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New England News Collaborative

Danielle Laws / Baronial Designs Photography

Aigné Goldsby’s mom was a hairdresser. So as a kid, Goldsby would flex a variety of hairstyles. But at her majority white school, kids would do things like pull on her weave, Goldsby recalled.

When Goldsby grew up and became a lawyer, she didn’t feel at ease bringing her full self to work.

“As a Black woman it’s been difficult for me, and it’s certainly been a process for me to feel comfortable in predominantly white spaces,” she told NEXT.

ALONSO NICHOLS

Jennifer De Leon grew up attending mostly white schools in the Boston area, where she tried to fit in.

“I was in this mode of survival and assimilation,” said De Leon, an author and assistant professor of creative writing at Framingham State University in Massachusetts.

Marena Lin / Project Restore Us

What we eat -- and where -- has changed for many of us over the past year. Some people are getting more takeout, while others are spending a lot more time at home, cooking both elaborate and simple meals. The New York Times reported that cookbook sales increased by 127% from 2019 to 2020.

Ben Gray / AP Photo

After the killings of eight people in Atlanta, including six Asian women, Caroline H. Lee wrote a commentary for WBUR’s blog Cognoscenti, responding directly to news reports that said it was “unclear” whether the killings were motivated by racism. Her commentary is titled, “Call The Shootings In Atlanta What They Were: Targeted Violence Against Asian American Women.”

Miseal Martinez

When singer Niu Raza wrote the song “Madagascar,” she wanted to capture the feeling of home through her lyrics and sound.

In an interview with NEXT, Raza said she brought in traditional Malagasy singing from her home country of Madagascar and blended it with the influences of pop music and Afrobeat. “Madagascar” is featured on her first full-length album “Mm-hmm,” which was released earlier this year.

NASA

NASA’s Artemis program plans to land the first woman on the moon by 2024. Half of the Artemis team is composed of women, including Jessica Meir, who grew up in Caribou, Maine.

In a recent interview on NEXT, Meir traced her career ambitions back to the first grade, when the teacher instructed students to draw a picture of what they wanted to be when they grew up. Meir drew herself, standing on the lunar surface in a spacesuit with the American flag.

Charlie Vega is the heroine of Crystal Maldonado’s debut young-adult novel, “Fat Chance, Charlie Vega.” When Charlie describes herself, she uses the word “fat.” She’s learning to celebrate who she is and how she looks -- although her weight still affects her relationships with crushes, her best friend and her mom. 

Since the racial reckoning last summer after the police killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, people are talking more openly about racism and inequality. Many workplaces are prioritizing training around diversity, equity and inclusion, and some people are feeling more comfortable talking about experiencing microaggressions. 

“Microaggressions are things that people often experience daily. And the people who commit microaggressions often don’t realize they’re doing so," said Renee Wells, director of education for equity and inclusion at Middlebury College in Vermont.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

The latest vaccination data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that some New England states are vaccinating against COVID-19 quicker than others, with Connecticut currently ranking as one of the top states in the U.S. and the top in New England.

New England states ranked by the percentage of people who have received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose:

Mark Mirko / Hartford Courant

In 2013, a social worker named Winston Taylor showed up for jury duty in New London, Connecticut. He was being questioned as a potential juror in the murder trial of Evan J. Holmes. When a state's attorney asked Taylor about his perceptions of police, he said he had at times been fearful of cops -- based on his experiences as a Black American. Taylor also said he knew good police officers and would be a fair juror.

Adam Glanzman / Northeastern University

A professor from Northeastern University in Boston is bringing a “justice first” mindset to President Joe Biden’s Department of Energy. Shalanda Baker has been appointed deputy director for energy justice.

Jesse Costa / WBUR

Severe storms. Heat waves. Rising seas. New England is already seeing the impacts of climate change, and scientists project they will become more severe and deadly, shaping how we live and work in the northeastern U.S.

In a special ahead of Inauguration Day, the New England News Collaborative and America Amplified look at climate change in our region and how President-elect Joe Biden’s administration could affect future climate action. Biden has proposed the most ambitious climate platform of any incoming U.S. president in history.

Ski season is beginning to ramp up across New England. Some mountain operators said they're adjusting to more than pandemic-related safety restrictions.

