WRWA http://wrwa.net/ Wed, 24 Nov 2021 12:12:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8 https://wrwa.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/cropped-icon-32x32.png WRWA http://wrwa.net/ 32 32 When teachers face a premium for lessons on race https://wrwa.net/when-teachers-face-a-premium-for-lessons-on-race/ Wed, 24 Nov 2021 10:19:46 +0000 https://wrwa.net/when-teachers-face-a-premium-for-lessons-on-race/

And now, in the latest effort to make teaching as unappealing a profession as possible, the New Hampshire Chapter of Moms for Liberty offered $ 500 to anyone who “successfully catches a public school teacher” breaking a new law prohibiting the teaching of critical race theory. This initiative, known to its authors as “CRT Bounty’s” [sic], directs readers to the state’s Department of Education website, which now includes a section for filing teacher complaints.


No, not teachers’ complaints about the seriousness of their working conditions. This bonus is awarded to people who report teachers suspected of teaching that racism exists and is entrenched in public institutions.

They haven’t yet embarked on a bounty program for people who don’t know how to form a plural name ending in “y”.

Even without the premium, the New Hampshire Board of Education has the power to punish teachers who violate the rule that prohibits “teaching children that they are inferior, racist, sexist or oppressive because of their race, gender or other characteristics”. Yes, that is, they are white. If they are not, the absence of such teaching confirms to them that they are considered inferior and that no one in power cares what they think.

The critical theory of race is, as Mike Pence told us, “state sanctioned racism”. I suspect that few of his critics could pass a simple test of comprehension of his principles, if the opponents I have seen represent the critical population. CRT is such a frightening specter that it must be banned, and its practitioners must be punished, if they can be found. And we’ve got $ 500 a piece for you if you can get them out.

The conservative Granite Grok website describes teachers who plan to defy the ban as “dangerous human beings, who have simmered for so long in this poisonous ideology that many of them have become self-contradictory fanatics.” People who in no way should have access to children, and certainly not for the purpose of shaping their intellect if you can even call it that.

What kinds of radical, far-left, America-hating and guilt-inducing white texts could serve as a springboard for such state-sanctioned racism and the oppression of white students? Let’s take a look at one and see.

The American Constitution is often studied in schools. In georgia, “Public Law 108-447 requires the designation of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day on September 17 of each year. The purpose of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day is to commemorate the formation and signing, on September 17, 1787, of the Constitution and to recognize all those who, by their majority or their naturalization, have become citizens.

Certainly, a text establishing the basis of the legal and governmental systems of the United States would not be controversial. And just as surely, teaching it just might attract bounty hunters to your classroom.

Say a professor of social studies in Georgia or American literature hopes to honor Public Law 108-447 by teaching the Constitution in mid-September. In accordance with Article I, Section 2, of the Constitution of the United States, “the representatives and direct taxes are distributed among the various states which may be included in this Union, according to their respective number, which is determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those connected with service for a period of years, and excluding untaxed Indians, three-fifths of all other persons. “

These unnamed “other persons” were Black slaves, a class of people in each state of the Union circa 1787. After the Civil War, this law was revised in section 2 of the 14th Amendment to remove provision 3/5. “Indians”? The natives did not acquire citizenship of the nation established on the lands they had occupied for 12,000 years until 1924. They were considered 0/5 of a person until the year of birth. my father.

In both versions of the law, the rules only applied to men. Women had little access to the right to own property, to vote, to hold office and to have other “natural rights” assumed to be the exclusive province of men.

Article 4, section 2 of the original Constitution further required that escaped slaves be returned to their owners; and Article 1, Section 9, Clause 1 prevented Congress from banning slavery until 1808.

Let’s say a teacher assigns the Constitution to read and asks: What questions do you have about the Constitution? And let’s say a child says: Why were black people 60% human, and Indians were not considered people at all?

Then imagine a kid across the room seeing Critical Race Theory at work and denouncing the teacher for collecting that $ 500 bounty and making sure the teacher is properly punished. Does that sound like a profession you would like to stay or even enter?

