In Other News: Historic Coalition Unites to Challenge Poverty & Revive Democracy Amidst Recession, Pandemic & Protests

In Other News: Historic Coalition Unites to Challenge Poverty & Revive Democracy Amidst Recession, Pandemic & Protests

Rev. Dr. William Barber leads protestors into the North Carolina General Assembly to make moral witness against policies passed by Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate Pro Tem Phil Berger and signed by Gov. Patrick McCrory, which hurt at-risk children, working families, the poor and unemployed and people without health insurance. (Photo Credit: Phil Fonville)

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Further Investigation 

The FBI and DOJ announced they will investigate the deaths of two Black men, Robert L. Fuller and Malcolm Harsch, who were found hanged in public days apart in Southern California. Meanwhile, after mounting public pressure, police in Portland, OR are investigating the death of a Black trans woman, Tete Gulley, after she was found hanging from a tree in May 2019. The families of all three people say they were not suicidal

Booga-Who? 

Despite the goofy name, the ‘boogaloo boys’ are no laughing matter. They are a growing right-wing extremist group that has attempted to use the peaceful protests nationwide to ignite a race war. This week federal authorities charged two of the group’s adherents with murderingsecurity officer and gravely wounded another outside an Oakland courthouse last month. 

According to an expert on domestic terrorism who spoke with The Intercept, members of the boogaloo movement are all united by the idea that they are fighting against government ‘tyranny’ and want to launch a violent insurrection against the government and bring about a second civil war…I think we should be very concerned about the violent potential of these groups. There have always been fringe seditionist and anti-government militia groups but this phenomenon represents a more rapid growth in both online and offline space than we have seen before.

A War On The Press 

Maria Ressa, the most prominent journalist in the Philippines and a vocal critic of the country’s authoritarian president, was convicted of cyber libel after her media organization Rappler published a story critical of a prominent businessman tied to one of the country’s top judges. She faces up to six years in prison.  The Council on Foreign Relations calls the ruling a “capstone for the collapse of press freedom in Southeast Asia” and points out that, while the Philippines is one of the most dangerous places in Asia for journalists, press freedoms throughout the region are deteriorating.
The Atlantic says that the verdict shows that the erosion of democratic norms happens little by little:

This is how democracy dies in the 21st century…There are no power grabs in the dead of night, no tanks rolling down the streets, no uniformed officers taking over TV stations. Just the steady drip, drip, drip of the erosion of democratic norms, the corruption of institutions, and the cowardly compromises of decision makers in courts and congresses.

Hard Days And Nights 

Americans are the unhappiest they have been in 50 years. New research from NORC at the University of Chicago finds “ just 14% of American adults say they’re very happy, down from 31% who said the same in 2018. That year, 23% said they’d often or sometimes felt isolated in recent weeks. Now, 50% say that.” Americans are reporting different symptoms of unhappiness than in the wake of previous moments of national tragedy:

Compared with surveys conducted after President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963 and after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Americans are less likely to report some types of emotional and psychological stress reactions following the COVID-19 outbreak. Fewer report smoking more than usual, crying or feeling dazed now than after those two previous tragedies, though more report having lost their temper or wanting to get drunk.

Meanwhile, medical workers across the world are battling anxiety and depression as a result of their work on the pandemic’s frontlines:

A study of 1,200 Chinese hospital workers found half reported symptoms of depression and 44% reported signs of anxiety amid the coronavirus outbreak there. The United Nations said frontline healthcare workers faced ‘exceptional stress’ in the pandemic, and that ensuring their mental health is critical to the world’s recovery.

Poor People’s Campaign 

“Poor and low-income people from more than 40 states will demand change as they share stories of struggling through poverty and protests for racial justice at a historic digital assembly and march sponsored by The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.” The assembly and march will be aired at 10 AM and 6 PM ET on Saturday, June 20, and at 6 PM ET on Sunday, June 21. 

When we began organizing the poor people’s assembly and march two years ago, we knew 140 million people — 43% of the nation were poor or low-income and that 700 people died each day — or 250,000 a year — from poverty,” said Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, president of Repairers of the Breach and co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign…. And then a pandemic hit and exposed the wounds of racism and poverty, and a lynching by police of a black man on camera poured salt in the wound, which makes our call for a moral fusion coalition of all people to address five interlocking injustices even the more relevant. 

To learn more about Rev. Barber, check out State of Conflict: North Carolina, a documentary produced by Moyers & Company about Barber’s activism and organizing work.  

Headlines To Keep An Eye On 

Black community braces for next threat: Mass evictions

A federal moratorium on evictions — which only applies to the 1 in 4 rental units that are backed by the government — expires in a matter of weeks.

Voice of America: independence fears after Trump ally purges senior officials

‘Wednesday night massacre’ ignites concerns Michael Pack will turn state-funded broadcaster into ‘mouthpiece for the president’

The Postal Service Is Steadily Getting Worse — Can It Handle a National Mail-In Election?

Postal delays and mistakes have marred primary voting, and after years of budget cuts and plant closures, mail delivery has slowed so much that ballot deadlines in many states are no longer realistic.

A War Against Climate Science, Waged by Washington’s Rank and File

Efforts to block research on climate change don’t just come from the Trump political appointees on top. Lower managers in government are taking their cues, and running with them.

To help distance learning absentees, educators go sleuthing

As the academic year nears an end, districts around the country have been racing to get large numbers of no-show students back on track. It’s one thing not to participate this spring, when expectations are lower because of the crisis. It will be another if distance learning resumes in the fall, when the stakes are raised by the return of formal grading and attendance tracking.

Civil Rights Groups Push for Facebook Ad Boycott

Anti-Defamation League, NAACP and others seek protest of what they say is company’s failure to make its platform a less-hostile place

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