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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  October 15, 2021 8:00am-9:01am PDT

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[captioning made possible by democracy now!] ♪ amy: from new york, this is democracy now! >>
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over the land, so we are fighting for clean water for future generations, for mother earth, the world. amy: people versus fossil fuels. over 530 people have been arrested in washington, d.c. calling on president biden to declare a climate emergency and stop approving fossil fuel projects. thursday, dozens of activists occupied the bureau of indian affairs for the first time since the 1970's. we will get the latest and speak to two indigenous activists arrested this week. then we look at this man tearing crisis unfolding in the world's largest jail complex, kers island in new york, in one of the richest cities in the world. this as the new york governor starts transferring women and transgender people held there, most of them awaiting trial, to a maximum security prison. >> it is unbelievable and unacceptable. womeshould not be transferred from one hellhole to another hellhole. amy: we will speak to a leader of the campaign, who was once
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held at rikers, and to public advocate jumaane williams, who toured the jail, and said it is the worst he has ever seen. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. in afghanistan, a massive explosion at a shia mosque in kandahar killed at least 32 people during friday prayers and injured scores of others, according to officials. the blast came one week after an explosion at a mosque in kunduz killed at least 72 people. that attack was claimed by the the islamic state in khorasan province, known as isis-k. in other news from afghanistan, the u.s. said it will resume regular evacuation flights before the end of the year to get remaining u.s. citizens, residents and qualifying visa applicants out of afghanistan. lebanon is observing a national day of mourning, one day after a
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pitched gun battle in beirut left seven people dead and injured at least 32 others. hezbollah blamed snipers with an armed christian faction for firing on shia protesters. the marchers were calling for -- lebanese president michel aoun promised to hold the attackers accountable. >> armed forces did their duty and will continue to do so to maintain stability and security. we will not allow anyone to tick the country hostage. amy: a meeting at the wto tellectual property counsel ended without action on a proposal to suspend patent rights on covid-19 vaccines. the united kingdom and multi-european nations led by germany continue to oppose a patent waiver which was first proposed over a year ago by
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india, sou africa, and backed by over 100 wto member nations. since then, the world has recorded 3.8 million covid deaths. here in the united states, a food and drug administration advisory panel is recommending a third shot of moderna's covid-19 vaccine for people 65 and older, as well as those at high risk of severe disease and workers in high-risk professions. the recommendation on boosters came even as many scientists questioned whether the protection conferred by moderna's vaccine is waning. today, the fda panel will weigh whether people who've received johnson & johnson vaccines should get a second dose, and whether it might be advantageous to mix-and-match vaccines. president biden welcomed kenyan president uhuru kenyatta to the white house thursday for talks in the oval office. it was the first time president biden has hosted an african leader. the meeting came just days after a massive leak of secret documents known as the pandora
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papers revealed president kenyatta and his relatives stashed more than $30 million of wealth in offshore tax havens including in panama. in chile, opposition lawmakers have launched impeachment proceedings against president sebastian piñera over possible irregularities in the 2010 sale of a mining company that is partially owned by piñera's children. the revelations emerged in the pandora papers leak, detailing how the company named dominga -- was sold for $138 million to an offshore firm run by a chilean businessman and a close friend of piñera's. chile's public prosecutor last week announced a probe into the sale, citing possible tax and bribery-related violations. one lawmaker said, "chile does not deserve to have a president like piñera." a coalition of immigrant and racial justice organizations have filed a civil rights lawsuit denouncing immigration and customs enforcement's brutal assaults against african asylum seekers. the complaint details incidents
