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Washington Bureau Insider: June 19, 2020

Clint Odom
Executive Director Washington Bureau National Urban League

 
 



 
HAPPY JUNETEENTH. The National Urban League is commemorating Juneteenth with an official holiday for staff. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is honoring the day by removing portraits of certain ex-Confederates from the Capitol Grounds. Epic. Boss. Lady. We are publishing our Friday edition this evening so that you can get your news and we can properly celebrate the 155th anniversary of this historic day. Here’s a list of virtual celebrations you can enjoy if you prefer to celebrate in the comfort and safety of your own home.

SPEAKING OF REMOVING ANTEBELLUM IMAGES. We say farewell to Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben. Aunt Jemima's perm, turns out, was only an incremental step toward social justice. We may have consumed a lot of pancakes and rice over the decades, but it never tasted quite right to us.

GEORGE FLOYD JUSTICE IN POLICING ACT HEADS TO VOTE IN THE HOUSE. On Wednesday, a House panel voted to advance the legislation for a full House vote next Thursday. The Senate is looking to take a procedural vote as early as next week on its alternative to the House bill.

READ THE LATEST IN THE CASES OF FLOYD, TAYLOR, ARBERY, AND BROOKS. The Urban League CEOs of our Twin Cities, Louisville, and Atlanta affiliates are getting ready to sit down with your For the Movement podcast hosts to see what's happening on the ground in each of these cities.


SCOTUS REJECTS TRUMP ORDER TO END DACA. The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the Trump administration may not immediately proceed with its plan to end a program protecting about 700,000 young immigrants known as Dreamers from deportation. In any other administration, this would be the news of the decade. Instead, this is just another landmark case issued by the Court this week that puts the brakes on the administration's worst impulses and advances the cause of justice.

THE LATEST IN 2020. See where the potential VPs stand on police reform and the latest in key Congressional primaries across the nation. 

ACTION ALERTS: Don't forget to take action to demand justice for Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, affordable broadband Internet to families with school children, and that the Census Bureau conducts a complete and accurate count of African Americans in the 2020 census. New action alerts urge members of Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and the HEROES Act.
This is America: Gun Violence Continues to Steal Lives
Gun violence is responsible for over 18,686 deaths so far in 2020.

Atlanta Police Officers Charged in Fatal Shooting of Rayshard Brooks. Less than one week after fatally shooting Rayshard Brooks in the back at a Wendy’s parking lot, ex-Atlanta police officer, Garrett Rolfe has been charged. The Fulton County District Attorney’s Office announced on Wednesday that Rolfe will be charged with felony murder and 10 additional charges, including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. It was reported that Rolfe kicked Brooks and offered him no medical treatment as he lay dying on the ground. The second officer at the scene, Devin Brosnan, will be charged with aggravated assault and 3 additional charges. Although the District Attorney’s Office initially indicated Brosnan would be a state’s witness, his attorney later issued a statement denying that Brosnan had agreed to testify against his ex-partner.

Still No Justice in Breonna Taylor Case, Officers Will Remain Paid and On the Job: It has been over three months since Breonna Taylor was shot and killed in her Louisville home by three members of the city’s police department. Stymied by what they describe as a
concerted lack of action from the Louisville Police Department and the mayor, Taylor’s family is now calling for action from the Louisville City Council. The three officers in the fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor can't be suspended without pay until an investigation is complete because of the "lack of indisputable evidence of wrongdoing," the city's deputy general counsel said in a memo obtained by The Courier Journal. Annale Taylor, who formerly worked for the Jefferson County Attorney's Office, wrote to the city's human resources director that there is "disputable evidence as to whether misconduct occurred." The officers remain on administrative reassignment with pay.


Arbery’s Family Meets with Trump, Says Executive Order Does Not Go Far Enough: Before he signed an executive on Tuesday encouraging better police practices, President Donald Trump met privately with the families of several persons killed in high-profile cases that have fueled recent protests, including Ahmaud Arbery's mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones. “He's very compassionate,” Cooper-Jones said of Trump. “He did assure each family member that we- we would and should expect change.” She also said Tuesday that President Donald Trump's executive order on policing doesn't go far enough and would not have influenced her son's case. "I didn't think that order addresses anything that concerns Ahmaud's case at all," Cooper-Jones told CNN's Don Lemon on CNN Tonight.
Health Matters
Coronavirus by the Numbers:
  • 2,163,290 cases (most in the world)
  • 117,717 deaths (most in the world)
  • 592,191 recoveries 
  • 24,937,877 total persons tested (as of 6/18/20)
Click here to see how the COVID-19 pandemic is advancing worldwide. Get free live updates from the New York Times at this link, or sign up for a free newsletter from the Washington Post here

COVID Treatment Updates: In the UK, a new study suggests dexamethasone, a widely available steroid drug, may treat the sickest patients -- a finding that could be groundbreaking. And human trials are due to begin next week for a treatment derived from cow’s blood; scientists genetically engineered the animals to give them an immune system that’s part human so they could develop antibodies to the virus. 

