Conditions in Amazon warehouses

So, we all know there is a global pandemic going on right now where everybody who is labeled as a non-essential worker is being asked to stay inside in much as possible.

This, and the fear of contracting or spreading the virus, has many people shopping online.

With the rise in online orders, many things are out of stock or take longer to ship. All of this purchasing has been handled at distribution centers that are having significant losses in staff. 

According to the New York Times, workers in Amazon distribution centers across the country are realizing what a large role they play in the success of the company. The workers are using this as leverage to “demand better pay, better sick leave and more of a voice in how the company is run.”

Fear about, and around, the coronavirus has caused attendance at Amazon warehouses to fall as much as 30%, leaving the remaining workers to struggle with the rise in the number of orders while the numbers of staff are falling. 

Amazon has also been accused of firing workers who participated in protests about the working conditions inside the warehouses. These conditions depend on what state the warehouse is in, and has also been a rough topic as some are closed for cleanings while others remain open.

Many employees have tested positive for the corona virus. After the first case was found in Queens, NY, employees at 50 other sites had also tested positive.

Recently, Amazon has been giving its workers quarantine leave and has also raised their wages, while also giving more space between stations and tripling the janitorial staff.

Justice for Ahmaud

Ahmaud Marquez Arbery was gunned down on February 23, 2020, during one of his jogs. Ahmaud was a 25-year-old African American.

On February 23, Ahmaud Arbery was in the Satilla Shores neighborhood in Brunswick, GA when Gregory and Travis McMichael confronted him with two guns. Travis McMicheal then gunned down Ahmaud, not once, not twice, but five times.

Ahmaud Arbery is not the first African American killed or gunned down for no reason.

There have been plenty of cases and where young African Americans have been killed for the color of their skin. Such as: Trayvon Martin, age 17;  Jordan Edwards, age 15; Micheal Brown, age 18.

The racism needs to stop and sadly it hasn’t. As a black African American it makes me scared to go anywhere because it makes me feel like what if I’m next. We as people, as human beings, shouldn’t have to go through something like that. The African American community is constantly taking losses.

As a child, having to view these crimes, and seeing no justice being served, is stomach aching. It’s traumatizing really. Ahmaud Arbery was doing nothing but jogging, simply working out like any other person, and was targeted by people so hateful and sinful. They felt the need to hurt, and not only harm, but kill, Ahmaud Arbery.

And yet, they still aren’t sentenced to the death penalty. If it had been reversed, and Ahmaud had killed them, he would’ve been sentenced to the death penalty so quick. 

The justice system in America is sooo messed it literally makes no sense that someone loses their life and isn’t served the proper justice they deserve.

Everyone wants to scream Black Lives Matter but the question that should be asked is do they? Do black lives really matter? Cause at this point, we don’t know what to believe anymore.

The world is so messed up that we have to constantly relive the past. It’s sad that we can’t just live our lives and be free. 

So, I would like to end this article with saying long live Ahmaud Arbery and #justiceforAhmaud. 

How COVID-19 is affecting animal shelters across the nation

There is no question that COVID-19 is changing the world. COVID-19 has affected almost every aspect of our lives. While a majority of the population is in quarantine, and sheltering in place, many people have found themselves bored and lonely. One change that was not anticipated is the change in animal adoption rates. While people are stuck at home, many people are adopting and fostering shelter dogs and cats to keep them company. 

As coronavirus spreads across the U.S., an increasing number of people have stepped up to foster and adopt animals, keeping them out of shelters. 

According to NBC News, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has seen a 70 percent increase in animals entering foster care in New York City and Los Angeles programs compared to this time last year. Adoption centers like the Riverside County Animal Shelter have a beautiful problem according to Wired; they are all out of adoptable animals.

Well, why are people adopting animals now? 

The real reason is no mystery; as people are practicing social distancing, many have decided now is a perfect time to bring an animal into their home. As reported by Wired, some shelters have put out calls for people to adopt, but others have found that this surge is completely organic. An upwelling of kindness and care from the community plays a large part in helping these animals and shelters. People who didn’t have animals because of their work or travel schedule, or problems similar to these, now can adopt which is another cause for the surge. Many shelters have also waived adoption fees to try to ease financial strain on new pet parents affected by COVID-19. 

