What time is it?

Well it’s federally officially Juneteenth! So Happy Juneteenth! (but really it’s tomorrow) As a Black American, I, like many, have mixed feelings about this recognition. While it is undoubtedly a good thing that Congress has officially recognized, with a national holiday, the actual Independence Day, when all Americans were free. That, however, is just a jumping off point. Like many Black Americans, I am skeptical that this is a band-aid on our demands. We are asking for police reform, criminal sentencing reform, representation in a number of rooms, protection of our voting rights, equal pay, and increases in black wealth opportunities, to name a few. So everytime a statue is taken down, a company removes a racist symbol, or Congress recognizes a day, we know that none of the myriad of issues we have are being addressed in a way that will have lasting effects. But those things are good public relation moves and pacifiers. But what we will not allow you to do is point to Juneteenth, Aunt Jemina, and confederate statues as proof of work on systemic racism in America. Those things are a cherry on top of a currently non existent sundae. The work continues. 

Not Done

“A year after millions of people around the world took to the streets to protest the death of George Floyd, About U.S.  (About U.S. is a new initiative by The Washington Post to cover issues of identity in the United States.) checked in with some of the protesters from last year. Many of them said they had seen little change in their communities, but had made big changes in their personal lives. Protesters sought not only justice for Floyd, but wide-ranging reforms including the defunding of police and reallocating money for law enforcement to mental health, social services and other resources. Few communities have embraced the bold changes demonstrators were seeking. “Not enough has happened,” said Xavier Brown, 20. But the conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin of murder in Floyd’s death did give protesters hope that progress is being made, albeit slowly. “Very seldom do we get justice when brutal, murderous White police officers kill African American … people … We got justice that felt different,” said 64-year-old Robin Williams, who lives in western Michigan. “It felt like something was changing, that we’re being heard.” Some protesters have uplifted their lives, while others have faced harassment. “We can protest and we’ll keep protesting. The next generation will protest until we get some justice in this country, because we aren’t going anywhere,” Williams said.”  Washington Post: ‘Not enough has happened’:Protesters reflect on what has changed —and what hasn’t. The article interviewed six protesters and where they are now. The common thread: there is more work to do. 

Get Back Here!

“The chief executive of Morgan Stanley has become the latest US banking boss to call for an end to remote working, telling his New York staff that anyone who feels safe going out to a restaurant should return to the office. James Gorman admitted that the bank would take a different approach in countries such as India or the UK due to stricter Covid restrictions. However, in the US, where nearly 90% of staff in its New York headquarters had been vaccinated, the chief executive said he was issuing a “very strong” message to staff to get back to their desks by Labor Day on 6 September. “Make no mistake about it: we do our work inside Morgan Stanley offices. And that’s where we teach, that’s where our interns learn, that’s how we develop people,” the chief executive added. “That’s where you build all the soft cues that go with having a successful career that aren’t just about Zoom presentations.” He also said bankers could not expect large paychecks if they worked away from Wall Street. “If you want to get paid New York rates, you work in New York. None of this: ‘I’m in Colorado … and getting paid like I’m sitting in New York City.’ Sorry, that doesn’t work.” The Guardian: Morgan Stanley boss tells US staff to be back in office in September I guess that means these employees have a decision to make. What is funny is that they know they are wanted in the office, but are just not coming in. So the CEO says if they are not back by labor day, they will be having a different conversation. Very interesting. But these companies should be careful because some people are just quitting and looking for other remote opportunities. 

All the Colors

June is also Pride Month. So, how did the rainbow pride flag come to be the rainbow flag? “The very first rainbow pride flag was designed and hand made by artist and activist Gilbert Baker and a group of volunteers for the 1978 San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade. Originally eight colors, the flag’s stripes stood for sex, life, healing, sunlight, nature, magic, serenity and spirit.  After the parade — and months later, after the assassination of San Francisco politician and gay icon Harvey Milk — demand for the rainbow flag skyrocketed. Today, the rainbow pride flag has also become a “mother of flags” for others within the LGBTQ community — like the pink, lavender and blue bisexual flag created by Michael Page in 1998, or the blue, pink and white transgender flag created by Monica Helms in 1999. Even after Baker’s death in 2017, his rainbow flag has continued to live on and evolve through redesigns from artists like Daniel Quasar and Amber Hikes. With black and brown stripes, and the stripes of the transgender flag, the redesigns add visibility to the fact that the pride movement was led by transgender people of color — a group that is still one of the most disenfranchised and marginalized groups in society.” Newsy: How The Rainbow Flag Became The Symbol Of Pride

Docket Review

What the Supreme Court is up to this term. From the NY Times:

  • Affordable Care Act (7-2 vote)
  • In California v. Texas, the court effectively upheld the Affordable Care Act in a third major challenge, ruling that the plaintiffs did not have standing to sue. The court sidestepped the larger issue in the case, whether the law can stand without the provision requiring most Americans to obtain insurance or pay a penalty.
  • Religion and Gay Rights (9-0 vote)
  • In Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, the court ruled that Philadelphia violated the First Amendment when it required a Catholic agency to work with same-sex couples when screening potential foster parents.
  • Covid Restrictions and Religion (5-4 vote)
  • In Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo, the court ruled that New York could not prohibit in-person attendance at worship services because it violated the Constitution’s protection of religious liberty.
  • Life Sentences for Juvenile Offenders (6-3 vote)
  • In Jones v. Mississippi, the court ruled that juvenile offenders need not be deemed incorrigible, or beyond hope of rehabilitation, before a judge sentences them to die in prison. 

To be voted on:

  • Voting Rights
  • In Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee, the court will decide whether Arizona’s restrictions on voting in the wrong precinct and ballot collection violate federal law.
  • Donor Disclosure
  • In Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta, the court will decide whether California can require charities soliciting contributions in the state to report the identities of their major donors.
  • Students’ First Amendment Rights
  • In Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L., the court will decide whether schools may punish students for social media posts and other off-campus speech.
  • Student Athletes
  • In National Collegiate Athletic Association v. Alston, the court will decide whether the N.C.A.A. may bar some payments to student-athletes in the name of amateurism despite the antitrust laws.
  • Union Access to Workplaces
  • In Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid, the court will decide whether a California regulation that allows union representatives to meet with farmworkers at their worksites amounts to government taking of private property.