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Justice for Ville Platte Pedestrians"A Ville Platte man and two teenagers are recovering after all three were hit by a truck. However, they are facing charges, and the driver isn't. Police have fined the three for not wearing reflective clothing at night and charged them with obstructing a public passage." From a story by Kendria LaFleu at KATC an ABC affiliate. Twenty-one-year-old Deonte Williams, 19-year-old Cody Mayes and 17-year-old Kevin Wilson need justice. If you're a victim of a crash, you shouldn't be the one charged with a crime. The fact that they are being charged with a crime after a crash is a gross miscarriage of justice. Charges need to be dropped on the two teenagers and young man, the laws and ordinances that is allowing for charges and fines need to be struck from the books, and Ville Platte needs to actively apply for Complete Streets funding, since clearly there are serious street design issues if people are being mandated to wear reflective gear for walking. My name is Teka-Lark Lo I am an alternative transportation advocate in New York City. My focus is Complete Streets for hypersegregated communities. The Black community has historically been and continues to be home to the most hypersegregated communities in the United States. We do not have equity in many areas, including areas of active transportation, such as walking and bicycling. I am joined with longtime Ville Platte Civil Rights Activist Arthur James Sampson Jr. and the NAACP Lafayette, La Branch # 6060. We all deserve the freedom to walk and bike in our communities without fear of being run over and charged with a crime. This situation is a clear example of transportation injustice. The Ville Platte, Louisiana, Police Department (VPPD) and the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office (EPSO) was found by the Department of Justice in December of 2016 "to engage in a pattern or practice of conduct that violates the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution" and instead of its politicians condemning the police and sheriff for such behavior they support and encourage it and actively use the police and sheriff for punitively enforcing mobility limiting and Civil Right violating policies, such as the walking curfew and mandating reflective clothing when walking. Regardless of where you're Black, whether it be in the metropolitan cities of Los Angeles & New York or in rural Ville Platte, Louisiana, you deserve justice. You deserve #TransportationEquity #BicycleEquity. Give Transportation Equity to Ville Platte. Help the citizens of Ville Platte walk home without fear of being run over by a truck and charged with a crime. Tell Mayor Vidrine to drop the charges against Deonte Williams, Cody Mayes, and Kevin Wilson.
Support the Charlottesville to DC March to confront white supremacy!Can't march or make it to Washington DC? Sign up here to support the march and civil disobedience campaign from wherever you are! We are marching from Charlottesville to Washington DC to demonstrate our commitment to confronting white supremacy wherever it is found. It's clear that we can no longer wait for Donald Trump or any elected official to face reality and lead. We are coming together to reckon with America’s long history of white supremacy, so that we can begin to heal the wounds of our nation. This is the time for us to stand up for justice and equality. This is the time to confront white supremacy in our government and throughout our history. We demand that President Trump to be removed from office for allying himself with this ideology of hate and we demand an agenda that repairs the damage it's done to our country and its people.
Investigate the Bail Bond Industry in New YorkDear Governor Cuomo and Attorney General Schneiderman, Each year in New York State, as many as 100,000 people are imprisoned for their inability to afford bail. For some families, the only way to buy a loved one’s release from jail is through the for-profit commercial bail bond industry. The commercial bail bond industry is inherently exploitative, and bail agents take advantage of lax regulations to gouge vulnerable consumers in a moment of crisis, desperate to get a loved one out of jail. They charge a nonrefundable fee of about 10 percent of the bond amount, may require unlimited amounts of collateral, and often impose onerous and invasive check-in requirements as well as illegal fees and conditions. No one should be profiting off the hardship of others, or relying on people in jail for a revenue stream. The commercial bail bond industry is highly profitable, in large part because it is virtually unregulated, leaving unscrupulous bail agents free reign. Bail corporations prey on some of our most vulnerable communities that have the least political power- specifically people of color and those too poor to afford a lawyer. Similar to payday loans, the bail industry extracts millions of dollars a year from the neighborhoods that can least afford it. Bail bondsmen are lobbying elected officials regularly to ensure that bail and mass incarceration remain the status quo. However, we are fighting back and we’re gaining momentum. With an investigation into this industry, the Governor and Attorney General will have the opportunity to expose an industry that is working to hurt their constituents. The bail bond industry has corrupted our constitutional freedoms for the purpose of profit. By investigating the bail bond industry the state of New York can unwind one of the most unjust aspects of the criminal justice system. By signing the petition you will be telling Gov. Cuomo that we will no longer allow the bail bond industry to prey on Black communities without any oversight. Due to how vulnerable of a position people are placed in when being in jail for even a short amount of time the bail bond industry is using this as an opportunity to make huge profits off the backs of poor people. Investigate the bail bond industry today! Thank you, Brooklyn Community Bail Fund and VOCAL-NY
