Rayshard Brooks, 27 years old, was shot to death while running away from police in Atlanta Friday, June 12, 2020.





Kimberly Jones

If you haven't seen this, you're missing something spectacular:

On Saturday May 30th filmmaker and photographer David Jones of David Jones Media felt compelled to go out and serve the community in some way. He decided to use his art to try and explain the events that were currently impacting our lives. On day two, Sunday the 31st, he activated his dear friend author Kimberly Jones to tag along and conduct interviews. During a moment of downtime he captured these powerful words from her and felt the world couldn’t wait for the full length documentary, they needed to hear them now.

Kimberly Jones on YouTube 



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



Liz McAlister, the eldest of the King Bay Plowshares 7, was sentenced today via video to time served, three years supervised release and for a portion of the restitution for the seven of just over $30,000. She was the first of the defendants to be sentenced. The remaining six are scheduled to appear in the Brunswick court, June 29 and 30. Thirty-seven years ago Liz first stood before a Syracuse federal judge to hear the court render a sentence for her Griffiss Plowshares direct action protesting nuclear weapons. Today, with her attorney Bill Quigley in New Orleans and her family beside her in Connecticut, Liz appeared via video before Judge Lisa Godbey Wood who sat in Georgia's Southern District Federal Court in Brunswick, to hear today's sentence, maybe the last in the long career of indefatigable hope and courage and unrelenting opposition to nuclear weapons.

Last October, Liz, and the six others were found guilty of trespass, conspiracy and destruction of federal property, three felonies, and a misdemeanor in all, at the Kings Bay Naval Base in St. Mary’s, Georgia, where they had the audacity, in the middle of the night, to symbolically disarm a shrine celebrating US nuclear weapons and to protest the preparations for omnicide—the death of everything. Kings Bay is home to 6 Trident submarines that deploy one-quarter of the US nuclear arsenal.

The world has changed since October 2019 when activists gathered for the trial of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 in Brunswick, Georgia. We heard testimony and watched a video describing their incursion into the naval base. We heard the defendants explain why they chose April 4—the anniversary of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination—to carry out their act of faithful obedience. They described hanging banners, the first, a quote from the Rev. Dr. King that read, “The ultimate logic of racism is genocide,” and another that said "The ultimate logic of Trident is Omnicide." They also painted messages of peace and prayerfully poured baby bottles of blood at the naval base.

In the intervening months, while federal marshals prepared presentencing reports for the Kings Bay 7, the COVID-19 pandemic rose up to take more than 400,000 lives globally—reminding us all, if we have ears to hear, of the peril of complacency in the face of low-probability/high-risk events. It is no exaggeration, and not meant to diminish the suffering of those who have been ravaged by or lost loved ones to the novel corona virus, to say that a nuclear war would make the current struggles look like a paper cut by comparison.

In quiet, quintessential southern, Brunswick, Georgia, the spotlight that shone briefly on nuclear weapons during the trial in October shifted abruptly in May when the pandemic of racism re-entered the public’s line of sight and the world learned that Ahmaud Arbery, a young African-American man was hunted down by three armed white men. Arbery, out for a morning jog in February, the men in pickup trucks, shot and killed him. Going into May, none of the men had been indicted or faced any charges. They had, literally, gotten away with murder. Now the three men sit in the Glynn County jail where Fr. Steve Kelly has been for more than two years.

Because of COVID, Instead of gathering in the Brunswick court with activists and supporters, complete with a festival of hope, we gathered in spirit to listen to the court proceedings on a conference call line. The night before, friends, family, and supporters had gathered for a virtual blessing and liturgy via a Zoom/ Facebook event that will be available on our website later this week.

Martin Gugino, the elderly man who was knocked down to the sidewalk by Buffalo police and lay bleeding from his head is a long-time peace activist. He recently made a series of video statements in support of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 activists. He knows them from drone protests at The Hancock AFB in Syracuse, NY and Witness Against Torture actions in Washington, DC. Martin primarily works through the Western New York Peace Center. He texted today to let us know he is alive and in recovery.

Frida Berrigan's Statement

Frida Berrigan, Liz’s daughter, gave a spirited statement of support for her mother attesting to her lifelong commitment to peace. “…as a 46 year-old white citizen in a nation that is going to spend $720 plus billion on the military this year, even in the face of an economy smashing pandemic that has killed 100,000 people and laid bare the stark inequity and fundamental brokenness of every fiber of the social safety net, I am grateful that people like my mother are willing to stand up and say: “Trident is a crime.”

As a 46 year-old white citizen in a country where white supremacy and militarized policing are so emboldened that Derek Chavin can crush George Floyd’s life out of him in front of a crowd, in front of cameras, where the McMichaels father and son can gun down Ahmaud Arbery in broad daylight as he jogged through the streets of a quiet Georgia town, I draw hope and inspiration from white people who continue to invoke Dr. King’s framework of the giant triplets of racism, militarism and materialism… these weights that cripple our collective humanity. I draw hope and inspiration from my mom and her friends who declare that “Black Lives Matter” who wed their anti-nuclear analysis with an anti-racist ethos, and declare that the ultimate logic of trident is omnicide.

So, I am here as a daughter who doesn’t want her 80 year-old mother sent back to jail and a human being who wonders how anything ever changes if people like my mom aren't willing to take that risk.

I’m hoping you agree with the government that Liz McAlister has served enough time in jail already and you’ll help our family close this long and challenging episode of our lives today by sentencing her to time served. I also hope that you will recognize that as a person who owns nothing but the clothes on her back and the water colors she uses to paint with her grandchildren, you will waive all fines and restitution. "

(Frida's full statement is on the website: Sentencing Statement.)

Liz's Statement

Finally Liz spoke about what motivated her to join this action and take such risks. She quoted the biblical exhortation to “Beat swords into plowshares” from Isaiah and said, “All my life I've tried to follow the prophet, Isaiah, to stop learning war... All my life I have spoken and written against nuclear weapons and I believe these are contrary to life, destructive of life on every single level.”

The sentencing hearing began with technical glitches and was adjourned for more than a half hour at the beginning while these were worked out. There were 270 people listening to the audio feed when adjourned and due to some confusion about getting back on only 230 were on for the actual hearing which went on for another hour. Judge Wood said that she had read several hundred letters which had come to her from plowshares supporters and considered each of them. However, the judge then ruled against all the defense arguments for mitigation.

The defendants are considering doing another webinar before the end of June. Stay tuned.

EMAIL: Media: kbp7media@gmail.com
General: kingsbayplowshares@gmail.com
WEBSITE: www.kingsbayplowshares7.org
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/Kingsbayplowshares
TWITTER: https://www.twitter.com/kingsbayplow7
INSTAGRAM: https://instagram.com/kingsbayplowshares7







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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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. 


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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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Sign the petition

Mayor Breed:
City of SF Essential Workers Deserve Safety!

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

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



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!

Please share this link on social media:
484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559
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) To Overturn Trump, We Need to Overturn White Supremacy
For that to happen, some monuments — and the historical myths they supported — are going to have to come down.
By Jamelle Bouie, June 12, 2020

Protesters brought down the statue of Christopher Columbus outside the State Capitol in St. Paul, Minn., on Wednesday.Credit...Evan Frost/Minnesota Public Radio, via Associated Press

It doesn’t necessarily follow that a nationwide protest over police brutality would, for some, become a reason to take action against Confederate statues and other controversial monuments. But it has. In just the last week, protesters have knocked down Confederate statues in Richmond, Va., Nashville and Montgomery, Ala, as well as monuments to Christopher Columbus in Boston and St. Paul, Minn.

This is because the George Floyd protests are not just about police violence. They’re about structural racism and the persistence of white supremacy; about the unresolved and unaddressed disadvantages of the past, as well as the bigotry that has come to dominate far too much of American politics in the age of Trump. Born of grief and anger, they’re an attempt to turn the country off the path to ruin. And part of this is necessarily a struggle over our symbols and our public space.

Another way to put this observation is that police brutality, the proximate cause of these protests, is simply an acute instance of the many ways in which the lives of black Americans (and other groups) are degraded and devalued. And while the most consequential form this degradation takes are material — the Covid-19 crisis, for example, has revealed to many Americans the extent to which black lives are still shaped by a deep racial inequality that leaves them disproportionately vulnerable to illness and premature death — there are also many symbolic statements of black worth, or the lack thereof, out there for all to see.

Confederate statues like the ones in Richmond, the former capital of the Confederacy, or the smaller monuments that mark courthouses and town squares across the South, are visible reminders of a time when white society was nearly united in its subjugation of blacks. Erected decades after the end of the Civil War — as the white South began to codify segregation and disenfranchisement into Jim Crow — these statues set in stone the triumph over Reconstruction and the effort to make the South, and the nation, a democracy. And they marked the spaces in which they stood as essentially white territory.

Confederate monuments were erected to exclude, and they continue to stand for exclusion. In which case it’s no surprise that protesters would vandalize and tear them down. In this moment, to knock over a statue of Jefferson Davis is to claim the space for black lives against those who would try to preserve the values of the Confederacy. And to the extent that other institutions follow suit — Congress is debating an amendment that would rename military bases named after Confederate officers — it may reflect a belated recognition that these symbols are not, and cannot be, neutral.

Something similar is happening with the attempt to remove Christopher Columbus from the public sphere. The Italian explorer became an American icon in the late 19th century as Italian immigrants fought to assert their place in American society. But the real-life Columbus was a brutal, violent man who inaugurated the subjugation of natives in the present-day Caribbean and South America. His legacy is one of slavery and genocide, and that’s why Indigenous people in the United States have long opposed the commemoration of his voyage. Knocking down statues of the explorer is also an attempt to reclaim public space on behalf of the excluded and ignored. (And it’s not irrelevant that the only group more exposed to police violence than black Americans is Native Americans.)

