WAD We Covered In 2021 | Crooked Media
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December 17, 2021
What A Day
WAD We Covered In 2021

In This Episode

  • The year is coming to a close, so we look back at the stories we thought were the biggest and most memorable of 2021.
  • We talk about the historic visibility of trans and nonbinary people, the brouhaha over critical race theory, the divisive anti-vaccine movement, and the effort to unionize workers across the country.


Show Notes:


  • This is our last What A Day of 2021. We’ll be back with new episodes on Tuesday, January 4th, 2022.





Gideon Resnick: It’s Friday, December 17th. I’m Gideon Resnick.


Josie Duffy Rice: I’m Josie Duffy Rice.


Tre’vell Anderson: I’m Tre’vell Anderson.


Priyanka Aribindi: And I’m Priyanka Aribindi, and this is What A Day, where we are using the excuse of all being together to start the show with a full-blown Christmas Carol.


Gideon Resnick: Yeah, I’m leaving. Sorry. [laughter] If you, if that’s what you’re going to do, go ahead but I won’t be doing that.


Tre’vell Anderson: You had a whole solo planned though.


Gideon Resnick: Yeah. Well, I got stage fright and I’m too nervous to do this.


Josie Duffy Rice: Gideon is just going to say the words as we sing them.


Gideon Resnick: Exactly. Exactly that is what makes me feel comfortable and therefore it is what I’m doing. All right, WAD squad, the gang is all here. How about that? It is truly lovely to have us all in the same space at the same time, looking at each other, breathing in our various variants. It is truly beautiful. [laughter]


Josie Duffy Rice: I mean, just a beautiful, beautiful group of people.


Gideon Resnick: Indeed.


Priyanka Aribindi: Truly. The reason we’re all together is because this is our last show for 2021 before we take a two-week break for the holidays. And so we are going to do something special today.


Josie Duffy Rice: Yes. So number one, make sure there’s no news in the next few weeks because we will be off and can’t cover it.


Gideon Resnick: Thank you.


Josie Duffy Rice: It has been a very wild year, so we wanted to look back and talk about the stories each of us thought was one of the biggest that we will remember from 2021.


Tre’vell Anderson: And I’m going to start us off because 2021 was a trash box, politically speaking, for trans and non-binary communities.


Josie Duffy Rice: Truly.


Tre’vell Anderson: There were Republicans in several states who attempted and succeeded in restricting trans youth from playing on the sports teams that align with their truths, which is really heartbreaking when you hear trans kids themselves speak out against these laws. Here’s then-fourth grader Kai Shappley testifying in front of the Texas legislature in April.


[clip of Kai Shappley] I do not like spending my free time asking adults to make good choices. I’ve been having to explain myself since I was three or four years old. Texas legislators have been attacking me since pre-K. I am in fourth grade now. When it comes to bills that target trans youth, I immediately feel angry. It’s been very scary and overwhelming. It makes me sad that some politicians use trans kids like me to get votes from people who hate me just because I exist.


Gideon Resnick: Yeah. Those politicians should be ashamed of themselves.


Tre’vell Anderson: Very much so.


Josie Duffy Rice: That was so moving and incredible.


Gideon Resnick: Yeah.


Tre’vell Anderson: Definitely, definitely. There were also several attempts to legally outlaw gender-affirming and lifesaving care for trans folks too. Conservatives and the religious right have made it their mission to—as I say—mine trans folks’ business and legislate our erasure and continued subjugation.


Gideon Resnick: Yeah. So Tre’vell, there’s a lot to be very worried about in terms of where we are as a country. But today you’re here to talk about 2021 also being a year for hope.


