RALLY TO #SEALTHEDEAL FOR CLIMATE, JOBS, CARE AND JUSTICE: SAN FRANCISCO, CA
JOIN US ON THIS NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION AS THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE CALL ON OUR MEMBER OF CONGRESS TO SEAL THE DEAL AND PASS THE BIGGEST AND BOLDEST CLIMATE AND CARE INFRASTRUCTURE BILL IN HISTORY. WE CAN FUND CLIMATE SOLUTIONS, GROW THE CARE ECONOMY, FIGHT INEQUALITY, AND CREATE GREEN JOBS.
Thursday, August 19, 12:00 P.M.
Thursday, August 19, 12:00 P.M.
San Francisco Federal Building
90 7th St #2800
San Francisco, CA 94103
HOST: Megan Nguyen
Sincere Greetings of Peace:
The “In the Spirit of Mandela Coalition*” invites your participation and endorsement of the planned October 2021 International Tribunal. The Tribunal will be charging the United States government, its states, and specific agencies with human and civil rights violations against Black, Brown, and Indigenous people.
The Tribunal will be charging human and civil rights violations for:
• Racist police killings of Black, Brown, and Indigenous people,
• Hyper incarcerations of Black, Brown, and Indigenous people
• Political incarceration of Civil Rights/National Liberation era revolutionaries and activists, as well as present day activists,
• Environmental racism and its impact on Black, Brown, and Indigenous people,
• Public Health racism and disparities and its impact on Black, Brown, and Indigenous people, and
• Genocide of Black, Brown, and Indigenous people as a result of the historic and systemic charges of all the above.
The legal aspects of the Tribunal will be led by Attorney Nkechi Taifa along with a powerful team of seasoned attorneys from all the above fields. Thirteen jurists, some with international stature, will preside over the 3 days of testimonies. Testimonies will be elicited form impacted victims, expert witnesses, and attorneys with firsthand knowledge of specific incidences raised in the charges/indictment.
The 2021 International Tribunal has a unique set of outcomes and an opportunity to organize on a mass level across many social justice arenas. Upon the verdict, the results of the Tribunal will:
• Codify and publish the content and results of the Tribunal to be offered in High Schools and University curriculums,
• Provide organized, accurate information for reparation initiatives and community and human rights work,
• Strengthen the demand to free all Political Prisoners and establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission mechanism to lead to their freedom,
• Provide the foundation for civil action in federal and state courts across the United States,
• Present a stronger case, building upon previous and respected human rights initiatives, on the international stage,
• Establish a healthy and viable massive national network of community organizations, activists, clergy, academics, and lawyers concerned with challenging human rights abuses on all levels and enhancing the quality of life for all people, and
• Establish the foundation to build a “Peoples’ Senate” representative of all 50 states, Indigenous Tribes, and major religions.
Endorsements are $25. Your endorsement will add to the volume of support and input vital to ensuring the success of these outcomes moving forward, and to the Tribunal itself. It will be transparently used to immediately move forward with the Tribunal outcomes.
We encourage you to add your name and organization to attend the monthly Tribunal updates and to sign on to one of the Tribunal Committees. (3rd Saturday of each month from 12 noon to 2 PM eastern time). Submit your name by emailing: email@example.com
Please endorse now: http://spiritofmandela.org/endorse/
Dr. A’isha Mohammad
– Coordinating Committee
Created in 2018, In the Spirit of Mandela Coalition is a growing grouping of organizers, academics, clergy, attorneys, and organizations committed to working together against the systemic, historic, and ongoing human rights violations and abuses committed by the USA against Black, Brown, and Indigenous People. The Coalition recognizes and affirms the rich history of diverse and militant freedom fighters Nelson Mandela, Winnie Mandela, Graca Machel Mandela, Rosa Parks, Fannie Lou Hamer, Ella Baker, and many more. It is in their Spirit and affirming their legacy that we work.
A BRILLIANT, BRAVE, BLACK POLITICAL JOURNALIST
PLEASE CALL AND EMAIL ON BEHALF OF KEVIN RASHID JOHNSON!
𝘼𝙡𝙡 𝙋2𝙋 𝙤𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙨𝙚𝙘𝙤𝙣𝙙 𝙙𝙖𝙮 𝙤𝙛 𝘽𝙡𝙖𝙘𝙠 𝘼𝙪𝙜𝙪𝙨𝙩. 𝙊𝙪𝙧 𝙘𝙤𝙢𝙧𝙖𝙙𝙚 𝙍𝙖𝙨𝙝𝙞𝙙 𝙨𝙩𝙞𝙡𝙡 𝙣𝙚𝙚𝙙𝙨 𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙖𝙨𝙨𝙞𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙣𝙘𝙚. 𝙄𝙩 𝙞𝙨𝙞𝙢𝙥𝙚𝙧𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙫𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙘𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙨 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙚𝙢𝙖𝙞𝙡𝙨 𝙨𝙩𝙞𝙡𝙡 𝙗𝙚 𝙢𝙖𝙙𝙚 𝙤𝙣 𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙗𝙚𝙝𝙖𝙡𝙛 𝙩𝙤 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙘𝙤𝙣𝙩𝙖𝙘𝙩𝙨 𝙡𝙞𝙨𝙩𝙚𝙙 𝙗𝙚𝙡𝙤𝙬. 𝙎𝙤𝙢𝙚𝙤𝙣𝙚𝙘𝙤𝙣𝙩𝙖𝙘𝙩𝙚𝙙 𝙢𝙚 𝙚𝙖𝙧𝙡𝙞𝙚𝙧 𝙩𝙤 𝙩𝙚𝙡𝙡 𝙢𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙍𝙖𝙨𝙝𝙞𝙙'𝙨 𝙘𝙚𝙡𝙡 𝙝𝙖𝙨 𝙗𝙚𝙚𝙣 𝙨𝙚𝙖𝙧𝙘𝙝𝙚𝙙 𝙩𝙬𝙞𝙘𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙢𝙤𝙧𝙣𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙖𝙨 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙮𝙗𝙚𝙡𝙞𝙚𝙫𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙝𝙚 𝙞𝙨 𝙨𝙩𝙞𝙡𝙡 𝙘𝙤𝙢𝙢𝙪𝙣𝙞𝙘𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙤𝙪𝙩𝙨𝙞𝙙𝙚. 𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙤𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧 𝙥𝙧𝙞𝙨𝙤𝙣𝙚𝙧𝙨 𝙝𝙖𝙫𝙚 𝙗𝙚𝙚𝙣 𝙞𝙣𝙨𝙩𝙧𝙪𝙘𝙩𝙚𝙙𝙣𝙤𝙩 𝙩𝙤 𝙩𝙖𝙡𝙠 𝙩𝙤 𝙝𝙞𝙢 𝙤𝙧 𝙖𝙨𝙨𝙞𝙨𝙩 𝙝𝙞𝙢 𝙞𝙣 𝙖𝙣𝙮 𝙬𝙖𝙮. 𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙥𝙞𝙜𝙨 𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙖𝙩𝙩𝙚𝙢𝙥𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙤 𝙨𝙤𝙬 𝙙𝙞𝙫𝙞𝙨𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙥𝙚𝙧 𝙪𝙨𝙪𝙖𝙡. - Shupavu Wa Kirima
𝙒𝙚 𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙨𝙩𝙞𝙡𝙡 𝙙𝙚𝙢𝙖𝙣𝙙𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙛𝙤𝙡𝙡𝙤𝙬𝙞𝙣𝙜:
1. 𝘼𝙣 𝙚𝙣𝙙 𝙩𝙤 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙗𝙤𝙜𝙪𝙨 30 𝙙𝙖𝙮 𝙧𝙚𝙨𝙩𝙧𝙞𝙘𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙛𝙧𝙤𝙢 𝙥𝙝𝙤𝙣𝙚 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙚𝙢𝙖𝙞𝙡.
2. 𝘼𝙣 𝙚𝙣𝙙 𝙩𝙤 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙗𝙤𝙜𝙪𝙨 30 𝙙𝙖𝙮 𝙧𝙚𝙨𝙩𝙧𝙞𝙘𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙛𝙧𝙤𝙢 𝙘𝙤𝙢𝙢𝙞𝙨𝙨𝙖𝙧𝙮 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙥𝙧𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙨 𝙍𝙖𝙨𝙝𝙞𝙙 𝙛𝙧𝙤𝙢 𝙤𝙧𝙙𝙚𝙧𝙞𝙣𝙜𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙚𝙧𝙮 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝 𝙬𝙝𝙞𝙘𝙝 𝙩𝙤 𝙬𝙧𝙞𝙩𝙚.
3. 𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙞𝙢𝙢𝙚𝙙𝙞𝙖𝙩𝙚 𝙧𝙚𝙩𝙪𝙧𝙣 𝙤𝙛 𝘼𝙇𝙇 𝙤𝙛 𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙥𝙧𝙤𝙥𝙚𝙧𝙩𝙮 𝙞𝙣𝙘𝙡𝙪𝙙𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙝𝙚 $400 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙬𝙖𝙨 𝙤𝙣 𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙩𝙧𝙪𝙨𝙩 𝙖𝙘𝙘𝙤𝙪𝙣𝙩𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝙖𝙩 𝙒𝙑𝘾𝙁 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙡𝙚𝙜𝙖𝙡 𝙥𝙧𝙤𝙥𝙚𝙧𝙩𝙮 𝙬𝙝𝙞𝙘𝙝 𝙬𝙞𝙡𝙡 𝙚𝙣𝙖𝙗𝙡𝙚 𝙝𝙞𝙢 𝙩𝙤 𝙘𝙤𝙣𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙪𝙚 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝 𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙘𝙖𝙨𝙚 𝙖𝙜𝙖𝙞𝙣𝙨𝙩 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙄𝙉𝘿𝙚𝙥𝙖𝙧𝙩𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩 𝙤𝙛 𝘾𝙤𝙧𝙧𝙚𝙘𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙨. 𝙄𝙛 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙮 𝙩𝙚𝙡𝙡 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙥𝙧𝙤𝙥𝙚𝙧𝙩𝙮 𝙝𝙖𝙨 𝙖𝙡𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙙𝙮 𝙗𝙚𝙚𝙣 𝙨𝙚𝙣𝙩 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙣 𝙬𝙚 𝙣𝙚𝙚𝙙 𝙩𝙤𝙠𝙣𝙤𝙬 𝙤𝙣 𝙬𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙙𝙖𝙩𝙚 𝙞𝙩 𝙬𝙖𝙨 𝙨𝙝𝙞𝙥𝙥𝙚𝙙 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙬𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙛𝙖𝙘𝙞𝙡𝙞𝙩𝙮 𝙧𝙚𝙘𝙚𝙞𝙫𝙚𝙙 𝙞𝙩.
𝙏𝙝𝙖𝙣𝙠 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙖𝙡𝙡 𝙨𝙤 𝙢𝙪𝙘𝙝 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙮𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙨𝙤𝙡𝙞𝙙𝙖𝙧𝙞𝙩𝙮 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙨𝙪𝙥𝙥𝙤𝙧𝙩. 𝙄 𝙖𝙥𝙥𝙧𝙚𝙘𝙞𝙖𝙩𝙚 𝙖𝙡𝙡 𝙤𝙛 𝙮𝙤𝙪. 𝙒𝙚 𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙊𝙉𝙇𝙔𝙡𝙞𝙣𝙚 𝙤𝙛 𝙙𝙚𝙛𝙚𝙣𝙨𝙚 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙞𝙢𝙥𝙧𝙞𝙨𝙤𝙣𝙚𝙙 𝙘𝙤𝙢𝙧𝙖𝙙𝙚𝙨.
