- 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
- Open Internet
- Police Accountability
- Political Power
- Pop Culture
- Private Prisons
- Right Wing Racism
- School-to-Prison Pipeline
- Voting Rights
- Wrongful Imprisonment
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!
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.
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.
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!
TELL DETROIT TO TURN THE TAPS BACK ON: WATER IS A HUMAN RIGHT!It's a crisis. The city of Detroit has unjustly shut off the water of thousands of low-income Black and brown Detroit residents, threatening their health, safety, and livelihood. And matters are only set to get worse.(1) Residents who owe as little as $33 are having their water shut off with no warning. Seniors, the sick and injured, and families with special needs are left without running water and working toilets. People recovering from surgery cannot wash and change bandages. Children cannot bathe and parents cannot cook. And while the people suffer, the corporations are protected. The city of Detroit provides water at wholesale price to the wealthy suburbs; however city residents pay retail price for the water they receive. The city of Detroit provides water at wholesale price to the wealthy suburbs; however city residents pay retail price for the water they receive. Palmer Park Golf Course owes $422,000 the VA Hospitial $131,000, yet they continue to have water.(2) As well, Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr gave Gov. Snyder a pass on the Michigan's $4.5 million unpaid water bill of by reducing the state's debt to $113,000. Only $19,000 has been paid to date. Entire families and their livelihoods are on the line. If parents cannot afford to restore water service within 60 days they are at risk of having Social Services remove their children from the home.(3) If water bills remain unpaid a lien can be placed on the home and the home can be sold. (4) This must stop NOW! The plan to cut off water to 150,000 households by the end of the summer is part of efforts sell off and privatize Detroit’s water system for corporate profits.(5) In order to make the utility attractive to investors, lower-income households are being forced to pay exorbitant rates for their water and sewer services, or see their access cut. Water rates have risen in Detroit by 119% in the last decade.(6) With unemployment rates at a record high, and the poverty rate at about 40%, Detroit water bills are unaffordable to a massive portion of the community. (7) Hundreds of thousands of low-income Black families are at risk. The city's water shut offs are in line with decades of racially discriminatory policies targeting Black and brown Detroiters, which have resulted in unjust home seizures, the separation of children from their parents, and the creation of serious health risks to entire neighborhoods.(8) By allowing thousands of people to be denied access to water and sanitation services, the U.S. government is violating the United Nations resolution codifying the human right to water and sanitation. Show your solidarity with the people in Detroit and join Progressive Democrats for America, National Nurses United, NetRoots attendees, and local Detroit activists for a rally at Hart Plaza at 1pm on Friday, July 18th where we will make send our message loud and clear to Gov. Synder and Emergency Manager Orr. References: 1. "We the People of Detroit," Facebook https://www.facebook.com/wethepeopleofdetroit/posts/764130140275688 2. "Detroit Water Shutoffs," Politics Progressive 07-11-2014 http://www.blogtalkradio.com/svs/2014/07/11/detroit-water-shutoffs 3. See reference 1. 4. "Detroit's Water War: a tap shut-off that could impact 300,000 people," The Guardian 06-24-2014 http://www.theguardian.com/environment/true-north/2014/jun/25/detroits-water-war-a-tap-shut-off-that-could-impact-300000-people 5. "Important Tax Lien Information," Detroit Water and Sewage Department http://www.dwsd.org/pages_n/billpay.html 6. "What Happens When Detroit Shuts Off the Water of 100,000 People," The Atlantic 07-17-2014 http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/07/what-happens-when-detroit-shuts-off-the-water-of-100000-people/374548/ 7. See reference 3. 8. See reference 5. 9. See reference 3. 10."Against Austerity in Detroit: 'Water Is a Human Right'" The Nation 07-11-2014 http://www.thenation.com/blog/180625/against-austerity-detroit-water-human-right#
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.
