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Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Paul Rossi, Teacher at Grace Church School, Fired For Opposing Critical Race Theory-Based Curriculum

 

Paul Rossi

From the Editor:

Paul Rossi is a hero to parents who want their children to be taught how to think critically, not what to think.


On "The Rubin Report" this week, BlazeTV host Dave Rubin spoke with Paul Rossi, a math teacher at Grace Church School in New York City who "was relieved of his teaching duties" after he blew the whistle on the private school's critical race theory-based curriculum. Rossi made his case in an open letter titled, "I Refuse to Stand By While My Students Are Indoctrinated," which was published by former New York Times opinion editor Bari Weiss.

POLL: What scares you the most?

Paul detailed the fallout from questioning the "antiracist" education lessons that his school was forcing him to teach, why he decided to go public, and how Bari Weiss helped him. He also described how George Davison, the head of the school, admitted he thinks the school's curriculum is "demonizing" white students "for being born" and making white kids "feel less than, for nothing that they are personally responsible for." Davison denied these claims, saying Rossi "misquoted" him, but an audio recording of the conversation tells a different story.

The Dalton School

You Have to Read This Letter

A New York father pulls his daughter out of Brearley with a message to the whole school. Is the dam starting to break?

Bari Weiss, Substack, April 16, 2021

I was planning to publish a roundup today of the many thoughtful responses to Paul Rossi’s essay. I’m going to save that post for Sunday, because I was just sent this letter that has my jaw on the floor. It was written by a Brearley parent named Andrew Gutmann.

Andrew Gutmann

If you don’t know about Brearley, it’s a private all-girls school on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. It costs $54,000 a year and prospective families apparently have to take an “anti-racism pledge” to be considered for admission. (In the course of my reporting for this piece I spoke to a few Brearley parents.)

Gutmann chose to pull his daughter, who has been in the school since kindergarten, and sent this missive to all 600 or so families in the school earlier this week. Among the lines:

If Brearley’s administration was truly concerned about so-called “equity,” it would be discussing the cessation of admissions preferences for legacies, siblings, and those families with especially deep pockets. If the administration was genuinely serious about “diversity,” it would not insist on the indoctrination of its students, and their families, to a single mindset, most reminiscent of the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

I’m pasting the whole thing below.

Meantime, I’m going to ask Andrew Gutmann to join Paul Rossi and me for our subscriber-only conversation this coming Tuesday night. I hope he’ll join. Details about that event will be in Sunday’s post.

I promise: this newsletter won’t be exclusively about education. But my gosh is it a wild right story to follow right now. . .

See you Sunday.

April 13, 2021 

Dear Fellow Brearley Parents, 

Our family recently made the decision not to re-enroll our daughter at Brearley for the 2021-22 school year. She has been at Brearley for seven years, beginning in kindergarten. In short, we no longer believe that Brearley’s administration and Board of Trustees have any of our children’s best interests at heart. Moreover, we no longer have confidence that our daughter will receive the quality of education necessary to further her development into a critically-thinking, responsible, enlightened, and civic-minded adult. I write to you, as a fellow parent, to share our reasons for leaving the Brearley community but also to urge you to act before the damage to the school, to its community, and to your own child's education is irreparable. 

It cannot be stated strongly enough that Brearley’s obsession with race must stop. It should be abundantly clear to any thinking parent that Brearley has completely lost its way. The administration and the Board of Trustees have displayed a cowardly and appalling lack of leadership by appeasing an anti-intellectual, illiberal mob, and then allowing the school to be captured by that same mob. What follows are my own personal views on Brearley's antiracism initiatives, but these are just a handful of the criticisms that I know other parents have expressed. 

I object to the view that I should be judged by the color of my skin. I cannot tolerate a school that not only judges my daughter by the color of her skin but encourages and instructs her to prejudge others by theirs. By viewing every element of education, every aspect of history, and every facet of society through the lens of skin color and race, we are desecrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and utterly violating the movement for which such civil rights leaders believed, fought, and died. 

I object to the charge of systemic racism in this country, and at our school. Systemic racism, properly understood, is segregated schools and separate lunch counters. It is the interning of the Japanese and the exterminating of Jews. Systemic racism is unequivocally not a small number of isolated incidences over a period of decades. Ask any girl, of any race, if they have ever experienced insults from friends, have ever felt slighted by teachers, or have ever suffered the occasional injustice from a school at which they have spent up to 13 years of their life, and you are bound to hear grievances, some petty, some not. We have not had systemic racism against Blacks in this country since the civil rights reforms of the 1960s, a period of more than 50 years. To state otherwise is a flat-out misrepresentation of our country's history and adds no understanding to any of today's societal issues. If anything, longstanding and widespread policies such as affirmative action, point in precisely the opposite direction. 

