Message from the National Boricua Human Rights Network 



Hi all:

We are asking all organizations, communities, unions, churches, activists, political parties- to CALL ON THEIR INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS to sign this petition and spread the word- this is a time-sensitive request!

We must try to achieve the signing of 100,000 signatures by December 11.

No matter how many petitions you have signed- SIGN THIS ONLINE PETITION and get everyone else to do the same. Do not let anyone tell you they have signed petitions or letters before- this is the one that will be highlighted.



Coordinating Committee

National Boricua Human Rights Network

2739 W. Division Street

Chicago IL 60622



International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity





Dump Trump and his Program!
Fight Back Against Racism, Sexism, and Bigotry! 

Saturday, November 19 at 12pm

UN Plaza, San Francisco

Civic Center BART

Donald Trump is the next President of the United States. His racist, sexist and bigoted program offers false solutions for a real crisis. He will continue the same policies of the establishment and elites that he claimed to be pushing back against.

The same Democratic Party elites that spent the majority of the campaign painting a Trump presidency as a catastrophic threat to the world are now demanding that we unite behind him. They aren't going to stand in the way of the racist, sexist, bigoted forces let loose by Trump's campaign. They aren't going to stand in the way of the plans of a Trump presidency. Only a people's movement can do that.

It is of the utmost urgency that all progressive people take to the streets in defense of immigrants, Muslims, women and all people of color. We take to the streets to advance an alternative vision. A vision of unity and solidarity in the struggle against the ravages of a system that has left half of the country in poverty and the 99% under the boot of an administration threatening to deny climate change, rights for immigrants, women and LGBTQ people, and all historically oppressed communities.

Join us in the streets to continue building a sustained mass movement fighting to take power to the people!

Initiated by the ANSWER Coalition

Trump y Sus Propuestas ¡Fuera!
¡Luchemos Contra el Racismo Sexismo y Intolerancia!

Sábado, 19 de noviembre a las 12pmPlaza de la ONU, San Francisco
BART de Centro Cívico 

Donald Trump es el siguiente Presidente de los Estados Unidos. Su propuestas racistas, sexistas y intolerantes ofrece soluciones falsas para una crisis verdadera. Él continuara las mismas políticas de los elites y apoderados que según él se enfrentará.

El mismo elite del Partido Demócrata que pasaron la mayoría de la campaña pintando la presidencia de Trump como una amenaza catastrófica en el mundo ahora demandan que nos unamos con él. Ellos no se enfrentaran a las fuerzas racistas, sexistas y intolerantes que fueron apoderados por la campaña de Trump. Ellos no resistirán los planes de una presidencia Trump. Solo un movimiento popular puede hacer esto.

Es urgente que toda la gente progresista tome las calles en defensa de los inmigrantes, musulmanes, mujeres y toda la gente de color. Tomaremos las calles para avanzar una visión alternativa. Una visión de unidad y solidaridad en la lucha contra la brutalidad del sistema que ha dejado a la mitad del país en pobreza y al 99% bajo la opresión de una administración amenazando a rechazar al cambio climático, derechos de inmigrantes, derechos de la mujeres y gente LGBT y todas la comunidades históricamente oprimidas.

¡Únase en las calles para continuar creando un movimiento sostenible luchando para dar el poder al pueblo!

Iniciado por la Coalición ANSWER







Please sign this petition urging prison administrations to lift the ban on the SF Bay View newspaper. Help us to expose the unjust censorship of prisoners speaking out against injustice.

Prison administrations in several states have banned prisoners from receiving the SF Bay View National Black Newspaper.The SF Bay View is a grassroots paper that has published articles by and about prisoners for decades, giving them the opportunity to discuss the many injustices they experience.

The bans began in July 2016 in an attempt to silence those preparing for the nationwide prison strike that began on September 9. On that day, thousands of prisoners stopped working in protest of a host of prison injustices, including toxic work conditions, overcrowdedness and extreme deadly heat, and to demand that the 13th Amendment to the Constitution be amended. The 13th Amendment, which purportedly abolished slavery, includes this escape-clause: "except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted."

Add your name.

Since the strike began, dozens of prisoners have reportedly been placed in solitary confinement and/or transferred to other distant facilities. At the Kinross Correctional Facility in Michigan, guards have forced prisoners to work by attacking them with weapons and tear gas. In Texas prisons, there has been a spate of suicides.

Articles sent from prisons to the SF Bay View reporting these conditions have been continuously intercepted.

Denying access to the SF Bay View violates prisoners' rights to information, education, and communication with their broader communities. It's a violation of freedom of speech and press.

Sign the petition by clicking here.

After signing the petition, please use the tools on the next webpage to share it with your friends.

This work is only possible with your financial support. Please chip in $3 now. 

-- The RootsAction.org Team

P.S. RootsAction is an independent online force endorsed by Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, Coleen Rowley, Frances Fox Piven, Lila Garrett, Phil Donahue, Sonali Kolhatkar, and many others.


Un-Ban the Bay View!

13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

Voice of Detroit: Prisoners Teargassed, Zip-Tied, Left Out in Rain







Black Children Punished for Anthem Protests

After young 11 and 12-year-boys of the Beaumont Bulls football knelt during the anthem to protest police violence against Black youth, their local executive board canceled their entire football season, suspended the coaching staff, and threatened to arrest their parents if they attended any future games, practices or events.

For these young Black kids, the plight of injustice in America is their own. Instead of supporting the boys and their protests, their executive board and league officials abandoned them. The board has decided to strip these kids of the team that they love to punish them for asking for basic rights and dignities. This is about the board reinforcing that police violence in our communities doesn't matter, that our issues aren't important and that speaking onthem makes you subject to punishment.

These kids are brave for refusing to give in to the executive board and for standing against injustice. We need to support the fight of these children and show them that their protest is heard.

To the Beaumont Bulls Executive Board,

Immediately reinstate the Beaumont Bulls coaching staff, apologize to the boys and their parents, and allow them to finish their season.


We need to support the fight of these children and show them that their protest is heard. 





Bay Area United Against War Newsletter

Table of Contents:










January 20, 2017, 7:00 A.M.

Freedom Plaza

1355 Pennsylvania Ave N.W.

(14th Street and Pennsylvania Ave.)

Washington, D.C.



Chelsea Manning Support Network

Support Chelsea's petition to reduce sentence to time served

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Support Chelsea's petition to Obama:
Reduce sentence to time served

"New York Times, November 14, 2016 -- Chelsea Manning, who confessed to disclosing archives of secret diplomatic and military documents to WikiLeaks in 2010 and has been incarcerated longer than any other convicted leaker in American history, has formally petitioned President Obama to reduce the remainder of her 35-year sentence to the more than six years she has already served."

Sign the whitehouse.gov petition in
support of Chelsea's request today!

White House petition

Official clemency application from Chelsea Manning.

November 10, 2016

Also coverage by the Guardian and the New York Times. November 14, 2016

Washington DC action this Saturday!The White House Committee to Pardon Chelsea Manning invites you to join them this Saturday, November 19th from noon to 2pm in front of the White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC. They are calling on President Obama to pardon Chelsea Manning. Facebook page for more info.

Fort Leavenworth vigil this Sunday! The Kansas City Peace and Social Justice group is organizing a vigil for Chelsea this Sunday, November 20th at 2pm at the public right-of-way near the long driveway into Ft. Leavenworth, near Metropolitan & North 10th Street.

Chelsea tried committing suicide
a second time in October

Chelsea_Manning-Feb2015_2Chelsea has been informed that the Army will hold another disciplinary hearing on the second attempted suicide, which was prompted by the punishment given by the first disciplinary hearing following her initial suicide attempt.

New York Times

November 4, 2016

Chelsea Manning tried to commit suicide last month as she was starting a week of solitary confinement at the prison barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., her punishment for a previous attempt to end her life in July.

Ms. Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst who is serving a 35-year sentence for leaking archives of secret documents to WikiLeaks, disclosed the attempted suicide, which took place Oct. 4, in a statement she dictated over the phone to a member of her volunteer support network. She asked that it be sent this week to The New York Times, according to members of the network who want to keep their identities private.

Chase Strangio, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer representing Ms. Manning, formerly known as Bradley Manning, confirmed the attempt, which raised new questions about the military's handling of the troubled soldier, dating to when she was permitted to deploy to Iraq and kept at her post in a secure facility despite signs of erratic behavior.

Read the full NYT article here

Sign the whitehouse.gov petition in
support of Chelsea's request today!



Letter from a prisoner involved in the current prison strike:

Texas Prison Officials retaliate against me

for protesting prison slavery

By Keith "Malik" Washington

        On October 5, 2016, I was transferred to the Telford Unit from the Coffield Unit. At Coffield, I had become the target of a coordinated effort by the State of Texas to retaliate against me for organizing a campaign that seeks to end prison slavery.
        There are elements and individuals within the Texas Criminal Justice System that don't want to acknowledge the humanity of prisoners. The Slave Plantation mentality is deeply embedded in the hearts and minds of the oppressor and the oppressed.
        Telford, where I am now housed, is the home of a horrible Solitary Confinement control unit. I was sent to this control unit in order to be neutralized.
        Prison officials are also using their new Social Media Ban to punish me when my friends or supporters post any kind of information about me. It is crucially important that you continue to share with the world what is happening to me and to so many other imprisoned Freedom Fighters who are trapped inside Amerikan prisons. This attempt to silence prisoner voices and the voices of our free-world supporters is a gross violation of the U.S. Constitution.
        Journalist Raven Rakia, who resides in New York City, actually traveled to Texas to interview me for an upcoming exposé she is working on. Texas prison officials denied her access to me!! I just cannot describe to you how dangerous this situation is becoming.
        I attempted to place Raven Rakia and other media correspondents and friends on my visiting list. Prison officials denied receiving any updated visitation forms from me!
        Sisters and brothers, I cannot fight these people without your help. I am asking you to call the Telford Unit in New Boston, Texas -- 903-628-3171 -- and demand that I be granted visits from media correspondents, friends, and lawyers. I am requesting that media correspondents and lawyers attempt to visit me and make contact with me so that I can relay to the public how Texas has framed me and isolated me.
        Our struggle begins with amending the 13th amendment: we must abolish Prison Slavery in Amerika!
        Furthermore, we must confront and question law enforcement agencies who attempt to demonize and criminalize #Black Lives Matter! The murdering of Black people by the police must be addressed.
        Prisoner Rights activist Laura Whitehorn said, "Rather than slaughtering black people outright, the prison system carries out genocide through political repression."
        Sisters and brothers, I am taking a risk by communicating these words to you. I am asking you to do something to help me shed light on the nature of the Texas Criminal Justice System.
        Dare to struggle, dare to win! All power to the people!

Keith H. Washington #1487958
Telford Unit
3899 State Hwy 98
New Boston, TX 75570-5669









Defying the Tomb: Selected Prison Writings and Art of Kevin "Rashid" Johnson featuring exchanges with an Outlaw Kindle Edition

by Kevin Rashid Johnson (Author), Tom Big Warrior (Introduction), Russell Maroon Shoatz(Introduction)




Join the Fight to Free Rev. Pinkney!