Stop Voter Suppression in GA-6 Congressional District!On June 20, 2017, there will be a runoff election to fill the vacancy in Georgia's 6th Congressional District left when Tom Price was confirmed as Secretary of Health and Human Services. We are demanding that the Secretary of State comply with federal law and set the voter registration deadline for no more than 30 days before the runoff election! The voter registration deadline for the April 18th election was March 20th, approximately 30 days from an election, which is in alignment with the National Voting Rights Act. The runoff will be held on June 20th. The NVRA requires the VR deadline to be on or around May 22nd. GA's SOS has set the VR deadline for the June 20th election as March 20th. This means eligible voters in GA's 6th congressional district are blocked for 90 days from registering and participating in an important election. This is what modern-day voter suppression looks like. Setting a VR deadline for 90 days before the election is an attempt to keep the electorate as small as possible. This is not what democracy looks like. As Georgia's "Chief Elections Officer" Secretary Kemp's job is to use his office and the law and technology to remove barriers to voting not construct them! --Update-- Thank you for signing the petition Stop Voter Suppression in GA-6 Congressional District! The relief we sought has been granted. The voter registration deadline has been moved to May 21st at 11:59 pm -- 30 days before the June 20th runoff. This means that tens of thousands of Georgians in the three GA-06 counties will be added to the rolls and the Sixth Congressional District will have the highest registration rates of all of GA's congressional districts. Your support was valuable, and we're going to ask you to remain vigilant with us as we work to ensure that Brian Kemp follow's the orders of the court.
Tell Nissan Its Time to Decide- Stop Advertising in BreitbartAs Brietbart News has emerged from the sewer of hatred to become the home of White Nationalism, many national companies have taken steps to pull their advertising dollars. Not so with Nissan. They've taken the rather mercenary position that put their advertising dollars where they think they can make the most money, period. Nissan needs to decide what side of history they will stand on. I'm not surprised. As the bi-vocational pastor of a small church here in Jackson, MS over the last 12 years., I've watched Nissan engage in abusive, exploitative, and militantly anti-Union labor practices in their Canton, Mississippi facility. At the same time Nissan tries to burnish their image by sprinkling charitable contributions around the community. The disconnect between Nissan's public image and actual corporate behavior was so great for me that I decided to get involved by joining the Mississippi Alliance for Fairness at Nissan. Now I'm asking you to get involved too. Tell Nissan to stop using their advertising dollars where hate is being promoted. Tell Nissan to stop the threats and let workers have a fair union election. Join me in adding your name to this petition. Nissan has chosen to take a page out of the playbook of Mississippi and intimidate workers against voting for a union. The U.S. is the only place in the world where Nissan operates non-union. So we pastors here say: "Why not Mississippi?" We call upon people of good will everywhere to say to Nissan stop advertising in Brietbart, but more than that: stop threatening your workers civil and human rights to organize a union here in Mississippi. Tell Nissan to stand on the side of democracy and decency- Sign the petition now. Tell Nissan to respect civil rights. Tell Nissan to stop advertising with Breitbart and tell Nissan to stop threatening their workers in MS! For additional Information please see: https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2017/02/21/breitbart-under-bannon-breitbarts-comment-section-reflects-alt-right-anti-semitic-language https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/11/30/kellogg-citing-values-joins-growing-list-of-companies-that-pledged-to-stop-advertising-in-breitbart-news/?utm_term=.a5c056a54597 http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/nation-now/2016/12/01/brands-pull-ads-breitbart-nissan-stays-put/94732782/ https://www.facingsouth.org/2013/10/nissan-is-violating-international-labor-standards-.html
Florida Governor Candidates: will you protect the right to vote?Florida is the epicenter of the right wing attack on the rising new majority's freedom to vote. Since 2011, the far-right in Florida has tried to pass more than 180 laws intended to restrict voting rights and keep youth, women, Black and Latino communities from the polls. In 2012, Governor Scott slashed the early voting period resulting in some voters waiting in lines as long as 9 hours. Scott has also repeatedly attempted to illegally purge the ballot rolls using unproven methods that result in suppressing the votes of legitimately registered voters. Since the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013, Florida is no longer under federal protections from right-wing attacks on our right to vote. A state constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to vote would subject voting laws to the highest level of scrutiny to ensure that elections officials and politicians cannot manipulate the rules to keep our communities from voting. One of the most vicious laws attacking our communities ability to vote is Florida's laws banning formerly incarcerated people from voting. Of the 6 million people nationwide who are disenfranchised by previous criminal convictions, one-quarter of them are in Florida and nearly 23% of Florida's Black voting age population is barred from voting. (1) The state constitution should be amended so that voting rights are restored once a citizen has completed his or her time in prison and not be subject to Florida's long waiting periods where very few ever have rights restored. On October 15th, the candidates will debate at Broward College, followed by a debate in Jacksonville on the 21st. These are tremendous opportunities to make sure that both candidates answer to Florida voters about whether they will protect our right to vote. The debate moderators should ask both candidates if they will support amendments to the Florida constitution that ensure the right to vote is guaranteed and cannot be infringed upon and secondly, an amendment that allows previously incarcerated people to vote. Moderators for October 15th: Elliot Rodriguez, Rosemary Goudreau, Frank Denton, Bob Gabordi, Manny Garcia, Patricia Mazzei, and Jeremy Wallace Moderators for October 21st: Jake Tapper and Kent Justice References (1) http://truth-out.org/buzzflash/commentary/felon-disenfranchisement-the-new-jim-crow/17952-felon-disenfranchisement-the-new-jim-crow
