Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, October 28, 2022




Leonard Peltier’s Walk to Justice Demands Release of Political Prisoner

By Stephanie Pavlick and Kit Baril

Minneapolis, Minnesota – On September 1, Leonard Peltier’s Walk to Justice departed from Minneapolis, Minnesota. The march will pass through multiple cities, finally ending in Washington, DC on November 14. Rallies and prayer sessions will be held along the route. The walk is being coordinated by the American Indian Movement Grand Governing Council to demand elder Leonard Peltier’s release from federal prison.


Leonard Peltier’s fight for justice

Leonard Peltier has been unjustly held as a political prisoner by the U.S. government for over 46 years, making him one of the world’s longest incarcerated political prisoners. He is the longest held Native American political prisoner in the world. Peltier was wrongly convicted and framed for a shooting at Oglala on June 26, 1975.


At the time, members of the Lakota Nation on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation were being endlessly terrorized and targeted by paramilitaries led by the corrupt, U.S.-government backed tribal chairman Dick Wilson. 64 people were killed by these paramilitaries between 1973 and 1975. The Lakota people called on the American Indian Movement (AIM) for protection, and Peltier answered the call. During the night of June 26, 1975, plainclothes FBI officers raided the AIM encampment at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. A shootout ensued, and two FBI officers, Jack Coler and Ronald Williams, and one Native man, Joe Stuntz, were left dead.


In the ridiculous trial that followed, the two other Native defendants, Bob Robideau and Dino Butler, were completely exonerated. Peltier, on the other hand, was used to make an example. The FBI coerced a statement from a Native woman who had never met Peltier at the time she gave her statement. This false evidence was used to extradite Peltier from Canada, where he had fled after the shootout, and is used to imprison Peltier to this day.


The struggle continues

Leonard’s true “crime” is daring to fight back against the everyday oppression Native people face under the imperialist regime of the United States. Growing up on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in North Dakota, Leonard lived through the U.S. government’s genocidal programs to forcibly assimilate Native peoples. Recently, Peltier opened up about his experiences in the Wahpeton Indian School. This was one of many boarding schools used to brutalize Native children into leaving behind their culture. Children were beaten constantly, especially for practicing any portions of their culture or speaking their language. Many didn’t make it out alive. This was part of the U.S. government‘s larger policy of intensifying attacks on the sovereignty of the First Nations. These experiences, among many more, led Peltier to become a member of the American Indian Movement to continue the fight back against genocide of Native peoples.


Peltier is a lifelong liberation fighter who has sacrificed immensely for the movement. He is also a 77-year-old elder with numerous chronic health problems, exacerbated by his fight with COVID earlier this year. Despite his innocence and health problems, the U.S. government has refused repeated calls for clemency for Peltier. Throughout his years of imprisonment, many have demanded Peltier’s freedom, including Nelson Mandela and, most recently, a UN Human Rights Council working group.


The time for Leonard Peltier to finally be released from prison is now. Join the fight  to free Leonard Peltier, and to free all political prisoners!


There are many ways to support the march and strengthen the call to free Peltier. These include:


·      Joining all or part of the walk

·      Joining a rally

·      Sponsoring the caravan with a hot prepared meal

·      Dry food donations

·      Hosting lodging/camping

·      Driving a support vehicle

·      Raising awareness of Peltier’s cause locally

·      Promoting the caravan and rally

Monetary donations (can be sent via PayPal here)

Those interested in volunteering with the caravan can sign up here.


Learn more about Leonard Peltier and his case here:



Liberation News, September 3, 2022




Freedom for Mumia Abu-Jamal Update

The struggle continues!

At 12:45pm October 26, 2022, a proposed order denying Mumia Abu-Jamal’s constitutional claims of jury bias and suppressed evidence was issued by Common Pleas court Judge Lucretia Clemons.


Abu-Jamal’s defense petition included newly discovered evidence that had been buried in the prosecutor’s own files.  This evidence documented key witnesses receiving promises of money for their testimony and evidence of favorable treatment in pending criminal cases. The petition also documented the abhorrent and unconstitutional practice of striking Black jurors during Mumia’s original trial. 


Racism remains the ELEPHANT in the room.   


“I am going to help them fry the n---word”--Original trial court Judge Albert Sabo said this in front of court clerk Terri Maurer Carter and fellow Common Pleas Court judge Richard Kline during the first week of Mumia’s 1982 trial.  


Philadelphia ADA Jack McMahon made the policy clear in a 1986 training tape stating that getting “a competent, fair and impartial jury. Well, that's ridiculous,'…“You don't want smart people. But if you're sitting down and you're going to take Blacks, you want older Blacks." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ag2I-L3mqsQ


If you put thick blinders on that block out all reality and rely on procedural minutia for cover, honestly, it is still impossible to avoid the scorchingly blatant racism of trial judge Albert Sabo, Assistant District Attorney Joseph McGill, Mayor and former police chief Frank Rizzo, District Attorney during Mumia’s trial Ed Rendell, and Ron Castille DA on appeal.


Yesterday, Judge Lucretia Clemons in her oral statements from the bench continued a common practice of adopting wholesale the Philadelphia District Attorney’s positions. These positions only seek to preserve convictions at all costs.  These arguments prevent the defense from putting on the record evidence of discrimination.  PCRA procedural rules such as time bar, due diligence, waiver, previously litigated, all avoid a judicial review of the merits.


The racism is so transparent and indefensible so the DA is using court created law to dismiss cases before hearing new suppressed evidence. This is a blatantly dishonest practice routinely used by the prosecution and the courts when everyone knows, and I mean everyone knows, that racism was a hallmark of the original trial.


Striking Blacks from the Jury

Judge Clemons stated that she was dismissing the claim of striking Black jurors on procedural grounds, without addressing the merits of the claim.  She suggested that former counsel for the defense had not sought prosecutor McGill’s previously buried notes (notes that highlight his impermissible race based tracking and discrimination). Clemons adopts the prosecution position that the defense had the opportunity to receive these notes by merely asking the prosecution or cross examining ADA McGill in prior court proceedings. This is a key and deliberate misreading of the record. At no time were these crucial notes and the motivations that guided ADA McGill ever available to the defense. McGill struck Black jurors at a 71% rate, significantly higher than the strike rate for white jurors. His reasons for seating some white jurors and not seating nonwhite jurors were not on the record, they were in his notes.


One only has to look at the McMann training tapes that were made by the Philadelphia DA’s office which instructed district attorney’s how to strike black jurors. These were made after Mumia’s trial but they document the practice which was the norm in the office.  This is the context for this ruling which misstates the record and ignores the reality in these Philadelphia courtrooms.  Judge Lucretia Clemons and her law clerks complained on the record about how long it took them to find Pennsylvania cites to bolster their opinion.  Why is Judge Clemons working so hard to avoid the elephant in the room?


Suborning Perjury: Paying Witnesses

Additionally, at issue is the note from supposed “eye witness” Robert Chobert that asked ADA McGill after the trial “where is the money that is owe to me?” This note was scrubbed from any filings and buried by the prosecution for 40 years. This dramatic “Brady evidence” previously unavailable to the defense, was dismissed by the Judge in her written opinion as not “being material.” Meaning it would not have affected the jury’s verdict.  Underlying this is the wholesale adoption of the credibility determinations of the original trial court judge Albert “I am going to help them fry the n---word” Sabo.  It allows his racist tainted rulings to stand.


She also dismissed records from ADA McGill that extensively track and monitor another key witness Cynthia White, who’s pending criminal cases were ALL were dropped by the prosecution following her testimony.


How can the court ignore the context.  Note this information which follows had been previously prevented from being added to the record by Albert Sabo and other judges on appeal:


Photos from the Philadelphia Bulletin that prove Robert “I was on probation, did not have a license to drive a cab, and threw a Molotov cocktail into a school for pay” Chobert was not parked at the scene of the shooting. Chobert could not have witnessed the shooting. He was NOT parked directly behind the officer’s car as he claimed to be.  The answer is: because the PCRA (Post Conviction Relief Act) allows the dismissal of this critical evidence through by time bar.


Finally, Judge Lucretia Clemons admonished the defense to limit their briefs challenging her proposed ruling to cite Pennsylvania law.  It is commonly understood here, rather than being the birthplace of liberty, Pennsylvania is the place where the US Supreme Courts constitutional standards for criminal defendants are the very last place to be honored.


This case proves that racism reigns unabated in the American justice system, Mumia Abu-Jamal is the canary in the coal mine.   


Judge Clemons’ 31pg proposed opinion will be available today, 10-27-22. The Defense has 20 days to reply, and prosecution given 10 additional days to respond before the court’s order dismissing Mumia’s request for a new trial becomes final and appealable.  


Mumia Abu-Jamal has spent 42 years in prison for the death of Philadelphia Police officer Daniel Faulkner on Dec. 9th 1981. He has maintained his innocence and has sought his freedom by appealing to the very courts that now seek to preserve his unjust and unconstitutional conviction. At age 67 he has spent 42 years in prison.


Mumia Abu-Jamal is a broadcast journalist and internationally recognized author. Mr. Abu-Jamal is serving a life sentence at SCI Mahanoy in Pennsylvania. He is the author of 13 books, holds a Master’s degree in Comparative Literature and is currently working on the requirements to complete a PhD in the History of Consciousness Department at University of California Santa Cruz.


Noelle Hanrahan, Esq. nhanrahanlaw@gmail.com 415-793-7958 www. Prisonradio.org


Every act matters.  Stand up. Join us as we launch Love Not Phear.


