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Protest/Race Relations News
- Following years of criticism about the racist origins of the ride, Splash Mountain at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resort will be re-themed to reflect the story of The Princess and the Frog, the company said Thursday. The re-themed ride has been planned since at least last year.
- Native American activists have for years protested what they view as the desecration of the Black Hills, a sacred Lakota Sioux site that was sculpted into Mount Rushmore by KKK member Gutzon Borglum, saying “It’s an injustice to actively steal Indigenous people’s land then carve the white faces of the conquerors who committed genocide.”
Now, as President Trump is set to visit next week, more protests are planned.
- A New York police officer who allegedly used an illegal chokehold while conducting an arrest earlier this week has been detained and charged with second-degree strangulation. A viral video caught the officer holding a man in a chokehold as onlookers screamed: “Stop choking him! Let him go!”
- Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has directed officials in his office to reexamine the death of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old unarmed Black man who died in police custody last year, after more than 2.6 million people signed a petition demanding justice.
McClain was placed in a chokehold by police and injected with ketamine after someone called 911 to report him as suspicious while he walked home from a convenience store.
- Three employees of a Michigan youth center have been charged with involuntary manslaughter and second-degree child abuse in the death of 16-year-old Cornelius Fredericks. The Black teenager went into cardiac arrest and died of asphyxia after he was restrained by staff for allegedly throwing part of his sandwich at another resident.
- A newly-released State Department report found that racial and ethnic terrorism — particularly white supremacist threats — are “on the rise and spreading geographically.” The report warned that white terrorist groups are increasingly targeting immigrants, LGBTQ people, as well as Jewish, Muslim and other religious minorities.
- The University of Alabama football team released a powerful new video calling for “building a better, more just future” and saying that “All lives can’t matter until Black lives matter.”
“We speak for justice, for fairness, for equality, for greater understanding. We stand together against racism, against brutality, against violence, for a better world.”
- NAACP President Derrick Johnson sees some of the Trump administration’s actions on race and citizenship as reminiscent of the US before the Civil War, likening the president’s efforts to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to the Supreme Court’s infamous Dred Scott decision of 1857 that ruled Black Americans were not citizens.
“He’s operating from a space of creating a divisive tone, allowing for levels of racism to germinate from the White House.”
- A new bill proposed by Republican Sen. Joni Ernst would withhold federal funding from local governments that don’t disband autonomous zones created by non-government figures and accused local leaders of not doing an adequate job keeping peace in their areas. The proposal comes as Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan addresses what was initially dubbed the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone and later the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest
- New York City appears set to receive a “Black Lives Matter” street mural outside Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan, according to a statement from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office.
“The president is a disgrace to the values we cherish in New York City. He can’t run or deny the reality we are facing, and any time he wants to set foot in the place he claims is his hometown, he should be reminded Black Lives Matter,” Julia Arredondo, the mayor’s spokeswoman, said Wednesday, the New York Daily News reported.
The statement will be painted along Fifth Avenue between 56th and 57th streets in front of President Trump’s notable Manhattan building sometime before July 4.
The new mural is one of seven that will be added throughout the city’s five boroughs.
- President Trump accused a Black Lives Matter leader of promoting treasonous activity and objected to New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plans to install a street mural in support of the movement outside Trump Tower.
“Black Lives Matter leader states, ‘If the U.S. doesn’t give us what we want, then we will burn down this system and replace it,’” Trump tweeted Thursday. “This is Treason, Sedition, Insurrection!”
The president’s comments appeared to be in response to remarks made by Hawk Newsome, leader of Black Lives Matter Greater New York, in an interview Wednesday on Fox News about the movement’s objectives after the killing of George Floyd in police custody.
“If this country doesn’t give us what we want, then we will burn down this system and replace it. I can be speaking figuratively, I can be speaking literally, it’s a matter of interpretation.”
“Told that @NYCMayor Bill de Blasio wants to paint the fabled & beautiful Fifth Avenue, right in front of Trump Tower/Tiffany, with a big yellow Black Lives Matter sign. ‘Pigs in a Blanket, Fry ‘Em Like Bacon’, referring to killing Police, is their chant. NYC Police are furious!” Trump tweeted.
- The Madison, Wisconsin police department is investigating a Wednesday assault as a hate crime after four white men allegedly poured lighter fluid and threw a lighter at a teenage bi-racial woman after yelling “the N-word really loud”. The 18-year-old, Althea Bernstein, works as an EMT and was in her car at a red light when the incident took place and said medical professionals “had to pretty much scrub the skin off, which was extremely painful.”
- Prosecutors added hate crime charges Thursday against Harry H. Rogers, a self-identified leader in the Ku Klux Klan, accused of driving through peaceful protesters in Richmond.
Henrico Commonwealth’s Attorney Shannon Taylor brought additional charges against Rogers, including four counts of assault with hate crimes, two counts of felonious attempted malicious wounding and one count of felony hit and run.
Video footage and photos shown during the hearing Thursday show Rogers driving onto the median to pass a group of cars behind an estimated 300 protesters headed north on Lakeside Avenue near Vale Street. From there, footage shows Rogers’ driving into at least two bicyclists and one demonstrator on foot.
- The U.S. Senate voted 90-7 on Thursday to debate the annual National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, setting the stage for a battle between Democrats and President Donald Trump’s Republicans over changing the names of military bases named after Confederate generals.
- President Trump suggested unruly protesters who deface or topple monuments and statues will likely face “retribution,” likening them to “terrorists.”
Trump sat for a town hall with Fox News host Sean Hannity during a trip to Wisconsin. During the question-and- answer session, one attendee asked what the government was doing to “give us back our streets” amid national unrest over racial injustice and police brutality.
“Every night we’re going to get tougher and tougher, and at some point there is going to be retribution because there has to be,” Trump said. “These people are vandals, but they’re agitators, but they’re really, they’re terrorists in a sense.”
Sources: ABC News, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Financial Times, Fox News,The Hill, NBC News, NPR, NY Times, Politico, Reuters, Salon, Slate, Vanity Fair, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post