Friday, May 27, 2022


High gas prices are not slowing down Memorial Day travel, early voting starts tomorrow in Nevada, and Oregon activists seek accountability for dioxin contamination in low-income Eugene.


Education Secretary Cardona calls for action after the Texas massacre, Republicans block a domestic terrorism vote, and Secretary of State Blinken calls China the greatest challenger to U.S. and its allies.


High-speed internet is being used to entice remote workers to rural communities, Georgia is offering Black women participation in a guaranteed income initiative, and under-resourced students in Montana get a boost toward graduation.

Supporters of Universal School Meals: Don't Stop Now


Thursday, January 27, 2022   

This summer, a key initiative to boost school meal access during the pandemic will expire. In North Dakota, those working at the community level say a return to status quo is not the way to go.

In June, the federal government will no longer provide free meals to all school students the way it has during the pandemic. Barring any action, many schools will return to offering free and reduced-price meals to students who qualify.

Hamida Dakane, community organizer for the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party, said many of the new American families she works with already face challenges in accessing these programs because of language barriers. For those who have come to rely on them, it removes a financial burden.

"People who are working with minimum wage, a single parent," Dakane explained. "If the money they were supposed to cover with this school food, now they can cover with their rent, electricity and internet."

Supporters argued establishing universal free meals permanently gives families certainty, especially when there is a sudden loss of income.

There have been federal proposals for permanent extensions, and the Biden administration offered more support in the recent Build Back Better plan. It has also been floated in states like North Dakota and Minnesota. Opponents generally cite cost concerns in providing the option for households not currently in need.

Supporters countered the approach removes major administrative burdens for school districts, while erasing stigma.

Barry Nelson, interim director of the North Dakota Human Rights Coalition, said it comes down to ensuring a basic, fundamental need for all school children.

"Children have to declare themselves as falling below a certain economic guideline, and that kind of visibility is part of the reason there's a barrier," Nelson asserted.

Other advocates said even though North Dakota's economy was not as affected by the pandemic as much as other states, keeping free meals in place will help families still struggling recover. Prior to the crisis, roughly 30,000 North Dakota students were receiving free and reduced-price school meals.

Disclosure: North Dakota Human Rights Coalition contributes to our fund for reporting on Civil Rights, Human Rights/Racial Justice, LGBTQIA Issues, and Women's Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

get more stories like this via email
Early voting locations will be open across Nevada for several weeks, from May 28 through June 10. (Jlmcanally/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

The Nevada primary election is June 14, and early voting starts tomorrow and runs through June 10. Mail balloting is now permanent, so every active …

Social Issues

Democrats in the Florida Legislature are reviving calls for stricter gun-control laws, following the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Florida's …


This week, in honor of World Otter Day, conservation groups are looking to raise awareness about efforts to restore sea otters along more areas of …

There's been a roughly 38% drop in drowning deaths over the past two decades. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

With the unofficial start to summer, pools around Ohio are opening this Memorial Day weekend, and when it comes to swim time, experts encourage …


Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of water recreation season, and before putting on a swimsuit, Iowa environmental experts say being mindful …

A 2019 report from the Economic Policy Institute found teacher shortages were especially acute in higher-poverty schools. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

As the nation processes the horrific shooting in Uvalde, where 19 children and two teachers were killed, teachers' unions across Illinois and America …

Social Issues

The cost of heading out of town this Memorial Day weekend will be higher than past years, with higher gas prices and inflation hitting travelers…

Health and Wellness

One of Connecticut's largest health systems launched a new resource in Hartford this month, aimed at helping patients access healthy and nutritious …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021