CRT is all about institutional racism, the ways in which racism is integrated into the system of governance and social life. Racism is often so entrenched in social institutions that it is difficult to see it, at least for those who benefit from it. If you find a talking fish and ask it if it lives in water, it might say, “Water? What is that?”

Water comes up in another subject that could be covered in a science class. Some people’s water is cleaner than others, and some schools have brown flowing water. I can imagine a kid in a school of brown water wondering: Why is my school so unsanitary? A CRT bounty hunter could pocket a nice reward for helping punish the teacher for allowing a question leading to a response saturated in critical breed theory.

In this case, the fish is in unsanitary water, which makes it easier to see, at least for fish of a different color. People saturated with their own beliefs find it difficult to see how the environment is anchored in their ideology. The New Hampshire CRT Bounty program will ensure that the discriminatory structures entrenched in American society from the beginning remain invisible and impervious to attention.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a CRT bounty hunter club spring up in Georgia, where school board meetings have become places where riot gear is now properly dressed. If you thought that a serious shortage of teachers is imminent due to poor working conditions, wait and see the teaching profession when an activist public concerned with preserving their own hierarchy of statutes finally breaks teachers’ backs with a threat of too much.

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CommonWealth Magazine https://wrwa.net/commonwealth-magazine/ Wed, 24 Nov 2021 03:31:07 +0000 https://wrwa.net/commonwealth-magazine/

MAINE The Department of Environmental Protection on Tuesday suspended the permit it had issued for a Massachusetts-funded transmission line carrying hydropower from Quebec until a court suspends the application or cancels a law passed by voters on November 3 blocking the project.

The decision by Melanie Loyzim, the department’s commissioner, means the fate of the project – a pillar of Massachusetts’ effort to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 – is now in the hands of Maine courts.

Loyzim said all construction on the transmission line must stop. Project developer New England Clean Energy Connect had continued construction after the vote was taken, but voluntarily halted all work on Friday in response to a request from Gov. Janet Mills.

New England Clean Energy Connect has filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction prohibiting enforcement of the law approved by voters. The law retroactively prohibits the construction of high-impact transmission lines in the Upper Kennebec area of ​​Maine and requires transmission lines located elsewhere in the state to gain the support of the majority of the legislature if they are located on high-impact lines. private land and two-thirds if they operate through public land.

Loyzim said it was unlikely that New England Clean Energy Connect could build the transmission line to bypass restrictions in the new law.

“I find that there are no readily identifiable and potentially viable alternative routes that would allow the completion of the project and the delivery of renewable hydroelectricity from Canada to the New England grid given the statutory changes in the approved referendum. “Loyzim said in his decision. “The possibility of an additional alternative route around the entire Haut Kennebec region remains speculative at this time and therefore where an alternative route might cross Maine, how it would avoid the Upper Kennebec region and where it could connect with the existing project route, if any, is unknown.

The law voted by voters officially comes into force on December 19.

Meet the author

Editor, Commonwealth

On Bruce mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of Commonwealth magazine. Bruce came to Commonwealth of Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions spanning business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and was the Worldhead of the State House bureau in the late 1980s. He also reported for the World‘s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb Award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state pension system. It served as Worldpolitical editor in 1994 and continued to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. TO CommonwealthBruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written on a wide range of issues with a particular focus on politics, fiscal policy, energy and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

On Bruce mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of Commonwealth magazine. Bruce came to Commonwealth of Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions spanning business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and was the Worldhead of the State House bureau in the late 1980s. He also reported for the World‘s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb Award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state pension system. It served as Worldpolitical editor in 1994 and continued to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. TO CommonwealthBruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written on a wide range of issues with a particular focus on politics, fiscal policy, energy and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

Fifty Maine lawmakers on Tuesday sent a letter to Gov. Charlie Baker urging him to remove Massachusetts from the transmission project. It is not clear if Baker has this authority at this point given the way the contract is drafted.

New Hampshire is the second place where Massachusetts has sought to import hydropower from Quebec. The first attempt was in New Hampshire and was shot down in 2018 by regulators there. Maine’s transmission line, which would run from the Quebec border to Lewiston, Maine, got all the necessary approvals and moved forward until voters rejected it at the ballot box. New England Clean Energy Connect said it has spent more than $ 450 million so far on the $ 1 billion project.


