The panel endorsed giving the age group one-third of the dosage given to people 12 and older in two shots, three weeks apart. The committee’s recommendations on whether to authorize vaccines are not binding, but the F.D.A. typically follows them in the days after the vote.
DANCE Get Tix:Balanchine’s ‘Jewels’ at City Ballet
Tuesday, Sept. 17 through Saturday, Sept. 21 at Lincoln Center. City Ballet’s first season under the team of its new artistic director, Jonathan Stafford, and associate artistic director Wendy Whelan, continues with this production of Balanchine’s beloved three-parter, with each movement inspired by a jewel (“Emeralds,” “Rubies” and “Diamonds”) and featuring music by a different composer (Fauré, Stravinsky and Tschaikovsky). Tickets and more information here.
One Night Only:Bloc Party Performs ‘Silent Alarm’
Friday, Sept. 20 at Rumsey Playfield, Central Park. The British rock ensemble is playing its electrifying 2005 debut album in full for a six-city U.S. mini-tour, with this a stop at Summerstage. More information here; tickets available here.
Free:New York Art Book Fair at PS1
Friday, Sept. 20 through Sunday, Sept. 22 at MoMA PS1. This annual event has become a can’t-miss destination for lovers of artist books, monographs and zines. It runs all weekend with free admission. (The ticketed opening night, with live performances, DJ sets and original art for sale is Thursday, Sept. 19, with proceeds going to the non-profit Printed Matter.) More information here.
Free:Bushwick Open Studios
Friday, Sept. 20 to Saturday, Sept. 22. This weekend, hundreds of Bushwick artists open their studios to share their works in progress — a rare chance to go behind the scenes of the art world. More information here.
Get Tix:Peter Brook at the Crossing the Line Festival
Saturday, Sept. 21 through Sunday, Oct. 6. The celebrated theater, film and opera director Peter Brook makes his American festival debut, alongside his longtime partner Marie-Hélène Estienne, with “Why?” an introspective opus contemplating the meaning of theater (and life). Tickets and more information here.
Vincent Tullo for The New York Times
Last Chance:The Whitney Biennial
Closes Sunday, Sept. 22. NYT Critic’s Pick. The Whitney Museum’s showcase of up-and-coming artists is never without controversy, and the 79th iteration has proven no exception. The curators Rujeko Hockley and Jane Panetta assembled a vast array of painters, sculptors, filmmakers, photographers, performers and more in a survey of the newest movements in American art. Holland Cotter praises the “quiet agitation” of the collection. Tickets available here.
Texas to Execute White Supremacist for Murder of James Byrd Jr.
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On Wednesday evening around 6 p.m., Louvon Harris will be in Huntsville, Tex., about 70 miles north of Houston, for an appointment. She will sit and listen to the words, if any, from the man who tortured and killed her oldest brother over two decades ago in an act of unfathomable racist brutality. Then she will watch the State of Texas put him to death.
“He’s not going through any pain,” Ms. Harris said of the man she is to watch die. “He’s not chained and bound and dragged on a concrete road, swinging back and forth like a sack of potatoes, with an arm coming off and being decapitated or nothing like that.”
“When you look at it at that angle,” she continued, “I don’t have sympathy.”
The man set to be executed is John William King, 44, sentenced to die for his role in the 1998 murder of James Byrd Jr. in the East Texas town of Jasper.
John William KingCreditTexas Department of Criminal Justice, via Associated Press
Less than a year after the killing, Mr. King became the first white man in modern Texas history to be sentenced to death for killing a black person. This was a troubling milestone given that, according to the Equal Justice Initiative, 344 black people were lynched in the 73 years after Reconstruction, a tally that includes only documented lynchings and stops in 1950.
There have been several other such death sentences in Texas since, including one handed down to an accomplice in the killing, Lawrence Russell Brewer, who was executed in 2011. But Mr. King was the first.
This has been on Ms. Harris’s mind.
“When you think about so many others that had to bury a loved one because of hate and didn’t get justice at all,” she said, talking of calls she has received from people with their own stories of racial mistreatment that were never addressed. “It’s heartbreaking.”
But there is the broad campaign for racial justice, and there is justice in this specific case.
The execution on Wednesday will be the last discrete punitive act by the state in response to Mr. Byrd’s murder, beyond the day to day incarceration of Shawn Allen Berry, the third man involved in the killing, who is not up for parole until 2038.
For some in Jasper, the execution is a resolution long sought, most likely the last time journalists will pour into town for interviews. The past 21 years have been painful for the town.
“The majority of the people have been doing everything they can to forget it already,” said Billy Rowles, who was sheriff of Jasper County when the killing happened. He is now the sheriff of neighboring Newton County, though he remains close to members of the Byrd family. It is clearly harder for someone like Mr. Rowles to move on than it is for some others. He believes the execution will be good for him and others close to the investigation, particularly the family members. Like Ms. Harris, he is planning on going to Huntsville, where the state’s execution chamber is. But, he said, he wasn’t going inside.
“I’ve seen people die before,” he said. “I’ve had that opportunity and I’m not going to do that. But I am going to go over and make sure it gets done. And even drink an adult beverage.”