* 𝘼𝙣𝙣𝙚𝙩𝙩𝙚 𝘾𝙝𝙖𝙢𝙗𝙚𝙧𝙨-𝙎𝙢𝙞𝙩𝙝, 𝘿𝙞𝙧𝙚𝙘𝙩𝙤𝙧 𝙤𝙛 𝙊𝙝𝙞𝙤 𝘿𝙚𝙥𝙖𝙧𝙩 𝙤𝙛 𝙍𝙚𝙝𝙖𝙗𝙞𝙡𝙞𝙩𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝘾𝙤𝙧𝙧𝙚𝙘𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙨 𝙥𝙡𝙚𝙖𝙨𝙚𝙘𝙤𝙣𝙩𝙖𝙘𝙩: 𝙈𝙚𝙡𝙞𝙨𝙨𝙖 𝘼𝙙𝙠𝙞𝙣𝙨 (𝙀𝙭𝙚𝙘𝙪𝙩𝙞𝙫𝙚 𝘼𝙨𝙨𝙞𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙣𝙩) 𝙫𝙞𝙖 𝙚𝙢𝙖𝙞𝙡: 𝙢𝙚𝙡𝙞𝙨𝙨𝙖.𝙖𝙙𝙠𝙞𝙣𝙨@𝙤𝙙𝙧𝙘.𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙩𝙚.𝙤𝙝.𝙪𝙨 𝙤 614-752-1153.
* 𝙍𝙤𝙣𝙖𝙡𝙙 𝙀𝙧𝙙𝙤𝙨, 𝙎𝙤𝙪𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙣 𝙊𝙝𝙞𝙤 𝘾𝙤𝙧𝙧𝙚𝙘𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙖𝙡 𝙁𝙖𝙘𝙞𝙡𝙞𝙩𝙮, 𝙒𝙖𝙧𝙙𝙚𝙣 (𝙇𝙪𝙘𝙖𝙨𝙫𝙞𝙡𝙡𝙚) (740)259-5544 𝙙𝙧𝙘.𝙨𝙤𝙘𝙛@𝙤𝙙𝙧𝙘.𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙩𝙚.𝙤𝙝𝙞𝙤.𝙪𝙨
*𝙅𝙤𝙨𝙚𝙥𝙝 𝙒𝙖𝙡𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙨, 𝘿𝙚𝙥. 𝘿𝙞𝙧𝙚𝙘𝙩𝙤𝙧 𝙑𝙞𝙧𝙜𝙞𝙣𝙞𝙖 𝘿𝙚𝙥𝙖𝙧𝙩𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩 𝙊𝙛 𝘾𝙤𝙧𝙧𝙚𝙘𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙨𝙟𝙤𝙨𝙚𝙥𝙝.𝙬𝙖𝙡𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙨@𝙫𝙖𝙙𝙤𝙘.𝙫𝙞𝙧𝙜𝙞𝙣𝙞𝙖.𝙜𝙤𝙫 (𝙋𝙧𝙤𝙭𝙮 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙃𝙖𝙧𝙤𝙡𝙙 𝙒. 𝘾𝙡𝙖𝙧𝙠𝙚, 𝘿𝙞𝙧𝙚𝙘𝙩𝙤𝙧 𝙤𝙛 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝘿𝙚𝙥𝙖𝙧𝙩𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩 𝙤𝙛𝘾𝙤𝙧𝙧𝙚𝙘𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙨) (804)887-7982
*𝙅𝙖𝙢𝙚𝙨 𝙋𝙖𝙧𝙠, 𝙄𝙣𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙩𝙚 𝘾𝙤𝙢𝙥𝙖𝙘𝙩 𝘼𝙙𝙢𝙞𝙣𝙞𝙨𝙩𝙧𝙖𝙩𝙤𝙧 𝙅𝙖𝙢𝙚𝙨.𝙥𝙖𝙧𝙠@𝙫𝙖𝙙𝙤𝙘.𝙫𝙞𝙧𝙜𝙞𝙣𝙞𝙖.𝙜𝙤𝙫
* 𝘾𝙝𝙖𝙧𝙡𝙚𝙣𝙚 𝘽𝙪𝙧𝙠𝙚𝙩𝙩, 𝘿𝙞𝙧𝙚𝙘𝙩𝙤𝙧 𝘿𝙊𝘾 𝙊𝙢𝙗𝙪𝙙𝙨𝙢𝙖𝙣 𝘽𝙪𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙪 (𝙄𝙣𝙙𝙞𝙖𝙣𝙖) (317) 234-3190 𝙊𝙢𝙗𝙪𝙙@𝙞𝙙𝙤𝙖.𝙞𝙣.𝙜𝙤𝙫 𝙍𝙞𝙘𝙝𝙖𝙧𝙙 𝘽𝙧𝙤𝙬𝙣, 𝙒𝙖𝙧𝙙𝙚𝙣 𝙒𝙖𝙗𝙖𝙨𝙝 𝙑𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙚𝙮 𝘾𝙤𝙧𝙧𝙚𝙘𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙖𝙡 𝙁𝙖𝙘𝙞𝙡𝙞𝙩𝙮, 𝙄𝙣𝙙𝙞𝙖𝙣𝙖 (812) 398-5050
* 𝙍𝙞𝙘𝙝𝙖𝙧𝙙 𝘽𝙧𝙤𝙬𝙣, 𝙒𝙖𝙧𝙙𝙚𝙣 𝙒𝙖𝙗𝙖𝙨𝙝 𝙑𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙚𝙮 𝘾𝙤𝙧𝙧𝙚𝙘𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙖𝙡 𝙁𝙖𝙘𝙞𝙡𝙞𝙩𝙮, 𝙄𝙣𝙙𝙞𝙖𝙣𝙖 (812) 398-5050
*𝙘𝙤𝙣𝙩𝙖𝙘𝙩 𝙑𝙞𝙧𝙜𝙞𝙣𝙖 𝘿𝙊𝘾 𝙖𝙪𝙩𝙝𝙤𝙧𝙞𝙩𝙞𝙚𝙨 𝙗𝙚𝙘𝙖𝙪𝙨𝙚 𝙑𝘼 𝙥𝙧𝙞𝙨𝙤𝙣𝙚𝙧𝙨 𝙩𝙧𝙖𝙣𝙨𝙛𝙚𝙧𝙧𝙚𝙙 𝙤𝙣 𝙞𝙣𝙩𝙚𝙧-𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙩𝙚 𝙘𝙤𝙢𝙥𝙖𝙘𝙩𝙨 𝙖𝙧𝙚𝙨𝙪𝙥𝙥𝙤𝙨𝙚𝙙 𝙩𝙤 𝙝𝙖𝙫𝙚 𝙖𝙡𝙡 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙧𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩𝙨 𝙤𝙛 𝙑𝘼 𝙥𝙧𝙞𝙨𝙤𝙣𝙚𝙧𝙨. 𝙍𝙖𝙨𝙝𝙞𝙙 𝙬𝙖𝙨 𝙤𝙧𝙞𝙜𝙞𝙣𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙮 𝙞𝙣𝙘𝙖𝙧𝙘𝙚𝙧𝙖𝙩𝙚𝙙 𝙞𝙣 𝙑𝘼 𝙗𝙚𝙛𝙤𝙧𝙚𝙩𝙧𝙖𝙣𝙨𝙛𝙚𝙧𝙨 𝙩𝙤 𝙊𝙧𝙚𝙜𝙤𝙣, 𝙏𝙚𝙭𝙖𝙨, 𝙁𝙡𝙤𝙧𝙞𝙙𝙖, 𝙄𝙣𝙙𝙞𝙖𝙣𝙖, 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙣𝙤𝙬 𝙊𝙝𝙞𝙤.
Our mailing address is:
Kevin Rashid Johnson
P.O. Box 45699
Lucasville, OH 45699
THE RIBPP & PSO'S STATEMENT ON COMRADE KEVIN RASHID JOHNSON
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
All Power to the People!
Kevin “Rashid” Johnson is a political theorist, artist, and advocate for prisoners’ rights who has spent almost his entire adult life incarcerated in various U.S. prisons. A founder of the Revolutionary Intercommunal Black Panther Party (and, before that, of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party-Prison Chapter), Rashid’s writings and litigation have made him the target of continual and ongoing repression from prison authorities.
Rashid, as he is known to friends and supporters, was recently transferred to Ohio from the Indiana Department of Corrections (IDOC). This is just the latest in a series of transfers between multiple correctional facilities and state jurisdictions, all made possible by the Interstate Compact Transfer Agreement. As such, although originally a prisoner of the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC), Rashid has been sent to Oregon, Texas, Florida, and Indiana, prior to his current captivity in Ohio.
This most recent transfer was initiated in an attempt to obstruct litigation Rashid is currently pressing against IDOC for its use of solitary confinement and treatment of prisoners while in solitary confinement. Rashid was told by IDOC officials a week prior to his transfer that if he persisted and did not drop the cases he would be transferred to someplace where he "would not like the conditions." This retaliatory transfer has made it impossible for Rashid to access legal property and materials needed to meet court deadlines, answer motions, and respond to the court. Prior to this transfer, Rashid warned IDOC that he would be seeking citations of contempt in regard to IDOC's attempt at entering false evidence and concealing other evidentiary material in one of Rashid's pending cases. (IDOC has been sanctioned previously for submitting false evidence and concealing evidence in Indiana's Southern District U.S. Federal Court and settled for over $100,000; see Littler v. Martinez.)
Rashid is being denied access to the phone, legal property, and to commissary where he would be able to purchase stationery to continue his litigation against the IDOC. It is clear and apparent at this point that the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (ODRC) is colluding with IDOC in their attempt to deny Rashid his right to pursue these cases.
Rashid is currently being held at the notorious Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (SOCF) in Lucasville, where, in April of 1993, nine prisoners were killed in an eleven-day standoff with prison staff. The legacy of racist, fascist brutality continues to thrive at SOCF. Mr. Johnson has been moved to the area of the prison where various white supremacist gangs are most concentrated.
It was there on Monday, August 2, 2021, that according to Rashid, Sgt. Joshua McAllister threatened him with the following statements:
“I’m an old school dirty cop. I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. We know how to set it up and make it look justified. You must not know about us. We are worse than the Klan… We have a unit where we execute inmates. We starve ‘em. We hang ‘em.”
That a prison official would be so bold in 2021, just one year after the Rebellion of Summer 2020, as to issue such threats to a Black prisoner, given the current climate around race relations and law enforcement, will not be tolerated. This needs to be understood. This is an example of the depravity and cruelty of the U.S. prison system and of many of those who work within it. Prisons frequently move incarcerated people out of public view, torturing, disappearing, and killing them without any visibility or accountability for their actions.
Rashid is a long-time political leader, writer, artist, activist and organizer. He is being targeted because of his political beliefs, his many published pieces documenting prison abuse and torture, and efforts at organizing for better conditions. Rashid, completely self-taught in the fields of law and political theory/practice, has become well known both nationally and internationally, as someone who is always willing to put himself on the line on behalf of his fellow incarcerated comrades, and marginalized and oppressed people
everywhere. It is for this reason that the ODRC, IDOC, and VADOC, in conjunction with other state/federal agencies, continue to try and silence Rashid through intimidation, torture, beatings, threats, and outright attempted murder.
WE WILL NOT STAND FOR IT! AND WE PETITION EVERYONE WHO SEES THIS STATEMENT TO JOIN WITH US IN SOLIDARITY AND DEFENSE OF THIS COURAGEOUS FREEDOM FIGHTER!
WE, THE UNDERSIGNED*,
DEMAND THE FOLLOWING:
· AN END TO THE 30 DAY RESTRICTION FROM COMMUNICATING VIA PHONE/EMAIL.
· AN END TO THE 30 DAY RESTRICTION FROM COMMISSARY THAT PREVENTS RASHID FROM ORDERING STATIONERY WITH WHICH TO WRITE.
· THE IMMEDIATE RETURN OF ALL OF HIS PROPERTY, INCLUDING THE $400 THAT WAS ON HIS TRUST ACCOUNT AT WABASH VALLEY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY AND HIS LEGAL PROPERTY, WHICH WILL ENABLE HIM TO CONTINUE WITH HIS CASES AGAINST THE INDIANA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS. IF HIS PROPERTY HAS ALREADY BEEN SENT, WE WANT TO KNOW ON WHAT DATE IT WAS SHIPPED AND WHAT FACILITY RECEIVED IT.