Gideon Resnick: Yes, because as a community, trans and non-binary people, we are experiencing historic levels of visibility in culture, and that is what I’d like to focus on because of the ways that visibility has and will continue to be a retort to all of the foolishness we’re seeing happening in state legislators. So here are some highlights. Perhaps top of mind for a lot of folks is the Emmy nomination that Michaela Jae Rodriguez received earlier this year for the show Pose. She became the first trans performer nominated in a lead acting category for the third and final season of Pose—it should have been the first season, but whatever. A show that shook up Hollywood from its inception by having a cast led by Black and brown trans women and femmes. Here she is talking to Good Morning America in August about the nomination:


[clip of Michaela Jae Rodriguez] Just crying and just like bawling tears. It was so crazy to see a moment like that happen on television all around the world for the first time. It felt great to just be a woman in that kind of space and with those amazing, amazing actresses—just to stand in the lineup of them, it just meant the world to me.


Gideon Resnick: That rocks.


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah.


Tre’vell Anderson: We stan Michaela Jae in this household. Elsewhere on television, trans actors playing trans and cis roles have continued to help normalize our existence and our stories for folks who think trans people are a 21st century creation—but we’ve been here since the beginning of time, honey. All right? That includes folks like Leo Sheng on the “L Word: Generation Q”, Alexandra Gray on “MacGyver” and Carl Clemens-Hopkins, a non-binary actor on “Hacks” who also made a little Emmys history this year as a supporting actor nominee. And then there is Brian Michael Smith, who continues to slay on Fox’s “9-1-1: Lone Star” but I cite him because he became the first trans man on people’s Sexiest Man Alive list this year—.


Gideon Resnick: wow.


Tre’vell Anderson: A decision that we’re not questioning, OK, because he’s gorgeous. And speaking of sexy, Elliot Page came out earlier this year as trans and non-binary and graced the cover of Time magazine. He’s been posting these thirst traps, as the kids say, on Instagram since. And as writer Samantha Reidel put it, the reaction his shirtless photos have received in the mainstream media is quote. “proof that people are starting to embrace trans-ness as being beautiful in and of itself.” And then one of my favorite moments of trans brilliance in culture over the last year is the TS Madison Experience—which you all need to watch, it is amazing.


Gideon Resnick: Ok. Right.


Tre’vell Anderson: It’s a reality show on WeTV following the life of TS Madison on her journey to become the world’s first Black trans talk show host. Everyone, everyone, everyone must check it out.


[clip of TS Madison] Craig, did you, did you check the file to see if it was corrupted?


[speaker] No.


[clip of TS Madison] Craig! He’s supposed to be my showrunner. He run his mouth more than he run my damn show.


Gideon Resnick: All right, I’m in.


Josie Duffy Rice: 100% sold, yeah. In fact, we’re actually going to stop this right now and all go watch the show.


Priyanka Aribindi: And watch.


Gideon Resnick: Yeah, it’s time, it’s time.


Priyanka Aribindi: You mentioned that all of this great visibility for the community is happening alongside a historic amount of anti-trans bills that have been introduced and in some cases passed by a Republican-led state legislatures. How do you reconcile the two of those things kind of happening at the same time?


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, trans people existing in culture and especially trans people thriving and experiencing joy is a vital political counterpoint to anti-trans legislation. When you look at a lot of the hearings that take place, you hear these folks saying that we as trans people are depressed and then we’re sad and that we’re just, you know, down and out. But by the very nature of our existence and a refusal to be erased from society both legislatively and culturally, we challenge so many of the misconceptions that undergird these transphobic motivations of these people. And one thing trans activists have said for the last few years in particular, is that so much of what feels like an increase in efforts to erase trans people through the law is because these folks never expected us to be as visible, as out and proud as we are. And it is important that we continue to show the world the vastness of our experiences as trans folks so that the voices of the folks who would rather not see us in society aren’t the only ones being heard.


Gideon Resnick: Yeah, that is the truth.


Tre’vell Anderson: So Josie, we’re going to turn to you. What do you have for us?


