• Take Down ALL Symbols of White Supremacy in New Orleans
    Since 2015, we've organized to have four statues removed in New Orleans. And in May of this year, Mayor Mitch Landrieu delivered a powerful speech that supported the notion that there space for reverence of the Confederacy in New Orleans. We must continue organizing until all property dedicated to people who fought to keep slavery is renamed and repurposed. Two weeks ago, white supremacists swarmed the streets in Charlottesville armed with lit torches and blunt objects to terrorize Black people. This modern-day lynching mob crowded around a Confederate statue, and in honor of the false idol, killed a peaceful protester and critically wounded dozens more. There is no doubt that white supremacists use these statues to validate their racism and violence. Now more than ever, we have to remove all Confederate symbols and emblems to white supremacy. Our local government has a responsibility to protect its Black communities from the kind of terrorism and bloodshed that rocked Charlottesville. The New Orleans family is defined by the diverse, inclusive nature of its culture in spaces both public and private. Public spaces are for everyone and should not be used to promote the abhorrent views of the white ruling class to uphold symbols of Black oppression. Not only that but our tax dollars should no longer be used to maintain these structures. We walk to the river, to work, to school, to visit a friend, and look up into the faces of men who traded human beings as property and fought to protect the ability to do so. There is no basis to support the continued littering of our public squares and buildings with monuments, street names and public schools named after white supremacists. These memorials only serve as constant reminders of the past and present domination of black people by the rich white ruling class. They are insulting to anyone with a sense of history and who supports progress and democracy. These symbols also represent present day reality where most decisions and government policy are determined by those who accept white supremacist notions that Black people and all non-white people are less and deserve less than white people. Some people believe that the struggle to remove white supremacist symbols is a deflection from the more meaningful struggle to end present day discrimination. They couldn’t be further from the truth. These monuments and signs are so much more than symbols of bygone days. They are active parts of an abusive system in which intentionally unequal distribution of power and resources goes unchecked. The white supremacist ideas represented by these symbols permeate USA society and result in actual discrimination and murder. That is why policemen with white supremacist conceptions of young Black people can murder them so easily. This is why the so-called criminal justice system can practice mass incarceration of Black people with the approval of most white people. This is why we have over 50% unemployment for Black men in New Orleans and there is no editorial outcry by the white ruling class press. If our New Orleans family is to have a chance at real racial reconciliation, we must remove all obvious symbols of white supremacy to show our collective will to address entrenched systemic oppression, which is wreaking havoc in the minds, homes, and neighborhoods of our families citywide. Now is our opportunity to be proactive. All over the USA, especially in the South, progressive Black people and their allies are leading struggles to rid the South of the symbols of treason, domestic terrorism and racist oppression. State governments in South Carolina and Alabama have removed the Rebel Flag. The Memphis city council has voted to remove the statue and the body of confederate General and founder of the KKK, Nathan Bedford Forrest. The Georgia NAACP has called for the removal of the Stone Mountain memorial to the confederacy.
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  • Return Mary Watkines -- Walmart Worker Fired for Speaking Out
    My name is Mary Watkines and I'm a leader and founding member of OUR Walmart in Washington state. Over the last month over 30 new associates have joined from stores in Federal Way, Renton, and Auburn. I have spent this time advocating for increased minimum wage in WA state, drawing strength from my faith in God and the power of workers to make change. I work hard every day in my store and did my best to model dignity in the workplace. I returned to work on April 15th, after being disciplined for wearing an OUR Walmart pin, alongside local community members in prayer. I also presented a resolution related to executive pay at the Walmart Shareholder meeting in Bentonville in June, bringing attention to the income inequality that we as Walmart workers experience firsthand. However, two weeks ago, I was fired. As an organizer and mentor to many associates in my store and beyond, it is clear I am an ongoing target of management. This time, I was pulled in from my break by my store manager and asset protection and given termination papers including a money order paying me up to the minute I stepped off the floor. My store manager said that the directive to fire me had come from above. I believe that Walmart, the largest employer of African-Americans in the country, has the opportunity to make a difference in our lives, but instead is choosing to retaliate against people like me who speak out. This is not the first time Walmart has tried to fire me unjustly, but I need your help to get re-hired, again. I have already spoken with my store manager, district manager and a member of HR from Walmart's Regional office but now I need your help.