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Lifestyle choices of wealthy and middle-class consumers https://wrwa.net/lifestyle-choices-of-wealthy-and-middle-class-consumers/ Tue, 23 Nov 2021 19:26:54 +0000 https://wrwa.net/lifestyle-choices-of-wealthy-and-middle-class-consumers/

The COP26 negotiations focused on green technologies and finance. Governments pledged money, businesses pledged net zero output, and ordinary citizens… did nothing! Individual activists have made a lot of noise, but there has been no systematic effort to organize the shift in consumption patterns necessary to achieve our common goal of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius. The Chichester Festival Theater has organized a host of eco-activists to spell ‘get involved’ and commit to reducing food waste etc., but the lifestyle and behavior changes of individuals, especially consumers. of the middle class and the wealthy, have received far less attention than warranted. The richest 10% of consumers are responsible for 44% of carbon emissions linked to consumption.

A few facts can provide context. About two-thirds of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are linked to household consumption. This is why the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Emissions Gaps Report 2020 concluded that major lifestyle changes will be needed. Consumers will need to reduce their carbon footprint from a global average of around 6 tonnes of CO2 equivalent (C02eq) per person to 2 to 2.5 tonnes by 2030 and 0.7 tonnes by 2050. Part of this happens automatically when companies produce more sustainably. manners. For example, when utility companies substitute renewable sources for fossil fuels, consumers’ indirect emissions when heating and cooling their homes with electricity automatically decrease. The consumer is not being asked for anything other than, perhaps, to switch to electrical appliances. They can keep their consumption pattern. But that will not be enough. Lifestyle changes are needed. This is why Sustainable Development Goal 12 is responsible consumption and production.

The richest 10% of consumers are responsible for 44% of carbon emissions linked to consumption.

Every little bit counts given the scale and urgency of reducing emissions, but when it comes to consumers, there is a flood of suggestions and recommendations that generate more confusion than actionable information. Research into how consumers’ lifestyle choices affect overall carbon emissions is behind schedule.

We know something about the differences between countries. The average consumer in the United States, for example, emits around 17.6 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per capita, more than double that of the European Union and the United Kingdom (7.9 tonnes) and 10 times more than India (1.7 tonnes). What we don’t know with any degree of robustness is to what extent this is simply due to higher levels of income and spending in the United States (the rich emit more than the poor). this is due to temperature and other natural conditions, and how much of it is due to political choices.

A just transition would address all of these issues (and unsurprisingly, the available research identifies North America as a positive emissions outlier). It would also help identify policy actions that could encourage consumers to reduce their emissions.


A simple framework for thinking about lifestyle changes, developed by Felix Creutzig and others, is Avoid-Shift-Improve. Avoidance is best understood as reducing the overall level of consumption. For example, one of the main consumer ‘demands’ is to avoid long and medium haul flights, as these are associated with significant carbon emissions. Smaller homes, reductions in food waste, and a car-free life (thanks to the availability of carpooling through companies like Uber) can be added to this list. When it comes to travel, using public transportation, changing diets to reduce beef and lamb consumption, and purchasing local produce are part of the answer. When it comes to improving energy efficiency, the shift to electric cars and the purchase of sustainably manufactured products are the main drivers.

In each of these cases, there is a public policy reason to encourage changes in consumer behavior, and this is most easily achieved through differentiated taxes. There is a lot of talk about taxing carbon, but a uniform carbon tax is not an effective or fair solution. Applying Ramsey’s optimal tax rule would suggest that the appropriate tax rate on a good is proportional to that good’s unit contribution to carbon emissions, and inversely proportional to the elasticity of demand for the good in question. It is the set of taxes that would minimize the deadweight loss of welfare resulting from taxation.

With that in mind, there are three priorities for lifestyle changes:

  1. Impose a tax on the main areas where “avoidance” is the priority: air flights, beef and lamb are huge sources of carbon. In today’s world, they should be viewed as a luxury and taxed accordingly. As these industries reduce emissions (for example, adding kelp to animal feed shows promise in reducing methane emissions), the optimal tax rate should drop.
  2. Use the income to subsidize the choices consumers should turn to: public transport and local producers of vegan products.
  3. Set standards and encourage commercial research to develop efficient devices, especially electric cars, trucks, and buses.

