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Reparations Now NCEvery year since 1989, House Representative John Conyers has introduced H.R. 40 - Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act. Unfortunately, the bill is killed every year due to lack of action on the part of the Committee to which it has been referred. It is time to take action. We demand that the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice call the bill to hearing so that the ramifications of the passing said bill can be discussed. The damages done to the African-American people at large are no secret; neither is the establishment of United States' economy due to the utilization of Black lives as a permanent working and consumer class. Racism is not over. The harm done to the Black People in America has gone without appropriate remedies for far too long. Written apologies do not set the scales of justice straight. When the UN reported in 2016 that the United States has yet to confront its legacy of "racial terrorism" towards Blacks in America, the call to action expanded to the world's stage. How long will we continue to avoid the injustice that we can all clearly see? H.R. 40 cannot be "swept under the rug" for another year. This is our cause for petition.
Take It Down Now: ALL confederate statues. Rename ALL confederate streets and buildingsUpdate: October 7th, 2017 CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia— “You will not replace us” “Russia is our friend” “the South will rise again.” CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia—White supremacist Richard Spencer suddenly reappeared on Saturday night with torch-bearing supporters, two months after he organized an infamous hate march here. Spencer and his 50 or so followers gathered around a statue of Robert E. Lee in Emancipation Park chanting white supremacist slogans. “They were shouting ‘You will not replace us,’ ‘Russia is our friend,’ ‘the South will rise again,’ ‘we'll be back,’” said a University of Virginia faculty member, who wished not to be named for fear of retribution. Via @thedailybeast On Saturday, August 12th, white supremacist, terrorists marched through Charlottesville, communities and the University of Virginia campus, rallying around a statue of the Confederacy and carrying torches evoking a history of violent racial terrorism. The next day in Charlottesville they murdered someone in the name of their white supremacist symbols. Protesters were rammed by a car killing someone in a terrorist attack. These symbols were not chosen randomly. Confederate monuments have been erected and remain as a direct rebuke to the recognition of the full humanity of Black people. Confederate monuments were built and given places of honor in public space as gains in this recognition have been made and it is the commitment to the reversal of this recognition of humanity that draws white nationalists to these symbols. These symbols of white supremacy have always been memorials to the cause of slavery and the denial of humanity to Black people. Now they are being weaponized to rally white supremacists. We have the power to diffuse these modern-day lynch mobs by removing these statues altogether, instead of giving white supremacists a rally point. Confederate statues and named institutions are more than mere symbols of a heritage but instead, they are an assertion of the continued imposition of white supremacy and its current political power. Terrorists in Charlottesville understood this and were willing to kill in the name of this, we must be determined to persist in the face of this white supremacist terror. Removing all Confederate statues would be one step among many in sending the message that we are no longer honoring white supremacy at a societal level. We've already many communities take the step to address these monuments in cities like Tampa and New Orleans. Join with me today and pledge to work to remove all Confederate statues or names from our community. - [ ]
Grant Immediate Emergency Aid to Puerto Rico & Eliminate Cost-Sharing for FEMA AidHurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017 , making it the 4th most devastating storm to strike on U.S. territory in history. This island territory is facing months and months of rebuilding for basic infrastructure. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens and must be extended equal aid and support as mainland citizens in the face of catastrophe. Just prior to Maria, the island declared bankruptcy and faces the largest municipal debt crisis in US history since Detroit, but because of its Commonwealth status, unlike Detroit, or other US municipalities, was denied debt absolution. Specifically, Puerto Rico's government owes $74 billion to bondholders, and an additional $50 billion in pension obligations to teachers and almost all other government employees. Since Puerto Rico is not sovereign and cannot restructure with the World Bank/IMF this small island has no chance at correcting the generational economic crisis it is in. Our legislators to reprioritize the needs of this island territory, home to 3.5 million Americans and absolve the debt. This pre-Maria economic situation will complicate rebuilding and needs to be considered as a pre-requisite for effective rebuilding of infrastructure. Otherwise, we are just kicking the can down the road. As in the example of Detroit, having an appointed Board, or manager does not create an opportunity to trim cost or debt, and creates situations like the Flint water crisis. The FEMA cost-sharing requirements currently in place will INCREASE the current debt and economic difficulty that Puerto Rico carries, and is an unreasonable ask for a Commonwealth whose economy and financial present and future is at this point bankrupt. While the White House has approved federal expenditures to help Puerto Rico (HQ-17-125) during this critical emergency, the aid is in the form of cost-sharing. It is a morally and ethically bankrupt Congress that would allow this type of requirement to be issued from the White House. A minimum one year waiver of the Jones Act is necessary as it would enable foreign-flagged vessels to move fuel and aid to Puerto Rico, adding to transport options. A waiver will ensure that all options are available to distribute aid to Puerto Rico and keep supplies moving to people in need. The Jones Act is unduly burdensome and ultimately needs to be eliminated. In addition, many residents are moving from the island for the mainland United States, leaving it with fewer skilled workers to handle the rebuilding and development process. Restructuring debt, and eliminating the PROMESA act and oversight board will allow the Puerto Rican people their right to rebuild with dignity and justice, for the long-haul.