I object to a definition of systemic racism, apparently supported by Brearley, that any educational, professional, or societal outcome where Blacks are underrepresented is prima facie evidence of the aforementioned systemic racism, or of white supremacy and oppression. Facile and unsupported beliefs such as these are the polar opposite to the intellectual and scientific truth for which Brearley claims to stand. Furthermore, I call bullshit on Brearley's oft-stated assertion that the school welcomes and encourages the truly difficult and uncomfortable conversations regarding race and the roots of racial discrepancies. 

I object to the idea that Blacks are unable to succeed in this country without aid from government or from whites. Brearley, by adopting critical race theory, is advocating the abhorrent viewpoint that Blacks should forever be regarded as helpless victims, and are incapable of success regardless of their skills, talents, or hard work. What Brearley is teaching our children is precisely the true and correct definition of racism. 

I object to mandatory anti-racism training for parents, especially when presented by the rent-seeking charlatans of Pollyanna. These sessions, in both their content and delivery, are so sophomoric and simplistic, so unsophisticated and inane, that I would be embarrassed if they were taught to Brearley kindergarteners. They are an insult to parents and unbecoming of any educational institution, let alone one of Brearley's caliber. 

I object to Brearley’s vacuous, inappropriate, and fanatical use of words such as “equity,” “diversity” and “inclusiveness.” If Brearley’s administration was truly concerned about so-called “equity,” it would be discussing the cessation of admissions preferences for legacies, siblings, and those families with especially deep pockets. If the administration was genuinely serious about “diversity,” it would not insist on the indoctrination of its students, and their families, to a single mindset, most reminiscent of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Instead, the school would foster an environment of intellectual openness and freedom of thought. And if Brearley really cared about “inclusiveness,” the school would return to the concepts encapsulated in the motto “One Brearley,” instead of teaching the extraordinarily divisive idea that there are only, and always, two groups in this country: victims and oppressors. 

l object to Brearley’s advocacy for groups and movements such as Black Lives Matter, a Marxist, anti-family, heterophobic, anti-Asian, and anti-Semitic organization that neither speaks for the majority of the Black community in this country, nor in any way, shape or form, represents their best interests. 

I object to, as we have been told time and time again over the past year, that the school’s first priority is the safety of our children. For goodness sake, Brearley is a school, not a hospital! The number one priority of a school has always been, and always will be, education. Brearley’s misguided priorities exemplify both the safety culture and “cover-your-ass” culture that together have proved so toxic to our society and have so damaged the mental health and resiliency of two generations of children, and counting. 

I object to the gutting of the history, civics, and classical literature curriculums. I object to the censorship of books that have been taught for generations because they contain dated language potentially offensive to the thin-skinned and hypersensitive (something that has already happened in my daughter's 4th-grade class). I object to the lowering of standards for the admission of students and for the hiring of teachers. I object to the erosion of rigor in classwork and the escalation of grade inflation. Any parent with eyes open can foresee these inevitabilities should antiracism initiatives be allowed to persist. 

We have today in our country, from both political parties, and at all levels of government, the most unwise and unvirtuous leaders in our nation’s history. Schools like Brearley are supposed to be the training grounds for those leaders. Our nation will not survive a generation of leadership even more poorly educated than we have now, nor will we survive a generation of students taught to hate its own country and despise its history. 

Lastly, I object, with as strong a sentiment as possible, that Brearley has begun to teach what to think, instead of how to think. I object that the school is now fostering an environment where our daughters, and our daughters’ teachers, are afraid to speak their minds in class for fear of “consequences.” I object that Brearley is trying to usurp the role of parents in teaching morality, and bullying parents to adopt that false morality at home. I object that Brearley is fostering a divisive community where families of different races, which until recently were part of the same community, are now segregated into twoThese are the reasons why we can no longer send our daughter to Brearley. 

Over the past several months, I have personally spoken to many Brearley parents as well as parents of children at peer institutions. It is abundantly clear that the majority of parents believe that Brearley’s antiracism policies are misguided, divisive, counterproductive and cancerous. Many believe, as I do, that these policies will ultimately destroy what was until recently, a wonderful educational institution. But as I am sure will come as no surprise to you, given the insidious cancel culture that has of late permeated our society, most parents are too fearful to speak up. 

