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Coca-Cola is putting stocks over students. Tell them to stop funding the NCAA.Selection Sunday is coming- the kick off for March Madness and that time of year when we all gather to see bracket busters, buzzer beaters and more memorable moments. This is also a time when the NCAA will heavily feature, promote and make money off a number of student-athletes- an overwhelming number of them Black, and kids from low-income families. Athletes that according to the NCAA, should be treated as prison labor.1 That's right, just last month, the NCAA- in an effort to maximize their own profits and limit the ability of athletes to profit from their own images- filed a motion with the court arguing that the 13th amendment should be applied to college students playing sports. The 13th amendment forbids slavery and involuntary servitude, “except as punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted," a loophole which has since been exploited to sustain our criminal justice system by targeting Black communities today2. The NCAA is pushing this insulting argument to keep what amounts to billions of dollars of advertising from sponsors like Coca-Cola3. Students across the nation are demanding the NCAA to treat them fairly but it is clear that money takes precedent over students. It is time to tell Coca-Cola to withdraw funding from the NCAA until they agree to pay student-athletes. Corporations are supporting the NCAA as they fight to exploit student athletes by comparing them to prisoners. The NCAA is trafficking in a tradition of racist laws criminalizing Black people preventing better treatment and wages in America4. Black codes after the Civil War forced Black people to work as sharecroppers and restricted movement, and the modern criminal justice system targeting Black communities5. Funding from corporations like Coca-Cola provides the rationale and resources for their exploitation. The NCAA exploits student-athletes and reinforces the system of exploitation Black people must face throughout the nation. Only through the active support of companies like Coca-Cola can the NCAA continue to push arguments that support our current system of incarceration and continued exploitation of students. The comparison between prisoners and athletes shines a light on the way the policy against player pay is rooted in our larger system of exploitation. Coca-Cola should not be allowed to continue to profit from this exploitation of Black athletes. They are building on precedents currently targeting Black communities throughout the nation. The NCAA is comparing players to prisoners in court. Tell Coca-Cola to stop their continued support for the NCAA. While supporting the NCAA with funding as a corporate sponsor Coca-Cola has also positioned themselves as a corporation concerned with their social responsibility touting their “perfect score” in the corporate equality index6. Coca-Cola has even spoken directly to the issue of unpaid/slave labor since accusations of the practice have been made overseas7. Coca-Cola has promised to reform any practices forced labor practices associated with their company touting their "human rights due diligence tools"8. Why would this not include the student-athletes exploited by their partners at the NCAA? We will not let Coca-Cola have it both ways. We are joining together to tell Coca-Cola, to end their support for the NCAA unless they agree to pay players. We must tell Coca-Cola that support for the NCAA is not acceptable, while they make dollars off of the back of Black athletes. With our collective voices, we can send a message to the Coca-Cola that we are watching and will not accept support for exploitation.
Affordable Housing for Miami Families Affected by SlumlordsIn 2014, low-income residents forced to live in slum-like conditions due to lack of resources began to organize for their rights to affordable, dignified housing and formed the "Smash the Slumlords" campaign. The women organized community meetings, educated other residents about their rights, garnered support from the city mayor and sought out legal action against slumlords. Conversations focused on the collective need and partnership with other grassroots organizations recruited allies from outside their community and helped bring the campaign into public light. Legal action against one slumlord led to his prosecution and the City of Miami placed his property under their control. Afterwards, the residents of Liberty City rightfully demanded that the slumlord face greater consequences and that the buildings be repaired. However, when it became apparent that the buildings were so woefully neglected that they could only be condemned and destroyed, the City faced a new challenge: where to relocate the families in a city where there is a chronic shortage of affordable housing stock? In response to this dilemma, SMASH has tasked itself with developing expedited affordable housing units for these families on a Community Land Trust (CLT). Unlike other affordable housing projects, this one would be unique for its prioritization of extremely low-income families, and the community driven design and management process through the CLT model. This would not only provide the slum affected families of these buildings with the transitional housing units they need, but it could also be re-used for every set of families that find themselves in similar circumstances. Once they are relocated, their original buildings can be condemned, destroyed and rebuilt into permanent affordable housing where the families have a right to return.