Rename Washington-Lee High SchoolMany Americans have been beginning a conversation about our nation’s living wounds. It's clear that too many are ignorant of our country’s history. And this past week has shown that a small minority of white nationalists are increasingly comfortable with publicly stirring up the worst aspects in American society by pitting Americans against each other. To these white nationalists, Robert E. Lee represents their deep commitment to racial hierarchy. When three of his slaves escaped, Lee whipped them and had their backs washed with stinging brine. Lee ordered his Confederate soldiers to respect white property, but declared that any black people they encountered -- regardless of their previous ‘status’ -- were to be seized and returned to the South to be sold into slavery. At the Battle of the Crater, Lee’s Army even killed black prisoners of war. This is the history we honor when we name our school after Robert E. Lee -- and why white nationalists felt so threatened by the removal of his statue in Charlottesville. We must understand the stakes too. Arlington should not shy away from taking a clear stand on this issue. It's up to our civic leaders and institutions to take steps toward reconciling and repairing our nation's living wounds where we can make a difference. Washington-Lee High School should be renamed in order to emphatically reject the doctrine of white supremacy and so that we can move toward creating a school, county and country that truly belongs to all who call it home. If the President of the United States is unwilling to provide the leadership our country needs, then we must provide it ourselves. The story of our nation has always been a struggle over who America belongs to: the chosen few, or all of us? This is what is at stake when we honor the leaders of the Confederacy. Which side of that struggle will we honor? Germans don't honor Nazi soldiers; South Africans don't honor those who held up Apartheid. But Americans still honor Robert E. Lee and countless other Confederates who raised up a new flag and started a rebellion against the United States of America. Why? Let's take concrete steps toward living up to our best traditions and creating a nation where we all feel like we belong and where "We, the People" includes all of us. This is our historic responsibility as Americans in this moment in our history. Rename Washington-Lee High School.
Implement the People’s Demands for California’s Proposition 57!Last November, Californians overwhelmingly passed Prop 57 with 64% of the vote. Among other things, Prop 57 expands credit earning opportunities for most people in California prisons and allows people convicted of nonviolent offenses to be eligible for early parole consideration. On July 14, 2017, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) released its draft “Regular Regulations,” which outline how they plan to implement this proposition. While there are many good things in the proposed regulations, such as increased credit opportunities for good behavior and completion of educational and rehabilitative programs, we are concerned that many aspects of the proposed regulations are far too narrow and exclude too many groups of people from opportunities for rehabilitation or early parole consideration. So, Initiate Justice conducted a survey of more than 2,000 incarcerated people to get their input on how they think Prop 57 should be implemented, since these rules will have direct impacts on their lives. Based on those survey results, and in collaboration with Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB), developed the following recommendations: 1. Include Third Strikers in the non-violent early parole: The proposed regulations state that any person who is “Condemned, incarcerated for a term of life without the possibility of parole, or incarcerated for a term of life with the possibility of parole” is not eligible for nonviolent early parole consideration under Prop 57. We strongly believe that this population should not be excluded from this opportunity. The language of Prop 57 states: “Any person convicted of a non-violent felony offense and sentenced to state prison shall be eligible for parole consideration after completing the full term for his or her primary offense” and that “the full term for the primary offense means the longest term of imprisonment imposed by the court for any offense, excluding the imposition of an enhancement, consecutive sentence, or alternative sentence.” Since a Third Strike is considered an alternative sentence under California state law, it is clear that the voters enacted legislation that included Third Strikers in the nonviolent early parole process. 