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Latest on Baltimore Protests: Thousands March Across U.S.

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A protester walks outside of police barricades during a march in New York, Friday, May 1, 2015. About 1,000 protesters decrying police brutality marched in Manhattan at a May Day rally that took on a new message amid national outrage over a Baltimore man's death in police custody. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

A protester walks outside of police barricades during a march in New York, Friday, May 1, 2015. About 1,000 protesters decrying police brutality marched in Manhattan at a May Day rally that took on a new message amid national outrage over a Baltimore man’s death in police custody. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

via ASSOCIATED PRESS


1:50 a.m. (EDT)

Police in Portland, Oregon, say an initially peaceful May Day demonstration turned violent Friday evening as a splinter group hurled chairs and other objects at officers. Police temporarily closed a major city bridge and used pepper spray on some demonstrators when a march deviated from its permitted route through downtown.

Police said one officer was injured and taken to a precinct for medical treatment.

The Burnside Bridge over the Willamette River was closed for about a half-hour during the height of the evening commute when protesters tried to force their way across.

The protest caused major delays for commuters.

The Oregonian reported that about 100 protesters also skirmished with police at the Pioneer Courthouse Square, surrounding an unmarked SUV with officers inside. Bicycle officers created a path for the SUV to leave the scene. Police say they used flash grenades to allow officers to safely withdraw from the crowd. The crowd broke up a short time later.

Earlier in the day, hundreds took to the streets to celebrate International Workers’ Day and protest police violence.

11:17 p.m. (EDT)

Police say black-clad May Day marchers hurled wrenches and rocks at officers and hit police with sticks as a Friday evening march through a Seattle neighborhood turned violent, injuring three officers.

Police responded with pepper spray and pepper balls, quickly arresting three people. That brought the day’s Seattle demonstration arrest total to four.

Bicycle officers shadowed the marchers, who changed direction often. Their evening event had been billed as an anti-capitalist march.

Hundreds of people earlier joined in May Day marches in Seattle and Yakima, Washington, in support of workers’ rights and other causes.

Police said the earlier arrest came when a man threw a rock at a window.

The initial Seattle march ended with a rally at the downtown federal courthouse.

In the central Washington city of Yakima, a crowd of at least 500 marchers called for increased attention to immigrant and worker rights

10:40 p.m. (EDT)

Police in Portland, Oregon, say an increasingly unruly May Day crowd hurled projectiles and chairs at officers Friday evening. Earlier, police temporarily closed a major city bridge and used pepper spray on some demonstrators when a march deviated from its permitted route through downtown.

Police said one officer was assaulted and injured and taken to a precinct for medical treatment.

The Burnside Bridge over the Willamette River was closed about 5:30 p.m. during the height of the evening commute. It later reopened.

Hundreds of protesters were reported in the evening crowd.

Earlier in the day, hundreds took to the streets to celebrate International Workers’ Day and protest police violence.

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10:10 p.m. (EDT)

Hundreds of people have joined in annual May Day marches in Seattle and Yakima, Washington, in support of workers’ rights and other causes.

By early Friday evening in Seattle, the focus shifted from an earlier march and rally in support workers and immigrant rights to a new march by a couple hundred black-clad protesters on the move in the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Police on bicycles shadowed that march, which had been billed as an anti-capitalist gathering.

Police tweeted that many of the evening protesters were carrying wrenches.

By late afternoon, Seattle police said they had arrested one man for throwing a rock at a window.

The earlier Seattle march drew hundreds of people and ended with a rally at the downtown federal courthouse.

May Day in Seattle started with A Black Lives Matter gathering. Many of those marchers later joined the immigrant rights event.

In the central Washington city of Yakima, a crowd of at least 500 marchers called for increased attention to immigrant and worker rights

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9:15 p.m. (EDT)

About 1,000 protesters decrying police brutality have marched in downtown New York at a May Day rally that took on a new message amid national outrage over a Baltimore man’s death in police custody.

Demonstrators streamed through blocked-off streets, bearing signs with such messages as “Disarm the NYPD” and “Justice for Freddie Gray,” the 25-year-old who died in Baltimore.

At least one man was arrested after he tried to jump over a police barricade, but the procession generally went calmly.

After the march reached its scheduled end at a lower Manhattan plaza, tensions flared as some protesters continued marching on nearby streets. As police used a loudspeaker to order the demonstrators to get onto the sidewalk, some protesters shouted back.

Some activists and officials had criticized the New York Police Department’s handling of protests Wednesday over Gray’s death. They say police were overly aggressive while arresting more than 140 people when some demonstrators splintered off, trying to get on a highway and block tunnel entrances.

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9:09 p.m. (EDT)

Hundreds of people marched in Seattle for the annual May Day March for Workers and Immigrant Rights — part of several gatherings in the city on Friday.

