Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, November 21, 2022


Free Mumia Abu-Jamal!

This is the cry heard around the world 

Make it reverberate in San Francisco on December 15th!

December 15, 2022, 5:00 P.M.

Federal Building, San Francisco

Meet for the protest at 7th and Mission

Civic Center BART, exit 7th St.

 Mumia Is innocent!

But this innocent, framed-up man has been held for over four decades in prison. Mumia is an internationally known political prisoner. As a former Black Panther and MOVE supporter, Mumia was framed for a crime he did not commit because he criticized the racist criminal justice system as a radio journalist. The evidence that should free him has now come to light, after being kept in the dark by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office. 

Now, he will hear a judgement on his case for freedom in the Philadelphia PA Court of Common Pleas on the 16th of December.

Initiated by The Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal.  



In order to bring Mutulu home to his family in California safely and comfortably, we must raise funds to cover several urgent costs. These costs include Mutulu’s ground transportation from the prison to the airport, medical air transport from Kentucky to Los Angeles to be reunited with his family, adding a wheelchair accessible ramp and other modifications to his home, healthcare to address existing and emerging urgent medical needs, and other costs associated with him returning home.


To make tax-deductible contributions to his release fund, please donate through:


Community Aid and Development Corporation

EIN# 95-3402456


*The donation button is on the upper-right side of the page.


THANK YOU SO MUCH for your help in bringing Mutulu home!


And please circulate this good news and request to your friends and networks.

in solidarity,

Linda Evans



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


Prostate cancer can be cured if discovered and treated before it spreads (metastasizes) beyond the prostate. But once it spreads it becomes incurable and fatal.

Rashid's prostate cancer was discovered over a year ago and diagnosed by biopsy months ago, before it had spread or any symptoms had developed. However, he has now developed symptoms that indicate it likely has metastasized, which would not have happened if he had begun receiving treatment earlier. Denied care and delayed hospital appointments continue, which can only be intended to cause spreading and worsening symptoms.

I just received word from Rashid through another prisoner where he is, that he was transported on October 25, 2022 to the Medical College of Virginia (MCV) hospital, which is a state hospital where Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) officials also work. MCV appears to have a nefarious relationship with the VDOC in denying prisoners needed treatment. Upon arrival to the hospital he was told the appointment had been rescheduled, which has now become a pattern.

The appointment was for a full body PET scan to determine if and to what degree his cancer has metastasized. When he met with a radiologist on October 4, 2022, after 3 prior re-schedulings, there was concern that his cancer may have spread because of symptoms he's begun developing. This is his fourth rescheduled hospital appointment which has delayed appointments for weeks to months, preventing him from receiving care.

Because of delayed testing and denied care Rashid has developed symptoms that continue to worsen, which include internal bleeding and pain. The passage of time without care is worsening his condition and making the likelihood of death from the spread of his cancer more certain.

Here is the new donation link for Rashid's legal fund.





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


I’m pleased to announce that last week our client, Daniel Hale, was awarded the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence. The “Corner-Brightener Candlestick” was presented to Daniel’s friend Noor Mir. You can watch the online ceremony here.

As it happens, this week is also the 20th anniversary of the first drone assassination in Yemen. From the beginning, the drone assassination program has been deeply shrouded in secrecy, allowing U.S. officials to hide significant violations of international law, and the American Constitution. In addition to the lives directly impacted by these strikes, the program has significantly eroded respect for international law and thereby puts civilians around the world in danger.

Daniel Hale’s revelations threw a beam of light into a very dark corner, allowing journalists to definitively show that the government's official narrative was a lie. It is thanks to the great personal sacrifice of drone whistleblowers like Hale that public understanding has finally begun to catch up to reality.

As the Sam Adams Associates note:

 “Mr. Hale was well aware of the cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment to which other courageous officials have been subjected — and that he would likely suffer the same. And yet — in the manner of his famous ancestor Nathan Hale — he put his country first, knowing what awaited him at the hands of those who serve what has become a repressive Perpetual War State wreaking havoc upon much of the world.”

We hope you’ll join the growing call to pardon or commute Hale’s sentence. U.S. citizens can contact your representatives here.

Happy new year, and thank you for your support!


Jesselyn Radack
Whistleblower & Source Protection Program (WHISPeR)

Twitter: @JesselynRadack



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.



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) Hundreds of Protesters in Iran Blinded by Metal Pellets and Rubber Bullets

Security forces have been firing ammunition that has ruptured the eyes of antigovernment demonstrators in the past two months. “Everything went dark,” one said.

By Cora Engelbrecht. Nov. 19, 2022


Saman, an Iranian protester who was blinded in one eye by a rubber bullet before fleeing the country, in an undisclosed location this month. He is one of hundreds of victims of severe eye injuries inflicted by Iranian security forces.

Saman, an Iranian protester who was blinded in one eye by a rubber bullet before fleeing the country, in an undisclosed location this month. He is one of hundreds of victims of severe eye injuries inflicted by Iranian security forces. Credit...Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

The protester was speeding toward a demonstration in Tehran on his motorbike when an Iranian security officer standing 10 feet away raised his gun and shot a rubber bullet into his left eye.


“We locked eyes and then everything went dark,” said the protester, who goes by the nickname Saman. He cupped his hand to his mutilated eye, afraid that it would drop from its socket, as he drove himself to a hospital where doctors refused to treat him, he said. He was finally admitted to the government-run Farabi Eye Hospital, where he was operated on nearly 24 hours after he had been shot.


Saman, 30, spoke by telephone from a location outside Iran where he fled last month. The New York Times is withholding his name and location as a security precaution.


The officer who aimed at his face, he said, had recognized him as one of the frontline activists who had gone night after night to Valiasr Square in Tehran, Iran’s capital, to face off against security forces, hurling back the tear gas canisters they fired into the crowd.


“He knew my face, and I knew his,” he said.


The impact of the shot, fired at such close range, left him blind in that eye. He provided medical documents and photographs of CT scans of his eye, which The Times asked two ophthalmologists to review. They confirmed that it had been irreparably damaged.


Saman is one of hundreds of victims to have suffered severe eye injuries inflicted by Iranian security forces since mid-September, according to doctors and medical facilities. That month, antigovernment protests swept across the country, prompting a violent crackdown. More than 300 Iranians have been killed, according to rights groups. Thousands have been injured.