But speak up you must. There is strength in numbers and I assure you, the numbers are there. Contact the administration and the Board of Trustees and demand an end to the destructive and anti-intellectual claptrap known as antiracism. And if changes are not forthcoming then demand new leadership. For the sake of our community, our city, our country and most of all, our children, silence is no longer an option. 

Respectfully,

Andrew Gutmann


Jim Best, Former Headmaster at The Dalton School

Dalton headmaster quits while Brearley dad writes scathing letter

Published April 23, 2021Updated April 30, 2021

In the wake of George Floyd, elite institutions have tried to check their privilege. Not everybody is on board.

In the way that college football grinds the Southeast to a halt on any given fall Saturday, a private-school drama in New York flattens the attentions of the city’s moneyed class for anything else, days on end. In this regard, it has been quite a season. Within a period of roughly 92 hours during the week of April 11, the news coming from the Ivy League training grounds hit observers with the pace of an angry linebacker tearing in from the blindside.

Here now, we were introduced to Andrew Gutmann, author of an enraged letter — sent through the mail and postmarked from New Jersey — to hundreds of families at Brearley, the Upper East Side girls’ school where his daughter was enrolled and where changes were making him very grumpy. Mr. Gutmann, the founder of something called the Institute for Finance Education and Career Advancement, who had once run an apparel wholesaler, was going to pull her out, he explained to many people who surely did not care. Brearley — a school with mandatory Latin, a ninth-grade experience full of Shakespeare and Jane Austen — was too busy “gutting” its curriculum and appeasing an “anti-intellectual mob.”

Thanks to Fox News and all the other outlets dedicated to the notion that elite liberal institutions have abandoned any hope of sanity in the name of social revolution, Mr. Gutmann soon became a minor celebrity on the right — which might have been the whole point.

There, he was joined by a math teacher named Paul Rossi, who had composed a letter of his own, seemingly to the nation at large, laying out his objections to the way that his employer, the Grace Church School in Lower Manhattan, was going about the business of changing its culture around race. Mr. Rossi’s note lacked the hysterical tone of Mr. Gutmann’s. It raised valid concerns about the squelching of free thought. But he also took the dubious step of publicizing part of a secretly taped conversation he had with the school’s headmaster, George Davison, in which he goaded his boss, as if he were a prosecutor grilling a witness, into acknowledging that the new programming demonized white students.


By the end of last week the conversation turned to the Dalton School, where Jim Best, the widely admired headmaster, announced that he was stepping down, amid conflicting agendas around these same issues. Who could blame him? Things were only bound to become more and more unmanageable.

The roots of all this chaos extend, more or less, to late last summer, as parents from Chilmark to Amagansett laid down their tennis gear, poured their Negronis and banged out angry emails to administrators and trustees, apoplectic that a $55,000 annual tuition might not guarantee that their children would receive in-person daily learning. Once the academic year got underway — with far more live classroom instruction than the city’s public schools — there were new dissatisfactions to nurture.

The calls for racial parity in the wake of George Floyd’s murder demanded a response from institutions that market their enlightenment even as they persist in advancing the privileges of largely rich, white populations. Over the summer, Black alumni and parents at some of the country’s most prestigious independent schools took to Instagram to document deeply troubling experiences with prejudice at the hands of teachers, students, families. Many stories came not from the long-ago past but from the annals of recent history. Former Dalton students, for example, relayed anecdotes about white classmates likening Black people to gorillas, about a friend’s mother who asked whether “Black men were really violent.” On and on went the horror and indignity.

Nearly every private school in the country thus spent the summer scrambling to intensify curriculums and training around race and racial sensitivity, often with the help of diversity consultants whose approach can feel dependent on jargon and contrived simplicities. The revolution was coming, but it would be filtered through the ethos of a re-education camp born on the campus of a business school.

Whether consultants were directly involved or not, it soon became clear that not all parents were on board with the new order. In November, the former newscaster Megyn Kelly announced on her podcast that she was pulling her sons out of their “woke” Upper West Side school, which turned out to be Collegiate, serving the intellectually adept since 1628. The breaking point for her was a letter circulating within the community, written by an outside champion of racially progressive education, arguing that “there’s a killer cop sitting in every school where White children learn.” However hyperbolic, it was hard to miss the irony: there are almost certainly no future cops in the classrooms of Collegiate, only future cabinet members and managing directors at Citibank.

The pushback did not end, however, with those who have had to make on-air apologies for remarks uncritical of blackface. In December, a group of Dalton parents and alumni wrote an anonymous letter to the school community titled “Loving Concern @ Dalton.” They worried about “an obsessive focus on race and identity,” filling their children’s days at school. With remote learning giving parents an opportunity to spy on what their children were getting taught all day, these parents did not like what they were hearing — “a pessimistic and age-inappropriate litany of grievances in EVERY class.”

