Opinion | These kids are done waiting for change – By Margaret Renkl – The New York Times

By 

Contributing Opinion Writer

Credit…Kristine Potter for The New York Times

“NASHVILLE — In real life, Nya Collins, Jade Fuller, Kennedy Green, Emma Rose Smith, Mikayla Smith and Zee Thomas had never met as a group when they came together on Twitter to organize a youth march against police violence. It was unseasonably hot, even for Middle Tennessee, with rain predicted, and earlier protests here had ended in violence, with the Metro Nashville Courthouse and City Hall in flames. Collectively, these are not the most promising conditions for gathering a big crowd, much less a calm one. But the teenagers were determined to press on, even if hardly anyone showed up.

On June 4, five days later, the founding members of Teens for Equality — as the young women, ages 14 to 16, call their organization — were leading a march of protesters some 10,000 strong, according to police estimates. “I was astonished,” Kennedy Green, 14, told me in a phone interview last week. “I did not know there were that many people in Nashville who actually see a problem with the system. I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh, there are so many people here who actually care.’”

The protesters, most in their teens and 20s, chanted “Black lives matter” and “No justice, no peace” and “Not one more” as they marched for more than five hours. There was not one hint of disarray in their ranks, no angry confrontations with National Guardsmen or police officers clad in riot gear.”

 

Here’s What You Need to Know About Elijah McClain’s Death – By Lucy Tompkins – The New York Times

By 

“As outrage over police brutality has erupted across the country in the wake of George Floyd’s death, a wave of fresh attention and scrutiny has been applied to older cases in which people died after encounters with the police.

One such case is that of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old black man who died last summer after the police in Aurora, Colo., restrained him with a chokehold that has since been banned.

Mr. McClain was walking home from a convenience store on Aug. 24 when someone called 911, saying he “looked sketchy” and was wearing a ski mask and waving his arms.

The police arrived, and after struggling to handcuff Mr. McClain, officers brought him to the ground and used a carotid hold, which restricts blood to the brain to render someone unconscious. When medical responders arrived, after about 15 minutes, paramedics injected him with ketamine, a powerful sedative.

Mr. McClain went into cardiac arrest on the way to a hospital. He died a few days later.

Mr. McClain was a massage therapist who is said to have loved animals and who taught himself to play the guitar and the violin, according to The Cut. A photograph of Mr. McClain playing the violin for stray cats, which he believed helped soothe them, has gone viral.”

Gretchen Whitmer: A Governor on Her Own, With Everything at Stake – By Jonathan Mahler – The New York Times

“Gretchen Whitmer first heard the word “coronavirus” over the 2019 Christmas holidays from her younger sister, who a decade earlier contracted H1N1. Whitmer, just a year into office and preoccupied with her agenda for 2020, barely registered it. She was in a hurry to push forward on some of her campaign promises, like introducing an array of new education programs and repairing Michigan’s badly potholed roads. The state’s Republican lawmakers had blocked her at nearly every turn, but now, with the economy in Michigan and America booming, Whitmer had a plan to make an end-run around the Legislature by issuing $3.5 billion in bonds to help fund her projects. January was going to be about building political momentum for that effort and gearing up for a presidential election in which Michigan, where Donald Trump won by just 10,704 votes in 2016, was again going to be an important battleground state. Whitmer was tapped to deliver the Democratic response to Trump’s annual State of the Union address on Feb. 4.

As the governor began moving ahead with her agenda, though, the state’s chief medical executive, Dr. Joneigh S. Khaldun, was watching the gathering storm with growing concern. Potentially infected travelers were arriving daily in Michigan, but the Centers for Disease Control was not providing her with the support she needed to adequately detect and contain the virus. On Feb. 27, Khaldun briefed the governor and her staff on the epidemic in a conference room adjacent to her office. She said that she was convinced the coronavirus had already come to Michigan; she just couldn’t prove it. Khaldun reminded Whitmer and her staff that there was no vaccine for this virus, that it was highly contagious and that it was much more deadly than the flu. In order to prevent a widespread outbreak, she said, it would almost certainly be necessary to take some pretty extreme measures, like banning large group gatherings and maybe even ordering certain businesses to close temporarily.

A brief silence fell over the room. One of Whitmer’s aides spoke.

“This could be disastrous to the economy,” he said.