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that took place before or during deportation flights to cameroon in october and november of last year. ice officers are accused of placing asylum seekers in five-point shackles and further immobilizing them in a device called "the wrap" for hours. the coalition, which includes the undocublack network and the cameroon advocacy network, released this video along with the lawsuit that was filed on behalf of three asylum seekers. >> the wrap is intended for use in extreme situations. it is designed to restrain people in a seated position. instead, it was used against these black migrants who were already restrained and lock them into painful positions, with one man forced into a fullface hood. this is torture, as the united nations has made clear. amy: one of the cameroonian asylum seekers in the complaint said he has asthma and couldn't breathe while he was placed in the wrap. he said, “i truly felt i was
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meeting my death in that moment.” another asylum seeker suffers from a heart condition and reported experiencing chest pain after being restrained in the device. fresh calls to ban police use of tear gas came thursday after the house oversight committee released a memo noting the u.s. government does not regulate the chemical weapon, and never found it to be safe for use on humans. in spite of this, law enforcement regularly deploys tear gas on civilians and did so in at least 100 u.s. cities in the first six months of 2020 alone. the memo also notes that tear gas is banned from use in war as a chemical weapon by international treaty. missouri congressmember cori bush said in a statement, "for protest to truly be a right, we must ensure that we are never again met with weapons of war on our streets." a federal appeals court has ruled to keep texas's near-total ban on abortions in place. the 5th circuit court of appeals
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extended a stay on a federal judge's ruling last week that blocked the ban, deeming it unconstitutional. the two judges on the three-judge panel who voted thursday to keep the law in place were appointed by george w. bush and donald trump. in other news from texas, a top administrator with the carroll independent school district in southlake has come under fire for telling teachers they should offer students books with "opposing" perspectives on the holocaust. gina peddy is the district's executive director of curriculum and instruction. in audio obtained by nbc news, peddy was recorded advising teachers on how to comply with texas's new state law, house bill 3979, which requires them to present multiple perspectives about “widely debated and currently controversial” isss. >> tried to remember the context of 3979. if you have a book on the
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holocaust, you need to have one that h opposing -- >> how do you oppose the call cost --the holocaust? amy: texas governor greg abbott called house bill 3979 a "strong move to abolish critical race theory.” a warning to our audience: the next stories feature descriptions of rape and violence against women. in new jersey, actor and visual artist lili bernard sued bill cosby, and accused the disgraced actor of drugging and raping her in 1990. bernard has spoken publicly about her case but, until recently, was not able to file suit due to new jersey's statute of limitations. a reform enacted in 2019 opened a two-year window to bring cases of sexual assault regardless of when they happened. bernard says cosby was her mentor and promised to help prepare her for a est-starring role on “the cosby show” when he
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drugged and assaulted her at the trump taj mahal in atlantic city. 60 survivors have accused bill cosby of sexual assault, but he was released from jail in june after a court overturned his conviction on a technicality. to see our interviews with lili bernard and more on the case, go to democracynow.org. in kenya, police have arrested the husband of record-breaking runner agnes tirop, one day after the celebrated athlete was found stabbed to death in her home. 25-year-old agnes tirop broke a long-distance running record just last month and was a two-time world championship bronze medalist. she also participated in the tokyo olympics. the congressional committee investigating the january 6th insurrection is set to recommend criminal charges against donald trump's campaign adviser and senior political strategist, steve bannon. bannon missed a thursday deadline on a congressional subpoena requiring him to agree to testify and hand over documents related to the assault on the u.s. capitol.
