5/27/2020

BAUAW NEWSLETTER, WEDNESDAY, MAY 27, 2020



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Still photo from Stanley Kubrick's "Dr. Strangelove"released January 29, 1964

Enough is Enough: Global Nuclear Weapons 


Spending 2020

  In its report "Enough is Enough: Global Nuclear Weapons Spending 2020" the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons has produced the first estimate in nearly a decade of global nuclear weapon spending, taking into account costs to maintain and build new nuclear weapons. ICAN estimates that the nine nuclear-armed countries spent $72.9 billion on their 13,000-plus nuclear weapons in 2019, equaling $138,699 every minute of 2019 on nuclear weapons, and a $7.1 billion increase from 2018.
These estimates (rounded to one decimal point) include nuclear warhead and nuclear-capable delivery systems operating costs and development where these expenditures are publicly available and are based on a reasonable percentage of total military spending on nuclear weapons when more detailed budget data is not available. ICAN urges all nuclear-armed states to be transparent about nuclear weapons expenditures to allow for more accurate reporting on global nuclear expenditures and better government accountability.
ICAN, May 2020
https://www.icanw.org/global_nuclear_weapons_spending_2020

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Action Announcement: 
SANCTIONS KILL CAR CARAVAN and RALLY 
May 29, 2020, 4:00 P.M. 

The SF Bay Area Anti War Network (SFBAWN) is sponsoring a SANCTIONS KILL Car Caravan and Rally on May 29. Please join us. For details and updates, please visit the event FaceBook page at  https://www.facebook.com/events/233430191293148/

WhatSanctions Kill Car Caravan & Rally
WhenMay 29, 4PM
Where15 Marina Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94123-1201, United States:


In addition to the Car Caravan, SFBAWN is asking organizations to endorse a letter to Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (The Pelosi letter).  Please let me know by May 24, if you object to signing on as EastBay CodePink. Hearing no objections by May 24, I will OK East Bay CodePink's endorsing referenced Pelosi letter.  SF CodePink, will you also endorse the letter?

As a reminder, CodePink in the SF Bay Area is a SFBAWN member. Please check out our points of unity and decision-making structure.

Onwards towards a just peace,
Eleanor Levine
CodePink Women for Peace
East Bay Chapter, co-coordinator
(SF Bay Area California)
eastbaycodepink@gmail.com

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ANSWER Coalition
The ANSWER Coalition is endorsing and urging everyone to join and share this action....
May_30_image.png

Saturday, May 30, 10am

1875 Marin St., San Francisco

Join thousands of people across the country in car caravan protests on Saturday, May 30 to demand the cancellation of rents and mortgages for tenants, homeowners, small landlords and small businesses for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. Protesters will adhere to social distancing guidelines and requirements, including wearing mask that have been established to respond to the Coronavirus outbreak.
The effect on the people has been devastating. Nearly 90,000 people in the United States have died and more than 1.5 million have gotten sick as of May 18.  37 million people have lost their jobs since March with millions more jobless to come. We are in worst depression since the 1930s, and it’s getting worse.
As a result of the economic crisis, at least 30 percent of renters will be unable to pay their rent on June 1. No one should lose their housing for any reason in this crisis! The rents and mortgages must be cancelled!
A short-term suspension of evictions is not enough to save people's homes. And the meager rescue stimulus payments the government provided are long gone for most people. Even if there is another one, it will be needed for food, healthcare and other necessities.
Canceling rents and mortgage payments for the duration of the crisis can be won! Since the start of the pandemic in the U.S., the federal government has pumped at least 5 trillion dollars into the big banks and the largest corporations. Only $249 billion was allocated for unemployment funding. This massive gift to the banks — the 1% at the top, compared to the 160 million U.S. workers — is 20 times the amount allotted for the unemployed. The money is there, it is simply a question of whether it is used to bail out Wall Street or to protect the homes of poor and working people. This wealth and the vast number of vacant housing units can be used to provide shelter for the homeless as well.
The government has the authority to cancel the rent. In fact, a bill has already been introduced in Congress, the Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act . But this will be bitterly opposed by the landlords and big banks. The mobilization of the people, done in a socially responsible way, is urgently needed to ensure housing for all.
If you agree with the call to Cancel the Rents and Mortgage Payments for tenants, homeowners, small landlords and small businesses, join or organize a Car Caravan in your area on Saturday, May 30!
Initiated by: www.CanceltheRents.org
Sat., May 30
1875 Marin St., San Francisco CA 94124
10 am: Gather
10:30 am: Press Briefing
11 am: Caravan Begins
ANSWER Coalition · United States
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Online Townhall: Sat. May 30, 4pm (PDT), 7pm (EDT) 
Opening the Economy? Their Plans and Ours
The rush to open the economy has nothing to do with providing us with any real hope for our future. It is all about the profits of the banks and corporations. We won’t be returning to safe working environments – which this system has never provided us. Instead of jobs for all, we will see this crisis used to try to squeeze even more out of us.
We know their plans. We need to make ours. And that means joining our forces – workplace to workplace, neighborhood to neighborhood – across the society. Then we will have begun to take the steps toward a future we need.
As always, you will have an opportunity to ask questions and share your experiences from your workplace and community.
Please share widely – remember there are no borders.
To Join the Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 858 5443 2533
Password: 313758
One tap calling from mobile smartphones:
+16699009128,,85854432533#,,1#,313758# US (San Jose)
+13462487799,,85854432533#,,1#,313758# US (Houston)
Dial by your location
+1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose)
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
+1 646 558 8656 US (New York)
+1 301 715 8592 US (Germantown)
Find other local numbers to usehttps://us02web.zoom.us/u/kbM8Q3g65z

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Salon Series Online


Join us for CIDCI's Salon Series Online! 
Tune in to hear about the latest projects directly from industry experts. Each Online Salon offers a different topic to expand your knowledge in the Design and Construction Industry.
June 4th Online Salon Features:

Innovation for What?
A presentation by:
Cliff Conner
This webinar will take place on June 4th at 10:00AM PST.
*You must register in advance to attend*
REGISTER HERE 
Presentation Description
Let us step back and consider the “big picture” in the context of the current pandemic.  What drives innovation?  What should drive innovation?  Who is in the driver’s seat?  Is the fundamental purpose of innovation to make life on Earth richer for everyone, or to make corporate shareholders richer? 


BIO - Clifford Conner
Clifford D. Conner is a historian of Science.  Cliff taught history of science at the City University of New York Graduate Center, and he is the author of A People’s History of Science and the forthcoming The Tragedy of American Science.  A long time ago (in another galaxy?), Cliff studied experimental psychology and industrial engineering at Georgia Tech, and worked briefly as a human factors engineer at Lockheed Aircraft before resigning in protest against the Vietnam War.
We invite you to share this invitation with your colleagues. To share this event, copy/paste this URL:
https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_nXjxGx-URQuucr2nBzzeeQ

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Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin 



conviction integrity unit—confession and all



Petition update - Please sign at the link above!
May 23, 2020 —  
We have submitted our application to the @FultonCountyDA #ConvictionIntegrityUnit demanding a retrial for Imam Jamil Al-Amin FKA H. Rap Brown. 
We must now show the establishment that we care more about justice than they do about corruption and injustice. 
The proof of misdeeds is clear, the proof of innocence is clear, a retrial or release are the only acceptable options. 
We make the news so let our voices once again be heard loudly and in unison…we demand a retrial…we demand justice!   #FreeImamJamil

Questions and comments may be sent to info@freedomarchives.org

To unsubscribe contact: http://freedomarchives.org/mailman/options/ppnews_freedomarchives.org

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#FreeOurYouth Chicago
Chicago community members have been active in #FreeOurYouth actions to call for the release of incarcerated young people during the pandemic. Photo: Sarah-Ji @loveandstrugglephotos 

Dear Friend,

More than 50 years ago, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Poor People’s Campaign taught us what COVID-19 remind us of today. Living wages, health care for all, jobs, and labor rights are issues of right vs. wrong and life vs. death.

On June 20, please join AFSC and partners across the U.S. for a digital gathering of the new Poor People’s Campaign to demand our government prioritize the needs of the poor and working class—and ensure all people have the resources they need to thrive.

Here are this week’s resources to help you stay informed and support your activism.  

Video: How we're responding to COVID-19 in the U.S. and around the world: AFSC’s Joyce Ajlouny, Kerri Kennedy, and Sayrah Namaste share how AFSC is responding to the needs of communities around the world in this pandemic. And join us on Facebook every Thursday at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT for our weekly updates from AFSC staff! (Facebook)

AFSC and partners file class-action lawsuit demanding the release of all immigrants from for-profit detention center: One employee has already died from the virus, and 18 people in detention and another 17 staff members have tested positive. (Gothamist)

As we honor health care professionals, let's remember Razan al-Najjar and all health care workers in Palestine: AFSC’s Mike Merryman-Lotze explains the challenges facing health professionals in Palestine and invites all to join AFSC’s social media day of action on June 1.

If the state fails to act, prisons will become death camps: New Jersey must immediately release more people from prison and provide adequate medical and social services to those incarcerated, co-writes AFSC’s Bonnie Kerness in this op-ed with attorneys Jean Ross and Daniel McCarey. (Star-Ledger)

4 things you need to know about the Supreme Court case on DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals): A decision on the fate of hundreds of thousands of young people is expected any day now—here’s what could happen and how we can advocate for permanent protection for DACA recipients, writes AFSC’s Peniel Ibe.

The call to #FreeOurYouth during COVID-19: In Chicago, community members are demanding the release of incarcerated youth—and real investments in their health and future, writes AFSC’s Mary Zerkel.

Be well and take care. 

DONATE NOW

AFSC.org  |  unsubscribe  |  Donate 
Follow us online:
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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Resolution for Funding for the Undocumented




Whereas, Governor Newsom recently announced the creation of a $125 million emergency relief fund for undocumented workers, none of whom are eligible for the federal stimulus, the centerpiece being a one-time payment of $500 to 150,000 individuals;

Whereas, the undocumented pay $3 billion in state and local taxes every year;[1]

Whereas, California's cost-of-living is extraordinarily high;[2]

Resolved:  Adult School Teachers United considers the one-time $500 grant to undocumented workers at best, token.  It is barely 25 percent of the weekly wage or six percent of the monthly wage the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) considers necessary to lift a family of four in the Bay Area above the poverty line. This is approximately $47.50-an-hour total per household before taxes extrapolating from figures provided by HUD.

As the fifth largest economy in the world, and with Silicon Valley, agribusiness, defense contractors and Hollywood sitting on huge capital reserves, California must provide a living wage to all. Instead it has failed to even match the $600 a week Unemployment Insurance (UI) boost provided by the federal government which itself is grossly inadequate.

We will attempt to circulate our position widely in the labor movement and in the immigrants' rights community, and we call for united labor actions to fight for the necessary level of financial support.”

Contact: 

Kristen Pursley, President,

Adult School Teachers United (ASTU)

(510)-741-8359



[1] https://www.kqed.org/news/11809657/new-covid-19-relief-benefits-leaves-out-some-undocumented-immigrants
[2] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-44725026
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/07/10/americas-10-most-expensive-states-to-live-in-2019.html

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Bus Riders Union
Sindicato de Pasajeros

Black Los Angeles Community Leaders United for COVID 19 Demands and Beyond

The Bus Riders Union is proud to be a part of a coalition of more than 44 Black Leaders and Civil Rights groups in Los Angeles raising 55 demands in light of the impact of Covid 19 infections and deaths in the Black Community. We appreciate the leadership of Dr. Melina Abdullah, co-founder of Black Lives matter, in organizing this important initiative. We fully support all 55 demand and we're excited to have included core demands from our Free Public Transportation Campaign: 
  •  
  • Free public transportation after the stay in place orders are lifted at least until December 31
  • Cancellation of fare evasion citations on public transportation--no racial profiling of Black riders.
  • Free public transportation for all, beginning with K-12 youth and seniors.
  • Double MTA schedule and make service available 24-hours-per-day and 7-days-per-week.
  • Double the MTA fleet with zero emission buses 
Take a look at the full list of demands 
and all signatories
 See The Demands 
https://thestrategycenter.org/black-los-angeles-los-angeles-community-leaders-stand-united/
Bus Riders Union
Powered by the Labor Community Strategy Center
3546 w Martin Luther King Blvd. Los Angeles CA 90008
Find us at 
Facebook.com/Fight for the Soul of the CitiesTwitter.com/FightSoulCities
(213) 387-2800 info@thestrategycenter.org
Click here to unsubscribe: 
Unsubscribe  
1506 Crenshaw Blvd
Los AngelesCA 90019

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Sign the petition

Mayor Breed:
City of SF Essential Workers Deserve Safety!

Please read, sign, and share this petition calling for safety protections for SF essential workers!

San Francisco is being touted as a leader in the fight to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Yet, San Francisco Water Department employees’ concerns about their safety are minimized, or worse, ignored. They are expected to work as if this pandemic is not even happening. They serve the residents of San Francisco with pride, but are being asked to put routine and non-essential work before their health and well-being.
Elected officials and health experts have repeatedly underscored that social distancing is the best weapon we have to protect ourselves from contracting – or unwittingly spreading – the coronavirus. However, it is not possible to maintain social distancing for a crew of several people installing a water service or carrying out strenuous physical work in various Water Department shops.
SFWD, a revenue-generating department, has not scaled back work. Mayor Breed has ordered virtually all construction within San Francisco to be stopped, with those crews sent home to shelter in place. But Water Department employees are still out in public, installing water services for these same buildings that have been shut down due to COVID-19. On the other hand, employees in SF’s Sewer Department have been working one week on, two weeks off, with no reduction in pay, in order to reduce their exposure.
Another issue is the lack of sufficient personal protective equipment.Workers are allotted one face mask per day which becomes unusable early in their shifts. There has not been training or guidance, nor physical tools, for employees to do their work safely, although much of the work they are doing simply cannot be done safely during these times.
Additionally, there is the issue of vulnerability for at-will (known as Category-18) and “as needed” staff, who can be laid off at any time with no reason. They work side by side with permanent employees, but are often prevented from speaking out because they have to weigh their own lives against the potential repercussions of speaking up when they are instructed to put themselves in jeopardy.
We cannot help but wonder if the reason SFWD workers feel disposable, rather than “essential,” is because the City is putting Water Department revenue above the very life and health of its workforce. In spite of government leaders’ claims to the contrary, this does not seem like “we are all in this together.” We, the undersigned SFWD (City Distribution Division) employees, their families, ratepayers and concerned community members call on City and PUC leaders to meet the following demands.
1. Reduce the scope of SFWD operations to truly essential work.Institute a one week on/two weeks off schedule with no loss of pay, similar to staff in the Sewer Department. Social distancing is at the very heart of the strategy to combat the virus so minimizing the number of people reporting to work decreases their exposure rate.
2. Provide sufficient personal protective equipment in order to do every job safely, whether in the field, shops or offices. If such PPE is not available, SFWD employees should not be asked to compromise their lives and the health and safety of their families, especially for routine work. Enhanced training to address these unprecedented working conditions, backed up by the supplies and infrastructure to carry it out, is necessary for the most vulnerable workers. If personal vehicles are used to get to job sites and maintain social distancing, the City should assume the related liability.
3. Provide equal and safe working conditions for every employee.Eliminate Category-18 and other vulnerable hiring statuses, and make these workers permanent employees. San Francisco should be leading the way on equality for all, not promoting second class citizenship for some. No retaliation against any employee.
We call on City and PUC leaders to take these necessary measures to protect City workers, their families, and their communities!
Twitter
Facebook
Website

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Veterans Join Call for a Global Ceasefire, The Lasting Effects of War Book Discussion, Sir, No Sir Viewing, VFP's Online Convention, Workshop Proposals, Convention FAQ, No More COVID-19 Money For the Pentagon, Repeal the AUMF, Community Conversation on Hybrid Warfare, St Louis VFP Delivers VA Lunch, In the News and Calendar




Veterans Join Call for a Global Ceasefire 


Veterans For Peace, as a United Nations Department of Global Communication affiliated NGO, is most gratified to see UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres make his plea for a worldwide ceasefire during this global pandemic. 