South Carolina Lawmaker Tests Positive for Covid: Rep. Tom Rice of South Carolina said Monday that he, his wife and their son have tested positive for Covid-19. In a statement, Rice called the illness the "Wuhan Flu,” a term that has been criticized as inaccurate and even racist. "We are all on the mend and doing fine," Rice said. Several members of Congress have contracted Covid-19. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-VA, said late last month that he and his wife had tested positive for Covid-19 antibodies. Sen. Bob Casey, D-PA, said about the same time that he had also tested positive for antibodies.

COVID is Killing Younger People of Color Disproportionately: In a new working paper, Harvard researchers analyzing mortality rates by race/ethnic group and age found massive disparities among younger minority populations when compared to their white counterparts Black coronavirus patients 25 to 34 years old had a mortality rate 7.3 times higher than whites. For Latinos in the same age range, the rate was 5.5 times that of whites. The researchers found similar results among Native Americans, where those 25-34 had a rate 7.3 times higher than whites, and those aged 35-44 died at rates more than 8 times higher. That translates to more than 45,000 years of life lost for black Americans, and 48,204 for Latinos — figures that compare to an estimated 33,446 for white coronavirus patients.

COVID-19 Cases by State and by Race in Two Images Below: 


 
The Latest in 2020

The Countdown:
138 Days to Election Day
216 Days to Inauguration Day

Weekly Jobless Claims Continue to Rise, Implications for 2020 Re-election: According to data released Thursday from the U.S. Labor Department, 1.5 million people filed state unemployment claims in the latest weekly tally. This is the 13th straight week that state filings topped one million. Until the coronavirus crisis, the most new claims in a single week had been 695,000, in 1982. Although President Trump’s favorable ratings on the handling of the economy seem to be his only voter sentiment advantage over Joe Biden, it is not clear how long these ratings will hold up with the continued record-setting job losses.

Trump Asked Chinese President for 2020 Election Help: President Donald Trump asked President Xi Jinping of China for domestic political help to boost his electoral prospects in the midst of the two leaders’ trade war last summer, according to the bombshell account of former national security adviser John Bolton in his forthcoming memoir. According to an excerpt of the memoir, published in The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, Bolton alleges that Trump made the plea to help his standing with American farmers during a summit with Xi on the sidelines of the G-20 in Japan, a month after negotiations for a trade deal had stalled. If the allegation is true, it raises questions about why Bolton did not come forward earlier with this information. Trump’s impeachment earlier this year was based on articles that Trump sought intervention by a foreign president, Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky, to disadvantage Trump’s presidential opponent, Vice President Joe Biden. Recall at the time of the impeachment Bolton refused to testify before the House Judiciary Committee. The most recent revelation will increase calls by Congressional Democrats to have Bolton testify about this and other revelations in the book. Meanwhile, expect Senate Republicans to continue to investigate the role that Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, played on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma, which faces corruption allegations.

Trump's Campaign Rally Must Go On: Trump's big rally Saturday in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is still on 
after a judge denied an emergency request from lawyers in the state to stop it due to coronavirus concerns. In fact, the campaign is even exploring an overflow venue to accommodate supporters.

Rep. Engel’s Race is a Test of Old Democratic Guard vs. New Guard: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is the latest establishment politician to endorse embattled Rep. Eliot Engel for reelection in the June 23rd New York Congressional primary. First elected to Congress in 1989, Engel represents NY-16, which includes north Bronx and the southern half of Westchester County, including Mount Vernon, Yonkers, New Rochelle, and Rye. Schumer said in a statement Wednesday he has a “longtime, close friendship” with Engel and praised the New York congressman for being “a strong and effective fighter for the people of his distinct.” Schumer held off on endorsing Engel last week, saying he was focused on Senate races, even though Engel’s campaign website touted Schumer’s endorsement. Schumer’s name was removed the next day. The Senate minority leader is the latest Democrat to endorse Engel, who faces a tough primary against Jamaal Bowman, an African-American middle school principal who has received high-profile endorsements from several progressive leaders, including Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Meanwhile, Engel has gotten recent backing from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA).