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steve bannon's legal team cited trump's claims of executive privilege. the white house says president biden will be joined by 13 cabinet members and other senior u.s. officials next month at the cop26 climate change summit in glasgow. the crucial united nations talks come after u.n. scientists warned the planet is on course for a catastrophic global temperature rise of 2.7 degrees celsius, unless nations sharply increase their stated goals for cutting emissions. and in scotland, a climate justice advocate is being praised for bravely confronting shell ceo ben van beurden during a ted event in edinburgh, thursday. lauren macdonald is a campaigner for a green new deal rising. she and van beurden appeared on a ted countdown summit panel together that was described by its organizers as a forum where speakers would "share a blueprint for a beautiful net-zerouture.” tickets for the four-day ent
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were between $10,000 and $50,000. these were some of macdonald's remarks. >> no matter what he says today, remember, shall have spent millions covering up the morning from climate scientists, and even paying soldiers to kill nigerian activists, all while rebranding to make it look like they care and have the intention of changing payment disproportionately in the global south, so many people are already dying due to issues related to climate crisis such as pollution, extreme heat, and weather-related disasters. this isot an abstract issue and you are directly responsible for those deaths. we will never forget what you have done and what shall has done -- shell has done. amy: and those are some of the headlines this is democracy now, democracynow.org, the war and
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peace report. i'm amy goodman. after the break, we go to people versus fossil fuels. more than 500 people have been arrested in washington, d.c. in an historic indigenous-led act of civil disobedience. ♪♪ [music break]
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amy: "captain planet remix" by luzmila carpio. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we begin today's show in washington, d.c., where over 530 climate activists have been arrested in a week of civil disobedience, calling on president biden to declare a climate emergency and stop approving fossil fuel projects. the indigenous-led protests have been part of a mobilization dubbed “people vs. fossil fuels.” thursday, indigenous activists occupied the bureau of indian affairs for the first time since the 1970s. indigenous leaders issued a series of demands including the abolition of the bureau of indian affairs, restoration of 110 million acres of land taken away from native nations, the
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return of indigenous children buried at residential schools, and no new leases for oil and gas or extractive industries on public lands. 55 people involved in the takeover were arrested. indigenous activists are also leading daily acts of disobedience outside of the white house. this is a member of the red lakes in minnesota speaking on monday. >> we are the voice of the animals, voice of the trees. the creator gave us stewardship over the land, so we are fighting for clean water for future generations, our mother earth, or the world. amy: indigenous youth activists are scheduled to lead a march to the u.s. capitol. this week's protests in d.c. come just weeks before the start of the critical u.n. climate summit in glasgow, scotland. cnn is reporting president biden is planning to attend along with 13 cabinet members but u.s. climate envoy john kerry is already admitting the talks will
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likely fail to reach a global target on cutting greenhouse gas emissions. during a protest outside the white house on monday, joye braun of the indigenous environmental network called on president biden to uphold promises made to indigenous communities. >> you need to be held accountable. you made promises to the indigenous communities across this land that you were going to uphold, but you have not upheld those promises. you have been speaking with a forked tongue, just like those before you. amy: that was joye braun speaking on monday outside the white house. she joins us now from washington. she is member of the cheyenne river sioux tribe and a frontline community organizer with the indigenous environmental network. she was deeply involved in the standing rock protests to stop the dakota access pipeline. we are also joined by siqiñiq maupin, the executive director of sovereign iñupiat for a living arctic. she lives in fairbanks, alaska.
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she was arrested yesterday during the occupation of the bureau of indian affairs. that is where we begin. siqiñiq, talk about this protest. we didn't know if we would have you on the show today because we didn't know if you would be out of jail. we got word that you would . >> we had gathered to let biden know that we were not going anywhere, and signing petitions and follow the laws have not gotten us to where we need to be. there is a climate emergency. people are dying right now. we needed to make a statement, and i think that we did. amy: talk about when you are demanding of the bureau. >> bia was created to erase indigenous people. it has always been against us. yesterday and every day we demand that it be abolished. we do not need a blood quantum
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to say how indigenous we are or to qualify that. we know our indigenous ways, to protect this earth, land, this water, and we understand this earth is unbalanced. we do not have time for negotiations or compromises. we need to take action now. amy: can you talk about what happened in august when your group, along with others, were able to get the u.s. district court judge sharon gleason show out -- throw out the approvals of a major oil project in your state of alaska? >> yes, that was an extraordinary time, considering during the heart of the pandemic, in 2020, the bureau of land management decided to hold the hearings for opening the willow master project located where my family is from. we heard testimony from tribal
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administrators, native corporation presidents begging the bureau of land management to stop these hearings until the pandemic was over, until it was controlled. they literally did not listen. you can hear sobbing, and they continued on, made the record of decision. it felt hopeless, especially with biden's approval of the project, even though he promised to take the climate crisis serious. having the ninth circuit overthrow this was such a big win, especially when the corruption is so rampant in the government. amy: can you talk specifically about your action yesterday? it was reported some 55 water protectors were arrested and taken from the bureau of indian affairs. and the last time it was occupied was by native americans in the 1970's, november 3, 1972.
