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Remove Ms.VanceOn September 20th a volunteer at Ameilia's school tried to pull her from her seat because she refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. I say tried because as she yanked and pulled Millie under her arms trying to get her to stand she refused. I was in the hall right outside of the class talking to Millie's teacher and hadn't noticed until she started screaming mommy. When I stepped back in the class and said she doesn't have to stand for the pledge instead of taking her hands immediately off my child she looked at the teacher and asked if she had to stand. The teacher replied no and she then let my baby go. Now anyone who knows me knows it took everything in me not to lose my temper. Mind you this was the 4th time that this volunteer had put her hands on Ameilia in an inappropriate way in FRONT of me. I had already met with the principal and was in the hall talking to the teacher about her at that moment. When the teacher and I stepped back in the hall after both witnessing this she told me that she would speak to Mrs.Vance. I then told her that I was planning to let her know that Millie didn't want to stand for the pledge and I had told her she didn't have too. Ameilia has said she didn't know why she had to stand for the pledge and that she didn't feel like it and I told her that she didn't have to. When she didn't stand and sat quietly in her seat that should have been that. Unfortunately, the teacher then told me that she wanted Millie to "understand what was afforded to her in this country because in some countries 5-year-olds don't go to school. They wake up and go to sweatshops." I can only imagine what would have happened if I wasn't there. I had already met with the principal about this volunteer grabbing Millie before this incident and after this incident, I called the Superintendent. Nothing has happened to the teacher or the volunteer but Ameilia's class was changed as if she had done something wrong. Now I am being told that I am not allowed to walk my 5-year-old to class because it's board policy even though I walked her to class every day before this incident. I asked to see this policy in writing but it still has not been provided to me. It is unacceptable for Hazel Park School District to have volunteers physically forcing children to stand for the pledge. My daughter decided not to stand and I supported her as a parent. Instead of taking the right steps and removing Ms. Vance from the classroom my child had to change classes and now I'm not allowed to walk her to class as I've always done. Clearly we are being targeted by the school. Tell Hazel Park School District to remove Ms. Vance and stop punishing my daughter for sitting for the anthem.
No DevosUnited States Education Secretary Betsy Devos has been invited by the University of Baltimore President, Kurt Schmoke to give the fall commencement address at the University of Baltimore, on December 18, 2017. President Schmoke decided to move forward with the invitation for Betsy Devos despite the Student Government Association’s proposed resolution to revoke Ms. Devos’s invitation to speak at commencement in response to a drafted a petition in opposition to DeVos, that received over 3,000 signatures. Secretary of Education Betsy Devos is a representative of the Trump administration that has routinely proposed discriminatory policies that negatively impact Black and Brown Communities. Ms. Devo’s policies perpetuate Trump's destructive cycle of alienating communities of color by deconstructing the public education system of which many University of Baltimore Students are a product. Her remarks about school choice ‘ have been found to be racially insensitive and tone deaf to the needs of the public school systems and the communities it serves. In addition, Secretary of Education Devos’s reversal of Obama Administration policy on campus sexual assault under the Title IX is in direct opposition to the University of Baltimore’s stance on gender equity and supporting a safe campus environment. The teachers union has also called on the University to rescind the invitation for Secretary Devos to speak. It is clear that this invitation from President Schmoke runs counter to the wishes of the university community as well as the greater community of Baltimore. Please Join the student body of the University of Baltimore, and sign the petition to President Schmoke telling him to listen to students and rescind Secretary Devos’s invitation to speak at the University of Baltimore Fall 2018 commencement.
