Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, May 13, 2023


CODEPINK Returns to the Golden Gate Bridge!


Mother’s Day Bridge Walk for Peace

Sunday, May 14, Noon


Let’s again pay tribute to the original meaning of “Mother’s Day,” a global call to ABOLISH WAR:


We’ll read:  Julia Ward Howe’s (1870) Mother’s Day Proclamation:


Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or of tears! Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies, our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.


“Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”


From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says, “Disarm, disarm! The sword is not the balance of justice.” Blood does not wipe out dishonor nor violence indicate possession.


As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each learning after his own time, the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.


In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.


Let’s also pay tribute to our SF troubadour, Francis Collins (center back row of photo), who died last year: 

We’ll sing John Lennon’s Imagine, one of Francis’ favorite songs! Francis Collins Presente!


Bring your mamas and grandmamas, sons and daughters, and grandchildren….bring the entire family, and friends too!  War is not healthy for children and other living things!




War poisons earth, air, water, and people.  

Peace in Ukraine, Peace Everywhere!



Renay, Martha, Nancy, Catherine, Fred, Susan, Eric, Eleanor, Dana, Denise, and Toby



See http://tripplanner.transit.511.org

For public transit options:

Golden Gate Transit Buses 10, 70, 80

and SF Muni Bus 28 stop at the bridge (SF side).


FMI and carpooling: 




Join Committee to Stop FBI Repression in the fight for...

Justice for the Tampa 5!

Drop the charges now! Defend student activists!


1.     Sign on to this statement as an individual/group and share widely:


2.  Call the university president and demand they drop the charges on the Tampa 5: (813)-417-5292

3.     Donate to support the Tampa 5: https://gofund.me/5765e559

4.     Follow Tampa Bay SDS on Twitter and Facebook for updates

About the Tampa 5

On March 6, 2023, members of Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society held a rally on the University of South Florida campus to defend diversity in higher education. At the rally, four women activists were suddenly and violently assaulted by USF police before being arrested. Later, on April 4, another student received a communication of the university’s intent to charge her with additional misdemeanors and a felony – just like the other 4 activists.


The Tampa 5 – Chrisley Carpio, Gia Davila, Lauren Pineiro, Laura Rodriguez, and Jeanie K. deserve our support. They disrupted no campus activities, damaged no property, and did nothing wrong. Several video recordings of the event show the aggressive and unprovoked way that USF police grabbed these young women, slammed them into walls, groped them inappropriately, and placed them in chokeholds. Video captured at the event has already amassed over 6 million views on TikTok, and can be viewed here.


In addition to alleged code of conduct violations and misdemeanor charges, the Tampa 5 are facing felony charges. Once again, the police are lying about what happened, despite video evidence clearly showing the police going on an unprovoked rampage. Several of the activists lost their jobs after these unjust arrests. Chrisley Carpio is a union member (AFSCME Local 3342) and is still fighting to save her job at the University despite having a spotless record.


The administration at the University of South Florida want to intimidate students and youth who exercise their freedom of speech. The activists held the original rally on March 6 to protect higher education from Governor Ron DeSantis’s attacks on diversity, equality, inclusion (DEI) and multicultural programs. There is absolutely no evidence that the Tampa 5 or any of the activists did anything to provoke the outrageous response from campus police. The hearings concerning the expulsion of student activists who were violently attacked must be stopped and the code of conduct charges against them dropped.


We support these brave women and demand that the charges against the Tampa 5 be dropped immediately. We stand in solidarity with the Tampa 5 and show our unwavering commitment to defending all who stand for peace, higher learning, and diversity.


Drop the charges now! Bring Chrisley back to work! 

Defend diversity in higher education! Activism is not a crime!



Public complaint about the health condition of Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab, illegally imprisoned in the United States

On Friday, March 16, 2023, Camilla Saab made an urgent call to the world to denounce the dire health condition of Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab, which endangers his life.

In July 2021, the Working Group against Torture and several UN rapporteurs expressed their concern about the irreparable deterioration of Alex Saab's health condition.  

Let us recall that in Cape Verde, on July 7, 2021, after many refusals, Alex Saab was visited by his family doctor, who, in his report, detected a worrying health condition of the Venezuelan official, especially because Saab is a stomach cancer survivor. The doctor diagnosed: anemia, anorexia, diabetes mellitus type 2, hypothyroidism, hypertension, and high risk of thromboembolic disease, including pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis. In addition, he highlighted that a high infection by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori was found in his blood, and an endoscopy identified bleeding from the digestive tract that could mean a recurrence of cancer. Saab's lower left molar was found broken due to the beatings received during the torture, and access to proper medical care was recommended. However, he was never allowed to receive treatment.  

Subsequently, the treating physician issued, on September 9, 2021, a new report highlighting the need for patient Alex Saab to receive specialized medical care and asked the authorities of Cape Verde to consider the need to preserve the health and life of Alex Saab. Cape Verde did nothing in this regard.  

Alex Saab arrived in the United States, kidnapped for the second time on October 16, 2021, and from that moment until today, he has not received any medical attention according to the primary diseases that had been reported, ignoring the call of the UN rapporteurs. Alex Saab is in the Federal Detention Center in Miami, and his prison situation is even worse than in Cape Verde: he has not been allowed family visits. He has not seen his wife and children, who have also been victims of persecution by the U.S. authorities and their allies, for more than two years and eight months. 

Alex Saab has also not been allowed consular visits, a human right of every prisoner deprived of liberty. The U.S. State Department has yet to respond to the Venezuelan State's request to grant him a consular visit, as established in Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.  

In the medical reports made in July, Alex Saab's doctor had already informed that they had identified bleeding from the digestive tract, which could mean a cancer recurrence. Now, it is highly alarming to learn that Alex has been vomiting blood for weeks, and despite having reported it to the U.S. authorities, there is still a lack of medical attention at the prison. Why has the U.S. not bothered to treat him?  

Everything indicates that the lack of medical attention is part of a State policy, as was his illegal arrest. Do U.S. authorities want Alex Saab dead? Why, then, the insistence on not providing him with medical attention and not allowing his doctor to visit him? 

Everyone knows that the truth is on the side of the Venezuelan diplomat, and sooner or later, the United States must release him, but they are taking more time than usual. Could it be that they are waiting for his illnesses to develop further? 

We, the #FreeAlexSaab Movement, hold the U.S. Government responsible for diplomat Alex Saab's life and what may happen to him during his illegal detention.

·      We ask that the International Committee of the Red Cross to be present at the Federal Detention Center in Miami-USA. 

·      We urge the High Commissioner of the UN Human Rights to take action and denounce this violation of the human rights of the Venezuelan diplomat illegally detained in U.S. territory. 

·      We request the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, as the highest defender of International Law, to make an announcement on this case, which constitutes a flagrant violation of international law and human rights. 

·      We demand immediate freedom for Alex Saab Moran, the Venezuelan diplomat kidnapped in the United States. We urgently require a humanitarian, political, and diplomatic solution to this unjust situation. 

It is time to move forward. We urge the U.S. Government to sit down and reach an agreement. Venezuela has shown to be open to finding a solution.



Previously Recorded

View on YouTube:




Featured Speakers:


Yuliya Yurchenko, Senior Lecturer at the University of Greenwich and author of Ukraine and the Empire of Capital: From Marketization to Armed Conflict.


Vladyslav Starodubstev, historian of Central and Eastern European region, and member of the Ukrainian democratic socialist organization Sotsialnyi Rukh.


Kirill Medvedev, poet, political writer, and member of the Russian Socialist Movement.


Kavita Krishnan, Indian feminist, author of Fearless Freedom, former leader of the Communist Party of India (ML).


Bill Fletcher, former President of TransAfrica Forum, former senior staff person at the AFL-CIO, and Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies.


Including solidarity statements from among others Barbara Smith, Eric Draitser, Haley Pessin, Ramah Kudaimi, Dave Zirin, Frieda Afary, Jose La Luz, Rob Barrill, and Cindy Domingo.




Update and Urgent Health Call-In Campaign for Political 

Prisoner Ed Poindexter

April 15, 2023

Dear Comrades and Friends:


We just received news that Ed Poindexter's left leg was amputated below the knee earlier this month due to lack of proper medical care. Ed has diabetes and receives dialysis three days a week. He underwent triple bypass heart surgery in 2016.


Please support Ed by sending him a letter of encouragement to:


Ed Poindexter #27767

Reception and Treatment Center

P.O. Box 22800

Lincoln, NE 68542-2800


Ed has a cataract in one eye that makes it difficult for him to read, so please type your letter in 18 point or larger font. The Nebraska Department of Corrections does not plan to allow Ed to have surgery for the cataract because "he has one good eye."




Warden Boyd of the

Reception and Treatment Center



Warden Wilhelm of the

Nebraska State Penitentiary



Governor Pillen, the

State of Nebraska Office of the Governor



Director Rob Jeffreys,

Nebraska Department of Corrections



The Nebraska Board of Pardons

(Email: ne.pardonsboard@nebraska.gov). 


Please sustain calls daily from April 15th to May 30th, 2023 for this intensive campaign, and thereafter as you can. 


[Any relief for Ed will be announced via email and social media].


Sample Message:


“Ed Poindexter’s family noticed blood on his feet several weeks ago. Then in April 2023, his niece and brother found out that Ed’s leg had been amputated earlier in the month. All of this happened without notifying Ed’s family, within the ‘skilled nursing facility’ at the Reception and Treatment Center, which specializes in behavioral issues and suicide watch, and is not primarily a rehab medical unit. Ed is on dialysis several days per week and is wheelchair bound, and is not able to shower or change without much more direct support than he is currently getting. The Nebraska Department of Corrections admits that their facilities are severely overcrowded and understaffed.  I, ___________,  join Ed’s family in demanding that Ed be given a compassionate release, and that he be immediately transferred to a local hospital or rehabilitation facility, not under direction of the Department of Corrections—where the standard of care is decent and humane.”


  Warden: Taggart Boyd

Reception and Treatment Center

P.O. Box 22800

Lincoln, NE 68542-2800

Phone: 402-471-2861

Fax: 402-479-6100


  Warden Michelle Wilhelm 

Nebraska State Penitentiary

Phone: 402-471-3161

4201 S 14th Street

Lincoln, NE 68502


  Governor Jim Pillen

Phone: 402-471-2244

PO Box 94848

Lincoln, NE 68509-4848



  Rob Jeffreys

Director, Nebraska Department of Corrections

Phone: 402-471-2654

PO Box 94661

Lincoln, Nebraska 68509


  Nebraska Board of Pardons

PO Box 95007

Lincoln, Nebraska 68509

Email: ne.pardonsboard@nebraska.gov


You can read more about Ed Poindexter at:



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




National Mobilization for Reproductive Justice

ReproJusticeNow.org info@reprojusticenow.org 

Facebook @ ReproJusticeNow

Statement to the Media


National Mobilization for Reproductive Justice

Email: info@reprojusticenow.org

Contact: Helen Gilbert (National Coordinator)

206-473-0630 (cell), 206-985-4621 (office)


For Release: Immediately

Interviews welcome


"Hands off abortion medications!" says National Mobilization for Reproductive Justice

Republican and rightwing pressure has intimidated the massive Walgreens drugstore chain from providing legal, safe and effective abortion drugs in 20 states, it was reported today. This comes even before a nationwide day of protests called on Saturday, March 4 by #StopAbortionRX, Students for Life of America and affiliated conservative and religious groups. Their “National Day of Protest to Cancel Abortion Cartels" targets CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid.


The anti-abortion activists use inflammatory and untrue language in describing a common, safe and necessary medical procedure. Their tactic of trying to intimidate customers by demonstrating at entrances and inside stores is nothing but bullying. These actions have the potential to interrupt people’s access to needed medical prescriptions of all kinds. By demonstrating at the access point between pharmacist and patient, anti-abortionists contribute to an already broken US healthcare system.


The FDA-approved drugs mifepristone and misoprostol are used together to terminate a pregnancy. Mifepristone stops the body from producing a hormone necessary to an embryo’s development. Since 2000, it has been approved to end pregnancies up to 10 weeks after gestation. Misoprostol is used a few days later to help the body expel the tissue with more speed and safety. In 2020, 53% of all abortions in the U.S. were medication-induced, which has been shown to be safe and 90% effective. Medication abortions are also less expensive, more accessible, and more private than surgical abortions.


