• ACT NOW! WE WANT DECARCERATION OF OUR MEN AND WOMEN IN PRISON DUE TO COVID-19
    State Vs Us Magazine PO Box 29291 Baltimore, MD 21213 Attention Governors, LT Governors, Wardens, and Assistant Wardens: As you are well aware this pandemic has impacted so many lives worldwide. It is very well understood that those individuals who are incarcerated are there as a result of some crime they have committed or maybe didn’t commit either way they’re human. As a result of this virus causing a detrimental global impact incarcerated individuals who can’t practice social distancing in their already controlled environment are most susceptible. COVID-19 has directly and indirectly impacted our community and that includes incarcerated individuals and juveniles. There is no reason to act like these men, women, and children aren’t human as animals are treated better. COVID-19 should not be a death sentence for those accused of a crime nor those found guilty of a crime. The Governor has a moral obligation to ensure the safety of all humans within their state - that includes those incarcerated. As people, as humans, as children, and as adults we all have broken a law, did something wrong and some of us have been able to never see handcuffs or even a prison cell. America has proved over and over how judgment on others continues to be a plague on our community. At some point, our human must kick in and we must ask ourselves when will we act accordingly and think of others at doing right by them. Whether we are in the same tax bracket or not WE are a community. Our children are being taken from the comfort of their homes due to poverty in the middle of a pandemic. How fair is that? Children are being trafficked through the system and parents are hysterical. We ask you what if this were your child, place yourself in their shoes. The relationship between Slavery and families being separated by systems is no accident. Treating animals in the zoo better than families of color is disgusting - color does not remove our humanity - How will you sleep at night when this pandemic is over and nearly every incarcerated person is deceased - Knowing you had the power to change their outcomes and give them a chance to live. This letter serves as an effort to make our communities safer and save those lives who can’t save their own. Here is a list of demands for you to act on ASAP. This has to happen and has to happen now. History has proven that black America is 13% black and the prison population is 34% black. We are the most affected and this is your chance to correct an over 400 years long wrong. I challenge you to adhere to what is necessary and needed to not only improve families’ relationships but communities. *Better living conditions for our incarcerated individuals *Free phone calls and emails home to families *Return children who were separated from their family for reasons related to neglect *Children whose parents have been visiting with them and seeking their return *Children who the family court system has a goal of return to parent *Release all people in jail who are incarcerated on pre-trial and bondable offenses *Release all people who have a year or less *Release disable, sickly, and elderly individuals *Release non-violent offenses *Create emergency housing for returning citizens *We demand full compliance with all of the clauses of the eighth amendment cruel and unusual punishment clauses of the constitution. *We demand full compliance with the CARES ACT and immediate home confinement placement of those individuals who meet the requirements. With all love and prayer that you understand where I’m coming from as you will do the right thing. Tia Hamilton CEO, State Vs Us Magazine
    66 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Tia Hamilton
  • Seize the Masks-- Save Our Nurses & CNA's!
    Our frontline healthcare providers will within weeks be forced to choose between saving their own lives and doing their jobs, because of the government's failure to prepare for this pandemic by buying enough equipment--especially masks. The vast majority of these jobs are held by women, people of color, or recent immigrants. I know I am not the only mother who cannot sleep nights worrying about a loved one who is a health care worker. In my home city of new Haven, our first Covid-19 casualty was of course a Black man who worked at a health care facility serving the community. As a result of the bans on essential travel, I do not know when I will again see my own daughter, who is putting herself through nursing school while caring for patients in Boston. I pray she will not save others only to end up sick herself.
    39 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Jen Vickery Picture
  • #WeStandWithYamiche
    Verbal abuse of Black women by the current president has reached epic proportions with professional Black women asking legitimate journalistic questions being referred to as "nasty" and "threatening", their competence constantly impugned in a familiar misogynistic pattern geared to silencing them. The characterizing of Black women as "threatening" or or their questions as "nasty" utilizes popular racist and sexist stereotypes of Black women which are meant to question their professionalism in the presence of presidential incompetence. When Trump uses racist, sexist intimidation to reinforce a hierarchy that assumes Black women should not even be present in the room, we can be sure that others will follow suit. We must fight against the barriers to access that Black women have fought and continue to fight so hard to win. We call on the media to take a position against this daily abuse which not only berates journalists like April Ryan, Abby Phillip and Yamiche Alcindor but has implications for how Black women are seen and treated in other workplace, public and private situations and how all journalists are disrespected on a daily basis. We must defend the Black journalists who are willing to put themselves on the line to press for the truth. Sign now to show #WeStandWithYamiche.
