Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, August 21, 2020







The remaining six Kings Bay Plowshares 7 defendants were granted a continuance for sentencing by Judge Lisa Godbey Wood of the Southern District Federal court of Georgia in Brunswick from the end of July until September 3rd and 4th. Due to spikes in COVID-19 cases in GA and ensuing travel restrictions the anti-nuclear activists had asked the court to further postpone sentencing toaccommodate their right to be sentenced in person in open court, not by video, witnessed safely by family, supporters and the press.
The new sentencing dates and times are September 3rd: Carmen Trotta at 9 am, Fr. Steve Kelly at 1 pm, Clare Grady at 4 pm. On September 4 will be Mark Colville at 9 am, Patrick O'Neill at 1 pm, Martha Hennessy (granddaughter of Dorothy Day who co-founded the Catholic Worker movement) at 4 pm. It is possible that there will be further delays depending on the course of the virus over the next month. We will try to keep you updated as we find out more as that time approaches.
The defendants had asked for home confinement during this time of COVID-19, as entering prison, especially for those over 60 years of age with health issues, could be a death sentence. Their request was opposed by the prosecution and the probation department which argued the charges involved a threat to human life (their own) by entering a restricted zone on the base where lethal force is authorized. This would raise the level of the offense and make them ineligible for home confinement. Judge Wood upheld this interpretation in the first sentencing of Elizabeth McAlister on June 8. At 80 years-old, the eldest of the KBP7 defendants and widow of Phil Berrigan, she was sentenced by video conferencing while at her home in Connecticut. Liz had served over 17 months before trial. The judge agreed with the US attorney's request for a sentence of time served plus 3 years supervised probation and restitution at $25 monthly (of $33,000 owed by all 7 jointly).

We are still urging people to write to Judge Wood not so much to ask for leniency but for justice and not a death sentence. Details are on the website: https://kingsbayplowshares7.org/2020/05/letters-to-judge-wood/

For the momentous 75th Anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki there will be numerous events happening physically and virtually around the world. We urge you to participate as you can to say no to nuclear weapons. The world is lurching towards a new nuclear arms race and treaties to limit them are being discarded. Trillions will be spent on new submarines and new weapons while the coronavirus is ravaging people throughout the world with limited resources available to stop it. Nevertheless there are some signs of hope. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons has been ratified by 40 of the 50 nations needed for it to go into effect. Pope Francis has condemned even the possession of nuclear weapons for deterrence as no longer justifiable although the U. S. Church has quite a way to go to catch up.

U.S. vigils and actions are listed on The Nuclear Resister website. http://www.nukeresister.org/future-actions/ Groups normally planning civil resistance on Aug. 6-9 are adjusting plans, with some canceled. Some civil resistance actions, with risk of arrest, are still happening.

The defendants will be participating in local events.
Clare Grady will walk with Buddhist Nun, Jun San, in Ithaca, NY on August 1 at 12 noon. Beginning with a circle next to the pavilion just north of the Children’s Garden it will follow the Water Trail loop going north and back for first 3 miles and possibly on up West Hill, totaling approximately 6 miles.

Patrick O'Neill will participate in a remembrance and repentance service on Zoom at 7:30-8:30 am ET on August 6. Details will be on the KBP7 website.

There will be a vigil at the Kings Bay base on the morning of August 6, 10am-1pm. And a Zoom event that evening, #Blacklivesmatter and the Bomb, 7-8:40pm, with Professor Vincent Intondi. Details for both at:https://www.nonukesyall.org
International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons Events https://www.icanw.org/events

Physicians for Social Responsibility Calendar https://www.psr.org/calendar/tag_ids~111/




SHUT DOWN CREECH in the age of COVID-19

Creech Anti-drone Resistance, Fall Action:   

Sept. 27 - Oct. 3, 2020

Co-sponsored by CODEPINK & Veterans For Peace

Now that the online Veterans For Peace National Convention is coming to a close, many of you hopefully are re-invigorated to pump up your activism and peacemaking efforts. The many informative workshops and discussions at the convention underlined U.S. militarism and it’s multifaceted disastrous impact on the world.  "Now what can I do," you ask?

Please join us for all or part of this fall’s week of convergence at Creech Killer Drone Base in Nevada, north of Las Vegas.  Though the pandemic is in full force, we are committed to be at Creech for a full week of drone resistance.  What better way to work against U.S. Empire than to stand strong against the racist weapons that terrorize communities and brutally murder people remotely?

We will be sending out a detailed update around August 20, but at this point we plan to 100% camp outside to insure the safety of all of us during the Covid pandemic.  We will provide meals throughout the week.

Please go to www.ShutDownCreech.blogspot.com for more details.

Are you planning to join us?

Please register HERE, asap, to help us prepare ahead.

Contact us for any questions.  We hope to see you there!

In peace and justice,
Toby, Maggie, and Eleanor

CODEPINK, Women for Peace



Join us to demand that Governor Gretchen Whitmer release Grace from Children’s Village youth prison into her mother’s custody.


Join us to demand that Governor Gretchen Whitmer release Grace from Children’s Village youth prison into her mother’s custody.

During a court hearing on May 14, Judge Mary Ellen Brennan ordered that a 15-year-old high school student, Grace, be sent to Children's Village youth prison in Oakland County, Michigan for not submitting schoolwork. [1]

Imagine being sent to jail, being separated from your family, for missing homework assignments during a pandemic?!

This is an awful situation that we cannot let stand. The start of Grace’s probation coincided with the closing of schools through the remainder of the school year and the start of remote learning. Prior to the order for schools to close, Grace was doing well and had near perfect attendance. Grace shared with her caseworker that she felt unmotivated and overwhelmed when online learning began April 15, about a month after schools closed. Grace’s mom was also concerned that her daughter would struggle without the in-person support from teachers outlined in her Individualized Education Plan. She was right in her concerns, and as remote learning began, Grace did not continue to receive those critical supports.[2]

The reality is schools across the country weren’t prepared for abrupt closures and a pivot to remote learning. And across the country schools, teachers, parents and students have struggled to create continuous learning for students during this pandemic. Grace’s school was no different.

Still Judge Mary Ellen Brennan found Grace “guilty of failure to submit to any schoolwork and getting up for school” and outrageously called Grace a “threat to (the) community” for not doing her homework.

“It just doesn’t make any sense, how is this a better situation for her?” - Charisse, Grace’s mother.

This didn't have to happen. In fact, Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer had issued an executive order in March that temporarily suspended the confinement of juveniles who violate probation unless directed by a court order and encouraged eliminating any form of detention or residential placement unless a young person posed a “substantial and immediate safety risk to others.”

Grace is NOT a “substantial and immediate safety risk to others,” and not doing your homework is NOT a crime. Judge Brennan’s ruling to incarcerate a child, sending her away from her family during a pandemic is cruel, harsh, and highlights an alarming trend of Black girls being criminalized at alarming rates in comparison to their white peers.[3]
Join us in demanding that Governor Gretchen Whitmer:
Release “Grace” from Children’s Village youth detention facility into her mother’s custody;
Request the immediate resignation of of Judge Mary Ellen Brennan from the Oakland County Family Court;
Drop all charges against “Grace” immediately;
End the racialized practice of arresting and prosecuting children, and ensure Michigan kids get the support they need including alternatives to incarceration and detention and trauma informed support and services.
Prison is no place for a kid. The United States still incarcerates more young people than any other country. [4] Our kids deserve a future free of criminalization, a future that supports their development and capacity to contribute meaningfully to society. Putting kids in prisons does the opposite of this. In fact they do little to improve community safety when compared to community based efforts that provide alternatives to incarceration by supporting young people, providing the services they need, and providing access to opportunities to address harm in meaningful ways.
Together we can END this toxic culture of criminalizing children, and of putting kids in prison, and we can start with Grace. Sign on to demand Governor Gretchen Whitmer #FreeGrace NOW! Click the link below to sign now:
- Beatriz, Monifa, Diarra and the whole MomsRising / MamásConPoder team

[1] Teen Who Was Incarcerated After Not Doing Schoolwork Won't Be Released, Judge Says
[2] A Teenager Didn’t Do Her Online Schoolwork. So a Judge Sent Her to Juvenile Detention.
[3] What can be done to stop the criminalization of black girls? Rebuild the system



Urgent Action: Garifuna leader and 3 community members kidnapped and disappeared in Honduras

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On the morning of Saturday, July 18, Garifuna leader Snider Centeno and other three members of the Triunfo de la Cruz community where kidnapped and disappeared by a group of men wearing bullet proof vests with the initials of the Honduran National Police (DPI in Spanish). The DPI is the Investigative Police Directorate and when it was formed years ago, was trained by the United States. As of this Monday Morning, there is still no word on the whereabouts of Mr. Centeno, Milton Joel Marínez, Suami Aparicio Mejía and El Pri (nickname).
Snider was the president of the elected community council in Triunfo de la Cruz and his community received a favorable sentence from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in 2015. However, the Honduran state has still not respected it. The kidnapping and disappearance of Snider and the 3 other men is another attack against the Garifuna community and their struggle to protect their ancestral lands and the rights of afro-indigenous and indigenous people to live.
National and international pressure forced the Honduran Ministry of Human Rights to put out a statement urging authorities to investigate and act. Your support can make the difference!
For more information and updated on what is happening in Honduras, please follow the Honduras Solidarity Network

Contact Us

Alliance for Global Justice
225 E 26th St Ste 1

Tucson, Arizona 85713-2925
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Party for Socialism and Liberation

Gloria La Riva nominated by Peace and Freedom Party in California

Now on the ballot in California, Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey and New Mexico!
Longtime San Francisco labor and anti-war activist Gloria La Riva was chosen today as the Peace and Freedom Party nominee for U. S. President. The party's state central committee cast 62 votes for La Riva and 3 votes for Howie Hawkins, with three abstentions. Anti-racist and disability rights advocate Sunil Freeman of Washington DC was then chosen without opposition as the party's nominee for Vice President.
La Riva received over 2/3 of the vote for the nomination in the March primary, but the State Central Committee's action Saturday will officially place the La Riva / Freeman ticket on California's November general election ballot. They will appear in a number of other states on the ballot lines of the Vermont Liberty Union Party and the Party for Socialism and Liberation.
Gloria La Riva said "We are honored to be the nominees of the Peace and Freedom Party. We are running not just to represent voters, but to represent the millions without the right to vote: undocumented immigrants, permanent residents, prisoners and parolees who are unable to cast a ballot. This is their country too."
Kevin Akin of Riverside, the new California State Chair of the party, reports that the ticket expects to get more votes in California than in any other state. "It's a clear way for a voter to show support for peace, socialism, and the immediate needs of the working class."

Read our Campaign Statements

Gloria La Riva Condemns Israeli Annexation Plan Calls for Solidarity with Palestinian People and End to U.S. Aid to Israel

Upcoming Events

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Questions? Comments? Contact us.
You can also keep up with the PSL on Twitter or Facebook.
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Resources for Resisting Federal Repression

Since June of 2020, activists have been subjected to an increasingly aggressive crackdown on protests by federal law enforcement. The federal response to the movement for Black Lives has included federal criminal charges for activists, door knocks by federal law enforcement agents, and increased use of federal troops to violently police protests. 

The NLG National Office is releasing this resource page for activists who are resisting federal repression. It includes a link to our emergency hotline numbers, as well as our library of Know-Your-Rights materials, our recent federal repression webinar, and a list of some of our recommended resources for activists. We will continue to update this page. 

Please visit the NLG Mass Defense Program page for general protest-related legal support hotlines run by NLG chapters.

Emergency Hotlines

If you are contacted by federal law enforcement you should exercise all of your rights. It is always advisable to speak to an attorney before responding to federal authorities. 

State and Local Hotlines

If you have been contacted by the FBI or other federal law enforcement, in one of the following areas, you may be able to get help or information from one of these local NLG hotlines for: 

National Hotline

If you are located in an area with no hotline, you can call the following number:

Know Your Rights Materials

The NLG maintains a library of basic Know-Your-Rights guides. 

WEBINAR: Federal Repression of Activists & Their Lawyers: Legal & Ethical Strategies to Defend Our Movements: presented by NLG-NYC and NLG National Office

We also recommend the following resources: 

Center for Constitutional Rights

Civil Liberties Defense Center

Grand Jury Resistance Project

Katya Komisaruk

Movement for Black Lives Legal Resources

Tilted Scales Collective



 Reality Winner Tests Positive for COVID, Still Imprisoned
With great anguish, I’m writing to share the news that NSA whistleblower Reality Winner, still in federal prison, has tested positive for COVID-19. Winner, despite her vulnerable health conditions, was denied home release in April – the judge’s reasoning being that the Federal Medical Center, Carswell is “presumably better equipped than most to deal with the onset of COVID-19 in its inmates”. 
Since that ruling, COVID infections at Carswell have exploded, ranking it now as second highest in the nation for the number of cases, and substantially increasing the likelihood that its medical capacity will be overwhelmed.
This news comes one week after Trump’s commutation of convicted felon Roger Stone, and two months after the home release of Trump’s convicted campaign manager, Paul Manafort:

Roger Stone’s Freedom Is All the More Outrageous While Reality Winner Languishes in Prison

Donald Trump’s commutation of Roger Stone’s prison sentence is galling on numerous levels. It’s a brazen act of corruption and an egregious obstruction of an ongoing investigation of the President and his enablers. There are few figures less worthy of clemency than a Nixonian dirty trickster like Stone. But the final twist of the knife is that Reality Winner, the honest, earnest, anti-Stone of the Russian meddling saga, remains in federal prison.

Continue Reading
Please share this with your networks, and stand with us in support of Reality Winner and her family during this critical time.
Thank you,
Jesselyn Radack
Whistleblower & Source Protection Program (WHISPeR)
Twitter: @JesselynRadack

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Note: Below are comments from Ambassador Andrew Young, who is also the former Mayor of Atlanta. The Ambassador notes that Imam Jamil Al-Amin was wrongfully convicted and that it's time to 'rejudge'.

Below is also a correction in the title of the previous posting about Otis Jackson, who admitted to the killing of which Imam Jamil Al-Amin was falsely accused of committing. The article is included below with the title correction being, "There are demands for a new trial"

And again, please sign the petition for a new trial and ask your friends to do so as well.

August 10, 2020
Justice Initiative

"(There's one case) that weighs heavy on my heart because I really think he was wrongfully convicted."
This Man, a Muslim, helped "clean up" Atlanta's West End.
"I'm talking about Jamil Al-Amin," he said, "H. Rap Brown."
"I think it's time to rejudge. He's been dying of cancer and has been suffering away from his family in the worst prisons of this nation." 
Ambassador Andrew Young Jr. 

