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#EndWarOnYouth: Justice for Woodland Hills StudentsOn Monday, April 3, 2017, Que'Chawn Wade, 14, was violently assaulted by Churchill police officer Steve Shaulis at Woodland Hills High School. Officer Shaulis publicly used derogatory slurs, put him in a chokehold, body slammed, and repeatedly punched Que'Chawn in the head, causing him to lose two teeth and sustain bruises and multiple lacerations to his face and neck. Instead of firing, arresting, and charging police officer Shaulis, the Churchill Police Department arrested and charged Que'Chawn. The Woodland Hills School District is notorious for police violence, child abuse, and for the criminalization of Black youth. In November of 2016, a student released a tape of Principal of Woodland Hills High School Kevin Murray threatening to punch him in the face. Principal Murray was allowed to return to the school as Principal in January 2017, just a few months before Que’Chawn was assaulted under his watch. But the student who taped the principal faces wiretapping charges. In 2015, a student was brutally assaulted and tased by Officer Shaulis while being held down by Principal Murray. We are clear that there is a war on Black youth. From the #AssaultAtSpringValley to the #AssaultAtWoodlandHills, school police, and the schools’ and districts’ compliance, reign terror on Black students. Without any justice for Que'Chawn, the Woodland School District, Allegheny County, and the state of Pennsylvania are sending a message to children and families, that we are disposable. Our families know police do not belong in schools. Hold police officer Steve Shaulis and Principal Kevin Murray accountable. End the war on youth.
Betsy DeVos has no place at our HBCUMy alma mater, Bethune-Cookman, a historically black university in Florida, has invited U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to deliver this year’s commencement speech and receive an honorary degree. But the policies DeVos pushes would have terrible consequences for future generations of Bethune-Cookman students—and for historically black colleges and universities themselves. Bethune-Cookman has historically served students from challenged backgrounds, with the lion’s share of these students coming from public schools throughout America. But DeVos is no fan of public education, calling our public schools a “dead end,” and using millions of dollars of her family fortune to promote private school vouchers; unregulated, for-profit charter schools; and other policies that defund, destabilize and privatize the public schools our communities rely on. DeVos’ ideology and advocacy are especially harmful to students of color—the very students Bethune-Cookman and other HBCUs were created to serve. And the recent budget proposed by President Trump and DeVos would slash billions of dollars in federal funding for programs that help students of color reach, attend and graduate from college. Graduates of Bethune-Cookman’s school of education understand the value and importance of public education, and overwhelmingly return to teach in public schools—a path I took myself after graduation. And it’s not just DeVos’ antipathy to public education or willingness to slash resources HBCUs rely on that raise concerns about this invitation but also her seeming indifference to the history and role of HBCUs in the first place. Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune founded Bethune-Cookman to provide African-American students with the opportunity to receive the highest level of academic quality at a time when black students were refused entrance into colleges and universities across America. But on Feb. 28 of this year, DeVos released the following statement after meeting with presidents and chancellors of HBCUs at the White House: “HBCUs are real pioneers when it comes to school choice. They are living proof that when more options are provided to students, they are afforded greater access and greater quality. Their success has shown that more options help students flourish.” At best, this is an outrageous assertion that black students had opportunities to study where they chose; at worst, this is a failed attempt to use HBCUs to push an educational reform movement that continues to disenfranchise children throughout this country, especially in her home state of Michigan and specifically in Detroit. The students graduating this year and their families deserve to celebrate their achievement without controversy—and future generations deserve the opportunity to attend high-quality public schools and reach for their dreams at institutions like Bethune-Cookman. Inviting Betsy DeVos creates an unnecessary and unwelcome distraction for students who have worked hard to earn a degree, and elevating DeVos and her radical ideas threatens the future of public education and the vision and mission of Bethune-Cookman and all HBCUs nationwide. Please join me in asking university President Edison O. Jackson to reconsider and rescind DeVos’ invitation.
Acknowledge and Expose Black History in SchoolsSchools do not go very in depth to the things that actually affect the communities we live in. Without the proper education, our generations of children will loose intelligence over time. Increasing the level of exposure for big topics like Black History will open the minds of students, enhancing their positive skill sets and outcomes. For example, when I was in my World History class at Center High School in Kansas City, Missouri, my History teacher, Mr. Chambers showed the class articles and videos and books that exposed the truth and reality of Black History. When we witness what was shown, we became more mellow, respectful, and responsible than how we were in the beginning of the year. It is very important for our students, (children, and young adults), to know about the slavery, segregation, integration, Civil Rights, police brutality, White on Black crime, and Black on Black crime throughout Black History, and everything that made up the evilness with in the Black communities over time. Doing so will give students a better understanding of what the past was like for Black, (African American), people, and why Black people protest, retaliate, and die in our communities and nation. Students must be taught the truth about all of the things that Black people have gone through and accomplished to be equal citizens of this nation, and to be treated like equal citizens of this nation. Accomplishing these goals of acknowledging and exposing Black History in schools will make a better tomorrow for everyone.