Tell Santander to Stop their racist lending practices!Santander Consumer, the largest and most recognized name in subprime auto lending, is the poster child for predatory practices in the industry. Here’s why—Santander Consumer is actively preying on vulnerable elderly consumers and people of color with wildly high fees and interest rates. Their laundry list of fines, violations, and lawsuits proves it: - They were recently subpoenaed for racist and discriminatory interest rate markups related to auto lending and securitizations by the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). - Twenty-eight state attorneys general are also investigating Santander Consumer for predatory and discriminatory practices in auto lending and securitizations. - They recently paid over $40 million in fines and restitution to settle lawsuits over their illegal lending, collection, and repossession practices. Predatory auto loan practices disproportionately affect communities of color, deepening poverty levels, limiting access to credit and perpetuating centuries of inequality. People of color are more often given misleading information and African Americans and Latinos are nearly twice as likely to be sold unnecessary add-on products than white consumers. Predatory loans increase the chance of loan delinquency and auto repossession, which have serious consequences for the financial health of communities of color. Even former Santander workers have said that the they’ve seen “unbelievable” interest rates and business practices that target and prey on communities of color with unaffordable loans with toxic fees. The trend is clear. Santander Consumer lending practices aren’t just bad business, they’re racist and immoral. Join us in demanding Santander stop their racist lending practices and sign our petition.
Expungement and releasing of Black men convicted of Marijuana chargesMarijuana has become much more socially acceptable in every retrospect except when black men and women are involved in the conversation. African Americans have been booked and slapped with records because of a Marijuana charge they may have recieved years ago. With that being said, Marijuana has catapulted into mainstream media. It has been legalized in many states as well as heralded hip as far as pop culture is concerned. Marijuana moms have landed a segment on the Today show while black men and women with non-violent offenses sit in prison for it. The negative connotation Marijuana holds when associated with a person of color creates this notion that it is only illegal in areas with a lower socio-economical backgrounds: i.e. the hood and low income neighboorhoods where mostly blacks and minorites reside. If Marijuana moms are being celebrated then black men and women with non-violent charges should be released from jail and have their records expunged for their Marijuana charges.