Otis Jackson Speaks - 
The Man Who Committed 
The Crime Imam Jamil Is Serving Life For
There are demands for a new trial for 
Imam Jamil Al-Amin
Please sign the petition for a new trial

The Confession - My Name Is James Santos aka Otis Jackson (We Demand A Retrial For Imam Jamil)
The Confession - My Name Is James Santos aka OtisJackson (We Demand A Retrial For Imam Jamil)

Otis Jackson is a self-proclaimed leader of the Almighty Vice Lord Nation (AVLN). Founded in the late 1950s, the AVLN is one of the oldest street gangs in Chicago.
According to Jackson, the group under his leadership was focused on rebuilding communities by pushing out drug dealers and violence.
In a never-before published sworn deposition, Jackson recalls the events of the night of Thursday, March 16, 2000, in vivid detail.
It was a cool night as Jackson remembers. He wore a knee-high black Islamic robe with black pants, a black kufi-Muslim head covering-underneath a tan hat, and a tan leather jacket. His silver sunglasses with yellow tint sat above his full beard and mustache.
He arrived at Mick's around 7PM, when he realized his schedule had changed. He was no longer the food expediter in the kitchen; his title was now dishwasher/cook, which meant he would wash dishes and then help close the kitchen at night.
Since his title changed, he wasn't required to work that Thursday night. It immediately dawned on him that he had a 10-hour window to do whatever he wanted. As a parolee under house arrest, the opportunity to have truly free time was rare if even existent. Jackson decided to fill his new found freedom like most people fill their free time-he ran a few errands.
His first stop was the West End Mall where he got a bite to eat, did some shopping and then headed toward the West End community mosque, led by Al-Amin. He knew it was a regular building off of Oak Street, but wasn't sure which one exactly.
He parked his black Cadillac in an open field and walked down toward a house that turned out to be the mosque. He passed a black Mercedes before he got to the mosque, where he met a man named Lamar "Mustapha" Tanner. They talked for a while during which Jackson explained to Tanner that he was looking for Al-Amin to talk about how the AVLN could help Al-Amin's community.
Tanner told Jackson to check the grocery store, since Al-Amin could usually be found there. Tanner then gave Jackson his phone number and hurried away to go pick up his wife. Jackson proceeded to the grocery store. He wanted to discuss with Al-Amin how his AVLN organization could help further clean the streets of drug dealers in the West End community.
By the time Jackson made his way to Al-Amin's store, it was already late. He was afraid the store would be closed since he didn't see anyone else on the street. His fear was affirmed; the store wasn't open.
Hoping that maybe the owner would be in the back closing up, he knocked on the door a few more times. No answer. As he turned to leave, Jackson saw a patrol car pull up. By the time Jackson walked by the black Mercedes, the patrol car was parked in front of it, nose-to-nose. The driver of the patrol car got out and asked Jackson to put his hands up.
Immediately, this scenario flashed through Jackson's head: Here he was, violating his parole by not being at work, with a 9mm handgun in his waist. Jackson was afraid the cops would think he was breaking into the store. That meant they would probably frisk him and find the gun. The gun would be a direct violation of his parole; he'd be sent back to prison in Nevada.
Jackson ignored the order to put his hands up and instead began to explain that he was not trying to break into the store. He stated that he wasn't trying to steal the Mercedes either; his car was parked down the street. Both officers were out of the car with guns drawn and demanding Jackson put his hands up. The cops were closing in and there was little space between them. Jackson made a quick decision. He backed up against the Mercedes, pulled out his gun and began to fire.
He fired off two shots. The officers, while retreating, returned fire. Jackson wasn't hit and bolted toward his car, where in the trunk he had an arsenal of other weapons. As Jackson explains, "the organization I was about to form, the Almighty Vice Lord Nation, we're anti-oppression, and we fight, you know, drug dealers and what not, so...we need artillery."
He quickly opened the trunk - the lock was broken and held together with shoe string-and grabbed a lightweight, semiautomatic carbine Ruger Mini-14 with an extended clip housing 40 .223 caliber rounds. Jackson then headed back toward the cops; one was moving for cover behind the Mercedes, the other was on the police radio screaming for backup.
Jackson approached the officer he thought was the most aggressive, who was using the Mercedes for cover and resumed firing his rifle. The officer returned fire, hitting Jackson in the upper left arm twice.
Jackson, now angered and fearful for his life, shot back, downing the officer. Jackson stood over him and shot him in the groin up to four times. The fallen officer, Deputy Kinchen, in a last attempt to plead with his killer, described his family, mother, and children to Jackson, hoping for mercy.
But Jackson admits that by this time, "my mind was gone, so I really wasn't paying attention." Jackson fired again at the officer on the ground. Dripping his own blood on the concrete where he stood, Jackson then turned his attention to Deputy English who was running toward the open field. Jackson believed English was flagging down another officer; he couldn't let him get away.
Jackson hit English four times. One shot hit him in the leg; he soon fell, screaming, thereby confirming Jackson's shot. After English went down, Jackson, in a state of shock, walked down pass the mosque.
Nursing his bleeding wounds, he tried to stop three passing cars on the road; no one dared pull over. He then walked back down the street and knocked on three different doors for assistance. Only one even turned the light on, but no one opened the door for Jackson. He then made his way back to his car and drove to his mother's home.
As he walked in the door, the phone rang. His mother was asleep, so Jackson hurriedly answered it in the other room. It was a representative from the Sentinel Company that provided the monitoring service for Jackson's ankle bracelet. The man on the phone asked where Jackson was; he responded that he was at work. The Sentinel representative explained that his unaccounted for absence would have to be marked down as a violation. Jackson agreed and quickly ended the conversation.
Although one bullet exited through the back of his arm, the other was still lodged in his upper left arm. Jackson called a couple of female friends, who were registered nurses. The women, who were informed by Jackson that he was robbed in the middle of the night, arrived at his house and worked for three hours to remove the bullet from his arm. Jackson then called Mustapha Tanner, whom he just met earlier in the evening, and asked him to come by his house.
Tanner arrived before 10am. Jackson explained what had happened the previous night and said he needed to get rid of the guns and the car. Jackson's car trunk contained enough artillery for a mini-militia: three Ruger Mini-14 rifles, an M16 assault rifle, a .45 handgun, three 9mm handguns and a couple of shotguns. Once Tanner left, Jackson called his parole officer Sarah Bacon and let her know that he "had been involved in a situation," but left out the details.
In the following days, Jackson was asked to report to the Sentinel Company. He checked in with the monitoring company and his parole officer, and was then given a ride back home. As they pulled onto his street, Jackson noticed many unmarked police cars. After entering his driveway, multiple police officers emerged. The police searched Jackson's house and found rounds of Mini-14, .223, 9mm, and M16 ammunition. Jackson's bloody clothes and boots from the shootout with the deputies the night before were left untouched in his closet.
On March 28, 2000, Jackson's parole was revoked and he was sent back to prison to serve the remainder of his sentence in Nevada. Upon his detainment in Florida and later transfer to Nevada, Jackson confessed the crime to anyone who would listen. Jackson claims that when he reached the Clark County Jail in Las Vegas, Nevada, he made numerous phone calls to the F.B.I., after which an agent arrived to discuss the incident with him. Jackson recalls telling his story to "Special Agent Mahoney."
Special Agent Devon Mahoney recalls documenting the confession, but not much beyond that. Mahoney remembers getting a call from a superior to "talk to someone" in a Las Vegas jail and then to "document it and file it up the chain of command." The confession was documented and filed on June 29, 2000.

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Subject: Shut Down Fort Hood! Justice for Vanessa Guillén. Sign the petition!




Timeless words of wisdom from Friedrich Engels:

This legacy belongs to all of us:

“Let us not, however, flatter ourselves overmuch on account of our human victories over nature. For each such victory nature takes its revenge on us. Each victory, it is true, the first place brings about the results we expected, but in the second and third places it has quite different, unforeseen effects which only too often cancel the first. The people who, in Mesopotamia, Greece, Asia Minor and elsewhere, destroyed the forest to obtain cultivable land, never dreamed that by removing along with the forests the collecting centres and reservoirs of moisture they were laying the basis for the present forlorn state of those countries. . . Thus at every step we are reminded that we by no means rule over nature like a conqueror over a foreign people, like someone standing outside nature–but that we, with flesh, blood and brain, belong to nature, and exist in its midst, and that all our mastery of it consists in the fact that we have the advantage over all other creatures of being able to learn its laws and apply them correctly.” The Part played by Labour in the Transition from Ape to Man 1876. —Friedrich Engels



Marvin Gaye - What's Going On (Official Video 2019)


Because once is not enough. Because sometimes music is my only solace. Because sometimes it hurts too much too care but to be human is to hurt. Because I feel lucky to have grown up with great music. Because that music was harmonic and melodious. Because that music had soul. Because I grew up with Blues and Motown and Jazz. Because I grew up with Black friends and we played ball everyday and we had fun and we were winners. Because they taught me about music and soul and acceptance. Because they didn't hate me for being white. Because I was brought up with Irish Catholics who taught me that fighting and arguing for justice kept depression in its place. Because they taught me that if you never quit fighting you haven't lost so never quit fighting for justice. Because I was in a union and learned that solidarity is the original religion. Because without solidarity you are alone. And alone is hell and because I have never been in hell. Because I am part of the human race. Because the human race is the only race on earth. Because I am grateful for Marvin Gaye, and John Coltrane, and Sam Cooke and because you know what I am talking about. Because we are going to win and we are going to have fun. Because that's the truth. Because no lie can defeat truth. Because you are there to hear me. Because I know I am not alone.  —Gregg Shotwell


(Gregg Shotwell is a retired autoworker, writer and poet.)



"When I liberate myself, I liberate others. If you don't speak out, ain't nobody going to speak out for you."

Fannie Lou Hamer 

Dear Community, 

Do you know what wakes me up every day? Believing that we will win. We always knew that we were on the right side of history—but this summer between unveiling the racist outcomes of COVID-19, the global uprisings and the nationwide 650+ Juneneenth actions, we have momentum like we’ve never had before, and the majority of the country is with us. We know that the next step in our pathway to liberation is to make a strong political move at the ballot box—and we need you to lead the effort to entice, excite, educate, and ignite our people, from the babies to the grannies. Black August belongs to the Electoral Justice Project; it is our turn to set the national Black Political Agenda, and we want you to join us!

In a crisis, we have found resilience and the opportunity to make history. This is the genius of our Blackness—even amid a devastating pandemic that exposed racism and anti-Blackness as the real pre-existing conditions harming our communities, we are rising up and taking action to build power and demand that our rights and dignity be upheld and respected.

This summer, we will continue the legacy of Black Political Power-building and the righteous anger and momentum in the streets to shape a movement that will extend to the November elections and beyond. 

We invite you to join the Movement for Black Lives on Friday, August 28, at for the Black National Convention—a primetime event in celebration of Black Culture, Black Political Power-building, and a public policy agenda that will set forth an affirmative vision for Black Lives.

We are drawing from a legacy of struggle for Black Liberation. In 1964, Black communities across Mississippi and the South united in the face of systemic racism and voter suppression. That summer, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the landmark Civil Rights Act, which after decades of violence and segregation, was won through sheer will. Then, on March 10, 1972, 4,000 Black people from every political affiliation attended the National Black Political Convention in Gary, Indiana, to yield power for Black people. While the historic event generated a new Black Political Agenda and quadrupled the number of Black elected officials by the end of the 1970s, it was not without its divisions and tensions—ranging from questions about the efficacy of Reverend Jesse Jackson’s assertion of a “Liberation Party” to the isolation of then–Presidential Candidate Shirley Chishom.

Despite the varied outcomes, the National Black Political Convention was an influential moment in Black History. Forty-eight years later, we are meeting yet another opportunity for radical change. This Black August, join us as we unveil one of the boldest political platforms our country has ever seen, partnering to ignite millions across the country. www.blacknovember.org

You feel that? We’re going to win. 

With Black Love, 

Jessica Byrd and the Black National Convention Planning Teamp




Tell Blackrock: stop investing in Tasers that police have used to kill thousands of Americans!

BlackRock loves to make a killing on killing: Over a thousand Americans have been killed by Tasers — 32 percent of them are Black Americans. Tasers are made by the colossal law enforcement supplier Axon Enterprise, based in Arizona.
One of their top shareholders happens to be Blackrock. Recently Blackrock has been trying to be sympathetic to the atrocities of murders waged on Black Americans and communities of color. If we ramp up massive pressure and blow the whistle on their deadly stocks, we can highlight that divesting from Tasers and the war in our streets will be a step in the right direction in building a fair and just society.
This issue is important to having peace in our streets. But this will only work if people participate. Send an email to Blackrock to divest from the Taser manufacturer Axon Enterprise which is responsible for the killing of thousands of Americans, and CODEPINK will pull out all the stops to make sure Blackrock execs hear our call:

Tell Blackrock: stop investing in Tasers!

Blackrock could do this. They recently announced that they were divesting from fossil fuels — signaling a shift in their policies. If CEO Larry Fink cares about “diversity, fairness, and justice” and building a “stronger, more equal, and safer society” — he should divest from Tasers.
Plus, compared to Blackrock’s other holdings, Taser stocks aren’t even that significant!

But if Blackrock does this, it could be the first domino we need to get other investment companies on board too. Send an email to BlackRock and share this widely! 

Tell Blackrock: stop investing in Tasers!

If there’s one thing our community stands for, it’s peace and social justice. And one way we can help achieve that is by cutting off the flow of cash into the manufacturing of Tasers. So, let’s come together to make that happen, and help prevent more innocent Americans from being killed with these senseless tools.

With hope,
Nancy, Carley, Jodie, Paki, Cody, Kelsey, and Yousef

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





Kimberly Jones

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

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

Kimberly Jones on YouTube 



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

So what has protesting accomplished?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

💓The self-reflection.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Keep protesting.


How beautiful is that?








*I do not know the original author*

Copy & paste widely!






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



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

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






Trump Comic Satire—A Proposal
          By Shakaboona

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

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









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

Enough is Enough: Global Nuclear Weapons 

Spending 2020

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



Shooting and looting started: 400 years ago

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











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

Veterans Join Call for a Global Ceasefire 

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

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

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

For more information about events go to:




Courage to Resist
www.couragetoresist.org ~ 510.488.3559 ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist

484 Lake Park Ave # 41
OaklandCA 94610-2730
United States
Unsubscribe from couragetoresist.org 





















From Business Insider 2018



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

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

—Johnny Gould (Follow @tandino415 on Instagram)







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



















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

Major Tillery (with hat) and family

Dear Friends of the Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please write and call Acting Superintendent Kenneth Eason at:

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

Telephone: (610) 490-5412

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

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

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

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

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

In solidarity,

The Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal



Kiah Morris

May 7 at 6:44 AM

So, in MY lifetime....

Black people are so tired. 😓

We can’t go jogging (#AhmaudArbery).

