The Washington Post reports on reimagining public safety, in six stories: “A city that can find billions of dollars to police and incarcerate residents can invest a fraction of that money in making its neighborhoods safer in the first place. An obvious place to start is the physical environment, which Dr. South says is directly tied to community safety. Philadelphia, like many cities, is dotted with abandoned vacant lots — patches of neglect that can provide cover for both planned and spontaneous crimes. For years, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) has been working with the city to transform vacant lots into park-like environments. These interventions inspired Philadelphia researchers and community members to directly test the effects of vacant lot revitalization on community safety. As part of a multiyear, randomized experiment in Philadelphia, vacant lots were transformed into neat, grass-covered areas surrounded by low fences. The intervention was cheap — about $1.50 per square foot for the initial makeover and only 15 cents per square foot each year for maintenance. The results were striking: Over a period of 3 years, gun violence in poor neighborhoods near the restored lots fell by 29.1 percent. Residents reported being less afraid to go outside and significantly increased their use of outdoor spaces for relaxing and socializing.”
Colorlines interviews three women who reconnected with their native languages during the pandemic. “Last summer, soon after countries around the world announced their first lockdowns and millions were forced into self-quarantine, multiple language learning programs, including the popular website and app Duolingo, announced traffic spikes at all-time highs. The renewed interest in language inspired the question: how many people— driven by the urgency to connect with loved ones out of reach—are using the quarantine to learn their native or cultural tongues?”
The Washington Post reports on the history of anti-Asian racism in the US, in the wake of a series of deadly shootings that took the lives of seven women, six of them Asian women, and one man in Georgia.
The New York Times reports on aid flowing to Native communities as a result of the American Rescue Act, signed into law last week. “Lynn Malerba, the chief of the Mohegan Tribe, said the pandemic highlighted the inequities and challenges in Native American communities. Mr. Biden and this Congress understand those challenges much better than the previous administration, she said. The funding, Ms. Malerba said, is the federal government recognizing for the first time that tribal nations participate in the national economy and have the same responsibilities to the health and well-being of their citizens as state and local governments. “If you consider the Native population, depending on what estimate you are using, is 3 to 5 percent of the population and we received 1.5 percent of funding, that’s significant,” Ms. Malerba said. “It’s a much greater number than the previous administration had provided to us.”