Juana Summers

Juana Summers is a political reporter for NPR covering demographics and culture. She has covered politics since 2010 for publications including Politico, CNN and The Associated Press. She got her start in public radio at KBIA in Columbia, Mo., and also previously covered Congress for NPR.

She appears regularly on television and radio outlets to discuss national politics. In 2016, Summers was a fellow at Georgetown University's Institute of Politics and Public Service. Summers is also a competitive pinball player and sits on the board of the International Flipper Pinball Association (IFPA), the governing body for competitive pinball events around the world.

She is a graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism and a native of Kansas City, Mo.

Updated June 8, 2021 at 2:47 PM ET

Sen. Joe Manchin praised a Tuesday morning meeting with civil rights leaders, calling it "constructive" and "informative," but maintained his opposition to a sweeping set of election overhaul measures known as the For the People Act.

The day that a white mob came to Greenwood Avenue in Tulsa, Okla., Viola Fletcher was just 7 years old.

During emotional testimony on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Fletcher, who is now 107, recalled her memories of the two-day massacre that left hundreds of Black people dead.

Vice President Harris on Wednesday urged Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to turn their pain, after a year marked by a surge of racially motivated attacks, into power.

She also praised the passage of legislation to address the increase in hate crimes and violence against Asian Americans during the coronavirus pandemic.

President Biden's first address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday and the official Republican response that followed offered two contrasting perspectives on race in America.

Updated April 20, 2021 at 2:24 PM ET

When Joe Biden offered his condolences to the loved ones of George Floyd in a video address that played at Floyd's funeral service last year, he posed a question.

"Why, in this nation, do too many Black Americans wake up knowing they could lose their life in the course of living their life?" Biden asked.

Biden, then his party's presumptive presidential nominee, urged the country in that speech to use Floyd's death as a call for action to address systemic racism.

Updated April 15, 2021 at 1:43 AM ET

A House committee has voted to move forward with a bill that would establish a commission to develop proposals to help repair the lasting effects of slavery. The vote came nearly three decades after the bill was was first introduced.

Fresh debate over the issue of reparations for the descendants of enslaved people comes amid a national reckoning over race and justice.

President Biden's sweeping $2 trillion jobs and infrastructure plan also aims to deploy more than $5 billion to support community-based violence prevention programs.

As President Biden called on senators to quickly pass legislation to tighten the nation's background checks system, he said that he did not need to "wait another minute" to address the epidemic of gun violence.

Even before the deadly shootings at spas in the Atlanta area killed six women of Asian descent, President Biden had taken steps to address the recent surge of violence against Asians and Asian Americans by making forceful statements against hate and harassment, banning the federal government from employing the sort of "inflammatory and xenophobic" language used by his predecessor and tasking senior administration leaders to hold "listening sessions" with community leaders and advocates.

There is little difference in reluctance to take the coronavirus vaccine among Black and white people in the U.S., according to the latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist survey.

House lawmakers have passed two bills aimed at strengthening the nation's gun laws, including a bill that would require background checks on all gun sales and transfers.

The top Senate Democrat vowed to bring up legislation expanding background checks up for a vote, but it does not have the 60 votes needed in the chamber to advance.

Congressional lawmakers are launching a fresh push for significant gun control legislation, introducing two bills aimed at sweeping overhauls of the nation's gun laws.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers, led by California Rep. Mike Thompson, who leads the congressional task force on gun violence prevention, reintroduced legislation Tuesday to require background checks for all gun purchasers.

The day before President Biden's allies on Capitol Hill were set to roll out his sweeping immigration overhaul, a group of activists rallied outside of the headquarters of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, projecting a message onto the building's façade.

"ICE is deporting and torturing people," the all-caps message read. "Abolish ICE and CBP," a reference to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The voting advocacy organization Voto Latino is calling on elected lawmakers to make a year-round effort to engage with Latino constituents. They're also calling out those who make feeble attempts to speak to voters in Spanish.

"We want elected leaders to continue communicating with our community in the language that they speak and understand, but also with real frequency," said Danny Friedman, the managing director of Voto Latino. "Our community is not simply a group to check off the list at campaign time."

During his first full week in office, President Biden made clear that addressing inequity would be not only a fixture of his presidency, but also the responsibility of the entire federal government.

As he signed a series of executive actions, he declared that "advancing equity, civil rights, racial justice and equal opportunity is the responsibility of the whole of our government."

