable, safe environment for her children; it allowed Marvin to be in a warmer climate as his doctor had suggested, and it allowed him to rejoin the military community and get support.

As a former member of the Ohio National Guard, Jillian said that going to Tyndall was an emotional homecoming. She had planned to re-enlist with the Air Force.

Though retirees do not make up the main body of residents on Tyndall, Dana Voelker, wife of retired Marine, Randall Voelker, estimates that they are still a sizable portion of the base population. The Air Force has not responded to inquiries on the exact makeup of Tyndall’s population.

Voelker was full of questions as she spoke on the phone while on the way to retrieve her things from Tyndall this week.

“What do retirees do? Where do retirees go?” she asked. “We have nobody.”

Lacking family to stay with, the Voelkers have been staying in the Holiday Inn Express on Fort Rucker in Alabama, shelling out $80 a night as they wait to see what happens with their home on Tyndall.

“The commander is saying the houses are not livable,” she said. “What I was hoping is that they would transfer our lease to another military base or relocate us. If they put us out, we are literally homeless.”

Luckily, the Voelker’s request for assistance from the Army was approved, and they received a $600 grant. They are also able to have their FEMA application processed, since they completed a home inspection with an agent when they returned to base this week.

But, they cannot afford to live in limbo much longer. Dana says they are currently living off of retirement and have been racking up costs on their credit card, adding to the debt they had already had before the storm.

If unable to return to Tyndall and not given an alternative home, she doesn’t know what they will do next.

The Air Force plans for the future

Information is limited as the Air Force begins to do damage assessment and repairs over the coming weeks. The much inquired-about F-22s are currently being evaluated by engineers to see what type of damage they sustained.

“Visually all of the aircraft are intact. They generally look to be in good shape,” Brig. Gen. Edward Thomas said. “Certainly some damage has been sustained by some of those aircraft. But we expect that they’ll all be fixable. They’ll all fly again.” One military source told NPR, however, that a few F-22s do have significant damage.

In terms of what will happen to Tyndall residents, the path forward is more obscure.

“We’re going to have to make some serious decisions on which families come back to that base or not. There will be families that will be displaced from the base until we make a decision on where they’re going,” Thomas said. “And then they will have whatever of their household goods picked up from Tyndall that they can and move to another location, but I don’t necessarily see a lot of temporary housing.”

As airmen work to repair the base, it’s unclear just how many will be sticking around.

“Morale is high, uncertainty is also high,” he said.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


ICE appears to end use of federal prisons for immigrant detainees

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has all but abandoned its use of federal prisons to house detainees.

In early June, the agency announced it was sending up to 1,600 immigrant detainees to five federal prisons in Texas, Oregon, California, Washington, and Arizona.

But now, a total of only three ICE detainees remain across the five prisons that once held hundreds of immigrants. Immigrant detainees left the federal prisons either because they were deported, transferred to civil detention facilities, or were granted bail

There are no ICE detainees at the federal prisons in Victorville, Calif., SeaTac in Washington state, La Tuna in Texas, or Phoenix, ICE spokeswoman Tanya Roman said in a statement Wednesday. The three ICE detainees that remain are inside the federal prison in Sheridan, Ore.

ICE’s large-scale use of federal prisons to house its detainees was unprecedented and controversial. Many of the detainees sent to the prisons were seeking asylum. Yet, they were treated as criminals, according to multiple immigration attorneys who represented the detainees in several of the prisons, even though few — if any — of the detainees had been charged criminally or were serving a criminal sentence.

“ICE was blending the criminal, penal corrections system, blending it with the immigration, asylum system and sort of creating this unified view that they all need to be detained and incarcerated,” says Stephen Manning, a Portland-based immigration attorney. He represents the three remaining ICE detainees at the federal prison in Oregon.

Manning’s firm, the Portland-based Innovation Law Lab, originally represented more than 80 individuals held at the prison. The government moved their asylum cases forward because all of Manning’s clients were found to have valid asylum claims.

“It was an abject failure of government policy to use the federal prisons for the detention of asylum seekers and I hope this constitutionally risky experiment, which failed, resonates and that we won’t see it again,” Manning says..

ICE didn’t say if the dramatic reduction in detainees being held in federal prisons represented a change in policy.

“The interagency agreements with BOP [Bureau of Prisons] were set up as a temporary measure to meet the increased need for detention space during the implementation of the U.S. Department of Justice’s zero-tolerance policy,” says Roman, the ICE spokeswoman. “Detainees that were held there would either have been removed, released from custody or transferred to another facility.”

ICE’s agreements to use federal prisons are valid until June 2019, meaning the agency could put detainees back in federal prisons.

But Corene Kendrick, a staff attorney at the nonprofit Prison Law Office in Berkeley, Calif. doesn’t think that will happen, at least not in southern California. She worked with the ACLU to file a lawsuit that would keep detainees out of the federal prison in Victorville.

“The removal of the immigration detainees shows that there are limits to the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy towards asylum seekers and immigrants,” says Kendrick. “By just putting people in a medium security prison, which is designed for convicted prisoners, the Department of Homeland Security and BOP were violating the constitutional rights of the immigrants and asylum seekers.”

Immigration detainees are held in civil detention, which under the law is supposed to be a higher standard than criminal detention.

But that’s not always the case.

Jorge Baron, executive director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, says some asylum seekers being held in the federal prison near Seattle told him the treatment in the federal prison was better than the civil detentions’ facilities where they had been housed in the past.

“This is not to say I saw it as a positive that they were in this prison, but just that how bad our immigration detention system is that folks who end up in a federal prison feel like that’s a more human treatment, which gives me serious pause,” he says.

