- 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
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.
Kick Killer Cops Out of Our Community! Tell MPD To Fire The Gun Recovery Unit!On August 9, 2017, Law for Black Lives–DC members viewed a publicly-posted photograph of seventeen members of the Metropolitan Police Department’s Gun Recovery Unit (GRU), including Officer Michael Vaillancourt inside of what appears to be an MPD stationhouse in police-issued uniforms and tactical gear. The GRU officers are proudly posing in front of a disturbing logo threatening the residents of the District of Columbia with violence and murder. District of Columbia (“D.C.”) residents have seen members of the Gun Recovery Unit, prominently displaying this murderous logo on their police uniforms while armed, patrolling the community, stopping and frisking individuals, and effectuating arrests. Some of these same officers have been seen wearing hooded sweatshirts printed with this violent logo inside of the DC Superior Courthouse while waiting to testify in criminal cases. Perhaps nothing makes this logo more abhorrent and repulsive than placing it in its appropriate context: Gun Recovery Unit members have been responsible for the recent shootings of Raphael Briscoe, Darius Jamal Murphy, and Mark George; tragically killing both Mr. Briscoe and Mr. Murphy. According to the Metropolitan Police Department’s Annual Reports, between 2009 and 2015, twenty-nine people have been killed and twenty-eight have been injured by the intentional firearm discharge of an MPD police officer. After police shootings and killings, MPD often demands that the community not rush to judgment. It is unconscionable for the MPD to expect the benefit of the doubt when their officers shoot and kill Black and Brown citizens while boldly wearing a logo reflecting their cavalier attitudes towards police brutality and murder. The disturbing Gun Recovery Unit logo prominently features a skull and crossbones, universally understood to be a symbol of death. Through the center of the skull is a single bullet hole—indicating the individual had been shot in the T-zone, a virtual guarantee of death on the first shot. Directly above the skull and crossbones are not one, but two handguns, with handcuffs on either side of the image. Below the image of the skull is a flag reading “vest up one in the chamber”—an admonition to officers to put on a bulletproof vest and to load their firearm with a bullet in the chamber, ready to shoot civilians. By placing “NSID” (the acronym for the Narcotics and Special Investigations Division of MPD) and the “Gun Recovery Unit” on the graphic, the logo clearly sends the message that the Metropolitan Police Department endorses the message captured in the logo. The use of this logo is part of a broader campaign designed to inflict terror on low-income communities of color. For the longest, community members have voiced their fear of the Gun Recovery Unit and concern with their policing tactics. For many in the community, the Gun Recovery Unit has become synonymous with “jump outs”—a policing tactic involving officers literally jumping out of unmarked vehicles, often with their weapons drawn, to illegally stop individuals without justification. “Jump outs” happen at any time, leaving individuals with no recourse against them. This maligned practice ensures that Black and Brown communities live amidst intimidation and an ever-present threat of violence because, as the community well knows, and these officers proudly announce, the officers are “vest[ed] up, [with] one in the chamber.” This provides corroboration to what communities of color in DC have long experienced—the policing of their community through intimidation and violence leading to the killing of community members at the hands of the police. On behalf of a number of community organizations and community members, Law4BlackLives-DC has formally filed complaints with both the Internal Affairs Division of the Metropolitan Police Department and the Office of Police Complaints regarding this logo and the message it propagates. This logo explicitly associates MPD with threats of death, violence, and the celebration of a climate of police brutality. We are asking concerned community members to let Mayor Bowser know that she must step in to check this culture for the people of Washington D.C. We also ask that the Office of Police Complaints and the Metropolitan Police Department conduct a thorough investigation into all threats of violence and murder by members of MPD against the residents of the District of Columbia. Officers who endorse and flaunt symbols of violence and murder are a threat to public safety. Silence by Mayor Bowser, the Metropolitan Police Department and the Office of Police Complaints is nothing less than a full endorsement of this logo’s murderous message. Further inaction makes the Mayor, MPD, and OPC complicit in the killing of Black and Brown people by the police. Thank you, Law4BlackLives-DC
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!