Among the most irreversible effects of the government’s efforts to crush the uprising has been the blinding of people taking part in them. Across Iran, scores of protesters have gone to hospitals with eyes ruptured by the metal pellets and rubber bullets that security forces fire to disperse crowds.


The reports of mass eye injuries echo those in recent years from other places, including Indian-administered Kashmir and Chile, where street protests have been met with security forces firing pellet guns.


The full scope of the injuries in Iran has been largely concealed by an internet blackout there. But medical evidence given to The Times by doctors, protesters, family members of patients and rights groups revealed that ophthalmology wards in hospitals have been inundated with hundreds of eye wound victims. Eyewitness accounts and more than 80 pages of medical records from several hospitals and clinics showed that the range of injuries have included mutilated retinas, severed optic nerves and punctured irises.


Many protesters have no choice but to plead for treatment in government-run facilities, which are often patrolled by security forces. Some of the wounded have been denied treatment, and others have been arrested after surgery, according to lawyers and doctors.


Images and videos of CT scans, shared by medical staff and rights groups, present an eerie tableau of faces pockmarked by metal pellets.


One batch of medical records detailed the ordeal of a 22-year-old protester whose eyeballs had both been ruptured.


In a voice message left with a Kurdish rights group, a father lamented that he did not have enough money to pay for six surgeries for his son who had lost a retina.


“He is 18 years old and he has lost his vision completely,” the father said.


Many of the materials were shared in a private WhatsApp group that is being used as a hotline for Iranian ophthalmologists seeking advice on how to help injured protesters.


“In most cases, there is nothing we can do,” one ophthalmologist said by telephone from Tehran. Like others who shared information for this article, he spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution from the Iranian government.


“They were in shock — they were in disbelief that they had lost their eyesight so instantaneously,” the doctor said of the patients he had treated. “I try to give them hope, but I know from experience that the end result from these injuries is usually not good.”


The doctor said his phone was filled with distressing voice notes from protesters, family members and doctors pleading for his advice.


“Dear doctor, I was told you are an eye surgeon,” one young protester said in a voice message sent last month from Farabi Eye Hospital. “I have just been told my eye must be removed — I am wondering if there is anything you can do to save it.”


The protester eventually fled the country to receive more treatment, the doctor said.


Ophthalmologists from three large hospitals in Tehran — Farabi, Rasoul Akram and Labbafinezhad — estimated that their wards had admitted a total of more than 500 patients with grave eye injuries since the start of the protests in mid-September. Many have arrived with metal or rubber fragments still lodged in their heads. Doctors in Kurdistan Province in the north estimated that they had treated at least 80 such patients. Exact figures are difficult to determine as many protesters are too afraid to seek treatment in public hospitals.


In response, more than 230 ophthalmologists have signed a joint letter published this week addressed to the president of the Iranian Ophthalmology Association, Dr. Mahmod Jabbarvand, calling on him to make the “irreparable consequences of such severe injuries” known to the government.


In a message posted on Wednesday to the WhatsApp group for Iranian eye surgeons, Dr. Hassan Hashemi, a former minister of health who is an ophthalmologist, bemoaned the fact that doctors had not “protested these tragedies earlier” and urged hospitals to release statistics on serious eye injuries to “prevent the blindness of more of our compatriots.”


Farabi Eye Hospital, which has the country’s premier ophthalmology ward, has been especially strained by the surge in cases, doctors and witnesses said. In one three-week period last month, the hospital saw more than 150 patients. The deluge of traumatic cases has prompted at least one surgeon to resign in protest.


“I have never seen a scene like this, it was terrifying,” said the mother of Saman, the protester who lost his eye in Tehran. She had been living outside Iran and flew to the capital to be with him before his surgery.


She said in a phone interview that she arrived to a horrific scene in the hospital, where at least 20 patients were waiting to have eye surgery: a man partly blinded after being shot with 52 pellets, a 4-year-old girl roaming the halls with a bandaged eye and a security officer stalking the rooms, taking down names and bed numbers.


The mother said she learned from nurses on the floor that some of the wounded were being arrested. “It was surreal,” she said. “These are meant to be sanctuaries.”


“Security in hospitals is being replaced by officers who are spying on patients and even interfering with treatment,” said Shahram Kordasti, a London-based oncologist who has spoken with doctors in Iran. In some cases, security officials have prevented doctors from completing surgeries or forced them to discharge patients before they were fully treated. Many have pressured hospital managers to provide information on wounded protesters.


One Iranian lawyer who represents protesters said eight of his clients had been arrested in hospitals.


Saman said that while recovering after his surgery, he overheard an officer on his floor ask about him. “I knew then that I had very little time to get out,” he said.


With the help of a family friend, Saman’s mother smuggled her son, still in his hospital gown, out of the hospital and into a taxi to the friend’s home. Two days later, when he was well enough to travel, his mother bought two plane tickets out of the country.


“I thought I would die of a stroke from the stress,” Saman’s mother said. She was worried that the hospital had passed his name to border guards, or that they would see his mutilated eye and suspect he was part of the protests.


She said she did not allow herself to relax until their plane took off. “I felt that he was reborn,” she said. “It was as if God had returned my son to me again.”


Several times the reflection of Saman’s disfigured face has halted him in place. “In those moments, I feel lost and things go dark again,” he said. “But then I remember that my purpose is to show the world what the government has done. The evidence is in my face, and I am proud of this.”


Now living outside the country, he has started posting images and videos of his injury on Instagram. Within a week, he had more than 20,000 followers and a flurry of requests for advice from protesters who were similarly hurt.


Among them was a friend who had returned to the streets. Hours later, the friend sent him a photograph of his own wounded eye.


“He said he had wanted to avenge my injury,” said Saman, in tears. “Now he has told me that he himself is partially blinded.”



2) Attacked Club Had Planned Transgender Day of Remembrance Event for Sunday

Club Q, the scene of a deadly shooting in Colorado Springs on Saturday night, was to hold a brunch event on Sunday for those lost their lives to anti-transgender violence.

By Emma Bubola, Nov. 20, 2022


Marchers holding memorial photographs during the Transgender Day of Remembrance in New York City last year.

