Defend democracy in the South.

george floyd

Lawmakers in Florida and other states want felony penalties for protesters

Billy Corriher

GOP state lawmakers are using the recent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol to justify new laws that subject protesters to harsh criminal penalties. Many of the bills were introduced last year, amid nationwide protests for racial justice. Some would bar efforts to reallocate funding from police. 

Charleston's deposed Calhoun monument and the erasure of Black workers

Kerry Taylor

When South Carolina's largest city ordered the removal of the statue of former U.S. Vice President turned secessionist John C. Calhoun, there were few if any Black workers on the crew. That points to contradictions that define our political moment.

INSTITUTE INDEX: Bank of America's disconnect on racial inequality

Sue Sturgis

Spurred by recent protests over police brutality, the North Carolina-based banking giant, which has a long history of racial discrimination, recently pledged to donate $1 billion over the next four years to address racial and economic inequality. But political spending by the company's employee PAC program is at odds with that goal.

North Carolina visual artist auctions work for racial justice

Keona Frasier

Antoine Williams, an art professor at Guilford College in Greensboro, produces mixed media artwork informed by critical race theory. He recently auctioned off two of his works to benefit Black Lives Matter and other groups working for racial justice — part of a broader effort by the art world to take a stand against racism. What Williams hoped to sell in two weeks was gone in 30 minutes, so now he's planning his next steps.

Galvanized by George Floyd's killing, Black mothers rise up to fight systemic poverty

Rebekah Barber Benjamin Barber

As he died at the hands of Minneapolis police, Floyd called out for his mother — rending the hearts of Black mothers nationwide and spurring many to take part in street protests. Some of those same Black mothers will also be taking part in the Poor People's Campaign's virtual mass rally on June 20, and they are drawing connections between police violence and policy violence.

VOICES: A prayer for Mother Emanuel, and for all of us

John Cooper

This week marks five years since the racist massacre of black worshippers at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. The grim anniversary finds America in turmoil over police violence and a global pandemic that also reveals our racial divisions. While we tend to think our nation's story is always getting better, recent events make that hope hard to sustain, writes South Carolina native John Cooper.

A North Carolina chicken-processing town rises up to protest police violence

Ben Wilkins

Demonstrations against the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis and police violence generally have spread to small towns like Siler City, North Carolina, home to a chicken-processing plant that's been hit hard by COVID-19. Residents connecting police violence to ICE violence came out by the hundreds to say that "las vidas negras importan."

INSTITUTE INDEX: Police use tear gas banned from war on protesters at home

Sue Sturgis

As people took to the streets nationwide to condemn last week's Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd, they were met in many places by tear gas, which is banned from use in war but still deployed domestically by police for crowd control. The tear gas canisters fired in recent protests in Minneapolis and many other cities were made by Florida-based Safariland, whose products have also been controversially used against asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border.