Please re-open dance schools catering to children under the age of 18. Exploration and instruction in the arts is an essential part of a balanced education. The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a great deal from our children. For some, dance training provided the only sense of normalcy in their lives. The science, logistics, and compliance of dance professionals has demonstrated this decision is not only safe, but also likely life-saving.
While the US Senate grapples with Amy Coney Barretts’ confirmation hearings this week, voters would do well to turn their attention where their impact could be greatest. Our local judiciary rules on far more matters of importance to our daily lives. And for those of us mourning the loss of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, there is no better way to pay tribute to her legacy than by evaluating the qualifications of the Washington Supreme Court judicial candidates and exercising our right to vote.
Whether we like it or not, the face mask—an N95, surgical mask, or one made of cotton cloth—has become the universal symbol of 2020. And it is possible that face masks save more lives than we realize.
Creation of a COVID-19 vaccine is the crown jewel of the White House’s COVID-19 response. President Trump unrealistically named the tedious and time-consuming endeavor “Operation Warp Speed.” To be licensed for use, a novel vaccine must be tested for safety, immune system reactivity, and protective value in humans, which can take up to 10-15 years. Unlike medications, which treat patients with a medical condition, vaccines are given to healthy people, therefore the safety margin must be extraordinarily high.
As a woman, the loss of Ruth Bader Ginsburg feels overwhelmingly profound. Living in the Pacific Northwest, I often find myself searching for a ray of sun breaking through the clouds. As sunlight hits the waters of the Puget Sound, it brings a sense of anticipation for the future. A ray of hope can be found in Federal Judge Diane Humetewa, the first Native American woman and enrolled tribal member to serve as a federal judge in history. And she was one of RBG’s picks for the next nominee of the U.S. Supreme Court.
The United States has one of the highest rates of obesity in the world. More than 40% of American adults are obese, which means they have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. Almost 10% of American adults qualify as severely obese, defined as having a BMI of 40 or more. Of those with extreme obesity — defined as a BMI of 40 or more —the risk of death from COVID-19 is 17 times higher.
As I reflected on these momentous achievements, my thoughts settled on the many women who have been elected from the 23rd district over the last 100 years. Without a doubt, their hard work helped shape the political landscape for those serving in office today, including Senator Christine Rolfes, Senator Emily Randall, Representative Sherry Appleton, and Representative Michelle Caldier. In fact, excluding appointees, over the last 100 years, the people of the 23rd district have elected a male candidate to the Senate for 13 terms and a female candidate to the Senate for 12 terms.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed the face of education in America; however, we must minimize the profoundly adverse social, developmental, and health costs to our children. Research shows by implementing new protocols, schools can be re-opened safely and effectively.
Wearing a face mask to reduce spread of Covid-19 and touting condom use to diminish transmission of HIV and other STDs are essentially the same thing. Masking up should not be a question of politics, gender, or education. It is no more “negative” emotionally to cover our face and protect our neighbor than it is to wrap our naughty bits with latex and protect our sexual partner.
Together, our community needs to support racial justice organizations, like the NAACP and the Kitsap Equity, Race and Community Engagement (ERACE) Coalition, who are fighting for meaningful change. Recently, the NAACP issued a call to action asking that “police departments ban the use of knee holds in use of force continuums.” In my opinion, the NAACP should ask for more: