- 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
- No Guns in Schools
- Open Internet
- Police Accountability
- Political Power
- Pop Culture
- Private Prisons
- Right Wing Racism
- School-to-Prison Pipeline
- Voting Rights
- Wrongful Imprisonment
Tell the N.C. Chamber of Commerce: Stand Against DiscriminationBusinesses across the country have spoken out against North Carolina’s HB2, the so-called “bathroom bill.” But not the N.C. Chamber of Commerce. Maybe that’s because the Chamber's leadership benefits from provisions hidden inside the law that give bosses a green light to discriminate against African Americans and pay North Carolina workers less than a living wage. HB2 overturns policies that protect North Carolina's lesbian, gay and transgender community, 29% of which is African-American. The new law also overturns local anti-bias ordinances that protect everyone, regardless of race, national origin, age, disability, gender or religion. It bans workers from filing discrimination claims in state court. And it undercuts the ability of local elected officials to guarantee fair treatment for their citizens. In short, it’s a major attack on democracy. It's time to tell S. Lewis Ebert, CEO and President of the N.C. Chamber of Commerce, to join other business leaders and use his influence to call for the repeal of HB2. House Bill 2 uses the inflammatory slogan of “men using a girl’s bathroom” as a cover for a law that takes power away from voters and their local elected officials. The truth is that transgender women have used women’s restrooms for years; the only safety problem has come when they use the men’s bathroom and get attacked. Providing safety was at the heart of Charlotte’s new policy, but scary rhetoric can distract and deceive. The heads of Bank of America, Apple, IBM, Levi Strauss, Kellogg and dozens of other companies have spoken out against HB2, but not S. Lewis Ebert. We saw how the rhetoric of “voter fraud” frightened North Carolinians and provided cover for sweeping legislation that cut early voting, ended several voter protections, increased contribution limits, repealed the public campaign financing program that helped elect African Americans to the state courts, and allowed more corporate money in state elections. We can’t let yet another deceitful attack on democracy happen.
#StandUp4Kids NOT Billionaires23 years ago a group of determined parents filed a law suit called the Campaign for Fiscal Equity against New York state to prove that the state was discriminating against districts with mostly Black, Latino or impoverished students by not properly funding their education.10 years ago I stood on the steps of the New York State Court of Appeals with my then 10 year old and 12 year old daughters, Rayya and Zaire, awaiting the hearing that would determine CFE and the fair funding of our New York City Schools. I was so elated when the decision was made that our schools did deserve more, because it meant opportunities and dreams would no longer be denied not only for my children but all other Black and Latino students and students living in poverty. Yet here I am, 10 years later still fighting the same fight. Throughout this 10-year fight, I’ve been up in arms with fellow parents, organizers, and teachers alike. All of which, have witnessed the disparity in opportunity afforded to students because of their skin color or zip code. Education should be about accessing knowledge to expand your world but a consistent disinvestment in public school dollars on top of educational cuts limits this and unfairly stints school potential through a lack of resources. These resources could provide programs that have been proven to enhance a child’s learning environment like advanced classes, technology, longer school days, after school programs, teacher supports, and the list goes on. That’s why right now we’re challenging our legislators to #StandUp4Kids Billionaires and hedge fund managers in New York drive the overwhelming income inequity that creates a gap in educational funding. When the 1% is paying less in taxes than our school secretaries, sanitation workers, nurses and truck drivers we must stand up and say change needs to happen, NOW! With just 1% more in taxes from the 1% (those making $665,000 and over) New York State could raise over $2 billion in funding for education. But when Governor Cuomo says there is “no appetite” for raising taxes on millionaires and billionaires—what I hear is that addressing a 50% child poverty rate is not a priority for New York State. And Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan is opposing it because his Republican colleagues depend on hedge funds and billionaires to finance their re-election campaigns. We must put our children before hedge funds and political interests. The future depends on it. Sign our petition to demand Governor Cuomo, Senator Flanagan and the legislators of NY to #StandUp4Kids, NOT billionaires! While my 8 children may never get the opportunity to reap the benefits of CFE my 3 grandchildren can. It’s time for legislators to make the right choice. Together, we can protect the promise of a quality education for generations to come.
Life Saving Treatment Now for Mumia Abu-JamalMy name is Keith Cook, and I am Mumia Abu-Jamal’s brother. My loss, and my pain, have been constant for three decades since my brother has been in prison. He needs to come home, like so many of the men from our community. Mumia is very ill. I was in the waiting room of the Intensive Care Unit, just feet from where he lay nearly dying, for 28 long hours in Pottsville, PA before the guards would let me see him. He was chained: his right arm and left leg shacked to the hospital bed. Did you know that there is absolutely no reason for him to suffer? There is a cure for Hepatitis C — just one pill a day. I see my brother. But the Department of Corrections and the courts see “a prisoner”. Wasn’t Jesus a prisoner? Wasn’t Nelson Mandela a prisoner? Dr. Paul Noel, Director of Health Care for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections and Dr. Carl J. Keldie Chief Clinical Officer of Correct Care Solutions would let incarcerated people die from this disease. Yes, Mumia is supported by Amnesty International and Desmond Tutu, among many others. But he is also just like any other Black man in prison. Together we must stop this shameful practice of denying lifesaving health care to Mumia Abu-Jamal and all prisoners. And we must expose the public health imperative of treating Hepatitis C inside and outside of prisons. As the drug’s inventor Michael Sofia notes, “How can you deny people access to a cure?”. Right now, my brother is in the infirmary at SCI Mahanoy, and he is receiving absolutely no treatment. We are in court, right now with a petition. You can make sure that the U.S. District Court Judge Mariani, and Magistrate Mehalchick see and hear more than the word “prisoner”. We know these folks are our mothers, fathers, and brothers. We know they deserve to be treated with dignity and with respect. We need your voice to be heard. Tell them you know that intentional medical neglect is a violation of the 8th Amendment and their Hippocratic Oath. Medical apartheid must stop. Please join me. - Keith Cook, Retired Command Sergeant; Major, US Army; Former Chairman Orange, County School Board; Past President, North Carolina Caucus of Black School Board; District Director, NC NAACP Conference of Branches
Divest from Wells Fargo! University of California (UC) Prison Divestment!We, the undersigned community members and justice seekers, are excited by the Afrikan Black Coalition's recent victory in getting the University of California to divest $25 million from the private prison corporations Corrections Corporations of America (CCA), The Geo Group, and G4S. The victory was historic because private prisons have exacerbated America's mass incarceration regime, are implicated in gross human rights violations, and should be outlawed. However, we share the Afrikan Black Coalition's outrage and frustration resulting from the UC system's startling $425 million investment in Wells Fargo, one of the largest financiers of private prisons. According a report from Enlace, Wells Fargo facilitates access to over $1.2 billion capital for private prisons. As of their latest filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Wells Fargo owned nearly 1.5 million shares in private prisons. It bears noting that Wells Fargo is a bank that practiced discriminatory lending and maneuvered people of color (primarily Black and Latino) into subprime mortgages that led to the financial meltdown of 2007-2008; and in response to accusations of racial discrimination in its lending practices, Wells Fargo settled for $175 million in 2012 with pending litigations from several U.S cities (Los Angeles and Oakland) about discriminatory practices. It is for these reasons that we stand in solidarity with the Afrikan Black Coalition in its call for justice for those who are systematically dehumanized by an unforgiving and unfair judicial system that continues to criminalize Black and brown bodies. We acknowledge these cases illustrate the evolution of America's legal institution to uphold race, gender, and class hierarchies. By investing in Wells Fargo Bank, the University of California is actively supporting a legacy of historical emphasis on profit margins at the expense of human beings, and the continued mass criminalization of Black existence. It is an ethical embarrassment and a clear disregard for Black and immigrant lives for the UC to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in Wells Fargo as a financier of private prisons. In the age of Black Lives Matter and a reinvigorated Black Freedom Struggle, the UC should NOT be bankrolling the inhuman mass incarceration regime that has gripped America.
Tell Walmart: to rehire Thomas SmithHi my name is Thomas Smith. I loved my job at a Walmart in East Greenbush, NY, where I made $9 an hour putting away shopping carts and picking up trash from the parking lot. After being released from prison and facing homelessness earlier this year, I felt like I was really getting my life on track. But then last Friday, after I worked over-time to assist my managers, I was abruptly fired. The reason? I redeemed about $2 worth of empty cans and bottles left in an abandoned shopping cart just inside the store. I didn't know you couldn't take empties left behind. They were garbage. I didn't even get a chance to explain myself to the manager. I was never told that redeeming bottles wasn’t allowed and I immediately paid back the money. I worked hard at Walmart and did a good job. I ended up getting a raw deal. They just told me to turn in my badge. There’s a double standard at my store. My manager told me that a cashier in my store, who is white, was caught on camera stealing $20 from a cash register and stuffing it into her bra. She paid the money back, but she wasn’t fired. I’ve worked hard to turn my life around. And I worked hard at Walmart - I was only a few weeks away from passing my 90-day probation period. I shouldn’t have been fired for redeeming cans that were left for trash.