Opinion | The Tulsa Race Massacre, Revisited – By Brent Staples – The New York Times

By 

Mr. Staples is a member of the editorial board.

Credit…Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

“The lynch mobs that hanged, shot or burned African-Americans alive during the early 20th century sometimes varied the means of slaughter by roping victims to cars and dragging them to death. The killers who re-enacted this barbaric ritual in Tulsa, Okla., on June 1, 1921, committed one of the defining atrocities of the Tulsa Race Massacre, the bloody conflagration during which white vigilantes murdered at will while looting and burning one of the most affluent black communities in the United States.

The helpless old black man who was shredded alive behind a fast-moving car would have been well known in Tulsa’s white downtown, where he supported himself by selling pencils and singing for coins. He was blind, had suffered amputations of both legs and wore baseball catcher’s mitts to protect his hands from the pavement as he scooted along on a wheeled wooden platform.  . . . . “

“Greenwood, whose business district was known as the Negro Wall Street, was the seat of African-American affluence in the Southwest, with two newspapers, two movie theaters and a commercial strip featuring some of the finest black-owned businesses in the country. White Tulsa’s business elite resented the competition all the more because the face of that competition was black. Beyond that, the white city saw the bustling black community as an obstacle to Tulsa’s expansion.

The white press set the stage for Greenwood’s destruction by deriding the community as “Niggertown” and portraying its jazz clubs as founts of vice, immorality and, by implication, race mixing. As was often the case in the early 20th century, a false accusation of attempted rape opened the door for white Tulsans to act out their antipathies.

A black man accused of accosting a white woman in a downtown elevator in broad daylight was predictably arrested, and, just as predictably, a mob convened at the courthouse spoiling for an evening’s lynching entertainment. Black Tulsans who appeared on the scene to prevent the lynching exchanged gunfire with the mob. Outmanned and outgunned, they retreated to Greenwood to defend against the coming onslaught.

The city guaranteed mayhem by deputizing members of the lynch mob — a catastrophic decision, given that Oklahoma was a center of Ku Klux Klan activity — and instructing them to “get a gun, and get busy and try to get a nigger.” The white men who surged into Greenwood may well have been told to burn the district. Greenwood’s defenders fought valiantly but were quickly overwhelmed.”

Opinion | Black Voters Are Coming for Trump – By Juan Williams – The New York Times

By 

Mr. Williams is a Fox News analyst.

Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

“In Columbia, S.C., on Saturday, a young protester told a reporter that she just didn’t think voting is “how change happens.”

“They’ve been telling us to do that for so long,” she added, “and we’ve done it — and look at everything that’s still going on.”

Fury over the cruel death of George Floyd, a black man in police custody, combined with fear of a deadly virus and its painful economic impact, make this a dark, dizzying moment in our national life. But African-Americans shouldn’t feel hopeless, because the black vote does matter — it has never mattered more. It is at the heart of the fight to take back America.

The biggest story of 2020 politics is hard to ignore. But somehow it is being ignored.

The black vote now defines American politics.

Joe Biden would be retired if not for the black vote. Black voters made him the Democrats’ presidential nominee. In November, the number of black voters who turn out in the crucial swing states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin is likely to be the deciding factor in the election. That means black voters, 12 percent of the national electorate, are set to pick our next president.

Black women, the most reliable activist base of the party, are this year’s version of the stars of past campaigns — Soccer Moms and Blue Collar Moms. The best illustration of this power is a black woman asking Jim Clyburn, her South Carolina congressman, who he planned to vote for in the primary. He said Joe Biden and followed up with a public endorsement: “We know Joe. But most importantly, Joe knows us.”

Mr. Biden went on to blow out the competition in South Carolina and easily win the rest of the South. Two top competitors with no traction among black voters, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar, dropped out and endorsed him.

The party’s sudden consolidation around Mr. Biden abruptly ended a confusing race that many feared was hurtling toward an open convention. Few had seen it coming. Mr. Biden looked boring in comparison with the impassioned Bernie Sanders and the furious Donald Trump. Yet polls consistently showed that in a general election matchup, it was Mr. Biden who held the highest margin of victory over Mr. Trump.

There are many reasons for black voters to like Mr. Biden — his record on judicial appointments and voting rights during his long tenure on the Senate Judiciary Committee; his work on federal stimulus spending after the recession and on Obamacare; and of course his service as vice president to the nation’s first black president.”

