- Afropunk Army
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- Criminal Justice Policy
- Drop/Bring Charges
- Economic Justice
- Employment Discrimination
- End The War on Black People
- Environmental Justice
- For-Profit Colleges/Universities
- Gulf Coast
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- Voting Rights
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Remove Confederate Imagery from Fort Myers Public SpacesWe the undersigned believe in creating a strong and healthy community, where the values of equal justice and equal opportunity are shared by all, regardless of race, ethnicity, color, or creed. Our community is not only one that is racially diverse; it is also one that includes seasonal residents, and vacationing families. All across the South, Confederate monuments that serve as painful reminders of a past where such a community would not have been possible are being removed and relocated. It is time that the City of Fort Myers joins this movement. There are many reasons to be a proud southerner, to be proud of our history, our struggles. When we focus all of that “pride” on the symbolism of the Confederacy, we are doing a disservice to ourselves, especially to those among us for whom these symbols represent a time when our ancestors were enslaved, counted as 3/5ths of a human, denied freedom, denied liberty. Furthermore, these monuments conceal the true history of the Confederate States of America and the seven decades of Jim Crow segregation and oppression that followed the Reconstruction era. The painting of Robert E. Lee that hangs in County Commission Chambers was commissioned by the Laetitia Ashmore Nutt Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, at the request of Sheriff F.B. Tippins. The painting was completed by Sheriff Tippins’ brother and unveiled in the courtroom of the Old Lee County Courthouse on January 19th, 1931. At the time the painting was unveiled, the courthouse was segregated. Black citizens were restricted to balcony seating. The courthouse remained segregated until 1963. The painting however, has remained and now looms over each item of business that comes before our County Commissioners. The bust of Robert E. Lee that stands in downtown Fort Myers was erected in 1966, by the Daughters of the Confederacy. We have heard the story of the creation of the memorial, and why it took until 1966 to see it to fruition. The Daughters of the Confederacy, on two separate occasions, generously donated their Robert E. Lee memorial fund to establish and expand a hospital in Lee County. Lee Memorial Hospital was established in 1915, in the 1940’s, the hospital needed to furnish a nursery, both times, the needs of the community were put ahead of the need for a monument to honor Robert E. Lee. Lee Memorial Hospital was segregated until 1966. Black patients were not given medical care there; it was a whites only hospital. Black people in need of care had to go to Jones-Walker Hospital, which was the black hospital in Lee County from 1924 until 1966. In addition to the racial segregation, only male doctors were allowed to practice medicine there. Lee Memorial Hospital only granted hospital privileges to a female physician for the first time in 1973. Times have changed. Fort Myers has changed. Just as a racially segregated courthouse and hospital have had to change along with the times, so should our outward expressions of who we are as a community. It is time to honor our past by recognizing that the painting and the bust of Robert E. Lee no longer represent our community. Not only are they a misrepresentation of the values we hold in our community, confederate monuments have become lightning rods for violence and conflict in other parts of the country. These relics of the past have become symbols of division and racism in our present and it is time that they come down.
Sign Onto The People's Budget: Break The Cages, Fund The PeopleOn May 1st, at 5pm at City Hall, The Philadelphia Coalition for a Just District Attorney is gathering our movement under a call to end mass incarceration and reinvest in the communities most affected. For too long, “tough on crime” policies have deliberately targeted our black, brown, and working class communities -- ICE is tearing apart families, our youth are being criminalized in school and treated as adults by our overzealous criminal justice system, and the legal system's reliance on cash bail continues to overcrowd our prisons, keeping the House of Correction facility open despite its notoriety for its decrepit conditions. While District Attorney Larry Krasner has made significant progress in his mandate to challenge mass incarceration, our coalition recognizes there are other political actors who hold the power to divest from prisons and invest in people. In the upcoming months, the School District of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Police and Prison Departments, and the First Judicial District will be presenting their fiscal year budgets to City Council for approval. On May 1st, both the Police and Prison Department will be presenting their budgets. We need Philadelphia City Council to support a "People's Budget" and use these hearings to advocate for increased funding for our public school system and decreased spending on incarceration.