In tandem with physical harassment of people seeking anti-pregnancy drugs, legal harassment is threatening reproductive choices across all states. A federal court case lodged by Alliance Defending Freedom is pending in Texas, where a Trump-appointed, historically anti-abortion judge, Matthew Kacsmaryk, could reverse FDA approval for mifepristone. Medical experts say that inducing abortion with only misoprostol is less effective and more painful – adding punishment and abuse to the individual seeking relief.


A decision in the Texas case could come any time and could dramatically alter abortion access   at least as much as the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, which overturned decades of abortion-rights precedent.


These further attempts to undermine what should be rights to reproductive and bodily autonomy are an attack on all people’s healthcare needs. And opponents of reproductive justice won’t stop there. Also threatened are contraception, sex education, non-religious health care providers, and social services that are vital to safely bearing and raising children in marginalized communities. Reproductive justice also includes an end to forced sterilization, the right to gender-affirming care, support for LGBTQ+ families and children, and an end to immigration policies that separate families.


The National Mobilization for Reproductive Justice and its affiliates across the country vow to defend all forms of reproductive rights and bodily autonomy. See the Mobilization’s website, www.ReproJusticeNow.org, for information on meetings and activities, endorsers, resources and its full list of demands.


The National Mobilization for Reproductive Justice was initiated by Radical Women in 2021 in order to build a grassroots coalition of forces to defend reproductive rights. It has organized numerous actions and currently has more than 30 endorsing organizations from around the country including unions, and racial justice, LGBTQI+, religious, radical, and feminist groups. Click here to add your organization's endorsement.


Mailing Address:

National Mobilization for Reproductive Justice

4710 University Way NE #100

Seattle, WA 98105


Add us to your address book.


For more information

Phone: 206-985-4621




Daniel Ellsberg Continues the Fight

Message sent by Kip Waldo


(Message from Daniel Ellsberg Below)


At the beginning of March, Daniel Ellsberg sent a message to “friends and supporters” letting them know that he faces a life-ending medical condition—inoperable pancreatic cancer. He said that the doctors believe that he has another three to six months to live.


This letter, full of Dan Ellsberg’s passion and humor, reflect his concern for and sense of responsibility to people who have come to know him. It is a reflection of the man who risked his future with his release, in 1971, of 7000 pages of top-secret documents exposing the systematic policy of lies told to the U.S. population and the world about the U.S. war on Vietnam. Those papers, which became known as “The Pentagon Papers,” were published in a number of newspapers including the Washington Post, the New York Times—the two major East-coast newspapers in the U.S. at the time. Their publication served to change the perspective of many who still believed those lies. 


He knew the risk he was taking. It resulted in Nixon, who was the president at the time, branding him as the “most dangerous man in America” and launched a massive manhunt to bring him to trial for espionage. The charges against him, a total of 12 felonies, were dropped after he stood trial for four months. It was a lucky coincidence that investigations surrounding the impeachment of Nixon for orchestrating the burglary of Democratic Party headquarters revealed that Nixon’s operatives had also broken into the offices of Ellsberg’s psychiatrist in hopes of finding damning information. 


Instead of just breathing a sigh of relief at not having to spend the rest of his life in prison, Ellsberg continued on the path that his so-called treasonous act had set him on. He became one of the best-known public intellectuals in the U.S., sharing his understanding of the workings of the U.S. government, his constant concerns regarding the development and use of nuclear weapons, also an area of his expertise as a nuclear war planner. 


He published books and articles, was interviewed constantly, and spoke throughout the U.S. and many parts of the world. He rose in defense of other so-called whistleblowers like Julian Assange of WikiLeaks, Chelsea Manning who released secret information that exposed U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Edward Snowden who exposed the extent of government surveillance of U.S. citizens, and John Kiriakou, the CIA case officer and analyst, who exposed the CIA's torture program, along with others. He not only spoke, but he also demonstrated with others against the nuclear weaponization of war, against the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, policies toward Iran, carried out by the U.S., in support of Chelsea Manning who was imprisoned, for first amendment rights, in support of the Occupy movement and many more. For his actions he has been arrested more than 80 times.


It is impossible to measure the impact that he has had on others, with the example he set with his life, hoping to give others the courage to question and stand up against the murderous functioning of this system.


His letter (published below) reflects the qualities he embodies and that we could all hope to embody to some degree.


Message from Daniel Ellsberg


Dear friends and supporters,


I have difficult news to impart. On February 17, without much warning, I was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer on the basis of a CT scan and an MRI. (As is usual with pancreatic cancer—which has no early symptoms—it was found while looking for something else, relatively minor.) I’m sorry to report to you that my doctors have given me three to six months to live. Of course, they emphasize that everyone's case is individual; it might be more, or less. 


I have chosen not to do chemotherapy (which offers no promise) and I have assurance of great hospice care when needed. Please know right now, I am not in any physical pain, and in fact, after my hip replacement surgery in late 2021, I feel better physically than I have in years! Moreover, my cardiologist has given me license to abandon my salt-free diet of the last six years. This has improved my quality of life dramatically: the pleasure of eating my former favorite foods! And my energy level is high. Since my diagnosis, I've done several interviews and webinars on Ukraine, nuclear weapons, and first amendment issues, and I have two more scheduled this week.


As I just told my son Robert: he's long known (as my editor) that I work better under a deadline. It turns out that I live better under a deadline!


I feel lucky and grateful that I've had a wonderful life far beyond the proverbial three-score years and ten. (I’ll be ninety-two on April 7th.) I feel the very same way about having a few months more to enjoy life with my wife and family, and in which to continue to pursue the urgent goal of working with others to avert nuclear war in Ukraine or Taiwan (or anywhere else). 


When I copied the Pentagon Papers in 1969, I had every reason to think I would be spending the rest of my life behind bars. It was a fate I would gladly have accepted if it meant hastening the end of the Vietnam War, unlikely as that seemed (and was.) Yet in the end, that action—in ways I could not have foreseen, due to Nixon’s illegal responses—did have an impact on shortening the war. In addition, thanks to Nixon's crimes, I was spared the imprisonment I expected, and I was able to spend the last fifty years with Patricia and my family, and with you, my friends.


What's more, I was able to devote those years to doing everything I could think of to alert the world to the perils of nuclear war and wrongful interventions: lobbying, lecturing, writing, and joining with others in acts of protest and non-violent resistance. 


I wish I could report greater success for our efforts. As I write, "modernization" of nuclear weapons is ongoing in all nine states that possess them (the U.S. most of all). Russia is making monstrous threats to initiate nuclear war to maintain its control over Crimea and the Donbas—like the dozens of equally illegitimate first-use threats that the U.S. government has made in the past to maintain its military presence in South Korea, Taiwan, South Vietnam, and (with the complicity of every member state then in NATO) West Berlin. The current risk of nuclear war, over Ukraine, is as great as the world has ever seen. 


China and India are alone in declaring no-first-use policies. Leadership in the U.S., Russia, other nuclear weapons states, NATO and other U.S. allies have yet to recognize that such threats of initiating nuclear war—let alone the plans, deployments and exercises meant to make them credible and more ready to be carried out—are and always have been immoral and insane: under any circumstances, for any reasons, by anyone or anywhere.


It is long past time—but not too late!—for the world's publics at last to challenge and resist the willed moral blindness of their past and current leaders. I will continue, as long as I'm able, to help these efforts. There's tons more to say about Ukraine and nuclear policy, of course, and you'll be hearing from me as long as I'm here.


As I look back on the last sixty years of my life, I think there is no greater cause to which I could have dedicated my efforts. For the last forty years we have known that nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia would mean nuclear winter: more than a-hundred-million tons of smoke and soot from firestorms in cities set ablaze by either side, striking either first or second, would be lofted into the stratosphere where it would not rain out and would envelope the globe within days. That pall would block up to 70 percent of sunlight for years, destroying all harvests worldwide and causing death by starvation for most of the humans and other vertebrates on earth. 


So far as I can find out, this scientific near-consensus has had virtually no effect on the Pentagon's nuclear war plans or U.S./NATO (or Russian) nuclear threats. (In a like case of disastrous willful denial by many officials, corporations and other Americans, scientists have known for over three decades that the catastrophic climate change now underway—mainly but not only from burning fossil fuels—is fully comparable to U.S.-Russian nuclear war as another existential risk.) 


I'm happy to know that millions of people—including all those friends and comrades to whom I address this message!—have the wisdom, the dedication and the moral courage to carry on with these causes, and to work unceasingly for the survival of our planet and its creatures.


I'm enormously grateful to have had the privilege of knowing and working with such people, past and present. That's among the most treasured aspects of my very privileged and very lucky life. I want to thank you all for the love and support you have given me in so many ways. Your dedication, courage, and determination to act have inspired and sustained my own efforts. 


My wish for you is that at the end of your days you will feel as much joy and gratitude as I do now. 


Love, Dan


PS: I will enjoy reading any message you send me to this email, though I may or may not be able to respond to every message or call. I prefer email to calls, and in general I am avoiding personal visits, from concern about covid. Please know that I hold you in my heart.



Bigotry Comes in Many Forms: We Oppose the Targeting of Huwaida Arraf and Silencing of the Palestinian Narrative with Bogus Charges of Antisemitism


Sign petition at:



We, the undersigned, are extremely concerned about the recent attacks on Huwaida Arraf, a highly respected Palestinian-American civil rights attorney and longtime human rights activist. It is clear that these attacks are politically motivated attempts to discredit Huwaida’s message and silence all advocates of Palestinian rights. It is dangerous and we must not tolerate it. Smears and lies have been widely hurled at Huwaida, and death threats to Arab and Muslim students.

To sign this petition, please scroll down below the partial list of names and your name will be added.

These attacks have come in the aftermath of Huwaida’s participation in a Bloomfield Hills High School diversity assembly on March 14, 2023. Huwaida was invited by the student organizers of the assembly to speak alongside four other speakers about her experiences dealing with racism. The goal of the assembly was to promote diversity and acceptance, and raise awareness of the dangers of racism and discrimination.  

Huwaida spoke about her work campaigning for Palestinian freedom and human rights, which includes co-founding an organization that brings people of all religions, ethnicities, and nationalities together to bear witness on the ground and support the Palestinian struggle for freedom. Huwaida spoke about the importance of dismantling systems of oppression, which are built on racist ideologies, and she urged students to remember that all human beings are deserving of the same rights that we want for ourselves. 

Following the assembly, Zionist organizations launched a campaign to pressure the school to apologize for allowing Huwaida to speak, calling her and her comments “hateful” and “antisemitic.” This was followed by a special board meeting where multiple individuals were permitted to malign Huwaida’s character using racist tropes and falsehoods. Meanwhile, the students who spoke up eloquently to debunk the lies were marginalized, as the school board promised to take steps to ensure that “mistakes like this” do not happen again. The principal of the school, an African American, has been put on administrative leave, and the pressure continues to fire him and other school administrators. 

It is not a mistake or antisemitic to invite a Palestinian speaker to participate in a diversity assembly. Nor is it a mistake or antisemitic to invite a speaker to talk about Palestinian rights. The mistake is equating speech about Palestinian rights and the erasure of the Palestinian lived experience with antisemitism. It is a deliberate tactic that has been used for years to intimidate people into silence about the atrocities being committed by the state of Israel against the Palestinian people. This tactic not only harms Palestinians and supporters of Palestinian rights, but it does a great disservice to the fight against real antisemitism by conflating the Palestinian struggle for liberation and criticism of the Israeli government’s policies with those who brandish swastikas and attack synagogues. 

We stand with Huwaida and the student organizers of the diversity assembly against these baseless attacks and nefarious defamation. We call on Jewish community leaders and organizations, and other social justice, human rights, and religious leaders and organizations to recognize the harm caused by denying the Palestinian experience and making false accusations of antisemitism. 

We call on the Bloomfield Hills school administration to reject all efforts to conflate speech about Palestinian rights with antisemitism. And, we call on everyone everywhere to remember the words of the late civil rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer —“nobody’s free until everybody’s free” — and to stand with the Palestinian people in their struggle to be free. 





Updates From Kevin Cooper 

March 23, 2023 

Dear Friends and Comrades, 

This is Kevin Cooper writing and sending this update to you in 'Peace & Solidarity'. First and foremost I am well and healthy, and over the ill effect(s) that I went through after that biased report from MoFo, and their pro prosecution and law enforcement experts. I am back working with my legal team from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP.

