6/07/2020

BAUAW NEWSLETTER, SUNDAY, JUNE 7, 2020

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BLACK LIVES MATTER


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.
—BAUAW
(Bay Area United Against War Newsletter)


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





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George Floyd's Last Words
"It's my face man
I didn't do nothing serious man
please
please
please I can't breathe
please man
please somebody
please man
I can't breathe
I can't breathe
please
(inaudible)
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
mama
mama
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
please
please
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
please
please I can't breathe"

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



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Credit...

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Trump Comic Satire—A Proposal
          By Shakaboona

PRES. TRUMP HIDES IN WHITE HOUSE BUNKER IN FEAR OF PROTESTORS
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

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

Enough is Enough: Global Nuclear Weapons 


Spending 2020

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

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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
Today…
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
Land—
Looting Ashanti, Fulani, Huasa, Wolof,
Yoruba, Ibo, Kongo, Mongo, Hutu, Zulu…
Labor.
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
Accomplices—
Steal trillions
Not FOX-boxes, silly sneakers, cheap clothes…
© 2020. Raymond Nat Turner, The Town Crier. All Rights Reserved.       



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CALL TO ACTION: 



Respected Elder Jalil Muntaqim 

Hospitalized with COVID-19





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


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


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


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


Here's what you can do:


TWEET!


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

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


CALL  the Attorney General and Commissioner

Attorney General  Letitia James - (718) 560-2040

Sample Script For AG: 

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


Commissioner Annucci - (518) 457-8126

Sample Script For Commissioner: 

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

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


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

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

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

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


Our mailing address is:

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

PendletonIN  46064




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Veterans Call on the Minnesota National Guard to Stand Down

Veterans Call on the Minnesota National Guard to Stand Down 

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

Ways to take action: 

Donate to organizations on the ground:
Sign this Open Letter
  

Contact Us

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

Follow Us 

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Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin 



conviction integrity unit—confession and all





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

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

We must now show the establishment that we care more about justice than they do about corruption and injustice. 

The proof of misdeeds is clear, the proof of innocence is clear, a retrial or release are the only acceptable options. 

We make the news so let our voices once again be heard loudly and in unison…we demand a retrial…we demand justice!   #FreeImamJamil

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

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



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

Dear Friend,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be well and take care. 

DONATE NOW

AFSC.org  |  unsubscribe  |  Donate 
Follow us online:
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Resolution for Funding for the Undocumented




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

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

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

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

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

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

Contact: 

Kristen Pursley, President,

Adult School Teachers United (ASTU)

(510)-741-8359




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

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Sign the petition

Mayor Breed:
City of SF Essential Workers Deserve Safety!

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

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

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




Veterans Join Call for a Global Ceasefire 


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

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

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


For more information about events go to:

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




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Courage to Resist

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

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From Business Insider 2018

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

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

—Johnny Gould (Follow @tandino415 on Instagram)

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

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




Major Tillery (with hat) and family


Dear Friends of the Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please write and call Acting Superintendent Kenneth Eason at:

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

Telephone: (610) 490-5412

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

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

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

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

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


In solidarity,

The Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal




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Kiah Morris

May 7 at 6:44 AM

So, in MY lifetime....

Black people are so tired. ­čśô

We can’t go jogging (#AhmaudArbery).

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

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

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

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

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

We can’t sell CD's (#AltonSterling).

We can’t sleep (#AiyanaJones)

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

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

We can’t go to church (#Charleston9).

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

We can’t hold a hair brush while leaving our own bachelor party (#SeanBell).

We can’t party on New Years (#OscarGrant).

We can’t get a normal traffic ticket (#SandraBland).

We can’t lawfully carry a weapon (#PhilandoCastile).

We can't break down on a public road with car problems (#CoreyJones).

We can’t shop at Walmart (#JohnCrawford)p^p.

We can’t have a disabled vehicle (#TerrenceCrutcher).

We can’t read a book in our own car (#KeithScott).

We can’t be a 10yr old walking with our grandfather (#CliffordGlover).

We can’t decorate for a party (#ClaudeReese).
We can’t ask a cop a question (#RandyEvans).
We can’t cash our check in peace (#YvonneSmallwood).
We can’t take out our wallet (#AmadouDiallo).
We can’t run (#WalterScott).
We can’t breathe (#EricGarner).
We can’t live (#FreddieGray).
We’re tired.
Tired of making hashtags.
Tired of trying to convince you that our #BlackLivesMatter too.
Tired of dying.
Tired.
Tired.
Tired.
So very tired.
(I don’t know who created this. I just know there are so many more names to be added and names we may never hear of.)

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Friday post   Hate%2BSocialism

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

—Johnny Gould

(Follow @tandino415 on Instagram)

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 

National Solidarity Events to Amplify Prisoners Human Rights 

AUGUST 21 - SEPTEMBER 9th

To all in solidarity with the Prisoners Human Rights Movement:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SHARE THIS RELEASE FAR AND WIDE WITH ALL YOUR CONTACTS!

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

August 21st - September 9th, 2020

AGITATE, EDUCATE, ORGANIZE

Dare to struggle, Dare to win!

We are--

"Jailhouse Lawyers Speak"  

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

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

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

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

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Letters of support for clemency needed for Reality Winner 

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

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

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

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

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

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c04758efab450303611bf2bb1b2dd96a5d550b8c

Board Game

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


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

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

Spread the word!!

By Dr.... Nayvin Gordon

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

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

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

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Funds for Kevin Cooper

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

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Don't extradite Assange!

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

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Words of Wisdom LouisRobinsonJr77yrsold 

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

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Get Malik Out of Ad-Seg 

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

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1) Witness Who Was in Floyd’s Car Says His Friend Did Not Resist Arrest
Maurice Lester Hall, who fled Minneapolis after witnessing George Floyd’s death, was arrested Monday in Houston and interviewed by a Minnesota investigator.
By Erica L. Green and Katie Benner, June 4, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/04/us/politics/george-floyd-witness-maurice-lester-hall.html?action=click&module=Spotlight&pgtype=Homepage
Credit...Caroline Yang for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — A longtime friend of George Floyd’s who was in the passenger seat of Mr. Floyd’s car during his fatal encounter with a Minneapolis police officer said on Wednesday night that Mr. Floyd tried to defuse the tensions with the police and in no way resisted arrest.

“He was, from the beginning, trying in his humblest form to show he was not resisting in no form or way,” said the friend, Maurice Lester Hall, 42, who was tracked down on Monday in Houston, arrested on outstanding warrants and interviewed by Minnesota state investigators.

“I could hear him pleading, ‘Please, officer, what’s all this for?’” Mr. Hall said in an interview on Wednesday night with The New York Times.

