5/30/2020

BAUAW NEWSLETTER, SATURDAY, MAY 30, 2020










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

Enough is Enough: Global Nuclear Weapons 


Spending 2020

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

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Salon Series Online


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

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


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

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CALL TO ACTION: 



Respected Elder Jalil Muntaqim 

Hospitalized with COVID-19


Widely respected elder Jalil Muntaqim (Anthony Bottom), who in his teens joined the Black Panther Party, and who was convicted at 19 and has been incarcerated for 49 years in NYS prisons on a 25-year minimum sentence, became ill last week, and has tested positive for COVID-19. His health deteriorated over the weekend and he has been hospitalized since Monday.

For months, public health experts, faith leaders, Congress members, and hundreds of others have warned NYS officials that the prisons are potential death traps in the COVID-19 pandemic. Recognizing this, a New York State judge on April 27th ordered Jalil's temporary release from Sullivan Correctional Facility in Fallsburg, NY, based on his extreme vulnerability to the virus. Jalil is 68 years old and suffers from serious chronic health conditions that can make COVID-19 deadly.

However, NYS Attorney General Letitia James, acting on behalf of NYS DOCCS Commissioner Anthony Annucci, appealed the ruling, blocking Jalil's release and forcing him to remain in prison. Just as we feared, Jalil, who was ordered released a month ago, eventually contracted COVID-19.

Tomorrow, May 28th, a NYS Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments from Jalil's attorney and the DOCCS attorney. We ask you to call and tweet the AG and DOCCS commissioner today and tomorrow urging them to withdraw the appeal so that Jalil can be released from the hospital to the community, where he has medical and other support awaiting him, rather than be returned to the prison where his recovery will be impeded, and where he will again be vulnerable to contracting another COVID-19 infection.

Here's what you can do:

TWEET!

@TishJames @NewYorkStateAG Withdraw your appeal of Judge Shick's 4/27 order releasing Anthony Bottom. If you had not appealed/blocked his release, Mr. Bottom wouldn't have contracted COVID & wouldn't be seriously ill now. Withdraw the appeal so he can go home, recover & stay safe

@NYSDOCCS Cmr. Annucci should withdraw his appeal of the release of Anthony Bottom. On 4/27, Judge Stephan Schick ordered Mr. Bottom's release to protect him from COVID-19, but DOCCS appealed, blocking release. Now he is ill. Withdraw appeal so he can go home, recover & stay safe


CALL  the Attorney General and Commissioner

Attorney General  Letitia James - (718) 560-2040

Sample Script For AG: 

My name is [X]. I am calling to urge the AG to withdraw her appeal of the release of Anthony Bottom, DIN# 77A4283, which was ordered by Sullivan County Supreme Court Judge Stephan G. Schick on April 27. Had the AG not originally appealed that decision, Mr. Bottom would not have contracted COVID-19, as he recently did, and would not be seriously ill and in the hospital now. The AG's appeal was responsible for his current life-threatening illness. She must now withdraw her appeal so that Mr. Bottom can return to his community after he recovers from COVID-19 and avoid being re-infected. The communities that elected her, and whom she claims to represent, demand this of her.


Commissioner Annucci - (518) 457-8126

Sample Script For Commissioner: 

My name is [X]. I am calling to urge Commissioner  Annucci to withdraw his opposition to the release of Anthony Bottom, DIN#77A4283. On April 27, Sullivan County Supreme Court Judge Stephan G. Schick ordered Mr. Bottom's release to protect him from COVID-19, but DOCCS appealed and he was not released. Predictably, Mr. Bottom contracted the virus and now he is hospitalized with COVID-19. If DOCCS had not appealed this decision, Mr. Bottom would not have contracted COVID-19, as he recently did, and would not be in the hospital now. DOCCS should withdraw the appeal so that Mr. Bottom can return to his community after he recovers from COVID-19 and avoid being re-infected. Alternatively, the Commissioner should expedite and ensure approval of Mr. Bottom's supplemented request for medical parole.  


Pack the Virtual Courtroom - Thursday, May 28 at 1:00 pm Eastern - 10:00 am Pacific

Oral arguments on the appeal of the decision to release Jalil will be streamed live.
Link to hearing on Thursday, May 28 at 1:00 pm Eastern, 10:00 am Pacific

Go to the homepage of the court: http://www.nycourts.gov/ad3/ 
*click the box at the bottom that says "Court Session Webcast" - or try the direct link: http://wowza.nycourts.gov/ad3/ad3.php



Read more about the case (with additional articles coming soon):


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

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We Need Your Support: Unite to Send Deputy Chairman Kwame Shakur to Minneapolis!

In light of recent protests following the May 24, 2020, state-sanctioned lynching of George Floyd, a black man, and resident of Minneapolis, MN we recognize the protests happening there as an organic demonstration of resistance to imperialist oppression by the people and understand the importance of having the New Afrikan Black Panther Party on the ground in order to give proper leadership and direction to this important struggle. Because of this, we believe that it is necessary to get our Deputy Chairman, Kwame Shakur from Indiana, where he resides, to Minneapolis, MN.  We are calling on all of our friends and supporters to materially assist us in accomplishing this task!  Kwame will need resources that will enable him to travel to Minneapolis, MN, remain for as long as need be, and return to his home in IN.  You can donate to this cause through PayPal at PayPal.me/drayonmiller or through CashApp at $PantherLove2005.

Kwame has been actively organizing and leading mass demonstrations in Indianapolis IN in response to prisoner abuse and police killings there. His involvement and development of wide community support can be seen in the many live recordings made on the ground, which can be seen on his Facebook page (see link below) and podcasts on YouTube. We want to take this revolutionary guidance to Minneapolis and develop new forces to build and advance the work of the mass struggle there. We want boots on the ground! All power to the people!
DONATE
Facebook
Website
Copyright © *2020* *Kevin Rashid Johnson*, All rights reserved.


Our mailing address is:

Kevin Rashid Johnson
D.O.C. #264847, G-20-2C
Pendleton Correctional Facility 4490 W. Reformatory Rd

PendletonIN  46064




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Veterans Call on the Minnesota National Guard to Stand Down

Veterans Call on the Minnesota National Guard to Stand Down 

Veterans For Peace calls for the immediate withdrawal of the Minnesota National Guard. We are appalled to see military weapons, vehicles and equipment once again deployed in U.S. cities to control community members who are reacting to a long history of state-sanctioned violence. When an already embattled community is subjected to militarized intimidation, by design, their environment becomes a war zone. We call on all those who are serving with the National Guard to refuse to serve violent and racist interests.
Veterans For Peace denounces the ongoing instances of police violence against Black bodies and people of color, this time resulting in the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We also stand in opposition to the State of Minnesota’s and the Minneapolis police force’s militarized response to the right to protest. 
Learning nothing from the now seemingly endless examples of ineffective attempts to silence protests with militarized violence—from Ferguson to Baltimore to New Orleans to Standing Rock—political figures continue to call on more military to quell the powerful resistance seen from the people in Minneapolis who demand justice. We continue to see the escalation of threats of violence from those in power--from Trump’s tweets threatening to shoot protestors to the governor’s decision to send in the national guard. 
As Veterans For Peace, we know that increased militarization in our communities will never bring peace. We know that peace is only achieved with a strong commitment to justice. As veterans who served in various wars, we know there is a connection between increasing racist violence in the United States and the massive indiscriminate killing of hundreds of thousands of people in other lands. Growing racism against black, brown and Muslim people in the United States is a reflection of the racism that justifies killing non-white people abroad. The U.S. military deliberately uses racism to motivate young men and women to kill. 
As veterans, we know what it’s like to be called to a “duty” that goes against our conscience. We urge all current National Guard members to lay down their weapons and refuse to fight against their neighbors and fellow community members. We urge you all to be fully informed as you make profound choices with possibly serious consequences. We urge any troops facing possible deployment to Minneapolis or already there to contact the National Lawyers Guild Military Law Task Force at (619) 463-2369 and/or help@militarylawhelp.com for referral to a civilian attorney to discuss your options.
Our nation’s consistent option for militarization and the use of deadly force when it is not needed—at home and abroad—is exactly why we find ourselves in this situation. It makes no sense to think more violence and trauma heaped upon the Minneapolis community will quell the unrest. The Governor has moved beyond using a militarized police force to using the military. He is relying on intimidation and fear to end this. The only thing that will quiet this storm is justice. 
  

