• JAMES EDWARD TUCKER MUST GO!
    James Edward Tucker Must Go!!! Since the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, institutions, organizations and companies are joining forces to recognize that black lives do matter. Some are coming to the forefront, admitting the lack of insight and reception to the pain and suffering of the Black community pertaining to racism. Others are taking action to combat discrimination so that equality is ensured. Known for its racist practices, actions, and attitude, Maryland School for the Deaf located in Frederick and Columbia, had a VLOG posted by its superintendent, James E. Tucker, claiming that black lives mattered. The Black Deaf and hard of hearing community, consisting of former and current students, their parents and alumni, found his words unbelievable. In addition to being the culprit of their trauma, Tucker is the reason racism was and still is heavily embedded into the school. Black and brown Deaf students were stripped of their freedom to learn and grow in an academic environment committed to safeguard the students from harm. Majority of their counterparts- the white Deaf kids- did not face hardships or dealt with unimaginable pain they did. Black and brown employees were forced to work in fear. Many racist incidents involving Black and brown Deaf students and employees have been reported and deliberately ignored by the white employees and the school’s Board of Trustees who were tasked to protect the students. This has been going on for more than twenty years, TWENTY-EIGHT to be exact. After TWENTY-EIGHT years of humiliation and pain, the Black Deaf/HoH community DEMANDS that this stops now. This must stop with accountability and acknowledgement. Tucker MUST be held accountable for his actions he REFUSES to acknowledge, and the Board CONTINUES to allow him to get away with. Recently, Tucker made a VLOG announcing his retirement, detailing what he would be doing without issuing an apology that has been owed to the community all these years. His retirement cannot happen because it will give him permission to get away with facing discipline for the pain and suffering he forced upon the Black and brown students and employees- current and former. In addition, he will leave the school comfortably with a pension, earning money for his contribution to racism. If James Edward Tucker was a black man, he would have been investigated and terminated immediately if there were MOUNTS of letters and reports against him. He had TWENTY-EIGHT years of opportunity to change. He refused, using his white privilege to terrorize the Black and brown students and employees. The academic journey of the black and brown students must be protected, as they are future leaders of change. TERMINATE HIM NOW!
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    Created by Black Deaf and Hoh Lives Matter
  • A Call for A Cultural New Deal for Cultural and Racial Justice
    The Cultural New Deal for Cultural and Racial Justice is a call for us to transform our personal, institutional, and global thinking. We believe that culture moves before policy. We believe that culture endures beyond politics. We wrote this Call because our work in culture and arts is inextricably linked to larger social movements for change. We invite you to adopt and adapt this Call to your specific contexts to hold leaders, policy-makers, and institutions — and ourselves — responsible, accountable, and transparent in achieving equity and justice. In these unprecedented times, as justice movements converge, many of us have asked ourselves what the stakes are for the culture we want to advance. We concluded that we needed to change the conditions under which we artists and culture bearers labor and live. The Cultural New Deal for Cultural and Racial Justice points us toward new understandings of how we together can build a culture that is inclusive, sustainable, and leads us toward justice and freedom for all. We urge timetables that are immediate and demonstrate change that is not aspirational, but concrete, measurable and visible within 1-3 budget cycles. We offer this Call in the spirit of advancing accountability and collective responsibility, and urge you to activate these ideas within your work and our shared future. // El Nuevo Trato Cultural para la Justicia Cultural y Racial es una convocatoria para que transformemos nuestro modo de pensar personal, institucional y global. Creemos que la cultura cambia antes que la política. Creemos que la cultura perdura más allá de la política. Escribimos este llamado porque nuestro trabajo dentro de la cultura y las artes está inextricablemente entrelazado con los movimientos sociales para el cambio. Les invitamos a adoptar y adaptar este Llamado para sus contextos particulares para responsabilizar a líderes, creadores de políticas e instituciones, al igual que nosotres mismes, por lograr la equidad y la justicia de forma responsable y transparente. En estos tiempos sin precedentes, conforme convergen los movimientos por la justicia, muches de nosotres nos hemos preguntado qué está en juego para la cultura que queremos avanzar. Hemos concluido que tenemos que cambiar las condiciones bajo las cuales nosotres les artistas y portadores de cultura trabajamos y vivimos. El Nuevo Trato Cultural para la Justicia Cultural y Racial nos dirige hacia nuevos entendimientos sobre cómo, juntos, podemos crear una cultura que es inclusiva, sustentable y que nos lleva hacía la justicia y la liberación para todes. Exigimos cronogramas que son inmediatos y que demuestran un cambio que no es aspiracional y que, más bien, es concreto, medible y visible dentro de 1 a 3 ciclos presupuestarios. Ofrecemos este Llamado en aras de avanzar la transparencia y la responsabilidad colectiva y urgimos que activen estas ideas dentro de su trabajo y dentro de nuestro futuro compartido.