Mr. Hall recounted the last moments with Mr. Floyd on Memorial Day, May 25, after they had spent part of the day together.

“He was just crying out at that time for anyone to help because he was dying,” Mr. Hall said. “I’m going to always remember seeing the fear in Floyd’s face because he’s such a king. That’s what sticks with me, seeing a grown man cry, before seeing a grown man die.”

Mr. Hall is a key witness in the state’s investigation into the four officers who apprehended Mr. Floyd, including Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Mr. Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, even after he became unresponsive.

But Mr. Hall — who had outstanding warrants for his arrest on felony possession of a firearm, felony domestic assault and felony drug possession — provided a false name to officers at the scene of Mr. Floyd’s arrest, according to a Minnesota official.

Mr. Hall left Minneapolis and hitchhiked to Houston two days later, after visiting a memorial at the site of the police encounter.

“When the whole world was finding out that they murdered George Floyd,” he said, “I went and said a prayer where I witnessed him take his last breath, and I left.”

Mr. Hall said he had left dinner with his family late this Monday evening when their car was surrounded by at least a dozen law enforcement officers. After his arrest, he was questioned for hours by a Minnesota state investigator about Mr. Floyd’s death — not about his warrants. Mr. Hall was then transferred to the Harris County Jail in Houston, and on Tuesday, he returned to his home in the city, after his lawyers fought for his release.

“When Mr. Hall’s family found us, he had been isolated in jail for 10 hours after being interrogated until 3 a.m.,” said Ashlee C. McFarlane, a partner at Gerger Khalil Hennessy & McFarlane, who is representing Mr. Hall. “This is not how you treat a key witness, especially one that had just seen his friend murdered by police. Even with outstanding warrants, this should have been done another way.”

“I knew what was happening, that they were coming. It was inevitable,” Mr. Hall said in the interview with The Times. “I’m a key witness to the cops murdering George Floyd, and they want to know my side. Whatever I’ve been through, it’s all over with now. It’s not about me.”

Mr. Hall and Mr. Floyd, both Houston natives, had connected in Minneapolis through a pastor and had been in touch every day since 2016. Mr. Hall said that he considered Mr. Floyd a confidant and a mentor, like many in the community, and that he went back to Houston because the “only ties I had in Minnesota that had me Houston-rooted was George.”

Agents of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is building the state’s case against Mr. Chauvin and the three other officers involved in the Floyd case, “attempted to contact Mr. Hall numerous times to no avail,” said Bruce Gordon, a spokesman for the bureau.

Mr. Hall said that he was distraught and working through his trauma with his family, and was not taking phone calls in the days immediately after.

The bureau asked law enforcement agents in Texas to arrest Mr. Hall because it believed he was not cooperating with its investigation. Mr. Hall and Ms. McFarlane, his lawyer, said that he cooperated fully with the Minnesota official’s interview.

“They got a testimony, and that’s what they were after,” Mr. Hall added. “They came and saw, and left me to fighting for my freedom.”

Passengers in the car with Mr. Floyd, a man and a woman, had remained unidentified until Mr. Hall spoke with The Times on Wednesday. Mr. Hall said that he did not know the woman’s name.

Minnesota officials said on Wednesday that the state had upgraded the charges against Mr. Chauvin to second-degree murder from third-degree murder and manslaughter. They also charged the other three officers who took part in the fatal arrest — Thomas Lane, 37, J. Alexander Kueng, 26, and Tou Thao, 34 — with aiding and abetting murder.

All four officers were fired the day after Mr. Floyd died and video of his death went viral online.

“I walk with Floyd,” Mr. Hall said. “I know that I’m going to be his voice.”

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2) Another Man [Manuel Ellis—Say His Name!] Who Said ‘I Can’t Breathe’ Died in Custody. An Autopsy Calls It Homicide.
Manuel Ellis of Tacoma, Wash., died in part as a result of how he was restrained, according to the medical examiner, who concluded that his death was a homicide.
By Mike Baker,  June 3, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/03/us/manuel-ellis-tacoma-police-homicide.html?action=click&module=Spotlight&pgtype=Homepage
Credit...Ruth Fremson/The New York Times


Credit...Ruth Fremson/The New York Times


SEATTLE — A black man who called out “I can’t breathe” before dying in police custody in Tacoma, Wash., was killed as a result of oxygen deprivation and the physical restraint that was used on him, according to details of a medical examiner’s report released on Wednesday.

The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office concluded that the death of the man, Manuel Ellis, 33, was a homicide. Investigators with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department were in the process of preparing a report about the March death, which occurred shortly after an arrest by officers from the Tacoma Police Department, said the sheriff’s spokesman, Ed Troyer.

“The information is all being put together,” Detective Troyer said. “We expect to present it to the prosecutor at the end of this week or early next week.”

Mr. Ellis’s sister, Monet Carter-Mixon, called for action to bring accountability in the death and further scrutiny of both the Police Department’s practices and how the investigation into his death has been handled.

“There’s a lot of questions that still need to be answered,” Ms. Carter-Mixon said.

Mr. Ellis died from respiratory arrest, hypoxia and physical restraint, according to the medical examiner’s office. The report listed methamphetamine intoxication and heart disease as contributing factors.

Police officers encountered Mr. Ellis, a musician and father of two from Tacoma, on the night of March 3 as they were stopped at an intersection. They saw him banging on the window of another vehicle, Detective Troyer said.

Mr. Ellis approached the officers, Detective Troyer said, and then threw an officer to the ground when the officer got out of the vehicle. The two officers and two backup officers who joined — two of them white, one black and one Asian — handcuffed him.

“Mr. Ellis was physically restrained as he continued to be combative,” the Tacoma Police Department said in a statement on Wednesday.

Detective Troyer said he did not know all the details of the restraint the officers used — they were not wearing body cameras — but said he did not believe they used a chokehold or a knee on Mr. Ellis’s neck. They rolled him on his side after he called out, “I can’t breathe.”

“The main reason why he was restrained was so he wouldn’t hurt himself or them,” Detective Troyer said. “As soon as he said he couldn’t breathe, they requested medical aid.”

Detective Troyer said the call for aid came four minutes after the officers encountered Mr. Ellis.

Mr. Ellis was still breathing when medical personnel arrived, Detective Troyer said. He was removed from handcuffs while personnel worked on him for about 40 minutes, Detective Troyer said. He was then pronounced dead.

Family members said Mr. Ellis was the father of an 11-year-old son and 18-month-old daughter. He was a talented musician at his church. Ms. Carter-Mixon said Mr. Ellis was like a father figure to her boys, coaching them on things like how handle themselves to keep safe in a world of racial injustices.