Cuando luchamos ganamos, When We Fight, We Win


Noelle Hanrahan

Prison Radio Co-Director




Urgent support needed for cancer-stricken, imprisoned writer/artist, Kevin “Rashid” Johnson’s Legal Fund!


Cash App: $Solidarity2RIBPP

To this end we are raising resources that will allow us to retain an attorney to fight and defend Rashid against the multiple abuses of the Virginia Department of Corrections. Most egregious are the refusal of life saving cancer treatment and the recent illegal & retaliatory transfer from Nottoway Correctional Center to Sussex 1.


It is apparent that our comrade and friend Kevin “Rashid” Johnson will not receive the care or cancer treatment that he requires without serious, legal intervention.

Please send support to CashApp: $Solidarity2RIBPP

If you are interested in organizing around this effort with us and would like more info, please dm us or email:




The US sanctions and embargo are preventing Cuba from rebuilding after Hurricane Ian.

The Biden Administration needs to act right now to help the Cuban people. Hurricane Ian caused great devastation. The power grid was damaged, and the electrical system collapsed. Over four thousand homes have been completely destroyed or badly damaged. 

Cuba must be allowed, even if just for the next six months, to purchase the necessary construction materials to REBUILD. Cubans are facing a major humanitarian crisis because of Hurricane Ian.

Please share, and submit your letter to President Biden today!








Doctors for Assange Statement


Doctors to UK: Assange Extradition

‘Medically & Ethically’ Wrong 



Ahead of the U.K. Home Secretary’s decision on whether to extradite Julian Assange to the United States, a group of more than 300 doctors representing 35 countries have told Priti Patel that approving his extradition would be “medically and ethically unacceptable”.


In an open letter sent to the Home Secretary on Friday June 10, and copied to British Prime Minster Boris Johnson, the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice Robert Buckland, the Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and the Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong, the doctors draw attention to the fact that Assange suffered a “mini stroke” in October 2021. They note:


“Predictably, Mr Assange’s health has since continued to deteriorate in your custody. In October 2021 Mr. Assange suffered a ‘mini-stroke’… This dramatic deterioration of Mr Assange’s health has not yet been considered in his extradition proceedings. The US assurances accepted by the High Court, therefore, which would form the basis of any extradition approval, are founded upon outdated medical information, rendering them obsolete.”


The doctors charge that any extradition under these circumstances would constitute negligence. They write:


“Under conditions in which the UK legal system has failed to take Mr Assange’s current health status into account, no valid decision regarding his extradition may be made, by yourself or anyone else. Should he come to harm in the US under these circumstances it is you, Home Secretary, who will be left holding the responsibility for that negligent outcome.”


In their letter the group reminds the Home Secretary that they first wrote to her on Friday 22 November 2019, expressing their serious concerns about Julian Assange’s deteriorating health.


Those concerns were subsequently borne out by the testimony of expert witnesses in court during Assange’s extradition proceedings, which led to the denial of his extradition by the original judge on health grounds. That decision was later overturned by a higher court, which referred the decision to Priti Patel in light of US assurances that Julian Assange would not be treated inhumanely.


The doctors write:


“The subsequent ‘assurances’ of the United States government, that Mr Assange would not be treated inhumanly, are worthless given their record of pursuit, persecution and plotted murder of Mr Assange in retaliation for his public interest journalism.”


They conclude:


“Home Secretary, in making your decision as to extradition, do not make yourself, your government, and your country complicit in the slow-motion execution of this award-winning journalist, arguably the foremost publisher of our time. Do not extradite Julian Assange; free him.”


Julian Assange remains in High Security Belmarsh Prison awaiting Priti Patel’s decision, which is due any day.



Sign the petition:


If extradited to the United States, Julian Assange, father of two young British children, would face a sentence of 175 years in prison merely for receiving and publishing truthful information that revealed US war crimes.

UK District Judge Vanessa Baraitser has ruled that "it would be oppressive to extradite him to the United States of America".

Amnesty International states, “Were Julian Assange to be extradited or subjected to any other transfer to the USA, Britain would be in breach of its obligations under international law.”

Human Rights Watch says, “The only thing standing between an Assange prosecution and a major threat to global media freedom is Britain. It is urgent that it defend the principles at risk.”

The NUJ has stated that the “US charges against Assange pose a huge threat, one that could criminalise the critical work of investigative journalists & their ability to protect their sources”.

Julian will not survive extradition to the United States.

The UK is required under its international obligations to stop the extradition. Article 4 of the US-UK extradition treaty says: "Extradition shall not be granted if the offense for which extradition is requested is a political offense." 

The decision to either Free Assange or send him to his death is now squarely in the political domain. The UK must not send Julian to the country that conspired to murder him in London.

The United Kingdom can stop the extradition at any time. It must comply with Article 4 of the US-UK Extradition Treaty and Free Julian Assange.



Dear friends, 

Recently I’ve started working with the Coalition to Free Ruchell Magee. On March 17, Ruchell turned 83. He’s been imprisoned for 59 years, and now walks with a walker. He is no threat to society if released. Ruchell was in the Marin County Courthouse on August 7, 1970, the morning Jonathan Jackson took it over in an effort to free his older brother, the internationally known revolutionary prison writer, George Jackson. Ruchell joined Jonathan and was the only survivor of the shooting that ensued. He has been locked up ever since and denied parole 13 times. On March 19, the Coalition to Free Ruchell Magee held a webinar for Ruchell for his 83rd birthday, which was a terrific event full of information and plans for building the campaign to Free Ruchell. (For information about his case, please visit: www.freeruchellmagee.org.)

Below are two ways to stream this historic webinar, plus 

• a petition you can sign

• a portal to send a letter to Governor Newsom

• a Donate button to support his campaign

• a link to our campaign website. 

Please take a moment and help. 

Note: We will soon have t-shirts to sell to raise money for legal expenses.

Here is the YouTube link to view the March 19 Webinar: 


Here is the Facebook link:


Sign the petition to Free Ruchell:


Write to Governor Newsom’s office:




Ruchell’s Website: 



Charlie Hinton


No one ever hurt their eyes by looking on the bright side



Tell Congress to Help #FreeDanielHale


U.S. Air Force veteran, Daniel Everette Hale has recently completed his first year of a 45-month prison sentence for exposing the realities of U.S drone warfare. Daniel Hale is not a spy, a threat to society, or a bad faith actor. His revelations were not a threat to national security. If they were, the prosecution would be able to identify the harm caused directly from the information Hale made public. Our members of Congress can urge President Biden to commute Daniel's sentence! Either way, Daniel deserves to be free.





Laws are created to be followed

by the poor.

Laws are made by the rich

to bring some order to exploitation.

The poor are the only law abiders in history.

When the poor make laws

the rich will be no more.


—Roque Dalton Presente!

(May 14, 1935 – Assassinated May 10, 1975)[1]

[1] Roque Dalton was a Salvadoran poet, essayist, journalist, political activist, and intellectual. He is considered one of Latin America's most compelling poets.







Screenshot of Kevin Cooper's artwork from the teaser.


 “In His Defense” The People vs. Kevin Cooper

A film by Kenneth A. Carlson 

Teaser is now streaming at:



Posted by: Death Penalty Focus Blog, January 10, 2022



“In his Defense,” a documentary on the Kevin Cooper case, is in the works right now, and California filmmaker Kenneth Carlson has released a teaser for it on CarlsonFilms.com


Just over seven months ago, California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered an independent investigation of Cooper’s death penalty case. At the time, he explained that, “In cases where the government seeks to impose the ultimate punishment of death, I need to be satisfied that all relevant evidence is carefully and fairly examined.”


That investigation is ongoing, with no word from any of the parties involved on its progress.


Cooper has been on death row since 1985 for the murder of four people in San Bernardino County in June 1983. Prosecutors said Cooper, who had escaped from a minimum-security prison and had been hiding out near the scene of the murder, killed Douglas and Peggy Ryen, their 10-year-old daughter, Jessica, and 10-year-old Chris Hughes, a friend who was spending the night at the Ryen’s. The lone survivor of the attack, eight-year-old Josh Ryen, was severely injured but survived.


For over 36 years, Cooper has insisted he is innocent, and there are serious questions about evidence that was missing, tampered with, destroyed, possibly planted, or hidden from the defense. There were multiple murder weapons, raising questions about how one man could use all of them, killing four people and seriously wounding one, in the amount of time the coroner estimated the murders took place.


The teaser alone gives a good overview of the case, and helps explain why so many believe Cooper was wrongfully convicted.



New Legal Filing in Mumia’s Case

By Johanna Fernández

The following statement was issued January 4, 2022, regarding new legal filings by attorneys for Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Campaign to Bring Mumia Home

In her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston wrote, “There are years that ask questions, and years that answer.”

With continued pressure from below, 2022 will be the year that forces the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office and the Philly Police Department to answer questions about why they framed imprisoned radio journalist and veteran Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal. Abu-Jamal’s attorneys have filed a Pennsylvania Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) petition focused entirely on the six boxes of case files that were found in a storage room of the DA’s office in late December 2018, after the case being heard before Judge Leon Tucker in the Court of Common Pleas concluded. (tinyurl.com/zkyva464)

The new evidence contained in the boxes is damning, and we need to expose it. It reveals a pattern of misconduct and abuse of authority by the prosecution, including bribery of the state’s two key witnesses, as well as racist exclusion in jury selection—a violation of the landmark Supreme Court decision Batson v. Kentucky. The remedy for each or any of the claims in the petition is a new trial. The court may order a hearing on factual issues raised in the claims. If so, we won’t know for at least a month. 

