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Veto Bill to Fund Militarization of Florida SchoolsThe state of Florida needs change to prevent more tragedies, but it will not come with more children staring down the barrel of a gun. Three weeks ago, 17 students and school staff were murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and Florida was shaken to its core. The Florida legislature followed Governor Rick Scott's lead in drafting "solutions" that involve filling Florida schools with even more guns. Our state's elected officials have approved a bill that provides funding to arm school staff, including teachers, coaches, librarians and counselors, while dramatically increasing funding for police and high level surveillance security in schools. At Governor Scott's direction, this bill will make Florida schools a lot scarier for students, particularly students of color, across the state. After Columbine, 10,000 school police officers were hired to prevent another mass shooting. Two decades later and more police presence in school has not proven to be an effective solution and has not stopped a single mass shooting. Instead, police in Florida have locked up 1 million children, mostly black children, for routine behavior disruptions, like talking back to a teacher or getting into schoolyard scuffles. The proposed bill allots $400 million to make our schools feel more like prisons when they should feel sanctuaries. This bill will have catastrophic consequences for insurmountable numbers of black, brown and poor youth in Florida. Our representatives have a responsibility to act in a way that keeps all Florida children safe. Tell Governor Rick Scott to veto any bill to allocate resources for more police and guns in schools. Supporters Dream Defenders Power U Center for Social Change Advancement Project National Office Color of Change Florida’s Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 1199 New Florida Majority Miami Worker's Center Alliance for Education Justice National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
Boycott Companies that Advertise on Fox News: Who support racism in exchange for profitAs a person of color, my life is regularly made more difficult and unpleasant due to the nature of the content propagated by Fox News. Fox News brings out the worst in people by preying on their fears and prejudices, bolstering people's preexisting stereotypes, and espousing and encouraging racist, homophobic, islamophobic, misogynistic, and ignorant behavior. I will not support any company that supports an entity such as Fox News that seems to be in direct opposition to all of my values and thinks of me--and tries to convince others to think of me--as lesser, dangerous, lazy, and unintelligent due to the color of my skin. People may think it is not worth it and they are only making their own lives harder by boycotting because so many companies advertise on Fox News and nothing will change that, but my life is already made difficult by Fox News, including all the companies that support it, so I have no problem taking it upon myself to make decisions that align with my self-interest and may be difficult. If we do nothing, what is going on in society and politics will only continue, so we might as well speak up for ourselves and hit the companies where they'll notice it: the wallets!
Support the Secure Elections Act: Paper ballot back-up to preserve valid electionsOur election process is threatened by our election records not being backed up with paper ballots. Our digital ballots could potentially be hacked leaving our system vulnerable. History has shown us election outcomes coming under question leads to Black voter freedom being attacked and restricted. When Trump distracted from questions about his election he did so by accusing Black communities of voter fraud and launching a commission designed to substantiate his lie and restrict Black people's freedom to vote. The "Secure Elections Act" has been introduced by a bipartisan group of Senators led by Democratic Senator Kamala Harris. It will provide states with the funding they need to make sure ballots have paper records that can't be hacked and we are able to be audit our elections. With this legislation, we will make sure that our election results are legitimate and Black voters are more secure in their freedom to vote. To ensure the validity of our elections, we need to safeguard the ballot by having paper records for elections. Without this, we will have widespread doubts about the validity of any election we hold, and history has shown that Black voter freedom will be targeted for restriction. As Congressional testimonies have shown the government has done nothing to secure our elections. While we ignore the common sense calls to move to paper ballots states like Arkansas are passing updated voter ID laws. Instead of working to push the lie that we need to Voter ID laws aimed at Black voters, we need to pass legislation aimed at the actual threat to our elections. The Secure Elections Act is the bare minimum we could do if we want to make sure our elections are secure against actual fraud. Donald Trump has done absolutely nothing to make Americans feel more secure about their elections instead he has been pushing a narrative to throw them further in doubt, it is time for the Senate to act. Black people understand the importance of free and fair elections as we are still fighting to have our freedom to vote fully recognized. Tell the Senate to pass the "Secure Elections Act" to safeguard the ballot we are still fighting for.
