• End School-Sanctioned Violence Against Children, Parents and Communities
    We wish this story was an isolated incident, but it is not. It’s one of many other stories of children who find themselves the victim of the school to prison pipeline. A system that will arrest children because they had a bad day. Children who may or may not have a disability. Children who may have lost a family member, a friend, or someone in the community. Children who may have recently become homeless, or had a parent or sibling incarcerated. Poor black and brown children are the ones who most frequently are targeted by this pipeline, thanks to the racism and classism that is a widespread part of our society. Nationwide African-American children represent 26% of juvenile arrests and 44% of youth who are detained. Taxpayers spend an estimated $70 billion on corrections and incarceration, yet over half of the children who are incarcerated are incarcerated for nonviolent offenses. This call to action demands that: Our schools treat every child, every family, and every community with dignity and respect. Our children should not be arrested or made to leave school for things that all children go through. Our teachers and paraprofessionals who educate our most vulnerable populations should not be given the lowest pay and inadequate training. The average paraprofessional salary in Louisiana was $19,970 per year in May 2014, which ranked 46th of the 50 states. By comparison, in 2012, at least 45 New Orleans charter school executives made more than $100,000 a year. Our parents should not be subjected to economic abuse and hardship, from charging $60-$80 for school uniforms, to causing parents to lose their jobs, their incomes, and their livelihoods when they are frequently called to school for minor misbehaviors.
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    Created by Families and Friends of Louisiana's Incarcerated Children Picture
  • Taking Food out of people’s mouths does not create jobs, it leaves entire communities hungry!
    Under the 1996 welfare law, able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) are limited to three months of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (SNAP, formerly food stamps) in a three-year period unless they are working 20 hours a week or enrolled in a job training program for 20 hours a week. But the same law that created the time limit allows states to request a waiver for areas with high unemployment where jobs are scarce. Louisiana is eligible for a statewide waiver in 2016 given our high unemployment rate. Louisiana has added 51,000 jobs since January 2013, but at the same time the labor force grew by 102,000 job seekers. Louisiana now has a higher unemployment rate than the nation. Unfortunately, Governor Jindal has chosen not to apply for a statewide waiver. Their position is that a wavier conflicts with a policy of promoting "self-sufficiency." Of course, we all agree that a job paying a living wage is preferable to public assistance. But we also are aware of the reality that jobs--much less good-paying jobs--are scarce in our state. Rates of food insecurity in Louisiana remain high. Surveys averaged over three years show 17.6 percent of Louisianans lacked food security over the 2012-2014 period, a huge increase from the 11.8 percent who were food insecure a decade ago and higher than the 14.1 percent in 2009-2011. Nationally, the rate is 14.3 percent. Denying SNAP to the unemployed will do nothing to increase the rate of job creation, but will increase food hardship and the burden on local food banks already struggling to serve the hungry. People who will be cut off from food assistance because of this harsh rule are some of the poorest people in the state who are generally not eligible for any other type of assistance. Now, it will be harder for them to eat. Taking SNAP benefits away from unemployed workers will also create desperate situations that can increase the crime rate in the state of Louisiana. If DCFS refuses to apply for a waiver targeting high-need areas, the state should at least commit itself to providing a job training spot to every single person who wants one so that they can keep their SNAP benefits while building their skills. Unfortunately, given budget constraints, that isn’t likely to happen. With a lack of jobs, no training opportunities, and limited places to perform community service, thousands will be punitively cut off from basic food assistance. Please sign on to tell Jindal that you will not stand by as he makes people starve.
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    Created by Latoya Lewis
  • Protect DC's Black Communities from Police Violence: Say NO to Mayor Bowser's Crime Bill
    Bill 21-0357 will effectively criminalize entire Black neighborhoods in the District. It seeks to flood communities with police endowed with the power to conduct illegal aggressive and dangerous searches and seizures, and to incarcerate people almost at will for minor and non-violent offenses. Without the support of any data, the Mayor places the blame on returning citizens for the District’s recent spike in crime and seeks to target people on parole probation or supervised release for surveillance and broken windows policing. The Mayor does not understand the issues that affect the District’s most underserved areas. Instead of responding with knee-jerk proposals that will only increase the rates of arrests and incarceration without reducing crime, the Mayor and the DC Council should invest resources in creating jobs with living wages, support “ban the box” measures to help eliminate obstacles to employment and housing for Returning Citizens, create and protect truly affordable housing, prohibit displacement, significantly improve access to healthy and affordable food and other services that make our community safer. In Solidarity, Black Lives Matter DMV and Stop Police Terror Project #TakeBackOurStreetsDC
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    Created by Sean Blackmon
  • 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
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    Created by Latoya Lewis
  • 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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    Created by Take Em Down NOLA Picture
  • 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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    Created by Thomas Smith
  • 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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    Created by Fred Villanueva Picture
  • 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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    Created by Our Walmart Civil Rights
  • 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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    Created by Southern Movement Alliance
  • 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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    Created by Our Walmart Civil Rights