Protect Baldwin Hills Elementary Pilot School from Charter GrowthWe are concerned community members of Baldwin Hills Elementary Pilot, a school doing amazing things with and for our Black and Brown babies, 80% Black. 1. Local, Black District officials (one of whom went to Baldwin) and local, Black LAUSD Board office heads are laying low, doing nothing to protect our school’s programs. 2. Charter school needs space, wants to move to another LAUSD campus with space, while LAUSD is actively NOT pursuing this alternate agreement to move the charter. 3. What space on Baldwin Hills campus does LAUSD want to give to the charter? a). Our music room b). Our arts room c). Our technology lab d). Our parent run after school childcare room, where one our mothers pays LAUSD rent, to house her program on our campus for our families 4. What makes Baldwin Hills a special place, one worth preserving? a). 2 out of 3 students score near/at/above standards in mathematics b). 3 out of 4 students score near/at/above standards in language arts c). We’re a Pilot school with autonomies to innovate. We focus on culturally responsive teaching, STEAM, and project based learning. d). We are a highly rated arts program school. e). Multiple Excelling Magnet Awards f). National Board Certified Teachers alongside LAUSD Rookie of the Year Teacher 5. We’re doing this with children that nationally are underserved and underperforming: Black and Brown students. So, while the District lays low, we stand up! Do what's right! Move the charter to another site! #westandupforbaldwinhills #whoarewebhep
SIGN NOW, TELL MAYOR DUGGAN: Stop Illegally Kicking Black Detroit Families Out through ForeclosuresBecause BLACK CITIES MATTER. Displacement through Development and Gentrification is racial violence targeting Black people across this nation. Mayor Duggan, the City of Detroit, and greedy developers have their eye on Detroit and are working to push out Black and Brown families who have been the lifeline of this great city through thick and thin. Illegal Property Tax Foreclosures are being used to “clear out” working-class Black and Brown families in Detroit to make room for white gentrifiers. TELL MAYOR DUGGAN TO STOP EVICTING FAMILIES IN TAX FORECLOSURES From 2011 to 2015, the Wayne County treasurer foreclosed upon about 1 in 4 Detroit properties for nonpayment of property taxes. The Great Depression was the last time in American history that we experienced this record numbers of property tax foreclosures. According to the Michigan Constitution, no property should be assessed at more than 50% of its market value. But, between 2009-2015, the City of Detroit assessed 55% to 85% of its properties in violation of its state constitution. Since property taxes were based on these ridiculous and illegally inflated numbers, it is no surprise that residents weren't able to pay. As a result, over 100,000 working families have lost their homes, and many Detroit neighborhoods have been devastated. Black people in Detroit have been hit hardest of all by illegal property tax foreclosures. Tell Mayor Duggan to do right by Black Detroit families and communities of color who face homelessness without due process or justice in unscrupulous, illegal foreclosures.
Keep the water on in BrightmoorBlack people in Brightmoor are suffering as a result of the city's decision to deny them water. Brightmoor is a Black community here in Detroit that has seen the pressure of gentrification and lack of economic support lead to longtime Black residents without secure housing. Residents in Brightmoor without secure housing prospects are only further punished when the city takes their water away. While the people of the community are forced to pay ever-rising rents, they are also being pushed out by the city who is denying them utilities they need to live.1 With thousands of residents across Detroit being denied water, we know Black communities like Brightmoor will be hit the hardest. Without water Black people in Brightmoor find themselves falling further behind the eightball as they search for jobs that can allow them to afford to live in the community they’ve known their entire lives. Water and Sewerage Director Gary Brown and Mayor Mike Duggan have the power to stop the shutoffs now. This is not the first time Detroit has caused thousands of Black people to suffer without water. Despite being told that water cutoffs are a public health risk Mayor Mike Duggan and Water and Sewage Director Gary Brown directed the city water department to shut off water for more than 76,000 people in Detroit between 2014 and 2016.2 Director Brown has gone on record as saying that no one should have their water cut off in Detroit, now Black people in Brightmoor and throughout Detroit are being threatened with just that. The city of Detroit’s water cutoff policy leaves the people of Brightmoor with few options when searching for fresh water to drink, bathe and cook. Students in households who had their water cutoff had to find a way to learn while also worrying about staying clean and avoiding the attention of their peers. People working or searching had to find a way to keep their clothes clean or risk their only option to get current on their bills and restore their water. Without access to clean and safe water, people are exposed to a greater risk of contracting Hepatitis A. Residents throughout the community rely on water from community partners, We The People and the Brightmoor Connection food pantry, putting an incredible strain on the resources needed to address other areas in dire need of help. Changing the water policy to end cutoffs would allow Black people who make-up Brightmoor and Detroit as a whole better cope with rising rent pushing people out of the only community they’ve known. Director Gary Brown and Mayor Mike Duggan can help Black people in Brightmoor and Detroit by ending the policy to deny people water service. It is the only equitable option for a city that is interested in assisting residents who have been the backbone of the city as they face growing financial pressure from gentrification. Join us in demanding that he keeps the water on in Brightmoor.
