• Reopen the investigation into the murder of Justus Howell
    On April 4th, 2015 I got a call that no mother wants to get, but one that is all too often made in America. My son, Justus, was dead, shot twice in the back by officer Eric Hill of the Zion police department. Like every other mother of a Black son, who fears this outcome, on that day, it became my reality. Officer Hill, with all of the state and union protection offered to those with a badge, painted an ever expanding portrait of what happened that day. He changed or “forgot” details, and added them when it was convenient. He trembled while on the stand during my family's lawsuit, spilling his water out of nervousness, discomfort and the stress of lying while under oath. I left the courtroom in tears-- angry, hurt and disgusted that once again someone who swore an oath to serve and protect might get away with murder. What Officer Hill didn’t know was that there was surveillance footage of his actions. Despite what this Officer and others said in reports, my son did not have a gun in his hand, the surveillance footage shows that fact. Instead, my son was running in the opposite direction of Officer Hill and at no point did he turn and point anything at the Officer . The Officer shot him in the back. To add insult to injury the Zion police department was , in my opinion, derelict in , not calling the Lake County Coroner’s to the scene of the crime immediately, which provided an opportunity to potentially tamper with evidence, and to stage the crime scene and craft a story that would exonerate those involved . The Lake County Coroner updated the death certificate to include Criminal homicide as a cause of death. Despite such evidence, Former Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim has done nothing to help ease my pain or that of other families and because of the inaction of this office, I've asked the public and those impacted by police brutality and violence to join me in my call for justice for Justus and to reopen the investigation with a fresh set of eyes. Together I know that we can gain justice for not only my family but be able to usher in a change in Lake County, ensuring that police officers are held accountable and that we are represented by a state’s attorney that cares about Black lives also. For five long years I’ve continued to fight for justice for my son because the Lake County State’s Attorney's office and Former State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim continue to turn their backs on my family and the Black community in Lake County in our cries for justice from police brutality. We've voted and elected a new States Attorney and as Justus's mother, I've asked the public and those directly impacted by police who continue to beat, maim and murder Black and Brown bodies across America and around the world to join me in my call in demanding that his case be reopened and a grand jury be convened through the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office or under the laws of the state of Illinois, the 19th Circuit District Court Lake County Grand Jury in it’s own right. I know the feelings of emptiness well, but I’ve come to understand that I am not alone, the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office has a history of doing little in addressing complaints and investigating wrongdoing of officers within the county. Many of us have heard the stories, have felt the pain and misery of being left out in the cold in our cries for justice and equity. The State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart, his office and/or the Grand Jury can do something about it and we are demanding they do so now by reopening Justus Howell's case. Those who have signed are demanding that you take action. Don't let another Black life and family feel the pain of not having equal justice. As our elected representative, the Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart has a significant and powerful role in not only holding officers accountable for wrong-doing, but the criminal justice system as a whole. We are taking action now to ensure that no mother feels what I’ve felt and what I feel every day knowing that my son’s killer walks free and still has a job. To know that at any given time, I can run into Officer Hill and feel powerless in his presence knowing that he shot my child in the back and got away with it by lying and saying that he was afraid. When will my fear go away? When will the fear of many of the mother’s of Black son’s be eased? When will our Black lives and stories matter? When will the injustice end? Justice for Justus, now and forever! LaToya Howell & Family
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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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  • Abolish the Jacksonville Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3-50
    On December 14, 2019, 22 year old FAMU student, Jamee Johnson, was wrongfully murdered by Officer Josue Garriga. Officer Garigga was protected by the "blue code of silence". A culture that the Fraternal Order of the Police promotes. He was not required to give a statement until seven months after the incident and now his actions have been deemed justifiable by the Attorney's Office Fourth Judicial Circuit of Florida. 20 days after Jamee's Murder, the Jacksonville Police Union filed a lawsuit against the Jacksonville Sheriff. The lawsuit asked the courts to decide if officers' names are related when they are "victims" of a crime. “Whether it’s an officer-involved shooting, whether you’re attacked by a suspect, whatever it is that caused you to be a victim of a crime while you’re working, Marsy’s Law- in our opinion- should apply,” says, Steve Zona, President of the Jacksonville Fraternal Order of Police. Zona also stated that the release of J. Garigga's name, the murderer of Jamee Johnson, was in fact, wrong. This is in claim that the releasing of the names of the officers involved in deaths is a violation of Marsy’s Law, which protects crime victims and their privacy. Police unions grants officers impunity which is detrimental to black and brown communities. Police officers our able to get away with murdering the innocent sons and daughters of BIPOC. The FOP claims that the police officers who use lethal force are the victims of a crime. Police officers who use lethal force unwarranted are not victims, the people on the receiving end of the unwarranted lethal force are. The FOP lobbies for and protects police officers who commit crimes, whether that crime is murder, rape, or domestic abuse. The FOP violates the rule of law, under which all persons, institutions, and entities are accountable to laws. The FOP protects the police first and the people second. No one is above the law, not even police officers and they should be held accountable, fired, tried, and jailed for their crimes. We are calling for the abolishment of the Fraternal Order of Police here in Jacksonville and we need the support of the community to create a safe city for black and brown people.