But closure, a word as easy to say as it is difficult to realize, is not something Ms. Harris is expecting. She did not find it when she attended the execution of Mr. Brewer, who, after a last meal so plentiful that it put an end to last meal requests in Texas, made no statement of remorse, even telling a journalist beforehand that he would “do it all over again.”
The execution “doesn’t change the fact that hate still exists in society,” Ms. Harris said.
It will not give the last 21 years back to Mr. Byrd, she said. It will not take away the 21 years Mr. King has been “still alive and breathing,” corresponding with fans and pushing appeals in court.
“It’s not completely healing,” she said. “It’s just finding justice.”
And so she and two of her sisters are going.
Another sister, Betty Boatner, who still lives in Jasper and takes care of their aging father, will not be joining them. She was scheduled to speak at a vigil in town on Wednesday, as she had in 2011 when Mr. Brewer was executed. But she has a sore throat, she said. She’ll probably just stay in that night and get some rest.
“I really haven’t sat and thought about it, how it would make me feel,” she said on Tuesday morning. She had forgiven her brother’s killers a long time ago, she said. It still hurts, of course. And she does not object to the execution on Wednesday. It is what the jury decided, and that is the law. But what the justice system decides and what she seeks, these are two separate things.
“I’ve been moving on by the grace of God, and whatever the state says that he deserves, the state has a right to make that decision,” she said. “It is what it is.”
On April 4, 1967, exactly one year before his assassination, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stepped up to the lectern at the Riverside Church in Manhattan. The United States had been in active combat in Vietnam for two years and tens of thousands of people had been killed, including some 10,000 American troops. The political establishment — from left to right — backed the war, and more than 400,000 American service members were in Vietnam, their lives on the line.
Many of King’s strongest allies urged him to remain silent about the war or at least to soft-pedal any criticism. They knew that if he told the whole truth about the unjust and disastrous war he would be falsely labeled a Communist, suffer retaliation and severe backlash, alienate supporters and threaten the fragile progress of the civil rights movement.
King rejected all the well-meaning advice and said, “I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice.” Quoting a statement by the Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam, he said, “A time comes when silence is betrayal” and added, “that time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.”
It was a lonely, moral stance. And it cost him. But it set an example of what is required of us if we are to honor our deepest values in times of crisis, even when silence would better serve our personal interests or the communities and causes we hold most dear. It’s what I think about when I go over the excuses and rationalizations that have kept me largely silent on one of the great moral challenges of our time: the crisis in Israel-Palestine.
Many civil rights activists and organizations have remained silent as well, not because they lack concern or sympathy for the Palestinian people, but because they fear loss of funding from foundations, and false charges of anti-Semitism. They worry, as I once did, that their important social justice work will be compromised or discredited by smear campaigns.
Similarly, many students are fearful of expressing support for Palestinian rights because of the McCarthyite tactics of secret organizations like Canary Mission, which blacklists those who publicly dare to support boycotts against Israel, jeopardizing their employment prospects and future careers.
Reading King’s speech at Riverside more than 50 years later, I am left with little doubt that his teachings and message require us to speak out passionately against the human rights crisis in Israel-Palestine, despite the risks and despite the complexity of the issues. King argued, when speaking of Vietnam, that even “when the issues at hand seem as perplexing as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict,” we must not be mesmerized by uncertainty. “We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak.”
And so, if we are to honor King’s message and not merely the man, we must condemn Israel’s actions: unrelenting violations of international law, continued occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza, home demolitions and land confiscations. We must cry out at the treatment of Palestinians at checkpoints, the routine searches of their homes and restrictions on their movements, and the severely limited access to decent housing, schools, food, hospitals and water that many of them face.
We must not tolerate Israel’s refusal even to discuss the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, as prescribed by United Nations resolutions, and we ought to question the U.S. government funds that have supported multiple hostilities and thousands of civilian casualties in Gaza, as well as the $38 billion the U.S. government has pledged in military support to Israel.
And finally, we must, with as much courage and conviction as we can muster, speak out against the system of legal discrimination that exists inside Israel, a system complete with, according to Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, more than 50 laws that discriminate against Palestinians — such as the new nation-state law that says explicitly that only Jewish Israelis have the right of self-determination in Israel, ignoring the rights of the Arab minority that makes up 21 percent of the population.
Of course, there will be those who say that we can’t know for sure what King would do or think regarding Israel-Palestine today. That is true. The evidence regarding King’s views on Israel is complicated and contradictory.
Although the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee denouncedIsrael’s actions against Palestinians, King found himself conflicted. Like many black leaders of the time, he recognized European Jewry as a persecuted, oppressed and homeless people striving to build a nation of their own, and he wanted to show solidarity with the Jewish community, which had been a critically important ally in the civil rights movement.
Ultimately, King canceled a pilgrimage to Israel in 1967 after Israel captured the West Bank. During a phone call about the visit with his advisers, he said, “I just think that if I go, the Arab world, and of course Africa and Asia for that matter, would interpret this as endorsing everything that Israel has done, and I do have questions of doubt.”
