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Pope compares racism to a “virus” that lurks in the shadows.

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Pope compares racism to a "virus" that lurks in the shadows.
Pope compares racism to a "virus" that lurks in the shadows.

Pope compares racism to a “virus” that lurks in the shadows.

 

On Sunday, Pope Francis condemned racism, comparing it to a virus that lurks in the shadows, only to erupt and demonstrate that “our perceived social progress” is “not as true or definitive” as people believe.

On the United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Francis tweeted about racism.

Racism, according to the pope, is like “a virus that easily mutates and, instead of vanishing, goes into hiding and lurks in waiting.”

“Instances of racism continue to shame us, because they demonstrate that our ostensible social progress is not as true or definitive as we believe,” Francis wrote on Twitter, using the hashtags #FightRacism and #FratelliTutti. The title of the encyclical, or special teaching paper, issued by Pope Francis last year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic to call for global unity, brotherhood, and environmental security is “Fratelli Tutti.”

Francis did not mention any specific instance of racism or location in his tweet. Throughout his pontificate, he has spoken for the interests of those who are socially disadvantaged, such as refugees.

The annual United Nations commemoration on March 21 commemorates the day in 1960 when police in Sharpeville, South Africa, opened fire on a peaceful protest against apartheid laws, killing 69 protesters.

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Michelle Wu reappoints Rafaela Polanco Garcia and Lorena Lopera to Boston School Committee

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Michelle Wu reappoints Rafaela Polanco Garcia and Lorena Lopera to Boston School Committee

Boston School Committee members Lorena Lopera and Rafaela Polanco Garcia have been reappointed to their positions by Mayor Michelle Wu and will now serve on the board until 2024.

“I am excited and grateful to reappoint these passionate community leaders who have consistently advocated for equity, inclusion, and accessibility in our school system. They both will continue to work to support families, educators, and community members and advocate for the high-quality education our students deserve,” Wu said in a statement.

Former Acting Mayor Kim Janey had appointed Lopera and Garcia, and their terms expired with Janey’s, as acting mayors in Boston cannot make permanent appointments.

The two School Committee members reapplied for their seats and were chosen by Wu. They will serve terms that are set to expire on Jan. 1, 2024.

Boston School Committee Chair Jeri Robinson said Lopera and Garcia “have each added great depth to our conversations as a Committee and I look forward to their continued engagement as we advance important policy issues.”

Both Garcia and Lopera are Boston Public Schools parents. Garcia serves as director of parent engagement and organizing at St. Stephen’s Youth Programs. She is an immigrant from the Dominican Republic and primarily speaks Spanish.

Lopera is executive director of Latinos for Education. She lives in Jamaica Plain and is an immigrant from Colombia.

Lopera said, “My educational experience and my experience as a Boston Public Schools parent will continue to guide my decisions on the committee. I look forward to working with families, educators and community members so that our school system is more equitable, responsive, and provides quality support for all of our children.”

Garcia said she looks forward to representing immigrants and English language learners, adding, “I hope to continue promoting language access and to represent my community with dignity.”

A citizens nominating panel of Boston parents, teachers and other community members receives applications for school committee positions and interviews candidates before sending a list of finalists for the mayor to choose.

Applications are open for two more spots on the school committee for seats currently held by members Ernani DeAraujo and Hardin Coleman.

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Charlie Baker insists vaccine verification system is not a pathway to mandates

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Charlie Baker insists vaccine verification system is not a pathway to mandates

Gov. Charlie Baker wants everyone to know he does not support a vaccine mandate statewide — “period.”

His unequivocal stance comes after he went on radio and said a digital vaccine verification system may soon be coming to Massachusetts. The floodgates opened and he was hit with a barrage of questions about how and why it will be implemented.

Baker emphasized that he has “never supported or agreed to any sort of statewide vaccine mandate program” several times, and added that he doesn’t plan to in the future. He explained that the mandate is only in place for people who “want to go to a wedding or to a church, or to a restaurant where proof of vaccination is required,” he said.

“This isn’t about creating a mandate or a statewide initiative of any kind, we just want to make sure that people have the ability, if they’ve been vaccinated and want to have proof that they’ve been vaccinated, that they can easily download it onto their phone and use it whenever they need to,” Baker said.

Baker also didn’t weigh in on the broader use of the technology, which he said will be rolled out “soon,” throughout an unnamed city, for example. Boston Mayor Michelle Wu has recently hinted that she’s considering a “vaccine passport” system similar to the one in New York City, which requires patrons to show their vaccination status before entering venues like gyms, theaters and restaurants.

“We said from the very beginning of the pandemic that we’re going to pursue one set of rules that we consider to be important at the state level, but we’re going to give locals a lot of latitude with respect to how they want to play it at the local level,” Baker said, making no mention of Boston or Wu.

Though the governor touted the ease of verification availability on people’s smartphones, even as the ACLU of Massachusetts has raised concerns.

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Charlie Baker attends groundbreaking at Norwood Hospital, damaged by 2020 flood

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Charlie Baker attends groundbreaking at Norwood Hospital, damaged by 2020 flood

Gov. Charlie Baker attended a groundbreaking ceremony in Norwood to mark the start of construction on a new hospital in the town after the old one was damaged in a June 2020 flood.

“There will be a beautiful new hospital here and this hospital will continue to provide care and service to this community for at least another 100 years,” Baker said. “But that wipeout that took place that day, that was another profound example of how you can’t always predict what every day is going to be like.”

Norwood Town Manager Tony Mazzucco said emergency rescuers evacuated over 100 people from the hospital that night during the pandemic and the storm without any injuries to patients or first responders.

The hospital is set to reopen in 2024.

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