The first line of the Preamble of the UN's Charter says that they originated to save “succeeding generations from the scourge of war”. But sadly, because the UN was created by the victors of WW2 who remain the powers of the world, and because the UN depends for funding on those same militarily and economically dominant nation-states, primarily the U.S., much more often than not the UN is very quiet on war. 

Please join Veterans For Peace in appealing to U.S. Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft to support the Secretary General's call for a GLOBAL CEASEFIRE! 


For more information about events go to:

https://www.veteransforpeace.org/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=fa5082af-9325-47a7-901c-710e85091ee1




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Courage to Resist
Courage to Resist Newsletter May 1, 2020
  • Congress leaning towards drafting women for next war
  • Update and gratitude from Chelsea Manning
  • Podcast: "That's me -- I AM the enemy" - Howard Morland
women and the draft

Podcast: Congress leaning towards drafting women for next war

Rivera Sun and Edward Hasbrouck on upcoming changes to military draft registration laws, and the history of resistance by men and women. Listen to Rivera and Edward's update

Update from Chelsea Manning

chelsea manning
"Thank you, truly, for your unwavering love and support during this entire ordeal. You enabled Chelsea to maintain her principled stance," shared Team Chelsea. "Chelsea was released on March 12, 2020. She has been resting and trying to recover from being held in jail for almost a full year for resisting a grand jury subpoena ... [Chelsea] is staying indoors and safe and is hoping you do the same." Read more

Podcast: "That's me -- I AM the enemy" - Howard Morland

howard morland
Air force pilot Howard Morland's exposure to the atrocities in Vietnam and extreme military training led him to question what the war was really about. Listen to Howard's story
The above Courage to Resist podcast was produced in collaboration with the Vietnam Full Disclosure effort of Veterans For Peace — “Towards an honest commemoration of the American war in Vietnam.” This year marks 50 years of GI resistance, in and out of uniform, for many of the courageous individuals featured. If you believe this history is important, please ...
COURAGE TO RESIST ~ SUPPORT THE TROOPS WHO REFUSE TO FIGHT!
484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559

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From Business Insider 2018

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"The biggest block from having society in harmony with the universe is the belief in a lie that says it’s not realistic or humanly possible." 

"If Obama taught me anything it’s that it don’t matter who you vote for in this system. There’s nothing a politician can do that the next one can’t undo. You can’t vote away the ills of society people have to put our differences aside ban together and fight for the greater good, not vote for the lesser evil."

—Johnny Gould (Follow @tandino415 on Instagram)

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When faced with the opportunity to do good, I really think it’s the instinct of humanity to do so. It’s in our genetic memory from our earliest ancestors. It’s the altered perception of the reality of what being human truly is that’s been indoctrinated in to every generation for the last 2000 years or more that makes us believe that we are born sinners. I can’t get behind that one. We all struggle with certain things, but I really think that all the “sinful” behavior is learned and wisdom and goodwill is innate at birth.  —Johnny Gould (Follow @tandino415 on Instagram)

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Support Major Tillery, Friend of Mumia, Innocent, Framed, Now Ill




Major Tillery (with hat) and family


Dear Friends of the Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia,

Major Tillery, a prisoner at SCI Chester and a friend of Mumia, may have caught the coronavirus. Major is currently under lockdown at SCI Chester, where a coronavirus outbreak is currently taking place. Along with the other prisoners at SCI Chester, he urgently needs your help.

Major was framed by the Pennsylvania District Attorney and police for a murder which took place in 1976. He has maintained his innocence throughout the 37 years he has been incarcerated, of which approximately 20 were spent in solitary confinement. The U.N. Special Rapporteur on torture has said that 15 days of solitary confinement constitutes torture.

When Mumia had Hepatitis C and was left to die by the prison administration at SCI Mahanoy, Major Tillery was the prisoner who confronted the prison superintendent and demanded that they treat Mumia. (see https://www.justiceformajortillery.org/messing-with-major.html). Although Mumia received medical treatment, the prison retaliated against Major for standing up to the prison administration. He was transferred to another facility, his cell was searched and turned inside out repeatedly, and he lost his job in the prison as a Peer Facilitator.

SCI Chester, where Major is currently incarcerated, has been closed to visitors since mid-March. Fourteen guards and one prisoner are currently reported to be infected with the coronavirus. Because the prison has not tested all the inmates, there is no way to know how many more inmates have coronavirus. Major has had a fever, chills and a sore throat for several nights. Although Major has demanded testing for himself and all prisoners, the prison administration has not complied.

For the past ten days, there has been no cleaning of the cell block. It has been weeks since prisoners have been allowed into the yard to exercise. The food trays are simply being left on the floor. There have been no walk-throughs by prison administrators. The prisoners are not allowed to have showers; they are not allowed to have phone calls; and they are not permitted any computer access. 

This coronavirus outbreak at SCI Chester is the same situation which is playing out in California prisons right now, about which the Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia, along with other groups, organized a car caravan protest at San Quentin last week. Prisons are enclosed indoor spaces and are already an epicenter of the coronavirus, like meatpacking plants and cruise ships. If large numbers of prisoners are not released, the coronavirus will infect the prisons, as well as surrounding communities, and many prisoners will die. Failing to release large numbers of prisoners at this point is the same as executing them. We call for "No Execution by COVID-19"!

Major is close to 70 years old, and has a compromised liver and immune system, as well as heart problems. He desperately needs your help. 

Please write and call Acting Superintendent Kenneth Eason at:
Kenneth Eason, Acting Superintendent
SCI Chester
500 E. 4th St.
Chester, PA 19013

Telephone: (610) 490-5412

Email: keason@pa.gov (Prison Superintendent). maquinn@pa.gov (Superintendent's Assistant)
Please also call the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections at:Department of Corrections
1920 Technology Parkway
Mechanicsburg, PA 17050

Telephone: (717) 737-4531
This telephone number is for SCI Camp Hill, which is the current number for DOC.
Reference Major's inmate number: AM 9786

Email: ra-contactdoc@pa.gov
Demand that the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections immediately:
1) Provide testing for all inmates and staff at SCI Chester;
2) Disinfect all cells and common areas at SCI Chester, including sinks, toilets, eating areas and showers;
3) Provide PPE (personal protective equipment) for all inmates at SCI Chester;
4) Provide access to showers for all prisoners at SCI Chester, as a basic hygiene measure;
5) Provide yard access to all prisoners at SCI Chester;
6) Provide phone and internet access to all prisoners at SCI Chester;
7) Immediately release prisoners from SCI Chester, including Major Tillery, who already suffers from a compromised immune system, in order to save their lives from execution by COVID-19.

It has been reported that prisoners are now receiving shower access. However, please insist that prisoners be given shower access and that all common areas are disinfected.


In solidarity,

The Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal


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Kiah Morris

May 7 at 6:44 AM

So, in MY lifetime....

Black people are so tired. 😓

We can’t go jogging (#AhmaudArbery).

We can’t relax in the comfort of our own homes (#BothemJean and #AtatianaJefferson).

We can't ask for help after being in a car crash (#JonathanFerrell and #RenishaMcBride).

We can't have a cellphone (#StephonClark).

We can't leave a party to get to safety (#JordanEdwards).

We can't play loud music (#JordanDavis).

We can’t sell CD's (#AltonSterling).

We can’t sleep (#AiyanaJones)

We can’t walk from the corner store (#MikeBrown).
We can’t play cops and robbers (#TamirRice).
We can’t go to church (#Charleston9).
We can’t walk home with Skittles (#TrayvonMartin).
We can’t hold a hair brush while leaving our own bachelor party (#SeanBell).
We can’t party on New Years (#OscarGrant).
We can’t get a normal traffic ticket (#SandraBland).
We can’t lawfully carry a weapon (#PhilandoCastile).
We can't break down on a public road with car problems (#CoreyJones).
We can’t shop at Walmart (#JohnCrawford)p^p.
We can’t have a disabled vehicle (#TerrenceCrutcher).
We can’t read a book in our own car (#KeithScott).
We can’t be a 10yr old walking with our grandfather (#CliffordGlover).
We can’t decorate for a party (#ClaudeReese).
We can’t ask a cop a question (#RandyEvans).
We can’t cash our check in peace (#YvonneSmallwood).
We can’t take out our wallet (#AmadouDiallo).
We can’t run (#WalterScott).
We can’t breathe (#EricGarner).
We can’t live (#FreddieGray).
We’re tired.
Tired of making hashtags.
Tired of trying to convince you that our #BlackLivesMatter too.
Tired of dying.
Tired.
Tired.
Tired.
So very tired.
(I don’t know who created this. I just know there are so many more names to be added and names we may never hear of.)

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Friday post   Hate%2BSocialism

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The American way of life was designed by white supremacists in favor patriarchal white supremacy, who have had at least a 400 year head start accumulating wealth, out of generations filled with blood sweat and tears of oppressed people. The same people who are still on the front lines and in the crosshairs of patriarchal white-supremacist capitalism today. There's no such thing as equality without a united revolutionary front to dismantle capitalism and design a worldwide socialist society.

—Johnny Gould

(Follow @tandino415 on Instagram)

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 

National Solidarity Events to Amplify Prisoners Human Rights 

AUGUST 21 - SEPTEMBER 9th

To all in solidarity with the Prisoners Human Rights Movement:

We are reaching out to those that have been amplifying our voices in these state, federal, or immigration jails and prisons, and to allies that uplifted the national prison strike demands in 2018. We call on you again to organize the communities from August 21st - September 9th, 2020, by hosting actions, events, and demonstrations that call for prisoner human rights and the end to prison slavery.

We must remind the people and legal powers in this nation that prisoners' human rights are a priority. If we aren't moving forward, we're moving backward. For those of us in chains, backward is not an option. We have nothing to lose but our chains.

Some people claim that prisoners' human rights have advanced since the last national prison strike in 2018. We strongly disagree. But due to prisoners organizing inside and allies organizing beyond the walls, solidarity with our movement has increased. The only reason we hear conversations referencing prison reforms in every political campaign today is because of the work of prison organizers and our allies! But as organizers in prisons, we understand this is not enough. Just as quickly as we've gained ground, others are already funding projects and talking points to set back those advances. Our only way to hold our ground while moving forward is to remind people where we are and where we are headed.

On August 21 - September 9, we call on everyone in solidarity with us to organize an action, a panel discussion, a rally, an art event, a film screening, or another kind of demonstration to promote prisoners' human rights. Whatever is within your ability, we ask that you shake the nation out of any fog they may be in about prisoners' human rights and the criminal legal system (legalized enslavement).

During these solidarity events, we request that organizers amplify immediate issues prisoners in your state face, the demands from the National Prison Strike of 2018, and uplift Jailhouse Lawyers Speak new International Law Project.

We've started the International Law Project to engage the international community with a formal complaint about human rights abuses in U.S. prisons. This project will seek prisoners' testimonials from across the country to establish a case against the United States Prison Industrial Slave Complex on international human rights grounds.

Presently working on this legally is the National Lawyers Guild's Prisoners Rights Committee, and another attorney, Anne Labarbera. Members of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC), Fight Toxic Prisons (FTP), and I am We Prisoners Advocacy Network/Millions For Prisoners are also working to support these efforts. The National Lawyers Guild Prisoners' Rights Committee (Jenipher R. Jones, Esq. and Audrey Bomse) will be taking the lead on this project.

The National Prison Strike Demands of 2018 have not changed.. As reflected publicly by the recent deaths of Mississippi prisoners, the crisis in this nation's prisons persist. Mississippi prisons are on national display at the moment of this writing, and we know shortly afterward there will be another Parchman in another state with the same issues. The U.S. has demonstrated a reckless disregard for human lives in cages.

The prison strike demands were drafted as a path to alleviate the dehumanizing process and conditions people are subjected to while going through this nation's judicial system. Following up on these demands communicates to the world that prisoners are heard and that prisoners' human rights are a priority.

In the spirit of Attica, will you be in the fight to dismantle the prison industrial slave complex by pushing agendas that will shut down jails and prisons like Rikers Island or Attica? Read the Attica Rebellion demands and read the National Prison Strike 2018 demands. Ask yourself what can you do to see the 2018 National Prison Strike demands through.

SHARE THIS RELEASE FAR AND WIDE WITH ALL YOUR CONTACTS!

We rage with George Jackson's "Blood in my eyes" and move in the spirit of the Attica Rebellion!

August 21st - September 9th, 2020

AGITATE, EDUCATE, ORGANIZE

Dare to struggle, Dare to win!