'We' have made great progress in refuting all that those experts from MoFo came up with by twisting the truth to fit their narrative, or omitting things, ignoring, things, and using all the other tactics that they did to reach their conclusions. Orrick has hired four(4) real experts who have no questionable backgrounds. One is a DNA attorney, like Barry Scheck of the innocence project in New York is for example. A DNA expert, a expect to refute what they say Jousha Ryen said when he was a child, and his memory. A expect on the credibility of MoFo's experts, and the attorney's at Orrick are dealing with the legal issues.

This all is taking a little longer than we first expected it to take, and that in part is because 'we' have to make sure everything is correct in what we have in our reply. We cannot put ourselves in a situation where we can be refuted... Second, some of our experts had other things planned, like court cases and such before they got the phone call from Rene, the now lead attorney of the Orrick team. With that being said, I can say that our experts, and legal team have shown, and will show to the power(s) that be that MoFo's DNA expert could not have come to the conclusion(s) that he came to, without having used 'junk science'! They, and by they I mean my entire legal team, including our experts, have done what we have done ever since Orrick took my case on in 2004, shown that all that is being said by MoFo's experts is not true, and we are once again having to show what the truth really is.

Will this work with the Governor? Who knows... 'but' we are going to try! One of our comrades, Rebecca D.   said to me, 'You and Mumia'...meaning that my case and the case of Mumia Abu Jamal are cases in which no matter what evidence comes out supporting our innocence, or prosecution misconduct, we cannot get a break. That the forces in the so called justice system won't let us go. 'Yes' she is correct about that sad to say...

Our reply will be out hopefully in the not too distant future, and that's because the people in Sacramento have been put on notice that it is coming, and why. Every one of you will receive our draft copy of the reply according to Rene because he wants feedback on it. Carole and others will send it out once they receive it. 'We' were on the verge of getting me out, and those people knew it, so they sabotaged what the Governor ordered them to do, look at all the evidence as well as the DNA evidence. They did not do that, they made this a DNA case, by doing what they did, and twisted the facts on the other issues that they dealt with.   'more later'...

In Struggle & Solidarity,

March 28, 2023

"Today is March 28, 2023

I spoke to Rene, the lead attorney. He hopes to have our reply [to the Morrison Forster report] done by April 14 and sent out with a massive Public Relations blast.

He said that the draft copy, which everyone will see, should be available April 10th. 

I will have a visit with two of the attorneys to go over the draft copy and express any concerns I have with it.

MoFo ex-law enforcement “experts” are not qualified to write what they wrote or do what they did.

Another of our expert reports has come in and there are still two more that we’re waiting for—the DNA report and Professor Bazelon’s report on what an innocence investigation is and what it is not. We are also expecting a report from the Innocence Network. All the regional Innocence Projects (like the Northern California Innocence Project) in the country belong to the Innocence Network.

If MoFo had done the right thing, I would be getting out of here, but because they knew that, somewhere along the line they got hijacked, so we have to continue this fight but we think we can win."

An immediate act of solidarity we can all do right now is to write to Kevin and assure him of our continuing support in his fight for justice. Here’s his address:

Mr. Kevin Cooper

C-65304. 4-EB-82

San Quentin State Prison

San Quentin, CA 94974


Background on Kevin's Case


January 14, 2023

Kevin Cooper has suffered imprisonment as a death row inmate for more than 38 years for a gruesome crime he did not commit. We are therefore extremely disappointed by the special counsel’s report to the Board of Parole Hearings and disagree strongly with its findings.  Most fundamentally, we are shocked that the governor seemingly failed to conduct a thorough review of the report that contains many misstatements and omissions and also ignores the purpose of a legitimate innocence investigation, which is to independently determine whether Mr. Cooper’s conviction was a product of prosecutorial misconduct. The report failed to address that critical issue. The evidence when viewed in this light reveals that Kevin Cooper is innocent of the Ryen/Hughes murders, and that he was framed by the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department. 


The special counsel’s investigation ordered by Governor Newsom in May 2021 was not properly conducted and is demonstrably incomplete. It failed to carry out the type of thorough investigation required to explore the extensive evidence that Mr. Cooper was wrongfully convicted. Among other things, the investigation failed to even subpoena and then examine the files of the prosecutors and interview the individuals involved in the prosecution. For unknown reasons and resulting in the tragic and clearly erroneous conclusion that he reached, the special counsel failed to follow the basic steps taken by all innocence investigations that have led to so many exonerations of the wrongfully convicted. 


In effect the special counsel’s report says: the Board of Parole Hearings can and will ignore Brady violations, destruction of exculpatory evidence, planted evidence, racial prejudice, prosecutorial malfeasance, and ineffective assistance of trial counsel; since I conclude Cooper is guilty based on what the prosecution says, none of these Constitutional violations matter or will be considered and we have no obligation to investigate these claims.


Given that (1) we have already uncovered seven prosecutorial violations of Brady v. Maryland during Mr. Cooper’s prosecution, (2) one of the likely killers has confessed to three different parties that he, rather than Mr. Cooper, was involved in the Ryen/Hughes murders, and (3) there is significant evidence of racial bias in Mr. Cooper’s prosecution, we cannot understand how Mr. Cooper was not declared wrongfully convicted.  The special counsel specifically declined to address ineffective assistance of counsel at the trial or the effect of race discrimination.  We call on the governor to follow through on his word and obtain a true innocence investigation.

Anything But Justice for Black People

Statement from Kevin Cooper concerning recent the decision on his case by Morrison Forrester Law Firm

In 2020 and 2022 Governor Newsom signed in to law the “Racial Justice Act.” This is because the California legislature, and the Governor both acknowledged that the criminal justice system in California is anything but justice for Black people.

On May 28th, 2021, Governor signed an executive order to allow the law firm of Morrison Forrester (MoFo) to do an independent investigation in my case which included reading the trial and appellant transcripts, my innocence claims, and information brought to light by the 9th circuit court of appeals, as well as anything else not in the record, but relevant to this case.

So, Mr. Mark McDonald, Esq, who headed this investigation by Morrison Forrester and his associates at the law firm, went and did what was not part of Governor Newsom’s order, and they did this during the length of time that they were working on this case, and executive order. They worked with law enforcement, current and former members of the L.A. Sheriff’s department, and other law enforcement-type people and organizations.

Law enforcement is the first part of this state’s criminal justice system. A system that both the California legislature, and the Governor acknowledge to be racist, and cannot be trusted to tell the truth, will present, and use false evidence to obtain a conviction, will withhold material exculpatory evidence, and will do everything else that is written in those two racial justice act bills that were signed into law.

So, with the active help of those pro-police, pro-prosecutor, pro-death penalty people working on this case to uphold my bogus conviction we cannot be surprised about the recent decision handed down by them in this case.

While these results are not true but based on the decisions made in 1983 and 1984 by the San Bernardino County district attorney’s office, these 2023 results were not reached by following the executive orders of Governor Newsom.

They ignored his orders and went out to make sure that I am either executed or will never get out of prison.

Governor Newsom cannot let this stand because he did not order a pro-cop or pro-prosecutor investigation, he ordered an independent investigation.

We all know that in truth, law enforcement protects each other, they stand by each other, no matter what city, county, or state that they come from. This is especially true when a Black man like me states that I was framed for murder by law enforcement who just happened to be in the neighboring county.

No one should be surprised about the law enforcement part in this, but we must be outraged by the law firm Morrison Forrester for being a part of this and then try to sell it as legitimate. We ain’t stupid and everyone who knows the truth about my case can see right through this bullshit.

I will continue to fight not only for my life, and to get out of here, but to end the death penalty as well. My entire legal team, family and friends and supporters will continue as well. We have to get to the Governor and let him know that he cannot accept these bogus rehashed results.

MoFo and their pro-prosecution and pro-police friends did not even deal with, or even acknowledge the constitutional violations in my case. They did not mention the seven Brady violations which meant the seven pieces of material exculpatory evidence were withheld from my trial attorney and the jury, and the 1991 California Supreme court that heard and upheld this bogus conviction. Why, one must ask, did they ignore these constitutional violations and everything that we proved in the past that went to my innocence?

Could it be that they just didn’t give a damn about the truth but just wanted to uphold this conviction by any means necessary?

No matter their reasons, they did not do what Governor Gavin Newsom ordered them to do in his May 28, 2021, executive order and we cannot let them get away with this.

I ask each and every person who reads this to contact the Governor’s office and voice your outrage over what MoFo did, and demand that he not accept their decision because they did not do what he ordered them to do which was to conduct an independent investigation!

In Struggle and Solidarity

From Death Row at San Quentin Prison,

Kevin Cooper


Call California Governor Newsom:

1-(916) 445-2841

Press 1 for English or 2 for Spanish, 

press 6 to speak with a representative and

wait for someone to answer 

(Monday-Friday, 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. PST—12:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. EST)



Ruchell is imprisoned in California, but it is important for the CA governor and Attorney General to receive your petitions, calls, and emails from WHEREVER you live! 


SIGN THE PETITION: bit.ly/freeruchell




Call CA Governor Newsom:

CALL (916) 445-2841

Press 1 for English or 2 for Spanish, 

press 6 to speak with a representative and

wait for someone to answer (Mon. - Fri., 9 AM - 5 PM PST / 12PM - 8PM EST)


Call Governor Newsom's office and use this script: 


"Hello, my name is _______ and I'm calling to encourage Governor Gavin Newsom to commute the sentence of prisoner Ruchell Magee #A92051 #T 115, who has served 59 long years in prison. Ruchell is 83 years old, so as an elderly prisoner he faces health risks every day from still being incarcerated for so long. In the interests of justice, I am joining the global call for Ruchell's release due to the length of his confinement and I urge Governor Newsom to take immediate action to commute Ruchell Magee's sentence."


Write a one-page letter to Gov Gavin Newsom:

Also, you can write a one-page letter to Governor Gavin Newsom about your support for Ruchell and why he deserves a commutation of his sentence due to his length of confinement (over 59 years), his age (83), and the health risks of an elderly person staying in California’s prisons. 


YOUR DIGITAL LETTER can be sent at bit.ly/write4ruchell


YOUR US MAIL LETTER can be sent to:

Governor Gavin Newsom

1303 10th Street, Suite 1173

Sacramento, CA 95814


Email Governor Newsom




Under "What is your request or comment about?", select "Clemency - Commutation of Sentence" and then select "Leave a comment". The next page will allow you to enter a message, where you can demand:


Commute the sentence of prisoner Ruchell Magee #A92051 #T 115, who has served 59 long years in prison. 

He was over-charged with kidnapping and robbery for a dispute over a $10 bag of marijuana, a substance that is legal now and should’ve never resulted in a seven-years-to-life sentence.  Ruchell is 83 years old, so as an elderly prisoner he faces health risks every day from still being incarcerated for so long.


Write to District Attorney Gascon

District Attorney George Gascon

211 West Temple Street, Suite 1200

Los Angeles, CA 90012


Write a one-page letter to D.A. George Gascon requesting that he review Ruchell’s sentence due to the facts that he was over-charged with kidnapping and robbery for a dispute over a $10 bag of marijuana, a substance that is legal now and should’ve never resulted in a seven-years-to-life sentence. Ruchell’s case should be a top priority because of his age (83) and the length of time he has been in prison (59 years).


·      Visit www.freeruchellmagee.org to learn more! Follow us @freeruchellmagee on Instagram!

·      Visit www.facebook.com/freeruchellmagee or search "Coalition to Free Ruchell Magee" to find us on Facebook!

·      Endorse our coalition at:

·      www.freeruchellmagee.org/endorse!

·      Watch and share this powerful webinar on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4u5XJzhv9Hc



Ruchell Magee

CMF - A92051 - T-123

P.O. Box 2000

Vacaville, CA 95696


Write Ruchell uplifting messages! Be sure to ask questions about his well-being, his interests, and his passions. Be aware that any of his mail can be read by correctional officers, so don’t use any violent, explicit, or demoralizing language. Don’t use politically sensitive language that could hurt his chances of release. Do not send any hard or sharp materials.



of Detroit Shakur Squad


The Detroit Shakur Squad holds zoom meetings every other Thursday. We educate each other and organize to help free our Elder Political Prisoners. Next meeting is Thurs, Jan 12, 2022.  Register to attend the meetings at tinyurl.com/Freedom-Meeting



The writers' organization PEN America is circulating this petition on behalf of Jason Renard Walker, a Texas prisoner whose life is being threatened because of his exposés of the Texas prison system. 