The new evidence includes a handwritten letter penned by Robert Chobert, the prosecution’s star witness. In it, Chobert demands to be paid money promised him by then-Prosecutor Joseph McGill. Other evidence includes notes written by McGill, prominently tracking the race of potential jurors for the purposes of excluding Black people from the jury, and letters and memoranda which reveal that the DA’s office sought to monitor, direct, and intervene in the outstanding prostitution charges against its other key witness Cynthia White.

Mumia Abu-Jamal was framed and convicted 40 years ago in 1982, during one of the most corrupt and racist periods in Philadelphia’s history—the era of cop-turned-mayor Frank Rizzo. It was a moment when the city’s police department, which worked intimately with the DA’s office, routinely engaged in homicidal violence against Black and Latinx detainees, corruption, bribery and tampering with evidence to obtain convictions. 

In 1979, under pressure from civil rights activists, the Department of Justice filed an unprecedented lawsuit against the Philadelphia police department and detailed a culture of racist violence, widespread corruption and intimidation that targeted outspoken people like Mumia. Despite concurrent investigations by the FBI and Pennsylvania’s Attorney General and dozens of police convictions, the power and influence of the country’s largest police association, the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) prevailed. 

Now, more than 40 years later, we’re still living with the failure to uproot these abuses. Philadelphia continues to fear the powerful FOP, even though it endorses cruelty, racism, and multiple injustices. A culture of fear permeates the “city of brotherly love.”

The contents of these boxes shine light on decades of white supremacy and rampant lawlessness in U.S. courts and prisons. They also hold enormous promise for Mumia’s freedom and challenge us to choose Love, Not PHEAR. (lovenotphear.com/) Stay tuned.

Workers World, January 4, 2022


Pa. Supreme Court denies widow’s appeal to remove Philly DA from Abu-Jamal case


Abu Jamal was convicted by a jury of first-degree murder of Faulkner in 1982. Over the past four decades, five of his appeals have been quashed.


In 1989, the state’s highest court affirmed Abu-Jamal’s death penalty conviction, and in 2012, he was re-sentenced to life in prison.


Abu-Jamal, 66, remains in prison. He can appeal to the state Supreme Court, or he can file a new appeal.


KYW Newsradio reached out to Abu-Jamal’s attorneys for comment. They shared this statement in full:


“Today, the Superior Court concluded that it lacked jurisdiction to consider issues raised by Mr. Abu-Jamal in prior appeals. Two years ago, the Court of Common Pleas ordered reconsideration of these appeals finding evidence of an appearance of judicial bias when the appeals were first decided. We are disappointed in the Superior Court’s decision and are considering our next steps.


“While this case was pending in the Superior Court, the Commonwealth revealed, for the first time, previously undisclosed evidence related to Mr. Abu-Jamal’s case. That evidence includes a letter indicating that the Commonwealth promised its principal witness against Mr. Abu-Jamal money in connection with his testimony. In today’s decision, the Superior Court made clear that it was not adjudicating the issues raised by this new evidence. This new evidence is critical to any fair determination of the issues raised in this case, and we look forward to presenting it in court.”



Demand Mumia's Freedom:

Governor Tom Wolf -1(717) 787-2500  Fax 1 (717) 772-8284
Office of the Governor
508 Main Capitol Building
HarrisburgPA  17120    
After calling the governor, send an online communication about our concerns.   https://www.governor.pa.gov/contact/#PhoneNumber
Let us know what there response was, Thank you.  Mobilization4Mumia@gmail.com


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



A Plea for the Compassionate Release of 

Leonard Peltier

Video at:


Screen shot from video.

Sign our petition urging President Biden to grant clemency to Leonard Peltier.




Email: contact@whoisleonardpeltier.info

Address: 116 W. Osborne Ave. Tampa, Florida 33603


Bury My Heart with Leonard Peltier

How long will he still be with us? How long will the genocide continue?

By Michael Moore

—VIA Email: michaelmoore@substack.com

LEONARD PELTIER, Native American hero. An innocent man, he’s spent 44 years as a political prisoner. The prosecutor who put him behind bars now says Peltier is innocent. President Biden, go to Mass today, and then stop this torture. (Sipa/Shutterstock)

American Indian Movement leader, Leonard Peltier, at 77 years of age, came down with Covid-19 this weekend. Upon hearing this, I broke down and cried. An innocent man, locked up behind bars for 44 years, Peltier is now America’s longest-held political prisoner. He suffers in prison tonight even though James Reynolds, one of the key federal prosecutors who sent Peltier off to life in prison in 1977, has written to President Biden and confessed to his role in the lies, deceit, racism and fake evidence that together resulted in locking up our country’s most well-known Native American civil rights leader. Just as South Africa imprisoned for more than 27 years its leading voice for freedom, Nelson Mandela, so too have we done the same to a leading voice and freedom fighter for the indigenous people of America. That’s not just me saying this. That’s Amnesty International saying it. They placed him on their political prisoner list years ago and continue to demand his release.


And it’s not just Amnesty leading the way. It’s the Pope who has demanded Leonard Peltier’s release. It’s the Dalai Lama, Jesse Jackson, and the President Pro-Tempore of the US Senate, Sen. Patrick Leahy. Before their deaths, Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa and Bishop Desmond Tutu pleaded with the United States to free Leonard Peltier. A worldwide movement of millions have seen their demands fall on deaf ears. 


And now the calls for Peltier to be granted clemency in DC have grown on Capitol Hill. Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), the head of the Senate committee who oversees the Bureau of Indian Affairs, has also demanded Peltier be given his freedom. Numerous House Democrats have also written to Biden. 


The time has come for our President to act; the same President who appointed the first-ever Native American cabinet member last year and who halted the building of the Keystone pipeline across Native lands. Surely Mr. Biden is capable of an urgent act of compassion for Leonard Peltier — especially considering that the prosecutor who put him away in 1977 now says Peltier is innocent, and that his US Attorney’s office corrupted the evidence to make sure Peltier didn’t get a fair trial. Why is this victim of our judicial system still in prison? And now he is sick with Covid.


For months Peltier has begged to get a Covid booster shot. Prison officials refused. The fact that he now has COVID-19 is a form of torture. A shame hangs over all of us. Should he now die, are we all not complicit in taking his life? 


President Biden, let Leonard Peltier go. This is a gross injustice. You can end it. Reach deep into your Catholic faith, read what the Pope has begged you to do, and then do the right thing. 


For those of you reading this, will you join me right now in appealing to President Biden to free Leonard Peltier? His health is in deep decline, he is the voice of his people — a people we owe so much to for massacring and imprisoning them for hundreds of years. 


The way we do mass incarceration in the US is abominable. And Leonard Peltier is not the only political prisoner we have locked up. We have millions of Black and brown and poor people tonight in prison or on parole and probation — in large part because they are Black and brown and poor. THAT is a political act on our part. Corporate criminals and Trump run free. The damage they have done to so many Americans and people around the world must be dealt with. 


This larger issue is one we MUST take on. For today, please join me in contacting the following to show them how many millions of us demand that Leonard Peltier has suffered enough and should be free:


President Joe Biden


Phone: 202-456-1111

E-mail: At this link



Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland


Phone: 202-208-3100

E-mail: feedback@ios.doi.gov


Attorney General Merrick Garland


Phone: 202-514-2000

E-mail: At this link



I’ll end with the final verse from the epic poem “American Names” by Stephen Vincent Benet: 


I shall not rest quiet in Montparnasse.

I shall not lie easy at Winchelsea.

You may bury my body in Sussex grass,

You may bury my tongue at Champmedy.

I shall not be there. I shall rise and pass.

Bury my heart at Wounded Knee.



PS. Also — watch the brilliant 1992 documentary by Michael Apted and Robert Redford about the framing of Leonard Peltier— “Incident at Oglala”



The Moment

By Margaret Atwood*


The moment when, after many years 

of hard work and a long voyage 

you stand in the centre of your room, 

house, half-acre, square mile, island, country, 

knowing at last how you got there, 

and say, I own this, 


is the same moment when the trees unloose 

their soft arms from around you, 

the birds take back their language, 

the cliffs fissure and collapse, 

the air moves back from you like a wave 

and you can't breathe. 


No, they whisper. You own nothing. 

You were a visitor, time after time 

climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming. 

We never belonged to you. 

You never found us. 

It was always the other way round.


*Witten by the woman who wrote a novel about Christian fascists taking over the U.S. and enslaving women. Prescient!



Union Membership—2021

Bureau of Labor Statistics

U.S. Department of Labor

For release 10:00 a.m. (ET) Thursday, January 20, 2022

Technical information: 

(202) 691-6378 • cpsinfo@bls.gov • www.bls.gov/cps

Media contact: 

(202) 691-5902 • PressOffice@bls.gov

In 2021, the number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions continued to decline (-241,000) to 14.0 million, and the percent who were members of unions—the union membership rate—was 10.3 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The rate is down from 10.8 percent in 2020—when the rate increased due to a disproportionately large decline in the total number of nonunion workers compared with the decline in the number of union members. The 2021 unionization rate is the same as the 2019 rate of 10.3 percent. In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent and there were 17.7 million union workers.

These data on union membership are collected as part of the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly sample survey of about 60,000 eligible households that obtains information on employment and unemployment among the nation’s civilian noninstitutional population age 16 and over. For further information, see the Technical Note in this news release.

