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Members of Omaha’s black community call for freedom this holiday

Published: Jul. 3, 2020 at 5:12 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Some are calling it an opportunity for change. This Fourth of July members of Omaha’s black community are doing away with the fireworks and instead calling for freedom and justice.

“How are we going to go out and celebrate on the Fourth of July, independence when a lot of people aren’t free, when we’ve got a lot of injustices going on,” said Marcey Yates, Found of Culxr House, the organization behind a recently erected billboard at 72nd & Dodge St., calling for justice for James Scurlock.

“This is an opportunity for black Omahan’s to really grasp the ideals of freedom and independence by ensuring justice is done for black Omahan’s, in particular, James Scurlock,” said Ja Keen Fox, with the Culxr House.

James Scurlock, 22, was fatally shot by a white bar owner amid the height of the George Floyd protests.

The Douglas County attorney’s decision not to lay charges sparked outraged; including daily protests outside the attorney’s home, organized by the Culxr House.

“We will continue at Don Klein’s residence because we know until the grand jury convenes as a body he has the opportunity to stop this process and just press charges on Jake Gardner,” said Fox, noting that on July 4th they are planning an all-day protest; the signup sheet already filled.

“This, to black and brown people, in 2020 is what it means to be patriotic,” said Fox. “Showing that we value freedom and justice just like every other American.”

And this year a decision was made to not partake in any type of celebration.

“I think choosing not to celebrate it in that way is something we feel drawn to do because we don’t feel part of the American independence, you know what I’m saying, the culture,” said Yates.

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