Rachel Martin

Poetry can help us become more human. We saw it on display as 22-year-old inaugural poet Amanda Gorman read her stirring poem "The Hill We Climb" last week. It felt joyous and truthful, necessary and hopeful, and there was power in both her and her words.

The Biden administration says the federal government needs to do a better job of acknowledging the ways that communities of color are blocked from fair and equal access to housing.

"Today the average Black family has just one-tenth the wealth of the average white family, while the gap between white and Black in home ownership is now larger than it was in 1960," Susan Rice, head of the White House Domestic Policy Council, said in a news briefing Tuesday.

Democrats on Monday evening delivered an article of impeachment from the House to the Senate to mark officially the start of the second impeachment trial against former President Donald Trump. The article accuses Trump of inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

The Senate trial will begin Feb. 9. Assuming that both Senate independents vote for impeachment, Democrats will need the support of 17 Republicans.

"I just remember being very scared."

That's how Lydia, a 39-year-old mother of three in Canada, describes feeling when she was pregnant in 2008 with her daughter and had questions about vaccinating. She worried it might cause more harm than good.

"I remember feeling some trepidation and saying to my husband, 'We can't undo this once we do it,' " she says. NPR is not using Lydia's full name because she's worried about backlash from a community she once believed in — people opposed to vaccines.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

The Morning Edition Song Project, where we ask musicians to write an original song about the COVID era, continues today with Lila Downs. The artist grew up splitting her time between Minnesota and Oaxaca, Mexico, and says that she always felt pulled between three different cultures — Indigenous Mixtec, Mexican national and American. So when she agreed to contribute to the series, her tricultural identity played a role.

Filmmaker Ken Burns has spent his career documenting American history, and he always considered three major crises in the nation's past: the Civil War, the Depression and World War II.

Then came the unprecedented "perfect storm" of 2020 — and Burns thinks we may be living through America's fourth great crisis, and perhaps the worst one yet.

When Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have A Dream" speech 58 years ago, he changed the course of history with his aspiration.

The metaphors, political overtones and themes King employed were inspired by Langston Hughes' poem "I Dream A World:"

I dream a world where man

No other man will scorn,

Where love will bless the earth

The Flint, Mich., water crisis resulted in charges Wednesday against former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, who is now facing two counts of willful neglect of duty.

As fallout continues from the deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol, Ed Stetzer, head of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College in Illinois, has a message for his fellow evangelicals: It's time for a reckoning.

Evangelicals, he says, should look at how their own behaviors and actions may have helped fuel the insurrection. White evangelicals overwhelmingly supported President Trump in the 2020 election.

In more than four decades of music, Barry Gibb and his brothers Robin and Maurice created almost too many hits to count as the pop powerhouse the Bee Gees. Today, at 74, Barry is the last living Gibb brother, and has continued on as a solo artist. If you've only ever associated his name with the disco era, his new album may surprise you: It turns out that the musician, who emigrated from the U.K. to Australia when he and his brothers were kids, has always been a big fan of American country music.

Brandy Clark is known for her vivid character sketches. The Nashville artist put out an album in March 2020, right when the pandemic was starting to shut everything down. After her tour got canceled, Clark started seeing people less — a real problem for someone who likes to write about other people.

A lot of us went into 2020 with the best intentions: to be more present, to read more, to stay healthy.

The universe, however, had other plans.

We won't tick through all that went wrong in 2020. But needless to say, the coronavirus single-handedly shaped pretty much everything — from the way we go about our daily routines and see loved ones to how we celebrate milestones and grieve losses.

We've reached the time of year where the days are getting shorter and colder, but that's no reason to retreat from the world. The English writer Katherine May actually sees this as a transformative time. She has visited Stonehenge during the winter solstice. She's traveled to the Arctic to see the northern lights, and she has soaked in the Blue Lagoon. She writes about all this in her latest book, Wintering.

With his new book of poetry about race in America, Morning Edition poet-in-residence Kwame Alexander hopes to "shine a little light for the world."