The new programming seemed designed to divide and provoke guilt, they maintained, forcing white children to feel bad about being white. While guilt might seem like a fraught path to reform, it was also the case that these parents weren’t the best representatives of a viewpoint challenging the emerging orthodoxies. Their letter was seven pages long, and the sentence “To be clear, we abhor racism” did not present itself until paragraph 13. The Brearley dad was an even more appalling spokesman, given his belief that “we have not had systemic racism against Blacks in this country since the civil rights reforms of the 1960s.”

Private schools find themselves now at an existential moment. Over the past few decades, as they have become dominated by wealthier and wealthier families, they have found themselves more and more beholden to the habits of modern corporate culture, which has had a long love affair with consultants and the outsourcing of difficult problems. Right now there are lots of specialists popping up, eager to capitalize on institutional insecurity around diversity initiatives. One of them, Pollyanna, has advised Dalton, Brearley and also the Grace Church School.

The problem, though, is that consultants often present a blanket approach that fails to recognize the particulars of an institutional culture; the language deployed from one school (or company) to another is scarcely any different. Everything begins to sound as though it has its origins in Oz — inauthentic and alienating.

Mr. Rossi’s letter argued that students and teachers at Grace did not feel free to challenge a new language or ideology. When he did, he was reprimanded for “acting like an independent agent of a set of principles or ideas or beliefs,” he wrote. After the letter became public, Mr. Davison, the head of school, put together a committee to bring voices from all sides of the debate together. He asked Mr. Rossi to join, but Mr. Rossi instead chose to leave the school.

In a conversation I had with Mr. Davison last weekend, he was very frank about the imperfect nature of the changes at Grace. “We were in the process of developing programming faster than we ever had before,’’ he told me. “Whenever you build something quickly, you don’t always see all the pieces. The ones who are going to help you build it the most quickly are the true believers,” he said. But the truest believers are not always those in the best position to advance change without fear. “We need to be better at communicating those things. We need to get more opinion.” The truth, he said, was that most people were on board with the new mission. “If we were a school in Oklahoma, we might not have the consensus.”

When I asked a high school senior I know about what was missing in his diversity, equity and inclusion training at his private school, he said that often what was left out was “a basic focus on decency and empathy.” Kids want to know how to talk to their friends openly, he said, and they just don’t want to be jerks.


Ginia Bellafante has served as a reporter, critic and, since 2011, as the Big City columnist. She began her career at The Times as a fashion critic, and has also been a television critic. She previously worked at Time magazine. @GiniaNYT



Virginia public school divides students between 'oppressed' and 'privileged', deems straight, white, Christian males 'privileged'

A document distributed by the Loudoun County Public School district's equity czar divided people into two groups: those who are privileged, and those who are oppressed.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Sports Journalist Jason Whitlock is Banned From Twitter After Criticizing BLM Founder's Buying 4 Homes

Jason Whitlock

DAILY MAIL:

Twitter BANS black reporter for criticizing BLM founder for buying $1.4m home in '88% white LA neighborhood' - as he slams big tech for making the movement a 'sacred cow despite its financial GRIFT'


  • Patrisse Cullors, 37, has bought an expansive property in Topanga Canyon
  • The district in which the BLM founder will now live is 88% white and 1.8% black
  • Critics accused her of abandoning her social justice and activist roots
  • Sports journalist Jason Whitlock was among those remarking on her purchase
  • Twitter on Friday locked him out of his account in response to his tweet
  • Whitlock told DailyMail.com he remains blocked by the social media network
  • Twitter is demanding he delete his tweet linking to a celebrity real estate blog
  • Whitlock says he remains 'in Twitter jail because I won't post bail' 
  • The action is the latest draconian step in censorship by the Silicon Valley firm

Patrisse Cullors


A prominent black sports journalist barred from Twitter for the 'crime' of discussing the $1.4 million house bought by a Black Lives Matter co-founder slammed the company for trying to silence legitimate debate. 

Jason Whitlock, 53, told DailyMail.com on Monday that Twitter was 'going too far' by blocking him from posting to his account, which has nearly 450,000 followers.

The censorship by Twitter comes as social media companies, including Twitter and Facebook, have increasingly 'de-platformed' figures who stray too far from opinions they consider acceptable.

'BLM is one of Big Tech's sacred cows,' Whitlock told DailyMail.com 'I’ve been harping on the fraudulence and the financial grift of BLM for years.'

'I think Twitter has been looking for an excuse to de-platform me,' he said. 