Josie Duffy Rice: So Tre’vell, thank you so much for that. So my biggest story of 2021 doesn’t really have a lot of hope, I got to tell you. You had hope, I don’t. It’s this crazy brouhaha over critical race theory that has infiltrated politics these past few months. So for those of you that need a refresher, the tenants of critical race theory are fairly basic. Basically, that the history of racism in America is not just about individual behaviors, but systemic injustices and there is a history of systemic and racial injustice in our laws and systems—which I feel like, I mean, duh. So this isn’t even a question of opinion, right? I mean, it’s like demonstrably provable fact. There’s data. Why are we arguing about it? Let’s like fix it and move on. But also, it’s worth noting that critical race theory is a decades-old esoteric legal concept that most law students don’t even learn about, much less third graders. So that’s why I find it really concerning that this issue has catalyzed so much backlash from parents, mostly white parents, across the country this past year.


Gideon Resnick: Yeah, and you mentioned that like, there’s an element of this that seems as if it came out of nowhere, but it didn’t, right Josie? So like, do we know where the anger about it this past year came from?


Josie Duffy Rice: It’s centuries-old in its own way. But this particular controversy was basically invented out of whole cloth by a right-wing, reactionary hack—that’s his official title. His name is Christopher Rufo. The Washington Post reported that he has quote, “acknowledged intentionally using the term to describe a range of race-related topics and conjure a negative association.” So this is a strategy, and Fox News, and Trump and others are milking it, right? They’ve used fear mongering, racism, their incredible talent for lying, to trigger white parents, to make these parents think that white elementary schoolers from across the country are being told that they’re inherently evil. Which is stupid and invented, right? There’s no trend of teachers telling white kids they’re inherently evil. That would be a horrible thing to ever tell any child, ever. But it doesn’t really matter if it’s true, right, because it’s working. So here’s a clip from the Showtime documentary series The Circus, where they interviewed one white parent in Virginia about critical race theory. Her name’s Patti Hidalgo Menders. She’s also the president of the Loudoun County Republican Women’s Club.


[clip of Patti Hidalgo Menders] One particular sixth grade at a middle school here, it was a rap song pushing the slaughter of the Native Americans. The lyrics of the song was putting down Andrew Jackson at the time.


[interviewer] Well, I mean, I think a lot of people would credit Andrew Jackson with the genocide of the Native population.


[clip of Patti Hidalgo Menders] Yes, but how do you discuss it without—


[interviewer] Denigrating whites?


[clip of Patti Hidalgo Menders] Yeah.


Priyanka Aribindi: Um.


Tre’vell Anderson: OK.


Josie Duffy Rice: Like it wasn’t like he was in denial about his own racism so are we in denial about it? He was like, “yeah, fuck Native American people” explicitly.


Priyanka Aribindi: I’m also curious about the song. There’s so much about this. What’s going on!


Gideon Resnick: That’s a special episode unto itself for sure.


Josie Duffy Rice: So, yeah, like, imagine being mad because your kid learned that Andrew Jackson did genocide against indigenous Americans. I mean, that’s not critical race theory y’all, it’s just history.


Gideon Resnick: Mm hmm.


Priyanka Aribindi: So Josie, this goes beyond just backlash. Can you catch us up on where the anti-critical race theory movement successfully passed laws in 2021 to make it illegal for educators to teach children about these concepts—and buy these concepts, we are talking about history as you were saying?


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. Yeah, I mean, it’s really wild, right? I mean, this free speech, no political correctness party is passing laws in states, making it illegal to discuss these things. So as of late last month, nine states have passed these laws, while another 19 have introduced them. In North Dakota, it is now illegal to quote, “teach that racism is systemically embedded.” New Hampshire just introduced a law that would make it illegal to teach, quote, “any doctrine or theory promoting a negative account or representation of the founding and history of the United States of America.” Now that one hasn’t passed yet, but I just I mean, like, that’s McCarthyism I’m pretty sure. I don’t remember that much from school, but I do remember that. In Arizona, it’s illegal for teachers to quote, “present any form of blame or judgment on the basis of race, ethnicity, or sex.” Which, by the way, makes it really hard to teach about slavery or Jim Crow.


Gideon Resnick: Right.


Priyanka Aribindi: How do these parents expect their kids to go to school and learn like any—like, what do you think they’re learning?


