TULSA, Okla. — A memorial to Black Wall Street in the Greenwood District of Tulsa has been covered with tarp by residents who say they don’t want it used as a photo opportunity by the Trump administration as the president holds a campaign rally nearby.

The tarp was placed following a news conference that included Tiffany Crutcher, the twin sister of Terence Crutcher, a black man killed by a Tulsa police officer in 2016.

“This is not a photo op, that’s not what this is,” said Nehemiah Frank, editor of the online Black Wall Street Times in Tulsa, in a video posted following the news conference which called for the campaign rally to be canceled and for peaceful protests.

“This is a place to come pay respects to people that died a horrible murder from racism,” Frank said as the video showed signs attached to the blue tarp, including one reading “This is sacred ground, not a photo op.”

The Greenwood District was the site of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre in which black-owned businesses were burned and an estimated 300 people were killed.

N.C. governor orders two Confederate statues removed

RALEIGH, N.C. — Crews have removed two Confederate statues outside the North Carolina state capitol in Raleigh on order of the governor.

The statues were taken away on Saturday, the morning after protesters toppled two nearby statues.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who has long advocated removing the statues, said in a press release that removing the statues was a public-safety imperative.

“If the Legislature had repealed their 2015 law that puts up legal roadblocks to removal, we could have avoided the dangerous incidents of last night,” Cooper said.

One of the statues is dedicated to the women of the Confederacy. The other was placed by the United Daughters of the Confederacy honoring Henry Wyatt, the first North Carolinian killed in battle in the Civil War.

Both statues stood for over a century.

A 2015 law bars removal of the memorials without permission of a state historical commission. But Cooper said the law creates an exception for public-safety emergencies, and he is acting under that provision.

Minnesota ends special session without deal on policing

MINNEAPOLIS — A special session of the Minnesota Legislature ended Saturday without agreement on remaking policing in the state where George Floyd was killed.

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People demonstrate at the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul, Minn. on Friday. Associated Press

The Democratic-controlled House early Friday passed an extensive package of police accountability measures wrapped into one bill. It included elements of five more modest policing bills that the Republican-controlled Senate passed earlier in the week but went farther than Republicans were willing to accept.

The Senate adjourned just after 6 a.m. Saturday, prompting criticism from minority Democrats.

“I’m deeply disappointed that Senate Republicans ended the special session before our job was done,” Senate Minority Leader Susan Kent tweeted. “We should stay and finish the work of the people of Minnesota.”

Read the rest of the story here.

Statue of Confederate general toppled in DC

WASHINGTON — Protesters have toppled the only statue of a Confederate general in the nation’s capital and set it on fire.

It comes on Juneteenth, the day marking the end of slavery in the United States, amid continuing anti-racism demonstrations following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Cheering demonstrators jumped up and down as the 11-foot statue of Albert Pike — wrapped with chains — wobbled on its high granite pedestal before falling backward, landing in a pile of dust. Protesters then set a bonfire and stood around it in a circle as the statue burned, chanting, “No justice, no peace!” and “No racist police!”

Eyewitness accounts and videos posted on social media indicated that police were on the scene, but didn’t intervene.

Read the rest of the story here.

Protesters take down statues in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO — In San Francisco, a group of about 400 people tore down statues of Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th president of the U.S., Spanish missionary Junipero Serra and Francis Scott Key, who wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

The group of protesters arrived at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park Friday night and after defacing the statues with red paint and writing “slave owner” on the platforms they were on, they toppled them using ropes and dragged them down grassy slopes amid cheers and applause.

Grant led the Union Army during the Civil War and thus was a key figure in the fight to end slavery. However, like Key, he once owned slaves. Serra, an 18th century Roman Catholic priest, founded nine of California’s 21 Spanish missions and is credited with bringing Roman Catholicism to the Western United States. He is also blamed by many Native Americans for the destruction of their culture and the decimation of several tribes.

Boston councilors want to divert non-violent calls from 911

BOSTON — Three members of the Boston City Council want to start diverting nonviolent 911 calls away from police.

The Boston Globe reported that the councilors have filed an ordinance that calls for “an alternative response from non-law enforcement agencies.”

They said Boston police often respond to nonviolent calls for service that include issues such as homelessness and substance abuse that are beyond the scope of their function.

The councilors are Michelle Wu, Lydia Edwards and Julia Mejia. They’ve proposed the changes in a time when calls for police reform are taking place all over the country in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd in Minnesota and Breonna Taylor in Kentucky.

The Boston councilors want the city to create a crisis-response plan for nonviolent 911 calls within 90 days. They said the plan should connect people who need help to unarmed service providers such as healthcare professionals instead of police.

1 killed, 1 injured in shooting in Seattle protest zone

SEATTLE — A shooting in Seattle’s protest zone has left one person dead and another critically injured.

Authorities say the shooting before dawn Saturday happened in the area known as CHOP, which stands for Capitol Hill Occupied Protest.

Seattle Police Sgt. Lauren Truscott told The Seattle Times that she didn’t know whether police had taken anyone into custody and said she had no immediate details about how the shooting unfolded.

