Posts tagged with "racism"

No More Hate illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Atlanta Shooting

By: Carly Cohen × Heather Skovlund

Early this week, a tragedy had occurred in Atlanta, Georgia. A total of eight victims were killed at the Georgia spa. Six of the eight victims were Asian, and when the suspect got caught, he claimed that “his actions were not racially motivated.” It was stated that it was too soon in the investigation to claim this shooting as a hate crime; however, the shootings were “aimed at a recent wave of attacks against Asian Americans that coincided with the spread of the coronavirus across the United States.” The suspect claimed that apparently “sex addition” drove him to commit these murders.

There were multiple incidents: the first occurred at Young’s Asian Massage Parlor in a mall off Highway ninety-two, about thirty miles north of Atlanta. When the police got the call, five people were shot, and two were dead while three were rushed to the hospital. An hour later, after this tragedy, two other shootings happened right across the street- one being on Piedmont, the other at the Gold Spa and Aromatherapy.

There were seven women and one man; most of them were Asian. The victims have been identified as Delainia Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Xiaojie Tan, and Daoyou Feng.

Yaun and her husband, Mario Gonalez, were off work getting a couples massage at Young’s Asian Massage when the tragedy started. Her husband safely made it out of the salon, but he and his wife were in separate rooms when the shooting was started. They had a family together; a thirteen-year-old son and an infant daughter. It is sad to say that this woman was a victim in this shooting that not one person deserved -separating families, taking parents, taking siblings. It is a terrible, terrible thing that no one deserved. John Beck, Yaun’s manager, voiced to BuzzFeed News that “her heart was so big.” She would feed homeless people and offer them clothes and a place to shower. Hearing a person who is so kind and so pure as Yaun makes you ask the question, “why do bad things happen to good people.” It doesn’t make sense and is not fair.

Xiaojie Tan was the owner of Young’s Asian Massage as was another victim of the attack. She was known for being an extremely hardworking small-business owner and had such a big heart filled with love and kindness. Her client, Greg Hynson, stated that when he came for an appointment on his birthday a year ago, she had a birthday cake waiting for him. Another victim, Paul Andre Micheals, was a U.S Army infantry veteran married for more than two decades. He was a “dedicated, hardworking, loving man,” his brother stated.

These killings brought a “wave of outrage and attention to violence against Asian-American people.” As soon as social media was notified of the attacks and assumed to be focused on Asian’s, you could see all over the media celebrities, influencers, and people left and right posting regarding standing up for the lost lives and spreading awareness to this hate crime and all hate crimes in general. The media has been outraged and will continue to stand together.

Emmett Till illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Emmett Till × Mamie Till Mobley

National Trust Partners’ Advocacy Leads to Roberts Temple: Emmett Till and Mamie Till Mobley Senate Bill

Sen. Tammy Duckworth introduced a bill with Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) as co-sponsors to establish Chicago’s Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ as a National Monument. The move would offer the highest level of federal support for the church and would ensure that the National Park Service will preserve, protect, and interpret its powerful impact on American civil rights history for generations to come. Civil rights activist Mamie Till Mobley was a member of Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ, and the church played a historic role in the funeral of Emmett Till, her fourteen-year-old son killed on August 28, 1955, during a visit with relatives in Money, Mississippi.

Rather than cover up the brutality of the murder, Mobley bravely decided to hold an open casket funeral at Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ so people could witness the bitter consequences of racism. When tens of thousands of people came to view young Till’s mangled body from September 3-6, 1955, and photographs of his mangled face were published in journals around the country, it ignited the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s, similar to the way George Floyd’s death has impacted movements today. TIME magazine named a photo of the Till funeral one of the 100 most influential images of all time.

Last year, the National Trust for Historic Preservation placed Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ on its 11 Most Endangered Historic Places list, recognizing its groundbreaking significance and the need to restore and preserve the site. Support has continued through Trust grants and technical assistance as well as through advocacy to gain federal support to maintain the site. The Trust has partnered in this work with members of the Till and Roberts families, The Emmett Till Interpretive Center, the National Parks Conservation Association, Latham & Watkins LLP pro bono program, and other interests committed to the longevity of this historic landmark. Efforts are also ensuing to obtain National Park status for Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ, as well as for important sites linked to Emmett Till in Mississippi.