It’s unclear how Americans feel about the removal of these statues in this manner, but we do know there has been a sea change in attitudes toward Black Lives Matter. Over the last two weeks, my colleagues Nate Cohn and Kevin Quealy note in The Upshot that support has “increased by nearly as much as it had over the previous two years.” The majority of Americans, by a 28-point margin, now support the movement.

Concurrent with this shift is a sharp drop in support for President Trump. His average job approval rating is down to 41 percent, two-and-a-half points lower than it was on the eve of the protests. His average disapproval rating is up to 55 percent. And against the Democratic nominee for president, Joe Biden, he is down an average of 8 points, a substantial decline from May. The Covid-19 crisis has harmed him, but it is his antagonistic handling of the protests that has accelerated his downward turn.

The reckoning that is toppling Confederate monuments and fueling the largest sustained protests in 50 years is also, I think, turning the voting public decisively against the president. The killing of George Floyd, the racially disparate impact of the pandemic and the violent police rioting against accountability have shown millions of Americans what the future may hold if we continue along this path of inequality, exclusion and authoritarianism. And they’re pushing back, taking to the streets to reject this rather than sit back and let it happen. What’s more, as election season begins in earnest, Americans are going to the ballot box as well. In Atlanta on Tuesday, thousands stood in line for hours to vote. It was at once an example of the voter suppression that threatens our democracy and a demonstration of will — a determination to use the vote to try to push this country off its current course.

It was this month, 162 years ago, when Abraham Lincoln accepted the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate and gave his famous“House Divided” speech in Illinois. This wasn’t, as is popularly believed, a call for unity in the face of division. Just the opposite. It was an attempt to make clear the stakes of the conflict with the “slave power.”

“I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free,” he said. “I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other.”

We cannot be a free and equal democracy and a country of inequality, unaccountable police violence and Trumpist exclusion. We will have to be either one or the other. The protests represent millions of Americans announcing their allegiance to the former. It remains to be seen whether that brings a reaction of similar scope in defense of the latter.



2) The N.F.L. Embraces Progressive Action, but Not Yet Kaepernick
With newfound momentum on social justice causes, players around the league have many opinions on what comes next. But most agree that the N.F.L. must recognize Colin Kaepernick.
By Ken Belson, June 12, 2020
A man wearing a Colin Kaepernick jersey marched in Minneapolis to protest the death of George Floyd.Credit...Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

In the wake of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the N.F.L., a league that has wrestled with racial issues for years, has shown unusual unity. Players, coaches, league officials and owners have expressed sadness, remorse and a commitment to seek solutions to police violence against African-American people and other forms of social injustice.

Yet the specter of Colin Kaepernick still looms large over any conversation of football and race. As the league grapples with next steps to take, many players say that the N.F.L. must address Kaepernick, who in 2016 began kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality toward African-Americans, if its newfound progressive stance is to be viewed as legitimate.

“It’s definitely a different social climate now and I’m praying it’s not going to be lip service,” said Chris Conley, a wide receiver on the Jacksonville Jaguars who helped organize a march of players, coaches, staff and their families from the team’s stadium to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s office last week. “A lot of balls were dropped in 2016 and people realized things could have been handled better. There’s a feeling we didn’t do enough last time.”

Seattle Seahawks running back Carlos Hyde told reporters Monday, “If they sign Kap back, it’ll show they are really trying to move in a different direction, because Kap was making a statement four years ago about what’s going on in today’s world and the N.F.L. didn’t bother to listen to him then.”

After opting out of his contract and finding no team willing to sign him, Kaepernick in 2019 won a multimillion-dollar settlement of his claim that the league blackballed him because of his protests. In November, the league organized a tryout for Kaepernick that ended in a dispute over the ground rules. Kaepernick held his own workout for a half dozen N.F.L. scouts, but no team offered him a contract.

But when Commissioner Roger Goodell said last week in a video statement that the N.F.L. was wrong not to listen to players and encourage those who were protesting, he did not name Kaepernick. Until he does, players say the league’s efforts to fight the issues he raised will be viewed as insincere.

“They should mention him,” said Devin McCourty, a safety on the New England Patriots and a member of the Players Coalition. “This was the one guy who did something, and when you came out and talked about peaceful protest, it started with one guy.”

Other players want more than an apology — they want a team to sign Kaepernick. Malcolm Jenkins, a safety on the New Orleans Saints, this week called for the league to apologize and assign Kaepernick to a team. That will be tricky, requiring a coach and team owner willing to absorb the inevitable news media attention that would follow and even potential criticism from President Trump, who has reiterated that players should stand for the anthem.

“Is there an N.F.L. owner willing to take the chance and break ranks?” said Charles K. Ross, the director of the African-American Studies program at Ole Miss and the author of “Outside the Lines: African Americans and the Integration of the N.F.L.” “I know N.F.L. owners are really focused on playing football, but there are some larger issues at stake.”

Recognizing Kaepernick is seemingly the only concrete action that has widespread agreement among players. With momentum built, less fear of reprisal from owners, the league or fans, and an unusual amount of time away from the field because of stay-at-home restrictions, players want to get more involved in societal change. The only question is: What’s next?

Some want to double down on the many initiatives already established. In 2019, the league started a program called Inspire Change that directs millions of dollars in donations to groups focused on “police-community relations, criminal justice reform, and education and economic advancement.” On Thursday, the N.F.L. said it was nearly tripling the size of its commitment to the program, pledging to spend up to $250 million over 10 years. (The league has already distributed $44 million.)

The Players Coalition, which split progressive players when it began in 2017, has drawn widening support for justice reform measures in recent months. Quarterback Tom Brady, who has been friends with Donald Trump for many years, last month added his name to the group's call for Attorney General William P. Barr to investigate the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery. The Players Coalition amassed 1,400 signatures to a letter urging Congress to pass a bill that would end qualified immunity for public officials, including police officers. The signees included quarterback Drew Brees, who last week reversed course on his condemnation of players protesting during the national anthem.

Players on other teams have focused on increasing their work on the local level, through their teams’ social justice committees. The Minnesota Vikings, for instance, have in the past accompanied students to Washington, D.C. to visit the Holocaust Museum and the National Museum of African-American History and Culture, and work with All Square, a group in Minneapolis that helps people leaving jail find work.

On Wednesday the team announced that it had established a college scholarship in George Floyd’s name for African-American students, helped clean neighborhoods hit by destructive protests and met with the city’s police chief. Ameer Abdullah, a running back on the team, on Wednesday told reporters that he expected players to encourage citizens to vote in the presidential elections in November.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who took part in a player-led video that pushed the N.F.L. to support their protest and include “Black Lives Matter” messaging in its statement, said he and his teammates would meet next week to come up with ways to increase voter registration. He said they wanted to “get as many people registered to vote so they can go and try to affect change in every way they feel possible.”

Others players, including some on the Denver Broncos and the Jaguars, have attended protests. Justin Simmons, a safety on the Broncos, encouraged a crowd in downtown Denver on Saturday to discuss the racism African-Americans face, no matter how uncomfortable.

“We as a black community need our white brothers and sisters to explain to the rest of the white brothers and sisters out there what it means for black lives to matter,” Simmons said. “It doesn’t matter your platform, your sphere of influence in your life — the people around you matter. Those are tough conversations to have, but they need to be had.”

In some cases, team owners have supported the players and their initiatives. But Devin McCourty said players must find their own solutions and not rely on the N.F.L., which has its own agenda.

“I truly believe the N.F.L. is public-opinion based and puts out statements to make the public happy,” he said. “You didn’t see them support the players in 2016 because it wouldn’t make someone happy. Now, the question is how involved they are.”

Jason McCourty, his twin brother and teammate, said the best thing the league could do was not stand in the way of the players.

“At the end of the day, allowing players to use their platforms is enough,” he said. “When it comes to big businesses, they will do the things that will keep them making money. It comes down to the players.”

The McCourty brothers have raised millions of dollars to help families fighting sickle-cell anemia and lobbied lawmakers in Massachusetts to reform the state’s juvenile penal system. Devin McCourty’s support for Boston Uncornered, an organization that helps people involved in gangs go to college, got a lift from Robert and Jonathan Kraft, the owners of the Patriots, who donated $100,000 to the group.

The brothers said they did not expect every player to be as involved as they are. But participation takes many forms.

“For some guys, it might be adding your name to a petition or sending a letter,” Devin said.

Other stars not known for their activism have also been taking action. Dak Prescott, the Dallas Cowboys quarterback, promised to give $1 million to improve police training and address racism through education. Matt Ryan, the Atlanta Falcons quarterback, pledged $500,000 toward his goal of raising $2 million in donations. (So far, he has raised $1.2 million.) Ryan will meet with leaders in the African-American community in Atlanta to decide how the money can be best used.

“When you’re listening to players or the protesters, one of the messages that comes across is you can’t continue to be silent,” said Ryan, whose charitable efforts have mostly focused on supporting children’s hospitals. “I’m not sure of the solution, but I’m trying to rectify that.”



3) Yes, We Mean Literally Abolish the Police
Because reform won’t happen.
"We should redirect the billions that now go to police departments toward providing health care, housing, education and good jobs. If we did this, there would be less need for the police in the first place."
By Mariame Kaba, June 12, 2020
Illustration by Nicholas Konrad; photograph by Getty Images

Congressional Democrats want to make it easier to identify and prosecute police misconduct; Joe Biden wants to give police departments $300 million. But efforts to solve police violence through liberal reforms like these have failed for nearly a century.

Enough. We can’t reform the police. The only way to diminish police violence is to reduce contact between the public and the police.

There is not a single era in United States history in which the police were not a force of violence against black people. Policing in the South emerged from the slave patrols in the 1700 and 1800s that caught and returned runaway slaves. In the North, the first municipal police departments in the mid-1800s helped quash labor strikes and riots against the rich. Everywhere, they have suppressed marginalized populations to protect the status quo.

