First, President Donald Trump planned on having a rally on Juneteenth in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Only after facing massive backlash did he move the rally date.
Now, Trump plans on accepting his Republican presidential nomination on the 60th anniversary of "Ax Handle Saturday" in Jacksonville, Florida.
Ax Handle Saturday was a racially motivated attack that took place in Hemming Park in Jacksonville, Florida, on Aug. 27, 1960. A group of white men attacked a group of young Black men who were engaging in sit-in protests opposing racial segregation. The protesters were beaten with wooden handles that had not yet had metal ax heads attached.
This then led to over 200 white rioters armed with baseball bats and ax handles chasing and beating the Black residents in the city. The police even stood by, only until members of a Black street gang called “The Boomerangs” attempted to protect those being attacked. The police joined in beating the Black protesters with their night sticks.
It is clear what Trump’s intentions are by accepting his nomination on the anniversary of such a sad day in the civil rights movement. With his continued disregard toward the Black community he continues to promote the idea of white supremacy and to oppress people of color across the country.
Just as Trump’s photo op outside of St. John’s Church, the location and date of him accepting his nomination is an ego boost for him. Accepting his nomination is to show the people of the United States that he is, in his mind, superior. Accepting his nomination is to show he is a powerful president — and he can do what he wants.
And we are letting him.
Not only is Trump disgracing Ax Handle Saturday, but because he is having the event in person with no mask requirement and no social distancing regulation, he is adding new cases to the recent spikes of COVID-19.
Originally, Trump wanted to have the event in Charlotte, North Carolina. However, after Gov. Roy Cooper refused to allow Trump to lift social distancing rules to increase turnout, it was decided to have the convention in Florida.
Having the event in person with no regulations or guidelines to help prevent COVID-19 spread promotes the idea that Americans no longer need to worry about the virus. And that is far from the truth.
The U.S. has more cases than any other country and spikes have continued to climb. It is unreasonable and irresponsible to have a convention at this time, considering the number of people who could potentially spread COVID-19 and continue to increase the number of cases.
The anniversary of Ax Handle Saturday should be a day of remembrance and sorrow. Not a day for a politician who has proven to care very little for the Black community to promote his bigoted ideals and increase the spread of the virus.