Biden closed out his speech in Oklahoma this afternoon by comparing white supremacist atrocities in the past, such as the Tulsa massacre, to extremist threats today.
“We must address what remains the stain on the soul of America. What happened in Greenwood was an act of hate and an act of domestic terrorism, with a through-line that exists today, still,” he said. “Remember what you saw in Charlottesville four years ago, on television, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, the KKK [Ku Klux Klan], coming out of those fields at night in Virginia, their lighted torches, the veins bulging as they were screaming.”
“Well, [massacre survivor] Mother Fletcher said that when she saw the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6, it broke her heart,” he continued: “A mob of violent white extremists, thugs, said it reminded her of what happened here, 100 years ago, in Greenwood. Look around at the various hate crimes against Asian Americans and Jewish Americans, hate that never goes away.”
Someone from the audience called out “that’s true”. Biden went on: “And given a little bit of oxygen by its leaders it comes out from under the rock like it was happening again, as if it never went away.”
“We can’t give hate a safe harbor. According to the intelligence community, terrorism from white supremacy is the most lethal threat to the homeland today,” he said.
at 6.10pm EDT
The Biden administration has suspended oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge that were issued in the final days of Donald Trump’s presidency.
Just two weeks before Biden was inaugurated, the Trump administration had actioned the right to drill in the expansive, delicate tundra that is home to migrating waterfowl, denning polar bears and herds of Porcupine caribou. The move drew fierce opposition from Alaska Native activists and environmental groups – who lobbied Biden to quickly claw back the 1.5m acre of the refuge that has been opened up to fossil fuel production.
Here’s more background on the Trump administration’s move:
Today so far
Joe Biden’s speech in Tulsa has now concluded, and that’s it from me today. My west coast colleague, Maanvi Singh, will take over the blog for the next few hours.
Here’s where the day stands so far:
- Biden delivered remarks in Tulsa to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the city’s race massacre. The president emphasized the importance of acknowledging the lives and livelihoods lost in the massacre, which resulted in the death of at least 300 African Americans and the destruction of 35 blocks of Black real estate. “For much too long, the history of what took place here was told in silence, cloaked in darkness,” Biden said. “My fellow Americans, this was not a riot, this was a massacre.”
- Biden met with the three living survivors of the massacre before delivering his speech. All three survivors – Viola “Mother” Fletcher, Hughes “Uncle Red” Van Ellis and Lessie “Mother Randle” Benningfield Randle – are over 100 years old. Biden acknowledged them in his remarks, saying, “Now your story will be known in full view.”
- Ahead of the trip, the Biden administration announced a series of initiatives aimed at narrowing the country’s racial wealth gap. The administration pledged to take action to address racial housing discrimination and use its purchasing power to direct an additional $100bn to small disadvantaged business owners.
- Biden will meet tomorrow with Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito to discuss a potential compromise on infrastructure. The meeting comes a week after Republicans outlined their latest offer, which called for spending $928bn on infrastructure over the next eight years, far less than what Biden has proposed.
- Biden issued a proclamation to mark the start of LGBTQ+ Pride Month. “This Pride Month, we recognize the valuable contributions of LGBTQ+ individuals across America, and we reaffirm our commitment to standing in solidarity with LGBTQ+ Americans in their ongoing struggle against discrimination and injustice,” the president said in his proclamation.
Maanvi will have more coming up, so stay tuned.
at 5.09pm EDT
Joe Biden has just announced that he will tap Kamala Harris to lead the administration’s efforts to strengthen national voting rights.
Biden described the recent Republican efforts in dozens of states to limit access to the ballot box as “un-American”.
The president pledged he would “fight like heck with every tool at my disposal” to pass the For the People Act, Democrats’ expansive election reform bill, and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.
Biden also appeared to criticize two moderate Senate Democrats, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, referencing “two members of the Senate who vote more with my Republican friends”. Manchin has said he opposes the For the People Act.
‘This was not a riot, this was a massacre,’ Biden says in Tulsa
Joe Biden underscored the importance of recognizing the devastating impact that the Tulsa race massacre had on Black lives and livelihoods.