So when you see a police officer pressing his knee into a black man’s neck until he dies, that’s the logical result of policing in America. When a police officer brutalizes a black person, he is doing what he sees as his job.

Now two weeks of nationwide protests have led some to call for defunding the police, while others argue that doing so would make us less safe.

The first thing to point out is that police officers don’t do what you think they do. They spend most of their time responding to noise complaints, issuing parking and traffic citations, and dealing with other noncriminal issues. We’ve been taught to think they “catch the bad guys; they chase the bank robbers; they find the serial killers,” said Alex Vitale, the coordinator of the Policing and Social Justice Project at Brooklyn College, in an interview with Jacobin. But this is “a big myth,” he said. “The vast majority of police officers make one felony arrest a year. If they make two, they’re cop of the month.”

We can’t simply change their job descriptions to focus on the worst of the worst criminals. That’s not what they are set up to do.

Second, a “safe” world is not one in which the police keep black and other marginalized people in check through threats of arrest, incarceration, violence and death.

I’ve been advocating the abolition of the police for years. Regardless of your view on police power — whether you want to get rid of the police or simply to make them less violent — here’s an immediate demand we can all make: Cut the number of police in half and cut their budget in half. Fewer police officers equals fewer opportunities for them to brutalize and kill people. The idea is gaining traction in Minneapolis, Dallas, Los Angeles and other cities.

History is instructive, not because it offers us a blueprint for how to act in the present but because it can help us ask better questions for the future.

The Lexow Committee undertook the first major investigation into police misconduct in New York City in 1894. At the time, the most common complaint against the police was about “clubbing” — “the routine bludgeoning of citizens by patrolmen armed with nightsticks or blackjacks,” as the historian Marilynn Johnson has written.

The Wickersham Commission, convened to study the criminal justice system and examine the problem of Prohibition enforcement, offered a scathing indictment in 1931, including evidence of brutal interrogation strategies. It put the blame on a lack of professionalism among the police.

After the 1967 urban uprisings, the Kerner Commission found that “police actions were ‘final’ incidents before the outbreak of violence in 12 of the 24 surveyed disorders.” Its report listed a now-familiar set of recommendations, like working to build “community support for law enforcement” and reviewing police operations “in the ghetto, to ensure proper conduct by police officers.”

These commissions didn’t stop the violence; they just served as a kind of counterinsurgent function each time police violence led to protests. Calls for similar reforms were trotted out in response to the brutal police beating of Rodney King in 1991 and the rebellion that followed, and again after the killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. The final report of the Obama administration’s President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing resulted in procedural tweaks like implicit-bias training, police-community listening sessions, slight alterations of use-of-force policies and systems to identify potentially problematic officers early on.

But even a member of the task force, Tracey Meares, noted in 2017, “policing as we know it must be abolished before it can be transformed.”

The philosophy undergirding these reforms is that more rules will mean less violence. But police officers break rules all the time. Look what has happened over the past few weeks — police officers slashing tires, shoving old men on camera, and arresting and injuring journalists and protesters. These officers are not worried about repercussions any more than Daniel Pantaleo, the former New York City police officer whose chokehold led to Eric Garner’s death; he waved to a camera filming the incident. He knew that the police union would back him up and he was right. He stayed on the job for five more years.

Minneapolis had instituted many of these “best practices” but failed to remove Derek Chauvin from the force despite 17 misconduct complaints over nearly two decades, culminating in the entire world watching as he knelt on George Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes.

Why on earth would we think the same reforms would work now? We need to change our demands. The surest way of reducing police violence is to reduce the power of the police, by cutting budgets and the number of officers.

But don’t get me wrong. We are not abandoning our communities to violence. We don’t want to just close police departments. We want to make them obsolete.

We should redirect the billions that now go to police departments toward providing health care, housing, education and good jobs. If we did this, there would be less need for the police in the first place.

We can build other ways of responding to harms in our society. Trained “community care workers” could do mental-health checks if someone needs help. Towns could use restorative-justice models instead of throwing people in prison.

What about rape? The current approach hasn’t ended it. In fact most rapists never see the inside of a courtroom. Two-thirds of people who experience sexual violence never report it to anyone. Those who file police reports are often dissatisfied with the response. Additionally, police officers themselves commit sexual assault alarmingly often. A study in 2010 found that sexual misconduct was the second most frequently reported form of police misconduct. In 2015, The Buffalo News found that an officer was caught for sexual misconduct every five days.

When people, especially white people, consider a world without the police, they envision a society as violent as our current one, merely without law enforcement — and they shudder. As a society, we have been so indoctrinated with the idea that we solve problems by policing and caging people that many cannot imagine anything other than prisons and the police as solutions to violence and harm.

People like me who want to abolish prisons and police, however, have a vision of a different society, built on cooperation instead of individualism, on mutual aid instead of self-preservation. What would the country look like if it had billions of extra dollars to spend on housing, food and education for all? This change in society wouldn’t happen immediately, but the protests show that many people are ready to embrace a different vision of safety and justice.

When the streets calm and people suggest once again that we hire more black police officers or create more civilian review boards, I hope that we remember all the times those efforts have failed.



4) I’m a Black American. I Had to Get Out.
The racism was too much. I fled.
By Tiffanie Drayton, June 12, 2020

Toyin Ojih Odutola. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

LAMBEAU, Trinidad and Tobago — I watched the video of George Floyd taking his last breaths under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer while scrolling through Facebook early one morning here. The sound of crashing waves and my children’s giggles created the soundtrack for the devastating images.

My mother came out onto our sunny front patio, a cup of coffee in one hand and phone in the other. She also had news to share.

“They turned the unit I worked on into a Covid unit,” she blurted out. Everyone at her old hospital, she said, was complaining there wasn’t enough personal protective equipment.

If she hadn’t moved from New Jersey to join me here, just months before the coronavirus pandemic took hold in the United States, she would have been working as a nurse on the front lines of a war with a disease that has disproportionately claimed the lives of people of color and health care workers like her.

Our decision to leave the United States has spared us from so much suffering and danger.

“Mom,” I said, “we are refugees.”

In 2013, when George Zimmerman was found not guilty of second degree murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin — a black child gunned down in his own neighborhood, branded a thug in a hoodie — I knew I had to leave America.

The racism that had become all too familiar to me as a black woman was too much to bear. I packed my things, made sure to secure a few online writing gigs and moved in with my sister in Maraval, on the island of Trinidad. She’d moved from the States a few months earlier, after struggling to find work or afford a place of her own there, and secured a job with a government ministry and a two-bedroom apartment. I settled easily.

Still, as the Black Lives Matter movement gained momentum over the next few years, I prayed from afar that America would finally allow black people the fair treatment they’d long fought for. Instead, white Americans fired back with “All Lives Matter” and “Blue Lives Matter,” and critics branded the group as “anti-police,” with some going so far as to accuse social justice advocates of inciting a “race war.”

I concluded America would never stop battling against its black citizenry.

It’s not that I didn’t have good experiences in the United States. Memories of my American childhood were once bright and vivid, like a flower-filled landscape painted in watercolor. Back in the 1990s, when I was 4, my mother moved to America from Trinidad and Tobago as a single parent with my two siblings and me. The first New Jersey neighborhood I called home was a bustling, diverse town just outside of New York City. The area was mostly Hispanic, but it also had both white and black residents. My family blended right in.

In school, I learned to pledge allegiance to the American flag.

“With liberty and justice for all,” I proudly recited every morning.

I was an honor-roll student who felt adored and supported by my teachers. I roamed the town with friends, stopping at the pizza parlor for a dollar slice, or the bodega for an empanada.

The brilliant American landscape painted in my childhood mind was ruined by anti-blackness as I grew older. The quest for security, stability and affordable housing left the biggest stains. Though my family loved that small New Jersey town, the steadily increasing cost of living forced us out.

We rented an apartment on the outskirts of a wealthy neighborhood in Orlando, Fla. For two years, I attended school there, taking honors classes with mostly white students, and playing tennis and soccer on well-funded, mostly white sports teams.

By then, at only 14 years old, I understood the code words of America’s school system. It was simple: “Bad” schools were majority black, “good” schools were majority white. Eventually, I learned that rule applied to almost everything in America.

My time in the “good” school was short. My family was once again priced out when our rental was turned into expensive condos.

By the time I was in college, my mother, tired of moving, purchased one of the few homes she could afford in New Jersey. That was her way of supporting my dream to study in New York City.

My memories of our new neighborhood are nightmarish, in ways that I now understand are the result of systemic racism: Police officers creeping through the night to raid the home next door. Poverty. Streets filled with dilapidated businesses and boarded-up foreclosed houses. The only colors that penetrate those dark memories are the blue and red lights of police vehicles parked on every other street corner, swirling all night long.

My mind had become monochromatic and plagued by a single question: Why was it so hard to have a good life as a black person in America?

I scanned history books for answers, only to find black pain, death and oppression. Slavery, black codes, lynching, Jim Crow, school segregation, redlining, drug wars, mass incarceration and gentrification. Assassinations, exiles, unending persecution. Black successes met with a storm of violence, like the surge of white supremacist hate after Reconstruction and even the election of Barack Obama.

The unfair banking practices that prevented black homeownership in the suburbs and the gentrification that reclaimed black cities for white people. Images of lifeless black bodies, casualties of war: black men and women hanging from trees; Emmett Till’s battered face; Martin Luther King lying in a pool of blood, his face half-covered by a white cloth; Malcolm X, mouth agape, dead on a stretcher.

America denies so many black people basic security, freedom and human dignity.

I had to run.