2. Allow all people in prison to earn 50% good time credits: The proposed Prop 57 regulations increase good time credits on a graduated scale, depending on the offense the person was convicted of. People serving time for a violent offense will see an increase from 15% to 20% good time credit; people serving time for a serious offense under the Three Strikes Law will see an increase from 20% to 33.3%; and people currently serving time for a non-serious or nonviolent offense will see an increase from 33.3% to 50%. We believe that the incentive for good conduct should be uniform across the board, by equally rewarding all people who remain disciplinary-free, regardless of their conviction. The length of one’s sentence already reflects the severity of the offense, so we do not believe it is necessary to further punish people by limiting their access to good time credits as well. 3. Make all good time credit earning retroactive: The proposed Prop 57 regulations state that good time credits will be prospective beginning May 1, 2017. We believe this is unjust and fails to recognize the many incarcerated people who have remained disciplinary-free for years without increased incentives. This recommendation is consistent with criminologist James Austin’s 2013 declaration in response to the Three Judge Panel order to reduce CDCR’s population. Here, Austin recommended that all credit earning be retroactive and found that this recommendation could be “implemented without having an impact on public safety or the operation of the state or local criminal justice systems. In fact, they would provide large cost savings that could be used to offset any local criminal justice costs and increase the level of effective programs at the state and local levels.” 4. Award retroactive Education Merit Credits for each achievement: Award 6-month credit for every vocation, college degree, and G.E.D. obtained by people in prison. Imprisoned people should be able to get at least 6 months off per year per academic and vocational achievement retrospectively since many have completed multiple associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees and certification programs. Educational advancement has been shown to be one of the top factors in reducing the recidivism rate and should be treated with as much importance while further incentivizing people to enroll in academic and vocational programs. 5. Allow people with a Youth Offender / Elderly Parole Date to earn time off their earliest parole date: The expanded Good Time and Milestone credits made possible should apply to these Youth Offender Parole or Elder Parole Hearing dates, not their original sentence. SB 260 and SB 261 were passed by the Legislature recognizing that many young people were victims of extreme sentencing; therefore, credit earning opportunities made possible by Prop 57 should be applied to their amended hearing dates in order to ensure that participation in rehabilitative programming and remaining disciplinary-free are adequately incentivized. Additionally, Elder Parole is a program that seeks to meet the court deadline to reduce the prison population. Every incarcerated person who wrote to us expressed deep willingness to embrace their rehabilitation—if given the opportunity to do so. The opportunities presented to people inside will help set them up for success once they are released, and this will ultimately create safer communities for all. Therefore, we request CDCR incorporate these recommendations in drafting the Prop 57 regulations.
Take Them Down! No Confederate Statues in the US CapitolUpdate: Trump has spent his morning tweeting praise to Confederate memorials as being beautiful. Let's be clear, Trump is speaking of white supremacy when he praises the "culture" of men who committed treason against the United States in order to continue a society based upon enslaving Black men, women, and children. Trump is desperately tweeting because he sees the writing on the wall: these symbols of hate are coming down across the country. Senator Cory Booker just announced that he is introducing a resolution to meet our demands: removing all Confederate statues from the US Capitol. Join us in pushing back against Trump's open advocacy for white supremacy and support Senator Booker's resolution to remove these Confederate statues from the United States Capitol Hill Statuary Hall. Sign my petition today. Below you will find my original message: Following the acts of white supremacist terrorism in Charlottesville, congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle made statements condemning the violence. Paul Ryan wrote, "The views fueling the spectacle in Charlottesville are repugnant. Let it only serve to unite Americans against this kind of vile bigotry," and Ted Cruz wrote in a statement "...white supremacists are repulsive and evil, and all of us have a moral obligation to speak out against the lies, bigotry, anti-Semitism, and hatred that they propagate." These words ring hollow when Confederate leaders are enshrined with honor in the statuary hall at the US Capitol. Men who committed treason against the United States to keep Black people enslaved should not be in the most hallowed halls of government. Join us and tell members of Congress to remove the Confederates from the Capitol. Thousands of white supremacists gather across the country and commit violent acts of terror and intimidation in the name of these Confederate symbols. These people have been emboldened by Trump who continues to promote racism and signal his approval to white supremacists. While Trump has inflamed these white supremacists, the statues honoring Confederates in the halls of the United States Congress are proof that white nationalism has long needed to be confronted in America. Together we can help kick the Confederates out of the Capitol and send a strong message to white nationalists and Trump. After the terrorism of Charlottesville, we can no longer silently allow the Confederacy and its cause to keep Black Americans enslaved to be honored in the halls of Congress.
