Some of my shots from #Juneteenth coverage.
My scoop in @theintercept today: An unprecedented coalition of workers from some of America’s largest companies will strike on Friday. Thousands of workers from Amazon, Instacart, Whole Foods, Walmart, Target, and FedEx are slated to walk out on work, citing what they say is their employers’ record profits at the expense of workers’ health and safety during the pandemic. In the piece, I reveal the most comprehensive number of #COVID19 cases at Amazon facilities: At least 500 cases in at least 125 facilities. That figure, which has not been previously reported, was compiled by workers, sourcing each case to internal company texts, voicemails & private FB messages. Amazon would not comment on the figures and declined to give me their count. The company’s profits during the pandemic have skyrocketed to the point that CEO Jeff Bezos’ personal fortune has grown by $24 billion in the last 6 weeks. Link in bio.
Saturday marked the 100th day of the #Lebanese protests. Last month, I went to Beirut to investigate alongside @kareemchehayeb the security forces' growing crackdown on the protests and, most seriously, the allegations of torture. At least 450 individuals have been detained by the Lebanese Army and Internal Security Forces, the national police, since the uprising began on October 17. In at least 8 cases, according to Amnesty International, there are reports of torture. We spoke to 3 of them, on the record. (Two are pictured here ) We corroborated their accounts with medical reports, their lawyers and accounts from fellow detainees arrested with them. The detentions of protesters in Lebanon have gone largely unreported outside of local media, especially in the U.S. where the protests themselves have barely been covered at all. Protesters have described to rights organizations experiences similar to those we heard from the detainees we interviewed: being dragged from the street by unidentified men, attacked by military officials, and beaten and interrogated in secret detention centers in Beirut and across the country. Since 2010, the U.S. has provided the Lebanese army, the country’s most respected institution since the end of the civil war, with $1.7 billion in security aid. Washington views the funding and training as crucial to the army’s ability to act as the country’s only credible counterweight to Hezbollah. I asked the State Department spokeswoman how the White House squared taxpayer funding with the alleged mistreatment of detainees, and she hedged. When I approached Senator Chris Murphy, who visited with army personnel in Beirut in November, his office initially agreed to an interview but then less than 24 hours later, canceled and would not comment on the torture allegations against the Lebanese Armed Forces. On Thursday, Amnesty urged the new Lebanese government to immediately rein in security forces amid a harsh crackdown on protesters. But the situation remains fluid in Lebanon, always the site of proxy conflict, as it navigates its future. Link to our @theintercept report in bio.
As we approach the 5th anniversary of #Ferguson , the U.S. criminal justice system looks far different in some places. One of the protest leaders in Ferguson is now the county prosecutor, for example. Progressive prosecutors have claimed major victories in Chicago and Philadelphia, but also in places like Portsmouth, VA. They are winning on a radical platform to end mass incarceration, cash bail, full decriminalization of all drugs, among other core promises. I spoke to 7 of these prosecutors, including @wesleybell_stlprosecutor and @larrykrasnerda , to take pulse of a movement that wants to upend the U.S. criminal justice system. Link in bio.
I first became interested in the rather obscure issue of undocumented adoptees in June 2017, after 42-year-old adoptee Phillip Clay committed suicide in Seoul. He had been deported to South Korea after living in the US since childhood, when he was adopted by American citizens, and became severely depressed after not being able to find a job nor communicate with others in a country he didn’t recognize. His death didn’t really make news but I came across an @nbcasianamerica story on it while sitting at my desk at 30 Rock. It sparked what became a reporting obsession for me. My @theintercept investigation, a labor of love that involved analyzing hundreds of public documents and finding and interviewing more than 25 adult adoptees living in the U.S. and abroad, published in August 2018, shocked readers and, surprisingly, even members of Congress. Today, The Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2019 was introduced in the House. The bill would grant automatic citizenship to tens of thousands, though not all are covered, of adoptees. Mauricio Cappelli, the main character in my story who was deported to Costa Rica for the second time last March just days after I interviewed him in a South Texas ICE detention center, would be allowed to return to the U.S. Sara, the Iranian-born adoptee highlighted in my piece and whose real name I cannot use, would not be covered and she told me she will have to continue living a clandestine life in California. I have no idea if the bill will ever get to the president’s desk and become law but clearly there’s more reporting to be done. What I do know is that I definitely never thought any of this would happen two years ago when I started reporting this story.
