Emergency Speakout/Rally
No U.S. War in Iran!
End the Sanctions Now

Tuesday, June 25, 6:00 P.M.
24th and Mission St. Bart Plaza

Join us to say NO to a new war in the Middle East!

Initiated by ANSWER Coalition
For more information: 415-821-6545



Political Prisoners and Assange: Carole Seligman At S.F. Assange Rally
As part of an international action to free Julian Assange, a rally was held on June 12, 2019 at the US Federal Building in San Francisco and Carole Seligman was one of the speakers. She also speaks about imperialist wars and  the cases of Mumia Abu-Jamal and Fumiaki Hoshino.
For more info:
Production of Labor Video Project



Act Now to Save Mumia's Eyesight and to 

Demand His Release!

Mumia Abu-Jamal

To: Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel, SCI Mahanoy Superintendent Theresa A. Delbalso, Dr. Courtney P. Rodgers

Mumia's vision has rapidly deteriorated. It has been confirmed that Mumia currently suffers conditions that seriously threaten his eyesight. These include glaucoma, a vitreous detachment and cataracts in both eyes. This threat seriously jeopardizes his life and well-being, as well as his journalistic profession.

An outside eye doctor is recommending surgical procedures to remove the cataracts on both eyes, but SCI-Mahanoy Doctor Courtney Rodgers is delaying scheduling the needed examinations and surgeries with Mumia's outside ophthalmologist. Rodgers works for Correct Care Solutions, a notorious for-profit prison and immigration detention medical company that, according to the Project on Government Oversight, has been sued at least 1,395 times with complaints alleging a range of charges, including wrongful death, malpractice and inadequate healthcare.

Meanwhile Mumia faces increasing nerve damage to his eyes. He is unable to read or do other things requiring normal vision. This delay echoes the years of delays Mumia experienced getting treatment for hepatitis C. By the time the DOC was finally forced by Federal Court to treat Mumia with the Hep C cure, it was too late to prevent cirrhosis of the liver.

African Americans are 1.5 times more likely to develop cataracts than the general population and five times more likely to develop related blindness.

Not only is his overall health deteriorating as he is threatened by permanent blindness, his failure now to receive the immediate attention he requires is cruel and unusual punishment, especially as an innocent man who has been unjustly incarcerated for almost four decades.
Furthermore, considering his multiple ailments and the threat of blindness, we demand that Pennsylvania officials allow a real and humane "compassionate release" now, not the "fake compassionate release" of transfers from prison to care facilities that Pennsylvania will only grant when a prisoner is within a year of dying. Mumia's family, friends and supporters are ready now to provide the healthcare Mumia requires if he were home.

Mumia is not alone in enduring these cruel and unusual assaults on the health of those ageing and ill behind prison walls. According to Bureau of Justice statistics, over 130,000 of U.S. prisoners are elderly, a 400 percent increase between 1993 and 2013. Mumia himself has noted the significant number of those confined at his own prison who suffer similar life-threatening illnesses that require immediate attention. Across the nation elderly prisoners experience a torturous journey toward the end of their lives without any "compassionate release." Once again, as we fight for Mumia's right to treatment and for his release, we fight for the freedom of all the imprisoned from mass incarceration's cruel and unusual conditions.

Mumia Abu-Jamal should receive cataract surgery immediately!

Mumia should be released now not only because he can receive better healthcare outside of prison but also because he is an innocent man!

Take Action:

1.    Sign the petition
2.    Call: Dr. Courtney P Rodgers – (570) 773-2150 and SCI Mahanoy Superintendent Theresa A. Delbalso - (570) 773-2158
Tell them to approve Mumia's cataract surgery immediately.
3.    Call: Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf – (717) 787-2500; PA DOC Secretary John Wetzel – (717) 728-2573; Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner – (215) 686-8000
Tell them to release Mumia Abu-Jamal NOW because he can receive better healthcare outside of prison and also because he is an innocent man!

Write to Mumia at:
Smart Communications/PA DOC
Mumia Abu-Jamal #AM-8335
SCI Mahanoy
P.O. Box 33028
St. Petersburg, FL 33733


50 years in prison: 

FREE Chip Fitzgerald 
Grandfather, Father, Elder, Friend
former Black Panther 
Romaine "Chip" Fitzgerald has been in prison since he was locked up 50 years ago. A former member of the Black Panther Party, Chip is now 70 years old, and suffering the consequences of a serious stroke. He depends on a wheelchair for his mobility. He has appeared before the parole board 17 times, but they refuse to release him.

NOW is the time for Chip to come home!

In September 1969, Chip and two other Panthers were stopped by a highway patrolman. During the traffic stop, a shooting broke out, leaving Chip and a police officer both wounded. Chip was arrested a month later and charged with attempted murder of the police and an unrelated murder of a security guard. Though the evidence against him was weak and Chip denied any involvement, he was convicted and sentenced to death.

In 1972, the California Supreme Court outlawed the death penalty. Chip and others on Death Row had their sentences commuted to Life imprisonment with the possibility of parole. All of them became eligible for parole after serving 7 more years. But Chip was rejected for parole, as he has been ever since. 

Parole for Lifers basically stopped under Governors Deukmajian, Wilson, and Davis (1983-2003), resulting in increasing numbers of people in prison and 23 new prisons. People in prison filed lawsuits in federal courts: people were dying as a result of the overcrowding. To rapidly reduce the number of people in prison, the court mandated new parole hearings:
·        for anyone 60 years or older who had served 25 years or more;
·        for anyone convicted before they were 23 years old;
·        for anyone with disabilities 

Chip qualified for a new parole hearing by meeting all three criteria.

But the California Board of Parole Hearings has used other methods to keep Chip locked up. Although the courts ordered that prison rule infractions should not be used in parole considerations, Chip has been denied parole because he had a cellphone.

Throughout his 50 years in prison, Chip has been denied his right to due process – a new parole hearing as ordered by Federal courts. He is now 70, and addressing the challenges of a stroke victim. His recent rules violation of cellphone possession were non-violent and posed no threat to anyone. He has never been found likely to commit any crimes if released to the community – a community of his children, grandchildren, friends and colleagues who are ready to support him and welcome him home.

The California Board of Parole Hearings is holding Chip hostage.

We call on Governor Newsom to release Chip immediately.

What YOU can do to support this campaign to FREE CHIP:

1)   Sign and circulate the petition to FREE Chip. Download it at https://www.change.org/p/california-free-chip-fitzgerald
Print out the petition and get signatures at your workplace, community meeting, or next social gathering.

2)   Write an email to Governor Newsom's office (sample message at:https://docs.google.com/document/d/1iwbP_eQEg2J1T2h-tLKE-Dn2ZfpuLx9MuNv2z605DMc/edit?usp=sharing

3)   Write to Chip: Romaine "Chip" Fitzgerald #B27527,
P.O. Box 4490
Lancaster, CA 93539

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/

Free Chip Fitzgerald

We the residents of California are calling for the release of Romaine "Chip" Fitzgerald, a former member of the Black Panther Party who has served 50 years in the California State prison system. He was first eligible for parole in 1976 and has served more than three times the average sentence ...
Free Chip Fitzgerald. 215 likes. Romaine "Chip" Fitzgerald was born and raised in Compton, California. In early 1969, he joined the Southern California...
by Ann Garrison. On April 26, former Black Panther Herman Bell was released from prison in New York State after 45 years. That leaves at least 10 surviving members of the Black Panther Party behind bars, including Romaine "Chip" Fitzgerald, who is currently held at the California State Prison-Los Angeles.
Not an average day for us at KAOS NETWORK, today was a petition signing for the well known Late black panther ROMAINE " CHIP " FITZGERALD ...

Free Romaine "Chip" FitzgeraldPolitischer Gefangener in Kalifornien, USA



Support Chuck Africa for Parole

Michael Africa Jr. started this petition to Pennsylvania Governor

Charles Sims Africa #AM 4975 has been in prison since age 18. He is now 59 years old and a recovering cancer patient. He has been eligible for parole since 2008 but continually denied because of  his political views.
Charles has 8 codefendants. Two has died in prison, four has been released from prison onto parole. Chuck's sister Debbie Sims Africa is one of the four codefendants released onto parole.
Since coming home from prison, Debbie is thriving. Our community of support has supported Debbie to excel and we are committed to do the same for Chuck so that he can excel as well. 



Media Alert: Eddie Africa of the #MOVE9 is home after four decades of incarceration!

For Immediate Release 
(Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) The Abolitionist Law Center and the People’s Law Office  are proud to announce that Eddie Africa, of the MOVE 9, has been released from state custody after more than forty years of incarceration. Earlier this morning, Eddie Africa was released from SCI Phoenix after being transferred from SCI Mahanoy, where he spent the majority of his incarceration. He has been fighting for parole for the last ten years. 
The MOVE 9 are 9 individuals who were incarcerated following an August 8, 1978 police siege of the MOVE Organization home in West Philadelphia. The MOVE 9 were all sentenced to 30-100 years after the death of an officer during the raid.
“Eddie’s release is a victory for him, his family and the movement that has been fighting for his freedom. This is the newest chapter in the decades-long struggle to free all the MOVE 9, which is a struggle that continues with the fight to free Delbert and Chuck Africa, who are both up for parole this year.” ~ Brad Thompson
Eddie is the fifth member of the MOVE 9 to be released on parole, all represented by lawyers from Abolitionist Law Center and People’s Law Office. Like Debbie , Janet, Janine, and Mike Africa, who were recently released, Eddie is now able to experience holding his loved ones outside of prison walls for the first time in decades. Eddie was a father when he was arrested and has four adult children and several grandchildren who he has been able to maintain strong relationships with. Today is the first day his grandchildren will be able to hug him outside of a prison wall. The release of the Move members, after more than forty years, is the culmination of the MOVE organization, public support, legal action, and policy changes.
Two other members of the MOVE 9 remain incarcerated (Chuck and Delbert Africa), while two others (Merle Africa and Phil Africa) died in custody. Abolitionist Law Center and People’s Law Office represent Delbert and Chuck in the struggle for their freedom. To support the fight, you may donate to the MOVE9 Legal Fund.
Press Contact:
Bret Grote, bretgrote@abolitionistlawcenter.org



Kim Kardashian visits inmate on death row at San Quentin State Prison

By Lee Brown, May 31, 2019
Kim Kardashian at San Quentin State Prison

Kim Kardashian's social justice crusade has taken her to death row.
The reality TV star spent two hours inside a cell in California's San Quentin State Prison, one of the most notorious jails in the US, as part of her latest crusade to free convicted murderer Kevin Cooper, sources confirmed.
"They met for two hours in a cell in the visitors' area of death row — a proper cell with bars," a source said.
The 38-year-old "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" star was pictured wearing an all-black jumpsuit as she entered the prison.
"Kim decided to pay a visit so she could have her first face-to-face with the guy she's trying to free," TMZ said.
She left "more convinced than ever he was framed," the site insisted.
The 61-year-old death row inmate was convicted in 1985 of four murders — including two 10-year-old children — but has maintained his innocence.
Kevin CooperCourtesy Photo
Kardashian — who is studying to be a lawyer to help her social justice mission — publicly announced her involvement in Cooper's case last year.
"Governor Brown, can you please test the DNA of Kevin Cooper?" Kardashian tweeted then-California Gov. Jerry Brown last June.
Cooper's advocates have argued that DNA found on a T-shirt that Cooper says he never wore should be retested.
The current governor of California, Gavin Newsom, has ordered that DNA testing, with results yet to be announced, according to TMZ.
Newsom is also a death penalty opponent and has decided to suspend all executions while he is in office.
Earlier this month, it emerged that Kardashian had quietly bankrolled a successful campaign to free 17 federal inmates serving life sentences for low-level drug crimes over the past three months.
Write to:
Kevin Cooper #C-65304 4-EB-82           
San Quentin State Prison
San Quentin, CA 94974



On Abortion: From Facebook

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



Celebrating the release of Janet and Janine Africa
Take action now to support Jalil A. Muntaqim's release

Jalil A. Muntaqim was a member of the Black Panther Party and has been a political prisoner for 48 years since he was arrested at the age of 19 in 1971. He has been denied parole 11 times since he was first eligible in 2002, and is now scheduled for his 12th parole hearing. Additionally, Jalil has filed to have his sentence commuted to time served by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Visit Jalil's support page, check out his writing and poetry, and Join Critical Resistance in supporting a vibrant intergenerational movement of freedom fighters in demanding his release.

48 years is enough. Write, email, call, and tweet at Governor Cuomo in support of Jalil's commutation and sign this petition demanding his release.