Boycott the Breakfast Club until Public Apology is Issued to Janet Mock & Trans CommunityTrans women of color are most often the people at center of and leading these social justice movements - whether it be for LGBTQ rights, Black Lives Matter, or Women's rights and yet they are the ones who are most often ignored both by lawmakers and by people within these movements. Trans actress Amiyah Scott from Fox's "Star" while discussing the recent death of one of her close friends on Janet Mock's podcast "Never Before with Janet Mock" echoed this sentiment saying, "We're black, trans and women....that's 3 different battles that I don't think people even realize and I wish that we got the support across the board like we give support. Like you know what I mean? We're there at a black lives matter march, we're there at a women's march, but who's going to stand for us at a trans march?" Last year was the deadliest year on record for the murders of transgender people, with 3 out of 4 of those murders being trans women of color. And these statistics are not even complete due to the denial of most trans people's existence by law enforcement and unsupportive family members alike. Lil Duval's comments on the Breakfast Club perpetuates the belief that trans women's identities are not valid and as such they are not entitled to the same rights and protections that we should all be granted. So far the Breakfast Club has mostly avoided addressing the subject of Trans women's safety, particularly the safety of trans women of color, by saying that those were the words and opinions of their guest on the show and not held by any of the hosts or producers of the show. Laughing along when someone is joking about killing trans women or doing anything but unequivocally condemning such comments as hateful, prejudiced, and ignorant is a statement in itself. In not wanting to alienate the mostly masculine, transphobic audience that the Breakfast Club has attained they have remained silent on the issue. Until the Breakfast Club and its hosts release a statement in which they apologize for joking about the death of innocent trans women both to the entire trans community and to Janet Mock in particular (who was the actual woman that Lil Duval was referring to when he said "I don't care: she dying") we must boycott the show to show them that this is not ok and will NOT be tolerated. This boycott should be enacted both by listeners of the Breakfast Club as well as guests who are scheduled to appear on the show. For more information on this subject please read: - https://www.allure.com/story/janet-mock-response-the-breakfast-club-trans-women - https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/06/us/black-transgender-lil-duval.html?smid=tw-nytimes&smtyp=cur&_r=3
Tell Gov. Cuomo: Return Racist Donor's Money"The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman,” Malcolm X once stated. Fifty-five years later, women leaders of color are still under attack, from Congresswoman Maxine Waters and Senator Kamala Harris, to the racism and Islamophobia launched at the women of color that co-chaired the Women’s March. As a Black Muslim woman, mother of 7 daughters and 2 granddaughters, I will not sit idly by and allow attacks on Black and Brown women to continue. And now a hedge fund billionaire has accused the highest ranking African American elected official — the highest-ranking African-American woman to hold elected office in the history of New York State — of being worse than the Ku Klux Klan. As reported in the New York Times on August 10, Dan Loeb, one of the wealthiest men in America, launched a viciously racist attack against New York State Democratic Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, saying she has done “more damage to people of color than anyone who has ever donned a hood.” Loeb is a hedge fund billionaire who has contributed over $170,000 to Governor Cuomo’s campaign accounts, according to The New York Times, and this does not even include pass-through donations from political action committees. This attack on Senator Stewart-Cousins is nothing new for him. From public education to the economy, Loeb has repeatedly used his wealth to promote an agenda that has devastated communities of color and working families. Governor Andrew Cuomo positioning himself to run for President in 2020. If Cuomo wants us to believe he has what it takes to challenge Donald Trump and his racist worldview, he needs to have the political courage to break ranks with Loeb now! If he wants have Democratic Party support, he needs to stand with the most important and dedicated bloc of Dem voters: Black women! There is no place for Cuomo’s alliance with Dan Loeb in American politics. From the State House to the White House, from Main Street to Wall Street, NO MORE! Join me in demanding that Governor Cuomo immediately break all ties with Loeb, and refund every dollar he has ever received from Loeb and from political action committees that Loeb finances.
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.