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Amazon, Ikea, and Nike Condemn Tennessee’s Anti-LGBTQ Laws

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  • More than 140 businesses signed a letter announcing their opposition to Tennessee’s recent wave of anti-LGBTQ legislation.
  • The group specifically addressed a newly-enacted adoption law that allows agencies to turn away LGBTQ couples. 
  • The companies warn that discriminatory policies like this will harm economic growth in the state, and urged lawmakers to refrain from passing any more.
  • Prominent companies like Amazon, Ikea, and Nike signed the letter, as well as dozens of small businesses across the state.
  • FedEx, the biggest company headquartered in Tennessee, was criticized for not adding their name to the list.

Widely-Supported Letter

Over 140 businesses openly announced their opposition to Tennessee’s recent wave of passed and proposed anti-LGBTQ legislation in letter released Wednesday.

The group dubbed itself the Tennessee Businesses Against Discrimination and includes big names like Dell, Amazon, Hilton, Nike, and Ikea. Dozens of small businesses across the state signed as well.

The letter, which was organized by the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce, points to HB 836, a newly-enacted adoption law that allows for discrimination against LGBT couples and individuals.  

“We believe Tennessee’s continued growth and innovation rely on the state being open and welcoming to everyone,” the businesses said. “The recent passage of HB 836 sends the opposite message.”

Warnings of Economic Impact

Gov. Bill Lee signed the adoption bill last month, putting it into effect immediately. In their letter, the collective of companies warned that discriminatory policies like these “put our collective economic success at risk.”

“We ask that lawmakers not pursue any further legislation that would target or exclude LGBTQ people, which would do harm to Tennesseans and create unnecessary hurdles to economic competitiveness,” they wrote.

“It is both a business imperative and core to our corporate values that our customers, our employees and their families, and our potential employees feel fully included in the prosperity of our state,” the businesses added.

In addition to the shared message, a handful of businesses added their own personal messages. Postmates wrote that they continue to be “alarmed” by the anti-LGBTQ agenda of Gov. Lee. They threatened to cancel their plans to expand their workforce in Nashville, according to a report by the Associated Press 

To our Postmates fleet, our customers, our small business owners, our entire community: we stand with you no matter who you love or who you are, and we will not accept this kind of flagrant hatred,” the company wrote.

Notable Exclusion

Many have noted the absence of one company’s name from the letter— FedEx, the biggest company headquartered in Tennessee.

FedEx gave a statement to multiple news outlets on the matter, saying that while they’re frequently asked to join advocacy efforts, they “prefer to demonstrate their values through civic and charitable relationships that [they] support.” 

“FedEx is as diverse as the world we serve, and we strive to provide an inclusive workplace in which all team members feel safe and respected,” the company added.

Some were upset by FedEx’s failure to support the letter. 

“As one of the largest companies headquartered in Tennessee, FedEx has an obligation to its LGBTQ employees in Tennessee and its customers nationwide to use its public voice and brand power to help stop these dangerous anti-LGBTQ bills,” GLAAD, an organization that fights for gay rights, told CNBC

“With more than three dozen large corporations speaking out against the slate of legislation today, FedEx’s refusal to address is notable and out of step with other companies doing business in Tennessee,” GLAAD added.

See what others are saying: (CNBC) (Associated Press) (CNN)

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Wisconsin Police Deny Planting Evidence in Viral Video, Release Their Own Body Cam Footage

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The footage police released shows that during a search, officers found a corner tear from a plastic bag inside a backseat passenger’s pocket. An officer then discarded it into the car after determining that it was empty.


Viral Video Appears To Show Officer Planting Evidence

The Caledonia Police Department in Wisconsin has responded to a viral cell phone video that appears to show an officer planting a small plastic baggie inside of a car during a traffic stop.

The now-viral footage was posted to Facebook by a man who goes by GlockBoy Savoo.

The user, who also filmed the clip, wrote in his post’s caption that the officer did this “just to get a reason to search the car” and said the cop didn’t know he was being recorded by the passenger.

Source: Facebook/ GlockBoy Savoo

Police Shut Down Accusations With Their Own Footage

After that video spread across social media, many were outraged, calling the Caledonia police dirty for seemingly planting evidence. All the outrage eventually prompted the department to announce an investigation Saturday.

Within hours, the department provided an update, claiming that officers didn’t actually plant any evidence or do anything illegal.

Police shared a lengthy summary of events, along with two body camera clips from the incident. That statement explained that the driver of the vehicle was pulled over for going 63 in a 45mph zone.

Two passengers in the backseat who were then spotted without seatbelts were asked to identify themselves and step out of the car. During a search of one passenger’s pockets, an officer pulled out “an empty corner tear” from a plastic baggie.

Police claim the corner tear did not contain any illegal substances, though they said this type of packaging is a common method for holding illegal drugs.

In one body cam clip, an officer can be heard briefly questioning the backseat passenger about the baggie. Then, that piece of plastic gets handed off to different officers who also determined it as empty before the officer in the original viral video discarded it into the back of the car.

The officer can also be seen explaining where the plastic came from to the passenger recording him.