See his book, Reports from within the Belly of the Beast; available on Amazon at:


Petition: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/protect-whistleblowers-in-carceral-settings



In the past year, we've learned that dozens of Federal Correction Institution Dublin employees sexually abused countless incarcerated people at the facility. Survivors' stories make clear that FCI Dublin staff specifically targeted immigrant women for abuse, and that ICE has knowingly detained and deported survivors and witnesses of sexual abuse by federal prison employees. Advocates have spoken with seven women who were sexually assaulted by prison staff and have already been deported, and at least 15 who are currently facing deportation (including at least six who are indefinitely detained by ICE).


We are writing to ask you to sign on to an open letter to the ICE leadership, demanding that they cease detaining and deporting noncitizen survivors and witnesses of prison staff sexual abuse, and release those currently in immigration detention. 


Sign on here:



You can read the full text of the open letter, and you can sign your organization on to the letter here:



Thanks for your consideration.





The Diabolic Intent to Murder: Medical Professionals’ & Prisoncrats’ constant delay game of untreated Cancer of Kevin Rashid Johnson                                                                                 

By Peter "Comrade Pitt" Mukuria

Kevin Rashid Johnson  is the Minister of Defense for the Revolutionary Intercommunal Black Panther Party (RIBPP). He is someone that I've been honored to have known for over a decade.  I've learned quite a lot from him over the years. In fact, he played a critical role in my political consciousness & growth.  

Prior to knowing Rashid personally or through his political work, my political awareness was rather undeveloped.  To know Rashid, is to learn from him.  One of the qualities about Rashid, which separates him from most, is that he practices what he preaches.   

By reviewing his work, it’s conspicuous to note, that, he is someone who advocates for the voiceless, poor, & oppressed, those dubbed, The wretched of the earth.  His advocacy for his incarcerated peers isn't limited to writing about the horrible conditions of confinement.  He also involves himself in direct action. 

In countless cases, he has placed himself in direct conflict against the pigs, by advocating for his peers.  As a result of his political consciousness and his courageous spirit intertwined, he has been Interstate transferred to 8 different state prisons. In each of these prisons, he has encountered much of the same inhumane conditions of confinement & abuse of prisoners. Each time, he adamantly spoke out against it. Exposing the prisons & if needed, he implemented physical actions in defense of other prisoners. 

 As a result of his unbroken spirit and activism, he has actively, politically awakened his peers. He transformed their lumpen mentality into a revolutionary mentality. He, thus, became a nightmare to the prisons. 

In  October 2021 , Rashid, had blood tests conducted, however, he wasn’t made aware of the results in a timely manner. No news is usually an indicator of good health.  

A year later, he learned the results of the October 2021 bloodwork. The findings revealed that he had prostate cancer.  Given the amount of time that had passed, the cancer had spread and metastasized. I'm no medical professional, but it is a well-known fact that prostate cancer is the 2nd leading cause of death in men & can only be cured if detected & treated early. It's quite conspicious that it was a deliberate act for prison officials to be aware that he had prostate cancer & intentionally delayed notifying him for a year. 

Furthermore, they then played games with his scheduled appointments. The latest one was to have a PET Scan. They intentionally transported him there hours late to ensure that he wouldn’t receive his treatment & a new appointment would have to be scheduled. This same transportation delay tactic actually transpired on multiple occasions.  

Their sinister, diabolical intent is obviously to prolong his treatment to ensure the spread of the cancer & lead to a fatal outcome.  In the case of political & politicized prisoners, medical neglect is a common retaliatory response from the prison officials & this current medical mistreatment is an example. 

 All in all, it is of utmost importance that public protests continue. We must demand that Rashid receives proper treatment as his life is truly in danger.  

For decades, Rashid has stood up against violent guards in defense of other incarcerated people. He has risked his own comfort, advocating for his peers countless times.  Even those he didn’t know. He has exposed the dire & inhumane conditions the incarcerated are subjected to.  The abuse & the constant mistreatment. 

Prisons tend to act if pressured by the public or if actions are court ordered. Given the urgency of this matter- literally life or death-Public involvement would be far more effective as the courts would surely take too much time, which is a luxury we can’t afford as too much time has already passed.  As much as Rashid has fought for others, we must now reciprocate & fight for our brother & comrade. For updates on his health & conditions visit www.Rashidmod.com 

Dare To Struggle 
Dare To Win 
All Power To The People! 

 Comrade Pitt 

Peter Kamau Mukuria #5194931 
PO Box 534 
Jessup, MD 20794 

Minister of Labor ~RIBPP 


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

Fundraiser for an attorney to represent Rashid’s struggle for medical care
A campaign is underway to hire an attorney to represent Kevin Rashid Johnson’s struggle for medical care. The prison has denied this care to him, despite a cancer diagnosis discovered over one year ago for which no treatment has yet been provided.

Here is the donation link for Rashid’s legal fund: 
Please be as generous as you can.



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.



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.



February 6, 2023 

Statement from Leonard Peltier

Leonard Peltier released this statement from his prison cell to mark the 48th anniversary of his unjust incarceration.[1]

Greetings my friends, supporters, loved ones. I know I’ve probably said this, or things like this, many times. Every time I say it, it is as heartfelt as the first time. From the bottom of my soul, I thank you for your support. Living in here, year after year, day after day, week after week, plays on your concepts of time and your process of thought beyond what you can imagine.

Every day, I have to say a prayer in the morning, about keeping my spirit up and the spirits of our people.

The struggles of the American Indian Movement, which are the struggles of all of us, have never ended for me. They go on, week after week, month after month, year after year.

When I speak, sometimes I think I may sound a bit too sensitive, but my love for my people and the love supporters have shown me over the years is what keeps me alive. I don’t read your letters with my intellect. I read them with my heart.

My imprisonment is just another example of the treatment and policies our people have faced since the arrival of the first Europeans. I’m just an ordinary man and I come from a live-and-let-live society, like all our people. And yet we have had to live in a state of survival ever since Columbus landed.

There is nothing about my case, nothing about the Constitution, which is a treaty between the American people and the government, that warrants my continual imprisonment.

They have historically imprisoned or killed our people, taken our land and resources. Any time the law was in our favor they ignored the law or changed the law to benefit their agenda.

After they have gotten what they wanted, a generation later, some politician would apologize. They have never negotiated sincerely with us unless we had something they wanted and could not take, or we were an embarrassment before the world, or we were some sort of opposition. The opposition has always been the dominant reason for them making treaties with us. I could go on and on about the mistreatment of our people and on and on about my case, but the United Nations said it.

That the United States has kept me locked up because I am American Indian. The only thing that really makes me different from other American Indians who have been mistreated, had land taken, or been imprisoned by our government, is that it is all a matter of court record in my case. The violation of my Constitutional rights has been proven in court. The fabrication of every piece of evidence used to convict me has been proven in court.

The United Nations itself, comprised of 193 nations, has called for my release, noting I am a political prisoner. In my case as a political prisoner there does not have to be a prisoner exchange. The exchange they need to make is from their policy of injustice to a policy of justice.

It does not matter what your color and ethnicity are. Black, red, white, yellow, brown—if they can do it to me, they can do it to you. The Constitution of the United States is hanging by a thread. Again.

I want to say, from my heart to your heart, most sincerely—do your best to educate your children. Teach them to defend themselves physically, mentally, and spiritually. Make them aware of our history. Teach them to plant a food forest or any plant that will provide for them in the future.

Again, from my heart to yours, plant a tree for me.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse.


Leonard Peltier

—Liberation, February 6, 2023



Write to:

Leonard Peltier 89637-132

USP Coleman 1  

P.O. Box 1033

Coleman, FL 33521

Note: Letters, address and return address must be in writing—no stickers—and on plain white paper.

[1] To learn what his case is about click here:


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



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!



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) Israeli Airstrikes Kill at Least 13 in Gaza, Palestinians Say

At least three of the dead were leaders in Islamic Jihad, the group said. Officials reported that at least 10 civilians, including children, were killed in the strikes, which Israel said had hit the planners of attacks.

By Isabel Kershner and Raja Abdulrahim, Published May 8, 2023, Updated May 9, 2023

Reporting from Jerusalem

Bodies wrapped in material are carried through a crowd.
A funeral in Gaza City on Tuesday for some of those killed in the airstrikes. Credit...Mohammed Salem/Reuters

The Israeli military launched airstrikes against the Islamic Jihad armed group in Gaza on Tuesday, killing three of its leaders, ending an uneasy weeklong cease-fire between the two sides and leaving them braced for a sharp escalation in cross-border violence. Palestinian officials said that the airstrikes had killed at least 10 civilians, including children.


The predawn strikes hit residential buildings across the Palestinian coastal territory of Gaza, roughly a week after an exchange of fire between Islamic Jihad and Israel.


Islamic Jihad, which Israel, the United States and many other Western countries classify as a terrorist organization, confirmed that three of its senior leaders were among the dead. The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza said that at least 13 people had been killed and 20 others injured. Among the dead were Dr. Jamal Khiswan, a director of the Wafa Hospital in Gaza, and his wife and son, the ministry said.


Tensions in the region had been high after the death in Israeli custody last week of a Palestinian hunger striker who was a leader of Islamic Jihad. Violence has also been on the rise recently in Israel and the occupied West Bank. The death of the hunger striker, Khader Adnan, was followed by volleys of rockets fired at Israel from Gaza, and retaliatory strikes on the Gaza Strip by the Israeli Air Force.


In the fragile cease-fire that followed in the week after those attacks, members of the right-wing government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pressed for a stronger response to Palestinian armed groups, who had called for retaliation by all Palestinians after the death of Mr. Adnan.


In the strikes Tuesday, the Israeli military said that it had targeted and killed Khalil Bahitini, who it said had been responsible for launching rockets against Israel over the past month; Tareq Ezzedine, who was accused of directing attacks against Israelis in the occupied West Bank; and Jihad al-Ghanam, another high-ranking leader of the group. The Israeli military also said it had attacked Islamic Jihad military sites and infrastructure.


The military wing of Islamic Jihad said in a statement that the three leaders had been killed “as a result of a cowardly Zionist assassination at dawn today.”


The group said that some of the wives and children of the men had also been killed, adding that “the blood of the martyrs will increase our resolve, and we will not leave our positions and the resistance will go on, God willing.”


Schools and universities across Gaza canceled classes and exams as search and rescue crews were still digging through the rubble Tuesday morning, and the Gaza government ordered Palestinian fishing vessels not to go out to sea. The Gaza Strip operates under a severe land, air and sea blockade by Israel and Egypt.


Gaza is dominated by Hamas, a larger Islamist militant group that sometimes acts in coordination with Islamic Jihad and, at other times, acts to restrain it. The military wing of Hamas issued a statement mourning those killed in the Israeli campaign. The question of whether Hamas will join Islamic Jihad, which is backed by Iran, in any retaliatory action against Israel could determine the length and intensity of the round of fighting.


The so-called Joint Room of the Palestinian Resistance Factions, a coordinating committee of armed groups in Gaza, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, issued a statement saying it held the “criminal enemy,” meaning Israel, “fully responsible for the repercussions of this cowardly crime,” adding that “its leaders who initiated the aggression must prepare to pay the price.”


About five hours after Israel’s opening strikes, Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, a spokesman for the Israeli military, told reporters that the military had achieved its objectives and that it was largely “up to Hamas” to determine what would happen next.


Colonel Hecht said he was aware of the reports of civilian deaths, which he said would be “tragic,” but had no immediate further comment about them, except to say that Israel conducted a “pinpoint” operation involving 40 aircraft.


Amid the strikes, the Israeli military instructed residents of Israel living within a radius of 25 miles of the border of the Palestinian coastal territory to stay close to bomb shelters for the next two days, in apparent expectation of retaliatory rocket fire.


Israel’s minister of defense, Yoav Gallant, declared a state of high alert along the border. The military issued a map of road closings in the area and shut border crossings to people and goods. Train service to the area was canceled and classes were postponed. Colonel Hecht said that the ministry had instructed the army to be ready to call up reservists.


