It was a scene meant to be reminiscent of the Civil Rights era: chants of “No segregation, no discrimination,” T-shirts emblazoned with the moniker “Freedom Keepers,” the sounds of “We Shall Overcome” emanating from the California state Capitol in Sacramento — except the protest was led by mostly white people from affluent backgrounds who think vaccines are dangerous, POLITICO reports.
The protesters, who are adherents of the anti-vax movement, drew fire from lawmakers who represent minority communities. One lawmaker, Assemblywoman and Legislative Black Caucus member Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-Los Angeles), said the rally was “borderline racist” and ignorant of history.
“This is misappropriation of a movement that really is not over and proves to be challenging to overcome,” Kamlager-Dove said. “The whole conversation around vaccinations is actually one about privilege and opportunity. It’s a personal choice. It’s a luxury to be able to have a conversation about medical exemptions and about whether or not you think your child should be vaccinated.”
Four years ago, California eliminated personal belief exemptions for vaccines that were commonly utilized by anti-vaxxers. Now, new legislation in the state is taking aim at the last refuge for those opposed to vaccines: medical exemptions.
According to the California Department of Public Health, the number of unvaccinated children in homeschooling has skyrocketed since the state banned personal belief and religious exemptions in 2015. Students with personal belief exemptions in California schools were predominantly white and wealthy, according to a study by the American Public Health Association in 2015. Medical exemptions, intended for children with weakened immune systems, have surged since then — and are disproportionately white.
Gov. Gavin Newsom gave the anti-vaccine movement a brief window of hope in the penultimate week of legislative session when he demanded late amendments to the main medical exemption crackdown bill, Senate Bill 276. But the governor ultimately signed two measures to implement the law, adding fuel to the anger of the anti-vaccine movement. Protests continued for four days after Newsom signed the bills, with rhetoric growing ever more extreme.
The new legislation doesn’t seek to eliminate medical exemptions all together; it only seeks to make the requirements for such exemptions stricter.
Making the civil rights era comparison all the more problematic are the demographics of anti-vaxxers, especially in Southern California. An analysis by POLITICO shows that while less than 25 percent of California public school students are white, an average of 55 percent of students are white in the state’s 50 least vaccinated schools.
According to Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), there’s another difference between the anti-vax protesters and the Civil Rights movement, and that’s “privilege.”
“I just want to point out, if constituents from my district waged months-long social harassment campaigns against a member, threatened them with death, harassed and threatened their family … then came to the Capitol and disrupted session for hours… they would definitely be arrested,” she tweeted.
WATCH: John Oliver exposes Trump’s lies about vote-by-mail — and the Fox News ‘cult’ claiming the election is already ‘rigged’
"Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver's main story Sunday refuted President Donald Trump's latest crusade against vote-by-mail. Trump announced on Twitter that the more people who vote in an election, the more Republicans tend to lose. So, he wants fewer people to have access to the ballot in November, even if people are too scared to go out during the coronavirus crisis.
Oliver called out Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R-MO), who outright told people not to vote if they were too afraid to vote in the local elections next week.
"Well, hold on there," Oliver interjected. "Voting is a right. It has to be easy to understand and accessible to anyone."
John Oliver rips Fox News’ Tucker Carlson for urging ‘order’ from people of color — but never demanding it of police
John Oliver opened his Sunday show, shredding Fox News host Tucker Carlson for uring "order" among protesters, but refusing to urge "order" to police and "wannabe police" who can't stop killing people.
It's a lot, Oliver explained. "How these protests are a response to a legacy of police misconduct, both in Minneapolis and the nation at large and how that misconduct is, itself, built on a legacy of white supremacy that prioritizes the comfort of white Americans over the safety of people of color."
While some of it is complicated, Oliver conceded, most of it is "all too clear."
Cars set on fire blocks from White House as DC protests turn violent
The Washington, D.C. protests turned violent as the city approached the 11 p.m. curfew the mayor instituted Sunday afternoon.
The policy of D.C. police is that when they are attacked, they advance forward. So, when fireworks were fired, the line of officers began pushing the protesters back further from the White House. Behind the line of police officers also stand a line of National Guard troops that President Donald Trump has demanded stand watch in the city.
Lights that normally shine on the White House have also been turned off, reporters revealed.