Equity & Justice

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

More than 90% of U.S. churches were closed at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Aidan Sykes was just 6 years old when he joined his dad, Albert, to protest the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. They've been attending protests against racial injustice ever since.

Twenty-nine-old Morgann Freeman's right eye is still alarming to look at. It's blotched bright red after a hemorrhage from exposure to tear gas. She's come back to the scene of where protests over the police killing of George Floyd turned violent in her hometown, Omaha, Neb.

More than a dozen Minneapolis police officers who say they represent hundreds of others condemned the former officer charged in the killing of George Floyd. And they expressed support for policing reforms in an open letter released Thursday that is addressed to "Dear Everyone — but especially Minneapolis citizens."

"We wholeheartedly condemn Derek Chauvin," the letter said at the outset, and it went on to denounce the now-fired officer's actions.

Across the United States, nursing homes trying to protect their residents from the coronavirus eagerly await boxes of masks, eyewear and gowns promised by the federal government. But all too often the packages deliver disappointment — if they arrive at all.

Some contain flimsy surgical masks or cloth face coverings that are explicitly not intended for medical use. Others are missing items or have far less than the full week's worth of protective equipment the government promised to send. Instead of proper medical gowns, many packages hold large blue plastic ponchos.

Updated at 9:20 p.m. ET

The Los Angeles Police Department has reassigned seven officers to nonfield duties as it investigates dozens of complaints of excessive force during recent protests against police brutality.

The department said it has assigned 40 investigators to look into 56 complaint investigations into "allegations of misconduct, violations of Department policy, and excessive force" during the protests – of which 28 involve alleged use of force.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Thursday that he did not believe New York City's prominent statue of Christopher Columbus should be removed and pointed out its importance in the Italian American community.

Cuomo was asked on Thursday at a press conference whether it was time for the statue, which stands above the city's Columbus Circle subway stop, to go.

On June 8, a small group of Democratic lawmakers donned Ghanaian kente cloth before kneeling on the floor of the U.S. Capitol for nearly nine minutes. The gesture was meant to show solidarity for George Floyd as they unveiled their proposed police reform legislation. But photographs of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wrapped in the colorful woven strips, gifted to them by members of the Black Congressional Caucus, quickly sparked controversy online.

Ella Jones will be sworn in as mayor of Ferguson, Mo., next week, becoming the first black mayor — and the first woman — to lead the city that gained national attention when police killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in 2014.

The protests that erupted in response helped establish the Black Lives Matter movement of today.

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Although New Zealand is about as far — in miles, at least — as you can get from Minneapolis, protests have erupted there over the killing of George Floyd. The Indigenous Maori people in particular have pushed back against police use of force, which disproportionately affects them.

President Trump sharply criticized Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee for their handling of large anti-racism protests, saying via Twitter, "Take back your city NOW. If you don't do it, I will."

The police killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky., have sparked a national conversation around racial justice.

Trayvon Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, announced this week that she has qualified to run for public office in Florida.

She is seeking an open seat for Miami-Dade County commissioner, District 1.

Trayvon was shot dead by a neighborhood watch volunteer in 2012. The man charged in the fatal shooting, George Zimmerman, was acquitted the following year.

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NASCAR is done with the Confederate flag. From now on, it'll be banned from all events. NASCAR has Southern roots and a mostly white fan base, and yet one of its biggest stars joined the push for racial justice and real change in this country. Here's NPR's Tom Goldman.

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Protesters in Richmond, Va., late Wednesday toppled a statue of Jefferson Davis that has stood on the city's Monument Avenue since 1907.

Local news organizations showed photographs of the statue lying on the ground in front of its immense, columned monument. Police watched as a tow truck took the statue away.

The U.S. Soccer Federation has repealed the league's three-year-old ban on kneeling during the national anthem, amid nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice sparked by the killing of George Floyd.

"It has become clear that this policy was wrong and detracted from the important message of Black Lives Matter," U.S. Soccer announced on Wednesday.

The chief of police in Minneapolis is launching another effort to reform the city's beleaguered department in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, taking aim at a union contract that many critics say protects officers who engage in misconduct or use excessive force.

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo is pulling out of contract negotiations with the police union to focus instead on implementing reforms and accountability measures that he promises will be "transformational," while at the same time, looking for ways to restructure the contract.

Following the police killing of George Floyd, officials on the state, local and national level are focusing on how to improve policing in the United States.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday called for the removal of statues of Confederate soldiers and officials from the U.S. Capitol as reignited conversations about the nation's treatment of racial minorities have once again brought the monuments' history into question.

In an open letter to the Joint Committee on the Library, Pelosi asked Congress to "lead by example" and remove 11 Confederate statues from the Capitol.

Updated at 10:10 p.m. ET

NASCAR has banned the Confederate battle flag at all of its events and properties.

In a Wednesday tweet, the stock car racing organization said the presence of the flag "runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and industry."

"Bringing people together around the love of racing and the community that it creates is what makes our fans and sports special," the statement said.

The Poetry Foundation announced today that two of its leaders have stepped down — president Henry Bienen, and Board chair Willard Bunn III.

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A loud and longtime complaint of civil rights activists and police reform advocates is that police unions are part of the problem of police brutality. Unions are designed to protect their members, and when it comes to officers charged with wrongdoing or excessive force, that means police unions are too often protecting bad cops and saving their jobs.

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