In the book, Light For The World To See: A Thousand Words On Race And Hope, Alexander writes three poems on three events: the murder of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis, Colin Kaepernick's kneeling protests before NFL games, and the election of Barack Obama as president.

Iowa is one of several states, mostly in the Midwest, where coronavirus cases in nursing homes are rising faster than in nursing homes nationally.

While national cases in nursing home residents and staff rose by 8% between September and October, the numbers in Iowa more than doubled in that time, according to the AARP.

Retired four-star Air Force Gen. Chuck Boyd is one of hundreds of military voices speaking out against President Trump this election. Late last month, Boyd, who fought in Vietnam and spent seven years there as a prisoner of war, joined nearly 500 national security leaders who endorsed Democrat Joe Biden.

The podcast Song Exploder lets your favorite musicians tell you how they made your favorite songs. Now, host Hrishikesh Hirway is showing you that story, via a new version of the show adapted for Netflix. Each episode starts at the beginning — the very first moment of inspiration. Then we get to see each layer: the percussion, the bass line, the lyrics.

Months into a global pandemic, a loud cry for racial justice erupted around the country and the world. Protesters took to the streets demanding an end to police brutality and systemic racism and repeatedly echoed the names of three recently-killed Black Americans: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.

Author Barbara Kingsolver knew when she started her writing career nearly three decades ago that it's tough to make a living as a poet.

"Writing novels has always been my day job, but poetry is the thing that I always did just because I loved it. So it feels more personal to me when I write a poem," she says. "I'm really not thinking about anyone reading it. I just kind of put it in a drawer."

But the author of The Poisonwood Bible and The Bean Trees published a book of poetry this week titled How to Fly (In Ten Thousand Easy Lessons).

Months into a global pandemic, a loud cry for racial justice erupted around the country and the world. Protesters took to the streets demanding an end to police brutality and systemic racism and repeatedly echoed the names of three recently-killed Black Americans: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.

In the 1970s, there were few singer-songwriters more beloved than Cat Stevens. A lot has changed since his landmark album Tea for the Tillerman. For one, he's a grandfather. For two, he's not even Cat Stevens anymore: He's gone by Yusuf Islam, or simply Yusuf, since his conversion to the Muslim faith later that decade.

Months into a global pandemic, a loud cry for racial justice erupted around the country and the world. Protesters took to the streets demanding an end to police brutality and systemic racism and repeatedly echoed the names of three recently-killed Black Americans: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.

It can be helpful to focus on the wonder of the natural world when so much of what is happening around us feels out of our control.

Poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil's new book aims to help introduce readers to nature's marvels — it's called World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks and Other Astonishments.

It was Memorial Day, May 25th, 2020. The coronavirus had locked down the country for weeks. Tens of thousands had died. Millions were out of work. And in Minneapolis, a 46-year-old Black man named George Floyd went to buy a pack of cigarettes.

Floyd's stop ended with a police officer's knee dug into his neck for nearly nine minutes. Floyd begged for his life, called for his mother and repeatedly told the police, "I can't breathe." His cries went unanswered and he died in police custody.

Diego Luna wants you to start talking.

The star of Y Tu Mamá También, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, Narcos: Mexico and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has a new series that he hopes will compel audiences to do that. It's called Pan y Circo, or "Bread and Circus," out Friday on Amazon Prime Video.

The title is a reference to the poem "Satire X" by Roman poet Juvenal, who wrote in the second century that bread and circuses — food and entertainment — are all that's needed to convince Romans to give up their political freedoms.

"In a battle for facts, in a battle for truth, journalism is activism," says Philippine journalist Maria Ressa.

Ressa, who is internationally known and lauded for standing up to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's escalating attacks on the press, tells NPR that circumstances in the Philippines have forced her to evolve as a journalist.

The U.S. Navy on Sunday deployed five medical teams to support health workers in South Texas, an area particularly hard hit by COVID-19. The state has had 10,000 new cases a day on average over the last week, up 55% since the beginning of July. And just over 4,000 people in Texas have died since the start of the pandemic.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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More than half of all U.S. states are experiencing a surge in the number of new daily coronavirus cases.

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