No Power Grab in NC: End the Special SessionAfter failing to win the governor’s race the through laws suppressing Black voters, the Republican officials in North Carolina.have decided they’re just going to nullify the results of the election. The Republican controlled NC General Assembly is stripping the election results of their meaning by drastically reducing the power of incoming Governor-elect Roy Cooper with an outrageous package of bills that include: - Having Republican control of the Board of Election during even years -- the years in which most NC elections are held -- and Democrats relegated to odd years. - Rigging the court process so fewer cases are able to be decided by the now-Democratic State Supreme Court appeals and all cases have to go through the full court of appeals, which is controlled by Republicans. - Limiting the number of members the governor can appoint to powerful board of trustees at the University of North Carolina school system and the state Board of Education It is outrageous that a legislature elected by what the federal courts declared to be deliberately racially-gerrymandered districts are further perverting the system to diminish Black political power in the state. The NC General Assembly is denying voters their right to decide who governs state by seizing power from the Governor’s office, cutting its staff to the bone, requiring their final approval on all appointments, and maintain control of the Board of Elections in all election years. This is a naked attempt to maintain supremacy in a state despite the decision of the voters. That this incredible abuse of power is set to happen in a special session of the General Assembly that is supposed to address Hurricane Matthew relief only shows how low they’ll stoop to maintain control. This is the same Republican Party that had the "Monster" Voter suppression laws thrown out this year by federal judges who saw that Republicans wrote their laws only after receiving data on how Black people exercised their right to vote in the state. Help stop this outrageous move that will waste your tax dollars, undermine the independence of the courts, and overthrow the will of North Carolina voters.
It's Not Over, The County Has Appealed! #LetMIAVoteMy name is Michelle Davis. I am an African-American mother of three, and I've been a registered voter since the day I turned 18. I am sick and tired of feeling like my vote doesn't matter. This cause is important to me because special interests shouldn’t have a bigger say just because they have bigger bucks. I want to be able to see people in my community running for office, even if they don’t have big money from big donors. I worked for months in the hot Miami sun to share this initiative with the citizens of Miami-Dade County. We talked to hundreds of thousands of people and together, gathered 127,000 signatures in support of campaign finance reform. I believe in a Miami where all voices are heard and where the will of the people is respected. Last week, after strong opposition from both county commissioners and the county attorney, the courts sided with the will of the people and ordered that the initiative be placed on the November 8, 2016 ballot “immediately, without delay.” Immediately after the ruling, the county attorney appealed and asked that the Judge’s order be suspended. We’re now in a critical period. We must not let the County Attorney run the time out on getting this initiative printed on the ballot. We must ask the Mayor to stick to his word and direct the Supervisor of Elections to continue her perpartions to put this on the ballot, so that when we are sustained, the election department has this on the ballot. We must act now so they don’t disrupt our democratic rights through legal tricks. Our communities often don’t exercise their rights because they often feel that the political process is rigged, corrupt or not in their interest. Inaction by the mayor and county commissioners is a prime example of the ways in which the voices of voters, the very people who elected them into office, continue to be ignored. It is time for our elected officials to do their jobs. 127,000 voters deserve to be heard. Join me in directing the mayor to enforce the laws of the court and order the supervisor of elections to place the initiative on the ballot immediately. Let’s take a stand against big money in politics and ensure that the will of the people prevails. Sign and share our petition!
Gov. McCrory: Release Emergency General Election Funds NowNorth Carolina's Governor Pat McCrory and legislative leadership have spent millions of our taxpayer dollars to defend unconstitutional legislation like the 2013 Monster Voting Law. Now that the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down this law designed to disenfranchise Black voters and others, it's time they use our tax dollars to help everyone vote. They lost their bid to suppress the vote. Now it's time to pay the price and release the funds to support fair elections. During this hot, high-turnout election season that now has no photo ID requirement and allows Same-Day Registration during the 17 days of Early Voting, election officials in every county are scrambling to craft new Early Voting plans and staff them for an extra week. In addition, they must recruit and train more poll workers, and update vital voting resources – all to prevent long lines and mass confusion at the polls. We’re heading for a train wreck in the 2016 General Election unless counties have the resources to staff the extra week of voting and educate voters about their options in this new landscape. Tell Gov. McCrory that he needs to take swift action and release special funds to help our county election officials do their job of administering fair elections.
