Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, September 6, 2020





Don't Extradite Julian Assange!

9/7 SF Rally-Speakout  In San Francisco At UK Consulate
In conjunction with Assange’s Trial In The UK

September 7, 2020 12 PM Noon
#1 Sansome St.
San Francisco



Love is in the air." The Heart over the Golden Gate Bridge, a photo by Bruce Forrester from the celebration for the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love. Produced by Antenna Theater.



Let’s Give the People of the Bay Area Something to Smile About!




A free public event for the entire Bay Area presented 

by Antenna Theater


Sponsored by

Sausalito Art Festival


Contact: Annette Rose, arose@antenna-theater.org 415 578 2435 Day of event, 415 342 3985


The Heart of San Francisco is a COVID-19 safe spectacular. Knowing we are all yearning for shared experiences, whether in a symphonic hall or a sports arena, Antenna decided to use that great asset, the San Francisco Bay, as an amphitheater to create such an experience!


What / Where:

A skywriting plane will draw four hearts over the Bay Area. Each Heart will be a mile high, and visible from yards, decks, buildings, marinas, and shorelines.* The first Heart will be drawn over the Golden Gate Bridge, then the plane will fly to Angel Island, Treasure Island and mid-Market Street.

Vessels of all kinds will sail and motor the Bay to watch the Hearts being created. The flotilla will be proudly headed by the tall ship, Matthew Turner

*If you leave your property, remember to wear a mask and practice safe social distancing



2 pm: On Labor Day, vessels will begin to gather near the Golden Gate Bridge.

2:30 pm: A livestream audio and video show, available via our YouTube channel, will begin. SEE ANTENNA THEATER WEB SITE FOR DETAILS. http://antenna-theater.org/ Live commentary broadcast from near the GGB will present both pre-recorded and live views of this day around the Bay. Music and performance pieces are included.

3 pm: The sky plane will begin drawing the Heart of San Francisco above the Golden Gate, followed by subsequent hearts. 

4:30 pm: The fourth heart is drawn above mid-Market Street to assure that folks in the Mission, Castro and surrounding neighborhoods may join in the fun. Live stream ends.






Tuesday, September 8, 2020 8:00 PM ET


Join the California Coalition for Women Prisoners and the Freedom Archives for a panel discussing the historical legacy of the Attica Prison Rebellion, sustaining resistance behind bars and how Attica can inform the ways we fight back! 


The above events are part of a month of national and state actions marking the 49th anniversary of the Attica Prison Uprising and calling urgent attention to the need for mass decarceration during COVID-19.

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Nicole D. Porter
Director of Advocacy

Email: nporter@sentencingproject.org
Twitter: @NicolePorter




September 9, 7:00 P.M. ET:

There will be a virtual Commemoration of the Plowshares 8 on September 9 at 7 pm ET sponsored by Stop Banking on the Bomb and other Pittsburgh based organizations. Molly Rush, Dean Hammer and John Schuchardt (three of the four living members of the group) will participate in a discussion and reflect on the action which sparked 100 similar acts of disarmament over the years. A summary of the history can be found here: https://kingsbayplowshares7.org/plowshares-history 

Email Joyce Rothermel at <rothermeljoyce@gmail.com> to get the Zoom link for Sept 9.

The six remaining Kings Bay Plowshares defendants have had their sentencing 
dates moved from September to October 15 and 16.

The six remaining Kings Bay Plowshares defendants have had their sentencing dates moved from September to October 15 and 16. They had requested a continuance because they want to appear in open court in Georgia and the virus situation there is still too out of control to safely allow it. 

Steve Kelly has now served almost 29 months in county jails since the action in April, 2018 so has already met the guidelines for his likely sentence. The court may not want to grant him further extensions. (You can send a postcard to Steve to let him know you're thinking of him. Directions on writing here.

The other defendants are not sure if they would prefer to seek more continuances or choose virtual appearances for sentencing in solidarity with Steve on those dates in October if it appears unsafe to travel to Georgia at that time. Check the website for updates.

September 9 will be the 40thanniversary of the first plowshares action in King of Prussia, PA. Eight activists, known as the Plowshares Eight, entered the GE plant where nosecones for nuclear missile warheads were manufactured. They hammered on several and poured blood on the nosecones and documents.  

Emile de Antonio’s 1983 film, In the King of Prussia, is about the trial of the Plowshares Eight. The judge is played by Martin Sheen and the defendants are played by themselves. It’s available for viewing on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUph8GWFupE

The Plowshares 8: Fr. Carl Kabat, O.M.I., Elmer Mass, Phil Berrigan, Molly Rush, Fr. Dan Berrigan, S.J., Sr. Anne Montgomery, R.S.C.J., John Schuchardt, and Dean Hammer

You can read Fr. Daniel Berrigan’s reflections on the Plowshares Eight action from the book Swords Into Plowshares: Nonviolent Direct Action for Disarmament (1987), edited by Art Laffin and Anne Montgomery: http://www.nukeresister.org/2015/09/08/swords-into-plowshares-fr-daniel-berrigans-reflections-on-the-plowshares-8-nuclear-disarmament-action/

Here’s an article written by Anna Brown and Mary Anne Muller ten years ago, for the 30th anniversary: https://wagingnonviolence.org/2010/09/the-plowshares-8-thirty-years-on/

And here is a 1990 New York Times article about the Plowshares Eight: https://www.nytimes.com/1990/04/11/us/eight-sentenced-in-1980-protest-at-nuclear-unit.html

“They shall beat their swords into plowshares; their spears into pruning hooks. One nation shall not lift sword against another. Nor shall they train for war anymore.” (Is. 2:4) 



Do Trump and coronavirus have you down? Then join us on September 26 to celebrate the 15 year anniversary of one of the world’s most beautiful projects: Cuba’s Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade!

Dear carole,

The Henry Reeve Brigade will celebrate its 15th anniversary next month! Yes, it will have been 15 years since Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans and prompted then-Cuban president Fidel Castro to offer to send doctors to help treat patients in the storm’s aftermath. The US government refused this offer, but Cuba was not deterred from wanting to show the world some much needed solidarity. 

Since its founding, the brave women and men of the Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade have given emergency medical assistance to more than 3.5 million people in over 50 countries. To honor their compassion and commitment, we will hear directly from Cuban doctors working on the frontlines of the pandemic. 

What: Cuban Doctors Speak: 15 years of the Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade

When: Saturday, September 26 at 8pm ET / 5pm PT

Where: Online via Zoom, YouTube and Facebook. 


There’s even more good news: Danny Glover will be on with us to offer his commentary, and journalist/author Vijay Prashad will host this fascinating conversation! Please join Danny, Vijay, and the Cuban medical personnel for this celebratory event. We promise it will nurture your soul.

In solidarity,
Alicia Jrakpo and Medea Benjamin

P.S. The attacks on Cuba’s medical internationalism are not stopping! Even Human Rights Watch (HRW), a liberal NGO, has joined in on the Trump administration’s campaign to slander this amazing example of solidarity. If you have not already, please read the rebuttal to the HRW report  then sign and share the petition asking HRW to retract their flawed report!

Also, Vijay Prashad has just published a lovely article about why Cuban doctors deserve the Nobel Peace Prize. Check it out!

P.P.S. 1980 Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel just made a video endorsing the Nobel for Cuban Doctors campaign! Click here to watch it!

Want to make your own short video explaining why you support the Henry Reeve Brigade? Upload it to Twitter and tag @CubaNobel. Then we’ll be happy to like and retweet it! It’s a great way of spreading the word about the campaign.

We look forward to working with you to continue the aspirations of the Nobel Peace Prize for the Cuban Doctors campaign.  Watch for our upcoming webinars and film series.

Remember to follow us in social media: 


In friendship,
Alicia Jrapko and Medea Benjamin 
Co-Chairs of the Cuba Nobel Prize Committee

Donate Now!

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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



To commemorate the 49th anniversary of the Attica Prison Uprising, The Sentencing Project’s Campaign to End Life Imprisonment, in collaboration with the Decarceration National Network, invites you to join with incarcerated people, their families and activists in September to demand the release of people subjected to long prison terms in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The spread of COVID-19 inside prisons and jails, where social distancing and other prevention measures are virtually impossible, has infected over 150,000 people and many have suffered preventable deaths. The September #AtticaUprising49 actions can help stop this tragedy by joining voices demanding the release of all people who can be safely returned to the community.

Actions across the country will highlight the following demands:

  • Clemency Now!
  • Mass Decarceration through All Possible Means
  • Abolish Extreme Sentencing
  • Safety For All People In Prisons and Jails

Don't see an event in your state? Help us build this movement by organizing an activity to demand decarceration in your state. The Sentencing Project can provide direction and messaging to help you create an impactful event. Email mmcleod@sentencingproject.org for assistance. 

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Nicole D. Porter
Director of Advocacy

Email: nporter@sentencingproject.org
Twitter: @NicolePorter 

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Call for the immediate release of 


Syiaah Skylit from CDCR custody! 



