- Afropunk Army
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- End The War on Black People
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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.
#SaveDemitriusDemitrius Manderfield is being tortured in a Michigan jail and may potentially die if he does not receive help. Demitrius is 20-years-old and is suffering from the painful and chronic illness sickle beta thalassemia. He has not been convicted of any crime, yet has been caged behind bars for three months now. To make matters worse, he’s jailed at Midland Federal Correctional Facility and they have been denying him access to proper healthcare for three months now. His judge, Judith Levy, promised that she would release him for treatment if his medical needs weren’t being met in jail. But it’s been weeks and nothing has been done. His health is steadily declining and his family desperately needs your help. Jails in the United States are known to be danger zones for people with disabilities --especially Black folks. Sandra Bland, Darren Rainey, and Ralkina Jone have all died behind bars because jail workers and jail health practitioners have no empathy for Black people who are perceived as criminals. By refusing to provide chronically ill inmates with medical treatment, jails are literally sentencing people to the death penalty before a judge has even charged them with a crime. Demitirus’ court date is in 14 days, but his mother and family worry his illness may not even allow him to live long enough to stand before Judge Levy again.
End Walmart's Extortion Scams Today!Walmart has hired private companies like Turning Point Justice and Corrective Education Company (CEC) to implement their version of a “Restorative Justice” (RJ) program for suspected shoplifters in at least 1/3 of their U.S. stores. Walmart’s Restorative Justice Program first involves suspected shoplifters (SS) that are identified by a private security guard in participating RJ stores and are led to a back room. Once in the backroom, a private security guard collects information from the SS, takes their fingerprints and mugshot, and runs their information through a private database to determine their eligibility for the program. Eligibility for Walmart’s RJ Program may be based on several factors, including whether the SS is a repeat offender. Walmart’s RJ program is presented as a choice for first-time SS to enroll in and costs $400 if paid in full immediately, and $500 if paid in installments. Additional penalty charges apply for late payments. It appears some retailers that contract with CEC are given a cut of CEC’s fee, typically $40 per case, but there have been claims that retailers can make up to $100 per case. News sources report that suspected shoplifters have 90 days to complete the 6-8 hour computer-based program and pay all fees, or they may be sent to debt collectors.
Accused of Stealing from Walmart? Pay $500 or Go to Jail!Walmart is the largest employer in the nation, with over 1.5 million U.S. employees. In Minnesota alone, there are 69 Walmart locations. In fiscal year 2016, Walmart made $14.7 billion in profits, yet still relies on taxpayer-funded law enforcement in their stores. In 2016, Twin Cities-area Walmart stores made 4,958 calls for police service at a cost of more than $3 million to local taxpayers .Walmart’s solution to offsetting this cost to taxpayers is to hire private precharge companies like Corrective Education Company (CEC) to implement Walmart’s “Restorative Justice” program for suspected shoplifters. This program is currently in one third of all Walmart U.S. stores. CEC's program allows for a private security guard to identify a suspected shoplifter, lead them to a back room, collect their information, take their fingerprints and mugshot, and run their personal information through a private database to determine if they are eligible for their program. Eligibility for CEC's program is based on several factors, including whether the suspected shoplifter is a first time or repeat offender. CEC’s program is presented as a choice to enroll in and costs $400 if paid in full ($500 if in payments). The suspected shoplifter must sign an admission of guilt, which can be turned over to the police at any time by the retailer if the person does not complete the program or pay the fee in full. There are additional penalty charges for late payments and failure to pay can result in CEC turning information over to debt collection. Some retailers that contract with CEC are given a percentage of CEC’s fee, typically $40 per case, but there have been claims that retailers can make up to $100 per case. Criticism of this program is extensive, including claims that this program violates constitutional due process, utilizes coercion and extortion tactics, and employs racial profiling to identify suspected shoplifters. There is also concern over CEC’s private database that maintains all personal information for each suspected shoplifter “indefinitely.” In November 2015, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera sued CEC for extortion, unfair business practices, false imprisonment, and more. The case is set to go to trial in October 2017.
