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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.

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. 

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.

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.

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. 

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.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public

It’s been three weeks since Major League Baseball’s Opening Day. Like other sports, teams have played in isolation and without fans. But they’ve taken steps to make the season feel normal, from canned crowd noise (like at this Red Sox game against the Mets) to cardboard cutouts of fans in the stadium.

Ben James / New England Public Media

When a peer says something you think is racist, ignorant or wrong, what do you do? Most people agree that staying silent is not a good idea. But do you talk to them privately or take them to task publicly? Known as call-out culture, some think public shaming is a way to further social justice and change. But not everyone agrees with that approach.

Courtesy Huma Farid

Since the killing of George Floyd, some Americans have been examining their role in perpetuating racism and are committing to no longer being silent and inactive.

Peter Biello / NHPR

Elizabeth Marshall Thomas has spent most of her life observing the natural world and writing about it. She’s written 14 books over her half-century career, including the New York Times-bestselling book “The Hidden Life of Dogs.” Her new book, “Growing Old: Notes On Aging With Something Like Grace,” came out this year. Thomas, 88, joined NEXT and talked about enjoying the slower pace of aging.

Jesse Costa / WBUR

Like the country at large, New England states are taking a patchwork approach to reopening during the pandemic. Rhode Island just entered phase three on Tuesday, while most of the other states are still in phase two — meaning we can now go inside a restaurant to eat, more stores can open, and in many states, people can go to the gym. But don’t be fooled, experts say: Reopening does not mean the pandemic is over.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public

Did you know that before the clock was invented, we used to sleep in two installments? Or that the standardization of cameras and film led to racial bias in the production of photographs?

Jesse Costa / WBUR

Protests over police violence and racism continue across the country. And some state and local government leaders in New England are starting to announce changes. Boston’s Mayor Marty Walsh declared racism a public health crisis, joining several other cities and towns in the region.

Courtesy: Shardé M. Davis

Shardé M. Davis, a communications professor at the University of Connecticut, is the co-founder of the Twitter hashtag #BlackintheIvory. Along with Joy Melody Woods, a Ph.D. student at the University of Texas at Austin, Davis sparked a public conversation about racism in academia when she tweeted out some of her own experiences as a Black scholar.