Awesome! I always wonder about what protests accomplish. Here’s a list:

So what has protesting accomplished?

👉🏾Within 10 days of sustained protests:
Minneapolis bans use of choke holds.

👉🏾Charges are upgraded against Officer Chauvin, and his accomplices are arrested and charged.

👉🏾Dallas adopts a "duty to intervene" rule that requires officers to stop other cops who are engaging in inappropriate use of force.

👉🏾New Jersey’s attorney general said the state will update its use-of-force guidelines for the first time in two decades.

👉🏾In Maryland, a bipartisan work group of state lawmakers announced a police reform work group.

👉🏾Los Angeles City Council introduces motion to reduce LAPD’s $1.8 billion operating budget.

👉🏾MBTA in Boston agrees to stop using public buses to transport police officers to protests.

👉🏾Police brutality captured on cameras leads to near-immediate suspensions and firings of officers in several cities (i.e., Buffalo, Ft. Lauderdale).

👉🏾Monuments celebrating confederates are removed in cities in Virginia, Alabama, and other states.

👉🏾Street in front of the White House is renamed "Black Lives Matter Plaza.”
Military forces begin to withdraw from D.C.

Then, there's all the other stuff that's hard to measure:

💓The really difficult public and private conversations that are happening about race and privilege.

💓The realizations some white people are coming to about racism and the role of policing in this country.

💓The self-reflection.

💓The internal battles exploding within organizations over issues that have been simmering or ignored for a long time. Some organizations will end as a result, others will be forever changed or replaced with something stronger and fairer.


🌎 Protests against racial inequality sparked by the police killing of George Floyd are taking place all over the world.

🌎 Rallies and memorials have been held in cities across Europe, as well as in Mexico, Canada, Brazil, Australia, and New Zealand.

🌎 As the US contends with its second week of protests, issues of racism, police brutality, and oppression have been brought to light across the globe.

🌎 People all over the world understand that their own fights for human rights, for equality and fairness, will become so much more difficult to win if we are going to lose America as the place where 'I have a dream' is a real and universal political program," Wolfgang Ischinger, a former German ambassador to the US, told the New Yorker.

🌎 In France, protesters marched holding signs that said "I can't breathe" to signify both the words of Floyd, and the last words of Adama Traoré, a 24-year-old black man who was subdued by police officers and gasped the sentence before he died outside Paris in 2016.

🌎 Cities across Europe have come together after the death of George Floyd:

✊🏽 In Amsterdam, an estimated 10,000 people filled the Dam square on Monday, holding signs and shouting popular chants like "Black lives matter," and "No justice, no peace."

✊🏽 In Germany, people gathered in multiple locations throughout Berlin to demand justice for Floyd and fight against police brutality.

✊🏾 A mural dedicated to Floyd was also spray-painted on a stretch of wall in Berlin that once divided the German capital during the Cold War.

✊🏿 In Ireland, protesters held a peaceful demonstration outside of Belfast City Hall, and others gathered outside of the US embassy in Dublin.

✊🏿In Italy, protesters gathered and marched with signs that said "Stop killing black people," "Say his name," and "We will not be silent."

✊🏾 In Spain, people gathered to march and hold up signs throughout Barcelona and Madrid.

✊🏾 In Athens, Greece, protesters took to the streets to collectively hold up a sign that read "I can't breathe."

✊🏾 In Brussels, protesters were seen sitting in a peaceful demonstration in front of an opera house in the center of the city.

✊🏾In Denmark, protesters were heard chanting "No justice, no peace!" throughout the streets of Copenhagen, while others gathered outside the US embassy.

✊🏾 In Canada, protesters were also grieving for Regis Korchinski-Paquet, a 29-year-old black woman who died on Wednesday after falling from her balcony during a police investigation at her building.

✊🏾 And in New Zealand, roughly 2,000 people marched to the US embassy in Auckland, chanting and carrying signs demanding justice.

💐 Memorials have been built for Floyd around the world, too. In Mexico City, portraits of him were hung outside the US embassy with roses, candles, and signs.

💐 In Poland, candles and flowers were laid out next to photos of Floyd outside the US consulate.

💐 And in Syria, two artists created a mural depicting Floyd in the northwestern town of Binnish, "on a wall destroyed by military planes."

Before the assassination of George Floyd some of you were able to say whatever the hell you wanted and the world didn't say anything to you...


Don't wake up tomorrow on the wrong side of this issue. Its not to late to SAY,

"Maybe I need to look at this from a different perspective."

"Maybe I don't know what its like to be black in America..."

"Maybe, just maybe, I have been taught wrong."

There is still so much work to be done. It's been a really dark, raw week. This could still end badly. But all we can do is keep doing the work.

Keep protesting.


How beautiful is that?








*I do not know the original author*

Copy & paste widely!




Ultimately, the majority of human suffering is caused by a system that places the value of material wealth over the value of
human life. To end the suffering, we must end the profit motive—the very foundation of capitalism itself.
(Bay Area United Against War Newsletter)



Tens-of-thousands protest in San Francisco June 3, 2020



George Floyd's Last Words
"It's my face man
I didn't do nothing serious man
please I can't breathe
please man
please somebody
please man
I can't breathe
I can't breathe
man can't breathe, my face
just get up
I can't breathe
please (inaudible)
I can't breathe sh*t
I will
I can't move
I can't
my knee
my nuts
I'm through
I'm through
I'm claustrophobic
my stomach hurt
my neck hurts
everything hurts
some water or something
I can't breathe officer
don't kill me
they gon' kill me man
come on man
I cannot breathe
I cannot breathe
they gon' kill me
they gon' kill me
I can't breathe
I can't breathe
please sir
please I can't breathe"

Then his eyes shut and the pleas stop. George Floyd was pronounced dead shortly after.






Trump Comic Satire—A Proposal
          By Shakaboona

Hello everyone, it's Shakaboona here, on May 29, 2020, Friday, it was reported by NPR and other news agencies that when protestors marched on the White House, the Secret Service (SS) rushed Pres. Trump to a protective bunker in the basement of the White House for his safety. When I heard that news I instantly visualized 3 scenes - (Scene 1) a pic of Pres. Saddam Hussein hiding in an underground cave in fear of the U.S. Army, (Scene 2) a pic of Pres. Donald Trump hiding in an underground bunker shaking in fear beneath a desk from U.S. Protestors as Secret Service guards (with 2 Lightning bolts on their collars) in hyper security around him with big guns drawn out, and (Scene 3) a pic of Pres. Trump later stood in front of the church across from the White House with a Bible in hand & chest puffed out & threatened to activate the U.S. Army against American citizen protestors.
 ~ I think this would be an underground iconic image of the power of the People & the cowardice/fear of Pres. Trump, not to mention that I think such a creative comic satire of Trump would demolish his self image (haha). I ask for anyone's help to turn my above visual satire of Trump into an actual comic satire strip & for us to distribute the finished comic satire strip worldwide, esp. to the news media. Maybe we can get Trump to see it and watch him blow a gasket (lol).
 ~ Please everyone, stay safe out there, b/c Trump is pushing this country to the verge of Civil War. Be prepared in every way imaginable. Peace. - Ur Brother, Shakaboona

Write to Shakaboona:
Smart Communications/PA DOC
Kerry Shakaboona Marshall #BE7826
SCI Rockview
P.O. Box 33028
St. Petersburg, FL 33733







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



Shooting and looting started: 400 years ago

Shooting, looting, scalping, lynching,
Raping, torturing their way across
the continent—400 years ago—
Colonial settler thugs launched this
endless crimson tide rolling down on
Colonial settler thugs launched this
endless crimson tide leaving in-
visible yellow crime
scene tape crisscrossing Tallahassee
to Seattle; San Diego to Bangor… 
Shooting Seneca, Seminole, Creek,
Choctaw, Mohawk, Cayuga, Blackfeet,
Shooting Sioux, Shawnee, Chickasaw,
Chippewa before
Looting Lakota land; Looting Ohlone
Looting Ashanti, Fulani, Huasa, Wolof,
Yoruba, Ibo, Kongo, Mongo, Hutu, Zulu…
Colonial settler thugs launched this
endless crimson tide—hot lead storms—
Shooting, looting Mexico for half of New
Mexico; a quarter of Colorado; some of
Wyoming and most of Arizona; Looting
Mexico for Utah, Nevada and California
So, next time Orange Mobutu, Boss Tweet,
is dirty like Duterte—howling for shooting;
Next time demented minions raise rifles to
shoot; Remind them that
Real looters wear Brooks Brothers suits;
Or gold braid and junk medals ‘cross their
chests. Real looters—with Capitalist Hill
Steal trillions
Not FOX-boxes, silly sneakers, cheap clothes…
© 2020. Raymond Nat Turner, The Town Crier. All Rights Reserved.       




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:


@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.  

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

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



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!
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

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

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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. 


AFSC.org  |  unsubscribe  |  Donate 
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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.”


Kristen Pursley, President,

Adult School Teachers United (ASTU)


[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





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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!



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:




Courage to Resist

Support a strong legal defense for National Guard members refusing to deploy against Black Rights Matter protesters!

