GOP Senator Proposes Bill Attacking NYT 1619 Project & Global News

by Debra Brown

1619 Project
Each Wednesday, we recap the most important headlines from our global community to keep you up to speed on world news.


GOP Senator Proposes Bill Attacking NYT 1619 Project

Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas has introduced legislation that takes aim at the teaching of the 1619 Project, an initiative from The New York Times that reframes American history around the date of August 1619 when the first slave ship arrived on America’s shores.

A statement from the senator’s office announcing the bill introduction states that the legislation will be titled the Saving American History Act of 2020 and “would prohibit the use of federal funds to teach the 1619 Project by K-12 schools or school districts. Schools that teach the 1619 Project would also be ineligible for federal professional-development grants.”

Editor in chief of The New York Times Magazine Jake Silverstein wrote last year in a piece titled “Why We Published The 1619 Project,” that the aim of the project “is to reframe American history by considering what it would mean to regard 1619 as our nation’s birth year. Doing so requires us to place the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are as a country.”

The idea was pitched by staff writer Nikole Hannah-Jones, who has spent her career writing about modern racial inequities and segregation and won a MacArthur Grant — also known as A “genius grant” — for her work in 2017. She won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary this year as a result of the project.

Lionsgate and media maven Oprah Winfrey have partnered with 2020 Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones and The New York Times to develop Hannah-Jones’ interactive project, The 1619 Project, along with the NYT podcast, 1619, into an expansive portfolio of films, television series and documentaries, unscripted programming and other forms of entertainment.


Senate Approves Provision To Rename Military Bases

The Republican-controlled Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly passed a defense appropriations bill that calls for renaming U.S. military bases that honor Confederate officers, a provision that President Trump has threatened to veto.

The Senate’s 86-14 vote to approve the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is more than enough to override a veto, should the president follow through on his threat.

Overturning a presidential veto is not a certainty. Lawmakers could flip their votes on the bill to sustain a veto.

It now goes to conference, where the House and Senate will iron out any differences. Among other things, both bills authorize a 3% pay raise for service members.

If the authorization becomes law, 10 Army bases named after prominent Confederate military leaders would be changed. They include Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Fort Hood in Texas and Fort Benning in Georgia. Other military installations that bear the names of Confederate figures would also be changed.


Protesters in Honduras Demand Release of Garífuna Land Defenders

In Honduras, protests continue demanding the return of five Garífuna land defenders who were kidnapped last week in the northern coastal town of Triunfo de la Cruz. Recently, police reportedly began shooting at a crowd of protesters. Garífuna leaders believe the Honduran police and military are involved in the disappearance.

What transpired is the latest attack against the Garifuna community and their struggle to protect their ancestral lands and the rights of Afro-Indigenous and Indigenous people amid encroachment by extractivist companies, the presence of drug traffickers and lack of protection from the Honduran state under the government of U.S. ally Juan Orlando Hernandez.

One of the victims, Alberth Snider Centeno Thomas, a father of four, has helped lead efforts to force the Honduran government to comply with a 2015 ruling from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR), the highest civil court in the Americas, ordering Garifunas be compensated for stolen land and issued legally binding titles to prevent further forced evictions.

The Garifunas are descendants of an Afro-indigenous population from the Caribbean island of St Vincent, who were transported from their home by the British and abandoned on the Honduran coast in the late 18th century. 

In Honduras, they and other indigenous communities have suffered decades of violent land grabs, which have been carried out with almost total impunity.

Here’s how to help.

For people in the U.S:

Contact your officials and ask them to call the State Department and U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa, #Honduras, about the recent abduction and forced disappearance of four members of the #Garifuna community of Triunfo de la Cruz


US Government Sending Up to 150 More Agents to Portland

The mayors of six United States cities, Portland, Seattle, Chicago, Kansas City, Albuquerque and Washington, DC appealed to Congress to make it illegal for the federal government to deploy militarised federal agents to cities that do not want them, even as the Trump administration is considering sending more of them to Portland, Oregon.

The Trump administration says the forces are needed in Portland to protect the courthouse and other federal buildings. But the mayors said the officers have patrolled areas distant from the federal properties and arrested citizens without cause.

The Trump administration is sending at least 100 additional federal officers to Portland, Oregon, the Washington Post reported, as confrontations between anti-racism protesters and federal authorities have intensified.

US agents repeatedly fired what appeared to be tear gas, flash bangs and pepper balls at protesters outside the federal courthouse in downtown in Portland.

Portland has seen protests nightly since George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis on May 25. Protesters want police reform, among other demands for change.


Covid-19 Updates from Around the World

The number of coronavirus infections has hit 16.30 million worldwide, while more than 650,000 people have died, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. More than 10 million patients have recovered.

South Africa now has 452,529 cases and 7,067 deaths, making up more than half the reported cases on the African continent. It has the fifth highest caseload in the world. The International Monetary Fund, under the Rapid Financing Instrument, has approved $4.3bn in aid to South Africa to help the country fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Peru says more than 900 girls and women are feared to have died as a result of domestic violence during the country’s extended coronavirus lockdown; some 70 percent of those missing were under the age of 18.

Indonesia has announced that its confirmed coronavirus cases have surpassed 100,000, the highest amount in Southeast Asia.

A group of unions representing Brazilian health workers have urged the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate President Jair Bolsonaro’s government for crimes against humanity over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Brazil has the world’s highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths after the United States.

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta said he had extended a nationwide curfew for another 30 days and banned alcohol sales in restaurants to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Vietnam has ordered the evacuation of at least 80,000 tourists from the central city of Da Nang following the re-emergence of the coronavirus. The government said it needs four days to implement the evacuation. 


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