The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of the State of New York
Executive Chamber State Capital Building
Albany, New York 12224

Michelle Alexander – Author, The New Jim Crow
Ed Asner - Actor and Activist
Charles Barron - New York Assemblyman, 60th District
Inez Barron - Counci member, 42nd District, New York City Council
Rosa Clemente - Scholar Activist and 2008 Green Party Vice-Presidential candidate
Patrisse Cullors – Co-Founder Black Lives Matter, Author, Activist
Elena Cohen - President, National Lawyers Guild
"Davey D" Cook - KPFA Hard Knock Radio
Angela Davis - Professor Emerita, University of California, Santa Cruz
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz - Native American historian, writer and feminist
Mike Farrell - Actor and activist
Danny Glover – Actor and activist
Linda Gordon - New York University
Marc Lamont Hill - Temple University
Jamal Joseph - Columbia University
Robin D.G. Kelley - University of California, Los Angeles
Tom Morello - Rage Against the Machine
Imani Perry - Princeton University
Barbara Ransby - University of Illinois, Chicago
Boots Riley - Musician, Filmmaker
Walter Riley - Civil rights attorney
Dylan Rodriguez - University of California, Riverside, President American Studies Association
Maggie Siff, Actor
Heather Ann Thompson - University of Michigan
Cornel West - Harvard University
Institutional affiliations listed for identification purposes only
Call: 1-518-474-8390

Email Gov. Cuomo with this form

Tweet at @NYGovCuomo
Any advocacy or communications to Gov. Cuomo must refer to Jalil as:
Sullivan Correctional Facility,
P.O. Box 116,
Fallsburg, New York 12733-0116



Painting by Kevin Cooper, an innocent man on San Quentin's death row. www.freekevincooper.org

Decarcerate Louisiana

Declaration of Undersigned Prisoners
We, the undersigned persons, committed to the care and custody of the Louisiana Department of Corrections (LDOC), hereby submit the following declaration and petition bearing witness to inhumane conditions of solitary confinement in the N-1 building at the David Wade Corrections Center (DWCC). 
Our Complaint:
We, the Undersigned Persons, declare under penalty of perjury: 
1.    We, the undersigned, are currently housed in the N-1 building at DWCC, 670 Bell Hill Road, Homer, LA 71040. 
2.    We are aware that the Constitution, under the 8th Amendment, bans cruel and unusual punishments; the Amendment also imposes duties on prison officials who must provide humane conditions of confinement and ensure that inmates receive adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and must take reasonable measures to guarantee the safety of the inmates. 
3.    We are aware that Louisiana prison officials have sworn by LSA-R.S.15:828 to provide humane treatment and rehabilitation to persons committed to its care and to direct efforts to return every person in its custody to the community as promptly as practicable. 
4.    We are confined in a double-bunked six-by-nine foot or 54 square feet cell with another human being 22-hours-a-day and are compelled to endure the degrading experience of being in close proximity of another human being while defecating. 
5.    There are no educational or rehabilitation programs for the majority of prisoners confined in the N-1 building except for a selected few inmates who are soon to be released. 
6.    We get one hour and 30 minutes on the yard and/or gym seven days a week. Each day we walk to the kitchen for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, which takes about one minute to get there. We are given ten minutes to eat. 
7.    The daily planner for inmates confined in the N-1 building is to provide inmates one hour and 30 minutes on yard or gym; escort inmates to kitchen for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to sit and eat for approximately ten minutes each meal; provide a ten minute shower for each cell every day; provide one ten minute phone call per week; confine prisoners in cell 22-hours-a-day. 
8.    When we are taking a shower we are threatened by guards with disciplinary reports if we are not out on time. A typical order is: "if you are not out of shower in ten minutes pack your shit and I'm sending you back to N-2, N-3, or N-4"—a more punitive form of solitary confinement. 
9.    When walking outside to yard, gym or kitchen, guards order us to put our hands behind our back or they'll write us up and send us back to N-2, N-3, N-4. 
10.  When we are sitting at the table eating, guards order us not to talk or they'll write us up and send us back to N-2, N-3, N-4. ) 
11.  Guards are harassing us every day and are threatening to write up disciplinary reports and send us back to a more punitive cellblock (N-2, N-3, N-4) if we question any arbitrary use of authority or even voice an opinion in opposition to the status quo. Also, guards take away good time credits, phone, TV, radio, canteen, and contact visits for talking too loud or not having hands behind back or for any reason they want. We are also threatened with slave labor discipline including isolation (removing mattress from cell from 5:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M.,) strip cell (removing mattress and bedding and stationery from cell for ten to 30 days or longer), food loaf  (taking one's meal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and mixing it all together into one big mass, bake it in oven and serve it to prisoners for punishment.)
12.  When prison guards write up disciplinary reports and transfer us to the more punitive restrictive solitary confinement in N-2, N-3, N-4 or N-5, guards then enforce an arbitrary rule that gives prisoners the ultimatum of sending all their books and personal property home or let the prison dispose of it. 
13.  Louisiana prison officials charge indigent prisoners (who earn less than four cents an hour) $3.00 for routine requests for healthcare services, $6.00 for emergency medical requests, and $2.00 for each new medical prescription. They wait until our family and friends send us money and take it to pay prisoners' medical bills. 
Our concerns:
14.  How much public monies are appropriated to the LDOC budget and specifically allotted to provide humane treatment and implement the rehabilitation program pursuant to LSA- R.S.15:828? 
15.  Why does Elayn Hunt Correctional Center located in the capitol of Louisiana have so many educational and rehabilitation programs teaching prisoners job and life skills for reentry whereas there are no such programs to engage the majority of prisoners confined in the N-1, N- 2, N-3, and N-4 solitary confinement buildings at DWCC. 
16.  It is customary for Louisiana prison officials and DWCC prison guards to tell inmates confined in the prison's cellblocks to wait until transfer to prison dormitory to participate in programs when in fact there are no such programs available and ready to engage the majority of the state's 34,000 prisoner population. The programs are especially needed for prisoners confined in a six-by-nine foot or 54 square feet cell with another person for 22-or-more-hours-per-day. 
17.  Why can't prisoners use phone and computers every day to communicate with family and peers as part of rehabilitation and staying connected to the community? 
18.  Why do prisoners have to be transferred miles and miles away from loved ones to remote correctional facilities when there are facilities closer to loved ones? 
19.  Why are prison guards allowed to treat prisoners as chattel slaves, confined in cages 22-or-more-hours-per-day, take away phone calls and visitation and canteen at will, and take away earned good time credits for any reason at all without input from family, one's peers and community? 
20.  Why do the outside communities allow prison guards to create hostile living environments and conditions of confinement that leaves prisoners in a state of chattel slavery, stress, anxiety, anger, rage, inner torment, despair, worry, and in a worse condition from when we first entered the prison? 
21.  Why do state governments and/or peers in the community allow racist or bigoted white families who reside in the rural and country parts of Louisiana to run the state's corrections system with impunity? For example, DWCC Warden Jerry Goodwin institutes racist and bigoted corrections policies and practices for the very purpose of oppression, repression, antagonizing and dehumanizing the inmates who will one day be released from prison. 
22.  David Wade Correctional Center Colonel Lonnie Nail, a bigot and a racist, takes his orders from Warden Jerry Goodwin, another racist and bigot. Both Goodwin and Nail influences subordinate corrections officers to act toward prisoners in a racist or bigoted manner and with an arrogant attitude. This creates a hostile living environment and debilitating conditions of confinement for both guards and prisoners and prevents rehabilitation of inmates.
23.  In other industrialized democracies like Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, et al, it is reported that no prisoner should be declared beyond reform or redemption without first attempting to rehabilitate them. Punitive or harsh conditions of confinement are not supported because they see the loss of freedom inherent in a prison sentence as punishment enough. One Netherlands official reported that their motto is to start with the idea of "Reintegration back into society on day one" when people are locked up. "You can't make an honest argument that how someone is treated while incarcerated doesn't affect how they behave when they get out," the official added. 
24.  Additionally, some Scandinavian countries have adopted open prison programs without fences or armed guards. Prisoners who prove by their conduct that they can be trusted are placed in a prison resembling a college campus more than a prison. The result is a 20 percent recidivism rate, compared to a 67 percent rate in the United States. 
25.  The National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC) in a position statement says: "Prolonged (greater than 15 consecutive days) solitary confinement is cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, and harmful to an individual's health."
 What We Believe: 
26.  We believe that when the greater portion of public monies goes to war and the military, this leaves little funds left for community reinvestment and human development.The people have less access to resources by which to get a better idea of human behavior and rely on higher education instead of prison to solve cultural, social, political, economic problems in the system that may put people at risk to domestic violence and crime as a way to survive and cope with shortcomings in the system. 
27.  We believe that investing public monies in the rehabilitation program LSA-R.S.15:828 to teach prisoners job and life skills will redeem inmates, instill morals, and make incarcerated people productive and fit for society. 
28.  We believe that confining inmates in cellblocks 15-or-more=hours-per-day is immoral, uncivilized, brutalizing, a waste of time and counter-productive to rehabilitation and society's goals of "promoting the general welfare" and "providing a more perfect union with justice for all." 
29.  We believe that corrections officers who prove by their actions that incarcerated people are nothing more than chattel slaves are bucking the laws and creating hardening criminals and these corrections officers are, therefore, a menace to society. 
Our Demands:
30.  We are demanding a public conversation from community activists and civil rights leaders about (1) the historic relationship between chattel slavery, the retaliatory assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, and the resurrection of slavery written into the 13th Amendment; (2) the historic relationship between the 13th Amendment, the backlash against Reconstruction, Peonage, Convict Leasing, and Slavery; (3) the historic relationship between the 13th Amendment, the War Against Poverty, the War on Drugs, Criminal Justice and Prison Slavery. 
31.  We demand that the Louisiana legislature pass the Decarcerate Louisiana Anti-Slavery and Freedom Liberation Act of 2020 into law and end prison slavery and the warehousing of incarcerated people for the very purpose of repression, oppression, and using prisoners and their families and supporters as a profit center for corporate exploitation and to generate revenue to balance the budget and stimulate the state economy. 
32.  We are demanding that Warden Jerry Goodwin and Colonel Lonnie Nail step down and be replaced by people are deemed excellent public servants in good standing with human rights watchdog groups and civil rights community. 
33.  We are demanding that the LDOC provide public monies to operate state prison dormitories and cellblocks as rehabilitation centers to teach incarcerated people job and life skills five-days-a-week from 7:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. 
34.  We are demanding that the LDOC release a public statement announcing that "from this day forward it will not support punitive or harsh conditions of confinement," and that "no prisoner should be declared beyond reform or redemption without first attempting to rehabilitate them."
35.  We are demanding that the prison cellblocks be operated as open dormitories (made in part a health clinic and part college campus) so that incarcerated people can have enough space to walk around and socialize, participate in class studies, exercise, use telephone as the need arise. Prisoners are already punished by incarceration so there is no need to punish or further isolate them. Racism and abuse of power will not be tolerated. 
36.  We are demanding an end to unjust policies and practices that impose punishments and deprive incarcerated people of phone calls, visitation, canteen, good time credits, books and other personal property that pose no threat to public safety. 
37.  We are demanding that LDOC provide incarcerated people cellphones and computers to communicate with the public and stay connected to the community. 
38.  We are demanding the right to communicate with reporters to aid and assist incarcerated persons in preparing a press release to communicate to the public Decarcerate Louisiana's vision and mission statements, aims, and plans for moving forward. 
39.  We are demanding the right to participate in the U.S.-European Criminal Justice Innovation Project and share our complaint, concerns, and demands for a humane corrections program. 
40.  We are only demanding the right to enough space to create, to innovate, to excel in learning, to use scientific knowledge to improve our person and place and standing in the free world. The rule of law must support the betterment and uplifting of all humanity. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said: "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." 
41.  We demand that the responsibility for prisoner medical care be removed from DOC wardens and place it under the management of the state's health office; increase state health officer staff to better monitor prisoner healthcare and oversee vendor contracts. 
42.  We have a God-given right and responsibility to resist abuse of power from the wrongdoers, to confront unjust authority and oppression, to battle for justice until we achieve our demands for liberation and freedom. 
We, the undersigned, declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. 
Executed on this 28th Day of January 2019. 
Ronald Brooks #385964 
David Johnson #84970 
Freddie Williams #598701 
Earl Hollins #729041 
James Harris #399514 
Tyrone Carter #550354 
Kerry Carter #392013 
Ivo Richardson #317371 
Rondrikus Fulton #354313 
Kentell Simmons #601717 
Jayvonte Pines #470985 
Deandre Miles #629008 
Kenneth P. #340729 
Brandon Ceaser #421453 
Tyronne Ward #330964 
Jermaine Atkins #448421 
Charles Rodgers #320513 
Steve Givens #557854 
Timothy Alfred #502378 
—wsimg.com, January 2019



New Prison and Jail Population Figures Released by U.S. Department of Justice

By yearend 2017, the United States prison population had declined by 7.3% since reaching its peak level in 2009, according to new data released by the Department of Justice. The prison population decreases are heavily influenced by a handful of states that have reduced their populations by 30% or more in recent years. However, as of yearend 2017 more than half the states were still experiencing increases in their populations or rates of decline only in the single digits. 
Analysis of the new data by The Sentencing Project reveals that: 
  • The United States remains as the world leader in its rate of incarceration, locking up its citizens at 5-10 times the rate of other industrialized nations. At the current rate of decline it will take 75 years to cut the prison population by 50%.
  • The population serving life sentences is now at a record high. One of every seven individuals in prison – 206,000 – is serving life.
  • Six states have reduced their prison populations by at least 30% over the past two decades – Alaska, Connecticut, California, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont.  
  • The rate of women's incarceration has been rising at a faster rate than men's since the 1980s, and declines in recent years have been slower than among men.
  • Racial disparities in women's incarceration have changed dramatically since the start of the century. Black women were incarcerated at 6 times the rate of white women in 2000, while the 2017 figure is now 1.8 times that rate. These changes have been a function of both a declining number of black women in prison and a rising number of white women. For Hispanic women, the ratio has changed from 1.6 times that of white women in 2000 to 1.4 times in 2017. 
The declines in prison and jail populations reported by the Department of Justice today are encouraging, but still fall far short of what is necessary for meaningful criminal justice reform. In order to take the next step in ending mass incarceration policymakers will need to scale back excessive sentencing for all offenses, a key factor which distinguishes the U.S. from other nations. 