The fact that, for now, ICE has dramatically reduced its used of federal prisons does little to ease Baron, who says ICE is continuing its efforts to detain people.

“Now they’re ramping up more facilities down on the southern border,” he says. “So they may not be using the federal prisons, but they’re still detaining an incredibly high number of people throughout the country.”

Copyright 2018 Oregon Public Broadcasting. To see more, visit Oregon Public Broadcasting.


Philly’s community schools initiative a mixed bag so far, report says

This story originally appeared on PlanPhilly.

When Philadelphia designated nine community schools in 2016, officials didn’t announce any numeric goals for the high-profile initiative funded with revenue from Mayor Jim Kenney’s controversial tax on sweetened beverages. They did, however, promise an outside evaluation.

That evaluation came down Thursday — 100 pages of analysis that suggest some success in the first year of the project and some high-level issues that need to be addressed.

The positives came mostly at the school level, where analysts from the nonprofit Research for Action found high buy-in from principals and promising inroads made by community school coordinators.

Big picture, though, the report’s authors worry city and school district officials haven’t worked well enough together to ensure the success of the ambitious programs meant to help students overcome barriers associated with poverty. Research for Action analysts urge the project’s leaders to develop clearer goals that can be measured and tracked.

“A strong relationship at the highest levels of the Mayor’s Office of Education and the School District of Philadelphia did not develop during the first two years of the initiative,” according to the report.

That relationship has improved notably this year, officials said in response to the report, and they’re working together on a new plan that will better define how they measure success.

“It’s not something where you just hop on a tandem bike and everyone is just pedaling together right away,” said Otis Hackney, who heads the Mayor’s Office of Education, known as MOE. “We had to go through a little bit of growing pains.”

Research for Action analysts said that’s natural for a project as new and complicated as community schools.

“These are really difficult initiatives to pull off,” said Kate Shaw, Research for Action’s executive direction.

The community school model takes an existing public school and turns it into a neighborhood hub, a place that welcomes outsiders and provides services to help students and their families address some of the non-academic difficulties that can hamper educational efforts.That could mean job training for parents; a food pantry for hungry students; eye exams to make sure kids can see the board; or anything else community members dream up.

Kenney initially wanted to create 25 community schools, mostly funded through Philadelphia’s new soda tax. He’s since scaled back the goal to 20 schools after the city pulled in less tax money than expected.

Each community school has a coordinator tasked with gauging what the neighborhood wants and finding some way to provide it. So far there are 12 of those coordinators, one in each of the nine schools named in the first cohort and three in the trio of schools added since.

The Research for Action report gives high marks to those coordinators.

“The strengths of the initiative lie, most notably, at the school building level,” researchers wrote. “Through additional capacity in the form of coordinators, MOE became a catalyst for integrating social support for students, families, and community members.”

The report found coordinators worked well with administrators and teachers, integrating themselves into school communities with relatively little trouble.

“School staff were saying they had their coordinators’ cell phone numbers and would text them on a regular basis,” said Mark Duffy, the report’s co-author.

Coordinators did report some trouble earning the trust of community members, with one saying it was “like pulling teeth.” But overall, the report noted real enthusiasm and progress at the building level.

A call for better coordination

To sustain the initiative over the long term, though, Research for Action said different branches of local government need to coordinate better. The city and school district have historically kept their administrative distance, particularly under the 17-year reign of the state-controlled School Reform Commission.

The city recently reclaimed control of Philadelphia’s public schools, and many hope it will lead to a better relationship. This summer, high-level city and district leaders sat down to map out a new roadmap or “logic model” for the community schools initiative.

“I think we are rowing in the same direction,” said Karyn Lynch, the district’s chief of student support services.

Perhaps the biggest knock in the report comes in the area of measurement and evaluation. Researchers found community schools didn’t have specific outcomes in mind and didn’t collect data to monitor their progress.

“To measure the impact of the community schools initiative, it is essential to identify outcomes and the measures that will be used to determine progress,” the report’s authors wrote.

While leaders did identify some targets, the report said, those targets were “broad” and “did not include specific measures to track progress.”

From the get-go, city leaders shied away from using test scores, graduation rates, or other traditional academic metrics to determine whether the model works.

They have said they’d like to eventually use attendance rates as a “long-term” measuring stick for the program’s success, and will look at those figures five years into the initiative. The Research for Action report noted, however, that in other cities with community schools, attendance trends improved within three years.


Updated book donation policy for Pa. prisons is met with skepticism

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections has announced new information on its overhauled book donation program — which has been halted since a drug smuggling scare in late August.

However, at least one book donation group has said it’s not on board.

The updated donation policy would have inmates request books by genre. The department said it would work with donor groups to collect relevant books, ship them to a separate location for drug screening, and then give them to inmates.

Keir Neuringer, a volunteer with Philadelphia-based Books Through Bars, said he doesn’t think that’ll serve inmates well. Under the old system, they could send letters with descriptions of the kinds of books they wanted.

“We do our best to respond to individual requests for books,” Neuringer said. “We do not help the DOC select and choose who can read what books. That’s not part of our mission.”

Neuringer said the group is still discussing the new policy. But he doesn’t think it will participate.

The other book donation group that serves primarily Pennsylvania is the Pittsburgh-based Book ‘Em. A spokeswoman said in an email that the group is still working through the implications of the new policy.

“Although we recognize this is a step in the right direction and we appreciate the DOC’s ability to adapt their policy, we still feel we should be able to send books to inmates directly and have some concerns with how this new system will operate,” she said.

The DOC also said overdoses and drug exposure cases have gone down considerably after implementation of their controversial raft of new security measures.


