- Afropunk Army
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- End The War on Black People
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De-prioritize low-level marijuana arrests in Buffalo #BuffaloLLEPNew York state decriminalized possessing small amounts of marijuana 40 years ago, but a disproportionate number of black people continue to be arrested in Buffalo every year. The unequal enforcement is a result of the "war on drugs." Exposure to the criminal justice system has severe impacts on employment, mental health, family stability and financial security. Mayor Byron Brown has the ability to make marijuana the LLEP, or "lowest level enforcement priority" for the Buffalo Police Department. This means that instead of arresting black and brown folks for marijuana, police will be able to focus on building positive, trusting relationships with communities of color, making us all safer. On the commemorative year of decriminalization, tell Mayor Brown that you support him in LLEP (#BuffaloLLEP)!
Calling for the Removal/Resignation of sitting U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith of MississippiSenator Cindy Hyde-Smith's comments on November 2nd, 2018, regarding her willingness to sit “on the front row” at a “public hanging” if invited are not only deeply offensive, they provide further evidence of her blatant disregard for her oath to uphold the Constitution. Senator Hyde-Smith’s failure to stand up to the injustice of hanging deaths in the past and her approval of such violence presently, should bar her from serving as a U.S. Senator or in any government position in the state of Mississippi. She has refused to acknowledge the insensitive and deeply offensive nature of her remarks. A leader who cannot thoughtfully reflect on her actions and their potential harm is unfit to lead.
Keep Your Promises to Black Voters!The people of New Jersey need your help. In 2017, 94 Percent of Black voters cast their ballots for Governor Murphy. Without this support from the Black community, it is unlikely that Phil Murphy would be New Jersey’s governor—53 percent of white voters supported his opponent. But nine months into his administration, Governor Murphy has not focused on critical issues facing the 94 percent: 1) Transforming New Jersey’s youth justice system: New Jersey has a shameful system of youth incarceration in which a Black child is 30 times more likely to be incarcerated than a white child—the highest disparity in the nation. 2) Restoring the right to vote to people with criminal convictions: New Jersey denies the right to vote to nearly 100,000 people who are in prison, on parole, or on probation. Although Black people make up 15 percent of New Jersey's total population, Black residents represent over 60 percent of the people who lost the right to vote due to a criminal conviction. 3) Closing the racial wealth gap: In New Jersey, one of the wealthiest states in America, the median net worth for New Jersey’s white families is $271,402—the highest in the nation. But the median net worth for New Jersey’s Black families is just $5,900. We must ensure that Governor Murphy keeps his promises to the Black voters that put him in office.
Demand Gov. Cuomo Free Criminalized Survivors of Gender ViolenceValerie Seeley is a survivor of domestic violence and in 1988 she was sentenced to 19 years to life in prison for killing her abusive partner while defending herself from a violent attack. In 2017, Valerie was granted clemency and released from Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Westchester County, New York. Her release came after spending 17 years in prison for protecting herself. Governor Cuomo, like all state governors, has the power to grant clemency to people who have been convicted under state law. Valerie is the ONLY domestic violence survivor that has been granted clemency by Gov. Cuomo. In the last eight years Gov. Cuomo has ONLY commuted 12 sentences in total. Survived & Punished, has joined forces with Color Of Change to demand that Gov. Cuomo free all criminalized survivors of gender violence. In New York state history only three survivors have been granted clemency. Gov. Cuomo has the power to change that immediately. Today, there are many people behind bars in NY state prisons simply for fighting to survive. We must protect, not criminalize survivors of domestic and gender based violence. Women and gender nonconforming (GNC) folks have historically been incarcerated for domestic violence and Black women and GNC survivors of abuse are rarely granted the right to protect and defend themselves against their abuser, even less than other people. Throughout the country millions of women, girls and GNC people who are incarcerated are also survivors of domestic/ gender based violence. We must end the criminalization of survivors, we must protect Black women and we must free all people incarcerated for simply surviving. Demand Gov. Cuomo #FreeThemNY. Learn more about #FreeThemNY--http://freethemny.com/