Ways to take action: 

Donate to organizations on the ground:
Sign this Open Letter
  

Contact Us

Veterans For Peace
1404 North Broadway Blvd.
St. Louis, Missouri 63102
(314) 725-6005
vfp@veteransforpeace.org

Follow Us 

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Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin 



conviction integrity unit—confession and all





Petition update - Please sign at the link above!
May 23, 2020 —  

We have submitted our application to the @FultonCountyDA #ConvictionIntegrityUnit demanding a retrial for Imam Jamil Al-Amin FKA H. Rap Brown. 

We must now show the establishment that we care more about justice than they do about corruption and injustice. 
The proof of misdeeds is clear, the proof of innocence is clear, a retrial or release are the only acceptable options. 
We make the news so let our voices once again be heard loudly and in unison…we demand a retrial…we demand justice!   #FreeImamJamil

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

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

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

Dear Friend,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be well and take care. 

DONATE NOW

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

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Resolution for Funding for the Undocumented




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

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

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

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

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

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

Contact: 

Kristen Pursley, President,

Adult School Teachers United (ASTU)

(510)-741-8359




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

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Sign the petition

Mayor Breed:
City of SF Essential Workers Deserve Safety!

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

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

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




Veterans Join Call for a Global Ceasefire 


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

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

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


For more information about events go to:

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




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

Podcast: Congress leaning towards drafting women for next war

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

Update from Chelsea Manning

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

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

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

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From Business Insider 2018

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

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

—Johnny Gould (Follow @tandino415 on Instagram)

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

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




Major Tillery (with hat) and family


Dear Friends of the Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please write and call Acting Superintendent Kenneth Eason at:

Kenneth Eason, Acting Superintendent
SCI Chester
500 E. 4th St.
Chester, PA 19013

Telephone: (610) 490-5412

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

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

Email: ra-contactdoc@pa.gov
Demand that the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections immediately:

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

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


In solidarity,

The Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal




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Kiah Morris

May 7 at 6:44 AM

So, in MY lifetime....

Black people are so tired. 😓

We can’t go jogging (#AhmaudArbery).

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

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

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

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

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

We can’t sell CD's (#AltonSterling).

We can’t sleep (#AiyanaJones)

We can’t walk from the corner store (#MikeBrown).

We can’t play cops and robbers (#TamirRice).

We can’t go to church (#Charleston9).

We can’t walk home with Skittles (#TrayvonMartin).

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

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Friday post   Hate%2BSocialism

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

—Johnny Gould

(Follow @tandino415 on Instagram)

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 

National Solidarity Events to Amplify Prisoners Human Rights 

AUGUST 21 - SEPTEMBER 9th

To all in solidarity with the Prisoners Human Rights Movement:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SHARE THIS RELEASE FAR AND WIDE WITH ALL YOUR CONTACTS!

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

August 21st - September 9th, 2020

AGITATE, EDUCATE, ORGANIZE

Dare to struggle, Dare to win!

We are--

"Jailhouse Lawyers Speak"  

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

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

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

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

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Letters of support for clemency needed for Reality Winner 

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

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

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

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

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

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c04758efab450303611bf2bb1b2dd96a5d550b8c

Board Game

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


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

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

Spread the word!!

By Dr.... Nayvin Gordon

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

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

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

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Funds for Kevin Cooper

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

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Don't extradite Assange!

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

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Words of Wisdom LouisRobinsonJr77yrsold 

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

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Get Malik Out of Ad-Seg 

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

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Articles:

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1) The ‘Liberal World Order’ Was Built With Blood
As the United States reckons with its decline, it should understand where its power came from in the first place.
By Vincent Bevins, May 29, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/29/opinion/united-states-cold-war.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage
Credit...Bettmann/Corbis

Credit...Associated Press


If you read the commentary coming out of New York and Washington, or speak with elites in Western Europe, it’s easy to find people panicking about the loss of “American leadership.” From Joe Biden’s campaign pledges to trans-Atlantic think tanks, exhortations to revive American supremacy and contain China are everywhere.
They have reason to be worried: This moment is shaking the foundations of America’s hegemony. It is painfully clear that the United States is ill-equipped to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, which does not play to American strengths (we can’t shoot it, after all). President Trump has for years been dismissing allies and antagonizing international institutions. And China is seemingly laying the groundwork for its arrival as a great power. American officials are now talking openly about a “new Cold War” to confront Beijing, and China now seems such a threat that Hal Brands of the American Enterprise Institute wonders whether the United States should get back in the business of covertly toppling unfriendly governments.
It’s unsurprising that establishment pundits, American policymakers and their allies would be alarmed about American decline. The United States and Western Europe have been the winners of the process that created this globalized world, the main beneficiaries of Washington’s triumph at the end of the Cold War. But a lot of people feel very differently.
In early April, I received a message from Winarso, a man I know in Indonesia who runs an organization that cares for the survivors of the mass murder that took place there in the 1960s. He was trying to raise money to buy rice so his community wouldn’t starve under lockdown. A dollar still goes a very long way in Indonesia, as Winarso knows too well. To explain America’s economic and political power, he points to the Cold War. It’s easy to see that Washington was truly victorious in the 20th century, he told me, because “we all got the U.S.-centered version of capitalism that Washington wanted to spread.” I asked him how America won. He answered quickly. “You killed us.”
I have spent the last three years with the losers of that great game, the individuals whose lives were shattered so this global order could be constructed. I spent most of my time interviewing the victims and survivors of a loose network of mass murder programs that targeted civilian opponents of Washington’s Cold War allies. I got to know people on four continents who lived through the coups and C.I.A. plots that Mr. Brands is talking about. To fully understand the nature of American power — and its future — their experiences are as important as those of anyone in a Paris boardroom or Washington think tank.
Winarso’s country is the most significant example. In 1965 and 1966, the American government assisted in the murder of approximately one million Indonesian civilians. This was one of the most important turning points of the Cold War — Indonesia is the world’s fourth most populous country, and policymakers at the time understood it was a far more valuable prize than Vietnam. But it’s largely forgotten in the English-speaking world precisely because it was such a success. No American soldiers died; little attention was drawn to one more country pulled, seemingly naturally, into the United States’ orbit.
But the process was not natural. The U.S.-backed military used a failed uprising as a pretext to crush the Indonesian left, whose influence Washington had been seeking to counter for a decade, and then took control of the country. Recently declassified State Department documents make it clear that the United States aided and abetted the mass murder in Indonesia, providing material support, encouraging the killings and rewarding the perpetrators.
It was not the first time the United States had done something like this. In 1954, the American ambassador to Guatemala reportedly handed kill lists to that country’s military. And in Iraq, in 1963, the C.I.A. provided lists of suspected communists and leftists to the ruling Baath Party.
Indonesia in 1965 was the apex of anti-Communist violence in the 20th century. The slaughter obliterated the popular, unarmed Partai Komunis Indonesia, the largest Communist party outside of China and the Soviet Union, and toppled President Sukarno, a founding leader of the Nonaligned Movement and an outspoken anti-imperialist, replacing him with General Suharto, a right-wing dictator who quickly became one of Washington’s most important Cold War allies.
This was such an obvious victory for the global anti-Communist movement that far-right groups around the world began to draw inspiration from the “Jakarta” model and build copycat programs. They were assisted by American officials and anti-Communist organizations that moved across borders. In turn, leftist movements radicalized or took up arms, believing they would be killed if they attempted to pursue the path of democratic socialism.
In the early ’70s, right-wing terrorists in Chile painted “Jakarta” on the houses of socialists, threatening that they too would be killed. After the C.I.A.-backed coup in 1973, they were. Brazilian leftists were threatened with “Operação Jacarta,” too. By the end of the 1970s, most of South America was governed by authoritarian, pro-American governments that secured power by mass murder. By 1990, death squads in Central America pushed the Latin American death toll into the hundreds of thousands.
In North America and Europe, if people think about these terror campaigns at all, the narrative is too often that the United States made alliances with unsavory characters, who committed unfortunate abuses. That is wrong. The United States government was behind much of the violence, and it was far from inconsequential. Most nations in the former third world were set on their current path by conflicts that took place during the Cold War. The violence made possible a version of crony capitalism that comprises daily reality for billions of people, and it is an integral part of the version of globalization that the world ended up with.
No reasonable person denies the great things the United States did in the 20th century, or that many countries enjoyed prosperity while in happy alliances with Washington. But as we move deeper into the 21st century, Americans are going to need to confront the darker side of American hegemony — because much of the rest of the world already has. Part of the reason the current order is so fragile is because so many people around the world know, indeed can physically feel in their bodies, that Washington used brutality to construct it.
We do not know yet what the world would look like were China to take up the position the United States is losing. There is no reason to believe that just because this world order has blood in its roots, something better will spring to life if it dies.
As Americans reckon with — and fret about — their country’s diminished position in the world, we need to understand that the United States is not, in fact, beloved as a beacon of freedom, democracy and human rights. From Argentina to the Democratic Republic of Congo, East Timor to Iran, millions of people are skeptical of Washington’s intentions, even if they have no particular desire to emulate China’s government, either.
A failure to recognize reality, however, and a desperate attempt to claw back a deeply imperfect global order, could be very dangerous for everyone.