“Aye, bro you just threw that in here!” the front seat passenger says, as heard in his version of the events.

“Yeah, cause it was in his pocket and I don’t want to hold onto it. It’s on their body cam that they took it off of him…I’m telling you where it came from, so. It’s an empty baggie at the moment too, so,” the officer replies.

The department went on to explain that while it would discourage officers from discarding items into a citizen’s car, this footage proves that evidence was not planted.

Authorities also noted that no arrests were made in this incident and the driver was the only one issued a citation for speeding. The statement added that since four officers were present at the scene, police have more than six hours of footage to review but they promised to release the footage in full in the near future.

See what others are saying: (Heavy)(CBS 58) (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

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Medical Groups, Local Leaders Push for Healthcare Workers and Public Employees To Get Vaccinated

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The move comes as COVID cases have nearly quadrupled in the last month due to the rapid spread of the highly infectious delta variant.


Increased Calls for Mandatory Vaccinations in Certain Sectors

More than 50 of America’s largest medical groups representing millions of healthcare workers issued a statement Monday calling for employers of all health and long-term care providers to require mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations.

The groups, which included the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association, and 55 others, cited contagious new variants — including delta — and low vaccination rates.

“Vaccination is the primary way to put the pandemic behind us and avoid the return of stringent public health measures,” they wrote.

The call to action comes as new COVID cases have almost quadrupled during the month of July, jumping from just around 13,000 infections a day at the beginning of this month to more than 50,000.

While the vast majority of new infections and hospitalizations are among those who have not received the vaccines, many healthcare workers remain unvaccinated. According to data collected by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, over 38% of nursing home staff were not fully vaccinated as of July 11. 

An analysis by WebMD and Medscape Medical News found that around 25% of hospital workers who were in contact with patients had not been vaccinated by the end of May when vaccinations became widely available.

In addition to calls for medical professionals to get vaccinated, some local leaders have also begun to impose mandates for public employees as cases continue spiking.

Last month, San Francisco announced that it was requiring all city workers to get vaccinated. Also on Monday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that all municipal employees — including police officers and teachers — must either get the jab or agree to weekly testing by the time school starts in September.

Dr. Fauci Says U.S. Officials Are Considering Revising Mask Guidance for Vaccinated People

Numerous top U.S. health officials have applauded efforts by local leaders to mitigate further spread of the coronavirus, including the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who confirmed Sunday that federal officials are actively considering whether to revise federal masking guidelines to recommend that vaccinated Americans wear face coverings in public settings.

In May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said people who are vaccinated do not need to mask in public. Although that was a non-binding recommendation, many states and cities that had not already lifted restrictions on masking began to do so shortly after.

But now, local leaders in areas seeing big spikes have begun reimposing mask mandates — even for those who are vaccinated — including major counties like Los Angeles and St. Louis.

In his remarks Sunday, Fauci also emphasized that, despite claims from many conservatives, those efforts are in line with the federal recommendations, which leave space for local leaders to issue their own rules.

While Fauci and other top U.S. public health officials have encouraged local governments to take action, Republican lawmakers in several states are taking steps to limit the ability of local leaders and public health officials to take certain mitigation measures.

According to the Network for Public Health Law, at least 15 state legislatures have passed or are considering bills to limit the legal authority of public health agencies — and that does not even include unilateral action taken by governors.

Some of the leaders of states suffering the biggest spikes have banned local officials from imposing their own mask mandates, like Arkansas, which has the highest per capita cases in the country right now, as well as Florida, which currently ranks third.

Notably, some of the laws proposed or passed by Republicans could go beyond just preventing local officials from trying to mitigate surges in COVID cases and may have major implications for other public health crises.

For example, according to The Washington Post, a North Dakota law that bans mask mandates applies to other breakouts — even tuberculosis — while a new Montana law also bars the use of quarantine for people who have been exposed to an infectious disease but have not yet tested positive.

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Times) (The Guardian)

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Couple Slammed Over Slavery-Themed Pre-Wedding Photoshoot

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Many have expressed outrage at the duo for trying to romanticize slavery while others were left completely dumbfounded by the entire ordeal.


Photoshoot Goes Viral

A couple has come under fire after sharing images on Instagram from their slavery-themed pre-wedding photoshoot.


The photos show a Black man in shackles looking deeply into his white fiancé’s eyes before she works to releases him.


1842. Days passed and everything changed, our love got stronger and stronger, he was no longer a slave, he was part of the family,” the post’s caption reads.


To indicate his transition from “slave” to family, a fourth image shows him wearing a long coat and top hat with well-shined shoes, as opposed to the white shirt, trousers, and straw hat he wore in the previous images.

Social Media Users React

It’s not immediately clear who these people are since the social media handle is redacted in the images circulating online.

Still, many have expressed outrage at the duo for trying to romanticize slavery while others were left just completely dumbfounded by this entire ordeal. Some also directed criticism at the photographer who agreed to the shoot, along with the hundreds of Instagram users who liked the original posts.

See what others are saying: (The Daily Dot) (Black Enterprise) (BET)

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