· WE DEMAND THAT SGT. JOSHUA MCALLISTER FACE IMMEDIATE CONSEQUENCES FOR THE DISGUSTINGLY RACIST THREATS INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO HIS REMOVAL FROM HIS POST AT SOCF!
· LASTLY, WE DEMAND AN IMMEDIATE INVESTIGATION/INQUIRY INTO THE SUPPOSED J-1 UNIT AND ALL PARTIES INVOLVED.
DARE TO STRUGGLE, DARE TO WIN!
ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE!
For further inquiries on how to assist in this cause, please contact comrade Shupavu Wa Kirima at:
Notes & citations:
Littler v. Martinez
*Organizations who are endorsing this statement: Revolutionary Intercommunal Black Panther Party (RIBPP), Panther Solidarity Organization (PSO)-Newark, PSO-Ridgewood, PSO-Boston, PSO-Richmond, PSO-Kansas City, Third World Peoples' Alliance (TWPA), Kersplebedeb Publishing, Newark Water Coalition, Ridgewood For Black Liberation, Tennessee Valley Mutual Aid, For The People (FTP)-STL, FTP-Chicago, FTP-Bloomington, FTP-Cleveland, FTP-Wichita, FTP-OK, Oklahoma People's Party, Autonomous Brown Berets of Oklahoma, Young EcoSocialists-New Jersey, Party For Communism and Revolution, Serve The People (STP)-Akron, IDOC Watch, Roanoke Jail Solidarity, Princeton Mutual Aid, San Francisco Bay View
Freedom for Major Tillery! End his Life Imprisonment!
On July 27th whistleblower Daniel Hale was sentenced to 45 months in federal prison for exposing the US drone program. CODEPINK has known Daniel since he spoke at our Drone Summit in 2013. There are a few ways you can support Daniel at this time, and one way to do that is write him letters! Daniel loves receiving letters. Please return to this page in the future, as his address will change once he moves facilities to carry out his sentence.
Daniel E. Hale
William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Ctr.
2001 Mill Rd.
Alexandria, VA 22314
Please also visit standwithdanielhale.org, which is run by Daniel's core support team to see updates and other ways to support him.
Sign the petition at:https://www.codepink.org/danielhale?utm_campaign=daniel_hale_national&utm_medium=email&utm_source=codepink
DANIEL HALE SENTENCED TO 45 MONTHS IN PRISON FOR DRONE LEAK
“I am here because I stole something that was never mine to take — precious human life,” Hale said at his sentencing.
We hope all is well with you.
We are happy to announce that the video recording of "No Life Like It: A A Tribute to the Revolutionary Activism of Ernie Tate" is now available for viewing on LeftStreamed
Please share the link with your comrades and friends.
All the best,
Photo from San Francisco rally and march in support of Palestine Saturday, May 15, 2021
Stand with Palestine!
Say NO to apartheid!
Join the global movement in solidarity with the Palestinian people.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Governor's Press Office
Friday, May 28, 2021
Governor Newsom Announces Clemency Actions, Signs Executive Order for Independent Investigation of Kevin Cooper Case
SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today announced that he has granted 14 pardons, 13 commutations and 8 medical reprieves. In addition, the Governor signed an executive order to launch an independent investigation of death row inmate Kevin Cooper’s case as part of the evaluation of Cooper’s application for clemency.
The investigation will review trial and appellate records in the case, the facts underlying the conviction and all available evidence, including the results of the recently conducted DNA tests previously ordered by the Governor to examine additional evidence in the case using the latest, most scientifically reliable forensic testing.
The text of the Governor’s executive order can be found here:
The California Constitution gives the Governor the authority to grant executive clemency in the form of a pardon, commutation or reprieve. These clemency grants recognize the applicants’ subsequent efforts in self-development or the existence of a medical exigency. They do not forgive or minimize the harm caused.
The Governor regards clemency as an important part of the criminal justice system that can incentivize accountability and rehabilitation, increase public safety by removing counterproductive barriers to successful reentry, correct unjust results in the legal system and address the health needs of incarcerated people with high medical risks.
A pardon may remove counterproductive barriers to employment and public service, restore civic rights and responsibilities and prevent unjust collateral consequences of conviction, such as deportation and permanent family separation. A pardon does not expunge or erase a conviction.
A commutation modifies a sentence, making an incarcerated person eligible for an earlier release or allowing them to go before the Board of Parole Hearings for a hearing at which Parole Commissioners determine whether the individual is suitable for release.
A reprieve allows individuals classified by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation as high medical risk to serve their sentences in appropriate alternative placements in the community consistent with public health and public safety.
The Governor weighs numerous factors in his review of clemency applications, including an applicant’s self-development and conduct since the offense, whether the grant is consistent with public safety and in the interest of justice, and the impact of a grant on the community, including crime victims and survivors.
While in office, Governor Newsom has granted a total of 86 pardons, 92 commutations and 28 reprieves.
The Governor’s Office encourages victims, survivors, and witnesses to register with CDCR’s Office of Victims and Survivors Rights and Services to receive information about an incarcerated person’s status. For general Information about victim services, to learn about victim-offender dialogues, or to register or update a registration confidentially, please visit:
www.cdcr.ca.gov/Victim_Services/ or call 1-877-256-6877 (toll free).
Copies of the gubernatorial clemency certificates announced today can be found here:
Additional information on executive clemency can be found here:
Questions and comments may be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeff Bezos has at least $180 Billion!
9 minutes 29 seconds
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.
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:
- Portland, Oregon: (833) 680-1312
- San Francisco, California: (415) 285-1041 or email@example.com
- Seattle, Washington: (206) 658-7963
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.
- Know Your Rights During Covid-19
- You Have The Right To Remain Silent: A Know Your Rights Guide for Encounters with Law Enforcement
- Operation Backfire: For Environmental and Animal Rights Activists
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:
- Grand Juries: Slideshow
Movement for Black Lives Legal Resources
Charles H. Loeb defied the American military’s denials and propaganda to show how deadly radiation from the strike on Hiroshima sickened and killed.
By William J. Broad, Aug. 9, 2021
As a war correspondent in World War II, Charles H. Loeb advanced with U.S. troops into the Philippines, survived a kamikaze attack and filed a number of detailed reports from Japan, including ones on Hiroshima’s bombing and the nation’s formal surrender. Here he gazes on Manila’s ruins. Credit...Loeb family photo
One of Mr. Loeb’s own photographs of the war’s devastation. He used a Speed Graphic, the standard camera of U.S. Army photographers, to record not only battlefield images but portraits of Black soldiers and sailors proud to be serving their country in time of war. Black newspapers ran many of the photos. Credit...Loeb family photo
Mr. Loeb and a military policeman examining a guest register left in the ruins of the Manila Hotel, a deluxe lodging that the Japanese set aflame during the battle for the city’s liberation. The shell of the historic building survived the blaze and the hotel was later reconstructed. Credit...Loeb family photo
A child received treatment at a temporary hospital set up at Shin Kozen Elementary School in Nagasaki after the city’s atomic bombing on Aug. 9, 1945, three days after the leveling of Hiroshima. Credit...Yasuo Tomishige/The Asahi Shimbun, via Getty Images
“Loeb Reflects On Atomic Bombed Area,” read the headline in The Atlanta Daily World of Oct. 5, 1945, two months after Hiroshima’s ruin.
In the world of Black newspapers, that name alone was enough to attract readers.
Charles H. Loeb was a Black war correspondent whose articles in World War II were distributed to papers across the United States by the National Negro Publishers Association. In the article, Mr. Loeb told how bursts of deadly radiation had sickened and killed the city’s residents. His perspective, while coolly analytic, cast light on a major wartime cover up.
The Page 1 article contradicted the War Department, the Manhattan Project, and The New York Times and its star reporter, William L. Laurence, on what had become a bitter dispute between the victor and the vanquished. Japan insisted that the bomb’s invisible rays at Hiroshima and Nagasaki had led to waves of sudden death and lingering illness. Emphatically, the United States denied that charge.
But science and history would prove Mr. Loeb right. His reporting not only challenged the official government line but also echoed the skepticism of many Black Americans, who, scholars say, worried that race had played a role in the United States’ decision to drop the experimental weapons on Japan. Black clergy and activists at times sympathized openly with the bomb’s victims.
“They were willing to question the main narrative,” said Alex Wellerstein, a historian who glimpsed this skepticism while researching his recent book, “Restricted Data: The History of Nuclear Secrecy in the United States.”
Mr. Loeb’s questioning never got the recognition it deserved. While hailed as a civic leader in Cleveland, his hometown, and more widely as a pioneering Black journalist, he was unappreciated for having exposed the bomb’s stealthy dangers at the dawn of the atomic age. His insights, until now, were lost to history.
The Radiation Lies
In his article, Mr. Loeb told of a press tour of Hiroshima that had crossed paths with a military investigation of the atomic victims by American scientists and doctors. The study had been ordered by Maj. Gen. Leslie R. Groves of the U.S. Army, who directed the making of the bomb, and led by his deputy, Brig. Gen. Thomas F. Farrell. One scientist was surprised to hear General Farrell tell the investigative team in an early briefing that its mission was to “prove there was no radioactivity.”
General Groves, historians say, wanted the bomb to be seen as a deadly form of traditional warfare rather than a new, inhumane type. An international treaty in 1925 had banned the use of germ and chemical weapons. The head of the Manhattan Project wanted no depiction of atom bombs as uniquely terrible, no public discussion of what became known as radiological warfare.
Historians say General Groves understood the radiation issue as early as 1943 but kept it so compartmentalized that it was poorly known by top American officials, including Harry S. Truman. At the time he authorized the Hiroshima bombing, President Truman, scholars say, knew almost nothing of the bomb’s radiation effects. Later, he spoke of regrets.
Shortly after the atomic strike of Aug. 6, 1945, The Times began covering the radiation dispute between Japan and the United States. In September, the headline of Mr. Laurence’s Page 1 article said scientific readings at the American test site “Confirm That Blast, and not Radiation, Took Toll,” contradicting “Tokyo Tales” of ray victims. The next day, The Times ran an article with a Toyko dateline in which General Farrell’s investigative team, as the headline stated, found “No Radioactivity in Hiroshima Ruin.”
General Groves and his aides, it turns out, were telling only half the story, as Mr. Loeb came to detail in his reporting.
Exploding atom bombs emit two kinds of radiation. In the first seconds, the expanding fireball sends out colossal bursts of neutrons and gamma rays powerful enough to speed through the air for miles and still penetrate steel, concrete and human bodies. They break chromosomes and upend the body’s cellular machinery, causing sickness, cancer and death. These disrupters vanish instantly and are hard to measure directly.
Atomic detonations also generate a second, more persistent and detectable wave. The split atoms of nuclear fuel produce hundreds of different kinds of radioactive fragments, including Strontium-90 and Cesium-137. They can emit their own deadly rays for years. The particles ride the churning mushroom cloud into the sky, travel on the wind for hundreds of miles, and rain back to earth as radioactive fallout. Detecting them is easy. The clicking sounds of Geiger counters reveal the radiating particles.
At Hiroshima, the American scientists did find detectable fallout — but not at ground zero. Downwind, they found it had produced a minor trail of weak radioactivity that led to the city’s edge and a dense bamboo forest.
Even so, General Groves and his aides, during press tours in New Mexico and Japan of the atomic detonation points, directed attention to the low readings of Geiger counters as evidence of little or no radiation danger.
“You could live there forever,” Mr. Laurence of The Times quoted the general as saying of Hiroshima.
In contrast, Mr. Loeb addressed the fireball’s initial burst, not the nonexistent fallout at ground zero. He did so by reporting on the findings of Col. Stafford L. Warren, who before the war was a professor of radiology at the University of Rochester.
Colonel Warren was the Manhattan Project’s top physician. His stateside job was to protect bomb makers from radiation hazards and, in Japan, to lead the medical evaluation of the Japanese victims. As detailed in the 2020 book, “Atomic Doctors,” he threw himself into gleaning what information he could from the hospitals, their patients and surviving Japanese doctors. Repeatedly, he saw the ravages of bomb radiation: fever, diarrhea, lost hair, oozing blood. Patients who seemed to have mild cases would die suddenly.