#FrankRizzoDownFrank Rizzo was a Philadelphia police commissioner, from April 10, 1967- February 2, 1971. He was also the 119th Mayor of Philadelphia, from January 3, 1972 - January 7, 1980. Rizzo was an unrepentant racist who stopped at nothing to torture and hold Philadelphia's African-American community as his personal hostages. Rizzo used his authority to stop resistance against racist and unconstitutional injustices by using attack dogs on African-American college students as they protested on Temple University's campus. He consolidated his powers of abuse as a former officer and then police Commissioner in the City of Philadelphia, while his brother, James Rizzo, was the city's Fire Departments Chief. The police and fire departments were highly segregated, and allowed racism to take fold and shape. While claiming to implement Affirmative Action as a way to end racial discrimination, these institutions were used to promote anti-black violence against the African American community. Rank and file officers were used to implement harsh punishments, brutal beatings, cover-ups, deception, internal crime, turf drops (the body-snatching and dumping of black "suspects" in racist white communities, which subjected them to violent attacks from that community) and racially profiled stop-and-frisks that continue to stain our communities in contemporary times. Frank Rizzo's racist relationship towards Philadelphia's African-American community has always been one of violence, devastation and despair. Two of his most violent legacies to date involve members of Philadelphia's local chapter of the Black Panther Party being publicly stripped. The display of their naked bodies appeared on the Daily News' front page in August 1970, while the organization was preparing for a Peoples Revolution Convention to address police violence in the city and throughout the country. The forceful eviction of the MOVE family from their home in 1978 is another one of Rizzo's racist legacies. The city waged a violent attack against the MOVE family, which led to the framing of the MOVE 9. As a result, Delbert Africa was brutally beaten. Images from the period show Delbert being dragged by his hair, being kicked and punched by the Philadelphia Police Department, as well as being struck with an officer's helmet. This incident of racist violence has left the MOVE 9 incarcerated for over thirty years, and not one local governmental official has been held accountable. Frank Rizzo publicly made racist comments about Philadelphia's African-American communities; he openly used the term "niggers" when referencing black Philadelphians. Rizzo actively supported the historically racist views, values, and practices of Philadelphia's Police Department, which has left a lasting legacy of brutality and violence against the African American citizens of the city. Frank Rizzo's abuse of the African-American community was supported by Richard Nixon, despite Rizzo being investigated by the Civil Rights Commission, regarding complaints involving police brutality. The removal of this statue would be the first step in acknowledging Rizzo's crimes against the African-American community. It would be a much needed step towards truth and reconciliation, and holding police accountable for misconduct. This is something that is long overdue in this city. The removal of the Rizzo statue would also remove the constant reminder that our city actively supported a racist demagogue and then immortalized him as someone worthy of honor. The black community would rather see representations of the great contributions made by African Americans and other people of color to this city's development. These statues should be erected in place of the constant representations of Christopher Columbus, war heroes, Frank Rizzo and others who have held communities of color in subjugation. We will no longer allow our taxes and other city resources to be used to erect and maintain monuments of white supremacist figures.
RETURN NORTH CAROLINA FARM UNJUSTLY SEIZED BACK TO BLACK FARMERWe are very concerned what appears to be a glaring and very violent assault on small farmers, Black farmers, and the right to self-determination in this country, via the recent seizure of North Carolina Farmer Eddie Wise’s land. On Wednesday, January 20, 2016, around 7:30 a.m., at least fourteen (14) Federal Marshals in full military gear with full-scale military guns drawn, along with several county sheriff officers, descended on the 106 acre farm in Nash County, NC, and forcibly escorted Eddie Wise and his wife, who was still in bed and suffers from a debilitating medical condition, out of their home and off the land that they have owned for more than 20 years. Reportedly, farmer Eddie Wise had been working on his loan with Farm Service Agency (FSA) until Farm Services Agent Paula F. Nicholls and Mike Huskie took over his case. Not soon after, Mr. Wise’s loan increased and sky rocketed to almost $60,000 more within only a month’s span of time, thus lending to an escalated foreclosure process and, the seizure of property and an incredible number of subsequent questions and outrage from people all across the country. Mr. Wise and his wife Dorothy have suffered the height of indignity and racist degradation. This process is highly problematic and we see this seizure as a major threat to family farms nationwide. Not only did the Federal Marshals render Eddie and Dorothy immediately homeless and landless, they did not allow them to take any of their belongings except the clothes on their backs. They also insisted on “securing” every firearm legally owned by Mr. Wise. Mr. Wise was in fear of his life and the life of his wife. “I believe if I had shown one ounce of resistance, the Federal Marshals would have killed me. I actually believe that’s what they came to do” said Mr. Wise, his eyes moist with tears. Saving their land has been a long and exhaustive process for the Wise family. The ugliness of the one dimensional unfairness, racial characterization, and mental traps set for this family and thousands of other Black farmers by USDA, and a corrupt legal system, defy reason and logic. Black farmers are a racial minority and do not represent a large political power block, therefore they are unfairly treated like terrorized