Racial Justice

Latest News and Updates on the Struggle Against Racism in America

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has written a letter to school boards across the state saying he wants to change the names of schools and mascots honoring Confederate leaders.

In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that racial segregation in schools was unconstitutional. The decision is often framed as a landmark decision that transformed education for Black students, allowing them equal access to integrated classrooms.

Philando Castile, Eric Garner and George Floyd. The deaths of these Black men at the hands of police have fueled outrage over police brutality and systemic racism.

Men make up the vast majority of people shot and killed by police.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has tested positive for the coronavirus but said Tuesday that her only possible symptom is a headache.

Updated 7:38 p.m. ET

The WNBA season is scheduled to tip off later this month, and players hope fans marvel at their precision passes, shooting accuracy and speed during a fast break. But the league also hopes to shine a spotlight on another type of movement: the call for social justice reform.

The league and the Women's National Basketball Players Association announced the 2020 season will be dedicated to addressing the nation's "long history of inequality, implicit bias and racism" that disproportionately impacts communities of color.

It's become known as the Old Town melee. Protesters gathered last month in Albuquerque, N.M., around the bronze statue of Juan de Oñate, the controversial Spanish conquistador, in the city's historic quarter.

Videos of the event show men with guns — in military garb and tactical gear — stationed around the statue, tussling with protesters. Soon, the protesters bring out a chain and pickax to topple the figure, as police watch from afar.

Updated at 9:23 p.m. ET

President Trump followed up a pair of divisive speeches over the holiday weekend on Monday by castigating NASCAR for banning the Confederate flag and calling on its only Black driver to apologize for "a hoax" involving a rope fashioned into a noose that the FBI later determined wasn't a hate crime.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is activating up to 1,000 National Guard troops after a spate of shootings and protests in Atlanta over the weekend. Five people died, including an 8-year-old girl, and at least 30 people were injured. The Republican governor issued an executive order Monday that would send the National Guard to protect the state Capitol, the Governor's Mansion and the Department of Public Safety's headquarters, where close to 100 demonstrators set fire to part of the building early Sunday morning.

A white woman who called the police and claimed a Black man was threatening her after he asked her to put her dog on a leash in New York's Central Park will be prosecuted over the incident, Manhattan's district attorney said Monday.

"Today our Office initiated a prosecution of Amy Cooper for Falsely Reporting an Incident in the Third Degree," Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. said in a statement.

A statue of Frederick Douglass, installed in 2018 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the abolitionist's birth, was ripped from its pedestal in Rochester, N.Y., on Sunday — the 168th anniversary of one of Douglass' most famous speeches.

"Enough is enough," Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said after an 8-year-old girl was killed and more than 20 other people were reported injured over a violent Fourth of July holiday weekend.

The Atlanta Police Department is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information that leads to the arrest or indictment of those responsible in the child's killing.

At the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., there is a stone memorial engraved with the names of graduates who fought and died in the Civil War for both the Union and the Confederacy.

Some recent West Point graduates want that to change, and they wrote a policy proposal outlining ways they say will help create an "anti-racist West Point."

Updated 10:45 a.m. ET

In an unusually divisive speech for a president on the Fourth of July holiday weekend, President Trump on Friday decried a "growing danger that threatens every blessing our ancestors fought so hard for."

What is it? Terrorism? Polarization? A lack of trust in institutions?

Robert E. Lee's days are numbered.

A landmark statue of the Confederate general installed 130 years ago in Richmond, Va., is at the center of a campaign to remove monuments that glorify the losing side of the Civil War. There's a legal battle over whether to remove the Lee statue, but few here expect his monument to survive the re-energized anti-racism movement sparked by the killing of George Floyd.

A third former Minneapolis police officer involved in the killing of George Floyd has been released from jail.

According to Hennepin County jail records, Tou Thao was released from custody with conditions on Saturday morning after posting $750,000 bond.

Protesters in Baltimore pulled down a statue of Christopher Columbus and hurled it into the city's Inner Harbor on Saturday night, adding to the list of monuments toppled during nationwide demonstrations against racism and police brutality.

When the urban planner Robert Moses began building projects in New York during the 1920s, he bulldozed Black and Latino homes to make way for parks, and built highways through the middle of minority neighborhoods. According to one biography, Moses even made sure bridges on the parkways connecting New York City to beaches in Long Island were low enough to keep city buses — which would likely be carrying poor minorities — from passing underneath.