James J. Nolan Jr., author of “Atomic Doctors,” said Colonel Warren was careful in his medical reports to downplay the ills. “Groves was his boss,” Mr. Nolan said in an interview. “He knew his audience.” The subtitle of Mr. Nolan’s book is “Conscience and Complicity.”
Mr. Loeb’s education most likely helped him discern the truth. At Howard University, one of the nation’s leading historically Black colleges and universities, he had taken a pre-med curriculum before turning to newspaper work and was familiar with the basics of physics and chemistry, anatomy and pathology, X-rays and lead shielding. What kept him from going to medical school, he recalled late in life, was lack of tuition, not interest.
It’s unclear where Mr. Loeb encountered Colonel Warren. It could have been at a news conference, a social occasion or both. In Tokyo, both men frequented the Dai-ichi Hotel, which was a billet for military officers and civilian correspondents.
That October, Mr. Loeb’s article was carried by The Atlanta Daily World as well as other Black-owned newspapers such as The Baltimore Afro-American, The Philadelphia Tribune and The Cleveland Call and Post, where he had worked before the war and later returned. The papers were part of a Black press group that had been founded early in the war by 22 publishers and saw large spikes in circulation as Black readers sought to learn about their soldiers.
Mr. Loeb described the correspondents returning from Hiroshima as “completely flabbergasted.” In contrast, his own article was unemotional. He numbered his conclusions, as if writing a scientific paper. Radiation was his third point, after blast and damage.
The former pre-med student ignored the Geiger counters and the official denials that had appeared in The Times and other papers. Instead, he noted the military study was “designed to lay to rest the wild speculation” about radiation victims in the devastated city and proceeded to substantiate the human suffering with hard facts.
First, Mr. Loeb introduced “Our Colonel Stafford Warren” — his use of the possessive pronoun evoking a sense of trust — as the bomb project’s “Chief Medical Officer.” The journalist said nothing of Colonel Warren’s denying the existence of radiation victims — the ostensible marching orders of the investigative team. Instead, he quoted the colonel as identifying the proximate cause of the gruesome ills.
Colonel Warren, the radiologist, Mr. Loeb said, judged that “a single exposure to a dose of gamma radiation (similar in effect to X-rays) at the time of the detonation” gave rise to the gruesome ills. His proposed cause was understated and almost clinical in nature but a radical departure from the blanket denials. Mr. Loeb, in closing the section, noted that Colonel Warren ruled out the possibility of sickness caused by “dangerous amounts of radio activity on the ground.”
Military censorship took out any attempt by reporters back then to portray human suffering. It allowed depictions of broken buildings, not broken bodies. Mr. Loeb’s article thus gave no details of the atomic victims.
But memories of Japan haunted him long after the war, according to his daughter Stella Loeb-Munson. She recalled him talking of melted faces, of skin hanging from wasted bodies. During an interview, Mrs. Loeb-Munson pointed to a photograph he took of a crumpled body on a sidewalk.
“It totally messed him up for years,” she said. Slowly he turned from sullen to angry. “He had to talk about it — he had to,” Mrs. Loeb-Munson said. “He was really messed up. He never really got over it.”
The Radiation Victims
A search of databases suggests that few if any journalists of Mr. Loeb’s day approached his level of detail and tight focus in telling of the radiation poisoning.
The Times sought to ignore the topic altogether. Beverly Deepe Keever, a professor of journalism, analyzed its coverage of the Hiroshima bombing and reported that out of 132 articles she examined, she could find only one that mentioned radiation.
Even so, by November 1945, a month after Mr. Loeb’s article, public awareness of the radiation issue had grown to the point that General Groves could no longer deny the toll of the bomb’s initial bursts. Instead, he described their impact on humans as “a very pleasant way to die.”
The Black press in subsequent months kept pounding away. The Baltimore Afro-American spoke of “thousands of radiation victims.”
The military itself soon cast light on the enormity of the misinformation campaign. In June 1946, the United States Strategic Bombing Survey said most medical investigators saw the radiation emissions at Hiroshima and Nagasaki as responsible for up to 20 percent of the deaths. If the bombings took roughly 100,000 to 200,000 lives — today considered a credible range — the radiation killed up to 40,000 people.
The rays also produced a dark legacy. Over decades, studies of the survivors revealed that they endured high rates of cancer, stroke, cataracts and heart disease. Babies in utero at the time of the bombings suffered poor development, epileptic seizures and reduced head size.
Mr. Loeb died in 1978 at 73. While getting no credit for his atomic scoop, he became known late in life among other journalists as the dean of Black newsmen. In 1971, he spoke of his long career in an oral history interview with Columbia University. Then 66 and managing editor of The Cleveland Call and Post, Mr. Loeb said that he regretted not going back to medical school but that he felt he probably did more social good as a journalist than he would have as a surgeon.
His great good fortune, he added, was marrying a woman who put personal goals ahead of money. “We’ll starve together,” he recalled his wife, Beulah Loeb, saying.
Mr. Loeb said nothing of his radiation article or what he had witnessed at Hiroshima but spoke at length about Black publishing and the community it served.
“One of our functions is to tell the Black side of any story,” he said, as Black readers were often skeptical of the white news media. Even when Black papers got scooped on big stories, he added, “our readers still buy our newspapers to see what we said about it.”
Black newspapers perform “a real service” not only for Black people but also, Mr. Loeb said, the press in general because they reliably present alternative points of view and fresh perspectives.
Many local governments and courts were not sure how to apply the extension of the protections, and dockets in some places overflowed with evictions.
By Neil MacFarquhar, Aug. 11, 2021https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/11/us/eviction-moratorium-vegas.html?action=click&module=Spotlight&pgtype=Homepage
LAS VEGAS — Inside Courtroom 8A of Las Vegas Justice Court last week, the benches were packed with renters and landlords battling over evictions that continued at a brisk pace despite a last minute, two-month extension of the federal protections meant to keep people in their homes.
Vanessa Merryman, 41, was among the tenants ordered to leave her apartment. “I have never been homeless in my life,” she said through tears, slouched on a metal bench outside the courtroom as the scorching Las Vegas sun beat through the windows. She was shellshocked that the court session that upended her life lasted all of 15 minutes. “I do not know what I am going to do,” she said. “It is really scary.”
The federal moratorium on evictions — combined with billions of dollars in rent subsidies — was supposed to avert the scenario of millions of Americans being turned out of their homes after they lost their jobs during the pandemic and were unable to afford their rent.
Yet despite these efforts, many local governments and courts were not sure how to apply the extension, and desperate tenants continued to flood local government websites seeking rental assistance that was usually slow in coming.
“The lay of the land has been confusing at every level, not just to tenants, but also to landlords, court personnel and judges,” said Dana Karni, manager of the Eviction Right to Counsel Project in Houston. “While the extension of C.D.C. protections is much needed, the confusion that surrounds its existence waters down its impact.”
In extending the moratorium last week, the Biden administration hinged it to high local coronavirus infection rates — the idea being that protection was warranted in areas where the virus was surging. Clark County, including Las Vegas, was among hundreds of counties that meet the criterion for high infection rates, but the C.D.C. guidelines gave some leeway to judges to instead apply state laws, which at times allowed for evictions.
For many tenants, it was too late anyway. With state moratoriums expiring and the expectation that the federal guidelines would be gone soon, court dockets like those in Las Vegas overflowed with eviction cases. Tenants had to actively file for protection under the C.D.C. measures, but many of them were unaware of that. And as eviction proceedings rolled forward, some landlords won, citing reasons other than nonpayment of rent for seeking to remove tenants.
More than 1.4 million Americans expect to be evicted in the next two months, according to a survey completed by the U.S. Census Bureau in early July. For another 2.2 million people, the prospect is “somewhat likely.”
The areas bracing for the hardest hits are in high-population, high-rent states such as California, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas, along with other states across the South including Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.
Organizations that advise low-income tenants from Atlanta to Houston to Las Vegas all said that they feared the fallout. “The volume is unlike anything we have ever seen before,” said Bailey Bortolin, the statewide policy director for the Nevada Coalition of Legal Service Providers.
The moratorium is intended to help states buy time to distribute the aid. Congress allocated some $47 billion in rental assistance, but just $3 billion had been distributed by June, according to the Treasury Department. Many county governments, the branch usually designated to process applications, are straining to build systems from scratch to distribute the money even while the tempo of evictions increases.
Georgia has paid out just over $16 million from $989 million in federal rental assistance funds. Florida got $871 million, but has only disbursed $23.2 million.
In Clark County, home to most of Nevada’s population, the CARES Housing Assistance Program has distributed more than $162 million in rent, utilities and mortgage payments to more than 29,500 households since July 2020, but that’s still less than half the state’s full allocation.
Around 50,000 people are behind on rent and could face eviction in Clark County, where the state moratorium expired on June 1, said Justin Jones, a county commissioner.
“It would be devastating if we have that number of people evicted from their homes in the near future,” he said. “The reality is that we do not have anywhere for them to go.” Thousands of homeless people already crowd downtown Las Vegas and elsewhere in the county.
After the state moratorium expired, Nevada implemented a new law pausing evictions so long as the tenant had an application for rental assistance pending.
At the Las Vegas Justice Court, the largest of some 40 courts hearing eviction cases in Nevada, Hearing Master David F. Brown did not allow for much wriggle room. If tenants showed proof that they had applied for rental assistance, they could stay in their homes. If not, or if they had more than a year of late payments, the maximum amount covered by the assistance program, they were usually forced out. Nevada judges tended to emphasize state laws rather than the C.D.C. guidelines.
Dejonae King, 33, held back tears after she lost her eviction appeal. Ms. King was laid off from Walgreens and has been without a job for most of the pandemic. She had not paid the $253 weekly rent on her one-bedroom apartment since July 2020. “I thought the rules would protect me,” she said.
Ms. Merryman had managed to pay $10,000 in rent from government subsidies last year, but she lost her business and her boyfriend’s lengthy struggle with Covid interrupted her efforts to apply for more. It took her four months to reset her lost password for the website to apply for government payments.
Meanwhile, many landlords are caught in a vicious cycle, constantly in court but never quite made whole, said Susy Vasquez, executive director of the Nevada State Apartment Association, the largest organization for landlords.
Ron Scapellato, 54 a landlord in Clark County with 50 units and an air-conditioning business, said he soured on the moratorium after he watched some tenants spend their stimulus checks on new televisions rather than paying back rent. His mortgage and other bills continued to pile up, he said, so he went to court. “I understand that they do not want to throw people out, but I also want my rent,” he said.
The extension still might face legal challenges. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court questioned whether the C.D.C. had the authority to issue such a sweeping national mandate.
Because the federal moratorium technically lapsed for a few days, some landlords went ahead with evictions.
Hours before the reprieve from the White House, sheriff’s deputies arrived outside Hope Brasseaux’s house in Columbus, Ga., to implement an eviction order issued a month earlier. Ms. Brasseaux, an unemployed waitress, received just 12 hour’s notice. She applied for assistance toward her $700 monthly rent in the spring, but the government portal shows her request as still under review. “I wish it would have happened a day sooner,” she said of the two-month extension by the Biden administration.
In Nevada, evictions are designed to move faster than in most states, with renters in debt typically given seven days to pay what they owe or move out. Unique to the state, the onus is on the renter to initiate a court challenge, which can pause the process, but many residents do not know that.
Most evictions don’t make it to court, said Ms. Bortolin of the Nevada Coalition of Legal Service Providers. “When people hear the word moratorium they think they don’t have to act,” she said. “Thousands of people in Nevada alone were evicted because they thought they could not be.”
The strain of the pandemic has been especially hard on hourly workers in Las Vegas. Unemployment in Clark County hit a high of almost 370,000 in April 2020, more than 33 percent. It remains at almost 10 percent, according to state labor statistics.
After the casinos shuttered last year, Stephanie Pirrone, 52, said her husband’s Lyft customers disappeared, while she lost her job at an Amazon returns center.
