Racial Justice

Latest News and Updates on the Struggle Against Racism in America

This story was updated on Sept. 1, 2020. The original version of this story, which is an interview with an author who holds strong political views and ideas, did not provide readers enough context for them to fully assess some of the controversial opinions discussed.

There are three words never far from President Trump's lips this summer: "law and order."

As the country has recoiled against police brutality, sparking protests across the country, Trump has used the well-worn phrase over and over again in speeches, at times tweeting it in all caps.

The message took center stage again at the Republican National Convention, as Trump presents himself as a "tough on crime" leader protecting the suburbs from the violence of U.S. cities.

Updated at 4:26 p.m. ET

Louisville, Ky., police have arrested dozens of protesters who staged a sit-in on an overpass.

Tuesday afternoon's protest marked the final day of an event known as "BreonnaCon," which called for justice for Breonna Taylor, a Black woman whom police shot and killed while executing a "no-knock" warrant in her home in March.

The sit-in took place near the city's Cardinal Stadium, NPR member station WFPL in Louisville reported.

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In 1963, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators gathered in Washington, D.C. for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

Updated 6:30 p.m. ET

Jacob Blake, the Black man who was shot multiple times at close range by police in Kenosha, Wis., over the weekend, is currently paralyzed from the waist down, according to the family's attorney.

"Praying it's not permanent," civil rights lawyer Benjamin Crump tweeted Tuesday afternoon.

Updated at 5:43 p.m. ET

The Wisconsin National Guard has been deployed to Kenosha, Wis., after a Black man was shot several times at close range in the back during an encounter with police over the weekend.

The shooting was caught on video that has since gone viral on social media, sparking outrage.

A prosecutor in Massachusetts says her office will review an investigation into a nearly decade-old case in which a Black man was killed by police during a drug raid that was targeting his stepson.

Eurie Stamps, 68, was fatally shot in January 2011 when a Framingham, Mass., SWAT team burst into his home.

The District Attorney of Middlesex County determined at the time the officer who fired the fatal round did so accidentally and he was never criminally charged. The officer is reportedly still with the Framingham Police Department.

After the Civil War, much of the South needed to be rebuilt.

One of the places that helped do that was the Chattahoochee Brick Company, owned by an Atlanta mayor and captain in the Confederate Army. It produced millions of bricks that were used in Atlanta homes and roads.

The factory is gone, but there is new focus on the people who lived and worked there, unpaid, and in horrible conditions.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced a plan that would permanently block cities from raising property taxes if local governments pass measures that defund local law enforcement agencies.

Abbott, appearing with other Republican state leaders on Tuesday, specifically pointed to the city of Austin, which last week voted to divert millions from its police department budget.

For the Morning Edition Song Project, we've asked musicians to capture life in the era of COVID-19 by writing an original song that describes this turbulent moment. For our next entry, Nashville-based soul singer Devon Gilfillian examines how the pandemic created space for a national dialogue on race with his new song, "Cracks in the Ceiling," which he wrote after a difficult conversation with a close friend.

A group of Republicans on the Louisville, Ky., city council are calling for a vote of no-confidence in the city's Democratic Mayor Greg Fischer, citing his "actions and inactions" as it relates to the city's homicide rate and his handling of the Breonna Taylor case.

The Louisville Metro Council's Republican Caucus unveiled a resolution on Monday, that if passed, would seek the mayor's resignation.

Updated at 6:12 p.m. ET

The head of the National Organization for Women will step down following allegations of racist behavior and a toxic work environment at the country's largest feminist organization.

Toni Van Pelt, who has been NOW's president for three years, cited health concerns in an email to staff late Sunday for why she will leave the post on Aug. 28.

The white St. Louis couple who attracted national attention for brandishing guns at Black Lives Matter protesters in June will be back in the spotlight next week, this time as speakers at the Republican National Convention.

Joel Schwartz, one of the lawyers for Mark and Patricia McCloskey, confirmed to NPR Tuesday the couple has been invited to take part, but it remains unclear on what day, as final details are still being worked out.

Jason Wright knows he's expected to be an outsider as he becomes the NFL's first Black — and youngest — team president.

A former Georgia state trooper is facing felony murder and aggravated assault charges after he allegedly shot and killed a 60-year-old Black man during a traffic stop this month.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced Friday that Jacob Gordon Thompson, 27, was to be booked in the Screven County Jail in connection with an officer-involved shooting on Aug. 7 that resulted in the death of Julian Edward Roosevelt Lewis.

It was Memorial Day, May 25th, 2020. The coronavirus had locked down the country for weeks. Tens of thousands had died. Millions were out of work. And in Minneapolis, a 46-year-old Black man named George Floyd went to buy a pack of cigarettes.