Charles Booker Looking to Challenge for Democratic Senate Primary Win in Kentucky: We see you, Charles Booker. The
odds are long for this brother to beat the Democratic establishment favorite, Amy McGrath, but we are watching this race closely. Booker has received a wave of progressive endorsements, including Rep. Ayanna Pressley. That plus the growing frustration over the lack of action in the Breonna Taylor case could boost Booker’s candidacy. The election is June 23, 2020. The winner will face Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in November.

Facebook Pledges Voter Registration Drive Ahead of 2020 Election: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced plans to help four million Americans register to vote ahead of the upcoming presidential elections. In an opinion piece, Zuckerberg said that
Facebook is launching the largest voting campaign in American history since voting is the ultimate way to hold leaders accountable. He believes Facebook could play a positive role in the elections by helping the citizens in the voting process and that Facebook has the responsibility to prevent voter suppression as well as actively support voter engagement, registration, and turnout. In a blog post, the company announced that it's building a new Voting Information Center that will give accurate information about voting. It will also provide the tools needed to register social media users across Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger.


Veepstakes: The below charts show where the top VP candidates stand on police brutality and resulting protests. 



Policy & Hill Happenings
Police Reform Bill Advances to Vote in the House: On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, by a vote of 24 to 14. All committee Republicans voted NO, except for Steve Chabot (OH) and Louie Gohmert (TX), who either did not vote or voted present. The legislation is the first-ever bold, comprehensive approach to hold police accountable, end racial profiling, change the culture of law enforcement, empower our communities, and build trust between law enforcement and our communities by addressing systemic racism and bias to help save lives. Congressional Black Caucus Chair Karen Bass (D-CA), Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kamala Harris (D-CA), and House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) introduced the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 on June 8, 2020. The legislation has 230 cosponsors in the House and 36 cosponsors in the Senate. The bill now heads to the House floor for a full vote in the House, currently scheduled for Thursday, June 25th. Chairman Nadler said, “Today we'll offer more than just sympathy. Today we're proposing meaningful change. Thoughts and prayers are not enough. Pledges to study the problem are not enough. Half-measures are not enough. To the Members of this Committee, the Justice in Policing Act is our opportunity to show the world that we are listening and that we will respond with real and lasting reforms. We must not let this moment slip away.”

In Epic Juneteenth Move, Pelosi Shows Why She's the Speaker of the House: Nancy Pelosi sent a letter today to Cheryl Johnson, Clerk of the House of Representatives, requesting the removal of portraits of the previous House Speakers who served in the Confederacy from display in the U.S. Capitol. In 2017, Pelosi called on then-Speaker Paul Ryan to join her in supporting legislation to remove the Confederate statues in the National Statuary Hall Collection, which she furthered in a
request for their removal in a letter to the Joint Committee on the Library earlier this month. In the letter, the Speaker wrote “Tomorrow, Americans will mark Juneteenth, a beautiful and proud celebration of freedom for African Americans. Very sadly, this day comes during a moment of extraordinary national anguish, as we grieve for the hundreds of Black Americans killed by racial injustice and police brutality, including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others.” To appropriately observe Juneteenth this year, I write today to request the immediate removal of the portraits in the U.S. Capitol of four previous Speakers who served in the Confederacy: Robert Hunter of Virginia (1839-1841), Howell Cobb of Georgia (1849-1851), James Orr of South Carolina (1857-1859), and Charles Crisp of Georgia (1891-1895).” You can read the full text of the letter to the Clerk of the House of Representatives.

Child Care Bill Introduced: Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA) introduced the Child Care is Infrastructure Act, a child care package that would pump $10 billion over five years into child care infrastructure, and $35 million for early childhood education and workforce development.  

Gig Economy CEOs Call for Special Enrollment Period: The leaders of firms like Postmates, Instacart and DoorDash are asking Congress to create a one-time sign-up period that lasts for at least eight weeks, in a letter shared first with PULSE. Obama veterans Andy Slavitt, Bob Kocher, Zeke Emanuel and Aneesh Chopra also signed on to the letter. The idea’s separately received support from AHIP, but the Trump administration rejected the concept of re-opening HealthCare.gov for sign-ups earlier this year.