Opinion | Destructive Power of Despair – by Charles Blow – The New York Times

by Charles Blow:

“. . .  Indeed, America is not only the progenitor of this type of violence, but it sadly responds most to violence. That’s when people pay attention, that’s when the ears perk up, that’s when the news crews come.

During the Civil Rights Movement, the protesters practiced nonviolence, but they were regularly met with violence, and it was that violence that spurred action.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed after the violence against protesters was broadcast on TV, four little girls were killed in the bombing of Birmingham, Ala.’s 16th Street Baptist Church and the killing of Medgar Evers in 1963. The Civil Rights Act of 1968, popularly known as the Fair Housing Act, was passed after Martin Luther King was assassinated and rioting swept the country.

If America wants peace it must be responsive in peacetime. You can’t demonize an athlete who peacefully takes a knee to protest against police brutality, labeling him a “son of a bitch,” as President Trump did, and then pine for peaceful protests now.

It seems that no form of protest has been effective in this fight for justice. It seems that what the public and the power structure want is a continuation of the status quo. They want stillness and passivity. They want obedience. They want your suffering to be silent, your trauma to be tranquil.

That won’t happen.

Some of the people now breaking things and burning things and looting things are ironically participating in a storied American tradition. There has long been a penchant for destruction in this country, an insatiable bloodlust, that the country conveniently likes to forget.”

David Lindsay: I am devastated by the murder of George Floyd, and the culture which produces such police behavior. I also have no patience for looters. I want them stopped. Charles Blow has at least made me think harder about my hardened heart, as he exlains why one might sympathize with them. Here is a comment I liked

J. Grant

Pacifica, CA
Times Pick

Here in the Bay Area of California, what’s particularly distressing is that the rage felt by Africans Americans over George Floyd’s death is causing (in places like Oakland) the looting and burning of many businesses owned by African Americans. It’s one thing to convey anger against our nation’s racially-biased policIng by demonstrating, but why hurt some of the very same people who are being victimized through random acts of violence?

20 Replies702 Recommended

By The Editorial Board | George Floyd, Police Accountability and the Supreme Court – The New York Times

By 

The editorial board is a group of opinion journalists whose views are informed by expertise, research, debate and certain longstanding values. It is separate from the newsroom.

Credit…Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

“A Minneapolis police officer, who was filmed kneeling on George Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes until the life left his body, has been fired, arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. That is a step toward justice. Those who take a life should face a jury of their peers. But the rarity of the arrest, the fact that police officers who brutalize or even kill other people while wearing a badge so seldom end up facing any consequences is an ugly reminder of how unjust America’s legal system can be.

There is a common refrain from street protesters in the wake of death after death after death after death of men of color at the hands of the police: “No justice, no peace.” In the absence of justice, there has been no peace.

Demonstrations in nearly a dozen cities, some of which turned violent, erupted in response to the killing of Mr. Floyd. At least seven people were shot in Louisville. Windows were broken in the state capitol of Ohio. And a police station was set ablaze in Minneapolis, where National Guard troops will again patrol the streets on Friday. The president tweeted early Friday that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” which frames the problem backward. It is not a defense of torching a Target to note that police abuse of civilians often leads to protests that can spiral out of control, particularly when met with force.

Police officers don’t face justice more often for a variety of reasons — from powerful police unions to the blue wall of silence to cowardly prosecutors to reluctant juries. But it is the Supreme Court that has enabled a culture of violence and abuse by eviscerating a vital civil rights law to provide police officers what, in practice, is nearly limitless immunity from prosecution for actions taken while on the job. The badge has become a get-out-of-jail-free card in far too many instances.

In 1967, the same year the police chief of Miami coined the phrase “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” to threaten civil rights demonstrators, the Supreme Court first articulated a notion of “qualified immunity.” In the case of police violence against a group of civil rights demonstrators in Mississippi, the court decided that police officers should not face legal liability for enforcing the law “in good faith and with probable cause.” “

Opinion | Ahmaud Arbery and the Ghosts of Lynchings Past – By George Yancy – The New York Times

By 

Mr. Yancy is a philosophy professor and author.

Credit…Gamma-Keystone, via Getty Images

“Well before the tragic killing of Ahmaud Arbery, a young black man, in Glynn County, Ga., on Feb. 23, I had a conversation with a very close white friend of mine. She wanted to exercise outside. I preferred the treadmill. I told her that I find it easier to walk or jog on the treadmill. She insisted the air is better for me. Again, I protested. Yet, I had not disclosed the whole truth.