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

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

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

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

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

We can’t sell CD's (#AltonSterling).

We can’t sleep (#AiyanaJones)

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

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

We can’t go to church (#Charleston9).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We can’t decorate for a party (#ClaudeReese).

We can’t ask a cop a question (#RandyEvans).

We can’t cash our check in peace (#YvonneSmallwood).

We can’t take out our wallet (#AmadouDiallo).

We can’t run (#WalterScott).

We can’t breathe (#EricGarner).

We can’t live (#FreddieGray).

We’re tired.

Tired of making hashtags.

Tired of trying to convince you that our #BlackLivesMatter too.

Tired of dying.




So very tired.

(I don’t know who created this. I just know there are so many more names to be added and names we may never hear of.)








1) Georgia Trooper Is Charged in Fatal Shooting of Black Driver

The trooper, who is white, was fired and charged with murder a week after the killing, which happened after the driver had been pulled over for having a broken taillight, the authorities said.

By Allyson Waller, Aug. 15, 2020

Jacob G. Thompson, who had been a Georgia state trooper since 2013, was fired and charged with felony murder and aggravated assault on Friday.
Jacob G. Thompson, who had been a Georgia state trooper since 2013, was fired and charged with felony murder and aggravated assault on Friday. Credit...Georgia Department of Public Safety, via Associated Press

A Georgia state trooper was fired and charged with murder on Friday, one week after a 60-year-old Black man was fatally shot during a traffic stop over a broken taillight on his car, the authorities said.


The trooper, Jacob G. Thompson, 27, who is white, was charged on Friday by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation with felony murder and aggravated assault in connection with an Aug. 7 traffic stop that resulted in the death of Julian Edward Roosevelt Lewis of Sylvania, Ga.


“Mr. Lewis was no threat as a 60-year-old man just trying to make it home from a convenience store run” to get a grape soda for his wife, said Francys Johnson, a lawyer representing Mr. Lewis’s family.


A Georgia State Patrol report details how events unfolded:


Around 9 p.m. on Aug. 7, Mr. Thompson spotted Mr. Lewis near Sylvania, Ga., which is about 60 miles northwest of Savannah, driving with a broken taillight, followed him and attempted to pull him over.


Mr. Lewis continued driving, and Mr. Thompson eventually used his patrol vehicle to force Mr. Lewis’s car to turn sideways, causing him to stop in a ditch. Mr. Thompson drew his gun as he got out and saw Mr. Lewis with both of his hands on the steering wheel, the report said.


It then appeared, the trooper said, that Mr. Lewis was trying to maneuver his vehicle toward him, prompting him to open fire, the report said. Mr. Lewis was pronounced dead at the scene, the bureau said in a statement.


Mr. Lewis’s family did not learn of his whereabouts or his death until around 1 a.m. the next day, Mr. Johnson said.


The Georgia Department of Public Safety said in a statement that Mr. Thompson had been fired for his “negligence or inefficiency in performing assigned duties; or commission of a felony.”


Keith Barber, who was described by The Associated Press as Mr. Thompson’s lawyer, could not immediately be reached on Saturday. He told The A.P. that Mr. Thompson “has an excellent character.”


“I think he’s a fine trooper,” Mr. Barber said. “I think at the end of the day he will be exonerated in this case.”


The decision to arrest and fire Mr. Thompson a week after Mr. Lewis’s death was a surprise, Mr. Johnson said on Saturday.


“Oftentimes justice is so delayed in these kinds of cases,” he said. “I can’t think of another case that has moved so swiftly.”


He said he believed it was a direct result of protests and increased scrutiny in the aftermath of the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of the police.


In May, two white men were charged with murder months after the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man who was shot while jogging through a neighborhood in Brunswick, Ga.


And on Friday, the authorities said three police officers in Mississippi had been indicted on charges of second-degree murder in the death of a Black man, George Robinson, 62, of Jackson, Miss. The indictment accused the officers of pulling him from his car, slamming him headfirst into the pavement, and striking and kicking him in the head and chest.


The Rev. James Woodall, the president of Georgia’s N.A.A.C.P., said immediate action needed to be taken to address violence and racial terrorism against Black people, regardless of whether it was committed by the police or by private citizens, he said.


“People are literally losing their lives on a daily basis due to this senselessness, and we must do something about it,” he said.


Mr. Lewis was celebrated by friends and family at a vigil in Sylvania on Friday, and funeral services were held on Saturday morning. He was semiretired and worked as a carpenter, Mr. Johnson said.


Mr. Lewis was “too good to die as he did,” his wife, Betty Lewis, said in a statement.


“I want justice for Julian,” she said. “This is one step towards justice.”


Christina Morales contributed reporting.



2) Mrs. America — how the ERA was lost

By Luma Nichol

—Freedom Socialist newspaper, Vol. 41, No. 4, August-Sept 2020


Mrs. America, a critically acclaimed miniseries streaming on Hulu, is a brilliant historical flashback with women center stage. It dramatizes the decade-long effort to pass the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) in the 1970s, in a period piece saturated with the debates, music, and tobacco smoke of the era. 


The riveting, nine-episode drama presents a lesson for our times: the perils of ignoring the far right. Creator Dahvi Waller (a Mad Men producer) tells the story of the two combating camps.


The anti-ERA forces are upper-middle-class homemakers led by Phyllis Schlafly (Cate Blanchett) of Illinois. They live in a world where sexist jokes are the norm and men are the providers who must sign credit card applications. They oversee Black maids who toil long hours. They always wear dresses.


The series is a reminder of why feminism was so necessary. Sadly contradicting the efforts of the traditionalists are battered wife Pamela (Kayli Carter), forced to bear child after child, and despairing spinster Eleanor (Jeanne Tripplehorn), cruelly discarded as a nobody. 


In contrast, the pro-ERA camp, centered in New York City, is diverse and vibrant, awash in controversies over racism, lesbianism, abortion rights. It is populated with queers, Latinas, and Black feminists including Flo Kennedy (Niecy Nash), Margaret Sloan-Hunter (Bria Henderson) and Shirley Chisholm (Uzo Aduba), the first African American and first woman to run for President — in 1972. 


But the stars are liberal white feminists: Gloria Steinem (Rose Byrne) of Ms. Magazine; Betty Friedan (Tracey Ullman), author of The Feminine Mystique; and U.S. Representative “Battling Bella” Abzug (Margo Martindale). 


Breakthrough and backlash. 


The ERA is the radical concept that equality of the sexes should be added to the U.S. Constitution — which omits women. It was first proposed in 1923 by suffragist Alice Paul and socialist feminist Crystal Eastman. But it wasn’t until 1972 that the proposal passed both houses of Congress and went to the states for ratification, needing 38 to adopt it by 1979. 


The ERA surged forward, winning 35 states by 1977, then hit the brick wall of Phyllis Schlafly and the Eagle Forum, her “Stop ERA” troops. 


Schlafly was an arch-conservative, anti-Communist who thought Republican President Nixon too liberal. She ticked all the boxes: anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-“libber” and anti-racial equality, although her racist beliefs are muted in Mrs. America. Blanchett portrays her as intelligent, ambitious and ruthless. Limited by sexism, she turns her powerful organizing skills to an acceptable woman’s domain — countering the ERA. 


Schlafly joined Southern segregationists and anti-abortionists to form a national pressure campaign that appealed to misogynist Christian fundamentalists, Mormons and Orthodox Jews. Before Trump ever dreamed of it, she used inflammatory fear-mongering that was loose on facts. She warned of “daughters in foxholes, unisex bathrooms, and the loss of alimony” should the amendment pass. The series underscores how the ascendancy of the religious right in the Republican Party began on the backs of women’s rights. 


How could the ERA lose? 


ERA backers made a classic liberal mistake. In 1973 (Episode 4) when Schlafly is just getting started, Steinem recommends ignoring her, saying, “We don’t want a cat fight.” With nothing to stop her, Schlafly creates an ultra-conservative wave that not only kills the ERA, but moves the Republican Party far to the right, and stalls Second Wave feminism.


There were other factors contributing to the ERA’s defeat, not covered in Mrs. America. Labor and much of the Left opposed the ERA, calling it divisive and fearing it would eliminate laws to protect women from workplace abuse. The liberal ERA leadership by-and-large failed to address these objections, ignored the concerns of working women and women of color, and denied the ERA would advance queer rights. 


The show omits the voices of socialist feminists like Radical Women who mobilized for the ERA and expanding protective legislation to men and stood strong for LGBTQ+ liberation. 


Interestingly, the series also doesn’t name the National Organization for Women (NOW), the main organizational force for the ERA. This gives the impression that the moderate figureheads in Mrs. America were the women’s movement, not just its most well-known faces. 


NOW was and is deeply tied to the Democratic Party whose approach to women’s rights is solidly pro-Establishment. The show reveals how Democratic Party feminists watered down their demands to secure the presidential nomination for George McGovern, the liberal, anti-war hope of 1972. Party hack Abzug bullies everyone to get behind the “electable” candidate and presses Chisholm to abandon her bold run. She and Steinem agree to a pathetically weak statement on abortion that McGovern ensures isn’t adopted. 


Ultimately, the ERA lost because liberal leadership failed to build a multi-issue movement to counter Schlafly’s far-right pressure campaign. The single-issue approach of prioritizing middle-class concerns at the expense of women of color, lesbians and working-class women, and their reliance on the Democrats, was — and is — a losing strategy. 


For all its omissions, Mrs. America is like no other TV drama: respectful of feminism, it is a gripping account of a battle whose outcome affects us still. It is an appeal to a new generation of feminists to learn from the mistakes of the ’70s and to finish the fight for the rights of all women.  


Want to learn more about Radical Women? Contact the national offices:


• United States: 206-722-6057


• Australia: 03-9388-0062


• Website: radicalwomen.org



3) Covid-19 Is Creating a Wave of Heart Disease

Emerging data show that some of the coronavirus’s most potent damage is inflicted on the heart.

By Haider Warraich, Aug. 17, 2020

A nurse treated a Covid-19 patient in a New York City intensive care unit in April.
A nurse treated a Covid-19 patient in a New York City intensive care unit in April. Credit...John Minchillo/Associated Press

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, was initially thought to primarily impact the lungs — SARS stands for “severe acute respiratory syndrome.” Now we know there is barely a part of the body this infection spares. And emerging data show that some of the virus’s most potent damage is inflicted on the heart.


Eduardo Rodriguez was poised to start as the No. 1 pitcher for the Boston Red Sox this season. But in July the 27-year-old tested positive for Covid-19. Feeling “100 years old,” he told reporters: “I’ve never been that sick in my life, and I don’t want to get that sick again.” His symptoms abated, but a few weeks later he felt so tired after throwing about 20 pitches during practice that his team told him to stop and rest.


Further investigation revealed that he had a condition many are still struggling to understand: Covid-19-associated myocarditis. Mr. Rodriguez won’t be playing baseball this season.


Myocarditis means inflammation of the heart muscle. Some patients are never bothered by it, but for others it can have serious implications. And Mr. Rodriguez isn’t the only athlete to suffer from it: Multiple college football players have possibly developed myocarditis from Covid-19, putting the entire college football landscape in jeopardy.


I recently treated one Covid-19 patient in his early 50s. He had been in perfect shape with no history of serious illness. When the fevers and body aches started, he locked himself in his room. But instead of getting better, his condition deteriorated and he eventually accumulated gallons of fluid in his legs. When he came to the hospital unable to catch a breath, it wasn’t his lungs that had pushed him to the brink — it was his heart. Now we are evaluating him to see if he needs a heart transplant.


An intriguing new study from Germany offers a glimpse into how SARS-CoV-2 affects the heart. Researchers studied 100 individuals, with a median age of just 49, who had recovered from Covid-19. Most were asymptomatic or had mild symptoms.


An average of two months after they received the diagnosis, the researchers performed M.R.I. scans of their hearts and made some alarming discoveries: Nearly 80 percent had persistent abnormalities and 60 percent had evidence of myocarditis. The degree of myocarditis was not explained by the severity of the initial illness.


Though the study has some flaws, and the generalizability and significance of its findings not fully known, it makes clear that in young patients who had seemingly overcome SARS-CoV-2 it’s fairly common for the heart to be affected. We may be seeing only the beginning of the damage.


Researchers are still figuring out how SARS-CoV-2 causes myocarditis — whether it’s through the virus directly injuring the heart or whether it’s from the virulent immune reaction that it stimulates. It’s possible that part of the success of immunosuppressant medications such as the steroid dexamethasone in treating sick Covid-19 patients comes from their preventing inflammatory damage to the heart. Such steroids are commonly used to treat cases of myocarditis. Despite treatment, more severe forms of Covid-19-associated myocarditis can lead to permanent damage of the heart — which, in turn, can lead to heart failure.


But myocarditis is not the only way Covid-19 can cause more people to die of heart disease. When I analyzed data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, I found that since February nearly 25,000 more Americans have died of heart disease compared with the same period in previous years. Some of these deaths could be put down to Covid-19, but the majority are likely to be because patients deferred care for their hearts. That could lead to a wave of untreated heart disease in the wake of the pandemic.


Many patients are understandably apprehensive about coming back to the clinic or hospital. The American Heart Association has started a campaign called “Don’t Die of Doubt” to address the alarming reduction in people calling 911 or seeking medical care after a heart attack or stroke.


Since the beginning of the pandemic, it’s been clear that people with heart disease or related conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure are at increased risk for severe Covid-19 illness. The C.D.C. recommends that the more than 30 million Americans living with heart disease practice extra precautions to avoid infection. Hospitals and clinics should work overtime both to ensure they are safe for patients and to bolster telemedicine services so that patients can be cared for without having to leave their homes.


Doctors and researchers should no longer think of Covid-19 as a disease of the lungs but as one that can affect any part of the body, especially the heart. The only way to prevent more people dying of heart disease, both from damage caused by the virus as well as from deferred care of heart disease, is to control the pandemic.


Haider Warraich (@haiderwarraich), the author of “State of the Heart: Exploring the History, Science, and Future of Cardiac Disease,” is a cardiologist and researcher at the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.



4) A Private Security Company Is Detaining Migrant Children at Hotels

Under emergency coronavirus orders, the Trump administration is using hotels across the country to hold migrant children and families before expelling them.

By Caitlin Dickerson, Aug. 17, 2020

A person waved to protesters demonstrating against the practice of detaining migrants in hotels at a Hampton Inn in McAllen, Tex., in July.

A person waved to protesters demonstrating against the practice of detaining migrants in hotels at a Hampton Inn in McAllen, Tex., in July. Credit...Joel Martinez/The Monitor, via Associated Press

The Trump administration has been using major hotel chains to detain children and families taken into custody at the border, creating a largely unregulated shadow system of detention and swift expulsions without the safeguards that are intended to protect the most vulnerable migrants.