Dear Friend,
When you are in the Army National Guard, it takes courage to disobey a direct order from the Commander-in-Chief. But after being ordered by President Trump to deploy to cities around the country in preparation to attack and disperse protesters, violating the constitutionally guaranteed right to peaceful assembly, that is exactly what some National Guards members have decided to do. And now, facing potential disciplinary action and court martial, they need our support.
Will you support a legal defense for National Guard members who are refusing Trump’s illegal order to attack and endanger peaceful protesters?
After failing to condemn the police murder of George Floyd, which has sparked protests in 430 cities and counting, on June 1 President Trump decided to use military and police to blast peaceful protesters in front of the White House with rubber bullets, noxious gas, and flash bangs. This isn’t an isolated incident. Trump has a history of praising authoritarians who have killed and brutalized protesters Thirty years ago, he even complimented China’s massacre of pro-democracy protesters at Tiananmen Square.
Trump’s threat to send the National Guard to cities around the U.S. to crackdown on protests poses a direct threat to our democracy and freedom of speech. Resisting these orders deserves our respect. But those who are willing to disobey these orders need your support now to fight back against the threat of court martial and imprisonment.
Your contribution can help the young men and women fighting back against Trump’s illegal orders to resist court martial and imprisonment. Take action today!
One young man who is resisting Trump’s orders originally joined the National Guard with hopes to join medical missions assisting in natural disasters. Now he says, “I can’t do it. Even looking at my uniform is making me feel sick that I’m associated with this, especially after [the National Guard unit] shot that man who owned that barbecue shop [in Louisville, Kentucky].” He added, “I live with the history of Kent State. I’m not being a part of that,” referring to a 1970 incident in which the National Guard shot and killed students who were peacefully protesting the Vietnam War.
The weapons that police and the National Guard are today being instructed to use against protesters, like rubber bullets, are classified as “less-lethal” vs. non-lethal, and have already caused serious injury, permanent vision loss, and death. Tear gas, used in recent days across America, is banned internationally as a chemical weapon.
Another National Guard member who is resisting these orders says, “I feel that I cannot be complicit in any way when I’ve seen so many examples of soldiers and police acting in bad faith … No aspect of my training has touched on this subject … We have not had any training or conversation relating to de-escalation tactics.”
We are living in a historic time. From police brutality, to the COVID-19 crisis, to growing economic inequality, to voter suppression there are many reasons for citizens to mobilize to defend our democracy. Trump’s threats to suppress protest are those of an aspiring authoritarian. It’s essential we support those who set a strong example by resisting these orders.
Will you support a strong legal defense for the young men and women refusing Trump’s illegal orders to suppress the Black Lives Matter protests?
Thank you Friend for supporting the troops with the courage to resist!

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www.couragetoresist.org ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist

























From Business Insider 2018



"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)







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)



















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



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.
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.)









Friday post   Hate%2BSocialism



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)






National Solidarity Events to Amplify Prisoners Human Rights 


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.


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

August 21st - September 9th, 2020


Dare to struggle, Dare to win!

We are--

"Jailhouse Lawyers Speak"  


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



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



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 




Board Game


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



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/



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



Celebrating the release of Janet and Janine Africa 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. 
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



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!



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 



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


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






1) The Police Are Rioting. We Need to Talk About It.
It is an attack on civil society and democratic accountability.
By Jamelle Bouie, June 5, 2020
Credit...Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

If we’re going to speak of rioting protesters, then we need to speak of rioting police as well. No, they aren’t destroying property. But it is clear from news coverage, as well as countless videos taken by protesters and bystanders, that many officers are using often indiscriminate violence against people — against anyone, including the peaceful majority of demonstrators, who happens to be in the streets.

Rioting police have driven vehicles into crowds, reproducing the assault that killed Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017. They have surrounded a car, smashed the windows, tazed the occupants and dragged them out onto the ground. Clad in paramilitary gear, they have attacked elderly bystanders, pepper-sprayed cooperative protesters and shot “nonlethal” rounds directly at reporters, causing serious injuries. In Austin, Texas, a 20-year-old man is in critical condition after being shot in the head with a “less-lethal” round. Across the country, rioting police are using tear gas in quantities that threaten the health and safety of demonstrators, especially in the midst of a respiratory disease pandemic.

None of this quells disorder. Everything from the militaristic posture to the attacks themselves does more to inflame and agitate protesters than it does to calm the situation and bring order to the streets. In effect, rioting police have done as much to stoke unrest and destabilize the situation as those responsible for damaged buildings and burning cars. But where rioting protesters can be held to account for destruction and violence, rioting police have the imprimatur of the state.

What we’ve seen from rioting police, in other words, is an assertion of power and impunity. In the face of mass anger over police brutality, they’ve effectively said So what? In the face of demands for change and reform — in short, in the face of accountability to the public they’re supposed to serve — they’ve bucked their more conciliatory colleagues with a firm No. In which case, if we want to understand the behavior of the past two weeks, we can’t just treat it as an explosion of wanton violence; we have to treat it as an attack on civil society and democratic accountability, one rooted in a dispute over who has the right to hold the police to account.

African-American observers have never had any illusions about who the police are meant to serve. The police, James Baldwin wrote in his 1960 essay on discontent and unrest in Harlem, “represent the force of the white world, and that world’s real intentions are simply for that world’s criminal profit and ease, to keep the black man corralled up here in his place.” This wasn’t because each individual officer was a bad person, but because he was fundamentally separate from the black community as a matter of history and culture. “None of the police commissioner’s men, even with the best will in the world, have any way of understanding the lives led by the people they swagger about in twos and threes controlling.”

Go back to the beginning of the 20th century, during America’s first age of progressive reform, as the historian Khalil Gibran Muhammad does in “The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America,” and you’ll find activists describing how “policemen had abdicated their responsibility to dispense color-blind service and protection, resulting in an object lesson for youth: the indiscriminate mass arrests of blacks being attacked by white mobs.”

The police were ubiquitous in the African-American neighborhoods of the urban North, but they weren’t there to protect black residents as much as they were there to enforce the racial order, even if it led to actual disorder in the streets. For example, in the aftermath of the Philadelphia “race riot” of 1918, one black leader complained, “In nearly every part of this city peaceable and law-abiding Negroes of the home-owning type have been set upon by irresponsible hoodlums, their property damaged and destroyed, while the police seem powerless to protect.”

If you are trying to understand the function of policing in American society, then even a cursory glance at the history of the institution would point you in the direction of social control. And blackness in particular, the historian Nikhil Pal Singh argues, was a state of being that required “permanent supervision and sometimes direct domination.”

The simplest answer to the question “Why don’t the American police forces act as if they are accountable to black Americans?” is that they were never intended to be. And to the extent that the police appear to be rejecting accountability outright, I think it reflects the extent to which the polity demanding it is now inclusive of those groups the police have historically been tasked to control. That polity and its leaders are simply rejected as legitimate wielders of authority over law enforcement, especially when they ask for restraint.

A New York Police Department that worked enthusiastically with the Republican mayors Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg — mayors who found their core support among the white residents of the city — then rejected the authority of Bill de Blasio, a Democrat backed by blacks and Hispanics, who had emphasized police reform when he was a candidate. Or compare the contempt for President Barack Obama from representatives of law enforcement to their near-worshipful posture toward President Trump.

Yes, some of this reflects partisan politics — it’s in the nature of policing that many of its practitioners tend to be more conservative than most — but I think it’s also influenced by a sense that neither Obama nor his appointees, like Eric Holder or Loretta Lynch, had the right to criticize them or hold them to account.

If that is the dynamic at work, then we should not be surprised when the police respond, in the main, with anger and contempt to demands for change from the policed. Nor should we be surprised by their willingness to follow the lead of a figure like Trump, who has incited America’s police forces to be even more violent with protesters (to say nothing of his past praise for police abuse).

Trump explicitly rejects the legitimacy of nonwhites as political actors, having launched his political career on the need for more and greater racial control of Muslims and Hispanic immigrants. Even without his tough-guy posturing, Trump is someone who embodies the political and social order the police have so often been called to defend.

Which is all to say that the nightly clashes between protesters and the police are, to an extent, a microcosm of larger disputes roiling this nation: the pressures and conflicts of a diversifying country; the struggle to escape an exclusive past for a more inclusive future; and our constant battle over who truly counts — who can act as a full and equal member of this society — and who does not.



2) ‘Get Your Knee Off Our Necks’
All that is needed for rebellion against relentless oppression is a spark.
By Roger Cohen, June 5, 2020
Protesters chanting at Cadman Plaza Park in Brooklyn on Thursday. Credit...Demetrius Freeman for The New York Times

Get your knee off our necks.

Marcus Delespinasse, weary-eyed, stands on Broadway in the late afternoon. “The culture of America,” he tells me after I approached him on the street, “is that it’s OK to treat blacks this way. That cop knew George Floyd would not make it. He still kept his knee there.”

Yes, Derek Chauvin, who has been charged with second-degree murder, kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes. A powerful white man asphyxiating a powerless black man, a scene with a long American history, part of the nation’s iconography. Chauvin was a training officer for the other cops at the scene. His blithe expression said, “Watch me kill.”