Sign the petition here: https://www.change.org/p/gavin-newsom-call-for-the-immediate-release-of-syiaah-skylit-from-cdcr-custody-blacktranslivesmatter?recruiter=915876972&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=abi_gmail&utm_campaign=address_book&recruited_by_id=7d48b720-ecea-11e8-a770-29edb03b51cc 

Syiaah Skylit is a Black transgender woman currently incarcerated at Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP). Syiaah has been a victim of multiple acts of brutal, senseless violence at KVSP at the hands of prison staff and others in custody. Many of these attacks are in retaliation for her advocacy for herself and other trans women. 

Syiaah’s life is currently at risk due to racist, transmisogynist violence at the hands of the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation (CDCr). While all the offending officers should be fired, this isn’t about a couple of bad apples. We have centuries of evidence that prison will never be safe — for Black people, for trans people, and especially not for Black trans women.

“I’m not going to make it out of this prison alive if I’m left here any longer.” 

— Syiaah Skylit, June 2020

While incarcerated at Kern Valley State Prison between 2018 and the present, prison staff have subjected Syiaah to severe and persistent physical, sexual, and psychological abuse (see below for examples, with content warnings). Staff at Kern Valley State Prison are also responsible for the 2013 death of Carmen Guerrero, a transgender woman who was forced to be housed with an individual who made it clear to officers that he would kill Ms. Guerrero if he was celled with her. Earlier this year, that individual was given the death penalty for killing Ms. Guerrero just eight hours after CDCR officers forced them to cell together. 

Facing immediate danger, Syiaah has repeatedly asked to be transferred to a women’s facility and CDCR has repeatedly denied her requests. We demand that Governor Newsom and CDCR immediately release Syiaah to her community and family before she falls further victim to the lethal danger that transgender people face in prison. 

[Content note: assault, sexual violence, anti-Black racism, transmisogny]

While in CDCR custody between 2018 and the present, Syiaah has:

- Been physically attacked by CDCR staff multiple times;
- Been threatened with sexual assault with a baton by CDCR staff; 
- Been forced by CDCR staff to parade through the yard naked from the waist down;
- Been stripped naked by CDCR staff and left overnight in her cell without clothes, blankets, or a mattress;
- Been attacked by other people in custody who admitted that CDCR staff directed them to do so;
- Had her property stolen and destroyed by CDCR staff;
- Been maced in the face and thrown in a cage after reporting an assault;
- Been intentionally placed on the same yard as an individual she testified against who is facing attempted murder charges for his assault of a transgender woman. As Syiaah feared, this individual violently attacked her as revenge. This man was then allowed to attack a gay man after attacking Syiaah. 
- Been intentionally placed on the same yard as individuals with histories of attacking trans women and other LGBTQI+ people, in spite of her pleas to be placed separately;
- Been thrown in administrative segregation after being the victim of an attack;
- Has had all of her recent documented complaints of discrimination and violence rejected under false pretenses;
- Has had contact with her legal representatives restricted to one phone call a week;
- Has been humiliated and discriminated against for going on a hunger strike as a form of protest;
- Has expressed numerous, documented concerns for her safety and had them blatantly ignored.

In spite of the constant violence Syiaah continues to survive, she continues to demonstrate her resilience and dedication to learning and growing. She has earned certifications in many educational and vocational programs and support groups. 

We as Syiaah’s community and chosen family are ready to support her with a safe and successful reentry plan if Governor Newsom uses his executive powers to grant her clemency. Organizations that can offer Syiaah comprehensive reentry support including housing and employment upon her release include TGI Justice Project, Transgender Advocacy Group (TAG), and Medina Orthwein LLP. 

You can read more about Syiaah's story in this article by Victoria Law for Truthout as well as this one by Dustin Gardiner for the SF Chronicle

Please sign and share this petition to #FreeSyiaah and declare #BlackTransLivesMatter! 

Please also check out our social media toolkit to support Syiaah!

[Please do not donate as prompted after signing, as the money goes to change.org and not to any cause associated with Syiaah.] 

Art by Micah Bazant at Forward Together.




Write to Kevin “Rashid” Johnson:

Kevin Johnson #264847

Wabash Valley Correctional Facility

6908 S. Old U.S. HWY 41, P.O. Box 500

Carlisle, IN 47838




Comrades, Friends, and Supporters,


This afternoon I received word through a third party that Rashid has been transferred from Pendleton and is now in Wabash Valley Correctional Facility in Carlise, IN. He went through an intake process and was screened by a Ms. Clark who he believes is a nurse.  During this screening Ms. Clark informed Sgt. Nichols and Lt. Small to give him all of his K.O.P. meds to keep with him in his cell.  Sgt. Nichols and Lt. Small took Rashid to a cell in the S.H.U. (Segregated Housing Unit) but DID NOT give Rashid his medication or any of his property. He was also purposefully put into a cell that has no reception which has prevented him from calling and emailing directly from his tablet. Obviously they did this believing that it would prevent Rashid from communicating his condition and whereabouts to us.


We thank you for the support that you have shown and ask that calls and emails continue to be made on his behalf with increased intensity and that they be directed at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility's staff.  Our demands have not changed.  Please respond to this email if you have questions or suggestions or reach out to me directly.


-Shupavu wa Kirima



Frank Vanihel


Mailing Address

Wabash Valley Correctional Facility

6908 S. Old U.S. Highway 41

P.O. Box 500

Carlisle, IN 47838


Phone Number

(812) 398-5050


Administrative Secretary to the Warden

Janna Anderson


Facility Staff

Deputy Warden of Re-entry

Kevin Gilmore


Deputy Warden of Operations

Frank Littlejohn


Administrative Assistant

Legal Liaison

Michael Ellis


(812) 398-5050 ext. 4198


Our mailing address is:
Kevin Rashid Johnson
D.O.C. #264847
Pendleton Correctional Facility 4490 W. Reformatory Rd
PendletonIN  46064

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In April of 1971, Edward Poindexter and Mondo we Langa, formerly David Rice, were sentenced to life in prison for the death of an Omaha police officer- a crime they did not commit. The two were targeted by law enforcement and wrongfully convicted due to their  affiliation with the Black Panther Party, a civil rights and anti-fascist political group.  Nearly 50 years later, Ed is still in prison and maintains his innocence. He has earned several college degrees, taught anti-violence classes to youth, authored screenplays, and more. His last chance for freedom is to receive a commutation of sentence from the Nebraska Board of Pardons. At age 75, he is at high risk for COVID related health complications. He must receive an immediate and expedited commutation hearing from the Board.-EMAIL: freedomfored@gmail.com@freedom4ed
Take Action Now
Write, email and call the Nebraska Board of Pardons. Request that they expedite Ed’s application, schedule his hearing for the October 2020 meeting and commute his sentence. 
WRITE: Nebraska Board of Pardons/ P.O. Box 95007/ Lincoln, NE 68509
*please email a copy of your letter..to freedomfored@gmail.com---EMAIL: ne.pardonsboard@nebraska.gov
CALL:  Governor Pete Ricketts--402-471-2244  & SoS Robert B. Evnen---402-471-2554  & AG Doug Peterson--402-471-2683



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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About Albert Einstein

In September 1946, (after the war, before the civil rights movement), Albert Einstein called racism America’s “worst disease.” Earlier that year, he told students and faculty at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, the oldest Black college in the Western world, that racial segregation was “not a disease of colored people, but a disease of white people, adding, “I willl not remain silent about it.” 

His peers criticized this appearance. The press purposefully didn't cover it. He simply wanted to inspire young minds with the beauty and power of science, drawing attention to the power of ALL human minds, regardless of race.

“The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.” -Albert Einstein



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

Follow the campaign on twitter
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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WHISPeR Project at ExposeFacts 1627 Eye Street, NW Suite 600 Washington, DC 20006 



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.

Gray & Associates, PO Box 8291, ATLANTA, GA 31106
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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.)




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

Donate Now!

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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 






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) Suspect in Fatal Portland Shooting Is Killed by Officers During Arrest

Law enforcement agents killed Michael Forest Reinoehl while trying to arrest him, four officials said. He was being investigated in the fatal shooting of a supporter of a far-right group.

By Hallie Golden, Mike Baker and Adam Goldman, Sept. 4, 2020

Michael Reinoehl was killed by a federally led fugitive task force in Lacey, Wash., on Thursday. He was being investigated in a fatal shooting at a Portland protest.

Michael Reinoehl was killed by a federally led fugitive task force in Lacey, Wash., on Thursday. He was being investigated in a fatal shooting at a Portland protest. Credit...Joshua Bessex for The New York Times

LACEY, Wash. — Law enforcement agents shot and killed an antifa supporter on Thursday as they moved to arrest him in the fatal shooting of a right-wing activist who was part of a pro-Trump caravan in Portland, Ore., officials said.


The suspect, Michael Forest Reinoehl, 48, was shot by officers from a federally led fugitive task force during the encounter in Washington State, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.


“Initial reports indicate the suspect produced a firearm, threatening the lives of law enforcement officers,” the Marshals Service said in a statement. “Task force members responded to the threat and struck the suspect who was pronounced dead at the scene.”


Lt. Ray Brady of the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office said that the suspect being sought by the law enforcement team had exited an apartment and got into a vehicle.


“As they attempted to apprehend him, there was gunfire,” Lieutenant Brady said. He said four law enforcement officers fired their weapons.


Lieutenant Brady said that Mr. Reinoehl had a handgun with him, but added on Friday that “we are not able to confirm at this time if he fired shots.”


