- Afropunk Army
- Community Control
- Confederate Symbols
- Cop Watch
- Corporate Accountability
- Criminal Justice Policy
- Drop/Bring Charges
- Economic Justice
- Employment Discrimination
- End The War on Black People
- Environmental Justice
- For-Profit Colleges/Universities
- Gulf Coast
- Housing Rights
- Media Accountability
- Music Industry
- No Guns in Schools
- Open Internet
- Police Accountability
- Political Power
- Pop Culture
- Private Prisons
- Reproductive Justice
- Right Wing Racism
- School-to-Prison Pipeline
- Voting Rights
- Wrongful Imprisonment
Stop College Administration From Unjustly Punishing Student ActivistsClaremont McKenna College is currently investigating and attempting to charge student activists with conduct violations for their alleged participation in a nonviolent campus protest. This will punish student protesters on campus and infringe on their right to expression and to association. This investigation is in a response to a group of students protesting a talk by Heather Mac Donald at the College on April 6, 2017. Mac Donald had previously published books that support and justify the hyper-criminalization and extrajudicial killings of Black folks, which made students concerned for their safety and lead to a campus protest for the duration of her scheduled talk. The College should drop all charges and immediately cease this Conduct Investigation and Review against student activists for the following reasons: 1. Students have a right to organize, protest, and demonstrate under the US and California Constitutions. 2. Student activists maintained a peaceful, nonviolent protest, despite facing physical violence from professors and other students, most notably by Professor Anthony Fucaloro. The Student Life (the Consortium’s student news publication) has video evidence of Fucaloro physically assaulting students. To our knowledge, the College has not investigated or taken action on any of these incidents. 3. The College is investigating students through a “Conduct Investigation and Review.” According to the Student Conduct Process, this procedure is “reserved for the most significant and serious cases,” which include “physical injury or threatening to harm another and distribution of illegal drugs.” 4. The College has been denying the students’ rights to due process and violating its own policies and procedures throughout this conduct case. This includes an unprecedented attempt to prevent graduating seniors from participating in Commencement and a notation on student transcripts that indicates that students are currently involved in a conduct case. Neither of these actions are listed under the Student Conduct Process. 5. The College knew about the protest beforehand, as evidenced by campus communication, but did not issue a dispersal order or inform students that they could be facing a potential conduct violation before and during the protest. Therefore, the administration gave the impression that the students were engaged in permissible action and properly exercising their First Amendment rights. 6. The College has a history of institutionalized racism and of antagonizing students of color, including recent deaths of two students of color at Colleges in the Consortium and negligence in fully investigating a death threat against students of color in December 2015. This pattern of behavior must be stopped. The College is still moving forward with the Conduct Investigation and Review. Our goal is to make sure that the College does not continue their attempt to punish students for protesting by sending the administration a petition that addresses these concerns. Here is the petition that we will send on your behalf: “Dear President Chodosh and the Claremont McKenna Board of Trustees: I am writing to you to protest the punishment of student activists, and I urge you to drop all charges and the investigation against students involved in the conduct case for the Mac Donald protest. I find it distressing that the College is resorting to punitive measures to resolve issues resulting from their own negligence. I believe that there will be significant consequences if the College chooses to continue with a Conduct Investigation and Review, including an impact to the public reputation of the College. The College should be encouraging civic engagement from its students, instead of attempting to curtail student protests by penalizing their participation, especially if it claims “to educate its students for thoughtful and productive lives and responsible leadership.” We hope that the College responds to this matter appropriately by prioritizing the humanity of these students and by removing them from this investigation. Sincerely, [YOUR NAME]”
Karl Oliver has gotta go! Tell MS Rep. who advocated for lynching to step down.Yesterday, Republican lawmaker, Karl Oliver— representing the community where Emmett Till was hanged— made it clear that anyone advocating to remove Confederate statues “should be LYNCHED!” and vowed to do everything in his power to keep up these shrines to slavery in Mississippi. Oliver’s tirade, posted to his personal Facebook account, came hours after the City of New Orleans celebrated the removal of its last Confederate statue, one of the notorious Robert E. Lee. Oliver’s conduct is not only disgraceful to his district and its history, the State of Mississippi, and the legislature. He must resign! . The Mississippi State flag bears on it a Confederate banner, and over the years much debate around making changes to the symbol has spiked. Oliver’s comments have turned a national spotlight onto Mississippi, and now the state’s Legislative Black Caucus has begun calling for Karl Oliver’s resignation. Caucus chair Rep. Sonya Williams-Barnes told Mississippi Today that Rep. Oliver’s “shameful, but seemingly extremely comfortable, choice of words were offensive to me as the act of lynching was commonly used and most targeted toward African American men, women and children in the south and especially in our state.” Rep. Williams-Barnes elaborated to note that Oliver’s conduct will forever blemish the work of leaders in Mississippi to reconcile the state’s sordid history of racial violence. Oliver’s unprofessional behavior goes further than his racist threats. When a constituent wrote to Oliver to express her concerns around a new tax-cut bill, Oliver responded: “I appreciate you going to the trouble to share [your views] with me, but quite frankly, and with all due respect, I could care less. I would, however, recommend that there are a rather large number of like minded citizens in Illinois that would love to see you return.” To echo Legislative Black Caucus chair Williams-Barnes points out, lawmakers already wrestle with “working across party, racial and gender lines.” Oliver represents the kind of inflexibility that so many other legislators are trying to overcome in order to shape a stronger Mississippi. Please sign this petition to demand Karl Oliver resign immediately. Mississippi deserves better!