The privilege of dual citizenship afforded me sanctuary in Trinidad and Tobago. As I settled here, my life slowly became colorful and vibrant again. I paraded through the streets for Carnival in blue, teal and purple beads and feathers, surrounded by faces of every color — descendants of enslaved people from Africa, indentured servants from India, and the Amerindians who were here when Europeans arrived. I strolled through black neighborhoods with my two children in tow, with no concerns about whether we stood out as outsiders. I sat on my patio with my mother and sipped coffee, finally at peace.

And I gave myself space to mend my broken version of blackness.

But images on the news won’t let me forget why I fled: Michael Brown’s body rotting on the pavement. Sandra Bland’s hollow-faced mug shot captured before her death in police custody. Eric Garner slammed to the ground and put in a chokehold by a police officer over selling cigarettes.

By the time I caught wind of the pandemic on its way to the shores of America, I knew it spelled disaster for black Americans. I braced myself for more loss of life, more pain, and the sickening feeling of powerlessness. I felt consumed by guilt, watching from a place of relative safety.

When protests erupted over the death of George Floyd, I used social media to urge people of color back in the States to stay home instead of risking abuse and arrest or becoming infected with the virus and putting themselves at the mercy of a medical system that might disregard their suffering. One of my friends went anyway. I didn’t hear from him and was worried for days as I saw countless videos of police officers attacking protesters.

The United Nations defines refugees as people who flee their homes because of war, persecution or violence. My mother and I may not meet the formal criteria, but as I observe a country engulfed in disease, flames and justified rage, I tremble at the thought of ever returning.

I admire the strength of black people who remain in America and continue to endure. I hope and pray that one day they, too, will find freedom.



5) Target, Don’t Tell Me You ‘Stand With Black Families’
My autistic son tried to hug an employee. Did you really need a police officer on the scene?
By Doreen Oliver, June 12, 2020
Ms. Oliver is a writer and performer.

Illustration by The New York Times; photograph by Getty Images

UNION, N.J. — Last week, the Target Corporation sent out an email about its commitment to “social justice.” “We stand with black families,” it said. A year and half ago, when a police officer intervened after an incident involving my disabled African-American son in a Target store, our family didn’t even get an apology.

In December 2018, my sitter was shopping with our two boys when my older son tried to hug an employee, gleefully wrapping his arms around her neck. He was 13 at the time and has autism.

He’s not aware that hugging strangers could frighten someone, since he’s done it almost his entire life. When he was younger, folks were delighted by this sweet, gorgeous child who couldn’t put together sentences but showered them with affectionate hugs. But by age 13, he had grown to nearly six feet and his hugs were not as cute to some. His behavioral therapists and I were trying our best to eliminate hugging from his physical lexicon, but it takes people with autism a while to learn new behaviors.

“I’m sorry,” our sitter said immediately, and then again when my son tried to hug the employee once more. She explained that he has autism and is younger than he looks. It was our family protocol. Our son has trouble processing language and calculating his proximity to others, so if he bumps into someone or fails to step aside when asked, we apologize and explain his disability and age. People are usually understanding or, at worst, silent.

Not this time. My sitter remembers the employee responding, “That’s still so [expletive] weird,” pushing my child and then throwing her arm out as if to strike him. Fortunately, she missed.

Concerned for my children’s safety, our sitter told my younger son, then 10, to push the cart, instructed the elder to put his hands in his pockets, and escorted the kids out of Target and into the car.

Before she drove off, the sitter tried to connect to a Spotify playlist to calm everyone down, including herself. This would have been soothing to my 13-year-old. Music was his first language; he could sing before he could speak. But before she could find the “holiday music” he’d asked for, there was a knock at the window.

“Can you step out of the car?” the police officer said.

In the back seat, my 10-year-old anxiously peered through his red-rimmed glasses to watch our sitter answer the officer’s questions. I’d banned the news in our home, but he’d overheard public radio in my husband’s car, and was keenly aware of the police shootings of defenseless black people.

I’d tried everything I could to protect my children’s innocence and shield them from harm, even subconsciously curating their appearance to make them more palatable to even the most inhumane individuals in our society. I bought them skinny jeans instead of comfortable baggy ones and made sure they wore bright colors. But none of that matters. In thinking about my children being a car window away from a police officer and, I assume, a holstered gun, I understood that Target was also full of bright colors, and its logo, as red as my son’s glasses, was a bull’s-eye.

The sitter continued talking to the officer. “He’s 14 — no, 13,” she told him, flustered. “He has autism.” She said she’d informed the store as well.

When the officer finished with his questions, he asked the store managers who were waiting in the background if they felt a case should be pursued. There was a long silence as they mulled it over.

I won’t list the many black people, including children, who have been killed at the hands of self-described vigilantes or police officers — it’s all the news has been talking about since George Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis. That list feels interminable, especially when developmentally disabled people are added to it.

Last year, an off-duty police officer shot and killed a developmentally disabled man, and wounded his parents, in a California Costco. A few years earlier, Charles Kinsey, a black health care aide, was shot in the leg by the police while trying to help a 26-year-old with autism, Arnaldo Rios Soto. In that case, the policeman missed his target — the bullet was intended for the young autistic man who sat in the street playing with his toy truck.

The fact that our sitter is white is never lost on me when I think of that day at Target, and I suspect it offered some layer of protection for my children. The managers finally told the police officer to just let them go, but before our tearful sitter got back into the car, the officer checked in to see how she was doing. I have often wondered why he didn’t also ask about my children, as if they weren’t vulnerable or fragile, as if a part of their innocence hadn’t been shattered, as if it were impossible for terror to simmer beneath their young skin.

That afternoon, after I heard what had happened, I watched my older son play one of his original compositions over and over again on the piano, searching for residual cracks in his being. He is sensitive, perhaps more so than neurotypical folks. He can hear sounds at decibels most humans can’t, and his deepest feelings operate on frequencies many can’t detect. Before bed, I hugged him as long as he needed.

I cuddled my 10-year old as he shared with me how scared he was for his brother, how there were parts he couldn’t describe because he was too afraid to watch, how it made him nervous to see his sitter cry.

That my children — and so many black and brown children — had been needlessly confronted by law enforcement fed that teratoma of anger and anxiety growing inside me.

Shortly after, I shifted from nurturer to advocate. My son wasn’t the only one who needed to learn new ways of interacting with people. The Target supervisor my husband spoke to appeared dismissive, so I emailed the company’s chief executive, Brian Cornell, and other members of the leadership team. Eventually, a woman named Amy contacted me. She would not give me her last name.

I asked her: How could Target allow a situation to escalate after the store knows the customer is a child, particularly one with autism? What systems can you put in place to avoid having the police being involved in the future? Does Target train its employees on how to work with developmentally disabled customers? Yes, you must care about the safety of your employees, but shouldn’t you also care about the safety of your customers?

She said that Target had done a thorough investigation and that surveillance tapes showed that my oldest put his arms around the employee’s neck as if to choke her. A hug consists of putting one’s arms around someone’s neck, too, I pointed out, challenging her audacity. I asked to see the video; she said no. I asked her to call me back with real answers, reiterating that if I didn’t hear back I’d assume Target was not interested in our concerns. No one from Target ever got in touch with me again. I surmised that choking was their story.

The people and organizations that tried to protect those who killed the 17-year-olds Trayvon Martin and Antwon Rose II, and 12-year-old Tamir Rice, told stories, too. Stories that made beautiful children seem threatening and violent. Stories that justified their murders.

Today, companies are tripping over themselves to act as if they actually care about inequality and social justice for African-Americans. Why did it have to take burning stores and the prospect of financial distress for these businesses to start treating black people — or disabled people, or children, for God’s sake — with humanity?

Despite the onslaught of terrible news, my family and I, still quarantined together, bake chocolate-chip banana bread, my husband’s hands holding steady the bowl on our overused mixer while my kids pour in the ingredients. The boys jump and giggle on the trampoline, then eat blueberries under the late sun. My children will be happy. But my husband and I — and the black community — will stay vigilant.

Long after the news cycle makes its eventual turn away from issues concerning African-Americans, we’ll see whether these companies fulfill their promises or if, in fact, they’re just telling stories.

Doreen Oliver, who wrote and performs the one-woman show “Everything Is Fine Until It’s Not,” is working on a memoir.



6) Trump Administration Erases Transgender Civil Rights Protections in Health Care
A rule finalized on Friday by the Department of Health and Human Services means that the federal government no longer recognizes gender identity as an avenue for sex discrimination in health care.
By Margot Sanger-Katz and Noah Weiland, June 12, 2020
An empty hallway filled with gurneys at a hospital in Queens. The new rule will erase protections for transgender patients against discrimination in the health care sector. Credit...Erin Schaff/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Friday finalized a regulation that will erase protections for transgender patients against discrimination by doctors, hospitals and health insurance companies, a move announced on the four-year anniversary of the massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando and in the middle of Pride Month.

The rule, which does not differ much from a proposed version released last year, is part of a broad Trump administration effort across multiple areas of policy — including education, housing, and employment, as well as health care — to narrow the legal definition of sex discrimination so that it does not include protections for transgender people.

The Affordable Care Act, the 2010 law often known as Obamacare, established broad civil rights protections in health care, barring discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability in “any health program or activity” that receives federal financial assistance.

The Obama administration interpreted the provision about sex discrimination to include discrimination on the basis of “gender identity.” Under the original 2016 rule, health care providers and insurers would have been required to provide and cover medically appropriate treatment for transgender patients.

Roger Severino, the director of the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services, the unit responsible for the rule, said in an interview Friday that the move was “equivalent to housekeeping,” and that the federal government was “updating our books to reflect the legal reality” that sex discrimination language does not explicitly refer to the legal status of transgender people.

The Obama rule has been tied up in litigation for several years, and the Trump administration has declined to enforce it, citing a court ruling from a judge in Fort Worth. That means that the final rule does not have any immediate practical effects. Other courts that considered identical legal questions found in favor of the Obama administration’s interpretation.

