“Why are you talking to them?” Hank Millbourne remembers friends saying to him during the 1980s gay scene in Detroit about other gay men. “They have the package.”

Millbourne had only a passing idea of what the “package” was, but he was quickly taught the alleged telltale signs of it: darkened fingernails from using AZT, then the only approved treatment for HIV. In Black Americans, it had the odd side effect of turning some people’s fingernails dark black.

A year after George Floyd’s killing by a Minneapolis police officer, his family returned Tuesday to Washington, D.C., where lawmakers have been attempting to craft a bipartisan bill to overhaul the nation’s policing laws. Congress failed to act by the anniversary of Floyd’s death — the deadline that President Joe Biden had urged lawmakers to meet. Instead of signing legislation named for Floyd into law on Tuesday, the president met with Floyd’s family members in a private gathering at the White House.

“Michigan has gone farther than other states in dealing with the toxic legacy of PFAS contamination, [but] unfortunately, these chemicals are so persistent and so widespread that they are literally accumulating in our own human waste.”

– Christy McGillivray, political and legislative director at Sierra Club Michigan, commenting on a new report from the Sierra Club and the Ann Arbor-based Ecology Center of Michigan

From statehouses to Congress, Republicans have launched into a fight against the teaching of “critical race theory,” which just a year ago was a niche academic term. Experts in critical race theory say it’s about acknowledging how racial disparities are embedded in U.S history and society, and the concept is being mischaracterized by conservatives. But GOP lawmakers in the past few months have succeeded in pushing it to the top of state legislative agendas.

Todd A. Heywood writes, “Despite all the hoopla and PR, one group of Americans continues to get a confusing message about when and whether to take the vaccine: the immunocompromised community. But federal guidance on vaccination for this group is complicated. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website recommends vaccination, but then refers individuals to their primary care doctors to discuss their specific case. Why?”

Anna Gustafson writes, “But it is that absence that has been so vital this year; it is that emptiness that has paved the way for life. Do not mistake this silence for a lack of numbers: Those of us who have followed the COVID-19 health orders coming from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) fill our state. And, now, after more than a year of listening to the scientists, wearing our masks and social distancing, life is moving towards something almost jarringly familiar, towards something that is beginning to remind us of the lives we were living some 14 months ago.”