Tell The North Carolina Board of Elections to Support Early VotingIncredible! Republican leaders who complain about “rigged elections” are trying to do exactly that in North Carolina by making it harder for Black people and students to use early voting. Dallas Woodhouse, Executive Director of the NC Republican Party, sent instructions to Republicans who hold the majority on all 100 county boards of elections to “make party line changes to early voting.” He specifically told them to close early voting sites on Sunday, remove them from college campuses, and open more in Republican areas, according to emails obtained by the Raleigh News & Observer. More than half of NC’s voters used early voting in 2008 and 2012; it was used most by Black and young voters. Closing sites and reducing hours will mean longer lines and discourage voters on Election Day. Fortunately, many Republicans are ignoring Woodhouse and obeying their oath to serve all voters. But in Raleigh, Fayetteville, Wilmington, and many other areas, they are opposing Sunday voting where it was used as recently as the March primary. Black churches organize Sunday “Souls to the Polls” programs which help church members with transportation to the polling place. The reduced early voting plans of these counties will come before the State Board of Elections later this month. The State Board has the power to restore them and repudiate the deliberate anti-Black, anti-youth strategy of Republican Party leaders. Sign the petition to ask Mr. Grant Whitney Jr., board chair, and other board members to restore early voting on Sunday afternoons and, on college campuses where those options were eliminated by Republican county election boards. Last month, the federal Court of Appeals overturned a state voting law it said would suppress voting and had discriminatory intent. We will not let local officials ignore the spirit of this momentous ruling by implementing weak and even discriminatory early voting plans for the November election.. Thanks for fighting for voting rights for everyone! Bob Hall, Democracy North Carolina
Let Miami Vote!Like you, we believe that the PEOPLE should run Miami, and not the lobbyists and billionaires. Last week New Florida Majority and partners turned in over 127,000 petitions so that we can put balance in the system and get BIG money out of politics on this November ballot-77,000 more than what was needed. But inaction by the mayor and county commission is standing in the way of the will of the people! Our communities often don’t exercise their rights because they often feel the political process is rigged, corrupt or not in their interest. Inaction by the mayor and county commission is a prime example of the ways in which the voices of voters, the very people who elected the mayor and commissioners into office, continue to be ignored. This is a fundamental issue of democratic rights in Miami-Dade, and the voices of 127,000 voters deserve to be heard. All the rules regarding petition circulation and delivery were followed, and now it is time for the Elections Department to fulfill its duty to count and verify the petitions. Mayor Carlos Gimenez cannot ignore the voices of 127,000 people and deny the right to free and fair elections to Miami-Dade's residents. If we're going to win, we will need people like you to take a stand. Sign and share our petition!
Break Down the Barriers: Bring Automatic Voter Registration to Illinois!There are several attempts to suppress the voices of people of color not only in the State of Illinois, but across the country. With a great deal of confusion around registration deadlines, application errors, long lines at polling locations, and other structural failures, millions of eligible voters are not making their voices heard in our democratic process. At Chicago Votes, we organized a group of high school students (on their Spring Break) to travel to Springfield to advocate for AVR. They advocated on behalf of their families and communities who have, on multiple occasions, faced difficulties registering to vote. In addition, many of the students were first-time voters in the Illinois primaries, and despite having all of the appropriate identification needed to register, they were faced with long lines, confusion, and a great deal of frustration. After listening to the students share their stories with the elected officials, one student asked me what keeps me coming back to this work after three years. He asked, “Why voter registration?” Kevin, a middle-aged Black man with a felony, keeps me coming back to this work. Kevin, who stated, “My parole officer told me that I cannot register to vote because I have a felony, and if I do it anyways, I will go back to jail” is the reason. Kevin, who didn’t know that his right to vote was restored upon his release from prison, is the reason why I keep coming back to this work. I am aware that Kevin is one of many eligible voters in Illinois who are not voting due to misinformation. He is the father, uncle, or cousin of a high school student somewhere in Illinois who is excited about the potential of voting, but are told they cannot. If we pass AVR, we will raise the voices and open the doors for people of color who want to participate in our political process, but are constantly faced with barriers every election cycle. HB4208 and SB250 is currently gaining traction in the IL General Assembly by moving through committees. Join me in telling our elected officials that democracy works best when all voices are included, and Automatic Voter Registration is a step in the right direction. Let’s ensure that this bill is introduced on the Senate floor by signing this petition and showing your support!
