Happy Friday, CivMixers.
It looks like a great weekend, so I hope all of you get out and about. It should be beautiful, and there are restaurants with outdoor seating available. Also, playgrounds are re-opening – so that is like the best news EVER if you have a toddler or pre-schooler.
This may be a little sad for me to reflect on later, so let’s move on, shall we?
Let’s get to the headlines of the day.
1) For those who don’t know what Juneteenth is, let me explain before jumping into the first of today’s national headlines. Juneteenth started on June 19, 1865, in Galveston, TX. This is the day when Gordon Granger, General of the Union Army in Galveston, issued order number three, which freed the last known enslaved African Americans in the states after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation two years earlier.
Now, for those of you who do not know what the Tulsa Race Riot/Massacre is…In 1921, in the highly segregated Tulsa, OK, and mainly took place within the neighborhood of Greenwood.
On May 31, Dick Rowland, a young (teen) black man, was seen entering onto an elevator, where the attendant was a young white woman. There was a scream a bit later, and Rowland fled. The belief that he sexually assaulted her led to his arrest and the subsequent reactions.
It ended with thousands of white Tulsans flocking into Greenwood and burning black-owned businesses and personal residences. There were countless acts of violence by whites on blacks, and one black man was shot while in a movie theater. The riots ended 18 hours after they began on June 1, and after that, Rowland was cleared of all charges – it was figured he bumped into her or stepped on her foot.
All this is leading to today’s defense by President Donald Trump that there is no issue with him holding a rally of his supporters on June 19 in Tulsa OK, and that there was nothing deliberate about it. He gave an interview about the subject today on Fox News, stating that his rallies are really more like celebrations and that no politician in history has ever had such jubilant rallies.
Some people are confused that he is claiming it was not deliberate as his campaign has touted it being on the Juneteenth holiday themselves, so it is confusing for some as to which narrative is real.
Many expressed their disbelief and anger that the President who has had a controversial history with racial relations, including in the past few weeks, is returning to the rally trial on that date in that city. Especially because Trump has never had a rally in Tulsa before, Oklahoma is firmly in the red and he won by the state by over 36 percentage points in 2016.
With all of the backlash to Trump’s handling of the George Floyd incident and the protests that have followed, many suggested that whether intentional or not, this was highly insensitive and off the mark for the situation in our nation.
While Trump is saying that there was no intent for this to have anything to do with the Juneteenth holiday, many of his aides and campaign officials have stated otherwise.
Katrina Pierson, a campaign advisor, stated that being of the same party of Abraham Lincoln, Republicans are incredibly proud of their history and its ties to Juneteenth. Kayleigh McEnany, a spokeswoman for Trump’s White House, is quoted as saying that the Juneteenth holiday is “meaningful” to Trump.
“The African American community is very near and dear to his heart. At these rallies, he often shares the great work he has done for minority communities.”
-Kayleigh McEnany, White House Spokeswoman
Trump also touched on other issues that have been raised in the media lately, including the now-infamous Bible picture and the fact that anyone attending his upcoming rally has to sign a waiver that if they get COVID, the campaign and Trump employees can not be held liable.
2) Today, the Minneapolis City Council voted to unanimously pass the resolution to begin the year-long process that will consist of “community engagement, research, and structural change” to create new models for keeping their city safe for all. This happened days after the majority of the council members made announcements that they will disband the Minneapolis Police Department.
Minneapolis is also going to be establishing a committee known as the “Future of Community Safety Work Group” whose job is to come up with recommendations for the city to engage with different members of the community about the transition for the new public safety model. The council expects them to report to them by July 24. This committee is going to have people from many different governmental agencies from the Department of Civil Rights to the Office of Violence Prevention.
Though the majority of the City Council support disbanding the police in exchange for a new kind of Safety Group, Mayor Jacob Frey is in opposition to the move. Frey confirmed that he is in agreement that there needs to be intense and deep structural change, but does not agree that disbanding the police is the way to go.
3) In New York, the young protestors who have been organizing many of the Black Lives Matter rallies are looking for the long haul, looking to turn this moment into a meaningful movement.
Much of this hope is based on what is known as “The Blueprint,” which is a list of 24 wanted and needed policies and reforms to bring justice to policing in America. These are a combination in holding police and safety officers entirely accountable for the communities they serve, and to invest in communities of color. It also would merge many of the different protest organizations that are operating in NYS now into one cohesive group pushing for long-term change.
They are looking to grab onto the current attention that comes with having protests in all 50 states for the first time. The young leaders pushing for this also acknowledge that to achieve “The Blueprint” will require ongoing education as well. Education is the key to upending systemic racism, and to make the next generation better.
4) In New York State, it is not just legislators looking to make significant changes in the wake of George Floyd’s death and the subsequent protests. The United University Professions Union (UUP) wants the SUNY system also to make fundamental and profound change.
To keep up with the times, the UUP wants the culture at SUNY organizations to represent all diversity, health, and economic opportunities that are currently in society. They want to cap tuition and fees until 2025 to make higher education more accessible and bring it more to an affordable level.
They also want at least 25% of all of the faculty and staff of SUNY to be minorities. They have also called for the next SUNY Chancellor to be from an underrepresented, marginalized community. This is after the current chancellor, Kristine Johnson, announced she is leaving her position.
There has been no response from SUNY as of yet.
5) On June 5, a young man was shot and killed in Troy. Troy police are now saying that Donnovan Clayton, 18, was an innocent bystander who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
On the evening of June 5, a patrolling officer heard shots while by the area near Sixth Avenue and Swift Street. He found Clayton lying on the sidewalk – he later passed away at Samaritan Hospital.
The police believe now that he was walking home when hit by a stray bullet from a nearby incident.
This is an ongoing investigation. The TPD is asking for anyone with any information or who was in that area on that evening to call (518) 270-4666.
That is all for today. Stay steady, stay strong, stay safe.