End Human Detention Camps 

Lights for Liberty Worldwide Vigil Protesting U.S. Concentration Camps

Friday, July 12, 2019

7:00 P.M. – 10:00 P.M.

Powell St. Cable Car Turnaround, S.F.

Lights for Liberty will organize five main events in El Paso, Texas; Homestead, Florida; San Diego, California; New York City and Washington, D.C.

Look for groups holding protests in your city on that day!

Photo of migrants detained under the Paso del Norte International Bridge on March 27, 2019.   pin

Photo of migrants detained under the Paso del Norte International Bridge, March 27, 2019.



Please forward widely & endorse…                                       National Days of Protest 

                  U.S. Hands Off Venezuela and Iran!

No to U.S. Wars at Home and Abroad!

Defend Immigrant/Migrant Rights! No Deportations!

No Walls! No Human Being Is Illegal!

All Out Monday, July 15th  5:00 pm, 

Oscar Grant Plaza, 14th and Broadway, Oakland


Sponsor: United National Antiwar Coalition: Initial local-co-sponsors: Northern California End the Wars Coalition • Socialist Action • Bay Area International Action Center  • Workers World Party • Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal • Communist Workers League Bay Area • Peoples Alliance Bay Area •   Information: jmackler@lmi.net  JudyGreenspan1952@gmail.com



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Campaign for Medicare for All

At San Francisco Mime Troupe Shows In July

Dear Healthcare Activist, 

We invite you to help us collect postcards in support of HR 1384, the Medicare for All Act of 2019.

We send the postcards to the constituent's Congress Member asking them to support HR 1384 or thanking them if they are already a cosponsor.

In July we will be asking people at many of the San Francisco Mime Troupe shows.  This year's show is about development on Treasure Island.

We will be asking people to sign postcards from noon to 2pm.

The show starts at 2pm. 

Please let us know when you can help.

___ Yes, on July 4 at noon I can collect HR 1384 postcards at Dolores 

Park (18th St and Dolores - 5 blocks from 16th St BART)

___ Yes, on Sat. July 6 at noon I can collect HR 1384 postcards at 41          

Somerset Pl in Berkeley In John Hinkel Park.

___ Yes, on Sun. July 7 at noon I can collect HR 1384 postcards at 41 

Somerset Pl in Berkeley In John Hinkel Park.

___ Yes, on Sat. July 13, I can help collect HR 1384 postcards at         

Frances Willard/Ho Chi Minh Park. Derby & Hillgrass in Berkeley

___ Yes, on Sat. July 20 at noon I can help collect HR 1384 postcards in

          McLaren Park at the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater in San Francisco

___ Yes, on Sat. July 27 at noon I can help collect HR 1384 postcards in 

Balboa Park (San Jose Ave & Havelock in San Francisco)

I look forward to working with you.

Don Bechler

Chair - Single Payer Now


And if you would like to make a financial contribution to keep us strong, you can send a contribution to:

Single Payer Now

PO Box 460622

San Francisco, CA 94146

Or to make a credit cards contribution: Click here



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!

Tell them to approve Mumia's cataract surgery immediately!

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!

Update June 3, 3029:

Forwarded message from Dr. Joseph Harris:

To All:

With a more complete history I was able to clarify:

1. Mumia is currently suffering from severe visual impairment "functionly" blind.
2. Under current conditions of incarceration his prognosis is dismal. I estimate he will be partially blind in less than 1 year and will be totally or near totally blind in 2 years.


J. Harris MD
(Please circulate)
P.S. In a subsequent email, Dr. Harris said that Mumia gave his permission to circulate this information. 

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 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) 773-7851 and SCI Mahanoy Superintendent Theresa A. Delbalso - (570) 773-2158

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

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. 




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





24 June 2019 ASA 35/0587/2019



Responding to the killings of four Filipino activists over a three-day period, Amnesty International calls on the

Philippine authorities to cease from 'red-tagging' legitimate organizations, or branding them as "communist fronts"which, according to these organizations, have led to increased harassment and attacks by unknown individuals against them. Peaceful activists should not be targeted based on their political views. The authorities must also carry out a prompt, thorough, impartial and effective investigation into the killings, and bring to justice those suspected to

be responsible for the killings. They must take proactive steps to ensure, protect, and promote the human rights of human rights defenders and activists in the country, and guarantee the right to an effective remedy and access to justice to victims and their families.

Local human rights group Karapatan said that two of its staff, 22-year-old Ryan Hubilla and 69-year-old Nelly Bagasala, were gunned down by unidentified persons in Sorsogon City, Sorsogon, on 15 June. The following day, 16 June, farmer-activist Nonoy Palma was shot dead outside his house in San Fernando, Bukidnon, by unknown persons riding a motorcycle. On 17 June, former activist Neptali Morada was driving his motorcycle to the provincial capitol

when he was gunned down by an unknown man in Naga City, Camarines Sur.

Hubilla, Bagasala, Palma and Morada all belonged to 'leftist organizationsthat have been 'red-tagged', or named by the government as "legal fronts" for the Communist Party of the Philippines. In a speech in January 2018, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said that he would "go after the legal fronts," referring to groups with alleged ties to the

communist movement, and reiterated his order to the military to "destroy the [communist] apparatus.Many of these groups say that in the wake of such provocative allegations, they have faced increased attacks by unknown individuals, including killings. Out of concern for the safety of their staff, Karapatan and several other groups have filed a court petition seeking information and protection; in fact, Hubilla had been planning to participate as a witness in hearings relating to this petition. Further evidencing the threats being faced by human rights defenders and activists, a group of UN human rights experts issued a statement on 7 June asking the UN to "establish an

independent investigation into human rights violations in the Philippines ... including sustained attacks on people and institutions defending human rights."

Amnesty International calls on the Philippine authorities to fulfil their international obligations to respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights of human rights defenders and activists, including their rights to life, freedom of

expression, and freedom of peaceful assembly. All these rights are guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which the Philippines is a state party. In particular, Amnesty International calls on the Philippine government to conduct prompt, thorough, impartial and effective investigations into the killings of human rights defenders and activists in the country. Philippine authorities should also publicly instruct their officials to end the harassment and intimidation of human rights defenders and activists simply for carrying out human rights work. The authorities should encourage rather than disparage the work of human rights defenders and activists which, in some cases, puts these defenders' lives in danger.

As the human rights situation in the Philippines continues to deteriorate, Amnesty International has called on member states of the UN Human Rights Council to open an independent investigation into human rights violations in the context of the "war on drugs,". This investigation should examine, among other issues, attacks on human rights defenders and activists.


According to the human rights group Karapatan, Ryan Hubilla and Nelly Bagasala had been assisting political prisoners, three of whom were released the day before Hubilla and Bagasala were killed, and had been subjected tosurveillance because of their work. Farmers' group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas said that Nonoy Palma was a member of its local chapter. Neptali Morada was a regional coordinator of the group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan


Amnesty International Public Statement 1

(Bayan) until 2000 and was working as a staff of a former local politician when he was killed; Bayan, however, said that Morada continued to experience surveillance and harassment even after he left the group.

According to media reports, Philippine National Police Chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde has said that he has ordered an investigation into the killings. The reports say that Albayalde has told Karapatan, however, that it has to prove that

both Hubilla and Bagasala are indeed staff of the organization, adding that Karapatan may just be "taking advantage"of the situation by putting the blame on state forces.



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. 

Share This 

[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



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.


    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) Hong Kong Protesters Are Fueled by a Broader Demand: More Democracy

    By Amy Qin, July 8, 2019


    Protesters in Hong Kong on Sunday. In addition to urging the government to fully withdraw an unpopular bill, they also called for the legislature to be dismissed and for free elections.CreditCreditLam Yik Fei for The New York Times

    HONG KONG — When hundreds of thousands of people in Hong Kong peacefully took to the streets last month, they had a few specific demands, including the withdrawal of an unpopular bill and an investigation into police abuse. In recent days, they added another call: the right to direct elections.

    This latest demand brought into focus the issue that has been quietly seething at the heart of the protests: Hong Kong's increasingly fraught relationship with mainland China and the authoritarian ruling Communist Party.

    That longstanding anxiety flared last week when a small group of demonstrators stormed the city's legislature, blacked out the name for mainland China from Hong Kong's official emblem and spray-painted slogans calling for universal suffrage.

    It was a dramatic rebuke of a political system that protesters say created a ruling class that has become more beholden to Beijing than to Hong Kong since the former British colony's return to Chinese rule 22 years ago. The protesters' forceful charging of the legislature brought this anger so jarringly to the fore that even a few members of the pro-establishment camp have urged the government in recent days to revisit steps toward political reforms.

    On Sunday, when tens of thousands of protesters once again urged the government to fully withdraw a bill that would allow extraditions to mainland China, they also called for the legislature to be dismissed and for free elections.

    "Mainland China worries us the most," said Patrick Luk, 37, an administrative staffer at a community college who joined the protest with his wife and 5-year-old son. That is why, he said, universal suffrage is his most important priority.

    "They force people to adhere to their doctrines," Mr. Luk added, referring to the Communist Party. "They want us to be faithful to them."

    Hong Kong's embattled leader, Carrie Lam, has suspended the bill indefinitely but not fully withdrawn it, and has not indicated any willingness to meet the protesters' demands. The protests were piling pressure on Mrs. Lam as a few pro-establishment politicians on Monday called for a shake-up of her senior advisers.

    Protesters and pro-democracy lawmakers want to protect the high degree of autonomy Hong Kong was promised when it was returned to China in 1997 under a policy known as "one country, two systems." That autonomy is guaranteed until 2047, but the Communist Party and its security apparatus have increasingly encroached on the territory.

    The last sustained protest movement demanding a direct say in the election of the territory's chief executive ended in failure in 2014. Since then, Beijing has intervened to remove six politicians elected to Hong Kong's legislature, a major setback for the opposition. Several others were disqualified from running in local elections by officials who questioned the sincerity of their belief that Hong Kong is an "inalienable part" of China.

