As Trump sows chaos, a Pride Month victory

This piece was originally published in the June 15, 2020 edition of CAP Action’s daily newsletter, the Progress Report. Subscribe to the Progress Report here.

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Photo by Claire Anderson on Unsplash

“THE ANSWER IS CLEAR.”

— A six-justice majority of the U.S. Supreme Court on their history-making decision today to declare workplace discrimination against LGBTQ Americans illegal under federal employment law

As McConnell and Trump continue stalling further support for the American people, millions of Americans, including many living with disabilities, STILL haven’t received the coronavirus relief funds they desperately need. Many are also especially vulnerable to Trump’s failed response to the virus.

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IN THE NEWS

  • In a huge win for LGBTQ Americans, the Supreme Court ruled today that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, affirming that it is illegal to fire LGBTQ people simply because of their identity. This is exactly what happened to Aimee Stephens, who was fired after she came out as trans to her longtime employer and whose case sparked the legal battle that resulted in today’s landmark victory. Aimee recently passed away, but although she didn’t live to see this victory, her legacy and impact will live on. Some legal experts have suggested that this ruling effectively invalidates the Trump administration’s claim in its Friday night rule change that protections against sex discrimination in health care don’t apply to LGBTQ patients.
  • On Friday night, 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed by white Atlanta police officers who found him asleep in his car in a Wendy’s parking lot. Brooks, who is Black, was reportedly coming from his daughter’s birthday party and appeared to be pulled over to sleep off the drinks he’d consumed that night. Video shows an officer shooting Brooks in the back as he ran away. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms promptly accepted the resignation of the city’s police chief and called for the firing of both officers involved. As of today, one of the officers has been fired and the other placed on administrative leave.
  • Protesters took to the streets for a third straight weekend to demand racial justice and accountability for the police officers behind a slew of recent killings of Black people. Following the recent murders of at least two Black trans women, many of this weekend’s protests focused specifically on valuing and supporting the Black trans community, including a massive demonstration at New York’s Brooklyn Museum.
  • In an interview with Fox News on Friday, Trump said he thinks the concept of a chokehold “sounds so innocent, so perfect.” He also failed to invite the local police chief, who is Black, or the sheriff, who is also Black, or the district attorney (who is, you guessed it: Black) to his panel on policing in Dallas last week.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • (Trigger warning: Descriptions of lynching.) In the past few weeks alone, two Black men in California have been found dead, their bodies hanging from trees. Malcolm Harsch, 38, was found on May 31 in Victorville, CA. Robert Fuller, 24, was found last week in downtown Palmdale, CA. It’s disturbing but necessary to label these deaths as what they likely are — lynchings. Fuller’s death was already declared a suicide, but his family and the public are disputing this conclusion. Harsch’s family is worried that their son’s death will also wrongly be declared a suicide. Character accounts from those who knew the men make suicide seem unlikely in both cases. Many people have pointed out that it doesn’t seem right for Fuller to supposedly have taken his own life by hanging himself on a tree in a very public area across the street from Palmdale’s City Hall.
  • Trump’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma is still on for this week, but was pushed to Saturday after public pressure not to hold a rally on the holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved people. Regardless, many Tulsans are still infuriated at the conditions of the event and the initial plan to hold it on Juneteenth — not to mention the fact that Trump will be drawing large crowds to a packed rally in the midst of a resurging pandemic.
  • Early reports have indicated that protests following George Floyd’s death are largely not responsible for coronavirus case spikes, despite what Trump and other opponents of these protests will likely try to claim. In Seattle, fewer than 1% of protest attendees tested positive for coronavirus. Some medical professionals are even speaking out in support of the protests, writing in a recent open letter that they are “vital to the national public health and to the threatened health specifically of Black people in the United States.”

WHAT WE’RE READING

Black trans people, especially Black trans women, are disproportionately affected by fatal violence. The Marsha P. Johnson Institute works to protect the human rights of Black trans people. Donate here.

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This piece was originally published in the June 15, 2020 edition of CAP Action’s daily newsletter, the Progress Report. Subscribe to the Progress Report here.

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Hard-hitting news + analysis paired with action on the issues that matter most. Working alongside @AmProg.

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