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The Highlight

The Highlight

Vox’s home for ambitious stories that explain our world.

There’s no freedom without reparations

3 Black women couldn’t find a place their families felt safe. So they bought a town.

Juneteenth merch is American consumerism at its most crass

Juneteenth isn’t just a celebration of freedom. It’s a monument to America’s failures.

The holiday observes the emancipation of enslaved people. Let it also be a time to consider the hypocrisies of the American experiment.

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In Appalachia, a race to preserve the practice of plant healing

Even as ginseng, St. John’s wort, and other herbs grow in popularity, the region is struggling to keep its age-old practice of herbalism alive for a new generation.

The rise of the sadboi big man

Welcome to the May issue of The Highlight

In this issue: The anti-abortion movement’s post-Roe future, the plant peddlers of Appalachia, the real effect of the child tax credit now that it’s gone, and more.

Is it still ethical to collect butterflies for science?

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The profound impact of giving American families a little more cash

Six months of payments lifted millions of children out of poverty. Then they stopped.

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The anti-abortion movement is about to win. Even it isn’t ready for what comes next.

Tracking down the sources of abortion pills, a brewing internal schism over arresting pregnant people — welcome to the post-Roe future.

The many, many costs of breastfeeding

What does it mean to take America’s “jobs of last resort”?

Author Eyal Press on the nation’s most morally troubling labor — and why many refuse to acknowledge it.

Gen Z does not dream of labor

On TikTok and online, the youngest workers are rejecting work as we know it. How will that play out IRL?

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The Amazonification of the American workforce

The e-commerce giant’s labor issues expose the complicated truth about getting what we want when we want it.

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What it would take to make us love our jobs again

Recognizing that many of us find purpose in what we do is a good start.

When your job helps the rest of America work

Why so many are giving up on child care work and what it will mean for everyone else.

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What if the future of work is exactly the same?

For many, the gains in worker pay and power during the pandemic are fading fast — if they even saw them at all.

Work is broken. Can we fix it?

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Welcome to the Drugs Issue of The Highlight

What’s taking the feds so long to legalize marijuana? Also, therapeutic Covid-19 drugs, abortion by mail, and what a "sober" high might mean.

Federal marijuana legalization is stopped in its tracks

Public opinion, states, and even the GOP have come around to the idea of legal weed. So how hard is it to finally get done?

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The new sober-ish

Tiny doses of magic mushrooms, LSD, and cannabis have hit wellness culture, while the stigma around the drugs recedes.

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The FDA made mail-order abortion pills legal. Access is still a nightmare.

Restrictive states have already set their sights on a new wave of telehealth companies that were supposed to be a panacea for a post-Roe world.

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It’s not too late for new Covid-19 drugs to change the pandemic

The new, easy-to-take antivirals are now on pharmacy shelves. This is who they stand to help the most.

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When justice isn’t served, how do we find forgiveness? 

Delores White said she was defending her daughter. She went to jail anyway.

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The New Orleans funeral reminds us that grief is a burden that can be shared

As the nation reckons with mass Covid-19 deaths, the power of a second line provides inspiration on how to mourn.

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The secret lives of baby teeth

Why some are trying to discover more about our bodies’ "little living archives."

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Why do we remember what we remember?

The mundane photographs that are helping scientists probe the mysteries of memory.

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How trauma became the word of the decade

The very real psychiatric term has become so omnipresent in pop culture that some experts worry it’s losing its meaning.

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Welcome to the Memory Issue of the Highlight

Survivors of early school shootings reflect, the growing popularity of the word "trauma," scientists’ efforts to understand memory, and more.

The school shooting generation grows up

An early wave of survivors came of age in a wholly unprepared world. Now they’re in their 30s and 40s, grappling with the present.

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The danger of treating body parts like fast fashion

Social media and the availability of new procedures have made our quest for physical perfection endless, setting women and girls up for failure.

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The case for following fads

The pandemic stole our sense of connectedness. In their own way, viral trends help us regain it.

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This is your brain on obsession

What the tiny Tamagotchi can teach us all

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Welcome to the Fads Issue of The Highlight

As the holidays approach, we look at the cult of Pokémon, what turns a tiny toy into a major obsession, and the upside — and dark side — of fad culture.

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Pokémon will outlive us all

Pokémon had all the hallmarks of a flash in the pan. Two decades later, it’s a $100 billion empire.

My father, the white supremacist

I’d inherited his family’s money, his height, his arthritis. Could I inherit the very worst parts of him, too?

What we don’t know about OCD

The ghosts of our motel

The modern family

Amid distance and estrangement and strain, some are happily replacing the clans they’re born into with chosen families.

Welcome to the Family Issue of The Highlight