“Get your knee off our necks,” is the Rev. Al Sharpton’s phrase for the uprising of 2020. The “knee” has been there for a while. It was in the Constitution’s three-fifths clause that set the census value of a slave at 60 percent of a free human being. The “knee” is slavery and Jim Crow and lynching and segregation in schools and transportation and neighborhoods and on and on and on through all the inflections of systemic state oppression of African-Americans that allowed Chauvin to believe he had the right as a white man to do what he did.

“Being black in America should not be a death sentence,” Jacob Frey, the mayor of Minneapolis, the liberal city where Floyd was killed, said. He had to say that more than a half-century after the civil rights movement. Think about it.

Get your knee off our necks.

Aged 52 and unemployed, Delespinasse is black. I feel despair as I write that sentence. So-and-so is white. So-and-so is black. All those parentheses running through copy, the refrain of failure. To explain what exactly? America’s societal fracture; America’s original sin; America’s shame that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness have never been equally afforded its citizens. I might have written: Aged 52 and unemployed, Delespinasse is a human being. The likes of Chauvin still cannot see that.

“You look at that video and think that could be me, or my cousin, or my uncle,” Delespinasse tells me. “Police have impunity. No wonder young people are enraged. That cop with his knee resting there sums up the savageness of white apathy.”

Delespinasse looks out with those weary eyes on a ghostly New York. First the hum-and-honking of the city gave way to pandemic-induced silence interspersed with ambulance sirens. Now, after the looting, the sound of New York is the screeching of electric saws cutting plywood to board up broken windows and the rumbling bursts of electric screwdrivers fixing the panels in place. This is the audio of a great city’s disaster. This is the audio of a virus that sharpened the inequities of American dysfunction.

Get your knee off our necks.

There is no right to pillage and burn in the United States. But human beings will react to entrenched state violence, in extreme cases a license to kill, which is what black Americans have confronted for centuries. All that is needed for rebellion against relentless oppression is a spark. What happens to a dream deferred, asked Langston Hughes? “Does it explode?”

The savageness of white apathy: a striking phrase, and sometimes it is worse than apathy. Consider Amy Cooper, that highly educated white woman caught on video in Central Park. She found herself saying she would tell the police there is “an African-American man threatening my life.” Because a black man, Christian Cooper (no relation), an avid birder, had properly asked her to leash her dog. It’s important to call such racist aggression by its name.

Those impulses are what President Trump, a racist who launched his successful campaign in 2015 by calling Mexicans entering the country “rapists,” plays on. Violence and division are his elements. He has no other. Hence his recent threat to deploy the military to quash “domestic terror,” his repeated talk of “domination,” his encouragement to violence couched in endless references to Second Amendment rights, and his tweeting support for Senator Tom Cotton, a prominent Republican, who called in a tweet for the deployment of “10th Mountain, 82nd Airborne, 1st Cav, 3rd Infantry — whatever it takes to restore order.”

Whatever it takes to do what? To stop the lawbreakers and looters, Trump and Cotton would say with breathtaking disingenuousness. The military is not needed for that.

No, the point would be this: to assert with a great show of force, after the slow-motion murder of George Floyd by a white police officer, that the oppressive system that produced this act is not about to change and armed white male power in America is inviolable. That is Trump’s fundamental credo. His Bible-brandishing, American Gothic portrait this week outside St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington is one of the most disturbing portraits of psychopathic self-importance seen since 1933.

Get your knee off our necks — and American democracy.

Trump was widely dismissed in 2015. He was dismissed in 2016, for that matter, until he won. A fringe loony, he would burn out. Turned out tens of millions of Americans thought like him.

Cotton followed up on his tweet with his now infamous send-in-the-troops Op-Ed in The New York Times. The piece was wrong, repugnant, mistimed and flawed. It was also extremely relevant and very dangerous to ignore. I prefer to read it and vote with rage than experience again, in November, the consequences of complacent liberal ignorance.



3) What if There Were No George Floyd Video?
Even when racism doesn’t go viral, it’s still deadly.
By Nicholas Kristof, June 6, 2020

A demonstration in Brooklyn on Friday.Credit...Angela Weiss/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Imagine that no one had shot video of George Floyd being killed by the police in Minneapolis. There would have been a bland statement that he had died resisting arrest, and none of us would have heard of him.

Instead, the horror of that video has ignited protests around the world. Racism in that video is as visceral as a lynching.

Yet there is no viral video to galvanize us about other racial inequities:

There is no video to show that a black boy born today in Washington, D.C., Missouri, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi or a number of other states has a shorter life expectancy than a boy born in Bangladesh or India.

There’s no video to show that black children still are often systematically shunted to second-rate schools and futures, just as they were in the Jim Crow era. About 15 percent of black or Hispanic students attend so-called apartheid schools that are less than 1 percent white.

There’s no video to show that blacks are dying from the coronavirus at more than twice the rate of whites, or that a result of the recent mass layoffs is that, as of last month, fewer than half of African-American adults now have a job.

“There is another kind of violence, slower but just as deadly, destructive as the shot or the bomb in the night,” Robert F. Kennedy said in 1968 shortly before his assassination. “This is the violence of institutions; indifference and inaction and slow decay. This is the violence that afflicts the poor, that poisons relations between men because their skin has different colors. This is a slow destruction of a child by hunger, and schools without books and homes without heat.”



4) I’m Finally an Angry Black Man
I suppressed my rage about racism for decades. No more.
By Issac Bailey, June 6, 2020
Jamiel Law

I knew we were in trouble when I couldn’t find a way to not be angry, because I had never been angry before, not in a sustained way. It started when Donald Trump was elected. If a black man like me was having trouble corralling his anger, I knew it meant that anger among black people had to have risen to biblical proportions and could ignite given the right spark.

I was right. It has, risen, and it’s erupting in cities in all 50 states.

When I saw a video of police officers kneeling with demonstrators taking part in protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd under the tag “This is how change begins,” I wasn’t inspired. I only grew angrier, knowing that none of this would have been necessary if those cops had been willing to take a knee four years ago when Colin Kaepernick took his. They could have helped usher in an era of radical reform of the way we are policed instead of deeming the nonviolent gesture un-American.

I grew angrier because I wasn’t always like this and don’t like being this way.

You see, for a long time I was one of the “good blacks,” whom white friends and colleagues and associates and neighbors could turn to in order to be reassured that they weren’t racist, that America really had made a lot of racial progress since its founding, that I was an example of that progress because of the success I had attained after all I had faced and overcome.

For a long time, I wasn’t an angry black man even after growing up in an underfunded school that was still segregated four decades after Brown v. Board of Education in the heart of the Deep South.

I wasn’t angry even when I watched my oldest brother, my hero, be taken away in handcuffs for murdering a white man when I was a 9-year-old boy. He served 32 years, upending our family forever. Guilt is what I felt instead of anger. It’s akin to the guilt white liberals who go overboard in their efforts feel and are often guided by as they try to appease black people because of the racial harm they know black people have suffered since before this country’s founding.

Mine was a black guilt, a guilt stemming from the knowledge that my black brother had irreparably hurt a poor white family, guilt that helped persuade me to try to make it up to white people as best I could.

That’s why for a long time in my writings, I was more likely to focus on all the white people who didn’t yell “Nigger!” out their windows as they drove by as I jogged along Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach, S.C., instead of those who did. That’s why I spent nearly two decades in a mostly white evangelical church. That’s why I tried to thread the needle on the Confederate flag, speaking forthrightly about its origins, but carefully so as not to upset my white friends and colleagues who revered a symbol of the idea that black people should forever be enslaved by white people.

Still, for a long time, none of that turned me into an angry black man. For a long time, I took it as a point of pride that one of my white professors remarked on my research paper comparing Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. that I didn’t seem angry enough, if at all. It fit well with my Christian beliefs that we must love our enemies, must be slow to anger, must turn the other cheek.

There were times I was upset, like when I watched those cops beat Rodney King on the side of the road in 1991, but I forced myself not to remain angry or to allow it to define me or overwhelm my thoughts.

Anger didn’t set in even as I developed a severe stutter, suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder for a quarter of a century before being diagnosed and getting help, and was nearly killed by a rare autoimmune disease. It didn’t set in even though each of these things was related to a childhood pockmarked by systemic racism.

The problems of my oldest brother, Moochie, began with a father who beat him and our mom —  a father who was born into a South that was still rounding up black men and using the criminal justice system to essentially sell them into a new form of slavery. Men like my father also faced the possibility of lynchings or other commonplace indignities. Society’s racist treatment of my father helped turn him into a threat to my black mother and my black oldest brother.

It also cut short the lives of my aunts and uncles who succumbed to a variety of stress-induced ailments. My last living aunt survived — survives — but not without deep scars. She’s shared tales from her childhood of black people “just disappearing” from our small Southern town.

That legacy contributed to the emotional and physical health struggles I contend with today. Audiences love to hear all I overcame, hate it when I tell them the price I and others like me had to pay. They don’t want to know that even the overcomers don’t come through racism unscathed.

