SAVE THE DATE!    Saturday, August 3, 2019
Join us in support of the 2020 Freedom Flotilla to GAZA!

2020 Flotilla to Gaza
Plan for August 3rd, 2019
San Francisco Educational Outreach

1:00 pm
Meet at the Main Terminal behind the Ferry building at the foot of Market Street at The Embarcadero in San Francisco.  http://goldengatetransit.org/services/documents/Map_SFFerry.pdf 

Distribute flyers to people waiting for the ferry.
Catch the 1:25 pm ferry, arriving in Sausalito at 1:55.
Distribute flyers and stand at the four corners (at least) of the ferry boat with five (3 x 5') Palestinian Flags and a two Pink PEACE flags (upper deck?).  

Enjoy Sausalito, photo ops with flags, signs, banners, …  At 3:00 we'll hold a Vigil (four of us dressed in black with white masks and FREE GAZA letters). Some of us will distribute flyers in Sausalito before boarding the 3:50 Ferry, and arrive in San Francisco at 4:20. If we have any flyers left, we'll distribute them at the Ferry Building when we return.

Participants could join us on the ferry one way, both ways, or on land at either end.  
See the Ferry Schedule here:  
It would be nice to have some folks on land at each end, to photograph the ferry departing and/or arriving.  And of course, we would encourage participants, both individuals and organizations, to be creative in their attire and bring your signs and flags (Palestinian, VFP, JVP, PEACE, ...) in support of GAZA and the 2020 Flotilla.



You're Invited to Livermore Lab on Hiroshima Day

Tuesday, August 6, 2019, 8:00 A.M.
Livermore Lab

Bay Area groups will jointly mark the 74th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the Livermore Lab, where the Trump Administration is presently spending billions to create new nuclear warheads.

The Tuesday, August 6, 2019 commemoration is titled, "Designing Armageddon at Livermore Lab: Rally, March and Nonviolent Direct Action for Nuclear Disarmament." Participants will gather at the northwest corner of the Livermore Lab (Vasco Road and Patterson Pass Road). The rally will begin at 8 AM and will feature music, speakers, poetry, art and more. There is free parking at the event site.

Daniel Ellsberg will deliver the keynote address.  Ellsberg is the military analyst and whistleblower who shone a bright light on U.S. policy and helped end the Vietnam War when he released the Pentagon Papers. Ellsberg published an award-winning memoir in 2017, "The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner." He remains a brilliant analyst, commentator and sought-after speaker.

Nobuaki Hanaoka, an atomic bomb survivor, will be the rally's special guest speaker. Hanaoka was an infant when the bomb fell on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. His mother and sister died from illnesses linked to radiation poisoning and his brother died at age 39 from premature aging associated with fallout from the bomb. Hanaoka is a retired minister in the United Methodist Church, who came to the U.S. following seminary training in Japan. He has settled in the Bay Area where he speaks, writes and teaches on topics of peace and human rights.

Rafael Jesús González, the first poet-laureate of Berkeley and an organizer of the 1983 International Day of Nuclear Disarment will speak.

Marylia Kelley of Tri-Valley CAREs will also be featured. 

Immediately following the rally program, at approximately 9:15 AM, will be a "call to action," in which participants will be invited to march a short distance to the Livermore Lab West Gate. At the gate, Japanese activists will lead a traditional bon dance. Everyone is invited to participate.

Following the dance will be a commemorative die-in and symbolic chalking of the bodies to mimic the "shadows" left by men, women and children vaporized by the A-bomb blast. Those who choose will then peaceably risk arrest. Others will conduct a legal witness and support. 

A flyer is available with nonviolence guidelines, vanpool info, and how to RSVP for the August 4th and 5th kid-friendly Peace Camp. 
We hope you can join us.

Marylia Kelley
Executive Director, Tri-Valley CAREs (Communities Against a Radioactive Environment)
Main office: 4049 First St., Suite 243, Livermore, CA 94551
Satellite office: 902 N. Central Ave., Tracy (office hours vary; call for appointment)

Website: www.trivalleycares.org



San Francisco-Bay Area Veterans For Peace and 
Other Organizations and Individuals will hold a:

Vigil to Expose Monsanto, on
International AGENT ORANGE DAY

Saturday, August 10, 2019
12 Noon to 2 pm, Union Square, San Francisco
< We have Large Striking Photo Boards of Viet Namese Victims of Agent Orange, < plus a large, long banner: 
"Vietnam Veterans and Vietnamese People Still Suffering from Agent Orange."
&  2 new smaller banners:  
"August 10 - International Agent Orange Day"  &
"Agent Orange - Monsanto's Chemical Weapon in the Viet Nam War"
 - all with the VFP Logo and VFP/AO Webs.
< We will have 1/2 page hand-outs and Orange Cards for the public to sign, making the Agent Orange connection to Monsanto-Bayer and recent high-profile lawsuits.
We hope you all might be willing to join us.   
CONTACT: Nadya Williams
Cell: (415) 845-9492,  E-mail: NadyaNomad@gmail.com



Mitchel Cohen is touring California in August
to present his new book,

The Fight Against Monsanto’s Roundup:
The Politics of Pesticides

Written and edited by Mitchel Cohen    
Foreword by Vandana Shiva     
Skyhorse Publishing 2019

A Comprehensive Look at the Worldwide
Battle to Defend Ourselves and Our Environment
Against the Peddlers of Chemical Poisons

"This may be one of the most important books you read this year. We are being poisoned, and this book is sounding a well-informed alarm. Read it. Get educated and then join the thousands rising up against those who care more for profit than the health of our bodies and our earth.”   -- Eve Ensler, 
New York Times best-selling author of I Am An Emotional Creature: The Secret Life Of Girls Around The World, The Vagina Monologues, and In the Body of the World

Chemical poisons have infiltrated all facets of our lives — housing, agriculture, work places, sidewalks, subways, schools, parks, even the air we breathe. More than half a century since Rachel Carson issued Silent Spring — her call-to-arms against the poisoning of our drinking water, food, animals, air, and the natural environment — The Fight Against Monsanto’s Roundup: The Politics of Pesticides takes a fresh look at the politics underlying the mass use of pesticides and the challenges people around the world are making against Monsanto’s most dangerous creation, glyphosate.

Events in the Bay Area and Nearby:

Events are listed chronologically, and by location.
Scroll down for events near you!

Events Nearby:

FRESNO, Saturday, Aug. 3rd, 2-5 pm: Benefit for Pacifica radio affiliate KFCF, 2136 East Olympic Ave., (at Copper and Maple)  $20 donation. No one turned away for lack of funds.

SEBASTOPOL, Monday, Aug. 5th, 6:30 pm: Benefit for PRESERVE RURAL SONOMA COUNTY, at Sebastopol Grange,  6000 Sebastopol Ave, Sebastopol, CA. $12. Tickets: www.DailyActs.org/Events. Limited seating. Register early! Supports Pesticide Action. No one turned away for inability to pay. Contact: 707-789-9664.

UKIAH, Sunday, Aug. 11th, 3 pm: 809 Maple Avenue (between Hazel & Live Oak), Ukiah. Free. For details, call 707-391-5853.

SANTA ROSA, Monday, Aug. 12th, 6:30 pm: Santa Rosa Peace and Justice Center, 467 Sebastopol Ave, Santa Rosa (with Sallie Latch and Dennis Bernstein), 707-575-8902.

Events in the Bay Area:

BERKELEY, Wednesday, Aug. 14th, 6:30 pm: Sports Basement, 2727 Milvia Street, Berkeley. Wheelchair accessible. Free. (with Dennis Bernstein and Sallie Latch) For details, call 510-646-5253. 

OAKLAND, Friday, Aug. 16th, 7 pm: "The wider context." E.M. Wolfman Bookstore, 410-13th St., Oakland (with Dennis Bernstein and Sallie Latch). For details, call 510-679-4650

BERKELEY, Saturday, Aug. 17th, 7 pm: Revolution Books, 2444 Durant Ave. at Telegraph, Berkeley. Free. For details, call 510-848-1196.
_  _  _  _  _  _  _

Please visit www.thepoliticsofpesticides.com for more info on author/editor Mitchel Cohen, the other contributors, chapter excerpts, and praise for the book from Bill Ayers, Joel Raskin, Karl Grossman, Sylvia Federici, Bertell Ollman and many others.



We're excited to announce our new fact sheet series outlining the reasons why we should abolish war. 
  1. War Is Immoral
  2. War Endangers Us
  3. War Threatens Our Environment
  4. War Erodes Liberties
  5. War Impoverishes Us
  6. War Promotes Bigotry
  7. We Need $2 Trillion/Year for Other Things
The fact sheets are designed as printable handouts that can be used for tabling events, grassroots lobbying meetings, and much more. Each one contains a list of references, so you can learn more about any of the details mentioned.

We believe that education is a critical component of a global security system, and an essential tool for getting us there. We educate both aboutand for the abolition of war. Our educational resources are based on knowledge and research that expose the myths of war and illuminate the proven nonviolent, peaceful alternatives that can bring us authentic security.

