Monday Sunrise Briefing: Bigger protests, fewer arrests

AP Photo/Michael Dwyer
People kneel for 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence during a protest against police brutality, Saturday, June 6, 2020, at the University of Massachusetts in Boston.

Large, peaceful protests for racial justice in cities worldwide on Saturday often evolved into smaller marches Sunday marked by prayers, songs, and sermons. Police and protesters appeared more relaxed. In Washington, D.C., conservative evangelical Christians took to the streets, including the Rev. Thabiti Anyabwile of Anacostia River Church, who called for “fighting systemic injustice AND being for personal responsibility." “We don’t have to settle for half the coin,” he told the Washington Post,““We’re Democrats and Republicans.

Nationwide cries to “defund the police” rang out. But that simple phrase has many interpretations. On Sunday, 9 out of 13  Minneapolis City Council members voted to defund - and dismantle - the city's police department. In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged to take funds from the police department and reallocate them to youth and social services. Meanwhile, curfews were lifted in several major U.S. cities on Sunday, and President Trump ordered some 5,000 National Guard troops to be withdrawn from the nation's capital.

2. Three crises in an election year. American leaders face a pandemic, a recession, and civil unrest over police brutality. Who’s best to deal with this triad of challenges? Late Friday, the former Vice President Joe Biden officially secured the Democratic Party nomination and on Sunday was endorsed by former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, who said President Trump has “drifted away” from the U.S. Constitution. On Monday, Mr. Biden is scheduled to meet with George Floyd’s family in Houston. A new poll of Republicans shows only 46% say the country is on the right track, the lowest since 2017. But President Trump's approval rating (about 40%) remains resilient, with a large majority of Republicans still approving of his overall performance. Among Republicans who express misgivings about the president’s handling of the pandemic and protests, many say they trust Trump to revive the economy. In a separate poll of 1,000 registered voters, when asked who would be better at getting people back to work, 48% chose Trump over Biden (35%).

Why We Wrote This

Good morning! Welcome to your Monday, June 8, 2020, sunrise briefing.

Here are two news events from this past weekend (while you may have been listening to Lady Gaga's “Chromatica,” trolling for striped bass, and enjoying an offline life). Also, what to look for in the news this week.


The Yomiuri Shimbun via Reuters
A 'strawberry moon' rises over the Tokyo Sky Tree tower, in Tokyo on June 7, 2020. The moniker is given to a full moon in June, coinciding with the strawberry harvest.

Look Ahead

Monday, June 8

A homecoming. George Floyd was born in North Carolina (where a memorial service was held Saturday), but he was raised in Houston, Texas. A public memorial is scheduled for Monday in the city, followed by a private funeral Tuesday. 

A listening session. President Trump is scheduled to host a roundtable listening session with law enforcement officials on Monday, “to hear their challenges and input on how to fix racial inequality in American policing,” a White House official told Axios.

Tuesday, June 9

U.S. primary voting continues. Joe Biden clinched the Democratic nomination this past Friday. But Georgia and West Virginia will hold presidential and state primaries today. South Carolina, Nevada, and North Dakota are scheduled to hold state primary elections.

For Phish fans. The rock band Phish plans a livestream of a 2013 concert  from The Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Washington, at 8:30 p.m. ET, and will collect donations for the ArtsFund, which builds community through the arts via leadership, advocacy, and grant making.

Wednesday, June 10

How's the U.S. economy doing?  Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell plans to give a news conference on the state of the economy, possibly announcing a change in interest rates. 

Friday, June 12

Interracial marriage milestone. Fifty-three years ago today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states cannot prevent a marriage based on race. The 2016 movie, “Loving,” is based on the case of Richard and Mildred Loving, the plaintiffs in the 1967 ruling.  

Saturday, June 13

A presidential send off. President Trump is scheduled to speak at the commencement ceremony at West Point. About 1,000 Army cadets have been called back to the U.S. Military Academy for the graduation event, and 15 have since tested positive for COVID 19.


Generosity Watch

Photo by Kimberly LaRussa via Facebook
Antonio Gwynn Jr. of Buffalo, New York, started cleaning Bailey Street at 2 a.m. last Monday after a protest march. He worked for 10 hours. His selfless act drew praise and gifts.

Sometimes a single selfless act can change the course of your life. Ask Antonio Gwynn Jr. of Buffalo, New York. 

Like many cities, last weekend Bailey Street in Buffalo was littered with glass and other debris after peaceful demonstrations over police brutality turned destructive. Gwynn, 18, started cleaning up in the early morning hours Monday. He worked for 10 hours straight. He was joined by neighbors at 8 a.m., but Gwynn had done most of the clean up by the time they’d arrived.. 

His generosity touched hearts, moving others to reciprocate. 

Matt Block saw the story on the local TV news and gave Gwynn his prized 2004 red Mustang convertible. “I couldn't come to grips with selling it and this was a good way for me to get rid of it and know someone that gets it is going to appreciate it,” Block told WKBW-TV. A local insurance company donated auto insurance for a year. 

Gwynn had planned to go to a trade school while saving up for college. When officials at Medaille College in Buffalo heard about his plans, they offered him a full scholarship. Gwynn says he pulled over and cried when he heard about the scholarship. Just a few days ago, he had $55 in his bank account, he wrote on Facebook. “To be blessed like this it really takes my breath away I truly Thank everyone from the bottom of my heart.”

Hidden gem

Start your week with a recent story that inspired Monitor readers:

The Dogs of Chernobyl: Are virtual tours the future of tourism?

Sneak preview

In tonight’s Daily Edition, watch for the next installment in our Navigating Uncertainty series: How we can sift social media for the truth. 

Finally, check out the Monitor’s selected stories from Friday's subscription-only Daily Edition:

  1. The promise – and limits – of police taking a knee
  2. Punish China over Hong Kong? Why Trump may pull his punches.
  3. ‘We’ve sold thousands of bikes’: The businesses surging at a tough time
  4. The Forgotten King: Commentary on protest, race, and MLK
  5. The Dogs of Chernobyl: Are virtual tours the future of tourism?

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