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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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  • Justice for BJ Statler
    On March 27, 2019, Inglewood Officers Julian Baksh and Jonathan Rivers responded to a call at the Inglewood Church of Scientology in Inglewood, CA. During the interaction with my brother, Brian Leslie Statler, Jr. (BJ), they killed him with a single gunshot wound to the head. He died before making it to the hospital. An investigation had been declared since both officers sustained non-fatal gunshot wounds that they incidentally gave to each other. My family was not notified of his death by the Inglewood Police Department (IPD) and it took incessant calling to the LA Coroner's Office to confirm his body was there, three days after the police took his life. I was interviewed by Detectives Michael Han and Cesar Jurado, who asked any question they could to villainize BJ, to justify their colleagues killing him and to close out their investigation. It's been over a year and a half that the investigation has been going on and we have no reason to believe the officers have been fired, suspended or held accountable. It's not a stretch to believe, since they killed once, they will do it again. These officers are not fit to serve the community and need to be removed. Additionally, the Inglewood Police Department needs to implement training and execution of de-escalation policies because deadly force should never be an option! According to The Washington Post Fatal Force report, BJ was the only man shot and killed by the IPD in 2019 and they've neglectfully handled his case. In their continuing to allege its ongoing investigation, our attorney has not had access to any of the reports of BJ's death, his personal belongings or any information that would bring understanding to what happened that fateful day. They possess custody of and control all of it and have not made any effort to share it with us. Our attorney has confirmed that a trial date has been set. It'll be nearly 3 years after his murder before we have the opportunity to hold these officers and the Inglewood Police Department accountable. The trial date is set for November 9, 2021. His family deserves to know what happened. He should be alive and we demand justice! *** What are we asking for? I. The Inglewood Police Department's negligence to transparency and lack of cooperation needs to be held accountable. We believe they've conspired to justify and cover up their misconduct by preparing and filing false reports of the shooting. II. Officers Baksh and Rivers need to be held accountable for their actions to the fullest extent of the law. Their conduct was willful, malicious, and done with a reckless regard for the rights and safety of BJ. Their gross mishandling of the situation is evident by the fact that they shot each other in addition to killing BJ. Murder is still a crime no matter who committed it. III. Mayor James Butts should devote considerable resources and time to the shooting. BJ was killed on his watch and by his officers. We ask of him, why isn't BJ's case a larger priority? Doesn't yet another black man being killed by the police warrant your time and attention? In fact, the Coroner ruled it a Homicide. Does that not warrant expedient action? IV. The Inglewood Police Department has provided inadequate training in the use of deadly force and policy reform needs immediate attention to implement de-escalation policies to ensure another family is not broken apart by their misconduct.
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  • Replace Racist Jack London Sq in Oakland with Barbara Lee Sq
    Jack London was a known racist who “wrote of exterminating Chinese, the genocide of "lesser breeds," and the supremacy of the white race.” (Janelle Bitker - East Bay Express, 2017). Cities all over the country are removing the statues and honors for people whose work contributed to the injustices that we have been living with and fighting against. The City of Oakland claims to be progressive city that welcomes diversity, equity, and justice. This cannot be true while it continues to honor racists who wrote essays like “The Salt of the Earth,” in which London establishes that "the salt of the Earth" are English-speaking Anglo-Saxons, "a race of mastery and achievement." He goes on to say that white people murdering those of other races is purely natural selection — non-whites are destroyed once they come into contact” with superior civilization," he wrote. In the face of population growth, he advocated for genocide of "the lesser breeds.” (Janelle Bitker - East Bay Express, 2017). The City of Oakland must ensure that it is always on the right side of history in working to dismantle racism and white supremacy in every facet of our community. Demonstrate the will to change.
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  • Defund FPD and reinvest in Black communities
    We, residents of Fremont, recognize that we are in a moment of uprising in support of the decades-long struggle for Black liberation. A clear mandate has emerged from your constituents: defund the police. Policing in this city, like policing everywhere in America, is an institution that descends directly from chattel slavery. It cannot be reformed, any more than the institution of slavery could be reformed, and any such call betrays a grave complicity with the suppression of Black liberation. Fremont residents are committed to enacting the changes to our systems to ensure that our city ceases to uphold institutions of white supremacy and violence, and moves toward care, safety, and liberation for all. We recognize that the end of policing is here. The people of Fremont are ready to meet this moment, and we call on our elected officials to take action to bring the change we need to see. None of us are free until all of us are free.
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  • Make Juneteenth an Official California State Holiday!