World reacts with skepticism to Saudi confirmation of Jamal Khashoggi’s death

Lawmakers and world leaders reacted with skepticism following the Saudi government’s confirmation Friday evening (ET) of journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s death.

According to the Saudi statement, “discussions that took place between him and the persons who met him during his attendance in the Kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul led to a quarrel and a brawl with the citizen/Jamal Khashoggi, resulted in his death.” Eighteen Saudi nationals have been arrested as the investigation continues.

The Saudi government’s version of Khashoggi’s death has shifted since his disappearance on Oct. 2. Saudi state media initially claimed that Khashoggi left the Saudi consulate in Istanbul alive, while Turkish officials claimed early on that Khashoggi had been killed.

At a defense event on Friday evening, President Trump told reporters he found the Saudi statement credible and called the arrests “a big first step,” Reuters reports.

The White House released a statement following the Saudi confirmation, which read:

Prior to the Saudi state media’s confirmation, President Trump told reporters in Arizona that he would “very much have Congress involved in determining what to do” in response to Khashoggi’s death. When asked if sanctions on Saudi Arabia are possible, Trump said they “could be, could be.”

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham tweeted on Friday afternoon, “To say that I am skeptical of the new Saudi narrative about Mr. Khashoggi is an understatement.”

In a statement, Delaware Sen. Chris Coons said:

“As a Senate Foreign Relations Committee member, I am seeking a classified briefing and depending on the facts of this case, we may need to re-assess our relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, including planned arms sales, our ongoing support for the war in Yemen, and other aspects of our partnership with the Kingdom.”

Karen Attiah, Global Opinions editor at the Washington Post and Khashoggi’s editor, tweeted after the Saudi statement:

Bloomberg reports that German Chancellor Angela Merkel didn’t accept the Saudi explanation. At a political convention in Germany on Saturday, she said of the facts of the case, “They still haven’t been cleared up and of course we demand that they be cleared up.”

After talks in Copenhagen, Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said, “We haven’t been told the full truth, and we must insist on getting that,” Bloomberg reports. According to Reuters, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte had questions too: “A lot still remains uncertain,” he told reporters. “What happened? How did he die? Who is responsible?”

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres encouraged a “prompt, thorough, and transparent investigation” into Khashoggi’s death.

Following the Saudi statement, Australian officials announced their withdrawal from an international investment summit planned in Riyadh. Several other international officials have already withdrawn from the conference.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


Roosevelt Boulevard speed cameras represent rare bipartisan win

This story originally appeared on PlanPhilly.

It’s rare that Philadelphia can go more than just a few days without another person being killed in a car crash. Seventy-eight people died last year, and 96 were killed the year prior. That’s why the city adopted a Vision Zero Action Plan last year – to reduce traffic deaths to zero by 2030 through changes to street design, better traffic law enforcement, and increased road safety education.

It’s even more rare, in these hyper-partisan days shortly before the midterm elections, to see a moment of bipartisan bonhomie among elected officials. But at Friday’s conference updating the public on the city’s efforts to reduce car crashes, a steady stream of Democrats stood up to applaud State Rep. John Taylor (R-177).

“I just want to take a moment to thank John Taylor for his career in the Pennsylvania House,” said Mayor Jim Kenney, soliciting a standing ovation from the assembled crowd of safety advocates and city officials.

It helps that Taylor is retiring — politicians rarely speak ill of dead political careers. But Taylor’s efforts to pass a new traffic safety law that will provide the city a new tool to constrain speeding on Roosevelt Boulevard probably played a bigger role inspiring the kind words.

“This legislation — for me, in my short tenure here —  is one of the most important, if not the most important, legislation that has passed and that is because it is truly going to save lives,” said PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards.

Taylor, who represents the Northeast, has been pushing for a version of Senate Bill 172 for years. Signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf, the new law will let Philadelphia install nine cameras along Roosevelt Boulevard equipped with lidar or radar to automatically take photos of any vehicles going over the speed limit by 11 miles per hour. The bill also authorizes PennDOT and the Pennsylvania Turnpike to put up speed enforcement cameras along the state’s highways in construction work zones.

There are 2,575 miles of streets in Philadelphia, but between 2011 and 2015, Roosevelt Boulevard’s 16-mile stretch has tallied six percent of the city’s total of crashes and 13 percent of its traffic fatalities. Since 2011, more than 60 people have been killed, and another 4,700 injured, in crashes along the Boulevard. Pedestrians trying to cross the Boulevard’s twelve lanes made up one-third of those killed.

Opponents of the bill often point to Maryland and Washington D.C., where speed camera programs have generated tens of millions of dollars in fines — so much so, that motorists complain that they’re designed to raise revenues, not reduce speeding.

City officials revenue generation is not the city’s goal.

“I just want to be clear: It’ll be a very happy outcome if we collect no revenue because everyone’s complying with the law,” said Mike Carroll, deputy managing director for the city’s Office of Transportation, Infrastructure and Sustainability.

The revenues generated from the cameras will go towards transportation safety projects, similar to how revenues from automated red light enforcement cameras are distributed, Carroll said. The new cameras are expected to start issuing tickets in about six months.

Taylor blamed Republican leadership in Harrisburg for the delays in passing this bill, which passed the state Senate 47-1 and the state House 173-22. He also criticized them for preventing floor votes on a pair of other safety bills, which would have imposed penalties for cellphone use while driving and allowed local police departments use radar guns to enforce speeding (Pennsylvania is the only state that limits radar guns to the state police).

“It’s curious because if you look at the vote on [SB] 172, it was overwhelmingly passed by the legislature — but very, very hesitant was the leadership to run it,” Taylor said. “The same thing with distracted driving and local use of radar.”

