Published February 23, 2021

Photo by Mathew Busch/Bloomberg News

As the Lone Star State reels from the effects of an Arctic winter blast, issues like gun violence and voting by mail remain on Americans’ broader radar. Experts from the Rutgers community offer their insight and creativity.

Could the Green New Deal help avert environmental tragedies? Why are some Texas power-outage victims blaming sustainable energy when deregulated fossil fuel-based systems seem to be failing? Naomi Klein, the Gloria Steinem Endowed Chair in Media, Culture, and Feminist Studies in the School of Communication and Information, writes a New York Times op-ed about the Texas disaster through a political and socioeconomic lens. Progressive energy policies will only become more appealing, says Klein, as “overlapping crises of unemployment, houselessness, racial injustice, crumbling public services, and extreme weather” continue to batter our society.

The New York Times | Why Texas Republicans Fear the Green New Deal

Douglas Kruse and Lisa Schur, professors at Rutgers’ School of Management and Labor Relations and co-authors of a national survey, say that mail-in ballots and improved polling place accessibility made it easier for people with disabilities to vote in 2020. “There’s a lot to be happy about,” Schur told Time. “However, about one in nine voters with disabilities reported having difficulty voting in 2020, and this is double the rate of people without disabilities. More work needs to be done.”

Time | Mail Voting Boosted Turnout for Voters wth Disabilities. Will Lawmakers Let It Continue?

A study by the New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center at Rutgers finds that states with tougher gun laws report less gun violence among teens, according to a story in U.S. News and World Report. “We understood the role of individual characteristics in youth gun carrying, but we often ignored the broader environmental context surrounding youth gun-carrying behavior, such as whether gun laws are in place in a state to discourage access to guns,” says study co-author Paul Boxer, a professor of psychology at Rutgers University–Newark.

U.S. News & World Report | Tougher State Gun Laws, Less Gun Violence among Teens: Study

The New York Times reviews How Beautiful We Were, the second novel by Rutgers alumna Imbolo Mbue DC’01, RBS’01. Although the book will be released March 9, Mbue first started writing it 17 years ago, returning to the project in 2016 amid the presidential election, the Flint water crisis, and other news. “Everything that I was feeling—the pain, the confusion, the frustration about the state of the country—I looked for ways to channel it so that I could honestly tell the story,” says Mbue.

The New York Times | Imbolo Mbue Has Been Working toward This Moment

Jerry Izenberg NCAS’52 began writing for the Newark Ledger in 1951, when he was still a Rutgers student. Now age 90 and a Star-Ledger columnist emeritus, Izenberg has won first place among sportswriters in the New Jersey Press Association Better Newspaper Contest. Izenberg is also a recent inductee of the New Jersey Hall of Fame and, in the course of his career, has covered the accomplishments of Black baseball players, quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s quest for social justice, and many other compelling stories. | Star-Ledger Wins General Excellence Award, Numerous Other Top Honors from State Press Association

Celebrated artist Lucas Samaras RC’59 survived the Greek Civil War as a child, moved to New Jersey in the 1940s, took part in “happenings” at Rutgers, and planned to become an actor. Immersion in the New York art scene, however, sparked a decades-long engagement with Polaroid photography and other visual media. His new virtual show at Manhattan’s Pace Gallery, says NPR, incorporates “neon colors and distorted geometric shapes to transform construction sites and drab buildings into kaleidoscopic wonderlands.”

NPR | Artist Lucas Samaras Opens New Virtual Exhibit At Manhattan’s Pace Gallery

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