She and her husband, angered that their landlord chipped away at their $15,000 government rental assistance with late fees and other fines, decided to fight their eviction, but many of their neighbors did not, she said, “People are scared so they just move out.”
Tawana Smith, who in April 2020 lost her $45,000-a-year job managing a convenience store, has returned to Las Vegas Justice Court three times since last November to fight eight attempts at eviction.
The moratorium had blocked the first few attempted evictions, said Ms. Smith, whose five children range in age from 2 to 12.
But when the most recent notice appeared last week, she decided to relinquish the low, brown stucco house that her family has called home for almost two years, paying $1,400 in monthly rent.
The family tried unsuccessfully to raise the $5,000 needed to rent a different house by selling crafts and through a crowdfunding campaign. They now dread the next step, living in one hotel room, she said. Ms. Smith said she wanted to avoid getting the children settled in school and then pulling them out when one eviction notice or another eventually succeeded.
“We don’t want to fight anymore to stay here,” she said. “We want to put this madness behind us.”
Edgar Sandoval and Sophie Kasakove contributed reporting. Alain Delaquérière contributed research.
By Peter Beinart, August 11, 2021https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/11/opinion/biden-israel-nuclear-program.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage
American politicians often warn that if Iran obtains a nuclear weapon, it will spark a nuclear stampede across the Middle East. Allowing Tehran to get the bomb, Senator Robert Menendez, the current chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, predicted in March 2020, could “set off a dangerous arms race in the region.” In an interview in December, President-elect Joe Biden cautioned that if Iran went nuclear, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt might too, “and the last goddamn thing we need in that part of the world is a buildup of nuclear capability.”
Such statements are so familiar that it’s easy to overlook their artifice. In warning that Iran could turn the Middle East nuclear, American politicians imply that the region is nuclear-free now. But it’s not. Israel already has nuclear weapons. You’d just never know it from America’s leaders, who have spent the last half-century feigning ignorance. This deceit undercuts America’s supposed commitment to nuclear nonproliferation, and it distorts the American debate over Iran. It’s time for the Biden administration to tell the truth.
American officials began hiding the truth about Israeli nuclear weapons after Israeli leaders hid the truth from them. In the early 1960s, writes Avner Cohen in his book “The Worst Kept Secret,” Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion repeatedly told President John F. Kennedy that the reactor Israel was building in the desert town of Dimona “was for peaceful purposes only.” When the United States sent inspectors to the site, the Israelis concocted an elaborate ruse, which included building fake walls to conceal the elevators that led to an underground reprocessing plant. By decade’s end, the die was cast. The C.I.A. concluded that Israel already possessed nuclear warheads.
So Richard Nixon and Prime Minister Golda Meir hatched a deal. Neither Israel nor the United States would acknowledge that Israel had nuclear weapons, and Washington would not pressure Israel to submit them to international oversight. For 50 years now, American presidents have abided by the bargain. Scholars believe that when Israel tested a nuclear weapon in the Indian Ocean in 1979, the Carter administration covered it up. In 2009, when a journalist asked Barack Obama if he knew of “any country in the Middle East that has nuclear weapons,” Mr. Obama responded, “I don’t want to speculate.”
Feigning ignorance about Israeli nuclear weapons makes a mockery of America’s efforts at nonproliferation. Mr. Obama vowed to pursue a nuclear-free world. Yet to prevent public discussion of Israel’s arsenal, his administration helped squelch a United Nations conference on a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East. The Biden administration continues to impose punishing sanctions on Iran in an attempt to force its government to accept inspections more stringent than those required by the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Meanwhile, Israel, which has never signed the N.P.T., permits no inspections at all.
This hypocrisy leads many around the world to smirk when American diplomats claim to be defending the “rules-based order.” It also empowers those Iranians who claim Tehran has the right to match its regional rival.
Finally, the American government’s deceptive silence prevents a more honest debate at home about the dangers an Iranian nuclear weapon would pose. American politicians sometimes say an Iranian bomb would pose an “existential” threat to Israel. That’s a dubious claim, given that Israel possesses a nuclear deterrent it can deploy on air, land and sea. But many Americans find the claim plausible because, according to recent polling conducted by Shibley Telhami of the University of Maryland, barely 50 percent know Israel has nuclear weapons. A higher percentage thinks Tehran has the bomb.
Even if an Iranian bomb wouldn’t existentially threaten Israel, the United States should still work to forestall one diplomatically. With negotiations with Tehran at risk of collapse, the Biden administration should commit to lifting the sanctions that are crippling Iran’s economy in return for verifiable limits on Iran’s nuclear capacity. But if those efforts fail — and the Biden administration faces pressure to wage war rather than allow Iran to gain the capacity to build a nuclear weapon — it’s crucial that Americans make an informed decision about the risk a nuclear Iran poses to America’s closest ally in the Middle East. That’s harder when the American government never publicly admits that Israel has the means to deter a nuclear attack.
The Biden administration is not going to force Israel to give up its nuclear weapons. But that doesn’t mean it must undermine America’s global credibility and deceive its people by denying reality. Perhaps a more honest American discussion of Israel’s nuclear arsenal will breathe new life into the distant dream of a nuclear-free Middle East. Even if that doesn’t happen, it will be bracing, after a half-century of lying by omission, simply to hear America’s leaders tell the truth.
By Nadja Popovich and Winston Choi-SchagrinAug. 11, 2021https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/08/11/climate/deaths-pacific-northwest-heat-wave.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage
During the deadly heat wave that blanketed Oregon and Washington in late June, about 600 more people died than would have been typical, a review of mortality data for the week of the crisis shows.
The number is three times as high as the states’ official estimates of heat-related deaths so far. It suggests that the true toll of the heat wave, which affected states and provinces across the Pacific Northwest, may be much larger than previously reported.
This week, the region is once again steeling itself for extreme heat.
The New York Times’ analysis, based on mortality data reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by the two states, covers all causes of death, including Covid-19. But the public health agency’s initial calculations indicate that only about 60 deaths in the region were related to the coronavirus that week.
The figures are preliminary. C.D.C. officials said the death count could rise further in coming weeks as the states continue to report. “Consider it a floor,” said Lauren Rossen, a health statistician at the agency who works with the mortality data.
The Times’ estimate “is entirely consistent with a large body of knowledge indicating that days of extreme heat are dangerous and can lead to excess deaths,” said Greg Wellenius, a professor in environmental health at Boston University who has studied heat-related mortality.
Evaluating what are termed “excess deaths” — the number of deaths above what would have been typical for a given period of time, based on mortality rates in previous years — can provide a more complete picture of the effects of extreme heat than official counts of heat-related deaths. Those counts focus on the declared cause of death, for instance, heat stroke. But that can undercount other fatalities that might also have been related to the heat.
“When it’s really hot outside, deaths from heat stroke certainly increase,” said Kate Weinberger, an environmental epidemiologist at the University of British Columbia, “but deaths from all sorts of other conditions increase as well,” including from cardiovascular and respiratory disease.
Understanding the full consequences of extreme heat on mortality is important because it can help communities better plan for future heat waves, which are becoming more common. Heat deaths are largely preventable, said Kristie Ebi, a professor in the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the University of Washington. “The more we understand about these deaths, the better we can prepare.”
During the last week of June, temperatures in the Pacific Northwest climbed more than 30 degrees Fahrenheit higher than average, smashing records and bringing life-threatening conditions to an area not used to such extreme heat.
An analysis by an international team of climate researchers found that such an intense heat wave would have been virtually impossible without the influence of human-caused climate change.
Washington state has officially reported that 95 people died from heat-related causes during the week of the heat wave, but investigations are continuing. Oregon has confirmed 96 heat-related deaths so far.
But the states’ excess deaths figures — nearly 450 extra deaths in Washington, and nearly 160 in Oregon, which has a little more than half the population of its northern neighbor — suggest the official figures severely underestimate the heat wave’s effect on mortality.
Even amid the Coronavirus epidemic, the spike in deaths reported by Washington was exceptionally large. More people in the state died during the week of the heat wave than during any other single week of the pandemic, according to the C.D.C. data.
Officials in British Columbia, just across the Canadian border, recently reported more than 400 heat-related deaths during the week of the heat wave — a stunning number closer in line with the excess-death estimate for Washington state. The province’s coroner service told the Times there were around 600 more deaths than would have been typical during the same period, but said the number could be incomplete.
Extreme heat disproportionately affects vulnerable populations, including older people, homeless people and those who work outdoors. Access to air-conditioning can be a life saver. A preliminary review of deaths during the heat wave in Multnomah County, Ore., which includes Portland, found that none of the 54 people who died had central air-conditioning.
“Not everyone can stay at home all day in an air-conditioned space,” Dr. Wellenius of Boston University said. “Not everyone can afford an air conditioner.”
Understanding the groups most at risk for heat-related death and where those deaths occurred can guide public health officials to better direct their resources, including where to set up cooling centers during future crises. That will require more detailed local analysis.
The New York Times excess deaths analysis is based on state-level mortality data published by the C.D.C. during the Coronavirus epidemic. The Times has previously used the data to gauge the impact of the virus.
Public health researchers regularly use excess deaths to measure the effects of catastrophic events like extreme heat. A recent study by Dr. Weinberger and Dr. Wellenius estimated that about 5,600 deaths nationwide could be attributed to elevated temperatures each year. That number is significantly higher than the 700 heat-related deaths per year officially estimated based on reported causes of death.
But deaths are only one measure of the heat wave’s impact on health. Though heat-related deaths disproportionately affect older people, high temperatures can make people of all ages sick and lead to hospitalizations.
An analysis made public last week reported a sharp rise in emergency department visits in the Pacific Northwest during the heat wave in late June. Between June 25 and June 30, nearly 3,000 emergency department visits were recorded for heat-related illness.
On June 28th alone, more than 1,000 heat-related visits to emergency departments were reported, compared with fewer than 10 visits during the same period in 2019.
Yet, researchers said the rapid analysis very likely underestimates the full impact of the heat. (They relied on a keyword search to identify heat-related emergency department visits that might miss some cases and did not capture visits to other sites where patients might seek care, such as urgent care centers.)
When temperatures rise, people can become severely ill, or even die, if the body is unable to effectively sweat and cool off. High humidity increases the risk, because sweat can’t evaporate as quickly. That can lead to an increase in internal body temperature, which can cause muscles and enzymes to stop working and organs to shut down.
Dr. Steven Mitchell, medical director for emergency services at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, described heat-related illness as a usually “rare phenomenon” in the city. During the heat wave, Harborview and its affiliated hospitals treated at least 100 patients for heat-related illness. Dr. Mitchell, who has worked at Harborview for 15 years, said that before this year he couldn’t remember treating a single case of severe heat illness or heat stroke.
The demands on hospital staff and equipment, including ventilators, during the heat wave reminded him of the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr. Mitchell said. “In an unprecedented year, this is once again unprecedented.”
By Devi Lockwood, August 13, 2021
Ms. Lockwood is the ideas editor at the website Rest of World and the author of the forthcoming book “1,001 Voices on Climate Change,” from which this essay is adapted.https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/13/opinion/climate-change.html?action=click&module=Well&pgtype=Homepage§ion=Guest%20Essays
Igloolik, Canada. Credit...Devi Lockwood
Devi Lockwood spent five years traveling the globe talking to people about changes they were seeing to their local water and climates. Here are some of the stories she heard.
A little more than 10,000 people live in Tuvalu. Generations ago, Polynesians navigated here by the stars, calling the sprinkles of land in the vast blue of the South Pacific home. With 10 square miles of total area, less than five miles of roads and only one hospital on the main island, Tuvalu is the fourth-smallest country in the world. Disney World is four times larger in area. Tuvalu’s capital city, Funafuti, sits about 585 miles south of the Equator.
By some estimates, Tuvaluans will be forced, by water scarcity and rising sea levels, to migrate elsewhere in the next 50 years. This mass exodus is already happening. Large Tuvaluan outposts exist in Fiji and New Zealand.