Taylor, who chaired the House Transportation Committee, also touted a bipartisan bill introduced by state Rep. Rick Saccone (R-39) to end driver license suspensions for individuals convicted of drug-related offenses. Taylor was also instrumental in the fight to pass Act 89 in 2013, which raised state gas taxes to fund transportation construction projects and nearly doubled SEPTA’s capital budget.

Democratic voters vastly outnumber Republicans in the 177th district. With Taylor’s retirement, Democrat Joe Hohenstein is the favored to defeat Republican Patty Pat Kozlowski. That would leave the Philadelphia caucus with just one Republican — that is, assuming incumbent Rep. Martina White can hold off challenger Mike Doyle in the 170th district, where Democrats outnumber Republicans two-to-one. White has drawn the ire of the Philadelphia’s progressives for her strident opposition to the city’s sanctuary city policy.

Should Republicans lose all of Philadelphia’s state legislative races, but still maintain their control of both houses of the General Assembly, there’s a concern that the state GOP’s already apathetic attitude towards Philly will grow even more antagonistic.

“Any time you lose a talented legislator like John Taylor, I do worry,” said Kenney. “He has years of experience and expertise, and the ability to reach across the aisle, so it’s certainly a loss for us.”

Taylor expressed confidence in both White’s reelection chances and her ability to be the city’s lone voice in the Republican caucus. “she’s very capable,” said Taylor. “And even I —  and the mayor — disagree with her on some things, but when it comes down to the overall viability of the City of Philadelphia, she’s going to be able to step up.”

In addition to SB 172’s passage, city officials touted other efforts towards their Vision Zero goal.

The city will reduce speed limits on 14 miles of residential roads from 30 miles per hour to 25. Higher speeds contribute to both the likelihood of a crash and the severity of the injuries in one.

City officials also announced $1.5 million in new city funds for five Vision Zero construction projects. These are projects the city has already won grants to fund construction, but not the design work. Rather than doing it in-house — where there’s currently a backlog of projects — or trying to find additional grants to hire an outside design team, the city itself will pony up the money for design consultants.

The funds will shave off a year on the usual four-year timeline the city usually takes on such small street redesign projects. As part of the city’s Safe Routes to School program, Cramp Elementary and Hamilton Elementary will see improvements to crosswalks and intersections around the schools. The city will also tweak intersections along North Broad Street to make crossing easier for pedestrians. Parkside Avenue and Roosevelt Boulevard will also see improvements, Carroll said.

Carroll also called on city residents to begin applying for OTIS’ new Neighborhood Slow Zones Program. The new program inverts the city’s traditional approach to traffic safety-inspired street interventions: In the past, city planners largely worked to identify problems areas behind the scenes, and then would come into a neighborhood with plans to fix the perceived problem. That would often elicit knee-jerk opposition to the proposed changes. By asking residents to apply for the “slow zones,” city officials will now be responding to community-identified problems with some solution suggestions.

The hope is that this shift in approach, plus widening the focus from individual streets to entire neighborhoods, may help reduce community outrage over traffic-calming measures that may reduce the number of parking spots.


Jamal Khashoggi died in Istanbul consulate, Saudi state TV reports

Updated at 9:15 p.m. ET

Saudi Arabian officials confirmed the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who had been missing for 18 days, in a statement issued Saturday morning local time.

The statement, translated into English by the Saudi Press Agency, said a preliminary investigation into the events of Oct. 2 revealed that Khashoggi was killed in a fight that broke out while he was visiting the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

The meeting “developed in a negative way [that] led to a fight and a quarrel between some of them and the citizen / Jamal Khashoggi, yet the brawl aggravated to lead to his death and their attempt to conceal and cover what happened,” the statement said.

The agency also confirmed that 18 Saudi nationals have been arrested “in preparation for reaching all the facts.”

It’s unclear whether those arrested include people previously reported to have been involved in the reporter’s disappearance.

State media also reported that Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri, the deputy chief of general intelligence and an adviser to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has been dismissed.

While the investigation is ongoing, officials said, “The Kingdom expresses its deep regret at the painful developments that have taken place and stresses the commitment of the authorities in the Kingdom to bring them to justice.”

Following the announcement the White House issued a statement saying:

“The United States acknowledges the announcement from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that its investigation into the fate of Jamal Khashoggi is progressing and that it has taken action against the suspects it has identified thus far. We will continue to closely follow the international investigations into this tragic incident and advocate for justice that is timely, transparent, and in accordance with all due process. We are saddened to hear confirmation of Mr. Khashoggi’s death, and we offer our deepest condolences to his family, fiancée, and friends.”

At a roundtable with defense contractors Friday night at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, Trump called the Saudi announcement “a great first step,” but reiterated that he didn’t think sanctions for the journalist’s death should affect U.S.-Saudi Arabia arms deals.

The fate of Khashoggi, a U.S. resident and critic of Saudi policy, had remained unclear more than two weeks after he vanished. The Turkish government had accused Saudi officials of murdering the journalist at the consulate, a charge the Saudis strongly and repeatedly had denied.

The Associated Press, citing an unnamed Turkish official, reported Friday that investigators there were looking into whether “the remains of … Khashoggi may have been taken to a forest on the outskirts of Istanbul or to another city.” The wire service added that according to the same official, “two vehicles belonging to the consulate left the building” the day the journalist disappeared.

Reuters reports that two Turkish officials say police were searching for remains in a “forest on the outskirts of Istanbul and a city near the Sea of Marmara.”

The New York Times has reported that audio evidence from senior Turkish government officials suggests Khashoggi was tortured, murdered and dismembered by Saudi agents.