Fund Public Transit: People of the CityUnderfunding public transportation forces poor residents to own a car in order to work, shop, or take their children to school. With proper funding and regular routes along main streets the city can benefit Black communities by making it much less expensive to live here. If public transportation is properly funded, then more working citizens in the Black community will have access to quality education for their children and a more stable living condition altogether. We need proper funding for everyone, for the city to operate better at large. Support this petition for a good example of a powerful narrative that highlights an impact on the Black community.
Tell Congress: Transgender Americans Deserve Protection from Hate CrimesThe National Center for Transgender Equality reports that, according to its figures, between August 2013 to August 2015, around 33 trans women have been killed across the U.S. Investigating that further, the majority of those victims have been women of color, specifically Black women. The NCTE goes on to say that in every case where a perpetrator has been identified, all have been men. According to the NTCE: “Yet, what is clear is that transgender women are killed at a disproportionate rate compared to their overall number in the population (less than one percent). The national homicide rate is 4.7 per 100,000—yet at a little more than halfway through the year, we have seen at least 11 killings among an estimated 350,000 adult trans women, almost all of them among trans women of color, who probably number fewer than 135,000.1 Whether they were killed by a date or a boyfriend, a neighbor or acquaintance, a complete stranger, or by a client while engaged in sex work, their transgender status almost always plays a role in why they are targeted and the brutality directed against them. ”In the United States, as in other Western countries, misogyny is still a huge problem. While this often creates subtle biases that manifest in non-lethal ways, such as fewer education and employment options for women, it also underpins intimate partner violence, rape and violent murders. When we have politicians and even judges who routinely overlook violence and exploitation of women, and treat violating women for the purposes of fighting abortion as a matter of collateral damage, we do not tackle that misogyny but give it room to grow. In addition, there is no escaping that the United States still has a serious problem with race. For trans women, who already face transphobia and the sexualization and objectification of their bodies, racial prejudice can compound the difficulties they face and prevent them from being able to get help when they need it. For example, after the death of Sandra Black in police custody, many women of color voiced their feeling that they wouldn’t feel safe talking to a police officer. Imagine adding that to the fact that trans women have been arrested for simply being trans–under the guise of “manifesting prostitution” among other trumped up charges–and we begin to see a huge gulf opening up between the public and the police who are meant to protect them. When trans people–of whatever gender or race–are assaulted, raped or murdered, they are routinely misgendered by both police and by the press. This means that tracking the numbers of trans people being murdered, and in particular being killed in a bias motivated attack, is incredibly difficult.
Tell police unions: stop defending Trump for encouraging police brutality.When Trump gave a speech encouraging police to brutalize suspects, the crowd of officers laughed and cheered. Police departments and law enforcement officials across the country responded by condemning Trump’s comments. But the Fraternal Order of Police -- the largest police union in the country -- defended Trump. So did the leader of Cleveland’s police union. Dozens of police unions across the country have remained completely silent, while their police chiefs speak out. Only two police unions have said anything that even comes close to disagreeing with Trump’s comments -- and their statements were weak and made excuses for Trump. Police unions have a long history of defending cops who brutalize, kill, and abuse their power. They fight against common sense reforms and any kind of accountability for police. Now, on top of that, they’re sending a dangerous message to the police officers that make up their membership -- that cops should be even more violent than they already are. It threatens the communities that police are sworn to serve and protect, and it puts officers themselves in more danger by further eroding trust in police. By calling them out, we can expose how police unions are cheerleaders and enablers of police brutality, and one of the biggest enemies of police accountability and reform. It’s the first step to reducing their political power, their ability stop the common sense policing reforms we desperately need, and their practice of shielding officers who brutalize, kill, and break the law.
Stand with Nissan workersThousands of Nissan auto workers in Canton, Mississippi—80 percent of whom are African-American—have had enough. They endure dangerous working conditions, bullying by management, punishing production demands, and long hours. That’s why Nissan workers will soon vote on whether to unionize, despite underhanded interference from management. The company is already waging an incredibly hostile campaign of intimidation and pressure against union supporters. Nissan has union representation at every one of its 45 manufacturing plants around the world, except for the three plants in the American South. Southern workers should not be denied the rights that all other Nissan workers around the globe can exercise. This campaign of intimidation and pressure from the company must end. Tell Nissan to stop standing in the way of its workers’ right to unionize!
