• Tell U.S. Mayors: - Declare Your City a Sanctuary of Safety! #HereToStay
    Mayors across the country must stand with their undocumented immigrant residents in this moment of crisis. Undocumented Immigrants in our communities are under attack: Donald Trump has already said that in the first 100 days of office he would cancel DACA, a program that provides undocumented youth with work permits and protection from deportation, and begin deporting 2 million undocumented immigrants. We know that an effort to increase deportation of undocumented people will also result in the increased criminalization of Blackness. But we can change this if we pressure mayors to declare their cities as sanctuaries of safety. In a sanctuary city, officials implement policies to restrict local police from turning immigrants over to federal immigration agents and declare in no uncertain terms that immigrants are welcome. Without them, undocumented immigrants are left vulnerable to racial profiling, detention and deportation. Through our work we can work to decrease the criminalization of our communities. We salute the mayors of cities like Oakland, Seattle, San Jose, and San Francisco who have been quick to stand with their undocumented residents. This is just the beginning —we can make our cities and states safe for all
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  • A CALL TO DECRIMINALIZE THE U.S. IMMIGRATION SYSTEM
    Since the nation’s inception, immigration policies have been used to maintain white supremacy, stifle dissent, and as a social control tool, silencing alternative voices seeking social, economic, and racial justice and equality. The 1990s brought us a wave of laws which pulled the rug out from under the advances made by people of color in the U.S., including immigrants, during the Civil Rights movement. As part of this attack on Black and Brown communities, Congress passed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (“the 1994 Crime Bill”), which re-classified less serious offenses, including drug offenses, as federal felonies, created long mandatory sentences, required state sex offender registries, and provided for $9.7 billion dollars in funding for prisons along with 100,000 new police officers on the street. Fresh off the 1994 Crime Bill, Congress passed the “1996 Immigration Laws”. The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (“IIR-IRA”) and Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (“AEDPA”), expanded the grounds for deportation by broadening the definition of “aggravated felony,” which was first defined in the 1988 Anti-Drug Abuse Act; establishing harsh sentences for numerous offenses and classes of mandatory detention; stripping away judicial discretion and the right to due process; and retroactively punishing those who already served time for their offenses. These laws also created a perverse incentive for local and federal law enforcement agencies to criminalize communities of color and created the private prison contracting sector. Amongst all immigrants, Black immigrants are nearly three times more likely to be detained and deported as a result of an alleged criminal offense. Moreover, many Black immigrants are ineligible for any form of relief, including a green card, executive programs such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or Temporary Protected Status, or citizenship as a result of criminal contact. As a result of these laws passed twenty years ago, and a political climate that marginalizes and promotes state violence against immigrant, Black, Brown, and poor communities, the number of immigrants deported has increased ten-fold, tearing apart millions of families. Moreover, the U.S. mass incarceration and immigrant detention and deportation systems have become the largest in the world.
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    Created by Carl Lipscombe
  • Divest from Wells Fargo! University of California (UC) Prison Divestment!
    We, the undersigned community members and justice seekers, are excited by the Afrikan Black Coalition's recent victory in getting the University of California to divest $25 million from the private prison corporations Corrections Corporations of America (CCA), The Geo Group, and G4S. The victory was historic because private prisons have exacerbated America's mass incarceration regime, are implicated in gross human rights violations, and should be outlawed. However, we share the Afrikan Black Coalition's outrage and frustration resulting from the UC system's startling $425 million investment in Wells Fargo, one of the largest financiers of private prisons. According a report from Enlace, Wells Fargo facilitates access to over $1.2 billion capital for private prisons. As of their latest filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Wells Fargo owned nearly 1.5 million shares in private prisons. It bears noting that Wells Fargo is a bank that practiced discriminatory lending and maneuvered people of color (primarily Black and Latino) into subprime mortgages that led to the financial meltdown of 2007-2008; and in response to accusations of racial discrimination in its lending practices, Wells Fargo settled for $175 million in 2012 with pending litigations from several U.S cities (Los Angeles and Oakland) about discriminatory practices. It is for these reasons that we stand in solidarity with the Afrikan Black Coalition in its call for justice for those who are systematically dehumanized by an unforgiving and unfair judicial system that continues to criminalize Black and brown bodies. We acknowledge these cases illustrate the evolution of America's legal institution to uphold race, gender, and class hierarchies. By investing in Wells Fargo Bank, the University of California is actively supporting a legacy of historical emphasis on profit margins at the expense of human beings, and the continued mass criminalization of Black existence. It is an ethical embarrassment and a clear disregard for Black and immigrant lives for the UC to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in Wells Fargo as a financier of private prisons. In the age of Black Lives Matter and a reinvigorated Black Freedom Struggle, the UC should NOT be bankrolling the inhuman mass incarceration regime that has gripped America.