On Friday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu denied sharing any audio recordings with the U.S., after a report from ABC said Turkish officials had played an audio recording for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The State Department also denied the report. Earlier this week, Trump said the U.S. had requested access to any audio or video evidence from Turkey’s investigation.

Cavusoglu vowed to share Turkey’s investigation findings “transparently,” according to the state news agency Anadolu. Turkish authorities searched the Saudi Consulate earlier this week, the news agency said.

Anadolu reported that Turkish security officials say “on the same day of Khashoggi’s disappearance, 15 other Saudis, including several officials, arrived in Istanbul on two planes and visited the consulate while Khashoggi was still inside.” It added: “All of the identified officials have since left Turkey.”

One suspect, a senior intelligence official, is known to be a “frequent companion of [Saudi] Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,” according to the Times.

Trump said Thursday that if Saudi Arabia is responsible, the consequences will be “very severe,” according to the Times.

Vice President Pence, speaking with reporters Thursday in Colorado, said, “If what has been alleged occurred, if an innocent person lost their life at the hands of violence, that’s to be condemned.”

“If a journalist in particular lost their life at the hands of violence, that’s an affront to the free and independent press around the world,” Pence continued. “And there will be consequences.”

Their statements mark a shift in tone from comments Trump made earlier this week. On Monday, the president said, “It sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers.”

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


Democratic Socialists are coming to Harrisburg. What does it mean for environmental policies?

This story originally appeared on StateImpact Pennsylvania.

At a former church-turned-Brewery on Pittsburgh’s North Side, a group of Democratic Socialist candidates recently mingled with donors at a fundraiser.

Among the candidates was Elizabeth Fiedler, a former public radio reporter at WHYY in Philadelphia, who ran a Democratic primary there for state representative because she was tired of the two-party system.

“Being a Democrat is not enough. It’s not enough. It’s never been enough for me,” said Fiedler, who won the primary.

Fiedler has the endorsement of the Democratic Socialists of America, a left-wing group that has grown rapidly since the 2016 candidacy of Bernie Sanders and the election of Donald Trump.

She is one of three DSA-endorsed candidates for state legislature running unopposed on the ballot this year, after winning primaries in safe-Democratic seats. Each says the environment is a big issue for them, and their views on the environment are more staunch than those of “traditional” Democrats.

Fiedler says both parties are too dependent on corporate donations, and thinks their policies reflect that.

“When I was knocking on doors in South Philly, people talked about that all the time — whether it came to, whether it was about fracking or the health care industry,” Fiedler said.

Unless we are serious about addressing climate change, unless we are serious about breaking from a fossil fuel-reliant world, we’re not going to have a planet that we can live on.”

The ‘S-word’

All three candidates won Democratic primaries without running away from the ‘S’ word.

Socialism has been a dirty word in politics for decades, and, these days, it can mean a lot of different things.

The DSA advocates for greater public control over the economy, by providing more government services in exchange for higher taxes, and tighter regulation of industry. It supports unionization and increasing the minimum wage.

The Pennsylvania candidates want a severance tax on oil and gas, and more money for the Department of Environmental Protection. They are also in favor of a moratorium on fracking.

Sara Innamorato, a DSA candidate for state representative in Pittsburgh, beat a longtime incumbent in the Democratic primary.

“We should have environmental policies that ensure that our natural resources remain in the public good and are only used to benefit the people here and not corporate interests,” she said. “We’ve allowed this industry to dominate the state with very little oversight and regulation.”

She points out that state funding to the DEP has dropped 40 percent since 2000, and that the agency hasn’t had enough staff to adequately process oil and gas permits.

Though it’s gaining popularity among young people, recent polls show most Americans still have an unfavorable view of socialism.

Critics of the DSA say our capitalist system, with lighter regulations on private industry, is the best way to raise the standard of living.

“It shouldn’t be government telling businesses or people how to spend their money or how to best make money,” said Jason Gottesman, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Republican Party. “That should be driven by what consumers deem to be important, or how businesses feel is best to build themselves.”

Gottesman says the type of change Democratic Socialists advocate would stifle the economy and suppress personal freedoms, like property rights.

He says a moratorium on fracking would deprive mineral rights owners the ability to profit off of their property.

You have the government coming in and telling people how they should be able to use their property,” he said. “That’s the government inserting itself into people’s lives and (property) they rightfully own that is just inappropriate.”

Gottesman says that with the success of DSA candidates in this year’s Democratic primaries, the rest of the party will strain to “stay left” and veer toward socialism to appease its base.

Summer Lee, for one, doesn’t see the problem with that.

“Saying that every person in this nation deserves healthcare access, that everybody deserves environmental justice…If that’s socialism, then I will need someone to explain to me what the problem with that is,” says Lee.

A new kind of conversation

Lee won a Democratic primary for state representative near Pittsburgh over a longtime incumbent, and, like Innamorato and Fiedler, is running unopposed in the general election. She lives in North Braddock, a town overlooking a steel mill that has been cited for multiple air quality violations that resulted in releases of toxic air pollution into a poor, majority black community. Demanding the mill clean up its pollution has been part of her pitch from the beginning.

She’s also called for a moratorium on fracking, after the steel mill made a deal to allow a natural gas well on its property.

“Would you want your kids to go to a school that’s sitting next to a fracking well?” she said. “If the answer is ‘no,’ if you are unsure about whether those kids will be safe, then we need to sit down and have a conversation about whether this is something that we should be doing.”

Lee and her DSA counterparts have drawn praise from environmental groups, like Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania. But executive director Josh McNeil says it’s not just because of their policies, but how they talk about them.

“They were campaigning on issues of environmental justice and environmental racism. Summer Lee was maybe the first candidate for state office that I’ve ever seen talk about the inherent racism in a lot of the way that environmental impacts are distributed in this country,” he said.

