The Amp

July 8, 2020

Amplify Values In These Emerging Issues

Indigenous Voices Rising

The decades-long campaign to end the racist use of Indigenous people as mascots in sport saw progress this week. Sponsors and minority owners of the Washington football team pulled their support for that team's name — a racial slur tied to genocidal bounty killings of native people — and the team pledged to "undergo a thorough review of the team's name." The Cleveland Indians, who only phased out their egregious grinning "Chief Wahoo" logo last year, issued a similar statement a day later. Pressure on teams in Atlanta, Kansas City, and Chicago that incorporate Indigenous names or racist chants in to their fandom continues. 

Meanwhile, the Indiginous-led campaign to protect sacred land from pollution by the oil industry won a victory when a Federal judge ordered the Dakota Access Pipeline shut down and drained for further environmental review. Learn more from these partners: The Native Organizers AllianceHonor The EarthNDN CollectiveIndigenous Environmental Network, and The Natural History Museum

Also in the Dakotas, President Trump used Mount Rushmore as a backdrop for a July 3 speech. Native activists blocked traffic to the site to remind the nation that the monument stands on land never ceded by the Lakota people, and that the four presidents carved in to the mountain known as Six Grandfathers were chosen for their role in America's western expansion and the genocide of Indigenous people. 

Rent Forgiveness and Rent Control

With unemployment numbers reaching previously unthinkable levels due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the danger of missing rent payments and facing eviction is real for many. In Texas, a temporary ban has expired and a surge in eviction proceedings has begun making its way through the courts. While homeowners and landlords have received relief in Covid aid packages, low-income workers and the newly unemployed have received little beyond the soon to expire $600 weekly expanded unemployment benefit. And with schools likely to remain largely or partially online this fall, many parents who cannot work remotely face long-term uncertainty over their ability to work service jobs — even if those jobs reopen. 

In Washington, Jobs With Justice and the recently formed DC Tenants Union are organizing to overhaul DC's broken rent control system, which has seen thousands of long-time Black and POC residents displaced in recent years. Without a reform of the system, the status quo means Coronavirus-related evictions will accelerate this pattern of displacement.  

Upcoming Media Hooks & Events

July 8–30

Events and Cultural Hooks:

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Birthdays and Anniversaries:

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  • July 16, 1862 - Birthday of Ida B. Wells, the pioneering journalist — one of the first to investigate lynchings — and founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
  • July 16, 2014 - Eric Garner was arrested and killed by an officer of the New York Police Department for selling single cigarettes. The officer's use of a banned chokehold resulted in his death. Garner was recorded saying, “I can’t breathe,” which became a rallying cry against police brutality. Sadly, these were also the last words heard by George Floyd on Memorial Day of this year in Minneapolis under similar circumstances.
  • July 20, 1951 - The Mattachine Society was formed in Los Angelesone of the earliest LGBTQ activist organizations in the United States.
  • July 22, 1849 - Poet Emma Lazarus was born. Her poem “The New Colossus” is inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty and is frequently quoted today in the immigration debate.
  • July 26, 1972 - The Tuskegee Syphilis Study, which unethically conducted medical research on 600 African-American sharecroppers. The exposure led to fundamental changes in medical research. Use this anniversary to underline the importance of the media's coverage of people living in poverty and cite the values of Equality and Economic Security.
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