[WSMDiscuss] Juneteenth rallies across the US demand racial justice (Rich McKay and Brad Brooks, Reuters)

Jai Sen jai.sen at cacim.net
Sat Jun 20 17:11:55 CEST 2020

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Viruses in movement…, People in movement…, Freedoms in movement…, Justice in movement…, The US in movement…

[The US is aflame, its people are afire, and yesterday was a very special day… In celebration of such days ! :

Juneteenth rallies across the US demand racial justice

Rich McKay and Brad Brooks, Reuters

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/world/article-juneteenth-rallies-events-take-place-across-the-us-to-demand-racial/ <https://www.theglobeandmail.com/world/article-juneteenth-rallies-events-take-place-across-the-us-to-demand-racial/>

People pray together during a Juneteenth event organized by the One Race Movement, at Centennial Olympic Park, in Atlanta, Ga., on June 19, 2020.  (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Thousands marched in U.S. cities, major companies gave employees the day off and people in coronavirus lockdown held online forums on Friday as America marked Juneteenth, a holiday commemorating the end of Black slavery that carries special resonance this year.

After a wave of recent protests and national soul-searching about the country’s legacy of racial injustice, marchers took to the streets from Atlanta to Oakland to mark the day and protest police brutality.

With many formal Juneteenth events cancelled owing to coronavirus concerns, activists instead organized street marches and “car caravans” to give people a way to show solidarity.

The annual Juneteenth celebration of the emancipation of slaves a century and a half ago comes this year on the heels of mass protests triggered by the killing of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer pinned him to the ground with a knee to his neck for nearly nine minutes.

Four Democratic U.S. senators are to introduce a bill to declare Juneteenth a federal holiday.

“Juneteenth is the oldest celebration of the end of slavery in the US. And it should be recognized as a federal holiday,” Tina Smith, one of the senators, wrote on Twitter.

Weeks of mounting demands to end police brutality and racial injustice animated rallies expected in cities coast to coast, including Washington, Philadelphia, Chicago and Los Angeles.

In Atlanta, an important centre of the civil-rights movement of the 1960s, about 1,000 people gathered at Centennial Olympic Park downtown for a peaceful march on the state capitol building.

Emotions were running high in Atlanta after Rayshard Brooks, an African American man, was fatally shot in the back by a white policeman in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant in the city. The policeman was terminated by the department and charged with murder.

Many Atlanta marchers carried signs proclaiming, “Black Lives Matter,” or “Get your knee off our necks,” and, “I can’t breathe,” referring to Mr. Floyd’s death.

Protests, police brutality and racism: A guide to the story so far, from George Floyd’s death to a global reckoning <https://www.theglobeandmail.com/world/article-antiracism-protests-george-floyd-minneapolis-explainer/>
Marcher Antonio Jeremiah Parks, 27, of Atlanta said the civil-rights movement had not yet fulfilled its promises.
“Civil rights isn’t over,” said Mr. Parks, who is Black and works at a homeless shelter. “We still feel the pain of slavery. It’s not healed, and won’t be until we’re treated the same.”

Leia Shanks, 34, who is white and works in retail, said:

“We’re here in solidarity,” she said. “We need to stand against racism and even though it’s 2020, what’s happening now isn’t right.”

Major U.S. companies have declared June 19 a paid holiday this year, some for the first time. Ride-hailing service Uber declared Friday a paid day off and several banks such as JPMorgan Chase & Co and Capital One Financial Corp closed offices or branches early.

In New York, a few hundred protesters, mostly wearing masks owing to the coronavirus, gathered outside the Brooklyn Museum.

Maxwell Awosanya was handing out free snacks and water to the swelling crowd of protesters outside the museum.

“African-American history is American history. Black history is American history. We need to be heard, we need people to see us. … we need to be understood, we need to be seen as equal,” he said.

A diverse crowd, including parents with children in strollers and a large contingent of people on bicycles, marched in downtown Brooklyn, chanting, “No justice, no peace,” and, “Say his name, George Floyd.”

In Texas, where Juneteenth originated, Lucy Bremond oversees what is believed to be the oldest public celebration of the occasion each year in Houston’s Emancipation Park. This year a gathering that typically draws some 6,000 people to the park will be replaced with a virtual observance.

“There are a lot of people who did not even know Juneteenth existed until these past few weeks,” Ms. Bremond said.


Jai Sen

Independent researcher, editor; Senior Fellow at the School of International Development and Globalisation Studies at the University of Ottawa

jai.sen at cacim.net <mailto:jai.sen at cacim.net>
Now based in New Delhi, India (+91-98189 11325) and in Ottawa, Canada, on unceded and unsurrendered Anishinaabe territory (+1-613-282 2900) 

CURRENT / RECENT publications :

Jai Sen, ed, 2018a – The Movements of Movements, Part 2 : Rethinking Our Dance. Ebook and hard copy available at PM Press <http://www.pmpress.org/>
Jai Sen, ed, 2018b – The Movements of Movements, Part 1 : What Makes Us Move ? (Indian edition). New Delhi : AuthorsUpfront, in collaboration with OpenWord and PM Press.  Hard copy available at MOM1AmazonIN <https://www.amazon.in/dp/9387280101/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1522884070&sr=8-2&keywords=movements+of+movements+jai+sen>, MOM1Flipkart <https://www.flipkart.com/the-movements-of-movements/p/itmf3zg7h79ecpgj?pid=9789387280106&lid=LSTBOK9789387280106NBA1CH&marketplace=FLIPKART&srno=s_1_1&otracker=search&fm=SEARCH&iid=ff35b702-e6a8-4423-b014-16c84f6f0092.9789387280106.SEARCH&ppt=Search%20Page>, and MOM1AUpFront <http://www.authorsupfront.com/movements.htm>
Jai Sen, ed, 2017 – The Movements of Movements, Part 1 : What Makes Us Move ?.  New Delhi : OpenWord and Oakland, CA : PM Press.  Ebook and hard copy available at PM Press <http://www.pmpress.org/>
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