“My heart literally hurts,” she said. “It’s painful. My brother was my best friend.”

On Wednesday night, she and others held a vigil in Tacoma.

Brian Giordano, a close friend of Mr. Ellis, said that the two usually spoke several times a day and that Mr. Ellis had video-chatted with him two hours before his death. He had been excited about a church service he had attended and proud of how he had played drums during the service, Mr. Giordano recalled.

He said it would be uncharacteristic of Mr. Ellis to act in the violent way described by the police.

He was living in a clean-and-sober house and was getting his life back together, he said. “He was always uplifting,” Mr. Giordano said. “He was always on the up-and-up about taking care of people.”

The death comes as protests have spread around the nation over the case of George Floyd, a black man who died in the custody of Minneapolis police last week. Minnesota officials have charged all four officers in that case, including Derek Chauvin, who kept his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes during the arrest.

Forensics experts who conducted a private autopsy for Mr. Floyd’s family concluded that another officer’s knees on Mr. Floyd’s back contributed to making it impossible for his lungs to take in sufficient air.

Mayor Victoria Woodards of Tacoma said on Wednesday that she would take appropriate steps based on the findings of the sheriff’s investigation.

“We will learn the results of that investigation even as our country reels from the recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and too many others,” Ms. Woodards said.

Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington said the issue was a top priority for him.


“We will be pushing to make sure there is a full and complete investigation of that incident,” Mr. Inslee said.

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3) Call It What It Is: Anti-Blackness
When black people are killed by the police, “racism” isn’t the right word.
By kihana miraya ross, June 4, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/04/opinion/george-floyd-anti-blackness.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage
Credit...Stephen Maturen/Getty Images


The word “racism” is everywhere. It’s used to explain all the things that cause African-Americans’ suffering and death: inadequate access to health care, food, housing and jobs, or a police bullet, baton or knee. But “racism” fails to fully capture what black people in this country are facing.

The right term is “anti-blackness.”

To be clear, “racism” isn’t a meaningless term. But it’s a catch-all that can encapsulate anything from black people being denied fair access to mortgage loans, to Asian students being burdened with a “model minority” label. It’s not specific.

Many Americans, awakened by watching footage of Derek Chauvin killing George Floyd by kneeling on his neck, are grappling with why we live in a world in which black death loops in a tragic screenplay, scored with the wails of childless mothers and the entitled indifference of our murderers. And an understanding of anti-blackness is the only place to start.

Anti-blackness is one way some black scholars have articulated what it means to be marked as black in an anti-black world. It’s more than just “racism against black people.” That oversimplifies and defangs it. It’s a theoretical framework that illuminates society’s inability to recognize our humanity — the disdain, disregard and disgust for our existence.

The African-American studies professor Frank B.Wilderson, who coined the term “Afro-pessimism,” argues that anti-blackness indexes the structural reality so that in the larger society, blackness is inextricably tied to “slaveness.” While the system of U.S. chattel slavery technically ended over 150 years ago, it continues to mark the ontological position of black people. Thus, in the minds of many, the relation between humanity and blackness is an antagonism, is irreconcilable.

Anti-blackness describes the inability to recognize black humanity. It captures the reality that the kind of violence that saturates black life is not based on any specific thing a black person — better described as “a person who has been racialized black” — did. The violence we experience isn’t tied to any particular transgression. It’s gratuitous and unrelenting.

Anti-blackness covers the fact that society’s hatred of blackness, and also its gratuitous violence against black people, is complicated by its need for our existence. For example, for white people — again, better described as those who have been racialized white — the abject inhumanity of the black reinforces their whiteness, their humanness, their power, and their privilege, whether they’re aware of it or not. Black people are at once despised and also a useful counterpoint for others to measure their humanness against. In other words, while one may experience numerous compounding disadvantages, at least they’re not black.

So when we’re trying to understand how a white police officer could calmly and casually channel the weight of his entire body through his knee on a black man’s neck — a man who begged for his life for over eight full minutes until he had no air left with which to plead — we have to understand that there has never been a moment in this country’s history where this kind of treatment has not been the reality for black people.

From whips to guns, the slave patrols of the 16th century are the ancestors of modern-day police departments. Mr. Floyd’s killer just happened to make the news, happened to have video footage documenting his desperate screams to his deceased mother for help from the other side. Mr. Floyd’s brutal killing is not an exception, but rather, it is the rule in a nation that literally made black people into things.

Black people were rendered as property, built this country, spilled literal blood, sweat and tears into the soil from which we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe. The thingification of black people is a fundamental component of the identity of this nation.

Reckoning with this reality is significantly more difficult than wrestling with prejudice, racism, and even institutional or structural racism. And it does more than any of these concepts do to help us make sense of over 400 years of black suffering — of our unremitting interminable pain, rage and exhaustion.

Mr. Floyd’s death is the story of our babies, of the numerous black children who grow up literally or metaphorically under the steel heel of a police boot. It is the story of our families, who since the Middle Passage, have had to suffer the unimaginable.

But when they kill our children, our mothers and fathers, we are expected to forgive, to be peaceful in the face of horrific violence. We are asked to respect a law that cannot recognize our humanity — that cannot provide redress. And when time and time again the law demonstrates it will never protect us, that it will never hold those individuals and systems that harm us accountable, we are expected to peddle a narrative that the system works, that justice will prevail.

Mr. Floyd’s brother lamented, “I just don’t understand what more we’ve got to go through in life, man.” People are in the streets today because years ago we marched peacefully and belted Negro spirituals, hoping they would recognize our humanity. We wore Afros like crowns remembering our beauty. We put our fists in the air demonstrating our strength. We declared that our lives matter in every gorgeous dimension, demanding they stop killing us in the streets and in our homes with impunity. People are in the streets today because despite all of the people who lost their lives — literally and figuratively, in this fight for black life, the struggle continues.

So let’s stop saying racism killed George Floyd, or worse yet, that a racist police officer killed George Floyd. George Floyd was killed because anti-blackness is endemic to, and is central to how all of us make sense of the social, economic, historical and cultural dimensions of human life.


kihana miraya ross is an assistant professor of African-American studies at Northwestern University.

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4) Vallejo police officer shoots, kills 22-year-old [Sean Monterrosaon—Say His Name!] his knees after mistaking hammer for gun, chief says
By Melanie Woodrow, June 3, 2020
https://abc7news.com/officer-involved-shooting-vallejo-looting-city-hall/6229758/
Sean Monterrosa is seen in an undated photo posted to a GoFundMe page.

