Monday Sunrise Briefing: Across the US, challenging Asian hate

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The universal condemnation of violence against Asian Americans – and empathy for their plight – was seen in the diverse crowds turning out for vigils and rallies across the country this weekend. Camden Hunt, a Black woman, joined an Atlanta rally Saturday to “show Black and Asian solidarity, ” she told the Associated Press. Ms. Hunt helped organize an event last summer to support Black women victimized by police violence. And as we reported Friday, the Atlanta shootings have also united the diverse Asian American communities.

Actor Sandra Oh, who is in Pittsburg filming, gave an impromptu speech at a rally Saturday that went viral: “To everyone here … If you see one of our sisters and brothers in need, will you help us?” she said, as the crowd shouted, “Yes!” in response. “We must understand, as Asian Americans, we just need to reach out our hand to our sisters and brothers and say, ‘Help me and I’m here.’”

2. Border security measures. The United States government got a little help from south of the border this weekend. The Mexican government took new steps to halt illegal migration from Guatemala, including posting dozens more immigration officials to the southern border Sunday. The Mexican government also said they would increase patrols and checkpoints and use drones to watch  for families with children. Smugglers are telling Central American migrants to bring children to improve their chances of entering Mexico and the U.S., says the Mexico’s National Immigration Institute.

The flow of migrants into the U.S. hasn’t reached early 2019 levels, but the Biden administration is concerned. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas appeared on four Sunday news shows to stress that the administration is working to get things under control. “Our message has been straightforward – the border is closed,” Mr. Mayorkas said. “We are expelling families. We are expelling single adults. And we’ve made a decision that we will not expel young, vulnerable children.” But he was questioned as to why the media hasn’t been allowed into housing facilities at the border.

3. Too much spring breakage. After days of partying, including several confrontations between police and large crowds, Miami Beach officials ordered an emergency curfew Saturday from 8 p.m. until 6 a.m.. Police fired pepper spray balls Saturday evening to break up crowds that descended on South Beach, trashing restaurants and flooding the streets without masks or social distancing. Local officials and businesses have struggled to balance courting tourists to boost the economy while doing so safely amid the pandemic. On Sunday evening, the Miami Beach emergency curfew – covering Thursday-Sunday – was extended, to mid-April.

Icelandic Coast Guard via AP

For the first time in 6,000 years, the Fagradals Mountain volcano flared to life Friday night, spilling lava in two directions on the Reykjanes Peninsula about 20 miles southwest of Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik. The photo was taken Saturday March 20, 2021.

Look Ahead

TUESDAY, March 23

Democracy watch. For the fourth time in two years, Israelis vote to choose their leadership. Polls suggest that the country remains deadlocked between pro-Benjamin Netanyahu and anti-Netanyahu factions. 

Economic outlook. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Fed Chair Jerome Powell are expected to testify at a House Financial Services Committee about the U.S. economic path forward. 

THURSDAY, March 25

Transparency. President Joe Biden is scheduled to hold his first formal White House news conference. A CNN analysis shows his 15 most recent predecessors all held a solo news conference within 33 days of taking office. Mr. Biden has waited more than two months.

Censorship, accuracy, accountability. Top execs from Facebook, Alphabet Inc, and Twitter are scheduled to testify before a U.S. House panel. The topic: How big tech platforms are handling misinformation and disinformation. 

Pro-democracy protests return. Belarus pro-democracy marchers are expected back in the streets after a winter break, starting with a nationwide rally, which coincides with Freedom Day, the anniversary of a short-lived Belarusian republic founded in 1918.

Symbolic start. The Tokyo 2021 Olympic torch relay, which will traverse the length and breadth of Japan over the next four months, is expected to start its journey. The flame is a symbol of continuity between ancient and modern Olympic games. On Saturday, Japan announced that spectators from abroad will be barred from attending the games, which begin July 23.

SATURDAY, March 27

Hour of stewardship. At 8:30 p.m. local time, many communities worldwide will switch off their lights for Earth Hour as a symbol of  support for the environment. The event traces its roots back to a lights out event in Sydney, Australia in 2007.

Generosity Watch

In Cincinnati, generosity has been amped up by a school rivalry. And the real winners are the community. 

The Crosstown Tip-off Challenge is a competition between the fans of two Cincinnati teams: Xavier University and the University of Cincinnati. The challenge? Who can leave a bigger tip. 

In recent weeks, they’ve left generous tips at local restaurants, posting receipts on social media with each trying to out do the fans of the other school. As a result, the workers at dozens of small businesses struggling through the pandemic have benefitted.

For example, last month three women collected donations from more than 90 friends and community members over two days by spreading the word on social media. Then, they left a $4,525 tip on a $54.98 bill for the restaurant staff at The Birch, in Terrace Park, a Cincinnati suburb. The Birch owner is a Xavier alum.

“It wasn’t so much about the rivalry. It was actually more supporting the restaurant industry,” Amie Schumacher told WLWT-5 in Cincinnati. “I think people would be surprised – if you gather with those that care about the same things, a common goal – how quickly you’ll have success.”

Hidden Gem

Start your week with a recent story that inspired Monitor readers:

‘That boy can see!’ How I found my way after losing my sight.

Sneak preview

In tonight’s Daily Edition, watch for our story about India’s sacred groves: How science joins with tradition to protect biodiversity.

Finally, check out the Monitor’s selected stories from Friday’s subscription-only Daily Edition:

  1. America’s diverse Asian communities unite against hate
  2. Brazil’s Lula cleared to run again: Can he write a new chapter?
  3. Extortion of therapy patients in Finland shakes culture of privacy
  4. Alan Lightman, time, and ‘the most exciting part of being alive’
  5. How an unlikely folk dancer found grace

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