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[Note: China's population is 1,419,147,756* as of April 26, 2019 with 1,649,804 in prison***; while the population of the USA is 328,792,291 as of April 27, 2019** with 2,121,600 in prison.*** 



Courage to Resist
daniel hale drone activist
Drone vet turned activist facing 50 years for whistle-blowing
Daniel Hale, an Air Force veteran and former US intelligence analyst was arrested May 9th and charged with violating the Espionage Act. Daniel is a well-known anti-drone activist who has spoken out a number of anti-war events and conferences. He's a member of About Face: Veterans Against the War, and he's featured in the documentary "National Bird." For years, Daniel has expressed concern that he'd be targeted by the government.  Learn more.
Hal Muskat
Podcast: "There were US anti-war soldiers all over the world" - Hal Muskat
"I told my command officer that I wasn't going to, I was refusing my orders [to Vietnam] … In his rage, he thought if he court-martialed me, he'd have to stay in the Army past his discharge date." While stationed in Europe, Hal Muskat refused orders to Vietnam and joined the GI Movement, resulting in two court martials. This Courage to Resist podcast was produced in collaboration with the Vietnam Full Disclosure effort of Veterans For Peace. Listen to Hal Muskat's story.

Chelsea Manning returned to jail after brief release; Faces half million dollar fine in addition to another 18 months prison
chelsea manning resists
Since our last newsletter less than two weeks ago, Chelsea Manning was freed from jail when the grand jury investigating Julian Assange and WikiLeaks expired. However, a few days later, she was sent back to jail for refusing to collaborate with a new grand jury on the same subject. District Court Judge Anthony Trenga ordered Chelsea fined $500 every day she is in custody after 30 days and $1,000 every day she is in custody after 60 days -- a possible total of $502,000. Statement from Chelsea's lawyers.
Stand with Reality Winner, rally in DC
chelsea manning resists
June 3, 2019 at 7pm (Monday)
Lafayette Square, Washington DC 

Please join friends and supporters as we raise awareness of the persecution of this young veteran and brave truth teller. This marks two years of imprisonment of Reality for helping to expose hacking attempts on US election systems leading up to the 2016 presidential election. For more info, visit the "Stand with Reality" pages on Twitter or FacebookOrder "Stand with Reality" shirts, banners, and buttons from Left Together protest shirts.

484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559
www.couragetoresist.org ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist


Funds for Kevin Cooper


For 34 years, an innocent man has been on death row in California. 

Kevin Cooper was wrongfully convicted of the brutal 1983 murders of the Ryen family and houseguest. The case has a long history of police and prosecutorial misconduct, evidence tampering, and numerous constitutional violations including many incidences of the prosecution withholding evidence of innocence from the defense. You can learn more here . 

In December 2018 Gov. Brown ordered  limited DNA testing and in February 2019, Gov. Newsom ordered additional DNA testing. Meanwhile, Kevin remains on Death Row at San Quentin Prison. 

The funds raised will be used to help Kevin purchase art supplies for his paintings . Additionally, being in prison is expensive, and this money would help Kevin pay for stamps, paper, toiletries, supplementary food, and/or phone calls.

Please help ease the daily struggle of an innocent man on death row!



Don't extradite Assange!

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



Words of Wisdom

Louis Robinson Jr., 77
Recording secretary for Local 1714 of the United Auto Workers from 1999 to 2018, with the minutes from a meeting of his union's retirees' chapter.

"One mistake the international unions in the United States made was when Ronald Reagan fired the air traffic controllers. When he did that, the unions could have brought this country to a standstill. All they had to do was shut down the truck drivers for a month, because then people would not have been able to get the goods they needed. So that was one of the mistakes they made. They didn't come together as organized labor and say: "No. We aren't going for this. Shut the country down." That's what made them weak. They let Reagan get away with what he did. A little while after that, I read an article that said labor is losing its clout, and I noticed over the years that it did. It happened. It doesn't feel good."

[On the occasion of the shut-down of the Lordstown, Ohio GM plant March 6, 2019.]



To: Indiana Department of Corrections

Kevin "Rashid" Johnson Should Have Access to His Personal Property

Petition Text

1. IDOC regulation 02-01-101-VIII must be respected! Kevin Johnson (IDOC# 264847) must be allowed to select from his property the items that he most immediately needs. He has been left without any of the material he requires for contacting his loved ones, his writing (this includes books), his pending litigation, and for his artwork. 
2. Kevin Johnson (IDOC# 264847) should be released into General Population. Prolonged solitary confinement is internationally recognized as a form of torture. Moreover, he has not committed any infractions.

Sign the petition here:

you can also hear a recent interview with Rashid on Final Straw podcast here: https://thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org/post/tag/kevin-rashid-johnson/
Write to Rashid:
Kevin Rashid Johnson's writings and artwork have been widely circulated. He is the author of a book,Panther Vision: Essential Party Writings and Art of Kevin "Rashid" Johnson, Minister of Defense, New Afrikan Black Panther Party, (Kersplebedeb, 2010).

Kevin Johnson D.O.C. No. 264847
G-20-2C Pendleton Correctional Facility
4490 W. Reformatory Rd.
Pendleton, IN 46064-9001



Get Malik Out of Ad-Seg

Keith "Malik" Washington is an incarcerated activist who has spoken out on conditions of confinement in Texas prison and beyond:  from issues of toxic water and extreme heat, to physical and sexual abuse of imprisoned people, to religious discrimination and more.  Malik has also been a tireless leader in the movement to #EndPrisonSlavery which gained visibility during nationwide prison strikes in 2016 and 2018.  View his work at comrademalik.com or write him at:

Keith H. Washington
TDC# 1487958
McConnell Unit
3001 S. Emily Drive
Beeville, TX 78102
Friends, it's time to get Malik out of solitary confinement.

Malik has experienced intense, targeted harassment ever since he dared to start speaking against brutal conditions faced by incarcerated people in Texas and nationwide--but over the past few months, prison officials have stepped up their retaliation even more.

In Administrative Segregation (solitary confinement) at McConnell Unit, Malik has experienced frequent humiliating strip searches, medical neglect, mail tampering and censorship, confinement 23 hours a day to a cell that often reached 100+ degrees in the summer, and other daily abuses too numerous to name.  It could not be more clear that they are trying to make an example of him because he is a committed freedom fighter.  So we have to step up.

Who to contact:
TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier
Phone: (936)295-6371

Senior Warden Philip Sinfuentes (McConnell Unit)
Phone: (361) 362-2300



Major George Tillery
April 25, 2018-- The arrest of two young men in Starbucks for the crime of "sitting while black," and the four years prison sentence to rapper Meek Mill for a minor parole violation are racist outrages in Philadelphia, PA that made national news in the past weeks. Yesterday Meek Mills was released on bail after a high profile defense campaign and a Pa Supreme Court decision citing evidence his conviction was based solely on a cop's false testimony.
These events underscore the racism, frame-up, corruption and brutality at the core of the criminal injustice system. Pennsylvania "lifer" Major Tillery's fight for freedom puts a spotlight on the conviction of innocent men with no evidence except the lying testimony of jailhouse snitches who have been coerced and given favors by cops and prosecutors.

Sex for Lies and Manufactured Testimony
For thirty-five years Major Tillery has fought against his 1983 arrest, then conviction and sentence of life imprisonment without parole for an unsolved 1976 pool hall murder and assault. Major Tillery's defense has always been his innocence. The police and prosecution knew Tillery did not commit these crimes. Jailhouse informant Emanuel Claitt gave lying testimony that Tillery was one of the shooters.

In May and June 2016, Emanuel Claitt gave sworn statements that his testimony was a total lie, and that the homicide cops and the prosecutors told him what to say and coached him before trial. Not only was he coerced to lie that Major Tillery was a shooter, but to lie and claim there were no plea deals made in exchange for his testimony. He provided the information about the specific homicide detectives and prosecutors involved in manufacturing his testimony and details about being allowed "sex for lies". In August 2016, Claitt reaffirmed his sworn statements in a videotape, posted on YouTube and on JusticeforMajorTillery.org.

Major Tillery has Fought his Conviction and Advocated for Other Prisoners for over 30 Years

Major Tillery Needs Your Help:

Major Tillery and family

    Financial Support—Tillery's investigation is ongoing. He badly needs funds to fight for his freedom.
    Go to JPay.com;
    code: Major Tillery AM9786 PADOC

    Tell Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner:
    The Conviction Review Unit should investigate Major Tillery's case. He is innocent. The only evidence at trial was from lying jail house informants who now admit it was false.
    Call: 215-686-8000 or

    Write to:
    Security Processing Center
    Major Tillery AM 9786
    268 Bricker Road
    Bellefonte, PA 16823
    For More Information, Go To: JusticeForMajorTillery.org
    Kamilah Iddeen (717) 379-9009, Kamilah29@yahoo.com
    Rachel Wolkenstein (917) 689-4009, RachelWolkenstein@gmail.com




    On Monday March 4th, 2019 Leonard Peltier was advised that his request for a transfer had been unceremoniously denied by the United States Bureau of Prisons.

    The International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee appreciates and thanks the large number of his supporters who took the time to write, call, email, or fax the BOP in support of Leonard's request for a transfer.
    Those of us who have been supporting Leonard's freedom for a number of years are disappointed but resolute to continue pushing for his freedom and until that day, to continue to push for his transfer to be closer to his relatives and the Indigenous Nations who support him.
    44 years is too damn long for an innocent man to be locked up. How can his co-defendants be innocent on the grounds of self-defense but Leonard remains in prison? The time is now for all of us to dig deep and do what we can and what we must to secure freedom for Leonard Peltier before it's too late.
    We need the support of all of you now, more than ever. The ILPDC plans to appeal this denial of his transfer to be closer to his family. We plan to demand he receive appropriate medical care, and to continue to uncover and utilize every legal mechanism to secure his release. To do these things we need money to support the legal work.
    Land of the Brave postcard-page-0

    Please call the ILPDC National office or email us for a copy of the postcard you can send to the White House. We need your help to ask President Trump for Leonard's freedom.

    Powered by
    GoDaddy Email Marketing ®

    Free Leonard Peltier!

    Art by Leonard Peltier
    Write to:
    Leonard Peltier 89637-132
    USP Coleman 1,  P.O. Box 1033
    Coleman, FL 33521



    Working people are helping to feed the poor hungry corporations! 
    Charity for the Wealthy!


    1) New Rent Laws Pass in N.Y.: 'The Pendulum Is Swinging' Against Landlords
    The package, signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, significantly strengthened protections for all tenants in New York City.
    By Vivian Wang, June 14, 2019

    Assemblywoman Carmen Arroyo, center left, hugged Assemblywoman Diana Richardson, after a floor speech in favor of the rent law package on Friday.CreditCreditDakota Santiago for The New York Times

    ALBANY — New York lawmakers on Friday passed a sweeping package of rent laws designed to dramatically enhance tenant protections and reshape the state's housing landscape, after a monthslong battle that galvanized tenant activists and dealt a blow to the state's powerful real estate industry.
    The laws signaled a seismic shift not only in the relationship between tenants and landlords, but also in the power balance of Albany, where deep-pocketed developers had long enjoyed access and influence.
    "The pendulum is swinging," Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the leader of the Senate Democratic majority, said on the floor.
    Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed the package immediately after it was passed by the State Senate and Assembly, both controlled by Democrats. 

    The laws would immediately transform life for the 2.4 million people who live in roughly one million rent-regulated apartments in New York City, by closing loopholes that have allowed landlords to raise rents or deregulate properties. The existing rent laws were to expire on Saturday.
    The legislation's reach could also extend much farther in the coming weeks: Localities statewide will be allowed to adopt their own rent regulations, which had previously been limited to New York City and a few suburbs. 
    And other protections, such as limits on security deposits and protections against evictions, would apply to all renters, stabilized or not.
    "That is a huge reversal of a decades-long trend toward weaker laws and more loopholes and more ability for landlords to make profits," said Senator Brian Kavanagh, the Democratic chairman of his chamber's housing committee.

    The real estate industry had lobbied fiercely against the proposed changes, warning that they would discourage landlords from investing in properties and erode thousands of building workers' and contractors' jobs. They spent , hired well-connected lobbyists and pleaded their case directly to Mr. Cuomo and other top state officials.
    But their appeals met skepticism, and sometimes outright hostility, from the state's newly empowered Democrats, who took over the Legislature last year for only the third time in the last half-century.

    "For far too long, this Legislature gave landlords the tools to game the system," said Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon, a Democrat from Brooklyn, referring to the years of alliance between the industry and Republican lawmakers. "That will no longer be the case."
    The details of the package were announced on Tuesday. In the days afterward, stunned industry leaders pressed Mr. Cuomo and legislators from moderate suburban districts to retool the legislation. 
    But Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat who has received millions of dollars in real estate contributions and at times disparaged his party's left wing, rebuffed them. Though the governor has often been a larger-than-life presence in Albany legislative battles, he publicly disengaged from negotiations with lawmakers in the week before the deal was announced, expressing doubt that the Senate could reach an agreement.
    In a radio interview on Friday before the bill's passage, Mr. Cuomo said that developers who thought they would get special treatment because they had donated "don't know me at all."

    Four Democratic senators, all from Long Island, voted against the bill. But it still passed by a wide margin, 36-26. It passed in the Assembly, where Democrats hold a veto-proof majority, 95-41.
    Mr. Cuomo offered measured praise for the final package.
    "At the beginning of this legislative session, I called for the most sweeping, aggressive tenant protections in state history," he said in a statement. "I'm confident the measure passed today is the strongest possible set of reforms that the Legislature was able to pass and are a major step forward for tenants across New York."
    During the floor debate, Republican lawmakers blasted the bill as unnecessary, overbearing and economically catastrophic.
    "The housing market will never forget what we did here," Assemblyman Andy Goodell, a Republican from Western New York, said.
    Senator Andrew J. Lanza, who represents Staten Island, blasted a provision that would allow an apartment to remain in regulation even if its tenants earned more than $200,000. Previously, an apartment could be deregulated if the tenant exceeded that income threshold, or the rent exceeded $2,733.
    "You're taking this apartment from someone making $30,000 or $50,000," he said. "It just doesn't make sense to me."

