Democracy Now

Democracy Now!
A daily TV/radio news program, hosted by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, airing on over 1,100 stations, pioneering the largest community media collaboration in the United States.
Updated: 10 hours 30 min ago

Hip-Hop Voices Talib Kweli & Rosa Clemente in Ferguson, "Ground Zero" for Police Brutality Struggle

Mon 07 46 AM

Mourners are gathering in St. Louis today for the funeral of Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager killed by a white police officer on August 9. His father, Michael Brown Sr., has requested a day of silence and peace after two weeks of nightly protests in Ferguson over the police killing of his 18-year-old son. We turn now to two well-known voices from the hip-hop community who have joined the protests in Ferguson. Talib Kweli is a world renowned hip-hop artist. Rosa Clemente is a longtime activist and former director of the Hip Hop Caucus. In 2008, she was the Green Party’s vice-presidential nominee. "The fact that he’s someone who could be my son, fact that he’s someone who could be me," Kweli said, "fact that he’s someone who I relate to on a lot of levels, being a black man and my experience in America, it just really touched me in a way that the news stories couldn’t capture."

"I Can't Breathe": NYC March over Chokehold Death of Eric Garner Protests Police Violence Nationwide

Mon 07 32 AM

On Saturday, thousands marched in Staten Island, New York, to protest the death of Eric Garner, who died on July 17 after police placed him in a chokehold and then pinned him to the ground. At the march, demonstrators chanted "I can’t breathe!" referring to the 11 times Eric Garner said that as he was held down by New York City Police Department officers. Many have called for the officers in the case to be brought to justice. The death of the 43-year-old African-American father of six has sparked a larger national debate about the NYPD’s use of excessive force and its policy of cracking down on low-level offenses. It also comes as demonstrations have erupted nationwide over other police killings of unarmed men. The protesters in Staten Island chanted "Hands up, don’t shoot!" in solidarity with the people of Ferguson, Missouri, who are protesting the fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown. "We need to show the community that these police officers need to be disciplined and they need to be sentenced, for all that they caused," says 12-year-old Imani Morrias. "They caused so much pain."

Blowback: Vijay Prashad on How Islamic State Grew Out of U.S Invasion of Iraq, Destruction of Nation

Mon 07 08 AM

Militants from Islamic State stormed an air base in northeast Syria on Sunday, capturing it from government forces. Fighters from Islamic State have seized three Syrian military bases in the area in recent weeks. This comes as the Pentagon considers expanding its airstrikes against Islamic State in Iraq to include targets inside Syria. Meanwhile, another journalist who had been kidnapped in Syria, Peter Theo Curtis, has been freed after two years in captivity by the Nusra Front — another militant group in Syria. Calls have been growing for the United States to attack Syria since Islamic State posted video showing the kidnapped American journalist James Foley being beheaded. Foley was captured in Syria in 2012. Meanwhile in Iraq, officials say suicide bomber targeted a Shiite mosque in Baghdad today, killing at least 12 people. We speak to Vijay Prashad, professor of international studies at Trinity College. He is the author of several books, including "Arab Spring, Libyan Winter" and, most recently, "The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South."

Dr. Paul Farmer on African Ebola Outbreak: Growing Inequality in Global Healthcare at Root of Crisis

Fri 07 13 AM

As the death toll from the West African Ebola outbreak nears 1,400, two American missionaries who received experimental drugs and top-notch healthcare have been released from the hospital. We spend the hour with Partners in Health co-founder Dr. Paul Farmer discussing what can be done to stop the epidemic and the need to build local healthcare capacity, not just an emergency response. "The Ebola outbreak, which is the largest in history that we know about, is merely a reflection of the public health crisis in Africa, and it’s about the lack of staff, stuff and systems that could protect populations, particularly those living in poverty, from outbreaks like this or other public health threats," says Farmer, who has devoted his life to improving the health of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. He is a professor at Harvard Medical School and currently serves as the special adviser to the United Nations on community-based medicine. He has written several books including, "Infections and Inequalities: The Modern Plagues."