Updated 2:30 a.m. ET Sunday

One person has been killed and one hospitalized in serious condition after a vehicle barreled past a police barrier and into protesters on a freeway in Seattle this weekend.

24-year-old Summer Taylor died Saturday evening at Harborview Medical Center, according hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg. Diaz Love, 32, remains in serious condition.

July 4th is U.S. Independence Day. But D.L. Hughley, the comedian and author, suggests in his new book that all U.S. holidays "be put on a probationary period to ascertain their relevance and value to All Americans, acknowledging that days off are nice and that mattress sales must occur ..."

His book, co-written with Doug Moe of the Upright Citizens Brigade, is Surrender, White People! Our Unconditional Terms for Peace.

Updated at 9:35 p.m. ET

The Washington Redskins football team is conducting a "thorough review" of its name, an apparent break from the NFL franchise's longtime resistance to consider such a move.

A short time later, Major League Baseball's Cleveland Indians said it would consider the "best path forward with regard to our team name." It said the team wants to embrace responsibility to advance social justice.

People once wished each other well on Independence Day by saying: "Have a glorious Fourth!"

A bit antique, perhaps, in the best of times, but a phrase you still heard. Until now.

Can you imagine well-wishers offering that sentiment this weekend, without a trace of irony or a wistful look?

Not likely, not in the summer of 2020, the summer of resurgent COVID-19 cases, of restaurants and beaches that had reopened only to close again — of workers recently returned to work who have been laid off again.

NPR / YouTube

The U.S. celebrates this Independence Day amid nationwide protests and calls for systemic reforms.

In Richmond, Va., the former capital of the Confederacy, a bronze statue of Confederate general Stonewall Jackson sitting triumphantly astride his horse, Little Sorrel, no longer towers above that city's Monument Avenue.

When Timothy Berry decided to attend the U.S. Military Academy West Point, patriotism was one of his driving factors. He describes it as an active verb, not merely "a flag waving."

"I have always had a profound appreciation for what this country has said its ideals are," Berry said. "But being a Black American, in particular, one that served in uniform, I've quickly realized that there were just a lot of contradictions in there."

FedEx, the title sponsor of the Washington Redskins' stadium, is asking the team to change its name following a report that investors are lobbying for the company to cut ties with the National Football League team.

FedEx, which paid $205 million in 1999 for the naming rights to the team's stadium in Landover, Md., said in a statement on Thursday that it had "communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name."

Teams in the National Basketball Association, the American pro sports league long most vocal on social justice issues, are stepping up their civic participation, as three have now volunteered their facilities to serve as voting sites amid the pandemic.

The development comes as local election officials, especially those in major metropolitan areas, frantically search for places that are centrally located and big enough to allow voters to social distance while waiting in line and casting their ballots.

"Lift Every Voice and Sing" will be played or performed live before every Week 1 NFL game, as the league considers ways to recognize victims of systemic racism.

The song known as the Black national anthem will play at the start of every season opener game, coming before "The Star Spangled Banner," a source familiar with the league's discussions told NPR.

June 2020 was a pride month that looked different from past years, and not just because people were socially distancing and wearing masks: Demonstrations for LGBTQ equality overlapped with protests against violence and systemic racism against Black people.

At the intersection of these two fights for equality are Black transgender people.

Imara Jones, an independent journalist and founder of TransLash media, told NPR's All Things Considered, that this moment has been "a crucible."

When Christian Picciolini was a neo-Nazi, he heard the term "white power" all the time. It was the term neo-Nazis used as a greeting, as a pejorative, to instill fear, even to sign off letters in lieu of "sincerely."

"It was also a proclamation that distilled what we believed in into two words," Picciolini — who is now an author and founder of the Free Radicals Project, a group that works to prevent extremism — told NPR's Morning Edition.

In a year marked by coronavirus fears, a slowing economy and nationwide protests calling for an end to systemic racism, more and more Americans are looking to arm themselves, according to a key government indicator.

The FBI reported that Americans set a new record of 3.9 million background checks to purchase or possess firearms in June. That eclipsed the previous record set in March of 3.7 million background checks.

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