It’d be surprising if you hadn’t seen the video yet. On Tuesday, a factory explosion on the scale of a nuclear blast took place in Beirut, Lebanon. Even at distances of 150 miles away, the blast was felt, and glass were shattered within 2 miles of the explosion (1). It is estimated that more than 135 have died, and thousands have been injured.
The explosion was likely caused by a chemical used in fertilizers and bombs that were stockpiled after being seized from a ship in 2014. Despite many attempts to get rid of the explosive chemical, permission was not granted by Lebanese courts.
A dozen hospitals within the range of the explosion were affected. Many had windows shattered and lost power, forcing them to turn away patients (2).
What Can You Do?
Hundreds of thousands of citizens have found their homes destroyed by the blast and are currently homeless. Many are missing, and treating the wounds of the injured has been difficult due to impact felt at hospitals (3).
If you can donate, please consider donating to International Medical Corps, Islamic Relief, the Lebanese Red Cross, or Project HOPE. You can also consider donating blood (use the link to find urgent blood type needs and contact info).
Even though the Voting Rights Act was Signed into law 55 years ago, the supreme court ruled a critical section of it unconstitutional in 2013 (4). The Voting Rights Act, for years, had helped Americans have equal access to voting. This particular section eliminated discriminatory voting rules and qualifications, while mandating federal approval of state-made changes to voting policy. Without it, we’ve encountered problems…From limited polling locations in particular neighborhoods to reduced voting rights for convicted felons. That’s why voter suppression is able to happen right now.
There is, perhaps, no clearer example than what happened in Georgia during the past primary, where individuals waited in line to vote for HOURS (5).
Now, COVID-19 and the sharp resistance to mail-in voting could force some to choose between having their voice heard and maintaining their health. Click on this link to personalize a pre-made message demanding expansion of voting access during the pandemic.
On a related note…get counted in the census! The deadline has been pushed forward to September 20th, which may be a way to ensure groups with limited internet access or homelessness are not getting counted or represented. Make sure you’re counted here.
School’s Back in Session
Schools back in person at North Paulding High School in Georgia, but masks are not being mandated and social distancing looks like a thing of the past.
Though the school was reportedly telling students and faculty not to share images of the school halls on social media, a student did, and was suspended for it. However, with massive attention from the social media post, the school superintendent later revoked the suspension (6).
School’s all over the country, including this one, are one their own in terms of maintaining outbreaks, and some are handling it far better than others (7).