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  • Remove Robert E. Lee Statue and name from Oak Lawn Park, and Dallas Schools
    Return Dallas' Public art to the citizens of Dallas reflective of the diversity of Texas Culture and Dallas Contemporary Culture. The statue, the park name (Lee Park), and the naming of a children's school, Robert E. Lee Elementary, insults the dignity and intelligence of 21st century Dallasites. The statue is in bad taste, given that Lee was not Texan, and furthermore a traitor to the United States of America. The statue is representative of white supremacy, and represents a heritage of hatred and the belief that even in defeat, Lee and the Confederacy held noble and just beliefs. The time has come to take Lee and all Confederate "heroes" off their pedestals.
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  • Release data about the McKinney Police Department's engagement of Black youth
    The videos from McKinney show Black youth clearly being targeted by police while white youth are left alone. We deserve to know from the City of McKinney if this is a longstanding police policy. 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 therefore 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.
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  • Take.A.Stand.Have.A.Voice.
    The videos from McKinney show Black youth clearly being targeted by police while white youth are left alone. We deserve to know from the City of McKinney if this is a longstanding police policy. 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.
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  • Walmart Associates deserve $15/hour and a full time schedule
    As the largest private employer of Black people in the country, Walmart has the opportunity to greatly improve the lives of millions of Black people. Following actions across the country from brave associates, Walmart announced earlier this year that it was raising wages to $9/hour. That was a tremendous first step but doesn't go nearly far enough. For one of the most profitable companies in the world, working at Walmart is harder than it should be. Even with the raise, too many of my coworkers are on medicaid and food stamps. The schedule changes make it hard to raise a stable family. Some of my fellow associates even experience homelessness while working. A full time schedule and $15/hour for Walmart associates is what we need to make working at Walmart a little easier. It will allow us to take time off to attend to sick family members, purchase groceries, and cover increasingly skyrocketing housing and healthcare costs. Walmart has the means to make that a reality. And this is important not just for Walmart workers but for hourly workers in every sector. After Walmart raised wages earlier this year several other large employers followed suit. When Walmart makes changes for the better, everyone benefits. I'm a member of OUR Walmart because I know when we stand together and demand change, we can all live better. That's why I'm traveling this week from my store near Tacoma, Washington to Walmart Headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas to tell the Board of Directors that associates deserve better. I hope you'll join me by signing this petition demanding the Walmart Board announce $15 an hour wages and full time schedules. -Mary Watkines, OUR Walmart
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  • Protesters Are Not Criminals! Drop The Charges Against The Jacksonville 19
    On Monday December 8, 2014 during a national protest demanding justice for Eric Garner and Michael Brown, 19 activists and organizers in Jacksonville, FL (The Jacksonville 19) were arrested and charged with obstruction of traffic and were threatened with an egregious restitution fine. State officials in Florida join a sickening trend that is spreading across the nation, where protesters face harsh penalties for speaking out against police violence. From the 70k restitution charge against protesters in Oakland, CA (1) to a Baltimore protester who has a 500K bail (2), it becomes all too clear that our 1st amendment rights are under attack. We won't stand for it. And we need widespread public pressure to expose and stop State Attorney Angela Corey’s discriminatory and the 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, Angela Corey wants monetary reimbursement from those standing up for the inviolability of their lives. There’s something terribly wrong with this picture. How is it that protesters are being criminalized for speaking out against grave injustices and killer cops continue to walk free with no consequences for the lives they have stolen? The answer is simple. The entire criminal justice system is entrenched with discriminatory practices that further perpetuate white supremacy, which couldn’t be more true for the state of Florida who has struggled with decades and decades of racism and brutal violence against Black people. The Jacksonville 19 was arrested on December 8th, handcuffed, placed in a police cars, and driven to jail where they waited for four hours while State Attorney Angela Corey decided her plan with what to