Ramsey’s rule tells economists how to define relative tax rate on goods. The absolute level of taxes depends on the amount of revenue to be raised. Likewise, the level of Ramsey carbon taxes described above depends on the overall carbon budget which must be respected. Concretely, it largely depends on the world population. I have written before about how the best investment in reducing carbon emissions is to invest in secondary education for girls in countries with high fertility. This remains true from afar. It is disappointing that at COP26, even at the special session on climate change and health, there was no mention of education.

COP26 missed an important opportunity to highlight the role that lifestyle changes can play and to pave the way for policies that will surely need to be implemented to make these lifestyle choices acceptable to the population. People have accepted cigarette taxes as a tool to reduce smoking and increase life expectancy. They need a similar effort to understand why stealing and eating meat deserve similar treatment. In addition, they need to understand that the demographic impact on all of us of lower population growth in poor countries is significant. This is why combining climate finance and development finance makes so much sense.

So let’s not forget what each of us can do to consume more responsibly. Let’s also understand the big picture. Reducing food waste is good, but small compared to avoiding a single theft. Reducing your meat consumption is as important as giving up your car. At the time of the COP27, where more ambitious objectives and actions are expected, we must seek proposals to encourage low-carbon lifestyle choices. And we must redouble our efforts to accelerate the enrollment of girls.

Towards circular wind turbines: LM Wind Power will produce zero waste blades by 2030 https://wrwa.net/towards-circular-wind-turbines-lm-wind-power-will-produce-zero-waste-blades-by-2030/ Tue, 23 Nov 2021 08:09:15 +0000 https://wrwa.net/towards-circular-wind-turbines-lm-wind-power-will-produce-zero-waste-blades-by-2030/
  • The company will reuse, reuse, recycle or recover any excess material from blade manufacturing, moving away from landfill and incineration as waste management solutions.

  • It will also partner with its suppliers to avoid waste in the manufacture of blades, which today accounts for nearly a third of LM Wind Power’s operational carbon footprint.

  • Zero waste blades represent a significant advance in the industry’s ambitions for circularity.

Copenhagen, Denmark: November 23, 2021 – LM Wind Power, a GE Renewable Energy company, today announces it will produce zero waste blades by 2030, a milestone for the industry as it seeks to reduce the carbon footprint of its products . This commitment represents a step forward in the company’s sustainable development journey after becoming the first carbon neutral company in the wind industry already in 2018.

LM Wind Power will play a central role in supporting its customers in the development of fully circular wind turbines that generate less waste during their production. Concretely, LM Wind Power’s vision for zero waste blades means the company aims to send no excess manufacturing and packaging materials to landfill and incineration without energy recovery by here. 2030.

Manufacturing waste is one of the biggest challenges many industries face as they seek to reduce their carbon footprint. At LM Wind Power, nearly a third of its operational carbon footprint comes from waste disposal.

In the wind industry, about 20-25% of the materials purchased by wind turbine blade manufacturers do not go into the final product, and research indicates that the volumes of blade manufacturing waste are expected to be greater than the volumes of blades decommissioned over the next decade.

“We are used to working with our partners to tackle our most pressing challenges. Our technology has played a crucial role in making wind power one of the most competitive sources of electricity, ”said Olivier Fontan, CEO of LM Wind Power. “Now the goal is to make wind power not only competitive, but also to make the industry sustainable. It is not one or the other, but both. We are determined to work with our partners to reduce the carbon footprint of wind turbines; together, we can be the example of how an industry transforms its value chain to support the green transition and the critical shift to a circular economy. Zero waste blades are our contribution to this industry mission.

For manufacturers of wind turbines and blades, the key to reducing the carbon footprint of the product lies in the supply chain. In the life cycle of the blade, about 75% CO2 emissions occur in the supply chain.