Gov. Dayton: Protect Local Control, Veto Preemption!HF 600 / SF 580, taken directly from the playbook of corporate lobbyists, would greatly harm our democracy by preventing local governments from addressing the issues facing their communities. Cities need to be able to pass laws that meet their communities' diverse needs -- and only local government can address many of these needs. This bill is a blatant attempt to limit the power of workers of color, who have been organizing for and winning real gains in our cities to close our worst-in-the-nation racial disparities. And it has real consequences. It would roll back sick time protections for over 150,000 workers, making those workers once again have to choose between a paycheck and caring for their health and family. Communities have diverse needs that only local government can respond to. It's wrong for corporate interests to have final say when it's local families and communities that will suffer the consequences. Local governments know their communities best and must be able to make decisions for their communities. We call on Governor Dayton to veto the "local preemption" bill to protect our democracy and our families.
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
End Cash Bail In PhillyWe must end cash bail if we want to significantly decrease Philadelphia's overreliance on incarceration. Every day, there are thousands of people held in Philadelphia's jails solely because they cannot afford to pay for their release. Over 75% of people in Philadelphia's county jails are being held pretrial, often for many months, denying their fundamental right of the presumption of "innocent until proven guilty". Removing this barrier of cash bail allows a person to pursue their own legal defense while minimizing potential collateral consequences of their arrest. As bail reform sweeps the country, we want to see our city step up and put an end to the human rights violation of cash bail. The Department of Justice has already announced that our nation's current money bail system is unconstitutional, and our neighbors are leading the way for us -- New Jersey recently passed comprehensive bail reform policies, and Washington DC ended their use of cash bail years ago. Other cities have successfully changed their pre-trial detention process without an adverse impact on public safety, while at the same time protecting the rights of the accused and providing accountability to ensure appearance in court. Cash bail only serves as a tool of oppression against the poor and against Black and Brown people who are disproportionately impacted, and perpetuates the machine of mass incarceration. We believe nobody should have to pay for their freedom, and we urge Philadelphia City Council, Mayor Kenney and the District Attorney's Office to take action now to put an end to cash bail.
Free The Children of Kiarre HarrisIn November of 2016, Kiarre Harris, an African-American single mother, chose to homeschool her children and remove them from a failing school in Buffalo, New York. Ms. Harris properly withdrew her children from the public school and fully complied with NYS regulations regarding homeschooling. The Buffalo Public Schools District notified Child Protective Services that the children were not attending school. Without the knowledge or notice to Ms. Harris, Child Protective Services secured a removal order from a Family Court Judge---based on educational neglect. When police first notified Ms. Harris of the removal order (which they did not provide a copy of), Ms. Harris refused to turn her children over to the police. She was arrested for obstruction. Two days later, on January 18, 2017 the children of Ms. Harris were taken away from her and placed into foster care. An ongoing Family Court has now been triggered and Ms. Harris has been granted only limited supervised visitation of her two children. This entire incident began with Ms. Harris' decision to homeschool her children and the Buffalo School District calling Child Protective Services with baseless allegations of educational neglect. Jailing a mother who has complied with the law; taking her children away, and subjecting the family to ongoing legal proceedings can not be allowed to happen. This sends a chilling message to parents who choose to fight for the betterment of their children's education. We need to make it clear: the policies and practices of the Erie County unit of Child Protective Services are racially discriminatory and adversely impact parents of poor and minority children. Kiarre Harris should be admired for doing all in her power to make sure her children have the best education possible. #KiarraHarris #HandsOffHarrisChildren
Demand Mayor Bowser discipline officers who beat, arrested & overcharged inauguration day protestorsOn January 20th, 30 Black activists from the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) took a stand against Donald Trump's bigotry and hatred. As an organizer with Black Lives Matter DC it was an honor to help blockade an entrance to Trump’s inauguration, making it impossible for racist Trump supporters to hear their KKK endorsed President spew his hateful rhetoric. On that day, as we were joined by a multiracial coalition of chosen family, movement family, and allies, I knew that this was both the culmination of three years of organizing and the start of something even more beautiful and powerful than what we've seen recently. In the past few weeks, as thousands of people in this country are becoming politicized, radicalized, and moved to action in ways they never have before, I am more confirmed in faith that the resistance will only continue to build. We have to make sure this protest continues, and I know it will, so does Trump, Mayor Bowser, and the Metro Police Department which is exactly why on Inauguration day the Metro Police Department carried out random mass arrests of more than 200 people- including medics, legal