Take It Down Now: ALL confederate statues. Rename ALL confederate streets and buildingsUpdate: October 7th, 2017 CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia— “You will not replace us” “Russia is our friend” “the South will rise again.” CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia—White supremacist Richard Spencer suddenly reappeared on Saturday night with torch-bearing supporters, two months after he organized an infamous hate march here. Spencer and his 50 or so followers gathered around a statue of Robert E. Lee in Emancipation Park chanting white supremacist slogans. “They were shouting ‘You will not replace us,’ ‘Russia is our friend,’ ‘the South will rise again,’ ‘we'll be back,’” said a University of Virginia faculty member, who wished not to be named for fear of retribution. Via @thedailybeast On Saturday, August 12th, white supremacist, terrorists marched through Charlottesville, communities and the University of Virginia campus, rallying around a statue of the Confederacy and carrying torches evoking a history of violent racial terrorism. The next day in Charlottesville they murdered someone in the name of their white supremacist symbols. Protesters were rammed by a car killing someone in a terrorist attack. These symbols were not chosen randomly. Confederate monuments have been erected and remain as a direct rebuke to the recognition of the full humanity of Black people. Confederate monuments were built and given places of honor in public space as gains in this recognition have been made and it is the commitment to the reversal of this recognition of humanity that draws white nationalists to these symbols. These symbols of white supremacy have always been memorials to the cause of slavery and the denial of humanity to Black people. Now they are being weaponized to rally white supremacists. We have the power to diffuse these modern-day lynch mobs by removing these statues altogether, instead of giving white supremacists a rally point. Confederate statues and named institutions are more than mere symbols of a heritage but instead, they are an assertion of the continued imposition of white supremacy and its current political power. Terrorists in Charlottesville understood this and were willing to kill in the name of this, we must be determined to persist in the face of this white supremacist terror. Removing all Confederate statues would be one step among many in sending the message that we are no longer honoring white supremacy at a societal level. We've already many communities take the step to address these monuments in cities like Tampa and New Orleans. Join with me today and pledge to work to remove all Confederate statues or names from our community. - [ ]
Stop the state takeover of the Jackson Public School District by the state of MississippiThe state of Mississippi is moving to take over the Jackson Public School District (JPS). JPS is the state's second largest district, the only urban one and is about 97% Black. Mississippi has continually under-funded Black and poor districts for many years. Last year, JPS was under-funded by about $11.5mil during the last school year, while the conservative state leaders have continually changed laws and regulations to make it easier to privatize public dollars (i.e. charter, vouchers, tax credits), starting with 3 charter schools in Jackson. This is a national trend that disproportionately affects Black and Brown communities and has shown negligible gains for our children. We are asking for your support in pushing our state leadership to prevent this takeover. The state of Mississippi has never cared about the Black children of Jackson, and they aren't about to start, so we need your support in letting the leadership know this and allow us to keep local control (achieved through a democratic process). JPS went through an unfair, and unprecedented audit in order to create the sense of chaos in the district. On Aug 31, we got the results of the year long audit and it was completely off base. We had the opportunity to respond in hearings on September 13 and 14, but the state board still recommended takeover to the governor, without ever reading our responses, documentation, and exhibits. These are the most pressing reasons why this is an unjust and unfair takeover that is very clearly about the re-colonization of our city and pulling away our resources: Specifically, we are requesting the governor make a decision to not sign the take over of the Jackson Public Schools for the following reasons: 1. The Jackson Public School District has addressed and corrected a substantial number of the audit findings in the Audit Report released Thursday, August 31. 2. The students, parents and community members stand ready to work in partnership with the district to address those remaining issues within their purview. 3. Many of the audit findings that form the basis of this proposed takeover are administrative and procedural, not educational in nature; yet, a state takeover will directly and negatively impact the instructional capacity and effectiveness of the district. 4. Fact, state takeovers of school districts do not yield improvements in student achievement; rather, more often than not, student achievement is stagnated during the short term and delayed over the long term. 5. State takeovers diminish community engagement and involvement, necessary ingredients to increase and enhance district and student success. 6. Extracurricular activities are important components to student, school and community life. Students in Jackson deserve the right to participate in activities that will enhance their academic, social and emotional wellbeing while preparing for life after graduation. These activities often keep students in school. A take over will affect opportunities to engage in extracurricular activities. 7. The students, parents, community leaders, faith leaders and business leaders should determine the future Jackson Public Schools.
Dreadlocks is a cultural and religious hairstyle!My cousin attends Centrsl Catholic High School. He received a detention because he has dreadlocks. Before his mother admitted him to the school she asked if his hair was acceptable and they said it is. She paid for the whole school year and they took her money. A couple of weeks ago he was told his dreadlocks had to be cut off because it's a fad hairstyle. After she disagreed with them, they told her that he had to cut his dreadlocks to the collar of his shirt. He has had dreadlocks since he was a toddler. Now the teachers at the school are shunning him because his mother is fighting for his rights. This is religious, cultural, and gender discrimination. This is important because dreadlocks is not a fad hairstyle it is part of our culture. Many black people are under attack today in 2017 because they are wearing their natural hair. This should not be so. There are black people being denied jobs and admissions to schools because they are wearing their natural hair. Men and boys are being told that they have to cut their hair to a certain length . We all know that dreadlocks grow long. This needs to stop. We had to learn to love ourselves as black people and embrace Who We Are. We can't allow them to do this to us and our children. We have to stand up for our rights.