Mr. Severino, who attained prominence as a social conservative before joining the Trump administration, said that health providers were still free to adopt their own gender identity policies, as were health insurers.

“It’s not the role of the federal bureaucrat to impose their own meanings on the words that their representatives have enshrined into law,” he said.

Mr. Severino defended the timing of the rule’s release during Pride Month and on the Pulse massacre anniversary, saying it was “purely coincidental.”

Transgender rights advocates criticized the timing for another reason: the coronavirus.

“It’s really, really horrendous to not only gut nondiscrimination protections, but to gut nondiscrimination protections in the middle of a pandemic,” said Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, the deputy executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. “This rule opens a door for a medical provider to turn someone away for a Covid-19 test just because they happen to be transgender.”

The announcement also prompted an outcry from the Human Rights Campaign, a prominent lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer advocacy group, which said it plans to sue the Trump administration.

“We will not let this attack on our basic right to be free from discrimination in health care go unchallenged. We will see them in court, and continue to challenge all of our elected officials to rise up against this blatant attempt to erode critical protections people need and sanction discrimination,” the organization said in a statement.

Mr. Severino, who spent seven years in civil-rights enforcement at the Justice Department and once oversaw the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at the Heritage Foundation, said that the Trump administration would defend the decision in court.

Mr. Severino has extensive experience litigating religious liberty cases. His current office is responsible for investigating discriminatory violations in health care.

Katie M. Keith, who teaches health law at Georgetown University and has closely tracked this area of civil rights law, said the rule finalized Friday needed to be seen as part of a broad pattern of regulatory changes that eliminate civil rights protections for transgender people and establishes a definition of sex as being biologically determined at birth. That idea “is what they are pushing forward on all of these different policy angles across different agencies,” she said.

Rolling back the health care rule has been a cause for social conservatives since its implementation, including Mr. Severino, who criticized it while at the Heritage Foundation. They have accused the Obama administration of coercing doctors into sexual reassignment operations, procedures that are typically handled by specialists. Another rule issued by Mr. Severino’s office last year would provide additional “conscience” protections for health care workers with religious or moral objections to certain types of care. That rule has been voided by several federal courts.

The rule also reverses other provisions of the original Obama-administration interpretation of the statute. It eliminates anti-discrimination protections for patients with a history of pregnancy termination. And it rolls back requirements that providers and insurers must routinely notify patients about the availability of foreign language translations of important documents.



7) Ex-Officer Accused of Murdering Floyd Could Get $50,000 Annual Pension
A conviction would not stop Derek Chauvin from receiving his state pension. But George Floyd’s family could potentially seize the funds by winning a lawsuit.
By Richard A. Oppel Jr., June 13, 2020

Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of George Floyd during an arrest.Credit...Kerem Yucel/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Even if the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is found guilty of murdering George Floyd, he will qualify to receive what could amount to around $50,000 a year in state pension payments.

But how much of that money he will see is less certain: Members of Mr. Floyd’s family, who are expected to file a wrongful-death lawsuit against Mr. Chauvin and the city, may be able to seize his pension distributions if they obtain a sizable judgment.

Some states force public employees who are convicted of serious crimes to forfeit their state pensions. But Minnesota does not, and the agency that distributes them said that could be changed only by legislative action.

Former employees qualify for benefits “if they meet length-of-service requirements, regardless of whether termination of employment was voluntary or involuntary,” the agency, the Minnesota Public Employees Retirement Association, said in a statement. “Under state law, being charged or convicted of a crime does not impact a member’s benefit.”

Mr. Chauvin, 44, faces up to 40 years in prison if he is convicted of second-degree murder. He was a 19-year veteran of the Minneapolis police force before being fired, paying into a state pension system in which 40 percent of contributions come from employees and 60 percent come from the police and other public employers.

If he chooses to wait until turning 55 to receive full retirement benefits, state officials say the formula for his pension checks would multiply his years of service by 3 percent, and then multiply that number by the average of his five highest annual salaries. Choosing to receive benefits at age 50 would result in a stream of smaller payments.

In other words, an officer who had 20 years of credited service with an average salary of $80,000 during the five highest-paid years would be eligible for an annual pension payout of $48,000 at age 55, or $4,000 per month.

After analyzing police payroll, salary and contract information, CNN estimated that Mr. Chauvin’s annual payments would be around $50,000 or more if he elected to begin receiving distributions at age 55.

On Friday, L. Chris Stewart, a lawyer for Mr. Floyd’s daughter Gianna Floyd, and Gianna’s mother, Roxie Washington, called for changes to police pension laws.

“Pensions are one of the leading reasons officers are not concerned about being terminated. It’s one of the root causes in some of the most horrific cases we see,” Mr. Stewart said in a statement. “The laws must change regarding pensions. If an officer is fired or arrested, they must either lose their pension entirely or have it reduced substantially.”

If Mr. Floyd’s family were to win a judgment against Mr. Chauvin, they would not be allowed to directly garnish his future benefits, which are shielded while they are still in the state pension system, said Amy Monahan, a professor at the University of Minnesota law school.

But once the checks start landing in Mr. Chauvin’s bank account, Mr. Floyd’s family might then be able to seize them.

“Once the money leaves the pension system, it could be available to creditors, so the protection is only when that money is still in the system,” Professor Monahan said.

Even so, the potential outcomes could be even murkier. It is not clear whether Mr. Floyd’s family or other creditors would have to seek court orders every month to seize monthly pension distributions, she said. Or what would happen if Mr. Chauvin ever sought bankruptcy protection from creditors if he were faced with a large judgment.



8) An 8-Year-Old Boy Tried to Pay With Toy Money. It’s Now on a Swiss Police File.
The child had his mug shot taken after trying to use a fake €50 bill at a local shop. The incident will be on police records until at least 2025.
By Elian Peltier and Christopher F. Schuetze, June 12, 2020
Monopoly money.

PARIS — When an 8-year-old boy walked into a village supermarket in northern Switzerland last month and tried to pay with a fake €50 bill, it seemed like mere childhood mischief.

The bill, with large Chinese lettering on it, was clearly toy money. The cashier immediately spotted it and threatened to call the police as the boy, along with a friend, left the store to meet his 10-year-old brother who was waiting outside.

It could have ended there. But after a police officer launched an investigation into the boy, took his mug shot and filed a report on the incident, it will now be on police records until at least 2025.

The episode in Diegten, a village of around 1,500 people, has become a source of head shaking and a matter of embarrassment for regional politicians, who debated the issue in the district’s Parliament on Thursday after the story was reported by Swiss news outlets this week.

The toy bills were Chinese joss paper, or “spirit money,” that had been distributed at a local festival earlier this year, and resembled crude euro bills. (Switzerland’s currency is the Swiss franc.)

According to an account by the boy’s family, the children forgot about the encounter until weeks later, when the local police arrived.

Following internal rules that require employees at the supermarket chain the children visited to report suspected counterfeit payments, the cashier had alerted the police, who examined the store’s security footage.

A police officer called the boy’s family on May 28 to inform them that he would visit, and told the boy’s mother that he was investigating an “official offense,” according to the family.

Instead of ending with a metaphorical slap on the wrist, it resulted in a police visit to the family home, an upcoming appointment at social services and a distressed 8-year-old asking his mother whether he would be going to jail, the family said. The police officer confiscated more toy bank notes during the visit and took mug shots of the two brothers.

The children’s identities have not been disclosed by the police or the Swiss news media to protect their privacy.

A spokesman for the regional police said in a statement that the officer had come to clarify whether the counterfeit money was being used deliberately and whether the children’s act was punishable by law.

Under Swiss law, children under 10 do not face penalties. The police spokesman said the officer had taken pictures to prove that the 8-year-old boy, and not his 10-year-old brother, had presented the fake bill.

“In retrospect, it was not absolutely necessary for the children to be photographed,” the spokesman added.

The police also said there had been a second incident later the same day in which the children returned to the store, but the police would not provide details “for reasons of personal protection.” The family denied that there had been a second incident.

Facing fallout in the local parliament in Basel-Landschaft on Thursday, Kathrin Schweizer, the government official who oversees the police department, maintained that while the photos were not necessary, the police had acted properly.

The supermarket chain, Volg, said in a statement that although the employee had followed instructions, a “different response would have been desirable” because of the children’s age.

“We tried to talk to the affected family and apologized in all forms,” said Tamara Scheibli, a spokeswoman for Volg.

In the comments section of the Basler Zeitung, a regional newspaper that first reported the story, dozens of readers commented on the absurdity of the situation and said the police should have apologized.

One reader's response, “Just burned my Monopoly game just to be on the safe side.”

Elian Peltier reported from Paris, and Christopher F. Schuetze from Berlin.



9) Atlanta Police Chief Resigns After Officer Shoots and Kills a Black Man
Rayshard Brooks had fallen asleep in his vehicle at a Wendy’s drive-through. He was shot after grabbing a Taser from an officer, the authorities said, prompting fresh unrest in the city.
By Richard Fausset, Johnny Diaz and Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, June 13, 2020

Rayshard Brooks via Stewart Tria Attorneys

ATLANTA — Less than 24 hours after a white police officer shot and killed an African-American man outside a fast-food restaurant, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta announced on Saturday that the city’s police chief had resigned.

Early on Sunday morning, Sgt. John Chafee, a spokesman for the Atlanta Police Department, said the officer who shot the man had been fired.

The shooting left many in the city once again incensed by the death of another black man at the hands of the police — and nervous about the potential for more destructive flare-ups. By Saturday night, protesters had blocked roads and an interstate near the restaurant, a Wendy’s, and apparently set it on fire, according to news reports, with police firing tear gas and flash grenades to try to disperse the crowd.

The authorities said the man, Rayshard Brooks, 27, had run from the police on Friday night after failing a sobriety test and grabbing a Taser from an officer during a struggle with him. Ms. Bottoms said that security footage appeared to show that Mr. Brooks had fired the Taser toward the officer, who was chasing him before he was killed, but that she did not consider that a justification for the shooting.