No voter suppression-don't make people vote in police stations!The recent decision from the Janesville city council to move polling locations into police stations will decrease voter turnout from Black people and other marginalized communities. Throughout the country, conservatives have done everything they can to suppress turnout from Black voters. They have attacked Black people's freedom to vote through laws like voter ID, prosecuting volunteers, and organizations who register Black voters, and administrative moves like changing polling hours, and providing inadequate resources in polling locations Black people use. Janesville city council is following this formula by moving polling stations to police stations in the 3rd and 4th wards of Janesville. This decision to place these polling places in police stations is not any mere coincidence. This is the hometown of Paul Ryan. Speaker Ryan is now facing a strong challenge to his seat in a manner that he never has. With Speaker Ryan's re-election moving from a foregone conclusion to an uncertainty is very important context for our city council's decision to place these polling places in a location that would suppress voters from marginalized communities. There are also two Black people running for city council and Janesville is not a city that has seen Black people regularly elected. Black turnout will be very important in the next election and several elections afterward. Moving the polling place of Black voters from city hall to a police station is sending a message of fear and intimidation to potential Black voters. We have seen conservatives across the country send mailers to Black communities stating that they will be picked up for warrants if they attempt to vote, we've seen conservatives criminalize organizations that register Black voters through raids and arrests, this latest move from the Janesville city council continues in this spread of voter suppression aimed at attacking Black people's freedom to vote. The city council has thus far disregarded appeals from representatives of the NAACP and League of Women Voters to find a less fraught location. Instead of listening to the concerns of the people of Janesville the city council has decided to feign ignorance and ignore their constituents. Our city government should be doing everything in their power to create more voters instead of working to reduce them. While we understand there is a hot race to unseat Paul Ryan in his next re-election and turnout is very important, it is even more important for our city to be able to trust that its leaders aren't attempting to suppress their votes for their preferred candidate.
We Demand Representation! Call A Special Election for Michigan's 13th Congressional DistrictGov. Rick Snyder is denying the people of Michigan’s 13th Congressional representation. Instead of valuing the right to representation of the people living in Michigan’s 13th Congressional District Rick Snyder has decided it is too expensive to respect their right to representation, he has cited costs as his reason to delay any special election for this congressional district. In 2012 Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed legislation calling for voter ID in Michigan, earning praise while Michigan was redrawn into one of the most gerrymandered states in the United States. Our voting power was diluted to the point that a voter ID law wasn’t necessary to suppress our power. Now Gov. Snyder is following in the Republican model and simply refusing to hold an election because he believes he wouldn’t like the outcome. Everyday we are not represented, we are without an advocate for the needs of our community. Our tax dollars are being collected while without a representative of the people to have any input in how they are to be applied. Constituent services are not being carried out to answer the needs of Black people who must interact with any number of federal agencies here in Detroit. We need a representative who will advocate for our community in the face of an unprecedented assault. We must show Gov. Snyder that we will not quietly allow him to deny our right to representation and force him to call a special election now. Gov. Snyder’s decision to deny the people of the 13th district of Michigan representation is un-democratic. We continue to see Republicans across the country bend, break, or simply invent rules to try and create a political system where they can’t lose. We have fought for our right to voter freedom throughout every iteration of these bigoted attacks and we will not stop now. Together we will send a message to Gov. Snyder and the entire nation, our voices will not be silenced.
Our Voices Matter! Appoint Monique Baker McCormick, Wayne County Commissioner District 6Our voices Matter! We Matter! Our belief is that the ultimate authority in government whether it be national or local lies with the people. It is our understanding that the Wayne County Commission District 6 seat will be vacated by the Hon. Commissioner Burton Leland and an appointment will be made without public input. The people in Wayne County should have a voice on who governs us. We want someone who will stand-up for us like Monique Baker McCormick . She is the most qualified and experienced person for the position of Wayne County Commissioner in District 6. Ms. McCormick, a veteran of the U.S. Army is a lifelong resident and business owner in District 6 and for over 10 years has supported District 6 and fought for working families, for students and seniors, for jobs and small business growth and development in Detroit. In 2011, Detroit Public Schools (DPS) Emergency Manager tried to close down Ms. McCormick childhood school and one of the best middles schools in the State of Michigan, Ludington Middle School. Ms. McCormick, two daughters also attended Ludington and as President of the parent organization she organized and lead a protest of hundreds of parents and students to successfully keep Ludington open. Most recently in 2016, as President of Cass Tech Parent Title-One Organization, Ms. McCormick joined a class action lawsuit compelling DPS to improve conditions in all Detroit Public Schools. Additionally, Ms. McCormick has challenged voter and civil rights issues in Wayne County all the way to the Michigan Supreme Court. Ms. McCormick, has a wealth of community, social and political experience that would be of great value to this county. She is a member of Peace Peddler (army vets and police officers) and an honorary member of the Tuskegee Airmen. She is a graduate of District 6 Henry Ford High School and earned her Bachelor Degree in Business Administration from Davenport University and has a Master Degree in Business from Walsh College of Business and Accountancy (1996). In 2015 as a rising star in the Democratic Party, Ms. McCormick was nominated by Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence to represent the 14th Congressional District in the prestigious Congressional Black Caucus Leadership Institute in Washington, D.C. In addition, as a Young Democrat she worked for the Kerry-Edwards Presidential campaign helping win Michigan and was elected 13th and 14th Congressional District Vice-Chair. She has been an elected Precinct Delegate in the 13th Congressional District for over 15 years. Ms. McCormick has been actively involved in numerous boards and organizations, Matrix Human Services, Detroit Repertory Theatre Board of Trustees, Walsh College Alumni Board, Pathways Development Board and the Community Coalition. She is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc., Women Informal Network, Coleman A. Young American Legion Post 202, Citadel of Praise and honorary member of the Tuskegee Airmen. Our voices matter! Appoint the best person to the Wayne County Commission! Appoint Monique Baker McCormick as Wayne County Commissioner in District 6.