do with them. Now, State Attorney Corey has decided to harshly penalize 19 peaceful protesters with misdemeanor charges and high restitution fines for exercising their first amendment rights. This is not the first of State Attorney Corey’s abuses. Angela Corey tried to convict Christian Fernandez, a 12-year-old child, to a life time in prison; Angela Corey did not support the true judgment for Zimmerman in defense of Trayvon Martin and Angela Corey unjustly tried to convict Marissa Alexander with 60 years for defending herself in her home. This is a crisis of integrity in the Florida justice system that requires your intervention. This case is also the first time that a Jacksonville social change group comprised of organizers, mothers, students, and women are being charged and asked to pay restitution for an action calling for an end to discriminatory policing that severely impacts the lives of Black residents in Florida. We cannot allow the State Attorney to repeat this treacherous, autocratic Southern narrative model anymore. Florida has a long history of deep seated racism which has produced rampant brutal violence against Black people.The history of a young man, Jordan Davis, being shot at a gas station in Jacksonville in 2012 for playing his music too loud is an echo of white racist violence from 1960 when up to 200 members of the Ku Klux Klan carried ax handles, baseball bats and other kinds of clubs, threatening to organize citywide boycotts if the stores made an agreement to serve food to Black customers in downtown Jacksonville. The police stayed away until members of a group known as the Bomerangs began assisting the demonstrators. The Jacksonville 19 reflects the courage of that group, coming together to stand up for communities under attack. Let’s start by demanding that State Attorney Angela Corey, Mayor Lenny Curry, and Governor Rick Scott dismiss the charges against the Jacksonville 19! Shut it Down! Support the Jacksonville 19 during their trial and demand that Florida officials #DropTheCharges! This petition is also supported by: Burnpile Press, Veterans for Peace, Jacksonville, Chapter 174, Strengthen Our Sisters, Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign, Black Women's Lives Matter, Project South, Mad Moms, The CHESS Foundation, The New Jim Crow Movement - Jacksonville, Malcolm X Center for Self Determination, SCLC, Free Marissa Now (FMN), Black Lives Matter, Ferguson Actions, Southern Movement Alliance, and New South Network of War Resisters. References, 1) Bart Directors: When It Comes to Ending The War On Black Communities, Which Side Are You On?, 01-2015 http://bit.ly/1AfqfUG 2) Baltimore rioter slapped with $500k bail as cops charged in Freddie Gray murder walk free, 05-03-2015 http://bit.ly/1G88tsL
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  • Stop racist threats of violence at Walmart
    Markeith Washington was working on the overnight remodeling crew at the Richmond, CA Walmart Store which was supervised by Art Van Riper. Van Riper was notorious among associates for screaming insults, calling the crew "a bunch of lazy ass workers." During one night of work in September of 2012 while Markeith was tying a rope around his own waist to aid in moving a heavy counter, Van Riper said to him, "if it was up to me, I'd put that rope around your neck." Shocked at this hateful comment, Markeith simply responded, "That's not right." Markeith and his fellow remodel crew associates were understandably outraged by Van Riper's threat. They bravely joined together to demand discipline for Van Riper and respect on the job by taking actions including talking to management, sending a letter to Walmart and even participating in a work stoppage strike. More than two years after threatening to lynch Markeith, Art Van Riper still has a job with Walmart. Associates who stood up to Van Riper's unacceptable conduct have been fired and none rehired by Walmart. In early December, an administrative law judge ruled that Walmart illegally disciplined workers who went on strike because of Van Riper's behavior. It is unacceptable that Walmart, the country's largest employer of Black people, would conduct an investigation into this incident and continue to employ Art Van Riper. By refusing to take action--even in the face of a judge's ruling-- Walmart is complicit in Art Van Riper invoking the traumatic, racist violence of lynching. Walmart must set a precedent that this type of behavior from management is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Walmart must fire Art Van Riper, rehire all the associates who protested the incident and put human resources practices in place to ensure racist threats of violence never again happen in a store. As Demario Hammond, one of Markeith's coworkers who witnessed Van Riper's verbal attack and was disciplined for fighting back, puts it, "We grew up learning from our mistakes, but only because when we did something wrong our parents would check us. Managers like Art continue to work at Walmart, and will continue treating associates with disrespect unless Walmart’s upper management or Home Office does something about it. His behavior deserves consequences."
