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Friday, October 15, 2021

Rwanda’s response to COVID-19 brings out the need to prepare and learn from practice

Wash your hands, wear your face mask and practice physical distancing. These COVID-19 safety measures by the World Health Organization (WHO) will probably go down in the World’s history as the most repeated and translated words of the year 2020.  Since December 2019, COVID-19 has imposed itself onto the World forcing everyone to rethink the…
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    Designer of AOC’s ‘Tax the Rich’ Met Gala dress didn’t pay taxes

    Aurora James, who designed the “Tax the Rich” dress worn by New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at the Met Gala last week, has not paid her taxes in numerous states, The New York Post reported, citing a tax warrant database.

    James’s brand, Brother Vellies, is run by an LLC she formed in 2011, the Cultural Brokerage Agency. However, since 2015, the company has had a total of 15 warrants issued against it in New York state.

    According to records from the New York State Department’s Tax Warrant Notice On-Line Database, the warrants range from 2015 to 2021 in New York and Kings counties. The amounts vary, ranging from $989.57 at the lowest to $7,492.08 at the highest. 

    According to The New York Post, citing sources from the Department of Taxation and Finance, there are three open warrants in the state due to not withholding income taxes from employee wages at the sum of $14,798.

    Further, the company apparently failed to remit payroll taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), resulting in their fining with six federal liens totaling some $103,220, though their status remains unclear, The New York Post reported.

    James has been a popular designer for years, and her work has been donned by the likes of Meghan Markle and Beyonce. 

    But her most recent claim to fame is the now-iconic dress worn by Ocasio-Cortez at the Met Gala, a white dress with the words “TAX THE RICH” written in large red letters.

    The design mirrored the political leanings of the Democratic congresswoman, who is part of the informal gathering of young, progressive Democratic representatives known as “The Squad.”

    However, the congresswoman has also come under fire for the dress, partly due to choosing to attend the Met Gala in the first place, as the event is notoriously expensive and costs around $35,000 for a ticket, though she and her boyfriend had been gifted the tickets for free.

    As a result, two ethics complaints were filed against her at the Office of Congressional Ethics, with arguments made that though the Metropolitan Museum of Art itself invited her, being gifted the tickets constituted a violation of the House of Representatives’ rules regarding gifts.

    One complaint also pointed to the dress itself, which she borrowed from James, as being a violation of these rules too because it directly relates to her “position in the House,” according to The New York Post.

    However, the congresswoman took to Instagram to defend her decision to attend and her choice of dress.

    View this post on Instagram


    “The medium is the message,” she wrote, referring to the famous phrase by communications scholar Marshall McLuhan referring to the medium itself as being of primary importance compared to what the message is. 

    “NYC elected officials are regularly invited to and attend the Met due to our responsibilities in overseeing our city’s cultural institutions that serve the public. I was one of several in attendance.”

    She credited James for the dress and praised her for being a “sustainably focused, Black woman immigrant designer” who helped her “kick open the doors at the Met.”

    She added: “The time is now for childcare, healthcare and climate action for all. Tax the Rich.”

    James also defended the dress and the choice of attire for the event.

    “Fashion is changing, America is changing,” James said, Vogue reported. “I think Alexandria and I are a great embodiment of the language fashion needs to consider adding to the general lexicon as we work towards a more sustainable, inclusive and empowered future.”

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