Marchers holding memorial photographs during the Transgender Day of Remembrance in New York City last year. Credit...Kena Betancur/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Hours before it was hit by a deadly mass shooting Saturday night, Club Q in Colorado Springs posted on Facebook about a planned “all ages drag brunch” on Sunday morning. The event was described by the club as a celebration of the Transgender Day of Remembrance, which honors the memory of transgender people who lost their lives to anti-transgender violence.


The motive behind the attack at Club Q was still unknown on Sunday morning. As the investigation continued, observers around the world lamented that the deadly shooting at the club came just before an event for victims of anti-L.G.B.T.Q. hate crimes.


Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day of mourning and coming together for the transgender community, was begun in 1999 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith, a writer and activist, to celebrate the life and honor the memory of Rita Hester, a Black transgender woman who was killed the year before.


Ms. Hester was stabbed to death in her apartment on Nov. 28, 1998. Her murder is still unsolved.


“Violence or discrimination of any type against a person because of who they are is wrong and inhumane,” Xavier Becerra, President Biden’s health secretary, wrote in a statement on Friday about this year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance. “I call on my fellow Americans to stand up against hate.”


In recent years, the killings of dozens of transgender people in America, many of them transgender women of color, have sparked fears of an “epidemic” of such violence.



3) Staughton Lynd, Historian and Activist Turned Labor Lawyer, Dies at 92

After being blacklisted from academia for his antiwar activity, he became an organizer among steel workers in the industrial Midwest.

By Clay Risen, Nov. 18, 2022


Mr. Lynd in a black and white photo. He is in the middle of a crowd with one person holding a protest sign behind him.

Mr. Lynd was spattered with paint during an antiwar protest in Washington in 1965. He was among the first of about 350 people arrested during the demonstration. Credit...Nat Finkelstein Estate

Staughton Lynd, a historian and lawyer who over a long and varied career organized schools for Black children in Mississippi, led antiwar protests in Washington and fought for labor rights in the industrial Midwest, died on Thursday in the town of Warren, in northeast Ohio. He was 92.


His wife and frequent collaborator, Alice Lynd, said his death, at a hospital, was caused by multiple organ failure.


Mr. Lynd was one of the last of a generation of radical academics — including his friend and colleague Howard Zinn — who in the 1960s overthrew their predecessors’ obsession with detached, objective scholarship in favor of political engagement.


Many of his colleagues stayed within the bounds of academia, but Mr. Lynd burst beyond them. As a young professor at Spelman College in Atlanta, he led students in marches against nuclear weapons. In 1964 he was one of the main organizers behind Freedom Summer, which brought Northern college students to Mississippi to teach and organize in Black communities.


When the Vietnam War was still relatively new and most Americans still supported it, he organized antiwar protests in Washington. He was among the first of about 350 people arrested during one demonstration — though not before neo-Nazis, staging a counter protest, dumped paint on him and two other marchers, David Dellinger and Bob Moses. A photo of the three bespattered men appeared in Life magazine.


In 1965 Mr. Lynd joined another radical historian, Herbert Aptheker, and a founder of Students for a Democratic Society, Tom Hayden, on a trip to North Vietnam. There they met with Communist leaders and made global headlines, but also numerous enemies back home. The trip effectively ended Mr. Lynd’s career at Yale, where he had moved just a year before.


Mr. Lynd was not a communist, though he was often mistaken for one. Instead he made his own way on the left, drawing equal inspiration from Marxism, American abolitionism and Quaker pacifism — a diversity that helped explain his involvement with so many different movements.


“Staughton was very unusual,” Gar Alperovitz, a historian who wrote several books with Mr. Lynd, said in a phone interview. “He walked a path that was his own. And when it intersected with the activist groups on the progressive left, he would be involved. But he was a very moral political figure rather than a tactical one.”


In age he fell between the Old Left, which cut its teeth in the 1930s and ’40s, and the New, which was coming up in the ’60s. There was no question where his loyalty lay: He reveled in the impassioned spontaneity he encountered as a professor on college campuses, and students flocked to him in turn.


At Yale they would cram into his office or gather on his living room floor to hear him take on all comers, staking positions to the left even of outspoken liberals like the Yale chaplain William Sloane Coffin, a frequent verbal sparring partner.


Even as he developed a following as an agitator, he built a reputation as a pathbreaking historian. His best-known book, “The Intellectual Origins of American Radicalism” (1968), opened new ground by identifying members of the Revolutionary War generation who embraced abolition and equality, and it won praise even from establishment historians.


“Of all the New Left historians, only Staughton Lynd appears able to combine the techniques of historical scholarship with the commitment to social reform,” David Herbert Donald wrote in a 1968 review in Commentary.


But his academic star soon fizzled out. By the end of the 1960s, his outspoken activism had drawn the attention of the F.B.I. and gotten him blacklisted from higher education, even from small urban colleges in Chicago, where he and his family had moved in 1968.


He pivoted, involving himself in labor organizing among the factories that lined the southern shores of Lake Michigan. He received a law degree from the University of Chicago in 1976, after which he and his wife moved to Youngstown, Ohio, where workers, union leaders and owners were fighting over the impending closure of the city’s steel mills.


To the frustration of both the union bosses and the mill owners, he sided with the rank and file, writing a handbook for workers trying to navigate the legal system. In the early 1980s he helped lead a high-profile effort to turn the mills over to a worker-owned cooperative. Though the effort failed, it brought him renewed acclaim on the left.


He did much of his later work alongside his wife. She wrote several books with him and, after getting her own law degree, joined him as a partner. They officially retired in 1996 but continued taking pro bono cases, this time with a focus on the death penalty and prison reform.


“Whether in his pathbreaking historical work on the roots of American radicalism, his active participation in campaigns for civil rights, his crucial role in steps toward democratization of the economy, Staughton Lynd was always in the forefront of struggle, a model of integrity, courage, and farsighted understanding of what must be done if there is to be a livable world,” the linguist and left-wing scholar Noam Chomsky wrote in an email.


Staughton Craig Lynd was born on Nov. 22, 1929, the same year that his parents, the sociologists Robert and Helen Lynd, published their book “Middletown,” based on their research in Muncie, Ind. It was one of the first books to offer a comprehensive study of an American community, and it established them as two of the country’s best-known academics.


The Lynds lived in New York City — Robert Lynd taught at Columbia, while Helen Lynd taught at Sarah Lawrence College — but Staughton was born in a hospital in Philadelphia because his mother preferred the doctors there.