[LONG POST] So, today was a whirlwind. I’m deeply honored to be named a Livingston Awards finalist in the national reporting category for my investigation into the nation’s more than 35,000 undocumented adoptees, published last August in @theintercept . To be honored alongside such a distinguished group of journalists is truly humbling. Major thanks to my editor, fact checker and photo editor at The Intercept who brought this long and sometimes unwieldy investigation into the polished piece that it became. Over the course of 10 months, I obsessively tracked down and interviewed more than 25 undocumented adoptees, living in the US and abroad. They live under constant fear of deportation back to a country they have not known since they were adopted by their American parents as infants, in most cases. The majority of them never agreed to go on the record for fear of repercussions to their personal and professional wellbeing. Mauricio Cappelli, who I interviewed in an South Texas ICE detention center just days before he was deported back to Costa Rica at the age of 37 last spring, and Sara, an Iranian-born adoptee living in California who requested that I not use her real name, did agree to speak and their harrowing stories brought the plight of this vulnerable population into clear view. To them, and to all those who couldn’t speak, I am so grateful. The impact of the story has extended far beyond anything I could have ever imagined. Members of Congress, including Senators Bernie Sanders and Mazie Hirono, cited my investigation in their calls to act. The Adoptee Citizenship Act is due to be introduced in the House and Senate this summer and would grant automatic citizenship to all undocumented adoptees. This was the hardest story I’ve ever done as a journalist but, if I’m honest, it’s stories like this that pushed me to get into this usually stressful, chaotic and highly unstable field.
[LONG POST] The media narrative on the Amazon #HQ2 collapse has centered on the role played by local politicians and that of @ocasio2018 . Since Nov, I followed the #NoAmazon grassroots coalition as they navigated a seemingly impossible fight against one of the world's biggest corporations...and won. From secret strategizing sessions in a bare Lower Manhattan conference room to staging protests and a canvassing at Queensbridge - the nation’s largest public housing development and situated right next to where #HQ2 was slated to be built - the more than 15 NYC community organizations that made up the coalition used their intimate knowledge of their communities to change minds on the ground and fight back against Amazon’s massively expensive lobbying campaign. In doing so, they focused on three major points: traffic congestion, widespread rental displacement and Amazon’s relationship with ICE. Amazon reportedly licenses its Rekognition surveillance technology to the agency, which critics say has allowed ICE to more easily identify, target and subsequently deport undocumented immigrants across the country. The coalition really narrowed in on the Amazon-ICE connection. ICE’s near weekly raids in these heavily immigrant neighborhoods in Queens (Jackson Heights, Woodside, Elmhurst and others ) during the Trump era have created a climate of palpable fear. Amazon preferred this relationship not be in the public eye. Meanwhile, @sengianaris - perhaps mindful of a primary threat on his left - came out as one of the strongest critics of the deal. His nomination on Feb. 4 to the obscure state board, PACB, meant he could have the power to doom the project. Amazon shockingly pulled out 10 days later. Read my @guardian_us deep dive. Link in bio. And special thanks to photographer @demetrius .freeman for the wonderful shots (those in this post ) he took for the piece.
I was at the Bushwick bar Thursday night where @salazarforsenate and her supporters celebrated her 18-point victory over Martin Dilan, a four-term incumbent more than 40 years her senior. As the night wore on, IDC members across New York fell one by one to progressive candidates. As I covered this race over the course of the summer, it became more and more clear to me that this was a race of two realities: the “Twitterverse,” where Salazar’s portrayal of her past was painstakingly dissected; and real life, where voter after voter in her rapidly gentrifying, heavily immigrant district told me what they most worried about was evictions, ICE raids and intimidation by their employers over theirs or the legal status of a friend or loved one. One Salazar volunteer told me that the @ocasio2018 win in June, taken with Thursday's results, showed that young women of color "might go through hell" to run against the establishment..."but we can win." Link to my dispatch for The Intercept in bio.
In the final week of the campaign for New York Attorney General, I traveled up and down the state as progressive insurgent @zephyrteachout tried to sell voters on college campuses, in town halls and at public events on her promise to investigate Albany corruption, the Trump Organization, fossil fuel polluters operating in New York and to abolish the presence of ICE in the state. After two unsuccessful attempts at elected office – in 2014 for governor and in 2016 for Congress - Teachout’s message has united a sort of rainbow coalition: environmentalists in the Hudson Valley, rural voters in Western New York, suburbanites in Long Island, criminal justice reform advocates in the cities and young voters. To unite this potentially fragile coalition, Teachout has campaigned extensively with the party's new progressive star, @ocasio2018 . On the eve of tomorrow's Democratic primary, polls show the race is essentially a toss-up between progressives Teachout and @tishjames2018 and moderate @ny18spm , who the @financialtimes has called "Wall Street's favored candidate." Link in bio for my dispatch for @theintercept .