An arrest warrant for murder had been obtained by the Portland police through the Circuit Court in Multnomah County, Ore., earlier Thursday, on the same day that Vice News published an interview with Mr. Reinoehl in which he appeared to admit to the Aug. 29 shooting, saying, “I had no choice.”


The Portland police had been investigating Saturday’s shooting death of Aaron J. Danielson, one of the supporters of President Trump who came into downtown Portland and clashed with protesters demonstrating against racial injustice and police brutality.


Mr. Reinoehl, who lived in the Portland area, had been a persistent presence at the city’s demonstrations over recent weeks, helping the protesters with security and suggesting on social media that the struggle was becoming a war where “there will be casualties.”


“I am 100% ANTIFA all the way!” he posted on Instagram in June, referring to a loose collection of activists who have mobilized to oppose groups they see as fascist or racist. “I am willing to fight for my brothers and sisters! Even if some of them are too ignorant to realize what antifa truly stands for. We do not want violence but we will not run from it either!”


In the Vice interview, Mr. Reinoehl said he had acted in self-defense, believing that he and a friend were about to be stabbed. “I could have sat there and watched them kill a friend of mine of color, but I wasn’t going to do that,” he said.


An hour before his fatal encounter with law enforcement, Mr. Reinoehl was on the telephone with Tiffanie Wickwire, who was helping him set up a GoFundMe page, Ms. Wickwire said in an interview.


“We were talking about his kids and what to do for them if anything happened to him,” she said, referring to his 17-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter.


“Stay safe,” they told each other at the end of the call, she said.


The Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force that attempted to arrest Mr. Reinoehl included members of the U.S. Marshals Service, the Lakewood Police Department, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department and the Washington State Department of Corrections.


The officers closed in on Mr. Reinoehl on a residential street lined with townhomes and single-family houses in an unincorporated area adjacent to the city of Lacey, not far from the Washington State capital of Olympia and about two hours’ drive north of Portland.


Chad Smith, 29, who lives next door to the apartment where the shooting occurred, said he was standing outside at about 6:45 p.m. when he saw two S.U.V.s race toward the complex. He heard about a minute and a half of gunshots, he said, then saw a man walking backward next to a white pickup truck, holding what appeared to be a gun, and officers firing in his direction.


Trevor Brown, 24, who lives in a townhouse nearby, said he heard several shots fired and saw as many as four police officers in the road, who fired three or four times. He said he then saw a man lying on the ground.


Jashon Spencer, who also lives not far away, also heard the gunshots. “I just heard a whole bunch of pops,” Mr. Spencer said. “I ducked. I thought they were shooting in my yard.”


He said that he went out and saw a bloodied man in the street, and a video he took showed a law enforcement officer attempting CPR.


After the shooting, several hundred protesters in Portland gathered in front of a police station in a residential neighborhood, chanting racial justice slogans as they have on most nights since May, although the mood shortly before midnight was relatively calm.


“There’s blood on your hands. You murdered Michael Reinoehl,” someone had posted in the street outside a law enforcement building. “Michael was murdered,” said another posting.


Later in the evening, police officers charged the crowd and took one person into custody.


As part of the protesters’ security team during the demonstrations, Mr. Reinoehl’s role included intercepting potential agitators and helping calm conflicts, fellow protesters said.


“Nightly, he would break up fights,” said Randal McCorkle, a regular at the demonstrations who said he became close friends with Mr. Reinoehl as they wore on.


“He wanted change so badly,” he said. His death, he said, would likely inspire others to continue the movement for police reform. “I was going to say radicalize, but galvanize is a better word,” he said. “Honestly, I’m going to try to step into his shoes.”


Reese Monson, a leader in the local protest movement who also helps organize security, said all the people who helped with security in Portland, including Mr. Reinoehl, were trained on de-escalation.


“He was excellent at that,” Mr. Monson said.


Mr. Monson said the security designees have been trained to approach potential agitators and politely ask them to leave. They have also been trained on how to conduct physical removals but are cautioned to try to avoid such measures because they can cause situations to escalate. Mr. Monson said Mr. Reinoehl would often come over to discuss how to  handle potential agitators appropriately.


“He was literally a guardian angel,” said Teal Lindseth, one of the main organizers of the Portland protests. “He would protect you no matter what.”


Early on Friday, Ms. Lindseth spray-painted a tribute to Mr. Reinoehl on the street in front of the police precinct where demonstrators were gathered. “Long Live Mike,” she wrote, “the best ally ever.”


He sometimes ran into trouble, though. On July 5 during the protests, Mr. Reinoehl was charged with resisting arrest and possession of a loaded firearm in a case that was later dropped. At the end of July, he showed a bloodied arm to a journalist with Bloomberg QuickTake News and said he had been shot while intervening in a fight.


The night  when Mr. Danielson was shot began with a large crowd of supporters of Mr. Trump gathering in the suburbs. They planned to drive hundreds of vehicles carrying flags around the highways of Portland, but many of them eventually drove downtown, where protesters have been congregating regularly. Once there, some Trump supporters shot paintballs into the crowd, while people on the streets threw objects back at them. Fistfights broke out.


As evening turned into night, video appeared to show Mr. Danielson, who was wearing a hat with the insignia of the far-right group Patriot Prayer, and Mr. Reinoehl on a street along with a few other people. One person was shouting, “We’ve got a couple right here.”


The man who captured video of the shooting, Justin Dunlap, said it appeared that Mr. Danielson reached to his hip.


“He pulled from his side, just like he was pulling a gun,” Mr. Dunlap said.


But in other video taken during the encounter, someone can be heard flagging that Mr. Danielson was pulling out a can of mace. “He’s macing you, he’s pulling it out,” the person warned.


It appeared from the video that Mr. Danielson sprayed mace just as two gunshots could be heard, and Mr. Danielson went down.


Portland has seen escalating conflicts involving guns over the past few weeks. On Aug. 15, a person allied with right-wing demonstrators fired two shots from his vehicle, the authorities said. A week later, during open clashes on the streets, another right-wing demonstrator pulled out a gun.


Mr. Reinoehl said in his social media posts that he was once in the Army, and hated it, although an Army official said no record of service could be found under his name. In the Bloomberg interview, Mr. Reinoehl described himself as a professional snowboarder and a contractor.


His daughter was with him during the July interview, and he said she had also been present during the encounter that left his arm bloodied.


“The fact is that she is going to be contributing to running this new country that we’re fighting for,” Mr. Reinoehl said. “And she’s going to learn everything on the street, not by what people have said.”


Mr. Reinoehl’s sister, who asked to remain anonymous because the family has received numerous threatening phone calls in recent days, said police officers asked if screenshots from videos from the night of the shooting looked like her brother. She said they did, but she said she had not seen him since three years ago, when she said family members broke off contact with Mr. Reinoehl after escalating conflicts.


At the beginning of June, in the days after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis triggered nationwide protests, Mr. Reinoehl began posting about the need for change.


“Things are bad right now and they can only get worse,” he posted on June 3. “But that is how a radical change comes about.”


Hallie Golden reported from Lacey, Mike Baker from Seattle, and Adam Goldman from Washington. Katie Benner and Zolan Kanno-Youngs contributed reporting from Washington,  Thomas Fuller from Portland and Alan Yuhas from New York.



2) 7 Police Officers Suspended as a Black Man’s Suffocation Roils Rochester

Daniel Prude, who was having a psychotic episode, died after police officers placed a mesh hood over his head in March.

By Sarah Maslin Nir, Michael Wilson, Troy Closson and Jesse McKinley, Sept. 4, 2020

Protesters gathered at the site where Daniel Prude was fatally injured as the Rochester police tried to detain him in March. It was not until Wednesday that gruesome video of the encounter was made public.

Protesters gathered at the site where Daniel Prude was fatally injured as the Rochester police tried to detain him in March. It was not until Wednesday that gruesome video of the encounter was made public. Credit...Joshua Rashaad McFadden for The New York Times

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Seven Rochester police officers were suspended on Thursday in the suffocation of a Black man as he was being detained in March, although the mayor and senior state officials faced escalating questions about why more than five months passed before action was taken.


The man, Daniel Prude, who was having a psychotic episode, was handcuffed by officers after he ran into the street naked in the middle of the cold night and told at least one passer-by that he had the coronavirus. Mr. Prude began spitting, and the officers responded by pulling a mesh hood over his head, according to police body camera footage.


When he tried to rise, the officers forced Mr. Prude face down on the ground, one of them pushing his head to the pavement, the video footage showed. Mr. Prude was held down by the police for two minutes, and had to be resuscitated. He died a week later at the hospital.


His death did not receive widespread attention until Wednesday, when his family released raw police videos of the encounter, which they just obtained through an open records request. The scene — a Black man, handcuffed and sitting in a street, wearing nothing but a white hood — seemed a shocking combination of physical helplessness and racist imagery from another era.


Rochester, a city of 200,000 in Western New York, became the latest city to be roiled by the death of a Black person in police custody, with protesters taking to the streets.


By about 9:45 p.m. on Thursday, a crowd of perhaps 100 demonstrators had gathered outside Rochester’s Public Safety Building on Exchange Boulevard. People were sitting, singing, chanting and eating pizza.


