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A Florida judge has declared a Florida law that restricts race-based conversation and analysis in business and education unconstitutional. The ruling came in a case in which a Florida business claimed their free speech rights are curtailed because the law infringes on company training programs stressing diversity, inclusion, elimination of bias and prevention of workplace harassment. The case is one of three challenging the “Stop WOKE” act  championed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis as unconstitutional. The law involves critical race theory — the idea that racism is systemic in U.S. institutions that serve to perpetuate white dominance in society. The other two lawsuits were filed by educators and students.

Connecticut has released data for the first time showing the race of people subjected to police use of force, a reporting practice that many states are beginning to adopt in the wake of nationwide calls for more police accountability. The data released Thursday from 2019 and 2020 appeared to show Connecticut police used force on Black people at disproportionate rates compared with white people, but the analysts who released the data cautioned that there were limitations in the reporting. Connecticut is the second state in the country to publicly report statewide police use-of-force data. Several other states have passed similar requirements in recent years.

A man and a teenager arrested in connection with robberies that targeted Asian women in Sacramento are now facing hate crime allegations. Sacramento police say county prosecutors this week added a hate crime enhancement to robbery charges filed against both suspects, who have been in custody since June. The robberies occurred in April and May as the women were leaving shopping centers. Victims were injured in physical assaults and thousands of dollars in cash, jewelry and other property were taken. Police say detectives continued investigating after the arrests and developed evidence that the victims were targeted due to their race.

A U.N. investigator says contemporary forms of slavery are widely practiced around the world, including forced labor for China’s Uyghur minority. Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur Tomoya Obokata also cites bonded labor for the lowest caste Dalits in South Asia, domestic servitude in Gulf countries, Brazil and Colombia — and traditional enslavement, especially of minorities, in Mauritania, Mali and Niger. He says in a report to the U.N. General Assembly circulated Wednesday that child labor — another contemporary form of slavery — exists in all regions of the world. Obokata’s conclusion about Uyghurs' forced labor was sharply criticized by China.

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The U.S. Postal Service has closed a small Virginia post office over concerns about its location inside a historic train depot that also serves as a museum about racial segregation. In a statement on the closure, the postal service noted that the museum near former president James Madison’s Montpelier estate has two exterior doors, one with historical signage labeled “WHITE” and another labeled “COLORED.” The Postal Service said management considered that some customers might wrongly associate the entrance signs with the current operations of the post office. A spokesperson for The Montpelier Foundation called on the postal service to reconsider its decision, noting the exhibit and the post office have co-existed since 2010.

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A Republican group in Alabama is apologizing after accidentally using a picture of a GOP elephant that contained Ku Klux Klan imagery. The Lawrence County Republican Party posted an image on its Facebook page of the GOP elephant in which the white spaces between the animals' legs were drawn to resemble hooded Klansmen. A party official said the image was grabbed from a Google search for the GOP symbol and was a mistake.  A party official said the image didn't represent the views or beliefs of the Lawrence County Republican Party and apologized. The image had been used in a 2020 article in Mother Jones about racism within the GOP

Writer Wil Haygood, author of multiple books chronicling the lives of 20th-century Black Americans, has won a prestigious book award. The Dayton Literary Peace Price announced Wednesday that Haygood will receive the Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award. Haygood’s books include “The Butler,” based on the life of Eugene Allen, who served eight presidents at the White House. It was adapted into a 2013 film. Sharon Rab, the founder and chair of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation, said Haygood's books focus on rarely or never-told stories of the Black experience. She said his writing provides desperately needed analysis.

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A federal jury has been impaneled R. Kelly’s to decide multiple charges against the R&B singer, as prosecutors and defense attorneys argued about whether the government improperly sought to keep some Blacks from the jury. Kelly, who is Black, is accused of enticing minors for sex, producing child pornography and fixing his 2008 state child pornography trial at which he was acquitted. Kelly's attorney accused prosecutors of seeking to strike Blacks “to deny Mr. Kelly a jury of his peers.” Prosecutors noted multiple African American had already made it onto the jury before the defense objected. About half the 12 jurors impaneled were identified as Black by the judge, prosecutor and defense attorneys. Six alternates were also selected. Opening statements begin Wednesday.

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Civil rights advocates say in a federal lawsuit that police have “terrorized” residents in a small Mississippi town by subjecting them to false arrests, excessive force and intimidation. The civil rights organization JULIAN is seeking a temporary restraining order against Lexington’s police department to “demand protection for Lexington’s largely Black population.” The lawsuit came Tuesday after the organization obtained an audio recording in July of then- Lexington Police Chief Sam Dobbins using racial slurs and talking about how many people he killed in the line of duty. The Mississippi Center For Investigative Reporting reports that Dobbins denied making the slurs.

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While segregation was still casting its ugly shadow over the U.S., the Homer G. Phillips Hospital was providing top-notch medical care to a predominantly African American part of St. Louis and training some of the world’s best Black doctors and nurses. The name is still revered, especially in the city’s Black community. So a white developer’s decision to call a new three-bed medical facility “Homer G. Phillips Memorial Hospital” has been met by a backlash that includes a lawsuit, protests and newspaper editorials alleging cultural appropriation. But Darryl Piggee, a Black man who serves on the board of directors for the new hospital, says the name seeks to honor Phillips' legacy, not profit from it.