The 2020 presidential election consumed social media platforms for weeks leading up to Nov. 3. Public diplomacy allows anyone with a social media account to publish an opinion or claim fact, and Okemos voters recognized the role this played in voter intimidation. The global pandemic caused 65 million people to send in their votes early via mail. Although this method decreases exposure to other people in the forms of COVID-19 and voter intimidation, the polarized social media posts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter leading up to the election left first-time voters and MSU senior Abigail Scroggie frustrated.
Paul Kato has spent the last 20 years of his life as the media and information teacher at Mason High School and has dedicated his life to teaching Mason students. He was the only Black teacher on staff when he was hired in 2000, and remains the only black teacher in the school district despite the demographic shift that has taken place in Mason over the past two decades. As the nation has become engulfed with protests following George Floyd’s death at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department, a conversation has sparked within Mason as well. Mason has the fastest-growing minority population in Ingham County according to the U.S. Census, but Kato said he believes that Mason has a long way to go before the town is fully accepting of minorities. Paul Kato is the only Black teacher at Mason High School.
Birdsong is among many local activists leading the charge to defund the Lansing Police Department. Since the death of George Floyd, and the accusations of misconduct among LPD officers, citizens and leaders of the community have been calling for the police budget to be cut from the current $46.5 million. On July 13, Lansing City Councilmember Brandon Betz presented a solution that could cut the LPD budget by 50% over the next five years, but so far only $100,000 has been removed from the budget. The resolution would serve to reinvest that money in the community to help provide safety without the Lansing Police Department.