My anger first showed up as severe disappointment about how many of the members of the white evangelical church I was attending reacted to the election of Barack Obama. They openly expressed hatred for him. They began believing in ugly racist conspiracy theories. My disappointment was replaced by a deep sense of betrayal when they rushed to make Donald Trump president even when we prayed together after Dylann Roof shot up the black church Emanuel A.M.E. in Charleston, S.C. — a church that sits along a street named after one of the nation’s most prominent slavery proponents, John C. Calhoun — where my future wife and I first attended a service together.

I got angry and couldn’t shake it. I got angry at white journalists who refused to hear people like me telling them that something was different, that things had changed, that it wasn’t just politics as usual. Mr. Trump’s use of open bigotry and racism propelled him into national politics. Republicans embraced rather than repelled him. The nastier he got, the higher his approval rating climbed within ranks of the party. I became ashamed that I had ever felt compelled to vote for Republicans, ashamed that I thought my calling had been to try to be a bridge across racial divides, which was why I remained so long in a white church where so many could believe that Donald Trump was God-sent and God-ordained.

In my new state of mind, I couldn’t not be angry over the past few months when data began showing that black people were disproportionately being affected by Covid-19 because of health maladies worsened by racism that had long weakened their bodies, and because that racism ensured that we were more likely to be in the kinds of jobs deemed essential during the pandemic, exposing us to the virus even more.

I knew that President Trump didn’t cause the racial disparities that have been embedded in our criminal justice, educational and health care systems since their creation. I knew that cops had been killing black men and black women without consequence long before November 2016. I knew that the Democratic Party had failed black people on the issue of race in too many ways to count as well. That’s why I didn’t blame Mr. Trump for the state of things — but knew that his elevation to the highest office in the nation was a tipping point.

It felt like an attempt by white America to turn back the clock to the 1950s. I knew that we, black people, wouldn’t quietly go back to the back of the bus, even as they shamed us for peacefully kneeling to protest.

I knew that if a black man like me found himself in a perpetual state of rage he couldn’t shake, things were ripe to explode.



5) 'These Unions Dishonor the Labor Movement': Nearly 200 Academics, Lawmakers, and Activists Demand AFL-CIO Expel Police Unions
"The AFL-CIO cannot stand for criminal justice reform, while at the same time allowing police unions to use your power to impede reform."
By Jake Johnson, June 6, 2020
People face off with police near the Minneapolis 3rd Police Precinct. People gathered at Chicago Ave. and East 38th Street during a rally in Minneapolis on Tuesday, May 26, 2020. (Photo: Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Star Tribune via Getty Images)

People face off with police near the Minneapolis 3rd Police Precinct. People gathered at Chicago Ave. and East 38th Street during a rally in Minneapolis on Tuesday, May 26, 2020. (Photo: Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Star Tribune via Getty Images)

A coalition of nearly 200 civil rights activists, academics, and state and city lawmakers is calling on the AFL-CIO—the largest federation of unions in the United States—to permanently expel police unions from its ranks, arguing that organized labor's "proud history" of fighting for the most vulnerable "is being destroyed by the legacy that police unions are leaving behind."

Pressure on the AFL-CIO to expel police unions is far from new, but the push has gained urgency in the wake of the May 25 police killing of George Floyd, which catalyzed a nationwide uprising against police brutality and drove lawmakers to look more closely at systemic reforms.

In a letter (pdf) to the leadership of the AFL-CIO on Friday, the coalition urged the labor federation to "stop allowing the International Union of Police Associations (IUPA) and other law enforcement affiliates including prison guard unions to use the protections the AFL-CIO provides under your power and leadership."

"We ask you to disassociate the IUPA from the AFL-CIO," the letter states. "We further ask that all other AFL-CIO unions establish a policy to not include police or other law enforcement, including immigration-related officers, in their membership."

"The AFL-CIO cannot stand for criminal justice reform, while at the same time allowing police unions to use your power to impede reform," the letter continues. "In contract negotiations across the country, unions have fought again and again to prevent accountability measures from being put in place such as civilian review boards and making discipline records transparent."

New York State Sen. Julia Salazar, one of the letter's signatories, tweeted that she is supporting the call for expulsion of police unions from the AFL-CIO "first as a labor union member and second as a legislator."

As Alexia Fernández Campbell of the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) reported Friday, leaders of America's most prominent labor unions "are tiptoeing around the subject" of police unions following the killing of Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis officers last week.

In a press call Wednesday, AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka—who has in the past characterized criminal justice reform as a labor issue—said "the short answer is not to disengage and just condemn."

"The answer is to totally re-engage and educate," said Trumka.

Joshua Freeman, a labor historian at City University of New York, told CPI that he isn't surprised labor leaders are largely trying to avoid the subject of police unions after Floyd's killing, which was widely condemned by unions—with the notable exception of IUPA, which has yet to comment on the matter.

"It's a very delicate subject, it's rarely discussed openly and out loud," Freeman said of police unions.

Writing for the New Republic last week, labor reporter and union member Kim Kelly echoed the demand of the coalition of academics, activists, and lawmakers.

"If the federation wants to prove that it's seriously committed to racial justice and true worker solidarity," Kelly wrote, "the AFL-CIO must permanently disaffiliate from the IUPA and sever its ties with any and all other police associations."

Read the full letter:

We are a group of civil rights organizations, elected officials, faith leaders, academics, public defenders, and community-based organizers who believe in the power of unions, and who recognize the history that unions have given power to people in our communities who are often powerless. However, that proud history is being destroyed by the legacy that police unions are leaving behind, and we ask you to stop allowing the International Union of Police Associations (IUPA) and other law enforcement affiliates including prison guard unions to use the protections the AFL-CIO provides under your power and leadership.

We ask you to disassociate the IUPA from the AFL-CIO.

We further ask that all other AFL-CIO unions establish a policy to not include police or other law enforcement, including immigration-related officers, in their membership.

For too long, police unions have used the contract negotiation process to enact measures that shield police from accountability at the expense of public safety, to grow their budget for their self-interest rather than the interest of the community, and to impede necessary change by attacking progressives—including the broader labor movement—who have been at the forefront of criminal justice reform.

The killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and Tony McDade are just the latest signs of the all-too-apparent crisis in policing in America. But it would be a continued mistake to question the structure of policing—as we are now—but then to say that the profession as it exists now may be reformed. We’ve made that mistake before. We can no longer tinker around the edges of this issue.

Eric Garner. Michael Brown. Laquan McDonald. Sandra Bland. Jessica Williams. These police killings six years ago sparked protests across the country and birthed the Black Lives Matter movement and a flood of reform efforts. Six years later, though, we see that nothing  has changed.

The solutions we need right now both to protect our safety and to rescue our democracy are ones that meet the scale of the problem. To respond to George Floyd's death, or Breonna Taylor's death, we must replace the questions about how to reform policing with questions about what a broader vision for safety and justice in America should look like and what role policing should play in it. However, as long as police unions can hide behind the shield that the AFL-CIO provides, no real action can be taken that will move our country forward.

In the past few years, we have seen a wave of criminal justice reforms sweeping the country. There is a growing recognition that mass incarceration hurts the powerless the most- whether it's holding someone in jail because they can’t afford to pay their bail, demanding a high fine or fee to pay for a diversion program, or violating someone on probation because they missed an appointment due to childcare. And this growing recognition includes Richard Trumka, the president of AFL-CIO, who acknowledged during a speech on criminal justice reform that this nation, under the guise of public safety, spends billions making our country less safe by selectively locking people up and sealing people out and shut entire communities down by creating a permanent criminal class. He also committed: "I made a promise to myself that I would do everything in my power to help change this tragic reality."

But as advocates in cities and counties across the country—including your leader—have fought to equalize the playing field, the one voice that obstructed reform—through vicious attacks and fear mongering tactics— has been the police unions. The AFL-CIO cannot stand for criminal justice reform, while at the same time allowing police unions to use your power to impede reform. In contract negotiations across the country, unions have fought again and again to prevent accountability measures from being put in place such as civilian review boards and making discipline records transparent. The unions impede this needed reform by claiming that accountability will interfere with policing, and making the false claim that somehow accountability is at odds with public safety when, in fact, the opposite is true. Derek Chauvin, the officer charged with murdering George Floyd, had 18 prior complaints filed with Minneapolis Police Department’s Internal Affairs, while his accomplice Tou Thao was the subject of six complaints. It was union protection that allowed them to remain armed, dangerous, and a threat to public safety. The AFL-CIO should not be complicit in shielding their members from accountability. These unions dishonor the labor movement.

Police unions have a long history of maintaining their power by exploiting fears and promoting the myth that more police equals less crime. This is the rhetoric used to push back from budget cuts that could mean more money to spend on housing, education, mental health treatment, or other services that can make communities safer while improving life outcomes for all. This is funding that is either taken from, or not available to, other union members who work for the government.

Across the country, people are working to change the landscape of law enforcement by common sense reforms that increase public safety such as sending experts in mental health and substance abuse to treat people instead of police and using community based violence interrupters to prevent gun violence. However, when the police union uses the AFL-CIO to stand in the way of reform by unnecessarily advocating for increased police spending, we all lose.

We respect the need for unions to protect people's rights in the workplace, but we also agree with President Trumka that criminal justice reform is a labor issue. If AFL-CIO wants to prove its commitment to racial justice, worker solidarity, and meaningful reform, then AFL-CIO must permanently disaffiliate from the IUPA and sever its ties with any and all other police associations. It must also ask all unions affiliated with the AFL-CIO to establish a policy preventing police officers from joining other affiliate unions.



