- Afropunk Army
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- Economic Justice
- Employment Discrimination
- End The War on Black People
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Fire and Charge the Officers who Killed Desmond PhillipsChico Police Officers Alex Fliehr and Jeremy Gagnebin shot and killed Desmond Phillips. On March 17th, 2017 Desmond's father, David call 911 for medical assistance. David had made such a call twice before in a few months time. At 25 years old Desmond struggled with mental health challenges including PTSD from being beaten by Sacramento police for being unresponsive. That police assault put him in the hospital ICU for 4 days. The Chico 911 dispatch, Chico Police, and Chico Behavioral Health Department were familiar with Desmond's background and had successfully taken him in for mental health treatment twice before. On March 17th the first responders who arrived at David's apartment removed Desmond's headphones and sunglasses which is how he was coping with the crisis he was in. When he became agitated in response, they first responders called in the police. The police arrived at the scene with a non-lethal beanbag gun and shield, but those things were never used. When Desmond saw the police he panicked and locked the front door. The police broke down the door, tased him and within seconds Officers Gagnebin and Fliehr fired 16 shots total from their two semi-automatic handguns. The police claim that Desmond got back up after being tased and charged at them with a knife. But David was there and witnessed the officers murder his son. Desmond's nephews 10 and 12 year nephews were also in the apartment. The neighbors heard what can be heard on the 911 tape as well, the taser was deployed and only a few second passed before the gunshots began, Every shot was in his face and chest area, and the highest blood or bullet holes in the wall were at 4 feet high. Desmond was 6'1', clearly showing that he could not have been standing when he was shot as the police claimed. A couple of the bullets passed through a wall into the neighboring apartment. what they found in Desmond's hand was not a knife but a piece of the door jam that had broken when the police entered. Both officers were rookies, one with 2 years and the other with one year on duty. It was negligent and reckless for Sergeant Lefkowitz to send 2 rookies into a mental health crisis and potentially violent situation. The 911 dispatcher, the first responders, and the police NEVER called in ANY mental health professionals. Butte County District Attorney Michael Ramsey has ruled that the murder was "justified" and will not be pressing criminal charges. During each public statement DA Ramsey gave during the investigation, his version of what happened has changed in multiple ways. Chico Police Chief O'Brien and DA Ramsey claimed that the Officers involved had gone through Critical Incident Training. Sheriff Duch, who teaches de-escalation training, resigned citing that the Police and DA were lying about the training Officers Fliehr, Gagnebin, and others have had. The two Officers who killed Desmond got a paid vacation (administrative leave, during the investigation) and are now back on duty. The Phillips family and the Community demand that they be fired. They are a danger to the Community. The Phillips family and the Community want the CA State Attorney General to launch an independent investigation and press criminal charges against Officer Alex Fliehr, Officer Jeremy Gagnebin, and Sergeant Todd Lefkowitz. How many Black people must be killed by law enforcement before we see justice for their families, serious consequences for the killers, and changes in policy and procedure that continue to enable these tragedies?
#EndWarOnYouth: Justice for Woodland Hills StudentsOn Monday, April 3, 2017, Que'Chawn Wade, 14, was violently assaulted by Churchill police officer Steve Shaulis at Woodland Hills High School. Officer Shaulis publicly used derogatory slurs, put him in a chokehold, body slammed, and repeatedly punched Que'Chawn in the head, causing him to lose two teeth and sustain bruises and multiple lacerations to his face and neck. Instead of firing, arresting, and charging police officer Shaulis, the Churchill Police Department arrested and charged Que'Chawn. The Woodland Hills School District is notorious for police violence, child abuse, and for the criminalization of Black youth. In November of 2016, a student released a tape of Principal of Woodland Hills High School Kevin Murray threatening to punch him in the face. Principal Murray was allowed to return to the school as Principal in January 2017, just a few months before Que’Chawn was assaulted under his watch. But the student who taped the principal faces wiretapping charges. In 2015, a student was brutally assaulted and tased by Officer Shaulis while being held down by Principal Murray. We are clear that there is a war on Black youth. From the #AssaultAtSpringValley to the #AssaultAtWoodlandHills, school police, and the schools’ and districts’ compliance, reign terror on Black students. Without any justice for Que'Chawn, the Woodland School District, Allegheny County, and the state of Pennsylvania are sending a message to children and families, that we are disposable. Our families know police do not belong in schools. Hold police officer Steve Shaulis and Principal Kevin Murray accountable. End the war on youth.