Representatives Required to Wear Masks in Hearings: House lawmakers will be required to wear face coverings during committee hearings under new guidance issued by the Capitol physician late on Tuesday. The change follows complaints from Democrats that several Republicans were not wearing masks in a hearing last week, and a couple days after Rep. Tom Rice disclosed he’d contracted Covid-19. Rice had been on the House floor without a mask in late May. The guidance bars members who refuse to wear a mask. “Individual entry will be denied to those House of Representatives limited enclosed spaces where face coverings are required but not used by the individual,” Brian Monahan, the Capitol physician, wrote.

CBC Member Hank Johnson Hires New Chief of Staff: Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia has hired Charles Gayle as chief of staff. Gayle most recently served as oversight counsel to the House Judiciary Committee. He was also an enforcement attorney for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an assistant state’s attorney for the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office, and an assistant prosecutor in Baltimore City.

State and Local Spotlight
African-American Woman Launches 2021 Bid for Virginia Governor: State Senator Jennifer McClellan launched her campaign for Virginia governor on Thursday, bidding to become the first Black woman elected governor in American history. McClellan is a member of Delta Sigma Theta. The 47-year-old lawmaker, one of two African American women who have announced their candidacies in the 2021 election, is making a timely entry into the Democratic primary. “I know that I’m standing on the shoulders of...black women [who] first set foot in this country, whether it’s Sojourner Truth or Harriet Tubman or Ida B. Wells or Fannie Lou Hamer,” McClellan said in an interview. “And I am carrying on their work. And I feel the weight of that. But I cannot leave these fights to my children or my children’s children.” In her campaign launch video, McClellan said her gubernatorial campaign begins with the question, “where do we go from here?” Citing the coronavirus pandemic, unrest over racial injustice and frustration with the Trump administration, McClellan said she’s running “to keep leading progress into our future.”

Iowa Governor Will Restore Voting Rights to People Who Have Completed Felony Sentences: Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican, said she would issue an executive order that would take effect before the November election, ending Iowa’s distinction as the last state to deprive all people who have served felony sentences of voting rights for life. As protests over police violence erupted across Iowa in recent weeks, as they have around the country, activists pressured the governor on the issue at the State Capitol. Supporters of Des Moines Black Lives Matter chanted “let them vote” outside the Capitol on Monday, and along with other rights groups and state lawmakers, they met privately with the governor twice. Under state law, people who've completed their prison sentences can't vote unless they appeal directly to the governor. This restricts nearly 10% of the state's Black population from voting. 

All 50 states are at least partially reopened. Check here to see the latest in every state.

...And Cases Continue to Spike in States: Florida, Texas and Arizona
 just set daily records for new coronavirus cases

 
In Texas, Local Leaders Pen Letter Asking Governor for Power to Require Masks: The mayors of Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, El Paso, Arlington, Plano and Grand Prairie have sent a letter to Governor Abbott asking for the power to require people to wear COVID-19 masks publicly in their cities.

Columbus City Schools Reevaluates Relationship with Police: Columbus City Schools will
hold off negotiating a new contract to deploy school resource officers in its buildings following demands from some students, alumni and families that the district end its relationship with the Columbus Division of Police. The district’s current contract with the division expires June 30. On that date, the district will announce members of a working group who will evaluate its overall approach to safety and security, with the goal for employees, families and students to participate.

Latest Episode: Faith, Fear, & Facts: The Role of the Black Church in the age of Coronavirus” Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson, Chairman of the Conference of National Black Churches (CNBC) and Senior Pastor of Grace Baptist Church (Mount Vernon, NY)  outlines how Black churches have pivoted to meet the expanding needs of Black communities challenged by COVID-19 and weigh reopening decisions amid political pressure.
Action Alert!


#JusticeInPolicingAct People around the world watched in horror as George Floyd was publicly executed by members of Minneapolis law enforcement…officers sworn and entrusted by the public to “serve and protect." The Justice in Policing Act of 2020 seeks to address persistent, unchecked bias in policing and bring accountability for police misconduct. It includes measures originally proposed in the National Urban League's 10-Point Justice Plan such as mandated use of body and dashboard cameras and the revision of police training procedures and use-of-force policies.
 
Black Americans have been crying out for change, justice, and police accountability for far too long... it's time for Congress to pass the Justice in Policing Act NOW!
Click
here to contact your member of Congress.
 

#PassTheHEROESAct Black Americans and minority-owned small businesses have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Let's make sure Americans who need it most get federal dollars, not big business and corporations!
 