Coca-Cola is putting stocks over students. Tell them to stop funding the NCAA.Selection Sunday is coming- the kick off for March Madness and that time of year when we all gather to see bracket busters, buzzer beaters and more memorable moments. This is also a time when the NCAA will heavily feature, promote and make money off a number of student-athletes- an overwhelming number of them Black, and kids from low-income families. Athletes that according to the NCAA, should be treated as prison labor.1 That's right, just last month, the NCAA- in an effort to maximize their own profits and limit the ability of athletes to profit from their own images- filed a motion with the court arguing that the 13th amendment should be applied to college students playing sports. The 13th amendment forbids slavery and involuntary servitude, “except as punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted," a loophole which has since been exploited to sustain our criminal justice system by targeting Black communities today2. The NCAA is pushing this insulting argument to keep what amounts to billions of dollars of advertising from sponsors like Coca-Cola3. Students across the nation are demanding the NCAA to treat them fairly but it is clear that money takes precedent over students. It is time to tell Coca-Cola to withdraw funding from the NCAA until they agree to pay student-athletes. Corporations are supporting the NCAA as they fight to exploit student athletes by comparing them to prisoners. The NCAA is trafficking in a tradition of racist laws criminalizing Black people preventing better treatment and wages in America4. Black codes after the Civil War forced Black people to work as sharecroppers and restricted movement, and the modern criminal justice system targeting Black communities5. Funding from corporations like Coca-Cola provides the rationale and resources for their exploitation. The NCAA exploits student-athletes and reinforces the system of exploitation Black people must face throughout the nation. Only through the active support of companies like Coca-Cola can the NCAA continue to push arguments that support our current system of incarceration and continued exploitation of students. The comparison between prisoners and athletes shines a light on the way the policy against player pay is rooted in our larger system of exploitation. Coca-Cola should not be allowed to continue to profit from this exploitation of Black athletes. They are building on precedents currently targeting Black communities throughout the nation. The NCAA is comparing players to prisoners in court. Tell Coca-Cola to stop their continued support for the NCAA. While supporting the NCAA with funding as a corporate sponsor Coca-Cola has also positioned themselves as a corporation concerned with their social responsibility touting their “perfect score” in the corporate equality index6. Coca-Cola has even spoken directly to the issue of unpaid/slave labor since accusations of the practice have been made overseas7. Coca-Cola has promised to reform any practices forced labor practices associated with their company touting their "human rights due diligence tools"8. Why would this not include the student-athletes exploited by their partners at the NCAA? We will not let Coca-Cola have it both ways. We are joining together to tell Coca-Cola, to end their support for the NCAA unless they agree to pay players. We must tell Coca-Cola that support for the NCAA is not acceptable, while they make dollars off of the back of Black athletes. With our collective voices, we can send a message to the Coca-Cola that we are watching and will not accept support for exploitation.