“The Roberts Temple Church is both extraordinarily and heartbreakingly important to Chicago, our state, and to our country’s history,” Sen. Tammy Duckworth said. “It’s time we recognize how historic sites can not only teach us about our history – but provoke us to build a more just future. By designating this church a historic site, we will help ensure that this awful chapter is not erased and that generations of Americans to come can show respect to Mamie and Emmett’s stories.”

The National Trust’s Chief Preservation Officer Katherine Malone-France said, “Our nation will benefit tremendously when Roberts Temple is designated a National Monument, lifting up its profoundly important role in American history. It is imperative that our country appropriately honors the site of Emmett Till’s funeral and of Mamie Till Mobley’s remarkable courage. We are honored to support the Roberts Temple congregation, the Till family, and the local community as they advance this designation and determine how to carry forward the legacies of this powerful place, as a unit of the National Park system.”

Reverend Wheeler Parker, who witnessed his cousin Emmett’s abduction in 1955, and his wife, Dr. Marvel McCain Parker, said, “We are grateful for the introduction of legislation to preserve the legacy of Emmett Till and Mamie Till Mobley by making Roberts Temple a National Monument, which will help to fulfill Mamie’s request for my wife and I to continue her work to ensure her son’s death was not in vain.”

Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ was founded in 1916 and is known as the “mother of all of the Churches of God in Christ in Illinois.” With its founding, it became a central place of worship and political organizing for many who migrated to Chicago from the South during the early 20th Century.

Today, the building remains in use by the Church of God in Christ denomination, now led by Elder Cleven Wardlow who said, “On behalf of the congregants of Roberts Temple and members of the Roberts Family, we strongly support this endeavor as well as the ongoing efforts by racial justice and preservation organizations to obtain federal protection for Roberts Temple.”

Patrick Weems, Executive Director of the Emmett Till Interpretive Center stated, “What took place at Roberts Temple changed the world. We commend the Roberts Temple congregation, the Roberts and Till families, especially Rev. Wheeler Parker, Jr., Dr. Marvel McCain Parker, and Ollie Gordon for their commitment to telling the truth, and we want to thank Senator Duckworth for her leadership in bringing forth this legislation.”

“The time for turning away from this painful chapter in American history is long over” stated Alan Spears, Senior Director for Cultural Resources. “The National Parks Conservation Association applauds Senator Duckworth for introducing this very significant piece of legislation commemorating the legacies of Emmett Till and Mamie Till Mobley.”
For more information on the campaign to designate the Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ National Monument visit their website.

Dr. Seuss illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

The Controversial Career of Dr. Seuss

By: Carly Cohen

The American children’s author, political cartoonist, illustrator, poet, animator, and filmmaker, the brilliant Theodor Seuss Geisel. Dr. Seuss has been extremely well known ever since he started his books and films. The books and films are classics and bring joy and childhood memories.

Dr. Seuss was born on March 2, 1904, and released his first book in 1937 called And To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. In total, he has written over 60 books and sold over 600 million copies throughout his career. In his early career, he attended Lincoln College at the University of Oxford for English literature, but left without receiving a degree and came back to the U.S. After moving back to the United States, Dr. Seuss began to send his work to different advertising agencies, magazines and publishers. In 1927, his first cartoon was published in The Saturday Evening Post.  His career was long, successful, and brilliant.

In the latest news, Dr. Seuss will stop being published due to “hurtful and wrong racist images.” In his books and cartoons, there has been ‘insensitive’ imagery that is causing this news. Dr. Seuss’s enterprise assured consumers that the books which are no longer being published are a part of the plan to “ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprise’s catalog represents and supports all communities and families.”  The decision of this issue most definitely was not easy for the Dr. Seuss organization. Since this is such a serious and sensitive issue, it required for the organization to think it through, bring in experts, and spend long hours deciding on what is best way to maintain Dr. Seuss’ name and be sensitive to all of his readers.