6) Majority of Minneapolis City Council Pledges to Dismantle Police Department
Some cities are starting to to heed calls to “defund the police,” as lawmakers push proposals for greater police accountability. National Guard troops are being sent home from Washington, D.C.
June 8, 2020
Credit...Lindsey Wasson/Reuters

Nine members — a veto-proof majority — of the Minneapolis City Council pledged on Sunday to dismantle the city’s Police Department, promising to create a new system of public safety in a city where law enforcement has long been accused of racism.

Saying that the city’s current policing system could not be reformed, the council members stood before hundreds of people who gathered late in the day on a grassy hill, and signed a pledge to begin the process of taking apart the Police Department as it now exists.

For activists who have been pushing for years for drastic changes to policing, the move represented a turning point that they hoped would lead to a complete transformation of public safety in the city.

“It shouldn’t have taken so much death to get us here,” Kandace Montgomery, the director of Black Vision, said from the stage at the rally. “We’re safer without armed, unaccountable patrols supported by the state hunting black people.”

The pledge in Minneapolis, where George Floyd died 13 days ago after being pinned to the ground by a white police officer’s knee, reflected calls across America to completely rethink what policing looks like. Protesters have taken to the streets with demands to shrink or  abolish police departments, and “defund the police” has become a frequent rallying cry.

Officials in other cities, including New York, have begun to talk of diverting some money and responsibilities from police forces to social services agencies, but no other major city has yet gone as far as the Minneapolis officials promised to do.

Council members said in interviews on Sunday that they did not have specific plans to announce for what a new public safety system for the city would look like. They promised to develop plans by working with the community, and said they would draw on past studies, consent decrees and reforms to policing across the nation and the world.

Protesters who gathered at the rally, with a view of Powderhorn Lake, said what mattered most was that elected officials had finally committed to a sweeping overhaul of policing, even if they had yet to offer specifics for how such a dismantling would work.

“There needs to be change,” said Paola Lehman, a 23-year-old actor and educator in Minneapolis.

Though the City Council controls the police budget, the department answers to Mayor Jacob Frey, who can veto the council’s actions. Council members said they had enough votes to override a veto by Mr. Frey, who was booed out of a rally by hundreds of people on Saturday after he said he did not believe in abolishing the Police Department.

The pledge “signals a strong and clear direction about where this is going,” said Councilwoman Alondra Cano, the chair of the council’s Public Safety Committee.



7) Hospitals Got Bailouts and Furloughed Thousands While Paying C.E.O.s Millions
Dozens of top recipients of government aid have laid off, furloughed or cut the pay of tens of thousands of employees.
By Jessica Silver-Greenberg, Jesse Drucker and David Enrich, June 8, 2020
Nurses at more than a dozen HCA hospitals, including one in Trinity, Fla., staged protests in early April about what they said was a lack of proper measures to protect them against the coronavirus.Credit...Eve Edelheit/Bloomberg

Nurses at more than a dozen HCA hospitals, including one in Trinity, Fla., staged protests in early April about what they said was a lack of proper measures to protect them against the coronavirus.Credit...Eve Edelheit/Bloomberg

HCA Healthcare is one of the world’s wealthiest hospital chains. It earned more than $7 billion in profits over the past two years. It is worth $36 billion. It paid its chief executive $26 million in 2019.

But as the coronavirus swept the country, employees at HCA repeatedly complained that the company was not providing adequate protective gear to nurses, medical technicians and cleaning staff. Last month, HCA executives warned that they would lay off thousands of nurses if they didn’t agree to wage freezes and other concessions.

A few weeks earlier, HCA had received about $1 billion in bailout funds from the federal government, part of an effort to stabilize hospitals during the pandemic.

HCA is among a long list of deep-pocketed health care companies that have received billions of dollars in taxpayer funds but are laying off or cutting the pay of tens of thousands of doctors, nurses and lower-paid workers. Many have continued to pay their top executives millions, although some executives have taken modest pay cuts.

The New York Times analyzed tax and securities filings by 60 of the country’s largest hospital chains, which have received a total of more than $15 billion in emergency funds through the economic stimulus package in the federal CARES Act.

The hospitals — including publicly traded juggernauts like HCA and Tenet Healthcare, elite nonprofits like the Mayo Clinic, and regional chains with thousands of beds and billions in cash — are collectively sitting on tens of billions of dollars of cash reserves that are supposed to help them weather an unanticipated storm. They awarded their five highest-paid officials about $874 million in the most recent year for which they have disclosed their finances.

At least 36 of those hospital chains have laid off, furloughed or reduced the pay of employees as they try to save money during the pandemic.

Industry officials argue that furloughs and pay reductions allow hospitals to keep providing essential services at a time when the pandemic has gutted their revenue.

But more than a dozen workers at the wealthy hospitals said in interviews that their employers had put the heaviest financial burdens on front-line staff, including low-paid cafeteria workers, janitors and nursing assistants. They said pay cuts and furloughs made it even harder for members of the medical staff to do their jobs, forcing them to treat more patients in less time.

Even before the coronavirus swept America, forcing hospitals to stop providing lucrative nonessential surgery and other services, many smaller hospitals were on the financial brink. In March, lawmakers sought to address that with a vast federal economic stimulus package that included $175 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services to hand out in grants to hospitals.

But the formulas to determine how much money hospitals receive were based largely on their revenue, not their financial needs. As a result, hospitals serving wealthier patients have received far more funding than those that treat low-income patients, according to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

One of the bailout’s goals was to avoid job losses in health care, said Zack Cooper, an associate professor of health policy and economics at Yale University who is a critic of the formulas used to determine the payouts. “However, when you see hospitals laying off or furloughing staff, it’s pretty good evidence the way they designed the policy is not optimal,” he added.

The Mayo Clinic, with more than eight months of cash in reserve, received about $170 million in bailout funds, according to data compiled by Good Jobs First, which researches government subsidies of companies. The Mayo Clinic is furloughing or reducing the working hours of about 23,000 employees, according to a spokeswoman, who was among those who went on furlough. A second spokeswoman said that Mayo Clinic executives have had their pay cut.

Seven chains that together received more than $1.5 billion in bailout funds — Trinity Health, Beaumont Health and the Henry Ford Health System in Michigan; SSM Health and Mercy in St. Louis; Fairview Health in Minneapolis; and Prisma Health in South Carolina — have furloughed or laid off more than 30,000 workers, according to company officials and local news reports.

The bailout money, which hospitals received from the Health and Human Services Department without having to apply for it, came with few strings attached.

Katherine McKeogh, a department spokeswoman, said it “encourages providers to use these funds to maintain delivery capacity by paying and protecting doctors, nurses and other health care workers.” The legislation restricts hospitals’ ability to use the bailout funds to pay top executives, although it doesn’t stop recipients from continuing to award large bonuses.

The hospitals generally declined to comment on how much they are paying their top executives this year, although they have reported previous years’ compensation in public filings. But some hospitals furloughing front-line staff or cutting their salaries have trumpeted their top executives’ decisions to take voluntary pay cuts or to contribute portions of their salary to help their employees.

The for-profit hospital giant Tenet Healthcare, which has received $345 million in taxpayer assistance since April, has furloughed roughly 11,000 workers, citing the financial pressures from the pandemic. The company’s chief executive, Ron Rittenmeyer, told analysts in May that he would donate half of his salary for six months to a fund set up to assist those furloughed workers.

But Mr. Rittenmeyer’s salary last year was a small fraction of his $24 million pay package, which consists largely of stock options and bonuses, securities filings show. In total, he will wind up donating roughly $375,000 to the fund — equivalent to about 1.5 percent of his total pay last year.

A Tenet spokeswoman declined to comment on the precise figures.

The chief executive at HCA, Samuel Hazen, has donated two months of his salary to a fund to help HCA’s workers. Based on his pay last year, that donation would amount to about $237,000 — or less than 1 percent — of his $26 million compensation.

“The leadership cadre of these organizations are going to need to make sacrifices that are commensurate with the sacrifices of their work force, not token sacrifices,” said Jeff Goldsmith, the president of Health Futures, an industry consulting firm.

Many large nonprofit hospital chains also pay their senior executives well into the millions of dollars a year.

Dr. Rod Hochman, the chief executive of the Providence Health System, for instance, was paid more than $10 million in 2018, the most recent year for which records are available. Providence received at least $509 million in federal bailout funds.

A spokeswoman, Melissa Tizon, said Dr. Hochman would take a voluntary pay cut of 50 percent for the rest of 2020. But that applies only to his base salary, which in 2018 was less than 20 percent of his total compensation.

Some of Providence’s physicians and nurses have been told to prepare for pay cuts of at least 10 percent beginning in July. That includes employees treating coronavirus patients.

Stanford University’s health system collected more than $100 million in federal bailout grants, adding to its pile of $2.4 billion of cash that it can use for any purpose.

Stanford is temporarily cutting the hours of nursing staff, nursing assistants, janitorial workers and others at its two hospitals. Julie Greicius, a spokeswoman for Stanford, said the reduction in hours was intended “to keep everyone employed and our staff at full wages with benefits intact.”