Click HERE to view in browser



Today is the 406th day that Rev. Edward Pinkney of Benton Harbor, Michigan

languishes in prison doing felony time for a misdemeanor crime he did not

commit. Today is also the day that Robert McKay, a spokesperson for the

Free Rev. Pinkney campaign, gave testimony before United Nations

representatives about the plight of Rev. Pinkney at a hearing held in

Chicago. The hearing was called in order to shed light upon the

mistreatment of African-Americans in the United States and put it on an

international stage. And yet as the UN representatives and audience heard

of the injustices in the Pinkney case many gasped in disbelief and asked

with frowns on their faces, "how is this possible?" But disbelief quickly

disappeared when everyone realized these were the same feelings they had

when they first heard of Flint and we all know what happened in Flint. FREE


Please send letters to:

Marquette Branch Prison

Rev. Edward Pinkney N-E-93 #294671

1960 US Hwy 41 South

Marquette, MI 49855

Please donate at http://bhbanco.org (Donate button) or send checks to BANCO:

c/o Dorothy Pinkney

1940 Union St.

Benton Harbor, MI 49022


On December 15, 2014 the Rev. Edward Pinkney of Benton Harbor, Michigan was thrown into prison for 2.5 to 10 years. This 66-year-old leading African American activist was tried and convicted in front of an all-white jury and racist white judge and prosecutor for supposedly altering 5 dates on a recall petition against the mayor of Benton Harbor.

The prosecutor, with the judge's approval, repeatedly told the jury "you don't need evidence to convict Mr. Pinkney." And ABSOLUTELY NO EVIDENCE WAS EVER PRESENTED THAT TIED REV. PINKNEY TO THE 'ALTERED' PETITIONS. Rev. Pinkney was immediately led away in handcuffs and thrown into Jackson Prison.

This is an outrageous charge. It is an outrageous conviction. It is an even more outrageous sentence! It must be appealed.

With your help supporters need to raise $20,000 for Rev. Pinkney's appeal.

Checks can be made out to BANCO (Black Autonomy Network Community Organization). This is the organization founded by Rev. Pinkney.  Mail them to: Mrs. Dorothy Pinkney, 1940 Union Street, Benton Harbor, MI 49022.

Donations can be accepted on-line at bhbanco.org – press the donate button.

For information on the decade long campaign to destroy Rev. Pinkney go to bhbanco.org and workers.org(search "Pinkney").

We urge your support to the efforts to Free Rev. Pinkney!Ramsey Clark – Former U.S. attorney general,

Cynthia McKinney – Former member of U.S. Congress,

Lynne Stewart – Former political prisoner and human rights attorney

Ralph Poynter – New Abolitionist Movement,

Abayomi Azikiwe – Editor, Pan-African News Wire<

Larry Holmes – Peoples Power Assembly,

David Sole – Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice

Sara Flounders – International Action Center


I am now in Marquette prison over 15 hours from wife and family, sitting in prison for a crime that was never committed. Judge Schrock and Mike Sepic both admitted there was no evidence against me but now I sit in prison facing 30 months. Schrock actually stated that he wanted to make an example out of me. (to scare Benton Harbor residents even more...) ONLY IN AMERICA. I now have an army to help fight Berrien County. When I arrived at Jackson state prison on Dec. 15, I met several hundred people from Detroit, Flint, Kalamazoo, and Grand Rapids. Some people recognized me. There was an outstanding amount of support given by the prison inmates. When I was transported to Marquette Prison it took 2 days. The prisoners knew who I was. One of the guards looked me up on the internet and said, "who would believe Berrien County is this racist."

Background to Campaign to free Rev. Pinkney

Michigan political prisoner the Rev. Edward Pinkney is a victim of racist injustice. He was sentenced to 30 months to 10 years for supposedly changing the dates on 5 signatures on a petition to recall Benton Harbor Mayor James Hightower.

No material or circumstantial evidence was presented at the trial that would implicate Pinkney in the purported5 felonies. Many believe that Pinkney, a Berrien County activist and leader of the Black Autonomy Network Community Organization (BANCO), is being punished by local authorities for opposing the corporate plans of Whirlpool Corp, headquartered in Benton Harbor, Michigan.

In 2012, Pinkney and BANCO led an "Occupy the PGA [Professional Golfers' Association of America]" demonstration against a world-renowned golf tournament held at the newly created Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course on the shoreline of Lake Michigan. The course was carved out of Jean Klock Park, which had been donated to the city of Benton Harbor decades ago.

Berrien County officials were determined to defeat the recall campaign against Mayor Hightower, who opposed a program that would have taxed local corporations in order to create jobs and improve conditions in Benton Harbor, a majority African-American municipality. Like other Michigan cities, it has been devastated by widespread poverty and unemployment.

The Benton Harbor corporate power structure has used similar fraudulent charges to stop past efforts to recall or vote out of office the racist white officials, from mayor, judges, prosecutors in a majority Black city. Rev Pinkney who always quotes scripture, as many Christian ministers do, was even convicted for quoting scripture in a newspaper column. This outrageous conviction was overturned on appeal. We must do this again!

To sign the petition in support of the Rev. Edward Pinkney, log on to: tinyurl.com/ps4lwyn.

Contributions for Rev. Pinkney's defense can be sent to BANCO at Mrs Dorothy Pinkney, 1940 Union St., Benton Harbor, MI 49022

Or you can donate on-line at bhbanco.org.



State Seeks to Remove Innocent PA Lifer's Attorney! Free Corey Walker!

The PA Office of the Attorney General (OAG) filed legal action to remove Corey Walker's attorney, Rachel Wolkenstein, in November 2014. On Tuesday, February 9, 2016 the evidentiary hearing to terminate Wolkenstein as Corey Walker's pro hac vice lawyer continues before Judge Lawrence Clark of the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas in Harrisburg, PA.

Walker, assisted by Wolkenstein, filed three sets of legal papers over five months in 2014 with new evidence of Walker's innocence and that the prosecution and police deliberately used false evidence to convict him of murder. Two weeks after Wolkenstein was granted pro hac vice status, the OAG moved against her and Walker.

The OAG claims that Wolkenstein's political views and prior legal representation of Mumia Abu-Jamal and courtroom arrest by the notorious Judge Albert Sabo makes it "intolerable" for her to represent Corey Walker in the courts of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Over the past fifteen months the OAG has effectively stopped any judicial action on the legal challenges of Corey Walker and his former co-defendant, Lorenzo Johnson against their convictions and sentences to life imprisonment without parole while it proceeds in its attempts to remove Wolkenstein.

This is retaliation against Corey Walker who is innocent and framed. Walker and his attorney won't stop until they thoroughly expose the police corruption and deliberate presentation of false evidence to convict Corey Walker and win his freedom.

This outrageous attack on Corey Walker's fundamental right to his lawyer of choice and challenge his conviction must cease. The evidence of his innocence and deliberate prosecutorial frame up was suppressed for almost twenty years. Corey Walker must be freed!

Read: Jim Crow Justice – The Frame-up Of Corey Walker by Charles Brover

Go to FreeCoreyWalker.org to provide help and get more information.



TAKE ACTION: Mumia is sick

Judge Robert Mariani of the U.S. District Court has issued an order in Mumia's case, granting Mumia's lawyers Bret Grote and Robert Boyle's motion to supplement the record. 

New medical records documenting Mumia's deteriorated condition from February and March, will be presented June 6th. Judge Mariani has also instructed the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections to provide any updates and changes in DOC hep C treatment and policies which affect the plaintiff's treatment.

Calling into Prison Radio, Mumia noted: 

"My friends, my brothers, it ain't over 'til it's over, but there is some motion. It means that we're moving closer to hopefully some real treatment not of my symptoms, but of my disease. I thank you all for being there. And freedom is a constant struggle. I love you all. From what used to be death row, this is Mumia, your brother."

Mumia remains quite ill. While stable, his curable hepatitis C is still active and progressive. The only treatment Mumia has received over the last 14 months to this day is skin ointment and photo therapy. He has not received the medically indicated treatment for hep C, the very condition that put him in the Intensive Care Unit in March 2015. 

Hepatitis C is a progressive disease that attacks Mumia's organs, skin and liver. Unless the court orders the new hepatitis C treatment - one pill a day for 12 weeks, with a 95% cure rate - Mumia's health will remain at serious risk.

Before the court is the preliminary injunction motion, which demands immediate medical care.

The exhaustion of administrative remedy and the procedural hurdles make it extremely difficult for people in prison to actually get their grievances heard through the review process. The Prison Litigation Reform Act was passed specifically to create these very almost insurmountable barriers to access to the courts.

Please read the New Yorker article, Why it is Nearly Impossible for Prisoners to Sue Prisons.

In Abu-Jamal vs. Kerestes, one very telling point was when the DOC's Director of Medical Care, Dr. Paul Noel, took the stand. He said that he had never testified before in court! He has worked for the DOC for over a decade.   

That meant that no prisoner had access to adversarial cross examination. Before Mumia's day in court in late December 2015, no prisoner ever had the opportunity to expose the PA DOC's blatant lies. Lies so bold that Dr. Noel disavowed his own signed affidavit, and in court he stated that he "did not sign it and it was false and misleading". The knowingly false and fabricated document was put in the record by Laura Neal, Senior DOC attorney.

Take Action for Mumia

Call prison officials to demand immediate treatment!

Dr. Paul Noel-Director of Medical Care, DOC
717-728-5309 x 5312

John Wetzel- Secretary of DOC
717+728-2573 x 4109

Dr. Carl Keldie-Chief Medical Officer, Correct Care Solutions
800-592-2974 x 5783

Theresa DelBalso-Superintendent, SCI Mahanoy
570-773-2158 x 8101

    Tom Wolf, PA Governor 

    Phone  717-787-2500

    Fax 717-772-8284               

    Email governor@pa.gov

    Sign the Petition now to demand Mumia's right to life-saving hepatitis C care.

    Help Mumia's lawyers prepare to demand access to Mumia's medical records from court!

    Thank you for keeping Mumia in your heart and mind,

    Noelle Hanrahan

    Director, Prison Radio


    The Oasis Clinic in Oakland, CA, which treats patients with Hepatitis-C (HCV), demands an end to the outrageous price-gouging of Big Pharma corporations, like Gilead Sciences, which hike-up the cost for essential, life-saving medications such as the cure for the deadly Hepatitis-C virus, in order to reap huge profits. The Oasis Clinic's demand is:







    This message from:

    Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal

    PO Box 16222 • Oakland CA 94610 • www.laboractionmumia.org

    06 January 2016

    Mumia Is Innocent!  Free Mumia!




    Imam Jamil (H.Rap Brown) moved

    Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown) was moved by bus from USP Canaan in Waymart, PA. to USP Tucson, Arizona.  His mailing address is:  USP Tucson United States Penitentiary P.O. Box Tucson, AZ. 85734  (BOP number 99974555)

    Sign the Petition:

    DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, THE Bureau of Prisons, The Governor of Georgia

    We are aware of a review being launched of criminal cases to determine whether any defendants were wrongly convicted and or deserve a new trail because of flawed forensic evidence and or wrongly reported evidence. It was stated in the Washington Post in April of 2012 that Justice Department Officials had known for years that flawed forensic work led to convictions of innocent people. We seek to have included in the review of such cases that of Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin. We understand that all cases reviewed will include the Innocence Project. We look forward to your immediate attention to these overdue wrongs.