Affordable Housing for Miami Families Affected by SlumlordsIn 2014, low-income residents forced to live in slum-like conditions due to lack of resources began to organize for their rights to affordable, dignified housing and formed the "Smash the Slumlords" campaign. The women organized community meetings, educated other residents about their rights, garnered support from the city mayor and sought out legal action against slumlords. Conversations focused on the collective need and partnership with other grassroots organizations recruited allies from outside their community and helped bring the campaign into public light. Legal action against one slumlord led to his prosecution and the City of Miami placed his property under their control. Afterwards, the residents of Liberty City rightfully demanded that the slumlord face greater consequences and that the buildings be repaired. However, when it became apparent that the buildings were so woefully neglected that they could only be condemned and destroyed, the City faced a new challenge: where to relocate the families in a city where there is a chronic shortage of affordable housing stock? In response to this dilemma, SMASH has tasked itself with developing expedited affordable housing units for these families on a Community Land Trust (CLT). Unlike other affordable housing projects, this one would be unique for its prioritization of extremely low-income families, and the community driven design and management process through the CLT model. This would not only provide the slum affected families of these buildings with the transitional housing units they need, but it could also be re-used for every set of families that find themselves in similar circumstances. Once they are relocated, their original buildings can be condemned, destroyed and rebuilt into permanent affordable housing where the families have a right to return.
Veto Bill to Fund Militarization of Florida SchoolsThe state of Florida needs change to prevent more tragedies, but it will not come with more children staring down the barrel of a gun. Three weeks ago, 17 students and school staff were murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and Florida was shaken to its core. The Florida legislature followed Governor Rick Scott's lead in drafting "solutions" that involve filling Florida schools with even more guns. Our state's elected officials have approved a bill that provides funding to arm school staff, including teachers, coaches, librarians and counselors, while dramatically increasing funding for police and high level surveillance security in schools. At Governor Scott's direction, this bill will make Florida schools a lot scarier for students, particularly students of color, across the state. After Columbine, 10,000 school police officers were hired to prevent another mass shooting. Two decades later and more police presence in school has not proven to be an effective solution and has not stopped a single mass shooting. Instead, police in Florida have locked up 1 million children, mostly black children, for routine behavior disruptions, like talking back to a teacher or getting into schoolyard scuffles. The proposed bill allots $400 million to make our schools feel more like prisons when they should feel sanctuaries. This bill will have catastrophic consequences for insurmountable numbers of black, brown and poor youth in Florida. Our representatives have a responsibility to act in a way that keeps all Florida children safe. Tell Governor Rick Scott to veto any bill to allocate resources for more police and guns in schools. Supporters Dream Defenders Power U Center for Social Change Advancement Project National Office Color of Change Florida’s Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 1199 New Florida Majority Miami Worker's Center Alliance for Education Justice National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
Florida State Rep. Kimberly Daniels Needs to ApologizeKimberly Daniels dishonored her ancestors when thanking God for slavery. They suffered unspeakable and inhumane racial terrorism at the hands of European slave traders, the effects of which continue to haunt our lives today. Through our forced participation in the transatlantic slave trade, African Americans played a crucial role in America's emergence as an economic world power. While it is imperative that we take pride in having survived such historical atrocities, thanking God for slavery is a major step in the wrong direction; one we simply cannot accept from anyone. Kimberly Daniels' reckless choice of words portray a blatant lack of knowledge of traditional African spiritual practices, and disregard for the experiences of our ancestors. As African American descendants of slavery, and global peoples of African descent who are proud of our heritage, we cannot stand by and allow such irresponsible sentiment from our own people.
Demand FL State Attorney Arrest & Charge Gardner Kent Fraser for the murder of DJ BroadusOnce again, our community in Macclenny, FL is reeling from another loss of Black life. Dominic Jerome Broadus II, a father, son, musician and our family’s storyteller, met an untimely death at the hands of a racist neighbor. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) continues to disrespect our family with non-answers and heavily redacted statements, further demonstrating a complete lack of regard and interest to thoroughly investigate this case. To this day, my family has not received any information about what happened to DJ and continues to suffer. In numerous cases, from Trayvon Martin to Keegan Von Roberts, racist killers are allowed to walk free and families are expected to move on without any closure. The persistent denial of justice causes communities to live under a cloud of racist terror. Most fear retaliation from local law enforcement each time a new story of state-sanctioned violence occurs. In spite of it all, the community is coming together to say, no more. State Attorneys can shift this paradigm and demand accountability from police departments instead of enabling the continued disregard for Black life. Cervone can begin to set a precedent by righting this terrible wrong and bringing justice to my family.
