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Andrew Harnik / AP Photo

While the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Sandra Bland galvanized the #BlackLivesMatter movement, the killings of Rayshard Brooks, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery have forced America to reckon with centuries of racial injustice and police brutality in unprecedented ways.

Not only have protests demanding change been widespread, but major corporations — which, until now, have been largely silent and hesitant to embrace Black Lives Matter — are pledging to fight racial injustice and declaring their support of the nearly seven-year-old movement.


Stephen Fowler / GPB News

Friday on Political Rewind, it is the end of a busy week in Georgia politics.

We discussed the progress, or a lack of progress, on legislation after the first week of the return of the state legislature.


While the deaths of Travon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Sandra Bland galvanized the #BlackLivesMatter movement, the killings of Rayshard Brooks, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery have forced America to reckon with centuries of racial injustice and police brutality in unprecedented ways.

 

Not only have protests demanding change been widespread, but major corporations — which, until now, have been largely silent and hesitant to embrace Black Lives Matter — are pledging to fight racial injustice and declaring their support of the nearly seven-year-old movement. We discuss the significance of those corporate responses, as well as new challenges these companies face to commit to righting past wrongs.

 

 


Georgia Today: The Killing Of Rayshard Brooks

Jun 19, 2020
Brynn Anderson / The Associated Press

The police shooting death of Rayshard Brooks in a Wendy's parking lot in Atlanta reignited the city, which was just starting to cool down following weeks of protests for social justice and police reform. In recent days after Brooks' death, Atlanta has seen a new round of demonstrations, the resigntion of the city's police chief, and two Atlanta officers charged in Brooks' death. 

Screenshot courtesy of Clare Schexnyder

The 30-foot-tall Confederate monument that stood in the Decatur square since 1908 was removed Thursday night to raucous cheers from hundreds of people who had gathered to watch and celebrate.

The symbolism of the monument’s removal on the eve of Juneteenth – the annual day celebrating when slaves in Texas were informed of their freedom on June 19, 1865 – was not lost on the crowd.

As the coronavirus pandemic upended daily life across Georgia, museums all over the state closed and were presented with a vastly different financial and educational environment. 

“You’ve heard it over and over again: it’s a new normal,” Augusta Museum of History’s Executive Director Nancy Glaser said. “We have to look at new ways of doing business — it might even be a whole new business paradigm that we have to work from. We’re learning as we go.”

Telfair Museums

Friday, June 19 marks Juneteenth, the annual holiday celebrating the end of slavery in the United States. It commemorates the day in 1865 enslaved people in Texas learned of the Emancipation Proclamation, which had declared them free two years earlier.

 

The holiday is typically a day of celebration and education in Georgia, but those events will look different this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Rickey Bevington/GPB

Atlanta’s police department says it can still protect the city even though officers are calling out to protest a member of the force being charges with murder for shooting a man in the back.

A department tweet Thursday urged people to continue calling 911 if they have an emergency.

What You Need To Know: Protesting During A Pandemic

Jun 18, 2020
GPB News

Georgia Public Broadcasting’s new series What You Need To Know: Coronavirus provides succinct, fact-based information to help you get through the coronavirus pandemic with your health and sanity intact.

In recent weeks, we've seen protests sparked by instances of police brutality. Dr. Sandra Elizabeth Ford of the DeKalb County Board of Health discusses the concerns about demonstrations resulting in the spread of COVID-19.

John Bazemore / AP Photo

Thursday on Political Rewind, the coronavirus outbreak remains a daunting public health challenge in Georgia and across the country.

Several states have reported their largest one-day increases in case numbers in the past week. So how does Georgia fit into this stage of the pandemic?


Fulton County Jail

Both the current and former Atlanta Police Department officers charged in connection with the fatal shooting of 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks turned themselves into the Fulton County Jail Thursday, records show. 

Devin Brosnan bonded out after about an hour. Garrett Rolfe remains in custody.

APD via AP

Former Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe on Wednesday was charged with felony murder and an array of other criminal charges in the fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks in the parking lot of a Wendy's, the Fulton County district attorney said. 

GPB

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp pledged in his State of the State address in January to come up with a remedy for out-of-network medical billing, sometimes called surprise medical billing.

On Tuesday, the Senate unanimously passed the Surprise Billing Consumer Protection Act. The bill helps remove patients from being in the middle of billing disputes between medical insurers and providers.

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

Republican Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan announced Wednesday the Senate’s version of a bill that would create a hate crimes statute in Georgia, setting up a tug-of-war with a House-backed measure that was passed more than a year ago.

Duncan said the four-page Senate bill would go further than the House bill.

JACQUELYN MARTIN / AP

The Senate Ethics Committee says it found no evidence of wrongdoing by Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler of Georgia after looking into stock trades she made shortly before the coronavirus caused markets to plummet.