    ASAP: The Forgotten Imam Project

    P.O. Box 373

    Four Oaks, NC 27524


    Luqman Abdullah-ibn Al-Sidiq




    Major Battles On

    For over 31 years, Major Tillery has been a prisoner of the State.

    Despite that extraordinary fact, he continues his battles, both in the prison for his health, and in the courts for his freedom.

    Several weeks ago, Tillery filed a direct challenge to his criminal conviction, by arguing that a so-called "secret witness" was, in fact, a paid police informant who was given a get-out-of-jail-free card if he testified against Tillery.

    Remember I mentioned, "paid?"

    Well, yes--the witness was 'paid'--but not in dollars. He was paid in sex!

    In the spring of 1984, Robert Mickens was facing decades in prison on rape and robbery charges. After he testified against Tillery, however, his 25-year sentence became 5 years: probation!

    And before he testified he was given an hour and a ½ private visit with his girlfriend--at the Homicide Squad room at the Police Roundhouse. (Another such witness was given another sweetheart deal--lie on Major, and get off!)

    To a prisoner, some things are more important than money. Like sex!

    In a verified document written in April, 2016, Mickens declares that he lied at trial, after being coached by the DAs and detectives on the case.

    He lied to get out of jail--and because he could get with his girl.

    Other men have done more for less.

    Major's 58-page Petition is a time machine back into a practice that was once common in Philadelphia.

    In the 1980s and '90s, the Police Roundhouse had become a whorehouse.

    Major, now facing serious health challenges from his hepatitis C infection, stubborn skin rashes, and dangerous intestinal disorders, is still battling.

    And the fight ain't over.

    [©'16 MAJ  6/29/16]

    Major Tillery Needs Your Help and Support

    Major Tillery is an innocent man. There was no evidence against Major Tillery for the 1976 poolroom shootings that left one man dead and another wounded. The surviving victim gave a statement to homicide detectives naming others—not Tillery or his co-defendant—as the shooters. Major wasn't charged until 1980, he was tried in 1985.

    The only evidence at trial came from these jailhouse informants who were given sexual favors and plea deals for dozens of pending felonies for lying against Major Tillery. Both witnesses now declare their testimony was manufactured by the police and prosecution. Neither witness had personal knowledge of the shooting.

    This is a case of prosecutorial misconduct and police corruption that goes to the deepest levels of rot in the Philadelphia criminal injustice system. Major Tillery deserves not just a new trial, but dismissal of the charges against him and his freedom from prison.

    It cost a lot of money for Major Tillery to be able to file his new pro se PCRA petition and continue investigation to get more evidence of the state misconduct. He needs help to get lawyers to make sure this case is not ignored. Please contribute, now.


      Financial Support: Tillery's investigation is ongoing, to get this case filed has been costly and he needs funds for a legal team to fight this to his freedom!

      Go to JPay.com;

      code: Major Tillery AM9786 PADOC

      Tell Philadelphia District Attorney

      Seth Williams:

      Free Major Tillery! He is an innocent man, framed by police and and prosecution.

      Call: 215-686-8711 or

      Write to:

      Major Tillery AM9786

      SCI Frackville

      1111 Altamont Blvd.

      Frackville, PA 17931

        For More Information, Go To: Justice4MajorTillery/blogspot


        Rachel Wolkenstein, Esq. (917) 689-4009RachelWolkenstein@gmail.com



        Commute Kevin Cooper's Death Sentence

        Sign the Petition:


        Urge Gov. Jerry Brown to commute Kevin Cooper's death sentence. Cooper has always maintained his innocence of the 1983 quadruple murder of which he was convicted. In 2009, five federal judges signed a dissenting opinion warning that the State of California "may be about to execute an innocent man." Having exhausted his appeals in the US courts, Kevin Cooper's lawyers have turned to the Inter American Commission on Human Rights to seek remedy for what they maintain is his wrongful conviction, and the inadequate trial representation, prosecutorial misconduct and racial discrimination which have marked the case. Amnesty International opposes all executions, unconditionally.

        "The State of California may be about to execute an innocent man." - Judge William A. Fletcher, 2009 dissenting opinion on Kevin Cooper's case

        Kevin Cooper has been on death row in California for more than thirty years.

        In 1985, Cooper was convicted of the murder of a family and their house guest in Chino Hills. Sentenced to death, Cooper's trial took place in an atmosphere of racial hatred — for example, an effigy of a monkey in a noose with a sign reading "Hang the N*****!" was hung outside the venue of his preliminary hearing.

        Take action to see that Kevin Cooper's death sentence is commuted immediately.

        Cooper has consistently maintained his innocence.

        Following his trial, five federal judges said: "There is no way to say this politely. The district court failed to provide Cooper a fair hearing."

        Since 2004, a dozen federal appellate judges have indicated their doubts about his guilt.

        Tell California authorities: The death penalty carries the risk of irrevocable error. Kevin Cooper's sentence must be commuted.

        In 2009, Cooper came just eight hours shy of being executed for a crime that he may not have committed. Stand with me today in reminding the state of California that the death penalty is irreversible — Kevin Cooper's sentence must be commuted immediately.

        In solidarity,

        James Clark
        Senior Death Penalty Campaigner
        Amnesty International USA

          Kevin Cooper: An Innocent Victim of Racist Frame-Up - from the Fact Sheet at: www.freekevincooper.org

          Kevin Cooper is an African-American man who was wrongly convicted and sentenced to death in 1985 for the gruesome murders of a white family in Chino Hills, California: Doug and Peggy Ryen and their daughter Jessica and their house- guest Christopher Hughes. The Ryens' 8 year old son Josh, also attacked, was left for dead but survived.

          Convicted in an atmosphere of racial hatred in San Bernardino County CA, Kevin Cooper remains under a threat of imminent execution in San Quentin.  He has never received a fair hearing on his claim of innocence.  In a dissenting opinion in 2009, five federal judges of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals signed a 82 page dissenting opinion that begins: "The State of California may be about to execute an innocent man." 565 F.3d 581.

          There is significant evidence that exonerates Mr. Cooper and points toward other suspects:

            The coroner who investigated the Ryen murders concluded that the murders took four minutes at most and that the murder weapons were a hatchet, a long knife, an ice pick and perhaps a second knife. How could a single person, in four or fewer minutes, wield three or four weapons, and inflict over 140 wounds on five people, two of whom were adults (including a 200 pound ex-marine) who had loaded weapons near their bedsides?

            The sole surviving victim of the murders, Josh Ryen, told police and hospital staff within hours of the murders that the culprits were "three white men." Josh Ryen repeated this statement in the days following the crimes. When he twice saw Mr. Cooper's picture on TV as the suspected attacker, Josh Ryen said "that's not the man who did it."

            Josh Ryen's description of the killers was corroborated by two witnesses who were driving near the Ryens' home the night of the murders. They reported seeing three white men in a station wagon matching the description of the Ryens' car speeding away from the direction of the Ryens' home.

            These descriptions were corroborated by testimony of several employees and patrons of a bar close to the Ryens' home, who saw three white men enter the bar around midnight the night of the murders, two of whom were covered in blood, and one of whom was wearing coveralls.

            The identity of the real killers was further corroborated by a woman who, shortly after the murders were discovered, alerted the sheriff's department that her boyfriend, a convicted murderer, left blood-spattered coveralls at her home the night of the murders. She also reported that her boyfriend had been wearing a tan t-shirt matching a tan t-shirt with Doug Ryen's blood on it recovered near the bar. She also reported that her boyfriend owned a hatchet matching the one recovered near the scene of the crime, which she noted was missing in the days following the murders; it never reappeared; further, her sister saw that boyfriend and two other white men in a vehicle that could have been the Ryens' car on the night of the murders.

          Lacking a motive to ascribe to Mr. Cooper for the crimes, the prosecution claimed that Mr. Cooper, who had earlier walked away from custody at a minimum security prison, stole the Ryens' car to escape to Mexico. But the Ryens had left the keys in both their cars (which were parked in the driveway), so there was no need to kill them to steal their car. The prosecution also claimed that Mr. Cooper needed money, but money and credit cards were found untouched and in plain sight at the murder scene.

          The jury in 1985 deliberated for seven days before finding Mr. Cooper guilty. One juror later said that if there had been one less piece of evidence, the jury would not have voted to convict.

          The evidence the prosecution presented at trial tying Mr. Cooper to the crime scene has all been discredited…         (Continue reading this document at: http://www.savekevincooper.org/_new_freekevincooperdotorg/TEST/Scripts/DataLibraries/upload/KC_FactSheet_2014.pdf)

               This message from the Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal. July 2015




          Sign the Petition:


          Dear President Obama, Senators, and Members of Congress:

          Americans now owe $1.3 trillion in student debt. Eighty-six percent of that money is owed to the United States government. This is a crushing burden for more than 40 million Americans and their families.

          I urge you to take immediate action to forgive all student debt, public and private.

          American Federation of Teachers

          Campaign for America's Future

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          Daily Kos

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          Project Springboard

          RH Reality Check


          Student Debt Crisis

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          Campaign to Free Lorenzo Johnson

          Updates from Team Lorenzo Johnson

          Dear Supporters and Friends,

          Show your support for Lorenzo by wearing one of our beautiful new campaign t-shirts! If you donate $20 (or more!) to the Campaign to Free Lorenzo Johnson, we will send you a t-shirt, while supplies last. Make sure to note your size and shipping address in the comment section on PayPal, or to include this information with a check.

          Here is a message from Lorenzo's wife, Tazza Salvatto:

          My husband is innocent, FREE HIM NOW!

          Lorenzo Johnson is a son, husband, father and brother. His injustice has been a continued nightmare for our family. Words cant explain our constant pain, I wish it on no one. Not even the people responsible for his injustice. 

          This is about an innocent man who has spent 20 years and counting in prison. The sad thing is Lorenzo's prosecution knew he was innocent from day one. These are the same people society relies on to protect us.

          Not only have these prosecutors withheld evidence of my husbands innocence by NEVER turning over crucial evidence to his defense prior to trial. Now that Lorenzo's innocence has been revealed, the prosecution refuses to do the right thing. Instead they are "slow walking" his appeal and continuing their malicious prosecution.

          When my husband or our family speak out about his injustice, he's labeled by his prosecutor as defaming a career cop and prosecutor. If they are responsible for Lorenzo's wrongful conviction, why keep it a secret??? This type of corruption and bullying of families of innocent prisoners to remain silent will not be tolerated.

          Our family is not looking for any form of leniency. Lorenzo is innocent, we want what is owed to him. JUSTICE AND HIS IMMEDIATE FREEDOM!!! 