observers and journalists- and took the extraordinary step of charging them with a felony rioting statute that hasn’t been used in DC in more than 25 years. A felony record can have grave consequences for a person’s future including being denied loans, refused jobs and in many states denied the right to vote. We know that these draconian enforcements are no surprise from Trump who tweeted that burning the american flag, a legal act, should be punished with “perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail”. We also know that this type of policing is the status quo for the Metro Police Department and Mayor Bowser, under whose watch police have continued to terrorize youth in Black Communities. Bowser is known to talk about defending rights and market herself as a progressive Mayor, however she does this only when it suits her. Join us in demanding that Mayor Muriel Bowser pick a side- will she enable Trump's hateful, fascists agenda by suppressing dissent in the District of Columbia or will she permit protests to his regime. Charging protestors with a felony riot statue was a strategic tactic used with the hopes of scaring people and to discourage dissent. Felony rioting is rarely used and is a severe statute in DC law that carries up to 10 years in prison. The last time this many people were charged with felony rioting in D.C was when MLK was assassinated- making it very clear to what Trump wants to do to the country when he says “make america great again”. At the Women’s March Mayor Bowser denounced Trump saying that she wants him and the federal government to “leave us alone” however, as she stated this most of the 200 inauguration day protesters were still held in jail. Despite her rhetoric she is taking the side of Trump by refusing to protect the right to protest in her city. As we continue our resistance to Trump we need to demand that Mayor Bowser is either with us or against us, with a Trump administration there are no sidelines for politicians, they can no longer flip flop, they are either with the people, with Black people, or with Trump. Due to her previous record it is not surprising that Mayor Bowser has allowed this to happen in her city but if she continues to do this we will make it clear that she is siding with Trump, and allowing Trump's vision of America to reign in her city. Demand D.C Mayor Bowser pick a side! This week we are gearing up for demonstrations on President's Day, a National Holiday to honor those that serve as President, however, Donald Trump is not our President and we will be in the streets making that clear! We need you to take action now so that when President's Day comes on Monday Mayor Bowser knows that we are watching her and demanding that the Metro Police Department no longer charge protestors with any form of crime while simultaneously demanding that all charges are dropped for the inauguration day protestors. We will not allow Mayor Bowser and the Metro Police Department continue in their efforts to normalize their use of teargassing, throwing concussion grenades, aggressive beating of protestors, or mass arrests. While we know these tactics aren't new they are exactly what Trump envisions and we must fight back! Still it is important to remember that these overcharging fear tactics, carried out by Mayor Bowser’s D.C police, are an extension of the policing that Black communities in DC have faced for years. People in power have the ability to change public perception of what is normal but we can not let them do that. Join me in demanding Mayor Muriel Bowser have her police department drop all charges for inauguration day protestors, that she discipline the Metro Police Department Officers who teargassed, aggressively beat, and arrested protestors, and that moving forward the Metro Police Department will no longer charge protesters with anything, because protesting is not a crime! Thanks you, Aaron Goggans Black Lives Matter D.C
Block Neil Gorsuch from the Supreme CourtThe next Supreme Court Justice should be someone who we can depend on to uphold the rights’ of all Americans regardless of race, gender, religion, and legal status. Trump has shown such contempt for the power of the judiciary and the concept of checks and balances that we know he will prioritize judges who will defend his fascist white supremacist orders, constitutional or not. Gorsuch has been a long contender against the Affordable Care Act and reproductive rights. Neil Gorsuch authored the ruling, which the Supreme Court upheld, allowing Hobby Lobby to exclude the coverage of contraceptives under the Affordable Care Act and rescind the rights of over 13,000 of their employees. In Utah, he sided with Governor Gary Herbert’s attempt to defund Planned Parenthood. Gorsuch has protected police officers who are guilty and has given them more power to search people. After a school resource officer used a painful twist-lock on a 9 year old boy who stole an iPad, Neil Gorsuch issued a joint ruling that the officer didn’t use excessive force on the child. In 2013 Gorsuch ruled that in the death of Ryan Wilson of Lafayette, Colorado that the police officer who murdered him from a blow to the head with a stun gun did not use excessive force. Neil Gorsuch doesn’t understand what excessive force means and will stand with police no matter what their crime is. Trump's early weeks in office show that he plans to stop enforcing civil rights and further escalate the war on Black people, locking us up at higher and higher rates, placing unconstitutional travel bans on our community, and even hinting at martial law. He refuses to accept an independent judiciary, and will only pick judges that allow him to ram through his unconstitutional agenda. Minnesota's senators, Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar, are both on the judiciary committee and will be able to help shape his confirmation process. Tell them to filibuster his nomination.