Walmart's Employee Discount needs to cover ALL food!Across the country, Walmart associates just like me are struggling to feed their families. We work every day surrounded by groceries, but many of them are too expensive for us to actually buy. Walmart could decide to alleviate some of our burden, by joining the ranks of Trader Joes, Whole Foods, and Target in offering an employee discount across ALL food items. The current Walmart discount (10%) covers most merchandise, but not bread, meat, eggs, and other basic groceries that Walmart workers need. My name is Jasmine, and I am the mother of two young boys. Every month, I struggle to figure out how to put food on the table and still pay rent on time. I work 35 hours a week, but at $11 an hour I barely make enough to sustain my small family. Every month one whole check goes to rent, while another goes to cover diapers, wipes, and food. We have no extra money, and sometimes I need to decide between buying groceries and paying the water bill. These are basic necessities that I need to choose between every month. As one of many Black women working at Walmart, I'm tired of food insecurity being a part of our shared experience. If Walmart expanded it’s employee discount program to cover ALL food items, I would be one step closer to knowing that I'll be able to give my children everything they need each month. This is a win – win. Walmart is one of the only large grocers in the United States that doesn’t have an across the board employee discount for food. A ten percent discount would allow Walmart associates to spend more money on food at Walmart. The company would get more money and we would be able to be healthier workers. I've even talked to Walmart associates in Canada who said that they receive discounts on all of their food, so why not here in the United States too? Tell Walmart: We need it NOW.
Make #BlackWorkersMatter: End the Exclusion of Black Workers from New Orleans Reconstruction"I can count on one hand the number of Black workers that work with me on Woodward construction sites" -Woodward employee Woodward Design+Build who has been in New Orleans since the 1920's did not think you could employ 40% local workers in the 313 Carondelet Project while the Lemoine Company who has been locally based in New Orleans since 2011 reportedly employed 80% local workers on the construction of the New Orleans East Hospital. Since Katrina New Orleans has been one of the largest construction sites in the country, meanwhile the exclusion of Black workers from the reconstruction has led to a massive Black jobs crisis- 52% of Black men are out of work, New Orleans has the second highest rate of income inequality in the country, 50.5% of Black children live in poverty and Black families make less than half the income of white families (Black families yearly median income in New Orleans is only $27,812) Woodward Design+Build has built countless projects in Post Katrina New Orleans and is going to be breaking ground this year and next on several more their continued exclusion of Black workers from their construction sites will further exacerbate the Black jobs crisis in New Orleans and we must act now to hold them and other major contractors accountable to make #BlackWorkersMatter in New Orleans. Local Black workers who are members of Stand with Dignity and our allies have been fighting to make #BlackWorkersMatter in New Orleans and we are winning- the City just passed a living wage ordinance for $10.55 per hour, and the Council will be considering a local hire ordinance on October 1st. These actions by our city government will go a long way but we have to hold accountable the companies who have gotten us to this point in the first place. Sign on Now to hold contractors accountable to make #BlackWorkersMatter in New Orleans- starting with Woodward Design+Build
Coca-Cola: Stop Bankrolling White Supremacy. End Your Sponsorship of Stone Mountain Park.UPDATE 8/22/15: Today activists from our team raised a large banner obscuring the mountain with the message “Heritage of Hate: Coke stop sponsoring racism” during a confederate rally in support of Stone Mountain and the confederate flag. https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.colorofchange.org/images/CokeBanner400pxtall.JPG On the evening of November 25, 1915, a group of 16 men clad in robes and hoods ascended to the top of Stone Mountain, the largest mass of exposed granite in the world, 15 miles east of Atlanta, Georgia. Once on top, the men ignited a flaming cross, signaling the second coming of the Ku Klux Klan, which had been dormant for 40 years. The events of that night set decades of white supremacist violence and terror by the KKK in motion, with Stone Mountain at the center. One hundred years later, and the mountain has been transformed into Stone Mountain Park, Georgia’s number one tourist attraction. The park-- which draws an estimated 4 million visitors per year, and includes Coca-Cola as one of it’s biggest corporate sponsors-- features several confederate memorials, including a reconstructed Antebellum Plantation, a “Confederate Hall,” and a Civil War museum. The most famous and prominent attraction however is the face of the mountain itself, which is carved with the image of Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, and Confederate President Jefferson Davis riding on horseback. Work on the carving began in 1916, but was delayed for decades until the 1950s when the Civil Rights Movement gained momentum. Segregationists in Georgia hoped the monument would serve as a reminder of White Supremacy, and in 1958 the state of Georgia purchased the mountain for $2million, paving the way for the sculpture’s completion. It remains there today as a reminder of our state’s brutal history. The recent spotlight on Confederate symbols across the south, combined with the growing backlash against the Movement for Black Lives, has made it clear that there is no place for symbols of hate and division on state property. By investing millions of dollars into the park through sponsorships, Coca-Cola is condoning the racism and hatred that these symbols represent to so many people. Please join us in calling on Coca-Cola to stop funding racism in their home state by dropping their sponsorship of Stone Mountain Park.