Not all of his books will stop being published, but they still will all be carefully inspected. The confirmed books that will no longer be available for purchase are McElligot’s Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super!, The Cat’s Quizzer, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, and If I Ran the Zoo. The Cat In The Hat has also been under discussion concerning discontinuation, but will be fully examined before any decisions are made.

In The Cats Quizzer, the Japanese character has a bright yellow face and is standing on Mt. Fuji. If I Ran A Zoo shows examples of orientalism and white supremacy. Another issue with the Dr. Seuss books has been that a majority of the human characters are white, which makes it appear that Dr. Seuss focuses on white men and women.

A school in Virginia has already banned the copies of these Dr. Seuss books, and others are having similar discussions.

Even in death, Dr. Seuss receives backlash from his work along with many other brands such as Aunt Jemima pancake mix and Uncle Ben’s Eskimo Pies, which also had to change their branding due to racial issues. Brands from this point on need to pay close attention to their advertising to ensure that they’re being inclusive of all audiences.

ICYMI: Amended Lawsuit Alleges NJ Governor Allowed Institutional Racism

Blueprint Capital Advisors (Blueprint), the only Black asset manager in the state of New Jersey by and through its undersigned counsel, Brown Rudnick, LLP and the Constitutional Litigation Advocacy Group, P.C., today filed an amended complaint directly against New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and senior members of his administration charging blatant, aggressive, and unapologetic racist abuse from the State of New Jersey and seeking injunctive relief for his failure to address the maltreatment.

The amended complaint adds federal racketeering claims against former and current employees of New Jersey’s Division of Investment (DOI) on quid pro quo schemes, entrenched corruption and malfeasance, where external investments were granted to firms on the basis of racial preference using discriminatory practices and policies and in multiple instances Black-owned firms like Blueprint had their intellectual property stolen and provided to larger firms thereby unjustly enriching the firms and individuals who participated in the schemes.

In the amended complaint, the Plaintiff Blueprint seeks declaratory, injunctive and equitable relief, as well as monetary damages, to redress Governor Murphy and the DOI’s violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1981 (“Section 1981”), 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (“Section 1983”), New Jersey Civil Rights Act, racketeering in violation of 18 U.S.C.§ 1962 and N.J.S.A. 2C:41-2, violation of the Fifth Amendment Takings Clause, breaches of contract, fiduciary duty, duty of confidentiality, as well as claims for unfair competition, civil conspiracy, fraud, commercial disparagement, tortious interference with prospective economic advantage, aiding and abetting racketeering, and aiding and abetting fraud.

Blueprint filed its original complaint against the State of New Jersey on June 23, 2020 for racial bias, and also sued BlackRock and Cliffwater LLC for profiting from Blueprint’s proprietary investment program. On September 30, 2020 Blueprint announced that attorneys Michael J. Bowe of Brown Rudnick and Jay Sekulow of Constitutional Litigation and Advocacy Group (CLAG) would join Blueprint’s legal efforts against New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s Department of the Treasury, Division of Investment (DOI), BlackRock Alternative Advisors, and Cliffwater LLC for racial discrimination, fraud and retaliation.  CLAG has been intensely focused on New Jersey’s refusal to comply with the New Jersey Open Records Act and release public information Blueprint believes demonstrates the racial animus and bias that has characterized its relationship with the DOI and underlies their refusal to provide opportunities for other Black-owned firms.

“A Black-owned firm with an innovative solution to New Jersey’s pension fund crisis, was shamefully exploited by the DOI’s entrenched “old-boys” network of political patronage and Wall Street money,” said attorney Michael Bowe. “But, this is not only a case about a past abuse, it is a case about a wrong that continues today, and will continue every day Governor Murphy does nothing. Governor Murphy and his administration shouldn’t say another word about what they are doing about systemic injustice before they address this injustice they are themselves perpetuating. Our 100- page detailed complaint speaks for itself and Governor Murphy should fix this before a Federal court does.”