Vincent Bevins (@vinncent) is the author of “The Jakarta Method: Washington’s Anticommunist Crusade and the Mass Murder Program That Shaped Our World.”

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2) On the Economics of Not Dying
What good is increasing G.D.P. if it kills you?
By Paul Krugman, May 28, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/28/opinion/coronavirus-economy-death.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

America is now engaged in a vast, dangerous experiment. Although social distancing has limited the spread of the coronavirus, it is far from contained. Yet despite warnings from epidemiologists, much of the country is moving to open up for business as usual.
You might think that such a momentous move would come with elaborate justifications — that politicians pushing an end to social distancing, from Donald Trump on down, would at least try to explain why we should take this risk. But those calling for quickly reopening have been notably silent about the trade-offs involved. Instead, they talk incessantly about the need to “save the economy.”
That is, however, a very bad way to think about economic policy in a pandemic.
What, after all, is the economy’s purpose? If your answer is something like, “To generate incomes that let people buy things,” you’re getting it wrong — money isn’t the ultimate goal; it’s just a means to an end, namely, improving the quality of life.
Now, money matters: There is a clear relationship between income and life satisfaction. But it’s not the only thing that matters. In particular, you know what also makes a major contribution to the quality of life? Not dying.
And when we take the value of not dying into account, the rush to reopen looks like a really bad idea, even in terms of economics properly understood.
You might be tempted to say that we can’t put a price on human life. But if you think about it, that’s silly; we do it all the time.
We spend a lot on highway safety, but not enough to eliminate every preventable fatal accident. We regulate businesses to avoid lethal pollution, even though it costs money, but not tightly enough to eliminate all pollution-related deaths.
In fact, both transportation and environmental policy have in the past been explicitly guided by numbers placed on the “value of a statistical life.” Current estimates are around $10 million.
True, Covid-19 deaths have been concentrated among older Americans, who can expect fewer remaining years of life than average, so that we might want to use a lower number, say $5 million. But even so, doing the math says that social distancing, while it reduced G.D.P., was well worth it.
That’s the conclusion of two studies that estimated the costs and benefits of social distancing, taking the value of a life into account. Indeed, we waited too long: A Columbia University study estimated that locking down just a week earlier would have saved 36,000 lives by early May, and a back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that the benefits of that earlier lockdown would have been at least five times the cost in lost G.D.P.
So why are we rushing to reopen?
To be sure, epidemiological forecasts are highly uncertain. But this uncertainty calls for more caution, not less. Open too late, and we lose some money. Open too soon, and we risk an explosive second wave of infections, which would not only kill many Americans but also probably force a second, even more costly lockdown.
So why isn’t the Trump administration even trying to justify its push for reopening in terms of a rational analysis of costs and benefits? The answer, of course, is that rationality has a well-known liberal bias.
After all, if they really cared about the economy, even ardent reopeners would want people to keep wearing face masks, which are a cheap way to limit viral spread. Instead, they’ve chosen to wage a culture war against this most reasonable of precautions.
And the White House has dealt with expert warnings about the risks of reopening by — surprise! — accusing the experts of conspiring against the president. Asked about that Columbia study suggesting that earlier action would have saved many lives, Trump responded that “Columbia is a liberal, disgraceful institution,” and he falsely claimed to have been ahead of the experts in calling for lockdown.
Did I mention that Trump and his officials have drastically underestimated Covid-19 deaths every step of the way?
The point is that the push to reopen doesn’t reflect any kind of considered judgment about risks versus rewards. It’s best seen, instead, as an exercise in magical thinking.
Trump and conservatives in general seem to believe that if they pretend that Covid-19 isn’t a continuing threat, it will somehow go away, or at least people will forget about it. Hence the war on face masks, which help limit the pandemic but remind people that the virus is still out there.
One way to put it: Trump and his allies don’t want us to wear face masks but do want us to wear blinders.
How will this exercise in denial end? Again, there’s a lot of uncertainty in epidemiological projections. Trump and friends could get lucky; their insistence that we should quickly go back to business as usual might not lead to a large number of deaths.
But it probably will, because the push for reopening rests on a foundation of willful ignorance. Never mind G.D.P.; the most fundamental job of any leader is to keep his people alive. Unfortunately, that’s a job Trump doesn’t seem interested in doing.
Credit...

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3) Why Amy Cooper’s Use of ‘African-American’ Stung
In a racist confrontation with a black bird-watcher in Central Park, her choice of words was striking.
By Ginia Bellafante, May 29, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/29/nyregion/Amy-Cooper-Central-Park-racism.html?algo=top_conversion&fellback=false&imp_id=522656698&action=click&module=Most%20Popular&pgtype=Homepage
Credit...Brittainy Newman/The New York Times