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a group of 500 american indians with the american indian movement took over the interior building, the culmination of a cross-country journey that was called the trail of broken treaties, intended to bring attention to native american issues such as native american standards and treaty rights. are you calling for the bia to be disbanded? >> yes, and we want to make a statement that we are still here. we have been fighting against the genocide of our people, colonization since contact. we are not going away. we came with matriarchs that led us, and that was a powerful statement to have our women lead us into that building. i followed their guidance and we were able to, again, make a statement at the bia, an
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organization created to literally erase us from this earth with blood quantum. we demand the abolishment of bia and to also say indigenous people have always been the caretakers of this land. we will continue to be the caretakers. amy: i want to bring in joye braun to this conversation. braun is a member of the cheyenne river sioux tribe and a frontline community organizer with the indigenous environmental network. i dare say, with president biden now saying that he and 13 members of his cabinet will go to the u.n. climate summit in glascow, may well be a result of what you all have done this week outside the white house. we last talked to you at the standoff at standing rock. can you talk about the organizing this week, what has happened, what you want to see
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come out of it? you come along with 500 people, like siqiñiq, have been arrested. . >> good to be on the show and see you today. i certainly hope that president biden is listening. the united states government brought the front lines to us, the indigenous people, to our doorstep. we wanted to bring the front lines to his doorstep, to see that we are very serious about climate change and declare a climate emergency. people versus fossil fuels came back out of a coalition of over 200 frontline organizations around the united states that came together to say we are not being heard, we are not being listened to. we need to unite together to let this administration know that we are serious. we go to all the hearings, we do
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the petitions, we make the phone calls, and it is not working. they still allow pipelines to go through a legally. dakota access pipeline is an illegal pipeline. they did not do a full eis on line three, and they are ignoring treaty rights on line five and mountain pipeline. amy: this is historic. you knew people who were a part of that american indian movement take over in the 1970's of the bureau of indian affairs? >> i was a little kid in the 1970's, maybe three years old. i was just a toddler at the time, but we definitely heard about those times. we did have elders with us this week who were a part of that movement in the 1970's.
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this time, again, it was organic , there was no leadership. it was just the people saying we need to go and make a statement, that the bureau of indian affairs, it was only designed to eliminate us, like my new daughter. we like to adopt children. like siqiñiq has said. we need to erase blood quantum. what other people in the world must still carry a card saying which percentage of blood you are, like a horse or dog? it is crazy. plus, the boi did give 2500 new oil and gas leases on blm property, when president biden says we will stop new leases and then opens things back up and
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then also threatens the arctic with new leases, new lng projects. amy: can you describe some of the other actions that have been taking place in washington? for example, the andrew jackson statue in lafayette park across the street from the white house -- the words "expect us" were written across it. what does that mean? >> it came out of respect us or expect us. that is a saying that has been said many times over the years during the flight from the 1970's, 1980's, 1990's, something that one of my mentors , deb whitebloom, used to say.
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i said it at standing rock at treaty camp. i woke up like many people and saw the redecoration of the statue. jackson was the one that caused mass genocide to indigenous people. tens of thousands of indigenous people died at his hand, course, started the trail of tears, for many tribes, including the cherokee. amy: earlier this week, protesters climbed a flagpole outside of the army corps of engineers office demanding a stop to the line 3 crude oil pipeline. >> yes, two flagpoles were climbed by indigenous activists. the flags -- we kind of grabbed
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and nabbed them. that is something that we would have done, grab the enemy's flag. amy: at the same time, you have the first indigenous, native american cabinet member to be named under president biden, deb haaland, former congress member from new mexico. she is the interior secretary. according to aps, she was not in the interior department's building where the bia is thursday. can you talk about her role, if you had conversations with her? >> of course, different organizations have been reaching out. we love auntie deb. make no doubt about it.