Acknowledge and Expose Black History in SchoolsSchools do not go very in depth to the things that actually affect the communities we live in. Without the proper education, our generations of children will loose intelligence over time. Increasing the level of exposure for big topics like Black History will open the minds of students, enhancing their positive skill sets and outcomes. For example, when I was in my World History class at Center High School in Kansas City, Missouri, my History teacher, Mr. Chambers showed the class articles and videos and books that exposed the truth and reality of Black History. When we witness what was shown, we became more mellow, respectful, and responsible than how we were in the beginning of the year. It is very important for our students, (children, and young adults), to know about the slavery, segregation, integration, Civil Rights, police brutality, White on Black crime, and Black on Black crime throughout Black History, and everything that made up the evilness with in the Black communities over time. Doing so will give students a better understanding of what the past was like for Black, (African American), people, and why Black people protest, retaliate, and die in our communities and nation. Students must be taught the truth about all of the things that Black people have gone through and accomplished to be equal citizens of this nation, and to be treated like equal citizens of this nation. Accomplishing these goals of acknowledging and exposing Black History in schools will make a better tomorrow for everyone.
Tell Nissan Its Time to Decide- Stop Advertising in BreitbartAs Brietbart News has emerged from the sewer of hatred to become the home of White Nationalism, many national companies have taken steps to pull their advertising dollars. Not so with Nissan. They've taken the rather mercenary position that put their advertising dollars where they think they can make the most money, period. Nissan needs to decide what side of history they will stand on. I'm not surprised. As the bi-vocational pastor of a small church here in Jackson, MS over the last 12 years., I've watched Nissan engage in abusive, exploitative, and militantly anti-Union labor practices in their Canton, Mississippi facility. At the same time Nissan tries to burnish their image by sprinkling charitable contributions around the community. The disconnect between Nissan's public image and actual corporate behavior was so great for me that I decided to get involved by joining the Mississippi Alliance for Fairness at Nissan. Now I'm asking you to get involved too. Tell Nissan to stop using their advertising dollars where hate is being promoted. Tell Nissan to stop the threats and let workers have a fair union election. Join me in adding your name to this petition. Nissan has chosen to take a page out of the playbook of Mississippi and intimidate workers against voting for a union. The U.S. is the only place in the world where Nissan operates non-union. So we pastors here say: "Why not Mississippi?" We call upon people of good will everywhere to say to Nissan stop advertising in Brietbart, but more than that: stop threatening your workers civil and human rights to organize a union here in Mississippi. Tell Nissan to stand on the side of democracy and decency- Sign the petition now. Tell Nissan to respect civil rights. Tell Nissan to stop advertising with Breitbart and tell Nissan to stop threatening their workers in MS! For additional Information please see: https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2017/02/21/breitbart-under-bannon-breitbarts-comment-section-reflects-alt-right-anti-semitic-language https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/11/30/kellogg-citing-values-joins-growing-list-of-companies-that-pledged-to-stop-advertising-in-breitbart-news/?utm_term=.a5c056a54597 http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/nation-now/2016/12/01/brands-pull-ads-breitbart-nissan-stays-put/94732782/ https://www.facingsouth.org/2013/10/nissan-is-violating-international-labor-standards-.html
End Cash Bail In PhillyWe must end cash bail if we want to significantly decrease Philadelphia's overreliance on incarceration. Every day, there are thousands of people held in Philadelphia's jails solely because they cannot afford to pay for their release. Over 75% of people in Philadelphia's county jails are being held pretrial, often for many months, denying their fundamental right of the presumption of "innocent until proven guilty". Removing this barrier of cash bail allows a person to pursue their own legal defense while minimizing potential collateral consequences of their arrest. As bail reform sweeps the country, we want to see our city step up and put an end to the human rights violation of cash bail. The Department of Justice has already announced that our nation's current money bail system is unconstitutional, and our neighbors are leading the way for us -- New Jersey recently passed comprehensive bail reform policies, and Washington DC ended their use of cash bail years ago. Other cities have successfully changed their pre-trial detention process without an adverse impact on public safety, while at the same time protecting the rights of the accused and providing accountability to ensure appearance in court. Cash bail only serves as a tool of oppression against the poor and against Black and Brown people who are disproportionately impacted, and perpetuates the machine of mass incarceration. We believe nobody should have to pay for their freedom, and we urge Philadelphia City Council, Mayor Kenney and the District Attorney's Office to take action now to put an end to cash bail.
