America’s national parks face existential crisis over race

As millions of Americans escape home quarantine to the great outdoors this summer, they’ll venture into parks, campgrounds and forest lands that remain stubborn bastions of self-segregation.

“The outdoors and public lands suffer from the same systemic racism that the rest of our society does,” said Joel Pannell, associate director of the Sierra Club, which is leading an effort to boost diversity in the wilderness and access to natural spaces.

New government data, shared first with ABC News, shows the country’s premier outdoor spaces — the 419 national parks — remain overwhelmingly white. Just 23% of visitors to the parks were people of color, the National Park Service found in its most recent 10-year survey; 77% were white. Minorities make up 42% of the U.S. population.

“That tells me that we’ve got a lot of work to do,” said David Vela, acting director of the National Park Service.

The career

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The Independent’s Happy List 2020: Heroes in a crisis

Today The Independent publishes its annual Happy List, which this year honours 50 remarkable heroes in a crisis who have helped others during the Covid-19 pandemic. These are some of Britain’s most inspirational individuals, whose kindness, ingenuity and dedication prove that the worst of times can bring out our best.

The 50 people here have been chosen by a panel from scores of nominations from you, the readers of The Independent. We received so many examples of people doing extraordinary things without thought of personal gain, and acts of kindness uniting communities. A huge thank you to everyone who played a part.

The Happy List, in partnership with GoFundMe, the world’s largest online fundraising platform, is completely unranked. Instead, it appears in alphabetical order, as it would be impossible to measure the successes of these individuals against each other. They include a six-year old boy with spina bifida who

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6 Do’s and Don’ts When Saving Money During a Crisis

Probably the last thing you want to think about during a crisis is working on healthy financial habits like saving money. But if you’re able to save, you can make your eventual recovery easier.

“Every time you put some [money] away, you’re looking out for your future self,” says Saundra Davis, founder and executive director at Sage Financial Solutions, a San Francisco Bay Area-based nonprofit that offers financial coach training and services to people across the wealth spectrum.

Whether or not your financial situation has changed since the start of 2020, you may benefit from these saving strategies now or down the road.

Do: Reduce costs, including bills if needed

Common advice to save money is to cut unnecessary costs. During an ongoing crisis such as a pandemic, you might need to redefine what is “unnecessary.”

Start with the cost of bare essentials to operate your household — rent or

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how artists in the Spanish-speaking world turn to religious imagery to help cope in a crisis

<span class="caption">The Virgin Crown: appeared on a wall in Madrid on March 13, the day before Spain went into lockdown.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Ernesto Muñiz</span></span>
The Virgin Crown: appeared on a wall in Madrid on March 13, the day before Spain went into lockdown. Ernesto Muñiz

While millions of people across Europe and beyond have been forced into lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, some artists have used their time in isolation to create work using religious imagery as a way to tell the story of the crisis. On the streets of Madrid, graffiti artist Ernesto Muñiz reimagined the imagery related to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as a means of interpreting the current situation.

The Virgin’s heart becomes a rendering of the virus, the cause of the world’s suffering. The Virgin herself is wearing a gas mask, yet her sorrowful eyes, pose and garments are all instantly recognisable. This image of the Virgin seems to suggest that we should place our trust in science, wear our masks and the suffering will pass.

She is no

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‘I Have Nothing:’ The Story Of Wisconsin’s Unemployment Crisis

MILWAUKEE, WI — It was Wednesday morning, and DeiDra Blakley was on the floor of her Milwaukee apartment counting the loose change she saves in a jar.

Blakely has been out of work for more than 13 weeks, and despite applying for unemployment insurance benefits in Wisconsin, she has yet to receive a check. She’s fallen more than two months behind on her rent, and is afraid she might be evicted after the state’s 60-day moratorium on evictions expired last week.

She has a quarter-tank of gas left in her car, and she’s been spending the morning hunting for boxes at nearby gas stations, so she has something to pack her belongings in case she is evicted.

The change amounts to $16.03 — almost enough to fill the tank.

Blakely used to work in the Fire Keepers Club at the Potawatomi Hotel and Casino until she was furloughed. Her last

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How the Coronavirus Crisis is Opening the Door to Universal Social Policies in the U.S.

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the health, social, and economic inequalities that have been growing in the United States for decades. The pandemic is killing Black Americans at over twice the rate of white Americans, Black women are experiencing some of the largest losses in employment, and child hunger among working class communities continues to grow. Together with the protests against racial injustice, this moment of upheaval is leading to calls across the U.S. for structural reforms to the social and economic systems in our country.

What do people want these reforms to look like? Our research shows broad and building support for expansions of the social safety net across the U.S.—policies that would keep people safe by ensuring that basic needs can be met. In national surveys we conducted with thousands of Americans across the political spectrum, there are now levels of support for these programs that would

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New York firm helps small businesses emerge from the COVID-19 crisis

Jessica Larios’ baby arrived a few weeks before her due date at the end of February.

The owner of Bella’s Event – an event planning business in Yonkers, New York, specializing in rentals and sales of all things party-related from wedding gowns to quinceañera dresses, table linens and party supplies – Larios could not afford to take time off during one of the busiest months for bookings.

In a haze of feedings and caring for the baby, Larios plowed through her work. Less than a month later, things ground to a halt as the coronavirus pandemic took hold – and cancellations poured in.

Jessica Larios owns Bella’s Events, which specializes in rentals and sales of everything party-related, such as quinceanera dresses, in Yonkers, N.Y. The Acceleration Project, a nonprofit consulting firm, helped Larios navigate the loans process and adapt her business by moving it online.

“I was so worried

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voices of America’s unemployment crisis

<span>Photograph: Justin Lane/EPA</span>
Photograph: Justin Lane/EPA

The coronavirus pandemic has wrought destruction on US workers at a scale and speed that is almost unfathomable. 

It was only in February that Donald Trump was touting an unemployment level of 3.5%, a 50-year low. The unemployment rate dropped on Friday to 13.3% – but is still at its highest level since the 1980s – and many economists fear the real figure is far higher.

In just four months 42 million people have filed for unemployment insurance, more people than the population of Canada.

Such huge numbers can numb reality – a reality that will cause suffering and hardship for millions of people for years to come. Trump claimed victory after the latest jobs report and Republicans are pressing for lockdowns to be eased further, threatening a further spike in coronavirus cases. A new round of stimulus cash for struggling people and businesses now looks more

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Don’t let online education turn into the next crisis that hits people of color hardest

When historians look back at 2020, they might see some important lessons about how problems become really big problems when left to fester. 

First, COVID-19 shut down the American economy and killed over 112,000 Americans — disproportionately African American — because we failed to establish the proper public health response early to address it. 

Then, intense national protests erupted in every major city because of our persistent inability to address systemic racism, which manifested itself this time in the brutal police killing of George Floyd.

Problems don’t go away if we try to sweep them under the rug. They just get worse.

Another crisis now looms. Since tens of millions of Americans began sheltering in place in March, the nation’s schools have switched to remote learning. Many teachers, students and parents were unprepared for distance learning, which could become a permanent fixture of education. And once again, communities of color

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