Inherent Racism Revealed in COVID-19 Vaccine Trials; Texas Sheriff Charged in Death of Javier Ambler While in Police Custody; AOC Attacks Trump Over $70k Spent on His Hair; and More

Major COVID-19 vaccine trials currently underway lack racial inclusion.

The research being carried out in search of a vaccine for COVID-19 contains a startling lack of diversity, according to a new story from Fast Company’s Kristin Toussaint. While the stats on COVID-19’s attack on people of color continue to alarm — Blacks are infected at nearly three times the rate of whites and also continue to die at much higher rates than whites, according to data from Johns Hopkins University — the makeup of those being tested on with the COVID-19 vaccines is still predominantly white. Toussaint reports that of the 25,000 participants enrolled in Moderna’s phase three trial, 51% were white, 13% were Black and 27% were Hispanic or Latino. Pfizer’s trial has enrolled nearly 32,000 individuals, of which just 8% are Black. And many of the other trials underway are so lacking in diversity, they aren’t even revealing their numbers. Surely major pharma backed with millions of research dollars can do better.


Texas sheriff charged in yet another extreme example of police abuse of power.

Robert Chody, the sheriff in Williamson County, has been arrested and charged with tampering with evidence in the case of Javier Ambler, a Black man who died in police custody in March 2019. NBC News reports that Chody has been accused of destroying or concealing audio and video footage that showed his deputies pursuing and using force on Ambler following a 22-minute car chase. Chody was one of the stars of Live PD, an A&E reality show that followed cops on patrol; the show was cancelled earlier this year after news broke that their cameras had recorded the entire event surrounding and leading up to Ambler’s death. The charges follow a months-long investigation into the incident that included a thorough review of Live PD camera footage plus 19 witnesses appearing before a grand jury. Ambler’s death was ruled the result of congestive heart failure and hypertensive cardiovascular disease associated with morbid obesity, in combination with forcible restraint, according to the Texas Attorney General’s Office.


AOC attacks Trump over sexism and hair.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has called out the blatant, sexist double standards in her treatment versus that of Donald Trump in the wake of his recently released taxes. “Last year Republicans blasted a firehose of hatred + vitriol my way because I treated myself to a $250 cut & lowlights on my birthday. Where’s the criticism of their idol spending $70k on hairstyling? Oh, it’s nowhere because they’re spineless, misogynistic hypocrites? Got it.” she tweeted

The New York Times recently broke the internet by revealing details on more than a decade’s worth of Trump’s taxes including the alarming fact that while he paid just $750 on taxes some years, he spent nearly 100 times that amount ($70,000) on cuts and styling of his hair.


Gender-affirming care early in life is key for eliminating mental health issues within the transgender community.

Depression and anxiety are common problems for transgender individuals, but a new study in the journal Pediatrics reveals that when transgender children receive gender-reaffirming care early in their lives, those mental health issues become less frequent. Researchers in Toronto tracked the progress of 300 transgender children between the ages of 10 and 17 who were starting care at their center. They found that older children getting treatment were 16% more likely to be diagnosed with depression, 12% more likely to have self-harmed or considered suicide and nearly twice as likely to have attempted suicide. “A major part of puberty is developing physical changes, and for youth with gender dysphoria, they begin to develop physical changes that are not in keeping with the gender they identify,” the study’s lead author Julia C. Sorbara told NBC News. “The study highlights that timely access to gender-affirming medical care is really important for youth with gender dysphoria,” she says.


Act of kindness rewards selfless Walgreens clerk who covered customer’s $12 purchase.

A bit of feel-good news in our troubled times: The Washington Post reports on the happy viral tale of Houston Walgreens cashier Rita Jackson Burns, who recently loaned her customer Rina Liou $12. 

Liou, a real estate agent, had stopped at the store to buy lightbulbs for a home showing she was rushing to prepare for. When she got in line to pay, she realized she had forgotten her wallet at home. Burns offered to pay for the lightbulbs for the flustered and frantic Liou — despite only having $20 currently in her bank account (since she’d recently paid her bills). Grateful, Liou rushed to her showing and stopped back at the store to repay Burns when it was over. To carry her gratitude one step further, Liou also posted her story on a local community board where she again praised Burns’ actions. From there, the city’s KHOU-11 picked up the story and another grateful citizen who frequented the store and hoped to honor Burns’ decades of service set up a GoFundMe campaign called “Gratitude for Ms. Rita.” 

As of publishing, the story is continuing to spread and go viral; the GoFundMe campaign has currently raised nearly $20,000 for the very grateful Burns, who plans to save some of the money and donate part of it to a children’s charity.


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