“This is a call to action for suppliers in the wind industry: join us in designing waste for our value chain,” said Hanif Mashal, vice president, Engineering and Technology at LM Wind Power. “Engagement with our supply chain in waste prevention will increase over the next few years; Through partnerships, we will also explore how we can ultimately return the waste to suppliers, to recycle it into new materials that will be supplied to the wind industry or other sectors. ”

While the prevention and recycling of blade manufacturing waste will be a major goal for the company, LM Wind Power is also working with partners to establish sustainable and large-scale solutions to recycle decommissioned blades as part of the DecomBlades project. . The company is also working on the development of next-generation blades that can be more easily recycled thanks to the ZEBRA (Zero Waste Blade Research) project.


About LM Wind Power
LM Wind Power, a renewable energy company of GE, is one of the world’s leading designers and manufacturers of rotor blades for wind turbines, with a global manufacturing footprint that includes blade factories in Brazil, Canada, China , India, Poland, Spain, France, Turkey and the United States. The company has produced more than 241,000 blades since 1978, corresponding to more than 121 GW of installed capacity and global savings of 251 million tonnes of CO2 per year. In 2018, LM Wind Power became the first carbon neutral company in the wind industry.
Follow us on www.lmwindpower.com or on twitter @lmwindpower

About GE Renewable Energy
GE Renewable Energy is a $ 16 billion company that combines one of the broadest portfolios in the renewable energy industry to provide end-to-end solutions to our customers demanding reliable and affordable green energy. Combining onshore and offshore wind solutions, blades, hydropower, storage, large-scale solar and grid solutions as well as hybrid renewable energy and digital service offerings, GE Renewable Energy has installed more than 400 gigawatts of clean renewable energy and has equipped over 90% of it. utilities around the world with its network solutions. With nearly 40,000 employees in more than 80 countries, GE Renewable Energy creates value for customers looking to power the world with affordable, reliable and sustainable green electrons.
Follow us on www.ge.com/renewableenergy, on www.linkedin.com/company/gerenewableenergy, or on www.twitter.com/GErenewables

For media inquiries, please contact:

Fernando Reartes
Senior Director, Global Communications
LM Wind Power
+34 661 741 544
[email protected]

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United States-Mexico Binational Meeting on Transboundary Water Pollution https://wrwa.net/united-states-mexico-binational-meeting-on-transboundary-water-pollution/ Tue, 23 Nov 2021 03:14:42 +0000 https://wrwa.net/united-states-mexico-binational-meeting-on-transboundary-water-pollution/

Consulate General of the United States in Tijuana

Joint statement

The US and Mexican governments met today in Tijuana to discuss issues of transboundary water pollution along the shared border. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan and U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar led the U.S. delegation, which also included the Commissioner Maria-Elena Giner of the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) and the US representative Scott Peters. Mexico was represented by the Head of the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs (SRE) of the North American Unit Roberto Velasco lvarez and the Director of International Affairs of the Secretariat of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) Miguel Ángel Zeron as well as the Consul General of Mexico in San Diego Carlos González Gutiérrez, Deputy Technical Director of the National Water Commission (CONAGUA) Humberto Marengo, Commissioner Adriana Reséndez Maldonado of the Mexican Section of the IBWC and representatives of the authorities of the State of Baja California for water and sanitation.

Recognizing the critical importance of tackling water pollution for the benefit of citizens on both sides of the border, the US and Mexican delegations reviewed the important progress made in reducing pollution levels. Mexico highlighted its $ 46 million investment by local, state and federal authorities completed between 2019 and 2021 in water purification projects for the Tijuana River, including recent upgrades to the resort. pumping station in Tijuana as well as numerous infrastructure repair projects financed by CONAGUA. and EPA to reduce wastewater flows.

The US and Mexican delegations agreed that reducing the transboundary flow of polluted water into the Tijuana River, canyons and the coast is a high priority for both countries and pledged to continue their joint efforts to further reduce water levels. pollution.

As part of these efforts, delegations discussed plans for EPA’s upcoming $ 300 million investment that will reduce transboundary wastewater flows into the Tijuana River and along the Pacific coast in the part of a comprehensive plan announced on November 8, 2021 (link to EPA press release).

