- Afropunk Army
- Community Control
- Confederate Symbols
- Cop Watch
- Corporate Accountability
- Criminal Justice Policy
- Drop/Bring Charges
- Economic Justice
- Employment Discrimination
- End The War on Black People
- Environmental Justice
- For-Profit Colleges/Universities
- Gulf Coast
- Housing Rights
- Media Accountability
- Music Industry
- Open Internet
- Police Accountability
- Political Power
- Pop Culture
- Private Prisons
- Right Wing Racism
- School-to-Prison Pipeline
- Voting Rights
- Wrongful Imprisonment
We Demand Representation! Call A Special Election for Michigan's 13th Congressional DistrictGov. Rick Snyder is denying the people of Michigan’s 13th Congressional representation. Instead of valuing the right to representation of the people living in Michigan’s 13th Congressional District Rick Snyder has decided it is too expensive to respect their right to representation, he has cited costs as his reason to delay any special election for this congressional district. In 2012 Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed legislation calling for voter ID in Michigan, earning praise while Michigan was redrawn into one of the most gerrymandered states in the United States. Our voting power was diluted to the point that a voter ID law wasn’t necessary to suppress our power. Now Gov. Snyder is following in the Republican model and simply refusing to hold an election because he believes he wouldn’t like the outcome. Everyday we are not represented, we are without an advocate for the needs of our community. Our tax dollars are being collected while without a representative of the people to have any input in how they are to be applied. Constituent services are not being carried out to answer the needs of Black people who must interact with any number of federal agencies here in Detroit. We need a representative who will advocate for our community in the face of an unprecedented assault. We must show Gov. Snyder that we will not quietly allow him to deny our right to representation and force him to call a special election now. Gov. Snyder’s decision to deny the people of the 13th district of Michigan representation is un-democratic. We continue to see Republicans across the country bend, break, or simply invent rules to try and create a political system where they can’t lose. We have fought for our right to voter freedom throughout every iteration of these bigoted attacks and we will not stop now. Together we will send a message to Gov. Snyder and the entire nation, our voices will not be silenced.
#FREESADAT: Demand the release of a Gay Black Asylum Seeker from DetentionSadat Ibrahim is a young gay man from Ghana where homosexuality is a crime punishable by three years in prison. Sadat had been brutally attacked by a homophobic vigilante gang back in Ghana, the ‘Safety Empire’, that hunts down, beats up and kills gay people. Fearing for his life, he planned a long escape route, and finally made it to the Mexican/U.S. border and presented himself at the border requesting asylum. An asylum officer agreed that Sadat had a credible fear of persecution. His family sent videos supporting his claim to Sadat in detention in Georgia, but not only did the officers in the detention center not give Sadat this critical evidence, they never even told Sadat that the evidence had arrived. Without the corroborating evidence, the judge denied Sadat asylum. Sadat faces deportation back to the same situation that may see him incarcerated, attacked and/or murdered for being gay, as his asylum claim was denied. Had Sadat been able to share the video evidence that ICE withheld from him until after the hearing, we believe the judge should have granted asylum to Sadat, and likely would have done so. Sadat’s legal team has managed to win him a temporary stay of removal so why is he still being detained?
Animals In PrisonsThere are people who are in jail for very long periods of time, as well as people who will never see how outside looks a day in their lives. There is also a overpopulation of cats and dogs who have no place to go. By giving long term and permanent inmates with good behavior the choice of having and caring for a pet during their time, we can get animals off the streets, as well as a person to care for and love them. This would benefit the jails, due to these animals being a sense of calmness and love the inmates would not feel so hostile all the time and rates of crime in prison would decrease.
Equal Pay for WomenOften, women are paid less than a male, who has he same qualifications and experience as she does, simply because of her gender. It is important that women get paid the same because they work just as hard, if not harder, as a male to reach their goals due to the fact that they know they'll be paid less for the exit same position for which a male is applying for. Unfortunately, we still live in a predominately male ruled society. People still think a "man" can do a better job than a woman.
