Alana Wise

Alana Wise joined WAMU in September 2018 as the 2018-2020 Audion Reporting Fellow for Guns & America. Selected as one of 10 recipients nationwide of the Audion Reporting Fellowship, Alana works in the WAMU newsroom as part of a national reporting project and is spending two years focusing on the impact of guns in the Washington region.

Prior to joining WAMU, Wise was a politics and later companies news reporter at Reuters, where she covered the 2016 presidential election and the U.S. airline industry. Ever the fan of cherry blossoms and unpredictable weather, Alana, an Atlanta native and Howard University graduate, can be found roaming the city admiring puppies and the national monuments, in that order.

 

The Senate unanimously approved a bill Tuesday that would make Juneteenth, the date commemorating the end of chattel slavery in the United States, a legal public holiday.

The holiday is celebrated on June 19, and it began in 1865 when enslaved people in Texas learned they had been freed under the Emancipation Proclamation.

President Abraham Lincoln had signed the proclamation outlawing slavery years earlier, but it was not until 1865 that those in bondage in Texas were freed.

Updated June 11, 2021 at 7:11 PM ET

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday offered a fierce defense of voting rights, which he described as an indisputable "cornerstone" of American democracy, as he outlined a series of measures meant to protect those rights.

Testimony from former Trump administration official Don McGahn was made public on Wednesday, days after the former White House counsel and key witness during the Russia investigation testified before a closed-door session of Congress.

McGahn's testimony to the Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee largely rehashed much of what was already publicly known, but his remarks revealed the degree to which he felt he was being pressured toward wrongdoing by former President Donald Trump.

Updated June 8, 2021 at 7:57 PM ET

President Biden on Tuesday turned down the latest offer on an infrastructure deal from Senate Republicans, moving the debate on one of the president's chief domestic priorities into a new phase.

The Department of Justice on Monday issued model legislation from which states can craft their own "extreme risk protection orders," commonly referred to as red flag laws, as part of the Biden administration's ongoing effort to curb U.S. gun violence.

"The Justice Department is determined to take concrete steps to reduce the tragic toll of gun violence in our communities," Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.

The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating controversial Postmaster General Louis DeJoy in connection with campaign contributions made by former employees of the longtime businessman, a spokesman of DeJoy's confirmed Thursday.

Mark Corallo, the spokesman, said in a statement that the department is probing "contributions made by employees who worked for him when he was in the private sector."

DeJoy had been a Republican megadonor before he was appointed to lead the U.S. Postal Service during the Trump administration.

Updated June 1, 2021 at 10:27 PM ET

New Mexico Democrats kept control of the U.S. House seat left vacant by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, in one of the party's earliest tests of its messaging during the administration of President Biden.

Melanie Stansbury has defeated Republican opponent Mark Moores, according to a race call from The Associated Press.

The victory was expected. Polls showed Stansbury with a comfortable lead, and Biden won the district by 23 percentage points last year.

Updated May 26, 2021 at 9:04 PM ET

President Biden said on Wednesday that he has asked the U.S. intelligence community to push to get closer to a "definitive conclusion" on how the pandemic started.

Updated May 21, 2021 at 2:54 PM ET

Col. Ralph Puckett, Jr. was honored at the White House on Friday and awarded the Medal of Honor for his acts of "conspicuous gallantry" during the Korean War. South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who is in town to conduct diplomatic talks with President Biden, attended the ceremony.

In a notable tarmac conversation, Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib conveyed to President Biden her dissatisfaction with the United States' response to the bloody conflict between Israel and Hamas that has now entered its second week, her office says.

Tlaib, the first woman of Palestinian descent to serve in Congress, also told Biden that Palestinians must be protected, and she shared her harsh assessment of Israel's role in escalating the violence, an aide for the congresswoman's office said in a statement.

Updated May 17, 2021 at 5:38 PM ET

President Biden on Monday announced his intention to ship surplus doses of the coronavirus vaccine to needy nations abroad, including millions of doses of the U.S.-authorized Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. The majority of the planned shipments will be of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which does not yet have authorization for use in the United States.

President Biden has revoked a number of executive actions taken by former President Donald Trump in the last year of his administration, mostly in response to the protests over systemic racism and police violence.

Updated May 13, 2021 at 4:43 PM ET

President Biden continued conversations with congressional Republicans on Thursday in the hopes of landing a bipartisan deal on an infrastructure package, but major hurdles persist over what items would be in the measure, and how it might be paid for.