The HEROES Act will provide a second round of stimulus funds to individuals and families, healthcare resources to low-income and incarcerated citizens, support to essential front line workers, safe access to the ballot whether in person or by nationwide vote-by-mail, and much more!
 
TELL YOUR SENATORS TO PASS THIS CRITICAL BILL NOW!
Click
here
to contact your Senators.




Justice for Breonna Taylor
! Breonna Taylor was an award-winning emergency medical technician from Louisville, Kentucky. On March 13, the reckless and excessive actions of three Louisville police officers executing a “no knock” warrant on the wrong home, cut her promising life short. Now nearly 3 months later, no charges have been filed against the officers involved.

Despite the absence of arrests, there have been some recent wins for the side of justice:
  • May 28, the FBI announced it would open an investigation of Breonna’s case;
  • May 29, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer suspended the use of “no knock” warrants by the Louisville Metro Police Department;
  • June 2, Louisville Metro Police Department Chief Steve Conrad was fired for continued police misconduct leading to the death of local businessman David McAtee who was attending a protest for Breonna; and
  • June 3, Louisville Mayor Fischer announced he is seeking an independent firm to conduct a “top to bottom” review of the Louisville Metro Police Department.
Let’s continue to apply pressure to get the three officers directly involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor off the streets!

Send an email AND Tweet to KY Attorney General Daniel Cameron and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer demanding swift justice for Breonna Taylor using
this link (Don’t forget to share the campaign on Facebook and Twitter!)



Tell the DOJ: “We Will Not Rest with an Arrest…We Demand Justice for Ahmaud!” 
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! The lethal use of force against African Americans on “suspicion” of any crime MUST END! Because the state of Georgia is one of four U.S. states without a hate crimes statute, we are calling on U.S. Attorney General William Barr and the career officials of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice to move swiftly to investigate the unnecessary killing of Ahmaud Arbery as a hate crime under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
 
#ArrestIsNotEnough! Contact the Department of Justice TODAY and demand #JusticeforAhmaud! When you are done, make sure your SHARE this campaign link with others in your community and social media networks! Campaign Link:
  https://p2a.co/3li77ig

Get Families Connected: Urge Congress to include the Emergency Educational Connections Act of 2020 [H.R. 6563] in the fourth COVID-19 Relief package is now LIVE!
 
Please take a moment TODAY to
send an email to your Senators and Representatives in the House. 

 


Make Black Count: We still lack the resources to ensure our communities are counted. Without a complete and accurate count, the African-American community will lose more than $40 billion in federal dollars and could also lose seats in Congress and hard-fought political representation at all levels of government. Unless immediate changes are made by the Census Bureau, the National Urban League predicts that the 2020 Census will produce an undercount of African-Americans greater than the 2.1% (that’s close to 1 million individuals!) seen in the previous census. But YOUR voice can make a difference…

 WRITE the Census Bureau director to make the following changes TODAY!

IMPORTANT REMINDER: To ensure compliance with our 501(c)3 status, please use your personal email address and not your NUL email address when advocating on this issue.
Entertainment & Notables 
Bye, Jemima: Food product companies are saying goodbye to painful African American brand images, including Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben's. The PepsiCo Inc. unit that sells Aunt Jemima products said it would retire the brand because of its origins in racist imagery of Black people. Not to be out woke, hours later, Mars Inc. said it would change its Uncle Ben’s brand, and two more big food companies said they would review the packaging long used by Cream of Wheat and Mrs. Butterworth’s.

Tyler Perry Is Paying for Rayshard Brooks' Funeral — and His 4 Kids' College Educations: Tyler Perry will pay for the funeral expenses of Rayshard Brooks, and People Magazine has reported that the Perry also offered to pay for Brooks' children's college educations.

US Open Will Happen, but Without Fans: The United States Tennis Association will hold the 2020 US Open in New York on its original dates, Aug. 31 to Sept. 13, but without spectators, sources said. Even if the tournament is confirmed, the path of the virus, global travel restrictions and government oversight may still scuttle the plans. The field may also be thinner than usual, as men’s No. 1 player, Novak Djokovic, has criticized restrictions put in place as “extreme,” and women’s No. 1, Ashleigh Barty, has said she was uncertain about committing to play.

WNBA Season to Begin in Late July: players
ratified a plan to play a 22-game season, beginning in late July, along with a full playoff schedule, in Bradenton, FL. 


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