Demand DA Faith Johnson Support Bail ReformThe cash bail system in Dallas County discriminates against poor Black people in the most harmful ways. Black families are stripped of community, financial resources and a sense of basic human dignity. Black people remain in cages for weeks, months and sometimes years at taxpayer expense. And oftentimes, Black people are jailed with no evidence they have committed a crime. This is a crisis that can no longer continue. In the past, I have had many family members who were forced to serve time simply because they did not have the money to make bail or were not given enough time to produce the money. In many cases, the amount requested for bail did not fit the crime. Families in the Dallas community like mine are tired of losing their loved ones to the criminal “injustice” system. To make matters worse, District Attorney Faith Johnson is routinely locking up Black people for crimes of poverty. It has been reported by multiple sources that Johnson has received thousands of dollars from the bail industry and even sits on the board of the Dallas County Bail Bond Board. Her silence on the bail reform cannot be tolerated. By pressuring District Attorney Faith Johnson to renounce the bail industry and to refuse political donations from these corporations we get one step closer to ending money bail’s exploitation of poor, Black people in Dallas County. There are many in our community who, not only believe in ending money bail, but are also working to make this come true. It is time for Faith Johnson to do right by her constituents. Join us in demanding Faith Johnson to renounce the bail industry and return all political contributions to bail corporations!
Shut Down NYC R. Kelly Concert at FREQ on January 27, 2018Facts on Violence Against Black Women Girls African American girls and women 12 years old and older experienced higher rates of rape and sexual assault than white, Asian, and Latina girls and women from 2005-2010. U.S. DOJ Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Female Victims of Sexual Violence, 1994-2010,” 2013 40-60% of black women report being subjected to coercive sexual contact by age 18. Black Women’s Blueprint, “The Truth Commission on Black Women and Sexual Violence,” 2012 4 in 10 black women have been subjected to intimate partner violence in their lifetimes. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Summary Report,” 2011. Black girls are disproportionately at-risk for sexual trafficking. Over 40% of confirmed sex trafficking survivors in the U.S are African-American. Banks, Duren and Kyckelhahn, Tracey, “ Characteristics of Suspected Human Trafficking Incidents, 2008-2010”, The Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2011. Black women also experience significantly higher rates of psychological abuse—including humiliation, insults, name-calling, and coercive control—than do women overall. Institute for Women’s Policy Research “Stereotypes regarding African American women’s sexuality, including terms like ‘Black jezebel,’ ‘promiscuous,’ and ‘exotic,’ perpetuate the notion that African American women are willing participants in their own victimization. However, these myths only serve to demean, obstruct appropriate legal remedies, and minimize the seriousness of sexual violence perpetrated against African American women.” Women of Color Network, “Communities of Color: African American Women” 2014. A study found that college students perceived a black victim of sexual assault to be less believable and more responsible for her assault than a white victim. Donovan, “To Blame or Not to Blame: Influences of Target Race and Observer Sex on Rape Blame Attribution,” 2007. Some African American women’s decisions not to report their sexual assaults may be influenced by the criminal justice system’s history of treating European-American perpetrators and victims differently than perpetrators and victims of color. Women’s Institute for Leadership Development for Human Rights, “The Treatment of Women of Color Under U.S. Law: Violence,” 2001. For every African-American woman who reports her rape, at least fifteen African-American women do not report theirs.
#BreakSilenceBreakCeilings: End Employment Discrimination Against Black DesignersBlack designers continue to face systemic employment discrimination within the mainstream fashion industry. This renders them generally incapable of landing upper management and executive roles, and—as evidenced by H&M’s “Coolest Monkey in The Jungle” hoodie photographed on a young Black boy—often allows for the irresponsible dissemination of insensitive, insulting, and/or exploitative depictions of Blackness within advertising. I recently launched a social media campaign, #breaksilencebreakceilings to address just these issues. Attention around the campaign, resulted in me publishing a game-changing op-ed “Why Aren’t There More Black Designers”, last week in the Business of Fashion. Not content with merely listing complaints throughout the piece, I delivered actionable steps toward dynamic change, charging the Council of Fashion Designers of America and American Vogue to partner on initiating a 3-pronged plan to engage the fashion design and recruitment communities in greater transparency and more equitable hiring practices. The proposed initiative aims to reform an industry that has normalized the exclusion of Black professionals. Design and recruitment industry participants would be availed of comprehensive bias mitigation training and hiring-practice audits. By signing this petition, you will amplify this call-to-action directed at the CFDA and Vogue, organizations that have a responsibility to no longer turn a blind eye to the fashion industry's marginalization of Black talent. Collectively, our signatures will #breaksilencebreakceilings, declaring that time's up for employment discrimination against Black designers. Proposed CFDA/Vogue Partner Programme: 1. Design Purpose: address the non-meritocratic appraisal of design talent that most consistently disadvantages Black professionals. - Design-studio racial stats disclosure. - Immersive hiring manager bias elimination training. - Pledge of commitment to creating equitable inroads for Black talent via meritocratic hiring practices. 2. Headhunting & Recruitment Purpose: address the consistent denial of fair access and representation for prime opportunities for Black design talent. - Compliance with auditing of recruitment and headhunting practices by contracted third party. - Pledge of commitment to creating equitable inroads for Black talent via meritocratic representation. 3. Talent Pool & Academic Communities Purpose: bring greater visibility to consumers, students, talent pool and media regarding overall industry commitment to change regarding inroads for Black design professionals. - Annual disclosure/endorsement by CFDA/Vogue of participating brands, along with statistics regarding the racial composition of their design teams. - Annual disclosure/endorsement of participating headhunters and recruitment firms.