We are--

"Jailhouse Lawyers Speak"  

NLG EMAIL CONTACT FOR LAWYERS AND LAW STUDENTS INTERESTED IN JOINING THE INTERNATIONAL LAW PROJECT: micjlsnlg@gmail.com

PRISON STRIKE DEMANDS:  https://jailhouselawyerspeak.wordpress.com/2020/02/11/prisoners-national-demands-for-human-rights/  

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Stop Kevin Cooper's Abuse by San Quentin Prison Guards!

https://www.change.org/p/san-quentin-warden-ronald-davis-stop-kevin-cooper-s-abuse-by-san-quentin-prison-guards-2ace89a7-a13e-44ab-b70c-c18acbbfeb59?recruiter=747387046&recruited_by_id=3ea6ecd0-69ba-11e7-b7ef-51d8e2da53ef&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=petition_dashboard&use_react=false puTHCIdZoZCFjjb-800x450-noPad On Wednesday, September 25, Kevin Cooper's cell at San Quentin Prison was thrown into disarray and his personal food dumped into the toilet by a prison guard, A. Young. The cells on East Block Bayside, where Kevin's cell is, were all searched on September 25 during Mandatory Yard. Kevin spent the day out in the yard with other inmates.. In a letter, Kevin described what he found when he returned: "This cage was hit hard, like a hurricane was in here .. .... . little by little I started to clean up and put my personal items back inside the boxes that were not taken .... .. .. I go over to the toilet, lift up the seatcover and to my surprise and shock the toilet was completely filled up with my refried beans, and my brown rice. Both were in two separate cereal bags and both cereal bags were full. The raisin bran cereal bags were gone, and my food was in the toilet!" A bucket was eventually brought over and: "I had to get down on my knees and dig my food out of the toilet with my hands so that I could flush the toilet. The food, which was dried refried beans and dried brown rice had absorbed the water in the toilet and had become cement hard. It took me about 45 minutes to get enough of my food out of the toilet before it would flush." Even the guard working the tier at the time told Kevin, "K.C.., that is f_cked up!" A receipt was left in Kevin's cell identifying the guard who did this as A... Young. Kevin has never met Officer A...... Young, and has had no contact with him besides Officer Young's unprovoked act of harassment and psychological abuse... Kevin Cooper has served over 34 years at San Quentin, fighting for exoneration from the conviction for murders he did not commit. It is unconscionable for him to be treated so disrespectfully by prison staff on top of the years of his incarceration. No guard should work at San Quentin if they cannot treat prisoners and their personal belongings with basic courtesy and respect................. Kevin has filed a grievance against A. Young.. Please: 1) Sign this petition calling on San Quentin Warden Ronald Davis to grant Kevin's grievance and discipline "Officer" A. Young.. 2) Call Warden Ronald Davis at: (415) 454-1460 Ext. 5000. Tell him that Officer Young's behaviour was inexcusable, and should not be tolerated........ 3) Call Yasir Samar, Associate Warden of Specialized Housing, at (415) 455-5037 4) Write Warden Davis and Lt. Sam Robinson (separately) at: Main Street San Quentin, CA 94964 5) Email Lt. Sam Robinson at: samuel.robinson2@cdcr.......................ca.gov

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Letters of support for clemency needed for Reality Winner 

Reality Winner, a whistleblower who helped expose foreign hacking of US election systems leading up to the 2016 presidential election, has been behind bars since June 2017. Supporters are preparing to file a petition of clemency in hopes of an early release... Reality's five year prison sentence is by far the longest ever given for leaking information to the media about a matter of public interest..............

Stand with Reality shirts, stickers, and more available. Please take a moment to sign the letter SIGN THE LETTER 

Support Reality Podcast: "Veterans need to tell their stories" – Dan Shea Vietnam War combat veteran Daniel Shea on his time in Vietnam and the impact that Agent Orange and post traumatic stress had on him and his family since...

 Listen now This Courage to Resist podcast was produced in collaboration with the Vietnam Full Disclosure effort of Veterans For Peace — "Towards an honest commemoration of the American war in Vietnam." This year marks 50 years of GI resistance, in and out of uniform, for many of the courageous individuals featured.. If you believe this history is important, please ... DONATE NOW 
to support these podcasts

COURAGE TO RESIST ~ SUPPORT THE TROOPS WHO REFUSE TO FIGHT! 484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559 www.....................couragetoresist..org ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist 

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c04758efab450303611bf2bb1b2dd96a5d550b8c

Board Game

https://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/race-for-solidarity


Solidarity against racism has existed from the 1600's and continues until today

An exciting board game of chance, empathy and wisdom, that entertains and educates as it builds solidarity through learning about the destructive history of American racism and those who always fought back. Appreciate the anti-racist solidarity of working people, who built and are still building, the great progressive movements of history.. There are over 200 questions, with answers and references.

Spread the word!!

By Dr.... Nayvin Gordon

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50 years in prison:  ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!! FREE Chip Fitzgerald  Grandfather, Father, Elder, Friend former Black Panther                
Romaine "Chip" Fitzgerald has been in prison since he was locked up 50 years ago...... A former member of the Black Panther Party, Chip is now 70 years old, and suffering the consequences of a serious stroke. He depends on a wheelchair for his mobility. He has appeared before the parole board 17 times, but they refuse to release him.. NOW is the time for Chip to come home! In September 1969, Chip and two other Panthers were stopped by a highway patrolman..... During the traffic stop, a shooting broke out, leaving Chip and a police officer both wounded. Chip was arrested a month later and charged with attempted murder of the police and an unrelated murder of a security guard. Though the evidence against him was weak and Chip denied any involvement, he was convicted and sentenced to death. In 1972, the California Supreme Court outlawed the death penalty.......... Chip and others on Death Row had their sentences commuted to Life imprisonment with the possibility of parole. All of them became eligible for parole after serving 7 more years...... But Chip was rejected for parole, as he has been ever since.  Parole for Lifers basically stopped under Governors Deukmajian, Wilson, and Davis (1983-2003), resulting in increasing numbers of people in prison and 23 new prisons. People in prison filed lawsuits in federal courts: people were dying as a result of the overcrowding.. To rapidly reduce the number of people in prison, the court mandated new parole hearings: ·        for anyone 60 years or older who had served 25 years or more; ·        for anyone convicted before they were 23 years old; ·        for anyone with disabilities  Chip qualified for a new parole hearing by meeting all three criteria. But the California Board of Parole Hearings has used other methods to keep Chip locked up. Although the courts ordered that prison rule infractions should not be used in parole considerations, Chip has been denied parole because he had a cellphone.......... Throughout his 50 years in prison, Chip has been denied his right to due process – a new parole hearing as ordered by Federal courts. He is now 70, and addressing the challenges of a stroke victim. His recent rules violation of cellphone possession were non-violent and posed no threat to anyone. He has never been found likely to commit any crimes if released to the community – a community of his children, grandchildren, friends and colleagues who are ready to support him and welcome him home. The California Board of Parole Hearings is holding Chip hostage..... We call on Governor Newsom to release Chip immediately. What YOU can do to support this campaign to FREE CHIP: 1)   Sign and circulate the petition to FREE Chip. Download it at https://www.change.org/p/california-free-chip-fitzgerald Print out the petition and get signatures at your workplace, community meeting, or next social gathering. 2)   Write an email to Governor Newsom's office (sample message at:https://docs..google.com/document/d/1iwbP_eQEg2J1T2h-tLKE-Dn2ZfpuLx9MuNv2z605DMc/edit?usp=sharing 3)   Write to Chip:   Romaine "Chip" Fitzgerald #B27527, CSP-LAC P.O. Box 4490 B-4-150 Lancaster, CA 93539 -- Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 863...................9977 https://freedomarchives.org/

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On Abortion: From Facebook
Best explanation I've heard so far......., Copied from a friend who copied from a friend who copied..................., "Last night, I was in a debate about these new abortion laws being passed in red states. My son stepped in with this comment which was a show stopper. One of the best explanations I have read:, , 'Reasonable people can disagree about when a zygote becomes a "human life" - that's a philosophical question.... However, regardless of whether or not one believes a fetus is ethically equivalent to an adult, it doesn't obligate a mother to sacrifice her body autonomy for another, innocent or not..., , Body autonomy is a critical component of the right to privacy protected by the Constitution, as decided in Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), McFall v.. Shimp (1978), and of course Roe v. Wade (1973).. Consider a scenario where you are a perfect bone marrow match for a child with severe aplastic anemia; no other person on earth is a close enough match to save the child's life, and the child will certainly die without a bone marrow transplant from you.. If you decided that you did not want to donate your marrow to save the child, for whatever reason, the state cannot demand the use of any part of your body for something to which you do not consent..... It doesn't matter if the procedure required to complete the donation is trivial, or if the rationale for refusing is flimsy and arbitrary, or if the procedure is the only hope the child has to survive, or if the child is a genius or a saint or anything else - the decision to donate must be voluntary to be constitutional.... This right is even extended to a person's body after they die; if they did not voluntarily commit to donate their organs while alive, their organs cannot be harvested after death, regardless of how useless those organs are to the deceased or how many lives they would save...., , That's the law.., , Use of a woman's uterus to save a life is no different from use of her bone marrow to save a life - it must be offered voluntarily.............. By all means, profess your belief that providing one's uterus to save the child is morally just, and refusing is morally wrong............ That is a defensible philosophical position, regardless of who agrees and who disagrees....... But legally, it must be the woman's choice to carry out the pregnancy..., , She may choose to carry the baby to term..... She may choose not to. Either decision could be made for all the right reasons, all the wrong reasons, or anything in between... But it must be her choice, and protecting the right of body autonomy means the law is on her side... Supporting that precedent is what being pro-choice means....", , Feel free to copy/paste and re-post., y Sent from my iPhone

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Celebrating the release of Janet and Janine Africa 150bb949-a203-4101-a307-e2c8bf5391b6 
Take action now to support Jalil A. Muntaqim's release
63cefff3-ac06-4c55-bdf9-b0ee1d2ce336 Jalil A...... Muntaqim was a member of the Black Panther Party and has been a political prisoner for 48 years since he was arrested at the age of 19 in 1971. He has been denied parole 11 times since he was first eligible in 2002, and is now scheduled for his 12th parole hearing... Additionally, Jalil has filed to have his sentence commuted to time served by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Visit Jalil's support page, check out his writing and poetry, and Join Critical Resistance in supporting a vibrant intergenerational movement of freedom fighters in demanding his release. 48 years is enough. Write, email, call, and tweet at Governor Cuomo in support of Jalil's commutation and sign this petition demanding his release. 
http://freedomarchives.org/Support...Jalil/Campaign.html
Write: The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo Governor of the State of New York Executive Chamber State Capital Building Albany, New York 12224 Michelle Alexander – Author, The New Jim Crow; Ed Asner - Actor and Activist; Charles Barron - New York Assemblyman, 60th District; Inez Barron - Counci member, 42nd District, New York City Council; Rosa Clemente - Scholar Activist and 2008 Green Party Vice-Presidential candidate; Patrisse Cullors – Co-Founder Black Lives Matter, Author, Activist; Elena Cohen - President, National Lawyers Guild; "Davey D" Cook - KPFA Hard Knock Radio; Angela Davis - Professor Emerita, University of California, Santa Cruz; Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz - Native American historian, writer and feminist; Mike Farrell - Actor and activist; Danny Glover – Actor and activist; Linda Gordon - New York University; Marc Lamont Hill - Temple University; Jamal Joseph - Columbia University; Robin D.G. Kelley - University of California, Los Angeles; Tom Morello - Rage Against the Machine; Imani Perry - Princeton University; Barbara Ransby - University of Illinois, Chicago; Boots Riley - Musician, Filmmaker; Walter Riley - Civil rights attorney; Dylan Rodriguez - University of California, Riverside, President American Studies Association; Maggie Siff, Actor; Heather Ann Thompson - University of Michigan; Cornel West - Harvard University; Institutional affiliations listed for identification purposes only.
Call: 1-518-474-8390 Email Gov.Cuomo with this form Tweet at @NYGovCuomo               
Any advocacy or communications to Gov. Cuomo must refer to Jalil as: ANTHONY JALIL BOTTOM, 77A4283, Sullivan Correctional Facility, P.O. Box 116, Fallsburg, New York 12733-0116

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Funds for Kevin Cooper

https://www.gofundme.....com/funds-for-kevin-cooper?member=1994108 For 34 years, an innocent man has been on death row in California..  Kevin Cooper was wrongfully convicted of the brutal 1983 murders of the Ryen family and houseguest. The case has a long history of police and prosecutorial misconduct, evidence tampering, and numerous constitutional violations including many incidences of the prosecution withholding evidence of innocence from the defense. You can learn more here .....  In December 2018 Gov. Brown ordered  limited DNA testing and in February 2019, Gov..... Newsom ordered additional DNA testing. Meanwhile, Kevin remains on Death Row at San Quentin Prison..  The funds raised will be used to help Kevin purchase art supplies for his paintings ......... Additionally, being in prison is expensive, and this money would help Kevin pay for stamps, paper, toiletries, supplementary food, and/or phone calls........ Please help ease the daily struggle of an innocent man on death row!

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Don't extradite Assange!

To the government of the UK Julian Assange, through Wikileaks, has done the world a great service in documenting American war crimes, its spying on allies and other dirty secrets of the world's most powerful regimes, organisations and corporations. This has not endeared him to the American deep state.......... Both Obama, Clinton and Trump have declared that arresting Julian Assange should be a priority... We have recently received confirmation [1] that he has been charged in secret so as to have him extradited to the USA as soon as he can be arrested.  Assange's persecution, the persecution of a publisher for publishing information [2] that was truthful and clearly in the interest of the public - and which has been republished in major newspapers around the world - is a danger to freedom of the press everywhere, especially as the USA is asserting a right to arrest and try a non-American who neither is nor was then on American soil. The sentence is already clear: if not the death penalty then life in a supermax prison and ill treatment like Chelsea Manning... The very extradition of Julian Assange to the United States would at the same time mean the final death of freedom of the press in the West.....  Sign now! The courageous nation of Ecuador has offered Assange political asylum within its London embassy for several years until now. However, under pressure by the USA, the new government has made it clear that they want to drive Assange out of the embassy and into the arms of the waiting police as soon as possible... They have already curtailed his internet and his visitors and turned the heating off, leaving him freezing in a desolate state for the past few months and leading to the rapid decline of his health, breaching UK obligations under the European Convention of Human Rights. Therefore, our demand both to the government of Ecuador and the government of the UK is: don't extradite Assange to the US! Guarantee his human rights, make his stay at the embassy as bearable as possible and enable him to leave the embassy towards a secure country as soon as there are guarantees not to arrest and extradite him........... Furthermore, we, as EU voters, encourage European nations to take proactive steps to protect a journalist in danger... The world is still watching. Sign now! [1] https://www..nytimes.com/2018/11/16/us/politics/julian-assange-indictment-wikileaks.....html [2] https://theintercept.com/2018/11/16/as-the-obama-doj-concluded-prosecution-of-julian-assange-for-publishing-documents-poses-grave-threats-to-press-freedom/ Sign this petitionhttps://internal.diem25.....org/en/petitions/1 

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Words of Wisdom LouisRobinsonJr77yrsold 

Louis Robinson Jr., 77 Recording secretary for Local 1714 of the United Auto Workers from 1999 to 2018, with the minutes from a meeting of his union's retirees' chapter.
"One mistake the international unions in the United States made was when Ronald Reagan fired the air traffic controllers. When he did that, the unions could have brought this country to a standstill...... All they had to do was shut down the truck drivers for a month, because then people would not have been able to get the goods they needed. So that was one of the mistakes they made. They didn't come together as organized labor and say: "No.... We aren't going for this......... Shut the country down." That's what made them weak. They let Reagan get away with what he did. A little while after that, I read an article that said labor is losing its clout, and I noticed over the years that it did.. It happened... It doesn't feel good..." [On the occasion of the shut-down of the Lordstown, Ohio GM plant March 6, 2019.........] https://www.......nytimes.com/interactive/2019/05/01/magazine/lordstown-general-motors-plant...html

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Get Malik Out of Ad-Seg 

Keith "Malik" Washington is an incarcerated activist who has spoken out on conditions of confinement in Texas prison and beyond:  from issues of toxic water and extreme heat, to physical and sexual abuse of imprisoned people, to religious discrimination and more...  Malik has also been a tireless leader in the movement to #EndPrisonSlavery which gained visibility during nationwide prison strikes in 2016 and 2018..  View his work at comrademalik.com or write him at:
Keith H. Washington
TDC# 1487958
McConnell Unit
3001 S............ Emily Drive
Beeville, TX 78102 Friends, it's time to get Malik out of solitary confinement. Malik has experienced intense, targeted harassment ever since he dared to start speaking against brutal conditions faced by incarcerated people in Texas and nationwide--but over the past few months, prison officials have stepped up their retaliation even more. In Administrative Segregation (solitary confinement) at McConnell Unit, Malik has experienced frequent humiliating strip searches, medical neglect, mail tampering and censorship, confinement 23 hours a day to a cell that often reached 100+ degrees in the summer, and other daily abuses too numerous to name..  It could not be more clear that they are trying to make an example of him because he is a committed freedom fighter.  So we have to step up. 
Who to contact: TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier Phone: (936)295-6371 Email:  exec.director@tdcj.texas.....gov Senior Warden Philip Sinfuentes (McConnell Unit) Phone: (361) 362-2300

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Articles:

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1) Capitalism and COVID-19
Global competition or global workers’ cooperation?
By Bonnie Weinstein, May/June 2020

Socialism is a world-wide solution to end the devastation and destruction brought about by capitalist competition for the highest profits off the backs of the masses of humanity and the rape and pillage of the world’s natural resources. It can’t be fully realized country-by-country. The transformation to socialism can only be accomplished through the cooperation of all the workers of the world.