Veto Bill to Fund Militarization of Florida SchoolsThe state of Florida needs change to prevent more tragedies, but it will not come with more children staring down the barrel of a gun. Three weeks ago, 17 students and school staff were murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and Florida was shaken to its core. The Florida legislature followed Governor Rick Scott's lead in drafting "solutions" that involve filling Florida schools with even more guns. Our state's elected officials have approved a bill that provides funding to arm school staff, including teachers, coaches, librarians and counselors, while dramatically increasing funding for police and high level surveillance security in schools. At Governor Scott's direction, this bill will make Florida schools a lot scarier for students, particularly students of color, across the state. After Columbine, 10,000 school police officers were hired to prevent another mass shooting. Two decades later and more police presence in school has not proven to be an effective solution and has not stopped a single mass shooting. Instead, police in Florida have locked up 1 million children, mostly black children, for routine behavior disruptions, like talking back to a teacher or getting into schoolyard scuffles. The proposed bill allots $400 million to make our schools feel more like prisons when they should feel sanctuaries. This bill will have catastrophic consequences for insurmountable numbers of black, brown and poor youth in Florida. Our representatives have a responsibility to act in a way that keeps all Florida children safe. Tell Governor Rick Scott to veto any bill to allocate resources for more police and guns in schools. Supporters Dream Defenders Power U Center for Social Change Advancement Project National Office Color of Change Florida’s Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 1199 New Florida Majority Miami Worker's Center Alliance for Education Justice National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
Florida State Rep. Kimberly Daniels Needs to ApologizeKimberly Daniels dishonored her ancestors when thanking God for slavery. They suffered unspeakable and inhumane racial terrorism at the hands of European slave traders, the effects of which continue to haunt our lives today. Through our forced participation in the transatlantic slave trade, African Americans played a crucial role in America's emergence as an economic world power. While it is imperative that we take pride in having survived such historical atrocities, thanking God for slavery is a major step in the wrong direction; one we simply cannot accept from anyone. Kimberly Daniels' reckless choice of words portray a blatant lack of knowledge of traditional African spiritual practices, and disregard for the experiences of our ancestors. As African American descendants of slavery, and global peoples of African descent who are proud of our heritage, we cannot stand by and allow such irresponsible sentiment from our own people.
Demand FL State Attorney Arrest & Charge Gardner Kent Fraser for the murder of DJ BroadusOnce again, our community in Macclenny, FL is reeling from another loss of Black life. Dominic Jerome Broadus II, a father, son, musician and our family’s storyteller, met an untimely death at the hands of a racist neighbor. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) continues to disrespect our family with non-answers and heavily redacted statements, further demonstrating a complete lack of regard and interest to thoroughly investigate this case. To this day, my family has not received any information about what happened to DJ and continues to suffer. In numerous cases, from Trayvon Martin to Keegan Von Roberts, racist killers are allowed to walk free and families are expected to move on without any closure. The persistent denial of justice causes communities to live under a cloud of racist terror. Most fear retaliation from local law enforcement each time a new story of state-sanctioned violence occurs. In spite of it all, the community is coming together to say, no more. State Attorneys can shift this paradigm and demand accountability from police departments instead of enabling the continued disregard for Black life. Cervone can begin to set a precedent by righting this terrible wrong and bringing justice to my family.
African American History IS American HistoryIn 1926, after lobbying with schools and organizations, Carter Godwin Woodson launched the 1st annual Black History week. His mission was to illuminate the contributions African Americans have made to our society in hopes that one day this information would be incorporated into American History. Years later, we now get a month dedicated to Black History, which still isn't enough. Textbook American history highlights the accomplishments of Europeans. Meanwhile, the African American narrative is downplayed - summed up by slavery, Black Codes (Jim Crow), and Civil Rights. Studies show this angle does nothing to promote equality. In fact, it does just the opposite - promote white supremacy and increases low self-esteem in African American children. All children, especially those of African descent, need to hear and learn that there is more to Black life than slavery and the Civil Rights movement. While we're thankful for the Civil Rights leaders, and in no way discount their efforts, there's more to our history than this small section. What about African American surgeons, philosophers, biologists, psychologists, attorneys, educators, entrepreneurs and so on? What about the history of nations and empires in Africa? Where's the positive representation of African American culture in American history books? European American history is narrated gloriously and pumped into our children from elementary to high school. On the other hand, African Americans must first attend college. Then, elect to enroll in African American Studies or Culture...that is if it's offered, in order to gain a different perspective. If we truly want to see a change in Black communities and in society as a whole, this is where we need to start. We've got to change the narrative. Sign my petition and demand that McGraw-Hill incorporate material from suggestions from African American Studies and History scholars with a full picture of Black people. As the largest schoolbook manufacturer based in the United States McGraw-Hill is in the position to lead to widespread adoption of curriculum to counter racist narratives that erase our contribution and encourage inferiority.