    Other changes would limit landlords' abilities to pass the cost of apartment or building improvements on to tenants; guarantee certain temporary rent discounts; and make the laws permanent, rather than letting them expire every few years.
    John H. Banks, the president of the Real Estate Board of New York, said in a statement after the bill's passage that the changes would reduce tax revenue and discourage the construction of new affordable housing.
    "There was a path to responsible reform that could have protected tenants as well as owners, jobs and revenue, but Albany chose not to take it," he said.
    But Republican and industry critiques were significantly outnumbered by celebratory speeches from the Democrats, who told emotional stories of receiving calls from tenants who had been evicted, or even stories of fighting for housing stability themselves. They offered repeated thanks to tenant activists, who had packed the chambers' galleries.

    Ms. Stewart-Cousins, at times choking up with emotion, recounted growing up in public housing and the certainty it had afforded her family.
    "If we had to move every week or every month, if we were afraid that tomorrow we weren't going to have heat," she said, "I know I would not be here today."
    Jesse McKinley contributed reporting.


    2) New York City Allocates $250,000 for Abortions, Challenging Conservative States

    The money will go to a nonprofit fund that pays clinics for abortions performed on women who cannot pay, a third of whom live outside New York.
    By Nikita Stewart, June 14, 2019

    "We heard the news on the abortion bans across the country," City Councilwoman Carlina Rivera said. "Many of us in New York felt helpless. We wanted to do more."CreditCreditMarian Carrasquero/The New York Times

    New York City will spend $250,000 to help poor women who travel from other states to obtain abortions here, inserting itself into the increasingly contentious debate over access to the procedure.
    While the amount of money is relatively small, the allocation is a symbolic if provocative move as more conservative states take steps to all but ban abortion.
    The money will go to the New York Abortion Access Fund, according to City Councilwoman Carlina Rivera, a Democrat from Manhattan, and Jennifer Fermino, a spokeswoman for the Council speaker, Corey Johnson. Abortion rights activists believe that this is the first time that a city will allocate money specifically for abortions.

    City officials said the contribution, which would be included in the budget being negotiated between the Council and the mayor's office, would allow about 500 women to terminate their pregnancies.

    The city provides funding to the nonprofit Planned Parenthood, but that organization's affiliates charge patients on a sliding scale and offer a range of services. The city's public hospital system also performs abortions, but women face a bureaucracy of requests for proof of income, private insurance and Medicaid.
    The abortion access fund provides payment to clinics on behalf of women who might not be able to pay for abortions, but are not covered by insurance or Medicaid. Roughly a third of the fund goes to women who come to New York for abortions.
    "There haven't been that many city and state public officials to say we should publicly fund abortions. It's a big statement," said Aziza Ahmed, a law professor at Northeastern University in Boston. "This is a culture war to some degree."

    Nine states have passed laws to restrict abortion this year, prompting legal fights that abortion opponents hope will lead the Supreme Court, reconstituted under President Trump, to reconsider the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.

    In response, several states have passed or are considering forms of legislation that would strengthen abortion rights. 
    Earlier this week, the governor of Maine, Janet Mills, signed legislation that allows nurses and physician assistants to perform abortions, expanding services beyond those performed by doctors.
    In January, on the 46th anniversary of the Roe decision, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York signed the Reproductive Health Act that also allows medical professionals, in addition to doctors, to perform abortions. The New York bill also allows a woman to have an abortion after 24 weeks when her health or life is in danger, or the fetus is not viable.
    Before the Roe decision, New York was a haven for women seeking abortions from out of state because of its more liberal laws. Ms. Rivera, a chairwoman of the Council's Women's Caucus, said the culture-war climate made it necessary for New York to reassert itself as "the beacon for the rest of the country."
    "We heard the news on the abortion bans across the country," Ms. Rivera said. "Many of us in New York felt helpless. We wanted to do more."
    Officials with the New York Abortion Access Fund had initially sought funding through the city's health department; when those efforts fell short, the fund began working with the National Institute for Reproductive Health to persuade the city. 
    The institute felt the time was ripe for New York City to take the lead on explicitly providing funding for abortions, said Andrea Miller, the group's president, and the abortion access fund seemed perfectly suited as a recipient.

    The fund only provides women with financial assistance for abortions, unlike a public hospital or Planned Parenthood, which has several sexual and reproductive health services.
    Women seeking help can call the group, which then has a volunteer respond within 24 hours. After an assessment, the organization pays abortion bills directly to clinics. In some cases, it also refers women to groups that pay transportation costs. In 2018, the fund paid for abortions for nearly 600 women.
    For the most part, the effort to give the organization city funding, called Fund Abortion N.Y.C., was under the radar.
    Elizabeth Nash, a state policy analyst for the Guttmacher Institute, which researches abortion, said advocates were afraid to bring too much attention to the campaign for fear of derailing it. "This is something that has been done kind of quietly," she said. "I've been sitting with crossed fingers and toes."


    3) U.K. Bans Advertisements Depicting Gender Stereotypes

    No more commercials showing men struggling to do a load of laundry, or asking women if they are "beach body ready."
    By Valeriya Safronova, June 14, 2019

    Scenes that play on gender stereotypes are now banned in British advertisements.CreditCreditGetty Images

    Men unable to change diapers; women cleaning while men kick their feet up on the couch; women having trouble with parking: Scenes like these, which play on gender stereotypes, are now banned in British advertisements. Britain's advertising regulator announced the changes in December, but companies were given a six-month adjustment period before they took effect.
    The U.K.'s Advertising Standards Authority said in a statement that it will also ban ads that connect physical features with success in the romantic or social spheres; assign stereotypical personality traits to boys and girls, such as bravery for boys and tenderness for girls; suggest that new mothers should prioritize their looks or home cleanliness over their emotional health; and mock men for being bad at stereotypically "feminine" tasks, such as vacuuming, washing clothes or parenting. 

    The guidelines were developed after a report from the regulator found that gender-stereotypical imagery and rhetoric "can lead to unequal gender outcomes in public and private aspects of people's lives." The report came on the heels of a few British ads that perpetuated negative assumptions about women, including one for Protein World, a weight-loss drink, which paired a bikini-clad model with the question: "Are you beach body ready?" The posters inspired a Change.org petition with more than 70,000 signatures demanding the removal of the ads.

    The Advertising Standards Authority has been known to ban imagery it deems offensive: In 2016, the regulatory group cracked down on Gucci for using a model who looked "unhealthily thin" in a campaign, and in 2017, it banned a Rimmel commercial starring the model Cara Delevingne for excessive airbrushing that could mislead viewers. (The regulator insisted that Ms. Delevingne's eyelashes were unnaturally voluminous in the video.) More recently, the regulator criticized an ad for a Porsche dealer for objectification: In the ad, the legs and torso of a woman jut out from beneath a car with the tagline "attractive servicing" printed across.

    With the new guidelines, Britain joins countries like Belgium, France, Finland, Greece, Norway, South Africa and India, which have laws or codes of varying degrees and age that prevent gender discrimination in ads. Norway, for example, has had a law prohibiting sexism in ads since 1978. A 2004 Spanish law against gender violence prohibits ads from showing degrading images of a woman's body, and Austrian codes consider depictions that reduce a person to their sexuality discriminatory. In the U.S., guidelines on stereotypes in advertising are only offered by the group that oversees ads that target children. 
    Companies are reckoning with the problem of sexism in advertising on their own as well. In 2017, the consumer goods giant Unilever partnered with UN Women and a host of major corporations, including Google, Johnson & Johnson and Mars, to create the Unstereotype Alliance, which seeks to educate people on how advertising perpetuates biases.

    The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media worked with Google to analyze more than 2,000 English-language commercials: It found that between 2006 and 2016, the number of female characters in video advertisements remained essentially unchanged. The amount of screen time men had was fourfold that of women, and men spoke about seven times as often as women did. While ads featuring only men accounted for about a quarter of all ads, those that featured solely women made up 5 percent of the total.

    report from Lloyds Banking Group in 2016 made similar discoveries, finding that only about one-third of people shown in ads were women. They rarely occupied positions of power, and when they did, the "role was often linked to seduction, beauty or motherhood."


    4) After a 4-year-old took a doll from a store, video shows Phoenix police pulling a gun on her parents
    By Deanna Paul and Herman  Wong, June 16, 2019

    Recently released video of Phoenix officers drawing their weapons on a family and threatening to shoot has led to an internal police investigation and a $10 million lawsuit against the city and its police department.
    In a statement posted online Saturday, Phoenix police offered their own account of the incident, which began with allegations of shoplifting. The police chief, however, said she was "disturbed by the language and the actions" of the officers, and Mayor Kate Gallego called for change.
    "There is no situation in which this behavior is ever close to acceptable," Gallego said in a statement posted to Twitter on Saturday. "As a mother myself, seeing these children placed in such a terrifying situation is beyond upsetting."
    On May 29, Dravon Ames and his fiancee, Iesha Harper, said they went on a family outing with their two children, London, 1, and Island, 4. Without their knowledge, Island took a doll from a Family Dollar Store, according to a notice of claim dated Wednesday that was filed by former Arizona attorney general Thomas Horne, who is representing Ames and Harper.
    A police patrol unit followed the couple's car. Once the family members entered their babysitter's apartment complex, an officer approached the vehicle with his gun drawn and yanked open the front door, the claim said.
    Despite department rules that require police to wear body cameras, the Phoenix officers were not wearing them, the claim said. But passersby recorded the encounter. The police released one video this week, but there are others online.
    "I'm going to put a cap in your a--," one officer said to Ames as a second policeman, whose weapon was also drawn and pointed at Ames, walked up to the car, the video shows. "I'm going to shoot you in your f---ing face." 
    Both statements, Horne wrote in the claim, were made in front of the couple's children, who were in the rear of the vehicle.
    The first officer pulled Ames, 22, from the car, pushed his head to the pavement, handcuffed him and yelled that Ames better follow orders, according to the claim. The officer threw Ames against the car, ordered him to spread his legs and "kicked him in the right leg so hard that the father collapsed." Then, the officer dragged him upright and punched him in the back, the claim said.
    Once Ames was handcuffed and inside the patrol car, the officers focused their attention on Harper and the children, according to the claim.
    The two officers pointed their weapons at the visibly pregnant 24-year-old Harper and her children, the video shows and the claim stated.
    "The first officer grabbed the mother and the baby around both of their necks, and tried to take the baby out of the mother's hand," the claim alleged. "He told her to put the baby on the ground, which she was unwilling to do because the baby could not walk, and the ground consisted of hot pavement."
    The officer tried to rip Harper's youngest child from her arms, the claim stated. Eventually he threw Harper, who had handed the children to a bystander, into the police car face first and then handcuffed her.
    "I could have shot you in front of your f---ing kids," he said, according to the claim.
    Since May 29, the 4-year-old has been having nightmares and is wetting the bed, and Ames, whose car was impounded, has been limping and is without transportation to get to work, the claim stated.
    Neither Ames nor Harper were arrested or ticketed, though they were detained by the police, the Phoenix New Times reported.
    The notice of claim alleged that the police officers "committed battery, unlawful imprisonment, false arrest, infliction of emotional distress, and violation of civil rights under the fifth and 14th amendments of the United States Constitution."
    Horne told The Washington Post that the city has 60 days to respond before he files the lawsuit.
    The Phoenix Police Department did not return The Post's request for comment, but in a statement posted to Facebook on Saturdaycontested many details in the claim. It said the incident occurred on May 27, not May 29, and began when a store manager alerted authorities of alleged shoplifters.
    Officers located the vehicle at an apartment complex about a mile away and claim the "male driver" told officers he had stolen a package of underwear, which he had thrown out the window, and that he was driving with a suspended license. Police claim a woman in the vehicle said she believed the child stole the doll and that she heard officers tell "the driver to stop with car several times, but he didn't."
    According to police, no one was arrested for shoplifting because the store manager declined to prosecute.
    Horne denied the department's version of events.
    "There are some things that are true and some we dispute," he told The Post. "None of the discrepancies affect the outrage as to the way the officers treated these people who never resisted and were always compliant."
    Phoenix police said they became aware of the video on June 11, "showing extremely offensive and unprofessional language and actions by the officers during the arrests," who have been assigned to desk duty while their actions are being investigated. On June 14, Police Chief Jeri Williams said on Facebook that she began an internal investigation into the incident once she became aware of the video.
    "This incident is not representative of the majority of Phoenix police officers who serve this city," Williams said.
    Gallego said she was "deeply sorry for what this family went through" and would quicken the deployment of body cameras in the police force.
    "This is not who we are, and I refuse to allow this type of behavior to go unchallenged," she said, announcing a community meeting with Williams on Tuesday to discuss concerns.
    In 2018, Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, was involved in a record number of police-involved shootings, nearly doubling numbers from 2017, according to the Arizona Republic. Phoenix police officers were responsible for more than half of them.