Highlights from the 2021 data:

• The union membership rate of public-sector workers (33.9 percent) continued to be more than five times higher than the rate of private-sector workers (6.1 percent). (See table 3.)

• The highest unionization rates were among workers in education, training, and library occupations (34.6 percent) and protective service occupations (33.3 percent). (See table 3.)

• Men continued to have a higher union membership rate (10.6 percent) than women (9.9 percent). The gap between union membership rates for men and women has narrowed considerably since 1983 (the earliest year for which comparable data are available), when rates for men and women were 24.7 percent and 14.6 percent, respectively. (See table 1.)

• Black workers remained more likely to be union members than White, Asian, or Hispanic workers. (See table 1.)

• Nonunion workers had median weekly earnings that were 83 percent of earnings for workers who were union members ($975 versus $1,169). (The comparisons of earnings in this news release are on a broad level and do not control for many factors that can be important in explaining earnings differences.) (See table 2.)

• Among states, Hawaii and New York continued to have the highest union membership rates (22.4 percent and 22.2 percent, respectively), while South Carolina and North Carolina continued to have the lowest (1.7 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively). (See table 5.)

Industry and Occupation of Union Members

In 2021, 7.0 million employees in the public sector belonged to unions, the same as in the private sector. (See table 3.)

Union membership decreased by 191,000 over the year in the public sector. The public-sector union membership rate declined by 0.9 percentage point in 2021 to 33.9 percent, following an increase of 1.2 percentage points in 2020. In 2021, the union membership rate continued to be highest in local government (40.2 percent), which employs many workers in heavily unionized occupations, such as police officers, firefighters, and teachers.

The number of union workers employed in the private sector changed little over the year. However, the number of private-sector nonunion workers increased in 2021. The private-sector unionization rate declined by 0.2 percentage point in 2021 to 6.1 percent, slightly lower than its 2019 rate of 6.2 percent. Industries with high unionization rates included utilities (19.7 percent), motion pictures and sound recording industries (17.3 percent), and transportation and warehousing (14.7 percent). Low unionization rates occurred in finance (1.2 percent), professional and technical services (1.2 percent), food services and drinking places (1.2 percent), and insurance (1.5 percent).

Among occupational groups, the highest unionization rates in 2021 were in education, training, and library occupations (34.6 percent) and protective service occupations (33.3 percent). Unionization rates were lowest in food preparation and serving related occupations (3.1 percent); sales and related occupations (3.3 percent); computer and mathematical occupations (3.7 percent); personal care and service occupations (3.9 percent); and farming, fishing, and forestry occupations (4.0 percent).

Selected Characteristics of Union Members

In 2021, the number of men who were union members, at 7.5 million, changed little, while the number of women who were union members declined by 182,000 to 6.5 million. The unionization rate for men decreased by 0.4 percentage point over the year to 10.6 percent. In 2021, women’s union membership rate declined by 0.6 percentage point to 9.9 percent. The 2021 decreases in union membership rates for men and women reflect increases in the total number of nonunion workers. The rate for men is below the 2019 rate (10.8 percent), while the rate for women is above the 2019 rate (9.7 percent). (See table 1.)

Among major race and ethnicity groups, Black workers continued to have a higher union membership rate in 2021 (11.5 percent) than White workers (10.3 percent), Asian workers (7.7 percent), and Hispanic workers (9.0 percent). The union membership rate declined by 0.4 percentage point for White workers, by 0.8 percentage point for Black workers, by 1.2 percentage points for Asian workers, and by 0.8 percentage point for Hispanic workers. The 2021 rates for Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics are little or no different from 2019, while the rate for Asians is lower.

By age, workers ages 45 to 54 had the highest union membership rate in 2021, at 13.1 percent. Younger workers—those ages 16 to 24—had the lowest union membership rate, at 4.2 percent.

In 2021, the union membership rate for full-time workers (11.1 percent) continued to be considerably higher than that for part-time workers (6.1 percent).

Union Representation

In 2021, 15.8 million wage and salary workers were represented by a union, 137,000 less than in 2020. The percentage of workers represented by a union was 11.6 percent, down by 0.5 percentage point from 2020 but the same as in 2019. Workers represented by a union include both union members (14.0 million) and workers who report no union affiliation but whose jobs are covered by a union contract (1.8 million). (See table 1.)


Among full-time wage and salary workers, union members had median usual weekly earnings of $1,169 in 2021, while those who were not union members had median weekly earnings of $975. In addition to coverage by a collective bargaining agreement, these earnings differences reflect a variety of influences, including variations in the distributions of union members and nonunion employees by occupation, industry, age, firm size, or geographic region. (See tables 2 and 4.)

Union Membership by State

In 2021, 30 states and the District of Columbia had union membership rates below that of the U.S. average, 10.3 percent, while 20 states had rates above it. All states in both the East South Central and West South Central divisions had union membership rates below the national average, while all states in both the Middle Atlantic and Pacific divisions had rates above it. (See table 5 and chart 1.)

Ten states had union membership rates below 5.0 percent in 2021. South Carolina had the lowest rate (1.7 percent), followed by North Carolina (2.6 percent) and Utah (3.5 percent). Two states had union membership rates over 20.0 percent in 2021: Hawaii (22.4 percent) and New York (22.2 percent).

In 2021, about 30 percent of the 14.0 million union members lived in just two states (California at 2.5 million and New York at 1.7 million). However, these states accounted for about 17 percent of wage and salary employment nationally.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on 2021 Union Members Data

Union membership data for 2021 continue to reflect the impact on the labor market of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Comparisons with union membership measures for 2020, including metrics such as the union membership rate and median usual weekly earnings, should be interpreted with caution. The onset of the pandemic in 2020 led to an increase in the unionization rate due to a disproportionately large decline in the number of nonunion workers compared with the decline in the number of union members. The decrease in the rate in 2021 reflects a large gain in the number of nonunion workers and a decrease in the number of union workers. More information on labor market developments in recent months is available at: 

www.bls.gov/covid19/effects-of-covid-19-pandemic-and- response-on-the-employment-situation-news-release.htm.



Resources for Resisting Federal Repression

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

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

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

Emergency Hotlines

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

State and Local Hotlines

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

National Hotline

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

Know Your Rights Materials

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

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

We also recommend the following resources: 

Center for Constitutional Rights

Civil Liberties Defense Center

Grand Jury Resistance Project

Katya Komisaruk

Movement for Black Lives Legal Resources

Tilted Scales Collective






1) More Than 104,000 New York City Students Were Homeless Last Year

The number of students in temporary housing rose by about 3 percent, a daunting figure that does not include the thousands of migrant children who have recently entered city schools.

By Troy Closson, Oct. 26, 2022


Five students sit at round blue tables in a classroom with books and paper spread out in front of them.

A classroom at P.S. 188, a public school on the Lower East Side where more than a third of the students were homeless in 2020-21. Credit...Todd Heisler/The New York Times

More than 104,000 public school students in New York City were homeless during the last school year, according to new data released Wednesday, a number that grew even as overall enrollment in the city’s public schools declined.


Nearly one in 10 students in New York City lived in shelters, doubled up with other families, or in cars, abandoned buildings or outside as the city grapples with a housing shortage and affordability crisis. The data did not include the influx of recently arrived homeless migrant children.


The number of students in temporary housing grew by 3 percent over the prior year and has surpassed six figures for seven consecutive school years, posing steep challenges for the administration of Mayor Eric Adams. The city is grappling with how to help its most vulnerable children recover from pandemic learning losses while also integrating the more than 6,000 additional homeless students who have enrolled in city schools over the past four months.


The vast majority of the newest group of students are immigrants from Central and South America who were bused to New York City from Texas after they crossed the U.S.-Mexico border. They have strained a system where immigrant students have often struggled.


Jennifer Pringle, who works at Advocates for Children of New York, a nonprofit that collects the data on homeless students annually, said that the system must meet the needs of the newcomers, “while not losing sight of the longstanding issues” facing local children who are homeless.


“If we want to break this intergenerational cycle of poverty and homelessness, we have to make sure we’re prioritizing education of students in temporary housing,” said Ms. Pringle, the director of the organization’s Learners in Temporary Housing project. “The outcomes are just awful, and without a coordinated, targeted response, we’re not going to see a change.”


While other large cities have similar rates of homelessness among students — in Los Angeles, for example, it is 11 percent — New York City’s vast size puts the problem on a different scale. The number of homeless students in New York has swelled from roughly 78,000 a decade ago to more than 114,650 at its peak in 2018, about the same size as the entire public school system of Philadelphia.


About 30,000 students lived in shelters. But about 69,000 children were doubled up with other families, and 5,500 other young people lived in cars, parks or abandoned buildings, meaning they were likely to have less access to social services and other supports provided in the shelter system.


Many students living in temporary housing struggled with staggering educational challenges during the pandemic, as they often could no longer rely on school buildings for crucial services like counseling. Some attended classes remotely from shelters that lacked reliable internet access.


More than six in 10 homeless children living in shelters were defined as “chronically absent” last year, which means they missed at least 10 percent of school days, more than double the rate of their peers in permanent housing.


Even during more normal times, homeless students often face disruption, sometimes commuting long distances to their schools and transferring to new ones as they bounce between living situations, even though a federal law gives them the right to remain in the same school when they move.


The regular upheaval hurts their academic performance: Only 60 percent of homeless high school students living in shelters graduate in four years. Their high school drop out rate is three times higher than that of students in stable housing.