VOTE YES TO TAX PRIVATE PRISONSEducation NOT Incarceration! California Assembly Bill 43 taxes companies that profit from the prison industry to fund preschool and after school programs that prevent incarceration in the first place. We want our kids to go to college, not jail! But Assemblyman Sebastian Ridley-Thomas is blocking the bill from moving out of his Revenue and Tax Committee. We're ONE VOTE AWAY from getting this important bill out of that committee. Has Sebastian been bought out by the prison lobby? Call him and tell him to VOTE YES to taxing private prisons and funding school programs that prevent incarceration. BACKGROUND California spends huge amounts to incarcerate prisoners. Current active contracts between for-profit companies and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation total approximately $4.5 billion. In comparison, the state spends relatively little on programs known to prevent incarceration. Attempts to invest heavily in incarceration prevention programs have been stymied by budget concerns. Without a permanent non-budgetary funding source, these efforts are unlikely to experience continued success. Companies continue to profit as a result of high state incarceration rates. These for-profit companies provide necessary goods and services to state facilities, often at a markup. In effect, taxpayers are stuck footing the bill, enabling companies to see large profits for goods and services due to California’s prison population. SOLUTION Assess a tax on companies that contract with state prison facilities to provide goods or services. The tax targets those companies that profit financially from an individual’s incarceration and causes those companies to give revenue back to the state that will be used to prevent and/or reduce future incarceration. Funds collected will be deposited into the State Incarceration Prevention Fund in order to provide prevention services. This tax is structured to come from company revenue and is not simply passed along to the state through increased bid prices. Language has been included that 1) requires contracting companies to certify under penalty of perjury that the cost is not being passed along to the state, 2) calls for oversight and potential audit by the Board of Equalization and 3) institutes a civil fine for companies found to be violators. Fines too will be deposited into the fund, further increasing the amount of available money for incarceration prevention. ENDORSEMENTS California Teachers Association (sponsor) Anti-Recidivism Coalition California Federation of Teachers California Nurses Association Californians for Justice First 5 Association of California Partnership for Children and Youth SEIU California
Artiles has gotta go! Tell FL Senator who used N-word to describe colleagues to step downVarious news sources are reporting that Miami Republican Sen. Frank Artiles has once again been using disgracing and hateful language, this time to his colleagues. In a private conversation on Monday, choice words included calling Senator Audrey Gibson a “fucking asshole,” a “bitch” and a “girl,” while explaining that he had criticized her bills in a committee hearing as an act of political retribution. He also dropped the n-word to describe other members of the Senate. This is not the first incident involving Senator Artiles who in 2015 was accused of punching a college student in the face at a bar only a few doors down from where this most recent incident occurred.He was also recorded in August of 2014 talking about the extermination of "hajis." This type of misogynistic and racist vitriol is unacceptable behavior for anyone, especially someone charged with representing the best wishes of the people of Florida. State Senator Artiles should resign immediately as he has clearly demonstrated he is unfit to lead.
Boycott United AirlinesOn Sunday night, United Airlines ordered security guards to remove a Chinese passenger traveling on Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville. When passenger David Doa refused to give up his seat to standby passengers, United Airlines security pulled Doa from his seat, punched him unconscious, and dragged his limp body down the plane aisle to eject him from the aircraft. Moments before Chicago Department of Aviation Security Officers ripped Doa out of his seatbelt, Doa told fellow passengers that he felt that he was selected because he is Chinese. Dao, a doctor flying from Chicago O’Hare airport to Louisville, protested saying that he needed to be on that plane to see his patients the next day. Join me in calling for a boycott of United Airlines! While what happened to David Dao may feel like an isolated incident, it is not! It represents a trend in the excessive use of force being used by police, security guards, in this case Chicago Department of Aviation Security Officers, and other departments that are said to keep the public safe. In addition to asking you to Boycott United Airlines we also demand that United Airlines: - Pay reparations to David Dao - Fully reimburse all customers who were on Flight 3411 and had to witness such violent and racially charged treatment of a customer - Fire all security guards involved David Dao was punched, knocked unconscious, and then dragged through the aisle creating an absolute violent spectacle. Not only is this wrong it was racist, it’s what happens when police and security guards feel like they have the right to use excessive force and when they know that they will not be punished for doing so. United Airlines must be stopped, join me in boycotting this airline until all of our above stated demands are met! The response from United Airlines President about this incident was so bizarre that it seems like their might be a more systemic problem here. CEO Oscar Munoz said "This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United. I apologize for having to re-accomodate these customers...". Mr. Dao was forcibly removed from the plane, bloodied, and publicly embarrassed. This is not what "re-accommodating" looks like! Black folks know all to well the violence that police forces inflict on people, police forces and violence should not be used for corporate profit! Join me in boycotting United Airlines until they are truly held accountable for this racist and violent action toward David Dao!
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