LOS ANGELES TIMES: Today’s Headlines 5.25.2021: One year after George Floyd’s murder

Today’s Headlines
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How much has changed in the U.S. since the killing of George Floyd?


One Year After George Floyd’s Murder

Soon after the Minneapolis police officer who killed George Floyd was convicted of murder, President Biden called Floyd’s relatives with a promise: Once he could sign legislation named for Floyd to change policing nationwide, he would fly them to Washington for the occasion.

Floyd’s family arrives at the White House today, the anniversary of his death. But there will be no bill-signing ceremony. Bipartisan negotiations on Capitol Hill have yet to produce a breakthrough, a reminder of the steep hurdles that Biden faces confronting the country’s entrenched racial problems and its political polarization.

It’s far from the only area where concrete solutions over the last year have been hard to find. While the Black Lives Matter movement achieved mainstream recognition in the U.S. and beyond, with protests in the summer covering every continent, it’s struggled with moving beyond the recognition toward real change as well.

Perhaps nowhere else were the repercussions of Floyd’s killing felt more than in Minneapolis. A year later, the city has rebounded. But Floyd’s death set five Twin Cities residents on an emotional journey that didn’t end with the trial. Some broke down, considered suicide, left jobs, lost employees, started nonprofits, led protests, had babies, visited or refused to visit the site where Floyd died.

They expressed fear and frustration, disillusioned by an America that had failed to live up to its promise. But they also found reasons to feel hopeful.

More About the Aftermath

— At least 17 states, including Minnesota, have enacted legislation to ban or restrict chokeholds and neck restraints in the last year, according to data provided to the Associated Press by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

— What is qualified immunity, the court creation that keeps cops from being sued over civil rights abuses?

— The murder prompted top football recruits to ask college coaches: “Where do you stand?” Their answers already have altered the recruiting landscape.

LAUSD’s Full Fall Reopening

The L.A. Unified School District will reopen fully with in-person instruction five days a week in the fall. On Monday, Supt. Austin Beutner committed to reopening campuses full-time on a regular schedule, with an online option as well. Like all California school systems, the district will soon need to abide by the state resumption of rules that primarily link funding to in-person school attendance in the new academic year. Emergency pandemic rules that have allowed districts to operate online expire June 30.

Other questions remain unanswered. What schooling will look like in L.A. Unified is unclear. But the district will resolve these issues over the next few weeks amid growing demands from parents, advocacy groups and unions — all pushing their agendas for the educational recovery of some 465,000 students.

District officials have said they’ve doubled custodial staff by hiring outside contractors to keep schools safe during the pandemic. But they’ve also stated that typical school staffing before the pandemic was less than half the industry standard needed to maintain campuses properly.

About 30% of elementary school students have returned to campus, 12% of middle school students, and 7% of high school students. The secondary-school format was a factor in the low numbers because students returning to campus have to remain in one room and log into classes, just as they were doing from home.

Remaining PPP Loan Relief for Small Businesses Scarce

The federal government’s massive Payroll Protection Program has been a lifeline for small businesses hit by the pandemic. But it has become mired by confusion and delays as money runs out. This may lead to hundreds of thousands of applicants not getting any help, especially in underserved minority communities.

During the first months after Biden took office, his administration exceeded its predecessor in sending funds to vulnerable companies. But in recent weeks, the agency responsible for it has been overwhelmed. According to congressional staff, as of Friday, only about $3 billion remains of the $800 billion provided for the program. With only a week before the program closes, the second and last round of relief is all but frozen for hundreds of thousands of small businesses.

A disproportionate number are operated by relatively inexperienced minorities and women who started up businesses with a small staff. Conventional commercial borrowing is often unavailable for small firms such as these. Though applicants aren’t required to identify their race or gender, and many declined to do so, previous analyses of PPP loan approvals by the Los Angeles Times and other organizations indicated that lending rates were higher for white businesses than those operated by Latino, Asian or Black people.

More Top Coronavirus Headlines

Latino and Black Californians are getting vaccinated at a relatively faster rate, a promising sign. But they still lag behind other racial and ethnic groups.

Half of Los Angeles County residents 16 and older are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, an encouraging milestone as the region — along with the rest of California — prepares to fully reopen in a few weeks.