VALLEJO, Calif. (KGO) -- Vallejo Police shot and killed a 22-year-old following a night of looting early Tuesday morning. Today, Chief Shawny Williams said Sean Monterrosa was on his knees and an officer saw what appeared to be a gun in his sweatshirt. It turned out to be a hammer.
Sean Monterrosa was on his knees outside a Walgreens when a Vallejo Police Officer fired at him 5 times through his vehicle's windshield. One of those shots hit and killed the 22-year-old, who police say they believed was armed.

The fatal shooting came after a night of multiple calls for looting including to the Walgreens.

Vallejo Police Chief Shawny Williams said it appeared Monterrosa was going to get into a getaway vehicle before changing his mind.

"This individual appeared to be running toward the black sedan but suddenly stopped taking a kneeling position and placing his hands above his waist revealing what appeared to be the butt of handgun investigations later revealed that the weapon was a long 15-inch hammer tucked into the pocket of his sweatshirt," said Chief Williams.

Chief Williams says the officer who shot Monterrosa is an 18-year veteran. Chief Williams did not release his name.

Attorney John Burris is representing Monterrosa's family.

"He did not see Mr. Monterrosa put his hands on it in a threatening way. So the question here is what threat if any did he actually present," said Burris.

Of the two getaway vehicles filled with suspected looters that drove off, one rammed a responding police vehicle injuring an officer. Police caught the suspects from one vehicle in Contra Costa County. The suspects in the black sedan got away.

Chief Williams said the department has made many changes since he arrived including to its de-escalation policy.

"How was de-escalation used here," asked ABC7 News I-Team reporter Melanie Woodrow.

"Well I'll say this when they responded to the Walgreens the intent was to stop the looting and to arrest the perpetrators if necessary, the officers reacted to a perceived threat," said Chief Williams.

The department has 45 days to release body-worn camera video but Chief Williams says he plans to do so sooner.

"Based on your experience of 27 years was this excessive force," asked I-TEAM reporter Melanie Woodrow.

"Like I said the District Attorney is going to look at this and our internal affairs will look at it," said Chief Williams as people in the crowd began shouting at Williams who would not answer with his opinion.

The officer who fired the fatal shot has been placed on routine paid administrative leave as have the witness officers.


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5) George Floyd’s smiling daughter, 6, says ‘daddy changed the world’
Dr. Bernice King understands exactly what this young lady is feeling because her daddy's death changed the world too
By Biba Adams, June 3, 2020
https://thegrio.com/2020/06/03/george-floyd-daughter-daddy-changed-world/

Gianna Floyd, 6, on the shoulders of her "uncle" Stephen Jackson, retired NBA star. (Image from Stephen Jackson's Instagram



George Floyd’s daughter, Gianna, sitting atop the shoulders of her “uncle” retired NBA star, Stephen Jackson, said, “Daddy changed the world.”



The endearing moment was captured on video and shared widely across social media including the Twitter of Bernice A. King, the youngest daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


In a statement, King, the CEO of The King Center, said she thinks about Gianna. “I was five years old when my father was killed by law enforcement. I know that pain, I know that void, I know the journey of anger. I know what people are feeling. I feel it.”

Yesterday, Gianna’s mother Roxie Washington, spoke during a press conference where she made an emotional plea for people to remember that Floyd was a good father.

“Gianna does not have a father,” she said, “He will never see her grow up, graduate. He will never walk her down the aisle. If there’s a problem she’s having and she needs a dad, she does not have that anymore.”

The Floyd family attorney, Chris Stewart, said that while there has been so much anger and violence in the streets, there is also beauty. “We really wanted the world to see the beauty of their child,” Stewart continued, “The beauty of Roxie who is holding up strong throughout this. And the actual situations in life that these things affect.”

Stewart said, “It’s not just that someone passes and people are angry in the streets,” emphasizing, “It affects people’s actual lives and their futures.”

Washington said that she participated in the press conference because she wants justice for Floyd. “I want justice for him,” she said as she looked at her daughter, “No matter what anybody thinks, he was good. And this is the proof that he was a good man.”

The video was posted in full on Stephen Jackson’s Instagram page. The athlete has really stepped up and has promised to keep Floyd’s life lifted. Clearly, he is starting by lifting up and supporting “GiGi.”

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6) Tennessee National Guardsmen put down their shields during peaceful rally at state capitol
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - A peaceful vigil produced a powerful moment between protesters and National Guard members Monday night.
Joseph Wenzel, Digital Content Manager, June 3, 2020
https://www.wsmv.com/news/tennessee-national-guardsmen-put-down-their-shields-during-peaceful-rally-at-state-capitol/article_9b73683c-a46b-11ea-9849-0b6cabfb4105.html
In a powerful moment, The Tennessee National Guard laid down their shields at a protest that has made its way up the steps of the Tennessee Capitol June 1, 2020

Nashville, TN (WSMV)—A peaceful vigil produced a powerful moment between protesters and National Guard members Monday night, June 1, 2020.
The Vigil for Black Lives started at Legislative Plaza at 6:00 P.M. and eventually made its way past the caution tape and up the Tennessee State Capitol steps, where some legislators joined the group.
In a powerful moment, the Tennessee National Guard laid down their shields at the invitation of community activist Justin Jones. 
“We want to invite these law enforcement, these troopers, to lay down your swords and shields and join us,” Jones said.
The guards, who were standing in a line in front of the capitol, put their shields on the ground as the crowd cheered.
“The National Guard has shown us with their actions that they know we are not terrorists,” Jones said. “We are the citizens of Tennessee.”
Representative Mike Stewart (D) attended the rally and said he was moved by the National Guard’s actions. 
“I don’t think anybody who was standing there when the National Guard laid down their shields could not be completely moved and be proud, as Americans, to see our system working exactly the way it’s supposed to work.”

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7) A Popular Louisville Restaurant Owner Was Killed by the Police. What Happened?
David McAtee, who owned a barbecue stand, was shot as the police and National Guard confronted curfew violators.
By Patricia Mazzei, June 4, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/04/us/louisville-unrest-david-mcatee.html
Video Screen Shot (David McAtee in red shirt and shorts.)

David McAtee

In the confusing final seconds of his life, David McAtee saw his barbecue stand in Louisville, Ky., fill with people seeking shelter from law enforcement.

The police and National Guard had gotten to the intersection of 26th Street and West Broadway to enforce a 9 p.m. curfew. It was past midnight, and groups of friends in the city’s predominantly black West End were mingling and listening to music outside of Dino’s Food Mart, a popular gas station hangout, and YaYa’s BBQ, Mr. McAtee’s modest restaurant.

“Go! Go!” the officers yelled. Then, they fired pepper balls.