SB10 is not REAL bail reform. Tell Gov. Jerry Brown: Veto SB10.California Bail Reform has been hijacked and we must stop a dangerous bill. Last year, thousands of people stood up to demand real bail reform in California by supporting Senate Bill 10, a bill that Senator Bob Hertzberg championed. But this week, Senator Hertzberg is rushing a completely gutted version of SB 10 to a vote on the CA assembly floor, and it's bad. After nearly 2 years of advocacy and grassroots groups fighting for real bail reform, Senator Hertzberg has yielded to pressure from California’s Judicial Council introducing new language that will lead to more people locked up and entrenched racial bias in CA’s pretrial system. Yes, that Judicial Council. The very same council that had that horrific Black-face, incarceration-themed office party last year. This new bill places all the power in their hands. In a bait and switch, the CA Judicial Council and Probation Department urged Senator Hertzberg to gut the bill and introduce a new scheme. SB 10 now replaces money bail with a system that makes it easier to incarcerate legally innocent people. This is not at all the bail reform our communities deserve and have long fought for. We want to end the predatory money bail industry, but not like this. This new SB 10 will completely derail any progress in the fight to truly end pretrial injustice in the state of California and will have national ramifications. We don’t need legislation that uses a different mechanism to keep communities of color incarcerated -- we need real reform. Our fight must grow louder and stronger.
Stop Vigilante Justice against Black ChildrenStop Vigilante Justice against Black Children District Attorney Faith Johnson is caving to the outrage of a lynch mob. Six black kids are the target of this hatred. We demand that this vigilantism end immediately The District Attorney’s Office recently announced that it will seek to try the teens accused of car theft and robbery as adults, after the victims demanded “aggressive” retribution and organized more than two thousand people in Dallas around one goal: trying and locking up children as adults. Vengeance doesn't work as criminal justice policy. And it is not going to make our community safer. We know that kids tried as adults are more likely to commit new crimes, commit them more frequently, and commit more violent offenses than kids treated like the kids they are. Children are fundamentally different from adults. Research shows that kids who commit even serious crimes can and frequently do grow out of intransigent behavior as their brains mature. It is not a matter of leniency - youth need a system designed to rehabilitate youth. DA Johnson’s decision is not about justice or community safety. Rather, it is about obeying the demands of those who have the power and social capital to demand we throw away the lives of children. If these children were rich or white, would the outrage be as swift and the demands so damning? It is District Attorney Faith Johnson’s job to recognize and follow the course of action that protects everyone and best serves the interest of our community, not to respond to the demands of her rich constituents at the expense of black children. Racist mob action has no place in our justice system. D.A. Johnson must do her job and take a principled, common-sense approach to community safety, one that treats children like children. We demand that D.A. Johnson withdraw her motion to transfer these children to adult court. *Joe Estelle is a member of the Texas Organizing Project, and sits on their Right 2 Justice committee.
Tell U.S. Attorney Berman - Drop the Charges Against Therese Patricia Okoumou!Our national government has ripped apart thousands of families and put young children in cages. As part of our basic right to protest outlined in the constitution, Therese Patricia Okoumou climbed Lady Liberty to raise awareness of this injustice, a pattern wrought against thousands of families over the course of America's history. Sign the petition and let the U.S. attorney know we will not tolerate further injustice and we will not be silent about the harm our government is inflicting on children and families. DROP THE CHARGES TODAY!
