By Dane S. Claussen
Nonprofit Sector News
June 2, 2020
The leaders of the National Urban League, NAACP, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, National Action Network, and other civil rights organizations on Monday declared Thursday, June 4, as a national day of mourning. The statement announcing the national mourning day said, “The tragic and senseless loss of Black lives to police-involved violence over the last several years — and the callous indifference to justice in response – should have been enough to persuade the nation of the need for dramatic change. The last several days have made it impossible to ignore.
“We call on the nation to join the civil rights community in observing a National Day of Mourning on Thursday, as George Floyd’s family prepares for the painful task of laying their loved one to rest. We will spend the day in reflection and prayer for racial reconciliation and an end to the violence that is ravaging the nation.”
The statement said that minority communities “have been pushed to the brink by relentless police brutality and vigilante injustice” and blamed “white nationalists” for their efforts in “stoking divisions and discrediting the racial justice movement.” “There is only one way out of this crisis,” the statement said, calling for a “comprehensive and realistic plan for reform and accountability” and “comprehensive review and revision of police training procedures, hiring standards and use of force policies.” They committed to “working closely with members of Congress on a bipartisan basis to advance these policies and other desperately-needed reform measures.”
However, Monday’s announcement received virtually no news coverage by U.S. mainstream news media in at least the first 24 hours after it was announced, and the announcement also was not quickly posted on websites of African-American news media such as the Chicago Defender, Atlanta Daily World, or New York’s Amsterdam News—three of the most historically prominent black newspapers. Monday, June 1, already had been declared a national day of mourning and lament by the 1,400-member United States Conference of Mayors, and religious figures, with city governments observing moments of silence and various ministers and priests publicly observing it with prayer vigils, speeches, and other activities.
An earlier national day of mourning had been held on Wednesday, May 20, organized by by MoveOn, Indivisible, the Center for Popular Democracy, and other progressive groups. Its intent was to publicize what its organizers believe was an insufficient response by Republican government officials to the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Events included “funeral processions” of cars from the Washington home of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to the White House via the Trump International Hotel, and from a Columbia, S.C., chapel to Sen. Lindsey Graham’s main South Carolina office. Since 1970, some Native Americans have observed the same November day as Thanksgiving also as a National Day of Mourning to protest unjust treatment of Native Americans by American colonists and governments since the Mayflower’s landing in Massachusetts in 1620.