Stop the state takeover of the Jackson Public School District by the state of MississippiThe state of Mississippi is moving to take over the Jackson Public School District (JPS). JPS is the state's second largest district, the only urban one and is about 97% Black. Mississippi has continually under-funded Black and poor districts for many years. Last year, JPS was under-funded by about $11.5mil during the last school year, while the conservative state leaders have continually changed laws and regulations to make it easier to privatize public dollars (i.e. charter, vouchers, tax credits), starting with 3 charter schools in Jackson. This is a national trend that disproportionately affects Black and Brown communities and has shown negligible gains for our children. We are asking for your support in pushing our state leadership to prevent this takeover. The state of Mississippi has never cared about the Black children of Jackson, and they aren't about to start, so we need your support in letting the leadership know this and allow us to keep local control (achieved through a democratic process). JPS went through an unfair, and unprecedented audit in order to create the sense of chaos in the district. On Aug 31, we got the results of the year long audit and it was completely off base. We had the opportunity to respond in hearings on September 13 and 14, but the state board still recommended takeover to the governor, without ever reading our responses, documentation, and exhibits. These are the most pressing reasons why this is an unjust and unfair takeover that is very clearly about the re-colonization of our city and pulling away our resources: Specifically, we are requesting the governor make a decision to not sign the take over of the Jackson Public Schools for the following reasons: 1. The Jackson Public School District has addressed and corrected a substantial number of the audit findings in the Audit Report released Thursday, August 31. 2. The students, parents and community members stand ready to work in partnership with the district to address those remaining issues within their purview. 3. Many of the audit findings that form the basis of this proposed takeover are administrative and procedural, not educational in nature; yet, a state takeover will directly and negatively impact the instructional capacity and effectiveness of the district. 4. Fact, state takeovers of school districts do not yield improvements in student achievement; rather, more often than not, student achievement is stagnated during the short term and delayed over the long term. 5. State takeovers diminish community engagement and involvement, necessary ingredients to increase and enhance district and student success. 6. Extracurricular activities are important components to student, school and community life. Students in Jackson deserve the right to participate in activities that will enhance their academic, social and emotional wellbeing while preparing for life after graduation. These activities often keep students in school. A take over will affect opportunities to engage in extracurricular activities. 7. The students, parents, community leaders, faith leaders and business leaders should determine the future Jackson Public Schools.
Tell George Mason To Comply with VA Law & Make Donor Agreements Public!GMU’s largest donor, the Charles Koch Foundation, has entered into grant agreements with other universities and non-profits in exchange for influence over hiring, research and curricular decisions. We believe transparency of George Mason's relations with private donors is of the utmost importance. The agenda of private donors should not take precedence over service to the public. The Charles Koch Foundation and its donors have ties to ALEC, the shadowy right-wing organization responsible for writing model legislation designed to attack Black communities like voter ID and Stand Your Ground laws. They have also contributed to Americans For Prosperity which has undertaken voter suppression efforts designed to attack Black communities' freedom to vote by running disinformation campaigns in states like North Carolina. While doing so they also have funded scholarships to Black organizations which require paternalistic directions stipulating students must study under only professors they approve. As students concerned for the integrity of our university with concern about this pattern of attack and control, we demand to you make your grant and gift agreements with private donors transparent! George Mason University is a public university dedicated to public service and that means we must know what agreements are made with donors that have a clear desire to influence the bounds and rights of the public. That one of the largest university donors has funded organizations that have actively worked to erode the rights of Black people while being shielded from scrutiny by George Mason University is disturbing. We demand transparency!
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.
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.