Justice for Chance David Baker NowBeing mentally ill and Black in public is not a crime, nor is it a justification for murder. A life-and-death decision was carried out by Sgt. Goodman within 155 seconds, this points to the undoubtable prejudice against Blackness and mental illness. This is the very prejudice that causes a non-violent Black 22-year-old with a BB gun to be murdered whereas a White 19-year-old who killed 17 people be taken alive by police. Nikolas Cruz was characterized by his lawyer and media as a “broken child,” that “lacks impulse control.” In this country white terrorists are offered the fullest humanity and reprieve because white supremacy has institutionalized their superiority and protection. White Police Officers like Goodman benefit from white supremacy as well. How is a decorated officer trained in de-escalation, who murdered two people allowed to remain on active duty? His only consequence to date was administrative leave. Officer Goodman has served for 15 years and is trained in de-escalation. It is within reason to believe a trained officer would take appropriate measures to connect Chance with Portland Police mental health liaisons. This is not an isolated injustice. It speaks to the on-going realities of police brutality and criminalization of Black bodies in this country. In fact, Sgt. Goodman's actions reflect the violent training of officers: “There is no such thing as ‘we’re going to shoot the gun out of their hand or shoot them in the thigh,’” said Portland Police Chief Sauschuck. “I’m not training them to, nor do our policies and procedures state that they should wound somebody. They are trying to hit this individual in a lethal location,” Sauschuck. (BDN, Feb. 22, 2017) The police continue to mistreat, terrorize, and murder people of color and are able to walk away free. We need to talk about Chance, share pictures of his sweet smile, and remind each other what we continue to lose when we uphold a system that won’t punish people who kill Black children and adults. We affirm that all Black lives matter. We affirm that Chance David Baker’s life matters. We stand in solidarity with Chance’s family and community. And as his concerned community, we demand Attorney General Mills release a report and find Sgt. Goodman guilty for the reckless murder of Chance David Baker. We will not settle for task forces or body cameras, we want justice and we need it NOW.
Minimal Sentencing for Wriply Bennet of the #BlackPride4On June 17th, 2017, four Black queer and trans people--now known as the BlackPride4--were violently arrested while peacefully protesting the Columbus Pride Parade to draw attention to the disproportionate murder of trans women of color and the non-indictment of Philando Castile’s murderer, Minneapolis Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez. After months of widespread outrage at the police brutality against the #BlackPride4 and their subsequent arrests, three of them have gone to trial and were found guilty on February 12th, 2018 of charges ranging from disorderly conduct to resisting arrest. With a quickly approaching sentencing date of March 13th, 2018, we must continue the fight to #FreeTheBlackPride4. Their lives and futures hang in the balance, and Judge Ebner is the sole gatekeeper to their freedom. Wriply Bennet and her lawyer have suggested that folks all over continue to show their solidarity in hopes that the Judge is lenient. We really need to keep these Black trans activist home and free from any jail time -- sign the below petition to urge Judge Ebner dole out minimal sentencing to Wriply of the #BlackPride4! -- Here's the petition! Dear Honorable Judge Ebner, We write today in support of Ms. Wriply Bennet and to urge you to deliver the most minimal sentence to her. Ms. Bennet is an asset to our community. Columbus will benefit by Ms. Bennet being allowed to continue the great work she is involved in the community, and our entire community will feel the negative impact should she be required to serve jail time. Ms. Bennet is a nationally recognized artist who has organized around community service efforts for years. In addition, Ms. Bennet has acted as a consultant for local organizations (like Kaleidoscope Youth Center and the Trans/Queer Racial Justice and Transformation Network of the OSU Sexuality Studies Program and others), providing much-needed support to groups working to better our communities. We know that it would be most beneficial to our city and country if she had the opportunity to continue investing her skills and leadership directly into the community instead of serving jail time or navigating restrictive supervision. We respectfully request that you also consider that incarceration is particularly dangerous and traumatizing for Black trans women, who are already faced with the looming threat of violence in their day-to-day lives. For recent context, Ashley Diamond, a Black trans civil rights activist in Georgia, was assaulted, placed into solitary confinement, and denied her medication while incarcerated in 2015. As a direct result of the conditions she experienced, Diamond currently suffers from PTSD and other mental health issues that have hindered her integration back into her communities. We as