At around 10:30 p.m., the dozen or so police officers who had been monitoring the demonstrators from behind a barricade were joined by around 20 reinforcements in riot gear.


The officers suddenly surged toward the barricade and began firing an irritant into the crowd. It was unclear what led them to do so.


The protesters pushed into the barricade toward the police, prompting the officers to fire the irritant again, as protesters yelled, “Why? Why?”


The back and forth continued for 45 minutes or so, with the police repeatedly firing irritant.


The disciplinary action against the seven officers was the first in response to Mr. Prude’s death. In a news conference on Thursday afternoon, Mayor Lovely Warren apologized to the Prude family, saying that Mr. Prude had been failed “by our police department, our mental health care system, our society. And he was failed by me.”


Ms. Warren did not offer details on why the investigations into the March 23 encounter had taken so long, but suggested that she had been misled by the police chief, La’Ron D. Singletary.


“Experiencing and ultimately dying from the drug overdose in police custody, as I was told by the chief, is entirely different than what I ultimately witnessed, on the video,” the mayor said.


Chief Singletary bristled on Wednesday at the suggestion that his department had been trying to keep Mr. Prude’s death away from public attention.


“This is not a cover-up,” he said, adding that he ordered criminal and internal investigations hours after the encounter. He stood by the officers’ response to what had initially been a mental-health related call: “Our job is to try to get some sort of medical intervention, and that’s exactly what happened that night.”


On Wednesday, the state attorney general, Letitia James, made her first statement on the case, offering condolences to Mr. Prude’s family and promising “a fair and independent investigation.”


“We will work tirelessly to provide the transparency and accountability that all our communities deserve,” she said.


Investigations into police-related killings of unarmed civilians in New York are overseen by Ms. James’s office, and findings of fact are not publicized until complete. In Mr. Prude’s case, Ms. James’s investigation began in April, and is continuing.


Still, in the wake of high-profile police killings around the country, including the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and the shooting of Jacob Blake, the lag between Mr. Prude’s death and public calls for justice by Ms. James and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo — both Democrats who have been outspoken on the issue of police brutality — seemed jarring.


The Monroe County medical examiner ruled Mr. Prude’s death a homicide caused by “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint,” according to an autopsy report.


“Excited delirium” and acute intoxication by phencyclidine, or the drug PCP, were contributing factors, the report said.


The city did not identify the officers who were suspended.


Interviews, police records and body camera footage offer an unusually detailed timeline of what happened the night that Mr. Prude was detained by officers.


A light snow was falling, the streets empty and dark at 3 a.m. on March 23, when the call came in over the police radio: A naked man, Mr. Prude, 41, was running outside, under the influence of PCP, and shouting that he had the coronavirus.


The hours leading up to the encounter with the police were troubled ones for Mr. Prude, who was struggling with some combination of suicidal fantasy and drug use that an hourslong admittance to a hospital did nothing to treat.


The day before, Mr. Prude had arrived in Rochester. His brother, Joe Prude, had picked him up from a shelter in nearby Buffalo after Daniel Prude had been kicked off a train from Chicago, where he lived, Joe Prude told the police.


But soon after, Mr. Prude began behaving erratically, accusing his brother of wanting to kill him and even seemingly trying to take his own life. “He jumped 21 stairs down to my basement, head first,” Joe Prude told the police.


Joe Prude had his brother admitted to Strong Memorial Hospital for an evaluation. Mr. Prude was released hours later, returning to Joe Prude’s home, where he seemed to have calmed down. But then he asked for a cigarette, and when his brother rose to get one, he bolted out a back door, barely dressed.


Joe Prude called the police, giving a description of what his brother had been wearing — “white tank top, black long-johns, no shoes, no coat” — and saying he seemed to be under the influence of PCP. He told an officer that he feared Daniel may have run toward the sound of an approaching train, to possibly try again to hurt himself.


As they spoke, a call came over the officer’s radio: “There’s a male at the location with blood all over him telling the complainant he’s sick and not wearing clothes,” a dispatcher announced.


Joe Prude, hearing the call, said, “That’s my brother.”


Body camera footage shows officers arriving at 3:16 a.m. near downtown Rochester, their headlights illuminating a naked Mr. Prude in the roadway. The police believe he had broken a store window with a brick, and minutes earlier had stopped a passing tow truck driver and told him he had the coronavirus.


An officer stepped out of his police vehicle, pointed a Taser at Mr. Prude and ordered him to get on the ground. Mr. Prude immediately obeyed, lying face down and spread-eagled. He did not resist as officers handcuffed him behind his back.


He alternately demanded officers “get off me” while imploring, “In Jesus Christ I pray,” at one point asking for money, and at others, for a gun. Officers could be heard chuckling in the background, until Mr. Prude grew more agitated: “Give me your gun. I need it.” All the while, he remained sitting.


The officers seemed preoccupied with concern that they might catch something from Mr. Prude. A day earlier, with the coronavirus quickly spreading, the state ordered all nonessential workers to stay at home. “Sir, you don’t got AIDS, do you?” one asked.


Mr. Prude spit on the ground multiple times, and while not aiming at the officers, his action drew their attention. “Stop spitting,” one said. “Anybody got a spit sock?” another asked, referring to the device commonly carried by the police and used by corrections officers.


At 3:19 a.m., an officer unfolded a white hood, approached Mr. Prude from behind and pulled it over his head, where it hung loosely. Mr. Prude began rolling in the road, pleading for it to be taken off.


A minute later, after spitting repeatedly inside the hood and shouting, “Give me the gun,” Mr. Prude seemed to try to rise to his feet. Three officers who had been keeping a distance hurried forward and pushed him to the street.


One officer, identified as Mark Vaughn, held Mr. Prude’s head facedown, seeming to push it to the street as he held a fistful of the hood.


Mr. Prude’s angry protests turned tearful, then devolved into incoherent grunts and gurgling sounds, according to the video. An officer asked him, “You good, man?” There was no reply.


“He’s puking, just straight water,” an officer said. “You see that water come out of his mouth?”


An ambulance arrived. “Roll him on his back,” a paramedic instructed as officers searched for a handcuff key. A paramedic began performing CPR as Mr. Prude remained handcuffed.


Finally, the handcuffs were removed, and Mr. Prude was placed on a stretcher and into the ambulance, where he was given shots of epinephrine and sodium bicarbonate, and soon after, his heartbeat returned on its own, according to a police report.


The same officer who had questioned Mr. Prude’s brother earlier that morning returned to say Mr. Prude had been found and hospitalized. Joe Prude seemed relieved. “I’m glad he went that way,” he told the officer, “and not the way of that damn train.”


Mr. Prude lived in Chicago with his sister, and had five adult children. One of his three daughters, Tashyra Prude, said she felt “instant rage” when she saw the video this week.


“The person that everybody sees in the video is totally different from the person that I knew,” she said.


She is starting college this fall. “This is something I wanted to go through with my father by my side, and I’ve just been deprived of this experience because of what happened, and it just breaks my heart,” she said.


On Wednesday evening, as outrage over the circumstances of Mr. Prude’s death spread, Mr. Cuomo said he had not seen the body camera footage.


By Thursday, however, the governor was calling for answers, saying the video was “deeply disturbing,” and urging a quickening of the investigation.


“For the sake of Mr. Prude’s family and the greater Rochester community, I am calling for this case to be concluded as expeditiously as possible,” the governor said in a statement. “For that to occur, we need the full and timely cooperation of the Rochester Police Department and I trust it will fully comply.”


With the release of the camera footage, Joe Prude’s assessment of that night in March was filled with outrage. “I placed a phone call to get my brother help,” he told reporters on Wednesday, “not to have my brother lynched.”



3) Efforts to Channel Protests Into More Votes Face Challenges in Kenosha

Some Black residents of Kenosha, upended by the police shooting of Jacob Blake, weren’t convinced that an election would solve the problem.

By John Eligon, Sept. 3, 2020

&ldquo;Let&rsquo;s say I did go out and vote and I voted for Biden,&rdquo; said Michael Lindsey, a friend of Mr. Blake&rsquo;s who protested for several nights after the shooting. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s not going to change police brutality.&rdquo;
“Let’s say I did go out and vote and I voted for Biden,” said Michael Lindsey, a friend of Mr. Blake’s who protested for several nights after the shooting. “That’s not going to change police brutality.” Credit...Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

KENOSHA, Wis. — Gerald Holmes, a forklift operator from Kenosha, Wis., was so passionate about the importance of the election four years ago that he drove people without rides to the polls. But this year, Mr. Holmes says he is not even planning to vote himself.


The outcome in 2016, when Wisconsin helped seal President Trump’s victory despite his losing the popular vote and amid reports of Russian interference, left Mr. Holmes, 54, deeply discouraged.


“What good is it to go out there and do it?” he said. “It isn’t going to make any difference.”


As protests have unfolded across the country this summer over the death of George Floyd and the police treatment of Black people, activists and Democratic leaders have pleaded with demonstrators to turn their energy toward elections in November.


A block party on Tuesday honoring Jacob Blake, a Black resident of Kenosha who was left paralyzed after being shot in the back by a white police officer, included voter registration booths near where the shooting occurred. And Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic nominee for president, was scheduled to visit Kenosha on Thursday, two days after Mr. Trump appeared in the city in the wake of unrest over the shooting.


