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Alabama bans DEI initiatives; why users don't want Reddit to go public

Alabama lawmakers approved a bill barring public colleges and other entities from using money to support diversity, equity and inclusion programs.
Google Maps/Screenshot by NPR
Alabama lawmakers approved a bill barring public colleges and other entities from using money to support diversity, equity and inclusion programs.

Good morning. You're reading the Up First newsletter. Subscribe here to get it delivered to your inbox, and listen to the Up First podcast for all the news you need to start your day.

Today's top stories

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey yesterday signed a bill into law prohibiting diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives at public schools, universities and state agencies. Republicans say the law aims to protect students from indoctrination in the classroom. Democrats have criticized the law for its unclear language, including its ban on programs that teach "divisive concepts" surrounding race, gender and identity.

  • On Up First, NPR network reporter Kelsey Shelton of WBHM speaks with students about how the law would affect them. University of Alabama at Birmingham sophomore Miguel Luna says he's concerned about losing access to things that make school enjoyable. He participates in a Latino networking organization and worries his adviser will lose her job. Still, he says the law has only made student-led diversity efforts stronger and urged people to "start voting and paying attention to state politics." 


The Environmental Protection Agency has finalized strict new rules to limit car tailpipe emissions, which will push the auto industry to accelerate its transition to electric vehicles. The rule sets emissions standards across an entire fleet, meaning manufacturers can make gas vehicles if they make enough low or zero-emission cars to average out emissions. The regulations are crucial to President Biden's fight against climate change.

  • The EPA had to dial down the timeline for its new rule after automakers and auto worker unions lobbied for more time to grow supply chains and change infrastructure. Still, NPR's Camila Domonoske says these are still "historic standards." She reports that the Biden administration "bent over backwards" for the car industry's support, making the new rule more durable and harder to overturn by future administrations. 


The "front page of the internet" is ready to go public. Reddit debuts on the New York Stock Exchange today. Its founders hope to make the site more profitable. But many of its power users aren't thrilled, and some want to bet against it.

  • NPR's Bobby Allyn says the core tension behind the conflict is between Redditors and the company's corporate shift. Despite its 73 million users, Reddit has never been able to turn a profit. Scandals over toxic content and its less-than-stellar reputation for civil discourse made it hard to attract advertisers, though Allyn says the site has become more "tame and rule-bound" recently. CEO Steve Huffman wants the company to mature, but users want it to stay a "fun, childish playground."

From our hosts

This essay was written by Michel Martin. She hosts Morning Edition and Up First.

For sale masks are seen displayed on a clothesline in the front yard of a house in Los Angeles on July 20, 2020.
Chris Delmas / AFP via Getty Images
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AFP via Getty Images
For sale masks are seen displayed on a clothesline in the front yard of a house in Los Angeles on July 20, 2020.

Many newsrooms — including all those I've been in — keep a running list of important anniversaries their reporters might want to cover: the day of the first Moon landing, the day Uncle Tom's Cabin was first published — things like that. If you listen to Morning Edition (I know you do!) then you know that we often mention historical events or another at the start of each hour.

Some of these anniversaries are things we'd prefer not to remember, but we pick them anyway because we know we need to, on some level. Maybe there's unfinished business connected to them; often, it's just too important to ignore—however much we may want to.

The Associated Press roundup I looked at yesterday reminded me that on March 20, four years ago, the Governor of Illinois told residents to stay home except for essentials like food and medicine. California and New York had already done this in a move to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Nobody knew how long it would last; most people thought, maybe naively, it would only be for a couple of weeks. Stocks tumbled on Wall Street, ending their worst week since the 2008 financial crisis.

That was the least of it, for many people anyway. People started getting sick, some people started to die. People lost jobs. Schools shut down. Lines at food banks got long. Kids and parents went stir-crazy.

Some good things happened. Some people got to rediscover neglected hobbies like baking or sewing. Some got to spend quality time with loved ones they would not otherwise have had. But for many people, it was a sad, lonely, even terrifying time — and to be honest—do we really want to go back there?

Dr. Cornelia Griggs and Eric Klinenberg are two people who think we do need to go back there — to understand what happened to us and to think about what we should do differently. They both have written accounts of the worst months of the pandemic: Dr. Griggs from her vantage point inside a busy hospital, Klinenberg by interviewing New Yorkers around the city and adding research about how other countries dealt with the crisis. Both books are harrowing and uplifting —and to me, exhausting. I had to take breaks while reading. I did not want to think about all that again. I didn't want to go there, but now I am glad I did.

Picture show

Azzam, 12, lost his leg when a bomb hit the building where he was sheltering with his family in Syria. They now live in a rural area outside of Damascus, where he finds happiness and peace in caring for the farm animals after school. The photo is from Feb. 21, 2022.
/ Hasan Belal for NPR
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Hasan Belal for NPR
Azzam, 12, lost his leg when a bomb hit the building where he was sheltering with his family in Syria. They now live in a rural area outside of Damascus, where he finds happiness and peace in caring for the farm animals after school. The photo is from Feb. 21, 2022.

NPR asked photojournalists from Everyday Projects — a global community of photographers using images to challenge harmful stereotypes — to send their photos of unexpected moments of joy, no matter how small. They shared photos of everything from former child soldiers playing soccer to an older couple's moment of togetherness.

See all the photos we featured for the International Day of Happiness here.

3 things to know before you go

The UConn Huskies are the No. 1 seed and are favored to win this year's NCAA March Madness tournament. But is Jonathan the Husky the cutest mascot in the competition?
Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images
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Getty Images
The UConn Huskies are the No. 1 seed and are favored to win this year's NCAA March Madness tournament. But is Jonathan the Husky the cutest mascot in the competition?

  1. Today is the deadline for filling out your men's NCAA March Madness tournament bracket. Try one of these five silly ways of picking winners that don't require any basketball knowledge
  2. The Los Angeles Dodgers have fired Shohei Ohtani's interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, over allegations that he stole the baseball player's money to cover illegal gambling bets.
  3. Media titan Rupert Murdoch has been accused of personally knowing about the phone hacking and illegal acts of his British tabloids. Will Lewis, publisher and CEO of the Washington Post, has been accused of plotting to cover up senior executives' roles in the scandal when he was working for Murdoch. 

This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi. Mansee Khurana contributed.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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