He grew up among the New York intellectual set, attending the Ethical Culture School and the Fieldston School, and entered Harvard in 1946.


He studied social relations, a popular but now defunct major. In his free time he dabbled in radical politics, joining the Communist Party-aligned John Reed Club and briefly participating in two Trotskyist organizations on campus.


During the 1950 summer school session he met Alice Niles, a student at Radcliffe. They married the next year.


After graduating in 1951, he spent time studying urban planning before being drafted into the Army in 1953. As a conscientious objector, he was given a noncombat role, despite the continuing Korean War.


A year later, though, he received a dishonorable discharge after Army investigators dug up his Communist affiliations in college; they also highlighted his mother’s career as a “modern” professional woman.


He and others with similar disqualifications appealed, and the Supreme Court eventually ordered the Army to give them honorable discharges instead. The change in status allowed Mr. Lynd to take advantage of the G.I. Bill, which he used to pay for graduate school.


But first, he and Alice spent three years living on a Quaker commune in northern Georgia. They then spent six months in a similar community in New Jersey, where he first met Mr. Dellinger, a like-minded pacifist who brought him on as an editor at his magazine, Liberation.


The Lynds finally returned to New York City, where Mr. Lynd worked for a tenants’ rights organization on the Lower East Side and pursued a history doctorate at Columbia.


He received his degree, with a dissertation on New York State during the Revolutionary War, in 1962. By then he and Alice were already in Atlanta, where he got a job teaching at Spelman (and where Mrs. Lynd babysat the children of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a neighbor).


Among his colleagues was Mr. Zinn, who would be fired for his activism in 1963, and among his students was Alice Walker, who would go on to write “The Color Purple.”


Mr. Lynd became actively involved with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and grew particularly close to one of its leaders, Bob Moses, a similarly cerebral activist. In 1964 Mr. Lynd was chosen to oversee the educational component of Freedom Summer, instituting curriculums and training teachers for the many schools that were to open across Mississippi.


He was in Oxford, Ohio, where organizers gathered before heading to Mississippi, when he first heard about the kidnapping and murder of the civil rights workers James Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman.


“I’ll never forget Mickey Schwerner’s wife, Rita, pacing one of the rooms all night long, waiting for word of some kind,” he wrote in The Bill of Rights Journal in 1988.


That fall Mr. Lynd joined the Yale history department, though by then he was spending more and more of his time as an activist.


In June 1965 he joined another antiwar protester in a lonely demonstration outside the Pentagon. Almost immediately, dozens of military police officers had surrounded them.


“What in the cotton-picking world do you think you’re doing?” he recalled one of them asking.


He straightened himself up, looked at the officer, and replied: “You don’t understand. We’re the first of thousands.”


His trip later that year to North Vietnam, and a 1966 trip to London, where he blasted American foreign policy on the BBC, persuaded the State Department to revoke his passport.


Mr. Lynd’s activism brought waves of criticism from alumni and pressure on Yale’s president, Kingman Brewster, to fire him. Mr. Brewster resisted, but he let it be known, quietly, that Mr. Lynd was unlikely to receive tenure.


In 1968 the Lynds moved again, to Chicago, where Mr. Lynd was eager to get involved with the labor movement. He taught briefly at two local schools, Roosevelt University and Columbia College, and applied unsuccessfully to others. But he failed to find a permanent contract — the result, he insisted, of a concerted effort to blacklist him from teaching.


He then worked briefly for the social activist Saul Alinsky’s Industrial Areas Foundation, and he and Alice Lynd wrote an oral history of Chicago labor, “Rank and File: Personal Histories by Working-Class Organizers” (1973).


Mr. Lynd wrote more than 20 more books and extended pamphlets, mostly about labor organizing and prison reform. An exception was “Stepping Stones: Memoir of a Life Together” (2009), written with his wife.


A year later, an interviewer for Harvard Magazine asked him why, after such a long career, he was still so active.


“At age 16 and 17, I wanted to find a way to change the world,” he said. “Just as I do at age 79.”



4) Two Iranian Actresses Are Arrested on Protest Charges

Hengameh Ghaziani and Katayoun Riahi were detained after removing their head scarves and criticizing the government.

By Cora Engelbrecht, Nov. 21, 2022


Hengameh Ghaziani, pictured in 2016, and Katayoun Riahi were charged with “collusion with the intention of acting against the state security” and “propaganda against the state,” according to state-run news media.

Hengameh Ghaziani, pictured in 2016, and Katayoun Riahi were charged with “collusion with the intention of acting against the state security” and “propaganda against the state,” according to state-run news media. Credit...Atta Kenare/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The security forces in Iran have arrested two prominent actresses, Hengameh Ghaziani and Katayoun Riahi, for removing their head scarves and participating in the antigovernment protests that have swept the country for the past two months, according to state-run news media.


The government charged the actresses with “collusion with the intention of acting against the state security” and “propaganda against the state,” IRNA, Iran’s state-run news agency, said on Sunday.


The arrests came after both women were seen in public without wearing a head scarf, or hijab — defying the stringent dress code that the Iranian government enforces for women.


Anger over those rules and their enforcement has fueled the recent protests in Iran, which were kindled by the death of Mahsa Amini, a young Iranian Kurdish woman, in the custody of the morality police in September after she was accused of violating the law on head scarves.


Ms. Ghaziani and Ms. Riahi are among a group of high-profile Iranians, including artists, musicians, athletes and activists, who have publicly supported the movement since mid-September.


In a statement posted to her personal Instagram account on Saturday, Ms. Ghaziani, 52, denounced the government for their crackdown on the young people who have joined the demonstrations.


“How many children, teenagers and young people have you killed — is it not enough with the bloodshed?” she said in her post. “I hate you, and your historical reputation.”


“This may be my last post,” she added.


Ms. Ghaziani was arrested the next day, hours after uploading another video, from the streets of Tehran, in which she is seen staring defiantly into the camera with no head covering before turning her back and tying a ponytail in her hair.


“From this moment on, whatever happens to me, know that I will be with the people of Iran until my last breath,” she wrote in the post, which garnered an outpouring of support and concern over her fate as it coursed through social media.