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  • End #CasteInTech and #CasteInTheUS! Support Caste Discrimination Protections
    As the United States faces a reckoning over its enduring racial caste system, a critical new front for civil rights was opened against the original system of caste that has its origins in South Asia. In June, California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing launched a lawsuit against the tech company Cisco for caste-based discrimination toward an Indian American engineer, John Doe, who claims he was harassed by two co-workers and faced retaliation after complaining to the company. This is not the first instance of caste discrimination in the U.S. and unfortunately won’t be the last. Equality Labs continues to receive first-hand responses from employees in tech, suggesting that the culture of discrimination against Dalits is prevalent and goes beyond the office to the caste networks in the institutions and communities where companies recruit. “One engineer reported to Equality Labs that her department supervisor discovered she was part of the Valmiki Dalit caste whose members, called “manual scavengers,” were often forced to clean up excrement. Her supervisor shared this with her team and they started ridiculing her, going so far as to asking her to clean up after team meetings. She left that workplace after she was sexually harassed by one of her supervisors, which she also believes was targeted towards her in connection to the pervasiveness of the culture of caste-based sexual violence against Dalit women in India.” (Washington Post, Thenmozhi Soundararajan, July 2020) “‘Higher’ caste Indians use the knowledge of a person’s caste to place him or her on the social hierarchy despite professional qualifications. I usually ignored these conversations,” another Dalit worker added. “If they knew I was Dalit, it could ruin my career.” (NYTimes, Yashica Dutt, July 2020) Why is this important? Like race and gender protections, caste protections would provide accountability for instances of caste discrimination, which are not limited to Silicon Valley. Our 2018 Caste in the US report shows that a staggering 67 percent of Dalits in the Indian diaspora admitted to facing caste-based harassment at the workplace.
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  • Demand Hearing Speech Deaf Center to Address Systemic Racism Against Bart Williams & BIPOC Deaf.
    PLEASE HELP THE BIPOC COMMUNITY BY SUPPORTING THEIR LIST OF COMMUNITY DEMANDS & PETITION TO HSDC & ITS BOARD TO ADDRESS SYSTEMIC RACISM THAT HAS EXISTED FOR YEARS WITHIN THE ORGANIZATION. THE BIPOC DEAF COMMUNITY NEEDS MORE EQUITY & A SAFE SPACE FOR THEM HERE IN SEATTLE. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Akp4PPlQGFc&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR0wR2BD4ohF4BqqM30dERdb1L2sMSiHZEhTCuQdzHUHBrQYH0nYPl2rF-Q #EndSystemicRacism #Equity4DeafBIPOC
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  • Demand for the University of Washington Administration to Meet the Needs of Black Students on Campus
    The University of Washington prides itself on diversity which barely exist at the institution. After numerous conversations between President Ana Marie Cauce and the Black Student Union about our experiences and how we can better improve the diversity at this university, President Cauce has overlooked our experiences and refuses to take the actions necessary to making BIPOC students feel safe and welcome on campus. We have had enough. Thus Black Students will work together with faculty, allies and local activist to ensure that our demands are met. Below are brief descriptions of each demand: 1. BREAK ALL TIES WITH SPD. Both formal and informal in the form of contracts, agreements, and MOUs. We suggest taking the following steps: a. Immediately stop handing over people detained by UW Police Department to SPD custody b. Stop using SPD to respond to public safety needs, including referrals for welfare checks under the Safe Campus program. c. Stop using SPD for additional security for any events, including sporting events, concerts, and ceremonies. 2. DISARM AND DIVEST FROM UWPD. Arming UWPD officers is excessive and unnecessary. Black students are already traumatized by the violence perpetrated to Black individuals by the hands of police. Arming the UWPD only puts Black individuals in constant fear, worry and frankly more at risk. The use of police dogs must be banned. Many communities of color in the US associate police dogs with the terror of state violence. We need to divest from UWPD and reallocate those funds into our community 3. ALLOCATE FUNDS TO BLACK RSO’S AND THE AMERICAN ETHNIC STUDIES DEPARTMENT. Instead of spending a ridiculous amount of money on UWPD, the University of Washington should invest in departments/resources that cater to the needs of its black students. It should not be students' jobs to spend out of pocket money to make students more comfortable, and or raise money for scholarships for its students. There also needs to be an increase in funding for the AES departments. This would not only help students have more resources and to help expand their learning, but increase the pay for the faculty who work in those departments. 