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Robb Elementary Survivors, Families, and Uvalde Native Matthew McConaughey Lead Calls For Change in D.C.



McConaughey spoke at the White House, urging politicians to make the tragic loss of life “matter.”

Survivors and Families Testify 

Survivors and families of the victims killed in the recent shootings in Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo, New York addressed lawmakers on Wednesday, detailing the horrors they experienced on the days of the tragedies. 

“I left my daughter at that school, and that decision will haunt me for the rest of my life,” said Kimberly Rubio, whose 10-year-old daughter Lexi Rubio was among the 21 people killed at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. 

During her video testimony for the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Rubio spoke of her daughter’s ambitions and personality while telling leaders that she does not want them to “think of Lexi as just a number.”

“As her voice, we demand action,” Rubio said. “We seek a ban on assault rifles and high capacity magazines. We understand that for some reason, to some people, to people with money, to people who fund political campaigns, that guns are more important than children. So at this moment, we ask for progress.”

Calls for change were a theme throughout the hearings. Miguel Cerrillo, the father of 11-year-old Uvalde survivor Miah Cerrillo, said his daughter “is not the same little girl” after living through the attack.

“I wish something will change not only for our kids, but every single kid in the world because schools are not safe anymore,” he said while speaking in person at the hearing in Washington, D.C. “Something needs to change.”

Miah Cerrillo spoke herself via video testimony, where she told lawmakers that she covered herself in a classmate’s blood and kept quiet during the attack to stay alive. When asked if she felt safe at school, she shook her head to say no. 

“Because I don’t want it to happen again,” she explained. 

When asked if she thought it would happen again, she nodded.

Zeneta Everhart, the mother of Zaire Goodman, who was killed when a white supremacist opened fire at a grocery store in Buffalo, spoke about the racism that has permeated the United States and its history. 

“I continuously hear after each mass shooting that this is not who we are as Americans and as a nation,” Everhart said during her testimony. “Hear me clearly. This is exactly who we are.” 

Everhart added that lawmakers “who continuously allow these mass shootings” by not enacting legislation should “be voted out.”

Matthew McConaughey Speaks At White House

The House is expected to vote on gun control legislation following the testimonies. In the wake of these mass shootings and the dozens that have followed since, many Americans have been urging lawmakers to address gun control.  

Actor Matthew McConaughey, who was born in Uvalde, spoke at the White House on Tuesday in an emotional plea to politicians. He repeatedly said he and the families of the victims wanted the “loss of these lives matter.”

McConaughey spoke about the lives and dreams of several of the victims, including a student named Maite, who was passionate about the environment and wanted to become a marine biologist. 

“Maite wore green high-top Converse with a heart she had hand-drawn on the right toe because they represented her love of nature,” he said, later gesturing for his wife to show the shoes to the pressroom. 

“Wore these every day. Green Converse with a heart on the right toe,” he continued. “These are the same green Converse on her feet that turned out to be the only clear evidence that could identify her after the shooting. How about that?” 

To emphasize how horrific the massacre in Uvalde — and others like it — was, he discussed what he learned from the mortuary cosmetologist in charge of restoring the bodies of the Robb Elementary victims. 

“They needed extensive restoration. Why? Due to the exceptionally large exit wounds of an AR-15 rifle,” the “Dallas Buyers Club” actor said. “Most of the bodies so mutilated that only DNA tests or green Converse could identify them. Many children were left not only dead, but hollow.” 

He then urged politicians to pass background checks and red-flag laws, as well as raise the minimum age for purchasing AR-15 guns.  

“This gun responsibility issue is one that we agree on more than we don’t,” he said. “It really is. But this should be a nonpartisan issue.” 

“We are not as divided as we’re being told we are.”

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White Supremacist Propaganda Reached Record High in 2022, ADL Finds



 “We cannot sit idly by as these extremists pollute our communities with their hateful trash,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said.

White supremacist propaganda in the U.S. reached record levels in 2022, according to a report published Wednesday by the Anti-Defamation League’s Center of Extremism.

The ADL found over 6,700 cases of white supremacist propaganda in 2022, which marks a 38% jump from the nearly 4,900 cases the group found in 2021. It also represents the highest number of incidents ever recorded by the ADL. 

The propaganda tallied by the anti-hate organization includes the distribution of racist, antisemitic, and homophobic flyers, banners, graffiti, and more. This propaganda has spread substantially since 2018, when the ADL found just over 1,200 incidents. 

“There’s no question that white supremacists and antisemites are trying to terrorize and harass Americans with their propaganda,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement. “We cannot sit idly by as these extremists pollute our communities with their hateful trash.” 