Government data obtained by The New York Times, along with court documents, show that hotel detentions overseen by a private security company have ballooned in recent months under an aggressive border closure policy related to the coronavirus pandemic.


More than 100,000 migrants, including children and families, have been summarily expelled from the country under the measure. But rather than deterring additional migration, the policy appears to have caused border crossings to surge, in part because it eliminates some of the legal consequences for repeat attempts at illegal crossings.


The increase in hotel detentions is likely to intensify scrutiny of the policy, which legal advocacy groups have already challenged in court, saying it places children in an opaque system with few protections and violates U.S. asylum laws by returning them to life-threatening situations in their home countries.


Children as young as a year old — often arriving at the border with no parents  — are being put in hotels under the supervision of transportation workers who are not licensed to provide child care. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say the children are being adequately cared for during the hotel stays and emphasize that their swift expulsion is necessary to protect the country from the spread of the coronavirus.


Federal authorities have resorted to using hotels during previous spikes in immigration and as staging areas for short periods of time ahead of traditional deportations; the conditions are in many ways better than the cold, concrete Border Patrol holdings cells where many migrants have been left to languish in the past.


But because the hotels exist outside the formal detention system, they are not subject to policies designed to prevent abuse in federal custody or those requiring that detainees be provided access to phones, healthy food, and medical and mental health care.


Parents and lawyers have no way of finding the children or monitoring their well-being while they are in custody.


The existence of the hotel detentions came to light last month, but documents reviewed by The New York Times reveal the extent to which major chains are participating. The federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has detained at least 860 migrants at a Quality Suites in San Diego; Hampton Inns in Phoenix and in McAllen and El Paso, Texas; a Comfort Suites Hotel in Miami; a Best Western in Los Angeles; and an Econo Lodge in Seattle.


Though the data does not specify ages, the official who provided it, as well as several former immigration officials who recently left the Trump administration, said it was likely that most or all were either children traveling alone or with their parents, because single adult migrants tend to be housed in Border Patrol holding stations.


The administration’s pandemic-related border closure policy calls for migrants to be expelled from the country, rather than put into traditional, formal deportation proceedings. Parents often send their children to the American border alone because they are more likely to win asylum if they are not traveling with adults.


Under the new policy, most children are instead being put on planes and returned to their home countries, primarily in Central America, though some have been handed over to child welfare authorities in Mexico, leading parents into desperate efforts to track their children down.


Searching for the children has been made nearly impossible because they are not being assigned identification numbers that would normally allow families to track their locations in the highly regulated federal detention system.


Only rarely used in the past, the practice of expulsions has surged under the Trump administration’s coronavirus-related border ban. Unlike deportations, expulsions are meant to take place very soon after a migrant is encountered by immigration agents. But delays in securing flights necessary to return the increasing number of migrants now arriving at the border have led the administration to turn to MVM Inc., a private corporation known mostly as a transportation and security company, to detain migrant children and families.


Started in the late 1970s by three former Secret Service agents, MVM has grown substantially.


The company now has contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars with nearly all of the federal agencies involved in immigration enforcement. It has secured at least $1.9 billion in federal contracts since 2008.


“The reputation was, ‘You ask it, they do it,’” said Claire Trickler-McNulty, a former deputy assistant director of the office of detention planning and policy at ICE. “No task was too big for MVM.”


Before the pandemic hit, MVM was the primary company used to transport migrant families encountered at the border to family detention centers. Its security workers oversee the tent courts that were erected to process cases of asylum seekers who have been made to wait out their cases in Mexico. In 2018, when a federal judge ordered the reunification of families that had been separated by immigration authorities along the border, MVM transported parents to staging facilities near the shelters where their children were being detained.


Despite its substantial transportation portfolio, MVM does not have much experience detaining migrant children. In a previous foray in 2018, the company was criticized for detaining children overnight in a vacant office park in Phoenix.


Two laws weigh heavily on the treatment of detained migrant children. The Prison Rape Elimination Act requires procedures to allow them to independently report physical or sexual abuse by government workers or contractors. To comply with the law, migrant detention centers post phone numbers to abuse hotlines and provide detainees with free access to phones. (Public data show that 105 such reports were made against government immigration contractors in 2018, the most recent year of available data.)


The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act provides safeguards to ensure that detained children who could be abused or tortured in their home countries are not sent back into harm’s way.


Neither of these protections appear to apply to the informal hotel stays overseen by MVM.


“A transportation vendor should not be in charge of changing the diaper of a 1-year old, giving bottles to babies or dealing with the traumatic effects they might be dealing with,” said Andrew Lorenzen-Strait, another former deputy assistant director for custody management at Immigration and Customs Enforcement, who worked with MVM during his time at the agency.


“I’m worried kids may be exposed to abuse, neglect, including sexual abuse, and we will have no idea,” he said.


A spokesman for MVM said the company’s contract with ICE bars representatives from responding to media requests.


ICE officials provided a statement explaining that MVM workers are trained in the requirements of the Prison Rape Elimination Act. But the company is not contractually required to follow its rules.


The statement said company employees are instructed “extensively” on how to handle situations where detained migrants would be left particularly vulnerable in their presence, such as when the migrants are bathing or breastfeeding. It says red flags indicating potential torture or abuse could be reported to the guards, who would then share the information with ICE. But there appear to be no mechanisms for detainees to report abuse by guards, except to other guards.


An ICE spokesman said no more than two children could be housed in a hotel room at any given time, but at least one migrant teenager said he was detained overnight in a hotel room in Miami with two other young migrants and three guards.


Expulsions have come to replace formal deportation proceedings as the primary way of processing migrants who try to enter the United States during the pandemic. About 109,621 people have been expelled from the southwest border since the restrictive policy went into effect.


Announced as a policy to prevent the coronavirus from spreading further in the United States, the border directive adopted in March, which relies on the authority available to the surgeon general during public health emergencies, was intended to block the flow of most nonessential travel across the northern and southern borders. Seeking asylum from violence or persecution is not considered essential under the policy.


But even with the restrictions in place, millions of people continue to cross the border each month, calling into question whether the expulsion policy can truly mitigate the spread of the virus.


And the Trump administration has been testing migrant children to confirm that they have not contracted the coronavirus before expelling them, as was first reported by ProPublica. If the children have been confirmed to be virus-free, they are then being expelled. Some children who test positive have remained in the hotels to quarantine, while other have been placed in government shelters for migrant children, as was the practice before the pandemic.


Unlike children, many adults have been deported and expelled despite having tested positive for the coronavirus.


While the practice of detaining migrant children and families in hotels has been previously reported, the fact that so many well-known hotels are part of the program only became apparent with the release of the list. Some of the hotels listed appeared to be unaware of the program.


After facing scrutiny for detaining dozens of migrant children and parents in its hotels in McAllen, Phoenix and El Paso, Hilton, whose participation was previously reported by The Associated Press, said that the decision to do so had been made by franchisees. The corporation released a statement saying that it was against company policy for its hotels to be used for detention and that all franchise locations had been notified they should reject future requests for reservations for that purpose.


A legal challenge on behalf of the children detained at the hotel in McAllen was settled earlier this month when the government agreed to release them. One unaccompanied child and the few families that remained were transported to a family detention center in Karnes City, Texas.


A spokeswoman for the Choice Hotel chain, which has been used to detain migrants in Miami, Seattle and San Diego, said in response to the data obtained by The Times, “It has been our position that hotels should not be used as detention facilities, and we are not aware that any hotels in our franchise system are being used in this capacity. We ask that our franchised hotels, which are independently owned and operated, only be used for their intended purpose.”


Mike Karicher, a spokesman for the Hampton Inn in Phoenix, one hotel franchise that has been used by MVM, said management was not aware of the activity, and does not support or wish to be associated with it. “The hotel has confirmed that they will not accept similar business moving forward,” he said.


The American Hotel and Lodging Association, an industry trade group, said it opposed the use of hotels as detention centers and has sent out guidance to its members on “red flags” that could indicate rooms being used for this purpose.


The expulsion policy is part of a sweeping crackdown by the administration on both legal and illegal immigration that appears to have intensified in recent months. Confidential documents submitted by a court-appointed monitor in a long-running federal case warned that the use of hotels for detaining children had become prevalent.


“Begun as a relatively small, stopgap measure to assist in the transfer of children to ICE flights, the temporary housing program has been transformed by the Title 42 expulsion policies into an integral component of the immigration detention system for U.A.C.s in U.S. custody,” the monitor wrote, using the acronym for unaccompanied alien children.


There have been several legal attempts to challenge the expulsions, especially of children, including one case in which a judge recently appointed by President Trump sided against government lawyers. But the government avoided an injunction blocking the policy in each case by agreeing to release the individual children named as plaintiffs, rendering the challenges moot.


Immigrant advocates say that the government has also agreed to release individual children who have been discovered in the expulsion system.


But there are many others whose locations are unknown.


Lee Gelernt, who is leading the legal challenge against the policy for the A.C.L.U., said the primary problem is that children are not being offered a way to obtain asylum from unsafe conditions in their home countries, as is required by law. “As dangerous as it is for children to be secretly held in hotels,” he said, “the ultimate problem is that they are expelled without a hearing, regardless of where they are held.”


Kitty Bennett contributed research.



5) Coronavirus Strikes Mink in Utah

Five animals on two farms test positive, but many more are believed to be affected.

By Azi Paybarah, Aug. 17, 2020

Mink had tested positive for coronavirus in Spain and the  Netherlands, before the first cases were confirmed in the U.S.
Mink had tested positive for coronavirus in Spain and the  Netherlands, before the first cases were confirmed in the U.S. Credit...Sergei Grits/Associated Press

Mink on two farms in Utah have become the first in the United States to test positive for the coronavirus, state and federal officials announced on Monday.


Five animals on the farms tested positive for the virus, but many more are believed to be infected because of a recent upswing in the number of mink deaths on the farms,  Bradie Jill Jones, a spokeswoman for the Utah Department of Health and Agriculture, said. Typically, two or three mink die per day on a farm, she said.


“Producers began to worry early last week when those fatality rates shot through the sky,” Ms. Jones said. The owners of the two farms, which officials declined to identify, contacted a  veterinarian who  alerted agriculture officials.


Samples from the mink were tested at the Utah Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, officials said. Later, those results were confirmed by  tests performed at the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories.


Several workers at the two farms have also tested positive for the coronavirus, Ms. Jones said, but the department has not determined if those infections are linked to the farm. There is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus to humans, according to the federal Department of Agriculture.


Ms. Jones said the farms “will be composting” the affected mink on site “so these animals would not be leaving the farms where these infections have broken out.”


Of the 2.7 million mink pelts produced in the United States last year, more than half a million came from Utah, according to federal data. The only state to produce more was Wisconsin, which produced a little more than a million mink pelts.


“Mink were known to be susceptible” to the virus following an outbreak on multiple farms in the Netherlands, the United States Department of Agriculture said in a statement on Monday announcing the infections in Utah. In June,  thousands of mink were slaughtered in Spain and the Netherlands on the suspicion that they may be passing the disease to people.


Michael Whelan, executive director of the trade organization representing mink producers in the United States, said he was not concerned about a similar widespread outbreak among mink in the United States. “Our mink farms are spread out over a much larger area than in Europe,” he said in an interview. In the Netherlands, the affected mink farms were clustered together and in areas with high rates of infected humans, he said.


“We don’t expect an outbreak anything like what is happening in Europe,” he said. “The mink industry has taken biosecurity very seriously far many years.”


Kitty Block, chief executive officer and president of the Humane Society of the United States, said the outbreak in Utah was “a big deal.”


“If you want to address the next pandemic, you have to look at our relationship with animals,” she said. “The health and conditions we are putting these animals in is impacting our health. We can’t separate them.”


In April, several tigers and lions at a zoo in New York tested positive for the virus.



6) ‘I’m Only One Human Being’: Parents Brace for a Go-It-Alone School Year

Just one in five families will have any sort of in-person help, a new survey finds, and parents are feeling stressed and stranded.

By Claire Cain Miller, Aug. 19, 2020

Janae Sturgeon and Demetrus Dugar at home with their children, Hannah, Isabel and Xayvion, in Kent, Wash. They don’t have a backup plan if she is asked to return to work on-site, or if their day care closes because of the coronavirus.
Janae Sturgeon and Demetrus Dugar at home with their children, Hannah, Isabel and Xayvion, in Kent, Wash. They don’t have a backup plan if she is asked to return to work on-site, or if their day care closes because of the coronavirus. Credit...Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

Parents across America are facing the pandemic school year feeling overwhelmed, anxious and abandoned. With few good options for support, the vast majority have resigned themselves to going it alone, a new survey for The New York Times has found.


Just one in seven parents said their children would be returning to school full time this fall, and for most children, remote school requires hands-on help from an adult at home. Yet four in five parents said they would have no in-person help educating and caring for them, whether from relatives, neighbors, nannies or tutors, according to the survey, administered by Morning Consult. And more than half of parents will be taking on this second, unpaid job at the same time they’re holding down paid work.


Raising children has always been a community endeavor, and suddenly the village that parents relied on is gone. It’s taking a toll on parents’ careers, families’ well-being and children’s education.


In families where both wage earners need to work outside the home, parents have obvious logistical challenges because they cannot be in two places at once. Three-fourths of these parents say they will be overseeing their children’s education, and nearly half will be handling primary child care, according to the survey, answered by a nationally representative group of 1,081 parents from Aug. 4 to 8.


Eighty percent of parents who are both working remotely during the pandemic will also be handling child care and education.


One-fifth of parents are considering hiring a private teacher or tutor to help with their children’s education while school is remote, according to the survey.


“All the choices stink,” said Kate Averett, a sociologist at the University at Albany who has been interviewing parents nationwide since the spring. “There is a lot of stress, a lot of anxiety. Parents tell me about not being able to sleep because they’re so anxious, or tell me they’ve been crying a lot. There’s been a lot of actual crying during interviews.”


Euqueva Varner and Kenneth Watts are security officers in Detroit who cannot work remotely, with sons in second and third grade. Their plan for the fall is precarious: They have back-to-back shifts, so they’ll trade off who’s home with the children, with no flexibility in their handoffs and little time to spend together as a couple or a family. Sometimes the children have to go to work with a parent, busying themselves with coloring and reading.


“They’re suffering,” Ms. Varner said of her children. “They really miss their friends, they miss going to school. My kids love school.”


“I try to work with them as much as I can to get them up to grade level,” she said. “It’s very difficult. I don’t have any help at all. It’s just me and the kids and my husband.”


“But we’ll get through it,” she said. “We’ll make a way.”


It’s mothers who are doing most of the planning, and spending the most time caring for and educating the children. In the new survey, 54 percent of women said they’d be mostly responsible for educating their children on weekdays. Twenty-nine percent of men said they would be — though just 2 percent of women said their partners would be. Some couples said they planned to split the job equally, though again, men and women disagreed: 36 percent of men, and 18 percent of women, said they were splitting the work.