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we love that she was appointed by president biden. we love that she has been able to get some positive work done. however, her hands have been tied by the biden administration when it comes to climate change. like i said, the doi allows 2500 new oil and gas leases. president biden could have said we are going to not allow this to happen. in order for us to truly make the climate change in the world, in order for us to say we are leaders in climate, we must stop all oil and gas infrastructure, especially on public lands. unfortunately, auntie deb has not been able to do those things because her hands have been tied by the biden administration's policies. we love auntie deb.
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she is doing an amazing job, we are proud of her, but president biden needs to be held accountable for not following through. amy: siqiñiq maupin, you get the last word. you came down from alaska, leading indigenous activists at your young age. what do you take away from this week? >> i take away knowing that this is not an isolated incident in alaska, where children are getting cancer, asthma. we are seeing our caribou with marrow problems, mold on our fish. the same thing is happening to communities all over the world. we are saying enough is enough. we are standing with a group of indigenous peoples and allies that are saying, expect us, because we have not been respected. amy: we thank you for being with us.
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siqiñiq maupin is the director of sovereign iñupiat for a living arctic. joye braun is a member of the cheyenne river sioux tribe and a frontline community organizer with the indigenous environmental network. we look at the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the world's largest jail complex right here in new york city, rikers island. staying with us. -- stay with us. ♪♪ [music break]
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amy: "never alone" by the peace poets. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we turn now to the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the world's largest jail complex, which is located here, in new york city,
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one of the world richest cities, on an island in the middle of the east river between queens and the bronx. most of the 5700 people in the city's jails are held at rikers island. most of them are awaiting trial. amid skyrocketing violence, staffing shortages, and chronic medical neglect, some are calling rikers a death trap. so far this year, 12 people have died at rikers and the city's jails -- the most since 2016 -- including five suicides: wilson diaz-guzman, javier velasco, tomas carlo camacho, brandon rodriguez, segundo guallpa, thomas braunson iii, richard blake, jose mejia martinez, robert jackson, esias johnson, karim isaabdul, and stephen khadu. last month, more than a dozen elected officials visited rikers island following reports of worsening conditions. this is new york assemblymember jessica gonzalez-rojas speaking
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after touring rikers. >> i am admittedly an emotional mess. i have nine pages of mothers to call. partners to call. loved ones to call. because people have been stuck inside for days, weeks, four months, without -- for months without a court hearing. i witnessed and attempted suicide. they try to hang themselves right there. nobody deserves this. amy: well, this week, new york governor kathy hochul and new york city mayor bill de blasio announced they will transfer most of the 230 people, including women to two state prisons about 40 north of the city, including the maximum-security bedford hills prison. again, most of them are awaiting
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trial. for more, we're joined by three guests. anisa hayes a leader with the old solitary campaign. jullian harris-calvin is director of the greater justice new york program. jumaane williams is new york city's public advocate. last year, he toured rikers, since he has done since 2008. jumanne, let's begin with you. you said conditions, the last time you toured rikers island were the most horrific you have seen. tell us what you have seen. >> at that point, it was stunning. it was really very hard to explain unless you were there. people just laying in filth. there was one man in a cell,
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actually a shower, you could not sit or stand down. i don't know if it was urine or water, but they were just nake d. i saw a cell that should have been for three people, six people. the toilet was not working. people should have been moved. there were hiv patients, mental health patients who had not gotten their mication weeks. it was a disaster for everyone, on both sides of the bars. i would point out, rikers is the largest jail complex in the world. sadly, probably the largest mental health institution in the world as well, which is another problem. amy: you say you are concerned rikers could explode like attica 50 years ago, 1970, when there was a prisoner uprising against the conditions. the new york governor at the
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time, rockefeller, called in troopers, and they opened fire, killing scores of people. >> when i was there, i thought it was imminent. they were people detained, walking around. we did see the emergency unit, more than once. we saw people who were housed asking for additional correctional office support. we saw one person who got out of his cell shower and was the one handing out food that was there for some of the others who could not get out. it was a complete disaster and breakdown. it was very hard to express that david i wish the governor herself should door it, and the mayor, it's been a dereliction of duty. they visit that he did make, he could have done from his office.
