Joe Biden Backs Moving MLB All-Star Game Out Of Georgia Over Voting Law

The president told ESPN he would support the athletes if they pushed to have the baseball game relocated.

President Joe Biden said Wednesday that he would strongly support Major League Baseball moving its All-Star Game from Atlanta after Georgia enacted new voting restrictions that disproportionately target Black residents.

“I think today’s professional athletes are acting incredibly responsibly. I would strongly support them doing that,” Biden said in an interview with EPSN SportsCenter host Sage Steele. “People look to them. They’re leaders.”

Tony Clark, director of the MLB Players Association, said Friday that he “would “look forward” to discussing moving the All-Star Game, scheduled for July 13, out of Atlanta.

“Players are very much aware,” the union chief told The Boston Globe. “As it relates to the All-Star Game, we have not had a conversation with the league on that issue. If there is an opportunity to, we would look forward to having that conversation.”

In his interview Wednesday, Biden pointed to athletes fueling political change, specifically in the National Basketball Association. And such a move would not be the first in sports history. In 2017, the NBA moved its All-Star Game out of Charlotte, North Carolina, after the state legislature passed a bill discriminating against transgender people. 

“The very people who are victimized the most are the people who are leaders in these very sports,” Biden told ESPN. “And it’s just not right. This is Jim Crow on steroids, what they’re doing there in Georgia and 40 other states.”

Last week, the Republican-controlled Georgia state government approved a sweeping new law that imposes strict voter identification requirements for absentee ballots, limits ballot drop-box locations, gives the legislature greater control over elections and criminalizes offering food and water to voters standing in line. 

The overhaul comes after Republicans lost two Senate races in a special election in January, giving Democrats control over both chambers of Congress. 

In his first news conference as president last week, Biden also called the law “Jim Crow in the 21st century.”

Major corporations have been facing pressure to speak out and take action against the law ― and activists have been threatening boycotts if they don’t. 



Latinos, youth of color make up very few of paid congressional interns

White college students make up almost eight in ten of paid congressional internships, according to a new report from the group Pay Our Interns.

Paid congressional internships are a prestigious and powerful stepping stone for college students, but a recent report found they are far from representative of the nation's diversity.

White students made up 76 percent of paid congressional interns, though they make up about half (52 percent) of the national undergraduate student population, according to a new report from the non-profit Pay Our Interns.

Latino and Black students, on the other hand, accounted for 7.9 percent and 6.7 percent of paid interns, though they represent 20 percent and 15 percent of the undergraduate student population, respectively.

Asian/Pacific Islander college students made up 7.9 percent of the interns, and American Indian/Alaska Native were only .03 percent.

"Offices need to have equity at the center, meaning that they are looking at candidates from all kinds of backgrounds," said Pay Our Interns co-founder Carlos Mark Vera, who had an unpaid congressional internship while he was in college and had to work multiple jobs to live in the nation's capital.

Congressional offices should do outreach to minority institutions in their district, Vera said.

The report, "Who Congress Pays," also found that nearly 50 percent of paid interns attended private universities — double the amount of undergraduates nationwide.

The findings provide insight into who exactly interns on Capitol Hill, suggesting "an unequal racial and economic makeup of legislative interns," according to the report.

"It's also helping to create a baseline so we have a better sense of what's going on," Vera told NBC News.

Since Congress does not report race in its workforce, the non-profit looked at 8,500 pages of payroll information between April and September 2019. Researchers then obtained data from a variety of online sources to collect racial demographic information on 3,841 interns. It's the first reporting of how Congress has spent funds allocated to pay interns, according to the report.

White members of Congress were three times more likely to hire a white intern, the report found. Republican senators were almost four times (3.9 percent) more likely to hire white interns than Democrats.

Lawmakers of color make up less than a quarter (24 percent) of Congress, but they employed over a third (33.5 percent) of interns of color. In the House, lawmakers of color are 26 percent of members, and hired 46 percent of all paid interns of color.

Pay Our Interns has been on the frontlines of advocating for equity in paid internships since 2016. When the House and Senate passed bills in 2018 to allocate nearly $14 million to fund congressional internship programs, the advocacy group's 2017 report was often cited in media coverage, since they had found that more than 90 percent of House members didn't pay their interns.

The bill, which was part of a $147 billion bipartisan spending package to initially avoid a government shutdown, established an allowance of $20,000 per House office and $50,000 per Senate office per year.

Some progress —and steps to take

As for the recent report, Vera says it isn't entirely grim.

More than 90 percent of congressional offices now use their allocated allowance to pay their legislative interns, an improvement from the non-profit's 2017 findings. Nearly 300 interns were Latinos, which is an increase over the last couple years, said Vera, though it's still not enough.

The report recommends increasing transparency when hiring, promoting remote internships, recruiting from communities of color, expanding funding to increase intern stipends, and giving priority to need-based applicants.

With congressional internships crucial to getting people's foot in the political world, the report stresses the significance of giving those with less privileged backgrounds the chance to work in Congress.

Beyond the opportunity internships can provide, it's important to have young people of color at the table who have similar experiences to the populations they represent —especially as members of Congress are drafting legislation, Vera said.

"The policies they are writing have life and death consequences. If you're doing health care policies and you decide to restrict healthcare options or not expand Medicaid, people die," Vera said. Diverse interns can also bring insights, he said, into legislation around education or immigration issues.