Wired further reports that animals can have an important role in brightening people’s lives, especially in a time like this. Although pets can’t completely fill the void left by isolation from other humans, they do provide emotional support. Pets fulfill the human need for touch and offer significant relief to people’s stress and anxiety levels. Pets can even lower your heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol levels leaving you feeling better. Animals like dogs are also able to motivate people to stick to strategies to help with isolation, like daily exercise and structure. 

However, it is not all good news. There is an increase in the amount of people surrendering their animals because of financial struggles, or because they are too ill to take care of them.

If you are looking for ways to help your local animal shelter, adoption and donations (like food and other important materials) are great ways to help. 

Amazon, Whole Foods, Walmart, FedEx, Instacart, Shipt, and Target essential workers protest companies’ responses to COVID-19

On Friday, May 1, essential workers across the US called in sick in protest of Amazon, Instacart, Whole Foods, Shipt and Target’s response to COVID-19. The protests took place in: Staten Island, the California Bay Area, Los Angeles, Ohio, Kentucky, New York, Chicago, and Minnesota.

Organizers were asking for an increase in pay, expanded sick leave policies, and frequent professional cleaning. They also were asking for increased hazard pay, stricter social distancing measures, and transparency from companies on the number of workers who have tested positive for COVID-19 according to BusinessInsider.com

Many of these businesses are claiming that they have done their part in protecting their workers from the coronavirus. Shipt publicly claimed to have increased pay by 30 percent and that they provided protective gear. However, according to Wired.com, Willy Solis, organizer of that strike, said he had not received a mask from the company and the increase in pay was instead an increase in the amount of work he had to do. 

Amazon claims to have expanded their sick leave policies, but this was a temporary decision and only lasted until the end of April. Amazon also says that the majority of their essential workers disagree that the company isn’t doing enough to ensure their workers’ safety, as the majority would come into work May 1st. While this may be true, according to Wired.com, a large portion of essential workers were unaware that it was happening or were in disbelief that protesting would change the companies responses. 

It seems the disbelieving workers may be right, seeing as protests have not stopped or even slowed down business for companies according to Vox.com. In fact, business has only increased with the shelter-in-home orders, as many turn to online shopping and delivery so as to not risk contracting the virus from in-person stores. 

That being said, the worker’s strike has caught the attention and approval of various political figures including: Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and State Attorney General Letitia James. 

We have not seen any further action taken by these companies in response to the strikes, but hopefully, with these political figures backing up essential workers, there will be more pressure on them to act, and in turn, the companies will greatly improve the working conditions for essential workers. 

How racism and poverty made Detroit a new coronavirus hot spot

By: Yanyoua Xiong

A report found in March, from the Pew Research Center, said that nearly 50% of black people, compared to 20% of white people, see coronavirus as a major threat to their health. Detroit has one of the largest African American populations in the country with 79% of the population African American. Even though African Americans make up only 14% of the population in Michigan, they make up around 40% of the deaths that occurred in that state.

Black people, of all ages, die in disproportionately higher numbers than white people in Detroit, due to asthma, heart disease, and other chronic lung disorders. Fabiola Cineas says the reasoning is because “hundreds of years of slavery, racism, and discrimination have compounded to deliver poor health and economic outcomes for black people.” 

Michigan’s governor, Gretchen Whitmer, commented on the difference in treatment of people of color and non people of color, “From basic lack of access to health care, transportation, and protections in the workplace, these inequities hit people of color and vulnerable communities the hardest. This task force will help us start addressing these disparities right now as we work to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan.” 

In the ‘50s and ‘60s, Detroit was mostly white but we can start to see a shift in demographics with suburbanization and “white flight.” For some reason though, that didn’t decrease redlining and black people are still more likely than whites to be denied a loan today. 

However, it’s not just in Detroit but across the United States where inequalities between skin colors lead to experiencing higher numbers of COVID-19 cases. The death rates from COVID-19 are also disproportionate (by race) in places like Milwaukee, Georgia, and New York City.

Evidence of disadvantage is everywhere in Detroit: there are dozens of food banks, empty homes, and thousands of water shutoffs due to people being unable to pay their water bills. Detroit has remained one of the most segregated cities in the country despite being in a pandemic and it really shows.