“Here’s the reality: The moms are doing it,” said Betsy Twitchell, a mother of two in Oakland, Calif., who works in communications for a union. “It’s been frustrating that this term ‘pods’ has become so charged. Actually, when you say that, you’re not supporting women, because we’re the ones who are really bearing the brunt of this, and having to take on this third shift in order to get our children through this distance learning.”


‘Impossible choices’


Parents of all races — those living in urban, suburban and rural America; those who have babies, elementary schoolers and teenagers — say they’re highly stressed, with few options other than to take it all on themselves.


While schools are providing remote learning, in most cases this requires an adult to be actively involved. Three-fourths of parents of elementary-school-aged children and half of parents of high-school-aged children say they need adult help to do virtual learning. Some schools have begun sending out sample schedules of days with multiple live video meetings and timed assignments. It’s an effort to make remote school more robust than it was in the spring, but requires even more hands-on effort from parents.


“To assume they can just do everything independently — they can’t,” said Amy Nunn, a teacher in Portland, Ore., and the mother of two children, ages 9 and 11.


Her partner, Kelli Burke, is a house painter, so Ms. Nunn is home alone with the children during the day. She has decided to take a 12-week leave from her teaching job, the longest allowed by the federal government, to help their children, both of whom are dyslexic.


“I’m only one human being, and I just can’t give everything to supporting 20 other families and children while I’m trying to support my own children,” she said.


Parents have taken extreme measures. One in three said they had left a child at home without supervision from an adult or teenager, because of the lack of child-care options and the need to fulfill other obligations. Some parents said the risk calculation had changed, since bringing a child on an errand or to their workplace, or hiring a babysitter, now carried the risk of contracting the coronavirus. Single parents and those with outside-the-home jobs have even fewer options.


“I think that really just underscores the impossible choices that parents are having to make right now, especially essential workers,” said Anna Gassman-Pines, who studies child and family policy at Duke and has been interviewing hourly service workers with young children. “The set of folks you can rely on to come to your house in a pinch — family, friends, neighbors — is just really limited right now.”


Thirteen percent of parents have considered quitting their jobs. The same share has considered moving to be closer to family who could help, or moving to a different district or enrolling in private school because of reopening plans.


Alan and Ana Backman and their children, fourth-grade twins and a seventh grader, moved to Vienna, Va., from Omaha shortly before schools closed in March. Their children hadn’t made many friends in their new town yet, and remote learning was hard for them. One was unmotivated, another was frustrated with technology and the third wasn’t challenged.


The parents both work full time, she in law and he in telecom, and needed a new plan for the fall. They considered moving back to Omaha. Ultimately they decided to enroll the children in a nearby private school that was fully reopening.


“Is it perfect? No,” Mr. Backman said. “Would I be shocked if some kid or teacher got the virus? No. It’s going to happen. I’m not minimizing that. But I’m weighing that against the kids doing nothing or playing on their tablet for a year.”


A long list of fears


Across demographic divides, parents share the same fears. The vast majority of parents say they are worried not just about their children’s academic progress, but also about their mental health, social skills and participation in sports and extracurricular activities. They’re also concerned about the time they spend on screens and the consistency of their routines.


Such worries didn’t vary by parents’ income or employment status. Across the board, the concern was about what their children were missing: school.


“For many poor families and immigrant families, education really is the way out of poverty,” said Frank Worrell, a professor at the graduate school of education at the University of California, Berkeley. “Even parents who didn’t have college degrees are recognizing the importance of college in this economy, and wanting that for their kids.”


Parents’ income and resources do, however, play a role in shaping the plans they are making for the year. Meeting children’s basic needs, like access to healthy food and regular meals, was a bigger concern for low earners and unemployed parents. For essential workers, help with child care is even harder to find, because of fears of coronavirus exposure.


Janae Sturgeon and Demetrus Dugar, parents near Seattle, have been unable to find help, in part because he works in building security outside the home, so some people fear virus exposure risk from being around their family. At one point, she was so desperate that she asked her mother if she would sit inside her car in a parking lot, with the children in another car. Her mother, who has an underlying condition, declined.


Their youngest children, a 9-month-old and a 3-year-old, have returned to day care, and their 7-year-old will be attending school online, at home with Ms. Sturgeon, who is a teaching assistant and starting the school year remotely. But if she is asked to return to work on-site, or if their day care closes because of the virus, they have no backup plan.


They’re worried about being able to afford child care. They’re worried about what their daughter will do while Ms. Sturgeon is working, other than watch “Frozen” on repeat. And they’re worried about social and emotional regression.


“I’m coming up with any solution I can,” Ms. Sturgeon said.


Parents with college or graduate degrees and six-figure incomes have more options, starting with a greater ability to work from home. Twenty-two percent of parents said they had considered hiring a private teacher or tutor for their child or a small group of children, including 35 percent of those with postgraduate degrees and 18 percent of those without college degrees.


Ms. Twitchell, the mother in Oakland, and her husband, Charlie Dolman, both have white-collar jobs they can do from home. They’ve formed a pod with three friends of their third-grade son and turned their garage into a schoolhouse, with an extension cord running to it for the children’s laptops. Each child’s parents will take turns overseeing remote school and child care. On Ms. Twitchell’s day, her baby will attend.


“It’s that, or somebody quits their job, and one of us cannot quit our jobs,” she said. “This was literally a question of survival.”



7) Murders of Trans People Have Spiked Alarmingly During the Pandemic

“We do this work every day, and even we’re taken aback. This is just so, so severe," said an executive at the National Center for Transgender Equality.

By Carter Sherman, August 18, 2020


Last week, New York police arrested and charged a man for the murder of a transgender woman identified by the names Dior H. Ova and Tiffany Harris, who was found fatally stabbed in late July. But she was one of several trans people murdered in the United States last month — and advocates say these deaths are part of an alarming uptick in lethal violence against trans people this year.


At least 28 trans people were murdered in the first seven months of 2020, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality. That’s more than in all of 2019, when the center recorded 26 such murders.


“We’re months away from the end of the year and already 28 people have been lost. It is of such great magnitude that for us, working at NCTE, it’s been shocking,” said Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, deputy executive director for policy and action at the National Center for Transgender Equality. “We do this work every day, and even we’re taken aback. This is just so, so severe.”


This spike is seemingly part of a rise in homicide rates this year, as cities across the country struggle to contain the coronavirus pandemic and the nation grapples with historic economic devastation. In July, the Wall Street Journal found that of the United States’ 50 largest cities, 36 saw a double-digit increase in their murder rates compared to the previous year.


Some police departments have also reported a rise in reports of domestic violence. Advocates have spent months warning that the measures needed to fight the pandemic, such as social distancing and isolation, could leave people trapped at home with their abusers and lead to escalating intimate partner violence. And many of the trans women killed this year, Heng-Lehtinen said, had some kind of relationship with their alleged killer.


“This is often not stranger violence, just, ‘Oh, I realized you were trans and I’m going to murder you,’” he said. “There are multiple, multiple women who were killed by boyfriends or men who they were seeing, who knew that she was transgender — but then they freaked out about their friends, or other people around them, finding out that she was transgender and so they murdered her. That happened to more than one transgender women. And these are people who claim to love them.”


The Human Rights Campaign, which also tracks violence against trans people, says at least 26 trans or gender non-conforming people have been violently killed in 2020, compared to 27 in 2019. But for Tori Cooper, director of community engagement for the Campaign’s transgender justice initiative, there’s still no question that number of deaths is still on the rise compared to last year, given that the number is already so high just eight months into 2020.


Cooper also highlighted the fact that many trans people know their alleged killers. The “ideology of toxic masculinity,” as she dubbed it, endangers these people’s lives.


“You mix toxic masculinity with this feeling that you can do anything to us and get away with it, because for many, many years folks have done that,” she said. “It kind of creates this sense of fear in them that they must erase every piece of evidence that they can that these relationships exist, and the only way to really do that is to erase the person with whom you’re in a relationship.”


Both the Center for Transgender Equality and the Human Rights Campaign have compiled information about each of the people who’ve been killed, often including details from their lives. Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells’ best friend was her mom, the Center said. Johanna Metzger loved music, according to the Human Rights Campaign. Tony McDade was a lightweight boxer and an “all-around athlete,” the Center reported.


Most of the trans people who were killed in 2020 were women, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality, which also found that Black and Latina trans women are at particular risk of violence. In a 2015 survey of nearly 28,000 trans adults living in the United States, 47% of Black respondents told the Center they’d been “denied equal treatment, verbally harassed, and/or physically attacked in the past year because of being transgender.” Thirty percent of Latino respondents said the same.


Nine percent of Black and Latinx respondents said they’d been physically attacked in the last year because they were trans.


That survey also found that, out of all respondents, 30% said they’d experienced homelessness; 12% said they’d been homeless in the past year because they were trans. Some of the people killed so far in 2020 were homeless, according to Heng-Lehtinen.


“One thing that a lot of people — not everyone — but a lot of people had in common was having been pushed to the margins, having been neglected, and not having enough people to protect them,” he said.


There are scores of discriminatory policies that contribute to this epidemic of violence, from lack of housing protections to inadequate hate crime legislation, Cooper and Heng-Lehtinen said. Activists’ ability to even track the deaths of trans people is frequently hampered by a lack of reporting or outright misreporting by the police and the media. When asked why the Center and the Human Rights Campaign have recorded different levels of violence against trans people this year, Heng-Lehtinen chalked it up to this lack of public information.


The Trump administration, in particular, has spent years trying to roll back protections for trans people. Just last month, a few weeks after a historic Supreme Court ruling in favor of the rights of trans employees, the Trump administration moved forward with a proposal to let single-sex homeless shelters bar trans people from staying in shelters that match their gender identity. (On Monday, that Supreme Court decision led a federal judge to halt a Trump administration policy that would have let healthcare providers discriminate against trans people.)


“When our government sets the tone that transgender people don’t matter, when our government sets the tone that transgender people are disposable, then we’re that much more exposed,” Heng-Lehtinen said. “Other people around us get the message that it’s OKto do harm [to] us, that they’ll get away with it, and in fact that the government will even cover them for it.”


“All of this multitude of things that hold people back have to change in order to stop the violence,” he added. “That takes political will from non-transgender people, too.”


To some, Cooper said, 26 or 28 deaths might not seem like a true epidemic. But when a community is so relatively small — trans people make up about .6% of the adult U.S. population, according to a 2016 analysis from the University of California Los Angeles — these kinds of deaths add up over the years, she said. And the violence doesn’t end once someone dies.


“The cumulative effect of that is really wiping out an entire generation of trans folks. And so many are dying before their 35th and 40th birthdays,” Cooper said. “The effect that that has on those of us who are still here, on our psyches, on the types of relationships that we have with other folks — that’s all part of an epidemic as well.”



8) Portland Police Declare A Riot As County Building Damaged On 83rd Night Of Protests

By Isabel Togoh, August 19, 2020

Anti-Police Protests Continue In Portland, Oregon
Protests have continued for 83 consecutive nights in Portland since the killing of George Floyd. PAULA BRONSTEIN/GETTY IMAGES

Portland Police declared a riot late on Tuesday on the 83rd night of anti-racism protests in the city, with the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office saying that some individuals had vandalized and set fire to the county building that houses local government operations.


“Portland Police has declared the gathering near the Multnomah Building a riot after individuals vandalized, repeatedly smashed first floor windows with rocks and threw burning material into an office,” the Multnomah County Sheriff tweeted.


Clips and images on social media shared by local reporters appear to show smashed windows and parts of the office building on fire, which officers later extinguished, according to the Oregonian.


It comes after a group of around 200 demonstrators gathered at the city’s Colonel Summers Park on Tuesday evening and marched in peaceful protest to the Multnomah building before the violence broke out, the Oregonian reported.


“The gathering outside the County Building at 501 SE Hawthorne has been declared a riot. Everyone must disperse to the north immediately,” Portland Police tweeted.


The force added: “Failure to comply with this order may subject you to citation or arrest, and may subject you to the use of tear gas, crowd control munitions and or impact weapons.”




Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury said in a statement early on Wednesday that the Office of Community Involvement had been targeted.


“This is the heart of our County, where people in our community come to get married, get their passports, and celebrate their cultural traditions and diversity. . . . The lobby, where the first same-sex marriage in Oregon took place and where millions of pieces of personal protective equipment are being distributed to help our community battle COVID-19, was damaged,” Kafoury said in a statement to the Oregonian.


“I acknowledge that there is grave injustice in our world and there is a violent and tragic history of oppression in our County. I am committed to transformational change.”




Tuesday night’s protest was the 83rd night of sustained demonstrations following the death of George Floyd on Memorial Day. While protests have been mostly peaceful, tensions in the Oregon city have been inflamed by Trump-ordered unidentified federal agents sent in last month in a bid to quell the disorder, but who were accused by local officials of breaching conditions, using excessive force and taking protesters away in unmarked cars. Agents eventually receded after a deal was struck between the Trump Administration and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, with local law enforcement taking over. Some protesters have targeted local government and police buildings, while last night’s “direct action march” followed Monday’s night peaceful march of around 200 people.



9) Giants and Warriors Workers Fight Back

By Marc Norton, August 20, 2020



The San Francisco Giants returned home on Friday, August 14, 2020 and found themselves being picketed by the workers who normally sell garlic fries and beer to the fans. This must have been bad karma, as both Friday and Saturday the Giants blew a big lead over the Oakland A’s in the ninth inning, then got blown away by the A’s on Sunday 15-3. In fact, ever since the Giants fired their concession workers on July 27, the team has lost 13 out of 19 games.

The Warriors quickly piled on, firing their concession workers as well, for a grand total of 2,154 pink slips. Actually, in the modern world, pink slips are delivered by email and are thus colorless. The Warriors, of course, were out of contention already. Any relationship between the Giants’ and Warriors’ bottom-dwelling standings and their cruelty towards their workers is only circumstantial.

There are stories circulating that the Giants are considering rescinding these boneheaded terminations, but none of us have seen anything official yet. There are also rumors that the Giants might start winning games.

UNITE HERE Local 2, which represents both Giants and Warriors food-service workers, has so far concentrated its return fire on the Giants, who at least provide a visible target. That is why, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, “Hundreds of demonstrators took to Willie Mays Plaza on Friday night calling for justice for Oracle Park’s out-of-work food-service employees.” You can find some video and photos of this action on my website.[1]

Local 2 has upped the ante, demanding not only that the Giants toss the terminations, but that they pony up some money for their out-of-work workers. The Giants are certainly making money selling broadcast rights to their games, if not from selling garlic fries and beer. Nobody has suggested that they are about to go out of business. But their workers—many of whom have worked for the Giants for 20, 30, even 40 years—are struggling to pay their rent and put food on the table.

