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Weekend Review: America Celebrates Juneteenth Through Steep Racial Tensions
Juneteenth: Friday marked 155 years since the end of the tradition of slavery in the U.S. on holiday known as Juneteenth, or June 19th. While the day is not yet recognized as a national holiday, it is nationally recognized by many citizens, specifically Black Americans, as a day of the momentous celebration.
The day brought a continuation of peaceful demonstrations this year, most of which have persevered since the days following George Floyd’s death at the hands of four merciless Minneapolis police officers on May 25th. At the time it happened, Floyd’s killing was only the latest to bring the timeless conversation about issues of racism in America back to the surface.
Last week, Rayshard Brooks was shot to death by Atlanta police while bystanders filmed the incident, which took place outside a Wendy’s where Brooks had fallen asleep while in his vehicle at the drive-thru. Brooks was confronted by police for being intoxicated and eventually was shot multiple times in the back while running away with a police taser.
Protests have occurred in every state over the last few weeks as more videos surfaced online of police brutality disproportionately inflicted upon Black citizens. When the officers involved in Floyd’s killing were charged, attention turned to Breonna Taylor, a young Black woman who was shot to death in March by police from Louisville who executed a no-knock search warrant in plain clothes. They were searching for a person who did not live in the apartment and Taylor was shot eight times while she was sleeping. Her fiance was arrested for returning fire with police who he had mistaken as intruders.
This week it was announced that one of three officers will be fired for Taylor’s shooting, according to an announcement from Louisville’s interim police chief. Many American citizens demand to see all of the officers charged in her case and each like it, as has been done in George Floyd’s case.
The movement to make Juneteenth a national holiday (on the grounds it observes a historical moment of true independence for all Americans) also gained traction this year, with many cities and universities committing to observe the historical significance of the day moving forward. New York City mayor Bill de Blasio announced that beginning next year, the city will recognize and celebrate Juneteenth as a holiday and “give this day the importance and recognition it deserves.”
Unfortunately, progress does not come without pain, and several Black men, such as Robert Fuller and Malcolm Harsch in California, have been found hanging from trees. Families in both Fuller’s case and Harsch’s case have sought independent investigations over suspicions they were lynched, not suicides as recorded.
India and China Clash at Border, 20 Indian Troops Killed
India’s army announced the deaths of 20 troops who were injured while fighting on the India-China border on Monday night.
China and India have a prolonged history of fighting over a long stretch of unmarked border territory which extends high into the Himalayas. The conditions at such an altitude made wounded soldiers more susceptible to their injuries, caused by “fierce physical conflict between the two sides” according to a Chinese military official. India media also claimed that soldiers were not shot but bludgeoned by stones and weapons, citing unnamed sources from the Indian military.
Following the clash, China said Indian troops “illegally crossed the border control line” while India countered that claim with an accusation that Chinese troops entered a region of India.
Reportedly, both sides have sent officials to the border to attempt to deescalate tensions.
Trump’s Disappointing Rally Turnout Will Still Spread Virus
Though President Trump’s much anticipated rally in Tulsa suffered low attendance, experts have warned that it still met all of the criteria for a high-risk gathering.
The rally was held indoors where large numbers of people were not able to maintain six feet of distance and were also shouting and touching while very few were wearing masks or gloves. Anyone in attendance is now at an increased risk for virus transmission, according to public health experts.
The campaign marked Trump’s first rally since the beginning of the COVID pandemic, an event he boasted had gathered nearly a million ticket requests for a center with a 19,000 person-capacity. Avid supporters camped for days to ensure their entrance into the center, giving the appearance that the turn-out could be headline-worthy. However, the Tulsa Fire Department reported fewer than 6,200 people were actually in attendance and no one was turned away.
Trump’s campaign blamed a concerted online effort to hype the number of RSVPs to the event, but also claimed protestors had blocked entry, which was disproven.