Happy Juneteenth + other news

The week of June 13th-19th, 2021

Welcome to my newsletter by me, King Williams. A documentary filmmaker, journalist, podcast host, and author based in Atlanta, Georgia. This is a newsletter covering the hidden connections of Atlanta to everything else.


This week saw the passage of Juneteenth as the most recent federal holiday.

This effort has been the life long work of Mrs. Opal Lee, the 94-year-old Texas native. Juneteenth becomes only the 12th federal holiday and US history. It is also one of three holidays that has a direct connection to the African-American experience. The first being memorial day, which started initially as a memorial of following union soldiers and enslaved Africans. The history of which has been brightly removed and replace of the current more militaristic version that exist today. The second being Martin Luther King Day, which began after the murder of Martin Luther King in 1968 and became a full federal holiday in 1984. And right on schedule the backlash has begun, this includes 14 Republican lawmakers who did not sign on for the bill.

Governor Brian Kemp who released a statement on Twitter, despite writing an executive order banning the teaching of critical race theory a few days prior. Many people quickly came to highlight Kemp’s response as under his tenure, Georgia currently has written into law that only 12 holidays, two of which are Confederate holidays (Robert E Lee’s birthday on January 19th and Confederate Memorial Day on April 26th), are officially recognized. Meaning the state doesn’t currently recognize Juneteenth, in addition to Kemp would need to sign off on the law change, adding another layer of bureaucracy to do so. This is also something that can easily be changed in the next legislative session but considering the level of bipartisanship plus good ole boy antics, don’t hold your breath.

Rayshard Brooks—one year later

June 12th marked the killing of Rayshard Brooks after being gunned down in the parking lot of the Wendy’s on University Avenue in South Atlanta.

That incident in combination with the George Floyd protests along with the vandalizing of CNN Center marked the beginning of the end of both the Keshia Lance Bottoms administration. The murder of Brooks, the firing of Brooks, followed by ‘the blue flu’ by APD, and rapid reopening have led to the tailspin that is Atlanta’s homicide spike in 2020 and 2021. Since the killing Rolfe has been reinstated on the force and his case has been in limbo under new District Attorney Fani Willis. Willis defeated the 22-year incumbent Paul Howard, who despite his other controversies was the only DA in the state of Georgia to actively prosecute officer misconduct. Rumors are the Willis, who received campaign donations from pro-police donors and now has successfully had her office removed from the case this month, will now see the case move to either be dismissed or transfer the case to another DA who will undoubtedly drop it.

Lenox Mall

Sunday, a security guard was shot at Lenox by two teens. The shooting was captured on cellphone video and occurred after the mall had closed on Sunday evening.

The incident marks a bad rash of shootings at the mall. As many of the shootings throughout 2020 have been done by people not from Atlanta according to Simon Properties, the parent company of Lenox Mall. This most recent incident has caused a new slew of social media jokes, memes, outrage, and added fuel to the ongoing fire regarding the most recent efforts of Buckhead secession. Simon Properties already has both Atlanta Police and private security patrol their location prior to the pandemic in addition to installing metal detectors. 

Simon Properties, which is based here in metro Atlanta, is the largest mall owner in America also made headlines last year as they opened within four days of Governor Kemp declaring Georgia re-open for business in April of 2020. Considering the reputation the mall is taking, the threat of long-term brand damage to a star property within the company’s portfolio will likely have to consider even more drastic measures. The mall has been the gathering spot for many young people and most notably out of towners. Many of whom have come from across the country to see the mall that is mentioned throughout social media + youtube for most of the last decade alongside a staple of rap songs for over two decades now. 

Tucker Carlson is the latest to jump into the Buckhead secessionist movement 

Monday saw the release of a new video from Tucker Carlson. Carlson who is also the #1 news program on both cable and broadcast talked about Buckhead. In that video, Carlson portrays Buckhead as a quaint, detached suburb separate from Atlanta. The video is already restricted on YouTube because of its rampant dog whistles, typical of Carson’s fear-inducing show watch below.

This also includes Carlson, who is such a better recruiter of white nationalism tenets, than actual white nationalists, that his videos are used as recruitment tools. Carson’s ability to congregate fear (see: immigration), while building new entirely new narratives (see: critical race theory), and speaking to a larger conservative audience who believe in these alternative Americas (see: stop the steal) has taken his platform to become the most important voice now in conservative media. As a result, the looming threat of Buckhead's secession has reached a new level after his Monday rant. This is at the point where everyone currently serving on the Atlanta city council as well as everyone running for mayor should strongly consider how to counter an ongoing narrative that started from ATLscoop et al. It’s because of this, that the Atlanta Police Department have had to issue a statement regarding the misinformation on his program.