The Giants so far say that they won’t even talk to Local 2. Apparently, for the Giants, whose workers are overwhelmingly people of color, Black lives matter, unless they work for the Giants. Brown lives, Asian lives and even white lives don’t matter much either.

The Giants are trying to hide behind the fact that it was their subcontractor Bon Appetit that formally gave the workers the axe. But San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney, who joined us at our protest, put it this way: “The reality is that these workers may work for a subcontractor, but when you look at their shirts it says GIANTS.”

I wonder if Charles Johnson has been watching Giants games, or if he is content to just count his money. Johnson, for those who don’t already know, is the primary owner of the Giants. He is worth around $4.5 billion dollars. Forbes Magazine describes the source of his wealth as “money management.” Now, that’s a job I would like. Johnson is of course a big-time supporter of Dark Ages Donald Trump.

Johnson got himself in a public relations scuffle a while back when it was revealed that he helped fund a racist ad in support of a Southern congressman. Johnson subsequently tried to distance himself from this ad, issuing one of those “gee I didn’t know what people were doing with my money” sorta apologies. Money management, indeed.

But then Johnson stepped into it again, getting caught donating money to racist Mississippi Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith who brags about wanting to be “in the front row” of a “public hanging,” and also appeared in a video saying “there’s a lot of liberal folks…who maybe we don’t want to vote. Maybe we want to make it just a little more difficult.” When all that hit the media, Johnson issued another one of his sorta apologies.

Larry Baer, the Giants CEO, had to run cover for Johnson in the Hyde-Smith imbroglio. Baer himself is no stranger to apologies, having been sent to the woodpile after he got caught on video assaulting his wife. He was suspended for three months from his job with the Giants, after apologizing, this time for his own actions.

It seems the Giants higher-ups are very practiced at issuing apologies. So, they ought to be able to apologize now for firing their concession workers, and reach into their back-pockets to put some substance behind that apology.

Local 2 has plans to be back at the Giants ballpark in force when the Giants next face the Dodgers, on August 25—unless the Giants somehow come to their senses before then. See you all there.

[1] Marc Norton’s website is MarcNortonOnline.




10) Stocks Are Soaring. So Is Misery.

Optimism about Apple’s future profits won’t pay this month’s rent.

By Paul Krugman, Opinion Columnist, Aug. 20, 2020


Housing activists outside a home in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Housing activists outside a home in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. Credit...Scott Heins/Getty Images

On Tuesday, the S&P 500 stock index hit a record high. The next day, Apple became the first U.S. company in history to be valued at more than $2 trillion. Donald Trump is, of course, touting the stock market as proof that the economy has recovered from the coronavirus; too bad about those 173,000 dead Americans, but as he says, “It is what it is.”


But the economy probably doesn’t feel so great to the millions of workers who still haven’t gotten their jobs back and who have just seen their unemployment benefits slashed. The $600 a week supplemental benefit enacted in March has expired, and Trump’s purported replacement is basically a sick joke.


Even before the aid cutoff, the number of parents reporting that they were having trouble giving their children enough to eat was rising rapidly. That number will surely soar in the next few weeks. And we’re also about to see a huge wave of evictions, both because families are no longer getting the money they need to pay rent and because a temporary ban on evictions, like supplemental unemployment benefits, has just expired.


But how can there be such a disconnect between rising stocks and growing misery? Wall Street types, who do love their letter games, are talking about a “K-shaped recovery”: rising stock valuations and individual wealth at the top, falling incomes and deepening pain at the bottom. But that’s a description, not an explanation. What’s going on?


The first thing to note is that the real economy, as opposed to the financial markets, is still in terrible shape. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s weekly economic index suggests that the economy, although off its low point a few months ago, is still more deeply depressed than it was at any point during the recession that followed the 2008 financial crisis.


And this time around, job losses are concentrated among lower-paid workers — that is, precisely those Americans without the financial resources to ride out bad times.


What about stocks? The truth is that stock prices have never been closely tied to the state of the economy. As an old economists’ joke has it, the market has predicted nine of the last five recessions.


Stocks do get hit by financial crises, like the disruptions that followed the fall of Lehman Brothers in September 2008 and the brief freeze in credit markets back in March. Otherwise, stock prices are pretty disconnected from things like jobs or even G.D.P.


And these days, the disconnect is even greater than usual.


For the recent rise in the market has been largely driven by a small number of technology giants. And the market values of these companies have very little to do with their current profits, let alone the state of the economy in general. Instead, they’re all about investor perceptions of the fairly distant future.


Take the example of Apple, with its $2 trillion valuation. Apple has a price-earnings ratio — the ratio of its market valuation to its profits — of about 33. One way to look at that number is that only around 3 percent of the value investors place on the company reflects the money they expect it to make over the course of the next year. As long as they expect Apple to be profitable years from now, they barely care what will happen to the U.S. economy over the next few quarters.


Furthermore, the profits people expect Apple to make years from now loom especially large because, after all, where else are they going to put their money? Yields on U.S. government bonds, for example, are well below the expected rate of inflation.


And Apple’s valuation is actually less extreme than the valuations of other tech giants, like Amazon or Netflix.


So big tech stocks — and the people who own them — are riding high because investors believe that they’ll do very well in the long run. The depressed economy hardly matters.


Unfortunately, ordinary Americans get very little of their income from capital gains, and can’t live on rosy projections about their future prospects. Telling your landlord not to worry about your current inability to pay rent, because you’ll surely have a great job five years from now, will get you nowhere — or, more accurately, will get you kicked out of your apartment and put on the street.


So here’s the current state of America: Unemployment is still extremely high, largely because Trump and his allies first refused to take the coronavirus seriously, then pushed for an early reopening in a nation that met none of the conditions for resuming business as usual — and even now refuse to get firmly behind basic protective strategies like widespread mask requirements.


Despite this epic failure, the unemployed were kept afloat for months by federal aid, which helped avert both humanitarian and economic catastrophe. But now the aid has been cut off, with Trump and allies as unserious about the looming economic disaster as they were about the looming epidemiological disaster.


So everything suggests that even if the pandemic subsides — which is by no means guaranteed — we’re about to see a huge surge in national misery.


Oh, and stocks are up. Why, exactly, should we care?



11) Pediatrics Group Offers ‘Long Overdue’ Apology for Racist Past

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently joined other prominent medical organizations in confronting its history of discrimination.

By Emma Goldberg, Aug. 20, 2020

Dr. Roland B. Scott in the 1950s, during his time as a professor at Howard University in Washington.
Credit...Howard University, via U.S. National Library of Medicine

Dr. Roland B. Scott was the first African-American to pass the pediatric board exam, in 1934. He was a faculty member at Howard University, and went on to establish its center for the study of sickle cell disease; he gained national acclaim for his research on the blood disorder.


But when he applied for membership with the American Academy of Pediatrics — its one criteria for admission was board certification — he was rejected multiple times beginning in 1939.


The minutes from the organization’s 1944 executive board meeting leave little room for mystery regarding the group’s decision. The group that considered his application, along with that of another Black physician, was all-white. “If they became members they would want to come and eat with you at the table,” one academy member said. “You cannot hold them down.”


Dr. Scott was accepted a year later along with his Howard professor, Dr. Alonzo deGrate Smith, another Black pediatrician. But they were only allowed to join for educational purposes and were not permitted to attend meetings in the South, ostensibly for their safety.


More than a half-century later, the American Academy of Pediatrics has formally apologized for its racist actions, including its initial rejections of Drs. Scott and Smith on the basis of their race. The statement will be published in the September issue of Pediatrics. The group also changed its bylaws to prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.


“This apology is long overdue,” said Dr. Sally Goza, the organization’s president, noting that this year marks the group’s 90th anniversary. “But we must also acknowledge where we have failed to live up to our ideals.”


Dr. Goza said in an interview that the group learned from the example of another organization that confronted its racist past: the American Medical Association.


The American field of medicine has long been predominantly white. Black patients experience worse health outcomes and higher rates of conditions like hypertension and diabetes. Black, Latino and Native Americans have also suffered disproportionately during the Covid-19 pandemic.


In the last decade, some medical societies and groups have released statements recognizing the role that systemic racism and discrimination played in driving these health disparities. Implicit bias affects the quality of provider services: Living in poverty limits access to healthy food and preventive care.


After the killing of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police, in late May, a flood of medical groups released statements on racial health disparities: the American Academy of Emergency Medicine, the American College of Cardiology, the American College of Gastroenterology, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Psychiatric Association and more. The American Public Health Association released a statement recognizing racism as a “public health crisis.”


But few medical organizations have confronted the roles they played in blocking opportunities for Black advancement in the medical profession — until the American Medical Association, and more recently the American Academy of Pediatrics, formally apologized for their histories.


The A.M.A. issued an apology in 2008 for its more than century-long history of discriminating against African-American physicians. For decades, the organization predicated its membership on joining a local or state medical society, many of which excluded Black physicians, especially in the South. Keith Wailoo, a historian at Princeton University, said the group chose to “look the other way” regarding these exclusionary practices. The A.M.A.’s apology came in the wake of a paper, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, that examined a number of discriminatory aspects of the group’s history, including its efforts to close African-American medical schools.


For some Black physicians, exclusion from the A.M.A. meant the loss of career advancement opportunities, according to Dr. Wailoo. Others struggled to gain access to the postgraduate training they needed for certification in certain medical specialties. As a result, many Black physicians were limited to becoming general practitioners, especially in the South. Some facilities also required A.M.A. membership for admitting privileges to hospitals.


By 1964, the A.M.A. changed its position and refused to certify medical societies that discriminated on the basis of race, but persistent segregation in local groups still limited Black physicians’ access to certain hospitals, as well as opportunities for specialty training and certification.


“Physicians are no different from other Americans who harbor biases,” said Dr. Wailoo, whose research focuses on race and the history of medicine. “We expect doctors to speak on the basis of science, but they’re embedded in culture in the same way everyone else is.”


The A.M.A. also played a role in limiting medical educational opportunities available to Black physicians. In the early 20th century, before the medical field held the same prestige it does today, the A.M.A. commissioned a report assessing the country’s medical schools for their rigor. The report, by educator Abraham Flexner, deemed much of the country’s medical education system substandard. It also recommended closing all but two of the country’s seven Black medical schools. Howard and Meharry were spared.


As the field became more exclusive, it also became more white, according to Adam Biggs, a historian at the University of South Carolina. “When we talk about how modern medicine came to define what it means to be a modern practitioner, it was deeply rooted in race,” Mr. Biggs said. “Segregation was embedded in the pipeline.”


Between its restrictions on medical education and its exclusionary membership, the A.M.A. played a role in cultivating the profession’s homogeneity, which it acknowledged in its 2008 statement. It has since appointed a chief health equity officer and established a center for health equity. Dr. Goza said that the A.M.A.’s example helped spur the American Academy of Pediatrics to confront its own history.


There have been some historical examples of efforts to confront racism in the medical field. In 1997, President Clinton apologized for the infamous Tuskegee syphilis study conducted between 1932 and 1972, a quarter-century after it was first exposed by The Associated Press. In the early 21st century, a number of state attorneys general apologized for the forced sterilization of Black, mentally ill and disabled people, which began in the early 1900s.


But some of the field’s future leaders are now demanding change on medical school campuses.


Dr. Tequilla Manning, a family medicine resident in New York, graduated from University of Kansas Medical Center three years ago. As a medical student, she conducted a research project on Dr. Marjorie Cates, who became the school’s first Black female graduate in 1958. She began to draw parallels between Dr. Cates’ experience of discrimination on campus and her own.


Before graduating in 2017, she gave a presentation on Dr. Cates’ story. Some of the other students in the audience were inspired. They lobbied University of Kansas to rename a campus medical society for Dr. Cates; the group previously honored a dean of the school who had advocated for racially segregated clinical facilities.


Last year Dr. Manning attended the renaming ceremony for the Cates Society. “I was crying,” she said. “What I experienced is not on the spectrum of what my ancestors experienced at the hands of white physicians. But I spent five years at this institution thinking there was no hope.”


Watching the school publicly honor its first female Black graduate, she felt a glimmer of optimism: “I thought, maybe they do give a damn about the lives of Black students.”



12) 323,911 Accusations of N.Y.P.D. Misconduct Are Released Online

The records had been sealed for decades, but last month, New York repealed a law keeping them secret after national protests against police brutality.

By Ashley Southall, Aug. 20, 2020

Some 81,550 New York City police officers were named in complaints released on Thursday by the New York Civil Liberties Union.
Some 81,550 New York City police officers were named in complaints released on Thursday by the New York Civil Liberties Union. Credit...Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Over 323,000 accusations of misconduct against current and former New York City police officers were published online on Thursday, a major milestone in a long and contentious political battle to open records of police discipline to public scrutiny.


The records include all civilian complaints filed since 1985 with the city’s independent police watchdog agency, the Civilian Complaint Review Board, and closed after an investigation.


Some 81,550 officers — from the rank-and-file to the current commissioner — were named in the complaints. Together they offer the public the broadest look to date at how officers are investigated and punished for a range of offenses, from using profanity and slurs to beating or choking people during arrests.


The complaints were published in an online database by the New York Civil Liberties Union, which obtained the records from the review board after state lawmakers repealed a law that had kept them secret.


The civil liberties union noted that less than 3 percent of the 323,911 complaints resulted in a penalty for officers, 12 of whom had been terminated. Christopher Dunn, the organization’s legal director, said in a statement that the records showed that the Police Department, whose commissioner makes the final decision on disciplinary matters, “is unwilling to police itself.”


“The release of this database is an important step towards greater transparency and accountability,” Mr. Dunn added, “and is just the beginning of unraveling the monopoly the N.Y.P.D. holds on public information and officer discipline.”


Al Baker, a police spokesman, said the department had refined the discipline system and implemented changes recommended by a panel of prosecutors and judges. “All of this advances the NYPD’s priority to make its internal disciplinary system as fair, effective, and transparent as it can,” he said.


Fred Davie, the chairman of the review board, said in a statement that the agency released the records in response to demands from the public for greater police accountability, which have been underscored by the nationwide protests following the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis.


“All New Yorkers have a right to transparency” under the state law granting access to public records, said Mr. Davie, who promised that his agency “will hold paramount the people’s right to know how their communities are policed.”


But that might become even more difficult for the review board, which is preparing to possibly lay off staff because of budget cuts brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. The Independent Budget Office recently said the review board, which has a $20 million budget and 200-person staff, was too small to oversee the police department, which has a $6 billion budget and 36,000 officers.


The records released Thursday include all allegations of excessive force, abuse of authority, discourtesy and offensive language investigated by the review board though mid-July, as well as the board’s findings and any discipline that the police commissioner imposed. They do not include complaints under investigation by the review board or those investigated by the Police Department itself.