Stand up to racism & cyberbullying in our schoolsThe community, the school & the district need to stand behind them & demonstrate that Black students matter. We must hold all students to the district code of conduct, or none of them. This was not an isolated incident. This is a culmination of many incidents being brushed off & ignored. This pattern must end. Without consequences, it will not. Black Mothers Forum of Chandler, AZ asks that anyone able to attend please come to the board meeting on January 24th at 7:00pm - 6:30pm to sign in to speak - to show support & speak out on this matter. 1525 W. Frye Rd, Chandler, AZ https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/chandler/2018/01/17/chandler-santan-junior-high-school-students-chant-racial-slur-n-word-snapchat-video/1034846001/#_=_ http://www.boarddocs.com/az/chandler/Board.nsf/goto?open&id=ACWUZ87E7265
#FreeMichaelDuvall: My Brother Is InnocentThe wrongful yet systematic incarceration of Black people in this country has weakened our community for decades; it’s slavery by another name. This system is causing Michael and others like him, to be jailed while waiting for their case to come to trial. Sometimes, that takes years to happen. Michael has already refused to plea to anything because he is not guilty. The scary thing is; this is the same thing that happened to Kalief Browder. He didn’t want to plead guilty to a crime that he didn’t commit, so this system took his life away in so many ways. I don’t want that to be the case for my brother or anyone. My heart is broken and a part of me is being held in the Upper Marlboro Detention Center with my brother. It is important that we take a stand against this type of abuse from the criminal injustice system so that others in our community do not fall victim to this type of pain and torture.
#RenameKeithFamilyYMCAThe YMCA of Greater Charlotte should not be uplifing prison profiteers! In March 2017, the University City branch of the YMCA of Greater Charlotte, under the approval of its board of directors, was dedicated and renamed to the Keith Family branch, in honor of a family who, since 1999, has aggressively pursued private maintenance contracts in North Carolina state prisons where Black people represent 22% of the population yet make up 55% of state prison population. In Mecklenburg County, where privately held company, The Keith Corporation, is headquartered, Black people represent 30% of the county population yet make up 67% of the Mecklenburg County jail population. Graeme Keith, Sr., a Charlotte developer and retired banker held three contracts totaling $3M in 2014. During October of that year, Pat McCrory, then NC Governor and longtime friend of Keith, convened a meeting at his Charlotte office where Keith told prison officials and McCrory that “he had been working on ‘private prison maintenance’ projects for over ten (10) years and during that time he had given a lot of money to candidates running for public office and it was now time for him to get something in return.” He further stated that he had worked with state legislators to expand private maintenance to additional prisons and seemed very pleased that he no longer had to go through the NCGA to expand his business. His blatant use of quid-pro-quo political tactics to influence lawmakers to privatize prison maintenance contracts is both reprehensible and illegal at best. Although a federal investigation of the governors office concluded in 2016, just months before the branch was renamed, there remains no known legal action against Keith. His continues to profit from prisons. In the University City area surrounding the Keith Family YMCA, residents are mostly non white: 40% Black, 9% Hispanic, and 8% Asian, whereas Whites represent 43%. Communities of color in Charlotte would rather see representations of the great contributions made by African Americans and other people of color adorn neighborhood institutions like the YMCA. In a city that ranked last in economic mobility according to a 2014 Harvard study, bold actions that challenge the generational hierarchy of white supremacy and structural racism should be embraced and modeled regularly, and not idolized and rewarded. We will no longer stand on the sidelines and allow our families to be subjected to legacies of wealth and power made off the backs of marginalized communities of color. The name must come down. References: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article42020100.html http://media2.newsobserver.com/static/content/multimedia/interactive/prison/prison-summary.pdf http://www.doc.state.nc.us/admin/page1.htm https://www.prisonpolicy.org/profiles/NC.html https://universitycitypartners.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/UCity-Market-Area-Demographics.pdf