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it is hard to explain unless you are there. i am sure the guests here could tell you more firsthand. amy: anisah sabur, you were imprisoned at rikers and the national security bedford hills. if you could respond to the new york governor, kathy hochul moving about 230 women and transgender prisoners from rikers. we are talking about people who have not been tried. the jail at rikers is for prisoners serving under a year sentence, or are awaiting trial. they are there because they cannot affd bail. >> good morning, and thank you for having me. first of all, the language is what has them doing what they are doing to people. they do not see detainees as
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people. yes, the governor should have actually went in and spoken to those women and trans women and seen for herself the way the public advocates and other legislators did, to see what the crisis is and how to address it. moving someone who has not had to process from a city jail where you are detained to a state facility is traumatic. i am telling you because i went through it. they did not move me before i was sentenced. i was detained at rikers several times but i was not moved to a safe facility until i was state sentenced. estate is very different and operates differently from the city. the programming, the access, moving people away from the courts to be able to transport
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them, it is really hard to get back and forth from rikers island. let me say that. in order for a person to get to court, they are waking up at 3:00 a.m., get a light breakfast, and p into a holding cell until whatever the bus arrives. some folks dnot get to court until no because the number of transportation buses that has to come and deliver them to the court. imagine being in rikers in the city, across the bridge from manhattan, queens, the bronx, where the courts are located, and then being sent to bedford hills correctional facility. the ate has not done anything for the people who are state sentenced. i cannot imagine having to get up at 3:00 in the morning from bedford hills to be fed a light breakfast, travel may be 2.5,
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three hours, if you come from staten island to westchester to get to court. how do your families get to you? free buses twice a day? people had access to rikers all day. it was easy transportation. now they have to transfer to another location, drive maybe three hours to bedford hills. who knows how long they will allow them to visit. rikers visits for only one hour. state visits are different and only on the weekends. there is no programming in the state facilities right now due to covid. so how are people going to be able to engage in some of the community resources that are out there for them to help them through the process before they get to court? whether it is substance programming, mental health programming, all of these things
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will be missing because there is another process to become a volunteer to bring your program into the state facility. this is what i would say to the governor. you need to rethink what you are doing. the traumatic impact this would have on the lives of these individuals, their families, and their communities. it should not have been. it needs to stop now. amy: let's be clear about the racial disparities here. the sentencing project just came out with a report on not only what is happening in new york but around the country. it says black people are incarcerated in state prisons across the country that nearly five times the rate of whites. >> and that is true. that is a true resource fact. rikers island is full of black and brown bodies, male, female,
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transgender, transgender nonconforming, from low income communities from new york city. how do you take them from the community they aren and put them into another? do you know the community and income ratio in westchester county where this prison is? i am surprised it is even there. bedford hills is one of the richest counties in the state. so, you are taking these people from these communities and puttin thein these communities where nobody cares about them. out of sight, out of mind. people are saying they willo other things, they wanto look at what the governor is doing get them out of rikers. but there are things right here in new york city, organizations and resources that these women and trans women could have benefited from.