It’s not so much about what their positions are. It’s about being willing to sort of call them out and take that message to Harrisburg.”

None of the DSA legislators-to-be expects their ideas to be embraced in the statehouse.

Innamorato acknowledges that’s especially true because trade unions, traditionally allies of Democratic politics, back the oil and gas industry, because of the jobs it provides.

But she thinks she and her fellow candidates can begin to change the conversation in Harrisburg.


International Observe the Moon Night

The naked eye is just fine – but if the night sky is clear this evening, the best way to view the moon is with a pair of binoculars, revealing craters, seas, bays and more. In addition, Saturn and Mars are still hanging in the early evening sky. The constellations Pegasus, Andromeda, Cassiopeia and Perseus are rising in the east.

Tomorrow marks the 95th year since attendees took in the first planetarium show, at the Deutches Museum in Munich, Germany. Actually, indoor depictions of the night sky go back to 1,500 B.C. in Egyptian tombs. The Adler Planetarium in Chicago was first in the United States in 1930. The Fels Planetarium at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia opened four years later, as the second planetarium in the US.


Wilmington civil rights leader recognized for Supreme Court fight

In August 1958, Wilmington Councilman William “Dutch” Burton was denied service at the Eagle Coffee Shoppe in the Wilmington Parking Authority’s midtown parking garage. He wasn’t the first African-American to be refused service there. Several Chrysler workers had been thrown out of the café before Burton.

In response, Burton contacted Louis Redding, the first black man admitted to the Delaware State Bar Association. A few years earlier, Redding had helped litigate the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case which eventually desegregated American schools.

With Redding’s help, Burton sued the Wilmington Parking Authority. And while the Delaware Supreme Court ruled in favor of the WPA, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with Burton, saying the restaurant was required to serve all customers because it was leasing space in a public facility.

On Friday, city leaders including state Rep. Stephanie Bolden unveiled a historical marker honoring Burton at the former site of the cafe near Ninth and Shipley streets in downtown Wilmington.

“He understood the problem, and he took action because he knew that change begins with an individual step,” Bolden said. “In a time when the principles of our democracy and our rights are being challenged daily, it is important to remember Dutch Burton’s example. We cannot simply just sit around and hope that something accidentally will change.”

The Supreme Court’s decision eventually led to abolishing Delaware’s discriminatory accommodation laws. Retired state Superior Court Judge Charles Toliver credited the courage of Burton and Redding with paving the way for African-American men to succeed.

“But for Councilman Burton, Louis Redding, and a number of other people, I would not have been able to serve on the Delaware Superior Court, I would not have been able to be a member of the Delaware Bar, and it’s something I will be forever grateful,” Toliver said.

Members of Dutch Burton’s family unveil a street sign in downtown Wilmington in honor of Burton’s fight for civil rights. (Mark Eichmann/WHYY)

Several years ago, the parking garage structure was torn down to make way for a new underground parking garage and two apartment buildings constructed by the Buccini/Pollin Group. In addition to unveiling a historical marker telling Burton’s story, the street between the two apartment buildings connecting Orange and Shipley streets has been renamed in his honor.

City Councilman Nnamdi Chukwuocha read a poem he wrote to mark the day: “Today we move forward so that our children and our children’s children will know what happened here. That is the way we ensure that such a thing will never ever happen again.

“When we believe in our country’s creed that all men and women are truly created equal, we truly begin to move forward.”


In Pennsylvania’s lopsided gubernatorial race, a study in contrasts

With under a month until the general election, Democratic Governor Tom Wolf and his Republican challenger Scott Wagner appear to be locked in an uneven contest.

Their latest financial disclosures show Wolf with $8.9 million on hand to Wagner’s $1.8 million. The incumbent is also leading by almost 17 points in an average of recent independent polls.

And the candidates’ divergent campaign styles are reflecting that divide.

It was, perhaps, never more clear than on a recent Friday morning, when a shaky, live video went up on Scott Wagner’s campaign Facebook page.

He was standing on a roadside under a billboard. On it was a picture of Wagner’s face, and a caption message saying his trash-hauling company has sued 6,979 Pennsylvanians — something Wagner doesn’t deny.

“Well hey governor, I don’t know whether you know this or not, but if you have a company and you render a service, you want to get paid for, you want to get paid for that service,” Wagner said, addressing Wolf even though the billboard had been paid for by an unaffiliated, left-leaning nonprofit.

After speaking for about two and a half minutes, Wagner upped the ante.

“You better put a catcher’s mask on your face,” he told Wolf, “because I’m going to stomp all over your face with golf spikes, because I’m going to win this.”

Democrats quickly denounced the “golf spikes” line as a threat. Wagner’s campaign said it was a metaphor. Whatever it was, it made national news.

Wolf’s campaign capitalized, putting out a supercut of incredulous anchors and late-night comedians.

The episode epitomizes a campaign that’s been marked by profoundly different strategies. Wagner, as Muhlenberg College pollster Chris Borick noted, is trying to find some traction with voters.

“He’s a little bit desperate right now,” Borick said. “He’s way down in the polls, he’s having trouble raising funds, he’s called out donors in this cycle, and he’s looking for something to kickstart his campaign.”

And Wolf?

He’s keeping about as low a profile as is possible when you’re running for reelection, while using his cash advantage to help him paint Wagner as an erratic, irresponsible option.

“Scott Wagner’s definitely got a big personality, but I’m just not sure, without the advertising, enough people have seen it. They’ve heard one side of the story, which is basically Tom Wolf’s,” said GOP strategist Mike Barley.

Four years ago, Barley managed former Gov. Tom Corbett’s reelection campaign, which ended with Wolf’s victory.