Now, we, the masses are struggling through a worldwide pandemic—a virus exacerbated by environmental filth, pollution, mass poverty, racism, lack of healthcare—all caused by capitalism’s need to acquire ever-more profits.

In an April 23, 2020 article by Kristin Toussaint titled, “American Billionaires Have Gotten $280 Billion Richer Since the Start of the COVID-19 Pandemic” 1 that appeared in Fast Company Toussaint stated:

“Though the coronavirus itself may not discriminate in terms of who can be infected, the COVID-19 pandemic is far from a great equalizer. In the same month that 22 million Americans lost their jobs, the American billionaire class’s total wealth increased about ten percent—or $282 billion more than it was at the beginning of March. They now have a combined net worth of $3.229 trillion. The initial stock market crash may have dented some net worth at first—for instance, that of Jeff Bezos, which dropped down to a mere $105 billion on March 12. But his riches have rebounded: As of April 15, his net worth has increased by $25 billion. Eric Yuan, founder and CEO of Zoom, was one of the few to see an increase in net worth even as the markets crashed, and he’s now up $2.58 billion. …These ‘pandemic profiteers,’ as a new report from the Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive think tank, calls them, is just one piece of the wealth inequality puzzle in America. In the background is the fact that since 1980, the taxes paid by billionaires, measured as a percentage of their wealth, dropped 79 percent. We’re reading about benevolent billionaires sharing .0001 percent of their wealth with their fellow humans in this crisis, but in fact they’ve been rigging the tax rules to reduce their taxes for decades—money that could have been spent building a better public health infrastructure,” says Chuck Collins, director of the Program on Inequality and the Common Good at the Institute for Policy Studies and coauthor of the new report, titled ‘Billionaire Bonanza 2020: Wealth Windfalls, Tumbling Taxes, and Pandemic Profiteers.’”

Yet, in spite of the increased profits being accumulated at the top of the capitalist economic food chain, personal protective equipment (PPE) is in short supply for those who need it the most—the healthcare workers and all workers who are out in the public doing essential work in grocery stores, delivering food from farms, running transit systems, processing food products, etc.

Yet the great capitalist industrial complex is unable to manufacture them. That is being left to charity.

Fashion designers are sewing face masks and scrubs and donating them to healthcare workers. Other wealthy celebrities are donating money and supplies. Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL quarterback, donated $100,000, saying that communities of color “are being disproportionately devastated by COVID-19 because of hundreds of years of structural racism.”2

Capitalism’s ineptitude
Instead of scientists coming together across the globe to cooperate in a vast effort to fight this pandemic—by sharing information and collaborating to find new treatments and cures—the capitalist corporations in each country are in competition with each other to control the profits from anything helpful they may come up with in isolation from each other.

In an April 10, 2020 article by Peter S. Goodman, Katie Thomas, Sui-Lee Wee and Jeffrey Gettleman titled “A New Front for Nationalism: The Global Battle Against a Virus:”3

“Every country needs the same lifesaving tools. But a zero-sum mind-set among world leaders is jeopardizing access for all. Now, just as the world requires collaboration to defeat the coronavirus—scientists joining forces across borders to create vaccines, and manufacturers coordinating to deliver critical supplies—national interests are winning out. This time, the contest is over far more than which countries will make iPads or even advanced jets. This is a battle for supremacy over products that may determine who lives and who dies. …‘The parties with the deepest pockets will secure these vaccines and medicines, and essentially, much of the developing world will be entirely out of the picture,’ said Simon J. Evenett, an expert on international trade who started the University of St. Gallen project. ‘We will have rationing by price. It will be brutal.’”

Complicating the already inefficient competitive capitalist marketplace, manufacturers across the globe have adopted a “just-in-time” manufacturing model developed by Japan during the post-World War II era:

“They built smaller factories, which focused on quickly turning small amounts of raw materials into small amounts of physical products. Processing smaller batches allowed the manufacturers to reduce financial risk, while slowing generating sustainable levels of working capital. The system that they used came to be known as just in time manufacturing, popularized in Western media as the Toyota Production System.”4

What this means during this pandemic is that the stockpiles of PPE, food, toilet paper, sanitary cleaners and wipes are in very short supply. Instead, manufacturers have been producing only what they can immediately sell in the marketplace for a steep profit, leaving no stockpiles in storage in case such emergencies as this pandemic arise.

So, in the wealthiest nations of the world, there are not enough necessary emergency supplies of anything to go around so that only those with the most money get the supplies.

The chaos of capitalism 
and their wars
So, why aren’t the money hoarders being forced to suffer along with the rest of us—those who have more money than they and their families can spend in their entire lifetimes? Why are they allowed to keep all that wealth created by the workers who were employed in their factories, businesses, industries and who are now broke and unemployed?

Why are the wealthy immune to economic catastrophe, homelessness, hunger and lack of healthcare? And why can’t the “greatest and wealthiest nation on earth” supply protective equipment to our medical staff?

Under capitalism this virus is serving as austerity on steroids for the masses and even more accumulation of wealth for those on top of the money chain.

Meanwhile, the U.S. war industries continue to thrive bringing death and destruction all over the world while using up vast resources that could be used to save the world instead of destroying it.

The power of the working class
This pandemic has proved that the working class has the power to take control of production and distribution—and that it’s the capitalist system itself that is standing in our way. (This simple but profound truth was pointed out to me by my youngest son, Johnny Gould,5 during a casual conversation while watching the evening news and sheltering in place. It struck me like a bolt of lightening!) Tens-of-millions of laid-off workers have demonstrated that the capitalist class is bankrupt without them when it comes to solving even the simplest tasks of producing enough PPE for our health workers let alone, coming up with treatments and cures for this current health catastrophe.

It’s workers who know how to produce with efficiency if we are allowed to do so without having to first insure fat profits for the bosses. It’s workers who know how to distribute goods and services. It’s workers who know how to cooperate and function in hospitals. (How more efficient could our healthcare facilities be if the doctors, nurses and staff didn’t have to make sure every medical procedure, every medicine administered, every bedding and bedpan changed, is billed to the proper agency.) Half their time is making sure the billing is done thoroughly!

It’s workers who know how to build factories, how to run hospitals and mass transportation, how to plant, produce and distribute food and services.

Could you imagine Trump, Biden or Nancy Pelosi working in the fields of California’s farmland? Or in a chicken processing plant?

It’s we, the working class, that knows how to accomplish these things. We have no need for the capitalist class—they are entirely superfluous to the production of anything. They do nothing but hire workers to do the work for them—including the intellectual and scientific work. All they do is hoard the wealth workers produce and then take credit for the scientific breakthroughs workers discover.

They are helpless without us. And that is our power!
This pandemic has proven that workers are the essential force necessary for solving the problems of the world—inequality, injustice, war, environmental destruction, pandemics—all caused or weaponized by the chaos of the capitalist profit motive that puts their personal profits above all else.

It will be a great day when production is based on the needs of all, and not the obscene profits for the tiny few—democratic, cooperative production and distribution based upon freedom, equality, and justice for all.

That’s what a socialist society can do for all of us. Socialism is our only hope for the future. It can’t be voted in. It must be built from the bottom up by the entire working class joining together to change the world for the better—because only we have the power and know-how to do it. We have nothing to lose but our chains and a world to gain.



1 https://www.fastcompany.com/90494347/american-billionaires-have-gotten-280-billion-richer-since-the-start-of-the-covid-19-pandemic

2 https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/colin-kaepernick-launches-coronavirus-relief-fund-aid-black-brown-communities-n1186421

3 https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/10/business/coronavirus-vaccine-nationalism.html

4 “What is Just-in-Time Manufacturing”

https://www.planview.com/resources/articles/just-in-time-manufacturing/

5 Follow @tandino415 on Instagram

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2) Hong Kong Police Fire Tear Gas as Protesters Resist China’s Grip
Officers also fired a water cannon at protesters who defied social distancing rules to demonstrate against Beijing’s plan to impose security legislation on the territory.
By Vivian Wang, Austin Ramzy and Tiffany May, May 24, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/24/world/asia/hong-kong-protest-coronavirus-china.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage
Credit...Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

HONG KONG — Thousands of protesters swarmed some of Hong Kong’s busiest neighborhoods on Sunday, singing, chanting and erecting roadblocks of torn-up bricks and debris, as the police repeatedly fired tear gas, pepper spray and a water cannon during the city’s largest street mobilization in months.
The protest, the first since China announced plans to tighten its control over Hong Kong through security legislation, was planned as a march between the city’s bustling Causeway Bay and Wan Chai neighborhoods. But when the police blocked the route, firing multiple rounds of tear gas in quick succession, the protesters quickly splintered into smaller groups, setting off more than seven hours of scattershot confrontations.
While the protesters were largely peaceful, periodic clashes left the area choked with haze and littered with broken glass, furniture and police tape. The police patrolled the district’s main thoroughfare with a water cannon, escorted by an armored truck with two officers seated on top, pointing guns loaded with rubber bullets.
The police said they had arrested at least 180 people, mostly for unlawful assembly, and at least four officers were injured. The city’s hospital authority said that six people had been hospitalized, including one woman in critical condition.
The protest on Sunday — the city’s first large-scale demonstration since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic — underscored the depth of many residents’ outrage and fear about Beijing’s national security push. The protesters flouted social distancing rules and police warnings against illegal assemblies to show their solidarity against the security laws, which many fear would strangle the civil liberties that distinguish the city from the mainland.
But the demonstration also made clear the challenges before the pro-democracy movement. Attendance was far lower than for the massive rallies last year against a bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China. Some protesters have expressed hopelessness or a new fear of participating in public opposition. The police also showed that they planned to continue a new pattern of assertiveness toward the protests, trying to stop mass gatherings before they occur.
“I keep coming out to protest,” said one attendee, Hanna Ng, 16. “Bad things keep happening, but I don’t know what else to do.”
Crowds began forming around 1 p.m., as hundreds of people milled beneath the gleaming facades of Causeway Bay, Hong Kong’s shopping district. Ignoring police warnings about the city’s social distancing regulations, which prohibit public gatherings of more than eight people, the protesters taunted police officers, hoisted signs denouncing the Chinese Communist Party and sang “Glory to Hong Kong,” the unofficial anthem of the pro-democracy movement.
Several protesters waved flags calling for Hong Kong independence — a call that, though still considered fringe, has gained some traction in recent months as anger at Beijing has grown.
As the crowd thickened, trams sat immobilized on the rails, with passengers poking their phones out to film the activity. One protester jammed traffic cones under the tires of a minibus to prevent it from moving.
Shortly before 1:30 p.m., the police fired several rounds of tear gas, sending the crowds that had been trying to march westward fleeing into stores and side streets. But the protesters, many of whom had been trained by last year’s street battles to bring gas masks, reassembled as quickly as they had dispersed.
The result was several hours of start-and-stop encounters, with long stretches of tense quiet interrupted by sudden bouts of police officers sprinting down a street, firing pepper balls or tear gas to clear the way. At times, they fired pepper spray in close range of protesters and journalists, according to videos on social media.
The police said in a statement that they had deployed tear gas to disperse protesters who blocked traffic and threw umbrellas, water bottles and other objects at officers.
“Some rioters have set fire to debris and hurled glass bottles from rooftops, causing danger to residents and business owners nearby,” the police said, adding that protesters had charged into roads, removed street barriers and damaged traffic lights.
Protesters also reportedly beat a lawyer who had expressed pro-establishment views; they also smashed the glass of at least one storefront. Some protesters piled umbrellas, wooden boards and overturned trash cans to barricade streets, and a few threw objects at police vehicles.
Groups of police officers pinned protesters to the ground and conducted random searches on passers-by.
Still, the clashes were relatively restrained, compared to violent clashes that marked the later months of protests last year.
The march on Sunday was planned before Beijing announced its national security plans on Thursday. It was originally intended to oppose a separate bill, in Hong Kong’s Legislature, to criminalize disrespect of the Chinese national anthem. Antigovernment groups see that proposal as yet another indication of the mainland’s encroachment on Hong Kong.
But after the security push was announced, the event took on added urgency for protesters eager to show they would not be cowed.
“I came out today to protest against the evil law China will impose on Hong Kong,” Billy Lai, a 34-year-old social worker, said. “If everyone of us can do a little bit more, I hope we can bring changes to the society.”
Ricky Chun, a retiree, said he had not planned to attend Sunday’s march when it was first announced. But after the national security push, he knew he had to attend.
“This is the only way we can express ourselves,” he said. “We cannot just keep ourselves quiet and take whatever they give to us.”
In Beijing, China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, said that the protests that roiled Hong Kong for much of last year had posed a grave threat to national security, demonstrating that such legislation was long overdue.
“We must get it done without the slightest delay,” he said at a news briefing.
He sought to assuage concerns that the rules would be used as cover for squelching antigovernment dissent in the city, saying that the move targeted a “very narrow category” of acts.
“Instead of becoming unnecessarily worried, people should have more confidence in Hong Kong’s future,” he said.
In a statement on Sunday evening, an unnamed spokesperson for the Hong Kong government called the protesters “thugs” and the clashes “atrocities.” The day’s events confirmed ”the necessity and urgency of national security legislation,” the statement said.
The Hong Kong government previously tried to introduce security laws in 2003 but backpedaled after mass protests. The city’s government has since avoided reintroducing such legislation, and Beijing’s move signaled its impatience with its local proxies.
It remains unclear how the protest movement will move forward, and whether it will able to replicate last year’s victories. Though the protesters in 2019 forced the Hong Kong government to withdraw the extradition bill, many said the aggressiveness of the Communist Party’s actions had dimmed their faith in the power of protest.
In addition, even as the coronavirus pandemic has waned in Hong Kong, some in the pro-democracy camp have said they prefer to express their discontent in potentially safer ways, such as boycotting businesses seen as sympathetic to Beijing.
Still, those who attended the march said protesting remained one of the most viable options.
“I wouldn’t use optimistic,” Michelle Chung, 45, a theater artist, said of her outlook on the protests. “But I would say that if we do not insist, we will not see hope. It’s because we insist, that hope will remain out there.”
Ezra Cheung, Elaine Yu and Katherine Li contributed reporting.

