Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images

Anmol Narang on Saturday became the first observant Sikh to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in its 218-year history, The New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Narang's commencement comes as the U.S. military continues to struggle with racism across its branches. Roughly 43% of the 1.3 million active duty officers in the military are people of color, while two of the 41 most senior commanders in the military are black, per the Times.

  • West Point says it is making more of an effort to recruit minority students. Last year's graduating class was the school's most diverse, though still predominantly white and male.

Worth noting: The military largely prohibits its members from wearing turbans, unshorn hair or beards, with the exception of the Army and Air Force. All of which are symbols or articles of faith for Sikhs, the Times writes.

  • Simratpal Singh, a Sikh, graduated from West Point and previously sued the Defense Department after he was forced to trim his hair and beard as a student. Singh said it caused him "significant shame" and he eventually received an accommodation to serve while wearing a turban and beard, per the Times.

What to watch: Another two practicing Sikh cadets are behind Narang at West Point.

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Health

Fauci says if people won't wear masks, maybe it should be mandated

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Graeme Jennings- Pool/Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci told CNN on Friday evening that if "people are not wearing masks, then maybe we should be mandating it."

Why it matters: Fauci made the comments the same day the U.S. hit its highest daily COVID-19 case count since the pandemic began.

Harris to Black voters: Casting a ballot is about honoring your ancestors

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris speaks at a "Get Out The Vote" rally at Morehouse College. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Kamala Harris appealed to Black voters in Georgia on Friday, urging them to "honor the ancestors" by casting ballots, and again calling President Trump a "racist."

Why it matters: The U.S. saw a significant decline in African-American voter turnout between 2012 and 2016, reaching its lowest point since 2000. Higher turnout among Black Americans this year could tip the balance in favor of Democrats in key battleground states, including Georgia.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci: Trump hasn't been to a COVID task force meeting in months.
  2. Sports: The youth sports exodus continues — Big Ten football is back.
  3. Health: U.S. hits highest daily COVID-19 case count since pandemic began —AstraZeneca to resume vaccine trial in U.S.How to help save 130,000 lives.
  4. Retail: Santa won't greet kids at Macy's this year.
  5. World: Spain and France exceed 1 million cases.