The airstrikes started at about 2 a.m. Tuesday and initially hit Gaza City and the southern city of Rafah, along the border with Egypt. Two hours later, the military said that it was striking additional targets of Islamic Jihad, including what it described as weapons manufacturing sites and military compounds.


The operation, which the military called “Shield and Arrow,” follows a short burst of violence after the death last week of Mr. Adnan, who had been on a hunger strike for 87 days to protest his detention.


Islamic Jihad fired more than 100 rockets and mortar shells toward southern Israel in the 24 hours after the death of Mr. Adnan. One barrage fired in the middle of the day severely wounded a Chinese construction worker in the Israeli border town of Sderot.


In response, the Israeli Air Force targeted military sites in Gaza, killing a 58-year-old man, according to the health ministry in Gaza.


This year has already proved to be the deadliest in more than two decades for Palestinians and Israelis. More than 110 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank, according to Palestinian officials, with most of the deaths coming in clashes during raids by Israeli forces. At least 19 Israelis have been killed in attacks by Palestinians.


Israeli forces raided the West Bank city of Nablus on Tuesday morning, shooting and injuring 12 people, including a 14-year-old boy, and leaving 130 injured from tear gas inhalation, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent and Palestinian news media. The Israeli military said it had been there to detain a wanted individual.


Another brief flare-up a month ago, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, took place after an Israeli police raid in Jerusalem on the Aqsa mosque compound, a revered site known to Jews as Temple Mount. That prompted Palestinian armed groups in Gaza as well as militias in Lebanon — led by Hamas, according to the Israeli military — to fire barrages of rockets at Israel.


Israel struck back at the militias in southern Lebanon, as well as at Hamas military sites in the Gaza Strip.


But far-right members of the Israeli governing coalition complained that Israel’s response had been too weak, and the ultranationalist minister of national security, Itamar Ben-Gvir, demanded that Israel take more aggressive steps, including resuming its policy of targeted assassinations of militant leaders.


Mr. Netanyahu leads a right-wing governing coalition that includes two far-right parties. But the previous government, under former prime minister Yair Lapid, a centrist, also carried out missile strikes in Gaza, in August, that killed two senior Islamic Jihad commanders and more than 40 other Palestinians, including 15 children, during three days of fierce cross-border fighting.


The Israeli military said on Tuesday that Mr. Bahitini, one of the militants killed in the latest strikes, had taken over the position of one of the militants killed in August, replacing him as the Islamic Jihad commander of the northern region of the Gaza Strip.


Mr. Gallant, the Israeli defense minister, said in a Twitter post before dawn on Tuesday that the military and the Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic security agency, had “precisely carried out their mission against the leadership of the Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip. Any terrorist who harms the citizens of Israel will regret it. We will pursue and catch up with our enemies,” he added.


Reporting was contributed by Iyad Abuheweila from Gaza City; Hiba Yazbek and Myra Noveck from Jerusalem; and Gabby Sobelman from Rehovot, Israel.



2) Asylum Seekers Are Prey for Gangs and Officials

Migrants deported by the United States to Mexico face criminal horrors and an asylum system where cases linger for years without resolution.

By Maria Abi-Habib, May 12, 2023

Reporting from Mexico City

Migrants near a wire barrier on the northern bank of the Rio Grande along the border between Brownsville, Texas, and Matamoros, Mexico.
Migrants near a wire barrier on the northern bank of the Rio Grande along the border between Brownsville, Texas, and Matamoros, Mexico. Credit...Meridith Kohut for The New York Times

As the United States begins imposing border rules making it more difficult for migrants to claim asylum, many will most likely face swift deportation to Mexico, where they will be vulnerable to criminal groups and corrupt officials, according to human rights groups.


Mexico’s role as Washington’s enforcement arm to deter migrants from heading illegally to the United States through Mexican territory will become more significant with the lifting on Thursday of a Covid-era policy known as Title 42, which halted the entry of many migrants at the border and allowed the U.S. authorities to rapidly expel them.


In talks last week with the Biden administration, Mexico said it would accept non-Mexican migrants sent back from the United States under the new rules and would process them for Mexican asylum.


But if the asylum system in the United States is plagued by backlogs, the situation in Mexico is just as bad, with asylum cases lingering for years without resolution.


And many migrants expelled to Mexican cities along the U.S. border face daily horrors at the hands of criminal organizations and, in some cases, the same government agencies that Washington is leaning on to help stanch the flow of migrants at the border, according to human rights groups.


Since President Biden took office in January 2021, there have been nearly 13,500 attacks against people deported to Mexico from the United States or blocked from crossing the border, according to a recent report from Human Rights First, an advocacy group.


The report said that, in some cases, Mexican officials have colluded with criminal organizations to extort migrants.


Mexico’s National Migration Institute and the Foreign Ministry did not respond to requests for comment about the government’s treatment of migrants.


“This country is not a safe country,” Yuri Hurtado, a 26-year-old Colombian migrant, said of Mexico.


She left her country in March with six members of her family to escape poverty and violence. She spends her days at a migrant shelter near the U.S. border listening to threatening phone messages from members of a criminal group who, Ms. Hurtado said, kidnapped her relatives last week while they were riding a bus through Mexico.


The shelter where Ms. Hurtado is staying, Casa Migrante San Juan Diego, is in Matamoros, a northern Mexican city that is notorious for violence and across the border from Brownsville, Texas.


Ms. Hurtado said the criminal group holding her two sisters, a brother-in-law and two nephews, who are 2 and 5, had demanded she pay $4,000 for their release or it would start harvesting their organs.


The sum is more than Ms. Hurtado said she could ever afford. The local police, she said, did not help her when she tried to file a report, a typical response by the authorities, according to migrant rights groups.


“It gives me so much fear what happens on the border and, yet, also I am full of fear that I will die alone on the border,” she said, adding that she hoped her relatives would be released before she tried to cross the border.


Stories like Ms. Hurtado’s are not unusual; criminal groups often impose fees on migrants to travel through Mexico and then kidnap them. More than 2,000 migrants were kidnapped by criminal organizations last year, the Mexican government said last week.


At the same time, migrants are also vulnerable to being victimized by Mexico’s migration authorities.


“The abuses by state officials themselves is systemic,’’ said Julia Neusner, a lawyer who co-wrote the Human Rights First report. “We heard hundreds and hundreds of stories from people who experience harm directly at the hands of these state officers, including kidnappings, rape, sexual assault, robbery, extortion.”


When President Andrés Manuel López Obrador took office at the end of 2018, he vowed that Mexico would never be used as a cudgel to “do the dirty work” of Washington’s migration policy.


Instead, his government issued more visas to allow migrants to travel freely to Mexico and make their way to the U.S. border.


But Mr. López Obrador soon discovered, like other Mexican presidents before him, that it is nearly impossible for Mexico to forge a migration policy on its own.


By June 2019, President Donald J. Trump was threatening to slap tariffs on Mexico unless Mr. López Obrador clamped down on the thousands of migrants using Mexican humanitarian visas to head to the United States.


Mr. López Obrador acted swiftly, deploying thousands of troops to Mexico’s northern and southern borders to prevent migrants from entering the country or traveling easily to the United States. The Mexican National Guard, a militarized police force, was given the authority to detain migrants, a power that had been largely concentrated in the hands of migration officials.


“The U.S. migration policy has mobilized the Mexican government for enforcement,’’ Ms. Neusner said. “It is exporting our own border enforcement.”


The closing of legal routes within Mexico and pathways to the United States forced more migrants into the hands of ruthless smugglers, rights groups said.


Mexico’s closer alignment with the United States on enforcement has also led to a shift in the government’ attitude toward migrants, some analysts said.


“The priority is no longer that of human rights and development and protection, as we started out, but due to pressure from the United States, containment, detentions and expulsions were prioritized,” said Tonatiuh Guillén, who was the first commissioner of Mexico’s National Migration Institute under Mr. López Obrador until he was replaced by the former head of Mexico’s federal prison system.


“Deploying the armed forces as your main migration enforcement tool sends a message both to migrants, asylum seekers and to society that migrants are a threat and they should be treated as a security issue, like an invasion,” said Stephanie Brewer, the Mexico director at the Washington Office on Latin America, a research institute.


“That undermines and weakens protections for their physical safety,” she added.


At the Casa Migrante San Juan Diego shelter in Matamoros, half a dozen migrants said this week that either they or a family member had been kidnapped in recent days. They were afraid to venture out of the shelter after dark, fearing the criminal groups that stalk the streets.


The shelter’s director, Jose Luis Elias Rodriguez, said he and his employees had themselves been threatened by criminal groups.


But he vowed to keep helping migrants.


“If we leave, who helps immigrants?” he asked. “Who lends a hand if we leave? Who raises it if we leave? Who stands up for them if we leave?”


Geysha Espriella and Meridith Kohut contributed reporting from Matamoros, Mexico.



3) Daniel Penny Surrenders to Face Charges in Subway Killing of Jordan Neely

The Manhattan district attorney’s office will charge Mr. Penny with second-degree manslaughter for choking Mr. Neely, a homeless man, to death.

By Hurubie Meko and Jonah E. Bromwich, May 12, 2023

Daniel Penny, wearing a dark suit, heads into a police precinct whose door is being guarded by two officers.
Daniel Penny arrives at a New York City police precinct to surrender and face charges in the chokehold killing of Jordan Neely. Credit...Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters

Daniel Penny, the Marine veteran who choked and killed Jordan Neely, a homeless man, on the subway last week, surrendered on Friday to face a charge of second-degree manslaughter.


Mr. Penny, 24, dressed in a dark gray suit, walked through the front doors of the Police Department’s Fifth Precinct at around 8 a.m.


Mr. Penny encountered Jordan Neely, 30, on an F train on May 1 and placed him in a chokehold for several minutes, killing him. Witnesses said that Mr. Neely, who had a history of mental illness, was acting in a “hostile and erratic manner” toward other passengers on the train, according to the police, but there has been no indication that he physically attacked anyone before Mr. Penny began choking him.


The struggle on the F train was captured in a four-minute video that showed Mr. Penny continue to choke Mr. Neely for an additional 50 seconds after Mr. Neely had stopped moving. The police interviewed Mr. Penny that night, but initially released him without charging him.


A week and a half later, on Thursday, the Manhattan district attorney’s office confirmed that it planned to charge Mr. Penny in the killing.


Mr. Penny’s lawyers, Steven M. Raiser and Thomas A. Kenniff, said in a statement that they were “confident that once all the facts and circumstances surrounding this tragic incident are brought to bear, Mr. Penny will be fully absolved of any wrongdoing.”


In the days after Mr. Neely’s killing, many city leaders, politicians and advocates for New Yorkers struggling with mental illness and homelessness had called for Mr. Penny’s immediate arrest. They said Mr. Neely’s killing highlighted the city’s failure to care for its most vulnerable and marginalized residents.


Some Democratic politicians had criticized Mayor Eric Adams for his muted initial response to the killing. Days later, on Wednesday, the mayor said in a speech that Mr. Neely’s “life mattered” and that his death was a “tragedy that never should have happened.”


In a statement on Thursday, after the district attorney’s office said it planned to charge Mr. Penny, Mr. Adams said: “I have the utmost faith in the judicial process, and now justice can move forward against Daniel Penny.”


Mr. Neely, who had been a subway performer known for his impersonation of Michael Jackson but in recent years appears to have experienced severe mental illness, had boarded a northbound F train at the Second Avenue station in the afternoon of May 1, said Juan Alberto Vazquez, a freelance journalist who recorded the video that captured what happened inside the subway car.


Mr. Vazquez recalled that Mr. Neely had said “‘I don’t mind going to jail and getting life in prison,’” and “‘I’m ready to die.’”


By the time the train stopped at Broadway-Lafayette station, where it remained, Mr. Penny had pinned Mr. Neely down on the ground in a chokehold, as two other men grabbed his arms and legs. Mr. Vazquez said he had not seen Mr. Penny grab Mr. Neely but that he had heard a thump and had then seen both men on the floor.


The police said they had received a call at 2:27 p.m. about a fight on an F train at the station.


At around 2:29 p.m. another passenger can be heard in the video saying that his wife had been in the military and knew about chokeholds, and warning the men that they should make sure Mr. Neely had not defecated on himself.


“You don’t want to catch a murder charge,” he says.


