Bill Quigley

Here are 6 very important data points that show the inextricable link between coronavirus and poverty in the US

In the United States, tens of millions of people are at a much greater risk of getting sick from the coronavirus than others.  The most vulnerable among us do not have the option to comply with suggestions to stay home from work or work remotely. Most low wage workers do not have any paid sick days and cannot do their work from home.  The over two million people in jails and prisons each night do not have these options nor do the half a million homeless people.

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The Blueprint for the Most Radical City on the Planet

In July 2017, Chokwe Antar Lumumba, 34, was sworn in as mayor of Jackson, Mississippi. He soon announced that the city was going to be the “most radical city on the planet.” This was no idle boast. One of the country’s most radical experiments in social and economic transformation is happening, of all places, in Jackson.

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A Warning Letter to Harvey and Irma Survivors from Katrina Survivors

Dear Fellow Hurricane Survivors:

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Major Weaknesses of New Orleans Charter Schools Have Been Laid Bare

New Orleans is the nation’s largest and most complete experiment in charter schools.   After Hurricane Katrina, the State of Louisiana took control of public schools in New Orleans and launched a nearly complete transformation of a public school system into a system of charter schools.  Though there are spots of improvement in the New Orleans charter system, major problems remain. 

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11 Examples of Resistance to Government Raids

As Dr. King reminded us in his letter from a Birmingham jail, “Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.”

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12 Ideas Post-Election from Frontline Organizers

When you find yourself in a suddenly darkened room, what do you do? Some rush blindly to where they think the door might be. Others stand still, let their eyes adjust to the different environment, reorient themselves, then cautiously move forward. Some search out people who might be able to show the way. Post-election, many people are reassessing and searching for the best way forward. Here are some ideas on where we should be going and what we should be doing from experienced, thoughtful people who are organizing on the front lines.  

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18 Examples of Racism in the Criminal Justice System

Racism may well be the biggest crime in the criminal legal system. If present trends continue, 1 of every 4 African American males born this decade can expect to go to prison in his lifetime despite the fact that the Census Bureau reports that the U.S. is 13 percent black, 61 percent white and 17 percent Latino.

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Katrina Pain Index 2016 by the Numbers: Race and Class Gap Widening

Hurricane Katrina hit 11 years ago. Population of the city of New Orleans is down by over 95,000 people from 484,674 in 2000 to 389,617 in 2015. Almost all this loss of people is in the African-American community. Child poverty is up, double the national average. The gap between rich and poor in New Orleans is massive, the largest in the country. The economic gap between well-off whites and low-income African Americans is widening. Despite receiving $76 billion in assistance after Katrina, poor and working people in New Orleans, especially African Americans, got very little of that help.

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Police Gone Overboard: Militarized Cops Arrest 200 Non-Violent Protesters in Baton Rouge

Since the police killing of Alton Sterlingthousands of people in Baton Rouge have been peacefully protesting day and night all over the city. There has been no arson in Baton Rouge, no looting, no burning cars, no windows broken, and no people beaten. Police report that rocks and other material has been thrown at them but there is no video of such action nor have there been any arrests for such actions.

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America's #1 Incarceration State

In 2014, the US Department of Justice confirmed Louisiana remained number 1, among the 50 states, with 38,030 in prison, a rate of 816 per 100,000 over 100 points ahead of next highest state Oklahoma.   Because the US leads the world in incarcerating its people, this means Louisiana is number one in the world.   Compare Louisiana’s rate of 816 people per 100,000 with Russia’s 492, China with 119, France with 100, and Germany with 78.

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Teacher, Union Leader, Labor Lawyer: Profile of Chris Williams Social Justice Advocate

A labor lawyer for the last 12 years, law was Chris Williams’ third career. He taught school in Chicago for a decade. For another decade he was a union organizer. Only then did he become a social justice lawyer specializing in advocating for and with low-wage workers. “Even though my route to law school was somewhat circuitous, I think my two prior careers help define who I am as a lawyer,” he says.

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How One Judge Refused to Let the Fundamental Right to a Fair Trial Collapse

New Orleans Criminal Court Judge Arthur Hunter, a former police officer, ruled that seven people awaiting trial in jail without adequate legal defense must be released.  The law is clear. The US Supreme Court, in their 1963 case Gideon v Wainwright, ruled that everyone who is accused of a crime has a Constitutional right a lawyer at the state’s expense if they cannot afford one.   However, Louisiana, in the middle of big budget problems, has been disregarding the constitutional right of thousands of people facing trial in its most recent statewide public defender meltdown.  Judge Hunter ruled that the Constitution makes it clear: no lawyer, no jail.

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Texas Mothers Jailed Five Days in Louisiana Over Two Hot Dogs

Two Texas mothers with no criminal records spent five days in a notorious Louisiana jail over charges that they ate but did not pay for two hot dogs, milkshakes and an icee at a convenience store. The women were ordered to be held on $1,500 bond each, despite the fact they had just voluntarily driven more than 400 miles from Dallas to show up in court to contest the charges against them.