Floyd's stop ended with a police officer's knee dug into his neck for nearly nine minutes. Floyd begged for his life, called for his mother and repeatedly told the police, "I can't breathe." His cries went unanswered and he died in police custody.

When Le Hoang Nguyen put up a bright yellow billboard in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in Houston, the pushback from his community, "was immediate, it was vicious, my Facebook wall filled up with just hate speech."

Nguyen's original idea for the billboard was to thank essential workers for their work during the pandemic, but when George Floyd was killed, he felt strongly about supporting BLM.

The insurance business owner knew that some people wouldn't like the message, but he thought people would respectfully agree to disagree.

Artist and photographer Nadiya Nacorda has been documenting her siblings for nearly a decade. Her new photo book, A Special Kind of Double, features images of her brother Khaya and sister Thandiswa growing up. Time isn't marked by special occasions or birthdays, but instead the in between moments of life.

Newly released officer-worn body camera video is giving a fuller view of the tense scene in which George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis on Memorial Day. In it, bystanders clamor for officers to check Floyd's vital signs as Officer Derek Chauvin holds his knee on the man's neck.

The video, from former Officer Tou Thao, shows another vantage of Floyd's arrest as well as Thao's interactions with a crowd of bystanders. The recording was released by a judge's order in Hennepin County, Minn.

Dolly Parton expressed her support for Black Lives Matter in an interview with Billboard, saying that while she hasn't attended any marches this summer, she supports the protest movement and its push for racial justice.

"I understand people having to make themselves known and felt and seen," she told the magazine. "And of course Black lives matter. Do we think our little white asses are the only ones that matter? No!"

The Department of Justice accused Yale University of violating federal civil rights law by illegally discriminating against Asian American and white applicants in its undergraduate admissions process.

Those are the findings of a two-year investigation conducted in response to a complaint by a coalition of Asian American groups. The Justice Department notified university officials in a letter on Thursday.

Breonna Taylor's mother says she hopes investigators will "come out with the right answer" about her daughter's death as Taylor's family renews their call for criminal charges against the Louisville police officers who shot and killed Taylor five months ago.

"One hundred and fifty days," Tamika Palmer, Taylor's mother, said Thursday at a news conference in front of Louisville City Hall.

Amid the turmoil that followed the murder of George Floyd in South Minneapolis, a history of harassment and abuse in the Twin Cities music scene was exposed by its survivors on social media. In response, three female musicians of color here, announced plans to open a music venue that better represents and serves the community.

The parents of Elijah McClain, a Black man who died last year after police twice put him in a chokehold and paramedics sedated him, have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit.

The lawsuit names as defendants the city of Aurora, Colo., as well as numerous Aurora police officers, a paramedic and the medical director of Aurora Fire Rescue.

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best is resigning, abruptly announcing her departure late Monday just hours after the city council voted to strip the police department of some resources, including cutting around 100 jobs.

Best, the city's first Black police chief, will depart after a tumultuous few months in Seattle, where intense protests against racial injustice and heavy-handed police practices drew national attention after the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police on Memorial Day.

A county official in Michigan is defending his use of the N-word — by repeatedly saying the slur, and insisting that it does not imply he is a racist.

Leelanau County Road Commissioner Tom Eckerle has been facing calls to resign since Tuesday, when he reportedly used one of the most taboo words in U.S. society to explain why he would not be wearing a face mask.

"Well, this whole thing is because of them n****** down in Detroit," Eckerle said, according to the Leelanau Enterprise.

O, The Oprah Magazine has commissioned 26 billboards calling for the arrest of the police officers involved in the killing of Breonna Taylor to be placed across Louisville, Ky., the magazine said in a Friday article.

"Demand that the police involved in killing Breonna Taylor be arrested and charged," each of the 26 billboards — one for every year Taylor was alive — reads.

A Louisiana man will continue to spend his life in prison for stealing a pair of hedge clippers, after the state's Supreme Court denied his request to review a lower court's sentence.

Fair Wayne Bryant was convicted in 1997 of stealing the hedge clippers. Prosecutors pursued and won a life sentence in the case, a penalty permissible under the state's habitual offender law. Bryant appealed the life sentence as too severe.

The police chief in Aurora, Colo., has apologized after officers handcuffed children and reportedly drew their weapons on a Black family — an incident captured on video this week that renewed criticism the department is racially insensitive and disconnected from its community.

A woman and four girls were wrongly detained, police later acknowledged.

Updated at 10:47 a.m. ET Thursday

A former Atlanta police officer, charged in the fatal shooting of a Black man in a Wendy's parking lot in June, has sued the city's mayor and interim police chief over his firing.

In the suit filed Tuesday against Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and interim police Chief Rodney Bryant, former Officer Garrett Rolfe's attorneys claim that his use of deadly force against Rayshard Brooks had been justifiable.

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