“Governor Phil Murphy frequently cites with dishonest pride the diversity of his state, his cabinet and the state Democratic Party yet, over the last four years, began working with the DOI and the Assistant Treasurer to attack Jacob Walthour, Jr. after he publicly reported Blueprint’s abuse to, and sought the support of, the African-American community and its religious and political leaders,” said Pastor David Jefferson, Senior Pastor, Metropolitan Baptist Church and board member of National Action Network. “This is a necessary legal fight against Governor Murphy and the DOI to put a stop to exclusionary policies and practices that hurt certain groups and hold all parties who preclude fair and equal access to opportunities accountable.”

“While Blueprint is forging new paths in the financial service sector, they should not have to contend with systemic and systematic racism from Governor Murphy and his administration,” said attorney Jay Sekulow. “Racial and economic justice is everyone’s fight and anti-racism is not only bi-partisan, it transcends politics. This landmark case is about affording equal access and exposing the veil of inequality that exists in the asset management and financial services sector for Black Americans in New Jersey and this country.”

Covid-19 Impact on Artists

Story × Art: Alex Rudin

As we head into the eighth month of Covid-19, the distractions of apple picking, pumpkin carving, and outdoor dining are behind us. Lockdowns have long been lifted and social gatherings have become commonplace. The ominous inevitability of a deadly third wave looms. This guaranteed “dark winter” begs one to reflect on the early days of the pandemic. A time when fear, disinformation, and isolation plagued every household, no matter its inhabitants. 2020 has been a year of postponement, grief, isolation, and reckoning. Yet with struggle comes the opportunity for growth, change, and creation… If you let it. As Andy Warhol once said, “they always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”

As a self-employed artist, uncertainty is a language I speak well. Prior to Covid-19 I spent my days in the School of Visual Arts printshop in NYC. From conceptualizing and prototyping new products for my business, Rudin Studios LLC, to fumbling around for an answer to the age-old question of “what to make,” it is clear I was lost in an artistic haze of looking for purpose. Then Coronavirus hit. Instantaneously everything turned upside down. Suddenly, I was in an unfamiliar town, without the ability to work (silkscreen), miles away from the studio I call home. I remained glued to the news awestruck by the infection and mortality rates. I racked my brain for something to do, how to help, what to make.

I became focused on those who were not as privileged as me. Those who were struggling to find housing, to feed themselves, to protect themselves from this deadly virus which was clearly and disproportionately hurting people of color. I began working on a series of paintings to be auctioned off, 100% of the proceeds going to homeless and trafficked youth in NYC. While the fundraiser was a success, I could not help but feel the conceptual aspects of the work were not important, relevant, or impactful. If I learned anything from my education at Parsons School of Design, it is that concept is king. My artwork slowly began to shift towards the idea of documentation. Buzzwords like “historical” and “unprecedented” flew across the airwaves and fueled my desire to capture and document the struggles of 2020. This was just the beginning.

Soon to follow were the atrocious murders of George Floyd, Ahmed Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, which brought racial justice to the forefront of the American conscience. While the President continuously fanned the flames of racism, the cries for equality and allyship were deafening. It was time to allow my artwork to reflect the times and struggles of our country which so deeply affected me and so many others. Black Lives Matter, and it is the white person’s responsibility to be educated allies; to use the privilege we are born into to advocate for our oppressed brothers and sisters. I wanted to help acknowledge, reflect, and correct the institutional racism that is so insidiously intertwined with our institutions and the American way of being.

Concurrently, the 2020 Presidential election was ramping up. Climate change’s incendiary winds pillaged the west. The wearing of masks became a polarizing political tool. And all the while, the current administration refused to acknowledge or accept responsibility for any of it. Rather shifting blame, denying, and lying became the governing practice. The global importance of what was taking place in the United States was apparent. Election 2020 was to be a reckoning. On the docket: racial justice, women’s rights, climate change, science, and healthcare, to name a few. A polarizing choice between Id and empathy.