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3) Pay Cuts Become a Tool for Some Companies to Avoid Layoffs
“Shared sacrifice” in the white-collar ranks aims to avoid the cost of staffing up again. With no end to the crisis in sight, it is a leap of faith.
By Nelson D. Schwartz, May 24, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/24/business/economy/coronavirus-pay-cuts.html
Credit...Cody O'Loughlin for The New York Times

was letting the team down at the company he co-founded, KVH Industries. Rather than lay off workers in response to the coronavirus pandemic, he had decided to cut salaries, and when he emailed a video explaining his decision at 3 a.m. last month, he was prepared for a barrage of complaints.
Instead, he woke to an outpouring of support from employees that left him elated.
“It was one of the hardest things I’ve done, but it turned out to be the best day of my life at work,” said Mr. Kits van Heyningen. “I was trying to keep their morale up. Instead, they kept my morale up.”
Even as American employers let tens of millions of workers go, some companies are choosing a different path. By instituting across-the-board salary reductions, especially at senior levels, they have avoided layoffs.
The ranks of those forgoing job cuts and furloughs include major employers like HCA Healthcare, the hospital chain, and Aon, a London-based global professional services firm with a regional headquarters in Chicago. Chemours, a specialty chemical maker in Wilmington, Del., cut pay by 30 percent for senior management and preserved jobs. Others that managed to avoid layoffs include smaller companies like KVH, a maker of mobile connectivity and navigation systems that employs 600 globally and is based in Middletown, R.I.
The trend is a reversal of traditional management theory, which held that salaries were sacred and it was better to cut positions and dismiss a limited number of workers than to lower pay for everyone during downturns.
There is often a genuine desire to protect employees, but long-term financial interests are a major consideration as well, said Donald Delves, a compensation expert with Willis Towers Watson.
“A lot has happened in the last 10 years,” Mr. Delves said. “Companies learned the hard way that once you lay off a bunch of people, it’s expensive and time-consuming to hire them back. Employees are not interchangeable.”
A recent study by the Conference Board with Semler Brossy, an executive compensation research firm, and Esgauge, a data analytics firm, found that 537 public companies had cut pay of senior management since the crisis began. The study did not specify whether any had also cut jobs, however.
To be sure, if the crisis lasts longer than expected and the economy keeps shrinking, it is possible these salary reductions will not be enough to stave off job cuts. Other large corporations have cut salaries as well as jobs to stem coronavirus-related losses.
Still, the sudden nature of the economic threat has created a different mind-set among some managers than existed during the last recession, Mr. Delves said. Some companies did try to cut pay rather than jobs back then, but the impulse seems more widespread now.
“What we’re seeing this time around is more of a sense of shared sacrifice and shared pain,” he added.
When the pandemic hit, HCA was increasing revenue and adding employees, said its chief executive, Sam Hazen, “and to put them out on the street because of some virus just wasn’t something I was going to do.”
With stay-at-home orders covering much of the country and bans on elective surgery in many states, HCA’s hospitals were left with a revenue shortfall. The company suspended its share repurchases and quarterly dividend to bolster its financial position, and it reduced capital spending.
Mr. Hazen donated his salary for April and May to an internal fund for employees in distress, while senior management took a 30 percent pay cut. White-collar employees at lower levels saw their compensation reduced by 10 to 20 percent.
All in all, about 15,000 employees were affected, out of a total of 275,000. The company does not expect the pay reductions to extend beyond June.
HCA also created a pandemic pay program that allowed more than 120,000 nonexecutive hospital employees to receive 70 percent of what they earned before the virus hit. Employees, including union members, are also being asked to forgo a raise this year.
“We needed our people to have as much peace of mind as possible,” Mr. Hazen said. “Our culture is centered on taking care of our employees. This is an opportunity to further differentiate our culture with our people and with our communities.”
Aon, with 50,000 workers around the world, was even more aggressive about reducing salaries. Top executives there gave up 50 percent of their pay, with most remaining employees getting a cut of 20 percent.
“We wanted to say no one would lose their job because of Covid-19,” said Greg Case, Aon’s chief executive.
Mr. Case said he was heartened because overseas employees, who had the right to reject the salary cuts, overwhelmingly accepted them. About two-thirds of Aon’s work force is outside the United States.
But Mr. Case said the company was bracing for long-term disruption. “The risk on the horizon is potentially much greater than 2008-9,” he said. “We are preparing for scenarios that are multiples worse than that.” Aon says the need for the pay cuts will be reviewed monthly.
Avoiding layoffs will leave Aon better prepared for when the economy does rebound, Mr. Case said. “When clients need us most, we will be there,” he said.
Certainly, for chief executives and the highest-ranking officers, salary cuts are not as painful as it would first appear. That’s because for most, the bulk of their compensation comes in stock awards, said Amit Batish, manager of content and communications for Equilar, a private research firm that tracks executive pay.
“Salaries are a drop in the bucket for most executives, but it does send the message that we are helping out the organization,” he said.
Still, the fact that a few companies were able to avoid layoffs by reducing salaries raises the question of whether more businesses could have averted job cuts in the last two months.
With government unemployment benefits available for laid-off workers, many American companies were quick to cut their work forces, said Kathryn Neel, a managing director at Semler Brossy. “In European countries, where wages were subsidized, they managed to keep more people on the payroll,” she added.
Sharing the pain more broadly this way might have prevented the unemployment rate from hitting its highest level since the Great Depression while also better positioning companies for the eventual recovery.
Firms that cut heavily in 2008-9 were not ready when the economy eventually rebounded, according to Gregg Passin, a senior partner at the human resources consulting firm Mercer. “They lagged companies that were more cautious about cutting people,” he said.
A no-layoffs policy also builds loyalty. “No one wants to be in a situation where their salary is cut,” Mr. Passin said. “But we really do believe the way you treat employees today is the way they’ll treat you tomorrow.”
At KVH Industries, Ronda Vye was not demoralized by the pay cut — she was relieved. Although her 10 percent salary reduction hurts, said Ms. Vye, a director of digital marketing, “it’s manageable and everyone is thankful to know they have a job.”
“I’d much rather take a pay cut than see one of my fellow employees lose a job, especially in this economic environment,” she added. “Where are they going to find work?
Ms. Vye said she did not know how long the cut would last but had told her team it could extend through the end of the year.
KVH is a fraction of the size of Aon or HCA, but Mr. Kits van Heyningen employed a tiered system for the salary reductions at his company. Senior managers took a 15 to 25 percent pay cut, while lower-level employees faced a 10 percent trim. Employees earning less than $50,000 were spared any reduction.
“We’d never done a pay cut before,” said Mr. Kits van Heyningen, who started the company in his parents’ basement more than three decades ago. “A lot of people thought it would be a huge hit to morale.”
But Mr. Kits van Heyningen knew that drastic action was needed as the crisis deepened in March. Much of the mobile connectivity equipment and services that KVH provides is aimed at the maritime market, and the marine electronics dealers that sell KVH products to yacht owners in the United States were unable to stay open.
In Italy, a major boat builder, the economy was likewise closing down. Other companies in the sector had gone bankrupt and Mr. Kits van Heyningen did not want KVH to share their fate.
“We have no idea how long this is going to last,” he said. “The uncertainty is the problem.” To help make up for the pay reduction, Mr. Kits van Heyningen has told employees they can have Friday afternoons off.
John Croy, a software architect, said that he did not plan to take the time off but that he felt it was worth losing pay to avert layoffs. “We’re surviving,” he said. “We’re going to be stronger for this.”
When the initial responses poured in the morning after he emailed the video, Mr. Kits van Heyningen said he felt like George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” the 1946 film in which the town of Bedford Falls comes together to support the Jimmy Stewart character and his bank, Bailey Bros. Building & Loan.

In this case, the employees were coming together to support KVH — and one another. “I had hundreds of emails,” he said. “Workers earning less than $50,000 were asking if they could participate. People really feel like they are in it together.”

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4) Cuba credits two drugs with slashing coronavirus death toll
By Sarah Marsh, May 22, 2020
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-cuba/cuba-credits-two-drugs-with-slashing-coronavirus-death-toll-idUSKBN22Y2Y4

HAVANA (Reuters) - Communist-run Cuba said this week that use of two drugs produced by its biotech industry that reduce hyper-inflammation in seriously ill COVID-19 patients has sharply curbed its coronavirus-related death toll.
Health authorities have reported just two virus-related deaths over the past nine days among more than 200 active cases on the Caribbean’s largest island, a sign they may have the worst of the outbreak under control.

The government, which hopes to increase its biopharmaceutical exports, has touted various drugs it produces for helping prevent infection with the new coronavirus and treating the COVID-19 disease it causes.

It ascribes the recent reduction in deaths of severely ill COVID-19 patients largely to the use beginning in April of two drugs that appear to help calm the “cytokine storm,” a dangerous overresponse by the immune system in which it attacks healthy tissue as well as the invading virus.

One is itolizumab, a monoclonal antibody produced in Cuba and elsewhere. The other is a peptide that Cuba says its biotech industry discovered and has been testing for rheumatoid arthritis in Phase II clinical trials.

“Some 80 percent of patients who end up in critical condition are dying. In Cuba, with the use of these drugs, 80 percent of those who end up in critical or serious condition are being saved,” President Miguel Diaz-Canel said on Thursday in a meeting shown on state television.

Scientists caution that large placebo-controlled studies are needed to assess the safety and efficacy of these drugs for treating COVID-19.

But Cuba’s experimental treatments have helped it achieve an overall COVID-19 death rate of 4.2%, compared with the regional and global averages of 5.9% and 6.6%, respectively, health authorities say.

Fatality rates depend on many variables, including the rate of testing, quality of healthcare systems, and age and underlying health condition of the population.

Official data suggests that Cuba, with universal healthcare and a well-staffed care system, has done well in containing its outbreak. It has registered less than 20 cases per day over the past week, down from a peak of 50 to 60 in mid-April. In total, Cuba has reported 1,916 cases for a population of 11 million and 81 death.

That translates to an infection rate 0.71 per 100,000 inhabitants, compared with about 29 per 100,000 for the United States, according to a John’s Hopkins University tally.

Swift action helped Cuba contain its outbreak. After closing borders, schools and public transportation in March, Cuba urged residents to stay home, made wearing of masks obligatory, and employed effective contact tracing to curb the virus spread.

Reporting by Sarah Marsh; Additional Reporting by Nelson Acosta; Editing by Bill Berkrot
Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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5) It’s Not Obesity. It’s Slavery.
We know why Covid-19 is killing so many black people.
By Sabrina Strings, May 25, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/25/opinion/coronavirus-race-obesity.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage
People waiting for a distribution of masks and food in Harlem, New York City.Credit...Bebeto Matthews/Associated Press

About five years ago, I was invited to sit in on a meeting about health in the African-American community. Several important figures in the fields of public health and economics were present. A freshly minted Ph.D., I felt strangely like an interloper. I was also the only black person in the room.
One of the facilitators introduced me to the other participants and said something to the effect of “Sabrina, what do you think? Why are black people sick?”
It was a question asked in earnest. Some of the experts had devoted their entire careers to addressing questions surrounding racial health inequities. Years of research, and in some instances failed interventions, had left them baffled. Why are black people so sick?
My answer was swift and unequivocal.
“Slavery.”
My colleagues looked befuddled as they tried to come to terms with my reply.
I meant what I said: The era of slavery was when white Americans determined that black Americans needed only the bare necessities, not enough to keep them optimally safe and healthy. It set in motion black people’s diminished access to healthy foods, safe working conditions, medical treatment and a host of other social inequities that negatively impact health.
This message is particularly important in a moment when African-Americans have experienced the highest rates of severe complications and death from the coronavirus and “obesity” has surfaced as an explanation. The cultural narrative that black people’s weight is a harbinger of disease and death has long served as a dangerous distraction from the real sources of inequality, and it’s happening again.
Reliable data are hard to come by, but available analyses show that on average, the rate of black fatalities is 2.4 times that of whites with Covid-19. In states including Michigan, Kansas and Wisconsin and in Washington, D.C., that ratio jumps to five to seven black people dying of Covid-19 complications for every one white death.
Despite the lack of clarity surrounding these findings, one interpretation of these disparities that has gained traction is the idea that black people are unduly obese (currently defined as a body mass index greater than 30) which is seen as a driver of other chronic illnesses and is believed to put black people at high risk for serious complications from Covid-19.
These claims have received intense media attention, despite the fact that scientists haven’t been able to sufficiently explain the link between obesity and Covid-19. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 42.2 percent of white Americans and 49.6 percent of African-Americans are obese. Researchers have yet to clarify how a 7 percentage-point disparity in obesity prevalence translates to a 240 percent-700 percent disparity in fatalities.
Experts have raised questions about the rush to implicate obesity, and especially “severe obesity” (B.M.I. greater than 40), as a factor in coronavirus complications. An article in the medical journal The Lancet evaluated Britain’s inclusion of obesity as a risk factor for coronavirus complications and retorted, “To date, no available data show adverse Covid-19 outcomes specifically in people with a BMI of 40 kg/m2.” The authors concluded, “The scarcity of information regarding the increased risk of illness for people with a BMI higher than 40 kg/m2 has led to ambiguity and might increase anxiety, given that these individuals have now been categorised as vulnerable to severe illness if they contract Covid-19.”
Promoting strained associations between race, body size, and complications from this little-understood disease has served to reinforce an image of black people as wholly swept up in sensuous pleasures like eating and drinking, which supposedly makes our unruly bodies repositories of preventable weight-related illnesses. The attitudes I see today have echoes of what I described in “Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia.” My research showed that anti-fat attitudes originated not with medical findings, but with Enlightenment-era belief that overfeeding and fatness were evidence of “savagery” and racial inferiority.
Today, the stakes of these discussions could not be higher. When I learned about guidelines suggesting that doctors may use existing health conditions, including obesity, to deny or limit eligibility to lifesaving coronavirus treatments, I couldn’t help thinking of the slavery-era debates I’ve studied about whether or not so-called “constitutionally weak” African-Americans should receive medical care.
Fortunately, since that event I attended five years ago, experts focused on the health of African-Americans have continued to work to direct the nation’s attention away from individual-level factors.
The New York Times’ 1619 Project featured essays detailing how the legacy of slavery impacted health and health care for African-Americans and explaining how, since the since the era of slavery, black people’s bodies have been labeled congenitally diseased and undeserving of access to lifesaving treatments.
In a recent essay addressing Covid-19 specifically, Rashawn Ray underscored the legacy of redlining that pushed black people into poor, densely populated communities often with limited access to health care. And he pointed out that black people are overrepresented in service positions and as essential workers who have greater exposure than those with the luxury of sheltering in place. Ibram X. Kendi has written that the “irresponsible behavior of disproportionately poor people of color” — often cited as an important factor in health disparities — is a scapegoat directing American’s attention from the centrality of systemic racism in current racial health inequities.
Evaluating the inadequate and questionable data about race, weight and Covid-19 complications with these insights in mind makes it clear that obesity — and its affiliated, if incorrect implication of poor lifestyle choices — should not be front and center when it comes to understanding how this pandemic has affected African-Americans. Even before Covid-19, black Americans had higher rates of multiple chronic illnesses and a lower life expectancy than white Americans, regardless of weight. This is an indication that our social structures are failing us. These failings — and the accompanying embrace of the belief that black bodies are uniquely flawed — are rooted in a shameful era of American history that took place hundreds of years before this pandemic.