individuals, join with numerous local and national organizations that have publicly supported Ms. Bennet. In the past eight months, groups from all over Columbus and beyond have offered vocal and material support for the #BlackPride4, from releasing public statements (Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization, Equality Ohio) to being present during the week of trial (including BQIC, TransOhio, People’s Justice Project, Showing Up for Racial Justice, Yes We Can Columbus, and former 2017 Stonewall Columbus Pride Planning Committee members who resigned from the Planning Committee due to Stonewall Columbus’ response to the Pride protest). This coordinated, community support demonstrates the interest that has been taken in their case, both locally and nationally, as well as in the defendants’ futures as free people. We understand that as the presiding judge in the case, you have a duty to honor the verdicts given in a court of law. We believe it is imperative that our community’s constitutional rights to peaceful assembly and free speech be protected. Our First Amendment rights enabled so many before us to call attention to social issues and spark lasting change. In light of those interests, the vast network of support for Ms. Bennet, and her history of community service, we urge you to give the absolute minimum sentencing to Ms. Bennet.
Eliminate Cholera In Haiti!Now that Donald Trump’s budget bill has passed through Congress, the Budget Appropriations Committee has a month to decide where the money will be allocated. The Budget Appropriations has a moral obligation to include $12 million towards the UN’s Haitian cholera fund. Appropriations Committee Representatives Sen. Lindsey Graham and Rep. Hal Rogers, as key decision makers in this, should vote yes in supporting this funding and help save thousands of cholera victims in Haiti. The rest of the world is looking to the U.S. for leadership around providing aid to cholera victims in Haiti who have been unnecessarily affected by this lethal virus. Over the past seven years, hundreds of thousands of Haitians have fallen victim to cholera due to the United Nations reckless sewage disposal on their peacekeeping base in 2010. Cholera is an infectious and often fatal bacterial disease, typically contracted from infected water supplies and causing severe vomiting and diarrhea. Today, at least 10,000 Haitians have died, and over 800,000 had been sickened, after years of the U.N. denying and covering up what they did. Cholera has ruined Haiti’s poorest communities, leaving families who lost breadwinners destitute and children orphaned. The epidemic continues to ravage Haiti today and still spikes following large rainfall, such as during Hurricanes Irma and Matthew. In 2016, the then United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon finally acknowledged their responsibility in the outbreak of cholera in Haiti and issued a public apology to the Haitian people. Unfortunately, an apology will not bring 10,000 people back to us, it will not bring mothers and fathers back to the children and it certainly will not provide treatment for the thousands still suffering. Public health actors on the ground strongly believe that with enough funding, the cholera virus can be eliminated in Haiti this year but we need UN member states to step up, including the U.S. The U.N. has proposed a New Approach to Cholera in Haiti, which seeks to eliminate the virus and provide assistance for people who have been directly affected. However, only 4% of the funds have been generated to make this “New Approach” a reality. If the New Approach continues to be underfunded, there could be another outbreak of the devastating disease . The United States has an opportunity to set the tone for the rest of the world by granting money to the U.N’s fund. This money will save the lives of so many Haitians and put an end to this deadly epidemic. Please join us in this fight to eliminate cholera in Haiti.
Boycott Companies that Advertise on Fox News: Who support racism in exchange for profitAs a person of color, my life is regularly made more difficult and unpleasant due to the nature of the content propagated by Fox News. Fox News brings out the worst in people by preying on their fears and prejudices, bolstering people's preexisting stereotypes, and espousing and encouraging racist, homophobic, islamophobic, misogynistic, and ignorant behavior. I will not support any company that supports an entity such as Fox News that seems to be in direct opposition to all of my values and thinks of me--and tries to convince others to think of me--as lesser, dangerous, lazy, and unintelligent due to the color of my skin. People may think it is not worth it and they are only making their own lives harder by boycotting because so many companies advertise on Fox News and nothing will change that, but my life is already made difficult by Fox News, including all the companies that support it, so I have no problem taking it upon myself to make decisions that align with my self-interest and may be difficult. If we do nothing, what is going on in society and politics will only continue, so we might as well speak up for ourselves and hit the companies where they'll notice it: the wallets!
