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Illinois Legislator Aims to Prohibit Sales of ‘All Violent Video Games’

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One state representative from Chicago is willing to take a new approach to combat an increase in carjackings.

What We Know:

  • Democratic state representative Marcus Evans announced on Tuesday that he is looking to introduce an amendment to bill HB3531 to ban sales of violent video games to minors in the state of Illinois. The representative claims that the video game series ‘Grand Theft Auto’ is harmful to children and contributing to crime in Chicago.

“‘Grand Theft Auto’ and other violent video games are getting in the minds of our young people and perpetuating the normalcy of carjacking,” Evans said. “Carjacking is not normal and carjacking must stop.”

  • According to Fortune, Chicago police have responded to 218 carjackings in the last month alone. Despite scientifically unsubstantiated claims that video games result in real-life acts of violence, the amendment seeks to redefine what makes a video game violent to include “motor vehicle theft with a driver or passenger present” and serious physical harm to include “psychological harm.”
  • Video games, along with music and comic books have been used to explain real-world violence for generations. While researchers at Dartmouth in 2018 did connect violent games and adolescent aggression, several other studies have widely discredited the correlation.
  • When studying the correlation between violent video games and school shootings, professor of psychology and criminal justice at Texas A&M University Chris Ferguson wrote, “As a video game violence researcher and someone who has done scholarship on mass homicides, let me state very emphatically: There is no good evidence that video games or other media contributes, even in a small way, to mass homicides or any other violence among youth.”

If passed, the bill would fine any minor who sells or rents a violent video game up to $1,000 per offense.

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White House Names Erika Moritsugu as Asian American and Pacific Islander Liaison

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On Wednesday, the White House announced that Erika Moritsugu will be named as the deputy assistant to the President and Asian American and Pacific Islander Senior Liaison.

What We Know:

  • President Joe Biden created the new role in response to rising Anti-Asian hate crimes amid the pandemic and pressure from Democratic lawmakers Tammy Duckworth of Illinois and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii. The representatives claimed that the president’s cabinet lacked Asian American and Pacific Islander representation.
  • In March, the two senators threatened to oppose any of Biden’s non-diverse nominees until Asian American voices were granted more senior roles. After the nomination, Duckworth congratulated Moritsugu in a statement.

“I know first-hand that President Biden will benefit from her counsel, policy expertise and strong relationship-building skills, especially as his Administration seeks to make sure AAPI leaders are present at the highest levels of government,” Duckworth said. “I look forward to working with her to build on and expand the Biden’s Administration’s efforts to protect and empower the AAPI community.

  • According to CBS News, Moritsugu has had a diverse experience working in the federal government. In the past, she served as general counsel to Duckworth and was the deputy legislative director to former Senator Danny Akaka of Hawaii. She worked in the Senate Democratic Policy Committee under former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid from Nevada. During the Obama administration, Moritsugu was also confirmed by the Senate in 2014 to become assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • Outside of Capitol Hill, Moritsugu was recently working as vice president at the National Partnership for Women & Families where she led the organization’s economic justice program and was a leader on the congressional relations team.

Although Moritsugu is not expected to attend, Biden is meeting Thursday with the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus at the White House to address AAPI concerns.

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Obama Urges Black Americans to ‘Fight Back’ against Voter Suppression

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Former President Barack Obama was very vocal on the issue of voter suppression in an exclusive interview with theGrio. It comes after Georgia’s Gov. Brian Kemp signed the controversial Senate Bill 202.

What We Know:

  • The new bill, known as SB 202, allows state-level officials to take away county election boards’ powers. SB 202 permits the state government to possibly disqualify voters in Democratic-leaning areas. Additionally, it would make it illegal to provide food and water to voters in line. This is problematic because Georgia voter lines are historically long in majority nonwhite precincts. The voting law would also require ID for absentee ballots and limit dropbox placement.
  • In his discussion with theGrio Staff, Obama asks black voters to defend their rights. He says this isn’t the first time government officials have attempted to repress votes “to advance their own narrow interests.” In terms of fighting voter suppression, he wants citizens to keep organizing and showing up to polls to enforce change. He also encourages his supporters to follow Stacey Abrams‘ lead in fighting for voter mobilization.
  • Also, Obama debates how to preserve democracy. He affirms that democracy “is not dead yet” when asked about CPAC, QAnon/Trump voters, and voter suppression. Obama says that over the last year, the United States has seen an influx of citizens willing to fight for a difference. He declared that in November, “under incredibly difficult circumstances,” Americans proved the system is still efficient. However, for democracy to continue, citizens must be active every day.
  • Various companies, Democratic politicians, and citizens disagree with SB 202. Recently, the Major League Baseball (MLB) pulled the All-Star Game from Atlanta in response to the law. Although Georgia Democrats are upset their state will not host the game, they understood the MLB’s stance. On Saturday, church organizations like the Sixth Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Piney Grove Missionary Baptist Church, Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, and the Augusta Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, among others, urged corporations attending and sponsoring the Master’s Tournament to also fight against SB 202.

Obama reminds the readers that previous generations also had to fight for their rights. He references billy clubs, lynching, poll taxes, and literacy tests. Furthermore, he cites protestors were relentless to make sure their voices were heard.

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Rep. Alcee Hastings, Barrier-Breaking Florida Democrat, Dies at 84

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The trailblazing Florida congressman and former civil-rights activist, who was serving his 15th term, died Tuesday morning.

What We Know:

  • Hastings represented Florida’s 20th Congressional District, which covers some of Palm Beach and Broward Counties. He has served as a Democrat in the House since 1993. In 1979, Hastings became the state’s first black federal judge when President Jimmy Carter named him to Florida’s Southern U.S. District Court.
  • He began his career as a civil rights lawyer, working towards the desegregation of Broward County schools. After being named a federal judge, Hastings was indicted in 1981 on charges of conspiracy to solicit a bribe. He was impeached by the House in 1988, and removed as a federal judge the following year.
  • Despite the setback, Hastings was able to win election to the House of Representatives, where he served until his death. In a statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Hastings “leaves behind a powerful legacy of activism and action on behalf of Floridians and all Americans.”
  • Other Democrats echoed those sentiments: Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Hastings “fought tirelessly for the civil rights of all Americans.” Ted Deutch, a fellow Florida Rep., mourned his passing, noting his passion for fighting injustice.

  • Hastings was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer in late 2018. He continued to work and make public appearances for the next two years, until recently when he was placed under hospice care.

Alcee Lamar Hastings was born on Sept. 5th, 1936, in Altamonte Springs, Florida. He received his law degree from Florida A&M in 1963, and is survived by his four children and wife, Patricia Williams.

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