The unofficial start to summer: what you need to know this Memorial Day.

Welcome to a new edition of The Weekender, where we kick off the start to summer with the Memorial Day weekend and plenty of grilled dogs and burgers. Don’t expect roads or airports to look anything like last year’s holiday travel. Plus, travel isn’t the only hiccup people can expect to face over the Memorial Day weekend. Also, with hate crimes on the rise, will some of America’s CEOs continue to be vocal and speak out publicly against social injustices? Catch up on the headlines and this week’s news below. We’re thrilled you could join us for The Weekender.

P.S. We are proud to introduce a new team member and U.S. military veteran, Elizabeth (Liz) Etter. As a former female missile officer in the Air Force, Liz joins the team as Senior Account Manager, where she utilizes her unique leadership background in the military to implement new project management strategies and enhance our clients’ experiences. P.P.S. Every day, but especially as we head into the Memorial Day weekend, we honor our nation’s heroes and thank veterans and military families for their sacrifice. About 17.5 million American veterans live in the U.S. Here is a great breakdown of who they are and where they live.

 

THE BIG FIVE

Memorial Day weekend hiccups to know before you head out the door. With Covid-19 numbers dwindling every day, this Memorial Day is expected to look slightly different from last year’s holiday. Travel numbers are also supposed to be up, with AAA predicting that 34 million Americans will take road trips 50 miles or more during the holiday weekend, increasing 60 percent from 2020. However, it is still 9 percent less than 2019. Last year was the lowest year on record for Memorial Day travel. With everyone rushing to book trips and fill up their gas tanks, experts say Americans might deal with some Memorial Day travel hiccups, including higher gas prices and plane tickets, crowded planes, longer lines at the airport, increased hotel rates, and ever-changing Covid-19 protocols (think national vs. international vs. state travel). High demand for fuel and low supply in some areas following the temporary shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline contributed to the rising fuel prices (cough cough, shameless plug to read more below). One thing is for sure: after staying at home for more than a year due to a pandemic, Americans are willing to pay a premium to get out, even if just for a weekend. Read more in NBC News
 
Cybersecurity regulation discussions heat up, following the hack of Colonial Pipeline. Following one of the most significant pipeline cybersecurity attacks our nation has ever seen, U.S. officials with the Transportation Security Administration are expected to issue the country’s first pipeline cybersecurity regulation that will require pipeline companies to follow specific rules. The guidelines may help prevent or at least deter future attacks and create changes for pipeline companies, including reporting cyber vulnerabilities to government officials immediately, reviewing security systems to address weaknesses, and appointing a cybersecurity official to be available for around-the-clock communications with federal authorities. This is the first time that rules have been issued for the pipeline industry. Previously, the guidelines were voluntary. Experts say politicians need to beef up U.S. cyber-crime law for companies to take any regulations and penalties seriously, creating holistic change and securing America’s energy infrastructure. Read more in Business Insider
 
Jewish hate crimes on the rise across the U.S. From California to New York, a wave of antisemitic attacks has broken out across the U.S., following the recent escalation in the Israel-Palestinian conflict and war in the Middle East. Mosques in the U.S. have reported damage in recent days, with a number of protests popping up in major cities. New York City’s Hate Crime Task Force is investigating an assault in Times Square after a video of an attack was shared on social media. According to the Anti-Defamation League, an analysis of Twitter last week showed more than 17,000 tweets that used variations of the phrase, “Hitler was right.” While a recent cease-fire in the Israel-Palestinian conflict brought fighting to an end (for now), many prominent Jewish organizations warn that antisemitic attacks and racism in the U.S. are likely to continue. In a recent tweet, Biden called the violence against the Jewish community “despicable.” Muslims have also been dealing with bias and acts of vandalism. Recent “hate graffiti” was found spray-painted on the front door of an Islamic Center in Brooklyn. The flare-up in hate crimes comes after recent attacks against Asian American communities, which some experts say was exacerbated by the pandemic’s origins in China. Read more in NPR
 
Corporate America is woke: How long will it last? This past week marked one year since the death of George Floyd, a black man killed after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly 10 minutes. Many brands and executives at American corporations marked the week with posts showing their support for Floyd. As the traditional position of corporate American is anodyne centrism, some journalists also took the opportunity to analyze which CEOs spoke out last year (many who had never done so before) and what companies have done over the past year to bring change and awareness to their organization and/or with consumers. Many have faced challenges brought about by some conservatives who argue that corporations are getting too involved in political fights, like voting battles in Georgia. Many outspoken execs have faced backlash from conservatives, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who warned corporations last month “to stay out of politics.” A recent poll found that most Americans want companies to speak out more publicly on matters of diversity, inclusion, and equity. However, with midterm elections around the corner and Democrats narrowly controlling Washington, many top executives look to be strategic in what they post and share. Read more in POLITICO
 
Goldman Sachs: Ether has a ‘high chance’ of eclipsing bitcoin as crypto’s dominant store of value. After a rocky two weeks, cryptocurrency is staging a recovery, with Ethereum reversing its losses to trade 24.4 percent higher. Goldman Sachs reports that ether has a “high chance” of overshadowing bitcoin as the dominant digital store of value. While ether is the popular medium of exchange, it has a much higher transaction per second capacity than bitcoin and has the potential to become a large market for trusted information, which could become tokenized and traded. Trying to figure out what bitcoin really is? Check out this 2-minute video to get a quick explanation. News and developments in the cryptocurrency have been hitting national headlines, and Goldman Sach’s recent report signals an acceptance of cryptos from mainstream investors. Read more in Business Insider

 

INTERNATIONAL SPOTLIGHT

Political free speech–and a commercial airliner–hijacked in Belarus. Days after the Belarus president ordered a fighter jet to intercept a European airline, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing, European Union leaders called the situation a “hijack” and “attack on democracy.” Authorities say Aleksander Lukashenko ordered the plane to land in Minsk, Belarus’ capital, to question a blogger of one of the most popular opposition outlets in Belarus, provoking international outrage and a slap on the wrist from the EU, which included new sanctions and a ban on Belarusian airlines using the European Union’s airspace or airports. To show support for the former Soviet ally, Russia blocked at least two European airlines from landing in Moscow because they are avoiding flying over Belarusian airspace, which experts say is an indication that Russian President Vladimir Putin is ramping up protection. Read more in New York Times

DATA POINTS

  • 50. The age Phil Mickelson became golf’s oldest major champion in history after winning the 2021 PGA Championship last Sunday.

  • 7.3%. The 2020 unemployment rate for veterans who served in Gulf War II. According to Statista Research Department, 6.5% of all U.S. veterans were unemployed last year.

  • 12,000%. The percent increase of “identity attribute” search terms on Yelp. Spikes in search terms like “black-owned” have left black business owners more confident of growth than ever before.

  • 12. The youngest age of Americans who are eligible for the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine. Adolescents should see widespread availability before school starts in the fall.

  • 287 million. The number of Covid-19 vaccine doses that have been administered in the U.S., which is 1 million more doses administered than last week.

  • 21. The number of U.S. states that have passed bills focused on police oversight since the death of George Floyd in May of 2020. An additional 17 states have pending legislation.

  • 6,659. The number of Amazon packages shipped each minute on average in 2020. The same study found an estimated 404,444 hours of video was streamed over the year by Netflix users.

  • $7.29 billion. The amount of money it would cost the U.S. per day if it experienced an internet shutdown. Iran experienced a week-long internet shutdown in November, sending the county into a deep economic crisis.

  • 7 in 10. The proportion of U.S. teens who use the popular social media platform Tik Tok, creating a whole new batch of influencers and creators in the digital space.

TWEET

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