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the state has three facilities located in new york city that could have been transformed or repurposed to hold these women until something better could have come along. why put on sentenced people into state facilities? you know the pressure that will have on the state correction officers and their unions? the fights? how people will be neglected even more because they are not state sentenced. the medical in the state is just as bad. have you seen the reports that the centerf justice did on the ath of elders in prison? 55 and over, every three days there is a death in one of new york state prisons facilities. human lives are being lost on a daily basis. you tell me this is the best answer? i don't believe it and i will not accept it. amy: i also think about the
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woman who died in rikers in 2019. she was being held there, a transgender afro latin woman, being held at rikers because she uld not afford the $500 bail. she was put in solitary. she had epilepsy, and she died. >> i have been advocating with her sister to end solitary on rikers. this seems like just another one of the city and state's shenanigans. where they say we don't have solitary, we are ending it, but you are still building cages to put human beings in, like animals. you think the solution to a crisis in an horrific facility is to take the women and put them in another horrific
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fality with no real access is going to solve the problem? it is like putting a band-aid on gunshot wound. amy: let's bring in jullian harris-calvin. can you talk about the role of bail, the role of prosecutors and judges and sending people to rikers, releasing them into what is described as a hellhole? you are a former public defender. >> prosecutors and judges hold the keys to rikers island, they arthe gatekeepers. they determine who comes in and who goes out. judges are the folks that send new yorkers to rikers island and other jail facilities in new york city. the bail reform law passed in 2019 was responsive to what ms. sabur was talking about. bail is something that rich
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people can pay, poor people cannot pay. for black and brown new yorkers are the ones that have suffered from that. the bill made it so far fewer folks, mostly black and brown folks, were being sent to rikers island on unaffordable bl. but there are still scenarios where judges can set bail, and they are also doing it after the request by the new york city street attorneys. the folks in rikers island, about 4500 of them, are pretrial detainees. they are innocent until proven guilty but they are languishing in rikers island under these conditions simply because they cannot afford to pay their way out. what needs to happen, we need to focus on solutions. we have established that it is horrific on the island, the
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conditions are like a goo log from the cold war. we need to focus on the solutions. da's and prosecutors are part of the problem. they need to stop requesting bail. they don't request bail and judges release folks, there are no more folks being funneled into this penal colony that is torturous. judges need to stop being responsive to the bail request and setting bail. that would stop the funnel on the front end. judges and prosecutors need to come together and make the decision we need to reassess all the people on rikers island because they are there on bail, and we need to either lower bail to make it affordable, required by the bail law, or release them. there is no reason people need to be sitting there, diane, in the condition that the public advocate just recounted.
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there are other solutions and alternatives. there are mental health treatment in the community, which is better than the kind of treatment we are getting in rikers island. there are drug use treatment services, employment services, all kinds of programs and services that folks can access that are better for them and communities off the island, and they can address somof the concern judges and prosecutors may have that are the basis for setting bail. amy: what about that place nicknamed the boat across from rikers island? i believe someone recently died in their. >> the boat was supposed to be a temporary solution to the stated need of having a facility for folks being held pretrial in the early 1990's. there were 20,000 people being incarcerated in new york city, and now we are just under 5600.
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the boat is a floating barge that they have turned into a jail. when we say we need to get people off the island, that includes people floating in the boat. the conditions there are similarly bad. folks need to be taken off the boat. amy: what about the media's constant repetition that murder is up, crime is up, that something has to be done? >> i think part of the reason why the jail population on rikers island increased to 40% between last summer, when we were at all-time lows of about 3800 people, to about 6000 people a month ago, is because of this fear mark goering and inaccurate rhetoric around bail
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reform, criminal justice reform vis-a-vis crime rates. we are not at altime highs in terms of crime and public safety threats in new york city, or new york state. actually, we are on par with 2019's historic lows in terms of crime rates. it is true and we need to acknowledge that murders were up, and shootings, gun crimes related to murders were up in 2020 and 2021, as compared to 2019's all-time lows. they are still far below what it was like in the 1990's. i am sure the other guests can remember what it was like in the 1990's or even early 2000's. we are still at very low crime rates across categories, but it is true, and the last few years,