Robin Lubbock / WBUR

Transportation is the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions, according to federal data. Those emissions have harmful impacts on health and the environment, and it's a problem we contribute to when we drive, fly, take public transportation or buy food that was carted across the country. 

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

Hunting and fishing license sales are booming this year across northern New England.

In New Hampshire, there’s been an 18% increase in resident hunting licenses since last year. Vermont saw its sales go up 20%. The increase was smaller in Maine, at 9%.

NOAA Permit #932-1905

The tension between protecting the environment and people’s livelihoods is on full display in the new documentary “Entangled,” a film that focuses on one of the world’s most endangered species – the North Atlantic right whale – and the lobster industry, which is the most valuable fishery in North America.

New Method To Save New England Salt Marshes Piloted In Mass.

Nov 19, 2020
Wenley Ferguson, director of habitat restoration for Save the Bay in Rhode Island, stands by the excavator on the Little Bay salt marsh in Fairhaven.
Eve Zuckoff / CapsandIslands.org

Wearing tall rubber boots, a scientist walked along an overgrown path to the Little Bay salt marsh in Fairhaven, on Cape Cod.

“I'm going to kind of weave us up through this back zone,” said Alice Besterman, the post-doctoral researcher with the Buzzards Bay Coalition.

Murray Carpenter / Maine Public

Sen. Susan Collins is keeping her job. In a big victory for New England Republicans, the Associated Press called the race for Collins Wednesday afternoon. Democrats hoped challenger Sara Gideon, speaker of Maine’s House of Representatives, would flip the seat, increasing their chance at winning control of the Senate.

"I feel like this is an affirmation of the work that I've been doing in Washington to fight for the people of Maine every day," Collins told a cheering crowd in Bangor, Maine.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

This election, NPR and many local affiliates, including stations within the New England News Collaborative, will count on The Associated Press to call the winner of the presidential race and other key contests in the U.S.

To make its call, the AP deploys a network of stringers and analysts in all 50 states to examine the vote tallies as they come in from local and county clerks.

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont says a U.S. Supreme Court ruling against the Affordable Care Act following the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett would not affect Connecticut law.

Hackers hijacked a virtual campaign meeting for Democratic U.S. Representative Jahana Hayes. They hurled racist slurs at the state’s first Black congresswoman. Political observers view this "Zoom bombing" as an example of how hostile the upcoming election will be.

Alonso Nichols

Liliana Cruz of Boston has just been selected for a school desegregation program. At dawn, she takes the bus to a mostly-white high school in the suburbs. There she makes friends, endures microagressions and racism, wrestles with her identity and finds her voice. That's the premise of Jennifer De Leon's debut novel “Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From,” which came out this year. 

Last month the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wrapped up a public comment period on its controversial plan to remove toxic PCBs from the Housatonic River. The agency said it hopes to issue its final plan by the end of the year.

That would be before any possible change at the White House.

Fred Bever / Maine Public

There’s only one Republican serving in Congress from New England: U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, whose seat is highly contested this year.

The story of how thousands of rescued Yiddish books became the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts, has been told a few times. Now, it’s an illustrated children's book. 

Elodie Reed / Vermont Public Radio

What we don’t learn in school can matter as much as the lessons we do learn. In this fourth and final episode of a special radio series on “Racism In New England,” we talk to teachers and students about the harm of omitting stories and cultures from curricula — and how we can do better.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

Racism is trauma. But racism’s impact on mental health can be hard to talk about. In this third episode of a special radio series on “Racism In New England,” we hear about the stressors to mental health in the region and ways to get relief. 

Gov. Charlie Baker announced Tuesday afternoon that certain communities defined by the state as “lower risk” for COVID transmission will soon be permitted to loosen several mandatory restrictions on gatherings and recreational activities.

The Baker administration released its decision in a statement minutes before his coronavirus press conference.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

Despite New England's progressive reputation, residential segregation still exists in communities throughout the region. 

In this second episode of a special radio series on "Racism In New England," we look at how housing laws and discrimination influence where we live — from the predominantly white states of northern New England to cities and suburbs in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

Here’s the story that New England tells itself: Racism is a Southern problem.

But our region’s abolitionist past hides a darker history of racism, slavery and segregation. It’s a legacy that lives with us today. 

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