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Today’s Headlines: Bearing witness in Tulsa

President Biden led a remembrance Tuesday of one of the nation’s darkest — and long suppressed — moments of racial violence, marking the 100th anniversary of the destruction of a thriving Black community in Tulsa, Okla.

President Biden marked the 100th anniversary of the massacre that wiped out a thriving Black community in Oklahoma.

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Bearing Witness in Tulsa

President Biden traveled to Tulsa, Okla., on Tuesday to mark a shameful and largely forgotten part of American history, calling for racial reconciliation on the 100th anniversary of the violent destruction of the city’s thriving Black community by a white mob.

Biden became the first president to participate in a public remembrance of the 1921 race riot that left hundreds of Black people dead and burned what was known as “Black Wall Street” to the ground.

The high-profile visit is in keeping with Biden’s campaign promise to focus on issues of racial equity. Just last week, Biden played host at the White House to relatives of George Floyd, the Black man killed a year ago when a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes. But that did not coincide with any action by lawmakers.

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And although Democrats are set to take up voting rights legislation this month, they are unlikely to meet the 60-vote threshold needed to overcome a GOP filibuster under current Senate rules. Rather than expanding voting rights, many Republican-led states are enacting new laws making it harder for people to cast ballots.

Calling those laws an “unprecedented assault on our democracy,” Biden vowed that June would be “a month of action” in Congress on voting rights. He announced that Vice President Kamala Harris would be overseeing the administration’s efforts in that area.

More Politics

— According to a person familiar with the decision, the Biden administration will suspend Arctic refuge drilling rights sold in the final days of Donald Trump’s presidency, a move that buys time for further environmental analysis.

— The Supreme Court has set aside a rule used by the 9th Circuit Court in California that presumed immigrants seeking asylum were telling the truth unless an immigration judge had made an “explicit” finding that they were not credible.

— In search of trustworthy partners, the Biden administration dispatched Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken to Costa Rica to take Central American officials to task on corruption in their countries and examine how they can more efficiently block migration to the U.S.

— Biden may be the most overtly pro-union president since Harry Truman. But even with that support, many of labor’s top priorities face long odds.

For more news and analysis, sign up for our Essential Politics newsletter, sent to your inbox three days a week.

Trouble in the North State

One month ahead of the target date set by the Biden administration, California has now at least partially vaccinated 70% of its adult residents against COVID-19. Clearing that hurdle is a vital development as the state prepares to fully reopen later this month.

But some rural counties in Northern California are falling further behind in COVID-19 vaccination rates when compared with the rest of the state, which is causing coronavirus cases to remain flat and sometimes rise.

A Times analysis found that counties with the lowest vaccination rates were likely to have higher recent case rates per capita. Counties in rural Northern California and the greater Sacramento area fared worst, while Southern California and the Bay Area have fared best in terms of higher rates of vaccination and lower daily case rates, the analysis found.

Health officials in some of the rural areas with low rates of vaccination said they are battling reluctance on the part of residents to get the shot, which leaves a greater percentage of the population exposed to the coronavirus than in more urban parts of California, where cases continue to plummet.

More Top Coronavirus Headlines

— On Thursday, a California workplace safety board is scheduled to consider whether to relax mask and physical distancing rules for workers. The proposal would allow workers to take off masks if everyone in a room is fully vaccinated and does not have COVID-19 symptoms.

— Coronavirus name game: Farewell, B.1.1.7. Hello, Alpha! The World Health Organization has developed a new naming system for variants based on Greek letters instead of places.

Tragedy in Agua Dulce

On Tuesday morning at Los Angeles County Fire Station 81 in Agua Dulce, authorities say a gunman killed a fellow firefighter and wounded a captain before later turning the gun on himself.

The deceased victim, who has not been identified, was a 44-year-old firefighter who had been with the department for more than 20 years, officials said. He suffered multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene. The second victim, a 54-year-old fire captain, was taken to the hospital with multiple gunshot wounds.

A county source with knowledge of the situation said there was an ongoing dispute between the deceased and the gunman, who worked different shifts but lived in the same area.

As The Times reported in the aftermath of a shooting at a San Jose rail yard last week, workplace shootings are all too common in California.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

On this day in 1965, members of the Dodgers Booster Club at Dodger Stadium listened to Vin Scully describe the Dodgers’ 4-1 win over the Cardinals. The only problem — the Dodgers were playing in St. Louis.