As people rushed inside his side door to take cover, Mr. McAtee peeked out, gun in hand. He appeared to shoot.

Moments later, he lay dead, killed by a single shot to the chest. Two police officers and two Guard members had discharged their weapons, firing about 18 rounds.

What transpired in the few minutes between when law enforcement arrived and when Mr. McAtee, 53, was killed early Monday morning is now under investigation by federal and state authorities in Kentucky. Protests against police brutality had already raged in Louisville over the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. Now demonstrators added another name to the list: David McAtee.

The authorities say the police and National Guard were returning Mr. McAtee’s fire. Surveillance videos released by the Louisville Metro Police Department, as well as a bystander video analyzed by the visual investigations team of The New York Times, suggest that he did shoot his gun.

But they also show, based on a synchronized chronology of the events that night, that the police had first fired at least two pepper balls from outside the restaurant toward Mr. McAtee and his relatives. One of the balls — which may not have been distinguishable at the time from other ammunition — hit a bottle on an outdoor table, and another came close to hitting his niece in the head right before Mr. McAtee fired.

The volley was intended to disperse a crowd outside the restaurant in violation of the curfew. But the gathering was not of protesters, those who were there said, but of residents who were out for a good time on a Sunday night.

“They may be violating the curfew, but I don’t know if that justifies being shot with pepper balls,” said David James, a former police officer and the president of the Louisville Metro Council, whose district includes the site of the shooting.

Mr. James, who knew Mr. McAtee, said he and other African-Americans in Louisville cannot help but wonder if the authorities would have been so quick to deploy pepper balls against curfew violators in a white neighborhood.

“If they’d been in another part of town and people were out lounging in a large group like that, would they have rolled up with the National Guard and fired pepper balls, or would they have gone up and talked to people?” Mr. James said. Had the officers simply told people to clear out, Mr. James said, “I have a feeling that the outcome would have been different.”

Mr. McAtee’s relatives say he would not have knowingly shot at the police. He liked to offer officers free meals at his restaurant, named YaYa’s because YaYa was Mr. McAtee’s nickname. The barbecue stand was also Mr. McAtee’s home: He lived in the basement, said his nephew Marvin McAtee, 46, who helped run the business and was in the restaurant when the shooting began.

Law enforcement had shown up on Saturday night to warn people outside about the curfew, Mr. McAtee said. When the police and National Guard pulled up early Monday morning, he thought little of it. Things sometimes got rowdy at Dino’s, where arrests were not uncommon, he said, but his uncle was on good terms with the police.

The group on YaYa’s porch consisted of maybe a half-dozen people, he said, most of them close friends listening to music and enjoying the nice weather after weeks of staying at home to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Several relatives were inside, helping David McAtee clean up.

People started streaming in once the pepper balls were fired. The Police Department’s policy is to shoot the balls into the ground in front of a crowd to try to disperse it, Assistant Chief LaVita Chavous said in a news conference on Tuesday.

The guidelines also say officers should try to avoid the use of force to disperse nonviolent crowds, identify themselves as the police and give people a reasonable time to comply with dispersal orders.

One of the balls appeared to directly hit a soda bottle outside of YaYa’s BBQ, knocking it off a table. Another pepper ball struck the doorway. Mr. McAtee’s niece, who had approached the door from the inside, was nearly hit in the head. She backed away, security video showed.

David McAtee grabbed his gun, which was holstered on his hip, and moved toward his niece. He put his arm up and out the door. Then came the sound of a shot — his, according to the police — followed by a string of shots from the police and National Guard.

Marvin McAtee said he did not see his uncle shoot. Other people in the crowd had been armed, he said; the police recovered six handguns and one shotgun from the crime scene.

“There’s no way he had a clear vision of the police from there,” Mr. McAtee said. “He had no intention of shooting at no police.”

If he did shoot, he said, it would have been to defend his property in the belief that someone outside might be threatening it — and, above all, to protect his niece: “I know in my heart he died for her.”

Chief Chavous said the surveillance video released by the authorities showed that David McAtee “fired his weapon out the door of his business as police approached.”

Gov. Andy Beshear said his administration had released unusually detailed information about the investigation so Kentuckians could “make determinations with their own eyes.”

“I know we have to be transparent,” he said.

On Tuesday, Mayor Greg Fischer fired Steven Conrad, the police chief, after learning that the officers involved in the shooting had failed to activate their body cameras. The firing came after years of troubling incidents that have sown mistrust in the police, including a scandal in which officers sexually assaulted teenagers in a department-run youth program. The city has also seen a spike in its murder rate.

Under pressure over Ms. Taylor’s killing, Mr. Conrad said last month that he would retire at the end of June. But Mr. McAtee’s killing sped up his departure, and Deputy Chief Robert Schroeder has taken his place for now, ahead of a national search. The city also plans to hire a consultant to review the department’s training and policies, Mr. Fischer said.

The mayor ended the curfew on Thursday, saying that it had helped keep the peace but also acknowledging that the city had shown an “inability to apply it evenly.”

Ms. Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency room technician, was killed in her apartment in March after the police tried to serve a warrant; there are differing accounts of whether they knocked on the door, and the officers said someone inside fired first. The officers in that unit were not required to wear body cameras, outraging residents and forcing a policy change. Louisville has also suspended the no-knocks warrant practice. No officers have been fired in the shooting, which is under investigation.

The two police officers who fired their weapons the night Mr. McAtee was killed, Allen Austin and Katie Crews, have been placed on administrative leave. The department also began a professional standards investigation into Officer Crews over a Facebook post in which she referred to a photo of a female protester trying to hand her flowers.

“She was saying and doing a lot more than ‘offering flowers’ to me,” the officer wrote. “I hope the pepper balls that she got lit up with a little later on hurt. Come back and get ya some more ole girl, I’ll be on the line again tonight.”

Major Stephen Martin, a spokesman for the Kentucky National Guard, whose mission was to support the Police Department, declined to identify the two Guard members involved in the shooting.

Mr. McAtee’s grieving family and friends have spent the days since his death hearing from community members about Mr. McAtee’s generosity. Mr. James, the council president, remembered that the restaurant owner offered a free meal last year to the family of a man who was living in his car. The man did not want to accept it because he was embarrassed to have his family see him unable to pay.

“I will take care of how it appears,” Mr. McAtee said, according to Mr. James, and he made it look like the man paid for everything.

Cora Engelbrecht contributed reporting. Susan C. Beachy contributed research.