Thank you to numerous volunteers, including Gayle, Joanne, Tim, and Ben, who helped us complete the fact sheet series!

For questions or more information about our peace education programs and volunteer opportunities, please email me at greta@worldbeyondwar.org

For a world BEYOND war,

Greta Zarro
Organizing Director
World BEYOND War

World BEYOND War is a global network of volunteers, activists, and allied organizations advocating for the abolition of the very institution of war. Our success is driven by a people-powered movement – 
support our work for a culture of peace. 
World BEYOND War 513 E Main St #1484 Charlottesville, VA 22902 USA
Privacy policy.
Checks must be made out to "World BEYOND War / AFGJ" or we can't deposit them.



Solidarity with Wayfair workers in their struggle to end profiteering from im/migrant suffering!

Worker power can bring an end to the concentration camps!



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!


Prison officials turn away thousands of petitions for Mumia

Dozens of community activists traveled hundreds of miles from four states to Mechanicsburg, Penn., on July 24 to deliver petitions signed by 3,000 people from around the world, simply requesting the right to proper vision care for political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal. They expected at the very least that someone with authority in the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections would step out to accept the petitions.

The PA DOC instead placed several burly Capitol District cops and a couple of DOC staff members outside the front doors to "greet" the community representatives.

The activists fighting for Abu-Jamal's freedom — representing a global movement for the freedom of all political prisoners — insisted on their right to speak to John Wetzel, head of the state prison authority or one of his near-equals, before handing over the signatures from thousands of Mumia supporters.

Agreement to meet

Outside the main doors of the state facility, the first of two non-uniformed men to speak to the activists was a Mr. Barnacle. When Pam Africa, representing the International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal, asked who he was, he pulled out a badge marked "staff," dated 2018. When told someone with real authority and current identification was needed, Barnacle eventually agreed to allow three participants to enter the building to deliver the petitions to a DOC official.

While the assembled activists waited to be joined by people in two additional vehicles from New York City, Megan Malachi, from REAL Justice, read the petition to the press titled "Act Now to Save Mumia's Eyesight and to Demand His Release." (tinyurl.com/y4s3ekpr)

Aminata Sandra Calhoun, from Mobilization4Mumia, followed with a statement from Mumia's medical proxy, Rev. Mark Taylor, a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, serving presently as Mumia's "spiritual advisor." The statement read in part:

"So far, the prison officials are discouraging and making complicated the eye-doctor's ability to share with me the medical information that Mumia wants me to have. They have not scheduled his surgery. Every cooperative effort on these matters is being made by Mumia's family and friends; still there is too much stalling by prison officials.

"We insist that SCI-Mahanoy and the PA DOC honor every legal step that Mumia needs to be taken, so that he receives quality eye-care immediately. He must no longer be subject to medical neglect or to any withholding of full information about his medical condition.

"The abuse Mumia suffered in the past nearly killed him, and even when finally addressed left him with cirrhosis of the liver. There is time for PA officials to turn a new corner." (tinyurl.com/yxvmabkr)

Abu Jamal has a lot of trouble reading and doing other tasks that require good eyesight. His eyesight is seriously threatened by glaucoma, a vitreous detachment and cataracts in both eyes. These jeopardize his quality of life and wellbeing, as well as his journalistic profession.

The ophthalmologist whom Abu-Jamal was taken to see outside Mahanoy Prison recommends surgical procedures to remove the cataracts on both eyes.
But months of delays echo the years of delays Abu-Jamal experienced before the DOC was finally forced by a federal court to treat him with the cure for hepatitis C in 2018.

DOC reneges on agreement

When three designated activists — Dr. Suzanne Ross, Rev. Keith Collins and a videographer — later tried to enter the DOC state headquarters, they were met by another DOC staff member, Ken Smith, who claimed he was a Major in "Special Operations," but would not show any valid identification to that effect.

Smith then reneged on the earlier agreement and said he would take the petitions, but would not allow the representatives to enter the building and meet with a DOC official.

The activists were unbending in their demand that a valid DOC person of authority formally accept, "on the record," the inch-think bundle at a location inside the building.

Dr. Ross, designated as one of the petition delivery trio, told Smith: "The DOC has already failed from 2015 to 2017 to make available to Mumia the cure that was available for hep C at that time. The two-year delay left Mumia with cirrhosis of the liver [and other hep C-related damage]. Mumia supporters are determined to prevent the damage that could be caused by a comparable delay in treating his visual problems … . We've been here before and met with people. One time it was with the head of the press office. Send us the press officer."

Rev. Keith Collins, who visited Mumia on July 4 and was also appointed to deliver the petitions, said: "I'm a pastor, a decorated veteran, a paratrooper, also an ex-cop … . We just want to deliver these petitions … . Mumia told me he can see to get around but not to read and that's very important — for a journalist to read and to study … . So we're here … to get him access to the doctor … and to let him come home. He's served forty years for a crime he did not commit."

Despite arguing for over an hour, the activists could not get the DOC to relent. Because of the commotion and locked doors, when a FedEx worker tried to deliver a package, no one on the outside would sign for it, and he was told to come back another time.

Yet the DOC wanted petitions from 3,000 people to be handed over to undesignated staff, off the record, with no way of tracking the petitions, which could immediately be trashed.

Finally, Abu-Jamal's supporters marched away, but not before Pam Africa said: "We're leaving now, but it's not over. Wetzel, we're going to find out wherever you be at, cause there ain't no power like the power of the people." The group left chanting, with the petitions in Rev. Collins' hands, undelivered.

Legal struggle continues

The DOC's refusal to meet with community representatives comes less than a week after the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower-court decision that Corrections Department employees could be sued for their decisions regarding the 65-year-old Mumia. Abu-Jamal asserts his initial denial of treatment with two antiviral drugs for hepatitis C violated his constitutional right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. In an unprecedented January 2017 decision, Federal District Court Judge Robert Mariani used that argument to order the DOC to treat Abu-Jamal with direct-acting antiviral medications for his hep C infection.
Abu-Jamal's supporters argue that because deliberate delay resulted in Mumia's cirrhosis of the liver and because the current delay in cataract surgery may cause further deterioration in his overall health, he should immediately be released to seek treatment that the DOC refuses to make readily available to him.

Abu-Jamal is not alone in enduring these cruel and unusual assaults on his health. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the number of state prisoners age 55 or older increased 400 percent between 1993 and 2013. Across the nation elderly prisoners experience a torturous journey toward the end of their lives, suffering from life-threatening illnesses without adequate treatment or any "compassionate release." Abu-Jamal's appeals for his right to treatment and for his release could result in increased rights for the freedom of all prisoners experiencing cruel and unusual conditions.

Abu-Jamal is serving a life sentence in the Pennsylvania prison system. The sentence, for the alleged 1981 murder of a Philadelphia policeman, came down in the context of a corruption-ridden and racist police department. That sentence has been declared unfair by human rights organizations and prison activists the world over.

Although Abu-Jamal has suffered a travesty of justice in the denial of his many appeals over the years, now both the Philadelphia District Attorney and the courts have recognized his right to have his appeals re-argued. This was determined by a momentous decision by Common Pleas Court Judge Leon Tucker in December 2018. Abu-Jamal is currently waiting for his Post Conviction Relief Act appeals to be reheard before a new panel of Pennsylvania Superior Court judges.

While the PA DOC remains resistant to giving Abu-Jamal his full rights to timely health care, and while the political powers in Pennsylvania continue to vilify him, Abu-Jamal and his supporters remain strong and energized by his recent court victories.
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/
Questions and comments may be sent to info@freedomarchives.org

Mumia Abu-Jamal

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/



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. 



On Abortion: From Facebook

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



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

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

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

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

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

Email Gov. Cuomo with this form

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



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

Decarcerate Louisiana

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



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

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

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



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

Chelsea Manning returned to jail after brief release; Faces half million dollar fine in addition to another 18 months prison
chelsea manning resists
Since our last newsletter less than two weeks ago, Chelsea Manning was freed from jail when the grand jury investigating Julian Assange and WikiLeaks expired. However, a few days later, she was sent back to jail for refusing to collaborate with a new grand jury on the same subject. District Court Judge Anthony Trenga ordered Chelsea fined $500 every day she is in custody after 30 days and $1,000 every day she is in custody after 60 days -- a possible total of $502,000. Statement from Chelsea's lawyers.
Stand with Reality Winner, rally in DC
chelsea manning resists
June 3, 2019 at 7pm (Monday)
Lafayette Square, Washington DC 
Please join friends and supporters as we raise awareness of the persecution of this young veteran and brave truth teller. This marks two years of imprisonment of Reality for helping to expose hacking attempts on US election systems leading up to the 2016 presidential election. For more info, visit the "Stand with Reality" pages on Twitter or FacebookOrder "Stand with Reality" shirts, banners, and buttons from Left Together protest shirts.

484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559


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.]



