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"I don't want to die and leave a few sad songs and a hump in the ground as my only monument. I want to leave a world that is liberated from trash, pollution, racism, nation-states, nation-state wars and armies, from pomp, bigotry, parochialism, a thousand different brands of untruth and licentious, usurious economics." — George Jackson

This week, Joe Biden officially recognized Juneteenth—the anniversary of General Order No. 3 spreading the news of the Emancipation Proclamation to Texas and freeing all enslaved people in the state—as a federal holiday. Cringe-worthy pandering aside, it's a sign of something bigger than a three-day weekend: Abolition is finally moving from the fringe to the center.
Become a Scalawag member to support Abolition Week.
For us, abolition is an unwillingness to accept that the conditions of the South’s origin story—from slavery, to segregation and Jim Crow, to policing and prisons—are unchangable. It's a commitment to adapt in response even as those power dynamics continue to regenerate. The home of slavery is also the birthplace of slave revolts—and the fight for civil rights, labor organizing, and almost every movement rooted in the dismantling and cease of past harms.

Starting Monday, Scalawag will be publishing a full week of work entirely by and about incarcerated writers, artists, and thinkers in an effort to center their experiences and their humanity. More on that below. Happy liberation day, everyone.
Join us next week for Realizing Abolition
Virtual event, Wednesday, June 23, 7 - 8:30 p.m. Eastern

As the national media is shifting its attention away from demands to restructure, defund, and abolish the police, Scalawag's second annual Abolition Week is an appeal to keep these conversations at the forefront. Realizing Abolition is an opportunity to gather together with others committed to challenging the existence of prisons in our society. learn from innovative organizers from across the South who are creating new avenues of healing to replace structures of harm. From turning prisons into farms, to creating abolitionist toolkits, to expanding community care, join us to hear from folks who are not only making abolition possible, but making it present. [Link]
1. How ‘a new generation’ is taking the lead at Mississippi Coast Juneteenth celebrations
Isabelle Taft, Biloxi SunHerald

As Juneteenth grows, so do efforts by big corporations and other predominately white institutions to get involved—and to benefit. Brown worries that the growing awareness of Juneteenth among Americans of all races, and brands’ perception that they can profit by participating, could lead to the holiday’s commodification. “Why do I need to go to Jackie down the street when I can just get it off Amazon, for instance?” he said.

In Mississippi, Hattiesburg claims the oldest continuous Juneteenth celebration, started in 1983 by a woman named Marian H.W. Reed, who had learned about the tradition from a son living in Austin, Texas. When Queen Brown moved to Ocean Springs, Mississippi, in 2004, she didn't see the food on the grill, holiday T-shirts, and outdoor celebrations she was used to from her youth in Canton. She set out to change that in 2019. Other members of the Community Organization Responsible for Engagement, a nonprofit that focuses on youth education and engagement, hadn't even heard of the holiday before. Now, as recognition grows nationally, she wants to see the tradition expand on the Coast, but keep its meaning and community roots. To Brown, one of the most important aspects of the holiday is something very simple: For Black people, it creates “a space to just come, celebrate, relax.”
2. ICE Discussed Punishing Immigrant Advocates for Peaceful Protests
José Olivares & John Washington, The Intercept

“ICE’s pattern of surveilling and targeting immigrant rights organizers demonstrates how afraid the agency is of being held accountable for its actions,” Alina Das, a law professor at New York University and co-director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic, who has closely studied ICE surveillance and retaliation against activists, told The Intercept. “Government agencies should be protecting these voices, not silencing them.”

Immigrant advocates have long worked to bring national and international attention to abuses at ICE detention centers—especially following the 2017 death of Jean Jimenez-Joseph by suicide in custody at the Stewart Detention Center in Georgia. Advocates alleged that CoreCivic, the private prison company that runs the facility, and ICE didn’t properly monitor or care for Jimenez-Joseph, noting that he was placed in solitary confinement for 18 days prior to his death. Earlier this year, ICE settled with the Jimenez-Joseph family, paying the family $925,000.

Now, internal ICE records, emails, and a court deposition by an ICE officer, show the agency referring to these advocacy groups as “known adversaries” and closely surveilling the immigration and civil rights activists’ activities, both online and in person. They also surveilled, chastised, and considered retaliating against advocates for staging a candlelight vigil and calling out abuse. The groups that were surveilled include Project South, Georgia Detention Watch, El Refugio, and others, as well as individual activists. New reporting reveals that these scare tactics and retaliation against advocates are not new.
3. Building a new Southern freedom movement
Mab Segrest, Facing South

"Our Southern freedom movement will make clear that what straight people have often misunderstood as a pathetic imitation of them is more often than not subversive satire. Our movement will be totally grounded in what we have had to learn as feminists and homosexuals about our bodies—and everybody's bodies—in this North American culture; not the least of which is how to be loose and whimsical in the face of forces of destruction. We will do the Hokey Pokey."

In the spring of 1988, Mab Segrest—then the director of North Carolinians Against Racist and Religious Violence and an activist in the South's lesbian and gay rights movement—delivered the keynote address at the 13th annual Southeastern Conference of Lesbians and Gay Men, held in Atlanta. Facing South reprinted part of that keynote this week, from a1988 issue of Southern Exposure. The issue's cover section, focused on the gay and lesbian South, was titled "Mint Juleps, Wisterias, and Queers."

"At the Atlanta conference, I was speaking from left to center, arguing for a Southern queer freedom movement," she said of the talk in 2020. "The work in 1988 was to create a space that overlapped the Southern freedom movement growing so powerfully out of Black and labor struggles of the 1960s, with the progressive wing of lesbian-feminist and queer organizing."
'The sun is rising, it’s a new day and I’m never eating waffles again.'
I was a little confused to see a guy I overlapped with ever-so-briefly in my college newspaper career trending on Twitter today—but was so, so very entertained to find out why. Follow one man's livetweeted attempt to eat his way down from a 24-hour journey into madness in a Mississippi Waffle House—one waffle at a time. Spoiler alert: He made it 15 hours. That means 9 waffles. Or 3690 calories, without butter and syrup. "I let part of the waffle get cold and it is 4 million times harder to eat this way. And Wagon Wheel is playing. This is probably the purgatory period of the evening."
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