[LONG POST] Over the last 10 months, I have obsessively tracked down and spoken to 25+ foreign-born adoptees who were brought as children to the US by American citizens but who remain without citizenship, in some cases well into their 40s and 50s. There are currently more than 40,000 of them. And that number could grow to 64,000 by 2033. These individuals are a forgotten group to millions of Americans. They were left out of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 - due to GOP concerns - which provided automatic citizenship to adoptees under 18 years of age at the time. Some of these adoptees no longer reside in the United States, unable to return because of their legal status. Others live with the constant fear of deportation. The majority live as permanent residents, a nebulous status within American immigration law that can be rescinded. My investigation for @theintercept profiles the stories of two undocumented adoptees: Mauricio Cappelli (pictured here ) and Sara, brought from Iran as an infant (pictured in second photo on bottom left ) and today living in California. Sara is not her real name, it is a pseudonym she requested that The Intercept use to protect her identity. Cappelli & Sara’s stories differ in their specifics but both are ultimately cases of mishaps. There was no safety net to catch the mistakes. I interviewed Cappelli in March at an ICE detention center in South Texas just days before he was deported back to Costa Rica, the country of his birth. He is essentially trapped in a country he's never known. And his story isn't unique to undocumented adoptees. Link to story in bio.
Honored and humbled to win an @nabjofficial award and even more so to do it with my dear friend @jrich19 for our February 2017 @nbcnightlynews piece on the future of America's HBCUs in the age of Trump. These schools are confronting dire financial headwinds but remain central to African-American life in this country. The link to our story is in bio. #NABJSTE18 (📸:Janelle )
Hoy comenzó el #Mundial2018 en Rusia. Es el primer mundial para la selección peruana en 36 años, cuando Cubillas, Oblitas y los chicos jugaron la vida en España. El sábado, Guerrero, Farfán y sus compañeros tomarán la cancha contra Dinamarca. Ningún jugador de esta escuadra ha visto Perú en un mundial. ¡VAMOS PERÚ, CARAJO! #perumundial2018
I had the amazing privilege to speak to public school students at East New York Elementary School of Excellence this morning for their "Career Day." I shared with them my insights on being a journalist and they asked me a lot of questions. Some asked if I was fake news. Some asked why the media only comes to East New York when there are shootings. Others asked how they could become journalists if no one on TV looked like them. It was an immensely fulfilling experience and reminded me yet again how vital it is that our newsrooms become more racially and ethnically diverse and actually reflective of our society.
Felicitaciones a los novios #gonzalezpattyof2 por un fin de semana inolvidable en la increíble ciudad de Guanajuato. Les deseo lo mejor siempre.
#Tbt to simpler times when I solo traveled in India five years ago.
Merry Christmas 🎁🎄
#tbt to Thanksgiving holiday in Madrid and the Basque Country.
Si, así pasó. Perú regresa al mundial tras 36 años de angustia. Aún sigo pensando que estoy soñando. Una generación entera no ha visto a la selección en un mundial. La última vez que clasificaron en el 1982, mi padre estuvo en las tribunas en España. Me dijo anoche que nunca podría haber imaginado que iban a pasar tantos años hasta que la Blanquirroja volviera al mundial. A Rusia pues.
Children are at the center of America's opioid crisis but are often lost or simply overlooked in the discussion. We spoke to many across three states - Ohio, Utah and Massachusetts - for this story. My latest: http://nbcnews.to/2xxEYma
Shot an interview this morning with the legend himself, Ken Burns.
In March 2015, I profiled Monica Sibri and her group CUNY Dreamers for @guardian_us . Sibri, a nationally known DACA activist, was fighting in Albany for all Dreamers in New York state to have access to publicly accessible financial aid for college. At the time, there were more than 4,500 dreamers graduating high school every year in New York and with no available financial aid to further their education. In lieu of that aid, DACA gave them a chance to work to pay their way through school. Tomorrow, more than 800,000 dreamers across the nation stand to lose everything when the president revokes DACA.