Josie Duffy Rice: I think the whole point is that they don’t want them to learn this. This is how these systems replicate, is by just not talking about what has happened in the past, not dealing with that, not acknowledging it. You know, I mean, the founding fathers, they did some good stuff, right? Like high-five on the good things you read. Also out of the first five of you, four of you owned slaves—yes, I’m talking to them directly right now.


Gideon Resnick: Right, right.


Josie Duffy Rice: And like the literal founding documents of our country, say that Tre’vell and I only count as three fifths of a person.


Tre’vell Anderson: Right.


Josie Duffy Rice: Priyanka, they really weren’t even considering you.


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, no.


Josie Duffy Rice: Or I’m sure you’d be right there with us. Gideon, you’re Jewish—we’d all be screwed. OK, so you know.


Gideon Resnick: Yeah, they would find, they’d find something wrong with everyone here, I think.


Josie Duffy Rice: They find something wrong. I think I just feel like we should be able to talk about that. And I find it, not surprising but still shocking that we can’t.


Tre’vell Anderson: It definitely is absurd. But like, how has this affected teachers who are on the front lines of this truly made up controversy?


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, I mean, it’s getting them into trouble, right? It’s burning them out. I mean, there’s one teacher in Tennessee who taught a Ta Nehisi Coates essay. He got fired from his job. He has all these medical problems. He can’t pay his bills now. Back in July, we also talked with Valencia Ann Abbott, she’s a veteran history teacher in Wentworth North Carolina. And of course, she had never heard the phrase critical race theory in her life until this past year, but it’s all many of her students’ parents can talk about.


[clip of Valencia Ann Abbott] I don’t know what this means as far as my ability to continue to be a teacher. It’s raising a lot of questions for my own health, for my own sanity, to continue to do this. And that makes me feel guilty that I would leave my students. It makes me feel nervous. But as long as I have this position, I’m going to continue to do the job to the best of my ability.


Gideon Resnick: A saint in the face of—


Josie Duffy Rice: Truly.


Gideon Resnick: All this bullshit.


Tre’vell Anderson: Foolishness. Yes.


Josie Duffy Rice: At least she’s probably really well paid for her shitty—


Gideon Resnick: At least.


Priyanka Aribindi: Um.


Josie Duffy Rice: That was sarcasm, for everybody listening. That is very clearly not, probably not the case. Not as well-paid as she should be. You know, and it’s not just the new laws, right? So this anti-critical race theory brigade, they’re winning elections. The Republican candidate for governor just won in Virginia, thanks in large part to anti-critical race theory. And by the way, Biden won by 10 points there last year. According to Axios, 75% of school board candidates supported by this anti-critical race theory PAC won their elections in November. So it just, it doesn’t look good, right?


Gideon Resnick: Yeah. Josie, for all the non-parents that are out there who think this might not directly affect them, what should be their takeaway from all this?


Josie Duffy Rice: I mean, first of all, I think you should be really concerned whenever anybody is outlawing talking about something.


Gideon Resnick: Sure.


Josie Duffy Rice: That’s never a good sign. But I think it’s worth noting that the same people that are upset that their kids are learning about Andrew Jackson or that maybe Thomas Jefferson had a couple of faults, you know, these are the same people telling liberals that we need safe spaces. These are the most fragile people who somehow feel victimized and aggrieved that racism and racial subjugation could so much as be discussed. And the same goes for the right-wing media that have been talking about cancel culture ad nauseum for the past few years. All of these free speech warriors are completely and totally silent on the actual threats to free speech that exist right now. I mean, it’s shocking. Barry, where are you? Can you hear me? But I really do think this is just one of the more worrisome stories I’ve seen this year. You know, my 91-year old grandma, she grew up in Texas, where as a teenager, she protested the poll tax. She went to segregated schools, she drank out of segregated water fountains. And she’s still here. I saw her yesterday. Right? This is not just history. This is recent history. And it’s pretty scary that by the time my kids get to school, they won’t even be allowed to learn about it.


Gideon Resnick: Yeah, I certainly hope that that is not the case, but it’s obviously extremely worrisome.


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah.


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. So I just want to really bum you guys out at the end of the year.