Justice For Olivia Pearson!I have dedicated my life to serving as a leader, an activist, and longtime city commissioner. Now I am being targeted and used as an example to intimidate the Black community in the City of Douglas from building political power and voting. Prosecutor Ian Sansot has decided to make an example of me as a Black woman in order to scare Black people away from the ballot here in Georgia. Secretary of State Brian Kemp and Ian Sansot want to send me to prison for assisting voters during the 2012 Presidential election. I have attended hearings and answered every question asked. I did nothing improper. Despite the lack of evidence I have been charged with two counts of "Improperly Assisting an Elector" and two counts of "False Swearing." The State of Georgia is attacking me because I’m a Black woman unafraid to advocate for our community! The original attempt to send me to prison was unsuccessful when the original case was declared a mistrial on March 29th. Ian Sansot turned around and immediately placed my case back on the trial calendar for June 5, 2017. This relentless assault on my freedom is causing me financial hardship through trial costs. The attack on my character has caused me severe emotional distress and mental anguish. My life is being torn apart simply for doing my civic duty helping Black people exercise their freedom to vote. The State of Georgia has a long history of attacking our voting rights. Now instead of meeting Black voters with dogs, hoses, and lighted crosses they’re using the courts to scare and intimidate us. Since my arrest, people have simply stopped voting in Douglas, Georgia. In Coffee County in 2012 80% of registered Black women voted and 65% of registered Black men. In 2016 only 68% and 53% of registered Black women and men voted. Those who would assist voters in the past, no longer do so. It breaks my heart to see my community suppressed, to personally see that fear has been placed in a lot of people. Democracy as we have known it is diminished in Douglas, this is exactly what Prosecutor Ian Sansot and Secretary Brian Kemp wants happening to the Black communities they’re supposed to serve. We will not be silenced : We have a right to vote. We will not allow our votes to be suppressed. The freedom to vote will not be silently taken in Georgia!
Call Fired FBI Director James Comey to set a date for testifying on Russia's connections to Trump.On Tuesday May 9th, Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. It is widely speculated that this is because Comey was directing the FBI to seriously investigate Trump's ties to Russia and was scheduled to testify on the matter on May 11th. It is an attack on the foundation of our democracy and the workings of our government for Donald Trump to fire James Comey under these circumstances. Comey was directing the FBI investigation on whether Russia worked to secretly manipulate our presidential election. That Trump fired him as the investigation was heating up is suspicious at best and at worst an intentional cover-up of Trump's wrongdoing. The American people deserve to know if Trump or anyone affiliated with his administration or campaign are secretly colluding with the Russian government. Comey's firing today makes it clear that the only way for the American people to get the truth is to demand answers in a public forum. For generations, Black people have fought to protect the freedom to vote and to force the US government to live up to the promise of our democratic ideals. Foreign governments colluding with US campaigns to impact the outcome of our elections disrespects the years of tireless work voting rights advocates have fought and died for and cheapens the value of their struggle. We owe it to the past and to the future to ensure the integrity of our elections and have a public airing of the facts about foreign influence into our elections and Trump's involvement. The safety of our country may be at risk and the future of our democracy is at stake. The Senate Intelligence Committee has a responsibility to the American people to air these facts in the light of day and compel Former Director James Comey to testify about the status of the FBI's investigation.