Seattle police say they arrested one person late Friday afternoon for throwing a rock at a window. They say the man was carrying a machete, paint and a wrench.

A Black Lives Matter Event drew dozens who marched through parts of the city, accompanied by a large police escort, on their way to join the immigrant rights event.

Marchers made their way to the downtown federal courthouse for an evening rally.

Police also were prepared for a planned evening protest that’s been billed as an anti-capitalist march.

A May Day rally was also planned Friday evening in Yakima.

8:15 p.m. (EDT)

The May Day protest outside Oakland’s City Hall has swelled to more than a thousand people — one of several demonstrations by labor, immigrant and civil rights activists in cities across California.

The protesters are decrying racism, police brutality and income inequality in a loud, sign-waving march from the Port of Oakland to Frank Ogawa Plaza in downtown Oakland.

Some of the demonstrators are holding signs reading “Racism is the Disease,” ”Black Lives Matter” and “Stop Police Brutality.” Others say they want better wages and working conditions for the masses.

Across the bay, about 100 people gathered at Civic Center in San Francisco for a May Day rally before marching to the Mission neighborhood.

The annual May Day rallies have their roots in workers’ rights, but events in recent years have been a rallying point for immigrant-rights groups and other causes.

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6 p.m. (EDT)

About 400 people have marched in Chicago, some to protest recent police shootings and some to recognize May Day’s message of workers’ rights.

Seventy-three-year-old activist Richard Malmin says he participates every year but that this rally is bigger due to the death of Freddie Gray, whose spine was severed while in Baltimore police custody last month. Activists added anti-police brutality to their messages.

Dozens of Seattle protesters at a Black Lives Matter event joined hundreds who gathered for workers’ and immigrants’ rights. About 1,000 are marching in Manhattan.

High school students who walked out of school are among hundreds who marched downtown in Minneapolis, protesting Freddie Gray’s case and in support of Black Lives Matter members who appeared at a hearing related to December arrests.

___

4:30 p.m. (EDT)

A protest in Denver that drew about 25 people has kept its focus on inequality rather than police brutality issues that several other protests around the country planned to rally against.

Demonstrator David Garner says he’s concerned about economic inequality, especially for people of color. May Day is historically a day where labor supporters rally for workers’ rights.

Friday’s protest near the state Capitol had been mostly peaceful unlike Wednesday night when Denver police arrested 11 people during a demonstration over the death of Freddie Gray. Gray died after his spine had been severed while in Baltimore police custody. Charges against six officers were announced Friday.

New York City union and immigration activists are planning to gather in Union Square to join Freddie Gray protesters to march in solidarity.

___

2:30 p.m. (EDT)

Some parents are bringing their children to protests in Chicago, using it as a teaching tool on how to perceive police officers.

Meredith West was informing her 9-year-old daughter that when encountering a police officer, she should stay calm and keep still.

The mother and daughter had joined a couple dozen families on Friday who marched on Chicago’s West Side, protesting police brutality.

One 8-year-old had told the Associated Press that police officers are there to protect people, not hurt them.

In New York, police have asked demonstrators from labor and immigrant rights groups to work with them ahead of planned protests.

The San Jose Mercury News reports that hundreds in California who marched to City Hall in Oakland were mostly peaceful. Other protests are planned in several California towns.

___

12:30 p.m. (EDT)

A group of Chicago protesters has demanded an end to police brutality in support of Freddie Gray, who died after his spine was severed while in police custody in Baltimore last month.

Many demonstrators were carrying signs that read: “Police Brutality Must Stop.” They were marching Friday around a fountain on the city’s West Side.

In California, crowds were just starting to gather for a rally at an Oakland train station. Labor, immigrant and civil rights activists in several California cities are expected to call for civil rights and an end to police brutality. Protests are planned for San Francisco, Los Angeles, Anaheim and Riverside County.

___

11 a.m. (EDT)

Activists across the United States are gearing up for marches and protests to mark May Day and plan to broaden their message to include issues of police brutality.

Events are being held Friday in cities like New York, Denver, Seattle, Chicago and Portland, Oregon.

May Day has historically been a day when demonstrators rooted deeply in the labor movement call for workers’ rights. But in recent years, immigration reform and civil rights issues have been adopted.

This year, marches are planned in support of “Black Lives Matter,” a growing movement in the wake of a series of deaths of black men during police encounters. Protests in Philadelphia and Baltimore on Thursday were in support of Freddie Gray, who died a week after police took him into custody.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Bay Area

Sept. 11, 2001, 20 years later: ‘Remembrance’ held aboard the USS Hornet Sea, Space & Air Museum

The USS Hornet Sea, Space & Air Museum, moored at the City of Alameda, hosted a “Remembrance” ceremony of the events of Sept. 11, 2001, on board the ship on the 20th anniversary, Sept. 11, 2021.

