Equity & Justice

Race, Ethnicity, Gender, Culture, Income, and Justice

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LEILA FADEL, HOST:

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.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

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.

How Mt. Vernon's History Is Being Retold

Aug 15, 2020

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Good Humor trucks got a new jingle this week from a distinguished source. Imagine this tune lifting your spirits on a warm summer's night.

(SOUNDBITE OF RZA'S GOOD HUMOR JINGLE)

SIMON: Oh, that's good. The composer of this new Good Humor jingle is RZA, the founder of Wu-Tang Clan, who joins us now from Los Angeles. Thanks so much for being with us.

RZA: My pleasure. My pleasure. My pleasure, Scott. Thank you for inviting me.

SIMON: Well, how did a music maker of your eminence get drawn into the world of frozen desserts?

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

We got a gift from a friend this week—a true note of grace in discordant times. You may know our friend: Amy Dickinson, who writes the advice column "Ask Amy", and is a panelist on "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me."

Amy grew up singing in the choir of the Freeville United Methodist Church in Freeville, New York, where her grandmother was the organist and choir director.

Amy is still in that choir today.

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.

A World Champion Slam Poet Pivots To Medicine

Aug 15, 2020

"Memories of my childhood live/between the rings of sand around my ankles/ and the desert heat in my lungs.

I still believe that nothing washes/worry from tired skin better than the Nile/and my grandma's hands.

Every day I go to school/with the weight of dead neighbors/on my shoulders."

Back in June, Good Humor ice cream's Instagram account made an unusual departure from the normal items about new frozen treats. Instead, viewers saw a post about the racist history of popular ice cream truck jingles. Notably, "Turkey in the Straw," a melody that — despite a long, racist past — has piped through the speakers of ice cream trucks and into American neighborhoods for decades.

And, Good Humor said, it wanted to do something about it.

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.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

I'm David Bianculli, editor of the website TV Worth Watching, sitting in for Terry Gross. Today's guest is Sister Helen Prejean, whose latest memoir, "River Of Fire," comes out in paperback this month.

You may know her and her story from her previous memoir, which was titled "Dead Man Walking." That book told how she became an activist against the death penalty. It was adapted into a film of the same name in 1995, starring Susan Sarandon.

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!"

President Trump has been arguing that he has been the best president for Black Americans outside of Abraham Lincoln, but with less than 100 days before the election, it's not clear that his campaign to reach African Americans is changing many minds.

Trump won just 8% of the Black vote in 2016. Current polls show the vast majority of Black voters backing Trump's Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. But, in swing states like Wisconsin and North Carolina, where the presidential race could be tight, squeezing out a few more Black votes could make a difference for Trump.

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.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Tonight, President Trump declined to say whether he believes Sen. Kamala Harris is eligible to be vice president - this following an op-ed in Newsweek that incorrectly raised doubts about Harris' eligibility.

Black Americans are becoming infected with the coronavirus at a rate three times that of whites and they are twice as likely to die from COVID-19, according to a new report from the National Urban League, based partly on data from Johns Hopkins University.

A key focus of Thursday's report is the impact of the pandemic and how the disease has followed the contours of the larger society in falling especially hard on Blacks, Latinos and Indigenous people.

Journalists write, as the maxim has it, the first draft of history. And Kamala Harris is seeking to make history.

As presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's running mate, she is the first Black woman on a major party ticket for national office. She is also the first South Asian. She'll become just the fourth woman to be nominated for one of the two top slots from a major political party.

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.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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NOEL KING, HOST:

After George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis in late May, waves of anguished and outraged Americans took to the streets, to livestreamed city council meetings and to social media to denounce racism.

Protesters called for police reform, defunding or outright abolition; for an end to qualified immunity for officers; for reinvestment in underfunded communities; for schools, companies and communities to address their own complicity in racial inequity.

And they called for Confederate monuments to come down.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

The longtime Fulton County, Ga., District Attorney, who in recent weeks gained national attention for leading the prosecution of white police officers in the killing of Rayshard Brooks, was trounced in primary runoff on Tuesday by his former employee.

Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X are frequently seen as opposing forces in the struggle for civil rights and against white supremacy; King is often portrayed as a nonviolent insider, while Malcolm X is characterized as a by-any-means-necessary political renegade. But author and Black Power scholar Peniel Joseph says the truth is more nuanced.

"I've always been fascinated by Malcolm X and Dr. King ... and dissatisfied in how they're usually portrayed — both in books and in popular culture," Joseph says.

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