Couple arrested for selling tickets to heaven

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A couple in Florida, Tito and Amanda Watts, were arrested for selling tickets to heaven. They sold each of the tickets for $99.99. They claimed the tickets were real gold, and all you had to do is show the tickets at the pearly gates at the entrance of heaven, and you would get full access to get in. They made over 10,000 dollars in cash from selling those tickets.

When searching their home, the police also found a baby alligator. No one knows where they found this alligator, but a witness said that they picked it up from the ocean. 

The spokesman for the Jacksonville Department said that “You can’t sell something as gold when it’s not. That’s where the Watts crossed the line into illegal.” 

In the police statement, Tito said, “The tickets are solid gold. And it was Jesus who gave them to me behind the KFC and said to sell them so I could get some money to go to outer space. I met an alien named Stevie who said if I got the cash together he’d take me and my wife on his flying saucer to his planet that’s made entirely of crack cocaine. You should arrest Jesus because he’s the one that gave me the golden tickets and said to sell them. I’m willing to wear a wire and set Jesus up” 

In Amanda’s statement, she said that “We just wanted to leave earth and go to space and smoke cocaine. I didn’t do anything. Tito sold the golden tickets to heaven. I just watched.” 

The couple has been charged for illegal possession of an alligator, several accounts of cocaine in their possession, and also for false advertising to hundreds of people.

For more information, please visit: http://news-af.feednews.com/news/detail/36f2f8934bbc1877a8594075bb3ea873?client=news

Illegal immigration in the United States

There are four types of immigrants: citizens, residents, non-immigrants and undocumented. Today I will be talking about undocumented immigrants. Undocumented immigrants are people who are foreign-born and who also don’t have a legal right to stay or be in the United States. 

You may ask, where do they all come from? Half of illegal immigrants come from Mexico or other Latin American countries such as: El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Cuba, or Colombia. The other half comes other countries like Poland, Sweden, Pakistan, Somalia, and Iraq, which all provide large numbers of illegal immigrants here in the United States. 

Illegal immigrants come to the United States often because of new job opportunities that could be offered. They are able to build a better life in the United States because their own country is lacking certain things such as resources, decent living conditions, or safety. They could also flee to the United States because of war. 

A myth that has been well ingrained in peoples heads is that immigrants steal other’s jobs. The truth is they don’t. They take jobs that the American workers decide not to take. They also start their own businesses and spend their income on American services and goods. According to the ACLU, over 100 years, Immigrants pay more than $90 billion in taxes every year and only receive $5 billion in welfare. Without any contributions to the public treasury, the economy would then suffer huge losses. 

Some people ask the question “Why don’t they come here legally?” The answer to that question is that, it’s not that easy. The first thing immigrants have to do is get a visa and have a qualified reason to be in the United States.

There are many ways to be here temporarily, such as being a student, tourist, or being here for short term business. But all of these require for you to prove that you intend to go back to your home country. Each year visas are allowed globally for each type of relationship and once they are all issued, the rest are put on a waiting list. The process can take from anywhere up to 27 years. 

The Pledge of Allegiance states “with liberty and justice for all.” We don’t see any of this going on with illegal immigrants. They instead are kept in detention centers. Families are being pulled apart; women and men are housed separately and they are not allowed to know how long they will be detained, their personal belongings are taken away from them and they are not treated as humans, they are treated as ‘aliens’ and outsiders. This is a worldwide issue that deserves more attention than it gets. 

Louisiana police use siren from ‘The Purge’ to signal quarantine

The Purge siren goes out with an announcement.

Louisiana had to put a quarantine into place due to being one of the places with the fastest spread of the coronavirus. Curfew is 6am to 9pm, and violation can result in a citation. Employees going to and from work must have documentation from their employer.

The police used a siren to signal that curfew had begun and to stay inside. However, they were unaware that the siren was used in the 2013 movie The Purge. In the film, the siren announces the beginning of a twelve hour period where all crime is legal. I’m sure for people who knew about the movie, this would have been terrifying to hear, especially at night.

The police issued an apology, and stated that the siren would be not used again. After getting numerous complaints, they assured the public that it was not a prank set out by the department, and it was an honest mistake.

