Racial Justice

Latest News and Updates on the Struggle Against Racism in America

San Francisco Mayor London Breed plans to divert $120 million from law enforcement to efforts that address inequities faced by the city's Black community in housing, health, economic opportunity and education.

The proposal comes two months after, as Breed put it during Friday's announcement, "the murder of George Floyd shook this country to its core, in a way that I have never seen before," stoking ongoing protest against police brutality and racial injustice.

If you spend any time on social media, you know it can be a war of words out there. Whether it's the debate over wearing masks, the racial unrest sweeping across the U.S. or the impending presidential election — everyone's got an opinion and someone is always ready to give a hot take.

As protests over racial injustice in the U.S. continue, Major League Baseball is honoring an institution created 100 years ago because of its own racist past. The Negro Leagues showcased Black baseball players when they were banned from the big leagues.

MLB had to reschedule a celebration of the leagues' centennial originally set for June because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of Negro Leaguers left to celebrate is dwindling. The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Mo., estimates there are about 100 players still living.

The arrival of federal agents in Portland three weeks ago to crack down on racial justice protests fueled tensions there, and helped push the city to the forefront of coverage of the nation's racial justice movement.

As one of the whitest big cities in the America, Portland's outsize role in the nationwide protests may strike some as surprising.

Updated at 6:23 p.m. ET

Former President Barack Obama called on Americans to honor the late civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis by working to expand voting rights — and if Congress has to abolish the filibuster to strengthen the Voting Rights Act, then so be it, Obama said.

As federal law enforcement agents descend onto cities in what the Trump administration describes as an effort to quell gun violence, Seattle's Democratic Mayor, Jenny Durkan, says it "looks like a dry run for martial law" that has the potential to suppress voting rights in the country.

The New York City Police Department has come under rising criticism after plainclothes officers aggressively detained a woman at a protest and hauled her away in an unmarked vehicle.

Video posted to social media shows men forcefully grabbing Nikki Stone, 18, off the street Tuesday during a demonstration against police brutality and shoving her into an unmarked police van. Uniformed bicycle officers then appear and form a perimeter around the vehicle as bystanders shout in protest.

Two controversies broke out this week regarding accusations of anti-Black racism in classical music. One involved two high-profile international soloists, pianist Yuja Wang and violinist Leonidas Kavakos. The other features less prominent individuals — a group of academics — but it also points to the slowness of the classical music community to take up difficult conversations about race and representation.

Confrontations continued overnight Sunday between protesters and federal law enforcement in Portland, Ore., as hundreds gathered in the city's downtown for the 60th consecutive day of demonstrations following the Memorial Day killing of George Floyd. Tensions have continued to ratchet up due to the Trump administration's deployment of federal agents in the city.

Protests raged in several cities across the country Saturday night over police brutality and systemic racism. Thousands of protesters descended on Seattle and Portland, where police in both cities declared the gatherings had become riots, and made dozens of arrests. And in Austin, police said someone in a car shot and killed a protester.

Austin

Shortly before 10 p.m. Saturday in downtown Austin, as hundreds were walking down a street, many with their fists raised above them, a car turned toward the protesters.

The symbols of America's racist past have been under intense scrutiny since the protests against police brutality erupted nationwide. The confederate flag and other monuments from that era have been disappearing from public spaces — both by force and legislation.

A 900-pound bronze statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee has stood on the same spot at the Virginia state Capitol where the Confederate leader took command of the Army of Northern Virginia in 1861.

On Friday morning, that statue of Lee clad in a Confederate uniform was gone. So were the busts of seven other Confederates that had occupied places of honor in Virginia's Old House Chamber for decades, including those of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Confederate Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson.

The Republican-controlled Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly passed a defense appropriations bill that calls for renaming U.S. military bases that honor Confederate officers — a provision that President Trump has threatened to veto.

The Senate's 86-14 vote to approve the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is more than enough to override a veto, should the president follow through on his threat. The vote comes days after the House passed a similar version of the $741 billion bill.

One of the country's leading business schools — the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania — has never had a woman or a person of color as its dean since it was founded nearly 140 years ago.

Until now.

Erika James was named as Wharton's 15th dean in February and officially started the job earlier this month.

The business world has been slow to reflect the gender and racial makeup of America today, but James says that's not due to a lack of ability to make it happen.

When Border Patrol agents were dispatched earlier this month to Portland, Oregon, it wasn't the first time they've taken on urban policing far from their duties on the nation's frontiers.

The agents deployed to Los Angeles, for instance, after the Rodney King verdict in 1992. Alongside local police and National Guard, the green-suited border agents were there to quell riots but drew a lot of criticism for also conducting immigration sweeps of people in the country illegally.

The Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General has opened an investigation into allegations that DOJ personnel have improperly used force this month in Portland, Ore., as well as an inquiry into their role in responding to mass protests in Washington, D.C., since late May.

Federal agents in Portland, Ore., used tear gas on Mayor Ted Wheeler and other people Wednesday night during a protest against heavy-handed police tactics and racial injustice.

"It was not great," Wheeler said, according to NPR member station Oregon Public Broadcasting. "It makes your eyes really burn."

Quinton Lucas, the mayor of Kansas City, Mo., says he found out about President Trump's plan to send federal law enforcement officers to his city over social media.

Tommy Rhine, 70, has been repairing shoes in Denver for more than 40 years. He's repaired shoes for everyone from Broncos and Nuggets players to doctors and lawyers at Rhine's Shoe & Boot Repair.

But three months of the COVID-19 pandemic almost forced Rhine to shut his doors.

"I mostly deal with downtown businesspeople," Rhine said. "Half of them are not working or if they are working, they are working at home. They don't need to dress up or have the shoes right now so that kind of killed everything."

Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in the murder of George Floyd, has also been charged along with his wife with nine counts of felony tax evasion.

The Washington County prosecutor's office announced Wednesday that Chauvin and his wife, Kellie May Chauvin, face charges of underreporting their joint income from 2014 through 2019 by $464,433, including more than $95,000 that Derek Chauvin earned from off-duty security work.

President Trump on Wednesday said his administration would "surge" federal law enforcement officials to help fight crime in Chicago and Albuquerque, N.M., as part of the Justice Department's controversial Operation Legend.

Trump accused local politicians in the cities of not doing enough to address what he says are waves of crime as the public and some politicians call for the reduction of police department budgets.

Arguably no figure looms larger than John Muir in the history of America's national parks. His writings and contributions are widely regarded as the founding ethos of environmentalism in the U.S., including by one of the country's oldest environmental groups, the Sierra Club.

But amid the nationwide reappraisal of racist monuments, the Sierra Club said Wednesday that "it's time to take down some of our own monuments," including of its founder, Muir.

As protests for racial justice in Portland have continued for more than 50 nights, striking new images and tactics have emerged – particularly in resistance to the federal law enforcement officers whose actions have earned the ire of Oregonians who want them to leave.

The acting head of Department of Homeland Security defended the controversial deployment of federal agents to Portland, Ore., saying the Trump administration would "not retreat" from its duty to protect federal property.

At a news conference Tuesday, Chad Wolf insisted that the department "will support and protect those who want to peacefully protest."

Updated at 6:20 p.m. ET

The House of Representatives approved legislation Wednesday to remove statues honoring figures who were part of the Confederacy during the Civil War from the U.S. Capitol. The bill would also replace the bust of Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney, author of the Supreme Court's 1857 Dred Scott decision denying freedom to an enslaved man, and replace it with a bust of Justice Thurgood Marshall.

Crowds marched through the streets of the Paris suburb of Beaumont-sur-Oise over the weekend to mark the fourth anniversary of the death of Adama Traoré, a French Black man who died in police custody on July 19, 2016, his 24th birthday.

Leading the chants of "Justice for Adama!" was Traoré's older sister, Assa Traoré. She claims the police killed her brother, and for the last four years, she's been fighting to hold them responsible. Due to public pressure in France since George Floyd's death in Minneapolis, Traoré's efforts are beginning to bear fruit.

The No. 2 American military officer, Air Force Gen. John Hyten, says the Pentagon must do more to create a diverse force and also must deal with the rising problem of sexual misconduct by looking for answers outside the military.

Hyten, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made his remarks in a wide-ranging interview with Steve Inskeep on NPR's Morning Edition.

Despite impassioned pleas from attorneys, a Texas school district is refusing to change its grooming policy that led to the suspension of two Black students earlier this year.

Black mayors in many of the nation's largest cities on Tuesday formally called on governors to repeal orders prohibiting them from enacting strategies that reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The African American Mayors Association passed a resolution beseeching state leaders to repeal any rules that prohibit local leaders from implementing strategies like requiring the use of face masks.

"State, local and tribal governments are uniquely positioned to determine the level of mitigation required to combat the virus in their communities," the resolution states.

Updated at 10:37 p.m. ET

Federal agents operating in Kansas City, Mo., as part of a new push against violent crime will be identifiable and won't be roving the streets to make arrests, the local U.S. attorney said, responding to questions sparked by the controversial use of federal agents in U.S. cities.

"These agents won't be patrolling the streets," U.S. Attorney Timothy Garrison said in a statement to NPR. "When they are making arrests or executing warrants, these federal agents will be clearly identified by their agency's visible badges or insignia."

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