June 19 Black Lives Matter protest news

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Helen Regan and Steve George, CNN

Updated 0504 GMT (1304 HKT) June 20, 2020
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10:52 a.m. ET, June 19, 2020

The Juneteenth flag is flying across the US

The Juneteenth flag flies over Fenway Park in Boston on Thursday.
The Juneteenth flag flies over Fenway Park in Boston on Thursday. Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

The Juneteenth flag is flying in cities across the US today, as Americans mark the holiday that commemorates the end of slavery.

The flag — which is a red, white and blue banner with a bursting star in the middle — includes multiple symbols to represent the end of slavery.

The Boston Red Sox tweeted an image of the flag flying over Fenway Park this morning:

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh also announced the flag would fly over City Hall.

Earlier this week, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers announced the flag would fly over the state capitol for the first time in history:

10:32 a.m. ET, June 19, 2020

Juneteenth will be an official holiday for New York City and schools, mayor says

From CNN's Sheena Jones

Starting next year, Juneteenth will be an official holiday for New York City and schools, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday during the city’s daily news conference.

“The city is engaging its municipal labor unions to implement the change next year across all public schools, uniformed agencies and city workers,” de Blasio said.

Juneteenth commemorates the date that Union Army Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas, and told slaves of their emancipation. The holiday is the oldest regular US celebration of the end of slavery. 

9:57 a.m. ET, June 19, 2020

Nancy Pelosi on Juneteenth: "We must insist on real, meaningful action to achieve justice"

From CNN's Haley Byrd and Clare Foran

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holds a press conference in Washington on May 20.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holds a press conference in Washington on May 20. Michael Brochstein/Sipa/AP

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement commemorating Juneteenth that today should be a day for reflection and that Americans must "insist on real, meaningful action to achieve justice and save lives.”

“This Juneteenth must be a day of reflection that moves our nation to finally confront and combat its long and shameful history of systemic racial injustice targeted at communities of color," Pelosi said.

Pelosi noted in her statement that she has ordered the removal of portraits of Confederate leaders from the US Capitol.

"The halls of Congress are the heart of our democracy and should reflect our highest ideals, not memorialize men who embody racism, bigotry and hatred," Pelosi.

Pelosi sent a letter to the House Clerk on Thursday asking for the removal of portraits of four former speakers of the House who served in the Confederacy, the latest effort by Congress to reexamine Capitol Hill's relationship to Confederate leaders and symbols.

Pelosi originally said at her news conference that the clerk would oversee removal of the portraits on Friday, but later her office announced plans to remove the portraits Thursday afternoon. The portraits were removed later in the day on Thursday.

Today marks Juneteenth, the holiday that commemorates the date that Union Army Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas, and told slaves of their emancipation. The holiday is the oldest regular US celebration of the end of slavery.

9:38 a.m. ET, June 19, 2020

Officer charged with murder in Rayshard Brooks' death waives his right to first appearance

From CNN’S Dianne Gallagher and Pamela Kirkland

Former Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe is seen in his booking photo.
Former Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe is seen in his booking photo. Fulton County Sheriff's Department

Former Atlanta Police Officer Garrett Rolfe — who is charged with felony murder in the killing of Rayshard Brooks — waived his first appearance, the Fulton County Chief Magistrate Court Judge’s office told CNN. He will not appear before the court today.   

The clerk’s office told CNN Rolfe’s attorneys will appear before the judge today. He is currently listed as twelfth on the 12 p.m. ET docket.

 About the case: Rolfe faces felony murder and 10 other charges after he shot Brooks at a Wendy's drive-thru last week. Prosecutors allege that he declared, "I got him" after firing the shots and he did not provide medical attention for two minutes and 12 seconds.

Rolfe turned himself in Thursday afternoon, the Fulton County Sheriff's Department said. He is being held without bond.

9:31 a.m. ET, June 19, 2020

Chicago mayor says Congress needs to include mayors in debates on police reform

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on CNN's "New Day" on June 19.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on CNN's "New Day" on June 19. CNN

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is leading a group of mayors from around the US asking Congress to work with them on police reform and inequality. 

“I think they’ve got to listen and invite us into the conversation. Mayors are on the frontlines. We’ve been on the frontlines through Covid-19; that work continues. We're on the frontlines when it comes to police reform and accountability,” she said to CNN’s Alisyn Camerota. 

“Hearing from mayors and police chiefs on the front lines, I think, will only enrich and inform the discussion and debate happening at the national level,” she added.

Lightfoot said they are in the process of laying out a set of specific guidelines, and she hopes that Congress will take them into account as they work on police reform legislation. She also said that Congress needs to take into account that city budgets have been hammered by the coronavirus crisis, as well.  