Officials from the Trump administration will deliver testimony to Congress on Wednesday in defense of their handling of the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection led by pro-Trump extremists, as lawmakers seek to pinpoint the administrative failures that led to the deadly riot.

Those collecting unemployment benefits under the American Rescue Plan must accept "suitable" employment when offered, President Biden said Monday, responding to last week's underwhelming April jobs report.

"We're going to make it clear that anyone collecting unemployment, who was offered a suitable job, must take the job or lose their unemployment benefits," Biden said before adding: "We don't see much evidence of that."

Before Taqueria Las Gemelas was approved for coronavirus relief aid on Wednesday, the Mexican eatery, like countless other businesses across the country, was struggling to stay afloat.

Updated May 4, 2021 at 3:43 PM ET

President Biden on Tuesday announced a new goal to administer at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to 70% of American adults by the Fourth of July.

The administration also aims to have 160 million adults fully vaccinated by then, a push to improve the level of immunity in the country to the point where the coronavirus has less of an opportunity to spread and so that more public health restrictions can be lifted, administration officials told reporters.

Updated May 2, 2021 at 2:27 PM ET

Texans around Dallas sent Susan Wright to a runoff election to fill the congressional seat of her late husband, Republican Ron Wright. She will face state Rep. Jake Ellzey, also a Republican, who came in second place in Saturday's special election. He edged out Democrat Jana Sanchez, who conceded.

The White House has completed a review of its policy on North Korea, press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Friday, saying that while the aim of the U.S. remains denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the Biden administration is open to diplomatic talks to boost security for the region.

President Biden met with former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter on Thursday in their hometown of Plains, Ga. The trip, which comes on Biden's 100th day in office, is part of an effort to celebrate his early accomplishments in office and make the push for trillions in new spending that would reshape the nation's economy.

Updated April 28, 2021 at 11:56 PM ET

President Biden told Congress on Wednesday night that "America is on the move again," as he touted his administration's work to end the coronavirus crisis and urged lawmakers to work together to prove "that our government still works — and can deliver" for the American people.

Updated April 28, 2021 at 5:03 PM ET

On the eve of his 100th day in office, President Biden will lay out the latest plank in his economic agenda, a massive spending package that senior administration officials say would improve the lives of millions of Americans.

President Biden will require federal contractors to pay their employees a minimum wage of $15 an hour starting March 30, 2022, senior administration officials say — a hike that will benefit a few hundred thousand people and underscore the broader Democratic push to raise the federal pay floor to the same level.

Biden plans to sign an executive order on Tuesday that will kick off the rulemaking process for the higher wage, the officials told reporters Monday.

The Justice Department will launch an investigation into the Louisville Metro Police Department to determine if there is a pattern of discrimination or excessive force within its ranks, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Monday.

The investigation marks the launch of the second such "pattern or practice" investigation since Garland took over as attorney general and comes more than a year after the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor by Louisville, Ky., police fueled worldwide protests against police violence and racial injustice.

Updated April 24, 2021 at 3:00 PM ET

President Biden on Saturday declared the mass slaughter of Armenians at the hands of Ottoman Turks more than a century ago a "genocide," bucking pressure from Turkey's government as well as decades of precedent to describe the atrocity as one that was ethnically motivated.

Updated April 19, 2021 at 7:00 PM ET

U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who engaged with pro-Trump rioters during the Jan. 6 insurrection, died of natural causes the day after the attack, Washington, D.C.'s chief medical examiner announced Monday.

Updated April 15, 2021 at 3:57 AM ET

The United States will withdraw all remaining troops from Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, President Biden announced Wednesday, turning the page on a conflict that has cost trillions of dollars and the lives of more than 2,300 American troops.

Updated April 13, 2021 at 1:10 PM ET

U.S. Capitol Police Officer William "Billy" Evans on Tuesday is lying in honor at the Capitol, where he served for 18 years and lost his life in the line of duty this month.

When an assailant stormed a grocery store in Boulder, Colo., last month and fatally shot 10 people, the suspected weapon of choice — a Ruger AR-556 pistol — captured immediate attention. Not for what it technically was — a pistol — but for what it more closely resembled — an assault-style rifle.

The White House on Tuesday announced a half-dozen new actions in response to attacks and harassment that Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in the United States have faced increasingly over the past year.

"Across our nation, an outpouring of grief and outrage continues at the horrific violence and xenophobia perpetrated against Asian American communities, especially Asian American women and girls," the White House said in a statement.

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