Justice for Anthony WallOn May 8, a 22-year-old Mr. Anthony Wall, a Black man who is openly gay, escorted his younger sister (age 16) to the prom. Later, he took her and her friends to a local Waffle House in Warsaw, NC. After sitting down at a table that had not yet been cleared, staff members got into a heated argument with Mr. Wall and his teenage sister. According to Mr. Wall and witnesses at the scene, Waffle House employees began using offensive racial and homophobic slurs and threatened to inflict physical harm on them. They called him the N-word and f**got and one staff member went so far as to take his shirt off readying himself for a fight. The police were called and when Officer Frank Moss of the Warsaw Police Department arrived on the scene, he began choking Mr. Wall and throwing him against the window. He then violently threw Mr. Wall to the ground and placed him under arrest. The traumatic incident was captured on video with a cell phone and it has since gone viral. The video captures the officer choking and slamming Mr. Wall against the outdoor glass and then onto the pavement. During the violent exchange, Mr. Wall screamed that he could not breathe and pleaded for his safety with other officers who were on the scene. It is evident from the video footage, that because of what he had just been through, he was fearful for his physical safety and his life. When he was being handcuffed, Mr. Hall requested to be transported with any officer, but not with Officer Moss, who had just brutally assaulted him. His requests were ignored, and not only was he forced to ride with the same officer who inappropriately and unprofessionally handcuffed him, but there was an aggressive police canine accompanying them inside the vehicle. Mr. Wall has since been charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Eric Sutherland, Warsaw police chief, said that an officer can use physical force on a subject if the person is not complying. Notably, Mr. Wall was not only unarmed but the officer was more than twice his size. The Mayor of Warsaw released a three-and-a-half minute statement in support of Officer Moss, attempting to justify the treatment of Wall during the arrest. We will be closely monitoring the response from not only the Warsaw Police Department but also District Attorney Ernie Lee with the State Bureau of Investigation; the FBI; and the N.C. Department of Justice's Law Enforcement Training and Standards Commission which we understand are also investigating the incident. As a civil and human rights community, we demand answers and a thorough investigation of what has transpired and that the results of this investigation be made fully available to the public. No human being should endure the type of verbal and physical abuse that Mr. Wall experienced and any charges against him should be dropped immediately. Please join us in signing this petition to ensure justice for Anthony and Chikesia. Remember none of us are free until all of us are free!
Stop Children from Dying During Divorce and Custody ProceedingsA mother who is a veteran had to return home from Iraq and fight the battle for her children. The children were taken from her safe and sustainable home, and 50/50 custody order. The mother was falsely arrested. The charges where dismissed but the ramification lingered. Nine years later the mother and her children have no relationship. The children were forced to live full-time with their abusive father leaving them vulnerable to mental, physical and emotional abuse at critical developmental stages in there lives. The court's decision has traumatized the mother and placed the children in danger. As of September 24, 2018, at least 657 children have been murdered by a parent involved in a divorce, separation, custody, visitation, or child support situation in the U.S. since 2008. Abusive parents are often granted custody or unprotected parenting time by family courts—placing our nation’s children at ongoing risk. Researchers who interviewed judges and court administrators following some of these tragedies found that most believed these were isolated incidents. Needed reforms have not been implemented. Many court-related child homicides occurred after family courts granted dangerous parents access to children over the objections of a protective parent. We recognize that the women's right's movement is still a work in progress. Marginalized women face multiple oppressions, and we can only win freedom by bringing awareness on how they impact one another. The women of color need a national movement to uplift the needs of the most marginalized women and children. As women of color we need to stand for our human rights to parent the children we have in a safe and sustainable community.
Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey Should ResignMany of the families of those killed by law enforcement in Los Angeles County, Black Lives Matter, White People for Black Lives, Centro CSO, March and Rally, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Los Angeles Community Action Network, Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, California for Progress, Youth Justice Coalition, Community Coalition, and 40 additional community organizations, and hundreds of individuals – your constituents – have been rallying outside of your office since October 2017. The call to date has been for you to prosecute the police who kill our people. We have attempted to engage you in dialogue; you have refused and we are regularly met with hostility and disrespect. We are now calling on you to step down for refusing to serve “The People” whom you are duty-bound to represent. We began our current efforts by delivering a petition signed by more than 10,000 Angelenos demanding that you prosecute the police who kill our people, beginning with the five officers who were dismissed from Inglewood Police Department after killing Kisha Michael and Marquintan Sandlin while they were sleeping in their car. We then requested a community meeting with you, an invitation that you initially tentatively accepted during a December 2017 phone call and then reneged. A townhall was held, to which you were invited, but did not attend (despite confirming availability), on January 21, 2018. We have submitted hundreds of faxed, mailed, emailed, and telephone requests asking that you engage the community. You have refused. Most recently, on May 30, 2018, we attempted to deliver a letter as part of the national #RealChange campaign to pressure District Attorneys to be accountable to the people. Despite following the delivery instructions negotiated with your office, the Sheriff proceeded to lock us out of the public building that you occupy. More than 400 Los Angeles County residents have been killed by law enforcement on your watch. You have refused to file charges against a single officer, even when they have been found to have acted “out of policy” (as with Ezell Ford), are disciplined or dismissed as a result of their actions (as with Kisha Michael and Marquintan Sandlin), when there is an apparent cover up (as with Wakiesha Wilson), and/or are recommended for charges by their law enforcement units (as with Brendon Glenn). Your record is shameful and is indicative of a clear unwillingness to act on behalf of the people. Moreover, your complete unwillingness to do your job endangers the community that you are supposed to serve. For these, and many other reasons, we call on you to immediately vacate your position as District Attorney of the County of Los Angeles.
