Protests 2020

July 4th is U.S. Independence Day. But D.L. Hughley, the comedian and author, suggests in his new book that all U.S. holidays "be put on a probationary period to ascertain their relevance and value to All Americans, acknowledging that days off are nice and that mattress sales must occur ..."

His book, co-written with Doug Moe of the Upright Citizens Brigade, is Surrender, White People! Our Unconditional Terms for Peace.

Updated at 9:35 p.m. ET

The Washington Redskins football team is conducting a "thorough review" of its name, an apparent break from the NFL franchise's longtime resistance to consider such a move.

A short time later, Major League Baseball's Cleveland Indians said it would consider the "best path forward with regard to our team name." It said the team wants to embrace responsibility to advance social justice.

Lauren Sigfusson / WUWM

The Milwaukee Common Council's Public Safety and Health Committee is urging the Fire and Police Commission to adopt a number of changes in police procedures and recruitment efforts.

At Thursday’s special meeting, Alderman Khalif Rainey said he wants Milwaukee police to be required to report every time they pull their gun, mace or taser while on duty. Under Rainey’s proposal, officers would also have to report where the incident occurred.

People once wished each other well on Independence Day by saying: "Have a glorious Fourth!"

A bit antique, perhaps, in the best of times, but a phrase you still heard. Until now.

Can you imagine well-wishers offering that sentiment this weekend, without a trace of irony or a wistful look?

Not likely, not in the summer of 2020, the summer of resurgent COVID-19 cases, of restaurants and beaches that had reopened only to close again — of workers recently returned to work who have been laid off again.

NPR / YouTube

The U.S. celebrates this Independence Day amid nationwide protests and calls for systemic reforms.

In Richmond, Va., the former capital of the Confederacy, a bronze statue of Confederate general Stonewall Jackson sitting triumphantly astride his horse, Little Sorrel, no longer towers above that city's Monument Avenue.

When Timothy Berry decided to attend the U.S. Military Academy West Point, patriotism was one of his driving factors. He describes it as an active verb, not merely "a flag waving."

"I have always had a profound appreciation for what this country has said its ideals are," Berry said. "But being a Black American, in particular, one that served in uniform, I've quickly realized that there were just a lot of contradictions in there."

FedEx, the title sponsor of the Washington Redskins' stadium, is asking the team to change its name following a report that investors are lobbying for the company to cut ties with the National Football League team.

FedEx, which paid $205 million in 1999 for the naming rights to the team's stadium in Landover, Md., said in a statement on Thursday that it had "communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name."

Teams in the National Basketball Association, the American pro sports league long most vocal on social justice issues, are stepping up their civic participation, as three have now volunteered their facilities to serve as voting sites amid the pandemic.

The development comes as local election officials, especially those in major metropolitan areas, frantically search for places that are centrally located and big enough to allow voters to social distance while waiting in line and casting their ballots.

"Lift Every Voice and Sing" will be played or performed live before every Week 1 NFL game, as the league considers ways to recognize victims of systemic racism.

The song known as the Black national anthem will play at the start of every season opener game, coming before "The Star Spangled Banner," a source familiar with the league's discussions told NPR.

June 2020 was a pride month that looked different from past years, and not just because people were socially distancing and wearing masks: Demonstrations for LGBTQ equality overlapped with protests against violence and systemic racism against Black people.

At the intersection of these two fights for equality are Black transgender people.

Imara Jones, an independent journalist and founder of TransLash media, told NPR's All Things Considered, that this moment has been "a crucible."

In a year marked by coronavirus fears, a slowing economy and nationwide protests calling for an end to systemic racism, more and more Americans are looking to arm themselves, according to a key government indicator.

The FBI reported that Americans set a new record of 3.9 million background checks to purchase or possess firearms in June. That eclipsed the previous record set in March of 3.7 million background checks.

Wynton Marsalis has always been deeply engaged in the subject of American race relations. The issue was a crucial part of his education as a young musician in New Orleans, and it has been a core preoccupation of his own work going as far back as Black Codes (From the Underground), a trailblazing album from 1985.

A Black Facebook employee is accusing his employer of racial discrimination.

In a complaint filed Thursday with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Oscar Veneszee Jr. said the social network does not give Black workers equal opportunities in their careers.

When Christian Picciolini was a neo-Nazi, he heard the term "white power" all the time. It was the term neo-Nazis used as a greeting, as a pejorative, to instill fear, even to sign off letters in lieu of "sincerely."

"It was also a proclamation that distilled what we believed in into two words," Picciolini — who is now an author and founder of the Free Radicals Project, a group that works to prevent extremism — told NPR's Morning Edition.

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