Harborview Medical Center spokesperson Susan Gregg says two males with gunshot wounds arrived in a private vehicle at the hospital at at about 3 a.m. One died and the other was in critical condition.

Protesters have cordoned off several blocks near a police station in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood in the wake of demonstrations against police violence since the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis several weeks ago.

Police have largely retreated from the zone after clashes with protesters ended with people throwing things at police and police using tear gas and other crowd-control munitions. City officials have said they are still communicating with protest leaders, who had pledged to keep the peace in the zone.

The situation has drawn the continued ire of President Trump. His tweets about possibly sending in the military have been met with condemnation from Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Gov. Jay Inslee, both Democrats.

Workers removing Confederate statues in Raleigh

RALEIGH, N.C. — Work crews are removing two Confederate statues outside the North Carolina state capitol in Raleigh, the morning after protesters toppled two nearby statues.

News outlets reported Saturday that crews were removing one statue dedicated to the women of the Confederacy, and another placed by the United Daughters of the Confederacy honoring Henry Wyatt, the first North Carolinian killed in battle in the Civil War.

Both statues stood for over a century. It was not immediately clear who ordered the removals.

On Friday night, protesters pulled down two statues of two Confederate soldiers that were part of a larger obelisk. Earlier in the evening police had thwarted a previous attempt to topple the statues. Bu after the officers cleared the area, protesters mounted the obelisk and were able to take down the statues.

The statues were dragged down the street. One was strung up by its neck from a light post.

Beyoncé drops surprise single ‘Black Parade’ on Juneteenth

LOS ANGELES — Beyoncé did not let Juneteenth pass without dropping one of her signature surprises in the form a new single called “Black Parade.”

The singer’s website says the song released late Friday will benefit Black-owned small businesses. She opens the track by singing, “I’m going back to the South, I’m going back where my roots ain’t watered down.”

Juneteenth commemorates when the last enslaved African Americans learned they were free. Typically a day of both joy and pain, the holiday was marked with new urgency this year, amid weekslong protests over police brutality and racism sparked by the May 25 death of George Floyd, a Black man, at the hands of Minneapolis police.

Beyoncé has spoken out against the killing of Floyd and has also called for charges against the Kentucky officers involved in the death of Breonna Taylor, a Black woman gunned down in March by officers who burst into her own home.

In an Instagram post announcing the release of “Black Parade,” the singer wrote, “I hope we continue to share joy and celebrate each other, even in the midst of struggle.”

Read the rest of the story here.

The Mississippi state flag, with a confederate symbol, is not a new issue at the University of Mississippi, which in 2015 stopped flying the state flag on its campus after a vote of the student senate. Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press

NCAA, SEC tell Mississippi to change state flag or lose all championship events

The NCAA on Friday announced an expansion of its Confederate flag policy, banning all championship events from taking place in states where the Confederate symbol “has a prominent presence.” This applies only to Mississippi, whose flag features the Confederate emblem in its upper left corner.

Previously, the NCAA banned states that employed the Confederate symbol on its flag only from hosting predetermined championship events, such as the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament, where games are played at neutral sites. However, such states still could host NCAA events if a team earned the right to host based on tournament seeding or ranking. The latter clause now has been eliminated.

“There is no place in college athletics or the world for symbols or acts of discrimination and oppression,” Michael Drake, Ohio State president and chair of the NCAA Board of Governors, said in a statement. “We must continually evaluate ways to protect and enhance the championship experience for college athletes. Expanding the Confederate flag policy to all championships is an important step by the NCAA to further provide a quality experience for all participants and fans.”

Read the rest of the story here.

Nevada Democrats renew proposal to remove statue

LAS VEGAS — Democratic members of Nevada’s congressional delegation are renewing a proposal to remove a statue of former Nevada Sen. Patrick McCarran from the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall, saying that he left a “legacy of racism, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia.”

Sens. Jacky Rosen and Catherine Cortez Masto and Reps. Steven Horsford, Dina Titus and Susie Lee made the request in a letter to Gov. Steve Sisolak and legislative leaders.

The letter says McCarran supported workers’ rights and helped shape the air travel industry, but that his statue should be replaced with one of a person who better represents Nevada’s values “as a compassionate, diverse and welcoming state.”

Sharpton takes on Trump directly in Tulsa

TULSA, Okla. — Speaking before several hundred people gathered at the site of the white-on-Black rampage 99 years ago, the Rev. Al Sharpton took on President Donald Trump directly.

He referred to Trump’s tweet Friday morning of a warning about any “lowlifes” showing up against his rally Saturday.

“It’s lowlifes that shoot unarmed people, Mr. President,” Sharpton said. “You couldn’t be talking about us, because we fought for the country when it wouldn’t fight for us.”

He challenged Trump’s lasting campaign slogan. “Make America great again — give me the date that America was great for everybody,” Sharpton said.

“Greatness is when Blacks and whites and Latinos and Asians and original Americans take the streets all over this country and march against your tear gas” and threats to call out the military to squelch protests, Sharpton said. “That’s when you make America great.

“Look over here in Greenwood tonight. This is what is great tonight,” Sharpton said.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville’s mayor said Friday that one of three police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor will be fired.