Ms. Greicius said David Entwistle, the chief executive of Stanford’s health system, had the choice of reducing his pay by 20 percent or taking time off, and chose to reduce his working hours but “is maintaining his earning level by using paid time off.” In 2018, the latest year for which Stanford has disclosed his compensation, Mr. Entwistle earned about $2.8 million. Ms. Greicius said the majority of employees made the same choice as Mr. Entwistle.

HCA’s $1 billion in federal grants appears to make it the largest beneficiary of health care bailout funds. But its medical workers have a long list of complaints about what they see as penny-pinching practices.

Since the pandemic began, medical workers at 19 HCA hospitals have filed complaints with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration about the lack of respirator masks and being forced to reuse medical gowns, according to copies of the complaints reviewed by The Times.

Ed Fishbough, an HCA spokesman, said that despite a global shortage of masks and other protective gear, the company had “provided appropriate P.P.E., including a universal masking policy implemented in March requiring all staff in all areas to wear masks, including N95s, in line with C.D.C. guidance.”

Celia Yap-Banago, a nurse at an HCA hospital in Kansas City, Mo., died from the virus in April, a month after her colleagues complained to OSHA that she had to treat a patient without wearing protective gear. The next month, Rosa Luna, who cleaned patient rooms at HCA’s hospital in Riverside, Calif., also died of the virus; her colleagues had warned executives in emails that workers, especially those cleaning hospital rooms, weren’t provided proper masks.

Around the time of Ms. Luna’s death, HCA executives delivered a warning to officials at the Service Employees International Union and National Nurses United, which represent many HCA employees. The company would lay off up to 10 percent of their members, unless the unionized workers amended their contracts to incorporate wage freezes and the elimination of company contributions to workers’ retirement plans, among other concessions.

Nurses responded by staging protests in front of more than a dozen HCA hospitals.

“We don’t work in a jelly bean factory, where it’s OK if we make a blue jelly bean instead of a red one,” said Kathy Montanino, a nurse treating Covid-19 patients at HCA’s Riverside hospital. “We are dealing with people’s lives, and this company puts their profits over patients and their staff.”

Mr. Fishbough, the spokesman, said HCA “has not laid off or furloughed a single caregiver due to the pandemic.” He said the company had been paying medical workers 70 percent of their base pay, even if they were not working. Mr. Fishbough said that executives had taken pay cuts, but that the unions had refused to take similar steps.

“While we hope to continue to avoid layoffs, the unions’ decisions have made that more difficult for our facilities that are unionized,” he said. The dispute continues.

Apparently anticipating a strike, a unit of HCA recently created “a new line of business focused on staffing strike-related labor shortages,” according to an email that an HCA recruiter sent to nurses.

The email, reviewed by The Times, said nurses who joined the venture would earn more than they did in their current jobs: up to $980 per shift, plus a $150 “Show Up” bonus and a continental breakfast.



8) Other Protests Flare and Fade. Why This Movement Already Seems Different.
The massive gatherings for racial justice across the country and now the world have achieved a scale and level of momentum not seen in decades.
By Jack Healy and Kim Barker, June 8, 2020
People gather Tuesday at the memorial where George Floyd died in the custody of the Minneapolis police.Credit...Alyssa Schukar for The New York Times

People gather Tuesday at the memorial where George Floyd died in the custody of the Minneapolis police.Credit...Alyssa Schukar for The New York Times

DENVER — Ever since people across the country began pouring into the streets to protest police violence, Dakota Patton has driven two hours each day to rally on the steps of the Colorado State Capitol. He has given up his gig jobs delivering food and painting houses. He is exhausted. But he has no plans to leave.

“This is bigger,” Mr. Patton, 24, said. “I’m not worried about anything else I could be doing. I want to and need to be here. As long as I need.”

As Monday marks two full weeks since the first protest sparked by the killing of George Floyd, the massive gatherings for racial justice across the country and now the world have achieved a scale and level of momentum not seen in decades. And they appear unlikely to run out anytime soon.

Streets and public plazas are filled with people who have scrapped weekend plans, canceled meetings, taken time off from work and hastily called babysitters. Many say the economic devastation of the coronavirus had already cleared their schedules. With jobs lost and colleges shuttered, they have nothing but time.

“This feels like home to me,” said Rebecca Agwu, 19, who lost her campus job in the pandemic. She spent five days at the Denver protests, and spent a recent afternoon chatting in the shade of the boarded-up Capitol building with three other women who had been laid off from their mall jobs.

On Sunday, as protesters continued gathering around the country, their growing influence was apparent as local leaders vowed to curb the power of the police.

Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged to cut the budget for the New York Police Department and spend more on social services in the city. In Minneapolis, nine City Council members — a veto-proof majority — publicly promised to create a new system of public safety in a city where law enforcement has long been accused of racism.

Mr. de Blasio also canceled the nightly curfew that he imposed last week. And President Trump said on Sunday that he had ordered National Guard troops to begin withdrawing from Washington.

Raids and arrests broke up protest encampments over an oil pipeline in North Dakota near the Standing Rock reservation and at the heart of Occupy Wall Street in years past. But protesters now say that aggressive responses by the police are only reinforcing their commitment to return to the streets. After police last week used flash grenades and a chemical spray to clear peaceful protesters from Lafayette Square in front of the White House, even more people began showing up.

One recent afternoon in Washington, D.C., one person among hundreds of demonstrators shouted that they would all be coming back the following day. Another person added, “and the next day.” The phrase caught fire, and the crowd started chanting, “And the next day! And the next day!”

“If I’m the next hashtag, hopefully people will be out here for me too,” said Andrew Jackson, a 25-year-old government contractor who has joined protesters in Washington.

Mr. Jackson said his own experiences of police abuse had compelled him to cut back on his work hours and join the rallies: An officer once pointed a gun at his head, and the son of a neighbor had been shot and killed by the police, he said.

“I’ll come out day after day after day,” Mr. Jackson said.

Because the protests are not only about the death of Mr. Floyd but a broader system of racial inequality, officials cannot simply defuse concerns by pressing charges against police officers, as they did in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray.

In Minneapolis, activists said they did not believe the movement would lose oxygen simply because the officer who knelt on Mr. Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds and three others who were at the scene had now been charged.

“I’ve been attending protests as far back as I can remember,” said Raeisha Williams, who brought her toddler son along to a protest she helped organize last week in downtown Minneapolis. “And I plan to keep attending them until the system actually changes.”

People around the world — in Australia, Britain, France, Germany and beyond — have defied cold weather and public health rules against mass gatherings to show solidarity with American protesters, who have now taken to the streets in more than 150 cities.

Activists and scholars who have studied the crest and fall of other upwellings over police killings, school shootings, women’s rights and immigration detentions say that the widespread outrage over economic and racial injustices may give the new movement a greater durability.

“There was a wash, rinse, repeat cycle, a standard script,” said Jody David Armour, a law professor at the University of Southern California who studies racial justice. “Convene a commission, hold some hearings, have community members vent and testify, and here come some policymakers saying, ‘Here’s a fix.’ ”

The result, he said: “Look where we are.”

Nekima Levy Armstrong, another organizer in Minneapolis, changed her life to be able to march on the streets. Ms. Armstrong, a civil rights lawyer and former president of the Minneapolis chapter of the N.A.A.C.P., was an associate professor of law at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis. But she quit in 2016 to be able to fully devote herself to the civil-rights movement and protesting. She even ran unsuccessfully for mayor.

“My entire life has changed since taking to the streets,” she said.

On Wednesday, shortly after charges against the four officers in the Floyd case were announced, she rallied more than 500 people, carrying placards with slogans like “Black Lives Matter More Than Windows” and “4 Killer Cops 4 Convictions.” She said the officers could be tried by an all-white jury; they could be acquitted.

“We have to continue to be vigilant. We can’t rest,” she told the crowd, her voice rising. She added: “We got to keep marching. Keep demonstrating. Keep speaking the truth. Keep protesting.”

The crowd, in front of the TV station where the wife of the head of the police union works as an anchor, erupted in cheers and applause.

Community organizers say that some of the energy now coursing through the street will eventually ebb.

But they say the Floyd protests appear to be creating a new generation of activism out of deep, widespread anger. There is outrage: At police killings of black men and women. At economic inequality when 13 percent of Americans are out of work. At failed political leadership during a pandemic that has killed more than 100,000 Americans.

“You’re watching injustice take place in every sector of our society,” said Wes Moore, who chronicles Freddie Gray’s death and its aftermath in the book, “Five Days.” “Schools have been closed. Students are burdened and under debt. There’s a compounding to the pain.”

In South Florida, activists said they were trying to sustain the energy of this moment by signing up volunteers, holding trainings and making sure people had a ride or gas money to get to the multiple daily protests that are happening.

“In the past we have seen where momentum would have gone away, but now we are seeing people want to know how to plan protests,” said Tifanny Burks, a member of the Black Lives Matter Alliance in Broward County, Fla. “I see a shift.”