For more, sign up for Coronavirus Today, a special edition of The Times’ Health and Science newsletter.


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On this day in 1986, more than 5 million Americans — from celebrities to everyday people — joined hands for 15 minutes for Hands Across America. Their goal was to raise $100 million to fight hunger, homelessness and poverty. But because of various complications, they raised over $30 million. And after covering organizing costs, it came out to about $15 million.


May 25, 1986: Participants in Hands Across America in Manhattan Beach. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)


— Each time the power goes out, frustrated Californians look for someone to blame. That could spell trouble for Gov. Gavin Newsom as another hot summer and a recall election approach.

— L.A. turbocharged subway and rail construction during the pandemic. Will the riders return?

— In sprawling California suburbs, Laotian households have for years re-created village networks from back home with elaborate phone trees. The calls spread hope and vital information during the pandemic.

— A viral TikTok party continued for a rowdy third night in Huntington Beach, ending in 29 arrests, including those of 13 juveniles.

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— The Supreme Court made it harder for an immigrant to defend himself against a charge of unlawful entry, even though he was wrongly sent out of the country more than 20 years ago based on a DUI conviction.

Armed drones have begun to crisscross Middle Eastern skies. Cheap and abundant, they’re bringing havoc and a new threat to the U.S. as they target oil facilities, militant hideouts and military bases.

— A career Democrat is facing a Republican businessman with little experience. The Virginia governor’s race is shaping up to be a Trump-Biden rematch by proxy, and it could set the tone for the 2022 midterm election.

— Western outrage grew and the European Union threatened to impose more sanctions on Belarus over the forced diversion of a plane so the government could arrest an opposition journalist.

— Myanmar’s ousted leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, appeared in court in person for the first time since the military arrested her when it seized power in February.


— Disgraced two-time Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey has landed his first acting role in three years in a “low-budget indie film.”

— Catching up on “Mare of Easttown”? Our guide to the TV show everyone’s talking about, week by week.

— Looking for summer reading? Here are four chilling debut thrillers for your list.

Netflix spared no expense in removing scandal-ridden comedian Chris D’Elia from director Zack Snyder’s “Army of the Dead,” paying several million to replace him with Tig Notaro.


— A $1.7-billion expansion project at Los Angeles International Airport was officially unveiled by local officials who expressed optimism that the facility will soon help serve a resurgence of travel demand after the yearlong pandemic slump.

— MTV reality series “The Real World” alum Rachel Campos-Duffy has signed on to replace co-host Jedidiah Bila for the weekend edition of the Fox News morning show “Fox & Friends.”


Kentavious Caldwell-Pope knows he’s key for the Lakers. The dual role he finds himself in again during the playoffs is vital to the team’s success.

— The NBA announced LeBron James won’t be subject to any quarantine penalties after attending an event for his tequila brand last week. Here’s why.

— The Clippers’ big problem is stopping Luka Doncic. The answer may be the most obvious one.

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— Floyd’s killing and an officer’s conviction have made insufficient headway against police violence because the nation’s racial and policing problems have less to do with illegal police conduct and more to do with reprehensible conduct that lawmakers, the courts and the Constitution have made perfectly legal, The Times’ editorial board writes.

— In 2010, the Federal Communications Commission declared that every American should have broadband internet access by 2020. The country isn’t even close and that’s an outrage, the editorial board writes.


Rashida Jones, the first Black woman to run a major cable news channel, hopes streaming at MSNBC will cultivate the next generation of news junkies. (Washington Post)

— There’s a reason many of TikTok’s biggest stars look alike, sound similar and act in the same blandly appealing ways. Internet algorithms are designed to reward mediocrity. (Vox)


The scenic Agoura Hills ranch that famously appeared in the 1939 film “Gone With the Wind” is now on the market for $12 million. The 48-acre spread is currently used as a wedding venue and event space nestled near the Santa Monica Mountains. Dubbed Oak Canyon Ranch, it boasts three parcels with more than 21,000 square feet of space, including seven buildings, five trailers, a barn, garage and storage shed. There’s a banquet hall, multiple conference rooms and a handful of bungalows, cabins and modular homes.

For the record: An item in Monday’s newsletter incorrectly referred to Xavier Becerra as a U.S. senator. He is Health and Human Services secretary.

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