The complaints were shrouded in secrecy until June, when, as protests against police brutality spread across the country, the State Legislature in New York repealed a 44-year-old law that had been used to prevent their release to the public.


After a legal challenge from labor unions representing police officers, firefighters and corrections officers whose records were shielded by the law, a federal appeals court on Thursday ruled that the data could be released while the case continued in a lower court.


The unions vowed to continue fighting against what Hank Sheinkopf, a spokesman for the union coalition, said was “the improper dumping of thousands of documents containing unproven, career-damaging, unsubstantiated allegations that put our members and their families at risk.”


The publication of the records, policing experts said, chips away at a legal wall of confidentiality built up by police unions, which for decades have used their political clout to block efforts to publicly release complaints about officers and the punishment they receive.


Samuel Walker, a professor at the University of Nebraska Omaha who is a leading expert on police accountability, said the data would allow academic researchers and policymakers to identify patterns and problems.


“That provides the fodder for policy changes, and that is terribly important,” he said.


The topic of how and whether to disclose police disciplinary records has been contentious for decades. States like Delaware have laws keeping the records secret, while others like Florida and Arizona permit the release of some or all records, according to the Police Executive Research Forum, a policy and research nonprofit.


“Departments have come to recognize that’s part of what transparency looks like,” Chuck Wexler, the executive director, said.


The records became a lightning-rod issue when Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration fought against disclosing those of Daniel Pantaleo, a police officer who put Eric Garner in a banned chokehold on Staten Island in 2014 that proved fatal.


Officer Pantaleo was fired last year, but the law the city relied on to shield his records did not change until this past June, after the death of Mr. Floyd.


The records released Thursday add to a patchwork of data about police misconduct in New York City created by media and legal organizations.


ProPublica published data on nearly 4,000 officers who had at least one allegation of misconduct substantiated after an investigation, and BuzzFeed in 2018 published leaked records of 1,800 cases. The Legal Aid Society also maintains a database of federal lawsuits against officers.


Most people who have unpleasant encounters with the police do not file formal complaints. For many who have filed formal complaints that the review board substantiated, the publication of the records offers an opportunity to finally learn what punishment, if any, those officers received.


And for those who are facing criminal charges based on officers’ testimony, or who have filed lawsuits against the city accusing police of misconduct and abuse, the records make it easier to learn more about an officer’s history.


Richard Emery, a former chairman of the review board, said the data provided a treasure trove for researchers and policymakers.


But the release of the records also puts pressure on the Police Department to change how unsubstantiated claims affect officers’ careers, he said. Even if not proven true, misconduct complaints can have a negative effect on officers’ opportunities for transfers, promotions and more desirable assignments.


“It’s a very, very complicated, messy problem that has a lot of strings to it,” Mr. Emery said. “The release of these statistics and information can be something that’s useful and it can support reform, but it also can be something that undermines reform and puts the police in the position where they cannot and will not do their job.”


The police unions have argued in court that no information about misconduct cases should be released in which the police commissioner has not ended up handing down punishment. But the repeal of the secrecy law, known as 50-a, “made clear that disciplinary records can now be made available to the public,” James E. Johnson, the city’s corporation counsel said in a statement Thursday.


The unions’ argument would have prevented the release of the vast majority of the review board’s data. Only in 8,699 of the more than 300,000 cases did officers receive any disciplinary action, according to the civil liberties union. The penalties can range from a letter in their personnel file to suspension or firing, according to the review board.


Reasons for this vary, but the majority of civilian complaints end because investigators did not have enough evidence to determine what actually happened or found evidence to disprove the allegations, or the person filing the complaint withdrew from the investigation.


The Police Department often withholds some evidence, including body camera footage. The review board has said cases in which there is video are more likely to be substantiated.


Kate Levine, a criminal law professor at Yeshiva University, said the data should not be used to “name and shame” officers, but to understand how policing is in need of fundamental change.


"Let’s get rid of the worst people first,” she said, “but also let’s take those dollars and reinvest them in the many different ways that we can better the lives of marginalized communities.”



13) Remembering Katrina and Its Unlearned Lessons, 15 Years On

There’ve been so many storms — literal, cultural and political — since the hurricane hit New Orleans. But for the sake of all cities, we can’t forget it.

By Talmon Joseph Smith, Aug. 21, 2020

The view from the jet included flooded neighborhoods and the Superdome, upper right, “the shelter of last resort” for about 9,000 residents. Credit...Jim Watson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Rudy Major, a resident of Gentilly, rescued over 125 people with his boat during Hurricane Katrina.

Rudy Major, a resident of Gentilly, rescued over 125 people with his boat during Hurricane Katrina. Credit...L. Kasimu Harris for The New York Times

Photograph of actor Wendell Pierce taken in 2007

Wendell Pierce, star of "Treme."

Early in the evening on Aug. 25, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Florida. A modest Category 1 storm, with top winds of only about 90 miles per hour, it passed just north of Miami, then lumbered across the Everglades toward the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.


That night a birthday cake, white with pineapple filling, sat inside a glass cake stand on the dining room table at a house on the east corner of Dreux Street and St. Roch Avenue in New Orleans. It was my older brother’s birthday.


Within 72 hours, the storm grew into a colossal Category 5, its eye headed straight for the city. My family fled, leaving almost everything behind.


On Aug. 29, at 6:10 a.m., Hurricane Katrina slammed into the mouth of the Mississippi River as the fourth-most intense hurricane ever to make landfall in mainland America. Upriver in New Orleans, poorly made federal levees — which bracket the drainage canals coursing through the city — began to break like discolored Lego pieces when buffeted by storm surge. And a great deluge began.


On Aug. 31, President George W. Bush, who had been vacationing in Texas when the hurricane hit New Orleans, took a flyover tour of the destruction in Air Force One, while four-fifths of the city was underwater, and tens of thousands were stranded on rooftops, marooned on patches of dry streets or trapped in shelters.


On Sept. 2, as many still awaited rescue, and the death toll of more than 1,800 was still being tallied, The Baltimore Sun reported that the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Dennis Hastert, “questioned the wisdom of spending billions to rebuild a city several feet below sea level.” It was a common sentiment at the time — also published in mainstream outlets like Slate and The Washington Post — that New Orleanians have never forgotten.


A month or so later, my family returned to our home on Dreux Street, with masks and gloves, to survey the damage, a mildewed mess: our furniture, works by local artists, the old piano, all ruined. A chair hung from the chandelier. Below it on the counter, looking soggy yet almost untouched, was the birthday cake, still tucked inside its glass dome.


At the time, many here feared that “we may not see this city ever again, or at least not in the form we recognize,” as Wendell Pierce, the New Orleans native who starred in the HBO series “Tremé” about post-Katrina turmoil in the city, reminded me years later.


Mr. Pierce recalled how in those early months and years, “Do You Know What It Means (to Miss New Orleans)” by Louis Armstrong hit differently — not as bittersweet, but a dirge.


To his relief and that of millions of others, much of the city recovered after the hurricane, in its own uneven way.


Yet now, the coronavirus has killed over 4,000 Louisianans, put New Orleans’s service-based economy into a coma, shown the rest of America what a Katrina-size failure feels like and revealed how the lessons from the storm’s aftermath, regarding crisis management and social inequality, remain unlearned.


It can be hard to clearly remember August 2005. There have been so many storms — literal, cultural and political — that have happened since. But we can’t forget the singularity of its disaster.


We can’t forget that the levees, properly built, easily “could have been sufficient” for the storm surge, as Stephen Nelson, a professor emeritus of earth and environmental science at Tulane University and author of the seminal paper “Myths of Katrina: Field Notes From a Geoscientist,” told me. But the Army Corps of Engineers failed to drive the steel pilings that hold levee panels together far enough into the earth, among other grave failures.


We can’t forget that, adjusted for inflation, the median Black household in the majority-Black city earned only about $30,000 in 2000, and that evacuating can cost thousands.


We can’t forget that despite commanding the greatest ground, air and naval forces in history, the U.S. government took roughly a week to put in place a thoroughly engaged rescue effort — leaving tens of thousands stuck without suitable shelter, food or water.


Precisely because the federal government was largely missing for days — while state and local officials were mired in petulant disarray — we can’t forget the heroic acts New Orleanians did for one another.


One of the first people I visited this month in New Orleans was Rudy Major, a man responsible for rescuing 125 or so people from floodwaters in my old neighborhood, Gentilly, according to his rough estimate. Mr. Major, a man full of jokes, is girded by a militarylike seriousness when ready to talk business.


He sat me down in his den and explained that he stayed as Hurricane Katrina approached because he was confident that his house, on a ridge, would not flood and because he was equally confident that the low-lying Ninth Ward, only a couple of miles away, would — and he wanted to help.


Soon after two nearby levees broke that Monday morning, Mr. Major hopped into his 30-foot boat with his son, Kyle, then 19. They made dozens of trips to fetch people in the surrounding area from their roofs and bring them back to his terrace, just safely above the waterline, “whether they looked white, Black, Creole, something else, whatever.”


They saw corpses float by. They hacked into an attic after hearing faint cries for help to discover a grieving woman with her two young daughters and their lifeless grandmother.


Such stories are just some of thousands of wrenching tales from the aftermath, created and compounded by government ineptitude. Mr. Major expressed a similar frustration with the government now, as the coronavirus strikes Louisiana with a particular severity.


“There are distinctions, but a lot of similarities,” he said. “You need a federal plan, a state plan, a local plan and they have to be connected.”


In 2005, the New Orleans mayor, Ray Nagin; Gov. Kathleen Blanco of Louisiana; Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi; and the Bush White House stumbled over logistics and wrestled over funding as lives were in the balance. In 2020, the cast of battling characters is simply broader, as governors from California to Texas to New York clash with mayors, and the Trump administration undermines them all, while refusing to take the lead itself.


Depending on where and who you are, the result of this politicized crisis response is just as deadly. “I’ve lost 15 friends to Covid,” Mr. Major said.


Pre-Katrina, there was already a considerable shortage of affordable housing in New Orleans. The situation has only become worse, as many of the affordable units the city had were never rebuilt after the storm and the urban core became whiter and wealthier.


New Orleans now has roughly 33,000 fewer affordable housing units than it needs, according to HousingNOLA, a local research and advocacy group. There are opportunities in every corner of the city to fix this, explained Andreanecia Morris, the executive director of HousingNOLA, when we met in her office in Mid-City on South Carrollton Avenue.


Most New Orleanians are renters. Pre-Katrina, the market rate for a one-bedroom apartment was around $578 monthly. It has roughly doubled since then, meaning a full-time worker must now earn about $18 per hour to afford a one-bedroom apartment.


Real wages, however, have stalled, and many of the places that employ New Orleanians remain closed. Tens of thousands of workers in the city’s beloved music, drinks, food and tourism businesses — who were the most likely to lose their livelihoods both after the storm and now during the pandemic — make a minimum wage of $7.25.


In some other cities, Ms. Morris explained, unaffordable rent “is the result of a housing stock shortage, but in New Orleans we have a vacancy rate of about 20 percent!” There are about 37,700 vacant units in the city.


Residents like Terence Blanchard, the Grammy Award-winning trumpeter, who resides in a thriving midcentury neighborhood along Bayou St. John, live this dichotomy. “People talk about the recovery,” he told me as we stood on his dock overlooking the water and City Park. “But if you go to my mom’s house in Pontchartrain Park, there was no real recovery.”


The federal housing vouchers mostly known by the shorthand “Section 8” — which subsidize rent payments above 30 percent of participants’ income — fully cover “fair market rate rent,” which in New Orleans is calculated as $1,034 to $1,496 for a one-bedroom apartment. That means even in increasingly upscale, higher-ground areas of town there is little stopping developers and landlords with vacant properties from lowering rents by a few hundred dollars and still being able to generate revenue.


For Ms. Morris, the continued holdout by many landlords that want “a certain kind of family,” or Airbnb customers, has grown to “psychotic” levels of classism and racism. “At a certain point,” she said, “the math has to let you at least manage your prejudices.”


I met Malik Bartholomew, a young local historian and born-and-raised New Orleanian, at the last Black bookstore in town, the Community Book Center, based in the Seventh Ward on Bayou Road. A cultural hub that was on the verge of closing because of the coronavirus, it’s been rescued for now by what the owner — known to her clientele as Miss Vera — views as a surge in white guilt after the death of George Floyd.


“Books started flying off the shelves,” Miss Vera said, her ambivalence visible despite the mask on her face.


Shortly after, Mr. Bartholomew gave me a history tour of the Faubourg Tremé, the iconic old neighborhood where I briefly worked as a teenager in 2013. Already gentrifying then, it’s become even fancier since.


As an eighth-generation New Orleanian, I wanted to be a good native and scoff at it all. But I found myself almost viscerally charmed by the carefully redone homes and the cafes frequented by young white people alongside the scene of a retired Black gentleman enjoying his shaded porch.


Couldn’t there be, I asked, a world in which some of the well-off people who come to visit and decide to stay then respect the culture, integrate into it, increase the tax base and help uplift others?


Mr. Bartholomew explained — in between waving to residents he knew — that my integrationist daydream puts too much faith in “the Part 2,” in which wealth and power would be shared. “I’ve never seen that happen,” he said. “People just make money off our culture.”


As Mr. Bartholomew and other community organizers see it, “the wealthy interests are more powerful than ever.”


The mayor of New Orleans, LaToya Cantrell, said she largely agreed.


Ms. Cantrell, both the first woman and the first Black woman to lead the city, is from Broadmoor, one of the seven lower-lying neighborhoods that a panel appointed by the mayor’s office after Hurricane Katrina planned to transform into parks and wetlands.


She rose in local politics as a leading opponent of that failed plan and won the mayoralty on a platform of creating a New Orleans “for all New Orleanians.” But she confessed as we spoke in her sunlit yellow and blue City Hall office that, even before the coronavirus, every day felt like pushing a boulder uphill.


“All the time,” she told me, stretching out each syllable. “But if you don’t push, you’re not going to move. The systems that have been created, particularly in this city, are so that we’re doing all the pushing around here — and have been.”


Those systems are many and layered. There are regional business elites and the Federal Reserve — which has once again declined to be as generous to indebted municipalities as it’s been to the corporate markets it has saved. A hostile and controlling conservative state government blocks or vetoes many policies City Hall desires and starves the city of funds, even though much of the tax revenue generated in New Orleans goes to state coffers. As a result, Ms. Cantrell complained, she has no ability to make reforms like raising the minimum wage, and little room to redirect taxes or revenue.


So far, she has had more success with infrastructure projects, including a deal to divert some tax dollars from the tourism industry into initiatives that include a focus on sustainability. Instead of abandoning low-lying neighborhoods, the city is seeking to re-engineer their open spaces — like unused lots and wide avenues — into a network of water gardens, mini wetlands and drainage canals that feel more like babbling creeks. These “blue and green corridors” are meant to reduce flooding and reverse subsidence, the sinking of land, which has been increasing.