Asa Rogers-Shaw, 30, a Black Lives Matter activist in Fort Lauderdale, said he does not protest every day. He is focusing his efforts now on crafting strategies to ensure that the protesters have tools to sustain the protest. Organizers in Broward County held a virtual training Wednesday night to teach protesters to continue their activism through “direct actions.” More than 200 people signed up.

“If you cover the arc of these moments, you know the energy is going to dissipate eventually,” Mr. Rogers-Shaw said. “ It’s how much of that residue can we hold on to.”

Activists across the country say that while the news media may pay attention when buildings burn or another black person is killed, their protests and calls for reforms have never ceased.

In Ferguson, Mo., where Michael Brown, a black 18-year-old, was shot dead by a white police officer in 2014, residents and Black Lives Matter activists have spent nearly six years working to change the city’s courts, police policies and political leadership. Last week, Ferguson elected its first African-American mayor, Ella Jones.

In Baltimore, the family of Tyrone West, who died after a struggle with the police in 2013, has gathered in the street every Wednesday to call for justice in his death and commemorate victims of police brutality.

In Los Angeles, Black Lives Matter activists have demonstrated downtown against police abuses every Wednesday for more than two years, often drawing just a couple of dozen people. But last week, thousands came, underscoring how the outrage at Mr. Floyd’s killing has catalyzed the work that local activists have been carrying out for years.

Valerie Rivera, whose son Eric was killed by police in 2017, said she was glad the others were joining her.

“We have been waiting for these days to come, for these people to stream into these streets,” she said.

Reporting was contributed by Dionne Searcey from Minneapolis; Frances Robles from Key West, Fla.; Lara Jakes, Helene Cooper, Sabrina Tavernise and Zolan Kanno-Youngs from Washington; and Tim Arango from Los Angeles.



9) America, This Is Your Chance
We must get it right this time or risk losing our democracy forever.
By Michelle Alexander, June 8, 2020
Protesters marched through New York City again on Wednesday in response to the police killing of George Floyd.Ashley Gilbertson for The New York Times

The memorial at the site of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Sunday. Credit...Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

Our democracy hangs in the balance. This is not an overstatement.

As protests, riots, and police violence roiled the nation last week, the president vowed to send the military to quell persistent rebellions and looting, whether governors wanted a military occupation or not. John Allen, a retired four-star Marine general, wrote that we may be witnessing the “beginning of the end of the American experiment” because of President Trump’s catastrophic failures.

Trump’s leadership has been disastrous. But it would be a mistake to place the blame on him alone. In part, we find ourselves here for the same reasons a civil war tore our nation apart more than 100 years ago: Too many citizens prefer to cling to brutal and unjust systems than to give up political power, the perceived benefits of white supremacy and an exploitative economic system. If we do not learn the lessons of history and choose a radically different path forward, we may lose our last chance at creating a truly inclusive, egalitarian democracy.

The Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky famously said that “the degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.” Today, the same can be said of our criminal injustice system, which is a mirror reflecting back to us who we really are, as opposed to what we tell ourselves.

Millions of us watched a black man in Minnesota lie on the ground for nearly nine minutes, begging for his life and calling out to his dead mother, while a white police officer pressed his knee into his neck, killing him, with his hand casually resting in his pocket — all in broad daylight in front of people screaming for the officer to stop.

Everyone knows that the police officers who killed George Floyd never would have been fired or arrested if a courageous black girl had not filmed the incident on her phone and posted it to social media. Deep down, we already knew this kind of thing happens to black people. All of us knew it when we watched Amy Cooper call the police on a black man who calmly asked her to put a leash on her dog. We knew it when we watched two white men in a pickup truck ambush Ahmaud Arbery and shoot him to death while he was jogging in a neighborhood outside Brunswick, Ga. And we knew it before George Zimmerman stalked and murdered a black teenager named Trayvon Martin.

We know these truths about black experiences, but we often pretend we don’t. As Stanley Cohen wrote in “States of Denial,” many people “know” and “not-know” the truth about oppression and suffering. He explains: “Denial may be neither a matter of telling the truth nor intentionally telling a lie. There seem to be states of mind, or even whole cultures, in which we know and don’t know at the same time.”

In 1963, images of racist white police officers spraying fire hoses and siccing police dogs on young black protesters in Birmingham shocked the world and propelled many white Americans to join civil rights activists in challenging racial segregation. A similar dynamic has occurred with the images of George Floyd’s death. Our nation suddenly caught a glimpse of itself in the mirror and people of all races poured into the streets to say “no more.” Now the president seems to be itching for another civil war.

I will not pretend to have a road map that will lead us to higher ground. But for those who are serious about rising to the challenge, I will share a few of the key steps that I believe are necessary if we are to learn from our history and not merely repeat it.

We must face our racial history and our racial present. We cannot solve a problem we do not understand. Donald Trump would not be the president and George Floyd would not be dead if, after the Civil War, our nation had committed itself to reparations, reconciliation and atonement for the land and people that colonizers stole, sold and plundered. Instead, white people who enslaved blacks were granted reparations for the loss of their “property” while formerly enslaved blacks were given nothing — not even the 40 acres and a mule they were promised. Ever since, our nation has been trapped in a cycle of intermittent racial progress followed by fierce backlash and the emergence of new and “improved” systems of racial and social control. These cycles have been punctuated by various movements, uprisings and riots, but one thing has remained constant: A majority of whites persistently deny the scale and severity of racial injustice that people of color endure.

It’s not enough to learn the broad outlines of this history. Only by pausing long enough to study the cycles of oppression and resistance does it become clear that simply being a good person or not wishing black people any harm is not sufficient. Nor is voting for Democrats or diversifying police forces. In fact, those efforts have not made much of a dent in ending abusive policing or mass incarceration.

There are many excellent books, articles and films that can help to put our racial moment in context. A good place to start if you are new to racial justice history and advocacy is Ibram X. Kendi’s trio of books, “How to Be an Antiracist” “Stamped From the Beginning” and “Stamped,” his young adult book co-authored with Jason Reynolds. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor’s book “From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation” and Ava Duvernay’s film “13th” are especially relevant now. And Andrea Ritchie’s book “Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color” is essential reading, given the comparatively little attention that police killings of black women typically receive. Paul Butler’s book “Chokehold” is an excellent exploration of police violence against black men — past and present. The documentary “Whose Streets?,” depicting the aftermath of Michael Brown’s murder and the uprisings in Ferguson, Mo., will open your eyes to the tragedies and triumphs of that period, as well as “blatant racism and hypocrisy on display from the powers that be,” in the words of a writer in Rolling Stone magazine.

No matter your race, ethnicity, class, gender, age, sexual orientation or background, you have much to gain by deepening your understanding of how we got to this place. I recommend reading classics like James Baldwin’s “The Fire Next Time,” Angela Davis’s “Women, Race and Class” and the autobiography of Frederick Douglass, as well as books like “The Radical King,” which feature writings and speeches of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that the mainstream media is inclined to ignore.

Read and organize study groups or book clubs. Begin the process of racial reckoning in your city, neighborhood, school, workplace and family. Demand that your school district adopt a racial justice curriculum. Join grass-roots organizers working for racial justice or donate to them. Insist that your social justice organization or faith community follow the lead of grass-roots groups like the Dream Defenders and commit to the political education of its members and the community they serve. Raise your voice and march with your feet.



10) How Was My Son Ahmaud Arbery’s Murder Not a Hate Crime?
Georgia is one of only four states without a bias crime law. This must change.
By Wanda Cooper-Jones, June 9, 2020
[Watch the moving video plea by Ahmaud's Mother:]

Screen shots from the video.

After Ahmaud Arbery was chased down and killed while he was jogging in Glynn County, Ga., investigators say, one of the white men accused of shooting him used a racial slur. In the above video, Wanda Cooper-Jones, Mr. Arbery’s mother, demands that these men be prosecuted not just on charges of killing her son but also for targeting him because of his skin color. Yet as it now stands, that can’t happen: Georgia is one of just four states in the country without a hate crime law.

Georgia lawmakers can change this. They’re going back into session next Monday, giving them the opportunity to decide whether to bring a hate crime bill up for a vote.

If we can’t stop these hate-inspired attacks, we can at least prosecute them for what they are.

Wanda Cooper-Jones is the mother of Ahmaud Arbery.



11) Officer Who Violently Shoved Protester in Brooklyn to Face Charges
The police officer, who was recorded knocking down a young woman who questioned his order, surrendered himself on Tuesday.
By Ashley Southall, June 9, 2020
Screen shot of cop who knocked down demonstrator.

A New York City police officer surrendered to face criminal charges on Tuesday, over a week after he was recorded on video shoving a woman to the ground and cursing at her during a protest against police brutality, the police commissioner and law enforcement officials said.

The Brooklyn district attorney’s office plans to charge the officer, Vincent D’Andraia, with misdemeanor assault, harassment and menacing over the May 29 incident, one law enforcement official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss an open investigation.

Cellphone video showed him knocking the victim, Dounya Zayer, 20, to the ground and calling her a “bitch” after she asked him why he told her to get out of the street.

The expected arrest of Officer D’Andraia, who turned himself in at the 84th Precinct station house, on assault charges is highly unusual and seemed to reflect the growing political pressure on the police and prosecutors to hold officers accountable for misconduct.