Loeffler received a letter from the committee Tuesday saying it has dismissed the matter after finding she violated no federal laws or Senate rules.

Morehouse College

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and his wife, Patty Quillin, are making the single-largest individual donation to fund student scholarships at historically Black colleges and universities.

The couple will donate $120 million to Spelman College, Morehouse College and the United Negro College Fund. Each will receive $40 million.

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger unveiled a plan Wednesday to help Georgia elections officials better prepare for the general election and minimize the likelihood of long lines and problems at the polls.

Speaking in front of Park Tavern, where nearly 16,000 active voters were assigned to cast their ballots and wait times lasted more than three hours, Raffensperger also took aim at the voting issues Fulton County residents faced.

Stephen Fowler / GPB News

Wednesday on Political Rewind, the latest news on an important week in Georgia politics. With state legislators back in action after a months-long hiatus, what kind of legislation will get attention at the Capitol?

With not much time left in the session, where is the legislature focused?


Courtney Dittmar/AP

Pepsico is changing the name and marketing image of its Aunt Jemima pancake mix and syrup.

A spokeswoman for Pepsico-owned Quaker Oats Company said it recognized Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype and that the 131-year-old name and image would be replaced on products and advertising by the fourth quarter of 2020. 

Grant Blankensip

An increasing number of Georgians are getting infected by coronavirus and ending up in the hospital as Gov. Brian Kemp continues to ease restrictions on gatherings and businesses.

Figures posted Tuesday show Georgia over the last 14 days has averaged the highest level of reported infections since April, when widespread transmission was at its peak and had led to a statewide lockdown.

Jared Sawyer Jr./Twitter

A video showing a police officer in Georgia pointing a gun at group of teenagers has gone viral, while residents voice their disdain for the officer’s actions.

The video starts in the middle of the incident and shows a Clayton County police officer pointing a gun at five black teenagers, while a crowd pleads with him to put the gun down. 

ELIJAH NOUVELAGE / INVISION/AP

Tyler Perry says “we must never give up” in a heartfelt first-person essay in People Magazine detailing his thoughts on racial injustice and police brutality against unarmed black people in America.

The writer-director says he almost passed on publishing his essay in the upcoming issue, which will be released Friday. 

Grant Blankenship / GPB

On a Wednesday morning, the ninth in a row, cars snaked into the parking lot of the YMCA in Albany. At the front door, a  small crew of Boy Scouts loaded boxes of food into trunks and back seats as fast as they could.

“Pop the trunk!” shouted one of the adults directing the action. Then cardboard boxes full of food landed with a thunk.

Sofi Gratas

On the steps of Athens-Clarke County City Hall on Tuesday evening, protesters clashed. A plan proposed by two local commissioners to re-envision and redistribute funds within the Athens-Clarke County Police Department has brought heated responses from citizens, both in favor and in opposition of these changes.

House Media Services

It became apparent race-related criminal justice issues are a priority on the second day of the re-booted legislative session.

Rep. Richard Smith, House Rules Chairman, R-Columbus made that clear Tuesday morning by not entertaining other bills during a Rules committee meeting.

Macon-Bibb Board Of Health: 'Report Businesses For COVID-19 Violations'

Jun 16, 2020
Liz Fabian / Center for Collaborative Journalism

Local union president Alexander Perkins fears hundreds of factory workers are in danger of catching and spreading COVID-19.

Perkins, who heads the United Steelworkers Local 572, warned the Macon-Bibb County Board of Health that some manufacturers are not following Gov. Brian Kemp’s executive orders to curtail the spread of coronavirus.

Sarah Rose / GPB News

Former Kennesaw City Council member Jimmy Dickens stood in front of the city council Monday night with a plea for its members and the mayor. Across the street in Memorial Park, the Confederate flag was still flying high.

"Kennesaw is my home, Kennesaw is what I love," he said. "But I want Kennesaw to love me the same."

Stephen Fowler / GPB News

Tuesday on Political Rewind, the state legislature returned to session yesterday after a months-long pause because of the coronavirus pandemic.

With state legislators back in the Capitol, what kind of progress can be expected on a wide range of bills on the table, including legislation covering hate crime laws, the budget and police reform?


GPB/Donna Lowry

Georgia state lawmakers return to the Capitol on Monday to finish the legislative session that was interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Only 10 working days remain in the session. In that time, lawmakers need to pass a budget, including an 11-percent cut because of pandemic-related revenue losses.


Laura Boggs

Georgia students have been out of the classroom since early March due to COVID-19. That's when the majority of students transitioned to online learning, submitting assignments virtually and attending lectures on Zoom. But for students like Sadie Boggs, a 17-year-old with autism and a chromosomal abnormality who thrives in face-to-face learning environments and the structure school provides her, virtual learning is virtually impossible.

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