                                    Lorenzo's wife,

                                     Tazza Salvatto

          Lorenzo is continuing to fight for his freedom with the support of his lead counsel, Michael Wiseman, The Pennsylvania Innocence Project, the Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for Justice, and the Campaign to Free Lorenzo Johnson.

          Thank you all for reading this message and please take the time to visit our website and contribute to Lorenzo's campaign for freedom!

          Write: Lorenzo Johnson

                      DF 1036

                      SCI Mahanoy

                      301 Morea Rd.

                      Frackville, PA 17932

           Email: Through JPay using the code:

                        Lorenzo Johnson DF 1036 PA DOC


                        Directly at LorenzoJohnson17932@gmail.com


                        Directly on ConnectNetwork -- instructions here

          Have a wonderful day!

          - The Team to Free Lorenzo Johnson

          Write: Lorenzo Johnson

                      DF 1036

                      SCI Mahanoy

                      301 Morea Rd.

                      Frackville, PA 17932

           Email: Through JPay using the code:

                        Lorenzo Johnson DF 1036 PA DOC


                        Directly at LorenzoJohnson17932@gmail.com











          1)  Safety Pins Show Support for the Vulnerable

          NOV. 14, 2016





          2)  UPS Air Maintenance Workers Vote 98 Percent to Authorize Strike

          NOV. 14, 2016, 9:57 A.M. E.S.T


          3)  Squash, Rice and Roadkill: Feeding the Fighters of Standing Rock

          NOV. 16, 2016




          4)  Old Treaties and New Alliances Empower Native Americans

          I heard my grandfather say, 'If the world ever ends, it's going to be us killing ourselves,' Mr. Housty said as he leaned against a fish-cleaning station at a tribal salmon hatchery. 'And that's all it is,' he said, gesturing to the world around where he stood. 'At the end of the day, we need to manage ourselves.'"

          NOV. 15, 2016





          5)  M.T.A. Proposals Could Raise Subway Fare to $3

          NOV. 16, 2016





          6)  New York City Helps to Keep Police Records Secret

          NOV. 15, 2016






          7) Can Trump Save Their Jobs? They're Counting on It

          NOV. 12, 2016


          8)  A Mother Tried to Escape Gangs. Bullets Found Her Daughter

          NOV. 17, 2016




          9) Single Payer Medicare For All

          By Bruce A. Dixon

          Black Agenda Report, November 15, 2016




          1)  Safety Pins Show Support for the Vulnerable

          NOV. 14, 2016





          The recent presidential election inspired a notable amount of accessorizing, with hats and T-shirts, as impassioned voters wore their positions on their sleeves (or head or chest). The postelection atmosphere suggests this trend is not slowing down any time soon.

          The latest political fashion statement? The safety pin.

          After the election of Donald J. Trump, fears are growing that segments of his base may physically or emotionally abuse minorities, immigrants, women and members of the L.G.B.T. community. As a show of support, groups of people across America are attaching safety pins to their lapels, shirts and dresses to signify that they are linked, willing to stand up for the vulnerable.

          "It's a matter of showing people who get it that I will always be a resource and an ally to anyone and everyone who wants to reach out," said Kaye Kagaoan, 24, a graphic designer from the Philippines who lives in Brooklyn. "When I saw it on Facebook, it was so simple. It resonated with me."

          On Friday, the actor Patrick Stewart posted a photo of himself to Twitter wearing a pin on his jacket, and the photographer Cass Bird shared an Instagram post about why she's wearing one that started with "If you wear a hijab, I'll sit with you on the train" and ended with: "If you need me, I'll be with you. All I ask is that you be with me, too." Between the two statements, sentences began with "If you're a person of color … " and "If you're a refugee … " and offered various forms of support. The actress Jaime King posted the same words to her Instagram account.

          In wearing the safety pin, participants are taking a page from protesters of the Brexit referendum results. After British citizens voted to leave the European Union in June, the nation experienced a 57 percent rise in reported xenophobic incidents. An American woman living in Britain tweeted a suggestion that people wear safety pins to show support to those experiencing abuse. Two days later, #safetypin was trending on Twitter.

          The woman, who used a Twitter account, @cheeahs, that has been deleted, had been inspired by the #illridewithyou movement in Australia, in which people offered to take public transportation with Muslims fearing a backlash after a Muslim gunman held people hostage in a cafe in 2014.

          Those who've donned the pin over the last week are quick to point out that their message isn't necessarily in opposition to the president-elect. "More than anything, it's pro-kindness," said Sabrina Krebs, 22, a Barnard student from Guatemala City. "I wouldn't say it's resistance towards Trump. It's a form of resistance to hate and to negativity."

          It is also, Ms. Krebs noted, a readily accessible item. "Everyone has safety pins in their house," she said. "It's something everyone can join." (But in case someone wants a more haute kind of protest, fashion has already jumped on the movement, with Fashionista suggesting "13 Safety Pin Brooches to Wear Now and for the Next Four Years," with items ranging from a rhinestone-covered pin to one with crystal embellishments.)

          And it's easy to put on. "It doesn't take much to wear a safety pin," said Robert Clarke, 52, a truck driver from Harrington Park, N.J. "I have them on several jackets, so I don't have to think about it."

          Some Twitter users voiced criticisms of the safety-pin trend, calling it "slacktivism," a word that blends "slacker" and "activism." They expressed concern that wearing something doesn't equate to action. Wearers responded by acknowledging the critique. "I recognize that wearing a #safetypin is not sufficient action and does not supplement provide active, constructive work," @OliviaHungers wrote. "Donate time. Donate money. Support people in your community with action. If you still wear the pin be sure to be ready to back it up."

          For his part, Mr. Clarke said that the pin isn't just a signal of allegiance to those he encounters, but a constant reminder to himself. "A big part of wearing it is the mental preparation on my part," he said. "If I do see something, I've thought it through, and I'll stand up and say something and not be a silent witness."



          2)  UPS Air Maintenance Workers Vote 98 Percent to Authorize Strike

          NOV. 14, 2016, 9:57 A.M. E.S.T


          CHICAGO — Air maintenance workers at United Parcel Service Inc have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike against the world's largest package delivery company as contract talks remained deadlocked over health-care benefits, the workers' union said on Monday.

          Teamsters Local 2727 said 98 percent of those who took part in a mail-in ballot voted to authorize strike action. Eighty percent of the local's 1,200 members participated in the ballot.

          Contract talks have been ongoing for three years. If they remain deadlocked Monday, union representatives say they will begin the process that could lead to a strike within 60 days.

          The main sticking point has been healthcare benefits. The Teamsters say UPS is demanding major concessions, including a massive spike in retiree contributions for health-care costs.

          "UPS wants huge concessions and our members are not willing to take them," Local 2727 President Tim Boyle said. "We're not asking for anything we don't already have and this demonstrates our members are willing to strike."The air maintenance staff work at hubs around the United States, with more than one-third in Louisville, Kentucky, which is UPS' main hub.

          "UPS continues to negotiate in good faith for a contract that is good for our employees, our customers and our company," a UPS spokesman said. "We are confident talks will be completed successfully."

          The company said it was also hopeful that contract talks can be concluded "without any disruption" to customers.

          A strike could ground UPS' airplanes, affecting packages shipped by air. While it would not halt all deliveries, it would be a major disruption.

          The air maintenance workers are governed by the U.S. Railway Labor Act, which only permits strikes after negotiations and mediation have failed.

          If talks remain deadlocked Monday, the Teamsters say they will ask the federal mediator overseeing negotiations to release the union from the bargaining table. If there is no resolution after a 30-day cooling-off period, a board appointed by the president would have to rule on a strike, which would take up to 30 days.

          A strike would be highly unlikely during UPS' crucial holiday peak season this year. But it could go before the presidential board before President Barack Obama leaves office in January.

          Kevin Gawlik, an air mechanic for 20 years who works at a UPS air hub in Rockford, Illinois, voted to strike. He said the work is tough and can result in health problems, including hearing loss from working around jet engines.

          "That's why I'm willing to walk out and strike to keep my benefits," Gawlik, 49, said.

          In trading on the New York Stock Exchange, UPS shares were down 0.3 percent at $113.94.

          (Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)



          3)  Squash, Rice and Roadkill: Feeding the Fighters of Standing Rock

          NOV. 16, 2016




          CANNON BALL, N.D. — On any given night, supper lines here at the dusty prairie camps near the Missouri River where the last piece of a 1,170-mile pipeline is set to be placed might include young Navajo women from Arizona who have never camped in the cold, and older white women for whom chaining themselves to a fence for a cause is nothing new.

          There are protest tourists in new boots, Lakota elders who spend hours in prayer, parents from the suburbs who have dragged the children away from their video games.

          They have all driven for hours — sometimes days — to join hundreds of protesters at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. And they all need to eat.

          The camps grew fast over the summer, sometimes swelling on the weekends to what both organizers and the North Dakota state patrol said was well over 3,000 people. The original intent was to stop or at least change the route of the Dakota Access pipeline, a $3.7 billion project that will stretch across four states.

          The camps have since broadened into a gathering of people focused on bringing attention to environmental issues and the rights of indigenous people. As the number of teepees and yurts built to withstand the brutal North Dakota winter has grown, so, too, have the camp kitchens.

          No one is directly in charge of the chaotic but robust network of what amounts to several free restaurants, which reflect both the broad spectrum of the nation's diet and its battles over food politics.

          "There is no rhyme or reason, but everyone gets fed," Rosetta Buan, 40, a cook from Asheville, N.C., who is on her third trip here, said Sunday. "There are little miracles every day. Dishes get washed. Bellies get filled."

          The roster of cooks can change daily, bringing the kind of cutthroat power plays any chef will tell you is inherent in many professional kitchens. Writing a daily menu is a challenge. The voluminous stream of food donations might produce 50-pound bags of rice, cases of Funyuns, butternut squash from an urban farm in Detroit and roadkill deer. Supplies, supplemented by runs to Bismarck, about an hour's drive away, are spread among pop-up and permanent tents, refrigerated trucks and wooden palettes on the ground.

          Anyone who is hungry heads to the dining tent, grabs a plastic plate from a mismatched pile and lines up under a sign that reads, "Lakota Rules: Women and children first." All that is asked is that you take a minute to wash dishes, sort food or find some other way to pay for your meal with labor.

          Ms. Buan, who owns the vegetarian restaurant Rosetta's Kitchen in Asheville, was called upon during one trip to help figure out what to do with a donated buffalo that was hanging from the bucket of a bulldozer. On this visit, she is setting up a snug vegetarian kitchen that will feed about 30 of her family members and friends who plan to stay through the winter even if Energy Transfer Partners, the Dallas-based company building the pipeline, meets its goal and finishes the project by January.

          Like almost every cook here, she will feed anyone who walks in.

          The main kitchen is at the Oceti Sakowin camp, the biggest of four camps within a short hike of one another. Most of the meals are prepared in a military tent outfitted with a 12-burner propane stove and a few other large pieces of cooking equipment, including a black smoker just outside the door.

          Members of the news media are warned that no images can be captured from within the main food tents, for fear that health inspectors might spot violations and use them as an excuse to shut down the camps.

