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Momentum
A blog from Medium about the fight against anti-Black racism.
Taylor Hall takes a moment to rest on top of picnic blankets and a red, black, and green stars-and-stripes flag while watching clouds in Stockton Park in Detroit on Juneteenth 2021. I took this photo because it feels like not enough images are made of Black women relaxing and just being. She looked so content and relaxed that I had to snap a photo. All images in this post taken by Val Waller for Momentum at Medium.


Instagram-ready: An installation reading “Free 1865” is surrounded by red, black, and green balloons at a Birmingham, Alabama, Juneteenth celebration. All images in this post taken by Joi West for Momentum at Medium.

File This Under: Black Joy

‘We unabashedly celebrate our Black joy as a form of resistance’

During a very stormy day, I photographed various Juneteenth celebrations across the Birmingham, Alabama, region. These events included a program at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, a small potluck hosted by Alabama Rally Against Injustice and Cell A65, and an intimate Juneteenth gathering hosted by my friend Brandi.

Seeing people of various ages and cultures celebrate Juneteenth, I realized that we have resilience against all odds. We unabashedly celebrate our Black joy as a form of resistance to those who have denied and still today deny our true freedom from slavery. We keep our oral history, memorialize our ancestors, and…


This week’s collection of the race-related stories you might have missed

Happy Juneteenth, everybody! By the time you read this, you’re probably on the cusp of celebrating when the day’s news of the Emancipation Proclamation finally reached the enslaved people of Galveston, Texas. It’s just become a federal holiday, a move which is sure to be seen as a victory by some who have fought decades for it to be recognized. Whether you’re marking the day with some reflection time to yourself or a party with the red food and drink traditionally associated with the holiday, take a few minutes to read up on the ways Black folk continue to fight…


Juneteenth is officially a federal holiday. President Joe Biden signed the surprisingly bipartisan bill which passed unanimously in the Senate with only 14 House Republicans opposing it. Biden said Juneteenth National Independence Day, as it has been named, is an example of how “great nations don’t walk away. We come to terms with the mistakes we made […] and grow stronger.”

For the uninitiated, Juneteenth is shorthand for June 19, 1865. …


We check in with the lawyer — Greg Francis — who won the 2010 settlement

Black farmers have lost a lot of their land over the years. Photo: Getty Images

In 1920, there were nearly one million Black farmers in the United States representing 14% of all farmers in America. By 1997, there were barely more than 18,000, less than 1%. During that time, Black farmers accused the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) of race-based discrimination in the form of denying or delaying loans essential to all growers looking to maintain their farms and harvest each year.

While the number of Black farmers has more than doubled since 1997, Black people are still suffering from a century of disenfranchisement that has caused them to lose billions in profits.

“Once…


BLACK LIVES MATTER

Gaps in civil rights protections allow injustices to persist

Mona Hardin, left, mother of Ronald Greene, hugs LaChay Batts, sister of Marvin Scott III, who died in custody in a Collin County, Texas, jail. Photo: Gerald Herbert/The Associated Press via CBC

Editor’s note: This story contains references to a killing and video that many might find disturbing.

Two years ago, 49-year old Ronald Greene died in police custody in Monroe, Louisiana. The medical examiner has not yet provided an official cause of death. Since then, Greene’s family, their lawyers, and local activists have demanded transparency. Their calls went unanswered for years. That all changed when parts of the arrest video leaked. The Louisiana State Police has since released a series of horrifying videos. These clips have since circulated through major news outlets and social media. …


HIDDEN BLACK HISTORY

The Wilmington Coup of 1898, America’s only successful overthrow of an elected government, has eerie parallels to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol

The remains of the office of the Wilmington Daily Record, Wilmington’s Black-owned newspaper, after its destruction by a mob of White supremacists in the Wilmington coup and massacre, November 10, 1898. Image: Wikipedia Commons

“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does often rhyme.” ~Mark Twain, American author and humorist

On January 6, 2021, a mob of Trump supporters, consisting of White supremacist militias, members of the military, and law enforcement, attacked the U.S. Capitol in an armed insurrection. The objective of the rioters was to stop the peaceful transfer of power.

As the world watched in real time, the predominantly White crowd ransacked the seat of American democracy. …


Racial Justice

The menace of domestic terrorism is far greater than the threat of foreign terrorism.

President George W. Bush signs the Patriot Act, October 26, 2001 | Public Domain

If you step outside the box and look inward at the United States, much of what you see — the worst of it — is the result of American complacency based on the nationalist idea that we’re exceptional. As if we don’t have to adhere to the most basic rules of human decency. Meanwhile, we demand so much from other nations, holding them to higher standards than we hold ourselves.

Americans are so arrogant that we, as a society, routinely fail to reflect on ourselves. Our very own behaviors reveal the worst of what we declare unacceptable across the globe…


GIF animation: Save As/Medium; Source: Getty Images; Photo: Oklahoma Historical Society

Airbombing Black people — as American as apple pie

They dropped a bomb on us. They literally dropped a bomb on us. Racist, White Oklahomans used airplanes, guns, rope, and fire to eliminate a wealthy Black neighborhood and its families — Black Wall Street — in Tulsa, Oklahoma. That’s how survivors described it. That’s how their grandchildren described it, and their great-grandchildren. And what’s remarkable is that despite the hell that hundreds of racists put Black (and Native American) families through between May 31 and June 1, 1921, some people made it out. They told the story; now we can share.

There are people alive today whose families know…


Gen Now + Next

College student and YR Media columnist Erianna Jiles lives a few neighborhoods away from where Floyd was killed. She reflects on the last 365 days.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN-: A family takes pictures in front of a mural of George Floyd on June 10, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. People have been gathering at the memorial site since George Floyd was killed on May 25, 2020 by officers of the Minneapolis Police Department. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

By Erianna Jiles at YR Media

Within days of George Floyd’s death in May last year, I questioned everything I knew about racism and police brutality. I knew it was time I start taking my own activism more seriously.

Looking back, I thought the work would be simple. I was down to have all the uncomfortable conversations and educate the White folks around me any chance I got. In my classes, the space felt safe…

Momentum

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