Rename Washington-Lee High SchoolMany Americans have been beginning a conversation about our nation’s living wounds. It's clear that too many are ignorant of our country’s history. And this past week has shown that a small minority of white nationalists are increasingly comfortable with publicly stirring up the worst aspects in American society by pitting Americans against each other. To these white nationalists, Robert E. Lee represents their deep commitment to racial hierarchy. When three of his slaves escaped, Lee whipped them and had their backs washed with stinging brine. Lee ordered his Confederate soldiers to respect white property, but declared that any black people they encountered -- regardless of their previous ‘status’ -- were to be seized and returned to the South to be sold into slavery. At the Battle of the Crater, Lee’s Army even killed black prisoners of war. This is the history we honor when we name our school after Robert E. Lee -- and why white nationalists felt so threatened by the removal of his statue in Charlottesville. We must understand the stakes too. Arlington should not shy away from taking a clear stand on this issue. It's up to our civic leaders and institutions to take steps toward reconciling and repairing our nation's living wounds where we can make a difference. Washington-Lee High School should be renamed in order to emphatically reject the doctrine of white supremacy and so that we can move toward creating a school, county and country that truly belongs to all who call it home. If the President of the United States is unwilling to provide the leadership our country needs, then we must provide it ourselves. The story of our nation has always been a struggle over who America belongs to: the chosen few, or all of us? This is what is at stake when we honor the leaders of the Confederacy. Which side of that struggle will we honor? Germans don't honor Nazi soldiers; South Africans don't honor those who held up Apartheid. But Americans still honor Robert E. Lee and countless other Confederates who raised up a new flag and started a rebellion against the United States of America. Why? Let's take concrete steps toward living up to our best traditions and creating a nation where we all feel like we belong and where "We, the People" includes all of us. This is our historic responsibility as Americans in this moment in our history. Rename Washington-Lee High School.
Tell Gov. Cuomo: Return Racist Donor's Money"The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman,” Malcolm X once stated. Fifty-five years later, women leaders of color are still under attack, from Congresswoman Maxine Waters and Senator Kamala Harris, to the racism and Islamophobia launched at the women of color that co-chaired the Women’s March. As a Black Muslim woman, mother of 7 daughters and 2 granddaughters, I will not sit idly by and allow attacks on Black and Brown women to continue. And now a hedge fund billionaire has accused the highest ranking African American elected official — the highest-ranking African-American woman to hold elected office in the history of New York State — of being worse than the Ku Klux Klan. As reported in the New York Times on August 10, Dan Loeb, one of the wealthiest men in America, launched a viciously racist attack against New York State Democratic Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, saying she has done “more damage to people of color than anyone who has ever donned a hood.” Loeb is a hedge fund billionaire who has contributed over $170,000 to Governor Cuomo’s campaign accounts, according to The New York Times, and this does not even include pass-through donations from political action committees. This attack on Senator Stewart-Cousins is nothing new for him. From public education to the economy, Loeb has repeatedly used his wealth to promote an agenda that has devastated communities of color and working families. Governor Andrew Cuomo positioning himself to run for President in 2020. If Cuomo wants us to believe he has what it takes to challenge Donald Trump and his racist worldview, he needs to have the political courage to break ranks with Loeb now! If he wants have Democratic Party support, he needs to stand with the most important and dedicated bloc of Dem voters: Black women! There is no place for Cuomo’s alliance with Dan Loeb in American politics. From the State House to the White House, from Main Street to Wall Street, NO MORE! Join me in demanding that Governor Cuomo immediately break all ties with Loeb, and refund every dollar he has ever received from Loeb and from political action committees that Loeb finances.