Stop Shaming Our Communities, Take People's Mugshots Off Of FacebookWe've just learned that the Philadelphia Police Department is putting mugshots of people charged with crimes - almost exclusively accused of selling drugs - on their Special Operations Facebook page. This is a public shaming of Black people, and other marginalized people, who have only been charged with a crime, and follows a long history of law enforcement abusing community trust to imply guilt before trial. Each close-up photograph, tagged with the person's name, age, race, gender, and where they were arrested - is fully public, available for searching and sharing, and available for nasty and ridiculing Facebook comments.This maintains a steady drumbeat of fear for the continued criminalization of our communities! Public shaming of people charged with crimes is an invasion of their privacy, keeps no one safe, and it is not a way that police departments can build trust with the communities they are sworn to protect and defend. Shaming people charged with crimes on social media technologies puts them and their families at risk of major harassment and injury, both online and off. Posting mugshots of people who are only charged with crimes also contribute to biased thinking that implies guilt simply through contact with a racist criminal justice system - especially when shared with social media. While the legislature seeks to protect police who use their weapons, the police themselves are violating the privacy of our communities - in ways that no way protect or expand public safety. Pennsylvania public officials have pushed to keep private the identities of police officers who use their weapons in the line of duty. The statehouse wants to protect officers who use force from the prejudice and shaming that they are weaponizing against Black people. While the Pennsylvania legislature seek to protect those who should be held to a higher standard, the Philadelphia Police Department is putting mugshots of people accused of crimes into a social media spotlight that can only hurt them and their families This kind of public shaming has no place in our communities!
#StopGimenez And Stand Against Hatred & Racism in Miami-Dade CountyWe won’t stand for hatred and racism in our city. Last week, Trump signed an executive order threatening to withhold federal money from “sanctuary cities,” cities that do not use their resources to enforce national immigration laws. Trump wants a world where any officer or municipal employee can ask about a person's immigration status. Miami-Dade County became the first county to bow to Trump as Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez signed his own executive order directing county jails to “fully cooperate” with Trump’s orders. Miami is the poster child for the touted diversity of the United States, holding the second largest number of immigrants in the country. We must protect our communities and our families from these dangerous and divisive orders. Tell the Miami-Dade County Commission to stand up against Mayor Gimenez and Trump. Because of racism and mass incarceration, Black immigrants and immigrants from Caribbean and Central American countries are more likely to come in contact with police and U.S. Immigration and Customs (ICE) officials, get misdemeanor and felony conviction and thus increase their chances of being deported. We should crack down on developers who displace communities - not on immigrants and the people. We cannot continue business as usual, we must hold our elected officials accountable now. In 2013, the county commission adopted a resolution directing the mayor to not honor detention requests unless the federal government would be paying for the jail time. Commissioners had it right the first time. Tell the county commission: #StopGimenez, stand against Trump, and reinstate the county commission policy of no detainers. The commission will meet this Tuesday, February 7th, but commissioners haven’t revealed any attempt to overturn the mayor’s order. Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava has hinted at revisiting the policy. Take a stand for all immigrants. Sign the petition. This country was founded by people seeking refuge from political and religious persecution. Immigrants, along with native people and people of color, helped to build this country. Now they are being told that they have no place here. Let’s take a stand and demand the county commission fight and resist Mayor Gimenez and Trump. To: Commissioner Dennis Moss, Commissioner Sally Heyman, Comissioner Barbara Jordan and Comissioner Bruno Barreiro CC: Mayor Gimenez