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Weekend Reads 8/8/20

The pandemic is creating a mental health crisis

Henry and others interviewed by Indian Country Today describe a spectrum of formal and informal virtual gatherings, phone trees and other socially distanced activities in their communities as a way to survive and remain connected during the pandemic.

People are organizing social distance powwows, jingle dress dances, bead working, ribbon skirt and regalia making and Indigenous food preparation classes and gatherings on social media. Some of the events are huge national gatherings, some are modest local events.

Black Lives Matter movement sparks 'collective awakening' on marijuana policies

Black Americans have been disproportionately affected by marijuana enforcement for decades and are four times more likely to be arrested than white people despite similar usage rates, according to the ACLU. Lawmakers and advocates say the racial justice protests that began after George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others were killed have persuaded wavering elected officials to support drug policy changes, motivated prosecutors to take long-awaited action and opened the door for new conversations about marijuana policy reform.

Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. is taking an 'indefinite' leave of absence

Liberty University is an evangelical Christian school in Lynchburg, Virginia, founded by Falwell Jr.'s father Jerry Falwell, a televangelist and influential conservative activist.

Falwell Jr. was heavily criticized this week after he posted and deleted a photo of himself on a yacht with his pants unzipped and his arm around a woman.

Next coronavirus aid package probably won’t become reality this month after better-than-expected July jobs report, analyst says

“In the wake of today’s jobs numbers and extensive conversations with staff on Capitol Hill and other advisors that make it clear there is almost no urgency at this point from either Democrats or Republicans to meet in the middle, we are revising our odds downward from 65%-75% that a deal will be reached in August, to now 65-75% this deal will be reached in September,” she wrote in a note.

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