In that race, Wolf had to show Pennsylvania who he was, and why he was different from the increasingly unpopular Corbett. But now, with a stronger national economy and more cash in state coffers, Barley said the smartest thing Wolf can do is lean on his inoffensive record.

“He’s run a smart campaign by the fact that they haven’t put themselves in any positions, really, to make any unforced errors,” Barley said. “They’ve done what they needed to do in a climate that’s favorable to position him for election day.”

Wolf touts his expansion of Medicaid, which technically started under the Republican Corbett administration. He notes he’s resisted efforts to defund Planned Parenthood and has pushed lawmakers to put more money into education. He also signed the bill that legalized medical marijuana in Pennsylvania.

His campaign hits on Wagner are targeted. He stresses his fellow York County resident’s refusal to share his tax returns, and has publicized a video of Wagner, from an Erie town hall, explaining why.

“If I disclose those tax returns,” Wagner had argued, “union representatives get a hold of my tax returns, go around to my employees’ homes at night.”

Of course, the governor hasn’t been able to fly under the radar completely. For instance, a decision from his administration’s Department of Corrections to hike prison security has caused some campaign headaches.

A recent fundraiser at a Philadelphia brewery ended up featuring dozens of protesters, who said the heightened security is cruel. A few were forcibly removed from the building.

Protesters spent hours outside one of Wolf’s campaign fundraisers, trying to get the governor’s ear so they could express their dismay with his new prison policies. (Katie Meyer/WITF)

Wolf didn’t involve himself with the rally. He entered and left from a back door.

A spokeswoman said Wolf stands by the tighter prison security because it’s designed to protect corrections officers and inmates from exposure to synthetic drugs that are sometimes smuggled into facilities.

One of Wagner’s recurring talking points is Wolf’s reluctance to engage. In the pair’s only debate, the former GOP state senator repeatedly accused his opponent of failing to make himself accessible to voters.

Wagner has pushed to hold a debate in every county.

“I’ve been to all 67 counties,” he told Wolf and moderator Alex Trebek. “I was in a county the other evening, I was told I’ve been there seven times … The people of Pennsylvania want to hear from the governor. They want to talk about issues, and there are a lot of issues.”

Wolf dismissed the 67 debates idea as a stunt.

“I have been, also, in every county in Pennsylvania,” he said. “The issue, I think, that Scott has is not that people aren’t listening … People are listening to both sides. They’re drawing their conclusions, they’re understanding the contrast … They don’t like what they’re hearing from you, but they are listening.”

The single debate between Wolf and Wagner was moderated by Jeopardy host Alex Trebek. (Matt Rourke/AP Photo)

When it comes to policy, Wagner has presented himself as a Republican in the mold of President Donald Trump.

He supports stripping the state budget down to essentials and wants to study school funding to avoid waste. He’s pitching promises to get rid of school property taxes and pay off Pennsylvania’s massive pension debt — both huge goals that recent governors from both parties have deemed infeasible.

About six hours after Wagner’s golf-spike-stomping video went up, he took it down, and released another video in which he said he might have made a poor word choice, before refocusing on his campaign pitch.

Wolf’s staff, meanwhile, was busy sending out statements calling Wagner “unhinged” and unfit to be governor.

The governor himself was characteristically quiet.

In a meeting with the Philadelphia Inquirer editorial board later that day, he gave his only in-person answer to the golf spikes comment:

“I think that would hurt,” he said. “I’m not sure I’d like that.”

The midterm election is Nov. 6.


Law named for Penn St. pledge who died after hazing signed

The death of a Penn State student after a night of drinking in a fraternity house is bringing a new anti-hazing law to Pennsylvania.

Gov. Tom Wolf on Friday signed legislation that imposes stricter criminal penalties and permits courts to order confiscation of frat houses where hazing has occurred.

The parents and brother of 19-year-old Tim Piazza of Lebanon, New Jersey, attended the bill signing in the state Capitol.

Piazza died from severe head and abdominal injuries after suffering a series of falls inside the Beta Theta Pi house early last year.

The law requires schools to maintain policies to combat hazing and report incidents. Hazing that results in severe injury or death is classified as a felony under the new law.

It goes into effect in a month.


Textiquitte and sharenting

Guests: Naomi Baron, Stacey Steinberg

Hey! So… When someone texts you a lot of question marks, how does it make you feel??? How about when you get “ok.” as a response? Haha nice. Today we’re going to talk about the emotive grammar unique to text messages –  how the use of punctuation, slang, specific words, and emojis are all used to convey the feeling and context to each of our messages. We’ll be joined by American University professor of linguistics NAOMI BARON to pick apart the nuances of text messaging. Then, we’ll talk about the ethics and etiquette of sharing pictures of your children and grandchildren – also known as “sharenting” – with STACEY STEINBERG, law professor at The University of Florida and contributor to The Washington Post’s “On Parenting” column.


Racists teach here

“I’m not sure you’re capable of taking that class,” said my high school English teacher. She was a middle-aged white woman. I had approached her after class to sign a form allowing me to take the more advanced AP English class the following year. My first year of high school, I was placed in the advanced courses in science and math but not in English.  

Placement in advanced courses was based on previous grades and PSSAs scores, a Pennsylvania standardized test. As a straight-A student, I spent my first year wondering why I hadn’t been placed in a more advanced course. As Latino immigrants, my parents couldn’t help me navigate the U.S. education system. We all just assumed the teacher knew best. At the end of the year, however, I was determined to get into AP English as a sophomore. 

