A group of New Orleans sanitation workers have been on strike for the last six weeks, demanding higher wages, hazard pay during the coronavirus pandemic, and proper personal protective equipment. New Orleans photographer Katie Sikora spent time with the workers — who are all hoppers, an exhausting job that requires jumping on and off the backs of trucks to empty trash bins — documenting their strike.
Anthony Perkins pickets in front of Metro Service Group. Hoppers —who help collect 250,000 pounds of the city’s waste each week — are essential workers in the time of coronavirus. Photo by Katie Sikora
The hoppers are carrying signs with the phrase “I Am A Man,” a reference to the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers’ strike, which Martin Luther King Jr. was visiting when he was assassinated. “I used to see [I AM A MAN] when I was a kid all the time, I just never thought I would be holding one of the signs,” said Rahman Brooks. “I never thought in 100 years. I am still shocked that it happened in Memphis in ’68 and 52 years later, it happens in New Orleans and I’m in it. That means a lot to me. It’s powerful. History is repeating itself and now I get to be a part of it. I am a man.”
This week, I wrote for Grist about the Supreme Court's decision to reverse a lower court’s decision and uphold a permit granted by the U.S. Forest Service for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to cross the Appalachian Trail (Read my in-depth story about the pipeline from last year). It's a significant decision, but the developers still lack eight permits for the project.
One in every three Tennessee residents who has tested positive for COVID-19 is Hispanic — 35% of the state’s entire reported count. In Nashville, a third of residents who have tested positive are Hispanic. But Latinx folks only make up about 10% of Nashville’s population and 5% of the state’s. Tennessee Lookout investigated how community groups and officials are responding.
Facing South is updating this list of Confederate monuments that have been defaced, removed, or ordered to be removed following recent protests against police violence and white supremacy.
In Key West, protests highlight gentrification of historic Black community
People living in Bahama Village are using the recent protests against police violence and systemic racism to speak out about how rising costs are pushing them out. Read our story.
Struggling Florida Panhandle towns face tough reopening decisions
The coronavirus pandemic has stalled local economies still reeling from the effects of recent hurricanes.Read the story. Download the PDF with tips on how to stay safe while vacationing.
News flying under the radar
More pipeline news:Mississippi lawmakers have advanced a bill that threatens up to seven years in prison for damaging or trespassing on oil and gas property, and up to $100,000 in fines for groups supporting the people who do.In Louisiana, Gov. John Bel Edwards on Friday vetoed a bill that would have increased penalties for trespassing on pipelines, levees and other facilities.
Virginia Beach officials often talk about addressing sea level rise, but rarely mention the words "climate change," so as not to alienate people who don't want to discuss it. But, according to the Virginian-Pilot, in the seven years since the city passed its sustainability plan, it has has made little or no progress on many of the goals — especially carbon emissions reductions. Tuesday, the city council passed a plan that "lays out a suite of options for the city to consider to safeguard Virginia Beach. Among other things, it includes multi-billion-dollar infrastructure projects, restricting new development in some parts of the city and purchasing properties in danger of flooding."
Older Florida residents who are more at risk from COVID-19 are having to make the agonizing decision over what to do about hurricane season. They are worried they may contract the virus at a shelter, but many can't evacuate. Tampa Bay Times spoke to some of them.
Grand Isle is a sandy slip of Jefferson Parish between Barataria Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Tropical Storm Cristobal damaged almost 2,000 feet of the levee on the island’s west side, and local officials are worried. “This is a crisis situation,” the mayor David Camardelle told the Times-Picayune | New Orleans Advocate. “I’m worried to death this island will be cut in half.”
Tonight at 7pm, our friends at Women AdvaNCe are hosting a virtual screening (in English and Spanish) five short films about immigration stories that provide a fuller picture of immigration policies and injustices, with a panel of folks from the films to discuss them.
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