On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge William Alsup of California blocked the Trump Administration’s call to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)—a program that permits young immigrants whose parents arrived in the U.S. illegally to live and work here legally. In the ruling, Alsup wrote that the immigrants’ lawyers made clear the “serious, irreparable harm” DACA recipients would suffer if the program were to end. He continued, “DACA covers a class of immigrants whose presence, seemingly all agree, pose the least, if any, threat and allows them to sign up for honest labor on the condition of continued good behavior…This has become an important program for DACA recipients and their families, for the employers who hire them, for our tax treasuries, and for our economy.” Although President Trump has sent mixed messages about his stance on DACA in recent days (he told lawmakers he hopes for a bill that allows DACA recipients to remain in the country, calling it a “bipartisan bill of love”), his administration may still appeal Alsup’s ruling.
Shirley Ann Jackson has been the “first” many times over. She was the first African American woman to receive a doctorate at MIT, to serve as chair of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and to be elected to the National Academy of Engineering. Not to mention that her scientific and public service contributions won her the National Medal of Science in 2016 and a permanent space in the national conversation on science and technology. When she first started at MIT, she faced overt discrimination and recalls one incident where she tried to join a student study group and was told to “go away.” Shortly after that incident, Jackson organized a Black Student Union. That was followed by Project Interphase, a program that supported incoming minority freshmen at MIT (now called Interphase EDGE) and a program that links elementary and middle school students from Harlem Academy to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where she currently serves as president. Since starting at RPI in 1999, “applications have nearly quadrupled, research dollars have tripled, and the student body is more diverse in terms of gender, ethnicity, and geographic background.” Today, in the face of the Trump Administration’s travel ban, Jackson is focused on attracting and supporting students from abroad.
Disney-Pixar’s new animated feature “Coco” just won the Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature. The film tells the story of a young boy in Mexico who accidentally finds himself in the realm of the dead on the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. It introduces unfamiliar audiences to the meaning, traditions, and beauty of the celebration. Director Lee Unkrich and producer Darla K. Anderson knew they had to ensure the utmost cultural authenticity while handling the story; Unkrich says, “We made every effort to travel down to Mexico and do as much research as we could. We tried to surround ourselves with cultural advisors and every step of the way we made it our goal to never lapse into stereotypes or clichés.” Adrian Molina, Mexican American co-director, screenwriter, and songwriter for the film, described the work as “an incredible opportunity to display all of the things about the culture we take pride in and that we want to share and want the world to see.” “Coco” ranks as the highest grossing movie in Mexico ever.