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U.S. Marine Corps Honor Guard, 23rd Marine Regiment: Sgt. Tristan Garivay, Sgt. Michael Her, Cpl. Adrian Chavez and Cpl. Quentavious Leeks. Photo by Russell Moore, USS Hornet Sea, Air & Space Museum, Community Events & Outreach

Quintin Jones, Colonel, USMC, Commanding Officer, 23rd Marine Regiment. Photo by Russell Moore, USS Hornet Sea, Air & Space Museum, Community Events & Outreach

The USS Hornet Sea, Space & Air Museum, moored at the City of Alameda, hosted a “Remembrance” ceremony of the events of Sept. 11, 2001, on board the ship on the 20th anniversary, Sept. 11, 2021.

The ceremony recognized the impact and consequences of the series of airline hijackings and suicide attacks committed on 2001 by 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al-Queda against targets in New York City and Wash., D.C. Nearly 3,000 people died that day and 6,000 were injured.  This was the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil in U.S. history. 

The ceremony aboard the USS Hornet began with the presentation of the colors by the U.S. Marine Corps Honor Guard, 23rd Marine Regiment. (Pictured above.)

Leon Watkins, co-founder of The Walking Ghosts of Black History, was the Master of Ceremonies. He spoke about the extensive death and destruction which triggered the enormous U.S. effort to combat terrorism.

Daniel Costin, a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, spoke of the lasting impact of 9/11 terrorists attack on first responders. He recounted incidents where first responders rushed into the scenes of the attacks, many at the sacrifice of their own lives. More than 400 police officers and firefighters were killed that day: 343 members of the New York City Fire Department and 71 members of their law enforcement agencies.

Quintin Jones, Colonel, USMC, commanding officer of the 23rd Marine Regiment, spoke about the recovery efforts at the Pentagon following the terrorists’ attack where 125 people perished. He reflected on the actions of three first responders who recovered the U.S. Marine Corps flag from the commandant of the Marine Corps’ office at the Pentagon. This flag was still standing after the attack. It was a symbol of America’s resolve.

At the end of the formal presentations, the Marine Corps Wreath Bearers went to the fantail of the Hornet. After the playing of ‘Taps,’ they tossed a wreath into the San Francisco Bay to give final honors.

The Oakland Post’s coverage of local news in Alameda County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

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Community

Many in Black Communities are Choosing Vaccination 

Inequities in health outcomes have always been with us. COVID-19 morbidity and mortality rates among African Americans rival or exceed those in heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses. Blacks sit atop most bad lists and at the bottom of most good lists. 

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Vaccination/Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock

The trail of illness and death left amid the spread of COVID-19 in Black and African American communities should come as no surprise.

Inequities in health outcomes have always been with us. COVID-19 morbidity and mortality rates among African Americans rival or exceed those in heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses. Blacks sit atop most bad lists and at the bottom of most good lists.

COVID-19 vaccinations offer us an opportunity to better balance the scale.

Unfortunately, even with widely available testing, highly effective vaccines, and extraordinary efforts by health departments to educate and encourage people of color to get vaccinated, many Black Californians remain skeptical.

We can only hope that the FDA’s full regulatory approval of the Pfizer vaccine on August 23 for those 16 and up convinces more to get the vaccine.  It’s worth noting that emergency-use authorization also remains in place for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson shots, as well as Pfizer’s for 12- to 15-year-olds – and that all of these vaccines are safe and effective in protecting against COVID-19 and its highly contagious variants.

Eddie Fairchild and Steph Sanders were skeptical about the COVID-19 vaccine but came to understand why vaccination benefits our entire community.

Fairchild, a Sacramento insurance agent, said he knew of research that found Black and white people are often treated differently for the same health conditions leading to poorer health outcomes.

“I was hesitant,” he said. “I was going to wait and see how it panned out with everyone else.

But when a Black friend in the health care field told him he’d opted to get vaccinated, Fairchild asked him why.

“He said, ‘Risk-reward, and the risk is death.’ At that point I didn’t have to ask him what the reward was.”

With a finance degree and a belief that numbers don’t lie, Fairchild looked at the data. He learned that until 2020 the average number of Americans who died each year was about 2.6 million, but in 2020 that figure was 3.4 million. There was only one possible explanation for the death rate surge, he said.

“COVID is absolutely real,” he said, adding that three of his cousins died from the virus. “Taking all that into consideration, I decided that it’s risky to engage in the world and not be vaccinated. It made sense for me to get it.”

Racial gaps in vaccination have thankfully narrowed in recent weeks. But as of September 1, while Black people account for 6% of the state’s population, they account for 6.6% of COVID-19 deaths, which is 11% higher than the statewide rate, according to state department of public health data. Only about 55% of Black people in California have had at least one dose of the vaccine.