slave captives in their own country, a country they were vital in building. MORE BACKGROUND ON FARMER EDDIE WISE: 1. In 1993 the Wises applied for a loan to purchase a 106-acre hog farm. Wise said that at first the FmHA (now FSA) County Loan Officer didn’t let him know that the farm had been “earmarked for minority farmers.” Then officials tried to reappraise the farm to increase the value, but the value actually dropped. Last, a White farmer who wanted the farm paid a Black woman to apply for him. She was one of the final two applicants whose names were drawn from a hat. “We won the draw,” Wise said. Wise continued to face resistance from the county loan office, which is now demanding that he provide a production history going back five years and a production plan for the new farm. 2. Eddie and Dorothy Wise raise hogs on 106 acres near Whitakers, in east-central North Carolina. Eddie is a fourth-generation hog farmer but the first to own a farm; his father and grandfather were sharecroppers. During a 20 plus career in the military, and as an ROTC instructor at Howard and Georgetown Universities, Eddie raised hogs in his spare time. It was his dream to return home to North Carolina and farm full-time. When he retired from the Army in 1991 at the age of 48, that’s what he set out to do. Dorothy Wise grew up in Washington, D.C., but she too hoped to one day live on a farm. When she and Eddie met at Howard University in the 1980s and she discovered he was a farmer, it seemed that her wish had come true. Still, it took the Wises five years, until 1996, to secure the loans they needed to buy their farm. They were repeatedly turned down by local government loan officers who, the Wises are convinced, did not want African-American farmers to succeed. It was only through determined effort and much research and legwork that the Wises were able to receive the financial help for which they qualified. Prior to them being ordered off their property, the Wises had 250 hogs, which they raised from birth and would sell to a black-owned pork processor in the area. Eddie’s lean pork, raised without hormones or antibiotics, is sold at a premium in area supermarkets. Finding such a market niche is the only way the Wises can compete with the much-larger farms that mass-produce hogs for the large meatpacking companies. For the last 40 years American Black farmers have lived a hellish nightmare deliberately orchestrated by the USDA and its local Farmers Home Administration (FmHA – now the Farm Service Agency, FSA) offices to confiscate Black-owned land and homes. A review of the now historic Pigford v. Glickman Class Action by Black farmers will help one to understand the extremely vicious attack against black farmers and the USDA’s own Civil Rights Action Team report, (CRAT February 1997). (For details on the Black Farmers Class Action, See https://www.blackfarmercase.com/Background.aspx or http://www.dcd.uscourts.gov/pigfordmonitor/index.htm). We demand a full investigation, a halt to all land seizure and illegitimate farm sales and to return Eddie and Dorothy Wise’s farm and property to them immediately. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. ------------------------------- Check out BFAA on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BFAA.org/ and here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/106046796096003 To support Farmer Eddie Wise and Dorothy Wise: www.gofundme.com/39m8623g
#StandUp4Kids NOT Billionaires23 years ago a group of determined parents filed a law suit called the Campaign for Fiscal Equity against New York state to prove that the state was discriminating against districts with mostly Black, Latino or impoverished students by not properly funding their education.10 years ago I stood on the steps of the New York State Court of Appeals with my then 10 year old and 12 year old daughters, Rayya and Zaire, awaiting the hearing that would determine CFE and the fair funding of our New York City Schools. I was so elated when the decision was made that our schools did deserve more, because it meant opportunities and dreams would no longer be denied not only for my children but all other Black and Latino students and students living in poverty. Yet here I am, 10 years later still fighting the same fight. Throughout this 10-year fight, I’ve been up in arms with fellow parents, organizers, and teachers alike. All of which, have witnessed the disparity in opportunity afforded to students because of their skin color or zip code. Education should be about accessing knowledge to expand your world but a consistent disinvestment in public school dollars on top of educational cuts limits this and unfairly stints school potential through a lack of resources. These resources could provide programs that have been proven to enhance a child’s learning environment like advanced classes, technology, longer school days, after school programs, teacher supports, and the list goes on. That’s why right now we’re challenging our legislators to #StandUp4Kids Billionaires and hedge fund managers in New York drive the overwhelming income inequity that creates a gap in educational funding. When the 1% is paying less in taxes than our school secretaries, sanitation workers, nurses and truck drivers we must stand up and say change needs to happen, NOW! With just 1% more in taxes from the 1% (those making $665,000 and over) New York State could raise over $2 billion in funding for education. But when Governor Cuomo says there is “no appetite” for raising taxes on millionaires and billionaires—what I hear is that addressing a 50% child poverty rate is not a priority for New York State. And Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan is opposing it because his Republican colleagues depend on hedge funds and billionaires to finance their re-election campaigns. We must put our children before hedge funds and political interests. The future depends on it. Sign our petition to demand Governor Cuomo, Senator Flanagan and the legislators of NY to #StandUp4Kids, NOT billionaires! While my 8 children may never get the opportunity to reap the benefits of CFE my 3 grandchildren can. It’s time for legislators to make the right choice. Together, we can protect the promise of a quality education for generations to come.
