Seven Interior state candidates to participate in forum hosted by environmental, racial justice groups | Local News

Seven of the 16 candidates running for election to Interior seats in the Alaska Legislature will be participating in a Climate, Jobs and Justice political forum hosted by a group of Alaska environmental and social justice nonprofits and organizations tonight.

The forum will be held online from 5-7 p.m. and is hosted by Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition, The Alaska Center, Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition, Greater Fairbanks Chapter NAACP 1001, the Nanook Diversity & Action Center, Native Movement, Native Peoples Action and Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawai’i.

The following candidates have confirmed plans to participate: 

House District 1 Democratic candidate Christopher Quist

House District 2 Democratic candidate Jeremiah Youmans

House District 4 Democratic Rep. Grier Hopkins

House District 5 Democratic Rep. Adam Wool

House District 6 Democratic candidate Julia Hnilicka;

House District 6 nonpartisan candidate Elijah Verhagen

Senate District B nonpartisan candidate Marna Sanford.

According to event organizers, an invite was sent to all candidates running for Interior seats in both the state House and state Senate. All seven Republican candidates and two nonpartisan candidates either declined to participate or did not respond to the invite for the forum, organizers said.

The forum will discuss issues ranging from climate action, workers advocacy, social and economic justice and healthcare access.

“The top priorities for the people of Alaska, including health care access, racial and economic justice, climate action, Alaska Native rights, and workers’ rights, don’t always get the attention they deserve. We’re excited to offer this nonpartisan forum to center these critical issues and expand the conversation with our community leaders,” said Rose O’Hara-Jolley of Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawai’i on behalf of the organizers.

To ensure proper precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the forum will be held online via Zoom. 

Community members interested in participating can register in advance at


Contact staff writer Erin McGroarty at 459-7544. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMpolitics. 

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Vandals damage City Park’s Storyland, Carousel Garden, write racial slurs on rides

Surveillance cameras captured images of the vandals in the act.

NEW ORLEANS — Vandals broke into City Park’s Storyland and Carousel Gardens, breaking windows, damaging the carousel, and writing racial slurs on the rides.

Photos from City Park show broken glass, graffiti and tails ripped from carousel horses. Officials say it also looks like someone stabbed the antique band organ and one of the carousel horses with a screwdriver.

The racially-charged graffiti includes the N-word and the phrase “Hitler Salute.”

Images of the two vandals were captured by security cameras set up after their first break-in. City Park officials say the names “Alex” and “Justin A” were written on items in the park and shoe prints were left on the carousel doors where they were kicked in.

City Park’s Storyland received a big renovation in 2019, adding new exhibits. The carousel is more than a century old and is on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior.

“This hurts my heart. The Carousel and Storyland are such traditional iconic parts of the Park. The Carousel is over 100 years old. To have them survive Katrina only to then be disrespected in this way is a true travesty. The people of New Orleans love City Park and we’re so grateful to them. It’s sad to see a few people destroy so much,” says Bob Becker, City Park CEO.

City Park is offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact City Park Chief Operations Officer, Rob DeViney at 504-419-2832.

RELATED: City Park taking a major hit to finances due to COVID restrictions

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New Kitchen and Community Center Addressing Racial Disparity in Food to Open in Brooklyn

With the pandemic revealing the ways in which restaurants have systematically failed to prioritize the physical and mental health of their staff, an upcoming Brooklyn culinary center is using the crisis to reevaluate what the future of hospitality can look like.

a commercial kitchen: Auxilio Space is planning to open in December

© Ignacio Javier Bidart/Shutterstock
Auxilio Space is planning to open in December

Auxilio Space — a new project from a trio of forward-thinking hospitality and nightlife veterans — will be an intersectional community-focused food space with the mission of providing resources and meals for New York City’s queer, Black, trans and/or Indigenous communities of color. It’ll include a test kitchen, front-facing bakery and prepared foods cafe, and a co-op CSA model that allows customers on WIC/SNAP to access high-quality fresh produce. The name Auxilio means to offer help in Spanish, a nod to co-founder Zacarías González’s Cuban heritage.

González, a former art director-turned-hospitality worker who most recently was at the new-wave Mediterranean restaurant Petra in Bushwick, had already been yearning for a more community-oriented kitchen space prior the pandemic that allows a new generation of “queer chefs to get their foot in the door,” he says. González is working alongside Kia Damon, formerly the executive chef at Lalito and culinary director at Cherry Bombe, and Mohammed Fayaz, an illustrator and one of the organizers of Papi Juice, an instrumental artist collective celebrating queer and trans people of color in NYC’s nightlife scene that has overlapped with the culinary world on several past events.

The center will also be a place for emerging chefs to host pop-ups and benefit from in-house culinary residencies. Damon will lead mentorship programs out of Auxilio as well as use the space to house her Kia Feeds the People Program, a new mutual-aid meal initiative. Fayaz will handle community outreach and social media, while González’s work will be more focused around development.

Originally, the center was set to open in Downtown Brooklyn, next door to Dépanneur Wines at 294 Livingston Street, between Bond and Nevins Street, where González is currently a buyer. However, in recent weeks, the Auxilio team has shifted to trying to open in an area where the need for more equitable access to food is more urgent and where a queer-led food community is already beginning to gain force, such as Bed-Stuy, where the team has more ties. The target opening date for the project is December.

Though it is clear that Auxilio Space is ambitious and lofty in its multi-pronged approach to creating more access and equity for those who have been left out of positions of power in hospitality, the pandemic has only revealed the dire urgency to all issues it is attempting to chew off. With restaurant jobs remaining scarce, more workers than ever are being pushed to seek out food pantries. The recent Black Lives Matter protests have also galvanized a push to end the general toxicity and “yes, chef” mentality that has allowed racist, homophobic, transphobic, and sexist behavior to pervade the city’s kitchens.

“Prioritizing mental

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White House tells federal agencies to cancel ‘divisive’ racial sensitivity training: reports

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has reportedly directed federal agencies to cancel employee racial sensitivity training that may be “divisive” and “un-American,” according to multiple reports.

“The President has directed me to ensure that federal agencies cease and desist from using taxpayer dollars to fund these divisive, un-American propaganda training sessions,” the memo reads. 

The Post reports it’s not clear what training programs the memo is specifically referring to, but notes Fox News recently shared a critical report of Obama-era diversity and inclusion efforts.


The memo insists that “the President, and his Administration, are fully committed to the fair and equal treatment of all individuals in the United States.”


The report comes as racial tensions in the United States and demands for an end to racism and police brutality have gripped the nation for months.


The issue has sparked renewed attention in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in Minneapolis police custody. Subsequent high-profile deaths of Black Americans while in police custody or without committing a crime have fanned the flames of the issues as well.

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