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Forget COVID. Here Are Nine Stories That Gave Us Hope in 2021.

Capital & Main reporters found reason for optimism in 2021, from landmark climate victories to expansion of healthcare for immigrants.




During the rollercoaster that was 2021, we careened from the giddiness offered by the distribution of COVID vaccinations to the crushing reality of omicron. But looking beyond the relentless pandemic news cycle, Capital & Main found many reasons for optimism. From landmark climate victories to the expansion of health care for immigrants, our reporters documented successful efforts to improve the state and nation.

Los Angeles Leads Growing Transition to ‘Community Schools’ Model

With an infusion of funding, the expansion of community schools offers promise in L.A. and across California, reports Jack Ross.


California Proposes 3,200-Foot Buffer Zone Between Oil Wells and Homes, Schools

The historic decision to protect the health of vulnerable communities living near oil operations, reports Alexandria Herr, represents a triumph for activists after many years of inaction. Produced in collaboration with Grist.

America’s Racial Wealth Gap: Jay Pearson Tries to Build Wealth for the Next Generation

As part of a weeklong series on the racial wealth gap, Nicole Zelniker profiles Duke University Professor Jay Pearson, whose impoverished upbringing informs his efforts to expand opportunity for people of color. Co-published by Fast Company.

Small Towns Get Ready to Fight Big Oil Over Air Quality in Central Valley

Ingrid Lobet documents the growing efforts in California’s largest oil-producing region to impose greater community control over a polluting industry. Co-published by MSN.

California Expands Access to Health Insurance for Undocumented Immigrants

In this interview, leading immigration activist Cynthia Buiza discusses the groundbreaking decision by California lawmakers to provide health coverage to undocumented residents age 50 and older. Co-published by Daily Kos.

Migrants From Matamoros Find Shelter in McAllen, Texas

This powerful photo journal by Lexie Harrison-Cripps captures the reality of immigrants offered shelter after enduring the brutal conditions of a migrant camp in northern Mexico.

How Black Mississippians Found Their Power During Jackson’s Water Emergency

Following fierce winter storms that froze the city’s water pipes,  Jackson, Mississippi’s Black residents came together to challenge decades of systemic discrimination, writes Frances Madeson. Co-published by Daily Kos.

What My Teenage Grandson and I Learned on the Freedom Ride Against Voter Suppression

In this essay, lifelong activist Vivian Rothstein chronicles her experience traveling across the Deep South with her 14-year-old grandson Sam and hundreds of people from around the country.

L.A. County Will Shut Down Miles of Urban Oil Fields

The historic decision to close down oil operations in L.A. signals the growing power of grassroots environmental efforts, reports Aaron Cantú. Co-published by

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