New York City schools could soon receive a boost in funding for each student they enroll who lives in temporary housing, after a city task force signaled it might propose changing the formula for distributing funds to city schools. The current formula attaches extra money to several groups, including students with disabilities and those learning English as a new language, but it is “missing some special populations,” said Sheree Gibson, a member of the task force, at a recent public meeting in Queens.


The task force will make its recommendations to the schools chancellor, David C. Banks, this month, and the decision about whether to change the formula lies with him. It is unclear if changes will become effective before funding for the next school year is calculated.


Mr. Banks has already agreed to hire 100 staff members to work in shelters this year and to help families get their children to school more often. Still, several top staff roles in the office of the city’s Education Department that oversees students in temporary housing are vacant, including the executive director who exited recently.


Suzan Sumer, a department spokeswoman, said in a statement that no work to support students with unique needs “will be disrupted while we navigate a period of transition.” Officials have already started the hiring process for the new shelter-based jobs, Ms. Sumer said, and expect to begin on-boarding new staff members soon.


The highest rate of student homelessness is in the southwest Bronx, where more than one in 5 students lived in temporary housing at some point last school year.


But Queens saw the greatest uptick in the number of homeless students, with a rise of more than 12 percent, the data shows. In District 24, which includes the Corona and Elmhurst neighborhoods, an area that became an early epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic and that is receiving many of the new migrants, the number rose by nearly 22 percent.


The more than 6,000 new homeless students, of which at least 5,500 are recently arrived migrant children living in shelters, have brought fresh challenges to the system. With many learning English as a new language, some schools have struggled to find enough bilingual teachers and social workers to meet their needs. School officials have said that they are working to add more of those staff members, and create new programs for English-language learners.


Nicole Cisuentes is among the new arrivals. A third-grader whose family arrived in the country from Colombia last month, Nicole has enrolled at the Helen M. Marshall School in the Corona neighborhood of Queens, where more than 40 percent of students were English-language learners last year.


But her mother, Julieth Murillo, was eager for her to learn English, so Nicole initially joined a classroom where only English was spoken.


Ms. Murillo said the adjustment was rocky. “She came home with nothing in her notebooks,” she said, and was not always welcomed by other students. About two weeks ago, Ms. Murillo moved Nicole into a dual language class taught in both Spanish and English.


“Now she’s really happy,” Ms. Murillo said in Spanish. “Everything is going really well, thankfully.”


Brittany Kriegstein contributed reporting.



2) Chasing Spirits: Mexico City’s House Museums

Curiosity about the daily lives of the famous draws us to the places they lived. In Coyoacán it’s possible to commune with the ghosts of Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Leon Trotsky and more.

By Francine Prose, Oct. 26, 2022


A two-story brick building with an overhanging roof stands under some trees. It has teal-colored doors and window shades.

Leon Trotsky, in exile from the Soviet Union, lived at this house in Mexico City’s Coyoacán neighborhood. It is now a museum. Credit...Adrian Wilson for The New York Times

In a garden with cactus and succulents a monument stands at the center bearing the name Leon Trotsky and a hammer and sickle symbol. A flag that is predominantly red flies over it.

At the time Leon Trotsky lived in Coyoacán, his home bordered on fields and farmland at the very edge of the neighborhood and the city. The garden now holds a monument to him. Credit...Adrian Wilson for The New York Times

Old books line a shelf, including volumes by Karl Marx, a book called “Recent Social Trends” and “The Game” by Jack London.
Items like the books on the shelves make it easy to imagine the brief period when Trotsky — a wanted man in Russia — found sanctuary there. Credit...Adrian Wilson for The New York Times

Within hours of arriving in Coyoacán — a leafy, tranquil, beautiful neighborhood in the southwest part of Mexico City — I was searching the internet for long-term rentals in the area. It was pure fantasy that my family could move there. It seemed as if my family and I had found the ideal base for exploring Mexico City, a place I’d always loved. Its sidewalks lined with brightly colored houses and tenderly nurtured vegetation, Coyoacán is an oasis of tranquillity, almost like an island surrounded by the roiling 24/7 energy of the nation’s vibrant capital.


The neighborhood’s appeal has been obvious for centuries, long before it was engulfed by Mexico City’s sprawl, in fact before it was even a village. The conquistador Hernan Cortés is said to have lived here around 1520 (after the destruction of the Aztec capital), though obviously not in the 18th century building now known as the Casa de Cortés. Coyoacán was incorporated into the capital in the 19th century and, in 1928, designated as a borough.


In the early and mid 20th century, Coyoacán was Mexico City’s Greenwich Village, its Montparnasse. Artists from all over the world came to visit their Mexican counterparts — and stayed. Much of the area’s rich history — and its particular magic — has remained and can still be seen in the houses where these luminaries lived and worked. Perhaps it’s superstitious to feel closer to the dead in the places where they lived, but if so, it’s a superstition shared by a great many people.


Purely by lucky accident, the house we found on Airbnb was the former studio of the painter José Orozco, one of the founders of the Mexican muralist movement, a group that included Diego Rivera, David Siqueiros and others. On the walls were framed drawings and prints by Orozco, who died in 1949, and the bookshelves contained volumes of reproductions of his art.


Several of the houses where Coyoacán’s celebrated residents lived have been turned into museums. House museums draw us out of curiosity about the living conditions and the possessions of a figure we venerate or loathe. I’ve seen Dostoyevsky’s deck of cards, read the first drafts of Roosevelt’s Day of Infamy speech, stared down the field from Virginia Woolf’s writing cottage toward the river where she drowned. If we believe that ghosts are still inhabiting these structures, we long for the quiet and solitude that will enable us to hear what they have to say.


By far the most famous of the neighborhood’s house museums is the brilliantly bright blue Casa Azul, where Frida Kahlo spent much of her life and died. In the 1940s and ’50s, she and Rivera hosted Mexican artists, European surrealists, movie stars, wealthy art collectors, expats and political refugees.


When I first visited the house, long before the film starring Salma Hayek was released, before the world was gripped by what the Mexicans call Fridamania, which shows no signs of disappearing, I was the only visitor except for one Canadian backpacker who wept as she moved from room to room.


Now it is a wildly popular tourist destination, almost a pilgrimage site, with advanced ticketing and (often) long waits to get in. You can pause before vitrines containing the elaborate folkloric costumes the artist wore and visit her somewhat shrine-like bedroom, but it’s hard to feel a personal sense of communion with her in what is less a recreation of her home and more of a tribute display, with a gift shop and a quote from Patti Smith stenciled on one wall, words that could not have been there when Kahlo and Rivera enjoyed the pretty courtyard.


It’s certainly worth braving the crowd, though, because Kahlo had great collections — most notably, of retablos, or holy pictures, many representing miraculous rescues. Besides which, you can’t help thinking that Frida and Diego would have been pleased by the turnout, the awe and the attention. Both were ambitious, both deeply concerned with career and reputation.


Anyone wanting to know more about Rivera’s ego might schedule a visit to the Museo Anahuacalli, a half-hour cab ride from the Casa Azul. It’s the extraordinary monument that Rivera built to himself with the help of the architect Juan O’Gorman. The structure, which once served as Rivera’s studio, now houses his collection of pre-Columbian art displayed in dramatically lit showcases.


The British writer Rebecca West was appalled by the structure, and wrote about it blisteringly (and hilariously) in an essay collected in “Survivors in Mexico,” published in 2003: “Grey blocks of stone have been piled up by an architect who had the Aztec pyramids in mind,” she wrote. “As we approached it, there issued from its funerary portals a party of people whose faces were stiff with the sense that the visit was not yet over, but only slightly stiff, for it was nearly over.” When I was there, a thriller was being filmed in the museum, and it added to the oppressiveness to be chased from room to room by the film crew who needed one gallery, then another.


The Casa Azul is by no means the only house museum that one can visit for a sense of what Coyoacán was like at another time — who lived here and what they did, the community they formed. When the Soviet revolutionary Leon Trotsky arrived in Mexico in 1936, he stayed at the Casa Azul rent-free. Later in his exile he moved to the nearby house on the Avenida Rio Churubusco, where he was assassinated by an agent of Stalin’s secret police, and which is now also a museum.


Trotsky’s house is a quieter scene than the Casa Azul. It too has a pleasant courtyard, where the relative peace and physical space make it easier to imagine the brief period when the revolutionary — a wanted man in Russia — found sanctuary there. Perhaps its haunting aura derives from the fact that one can see the desk at which Trotsky was working, presumably writing his biography of Stalin, when he was killed, famously with an ice ax, by a Soviet agent.


Grouped around the courtyard, where there are quarters for the guards assigned to protect Trotsky and hutches in which he kept his beloved rabbits and chickens, the rooms are pleasant but spartan, touching in their modesty and simplicity. Adjacent to the house is an exhibition of photos of Trotsky and his associates, as well as a timeline of early 20th century Russian and Mexican history. It’s instructive to learn that, at the time Trotsky lived there, his home bordered on fields and farmland at the very edge of the neighborhood and the city; now, just outside his door, is a busy highway that one can take to reach the historical center.


On a weekday morning, my family and I were the only visitors to my favorite of Coyoacán’s house museums, the atmospheric and magical Casa del Emilio Fernández, who was known as “Indio.” In a lovely and especially peaceful corner of Coyoacán, the former home of the Mexican movie star, open only on weekends, seems relatively untouched by tourism and the passage of time.