This reworked cityscape will be immensely beneficial to New Orleans’s viability if completed. But in the face of climate change — rising seas and disappearing wetlands to the south — Ms. Cantrell acknowledged it won’t be enough over the next 15 years.


There’s only so much, she said, that a mayor with a municipal budget can do — for wages, infrastructure, housing, education, economic mobility and more. And that’s true anywhere.


For all of New Orleans’s cultural uniqueness, for all of its ability to be a multicultural mecca in fleeting, festival moments, its struggles and needs are practically the same as every other urban area. Nearly everywhere, the city — this central, vital organ of modern society — is yet to be fairly figured out, with citizens living in just and environmentally stable harmony.


For such a city to be achieved, rich people of all colors will need to stop hoarding resources and live next to working people, schoolteachers may have to be paid like professors, living wages may need to be subsidized and epic adaptations will have to be made for climate change.


The scale of this need can be met only by the vast fiscal and monetary powers of the federal government. The alternative is for coastal areas around New Orleans, Miami, New York and Charleston, S.C., to become ever more unequal in the coming decades, sinking under the weight of their contradictions, then succumbing to nature and being overrun by the sea.


A day or so before I left town, I sat with Dr. Nelson, the Tulane geologist, in his backyard, and he told me he was skeptical of society’s ability to control coastal erosion in time. “For humans, if the return on investment isn’t immediate, you don’t do it,” he said. “But the Earth doesn’t work that way.”


For America to make an adequate pivot to environmentalism and egalitarianism may require a miracle unseen in lifetimes.


Still, as I took off from Louis Armstrong Airport, I noticed how within seconds we were soaring over the wetland created by the Mississippi River, much of it less than 1,000 years old, but now teeming with humans busying about, visible from a vehicle thousands of feet on high — a larger, more implausible-seeming miracle.


It reminded me of one of the last things Dr. Nelson told me, eyes smiling above his mask: “You can’t ignore what’s underneath you. Because you’re building everything on top of it.”



14) The Coronavirus Generation

The virus doesn’t sicken kids as much as adults. But it can still destroy their futures. A child allowance would help.

"Depending on the yardstick used, child poverty in the United States is 65 percent to 90 percent greater than the average in its four main English-speaking peers (Australia, Britain, Canada and Ireland). Among them, America’s public spending on children, as a share of its economy, consistently ranks last."

By Jason DeParle, Aug. 22, 2020

Brian Rea

Three decades ago, a team of researchers at Duke University set off to follow a group of schoolchildren in a stretch of rural North Carolina that happened to include a small reservation. Soon after, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians opened a casino and began sharing the profits, about $4,000 per adult each year, with every household in the tribe — essentially creating a local version of guaranteed income.


What followed should interest anyone concerned about America’s high levels of child poverty or worried how poor children will fare amid the worst unemployment crisis since the Great Depression.


The Cherokee children did better than their unsubsidized counterparts — much better, the researchers found. They completed more schooling. They committed fewer crimes. They had fewer problems with anxiety, depression and substance abuse. The poorest children benefited most. Researchers are still following the kids, who are now in middle age.


The Great Smoky Mountains Study is part of a trove of evidence that has reshaped expert views of child poverty, and it is ripe with lessons today, when the number of needy children is soaring.


As conveyed last year in a landmark report by the National Academies of Science Engineering and Medicine, a growing scholarly consensus can be expressed in two parts. One is that even brief stays in poverty can cause children lifelong harm, especially when the children are young. The other is that money helps — subsidizing the incomes of poor families leads their children on average to better health, more schooling and higher earnings as adults.


That may sound obvious, but the idea that giving poor parents money (or as skeptics would say, “welfare”) improves their children’s chances has been vigorously contested and until recently difficult to prove.


While the coronavirus was initially said to spare the young, that no longer appears to be true medically, and economically it never was — certainly not for the 10 million children below the poverty line and even larger numbers just above it. With hunger rising, classrooms closing and parental stress surging, the pandemic is a threat to low-income children of epochal proportions, one that could leave an entire generation bearing its scars.


Most rich countries do more to protect kids. At least 17 offer child allowances, income supplements to families with children, generally paid to both the poor and middle class in recognition that society has an interest in seeing children thrive. A few years ago, Canada increased its maximum payment to about $4,800 per child per year (in American dollars), and quickly reduced child poverty by a third. Britain has been paying child allowances since the end of World War II.


Until recently, there seemed little chance the United States would do the same, given its high tolerance for child poverty and distrust of income guarantees. Child poverty ranks curiously low even on lists of progressive concerns. It hasn’t been an issue in the year’s outcries over racial injustice. Children don’t lobby, contribute, protest or vote. No vanguards unfurl banners to proclaim that “Young Lives Matter.” Child poverty drew little attention in the Democratic primaries. Joe Biden’s website pledges economic justice but hardly mentions poor kids.


Still, the movement to create a child allowance was quietly advancing in the wonkier precincts of the Democratic Party even before the pandemic, and it has gained ground amid a crisis that has deepened needs and expanded the country’s notions about what the government can spend.


Though few people have noticed, a majority of Democrats in both chambers of Congress have endorsed a child allowance, and a temporary version recently passed the House as part of the Heroes Act, a giant package of coronavirus relief. Analysts estimated that the allowance would cut child poverty by 42 percent, based on pre-pandemic data — among Black kids by more than half.


Mr. Biden hasn’t expressed a view. But if a blue wave prevails in November, it’s possible to imagine a Democratic Congress giving him the chance to start his presidency by lifting four million children out of poverty with a stroke of his pen.




America’s high level of child poverty is old, but the empirical case for reducing it is new. Advances in brain science have shown how much of a child’s life course is set in the first few years. Economists have found that even limited periods of poverty can have lasting effects — less schooling, lower adult earnings and worse adult health.


Historically, the United States could look past its unusual child poverty and boast of its unusual mobility. Poverty is more readily excused when seen as a stage, not a fate. But most researchers now think the American advantage in class fluidity has faded, if it ever truly existed. What remains exceptional is the poverty itself, not the odds of escaping it.


One lesson of recent years is that progress is possible: With low unemployment and the expansion of programs like the earned-income tax credit, child poverty before the pandemic had fallen to an American low, 13.7 percent. But that was still notably high by the standards of wealthy nations.


Depending on the yardstick used, child poverty in the United States is 65 percent to 90 percent greater than the average in its four main English-speaking peers (Australia, Britain, Canada and Ireland). Among them, America’s public spending on children, as a share of its economy, consistently ranks last.


Money helps children in part because of what it buys — food, housing, better schools, health care and summer camps. But it also important in a less obvious way: It reduces stress, which can reach toxic levels in poor households. The academies’ report warns that children chronically exposed to excessive stress can suffer “permanent changes in brain structure and function,” leading to problems from learning disabilities to heart disease and diabetes. Some scientists have found that toxic stress can even alter children’s chromosomes.


If poverty was that harsh before the pandemic, imagine what is doing to children now, amid mass unemployment, closed schools and fears of a deadly pandemic.


This crisis targets the needy. Unemployment rates have grown by 4.8 percentage points for college graduates, but 9.7 points for workers without a high school degree. Perhaps no one is suffering more than undocumented immigrants, who are ineligible for government aid and whose households include more than four million American children.


There is no age group for whom the pandemic does not pose a threat. Toxic stress has been shown to harm infants still in the womb. School closures will confine rich and poor kids to homes even more unequal than their classrooms, at the risk of widening the achievement gap. (Sean F. Reardon, a Stanford sociologist, has found poor eighth graders have the math and reading skills of rich kids in fourth grade.) It’s hard to measure child hunger amid a pandemic, but four different surveys show sharp increases, and food banks have seen astounding lines.


“The kids are not all right — every aspect of their lives is being affected,” said Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus on Children, a Washington advocacy group.


At special risk of long-term harm are young people joining the work force, for whom the earnings penalties are large and lasting. Till von Wachter, an economist at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that a five-point rise in unemployment rates (an increase smaller than today’s) costs disadvantaged workers about a quarter of their first few years’ pay, because they work less and receive lower wages. For workers without a high school degree, it takes more than a decade for their earnings to fully recover, with the total losses over that time equal to a full year’s pay.


The impact goes beyond earnings. Mr. von Wachter (with Hannes Schwandt of Northwestern) found that workers who started out in the deep recession of 1982 had lower marriage rates, more divorce and higher rates of mortality, in part because of heart and liver disease. He estimates that the timing of their labor market entry will shorten their average lives by six to nine months.


“These people lead more stressful lives — they work harder and switch jobs more often,” he said. “Being poor is a very stressful and unhealthy state.”




It’s clear that poor kids on average fare worse than others but, as researchers are quick to warn, correlation is not causation. The question is whether poverty itself harms kids or whether other issues that harm kids also cause poverty. Do poor children do worse in school because they lack money — or because their parents on average have less education, which leaves them less able to help?


If money is the problem, subsidies could be the solution. If not, the money may do little good. In some cases (if, say, a parent has a drug problem) it might even hurt.


In 2015, Congress put the question to the National Academies, a private group (chartered under Abraham Lincoln) that convenes ad hoc panels of scholars to give the government scientific advice. Its pronouncements are arrived at by consensus, and meant to offer cautious, authoritative views. Fifteen scholars pondered the question and concluded last year, “Poverty itself causes negative child outcomes.”


How do they know?


The evidence comes in part from natural experiments — events that randomly subsidize one group of poor families but not others — like the opening of the Cherokee casino. Randall K.Q. Akee, an economist at U.C.L.A., has published four studies of the tribal subsidies and found they improved everything from the children’s education to their propensity as adults to vote. “When you remedy child poverty, children become more productive members of society across multiple dimensions,” he said.


Another natural experiment compared low-birthweight babies who qualified for disability payments with those just above the eligibility threshold. The babies who received the Supplemental Security Income payments during their first nine months developed motor skills more rapidly than those who did not — a result especially notable since the heavier, slightly healthier babies should have had the edge. (The payments now average about $640 a month.)


Other important evidence comes from the rollout of the food stamp program, which was introduced a county at a time from 1962 to 1975. The local differences allowed three researchers (Hilary Hoynes, Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach and Douglas Almond) to compare kids who grew up with access to the program and those who did not.


The differences were large. Children in counties with a food stamp program finished high school at a rate 18 percentage points higher than those raised in places without one. Children in food stamps counties also earned more as adults, enjoyed better health, and were less likely to be poor or receive public aid.


“Some people fear that if you give people benefits you create a culture of poverty,” said Ms. Schanzenbach, an economist at Northwestern. “This shows the opposite is true — if you invest in poor kids, they’re less likely to need benefits as adults.”


Congress asked the academies what it would take to cut child poverty in half. The panel considered the expansion of 10 programs, including job training, housing aid, child care, food stamps and the earned-income tax credit.


None reduced child poverty nearly as much as creating a child allowance. An annual payment of $3,000 per child would lift at least 38 times as many children out of poverty than an increased ($10.25 an hour) minimum wage. Advocates would pay it monthly, to temper damaging income swings like those hitting families today.


“If I had to pick one policy, I would put my bet on a child allowance,” said Greg J. Duncan, an economist at the University of California, Irvine, who led the academies’ study group.


One argument against a child allowance is cost. At about $100 billion a year, such a program is expensive, but less than half as expensive as Donald Trump’s 2017 tax cuts, which mostly benefit the wealthy. In the context of Covid-19 spending measured in the trillions, the costs seem less forbidding.


The other objection is that offering parents a cash subsidy would discourage some from working, a standard anti-welfare concern. But the classic way welfare discourages work is by reducing benefits as earnings grow — in essence, taxing the effort to get ahead. A child allowance, by contrast, would give families the full amount until they were solidly middle class. Every dollar earned would be a dollar gained.


The academies estimated that a child allowance would reduce earnings by just under two-thirds of 1 percent. Public policy involves trade-offs. Maintaining 99.4 percent of the work effort while cutting child poverty more than 40 percent is a trade-off supporters should be able to sell.


Actually, the United States already has a child allowance of sorts — it just happens to be one that largely omits the families that need it the most. A provision of the tax code called the child tax credit offers up to $2,000 per child a year, but only for households with sufficient earnings.


A single mother with two children has to earn more than $30,000 to fully qualify. More than a third of children fail to get the full benefit, including half of Blacks and Latinos and nearly 70 percent of those raised by single mothers. Families with earnings up to $400,000 get the full sum.




In a season of reckonings over social injustice, a plan to shrink child poverty would seem well timed. Think of it as reparations for the accident of being born poor. The child allowance recently passed by the House combines universalist appeal (families with earnings up to $180,000 would be eligible) with outsize help for the disadvantaged. According to Sophie Collyer of Columbia, of the four million children it would lift from poverty, 70 percent would be Black or Latino.


But few people noticed the advance of a plan whose natural habitat is the seminar room, not the streets or the campaign rally. To grasp how the little the Democratic candidates said about child poverty, recall how much they said about “Medicare for all.” (Andrew Yang’s call for a guaranteed income of $12,000 a year per adult is a partial exception, though vastly more expensive and aimed at a different problem, technological change.) When the candidates were asked about child poverty in February, the Children’s Defense Fund called it the first presidential debate question on the issue in two decades.


Their responses were not of the sort that suggested great forethought. Bernie Sanders blamed “the 1 percent.” Pete Buttigieg called for “a different kind of politics.” Joe Biden said that he had been known as the poorest man in Congress. Amy Klobuchar alone mentioned the academies’ report, but glossed over its major recommendation — a child allowance — to tell a story about Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the importance of empathy.


The candidate who had made child poverty his focus was Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado — no one’s idea of a radical. (As the head of Denver’s public schools, he’d seen the many ways, from hunger to unstable housing, that poverty held children back.) But he hadn’t gotten enough support to make it onto the stage.


Perhaps the policy’s low profile has helped shield it from attack. Mr. Bennet is a co-author of two child allowance plans (of differing amounts) and Senator Kamala Harris, the vice-presidential nominee, has co-sponsored both. The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, a paradigmatic liberal, is among the Capitol’s main enthusiast but there are pockets of conservative support, too.


Libertarians like policies that let parents spend money as they wish, rather than constricting their choices. Traditionalists like the idea that a child allowance benefits non-working mothers, unlike subsidies for child care. Sixteen conservative intellectuals, including J.D. Vance, Robert George and Yuval Levin, recently called for a one-year child allowance as part of coronavirus relief.


Mr. Biden’s view remains a mystery — repeated queries to his campaign this week went unanswered. But he pledges to take the country beyond recovery to reinvention. (“Build back better,” he likes to say.) One place to start is by reinventing a country without so many poor kids.














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