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8) An Arctic River Has Been Flooded With Over 20,000 Tons Of Diesel
By Tom Hale, June 4, 2020
https://www.iflscience.com/environment/an-arctic-river-has-been-flooded-with-over-20000-tons-of-diesel/
Arial image of the recent oil spill near the Siberian city of Norilsk courtesy of Green Peace, Russia

A river within the Arctic Circle has turned an unpleasant shade of red after an industrial accident flooded over 20,000 tons of diesel into the surrounding environment.

The oil spill started on May 29 following an accident at a plant owned by a division of Nornickel, the world's biggest nickel producer, near the Siberian city of Norilsk. According to Russian authorities, the contaminants quickly found their way into the Ambarnaya River about 12 kilometers (~7.5 miles) away from the plant, while 800 tons of diesel was found in the adjacent territory.

Clean up operations have already made progress and authorities insist the oil spill did not reach the Kara Sea, part of the Arctic Ocean north of Siberia, although lab tests are still required to confirm this. Either way, the surrounding waters and soil of Norilsk are expected to remain tainted for decades. As of June 3, over 800 cubic meters of contaminated soil have been removed from the area and 262 tons of diesel fuel was pumped out of the local waters. 

"It has been found that the maximum permissible levels [of contaminant] has exceeded in water areas by tens of thousands times," Svetlana Radionova, Head of the environmental watchdog Rosprirodnadzor, said on Wednesday.

Conservationists are worried the incident could have a catastrophic effect on the local wildlife, with WWF-Russia warning the spill is likely to affect the health of fish, birds, and wild mammals living in the area.  

“Diesel fuel is more toxic than the oil, and at the moment the circumstances appear to be as massive,” Alexey Knizhnikov, Head of the Program for the Business Environmental Responsibility at WWF-Russia, said in a statement.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was not happy about the situation. Russian authorities only found out about the incident two days after it started through images that were being spread on social media, reports TASS, the Russian state news agency. The delayed response to the crisis led the Russian President to scold local officials of Russia’s Krasnoyarsk Region in a very public lambasting.

“Why did the officials find out about this only two days later? Are we going to find out about emergencies through social networks? Do you have a problem or something?" Putin said in a video conference on Wednesday.

Following the meeting, Putin declared a federal state of emergency to deal with the situation. Three criminal cases have also been launched against staff from the industrial plant on charges of land deterioration, water pollution, and violation of environment protection rules.

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9) ‘Kettling’ of Peaceful Protesters Shows Aggressive Shift by N.Y. Police
Officers have charged and swung batons at demonstrators after curfew with seemingly little provocation. The mayor said he would review any reports of inappropriate enforcement.
“The escalation in the use of force in New York is part of a national trend. Across the country, local police have resorted to increasingly violent crowd control techniques to control the protests ignited by the death of George Floyd, a black man, as he was being held down by a white officer in Minneapolis. …The kettling strategy has been broadly defended by both Mr. de Blasio and Mr. Shea, who said it was necessary escalation to deter looters who ransacked parts of Manhattan over the weekend.
By Ali Watkins, June 5, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/05/nyregion/police-kettling-protests-nyc.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

It was about 45 minutes past New York City’s 8 p.m. curfew on Wednesday when a peaceful protest march encountered a line of riot police near Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn.

Hundreds of demonstrators stopped and chanted for 10 minutes, arms raised, until their leaders decided to turn the group around and leave the area.

The protesters had not seen that riot police had flooded the plaza behind them, boxing them in. The maneuver was a law enforcement tactic called kettling. The police encircle protesters so that they have no way to exit from a park, city block or other public space, and then charge in and make arrests.

For the next 20 minutes in Downtown Brooklyn, officers swinging batons turned a demonstration that had been largely peaceful into a scene of chaos.

The kettling operations carried out by the police department after curfew have become among the most unsettling symbols of its use of force against peaceful protests, and have touched off a fierce backlash against Mayor Bill de Blasio and the police commissioner, Dermot F. Shea.

In the past several days, New York Times journalists covering the protests have seen officers repeatedly charge at demonstrators after curfew with seemingly little provocation, shoving them onto sidewalks, striking them with batons and using other rough tactics.

The escalation in the use of force in New York is part of a national trend. Across the country, local police have resorted to increasingly violent crowd control techniques to control the protests ignited by the death of George Floyd, a black man, as he was being held down by a white officer in Minneapolis.

In Minneapolis, the police have used tear gas, rubber bullets and projectiles to deter peaceful protesters and journalists. In Los Angeles, the police were recorded using batons to strike demonstrators, and in Philadelphia, police officers corralled and tear-gassed an entire crowd.

Two Buffalo officers were suspended after they were filmed by a local news outlet shoving a 75-year-old protester to the ground. And in Atlanta, six police officers were charged after they were recorded pulling two college students out of their car, and using a stun gun on them.

Several incidents are under investigation in New York, too, the authorities said, including a moment when two police S.U.V.s drove forward into a crowd that had been blocking them, knocking several people to the ground.

The kettling strategy has been broadly defended by both Mr. de Blasio and Mr. Shea, who said it was necessary escalation to deter looters who ransacked parts of Manhattan over the weekend. “There comes a point where enough is enough,” Mr. de Blasio said on Thursday.

But there have been few reports of looting in the last three days of unrest, and the police are deploying their more aggressive tactics against protesters who have done little beyond continuing to march after the city’s 8 p.m. curfew. About 270 people were arrested on Thursday night.

The police department’s crackdown suffered a blow on Friday from the district attorneys in Manhattan and Brooklyn, who announced they would not prosecute anyone arrested during the protests on low-level charges.

The Brooklyn district attorney, Eric Gonzalez, said he would not prosecute those charged with violating curfew or unlawful assembly, while Manhattan’s prosecutor, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., said that “in the interest of justice” he would decline to pursue convictions for unlawful assembly and disorderly conduct.

“Our office has a moral imperative to enact public policies which assure all New Yorkers that in our justice system and our society, black lives matter and police violence is a crime,” Mr. Vance said in a statement. Mr. Gonzalez’s said, “We stand for the right of people to protest.” Both said they would continue to prosecute people accused of violence against officers and of looting.

As images of police officers using force to arrest seemingly peaceful demonstrators have circulated online, Mr. de Blasio, who ran on a platform to reform the police, has come under sharp criticism from some elected officials, community leaders and even his former aides. He was jeered and booed at a memorial for Mr. Floyd on Thursday.

By Friday, after more than a week of protests, the mayor had softened his tone, pledging to review reports of police officers behaving inappropriately and promising he would announce disciplinary measures against some officers shortly.

Later, in an interview on WNYC, the public radio station, the mayor said that the encircling of protesters was sometimes necessary for public safety, and that the police were charging into crowds only when their commanders had evidence of imminent violence.

