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Up First briefing: UAW strike; Birmingham church bombing anniversary; NPR news quiz

UAW President Shawn Fain speaks as UAW members and their supporters gather for Solidarity Sunday at the UAW Region 1 office in Warren, Mich., on Aug. 20. The UAW has started an unprecedented strike against all three big automakers.
Jeff Kowalsky
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AFP via Getty Images
UAW President Shawn Fain speaks as UAW members and their supporters gather for Solidarity Sunday at the UAW Region 1 office in Warren, Mich., on Aug. 20. The UAW has started an unprecedented strike against all three big automakers.

Good morning. You're reading the Up First newsletter. Subscribe here to get it delivered to your inbox, and listen to the Up First podcast for all the news you need to start your day.

Today's stop stories

For the first time ever, the United Auto Workers union is striking against all Big Three auto manufacturers at once: Ford, General Motors and Stellantis. Workers from auto plants in Missouri, Ohio and Michigan will walk off the job. Workers at additional locations could follow, depending on how bargaining progresses.

  • There's a lot of history behind this strike, NPR's Camila Domonoske says on Up First this morning. The style of the strike harkens to the 1930s, and workers' demands are similar to the '70s. The economic impacts of the strike will probably be constrained unless it grows longer and bigger.
  • Follow developments in the strike with NPR's live blog.


Today marks 60 years since the Ku Klux Klan bombed a Baptist church in Birmingham, Ala., killing four Black girls and rocking the conscience of the nation. The bombing drew attention to the brutal acts of white supremacy in the American South and galvanized Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act. Survivors reflect on the lessons learned since the tragedy.

The CDC recommends everyone ages 6 months and older get the new COVID-19 vaccine. But Florida's Department of Health has its own recommendations. The state's Surgeon General, Joseph Ladapo, said Wednesday that healthy people under 65 should avoid the shot.

  • WGCU's John Davis says Gov. Ron DeSantis' presidential campaign has started campaigning around his state's COVID response, promising to fight what he calls federal government overreach on pandemic precautions. Lee Health, one of the biggest health systems in the area, tells Davis they'll continue following CDC guidelines.​​​​
  • Confused about the new booster? Here's everything you need to know. 

From our hosts

Bahrain human rights activist Maryam al-Khawaja flashes the V-sign for "Victory" after she was released from detention on September 18, 2014, in the city of Muharraq, north of capital Manama.
Mohammed Al-Shaikh / AFP via Getty Images
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AFP via Getty Images
Bahrain human rights activist Maryam al-Khawaja flashes the V-sign for "Victory" after she was released from detention on September 18, 2014, in the city of Muharraq, north of capital Manama.

This essay was written by Leila Fadel. She hosts Morning Edition and Up First. She was previously an NPR national correspondent covering race and identity. Prior to that, she was an international correspondent based in Cairo.

Bahraini human rights activist Maryam al-Khawaja is going back to her country knowing she may be arrested upon arrival. But she says she is taking the risk to make sure her father, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, is getting the medical treatment he needs in prison.

He's been there for 12 years, sentenced to life for his role in pro-democracy demonstrations in the midst of a wave of uprisings in the Middle East. Those demonstrations were suppressed, and her father is among hundreds of political prisoners in the Gulf Kingdom who've been demanding better treatment. Maryam al-Khawaja didn't share the date of her arrival for her safety, but before her trip home, she said this: "I'm terrified of going back to prison. But I think that saving my father's life is more important than my fear."

Weekend picks

Olivia Rodrigo returns with her sophomore album <em>Guts</em>.
Nick Walker / Courtesy of the artist
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Courtesy of the artist
Olivia Rodrigo returns with her sophomore album Guts.

Check out what NPR is watching, reading and listening to this weekend:

Movies: John Chiti is a Zambian musician and police commissioner with albinism. He's also the inspiration for the new Netflix movie Can You See Us?

TV: Tune into these two shows for thoughtful takes on navigating the workplace while Black.

Books: Claudia Dey's Daughter explores the dysfunctional relationship between protagonist Mona Dean and her father. Her need for his love almost wrecks his life.

Music: Olivia Rodrigo's sophomore album, GUTS sharpens the pop punk-inspired sound that made Sour one of the biggest hits of 2021.

Games: The latest installment in the Mortal Kombat series launches next Tuesday (early access was yesterday). Are you ready to test your might

Quiz: Here's a clue for this week's diabolical news quiz: The pictures can be misleading.

Recipe: Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins at sunset tonight. This year, it also falls on Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest. Cookbook author Adeena Sussman has Shabbat recipes from around the world, including a dilly chicken and rice soup.

Before you go

Natasha Lyonne, pictured here in November 2022, is one of several actors who's auctioning off unique experiences to support TV and movie crews impacted by the ongoing writers' strike
Tommaso Boddi / Getty Images for Vox Media
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Getty Images for Vox Media
Natasha Lyonne, pictured here in November 2022, is one of several actors who's auctioning off unique experiences to support TV and movie crews impacted by the ongoing writers' strike

  1. Have you ever wanted to do a crossword puzzle with Natasha Lyonne? Have Adam Scott walk your dog? Go do dinner with Bob Odenkirk? If your wallet is big enough, you could bid on all of these experiences and more. They're being auctioned off on eBay to support the writers' and actors' strikes.
  2. It breaks my heart that I don't speak the same language as my cat. Luckily, voiceover artist Bobby Johnson, known as The Rxck StxR, is here to help. Listen to his hilarious interpretations of what pets say to their owners in videos submitted by his fans.
  3. Hit pause on that apple-picking appointment. In Colorado, this farm lets you pick your own hemp. The farm's owner wants to destigmatize the plant, which is often associated with its psychoactive sibling, marijuana.

This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: September 14, 2023 at 11:00 PM CDT
This morning's newsletter incorrectly said the CDC recommends everyone 6 years and older get the new COVID-19 vaccine. In fact, it's everyone 6 months and older.
Suzanne Nuyen
[Copyright 2024 NPR]