BLM raised $90 million last year, the AP has reported, but it's unclear how leaders are paid - if they are paid - because the organization's finances are opaque, a fact that has sparked criticism, even among local BLM chapters.

Now, Whitlock says, Twitter is trying to silence him for asking questions about BLM's finances. 


He was silenced just as it emerged that BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors, a self-professed 'trained Marxist', had purchased the $1.4 million house in LA. The New York Post reported Cullors had also bought two other LA homes in recent years, and paid $415,000 for a 3.2 acre property in Georgia. 



When Whitlock tweeted his response to the news of Cullors's purchase, he included a link to the popular celebrity real estate website The Dirt, which first reported the details of the property.

Cullors, 37, raised eyebrows with her new three bedroom, three bathroom house in Topanga Canyon, Los Angeles - a largely white district.

In her new zip code, 88 per cent of residents are white and 1.8 per cent black, according to the census.  

Whitlock explained: 'Twitter locked my account around 4pm Friday,' confirming his account was still blocked. 

'They said my account was locked because I revealed personal information about someone.  

'They said I needed to remove the tweet that linked the dirt.com story about Cullors buying a house in Topanga.' 

There was no explanation of how linking to the Dirt.com story revealed personal information as neither the story, nor Whitlock's tweet, listed an address - and the purchase also was discussed widely elsewhere on Twitter and reported throughout the press. 

Twitter didn't respond to DailyMail.com's request for comment. 

Whitlock tweeted on Friday, in response to a critic of his original tweet: 'She had a lot of options on where to live. She chose one of the whitest places in California. She'll have her pick of white cops and white people to complain about. That's a choice, bro.'  

On Monday, Whitlock further told a YouTube channel: 'I'm still in Twitter jail, because I won't post bail.'

He added: 'I won't post bail. I'm not sure if I'm going to post bail,' he said, referring to deleting his tweet, which had been removed from view by Twitter.

He insisted he did nothing wrong.

'I find it hypocritical,' he said, of her decision to live in a largely white neighborhood. 'There is so much hypocrisy. She's acting like a capitalist.

'They want you to remove the tweet to start your 12 hour sentence. Why should I remove the tweet? They have already removed it. I sat back and said I'm going to do nothing, and see where this story goes.

'I'm going to play Nelson Mandela in the Twitter jail,' he said of the former South African leader.

He pointed out that Twitter's move had only served to shine a spotlight on the story, adding it 'has gone exactly how I wanted it to go'.  

Whitlock said BLM founders like Cullors were 'making millions of dollars off the backs of these dead black men who they wouldn't spit on if they were on fire and alive.'    

The company's action in blocking Whitlock has sparked yet more concern about the Twitter's powers of censorship.

The Silicon Valley giant's ability to control the discussion was highlighted by its January decision to block Donald Trump, fearing that his inflammatory tweets could spark civil unrest. Since then his allies including Steve Bannon have also been permanently blocked by the site.

Jack Dorsey, founder and CEO of Twitter, in October was forced to apologize for blocking a news story featuring allegations about Joe Biden's son Hunter, and his business dealings.

Twitter chose to restrict distribution of the story, citing its hacked material policy, which doesn't 'permit the use of our services to directly distribute content obtained through hacking that contains private information, may put people in physical harm or danger, or contains trade secrets.' 

Dorsey admitted that in that situation, the company overstepped the mark.

'Straight blocking of URLs was wrong, and we updated our policy and enforcement to fix. Our goal is to attempt to add context, and now we have capabilities to do that,' Dorsey tweeted.

Cullors is yet to respond to DailyMail.com's request for comment. 

After the news broke of her Los Angeles home, The New York Post reported on Saturday that Cullors had also bought three other homes in recent years, at a total cost of around $3 million. 

Cullors and her partner also purchased a 'custom ranch' on 3.2 acres in Conyers, Georgia last year for $415,000.

That residence comes complete with its own pool and airplane hangar.

Additionally, the publication claims that property records show Cullors has bought two other Los Angeles homes in recent years.  

In 2016, she is said to have paid $510,000 for a three-bedroom home in Inglewood. 

In 2018, Cullors added another home to her property portfolio, by laying down $590,000 for a four-bedroom home in South L.A., the Post says.

The Post reports that Cullors was also 'eyeing property at the ultra-exclusive Albany resort outside Nassau in the Bahamas where Justin Timberlake and Tiger Woods have homes.' The publication didn't cite sources for its information. 

Cullors' new Los Angeles home, which sparked Whitlock's Twitter ban, is described in the real estate listing as having a vast great room with vaulted and beamed ceilings.

