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1. Brooklyn’s in the House!


House Democratic Caucus Meets to Vote on Leadership

Source: The Washington Post / Getty

What You Need to Know:

For the first time, an African American will lead a party in the U.S. Congress. Brooklyn Representative Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) made history Wednesday as he was elected to the top leadership position among the new minority, Democrats in the House of Representatives. Jeffries and Democratic colleagues, Kathryn Clark (Mass.) and Pete Aguilar (CA) were elected to the top three positions within the Democratic Caucus, Minority Leader, Democratic Whip, and Democratic Caucus Chair, respectively. The torch was passed from current Speaker Nancy Pelosi, James Clyburn (SC), and Steny Hoyer (MD). Tuesday night, before electing Jeffries as her successor, the outgoing Speaker, Congresswoman Pelosi, was named, “Speaker Emerita.” The honorary title, according to the new leader Jeffries, was a “token of their appreciation for her longtime service to the party.”

2. Senate Votes to Protect Gay Marriage


Sign with an arrow for a Gay LGBTQ Wedding service

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What You Need to Know:

The Senate passed bipartisan legislation Tuesday to protect same-sex marriage, an extraordinary sign of shifting national politics on the issue and a measure of relief for the hundreds of thousands of same-sex couples who have married since the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision that legalized gay marriage nationwide.

The bill, which would ensure that same-sex and interracial marriages are enshrined in federal law, was approved 61-36 on Tuesday, including support from 12 Republicans.

3. NJ Hires Firms to Review Governor’s Handling of COVID-19


Governor of New Jersey Phil Murphy attends RPA (Regional...

Source: Pacific Press / Getty

What You Need to Know:

New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday his administration has launched a promised review of its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The administration hired regional law firm Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads — which has offices in the state as well as Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New York — along with management consulting firm Boston Consulting Group to conduct the review, Murphy said in a statement Monday.

The review is expected to end with a report in late 2023, the governor said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic was one of the biggest challenges our State — and nation — has ever faced,” Murphy said. “Throughout the pandemic, my responsibility as Governor demanded that I make every decision based on the available data, facts, and science in order to preserve the health and safety of all 9.3 million residents, regardless of the politics.”

4. Black Man Freed 39 Years After Wrongful Conviction


Solid, blue iron fence with barbed wire under a blue sky.

Source: Evgeniia Iakimenko / Getty


What You Need to Know:

“Even though it was delayed justice, it was justice… Time and truth prevailed in this matter,” said Raymond Flanks, who spent nearly 40 years before his murder conviction was overturned.

Prosecutors and defense lawyers joined together in asking for Flanks’ conviction to be overturned, arguing that inconsistencies in the eyewitness testimony were kept from the jury that convicted Flanks.

5. New York City to Remove Mentally Ill People From Streets Against Their Will


Brooklyn Bridge, NYC, NY

Source: Vito Palmisano / Getty


What You Need to Know:

Officials outlined a new plan on Tuesday to help more people experiencing severe mental illness in New York City.

A directive has been issued immediately to city workers – including police, fire, EMS, and health department employees – to transport anyone having a psychiatric issue and refusing voluntary assistance to the hospital, where they will be evaluated.

It’s part of the long-term strategy announced by the mayor to address “individuals experiencing severe mental illnesses,” with “an immediate shift in how we interpret our obligation to those in need.”

Sybil Wilkes ‘What You Need To Know’ Brooklyn’s in the House! — Senate Votes to Protect Gay Marriage — Black Man Freed  was originally published on