While I don’t recall exactly what my teacher said to me, I do know how I felt. It’s the same way I always feel when I defend myself – my throat closes up, my tongue gets dry, and my body feels inflamed. The discussion consisted of me saying over and over, “I know I am capable of taking AP English and I will get straight A’s.” As a child, you often believe that teachers are always right and have the best intentions for their students. Only a few inches taller than me, my teacher seemed like a giant as I pleaded with her to sign my form.  

Throughout my time in high school in rural western Pennsylvania, I was the darkest person in my classes. Sure, there were a handful of students of color, but we were very much a minority among a wide array of white students. Of the five students of color, I was the only Latina and one of two women of color. 

My family is originally from Peru and my ancestors were the Inca. Growing up, my parents raised my brother and me as if we were transplanted Peruvians, feeding us only cuisine from our motherland and speaking only Spanish at home. I lived two lives during high school, one with English-speaking classmates, the other with my Peruvian roots.  

Every day, I would walk through the halls of my high school and feel visibly different. Sometimes, the difference was articulated when people would try to use the word “Mexican” as an insult or when every teacher pronounced my last name wrong. 

Sometimes, the microaggressions I endured were people grabbing at my thick, coarse black hair or asking if my parents were “illegals.” High school is often traumatic for most people, but, for people of color, the racism we experience at that moment in our lives is just the beginning. 

College is where I learned to express the pigment in my skin. I joined a Latinx affinity group, a club where students of Latinx ancestry learned and grew together. It felt liberating to finally express myself fully, using both my English and Spanish vocabulary, with a group of Latinx peers. We shared similar experiences and stories; we could relate to each other. When we exchanged stories of racism in the classroom, I realized that race was the reason I didn’t get into AP English my freshman year of high school. 

The thing about racism is that every day, good people can be racist. Racism isn’t just reserved for people who proudly wave a Confederate flag. Racism is blindly believing in a negative stereotype based on someone’s race. My high school English teacher probably thought she was just doing her job by questioning my motives and ability to do well in an advanced class. In reality, she was holding me back. 

A study of accelerated math students in North Carolina by the Harvard Kennedy School found that “accelerated students are substantially more likely to be white or Asian and less likely to be black or Hispanic.” The study even questions whether “implicit or explicit discrimination on the part of teachers and schools play a role.” 

The thing about being a person of color is that your intelligence and your citizenship are constantly being questioned. When people see my golden-brown skin, they ask, “Where are you from?” Despite speaking perfect American English, my skin is like a passport of my ancestry proving that I am, somehow, a foreigner on my native soil. 

In college, I experienced just as much racism, if not more than in high school. 

On the first day of class, after we had all introduced ourselves, my journalism professor said, “International students surprisingly write and speak English well.” From there, each day brought a new assault on a different ethnicity or minority. One day it would be a jab about black people, the next about queer people, the following about how sensitive everyone was.  

The best way to explain the trauma of being in a class with a racist professor is that it tears you apart like an onion. Having to go into a class where racism, misogyny, and homophobia were constant wore me down. But as a person of color, I have certain defense mechanisms in place so that when something racist happens, I can protect my core. 

It was traumatic to be in a room with a white man who holds your grade and yourself captive. By the end of the semester, I gave up. My body would physically ache when his class approached as I prepared for the worst. After each class, I was emotionally drained, tired, and depressed. I just wanted the torture to end.  

After the ordeal of that journalism class, I decided to try a new approach – to go out of my way to take courses taught by professors of color. I ended up majoring in comparative literature, studying the intersection of English and Spanish. Whenever I told people I was studying Spanish, I would always get, “If you already know how to speak Spanish, why are you studying it? It’s like cheating.” My response was always, “Why would a native English speaker ever major in English?” 

The thing about my major I loved the most was the flexibility to take different courses. I was able to study East Asian studies, colonialism, film, translation, Victorian literature, and any other courses that fit within the discipline.  

I gravitated toward women professors and saw my grades skyrocket. Not only was I thinking critically and analyzing literature, I also loved my classes. The professors I bonded with could all relate to being undermined and discriminated in predominantly white institutions. These professors of color became my mentors. But they were few. 

According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, “On average, 75 out of every 100 full-time faculty members at four-year colleges are white. Five are black, and even fewer are Hispanic.” 

Professors of color face more challenges than their white counterparts in gaining tenure. Insider Ed reported “underrepresented minority groups held approximately 13 percent of faculty jobs in 2013, up from 9 percent in 1993. Yet they still only hold 10 percent of tenured jobs.” 

Students of color face invisibility in predominantly white educational institutions. We are not represented by teachers who look or experience the world like us. And, even if we’re privileged enough to gain entry into these institutions, we often lack the support to actually complete our education. The Institute of Labor Economics found that “exposure to a black teacher during elementary school raises long-run educational attainment for black male students, especially among those from low-income households.” The support and mentorship students of color gain from professors of color does end up making a huge impact in our lives. 

I often thought about quitting college; as it turns out, I wasn’t alone. The Latino Education and Economic Progress study by Georgetown University found that “while Latinos with high SAT/ACT test scores have similar rates of enrollment as whites, 63 percent of these Latinos complete a degree or credential compared to 78 percent of whites with similar test scores.” 

As students of color, we supported each other in the Latinx affinity group. Being able to talk through the shock and confusion of racism with peers is healing. We often don’t get that same support from our institutions. 

I was lucky to go to a small private school that was making a change to be more diverse, changing its criteria to hire more tenured faculty of color and accepting more underrepresented, low-income students. But it wasn’t nearly enough. 

What we need is very clear: sensitivity training for faculty and staff; coursework and planning based on cultural competency; community and parental outreach; financial aid resources; and more tenured professors of color. While implementing these strategies will take a long time, ongoing efforts  are making a difference.