          "It's hard to be up to code when you are camp cooking, but we're getting there," said Mateo Cadena, 29, who took a break from his kitchen job at the Yellowstone Club, a private resort in Big Sky, Mont., to cook at the main kitchen for several days earlier this month.

          The clash of food cultures is writ large here. A sizable contingent of vegans and vegetarians struggle in a culture that is based on hunting game.

          Although everyone tries to be respectful, a kitchen shift can get tense. At the nearby Sacred Stone camp, the Lakota woman who runs a kitchen that can feed up to 200 people a day struggles with a white cook from Montana who insists that using propane is disingenuous when they are fighting an oil company, and that children should not be fed white sugar.

          Caitlyn Huss, 25, a manager of a vegan hostel in Los Angeles, was closing up late one night last month when the tent flap opened and someone dropped off a deer that had just been killed by a car.

          "We knew we had to find an elder from the sacred fire to come and bless it, then find someone who could skin it for us," she recalled. "It was crazy."

          Brian Yazzie, a Navajo chef who works for the Sioux Chef, a native food company based in Minneapolis, said the cultural gap even among tribe members can be wide. He spent a few days last month cooking at the camps, and is gathering donations so he can head back during the week of Thanksgiving.

          He cooks food he describes as pre-colonization: local meat and vegetables and no gluten, dairy or processed products. It's difficult at the camps, he said. When he first surveyed the supply tent, he saw stacks of flour, canned goods and vegetable oil. "It was like the mid-1850s when my ancestors were put on reservations or internment camps and given government rations to eat instead of their natural resources."

          At the camp, he made hominy and bison soup and roasted pumpkin with quinoa flavored with maple syrup. It was not an automatic hit.

          "The palates of most of my people are used to that survival food," he said.

          Savannah Jo Begay, 29, a Navajo from Pinon, Ariz., spends her evenings making fry bread from flour, water and lard. It's the kind of food Mr. Yazzie battles against, but something a lot of people at the camps crave.

          "You put some love into the fry bread and it makes it feel like home," she said.

          That desire for homey food led to breakaway kitchens run by different tribes that have the feel of extremely rustic neighborhood bistros. Pueblo cooks might serve bowls of red chili stew while the Oglala Sioux fry venison. One night last week, the Upper Klamath Basin kitchen offered elk stroganoff.

          Winona Kasto, 47, a Lakota cook from Green Grass, a small community on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation, ran the big kitchen for a time. She left to start a little kitchen she calls the Soup Kettle House. With help from a rotating band of volunteers, she turns donations delivered by sympathetic national food companies and whatever else shows up into meals that Lakotas want to eat.

          "I just want to feed the people and our ancestors the proper way," she said.

          When a donated buffalo was butchered, she got the lungs and some other internal organs. She boiled them into soup. That day, some young protesters tried to swim across the river to the construction site and clashed with the police. Someone rushed into her kitchen and said they needed hot soup at the front lines.

          "I packed it up and they ran it out there," she said. "Even the white people were eating that lung soup."



          4)  Old Treaties and New Alliances Empower Native Americans

          I heard my grandfather say, 'If the world ever ends, it's going to be us killing ourselves,' Mr. Housty said as he leaned against a fish-cleaning station at a tribal salmon hatchery. 'And that's all it is,' he said, gesturing to the world around where he stood. 'At the end of the day, we need to manage ourselves.'"

          NOV. 15, 2016





          The simmering standoff between the police and Native Americans and their allies who oppose a giant oil pipeline project in North Dakota is the most visible sign of an emerging movement that is shifting the debate about how public lands across North America should be managed.

          From the rocky, pebbled beaches north of Seattle, where the Lummi Nation has led the fight against a proposed coal terminal, to southern Utah, where a coalition of tribes is demanding management rights over a proposed new national monument, to the tiny wooded community of Bella Bella, British Columbia, 350 miles north of the United States border, Native Americans are asserting old treaty rights and using tribal traditions to protect and manage federally owned land.

          "If you want to own it, you have to act like you own it," said Kelly Brown, the director of resource management for the Heiltsuk Nation in Bella Bella. The Heiltsuk pressed the Canadian government for joint management of the local herring fishery and won this year through a campaign of sit-ins and political lobbying.

          The force for change comes in part from tribes' forming new alliances as they defend territorial claims and manage resources. In some places, the focus is on fossil fuels and pollution; in others, on an awareness that climate change could have a disproportionately harsh impact on tribal populations because of where they live, in coastal or forest areas, or their dependence on natural resources or foods.

          "The tribal voice, and their concerns and what happens on those lands — that's accelerating right now, and where it's going to go, I don't know," said John Freemuth, a professor of public policy at Boise State University who studies public lands. "It's a big story and a growing story."

          Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota, in particular, where the Sioux and others are fighting the construction of the 1,170-mile Dakota Access oil pipeline, has been one battleground.

          Native Americans and environmental activists say the project threatens the region's water supply and would harm sacred cultural lands.

          The Army announced late Monday that it had finished reviewing its process for approving the pipeline's route on land owned by the Army Corps of Engineers. But it said it needed more study and wanted input from the Standing Rock Sioux before it allowed the pipeline to cross under a Missouri River reservoir.

          Pipeline protesters, linking their effort to demonstrations over the last week in many American cities in opposition to President-elect Donald J. Trump, held rallies on Tuesday in cities from Albuquerque to Buffalo.

          A vast stretch of deep-green temporal rain forest bigger than Maine and stretching from northwest Washington to Alaska — called the Great Bear in British Columbia — has emerged as a laboratory for change. An agreement signed this year between British Columbia and 27 tribal nations, including the Heiltsuk, protects much of the forest from commercial logging and shifts some management authority to the tribes.

          In southern Nevada, the Moapa Band of Paiutes is seeking federal protection for lands that now lie within the ranch owned by Cliven Bundy, the father of Ammon and Ryan Bundy, who were recently acquitted of criminal charges for their roles in the armed occupation of a wildlife refuge in Oregon this year.

          In Idaho last summer, tribal representatives from 19 states met for what organizers said was the biggest Native American workshop on climate change, and they concluded that global environmental changes transcended national boundaries.

          "This is how land resource decisions are going to be made in the future — through co-management with people who have been on the land forever," said Hadley Archer, the executive director of the Nature Conservancy Canada, which helped put together the Great Bear forest agreement. To that end, the University of Victoria law school in British Columbia will begin enrolling students next year in a degree program that will combine the traditional study of court precedents and legislation with the study of tribal law.

          People like Chantal Pronteau, a member of the Kitasoo/Xai'Xais Nation(pronounced hay-hay), are walking this uncharted road.

          Last year, Ms. Pronteau, 22, put on a uniform as a member of the Coastal Guardian Watchmen, a Native American patrol, to monitor the environment and guard against poachers and illegal tree-cutters from Klemtu, her community's tiny home village of about 300 people. The village, in British Columbia, is reachable only by boat or air.

          Changes are everywhere, she said. Grizzly bears have been swimming across fjords and rivers to colonize islands where they have not been seen before, as salmon become harder to find. Whales are wintering off the coast rather than heading to Hawaii, breaking another ancient pattern. A treasured culinary seaweed disappeared this year.

          "We're the eyes and the ears," Ms. Pronteau said as she walked a stretch of rocky beach in her black Coastal Guardian Watchman jacket. The importance of her work patrolling the tribe's territory by boat and on foot, she added, "feels beyond what words can describe, because of what we're working for, who we're working for and why we're working."

          The great mossy forest belt of the Pacific Northwest — culturally, environmentally and economically crucial to people here for millenniums — was where this new power dynamic began. In the mid-1990s, indigenous people began protesting the clear-cutting of trees in the Great Bear forest. Involvement of conservation groups like the Nature Conservancy then led to a series of agreements that were capped this year with the tribes and the government of British Columbia banning or strictly limiting industrial logging in nearly half of the forest.

          An endowment fund created earlier in that process, in 2007, linked economic development and tribe-led science and management in the Great Bear forest. That fund helps back programs like the Coastal Guardian Watchmen, which involves at least 14 tribes in the Great Bear area out of 27 that signed the agreement.

          Like climate change itself, though, there are few certain outcomes. Governments can override Native arguments. Coastal Guardians like Ms. Pronteau also sometimes have the delicate task of trying to persuade trophy game hunters that tribal rules ban bear hunting in their territory, even though the hunters may have legal permits. Some hunters respond and retreat, she said; others do not.

          Legal wrinkles echo across a century or more. Many First Nations in British Columbia, for example, including the Kitasoo/Xai'Xais, never signed treaties with the Canadian government, which means that, unlike most other tribes across Canada and United States, they never ceded any dominion over their lands. The future, those tribes say, is an open book.

          But in other places, the legal power of treaties has been reinforced. When the Army Corps of Engineers said this year that a proposed coal terminal in northwest Washington State would threaten fishing rights guaranteed to the Lummi Nation in 1855 — and again this week, when it said a "government-to-government" relationship with the Sioux was necessary to discuss the North Dakota pipeline — it sent a thunderclap across tribal lands. Treaties still have teeth.

          The echo also hangs heavy in these ancient lands. Archaeological evidence shows a human presence in the Pacific Northwest dating back more than 13,000 years.

          "What it comes down to is our cultural history, and the land that we've been handed down by our ancestors to take care of," said William G. Housty, the chairman of the Heiltsuk Integrated Resource Management Department.

          "I heard my grandfather say, 'If the world ever ends, it's going to be us killing ourselves,'" Mr. Housty said as he leaned against a fish-cleaning station at a tribal salmon hatchery. "And that's all it is," he said, gesturing to the world around where he stood. "At the end of the day, we need to manage ourselves."



          5)  M.T.A. Proposals Could Raise Subway Fare to $3

          NOV. 16, 2016





          The price of a MetroCard swipe could rise by a quarter to $3 in March, officials at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced on Wednesday.

          The authority's board is considering two proposals for a 4 percent increase in fares and tolls across the system's trains, buses, tunnels and bridges. Board members are expected to vote on the proposals in January after the authority holds a series of public meetings.

          One proposal would raise the base fare for subways and buses to $3, while increasing the bonus on pay-per-ride MetroCards to 16 percent from 11 percent, when riders put at least $6 on a card. A second proposal would keep the base fare at $2.75, but reduce the current 11 percent bonus to 5 percent, when riders put at least $5.50 on a card.

          Under both plans, a weekly MetroCard would rise by $1 to $32. A monthly pass would increase by $4.50 to $121. Fares and tolls would rise by about 4 percent on commuter railroads and at tunnels and bridges.

          The authority has said it plans to raise fares every two years, but the climbing cost has frustrated riders who complain of worsening subway delays, overcrowding and slow buses. Under the last fare and toll increase, in March 2015, the base fare for subways and buses rose by a quarter to $2.75.

          The regularly scheduled increases are part of a financial rescue plan approved by the New York State Legislature in 2009. Officials at the authority argue that its policy is better than those of other transit systems, like New Jersey Transit, whose fare increases, including a 9 percent rise last year, are less predictable.