“While there may be debate as to whether this was an appropriate use of deadly force, I firmly believe that there is a clear distinction between what you can do and what you should do,” Ms. Bottoms said. “I do not believe that this was a justified use of deadly force.”

Sergeant Chafee identified the officer in the shooting as Garrett Rolfe and said he had joined the department in October 2013. The other officer on the scene, Devin Brosnan, was placed on administrative duty, he added.

Ms. Bottoms’s rapid response to the fatal shooting signaled the heightened scrutiny facing law enforcement as a wave of protest against police violence continues in many cities around the country — a movement that has already prompted a number of changes to local police policies, as well as a broader conversation about the ongoing racism that people of color experience in the justice system and nearly every other facet of American life.

In the past, police shootings have rarely prompted such swift and dramatic responses. It is more common for city leaders to stand with the police and urge patience as prosecutors and the police departments themselves conduct reviews. The moves by Atlanta officials on Saturday may have been taken with an eye to the streets, in the hope of dampening a potentially explosive reaction like those that have engulfed many cities over the last several weeks.

The resignation of Atlanta’s police chief, Erika Shields, who is white, was the latest in a series of shake-ups at several large police departments amid the protests after the killing of Mr. Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. In Portland, Ore., Chief Jami Resch, who is white, stepped down this week, saying she wanted a top black lieutenant to replace her. And earlier this month, the mayor of Louisville, Ky., terminated the city’s police chief after his officers were among those who fired at the owner of a barbecue restaurant, who was black.

In Atlanta, a few nights of looting, destruction and tense stand offs with the police followed Mr. Floyd’s death, including an incident in which two college students were pulled by police officers from their car and tased, an encounter that was captured on video. But more recently, the protests in the southern city, as in much of the country, have been mostly peaceful, if no less spirited.

Antonio Brown, an African-American city councilman, has spent days organizing and leading peaceful protests through the city. “It’s like, all the work we’ve done — and then this happens,” Mr. Brown said.

The encounter at the Wendy’s began around 10:30 p.m. on Friday when police officers were called to the restaurant because Mr. Brooks had fallen asleep in his vehicle, which was parked in the drive-through, causing other customers to drive around him, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said in a statement.

Mr. Brooks failed a sobriety test, the authorities said, and then struggled with the officers as he was being arrested. A video posted on social media showed him grappling with the two officers who were trying to arrest him. One officer appeared to try to stun him with a Taser after Mr. Brooks threw a punch at him.

As Mr. Brooks ran away, appearing to hold the Taser, one officer chased after him, holding another stun gun. Then, in one video, several gunshots were heard.

The bureau initially said in a statement that witnesses described Mr. Brooks being shot “in the struggle over the Taser.” But on Saturday afternoon, after obtaining surveillance video from the restaurant and reviewing videos on social media, the bureau revised that account, saying it “was based on the officer’s body cam which was knocked off during the physical struggle, preventing the capture of the entire shooting incident.”

“During the chase, Mr. Brooks turned and pointed the Taser at the officer,” the bureau said, adding that “the officer fired his weapon, striking Brooks.”

Mr. Brooks was taken to a hospital, where he died after surgery, the authorities said. One officer was treated at a hospital for an injury and was later released.

L. Chris Stewart, a lawyer who was hired by the Brooks family, said repeatedly at a news conference Saturday night that a Taser was not considered a deadly weapon, and that there was no justification for the police to shoot Mr. Brooks just because he had one in his hands.

He also said that the police could have instead cornered Mr. Brooks and arrested him, instead of chasing him and shooting him. “His life was not in immediate harm when he fired that shot,” Mr. Stewart said of the officer.

He said the officers put on plastic gloves and picked up shell casings before rendering first aid to Mr. Brooks, and also did not check his pulse for more than two minutes after he was shot.

Mr. Brooks’s half-sister, Kiara Owens, 26, said in a phone interview that Mr. Brooks had been working a construction job and had five daughters, including two who were stepchildren, and a sixth daughter on the way. “All he wanted to do is work and come home to his kids,” she said. “The kids have been asking like, ‘Is Daddy coming home?’ And I can’t tell the kids nothing. I can’t tell them.”

The killing was particularly painful for a city sometimes called America’s Black Mecca for its cultural and economic importance to the lives of African-Americans, and its stature as one of the great spiritual and organizing centers of the civil rights movement.

Atlanta remains a majority-black city with significant African-American political representation and a large number of black police officers. That has created a complex interplay between protesters and city authorities as recent protests have unfolded.

Mayor Bottoms, who is African-American, earned widespread praise for her response to the unrest early on, speaking passionately about her role as a black mother and her fears for her black son. Her eloquence elevated her national stature, and put her on a list of potential vice-presidential picks for former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

Ms. Shields had also earned praise for her response to the street protests after Mr. Floyd’s death. Early on, she went out into the streets to speak — and listen — to demonstrators.

But the city’s response has also been marked by controversy and embarrassment, including an incident in which a young black man and black woman were tased and violently dragged from their cars by Atlanta police officers as protests raged downtown. The episode, on May 30, was captured by television reporters and transmitted live as it unfolded.

Two of the officers involved in that incident were fired, and four others were placed on administrative leave. Soon after, the local district attorney, Paul Howard, brought criminal charges against all six officers — a move that Chief Shields criticized in a departmental email that referred to Mr. Howard’s re-election bid, according to The Associated Press.

Ms. Shields, who was sworn in as chief in 2017, will be replaced by Rodney Bryant, a black man who has served as a top police deputy and recently took over as the interim head of the city’s jails, Ms. Bottoms said, adding that the city will launch a national search for a permanent replacement.

Ms. Bottoms said that Ms. Shields had decided to resign but would continue to work for the city in a role that was not yet determined. In a statement, Ms. Shields said she was stepping aside “out of a deep and abiding love for this city and this department,” so that they could “build trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”

On Saturday, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation released footage from a Wendy’s security camera that showed the last moments of the encounter between the police officers and Mr. Brooks. In the video, Mr. Brooks runs into the frame between two parked police S.U.V.s and a line of cars waiting in the drive-through lane. He appears to have something in his right hand, and he is followed by an officer who also has something in his hand.

While being chased, and in full stride, Mr. Brooks points the object he is holding at the officer. The officer then fires his handgun, and Mr. Brooks falls to the pavement.

Shortly before Ms. Bottoms’s announcement that Ms. Shields would step down, the N.A.A.C.P. called for the chief’s resignation. Rev. James Woodall, the president of its state chapter, said of Mr. Brooks, “there was nothing that he did that was deserving of death.”

“Our overall message is that we are done dying,” the reverend said. “We are done waking up at one or two in the morning to another murder or yet another case of police brutality.”

Richard Fausset reported from Atlanta, Johnny Diaz from Miami and Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs from Minneapolis. Jack Begg contributed research.



10) How Rayshard Brooks Was Fatally Shot by the Atlanta Police
One officer has been fired and another placed on administrative duty. A Times video analysis shows the sequence of events leading to the fatal shooting.
By Malachy Browne and Christina Kelso, June 14, 2020

Police officers in Atlanta performed a sobriety test on Rayshard Brooks late Friday. Mr. Brooks was fatally shot while fleeing the scene after a tussle with the officers.Credit...Kiara Owens, via Facebook

The Atlanta Police Department said early Sunday that an officer had been fired over the fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks, 27, at a Wendy’s restaurant. The officer, Garrett Rolfe, who had worked with the department since 2013, fired his handgun three times while he was chasing Mr. Brooks, who the authorities said had seized a Taser from an officer and fired it as he ran. Another officer on the scene, Devin Brosnan, who has been with the department for less than two years, was placed on administrative duty.

The Times analyzed eyewitness videos and security camera footage of the events to determine what happened in the minutes preceding Mr. Brooks’s death. We synchronized the footage to determine precisely when Officer Rolfe fired his gun, and we reviewed other details of the shooting released by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Here’s a detailed breakdown of how events unfolded:

At 10:33 p.m. Friday, police officers were called to Wendy’s restaurant at 125 University Ave. in South Atlanta. Mr. Brooks had fallen asleep in his vehicle, which was parked in the drive-through, causing other customers to drive around him, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said in a statement.

The chronology below uses the time-stamp displayed on security camera footage recorded at Wendy’s, which was released by the bureau. We have been unable to confirm whether the security camera’s time-stamp is correct.

10:54 p.m. Officer Brosnan is already at the scene when Officer Rolfe pulls up in an S.U.V. Officer Rolfe exits the driver’s side of the vehicle and joins Officer Brosnan.

Officer Brosnan and Officer Rolfe are at the scene for at least 25 minutes before the shooting happens. They perform a sobriety test on Mr. Brooks, as we can see in this video filmed by a witness, who was in line at the drive-through.

11:22 p.m. According to the G.B.I., Mr. Brooks failed the sobriety test, and the officers attempted to take him into custody. Less than a minute later, Mr. Brooks was shot.

Video filmed by another witness shows Mr. Brooks grappling with the officers on the ground. He seizes a Taser from Officer Brosnan, stands up and punches Officer Rolfe. Officer Rolfe fires his Taser gun three times. The darts hit Mr. Brooks, and Officer Rolfe continues trying to stun him.

Mr. Brooks runs away, holding Officer Brosnan’s Taser gun. Officer Rolfe gives chase, and continues to try to stun Mr. Brooks.

The security camera footage filmed at Wendy’s shows Officer Rolfe chasing Mr. Brooks. In seconds, Officer Rolfe passes his Taser from his right hand to his left hand, and reaches for his handgun.

While being chased, and in full stride, Mr. Brooks looks behind him, points the Taser he is holding in Officer Rolfe’s direction and fires it. The flash of the Taser suggests that Mr. Brooks did not fire it with any real accuracy.