4. HIRE MORE BLACK FACULTY. According to the Diversity Metrics Data Book by the Board of Regents, as of 2018, 68% of faculty is white, while 1.7% is Black. This statistic is embarrassingly low for an institution that prides itself on diversity and equity. The demand for more Black faculty dates back to 1968, with the first year of the Black Student Union here at the University of Washington. Today, 52 years later, this demand has not only been ignored, but is still necessary with the growing population of the UW. The lack of representation of Black faculty not only prevents students from having role models who they can relate to, but it sends a subtle message that only white people are capable of teaching at a higher level, which is simply, untrue. 5. INCREASE THE DIVERSITY CREDIT REQUIREMENT AND MAKE AFRICAN STUDIES A MAJOR. The current diversity requirement for UW students is 5 credits. Again, for an institution that prides itself on diversity, this is embarrassingly low. One 5 credit class will not provide students with enough historical background to enter the world an anti-racist. Students must be exposed to the atrocities that have been committed upon Black and brown folks, and how these communities are impacted to this day. Finally, African Studies should not only be an option for a minor, but a major. It is unjust that there is a major for Asian Studies, European Studies, and Latin American Studies, but not African Studies. 6. REMOVE STATUES OF RACIST FIGURES. Statues in place at the University of Washington are preservers of our dark past. The George Washington statue, in particular, symbolizes a man who owned over 300 Black slaves and profited from their labor. This is not a history that should be glorified and celebrated as it perpetuates white supremacy and preserves its historical imposition. Thus, the George Washington Statue, along with all others that symbolize racist figures, should be removed from the University of Washington. 7. FUND AND EXPAND MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES FOR UW STUDENTS. Currently, the waiting time to talk to a mental therapist can be more than 3 consecutive weeks. For Black students, the detriment of such a long waiting time is exacerbated by the severe lack of Black therapists, who tend to understand and empathize with our experiences. It's been shown that Black students feel more comfortable talking with Black therapists as opposed to non-black ones; how can one Black therapist be enough for the population of Black students at UW and why should we have to wait for urgent mental issues? In addition, the students are limited from accessing mental health services as they are often costly and require insurance coverage, which may not be affordable for students. Thus, the University of Washington should expand and fund affordable services, along with hiring more Black therapists. #DownWithWashington #KeepThePressureOn #DisarmUWPD
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    Created by Black Student Union UW
  • Tell Pinterest: Pay your Black employees what you owe them!
    Last week, Pinterest CEO, Ben Silbermann, released a statement expressing solidarity with his Black staff in light of the recent protests against the police brutality our community is facing, and committed to taking action to support them, saying that “our Black employees matter.” The problem? Under Silbermann’s watch, Pinterest has not only underpaid its Black employees, but it has retaliated against those willing to take a stand against them with racist threats, intimidation, and harassment. And when one white employee went as far as to doxx a Black co-worker for speaking up, the company failed to do enough to protect her. While it’s easy to appreciate the wave of corporations, brands, and celebrities who are seeing the importance of publicly affirming their stance against racism, Pinterest needs to do much more than issue a statement to meaningfully support Black people. Company values or statements mean nothing unless they’re backed up by the leadership, the payroll, and the operations. If he really believes his Black employees matter, Ben Silbermann owes his current and former Black staff an apology, an independent third party evaluation of employee pay by race and gender, and a commitment to giving them the back pay they are owed. Five years ago, “Black lives matter” was a controversial statement. Today, though structural white supremacy and racism persist, the leadership and political power of Black people have made the cost of failing to affirm this truth too high even for corporations like Pinterest to ignore. But we’ve seen how easily companies jump from diversity & inclusion messaging to underpaying their own Black workers, discriminating against Black customers, and harming Black users and community members. Pinterest is no exception. Ben Silbermann simply cannot claim to care about his Black staff without expecting us to examine the ways his actions contradict his words. Corporations that have anti-Blackness built into their business models need to follow up their statements against racism with concrete action. In this moment we are publicly interrogating the harms Black people face from the institutions like the police that claim to keep us safe. But the fact is that plenty of corporations also bear responsibility for violence, harm, and discrimination against Black people, whether they carry it out, enable it, or profit from it. We deserve more than lip service from the companies that rely on us as workers, creators, and cultural ambassadors. Tell Ben Silbermann to put his money where his mouth is. Tell Pinterest to issue an apology, hire an independent third party to evaluate employee pay by race and gender, and give its Black employees the back pay they are owed immediately.