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) The Mosquitoes Are Coming for Us
    They are our apex predator, the deadliest hunters of human beings on the planet.
    By Timothy C. Winegard, July 27, 2019
    CreditCreditArmando Veve

    It has been one of the most aggravating sounds on earth for more than 100 million years — the humming buzz of a mosquito.
    She gently lands on your ankle and inserts two serrated mandible cutting blades and saws into your skin, while two other retractors open a passage for the proboscis. With this straw she sucks your blood, while a sixth needle pumps in saliva that contains an anticoagulant that prevents that blood from clotting. This shortens her feeding time, lessening the likelihood that you splat her across your ankle.
    The female mosquito needs your blood to grow her eggs. Please don't feel singled out. She bites everyone. There is no truth to the myths that mosquitoes prefer women over men or blondes and redheads over those with darker hair. She does, however, play favorites. Type O blood seems to be the vintage of choice. Stinky feet emit a bacterium that woos famished females, as do perfumes. As a parting gift, she leaves behind an itchy bump (an allergic reaction to her saliva) and potentially something far worse: infection with one of several deadly diseases, including malaria, Zika, West Nile, dengue and yellow fever.

    Mosquitoes are our apex predator, the deadliest hunter of human beings on the planet. A swarming army of 100 trillion or more mosquitoes patrol nearly every inch of the globe, killing about 700,000 people annually. Researchers suggest that mosquitoes may have killed nearly half of the 108 billion humans who have ever lived across our 200,000-year or more existence.

    Flying solo, the mosquito does not directly harm anyone. It is the diseases she transmits that cause an endless barrage of death. Yet without her, these pathogens could not be vectored to humans. Without her, human history would be completely unrecognizable.
    The mosquito and her diseases have accompanied traders, travelers, soldiers and settlers (and their captive African slaves) around the world and have been far more lethal than any manufactured weapons or inventions.
    Malarious mosquitoes patrolling the Pontine Marshes facilitated both the rise and the fall of the Roman Empire. Initially shielding the Eternal City from the Visigoths, Huns and Vandals, they eventually pointed their proboscises inward on Rome itself. Mosquitoes defended the Holy Land during the Crusades by laying waste to armies of cross-adorned Christian soldiers. By infecting European soldiers with malaria and yellow fever, they reinforced numerous successful rebellions in the Americas during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, including the British surrender at Yorktown during the American Revolution.
    Mosquitoes also played a role in steering slave ships from Africa across the Atlantic, because plantation owners in the Americas believed that Africans withstood the onslaught of mosquito-borne disease better than indigenous slaves or European indentured servants. During the American Civil War, Confederate forces suffered from shortages of the antimalarial drug quinine, and the mosquito eventually helped hammer the final nail in the coffin of the institution of slavery. But these examples only scratch the surface of her historical impact.
    Malaria, a parasitic disease, is the unsurpassed scourge of humankind. Dr. W. D. Tigertt, an early malariologist at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, said, "Malaria, like the weather, seems to have always been with the human race." He continued, "And as Mark Twain said about the weather, it seems that very little is done about it." Even today, more than 200 million unlucky people contract malaria each year.

    Malaria often produces a synchronized and cyclical pattern of symptoms: a cold stage of chills and shakes, followed by a hot stage marked by fevers, headaches and vomiting, and finally a sweating stage. After a period of respite, this progression repeats itself. For many, especially children under 5, malaria triggers organ failure, coma and death.
    Mosquitoes also transmit a catalog of viruses: dengue, West Nile, Zika and various encephalitides. While debilitating, these diseases are generally not prolific killers. Yellow fever, however, is the viral exception. It can produce fever-induced delirium, liver damage bleeding from the mouth, nose and eyes, and coma. Internal corrosion induces vomit of blood, the color of coffee grounds, giving rise to the Spanish name for yellow fever, vómito negro (black vomit), which is sometimes followed by death.
    Today, roughly four billion people are at risk from mosquito-borne diseases. As our ancestors can attest, our battle with the mosquito has always been a matter of life and death, and it's beginning to look as though this confrontation is coming to a head.
    In "Silent Spring," Rachel Carson wrote that "our attitude toward plants and animals is a singularly narrow one," that "if for any reason we find its presence undesirable or merely a matter of indifference, we may condemn it to destruction forthwith." She could not have anticipated the arrival of Crispr — the gene-editing technology that can tremendously speed up the meaning of "forthwith."
    Unveiled in 2012, Crispr snips out a section of DNA sequencing from a gene and replaces it with another one, permanently altering a genome. This innovation has been called the extinction machine because it allows us to intrude on natural selection to wipe out any undesirable species. Crispr has been used to design mosquitoes that produce infertile offspring. If those mosquitoes were released into the wild, the species could become extinct. Humanity would never again have to fear the bite of a mosquito.
    And yet, it would also mean that science fiction would become reality. "We can remake the biosphere to be what we want, from woolly mammoths to nonbiting mosquitoes," Henry Greely, the director of the Center for Law and the Biosciences at Stanford University, told Smithsonian magazine. The question is: "How should we feel about that? Do we want to live in nature, or in Disneyland?"
    We also have valid, although yet unknown, reasons to be careful what we wish for. If we eradicate disease-vectoring mosquito species, would other mosquito species or insects simply fill the ecological niche? Would one disease be swapped out for another? What effect would eliminating mosquitoes (or any other animal) have on mother nature's biological equilibrium?

    But perhaps now, as in the past, we are underestimating the mosquito. She evolved to endure global showers of the eradication chemical DDT and may genetically outflank Crispr as well. History has shown the mosquito to be a dogged survivor. She has ruled the earth for millions of years and has killed with unremitting potency throughout her unrivaled reign of terror. She has steered the course of history, scratching her indelible mark on the modern world order.
    Dr. Rubert Boyce, the first dean of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, bluntly stated in 1909 that the fate of human civilization would be decided by one simple equation: "Mosquito or Man?" Across the ages, we have been locked in a life-or-death struggle for survival with the not-so-simple mosquito. Historically, we did not stand a chance.
    Timothy C. Winegard is the author of the forthcoming book "The Mosquito: A Human History of Our Deadliest Predator," from which this essay is adapted.


    2) Cuba Expands Internet Access to Private Homes and Businesses
    By Kirk Semple and 
    Smartphone users using their devices in Havana, Cuba, last year. On Monday, Cuba, put into effect new regulations that seek to expand internet access on the island.CreditCreditDesmond Boylan/Associated Press

    The airy three-story rental house on the outskirts of Havana would seem to have all the luxury attributes a cosmopolitan tourist might want: elegant appliances, high-end artwork, a rooftop plunge pool and ocean views.
    Yet it is lacking one critical amenity, an absence that has become a deal breaker for some prospective clients: Wi-Fi.
    "It's ridiculous to have to turn away a potential client just because of a lack of internet," lamented the house's owner, Leandis Díaz, 47. "Everyone who comes to Cuba wants to use the internet — that's normal."

    On Monday, though, Cuba, one of the least wired nations in the Western Hemisphere, took a step that may soon solve Ms. Díaz's problem. It put into effect a new set of regulations that seek to expand internet access on the island.

    The measures permit the creation of private wired and Wi-Fi internet networks in homes and businesses and allow the importation of routers and other networking equipment — though also maintain the government's iron-fisted monopoly over commercial internet access.
    Cuba went online in the 1990s, and has since lagged behind much of the world in the rush toward greater connectivity. For years, access has remained expensive and tightly controlled, inhibited in part by the government's concerns about the potentially subversive effect of free-flowing information.
    While the Cuban government has acknowledged that the modernization of its economy required greater connectivity, it has worried that broader access could fuel dissent, said William LeoGrande, a professor of government at American University in Washington and a specialist in Latin American politics.
    "There has always been a tension between the political risk of expanding internet access and the economic necessity for expanding access," Mr. LeoGrande said.
    While the new regulations permit citizens to connect to the internet with their own routers and other equipment and share their signals with others, they do not allow those small-network operators to sell that service, thus maintaining the position of Etecsa, the state-run telecommunication firm, as the nation's only internet provider.

    The measures permit the creation of private wired and Wi-Fi internet networks in homes and businesses and allow the importation of routers and other networking equipment — though also maintain the government's iron-fisted monopoly over commercial internet access.
    Cuba went online in the 1990s, and has since lagged behind much of the world in the rush toward greater connectivity. For years, access has remained expensive and tightly controlled, inhibited in part by the government's concerns about the potentially subversive effect of free-flowing information.
    While the Cuban government has acknowledged that the modernization of its economy required greater connectivity, it has worried that broader access could fuel dissent, said William LeoGrande, a professor of government at American University in Washington and a specialist in Latin American politics.
    "There has always been a tension between the political risk of expanding internet access and the economic necessity for expanding access," Mr. LeoGrande said.
    While the new regulations permit citizens to connect to the internet with their own routers and other equipment and share their signals with others, they do not allow those small-network operators to sell that service, thus maintaining the position of Etecsa, the state-run telecommunication firm, as the nation's only internet provider.