Ms. Ghaziani was taken to the prosecutor’s office hours later by security personnel, who said that the charges against her included “communication with opposition and counterrevolutionary media,” according to IRNA.


Ms. Riahi, 60, who was also arrested on Sunday, removed her hijab publicly in mid-September for an interview with the TV channel Iran International in which she said she had always opposed the law and was ready “to show the truth.”


Security forces arrested her at her villa in Qazvin, northwest of Tehran, according to the semiofficial news agency Tasmin.


The arrests were the latest in a wider attempt by the government to quash the uprising, which has continued for two months in dozens of cities across Iran and has been fueled largely by the thousands of women on the streets week after week. Some 15,000 Iranians have been arrested and several hundred have been killed, according to rights groups.


In an effort to undercut the sustained momentum of the largely leaderless movement, the government has targeted the musicians, artists and journalists who have supported the demonstrations.


A number of prominent Iranians, including “five movie personalities” were summoned to the prosecutor’s office on Saturday for publishing “unverified comments about the recent events, as well as the publication of provocative material in support of street riots,” according to the news agency Mizan, which is owned by the Iranian judiciary.


Among those summoned was Mahmoud Sadeghi, a former member of Parliament from a reform faction in Iran, who posted on Twitter criticizing the killing of a 10-year-old boy this past week.


The government also summoned Yahya Golmohammadi, a former defender on Iran’s national soccer team. The news comes as the team is in Qatar for the World Cup.


Speaking at a news conference on Sunday before Iran’s first match, against England, Ehsan Hajsafi, the team’s captain, said, “We have to accept that the conditions in our country are not right and our people are not happy.”


“We are here, but it does not mean that we should not be their voice, or we must not respect them,” he added.


Toomaj Salehi, a rapper who was arrested after releasing music in support of the demonstrations, has been charged with “propagandistic activity against the government, cooperation with hostile governments and forming illegal groups with the intention of creating insecurity in the country,” according to IRNA — charges that could be punishable by death. The 32-year-old musician has been detained since late October in Tehran’s Evin prison complex, which is notorious for widespread human rights violations.


The Committee to Protect Journalists said this month that the Iranian authorities had arrested at least 51 journalists since the start of the protests, including Niloofar Hamedi and Elahe Mohammadi, two female reporters who were instrumental in breaking the story of Ms. Amini’s death.


The government has accused the pair, without evidence, of being foreign agents who received training by the United States to create chaos. The publications they work for have denied the charges.



5) Crowded and Deadly, U.S. Jails Are in Crisis

In Houston, the jail has reached its highest population in a decade. More than half of the detainees who died there had a history of mental problems.

By Shaila Dewan, Nov. 22, 2022


Prison activists gathered for a rally outside the New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office in March.

Prison activists gathered for a rally outside the New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office in March. Credit...Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Matthew Shelton was contending with diabetes and periodic substance abuse when he moved in with his sister outside Houston in order to get his life together.


Three months later, facing an old criminal charge of driving while intoxicated, he turned himself in to the Harris County Jail one day in March with a supply of the insulin he relied on to stay alive.


After two days, he told his family that no one was allowing him access to the insulin: He was trying to manage his illness by discarding the bread from the sandwiches he was served. He was alone, frightened and cold, he said.


His mother, frantic, tried repeatedly to phone the jail but could not reach anyone. “We sent money for him to buy socks and ChapStick, and he never bought them,” she said.


Three days later, Mr. Shelton, 28, was found dead in his cell, after having slipped into a diabetic coma.


He was one of 21 people who have died this year in the jail, located in Houston, a far higher death rate than what is reflected in the most recent statistics for jails around the country.


Houston, whose jail has reached its highest population count in over a decade, is far from the only city where jails have become more fatal. Deaths have spiked in cities across the country, including New York, Oklahoma City, Seattle, Pittsburgh and Louisville, Ky. California, Texas and Georgia have also recorded statewide increases in deaths. Covid-19 accounts for only part of the rising toll — suicides and fatal overdoses have also increased in some places.


Jail officials blame a host of factors, including crowding, staff shortages, mental health issues exacerbated by the pandemic and the repurposing of beds in solitary confinement, once available to isolate violent detainees, that now must be used for quarantining the ill.


But jails have also in many cases violated minimum safety standards or failed to provide adequate medical and mental health care for their inmates, about two-thirds of whom are awaiting trial and presumed innocent.


The Houston facility was cited by the state in September for holding new arrestees in its crowded Joint Processing Center for as long as 99 hours before moving them to a permanent cell. The limit is 48 hours.


In Los Angeles, a federal judge granted an emergency order in September after the American Civil Liberties Union provided evidence that people with mental illness were being chained to furniture for days or left to sleep on concrete floors without access to toilets.


In Louisville, a woman killed herself in jail after being held for 18 hours in an attorney interview booth with no mattress, toilet or running water.


Much of the recent attention on jails has been focused on Rikers Island in New York, which is under threat of a federal takeover after suicides and frequent reports of uncontrolled violence.


But there are indications of a much wider crisis whose dimensions are not yet fully understood. The Justice Department has failed to fulfill a 2013 congressional mandate to conduct a comprehensive count of all deaths in custody, at one point acknowledging that its new system had recorded only 39 percent of deaths in local jails.


The most recent national figures available, from 2019, show that jail deaths were rising even before the pandemic. From 2000 to 2019, jail deaths per capita increased by 11 percent, to 167 per 100,000. In 2019, suicide was the leading cause of death. The number of drug- and alcohol-related deaths was the highest ever recorded.


The nation’s jails have little broad oversight but instead are local facilities, most commonly controlled by elected sheriffs. They held about 650,000 people last year, according to Jacob Kang-Brown of the Vera Institute for Justice, a group promoting prison reform. The jail population declined substantially at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic but has since begun to rebound, he said.


There was another death at the jail in Houston last week, a 27-year-old man who was found hanging in his cell. Two of the other deaths this year were suicides. One man, moved to a padded cell after a suicide attempt, died after ramming his head repeatedly against the walls, door and a metal grate.


Jason Spencer, the chief of staff for Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, whose department runs the jail, said that the death rate, currently at about 200 per 100,000 inmates, can vary widely from year to year.


At least a dozen of those who died this year were in their 20s, 30s or 40s. More than half had a history of mental illness or had been declared incompetent, according to Sarah V. Wood, the general counsel for the public defender’s office.