The realtors write that the large back yard is 'ideal for entertaining or quietly contemplating cross-canyon vistas framed by mature trees.

The AP reported that Black Lives Matter took in $90 million in donations last year. 

It's not clear if or how Cullors is paid by the organization, as its finances are not public. 

The house is only 20 miles from her childhood home in Van Nuys, but is a world away.

In her 2018 memoir, she tells of being raised by a single mother with her three siblings in 'an impoverished neighborhood', where she lived 'in a two-story, tan-colored building where the paint was peeling and where there is a gate that does not close properly and an intercom system that never works.'

Some critics argued that living in a million-dollar home was at odds with her social justice mission.

Vallejo for Social Justice, a movement that describes itself as 'Abolition + Socialist collective in the struggle for liberation, self-determination, & poor, working-class solidarity,' said it was an ill-judged flaunting of wealth.

'We're talking generational wealth off of the deaths & struggles of Black folks here,' they tweeted. 

'Justice Teams Network & BLM founder paid $1.4 million dollars for a home. 

'This past week we bought a cot for our unhoused Black elder friend to keep him off the ground.'

One LGBTQ activist described BLM as 'a racket'.   

Author and activist Andy Ngo tweeted: 'Cullors identifies as a communist & advocates for the abolishment of capitalism.'  

Paul Joseph Watson, a British YouTube host, said she chose to live in 'one of the whitest areas of California'. 

Another Twitter user called Cullors a 'fraud' and said her brand of 'Marxism' apparently included buying a $1.4 million house.  

Cullors founded BLM with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi in 2013, in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman, who killed Trayvon Martin.

It is unclear if Cullors is paid by the group, which is currently cleft by deep divisions over leadership and funding.

 Cullors' co-founders have left, and last summer Cullors assumed leadership of the Black Lives Matter Global Network - the national group that oversees the local chapters of the loosely-arranged movement.

Cullors' move has not been universally welcomed, Politico reported in October.

Local organizers told Politico they saw little or no money and were forced to crowdfund to stay afloat. Some organizers say they were barely able to afford gas or housing. 

BLM's Global Network filters its donations through a group called Thousand Currents, Insider reported in June - which made it even more complicated to trace the cash. 

Solome Lemma, executive director of Thousand Currents, told the site: 'Donations to BLM are restricted donations to support the activities of BLM.' 

Last month AP reported that BLM brought in $90 million in donations last year, leading to Michael Brown Sr. to join other Black Lives Matter activists demanding $20 million from the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation. 

Brown, whose son Michael Brown Jr., was killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014 says he and his advocacy group have been short-changed by the larger BLM organization. 

'Why hasn't my family's foundation received any assistance from the movement?' Brown asked in a statement.    

The BLM co-founder, Cullors, who married Janaya Khan, a gender non-conforming leader of BLM in Toronto, in 2016, has been in high demand since her 2018 memoir became a best-seller.

In October she published her follow-up, Abolition.

She also works as a professor of Social and Environmental Arts at Arizona's Prescott College, and in October 2020 signed a sweeping deal with Warner Bros.

The arrangement is described as a multi-year and wide-ranging agreement to develop and produce original programming across all platforms, including broadcast, cable and streaming.

'As a long time community organizer and social justice activist, I believe that my work behind the camera will be an extension of the work I've been doing for the last twenty years,' she said, in a statement obtained by Variety

'I look forward to amplifying the talent and voices of other black creatives through my work.'

Facebook censored The Post’s article on Patrisse Khan-Cullors’ property purchases.
Alamy Stock Photo

Social media again silences The Post for reporting the news

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Amazon Workers Allege Retaliation For Advocating For Better Pay and Working Conditions

People in New York City protest in support of Amazon workers in Alabama
on March 4.
Emaz / VIEW press / Corbis via Getty Images

The actions of Amazon management show clearly the pattern and practice of retaliation against employees that is so pervasive throughout corporate America and public entities such as Departments of Education and charitable organizations.

What happens next in the Amazon saga will pave the way for everyone else.

City Has Lost Contact With 2,600 Students Since MarBetsy Combier

Jonathan Bailey filed a charge with the National Labor Relations Board accusing Amazon
of retaliating against him for protected activities.
Victor J. Blue / for NBC News

Fired,interrogated, disciplined: Amazon warehouse organizers allege year of retaliation

The number of charges filed with the National Labor Relations Board accusing Amazon of interfering with workers’ right to organize more than tripled during the pandemic.