Tell George Mason To Comply with VA Law & Make Donor Agreements Public!GMU’s largest donor, the Charles Koch Foundation, has entered into grant agreements with other universities and non-profits in exchange for influence over hiring, research and curricular decisions. We believe transparency of George Mason's relations with private donors is of the utmost importance. The agenda of private donors should not take precedence over service to the public. The Charles Koch Foundation and its donors have ties to ALEC, the shadowy right-wing organization responsible for writing model legislation designed to attack Black communities like voter ID and Stand Your Ground laws. They have also contributed to Americans For Prosperity which has undertaken voter suppression efforts designed to attack Black communities' freedom to vote by running disinformation campaigns in states like North Carolina. While doing so they also have funded scholarships to Black organizations which require paternalistic directions stipulating students must study under only professors they approve. As students concerned for the integrity of our university with concern about this pattern of attack and control, we demand to you make your grant and gift agreements with private donors transparent! George Mason University is a public university dedicated to public service and that means we must know what agreements are made with donors that have a clear desire to influence the bounds and rights of the public. That one of the largest university donors has funded organizations that have actively worked to erode the rights of Black people while being shielded from scrutiny by George Mason University is disturbing. We demand transparency!
Tell Congress: Transgender Americans Deserve Protection from Hate CrimesThe National Center for Transgender Equality reports that, according to its figures, between August 2013 to August 2015, around 33 trans women have been killed across the U.S. Investigating that further, the majority of those victims have been women of color, specifically Black women. The NCTE goes on to say that in every case where a perpetrator has been identified, all have been men. According to the NTCE: “Yet, what is clear is that transgender women are killed at a disproportionate rate compared to their overall number in the population (less than one percent). The national homicide rate is 4.7 per 100,000—yet at a little more than halfway through the year, we have seen at least 11 killings among an estimated 350,000 adult trans women, almost all of them among trans women of color, who probably number fewer than 135,000.1 Whether they were killed by a date or a boyfriend, a neighbor or acquaintance, a complete stranger, or by a client while engaged in sex work, their transgender status almost always plays a role in why they are targeted and the brutality directed against them. ”In the United States, as in other Western countries, misogyny is still a huge problem. While this often creates subtle biases that manifest in non-lethal ways, such as fewer education and employment options for women, it also underpins intimate partner violence, rape and violent murders. When we have politicians and even judges who routinely overlook violence and exploitation of women, and treat violating women for the purposes of fighting abortion as a matter of collateral damage, we do not tackle that misogyny but give it room to grow. In addition, there is no escaping that the United States still has a serious problem with race. For trans women, who already face transphobia and the sexualization and objectification of their bodies, racial prejudice can compound the difficulties they face and prevent them from being able to get help when they need it. For example, after the death of Sandra Black in police custody, many women of color voiced their feeling that they wouldn’t feel safe talking to a police officer. Imagine adding that to the fact that trans women have been arrested for simply being trans–under the guise of “manifesting prostitution” among other trumped up charges–and we begin to see a huge gulf opening up between the public and the police who are meant to protect them. When trans people–of whatever gender or race–are assaulted, raped or murdered, they are routinely misgendered by both police and by the press. This means that tracking the numbers of trans people being murdered, and in particular being killed in a bias motivated attack, is incredibly difficult.
#ResignBrannigan : Hate Has No Home In Our Community, Palos Township!The hate rhetoric spewed on social media over the past few years by current Palos Township Trustee, Sharon Brannigan, is alarming. These false and misleading allegations, and the spewing of hateful, racist rhetoric, are not only concerning to the Arab and Muslim residents of the Township, but to all residents who value diversity and the many contributions our diverse communities bring to U.S. society. Ms. Brannigan launched her most recent assault on Middle Eastern students over social media, writing, “What is Palos doing? Why are all our schools filling with Middle East [sic] students without proper documentation?” In another post on Facebook, she wrote, “In the 3rd district here in Illinois, our demographics include 25% Muslims of which very few integrate within the communities keeping themselves and their activities hidden from the general population. Everywhere you turn, from Orland Park to Bridgeview, those numbers are increasing in leaps and bounds. We are allowing these people whether they have peaceful intentions or not into our country without question.” Make no mistake, hate rhetoric spewed from our elected officials during our current political climate is contributing to the spike of hate crimes against Arabs, Muslims, LatinX, Black, LGBTQIA and many other marginalized communities. We are demanding Brannigan’s immediate resignation, and are asking you to join us! Let's take a stand against hate and make it clear, Hate Has No Home In Our Community! #TakeOnHate #ResignBrannigan This effort is led by the Campaign To TAKE ON HATE along with AM Vote, Arab American Action Network (AAAN), Arab American Democratic Club, Arab American Family Services (AAFS), OrganizeFor powered by Color Of Change, Kiswani Law, P.C., along with concerned community members, residents and activists.
