On Saturday, two days ahead of the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, thousands of people from across the country gathered in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. The event was billed as a “continuation, not a commemoration” of the racial justice march led by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and speakers echoed many of the issues addressed in 1963: strengthening civil rights and voting rights, improving public education, ending America’s plague of violence.
The same day, five states away, that plague of violence revealed itself yet again. The story, as The Trace’s Agya K. Aning wrote this week, bears the hallmarks of the contemporary form of hateful attack: A young white man, who had written manifestos agitating for a race war and praising other mass murderers, and who was legally armed with a handgun and an assault-style rifle. Saturday’s shooter, who had undergone a mental illness examination in 2017, attacked a Dollar General in Jacksonville, Florida, wielding a rifle with painted-on swastikas. He killed three Black people. After the massacres in Buffalo, El Paso, Pittsburgh, and Charleston, it’s a narrative that’s horrifically familiar.
The coincidence of these two events — the “continuation” of the March on Washington and the racist killings in Jacksonville — underscores a basic fact about the U.S. Deadly attacks motivated by hate are not random or episodic, but rather the outbursts of a violent political body that has been in this country since Europeans arrived in North America. But there was a turning point six years ago with the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, writes Benjamin Wallace-Wells in a literature review for The New Yorker. What had been a largely “united” white supremacist front splintered after those behind the rally were handed fines and prison sentences, leading participants to create their own niches while GOP lawmakers increasingly turned to right-wing extremism.
MSNBC pundit Jim Cavanaugh this week asserted that more people today “are being killed by white nationalists than were during the civil rights era.” That claim is hard to back up — as noted in the ADL Center on Extremism’s 2022 annual report, figures from earlier eras are likely an undercount — but it still drives home a cogent point. Hate crimes are up in large cities. Right-wing extremists are responsible for three in four politically motivated homicides; among those killings, white supremacists are responsible for more than half.
At the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday, Andrew Young, the civil rights leader who was present at the original march, urged those assembled to keep the progress made since 1963 in mind. “Don’t look at all the things that are wrong,” Young said. “Look back at where we were … years ago when we had the first March on Washington.” The Reverend Al Sharpton had another message: “Sixty years ago, Martin Luther King talked about a dream. Sixty years later, we’re dreamers,” Sharpton said. “The dreamers will win. The dreamers will march. The dreamers will stand up. Black, white, Jewish, LGBTQ. We are the dreamers. We are the children of the dream.”
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What to Know This Week
The Daily Tar Heel, the University of North Carolina’s student newspaper, published an evocative cover depicting text messages sent and received by students while the campus was on lockdown during a shooting in which one faculty member, Zijie Yan, was killed on Monday. [The Daily Tar Heel]
The Tennessee Legislature’s special session on public safety, held in the shadow of the state’s deadliest school shooting, ended with no significant changes to the state’s gun laws and only a narrow slate of bills sending more money toward public safety issues. The session adjourned just a day after Republicans prohibited Representative Justin Jones, one of the so-called Tennessee Three, from speaking under controversial new House rules. [The Tennessean]
In April, U.S. Representative Andrew Clyde, Republican of Georgia, grilled the ATF’s director about a program to monitor gun dealers found selling large numbers of weapons that were later traced to crimes. What Clyde did not say was that one of the two gun stores he owns was monitored by that program in 2020 and 2021 for selling 25 guns that had been used in crimes within three years of their purchase. [The New York Times]
The city of Uvalde, Texas, refiled a lawsuit against District Attorney Christina Mitchell, alleging that she is stonewalling its internal investigation of the response to the massacre at Robb Elementary School last year. Mayor Don McLaughlin accused Mitchell of being “involved in a cover-up” and called for her resignation. [San Antonio Express-News/Texas Public Radio]
Philadelphia students will see beefed-up security measures when they return to school next week. This year’s safety measures involve increased surveillance, including through the use of drones and AI-powered gun-detection technology, as well as enhanced police presence during arrival and dismissal. [The Philadelphia Inquirer]
A new report on the Baltimore Police Department’s response to a mass shooting at a block party in July revealed that supervisors instructed officers not to act on multiple warnings in the hours leading up to the violence. The review found that the reluctance to intervene was driven by indifference, rather than low staffing levels. [The Baltimore Banner]
A new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that young Black men in St. Louis are particularly at risk of recurring gun injuries. Along with the physical and emotional effects, survivors of firearm injury carry a “distressingly high” risk of being shot again, the study’s authors wrote. [CNN]
Gun violence research barely existed two decades ago, but the field has experienced something of a boom as shooting deaths, funding, and advocacy have all increased. Through researchers’ work, there’s growing consensus about which interventions prevent shootings, which don’t, and which need more study. [Associated Press]
Agya K. Aning and Selin Thomas contributed to this section.
Three people were killed in the racist mass shooting at a Dollar General in Jacksonville, Florida, last weekend. These remembrances are sourced from CNN, USA TODAY, ABC, the Associated Press, and The New York Times.
Angela Carr, 52, was “fearless and thoughtful, rough yet gentle,” her daughter Ashley Carr said. She was a provider: Her son Chayvaughn Payne described Carr as the type of person who would invite people to cookouts, who would “would give her shirt off her back for people.” A mother of three and a grandmother to 16, Carr was a devout member of St. Stephens AME, and raised her family in the church. “She was that Chaka Khan song: ‘I’m Every Woman,’” Ashley Carr said. “She was the mother, the father, the provider, the counselor, the pastor. She was everything.”
Jerrald De’Shaun Gallion, 29, doted on his 4-year-old daughter, Je Asia. He was planning to spend the weekend with her, and last spoke with her at 2:30 a.m. Saturday when she was having trouble falling asleep. Family members remember his sense of humor, and his work ethic — Gallion would work two or three jobs at a time to support Je Asia. “He was a father who gave his life to Jesus and was trying to get it together,” the bishop of his church said. Je Asia’s maternal grandmother noted: “He never missed a beat.”
Anolt Laguerre Jr., 19, known as AJ, dreamed of becoming a video game streamer. One year out of high school, Laguerre had hoped to attend college and study cybersecurity, but instead took a job at Dollar General to support his grandmother, who had raised his family after his mother died in 2009. Even after their mother’s death, wrote Laguerre’s brother, Quantavious, “AJ remained positive and strong.” His life was “marked by resilience and positivity, even in the face of adversity.”
The Hostile Takeover of Blue Cities by Red States: “Nowhere is the trend of states superseding cities more pronounced than in Nashville, and nowhere are the racial dynamics more glaring. Earlier this year, Tennessee Republicans made national headlines by expelling two Black Democratic representatives from Nashville and Memphis — Justin Jones and Justin Pearson, respectively — for protesting gun violence on the statehouse floor, three days after a shooter killed three children and three adults at a Nashville school. … Voters in Nashville and Memphis fought back successfully by reelecting Jones and Pearson to the statehouse in August. But that hasn’t stopped state Republicans from imposing their political priorities on the city — often in ways that appear designed to intimidate or punish residents.” [Businessweek + Citylab]
“We have to try to be more proactive than reactive. I want this generation to be known as the one that stood up to fight and fight hate with love.”
— Earl Perrin Jr., an organizer of a scholarship named in honor of Aaron Salter, who was killed in the 2022 racist mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, on reaching out to community members who have been affected by the recent white supremacist attack in Jacksonville, Florida, to NBC