For the first time in my career, my purpose seemed clear. I began making work that focused on the progression of human rights, equality, and fairness relying on my trusty formula of stylized portraiture and anecdotal commentary. I firmly believe that artists have a social responsibility to reflect the times we live in. The majority of my work has focused on uncovering and expressing truths about what it means to be a woman in 2020. However, one cannot comment on the feminine experience without addressing the current political situation and the oppression experienced by American minorities. While the Trump Administration continued to attack women’s rights, promote violence, ignore climate change, and fan the flames of racism, I relied on my creative voice to talk about the challenges we faced not only as women, but as a nation. That being said, I decided to devote my time to creating a series of posters for the 2020 election to help galvanize the female vote. This included partnering with Women for Biden Harris 2020, Women for the Win, and Article 3 among numerous other female-run organizations.

While the trials and tribulations of 2020 have forever altered the fabric of American reality, so has it altered me. A year such as this begs internal personal reflection if not metamorphosis. To find purpose, love, and empathy through the chaos of hate and violence is the silver-lining we all need. In a time where division is the name of the game, we must transcend the idea of the “other.” As the most recent Covid-19 wave surges across the country, I implore anyone with the creative impulse to say something, to do so. Pick up the pen. Document the times, the thoughts, the fears that come along with living through such tumultuousness. Follow the empathy, the creativity, and the voice inside telling you to advocate for those less fortunate. As Thomas Paine aptly stated, “The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection.” If you find yourself in a place of privilege, take it upon yourself to seize the opportunity in front of you. It is not an opportunity for financial incentive or career advancement, but for internal revolution. Soon, life will “go back to normal,” but there’s nothing normal about what we have witnessed. Allow the intensity of experience to alter you. For when the time has come and gone, and you reflect upon 2020, wouldn’t it be nice to say that through all the sadness, grief, and fear a better version of yourself was uncovered?

Final Presidential Debate

By Hannah DiPilato 

The final presidential debate took place on Thursday. Significantly less chaotic than the first debate, both candidates were able to express their opinions on certain issues and to respond to the moderator, Kristen Welker‘s, questions, for the most part. 

The first unavoidable topic presented was the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Current President Donald Trump took over the first question claiming that a vaccine would be distributed as soon as a few weeks from now. He claimed the military is ready to distribute 100 million vaccinations. He also placed emphasis on the fact coronavirus is a worldwide problem as well as emphasizing his own recovery.  

Presidential candidate Joe Biden came in with a rebuttal focusing on families that have lost loved ones as a result of the pandemic and how Trump will not take responsibility for these deaths. He also used the statistic that a predicted 200,000 Americans would die before the end of 2020 at the current rate. Trump disagreed with this and compared coronavirus to the Swine Flu which occurred while Joe Biden was Vice President. 

Welker then led the conversation to lockdowns as a result of Covid-19. Biden began by saying he plans to shut down Covid, not the country. He wants to get places with high reproduction rates under control. 

Trump’s main point was that schools should reopen because children aren’t the main concern in relation to the pandemic. He talked about his son’s rapid recovery and his belief schools should open. 

“I don’t look at this as blue states and red states, we’re the United States,” said Biden. However, he quickly followed this statement by saying upticks have been seen mostly in red states. Trump responded that America should not shut down, but instead just protect the elderly and those at high risk. 

After a significant amount of time discussing coronavirus, the topic switched to national security. Biden questioned why Russia, China and Iran are interfering with the election and Trump has not taken any measures to handle this. Trump refuted this saying nobody is tougher on Russia than himself and pointed fingers at Biden saying Russia is paying Biden a lot of money. 

Biden then explained how he has never taken money from another country but points a finger at Trump who has overseas accounts, pressuring Trump to reveal his tax records. Trump then explained he prepays his taxes and that he would love to release the taxes as soon as he can. He stressed that the IRS “treats him very badly.” 

The next main topic of the debate was American families, beginning with a focus on healthcare. Trump wants to create a healthcare plan that is better than Obamacare while always protecting those with preexisting conditions. He accused Biden of wanting to eliminate private healthcare. 