Constructed of volcanic stone, the “house-fortress,” which occupies much of a square city block, was designed and built in 1947 by Fernández, a director and actor who, until his death in 1986, made more than 120 films and whose impressive physique was said to have been the model for the Oscar statuette. Born to an Indigenous mother (hence the nickname), he claimed to have fought in the Mexican Revolution and was exiled to the United States, where he lived in Los Angeles and edged his way into the movie business, later returning to Mexico.


Built around an enormous courtyard once used to corral the horses that Fernández used in his films — he often played cowboys and revolutionaries — the house has immense, cavernous public rooms. Among the guests at his lavish parties were Kahlo, Rivera and Marilyn Monroe. Everywhere are framed photos of Indio’s three wives, and in his former bedroom there is a photo of Olivia de Havilland. According to our tour guide at the house, the Hollywood actress rejected Fernandez’s advances because he was “too ugly.” Fernández swore that he would someday have de Havilland “at his feet,” and when the government agreed to let him name the street beside his house, he named it Dulce Olivia, or Sweet Olivia, fulfilling his promise — or threat.


These monuments to the past are not the only reason to visit Coyoacán, which has great food, a huge botanical garden, a pleasant zocalo and markets for food and crafts. Here, as in so much of Mexico, the past and present exist side by side. On a quiet Sunday afternoon, in the Jardín Centenario, a band was playing for a few middle-age and older couples dancing a sort of dignified salsa-Foxtrot. Their families sat around, drinking coffee, eating cups of elote, or roasted corn; the children were sucking on spicy lollipops. There’s still not much traffic, and it’s not hard to imagine the luxury sedans edging the central square on their way to deliver guests to one of Emilio Fernández’s long, astonishing parties.


If you go


Coyoacán’s house museums offer a window into the neighborhood’s rich artistic and cultural history. Visiting them is affordable and, with the exception of Casa Azul, they are usually not overwhelmed by tourists. Here’s how to find them:


Casa Azul


Londres 247, Colonia del Carmen


Hours: Tuesday, Thursday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed Monday.


Admission: Weekdays: 230 pesos (about $11.25); weekends: 270 pesos. Tickets can be booked online and it is recommended to do so.


Museo Casa de Leon Trotsky


Avenida Río Churubusco 410, Colonia del Carmen


Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Admission: 40 pesos




Museo 150, Colonia San Pablo Tepetlapa


Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.


Admission: 80 pesos; free with ticket from Casa Azul


Casa de Emilio Fernández


Ignacio Zaragoza 51, Colonia Santa Catarina


Hours: Saturday and Sunday 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.


Admission: 100 pesos



3) The Rising Tide of Global Sadness

By David Brooks, Oct. 27, 2022


Rafal Milach/Magnum Photos

Taylor Swift was quite the romantic when she burst on the scene in 2006. She sang about the ecstasies of young love and the heartbreak of it. But her mood has hardened as her star has risen. Her excellent new album, “Midnights,” plays upon a string of negative emotions — anxiety, restlessness, exhaustion and occasionally anger.


“I don’t dress for women,” she sings at one point, “I don’t dress for men/Lately I’ve been dressing for revenge.”


It turns out Swift is part of a larger trend. The researchers Charlotte Brand, Alberto Acerbi and Alex Mesoudi analyzed more than 150,000 pop songs released between 1965 and 2015. Over that time, the appearance of the word “love” in top-100 hits roughly halved. Meanwhile, the number of times such songs contained negative emotion words, like “hate” rose sharply.


Pop music isn’t the only thing that has gotten a lot harsher. David Rozado, Ruth Hughes and Jamin Halberstadt analyzed 23 million headlines published between 2000 and 2019 by 47 news outlets popular in the United States. The headlines, too, grew significantly more negative, with a greater proportion of headlines denoting anger, fear, disgust and sadness. Headlines in left-leaning media got a lot more negative, and headlines in right-leaning publications got even more negative than that.


The negativity in the culture reflects the negativity in real life. The General Social Survey asks people to rate their happiness levels. Between 1990 and 2018 the share of Americans who put themselves in the lowest happiness category increased by more than 50 percent. And that was before the pandemic.


The really bad news is abroad. Each year Gallup surveys roughly 150,000 people in over 140 countries about their emotional lives. Experiences of negative emotions — related to stress, sadness, anger, worry and physical pain — hit a record high last year.


Gallup asks people in this survey to rate their lives on a scale from zero to 10, with zero meaning you’re living your worst possible life and 10 meaning you’re living your best. Sixteen years ago, only 1.6 percent of people worldwide rated their life as a zero. As of last year, the share of people reporting the worst possible lives has more than quadrupled. The unhappiest people are even unhappier. In 2006, the bottom fifth of the population gave themselves an average score of 2.5. Fifteen years later, that average score in the bottom quintile had dropped to 1.2.


In an interview, Jon Clifton, the C.E.O. of Gallup, told me that in 2021, 21 percent of the people in India gave themselves a zero rating. He said negative emotions are rising in India and China, Brazil and Mexico and many other nations. A lot of people are pretty miserable at work. In the most recent survey Gallup found that 20 percent of all people are thriving at work, 62 percent are indifferent on the job and 18 percent are miserable.


Part of the problem is declining community. The polls imply that almost two billion people are so unhappy where they live, they would not recommend their community to a friend. This is especially true in China and India.


Part of the problem is hunger. In 2014, 22.6 percent of the world faced moderate or severe food insecurity. By 2020, 30.4 percent of the world did.


Part of the problem is an increase in physical misery. In 2006, 30 percent of people who rated their lives the worst said they experienced daily pain. Last year, 45 percent of those people said they live with daily pain. Before the pandemic, the experience of living with pain increased across all age groups.


A lot of those numbers surprised me. Places like China and India have gotten much richer. But development does not necessarily lead to gains in well-being, in part because development is often accompanied by widening inequality. This is one of the core points Clifton makes in his book “Blind Spot: The Global Rise of Unhappiness and How Leaders Missed It.” We conventionally use G.D.P. and other material measures to evaluate how nations are doing. But these are often deeply flawed measures of how actual people are experiencing their lives.


Misery influences politics. James Carville famously said, “It’s the economy, stupid.” But that’s too narrow. Often it’s human flourishing, stupid, including community cohesion, a sense of being respected, social connection. George Ward of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has argued that subjective measures of well-being are more predictive of some election outcomes than economic measures. Measures of well-being dropped in Tunisia and Egypt before the Arab uprisings. Well-being dropped in Britain before the Brexit vote. Counties in the United States that saw the largest gain in voting Republican for president between the 2012 election and Donald Trump’s election in 2016 were also the counties where people rated their lives the worst.


If misery levels keep rising, what can we expect in the future? Well, rising levels of populism, for one. And second, greater civil unrest across the board. Clifton noted that according to the Global Peace Index, civic discontent — riots, strikes, anti-government demonstrations — increased by 244 percent from 2011 to 2019.


We live in a world of widening emotional inequality. The top 20 percent of the world is experiencing the highest level of happiness and well-being since Gallup began measuring these things. The bottom 20 percent is experiencing the worst. It’s a fundamentally unjust and unstable situation. The emotional health of the world is shattering.



4) Texas Goes Permitless on Guns, and Police Face an Armed Public

A new law allowing people to carry handguns without a license has led to more spontaneous shootings, many in law enforcement say.

By J. David Goodman, Oct. 26, 2022


Family members of the victims killed in the shooting at Robb Elementary School marching from the school to the town square in Uvalde, Texas, in July.

Family members of the victims killed in the shooting at Robb Elementary School marching from the school to the town square in Uvalde, Texas, in July. Credit...Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times

HOUSTON — Tony Earls hung his head before a row of television cameras, staring down, his life upended. Days before, Mr. Earls had pulled out his handgun and opened fire, hoping to strike a man who had just robbed him and his wife at an A.T.M. in Houston.


Instead, he struck Arlene Alvarez, a 9-year-old girl seated in a passing pickup, killing her.


“Is Mr. Earls licensed to carry?” a reporter asked during the February news conference, in which his lawyer spoke for him.


He didn’t need one, the lawyer replied. “Everything about that situation, we believe and contend, was justified under Texas law.” A grand jury later agreed, declining to indict Mr. Earls for any crime.


The shooting was part of what many sheriffs, police leaders and district attorneys in urban areas of Texas say has been an increase in people carrying weapons and in spur-of-the-moment gunfire in the year since the state began allowing most adults 21 or over to carry a handgun without a license.


At the same time, mainly in rural counties, other sheriffs said they had seen little change, and proponents of gun rights said more people lawfully carrying guns could be part of why shootings have declined in some parts of the state.


Far from an outlier, Texas, with its new law, joined what has been an expanding effort to remove nearly all restrictions on carrying handguns. When Alabama’s “permitless carry” law goes into effect in January, half of the states in the nation, from Maine to Arizona, will not require a license to carry a handgun.


The state-by-state legislative push has coincided with a federal judiciary that has increasingly ruled in favor of carrying guns and against state efforts to regulate them.


But Texas is the most populous state to do away with handgun permit requirements. Five of the nation’s 15 biggest cities are in Texas, making the permitless approach to handguns a new fact of life in urban areas to an extent not seen in other states.


In the border town of Eagle Pass, drunken arguments have flared into shootings. In El Paso, revelers who legally bring their guns to parties have opened fire to stop fights. In and around Houston, prosecutors have received a growing stream of cases involving guns brandished or fired over parking spots, bad driving, loud music and love triangles.


“It seems like now there’s been a tipping point where just everybody is armed,” said Sheriff Ed Gonzalez of Harris County, which includes Houston.


