Keeping Score: Most Mass Shooters Have History of Domestic Violence; Kristen Clarke to Lead Civil Rights Division; Simone Biles Wins Historic 7th Title

In every issue of Ms., we track research on our progress in the fight for equality, catalogue can’t-miss quotes from feminist voices and keep tabs on the feminist movement’s many milestones. We’re Keeping Score online, too—in this biweekly roundup.

Keeping Score: Biden's Rescue Plan Will Support Domestic Abuse Survivors; Kristen Clarke Confirmed to Lead Civil Rights Division
Clockwise from top left: Naomi Osaka; Pete Buttigieg; Malala Yousafzai; Simone Biles; Kristen Clarke.

Lest We Forget

“Through his tremendous example, he inspired millions to overcome adversity, dream big and reach beyond the status quo, and this college named in his honor at his beloved Howard University will provide opportunities for future generations of artists to follow in his footsteps and pursue their dreams.”

—Walt Disney executive chairman Bob Iger on the renaming of Howard University’s College of Fine Arts in the late actor Chadwick Boseman’s honor.

“A 2020 analysis of 749 mass shootings found that 60 percent were either domestic violence attacks or committed by men with histories of domestic violence. The higher the casualty count, the more likely the perpetrator had a history of violence against women. Every nation is home to dangerous men; only America gives them easy access to arsenals.”

—Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action

“I know the power that a young girl carries in her heart when she has a vision and a mission.”

—Malala Yousafzai in an interview with Vogue.

“For much too long, the history of what took place here was told in silence, cloaked in darkness.  But just because history is silent, it doesn’t mean that it did not take place.  And while darkness can hide much, it erases nothing.  It erases nothing.  Some injustices are so heinous, so horrific, so grievous they can’t be buried, no matter how hard people try.”

—President Joe Biden in remarks commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre on Tuesday, June 1.

“I cannot give up this platform to promote complacency and peace when there is a war on my body and a war on my rights. A war on the rights of your mothers, a war on the rights of your sisters, a war on the rights of your daughters. We cannot stay silent.”

—Paxton Smith, a Dallas high school valedictorian


+ Congressional Democrats reintroduced the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) on Tuesday, June 8, to protect abortion rights in the face of attacks on Roe v. Wade. The bill would “protect a woman’s ability to determine whether and when to bear a child or end a pregnancy, and to protect a health care provider’s ability to provide reproductive health care services, including abortion services.”

+ The White House announced on Monday, May 24, the American Rescue Plan will allocate funding towards support services for domestic violence survivors—a total of $200 million. “As we all know, the pandemic and its economic impact significantly increased the risks of abuse for victims of domestic violence and made it much harder for them to seek safety and support,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.

+ In a long-awaited move—and on Tuesday, May 25, the one-year anniversary of the death of George Floyd—the Senate confirmed Kristen Clarke to lead the Justice Department’s Civil Rights division. Clarke will be the first Black woman to serve in the role since the department was established in 1957. 

+ The judge nominated to replace Attorney General Merrick Garland on the D.C. Circuit, U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, was voted through Senate committee on Thursday, May 20. If the Senate confirms Jackson to the appellate court, she could be well-positioned for a potential Supreme Court appointment, in which case she would be the first Black woman nominated as a Supreme Court justice.

+ Tennis star Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open after skipping a press conference for her own mental health, citing social anxiety and stress surrounding public speaking.

+ Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) signed a law requiring social media to pay fines for barring political candidates from their platforms. The legislation comes shortly after Facebook and Twitter’s banning of former President Donald Trump. DeSantis also signed a new bill on Tuesday, June 1, prohibiting transgender girls from playing on girls’ sports team in public schools.

+ The Biden administration announced the closure of two immigrant detention centers on Thursday, May 20, following reports of poor conditions and treatment at the facilities.

+ A mass grave was discovered at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia, Canada, containing the remains of 215 Indigenous children. The institution didn’t close until 1978, and the discovery was announced Thursday, May 27, by the chief of the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation, Rosanne Casimir.