Of all the ways Amy Cooper might have expressed her exasperation during a dispute with a birder in Central Park — rolling her eyes as she agreed to restrain her cocker spaniel, railing against avian life-forms, giving him the finger and moving on — she instead chose a potentially lethal option. Confronting her adversary, Christian Cooper, she said that she was going to call the police to report that “an African-American man” was “threatening” her life.
It was the dissonance in her language that immediately distinguished the episode from the countless other occasions in which white people have become dangerously unhinged in the presence of black men.
Three times, before and during the 911 call in which her voice climbed to horror-movie pitch as she leveled a phony accusation, she found the space to specifically identify Mr. Cooper as “African-American.” A resident of the Upper West Side with a graduate degree from the University of Chicago, a rescue dog and a face mask, Ms. Cooper engaged in a calculated act of profiling even as she accommodated the dictates of progressive speech.
The moment provided a bracing tutorial in what bigotry among the urbane looks like — the raw, virulent prejudice that can exist beneath the varnish of the right credentials, pets, accessories, social affiliations, the coinage absorbed from HBO documentaries and corporate sensitivity seminars.
Two years ago, a Manhattan lawyer named Aaron Schlossberg announced to the world that he was not “a racist” after he was caught on video ranting about immigrants. As he put it in his apology, the tirade did not capture who he really was, someone who had come to New York “precisely because of the remarkable diversity.” As it turned out, this was not Mr. Schlossberg’s only ethnically charged outburst.
In the video Mr. Cooper recorded, after Ms. Cooper refused to follow park rules and leash her dog, he asked her to keep her distance. Still, the next day, she told CNN by way of explanation for actions she now deemed inexcusable, that she had been scared — that before he began filming her, Mr. Cooper appeared out of nowhere.
“He came out of the bush,’' she said, failing to recognize, given the racial context, that there was surely a better way to refer to the shrubbery of central Manhattan.
Judgment of Ms. Cooper was swift and fierce. Within 24 hours, she had lost her job as an investment manager at Franklin Templeton; members of New York State’s legislature introduced a bill that would make filing certain false reports actionable as hate crimes; a neighborhood group, the Central Park South Civic Association, called on Mayor Bill de Blasio to impose a lifetime ban from the park “on this lady for her deliberate, racial misleading of law enforcement.”
Despite Ms. Cooper’s public statement to Mr. Cooper — “I hope that a few mortifying seconds in a lifetime of forty years will not define me in his eyes and that he will accept my sincere apology” — by Wednesday night, various city officials were demanding her arrest.
It was Mr. Cooper who publicly extended more generosity toward her than anyone else, telling my colleague Sarah Maslin Nir that although he could not excuse the racism, he wasn’t sure if Ms. Cooper’s life “needed to be torn apart.”
In the most forgiving interpretation of these events, Ms. Cooper didn’t understand the possible consequences of her actions — that calling the police to settle an argument between a white woman and a black man in 2020 could result in his injury or death. This would imply that the news of the recent past has managed to completely elude her — from the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., to Eric Garner’s in Staten Island, to Ahmaud Arbery’s in Georgia.
As she told New York’s NBC station on the day of her eruption, she was only now beginning to understand that the police do not always serve as a “protection agency.’’ And yet in her precise use of the respectful term “African-American,” such intimations of ignorance are easily challenged.
It is easy to imagine an investment house deciding it no longer needed an executive capable of such spectacular misjudgment assessing and managing risk. Franklin Templeton fired Ms. Cooper, the company proclaimed, because it “doesn’t tolerate racism of any kind,’’ sanctimoniously turning a crisis into an opportunity to showcase values.
Whatever becomes of Amy Cooper, the episode suggests the limits of our institutional efforts to pre-empt individual actions that would appear to be racist. Like most big corporations, municipalities and nonprofit organizations, Franklin Templeton promotes its agenda in what is now known as diversity and inclusion. By one estimate, American companies spend approximately $8 billion a year trying to ensure that their employees are welcoming and open-minded — an investment in comity as much as it is in public relations and liability protection.
Franklin Templeton, for example, requires employees to take anti-harassment training every year, meant to cover discrimination in its many forms. It also encourages them to participate in training programs that support an “employee’s feeling safe to bring their whole selves to work,’’ according to a spokeswoman. In November, the company held an event called the “Check Your Blind Spots” tour at its California headquarters, described in a news release as a “series of immersive and interactive elements including virtual reality, gaming technology and more, to take an introspective look at the unconscious biases people face on a daily basis.”
Implicit bias training begins with the premise that we are essentially benevolent in our intentions, but are all subject to maintaining conditioned prejudices, the acquisition of which is often beyond our control. Embedded in this view is the assumption that within the contours of civil society, at least, we should be beyond explicit expressions of hostility of the kind Ms. Cooper displayed.
Patrica G. Devine, a social psychologist at the University of Wisconsin who studies unintended bias, argues that there has been little rigorous evaluation of the training strategies deployed to combat it, and as a result we simply don’t know enough about what makes a difference.
“It often has the feeling of being a one-and-done kind of thing: ‘We did it,’” she said. “And then it’s the ‘it’ that matters.” Beyond that, she has seen in her own research and the research of others that “if people are hostile to the training, it’s like fingers being wagged at you, and if you are not at all open to that, it can fuel negativity to the point of backlash.”
Two years ago, New York City’s police department invested $4.5 million in implicit bias training for officers, again without any evidence that it might succeed. The Covid crisis, in a sense, has provided a test case, and the results have been dispiriting. Between mid-March and early May, of the 125 people arrested for violations of social-distancing rules and other regulations related to the coronavirus, 113 were black or Hispanic. The problem with implicit bias work is that it too often fails to acknowledge the realities of instinctive distaste, the powerful emotions that animate the worst suppositions. It presumes a world better than the one we actually have.
Further elaborating her apology to Mr. Cooper, in a statement she issued on Tuesday afternoon, Ms. Cooper said she was aware that “misassumptions and insensitive statements about race” caused pain. But Ms. Cooper’s transgression was not a mistaken perception or an insensitive statement.
The language — “African-American” — she seemed to have down. It was the deeper impulse for retaliation that she couldn’t suppress.

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4) Minnesota Attorney General Suggests Auto Zone Riot Starter Was ‘Provocateur’
Roman White, May 29, 2020
https://thesource.com/2020/05/29/minnesota-attorney-general-suggests-auto-zone-riot-starter-was-provocateur/
Jim Mone/AP/Shutterstock


Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison is questioning one rioter who was caught on camera shattering windows at a local Auto Zone.
The perceived faux rioter in the video equipped with a gas mask an umbrella and all-black attire is seen calmly busting windows at the Auto Zone before he walks off.
“This man doesn’t look like any civil rights protestor I have ever seen. Looks like a provocateur,” Ellison said on Twitter asking for someone to identify the masked man.
The associated video Ellison posted was taken down by YouTube, but Philadelphia motivational speaker Wallo267 posted the video to his Instagram account suggesting that the man may have been a cop.
The man who by himself broke the windows to the Auto Zone was confronted by another man seen in a pink shirt. The rioter tries to avoid the cameras and ignores questions about why he is destroying the store.
Ellison has also referred to the riots as a distraction from a systematic change in regard to police brutality. Ellison called for the centering of protestors and a refocused national conversation.



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5) What Happened in the Chaotic Moments Before George Floyd Died
The episode began with a report of a $20 counterfeit bill. It ended in a fatal encounter with the police, which the authorities have described in detail for the first time.
By Matt Furber, Audra D. S. Burch and Frances Robles, May 29, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/29/us/derek-chauvin-george-floyd-worked-together.html?action=click&module=Spotlight&pgtype=Homepage
Credit...Jenn Ackerman for The New York Times


MINNEAPOLIS — One was a veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department who moonlighted as a security guard. The other provided security at a Salvation Army store, and spent some of his evenings at local clubs, working as a bouncer.
In the year before their fatal encounter, George Floyd, 46, and the officer now charged with his death, Derek Chauvin, 44, worked at the same Minneapolis Latin nightclub, both part of the team responsible for keeping rowdy customers under control.
Their paths crossed for the last time in the waning light of a Memorial Day evening, outside a corner store known as the best place in town to find menthol cigarettes. Within an hour, Mr. Floyd was dead, his last pleas and gasps captured in a horrifically graphic video.
In a move that has since prompted protests in cities across the country, Mr. Chauvin knelt down on Mr. Floyd behind a police vehicle outside the store. For eight minutes and 46 seconds, according to a criminal complaint filed on Friday by the Hennepin County District Attorney, the police officer pressed his knee into Mr. Floyd’s neck in silence, staring toward the ground as his captive gasped repeatedly that he could not breathe.
Bystanders waved their cellphones, cursed and pleaded for help, and still, for two minutes and 53 seconds after Mr. Floyd had stopped protesting and became unresponsive, the officer continued to kneel
The case has become part of a now-familiar history of police violence in recent years in which African-American men have died in encounters that were shockingly mundane in their origins — Eric Garner, who died after a 2014 arrest in New York for selling cigarettes without tax stamps; Michael Brown, who died in an encounter with the police the same year in Ferguson, Mo., after walking in the street instead of using the sidewalk.
Mr. Floyd’s case began with a report of a counterfeit $20 bill that a storekeeper said he tried to pass to buy cigarettes.
“He died for nothing — something about a fake bill — that was nothing,” said Jason Polk, 53, a city bus driver and one of a number of South Minneapolis residents who have expressed outrage over the case.
Gov. Tim Walz called the fatal arrest, and the nights of violent protests that have come after it, “one of our darkest chapters.”
“Thank God a young person had a camera to video it,” the governor said.
With Mr. Chauvin in custody and formally charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, prosecutors must now try to understand what happened in the chaotic moments before Mr. Floyd was taken to the Hennepin County Medical Center and pronounced dead at 9:25 p.m.
Accounts from witnesses, cellphone and surveillance video and charging documents released on Friday tell much of the story of how the “forgery-in-progress” arrest unfolded.
Mr. Floyd had been a star football and basketball player in high school, moving to Minneapolis about five years ago. When he returned to Houston for his mother’s funeral two years ago, he told a cousin that Minneapolis had come to feel like home. “He was such a happy guy, he loved to be around people, loved to dance and he loved Minneapolis,” said Jovanni Thunstrom, who owned the Conga Latin Bistro where Mr. Floyd worked security on salsa nights. “He walked in every day with a smile on his face.”
It was another club, El Nuevo Rodeo, where both Mr. Floyd and Mr. Chauvin worked. Maya Santamaria, who sold the club in January, said she doubted that the two men interacted.
Mr. Floyd worked the occasional weeknight, she said, while Mr. Chauvin worked security on weekends over the past 17 years. Sometimes during the club’s boisterous “urban nights,” she said, when it draws a primarily African-American clientele, Mr. Chauvin was sometimes overly aggressive with customers, sometimes using pepper spray, she said.
“I did have words with him on various occasions, when I thought he was not reacting appropriately based on the situation at hand,” she said. “It was like, zero strikes and you’re out.”
Mr. Floyd’s younger brother, Rodney Floyd, 36, said he was the center of any room he walked into. “Always smiling, always somebody you could talk to and know that you would not be judged.”
The fatal encounter began just before 8 p.m., when Mr. Floyd entered Cup Foods, a community store run by four brothers, and a store clerk claimed that he had paid for cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill. The police got a call from the store at 8:01 p.m.
“Um, someone comes our store and give us fake bills, and we realize it before he left the store,” the caller said, according to a transcript released by the authorities, “and we ran back outside, they was sitting on their car.”
The store clerk demanded the cigarettes back. “But he doesn’t want to do that, and he’s sitting on his car ‘cause he is awfully drunk and he’s not in control of himself,” the clerk said, according to a transcript of the call to police. “He is not acting right.”
The dispatcher pressed for a description, and the caller described the man as tall, bald, about 6 feet tall.
“Is he white, black, Native, Hispanic, Asian?”
“Something like that,” the caller replied.
“Which one? White, black, Native, Hispanic, Asian?”
“No, he’s a black guy,” the caller said.
Not long after, Angel Stately, a regular customer and former employee, arrived at the store looking for menthol cigarettes. The police were already outside. Ms. Stately said the clerk, a teenager, was feeling bad; he had called the police, he told her, only because it was protocol.
The clerk held up a folded bill and showed it to her. The bill was an obvious fake, she said. “The ink was still running,” she said.
Ms. Stately said she saw an officer approach Mr. Floyd, with his hand at his gun at his hip.