Mayor Greg Fisher said interim Louisville police Chief Robert Schroeder has started termination proceedings for Officer Brett Hankison. Two other officers remain on administrative reassignment while the shooting is investigated.

Fischer said officials could not answer questions about the firing because of state law. He referred all questions to the Jefferson County attorney’s office.

Taylor, who was black, was gunned down by officers who burst into her Louisville home using a no-knock warrant. She was shot eight times by officers conducting a narcotics investigation on March 13. No drugs were found at her home.

Original ‘Juneteenth’ order found in the National Archives

The National Archives on Thursday located what appears to be an original handwritten “Juneteenth” military order informing thousands of people held in bondage in Texas they were free.

The decree, in the ornate handwriting of a general’s aide, was found in a formal order book stored in the Archives headquarters building in Washington. It is dated June 19, 1865, and signed by Maj. F.W. Emery, on behalf of Union Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger.

The Juneteenth order was located in a formal U.S. Army order book and is thought to be the first version of the famous proclamation. Image courtesy of the National Archives via The Washington Post

“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, ‘all slaves are free,’ ” the order reads.

“This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.”

The order sparked jubilation among African Americans in Texas and resulted in generations of celebration. It rings poignant today, as in recent weeks outpourings of anger against police brutality and racism have filled America’s streets.

It is a modest, two-paragraph entry in the book labeled “Headquarters District of Texas, Galveston … General Orders No. 3.” But it affected the lives of about 250,000 enslaved people.

The order was located by Trevor Plante, director of an archives textual records division, who, because of current interest in the subject, was asked to search for it.

Printed versions of the order have long existed, Plante said Thursday. “But this is something that we haven’t tracked down before,” he said. The handwritten entry “absolutely” predated the printed versions of the order, he said.

“This is done June 19, 1865,” he said. “This would have been done the day of.”

“It’s in good shape,” he said. “You can read it, and it’s legible.”

David Ferriero, head of the Archives, said of the find: “I think it’s terrific. I think the timing is just amazing.”

Majority of Americans support police protests, poll finds

NEW YORK — Ahead of the Juneteenth holiday weekend’s demonstrations against systemic racism and police brutality, a majority of Americans say they approve of recent protests around the country. Many think they’ll bring positive change.

And despite the headline-making standoffs between law enforcement and protesters in cities nationwide, the poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research also finds a majority of Americans think law enforcement officers have generally responded to the protests appropriately. Somewhat fewer say the officers used excessive force.

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Shanee Isabell calls out the name of her second cousin Charleena Lyles, Thursday, June 18, 2020, during a vigil for Lyles on the third anniversary of her death, in Seattle. Lyles was shot and killed by Seattle police. Also in attendance at the vigil were family members of nearly two dozen people killed by police across the country who traveled to Seattle to urge police reform. AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

The findings follow weeks of peaceful protests and unrest in response to the death of George Floyd, a black man who died pleading for air on May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer held his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes. A dramatic change in public opinion on race and policing has followed, with more Americans today than five years ago calling police violence a very serious problem that unequally targets black Americans.

Bill Ardren, a 75-year-old retired resident of Maple Grove, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis, said he supports the protests. He blames protesters and law enforcement equally for why some Floyd demonstrations turned into ugly clashes that were scarred by looting and arson.

“People finally got fed up because of this last incident,” said Ardren, referring to Floyd’s death, “and it spread all over the country.”

The new AP-NORC poll finds 54% of Americans say they approve of the protests, while 32% disapprove. Another 14% say they hold neither opinion.

More Americans think the protests will mostly change the country for the better than bring about negative change, 44% to 21%, while a third say the protests won’t make much difference.

Read the full story here.

Advocates worry blacks, Hispanics falling behind in census

ORLANDO, Fla. — Halfway through the extended effort to count every U.S. resident, civil rights leaders worry that minority communities are falling behind in responding to the 2020 census.

With outreach efforts to motivate minority responses upended by a global pandemic, both the National Urban League and the NALEO Educational Fund are sounding the alarm that communities with concentrations of blacks and Hispanics have been trailing the rest of the nation in answering the census questionnaire.

The once-each-decade count helps determine where $1.5 trillion in federal funding goes and how many congressional seats each state gets.

“Going into 2020, we knew the census was going to be extremely challenging. We knew the Census Bureau didn’t have sufficient preparations to do all of its tests to make sure it would work out the way it should be … and then COVID-19 hit,” said Arturo Vargas, CEO of NALEO Educational Fund said this week during a virtual town hall with NBCUniversal Telemundo.

The pandemic is disproportionately affecting the Latino population, he said, so “we have to figure out how we break through the real noise affecting their daily lives to do something as ordinary as going through the mail and filling out their forms.”

People can respond either online, by phone or through the mail, but many U.S. residents haven’t taken the initiative.

The nation’s self-response rate was 61.5% this week. Arizona, Florida, New Mexico, New York and Texas — states with large concentrations of Hispanics — were lagging. California, which invested $187 million in outreach efforts, was doing slightly better, with 62.6% of its households responding, he said.

 


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