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Six Billion-Dollar Industries That Make Their Profits From Exploiting the Poor

Many see families in poverty and seek to help. Others see families in poverty and see opportunities for profit.

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17 Shocking Stats That Expose the Decline and 1%ification of New Orleans

When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast on Aug. 29, 2005, the nation saw tens of thousands of people left behind in New Orleans. Ten years later, it looks like the same people in New Orleans have been left behind again.

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15 Most Outrageous Responses By Police After Killing Unarmed People

Police kill a lot of unarmed people. So far in 2015, as many as 100 unarmed people have been killed by police. 

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40 Reasons Our Jails and Prisons Are Full of Black and Poor People

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) reports 2.2 million people are in our nation’s jails and prisons and another 4.5 million people are on probation or parole in the US, totaling 6.8 million people, one of every 35 adults.  We are far and away the world leader in putting our own people in jail.  Most of the people inside are poor and Black. Here are 40 reasons why.

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10 Shocking Facts About Baltimore

Were you shocked at the disruption in Baltimore? What is more shocking is daily life in Baltimore, a city of 622,000 that is 63 percent African American. Here are 10 numbers that tell some of the story.

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Take the Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Inequality?

Question One. In 1990, twenty percent of all children in the US lived in poverty. What percent of the children in the US live in poverty today?
A: Ten percent
B: Fifteen percent
C: Twenty percent

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10 Ways Police in Ferguson May Be About to Break the Law

When the Michael Brown verdict is announced, people can expect the police to take at least ten different illegal actions to prevent people from exercising their constitutional rights.  The Ferguson police have been on TV more than others so people can see how awful they have been acting.  But their illegal police tactics are unfortunately quite commonly used by other law enforcement in big protests across the US.

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10 Facts About Police Violence in Ferguson Sunday Night

While the Governor of Missouri is sending in the National Guard to Ferguson, it is worth considering where the real violence is coming from.

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65 Million Americans Are Not Having a Happy July 4th

Over sixty-five million people in the US, perhaps a fifth of our sisters and brothers, are not enjoying the “unalienable rights” of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” promised when the Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776.  They are about 20 percent of our US population. This July 4 can be an opportunity to remember them and rededicate ourselves and our country to making these promises real for all people in the US.

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27-Year-Old Man Gets "20 Years Hard Labor" for Half an Ounce of Pot

While Colorado and Washington have de-criminalized recreational use of marijuana and twenty states allow use for medical purposes, a Louisiana man was sentenced to twenty years in prison in New Orleans criminal court for possessing 15 grams, .529 of an ounce, of marijuana.

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13 Things the Government Is Trying to Hide from You

“We believe most Americans would be stunned to learn the details of how these secret court opinions have interpreted…the Patriot Act.  As we see it, there is now a significant gap between what most Americans think the law allows and what the government secretly claims the law allows.  This is a problem, because it is impossible to have an informed public debate about what the law should say when the public doesn’t know what its government thinks the law says.”  U.S. senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall

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Week 4: Young Activists Continue to Take Over Florida State Capitol; Stand Your Ground to be Reviewed

Packed into the small reception area of the Florida governor’s office in Tallahassee, a couple dozen determined Dream Defenders conducted a people’s hearing on racial profiling. Black and brown college and high school youth took turns giving compelling testimony of being profiled at school, in public and by the police. In one corner was a court reporter. A camera was live streaming the proceedings.

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12 Real Patriots Brave Enough to Fight for Truth and Justice

On July 4, 1776, over fifty people signed the Declaration of Independence.  They were openly resisting the legal authority of the King of England.  Thousands joined them.  They were outlaws.  They were breaking the laws of England and risked capture, prison and even death for their belief in independence, equality, unalienable rights, and liberty.  They were far from perfect as slavery, the slaughter and removal of Native Americans and the exclusion of women demonstrated.  But they did resist their globally powerful government.

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15 Things Neither Romney Nor Obama Is Brave Enough to Stand For

Editor's Note: We know full-well of the few major differences between the two major presidential candidates. But what about the huge social and environmental issues that Obama and Romney won't talk about? There they have much in common, as Bill Quigley explains: 

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5 Reasons America's "Assassinations from Above" Pervert the Law

US civilian and military employees regularly target and fire lethal unmanned drone guided missiles at people across the world. Thousands of people have been assassinated. Hundreds of those killed were civilians. Some of those killed were rescuers and mourners.

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13 Ways You Can Be Tracked By the US Government

Privacy is eroding fast as technology offers government increasing ways to track and spy on citizens. The Washington Post reported there are 3,984 federal, state and local organizations working on domestic counterterrorism. Most collect information on people in the US. Here are thirteen examples of how some of the biggest government agencies and programs track people.

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Why Don't We Pay People Enough? 8 Facts About America's Struggling Working People

 “Our nation, so richly endowed with natural resources and with a capable and industrious population, should be able to devise ways and means of insuring to all our able-bodied men and women, a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.”  Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1937

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