While an autopsy attributed Mr. Shelton’s death to a natural cause, diabetic ketoacidosis, his family insists that it was entirely preventable, a result of the jail’s failure to provide him with insulin.


“This is something that didn’t need to happen,” his mother, Marianna Thomson, said. “This is just carelessness. They didn’t care.”


Mr. Spencer said the death occurred not long after the county’s public health care provider, Harris Health, took over the responsibility of providing medical care at the jail and referred questions there.


Bryan McLeod, a spokesman for Harris Health, declined to comment because Mr. Shelton’s family plans to sue. He also declined to discuss whether the jail’s medical providers were adequately staffed.


The deaths this year in Houston come amid a host of complaints about dangerous conditions in the jail. In a lawsuit, several dozen detention officers describe staffing shortages so severe that drug use and assaults were rampant, nurses were unable to administer medicine and officers, often denied meals and bathroom breaks, sometimes urinated into plastic bags.


“The jail is in disastrous shape right now,” said David Batton, the legal counsel for the union that represents jail employees. He faulted the county for failing to adequately fund jail operations.


Mr. Spencer said the county had approved a staffing increase of 100 detention officers, but that more than 100 positions remained unfilled. He said the problem was much larger than Houston; the jail’s death rate, he said, was lower than the average rate in the state’s other large jails.


Many jails have seen overcrowding in part because of court backlogs stemming from the pandemic, which slowed or halted hearings and trials. But Houston’s backlog dates back to Hurricane Harvey in 2017, when the courthouse was damaged. The local courts now have more than 41,000 pending felony cases.


Even if no new cases came in, it would take more than a year to clear the old ones, according to a 2020 analysis by the Justice Management Institute, a research and training group. The institute recommended dismissing all nonviolent felony cases more than nine months old, pointing out that most of the accused would not have been sentenced to time behind bars.


But Kim Ogg, the Harris County district attorney, has declined to dismiss cases in bulk, saying that each should be considered individually. “We can’t neglect our prosecutorial duty, and we’re not going to tell victims that their crime doesn’t count,” said Dane Schiller, a spokesman for Ms. Ogg.


Advocates for better jail conditions also blame the overcrowding on a pandemic-era executive order from Gov. Greg Abbott, which later became state law, aimed at blocking the release of detainees on cashless bail.


The law, S.B. 6, prevents the release of any inmate with a previous conviction for violence or threatening violence, no matter how old, without requiring them to pay some bail money.


It has worked against a parallel effort to funnel people with serious mental illness into treatment instead of jail, without requiring them to pay for release, said Krish Gundu, co-founder and executive director of the Texas Jail Project, a watchdog group. She said that S.B. 6 undermines the Sandra Bland Act, named for a woman who could not afford the $500 needed to post bond after a traffic stop and hanged herself in a Texas jail.


Because many acts associated with mental illness, such as spitting on a police officer, are categorized as violent, hundreds of poor defendants who need treatment must now remain in jail while they are on the long waiting list for a community psychiatric bed, Ms. Gundu said.


In Harris County, four out of five detainees have a mental health indicator such as a diagnosis of major mental illness or previous treatment with psychiatric drugs, according to the jail’s dashboard, putting an intense strain on the system.


One woman who had no prior convictions was arrested in January 2020 on charges of possessing less than a gram of meth, almost certainly not enough to earn a prison sentence.


The woman was repeatedly referred to the jail’s mental health unit when guards witnessed her doing things like walking naked, drinking out of toilets and assaulting or being assaulted by others. But each time, she was swiftly returned to the general population. She spent more than two years moving in and out of jail, diversion programs and mental health treatment.


At some point, jail officials became aware that she was pregnant. In May, she gave birth in her cell without medical assistance. How that happened is unclear: Mr. Spencer said she had been checked on once every hour, as required.


When the newborn was discovered, baby and mother were taken to the hospital, where the mother remained under the supervision of two jail guards. A judge at that time declared her incompetent to stand trial and “suffering severe and abnormal mental health, emotional or physical distress.”


Despite her condition, she was permitted at the hospital to interact with her infant daughter and is now charged with stomping, kicking and striking her, though the baby survived.


Advocates for better jail conditions said the jail had failed to treat her severe mental illness, failed to adequately monitor her pregnancy and failed to protect the baby.


The woman’s lawyer, Staci Biggar, did not respond to requests for comment.


Mr. Spencer said that none of this year’s deaths have been homicides. Last year, however, there were two. In one case, Jaquaree Simmons, 23, was beaten to death by guards who then failed to document their use of force, according to a subsequent investigation. The jail fired 10 guards, and the case will soon be presented to a grand jury.


One woman who had no prior convictions was arrested in January 2020 on charges of possessing less than a gram of meth, almost certainly not enough to earn a prison sentence.


The woman was repeatedly referred to the jail’s mental health unit when guards witnessed her doing things like walking naked, drinking out of toilets and assaulting or being assaulted by others. But each time, she was swiftly returned to the general population. She spent more than two years moving in and out of jail, diversion programs and mental health treatment.


At some point, jail officials became aware that she was pregnant. In May, she gave birth in her cell without medical assistance. How that happened is unclear: Mr. Spencer said she had been checked on once every hour, as required.


When the newborn was discovered, baby and mother were taken to the hospital, where the mother remained under the supervision of two jail guards. A judge at that time declared her incompetent to stand trial and “suffering severe and abnormal mental health, emotional or physical distress.”


Despite her condition, she was permitted at the hospital to interact with her infant daughter and is now charged with stomping, kicking and striking her, though the baby survived.


Advocates for better jail conditions said the jail had failed to treat her severe mental illness, failed to adequately monitor her pregnancy and failed to protect the baby.


The woman’s lawyer, Staci Biggar, did not respond to requests for comment.


Mr. Spencer said that none of this year’s deaths have been homicides. Last year, however, there were two. In one case, Jaquaree Simmons, 23, was beaten to death by guards who then failed to document their use of force, according to a subsequent investigation. The jail fired 10 guards, and the case will soon be presented to a grand jury.



6) Atlanta to Pay $1 Million to Rayshard Brooks’s Family

Mr. Brooks was fatally shot in 2020 as two Atlanta officers tried to arrest him.