Tell the N.C. Chamber of Commerce: Stand Against DiscriminationBusinesses across the country have spoken out against North Carolina’s HB2, the so-called “bathroom bill.” But not the N.C. Chamber of Commerce. Maybe that’s because the Chamber's leadership benefits from provisions hidden inside the law that give bosses a green light to discriminate against African Americans and pay North Carolina workers less than a living wage. HB2 overturns policies that protect North Carolina's lesbian, gay and transgender community, 29% of which is African-American. The new law also overturns local anti-bias ordinances that protect everyone, regardless of race, national origin, age, disability, gender or religion. It bans workers from filing discrimination claims in state court. And it undercuts the ability of local elected officials to guarantee fair treatment for their citizens. In short, it’s a major attack on democracy. It's time to tell S. Lewis Ebert, CEO and President of the N.C. Chamber of Commerce, to join other business leaders and use his influence to call for the repeal of HB2. House Bill 2 uses the inflammatory slogan of “men using a girl’s bathroom” as a cover for a law that takes power away from voters and their local elected officials. The truth is that transgender women have used women’s restrooms for years; the only safety problem has come when they use the men’s bathroom and get attacked. Providing safety was at the heart of Charlotte’s new policy, but scary rhetoric can distract and deceive. The heads of Bank of America, Apple, IBM, Levi Strauss, Kellogg and dozens of other companies have spoken out against HB2, but not S. Lewis Ebert. We saw how the rhetoric of “voter fraud” frightened North Carolinians and provided cover for sweeping legislation that cut early voting, ended several voter protections, increased contribution limits, repealed the public campaign financing program that helped elect African Americans to the state courts, and allowed more corporate money in state elections. We can’t let yet another deceitful attack on democracy happen.
Restore the Vote MN 2016Over 47,000 Minnesotans living in the community working and paying taxes 32,827 are White, 9,045 are African American, 2,822 are Hispanic, 2,765 are Native American. African Americans in Minnesota make up 5% of the state’s population and 35% of the prison population. African Americans in Minnesota are seven times more likely to be disenfranchised than White Minnesotans
Put expanded voting rights on New Jersey's 2016 ballot!In New Jersey, a full 36 percent of Black Americans aren't registered to vote. A full 55 percent of younger Black voters (18-29) say they don't vote because they aren't registered. In June, the New Jersey Legislature put the "Democracy Act" on Governor Christie's desk in an attempt to reverse that trend. The Democracy Act would have registered tens of thousands of new Black voters and made it easier than ever for all of us to have a full say in our Democracy. Governor Christie vetoed the Democracy Act in November, but the Legislature doesn't have to let him have the last word on our voting rights. Sign our petition asking the NJ Legislature to put the major provisions of the Democracy Act on the 2016 ballot, including: Automatically registering qualified residents to vote when they visit their local MVC. Allowing people to register to vote or correct voting information online. Making voting more convenient for working families by expanding early in-person voting. Improving access for military and overseas voters. Printing ballots in languages that reflect our diverse communities. Additionally, legislators should advance full rights restoration for people on probation and parole. Currently 1 in 5 otherwise eligible Black voters in New Jersey are denied the right to vote because of past convictions. By putting the Democracy Act on the 2016 ballot and restoring rights for people with prior convictions, legislators would give New Jersey voters a chance to strengthen their own voting rights, and to expand the right to vote for their fellow residents. If Christie's veto of the Democracy Act was cynical politics at its worst, putting voting rights on the ballot would be democracy at its best.
Tell Congress: Protect, don’t disenfranchise millions of votersTwo years ago, in a split 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key component of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, allowing states with a history of voter discrimination to introduce voting laws, effectively disenfranchising millions of minority and low-income voters. The preclearance requirement would impact states that have implemented procedures requiring photo ID, birth certificates and other documentation; states which redistrict by “packing” communities of color and language minorities into a single district; and require states to provide fair and equitable distribution of voting equipment, poll workers and voting hour opportunities. The bill would also expand polling locations on Indian lands. Stand with Color of Change and People Demanding Action and tell your members of Congress: Support the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015, which protects millions of minority and low-income voters from laws meant to suppress the vote and disenfranchise voters.