“I don’t want to see protesters hemmed in if they don’t need to be,” he said, but he added “that sometimes there’s a legitimate problem and it’s not visible to protesters.”

On Thursday, the police commissioner said he was reviewing at least seven videos that showed potential police misconduct and promised he would hold the officers accountable if the allegations were proven. On Friday night, he announced the suspension of two officers: one who violently pushed a woman to the ground, and another who pulled down a protester’s face mask and then pepper sprayed him.

But Mr. Shea also stressed that some protesters had come to the demonstrations with the intent to attack the police. He also said the anti-police rhetoric of the demonstrators  — and some elected officials  — was encouraging attacks on officers, several of whom had been injured with sticks, or thrown bottles and bricks.  

“We need healing,” Mr. Shea said. “We need dialogue. We need peace.”

For many protesters, however, the hard-nosed tactics the police have employed to shut down marches after curfew have only exacerbated the violence.

Axel Hernandez, 30, was protesting at Cadman Plaza on Wednesday night when officers rushed into the crowd. Mr. Hernandez, who had marched several times this week, said that up until that point it had been one of the calmest demonstrations he had attended.

“That was the most peaceful, no bottles thrown, no anything,” he said. “The next thing I know, police rush in, with batons, and started moving people, and start hitting people.”

Experts on crowd control say kettling is a technique the police have used for decades, not just in New York City, but around the world, including Northern Ireland.  In theory, officers surround protesters, cutting off exits until they tire, then let them disperse in small groups.

But because demonstrators have nowhere to go, the maneuver often ends with a charge and mass arrests. Since the city put a curfew in place this week, the police have used the technique in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the Bronx.

“Kettling is basically when you take the crowd and drive it into a box, which is a great idea if you’re wanting to capture people,” said Dennis Kenney, a criminal justice professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “It’s generally a way to greatly increase the likelihood of conflict.”

On Thursday night, in the Bronx, rows of officers surrounded protesters from all sides, pinning them in before running at them with batons and striking several people. At least one was taken away in a stretcher.

Asked about the incident on WNYC, Mr. de Blasio said the police believed some in the crowd had intended to be destructive.

“The groups organizing that event advertised their desire to do violence and create violence,” Mr. de Blasio said.

“If any protesters were there peacefully and not associated with that, and they got hemmed in at all, that’s something I don’t accept that and we have to fix,” Mr. de Blasio said, promising a full review of the incident.

Mr. Shea said Friday that police officers recovered gasoline and weapons, including a firearm, from the crowd.

Many demonstrators whom the police have trapped in kettle formations have had no way to disperse before being arrested, witnesses and protesters said.  On Wednesday night, for instance, the police would not to let protesters encircled near Gracie Mansion, the mayor’s official residence in Manhattan, comply with an order to leave.

“We were asking them, ‘Where should we go?’ Everyone’s hands were in the air,’” one of the protesters, Lucas Zwirner, said. Many demonstrators told the police they would disperse and go home, Mr. Zwirner said, but officers would not let them through.

Police officers have used the maneuver to end some marches, but not others. At one demonstration n Brooklyn on Wednesday, the police waited until 9 p.m. — an hour beyond the 8 p.m. curfew — to surround protesters and charge.

The day before, they allowed thousands to march peacefully across the Manhattan Bridge hours after curfew had ended, and escorted a group of thousands back to Brooklyn before letting them disperse. It was a different story in the Bronx on Thursday, when officers surrounded a group of demonstrators and began making arrests just minutes after the 8 p.m. curfew.

“We are continuing to exercise discretion,” Mr. Shea said Thursday evening. “Where we have made arrests, we have made them strategically.”

Jan Ransom contributed reporting.
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10) A ‘Glorious Poetic Rage’
This time is different. Here’s why.
By Jenna Wortham, June 5, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/05/sunday-review/black-lives-matter-protests-floyd.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

In the wake of a perverse constellation of deaths of black Americans at the hands of the police and vigilantes, America’s current incarnation of a civil rights movement —  organized under the rallying cry of “Black Lives Matter” — is more powerful than ever.

“Seven years ago, we were treated like we were too radical, too out of the bounds of what is possible,” said Alicia Garza, the civil rights organizer based in Oakland, Calif., who coined the phrase in a 2013 Facebook post after George Zimmerman was acquitted of killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. “And now, countless lives later, it’s finally seen as relevant.”

The urgency and validity of the movement have finally been recognized, she told me, as the country has reached “its boiling point.”

For nearly 10 days straight, Americans have been gathering and marching to protest unchecked state violence against black people. Protests have erupted in virtually every American state, in small towns and major cities alike, and in Europe and New Zealand. Dozens of brands published social media posts vocalizing their support for the Black Lives Matter movement or against racism. Some, including those from Ben & Jerry’s, “Sesame Street” and Nickelodeon, felt more explicit and powerful than others. Taylor Swift responded to President Trump’s “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” tweet by accusing him of threatening violence after years of “stoking the fires of white supremacy and racism.” The “Star Wars” actor John Boyega gave an emotional speech at a protest in London.

This is the biggest collective demonstration of civil unrest around state violence in our generation’s memory. The unifying theme, for the first time in America’s history, is at last: Black Lives Matter.

Why now?

Rashad Robinson, the president of the civil rights organization Color of Change, speculated that it was the stark cruelty of the video of George Floyd’s death that captivated the country. The pain was palpable, the nonchalance in Derek Chauvin’s face, chilling. “The police officer is looking into the camera as he’s pushing the life out of him,” Mr. Robinson said.

In Minnesota, black people are four times as likely to be killed by law enforcement as white people. Mr. Floyd’s death shares a grim geographical lineage with other black deaths that rocked the nation: The place where he died is roughly a 15-minute drive from Falcon Heights, a suburb of St. Paul, Minn., where Philando Castile was shot by a police officer in 2016 while his fianc├ęe streamed the encounter live on Facebook. The year before that, Jamar Clark was shot by the police as they tried to handcuff him as he lay on the ground, in the same vicinity as where Mr. Floyd gasped for his final breaths beneath a white police officer’s knee.

“The reason this got so big is because it has been happening,” Junauda Petrus-Nasah, an author and organizer from Minneapolis, where Mr. Floyd lived and was killed, told me. On the third day of protests, when a police station house was lit on fire, “it felt like a glorious poetic rage,” she said.

The pandemic added its own accelerant to the mix. For roughly three months before Mr. Floyd’s death, Americans were living in a state of hypervigilance and anxiety, coping with feelings of uncertainty, fear and vulnerability — things many black Americans experience on a regular basis. Information about how to avoid the virus was distressingly sparse and confusing as local and federal officials sparred about the severity of the pandemic and how best to contain it.

