Tag Archives: pandemic

Poor People’s Campaign Readies ‘Massive, Nonviolent’ Effort to Save Democracy

“We are not in this for a moment, but for a movement,” said Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II. “Our deadline is victory.”

By Jake Johnson.  Pubished 1-16-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Becker1999/flickr/CC

Don’t call it a day of action.

On June 18, the Poor People’s Campaign and its partners in organized labor, the civil rights movement, and religious communities are planning to mobilize their members and allies from across the U.S. to Washington, D.C. for what they hope will be the “largest mass assembly of poor people and low-wage workers in this nation’s history.”

But Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, cautioned against viewing the impending “massive, nonviolent” march on the nation’s capital as a singular event, one whose energy and demands will fade as soon as that June Saturday ends. Continue reading

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200 Inmates Hunger Strike Over ‘Inhumane’ Rikers Island

“It just keeps getting worse and worse,” said one inmate at the notorious New York City jail. “I don’t wish this upon nobody.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 1-13-2022 by Common Dreams

A large group gathered to support the prisoners inside Rikers Island. Photo: Dean Moses/Twitter

A hunger strike by around 200 prisoners at New York City’s Rikers Island jail entered its sixth day Thursday, as demonstrators continued to protest “deplorable” and dangerous conditions including lack of medical care during a surging Covid-19 outbreak at the notorious lockup, where 15 inmates died last year.

“It just gets worse and worse,” 55-year-old Rikers inmate Nelson Pinero told The New York Times, adding that mice and insects regularly keep him up at night. Continue reading

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More Than 8,000 Kroger Grocery Workers Strike in Colorado

The strike began a day after a report showed 14% of Kroger workers have experienced homelessness in the past year.

By Julia Conley.  Published 1-12-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Chimi Chi/Twitter

On the heels of a new report showing significant financial insecurity, including homelessness, among workers at Kroger grocery stores, more than 8,000 of the chain’s employees in Colorado went on strike Wednesday to demand fair wages and better healthcare benefits.

Amid a recent wave of successful strikes at companies including John Deere and Kellogg’s, the work stoppage is taking place at nearly 80 King Sooper grocery stores, which are owned by the Kroger Company, across the Denver metropolitan area. According to the Colorado Sun, 10 additional stores in Colorado Springs could also go on strike in the coming weeks. Continue reading

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Red Cross Declares First-Ever Blood Shortage Crisis in US

The warning that “lifesaving blood may not be available for some patients when it is needed” comes amid a surge in Covid-19 cases.

By Jessica Corbett.  Published 1-11-2022 by Common Dreams

Due to problems tied to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the American Red Cross on Tuesday declared its first-ever national blood shortage crisis, warning that already, “doctors have been forced to make difficult decisions about who receives blood transfusions and who will need to wait.”

The plea for “critically needed” blood and platelet donations comes during National Blood Donor Month and amid a surge in U.S. Covid-19 cases driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant. Continue reading

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After 7 Years, Anti-War Group That Fed the Hungry Wins Fight With Fort Lauderdale

“We outlived and outmaneuvered the old mayor, city manager, and city attorney, who were all intent on policing us and the homeless out of existence,” said the local chapter of Food Not Bombs.

By Kenny Stancil  Published 1-5-2022 by Common Dreams

“It took seven years, but Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs’ federal civil liberties lawsuit against Fort Lauderdale for banning food sharings is finally concluding,” the group said on January 3, 2022. (Photo: Ft. Lauderdale Food Not Bombs/Facebook)

Anti-hunger and anti-war activists in Florida have reportedly won their protracted legal fight against the city government of Fort Lauderdale, which agreed to compensate the local chapter of Food Not Bombs after spending years trying to prevent the group from sharing free food with people in need at a downtown park.

“It took seven years, but Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs’ federal civil liberties lawsuit against Fort Lauderdale for banning food sharings is finally concluding,” the group said Monday in a statement. “After we won our second appeal in August 2021, the city has accepted a settlement that admits they were wrong to enforce the park rule against us and will pay us a small amount of damages. They will also have to pay our lawyers a great deal more!”

Last August, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th District ruled unanimously that “a rule limiting food-sharing inside Fort Lauderdale parks is unconstitutional as applied to Food Not Bombs’ hosting of free vegan meals for the homeless,” the Courthouse News Service reported at the time.

According to the outlet:

A three-judge panel of the Atlanta-based appeals court overturned a Florida federal court’s summary judgment in favor of the city, finding that a rule which banned the sharing of food as a social service in city parks without written permission violated Food Not Bombs’ First Amendment rights.

Fort Lauderdale Park Rule 2.2 requires city permission for social service food-sharing events in all Fort Lauderdale parks and allows officials to charge as much as $6,000 for the permitting process.

In a 64-page ruling issued Tuesday, the panel determined the rule cannot lawfully qualify as a “valid regulation” of Food Not Bombs’ expressive conduct due to its “utterly standardless permission requirement.”

In its statement, Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs said that the favorable settlement is “on top of the victories this lawsuit already accomplished in years’ prior, including the 2018 appeals ruling that ruled that the original sharing ban law was unconstitutional—[…] creating a strongly worded precedent about sharing food as protected free speech.”