Sabrina Strings is an associate professor of sociology at the University of California at Irvine and the author of Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia.

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6) Wealthiest Hospitals Got Billions in Bailout for Struggling Health Providers
Twenty large chains received more than $5 billion in federal grants even while sitting on more than $100 billion in cash.
By Jesse Drucker, Jessica Silver-Greenberg and Sarah Kliff, May 25, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/25/business/coronavirus-hospitals-bailout.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage
Credit...Dustin Franz for The New York Times


A multibillion-dollar institution in the Seattle area invests in hedge funds, runs a pair of venture capital funds and works with elite private equity firms like the Carlyle Group.

But it is not just another deep-pocketed investor hunting for high returns. It is the Providence Health System, one of the country’s largest and richest hospital chains. It is sitting on nearly $12 billion in cash, which it invests, Wall Street-style, in a good year generating more than $1 billion in profits.

And this spring, Providence received at least $509 million in government funds, one of many wealthy beneficiaries of a federal program that is supposed to prevent health care providers from capsizing during the coronavirus pandemic.
With states restricting hospitals from performing elective surgery and other nonessential services, their revenue has shriveled. The Department of Health and Human Services has disbursed $72 billion in grants since April to hospitals and other health care providers through the bailout program, which was part of the CARES Act economic stimulus package. The department plans to eventually distribute more than $100 billion more.
So far, the riches are flowing in large part to hospitals that had already built up deep financial reserves to help them withstand an economic storm. Smaller, poorer hospitals are receiving tiny amounts of federal aid by comparison.
Twenty large recipients, including Providence, have received a total of more than $5 billion in recent weeks, according to an analysis of federal data by Good Jobs First, a research group. Those hospital chains were already sitting on more than $108 billion in cash, according to regulatory filings and the bond-rating firms S&P Global and Fitch. A Providence spokeswoman said the grants helped make up for losses from the coronavirus.
Those cash piles come from a mix of sources: no-strings-attached private donations, income from investments with hedge funds and private equity firms, and any profits from treating patients. Some chains, like Providence, also run their own venture-capital firms to invest their cash in cutting-edge start-ups. The investment portfolios often generate billions of dollars in annual profits, dwarfing what the hospitals earn from serving patients.
Many of these hospital groups, including Providence, are set up as nonprofits, which generally don’t have to pay federal taxes on their billions of dollars of income.
By contrast, hospitals that serve low-income patients often have only enough cash on hand to finance a few weeks of their operations.
After the CARES Act was passed in March, hospital industry lobbyists reached out to senior Health and Human Services officials to discuss how the money would be distributed.
Representatives of the American Hospital Association, a lobbying group for the country’s largest hospitals, communicated with Alex M. Azar II, the department secretary, and Eric Hargan, the deputy secretary overseeing the funds, said Tom Nickels, a lobbyist for the group. Chip Kahn, president of the Federation of American Hospitals, which lobbies on behalf of for-profit hospitals, said he, too, had frequent discussions with the agency.
The department then devised formulas to quickly dispense tens of billions of dollars to thousands of hospitals — and those formulas favored large, wealthy institutions.
One formula based allotments on how much money a hospital collected from Medicare last year. Another was based on a hospital’s revenue. While Health and Human Services also created separate pots of funding for rural hospitals and those hit especially hard by the coronavirus, the department did not take into account each hospital’s existing financial resources.
“This simple formula used the data we had on hand at that time to get relief funds to the largest number of health care facilities and providers as quickly as possible,” said Caitlin B. Oakley, a spokeswoman for the department. “While other approaches were considered, these would have taken much longer to implement.”
Hospitals that serve a greater proportion of wealthier, privately insured patients got twice as much relief as those focused on low-income patients with Medicaid or no coverage at all, according to a study this month by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
“If you ever hear a hospital complaining they don’t have enough money, see if they have a venture fund,” said Niall Brennan, president of the nonprofit Health Care Cost Institute and a former senior Medicare official. “If you’ve got play money, you’re fine.”
In a letter this month to the Department of Health and Human Services, two House committee chairmen said the Trump administration appeared to be disregarding Congress’s intent in how it was distributing the aid.
“The level of funding appears to be completely disconnected from need,” wrote the two Democrats, Representatives Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey and Richard E. Neal of Massachusetts.
It is the latest instance in which enormous and hastily enacted federal bailout programs have benefited those who don’t appear to need the money. A package of $170 billion in federal tax breaks, for example, will go overwhelmingly to many of the country’s richest people and biggest companies. A program to rescue small businesses initially directed hundreds of millions of dollars in loans to publicly traded companies while many smaller firms were frozen out.
That pattern is repeating in the hospital rescue program.
For example, HCA Healthcare and Tenet Healthcare — publicly traded chains with billions of dollars in reserves and large credit lines from banks — together received more than $1.5 billion in federal funds.
An HCA spokesman said the aid didn’t cover the expected lost revenue and higher expenses caused by the coronavirus, while a Tenet spokeswoman said the pandemic had suppressed the company’s profits.
The Cleveland Clinic got $199 million. Last year it had so much money on hand — its $7 billion in cash helped generate $1.2 billion in investment profits — that it paid investment advisers $28 million to manage the fortune.
Angela Kiska, a Cleveland Clinic spokeswoman, said the federal grants had “helped to partially offset the significant losses in operating revenue due to Covid-19, while we continue to provide care to patients in our communities.” The Cleveland Clinic sent caregivers to hospitals in Detroit and New York as they were flooded with coronavirus patients, she added.
The St. Louis-based Ascension Health, which operates 150 hospitals nationwide, has received at least $211 million from Health and Human Services. The company, with $15.5 billion in cash, operates a venture capital fund and an investment advisory firm that helps other companies manage their money.
Even if Ascension stopped generating any revenue whatsoever — a doomsday scenario — it would have enough cash to fully operate for nearly eight months.
Nick Ragone, a spokesman for Ascension, said the federal funds “facilitated our ability to serve our communities during this unprecedented time.” He said Ascension had not furloughed or laid off any workers and wouldn’t do so for “as long as possible.”
Critics argue that hospitals with vast financial resources should not be getting federal funds. “If you accumulated $18 billion and you are a not-for-profit hospital system, what’s it for if other than a reserve for an emergency?” said Dr. Robert Berenson, a physician and a health policy analyst for the Urban Institute, a Washington research group.
Hospitals that serve poorer patients typically have thinner reserves to draw on.
Even before the coronavirus, roughly 400 hospitals in rural America were at risk of closing, said Alan Morgan, the chief executive of the National Rural Hospital Association. On average, the country’s 2,000 rural hospitals had enough cash to keep their doors open for 30 days.
Many hospitals that primarily serve low-income people have received federal grants that their executives say may not be enough to see them through the current crisis.
At St. Claire HealthCare, the largest rural hospital system in eastern Kentucky, the number of surgeries dropped 88 percent during the pandemic — depriving the hospital of a crucial revenue source. Looking to stanch the financial damage, it furloughed employees and canceled some vendor contracts. The $3 million the hospital received from the federal government in April will cover two weeks of payroll, said Donald H. Lloyd II, the health system’s chief executive.
“This is just a Band-Aid,” Mr. Lloyd said.
The Harris Health System, which operates two hospitals in Houston, treats mostly uninsured patients. In a good year, it has a 1 percent profit margin, said Dr. Esmaeil Porsa, its chief executive.
The system has lost about $43 million in patient revenue during the pandemic, Dr. Porsa said. So far, it has received about a quarter of that in federal grants. It is unclear how it will make up the shortfall.
“I know there are hospitals out there that have some God-awful amount of money in reserve,” Dr. Porsa said. “We are not that, and we will never be that. Whatever cash we have we’re going to pour into services.”
That is not how things work at the Providence Health System, which in some ways resembles a Silicon Valley powerhouse as much as a health care company. Providence owns 51 hospitals, including Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, and 1,100 clinics in California, Texas and others states.
Even with the federal grants, Providence lost $179 million in April, said Melissa Tizon, a company spokeswoman. The bailout money has helped the company avoid laying off staff or reducing their pay.
“Remember, the pandemic isn’t over,” Ms. Tizon said. “We need to be financially stable for the next possible wave.”
But Providence’s financial stability does not appear to be in jeopardy.
The hospital network has nearly $12 billion in cash reserves. It has invested that money in hedge funds, private equity firms and real estate ventures.
It also oversees two venture capital funds that manage about $300 million on behalf of the health care chain. The venture funds do deals alongside some of the country’s highest-profile investment firms, including Kleiner Perkins and Carlyle.
Last year, Providence’s portfolio of investments generated about $1.3 billion in profits, far exceeding the profits from its hospital operations. Like other nonprofits, Providence generally does not owe federal taxes on its earnings.
In 2018, Providence paid its chief executive, Dr. Rod Hochman, more than $10 million.
That would be enough to finance about a month of operations at the St. Claire hospitals in Kentucky.

Kitty Bennett contributed research.

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7) Florida Law Restricting Felon Voting Is Unconstitutional, Judge Rules
A federal judge said the law would result in discrimination against felons who cannot afford to pay court fines and fees.
By Patricia Mazzei, May 24, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/24/us/florida-felon-voting-court-judge-ruling.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage
Credit...John Raoux/Associated Press


MIAMI — A Florida law requiring people with serious criminal convictions to pay court fines and fees before they can register to vote is unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled on Sunday, declaring that such a requirement would amount to a poll tax and discriminate against felons who cannot afford to pay.

Florida did not explicitly impose a poll tax, Judge Robert L. Hinkle of the United States District Court in Tallahassee wrote, but by conditioning felons’ voting rights to fees that fund the routine operations of the criminal justice system, it effectively created “a tax by any other name.”

“The Twenty-Fourth Amendment precludes Florida from conditioning voting in federal elections on payment of these fees and costs,” Judge Hinkle wrote, calling the restriction an unconstitutional “pay-to-vote system.”
The judge granted a permanent injunction to civil rights groups that challenged the law as discriminatory for the majority of felons, many of whom are indigent. The state is expected to appeal. However, much of Sunday’s ruling is built on a previous ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta, which would hear any appeal.
“This really is a landmark decision for voting rights,” said Julie Ebenstein, senior staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, one of the groups that sued. “It’s a decision that will likely affect hundreds of thousands of voters — and it’s been a long time coming.”
Whether the decision will have immediate electoral impact is unclear.
With the November presidential election looming, voter registration groups will now likely redouble their efforts to sign up people released from prison after felony convictions. Major elections in Florida are frequently decided by razor-thin margins, and expanding the electorate by even a modest number of new voters could prove decisive.
The appeals court fast-tracked its earlier decision in the case, knowing that the election is approaching. But, with an appeal likely — and legal and political steps beyond that uncertain — it’s too early to assume that people affected by the ruling will be able to register to vote in time for November — or how many will vote even if they do.
The Florida secretary of state, who oversees elections, did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Sunday’s ruling.
For decades, all Florida felons were barred from the ballot box. But in 2018, voters approved a landmark measure known as Amendment 4, automatically restoring voting rights for people who have completed their sentences for felonies other than murder or sex crimes.
The Republican-controlled Legislature then adopted a new restriction — that felons had to settle their financial obligations to the court before having their eligibility to vote restored. Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, signed it into law last year. The state’s lawyers argued that voters knew when they supported Amendment 4, the measure restoring voting rights, that felons would have to pay their outstanding debts before becoming eligible to vote.
But the judge roundly rejected that argument — and noted that the state has no uniform way to let felons know how much they owe or have already paid.
“Surely very few Florida voters knew that every Florida felony conviction results in an order to pay hundreds of dollars in fees and costs intended to fund the government, even when the judge does not choose to impose a fine as part of the punishment and there is no victim to whom restitution is owed,” Judge Hinkle wrote in his 125-page opinion.
“Surely very few Florida voters knew that fees and costs were imposed regardless of ability to pay, that the overwhelming majority of felons who would otherwise be eligible to vote under Amendment 4 owed amounts they were unable to pay, and that the State had no ability to determine who owed how much.”
He upbraided Florida for failing to come up with a satisfactory way for felons to check how much they might owe or show the state that they could not afford to pay.
The judge ordered the division of elections to issue a form with which felons might request an advisory opinion on their eligibility to vote. The felon would then be able to register to vote within 21 days unless the division finds that the applicant is ineligible.
Judge Hinkle temporarily blocked the restriction in October, a decision later affirmed by appeals court. Judge Hinkle then held an unusual bench trial via video conference in late April and early May. The coronavirus pandemic had made it unwise for lawyers and witnesses to appear in court in person.
At the end of the eight-day trial, the judge said he would rule, as he did last year, that Florida could not refuse to restore a felon’s voting rights if the felon was unable to pay legal obligations. Several other legal questions remained to be decided during the trial, including claims that the law would amount to racial discrimination.
Ultimately, the judge ruled that the plaintiffs did not show that race “was a motivating factor” in the law. Neither was gender, he ruled.
During the trial, Judge Hinkle did agree with lawyers for the state when they said that there was no evidence to show that legislators intended to cause a racial disparity when they adopted the fee payback requirement. But the judge also noted there was nonetheless a clear “racial impact,” because so many Florida felons are black or Latino.
The judge during the trial had pressed Mohammad O. Jazil, a lawyer for the Florida secretary of state, the official who oversees elections, about possible partisan motives.
“Why is it that all the Republicans voted ‘yes’ and all the Democrats voted ‘no’?” Judge Hinkle said. “That is not a coincidence. It would be stunning if somebody told me that they did not realize that African-Americans tend to vote Democratic more than Republican.”