“We sought out a way to confirm that knowing out of deepest respect and love for those lost children and their families, understanding that Tk’emlups te Secwepemc is the final resting place of these children,” said Casimir. “Some were as young as three years old.”

+ In a revision of Catholic Church laws released on Tuesday, June 1, Pope Francis explicitly condemned religious leaders “who by force, threats or abuse of his authority commits an offence against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue or forces someone to perform or submit to sexual act,” criminalizing sexual abuse within the Church. However, the same revision imposes penalties for attempting to ordain women.

+ On Wednesday, May 19, transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg “reinstated an Obama-era pilot program that aims to aid minority and disadvantaged people by ensuring local hiring for public works construction projects,” Fortune reports.

+ Democrats in the Texas House staged a walkout on Monday, May 31, in protest of a S.B. 7, which if passed by House Republicans would severely restrict voting rights in the state. “We knew today, with the eyes of the nation watching action in Austin, that we needed to send a message,” state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer (D). “And that message is very, very clear: Mr. President, we need a national response to federal voting rights.”

+ “To deny a tribal police officer authority to search and detain for a reasonable time any person he or she believes may commit or has committed a crime would make it difficult for tribes to protect themselves against ongoing threats,” Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in a Supreme Court decision that grants tribal law enforcement to stop and search non-Indigenous people on tribal land.

+ U.S. gymnast Simone Biles won the U.S. Gymnastics Championships on Sunday, June 6, earning her seventh national women’s all-around title.

+ At least 10 states are using federal grants to restrict reproductive rights. “Millions in aid intended to go to the neediest families is being used to finance clinics trying to dissuade women from having abortions,” The Guardian reports.

+ A case challenging the men-only military draft was on its way to the Supreme Court until Monday, June 7, when the court refused to weigh in on its constitutionality. “At least for now, the Court’s longstanding deference to Congress on matters of national defense and military affairs cautions against granting review while Congress actively weighs the issue,” wrote Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

How We’re Doing

+ Forty-one women-run businesses appeared on the 2021 Fortune 500 list, hitting an all-time high. This is also the first year that two Fortune 500 businesses are run by Black women—Roz Brewer of Walgreens and Thasunda Brown Duckett of TIAA.

+ U.S. jobs increased by only 559,000 last month, falling short of hopes for a drastic nationwide economic recovery in May. Unemployment fell from 6.1 percent to 5.8—an improvement from April, but employers are still facing a worker shortage.

+ A report from the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) reveals that women accounted for 56.2 percent of May’s job gains (314,000 jobs), but still have a long road to economic recovery. At this rate, it would take 13 more months to return to pre-pandemic levels, when women held 4.2 million more jobs.

The women’s unemployment rate decreased from 5.6 to 5.4 percent, which is still 1.7 times higher than in February 2020. For Black women and Latinas, unemployment is still at 8.2 percent.

And according to the NWLC, “Accounting for May’s gains, the net number of child care jobs lost since February 2020 is 134,600. The child care sector has lost more than 1 in 8 (12.9%) jobs since the start of the crisis.”

+ A Pew Research Center survey found that 59 percent of American adults are bothered by the fact that “some corporations don’t pay their fair share” and “some wealthy people don’t pay their fair share.”

+ “Only 20% of Black LGBTQ+ youth and 13% of Latinx LGBTQ+ youth surveyed by HRC Foundation reported that they received safer sex information in school that they found personally relevant,” according to A Call to Action: LGBTQ+ Youth Need Inclusive Sex Education—a report from SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change; URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity Advocates for Youth; and other advocacy groups.

“Far too many LGBTQ+ youth are attending schools that lack inclusive policies and sitting in classrooms where their teachers and textbooks significantly fail to address their identities, community, and experiences. Nowhere is this absence more clear, and potentially more damaging, than in sex education.”

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Sophie Dorf-Kamienny is a sophomore at Tufts University studying sociology and community health. She is a Ms. contributing writer, and was formerly an editorial fellow, research fellow and assistant editor of social media. You can find her on Twitter at @sophie_dk_.