Gideon Resnick: You succeeded Josie. Congratulations.


Priyanka Aribindi: You did!


Gideon Resnick: Yeah, you did it.


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Sorry. That’s how I, that’s how I roll, guys. There are more stories to come. So Priyanka and Gideon, you’re up next. But first we will be back after some ads.


[ad break]


Josie Duffy Rice: We are back on What A Day. All four of us! It is so lovely. Best part of the year, it must be said. We’re each sharing a story that was one to remember from 2021. And Priyanka, it is now your turn.


Priyanka Aribindi: All right. So when I think about this past year, most of what I think about includes vaccines.


Josie Duffy Rice: What’s a vaccine? I haven’t heard about this. [laughter]


Priyanka Aribindi: You know, there is a good portion of this country that is saying the same thing. I now we would all rather not because we feel like we, every time we are together in our various little groupings, someone somewhere is talking about one of these stories, but I’m going to recap it all for you. This year basically kicked off with their introduction, vaccines being rolled out to different demographics, aid groups. I feel like it was really the first six months of this year that was like every conversation I was having. Different places were doing them at different times. It was like, Oh, have you been vaccinated, which one did you get—the whole thing. There was all this hoopla about it. And obviously, as people started getting vaccinated, our lives started looking very different in a very good way than what they did in 2020.


Gideon Resnick: Totally.


Priyanka Aribindi: And, obviously, that wasn’t the case for everybody. There are some people who are severely immunocompromised who still aren’t living the same types of lives that they were able to pre-2020, but vaccines really made it possible for a lot of us. It made it possible for us to be in this room together, recording the show. That wasn’t a thing that we have ever done before. But you know, then of course, there was the Delta variant, later Omicron popping up. Just kind of reinforcing how important vaccines are. But you know, there is more to this story. [laughs]


Gideon Resnick: Yeah, right, right? It’s interesting, like, yeah, we’re at the end of the year and we’re talking about the first six months, but let’s talk about those other six months after, the ‘but’ of all of this.


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, honestly, it wasn’t even like, it didn’t even take a full six months for that to become divisive in a way that I have never really thought of vaccines being, I don’t know, it used to seem like anti-vax is a really fringe idea. There were like some actors and like people in Hollywood who were like, that crazy anti-vaxxers. Now it’s like people you know.


Josie Duffy Rice: Oh, it is normal. Yeah.


Priyanka Aribindi: It’s normal. It’s crazy.


Josie Duffy Rice: And it’s growing. Yeah, they’re everywhere.


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. So people used to pretty much accept that you needed like the basic vaccinations to enter school, to like function in normal life, it was just a given. And it kind of started in 2020 where, you know, people were—I’m not saying everybody, it’s like a group, a specific group of people were very up in arms about masks and, you know, different rules that were in place, restrictions, and that kind of became in 2021, it evolved into this like really stubborn resistance to vaccines that were being presented scientifically and medically to protect you against COVID—like the whole world has watched COVID over the past year in 2020 just just ravage the whole planet—and they have decided that, you know, instead of protecting, you know, yourselves, the people you come into contact with, everybody around you whether you know them or not, and just like allowing us all to continue to live a normal life and go out into the world and feel OK, they would say “no, actually, rather not.” They would just rather opt out. Which was just like . . . wow.


Tre’vell Anderson: Which is also very American of us as a country, right? And this is really just about America at this point, where despite having access to all these options to mitigate or protect yourself against COVID like you were just saying, choosing not to use one of them became a political option. Meanwhile, other parts of the world that don’t have America’s resources are still struggling.


Priyanka Aribindi: Yes, this conversation doesn’t even start to get into vaccine inequity and the conversations we’ve started to have really in the latter half of this year, and honestly, really, as Omicron started popping up, about vaccine access abroad. But from every which direction and so many different ways, vaccines have really become the central fixture in conversations and in news. In this show, we talk about them constantly. And they’ve also allowed for this year to be radically different, not for every single person, but for all of us in this room. And I will say, as an aside, I have a vaccine-related story that is my favorite, my personal favorite story of 2021. It is Nicki Minaj’s cousin’s friend’s balls.