Make #BlackWorkersMatter: End the Exclusion of Black Workers from New Orleans Reconstruction"I can count on one hand the number of Black workers that work with me on Woodward construction sites" -Woodward employee Woodward Design+Build who has been in New Orleans since the 1920's did not think you could employ 40% local workers in the 313 Carondelet Project while the Lemoine Company who has been locally based in New Orleans since 2011 reportedly employed 80% local workers on the construction of the New Orleans East Hospital. Since Katrina New Orleans has been one of the largest construction sites in the country, meanwhile the exclusion of Black workers from the reconstruction has led to a massive Black jobs crisis- 52% of Black men are out of work, New Orleans has the second highest rate of income inequality in the country, 50.5% of Black children live in poverty and Black families make less than half the income of white families (Black families yearly median income in New Orleans is only $27,812) Woodward Design+Build has built countless projects in Post Katrina New Orleans and is going to be breaking ground this year and next on several more their continued exclusion of Black workers from their construction sites will further exacerbate the Black jobs crisis in New Orleans and we must act now to hold them and other major contractors accountable to make #BlackWorkersMatter in New Orleans. Local Black workers who are members of Stand with Dignity and our allies have been fighting to make #BlackWorkersMatter in New Orleans and we are winning- the City just passed a living wage ordinance for $10.55 per hour, and the Council will be considering a local hire ordinance on October 1st. These actions by our city government will go a long way but we have to hold accountable the companies who have gotten us to this point in the first place. Sign on Now to hold contractors accountable to make #BlackWorkersMatter in New Orleans- starting with Woodward Design+Build
Remove Robert E. Lee Statue and name from Oak Lawn Park, and Dallas SchoolsReturn Dallas' Public art to the citizens of Dallas reflective of the diversity of Texas Culture and Dallas Contemporary Culture. The statue, the park name (Lee Park), and the naming of a children's school, Robert E. Lee Elementary, insults the dignity and intelligence of 21st century Dallasites. The statue is in bad taste, given that Lee was not Texan, and furthermore a traitor to the United States of America. The statue is representative of white supremacy, and represents a heritage of hatred and the belief that even in defeat, Lee and the Confederacy held noble and just beliefs. The time has come to take Lee and all Confederate "heroes" off their pedestals.
Release data about the McKinney Police Department's engagement of Black youthThe videos from McKinney show Black youth clearly being targeted by police while white youth are left alone. We deserve to know from the City of McKinney if this is a longstanding police policy. This is important because this incident is one in a long line of incidents that continue to demonstrate that Black youth are routinely dehumanized in our society. Implicit bias and perceptions of Black youth directly impact they way that they are engaged. Because these youth were seen to not belong in the area, the officers did even attempt to engage them as residents or even guests but rather as intruders. This is evidenced by the fact that the teenager who filmed the incident was white and therefore was not engaged by the police at all - despite capturing the entire event on camera. We have seen in past, how these interactions can quickly turn deadly. The community can not begin to heal until these issues are exposed and confronted in a honest and transparent fashion.
#NoNewNYPD PetitionWe 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