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Senate Passes Bill Marking Juneteenth as a Federal Holiday

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On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bill marking June 19th as Juneteenth National Independence Day.

What We Know:

  • Juneteenth is the commemoration of slavery ending in the U.S. in 1865. Former President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, ending slavery in the U.S. However, slaves in Galveston, Texas, were unaware of the proclamation and remained enslaved. On June 19, 1865, two months after the Civil War ended and Confederate General Robert E. Lee conceded, Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston and informed the slaves that they were officially free.
  • Those who celebrate Juneteenth do so by having picnics or cookouts with family and friends or attending parades or festivals held throughout their city. With Galveston being the birthplace of the holiday, the city holds many Juneteenth events and receives a large number of visitors to celebrate the holiday. Last month, the city unveiled a 5,000 square foot mural titled “Absolute Equality” that celebrates U.S. Black troops and is placed where Granger informed the slaves of their freedom. Texas made Juneteenth a state holiday in 1980, and through the years, every state, except South Dakota, honors the holiday in some way.
  • The push to make Juneteenth a federal holiday comes from the civil unrest experienced throughout 2020. The police killing of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor reignited the Black Lives Matter movement, prompting protests against police brutality and racism across the country. With the increase of protests around the world, conversations of the treatment of Black Americans in the U.S. throughout decades increased as well.
  • In response to the protest, various companies gave their employees June 19th off, which pushed the notion of making Juneteenth into a federal holiday. In 2020, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) initially blocked a bill asking for Juneteenth to be a federal holiday because he felt it would cost too much to pay federal employees PTO. Ultimately he changed his mind and voted yes with the majority.

“Although I strongly support celebrating Emancipation, I objected to the cost and lack of debate. While it still seems strange that having taxpayers provide federal employees paid time off is now required to celebrate the end of slavery, it is clear that there is no appetite in Congress to further discuss the matter. Therefore, I do not intend to object,” said Johnson.

  • While Juneteenth is on its way to becoming a federal holiday in the U.S., educators are fighting against laws removing critical race theory from their criteria. Last month a few states started adopting bills that dictate the type of material educators can teach regarding race and racism in the U.S. Although the bills focus on critical race theory, educators feel like they already don’t teach on the subject, and instead, the bill is stopping them from touching on matters of race in general.
  • Gov. Kevin Stitt (R-OK) signed a bill that states that educators are forbidden to teach things like “one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex or that someone should feel discomfort, guilt or distress on account of their race or sex.” Educators believe their jobs are at risk if they decide to touch on the racial events of the past year or if a student brings it up, and they respond. Many educators in Oklahoma were going to speak on the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre but now feel as if they are pigeon-hole on how deep they can drive into the subject.

If confirmed, Juneteenth will be the 11th federal holiday celebrated in the U.S. The bill now needs the approval of the U.S. House of Representatives before it can be given to President Joe Biden for signature.

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Entertainment

Former NFL Champ Nate Burleson joins CBS Mornings

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Former NFL player Nate Burleson has officially made his hosting debut on the newly branded morning talk show, CBS Mornings.

What We Know:

  • It was announced earlier this month that Burleson would replace Anthony Mason. Previously Mason joined Gayle King and Tony Doukoupil as host of the former CBS This Morning.  The show was rebranded in tandem to the relocation of their set to Times Square and Burleson joining the cast.
  • Since 2017, former NFL player Burleson has been the host of Good Morning Football on the NFL Network and has served as an analyst on The NFL Today on CBS. Burleson will continue his role on The NFL Today.

  • Burleson is the second former NFL player to join a network morning TV show, with Michael Strahan playing a major role as a co-host on ABC‘s Good Morning America.

Burleson credits Michael Strahan as the ‘blueprint’ for his career path, explaining, “He’s one of those individuals that I took a liking to once I retired because he rewrote the blueprint. I don’t want to say that he is the blueprint, because there has been plenty of players that have transitioned out of the game into TV. There have been African American men and women before him that have done the same thing, but he is a guy that has shown me the lay of the land, especially being a transplant from the West Coast to now New York.”

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Crime

Classes canceled at Howard University as US Government investigates ransomware cyberattack

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Howard University officials along with leading cyber experts are trying to assess what has been compromised in an active ransomware, cyberattack on the HBCU campus. Officials have deemed the attack criminal.

What We Know:

  • Monday, the university issued a statement to faculty and students that “the service disruption was caused by a ransomware cyberattack against the university.”
  • Classes have been canceled for Tuesday and Wednesday. Students have been notified that online and hybrid classes will remain canceled and only essential staff will be allowed on campus. All in-person undergraduate, graduate, professional, and clinical experiential courses will resume as scheduled on Wednesday.
  • A ransomware attack can be triggered by simple, everyday activity. Opening a unintended link inside of can lead to a cyberattack.  Computer, tablet and phone users are encouraged to change their passwords and security questions regularly.

Howard University is home to several notable high profile Black alumni such as Chadwick Boseman and Phylicia Rashad.

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Headlines

Polo G Reportedly Arrested in Los Angeles on Concealed Weapon Charge

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Polo G was arrested on in Los Angeles on Monday, TMZ reports.

What We Know:

According to the outlet, Polo G was arrested after police allegedly found a concealed firearm on the Hall of Fame rapper, which TMZ points out is a felony. The supposed discovery of the firearm occurred when a vehicle Polo G was a passenger in was stopped.

It’s currently unclear why the vehicle was pulled over in the first place but it was reported that a male juvenile was also detained during the stop.

Polo was similarly arrested while he was in Miami for his Hall of Fame album release party. The arrest, which took place back in June, resulted in the rapper getting hit with charges of of battery on a police officer, resisting arrest with violence, and criminal mischief. The rapper was also a passenger in a vehicle at the time of that arrest.

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