Tre’vell Anderson: Yes, yes.


Priyanka Aribindi: I feel like every single person remembers where they were when they heard this story. [laughs] It was like a week, it was like a week of news and it was, what a delight. What a time.


Tre’vell Anderson: The balls that kept on giving.


Gideon Resnick: Kept on growing, in fact.


Tre’vell Anderson: Yes. That too, that too.


Josie Duffy Rice: If you would have told me that in 2021, I would have heard the sentence: Nicki Minaj’s cousin’s friend’s balls . . . multiple times!


Priyanka Aribindi: Multiple times. Like on the news.


Josie Duffy Rice: Everybody we know, we’ve talked about it with people we know.


Priyanka Aribindi: Everybody you know knows about this.


Josie Duffy Rice: Nicki Minaj’s cousin’s friend’s balls, like that is so many degrees of separation. Truly beautiful.


Priyanka Aribindi: I know. It’s wild. Well, kind of related to all of this—I just say kind of because I don’t know if it’ll relate to the balls part, but maybe—


Gideon Resnick: Maybe. We’ll see.


Priyanka Aribindi: —is the story that you thought defined 2021. Please tell us more.


Gideon Resnick: Yeah, I don’t have any more balls reporting just yet, but it should probably come as no surprise to people here that one of the stories I think really defined how the past year went was what happened with the labor movement in the U.S.


[male speaker] There was a pretty blatant attack on our benefits.


[news clip] From the heartland to Hollywood, from coal miners to health care workers to film crews.


[female speaker] This is like my fifth picket during this pandemic. I find that deplorable.


[news clip] There’s even a name for it: Sriketober.


Gideon Resnick: That’s right. Striketober.


Priyanka Aribindi: That was a great montage.


Gideon Resnick: Yeah, it was. It was beautiful. Jazzi does amazing work every single day.


Priyanka Aribindi: Shout out.


Josie Duffy Rice: So there were so many labor stories this year. I was a fan of the one where the Starbucks employees from Arizona drove to Buffalo for like a day trip, quote unquote.


Gideon Resnick: Yeah, oh my God.


Josie Duffy Rice: There was just a lot that happened? So can you talk about one that stood out the most to you?


Gideon Resnick: Yeah, I mean, I don’t know how you guys feel, but the story of the unionization effort at the Bessemer, Alabama Amazon facility, that has really just like continued throughout the year. Also, just a few weeks ago, the National Labor Relations Board formalized this new vote that’s set to take place because of Amazon’s interference in the initial voting. Everybody was saying that as it was happening, and that turned out to be true. It tracks with what we’ve heard from a union organizer who was there, Jennifer Bates, back in July, right after that first vote failed. She said that several workers felt misled by what the company was doing, all these tactics that they had.


[clip of Jennifer Bates] Once they finally got information from the union, then they were coming to us, you know “is there a way I can get my ballot back, because I found out that Amazon lied?” One lady said that she talked to her parents and her parents had been trying to explain to her as well, but she had already voted no. And she came to the union hall and she cried because she said that she really trusted Amazon and to find out that they lied to her.


Gideon Resnick: Yeah. So I mean, I think the effort at Amazon’s Alabama facility was, you know, even before like Striketober happened, it was like one of these things that got people thinking about organizing, sort of like in the public consciousness more. And I think that ended up kind of being where it stayed throughout the year. Bessemer really pulled in a lot of different things I think, like, defined the past year too, like the Black Lives Matter movement, the pandemic, traditional labor organizing—sort of made it this symbol for where the country is and where it could end up going.


Priyanka Aribindi: Definitely.


Tre’vell Anderson: For sure. And remind us about some of the other big labor efforts that you’ve covered this year.


