NEWS GLEAMS | President Biden Delivers State of the Union Address; Big Freedia Supports Free Vaccination Campaign

A roundup of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!

curated by Vee Hua 華婷婷

✨Gleaming This Week✨

President Biden Delivers State of the Union Address

On Tuesday evening, Feb. 7, President Joe Biden delivered his annual State of the Union address, which was the first one to take place in-person since the COVID-19 pandemic. He began the address by welcoming new House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), who is the first African American to take on that role. Biden also paid homage to former House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who led House Democrats for 20 years.

Much of Biden’s address was focused on the economy and the importance of creating American jobs. He pledged a return to microchip manufacturing; shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic had illuminated the need for the key parts to be created in the United States. Biden’s focus on infrastructure included the need for electric vehicle stations, internet access for communities across the U.S., clean water through the replacement of lead pipes, and “fixing over 65,000 miles of highway and 1,500 bridges in disrepair,” a campaign set to begin this year. He tied it in with the country’s unemployment rate, which is at its lowest in 50 years despite rising inflation. The country has not reached a recession.

An extensive amount of time was spent on the Biden administration’s bipartisan passage of the Inflation Reduction Act in 2022, which, among other provisions, is focused on the creation of clean energy jobs, tax reforms focused on corporations, American manufacturing, and lowered health care costs. Biden spoke extensively about lowering or capping the prices of prescription drugs and that part of his commitments were to make sure that “Big Pharma” was not taking advantage of the American people.

Present among the evening’s guests were the parents of Tyre Nichols, who was recently killed at the hands of the Memphis Police Department. Biden used the incident as an opportunity to urge Congress to come together and pass police accountability legislation. He also urged an assault weapons ban, citing the 10 years when they were banned between 1994 and 2004 as influential in lowering the number of mass shootings within that period.

Other issues Biden touched upon briefly included the need for stricter controls and checks at the nation’s border to curb fentanyl smuggling and the need for higher wages for teachers and increased mental health services in schools. On the last point, he called for bipartisan legislation to help curb negative impacts of social media on youth.

On the controversial topic of immigration, Biden had a relatively light touch, though he did speak of a need for securing borders and providing a pathway for Dreamers to attain citizenship.

Overall, despite a couple moments of vocal opposition or agreement from those in the audience, Biden stressed collaboration. He ended with a call for unity, saying, “We are the United States of America, and there’s nothing beyond our capacity if we do it together.”

Big Freedia at New Orleans Jazz Fest 2014. Photo is attributed to kowarski (under a Creative Commons, CC BY 2.0 license).

Big Freedia Partners With Black Pride and POCAAN for Free Show and Vaccination Clinic

This Friday, Feb. 10, renowned purveyor of New Orleans Bounce music Big Freedia will partner with Pacific Northwest Black Pride (PNWBP) and POCAAN (People of Color Against AIDS Network) for a free performance at the LGBTQIA+ bar and venue The Comeback Seattle. The free show will also include performances from Ladie Chablis and DJ Cheri’Amour.

According to a press release from Northwest Black Pride, “All donations/tickets will benefit Seattle BIPOC communities needing housing, jobs, and life-affirming resources. POCAAN will also provide on-site HIV testing, monkeypox and flu vaccinations, and additional health-related information. Free $25 gift cards will be given away to the first 100 people served. Those disproportionately most impacted and needing access to vaccinations still include BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities.”

Though the performance is free to everyone, VIP ticket holders will be invited to a special breakfast function and a meet-and-greet with Big Freedia.

To RSVP, visit or visit the Facebook event page. Additional information is available at

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