At least 300 African Americans were killed in the 1921 massacre, and about 35 blocks of Black real estate in the Greenwood neighborhood were destroyed.
“For much too long, the history of what took place here was told in silence, cloaked in darkness,” Biden said. “But just because history is silent it doesn’t mean that it did not take place. While darkness can hide much, it erases nothing.”
The president added, “My fellow Americans, this was not a riot, this was a massacre.”
at 4.47pm EDT
Biden tells Tulsa race massacre survivors: ‘Now your story will be known in full view’
Joe Biden noted that he is the first US president to ever visit Tulsa to commemorate the anniversary of the 1921 race massacre that killed at least three hundred African Americans.
“The events we speak of today took place 100 years ago – and yet I’m the first president in 100 years ever to come to Tulsa,” Biden said, emphasizing the need to “acknowledge the truth of what took place here”.
President Biden addresses three survivors of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre: “You are the three known remaining survivors of a story seen in the mirror dimly. But no longer. Now, your story will be known in full view.” https://t.co/0kXzNfudf0 pic.twitter.com/ESpeEFGbel
The president specifically acknowledged the three living massacre survivors with whom he met today – Viola “Mother” Fletcher, Hughes “Uncle Red” Van Ellis and Lessie “Mother Randle” Benningfield Randle.
“You are the three known remaining survivors of a story seen in the mirror dimly – but no longer,” Biden said. “Now your story will be known in full view.”
at 4.49pm EDT
Biden delivers remarks in Tulsa to commemorate race massacre anniversary
Joe Biden is now delivering remarks on the 100th anniversary of the 1921 race massacre in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Before launching into his prepared remarks, the president walked into the audience to speak to two young girls sitting toward the front of the crowd.
Returning to the mic, Biden explained, “I just had to make sure the two girls got ice cream when this is over.”
Ahead of remarks in Tulsa, Pres. Biden leaves the stage to talk to two young girls in the audience: “I just had to make sure the two girls got ice cream when this is over.” https://t.co/8tsvN79IHC pic.twitter.com/TmCPLPRMf5
Joe Biden will soon deliver remarks at the Greenwood Cultural Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the city’s race massacre.
According to a White House pool report, there are about 200 people in attendance for Biden’s speech, including civil rights leaders Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.
The speech comes immediately after Biden met with the three living survivors of the massacre – Viola “Mother” Fletcher, Hughes “Uncle Red” Van Ellis and Lessie “Mother Randle” Benningfield Randle – all of whom are over 100 years old.
at 4.08pm EDT
Joe Biden is now meeting with the three living survivors of the Tulsa race massacre, according to the latest White House pool report.
Those survivors are Viola “Mother” Fletcher, Hughes “Uncle Red” Van Ellis and Lessie “Mother Randle” Benningfield Randle. They are all between the ages of 101 and 107.
The three survivors testified two weeks ago at a House subcommittee hearing on the need to financially compensate massacre survivors and their descendants.
“I will never forget the violence of the white mob when we left our home,” Fletcher told House members. “I still see Black men being shot, Black bodies lying in the street. I still smell smoke and see fire. I still see Black businesses being burned. I still hear airplanes flying overhead. I hear the screams. I have lived through the massacre every day.”
It is one of the extraordinary elements of the 1921 catastrophe that survivors are still alive. Three individuals are active today who as children experienced the horror of white sadism perpetrated on that day.
The oldest of the trio, Mother Viola Fletcher, just turned 107. At a recent event in Tulsa, she walked unassisted to the podium and recalled what happened to her as a seven-year-old girl.
“I still remember all the shooting and running,” she said. “People being killed. Crawling and seeing smoke. Seeing airplanes flying, and a messenger going through the neighbourhood telling all the Black people to leave town.”
Then Fletcher stopped speaking. Even after 100 years, the memories of that day still have the power to overwhelm her.
Joe Biden is now touring an exhibit on the 1921 race massacre at the Greenwood Cultural Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The president will soon deliver remarks at the center to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the massacre, which killed at least 300 African Americans.
Source by www.theguardian.com