          With another fare increase on the horizon, some transit advocates and elected leaders have called on Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, to pay for a program to offer half-price MetroCards to New Yorkers living in poverty. The Seattle area introduced discounted fares for low-income riders last year and has already signed up tens of thousands of people.

          A new authority board member, David R. Jones, said he planned to address the plight of low-income riders during the board discussion on Wednesday. Mr. Jones, who was nominated to the board by Mr. de Blasio, has pressed the mayor to support the half-price MetroCard plan.

          In September, the state comptroller, Thomas P. DiNapoli, said the authority's financial outlook had improved recently because of the economic recovery and low energy costs and interest rates. But Mr. DiNapoli has repeatedly warned about the agency's growing debt, which he said could reach $41 billion by 2020.



          6)  New York City Helps to Keep Police Records Secret

          NOV. 15, 2016






          Mayor Bill de Blasio, who promised an open government, has been far from transparent when it comes to the conduct of police officers. Last year, his administration appealed a well-reasoned state court decisionthat ordered it to release summaries of misconduct findings against the officer who used a choke hold in the 2014 arrest of Eric Garner. More recently, under a narrow reading of state law, it shut down access to Police Department records containing routine personnel information that had been open to the news media for decades.

          The law, enacted in 1976, says that an officer's personnel record cannot be publicly released or cited in court without judicial approval. But the definition of "personnel record" has become so broad that some courts and cities have mistakenly applied it to virtually any information pertaining to an officer's background. New York City should be contesting this view instead of acquiescing to it.

          The latest misinterpretation of the 1976 law involves a lawsuit brought by the union representing guards at the notoriously violent Rikers Island jail complex. The suit was filed on behalf of Aubrey Victor, a guard whose conduct reflected a longstanding culture of brutality at Rikers that left guards free to batter or even torture inmates without fear of reprisal — a culture documented by the Justice Department in 2014. A Department of Correction investigation, based partly on video, had found that Officer Victor repeatedly stomped on an inmate's head as the man lay on the floor.

          The department referred the case to the city's Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings — known as OATH — an independent municipal tribunal that holds over 300,000 hearings a year for civil servants and others. The judge found that Officer Victor had used deadly force unnecessarily and recommended that he be fired.

          During the hearing, Officer Victor asked to have his name excised from OATH records so that it did not become part of the public record. The judge correctly rejected the request, noting that the state law was not intended to apply to records that are controlled by an independent entity. Nevertheless, the union now argues that state personnel records law requires that these administrative court findings stay secret and that guards are entitled to have their names and identifying information expunged.

          The city could have made much the same argument as the judge in its response to the lawsuit. But it chose to object on a technicality. The union interpreted the city's response as proof that the law applies to OATH records.

          The job of making the opposite case was left to The New York Times and the New York Civil Liberties Union, which made forceful arguments in their amicus briefs that a law originally intended to protect personal information about public employees should not suddenly be applied to OATH records as well. The public clearly has a right to know about misconduct by the city's police and correction officers.



          7) Can Trump Save Their Jobs? They're Counting on It

          NOV. 12, 2016

          INDIANAPOLIS — By the time the Chicago Cubs won the World Series for the first time in 108 years this month, Paul Roell was already asleep. He did not stay up to see Barack Obama win the presidency in 2008, or watch in 2000 as the margin of votes separating George W. Bush and Al Gore in Florida shrank to the vanishing point.

          After all, he has to clock in daily at 5:30 a.m. at the soon-to-be-shuttered Carrier factory here, where he has worked 17 years.

          But shortly before 3 a.m. Wednesday, when the networks projected that Donald J. Trump would be the next president of the United States, Mr. Roell was wide awake. His wife, Stephanie, was up, too, and they exchanged high fives in the wee hours.

          In fact, Mr. Roell was so keyed up, he did not sleep at all that night and headed straight to the plant before sunrise, bleary-eyed but euphoric. "I don't watch sports, but this was my World Series," he said.

          It is precisely this level of enthusiasm, from Mr. Roell and millions of like-minded Americans, that pollsters and the campaign of Hillary Clinton did not appreciate, even though it was vividly on display in February after a video went viral showing furious Carrier workers here learning from management that their jobs would be going abroad.

          Carrier's decision to move the factory to Monterrey, Mexico, will eliminate 1,400 jobs by 2019. Mr. Trump quickly made the factory Exhibit A in his argument against the trade policies of Republicans and Democrats alike.

          He cited Carrier again and again on the campaign trail, threatening to phone executives at the company and its parent, United Technologies, and to hit them with 35 percent tariffs on any furnaces and air-conditioners they imported from Mexico. To the cheers of his supporters, he predicted at rallies that Carrier would call him up as president and say, "Sir, we've decided to stay in the United States."

          Now his supporters expect action. "If he doesn't pass that tariff, I will vote the other way next time," warned Nicole Hargrove, who has worked at Carrier for a decade and a half and is not certain what she will do if and when her job goes to Mexico.

          Carrier isn't changing its plans. On Friday in a written statement, the company said, "We are making every effort to ease the transition for our Carrier colleagues in Indiana." The company pointed out that it will finance four-year retraining and educational programs for employees and provide financial help.

          For Mr. Trump, now comes the hard part. In interviews in recent days and in March, Trump voters here made clear that if he does not follow through on his promises, they are prepared to turn on him, just as they are seemingly punishing Democrats today for not delivering the hope and change voters sought from President Obama after he won as an outsider in 2008.

          And while Mr. Roell is a conservative, Mr. Trump's tough talk about Carrier, the economy and the future of American manufacturing jobs also appealed to moderates like Darrell Presley, a steelworker in rural Crawfordsville, Ind., who voted for Mr. Obama in 2008. "He was for change, and said he would take care of the middle class, but he didn't live up to those expectations," Mr. Presley said. "I feel like the American people are at the point where they've had it, and this was the last chance."

          Last Tuesday, blue-collar workers across the industrial heartland hearkened to Mr. Trump's call, putting states never thought to be in serious play, like Wisconsin and Michigan, in his win column.

          As president, however, Mr. Trump will face a tough balance. Tariffs and trade wars stand to hurt American workers who make products that are exported to Mexico or China. Few voters will be happy paying more for imported goods.

          And regardless of who is in the Oval Office, manufacturers are seeing relentless pressure, from investors and rival companies, to automate, replacing workers with machines that do not break down or require health benefits and pension plans. Wall Street hedge fund managers are demanding steadily rising earnings from Carrier's parent, United Technologies, even as growth remains sluggish worldwide.

          The Carrier plant here is plenty profitable. But moving to Monterrey, where workers earn in a day what they make here in an hour, will increase profits faster.

          Mr. Roell, who earns about $55,000 a year with overtime as a team leader making furnaces, has few illusions about the gulf separating him from Mr. Trump, or the global headwinds that American factory workers face. "His father was a millionaire, he's a billionaire," Mr. Roell said, sitting at Sully's Bar & Grill on Thursday night opposite the factory with fellow Carrier workers. "His son Barron's allowance is probably more than my salary."

          Nor does he underestimate the profound economic threat to the 1,400 workers at the factory, where layoffs are expected to begin next summer and continue in waves until it closes in 2019. Mr. Roell was promoted to team leader in March.

          The mood in the factory has worsened since. Senior engineers travel from Indianapolis to Monterrey to supervise the shifting of production lines to Carrier's factory there, workers and union officials said. Mexican engineers, in turn, have been coming here, measuring and assessing the machines they will operate south of the border, unless, of course, Mr. Trump can deliver on his promise.

          "It's demoralizing when you see them taking pictures," Mr. Roell said. "It's like you are getting divorced but you are still living with your wife and her new boyfriend is coming over."

          A Drought of Good Jobs

          For workers like Mr. Roell, 36, who started at Carrier just weeks after receiving his high school diploma and never returned to school, the problem is not a shortage of jobs in the area. Instead, it is a drought of jobs that pay anywhere near the $23.83 an hour he makes at Carrier, let alone enough to give him a toehold in the middle class.

          When he drives to work each day before dawn, Mr. Roell passes warehouse after warehouse of giants like Walmart and Kohl's with "Help Wanted" signs outside promising jobs within. The problem is that they typically pay $13 to $15 an hour.

          "I guess I could work two full-time shifts a day," he joked.

          The situation confronting Mr. Roell and other blue-collar Carrier workers is not simply one anecdote from the region some people call the Rust Belt. It is part of a broad predicament for non-college-educated workers borne out by Census Bureau data. And it explains why even in Indiana, a state with a lower rate of unemployment than the national average, and a strong rebound from the recession in many ways, the economic and political frustration is palpable.

          Since 2010, the private sector in Indiana has added roughly 300,000 jobs, bringing the unemployment rate from a high of 10.9 percent in January 2010 (nearly a percentage point above the national average) to 4.5 percent now (nearly half a percentage point below the national unemployment rate).

          But nearly all that growth occurred in the service sector — hotel and food-service jobs, or health care technicians, or workers in the warehouses Mr. Roell drives past — which added more than 220,000 positions for a total of 1.9 million today. While manufacturers added 85,569 jobs since the sector bottomed out at 434,919 in January 2010, factory employment in Indiana over all remains significantly below where it was before the Great Recession.

          And service jobs do not come close to paying what manufacturing jobs do. According to the Census Bureau, the typical service sector position in Indiana paid $39,338 in 2015, compared with $59,029 for a manufacturing position.

          The cross-generational drop-off can be stark, and it scars families. Within Local 1999 of the United Steelworkers union, which includes workers at Carrier and other local industrial employers, members typically start at $17 an hour, according to Chuck Jones, Local 1999's president. For comparison, his 21-year-old granddaughter Haley Duncan is about to finish college and take a job in health care that pays $14.50 an hour.

          Ms. Duncan and her older brother, Drake, were tempted by factory work. But Mr. Jones and their parents told them to forget it and stay in school because, while manufacturing might pay more, its future is becoming more precarious. The Rexnord bearing factory here — where Mr. Jones started working fresh out of high school in 1969 and where his stepson works now — last month said it might follow Carrier to Mexico and eliminate at least 300 jobs.

          Can Mr. Trump, with his promises to bring these jobs back and his calls to retaliate against chief executives if they do not listen, stem the tide?

          Broader economic trends suggest Mr. Trump will face an uphill struggle even if he does follow through on his threat to pressure Carrier's executives or hit the company with steep tariffs. What is more, while the bully pulpit of the president is something corporate chieftains fear, Rexnord's plan to pull up stakes even after the Carrier situation suggests businesses will not bow to the threat of bad P.R.

          And even if Congress and the White House agree on a plan to increase manufacturing, tax credits for research and new investments, for example, or financing apprenticeships as European countries do, automation will continue to claim jobs.

          "I'm pretty skeptical Trump's policies will reverse this process," said John Van Reenen, a professor of economics at M.I.T. who studies how technology and innovation affect profits and wages at companies. "These are fundamental forces that have more to do with technology than trade."

          In particular, he said, across developed economies more national income is going to capital, that is, owners and shareholders, rather than labor. "We've seen this in many countries with different political systems," he said. "It's a winner-take-all world."