    Under the new regulations, which were announced in May, operators of illegal networks have two months to bring their systems into line with the law.
    "These regulations contribute to the informatization of society, to the well-being of citizens, to the sovereignty of the country, to the avoidance of interference in the radio spectrum and to the prevention of the harmful effects of non-ionizing radiation," Cuba's Ministry of Communication said in announcing the measures.
    Ted A. Henken, a professor and Cuba expert at Baruch College in New York, predicted that the short-term effect of the regulations will be "minimal," and that long-term consequences will depend on what he called "the devil in the details."
    "Cuba has the tradition of accompanying new regulations that seem to 'open' things up (the market, travel, the internet, etc.) with new punishments and controls," he wrote in an email on Monday.
    If the law does, in fact, "regularize" the many digital workarounds that have multiplied in recent years, he said, "this will be a significant step forward."
    Despite the invitation to connect, at least one Cuban entrepreneur is not terribly enthusiastic about the possibility of broader access.
    Nelson Rodríguez, 39, the owner of El Café, a thriving brunch spot in the tourist epicenter of Old Havana, said he has no plans to set up a Wi-Fi network in his establishment.

    In general, he explained, he bemoans the internet-driven demise of human interaction in public spaces, and he suspects a Wi-Fi router in his place would only encourage further isolation.
    He also doesn't want to see his cafe turned into a de facto co-working space, with customers camping out in front of laptops all day but purchasing nothing more than a couple of lattes.
    "I might even put up a Wi-Fi blocker so that people will be forced to interact," he said.


    3) In the Fight to Save the Planet, Its Defenders Are Being Killed
    Those who resist powerful industries that savage ecosystems and drive people off their land face death and fear.
    By The Editorial Board, August 1, 2019
    Illustration by Joan Wong; Photographs by Getty Images

    In an endangered world of dwindling resources, a line by Pogo, Walt Kelly's popular newspaper-comic hero of the last century, is worth recalling: "When you starve with a tiger, the tiger starves last."
    It's worth keeping this maxim top of mind as one reads the latest annual report from Global Witness, an independent organization that tracks the murders of people around the world who try to resist mining, farming, logging and other powerful industries that savage ecosystems and drive people off their land. 
    In 2018, 164 defenders of the land and environment were killed, with the Philippines of the brutal President Rodrigo Duterte taking over from Brazil as the deadliest place to resist rapacious developers and governments. That was less than the 201 killed in the previous year, but it was hardly an improvement.
    Global Witness noted that the actual figure is probably far higher because reporting is iffy in the most vulnerable parts of the world. Governments and industries are also learning that there are other, nonlethal means of intimidating or eliminating activists who resist them. In addition to the violence of private security agents, state forces or contract killers, activists now also confront teams of aggressive lawyers.

    Using, or misusing, laws and the courts, governments and industries intent on driving indigenous people or activists away criminalize resistance or proclaim them to be "terrorists," choking off their funding and tying them up in costly legal battles. The United Nations special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous people, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, was among 600 people the government of her home country, the Philippines, labeled terrorists.
    Human Rights Watch called the action "a virtual government hit list" and noted that state security forces and pro-government militias in the Philippines had a long history of murdering people labeled terrorists or Communists. 
    Things are not looking much better for 2019. Though Brazil is no longer No. 1 in the number of people killed, the populist president installed in January, Jair Bolsonaro, has vowed to open previously protected indigenous lands to commercial development. The Times reported on Sunday that the destruction of the Amazon rain forest, which plays a crucial role in absorbing and storing carbon dioxide and thus slowing global warming, has dramatically accelerated under Mr. Bolsonaro, in large part because of deliberately lax enforcement of laws and regulations. Mr. Bolsonaro simply dismisses his own government's data on deforestation as lies. 
    "The Amazon is ours, not yours," he told a foreign journalist.
    Mr. Duterte and Mr. Bolsonaro were two of the new breed of populist leaders Global Witness identified as contributing to worsening the plight of those who defend the land, through their disdain for the environment and hostility to dissenters. 
    Predictably, President Trump and his "energy dominance" agenda came in for their share of opprobrium.

    In this summer of oppressive heat waves, yet more bad news — there seems to be no other kind — on the environmental front risks adding to a sense of helplessness before the greed and willful contempt of the world's "tigers." Another nongovernmental organization, the Global Footprint Network, annually calculates the day on which humanity consumes more resources for the year than it can regenerate. This year "Earth Overshoot Day" was last Monday, July 29. In 1993, it was Oct. 12; last year it was Aug. 1.
    There are solutions, there are well-researched strategies, there are innumerable organizations and people anxious to rescue the Earth. Yet at every turn, they run up against destructive industries and callous politicians prepared to resort to any means to continue despoiling the planet. 
    "So far," said the Global Witness report, "governments have largely failed to listen or react, while big businesses are generally holding to the model that created the problem in the first place."
    Pogo aced that reality, too, in a saying environmentalist like to quote: "We have met the enemy, and he is us." But the solution is also us, however dangerous or discouraging. There is no choice but to fight on for our planet, and to hammer home to the tigers that in the end, they too will starve unless they join the rest of us in saving the island.


    4) The Nuns Who Bought and Sold Human Beings
    America's nuns are beginning to confront their complicity in slavery, but it's still a long road to repentance.
    By Rachel L. Swarns, August 2, 2019
    Illustration by Katrien De Blauwer, photographs by C.M. Bell and Joseph John Kirkbride, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

    Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, one of the oldest Roman Catholic girls' schools in the nation, has long celebrated the vision and generosity of its founders: a determined band of Catholic nuns who championed free education for the poor in the early 1800s.
    The sisters, who established an elite academy in Washington, D.C., also ran "a Saturday school, free to any young girl who wished to learn — including slaves, at a time when public schools were almost nonexistent and teaching slaves to read was illegal," according to an official history posted for several years on the school's website.
    But when a newly hired school archivist and historian started digging in the convent's records a few years ago, she found no evidence that the nuns had taught enslaved children to read or write. Instead, she found records that documented a darker side of the order's history.

    The Georgetown Visitation sisters owned at least 107 enslaved men, women and children, the records show. And they sold dozens of those people to pay debts and to help finance the expansion of their school and the construction of a new chapel.

    "Nothing else to do than to dispose of the family of Negroes,'' Mother Agnes Brent, the convent's superior, wrote in 1821 as she approved the sale of a couple and their two young children. The enslaved woman was just days away from giving birth to her third child.
    Nuns disposing of black families? I have been poring over 19th-century church records for several years now and such casual cruelty from leaders of the faith still takes my breath away. I am a black journalist and a black Catholic. Yet I grew up knowing nothing about the nuns who bought and sold human beings. 
    For generations, enslaved people have been largely left out of the origin story traditionally told about the Catholic Church. My reporting on Georgetown University, which profited from the sale of more than 200 slaves, has helped to draw attention in recent years to universities and their ties to slavery. But slavery also helped to fuel the growth of many contemporary institutions, including some churches and religious organizations.
    Historians say that nearly all of the orders of Catholic sisters established by the late 1820s owned slaves. Today, many Catholic sisters are outspoken champions of social justice and some are grappling with this painful history even as lawmakers in Congress and presidential candidates debate whether reparations should be paid to the descendants of enslaved people.

    Their approaches vary in scope and some sisters have expressed misgivings, fearful that exposing the past may leave them open to criticism. But as they search their archives and reflect on the way forward, some religious women are developing frameworks that may serve as road maps for other institutions striving to acknowledge and atone for their participation in America's system of human bondage. 
    The Georgetown Visitation sisters and school officials have organized a series of discussions for students, faculty, staff and alumnae, including a prayer service in April that commemorated the enslaved people "whose involuntary sacrifices supported the growth of this school." They have published an online report about the convent's slaveholding — an article by the school's archivist and historian also appeared in the U.S. Catholic Historian this spring — and have digitized their records related to slavery, making them available to the public for the first time.
    The Religious of the Sacred Heart, who owned about 150 enslaved people in Louisiana and Missouri, tracked down dozens of descendants of the people they once owned and invited them to a memorial ceremony in Grand Coteau, La. At the ceremony last fall, the nuns unveiled a monument to the slaves in the local parish cemetery and a plaque on an old slave quarters. They also announced the creation of a scholarship fund for African-American students at their Catholic school, which was built, in part, by enslaved laborers.
    "It wasn't just a question of looking at the past,'' Sister Carolyn Osiek, the provincial archivist for the Society of the Sacred Heart United States/Canada, said. "It was: 'What do we do with this now?'''
    Sister Osiek, who led the Society of the Sacred Heart's committee on slavery and reconciliation, said her order wanted the descendants to know that their ancestors had played a vital role in developing and sustaining the convent and school.

    "We couldn't have done it without you,'' she said, describing the message delivered to the descendants by the order's provincial leader. "For so long we haven't acknowledged you, and we're sorry about that."
    But the soul searching has not been universally embraced. Some descendants declined to participate in the ceremony in Louisiana, finding it too painful. And some nuns have expressed unease about the decision to unearth the past.