    As a result, protesters and experts say, the political playing field is so far out of balance that many of Hong Kong's youth have felt shut out, and blame the generations of politicians before them for compromising their futures for the sake of seeking Beijing's favor.

    The experts and protesters say this may help explain why, when those frustrations boiled over at the legislature last week, many others in the movement remained sympathetic, seeing it as a culmination of years of pent-up anger.

    "At first, I was shocked by their behavior too, but then I understood," said Candy Wong, 56, a dentist and mother of two who joined a rally of thousands of parents on Friday to express support for the protesters.

    "Those young people are not rioters," Ms. Wong added. "They have tried everything else to make the government listen, but nothing has worked."

    Some politicians in the pro-establishment camp, possibly with an eye on future elections, have also spoken out about the need for the government to tackle the political structure that is the root cause of the protesters' anger.

    Jasper Tsang, a former president of the Legislative Council and a founding member of the largest pro-Beijing party in Hong Kong, turned heads last week when he raised the possibility of revisiting the debate over political reform.

    "One of the main reasons there is so much anger is that the Hong Kong people, especially the youth, haven't been given any hope for universal suffrage," Mr. Tsang told HK01, a local news site.

    Ronny Tong, a lawyer and member of the chief executive's top advisory body, the Executive Council, echoed that suggestion.

    "If the current difficulty in some way is caused by a failure of political reform, then we should consider bringing back political reform," Mr. Tong said in an interview. He added that if the democratic lawmakers agreed to talk without any preconditions, he could "guarantee that the Hong Kong government would be willing to do just that."

    Samson Yuen, an assistant professor of political science at Lingnan University in Hong Kong who studies local social movements, said most protesters agreed that Hong Kong needed more democracy but that some were concerned it could distract from the movement's more achievable demands.

    "There have been a lot of splits even within the protesters regarding whether people should shift their demands to asking for democracy because that's not what this movement is for," Mr. Yuen said.

    There is also the question of what political reform would even look like. Beijing once offered a form of direct elections that would have allowed the public to elect Hong Kong's chief executive from a slate of two or three preapproved candidates.

    But pro-democracy legislators voted down the measure in 2015, and Beijing's supporters in the legislature said then that the Communist Party was unlikely to offer more generous terms. Since then, Hong Kong has continued to rely on a 1,200-member committee heavily weighted in Beijing's favor to pick its chief executive.

    In an editorial on Monday, the pro-Beijing Hong Kong newspaper Wen Wei Po dismissed the calls for universal suffrage as irrelevant and having no legal basis. The paper argued that no city leader or government would "be able to, or have the authority to" agree to such a demand.

    Last week, Lau Siu-kai, vice chairman of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies, a semiofficial research institute with ties to Beijing, told a Hong Kong broadcaster that any debate on political reform would only "further divide society."

    The way to resolve the issue is to improve the government's communication with the public, Mr. Lau and others said.

    "None of our leaders have been able to articulate a vision of our future under 'one country, two systems' which has been inspiring to our young people," said Regina Ip, a pro-establishment lawmaker and another member of the Executive Council.

    Calls for political reforms are likely to be rejected by the Chinese leadership under Xi Jinping, who has strengthened authoritarian controls across China since coming to power in 2012, experts said.

    Mr. Xi has already made an extraordinary concession to the protesters by allowing Mrs. Lam to suspend the bill, said Ma Ngok, an associate professor of government at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. So the chances that Mr. Xi would agree to political reforms in Hong Kong, Mr. Ma said, are slim.

    "Given that the entire country is still well on the road to full autocratic rule," Mr. Ma said, "it's unlikely they would initiate any kind of liberalization in Hong Kong."

    Ezra Cheung and Katherine Li contributed reporting.



    2) The Power of a Unified 'No!': U.S. Asylum Restrictions Hit a Bump

    "We wanted the court to hear our story," said Michael Knowles, the president of Local 1924 of the American Federation of Government Employees, the union that filed the brief on behalf of asylum officers in the Washington, D.C., area. "This is folks doing the work, saying, 'This is wrong.'"

    By Amanda Taub, July 7, 2019


    Supporters of employees at Wayfair, an online furniture retailer, rallying in Copley Square in Boston last month.CreditCreditKayana Szymczak for The New York Times

    The message of the amicus brief filed with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in late June was simple: Officers tasked with enforcing the Trump administration's restrictive new asylum policy believe it violates federal law and fundamental American principles.

    "We wanted the court to hear our story," said Michael Knowles, the president of Local 1924 of the American Federation of Government Employees, the union that filed the brief on behalf of asylum officers in the Washington, D.C., area. "This is folks doing the work, saying, 'This is wrong.'"

    The impact of that message may reach far beyond the court.

    It is part of a little-noticed shift, in recent weeks, in the public response to the Trump administration's border crackdown. Institutions and groups that are not normally partisan or political have begun to state publicly that the administration's policies violate their core values, and to back up those statements with action.

    A few days before Mr. Knowles's union filed its brief, for instance, employees at the Boston headquarters of Wayfair, an online furniture retailer, walked off the job in protest of their company's decision to sell furniture to a detention center for migrant children.

    It is too early to say whether more institutions will follow their lead. But, experts say, the history of successful mass movements around the world suggests that if they do, that could have a profound effect on public opinion and policy.

    "My guts told me that sports activism would be a powerful tool," said Richard Lapchick, an organizer of the American anti-apartheid boycott of South African sports teams, including the Davis Cup team, in the late 1970s.

    "If you put what apartheid was on the sports pages, on the sports news, then there would be more people reading it or watching it," he said.

    Having seen firsthand the effect that such boycotts had on apartheid opposition in Europe, Mr. Lapchick resolved to do the same in the United States. By 1978, opposition to South Africa being allowed to play in the Davis Cup was so substantial that thousands protested outside the stadium.

    "There were significantly more people outside than there were inside watching the match," he recalled.

    Historians believe that the boycotts of South African athletes and sports teams — including by the Olympics, by international soccer, rugby, and cricket leagues and by the Davis Cup tennis competition — played an important role in bringing an end to apartheid.

    Jesse Owens on the podium at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin.CreditGetty Images

    "Arguably not since Jesse Owens ascended the Berlin Olympic podium four times against a backcloth of Nazi triumphalism has an intervention through sport had such broad political repercussions," Rob Nixon, a Princeton University professor, wrote in a 1992 article.

    Doug Booth, a professor at the University of Otago in New Zealand who has studied the boycotts, has a more measured view, but does believe that they may have affected global opinion, cementing the view among the general public that supporting apartheid was socially unacceptable.

    Respected institutions can cause sudden, sharp changes in what societies perceive as right and wrong, said Betsy Levy Paluck, a Princeton University professor who studies social norms and public morality. Her research, for instance, showed that after the United States Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, Americans became much more likely to believe that the country as a whole supported the decision. International sports' leagues anti-apartheid boycott would have sent a similar message.

    Wayfair and the asylum officers' union lack that kind of reach. But hearing from "a variety of groups that speak for a broad spectrum of Americans," Dr. Paluck said, could have a similar effect. Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union speak to one community, online businesses like Wayfair to another, and the government employees' union to yet another.

    And if that coalition grows broader or more diverse, its normative power would grow, too.

    The sports boycotts also imposed direct consequences on groups of people who might otherwise have been left unscathed by apartheid. "In a 1977 survey, white South Africans ranked the lack of international sport as one of the three most damaging consequences of apartheid," Dr. Nixon wrote in the 1992 article.

    The walkout by Wayfair employees, though tiny in comparison with the global anti-apartheid boycott, offers a glimpse of how protests might bring similar consequences to Americans who would not otherwise be directly harmed by the border policies.

    The direct costs to Wayfair, in this case, were limited. The company promised, under pressure, to donate $100,000 — which it estimated to be more than the profit it made from the sale to the detention facility — to the Red Cross. But it refused to pledge to change its business practices, the employees' main demand.

    But the walkout also raised the specter of broader action, such as consumer boycotts or employee walkouts at other companies that do business with agencies involved in border enforcement. That expands the population now worrying about the border policies' effect on their well-being — and if such actions occur, that group could widen even further.

    "Irrespective of diverging religious opinions we shall fight for the right of our Jewish brothers and sisters to keep the freedom we ourselves value more highly than life," Lutheran pastors throughout Denmark read aloud from a pastoral letter on Oct. 3, 1943.

    The letter, which was signed by every Danish bishop and read aloud in Sunday services, was issued in response to the Nazi occupiers' orders to round up and deport Danish Jews. Those orders, the bishops were saying in no uncertain terms, were not to be followed. Danes must protect their Jewish neighbors.

    The public heeded that message, which was echoed by trade unions and other respected institutions. A rescue effort, organized by the Danish resistance and supported and funded by many ordinary citizens, managed to hide and then safely transport nearly all Danish Jews to safety in nearby Sweden.

    Employees at Wayfair walked off the job to protest their company's decision to sell furniture to a detention center for migrant children.CreditKayana Szymczak for The New York Times

    "Local institutions, those that have a real impact on your daily life, they seem to have more of an impact on attitudes," Dr. Paluck said.

    That helps to explain why the Wayfair walkout, in which the employees gathered to protest in Boston's Copley Square, has drawn more attention than some previous institutional activism.

    Last year, for instance, more than 100 Microsoft employees posted an open letter to the company asking that it refrain from working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, one of the agencies involved in the separation and detention of migrant families at the border. But that letter was not followed by any action.

    Wayfair employees also began their action with an open letter. But they followed it with a public walkout in a busy city, communicating that this was a strongly held view within the community of Wayfair employees — and, it turned out, Boston more broadly.

    "Workers in Copley Square looked out the window and went down to join," Dr. Paluck said. "They're getting other people, at least in the downtown Boston area, to think about this," she added.

    The power of public statements can be undermined if they are perceived as coming only from leaders, rather than a community as a whole, Dr. Paluck said.