A War on Gaza's Future? Israeli Assault Leaves 500 Kids Dead, 3,000 Injured, 373,000 Traumatized

Thu 07 37 AM

As the Israeli offensive in Gaza resumes, we look at the impact the military campaign has had on the children of Gaza. More than 467 Palestinian children have died since July. That is more than the combined number of child fatalities in the two previous conflicts in Gaza. According to the World Health Organization, more than 3,000 children have been injured, of which an estimated 1,000 will suffer from a lifelong disability. The United Nations estimates at least 373,000 children require direct and specialized psychosocial support. And, based on the total number of adults killed, there may be up to 1,500 children orphaned. Gazan children’s right to an education has also been severely compromised with at least 25 schools reportedly damaged so severely that they can no longer be used. We speak to Pernille Ironside, chief of UNICEF’s Gaza field office.

"There isn’t a single family in Gaza who hasn’t experienced personally death, injury, the loss of their home, extensive damage, displacement," Ironside says. "The psychological toll that has on a people, it just cannot be overestimated, and especially on children."

"Negro Spring": Ferguson Residents, Friends of Michael Brown Speak Out for Human Rights

Thu 07 14 AM

As peaceful protests continued Wednesday in Ferguson, Missouri, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder arrived in the city to meet with residents and FBI agents investigating the police shooting of Michael Brown. Democracy Now! traveled to Ferguson this week and visited the site where the 18-year-old Brown was killed. We spoke to young people who live nearby, including some who knew him personally. "He fell on his knees. Like, ’Don’t shoot.’ [The police officer] shot him anyway in the eye, the head, and four times down here," said one local resident Rico Like. "Hands up, don’t shoot is all I got to say. RIP Mike Brown."

Stop the Violence from Ferguson to Gaza: 90-Year-Old Holocaust Survivor Arrested in St. Louis

Wed 07 49 AM

Just days after her 90th birthday, Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein was arrested Monday in St. Louis when she was part of a protest outside Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s office. Epstein was born in Germany and left in 1939 on a Kindertransport to England. Her parents died in Auschwitz. Epstein is a co-founder of the St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee and St. Louis branch of Jewish Voice for Peace. In 2011, she was part of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla and was a passenger on the U.S.-flagged ship, The Audacity of Hope. Over the years, she has made many solidarity trips to the West Bank. Epstein criticizes the police handling of protests in Ferguson. "It’s the same kind of violence that I’ve observed when I was in the Israeli-occupied Palestine," Epstein says. "I know what it feels like to be discriminated against, to be oppressed, and I can’t stand idly by when I see there are problems."

"They Are All Michael Brown": State Senator Defends Protesters Seeking Justice in Police Shooting

Wed 07 35 AM

During the protests in Ferguson, one of the key voices calling for justice is Missouri State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal. She has been in the streets facing tear gas, and on Twitter, where she was highly critical of Gov. Jay Nixon’s lack of action days after Michael Brown was killed by police and protests erupted. "The fact that [Gov. Nixon] still has not come to talk to the people who see themselves as Michael Brown at any given time is really a slap in their face," Chappelle-Nadal says. "He only comes around the minority community when it’s politically expedient."

"Not Acceptable in a Civilized Society": Pastor on Ferguson Police Targeting Traumatized Youth

Wed 07 28 AM

As we continue our live broadcast from Ferguson, Missouri, we speak with Michael McBride, pastor of The Way Christian Center in Berkeley, California. He is also national director of the Lifelines for Healing Communities Campaign, part of People Improving Communities through Organizing, or PICO, the largest faith-based network of community organizing in the country. McBride has been in Ferguson working with young people as a peacekeeper and supporting their acts of civil disobedience. He says the protesters are "practicing the legacy of civil rights and resistance" in the United States. "People wondering why folks are so outraged? Because we have children," McBride says. "What parent would not be outraged that their children are being killed by people who we pay with our tax dollars?"