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  • Blackout For Human Rights: The time for action is NOW! #BlackoutBlackFriday
    Why is this important? BLACKOUT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (Blackout) is a nationwide network of high profile artists, activists and faith leaders, who stand against human rights violations. We’ve watched in outrage, frustration and sadness as Michael Brown, Akai Gurley, Oscar Grant, Tanisha Anderson, Eric Garner, Ezell Ford, John Crawford, and so many others met their deaths at the hands of police officers. We mourn the loss of life and the absence of justice for Trayvon Martin, Renisha McBride and Jordan Davis, killed by private citizens, in a climate where police action demonstrates this as acceptable. Blackout for Human Rights (Blackout) is our collective decision to meet this devastation with positive energy and empowerment. We must stand up together to fight these injustices and correct the power imbalance that keeps so many of us from having a fair shot. On Monday, a St. Louis Grand Jury failed to indict police officer Darren Wilson for the killing of Mike Brown. Brave community members across the country took to the streets to organize and express their legitimate moral outrage at the devastating decision and corrupt, discriminatory justice system that failed Brown and fails all Americans—in the worst of ways—every single day. An affront to any citizen’s human rights threatens the liberty of all. So, we participate in one of the most time honored American traditions: dissent. We demand an immediate end to the brutal treatment and inhumane killings of our loved ones; the lives of our friends, our parents and our children have value and should be treated with respect. Our human rights are secured not only by our humanity, but are protected both federally and internationally by the Constitution of the United States of America and the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Similarly, we stand in solidarity with Walmart workers in demanding that working Americans earn enough to live our lives with dignity. The fights for civil rights and economic justice are two branches of the same tree. As Dr. King once said, “What good is having the right to sit at a lunch counter if you can’t afford to buy a hamburger?” Everyday, millions of parents fear for their children, worried that they’ll be the next victims of police brutality, while millions of parents must also worry about finding the next meal for their children. In an effort to stand up against human rights violations in America, we’re working with ColorOfChange and other organizations to build a powerful network. We’re inspired by the thousands of people across the country who speak truth to power and stand up to demand a better life and treatment that respects our basic humanity. We are making Black Friday (November 28, 2014) a nationwide day of action and retail boycott. Our movement is too powerful to stop at the bare minimum. As a nation, we must demand better, dignified lives for all of us. If enough of us act together, it will change the conversation around human rights and economic justice. We have the power to make a difference and ignite change. Join Blackout for Human Rights on #BlackoutBlackFriday. Don’t spend: take action. Your dollars matter and so does your voice. Will you join us? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9u2gjGuwxIk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bl_-Jv89vS8
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  • Justice for Dontre Hamilton: Hold the Milwaukee Police Department accountable!
    On April 30, 2014, my brother Dontre Hamilton was shot 14 times and killed by Milwaukee Police Officer Christopher Manney. Six months have passed and my family is still waiting for the investigation into his murder to be done and for legal action to be taken. The police department and District Attorney's office have failed to release any evidence supporting the officer’s claims that my brother was a threat. We the family, along with our attorneys, have seen pictures of Christopher Manney that show no indication of injury. It only proves to us that Dontre’s death was unjustified and totally preventable. This unbearable situation has led me to fight for justice for Dontre, who deserves to rest in peace with the truth being revealed. No officer should be above the law, especially when he violates policy and procedures over and over again. Christopher Manney had a history of complaints against him for excessive force before he killed Dontre Hamilton. [1] We cannot stand for injustice. The time for unity has come. Police violence doesn't just hurt one individual or family. When the community lives in fear of the police, good police work is impossible. The Coalition for Justice is organized to end this pattern of injustice in Milwaukee. Our mission is to inspire courage and build a movement to transform the city of Milwaukee. We support the empowerment of marginalized communities and dismantling of systems of oppression that erode community trust, dignity, and agency. By focusing on racial and social justice we hope to create innovative and sustained solutions that make our communities safer and equitable places to live. It is our goal to build alliances among community organizations and mobilize people dedicated toward the fight for justice. Join us in changing Milwaukee. Let's empower ourselves by having a voice. Help support the cause against police brutality and laws that protect the Police when they take a life unjustly. We seek donations in any form to move ahead in getting justice for Dontre and other families that lost someone to an unlawful hand and creating change throughout our community. One Love in One Nation is the goal. Lets reach this together. References 1. "Officer Manney: Six citizen complaints filed against him in his 13 years," Fox6 News, 10-22-14, http://fox6now.com/2014/10/22/officer-manney-six-citizen-complaints-filed-against-him-in-his-13-years/ Stay in Touch with the Coalition for Justice! Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/justicefordontre Follow us on Twitter @justice4dontre and Instagram @thecoalition4justicemke
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  • TELL DETROIT TO TURN THE TAPS BACK ON: WATER IS A HUMAN RIGHT!