The United States stressed that this comprehensive plan will provide reliable wastewater treatment to more than 500,000 residents of Tijuana. Additionally, the plan will benefit the thousands of San Diego County residents and tourists who enjoy the Tijuana River Valley and local beaches, while significantly reducing the flow of untreated wastewater impacting communities. and the American and Mexican ecosystems.

Mexico highlighted the recent investment in the expansion and modernization of the CILA pumping station, noting that these improvements had reduced cross-border flows for the first time in decades. Mexico also reported on the new regional plan jointly developed by the federal government and the state of Baja California to address transboundary pollution flows.

The two governments reaffirmed their joint commitment to take coordinated action to find a sustainable solution to transboundary pollution flows, with CONAGUA reaffirming its intention to finance wastewater treatment, collection and reuse projects in Tijuana. The Mexican delegation also presented a new draft “Special Northern Border Sanitation Program” which will be used to seek additional resources for future projects.

In particular, the US and Mexican delegations agreed to further coordinate projects and funding sources related to wastewater collection, reuse of wastewater from La Morita and Arturo Herrera wastewater treatment plants and rehabilitation of the San Antonio de los Buenos wastewater treatment plant to treat wastewater. coastal communities.

Through these binational cooperative efforts, the water quality of the Tijuana River and along the Pacific coast will improve dramatically, thereby improving public health, restoring ecosystems and creating new recreational opportunities on both sides. from the border. These projects will also provide important opportunities for reuse of wastewater in a drought-prone region.

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Mobilizing to help Afghans in need – VCU News https://wrwa.net/mobilizing-to-help-afghans-in-need-vcu-news/ Mon, 22 Nov 2021 19:53:50 +0000 https://wrwa.net/mobilizing-to-help-afghans-in-need-vcu-news/

While reports of the chaotic departure of the US military from Afghanistan and the people who fled the country have mostly vanished from the headlines, the University’s Afghan-born students and graduates of the Commonwealth of Virginia continued to educate and assist their Afghan compatriots in need. .

For Yasameen Anwari, a 21-year-old junior who studies health, physical education and exercise science in the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences, the fall of the Afghan government to the Taliban touched very close to home.

“It’s a sad situation because, while I was born here, my parents are refugees who came from Afghanistan and immigrated in the 1980s. It’s like this is all happening again and it’s hard to see your parents. live this twice, ”Anwari said. “It was very difficult to constantly see my parents’ country on the news 24/7. It wreaks havoc on you. I was anxious and my mental health was not very good.

As president of the Afghan Student Organization VCU, Anwari mobilizes a group of around 200 members to raise awareness of the challenges facing Afghans, those who have recently arrived in the United States, and those who have lived here for decades.

Over the years, Anwari and the group of students have raised funds and donated thousands of dollars to Help Afghanistan for education, receive thank you notes and photos of beneficiaries, girls who for years had been denied an education.

More recently, the student group has stepped up its efforts to help those suffering in Afghanistan as well as the tens of thousands of Afghans the US military has brought here, many of whom remain at military bases like Fort Lee nearby. Many members of Afghan student organizations attended protests in Washington this summer to publicize the turbulent events in Afghanistan and show people care about the country. They regularly post on social media to other refugee aid organizations, such as the International Rescue Committee, to let their own subscribers know how to help. Anwari and her leadership team from the Afghan student organization – bioinformatics student Rida Jamal, anthropology student Sadef Osmanza and biology student Waris Bahrami – also raised funds to buy winter clothes for Afghan refugees staying at a military base in Wisconsin.

This is not the only group on campus working to help the Afghan people. On October 8, the Muslim Student Association of VCU organized and hosted a charity kickball tournament for Afghans in need, working with the Afghan Student Organization, RVA Cares, Penny Appeal USA and United 2 Heal to collect $ 1,040 for Afghan families in need of food. parcels, water, hygiene kits, shelters and other necessities. Members of the VCU Student Veterans Association have worked to raise donations for those temporarily housed at Fort Lee and Fort Pickett, and faculty and students at the School of Dentistry are creating dental supply kits for the refugees.

Leadership is a source of trust

The desire to help extends beyond the campus. At the end of August, VCU graduates and former presidents of the Organization of Afghan Students, Nazaneen Anwari (Yasameen’s sister) and Yousef Nikzai, used their medical and language skills to volunteer at the Dulles Expo Center as staff. medical, sorting the Afghan evacuees to ensure they were stable enough. to go to their next location.