Don't Fund the Next Dylann Roof: Dump Reddit!Online hate speech leads to violence in the real world. Less than two months ago, nine people were killed as they worshipped at a historically black church Charleston, South Carolina. The young man who murdered them did so as a result of his indoctrination by various websites espousing racial hatred. The website Stormfront has already been linked to upwards of 100 murders. Despite recently banning CoonTown, its largest "subreddit," or forum, dedicated to anti-Black racism, Reddit still hosts tens of thousands of white nationalists and other racist activists in the many racist subreddits that remain, and CoonTown users have already announced plans to re-form. These users recently began outpacing Stormfront users in measures of engagement like subscriber growth and page views, which spells danger; in its report on murderers linked to Stormfront, the Southern Poverty Law Center noted that more time spent on hate sites was a common characteristic of those who went on to kill. Reddit validates hate speech by giving it space on one of the largest, best-known websites on the web. White supremacist groups have also recognized the site as a fertile breeding ground for their ideologies, and have provided a template for using Reddit to recruit new blood to their cause. The "containment" strategy that Reddit CEO Steve Huffman announced earlier this month is not keeping hate contained; racist content shows up all over the site, and subscribers to hate subreddits continue to harass other users, particularly users on Black-interest subreddits. Reddit has repeatedly shown that it will not act to protect women or people of color without public and financial pressure to do so. Child porn and other forms of non-consensual pornography, such as revenge porn, were only recently banned, and only after a barrage of negative media attention and celebrity involvement. Despite publicly announcing a crack down on subreddits that harass others and promote violence, Reddit continues to look the other way as subscribers to its racist subreddits harass users of color, celebrate violence against black and Jewish people, and call for racial holy war. With the momentum building and in response to pressure from activists and supporters like yourself, Reddit announced August 5th that it would ban some of its racist subreddits, including "CoonTown." However, in doing so, Reddit didn't articulate a clear hate speech policy, and made no moves to stop the violent anti-black racism that dominates the site. They banned CoonTown because it became an "annoyance" to them. Reddit's announcement was so egregious that Gizmodo published a piece titled "Reddit Bans /r/Coontown For All the Wrong Reasons." Reddit needs to see that they cannot hide their hate problem; if they do not address it head on, their advertisers will face a consumer backlash that will force them to #DumpReddit.
Don't Fund the Next Dylann Roof: Dump Reddit!Online hate speech leads to violence in the real world. Just last month, nine people were killed as they worshipped at a historically black church Charleston, South Carolina. The young man who murdered them did so as a result of his indoctrination by various websites espousing racial hatred. The website Stormfront has already been linked to more than 100 murders. Reddit's largest "subreddit," or forum, dedicated to anti-Black racism is one of its fastest growing, and is on track to surpass Stormfront in traffic this summer (if it hasn't already). It is only a matter of time before Reddit's white supremacists begin taking violent action as well. Reddit validates hate speech by giving it space on one of the largest, best-known websites on the web. White supremacist groups have also recognized the site as a fertile breeding ground for their ideologies, and have provided a template for using Reddit to recruit new blood to their cause. The "containment" strategy that Reddit CEO Steve Huffman announced earlier this month is not keeping hate contained; racist content shows up all over the site, and subscribers to hate subreddits on Reddit continue to harass other users, particularly users on Black-interest subreddits. Reddit has repeatedly shown that it will not act to protect women or people of color without public and financial pressure to do so. Child porn and other forms of non-consensual pornography, such as revenge porn, were only recently banned, and only after a barrage of negative media attention and celebrity involvement. Despite publicly announcing a crack down on subreddits that harass others and promote violence, Reddit continues to look the other way as subscribers to its racist subreddits harass users of color, celebrate violence against black and Jewish people, and call for racial holy war. Reddit needs to see that they cannot hide their hate problem; if they do not address it head on, their advertisers will face a consumer backlash that will force them to #DumpReddit.