He continued to support Israel’s right to exist but also said on national television that it would be necessary for Israel to return parts of its conquered territory to achieve true peace and security and to avoid exacerbating the conflict. There was no way King could publicly reconcile his commitment to nonviolence and justice for all people, everywhere, with what had transpired after the 1967 war.
Today, we can only speculate about where King would stand. Yet I find myself in agreement with the historian Robin D.G. Kelley, whoconcluded that, if King had the opportunity to study the current situation in the same way he had studied Vietnam, “his unequivocal opposition to violence, colonialism, racism and militarism would have made him an incisive critic of Israel’s current policies.”
During more than 20 visits to the West Bank and Gaza, he saw horrific human rights abuses, including Palestinian homes being bulldozed while people cried — children's toys strewn over one demolished site — and saw Palestinian lands being confiscated to make way for new illegal settlements subsidized by the Israeli government. He was forced to reckon with the reality that these demolitions, settlements and acts of violent dispossession were not rogue moves, but fully supported and enabled by the Israeli military. For him, the turning point was witnessing legalized discrimination against Palestinians — including streets for Jews only — which, he said, was worse in some ways than what he had witnessed as a boy in South Africa.
Not so long ago, it was fairly rare to hear this perspective. That is no longer the case.
Jewish Voice for Peace, for example, aims to educate the American public about “the forced displacement of approximately 750,000 Palestinians that began with Israel’s establishment and that continues to this day.” Growing numbers of people of all faiths and backgrounds have spoken out with more boldness and courage. American organizations such as If Not Now support young American Jews as they struggle to break the deadly silence that still exists among too many people regarding the occupation, and hundreds of secular and faith-based groups have joined the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights.
In view of these developments, it seems the days when critiques of Zionism and the actions of the State of Israel can be written off as anti-Semitism are coming to an end. There seems to be increased understanding that criticism of the policies and practices of the Israeli government is not, in itself, anti-Semitic.
This is not to say that anti-Semitism is not real. Neo-Nazism isresurging in Germany within a growing anti-immigrant movement. Anti-Semitic incidents in the United States rose 57 percent in 2017, and many of us are still mourning what is believed to be the deadliest attack on Jewish people in American history. We must be mindful in this climate that, while criticism of Israel is not inherently anti-Semitic, it can slide there.
He declared in a riveting speech last year that we cannot talk about justice without addressing the displacement of native peoples, the systemic racism of colonialism and the injustice of government repression. In the same breath he said: “I want to say, as clearly as I know how, that the humanity and the dignity of any person or people cannot in any way diminish the humanity and dignity of another person or another people. To hold fast to the image of God in every person is to insist that the Palestinian child is as precious as the Jewish child.”
Even in Congress, change is on the horizon. For the first time, two sitting members, Representatives Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota, and Rashida Tlaib, Democrat of Michigan, publicly support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. In 2017, Representative Betty McCollum, Democrat of Minnesota, introduced a resolution to ensure that no U.S. military aid went to support Israel’s juvenile military detention system. Israel regularly prosecutes Palestinian children detainees in the occupied territories in military court.
None of this is to say that the tide has turned entirely or that retaliation has ceased against those who express strong support for Palestinian rights. To the contrary, just as King received fierce, overwhelming criticism for his speech condemning the Vietnam War — 168 major newspapers, including The Times, denounced the address the following day — those who speak publicly in support of the liberation of the Palestinian people still risk condemnation and backlash.
Bahia Amawi, an American speech pathologist of Palestinian descent, was recently terminated for refusing to sign a contract that contains an anti-boycott pledge stating that she does not, and will not, participate in boycotting the State of Israel. In November, Marc Lamont Hill was fired from CNN for giving a speech in support of Palestinian rights that was grossly misinterpreted as expressing support for violence. Canary Mission continues to pose a serious threat to student activists.
And just over a week ago, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in Alabama, apparently under pressure mainly from segments of the Jewish community and others, rescinded an honor it bestowed upon the civil rights icon Angela Davis, who has been a vocal critic of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and supports B.D.S.
But that attack backfired. Within 48 hours, academics and activists had mobilized in response. The mayor of Birmingham, Randall Woodfin, as well as the Birmingham School Board and the City Council, expressed outrage at the institute’s decision. The council unanimously passed a resolution in Davis’ honor, and an alternative event is being organized to celebrate her decades-long commitment to liberation for all.
I cannot say for certain that King would applaud Birmingham for its zealous defense of Angela Davis’s solidarity with Palestinian people. But I do. In this new year, I aim to speak with greater courage and conviction about injustices beyond our borders, particularly those that are funded by our government, and stand in solidarity with struggles for democracy and freedom. My conscience leaves me no other choice.
QUOTATION OF THE DAY
"Our teachers in Oklahoma are going above and beyond every single day for an unacceptable and unsustainable salary that doesn’t even provide them with a living wage."
An animated video published by an anonymous pro-Saudi-government group makes a point of showing off the kingdom’s arsenal in an imagined invasion of its regional nemesis, Iran. Some say they believe Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is behind it.
In a rambling, at times contradictory, explanation, Mr. Carson told a House committee that he had “dismissed” himself from the decision to buy the set for his office last year, leaving the details to his wife and staff.