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Melissa Block

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It's been nearly a year since the United States suffered an unprecedented attack on constitutional democracy.

When a violent mob stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, the goal was to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and install Donald Trump to a second term.

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It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm A Martinez in Culver City, Calif.

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And I'm Melissa Block in Washington, D.C.

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This year's holiday checklist should probably include an extra item for people traveling or seeing family, and that's getting a COVID test.

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Toward the end of Kendall Sanders' first year at Hollins University, a historically women's college in Roanoke, Va., the sociology major had a realization.

"My journey has been, 'Girlhood does not define me,' " Sanders says. "My womanness, my femininity does not define me."

Sanders, a senior now, is nonbinary and uses the pronouns they/them.

"I was like, I don't think I care about being a girl," they say. For someone who grew up in the Bible Belt region of Little Rock, Ark., that realization was a pretty big deal.

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The national reckoning over race in history is now playing out in the world of birds. At issue - the racist past of the 19th century naturalist and illustrator John James Audubon. NPR's Melissa Block reports.

As track and field competition gets underway at the Tokyo Olympics, you won't see one of the sport's brightest stars: two-time Olympic gold medalist Caster Semenya of South Africa, the world's fastest woman in the 800 meters.

That's because of new rules from track's governing body, World Athletics. Under the rules, Semenya and other female athletes who refuse to lower their naturally high testosterone levels are barred from competing in races from 400 meters to 1 mile.

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This week's Emmy nominations include a first.

Mj Rodriguez became the first openly transgender performer to be nominated in a lead acting category, for her role in the FX drama series Pose. Her nomination is being hailed as a milestone for trans inclusion.

For Alex Zeldin, it began as a normal Friday.

He was headed to Trader Joe's on New York City's Upper West Side to pick up some food for the Jewish Sabbath.

As usual, he was wearing his yarmulke, or skullcap. When he turned a corner, he realized that a couple of teenagers had started to follow him, spewing antisemitic insults.

Updated May 3, 2021 at 7:36 PM ET

Do transgender women and girls have a constitutional right to play on women's sports teams? That question was argued before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday.

The landmark case stems from an Idaho law passed last year — the nation's first transgender sports ban.

Syrus Hall, a 17-year-old from Mobile, Ala., has heard it all before: "You'll grow out of it." "It's a phase." "You're just confused."

"It makes me mad," he says.

Hall is transgender and in the early stages of his transition; he gets weekly shots of a low dose of testosterone.

"I worked really hard to be able to transition," he says. "I dealt with bullying at school, and people being mean to me just because I exist. If I can deal with that, I know who I am. I'm not going to go back."

President Biden will mark International Women's Day on Monday by signing two executive orders geared toward promoting gender equity, both in the United States and around the world.

According to an administration official speaking on background, the goal of the orders is "restoring America as a champion for gender equity and equality."

The first executive order will establish a Gender Policy Council within the White House, reformulating an office from the Obama administration that was later disbanded by the Trump administration, and giving it more clout.

How do we wrap our minds around the fact that more than half a million people have died of COVID-19 in the United States alone?

The nation just passed that milestone: 500,000 lives lost, in one year.

Shortly after President Trump arrived at the White House, he disbanded an office specifically focused on women's issues. Now President Biden is resurrecting it just as quickly.

They gathered long distance via Zoom, garlanded with pearls in homage to Kamala Harris's signature neckwear, and with champagne bottles ready to pop.

Eight Black women, who for the past 25 years have belonged to what they call the Brown Girls Book Club, could not miss the opportunity to join together for this historic moment: the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, who becomes the first woman, first African American, and first Asian American vice president.

Last Wednesday, just before a mob of pro-Trump extremists stormed the U.S. Capitol in an insurrection that left five dead, the president stood before a huge crowd gathered in front of the White House for a so-called "Save America" rally.

Trump whipped up his supporters, repeating a false claim that he has made over and over in the weeks since Nov. 3: "We won this election, and we won it by a landslide," he insisted. "This was not a close election!"

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Well, last Wednesday, just before pro-Trump extremists stormed the Capitol in an insurrection that left five people dead, the president insisted...

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With Kamala Harris poised to become the country's first female vice president, she brings with her another historic first: America's first second gentleman, her husband, Doug Emhoff.

Emhoff, 56, is already shaking up gender stereotypes, a point highlighted by Joe Biden when he appeared for the first time with Harris as his running mate in August. Addressing Emhoff with a grin, Biden said, "Doug, you're gonna have to learn what it means to be a barrier breaker yourself in this job you're about to take on."

When Vice President-elect Kamala Harris delivered her victory speech on Saturday night, she spoke directly to a certain slice of the population.

"Every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities," Harris said.

Throughout her primary campaign, Harris was known to pay special attention to girls who came to her events, at times offering advice on leadership or encouraging ambition.

Three civil rights groups filed a federal class-action lawsuit Thursday challenging the Trump administration's recent crackdown on diversity training.

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At her Supreme Court confirmation hearing, Judge Amy Coney Barrett was asked to introduce her family, seated behind her.

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The late Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is being remembered as a pioneer for gender equality.

Her groundbreaking work going back to the 1970s vastly expanded rights for women as well as for men.

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