JUNETEENTH 2020: An Extraordinary Moment

The next election should focus on creating a framework to allow people calling for the abolition of modern prisons to begin the hard work of creating new institutions.

Americans need to vote to help activists continue anti-racist work that will allow us to envision the possibility of a society that is free of racism and sexism and homophobia and transphobia.

I don’t know whether it would have unfolded as it did if not for the terrible COVID-19 pandemic, which gave us the opportunity to collectively witness one of the most brutal examples of state violence.

This is an extraordinary moment which has brought together a whole number of issues.



Protesters in Richmond toppled a statue of Jefferson Davis that stood since 1907.

Police watched as a tow truck took the statue away. Protesters toppled the statue.

The statue of Davis, who was president of the Confederacy, was the 3rd to be torn down.

A statue of Confederate General Williams Carter Wickham was toppled from its pedestal. A statue of Christopher Columbus was torn down and dumped in a lake.

Good. Riddance.



I am an 85-year-old white man who watched Dr. Martin Luther King as he responded to being struck in the forehead with a rock by staggering and then singing.

We stood and sang and looked into the eyes of white people whose hatred I can still feel.

Fifty years later, George Floyd was murdered by police as other white cops stood by.

Same hate.

Cell phones may make the difference in this battle for human rights. Millions of Americans, led by young people, are responding to state violence, exposed by phone cameras, in a way that offers hope.

I wish we had cell phones and cameras in prisons.

For the past 25 years, I have visited and advocated for people in Illinois prisons. My best friends, outside my family, are all imprisoned. On a daily basis, everyone in prison, but especially those who are black and brown, are subject to disrespect and insidious treatment.

The prison culture is built on security and fear, not respect and rehabilitation.



If we are to examine what and who killed George Floyd, we have to talk about racism, America’s pre-existing condition. It is a cultural pandemic that has been steadily killing this country and, indeed, rotting away the very idea of America since chattel slavery began more than 400 years ago.

Much like the people who were exploited for free labor in order to build this country, the cause of its death may have been more natural had racism not introduced certain comorbidities.

Right now, the coronavirus and the police are posing lethal threats to protesters. COVID-19 is still killing black people disproportionately, at about three times the rate of white people nationwide.

How many people took risks with the virus on Memorial Day weekend, carelessly disregarding the provably inordinate risk to black communities? How many then joined the protests this past week and actually claimed that they’re fighting for black survival? How many cops keep shooting tear gas at people during a pandemic that strikes at the lungs, giving a newly tragic resonance to…

I Can’t Breathe.



The thing that strikes me is that we all see this police violence and racism, and we’ve seen it all before, but nothing changes. That’s why these protests have been so explosive.

But without leadership and an understanding of what the problem is, there will never be change. And white Americans have avoided reckoning with this problem forever, because it’s been our privilege to be able to avoid it.

That also has to change.



Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has declared a state of emergency as rioting breaks out for the third night in the city while protests over George Floyd’s death spread across America.

Break-off protests over Floyd’s death are building, as questions continue to mount over why the police officers involved continue to walk free.

Floyd’s death has sparked outrage, after footage surfaced Monday showing white cop Derek Chauvin kneeling on the black man’s neck for eight minutes until he passed out and later died.

Authorities had claimed Floyd resisted arrest but new footage Wednesday cast fresh doubt on those claims, showing two cops forcibly removing him from his car and him appearing to comply with officers.

In Denver, shots were fired at the Colorado State Capitol where hundreds had marched to demand justice over Floyd’s death.



Firefighters raced from one blaze to the next, often with police in tow for crowd control.

After someone started a fire at an AutoZone store at Minnehaha and Lake, firefighters worked to douse the flames, knocking down the majority of them.

But within a matter of hours, the store was ablaze again, as was a half-built affordable housing development that caught fire, sending flames more than a hundred feet into the air.

The mayor of Minneapolis is calling for charges against the white police officer who knelt on the neck of 46-year-old George Floyd, a black man who died Monday after being restrained.

“Why is the man who killed George Floyd not in jail?” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said in a press conference Wednesday. “If you had done it, or I had done it, we would be behind bars right now.”

The National Guard was ordered to the 3rd Precinct police station to relieve Minneapolis police officers, as demonstrators encircled the precinct, chanting loudly and carrying banners demanding justice for Floyd.

For much of the night, the police radio squawked with call after call, as looting started first at the Target store across the street from the precinct, before spreading to other areas in the city.


MINNEAPOLIS: Police Double-Down On Brutality

Minneapolis police officers dressed in riot gear fired rubber bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades into crowds of protesters that gathered late Tuesday to demand justice for the killing of George Floyd after video footage showed a cop kneeling on the back of the man’s neck as he cried out…

“I cannot breathe!”

Videos and photos posted to social media show people pouring milk into the eyes of demonstrators affected by tear gas as the chemical substance clouds the air, enveloping the thousands of protesters marching in the streets near the site of Floyd’s killing.

“This is a disgusting display,” said Jeremiah Ellison, a city council member representing Minneapolis Ward 5.

“I’m here on the southside, helping people as I can with milk, water, and towels. So far, I have been unable to prevent the police from firing indiscriminately into the crowd. Moments ago, I held a towel to a teenage girl’s head as blood poured from it.”


PROUD BOY PROBE: Chicago Police Department

The Chicago Police Department has launched an investigation into one of its own officers, after he was exposed by local antifascists as a possible member of the Proud Boys, a far-right group known for violent street fights.

Chicago Antifascist Action released a dossier on Monday that accused Officer Robert P Bakker, a three-year member of the force, of being an active participant in the private Telegram channel called “Fuck Antifa” where local Proud Boys organize meet-ups and other matters.

The screenshots appear to show Bakker coordinating Proud Boy meet-ups.



There was chaos and destruction in Minneapolis Tuesday night as police officers and protesters clashed over the death of George Floyd.

People took turns sharing their frustrations and grief with the crowd. Chants of…

“I Can’t Breathe.”

“We’re here to let them know this can’t be tolerated, there will be severe consequences if they continue to kill us this will not go on another day.”