    5) Black Bodies, Green Spaces
    Why is the image of an environmentally conscious African-American still hard for us to picture?
    By Tiya Miles, June 15, 2019

    Naeem, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 2016.CreditCreditNaima Green, from "Jewels From the Hinterland"
    "Black people — we need a better publicist," the comedian Wanda Sykes declares in her new Netflix special, "Not Normal." 
    Ms. Sykes has just told the story of a black security guard in Chicago who apprehended a gunman and then was himself shot by the police. Her solution for changing the perception of African-Americans as dangerous is a nationwide publicity campaign featuring photos of black people doing "fun, nonthreatening, frivolous" stuff — bowling, for instance, or "something environmental" like taking out the recycling. Ms. Sykes reaches for an imaginary waste bin and tips one foot at a perky angle that says she is ready for do-gooder action, sending the crowd into uproarious laughter.
    I wondered, as I watched (and chuckled), what makes this image of Ms. Sykes taking out the recycling so funny? At least part of the laughter is elicited by an unspoken asymmetry that viewers can recognize regardless of their racial identity: the image of a black woman being "environmental" versus the picture of the environmentalist that most Americans carry around in their heads.

     More than 30 years into the movement for environmental justice, and more than a decade into a global, multiracial campaign led by groups like 350.org to raise awareness about climate change and push governments into action, many Americans still do not associate black people with environmental engagement. But this notion of African-Americans existing apart from natural environments is more than just a contemporary stereotype ripe for satire; it all but ignores crucial aspects of American experience. The truth is that African-Americans' relationship to the environment is complicated and runs deep.

    The tension in American culture between black people and anything environmental does have a basis in history. Before 1900, 90 percent of African-Americans lived in the South, where many had been enslaved and then exploited as sharecroppers in rural areas. After two waves of migration between World War I and 1970, almost half of black Americans had relocated to the urban North and West. Blacks' determination to flee the horrors of the Southern rural landscape played out in long-distance moves to cities like Cleveland, Indianapolis, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia and San Francisco. Blacks became associated with gritty cities, disassociated from nature in the popular view.
    As African-Americans moved in, white urbanites began moving out to spaces in between the city and country — rolling green suburbs with colorful flower gardens and tree-lined streets. White Americans with the means to settle into suburbs and vacation in state and national parks seemed to fit the picture of leisure-time naturalists promoted by white nature writers and conservationists described in the sociologist Dorceta Taylor's "The Rise of the American Conservation Movement."
    It is true that African-American attitudes toward nature were (and remain) conflicted. For most of American history, land was a bludgeon used against the bodies of black people, who were forced to work it to raise tobacco, rice and cotton while being deprived of that bounty.

    When African-Americans left the South en masse, they spat on the memory of life-stealing cotton fields. But they also cherished the memory of Southern pines, meandering rivers, tropical flowers and the delicious dishes made from local plants and animals. In "The Warmth of Other Suns," the journalist Isabel Wilkerson captures the wondrous beauty of this environment that migrants abandoned, detailing the story of her own grandmother's sweet-smelling, night-blooming cereus flower around which an annual neighborhood ritual formed. Black departure from the South, while necessary for safety and opportunity, was cloaked in the loss of that regional beauty.

    The writer Margaret Walker summoned this collective nostalgia in her poem "Southern Song": "I want to rest again in southern fields, in grass and hay and clover/bloom; to lay my hand again upon the clay baked by a/southern sun, to touch the rain-soaked earth and smell/ the smell of soil." Out of those mixed feelings of longing and relief, migrants remembered and remade connections with nature, reproducing rural lands in miniature through gardens and chickens kept in the yards. Cities are, after all, spaces of nature, which is why the collard greens from our grandmothers' urban gardens always tasted so good. The grass in these cities, if not greener, was still grass.
    More difficult to contend with, though, is the legacy of slavery, tenant farming and convict lease labor in rural locales. The African-American ties to this land, unfairly seized from Indigenous people, are ugly and thick. As the poet Robert Hass put it in an essay detailing the ebb and flow of African-American relations with the earth: "In the tradition of the spirituals, 'black nature' is slavery." 
    But even in that long, dark tunnel of suffering, African-Americans recognized the capacity of nature to function as a resource — better still, an ally — in the fight for physical and psychological freedom. Like the Red Sea that parted to allow the Israelites' flight from Egypt, features of the environment could become instrumental in their escapes.
    Nature often played a saving role as snake- and gator-infested swamps, moss-draped forests and rushing rivers sheltered their movements. Fugitives' use of stars in the night sky to navigate treks north is legendary. The natural world could support their escape attempts if only they watched and worked with it.
    Margaret Garner, whose story was memorialized in Toni Morrison's novel "Beloved," depended on the cycles of the Ohio River to carry out a daring and ultimately tragic escape. 
    Enslaved in rural Kentucky and most likely sexually abused by her owner, Archibald Gaines, since her teenage years, Margaret married Robert Garner, an enslaved man on a nearby plantation. A mother of four, Margaret was pregnant again at 22. These children were the progeny of her husband and also, the record suggests, Gaines. In January 1856, the Garners sought freedom by crossing the Ohio River. The waterway had frozen over that month, forming what the scholars Nikki Taylor and Henry Louis Gates Jr. have called "a natural footbridge to freedom."
    While the Garners did make it to the safety of a relative's home in Cincinnati, they were quickly surrounded by Gaines and armed officers. When Margaret Garner realized her family would be recaptured, she took the life of her toddler daughter to save her from slavery.

    The perils of black life during slavery required a hyper-awareness of nature not only as a material resource but also as a spiritual one. Frederick Douglass, in his well-known escape from slavery, was also strengthened through this sort of partnership with nature.
    The historian David Blight describes Douglass's flight, quoting Douglass himself: "Frederick found temporary safety in the woods, where the weary fugitive lay down on a bed of leaves, 'shut in with nature, and nature's God.'" Douglass, fleeing the farm of the sadistic "slavebreaker" Edward Covey, was discovered by an enslaved man, Sandy Jenkins, who was crossing the woods to visit his free wife. The couple sheltered Douglass in their cabin for the night. There, Jenkins acted as adviser, telling Douglass he had no way of evading Covey, so in the morning he should return to the farm, but fortified.
    Jenkins, described by Douglass as a "genuine African," provided Douglass with a protective charm, or "root," procured from a different part of the woods and instructed him to wear it on his right side, to protect the teenager from being whipped by Covey or "any other white man." Later, when Covey attempted another assault, Douglass fought back and won, protecting his person and dignity. Douglass was unsure whether he believed in the magical powers of his new charm, but the exchange with Jenkins had set Douglass on a course toward psychological and physical freedom, a process he described as "how a slave was made a man."
    Over time, the abundant natural environment that sustained this profound human drama itself became a casualty of it. As white planters and farmers extended the system of slavery west and directed enslaved people to clear more lands for cotton, forests receded, ecosystems changed, and familiar routes to escape and wooded areas used for the collection of special roots shrank. Enslaved people's knowledge of the natural world, though rich and bountiful, became less applicable in a drastically altered environment.
    And this is where we — not just African-Americans but we as a species — find ourselves today, face to face with the complex and troubling source of the comedian's joke. 
    The journalist David Wallace-Wells is surely right when asserting in his book "The Uninhabitable Earth" that there is no analogue in human experience for this climate crisis. But in some ways, our present reality echoes that of enslaved black people. As we drastically reconfigure the land and climate, we undercut the environmental knowledge we have collectively gathered and curtail our own (and our children's) possibilities for freedom and security. We will all suffer that loss.

    Carolyn Finney has asserted in the book "Black Faces, White Spaces" that the notion of black people being aliens in the outdoors is a "whitewashing" of history. We should not accept this false narrative, but instead recognize the long tradition of African-American environmentalism, extending from the time of slavery to the farming cooperatives of the mid-20th century, the preservation of traditional food production, and even healing root work in the South. Today the innovative contributions of activists like the Midwestern food scholar Monica White, the South Bronx community organizer Majora Carter and the Sierra Club past president Aaron Mair carry on that tradition. 
    The African-American environmental consciousness is real, profound and hard-won. As the sixth mass extinction unfolds around us species by fragile species, as the rivers and seas rise above the sand bags and levees, there is no more escape into nature for the descendant of the slave or the descendant of the suburbanite. 
    But perhaps there is still an escape with nature from the storm we have wrought. As the Detroit poet Robert Hayden wrote in "Ice Storm," an elegy to the Northern environment that continued to witness black pain even after the change migration had brought, "The trees themselves, as in winters past,/ will survive their burdening,/ broken thrive."

    Tiya Miles is a professor of history at Harvard and the author of "The Dawn of Detroit: A Chronicle of Slavery and Freedom in the City of the Straits."


    6) A Teenager Had Nearly Escaped a Raging Fire. Then He Heard a Little Girl's Cries.
    Lucas Silverio had almost reached safety when he heard 3-year-old Yasleen McDonald cry out. He turned back toward the flames.
    By Aaron Randle, June 16, 2019

    Jesse Alvarez, Mr. Silverio's cousin, hugged France McDonald, center, after the funeral for Mr. McDonald's 3-year-old daughter, Yasleen.CreditGabriella Angotti-Jones for The New York Times


    France McDonald stood outside his 3-year-old daughter's funeral last week in tears, smoking a cigarette and wondering what kind of man he was. 
    If he were fleeing from a burning building, trying to lead his family to safety — his skin stinging with heat, his lungs filling with smoke — and he heard a child crying out from the flames behind him: What would he have done?
    "I can't imagine it. On one hand you've got your family. But then, it's a little girl," McDonald said as he wiped his eyes. "I don't know, man." 
    But 19-year-old Lucas Silverio did know. It's why he died on Wednesday. 
    The Bronx teen went into cardiac arrest, with more than 80 percent of his body covered in third-degree burns, three days after he rescued Yasleen McDonald, Mr. McDonald's daughter, from an apartment fire on June 9 in the Bronx. She died a day later.

    The tragedy, and Mr. Silverio's heroism, have captivated New York City and left many astonished at the selflessness of the teenager.
    But to those who knew Mr. Silverio, nothing about what he did was surprising. 
    "He had such an immense heart, so full of love," his second cousin, Jesse Alvarez, said. "Knowing who he was — there's no way he was going to leave that kid behind."
    To his girlfriend, cousins, friends, uncles and high school classmates, altruism and compassion were Mr. Silverio's trademarks.
    "The first word that comes to my mind is 'kind,'" said his girlfriend, Yamilet Rosario. 
    Ms. Rosario thought of the time she scolded Mr. Silverio after he had given money to a panhandler on the subway, for what seemed like "the hundredth time in a row." Or how annoyed she would get when a stranger would stop Mr. Silverio on the street and he would always — always — stop and listen, no matter how ridiculous the conversation.

    "I didn't know a person could be so good," she said. "Things like this, they shouldn't happen to good people. This should have been avoided."

    There is no official word on what started the fire on June 9 in the Twin Parks complex that killed two and injured 11. 
    The blaze, which began around 2 a.m., started between the 14th and 16th floors, near the apartment's trash compactor, according to the Fire Department. The fire marshal is investigating the cause. 
    Earlier that night, the Silverio family — Mr. Silverio, his mother, several aunts, a grandmother and a cousin, Jeury Martinez, among others — had gathered inside a 15th-floor apartment to celebrate Mr. Silverio's younger brother's confirmation as a Roman Catholic, Mr. Alvarez said. 
    After the celebration ended, Mr. Silverio showered. It was while he was in the bathroom that he heard his mother shouting about a fire, according to Mr. Alvarez. He quickly exited the shower and attempted to dress. "No time!" his mother yelled before telling him to just wrap with a towel and get out. 
    By the time Mr. Silverio left the bathroom, most of the family had already begun the trek through the smoky corridors and down the winding 15-floor stretch of stairwell. Mr. Silverio joined his cousin, who was escorting their grandmother to safety. 
    "It was pandemonium," said Kina Laws, a Twin Parks tenant who lives below Mr. Silverio's family on the 14th floor. "Pure chaos."

    It was somewhere between the 12th and 14th floor, while escorting his grandmother, that the teenager heard the cries of 3-year-old Yasleen. 
    It is unclear how Yasleen, who Mr. McDonald said was in the apartment with her mother and other relatives, became isolated.
    "At that moment Lucas told Jeury, 'Take grandma downstairs, I'm going to go back and get the little girl,'" Mr. Alvarez said. He then turned and went back toward the fire to grab Yasleen. 
    "He was safe," said Carlos Mendoza, Mr. Silverio's uncle. He "could have got out of there. He sacrificed himself." 
    Soon after the young man located the girl, an explosion knocked him to the floor, disorienting him. The blast awoke Ms. Laws on the 13th floor. A number of residents said that no sprinklers or alarmswent off during the fire.
    "I got up and opened my door, and the smoke came into my apartment so quick and so thick I couldn't breathe," Ms. Laws said. She grabbed her 4-year-old daughter, wrapped her in a bath towel and began their escape.
    On the 12th-floor landing came a scene of horror.
    "There was a naked man bleeding and his skin was falling off," Ms. Laws said. "And I saw another man trying to help him up."

    Ms. Laws said she tried to convince the man, Mr. Martinez, to leave the burned teenager. "He was trying to drag him and I just thought — looking at how bad it was — that he might make it worse," she recalled. "I thought we should go and get help."
    But he refused to leave his cousin. The two had always been inseparable, friends said. They were best friends, born one week apart. 
    Scared by the chaos and worried for her daughter, Ms. Laws said she was too nervous to stay and try to convince Mr. Martinez to come along. So she kept moving. 
    "I had to step over him," she said. "I wanted to help. God I wanted to help, but I had my daughter." 
    She exited the building, and, soon after, so did Mr. Martinez and the critically injured Mr. Silverio and Yasleen. 
    Mr. Alvarez has been the sole public spokesman for the family since the tragedy, and has also been spearheading fund-raising efforts to assist with Mr. Silverio's funeral costs.
    For two days, Mr. Silverio's family sat by his side in the hospital as he slipped in and out of consciousness, fueling him with words about how the tale of his heroism had spread.

