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OAH Statement on White House Conference on American History

The Organization of American Historians speaks out against  President Trump’s crude attempt to turn history into propaganda. In his September 17, 2020, speech at the National Archives on history education, President Trump railed against “Critical race theory, the 1619 Project, and the crusade against American history,” which he characterized as “toxic propaganda, ideological poison that,

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Poor kids get hit twice when landlords ignore lead law

By Rod Watson

Read the full article from Buffalo News, here.

“Exposure to lead in chipping, peeling paint can cause brain and nervous system damage, slow a child’s growth and development, and cause learning and behavior problems. The damage can be irreversible. Yet the only recourse for a parent unwittingly renting a lead-infested property is to file their own lawsuit. And even then, the federal Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act doesn’t allow for punitive awards, or even for the lifetime impacts of stunted development. It allows only for ‘3 times the amount of damages incurred by such individual.’”

AG: Buffalo landlord knowingly allowed dozens of kids to be lead poisoned

By Samantha Christmann

Read the full article from Buffalo News, here.

“Since 2013, at least 63 of the Dalfin-controlled properties have been cited for lead hazards, and nearly two dozen Dalfin properties have been associated with lead poisoned children, the attorney general’s office said. After receiving the initial citations, Dalfin and an associated group of businesses and individuals rented the homes to families anyway without making any of the lead remediations required by law, the office said.”

We’ve Entered the Era of ‘Branding for Black Lives’

By Dave Zirin

Read the full article from The Nation, here.

“Amid this push and pull between player dissent and league branding, a hero did emerge—but not in the NFL. Naomi Osaka won the US Open in thrilling fashion, and the 22-year-old tennis star wore a different mask before every match with a different name of someone who had been killed by police. After her final triumph, a comeback victory against Victoria Azarenka, ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi asked Osaka, ‘You had seven masks with seven names, what was the message you wanted to send?’ She gave a response for the ages, looking at Rinaldi and saying, ‘Well… what was the message you got?’”

Report: PPP loan program shortchanged Buffalo’s Black neighborhoods

By Jerry Zremski

Read the full article from Buffalo News, here.

“The federal government’s main effort to rescue small businesses during the pandemic tended to benefit wealthier neighborhoods far more than predominantly Black parts of metro Buffalo, according to a new study by a group that researches federal policy and its implications nationwide. The study found that the ZIP code with the largest Black population in Buffalo, on the city’s East Side, received the smallest number of loans. Meanwhile, the most loans locally went to the 14221 ZIP code, which includes Williamsville and parts of Amherst and Clarence.”

Where Calling the Police Isn’t the Only Option

By Sarah Holder and Kara Harris

Read the full article from CityLab, here.

“In so many of the police shootings that have inspired protests since the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police in May, fatal encounters with officers began with minor, often unrelated complaints. ‘Abolition seeks to eradicate this Jim Crow system of public safety — not merely a two-tiered system, but a system where one tier benefits by extracting from the other,’ writes Josie Duffy Rice, a journalist and lawyer, in Vanity Fair. ‘Nowhere is the extra layer of unnecessary violence more reflected than in our insistence on sending men with guns to resolve mental health crises.’”

Black Labor Leaders Are Needed Now More Than Ever

By Marc Bayard

Read the full article from The Nation, here.

“These actions and acts of radical defiance by workers have made it clear that systemic racism cannot be separated from the growing and perverse economic inequalities that have devastated Black workers and Black America for generations, and made them much more vulnerable to the current global pandemic. To win the corporate accountability required to rectify this inequality, our labor and worker movement must embrace this racial awakening and elevate and adequately resource Black people in roles of leadership and strategy.”

Eviction is Not the Answer

By Lee Flannery

Read the full article from Planetizen, here.

“Matthew Desmond, director of the Eviction Lab at Princeton University, understands the devastating impact of eviction during a time when unemployment has reached levels to rival those seen during the Great Depression. Demond’s recent opinion piece describes the real-life consequences of insufficient federal rental aid support and a housing crisis that forces the majority of sub-poverty line tenants to allocate over half of their income to rent.”

They’ll give your killer water and ignore your gasps for air: An American love song is violent

By Jeneé Osterheldt

Read the full article from Boston Globe, here.

Police will give water to Kyle Rittenhouse, your killer, before he shoots you, Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum. And after you die they will tell the world how he was cleaning walls before he shot you for protesting police brutality. They’ll barely say your names. You were white and fighting for Black lives, so they are burying you like they bury us.

Blue Bloods: America’s Brotherhood of Police Officers

By Eve L. Ewing

Read the full article from Vanity Fair, here.

History would suggest that unionism and policing are, at their foundation, incompatible. For one thing, the officers who founded the FOP made it very clear that it was not a union. In the volume The Fraternal Order of Police 1915-1976: A History, a work commissioned by the FOP itself, cofounder Martin L. Toole is quoted as saying, “We are banded together for our own enjoyment!” Founding officers rejected the name “United Association of Police because ‘that name sounded too much like Union, and Union sounded too antagonistic.’ ”

Tito Ruiz’s camera is his ‘weapon of choice’ in exhibit featuring Buffalo police protests

By Nick Lippa

Read the full article from WBFO, here.

It wasn’t just George Floyd’s name heard at protests across Buffalo this summer. The names of Quentin Suttles, Wardel ‘Meech’ Davis, and Cariol Horne were all chanted as a national fight against systematic racism continues. Photographer Tito Ruiz was on the front line with protestors to capture the emotion felt locally in Western New York’s fight for racial justice. Now, more than 30 of his large prints are on display as part of a solo exhibit at CEPA Gallery.

Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and the Limits of Representation

By Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

Read the full article from The New Yorker, here.

“We are living in the recent shadow of a two-term Black President and two Black Attorneys General. And, despite this unprecedented concentration of Black political power, not much has changed for the vast majority of Black people. This was certainly true before the ravages of COVID-19 measured the exact depths of racial injustice in the country. There may be a multitude of contextual factors and contingencies that explain the impotence of the Black political class to change the conditions experienced by ordinary Black people, but those explanations do not change that basic reality.”

COVID-19’s Disproportionate Effects on Children of Color Will Challenge the Next Generation

By Faith Mitchell

Read the full article from Urban Wire, here.

“People of color, especially Black and Latino people, are not only more likely to contract COVID-19 and die from it, but they are also disproportionately affected by its economic consequences. Black and Latino adults report high rates of family financial insecurity and hardship. In July, 64 percent of Latino adults, 57 percent of Black adults, and 55 percent of Asian adults who responded to the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey said at least one member of their household had lost employment income since March 13.”

Why ‘White’ should be capitalized, too

By Nell Irvin Painter

Read the full article from Washington Post, here.

“Eve L. Ewing, a poet and sociologist of education at the University of Chicago, recently started capitalizing ‘White’ to emphasize the presence of whiteness as a racial identity: ‘Whiteness, she says, is not only an absence.’ She compares the fates of the McCloskeys, a white couple who pointed loaded firearms at protesters in St. Louis, with that of young Tamir Rice, who lost his life simply for playing with a toy gun in Cleveland. The capital W stresses ‘White’ as a powerful racial category whose privileges should be embedded in its definition.”

How I Became a Police Abolitionist

By Derecka Purnell

Read the full article from The Atlantic, here.

“The first shooting I witnessed was by a cop. I was 12. He was angry that his cousin skipped a sign-in sheet at my neighborhood recreation center. I was teaching my sister how to shoot free throws when the officer stormed in alongside the court, drew his weapon, and shot the boy in the arm. My sister and I hid in the locker room for hours afterward. The officer was back at work the following week.”

You Want a Confederate Monument? My Body Is a Confederate Monument

By Caroline Randall Williams

Read the full article from The New York Times, here.

“I have rape-colored skin. My light-brown-blackness is a living testament to the rules, the practices, the causes of the Old South.

If there are those who want to remember the legacy of the Confederacy, if they want monuments, well, then, my body is a monument. My skin is a monument.”

Forget snow. Treatment of fired cop now shapes national image

By Rod Watson

Read the full article from Buffalo News, here.

“Buffalo’s insecurity and paranoia over its national image are well-known. But now it might actually do some good after Cariol Horne made the rounds of network TV and radio shows in recent days, from CNN and CBS to ‘The Breakfast Club,’ the nationally syndicated radio show.”

Whose Streets? Black Streets

By Amina Yasin

Read the full article from *The Tyee, here.

“Today, Black people across North America are reclaiming their cities with calls of ‘Whose Streets,’ ‘George Floyd’ and, in Toronto, ‘Justice for Regis’ and ‘No justice, no peace.’ Urban planners need to interrogate whether the profession has value if it fails to protect the public interest by not analyzing the historic and current manifestations of racism, specifically anti-Black racism, that pervades it.”

The End of Black Politics

By Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

Read the full article from The New York Times, here.

“The revolt in American cities, amid a deadly pandemic that is disproportionately killing African-Americans, suggests that people feel the political system cannot solve their problems. Many have been looking back at the urban uprisings of the 1960s to make sense of our situation. Those protests exposed a shocking degree of racism in the supposedly liberal North. A main demand from protesters then was more black political control of cities.”

Universities must help shape the post-COVID-19 world

By Ira Harkavy, Sjur Bergan, Tony Gallagher and Hilligje van’t Land

Read the full article from University World News, here.

“The post-COVID-19 world must be based on the values we cherish: democracy, human rights and the rule of law as well as social justice, inclusion and equity. Higher education can add momentum by renewing our commitment to our core values of academic freedom, institutional autonomy and engagement by students, faculty and staff, and re-emphasising the role of higher education institutions as societal actors for the public good.”

Stop Blaming Black People for Dying of the Coronavirus

By Ibram X. Kendi

Read the full article from The Atlantic, here.

“There is nothing wrong with begging all Americans to take this vicious virus seriously. There is nothing wrong with begging one’s black grandfather or white daughter or Latina sister or Asian father or Native friend to social distance. There is everything wrong with lecturing a racial group to behave better as a solution to racial disparities, as U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams did on Friday during a White House press conference.”

Yes, this virus discriminates, because we still do

By Rod Watson

Read the full article from Buffalo News, here.

“In fact, many of the same health disparities that disproportionately affect African Americans are the very same health conditions that make a person more susceptible to severe illness from Covid-19. Yet very few people are talking about that, or what we should be doing about it. And the ones who are talking aren’t being heard.”

Joe Biden’s Success Shows We Gave Obama a Free Pass

By Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

Read the full article from The New York Times, here.

“Mr. Obama’s free pass is also extended to Joe Biden who has strong support among black voters. But we won’t really know the sustenance of Mr. Biden’s black support until the South Carolina primaries. Mrs. Clinton also had deep black support in 2008 — until she didn’t. If there looks like an ‘electable’ alternative he might be in trouble.”