    "A lot of communities now are very committed to dealing with issues of racism, but the fact is their own history is problematic,'' said Margaret Susan Thompson, a historian at Syracuse University who has examined Catholic nuns and race in the United States.
    "They're beginning to confront their own racism, and their own complicity in the racism of the past,'' she said, "but it's a very long road."
    Sister Irma L. Dillard, an African-American member of the Religious of the Sacred Heart, said that some white nuns felt reluctant to revisit this history because they feared "being seen as racist and bad." She praised the steps taken by her order so far and said she hopes more will be done.
    She said that only one scholarship has been given so far, a gesture that she described as "a token."

    And while she would like to see the order's history of slaveholding incorporated into the curriculum of the schools they founded, few of those schools have publicly acknowledged their origins, she said, despite the extensive research that has been done.
    "Not one of the school websites has anything about enslavement,'' said Sister Dillard, who was also a member of the society's committee on slavery, accountability and reconciliation. "We've whitewashed our history."
    At Georgetown Visitation, Susan Nalezyty, the school archivist and historian, discovered that the order's ties to slavery were much deeper than had been previously publicized. None of the official histories described the extent of the sisters' slaveholding or detailed the nuns' profits from the sale of humans.

    And for more than a decade, the school's website hailed the Georgetown Visitation nuns for their "generosity of spirit" for teaching slaves to read, an anecdote that was passed down through oral tradition, school officials said. That language, which remains unsubstantiated, was removed from the website in 2017.
    "The committee is happy, the school is happy to now have information so that we can speak on this history with authority based on what the documentary evidence tells us," Dr. Nalezyty said.
    It is history that has largely faded from our public consciousness, even among many of the three million black Catholics who account for about 3 percent of Catholics in the United States.

    Growing up in New York City, I lived just blocks from a convent that ran a bookstore and a community festival that became a highlight of my childhood summers. Catholic nuns educated my mother, my aunts, three of my uncles and both of my sisters. My mother and her family, who emigrated from the Bahamas to Staten Island, even lived for a time on a farm run by Dorothy Day, the founder of the Catholic Worker movement and a candidate for sainthood. The church we knew tended to Irish and Italian immigrants, their children and grandchildren, and a smattering of black families. We never imagined that any of its religious orders had ties to slavery.
    Darren W. Davis, a political scientist at the University of Notre Dame and a co-author of "Perseverance in the Parish?" about black Catholics, said that people often assume that most black Catholics are recent converts. But many belong to families that have passed down the faith from one generation to the next.
    Some embraced the faith after landing in cities like Chicago and New York during the Great Migration that carried millions of African-Americans north, he said. Others have deeper roots. "Catholicism goes back centuries, especially in families from the South,'' he said.
    In the early decades of the American republic, the Catholic Church established its primary foothold in the South, in communities where slaveholding was considered a mark of wealth and prestige for parishioners, clergy and nuns. It was not unusual for American-born priests and nuns to grow up in slaveholding families, and many orders relied on slave labor, historians say.
    The Jesuit priests, who founded and ran Georgetown, for instance, were among the largest slaveholders in Maryland. And as women began to enter the first Catholic convents in the late-18th- and early-19th-centuries, some brought their human property with them as part of their dowries, historians say. (I stumbled across this history during my reporting on Georgetown.)
    Wealthy supporters and relatives of the nuns also donated enslaved people to the convents. Meanwhile, Catholic sisters bought, sold and bartered enslaved people. Some nuns accepted slaves as payment for tuition to their schools or handed over their human property as payment for debts, records show.
    Mary Ewens, the author of "The Role of the Nun in Nineteenth Century America,'' found that seven of the eight first orders of Catholic nuns established in the United States owned slaves by the 1820s. In a more recent study, Joseph G. Mannard revealed that an eighth order did as well, at least for a time.

    "They really came to define Catholicism in the United States,'' Dr. Thompson said of these early Catholic nuns. "Between 1810 and 1820, sisters came to outnumber priests in the United States. They set the foundational patterns for what sisters did in the U.S."
    Some nuns expressed distaste for slavery while others described their reluctance to sell the people they owned, and records document some efforts to keep families together. 
    Sisters from both Georgetown Visitation and Sacred Heart united families in which the husband was owned by the nuns and the wife was owned by someone else. In each case, the sisters purchased the wives to bring the family together. (The Georgetown Visitation nuns bought the family's children as well.) The Carmelites of Baltimore cared for some elderly slaves when they grew infirm. The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth in Kentucky remained so connected to their former slaves that scores returned, with children and grandchildren, to celebrate the convent's centennial in 1912.

    But Dr. Mannard, a historian at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and other researchers have found that the nuns' financial needs — and the appeal of unpaid labor — often trumped any reluctance to traffic in humans.
    "In spite of my repugnance for having Negro slaves, we may be obliged to purchase some,'' Rose Philippine Duchesne, who established the Society of the Sacred Heart in the United States, wrote in 1822. A year later, the Sacred Heart sisters in Grand Coteau purchased their first person, an enslaved man named Frank Hawkins, for $550.
    In 1830, the Carmelite sisters cited concerns about having to undertake "the disposal of our poor servants" to help explain their reluctance to move to Baltimore from their plantation in rural Maryland. But they dropped those objections after learning that the sale would help pay off their debts and allow them to keep their rural estate. They sold at least 30 people, Dr. Mannard said.

    Nearly a decade later, the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph's in Emmitsburg, Md., founded by Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first native-born American to be canonized as a saint, agreed to follow the counsel of their religious superior who told them they could sell their "yellow boys" at 10 to twelve percent profit "without doing an injustice to anyone."
    As for the Georgetown Visitation nuns, the profits from slave sales would become a vital lifeline during a period of expansion. In the 1820s, the sisters embarked on a building campaign, which left them saddled with debt. To ease the financial strain, they sold at least 21 people between 1819 and 1822, the records show.
    When some buyers dawdled in making payments, the sisters took them to court, Dr. Nalezyty found.

    The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth in Kentucky, who owned 30 people at Emancipation, were among the first sisters to seek to make amends. They joined with two other orders — the Dominicans of Saint Catharine and the Sisters of Loretto — to host a prayer service in 2000 where they formally apologized for their slaveholding. In 2012, the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth erected a monument at a cemetery where many of the enslaved people were buried. So far, they have identified three descendants of the people they once owned.
    "Their contributions had been ignored,'' said Sister Theresa Knabel, who researched the order's history and reached out to descendants. ''We needed to know who they were, know their names, know their story and make them visible."
    Roslyn Chenier, an African-American software consultant in Atlanta, learned that her forbears had been owned by the Religious of the Sacred Heart when she was contacted by Sister Maureen J. Chicoine, who has researched the history of the order and has identified dozens of descendants.
    "I was amazed, amazed,'' said Ms. Chenier, who attended the ceremony organized by the sisters in Grand Coteau last September. "It was very emotional."

    Ms. Chenier gave up practicing many years ago. But some of her relatives remain devout. Learning that their ancestors were owned by nuns astonished them. But it hasn't shaken their faith, she said. It hasn't shaken her strong Catholic identity, either.
    That doesn't surprise Father Gregory C. Chisholm, a black priest who heads the St. Charles Borromeo, Resurrection and All Saints parish in Harlem. He has had a number of conversations about Catholic slaveholding. The conversations are often painful, he said, but few black people are surprised to hear about racism among the clergy.
    Older people still remember the days of segregated pews and segregated churches, he said. Others have encountered racism within their own parishes and within their own religious orders, even as they cherish the blessings that Catholicism brings to their lives.

    "This whole thing reveals the ways in which the religion has failed us in some way,'' said Father Chisholm, who says he is encouraged by the church's recent efforts to acknowledge its past. "It's hard. It's difficult. But it's good. It's a way for our church to be renewed and that's what it has to be. It has to be renewed.''
    In November, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops addressed slavery in a pastoral letter that discussed racism within the church and asked for forgiveness. In 2017, Father Timothy P. Kesicki,president of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, apologized for the 1838 sale of enslaved people that helped keep Georgetown University afloat.
    The sisters say they still have work to do. At Georgetown Visitation, a committee is focusing on embedding the history more deeply into their school curriculum. The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth are creating a permanent exhibit on their campus that will highlight the contributions of African Americans to their congregation. The Religious of the Sacred Heart are weighing additional steps to promote inclusion and diversity and to eradicate racism within their order and in the schools they sponsor.