Mass protests against police brutality swept the nation after the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after a white officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes in Minneapolis.

Officer D’Andraia, who has been suspended without pay, is the first city police officer in New York to face arrest over his conduct during the large protests that have sprung up every day since Mr. Floyd died on May 25.

Prosecutors are weighing criminal charges against as many as 40 other officers, law enforcement officials said, as the police, district attorneys, and lawmakers face intense pressure to change a status quo that for decades has largely allowed police officers accused of assault or other violent acts on duty to avoid serious punishment.

Police and prosecutors have said they are investigating several other instances of police using violence against protesters after they were recorded on video, and a civilian oversight agency that investigates police misconduct said it has received hundreds of complaints since the protests started.

Officer D’Andraia and another officer involved in a separate incident were suspended without pay last week after investigators concluded they had violated department policies and recommended disciplinary charges. The second officer, who has not been named publicly, was recorded snatching off a man’s mask and pepper-spraying him during a protest on May 30 in Brooklyn.

Patrick J. Lynch, the president of the Police Benevolent Association, which represents about 24,000 active officers, accused the mayor and top police officials of abandoning officers to “save their own skin.”

“They created the failed strategy for maintaining these demonstrations,” he said. “They sent police officers out to do the job with no support and no clear plan. They should be the ones facing this mob-rule justice.”



12) I Wish I’d Had ‘Ramy’ When I Was a Kid
He refuses to be the perfect ambassador for Muslims. It’s refreshing.
By Wajahat Ali, June 9, 2020
Ramy (Ramy Youssef) and Zainab (MaameYaa Boafo), in a scene from the second season of the Hulu show “Ramy.”Credit...Craig Blankenhorn/Hulu

If you aren’t writing your story, others will write it for you. That’s what’s happened to Muslims in America for too long.

We’ve been in this country since the 16th century, but we’ve  rarely had the opportunity to tell our own stories in history books, movies and television shows. Instead we have been cast as America’s villains, foreigners and invaders.

When I was growing up, my daily diet consisted of halal meat and Hollywood pop culture. In the latter category, we were so starved for Muslim representation that my family applauded when the characters in the comedy “Spies Like Us” accidentally ended up in a highly inaccurate depiction of Pakistan. The bar was so low that I just desired the terrorist villains in ’80s action movies to at least stop shooting bullets in the air. I’m not alone. Muslims who work in film and television often tell me they simply want stories to show Muslims as “human beings.”

Last time I checked, I was a human: Maybe there’s a place for media that convinces the general public of that. But when it comes to what I watch, I want much more.

That’s why I wish that teenage Wajahat — who fasted during Ramadan, but also pined for Jennifer Lopez and Winona Ryder — had been able to watch Hulu’s “Ramy.”

Starring the comedian Ramy Youssef, and now in its second season, it’s about a confused Muslim millennial trying to reconcile his Islamic faith and Egyptian traditions with his sexual frustrations and self-destructive habits. In the second season, which premiered May 29, Mr. Youssef’s character, Ramy, has a religious awakening, but he uses religion as a cover for his continued moral failings, taking “bay’ah” (a pledge) with a pious sheikh played with graceful dignity by Mahershala Ali.

Appreciating his own privilege as an Arab Muslim, Mr. Youssef told me it was also necessary to have his sheikh this season played by the Oscar-winning Mr. Ali. He said Muslims must confront the “large, large amount of anti-blackness in our communities” and it was “the most American choice to have a black sheikh,” whose piety stands in stark contract to his character’s immense flaws.

Mr. Youssef was only 10 years old at the time of the September 11 terror attacks, a traumatic experience of “othering” during his blossoming adolescence encapsulated in a surreal highlight of Season 1 where he imagined eating strawberries and debating violence with Osama bin Laden. The scene intersects his young character’s guilt over masturbation with his anger and confusion over being scapegoated and vilified by classmates as the token Muslim.

I was a 20-year-old college student during that crisis and the message I got from society was clear: Overnight my worth, along with the worth of America’s millions of other Muslims, became linked to security. The good Muslims were uncritical patriots who helped fight terrorism, the bad Muslim were terrorists. And the rest of us were to remain perpetual suspects.

It was around that time that I became a playwright. At the University of California, Berkeley, my short story professor, Ishmael Reed, encouraged me to write “The Domestic Crusaders,” a traditional American family drama told through the lens of a Muslim family. He told me as a black man he learned early that arts and culture are a means for the rest of us to fight back and set the record straight.

But for my generation of Muslim writers at that time, that battle was often an exhausting, creatively bankrupt endeavor. It felt like our fictional stories had to be potent talismans. They couldn’t afford to simply exist and breathe like our white colleagues’ narratives. They had to entertain, correct stereotypes, represent the community, educate Americans and fight Islamophobia.

Mr. Youssef’s generation still suffers from the consequences of the 9/11 tragedy, but he plays by new rules and refuses to be the perfect ambassador of Islam. “I don’t want to explain Islam to people on a show, because it’s a comedy and I wouldn’t be good at doing that,” he told me. “But I can show how people are living it.”

In “Ramy,” the “people living it” are messy, sinful, complicated, hypocritical — and hilarious. They are both good and bad. Mr. Youssef also wants audiences to do their own homework. When it comes to the show’s liberal use of Islamic practices and Arabic, “If you get it, you get it,” he said. “If you don’t, Google it.”

“Ramy brought the WhatsApp thread to the screen, and I think that’s so amazing,” the comedian Hasan Minhaj told me, referring to the raw, honest conversations Muslims have with their friends on private social media apps but rarely in public or in the mosque. Mr. Minhaj believes Mr. Youssef’s show ushers in a “seminal moment” that will open doors for new, odd and wild perspectives and stories from Muslim Americans to finally emerge into the mainstream.

For example, in one episode this season, Ramy meets the former adult film star Mia Khalifa while waiting for an audience with a wealthy Gulf patron, who later challenges Ramy to an archery competition to decide whether or not he will donate to his sheikh’s mosque.

We’ve come a long way from endless images of terrorists. Throughout the show, Ramy inflicts only emotional pain upon himself and his loved ones, as he mumbles and meanders his way through one humiliating sexual episode after another without committing physical violence. He’s not an icon like Muhammad Ali or a villain like Osama bin Laden. He’s like a Muslim Portnoy — but with a deep love of faith, which only compounds his guilt and endless masochism.

Mr. Youssef told me he believes his show has ultimately connected with audiences because “it’s less a story of a Muslim family” than a show “about finding people in places where they hide, in places where they’re lonely, where they are trying to find meaning.”

It’s ridiculous to assume a TV show or a Muslim version of “Crazy Rich Asians” will single-handedly stop the bigotry that intensified after 9/11 and exploded in the Trump era. Mr. Youssef agrees and says he struggles “with the idea of how much TV in this age affects the real world,” given everyone now curates their own content and lives in their information bubbles.

Still, I agree with Mr. Youssef when he says very specific shows like his with interesting Muslim characters can nonetheless reveal our shared humanity and give audiences a “heart behind a statistic” and a “heart behind news headlines.”

The show has given me so much of what I missed when I was growing up. I hope its success paves the way for new Muslim narratives, especially those centered around Muslim women of color. Maybe my daughters will see what’s missing, like I did, and be the ones to write that story.

The struggle continues. But with “Ramy,” at least the low bar has been raised.



13) Respond, Reopen, Reset
DEALBOOK NEWSLETTER, June 9, 2020 [Excerpt]
Credit...Valerie Macon/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Things won’t be the same

DealBook is the first to report on a new poll of Americans’ economic priorities after the pandemic. The survey by Just Capital, a nonprofit research group that tracks companies’ social impact, and The Harris Poll found that few people are looking forward to a return to business as usual.

Just 25 percent of those surveyed think capitalism as it stands is good for society. By contrast, a large majority thinks that the pandemic has exposed underlying structural problems and that big companies should “reset” their priorities.

• In short, the pandemic is an opportunity to “build a better form of capitalism,” said Martin Whittaker, Just Capital’s C.E.O.

Customers won’t forget how companies reacted to the crisis, the survey found. More than 80 percent of respondents said they would remember which companies “did the right thing by their workers,” whether that’s extra safety measures or efforts to avoid layoffs. Three-quarters of those polled said they would remember the businesses that took missteps during the pandemic “long after it is over.”

• Majorities of respondents supported health and safety measures, flexible working practices, hazard pay, and protecting jobs at the expense of profits, instead of reopening as quickly as possible.

Who’s doing what? Just Capital has tracked corporations’ responses to the pandemic since March. It has expanded its tool to include the 301 largest publicly traded employers in the U.S. The group has added more details about director and executive pay cuts, worker bonuses and voluntary leave policies.

• About 30 percent of these companies have announced pay cuts for executives or the board, while just over 10 percent have increased pay for front-line workers. In some cases, these actions have already expired.



14) Minnesota Law Officers Acknowledge Slashing Tires At Minneapolis Protest
A spokesman defended the decision while conceding that slashing tires is “not a typical tactic.”
By Ryan Grenoble, June 6, 2020
Screen shot New York Police driving into protesters March 30, 2020.











































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Posted by: Bonnie Weinstein <bonnieweinstein@yahoo.com>

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