Officer Rolfe discards the Taser he is carrying, draws his handgun and fires it three times at Mr. Brooks as he is running away. Mr. Brooks falls to the ground. Warning: this footage is disturbing.

11:23 p.m. For the next minute, Officer Rolfe and Officer Brosnan stand over Mr. Brooks, who is injured but moving on the ground, and occasionally reach down to him. Officer Brosnan appears to use his radio. Neither officer appears to provide medical assistance to Mr. Brooks. Another police car arrives at the scene.

11:24 p.m. Another video shows Officer Rolfe running back to his S.U.V. and calling for help over his radio. Bystanders denounce the shooting to a third police officer who is at the scene.

11:25 p.m Officer Rolfe and Officer Brosnan begin to provide medical treatment. Officer Rolfe appears to unroll a bandage and place it on Mr. Brooks’s torso.

11:30 p.m. An ambulance arrives. Eight minutes later, Mr. Brooks is taken to a hospital, where he dies after surgery.

Muyi Xiao contributed research.



11) From Cosmetics to NASCAR, Calls for Racial Justice Are Spreading
What started as a renewed push for police reform has now touched seemingly every aspect of American life.
By Amy Harmon, Apoorva Mandavilli, Sapna Maheshwari and Jodi Kantor, June 13, 2020
Protesters marching through Manhattan on Monday.Credit...Demetrius Freeman for The New York Times

The reckonings have been swift and dizzying.

On Monday, it was the dictionary, with Merriam-Webster saying it was revising its entry on racism to illustrate the ways in which it “can be systemic.”

On Tuesday, the University of Washington removed the coach of its dance team after the only two black members of the group were cut. The two women were invited to return.

On Wednesday, after a black racecar driver called on NASCAR to ban the Confederate battle flag from its events, the organization did just that.

On Thursday, Nike joined a wave of American companies that have made Juneteenth, which celebrates the end of slavery in America, an official paid holiday, “to better commemorate and celebrate Black history and culture.”

And on Friday, ABC Entertainment named the franchise’s first black man to star in “The Bachelor” in the show’s 18-year history, acceding to longstanding demands from fans.

In just under three weeks since the killing of George Floyd set off widespread protests, what started as a renewed demand for police reform has now roiled seemingly every sphere of American life, prompting institutions and individuals around the country to confront enduring forms of racial discrimination.

Many black Americans have been inundated with testaments and queries from white friends about fighting racism. And anti-racist activists have watched with some amazement as powerful white leaders and corporations acknowledge concepts like “structural racism’’ and pledge to make sweeping changes in personal and institutional behavior.

But those who have been in the trenches for decades fighting racism in America wonder how lasting the soul searching will be.

The flood of corporate statements denouncing racism “feels like a series of mea culpas written by the press folks and run by the top black folks” inside each organization, said Dream Hampton, a writer and filmmaker. “Show us a picture of your C-suite, who is on your board. Then we can have a conversation about diversity, equity and inclusion.”

“Stop sending positive vibes,’’ begged Chad Sanders, a writer, in a recent New York Times Op-Ed, directing his white friends to instead help protect black protesters, donate to black politicians and funds fighting racial injustice, and urge others to do the same.

The protests have so far yielded some tangible changes in policing itself. On Friday, New York banned the use of chokeholds by law enforcement and repealed a law that kept police disciplinary records secret.

But their power is also cultural. A run on books about racism has reordered best-seller lists, driving titles like “How to Be an Antiracist’’ and “White Fragility’’ to the top. And language about American racial dynamics that was once the purview of academia and activism appears to have gone mainstream.

In a video released June 5 apologizing for the N.F.L.’s previous failure to support players who protested police violence, Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the league, condemned the “systematic oppression” of black people, a term used to convey that racism is embedded in the policies of public and private institutions. The Denver Board of Education, in voting to end its contract with the city police department for school resource officers, cited a desire to avoid the “perpetuation of the school-to-prison pipeline,” a reference to how school policies can lay the groundwork for the incarceration of young black Americans.

“One of the exhilarating things about this moment is that black people are articulating to the world that this isn’t just an issue of the state literally killing us, it’s also about psychic death,’’ said Jeremy O. Harris, a playwright whose “Slave Play” addresses the failure of white liberals to admit their complicity in America’s ongoing racial inequities.

He added, “It’s exhilarating because for the first time, in a macro sense, people are saying names and showing up and showing receipts.’’

Sensing a rare, and perhaps fleeting, opportunity to be heard, many black Americans are sharing painful stories on social media about racism and mistreatment in the workplace, accounts that some said they were too scared to disclose before. They are using hashtags like #BlackInTheIvory or #WeSeeYouWAT, referring to bias in academia and “White American Theater.”

The feeling of a dam breaking has drawn analogies to the fall and winter of 2017, when sexual abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein triggered a deluge of disturbing accounts from women and provoked frank conversations in which friends, colleagues and neighbors confessed to one another: I’ve suffered in that manner as well. Or: I now realize I have wronged someone, and I’d like to do better.

Though racism is hardly a secret, “a huge awakening is just the awareness of people who don’t face the headwinds,” said Drew Dixon, a music producer, activist and subject of the documentary “On the Record,” about her decision to come forward with rape allegations against the music producer Russell Simmons, which he has denied. “Many people had no idea what women deal with every single day, and I think many non-black people had no idea what black people deal with every day.”

A shift in the making

While the outpouring may seem sudden, there have been signs that perceptions on race were already in flux.

Opinion polls over the last decade have shown a self-reported turn by Democrats toward a more sympathetic view of black Americans, with more attributing disparities in areas like income and education to discrimination rather than personal failure. By 2018, white liberals said they felt more positively about blacks, Latinos and Asians than they did about whites.

The reason for the shift is unclear — and those attitudes have so far not translated into desegregated schools or neighborhoods — but may help explain the cascade of responses to Mr. Floyd’s killing.

The outpouring is also related to the horrific nature of Mr. Floyd’s death — a white police officer kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes — captured in a stark video at a moment of rising national frustration with the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown.

The protests still surging through the streets of America’s cities, said the civil rights movement scholar Aldon Morris, are “unprecedented in terms of the high levels of white participation in a movement targeting black oppression and grievances.”

Younger Americans are also much more racially diverse than earlier generations. They tend to have different views on race. And their imprint on society is only growing.

Brands trying to appeal to younger consumers have in recent years increasingly proclaimed their belief in equality and justice. Two years ago, Nike featured in a major ad campaign the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who knelt during the national anthem to protest racism. The tagline for MAC, the cosmetics company, is “All Ages, All Races, All Genders.”

In the wake of the Floyd protests, everyone from Wall Street C.E.O.s and the sportswear giant Adidas to the fruit snack Gushers and a company that sells stun guns put out statements of support of diversity, flooding Instagram with vague messages.

These prompted cries of hypocrisy from those who said the companies don’t practice the values they’re espousing.

At several companies, what employees saw as an inadequate response to Mr. Floyd’s death seemed to serve as a catalyst for a long-simmering contention over questions of racial equity. At Adidas, dozens of employees stopped working to attend daily protests outside the company’s North American headquarters in Portland, Ore.

The tumult has been especially fraught at Estée Lauder, the beauty giant, stemming from the political donations of Ronald S. Lauder, a 76-year-old board member and a son of the company’s founders. He has also been a prominent supporter of President Trump.

On May 29, employees at Estée Lauder, like those in much of the rest of corporate America, began receiving emails from the company’s leadership addressing racial discrimination.

There was “considerable pain” in black communities, one missive noted. According to copies of the internal communications obtained by The New York Times, the company, whose vast portfolio includes Clinique, MAC, Bobbi Brown, La Mer and Aveda, encouraged employees to pause working on June 2 in honor of “Blackout Tuesday.”

At a video meeting on June 4 among an internal group called NOBLE, or Network of Black Leaders and Executives, company leaders said Estée Lauder was donating $1 million to support racial and social justice organizations. But employees pinpointed Mr. Lauder’s political donations to Mr. Trump as being in conflict with the company’s stance on race. The president has tweeted conspiracy theories about injured protesters, described demonstrators as “THUGS,” and praised most law enforcement officers as “great people.”

Employees left dissatisfied. Later that night, a petition appeared on Change.org.

The company’s donation did “not match, or exceed Ronald Lauder’s personal donations in support of state-sanctioned violence,” organizers of the petition, which has amassed more than 6,000 signatures, wrote. “Ronald Lauder’s involvement with the Estée Lauder Companies is damaging to our corporate values, our relationship with the Black community, our relationship with this company’s Black employees, and this company’s legacy.”

In his first public comment on the situation, Mr. Lauder told The Times in a statement Friday that he had spent decades “fighting anti-Semitism, hate and bigotry in all its forms in New York and around the world as president of the World Jewish Congress.”

“As a country, we must recommit ourselves to the fight against anti-Semitism and racism,” he said. “In this urgent moment of change, I am expanding the scope of my anti-Semitism campaign to include causes for racial justice, especially in the Black community, as well as other forms of dangerous ethnic and religious intolerance around the world.”

On Monday, Estée Lauder said it would donate $5 million in coming weeks to “support racial and social justice and to continue to support greater access to education,” and donate an additional $5 million over the following two years.

Other companies have also pledged money. On Thursday alone, PayPal, Apple and YouTube collectively pledged $730 million to racial justice and equity efforts.

Jobs on the line

As companies face restive employees, pressure has also grown to remove those who have made offensive statements. Others have had to apologize publicly. Adam Rapoport resigned as editor in chief of the magazine Bon Appétit on Monday after a 2004 photo showing him in an offensive costume resurfaced on social media.

And Greg Glassman, the founder and chief executive of CrossFit, stepped down on Tuesday following comments about race and racism on a Zoom call to gym owners.