    Sister Dillard and other members of her committee have already visited some of the schools founded by their order, sharing the history that their sisters have unearthed and urging young people to commit themselves to combating systemic racism.
    She wants to make sure that students no longer grow up, as I did, without learning about the enslaved people who helped to build the church. She wants to make sure that we all know their names.
    Rachel L. Swarns is a journalist and author who covers race and race relations as a contributing writer for The New York Times. Her articles about Georgetown University's roots in slavery touched off a national conversation about American universities and their ties to this painful period of history. @rachelswarns  Facebook

    5) Video Shows Last Moments of Dallas Man, Restrained as Officers Joked
    "You're going to kill me," the man, Tony Timpa, shouted repeatedly in newly released body-camera video footage. An autopsy classified his 2016 death as a homicide.
    By Karen Zraick, August 1, 2019
    The Dallas Police Department.CreditBrian Maschino for The New York Times

    Dallas police body camera footage released this week after a three-year legal fight shows a 32-year-old man's last moments after he was pinned to the ground by officers.
    The man, Tony Timpa, had called 911 from the parking lot of a pornography store on Aug. 10, 2016, telling the dispatcher he needed help, the Dallas Morning News and NBC5 reported after a lengthy investigation. He said he had schizophrenia and was off his medication. By the time the police arrived, Mr. Timpa was highly agitated and had been handcuffed by security guards.
    The video footage shows how responding officers restrained Mr. Timpa as he pleaded for them to let him go. 
    "You're going to kill me," he shouted repeatedly. 
    The footage, which the news organizations had sought, is part of a lawsuit filed by Mr. Timpa's family alleging that the police used excessive force. A federal judge ruled in favor of a motion by the media organizations to release the records on Monday.

    The officers pinned Mr. Timpa facedown on a patch of grass, the video shows, for more than 13 minutes. They joked and laughed, with one officer suggesting a "Greek Oaks cocktail," a reference to a local psychiatric facility. Their laughter continued after he stopped moving or making any sounds. 
    "Back to school! Come on, wake up!" one officer quipped as they tried to rouse him. 
    After Mr. Timpa was loaded into an ambulance, the officers grew concerned about whether he was breathing.
    "I hope I didn't kill him," one officer says, as his colleagues continue to laugh. 
    The paramedics were unable to revive Mr. Timpa. An autopsyclassified his death as a homicide, a victim of sudden cardiac death due to "the toxic effects of cocaine and the stress associated with physical restraint." 
    "The footage graphically depicts the needless death of an unarmed young man," Geoff Henley, a lawyer for Mr. Timpa's family, said in a statement on Thursday. "What is worse, some of the officers seemed more interested in sophomoric gallows humor than ensuring that they were keeping Tony alive."
    The news organizations first reported on Mr. Timpa's death in a 2017 investigation that showed that the police refused to say how he died. The city and county had fought to prevent the release of records related to Mr. Timpa's death, arguing it would interfere with an open criminal case, the organizations reported. Afterward, officials said the records could not be released because a case against three of the police officers never went to trial.
    Sgt. Kevin Mansell and officers Danny Vasquez and Dustin Dillard were indicted in 2017 by a grand jury on charges of misdemeanor deadly conduct. But the charges were dismissed in March by the Dallas County district attorney, John Creuzot. 
    In a statement then, Mr. Creuzot said that three medical examiners, including one hired by Mr. Timpa's family, said they did not believe the officers acted recklessly. They could not testify "to the elements of the indictment beyond a reasonable doubt," Mr. Creuzot said.
    The Dallas Police Department said on Thursday that the three officers have returned to active duty. Two other officers were disciplined over the incident. The department declined to offer any other comment, citing the ongoing litigation.
    "I am glad that the case is moving forward," Mr. Henley said in his statement. "The criminal action not only kept the footage from public view, it stopped the civil case from proceeding. We can now tell Tony's story to the public and look forward to doing the same to a jury later next year."
    Jacey Fortin contributed reporting.
    Karen Zraick is a New York-based reporter and editor, covering a wide variety of stories with a focus on breaking news. Previously she wrote the Evening and Weekend Briefings, and worked on the International Desk and the home page team. @karenzraick

    6) She Was Arrested at 14. Then Her Photo Went to a Facial Recognition Database.
    With little oversight, the N.Y.P.D. has been using powerful surveillance technology on photos of children and teenagers.
    By Joseph Goldstein and Ali Watkins, August 1, 2019

    "It's very disturbing to know that no matter what I'm doing at that moment, someone might be scanning my picture to try to find someone who committed a crime," said Bailey, who pleaded guilty to an assault that occurred when she was 14.CreditCreditSarah Blesener for The New York Times

    The New York Police Department has been loading thousands of arrest photos of children and teenagers into a facial recognition database despite evidence the technology has a higher risk of false matches in younger faces. 
    For about four years, internal records show, the department has used the technology to compare crime scene images with its collection of juvenile mug shots, the photos that are taken at an arrest. Most of the photos are of teenagers, largely 13 to 16 years old, but children as young as 11 have been included. 
    Elected officials and civil rights groups said the disclosure that the city was deploying a powerful surveillance tool on adolescents — whose privacy seems sacrosanct and whose status is protected in the criminal justice system — was a striking example of the Police Department's ability to adopt advancing technology with little public scrutiny.
    Several members of the City Council as well as a range of civil liberties groups said they were unaware of the policy until they were contacted by The New York Times.

    Police Department officials defended the decision, saying it was just the latest evolution of a longstanding policing technique: using arrest photos to identify suspects.
    "I don't think this is any secret decision that's made behind closed doors," the city's chief of detectives, Dermot F. Shea, said in an interview. "This is just process, and making sure we're doing everything to fight crime." 
    Other cities have begun to debate whether law enforcement should use facial recognition, which relies on an algorithm to quickly pore through images and suggest matches. In May, San Francisco blocked city agencies, including the police, from using the tool amid unease about potential government abuse. Detroit is facing public resistance to a technology that has been shown to have lower accuracy with people with darker skin. 
    In New York, the state Education Department recently told the Lockport, N.Y., school district to delay a plan to use facial recognition on students, citing privacy concerns. 
    "At the end of the day, it should be banned — no young people," said Councilman Donovan Richards, a Queens Democrat who heads the Public Safety Committee, which oversees the Police Department.

    The department said its legal bureau had approved using facial recognition on juveniles. The algorithm may suggest a lead, but detectives would not make an arrest based solely on that, Chief Shea said.

    Still, facial recognition has not been widely tested on children. Most algorithms are taught to "think" based on adult faces, and there is growing evidence that they do not work as well on children. 
    The National Institute of Standards and Technology, which is part of the Commerce Department and evaluates facial recognition algorithms for accuracy, recently found the vast majority of more than 100 facial recognition algorithms had a higher rate of mistaken matches among children. The error rate was most pronounced in young children but was also seen in those aged 10 to 16.
    Aging poses another problem: The appearance of children and adolescents can change drastically as bones stretch and shift, altering the underlying facial structure. 
    "I would use extreme caution in using those algorithms," said Karl Ricanek Jr., a computer science professor and co-founder of the Face Aging Group at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. 
    Technology that can match an image of a younger teenager to a recent arrest photo may be less effective at finding the same person even one or two years later, he said.

    "The systems do not have the capacity to understand the dynamic changes that occur to a child's face," Dr. Ricanek said. 
    Idemia and DataWorks Plus, the two companies that provide facial recognition software to the Police Department, did not respond to requests for comment. 
    The New York Police Department can take arrest photos of minors as young as 11 who are charged with a felony, depending on the severity of the charge. 
    And in many cases, the department keeps the photos for years, making facial recognition comparisons to what may have effectively become outdated images. There are photos of 5,500 individuals in the juvenile database, 4,100 of whom are no longer 16 or under, the department said. Teenagers 17 and older are considered adults in the criminal justice system. 
    Police officials declined to provide statistics on how often their facial recognition systems provide false matches, or to explain how they evaluate the system's effectiveness.
    "We are comfortable with this technology because it has proved to be a valuable investigative method," Chief Shea said. Facial recognition has helped lead to thousands of arrests of both adults and juveniles, the department has said. 
    Mayor Bill de Blasio had been aware the department was using the technology on minors, said Freddi Goldstein, a spokeswoman for the mayor.

    She said the Police Department followed "strict guidelines" in applying the technology and City Hall monitored the agency's compliance with the policies. 
    The Times learned details of the department's use of facial recognition by reviewing documents posted online earlier this year by Clare Garvie, a senior associate at the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown Law. Ms. Garvie received the documents as part of an open records lawsuit. 
    It could not be determined whether other large police departments used facial recognition with juveniles because very few have written policies governing the use of the technology, Ms. Garvie said. 
    New York detectives rely on a vast network of surveillance cameras throughout the city to provide images of people believed to have committed a crime. Since 2011, the department has had a dedicated unit of officers who use facial recognition to compare those images against millions of photos, usually mug shots. The software proposes matches, which have led to thousands of arrests, the department said. 
    By 2013, top police officials were meeting to discuss including juveniles in the program, the documents reviewed by The Times showed. 
    The documents showed that the juvenile database had been integrated into the system by 2015. 
    "We have these photos. It makes sense," Chief Shea said in the interview. 
    State law requires that arrest photos be destroyed if the case is resolved in the juvenile's favor, or if the child is found to have committed only a misdemeanor, rather than a felony. The photos also must be destroyed if a person reaches age 21 without a criminal record.