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8) A Clean Break
Amid a pandemic, sanitation workers in New Orleans strike for safety
By Clare Busch, May 26, 2020
https://thebaffler.com/latest/a-clean-break-busch

Memphis, TN, USA - June 9, 2017: Display "I Am A Man" inside the National Civil Rights Museum and the site of the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Shutterstock)


Jerry Simon has seven kids that he and his fiancé provide for. Exposing his children to coronavirus is a constant worry. His coworkers have the same nagging concern. Simon added, “We have one guy. He’s a new granddaddy. He has never even held his grandbaby.”
As he talks, Simon leans against a car with a simple sign that reads, “I Am a Man.” The slogan is from the 1968 Memphis sanitation strike when African American workers demanded better pay and safer conditions. Simon, too, is a sanitation worker. He works in New Orleans where he’s known as a “hopper.” He and the other men lug ninety-five-gallon garbage cans into trucks every day except Sunday.
Since May 5, the hoppers working for Metro Service Group have been striking. Metro is a private, multi-pronged company offering industrial project management, construction, and waste management services throughout the Southeast. Because the hoppers are contractors to city contractors, neither the city nor Metro want to claim full responsibility for the hoppers’ work conditions even as they say those conditions are safe.  
In 2015, New Orleans passed an ordinance requiring any companies receiving new city contracts to pay their workers a livable wage, which at that time was $10.55-an-hour. The ordinance went so far as to include even companies that only received a grant from the city. But before the strike, hoppers were still making as little as $10.25-an-hour through a staffing agency, PeopleReady. Metro disputes this rate, saying its contractors make at least $11.19-an-hour. Nonetheless, the city of New Orleans paid Metro over $10 million in 2019 as part of its contract to collect trash throughout Orleans Parish.
The pay was low and the work difficult, but hoppers said they were happy to keep New Orleans streets clean. Then came coronavirus. Workers report that Metro does not provide them with a new mask and gloves every day. Back in 2017, hoppers had successfully argued for an hourly rate as opposed to a $95-day rate, so they decided to organize again. They said Metro’s failure to recognize them as essential workers entitled to hazard pay and protective gear left them no choice but to strike. After the strike began, PeopleReady quickly posted job descriptions hoping to bring on new men. Hoppers also started to see inmates working their routes.
The hoppers are asking for a living wage, similar to what the city’s 2015 ordinance was meant to enforce. They want $15-an-hour and hazard pay during the pandemic: an extra $150 per weekly pay period. In addition to better pay, the strikers want personal protection equipment, or PPE, like masks and gloves. Simon said hoppers were receiving PPE, but irregularly. If Metro gave them masks and gloves on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, then, “Thursday, Friday, Saturday you wouldn’t really see anything.” Meanwhile, Simon said the drivers, who are employed directly by Metro rather than through temporary staffing agencies, have access to masks, bandanas, and gloves.
In a statement provided by the company, Metro wrote that they provided masks for all workers, including third-party contractors. Metro also stressed that none of its employees were involved in the strike. A city spokesperson wrote in a statement that, “The city reached out to all contractors at the beginning of this outbreak, and Metro has represented to the city that they purchased 15,000 masks and more than 1,000 boxes of gloves to ensure protection for all workers and subcontractors.” The statement did not respond to a question about the use of work-release inmates to replace striking hoppers.
The employers, stacked on top of each other, abrogate responsibility with each level. The city contracts Metro Service Group for trash collection; metro hires hoppers through a temporary staffing agency, PeopleReady. The workers say the agencies that sign their checks change regularly. Ever-changing contracts make it difficult to know who, if anyone, can be held responsible for workplace safety concerns.
At their picket in front of the company’s entrance on Old Gentilly Road, the men joke around and smoke. They have the easy camaraderie of coworkers who spend hours together throwing trash, dodging drivers, and chatting with residents. One striker thrust out his arm and pointed to scarred skin. He said it is from hydraulic fluid, which leaks from the truck onto their arms and faces regularly. They all recounted past injuries with a smile. It’s expected.
Kendrick Anderson, twenty-eight, lifted his pant leg to reveal a long scar on his right ankle. He said it was as simple as, “I jumped off the truck the wrong way.” The ankle was broken. Jerry Simon said workers are often injured on the job; another striker said he already threw out his back three times and has only been working for about a year. As for training, according to Anderson, Metro “put[s] you on a truck with two other guys.”
Hoppers listed six different staffing agencies that employed them in the last year alone. According to workers, Metro informs hoppers when the company has a contract with a new agency. After ten years, Anderson is still a temp without access to paid time off or a 401K.
JerNard Taylor said, “Metro, from the beginning, has always used temp agencies.” Taylor has worked as a hopper for Metro for the past seven years. When it came to the staffing agencies, Taylor said, “The company’s name kept changing constantly over the years, but there were always the same owners.” He also said the workers were never given sick days, another violation of the 2015 living wage ordinance, which mandates workers receive at least seven sick days or an additional 30 percent pay.
Alfred Marshall, sixty-one, is an organizer with Stand with Dignity, a grassroots organization of Black workers and families. The group was also a proponent of the living wage ordinance. Marshall said “For [the ordinance’s] compliance, there is nobody watching [companies] to enforce it.”
In 2016, Stand with Dignity organizers realized there were contractors not abiding by the ordinance. They asked city councilors if preexisting contracts would be subject to the wage regulations.  According to Marshall, city councilors said it would be too expensive to renegotiate the contracts and any renewals would also be exempt. However, Metro said it signed its contract in 2017, meaning it should adhere to the ordinance.
When the strike started, Metro used work-release inmates from Livingston Parish to fill hopper positions. Simon was shocked when he heard the trucks were going out with inmates working their routes, calling it “horrible.” He saw similarities between the inmates and the hoppers: “They sent them out here with no gloves, no nothing. [They] tell them they have to work.” Metro said the company only used inmates for a four-day period and paid Livingston Parish’s labor administrative agent $11.19-an-hour-per-man.
The inmates were placed through a company called Lock5 LLC. Local reports said the inmates were paid $9.25-an-hour, differing from Metro’s statement, and Lock5 can also take up to 64 percent of inmates’ pay as part of the work release program. Owner Hootie Lockhart said he did not want to be involved in a labor dispute. According to Lockhart, Lock5 stopped providing work-release inmates to Metro two weeks ago.
Local media reported that when inmates were being used to replace strikers, they were working routes in Gentilly and New Orleans East. Black communities in these neighborhoods have tested positive for coronavirus at much higher rates than the neighborhoods in the city’s predominantly white Uptown area. In Louisiana as a whole, the majority of people dying from coronavirus are Black despite making up only 33 percent of the state’s population. The striking hoppers are all Black men handling the waste of a city with one of the worst coronavirus death rates in the United States. Throughout New Orleans, it is work done primarily by Black men: hopping is low-paid, physically demanding work without healthcare, and coronavirus has only highlighted the inequalities that existed far before its spread.
Latoya Lewis, thirty-three, is another organizer with Stand With Dignity. She described the strike as inspirational. “This is two dozen black men who work hard to keep the city of New Orleans clean and feel like they deserve better,” she said.
Neither PeopleReady’s New Orleans office nor its corporate office in Washington returned request for comment.


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9) White Woman Calls Police on Black Bird Watcher in Central Park
Video of the incident touched off intense discussions about the history of black people being falsely reported to the police.
By Sarah Maslin Nir, May 26, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/26/nyregion/amy-cooper-dog-central-park.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage
Video of Amy Cooper with her dog in Central Park was widely shared on social media on Monday.

The encounter appears to have begun as one of those banal and brusque dust-ups between two New Yorkers. A black man, an avid birder, said he had asked a white woman to leash her dog in Central Park. She refused.
Then the encounter, which was recorded on video, took an ugly turn.
As the man, Christian Cooper, filmed on his phone, the woman, clutching her thrashing dog, calls the police, her voice rising in hysteria.
“I’m going to tell them there’s an African-American man threatening my life,” she says to him while dialing, then repeats to the operator, “He’s African-American.”
The video, posted to Twitter on Memorial Day, has been viewed more than 20 million times, touching off intense discussions about the history of the police being falsely called on black people, sometimes putting their lives in danger.
Shortly after the video was posted by the man’s sister on Monday, someone who said they had been the white woman’s dog walker identified her. The woman’s name, Amy Cooper, soon began trending on Twitter.
By evening, Ms. Cooper was placed on leave by her employer, Franklin Templeton, while the incident was being investigated. According to her LinkedIn page, Ms. Cooper, who is not related to Mr. Cooper, heads insurance portfolio management at Franklin Templeton.
Internet sleuths digging into Ms. Cooper’s life found an Instagram profile of her cocker spaniel mix and began sharing old photos documenting injuries the dog had suffered.
By nightfall, she had surrendered the dog, Henry, to the group she had adopted him from two years prior, according to a Facebook post by the group, Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue.
The police said they had responded to the report of an assault at about 8:10 a.m.
“Upon arrival, police determined two individuals had engaged in a verbal dispute,” said Sgt. Mary Frances O’Donnell, a spokeswoman for the New York Police Department. No summons were issued and there was no arrest made.
On Facebook, Mr. Cooper, who works in communications, according to his LinkedIn profile, posted his version of the exchange, which he said began when he asked her to leash the dog in the Ramble, the semi-wild section of Central Park, and she refused.
In a Facebook post, Mr. Cooper wrote his account of the conversation that precipitated the incident, before he began filming.
First he asked her to leash her dog, he said. She refused.
“Look, if you’re going to do what you want, I’m going to do what I want, but you’re not going to like it,” he told her, according to his post.
Mr. Cooper, who is on the board of the New York City Audubon Society, then produced dog treats, which he explained, he carries because it forces owners to leash their dogs to prevent the animal from snacking.
“I pull out the dog treats I carry for just for such intransigence,” he wrote. “That’s when I started video recording with my iPhone, and when her inner Karen fully emerged and took a dark turn,” he said, using the name Karen, which has become slang for an entitled white woman.
Adding to the fractiousness of the exchange is a long history of tension between birders and dog walkers in Central Park, magnified by the fraught climate of the pandemic lockdown. At one point Ms. Cooper, wearing a face mask, lunges toward Mr. Cooper, a behavior that some who viewed the video have called an assault, because of the violation of social distancing that occurs.
Ms. Cooper and Mr. Cooper did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Ms. Cooper has apologized, according to NBC, but denied being racist.
“I sincerely and humbly apologize to everyone, especially to that man, his family,” she said to the network. “It was unacceptable and I humbly and fully apologize to everyone who’s seen that video, everyone that’s been offended … everyone who thinks of me in a lower light and I understand why they do.”
Speaking to CNN, Mr. Cooper said he would accept the apology “only if it is genuine and if she plans on keeping her dog on a leash going forward.”


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10) F.B.I. to Investigate Arrest of Black Man Who Died After Being Pinned by Officer
The man, who was not identified, died “a short time” after the arrest, the Minneapolis Police said in a statement. Mayor Jacob Frey said the officer “failed in the most basic, human sense.”
By Christine Hauser, May 26, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/26/us/minneapolis-police-man-died.html?action=click&module=Latest&pgtype=Homepage
Screen shot from video

The F.B.I. and Minnesota law enforcement authorities are investigating the arrest of a black man who died after being handcuffed and pinned to the ground by an officer’s knee, in an episode filmed by a bystander and denounced by the mayor on Tuesday.
The arrest took place on Monday evening, the Minneapolis Police Department said in a statement, after officers responded to a call about a man suspected of forgery. The police said the man, believed to be in his 40s, was found sitting on top of a blue car and “appeared to be under the influence.”
“He was ordered to step from his car,” the department’s statement said. “After he got out, he physically resisted officers. Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress.”
The statement said that officers called for an ambulance and that the man was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center, “where he died a short time later.”
On Tuesday morning, without referring to the video recorded by a bystander, the police updated a statement, titled “Man Dies After Medical Incident During Police Interaction,” that said additional information had “been made available” and that the F.B.I. was joining the investigation.
The bystander video that circulated widely on social media Monday night shows a white Minneapolis police officer pressing his knee into a black man’s neck during an arrest, as the man repeatedly says “I can’t breathe” and “please I can’t breathe.”
Within minutes the man, lying face down in the street with his hands cuffed behind his back, becomes silent and motionless, the video shows; the officer continues to pin the man to the pavement with his knee.
Bystanders plead and curse, begging the officer to stop and telling him the man’s nose is bleeding. Another officer faces the people gathered on the sidewalk. An ambulance medic arrives and, reaching under the officer’s knee, feels for a pulse on the man’s neck.
The medic turns away, and a stretcher is wheeled over. The arrested man is then rolled onto the stretcher, loaded into an ambulance and taken away.
The video did not show what happened before the officer pinned the man to the ground by his neck. Chief Medaria Arradondo of the Minneapolis Police said at a news conference Tuesday that he had received information the night before that he “deemed necessary to contact the special agent in charge of the Minneapolis bureau of the F.B.I.”
He said he asked the agency to investigate, and declined to comment on what information he received.
The F.B.I. is conducting a federal civil rights investigation, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said in a statement. The state bureau also said that it was conducting its own investigation at the request of the police department, and that it would release its findings to the Hennepin County district attorney’s office.
The name of the man will be released by the county medical examiner’s office after his family has been notified and the autopsy is completed, it said. The names of the officers would be released after interviews, it added.
Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota, called in a statement for a “complete and thorough” investigation into the encounter, which she described as “another horrifying and gut-wrenching instance of an African-American man dying.”
The mayor of Minneapolis, Jacob Frey, on Tuesday described the event as “awful” and “traumatic.”
“Being black in America should not be a death sentence. For five minutes, we watched a white officer press his knee into a black man’s neck. Five minutes,” Mr. Frey said in a statement.
“When you hear someone calling for help, you’re supposed to help. This officer failed in the most basic, human sense,” he said. “All I keep coming back to is this: This man should not have died.”
The police department’s statement said that no weapons were used, and that the officers’ body cameras were recording. Mr. Frey said at a news conference that he had seen the video “taken and posted by a civilian” but not the body camera footage.
“Whatever the investigation reveals, it does not change the simple truth: He should still be with us this morning,” the mayor said. “I believe what I saw and what I saw is wrong on every level.”

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11) As Meatpacking Plants Reopen, Data About Worker Illness Remains Elusive
Emails show local officials received conflicting signals from state leaders and meatpacking companies about how much information to release about outbreaks in plants.
By Michael Corkery, David Yaffe-Bellany and Derek Kravitz, May 25, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/25/business/coronavirus-meatpacking-plants-cases.html
Credit...