Andre Dickens releases new campaign video 

The Andre Dickens campaign has released its first campaign video. 

The video, (which is currently not available on YouTube), but is available on Facebook, and Twitter is a highlight of Dickens in front of Mays High School, his childhood neighborhood of Adamsville, and is a direct call to action against violent crime. This video is likely to be one of many from all mayoral candidates who are looking to both assuage fears of a continual crime spike as well as those who want to solve the violent crime spike in Atlanta. It also takes a slight sub to Kasim by stating that his administration will be against corruption, something that has been attached to former mayor Kasim Reed. 

Someone is trying to bring Freaknik back again 

People keep trying to bring Freaknik back and this time, it has announced that October 8th-10th of this year will be another attempt. This time it will be at the home of the original college party at Morris Brown College. This attempt will be another concert but aimed at acts of an older millennial crowd (the oldest Millennial is 41 now btw). Freaknik’s popularity amongst Gen Xers, third party POV of millennials, and now a generation of Gen Z who have come to be enamored with the idea of a 24/7 party in Atlanta, is proving the legend of Freaknik won't die anytime soon. 

New Podcast Alert: Stephen Owens, GBPI

In this episode, I talk to Stephen Owens (@StephenOwens_) of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute(GBPI). Stephen is a senior policy analyst at GBPI, his focus is primarily on state policies and research that affects public K-12 education in Georgia. In this interview, we talk about how Georgia has defunded public education over $10 billion over as a result of a decade-plus effort. We also talk about this current FY2022 state budget and what this most recent legislative session means for Georgians.

This interview can also be heard here on Substack but is also available on Apple Podcasts, also Spotify, and SoundCloud as well.

Book Club: A Rage in the Gate City Sunday, June 20th, 2pm

Our next session of the Socially Distanced Book Club will be on Zoom only for Father’s Day, June 20th. Our next hybrid session will be Sunday, June 27th. 

You can join in by clicking here on tomorrow. Meeting ID: 861 2293 5832/Passcode: 310267

Red Clay News

  • A child in Clayton has died of Covid-19.

  • A man in Decatur killed a grocery store cashier over a mask mandate.

  • A new effort to overturn the 2020 election is looking at Fulton County ballot box again.

  • Pinky Cole of Slutty Vegan and David Hayes of Big Dave’s Cheesecakes have teamed up to provide 25,000 Black men life insurance policies.

  • Sally Yates joined KLB’s anti-violence committee.

  • Zoo Atlanta performed a successful operation on their giraffe Abu.

  • New Northside Hospital Gwinnett planning a $400m expansion

  • Morehouse School of Medicine is looking to raise $225 million.

  • Beltline receives $4m grant for southside trail.

  • Stacey Abrams and Lara Hodgson’s fintech startup raise $9.5M.

  • DeKalb County is a finalist for its Bright Futures Leadership Development Program

National News

  • Only 13 states have reached president Biden’s threshold of 70% of people being vaccinated by July 4th

  • A federal court has upheld the right of employers to require all of their employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine if they ask to do so. 

  • Amtrak will let you travel around the US for $299.

  • Most Americans don't know where Grand Canyon or Niagara Falls is.

  • Val Demmings is running against Marco Rubio for US Senate in Florida in what could be the most expensive US Senate seat ever.

  • Student allowed to receive a diploma after wearing the Mexican flag at work. 

  • A special Pulitzer Prize has been awarded to Darnella Frazier, the teen who recorded the murder of George Floyd.

  • The US gets a large portion of the bitcoin ransom back from the Colonial Pipeline hack.

  • Arizona doesn’t have enough million-dollar homes to go around.

  • Bank of America is upping its pay for workers to $25/hour by 2025.

  • Family Dollar is starting to sell fresh fruit and produce.

  • Some Pillsbury, yes that Pillsbury relatives are protesting the family business over its factory in Palestine.  

International News

  • The famous Galapagos arches have fallen due to erosion.

  • A military court in Myanmar has sentenced a journalist to 3 years in prison as the country is currently expecting to incarcerate more journalists in the country.

  • G7 nations agree to a global tax rate of 15 percent for large corporations.  


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