Free The Children of Kiarre HarrisIn November of 2016, Kiarre Harris, an African-American single mother, chose to homeschool her children and remove them from a failing school in Buffalo, New York. Ms. Harris properly withdrew her children from the public school and fully complied with NYS regulations regarding homeschooling. The Buffalo Public Schools District notified Child Protective Services that the children were not attending school. Without the knowledge or notice to Ms. Harris, Child Protective Services secured a removal order from a Family Court Judge---based on educational neglect. When police first notified Ms. Harris of the removal order (which they did not provide a copy of), Ms. Harris refused to turn her children over to the police. She was arrested for obstruction. Two days later, on January 18, 2017 the children of Ms. Harris were taken away from her and placed into foster care. An ongoing Family Court has now been triggered and Ms. Harris has been granted only limited supervised visitation of her two children. This entire incident began with Ms. Harris' decision to homeschool her children and the Buffalo School District calling Child Protective Services with baseless allegations of educational neglect. Jailing a mother who has complied with the law; taking her children away, and subjecting the family to ongoing legal proceedings can not be allowed to happen. This sends a chilling message to parents who choose to fight for the betterment of their children's education. We need to make it clear: the policies and practices of the Erie County unit of Child Protective Services are racially discriminatory and adversely impact parents of poor and minority children. Kiarre Harris should be admired for doing all in her power to make sure her children have the best education possible. #KiarraHarris #HandsOffHarrisChildren
Demand Mayor Bowser discipline officers who beat, arrested & overcharged inauguration day protestorsOn January 20th, 30 Black activists from the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) took a stand against Donald Trump's bigotry and hatred. As an organizer with Black Lives Matter DC it was an honor to help blockade an entrance to Trump’s inauguration, making it impossible for racist Trump supporters to hear their KKK endorsed President spew his hateful rhetoric. On that day, as we were joined by a multiracial coalition of chosen family, movement family, and allies, I knew that this was both the culmination of three years of organizing and the start of something even more beautiful and powerful than what we've seen recently. In the past few weeks, as thousands of people in this country are becoming politicized, radicalized, and moved to action in ways they never have before, I am more confirmed in faith that the resistance will only continue to build. We have to make sure this protest continues, and I know it will, so does Trump, Mayor Bowser, and the Metro Police Department which is exactly why on Inauguration day the Metro Police Department carried out random mass arrests of more than 200 people- including medics, legal observers and journalists- and took the extraordinary step of charging them with a felony rioting statute that hasn’t been used in DC in more than 25 years. A felony record can have grave consequences for a person’s future including being denied loans, refused jobs and in many states denied the right to vote. We know that these draconian enforcements are no surprise from Trump who tweeted that burning the american flag, a legal act, should be punished with “perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail”. We also know that this type of policing is the status quo for the Metro Police Department and Mayor Bowser, under whose watch police have continued to terrorize youth in Black Communities. Bowser is known to talk about defending rights and market herself as a progressive Mayor, however she does this only when it suits her. Join us in demanding that Mayor Muriel Bowser pick a side- will she enable Trump's hateful, fascists agenda by suppressing dissent in the District of Columbia or will she permit protests to his regime. Charging protestors with a felony riot statue was a strategic tactic used with the hopes of scaring people and to discourage dissent. Felony rioting is rarely used and is a severe statute in DC law that carries up to 10 years in prison. The last time this many people were charged with felony rioting in D.C was when MLK was assassinated- making it very clear to what Trump wants to do to the country when he says “make america great again”. At the Women’s March Mayor Bowser denounced Trump saying that she wants him and the federal government to “leave us alone” however, as she stated this most of the 200 inauguration day protesters were still held in jail. Despite her rhetoric she is taking the side of Trump by refusing to protect the right to protest in her city. As we continue our resistance to Trump we need to demand that Mayor Bowser is either with us or against us, with a Trump administration there are no sidelines for politicians, they can no longer flip flop, they are either with the people, with Black people, or with Trump. Due to her previous record it is not surprising that Mayor Bowser has allowed this to happen in her city but if she continues to do this we will make it clear that she is siding with Trump, and allowing Trump's vision of America to reign in her city. Demand D.C Mayor Bowser pick a side! This week we are gearing up for demonstrations on President's Day, a National Holiday to honor those that serve as