    "In a week you'll be out of this," Ms. Rosario told her boyfriend as he was unconscious. "And you'll see: Everybody thinks you're a hero." She made plans for how the two would spend her birthday on June 19 together. 
    Mr. Silverio was studying at Bronx Community College to become a physical therapist, his cousin said. 
    "We were like brothers. I loved that kid so much," Mr. Alvarez said. "This is total devastation." 
    Mr. Alvarez, who has also acted as a kind of ambassador between the two families, first met Mr. McDonald at Yasleen's funeral on Thursday, one day before Mr. Silverio's funeral, which took place on Friday afternoon. 
    With embraces and tears, the two families, bonded by tragedy, waded through the pain together. 
    They celebrated, too. 
    "Lucas, he's a hero. No other way to put it," Mr. McDonald said emphatically. He then paused.
    "What clicked in his head to go save my little girl?" he asked.
    "It wasn't his head," answered Mr. McDonald's younger brother, Paris, who had been standing nearby.
    "It was his heart. That was all heart."


    7) Phoenix Mayor Apologizes After Police Draw Guns on Family Over Report of Stolen Doll
    By Mihir Zaveri and Sandra E. Garcia, June 16, 2019

    Dravon Ames, Iesha Harper and their two children were driving to a babysitter after shopping at a Family Dollar store when a police car pulled them over.Creditvia Twitter

    The mayor of Phoenix apologized on Saturday after videos showed that police officers in the city who had been responding to a report of a shoplifting had drawn their weapons, shouted expletives, and threatened to shoot a man in the face in front of his young children.
    The mayor, Kate Gallego, said in a statement that she was "sick" over what she had seen in the videos.
    "It was completely inappropriate and clearly unprofessional," she said. "There is no situation in which this behavior is ever close to acceptable. As a mother myself, seeing these children placed in such a terrifying situation is beyond upsetting."

    The episode has drawn widespread attention as police encounters with civilians have faced heightened scrutiny, which is increasingly augmented by videos captured by bystanders on cellphones or by officers' body cameras.

    Dravon Ames and Iesha Harper of Phoenix, the couple seen in the videos, said officers had violated their civil rights and engaged in brutality during the episode, according to a notice of claim — a precursor to a lawsuit — that their lawyer sent to the city.
    The lawyer, Thomas C. Horne, a former Arizona state attorney general, said the officers' actions had been "traumatic and utterly unjustified."
    A day before the mayor released her statement, the Phoenix police chief, Jeri Williams, posted a video to the Police Department's Facebook page saying she had been "disturbed by the language and the actions of our officer."
    "I do want you to know that I expect our employees to maintain their professionalism and proper training at all times," said Chief Williams, who asked that the officers be taken off the street and placed on desk duty.

    On Sunday, Senator Kamala Harris of California, who is seeking the Democratic Party's nomination for president, said in a tweet that the officers' actions were "indefensible."
    "We want and expect law enforcement to protect and respect, not target and intimidate," she said. "We need stronger, independent police oversight and bias training, to root out and prevent abuses."

    The Phoenix Law Enforcement Association, the union that represents officers, did not respond to emails on Sunday.
    No charges were filed in connection with the episode, which started at a Family Dollar store. What preceded the events is in dispute. Neither side could even agree on when it had happened: The notice of claim said it had been May 29, and the police officers said it had been May 27.
    Two videos of the encounter show officers yelling. Shouting expletives, they tell Mr. Ames to get his hands up. An officer can be heard saying that he's going to "put a cap" in Mr. Ames's head. As Mr. Ames exits the vehicle, an officer presses him against the pavement and handcuffs him, then pushes him against a police vehicle.
    The footage shows another officer pointing his firearm toward the car as the couple's 4-year-old daughter exits the car from the back seat, followed by Ms. Harper, who is carrying her 1-year-old daughter in one arm. An officer yells at her to put the child on the ground and then grabs her arm.

    The Police Department said on Facebook that the episode had begun after a store manager had alerted an officer to a possible shoplifting occurrence and had said that those being sought were getting into a car. The department said officers had found the couple's car a mile away from the store.
    The department said Mr. Ames had admitted he had stolen a package of underwear that he had thrown out of the car window and had said that he was also driving with a suspended license.
    Mr. Horne disputed the police account and said officers had been alerted by an "anonymous alleged witness" that the couple had been shoplifting, and had followed them to the apartment complex without their patrol car sirens on.
    The notice of claim said the couple had not realized until they were back at their car that their 4-year-old daughter had walked out of the store with a doll.
    The couple had been driving to their babysitter's home when a police car pulled in behind them, according to the notice. Once the couple was in the parking lot, an officer had walked up to the driver's side with a gun drawn, Mr. Horne wrote, adding that the officer then opened the door and began to shout at Mr. Ames.
    A second officer pointed a gun at Ms. Harper, who had been sitting in the back seat on the driver's side and who was "pregnant, which was obvious from her appearance," Mr. Horne wrote.
    The door to the car was malfunctioning and the couple could not get out of the car, the notice said. The officer walked around the car with his gun drawn and dragged Ms. Harper and her daughters out of the car by the neck, according to the notice.

    The store did not press charges, Mr. Horne said. An employee at the store declined to comment on Sunday, and said a manager was unavailable.
    Mr. Horne said Mr. Ames had denied telling the police officers that he had stolen underwear.
    The mayor said she was calling for a community meeting on June 18 in which the police chief was expected to answer questions from the public.


    8) A Prison Death, a Mysterious Autopsy and Official Silence
    By Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura, June 18, 2019

    Everett Palmer Jr. died last year in a jail cell in York County, Pa., after being arrested on an old drunken driving charge.

    The only certainty the family of Everett Palmer Jr. has — after months of demanding answers — is that he was alive when he was sent to York County Prison and that he was dead 48 hours later. 
    But what happened to Mr. Palmer during two days in solitary confinement at the Pennsylvania lockup remains a mystery.
    When his body arrived at a funeral home, it showed troubling signs: Mr. Palmer's head had been badly damaged and a ring of black and purple bruises ran around his neck, according to the funeral director, who was the first to see the remains.
    "I think he was murdered," Mr. Palmer's mother, Rose Palmer, said as she choked back tears last week at the Maranatha Baptist Church in Queens Village, near the family's home.

    The Pennsylvania State Police and the York County district attorney will say only that the death, first reported by NY1, is still under investigation.
    After 14 months, Mr. Palmer's family has not been given permission to see video footage of his detention. The York County Coroner's Office concluded in an autopsy report, obtained by The New York Times, that the manner of Mr. Palmer's death was "undetermined." 
    Adding to the Palmer family's grief and confusion, the former soldier's brain, heart and throat — perhaps holding clues that could shed light on how he died — still have not been returned after the autopsy. 
    On Monday, his mother and six siblings filed a motion in a Pennsylvania court seeking to compel testimony from the guards and others involved, as well as to gain access to evidence, including a video of Mr. Palmer's final moments. 
    "There has been no explanation of what happened to Everett Palmer," said Lee Merritt, a lawyer representing the family. "We believe that an in-custody death demands a certain level of transparency that has been lacking."

    Mr. Palmer's case received nationwide attention recently over the family's claims that his organs had gone missing. (They had not; they are being retained in a lab for investigation, the York County Coroner's Office said.) 
    But how he died in custody and why the authorities seem reluctant to release their findings remain the bigger mystery.

    Though the York County Coroner's Office has said it could not say for sure how Mr. Palmer died, an independent forensic expert hired by Mr. Palmer's family offered a different verdict: homicide, involving physical restraint under police custody.
    One contributing factor in his death was methamphetamine intoxication, pathologists for the family and the coroner's office agree, raising questions about how he obtained drugs while confined alone and stripped of his belongings. 
    The official autopsy report's inconclusive findings help "law enforcement avoid the appropriate scrutiny of their actions," Mr. Merritt said.
    David Sunday, the York County district attorney, said he could not provide information about "ongoing investigations." Ryan Tarkowski, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania State Police, also declined to comment, saying the investigation is open.

    Mark Walters, a spokesman for York County, said that evidence in the case has not been made public because investigators have not completed their work. 
    "I don't understand why people don't take a step back," he said in an interview. "This is the way investigations work. You want to make sure that everything is right, and done with integrity. Do you want to have an investigation that lasts five minutes? It's going to take time."
    Pamela Gay, who leads the York County Coroner's Office, said that Mr. Palmer's organs would be released to the family once the inquiry is over. 
    "Things aren't evident right away," she said. "We've done everything by the book. We want to do this with the utmost integrity and professionalism."
    Mr. Palmer, a 41-year-old father of two, was a brawny paratrooper turned fitness trainer who most recently lived in Seaford, Del. He had been taking medication for post-traumatic stress disorder, his relatives said.
    Mr. Palmer's family said he was on his way to New York on April 7, 2018, to see his mother, who was about to have an operation. He had been hoping to stop in Lancaster, Pa., to resolve an outstanding warrant. A year and a half earlier, he been arrested in rural York County on charges of drunken driving.
    But instead of resolving the case and continuing with his trip, he was arrested by the Lancaster police and detained on $5,000 bail, the family said.
    When Mr. Palmer arrived at the York County jail, he was agitated and "rambling," and talked about having suicidal thoughts, the autopsy report said. He was placed on suicide watch in a single-person cell and medical staff checked on him multiple times.
    Two days later, at around 4 a.m., Mr. Palmer was seen striking his head on his cell room door, the autopsy report said, cutting and puncturing the back of his head and leaving bloody traces on the door, the report said. 
    An officer ordered him to lie down and put his arms behind his back, the report said. When Mr. Palmer failed to comply, an officer used a Taser on him — twice. Five officers then entered his cell, and a 23-minute scuffle ensued. Mr. Palmer kicked and bit the officers who tried to pin him down.
    "The officers secured the decedent by various physical control techniques including securing his midsection and lower extremities, securing his hand by applying handcuffs to his wrists," the report read. 
    A hood intended to stop him from biting was placed over his head. "The officers lifted him out of the cell and into the restraint chair and applied the lap belt, leg restraints and hand restraints," the report said.
    The report confirmed the existence of security camera video of the incident. But the coroner wrote that the "video footage of events inside the decedent's cell did not give a clear picture" of everything the officers did to restrain Mr. Palmer. 
    Mr. Palmer was taken first to the jail infirmary, then to York Hospital, where he was pronounced dead before 6 a.m. on April 9, the report said.

    The coroner's office concluded that Mr. Palmer died of "complications following an excited state, associated with methamphetamine toxicity, during physical restraint." 
    The doctor who performed the autopsy, Ramon Starling-Roney, noted in the report that Mr. Palmer had "multiple bruises along the head, extremities, left hip and left side of the torso" and said that sickle cell disease was a contributing factor to his death. (Mr. Palmer's family maintains he did not have that illness.) 
    Zhongxue Hua, the forensic pathologist hired by the family, came to a similar conclusion about the cause of death, but said Mr. Palmer would not have died had he not been violently restrained. 
    "It should be changed to 'homicide', instead of 'undetermined,'" he said in an interview. "I agree with the cause of death, but I have a real issue with the manner of death."
    Ephraim George, a funeral director in New York City, was the first person to look at Mr. Palmer's body after the an autopsy. "You could definitely see the bruising around the neck," Mr. George said. "It went around his neck, on both sides. I told the family, 'You need to look further into it.'"
    Mrs. Palmer, the mother, said she had not slept well for over a year.
    "All I do is think about my child. What happened, how it happened," she said. "And because I don't know, I have all kinds of scenarios going around in my brain."
    She added, "It's torture."



    Protesters outside California State Prison at San Quentin in 2004.

    Kevin Cooper's name has been in the papers in recent weeks, as it has been on and off for 35 years. This time, it was because Kim Kardashian visited himin prison, part of her advocacy for those she believes were wrongly convicted.