But people like Mr. Holmes reflect the challenges that Democrats face as they try to channel their anger over police violence into voting. In interviews with more than a dozen Black residents in the Kenosha area, many said they were outraged over the shooting of Mr. Blake, but some said they had grown dispirited and cynical about the political system. The shooting was further evidence, some residents said, that decades of promises from politicians have done little to alleviate wide racial inequalities or stem police abuses, leaving them seeing little value in one more election.


“Let’s say I did go out and vote and I voted for Biden,” said Michael Lindsey, a friend of Mr. Blake’s who protested for several nights after the shooting. “That’s not going to change police brutality. It’s not going to change the way the police treat African-Americans compared to Caucasians.”


Mr. Lindsey, 29, who lives just outside of Kenosha, said he had never voted in a presidential election and did not plan to start this year, as much as he despises Mr. Trump and is fed up with feeling like he has to live in fear of the police because he is Black.


Many factors have slowed voting. The state’s high rate of incarceration of Black people — among the highest in the nation — strips many African-Americans of their voting rights. Wisconsin’s voter identification law and other strict regulations, such as a shortened early voting period and longer residency requirements compared with 2016, also present major hurdles.


There are other challenges, too. Some residents said they were put off by Mr. Biden’s previous support of tough-on-crime legislation that devastated many Black families. Some said they wrestled with whether he would be any better than Mr. Trump on issues of racism in policing.


“The people feel disengaged,” said Corey Prince, a community organizer. “They feel disenfranchised. They feel dissuaded from voting.”


That presents a problem for Democrats, who saw Mr. Trump win the state by fewer than 23,000 votes four years ago; turnout among the state’s Black population, which votes overwhelmingly Democratic, sank by nearly 20 percentage points from the previous presidential election. Still, two years ago, turnout among Black voters rose during the midterm elections, helping Democrats to unseat Scott Walker, the incumbent Republican governor.


Community leaders are stressing the importance of not just the presidential election, but also of local races, Diamond Hartwell, a Kenosha native and human rights activist, said. Still, during voter outreach efforts, she said she often heard the refrain, “It doesn’t matter who’s in.”


She said activists were increasing efforts to educate people on the importance of voting and how to do it amid the thicket of rules for registering and getting a proper identification — regulations that many on the left say suppress turnout among minority groups.


During the block party this week near the intersection where Mr. Blake was shot, James Hall, the interim president of the Urban League of Racine and Kenosha, oversaw a table to register voters. Mr. Hall said that older Black residents were among the most likely to vote but that younger people — especially people in their 20s and 30s — were hard to convince. Even the immediate anger and frustration over the shooting in Kenosha did not necessarily ensure more people would vote, he said.


“This noise will energize them, but is it going to translate to votes?” Mr. Hall asked. “I doubt it.”


He approached a young woman and man standing nearby and asked if they wanted to register.


“Does my vote really matter?” the woman asked. Before Mr. Hall could respond, she answered for herself. “I know my voice doesn’t count.”


“It’ll only take five minutes,” Mr. Hall told the man, who initially agreed to register, but then changed his mind and said he would do it later.


Nearly 12 percent of Kenosha’s 100,000 residents are Black. The African-American incarceration rate in Kenosha is about 80 percent higher than in Milwaukee, which has the third-highest rate among large metropolitan areas, according to research by Marc V. Levine, the founding director of the Center for Economic Development at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Black Kenosha residents are 12 times more likely to be locked up than their white neighbors.


Skepticism about the record of Mr. Biden and his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris of California, on issues of criminal justice are widespread, Mr. Hall said. “They have a history of passing bills or working with the system to incarcerate our people,” he said. “Our people know that, so that’s what makes them unattractive. They haven’t brought anything to the platform to say, ‘Hey, we know we made a mistake in the past, this is what we’re going to do to fix it.’”


Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris have expressed regret for some of their past positions on criminal justice issues, and have cast those decisions as products of the politics of the era. Both have since voiced support for measures that they say will reduce incarceration like decriminalizing marijuana, promoting treatment for nonviolent drug offenses and ending mandatory minimum sentences.


If dissatisfaction with the candidates is turning off Black voters, so is an overall disenchantment with the system, said Dominique Pritchett, a mental health clinician and community activist in Kenosha. Clients have spoken of fears of even going to the polls because of what they see as voter suppression efforts, she said.


“Will I be targeted?” she said clients have asked her. “Will they shred my vote? Psychologically, people just feel like they truly don’t matter.”


Gathered around the front stoop of a clapboard home in Kenosha’s Uptown neighborhood on a recent afternoon, a group of men described their skepticism about voting this fall.


Mike Davis, 42, said the current turmoil over policing increased his desire to see Mr. Trump leave office. But then he thinks back to 2016.


“He’s losing in the polls, everybody says he’s not going to get it, and somehow, some way, he figured out how to get it,” Mr. Davis said. “And I feel like he’s going to do it again. It’s going to be a waste of time.”


Sentiments like that should not be uttered out loud, said his friend, Jamaal Crawford.


“If you believe that, don’t spread that because you’ll have others not voting,” Mr. Crawford, 37, said.


Mr. Crawford said he believed that voting was important and did not want others to be dissuaded.


He last voted many years ago because, for roughly the past 10 years, he has either been incarcerated or under some form of state supervision, he said. In Wisconsin, people with felony records can vote as long as they have completed their sentences and are no longer on probation or parole.


Mr. Crawford, a cook who was laid off because of the pandemic, said he might register now, though he was unsure whether he wanted to go through the process. Still, he said, it is a critical moment given the challenges of police violence.


“Some people are just tired,” he said. “They think it’s a waste of time. But even if it is, we should keep wasting our time until it’s not.”



4) ‘Dwarf Pride’ Was Hard Won. Will a Growth Drug Undermine It?

An experimental medication that increases height in children with the most common form of dwarfism has raised hope that it can help them lead easier lives. But some say the condition is not a problem in need of a cure.

By Serena Solomon, Sept. 6, 2020

Marlon Mills and with his daughter Eden.
Marlon Mills and with his daughter Eden. Credit...Melissa Mills

AUCKLAND, New Zealand — It’s a question many parents of children with dwarfism have contemplated: If a medication could make them taller, would they give it to them?


Now, that possibility is becoming less hypothetical. A study published this weekend in the journal The Lancet found that an experimental drug called vosoritide increased growth in children with the most common form of dwarfism to nearly the same rate as in children without the condition.


The study has raised hope that the drug, if taken over the course of years, can make life easier for those with the condition, known as achondroplasia, including the distant prospect of alleviating major quality-of-life issues such as back pain and breathing difficulties.


But the drug has also ignited a contentious debate in a community that sees “dwarf pride” as a hard-won tenet — where being a little person is a unique trait to be celebrated, not a problem in need of a cure.


Weeks before their son Lachlan was born, Dr. Simone Watkins and her husband learned that he most likely had achondroplasia, which affects about one in 25,000 infants.


After his birth, Dr. Watkins recalled, she and her husband said over him: “We love you. You’re perfect. We are so happy you’re here. You’re going to have a great life.”


She now feels that vosoritide could compromise that sentiment.


“I want him to have the best life possible with less complications and not to be bullied and to fit into society,” Dr. Watkins said as Lachlan, 2, played next to her in a pile of pillows at their home in Auckland, New Zealand. “But also, I don’t want to give him the message that he needs to change.”


Achondroplasia is a genetic disorder that disrupts the transition of cartilage to bone. Those with the condition have shorter arms and legs than those found in people of average stature, as well as defining facial features. Their adult height is typically a little over 4 feet. More than 80 percent of those with achondroplasia are born to parents of average stature, and a child with the condition has a 50 percent chance of passing it on.


The study in The Lancet found that children who took the drug grew an additional 0.6 inches on average in one year, with minimal side effects. If taken over many years, vosoritide could produce a significant increase in adult height, though the study was limited to a year and does not address this possibility, or resolve whether the medication can ease the medical complications common to dwarfism.


The trial examined 121 children ages 5 to 17 over a 12-month period. Participants were located in seven countries.


In August, BioMarin, the American pharmaceutical company behind vosoritide, submitted the study’s findings to the Food and Drug Administration as well as the European Medicines Agency. If approved, vosoritide could be available within months.


“It doesn’t totally restore all of the growth, but it does make a pretty significant dent in the difference,” said Dr. Eric Rush, a clinical geneticist at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., and an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City.


He was not involved in the vosoritide trial, but has consulted for BioMarin and is involved in trials for a similar drug.


Vosoritide utilizes a synthetic form of a protein that humans produce naturally. It targets the overactive signal that prevents bone growth in children with achondroplasia, said Dr. Ravi Savarirayan, a clinical geneticist at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia, who led the trial.


He compared the condition’s effects to watering a plant. “It’s not going to grow if it gets too much water, so we are just regulating the amount of water,” Dr. Savarirayan said, calling the drug a “precision therapy that actually counteracts the underlying problem.”


Dr. Savarirayan offered a moving example of what longer limbs could deliver.


“We’ve got 12- and 13-year-old girls who now for the first time can do their own feminine hygiene and don’t need to be helped by someone because their arms are longer,” he said.


