Aallyah Wright

Aallyah Wright reports on rural affairs and leads race and equity coverage for Stateline. Previously, Aallyah worked for Mississippi Today, a digital nonprofit newsroom covering K-12 education and government in the Mississippi Delta.

Teens’ Period Poverty Activism Has Stirred Lawmakers to Action

By: - May 16, 2022

For many years, Laila Brown, a 16-year-old from Vicksburg, Mississippi, and her peers had conversations about the stigma of periods and the lack of period products at school. After learning about “period poverty,” or inadequate access to menstrual hygiene products and education, Brown and her older sister, Asia, 21, wanted to help. In January 2021, […]

Deadly Bird Flu Sweeps States, Straining Farmers

By: - April 29, 2022

Over the past three months, a highly contagious strain of bird flu has spread rapidly across the United States, infecting and killing millions of chickens, turkeys and wild birds. Experts say the outbreak, which is spread by waterfowl and other migrating birds and doesn’t pose a threat to human health, could be the deadliest the United States […]

Parents Say Mask-Optional Policies Leave Out High-Risk Students

By: - April 19, 2022

Read more Stateline coverage of how schools are affected by and responding to COVID-19. Editor’s Note: The story has been updated to correct Amanda McDougald Scott’s name. After South Carolina banned schools last spring from mandating masks, Amanda McDougald Scott removed her immunocompromised 5-year-old son from the Greenville County School District and enrolled him in a private […]

More States Consider Bills to Prohibit Discrimination Against Black Hair

By: - March 31, 2022

This year, more states are weighing measures to prohibit hair discrimination in work or school settings, joining 14 other states that have enacted similar laws over the past few years. For decades, Black Americans have been villainized and discriminated against because of their natural hair, whether they’re showcasing their hair texture or wearing protective styles […]

Florida Governor Signs Bill Critics Dubbed ‘Don’t Say Gay’

By: - March 29, 2022

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday signed into law a bill that gives parents more oversight of their children’s education and limits classroom discussions on gender and sexual orientation. “Parents have every right to be informed about services offered to their child at school, and should be protected from schools using classroom instruction to […]

Surviving Small Restaurants Push Forward as Pandemic Ebbs

By: - March 22, 2022

Read Stateline coverage of the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. CLARKSDALE, Miss. — For two years, Naomi King, an Australian native who owns Levon’s Bar and Grill in Clarksdale, Mississippi, pivoted her business model in more ways than one. The coronavirus pandemic forced her and her husband, Jonathan King, to cut the staff by […]

Black Advocates Take Ownership of Ancestors’ History; Legislation Could Help

By: - February 25, 2022

Editor’s note: This story was updated Feb. 25, 2022, to correct the spelling of Julie Schablitsky’s name. LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. — On a windy Thursday morning in mid-February, the Rev. Michelle Thomas walked up a winding gravel path surrounded by dirt, broken tree branches and mostly brown grass.  The path led to the African American […]

Texas Governor Urges Investigations into Gender-Confirming Health Care

By: - February 24, 2022

Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, a staunch opponent of gender-confirming health care for transgender youth, requested the help of state protective services to investigate claims of “child abuse” for children who receive such care. Abbott, who is facing a tough reelection fight, sent a letter to the state Department of Family and Protective Services this […]

Educators Warn Bills to Give Parents More Power Could Push Teachers Out

By: - February 11, 2022

Mostly Republican governors and legislators in more than a dozen states are fighting to give parents more control over what their children learn in public schools, banking on so-called parents’ rights bills as a political winner. But educators worry that empowering parents to veto books and history lessons would push many already stressed teachers out […]

GOP Lawmakers Kickstart New Wave of Transgender Athlete Bans

By: - February 3, 2022

South Dakota could become the first state this year to enact a law that would prohibit transgender girls from participating on sports teams for girls and women in high school and college. Without a floor debate, the state House on Wednesday advanced a bill that would ban transgender girls from playing on girls varsity sports […]

Teachers ‘Beaten Down’ By Staff Shortages, COVID

By: - January 31, 2022

Carina McGee, a high school teacher in the Aiken County Public School District in South Carolina, expected to teach until retirement age. But just three years after beginning her career, she’s reevaluating whether she made the right decision. “Everything that has come with COVID, it has just been an absolute nightmare. I have been so […]

Kids Who Lost Parents to COVID Deserve Help, Advocates Say

By: - January 10, 2022

Editor’s note: If you or someone you know needs help, call the The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255. Other mental health resources can be found below. Hundreds of thousands of kids have lost a parent or primary caregiver to COVID-19 and need support services, mental health experts say, with communities of color particularly devastated. “Some […]