    Although a number of American religious leaders, including the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and a number of prominent evangelical leaders, have condemned the family separations and the conditions in which children are being detained, their statements have been framed as critiques from leaders, rather than the unified condemnation of their religious communities. That has weakened their normative effect.

    By contrast, the brief that the asylum officers' union filed explicitly positions itself as speaking for its members — who, until recently, were the only officers piloting the restrictive new asylum policy.

    "The consensus of a group that you wouldn't necessarily think of as entering into this debate — that's a very powerful signal of norms," Dr. Paluck said.

    Mr. Knowles, the union president, said that the ability to speak for the officers collectively was a role his organization took very seriously. "The brief does not mention us by name, it says the union on behalf of its officers," he said.

    The brief was an expression of collective alarm that the administration's policies have left the American asylum system, and the vulnerable refugees it is supposed to shield, in extreme jeopardy, he said.

    Asked what prompted them to act now, he paused.

    "Why wait until the damage is irreparable?" he wondered. "Why wait to pull the fire alarm?"



    3) To Reduce Hospital Noise, Researchers Create Alarms That Whistle and Sing

    By Emily S. Rueb, July 9, 2019


    After an unsettling hospital stay, Yoko Sen founded a startup that creates more pleasing sounds for medical devices.  For some patients, it may be the last sound they ever hear.CreditCreditKate Warren for The New York Times

    In 2012, Yoko Sen was in an emergency room, tethered to a machine bleating relentlessly in her ear.

    She was "freaked out," she said, and felt helpless.

    When a nurse returned to the room, Ms. Sen asked if it was O.K. the device was screaming.

    "Yeah, this thing just beeps," she recalled the nurse saying.

    Ms. Sen, an electronic musician, was stunned. How could something "so loud and so jarring" be considered normal?

    "The fear of not knowing amplified the feeling of anxiety," she said.

    And how, she wondered, could clinicians withstand the clangor?

    As she lay there, she said, a cardiac monitor rang out in a tone close to the musical note of C, clashing with a distant device wailing in a high-pitched F sharp, creating what's called the devil's interval, a dissonance so chilling that medieval churches forbade it.

    Hospitals today can be sonic hellscapes, which studies have shownregularly exceed levels set by the World Health Organization: droning IV pumps, ding-donging nurse call buttons, voices crackling on loudspeakers, ringing telephones, beeping elevators, buzzing ID scanners, clattering carts, coughing, screaming, vomiting.

    Then there are the alarms. A single patient might trigger hundreds each day, challenging caregivers to figure out which machine is beeping, and what is wrong with the patient, if anything. (Studies have shown that as many as 99 percent of alarms are false.)

    The proliferation of pinging and bleeping can contribute to patient delirium and staff burnout. And because caregivers know that many devices are crying wolf, they might be less responsive or apathetic, a potentially fatal safety issue known as alarm fatigue.

    From 2005 to 2008, more than 500 patients in the United States had adverse outcomes, mostly death, because an alarm was ignored, a device was silenced or mismanaged in some way, according to the Food and Drug Administration, which tracks adverse events involving medical devices.

    "You don't need to have alarms scream at you," said Judy Edworthy, a professor of applied psychology at the University of Plymouth, in Britain.

    But, she said, "people take a lot of convincing" that alarms don't need to be so startling.

    For device manufacturers, sound is often an afterthought in the design, Dr. Edworthy said, and they are worried about being sued if a machine had failed to cry out.

    So, without an enforceable, universal standard, alarms have run riot.

    They are also using sounds based on an outdated set of international safety standards, which have, paradoxically, perpetuated the din.

    Dr. Edworthy, who has been called the godmother of alarms, is leading a passionate group of specialists, including Ms. Sen, who now works with device manufacturers and hospitals to incorporate the needs of patients and clinicians, and Elif Ozcan, who leads the Critical Alarms Lab in the Netherlands.

    Together, this group is developing tones that replace the anodyneblare of the current alarms with signals that mimic electronic dance music and or a heartbeat.

    They are working to make alarms quieter, combining audible alarms with visual cues like interactive screens that look like paintings, and working to develop a new standard that is likely to go into effect early next year.

    "Unnecessary noise is the cruelest absence of care," Ms. Sen said to a room full of medical professionals at a conference last year about end-of-life management. The words came from the mother of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale, who worked in the Crimean War in the 19th century.

    Deep in the rule book for safety and performance of medical devices is IEC 60601-1-8, which sets the standards for medical device alarm sounds. The particulars of the code were hashed out over many years by a joint working group, assembled by the International Electrotechnical Commission, a nonprofit based in Switzerland that publishes guidelines for electronic and technical equipment used by hospitals.

    Among other specifications, the standard sets forth tones for six critical functions: cardiovascular, drug administration, ventilation, oxygen, temperature and artificial perfusion (the flow of blood and oxygen), also known as "the six ways people die."

    At one point, the popular melody "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" was floated as a possible signal for cardiac problems, but ultimately, it did not make the cut.

    "The songs are not supposed to be the Billboard top 100," said Dr. Frank Block Jr., an anesthesiologist and musician, who was on the committee that passed the 2006 standard that is still largely in place.

    Among the tones that were approved was a tune reminiscent of the old NBC chime, meant to mimic rising and falling lungs, Dr. Block said.

    And the sound for mechanical blood flow and oxygenation was modeled after the "yo-EE-oh" of the Witch's guards from "The Wizard of Oz," a musical tritone known as the devil's interval.

    The sound for drug infusions was intended to mimic drops falling and "splashing" up, represented by a jazz chord called an inverted ninth.

    But each ditty has the same rhythm and the same number of pulses, making them difficult to tell apart and difficult to learn. And they were never tested. Dr. Block later issued a public apology on behalf of the committee for approving the sounds.

    "We did the best we could," he said recently, "but the sounds were basically terrible."

    Now, Dr. Edworthy is spearheading the creation of a "revolutionary" set of tones, Dr. Block said.

    Audio technology has changed drastically since the eight tones were created, said Dr. Edworthy, who has created sonic alerts for nuclear plants and train systems.

    "It's now possible to produce pretty much any sound you want from a medical device," she said. "Of course, that's a new set of problems."

    The proposed sounds, called auditory icons, are representative of their functions, like the crumpling paper sound that your computer makes when you throw files in the trash. In this case, the sounds represent critical organ functions and imitate the lub-dub sound of a heartbeat, or a rattling pill bottle for a drug infusion, or a whistling teakettle for temperature.

    "We've amassed a load of data demonstrating that these sounds work very well," said Dr. Edworthy, who is collaborating with other researchers, including Dr. Joseph Schlesinger an associate professor at Vanderbilt University, to test how quickly clinicians are able to learn and respond to the sounds, how easily they can be identified, and how loud they need to be.

    She has presented her findings to the current committee, which has been described as a "United Nations of medical sound," and includes representatives from medical device companies and from countries with differing philosophical and cultural perspectives on alarms.

    "You're asking people to make changes that are going to cost millions of dollars, and some just don't want to," she added.

    That said, the strength of the standard varies between countries, which can adopt all, parts or none of the written guidelines. In the United States, Dr. Block said, the Food and Drug Administration usually follows the standards, but it may add further requirements.

    But the bottom line is that no device manufacturer wants a dead patient tethered to one of its machines.

    Dr. Edworthy said she was confident that the new sounds would be adopted, provided politics don't get in the way.

    At the Critical Alarms Lab, Dr. Ozcan recorded rattling pill bottles and running water to effect Dr. Edworthy's concepts.

    Dr. Ozcan, who has had practice translating vast quantities of data into audio cues for the European Space Agency's mission control dashboards, said her group at the lab was developing devices to hush the intensive care unit, which can be louder than a vacuum cleaner, and challenging conventional device design, possibly even making alarms "beautiful," she said.

    One of her group's projects, called CareTunes, is a speculative, even quixotic, melodic design.

    The device transcribes a patient's physiological condition into songs that sound a bit like chill electronic dance music. (Ms. Sen was an artistic adviser to the project.)

    The melody is derived from a patient's vital signs: drums for the heartbeat, guitar for oxygen saturation and piano for blood pressure. When a patient is stable, the tune is harmonious, but it becomes dissonant when a patient's status changes for the worse, ideally grabbing a caregiver's attention.

    The device would not replace a "code blue," Dr. Ozcan said, but it could potentially reduce the number of beeps, as caregivers would be alerted that a patient was veering into a danger zone before an alarm is triggered.

    The challenge, said Dr. Ozcan, is balancing the needs of patients and clinicians, who would have to learn and integrate new devices into their work flow.

    Dr. Ozcan said she was hopeful that the research done at her lab could be applied in other settings, such as air traffic control rooms, or would be relevant for research on how sound influences health in general, especially in work environments.

    "We owe it to the community and health care," she said.

    Yoko Sen has since recovered from her illness, but the bleating monitors are still "the soundtrack of my life," she said.

    Through her start-up Sen Sound based in Washington, she has collaborated with medical device engineers to create new tones for home heart monitors, and with interior designers to build a so-called tranquillity room, where clinicians can relax, making them less likely to slam doors or talk loudly.

    During a person's last moments, her eyes might be closed, his nose covered by a ventilator, her food ingested by tube. Unless someone is holding her hand, she might feel nothing.

    "For patients who die in the I.C.U., that sound of the alarm might be last sound they hear," she said.

    As part of a project with OpenIdeo, Ms. Sen interviewed hundreds of people about the last sound they would want to hear during their final moments.

    Many people said they wanted to hear sounds from nature, like the ocean, or voices of family members.

    No one, she said, mentioned bleating alarms.



    4) California Today: How California's Housing Crisis Could Hit Seniors Hard

    By Jill Cowan, July 9, 2019


    Audrey Jenkins, a resident of Heritage Park at Hilltop, an affordable housing development in Richmond. She and others living there are worried about rising rents. Jim Wilson/The New York Times

    It's Tuesday. So far this week, my colleagues have reported on why the ShakeAlertLA app didn't notify Angelenos about the two big quakes that jolted Southern California and how Representative Eric Swalwell became the first Democrat to drop out of the presidential race while the billionaire Tom Steyer jumped in.