The charging documents say that officers found Mr. Floyd in a parked blue car with two passengers. Soon, additional police units arrived and the officers tried to get Mr. Floyd into a police vehicle. But he struggled.
“Mr. Floyd did not voluntarily get in the car and struggled with the officers, intentionally falling down, saying he was not going in the car, and refusing to stand still,” according to the charging document.
Even before he was placed on the ground under Mr. Chauvin’s knee, according to the prosecutors’ account, while standing outside the car, Mr. Floyd began saying repeatedly that he could not breathe.
Mr. Chauvin tried to place him in the police car with Officer J.A. Kueng’s help.
At 8:19, Mr. Chauvin pulled Mr. Floyd out of the passenger side of the squad car. Mr. Floyd hit the ground, face down, handcuffs still on. Mr. Kueng held Mr. Floyd’s back while Officer Thomas Lane held his legs.
Mr. Chauvin lodged his left knee in “the area of Mr. Floyd’s head and neck,” the documents said, and Mr. Floyd continued to protest: “I can’t breathe,” he said repeatedly.
He called for his mother. He said, “Please.”
One of the officers dismissed his pleas.
“You are talking fine,” one officer said, according to the charging documents.
At least one officer was worried: Mr. Lane asked if the officers should roll Mr. Floyd over on his side.
“No, staying put where we got him,” Mr. Chauvin replied.
“I am worried about excited delirium or whatever,” Mr. Lane said.
“That’s why we have him on his stomach,” Mr. Chauvin responded.
At 8:24 p.m., Mr. Floyd stopped moving.
Mr. Kueng checked Mr. Floyd’s right wrist for a pulse. “I couldn’t find one,” he said.
Still, none of the officers moved.
At 8:27 p.m., eight minutes and 46 seconds after he had lowered himself onto Mr. Floyd’s neck, Mr. Chauvin finally released his knee.
The medical examiner’s office listed the time of death as 9:25 p.m.

Matt Furber reported from Minneapolis, Audra D.S. Burch from Hollywood, Fla., and Frances Robles from Key West, Fla. Manny Fernandez contributed reporting from Houston. Susan Beachy contributed research.

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6) A Reporter’s Cry on Live TV: ‘I’m Getting Shot! I’m Getting Shot!’
From a television crew assaulted by protesters to a photographer struck in the eye, journalists have found themselves targeted on the streets of America.
By Frances Robles,  May 30, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/30/us/minneapolis-protests-press.html
Credit...Linda Tirado
"Ms. Tirado said the shot, which she thought was a rubber bullet, came from the direction of the police."


Linda Tirado, a freelance photographer, activist and author, was shot in the left eye Friday while covering the street protests in Minneapolis.
Ms. Tirado is one of a number of journalists around the country who were attacked, arrested or otherwise harassed — sometimes by police and sometimes by protesters — during their coverage of the uprisings that have erupted nationwide after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
With trust in the news media lagging, journalists have found themselves targeted.
A television reporter in Louisville, Ky., was hit by a pepper ball on live television by an officer who appeared to be aiming at her, causing her to exclaim on the air: “I’m getting shot! I’m getting shot!”
Outside the White House, protesters attacked a Fox News correspondent and his crew, taking the journalist’s microphone and striking him with it.
In Atlanta, masses of protesters on Friday night convened on the CNN headquarters, where they broke through the front door, lobbed fireworks and vandalized the building. Earlier in the day, Omar Jimenez, a reporter for the network, was detained as he reported live, despite calmly offering to move to the location of the police officer’s liking. On Saturday, he reported that his crew’s cameraman and producer were hit by rubber bullets.
Ms. Tirado, 37, drove to Minneapolis from Nashville to photograph the protests, and donned goggles to protect her eyes. In the commotion of running from tear gas, they slipped off her face.
“I was aiming my next shot, put my camera down for a second, and then my face exploded,” she said in a telephone interview after being released from the hospital. “I immediately felt blood and was screaming, ‘I’m press! I’m press!’”
Ms. Tirado said the shot, which she thought was a rubber bullet, came from the direction of the police. Protesters carried her out, and she had surgery within the hour. Although doctors told her that she is not likely to recover her vision, she is grateful for one thing: she shoots with her right eye.
“I would say there is no way that anyone had looked at me and not known that I am a working journalist,” she said. “That said, police have been pretty clear that they don’t care if you are working journalist.”
John Elder, a spokesman for the Minneapolis Police, said he was unaware of the incident. He said the department has not used rubber bullets for decades.
“If someone believes that we have injured them, we encourage people to contact our Internal Affairs Unit or the Office of Police Conduct Review,” he said in an email.
In Louisville, police are investigating the circumstances behind the WAVE-3 reporter who was struck.
“We will identify the officer involved and review the video to determine what was going on at the time and if further action is needed,” Sgt. Lamont Washington, a spokesman, said.
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press logged about 10 different incidents that ranged from assaults to menacing in Phoenix, Indianapolis, Atlanta and Minneapolis.
“With the unraveling of civil peace around the country, reporters are perceived as a target by both the police and the protesters,” said Bruce Brown, the executive director of the Reporters Committee, “and that is an extremely frightening place to be.”
Leland Vittert, the Fox News journalist who was attacked near the White House, said a man in a hoodie and black bandanna kept hovering around his live shots asking: “Who are you with? Who do you work for?”
When the man found a photo online that identified Mr. Vittert as an employee of Fox News, the heckler gathered other demonstrators around him.
As the journalists and their security guards tried to flee, they were pummeled with objects. The security guard was punched in the jaw, and Mr. Vittert was struck with his own microphone.
“My role as a journalist is to report and show what’s going on,” Mr. Vittert said in an interview. “If there’s some kind of thought that the reason I was targeted is because I work for Fox News, I would like to show them tweets where President Trump has gone after me personally.”


