TNS Weekly Recap: 7/12-7/16/21

This week the team at The North Star covered transphobia in the Republican party, a history of summer gun violence in Black America and more!

Peace and Greetings,

This week we opted to pivot from providing commentary on mainstream news stories and focus on more nuanced pieces that speak to the conditions that create some of the more pressing societal dilemmas. Two of the more critical pieces this week were provided by contributors, Branden Janese and Dr. Kimberly Hill. I strongly encourage everyone to check those out as they speak to two distinctive issues that have plagued Black America for quite some time.

A cool new addition that we will be offering each week is “This Week’s Freedom Song” which comes from our robust These Songs of Freedom playlists curated by The North Star’s Executive Producer, Willis Polk. This week’s song comes from the late, great jazz musician, Donald Byrd. We know that our daily content is often heavy, we hope that these weekly musical offerings give a bit of alleviation.

The majority of the pieces featured in this week’s recap are available to members of The North Star. If you have not signed up to subscribe, we ask that you consider doing so. This work is only made possible with the support of those who believe in liberation-themed journalism. And for those who are already members, thank you as always for your support!

Be well,

Donney Rose
TNS Chief Content Editor


OPINION: On Republicans, Trans Identities and the Spectrum of Hate by Donney Rose

Jenner, who transitioned seven years ago, occupies an interesting space in the conservative political realm. She has always been a Republican, but because she has not always identified as a transwoman, and was formerly an Olympic gold medalist as Bruce Jenner, her transition to Caitlyn has been inundated with contradictions and disappointments from members of the Republican party that she thought would embrace her differently.

Excessive Force in Historical Perspective: Reform in Dallas by Dr. Kimberly Hill

Dallas, Texas was one of several American cities where police officers clashed with Black Lives Matter protesters during the summer of 2020. While incidents of looting and accusations of excessive force dominated the national news cycle, reports from Dallas also emphasized the city’s reputation for police reform. Local media summarized new policy changes for the Dallas Police Department (DPD) early in June. The department continued to update the “On-Duty Officer-Involved Shooting Data” website that it began in 2012. Public television reported that former DPD Chief Reneé Hall supported calls to end misdemeanor arrests and agreed to release video of excessive force incidents. A D Magazine article featured activists and academics who advocated for partial defunding of DPD at least a year before the protests.

Summertime, The Killing Season by Branden Janese

It’s no secret that the NYPD habitually commits civil rights injustices, and it's no secret that police brutality overwhelmingly affects poor Black communities. Yet, this summer more police will receive funding to police already over-policed neighborhoods.

Lawmakers Across the Nation are Upping the Ante in Criminalizing Encounters with Police by Donney Rose

What is evident is that there’s a rejuvenated war being waged on activists that stand in opposition to police violence. The names of the bills may vary from state to state, but the objective is the same: create ambiguous laws that define obstruction of justice in whatever manner lawmakers see fit, and one-size alleged crimes to make it easier to prosecute advocates for organizing against police misconduct.

Mysterious Drowning of Two Young Black Boys in Pennsylvania; Family Members Seeking a More Thorough Investigation by Donney Rose

According to [Naomia] Curtis, the details on the scene that suggest something other than an accidental drowning include scratches on the chest of the 6-year-old, and both of the boys’ clothing folded neatly and placed on the side of the pool as if they were folded by an adult. When the boys were found by their mother and uncle, they were both completely nude. The scratches on the chest of the 6-year-old were not there prior to the incident, according to Curtis.


The Breakdown with Shaun King: Episode 479: [Replay] “Trust Fund Baby”

While I’m away on vacation, the staff at The North Star will be playing some of our favorite episodes from some of our other podcast series. Today, here’s a favorite of ours from The Momentum Advisors Show. Be sure to subscribe to them on your favorite podcasting platform!

“Society stereotypes “trust fund babies” as overprivileged, spoiled, adult-children who think they’re superior to others and have no responsibilities. But in reality, we should all strive to have trust fund baby’s and in this episode, we’re going to tell you exactly why. We’re also going to teach you how to leave a million-dollar trust fund for your beneficiaries without ever having a fraction of that amount in your bank account.”

The Breakdown with Shaun King: Episode 480: [Replay] “Colorblind Solidarity and the War in the Middle East”

While I’m away on vacation, the staff at The North Star will be playing some of our favorite episodes from some of our other podcast series. Today, here’s a very special episode of Sick Empire. Be sure to subscribe to them on your favorite podcasting platform!

The morning of May 25th, 2020 the first episode of Sick Empire aired. Back then there was no vaccine for the Coronavirus, we were all stuck in quarantine, and George Floyd would be murdered later that day. To commemorate our one-year anniversary Sick Empire will highlight the crimes against humanity happening in East Jerusalem. You’ll hear Branden Janese in conversation with four guests who all share a link to social justice work in the Middle East. In true Sick Empire fashion, we blend together voices that would have most likely never found themselves in a room together including, a New York City public defender, a Muslim community organizer, a Black girl who currently lives on the Gaza Strip, and a historian and writer.

This episode is a rollercoaster. There are moments that are hard to listen to, like when one guest describes watching a recent bombing of her neighborhood in Gaza and how another guest refuses to give up fighting for freedom even when it comes with exceptional losses. We also unpack the layers of inequality in solidarity work.

The Breakdown with Shaun King: Episode 481: [Replay] “The Tulsa Massacre & Your Generation”

While I’m away on vacation, the staff at The North Star will be playing some of our favorite episodes from some of our other podcast series. Today, here’s a favorite of ours from The Momentum Advisors Show. Be sure to subscribe to them on your favorite podcasting platform!

In this episode, The Momentum Advisors speak on the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre that destroyed “Black Wallstreet” in 1921. It was a horrible tragedy that is a major cause for today’s wealth gap in the Black community. In this episode, we are highlighting how to approach building generational wealth in spite of all the systemic setbacks and obstacles, like the Tulsa Race Massacre. We are breaking down strategies for building wealth in your family no matter how much you’re starting with.

#InTheseTweets | 70th Edition

“In These Tweets” is The North Star’s weekly cultural dive into trending topics on Twitter impacting our community, hosted by TNS Chief Content Editor, Donney Rose. This week, Donney looks at an asinine comment by Megyn Kelly about the Jan. 6th insurrection, income inequality around California workers getting paid leave and the Texas Democrats who flew out of town in opposition to Texas Republicans' voter restriction bills.

We are outchea in these tweets!

This Week’s Freedom Song

The North Star will be sending out a weekly song of inspiration, hope and liberation from our These Songs of Freedom playlist. This week’s freedom song is by Donald Byrd and is called “(Fallin’ Like) Dominoes. Listen to (Fallin’ Like) Dominoes here on Spotify or here on Apple Music.