    The Los Angeles Times published a sweeping — if grim — projectexamining the effects of a rising sea on California's cherished coastline.

    But today, I'm going to dig into what Californians say is the state's most urgent and thorny problem: the housing crisis, which lawmakers are set to discuss this afternoon when they take up Assembly Bill 1482. I wrote about whom it could leave out: 

    Audrey Jenkins's apartment isn't fancy or large. Though she's had mold and leaks, her place is tidy and packed with almost two decades' worth of mementos from a full life.

    When I visited earlier this year, she was proud to show off her latest project: a huge family quilt, one person per square, tracing her lineage back to 1841. Also close at hand was a poster board-sized "Thank you" card from the preschoolers she taught at the nearby Y.M.C.A. until she retired two years ago.

    At 82, Ms. Jenkins said having to move all that would be devastating. She doesn't know where she'd go.

    But that's a problem she and other tenants of Heritage Park at Hilltop, a complex in Richmond for low-income seniors, could face if rents continue to rise.

    "I've never had to think about living on the street," she told me recently. "And, believe me, that's in the back of my mind."

    Unlike many in the Bay Area, Heritage Park residents are not being summarily evicted from longtime homes to make way for a high-rise or a tech start-up's open-plan headquarters, and suburban Richmond is still a far cry from the Mission District in San Francisco.

    Instead, experts say the situation at the complex illustrates a troubling gap in efforts to get a handle on the state's consuming housing crisis: The fixed incomes of many senior tenants aren't keeping up with even smaller, incremental rent increases.

    As a result, one of the last remaining tenant-protection proposals before legislators this year, A.B. 1482, may not help them.

    Heritage Park residents said they first became alarmed about a year ago when they received notices that their rents would increase by as much as 12 percent.

    Tenants started meeting with one another about heading off the change and got help from organizers with the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment.

    After some work with Richmond city officials, the rent increase was reduced to closer to 3 percent. Residents — who must be at least 55 to live in the 192-unit complex, though many are older — told me they were left feeling on edge, so they poured their energy into activism.

    They took bus trips to Sacramento, where they camped out in lawmakers' offices and carried handmade signs advocating for a suite of bills, including A.B. 1482, aimed at protecting tenants like themselves.

    Then, late last month, residents were sent notice that their rents would increase again, on Aug. 1, by an average of almost 5 percent.

    For Ms. Jenkins, who has a two-bedroom, that translates to $1,465 in rent, up from $1,396, which itself was a difficult jump to make last year, from $1,351. Her income is about $2,800 per month — an annuity from a government job she worked for 30 years

    Geoff Brown is the president and chief executive of USA Properties Fund, the Roseville-based company that owns and manages Heritage Park. He said the company's hands were tied. Maintenance and insurance are getting more expensive, he said, as are regulatory costs associated with building new housing.

    That's where he said he thought legislators needed to focus: Encouraging the building of supply.

    "This whole movement to solve the problem by rent control, in my opinion, is going to have an adverse reaction," he said. "At every corner, developers have to go through hell to get a project built in California."

    He emphasized that the rent increases at Heritage Park were well within legal bounds, both according to the city of Richmond and according to rent limits for government-subsidized affordable housing. Those limits are tied to a regional area median income determined by the federal government.

    Officials at Richmond Rent Program said Heritage Park rent increases were technically in compliance, since it's not subject to local rent controls.

    But Paige Roosa, the program's deputy director, said there's a broader disconnect between what the Department of Housing and Urban Development deems affordable for Richmond's low-income renters and what they can actually pay.

    "The way their formula works is not really taking into consideration the local situation," she said, noting that Richmond's incomes are lumped in with those of Walnut Creek, a wealthy East Bay bedroom community, and Oakland, which is grappling with its own wave of tech-fueled gentrification.

    Case in point: The median family income in the Oakland-Fremont metro area that HUD is using this year is $111,700. That includes Richmond. But according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income in Richmond is $61,045.

    That's near the core of a looming problem for communities across the state, said Nari Rhee, the director of the retirement security research program at U.C. Berkeley's Center for Labor Research and Education.

    Just because high rents are legally defensible and are supported by the market doesn't mean they are sustainable for a fast-growing and increasingly vulnerable senior population, she said.

    Research she's worked on has shown that more Californians, especially women and people of color, are retiring with fewer resources. And there's almost no way that the state will be able to build enough below-market rate homes for them.

    "We always talk about the housing crisis but it's going to be really dire for seniors," Ms. Rhee said. "There's this kind of attitude we will charge whatever we can, and there's no essentially moral calculus about what is actually a justifiable rent increase."

    According to a 2015 report Ms. Rhee edited, well more than half of Bay Area seniors 65 and older who were renters did not have enough income to meet their basic needs. Those numbers were projected to get worse.

    Assemblyman David Chiu, the author of Assembly Bill 1482, said he knew the bill was not a complete fix.

    It would bar rent increases of more than 7 percent plus inflation or 10 percent — whichever is lower — and was recently amended to require landlords to show "just cause" for evictions.

    But the law would sunset after three years, and that 7 percent-plus-inflation figure represents a compromise that at least one group described as watered down to the point of being counterproductive. And lobbying groups for landlords have opposed it, saying it would discourage crucial new development.

    Still, Mr. Chiu said the shelving of Senate Bill 50, the high-profile and controversial proposal to boost housing supply, has made tenant protections even more urgent.

    "We have millions of tenants who are a rent increase away from being able to make it, and our hope is that the rent-gouging cap will help many of them," he said.

    Elsa Stevens, a 65-year-old who moved into Heritage Park six years ago with her husband so they could be close to their autistic son's group home, said she had not given up hope that the state could provide some relief — even if it's not for her.

    "That 10 percent cap doesn't help most low-income people, but it helps the young families and young professionals," she said recently. "We're getting Californians used to the idea that something has to be done."

    California Today goes live at 6:30 a.m. Pacific time weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: CAtoday@nytimes.com. Were you forwarded this email? Sign up for California Today here.

    Jill Cowan grew up in Orange County, went to school at U.C. Berkeley and has reported all over the state, including the Bay Area, Bakersfield and Los Angeles — but she always wants to see more. Follow along here or on Twitter, @jillcowan.

    California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.



    5) Art by Migrant Children in Texas Catches the Smithsonian's Eye

    By Jacey Fortin, July 9, 2019


    This drawing, created by a child migrant whose identity is unclear, could end up in the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History.CreditCreditAmerican Academy of Pediatrics, via Associated Press

    At a Catholic respite center in McAllen, Tex., last month, three children put marker to canvas and created little works of art.

    The children were migrants who had recently been released from the custody of United States Customs and Border Protection, and their drawings recalled conditions at their detention facilities. All three pieces are dominated by heavy lines — crisscrossed or up and down — that seem to represent cages or fences.

    Now, the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History has expressed an interest in their pieces. A curator there inquired about the drawings "as part of an exploratory process," the museum said in a statement on Monday.

    The museum said it had reached out to CNN, which reported on the drawings last week, and to the American Academy of Pediatrics, which helped bring the drawings to the attention of the news media. But it added that it "does not publicize nor speculate on potential collecting prior to formally accessioning artifacts."

    An A.A.P. staff member took pictures of the drawings last month after visiting government facilities in Texas at the invitation of customs officials, the academy's incoming president, Sara Goza, said in an interview on Monday.

    On the trip, she toured the Border Patrol's Central Processing Center in McAllen, a facility often known as Ursula.

    "First and foremost, as pediatricians, the A.A.P. is convinced that children don't belong in Customs and Border Control facilities," Dr. Goza said, adding that the experience can be traumatic and have lasting effects on children.

    A team from the American Academy of Pediatrics took photographs of the children's drawings in Texas and shared them with national news outlets.CreditAmerican Academy of Pediatrics, via Associated Press

    "When they opened the door for us to go into the facility, the first thing was the smell — a mixture between urine and sweat and feces," she said. She said she saw families as well as unaccompanied children inside, and some seemed frightened while others wore unnervingly blank expressions.

    Later, she went to the Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande ValleyHumanitarian Respite Center in McAllen.

    The center is a resting spot for families. Those who pass through it are usually coming from one of several detention facilities run by customs officials in the Rio Grande Valley, of which Ursula is one. The migrants usually do not stay at the respite center more than 24 hours; they are on their way to find family members or sponsors after being released from federal custody.

    Dr. Goza said she had been told the three artists were 10 and 11 years old, but she did not know their names. Nor did Sister Norma Pimentel, the executive director of the Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, who oversees the respite center. In an interview Monday, she said the drawings were in her organization's possession.

    Two of the drawings show stick figures that look as if they are in cages. In one drawing, five figures look as if they are lying on the floor under blankets, while another figure in a hat looks over them.

    In another, there is a cage holding five figures. Three more figures are outside the cage — one small, like a child, and two larger, with hats.

    In the third picture, there are no people — only a couple of toilets in a corner. Those are behind bars, too.

    The A.A.P. staff member's photographs of the drawings caught the attention of the news media and became a poignant symbol of the plight of migrant families and children.

    One child drew a scene with no people — only toilets behind vertical bars.CreditAmerican Academy of Pediatrics, via Associated Press

    Thousands of children have been separated from their families because of controversial immigration policies under President Trump, and an influx of migrant families from across the southern border has highlighted the failure of the administration's hard-line policies to deter them.

    Customs and Border Protection officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday night.

    Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations human rights chief and a former president of Chile, on Monday condemned how the United States treats migrant children arriving from Mexico, saying she was "shocked" at the conditions they faced in detention centers after crossing the border.

    And last week, the Department of Homeland Security's independent watchdog said that squalid, overcrowded conditions at migrant centers along the southern border were more widespread than had previously been revealed. After visiting facilities in the Rio Grande Valley, inspectors from the department's Office of Inspector General said in a report that they found children with few spare clothes and no laundry facilities, and that many migrants were given only wet wipes to clean themselves and bologna sandwiches to eat, causing health problems.