The report found that there were at least 50 white supremacist groups behind the spread of propaganda in 2022, but 93% of it came from just three groups. One of those groups was also responsible for 43% of the white supremacist events that took place last year. 

White supremacist events saw a startling uptick of their own, with the ADL documenting at least 167, a 55% jump from 2021. 

Propaganda was found in every U.S. state except for Hawaii, and events were documented in 33 states, most heavily in Massachusetts, California, Ohio, and Florida.

“The sheer volume of white supremacist propaganda distributions we are documenting around the country is alarming and dangerous,” Oren Segal, Vice President of the ADL’s Center on Extremism said in a statement. “Hardly a day goes by without communities being targeted by these coordinated, hateful actions, which are designed to sow anxiety and create fear.”

“We need a whole-of-society approach to combat this activity, including elected officials, community leaders, and people of good faith coming together and condemning this activity forcefully,” Segal continued. 

See what others are saying: (Axios) (The Hill) (The New York Times)

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Adidas Financial Woes Continue, Company on Track for First Annual Loss in Decades



Adidas has labeled 2023 a “transition year” for the company. 

Yeezy Surplus 

Adidas’ split with musician Kanye West has left the company with financial problems due to surplus Yeezy products, putting the sportswear giant in the position to potentially suffer its first annual loss in over 30 years. 

Adidas dropped West last year after he made a series of antisemitic remarks on social media and other broadcasts. His Yeezy line was a staple for Adidas, and the surplus product is due, in part, to the brand’s own decision to continue production during the split.

According to CEO Bjorn Gulden, Adidas continued production of only the items already in the pipeline to prevent thousands of people from losing their jobs. However, that has led to the unfortunate overabundance of Yeezy sneakers and clothes. 

On Wednesday, Gulden said that selling the shoes and donating the proceeds makes more sense than giving them away due to the Yeezy resale market — which has reportedly shot up 30% since October.

“If we sell it, I promise that the people who have been hurt by this will also get something good out of this,” Gulden said in a statement to the press. 

However, Gulden also said that West is entitled to a portion of the proceeds of the sale of Yeezys per his royalty agreement.

The Numbers 

Adidas announced in February that, following its divergence from West, it is facing potential sales losses totaling around $1.2 billion and profit losses of around $500 million. 

If it decides to not sell any more Yeezy products, Adidas is facing a projected annual loss of over $700 million.

Outside of West, Adidas has taken several heavy profit blows recently. Its operating profit reportedly fell by 66% last year, a total of more than $700 million. It also pulled out of Russia after the country’s invasion of Ukraine last year, which cost Adidas nearly $60 million dollars. Additionally, China’s “Zero Covid” lockdowns last year caused in part a 36% drop in revenue for Adidas compared to years prior.

As a step towards a solution, Gulden announced that the company is slashing its dividends from 3.30 euros to 0.70 euro cents per share pending shareholder approval. 

Adidas has labeled 2023 a “transition year” for the company. 

“Adidas has all the ingredients to be successful. But we need to put our focus back on our core: product, consumers, retail partners, and athletes,” Gulden said. “I am convinced that over time we will make Adidas shine again. But we need some time.”

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

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Immigration Could Be A Solution to Nursing Home Labor Shortages



98% of nursing homes in the United States are experiencing difficulty hiring staff. 

The Labor Crisis 

A recent National Bureau of Economic Research paper has offered up a solution to the nursing home labor shortage: immigration. 

According to a 2022 American Health Care Association survey, six in ten nursing homes are limiting new patients due to staffing issues. The survey also says that 87% of nursing homes have staffing shortages and 98% are experiencing difficulty hiring. 

The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) outlined in their paper that increased immigration could help solve the labor shortage in nursing homes. Immigrants make up 19% of nursing home workers.

With every 10% increase in female immigration, nursing assistant hours go up by 0.7% and registered nursing hours go up by 1.1% And with that same immigration increase, short-term hospitalizations of nursing home residents go down by 0.6%.

The Solution 

Additionally, the State Department issued 145% more EB-3 documents, which are employment-based visas, for healthcare workers in the 2022 fiscal year than in 2019, suggesting that more people are coming to the U.S. to work in health care. 

However, according to Skilled Nursing News, in August of 2022, the approval process from beginning to end for an RN can take between seven to nine months. 

Displeasure about immigration has exploded since Pres. Joe Biden took office in 2021. According to a Gallup study published in February, around 40% of American adults want to see immigration decrease. That is a steep jump from 19% in 2021, and it is the highest the figure has been since 2016.

However, more than half of Democrats still are satisfied with immigration and want to see it increased. But with a divided Congress, the likelihood of any substantial immigration change happening is pretty slim. 

See what others are saying: (Axios) (KHN) (Skilled Nursing News)

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