Support Voting In Jail! Eligible voters should be able to vote.There are approximately 20,000 people detained in jail pre-trial in Illinois. Those who are citizens have the right to vote in elections. However, without a formal process in place, voting in jail is nearly impossible for people awaiting trial. This bill requires county jails and election authorities to collaborate in creating a process that ensures people on pre-trial can cast their ballot during elections. In any given year, there are approximately 30,000 people who return from prison. Those who are citizens are eligible to vote in Illinois upon release. Yet many of these citizens do not register to vote because they believe that their past criminal conviction disqualifies them. This bill requires the Illinois Department of Corrections and each county jail to provide eligible citizens released from their custody a voter registration application. There are approximately 4 million residents of Illinois who have a past felony conviction, all of whom are eligible to vote. Yet, many of these individuals are not aware of their right to vote. This bill requires the Illinois Department of Corrections to provide citizens released from their custody detailed information about their voting rights. Chicago Votes, Illinois Justice Project, The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, ACLU, and 38 supporting organizations ask Governor Rauner to support this historic piece of legislation. www.chicagovotes.com #HB4469 #CCJVotes
Bring Back Good Time in Michigan's Prisons (HB 5666)Twice in April Michigan’s Good Time Bill, HB 5666, was not to voted on by legislators as expected. The Good Time Bill that was originally introduced in the House at the end of February and was scheduled to vote April 10th and was rescheduled for April 17th, legislators still have not voted on the matter and we cannot wait another election cycle for Good Time to be reintroduced again. Michigan is suffering from a clear problem and its hitting us hard. Michigan state keeps inmates much longer in comparison to other states. These extra years of men and women staying in prison is socially and economically expensive, driving up prison costs by millions and millions of dollars a year with incarceration consuming over a quarter of the state’s general fund. Not only is this problem costly economically on a state level but costly on a community level as African American families are heavily effected with over 44% of the states entire prison population being made of of non-white men. That’s almost half! Its more than disappointing, its disgusting to see the lack of the representatives’ interest in the demands of the people on correcting this gross issue. This Initiative petition requires at least 252,523 valid signatures by May 30th in order for the proposed legislation, the Good Time Bill, to override the legislators voting process. After the successful collection of signatures the bill must be put for a vote by legislators to be either adopted or rejected within 40 days. If the proposed bill is not immediately adopted and is rejected by legislators then it is given another opportunity to become a law by moving forward to proposed to the people in the state of Michigan’s next general election which would be November 6, 2018. This is our opportunity to bring Good Time back in the State’s prisons so that rehabilitated prisoners can rejoin society to support their families and communities. Whether the bill is adopted by legislators or voted into law in a general election, it is important that we give this bill a chance to become a law by showing our overwhelming support for the Good Time Bill. There are more than 40,000 men and women incarcerated in the State of Michigan whose sentences deserve to be reassessed according to the magnitude of their good behavior during their incarceration. Michigan is one of the very few states currently that don’t incorporate Good Time policies to allow a rehabilitated inmate to be released after effectively serving a portion of their sentence, this is a policy that is even instituted at a Federal Level. There is absolutely no reason why a person should lose more of their life just because of their misfortune of being incarcerated in Michigan.