 NBC News, March 30, 2021, 4:30 AM EDT

The day after Jonathan Bailey organized a walkout over Covid-19 concerns at an Amazon warehouse in Queens, New York, he was, he said, “detained” during his lunch break by a manager in a black camouflage vest who introduced himself as ex-FBI.

Bailey, who co-founded Amazonians United, a network of Amazon workers fighting for better pay and working conditions, was ushered to a side office and interrogated for 90 minutes, according to testimony filed to the National Labor Relations Board, or NLRB.

The manager asked exactly what Bailey had said or done to get his fellow workers to join the walkout. When Bailey declined to explain, the manager shifted his tone. He told Bailey that some people “felt hurt” by what he did and that it “might be seen as harassment,” Bailey said.

“It was already a pretty intense conversation. But it became very clear they were trying to intimidate me,” Bailey said. “Being accused of harassment is a very dangerous thing.”

A week later, Bailey received a formal write-up for harassment, although his managers would not tell him whom he had allegedly harassed, nor what he had allegedly said or done, according to his NLRB testimony.

Bailey, who still works for Amazon, believes that was part of a corporate strategy to silence organizers, and in May 2020 he filed a charge against Amazon to the NLRB alleging that the company had violated labor law by retaliating against him for protected, concerted activities. The board found merit to the allegations and filed a federal complaint against Amazon.

This month, a year after Bailey staged the walkout, Amazon settled. Under the terms of the settlement, Amazon was required to post a notice to employees, on physical bulletin boards and via email, reminding them of their right to organize.

"Amazon will work to destroy your character and try to keep you from talking about what’s actually going on,” Bailey said. “And it’s all so that Jeff Bezos can make more dollars.”

Bailey’s complaint is one of at least 37 charges filed to the NLRB against Amazon, America’s second-largest employer, across 20 cities since February 2020, when news of the pandemic began to spread, according to an analysis of NLRB filings by NBC News. These complaints accuse the company of interfering with workers’ rights to organize or form a union. That’s more than triple the number of cases of this kind filed to the agency about Amazon in 2019 and six times the number filed in 2018.

For comparison, Walmart, America’s largest employer, has had eight such charges since February 2020. The meat-processing giant JBS, whose workers have been fighting for better working conditions throughout the pandemic, including staging protests, had nine.

The number of similar charges filed against Amazon over the last year has become significant enough that the NLRB is considering whether the “meritorious allegations warrant a consolidated effort between the regions,” NLRB spokesman Nelson Carrasco said. Typically NLRB charges are investigated by one of 26 regional offices. But in rare instances the board combines cases into a consolidated complaint, as it has done with Walmart and McDonald’s, if it believes there is a pattern emerging at a company.

Amazon declined to comment on the increase in NLRB charges.

Labor experts said that the surge in such charges reflects a dramatic increase in organizing among a small but vocal portion of Amazon’s 500,000 warehouse workers across North America during a coronavirus-led boom in online retail, leading to record sales and an almost 200 percent increase in profits for Amazon.

Workers have been coming together to demand better working conditions — including through solidarity campaigns, strikes, protests and walkouts — at warehouses across the United States, including in Chicago; New York; Minneapolis; Iowa City, Iowa; Sacramento and the Inland Empire of California; Salem, Oregon; and King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.

As worker activism gains momentum, so, too, has Amazon’s effort to counter it with anti-union propaganda, firing key organizers, surveilling employees and hiring Pinkertons to gather intelligence on warehouse workers.

NBC News interviewed more than two dozen Amazon warehouse workers, nine of whom said they had been fired, disciplined or retaliated against for protected activity and three of whom filed NLRB complaints since the pandemic began. They allege that Amazon has in some cases selectively enforced its policies on issues such as social distancing, vulgar language and insubordination to target those speaking up for worker rights. A handful of workers, including Bailey, said that allegations made against them by Amazon seemingly play into racist stereotypes of Black men being angry or aggressive.

“We have zero tolerance for racism or retaliation of any kind, and in many cases these complaints come from individuals who acted inappropriately toward co-workers and were terminated as a result,” said an Amazon spokeswoman, Leah Seay. “We work hard to make sure our teams feel supported, and will always stand by our decision to take action if someone makes their colleagues feel threatened or excluded.”

But labor historians note just how significant this fight is for the future of employees at one of the world’s fastest-growing companies.

“There is a David versus Goliath aspect to this. Workers getting paid $15 per hour are going up against one of the world’s most powerful corporations owned by the world’s richest man,” said John Logan, director of labor and employment studies at San Francisco State University. “Having a union would be a disaster for Amazon, so it’s pulling out all the stops to prevent workers from organizing.”




