Spurred by broad public support for the Black Lives Matter movement, thousands of black activists from across the United States will hold a virtual convention in August.
It aims to produce a new political agenda that seeks to build on the success of the protests that followed George Floyd's death.
The 2020 Black National Convention will take place on August 28 via a live broadcast. It will feature conversations, performances and other events designed to develop a set of demands ahead of the November general election.
The convention is being organised by the Electoral Justice Project of the Movement for Black Lives, a coalition of more than 150 organisations.
In 2016, the coalition released its "Vision for Black Lives" platform, which called for public divestment from mass incarceration and for adoption of policies that can improve conditions in Black America.
"What this convention will do is create a Black liberation agenda that is not a duplication of the Vision for Black Lives, but really is rooted as a set of demands for progress," said Jessica Byrd, who leads the Electoral Justice Project.
At the end of the convention, participants will ratify a revised platform that will serve as a set of demands for the first 100 days of a new presidential administration, Byrd said.
Participants also will have access to model state and local legislation.
"What we have the opportunity to do now, as this 50-state rebellion has provided the conditions for change, is to say, 'You need to take action right this minute,'" Byrd said.
"We're going to set the benchmarks for what we believe progress is and make those known locally and federally."
The first-ever Black Lives Matter convention was held in Cleveland in 2015.
The process will be similar to one that produced the first platform, which included early iterations of the demand to defund police that now drives many demonstrations.
Other platform demands, such as ending cash bail, reducing pretrial detention and scrapping discriminatory risk-assessment tools used in criminal courts, have become official policy in a handful of local criminal justice systems around the US.
Cliff Albright, co-founder of Black Voters Matter, which organizes in 15 states, said the 2020 Black National Convention will deepen the solutions to systemic racism and create more alignment within the movement.
"We're in this stage now where we're getting more specific about how all of this is connected to our local organising," Albright said. "The hope is that, when people leave the convention, they leave with greater clarity, more resources, connectivity and energy."
Floyd, a black man, died on May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer held a knee on his neck.
Meanwhile, there is little evidence that the protests that erupted after Floyd's death caused a significant increase in US coronavirus infections, according to public health experts.
If the protests had driven an explosion in cases, experts say, the jumps would have started to become apparent within two weeks — and perhaps as early as five days. But that didn't happen in many cities with the largest protests, including New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Washington, D.C.
In what's considered the first systematic look at the question, a team of economists determined that only one of 13 cities involved in the earliest wave of protests after Memorial Day had an increase that would fit the pattern.
It was Phoenix, where experts say cases and hospitalisations surged after a decision by Governor Doug Ducey to end Arizona's stay-at-home order on May 15 and eased restrictions on businesses.
Arizona residents who were cooped up for six weeks flooded Phoenix-area bar districts, ignoring social distancing guidelines.
In many cities, the protests actually seemed to lead to a net increase in social distancing, as more people who did not protest decided to stay off the streets, said that study's lead author, Dhaval Dave of Bentley University.
"The large-scale protests can impact both the behaviour of the protesters and the behaviour of the non-protesters," said Dave.
The paper was released last week by the National Bureau of Economic Research, but has not been published by a peer-reviewed journal.
Drawing from data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, AP reviewed trends in daily reported cases in 22 US cities with protests. It found post-protest increases in several cities — including Houston and Madison, Wisconsin — where experts say other factors were more likely the main drivers.
Health officials are still investigating case surges in different states, and more data may come in. But experts believe that if the protests did have a big impact on cases, stronger signs would be apparent now.
Some states had begun to lift social distancing restrictions in late May.
Dave and his colleagues counted protests over three weeks in 281 cities with populations of at least 100,000. Most had protests lasting more than three days, and many had protests that had at least 1000 participants.
It is not clear how many protesters participated, let alone how many of them wore masks or got tested after. That may have varied from place to place.
Houston is among a number of Texas cities that have recently seen steep increases in cases and hospitalisations. Dr Umair Shah, executive director of the county health department, believes it was likely some cases could be traced to the protests.
"We just don't know how much," he said.
But it's hard to measure the protests' precise impact for a number of reasons, Shah and others said. Earlier business reopenings and more willingness to shrug off social distancing guidelines started the trend in the Houston area, Shah said.
Another factor: Many people don't get tested unless they feel symptoms. Many protesters were young adults, who generally are less likely to get severe illness, and therefore may not have got tested, experts said.
Dr Mysheika Roberts, the public health commissioner for the city of Columbus, Ohio,
said: "Most of the protests, at least in my jurisdiction, were outside".
The virus does not spread as well outside, Roberts said. "And I would say 50 per cent of those at the protests were wearing a face mask."
The mayor of Richmond, Virginia, today ordered the immediate removal of all Confederate statues on city land, saying he was using his emergency powers to speed up the healing process for the former capital of the Confederacy amid the weeks of protests.
Within hours, a towering statue of a Confederate general was hoisted from its base.
The decision came weeks after Virginia Governor Ralph Northam ordered the removal of the most prominent and imposing Confederate statue along Richmond's Monument Avenue, that of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, which sits on state land. The removal of the Lee statue has been stalled pending the resolution of two lawsuits.
On city land along the avenue, work crews removed a statue of General Stonewall Jackson after spending several hours carefully attaching a harness to the massive figure and using power tools to remove the hooves of the statue's carved horse from the base.
Flatbed trucks and other equipment were spotted at several other monuments as well. The city has roughly a dozen Confederate statues on municipal land. Mayor Levar Stoney said it will take several days to remove them.
Mississippi officials are holding a ceremony today to relegate the former state flag to history, a day after Republican Governor Tate Reeves signed a new law removing official status from the last state banner in the US that included the Confederate battle emblem.
Mississippi faced increasing pressure in recent weeks to change its 126-year-old flag since protests against racial injustice