Gideon Resnick: Yeah, I mean, throughout the rest of the year, we saw strikes everywhere, from John Deere to Kellogg to Warrior Met Coal in Alabama. Just last week, actually, Kellogg workers rejected this new tentative agreement, so a strike that began on October 5th is actually still going on. There was this narrowly avoided strike among, you know, TV and film workers, affecting folks right near where we are right now. And just last week Josie, the thing that you mentioned, a unionization push at Starbucks, one of the largest chains in the U.S.—just last week, the first store actually did unionize in Buffalo, New York, which we talked about on a recent show. So those are just some of the examples of many that we’ve covered and many more that we haven’t had a chance to.


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, we’ve been talking about a lot of different industries with a lot of different priorities. What would you say is kind of like the connection here between all of them?


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, it feels like a lot of different things came together at the exact right moment. But yeah, I mean, it’s not as if you know, there was some group phone call that folks that are coal miners and Kellogg workers like got on to say, Hey, like it’s time to do this. It really does seem like, you know, the common denominator is the pandemic. And you know, we’ve talked about this a lot as a group like, I think it really amped up wealth inequality in the U.S., kind of helped fuel what seemed like this unifying sentiment that this was a moment for workers to start to exercise their power and say, like this shit that’s been going on for a long time, we’re really tired of. Here’s Mary Kay Henry, the international president of the Service Employees International Union, when we talked to her in August:


[clip of Mary Kay Henry] Well, I think there was this awakening at the beginning of the pandemic when workers who have been holding up the service and care economy for decades got recognized as essential. And then that awakening turned to workers demanding respect us, protect us, and pay us, because we believe we’ve been essential long before the pandemic.


Gideon Resnick: Yeah, I mean, I kind of feel like that shift in power dynamics feels like it’s going to continue for a while, like this is an awakening that happened. Especially if, you know, these big companies that we talk about like Amazon and Starbucks start seeing more unions in their facilities, especially after that corporate pushback, like, I don’t know, I really think that that’s going to change things for quite some time. So . . .


Tre’vell Anderson: Hopefully it does.


Priyanka Aribindi: As it should!


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. It definitely feels like the pandemic, like laid a lot of that bare, right?


Gideon Resnick: Totally.


Josie Duffy Rice: It became clear to people that their bosses were willing to sacrifice them for a profit in a much clearer way. And so, it’s like just amazing to see what’s happened this year.


Gideon Resnick: Yeah, yeah. So hopeful note to end on.


Josie Duffy Rice: Better than me. I love it.


Gideon Resnick: Exactly, exactly. Those are our personal top stories of 2021.


Josie Duffy Rice: Woo-hoo.


Gideon Resnick: Woo!


Tre’vell Anderson: Two more things before we go: we know there were a bunch more stories out there from 2021 that we didn’t talk about, but let us know what you think by tweeting us using the hashtag Whataday. Also, find us on Instagram @whataday.


Josie Duffy Rice: Also, we will be back on Tuesday, January 4th. And when we do come back, we’ll talk about the stories we’re looking forward to in 2022, and the issues we’re keeping our eyes on to tell you about in the New Year.


Gideon Resnick: Yeah, that is all for us in 2021. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe, leave a review, find the audio of our lost Christmas carol and burn it, and tell your friends to listen.


Priyanka Aribindi: And if you’re into reading, and not just books for fun like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Priyanka Aribindi.


Tre’vell Anderson: I’m Tre’vell Anderson.


Josie Duffy Rice: I’m Josie Duffy Rice.


Gideon Resnick: I’m Gideon Resnick.


[all together] And happy holidays to all!


Josie Duffy Rice: Aww. Guys, that was so good.


Gideon Resnick: Yes.


Tre’vell Anderson: Yes.


Gideon Resnick: Beautiful.


Priyanka Aribindi: That was great.


Josie Duffy Rice: We should go caroling together.


Gideon Resnick: We should, we should.


Priyanka Aribindi: Should we?! No.


Josie Duffy Rice: Knock on some doors.


Gideon Resnick: I think everybody would love that.


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah.


Gideon Resnick: What A Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Jazzi Marine and Raven Yamamoto are our associate producers. Our head writer is Jon Millstein, and our executive producers are Leo Duran and me, Gideon Resnick. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.