President, however, Donald Trump is not our President and we will be in the streets making that clear! We need you to take action now so that when President's Day comes on Monday Mayor Bowser knows that we are watching her and demanding that the Metro Police Department no longer charge protestors with any form of crime while simultaneously demanding that all charges are dropped for the inauguration day protestors. We will not allow Mayor Bowser and the Metro Police Department continue in their efforts to normalize their use of teargassing, throwing concussion grenades, aggressive beating of protestors, or mass arrests. While we know these tactics aren't new they are exactly what Trump envisions and we must fight back! Still it is important to remember that these overcharging fear tactics, carried out by Mayor Bowser’s D.C police, are an extension of the policing that Black communities in DC have faced for years. People in power have the ability to change public perception of what is normal but we can not let them do that. Join me in demanding Mayor Muriel Bowser have her police department drop all charges for inauguration day protestors, that she discipline the Metro Police Department Officers who teargassed, aggressively beat, and arrested protestors, and that moving forward the Metro Police Department will no longer charge protesters with anything, because protesting is not a crime! Thanks you, Aaron Goggans Black Lives Matter D.C
Block Neil Gorsuch from the Supreme CourtThe next Supreme Court Justice should be someone who we can depend on to uphold the rights’ of all Americans regardless of race, gender, religion, and legal status. Trump has shown such contempt for the power of the judiciary and the concept of checks and balances that we know he will prioritize judges who will defend his fascist white supremacist orders, constitutional or not. Gorsuch has been a long contender against the Affordable Care Act and reproductive rights. Neil Gorsuch authored the ruling, which the Supreme Court upheld, allowing Hobby Lobby to exclude the coverage of contraceptives under the Affordable Care Act and rescind the rights of over 13,000 of their employees. In Utah, he sided with Governor Gary Herbert’s attempt to defund Planned Parenthood. Gorsuch has protected police officers who are guilty and has given them more power to search people. After a school resource officer used a painful twist-lock on a 9 year old boy who stole an iPad, Neil Gorsuch issued a joint ruling that the officer didn’t use excessive force on the child. In 2013 Gorsuch ruled that in the death of Ryan Wilson of Lafayette, Colorado that the police officer who murdered him from a blow to the head with a stun gun did not use excessive force. Neil Gorsuch doesn’t understand what excessive force means and will stand with police no matter what their crime is. Trump's early weeks in office show that he plans to stop enforcing civil rights and further escalate the war on Black people, locking us up at higher and higher rates, placing unconstitutional travel bans on our community, and even hinting at martial law. He refuses to accept an independent judiciary, and will only pick judges that allow him to ram through his unconstitutional agenda. Minnesota's senators, Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar, are both on the judiciary committee and will be able to help shape his confirmation process. Tell them to filibuster his nomination.
Stop Shaming Our Communities, Take People's Mugshots Off Of FacebookWe've just learned that the Philadelphia Police Department is putting mugshots of people charged with crimes - almost exclusively accused of selling drugs - on their Special Operations Facebook page. This is a public shaming of Black people, and other marginalized people, who have only been charged with a crime, and follows a long history of law enforcement abusing community trust to imply guilt before trial. Each close-up photograph, tagged with the person's name, age, race, gender, and where they were arrested - is fully public, available for searching and sharing, and available for nasty and ridiculing Facebook comments.This maintains a steady drumbeat of fear for the continued criminalization of our communities! Public shaming of people charged with crimes is an invasion of their privacy, keeps no one safe, and it is not a way that police departments can build trust with the communities they are sworn to protect and defend. Shaming people charged with crimes on social media technologies puts them and their families at risk of major harassment and injury, both online and off. Posting mugshots of people who are only charged with crimes also contribute to biased thinking that implies guilt simply through contact with a racist criminal justice system - especially when shared with social media. While the legislature seeks to protect police who use their weapons, the police themselves are violating the privacy of our communities - in ways that no way protect or expand public safety. Pennsylvania public officials have pushed to keep private the identities of police officers who use their weapons in the line of duty. The statehouse wants to protect officers who use force from the prejudice and shaming that they are weaponizing against Black people. While the Pennsylvania legislature seek to protect those who should be held to a higher standard, the Philadelphia Police Department is putting mugshots of people accused of crimes into a social media spotlight that can only hurt them and their families This kind of public shaming has no place in our communities!