Sarah Cohen, an 11-year-old who lives in Geelong, near Melbourne, started taking vosoritide at age 7 and continues to use it as part of another trial.


At 4 feet 1 inch, she has already reached what her full adult height could have been without vosoritide. In the early stages of her treatment, she dreaded the daily injections. “I got used to it,” she said, “and I am growing.”


That has produced some milestones that others might take for granted. When her family returned to a water park recently, she cleared the 4-foot height requirement to use a water slide for the first time. “There’s a real confidence that goes with those things,” said her father, Paul Cohen.


Megan Schimmel attributes much of her strength, compassion and empathy to living with achondroplasia. She said that she wouldn’t want to change herself, and that she isn’t going to change her 2-year-old daughter, Lily, who also has the condition.


“I can do everything that someone a foot taller can do, with minor accommodations,” Ms. Schimmel wrote in an email, adding that vosoritide sent a message that those with achondroplasia “are broken.”


Melissa Mills, of Jacksonville, Fla., who does not have the condition, said she had already decided that her 4-year-old daughter, Eden, would use vosoritide if it is approved by the F.D.A.


Yes, Ms. Mills could get a $900 custom bike so her daughter could ride or teach her to drive a car with pedal extenders, but she will embrace an alternative. “With dwarfism, the world wasn’t built for my child, so if there is something I can do to help her navigate the world a little bit better and on her own, I want to do it,” she said.


After Eden’s diagnosis, Ms. Mills said, she joined every support group she could find to learn about her daughter’s condition. Her questions about treatments that increased height whipped up tension. “The more I got involved in the groups and the L.P.A.” — the organization Little People of America — “the more I pulled away.”


The debate over the drug resembles a decades-long discussion among deaf people over cochlear implants, with some taking exception to the suggestion that they should be “fixed” with the device.


Vosoritide, said Mark Povinelli, the L.P.A.’s president, “is one of the most divisive things that we’ve come across in our 63-year existence.”


The organization does not endorse specific treatments, but encourages members to consider more than height in medical decisions. “We want to show that you can have a completely fulfilling life without having to worry about growth velocity,” said Mr. Povinelli, calling fixations on height a societal issue.


When the group formed in 1957, there were no treatments in the United States to increase height. The organization focused on changing how the outside world saw people with the condition, emphasizing pride and forming a community that now numbers 8,000.


In 2012, when BioMarin first presented vosoritide to the group, it received a lackluster response, Mr. Povinelli said. An uneasy truce has since developed.


“For better or for worse, as uncomfortable as it was, it put these therapies front and center in everyone’s mind,” he said.


The drug — whose price has not yet been set, though it is likely to be costly — could provide an alternative to arduous limb-lengthening surgery, a process that involves cutting bone and extending a limb over several weeks, said Marco Sessa, the president of the Association for the Information and Study of Achondroplasia in Italy.


The surgery has not caught on in the United States as it has in Italy, where more than 90 percent of people with achondroplasia undergo it, adding a foot of height in some cases. “It is a very painful, long operation, so people think with the vosoritide we will finish the era of leg-lengthening,” Mr. Sessa said.


Dr. Watkins, the pediatric trainee in Auckland, said that she and her husband were leaning toward treating their son with vosoritide. It isn’t so much about the height, she said, but the potential quality-of-life benefits.


Still, Dr. Watkins wonders about the effects on Lachlan’s relationships with his peers who have dwarfism if he grows taller than they do. She also worries about the potential for negative side effects that did not show up in the trials.


For now, she will wait, if vosoritide is approved, to see how it continues to perform. “I don’t think it is very straightforward,” she said.



5) After Accusations of Police Cover-Up, Prude Case Goes to Grand Jury

The decision by New York’s attorney general comes more than five months after Daniel Prude died of suffocation after officers in Rochester, N.Y., placed a hood over his head.

By Michael Wilson, Sept. 5, 2020

Joe Prude, brother of Daniel Prude, spoke to demonstrators who gathered to protest police brutality in Rochester, N.Y., on Friday.
Joe Prude, brother of Daniel Prude, spoke to demonstrators who gathered to protest police brutality in Rochester, N.Y., on Friday. Credit...Joshua Rashaad McFadden for The New York Times

New York’s attorney general announced on Saturday that she would set up a grand jury to consider evidence in the death of a Black man in Rochester, N.Y., who suffocated after he had been placed in a hood by police officers and pinned to the ground.


The unusual weekend announcement by the attorney general, Letitia James, signaled a significant ramping up of the response to the March 23 arrest of Daniel Prude, 41, after months of official silence. Mr. Prude’s family in recent days has accused officials of covering up his death to protect the police officers involved.


Mr. Prude went into cardiac arrest during a struggle with officers and died a week later. The county medical examiner labeled his death a homicide caused by complications of asphyxiation in a prone position. But for months, the police in Rochester treated the case as a drug overdose after PCP, or angel dust, was found in his bloodstream.


“The Prude family and the Rochester community have been through great pain and anguish,” Ms. James said in a statement on Saturday. “My office will immediately move to empanel a grand jury as part of our exhaustive investigation into this matter.”


Her office became aware of Mr. Prude’s death in mid-April with the release of the autopsy’s findings, but made no public mention of the case until this week, even as protests erupted nationwide over mistreatment and brutality directed at Black people by the police.


The case came to public attention only on Wednesday, more than five months after Mr. Prude’s death, when his family’s lawyer released body camera footage from the officers involved in detaining Mr. Prude. The footage was obtained through a public records request by the lawyer.


Mr. Prude’s brother, Joe Prude, had accused local authorities this week of failing to investigate the case in order to protect the police. On Saturday night, Mr. Prude said he was pleased by the attorney general’s announcement.


“I am ecstatic about this,” Mr. Prude said, “but right now I’m still waiting on seeing the indictment and them being prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”


Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said he supported the decision to set up a grand jury. “Justice delayed is justice denied and the people of New York deserve the truth,” Mr. Cuomo said in a statement.


The Rochester police chief has denied that the department covered up Mr. Prude’s death. The seven officers found to be involved in the encounter with Mr. Prude were suspended this week after the release of the videos.


Protesters have taken to the streets of Rochester every night since the release of the body camera footage, and on Friday night, what began as a peaceful rally took a violent turn.


Protesters marching past restaurants overturned tables and threw furniture and bottles as diners scattered. Police officers in riot gear responded with pepper spray and orders to disperse.


Soon after, two cars drove into a crowd of demonstrators, knocking at least two people to the ground. In videos shared on Twitter, the driver of at least one car can be seen spraying demonstrators with an irritant and racing away.


Daniel Prude, who is from Chicago, arrived at his brother’s home in Rochester on March 22, behaving erratically and apparently hallucinating. His brother had him hospitalized for an evaluation, but Mr. Prude was sent home hours later.


Early on the morning of March 23, Mr. Prude bolted from his brother’s house, and was found naked in the street shortly after 3 a.m. A group of police officers arrived and handcuffed him without incident, but when Mr. Prude began spitting in the street — as coronavirus cases were rising sharply throughout the state — officers placed a hood over his head.


Mr. Prude became agitated and tried to rise, according to video from the officers’ body cameras. The officers pinned him to the ground, one holding his head to the pavement.


Mr. Prude pleaded to be let up, but seemed to struggle for breath, and his words turned to gurgles, then stopped, according to footage from the officers’ cameras. When paramedics arrived about two minutes after he had been pinned, he had no heartbeat.


They revived him and took him to a hospital, where he later died.


Hours after the encounter with officers, the Rochester police chief, La’Ron Singletary, told Lovely Warren, the mayor of Rochester, that a man in custody had suffered a drug overdose, Ms. Warren said this week.


That police narrative essentially held for months, even as Ms. James’s office began an investigation.


Her office did not announce its involvement in the matter and, according to Rochester officials, told them to keep quiet as well.


On June 4, a top official in Ms. James’s office asked city officials not to release body camera footage so as not to “interfere with the attorney general’s ongoing investigation,” Ms. Warren’s office said this week.


Ms. James’s office has denied that characterization of events.


“There was never a request from the attorney general’s office to the City of Rochester corporation counsel to withhold information about the events surrounding the death of Daniel Prude, plain and simple,” Ms. James’s office said in a statement.


Ms. James’s office has also said it does not routinely comment on investigations into deaths in police custody until they are concluded.


The office shared footage from the body cameras with a lawyer for the Prude family in June and with family members on July 21.


Ms. Warren, Rochester’s mayor, said she welcomed the grand jury announcement.


“I thank Attorney General James for taking this action because it is a trying time in Rochester,” she said in a statement. She asked the community to allow the attorney general’s “process to go forth on behalf of the Prude family.”


Sarah Maslin Nir contributed reporting.



6) The Service Economy Meltdown

As companies reconsider their long-term need to have employees on site, low-wage workers depending on office-based businesses stand to lose the most.

