Watch This The incarcerated women who take care of each other during pregnancy
Say It Louder Walking while Black
Archie L. Alston II is a lawyer and Board Member of the Center for the Study of Race and Law, Notes Editor for the Journal of Social Policy and the Law and a writer for the Virginia Law Weekly.
The evening I found out Ahmaud Arbery was killed, I fried whiting fish in the air fryer, and I can’t lie, it was damn good. So good that I had to have two Hawaiian sweet dinner rolls to complement the meal along with the broccoli and cauliflower. Afterwards, I felt I might have overdone it a bit so I decided I’d take a walk. By this time, it’s 9 p.m.
I walked to my front door, and told my fiancée that I’d be back soon. She said OK, with a tinge of trepidation — just enough to snap me back into reality. I was reminded that I live in America, in a nice neighborhood, and that I am a large negro. My mind flooded with scenarios of everything that could go wrong on my walk, based on everything that had gone wrong for others like me. Others whose nights I imagine began as innocently as my own.
Just when I thought that I had become desensitized to racial violence, the death of Arbery had struck me to my core. Arbery, 25, was shot twice while out for a jog by Travis McMichael, who with father Gregory, chased Arbery in a pickup truck. Gregory told the police that he thought he looked like a man suspected in neighborhood break-ins. There was no way for me to rationalize in the slightest why he was murdered. Arbery’s killing, which happened while he was doing something so seemingly routine — jogging — had me unwittingly fearful of exercising one of the most basic of human rights, the right to simply exist.
While I absolutely have routines that I run through as a black man — i.e. my “police protocol,” my “workforce protocol,” etc. — prior to what happened with Arbery, I did not run through a checklist for something as benign as taking a walk in my neighborhood.
Still, on this particular evening, I grabbed my photo ID and my credit card, just in case. But my ID still had my permanent address in Richmond, Virginia, and I’m in Fredericksburg. That wouldn’t help me. I grabbed the water bill to prove that I live in this neighborhood. I headed back towards the door, only to catch a glimpse of myself in the hall mirror. I probably didn’t look like I lived in this neighborhood. Back upstairs I went. Almost by muscle memory, I threw on a University of Virginia hoodie and a U.Va. hat. Even racists love U.Va., or its home of Charlottesville at least. I contemplated throwing on my U.Va. Law hoodie but feared it may have been too much. Would someone feel intimidated and use that as provocation? My anger began rising.
Read the story on NY Times
More of This Let our people go
Michelle Alexander is a civil rights lawyer and advocate, legal scholar and author of “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.”
I have been wondering what to say about the horror of Covid-19 behind bars. Much has already been written about the scale of the crisis, the moral argument for freeing people from prisons and jails, and the utter inadequacy of the response in many states, including New York.
Activists, community leaders, medical experts and family members of people who are incarcerated have been raising their voices to little avail. In recent weeks, I sensed something was missing from the public debate but struggled to name it.
Then I read a letter from a man in Marion Correctional Institution in Ohio. Suddenly the answer was obvious.
In Ohio, my home state, more than 80 percent of the people caged at Marion have been infected with the coronavirus because of the state’s lackluster response. Thirteen have died. Last month, the Ohio Prisoners Justice League and Ohio Organizing Collaborative demanded that Gov. Mike DeWine release 20,000 prisoners, about 40 percent of those in state custody, by the end of May. That number would encompass those whose sentences are nearly complete, those imprisoned for “nonviolent” offenses, elderly people and those with health problems that render them especially vulnerable to infection.
Read the story on NY Times
Even More of This California offers $500 in COVID aid to undocumented immigrants
For two decades, Adolfo Luna has earned his family’s keep as a musician, playing his accordion and singing at weddings and other events in Southern California. “I have been making an honest living, paying the bills and filing my taxes,” Mr. Luna said. Then the coronavirus pandemic struck, eliminating group gatherings — and all his bookings.
Since March, Mr. Luna, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, has been trying to find construction work, factory work or any other work, to no avail. Going on three months without a gig, he barely made the rent and for the first time missed his car-insurance payment.
On Monday, the musician was among thousands in California hoping to sign up for a landmark new state relief program that will provide taxpayer-funded assistance to undocumented immigrants, who have been shut out of federal relief programs and unemployment assistance.
Within minutes after the phone lines opened, many people reported they could not get through, and by 10 a.m., an hour after it opened, many of the phone lines crashed.
The $75 million cash assistance program, awarded on a first-come first-served basis, was being conducted almost entirely by telephone to avoid hazardous in-person contacts.
The available funding will allow only about 150,000 immigrants to benefit, according to state officials.
Read the story on NY Times
Less of This The shadowy conservative group behind all of Trump’s judges
Caroline Fredrickson is the former president of the American Constitution Society and Eric J. Segall is a law professor at Georgia State University.
When the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, called the chamber back into session two weeks ago, he did not do it to debate legislation regarding Covid-19 or other essential, time-sensitive business. Rather, as usual, he seemed mostly interested in having the Judiciary Committee consider confirming judges — this time most significantly Justin Walker, Mr. McConnell’s protégé, to the powerful U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
This isn’t a surprise. The majority leader’s major priority for the last three years has been to confirm President Trump’s judicial nominees. Most of them have ties to the Federalist Society.
Despite having served for only six months as a federal district judge in Western Kentucky, a post for which the American Bar Association rated him unqualified because of his lack of trial or litigation experience, Judge Walker, 37, will no doubt be confirmed. (The A.B.A. now says he is qualified because of his legal scholarship and analytic ability.) He would be the youngest judge seated on the appeals court in Washington since 1983.
No doubt the urgency of his confirmation grows out of his full-throated defense of Brett Kavanaugh, for whom he served as a law clerk, at the Senate’s Kavanaugh hearings in 2018, and Judge Walker’s history in conservative legal circles, including the Federalist Society, which he joined his first year in law school.
Read the story on NY Times
Less of This Too It’s hard to flee from your abuser during a lockdown
When the stay-at-home order went into effect in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, C. realized her plan to leave her abusive husband had just been sped up. Her two teenage children would suddenly be home to witness the violence.
"My kids were home from school and they were going to see this," said C., who asked that her full name not be used to protect her privacy. "They knew how controlling he was, but knowing that they would be home — we didn't make it two weeks into our stay-at-home order.”
The family walked on eggshells during the order, she said. "What I wore to the way I did my hair — anything would set him off.”
C. knew she was going to leave, but didn't know when or how. When an argument over what television channel to watch began to escalate one night, she'd had enough.
She told her husband she was leaving, she said. He threatened to throw her down the stairs.
C. and her kids stayed in a hotel that night, while her husband emptied her bank account, freezing her financial options. At the bank the next morning, which was open for drive-through service only, she explained what happened to the teller. The teller said she'd once been in a similar situation and gave C. the phone number for the local domestic violence organization, Safe House for Women, saying they could help her.
Within hours, after a call to Safe House, C. and her children were in a hotel room with a kitchenette, where they've been for the last five weeks. She's among many women who have fled domestic violence during stay-at-home orders who have ended up in hotels for long-term stays because shelter capacity has been dramatically reduced to limit the potential spread of COVID-19.
Read the story on NBC News