It's A Lot
A Correction + Update on Ahmaud’s Case
Last week, we wrote that George Barnhill, the Waycross District Attorney who declined to pursue charges in Ahmaud Arbery’s case, had a jurisdiction that was over 50% Black. The actual numbers paint a very different picture of the South Georgia electorate. The city of Waycross does have a population that is over 50% Black, but the Waycross Judicial District, which encompasses the city of Waycross, among others, has a Black population of about 19%. Similarly the Brunswick Judicial District, where Ahmaud was murdered has a Black population of 20%.
We are a bit optimistic, however, to learn that Georgia’s Attorney General appointed a Black woman to lead the prosecution of the case and she says that her “call to serve will not be taken lightly.”
Were we even able to catch our breath from running for Ahmaud before we learned the horrible details of Breonna Taylor’s death by Louisville, KY police? The Action PAC has outlined steps for how to support her loved ones in their quest for justice.
NYPD to Stop Enforcing Mask Wearing
After weeks of glaring differences between the NYPD’s treatment of Black and brown folks compared to their white counterparts, Mayor Bill de Blasio declared that police will no longer enforce the wearing of masks by residents. Thanks for putting more folks’ health at risk instead of criticizing your police force for its intentional and consistent use of force for one part of the population and not another.
A Lil’ Something Something for the Class of 2020
President Obama spoke to HBCU and high school grads in two separate commencement speeches. In his address to the HBCU students, he mentioned the poor pandemic response from our federal government (again) and also referred to Ahmaud Arbery’s case when highlighting the injustices we still face as a people. Calling them “warriors of justice,” 44 implored them to sow seeds of change like the many HBCU graduates who came before them.
Trump's Doing Spring Cleaning
Staying true to his reputation of liking to operate without any oversight and tolerating no criticism, Donnie has fired his 4th Inspector General since April. What does the Inspector General do? Acting independently of any government branch, various IGs identify and investigate waste, abuse, or fraud by government employees. What did this last one, Steve Linick, do to draw 45’s ire? He was reportedly investigating the Secretary of State for abuse of power and he also handed over documents in Trump’s impeachment proceeding and we all know homie don’t play that. In response, the House has made it clear that they plan to investigate the terms of Linick’s release. Final outcome TBD.
Congress, What’s Good?
The House came back to work and got busy. On Friday, they passed a $3T package called the HEROES Act to help more American citizens get through the tough times. In addition to another $1200 check, the bill also includes $500B to keep states afloat, child care for essential workers, and extend the federal unemployment insurance until January 2021. Senate Republicans are already saying “You tried it” in response to the bill, so don’t expect this to pass unless Democrats make major concessions.
On Congress’ agenda this week:
Reviewing the CARES Act’s impact thus far
What is #Obamagate? Seems like Trump’s strategy for taking the heat off of himself and trying to find ways to discredit his predecessor and his 2020 rival Joe Biden.
Kamal and Stacey make room. There’s another Black woman who might be on Joe’s list of potential VP picks. Her name is Val Demings and she represents Florida in the House of Representatives.
Sanders says: Bernie Bros will vote for Joe Biden, if he courts them
Another provision of the HEROES Act includes $3.6B to help states manage the expected influx of mail-in ballots for November’s election. If Republicans don’t pass the legislation, experts predict “large-scale disenfranchisement, delays and meltdowns.”
Around the Diaspora
You betta Belize it! Belize is the first country in the Americas to declare itself COVID-19 free. As of Thursday, May 14, they’ve gone over 31 days without any new cases.
Eritrea is also letting its virus-free status be known. As of Friday, May 15, all 39 of their cases had been discharged from the hospital.
The pandemic is also hitting Afro-Brazilians harder than it is white people.
Israel will soon have its first Ethiopian-born minister. Pnina Tamano-Shata, brought to Israel when she was just 3 years old, will soon become the country’s Minister of Immigration.
Getting to the Money
Learn how to start a new business, buy stocks or even how to purchase a car so that it’s not a liability by listening to the Earn Your Leisure podcast. Started by two middle school friends, EYL aims to increase its listeners’ financial literacy while providing the backstory for many entrepreneurs’ paths to success. Find out where to listen here.
Black Business Highlight: Marcus Books, the nation’s oldest Black-owned bookstore, has a 60-year history that includes the likes of Malcolm X, Toni Morrison, and Oprah Winfrey. While the Oakland, CA store celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, it’s also fighting to keep its doors open in the midst of the COVID-19 impact on businesses. If you are familiar with Marcus Books or inspired by its rich legacy, consider helping them out by sharing their cause with your networks and/or donating to their GoFundMe page.
Culture that Pops
For the first time in the history of ever, Princeton has its first Black valedictorian in 274 years.
2 female rappers sit at the #1 and #2 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 list for songs on which they are the lead artist.
We can always count on Whoopi to say what’s on her mind. Last week, she pressed former NJ governor Chris Christie on which family member he was willing to sacrifice since he believes that the economy should reopen and that “people are going to die no matter what.”