By Eduardo Medina, Nov. 21, 2022


Tomika Miller at the public viewing for her husband, Rayshard Brooks, in Atlanta in 2020.

Tomika Miller at the public viewing for her husband, Rayshard Brooks, in Atlanta in 2020. Credit...Erik S Lesser/EPA, via Shutterstock

The city of Atlanta agreed on Monday to pay $1 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the widow and the estate of Rayshard Brooks, a Black man who was fatally shot by a white police officer in 2020, and whose death touched off nationwide protests.


The City Council’s unanimous vote came nearly three months after prosecutors determined that the two officers involved in the episode committed no crimes on June 12, 2020, when Mr. Brooks, 27, was shot by one of the officers in a Wendy’s parking lot. The Council also found that the use of deadly force had been reasonable.


Lawyers for Mr. Brooks’s family, from the firm Stewart Miller Simmons Trial Attorneys, said in a statement that “although the children of Mr. Brooks have lost their father, settling the case will undoubtedly assist them with future plans as they come of age.”


They added that the family was “disappointed that prosecutors didn’t pursue a criminal case against the officers involved in Mr. Brooks’s death.”


Councilman Dustin Hillis said at a Council meeting on Monday that the settlement would be paid to Mr. Brooks’s widow, Tomika Miller; the Brooks estate; and the lawyers’ firm.


He added that the city attorney had determined that “the city of Atlanta’s potential financial exposure in defending plaintiff’s claims is in excess of the settlement amount.”


The family’s wrongful-death lawsuit had claimed that the killing of Mr. Brooks was “senseless and unjustified,” and that the city had violated his civil rights.


Mr. Brooks was killed about three weeks after a police officer in Minneapolis murdered George Floyd. The Atlanta killing spurred fresh rounds of street demonstrations in 2020 and became part of the broader national debate about the treatment of Black Americans at the hands of police officers.


The authorities said that Mr. Brooks had fallen asleep in his car in the drive-through lane at Wendy’s on June 12, 2020. At first, the encounter between the officers and Mr. Brooks was calm. But after 40 minutes, the episode turned violent when the officers moved to arrest him. Mr. Brooks hit one of the officers, grabbed the other’s Taser, fired it and took off running.


A widely shared video captured the moment when one of the officers, Garrett Rolfe, who had worked with the department since 2013, fired his handgun three times while he was chasing Mr. Brooks, who fired the Taser he had seized as he ran.


Mr. Brooks was shot twice, in the back and buttocks, prosecutors said. He was taken to a hospital, where he died after surgery, the authorities said.


In the wake of the shooting, the Wendy’s restaurant where the shooting occurred was burned down after angry demonstrations, and the Atlanta police chief at the time, Erika Shields, resigned.


Officer Rolfe was initially charged with murder and 10 other criminal counts in connection with the fatal shooting of Mr. Brooks, and the other officer, Devin Brosnan, faced a number of lesser charges. But prosecutors announced in August that they would drop all charges.


Officer Rolfe was fired from the Police Department the day after the shooting, but reinstated in May 2021 by the city’s Civil Service Review Board.



7) Is N.Y.’s Child Welfare System Racist? Some of Its Own Workers Say Yes.

New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services must protect children without overpolicing families. A report the agency commissioned says it often fails.

By Andy Newman, Nov. 22, 2022


Mylana Gerard, in a black sweatsuit, coos at her baby boy, who sits in a high chair and holds a spoon up to her mouth with a grin on his face.

Mylana Gerard was not allowed to be alone with her baby for months because of a child abuse investigation. Credit...Nora Savosnick for The New York Times

For decades, Black families have complained that the city’s child welfare agency, the Administration for Children’s Services, is biased against them.


It turns out that many of the agency’s own employees agree, according to a racial equity audit the agency commissioned but never publicly released.


A draft report, based on a 2020 survey of more than 50 Black and Hispanic frontline caseworkers and agency managers in Brooklyn and the Bronx, along with many parents and advocates, described a “predatory system that specifically targets Black and brown parents” and subjects them to “a different level of scrutiny.”


In New York’s child welfare system, where Black families are seven times as likely as white families to be accused of child maltreatment and 13 times as likely to have their children removed, “race operates as an indicator of risk,” the report concluded.


The survey laid out deep-seated problems afflicting an agency that must balance protecting the safety of children and respecting the autonomy of families.


A failure to detect signs of serious abuse can have tragic consequences, as a series of fatal beatings last year in families known to the agency demonstrated.


But families find child welfare investigations profoundly disruptive, humiliating and even traumatic. Caseworkers making unannounced visits strip-search children looking for bruises and peer into refrigerators and around homes looking for signs of bad parenting. One A.C.S. worker in the survey compared the experience to being stopped and frisked for 60 days.


For poor families pulled into A.C.S.’s orbit, who are overwhelmingly Black and Latino, symptoms of poverty are frequently punished as signs of neglect, the survey found.


Because poverty is correlated with higher rates of neglect and abuse, it is difficult to say how much the disparities in the system can be directly linked to income or to race.


But according to the survey, A.C.S. workers and other participants said that rather than starting from a presumption of innocence, “Black and brown parents are treated at every juncture as if they are not competent parents capable of providing acceptable care to their children.”


Caseworkers said they felt pressured to push their way into people’s homes and not tell parents their rights. They “feel complicit in the harm that A.C.S. can cause Black and brown families” and powerless to change the system, the report stated. Most A.C.S. caseworkers are Black, as is most leadership in the agency’s Division of Child Protection, the agency said.


Among the reforms recommended by staff members in the survey was a “Miranda warning” law requiring that parents be immediately informed of their rights not to speak to caseworkers and not to let them in without a court order, and to consult a lawyer.


The agency has opposed such measures, arguing that they would make it harder for caseworkers to immediately assess whether children are safe.


The draft report was obtained from the city via a Freedom of Information request by the Bronx Defenders, a nonprofit that represents parents in family court. The report, prepared by a consulting firm that helped governments design more racially equitable systems, was based on conversations with those who chose to participate rather than on a quantitative survey.


The report, said Joyce McMillan, executive director of JMac for Families, which advocates for families with A.C.S. cases, reveals an agency “targeting certain demographics” using tactics “based on surveillance and not the actual protecting of a child.”


“The report also tells us that their own workers are not comfortable doing this stuff and that they feel choked into submission,” she said.