Support the Secure Elections Act: Paper ballot back-up to preserve valid electionsOur election process is threatened by our election records not being backed up with paper ballots. Our digital ballots could potentially be hacked leaving our system vulnerable. History has shown us election outcomes coming under question leads to Black voter freedom being attacked and restricted. When Trump distracted from questions about his election he did so by accusing Black communities of voter fraud and launching a commission designed to substantiate his lie and restrict Black people's freedom to vote. The "Secure Elections Act" has been introduced by a bipartisan group of Senators led by Republican Senator James Lankford, and Democratic Senator Kamala Harris. It will provide states with the funding they need to make sure ballots have paper records that can't be hacked and we are able to be audit our elections. With this legislation, we will make sure that our election results are legitimate and Black voters are more secure in their freedom to vote. To ensure the validity of our elections, we need to safeguard the ballot by having paper records for elections. Without this, we will have widespread doubts about the validity of any election we hold, and history has shown that Black voter freedom will be targeted for restriction. As Congressional testimonies have shown the government has done nothing to secure our elections. While we ignore the common sense calls to move to paper ballots states like Arkansas are passing updated voter ID laws. Instead of working to push the lie that we need to Voter ID laws aimed at Black voters, we need to pass legislation aimed at the actual threat to our elections. The Secure Elections Act is the bare minimum we could do if we want to make sure our elections are secure against actual fraud. Donald Trump has done absolutely nothing to make Americans feel more secure about their elections instead he has been pushing a narrative to throw them further in doubt, it is time for the Senate to act. Black people understand the importance of free and fair elections as we are still fighting to have our freedom to vote fully recognized. Tell the Senate to pass the "Secure Elections Act" to safeguard the ballot we are still fighting for.
Tell DA Candidates: SHOW US YOUR RECEIPTS!!My name is Brittany and I am emailing you from Dallas, Texas on behalf of Faith in Texas, an organization that moves entire congregations to action through powerful policy campaigns. We are organizing a LIVE FREE DFW campaign to hold our District Attorney (DA) candidates accountable for making our criminal justice system just and fair. That is why we are demanding that all DA candidates SHOW US THEIR RECEIPTS! If their budget platform is moral then they need to make it public! But they need to hear from all Dallas County residents on and offline. Will you join our fight? As a community, we understand that a budget is a moral document that reflects a District Attorney’s priorities. The proposed budgets of our candidates will allow us to see clearly whether their priorities lie on programs that will restore our communities, or merely punish them. Is Dallas County's next DA seeking to fund restorative justice or merely the punishment of Black, Hispanic and poor people? This is why Faith in Texas has issued a clear message to each candidate: If your budget is moral, make it public! In addition to our petition, we are hosting an in-person action to speak with candidates directly. It is on Sunday, February 25th from 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM, can you join us? More details below: EVENT: Faith in Texas District Attorney Forum: Show Us Your Receipts! DATE & TIME: February 25, 2018 @ 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM LOCATION: St Luke Community UMC, 5710 E RL Thornton Fwy, Dallas, TX 75223. At the DA forum, Faith in Texas will present our Criminal Justice priorities and highlight what is at stake for ALL of our communities. You will also experience art, music and powerful messages from directly-impacted people and clergy leaders. Most importantly, Dallas County DA candidates have this opportunity to present their proposed budgets for the District Attorney's office, directly to the public, before the March Primary Election. LIVE FREE DFW is a campaign of Faith in Texas, working to bring an end to mass incarceration, community violence, and the targeting of black, brown and low-income people by our criminal justice system. Steps towards this include passing robust Fair Chance Hiring and Housing policies, passing policies that end arrests for low-level, non-violent misdemeanors, and scaling-down mass incarceration in the state of Texas. Do you believe in driving down mass incarceration for Black folks in Dallas?