    Sister Pimentel said that children at the respite center in McAllen — the vast majority of whom had migrated from Central or South America — created many pieces of art, and not all of them were about detention.

    "Here, children have an opportunity to be children again, because they've been scared and they've seen their parents crying," she said. "I believe that these children show a lot of resilience. Many of their drawings show very positive things, and that's something that's very beautiful."

    The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History has a collection of more than 1.8 million objects. Part of its mission is to "explore the infinite richness and complexity of American history," and its artifacts include Abraham Lincoln's top hat, Dizzy Gillespie's trumpet and the flag that inspired the national anthem.

    The museum is also home to various artifacts from the United States border with Mexico, including a uniform worn by American border agents; a piece of an old border fence between the Mexican city of Mexicali and Calexico, Calif.; and everyday items — a toothbrush, a razor, a comb — left in the Arizona desert by migrants.

    In its statement, the museum said it "has a long commitment to telling the complex and complicated history of the United States and to documenting that history as it unfolds."



    6) 'Love Island' Is a Lesson in Surveillance

    By Sarah Jeong, July 9, 2019


    Illustration by Nicholas Konrad for The New York Times; Photos by Timothy Kuratek/CBS Entertainment

    "Love Island" is a reality show that can be roughly described as a cross between "The Bachelor" and the Stanford Prison Experiment.

    Now in its fifth season in Britain, it is one of the highest-ratedprime-time television programs in the country. Millions of viewers tune in six days a week for an unrelenting barrage of relationship drama recorded from every possible angle, using as many as 73 cameras and countless hidden microphones to capture it all.

    It was only a matter of time before this sensation would be exported to the United States,  and an American version will premiere Tuesday night on CBS.

    Here's the premise: Women and men are paired off and corralled inside a luxury villa on a beautiful island (the British version takes place in Mallorca, the American version in Fiji). As the days pass, they are eliminated in a variety of ways — sometimes by audience vote, sometimes by introducing a gender imbalance that forces the contestants into a game of musical chairs, but for heterosexuality.

    The last couple standing gets a smallish cash prize (it's around $62,000 in the British version; the American prize has not been revealed). 

    [If you're online — and, well, you are — chances are someone is using your information. We'll tell you what you can do about it. Sign up for our limited-run newsletter.]

    But after subjecting themselves to constant surveillance, most will end up "dumped" over the next four weeks. "It's so easy to forget the cameras are there," goes the common refrain, when contestants are eliminated and trotted out in front of a live audience, often to review a highlight reel of their greatest hits and most reviled misdeeds. It barely seems plausible when the contestants (who are required to wear swimwear at nearly all times) are always wearing extremely prominent microphones around their necks like fuzzy black pendants. 

    But ubiquity breeds familiarity, and eventually even reality show contestants, who have signed a stack of legal consent forms just to participate, forget the price of constant surveillance. "Love Island" is a product of the zeitgeist for many reasons — the show peddles its own makeup line and populates itself with minor Instagram influencers — but it is the absolute surveillance that makes it a cultural touchstone.

    Trapped in an extravagant vacation house where all the clocks are purposely set to the wrong time, the contestants have nothing to do all day but eat, sleep, drink, gossip, or become the subject of gossip. Forbidden to read magazines, watch television or surf the internet, the contestants increasingly gravitate toward generating drama, propelled by an intolerable vacuum of boredom.

    They say nasty things about one another, forgetting — or not caring — that all will be aired eventually. They maneuver behind one another's backs, tell baldfaced lies and "sneak off" to have sex in the privacy of a separate room — that's set up with more cameras, of course. The encounters are filmed and broadcast to the world. Each "couple" shares a bed in one giant bedroom where rivals and former partners can stare each other down as they settle in to sleep.

    As the weeks wear on, some of the contestants seem to resign themselves to their total lack of privacy, going as far as to have sex in the common sleeping room.

    Nobody goes on "Love Island" thinking he or she has something to hide. In that respect, the contestants represent a solid chunk of everyday individuals who have halfheartedly consented to surveillance for the reason that they just don't see what the big deal is. 

    As contestants are eliminated, they emerge before a cheering (or booing) audience, slightly stunned and blinking rapidly in the bright lights, the memory of life on "the outside" rushing back to them. They often seem genuinely startled to remember that they've been having sex on camera all along — or, more devastatingly, to discover that they've received the villain edit. 

    Having "something to hide" depends on the eye of the surveillant. Reality show contestants and law enforcement targets alike can have the minutia of their lives restitched together into an indictment.

    "Love Island" serves as a cautionary tale of how quickly the expectation of privacy will erode in the face of ubiquitous monitoring. But reality shows — including the aptly named "Big Brother" — aren't really allegories of the surveillance state. 

    The Love Islanders, after all, eventually get to go home. We should fear how our liberties and our own behaviors will be warped by the proliferation of cameras on every street corner, on every car dashboard and in every pocket. 

    But we should be more afraid of how impossible it will be to tell that we've changed. There will be no "outside" for us to leave for, no surveillance-free home to return to. In a real surveillance state, even the surveillants must live under the all-seeing eye. Without an "outside," there are only other contestants within the bubble to film, monitor and confront one another. And what's worse — being watched by Big Brother, or being watched by your fellow increasingly crazed and desperate comrades?



    7) Upset by the Scenes on the Border? Look Closer to Home

    By Meeve Higgins, July 9, 2019


    The outside of 201 Varick Street, which houses the United States Immigration Court.CreditCreditYana Paskova for The New York Times

    I love New York, despite the new ways it finds to wreck my head every day. Right now, dating and the subway are causing me trouble; both involve long and inexplicable delays, strange, unexpected smells, and a sense of rage that I'm not sure who to blame for. "Cuomo, you'll pay for this," I mutter darkly, as another date goes off the rails.

    Mainly, though, I'm happy and relieved to live in America's biggest city, a liberal place where I can have the life I want. I'm one of more than three million immigrants in this sanctuary city, and I feel like it's a place where people live and let live. We care about each other, too. Not so much in a "have my seat" way, but certainly in a "I won't let them hurt you" way. Right?

    More than a third of New Yorkers are immigrants, and a majority of those are naturalized citizens. There is also a large population of lawful permanent residents — that includes me — as well as an estimated 560,000 undocumented immigrants. Approximately a million New Yorkers live in mixed-status households, where someone is undocumented.

    These days, the nation's horrified eyes are understandably fixed on the Mexican border and the children sickening and dying in American custody there. I've been watching too, and feeling terribly useless. So I decided to look closer to home, to see how my city is treating our most vulnerable immigrants: asylum seekers, the undocumented, those convicted of a crime. I discovered that life and death can hang in the balance in Lower Manhattan, too, inside the big gray building at 201 Varick Street that houses an immigration court.

    Technically, anyone is allowed to observe some of the court proceedings. On a recent Tuesday morning, I put on a blazer and waited in the hot sun with a gathering crowd of people anxiously clutching documents, until the doors opened at 8:00. Security guards let in the first 60 or so people to wait in the air-conditioned lobby. I chatted with an immigration lawyer who is married to a friend of mine. She told me one of her former clients did the brick work in the lobby; he was never expecting to find himself back in the building under threat of deportation, but that's what happened. That's the kind of thing that has been happening to more and more New Yorkers lately.

    The backlog in the immigration courts has been growing for the past decade, and pending cases have increased by nearly 50 percent nationally since Donald Trump became president. There are now more than 900,000 people waiting for their day in court, the majority of them waiting for a judge to decide whether or not they will be deported. Less than 5 percent of removal cases are based on a criminal conviction. Most of the rest are civil immigration cases, like crossing the border illegally or overstaying a visa. Asylum seekers' claims are also heard in this court. About half of new immigration cases last year — 159,590 — involved asylum seekers.

    One of the guards in the lobby seemed frustrated. "Move!" he shouted to a group of people confused about where exactly they were supposed to move to. Then he muttered, "God, everybody is asleep. What is this, La La Land?" Surely he wasn't referring to the movie: There was far too much tension in that lobby for anyone to break into song. I get it. It's a tough job, shepherding overheated, nervous immigrants and the families of the detained.

    Unlike other courts, immigration court does not provide legal counsel if you're unable to afford it. I know how complex and unwieldy the immigration system is. I've got my immigration lawyer on speed dial, even though she's on maternity leave. Nationwide, just 14 percent of detained immigrants have legal counsel. That's where my city shines: The New York Immigrant Family Unity Project is the nation's first public defender system for immigrants facing deportation. It's been funded by the New York City Council since 2014 and provides a free attorney to almost all detained indigent immigrants facing deportation at Varick Street.

    Those attorneys though? They are really up against it. I went through the metal detector machine and took an elevator to the courtrooms on the 11th floor. The place has the feel of any other court, but that's misleading: It's not part of the judicial branch; it's under the Justice Department. At first this confused me, but it's been that way for a long time. The Executive Office for Immigration Review, which runs the courts today, was created to do so in 1983; previously they were under the Immigration and Naturalization Service, also overseen by the Justice Department. The American Bar Association, immigrant rights groups and even some immigration judges have repeatedly asked for independence so the courts can stop being used politically, but to no avail. Today, the Trump administration controls them.

    I thought about that while I sat on a bench in the courtroom, next to toddlers wearing their hair in ribbons, staying as quiet as possible and waiting to see their parents, who filed in wearing orange jumpsuits, their wrists shackled to their waists. State and federal criminal courts also put shackles on defendants, but they are usually removed during trial to avoid prejudicing a jury. No such courtesy is offered to immigrants. They stay shackled the whole time, unable to sit comfortably or wipe their face as they recount the worst moments of their lives in their home country, asking for a stay of deportation, pleading for a chance to resume their life here in America.