Reasons for the discrepancies run the gamut, from conspiracy theories like Black people are getting a less effective vaccine than whites or that the vaccine will eventually be deadly, to challenges in health care access. 

Mostly, it’s based on a lack of trust in medical and scientific institutions, which have a long history of racism and mistreating Black people.

So even when it comes to good things like vaccines, which are scientifically proven to be good for the community, it always comes back to trust.

Sanders, a Vallejo school principal, was hesitant because of the Tuskegee syphilis studies in which Black men who had the disease were intentionally not treated with penicillin. And he was dubious that an effective vaccine could be developed so quickly. 

In fact, the science and technology enabling development of the COVID-19 vaccines was in development for a more than decade before the virus emerged in 2020. The FDA authorized three vaccines for emergency use after they underwent a rigorous process and were proven through trials to be safe and effective at preventing severe COVID-19, hospitalization, and death.

He decided to get vaccinated when his school board decided last spring to bring students back into classrooms.

Today, he’s a fervent vaccine advocate. He holds “lunch and learn” forums for educators, encouraging vaccination.

“I’m a leader and people are relying on my knowledge,” he said. “I tell them, ‘Don’t make this about you, but about the people you love and care about. It’s about protecting them.’”

There is still a long way to go before Blacks achieve true health equity, but vaccination against a virus that is taking a terrible toll on our communities is a critical step in the right direction.

 

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Activism

Bay Area Officials Condemn Texas Abortion Restrictions, U.S. Supreme Court Ruling

Bay Area and state officials lambasted both the U.S. Supreme Court and the Texas state government after the high court declined to approve an emergency petition to stop a Texas law banning abortions six weeks or more after conception.

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Law Books/Clarisse Meyer Via Unsplash

Bay Area and state officials lambasted both the U.S. Supreme Court and the Texas state government after the high court declined to approve an emergency petition to stop a Texas law banning abortions six weeks or more after conception.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed the law, Senate Bill 8, in May, but it went into effect September 1 at 12:01 a.m. local time.
Late that night, the court issued a 5-4 ruling, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the court’s three liberal justices in the minority, declining to rule on the petition, which was filed by Texas abortion clinics.
The court could still strike the law down in the coming days as unconstitutional, but abortion rights activists expressed skepticism that the court would do so after letting the law go into effect in the first place.
The law effectively overwrites the precedent set in 1973 by the court’s ruling in the case of Roe v. Wade by preventing pregnant people from seeking an abortion after their sixth week of pregnancy, a time when many people are not yet even aware that they are pregnant.
Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, called SB 8 “one of the most severe attacks on reproductive rights” in U.S. history.
“SB 8 is an appalling violation of human rights and reproductive rights, and will put the health of millions of people in jeopardy, especially for low-income people and people of color,” Lee said in a statement.
SB 8 does not make exemptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest and allows people to sue doctors, medical staff and even a patient’s ride to a medical clinic if they suspect the patient has had an abortion after six weeks.
Plaintiffs also are not required to show damages or have a connection to the patient to file a lawsuit under SB 8, and are entitled to $10,000 and their legal fees if a judge rules in their favor.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, said the law constructed a “vigilante bounty system” that could keep people from seeking reproductive health care of any kind.
“This provision is a cynical, backdoor attempt by partisan lawmakers to evade the Constitution and the law to destroy not only a woman’s right to health care but potentially any right or protection that partisan lawmakers target,” Pelosi said in a statement.
Vice President Kamala Harris echoed that sentiment.
“This decision is not the last word on Roe v. Wade, and we will not stand by and allow our nation to go back to the days of back-alley abortions,” Harris said in a statement. “We will not abide by cash incentives for virtual vigilantes and intimidation for patients.”
Jodi Hicks, the CEO and president of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, argued in a statement that the Supreme Court’s decision will inevitably lead to other states passing their own abortion restrictions.
Nearly a dozen states have already passed so-called “abortion trigger laws” that would fully outlaw the practice in the first and second trimesters as soon as Roe v. Wade is overturned.
“The inaction by the Supreme Court on a blatantly unconstitutional ban has taken away a crucial right to millions of people in Texas and without a doubt threatens their ability to make decisions about their body, their lives, and their futures,” Hicks said.
On September 2, Pelosi announced that the House of Representatives will formally take up legislation to codify abortion rights in federal law instead of relying on the court decision alone.
However, that bill, the Women’s Health Protection Act, is unlikely to find enough support in the U.S. Senate to reach President Joe Biden’s desk for a signature.
Biden said in a statement on September 1 that SB 8 “blatantly violates” the decision in Roe v. Wade and pledged to defend abortion rights across the country, but did not elaborate on what that might entail.
California Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks, D-Oakland, argued in a Twitter post that the purpose of SB 8 is clear: “to intimidate women (and) providers.”
“It cannot stand,” she said.

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