“We had to bite our tongues a lot over the years to see how this would play out, but no more,” the group continued. “We outlived and outmaneuvered the old mayor, city manager, and city attorney, who were all intent on policing us and the homeless out of existence.”

“Let’s not forget multiple FLPD chiefs and captains who sent their goons to stalk and arrest us, all gone now!” the group added. “Nuts to all the narrow-minded fools who wanted to be rid of us.”

Decrying government efforts to crack down on those who feed the poor, Keith McHenry—co-founder of Food Not Bombs, which uses surplus ingredients that would otherwise be thrown away to provide vegetarian meals to people in more than 1,000 cities in 65 countries across the world—told the Institute for Public Accuracy on Wednesday that “sharing free food with the hungry is an unregulated gift of love.”

McHenry—currently in Houston, where another local chapter is risking arrest by refusing to comply with a city ordinance that seeks to move meal distribution from outside the downtown library to a parking lot near the courthouse—noted that in addition to worsening poverty, the coronavirus crisis has made obtaining assistance more difficult, underscoring the importance of Food Not Bombs.

“While most indoor soup kitchens shut down during the pandemic,” he said, “Food Not Bombs continued to share with the unhoused.”

This work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

 

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What will 2022 bring in the way of misinformation on social media? 3 experts weigh in

A cutout display at a protest highlighted the connection between social media and the real-world effects of misinformation.
Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc. via Getty Images

Anjana Susarla, Michigan State University; Dam Hee Kim, University of Arizona, and Ethan Zuckerman, UMass Amherst

At the end of 2020, it seemed hard to imagine a worse year for misinformation on social media, given the intensity of the presidential election and the trauma of the COVID-19 pandemic. But 2021 proved up to the task, starting with the Jan. 6 insurrection and continuing with copious amounts of falsehoods and distortions about COVID-19 vaccines.

To get a sense of what 2022 could hold, we asked three researchers about the evolution of misinformation on social media. Continue reading

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‘A Huge Deal’: Biden Rebuffs Georgia’s Medicaid Work Requirement—Last in US

“By ending work requirements in many states, Biden is erasing one of Trump’s cruelest legacies.”

By Kenny Stancil.  Published 12-24-2021 by Common Dreams

Screenshot: CNN

After the White House on Thursday rejected a proposal to impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients in Georgia—the last state with a federal waiver permitting such restrictions—President Joe Biden received praise for “quietly erasing” one of his predecessor’s “cruelest legacies.”

“The announcement from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, delivered in a 79-page letter to Georgia’s health agency, also reversed a federal waiver allowing the state to charge premiums for the health insurance program for the poor,” according to the New York Times. Continue reading

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Some Prisoners Released During Pandemic Can Stay on Home Confinement, Says DOJ

“We commend the attorney general for listening to thousands of families who asked not to be separated from their loved ones.”

By Jessica Corbett.  Published 12-21-2021 by Common Dreams

Protesters from the Decarcerate Minnesota Coalition and the Twin Cities Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee
outside the Department of Corrections headquarters in St. Paul.in July 2021. Screenshot: KARE 11

Rights advocates and progressive U.S. lawmakers on Tuesday welcomed an announcement that some federal prisoners released to home confinement during the Covid-19 pandemic will not be required to return to prison—a reversal of a controversial Trump administration policy.

“We commend the attorney general for listening to thousands of families who asked not to be separated from their loved ones,” tweeted the ACLU. “Thousands of people can now breathe a sigh of relief knowing they will be able to remain in the communities where they have been living and working.” Continue reading

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“Four Meals from Anarchy”: Rising Food Prices Could Spark Famine, War, and Revolution in 2022

The political consequences of hunger are profound and unpredictable but could be the spark that lights a powder keg of anger and resentment that would make the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests look tame by comparison.

By Alan Macleod.  Published 12-17-2021 by MintPress News


Soldiers from the 1177th Transportation Company support warehouse and distribution operations at the Atlanta Community Food Bank as a part of the Georgia National Guard COVID-19 response force, April 2020. Photo: Georgia National Guard/Wikimedia Commons/CC

Already dealing with the economic fallout from a protracted pandemic, the rapidly rising prices of food and other key commodities have many fearing that unprecedented political and social instability could be just around the corner next year.

With the clock ticking on student loan and rent debts, the price of a standard cart of food has jumped 6.4% in the past 12 months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with the cost of eating out in a restaurant similarly spiking, by 5.8% since November 2020. Continue reading

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‘Utterly Obscene’: Just 8 Pfizer and Moderna Investors Became $10 Billion Richer After Omicron Emerged

“Pharma execs and shareholders are making a killing from a crisis they helped to create,” said one justice campaigner.

By Jon Queally.  Published 12-5-2021 by Common Dreams

In the first week that the Omicron variant sparked global fears of a new wave of infections, a small handful of investors and executives with Pfizer and Moderna—currently the world’s preeminent makers of Covid-19 vaccines—saw over $10 billion in new wealth, with the Moderna’s CEO alone adding over $800 million to his personal fortune.

Based on data compiled by Global Justice Now and released Saturday, “just 8 top Pfizer and Moderna shareholders” added a combined $10.31 billion to their fortunes last week after stock prices soared in response to the emergence of Omicron. According to a statement by the group: Continue reading

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