Protect HBCUs from Biased Policing & SurveillanceThe president of Shaw University has requested a police substation right on the campus of an HBCU under the guise of "public safety." This sets a dangerous precedent for schools, HBCUs, public or private, in Raleigh and beyond. Raleigh Police Department (RPD) disproportionately stop, search, and arrest youth of color for minor infractions. • National studies show that black and white populations use marijuana at about the same rates; yet in Wake County where RPD is the largest law-enforcement agency, black people represent 67% of low-level marijuana arrests but only 21% of the population. • From 2010-2015, black drivers were 2.7 times more likely to be searched by police following a traffic stop but 10% less likely to have contraband. • From 2002-2013, black men under age of 30 were searched at a rate of about 7%, whereas white men were searched at a rate of 4%. As men of color age, the likelihood of being searched significantly decreases. Increased presence of police on campus will not make students safer or improve-police community relations but increase tensions and once again create a pipeline to the criminal justice system. "The university should spend less time trying to monitor student behavior and more time investing in the school," said James Crawford a Shaw Junior from Fayetteville quoted in a January 22nd article of the News & Observer. What Raleigh needs is increased investment in black futures: education, counselors, mental health services, jobs programs, affordable housing, and beyond. For black youth, more interactions with police doesn't mean increased public safety.
Fighting for Our Lives: Say NO to Replace and Repeal of the Afforable Care ActPresident Trump and Congress, including Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey have stated clearly that their first target is our access to healthcare. For the past seven years, Republicans have attempted to erase the progress we made to provide healthcare to everyone. The Affordable Care Act has lowered the rate of the uninsured, shrinking the gap in access to healthcare coverage between Black and white Americans. Republicans intend to repeal the ACA without replacing it with an adequate replacement. Republicans also to undermine all Medicaid and Medicare programs by replacing them with vouchers that would simply be a coupon in an unregulated market. The result of these plans to strip healthcare access will be chaos in our healthcare system, rising rates, with poorer coverage, and healthcare being put out of reach for millions of working class, poor, and Black families - all so they can give the richest Americans a big tax cut.
Release Aging People in Prison demands that New York State Bring Our Elders Home!The state of New York needlessly confines thousands of senior citizens to cruel and degrading conditions in prison. Since 2000, the number of people over 50 years old in New York State prisons has increased by 98%.The risk of committing a new crime decreases as one gets older, and people over 50 who serve long sentences for serious felonies are the least likely to return to prison after release. Many of the elder populations who are in prison have records of positive achievement in prison and are praised by prison officials as peacemakers and role models. Despite these truths, the vast majority of seniors in prison are routinely denied parole and compassionate release by the state. As this email comes to you, I am on my way to visit Herman Bell in Comstock prison in upstate New York. Herman, just turned 69 and has been in prison for 43 years, he is one of about 20 former Black Panther and Black Power Movement political prisoners aging in U.S prisons. Shocking, but not unique - he is among more than 10,140 people aged 50 and older in New York prisons. The need to free Herman is what motivates me to ask you to sign this petition and support our goal to release aging people in prison, end not only mass incarceration but also the racist system of punishing people of color and poor people in perpetuity. People imprisoned years ago, many due to political involvement and activism during the Black Power movement, are now turning gray. Some suffer from heart disease, hypertension, joint disease, and other age related illnesses. Prisons are looking more and more like nursing homes but with bars, metal detectors, and hyper security used against some of our most vulnerable and valuable populations- our elders. The aging population currently imprisoned is beyond what the prison system can handle. This is why we are demanding that the state of New York adopt a commonsense approach of releasing older inmates who present no danger to the public. In the state of New York it costs $60,000 per year to keep someone in prison, and older prisoners cost taxpayers even more—as much as two to four times that amount—due to added medical costs and the details of armed guards that accompany incarcerated people on trips to hospitals for tests and treatment. As we know there are stark racial disparities in incarceration rates, with Black and Hispanic people arrested at a rate that is 2 to 3 times their proportion of the general population. The well-documented racial disparities in the criminal justice system are also reflected in the aging prison population. A vastly disproportionate percentage of aging people in prison are Black people, many of whom are political prisoners such as Mumia Abu-Jamal, Dr. Mutulu Shakur, and many more. Join us in demanding that New York state release incarcerated seniors who have already served considerable time and pose little or no threat to public safety. Doing so will restore the harmony of our communities, fulfill our commitment to the human rights of ALL people, and save New York millions of dollars a year. Aging people returning from prison pose little risk to public safety and are prepared to contribute positively to the society. Together, we reject retribution and perpetual punishment as the drivers of our justice system. Until our elders are freed, Laura Whitehorn Member of Release Aging People in Prison (RAPP) and former political prisoner