          Even Robin Maynard, a Carrier team leader who enthusiastically backed Mr. Trump, acknowledges that even a phone call from the Oval Office to the company's executive suite might not be enough to save his job. "Hopefully, he can do something for us," Mr. Maynard said. "But I think it's out of the C.E.O's hands. It's in the hands of the shareholders."

          In this age of 401(k) investment plans and individual retirement accounts, these shareholders are, in a real sense, all of us. But for the Carrier workers in Indianapolis and millions of other blue-collar workers, no matter how they voted, nuances like that do not matter so much now. Just the hope that Mr. Trump will try to reverse the long decline in their neighborhoods, their living standards and even their longevity is an emotional balm.

          "He doesn't like blacks. He doesn't like Hispanics. He doesn't like disabled people," said Jennifer Shanklin-Hawkins, who, like roughly half the Carrier factory workers, is African-American. "He's not presidential material. But my husband and I weren't mad or upset when he won. I know blacks who voted for him, and I want to give him a chance."

          Diversity and Distrust

          Some blue-collar neighborhoods that supported Mr. Trump have been portrayed as monocultures, the opposite of supposedly more diverse, cosmopolitan cities that favored Mrs. Clinton, the Democratic candidate. That caricature does not hold up here.

          At least half of the workers on Carrier's assembly line are women. And dozens of Burmese immigrants have gone to work at the factory in recent years, part of an influx of nearly 15,000 refugees from Myanmar into Indianapolis since 2001.

          "It can be hard to communicate, but they work very hard," Mr. Maynard said. "They don't complain, and I love their work ethic."

          And the neighborhoods around Carrier's factory are considerably more diverse than many wealthy New York and San Francisco suburbs, where Democrats dominate.

          Down the road from the Carrier factory, past the railroad tracks and a few patches of farmland that remain in Indianapolis, the tidy neighborhood of split-level and ranch houses where Cecil Link Jr. lives has changed in recent years. A worker at a plastics factory nearby, Mr. Link noted that a Hispanic family recently moved in next door, and he said he was pleased that blacks and whites now socialize in ways almost unimaginable decades ago.

          "It pains me to see this country divided by race," Mr. Link said. Nevertheless, he voted for Mr. Trump.

          The last time he voted in a presidential election was 1992, when he cast his ballot for Bill Clinton. But this time, he said, he registered explicitly to vote for Mr. Trump. "I was tired of corruption and lies in Washington," he said. "I just wanted a nonpolitician like Trump."

          Mr. Presley, the 59-year-old white Crawfordsville steelworker who voted for Mr. Obama in 2008 and Mr. Trump in 2016, was even more emphatic that racial resentment or ethnic bigotry was not behind his support for Mr. Trump. "I grew up on the West Side of Indianapolis in a racist environment," he said. "But I went to a high school that was 57 percent black, and I played football with a lot of black guys and we became close friends. I learned not to be racist."

          Instead of bias, what animates these voters, whatever their race or political orientation, is a profound distrust and resentment of wealthier, educated Americans, a group they say lacks a connection to them and does not care about their economic situation. And to them, Mrs. Clinton seemed at least as elite as Mr. Trump, if not more so.

          "I just couldn't bring myself to vote for him, but both candidates are evil," said Ms. Shanklin-Hawkins, who reluctantly voted for Mrs. Clinton, but has never forgiven her for her remarks about "superpredators" in the 1990s, or the mandatory prison sentencing guidelines Mr. Clinton signed into law as president.

          "Hillary hasn't sweated a day in her life, unless it was losing a tough case as a lawyer," Mr. Maynard said. "We wanted to take America in a different direction. I'm just hoping Trump will do what he says."

          Can the Democratic Party recapture these voters if Mr. Trump does not deliver? Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, among the most liberal Democrats in the Senate, contends it can, if Democrats follow his lead in appealing to working-class concerns and opposing free trade deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement and the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, a pact with Asian nations that President Obama supported.

          Of course these, too, are Mr. Trump's positions.

          Mr. Presley readily acknowledges that Mr. Trump is a billionaire with an Ivy League education.

          "But he gets that the country is in bad shape." Mr. Presley said. "Sure, he made some mistakes and sometimes he went a little overboard, but the guys I work with related to it. If we spoke in public, we'd make mistakes too."

          To them, it's not only the country that's in bad shape. So are the institutions that once provided structure to working-class life in America. Many Carrier workers are regular churchgoers, but Ms. Hargrove said she was deeply troubled by how priests abused children, or how the police shot suspects even though their arms were raised in the air.

          "Things are chaotic," she said.

          The distrust is evident even within the Steelworkers union, another institution that once provided a support system for workers. Mr. Roell is leery of area leaders like Mr. Jones of Local 1999, who had battles of his own with the union's top officials over their support for Mrs. Clinton.

          A fierce supporter of Bernie Sanders, Mrs. Clinton's rival for the Democratic nomination, Mr. Jones and Local 1999 did not make an endorsement in the general election. "I held my nose and voted for her," he said between drags on a Marlboro at the local's union hall. "I didn't trust her a bit. I told people she would flip on trade deals after she was elected."

          "I'm as left-wing as you can find, and I thought Trump was full of it," he said. "But everybody is tired of the same old politicians. It could have been Captain Kangaroo and he might have won."

          As for the candidate who did win, Mr. Trump, the union leader said he was waiting for him to make that phone call to Carrier. "He's got time. He doesn't take the oath of office until Jan. 20," Mr. Jones said. "Trump made Carrier the poster child and said he would hold Carrier accountable. Well, we're going to hold him to it."



          8)  A Mother Tried to Escape Gangs. Bullets Found Her Daughter

          NOV. 17, 2016




          CHICAGO — At Veronica Lopez's Sweet 16 party, children played among the headstones. Aunts, uncles and cousins sat on lawn chairs and striped blankets on the grass. A few feet away from Veronica's grave, her four older sisters pressed candles into a red velvet cake and carefully lit them.

          Veronica's mother watched them and waited for a sign from the gentle wind. "Let her blow out her own candles," she directed her daughters, her voice hopeful.

          Veronica, called Dayday by her family, was buried in this cemetery west of Chicago in June after being shot to death at age 15. She was a friendly girl who loved swimming, labored over science projects and wanted to move away from Chicago's violence, toward a better life. Instead, she was caught in an onslaught of gunfire here that no one has been able to stop — not the police, not the mayor, not parents or preachers.

          She was one of six people killed in gunfire in Chicago over Memorial Day weekend. Altogether, 64 people were shot during those three days, which started a summer of bloodshed that has continued into autumn. That weekend, The New York Times tracked the shootings to chronicle the surge in violence that has taken 654 lives in Chicago so far this year.

          Veronica stood out among those killed. She was the youngest, a spunky ninth grader. She was shot in an affluent lakefront neighborhood that is largely free of Chicago's gang violence. And she was the only female victim killed by gunfire that weekend.

          Her death was both mysterious and predictable. She was not in a gang, the police and her family said, but gangs were a part of her life. In Chicago, that is not unusual. Many people are intimately connected to gangs over generations, with allegiances woven through families and friendships the way loyalties to sports teams or alma maters are passed down in the wealthier neighborhoods across town.

          Young women can be drawn in to the world of gangs because of their brothers or where they live — or by falling in love with the wrong person. They are often more than bystanders, but less than participants.

          Veronica came from a family of women, the youngest of five daughters, a loyal and loving band of sisters raised by a single working mother. Time and again, they fell into relationships with men in gangs.

          Veronica tried to be vigilant. She avoided walking down the street with gang members, including friends she had known since elementary school. She rarely went to parties, because she worried about fights and gunfire.

          But those measures could not stop the barrage of violence that struck close to her again and again in her last year. Tensions from gang rivalries and at least three shootings of people she knew intruded on her teenage life, leading her to dwell on the possibility of dying.

          Her mother, Diana Mercado, was asleep at 2 a.m. on May 28 when she awoke to her dog barking, then persistent knocking on her apartment door. She opened it to find a cluster of police officers.

          "Do you know a Veronica Lopez?" an officer asked, sounding to Ms. Mercado as though he delivered such news all day long. "She may have been shot."

          A First Flight

          The first time Veronica's mother fled gang violence, she did so in the dead of night. In February 2001, she packed a few belongings, jammed them in the trunk of her small white sedan, gathered her five girls and drove them away from Cicero, a suburb on the western edge of Chicago. Veronica was 5 months old.

          Ms. Mercado had to get her oldest daughter, Samantha, away from the gang she was falling into. She had to leave Veronica's father, Ricardo, who was being threatened by gang members.

          "We packed whatever we could in the car," she said. "I just wanted to get my kids away from there."

          She drove a mere six miles, to Belmont Cragin, a neighborhood on the Northwest Side of Chicago, but it felt like a world away.

          Violence in Chicago was difficult to dodge, except for those with the means to live in the city's wealthier neighborhoods. But Belmont Cragin was affordable and felt safe, a working-class enclave of Latino families, some young professionals and older Polish residents.

          Ms. Mercado soon had a steady job at an auto-parts store. Samantha, then 16, chose not to return to school, instead helping her mother by caring for her siblings: Amanda, Destiny, Miranda and Veronica.

          They remember Veronica as a bubbly toddler with a head of dark, springy curls, who would sit in a car seat on the living room floor and fall asleep to Disney movies on the VCR: "Beauty and the Beast," "The Lion King" and her favorite, "The Aristocats."

          In elementary school, she made friends easily and was the stage manager for a school play. "She liked bossing people around," one longtime friend, Selena Herrera, said with a smile.

          Even before joining the cheerleading squad in middle school, she led her nephew and cousins through routines in the backyard. In the summer, she swam in public pools, expertly diving into the deep end.

          In her class picture from eighth grade, she smiled into the camera, eyes bright, arms folded, fingernails gleaming with red polish. Stephanie Mota, 16, a middle school friend, recalled stuttering nervously during a class presentation that she and Veronica had prepared on how a microwave works.

          "She ended up doing the whole thing," Ms. Mota said. "She was smart. She really put her mind to it. She'd goof around, but when it was time to work, she got it done."

          In the summer of 2015, before entering ninth grade, Veronica met Jalid Alcocer, a teenager known as JoJo. On weekends, they would take walks on the 606, an elevated park on an old Northwest Side railroad track.

          JoJo, now 16, said he was drawn to her warmth, her confidence, her determined optimism. On a walk one day, he went in for a kiss. "She just started calling me her man," he said.

          A Stream of Men and Problems

          The men in the lives of the Mercado women tended to bring trouble. For Veronica's mother, there was Miguel, her first real boyfriend, whom she admired for his fearlessness. Guy, her next serious boyfriend, had a sweet way with her. And Jose was smart and attentive. "I loved the way he danced," she said. "He was real romantic. I used to love being in his arms."

          But each was also involved in a gang. Or, as Ms. Mercado put it, "Who wasn't in a gang?"

          Each relationship brought another daughter, and usually ended when the man went to jail. But even when relationships fizzle, the children resulting from them can knit gang affiliations deeper into families.

