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Volcanoes are erupting in The Philippines, but on-fire Australia received some welcome rain. The Iran war cries have been called off and The Donald’s military powers are about to be hamstrung by the Senate. Meanwhile, his impeachment trial is starting, and we’re all on Twitter for a front-row seat.

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What Could Go Right? Police Accountability

In terms of the United States’ racial reckoning, there are numerous essential questions that require attention. But there is one in particular here at The Progress Network that our Members specialize in: what will keep moving us forward?

Emma Varvaloucas

Emma Varvaloucas

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In terms of the United States’ racial reckoning, there are numerous essential questions that require attention. But there is one in particular here at The Progress Network that our Members specialize in: what will keep moving us forward? This week we’re wondering, along with the rest of the nation, whether Tuesday’s guilty verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin is the next step in the gradual development of an answer.

A plain but stunning fact about what happened on Tuesday: “for the first time in Minnesota state history,” the ACLU tweeted, “a white police officer has been held accountable for killing a black man.”

How much does accountability count? It is exceedingly unusual for a police officer to be found guilty of murder. (Since 2005, only seven have been.) This sober-minded but solutions-oriented Vox article details all the things that need to change for police accountability to be more common. One of them is for the “blue wall” to start coming down. Besides the convictions, the cracks in that wall were the other unusual thing about Chauvin’s trial. As MSNBC’s Joy Reid said on Tuesday night, “I’ve been covering Black Lives Matter cases since 2011. I have not seen this number of police officers testify against other police officers . . . it’s extraordinary.”

The New York Times devoted their Wednesday morning newsletter to the trial and concluded that there are signs that it may not end up being a “one-off event,” in large part due to the sustained national attention George Floyd’s murder drew. The power of the public in numbers is not to be overlooked. The protests in the summer of 2020 were the nation’s largest multi-racial coalitions in our history, something TPN Member Peniel E. Joseph sees as a watershed moment.

Not directly related to the Chauvin trial but very much so related to our ongoing racial reckoning, TPN Member Theodore R. Johnson writes in The New York Times this week about the concept of “superlative citizenship”—the above-and-beyond strategy black citizens implement to receive equal treatment—and TPN Member John Wood, Jr. has a moving piece in Persuasion on coming to understand one another’s suffering beyond racial lines.

All of which is to say, what’s needed to move forward is a difficult, complex blend, but we at least know it includes the courage to face our problems head-on, the clarity to understand them properly, and the unswayable belief that they are not written in stone. Here’s our founder, Zachary Karabell, on that perspective:

That little nugget—which did indeed pack a big punch—is from our last live event, on reforming higher education. Click above to play a “knock ‘em dead” moment from TPN Member Scott Galloway, who is doing his part to ameliorate accessibility and affordability issues in higher ed through his platform Section4 (take a look if you’re interested in business courses but not at all interested in the price tag of an MBA). You can find the full conversation, also with American University president Sylvia M. Burwell and Arizona State University president Michael Crow, here. It covers innovative financial models that would drive down tuition costs, why companies need to “fall out of love” with elite institutions and create more on-ramps for employees without degrees, and many other topics.

Over in pandemic landthe US has hit several significant vaccination milestones. This Global Voices article is a joyful dip into Jamaica’s five-day blitz to distribute 75,000 doses before they expired (and includes a surprise saxophone performance from a Jamaican soldier). An at-home rapid test is finally for sale for $23.99, no prescription required. And guess which country has overtaken Israel to become the world leader for highest proportion of population vaccinated? Seychelles. (Meanwhile, Israel is partying like it’s 2019.)

Below in the links section, the Finns are skeptical about being named the happiest in the world for the fourth year running, George W. Bush becomes a surprising pro-immigration voice, and more.

Who is this lady in a van? Auntie Su, the feminist icon you didn’t know you needed in your life. Fed up with housework and abuse, 56-year-old Su Min bought a Volkswagen hatchback, packed it with a mini-fridge, rice cooker, and tent, and left for the road trip of a lifetime, accidentally turning into an Internet sensation in China

From us: When numbers of college applications and tuition fees are skyrocketing but available seats remain the same,has higher education transformed from a frontier of opportunity to an enforcer of a caste system? What fixes do those in the field suggest to remake higher ed in the vision that it was originally meant to be? Watch the recording or read an extract from our last live event, Brave New World: The Next Wave of Higher Education.

Progress, Please

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New Member Alert

Valarie Kaur is a renowned civil rights leader who now leads the Revolutionary Love Project to reclaim love as a force for justice in America. In the last 20 years, as a lawyer, innovator, and award-winning filmmaker, Valarie has helped win policy change on multiple fronts, including hate crimes, racial profiling, immigration detention, solitary confinement, Internet freedom, and more. She founded Groundswell Movement, Faithful Internet, and the Yale Visual Law Project to equip new generations of advocates. The author of See No Stranger, she is currently working on her second book.

A very loving welcome to Valarie. You can read more about her work here.

See you next week!

Emma Varvaloucas

Emma Varvaloucas is the Executive Director of The Progress Network. An editor and writer specializing in nonprofit media, she was formerly Executive Editor of Tricycle: The Buddhist Review and is the editor of two books from Wisdom Publications.