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gun crimes and murders have gone up compared to 2018 and 2019. so we need to address those. this is about solutions. what we know is that rowing people in jail is not a long time solution to gun crimes and murder. in fact, we need to be taking our investments, some of the $2.5 billion we spend the department of corrections, jailing people, we need to take a big chunk of that money and invest in evidence-based solutions to public safety issues. that means credible messengers and violence interrupters, the kinds of in community programming where we have seen an 86% drop in gun crimes and homicides in places like richmond, california. we have seen it here in new york city in crown heights. after credible messengers and violence messengers went into the city, they had lower rates
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in that community of gun crimes and shootings specifically, shooting related homicides, as compared to the ny city -- nypd precinct near them. amy: i want to go back to jumaane williams. you formed an exploratory committee to run for governo what would you do differently? >> to the conversation going on, we have to acknowledge spikes in crime, but we also need leaders who will guide new yorkers through the facts of what is happening and not feed into the fear mongering that was done 30 years ago when the crack epidemic happened, and did not solve the problem, and people apologize 30 years later. when we look at where we are, the same people then said we needed to lock up more black and brown people, even as we were in historic lows. i want to go back to 2011, when
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we told folks we had better ways of dealing with this violence. from 2010 to 2018, we were on the way to becoming the safest city we had ever been, safest in the nation. amy: we have to leave it there. thank you for being with us. this conversation will continue. jumaane williams, considering a run for the new york governorship. i want to thank anisah sabur, who was jailed at rikers. and jullian harris-calvin. as we move to our final segment. we end the show looking at the ongoing protest going on in new jersey. the people's organization for progress is leading a 67-mile march to the capital trenton to demand the new jersey legislature pass legislation to hold police accountable. the march began a week ago in montclair and wraps up saturday in trenton. joining us now from the side of
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the road is larry hamm, chair of the people's organization for progress. he is joining us as he travels to princeton for this leg of the march. can you talk about your demands? >> good morning and thank you for having me on. this is the long march to justice, to trenton for police accountability, social justice and economic progress. we are marching to bring attention to the issue of police brutality. we want the state legislator to pass bill 84656, the police review board with subpoena power bill. we want that bill passed because that would enable municipalities to have police review boards with subpoena power, which the fop and police organizations have been fighting because they don't want oversight. we are marching for an end to voter suppression. we support the john lewis voting rights act but we also want
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same-day registration here in new jersey. we are marching for reparations for african americans, for the enslavement of our ancestors. we are passing -- calling on the legislature to pass the bill to establish a reparation commission similar to hr 40, the national reparations bill in congress, which we also support. and we are marching for economic progress. we feel $7.25 federal minimum wage is a slave wage. we want an immediate doubling of the minimum-wage to $15 an hour. we also want free college for young people and the abolition of student debt. those are some of our demands. amy: what is the response of the governor, legislature? >> it has not been a great response from the legislature
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because the police were bjorn -- review board bill, at the top of our list, has mount its way through the legislative process, was released by the committee. the only thing remaining is for the committee to post it for a vote, and the president of the senate to post a senate version of 2963 for a vote. they have refused to do so for months. after they posted for a vote, it has to be signed by the governor. this is interesting because it came up as an issue in the gubernatorial debate that was held just a couple days ago. the governor's response was not the strongest that we anticipated. this is why were marching. we are marching to draw attention to the issue and put the pressure on ate leadership
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pass this bill. police brutality is a real and serious problem here in the state of new jersey. amy: the role of street protests. larry, you ran against senator cori bush in new jersey, but you remain in the streets. >> absolutely. we have to use all of the methods available to us. yes, i ran for u.s. senate, got more than 118,000 votes statewide. that is a good start and we will build on that. but we know that election politics is not alone. the primary antidote to police brutality is to organize and mobilize people. this is why we have engaged in this 67-mile march through 27 towns over nine days which will end in trenton tomorrow.
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when this march is over, we will engage in other street activities, including the national day against police brutality, october 22. we will have a rally with the victims, with the families of the victims murdered by the police. amy: we will cover that as well. larry hamm, chair of the people's organization for progress. speaking to us from the road in new jersey. happy birthday juan gonzalez. and a happy first birthday to my fresh -- precious pup zazu. yesterday, they came together again to celebrate their first birthday, dancing in central park. happy birthday. democracy now! is currently accepting applications for two positions: a director of finance
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and administration and a human resources manager. learn more and apply at democracynow.org. democracy now! is produced with renee feltz, mike burke, deena guzder, messiah rhodes, nermeen shaikh, maria taracena, tami woronoff, charina nadura, sam alcoff, tey marie astudillo, john hamilton, robby karran, hany massoud and adria■oñ
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