In person, these fans were rooting for former Dodgers playing for the Washington Senators during a doubleheader against the Los Angeles Angels.

people in a stadium listening to radios
June 2, 1965: Dodgers Booster club members Gladys Fuqua, left, Rolfe Larsen, center, and Vangie Scoler listen to Vin Scully.
(Cal Montney / Los Angeles Times)

CALIFORNIA

— The Sierra County Board of Supervisors has voted to rename Jim Crow Road after a debate over the racist implications of the name and accusations of “woke cancel culture.”

— A historic California task force met for the first time with the ultimate goal of recommending reparations for descendants of enslaved people and those affected by slavery.

— Huntington Beach Mayor Pro Tem Tito Ortiz has resigned his position, citing an onslaught of public attacks on his character and a fear for the safety of his family. Los Angeles Times

— Authorities have expanded their investigation of an Anaheim man charged with attempted murder after firing a BB gun at a Tesla in Norco last week, saying the man is now a suspect in at least six other similar cases and possibly more.

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NATION-WORLD

— Democrat Melanie Stansbury has won election to Congress in New Mexico to fill a vacant seat previously held by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.

— Three Democratic members of Congress are asking the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to investigate the foster care experience of Ma’Khia Bryant that preceded the 16-year-old’s fatal police shooting in Ohio.

— An Australian court rejected a challenge to the federal government’s near-blanket ban on international travel by residents, a measure that was instituted to keep the coronavirus out.

Pope Francis has changed Roman Catholic Church law to criminalize the sexual abuse of adults by priests explicitly and say that laypeople who hold church office can also be sanctioned for similar sex crimes.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

— The premier music festivals of Southern California, Coachella and Stagecoach, will at long last return in spring of 2022. Coachella will take place on successive weekends, April 15-17 and April 22-24; the country music festival Stagecoach will return April 29-May 1.

— Not long ago, hashtags were on the verge of being dated and uncool. But now, a generation of influencers and would-be influencers, many of them natives of platforms that didn’t exist when the hashtag first started trending, are bringing it back, and for the most undeniable of reasons: It’s an indispensable tool for turning internet fame into money.

— Discovery plans to name its proposed new company Warner Bros. Discovery, after its planned merger with WarnerMedia. The transaction, which was announced last month, is a long way from being completed. The proposed $43-billion tie-up needs regulators’ approval, but Discovery is continuing its outreach to Hollywood.

— This summer, the show will go on at the Hollywood Bowl, which recently announced plans to return to 100% capacity.

BUSINESS

Creative Artists Agency said it will sell a majority stake in production company Wiip to a South Korean studio. The union had raised concerns that the agency had a conflict of interest in representing its clients while running a production company. CAA will remain a minority shareholder in Wiip.

— According to a source not authorized to comment on the deal, NFL legend Tony Gonzalez found a deep-pocketed buyer in Beverly Hills, selling his 13,000-square-foot mansion to billionaire investor Wayne Boich for $21.15 million.

SPORTS

— Tennis star Naomi Osaka is a four-time Grand Slam champion at age 23. She also suffers from depression and anxiety. On Monday, she withdrew from the French Open and announced she was stepping away from the sport for an undisclosed amount of time, a decision she said she made in part for her mental health. Retired tennis player Mardy Fish was one of the many people who publicly offered support for Osaka.

— The Lakers lost 115 to 85 in Game 5 of their NBA playoff series in Phoenix. It was a disastrous effort and performance in the series’ biggest game to date.

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OPINION

— Fights for LGBTQ and racial justice have to go hand in hand. Too long, society believed that these are two different fights, but they’ve always been linked together.

Naomi Osaka needs help, not condemnation. She needs empathy, not iron-fisted Grand Slam tournament executives threatening to bar her from tennis’ most prestigious events, writes Helene Elliott.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

— With Biden commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, many Americans are learning for the first time about the nation’s long history of racist rampages, particularly during (but not limited to) the period from the 1870s to the 1920s — considered by many a nadir in the fight for Black civil rights. (Washington Post)

America’s drinking problem: It’s not just how much, but how. (The Atlantic)

ONLY IN L.A.

Both Anthony Diaz and Kevin Alcaraz’s jobs had dried up because of COVID, so they began focusing on their new venture full time; Plantiitas, a plant shop. They grew it from a couple of tables outside to a garage filled to the brim with greenery and open for sale every Saturday and Sunday. Swarms of masked people, newly obsessed with plants thanks to the pandemic, were showing up — and demand only grew. So, what’s the secret behind this queer, Latinx-owned plant shop’s success?

Comments or ideas? Email us at headlines@latimes.com.


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