The survey comes to light amid a flurry of reports criticizing New York’s child welfare systems. The state bar association recently declared the state’s system “plagued by racism.” Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union released a report last week concluding that in New York and several other states, Black children are needlessly separated from their families.


Now, the New York office of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is investigating whether child welfare authorities in the state violate Black families’ constitutional rights. The first hearing in the inquiry was held on Friday.


Much of the racial disparity in who gets pulled into the child-welfare system is outside A.C.S.’s control. It must investigate every allegation that meets definitions of abuse or neglect, and such reports can be made by anyone; two-thirds are eventually deemed unfounded. Last year, one in 15 Black children in the city was the subject of a maltreatment investigation; only 1 in 111 white children was.


A.C.S. declined to answer questions about the report, but its commissioner, Jess Dannhauser, said in a statement that the agency continued to work to address “racial inequities that have existed in child welfare for too long.”


“A.C.S. is focused every day on achieving safety and equity. While many have suggested it must be one or the other, we believe they can only be accomplished together,” he said. “We will continue to put policies and initiatives in place that aim to keep children safe while reducing unnecessary A.C.S. involvement.”


Racial disparity in child welfare is intertwined with economic and societal factors putting pressure on families, experts and research suggest. Maltreatment rates are five times higher for lower-income children, according to federal statistics, and Black New Yorkers are nearly twice as likely as white residents to live in poverty.


Statewide data underscores the connection: Racial disparities in child welfare involvement and the income gap between Black and white are both much larger in New York City than in the rest of the state.


Stress is at the root of the relationship between poverty and child neglect and abuse, said Melissa Merrick, president of Prevent Child Abuse America, an advocacy group.


“If you can’t pay your rent or you have to work three jobs and take three buses and you don’t have child care,” she said, “all of these things may put you on edge, and maybe make you not be able to bring your best parenting self to the job of parenting.”


Dr. Merrick said that conditions including racial bias, disinvestment in communities of color and lack of access to support systems all drive disparities in abuse.


But Black families in New York City are also more likely than Hispanic and Asian families to be accused of neglect or abuse or to have their children removed, even though Hispanic and Asian families have higher poverty rates. A New York Times analysis of 83 child homicides from 2016 to 2022 found that Black children in the city were killed by family members at about seven times the rate for white and Asian children and three times the rate for Hispanic children.


Several Black parents with recent A.C.S. cases said in interviews that they felt they would have been treated differently if they were white.


“I think A.C.S.’s goal was to prove abuse,” said Mylana Gerard, 25, who lost the right to be alone with her infant son for nearly a year after he was found to have 16 fractured ribs.


Even after she gave A.C.S. records from a specialist stating that the fractures were probably caused by a genetic variant, the agency waited five months before clearing her. Ms. Gerard, who works for a nonprofit and lives in the South Bronx, said she believed that if she were white and richer, A.C.S. would have tried harder “to find out what was going on with my son.”


Disparities in the child welfare system persist in New York City even as the overall number of children removed and placed in foster care continues to fall, from 40,000 in the late ’90s to 14,000 a decade ago to under 7,000 today.


Once Black families are in the system, the outcomes of their cases are more likely to be severe. As this year began, 4,300 Black children were in foster care — about 1 in 90 — while only 406 white children were — about 1 in 1,100.


The racial gap has also defied years of attempts by the agency to close it.


A.C.S. has had an “Office of Equity Strategies” since 2017. It has a Racial Equity and Cultural Competence Committee and an Equity Action Plan. It requires implicit bias training for staff.


It assigns a growing percentage of its caseload to a noninvestigative track that connects families to the help they need. It supported legislation that raised the evidence threshold for substantiating abuse reports and that required bias training for mandated reporters of abuse, including teachers and medical workers.


Gladys Carrión, A.C.S.’s commissioner from to 2014 to 2016, said that the challenges the agency faced were universal — and enormous.


“There is no child welfare system in the U.S. that stands out as being able to have effectively dealt with the issue of disparity,” she said. “To A.C.S.’s credit, they’ve tried a bunch of things, maybe more than other jurisdictions, and none of them has moved the needle.”


She added that the agency faced the impossible task of keeping every child safe without overpolicing families. “This is the only place which has a standard that you can never make a mistake.”


In October 2020, while the study, conducted by the National Innovation Service, was underway, A.C.S.’s then-commissioner, David Hansell, touted it to the City Council.


“We must listen, even when it is difficult,” he said. “And we must look critically at our own attitudes, even when it is painful.”


In the survey, many A.C.S. workers focused on how allegations of neglect — a broad category that includes inadequate guardianship, food, clothing or shelter and accounts for two-thirds of all maltreatment reports — are used to sweep poor families into the system.


Mandated reporters, the workers complained, often “file reports that describe conditions indicating poverty but not neglect.” Teacher make reports “based on the cleanliness of a child’s clothing or whether they bring food to school.”


Caseworkers said they spent so much time chasing unfounded neglect claims that it became harder for them to protect children from abuse. They suggested the agency push lawmakers for clearer neglect standards.


Emma Ketteringham, who heads the Bronx Defenders’ family practice and participated in the survey, said that nothing appeared to have changed at A.C.S. since the report.


“The bigger picture here,” Ms. Ketteringham said, “is that we have A.C.S. publicly committing to be an antiracist organization and then not even sharing the findings publicly, let alone implementing them.”


Angel Charles, a 37-year-old travel nurse, thought her dealings with A.C.S. were behind her.


Ms. Charles, who herself experienced sexual and physical abuse, had three children removed for abuse and neglect in her early 20s after her 3-year-old son burned himself on a radiator, she allowed her children to miss school and she kept an unsanitary apartment, her lawyer said. Ten years and many hours of therapy later, she says she has gotten her life together and has been steadily employed.


But after she gave birth to a daughter on New Year’s Day, an A.C.S. worker came to her hospital room, Ms. Charles said. The agency charged her with “derivative neglect,” meaning it considered her unfit to parent a new child based on her history — and has continued to press the case despite positive evaluations from her therapist and her baby’s foster-care agency, her lawyers said.


Ms. Charles is still fighting to keep her baby. She said that if she were white, she would not have faced this battle.


“I do feel attacked,” she said. “I’ve missed 10 months of my daughter’s life over this.”