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7) Two Crises Convulse a Nation: A Pandemic and Police Violence
Emotions were already raw over the toll of a pandemic that has killed more than 100,000 people across the country and cost millions of jobs.
By Jack Healy and Dionne Searcey, May 31, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/31/us/george-floyd-protests-coronavirus.html

Protesters gathered on Lake Street in Minneapolis on Friday.Credit...Victor J. Blue for The New York Times



They are parallel plagues ravaging America: The coronavirus. And police killings of black men and women.
Jimmy Mills’s life has been upended by both. His barbershop in Midtown Minneapolis was one of many small, black-owned businesses that have struggled to survive the pandemic. But Mr. Mills was hopeful because, after two months shut down, he was due to reopen next week.
Then early on Friday, the working-class neighborhood where Mr. Mills has cut hair for 12 years went up in flames as chaotic protests over the death of George Floyd and police killings of African-Americans engulfed Minneapolis and cities across the country.
“To have corona, and then this — it’s like a gut shot,” Mr. Mills, 56, said.
The upheaval sparked by a video capturing Mr. Floyd’s agonizing last minutes as a white police officer kneels on his neck is pulsing through an America already ragged with anger and anxiety. Emotions are raw over the toll of a pandemic that has killed more than 100,000 people across the country and cost millions of jobs.
Minneapolis residents said outrage and protests in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd were a result of a community being tested repeatedly in recent weeks by both police violence and the virus — and in ways that put America’s deep racial inequalities in stark relief.
The outbreak has inflicted disproportionate economic and health tolls on racial minorities and immigrants in Minneapolis and beyond. Black and Latino workers have been more likely to have lost their jobs. Many others are among the low-paid hourly workers who risk their health by going to work at grocery stores, nursing homes, factories, slaughterhouses and other jobs that cannot be done remotely.
The black community in Minnesota has also been hit hard by cases of the virus, just as African-Americans across the country are being infected and dying at higher rates.
By one estimate, black people accounted for at least 29 percent of known Covid-19 cases in Minnesota, despite making up about 6 percent of the state’s population. African-Americans make up 35 percent of coronavirus cases in Minneapolis, though they are less than 20 percent of the city’s population.
“There are no words to describe what people are going through,” said State Representative Mohamud Noor, who represents a district with many Somalis and other immigrants. His great-uncle died of the coronavirus a few days ago, and Mr. Noor said he is losing track of how many other relatives and constituents are dying.
Mr. Noor said the school closures had hurt poorer students without laptops or reliable internet access to take classes online, and that waves of job losses had sent local unemployment rates soaring. Now, with more than 200 businesses damaged or destroyed in the unrest, Mr. Noor said he was worried about new waves of foreclosures, job losses and business failures.
“Many people who are poor who didn’t have much, this devastation will really impact them,” Mr. Noor said.
Even before the pandemic, the Midtown neighborhood, where buildings were burned, damaged and looted, had been trying to rebuild itself after years of economic hardship. The area is in a historically segregated part of town where some residents had felt neglected. A railway was repurposed into a bike and walking trail that runs through the neighborhood. The Midtown Global Market had sprung up, attracting diners and shoppers to its Hmong, Indian, Moroccan and other international food and crafts.
But now, next door to Mr. Mills, the barber, a dollar store and beauty-supply shop have been burned to rubble. The front windows of Mr. Mills’s barbershop were smashed, and looters stole his televisions, video equipment and his clippers.
Now, with the power out, water seeping across the floor and phalanxes of police officers and National Guard troops blockading his neighborhood, he does not know when his J-Klips barbershop might reopen.
“Half of the place is condemned,” he said. “Where do we go from here?”
Phillipe Cunningham, a city council member, represents a poor ward in northern Minneapolis with a large black, Hmong and Native American population. He said had spent the past two months fighting to get a coronavirus testing site opened and fielding calls from laid-off workers falling behind on rent and black business owners unable to navigate the maze of federal relief programs.
On Friday, Mr. Cunningham drove around surveying damaged buildings, helping some of the same business owners board up their storefronts and trying to prevent looters from breaking into stores.
“We were already struggling,” Mr. Cunningham said.
In many pockets of the city where the virus seemed to be more concentrated, residents have not had access to masks and hand sanitizer, even as the mayor ordered masks be worn when inside businesses as of earlier this week, said Jia Starr Brown, pastor of First Covenant Church in downtown Minneapolis.
Even healthy people in Minneapolis were feeling anxious after a long stretch of being holed up in their homes as spring arrived; a limited reopening of businesses was not set to begin until Monday. That loosening of restrictions came with a long list of social-distancing and sanitation rules.
Ms. Brown spoke as she stepped away from a protest outside a county building Friday afternoon, saying she was heartened to see so many people attend rallies calling for justice for Mr. Floyd, even when doing so was a health risk.
“This is about collective widespread grief, and how great must the grief be that people would risk their livelihoods?” she said. “Who we are as a people is greater than the risk to be out there. This is urgent. This isn’t about just our own individual lives as black people, but this is about our futures and children.”
Many young people, especially minorities, were gig-economy workers holding two or three part-time jobs that evaporated when the outbreak hit, said Tyler Sit, pastor of the New City Church, which is blocks away from where Mr. Floyd died and from the Third Precinct that was burned in the protests. They were left jobless and worried about not having benefits should they become ill.
Sitting at home during lockdown, with no work and no prospect of finding work for the foreseeable future, he said, they were more aware than usual of news reports and then had the time to react by taking to the streets.
“I hear messages from community members trying to deliberate whether or not they’re going to show up. They don’t want to catch Covid-19 and spread Covid-19 if they happen to be an asymptomatic carrier,” he said. “But there’s a deep feeling of we have to do something because our city is burning.”
In Atlanta, Denver, New York and beyond, protesters have also emerged despite the pandemic. They have slipped on face masks and bandannas to guard against the coronavirus, as well as tear gas.
Rashawn Ray, a sociologist and fellow at The Brookings Institution, said one crucial difference between the two plagues is that the coronavirus, like past diseases, may one day dissipate with a vaccine or medical breakthrough. “We’ve never gotten to a place where racism is not a significant part of everyone’s life in the United States,” he said.

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8) How the Supreme Court Lets Cops Get Away With Murder
The courts protected police abuses for years before George Floyd’s death. It’s time to rethink “qualified immunity.”
By The Editorial Board, May 29, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/29/opinion/Minneapolis-police-George-Floyd.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