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    Created by Concerned Staff
  • Approve S.O.S. Stimulus Grants for Micro Businesses
    Our tax dollars should be used to support churches, local restaurants, bodegas, barbershops, hair salons, dine-in restaurants, retail stores, Uber Drivers, and independent contractors who struggle....not "small businesses" that are publicly traded and have access to investors and big bank loans. This bill is for the business that watched as Shake Shack received millions, and felt defeated. Seventy-five percent (75%) of the Saving Our Streets (S.O.S.) Act would be used to provide grants worth up to $250,000 dollars to historically under-represented who are socially and economically left out - businesses owned by people of color, the formerly incarcerated, low-income, women. These are the business owners that banks denied, the business owners who can't call up the Senior Vice President of a major financial institution and ask for a "favor." Additionally, tiny businesses that have fewer than 10 employees (less than 20 employees if you're in an underserved community) AND have less $1 million in business revenue. This is NOT for publicly traded companies or hedge funds. They got access to their share. The SOS bill was set up for businesses that cannot compete with Ruth Chris, Potbelly, the Lakers - who benefited from programs like the Payment Protection Program. When you sign this petition, you are fighting for the self-employed, the Uber Drive, the FIverr contractor, the hair salon, the barber shop, the soul food spot....you are fighting for the side hustler who has to fight with their employer just to get fair pay. You are fighting for the businesses who fight to SERVE YOU every day. Press: "Sen. Kamala Harris and Rep. Ayanna Pressley have a $125 billion plan to help the smallest businesses" https://www.vox.com/2020/5/6/21249161/kamala-harris-ayanna-pressley-small-businesses-plan Kezia M. Williams CEO, The Black upStart www.instagram.com/theblackupstart www.theblackupstart.com Partners Supporing the S.O.S. Act NAACP National Urban League Black Economic Forum Main Street Alliance
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  • Seize the Masks-- Save Our Nurses & CNA's!
    Our frontline healthcare providers will within weeks be forced to choose between saving their own lives and doing their jobs, because of the government's failure to prepare for this pandemic by buying enough equipment--especially masks. The vast majority of these jobs are held by women, people of color, or recent immigrants. I know I am not the only mother who cannot sleep nights worrying about a loved one who is a health care worker. In my home city of new Haven, our first Covid-19 casualty was of course a Black man who worked at a health care facility serving the community. As a result of the bans on essential travel, I do not know when I will again see my own daughter, who is putting herself through nursing school while caring for patients in Boston. I pray she will not save others only to end up sick herself.
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    Created by Jen Vickery Picture
  • ITS BIGGER THAN GM!!!!
    On September 15th at 11:59PM more than 45,000 United Auto Workers (UAW) in 10 states went on strike. No state feels the brunt of this more than Michigan, the American auto capital. And as we know, black union workers always end up with the shortest end of the stick. The UAW went on strike to demand that GM increase wages, offer wage progression for new hires, improve healthcare and prescription drug benefits, and provide better overall job security. GM's current CEO, Mary Barra, makes $22 million dollars a year while GM’s temporary employees who have been there more than 4 years, get paid less than $16 dollars an hour. GM's announcement on September 17th to cut the healthcare coverage of of any UAW worker on strike is just one of its latest scare tactics to prevent workers from exercising their basic human rights: demanding better pay. It is our right to protest and this problem is bigger than GM. Those workers on strike are only being paid $250 a week. No one person can live off $250 dollars a week let alone someone with a family. Stand with UAW workers in Michigan and demand that the Vice President of General Motors North America Labor Relations Scott Sandefur support the workers that supported GM during the bail out by providing healthcare coverage! Sign the petition today!