No statewide shooting statistics have been released since the law went into effect last September. After a particularly violent 2021 in many parts of the state, the picture of crime in Texas has been mixed this year, with homicides and assaults up in some places and down in others.


But what has been clear is that far fewer people are getting new licenses for handguns even as many in law enforcement say the number of guns they encounter on the street has been increasing.


Big city police departments and major law enforcement groups opposed the new handgun law when it came before the State Legislature last spring, worried in part about the loss of training requirements necessary for a permit and more dangers for officers.


But gun rights proponents prevailed in the Republican-dominated Capitol, arguing that Texans should not need the state’s permission to exercise their Second Amendment rights.


Recent debates over gun laws in Texas have not been limited to handgun licensing. After the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, gun control advocates have pushed to raise the age to purchase an AR-15-style rifle. And after the Supreme Court struck down New York’s restrictive licensing program, a federal court in Texas found that a state law barring adults under 21 from carrying a handgun was unconstitutional. Gov. Greg Abbott has suggested he agreed, even as the Texas Department of Public Safety, which oversees the state police, is appealing.


“What I believe in is that the Second Amendment provides certain rights, and it provides those rights to adults,” Mr. Abbott said in a recent news conference. “I think that the court ruling is going to be upheld.”


The loosening of regulations also landed in the middle of a national debate over crime. Researchers have long argued over the effect of allowing more people to legally own and carry guns. But a series of recent studies has found a link between laws that make it easier to carry a handgun and increases in crime, and some have raised the possibility that more guns in circulation lead to more thefts of weapons and to more shootings by the police.


“The weight of the evidence has shifted in the direction that more guns equals more crime,” said John J. Donohue III, a Stanford Law School professor and the author of several recent studies looking at gun regulations and crime.


Much of the research has been around the effects of making handgun licenses easier to obtain, part of what are known as right-to-carry laws, and Mr. Donohue cautioned that only limited data is available on laws that in most cases require no licenses at all.


“I think most people are reasoning by analogy: If you thought that right-to-carry was harmful, this will be worse,” he said.


But John R. Lott Jr., a longtime researcher whose 1998 book, “More Guns, Less Crime,” has been influential among proponents of gun rights, said the newer studies did not take into account differences between state handgun regulations that might account for increases in crime. He also pointed to some recent crime declines in Texas cities after the permitless carry law went into effect, and to what he saw as the importance of increasing lawful gun ownership in high-crime areas.


“If my research convinces me of anything,” Mr. Lott said, “it’s that you’re going to get the biggest reduction in crime if the people who are most likely victims of violent crime, predominantly poor Blacks, are the ones who are getting the permits.”


In Dallas, there has been a rise in the number of homicides deemed to be justifiable, such as those conducted in self-defense, even as overall shootings have declined from last year’s high levels.


“We’ve had justifiable shootings where potential victims have defended themselves,” said the Dallas police chief, Eddie Garcia. “It cuts both ways.”


Last October in Port Arthur, Texas, a man with a handgun, who had a license, saw two armed robbers at a Church’s Chicken and fired through the drive-through window, fatally striking one of the men and wounding the other. His actions were praised by the local district attorney.


Michael Mata, the president of the local police union in Dallas, said that he and his fellow officers had seen no increase in violent crime tied to the new permitless carry law, though there were “absolutely” more guns on the street.


Sheriff David Soward of Atascosa County, a rural area south of San Antonio, said he had also seen no apparent increase in shootings. “Only a small percentage of people actually take advantage of the law,” he said.


But for many law enforcement officers, the connection between the new law and spontaneous shootings has been readily apparent.


“Now that everybody can carry a weapon, we have people who drink and start shooting each other,” said Sheriff Tom Schmerber of Maverick County, which includes Eagle Pass. “People get emotional,” he said, “and instead of reaching for a fist, they reach for a weapon. We’ve had several shootings like that.”


Handgun licenses are still available. The process involves a background check and a roughly five-hour training course, including on a shooting range, that covers the legal troubles that can arise when opening fire.


The number of new permits sought by Texans surged with the pandemic, but then sharply declined through 2021, as the permitless carry bill moved through the Legislature. An average of fewer than 5,000 a month were issued in 2022, lower than at any point going back to 2017.


Many Texans still seek the license because of the benefits it affords, including the ability to carry a concealed handgun into a government meeting. But it is no longer necessary.


“Somebody could go into Academy Sporting Goods here in El Paso and purchase a handgun and walk out with it after their background check,” said Ryan Urrutia, a commander at the El Paso Sheriff’s office. “It really puts law enforcement at a disadvantage because it puts more guns on the street that can be used against us.”


The law still bars carrying a handgun for those convicted of a felony, who are intoxicated or committing another crime. In Harris County, criminal cases involving illegal weapons possession have sharply increased since the new law went into effect: 3,500 so far this year, as of the middle of October, versus 2,300 in all of 2021 and an average of about 1,000 cases in prior years going back to 2012.


“It’s shocking,” said Kim Ogg, the Harris County district attorney. “We’ve seen more carrying weapons, which by itself would be legal. But people are carrying the weapons while committing other crimes, and I’m not talking just about violent crimes. I’m talking about intoxication crimes or driving crimes or property crimes, carrying weapons on school property or in another prohibited place,” including bars and school grounds.


Her office provided a sampling of arrests in the last few weeks: a 21-year-old man carrying a pistol and a second magazine while walking through the grounds of an elementary school during school hours; a man jumping from his car and opening fire at the driver of Tesla in a fit of road rage; a woman, while helping her little brother into a car, turning to shoot at another woman after an argument over a social media video.


In the case of Mr. Earls, the man accused of fatally shooting 9-year-old Arlene Alvarez while shooting at a fleeing robber, Ms. Ogg’s office presented evidence to a grand jury of charges ranging from negligent homicide to murder. The grand jury rejected those charges.


A lawyer for Mr. Earls declined to make him available to comment. The man who robbed Mr. Earls and his wife remains unidentified, Ms. Ogg said.


In May, a committee of the Texas House heard testimony from gun rights advocates who praised the passage of permitless carry and argued that it may be time to go further.


Rachel Malone, of Gun Owners of America, outlined some of her group’s priorities for the next legislative session.


“I think it would be appropriate to move the age for permitless carry to 18,” she told the committee. “There’s really no reason why a legal adult should not be able to defend themselves.”



5) Bolsonaro vs. Lula: Brazil Faces a Stark Choice With Huge Stakes

Brazilians head to the polls on Sunday in an election between two political heavyweights that could have global repercussions.

By Jack Nicas, Oct. 29, 2022

Jack Nicas, the Brazil bureau chief, has reported on Brazil’s election from across the country for more than a year.


Mr. da Silva has run on promises to feed and house the poor, and to eradicate illegal logging and mining in the Amazon rain forest.

Mr. da Silva has run on promises to feed and house the poor, and to eradicate illegal logging and mining in the Amazon rain forest. Credit...Victor Moriyama for The New York Times

RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil on Sunday faces a crossroads.


After months of pitches to voters, the nation will decide one of Latin America’s most important elections in decades, picking between the two biggest names in modern Brazilian politics and their polar visions for the country.


The choice for Brazilians is whether to give President Jair Bolsonaro a second term, emboldening and empowering him to carry out a far-right mandate for the nation, or whether to bring back former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and return Brazil to a leftist track.


Yet the stakes are far higher than simply a contest between the left and the right.


The election carries major consequences for the Amazon rainforest, which is crucial to the health of the planet. Mr. Bolsonaro has gutted the agencies tasked with protecting the forest, leading to soaring deforestation, while Mr. da Silva has promised to eradicate illegal logging and mining.


Brazil’s economy, once the world’s sixth largest, has flatlined over the past decade. Mr. Bolsonaro pledges to pursue deregulation and privatization to try to jump-start activity, while Mr. da Silva has made his central pitch about feeding and housing the poor, whose numbers have climbed during the pandemic.


The vote is a test of the enduring strength of the right-wing populism that swept across many countries in recent years. Mr. Bolsonaro is one of the biggest remaining faces of that movement, but he is trying to withstand a recent clear shift to the left across Latin America.


And then there is the concern for the health of one of the world’s biggest democracies. Mr. Bolsonaro has spent years attacking Brazil’s democratic institutions, including a sustained effort to undermine its voting system, leading millions of Brazilians to lose faith in the integrity of their nation’s elections.


Now, much of the country is wondering: If the president loses the election, will he accept it?


After Mr. da Silva led in the first round of voting earlier this month, many polls suggest the race has narrowed. The two men have split this country of 217 million people nearly down the middle, with many voters on each side viewing the choice as an existential one for the nation.


“We have a population completely divided between two worlds,” said Malu Gaspar, a political columnist for O Globo, one of Brazil’s biggest newspapers. “So I have a lot of anticipated frustration that this is the most important election of our time, and yet we will come out of it with a lot of more problems than when we went in.”


The close race, high stakes and deep polarization have led to an ugly campaign. Misinformation has soared in recent weeks, with supporters of Mr. da Silva accusing Mr. Bolsonaro of being a cannibal and a pedophile, while Mr. Bolsonaro’s supporters have called Mr. da Silva a gang leader, a communist and a Satanist who wants to close the nation’s churches.


Election officials have tried to intervene, ordering posts and videos off the internet that they say are false. Those efforts have slowed the deluge of misleading information, but they have also become their own controversy, drawing a swell of complaints of unfair refereeing, particularly from Mr. Bolsonaro and his allies.