          Ms. Mercado tried to warn her daughters. "Didn't you learn from me?" she asked them. "You can't walk the streets with these guys. You can't go to the movies. It's too dangerous."

          "Be careful," she would tell Veronica. "Bullets have no names."

          There was a time when Ms. Mercado was relieved that all her children were girls. It made them less likely to be recruited by gangs, to get into trouble, to end up in prison, she thought.

          But all four of Veronica's sisters ended up dating men who were affiliated with gangs, and three had children with them.

          Veronica's boyfriend, JoJo, also described loose gang ties.

          "I don't gangbang," he said in August. "I chill with them."

          In truth, there is a wide spectrum of gang involvement. While some are members who have joined through formal rituals, others are affiliated because of where they live or the people they spend time with.

          Trouble escalated for the Mercado family when one sister's boyfriend defected to a different gang. Remaining in the original gang was another sister's boyfriend.

          "Now it's like a war because they left," Ms. Mercado said. "They put us in the middle of it."

          Violence Closes In

          In the last year of Veronica's life, danger grew steadily closer to the Mercados and their two-bedroom apartment above a cellphone store.

          But, like any young teenager about to start high school, Veronica was focused on her freshman year. She would be a freshman at North-Grand High School, a gleaming building on the site of an old Schwinn factory. It is considered one of the better, and safer, schools in the area.

          And she had a new "brother," as she lovingly called him: Orlando Calderon, known as Rico, a teenager her mother had taken in when he was kicked out of his own home. Yes, he was in a gang, but Ms. Mercado saw him as a sweet-natured and vulnerable young man, a victim of peer pressure. She was tickled when he cooked dinner for the family and took out the garbage without being asked. For a time, he dated one of Veronica's sisters, Miranda.

          But one week before classes were to start, Veronica's mother called with heartbreaking news: Rico had been fatally shot in a neighborhood park.

          Veronica took it hard. "She went crazy," Ms. Mercado said.

          Suddenly, friends and family began seeing a despairing side to her. She seemed to fixate on death, telling friends she envisioned being reincarnated as a butterfly.

          "She'd always talk about, 'I really want to see Rico, I just want to go with him to heaven,'" Gisele Vides, a friend from school, said. "It worried me when she said that."

          The violence around Veronica continued. In March, the ex-boyfriend of another sister was killed in gang violence. And in April, Veronica was caught up in a shooting herself.

          She, her sister Destiny and Destiny's baby were riding in a car with a close family friend when they stopped for gas and were confronted by two men in another car who flashed gang signs.

          Veronica jumped out of the car. "He's not part of that life!" she screamed, ordering the men to leave her friend alone.

          But one of the men opened fire. Veronica was standing right next to her friend, who was shot. She escaped injury.

          The police soon made an arrest, and Ms. Mercado was told that prosecutors needed Veronica to testify before a grand jury.

          She resisted, worried that it would make her daughter a target. "'I don't want my child testifying,'" Ms. Mercado said she told the police. "And they said the state will subpoena her if they have to."

          Veronica, 15, was soon telling the story to grand jurors.

          Life at school became shaky. Veronica was failing classes. Sometimes she skipped school. On more than one occasion, she was sent home for fighting, skirmishes that her mother said were provoked by other girls. Friends said that she sometimes burst into tears and had to be comforted by teachers.

          "I know she was angry," Ms. Mercado said. "She was like, 'Why do they have to keep killing people I love?'"

          Ms. Mercado was growing more worried by the day. But she had always seen herself as a supportive mother, a friend to her girls, and she was reluctant to put too many restrictions on Veronica.

          More and more, Veronica told friends that she wanted to get out of Chicago. She pressed her mother to let her move to California to live with Ms. Mercado's brother, a Marine. Then she abandoned that plan and started daydreaming with her mother about the two of them making a new life in Florida.

          "After Rico died, she realized that this was a dangerous city," said Gisele, her school friend. "She wanted to get away from here and have a good life."

          The Last Drive

          Friday night of Memorial Day weekend was hot and humid, with a threat of rain. That spring, Veronica had come to enjoy rides along Lake Shore Drive as a passenger in a car driven by a friend, Jose Alvarez, the 28-year-old uncle of a high school classmate.

          That night, she was again in his Jeep, the windows rolled down to catch the breeze.

          On their way to Lake Shore Drive, they stopped at a gas station, where Mr. Alvarez exchanged taunts with a couple of strangers. But the carload of people — four in the back seat, Veronica and Mr. Alvarez in the front — laughed it off and kept driving.

          At one point, Mr. Alvarez posted a video on Snapchat, flashing signs disrespecting another gang.

          Veronica sent a text to her boyfriend, JoJo, wishing him good night. When he didn't respond, she wrote: "Can you say it back at least. What if I die tonight."

          The beaches alongside the eight-lane Lake Shore Drive are largely empty after midnight. Lake Michigan is an endless, inky expanse. Few lights shine from the stately prewar apartment buildings that line the curving drive north of downtown.

          Veronica's friend Jacqui, who asked to be identified only by her first name because she fears retaliation, was in the back seat. She remembers looking out her window and watching the city fly by.

          As Jacqui recalled, the Jeep reached Lake Shore Drive, and Veronica's favorite song by Duke Da Beast was playing.

          I'm riding down Lake Shore Drive / getting high, out of my mind 

          Boy ya blind / so put your feelings to the side / while we ride down Lake Shore Drive

          Then Jacqui heard a sudden, sharp sound: glass breaking.

          At first, she thought another car had crashed into them. Then she realized it was gunshots. Shards of glass flew everywhere. She screamed and ducked.

          Mr. Alvarez said later that he couldn't see much of the attack. "We were innocently driving," he said. "I'm smiling, she's smiling. I hear boom and another boom, and I see the windshield come in, and bullet holes. They pull right alongside and start shooting, at least 15 shots."

          One bullet struck Mr. Alvarez in his left arm. Another grazed his forehead. Veronica was hit over and over: three times in her left arm, once in her shoulder, once in her torso.

          As they raced to a hospital, Veronica was bleeding heavily and drifting in and out of consciousness. Jacqui remembers her saying one thing: "I love you guys."

          Few Answers

          The walls of the waiting room at Presence Saint Joseph Hospital on the North Side seemed to be closing in on Ms. Mercado. When news came that Veronica was dead, she vomited into a trash can.

          The police had little to say that morning. She has talked to them only a few times since. "They don't know anything," she said. "They told me that I'll hear something before they do."

          Ms. Mercado said she had heard rumors about who was following the Jeep that night and who was the target. A stranger sent her a tip through Facebook, which she passed along to the police.

          But more than five months later, Veronica's death is a mystery. Was she killed because she was in a car with targeted gang members, the working theory of the Chicago Police Department? Was it because of her grand jury testimony, a rumor at school? Or could her death have had nothing to do with gangs — perhaps a road rage crime carried out by strangers?

          Her mother does not believe Veronica was the intended target, and she has little hope that the police will arrest someone.

          The Chicago police's clearance rate for murders committed this year is just 20 percent. In the 64 shootings over Memorial Day weekend, they have made two arrests.

          An Endless Grief

          Ms. Mercado has at times appeared paralyzed by grief. "Most of the time," she said, "I go to sleep and hope I never wake up again." She thought about seeing a therapist, but even with insurance, the cost was too high. Amanda, one of Veronica's older siblings, said she felt she had lost not just her sister, but her mother as well.

          Since Memorial Day weekend, Ms. Mercado has found comfort sitting at Veronica's grave at Queen of Heaven Cemetery. It is adorned with pink flowers and balloons, a black-and-white portrait and a plastic stake with "Sister" in cursive lettering.

          This is where Ms. Mercado spends her days off from the auto-parts store. In the quiet of the cemetery, she thinks about "the what ifs," as she calls them. What if Veronica had never met Mr. Alvarez? What if Veronica had moved to California to live with Ms. Mercado's brother?

          What if Veronica were still alive, and the two were preparing to move to Florida, finally escaping Chicago's violence?

          Ms. Mercado is free to leave Chicago behind. Her four other daughters are all grown. Miranda, the sister Veronica most admired, started classes this fall at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The others have jobs and children to keep them busy.

          But Ms. Mercado says she will stay. "No, I'm not going now," she said, stroking the grass that has sprung up over her daughter's grave. "I'm not leaving my baby."



          9) Single Payer Medicare For All

          By Bruce A. Dixon

          Black Agenda Report, November 15, 2016



          The Affordable Care Act, which President elect Trump promises to repeal and replace with nobody knows what, was never all it was cracked up to be.

          The promise to deliver affordable healthcare was a key campaign issue in 2007 and 2008. But while most Americans demanded a single payer system to replace the private insurance companies, and guarantee healthcare for everyone, the 44th president his corporate funded Democrats instead delivered Obamacare—billions in tax dollars to insurance companies for policies with skimpy coverage and such high co-pays and deductibles that many families cannot afford to use their new health insurance. Worse still, Obamacare only provided these sketchy policies to about half the uninsured leaving the rest to the tender mercies of state governments, which control Medicaid.

          Ever since 2009 corporate Democrats have justified their treachery with claims that single payer Medicare For All was impossible to get through even the majority Democratic Congress of 2009 and 2010. Hillary Clinton also declared single payer dead on arrival should she be elected. But Hillary was not elected, and even though this is the fourth consecutive Republican dominated Congress, and Republican politicians hate Medicare For All just as much as their Democratic rivals, the popular mandate for single payer healthcare is very much alive.

          A May 2016 Gallup Poll confirms that "...58 percent of U.S. adults favor the idea of replacing the law (Obamacare) with a federally funded healthcare system that provides insurance for all Americans." The question for the left, however you read that term is what do we do about this? The answer has to be that we fight for what we know people want and need with all the means at our disposal. In the present era, the willingness to organize, to agitate, to educate, to demonstrate and to demand healthcare—not health insurance, but healthcare for everybody as a human right is one of the markers by which we can tell actual flesh and blood leftists and their organizations from those who merely fake the funk until the next Democrat takes office. It's worth noting that the Green Party' candidates Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka were the only ones in this election calling for single payer healthcare.

          A 2009 study by the National Nurses Union reveals that adoption of Medicare For All would create 2.6 million new jobs, from doctors and nurses to a host of healthcare professionals and technicians. That's as many jobs as were lost in the 2007-2009 recession. It would inject $75 billion per year into the U.S. economy, including $100 billion in wages alone. President Trump won in part because he told people he'd "bring back the jobs." But steel mill jobs are imaginary, fictitious. Healthcare jobs are real.

          The tens- or hundreds-of-thousands in streets each night justifiably protesting the ascension of a crotch grabbing racist con man to the White House would be well advised to not repeat the mistake of Occupy a few years ago. They and others who want to be relevant in this new era urgently need to put forth some concrete demands which if struggled for will make them opinion leaders, and if won will improve the lives of millions. Quality single payer healthcare NOW is one of those demands.

          Trump's threat to dismantle Obamacare is an invitation for us to reopen the struggle for healthcare as a human right. And this time we know we're struggling against Republicans AND Democrats.












          Posted by: bonnieweinstein@yahoo.com
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