    I sat in on a couple of hearings that morning and saw some judges treat immigrants humanely and politely, looking directly at them and explaining what was happening, even wishing them luck before adjourning. I saw other judges treat immigrants like parts on an assembly line. But judges are operating within the rigid and outdated confines of immigration law, and these days they're under more pressure than ever before. Since last October they've had to work under a quota system, requiring them to "complete" 700 cases each year. Judge Ashley Tabaddor, the president of the National Association of Immigration Judges, told CNN that "It's another representation of the improper use of the court as an extension of the law enforcement policies of the executive branch."

    As I left the courtroom I glanced at my phone, and saw reports of more overcrowding at the border in Texas. It's difficult to bear the news, to know that there are children looking after babies and sleeping, hungry, on concrete floors. But cruelty can take many forms. A person who happens to be born elsewhere can have their rights stripped away in a detention camp or a courtroom. There is an entire system of brutality against immigrants in this country, some parts are new and shocking, other parts are quieter — and they've have been here all along, even in my beloved New York.

    Walking back to the subway through The Village, I stopped to look at the menu of a hipster cafe with a $24 steak and eggs breakfast. Extraordinary to think that this place exists just around the corner from 201 Varick St. "New York is peculiarly constructed to absorb almost anything that comes along," E.B. White wrote in "Here is New York," and it does so "without inflicting the event on its inhabitant; so that every event is, in a sense, optional, and the inhabitant is in the happy position of being able to choose his spectacle and so conserve his soul." To conserve our souls, immigration court is a spectacle we must choose to look at.

    Maeve Higgins is the author of "Maeve in America: Essays by a Girl From Somewhere Else" and a contributing opinion writer.



    8) When Public School Starts at Age 3

    By Connor P. Williams, July 9, 2019


    Ashley Peel teaching her pre-K class to write their names at Kipp DC: Connect Academy in Washington in 2014.CreditCreditGabriella Demczuk for The New York Times

    Free public school starting at age four, or even three, is growing in many American cities. It's gaining traction as a way to help young children learn the reading, counting and social skills that prepare them for kindergarten. It also promises to help close academic gaps between rich and poor children. Above all, it may have lasting benefits for attendees, including success in school and better lives as adults.

    But promises are not guarantees, and universal pre-K works better in some places than in others. Washington, D.C., runs one of the country's oldest, best-funded, most comprehensive pre-K systems. So what can other cities learn from Washington's success?

    Here's how pre-K looks in one Washington classroom:

    Amina, who is 4 years old and introduces herself as a writer, looks up from chopping plastic carrots. She and two of her classmates are pretending to cook a family meal together. Her "sister" Lesley, who said she is a librarian-professor, is prepping tomatoes. Their third "sister," Madison — "I don't work. I just sit on my computer all day," she said — is making caramel for the salad. That doesn't seem right, I say.

    Amina shrugs. It's an odd salad, but not out of bounds for the dramatic play center at the Parklands campus of AppleTree Early Learning Public Charter School. It's in the Shipley Terrace neighborhood of Washington, a largely low-income, African-American part of the city.

    Amina gathers all the ingredients and passes me the bowl. "Here! Try some!"

    Amina, Lesley and Madison are three of the more than 13,000children enrolled in Washington's universal public pre-K program.

    The city introduced universal pre-K in 2008. Over the next decade, glittering rhetoric about pre-K's benefits helped sell the public — and policymakers across the country — on the idea. Studies show that high-quality pre-K can advance children's linguistic, academic and social development. Research also suggests that pre-K programs reduce the need for special education placements, raise students' future incomes, lower incarceration rates and get parents back to work.

    And yet enthusiasm for these programs has often outrun practicalities. Several studies of recent efforts to increase public pre-K have hinted that cities and states have expanded access at the cost of quality. Some expansions have been rushed and others given too little money; many face both problems.

    Beside issues of politics, there are questions of what we want universal pre-K to do. "The big problem in the sector is, what do we mean by quality?" asks Jack McCarthy, AppleTree's president and chief executive.

    The range of pre-K's promised benefits makes this a surprisingly complex question. Is the goal academic readiness, social and emotional learning, better health outcomes, access to child care, raising future incomes, decreasing the size of future prison populations — or some combination of these? Then, once we've defined success, how do we measure it? And, finally, how can new pre-K programs in cities like New York, San Antonio and Seattle deliver it?

    A decade into building — and reforming — its universal pre-K program, Washington provides some hints.

    The program is popular with parents: 73 percent of 3-year-olds and 85 percent of 4-year-olds were enrolled in the 2017-2018 school year. "With the pre-K participation rates that we have across the city, I think we can truly say that our public education system starts at age three," says Miriam Calderon, who was the school district's director of early childhood education during the program's early years. (Now she heads Oregon's early education system.)

    The city's enthusiasm for early education is at least partly a function of its skyrocketing cost of living. Washington designed its pre-K program to help families financially and became one of the few cities that offers it to 3-year-olds, leaving new parents with just three years of child care to cover.

    It also runs all day. Most campuses provide at least six and a half hours of care and education each day. A Center for American Progress study found that Washington's program has increased mothers' participation in the labor force.

    But quality pre-K isn't solely — or even primarily — about helping parents afford to have children or get back to work. Analysis of universal early education programs like Quebec's suggest that while it is reasonably straightforward to provide safe, daylong care that allows parents to return to work, it is more complicated to ensure that these programs also advance children's development.

    Across Washington, educators and administrators say that pre-K classrooms aim to close academic achievement gaps before they have grown too large. Such measurement makes sense: Just as second grade prepares children for third and middle school prepares children for high school, pre-K ought to pre-prepare children for kindergarten.

    Of course, kindergarten preparation is unique. It covers a holistic span of child development, and it's long on social and emotional skills — paying attention, working with peers, recognizing and solving conflicts. It's about learning how to be at school and how to get the most out of it. For instance, when Amina, Lesley and Madison serve caramel salad, they're learning to create collaboratively in a team.

    Laura Steinmetz, a pre-K teacher in Washington, calls this "the underlying piece" of her work. Take wooden blocks. They develop some obvious skills: Students acquire dexterity and learn how their choices affect a structure's stability. They learn to plan and persist in the face of failure. But there's more, Ms. Steinmetz says. "Maybe somebody walked by and touched one of the support blocks and the whole thing fell down, so you have to learn how to manage your feelings and talk to that peer."

    Turner Elementary School's principal, Eric Bethel, said he's seeing the impact of the pre-K program in his kindergartners. "They're not spending the first three or four weeks of school crying because it's some sort of foreign place to them," he said. "They know school routines. They have stamina."

    But high-quality pre-K isn't only about patiently navigating imaginary salads, block towers and frustration. These social and emotional skills help students' acquire knowledge by building their abilities to learn in group settings. Good pre-K also builds academic foundations.

    At a literacy table in one Turner classroom, Tanisha Watson, a veteran pre-K teacher, reads "Be Boy Buzz" with a student. The boy prompts her to read by pointing to each word. In just two minutes, she reinforces a pile of basic literacy skills. "If I read, you'll point, right? Are you ready? We go left to right," she reminds him. "Do we start at the bottom or the top? What's that period mean? O.K.! Now we need to keep going. What do we do to keep reading? We turn the page? Great!" She stretches him to think about what's happening — "Does he seem like he's talking loud? What do you think he's doing here? He's crying? How do you know? Why is he crying?" Those are the building blocks of reading.

    Skilled instruction like Ms. Watson's doesn't come cheap. Unlike most American communities, Washington pays its pre-K teachers at rates similar to those its elementary schoolteachers get. Their salaries make up a large part of the nearly $19,000 the city spends annually on each preschooler. San Antonio, for comparison, spends just under $14,000 per child.

    What's more, Washington also uses federal Head Start funding in its pre-K sites. All district pre-K classrooms must adopt Head Start's holistic approach to child development, which means providing access to health, nutrition and family outreach programs. In many cities, public pre-K classrooms enroll students separately from Head Start classrooms, which primarily serve children from low-income families. Washington's systemwide funding coordination helps avoid this de facto segregation. No other city blends local and federal early education funding as smoothly on a large scale.

    Most important, more than 95 percent of Washington's pre-K seatsare in public schools. This can help students acclimate to the facilities where they'll spend their elementary school years. It can also make it easier for kindergarten to pick up precisely where pre-K leaves off.

    Just five years ago, 80 percent of kindergartners at Turner Elementary started the year behind on basic print concepts, like how to hold and use a book. As the school's pre-K program has improved — Turner's pre-K teachers have worked with a full-time coach for three years — the data have flipped. Last year, 76 percent of incoming kindergartners had mastered those reading basics.

    At both Turner Elementary and AppleTree's Parklands campus, nearly every student is growing up in a low-income, African-American family. But Washington's pre-K classrooms seem to be getting results with all their students.

    For example, children who were learning English at schools using AppleTree's curriculum finished pre-K performing as well as, or better than, native English-speaking peers on math and literacy tests. At AppleTree's Columbia Heights campus, children who speak a language other than English at home — one-third of the school's students — showed stronger growth on early literacy and math skills than their native English-speaking peers.

    In 2018, the school district reported that fewer than half of 3-year-olds were meeting early literacy benchmarks when they arrived in pre-K classrooms. However, 86 percent were finishing pre-K ready for kindergarten on the cognition skills measured by the city's early childhood assessment — and 83 percent were becoming kindergarten-ready on language metrics. More than 75 percent reached kindergarten-ready skills on fluently matching sounds with letters.

    It is too early to say for certain whether Washington's system is delivering on all of the many promises made on pre-K's behalf. (Paradoxically, the program's popularity makes it difficult to study, because there are few students outside the program who could make up a control group.) Right now, the earliest 3-year-olds to have enrolled in the city's expanded pre-K system are only now arriving in the later elementary grades, where standardized academic assessments become more common. Students in Washington's public schools have shown steady academic improvement on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, particularly in the elementary school years. While many factors contribute to this trend — the city simultaneously embarked upon major K-12 education reforms and has seen significant demographic changes in its schools — these are grades that enroll more students who attended the city's pre-K programs.