    Cooper was sentenced to death for the hacking murders of Douglas and Peggy Ryen, their 10-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old neighbor. The Ryens' 8-year-old son, Josh, survived his throat being slashed.
    A reality show star is among Cooper's best hopes for exoneration, and the media is generally focusing not on the case, but on backlash against her. These are only the two most recent examples of how Cooper's case exemplifies so much that is wrong with our system. Since his 1983 arrest, Cooper's treatment has exposed one systemic failure after another.
    Cooper describes his childhood as abusive and troubled. His first involvement with the system was at age 7, after he ran away from his adoptive family to escape beatings. He turned to shoplifting and marijuana use, ending up in juvenile detention. In his mid-20s, Cooper was sentenced to four years for burglary, but he wasn't sent to an ordinary prison. He was sent to the California Institution for Men, in Chino, which, despite the conformist name, was founded in 1941 as an experiment in prison reform. It was built to alleviate overcrowding, violence, and oppression in California's other prisons, which newspapers described as "powder kegs ready to explode."
    The man hired to imagine this new system was Kenyon J. Scudder, a veteran penologist who had ideas for how to improve the prison system he saw as archaic and inhumane. Under Scudder, the institution, nicknamed Chino, was rooted in the idea that "prisoners are people," and it sought to treat those incarcerated with dignity.
    Chino's first class of 34 prisoners included those with convictions for minor offenses along with those who were convicted for violent crimes. Chino didn't use terms like "warden" or "guards." Scudder was the "superintendent," and his guards were "supervisors," mostly college-educated people who had never before worked in prisons. This was to avoid any punitive mindsets. Scudder de-emphasized security and weapons, and trained his staff in conflict resolution.  Prisoners chose their own clothing and their own jobs. Their cells were not locked, and instead of a 25-foot wall with gun towers, as was suggested, Scudder built only a five-strand barbed-wire fence. He encouraged loved ones to visit, permitting physical contact, and he refused to segregate on racial lines. Today, this kind of prison would be considered a quixotic dream.
    "For a brief period of time, it seemed that other prisons around the world would follow Chino's lead," write Emily Nagisa Keehn and Dana Walters of the Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School. "In the early 1950s, prison experts at the International Penal and Penitentiary Congress agreed that open prisons should eventually replace traditional cell-based prisons for nearly all types of [prisoners]." In 1955, a United Nations resolutionechoed the sentiment. But Chino eventually morphed into a traditional maximum security prison. Several factors doomed Scudder's vision, all part of the tough-on-crime movement, but one high-profile escape was particularly damaging to the model: In 1983, Kevin Cooper walked out of the prison a day after arriving, and was soon the lead suspect in four gruesome murders.
    It makes no sense––morally, financially, or logically––to ignore the good of any given endeavor because one person abused it. But what happened in Chino is part of a pattern wherein politicians act cowardly and walk away from progressive and promising models, usually at the expense of the least enfranchised.
    The system was not done exposing its worst in Cooper's case. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote an exhaustive and devastating column detailing the evidence indicating that Cooper was framed by law enforcement for the murders. "In 1983, four people were murdered in a home in Chino Hills, California," he begins. "The sole survivor of the attack said three white intruders had committed the murders. Then a woman told the police that her boyfriend, a white convicted murderer, was probably involved, and she gave deputies his bloody coveralls. So here's what sheriff's deputies did: They threw away the bloody coveralls and arrested a young black man named Kevin Cooper.
    As in so many cases, Cooper's trial was, to put it mildly, racially charged. One man brought a noose around a stuffed gorilla to a hearing. According to Cooper's current lawyer, "he didn't have a half-decent defense." The crime was high profile and law enforcement was under pressure to punish someone. Kristof dispatches with the evidence against Cooper by exposing law enforcement negligence, such as when the district attorney shut down the on-scene investigation "for fear, he said, of gathering so much evidence that defense experts could spin complicated theories." Kristof also exposes probable lies, like when a deputy suspected of planting evidence claimed not to have entered the room where the evidence was found, but his fingerprints were found there. Various judges have concluded that Cooper was framed. Kristof notes that the bloody coveralls were not the only evidence pointing to a different culprit, but it was all ignored.
    Cooper also faced politicians who cared more about saving face than saving the life of a possibly innocent person. Kamala Harris, as district attorney of California, refused to permit advanced DNA testing that could have exonerated Cooper. It was only after Kristof's column was widely shared, and Harris was no longer in a position to help, that she reversed her position. Former Governor Jerry Brown waited until the very end of his term to finally order new DNA testing, but, as the Los Angeles Times reported, he "inexplicably stopped short of ordering all the testing needed." Shortly after Gavin Newsom took office as governor, he ordered additional DNA testing. The results are pending.
    Not everyone caught in the criminal legal system prompts backsliding on reform, and not everyone is hit with high-profile murder charges. Not everyone is framed. And very few have Kim Kardashian fighting for them. But plenty of people have been railroaded because of their race, their class, or their education. And plenty of people have been disbelieved because law enforcement says otherwise, regardless of how implausible the police story is. Plenty have faced arbitrary refusals of those in power to get to the truth. And a tremendous number have suffered because politicians rolled back reforms after isolated incidents of abuse. Cooper understands all this.
    "I don't have any confidence," he told Kristof. "I don't believe in the system." Cooper believes that the criminal legal system is unfair to poor people and non-white people. "I'm frameable, because I'm an uneducated black man in America," he said. "Sometimes it's race, and sometimes it's class." He is writing a memoir. "That's my motivating factor to get out of here, to tell my story and tell the truth about this rotten-a** system," he said.


    10) A Blow Against Racism in Jury Selection
    The Supreme Court took a Mississippi prosecutor to task for repeatedly excluding black jurors from a murder trial.
    By The Editorial Board

    CreditCreditChristopher Lee for The New York Times

    The Supreme Court on Friday reversed the conviction of Curtis Flowers, a death row inmate who has faced trial six times for a quadruple murder in 1996 at a furniture store in Winona, Miss., a crime he has said he did not commit. In Flowers v. Mississippi, the court issued a clarion statement that racism has no place in the courtroom.
    Writing for himself and six of his colleagues, the court’s newest justice, Brett Kavanaugh, said that “the extraordinary facts” of Mr. Flowers’s case showed that the state of Mississippi — or more specifically, Doug Evans, the prosecutor in the case — violated the dictates of Batson v. Kentucky, a landmark 1986 ruling that prohibits the striking of potential jurors on the basis of their race.
    Justice Kavanaugh examined the record in painstaking detail and noted that in Mr. Flowers’s six trials, Mr. Evans had struck 41 of 42 black potential jurors — and at the sixth trial, the one directly under review by the Supreme Court, Mr. Evans had done the same with five of the six. At that trial, Mr. Evans asked potential black jurors an average of 29 questions each. He asked the 11 white jurors who were eventually seated an average of one question each.

    Justice Kavanaugh said that the “dramatically disparate questioning” of black jurors to find a pretext to strike them “strongly suggests that the State was motivated in substantial part by a discriminatory intent.”

    That damning conclusion vindicates both Batson and enduring principles of equal justice under law. The circumstances surrounding Mr. Flowers’s trial and subsequent retrials caused even Justice Samuel Alito, who has long been skeptical of capital defendants, to join the majority opinion and show some sympathy for Mr. Flowers. In a two-page concurrence, Justice Alito suggested that a new trial may not even be possible in the county where Mr. Evans brought the charges time and again.
    In a dissenting opinion joined partly by Justice Neil Gorsuch, Justice Clarence Thomas said he saw no racial discrimination and chastised the majority for taking the case in the first place. (In one portion of his opinion that no one else joined he even suggested that Batson might have been wrongly decided.)
    There is much more mischief in Mr. Flowers’s case that the Supreme Court didn’t examine, and the state of Mississippi would be well advised to think deeply before proceeding with a seventh trial. As the podcast “In the Dark” has chronicled, there are strong indications that Mr. Evans’s case against Mr. Flowers rested on faulty forensic evidence; unreliable testimony from a jailhouse informant; and various misrepresentations that, if not somehow addressed, could well undermine the public’s trust in yet another prosecution.


    11) How Many Times Does a River Have to Burn Before It Matters?
    When Cleveland’s Cuyahoga caught fire, it was as much about urban blight as environmental crisis.
    By Neil M. Maher, June 22, 2019

    CreditCreditBettmann/Getty Images
    It was like a game of telephone.
    In the first whispers, which appeared in local newspapers on June 23, 1969, Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River didn’t burn. A floating oil slick did, for only 25 minutes, damaging a couple of train trestles.
    In the next telling, which appeared in Time magazine a month later, the heavily polluted river “burst into flames” and “nearly destroyed” the trestles. The photograph accompanying the article showed firefighters frantically spraying down a boat surrounded by flaming water.

    The final version played out in the early 1970s, in National Geographic, a watchdog report by Ralph Nader and numerous accounts that credit the fire with helping to jump-start the modern environmental movement. Even The New York Times reportedmuch later that the 1969 fire “led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and to the passage of the Clean Water Act.”

    Yet the Cuyahoga River fire’s iconic environmental status is as much a result of burning cities as it is of burning water. Cleveland, like the river flowing through it, was also polluted. Its poorest neighborhoods — which were rife with dirty air, garbage-strewn streets and unhealthy housing — caught fire several times during the long hot summers of the late 1960s, as happened in cities all over the northern United States. And it was Mayor Carl Stokes, the first African-American to lead a major city, who first put the two narratives together.
    CreditAlfred Eisenstaedt/The LIFE Picture Collection, via Getty Images

    Cleaning up both the city and the river became imperative. As a New York Times editorial argued, less than a year after the 1969 fire, “these two vital sets of demands are interwoven aspects of the same environmental problem.”
    This was far from the first time the Cuyahoga had caught fire. The waterway had burned at least 10 times since 1868. It was hard to keep track. Remember that photograph of the boat surrounded by flaming water in Time? It was actually of a fire in 1952, which the magazine’s editors recycled for the 1969 blaze.
    So how did this sadly regular occurrence become so alarming?
    The usual story goes something like this: The day after the 1969 fire, Mr. Stokes took a scrum of local reporters on a “pollution tour” of the river. They walked past broken pipes leaking raw sewage, alongside chemical and steel companies whose dumping had turned the river cloudy white and rusty red. The final stop on the tour were those train trestles damaged by the fire.
    “There may be some wry humor in the phrase ‘the river is a fire hazard’,” Mr. Stokes told the reporters. But “this is a longstanding condition that must be brought to an end.”

    The mayor’s timing was perfect. By the late 1960s not only had residents of Cleveland and its suburbs become more environmentally aware, but so had the nation. Rachel Carson’s publication of “Silent Spring” in 1962 set off public concern, which culminated in the first Earth Day celebration in 1970. Between those book ends, a barrage of environmental disasters — including an oil spill off Santa Barbara, Calif., a few months before the Cuyahoga fire and the accidental poisoning of the Rhine around the same time as the blaze — linked the city’s pollution problems to a burgeoning national and international environmental movement.

    The mayor’s connections were also important. One year after the fire, Carl Stokes’s brother, Louis, who represented several Cleveland neighborhoods in Congress, supported a water-pollution bill in the House and used the Cuyahoga River to defend it.
    “The rape of the Cuyahoga River has not only made it useless for any purpose other than a dumping place for sewage and industrial waste,” said Representative Stokes before a congressional subcommittee, “but also has had a deleterious effect upon the ecology of one of the Great Lakes.”
    The bill passed, and built legislative momentum for both the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency later that year and the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972. The Cuyahoga River fire was catalytic, the story goes, because it occurred at the “right” time. 
    But what about the right place?
    At the end of his “pollution tour,” the day after the fire, Mayor Stokes broadened his message. “It’s a terrible reflection on the city,” he said. But when he added that “this is a longstanding condition that must be brought to an end,” he was referring not only to the river, but to Cleveland itself.
    In the summer of 1969, the city was a poster child for urban blight. Hometown companies had shuttered, including Standard Oil, which had stopped refining in Cleveland in 1966. Since 1952, 60,000 manufacturing jobs had been lost, along with 125,000 residents, as many white families departed for the suburbs. Abandoned homes lined streets teeming with garbage, which caused a citywide rat infestation. Poverty, frustration and violence flourished, especially in African-American neighborhoods such as Hough and Central — both on Cleveland’s east side, which just three summers prior had gone up in flames during six days of unrest.

    Mayor Stokes cared about those fires as well. Having grown up in Central, he understood their connection to the flames that engulfed the Cuyahoga.

    It hadn’t always been like this, in the city or on the river. Earlier in the century, a complex of oil-refining industries had grown along the Cuyahoga’s flats, with attendant factories, warehouses and docks. By the early 1930s, two massive steel mills had followed, along with 850,000 workers who had settled nearby in compact working-class neighborhoods. 
    Cleveland’s political and commercial elites encouraged this economic relationship between the city and its river by dredging, widening and straightening the Cuyahoga. In those days, an oily sheen on the water was seen as a shimmering symbol of Cleveland’s financial fitness.
    That’s why the previous fires on the Cuyahoga had mainly raised economic concerns. The New York Times coverage of the 1883 fire was basically a ledger of economic losses. Nearly a dozen oil tanks exploded, and 100,000 barrels went up in flames. The Times lamented that the loss “cannot figure up less than $250,000.” Even the 1952 fire was couched in purely financial terms. “The oil slick menace is bound to affect fire insurance rates,” said an editorial in one local newspaper. “That would be an economic loss.”
    Back then it wasn’t the Cuyahoga that Clevelanders worried about. It was the cash.
    By the summer of 1969 this was no longer the case. The relationship with the city’s economy and the Cuyahoga had frayed.
    “Because so few Clevelanders continued to work and live along the Cuyahoga, they no longer relied on the river as an industrial artery,” said David Stradling, a history professor at the University of Cincinnati and the co-author, with his brother, Richard, of “Where the River Burned: Carl Stokes and the Struggle to Save Cleveland.” “That allowed them to think of the Cuyahoga as a river again.” This reimagining transformed the waterway from a cog in Cleveland’s economic machine into a threatened ecological system.

    Similar socioeconomic changes were occurring across the country, in cities like Newark, Detroit and Los Angeles, as well as Omaha, Rochester and Minneapolis. And while rivers in these cities never burned, their poor neighborhoods did, in part because of the same economic and environmental problems that plagued Cleveland.
    But such details rarely inform the Cuyahoga fire’s telephone game, which typically ends on a high note. As The Times reported in 2009, the river’s cleanup had actually begun the year before the fire, in 1968, when Cleveland residents voted to tax themselves $100 million to begin restoring the river. Such efforts continued after the fire, when industries along the Cuyahoga chipped in $3.5 billion to reduce sewage and industrial waste flowing into the waterway. The result? Beavers, blue herons, bald eagles and more than 40 species of fish are thriving along the Cuyahoga.
    That is reason to celebrate. Hough and Central, however, remain two of the poorest neighborhoods in Ohio.
    Neil M. Maher is a history professor in the Federated History Department at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Rutgers University, Newark, and the author, most recently, of the book “Apollo in the Age of Aquarius.”


    12) Queer People of Color Led the L.G.B.T.Q. Charge, but Were Denied the Rewards
    By Scott James, June 22, 2019

    CreditCreditJosé Sarria Papers/Courtesy of GLBT Historical Society

    The words of José Sarria, typed with handwritten edits on aging paper, are enshrined behind glass at the GLBT Historical Society Museum in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood.
    “Tonight I would like to explain my platform, ‘Equality before the Law,’” Mr. Sarria wrote in a campaign speech when he was running for city supervisor. In 1961 he was the first openly gay person to run for public office in the United States.