    Every year our states celebrate the Fourth of July to honor our nation’s independence from Great Britain, in 1776. The United States continued to deny freedom to enslaved Africans for almost another 100 years. We still do not have a national holiday celebrating the official end of the brutal enslavement our Ancestors endured. Despite Abraham Lincoln’s efforts with the implementation of the Emancipation Proclamation that took effect on January 1, 1863, the executive order was not enforced in Texas until June 19th when Union Gen. Gordon Granger rode in to deliver the news after the official end of the Civil War, in 1865. Even though the E.P. took place in 1863, Texas was considered a fringe state. As a young mixed Black womxn, moving through Oakland public schools did not allow me the opportunity to learn about my heritage and/or ancestors in the way that I believe we should have. Only after graduating have I come to understand our history and the importance of Juneteenth. Juneteenth marks a day of the utmost significance in American history. It represents the ways in which freedom for Black people has been delayed. It should be celebrated as the day when all Americans were liberated.
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  • Reallocate JSO's Budget to the Community
    The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office currently has 40% of Jacksonville's budget and yet only 31.5% of homicides are solved. We demand a people's budget to create a more equitable allocation of funds. For these reasons as well as transparency, and accountability we are demanding community control of the police, complete transparency and full accountability in investigations. This means immediate release of body cam footage and jailing killer cops.
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  • Justice and Bodycam footage for Kwamae Jones
    JSO refused to notify Kwamae’s mother of his death. They lied on multiple occasions about the age of the victims of the shooting, stating initially that it was two 22 year old males. It was almost 2 weeks before his mother was able to see his body. JSO has a pattern of murdering young black males and not being held accountable.
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  • SAG-AFTRA, stop supporting the police union!
    The International Union of Police Associations (IUPA) covers up and promotes racist behavior. You, as a member of SAG-AFTRA, are currently associated with the police union, because both unions are members of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL–CIO). We want the leadership of SAG-AFTRA to demand that the AFL-CIO remove the IUPA from membership. The WGA-East did it. We should too. SAG-AFTRA put out a statement that essentially asked the police union to police themselves. Link to the June 11th statement: https://www.sagaftra.org/statement-police-unions-and-building-more-racially-just-and-equitable-society This is not enough. If the AFL-CIO does not disassociate from the police union, they (and we) will be implicit in future police murders of Black Americans. Share widely with your fellow SAG-AFTRA members! Full text of the letter we will be sending to SAG-AFTRA: "To the SAG-AFTRA leadership: We are writing to ask you to join in solidarity with the Writer’s Guild of America, East, in calling for the removal of the IUPA from the AFL-CIO membership, and to ask other affiliate unions who represent police unions to reconsider those relationships. We, too, believe that police unions are incompatible with the AFL-CIO’s stated goals ‘to vanquish oppression, privation and cruelty in all their forms.’ Too often, police unions serve directly against the interest of workers. The history of policing is filled with violent strikebreaking and labor movement suppression. As recently as 2018, police arrested 75 of our Unite Here members who were striking for better wages and working conditions. We appreciate the explicit clarity in SAG-AFTRA’s June 11th statement that Black Lives Matter. However, in terms of the recommendations to our affiliate unions, the statement falls short. Recent events have made it quite clear that as long as police unions exist to shield officers from accountability, police departments cannot and will not police their own. We must disassociate from these unions who work in opposition to our principles and endanger our members. We urge you to call on the Executive Council of the AFL-CIO to enact the process described in Article X, section 8(b) of the AFL-CIO Constitution to suspend the AFL-CIO’s affiliation with the International Union of Police Associations (IUPA), on the constitutional grounds that ‘the policies or activities of [the IUPA] are consistently directed toward the achievement of the program or purposes of authoritarianism, totalitarianism, terrorism and other forces that suppress individual liberties and freedom of association and oppose the basic principles of free and democratic trade unionism.’ We also suggest that, like the WGAE, you call on other member unions of the AFL-CIO that represent police officers (such as AFSCME) to strongly consider whether those affiliations align with the goals of our labor movement. We urge officers, staff, and leadership within these unions to commit to contracts that do not evade accountability, to do the work of eradicating racism within their ranks, and to uphold their promise to serve and protect all people equally. Signed, Members of SAG-AFTRA"
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  • Justice for Robert Fuller’s Lynching
    Robert Fuller was found lynched on Monday, June 8th. A passerby noticed a man, later identified as Robert L. Fuller, hanging from a tree in Palmdale, California. Palmdale city described it as "an alleged death by suicide." Fire department personnel who responded to the scene determined he was dead on arrival. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department issued a statement. “That they are fully cooperative in investigation process.” What we do know is; where Robert Fuller was hung there happened to be no surveillance cameras in the area! It is our hope his death isn’t racially driven but until then we will treat it as such! We want to bring justice to Robert Fuller and his family! Also call DA Matthew Ditzhazy at: 661-267-5108. Demanding justice!
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