“We’re not mourning for George Floyd, I don’t think me or any of my staff are,” said Mr. Glassman on the Zoom call, according to a recording of the call provided to The Times.

“Can you tell me why I should mourn for him?” he said. “Other than it’s the ‘white’ thing to do. I get that pressure, but give me another reason.”

NBCUniversal, a division of Comcast that includes the NBC broadcast network and cable channels like Bravo, has encountered fires on multiple fronts as the reckoning has swept the country.

For NBC, the problems started the morning after Mr. Floyd’s death, when Jimmy Fallon found himself under attack on Twitter for performing in blackface on “Saturday Night Live” in 2000. A video of the sketch had resurfaced online. Mr. Fallon, who has been an NBC star for 22 years, first at “SNL” and more recently leading the “Tonight” show, issued a written apology that afternoon. He apologized at length on camera the following day.

On June 2, a writer was fired from an upcoming NBC series, “Law & Order: Organized Crime,” after posting photos of himself on Facebook holding a weapon and threatening to “light up” looters.

Then came an explosion from NBCUniversal’s cable division. The hit reality series “Vanderpump Rules,” an anchor tenant on Bravo since 2013, fired four cast members for past racist behavior. Some of the incidents were already known. Others were disclosed on Instagram after Mr. Floyd’s death.

On June 8, Brian Roberts, Comcast’s chief executive, said in a memo to employees that the company would give $75 million to social justice organizations, along with $25 million worth of advertising inventory, including on Sky, its pay-television unit in Britain.

“We know that Comcast alone can’t remedy this complex issue,” Mr. Roberts wrote. “But you have my commitment that our company will try to play an integral role in driving lasting reform.”

A ‘boiling point’

Late last Saturday night, two women who study black health and communication were talking to each other, for what seemed like the thousandth time, about the racism they have encountered in their careers.

The killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and too many others had brought them to a “boiling point,” recalled one of the women, Joy Melody Woods, a graduate student at Moody College of Communication. But the national conversation was still focused primarily on police brutality.

“That’s not the only system that perpetuates white supremacy,” Ms. Woods said. “There are other systems, and academia is one of those.”

Ms. Woods called on black scholars to begin sharing their experiences using the hashtag #BlackInTheIvory, which her friend Shardé M. Davis, an assistant professor at the University of Connecticut, had just coined.

The women went to sleep that night, not knowing they had opened the floodgates. The hashtag was trending by Sunday night, and as of Thursday evening had collected nearly 90,000 tweets.

The stories of exclusion, humiliation and hostility were all too familiar. But the difference was that they had mostly been shared behind closed doors. In the past, nonblack colleagues could be sympathetic but were more often dismissive or worse, sometimes labeling a black colleague as “difficult.”

“What feels different this time is that white folks are listening,” Dr. Davis said.

Particularly important, she and others said, is that white scholars seem to be having conversations about racism in their institutions without a black colleague around to prompt or guide them.

“You need to be willing to get in the mix and have the conversation and not expect us to hold your hand through the whole thing — and so maybe that’s something that is beginning to gain momentum,” said Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, a theoretical physicist and feminist scholar at the University of New Hampshire.

There’s a tendency among nonblack scholars to view their black colleagues as exempt from police brutality and violent hate crimes. But, Dr. Prescod-Weinstein said, “That sense of safety isn’t real — our Ph.D.s are not bulletproof.”

The danger is particularly acute for black naturalists, as shown in the recent incident with Christian Cooper, the birder in Central Park who asked a white woman to leash her dog, only to have her call 911.

“Our job means going into the field and being visible and moving in spaces that are not always welcoming to us,” said Earyn McGee, a herpetologist and birder at the University of Arizona. “We understood what the danger was.”

The viral video prompted Ms. McGee and others to organize #BlackBirdersWeek. Jeffrey Ward, a co-organizer and well-known birder, said he always keeps his binoculars visible to reassure people who act fearful when they see him. After two police officers followed and questioned him two years ago at Crotona Park in the Bronx, he recalled, he told some white friends. They were sympathetic then, but seem to better grasp the breadth and gravity of systemic racism now, he said.

“They reached out to me and said, ‘We didn’t understand it was this serious. We apologize for not listening to you before.’”

Dr. Prescod-Weinstein was one of several researchers who called for a strike on Wednesday to protest racism in science. Nearly 6,000 scientists, professional societies and institutions pledged to join.

But she also noted that academic institutions are unrelentingly hierarchical and resistant to change.

As a postdoctoral fellow at M.I.T., Dr. Prescod-Weinstein was the only black physicist with a Ph.D. in a department of about 100. Students of color sought her out for advice and mentoring, she said — unpaid labor that she was never recognized or compensated for — and they felt the pressure of having to represent their entire race.

“That kind of pressure is extraordinary,” she said.

Inequity in universities manifests at multiple levels. Black academics are disproportionately hired to positions with weaker long-term prospects. They receive fewer grants, and their papers are cited less often.

Changing these systems will take “an incredible amount of energy at the right pressure points in the system,” said Dr. Kafui Dzirasa, a psychiatrist at Duke University.

For any system — say, applying for grants from the National Institutes of Health — making things more equitable would come at a cost, either to the system or to nonblack applicants. “And that’s the cost that it’s unclear if the system is ready to take on,” Dr. Dzirasa said.

Dr. Davis was more blunt.

“We’ve received nothing but empty platitudes and empty promises, and the wound just scabs right back up,” she said. “We’re walking around in institutions with a whole bunch of Band-Aids and scabbed-over wounds. Enough, enough.”

Brooks Barnes contributed reporting. Susan Beachy contributed research.



12) A Black Man Was Found Hanging From a Tree, and a Community Demands Answers
Robert Fuller’s sister said on Saturday that the initial determination by officials that her brother died by suicide did not make sense.
By Michael Levenson and Jenny Gross, June 13, 2020
Mr. Robert L. Fuller’s death was initially deemed a suicide by officials, but protesters are calling for an independent investigation. Credit...via GoFundMe.com

City officials in Palmdale, Calif., said on Saturday that they support calls by activists and residents who have demanded an independent investigation into the death of a 24-year-old black man who was found hanging from a tree in a public square this week.

The death of the man, Robert L. Fuller, which officials initially deemed a suicide, has deeply shaken the city in northern Los Angeles County and has reverberated far beyond amid nationwide protests against racism that were set off by the death of George Floyd.

At a rally for Mr. Fuller on Saturday, his sister, Diamond Alexander, said that the initial determination by officials that her brother hanged himself did not make sense.

“Everything that they’ve been telling us has not been right,” she said, according to video of the rally in Palmdale. “We’ve been hearing one thing. Then we hear another. And we just want to know the truth.”

She added: “My brother was not suicidal. He wasn’t.”

Hundreds of people marched and held signs that read, “Justice for Robert Fuller” and “Black Lives Matter.” Protesters called out: “Say his name!” and the crowd chanted, “Robert Fuller.”

A passer-by found Mr. Fuller’s body hanging from a tree in Poncitlán Square, across from Palmdale City Hall, at around 3:39 a.m. on Wednesday, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Personnel from a nearby fire station responded and determined that Mr. Fuller was dead, the department said. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau and the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office also responded.

“Although the investigation is ongoing, it appears Mr. Fuller, tragically, committed suicide,” the Sheriff’s Department said in a statement on Friday, adding that a full autopsy was expected soon.

The city of Palmdale said in a statement on Saturday that it was “officially supporting the call for an independent investigation and an independent autopsy” of Mr. Fuller.

“The City of Palmdale is joining the family and the community’s call for justice, and we do support a full investigation into his death,” the statement said. “We will settle for nothing less than a thorough accounting of this matter.”

Deputy Sheriff Eric Ortiz, a department spokesman, said on Saturday that the agency had no immediate response to the call by city officials and activists for an independent investigation. He said the Homicide Bureau was continuing to investigate. The county coroner’s office did not immediately respond to messages on Saturday.

After officials released their account of Mr. Fuller’s death this week, it was immediately challenged by activists, residents and people on social media.

At a news conference called by officials at Palmdale City Hall on Friday, residents said they had no faith in the local authorities to properly investigate Mr. Fuller’s death and wanted complete transparency and an independent review.

“Why was it right here in public, in front of City Hall, next to a church, in front of a library?” one woman said. “Why was it like that? Who would do that? No black man would hang himself in public like that.”

Others demanded to know if there were video cameras in the area and to know who found Mr. Fuller.

The Palmdale city manager, J.J. Murphy, said that the city was working with the authorities to identify footage from cameras around the area. There are no city cameras in the park, he said.

Some said the authorities had rushed to judgment without gathering all of the facts.

“That’s a lie!” several people shouted after Capt. Ronald Shaffer of the Sheriff’s Department said it appeared that Mr. Fuller died by suicide.

“Can I also ask that we stop talking about lynchings?” Mr. Murphy said at another point during the news conference, prompting people in attendance to respond, “Hell no!”

Kim Kardashian West, the reality TV star, weighed in on Twitter on Friday, urging her more than 65 million followers to sign a petition to demand a thorough investigation.

“This was not a case of suicide but murder,” reads the petition.

The N.A.A.C.P.’s Antelope Valley branch said in a statement that law enforcement needed to provide answers.

“A grieving family deserves to know if foul play was involved,” the statement said.

Mayor R. Rex Parris of Lancaster, a nearby city, said law enforcement officials told him on Friday that all signs pointed to a suicide, and that there were no signs indicating any other cause of death.

“There were apparently scars on his body consistent with previous attempts,” Mr. Parris said.

In a Facebook post on Thursday, Ms. Alexander included a link to a local news story about the body found hanging from a tree.

“Words can’t describe how much my family is hurting right now,” she said in a separate post on Thursday. Ms. Alexander asked for the public’s help, urging anyone who had seen anything to “please come forward.”























































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