A Minneapolis police officer, who was filmed kneeling on George Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes until the life left his body, has been fired, arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. That is a step toward justice. Those who take a life should face a jury of their peers. But the rarity of the arrest, the fact that police officers who brutalize or even kill other people while wearing a badge so seldom end up facing any consequences is an ugly reminder of how unjust America’s legal system can be.
There is a common refrain from street protesters in the wake of death after death after death after death of men of color at the hands of the police: “No justice, no peace.” In the absence of justice, there has been no peace.
Demonstrations in nearly a dozen cities, some of which turned violent, erupted in response to the killing of Mr. Floyd. At least seven people were shot in Louisville. Windows were broken in the state capitol of Ohio. And a police station was set ablaze in Minneapolis, where National Guard troops will again patrol the streets on Friday. The president tweeted early Friday that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” which frames the problem backward. It is not a defense of torching a Target to note that police abuse of civilians often leads to protests that can spiral out of control, particularly when met with force.
Police officers don’t face justice more often for a variety of reasons — from powerful police unions to the blue wall of silence to cowardly prosecutors to reluctant juries. But it is the Supreme Court that has enabled a culture of violence and abuse by eviscerating a vital civil rights law to provide police officers what, in practice, is nearly limitless immunity from prosecution for actions taken while on the job. The badge has become a get-out-of-jail-free card in far too many instances.
In 1967, the same year the police chief of Miami coined the phrase “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” to threaten civil rights demonstrators, the Supreme Court first articulated a notion of “qualified immunity.” In the case of police violence against a group of civil rights demonstrators in Mississippi, the court decided that police officers should not face legal liability for enforcing the law “in good faith and with probable cause.”
That’s a high standard to meet. But what makes these cases nearly impossible for plaintiffs to win is the court’s requirement that any violation of rights be “clearly established” — that is, another court must have previously encountered a case with the same context and facts, and found there that the officer was not immune. This is a judge-made rule; the civil rights law itself says nothing about a “clearly established” requirement. Yet in practice it has meant that police officers prevail virtually every time, because it’s very hard to find cases that are the same in all respects. It also creates a Catch-22 for plaintiffs, who are required to hunt down precedents in courts that have stopped generating those precedents, because the plaintiffs always lose. As one conservative judge put it in a U.S. district court in Texas, “Heads defendants win, tails plaintiffs lose.”
In the five decades since the doctrine’s invention, qualified immunity has expanded in practice to excuse all manner of police misconduct, from assault to homicide. As the legal bar for victims to challenge police misconduct has been raised higher and higher by the Supreme Court, the lower courts have followed. A major investigation by Reuters earlier this year found that “since 2005, the courts have shown an increasing tendency to grant immunity in excessive force cases — rulings that the district courts below them must follow. The trend has accelerated in recent years.” What was intended to prevent frivolous lawsuits against agents of the government, the investigation concluded, “has become a highly effective shield in thousands of lawsuits seeking to hold cops accountable when they are accused of using excessive force.”
The vast majority of police officers are decent, honest men and women who do some of society’s most dangerous work. They should be forgiven good-faith mistakes or errors in judgment. But in case after case, well documented now by body cameras and bystanders, too many bad cops go unpunished for policing their fellow citizens in ways that often leave them abused or dead. No official tally of deaths at the hands of police officers is maintained in the United States, a reality that defies common sense in our hypercataloged society, but estimates from journalists and advocacy groups put the number of Americans killed by the police north of 1,000 per year. Black Americans are killed by the police at a much higher rate than white Americans.
When citizens dare to protest police violence, say by kneeling at a sporting event, they are branded “anti-police” and un-American. With a shrinking recourse in the courts and a fierce headwind of social resistance to reforming the way the nation is policed, is it any wonder that many enraged Americans take to the streets — in the midst of a global pandemic, no less — to demand that their country change?
As the militarization of police tactics and technology has accelerated in the past two decades, pleas from liberals and conservatives to narrow the doctrine of qualified immunity, and to make it easier to hold police and other officials accountable for obvious civil rights violations, have grown to a crescendo. The Supreme Court is considering more than a dozen cases to hear next term that could do just that. One case involves a police officer in Georgia who, while pursuing a suspect, held a group of young children at gunpoint, fired two bullets at the family dog, missed and hit a 10-year-old boy in the arm. Another involves officers who used tear gas grenades to enter a home when they’d been given a key to the front door.
There are few things that Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Justice Clarence Thomas agree on, at least when it comes to the letter of the law. Both have expressed deep concern over the court’s drift toward greater and greater qualified immunity for police officers. (“By sanctioning a ‘shoot first, think later’ approach to policing, the Court renders the protections of the Fourth Amendment hollow,” Justice Sotomayor once wrote.) With the next George Floyd just a bad cop away, one hopes the other justices will be moved to ratchet back qualified immunity to circumstances in which it is truly warranted. When bad cops escape justice and trust between the police and the community shatters, it isn’t just civilians who suffer the consequences, it’s the good cops, too.
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9) Chris Cooper Is My Brother. Here’s Why I Posted His Video.
We grew up in a family of activists. I wanted everyone to see his calm bravery.
By Melody Cooper, May 31, 2020
Ms. Cooper is a playwright and a film, TV and comic book writer. She is the sister of Christian Cooper.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/31/opinion/chris-cooper-central-park.html
Credit...Brittainy Newman/The New York Times


I grew up in a family of activists and my parents were teachers. They raised me and my brother, Chris, to never shy from fighting injustice. From police brutality, to the war in Iraq, to climate change, we’ve lifted our voices in protest. So when I saw Chris’s video of his recent encounter with a white woman named Amy Cooper (no relation) in New York’s Central Park, it was surreal that he had captured on his cellphone the kind of racism we had always railed against. All of a sudden, I became one of the hundreds of black women who have watched a video of a loved one being accosted.
Fortunately for Chris, the situation remained verbal. For far too many black families, the result has been fatal; I do not watch those videos. I consider them an extended form of terrorism against the black community. I refuse to subject myself to the psychic, spiritual and emotional pain of watching them. With my brother, I got to see a black man survive what could have become a deadly situation. That was a relief and a cause for celebration for millions of people.
But as I replayed the video several times, I felt more and more uneasy and angry, until an overwhelming fear swept over me. My mind conjured up rapid images of police officers arriving and shooting first, or throwing Chris down and then beating and choking him. My brother. When I posted the video on Twitter, I didn’t yet know about George Floyd, whose killing last Monday by a police officer has prompted protests across the country, but I knew about Emmett Till. I knew I wanted to make sure that Amy Cooper would not have the chance to weaponize her racism against anyone else. She could have gotten my brother hurt or killed. I wanted my brother’s calm bravery, in the face of a threatening and cowardly act, to be seen. I wanted to shine a light not just on one person, but on the systemic problem of deep racism in this country that encourages her kind of behavior.
Racism affects all black people — men, women, boys, girls, gay, straight, nonbinary — no matter their state of employment or where or if they went to college. I have no doubt that if the police had showed up in the Ramble, a wooded area of the park where Chris had gone bird watching, my brother’s Ivy League degree and impressive résumé would not have protected him. Yet the Good Negro narrative has long allowed white people to feel comfortable speaking out against the mistreatment of particular black people: “He is just like us.” “She is a good one.” Every black person subjected to this kind of hatred needs recognition, justice and support.
I asked my brother for permission to post the video on Twitter, and I didn’t expect more than 100 responses since it was Memorial Day. I was shocked it struck such a chord. The post has now garnered more than 40 million views and hundreds of thousands of likes from all over the world. In the responses, I saw anger and calls for social action, as well as expressions of joy that my brother had not been harmed, at least not physically.
When I’ve checked in with him over the past few days as we’ve fielded interviews and messages, I’ve asked “Are you, OK? How are you feeling?” Because even though he walked away, and even though I’m relieved, there still has been a toll. We felt it even before the incident with Amy Cooper. Every time we walk out of our door, we have cause to worry. My brother worries when he sneaks through the trees to catch a glimpse of a beautiful warbler. I worry when I check in late to an Airbnb, and every time my son gets in the car. Others wonder if a trip to the corner store or gas station might result in a phone call that will end their lives. So many of us in cities and towns across America are done with having to wonder if we’ll be put at risk by our mere existence.
While my brother and I condemn the death threats that have been made against Amy Cooper, demanding some form of accountability is one of the few ways we can create a deterrent that can lead to real change.
We live in a country where a white person breaking rules feels confident and comfortable calling the police to threaten a black person doing nothing wrong. This has to stop, whether through more discussion to raise awareness of the issue, or better enforcement of laws against false 911 reports.
Lots of people keep asking me what they can do. We all have a chance to step off the sidelines, to speak up, to take action and to shine a blinding light on the racism lurking in so many corners of our society. We need to fight together wisely, boldly and unflinchingly, while staying aware that our passion and actions can and will be used against us. But we must not stop. This is the time. It will not be easy. It will often be messy, but it must be done.
If you’re an ally, what can you do? Stand with us. Bear witness. Continue the discussion and support legal action. Refuse to accept racism in your midst, even in small ways — call out a cruel joke or rude behavior. Be brave and challenge it all. You can transform your own world through how you teach your children, and how you speak to your neighbors and co-workers. It is up to you, not to a leader nor any single protest or petition. Your everyday commitment is what will start to bring the change you want to see. Start small, step forward and let your action join with others’ to become a rising tide that cannot be stopped.
I have early memories of my dad’s booming voice singing protest songs while he was on a march and pushing me in a stroller. Decades later, Chris and I were on an anti-stop-and-frisk march in Manhattan with our dad, Francis Cooper, who was then in his 70s. He and Chris were arrested for peacefully demonstrating. As my brother tells it, in the jail cell with dozens of other black men, my dad’s beautiful tenor powerfully led them in a protest song that rang out through the jail.

My parents both passed away recently, and I am devoted to carrying on their inspirational legacy with my own children. Through social media, in my writing and filmmaking, and at protests, I will continue to push for justice for people like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, as well as those whose ordeals have yet to be told.