I came to Tuvalu with a question: What does it mean for a whole nation to become uninhabitable in my lifetime?
Tauala Katea, the director of Tuvalu’s meteorological service, sat in his office near the airport and tilted a monitor to show me an image of a recent flood when water bubbled up under a field by the runway. “This is what climate change looks like,” he told me.
“In 2000, Tuvaluans living in the outer islands noticed that their taro and pulaka crops were suffering,” he said. “The root crops seemed rotten and the size was getting smaller and smaller.”
Those two starchy staples of Tuvaluan cuisine are grown in pits dug underground. This crop failure was the first indication that something was wrong. The culprit was found to be saltwater intrusion linked to sea level rise.
The last 20 years have marked a period of significant change in the Tuvaluan way of life. Thatched roofs and freshwater wells are things of the past. The freshwater lens underneath the island, a layer that floats above denser seawater, has become salty and contaminated. Each home now has a water tank attached to a corrugated iron roof by a gutter. This rainwater is boiled for drinking and also used to wash clothes and dishes and for bathing.
Imported food is now commonplace. During my month in Tuvalu (from December 2014 to January 2015), I learned what climate change tastes like: imported rice, tinned corned beef, a handful of imported carrots and apples, the occasional local papaya, bananas and many creative uses for custard powder.
There is no normal anymore.
“We can try to adapt to climate change, all these changes,” Mr. Katea said, “or migrate.”
Igloolik, a community on a small island of the same name in northern Canada, is about 1,400 miles south of the North Pole. The only way to get in or out is by passenger plane, dog sled, snowmobile or — for a few weeks in summer, when the sea ice melts — boat. Around 1,700 people live there.
Marie Airut, an elder in her 70s , lives by the water. We spoke in her living room over cups of black tea. “My husband died recently,” she told me. But when he was alive, they went hunting together in every season; it was their main source of food.
“I’m not going to tell you what I don’t know. I’m going to tell you only the things that I have seen,” she said. In the 1970s and ’80s, seal holes would open in late June, an ideal time for hunting baby seals. “But now if I try to go out hunting at the end of June, the holes are very big and the ice is really thin,” she explained. “The ice is melting too fast. It doesn’t melt from the top, it melts from the bottom.”
When the water is warmer, the animals change their movement. Igloolik has always been known for its walrus hunting. But, she said, “I don’t think I can reach them anymore, unless you have 70 gallons of gas. They are that far now, because the ice is melting so fast. It used to take us half a day to find walrus in the summer, but now, if I go out with my boys, it would probably take us two days to get some walrus meat for the winter.”
Ms. Airut and her family used to make fermented walrus every year, “but this year I told my sons we’re not going walrus hunting. They are too far,” she said.
“I read my Bible every day, and I know things will change,” she said. “And I believe both of them are happening now, what is written and what I see with my own eyes.”
Francis Piugattuk had worked for 20 years as a wildlife technician at the Igloolik Research Center. When he was a child, polar bear sightings were infrequent.
“Even seeing tracks was an anomaly, a cause for excitement. And if people wanted to harvest polar bears, they would have to go long, long distances,” he said.
Mr. Piugattuk noted that up until 20 years ago, the only animals attracted to caches of walrus meat near town were arctic foxes. Now the community is setting up electric fences and trying to extract the fermenting meat before the polar bears can get to it. The bears are moving closer to human settlements as ice patterns change.
Elders, he told me, were able to live sustainably off the land by selling fox or seal pelts in exchange for rifles, boats and other materials. Today it’s only those in the wage economy who can afford to buy an outboard motor or ammunition.
“The cost of living is so great now that it’s not even viable to try to exist as a hunter,” he explained. “Those of us that do not hunt live on pasta and macaroni, rice, soup.”
Terry Uyarak, a hunter in his early 30s, has deep tan lines around his eyes in the shape of his sunglasses — the sign of a summer spent out on the land.
When he was younger, the ocean would freeze in late September. Now, come Halloween, he can still go boating. In the past, in late October, he would be driving a snowmobile.
“It’s changing quite rapidly. And I’m not old at all. I’m 31,” he said.
Tromso, Norway, is often the last stop for researchers before crossing the Arctic Ocean to Svalbard, the northernmost year-round settlement in the world, home to researchers of many nationalities.
Geir Wing Gabrielsen, a senior research scientist in environmental pollutants at the Norwegian Polar Institute in Tromso, has been researching Arctic animals for nearly four decades. In recent years, his focus has turned to plastic pollution, which, in Arctic waters, has become a symptom of how the warming climate is altering ocean currents and affecting Arctic animals.
In 1987, he started investigating the diet of the fulmar, a bird that can live for more than 40 years in the wild. Of the 40 birds he sliced open, four had plastic in their stomach. When he repeated the study in 2013, 35 did; some had more than 200 pieces of plastic in their stomachs, preventing the uptake of nutrients. In Europe, fulmars have been found on the beaches, starved to death because of the overload of plastic in their stomachs.
Part of the reason there’s so much plastic in the Arctic is that ocean currents are changing because of the warming effect caused by the increased concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This, in turn, pushes more plastic contamination and pollutants into the Arctic from points south.
Plastic is now found not only in Arctic surface waters but also on the ocean floor and in sea ice. Dr. Gabrielsen has witnessed other changes in the ecosystem. Fjords that used to be dominated by polar species now have Atlantic species. Species that used to be farther south, like capelin, herring, mackerel and Atlantic cod, are more prominent than polar cod.
When the Atlantic system drifts northward, pollution also enters the food chain. Fish eat the plankton, the seal eats the fish, the polar bear eats the seal and the toxicity accumulates in the body of the apex predator.
“We all agree to take care of our coastline, but nobody wants to take care of what’s going on far away from us, out at sea,” Dr. Gabrielsen said.
I wandered into the First Church of Otago in Dunedin, on New Zealand’s South Island, where I met Malcolm, who worked in a museum in the church devoted to the history of the congregation.
He told me that in 2006, an iceberg from Antarctica floated past Dunedin’s coast. The pieces most likely broke off from an ice shelf in 2000.
“It could be seen by people from Dunedin if they climbed up the hills and looked out to sea,” he said. It was white and bigger than a speck, but far enough off the coast that it didn’t come ashore.
This ice was a whisper from Antarctica — the faraway, suddenly nearby and in motion. Melting.
“Many people chartered airplanes to fly out over it and look at it,” Malcolm said. He pointed to a photograph taken by The Otago Daily Times in which a helicopter, insect-size in comparison, landed on the surface of the ice. “You can see it’s quite a huge thing,” he said.
I met Ren Hu, a Ph.D. student at the University of Wollongong, when I was cycling through Australia, but the story he wanted to share was about his hometown, close to the city of Nanjing in east-central China.
“When I was a kid, about 7 or 8 years old, in my hometown, the snow in winter could be very thick,” he told me, “and everyone made a very big snowman.” The memory of those winters made him smile.
But a few months earlier, he had returned to his hometown in the winter. Now the snowflakes fall less frequently and often melt without accumulating. Mr. Ren thinks of snow “like an endangered animal, because it’s very rare in my hometown,” he said. “My memories became a fairy tale.”
By Eyal Press, August 13, 2021
Mr. Press is the author of the forthcoming book “Dirty Work: Essential Jobs and the Hidden Toll of Inequality in America,” from which this essay is adapted.https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/13/opinion/us-dirty-work.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage
After the recession in 2008, Harriet Krzykowski was hired as a mental health aide at the Dade Correctional Institution, a prison in South Florida. Her salary was modest — $12 an hour.
But the low pay bothered her far less than hearing about guards visiting abuse on the mentally ill prisoners entrusted to her care. Some of these prisoners were being starved, Ms. Krzykowski was told. Others were locked inside a scalding shower. Among the prisoners subjected to this sadistic punishment was Darren Rainey, a mentally ill man who collapsed in the stall and died. Autopsy photos later leaked to the press showed that much of the skin on Mr. Rainey’s chest, back and legs had peeled off.
When she learned of Mr. Rainey’s death, Ms. Krzykowski wanted to quit her job. But she couldn’t afford to. She needed the paycheck she drew to support her family. She also couldn’t report what had happened without risking retaliation from the guards, on whom the mental health staff in jails and prisons depend for their safety. So she kept silent.
Ms. Krzykowski could be viewed as an enabler and accomplice. But there is also another way to see her: as a worker performing a function that society tacitly condones but prefers not to hear too much about. I’ve spent the past few years researching the lives of such workers: mental health aides and guards who patrol the wards of America’s jails and prisons, many of which are rife with brutality and violence; Border Patrol agents who enforce America’s inhumane immigration policies; undocumented immigrants who man the “kill floors” of industrial slaughterhouses, where animals are hacked apart under brutal conditions in order to satisfy the popular demand for cheap meat; and drone operators who carry out “targeted killings” in America’s never-ending wars, which have faded from the headlines even as the number of lethal strikes conducted with little oversight steadily increased under Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump.
To the extent they are noticed at all, the people who perform such functions tend to be harshly judged, denounced for their involvement in or proximity to violence. Such judgments are not necessarily wrong, but they obscure an uncomfortable reality: We are all implicated in this dirty work, even if the people who do it are conveniently hidden from us.
“Dirty work” can refer to any unpleasant job, but among social scientists, the term has a more pointed meaning. In 1962, Everett Hughes, an American sociologist, published an essay titled “Good People and Dirty Work” that drew on conversations he’d had in postwar Germany about the mass atrocities of the Nazi era. Mr. Hughes argued that the persecution of Jews proceeded with the unspoken assent of many supposedly enlightened Germans, who refrained from asking too many questions because, on some level, they were not entirely displeased.
This was the nature of dirty work as Mr. Hughes conceived of it: unethical activity that was delegated to certain agents and then disavowed by society, even though the perpetrators had an “unconscious mandate” from their fellow citizens. As extreme as the Nazi example was, this dynamic existed in every society, Mr. Hughes wrote, enabling respectable citizens to distance themselves from the morally troubling things being done in their name. The dirty workers were not rogue actors but “agents” of “good people” who passively stood by.
Contemporary America runs on dirty work. Some of the people who do this work are our agents by virtue of the fact that they perform public functions, such as running the world’s largest penal system. Others qualify as such by catering to our consumption habits — the food we eat, the fossil fuels we burn, which are drilled and fracked by dirty workers in places like the Gulf of Mexico. The high-tech gadgets in our pockets rely on yet another form of dirty work — the mining of cobalt — that has been outsourced to workers in Africa and to foreign subcontractors that often brutally exploit them.
Like the essential jobs performed by grocery clerks and other low-wage workers during the Covid-19 pandemic, this work sustains our lifestyles and undergirds the prevailing social order, but privileged people are generally spared from having to think about it. One reason is that the dirty work occurs far away from them, in isolated institutions — prisons, slaughterhouses — that are closed to the public. Another reason is that the privileged rarely have to do it. Although there is no shortage of it to go around, dirty work in America is not randomly distributed. It falls disproportionately to people with fewer choices and opportunities such as high-school graduates from depressed rural areas, undocumented immigrants, women and people of color.
Many of these workers are victims in their own right, susceptible not only to exploitation and physical injury — as is true of so many people in low-status occupations — but also to another, less familiar set of hazards, owing to the unpalatable nature of the jobs they do. In their classic book, “The Hidden Injuries of Class,” the sociologists Richard Sennett and Jonathan Cobb called for shifting the focus of class analysis away from material conditions to “the moral burdens and the emotional hardships” that workers bear. For dirty workers, these burdens include stigma, self-reproach, corroded dignity and shattered self-esteem. In some cases, they include “moral injury,” a term that military psychologists have used to describe the suffering that some soldiers endure after they carry out orders that transgress the values at the core of their identity.
“When a man — a good man, or woman — goes into prison, a little bit of your goodness wears off,” a former corrections officer named Bill Curtis told me. “You became jaded. You become more callous.”