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  • End ICE’s Unjust Indefinite Detention of Kwesi Amuzu!
    It has been more than a year and Kwesi Amuzu is still unjustly locked up! Kwesi was detained by immigration authorities at the U.S./Mexico border in August 2013. He spent six months in immigration detention while his asylum case was adjudicated. Although he was denied asylum in March 2014 and received a final order of removal, it cannot be carried out because there is no documentation of his birth in Ghana. In effect, Kwesi remains imprisoned because he is stateless. Most recently, he was transferred from West County Detention Facility in Richmond, CA to a for profit prison in Bakersfield, CA that is run by one of the world's most abusive private prison companies. In effect, Kwesi remains imprisoned for profit because he is stateless. ICE’s ongoing imprisonment of Kwesi is deeply inhumane and unjust. If enough people take action, we can pressure ICE to do what is right and release Kwesi immediately. Will you join us? Instead of releasing Kwesi to his support network in the Bay Area who has been following his case and advocating for his release, ICE has chosen to hold him indefinitely with no end in sight. Kwesi’s case highlights a disturbing and systemic problem; low income immigrant and Black people are being incarcerated in wildly inhumane prisons to meet the 34,000 detention bed quota. This disturbing and discriminatory practice sends a chilling effect to communities of color in the U.S. who are disproportionately impacted by mass criminalization. (1) Every year, over 400,000 people disappear and are bought and sold into the U.S. immigration detention system. Private Prison corporations lobby Congress to ensure themselves a steady stream of profit, at taxpayer expense. The immigration detention bed quota requires that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detain 34,000 people every day. No other law enforcement agency operates under a quota that is mandated by Congress. Kwesi’s case reminds us that Black Lives Matter in the Migrant Rights Movement. Black Immigrant populations have been made invisible while being targeted and terrorized by ICE, police, and other law enforcement agencies at significantly high rates given their population size within the larger Immigrant community in the U.S. Black Immigrants from Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America are overrepresented in immigration detention and deportation proceedings at a rate 5 times their actual presence in the undocumented community. (2) African Americans are also impacted by ICE terror and violence which was made evident in the recent killing of Terrence Kellor who was murdered in his home by an ICE agent part of an inter-agency enforcement team in Detroit. (3) We are not for sale! Our bodies should not be used to boost the profits of the prison industry and meet an unjust bed quota! Fighting for Kwesi’s release is about centering the struggle of Black Immigrants in the Migrant Rights Movement in order to strengthen the fight against the criminal-immigration system and special interests, both public and private, who profit and sustain power by criminalizing our communities. References: 1. The Drug War, Mass Incarceration and Race: http://www.drugpolicy.org/resource/drug-war-mass-incarceration-and-race 2. BAJI, The Real Crime: http://www.blackalliance.org/therealcrime/ 3. Terrence Kellor killed in his own home by ICE agent: http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/4/29/terrance-kellom-shot-dead-in-detroit-by-ice-agent.html?utm_content=main&utm_campaign=ajam&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=SocialFlow
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  • Hold the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Accountable, Demand Civilian Oversight WITH POWER!