Mr. Neely was taken to Lenox Health hospital in Greenwich Village, where he was pronounced dead. Two days later, the medical examiner’s office ruled Mr. Neely’s death a homicide and said that the cause of death was compression of his neck.


As news of Mr. Penny’s upcoming charges reverberated on Thursday, Marc H. Morial, the National Urban League president and chief executive officer, said in a statement that the district attorney’s decision to charge him “reminds us that a measured response to this shocking episode was necessary.”


“While not always swift, a methodical approach to justice in this case bends towards the fair application of the rule of law,” he said.


Joshua Steinglass, a veteran homicide prosecutor who helped lead the trial team in the case against former President Donald J. Trump’s family business, is leading the investigation, according to the district attorney’s office.


Second-degree manslaughter, also known as reckless homicide, will require prosecutors to prove that Mr. Penny caused Mr. Neely’s death and did so recklessly, meaning that he knew that the chokehold could kill Mr. Neely and unreasonably chose to apply it anyway. If Mr. Penny is convicted, he could spend up to 15 years in prison.


Mr. Penny’s lawyers will most likely argue that the force he used against Mr. Neely was justified given the harm that he believed Mr. Neely represented to Mr. Penny, other passengers or both.


Prosecutors will have to prove that Mr. Penny used deadly force without having believed that Mr. Neely was also using deadly force or was about to.


Many activists and politicians had called for Mr. Penny to be charged with murder. But that was an unlikely scenario. To win a murder conviction, prosecutors would most likely have had to show that Mr. Penny had intended to cause Mr. Neely’s death or acted with “depraved indifference,” which might have been a difficult standard to meet under the circumstances.


The Manhattan district attorney office’s confirmation that it planned to charge Mr. Penny suggested that it had determined it had enough evidence to arrange his surrender. However, the office will still have to secure a grand jury indictment to proceed with a felony case against Mr. Penny, who grew up on Long Island and has no criminal record.


Nate Schweber contributed reporting.



4) The Myth of the Lone Wolf Latino

By Cecilia Márquez, May 12, 2023

Dr. Márquez is a professor of history at Duke University. 

Enrique Tarrio, the Proud Boys chairman, wearing a patch with the letters “RWDS” inscribed, short for “Right Wing Death Squad,” at a rally in Portland, Ore., in 2020.
Enrique Tarrio, the Proud Boys chairman, at a rally in Portland, Ore., in 2020. Credit...Mark Peterson/Redux

The alleged shooter in last weekend’s massacre at an outlet mall in Allen, Texas — which left eight people dead and at least seven injured — wore a vest inscribed with the letters RWDS, short for Right Wing Death Squad, and had tattoos of a swastika and an S.S. lightning bolt insignia.


He was also Latino, a fact that has bewildered some people following this tragedy.


But Latino participation in extremist political projects has a long history in the United States, going back to the John Birch Society. And with the rise of digital organizing in recent years, Latino involvement in the far-right movement is in fact growing. We must understand the alleged shooter in Allen within this context, or else we risk seeing him as a lone wolf rather than as a member of a growing and dangerous movement that will require focused attention to defeat.


One notable example of Latino involvement in far-right racist politics can be found in the early 1950s, also in the Dallas area. Pete Garcia was working with the South Dallas Adjustment League to prevent Black Texans from moving into the community. Mr. Garcia, a 26-year-old machinist, placed “For Whites Only” signs in the yards of white neighborhoods. Along with other members of the S.D.A.L., he menaced a white man who threatened to sell a home in a white neighborhood to a Black family, and he was indicted on a charge of bombing the home of another Black family who had dared to purchase a home in a white neighborhood.


Elzina Shelton, one of the residents of the house that was bombed, recalled: “The smell was horrible. We knew it was dynamite.” She added, “We weren’t totally unexpecting it, knowing how racist these white people were in Dallas.” Mr. Garcia was eventually acquitted.


My own research into Latino participation on the far right began after George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin in 2012. In the days following Mr. Martin’s killing, news outlets reported that Mr. Zimmerman’s father, Robert Zimmerman, defended his son against accusations of racism by noting that he was a “Spanish-speaking minority.” Even after the revelation of his Hispanic ancestry, Mr. Zimmerman quickly became a darling of the far right, finding defenders from David Duke, the former leader of the K.K.K., to the radio host Rush Limbaugh.


There were echoes of Mr. Zimmerman’s defense from Alex Michael Ramos, who was charged with beating a Black counterprotester at the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va. Mr. Ramos defended himself against charges of racism by saying, through a mouthful of expletives, that he was “Spanish.”


Defenders of Mr. Ramos and Mr. Zimmerman would have us believe that Hispanic identity inoculates them against accusations of racism. There are at least two issues with that logic.


First, as the legal scholar Tanya Katerí Hernández’s work shows, there is a long and often violent history of anti-Black racism within the Latino community. If Mr. Ramos and Mr. Garcia are extreme, their beliefs are connected to ideas common in much of the Latino community.


Second, being white and being Latino are not mutually exclusive. It’s true, though, that the question of whether we should consider Latino as a race or as an ethnicity remains hotly debated. For some, the use of Latino as a racial category — which consolidates enormous racial diversity under an imagined “mestizo” (racially mixed) Latino identity — comes at the expense of representation for Black Latinos and Indigenous people. In consolidating, critics argue, it erases. For others, decades of transformative Latino social movements suggest that the shared experiences of discrimination bound together a diverse community in struggle, and still can today.


In any case, the racial diversity within the category of Latino certainly seems to be on display in recent events. Two of the highest profile Latinos on the far right are Enrique Tarrio, the former leader of the Proud Boys, who was recently charged with seditious conspiracy for his involvement in the events of Jan. 6, and Nick Fuentes, a white supremacist provocateur who made headlines in the fall for having dinner at Mar-a-Lago with former President Donald Trump and Kanye West. While both might be cast as Latino, Mr. Tarrio, who is Afro Cuban, and Mr. Fuentes, who has Mexican ancestry, likely have had different racial experiences of the world.


Over the last 10 to 15 years, the story of Latino political alignment has largely been about the consolidation of young Latino voters on the left. Latino voters contributed to Democratic victories in key battleground states like Nevada and Arizona. But rampant misinformation across platforms such as WhatsApp and long-held racism in the Latino community are leading people to the far right. Agents of white supremacy can come in more than one shade, creating an increasingly multiracial coalition.


This small but growing minority of Latinos engaged in right-wing and white supremacist extremism is important to understand. If our visions of white supremacist and far-right violence only include white actors, then we are hobbled in our ability to understand and limit the spread of these deadly ideologies.


Until we can understand the way these ideologies have long animated parts of Latino communities, we are doomed to be surprised again and again.



5) When One Almond Gulps 3.2 Gallons of Water

By Nicholas Kristof, May 13, 2023

A sign that reads “No water no life” on a stretch of dirt with brown mountains in the background.
Rio Verde Foothills, Ariz. Credit...Photographs by Cassidy Araiza for The New York Times



When interviewing people in their homes here, I didn’t have the heart to ask them if I could use the bathroom. There’s no water to spare, so some families flush only once a day.


As for showers, they’re rationed and timed: “You get in, you soap up, you turn the water off, and then when you’re done, you turn the water on and wash it off, and then you’re out,” said Cody Reim, who works in construction.


All this is because water has become scarce here this year, after the city of Scottsdale cut off this area from water it had supplied; it said it needed to conserve water for its own residents. The resulting crisis in these foothills outside Phoenix offers a glimpse of what more Americans may face unless we reconfigure how we manage water.


This is a crisis across the West, for the West was built on cheap water that is now running out from underpricing and overuse just as climate change is amplifying droughts.


Arizona lures retirees with lush golf courses, sometimes requiring as much as 200 million gallons of water per 18-hole golf course over a year. But the big user of water isn’t households, sprawling lawns, fountains, industry or golf courses. It’s farming.


One study found that 88 percent of water in 17 Western states was used by agriculture. Only 7 percent was consumed by homes. Alfalfa fields single-handedly drank up almost three times as much as all households.


California produces a bounty of almonds, which gulp about 3.2 gallons of water for each almond, according to a 2019 study.


Researchers say that the Southwest is experiencing a megadrought that is the worst in at least 1,200 years. Wells have been drying up as far north as Oregon, and the Great Salt Lake in Utah has shrunk by two-thirds.


A wet winter and spring this year have brought a reprieve, but the West is squandering this opportunity to develop a new water regime — because few politicians want to impose painful but necessary cuts on agriculture and other uses.


I came to the Rio Verde Foothills to learn what it’s like to get by when water can no longer be taken for granted. Many homes here got water from underground 5,000-gallon tanks that were filled by trucks from Scottsdale about once a month, for about 4 cents a gallon. (In much of the country, water bills come out to less than a penny a gallon.)


Since Scottsdale cut off the area, water trucks have been hauling water from much farther away, and homeowners are paying 11 cents a gallon; Reim is seeing his water bill soar to a level he hadn’t imagined possible.


“Five times my electric bill,” he said. “Almost equal to my mortgage.”


Meanwhile, the Colorado River — lifeblood of the West, supplier of more than one-third of Arizona’s water, along with substantial quantities for California, Nevada and other states — is running low.


The Biden administration has proposed saving what’s left of the river by evenly cutting allotments to California, Arizona and Nevada, by as much as one-quarter.


A central problem is that water isn’t allocated by market price but inefficiently through a muddle of irrigation rights that were mostly awarded on a first-come-first-serve basis. This water is so cheap that there is little attempt to conserve or develop technical innovations to use less water.


Many of the shortages would disappear if water were rationed the way goods normally are in a market economy, by price: Farmers would not irrigate almond orchards if they had to buy 3.2 gallons of water at market rates to produce each almond.


Mostly we’re a market economy, but water allocation resembles a 1970s Soviet system, with the same lack of price signals and consequently the same inefficiency. Any rationalization of the system and raising of irrigation costs would be wrenching — consider a farm family that has gone into debt to plant a large almond orchard — but there is no other sensible path forward.


Outside Scottsdale, Karen Nabity and her husband live in the dream house they built for themselves on an achingly beautiful five-acre plot of desert. But filling her water tank is now three times as expensive as it was six months ago, and she worries that prices could soar much higher yet.


Now there’s a red bucket in the family sink: Any time they wash their hands, they save the water in the bucket and use it to flush the toilet. To clean her hair, she uses dry shampoo, a powder.


She gave up on the idea of a well after a neighbor drilled 1,300 feet and didn’t find water. One of her biggest concerns is a wildfire. It’s not clear to her where the water would come from to fight a fire, and the desert will soon be dry as tinder.


Water is like the air: We take it for granted, until it’s not there. And if we don’t make hard decisions across the West to allocate water more rationally, nature won’t hesitate to make them for us.



6) ‘A Daily Game of Russian Roulette’: Homeless in San Diego

As a record number of people die on America’s streets, Abdul Curry fights to stay alive.

By Eli Saslow, Photographs by Erin Schaff, May 13, 2023

A close-up portrait of a man with graying beard and mustache. He is looking directly into the camera.
Abdul Curry

Laine Goettsch packed her emergency medical bag and drove into downtown San Diego to look for her favorite patient, afraid of what she might find. Sometimes, she saw Abdul Curry cleaning the sidewalks near his tent and dancing to a playlist of Ed Sheeran songs. Other times, she found him hypothermic in a wet sleeping bag and surrounded by people smoking fentanyl. And then there were the days when she couldn’t find him at all, and she continued searching for hours as she braced for a call from the hospital, the police or the medical examiner.


Now she drove into a homeless encampment and saw three people huddled near a camping stove and sharing a bottle of vodka. “Anyone heard from Abdul?” she asked, but they shook their heads and turned back to the fire.


Laine, 29, had spent the last year working as a medic in the forgotten alleyways and parking garages of downtown, trying to help Abdul and dozens of others stay alive during the most dangerous time in modern history to be homeless in America. More people in the country’s biggest cities were becoming homeless, more were living outside instead of in shelters, and a record number of people, from Los Angeles to Denver to New York, were dying in premature and preventable ways on the street. The toll in San Diego County had increased by nearly 10 times in the last decade, from 64 homeless deaths in 2014 to nearly 600 investigated by the medical examiner’s office in the last year.