Biden responded that he supports private insurance and no one would lose their private insurance under his plan. He said he wants to continue Obamacare as Bidencare He explained he wants everyone to have a public healthcare option and he plans to lower drug prices and insurance premiums. Trump also compared Biden to the United States Senator Bernie Sanders, but Biden said he disagreed with Sanders’ plans. 

Welker asked both candidates if this was the right time to raise the minimum wage considering the Covid-19 pandemic. Trump explained he would consider raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, but that minimum wage heavily depends on the state. On the other hand, Biden believes everyone deserves a minimum wage of at least $15 an hour in order to live without multiple jobs. 

Many people have previously had issues with how Trump has handled immigration laws in the past. His views have not seemed to change since he said illegal immigrant children are brought by “coyotes and bad people” to America as a ploy to get into the country. 

Biden’s response was that the children were not brought by “bad people” but parents that deserve equality. If he were to be elected, he plans to make more undocumented people citizens and able to stay in the United States. Trump then responded that if you take in a rapist or murder ICE then has to come to find them and only those with the “lowest IQ” will come back to get caught. 

The Black Lives Matter movement has brought systemic racism into the media, so Welker ensured both candidates addressed these issues. Biden gave a very sympathetic response where he spoke about wanting to learn more about systemic racism and that he understands the hardships families of color go through. He touched on white privilege and institutionalized racism as well and believes there should be less imprisonment for drug problems. 

Trump claimed that “no one has done what I’ve done” regarding racism. He claimed he has great relationships and that that he “is the least racist person in the room.” This was ironic considering the Kristen Welker is a person of color. He also claimed he has done the most for racism since Abraham Lincoln. 

Nearing the end of the debate, the topic of conversation was climate change. Trump explained he created a lot of “programs” to battle climate change but was being incredibly vague. He explained America has a very good carbon emission and he defended his decision to back out of the Paris Accord. 

“We don’t have much time, we’re going to pass the point of no return, return the next eight to 10 years,” said Biden on the topic. Biden wants more industries to transition to clean energy and he has a plan to have 100% clean energy by 2050. 

At the end of the debate, each candidate was asked to speak directly to those that did not vote for them if they were elected. Trump explained he wanted to make the country successful, how it was before the pandemic. He expressed that he has been able to have the best unemployment rate for minorities and how he wants to cut taxes, unlike Biden. 

Biden clarified that he represents everyone, whether someone voted for him or not. He said he would emphasize hope over fear and science over fiction. He wants to help the economy, end systemic racism and promote clean energy. He concluded by saying what is on the ballot is the character of the United States.

The aftermath of the debate on social media was less prominent compared to the first debate, but there were still a few highlights. Rapper 50 Cent said he will be voting for Trump because of Biden’s tax plan.

“Yeah, I don’t want to be 20 Cent. 62 percent is a very, very, bad idea. I don’t like it,” said the rapper on Tuesday. 

Rita Azar illustrates article on white militia and violence for 360 MAGAZINE

ARMED WHITE MILITIA VIOLENCE

Leading national racial justice organizational leaders issued a joint statement on armed white militia violence and police camaraderie with militia members following the arrest of a militia member in connection with the killing of two police accountability protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

“Tuesday night, two protesters who were advocating for accountability following the horrific police shooting of Jacob Blake were allegedly shot and killed by a 17-year-old associated with a white militia group. We are outraged by these killings. The ability of a minor to travel from another state at the urging of adult white supremacists organizing on Facebook highlights the corrosive and dangerous convergence of race, police violence, and the presence of these violent groups. That this volatile cocktail was allowed to develop led directly to one of the most violent nights in the city’s history. In light of the fact that the suspect apparently crossed state lines in order to commit this crime, the federal government should launch an investigation to determine whether he was involved in an interstate criminal conspiracy.
“We are equally outraged by videos showing Kenosha Police Department Officers exhibiting camaraderie toward militia members – who were out in violation of the curfew before the shootings — and also seemingly ignoring protesters who tried to identify the shooter in this incident. Police solidarity with white militia members is abhorrent and intolerable – and it represents a highly dangerous threat to the lives and rights of people of color. In addition, the fact that Kenosha Police Chief Daniel Miskinis blamed protestors for the killings is another example of the racially disparate treatment that Americans across the country have been protesting against since May and for decades before. We call on Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul, to immediately investigate and prosecute these killings, the shooting of Mr. Blake, and the increasingly pervasive issue of armed white militia members confronting and attacking protesters demanding police accountability. They must also demand the immediate removal of Chief Miskinis.