You see, we live in a predominantly white neighborhood in Georgia. And while I’ve not experienced any overt in-person racial incidents here, I often remind myself that Georgia seceded from the Union in 1861. Being here, I often forget. And while I love Georgia’s beautiful flora and weather, my enjoyment of it is always muted by the persistent reminders — in the form of plantations, antebellum architecture and Confederate flags — of the state’s brutal past.

My white friend had no knowledge that Sam Hose, who was accused of killing a white man and sexually assaulting his wife and child (the last two accusations being false), was lynched in 1899 in Coweta County, Ga. According to reports, Hose’s fingers, ears and genitals were cut off, as was the skin from his face as some 2,000 white spectators watched. He was eventually burned to death and his body parts were sold. My friend didn’t have to deal with the knowledge of the lynching, in Lowndes County, Ga., in 1918 of innocent Mary Turner, a young black woman, who was eight months pregnant. Turner was hung by her ankles as her body was burned and as she cried out. After her cloths burned off, a white man cut her baby from her abdomen as onlookers watched the baby fall to the ground. A white man crushed its tiny form under his boot. You see, Georgia is stained with the blood of black bodies.”

Police investigate shooting over a face mask in Michigan store – The Washington Post

May 5, 2020 at 6:22 p.m. EDT

A Family Dollar store security guard who was killed in Flint, Mich., on Friday was shot after telling a customer that her child had to wear a face mask to enter the store, the county prosecutor’s office said Monday.

The argument began when the security guard, Calvin Munerlyn, 43, told Sharmel Lashe Teague, 45, that customers needed to wear face masks in the store, Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said at a news conference Monday. She yelled at him, spit on him and drove off, Leyton said. About 20 minutes later, her car returned to the store, and her husband, Larry Edward Teague, 44, and son, Ramonyea Travon Bishop, 23, stepped out and confronted Munerlyn, according to investigators who spoke to witnesses in the store and reviewed surveillance video. Bishop pulled out a gun and shot Munerlyn, Leyton said.

Leyton said Munerlyn was doing his job, protecting others and enforcing a statewide executive order. In Michigan, people are required to wear face coverings in grocery stores. Stores can refuse service to anyone who is not wearing a mask.

Source: Police investigate shooting over a face mask in Michigan store – The Washington Post

Opinion | Black Women Are Leaders in the Climate Movement – The New York Times

By 

Mrs. Toney is the national field director of Moms Clean Air Force.

  • Dr. Na’Taki Osborne Jelks, an environmental activist, is one of the founders of the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance.
CreditCreditAudra Melton for The New York Times

“Before the first Democratic debate, I watched one of my favorite shows, MSNBC’s AM Joy, excited to see not one, but three people of color tapped to talk about climate change and how candidates were discussing it along the campaign trail. My heart dropped when Tiffany Cross, a guest commentator on the show, stated that while climate change disproportionately impacts communities of color, it’s an issue only in very “niche groups” of those communities. She wasn’t claiming that the issue wasn’t important, but that your average black person didn’t see it as an everyday thing.

Despite stereotypes of a lack of interest in environmental issues among African-Americans, black women, particularly Southern black women, are no strangers to environmental activism. Many of us live in communities with polluted air and water, work in industries from housekeeping to hairdressing where we are surrounded by toxic chemicals and have limited food options that are often impacted by pesticides.

Environmentalism, in other words, is a black issue.

For more than 20 years, Dr. Mildred McClain has been fighting to protect and educate communities of color in Savannah, Ga. When the air was thick with pollution from the shipping channels in the Savannah port in 2018, Dr. McClain convened community meetingsso that people were part of the solution. She encouraged African-Americans in her community to become certified in environmental fields like hazardous waste removal, soil remediation and air monitoring.

Dr. Beverly Wright, a professor of sociology, has been training leaders from our country’s historically black colleges and universities in the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice. She started the HBCU Climate Change Consortium and the HBCU-CBO Gulf Equity Consortium, where her students assisted Hurricane Katrina victims, researched climate impacts on vulnerable communities and took their brilliance to places like the COP21 in Paris to witness the negotiation of the Paris Climate Accord.”

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