By Eduardo Porter, Sept. 4, 2020

Angel Carter, who lost her job as an office cleaner in Philadelphia, argues that the job these days merits hazard pay. But above all, she said, &ldquo;I&rsquo;m praying that they do open back up.&rdquo;

Angel Carter, who lost her job as an office cleaner in Philadelphia, argues that the job these days merits hazard pay. But above all, she said, “I’m praying that they do open back up.” Credit...Hannah Yoon for The New York Times

March 16 was the last day David Engelsman walked into the Jackrabbit, an acclaimed restaurant at the boutique Duniway Hotel in downtown Portland, Ore. The lead server on morning duty, Mr. Engelsman was told before his shift started that his job was no longer needed. He left early, at 10:30 a.m. The restaurant didn’t reopen the next day.


A total of 330 workers at the Duniway and another Hilton property across the street have been let go since then. With two autistic children, a wife with a severe heart condition and now no health insurance, Mr. Engelsman has devoted much of his time to the fight by his union, UNITE HERE, to get Hilton to make health-plan contributions for laid-off workers until the end of the year. “We’re left standing here with nothing,” he said. “I know I sound dramatic, but it is dramatic.”


With 11.5 million jobs lost since February and the government’s monthly report Friday showing a slowdown in hiring, stories like this have become painfully common. When companies dispatched office staff to work remotely from home, cut business trips and canceled business lunches, they also eliminated the jobs cleaning their offices and hotel rooms, driving them around town and serving them meals.


For this army of service workers across urban America, the pandemic risks becoming more than a short-term economic shock. If white-collar America doesn’t return to the office, service workers will be left with nobody to serve.


The worry is particularly acute in cities, which for decades have sustained tens of millions of jobs for workers without a college education. Now remote work is adding to other pressures that have stunted opportunities. The collapse of retailers like J.C. Penney and Neiman Marcus has wiped out many low-wage jobs. The implosion of tourism in cities like New York and San Francisco will end many more.


Maria Valdez, a laid-off housekeeper at the Grand Hyatt in San Antonio, is scraping by with three children on a $314 weekly unemployment check. Kimber Adams, who lost her job as a bartender at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, is pinning hopes on her “Plan B” to become a phlebotomist. Waldo Cabrera, let go from his job cleaning the cabins of American Airlines jets at the Miami airport, hopes an offer to drive a tanker truck in Texas will wait until he can move at the end of the year. “Perforce I have to leave here,” he said.


Mari Duncan is relatively lucky. She is still drawing a paycheck, even though her job marinating meats and cooking soup at Facebook’s Seattle campus ended when Facebook sent its managers and engineers to work from home. But she fears that her deal — Facebook is still paying its food service contractor so it can cover payroll — can’t last forever. “When I saw a story break about how Facebook will stay remote until July of 2021,” she said, “I freaked out a little bit.”


Every one of them is itching to get back to work. But a fear is budding that even when the pandemic has passed, the economy may not provide the jobs it once did.


“Some law firms are finding that it is more productive for their lawyers to stay at home,” said Kristinia Bellamy, a janitor who was laid off from her job cleaning offices at a high-rise housing legal firms and other white-collar businesses in Midtown Manhattan. “This might be the beginning of the end for these commercial office buildings.”


Consider Nike’s decision in the spring to allow most employees at its headquarters in the Portland area to work remotely. Aramark, which runs the cafeteria and catering at Nike, furloughed many of its workers. With no need for full services anticipated “for an undefined period,” Aramark says, 378 employees — waiters, cooks, cashiers and others — now face permanent layoff on Sept. 25.


The question is whether dislocations like this will be only temporary. About one-fifth of adults of working age who do not have a college degree live in the biggest metropolitan areas — in the top quarter by population density — according to estimates by David Autor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Most are in service industries that cater to the needs of an affluent class of “knowledge workers” who have flocked to cities in search of cool amenities and high pay.


And having discovered Zoom, what company will fly a manager across the country for a day’s worth of meetings? A lasting reduction in business travel will endanger the ecosystem of hotel and restaurant workers serving corporate travelers.


Jonathan Dingel and Brent Neiman of the University of Chicago have calculated that 37 percent of jobs can be done entirely from home. Those jobs tend to be highly paid, in fields like legal services, computer programming and financial services. And they tend to concentrate in affluent areas like San Francisco; Stamford, Conn.; and Raleigh, N.C.


Recent research by the economists Edward Glaeser, Caitlin Gorback and Stephen Redding found that when Covid-19 struck, activity — measured by the movement of cellphones in and out of ZIP codes — declined much more sharply in neighborhoods where a larger share of residents had jobs that could potentially be done from home.


The economists at Opportunity Insights in Cambridge, Mass., estimate that in the year to Aug. 9, consumer spending in high-income ZIP codes declined 8.4 percent, with the impact felt disproportionately by industries that rely heavily on the nation’s low-wage labor force: restaurants and hotels, entertainment and recreation services.


A lasting change in the behavior of the high-wage layer atop urban labor markets would have an outsize effect. Many service jobs that held on in the face of globalization and widespread automation may not survive.


“I don’t know what a less-skilled worker does in West Virginia,” said Mr. Glaeser, an urban economist at Harvard University. “If urban service jobs disappear, the whole of America becomes like West Virginia.”


Nike isn’t Portland’s biggest private employer. That’s Intel, the semiconductor giant, which employs 20,000 mostly well-paid people there. It is a pillar of a high-tech cluster known as the Silicon Forest stretching between Hillsboro and Beaverton on the western edge of the city. And it supports a network of contractors and subcontractors whose income trickles down through the area’s economy.


Only about 40 percent of Intel’s employees are working on site — those indispensable to its vast chip-making plants — and remote work is set to continue until at least next June. Even after that, said Darcy Ortiz, Intel’s vice president for corporate services, “there will be more flexibility in the way we work.”


For businesses that rely on Intel’s footprint, that may not be great news. “Intel has sustained us,” said Rick Van Beveren, a member of the Hillsboro City Council who owns a cafe and a catering business that remain mostly shuttered. “We cater to a constellation of businesses around Intel.”


The same type of decision is being made around the country. Scott Rechler, chief executive of RXR Realty, which owns over 20 million square feet of office space in New York City, estimates that every office worker sustains five service jobs, from the shoeshine booth to the coffee shop. Yet only about 12 percent of his tenants are in the office.


Restaurant Associates — the food-service conglomerate operating cafeterias at companies including Google and The New York Times, and restaurants at the Smithsonian and the Quadrangle Club of the University of Chicago — employed 10,500 workers before the pandemic. Though the company has been scrambling for new business since then — to feed health workers, or to make home-delivered meals — Dick Cattani, the chief executive, said that only some half of them are working today.


Of course, a lot of the urban economy that employs low-wage service workers was shut down by city and state governments hoping to contain the pandemic. The risk of infection is also keeping many people at home. Presumably these fears and restrictions will relax once a vaccine or a treatment for Covid-19 is developed.


In New York, for instance, Amazon, Facebook and Google expect to add thousands more workers in the city. “It will take time to recover,” Mr. Rechler said. “Many small businesses may not survive. There will be some urban flight. But that will be backfilled by the next young bright cohort of people who want to come to New York.”


Mr. Cattani sees this as an opportunity to buy new businesses. And the company is expanding into hospitals, to feed patients and their visitors. “Covid can’t change the underlying energy of creative workers in a single place,” said John Alschuler, chairman of the real estate advisory firm HR&A Advisors.


A large share of the American labor force hopes he is right. Mr. Engelsman, the restaurant server in Portland, has no idea how he will pay for his wife’s medication when a month’s dose of beta blockers alone costs $580. Mr. Cabrera, the American Airlines cabin cleaner in Miami, had to dip into the insurance money he got after somebody crashed into his car, and is now carless. Ms. Valdez, the hotel housekeeper in San Antonio, was called back for the Grand Hyatt’s reopening this month, but says she can’t return until school starts because she must care for her 11-year-old son. She worries that Hyatt will try to make do with fewer cleaning workers and not hire everybody back.


Angel Carter, who was laid off in March from her job cleaning three floors in Philadelphia’s Center City, notes that janitors at work are putting their health at risk. They are more important than ever — given the pandemic — because offices must be cleaned extra thoroughly. She argues that the job these days merits hazard pay. But above anything else, Ms. Carter said, “I’m praying that they do open back up."



7) I Used the Podium to Protest. The Olympic Committee Punished Me.

The I.O.C. is on the wrong side of history, again. [see video at the url below]

By Gwen Berry, Sept. 7, 2020


Gwen Berry (@MzBerryThrows) is an American Olympian.

In sports arenas around the world, taking a knee is no longer taboo — it’s trending. But there’s at least one place where protesting is still not allowed.


The Olympic medal podium.


In the video Op-Ed above, the track and field Olympian Gwen Berry confronts Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, over what she feels is his organization’s hypocrisy: Olympians are celebrated for their courage, drive and tenacity. But if they are spurred by those same traits to demand racial justice? That’s a punishable offense.


On the podium at the 2019 Pan Am Games, Berry raised her fist. Then she paid for it. She was reprimanded by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee and is now unsponsored. She is among the top hammer throwers in the world, but hasn’t received an athletic grant since protesting.


Berry is a Black woman without a safety net defying a global organization that brought in $165 million in profits in 2018. Yet athletes like her — who often scrape by — are faced with an impossible dilemma: keep their mouths shut or jeopardize their career to fight for justice.


