Every week, GBH News’ assignment editor Matt Baskin jumps on our airwaves to look at some of the stories that the newsroom is focusing on in the week ahead. This week, GBH News reporters are monitoring the response to two tragedies — one local, one national — that loom large in the leadup to the Thanksgiving holiday.
What follows is a lightly edited transcript and clips from radio newscasts.
Arun Rath: So let's start with this weekend's shooting in Colorado and how that's resonating locally.
Matt Baskin: Yeah, there's a big queer community in and around Boston. And today we're gathering reaction after what appears to have been a targeted attack on a queer-friendly club in Colorado Springs. This happened right around midnight, Saturday night into Sunday morning. It's worth mentioning that Sunday yesterday was the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.
Something else we're looking at is whether queer-friendly clubs in the Boston area are having to take extra security precautions right now. We've been hearing anecdotally online about LGBTQ+ clubs in other cities being warned by federal law enforcement there's a heightened risk right now. It's really a fraught moment for queer people and for trans people, in particular, with right-wing extremists stoking hatred against them online and some politicians using them cruelly and cynically as a punching bag to curry favor with supporters. That seems to be leading to awful, real world consequences.
WATCH: Protecting the LGBTQ community in wake of the Colorado Springs mass shooting
I also want to say that it's hard not to draw a connection between this and the continued threats — in some cases, bomb threats — we've seen against Boston Children's Hospital over the hospital's health care program for transgender adolescents. There was another one just last week, and like all of them so far, thank God, it was phony. But transgender people and their allies are continuing to face hatred and harassment.
Rath: And we had a tragedy closer to home over the weekend as well, the Brandeis bus crash. Tell us the latest on that.
Baskin: Yeah, a group of Brandeis students were coming back from a hockey game — these were fans, not players — against Northeastern on Saturday night. Just as they were getting back to campus in Waltham, they hit a tree. One person, a 25-year-old named Vanessa Mark, was killed [and] more than 20 people injured. Two of them are still hospitalized, at least as of yesterday. Class was canceled today. It's canceled tomorrow too. School leaders are giving students and staff and faculty time off to process this and to get a head start on the Thanksgiving break so they can be with loved ones.
Tonight at 7 o'clock there's going to be a vigil on campus in support of those who've been impacted by this crash. We'll be monitoring it.
Rath: It's a particularly awful time of year to be dealing with something like this heading into the holidays. Making that turn, though, into the holidays, tell us about what our Thanksgiving coverage looks like.
Baskin: We're looking at it from a few different angles. There's, of course, all the prep and stress and, yeah, the joy that's involved. I myself am responsible for bringing in cheese plate over to my sister's. Today we've had one of our great newsroom interns, Frankie Rowley, out in the field. She's been trying to talk with grocery store shoppers and workers as people get ready for Thursday. But actually a lot of them have declined to speak. Maybe amid the stress of preparation, an interview with a reporter is the last thing they need, perhaps. She's also been checking in with turkey farms to see if they're doing any last minute business.
But we're also going to be looking at this from a Native American perspective as well. For many Indigenous people, Thanksgiving is a national day of mourning, a chance to call attention to the horrors of European colonialism, the awful ways the colonial governments and, later, the United States government treated Native Americans.
We're also going to have our eyes and ears on people who were food insecure and housing insecure: what Thanksgiving means to them, how they observe it — if they do observe it — and how they may be getting help this time of year.
Rath: Matt, once again, thanks for all this.
Baskin: Sure thing.
Rath: That's GBH news assignment editor Matt Baskin. This is All Things Considered.