“Finally, turning to Facebook, the prevalence of armed white militia groups organizing on the platform is not new. Facebook must also be held accountable for its inaction while these violent groups have been allowed to grow and organize. Facebook must take immediate steps to ensure that its platform is not used to foment violence and hatred — and to take immediate and comprehensive action to put an end to groups using its services to organize activities that perpetuate racism and cause harm.”
 
The following leaders signed the statement:
 
·       Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
·       Reverend Al Sharpton, founder and president, National Action Network
·       Melanie L. Campbell, president and CEO, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, Convener, Black Women’s Roundtable
·       Kristen Clarke, president and executive director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
·       Vanita Gupta, president and CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
·       Derrick Johnson, president and CEO, NAACP
·       Marc H. Morial, president and CEO, National Urban League
 
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute (TMI) is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Follow LDF and TMI on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.
 
National Action Network is one of the leading civil rights organizations in the Nation with chapters throughout the entire United States. Founded in 1991 by Reverend Al Sharpton, NAN works within the spirit and tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to promote a modern civil rights agenda that includes the fight for one standard of justice, decency and equal opportunities for all people regardless of race, religion, nationality or gender. For more information go to www.nationalactionnetwork.net.
The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP), founded in 1976, is one of the most active civil rights and social justice organizations in the nation “dedicated to increasing civic engagement, economic and voter empowerment in Black America.” The Black Women’s Roundtable (BWR) is the women and girls empowerment arm of the NCBCP. At the forefront of championing just and equitable public policy on behalf of Black women, BWR promotes their health and wellness, economic security & prosperity, education, and global empowerment as key elements for success. Visit www.ncbcp.org and follow us on Twitter @ncbcp and Instagram @thenationalcoalition.
 
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. Now in its 56th year, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is continuing its quest to “Move America Toward Justice.” The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and voting rights.
 
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 220 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.
 
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s largest and foremost grassroots civil rights organization. The mission of the NAACP is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons. Members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights and social justice in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work by visiting naacp.org
 
The National Urban League is a historic civil rights organization dedicated to economic empowerment in order to elevate the standard of living in historically underserved urban communities. The National Urban League spearheads the efforts of its 90 local affiliates through the development of programs, public policy research and advocacy, providing direct services that impact and improve the lives of more than 2 million people annually nationwide. Visit www.nul.org and follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @NatUrbanLeague.

Violence Spikes in Major Cities

By Eamonn Burke

Last month, 65 people were shot in New York City and 87 in Chicago over the course of the 4th of July weekend. Six children were killed that weekend as well. The holiday may have been a peak in homicides, but numbers of shootings and deaths have been trending upward as the nation handles a pandemic and a historic recession. The amount of shootings in NYC from January to July exceeded the total for the entire year of 2019. Other major cities are experiencing high rates of gun violence as well, such as Philadelphia, where more than 240 people have been killed this year and which now has the 2nd highest homicide rate in the nation. Chicago saw a violent July, with 584 shootings and 105 deaths. Even smaller cities like Pheonix and Omaha are seeing rises.

As a whole, homicides are up 24% in the nation since last year. Data shows homicides and shootings trending upward sharply since late May in major cities across the US. However, as a national study shows, gun violence was creeping upward even before the pandemic began.

President Trump blames the rise in violent crime to “radical” Democratic politicians , such as Major Bill DeBlasio, despite signs that this is a bipartisan issue. DeBlasio himself blames the shootings on the virus, among other factors such as the BLM protests and faults in the criminal justice system that have recently been exposed. The Council on Criminal Justice also concluded that the virus is the root issue, and that it must be stopped first in order to reduce homicides. A chart of homicides in Chicago does in fact show a major spike after the beginning of the protests, and the BLM protests in 2014 and 2015 had a similar effect on gun violence. However, further analysis of police data instead points to a decrease in gun-related arrests as a potential cause, as well as the increase in gun purchases in recent months.