Betsy DeVos has no place at our HBCUMy alma mater, Bethune-Cookman, a historically black university in Florida, has invited U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to deliver this year’s commencement speech and receive an honorary degree. But the policies DeVos pushes would have terrible consequences for future generations of Bethune-Cookman students—and for historically black colleges and universities themselves. Bethune-Cookman has historically served students from challenged backgrounds, with the lion’s share of these students coming from public schools throughout America. But DeVos is no fan of public education, calling our public schools a “dead end,” and using millions of dollars of her family fortune to promote private school vouchers; unregulated, for-profit charter schools; and other policies that defund, destabilize and privatize the public schools our communities rely on. DeVos’ ideology and advocacy are especially harmful to students of color—the very students Bethune-Cookman and other HBCUs were created to serve. And the recent budget proposed by President Trump and DeVos would slash billions of dollars in federal funding for programs that help students of color reach, attend and graduate from college. Graduates of Bethune-Cookman’s school of education understand the value and importance of public education, and overwhelmingly return to teach in public schools—a path I took myself after graduation. And it’s not just DeVos’ antipathy to public education or willingness to slash resources HBCUs rely on that raise concerns about this invitation but also her seeming indifference to the history and role of HBCUs in the first place. Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune founded Bethune-Cookman to provide African-American students with the opportunity to receive the highest level of academic quality at a time when black students were refused entrance into colleges and universities across America. But on Feb. 28 of this year, DeVos released the following statement after meeting with presidents and chancellors of HBCUs at the White House: “HBCUs are real pioneers when it comes to school choice. They are living proof that when more options are provided to students, they are afforded greater access and greater quality. Their success has shown that more options help students flourish.” At best, this is an outrageous assertion that black students had opportunities to study where they chose; at worst, this is a failed attempt to use HBCUs to push an educational reform movement that continues to disenfranchise children throughout this country, especially in her home state of Michigan and specifically in Detroit. The students graduating this year and their families deserve to celebrate their achievement without controversy—and future generations deserve the opportunity to attend high-quality public schools and reach for their dreams at institutions like Bethune-Cookman. Inviting Betsy DeVos creates an unnecessary and unwelcome distraction for students who have worked hard to earn a degree, and elevating DeVos and her radical ideas threatens the future of public education and the vision and mission of Bethune-Cookman and all HBCUs nationwide. Please join me in asking university President Edison O. Jackson to reconsider and rescind DeVos’ invitation.
Boycott United AirlinesOn Sunday night, United Airlines ordered security guards to remove a Chinese passenger traveling on Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville. When passenger David Doa refused to give up his seat to standby passengers, United Airlines security pulled Doa from his seat, punched him unconscious, and dragged his limp body down the plane aisle to eject him from the aircraft. Moments before Chicago Department of Aviation Security Officers ripped Doa out of his seatbelt, Doa told fellow passengers that he felt that he was selected because he is Chinese. Dao, a doctor flying from Chicago O’Hare airport to Louisville, protested saying that he needed to be on that plane to see his patients the next day. Join me in calling for a boycott of United Airlines! While what happened to David Dao may feel like an isolated incident, it is not! It represents a trend in the excessive use of force being used by police, security guards, in this case Chicago Department of Aviation Security Officers, and other departments that are said to keep the public safe. In addition to asking you to Boycott United Airlines we also demand that United Airlines: - Pay reparations to David Dao - Fully reimburse all customers who were on Flight 3411 and had to witness such violent and racially charged treatment of a customer - Fire all security guards involved David Dao was punched, knocked unconscious, and then dragged through the aisle creating an absolute violent spectacle. Not only is this wrong it was racist, it’s what happens when police and security guards feel like they have the right to use excessive force and when they know that they will not be punished for doing so. United Airlines must be stopped, join me in boycotting this airline until all of our above stated demands are met! The response from United Airlines President about this incident was so bizarre that it seems like their might be a more systemic problem here. CEO Oscar Munoz said "This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United. I apologize for having to re-accomodate these customers...". Mr. Dao was forcibly removed from the plane, bloodied, and publicly embarrassed. This is not what "re-accommodating" looks like! Black folks know all to well the violence that police forces inflict on people, police forces and violence should not be used for corporate profit! Join me in boycotting United Airlines until they are truly held accountable for this racist and violent action toward David Dao!
Fair Voting Districts Now !North Carolina has a long history of lawmakers drawing voting districts in ways that weaken the political power of voters, especially Black voters. Drawing bad districts can disenfranchise voters, just like the Jim Crow poll tax and North Carolina’s recent election changes that a court said “target African Americans with almost surgical precision.” The current NC General Assembly districts were drawn to pack Black voters into a small number of districts and also separate them from progressive whites to prevent “fusion” coalitions from winning more seats in the legislature. A growing coalition is fighting back, just as we are fighting against North Carolina’s voter suppression laws. Right now, Black legislators and their allies have introduced multiple bills in the NC General Assembly that would reform the redistricting process. The bills complement the litigation and grassroots organizing for fair districts. We must support this effort to make sure voters can pick their political representatives, not the other way around. We urge the NC General Assembly to adopt a redistricting process that: -Abides by the federal Voting Rights Act and avoids racial or partisan bias; -Provides for deep involvement from local communities to ensure that all voices are respected. -Uses best practices from across the nation to draw district maps that reflect NC's diverse population. By following these principles, North Carolina lawmakers can protect our voting rights, ensure that Black voters are fairly represented, and create a state that values all voices.