She drove across a bridge and spotted Abdul slumped over at the entrance of a parking garage. He had an open wound on his forehead and water dripping from his clothes, but when he saw Laine coming, he dusted off one of his old suitcases and offered it to her as a chair. “Sorry about this weather,” he said.


“I’m fine, but you must be freezing,” she said, as she draped a blanket over his shoulders. “It’s been raining for days.”


He shrugged. “My teeth are clattering like piano keys, but we’ve been through worse,” he said.


Abdul had come to rely on their weekly visits as his only semblance of stability during a time in which living on the street in San Diego had become what he called “a daily game of Russian roulette.” His longtime partner, Phasia McKee, had died in November of a suspected fentanyl overdose at 46 years old. Three of his friends had been run over and killed in their tents by an intoxicated driver who swerved onto the sidewalk. In the last year, Abdul had revived six people after fentanyl overdoses by administering CPR and the nasal spray naloxone. He had also overdosed five times himself, including once a few days earlier, when he collapsed on the sidewalk, gashed open his forehead, suffered a minor stroke and spent 36 hours in the emergency room before being released back to the street.


“How’s your recovery going?” Laine asked.


“I’ve got my miracle drug,” he said, holding up a small container of olive oil, pouring some onto his hands and massaging it into his skin.


“What about your medications?”


“They’re either lost, stolen or in here somewhere,” he said, as he began to sift through a grocery cart, a suitcase and two plastic bins that contained all his belongings. Laine knelt next to him to check his vitals. He had a slight fever, and his blood pressure was dangerously high. She gave him aspirin and took out her computer to add another line to his medical chart, which told the story of a life outside: chronic fatigue, malnourishment, alcoholism, blurred vision, schizoaffective disorder, depression, anxiety, paranoia.


For the past several weeks, Laine’s increasing concern about Abdul’s health had extended beyond her workdays with the nonprofit group Healthcare in Action and into her evenings, until she sometimes picked up her son at day care and drove 45 minutes back into San Diego just to make sure Abdul was still there. The average age of death for people who were homeless in San Diego was less than 50, and Abdul was about to turn 64.


“I’m worried something bad could happen to you at any moment,” Laine said.


“From Him we come, and to Him we return,” Abdul said, repeating one of his favorite phrases in Arabic from the Quran.


“But not yet, OK?” Laine said.


“Not yet,” he agreed.


Abdul had spent the last several years bouncing between temporary apartments and being forced by the police to move his sleeping bag from one sidewalk to the next, until the closest thing he had left to permanent shelter was a parking garage on a hill overlooking downtown. The concrete entrance was 15 feet wide and 20 feet deep. He squeezed against the wall every few minutes as cars drove in to park for $45 a day. A sign at the entryway read: “Warning! Breathing the air in this garage can expose you to chemicals which are known to cause cancer and other harm. Do not stay longer than necessary.”


Abdul had managed to stay off and on for 20 months by making himself useful and by charming the private security guards whose job it was to keep the garage clear. He washed and detailed customers’ cars and compulsively cleaned litter off the nearby streets with a broom and a dust pan. He greeted dozens of office workers by name each morning and serenaded them on their way to work. “The homeless mayor of San Diego,” some people called him.


But at night the nearby offices emptied out, the parking garage went dark, and the only people left on the block were the ones with nowhere else to go. A half-dozen people who lived on the street dragged over their belongings to join Abdul in the garage, where they could stay dry under the overhang and look out for one another until daybreak.


“I can’t feel my damn feet,” Eric Thompson, 57, said as he sat down a piece of cardboard near the back of the garage and settled in for another long night during San Diego’s wettest spring in decades. The temperature dropped to 52 degrees, and it started raining again.


“You have to get your blood moving in this cold,” Abdul said. “Start wiggling your toes.”


“I’m trying, but they don’t move,” Eric said. His jeans were soaked, and a decade of alcoholism had left him with poor circulation and chronic numbness in his arms and legs.


“All right, I got you,” Abdul said, as he unlaced Eric’s shoes and started to warm his feet in his hands. Abdul had moved to California two decades earlier to take care of his mother and his brother while they were dying of cancer, and he had nursed his own grief with vodka and heroin until he went to jail on a drug offense, lost his refurbishing business and started a new life on the street, changing his name from Howard to Abdul. He was still a caretaker by nature, testing the safety of his friends’ drugs with fentanyl test strips, bandaging their spider bites and staying awake for most of the night to watch over people who moved between the nearby shelters and the garage. There was Michelle Benitez, 56, who had an abusive ex-boyfriend and a Little League baseball bat she carried for protection; and Pamela Thomas, 51, a former fentanyl addict who collected pieces of burned tinfoil off the sidewalk and folded them into ornate frogs, butterflies and boats that she wore as jewelry; and Henrietta Maes, 38, who was often carrying a portable gas canister and lighting up something to smoke in a pipe, including now, as a private security guard walked by on patrol.


“No way!” the guard shouted. “You’re going to burn this place down. This is private property. Get out.”


Abdul snatched away Henrietta’s pipe and apologized. “You’re right,” he said. “That one’s on us. No more smoking. I give you my word.”


“Good, but you still have to get out,” the security guard said.


“Come on, man,” Abdul pleaded. “It’s raining. It’s cold. How many cigarettes have we smoked together? You know me.”


“Sorry. If I lose this job, I’ll be out here with y’all.”


“OK, OK, I got you,” Abdul said. He packed his belongings, dragged them around a corner and told everyone else to do the same. They waited outside in the rain for 25 minutes until the end of the security guard’s shift and then moved everything back into the garage. Now their clothes and blankets were drenched, and Eric was shaking and starting to slur his words. Abdul covered him in blankets and sleeping bags and piled on a layer of garbage bags to hold in the heat.


“You getting any warmer?” he asked. Eric just groaned. “Hey,” Abdul said, jabbing his finger against the pile of sleeping bags until Eric finally rolled over.


“I can’t stop shivering,” Eric said. “Everything stings.”


“Just don’t fall asleep — keep talking to me,” Abdul said, and finally, with some prodding, Eric started to tell him about how he had lived for a while on a boat in the San Diego harbor, and how one summer he had sailed his 26-foot Marlin all the way from California to Hawaii.


“I bet it was hot over there,” Abdul said. Eric kept reminiscing about his eight months in Hawaii as Abdul listened and searched the garage for a working cellphone, in case he needed to call 9-1-1. The emergency room at the nearest hospital had recorded 10,500 homeless visits in the last year alone. According to the district attorney’s office, people who were homeless in San Diego were 118 times more likely than the general population to die of a drug overdose, 19 times more likely to be murdered, 12 times more likely to be assaulted, and eight times more likely to commit suicide. One of Abdul’s friends had been murdered with a railroad spike. Another had drowned in the San Diego Bay while drunk. Another had died by suicide, overdosing on prescription medication while Abdul, unaware, listened to music 20 feet away. Another had been hit by a semi-truck after wandering into the highway during a psychotic episode. Others had died from outbreaks of Covid-19, shigella and hepatitis A.


Abdul had helped his partner, Phasia, recover from two overdoses before she died at a friend’s apartment, and lately whenever Abdul remembered that night, his mind wandered from the entryway of the garage up to the sixth-story roof, where he sometimes imagined walking up to the edge and falling.


Eric was silent. Everyone else in the garage was asleep or nodding out on drugs. Abdul nudged Eric’s sleeping bag again with his foot.


“You ever go to one of those luaus?” he asked. Eric didn’t respond.


“Hey,” Abdul said. “You alive under there?”


“Let it be,” Eric said. “I’d probably make a better angel anyway.”


“Not on my watch,” Abdul said. “I’ll stay up with you. You’ll be all right.”


Laine arrived at the garage early the next morning to deliver them hot coffee, dry blankets and also some good news. She’d spoken to a colleague on her nonprofit team, and it turned out that since Abdul had served in the Air Force after high school, he was eligible for a subsidized apartment through the Department of Veterans Affairs.


“It’s still not a slam dunk,” Laine explained as she started to write down a list of steps for Abdul’s potential move indoors. He needed to replace his lost Social Security card, but he had already exceeded his lifetime limit of 10 cards, so that would require writing a letter and applying for a special exemption. Then he needed to replace his missing state ID, clear up a warrant for a minor drug offense, establish a working bank account, complete a half-dozen forms and interview with potential landlords.


And before he could do any of those things, he needed a working phone.


“You should have a way to communicate with the outside world,” Laine said, and she emphasized her point again: Abdul’s best chance to survive was to get an apartment, and the first step toward getting an apartment was to have a working phone.


“Consider it done,” Abdul said. “It’ll happen today. Guaranteed.”


He knew a guy named Mike who ran a phone kiosk by the bay, and Mike had once told Abdul that if he brought back his old iPhone in working condition, he could replace it with one that had cell service for just $30. Abdul turned on his portable radio and started humming to himself as he searched for his old phone, emptying his suitcases and his grocery cart across the floor of the garage. He found six rolls of toilet paper, 14 cans of food, three electronic screwdrivers, a half-eaten chocolate cake, eight phone chargers, an unopened pack of underwear — and finally, there it was, an iPhone with a cracked screen. “Big day,” Abdul said, as he turned up the music. “Making moves.”


He hit a button to turn on the phone, but the battery was dead. He tried all eight chargers until he found one that fit and then walked to a convenience store to ask if he could use the outlet. The manager said first he needed to buy something, so Abdul went back to the garage and spent 45 minutes trying to borrow money from friends who didn’t have any, until finally someone agreed to pay him $10 to rent his portable radio.


Abdul ran back to the store, bought a pack of cigarettes, plugged in his phone and waited almost an hour until it powered on. The display screen showed that it was just past noon. Abdul still needed to come up with $30, and he also had to find someone to guard his belongings in the garage while he took the trolley to the phone kiosk.


He spotted Henrietta walking down the street, wearing blush and long lashes. “Can you do me a favor?” Abdul asked. “Will you watch my stuff for an hour so it doesn’t get stolen?”


“Sure,” Henrietta said. “Give me 10 minutes. I’ll be right back.”


Abdul repacked his belongings into a corner of the garage and waited for 10 minutes, 30 minutes, almost an hour. “This is starting to get on my nerves,” he said. He searched through his belongings for his portable radio to play some music and then remembered he had rented it out. He smoked a dab of marijuana. He drank from a pint of vodka. He remembered that Laine wanted him to take his anti-anxiety medications when he could feel himself getting upset, so he unpacked all his belongings to search for his pillbox, found nothing, and repacked everything again. It was almost 3 p.m., and the phone kiosk would close in an hour.


“Hey, can you watch my stuff really quick?” Abdul asked another friend, whom he had revived after an overdose a few months earlier.


“Sorry,” the friend said. “I’m having a rough moment.”


“Who the hell ain’t?” Abdul said. Another dab. Another pull off the vodka. He hadn’t eaten in 12 hours or slept in two days, and he could feel his body getting numb and his thoughts becoming cloudy. He looked around for anyone else he could trust to watch his things. Eric was finally asleep on the sidewalk in the sun. Michelle was crying about her abusive boyfriend and pointing her baseball bat in the direction of cars as they drove by. Twenty yards down the sidewalk, a man was smoking fentanyl and nodding out of consciousness with his pants down at his knees. Abdul watched him fall off the curb into the street, and he went over to check on him. The man’s breathing was shallow and his face was starting to turn purple. Abdul thumped him in the chest several times until he was alert enough to sit up and then helped him back to the sidewalk.


“You all right?” Abdul said. The man looked at him but didn’t respond.


“Should I go get the fire department?” Abdul asked. The man shook his head. “Then get your act together,” Abdul said. “Stand up. Pull up your pants. I’m so sick of fixing all these broken toys.”


“Everything OK?” Michelle asked.


“No, it’s not OK!” Abdul shouted. “I’m nowhere close to feeling stable right now. I spent all day trying to get off this sidewalk and never made it 30 feet. This place is quicksand.”


She sat down next to him on the sidewalk and offered him half of her granola bar. They stayed there together until the kiosk closed and the sun dropped below the skyscrapers of downtown, and then they went back into the garage.


A few days later, Laine pulled up for her next appointment with Abdul and found the garage empty. Abdul’s belongings were piled in a corner, but he was nowhere in sight. “It’s not like him to just leave his stuff,” Laine said, so she started walking through the neighborhood to look for him. He wasn’t in the convenience store where he usually bought vodka or in the soup kitchen where he sometimes ate lunch. She spotted Michelle standing on a corner, smoking a cigarette in her nightgown.