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    Created by Latiana Fisher
  • Stop empowering racists & silencing Black people who tell the truth
    The University of Alabama has seemingly pushed for the resignation of its dean of students and assistant vice president — a Black man who had been in the job just seven months — for past tweets that made honest, straightforward statements about racism in America. It’s outrageous. Dr. Jamie Riley was apparently forced to resign after the “alt-right” website Breitbart — a favorite of white nationalists, known for its racism, antisemitism, and dishonest smear campaigns — published an article with Dr. Riley’s old tweets. Instead of standing up against this racist hit job against a prominent Black leader at the university, the University of Alabama threw him under the bus. It looks like an effective firing, with the university refusing to give details, only saying that there was “mutual agreement” around his resignation. . While Riley’s tweets might make some people uncomfortable, they’re based in fact and well within the mainstream conversation about racism. Here are two of them: • "The [American flag emoji] flag represents a systemic history of racism for my people. Police are a part of that system. Is it that hard to see the correlation?" • "I'm baffled about how the 1st thing white people say is, 'That's not racist!' when they can't even experience racism? You have 0 opinion!" When the dean of students can lose his job for a couple of old tweets about racism that many people would agree with, the message sent to Black students and faculty couldn’t be clearer: if you want to keep your job and stay at the university, you better keep your mouth shut. It’s chilling, and it conveys a lack of interest in protecting the academic freedom of Black people at the university and an unwillingness to protect Black members of its community when racists come after them with baseless accusations. At the same time, the University of Alabama recruits Black athletes and makes millions in profits from their unpaid labor (anchoring an athletics program that brings in $170+ million in revenue per year). The university wants to profit off of Black peoples’ unpaid work, but it wants us to keep our mouths shut about racism. Making money off of black students while suppressing their speech makes the University of Alabama seem more like a modern day plantation than a modern university. If the University of Alabama doesn’t want to be known as a racist institution, it needs to act quickly to reverse this mistake by rehiring Dr. Jamie Riley immediately.
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    Created by James Rucker
  • Tell Enterprise to Stand Up to Trump!
    Last week, the Trump administration announced plans for its latest attack on the migrant community -- unconstitutional ICE raids that would begin on Sunday, July 14, in at least 10 major cities across the country. Since he has taken office, Trump has enacted brutal, dehumanizing policies that have separated families at the border, prosecuted and deported people en masse and without due process, and resulted in the deaths and incarceration of adults and children in facilities that can only be described as concentration camps. These raids are part of a larger plan to follow through on one of the worst human rights abuses the United States has seen in recent memory. And Enterprise Holdings is leasing him the vans to do it. Over the course of his presidency, Trump has made it crystal clear what his intentions for migrants crossing the border are. He knows that the terror, suffering and premature death that he has inflicted on the migrant community, many of whom are Black and from majority Black countries, galvanizes and empowers his base, who see migrants as less than human and have carried out horrific acts of violence against our family members, loved ones and neighbors. In a moment when they should be taking a stance against Trump’s genocidal policies, Enterprise Holdings is planning to profit from the pain that these raids will inflict by leasing vans to the Department of Homeland Security that ICE intends to use to steal people from their homes and their families. In its Suppliers Code of Ethics, Enterprise claims that it selects “suppliers and partners who share our values and our commitment to uphold the highest standards of quality, integrity, excellence, safety, legal compliance, and respect for human rights, as well as to respect the customs and culture of the communities we serve.” How can this be when the company is willing to give I.C.E. the vehicles needed to transport people to detention camps that fundamentally violate their basic rights and dignity? Let Enterprise know that enough is enough. They have a duty to stand up for what is right. Sign now to demand that Enterprise stop doing business with the Department of Homeland Security today.
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  • #DontMuteDC
    Small business owner, Donald Campbell, has been playing go-go music - a musical form that owes its development to D.C.’s native, Black, cultural traditions - from his Metro PCS storefront in Shaw for nearly 24 years. However, after residents of a new, neighboring, high-rise condominium made complaints last month, T-Mobile ordered Donald to stop playing the music that has so defined the city’s rich history. Anyone who is familiar with Shaw is familiar with Donald’s music, which he plays during business hours and which, by his storefront commissioner’s own admission, does not violate local sound regulations. Yet, despite the fact that generations of residents and students have grown up gathering on his block to listen and to commune, T-Mobile has insisted that he “get rid of the music” or lose his livelihood. Black cultural norms and traditions are under attack in large, metropolitan cities like Washington D.C., where rates of gentrification and displacement are skyrocketing. As the cost of rent shoots up in neighborhoods like Donald’s, many residents and local store owners are being forced out of the only place they have ever known and criminalized for participating in the very cultural practices that they have inherited. And as more and more people move away, lose their businesses, and even, in many cases, their places of shelter, actions like T-mobile’s underscore a larger message to long-time Black residents of the neighborhood: you are no longer welcome in your own home. This is unacceptable. Members of the local Advisory Neighborhood Committee say that in the long history of his business’s operation, Donald’s music has never been a problem. But a few complaints from wealthier residents who are new to Shaw and to its traditions have been enough for T-Mobile to threaten the cultural integrity of a community that Donald’s music has always brought together. We demand that T-Mobile put an end to their criminalization of Black culture and art in Washington D.C. We demand that T-Mobile allow Donald to bring his music back!
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    Created by Jamal Jones