    2,412 of 3,000 Signatures
    Created by Black Women Lead
  • Stop Zoom from allowing Cyber Bullying
    I downloaded zoom so I could still meet with people. I began to talk to this guy through Facebook messenger. Then after a couple weeks he said he would like to see me (and said Zoom would be perfect). TBH I thought that we were going to have some sexual fun. I didn't tell him I was in a wheelchair, but I didn't think it would matter. Man! I was so wrong! When he saw that I was, the bullying began and continued in every way he could get in touch with me until I blocked him in EVERY way. I stated this campaign so no one else will have to experience what I had to experience, and if they do the person doing the bullying will be held accountable for their actions!.
    7 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Cristal Griffin Picture
  • Demand that Zoom immediately create a solution to protect its users from racist cyber attacks!
    I'm a Black, first-generation college graduate from the Southside of Chicago, who worked diligently to get to March 26th - the day I would finally get to defend my dissertation and earn my doctorate of education degree from California State University, Long Beach. Due to the social distancing during the Coronavirus pandemic, my university transitioned to Zoom Video Conferencing for these types of presentations. The chair of my committee made the introductions and I started presenting. I spent the first 10 minutes gliding through my presentation. It was truly a moment I felt ready for. As I ended the historical analysis section on Black oppression within the American education system, I noticed a red mark on my computer. For a brief second I thought someone else was sharing their screen at the same time as mine, but then more red marks appeared. Soon, more marks were made to create the shape of a penis. I stopped my presentation and asked my zoom facilitator if they could remove the marks. Seconds later, the letters N-I-G-G-E-R were written on the screen followed by pictures and videos of pornography. Like everyone else, I was shocked. My university’s technology personnel and college department members began to scramble. They were trying to figure out what was going on and how to take the cyberattacker out of the Zoom meeting. Minutes later, I along with my committee members, began to apologize to the audience members for what has happened. I then continued with the presentation as if nothing had happened. After I was done with my presentation and my committee said congratulations, "Dr. Dennis Johnson," I said thank you but I couldn’t enjoy the moment. Truth be told, no matter how much I brushed it off, my moment had been taken and there was nothing I could do about to get it back. On one of my most remarkable moments of my life, I was called a "nigger". My mother, grandmother, sister, spouse and many others were shown images of pornography. On Zoom’s website, the only help offered is an article on "How to Keep the Party Crashers from Crashing Your Zoom Event". That is a slap in the face to me. I've never been to a party where I was called a Nigger. These are racist cyber attacks; not innocent party crashers just stopping by to say hey. I never want anyone to experience what happened to me. Unfortunately, this is not the first time this has happened. Over the past few weeks, Black people have been targeted disproportionately on Zoom by trolls who have yelled “nigger” during children’s storytimes and professor’s open office hours. The University of Southern California even issued an email to professors warning them that Zoom classes had been disrupted by “racist and vile language.” It’s time for Zoom to create a real solution to this problem! Ruha Benjamin, an associate professor of African American studies at Princeton University, who has also experienced Zoombombing, has publicly called on Zoom to change its default setting to “off” for screen sharing to limit the potential for Zoombombing, which I support. Other solutions we propose include: 1. Upon entering a Zoom meeting, Zoom should post a message saying that it does not condone discriminatory and other unlawful acts, and that those who display such behavior will be banned from using its services. 2. Hire a Chief Diversity Officer to mitigate issues of discrimination and inequity on Zoom’s platform. 3. Add technology that auto-detects and flags those who post discriminatory language and images, and have them removed. Relying on individuals to fully understand the software’s platform demonstrates Zoom’s unwillingness to simply create a systemic change to protect its users, instead of relying on the user to protect themselves against these cyber attacks. 4. Revise the Zoom guide on preventing “party crashers.” What was done to us was not the act of someone crashing a party, but a direct racist attack on who we are as people of color, and this has to be named. They posted those images and wrote the N-word while I was giving a historical analysis of Black people in the United States. Therefore, Zoom needs to be more intentional with its language. It’s not a party crasher, it’s a racist/ discriminatory person(s) displaying unlawful behavior via the internet, that should be held accountable. 5. A formal apology to myself and those who have become victims to a trend that Zoom has failed to publicly acknowledge and address accordingly. Sign my petition to demand that Zoom immediately finds a solution to prevent classrooms, organizations, POC, especially Black people from being attacked on its platform! - Dr. Dennis L. Johnson, Jr.
    34,417 of 35,000 Signatures
    Created by Dr. Dennis Johnson Picture
  • Tell Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammel to put OUSD students first!