“Any sign of Abdul?” Laine asked.


“Not since last night,” Michelle said. She joined Laine’s search, whistling and shouting Abdul’s name across downtown. He had disappeared from the garage before, and once Michelle had found him crawling in the middle of Fourth Avenue with a dislocated shoulder and a broken sternum after being hit by a car. Now she circled the block and saw an ambulance pulling over to the sidewalk where a man was passed out with his face against the ground. “Oh, no,” she said. She hurried closer and watched the paramedics lift the person onto a stretcher, until she could tell it wasn’t Abdul.


They kept searching until Laine was late for her next appointment. She gave her phone number to Michelle and squeezed her hand. “Call me when you see him,” she said.


“He’ll turn up and be fine, right?” Michelle asked.


“Probably,” Laine said. “I hope so.”


She got into a van with her colleagues and went to check on their other patients, almost all of whom were suffering from mental health conditions and substance abuse disorders. One was recovering from an overdose and said her blood still felt “thick like lavender.” Another was lying under a highway overpass and trying to pick imaginary parasites from her feet with a flat-head screwdriver. Laine called a prescription into the pharmacy and then checked her phone, wondering about Abdul.


She knew from her own family experience that the outcomes for a life on the street could be sudden and unpredictable. Her father had been homeless in San Diego for brief parts of her childhood as he suffered from alcoholism and an oxycodone addiction, but then he had managed to get sober with the help of a church and become the director of a street choir and a soup kitchen. Her uncle had been homeless at the same time, and despite stints in rehab and several family interventions, he had continued drinking until he died alone in a motel room at age 48. “Sometimes peace is knowing there’s an end to suffering,” Laine remembered a pastor saying at his funeral.


She parked the van and tried to help stabilize a patient who was throwing rocks into the freeway during a psychotic episode.


She parked again to treat a man with second-degree burns and open wounds on his feet. “How much are you drinking?” she asked. He thought about it for a moment and took a sip of his beer. “Profusely,” he said. “Nothing else takes away the pain.”


She drove from the East Village to the Second Avenue Bridge, passing row after row of tents. San Diego was building seven new shelters and opening four designated parking lots for people who slept in their cars, but each month more people were being priced out of one of America’s most expensive cities and becoming homeless than the number who were getting off the street. There were more than 1,900 people living on the sidewalks of downtown, triple the number from 2020, but what Laine found even more humbling than the scale of the crisis was the effort required to help just one of them.


Abdul was the first patient she had met when she started working at Healthcare in Action, and he had acted as her guide on the street, teaching her the vocabulary of fentanyl addiction and introducing her to other people who needed help. In return, she had spent hundreds of hours trying to untangle the mess of his daily life, but it was never enough. Her team had worked to secure placement for Abdul in a 90-day rehab program, but he left after three days. They got him an appointment with a specialist to check if he had colon cancer, but he fell asleep in the warmth of the waiting room and missed the appointment.


In the last few days, they had found a landlord who knew Abdul and was willing to overlook some of the paperwork and hand over the keys to a subsidized apartment, but Laine was already wondering how long it would last. Abdul had turned his last temporary shelter into a refuge for his homeless friends, collecting people and junk and then eventually rats in his apartment, until he was back outside again.


Laine parked the van, took out her phone and texted Michelle. “Did you find him yet?” she asked. She was walking into the Salvation Army shelter to see another patient when her phone rang.


“I’m with him,” Michelle said. “It’s not good.”


Abdul was sitting with a blanket over his head in the lobby of a family medical clinic, mumbling to himself, dry heaving and occasionally moaning in pain. Laine knelt beside him to take his blood pressure, and the machine showed a reading of 168 over 153. “That can’t be right,” she said. She had never seen hypertension that severe in any of her patients, so she restarted the machine and checked again: 165 over 152. “Dude, this is seriously not good,” she said. “How are you even managing right now?”


She put her arm around Abdul’s shoulder, and after a few seconds he opened his eyes and started to list off some of his symptoms: nausea, headache, dizziness, blurred vision in his right eye, partial paralysis in his hands, and numbness on the right side of his body. Laine called a physician assistant on her team to see if Abdul needed to go to the hospital, but first they decided to try giving him a series of medications. Laine handed him four aspirin and seven other pills. He chewed them down one at a time, and after a while his blood pressure started to come down.


“There’s something else we need to do while I’m here,” Laine said. She took out a medical form that she’d been thinking about since Abdul went missing. It was an advance directive for his medical care in case of an emergency, and she started reading him the questions.


“If something happened, would you want life support?” she asked. “CPR?”


“I’ve given it to people lots of times,” Abdul said. “So sure, I’d receive it.”


“How about a ventilator if you can’t breathe on your own?”


“Hmm,” he said. He was struggling to keep his eyes open. “If my mind’s still there, then yeah, OK. But give me some drugs.”


“Feeding tube?”


“That’s a hard one,” he said. He closed his eyes and leaned back against the chair. “I don’t know. Let me think about it.”


She waited for a minute as his head dropped toward his chest, and then she put her hand on his knee. “Are you thinking, or are you falling asleep?”


“I’m dreaming,” he said.


“About what?”


“Something nice — something other than dying,” he said. She watched him for another moment as his body relaxed and his breathing slowed, and then she quietly packed up her medical bag and put away the advance directive for another time. She expected that soon he would have a place to sleep inside, and maybe for at least a while, neither of them would have to worry quite as much about the garage, or the cold, or the rain, or the cars swinging by, or the psychotic episodes, or the falls, or the overdoses.


“Get some rest, and we’ll finish this later,” she whispered. She got up to leave, but then Abdul stirred and reached for her arm.


“I thought about it,” he said. “If there’s any way I can still be saved, please save me.”



7) Jordan Neely Was on New York’s ‘Top 50’ List of Homeless People at Risk

Mr. Neely, who was killed by another subway rider, was on a watch list for a city task force that kept track of the New Yorkers of most concern.

By Andy Newman, May 13, 2023

Protesters walk down a Manhattan street in SoHo carrying signs and flags.

Protesters and politicians have rallied in the city after the killing of Mr. Neely. Many have called for more investment in support systems for mentally ill and homeless people. Credit...Hilary Swift for The New York Times

For years before Jordan Neely, a mentally ill homeless man, was killed in the subway, the city had its eye on him.


He was on a list informally known as the Top 50, a roster of people in a city of eight million who stand out for the severity of their troubles and their resistance to accepting help. The list is overseen by a task force of city agency workers and social-service nonprofits; when homeless-outreach workers see someone who is on the list, in some cases they are supposed to notify the city and try to get that person to a shelter.


Despite that, and an open arrest warrant, Mr. Neely was out on his own on May 1, when he began ranting at passengers. A Marine veteran, Daniel Penny, grabbed him and choked him to death; Mr. Penny has now been charged with manslaughter.


In the wake of Mr. Neely’s death, the administration of Mayor Eric Adams has been criticized by advocates for homeless people and left-leaning political opponents who say the killing highlights deep problems in the city’s support systems for homeless people and those with mental illness.


At a news conference on Thursday, Councilwoman Pierina Sanchez, referring to Mr. Neely’s presence on the list, said: “Our city knew exactly who Jordan was, where he was and what his history was. And yet we failed him.”


But as officials describe it, the task force and the Top 50 list were formed precisely for the people whom the system had failed time and again. The death of Mr. Neely, 30, who had been homeless for years, also shows the limits of the tools the task force has at its disposal and the difficulty of keeping track of people who are transient and elusive, let alone getting them to accept help.


In a speech this week, Mr. Adams called the group that maintains the list “the guiding force” behind the city’s efforts to help people like Mr. Neely “stabilize and heal from the ravages of homelessness and long-term, untreated psychosis.”


The goal of the list is to connect disparate bureaucracies across a vast city, in which a group of people with intense needs regularly interacts with hospital personnel, street social workers and police officers who do not regularly interact with each other.


The people on the list are among the city’s “most entrenched and chronic patients,” the mayor’s senior adviser for severe mental illness, Brian Stettin, said in an interview, and are discussed at weekly meetings of the task force.


The group that monitors the list, known formally as the Coordinated Behavioral Health Task Force, consists of workers from across city government, including the departments of Health, Homeless Services and Hospitals, along with representatives of the nonprofits that the city contracts with to try to connect homeless people to shelter and services, a process known as outreach.


At the weekly meetings, Mr. Stettin said, task force members exchange updates on the people on the list — “what their current needs seem to be” and in some cases “how their conditions have changed to the point where we have to start thinking about different ways we can approach their cases.”


Top 50 is a bit of a misnomer. The list does not have a fixed number of people on it, and there are actually two lists — one for people who typically stay in the subways and one for people who stay in the streets. People can be taken off the list for any number of reasons, including moving into housing or going to jail.


Mr. Neely was on the subway list, according to an employee of the Bowery Residents’ Committee, a group that has the city contract to do outreach in the subways.


Outreach workers in the subways are supposed to be familiar with all the names on the subway list, said the Bowery Residents’ Committee employee, who spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the matter.


When they encounter someone who is on it, the employee said, they are supposed to notify the Department of Homeless Services, which can arrange transport to a type of shelter known as a safe haven. Safe havens have fewer rules and restrictions than barrackslike group shelters and are often more appealing to the homeless people who typically avoid shelters.


For people on the street version of the list, which in early May included about 65 people, being on it can get someone badly needed services more quickly, said Juan Rivera, the outreach director for BronxWorks, which has the city contract to do street outreach in the Bronx.


Mr. Rivera described a man who had been staying at a BronxWorks safe haven, broken some windows in a rage and left for the streets. BronxWorks had him added to the Top 50 list, which allowed him to jump up the wait list to become a client of a street squad of clinicians known as an Intensive Mobile Treatment team.


Working with the mobile treatment team, the man regained stability and has moved into permanent housing, Mr. Rivera said.


“He’s still connected with his team, and he’s doing really well,” he said.


As for Mr. Neely, he had been a fixture for years in the subway system — first in his teens and 20s as a gifted Michael Jackson impersonator who captivated commuters with his fluent moonwalking, and later, as he tumbled into mental illness and drug abuse, as a disheveled and sporadically violent man who racked up repeated arrests and trips to hospitals. Mr. Neely was on the list in 2019, when it was launched, and remained on it until his death, according to the Bowery Residents’ Committee employee.


In February, Mr. Neely, who had been in jail on an assault charge for punching a 67-year-old woman and breaking several bones in her face, was released to a residential treatment program, under a plea deal that required him to avoid trouble for 15 months, stay on antipsychotic medication and not abuse drugs.


Two weeks later, he walked out of the facility and did not return, and the arrest warrant was issued.


In March, Mr. Neely was approached by homeless-outreach workers at a subway station in Manhattan. He was neatly dressed and calm and accepted a ride to a shelter in the Bronx where he spent the night, according to outreach records shared with The New York Times.


But on April 8, when outreach workers found him at an end-of-the-line station in Coney Island, Mr. Neely, wearing dirty clothes riddled with burn holes, exposed himself and urinated inside a subway car, according to the notes shared with The Times.


Outreach workers, whose job requires them to win the trust of people who seek to avoid contact with the authorities, typically do not check for warrants, but they summoned the police, who ejected him from the station.


The police were also apparently unaware of the warrant. A program launched in 2019 in which the police did warrant checks on people caught violating transit-system rules was abandoned during the pandemic, after criticism that it was criminalizing homelessness.


The workers in Coney Island learned only the next day that the person they had met was a man on the Top 50 list, case notes show.


A note later filed by an outreach worker about the encounter reads prophetically: “Due to client’s aggressive behavior, he could be a harm to others or himself if left untreated and not assessed by a mental health professional.”


Under a directive issued by Mr. Adams last fall, people who are in such a severe state of psychological crisis that they are a danger to themselves or to others are supposed to be taken to a hospital for evaluation, involuntarily if necessary.


End-of-the-line subway outreach teams typically include nurses who work for the city and are trained to do field assessments of people and have them transported to hospitals. Outreach notes do not indicate whether a nurse evaluated Mr. Neely at Coney Island.


Mr. Neely had been hospitalized involuntarily in the past, but does not appear to have been during the last months of his life.


Lauren McCarthy contributed reporting.