On the day that California Gov. Gavin Newsom named Kamala Harris' replacement in the U.S. Senate, Molly Watson jumped on a call with other organizers and the two Black women in Congress whom they had urged Newsom to appoint to the seat instead.

It was an emotional conversation, in which Watson said she struggled to hold back tears.

The vast majority of mayors in American cities do not support sweeping changes to the funding of their police departments, and most say last year's racial justice protests were a force for good in their cities, according to a new survey of more than 100 mayors from across the U.S.

Before they gather virtually to watch the inauguration, students at YELLS, a nonprofit youth empowerment program in Marietta, Ga., will receive some special packages.

Each student will get a delivery that includes an American flag, a copy of the oath of office and a special set of pearls in honor of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. YELLS staffers are encouraging their students to dress up to watch the ceremony, to make a ruckus with provided noisemakers. And after the ceremony, staff will guide them in writing letters to the new president and vice president.

A coalition of progressive groups say they are organizing a sweeping network to mobilize around climate change, racial and environmental justice, making a new unified push as President-elect Joe Biden is days away from taking office with Democrats set to control both the House and the Senate.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, the incoming chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., are unveiling legislation that would seek to end federal capital punishment, putting a focus on the issue as their party prepares to take over complete control of Congress, along with the White House.

Updated at 4 a.m. ET

Congress certified President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris' victory early on Thursday, the end of a long day and night marked by chaos and violence in Washington, D.C. Extremists emboldened by President Trump had sought to thwart the peaceful transfer of power that has been a hallmark of modern American history by staging a violent insurrection inside the U.S. Capitol.

President-elect Joe Biden opposes the death penalty and has said he will work to end its use, but as President Trump's administration accelerates the pace of federal executions in the closing days of his presidency, activists and progressive lawmakers are feeling more urgency to push Biden to act immediately upon taking office.

When Beth McDonough started to tell her stepdaughter, Mia, about the woman who will be the country's next vice president, one of the first things she told Mia is that Kamala Harris has a stepdaughter too.

"She just lit up because we live in a super-small town, and as a kid with two moms and in a blended family, she faces a lot of not being able to see what her family looks like in other families," said McDonough, 33, who lives in Meadville, Pa., with her stepdaughter and wife.

When Joe Biden thanked Black voters in his first remarks as president-elect, he credited them with lifting his campaign from its lowest point during the Democratic primaries.

"You've always had my back, and I'll have yours," he promised.

While Biden won Black voters overwhelmingly across the country, they were key to his victories in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia — places where President Trump and his allies have been targeting ballots in cities with large Black populations in an attempt to overturn the president's defeat and retain power.

Former first lady Michelle Obama called on Americans, "especially our nation's leaders, regardless of power," to "honor the electoral process and do your part to encourage a smooth transition of power," as President Trump continues to dispute the results of the November election.

Obama warned that a refusal to commit to an orderly transfer of power could put the country at risk.

When Joe Biden addressed the nation for the first time as president-elect, he said that his victory was supported by "the broadest and most diverse coalition in history."

Now, Biden is facing high expectations from one big and especially diverse segment of that coalition — young voters who appear to have turned out for him in record numbers, particularly young progressives who now say they want to see him deliver on their priorities.

Black women in South Carolina pushed an early major victory to set Biden on the path to winning the nomination, and now Black women want a seat at the table.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Updated at 9:45 p.m. ET

California Sen. Kamala Harris will become the next vice president of the United States, shattering another racial and gender barrier in American politics, at the end of a bruising presidential race that further exposed a bitterly divided electorate.

Democrats' long-term hopes for electoral success have long cited the growing Latino population in the country. But former Vice President Joe Biden's performance in heavily Latino areas of key states has concerned members of his party — and may have cost him Electoral College votes, according to groups and activists working to mobilize Latino voters.

Nationally, Biden appears to have gotten support from roughly twice as many Latino voters as President Trump, but that support looked very different depending on where you looked in three key states with large Latino populations.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is launching a seven-figure advertising investment aimed at mobilizing Black voters — with a particular eye toward Black men — across nearly a dozen states, a strategic move by House Democrats' campaign committee to further energize the key demographic as the election season heads into its final weeks.

The advertisements — a mix of radio, print, digital and mail — are being deployed across targeted congressional districts in Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

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