    When children are charged with crimes, the court system usually takes some steps to prevent their acts from defining them in later years. Children who are 16 and under, for instance, are generally sent to Family Court, where records are not public. 
    Yet including their photos in a facial recognition database runs the risk that an imperfect algorithm identifies them as possible suspects in later crimes, civil rights advocates said. A mistaken match could lead investigators to focus on the wrong person from the outset, they said. 
    "It's very disturbing to know that no matter what I'm doing at that moment, someone might be scanning my picture to try to find someone who committed a crime," said Bailey, a 17-year-old Brooklyn girl who had admitted guilt in Family Court to a group attack that happened when she was 14. She said she was present at the attack but did not participate. 
    Bailey, who asked that she be identified only by her last namebecause she did not want her juvenile arrest to be public, has not been arrested again and is now a student at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. 
    Recent studies indicate that people of color, as well as children and women, have a greater risk of misidentification than their counterparts, said Joy Buolamwini, the founder of the Algorithmic Justice League and graduate researcher at the M.I.T. Media Lab, who has examined how human biases are built into artificial intelligence. 
    The racial disparities in the juvenile justice system are stark: In New York, black and Latino juveniles were charged with crimes at far higher rates than whites in 2017, the most recent year for which numbers were available. Black juveniles outnumbered white juveniles more than 15 to 1.
    "If the facial recognition algorithm has a negative bias toward a black population, that will get magnified more toward children," Dr. Ricanek said, adding that in terms of diminished accuracy, "you're now putting yourself in unknown territory."


    7) That Noise? It's the 1%, Helicoptering Over Your Traffic Jam
    Helicopter service is blossoming across the New York region, showing how income inequality affects even the basic commute.
    By James Barron, August 1, 2019
    Sophie Covillard boarding a helicopter in Manhattan to travel to the Hamptons on Long Island. More people are riding helicopters over New York.CreditCreditChang W. Lee/The New York Times

    Aakash Anand, who was on his way to Kennedy International Airport, looked out the window at the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn. "I'm not sitting in that bumper-to-bumper traffic," he said happily.
    He was right. He was 3,000 feet above the traffic, in a helicopter.
    In New York City, which is saddled with gridlocked roads and slow and unreliable public transit, more and more of those who can afford to are flying over it all. 
    Helicopter service is blossoming in the region, not just to the area's three main airports, but also to the Hamptons, a popular playground for the rich. The Hamptons, on the East End of Long Island, have the same downside as the airports: Getting there by car or commuter train can be no fun at all.
    Of course, helicopter travel is fun if you have the money to pay for it, which would leave most New Yorkers sharing the pain on the ground while the privileged fly overhead — yet another manifestation of the income inequality that has come to define life in a new Gilded Age.

    But for the fortunate few like Mr. Anand, it can be enjoyable to look down on one of those New York traffic jams that seem to go on as long as the Hundred Years' War. 
    And sitting in a fancy departure lounge enjoying a cocktail is far more enjoyable than stewing in an unmoving car. 
    "The exclusivity of it, I like that," said Tami Fox, a writer who has flown by helicopter to Southampton. "I like the efficiency. I'll be there by sunset with a glass of rosé in my hand."
    Uber, which has transformed the way people travel on the ground, is now moving into the airspace; it started helicopter service to Kennedy in early July.
    Another company, Blade, started flying to New York's three major airports — Kennedy, La Guardia and Newark Liberty International — in the spring after testing the routes in previous years. It said ridership was flourishing, though it declined to provide figures.

    The company said it had also seen high demand for service to towns its helicopters fly to on Long Island: East Hampton, Southampton, Montauk, Sag Harbor and Westhampton. 
    The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs the airports, said helicopter traffic has increased in recent years. At La Guardia, there were 1,096 helicopter takeoffs and landings last year, compared with 874 in 2017, a 25 percent increase. At Newark Liberty, there were 4,391 helicopter takeoffs and landings last year, up from 3,626 in 2017, a 21 percent increase.
    At Kennedy, there were 1,966 takeoffs and landings in the first five months of this year, up from 1,064 during the same period a year ago, an 84 percent increase. 
    The jump in helicopter traffic has upset some people on the ground below the flight path who say they have to listen to the incessant roar of the vehicles. 
    "There's a bunch more helicopters than there used to be," Betty Brayton, the chairwoman of a local community board in Queens, said, adding that there is also more noise. "Just because somebody's got a couple hundred bucks to get to the airport doesn't mean they should be doing that to the negative impact of somebody else. They can get to the airport the same way everybody else gets to the airport."
    The increase in helicopter traffic has also raised concerns about safety — a pilot was killed when a private helicopter crashed on the roof of an office building in Midtown Manhattan in June — and three City Council members recently called on the Federal Aviation Administration to ban "nonessential" helicopter travel over the city.

    Mr. Anand's trip on a Blade helicopter took less than eight minutes from liftoff at the West 30th Street Heliport in Manhattan to landing at Kennedy, where Blade had sport-utility vehicles waiting. The S.U.V.s drove him and the other passengers on his Blade flight to the airline terminals, where they boarded their commercial flights.
    The helicopter ride cost $195, about $100 more than a typical Uber ride would cost, about $135 more than a taxi trip and $187.25 more than a subway-and-AirTrain combination. 
    To one passenger, James Kogut, the price was not exorbitant.
    "If you value your time, paying this kind of money to get a couple of extra hours is worth it," said Mr. Kogut, 30, an associate broker in a Manhattan real estate firm who was bound for a JetBlue flight from Kennedy to Reno, Nev., and a bachelor party in Lake Tahoe, Nev.

    In the New York area, taking a helicopter to the Hamptons has long been a way that people with money are different. "It's conspicuous consumption," said Bob Mann, an aviation industry analyst. "It's instantaneous satisfaction, or almost."
    But chartering a helicopter costs $1,500 and up, and if there is only one passenger, there are several empty seats.

    One goal of Blade is "moving the word 'indulgence' away from helicopters," according to its chief executive, Rob Wiesenthal. By offering what amounts to ride-sharing in the sky, Blade, which also has operations to airports and other destinations around San Francisco and Los Angeles, has made helicopter flights less expensive if still not affordable for everyone. 
    "We basically say, look, congestion in the city has never been worse," he said. "We turn a two-hour drive into a five-minute flight. We say this is not an indulgence, this is mobility."
    Uber said its mission is different from Blade's. "We're not trying to launch helicopter service for the 1 percent," Matt Wing, an Uber spokesman, said. "We're just trying to test for the future."

    The company's operation in New York is a dress rehearsal for an aerial ride-sharing network elsewhere, using not helicopters but what are essentially air taxis — electric vertical takeoff and landing craft, designed to rise straight up like a helicopter but fly like a fixed-wing aircraft.
    Uber said it expects to begin test-flying such machines next year in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Los Angeles areas. They will have pilots, at least at first, and the aircraft will need federal approval — and permission from local authorities if they are to take off or land from the tops of buildings in downtown areas.
    First, Mr. Wing said, Uber wanted to master what will be involved on the ground. "You order it, the car takes you to the heliport, you get in the helicopter, it takes off, it lands, you get out and another car takes you to your terminal," he said.

    The helicopter operation to Kennedy is aimed at figuring out how to make each part of the trip unfold seamlessly. That was an important reason behind Uber's decision to fly to Kennedy: It is one of the world's busiest and most complicated airports. Uber figures if service works there, it can work anywhere. 
    Though the services have added to the traffic in the skies over New York City, Mr. Mann, the aviation analyst, said traveling by helicopter is "never going to be a mass-market thing."

    "It's either going to be high-net-worth individuals or high-time-value individuals, or people who are out for a lark and a joy ride," he said.
    Dietrich Stephan, a geneticist and entrepreneur from Pittsburgh, was in the second category. His decision to take a Blade helicopter to the Hamptons for a meeting "was spur of the moment," he said.
    He had dreaded "facing near 100-degree weather, slogging through Penn Station, switching at Jamaica and spending three hours on the Long Island Rail Road," he explained. "Someone in my last meeting said, 'You should look into Blade.' I said for $195, it was worth it."
    He was misinformed. While the fare to Kennedy is $195, a ride to the Hamptons starts at $695 and can cost about $1,400, depending on the type of aircraft. The $795 Dr. Stephan was charged did not faze him.

    "I decided you only live once," he said. "I do have to be there for a meeting."
    Mr. Wiesenthal said Blade draws roughly equal numbers of passengers under and over 40, but there are distinct differences. "Our older customers value the time," he said. "Younger customers value the experience more."
    That explains passengers who arrive 40 minutes before departure time, snapping selfies in the lounge. "I say, 'You could come in five minutes before,' and they say, 'I want to record this for posterity.'"
    For first-time passengers like Sophie Covillard, an export sales representative, the lounge at the 30th Street Heliport was part of the experience. "I'm using my savings to do this," she said before boarding, "but it's worth it." 
    After her flight to Southampton, she said that she had smiled all the way as she looked down at traffic on the Long Island Expressway.

    James Barron is a Metro reporter and columnist. He is the author of the books "Piano: The Making of a Steinway Concert Grand" and "The One-Cent Magenta" and the editor of "The New York Times Book of New York." 