STOP Criminalizing Poverty Through Use of Criminal Justice Fines, Fees, and PenaltiesIt Is Time for Clark County to Stop Criminalizing Poverty Through Its Systematic Use of Criminal Justice Fines and Fees. Courts throughout Clark County, armed with state statutes and local ordinances, have imposed a variety of fines, fees, and assessments that punish the poor for offenses as trivial as jaywalking. Municipal courts in Las Vegas, Henderson, and North Las Vegas, as well as the Las Vegas Justice Center, are tasked with handling traffic violations and misdemeanor offenses. They have used fines and fees to fund their own systems on the backs of those least able to pay for it. They disproportionately harm communities of color, locking them into a cycle of poverty and perpetuating mass incarceration. They also have a uniquely damaging effect on juveniles and their families. Defense attorneys have challenged the fines and fees in court, and advocates and lawmakers have proposed legislation aimed at reducing these injustices. Nevertheless, officials have resisted reforms. It is time for Clark County to stop penalizing the poor through its systematic use of criminal justice fines and fees. The Las Vegas Criminal Justice System Imposes a Series of Fines and Fees on Anyone Who is charged with a Crime. ● Individuals convicted of crimes—even low-level misdemeanors and traffic violations—often must pay fines, which are monetary penalties meant to punish someone for the crime. The average fine is $300-$400. ● Between 2010 and 2015, the Las Vegas Municipal Court collected $130 million from traffic violations alone. This amounted to approximately 89% of its total revenue, pointing to the troubling reality that the municipal court system has essentially been built on these fines and fees. ● Individuals who are unable to pay the full amount of their debt are given the option of a payment plan, which comes with a $50 fee for financial counseling. Individuals on a payment plan automatically have a warrant issued for their arrest if they miss a payment. The threat of jail time is accompanied by a “warrant fee” that can range from $85-$200 depending on the number of missed payments. The average person goes into warrant at least once. And as time goes on and a defendant continues to miss payments, fees can become exponentially more than the fines. For instance, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that one individual ended up paying $1,500 on a $187 speeding ticket. ● Defendants who are completely unable to pay their fines may do community service. This also comes with a $50 fee. For every hour of community service, there is a $10 credit toward their fines. Using the example above that correlates to 19 hours of community service (almost 3 full time work days), in a community where most people work 2 or 3 part time jobs just to make ends meet. Excessive Fines and Fees Lock Communities of Color in a Cycle of Poverty and Perpetuate Mass Incarceration. ● In Las Vegas there is currently no official mechanism in place to allow for an individualized determination of a defendant’s ability to pay the fines. As a result, many people leave the justice system with crushing debt that can make it even harder for them to get back on their feet. Or, in many cases, they are jailed for their inability to pay fines as little as $100. In 2014, law enforcement officials arrested over 16,400 people for failing to pay fines for offenses ranging from jaywalking to illegal parallel parking. ● A Las Vegas Review-Journal analysis of nearly 39,000 court payment plans between 2009 and 2015 revealed gross racial and economic disparities in the impact of Las Vegas’s fines and fees, where residents in the poorest areas, who are predominantly black and Latino, owed over six times more than residents in the richest areas. These communities are subject to over policing, resulting in higher rates of violations. ● Nevada statutes also impose a wide array of fines and fees on families and children when children are deemed delinquent. According to the Juvenile Law Center, 76% of Nevada families reported that they were unable to pay. Failure to make these payments plunge families into debt, increases the need for court appearances causing children and family members to take time away from school and work, and risks incarceration for juvenile offenders. The impact of these fines and fees have the perverse effect of leaving families worse off, and feed the school to prison pipeline at disproportionate rates. Let's keep families together and stop criminalizing the poor.
The Children Are The FutureThe youth in this country are being short-changed and given a subpar education. The curriculum isn't relevant to what will help them succeed in today's society and is taught in the same way it has been for the last 100 years. If the children of today are going to run this country, they need to be taught to learn and evolve, not to take tests.