School District of Philadelphia Ban Suspensions of Our Earliest LearnersAccording to Pennsylvania’s most recent Safe Schools Report, the District suspended 615 Kindergarteners, 1081 first graders, 1779 second graders, 2192 third graders, 2295 fourth graders, and 2260 fifth graders during the 2015-16 school year. Worse, the District disproportionately suspends Black students, even though Black students are not more prone to misbehavior. According to the most recent Civil Rights Data Collection (“CRDC”) published by the U.S. Department of Education, Black students (male and female) in the District are 2.65 times more likely to be suspended at all, and 3.08 times more likely to be suspended multiple times, than their white peers. Last year, the School Reform Commission agreed to stop pushing our youngest learners out of the classroom by banning the suspension of Kindergarten students. Although there has been a dramatic reduction in the suspension of Kindergarten students, problems remain. The District continues to suspend Kindergarten students despite their own discipline policy, and has refused to extend the ban to other early learners. It is evident that this disproportionately affects households that live close to or below the federal poverty rate. Parents in these cases, often employed in low wage hourly positions subject to poor scheduling, non existent sick and personal leave policies, and little to no benefits, forfeit the family's income to care for their child. This creates economic instability and injustice for working parents who are attempting to provide for their families and build wealth, and therefore a cycle of disadvantaging the poor.
Stop College Administration From Unjustly Punishing Student ActivistsClaremont McKenna College is currently investigating and attempting to charge student activists with conduct violations for their alleged participation in a nonviolent campus protest. This will punish student protesters on campus and infringe on their right to expression and to association. This investigation is in a response to a group of students protesting a talk by Heather Mac Donald at the College on April 6, 2017. Mac Donald had previously published books that support and justify the hyper-criminalization and extrajudicial killings of Black folks, which made students concerned for their safety and lead to a campus protest for the duration of her scheduled talk. The College should drop all charges and immediately cease this Conduct Investigation and Review against student activists for the following reasons: 1. Students have a right to organize, protest, and demonstrate under the US and California Constitutions. 2. Student activists maintained a peaceful, nonviolent protest, despite facing physical violence from professors and other students, most notably by Professor Anthony Fucaloro. The Student Life (the Consortium’s student news publication) has video evidence of Fucaloro physically assaulting students. To our knowledge, the College has not investigated or taken action on any of these incidents. 3. The College is investigating students through a “Conduct Investigation and Review.” According to the Student Conduct Process, this procedure is “reserved for the most significant and serious cases,” which include “physical injury or threatening to harm another and distribution of illegal drugs.” 4. The College has been denying the students’ rights to due process and violating its own policies and procedures throughout this conduct case. This includes an unprecedented attempt to prevent graduating seniors from participating in Commencement and a notation on student transcripts that indicates that students are currently involved in a conduct case. Neither of these actions are listed under the Student Conduct Process. 5. The College knew about the protest beforehand, as evidenced by campus communication, but did not issue a dispersal order or inform students that they could be facing a potential conduct violation before and during the protest. Therefore, the administration gave the impression that the students were engaged in permissible action and properly exercising their First Amendment rights. 6. The College has a history of institutionalized racism and of antagonizing students of color, including recent deaths of two students of color at Colleges in the Consortium and negligence in fully investigating a death threat against students of color in December 2015. This pattern of behavior must be stopped. The College is still moving forward with the Conduct Investigation and Review. Our goal is to make sure that the College does not continue their attempt to punish students for protesting by sending the administration a petition that addresses these concerns. Here is the petition that we will send on your behalf: “Dear President Chodosh and the Claremont McKenna Board of Trustees: I am writing to you to protest the punishment of student activists, and I urge you to drop all charges and the investigation against students involved in the conduct case for the Mac Donald protest. I find it distressing that the College is resorting to punitive measures to resolve issues resulting from their own negligence. I believe that there will be significant consequences if the College chooses to continue with a Conduct Investigation and Review, including an impact to the public reputation of the College. The College should be encouraging civic engagement from its students, instead of attempting to curtail student protests by penalizing their participation, especially if it claims “to educate its students for thoughtful and productive lives and responsible leadership.” We hope that the College responds to this matter appropriately by prioritizing the humanity of these students and by removing them from this investigation. Sincerely, [YOUR NAME]”