Release McKinney Police Corporal Eric Casebolt’s full disciplinary record.The public deserves to know if Corporal Casebolt has any previous incidents of brutality. Demand the McKinney Police Department release his disciplinary record. This is important because this incident is one in a long line of incidents that continue to demonstrate that Black youth are routinely dehumanized in our society. Implicit bias and perceptions of Black youth directly impact they way that they are engaged. Because these youth were seen to not belong in the area, the officers did even attempt to engage them as residents or even guests but rather as intruders. This is evidenced by the fact that the teenager who filmed the incident was white and therefor was not engaged by the police at all - despite capturing the entire event on camera. We have seen in past, how these interactions can quickly turn deadly. The community can not begin to heal until these issues are exposed and confronted in a honest and transparent fashion.
BART Directors: When it comes to ending the war on Black communities, which side are you on?Across the country, hundreds of thousands of people have made a resolution to fight for Black lives. Now, businesses, police departments, and other government agencies are trying to make us pay. Sign the petition, then take a selfie of yourself holding a sign that says, “Not one dime” or “We’ve already paid with our lives” and tweet it to @SFBart on Twitter. On Black Friday, November 28, 2014, in response to a call to action from the Black community of Ferguson, Missouri, a team of 14 members of the #BlackLivesMatter network, dubbed the Black Friday 14, joined hundreds of thousands of others nationwide using civil disobedience to protest a discriminatory pattern of police and vigilante violence that has taken too many Black lives – including, most recently, the lives of Michael Brown, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Tamir Rice, Tanisha Anderson, Antonio Martin, and Eric Garner.(1) Instead of citing and releasing protesters, or charging them with the same minor infraction applied to the thousands of multiracial allies that have blocked busses, trains, and traffic -- the Alameda County Deputy District Attorney has capitulated to aggressive pressure from the BART Board of Directors to apply a harsher penalty, that of misdemeanor criminal trespass, which requires these 14 protesters to pay tens of thousands of dollars -- up to 70,000 -- in “restitution” to BART. The BART Board of Directors claims they are owed payment for lost fares on Black Friday 2014, but for decades the Bay Area Rapid Transit system has cost local Black communities our homes, jobs, safety, and even our lives. Who will pay for that? In the 1950’s, Eminent Domain was used to displace Black businesses and homes along the once vibrant Black community of 7th street to build the BART system. (2) More recently, BART police have recklessly endangered and stolen Black lives. In January 2014, BART police attacked and tasered an unarmed Black man twice, then dragged him off the train. (3) In March, BART police beat and arrested Nubia Bowe, a 19-year old student and a Black woman suspected of dancing on the train; and in September BART police slammed a Black woman to the ground and charged her with resisting arrest. (4) (5) On January 1st, 2009, BART Police shot and killed Oscar Grant, a 24-year-old unarmed Black man. (6) Since then, BART police officers have taken little to no corrective action, joining police departments and their representatives across the nation in escalating a war against Black communities instead. (7) Now, as justice-seeking people sing out on every street corner "which side are you on?" the Bay Area Rapid Transit is targeting courageous Black people who put their bodies on the line to fight for their lives, and unjustly fining them thousands of dollars for exercising their constitutional right to free speech. We won't stand for it. And we need widespread public pressure to expose and stop BART's discriminatory and outrageous attempts to profit off and punish the growing movement for Black liberation. Instead of working to end the discriminatory pattern of police violence that continues without pause, the BART Board of Directors wants financial compensation from those fighting for the sanctity of their lives. There’s something terribly wrong with this picture. This isn’t the first time BART has been targeted for its crimes -- but it is the first time an all Black group comprised of organizers, mothers, students, queers and women are being charged and asked to pay restitution for an action calling for an end to the war on Black lives. We cannot allow the BART Board of Directors to set this dangerous, undemocratic precedent. References: 1. Breaking: Black Lives Matter Protesters Shut Down BART at West Oakland Station, 11-28-14 http://goo.gl/ibbgis 2. Eminent Domain in West Oakland, http://goo.gl/e8Snd6 3. Depressing video: Black Man Tased and Dragged Off BART , 02-10-14 http://goo.gl/L3N1wn 4. BART police arrest, assault young woman for riding train while black, 04-29-14 http://goo.gl/e2jhYz 5. VIDEO: BART Police Officer Slams Woman to Floor, Incident Captured on Video, 09-05-14 http://goo.gl/V3OcB9 6. Oscar Grant’s Mother: ‘We Have to Be Relentless in the Vindication of Our Slain Sons’, 08-26-14 http://goo.gl/GQSjeX 7. BART Director: Cell Phone Shutdown Didn't Go Through Proper Channels, 08-11-13 http://goo.gl/4JEnTy