Nikzai, a medical student at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine and founder of the Afghan Student Organization, spoke directly to the Afghans evacuated by the US military, helping them through what continues to be a shocking experience and traumatic. He helped a 13-year-old boy who, while protecting his mother from the Taliban, was shot in the arm.

“I was able to connect and take care of the patients,” said Nikzai, who, like Yasameen Anwari, grew up in Northern Virginia, which has a large community of Afghans. “I think it was a little easier for me to take care of the patients and to sympathize with them compared to the other providers who were there.

“These people have left everything they own and love in their home. Many of them have left their husbands. Some kids came without their parents, so they just wanted someone to talk to, to let them know that everything was going to be okay, that they are safe and that we will take good care of them.

Nazaneen Anwari, graduated in May from the Business school and currently working as a pharmacy technician and medical assistant, joined the Virginia Medical Reserve Corps when she learned the government needed translators to help communicate with refugees.

“It was crazy and very chaotic [at Dulles Airport], “she said.” But it was beautiful to see how strong these people were, despite everything they had been through. They were so full of hope to come to the United States for a better future, even though their hearts were heavy. “

Moved to lead and inform

Nazaneen Anwari’s involvement with the Afghan student organization left a deep mark on her.

“It shaped me as a person and I feel like being welcomed and accepted by everyone around me has really shaped who I am and will be in the future because I have developed that confidence. in me and this acceptance of my identity and myself, ”she said. “I am now able to be fully myself and serve others. “

“These people have left everything they own and love in their home. … They just wanted someone to talk to, let them know that everything was going to be okay, that they were safe and that we will take good care of them.

Youssef Nikzai

This summer, after the US military pulled out of Afghanistan, Nazaneen Anwari joined other young Afghan American professionals – many of whom are recent VCU graduates like Nikzai and Aneil Tawakalzada, who received his bachelor’s degree from VCU and is now a medical student at Nova Southeastern. University – to put their concerns into action. they formed OneAfghanistan, a website to provide information to those who wish to help.

“We were all so eager to get involved to make a difference, but we didn’t know how to do it,” Tawakalzada said. “You would see it all over social media. Everyone wanted to give back.

“We were seeing a lot of people posting a million different things, all over social media – ways to help and different fundraisers you can donate to and so on,” Tawakalzada said. “It was confusing because there was a ton of information all over the place. It was hard to follow, but even more so, you couldn’t tell how legitimate some things were. People were so desperate for it. involve and donate to places or donate clothes or whatever. “

OneAfghanistan’s social media posts have garnered tens of thousands of views from people looking for this information. Tawakalzada and other OneAfghanistan leaders are helping make sense of all the information, using their website as a clearinghouse for information on charities, ways to help refugees, protests, petitions and links to mental health professionals who speak Dari, Pashto and Farsi. Tawakalzada said they felt they were making a difference. And OneAfghanistan continues to help Afghans settle down by offering mentorships, creating scholarships, and delivering workshops on resume writing and job interviews.

Responding to a humanitarian crisis

In order to continue to raise awareness of the current needs in Afghanistan and of the newly arrived Afghan refugees, the Organization of Afghan Students will organize a Night in Afghanistan December 3 event at VCU with all proceeds going to the Richmond office of the International Rescue Committee, an organization that helps people affected by a humanitarian crisis.

“We showcase the beauty of Afghan culture and will hold a fashion show featuring traditional Afghan clothing, Afghan dance performances and performers such as a woman reciting Afghan poetry and a flute player,” Yasameen Anwari said. . “A local Afghan restaurant in Richmond called Afghan Cuisine will provide food.”

Yasameen and Nazaneen Anwari are motivated to continue raising awareness of the plight in Afghanistan and hope the information provided by their groups inspires others to join us in addressing humanitarian issues.

“Whenever there is an injustice, if someone witnesses it, they have to stand up and speak out. Because at the end of the day we are all human and we can all help each other, ”said Nazaneen Anwari. “Otherwise, nothing will change in the world.