Kick Racist Cops Out of Our Community! Tell MPD To Fire Officer Vincent Altiere!On June 2, 5, and 13, 2017, Officer Vincent Altiere, Badge #4440, of the Washington, DC Metropolitan Police Department, was seen in the DC community and at the DC Superior Court (where he was present to testify in a criminal case), wearing an offensive, racist, and threatening shirt. The shirt displays symbols of police harassment, hate, and death while prominently displaying the symbols and emblems of the Metropolitan Police Department. We're asking that you join us, together we can voice our extreme concern about this offensive shirt and demand that Mayor Bowser's administration, Metropolitan Police Department and the Office of Police Complaints take immediate disciplinary action against Officer Altiere and any other Officers who have worn this or similar shirts. Our effort is already having an effect, the Metropolitan Police Department has already stated that they're taking Officer Altiere off the street for the time being. We are also demanding that officials take proactive measures to address a department culture that allowed this type of misconduct to go unchecked. The shirt displays a “sun cross,” replacing the letter “O” of “PowerShift” with a notorious white supremacist symbol adopted by the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist hate groups. Immediately below is the image of the Grim Reaper, a personification of death in the form of a hooded skeleton, holding an assault rifle and a Metropolitan Police Department badge. Below, the shirt reads “Let me see that waistband jo,” referring to “jump outs” and the routine practice of demanding to see the waistbands of individuals, who are disproportionately young Black and Brown men, often for no legitimate reason. Given the prominent placement of MPD logos and a badge number, the shirt does not appear to be attributed to Officer Altiere alone, but instead, appears to have been designed for a group of officers associated with the MPD Seventh District. Ninety-five percent of the residents in MPD’s Seventh District are black and too many Seventh District residents have experienced harassment and abuse at the hands of the police. It is time for the leadership of this city to acknowledge and address the systemic violation of rights, and threat of violence to Black people here in Washington D.C. White supremacy and insinuated threats of death should never be associated with or tolerated in police departments who are sworn to protect and serve. Such ideologies are dangerous and demonstrate a blatant disregard for Black and Brown life. They are at the root of rampant police abuse and result in the unconstitutional terrorizing of Black and Brown communities and the callous murder of Black and Brown men and women at the hands of the police, both in Washington, DC and across the country. On behalf of a number of community organizations and community members, Law4BlackLives-DC has formally filed complaints with both the Internal Affairs Division of the Metropolitan Police Department and the Office of Police Complaints regarding this shirt and the message it propagates. The shirt stands alone as an affront to the community. It also embraces ongoing patterns of constitutional violations and constitutes a blatant disregard of MPD’s own general orders, including MPD General Orders 110.11, 201.26, 304.10, and 304.15. We are also asking concerned community members to let Mayor Bowser know that she must step in to check this culture for the people of Washington D.C. Such Officers are a threat to public safety and erode public trust in the police. Inaction by the Metropolitan Police Department, Office of Police Complaints, and the Mayor's office would be an endorsement of this shirt’s hateful message and an acceptance of a policing culture infected by racism and violence. We're going to keep pushing until we win substantive change, we won't rest until he is fired and everyone who has taken part in this disgraceful conduct is gone. Thank you, Law4BlackLives-DC
#ResignBrannigan : Hate Has No Home In Our Community, Palos Township!The hate rhetoric spewed on social media over the past few years by current Palos Township Trustee, Sharon Brannigan, is alarming. These false and misleading allegations, and the spewing of hateful, racist rhetoric, are not only concerning to the Arab and Muslim residents of the Township, but to all residents who value diversity and the many contributions our diverse communities bring to U.S. society. Ms. Brannigan launched her most recent assault on Middle Eastern students over social media, writing, “What is Palos doing? Why are all our schools filling with Middle East [sic] students without proper documentation?” In another post on Facebook, she wrote, “In the 3rd district here in Illinois, our demographics include 25% Muslims of which very few integrate within the communities keeping themselves and their activities hidden from the general population. Everywhere you turn, from Orland Park to Bridgeview, those numbers are increasing in leaps and bounds. We are allowing these people whether they have peaceful intentions or not into our country without question.” Make no mistake, hate rhetoric spewed from our elected officials during our current political climate is contributing to the spike of hate crimes against Arabs, Muslims, LatinX, Black, LGBTQIA and many other marginalized communities. We are demanding Brannigan’s immediate resignation, and are asking you to join us! Let's take a stand against hate and make it clear, Hate Has No Home In Our Community! #TakeOnHate #ResignBrannigan This effort is led by the Campaign To TAKE ON HATE along with AM Vote, Arab American Action Network (AAAN), Arab American Democratic Club, Arab American Family Services (AAFS), OrganizeFor powered by Color Of Change, Kiswani Law, P.C., along with concerned community members, residents and activists.