“I think that they're missing the nuance, which is where the detail lies, about things like having licensing, about things like reporting uses of force,” she said. “All those things sound good, but we have got to figure out how we do them in a way that doesn't add to the burden of cities and states and an unfunded mandate — that in this time of austere budgets — that we can't handle.” 

Watch more:

9:41 a.m. ET, June 19, 2020

President Trump releases statement commemorating Juneteenth

From CNN's Jason Hoffman

President Donald Trump holds an event at the White House on June 17.
President Donald Trump holds an event at the White House on June 17. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump has released a message on Juneteenth, writing “The First Lady and I send our warmest greetings to those celebrating Juneteenth this year.”

The statement goes on to say:

“Juneteenth reminds us of both the unimaginable injustice of slavery and the incomparable joy that must have attended emancipation. It is both a remembrance of a blight on our history and a celebration of our Nation’s unsurpassed ability to triumph over darkness.”

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal earlier in the week, Trump said “nobody had ever heard of” Juneteenth and he “made Juneteenth very famous.”

During that interview, an aide noted to the President that the White House issued a statement on Juneteenth last year.

The President has no public events on his schedule today. 

9:22 a.m. ET, June 19, 2020

These companies are making Juneteenth a paid holiday for employees

From CNN's Clare Duffy

Today marks Juneteenth, the oldest known holiday honoring the end of slavery in the United States. And this year, more than a dozen companies are, for the first time, giving employees a paid day off from work to observe it.

Here's a look at some of the companies that have announced Juneteenth is a paid holiday:

  • Nike
  • Twitter
  • JCPenney
  • Target
  • Uber
  • Lyft

Other companies saying they will observe the holiday this year include Ben & Jerry's, Tumblr, the New York Times, Spotify, Workday, marketing firm Comscore and Kellogg-owned snack company RxBar.

Companies' acknowledgment of Juneteenth is a good first step, but it can't be the only step, Meredith Clark, an assistant professor of media studies at the University of Virginia, told CNN.

"It is a nice symbolic gesture," Clark said. "I'm never going to frown at a company recognizing a day that is culturally important to so many Americans, really to all of us. But at the same time I want to see that sort of action matched with commitment to changing the culture inside these organizations."
8:23 a.m. ET, June 19, 2020

It's Juneteenth in the US. Here's what the holiday means.

As anti-racist protests continue across the US and the Black Lives Matter movement grows, the US is marking Juneteenth today.

The June 19 holiday commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.

Gen. Gordon Granger of the Union Army first read the proclamation — General Orders, No. 3, in Galveston, Texas — notifying slaves of their emancipation, on June 19, 1865. A total of 901 days passed between the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation and General Orders, No. 3.

Juneteenth became a state holiday in Texas in 1980, although it had been celebrated informally since 1865.

Black Americans and others mark Juneteenth — also called Emancipation Day — much like the Fourth of July, with parties, picnics and gatherings with family and friends.

8:06 a.m. ET, June 19, 2020

It's just after 1 p.m. in London and 8 a.m. in New York. Here's the latest on anti-racism protests across the world

Anti-racist protests continue to spread following the death of George Floyd, leading to calls to defund police departments, shake up corporations and institutions, and take down historic statues.

If you're just joining us, here are the latest developments.

Officer in Rayshard Brooks shooting in court: Former Atlanta Police officer Garrett Rolfe has been moved from the Fulton County Jail to another metro-Atlanta facility for security reasons, according to three law enforcement sources. Rolfe, who faces 11 charges related to the death of Rayshard Brooks, will appear in court today.

Rayshard Brooks' viewing: The viewing will be held on June 22 at Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET, and will be open to the public.

It's 155 years since the end of slavery: Friday marks Juneteenth, the oldest known holiday honoring the end of slavery in the United States. This year, more than a dozen companies are giving employees a paid day off, as White America faces a wake-up call.

Brands and institutions under review: Colgate has announced a review of its toothpaste brand Darlie, which once featured a smiling White man in blackface. England's rugby union authority is reviewing the use of slave-era song "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" as a fan chant and the Bank of England has apologized for former governors’ links to the slave trade.

Senior US State Department official resigns: Mary Elizabeth Taylor, assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs, is resigning from her post over President Donald Trump's response to the surge of protests against racial injustice and police brutality, The Washington Post reported.

Indictment in Cameron Lamb case: Jackson County grand jury has indicted Kansas City police officer Eric DeValkenaere in the fatal shooting of Cameron Lamb in December 2019. Lamb was shot while sitting in his pickup truck as he was backing into his garage.

New York City Council passes sweeping police reform bills: The package comes after a years-long battle for the bills to be voted on, some which have been in the works since the death of Eric Garner in 2014. The six bills include one that requires officers’ badge numbers to be visible, an official ban on chokeholds and one requiring the NYPD to disclose how they use surveillance technology.