    8) Behind Basquiat’s ‘Defacement’: Reframing a Tragedy
    A curator’s time capsule of a violent moment and its repercussions brings fresh insights — and reveals stresses with a museum.
    By Siddharthe Mitter, July 30, 2019
    CreditEstate of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Licensed by Artestar; Mary Inhea Kang for The New York Times

    On a recent day in the top-floor gallery of the Guggenheim Museum, Chaédria LaBouvier, a 34-year-old independent curator and the first black woman to organize a solo exhibition at the Guggenheim, contemplated the small, ostensibly minor painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat that drove her to years of fervent research.
    In the Basquiat canon, it was “a not very good scrap of painting,” The New Yorker critic Peter Schjeldahl recently wrote. It was almost not a discrete work of art at all. Mr. Basquiat painted it directly onto Keith Haring’s studio wall; it would have been lost had Mr. Haring not cut it out and set it like a masterpiece in the ornate frame it still inhabits. (It was over Mr. Haring’s bed at the time of his death.)
    But “Defacement (The Death of Michael Stewart)” is also, as far as Ms. LaBouvier or anyone else has determined, the only work in Mr. Basquiat’s vast oeuvre that addresses a current event of his time — a gruesome tragedy that took the life of a young black artist andshook the Lower East Side art community.
    “This was a form of evidence, in a sense,” Ms. LaBouvier said.
    Her show, “Basquiat’s ‘Defacement’: The Untold Story,” centers on this piece as it develops a picture of the death of the 25-year-old man grievously injured in transit police custody and its effect on other artists. The exhibition argues for a fresh look at the impact of the racial tension of the 1980s on Basquiat and his peers. In so doing it uncovers new material, including several works that important artists made in response to the incident that have never been shown before. And it presents, for the first time, some of the artwork that Mr. Stewart himself had been making.

    Exactly what happened when the police apprehended Mr. Stewart,a Pratt Institute student, at the First Avenue subway station in the early hours of Sept. 15, 1983, remains unsettled, many years after a grand jury’s decision not to indict several officers, and a subsequent settlement awarded to the Stewart family. What is known is that the police brought him, hogtied and badly injured, to Bellevue Hospital, where he died after two weeks in a coma.

    Mr. Basquiat’s piece shows two red-faced police in blue uniform, one baring pointy teeth, with batons raised over an all-black silhouette. The word “¿DEFACEMENT©?” is printed above them in the familiar Basquiat scrawl.
    The piece was never sold (its owner is Nina Clemente, Mr. Haring’s goddaughter) and has seldom been shown. Its most recent appearance was in a one-work exhibition and discussion program Ms. LaBouvier organized at the Williams College Museum of Art in 2016.
    The current exhibition puts it in a double artistic context. Eight classic Basquiat works from 1982-83, are shown in the same room, including, pointedly, two pieces that present racialized police figures, “La Hara” and “Irony of a Negro Policeman.”

    They attest to his awareness of the constant menace of policing to young black men like him, and the psychic burden that came with it.
    “I think there are critics who have underestimated the centrality of that threat,” Ms. LaBouvier said. “You can almost feel the heat from the paintings.”
    Walk past a blown-up Haring photograph of his studio wall, with the Basquiat piece cut out, into the exhibition’s second room, and second layer of context, and you will find works by Mr. Haring, Andy Warhol, David Hammons, Eric Drooker, George Condo, David Wojnarowicz (whose unsigned protest flyer clearly inspired Mr. Basquiat’s painting), and Lyle Ashton Harris. All respond, whether in the heat of the moment or years later, to Mr. Stewart’s beating and death.

    Some have never been shown — including Mr. Condo’s “Portrait of Michael Stewart,” which he made while Mr. Stewart was still in the hospital, and stashed away in storage.
    There are also pieces of ephemera that testify to the community’s mobilization, including issues of the alternative magazine East Village Eye and programs for nightclub benefit events for the Stewart family. Crucially, Mr. Stewart’s small paintings and drawings, lent to Ms. LaBouvier by his family, are an emotional anchor. Often described as a graffiti artist — in the police version, he was caught tagging the station — he was in fact a painter with an abstract sensibility, who was planning his first exhibition.

    “This is someone becoming — finding themselves, finding their voice, finding their practice,” Ms. LaBouvier said. “I didn’t want to make him into a myth, or make him into a sort of trauma-porn story either. And I thought the best way to do that was to take a step back and let him speak for himself.”
    Jeffrey Deitch, a gallerist and curator who was close to the artists of the era, said that for all Mr. Basquiat’s celebrity and his soaring prices (a Japanese collector paid $110.5 million in 2017 for his painting of a skull, “Untitled”) the scholarship remains thin, and important aspects of New York art culture of the early 1980s are yet to be addressed. 
    “The story of Michael Stewart galvanized the downtown art community,” Mr. Deitch said, agreeing with Ms. LaBouvier. “It was the subject of a lot of anger and activism for some years, not just the few months after the incident. The reaction prompted some very powerful works of art.”

    CreditEstate of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Licensed by Artestar

    CreditEstate of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Licensed by Artestar; Mary Inhea Kang for The New York Times

    CreditThe Museum of Modern Art, Licensed by SCALA/ARS New York

    Of Ms. LaBouvier’s approach, he said: “I told her that in our field we’ve been waiting for someone like her to emerge for 40 years — a young woman who can look at this period in art history from a fresh perspective.”

    Though her formal specialty is film — her graduate degree from U.C.L.A. is in screenwriting — Ms. LaBouvier’s fascination with Basquiat goes back to her childhood in Texas, where her parents owned a pair of the artist’s drawings. She first saw an image of “Defacement” in 2003, while in college at Williams in Massachusetts.
    When she returned to her alma mater with the actual painting, she held public programs around it that focused on police use of force and the Black Lives Matter movement. Her own brother, Clinton Allen, who was unarmed, was killed in a confrontation with a Dallas police officer in 2013, but she cautioned strongly that her research should stand on its own merits.
    “Biography is not and never has been scholarship, whether it’s mine or someone else’s,” she said. “I think that insistence on inserting my biography not only flattens me and my work, but is informed by this social expectation that black women are broken.”
    The Guggenheim exhibition emerged from conversations with Nancy Spector, the museum’s chief curator. Ms. LaBouvier said that assembling the show, however, exposed fault lines that she attributed to the Guggenheim’s inexperience with black curators and their perspectives, especially with regard to nuances of black life and identity. 
    “I think it will be better for the black curators coming after me,” she added. “For instance, if I didn’t review something, that meant that no person of color looked at that document or process. And certainly it felt at times that there was an expectation that I would just be grateful to be in the room.”
    She is proud of the exhibition but alluded to editorial frictions: For instance, she said, the museum did not produce extended captions that would explain each work and the reason she chose it, an omission that she said shortchanges her research. “My hands were somewhat tied with that,” she said.

    In its 80-year history, the Guggenheim has never had a black staff curator. The independent Nigerian curator Okwui Enwezor was one of several organizers of a show on African photography in 1996.The artists Carrie Mae Weems and Julie Mehretu are among six artist-curators in the current exhibition “Six Takes on the Guggenheim Collection.” The museum also noted it has hosted nonexhibition programs convened by Ms. Weems (2014) and Simone Leigh (2019).

    In a phone interview, Richard Armstrong, the Guggenheim’s director, acknowledged that the museum has been “slightly off-tempo” with respect to hiring African-American curators, and that efforts are underway to address this. “I want to reaffirm that we are in the midst of a concerted effort to broaden our curatorial staff,” Mr. Armstrong said.
    In an email responding to questions, Sarah Eaton, a spokeswomanfor the Guggenheim praised Ms. LaBouvier’s original research and said she had participated in a “rigorous editorial process” with input from staff.
    Ms. LaBouvier’s essay in the catalog suggests the forensic research involved in making the show. She also interviewed 23 artists, gallerists and others in Mr. Basquiat’s orbit, along with Michael Stewart’s mother, Carrie, and even a member of the initial grand jury.
    For Mr. Condo, the painter, the project brought back heavy memories. He had been out with Mr. Stewart earlier on that fateful evening. There had been a party at Mr. Haring’s, but the two men were not let in. “We weren’t cool enough, or whatever,” Mr. Condo said. Instead they went to the Pyramid Club on Avenue A, before parting ways.

    After the news spread, Mr. Condo painted his portrait of Mr. Stewart — an eerie image of a figure hooked up to a satellite-dishlike device, a reference to the young man in the hospital. He had no intention of showing it.
    “I just went home and cried and made a painting,” he said.
    Ms. LaBouvier’s inquiries prompted him to dig out the work.
    “This exhibition was necessary,” he said. “Putting a real microscope onto that particular period leaves a real impression on you as to what people were feeling, as a result of what happened to this man.”
    Ms. LaBouvier said that Mr. Stewart’s story, his own art, and the art that his death prompted, in anger and mourning, deserved consideration from a scholarly perspective.
    “I am very clear that this is restorative justice in an art-historical way,” she said. “There are a lot of stories that we need to re-examine, reclaim, re-treat. This is one chapter among many.”




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