The debates between the two candidates devolved into name calling and disputes over their past versus their plans for the future. And there has been a spate of political violence, with countless beatings and at least two killings connected to the election.


This week, the violence and claims of censorship from the right collided when the authorities tried to arrest a right-wing congressman whom the Supreme Court had ordered not to speak publicly because, it said, he had attacked Brazil’s democratic institutions. He responded by shooting at the police and throwing a grenade, injuring two officers. He is now in jail.


With a victory on Sunday, Mr. da Silva would complete a stunning political revival. The former shoeshine boy and metalworker with a fifth-grade education rose to become Brazil’s president in 2003. He then used a commodity boom and the discovery of offshore oil to reshape the country, lifting 20 million Brazilians out of extreme poverty. By the time he left office in 2010, he had an 80 percent approval rating.


But things quickly turned south for him, his leftist Workers Party and Brazil. His handpicked successor’s interventions into the economy helped plunge Brazil into a recession from which it has never fully recovered, and then a corruption investigation revealed a sprawling kickback scheme that had festered deep inside the Brazilian government under his party’s control.


Nearly 300 people were eventually arrested in the scheme, including Mr. da Silva. He was sentenced to 22 years in prison on charges that he accepted a condo and home improvements from companies bidding on government contracts. But after 17 months, he was released and his convictions were later nullified after the Supreme Court ruled that the judge in his cases was biased. While Mr. da Silva was not cleared of wrongdoing, the decision allowed him to run for president again.


Mr. Bolsonaro is a former Army captain who served three decades in Congress as a fringe far-right lawmaker known for extreme statements. In 2018, in the wake of Mr. da Silva’s prison sentence, Mr. Bolsonaro rode the global wave of right-wing populism to the presidency, promising to root out what he called the corruption of Brazil’s leftists.


His four years since have been tumultuous. He has attacked judges, journalists, political rivals and environmentalists, while also publicly doubting the science behind Covid-19. He pushed unproven drugs during the pandemic and delayed in buying vaccines. The coronavirus killed nearly 700,000 people in Brazil, the second-highest official toll, after the United States.


Yet despite the turmoil, Mr. Bolsonaro’s support has endured. He far outperformed polls’ expectations in the first round of voting on Oct. 2, and while recent polls have shown Mr. da Silva still in the lead, Mr. Bolsonaro was within striking distance.


The president’s base is a bloc known as “beef, bibles and bullets,” representing people connected to the agribusiness industry, evangelical movement, and law enforcement and the military. Under a slogan of “God, homeland, family and freedom,” he has focused his pitch on warnings about the left trying to change what he calls Brazilians’ traditional way of life.


In his closing pitch to voters in the first presidential debate this month, Mr. Bolsonaro did not mention the economy, and instead accused the left of wanting to legalize drugs and abortion, abolish private property and force children to learn about “gender ideology” and use unisex bathrooms. “We don’t want a country of retrogression, corruption, thievery and disrespect for our religion,” he said.


Mr. da Silva has built a broad coalition in recent months, from the center-right to the far left, with people concerned about what might happen under a second Bolsonaro term. But he has maintained Brazil’ working class as his base and built his platform around taxing the rich and expanding services for the poor. His stump speech has highlighted a promise that all Brazilians deserve a top cut of meat and a cold beer.


“Let’s get back to fixing this country, and let’s get back to eating and drinking a beer at weekend barbecues,” he said. Mr. Bolsonaro “goes crazy because he thinks only he can, but we want to eat at the barbecues, too.”


The campaign, however, has also had a more worrisome element. For more than a year, Mr. Bolsonaro has warned that he may not accept a loss. He has claimed, without credible evidence, that Brazil’s electronic voting system is rife with fraud and that the left is set on rigging the vote. As a result, three out of four of his supporters say they trust the voting system only a little or not at all.


Over the past week, Mr. Bolsonaro has also begun to claim other kinds of fraud. His campaign has accused radio stations of playing far more ads from Mr. da Silva, which would violate election laws, but the evidence the campaign produced was incomplete and quickly shown to be flawed. Brazil’s election chief, whom Mr. Bolsonaro has called biased, dismissed the accusations.


Yet Mr. Bolsonaro’s son, a congressman, suggested this week that the vote should be delayed because of the alleged fraud, and Mr. Bolsonaro himself is complaining that it is more proof of an unfair election.


“It’s fraud. It interferes with the results of the election,” Mr. Bolsonaro told reporters on Wednesday. “I am a victim once again.”


André Spigariol contributed reporting from Brasília.



6) My Teenage Years With the Black Panthers

By Jeffrey Henson Scales, Oct. 29, 2022

Mr. Henson Scales is an independent photographer and a photo editor at The Times.


Huey Newton at the offices of his lawyer, Charles Garry, on Aug. 5, 1970, the day he was released from jail after his manslaughter conviction was overturned by the California Court of Appeals.

Huey Newton at the offices of his lawyer, Charles Garry, on Aug. 5, 1970, the day he was released from jail after his manslaughter conviction was overturned by the California Court of Appeals.

Kathleen Cleaver, the Panthers’ communications secretary, in Marin City, Calif., August 1968.

Kathleen Cleaver, the Panthers’ communications secretary, in Marin City, Calif., August 1968.

On the balcony of the University of California, Berkeley, Student Union building as the Berkeley police released tear gas during a People’s Park protest, 1969.

On the balcony of the University of California, Berkeley, Student Union building as the Berkeley police released tear gas during a People’s Park protest, 1969.

In 2017, my mother died in Berkeley, Calif. When our family was preparing to sell the house, a long-forgotten collection of negative strips was found, revealing photographs I had made as a teenager during the turbulent 1960s in the San Francisco Bay Area. With these aged strips of film my mother had tucked away for half a century, fragmented pieces of my memory have been returned to me like broken artifacts that now can be mended back together for revisiting.


The photographs in this collection start the way so many things do: with a gift.


While just 12 years old, in June 1967, as San Francisco’s “Summer of Love” was unfolding in the Haight-Ashbury district, I got caught climbing out a window of our Berkeley home one night to attend a Jimi Hendrix concert. I was sent to spend the summer with relatives in the Midwest. There, my paternal grandmother, Lillian, gave me a Kodak Instamatic camera and some film; it was meant to keep me busy and out of trouble as we traveled from city to city to visit cousins I’d never met.


Not long after I arrived in St. Paul, Minn., Black communities throughout the Midwest erupted in rebellion. What became known as the Long Hot Summer of 1967 had begun. It was soon after, in Chicago, that I first pointed my lens at an unfamiliar world around me, one where Black Americans were facing injustice and intense police repression. By the time I returned to Berkeley that fall, my worldview had been completely altered.


I found myself soon drawn to the Black Panther Party in Oakland.


By the following year, protests for civil rights and against the Vietnam War and the draft were flourishing. I was not even 14 years old when I became fully engaged in photographing the Black Panther Party.


The leaders of the Black Panthers took me under their wing: I visited Huey Newton in jail frequently at the Alameda County Courthouse while he was on trial for murder in the killing of an Oakland police officer during a traffic stop. We talked on those old-style telephone receivers through a small viewing window framed by walls of thick steel.


The Black Panther Party chairman, Bobby Seale, encouraged me to be a photographer for the party’s newspaper, The Black Panther, which was the first place my photographs and illustrations were ever published. I would regularly cover the organization’s events as well as civil unrest at U.C. Berkeley.


Eldridge Cleaver, who was a friend of my father’s and the editor of the Panther newspaper, often recruited me to accompany him around the Bay Area. We traveled with security in his gold Plymouth Fury, with KDIA, Oakland’s soul station, on the radio and the scent of cigarettes and black leather in the air. Eldridge, or El Rage, as he was often referred to by party members, would typically park on San Francisco’s narrow sidewalks. I didn’t even have my driver’s license yet. That car was the coolest place I had ever been.


Some photographs I took during that time haunt me more than others. Memories, of course, of those who were killed, others who may be still imprisoned or others who have died, and some memories of my disappointment in the decisions some of my then-idols made in their later years.


Some photos bring back vivid moments of violence: It was April 1968, the Saturday after the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. Bobby Hutton, a 17-year-old Black Panther, was killed by the Oakland police. The next morning, the Panther leadership called me to take photographs. Charred debris from the basement where Eldridge and “Lil’ Bobby” had holed up had been dragged out to the street. The smell of burned wood, tear gas and gunfire still filled the rooms.


A year later, there were riots in Berkeley over People’s Park, a university-owned lot that had been turned into a park without permission. To stop the occupation, the police used shotguns with buckshot on the crowds, killing one young man and blinding another. I wasn’t a protester, just a teenager with a camera, standing on a balcony on campus when two officers, one with a standard 12-gauge pump-action shotgun and the other with a shotgun launching tear gas canisters, approached on the street below.


The officer with the shotgun looked up at us and shouldered his weapon to fire. The shots rang out, buckshot splattering on the pillars we had hidden behind; then his partner fired a tear-gas grenade onto the balcony.


This past has now come back to confront me in this new century. I changed tremendously during those years, as did so much in America. But some things sadly remain the same. In over-policed and underserved communities, the Black Panther Party focused the civil rights struggle on police violence and community needs, but so many of these inequities remain.


Today this historical narrative is not just etched in my memory or captured in these photographs but also fixed in America’s collective psyche. This archive of images has been returned to me as powerful forces are trying to push the clock back, to a time before these photographs were made.


Jeffrey Henson Scales is a photo editor at The Times, an independent photographer and the author of “In a Time of Panthers,” from which this essay is adapted.