Meanwhile, a clearer — and bleaker — picture of the country began to emerge. The spoils of privilege among some was in stark contrast to the lack of it among others. While some Americans fled cities to second homes, millions of others filed for unemployment and formed lines at food banks. Empathy for the plight of essential workers, a category in which black people are overrepresented, swelled tremendously. Data revealed that black and Latinx communities were being disproportionately ravaged by the pandemic.

At the same time, social distancing meant much of daily life — school, work, meetings, parties, weddings, birthday celebrations — was migrating to screens. It seems we’d just created newfound trust and intimacy with our phones and computers when the gruesome parade of deaths began a procession across them. Ahmaud Arbery was chased down and killed in Glynn County, Ga., on Feb. 23. Breonna Taylor was in bed when the police entered her apartment and sprayed her with bullets in Louisville, Ky., on March 13. Nina Pop was found stabbed to death in Sikeston, Mo., on May 3. Tony McDade was gunned down by the police in Tallahassee, Fla., on May 27.

By the time outrage and despair over Mr. Floyd’s death filled our feeds, the tinderbox was ready to explode.

If the country had been open per usual, some organizers told me, the distractions of pre-pandemic life might have kept people from tuning into the dialogues online. Several said this is the most diverse demonstration of support for Black Lives Matters that they can recall in the movement’s seven-year history. On May 28, Twitter told me, more than eight million tweets tagged with #BlackLivesMatter were posted on the platform. By comparison, on Dec. 4, 2014, nearly five months after Eric Garner died at the hands of a police officer on Staten Island, the number of tweets tagged with #BlackLivesMatter peaked at 146,000.

Finally, there’s the sheer volume of video documentation of the police atrocities at the protests themselves, which has only served to reaffirm critiques of unbridled uses of force and underscore the cognitive dissonances.

Our social feeds have become like security camera grids, each with images of a dystopia: in a park in the nation’s capital, peaceful protesters dispersed with chemical irritants and smoke canisters, clearing a path for the president, who then posed for a photograph nearby. In Philadelphia, police officers pelting demonstrators trapped on the side of a highway with canisters of tear gas. In New York, two police vehicles accelerating into a crowd. In Atlanta, police officers breaking into a car and tasering two black college students. Every day, people with cameras have offered a raw and terrifying supplement to television and newspaper coverage.

Thenjiwe McHarris, a strategist for the Movement for Black Lives, said this kind of documentation and distribution is unveiling the sadism that black Americans regularly face. “We used to do cop watch patrols, and we would go around in teams and document it and show the country what was happening to our people,” she told me. “Obviously, by now, we know that cameras don’t deter the police, but what they do show is extremely important for the rest of America to see.”

The movement drew an additional boost from the digital interactions of racially diverse communities. Melissa Brown, a postdoctoral fellow at the Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University, observed that as black Twitter users have become increasingly interested in Korean pop music, there has been more of an exchange between black and Korean communities online. This month, after the Dallas Police Department used a tweet to encourage people to report “illegal activity” to its application, K-pop fans flooded the app with videos of their favorite singers (known as fancams). Though the department wouldn’t confirm why, the service was temporarily taken offline.

Last, while much of the nation’s attention drifted away from Black Lives Matter, organizers and activists weren’t dormant. Ms. Garza told me that the movement’s first generation of organizers has been working steadily to become savvier and even more strategic over the past seven years, and have been joined by motivated younger leaders.

Ms. Garza said she hopes the current momentum carries the movement forward without tempering it. “We can go one of two ways,” she said. “The ‘law and order’ route or the route where we make black lives matter because we all want them to matter. And have access to the things we deserve, and peace and justice in our communities.”

Jenna Wortham (@jennydeluxe) is a staff writer at The New York Times Magazine and a co-host of the “Still Processing” podcast.
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11) The Police Are Rioting. We Need to Talk About It.
It is an attack on civil society and democratic accountability.
By Jamelle Bouie, June 5, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/05/opinion/police-riots.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage
Credit...Victor J. Blue for The New York Times


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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12) ‘Get Your Knee Off Our Necks’
All that is needed for rebellion against relentless oppression is a spark.
By Roger Cohen, June 5, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/05/opinion/george-floyd-protests.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage
Protesters chanting at Cadman Plaza Park in Brooklyn on Thursday. Credit...Demetrius Freeman for The New York Times

Get your knee off our necks.

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

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

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

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

Get your knee off our necks.

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

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

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

Get your knee off our necks.

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

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

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

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

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

Get your knee off our necks — and American democracy.

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

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


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13) What if There Were No George Floyd Video?
Even when racism doesn’t go viral, it’s still deadly.
By Nicholas Kristof, June 6, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/06/opinion/sunday/george-floyd-structural-racism.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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14) I’m Finally an Angry Black Man
I suppressed my rage about racism for decades. No more.
By Issac Bailey, June 6, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/06/opinion/sunday/black-racism-.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage
Jamiel Law

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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15) 'These Unions Dishonor the Labor Movement': Nearly 200 Academics, Lawmakers, and Activists Demand AFL-CIO Expel Police Unions
"The AFL-CIO cannot stand for criminal justice reform, while at the same time allowing police unions to use your power to impede reform."
By Jake Johnson, June 6, 2020
https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/06/06/these-unions-dishonor-labor-movement-nearly-200-academics-lawmakers-and-activists
People face off with police near the Minneapolis 3rd Police Precinct. People gathered at Chicago Ave. and East 38th Street during a rally in Minneapolis on Tuesday, May 26, 2020. (Photo: Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Star Tribune via Getty Images)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the full letter:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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6) Majority of Minneapolis City Council Pledges to Dismantle Police Department
Some cities are starting to to heed calls to “defund the police,” as lawmakers push proposals for greater police accountability. National Guard troops are being sent home from Washington, D.C.
June 8, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/07/us/protests-today-george-floyd-video.html?action=click&module=Well&pgtype=Homepage&section=US%20News
Credit...Lindsey Wasson/Reuters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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7) Hospitals Got Bailouts and Furloughed Thousands While Paying C.E.O.s Millions
Dozens of top recipients of government aid have laid off, furloughed or cut the pay of tens of thousands of employees.
By Jessica Silver-Greenberg, Jesse Drucker and David Enrich, June 8, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/08/business/hospitals-bailouts-ceo-pay.html
Nurses at more than a dozen HCA hospitals, including one in Trinity, Fla., staged protests in early April about what they said was a lack of proper measures to protect them against the coronavirus.Credit...Eve Edelheit/Bloomberg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Tenet spokeswoman declined to comment on the precise figures.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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