A demonstrator wears a mask that reads "Power To The Workers" during a Retail,
Wholesale and Department Store Union protest outside the Amazon BHM1 Fulfillment Center
in Bessemer, Ala., on Feb. 7.Elijah Nouvelage / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Selective enforcement

The highest-profile organizing campaign is in Bessemer, Alabama, where 5,800 workers are in the midst of a precedent-setting vote to form a union. There, Amazon is waging what labor experts like Logan describe as a classic and well-funded union-busting campaign. Workers described how Amazon required them to attend mandatory meetings to hear why the union was not, in Amazon’s view, beneficial for workers. The warehouse is filled with banners and signs encouraging workers to vote against the union and the company set up a website and hashtag, #DoItWithoutDues, to warn them about union fees.

“They are doing everything they can to try to convince the people to ‘Vote no,’" said Darryl Richardson, an Amazon employee in Bessemer who is organizing with the union drive. "There are signs right over the men's stall, so when you use the bathroom it’s right there face to face.”

Seay, the Amazon spokeswoman, said that it was important for employees to understand the facts of joining a union.

Amazon’s anti-union campaign states that union members would have to pay $500 a year in dues with no guarantee of better pay. Economic research indicates that collective bargaining unions generally raise pay for both union and nonunion members. “Amazon fears the union because of the leverage it can have to organize strikes that could cripple the business,” said Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, a Los Angeles-based investment firm, noting that Amazon’s efficient customer service is critical to the company’s success.

If unions negotiate better pay and benefits, it would increase Amazon’s operating expenses and reduce profit, Pachter added.

Seay said Amazon hosts "regular information sessions for all employees, which include an opportunity for employees to ask questions."

"If the union vote passes," she added, "it will impact everyone at the site, and it’s important all associates understand what that means for them and their day-to-day life working at Amazon.”

The company offers a $15-an-hour starting wage, benefits and a clean working environment for its employees, a spokesperson said.

Elsewhere, the company’s crackdown on organizing has been more insidious, say workers and labor experts.

“They made up stupid reasons to get rid of each of us,” said Courtney Bowden, who was fired from her warehouse job in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, last March after advocating for sick pay for part-time workers. According to her complaint filed to the NLRB, management at her warehouse targeted her by “selectively and disparately” enforcing rules around how workers should wear their hair and later fired her for an altercation with a co-worker.

In November, the NLRB determined that, following an investigation, it found merit to the allegations that Amazon had illegally retaliated against Bowden, according to public records first obtained by BuzzFeed. A hearing before an NLRB judge is scheduled for later this year.

“If what they set out to do is shut down organizing, I think they are doing a good job right now,” Bowden said. “But when you take out some people there will always be someone else later down the line.”

John Hopkins, an organizer who worked at a warehouse in San Leandro, California, agreed. Amazon suspended Hopkins for three months starting in early May 2020 for violating a relatively new social-distancing rule forbidding workers to stay on site for longer than 15 minutes after their shift ended. In the months before his suspension, Hopkins had been distributing pamphlets about union organizing to co-workers after becoming concerned about the company’s handling of the pandemic. Hopkins, 34, was worried about the risk of exposure to the virus at work, particularly since he lives with his stepfather and brother and both are cancer survivors.

The pamphlets he had been leaving kept disappearing from the break room and notice boards, and nobody in human resources would explain why, Hopkins said. On May 1, he filed a complaint with the NLRB against Amazon, noting that other flyers, such as job postings for third-party delivery companies, were allowed. That night, he clocked out in solidarity with a sick-out protest held by essential workers in the United States, but stayed in the break room to talk to co-workers about organizing. Management asked him to leave, which he did after arguing that it was protected activity. He was suspended the next day.

“It seemed like a very disproportionate punishment,” Hopkins said. “I felt like they isolated me so I couldn’t get other workers rallied on my side. But they pretended they didn’t see the connection between my union organizing and my suspension.”

While the NLRB initially dismissed Hopkins’ case, it is revisiting it as part of the agency’s larger investigation into Amazon’s alleged retaliation.

Increasing surveillance

Labor experts say that Amazon warehouses are also designed to detect and squash organizing through surveillance technology, including the scanners workers use to track the rate at which they sort and pack items, mandatory daily worker surveys, and AI-powered camera systems to detect social-distancing violations.

“Amazon controls workers’ bodies and movement in such minute ways, ostensibly to track productivity, that people cannot have any purpose in the workplace except for to produce,” said Veena Dubal, a law professor at the University of California, Hastings, whose research focuses on law, technology and gig work. “It’s inherently union busting.”