Equity & Justice

Race, Ethnicity, Gender, Culture, Income, and Justice

Updated at 2:42 p.m. ET

Pope Francis has called for legislation to protect same-sex couples, according to comments he made in a new documentary that mark a break from Catholic doctrine.

"Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. They are children of God and have a right to a family," the pope said in an interview in the documentary Francesco, which premiered Wednesday at the Rome Film Festival. "What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered."

In mid-March, Karla Monterroso flew home to Alameda, Calif. after a hiking trip in Utah's Zion National Park. Four days later she began to develop a bad, dry cough. Her lungs felt sticky.

The fevers that persisted for the next nine weeks grew so high — 100.4, 101.2, 101.7, 102.3 — that on the worst night, she was in the shower on all fours, ice cold water running down her back, willing her temperature to go down.

Six months after driver Kyle Larson was suspended for uttering a racial slur, NASCAR announced he's been reinstated and is eligible to return to the sport in January.

Larson, 28, was dropped from his racing team and quickly lost sponsors after saying the N-word in April while playing a video game that viewers could follow along. NASCAR moved to bar him indefinitely and ordered him to attend racial sensitivity training.

As Kevin Young gets ready to take over as the next director of the National Museum of African American History in January, his thoughts turn to poetry — and how poets make connections for readers.

"I think a poet or the idea of being a poet is a calling, it's a vocation," he tells NPR. "For me, so is thinking and talking about Black culture. Those two things are intimately related."

Young, who has written more than a dozen books of poetry, directs the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City.

Medical research was an early casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic.

After cases began emerging worldwide, thousands of clinical trials unrelated to COVID-19 were paused or canceled amid fears that participants would be infected. But now some researchers are finding ways to carry on in spite of the coronavirus.

In the early 1980s, Mary Ann Tellas was majoring in biology at Indiana University, and for the first time, she had a class taught by a Black professor.

As a young Black woman, Tellas says having a professor of her own race gave her the confidence to speak up in class and pursue a career in science. Now, she's a high school biology teacher in Indianapolis.

"I always felt as though, gosh, you know, there's nobody like me in my classes. Nobody looks like me," Tellas says. "I don't want to say it changed my life, but it did give me some perspective."

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Police in France raided numerous homes Monday in a sweep of suspects alleged to have offered online support for last week's beheading of a schoolteacher who had shown his students controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, the Interior Ministry said.

The raids come as thousands have poured into the streets in France to show solidarity in the wake of Friday's attack in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, northwest of Paris, where history teacher Samuel Paty, 47, was killed by a man later identified as an 18-year-old Moscow-born Chechen.

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If Latinos vote in large numbers, they could impact who wins this year's elections, but this is a group that typically has low voter turnout. And this year, there are new obstacles in their way. Here's NPR's Leila Fadel.

Five years ago, Pastor Michelle Thomas was looking for a place to build a church in Loudoun County, which borders the Potomac River in northern Virginia.

She had no idea her search would lead her to a neglected burial ground for enslaved people, nor that her 16-year-old son would die and become, as she put it, "the first African American person who was born free to be buried in this cemetery."

At the time, Thomas was just looking to build a church for her congregation, Holy & Whole Life Changing Ministries International, a non-denominational church in Landsdowne, Va.

A Louisiana man serving a life sentence for stealing a pair of hedge clippers in 1997 was paroled on Thursday, after spending more than two decades in prison for his crime.

That act of simple burglary wouldn't normally lead to a life sentence. But over the previous two decades, Fair Wayne Bryant had committed four other felonies, including armed robbery of a cab driver, stealing merchandise from a store, forging a check for $150, and stealing property from somebody's home.

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Our latest episode of Code Switch, we took a look at vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris's record as a prosecutor, and how she used her power as San Francisco's district attorney and later, as California's attorney general to shape the criminal justice system.

In the 1920s, a renaissance happened in Harlem. Black artists migrated north, rejecting centuries of a tragic status quo. They inspired each other to make art that expressed an audacious new vision of Black beauty, Black hope, Black truth and Black pride. A century later, Black artists are coming together again, somehow, though not physically this time.

Welcome to Amplify With Lara Downes, where you can eavesdrop on my intimate conversations with visionary Black musicians who share what they're making in this time of transformation — of reckoning, reimagining and maybe rebirth.

Bernard Cohen, who as a young lawyer successfully argued the Supreme Court case that struck down Virginia's ban on interracial marriages, has died at age 86.

Cohen died Monday in Fredericksburg, Va. The cause was Parkinson's disease, his family told NPR.

Cohen was an attorney in Alexandria, Va., just a few years out of law school when the American Civil Liberties Union, where he was a volunteer, asked if he would take on the case of Richard and Mildred Loving.

On this week's episode of Code Switch, we dove into Kamala Harris's past as a prosecutor, both as the district attorney of San Francisco and attorney general of California. It's a history that she has touted on the campaign trail, but it's also earned her flak from those who criticize what they see as a harsh and unyielding approach to prosecuting and incarcerating people—especially Black people—without due consideration of the ways the system discriminates against those defendants.

Key priorities

Joe Biden

  • Support minority-owned small businesses.
  • Increase homeownership among minority communities and combat housing discrimination.
  • Improve accessibility to affordable higher education and reduce student loan debt for minority students.

Read details of Biden's plans below.

Donald Trump

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Sound And Silence

As a deaf person, Rebecca Knill is anti-noise and "neutral" on sound. She explains how technology allows her to hear what she wants to hear, and asks why our mindset about ability hasn't caught up.

About Rebecca Knill

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Sound And Silence

For years, NPR host Mary Louise Kelly found ways to do her job and manage hearing loss. But now she can no longer rely on reading lips or leaning-in. She describes how she's adapting all over again.

About Mary Louise Kelly

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On this day in 1995, hundreds of thousands of black men gathered on the National Mall for the Million Man March. Here's what Wade Hudson saw.

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Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the St. Louis couple who waved guns at Black Lives Matter protesters on their private street in June, pleaded not guilty to two felony charges on Wednesday.

The white teenager accused of fatally shooting two demonstrators and injuring a third in Wisconsin in August will not be charged with gun crimes in his home state, an Illinois state prosecutor announced.

Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, faces six criminal counts in Wisconsin, including first-degree intentional homicide. He allegedly used an AR-15-style rifle during protests in Kenosha, Wisc., that erupted after the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

A financial scandal swirling around the Vatican has taken a new twist with the arrest of a woman linked to a cardinal fired by Pope Francis.

Italian police arrested Cecilia Marogna in Milan late Tuesday on a warrant from the Vatican City State. A Vatican official told Reuters that Holy See magistrates suspect her of embezzlement and misappropriation of funds, in complicity with others.

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