    http://youtu.be/YBCfIs3YoGg On December 9th, 2014 our two plus year fight for civilian oversight erupted in an enormous victory for the Coalition to End Sheriff Violence, a project of Dignity and Power Now. On that day the supervisors voted 3-2 in support a civilian oversight commission. That was the first step. The next step is making sure that this commission is effective and not simply another department rubber stamp. Your support is necessary if we are going to push the county to create the most powerful model of oversight possible for Los Angeles. Spread across Los Angeles County are 8 facilities that make up the largest jail system in the world, run by the largest sheriff's department in the country. That very system has been the site of a long history of brutality against our loved ones being held in these facilities. In a county that is 9% Black, Black prisoners make up 30% of the county jail population, and almost 50% of the county jail population with a "serious mental health condition." The history has come to a head in Los Angeles where in the past three years the county has been shaped by three significant events. 1) Deep reaching exposure of patterns of "hyper violence" against our loved ones and a corrupt culture inside the department that has covered up these abuses. Story after story has revealed patterns of prisoners being beaten while restrained, physical attacks that continue after prisoners have lost consciousness, fractured bones, denial of medical care, and retaliation for filing complaints. Exposure of these widespread abuses took the form an ACLU class action lawsuit, a thorough and scathing year long investigation initiated by the county's Citizens' Commission on Jail Violence, a Department of Justice civil rights probe into the jails, an FBI investigation that has resulted in 18 indictments for corruption and abuse, and the courage of countless survivors of sheriff violence who have continued to come forward with their stories and have become leaders in this growing movement. This movement includes the Coalition to End Sheriff Violence which has brought together over 20 organizations across Los Angeles County with the leadership of formerly incarcerated people and their loved ones at the forefront. At the height of the exposure, it was found that 57% of use of force incidents in the jails were initiated be sheriff's deputies. The persistent exposure of the departments "force first" approach and the corruption that kept it hidden resulted in the formal resignation of Sheriff Baca. His resignation paved the way for a highly contested election where Jim McDonnell, one of the commissioners on the Citizens' Commission on Jail Violence, claimed the position as sheriff. While he has publicly stated that he is invested in reform, our communities cannot lay our faith, nor the fate, of our families solely in the hands of the department that for decades built a culture of unchecked abuse in the jails. 2) A groundswell of organizations and community members has built a movement to hold law enforcement in Los Angeles accountable. This heightened momentum comes at a time where communities around the country are pushing back against law enforcement misconduct, excessive and lethal force, and national trends in anti-Black state violence are being challenged. 3) The countywide demand for civilian oversight is a demand to break from the long history of unchecked law enforcement brutality hidden behind the walls of the county jails and taking place in our communities. For years, the sheriff's department denied the need for civilian oversight and even went so far as to claim that effective independent oversight "already existed." While the last few years have produced important reforms in the sheriff's department, including a new sheriff, the community has endured violence long enough. Without independent civilian oversight, there is no effective county body that is rooted in the voices of our families inside the jails. That voice, given the legal authority that independent oversight provides, is the only thing that will ensure that recent reforms become lasting deterrence against one of the most brutal jail operations in the country. Nationwide, from St. Louis and Newark to Salinas and Los Angeles, communities are moving their local governments to create independent civilian oversight bodies. Los Angeles is one of many county's where Black people are targets of law enforcement violence at alarming rates. Winning civilian oversight alone won't stop these abuses. However, a legally empowered oversight commission is a powerful means of securing the power and dignity of Black people across Los Angeles.
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  • #NoNewNYPD Petition
    We have calculated that with $100 million in many of these priority areas, we could accomplish the following: - $100 Million could be invested to employ 310,000 youth this summer. - $100 Million could be invested to hire 2,000 social workers or special education teachers. - $100 Million could be invested to provide 62,500 people in low-income households with free transportation. - $100 Million could be invested to increase resident association budgets by $281,437 in all 334 NYCHA buildings. Our communities are defining safety beyond policing. New York’s elected officials have the opportunity and duty to do the same. Communities of color are being systematically over-policed while also being displaced by rising rent and gentrification. Mayor de Blasio, Council Speaker Mark-Viverito and City Council -- We demand that you serve the best interests of the people and redirect the $100 million currently in the proposed budget for additional police, to programs that will make our communities stronger. For more information go to www.safetybeyondpolicing.com
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  • National Day of Mourning, 19 February 2018
    Our hearts are heavy. We feel the pain of insult from our own President. In the interest of all our moral and emotional health, we ask you to reserve Presidents’ Day 2018, Monday, February 19, as a National Day of Mourning. We need one another. We need people who profess no particular faith in addition to religious community leaders. They may want to call attention to our psychic need to embrace our sorrow in your services on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Let’s all find time on that Monday to connect with people of all backgrounds, and including the most vulnerable, like Salvadorans and Dreamers, but not only them, because we are all hurting. You may want to share messages that inspire you on social media platforms. Perhaps even more powerful will be inviting people into your home, or creating larger assemblies for the purpose of lament. Let’s all pause at 2PM EST/11AM PST for a collective moment of silence.
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