The state of California has decided to drop its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for the state’s public and private school children. A conversation about missing and murdered indigenous people in California and why tribes are calling for action at the State Capitol. Friends and Family in Sacramento remember Tyre Nichols.
COVID vaccine requirement in schools
About three years ago we started hearing about a mysterious virus that was starting to spread around parts of China. Soon after, COVID-19 made its way to the United States and then quickly around the world. Local, state, and federal agencies responded, or scrambled to respond, the best they knew how. We all remember how we needed to stay home, stay 6 feet apart, wear a mask, and wash our hands. All of which was just supposed to last a few weeks to “stop the spread.” Since then, the response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been fought over, debated, and dissected, and will be for decades to come. Emergency laws were put into order, there were new rules and regulations, color codes, and tiers that touched every aspect of life as we knew it. But one of the most controversial measures taken here in California and other parts of the country was the mandate that schoolchildren be vaccinated against the virus in order to attend school. On February 28th California will officially end its COVID-19 pandemic emergency declaration and that means public schoolchildren in California will no longer need COVID vaccines. Diana Lambert, an education reporter for EdSource, and Dr. Monica Gandhi, a Professor of Medicine and Infectious Diseases at the University of California, San Francisco, joined insight to discuss the end of the mandate and what it means, moving forward.
Missing and murdered Indigenous People
California has the largest Native American population in the country, home to more than 100 federally recognized tribes. From the Northern to Central and Southern parts of the state, tribes have long been grappling with a crisis of missing and murdered indigenous people also known as M-M-I-P. An epidemic that is rooted in a complex web of neglected issues, from gaps in law enforcement and government funding to shortcomings in social services and generational trauma. For the first time ever, tribes across California gathered at the State Capitol to demand lawmakers take action in the form of legislation and funding. Specifically calling on lawmakers to pass two bills that tribes say will curb the crisis as well as approve $200 million in funding to build programs and services to prevent these tragedies from taking place. Joseph James, Chairman of the Yurok Tribe which is the largest tribe in the state, joined insight to talk about this effort and why he believes real change is possible.
Remembering Tyre Nichols
The city of Sacramento is honoring Tyre Nichols. The 29-year-old died after being hospitalized following a brutal beating by Memphis Police. Five officers are facing second-degree murder charges in addition to the firing of a sixth officer and three medics with the Memphis Fire Department. But before Tennessee, Tyre called Sacramento home and would regularly skate at the Regency Community Park in North Natomas. Sacramento Councilmember Lisa Kaplan said the city is in the process of renaming the park the “Tyre Nichols Skate Park.” That announcement came over the weekend during a celebration of life ceremony at Sac Ramp Skate Park, sharing memories of the father and avid skateboarder. Insight Producer Victor Corral Martinez met with two of Tyre’s friends, Ryan Wilson and Jerome Neal, and put together a remembrance in their own words.