Gov. Dayton: Protect Local Control, Veto Preemption!HF 600 / SF 580, taken directly from the playbook of corporate lobbyists, would greatly harm our democracy by preventing local governments from addressing the issues facing their communities. Cities need to be able to pass laws that meet their communities' diverse needs -- and only local government can address many of these needs. This bill is a blatant attempt to limit the power of workers of color, who have been organizing for and winning real gains in our cities to close our worst-in-the-nation racial disparities. And it has real consequences. It would roll back sick time protections for over 150,000 workers, making those workers once again have to choose between a paycheck and caring for their health and family. Communities have diverse needs that only local government can respond to. It's wrong for corporate interests to have final say when it's local families and communities that will suffer the consequences. Local governments know their communities best and must be able to make decisions for their communities. We call on Governor Dayton to veto the "local preemption" bill to protect our democracy and our families.
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
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
Do Not Attend Donald Trump's Inauguration: Senators Pat Roberts and Jerry MoranDear Senators Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran, On Friday, January 20th, in Washington, D.C., Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States of America. Congressman John Lewis— longtime ally to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.— announced Saturday that he will not be attending Donald Trump's inauguration. Like many who watched Donald Trump fear-monger throughout his campaign, Lewis asserted "I don't see this President-elect as a legitimate president." For the first time in 30 years, Lewis plans to boycott a presidential inauguration, adding he "cannot be at home with something that [he feels] is wrong." While some will argue attending this inauguration ceremony is tradition, we the people of Kansas, ask that join Lewis and other Congress members in boycotting this celebration of tyranny and racialized violence. More than 30 members of Congress— Barbara Lee (CA), Katherine Clark (MA), Jared Huffman (CA), Luis Gutiérrez (IL), Earl Blumenauer (OR), and Nydia Velazquez (NY)— have already committed to boycotting the inauguration but they have not yet been joined by peers in the Senate. In her statement on attending the inauguration, Congresswoman Barbara Lee warns: “We need look no further than the team he is assembling to find signals that the era of Trump will be one of chaos and devastation for our communities.” “[He named] a white nationalist as his chief strategist, nominated [an] Attorney General, [with a] long career of opposition to civil and human rights, and expedited the process to repeal the Affordable Care Act and make America sick again.” “Donald Trump has proven that his administration will normalize the most extreme fringes of the Republican Party. On Inauguration Day, I will not be celebrating. I will be organizing and preparing for resistance.” Now we’re asking you to join your peers. Like us, they agree that Trump’s campaign to seize the White House relied on repeatedly insulting and villainizing Black, Muslim and Latino communities. This is not the kind of leadership we welcome in Kansas or in this country, so it should be no surprise that we are asking you, a representative of our beloved Kansas, not to attend Trump’s swearing in. Senators Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran, we need you to send a clear message to Donald Trump: I do not support your tyranny. When Trump proclaimed himself the “law and order candidate,” he began dog-whistling to conservatives that he would handle all problems occurring in Black and Latino inner cities with an iron first. And to appease his racist constituency, Trump decidedly instigated violent attacks on Black, Muslim, and Latino protesters at his rallies. And on his mark, Trump’s supporters joined in beating, threatening, and forcefully ejecting Black and Latino people from his rallies. The former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke has publicly supported Trump and has partially financed his campaign. That’s why it’s no surprise that Trump’s hate speech, misogyny, anti-Muslim bigotry and racism have ignited a national culture of violence and terror— a culture wherein genocide becomes the solution to a “problem.” His intolerance has fueled an alarming rise in the number of hate crimes committed against Muslims, as well as significant increases in membership to white supremacist groups. Let us be frank, senators: This is not our vision of democracy! Trump’s platform is rooted in racism, misogyny, and xenophobia. His swearing-in marks a grave turnover in power and a shift in political culture that negates the progressive momentum this country has gained over the years. Make no mistake: by attending Donald Trump’s inauguration, you are supporting an administration that seeks to normalize hate. There is no reason to celebrate the transfer of power to a despot. Trump’s hate cannot be contained. But we can firmly and strategically oppose it whenever and wherever it appears. When anti-Black, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, or anti-woman forces show up in democratic institutions, voters and community members need to know that you will stand up to hate and bigotry. Boycotting Trump’s inauguration is a strong step toward earning the trust of the people of Kansas. As sitting officials, your decision to skip Trump’s inauguration sends a critical message: We, Senators Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran, will not celebrate the destruction of the values and institutions the American people hold dear. We are asking that you stand in with Kansas. We, the undersigned, respectfully ask that you do not attend the 58th U.S. Presidential Inauguration.