The moral slide Mr. Curtis described may be particularly unsettling for those who are well intentioned, including the legion of psychiatric aides who work in jails and prisons, which in recent years have effectively become America’s largest mental health institutions. As I have reported elsewhere, mental health staff routinely violate medical ethics by standing by while incarcerated people with mental illness are mistreated and abused. For example, in the months after Mr. Rainey’s death, Ms. Krzykowski lost her appetite. Her hair fell out. She struggled with guilt and shame and was eventually diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Though more difficult to quantify, the moral and emotional wounds that many dirty workers experience can be as debilitating as material disadvantage, shaping people’s sense of self-worth, their place in the social order and their capacity to hold on to their dignity and pride. The result is a form of moral inequality that mirrors the economic kind. Just as the rich and poor have come to inhabit starkly different worlds, an equally stark gap separates the people who perform the most thankless, ethically troubling jobs in America and those who are exempt from these activities. Like so much else in a society that has grown more and more unequal, the burden of dirtying one’s hands — and the benefit of having a clean conscience — are increasingly functions of privilege: of the capacity to distance oneself from the isolated places where dirty work is performed while leaving the sordid details to others.
To be sure, plenty of elite white-collar professionals — Wall Street bankers who sell shady financial products, or software engineers who design hidden spyware — do jobs that are morally suspect. But for white-collar workers who grapple with the ethical consequences of what they do, lavish salaries and bonuses can offset whatever discomfort they may feel. These elites are also less likely to be shamed and stigmatized for what they do than to be envied, lessening the impact of the ethical compromises they may feel they are making.
In my research, I have found that people from marginalized groups are not only more likely to do the dirty work in America, they are also more likely to be faulted for it, singled out as “bad apples” who can be blamed when systemic violence that has long been tolerated comes to light. This is not to say that they are not accountable for their actions. Though charges weren’t brought against them, the prison guards who put Darren Rainey in the shower deserve to be shamed and prosecuted.
But pinning the blame for dirty work solely on the people who carry it out can be a useful way to obscure the power dynamics and the layers of complicity that perpetuate their conduct. In prisons as elsewhere, the conditions that give rise to such work are a product of collective decisions, after all, reflecting our values, the social order we unconsciously mandate and what we are willing to have done in our name.
In the case of Mr. Rainey’s death, the chain of responsibility extends not only to the Florida Department of Corrections but also to the governor at the time, Rick Scott, and the Republican legislature of a state that was spending less money per capita on mental health than every other state except Idaho. It also extends to many “good people” who voted these officials into office.
What we owe dirty workers is the willingness to see them as our agents and to grapple with our own complicity. We also owe many of them the right to have their stories listened to with respect and curiosity.
How might this look? One evening not long ago, I attended a ceremony in a small chapel at the V.A. medical center in Philadelphia, where a group of veterans gathered to talk about the moral injuries they had sustained while serving in America’s recent wars. One veteran sobbed while recounting an airstrike he’d called in that ended up killing dozens of Iraqi civilians.
After the veterans spoke, members of the audience formed a circle around them, linking arms and delivering a message that all dirty workers deserve to hear. “We put you into situations where atrocities were possible,” the audience members chanted in unison. “We share responsibility with you for all that you have seen, for all that you have done, for all that you have failed to do.”
By Michelle Cottle, August 12, 2021https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/12/opinion/caretakers-elderly-home-health-aides.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage
When you are old and gray and full of sleep and nodding by the fire — whom do you expect to help take care of you? Family? Friends? Paid aides? All of the above?
The nation’s caregiving work force is fraying. Paid providers are overworked and undervalued, often forced to take on multiple jobs or turn to public assistance just to scrape by. Many family caregivers are struggling as well, sacrificing their own health and well-being to tend to loved ones for years on end. Consistent, skilled, affordable care is in short supply — and getting shorter — and those who provide it are shouldering an increasingly unsustainable burden.
Women, who do most of this caregiving, are being hit the hardest. The industry relies heavily on women of color, who make up about half of the paid work force, and on immigrants. Around one-fourth of caregivers were born outside the United States. Just something to remember the next time certain politicians start screeching about the scourge of immigration.
But the widespread disrespect for and neglect of this work ultimately hurts everyone. “We can’t have a strong economy if we have millions of people working as full-time caregivers and making so little that they are still living in poverty,” Gina Raimondo, the secretary of commerce, told me in a recent interview. “We can’t have a strong economy when we have millions of other people dropping out of the work force to take care of elderly loved ones.”
There are currently around 4.6 million direct care workers in the United States, a category that includes home health care aides, personal aides and nursing assistants. Over the next decade, the demand for these workers will balloon as aging baby boomers require more, and more advanced, care. Despite this, the industry’s pay is a scandal. For home health and personal care aides, the average wage is $13.49 an hour — below the average hourly wage of an employee at Chipotle. Around 15 percent of direct care workers live in poverty. The work is hard, stressful and dangerous, with high rates of injury. Caregivers often receive minimal training and have few opportunities for advancement. The field is plagued by chronic labor shortages and high turnover.
The shabby state of the paid work force is only part of the picture — and a comparatively small part. The open secret of America’s long-term care system is that most of the labor is provided by unpaid family members or friends. Nearly 42 million U.S. adults are providing informal support and services to someone age 50 or older, according to a 2020 report by AARP.
Even as a labor of love, this work takes its toll. Family caregivers incur thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses each year, for everything from shampoo to home modifications to transportation costs. This is in addition to an average of more than $5,000 a year in lost wages. Around a quarter of family caregivers are forced to take on more debt, AARP has found. More than one-tenth report being unable to afford basic needs such as food.
There are harder-to-measure costs as well. Numerous studies have examined the psychological and physical strain of caregiving. Caregivers appear to be at increased risk of a host of serious illnesses, from heart disease and high blood pressure to cancer and infection. Depression and anxiety are common. The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated existing stressors — and created plenty of new ones.
Worse, even as the number of seniors needing long-term care expands, the number of family members available to provide that care is contracting — a consequence of baby boomers having fewer children than their parents. This means more pressure and less help for everyone, with no relief in sight.
This is not a uniquely American challenge. Japan, with the world’s oldest population, has a term for the stress and exhaustion of family caregivers: kaigo jigoku, or “caregiving hell.” To help relieve some of the pressure, Japanese lawmakers passed a long-term care insurance program in 1997. The U.S. Congress seems unlikely to follow suit any time soon.
But with a problem of this magnitude, the federal government needs to step up. President Biden has called for a major investment in the caregiving economy, pieces of which have been written into legislation. Under the Better Care Better Jobs Act, for example, states would receive additional Medicaid funding for taking steps to shore up the “infrastructure” necessary to improve the access to and quality of home-based care: increasing the wages and benefits of direct-care workers, improving training standards, easing access to respite services for family caregivers and so on. The Social Security Caregiver Credit Act would, as the name suggests, provide retirement compensation for people who left their jobs to look after family members. And AARP has been pushing for the bipartisan Credit for Caring Act, which would provide federal tax credits to eligible family caregivers. Mr. Biden’s American Families Plan also called for 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave, an idea that should have been embraced long ago.
Family caregivers contribute at least $470 billion worth of free labor to the economy each year; it’s time they got at least a sliver of relief in return.
Policy experts and decision makers can debate the details, but America needs to stop taking its caregivers for granted. Paid or unpaid, these workers are looking after our mothers and grandfathers, our sisters and uncles. They assist in dressing, bathing and feeding some of the most vulnerable among us, helping them cope with the aches and pains and fears and frustrations of growing older. They deserve better than to be casually abandoned. It’s worth remembering that many of us will eventually find ourselves among their ranks.
By César Muñoz Acebes, August 15, 2021
Mr. Muñoz Acebes is a human rights researcher with years of experience investigating police abuses in Latin America.https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/15/opinion/international-world/brazil-blacks-police-brutality.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage
RIO DE JANEIRO — In 2015, Adriana Perez da Silva’s 16-year-old son and four of his friends were driving home after a day in the park when the police fired at their car, killing them. Ms. Silva believes they were targeted because they were Black. As a researcher of police abuses in Latin America at Human Rights Watch, I have interviewed many survivors and relatives of victims. But her interview has stayed with me.
Black Brazilians are almost three times as likely to be killed by the police as white Brazilians are. Last year, according to the Brazilian Forum for Public Security, the police killed 6,416 people countrywide. In the state of Rio de Janeiro, one of Brazil’s most violent, 1,245 died at the hands of the police alone.
Police violence in Brazil is so stark that it was highlighted in a recent United Nations report that urged countries to take steps toward eradicating systemic racism against people of African descent. The report called on countries to hold officers accountable for abuses.
In Brazil, that means prosecutors should investigate police killings instead of the police themselves, as is the common practice. Rio de Janeiro’s state government, in particular, should create a comprehensive plan with measures that make police officers responsible for their misdeeds and benchmarks for reducing excessive force. Brazil’s Supreme Court is considering whether to order the state’s government to pass reforms. Without decisive action to end impunity for police abuses, police brutality will continue to disproportionately affect Black Brazilians.
The shooting of these five youths in Rio is emblematic of a country plagued by police violence, systemic racism and impunity. What’s unusual about the case is that the attention it received in part led to the prosecution and imprisonment of the accused officers for their crimes, which is far from the norm.
But things have only gotten worse since then. I have documented cases in Rio de Janeiro for about seven years. When it comes to the use of lethal force by the police, there are, in effect, two sets of rules: one in middle- and upper-class neighborhoods to shoot only in self-defense and one in poor communities to shoot first and ask questions later. Many officers do so without fear of repercussions.
We saw that when the police swarmed Jacarezinho, a favela in Rio de Janeiro, on May 6, in a raid that left 28 people dead. Armored vehicles and a helicopter accompanied the roughly 200 officers, searching the sprawling neighborhood for suspected drug dealers. Earlier that day, an officer was shot dead. The ensuing violence was an apparent act of retribution. Most victims were Black, according to police records.
The officers were never supposed to be in Jacarezinho that day. A Supreme Court ruling last year prohibited raids in Rio de Janeiro’s low-income neighborhoods during the Covid-19 pandemic, except in “absolutely exceptional” cases. The operation’s stated objective of arresting 21 low-level gang members under suspicion of dealing drugs was hardly exceptional. Police forces have a long record of justifying brutal raids as efforts to combat drug trafficking and fight crime. The May 6 police raid was the bloodiest in Rio’s history.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Crime in Rio’s favelas grew over decades of government neglect. Officials failed to provide basic social services and ensure a daily police presence. To enter the favelas, officers resorted to raids that often turned violent. Residents not only resented the police for the brutality but also the state for abandoning them.
In 2008 the state attempted to drive out the gangs by creating Pacifying Police Units, or U.P.P.s. The program placed officers in poor neighborhoods that had fallen under gang control, with the goal of restoring public security and ending a culture of violence and distrust between residents and the police. The state also invested in infrastructure like health clinics and garbage collection.
A couple of years into the program, police killings had dropped by 86 percent in communities with U.P.P.s. The police presence increased school attendance, and quality of life improved. But the initiative’s shortcomings undermined its successes. Residents were frustrated when the government seemed to have abandoned its efforts to improve their lives. Police officers complained of difficult working conditions. As trust eroded, crime spiked, and the old system of policing by force started to return.
By 2013, tensions culminated in protests over the disappearance of Amarildo de Souza, a Black construction worker in Rio’s Rocinha favela. The news coincided with nationwide protests calling for government reforms to address many grievances, including corruption and police brutality. Amid the protests and media attention, the civil police and prosecutors investigated Mr. Souza’s disappearance. Similar to the case of the five youths, they might not have done so otherwise.
Investigators found Mr. Souza had been tortured by police officers after they took him in for questioning about gang activities in the neighborhood. His body was never found. Three years later, Edson dos Santos, a police major, and 11 other officers were convicted of torturing Mr. Souza to death. Mr. Santos was declared guilty of orchestrating the crime but was never fired and continued to receive his salary in prison. He was released on parole in 2019 and was reinstated as a police officer this year.