    Mr. Sarria did not win, but like so many involved in the initial battles for L.G.B.T.Q. rights, he was a minority-group member and defied gender conventions — he worked as a drag queen at a local nightclub.
    CreditJosé Sarria Papers/Courtesy of GLBT Historical Society

    Transgender people, drag queens, blacks and Hispanics played outsized roles during many of the earliest milestones of the gay rights movement. Today, however, these same groups have been denied many of the benefits of the revolution they sparked.

    They led the riots at Stonewall in New York in 1969, Compton’s Cafeteria in San Francisco in 1966, and Cooper Do-nuts in Los Angeles in 1959.
    They also fronted early legal battles.
    Maxine Perkins, a transgender woman, risked spending most of her life in prison in North Carolina in 1961 when she fought laws against homosexuality. And Donna Burkett and Manonia Evans, African-American women, defiantly asked for a license to marry in Milwaukee in 1971, and when they were denied they took the case to court.
    “I don’t think it’s a coincidence,” said Joshua Burford, a historian and co-founder of the “Invisible Histories Project,” an organization that is compiling and preserving L.G.B.T.Q. history in the South.
    Many early skirmishes were “led by queer people of color,” Mr. Burford said. “They had already been marginalized to such a degree, and the fact that they were trans or gay at the time just added another level to which they could be discriminated against. They fought back. They had been pushed and pushed and pushed into such a corner.”

    “They are always on the front line,” said Susan Stryker, professor of gender and women’s studies at the University of Arizona. “They are the ones who are being who they are, no matter what. They are catching all the homophobia, all the transphobia that are being directed at queer folks.”

    Some were on those front lines because they could not pass as straight.
    “The idea of choosing to come out is a luxury for some people,” said Mason Funk, founder of the Outwords Archive, an effort to collect videotaped interviews with L.G.B.T.Q. pioneers. Excerpts from the interviews were first published in May in “The Book of Pride.”
    The L.G.B.T.Q. community owes “a huge debt of gratitude to the ones who really didn’t have that much of a choice, who were out there taking the beatings, and taking the verbal abuse,” Mr. Funk said. “They paved the way.”
    But experts point out that even though transgender people and L.G.B.T.Q. racial minorities were often vanguards for equal rights, these same groups have lagged behind in gains.
    For example, researchers say that while gay and bisexual men have experienced the same rates of poverty as heterosexual men, same-sex couples of color and transgender people have been three and four times more likely to live in poverty than their white and straight counterparts, citing United States census numbers and other research.
    Transgender people and gay and lesbian minorities also experience higher levels of H.I.V. and sexual violence, according to the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Transgender Survey.

    It has even been a struggle for equity within the larger L.G.B.T.Q. community.
    “This is not universal because the gay and lesbian community and feminism are broad, diverse. But some of the people who have been absolutely the worst on trans issues have been some cisgender gay men and some cisgender feminists and lesbians,” said Ms. Stryker, referring to those whose gender corresponds with their birth sex.
    After Stonewall, Ms. Stryker said, the tactics of many in the gay rights movement eventually shifted from rebellion to seeking acceptance.
    “It’s predicated on being a man or woman like other men and women,” Ms. Stryker said. “The trans question is the one, like, ‘No I’m not that.’ The trans question kicks that foundation out from under the main thrust of the gay and lesbian movement from the early 1970s forward.”
    Perhaps the most divisive example of this rift involved the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act, known as ENDA, which would have banned workplace discrimination against L.G.B.T.Q. people. The bill passed in the House of Representatives in 2007, but only after eliminating protections for transgender people.
    ENDA failed in the Senate, but there continues to be bitterness from some in the transgender community toward supporters of the bill, including the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largestL.G.B.T.Q. rights organization.
    Tina White, a board member, is part of the organization’s new leadership that has worked to be more inclusive and move past the controversy, but it still stings. Ms. White said she was recently confronted by a transgender activist who blamed the Campaign for a continued lack of jobs and equality.
    “’We’re still living in horrible, deplorable conditions and we hold that group accountable’,” Ms. White quoted the woman as saying. “It wasn’t the answer I wanted to hear, but it was a very fair answer,” Ms. White said.

    But Ms. White is hopeful for greater equality and opportunities, and she said she believes change will happen because of the views of those who were not born when early L.G.B.T.Q. pioneers took their stands.
    “Teens and people in their 20s — they have such a different outlook,” Ms. White said, noting that many in America’s latest generations do not seem to be biased against minorities or those in the L.G.B.T.Q. community. “They’re opening up a whole new conversation.”


    13) ICE Is Expected to Begin Operation on Sunday Targeting 2,000 Immigrant Family Members
    "If officers find undocumented parents with children who are citizens, ICE is likely to book a hotel room until a relative can claim the children. The parents would then be taken to family detention centers, where there is limited space."
    By Zolan Kanno-Youngs, June 21, 2019

    CreditCreditJohn Moore/Getty Images

    WASHINGTON — Immigration and Customs Enforcement is expected to send agents into communities on Sunday morning to begin a coordinated operation deporting undocumented immigrant family members across the country, according to two Department of Homeland Security officials.
    The effort has been planned as a show of force to deter migration to the southwestern border, but immigration agents and experts have also described the planning and logistics for the operation as flawed.
    The effort will focus on more than 2,000 undocumented family members who entered the United States in recent years and had their cases expedited on a specialized docket and were served deportation orders in at least 10 major cities, including Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and New Orleans.

    ICE branches in additional cities were also told to prepare to conduct deportations, according to one of the homeland security officials.

    It remained unclear whether families in all of the cities would be detained. According to one federal official, agents in New York have been instructed to go to the homes of undocumented families and instruct them to leave the country in 30 days. The families may be fitted with an ankle bracelet for tracking.
    In an interview with ABC News, Mark Morgan, the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said that 2,040 family members would be targeted, without specifying the timing of the operation.
    “This is not about fear,” Mr. Morgan said. “No one is instilling fear in anyone. This is about the rule of law and maintaining the integrity of the system.”
    Such operations have been carried out under previous administrations, including that of President Barack Obama. While people are often detained at home, work or courthouses, the operation on Sunday would be a coordinated effort across the country over multiple days. Mr. Morgan is hoping the deportations will quell a record number of Central Americans seeking asylum who have overwhelmed Border Patrol facilities.
    It is rare for an administration to publicize an operation days before it is conducted, said Theresa Cardinal Brown, a former policy adviser at Customs and Border Protection.

    “Having this all out in the public open like this is not ideal if your goal is to apprehend people and detain them,” said Ms. Brown, the director of immigration policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center. “If your goal is to put fear in people and make them afraid, mission accomplished.”
    While President Trump said on Twitter this week that ICE would deport millions of undocumented immigrants, the acting secretary of homeland security, Kevin McAleenan, is said to have resisted the operation because of the logistics behind it. That reluctance has been met with displeasure at the White House.
    The agency does not have the resources to carry out a mission of that size, and its deportation officers, which number about 6,000, also do not know the addresses of many of the undocumented immigrants.
    Some immigration experts doubted that the agency would reach the target of 2,000, partly because families most likely fled their homes after Mr. Trump’s tweet late Monday night. “They know we’re coming,” said Ronald D. Vitiello, the former acting director of ICE.
    In advance of the effort, agents from Homeland Security Investigations, who usually conduct long-term investigations rather than deportations, have been directed to join deportation officers.
    Homeland security officials have been wary of the coordinated effort because it could lead to the separation of families. It is unclear what will happen if ICE agents encounter undocumented parents at home while their children, who may be citizens, are away.
    “Past raids have left children alone and afraid in empty homes, praying they won’t be left to care for younger siblings by themselves, with no idea if they’ll see their parents again,” said Sandra Cordero, the director of Families Belong Together, an advocacy group.

    If officers find undocumented parents with children who are citizens, ICE is likely to book a hotel room until a relative can claim the children. The parents would then be taken to family detention centers, where there is limited space.
    Affected families would stay at those centers until officials secure travel documents for their deportation. Many of the families are likely to reopen their immigration cases because they did not receive proper notice for a removal hearing.
    On Friday, the Los Angeles Police Department said it would not help the federal government with any planned raids.
    The chief of the Los Angeles Police, Michel R. Moore, had earlier told The Los Angeles Times that he expected the raid to affect about 140 people in Southern California.
    Gov. Gavin Newsom of California criticized the proposed deportations, saying the plans were “cruel, misdirected and are creating unnecessary fear and anxiety.”
    He added, “California is a place of refuge — that includes our schools, our courts and our hospitals and clinics.”

    Maggie Haberman, Jose Del Real, Miriam Jordan and Emily Cochrane contributed reporting.


    14) Students of Color are More Likely to Be Arrested in School. That May Change.
    New York City’s new discipline code could have an immediate impact.
    By Eliza Shapiro, June 20, 2019

    CreditCreditMark Abramson for The New York Times
    Andrea Colon, an 18-year-old student activist from Far Rockaway, Queens, traveled a thousand miles to a presidential campaign stop for Mayor Bill de Blasio in Hiawatha, Iowa — not to hear his views on national issues, but to confront him about arrests in schools. 
    “If we act like young people, if we get into a fight or talk back, we are going to get suspended or have an interaction with the police,” Ms. Colon said on Thursday, explaining what she told Mr. de Blasio. As a young Hispanic girl in a large city high school, she said, “I just realized that you don’t get the benefit of the doubt.”
    Ms. Colon’s criticism of city policy reflects a broader movement focused on reducing the role of police officers in schools. On Thursday, responding to longstanding concerns that the system penalizes black and Hispanic students, Mr. de Blasio announced new rules that will limit arrests in schools for low-level offenses.
    In addition, it’s likely that the maximum amount of time for suspensions will be sharply reduced. 

    For decades, city statistics have shown that the New York City school system has disciplined black and Hispanic students at higher rates than white and Asian children — an unsettling yet consistent feature of the nation’s largest school district.

    The new guidelines represent perhaps Mr. de Blasio’s most dramatic attempt to change how students of color are disciplined — and how police interact with students in school. All New York school buildings have a New York Police Department school safety agent, and other police officers are allowed in schools. 
    Ms. Colon said she went to Iowa to ask the mayor to eliminate all arrests and summonses in schools. Though she didn’t get the exact answer she hoped for, she said the changes are “a step in the right direction.”
    Black and Hispanic students represent about 90 percent of arrests and summonses in schools, according to the New York Civil Liberties Union.
    Though suspensions have plummeted by about 30 percent since Mr. de Blasio took office, 46 percent of total suspensions last year were issued to black students, who make up 26 percent of the school system.
    After years of sometimes rocky experimentation with ways to replace former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s so-called zero tolerance approach, the city will use restorative justice practices that emphasize defusing conflict over suspensions in all middle and high schools starting in the next school year. The city will add 85 new social workers, funded as part of the final city budget, to schools in an attempt to ease the transition.

    Over the last five years, civil liberties leaders and student activists have made racial disparities in discipline a major liability for Mr. de Blasio, who has promised to reduce inequality in all aspects of city life.

    Students who have had experiences with arrests in schools have pleaded with the mayor to adopt a new strategy. Paola Mena, a 17-year-old city high school student, said being arrested after a fight outside of her Bronx middle school several years ago was one of the worst experiences of her life. 
    Paola said she was sticking up for a friend who had been bullied when she got into a verbal fight with another student. Paola said the other girl spat on her, and Paola tried to throw a punch that didn’t land. A few moments later, she remembered being grabbed from behind by police officers and taken to the local precinct, where she said she was handcuffed to a chair. 
    “Ever since that day, walking through the halls in school, I felt really ashamed,” said Paola, who was 14 at the time of her arrest. “Everyone knew what happened, everyone saw me being dragged by people who were twice my size.” 
    The mayor will likely still have to grapple with criticism from both sides of the issue. 
    Many black and Hispanic students have said they want to see metal detectors eliminated in schools, and some teachers, along with the union that represents school safety agents, say Mr. de Blasio has removed discretion from professionals about how to enforce discipline. 
    Though major crime in schools has dropped by nearly 30 percent since 2014, Teamsters Local 237 and some teachers have said schools are underreporting issues in order to appease City Hall.

    The new discipline code will have an immediate impact when school opens in September. 
    School safety agents will be discouraged — but not explicitly banned — from arresting students or giving summonses for minor offenses like marijuana possession, graffiti or disorderly conduct. 
    That shift, which was first reported by the education news site Chalkbeat, is covered under an agreement between the Police Department and Department of Education that had not been updated since former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani’s administration. Mr. de Blasio is also proposing that the maximum length of an out-of-school suspension drop to 20 days from 180 days.
    Ms. Colon, the student from Queens, remembered that one girl who had gotten into a fight at her high school was suspended for 180 days. “She came back a year later and I was like, ‘what the hell happened to you?’”
    The new rules are not quite mandates; there are exceptions for violent offenses, incidents related to guns and other weapons and other issues. 
    Mr. de Blasio has learned that total bans on suspensions and arrests are unpopular. A 2016 plan to eliminate all suspensions for kindergarten students was opposed by the city’s teachers union and eventually softened.
    Mr. de Blasio has heralded his school safety agenda as a microcosm of his broader goal that the city can be both safe and fair to black and Hispanic communities who have had the most contact with the criminal justice system.

    “This is a moment of change, this is a moment where students are going to get the support they need to be their best selves,” Mr. de Blasio said at a news conference on Thursday. “It’s going to help us build a stronger and fairer city.”

    Eliza Shapiro is a reporter covering New York City education. She joined The Times in 2018. Eliza grew up in New York City and attended public and private schools in Manhattan and Brooklyn. @elizashapiro






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