    But it will be decades before researchers can determine whether the program has affected students' incomes or incarceration rates as adults. So far, though, Washington's example does suggest that a universal, full-day, well-funded, school-based, developmentally-appropriate, holistic pre-K program can improve children's lives — if the public is patient, and willing to pay.

    Conor P. Williams (@ConorPWilliams) studies educational equity as a fellow at the Century Foundation.



    9) An Arizona Teenager Was Fatally Stabbed. The Suspect Blames Rap Music.

    By Karen Zraick, July 9, 2019


    Elijah Al-Amin

    A 17-year-old boy was fatally stabbed in Arizona by a man who said the rap music the victim was listening to made him feel "unsafe,"the police said. 

    The victim, Elijah Al-Amin of Glendale, had finished work at a Subway sandwich shop and stopped at a Circle K convenience store in Peoria early Thursday morning, relatives said. He was standing at a soda machine around 1:45 a.m. when Michael Paul Adams, 27, who had been released from prison two days earlier, stabbed him in the back and slit his throat, witnesses told officers from the Peoria Police Department.

    The two were not believed to have known each other, and witnesses reported that Mr. Adams did not say anything before the attack. Elijah fled the store, bleeding profusely, and collapsed in the parking lot, according to a probable cause statement. When emergency responders arrived, a witness was trying to stop the bleeding from his neck. He died at a hospital about 20 minutes later.

    Mr. Adams simply walked out of the store after the encounter, much of which was caught on surveillance tape. The police found him nearby, stained with blood and carrying a folding pocketknife, and he admitted to the killing, according to the statement.

    In a police interview, Mr. Adams, who is white, said that Elijah, who was multiracial, had been listening to rap music on his car radio before he entered the store, and that the music had made Mr. Adams feel threatened.

    Mr. Adams said in the interview that rap music "makes him feel unsafe," because in the past he had been "attacked by people (blacks, Hispanics and Native American) who listen to rap music." According to the police statement, he said that "people who listen to rap music are a threat to him and the community."

    Mr. Adams said that he had felt he "needed to be 'proactive rather than reactive' and protect himself and his community from the victim," it added.

    Mr. Adams was charged with premeditated murder in the first degree.

    The attack bore similarities to the 2012 killing of Jordan Davis, a black 17-year-old who was shot and killed by a 47-year-old white man after Mr. Davis and his friends refused the man's request to turn down the volume of the rap music playing from their car. The shooter, Michael Dunn, was later sentenced to life in prison. Mr. Davis's mother, Lucy McBath, was elected to Congress last year after running on a gun control platform.

    Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the National Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, was among those calling for the killing to be investigated by the Justice Department as a hate crime. On Twitter, people used the hashtag #JusticeforElijah as they expressed outrage and sadness.

    Amanda Steele, a spokeswoman for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, said that state law did not allow for separate hate crimes charges, but that they could be used after conviction to argue for a more severe sentence.

    Court documents show that Mr. Adams, who is listed as homeless, had been released from prison two days before the killing, after serving time for charges that included aggravated assault.

    At Mr. Adams's initial court appearance, his lawyer, Jacie Cotterell, told the judge that Mr. Adams was mentally ill. Prosecutors also noted that he had several previous felony convictions and a history of unprovoked violence.

    In court and in an interview with "Good Evening Arizona," Ms. Cotterell accused the Department of Corrections of releasing Mr. Adams without sufficient resources or supervision.

    "He's been released into the world and left to fend for himself and two days later, this is where we are," she said in the interview.

    The Department of Corrections said that Mr. Adams had not been designated as seriously mentally ill and was not on prescription medication at the time of his release. He was given contact information for social service providers, the department said.

    "He was no longer under the department's legal jurisdiction and the department had no further legal authority over him," a spokesman, Bill Lamoreaux, said in a statement.

    Mr. Adams was being held with bail set at $1 million.

    In interviews, Elijah's parents, Raheem Al-Amin and Serina Rides, struggled to make sense of the killing. They said the suspect's mental health was no excuse for such a heinous act.

    "I don't care what somebody's hiding behind — mental illness?" Ms. Rides told the local Fox affiliate. "There's no excuse."

    Elijah's father said in a phone interview that his son was quick to help others. He had recently expressed interest in hotel management, perhaps inspired by his paternal grandfather, who owned hotels.

    "He was just a young, ambitious kid that wanted life to be better for himself and others around him," he said.

    About his son's love of music, Mr. Al-Amin said Elijah liked rap artists who had a message, like Nipsey Hussle and Tupac Shakur.

    The last time he saw his son was the night he died. Mr. Al-Amin had picked up Elijah's sister, who worked near the Subway, earlier that evening. He saw his son through the windows, cleaning up. Mr. Al-Amin spoke to him on the phone, teasingly asking him to bring back some cookies or a sandwich, but Elijah said he wanted to see his girlfriend after work.

    Hours later, Mr. Al-Amin grew worried when his son had not returned home and was not answering his phone. He spent all night trying to find him, and learned that he had been killed around dawn.

    Elijah would have turned 18 later this month.



    10) Touring the Israeli Occupation: Young U.S. Jews Get an Unflinching View

    By David M. Halbfinger, July 10, 2019


    At Har Gilo, a Jewish settlement overlooking the southern West Bank, American college students get a history lesson.CreditCreditIlia Yefimovich for The New York Times

    PSAGOT, West Bank — The fun was over before the tour bus rolled into Har Gilo.

    For the past week, 28 college students from the United States had been taking part in a traveling experiment billed as an alternative to Birthright Israel, whose free trips to the country have become a rite of passage for hundreds of thousands of young American Jews.

    Birthright's avoidance of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank has made it the target of angry protests by left-leaning Jewish activists. But for sheer ambition, no critique has approached this week's attempt by the liberal lobbying group J Street to map out an alternative route for Birthright's tours.

    The organizers said they embraced Birthright's goal of helping young American Jews connect with Israel and with their Jewishness, but that they also needed to be exposed to the realities of the occupation.

    On Sunday, after several upbeat days hiking in the Galilee, learning about the kibbutz movement and bonding over buffets and Israeli pop songs, the J Street cohort took a sharp left turn into territory where Birthright does not go.

    In the West Bank settlement of Har Gilo, they received a harsh history lesson from a veteran opponent of the occupation. Then they toured an impoverished, water-starved Palestinian village that Israeli settlers want to demolish, and visited the city of Hebron, where repeated outbreaks of violence have turned an entire Palestinian business district into a ghost town.

    Adam DeSchriver, 21, a clarinet student at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., said he had been wowed on the trip's first few days by the "renaissance of Hebrew culture" he discovered in Israel.

    "What breaks my heart," he said after Sunday's eye-opening itinerary, "is seeing it at the expense of others."

    Birthright officials say their trips do address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to a limited extent, but that it is not their focus.

    Birthright's goal is "to strengthen Jewish identity and foster a love for the land, people and culture of Israel," said Pamela Fertel Weinstein, a spokeswoman for the group. Travelers more interested in the conflict, she said, are free to stay on in Israel to learn about it on their own.

    The organizers of the J Street trip, called "Let Our People Know," said newcomers to Israel also needed to understand the experiences of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation.

    "To be raising a generation of American Jews with no knowledge of that? That's wrong," said Shira Wolkenfeld, 22, a new graduate of George Washington University and a member of J Street's student board. "And that's political. We're creating a generation who don't have the knowledge to speak out against it."

    The ride to Har Gilo, just south of Jerusalem, took the bus through an Israeli checkpoint. Hagit Ofran, a leader of Peace Now, addressed the group over a microphone and described how soldiers decided which motorists to stop: "To look suspicious," she said, "you need to look Arab."

    It was a bracing how-do-you-do for liberals unaccustomed to blunt racial profiling.

    But it was atop Har Gilo, peering out over the southern West Bank, that the travelers began to see troubling aspects of a country they had mainly loved from far away.

    Down below was the separation barrier, with decorous brickwork beautifying the side facing an Israeli settlement. The Palestinian village on the other side looked upon a crude concrete slab.

    Farther downhill was the tunnel road, a bypass highway to speed Israelis to and from their growing settlements, tunneling under Palestinian villages and surfacing between high concrete walls to protect Jewish drivers from potential attacks by Palestinians.

    "You don't feel the occupation when you don't see it," Ms. Ofran said.

    She was referring to the drivers in the distance, but she could have been referring to the young passengers who climbed back onto their tour bus.

    Many of the young people on the tour had been to Israel before, some on Birthright trips, and most were already activists with J Street's campus arm. But they were still unprepared for Susiya.

    There, in the southern Hebron hills, they trudged across dusty, rocky terrain and crowded inside a steaming domicile with cinder-block walls and a tarpaulin roof.

    Lunch arrived: Steaming vats of savory rice and trays of cooked vegetables.

    The flies were so many, and so impudent, that the students gave up swatting them from their faces.

    Nasser Nawajah, a Susiya resident and activist with the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem, told Susiya's story: Evicted from their old homes just downhill to make way for an Israeli archaeological site, Susiya's shepherds had set up a ramshackle collection of tents and huts here in their fields, lest their grazing lands be taken from them as well.

    An organization of Jewish settlers has sued to compel the army to demolish Susiya, since the tents and huts were built without permits — permits that Israel does not grant to Palestinians across much of the West Bank.

    Susiya's residents were also cut off from their cisterns and barred from digging new ones, Mr. Nawajah said. They asked Israel's water company, which has a big line just across the street, to install a spigot and a meter so they could pay for water for their families and sheep. It said no, because the village was built illegally. So the villagers truck in water, he said, paying many times what it costs Israelis to drink and bathe.

    "How do you fight back?" one of the young visitors asked. International pressure is the only thing that works, Mr. Nawajah said.

    "Is there anything we can do?" someone else asked. Pressure the Americans who donate to the settlers, and call your congressmen, Mr. Nawajah said.

    "I have to honestly say, the occupation is not just Israeli," he added. "It's American as well."