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10) The Real Looters
By Gerren Keith Gaynor
The Grio, May 30, 2020
https://thegrio.com/2020/05/30/tamika-mallory-george-floyd-speech/
Activist Tamika Mallory (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images)

Activist Tamika Mallory‘s speech during a rally in Minneapolis protesting the death of George Floyd has gone viral.
The former Women’s March co-chair said Black America was in a “state of emergency” at the Friday demonstration, where she was joined by community leaders including Jamie Foxx, Floyd’s close friend, former NBA star Stephen Jackson, and others.
“This is a coordinated activity happening across this nation, and so we are in a state of emergency. Black people are dying in a state of emergency,” said Mallory, 39, who formerly worked with Al Sharpton‘s National Action Network in New York City.
Mallory addressed the burning of buildings and looting of businesses in Minneapolis during a week of high-pitched protests in the city and others throughout the country, in which demonstrators took to the streets to speak out against a history of racial violence in the United States.
“We cannot look at this as an isolated incident. The reason buildings are burning are not just for our brother George Floyd,” she said. “They’re burning down because people here in Minnesota are saying to people in New York, to people in California, to people in Memphis, to people across this nation, enough is enough.”
“We are not responsible for the mental illness that has been afflicted upon our people by the American government, institutions, and those people who are in positions of power.
“I don’t give a damn if they burn down,” Mallory added. “I don’t give a damn if they burn down Target, because Target should be on the streets with us, calling for the justice that our people deserve. Where was AutoZone at the time when Philando Castile was shot in a car, which is what they actually represent?”
Referring to law enforcement officers who are paid by U.S. citizens’ tax dollars, Mallory argued that companies and individuals who are silent against the brutality of Black Americans are just as responsible for the violence happening on the streets.
“So, if you are not coming to the people’s defense then do not challenge us when young people and other people who are frustrated and instigated by the people you pay. You are paying instigators to be among our people out there throwing rocks, breaking windows and burning down buildings,” she said.
“And so young people are responding to that. They are enraged. And there’s an easy way to stop it. Arrest the cops. Charge the cops. Charge all the cops. Not just some of them. Not just here in Minneapolis. Charge them in every city across America where our people are being murdered.
Mallory demanded that elected officials and leaders to do their jobs to ensure that America is the free country it espouses to be for all Americans and not just an exclusive few.
“It has not been free for Black people and we are tired. Don’t talk to us about looting. Ya’ll are the looters!” Mallory shouted.
“America has looted Black people! America looted the Native Americans when they first came here, so looting is what you do. We learned it from you.
“We learned violence from you! So if you want us to do better, then damn it, you do better!”
Video of Mallory’s speech has been widely shared online and has garnered more than three million views on Twitter alone.



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11) Remember, No One Is Coming to Save Us
Eventually doctors will find a coronavirus vaccine, but black people will continue to wait for a cure for racism.
By Roxane Gay, May 30, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/30/opinion/sunday/trump-george-floyd-coronavirus.html?referringSource=articleShare
Credit...Carlos Barria/Reuters

After Donald Trump maligned the developing world in 2018, with the dismissive phrase “shithole countries,” I wrote that no one was coming to save us from the president. Now, in the midst of a pandemic, we see exactly what that means.

The economy is shattered. Unemployment continues to climb, steeply. There is no coherent federal leadership. The president mocks any attempts at modeling precautionary behaviors that might save American lives. More than 100,000 Americans have died from Covid-19.

Many of us have been in some form of self-isolation for more than two months. The less fortunate continue to risk their lives because they cannot afford to shelter from the virus. People who were already living on the margins are dealing with financial stresses that the government’s $1,200 “stimulus” payment cannot begin to relieve. A housing crisis is imminent. Many parts of the country are reopening prematurely. Protesters have stormed state capitals, demanding that businesses reopen. The country is starkly dividing between those who believe in science and those who don’t.

Quickly produced commercials assure us that we are all in this together. Carefully curated images, scored by treacly music, say nothing of substance. Companies spend a fortune on airtime to assure consumers that they care, while they refuse to pay their employees a living wage.

Commercials celebrate essential workers and medical professionals. Commercials show how corporations have adapted to “the way we live now,” with curbside pickup and drive-through service and contact-free delivery. We can spend our way to normalcy, and capitalism will hold us close, these ads would have us believe.

Some people are trying to provide the salvation the government will not. There are community-led initiatives for everything from grocery deliveries for the elderly and immunocompromised to sewing face masks for essential workers. There are online pleas for fund-raising. Buy from your independent bookstore. Get takeout or delivery from your favorite restaurant. Keep your favorite bookstore open. Buy gift cards. Pay the people who work for you, even if they can’t come to work. Do as much as you can, and then do more.

These are all lovely ideas and they demonstrate good intentions, but we can only do so much. The disparities that normally fracture our culture are becoming even more pronounced as we decide, collectively, what we choose to save — what deserves to be saved.

And even during a pandemic, racism is as pernicious as ever. Covid-19 is disproportionately affecting the black community, but we can hardly take the time to sit with that horror as we are reminded, every single day, that there is no context in which black lives matter.

Breonna Taylor was killed in her Louisville, Ky., home by police officers looking for a man who did not even live in her building. She was 26 years old. When demonstrations erupted, seven people were shot.

Ahmaud Arbery was jogging in South Georgia when he was chased down by two armed white men who suspected him of robbery and claimed they were trying perform a citizen’s arrest. One shot and killed Mr. Arbery while a third person videotaped the encounter. No charges were filed until the video was leaked and public outrage demanded action. Mr. Arbery was 25 years old.

In Minneapolis, George Floyd was held to the ground by a police officer kneeling on his neck during an arrest. He begged for the officer to stop torturing him. Like Eric Garner, he said he couldn’t breathe. Three other police officers watched and did not intervene. Mr. Floyd was 46 years old.

These black lives mattered. These black people were loved. Their losses to their friends, family, and communities, are incalculable.

Demonstrators in Minneapolis took to the street for several days, to protest the killing of Mr. Floyd. Mr. Trump — who in 2017 told police officers to be rough on people during arrests, imploring them to “please, don’t be too nice” — wrote in a tweet, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” The official White House Twitter feed reposted the president’s comments. There is no rock bottom.

Christian Cooper, an avid birder, was in Central Park’s Ramble when he asked a white woman, Amy Cooper, to comply with the law and leash her dog. He began filming, which only enraged Ms. Cooper further. She pulled out her phone and said she was going to call the police to tell them an African-American man was threatening her.

She called the police. She knew what she was doing. She weaponized her whiteness and fragility like so many white women before her. She began to sound more and more hysterical, even though she had to have known she was potentially sentencing a black man to death for expecting her to follow rules she did not think applied to her. It is a stroke of luck that Mr. Cooper did not become another unbearable statistic.
An unfortunate percentage of my cultural criticism over the past 11 or 12 years has focused on the senseless loss of black life. Mike Brown. Trayvon Martin. Sandra Bland. Philando Castile. Tamir Rice. Jordan Davis. Atatiana Jefferson. The Charleston Nine.

These names are the worst kind of refrain, an inescapable burden. These names are hashtags, elegies, battle cries. Still nothing changes. Racism is litigated over and over again when another video depicting another atrocity comes to light. Black people share the truth of their lives, and white people treat those truths as intellectual exercises.

They put energy into being outraged about the name “Karen,” as shorthand for entitled white women rather than doing the difficult, self-reflective work of examining their own prejudices. They speculate about what murdered black people might have done that we don’t know about to beget their fates, as if alleged crimes are punishable by death without a trial by jury. They demand perfection as the price for black existence while harboring no such standards for anyone else.

Some white people act as if there are two sides to racism, as if racists are people we need to reason with. They fret over the destruction of property and want everyone to just get along. They struggle to understand why black people are rioting but offer no alternatives about what a people should do about a lifetime of rage, disempowerment and injustice.

When I warned in 2018 that no one was coming to save us, I wrote that I was tired of comfortable lies. I’m even more exhausted now. Like many black people, I am furious and fed up, but that doesn’t matter at all.

I write similar things about different black lives lost over and over and over. I tell myself I am done with this subject. Then something so horrific happens that I know I must say something, even though I know that the people who truly need to be moved are immovable. They don’t care about black lives. They don’t care about anyone’s lives. They won’t even wear masks to mitigate a virus for which there is no cure.

Eventually, doctors will find a coronavirus vaccine, but black people will continue to wait, despite the futility of hope, for a cure for racism. We will live with the knowledge that a hashtag is not a vaccine for white supremacy. We live with the knowledge that, still, no one is coming to save us. The rest of the world yearns to get back to normal. For black people, normal is the very thing from which we yearn to be free.

Roxane Gay (@rgay) is a contributing opinion writer.


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