Don't Let Lynne Abraham Become Philly's Interim District AttorneyFormer District Attorney Seth Williams was convicted on multiple charges, and now is in jail awaiting sentencing. But in the months remaining of former District Attorney Seth Williams’ term, thousands of Philadelphians will be arrested by the police, arraigned and tried, and sentenced. This past electoral cycle made clear that Philadelphia’s history of mass incarceration - one made measurably worse by Abraham - is one that the vast majority of voters want to unwind. The Board of Judges, made up of 88 members of Philadelphia's Court of Common Pleas, will appoint an interim DA from the 14 candidates that have applied for the position - by the end of the week. One of the applicants is former District Attorney Lynne Abraham. Lynne Abraham not only earned her title of “Deadliest DA,” she was perversely proud of it. While in office, she obtained over 100 death sentences; a disproportionate number of those sentenced to die were Black. Many of her convictions are under question, and as a result of an era of overcharging and heavy sentencing that she helped create, Philadelphia is missing over 30,000 Black men. And Abraham’s office was notorious for prosecuting free speech protest with the heaviest charges. All of the candidates who vied for the Democratic and Republican nominations - and both of the candidates battling in the General election - have pointed to inequities and the need to decarcerate, here in the city with the highest per capita jail population of any big city in the United States. We pushed every candidate to hold themselves to a platform that keeps people in our communities, stops the targeting of kids, immigrants, and Black and Brown people, and promotes the kind of radical transparency on the workings of the DA office that Lynne Abraham fought. Survivors of crime who are looking for a DA’s office to respect their needs, and the thousands of people who will be prosecuted by the DA’s office in the next six months and their families, deserve a leader who will work toward decarceration, not someone with an extensive history of expanding mass incarceration in the poorest big city in America. Judges: please do not appoint Lynne Abraham to the District Attorney’s seat.
End Business Ties To R.KellyR.Kelly continues to profit off his music career with new business opportunities, despite the numerous allegations against him of sexual abuse against women. The investigation has shown that R. Kelly has been continuing his behavior as a sexual predator who targets teenagers for manipulation. This is the latest in a long documented history of incidents showing R. Kelly to be a sexual predator. R. Kelly's documented history as a sexual predator is long. He married Aaliyah when she was a teenager, he's been known to target young women at his former high school, and now Buzzfeed has exposed his continued manipulation, mental and emotional abuse of teenagers today. Despite this established, and documented history R. Kelly has recently been featured on award shows and releasing albums. Record companies still pay R.Kelly to make music, and venues are still booking this man to come onto their stage and recruit new victims. Enough, we can not allow corporations to sacrifice the well being of Black girls and women simply for profits. All companies must end their ties to R.Kelly and stop enabling this sexual predator.
Keep Pre-existing Conditions Covered under Health InsuranceThis affects everyone in the U.S. who rely and depend on proper health care for a sustainable life. Keeping pre-existing conditions covered under all insurance plans will stop people from being charged rates they can not afford. Making two markets for people who've had pre-existing conditions, and for people who have not would make insurance unaffordable for some, and useless for others. Anyone can become sick or injured, covering pre-existing conditions is the only way to make sure that we're all covered when we may need care. By taking away coverage for pre-existing conditions we're making insurance for everyone less useful. There's no reason to go back to the way things were with people getting thrown off of their insurance because of rescission. Keeping pre-existing conditions covered under our health insurance programs is important for Black folks. Our access to health care is important to battle the inequality in life outcomes that sees our people consistently dying younger than everyone else.