    I am the mother of a 12 year old special needs student. Since school closed, I have been creating learning opportunities at home. As a full-time massage therapist and mom, I know my struggle is similar to that of other parents. Schools are doing the best that they can in these times, but it’s not enough. I strongly urge Oakland Unified School District Superintendent, Kyla Johnson-Tramell to create a plan to expand the district’s WiFi network access so that all district families can use the service at home, provide mobile devices for all students and create a multi-disciplinary capstone project at all grade levels in order for students to demonstrate mastery or growth. These capstone projects should not be dependent upon WiFi access or the use of technology. As a life-long educator and Oakland native, I appreciate her deep roots in the community and urge Superintendent Johnson-Tramell to live up to the district’s equity value to “provide everyone access to what they need to be successful”. On Friday, March 13, 2020, many schools across the nation dismissed for two weeks without providing long-term resources to students and no clear plan for what would happen when social quarantines were extended beyond the recommended two weeks. Oakland Unified School District serves over 50,000 pupils with more than 70% of students eligible for free and reduced lunch. The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing students and parents to make alternative learning plans, largely shifting the focus to online learning. Unfortunately, many students from low-income families will suffer due to the digital divide. For at-risk students impacted by poverty and inequality, this virus has the potential to widen the achievement gap, therefore, deepening the consequences. Slow responses to the coronavirus from national leaders have already exposed the structural deficiencies within our communities. I recognize the effort that local educators have put into planning a thoughtful response for district families, but OUSD must go farther and do the most for those that matter most -- our students, our future. This pandemic, while challenging, presents a new opportunity for students and teachers to demonstrate creativity and promote learning through discovery and experimentation. As a distinguished leader in education, Superintendent Johnson-Tramell can set a new national standard by ensuring that students make progress and that plans for long-term distance learning are accessible for everyone. Kyla Johnson-Tramell often tells people, “My success is your success. We have to work together.” We must demand that she continue her long standing commitment to Oakland students and families and encourage her to work with educators, parents and students to set a new national standard. During this pandemic, we need bold solutions that promote equity and ensure students and parents have the necessary tools and resources to adjust to the demands of the current crisis. This is also a pivotal moment for students to discover new ways to learn beyond the classroom, allowing space and time for imagination and experimentation. The time is now to create a new national standard with Oakland educators leading the way. I strongly urge Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Tramell to uphold OUSD’s core values and make the district’s resources accessible for ALL students. Taking action to increase access, bridge the digital divide and promote student growth would demonstrate her commitment to shrinking the achievement gap. Thank you, Tanosha Redman
    1,162 of 2,000 Signatures
    Created by Tanosha Redman
  • COVID-19 is A Threat to Our Youth - Tell Maryland to #BringOurKidsHome
    Maryland incarcerates hundreds of children across seven youth jails centers and six state-run youth prisons. Like adult jails and prisons, juvenile facilities are inherently high-risk environments where the disease can spread quickly. Children are housed closely together in units or dormitory-style housing, precisely the kind of conditions that have led to the closure of universities all over the country. Even in well-run facilities, the social distancing recommended by the CDC is simply impossible. In such a setting, most of what we can do to protect against the spread of the virus is detrimental to children’s well-being. DJS stopped allowing visitors weeks ago, meaning lawyers can’t visit their clients and families can’t visit their children. School and other programming is cancelled. The use of solitary confinement, which is deeply traumatizing for a child and yet, DJS is already using increased isolation in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19. All of these factors not only put a child’s emotional health at risk, they also jeopardize their long-term rehabilitation. Research by health care experts shows that incarcerated populations are most at-risk during a public health crisis. COVID-19 spread quickly in enclosed spaces such as cruise ships and nursing homes and it will spread just as quickly in detention centers, prisons, and jails. Contagious viruses such as COVID-19 spread much faster in detention centers and prisons as incarcerated youth are in close quarters and sometimes in unsanitary conditions. Behind bars, youth are not able to participate in proactive measures to keep themselves safe, such as social distancing, frequently washing hands, or staying in sanitized spaces. Infection control is a challenge in these situations as incarcerated youth are often in large congregate and communal settings. Even if youth are in individual cells, ventilation is often inadequate. Further, youth jails and prisons are unlikely equipped to meet the medical needs of youth if a COVID-19 outbreak inside juvenile detention or correctional facility should occur. Youth will not have many options to stay away from other youth if they become ill and there are limited infirmary beds. If staff become ill, it will be difficult to provide care and support to youth and if lockdowns are utilized, it will only intensify virus infection rates. The J.S. Weese Carter Center was already forced to close when a vendor could no longer service the facility. To stave off a public health emergency in our juvenile jails and prisons, we must immediately and dramatically reduce the number of children who are incarcerated. For those who remain in custody, we must do all we can to protect their health, safety, and constitutional rights. To that end, we call on state and local officials to take swift action. To protect our young people, those who work in these facilities, and the broader community, we must immediately reduce the number of young people in custody as quickly as possible. We are all feeling fear and uncertainty about the future. Imagine how that terror is magnified for families separated from their children by prison bars. Our youth are the future of our nation and, recognizing that the majority of young people in detention and correctional facilities across Maryland are removed from their communities for non-violent charges and pose no threat to community safety, it is unacceptable to allow children to be separated from their families during this global crisis. No one is sure when this crisis will end. But we know that most kids grow out of delinquent behavior without any system involvement. It's time for Maryland to give young people a chance and #BringOurKidsHome.