"And paid internships are the vehicle towards getting more folks in these places of power," Vera said.



Hispanic students continue to thrive at AS

Hispanics make up an increasing part of Arizona’s student population, but the key to their success in higher education is for universities to be intentional about supporting them, according to Arizona State University President Michael Crow.

Crow spoke at the "Arizona Briefing on 25 Years of Hispanic-Serving Institutions,"  a livestreamed event on March 25 sponsored by Excelencia in Education, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that promotes Hispanic student success in higher education.

The event looked at progress over the past 25 years, when the federal designation of “Hispanic-Serving Institution” was created to describe colleges and universities whose student bodies were at least 25% Hispanic.

At ASU, Hispanic enrollment increased 51% for combined on-campus and online students from fall 2016 to fall 2020, to nearly 29,000. ASU's six-year graduation rate for Hispanic students who started at ASU in fall 2014, the most recent data available, was 61% as reported to the Arizona Board of Regents. That’s higher than the statewide six-year graduation rate of 47% for Hispanic students at four-year institutions, according to Excelencia in Education.

But enrollment is not enough, Crow said. Universities must make sure Hispanic students are supported on their path to graduation. Over the past 25 years, ASU has redesigned the university and established purposeful goals.

“We opened the door to working-class and working-poor Hispanic families, but we knew if we did that and no one graduated, who cares,” he said.

“Our outcome in the past 25 years has been a huge acceleration.”

Three years ago, Excelencia in Education awarded ASU its “Seal of Excelencia” to acknowledge the university’s work toward supporting Hispanic students’ journeys to a bachelor’s degree. 

“The most important thing we’re doing is lowering all of our shields,” Crow said.

“Universities have been shielded: ‘You can’t get in if you don’t have enough money.’ Or, ‘You can’t get in if you didn’t get an A in chemistry in high school,’” he said.

“We’re lowering the shields and we’re seeing massive engagement of Hispanic students.”

Among ASU’s programs cited by Excelencia in Education were:

  • The Hispanic Mother-Daughter Program, founded to increase the number of minority, first-generation and low-income students that enter higher education. It has expanded from a one-year to five-year program and now accepts male students and fathers. The program, which starts in the eighth grade, includes mentoring, parent involvement and early outreach. About 73% of HMDP graduates attend an institution of higher education directly after high school, and 56% of HMDP students will graduate college in four years or less.
  • The Joaquin Bustoz Math-Science Honors Program, started in 1985, is an intense academic experience that helps students to pursue university mathematics studies while still in high school. The program offers a university experience for students who are underrepresented in the mathematics and science fields.
  • The Quantitative Research for the Life and Social Sciences Program supports students from the undergraduate to the postdoctoral level. It includes summer research training institutes; long-term support for alumni; research opportunities for undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students; and opportunities for national and international visitors.
Excelencia in Education panelists

Excelencia in Education co-founder Deborah Santiago moderates a discussion with University of Arizona President Robert Robbins and ASU President Michael Crow during Excelencia in Education’s “Arizona Briefing on 25 Years of Hispanic-Serving Institutions” webcast, Thursday, March 25, 2021. ASU and UArizona are among to most active state institutions providing pathways to Latino student to educational and economic success and advancement. Screenshot by Charlie Leight/ASU News

Deborah Santiago, co-founder and CEO of Excelencia in Education, said that the organization takes a data-driven approach. Among the statistics she discussed:

  • Population growth has driven growth in the number of Hispanic-Serving Institutions nationwide, which numbered 189 in the mid-1990s and now number 539.
  • Nationwide, 17% of all institutions have the HSI designation, but 67% of all Hispanics attend an HSI.
  • In Arizona, there are 14 HSIs (including the Downtown and West campuses of ASU), and 42% of Latinos attend an HSI.

ASU and the University of Arizona were in the first cohort of 14 institutions to be awarded the Seal of Excelencia, Santiago said.

“ASU and the University of Arizona showed very clearly that using data aligned with practice and leadership are ways to show intentionality and make a positive difference for Latino students while serving all students,” she said.

ASU’s enrollment is approaching the HSI designation, according to Edmundo Hidalgo, vice president of outreach partnerships at ASU.

“We will submit our numbers and we will be on that list,” he said.

The designation, as well as the Seal of Excelencia award, will be a draw in recruiting faculty, Hidalgo said.

“It signals to the academic community that ASU is a place for faculty who want to work with diverse communities in a high-impact environment,” he said.

Tiffany Ana López, vice provost for inclusion and community engagement at ASU, said the award is a validation of ASU’s charter.

“It’s not only access and inclusion, but how they succeed, and Excelencia is recognizing the work we put into our students’ success,” she said.

“There’s an energy in the present moment of what we’re doing at ASU and also what we’re doing as part of the statewide efforts toward the future.”

U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly spoke at the event, and noted that the recently passed federal pandemic aid package will bring some financial relief to Arizona, including $2.6 billion for Arizona’s public K–12 schools and $683 million for the state’s higher-education institutions, as well as $187 million for broadband internet access in rural areas.

Kelly said that the federal government needs to support universities that graduate Latino students.

“Arizona’s Latino population is young and the state’s economic success is connected to Latino college attainment, particularly those pursing degrees in STEM fields,” he said.

“Arizona’s companies are depending on us to produce an educated workforce that will strengthen our economic position in the world.”



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