No wonder residents hesitate to trust officers, knowing that most police killings in Rio typically go unpunished. According to an official inquiry in 2016, 98 percent of investigations in previous years were closed without bringing charges.
Impunity, corruption and unlawful killings made it impossible for the U.P.P.s to develop trust with residents. Still, the plan’s vision — policing that serves its communities — is what the whole country should strive for, starting with independent investigations by prosecutors into police killings. Prosecutors should ensure that those investigations are conducted according to international standards and supported by independent forensic experts. Rio’s state police command should also provide better training on the use of force and psychological services for its officers.
Sustained reform can’t happen if police officers continue to treat Black Brazilians like suspects and the neighborhoods like hostile territory. The cycle of violence will not end if leaders continue to employ torturers as commanders and police killings go unpunished.
She and her husband ran a Vermont-based troupe that has taken on social and political issues in productions featuring enormous puppets.
By Annabelle Williams, Aug. 11, 2021
Elka Schumann at the Bread and Puppet Theater Museum in Glover, Vt., on her troupe’s 40th anniversary in 2003. She started the company with her husband on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Credit...Associated Press
Elka Schumann, who with her husband, Peter, ran the Bread and Puppet Theater in Vermont, known for its countercultural messaging through avant-garde puppeteering, died on Aug. 1 in a hospital in Newport, Vt. She was 85.
The cause was a stroke, her son Max Schumann said.
As its name suggests, the Bread and Puppet Theater is dedicated to two types of art: baking and puppetry. Fresh sourdough bread, milled and baked by Mr. Schumann, was distributed to troupe members and the audience while monstrous papier-mâché puppets, propelled by actors inside them, told stories that took on social and political causes like housing inequality and antiwar and anti-draft activism.
Among the recurring characters was the troupe’s first antagonist, Uncle Fatso, whose roles included a slumlord and allegorical representations of Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon. The troupe’s productions included renditions of plays by the leftist German playwright Bertolt Brecht and shows based on the diaries of the anarchist Emma Goldman.
The critic Holland Cotter of The New York Times described a visit to Bread and Puppet Theater in 2007 as surreal, “an impossible trick of stagecraft, a miracle experience.”
The Schumanns ran their operation out of a farm in Glover, Vt., in the northeast part of the state, and toured the country in a sky-blue school bus with a mountain landscape, an angel and a beaming sun painted on it. The company made a point of putting on shows in underserved communities and involving children from there in making costumes and sometimes performing.
But the troupe was best known for its annual festival, Our Domestic Resurrection Circus, a puppet-dense two-day Woodstock-like affair with a pageant, a parade and politically bent skits about climate change, global consumerism and nuclear annihilation. For many years the event, “a countercultural spectacle,” drew crowds of nearly 40,000 and was the troupe’s main source of funding, John Bell, a puppeteer and theater historian, wrote in a paper.
The Resurrection Circus started in 1970 but abruptly ended in 1998 after a fight broke out on the grounds resulting in a man’s death.
Ms. Schumann was an avowed anticapitalist, and the farm in Glover, complete with livestock and a maple-sugaring operation, became her own quasi-society operating on socialist principles. As the troupe matriarch she kept the books and managed the finances and sometimes performed in shows.
She also managed The Bread and Puppet Press, which distributed pamphlets, broadsheets and posters delivering political and cultural commentary. In a manifesto titled “Why Cheap Art,” which she printed on posters, Ms. Schumann wrote: “Art is food. You can’t eat it but it feeds you.”
It continued: “Art is like good bread! Art is like green trees! Art is like white clouds in blue sky! Art is cheap! Hurrah!”
Elka Leigh Scott was born on Aug. 29, 1935, one of two girls, in Magnitogorsk, a city in Russia about 1,000 miles east of Moscow. Her mother, Maria Ivanova (Dikareva) Scott, was a teacher. Her father, John Scott, was an American who worked as a journalist in the Soviet Union. Her parents had supported the Russian Revolution.
When Elka was young, as German forces invaded, the family fled the country, taking a train to Japan and an ocean liner to Hawaii before continuing on to San Francisco. They lived for a time in Pennsylvania, moved to New York City and spent four years in Berlin after the war before returning to the United States in 1949, settling in Ridgefield, Conn.
Elka attended Ridgefield High School for three years before transferring to the private Putney School in Vermont, where her grandfather Scott Nearing, a prominent left-wing economist, was a lecturer. She went to Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, graduating with a degree in art history in 1958.
In a 2016 oral history with the Vermont Historical Society, Ms. Schumann said that her first years at Bryn Mawr were somewhat disappointing: Her classmates spent more time darning socks for their boyfriends than anything else.
In her junior year she studied abroad in Munich, where she met Peter Schumann. They married in 1959 and had five children while living on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, where they started the Bread and Puppet Theater in 1963. The heated political climate of the ’60s made the couple’s work more urgent.
Some of the company’s first performances were street parades and protests supporting rent strikes and the labor movement. One protest involved Mr. Schumann parading a puppet of Jesus in Manhattan holding a sign that simply said, “Vietnam.”
The family moved to Plainfield, Vt., in 1970, and lived on a farm there for four years until Ms. Schumann’s father purchased the Glover farm that became Bread and Puppet’s home, complete with a museum.
In addition to her son Max, Ms. Schumann is survived by her husband; another son, Salih; three daughters, Solvieg, Tamar and Tjasa Maria Schumann; five grandchildren; and her sister, Elena Scott Whiteside.
In 2001, Tamar Schumann and the activist DeeDee Halleck made a documentary film titled “AH! The Hopeful Pageantry of Bread and Puppet.”
Ms. Schumann was buried in a pine grove on the farm.
BY WORLD-OUTLOOK.COM ON AUGUST 15, 2021
The following is a petition being circulated widely around the world by Cuban scientists as an open letter to U.S. president Joe Biden. World-Outlook encourages readers to join this campaign by sharing the petition with fellow workers, unions, and other organizations, as well as anyone else who may be interested.
This is the link to the original petition that people can sign: https://www.cienciacubana.cu/es
[Note: those of us in the USA can’t sign the petition]
To all conscientious persons including scientists, doctors, health workers, academics as well as any honest woman or man from Cuba and the world, we call on you to support the concepts and principles expressed in this letter.
August 10, 2021
You recently referred to Cuba at a White House saying: "I would be prepared to give significant amounts of vaccines if… an international organization would administer those vaccines and do it in a way that average citizens would have access to those vaccines." You also called Cuba a “failed state.”
These statements surprised many, including those in the U.S. who have first-hand exposure to Cuba’s health system. It also rankled frontline Cuban health workers risking their lives to contain the COVID epidemic in our country. They do not reflect Cuban reality, and we deplore that disinformation by malicious actors is influencing your policy decisions. As scientists, doctors, and concerned citizens, we believe it’s worth fact-checking three assumptions implicit in what you said.
Assumption one: International intervention is needed to ensure all Cubans receive vaccines.
Assumption two: Cuba’s response to the pandemic has been dismal, symptomatic of a “failed state”.
Assumption three: U.S.-supplied vaccines are the only route to guarantee COVID-19 immunization for Cuba’s 11 million people.
Let’s take these one by one: the first assumption – that intervention is needed to guarantee vaccine access for all Cubans – suggests that vaccine rollout in Cuba is inefficient and discriminatory. But the data does not support this. In fact, as both UNICEF and the World Health Organization have confirmed, childhood vaccination rates are over 99%. Immunization is part of our country’s universal public health system, free to all Cubans regardless of socioeconomic status, politics, religion, sex, or race.
The national immunization program, created in 1962, covers the whole country. Since 1999, all Cubans have been protected against 13 potentially fatal diseases, including diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. Eight of these vaccines are manufactured in Cuba.
As a result of high vaccination rates, we have not had a single case of measles. In contrast, the CDC confirmed 1282 measles cases in the United States in 2019, with only 74% of children receiving all CDC-recommended vaccines.
The Finlay Vaccine Institute in Havana developed the world’s first effective vaccine against/for meningitis B (meningococcal disease) in 1989. The annual incidence of meningococcal disease in Cuba dropped from 14.4/100,000 population before vaccination to less than 0.1/100,000 since 2008— eliminating the illness as a public health problem in the country.
Several factors explain the success of Cuba’s national vaccination program: people trust the easily accessible neighborhood family doctors and nurses, and the health professionals at their community polyclinics—making vaccine hesitancy very rare. In turn, the health system’s organizational capacities make vaccine rollout fast and dependable. Finally, Cuban biotechnological research and production centers are well integrated with the needs of the public health system.
Working partnerships on vaccination have developed with the World Health Organization and UNICEF. But none of these has ever suggested the need to step in to administer vaccines in Cuba. Rather, Cuban vaccine experts have been called upon to assist in global efforts to eliminate polio, and our production facilities have been tapped by WHO to export urgently needed vaccines to the “meningitis belt” in sub-Saharan Africa.
Assumption two: Cuba’s “failed” pandemic response. It is puzzling why, with so many real COVID catastrophes in the Western Hemisphere, only Cuba is labelled a “failed state”. Cuba has indeed seen a recent spike in cases that threatens to overwhelm the health system in parts of the country. However, it’s response has been more effective than many other nations that have not received this harsh criticism from the U.S.
All countries are now challenged with new COVID variants, such as Delta, often driving sharp increases in cases. Cuba is no exception. What makes Cuba unique is the need to manage the epidemic under a crippling financial, trade and economic embargo enforced by the U.S. government for the last six decades. The 243 additional restrictions slapped on by the Trump administration—everyone still in place under your presidency—were intended to close the blockade’s few remaining loopholes, and thus choke off revenues to Cuba. This reduces the cash available to buy medical supplies and food, and delays in the arrival of materials to the country.
Assumption three: the only route to COVID immunity in Cuba is through U.S.-supplied vaccines. This ignores the fact that more than two million Cubans, or nearly 30,2 % of the population, have already been fully vaccinated with Cuban developed vaccines.
The Abdala vaccine received emergency use authorization from the Cuban regulatory authority on July 9, making it the first vaccine to achieve this status in Latin America. Abdala achieved 92% efficacy in Phase III clinical trials, while the Soberana Vaccine achieved 91% and is also close to emergency use authorization. At the current rate of vaccinated, the entire population could be reached by October or November. Difficulties in rollout, including imports of vital vaccine ingredients, are due primarily to the financial squeeze of U.S. sanctions.
If the U.S. government really wanted to help Cubans, it could roll back the 243 Trump-era measures—possible with the stroke of the president’s pen. Congress could also lift sanctions altogether, as demanded each year by overwhelming votes at the UN General Assembly by the nations of the world.
During the pandemic, science reiterates that (politics aside) we are all in this together. All of us are threatened not only by disease but also by the unprecedented challenge of climate change. In this context, health systems of all countries should be supported, not undermined; and collaboration should be the order of the day. More so, taking into consideration the alarming dearth of vaccines worldwide, especially dangerous for middle- and low-income countries. A number of them have already shown an interest in acquiring the Cuban vaccines, and we would argue that such a Cuban contribution to vaccine equity should be applauded by the Biden administration, not stifled. The Cuban Democracy Act of 1992 (Part II.6) explicitly bans exports to Cuba from the U.S. in cases where: “the item to be exported could be used in the production of any biotechnological product”, which includes vaccines.
We had a glimpse of both countries could have done together during the Western African Ebola virus epidemic (2013–2016), when both countries strove to contain disease and save lives. Obviously, the U.S. and Cuban governments differ on fundamental issues. Yet the world is full of such discrepancies. The essential question, not only for Cuba and the U.S., but also for human civilization, is whether nations can respect each other enough to exist side-by-side and cooperate.
President Biden, you can do much good if you move in the right direction and take into consideration what most Cubans living in Cuba desire. This does not include bypassing and weaking its public health system but does include respect for the nation’s achievements. Let us hope that the shared threats posed by the Covid pandemic will lead to more collaboration, not more confrontation. History will be the judge.
Signed by scientists, doctors and concerned citizens from Cuba and the world.