African American History IS American HistoryIn 1926, after lobbying with schools and organizations, Carter Godwin Woodson launched the 1st annual Black History week. His mission was to illuminate the contributions African Americans have made to our society in hopes that one day this information would be incorporated into American History. Years later, we now get a month dedicated to Black History, which still isn't enough. Textbook American history highlights the accomplishments of Europeans. Meanwhile, the African American narrative is downplayed - summed up by slavery, Black Codes (Jim Crow), and Civil Rights. Studies show this angle does nothing to promote equality. In fact, it does just the opposite - promote white supremacy and increases low self-esteem in African American children. All children, especially those of African descent, need to hear and learn that there is more to Black life than slavery and the Civil Rights movement. While we're thankful for the Civil Rights leaders, and in no way discount their efforts, there's more to our history than this small section. What about African American surgeons, philosophers, biologists, psychologists, attorneys, educators, entrepreneurs and so on? What about the history of nations and empires in Africa? Where's the positive representation of African American culture in American history books? European American history is narrated gloriously and pumped into our children from elementary to high school. On the other hand, African Americans must first attend college. Then, elect to enroll in African American Studies or Culture...that is if it's offered, in order to gain a different perspective. If we truly want to see a change in Black communities and in society as a whole, this is where we need to start. We've got to change the narrative. Sign my petition and demand that McGraw-Hill incorporate material from suggestions from African American Studies and History scholars with a full picture of Black people. As the largest schoolbook manufacturer based in the United States McGraw-Hill is in the position to lead to widespread adoption of curriculum to counter racist narratives that erase our contribution and encourage inferiority.
Justice for Chance David Baker NowBeing mentally ill and Black in public is not a crime, nor is it a justification for murder. A life-and-death decision was carried out by Sgt. Goodman within 155 seconds, this points to the undoubtable prejudice against Blackness and mental illness. This is the very prejudice that causes a non-violent Black 22-year-old with a BB gun to be murdered whereas a White 19-year-old who killed 17 people be taken alive by police. Nikolas Cruz was characterized by his lawyer and media as a “broken child,” that “lacks impulse control.” In this country white terrorists are offered the fullest humanity and reprieve because white supremacy has institutionalized their superiority and protection. White Police Officers like Goodman benefit from white supremacy as well. How is a decorated officer trained in de-escalation, who murdered two people allowed to remain on active duty? His only consequence to date was administrative leave. Officer Goodman has served for 15 years and is trained in de-escalation. It is within reason to believe a trained officer would take appropriate measures to connect Chance with Portland Police mental health liaisons. This is not an isolated injustice. It speaks to the on-going realities of police brutality and criminalization of Black bodies in this country. In fact, Sgt. Goodman's actions reflect the violent training of officers: “There is no such thing as ‘we’re going to shoot the gun out of their hand or shoot them in the thigh,’” said Portland Police Chief Sauschuck. “I’m not training them to, nor do our policies and procedures state that they should wound somebody. They are trying to hit this individual in a lethal location,” Sauschuck. (BDN, Feb. 22, 2017) The police continue to mistreat, terrorize, and murder people of color and are able to walk away free. We need to talk about Chance, share pictures of his sweet smile, and remind each other what we continue to lose when we uphold a system that won’t punish people who kill Black children and adults. We affirm that all Black lives matter. We affirm that Chance David Baker’s life matters. We stand in solidarity with Chance’s family and community. And as his concerned community, we demand Attorney General Mills release a report and find Sgt. Goodman guilty for the reckless murder of Chance David Baker. We will not settle for task forces or body cameras, we want justice and we need it NOW.