    552 of 600 Signatures
    Created by Jenny Egan
  • Governor of Kentucky Andy Beshear Please Freeze Rent, Mortgages, Car Payments and Utilities
    In the past 2 weeks thousands of residences in Kentucky have been laid off do to their employer closing and most won’t be able to pay bills including rent, mortgages, car payments or basic utilities. College students have been forced go home because they don’t have a roof over their head during these hard times! We need our governor more than ever to stand with us and help us get through this. Thank you!
    30,474 of 35,000 Signatures
    Created by People Of Kentucky
  • DECARCERATE ARIZONA: CRIMINALIZATION AND INCARCERATION ARE NOT PUBLIC HEALTHCARE SOLUTIONS!
    Thousands of incarcerated people being caged together in small spaces with no real options for quarantine are far more susceptible to the COVID-19 pandemic than most other populations. Due to substandard medical care, incarcerated people suffer disproportionately from chronic health conditions that make them more vulnerable to the virus which will have disastrous effects. COVID-19 outbreaks in prisons and jails are a risk to the entire community. To slow the cycle of people in and out of jail, we must drastically reduce jail and detention center admissions. Less people in jails and detention centers is a definite way to prevent the spread of disease. Public officials must reduce the prison, jail, and detention center's population size to ensure cells are not shared, there are sufficient medical beds for anyone who may need one, and adequate numbers of prison staff to ensure safety for staff, those incarcerated, and visitors. And for those currently in prison, the only public health solution is RELEASE! Arizona cannot afford a failed response to COVID-19!
    19 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Mass Liberation Arizona Picture
  • Urge Arizona Governor Doug Ducey to freeze rent, mortgage, and bill payments during COVID-19 Crisis
    Petitioning has the potential to enact real change, but it’s also your fundamental right as an American citizen, and an opportunity to connect with a community of like-minded people who are invested in making a change. Ideally, running a petition is just the start of something bigger — a long-term, robust form of civic engagement. “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
    4,796 of 5,000 Signatures
    Created by Maxi Mertens Picture
  • Kym Worthy-COVID-19 Demands
    The decarceral guidelines below are designed to prevent three things: social spreading, jail “churn,” and the deaths of vulnerable people. Social Spreading In order to prevent the rapid growth of COVID-19 from overburdening our health-care system and claiming lives, both those in secure facilities and the people who work in them, it is the responsibility of decision-makers at every level to prevent and contain the spread of the virus by taking action to promote the most effective strategy in abating the pandemic: social distancing in order to slow “community spread.” The Particular Issue of Jail and Prison “Churn” Jails and Prisons combine the worst aspects of a cruise ship and a large public gathering and, thus, can be the perfect breeding ground for the spread of COVID-19. People are constantly booked into and out of jail and prison facilities and each night guards, vendors, and other jail staff are going home while others are coming in- which results in a massive turnover. For example, more than half of the people in jail are only in there for two to three days. Further, enclosed structures like jails can cause COVID-19 to spread like wildfire and introducing just one person with it can lead to it impacting not just everyone inside the jail or prison but anyone leaving the facility—whether a person who is released or staff returning back to their homes— who then interact with their communities. Preventive Measures Cannot Be Taken in Jails and Prisons. Experts recommend that to protect the people most vulnerable from death or serious illness from COVID-19 that they are appropriately separated through social distancing. Yet separating sick people from well people to prevent the disease from spreading can be nearly impossible in prison due to logistical considerations.
    600 of 800 Signatures
    Created by Nicholas Buckingham
  • Humanity Not Cages: Demand a Just and Humane Response to COVID-19
    It is not a matter of if but when the coronavirus will enter prisons and jails, according to health experts. The consequences of that eventuality will be devastating. COVID-19 outbreaks in prisons and jails will spread “like wildfire” due to close quarters, unsanitary conditions, a population that is more vulnerable to COVID-19, and the large number of people that cycle through the criminal justice system. The risk extends far beyond those who are incarcerated. COVID-19 outbreaks in jails and prisons threaten the larger public, as hundreds of thousands of individuals churn through jails on a daily basis and correctional, medical and other staff interact with the incarcerated population and circulate back into communities. With 2.3 million people in the United States in prison or jail on any given day, an outbreak in these facilities poses a threat to the entire country. If federal, state, and local officials take swift action, they can not only prevent the spread of COVID-19 inside prisons, jails, and detention centers and ensure the safety and wellness of our loved ones behind cages, but they can also have an enormous impact on the wellness of the rest of the country.
    114 of 200 Signatures
    Created by Dalila Reynoso Picture