    A quick walk through the divided house of worship above the Cave of the Patriarchs — Muslims on one side, Jews the other, with padlocks and soldiers enforcing the split — set the mood for the group's visit to Hebron. Jewish settlers were attracted to Hebron by the belief that the cave holds the remains of Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, and Jacob and Leah.

    Outside, Ms. Ofran told of violence including the massacre of 67 Jews in Hebron in 1929, and of 29 Muslims gunned down by a settler as they prayed in 1994, which ushered in a period of Arab suicide bombings.

    She was leading the group on a thousand-yard tour along what were once some of Hebron's main market streets, until Palestinians were forbidden to use them, even to get to their front doors. Today they are a graveyard of abandoned storefronts and apartments, as well as some homes where Ms. Ofran said settlers had moved in illegally after the Arab owners, demoralized by restrictions and harassment, had fled.

    "People aren't kicked out," she said of the Palestinians who had left. "It's unbearable to live here."

    At a last checkpoint, Arabs crossed into the Israeli-controlled section, where soldiers protect 800 settlers from the city of 200,000 Palestinians beyond the gate. Pointing up a steep street to an Arab neighborhood, Ms. Ofran said cooking gas could not be delivered there by truck; people had to carry the tanks on their backs.

    The only Palestinian vehicle allowed in, she said, was a garbage truck.

    "This is all really sad," said Liyah Foye, 19, a senior at the University of North Carolina-Asheville.

    Ms. Foye, who as a black Jew said she had experienced more than her share of bigotry, said she was hit hard by the idea that a "state founded to protect one marginalized group" was oppressing another.

    She said she had always loved Israel and seen it as a "beacon of light." But what she saw on Sunday overwhelmed her: "My joy and my light shouldn't be coming from someone else's darkness," she said.

    "After today I can no longer stand by," she added, saying she wanted to go home and educate American Jews about the Palestinians' plight. "Even if I'm not oppressing them, I'm still part of the system that is," she said. "My job is to say to my community, 'No, this can't happen.'"

    As the day grew long, the facial expressions more pained and the questions more anguished, the J Street tour seemed increasingly incompatible with Birthright's goal of hooking young American Jews on Israel.

    By dinnertime, two participants said they were reconsidering their belief in a Jewish state. Jesse Steshenko, 19, of Santa Cruz, Calif., who has a Star of David tattooed on his right wrist, said he was "disgusted" with Israel's government.

    "I came in here a very ardent Zionist," he said. "You never know when a Holocaust might happen again. Yet, coming here, I'm starting to doubt whether a two-state solution is possible — and whether Zionism is even worth pursuing anymore."

    Yet Mr. Steshenko also said he had made up his mind to make Israel his home after he graduates from college, "to do the work that I think should be done."

    Yael Patir, J Street's top official in Israel, pointed to Mr. Steshenko's decision as a sign of success.

    "We knew that their days in the West Bank would be the most challenging and difficult," she said of the group. "But we also know that it's the reason they came for the trip."

    There remained the question of how much Birthright itself might borrow from a trip like this, if it chose to.

    But Channah Powell, 20, a pre-med student at Tufts University, warned against taking the J Street experiment as a model.

    "You can't just next year have 50,000 kids on a trip like this," she said. "You have to change the way we're educating them." She added that Jewish groups, schools and synagogues needed to teach their young people about the occupation, not merely wait or pray for it to end.

    "American Jewish kids," Ms. Powell said, "have to be able to come on a trip like this without feeling so blindsided."



    11) 35 Employees Committed Suicide. Will Their Bosses Go to Jail?

    By Adam Nossiter, July 9, 2019


    French union members outside the Paris courthouse at the start of the trial of France Télécom in May.CreditCreditThibault Camus/Associated Press

    France Télécom employees marching in Lannion after the suicide of a colleague in 2009.CreditDavid Vincent/Associated Press

    PARIS — In their blue blazers and tight haircuts, the aging men look uncomfortable in the courtroom dock. And for good reason: they are accused of harassing employees so relentlessly that workers ended up killing themselves.

    The men — all former top executives at France's giant telecom company — wanted to downsize the business by thousands of workers a decade ago. But they couldn't fire most of them. The workers were state employees — employees for life — and therefore protected.

    So the executives resolved to make life so unbearable that the workers would leave, prosecutors say. Instead, at least 35 employees — workers' advocates say nearly double that number — committed suicide, feeling trapped, betrayed and despairing of ever finding new work in France's immobile labor market.

    Today the former top executives of France Télécom — once the national phone company, and now one of the nation's biggest private enterprises, Orange — are on trial for "moral harassment." It is the first time that French bosses, caught in the vise of France's strict labor protections, have been prosecuted for systemic harassment that led to worker deaths.

    The trial has riveted a country deeply conflicted about capitalism and corporate culture, and may help answer a question that haunts the French as they fitfully modernize their economy: How far can a company go to streamline, shed debt and make money?

    If convicted, the ex-executives face a year in jail and a $16,800 fine. But even before the trial wraps up on July 12, with a verdict sometime later, it has become a landmark in the country's often hostile relations between labor and management.

    As President Emmanuel Macron has sought to make France more business-friendly, he has run into a buzz saw of strikes and faced a revolt among Yellow Vest protesters who accuse him of being the president of the rich. While many workers complain they struggle to make ends meet, employers say a system of generous social benefits and worker protections makes hiring onerous and stifles job creation.

    The trial has become a searing demonstration of those lingering tensions.

    France Télécom was caught flat-footed by the digital revolution, as fixed-line subscribers dropped away by the thousands. The state ordered the company to go private in 2003, and by 2005, it was over $50 billion in debt.

    Company executives thought they needed to get rid of 22,000 workers out of 130,000 — a necessity contested by the prosecution — to ensure survival.

    "They were stuck, cornered," said Michel Ledoux, one of the plaintiffs' lawyers. "The only possibility was to make them leave, one way or another."

    Weeks of wrenching testimony about despairing employees who hanged themselves, immolated themselves, or threw themselves out of windows, under trains and off bridges and highway overpasses, have suggested that the former executives went very far in "pushing the company into the new century," as corporate strategy dictated.

    The executives include Didier Lombard, the former chief executive officer; Louis-Pierre Wenès, his No. 2; Olivier Barberot, the former head of human resources; and four others.

    A grim universe of underemployment, marginalization, miscasting and systematic harassment was established at the huge company, according to testimony at the trial.

    The executives "sought the destabilization of the workers," prosecutor Francoise Benezech said in her summing up on Friday.

    "People who had worked outside their whole career were suddenly put in front of a computer," said Frédérique Guillon, a worker advocate who testified at the trial, in an interview. "There were people whose work was simply taken away from them."

    Among those victims, the youngest was Nicolas Grenouville, 28, who was wearing a company T-shirt when he put an internet cable around his neck and hanged himself in a garage, Mr. Ledoux told the court this week.

    "I can't stand this job anymore, and France Télécom couldn't care less," Mr. Grenouville wrote shortly before his death in August 2009. "All they care about is money."

    An introspective technician used to working alone on the phone lines, praised for his scrupulousness, Mr. Grenouville was suddenly pitched into a sales job dealing with customers. He couldn't stand it. "They threw him out into the arena without a speck of training," Mr. Ledoux told the court.

    The day before his suicide he had worked a 12-hour day with one 30-minute break. "Little Nicolas took this violence right smack in the face," Mr. Ledoux said.

    Camille Bodivit, 48, had been a planner at the company when suddenly his job description began to shift. He threw himself off a bridge in Brittany in 2009. "Work was everything for him," his partner's lawyer, Juliette Mendès-Ribeiro, told the court Tuesday.

    "You killed my father — why?" asked Noémie Louvradoux last week, turning to the defendants, in one of the trial's most widely reported moments. Her father, Rémy, set himself on fire in 2011 in front of a France Télécom office near Bordeaux, in despair over successive marginal reassignments.

    In their defense, the former executives have cited the intense pressure of a competitive and changing marketplace.

    "The company was going under and it didn't even know it," Mr. Lombard, the ex-chief executive, testified. "We could have gone about it much more gently if we hadn't had the competition banging on our door."

    Unfortunately for Mr. Lombard, he was recorded saying in 2007 that he would reach the quota of layoffs "one way or another, by the window or by the door." The window is what a number of the employees chose.

    "This isn't going to be lacework here," Mr. Barberot said in 2007. "We're going to put people in front of life's realities."

    To the mounting signs of distress management turned a deaf ear, testimony at the trial suggested.

    Noëlle Burgi, a sociologist who worked with the employees during the suicide wave and testified at the trial, said in an interview that it was "a process of humiliation."

    "You were put in an office, underground," Ms. Burgi said. "There was one guy who was literally kicked out of his office. He didn't understand."

    The suicides and testimony made clear that France's chronically high unemployment rate had left many of the workers feeling especially vulnerable.

    "Before, when there was full employment, if you were unhappy at work, you could tell your boss to go to hell," Ms. Guillon said.

    But those conditions haven't existed for years in France, where the labor market is stagnant and immobile by American standards, and workers have little culture of moving cross-country for a new job.

    It is clear that these France Télécom employees had signed on expecting to finish their careers at the company. "Eighty percent were there to stay until the end of their professional life," Pascale Abdessamad, a France Télécom worker who also testified, said in an interview.

    Most of the employees were deeply dedicated to their work, testimony indicated. A company like France Télécom, iconic in French life for years, was an apparent lifelong security blanket.

    "These companies were considered family," Mr. Ledoux told the court. To be mistreated by one is extremely transgressive," he said.

    France's executive caste, normally mutually supportive, has been notably silent about the executives on trial, while France's workers have watch the proceedings with special glee.

    The courtroom is filled with current and former company employees who look on with disapproval at the silent row of jacketed defendants.

    "Even if the penalties are low, it will be a nice stain on their jackets," said Noel Rich, a France Télécom employee who had come to observe the trial.

    "These are guys who are used to hanging out with ministers," Mr. Rich added. "There's been no words of compassion for the little guy."








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