Berry has fought to get to where she is today. She was raised by her grandmother in a household of 13 in Ferguson, Mo. After having a son at age 15, she earned a college scholarship and became a top hammer thrower. While training to qualify for the Olympics in 2016, she held down two jobs — working at Dick’s Sporting Goods during the day and delivering Insomnia Cookies at night — and helped support 10 extended-family members back home.


Last month, Team USA formed a council to make recommendations on race and social justice. But Berry says as long as free speech is censored, volunteer committees are not enough.


As for what she really wants? You’ll have to hear it from her in the video above.


This time, she won’t be silenced.


Gwen Berry (@MzBerryThrows) is an American Olympian.



8) Gross Domestic Misery Is Rising

The recovery is bypassing those who need it most.

“…the stock market isn’t the economy: more than half of all stocks are owned by only 1 percent of Americans, while the bottom half of the population owns only 0.7 percent of the market…”

By Paul Krugman, Opinion Columnist, Sept. 7, 2020

People lined up outside a Kentucky career center for assistance with their unemployment claims in Frankfort, Ky., in June. Credit...Bryan Woolston/Reuters

Are you better off now than you were in July?


On the face of it, that shouldn’t even be a question. After all, stocks are up; the economy added more than a million jobs in “August” (I’ll explain the scare quotes in a minute); preliminary estimates suggest that G.D.P. is growing rapidly in the third quarter, which ends this month.


But the stock market isn’t the economy: more than half of all stocks are owned by only 1 percent of Americans, while the bottom half of the population owns only 0.7 percent of the market.


Jobs and G.D.P., by contrast, sort of are the economy. But they aren’t the economy’s point. What some economists and many politicians often forget is that economics isn’t fundamentally about data, it’s about people. I like data as much as, or probably more than, the next guy. But an economy’s success should be judged not by impersonal statistics, but by whether people’s lives are getting better.


And the simple fact is that over the past few weeks the lives of many Americans have gotten much worse.


Obviously this is true for the roughly 30,000 Americans who died of Covid-19 in August — for comparison, only 4,000 people died in the European Union, which has a larger population — plus the unknown but large number of our citizens who suffered long-term health damage. And don’t look now, but the number of new coronavirus cases, which had been declining, seems to have plateaued; between Labor Day and school re-openings, there’s a pretty good chance that the virus situation is about to take another turn for the worse.


But things have already gotten worse for millions of families that lost most of their normal income as a result of the pandemic and still haven’t gotten it back. For the first few months of the pandemic depression many of these Americans were getting by thanks to emergency federal aid. But much of that aid was cut off at the end of July, and despite job gains we’re in the midst of a huge increase in national misery.


So let’s talk about that employment report.


One important thing to bear in mind about official monthly job statistics is that they’re based on surveys conducted during the second week of the month. That’s why I used scare quotes around “August”: What Friday’s report actually gave us was a snapshot of the state of the labor market around Aug. 12.


This may be important. Private data suggest a slowdown in job growth since late July. So the next employment report, which will be based on data collected this week — and will also be the last report before the election — will probably (not certainly) be weaker than the last.


In any case, that August report wasn’t great considering the context. In normal times a gain of 1.4 million jobs would be impressive, even if some of those jobs were a temporary blip associated with the census. But we’re still more than 11 million jobs down from where we were in February.


And the situation remains dire for the hardest-hit workers. The pandemic slump disproportionately hit workers in the leisure and hospitality sector — think restaurants — and employment in that sector is still down around 25 percent, while the unemployment rate for workers in the industry is still over 20 percent, more than four times what it was a year ago.


In part because of where the slump was concentrated, the unemployed tend to be Americans who were earning low wages even before the slump. And one disturbing fact about the August report was that average wages rose. No, that’s not a misprint: If the low-wage workers hit worst by the slump were being rehired, we’d expect average wages to fall, as they did during the snapback of May and June. Rising average wages at this point are a sign that those who really need jobs aren’t getting them.



9) Jacob Blake, Rare Survivor at Center of Police Protests, Starts Telling His Own Story

In a video recorded from his hospital bed, Mr. Blake, who was shot by the police, says, “It hurts to breathe; it hurts to sleep.” [a video of Mr. Blake is with this article online]

By Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Sept. 7, 2020


This photo shows a screenshot of cellphone video showing Jacob Blake (right) with a police officer having his gun drawn moments before Blake was shot in the back seven times on Sunday. Aug. 23, 2020.

Photo: KSTP. This photo shows a screenshot of cellphone video showing Jacob Blake (right) with a police officer having his gun drawn moments before Blake was shot in the back seven times on Sunday. Aug. 23, 2020.

KENOSHA, Wis. — Demonstrations against police violence have been filled with the chants of victims’ names: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner. In recent days, a new name — Jacob Blake — has been called out in protests across the country.


In that list, though, Mr. Blake, a Black man who was repeatedly shot in the back by a white police officer in Kenosha, Wis., is also set apart. Unlike so many of the people who have become grim symbols for a movement, Mr. Blake survived and has begun to tell his own story.


“Your life — and not only just your life, your legs, something that you need to move around and move forward in life — could be taken from you like this, man,” Mr. Blake says from his hospital bed, snapping his fingers for emphasis, in a video released over the weekend. In the video, he speaks publicly for the first time about what happened to him. His injuries are severe, and his family says he was paralyzed from the waist down in the shooting last month.


In the video, which was recorded by an activist from New York who distributed it on social media, Mr. Blake describes his injuries, which he says left him with staples in his back and stomach.


“Every 24 hours, it’s pain — it’s nothing but pain,” Mr. Blake says. “It hurts to breathe; it hurts to sleep. It hurts to move from side to side. It hurts to eat.”


Shermaine Laster, the activist, said he had showed up unannounced at the Milwaukee hospital where Mr. Blake is being treated and was meeting Mr. Blake for the first time.


For demonstrators seeking broad changes to American policing, the prospect of Mr. Blake’s presenting the public with a personal voice to his experience was encouraging.


“My son is gone,” said Monique West, whose 18-year-old son, Ty’Rese West, was shot and killed in 2019 by a police officer in Racine County, not far from Kenosha. “He’s not here to tell nothing. There’s only two stories — either the officer or the person that’s gone.”


A Kenosha officer, Rusten Sheskey, fired seven times on Aug. 30 at Mr. Blake, who was trying to get into a car. The shooting was captured by a neighbor on a disturbing video that quickly drew outrage on social media. It set off sometimes destructive demonstrations in Kenosha and quickly became a topic in the presidential race, drawing visits from President Trump and Joseph R. Biden Jr.


Cortez Rice, a nephew of George Floyd, the man who was killed by the police in Minneapolis in May, said Mr. Blake’s own words about what had happened to him would hold a unique value. “Jacob’s got the chance — he’s going to get to speak,” Mr. Rice said.


Gregory Bennett Jr. organized a community event on Sunday in Kenosha at which state lawmakers heard demands from residents for change. A seat was left empty for Mr. Blake at the event — a reminder, organizers said, that he might yet be a voice for needed reform. Without such survivors, Mr. Bennett said, the stories are often muted.


“It would have been swept under the rug,” Mr. Bennett said. “There’s people whose family members have been shot and killed here in this city, and guess what? You never see a news camera or nothing.”


To be sure, others who became symbols of abuse at the hands of the police have survived to tell their stories. Rodney King, who was beaten by Los Angeles police officers in 1991, and Abner Louima, who was tortured by New York police officers in 1997, both lived to describe what had been done to them. Mr. King, who died in 2012, and Mr. Louima, who started a real estate business in Florida, largely tried to move on.


Of people shot at by officers from the nation’s 50 largest police departments between 2010 and 2016, about two-thirds survived, according to data obtained by Vice News.


“There’s an invisibility to it,” Frank Edwards, an assistant professor of criminal justice at Rutgers, said of people who survive police shootings, adding that many of those survivors are charged with crimes and rarely draw public attention or speak publicly about their cases. “They fear retribution if they do speak,” he said.


What role Mr. Blake will choose to play in demonstrations remains to be seen. He still faces significant medical challenges, and one of his lawyers has said that his walking again would be a “miracle.” Mr. Blake also is contending with legal charges.


By videoconference from his hospital bed, Mr. Blake pleaded not guilty on Friday to three domestic charges against him, including a sexual assault count. The charges were filed in July. On the day Mr. Blake was shot, the woman who reported the assault called 911, saying that Mr. Blake was at her home. The Kenosha police said they were trying to arrest Mr. Blake when the shooting occurred.


The trial in that case has been scheduled for November, although it could be delayed.


Ben Crump, a civil rights lawyer who is representing Mr. Blake and has represented families of many Black people killed by the police, said Mr. Blake was still coming to terms with the public attention to what had happened to him and what that might mean in the months ahead.


“He hasn’t been able to fully grasp what a symbol he has become,” Mr. Crump said, adding that Mr. Blake was mostly focused on making sure that his young children — three of whom witnessed the shooting — are not traumatized and that they understand that he will emerge from this.


“The way he’s trying to be a strong Black father for his children is the way that he’s taking on the mission of this movement,” Mr. Crump said.


Porche Bennett, an organizer with Black Lives Activists Kenosha, or BLAK, said on Sunday that there would be no pressure on Mr. Blake to publicly take up their cause or to become an outspoken advocate for the movement.


“We know we’ve got his support,” she said.




















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