The Smithfield Foods plant in Tar Heel, N.C., is one of the world’s largest pork processing facilities, employing about 4,500 people and slaughtering roughly 30,000 pigs a day at its peak.
And like more than 100 other meat plants across the United States, the facility has seen a substantial number of coronavirus cases. But the exact number of workers in Tar Heel who have tested positive is anyone’s guess.
Smithfield would not provide any data when asked about the number of illnesses at the plant. Neither would state or local health officials.
“There has been a stigma associated with the virus,” said Teresa Duncan, the director of the health department in Bladen County, where the plant is located. “So we’re trying to protect privacy.”
Along with nursing homes and prisons, meatpacking facilities have proven to be places where the virus spreads rapidly. But as dozens of plants that closed because of outbreaks begin reopening, meat companies’ reluctance to disclose detailed case counts makes it difficult to tell whether the contagion is contained or new cases are emerging even with new safety measures in place. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there were nearly 5,000 meatpacking workers infected with the virus as of the end of last month. But the nonprofit group Food & Environment Reporting Network estimated last week that the number has climbed to more than 17,000. There have been 66 meatpacking deaths, the group said.
And the outbreaks may be even more extensive.
For weeks, local officials received conflicting signals from state leaders and meatpacking companies about how much information to release, according to internal emails from government health agencies obtained through public records requests by Columbia University’s Brown Institute for Media Innovation and provided to The New York Times. The mixed messages left many workers and their communities in the dark about the extent of the spread in parts of Iowa, Nebraska and Colorado.
The emails also reveal the deference some county officials have shown toward the giant meatpacking companies and how little power they have in pushing the companies to stem outbreaks.
“Bad news spreads way faster than the truth,” said a county health official in Colorado of an outbreak at a Cargill plant, according to notes from a conference call last month. “At this point, we are not doing anything to cast them in a bad light. Will not throw them to the Press.”
Questions about the transparency of governments and companies about the coronavirus extend far beyond meatpacking. Chinese officials have been widely criticized for not fully disclosing the extent of the virus’s spread within their borders. And in the United States, President Trump has questioned the official death toll from the coronavirus, suggesting that the numbers may be inflated even as public health experts and statisticians say the opposite is more likely true.
The meat companies are not legally required to disclose how many workers are sick. But legal experts say privacy is not a valid reason for keeping the numbers from the public.
“Alerting a community about the number of cases in a particular place is a standard public health response,” said Nicole Huberfeld, a public health expert at Boston University. “People need to act appropriately if they are exposed.”
The lack of full disclosure also demonstrates the industry’s sway as a major employer in the Midwest and the South.
While more than 80 percent of beef and pork workers are unionized, even labor leaders acknowledge it is not as easy to shut down meat plants as other factories because they are essential to the food supply. Auto plants, for example, were shut down relatively early during the pandemic and have only just begun to reopen.
After some slaughterhouses did close, restaurants and stores experienced significant shortages of meat, leading Mr. Trump to issue an executive order designating meat plants “critical infrastructure” that must stay open.
But the order did not address crucial issues like testing, leading many companies to reopen plants or keep them operating without fully assessing whether employees had contracted the virus.
Across the country, many local health departments have encouraged companies to test employees — but stopped short of ordering them to do so.
On April 21, health officials in Dallas County, Iowa, told Tyson Foods that they could provide rapid testing kits for workers at its local plant in Perry, according to the emails. An early draft of that message to Tyson managers underscored the urgency, saying, “At this time, we strongly recommend this option be implemented immediately.”
But the county’s lawyer asked that the language be revised to read, “At this time, we ask you to consider this be implemented as soon as possible.”
In an interview, the county attorney, Chuck Sinnard, said he recommended revising the language because he did not believe the health department had the authority to order Tyson to conduct tests.
“It was in the vein of choosing wording cautiously and conservatively so we didn’t get in a position where we were overstepping our bounds,” he said.
On May 5, the state health department, which ultimately worked with Tyson to test employees, said 730 workers, or 58 percent of the plant’s work force, had tested positive for the virus. About two weeks ago, Tyson started to disclose the number of coronavirus cases at a handful of its plants around the country where there has been widespread testing.
In North Carolina, workers and community advocates in the Tar Heel area started to raise the alarm in April, as local news outlets reported a string of infections linked to the Smithfield plant.
In neighboring Robeson County, 59 residents who work at the Tar Heel facility have become infected, out of a total of 669 cases in the community, according to Melissa Packer, the county’s assistant health director.
But like the rest of the public, Ms. Packer does not know the full extent of the outbreak at the plant.
In conversations with state officials this month, Ms. Packer said, a number of county health directors requested that plant-specific numbers stay private. One of the reasons, she said, was that the local officials wanted to avoid antagonizing the meatpackers while they worked alongside them to curtail the outbreaks.
“A lot of the concerns were around fractured relationships,” Ms. Packer said. “Some local health directors from the counties where there are processing plants expressed some concerns about how that may negatively impact the relationship they have built with the management of the companies.”
A spokeswoman for North Carolina’s health department, Amy Ellis, declined to reveal plant-specific data. She said the state has recorded a total of 1,952 cases across meat plants in 17 counties.
Smithfield said it continued to “report all Covid-19 cases to state and local health officials, as well as the C.D.C.” and was working to provide free testing to all its employees.
This month, Gov. Pete Ricketts of Nebraska announced that the state would not disclose the number of coronavirus cases in specific meat plants without the consent of the companies. The state is releasing aggregate case numbers across the meat processing industry, the governor’s spokesman said. Some of Nebraska’s big meatpackers have also started revealing less about case numbers to their employees.
Eric Reeder, a local union president representing workers in 14 plants around Nebraska, said that the larger the outbreak, the less transparent some of the companies have become about the case numbers.
“When a plant hits several hundred cases, they get more tight-lipped, and that makes it difficult for workers to protect themselves and their families,’’ said Mr. Reeder, president of the United Food & Commercial Workers union local 293.
Those transparency issues were on display last month when Teresa Anderson, the director of the Central District Health Department in Grand Island, Neb., told the meat processor JBS that she planned to conduct coronavirus testing at a park near the company’s plant, which employs 3,700 people.
JBS wanted assurances that the test results would not be made public.
“We understand that you will be asking and recording the employer,” Nicholas White, a compliance official at JBS, wrote in an email to Ms. Anderson on April 15. “But we would ask that you not disclose that information as part of any public disclosure of the testing results.”
Six days later, though, Ms. Anderson announced that more than 200 people connected to the Grand Island plant were infected. By May 5, at least 328 employees had tested positive, according to the emails from Grand Island, some of which were previously reported by ProPublica.
A spokesman for JBS, Cameron Bruett, said the company did not want to publicize the number of positive cases at the plant because little testing was being conducted in the broader area. Releasing the data, he said, “would distort any one company’s role in community spread.”
The tussle over whether plants should test workers has stretched for months in some states, creating critical delays in isolating infected workers. Local health authorities concede that asymptomatic employees are still coming to work with the virus, fueling the spread.
As recently as May 14, health officials in Wyandotte County, Kan., warned that the virus was continuing to spread inside a National Beef plant.
“The outbreak has gone on for a month,” a county epidemiologist said in an email to her colleagues.
“Should we bust in, show our badges and test everyone?” a colleague suggested. “Ha!”
A National Beef spokesman said the company was following the county’s health guidelines.
Even when case numbers are disclosed, many health departments say they have little authority to act at meat plants.
Last month, a worker in a Triumph Foods pork plant in St. Joseph, Mo., emailed the city saying at least two employees were infected and 90 percent of the staff was still working “less than a meter away” from one another.
“Workers are scared,” the employee said. “Can the government take action on the matter for the protection of workers and the city?”
A health official wrote back on April 21, saying the city had “limited authority” in closing a business and suggested that the workers cover their noses and mouths and use hand sanitizer.
Since then, Triumph has supplied workers with masks, among other protective measures, according to the company website. But at the time, the plant worker was not comforted by the city’s assurances.
“Are you telling me that it doesn’t matter that two workers are infected,” he wrote. “Because the plant is worth more than the workers’ health?”


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12) To the Next ‘BBQ Becky’: Don't Call 911. Call 1-844-WYT-FEAR.
A new emergency hotline for when it’s not an emergency, just harassment.
Hosted by Niecy Nash, Video by Taige Jensen and Jenn Lyon, Oct. 22, 2018
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/22/opinion/calling-police-racism-wyt-fear.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

Video Screen Shot

In this satirical infomercial, the comedian and actress Niecy Nash plays the inventor of a new hotline, 1-844-WYT-FEAR. The video advertises a phone service for white people to call when they can’t cope with black people living their lives near them. The hotline is up and running, so give it a ring and spread the word. (Seriously.)
The phenomenon of white people harassing African-Americans going about their day is nothing new, but with the ubiquity of smartphones and social media, everyone can now see how these injustices are played out and lead to anxiety for and material harm to people of color. And this problem is bigger than a few unreasonable white people. Racist stereotypes are baked into our society.
Has someone called the cops on you when you were doing nothing wrong?
Below is a list of 39 known instances just this year when someone called the police to complain about black people doing everyday activities:
North Charleston, S.C. When members of an anti-violence march stopped by a gas station to buy drinks. (The Charleston City Paper)
Ponte Vedra, Fla. When a father yelled at his son at a soccer game. (First Coast News)
Brooklyn After a boy’s book bag hit a woman’s backside at a store. (The New York Times) 
Marietta, Ga. When a man was babysitting two white children. (CBS46)
September 2018
Boston When a woman filed a complaint about damaged bags after a flight. (The Charlotte Observer)
Dane County, Wis. When a statehouse candidate was canvassing a neighborhood. (The New York Times)
Amherst, Mass. When a university employee looked upset while walking across campus. (Associated Press)
August 2018
Milwaukee When a man was trying to get change from his car. (WISN12)
Brooklyn When a woman tried to avoid the rain by standing on a stoop. (NBC4)
July 2018
Northampton, Mass. When a student was eating on campus. (The Boston Globe)
Mountain View, Calif. When a woman donated food to the homeless. (KPIX5)
Victoria Park, Fla. When a woman attempted to cash a check at a bank. (Miami New Times)
Buffalo When a woman attempted to use several coupons at a dollar store. (The Buffalo News)
San Francisco When a man was checking the alarm at his own store. (KCBS Radio)
Sterling, Va. When a player at a pickup game of basketball fouled too hard. (FOX5)
Chicago When a woman attempted to use a coupon at a pharmacy. (The New York Times)
Atlanta When a college student was canvassing for a congressional candidate. (CBS46)
Upper Arlington, Ohio When an 11-year-old was delivering newspapers. (Newsweek)
Winston-Salem, N.C. When a woman using her residential community’s pool refused to show her ID. (The Winston-Salem Journal)
Memphis When a man refused to remove his socks at a pool. (The New York Times)
Clackamas, Ore. When a state representative was out campaigning. (The Oregonian)
Wellington Manor, Ga. When a woman smoked a cigarette in a parking lot. (The Root)
Coweta County, Ga. When a family of seven was eating dinner at a Subway. (WSBTV)
June 2018
Cleveland When a 12-year-old was mowing the lawn. (News5)
Philadelphia When a family tried to leave a movie theater. (The Root)
San Francisco When an 8-year-old sold water outside her apartment building without a permit. (The New York Times)
Orange Village, Ohio When sorority sisters were paying their bill at a restaurant. (USA Today)
Oakland, Calif. When a uniformed firefighter was clearing flammable objects from brush. (The San Francisco Chronicle)
Collierville, Tenn. When a woman was browsing at a store. (WREG3)
May 2018
Birmingham, Ala. When a man attempted to make a return at a crafts store. (ABC News)
Memphis When a real estate investor was inspecting a property. (The Telegraph)
Brooklyn When a woman was shopping at a vintage store with her daughter. (ABC7)
Tacoma, Wash. When two women were shopping at a store. (The Root)
New Haven When a student was napping in a Yale common room. (Time)
Rialto, Calif. When three friends were checking out of an Airbnb. (CNN)
Brentwood, Mo. When three teenagers went shopping for prom. (KMOV4)
April 2018
New York When a former Obama aide was moving into his new apartment. (PIX11)
Oakland, Calif. When three men were barbecuing at a park. (KRON4)
York, Pa. When a group of women were playing golf. (The York Daily Record)
Philadelphia When two men attempted to use the restroom at a coffee shop. (NPR)

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13) “A Disgusting Display”
Police fire rubber bullets, stun grenades, and tear gas at demonstrators protesting killing of George Floyd
By Jake JohnsonCommon Dreams, May 27, 2020
https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/05/27/disgusting-display-police-fire-rubber-bullets-stun-grenades-and-tear-gas


Minneapolis police officers dressed in riot gear fired rubber bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades into crowds of protesters that gathered late Tuesday to demand justice for the killing of George Floyd after video footage showed a cop kneeling on the back of the man’s neck as he cried out, “I cannot breathe!”
Videos and photos posted to social media show people pouring milk into the eyes of demonstrators affected by tear gas as the chemical substance clouds the air, enveloping the thousands of protesters marching in the streets near the site of Floyd’s killing.
“This is a disgusting display,” said Jeremiah Ellison, a city council member representing Minneapolis Ward 5. “I’m here on the southside, helping people as I can with milk, water, and towels. So far, I have been unable to prevent the police from firing indiscriminately into the crowd. Moments ago, I held a towel to a teenage girl’s head as blood poured from it.”
Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) tweeted that “shooting rubber bullets and tear gas at unarmed protesters when there are children present should never be tolerated. Ever.”
“What is happening tonight in our city is shameful,” Omar added. “Police need to exercise restraint, and our community needs space to heal.”
The massive protests erupted in the wake of video footage showing a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck as he lay handcuffed and face-first on the asphalt.
Floyd and onlookers repeatedly pleaded with the officer to take his knee off Floyd’s neck, but he refused to do so until an ambulance arrived. By that point, Floyd had been unconscious for minutes. In a statement following the Monday night incident, the Minneapolis Police Department said they were responding to “a report of a forgery in progress” and claimed Floyd’s death was caused by an unspecified “medical incident.”
Shortly after video of the incident emerged and spread rapidly across social media, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey announced the firing of four officers who were on the scene.
“It is the right decision for our city, the right decision for our community. It is the right decision for the Minneapolis Police Department,” Frey said at a press conference Tuesday. “We’ve stated our values, and ultimately we need to live by them.”
In an appearance on CNN late Tuesday, Floyd’s family members said termination of the officers is not enough.
“Firing them is a good start, but we want to see justice for our family. We want to see them charged. We want to have them arrested,” said Tera Brown, Floyd’s cousin. “What they did was murder.”

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Posted by: Bonnie Weinstein <bonnieweinstein@yahoo.com>

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