Rubber Bullets, Tear Gas and Jail: Ferguson Police Crack Down on Journalists Covering Protests

Wed 07 10 AM

Protests over the fatal police shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown have continued for a 10th night in Ferguson, Missouri. Protesters are calling for the arrest of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who shot the unarmed teenager six times, including twice in the head. According to The New York Times, Attorney General Eric Holder and top Justice Department officials are weighing whether to open a broader civil rights investigation to look at Ferguson’s police practices at large. Meanwhile, the Committee to Protect Journalists has called on the Ferguson Police Department to stop harassing and detaining journalists. At least 11 journalists have been detained while covering the protests sparked by the shooting of Brown. We speak to Ryan Devereaux of The Intercept. On Monday night covering the demonstrations, he was shot by a rubber bullet, arrested and jailed overnight.

"Overpoliced & Underprotected": In Michael Brown Killing, Neglect of Black Communities Laid Bare

Tue 07 45 AM

As we continue to discuss the developments since the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer, we turn to john a. powell, professor of law, African American studies and ethnic studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the director of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society. "The black community tends be overpoliced and underprotected," powell says. "That’s a very serious problem."

St. Louis Activist: Decades After 1968 Urban Uprisings, Key Economic & Race Issues Remain Unresolved

Tue 07 36 AM

The upheaval in Ferguson, Missouri, has called to mind the racial divisions that split open in the 1960s with a series of uprisings in cities across the country. In 1967, President Lyndon Johnson established what became known as the Kerner Commission to investigate the causes of the unrest. In February 1968, the commission famously concluded: "Our nation is moving toward two societies — one black, one white — separate and unequal." Just a month later, the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. sparked uprisings in more than 100 cities across the United States, including Kansas City, Missouri, where the National Guard was deployed and at least five people were killed. We speak with Jamala Rogers, who was born in Kansas City, Missouri, and witnessed the 1968 uprisings. She recently did a commentary for St. Louis Public Radio titled "Kerner Commission Warning Comes True — Two Societies, Separate and Unequal." Rogers is a founder and past chair of the Organization for Black Struggle in St. Louis, Missouri. She joins us from the streets in Ferguson.

Activist: For a New Generation, Ferguson Marks Historic Nonviolent Resistance to Police Repression

Tue 07 26 AM

As protests continue in Ferguson, activists are traveling to Missouri to join the movement in solidarity. We speak with one activist who has just arrived to Ferguson from Florida, Phillip Agnew, the executive director of Dream Defenders, a network of youth of color and their allies who engage in nonviolent civil disobedience and civic engagement to bring about social change. "I came here to be part of resistance," Agnew says. "We have not seen a reaction of nonviolent civil disobedience [to] officers of the state like this in my lifetime." Agnew helped organize protests to the 2012 shooting of unarmed, African-American teenager Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida.

Pastor: In Ferguson Police Crackdown, I Need a Gas Mask More Than My Clerical Collar

Tue 07 10 AM

In Missouri, Ferguson has seen another night of heavy unrest in the ongoing uproar over the fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown. At least 31 people, including two journalists, were arrested as street clashes erupted between groups of demonstrators and riot police. Police are claiming they came under "heavy gunfire" and that unknown suspects shot two people over the course of the night. The protests came hours after attorneys for the family of Brown held a press conference to discuss the findings of a private autopsy that revealed Brown had been shot six times. The officer who shot Brown, Darren Wilson, remains in hiding and on paid leave. We go to the streets of Ferguson to speak with Rev. Osagyefo Sekou, a pastor from the First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, who was dispatched to Missouri by the Fellowship of Reconciliation. "It is a tragedy that as a clergyperson I need a tear gas mask more than I need a collar to be able to do the work that I feel called to do," Sekou says.

Ferguson Protests Erupt Near Grave of Ex-Slave Dred Scott, Whose Case Helped Fuel U.S. Civil War

Mon 07 51 AM

Just miles away from the scene of the protests in Ferguson lies the grave of Dred Scott at the Calvary Cemetery on West Florissant Avenue. Born a slave in Virginia, Scott sued in a St. Louis court for his freedom. The case went to the Supreme Court, resulting in a landmark 1857 decision that African Americans were not citizens of the United States and therefore had no rights to sue in federal courts. The court described blacks as "beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations, and so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect." The Dred Scott Decision is considered by many to be the worst decision in the Supreme Court’s history. We discuss the case’s significance with Kimberlé Crenshaw, professor of law at UCLA and Columbia University and founder of the African American Policy Forum.