Police say that many of these crimes are gang related, and a shortage of staff due to the virus have made it harder to crack down on crime. DeBlasio was adamant about getting back on top of the gun crisis through the courts: “Our courts not only need to reopen, they need to reopen as fully and as quickly as possible.” Chief administrative judge Lawrence Marks fired back, saying the blame of courts was “false, misleading and irresponsible.”

A strange finding amongst this gun crisis is that rates of other crimes such as burglaries have not followed the same trend, and have even decreased in some cases. As this is extremely odd, it’s possible that it’s a matter of what is getting reported given the complications of COVID-19 and the BLM protests on policing.

Mike Ramos illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

Police Kill Mike Ramos

By Eamonn Burke

New footage of the shooting of 42 year old Mike Ramos in Austin, Texas was released by the Austin Police Department last week. On April 24 of this year Ramos was shot after being cornered by police when a 911 was placed reporting two people (the other was his girlfriend) doing drugs in a car. Despite yelling that he was unarmed, which it was later proved he was, the police fired non-lethal bullets at Ramos. He then tried to flee the location in his car, but was shot and killed. His girlfriend survived the altercation. 

Ramos became one of the names that was chanted in the streets of Austin during BLM protests over the death of George Floyd. There were demands for the termination of Austin Police Chief Brian Manley as well as calls for more systemic changes such as defunding the police in the city, which has a history of inequality and racism. 

The new videos of the murder from four different body cameras do not show the shots that killed Ramos, but they can be heard. The video was reviewed by the District Attorney Margaret Moore, and the Police Department’s Special Investigations Unit alongside Texas Rangers are working to determine whether there will be charges against Officer Christopher Taylor, who fired the bullets that killed Ramos. The attorneys for Taylor say that the video is misleading and should not have been released to the public. “No judge has ever even ruled on whether or not evidence the government has released will even be admissible at trial” said attorney Doug McConnell

Mike Ramos’ mother Brenda Ramos is devastated and believes that the killing was unjustified. “I’m going to be in pain for the rest of my life,” she says, and states that she is unable to watch the videos.

Ellen DeGeneres illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

Ellen’s Reputation

By Eamonn Burke

The reputation of Ellen Degeneres and her show, The Ellen Degeneres Show, are unstable after employees of the production alleged there was a “toxic work environment.” This included citations of being fired after medical leave, bullying, racism, and sexual misconduct by producers. While there were rumors of Ellen’s toughness, this is the first time a proper investigation has been done internally. 

Of the report, released in July, Ellen said in a statement: “We all have to be more mindful about the way our words and actions affect others, and I’m glad the issues at our show were brought to my attention.”

This report is not the only scratch on Ellen’s reputation, as it is the culmination of multiple years of rumors. Back in 2018, in an interview response to the Hollywood stories of Ellen not being as cheerful and kind as she appears on television, she called the rumors an “outright lie.” In early 2019, she was criticized again for pardoning Kevin Hart of his previous homophobic comments in an interview with him. A photo of her talking with George Bush in late 2019 drew distaste again, though she defended herself and said that they were friends despite different political beliefs. 

The closer examination of Ellen started with a November interview with Dakota Johnson, in which Johnson awkwardly calls out Ellen for lying about not being invited to her birthday party. It led to a viral Twitter thread including ugly stories about Ellen’s meanness which further damaged her reputation. Lastly before the report was an April scuffle with Ellen’s audience as she insensitively compared quarantine to being in jail while she sat in her mansion. It was also reported that her employees had been told very little about the future of the show. 

Most recently was a Daily Mail article revealing that Ellen may leave the show or be “cancelled” and that employees are terrified of this scenario. “The show feels done” says a source, despite producer Andy Lassner asserting that “No one is going off the air” in a tweet. It is possible that James Corden will replace Ellen on her daytime television slot.