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Published March 2, 2021

With this year’s Black History Month concluded, is it time to rethink the way we observe it? From racial and social justice to the showdown with COVID-19 to the generational divide over the climate crisis, newsmakers from the Rutgers community offer insight and inspiration.

The teaching of Black history in our schools must do more than just highlight the contributions of a few well-known African Americans like Martin Luther King Jr. or Rosa Parks, says Wanda Blanchett, dean of Rutgers’ Graduate School of Education and a distinguished professor. “Racial healing also requires us to engage in truth-telling about the history we have been taught that leaves out centuries of systematic violence and brutality against Black people,” she writes in an op-ed in The Star-Ledger. “The distorted narrative that omits this history has dominated our textbooks, media outlets and now is also prevalent on social media.”

nj.com | Teach Black history and do it accurately and in its proper context

Which of the COVID-19 vaccines is the best one to get? “My advice to all my patients and to all my friends will be to get the first vaccine you can get,” Jeffrey Carson, provost of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences and a distinguished professor of medicine, tells CNN. “That’s what matters the most—to get protected.”

CNN | 5 questions answered about Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine

Naomi Klein, the Gloria Steinem Endowed Chair in Media, Culture, and Feminist Studies in the School of Communication and Information, speaks with CBS News about what inspired her to write her new book, How to Change Everything. Describing some of the book’s core messages, which are grounded in the work of emerging climate activists, Klein says that “young people…are not satisfied only with individual actions” such as separating recycling from garbage. Instead, they direct their efforts against abusive corporations and complacent politicians who, in Klein’s words, “are the bigger problem.”

CBS News |
“They care about all of it”: How young activists are leading the fight against climate change

A New York Times story on Rutgers women’s basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer highlights her positive effect on student-athletes, among them Betnijah Laney SAS’15 and Erica Wheeler SAS’13, both of whom are now WNBA stars. The article says that Wheeler and Laney speak highly of Stringer’s “trademark intensity, and her approach to helping them overcome physical and mental barriers.” Both players recall their coach “constantly questioning them to make them think and act with purpose.”

The New York Times | C. Vivian Stringer is the thread between the W.N.B.A.’s emerging stars

What happens when you mix crowdsourcing with a passion for nature? A bioblitz! MyCentralJersey.com reports on the Rutgers University 2021 Personal Bioblitz Project, an annual initiative started in 2014 by students and faculty in the Graduate Program of Ecology and Evolution. From March 1 to May 15, everyone is invited to what project leaders describe as a “24/7, anywhere on Earth” event. Just by walking through their yards and neighborhoods, participants are empowered to discover, identify, listen to, photograph, and learn about the spectacular array of species around them.

MyCentralJersey.com | NJ parks hiring for hundreds of seasonal jobs

As co-anchor on NBC’s Today Show, Natalie Morales RC’94 is usually the one asking questions. But a recent feature in US Magazine turns the tables, with Morales revealing the answers to 25 inquiries about her personal and professional life. Besides explaining why she chose Rutgers over Princeton, Morales touches on her childhood goals (“I wanted to be a vegetarian”), her favorite movie (Sweet Home Alabama), why she’ll never scuba dive (“I am too claustrophobic”), and much more.

US Magazine | Journalist Natalie Morales: 25 things you don’t know about me (‘I was born in Taiwan’)

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