The Purge is an incredibly successful horror film franchise. It has spawned four films and a T.V. show. A fifth film was slated for a 2020 release, but production was most likely stopped due to the virus. In the series, all crime is legal for a 12 hour period once a year. Hearing this type of siren late at night must have been scary for some people, and luckily the police department was able to catch their mistake on the first night they used it.

Why aren’t there any supplies?: How COVID-19 is impacting the supply chain

We are in a time unlike any our generation has ever faced. With millions of people out of work, and many quarantining at home, it’s crazy how much our world has changed in a short amount of time. However, one of the most pressing issues is the lack of supplies for both healthcare workers and people at home. 

Masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer are all important supplies to prevent the spread of disease. But for most of these supplies in high-demand, there aren’t nearly enough to go around. According to the New York Times, crucial supplies for saving lives are also running out. Ventilators and other life saving equipment are at shortages. Test kits are in high demand and are rarely handed out. This prevents people from being diagnosed and given the proper assistance to stop the spread and get healthy again. Masks, gloves, and other protective supplies continue to be in high demand; not only for health care workers, but for people everywhere.

At home, materials like toilet paper, packaged food, and other household items are becoming increasingly harder to find in stores. So, why are we experiencing all of these shortages and what can we do about it?

According to Vox, there are many reasons fr these shortages. Many are caused by major problems in the supply chain. Demand for these products is up, but suppliers have experienced many disruptions. Many American companies rely on overseas suppliers for materials and finished products. Any delay in overseas shipping can create a “domino effect” in regards to product availability.

Another major problem in the supply chain is caused by the amount of people out of work. With more people home sick, less of these products are being made, shipped, stocked and delivered.

So, what are companies doing to help meet the needs given such high demand for supplies? According to Johns Hopkins University, manufacturers and retailers have been working to improve things for consumers, even if it may not be immediately beneficial for business. For example, grocery stores have established dedicated shopping times for the elderly and other high risk individuals to allow access without exposure to others. Stores have also been imposing limits on the number of people allowed in the building to shop at a given time. Some stores are also rationing high-demand products by putting a limit on how much a customer can buy.

However, not all of this is on the manufacturers. We consumers need to take responsibility and realize that our actions have impacts on others. Avoid stockpiling and be aware that others may be in more need of a product than you.

And most importantly, stay home and social distance. The more we all do this, the sooner things will be able to get back to normal. 

Circus ban

All around the world, circuses travel and entertain people everywhere they go. Performers do flips, tricks, and balance on the craziest things. Something almost every circus uses is animals, which are often loved by children. 

Despite bringing huge success to the circus, people are arguing for animals to be taken out of circuses for multiple reasons.

Circus animals have the right to be protected and treated humanely under the Animal Welfare Act. Circuses often ignore that, and a couple examples of this are: using trailers that have splintering wood, and having sharp, protruding metal pieces near animals’ cages.

When it comes to taming the animals, trainers use whips, tight collars, muzzles, electric prods, bullhooks and other painful tools to force animals to perform. Tigers naturally fear fire, but they are still forced to jump through fire hoops in some circuses and have been burned multiple times. 

Other than physically being abused, animals are also mentally abused. During the off-season, animals used in circuses are sometimes put in small traveling crates. The confinement has harmful psychological effects on them that are often indicated by unnatural behavior such as repeated swaying, and pacing. 

Virtually 96% of a circus animal’s life is spent in chains or cages. 11 months a year they travel over long distances in box cars with no climate control; sleeping, eating, and defecating in the same cage until they die.

Not only does this hurt animals though, it also hurts people. Since 1990, there have been more than 123 documented attacks on humans by captive large cats in the United States, 13 of which resulted in fatal injuries.

As animals everywhere get abused, the senate in Colorado is passing Senate Bill 125, called the Traveling Exotic Animal Safety Protection Act. “Circus animals often have quite difficult lives, and this bill aims to prevent exotic animals from being used in such a way here in our state,” Rachel Zenzinger, a Colorado state senator said.

Colorado is putting up a bill to ensure animals are being fairly treated. Circus animals are often abused and mistreated until the day they die. As time goes on, it only puts more animals in danger. Circuses should be discontinued if they continue to hurt animals.