Special Projects and Investigations

More Black women are being elected to office. Few feel safe once they get there

Every day for more than four years, Kiah Morris lived in fear. She developed a safety routine for her family with the help of an international security expert, installed security cameras outside their home and received firearms training. When Morris took office as a Democratic state representative in Vermont in 2015, she was the first Black woman elected to the state’s legislature in 26 years. Her district was located in a county with an estimated population of 36,589 that was about 96 percent

21 lesbian bars remain in America. Owners share why they must be protected

Rachel and Sheila Smallman spent the summer of 2016 traveling the Gulf Coast, trying to find the best place to open a lesbian bar. There were queer bars along the coast, but they largely catered to cisgender gay men. The Smallmans visited at least five cities in four states. On one night, the Smallmans met a friend at a New Orleans gay bar. They were there for about three minutes before some of the patrons and employees started yelling at them to leave because they were women. The couple and t

'It feels like freedom,' 8 people describe getting their COVID-19 vaccine

The COVID-19 vaccine cards are record-keeping necessities. Slightly smaller than an index card, the white piece of paper pinpoints when and where you were vaccinated. But it doesn’t capture the wide range of life experiences that led to that moment. As the Biden administration and local governments expand the availability of vaccinations across the country, that little piece of paper has taken on added weight. Many have shared selfies of themselves after getting the vaccine at a school gymnasiu

Two cities tried to fix homelessness, only one succeeded

HOUSTON — Nearly a decade ago, two U.S. cities with large homeless populations tried to solve their problem by adopting a strategy that prioritized giving people housing and help over temporary shelter. But Houston and San Diego took fundamentally different approaches to implementing that strategy, known as Housing First. Houston revamped its entire system to get more people into housing quickly, and it cut homelessness by more than half. San Diego attempted a series of one-off projects but was

60% of incarcerated kids have child welfare background

The child welfare and juvenile justice systems are meant to help the nation’s most vulnerable children, but the two are rarely in sync, and young people who have been part of both systems make up more than half of those who get in trouble with the law. “Once a child enters the child welfare system, the decisions made for that child by the child welfare system may, in fact, be pushing the kid towards juvenile justice,” said Denise Herz, a criminal justice professor at California State University, Los Angeles and one of the few researchers who has been studying so-called crossover kids, or dual-status youth, for years.

Forced out: Schools feed the juvenile prison population

Black students were suspended from school 3½ times more often than white students during the 2018-19 school year, according to a News21 analysis of 11 sample states and New York City, which collectively serve about half of all U.S. students. Despite making up just 15% of the sample student population, Black students received 32% of the 1.6 million suspensions analyzed by News21. Decades of issuing harsher punishments, including suspensions and expulsions, in the name of school safety has accelerated the flow of kids out of primary and secondary schools and into detention centers and prisons, often referred to as the school-to-prison pipeline.

Virus may bring greater medical and financial risks for undocumented

It’s been a month since Juana stopped taking her key medication to treat the chronic vascular disease that attacks her immune system and debilitates her blood vessels. She has had three heart attacks in the past eight years. Without the medication, Juana said it’s only a matter of time before her symptoms — burning sensations in her legs and feet, severe fatigue and difficulty walking — come back. Without treatment, she could eventually suffer organ failure and die. Juana, who asked that her l

Sewage is the real border crisis for many border towns and cities

People who live in Imperial Beach, California, in Naco and Nogales in Arizona and in Texas communities along the Rio Grande all say the same thing: When it rains, it stinks. The reason is a failing, aging network of pipes and wastewater treatment plants that run from Mexico into each of these communities. When heavy rains fall, the pipes often break and spill raw sewage on both sides of the border, causing not only a putrid odor but public health and environmental concerns...

Smartphones, internet access are key tools of Venezuelan refugees

‘The cellphone does everything’: Smartphones, internet access are key tools of 21st century migration LIMA, Peru – Many of the more than 700,000 Venezuelans who have fled to Peru have arrived with next to nothing: a backpack, perhaps, carrying a toothbrush, a change of clothes and, most important, a cellphone. For most, their phones are lifelines. “The Venezuelan has broken, has finished with that old adage that the best friend of man is the dog. For a Venezuelan, his best friend is the cellphone...

Untold Arizona: Colonia Of Rillito 'A Forgotten Town'

The first thing you see is a beautiful, well-kept park, but the first thing you notice is the crumbling road as your car jolts hitting one of the many potholes in the streets of Rillito. A large number of the homes are abandoned and the streets are littered with trash. “Rillito’s a good town, but it’s a forgotten town. It’s a good community. But if you on the freeway and you blink, and you driving by, you miss it,” said Robert Brown, a lifelong resident of Rillito, Arizona. The community is adjacent to...
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