    It's a crisis. The city of Detroit has unjustly shut off the water of thousands of low-income Black and brown Detroit residents, threatening their health, safety, and livelihood. And matters are only set to get worse.(1) Residents who owe as little as $33 are having their water shut off with no warning. Seniors, the sick and injured, and families with special needs are left without running water and working toilets. People recovering from surgery cannot wash and change bandages. Children cannot bathe and parents cannot cook. And while the people suffer, the corporations are protected. The city of Detroit provides water at wholesale price to the wealthy suburbs; however city residents pay retail price for the water they receive. The city of Detroit provides water at wholesale price to the wealthy suburbs; however city residents pay retail price for the water they receive. Palmer Park Golf Course owes $422,000 the VA Hospitial $131,000, yet they continue to have water.(2) As well, Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr gave Gov. Snyder a pass on the Michigan's $4.5 million unpaid water bill of by reducing the state's debt to $113,000. Only $19,000 has been paid to date. Entire families and their livelihoods are on the line. If parents cannot afford to restore water service within 60 days they are at risk of having Social Services remove their children from the home.(3) If water bills remain unpaid a lien can be placed on the home and the home can be sold. (4) This must stop NOW! The plan to cut off water to 150,000 households by the end of the summer is part of efforts sell off and privatize Detroit’s water system for corporate profits.(5) In order to make the utility attractive to investors, lower-income households are being forced to pay exorbitant rates for their water and sewer services, or see their access cut. Water rates have risen in Detroit by 119% in the last decade.(6) With unemployment rates at a record high, and the poverty rate at about 40%, Detroit water bills are unaffordable to a massive portion of the community. (7) Hundreds of thousands of low-income Black families are at risk. The city's water shut offs are in line with decades of racially discriminatory policies targeting Black and brown Detroiters, which have resulted in unjust home seizures, the separation of children from their parents, and the creation of serious health risks to entire neighborhoods.(8) By allowing thousands of people to be denied access to water and sanitation services, the U.S. government is violating the United Nations resolution codifying the human right to water and sanitation. Show your solidarity with the people in Detroit and join Progressive Democrats for America, National Nurses United, NetRoots attendees, and local Detroit activists for a rally at Hart Plaza at 1pm on Friday, July 18th where we will make send our message loud and clear to Gov. Synder and Emergency Manager Orr. References: 1. "We the People of Detroit," Facebook https://www.facebook.com/wethepeopleofdetroit/posts/764130140275688 2. "Detroit Water Shutoffs," Politics Progressive 07-11-2014 http://www.blogtalkradio.com/svs/2014/07/11/detroit-water-shutoffs 3. See reference 1. 4. "Detroit's Water War: a tap shut-off that could impact 300,000 people," The Guardian 06-24-2014 http://www.theguardian.com/environment/true-north/2014/jun/25/detroits-water-war-a-tap-shut-off-that-could-impact-300000-people 5. "Important Tax Lien Information," Detroit Water and Sewage Department http://www.dwsd.org/pages_n/billpay.html 6. "What Happens When Detroit Shuts Off the Water of 100,000 People," The Atlantic 07-17-2014 http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/07/what-happens-when-detroit-shuts-off-the-water-of-100000-people/374548/ 7. See reference 3. 8. See reference 5. 9. See reference 3. 10."Against Austerity in Detroit: 'Water Is a Human Right'" The Nation 07-11-2014 http://www.thenation.com/blog/180625/against-austerity-detroit-water-human-right#
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  • National Day of Mourning, 19 February 2018
    Our hearts are heavy. We feel the pain of insult from our own President. In the interest of all our moral and emotional health, we ask you to reserve Presidents’ Day 2018, Monday, February 19, as a National Day of Mourning. We need one another. We need people who profess no particular faith in addition to religious community leaders. They may want to call attention to our psychic need to embrace our sorrow in your services on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Let’s all find time on that Monday to connect with people of all backgrounds, and including the most vulnerable, like Salvadorans and Dreamers, but not only them, because we are all hurting. You may want to share messages that inspire you on social media platforms. Perhaps even more powerful will be inviting people into your home, or creating larger assemblies for the purpose of lament. Let’s all pause at 2PM EST/11AM PST for a collective moment of silence.
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