- Afropunk Army
- Community Control
- Confederate Symbols
- Cop Watch
- Corporate Accountability
- Criminal Justice Policy
- Drop/Bring Charges
- Economic Justice
- Employment Discrimination
- End The War on Black People
- Environmental Justice
- For-Profit Colleges/Universities
- Gulf Coast
- Housing Rights
- Media Accountability
- Music Industry
- No Guns in Schools
- Open Internet
- Police Accountability
- Political Power
- Pop Culture
- Private Prisons
- Right Wing Racism
- School-to-Prison Pipeline
- Voting Rights
- Wrongful Imprisonment
No voter suppression-don't make people vote in police stations!The recent decision from the Janesville city council to move polling locations into police stations will decrease voter turnout from Black people and other marginalized communities. Throughout the country, conservatives have done everything they can to suppress turnout from Black voters. They have attacked Black people's freedom to vote through laws like voter ID, prosecuting volunteers, and organizations who register Black voters, and administrative moves like changing polling hours, and providing inadequate resources in polling locations Black people use. Janesville city council is following this formula by moving polling stations to police stations in the 3rd and 4th wards of Janesville. This decision to place these polling places in police stations is not any mere coincidence. This is the hometown of Paul Ryan. Speaker Ryan is now facing a strong challenge to his seat in a manner that he never has. With Speaker Ryan's re-election moving from a foregone conclusion to an uncertainty is very important context for our city council's decision to place these polling places in a location that would suppress voters from marginalized communities. There are also two Black people running for city council and Janesville is not a city that has seen Black people regularly elected. Black turnout will be very important in the next election and several elections afterward. Moving the polling place of Black voters from city hall to a police station is sending a message of fear and intimidation to potential Black voters. We have seen conservatives across the country send mailers to Black communities stating that they will be picked up for warrants if they attempt to vote, we've seen conservatives criminalize organizations that register Black voters through raids and arrests, this latest move from the Janesville city council continues in this spread of voter suppression aimed at attacking Black people's freedom to vote. The city council has thus far disregarded appeals from representatives of the NAACP and League of Women Voters to find a less fraught location. Instead of listening to the concerns of the people of Janesville the city council has decided to feign ignorance and ignore their constituents. Our city government should be doing everything in their power to create more voters instead of working to reduce them. While we understand there is a hot race to unseat Paul Ryan in his next re-election and turnout is very important, it is even more important for our city to be able to trust that its leaders aren't attempting to suppress their votes for their preferred candidate.
We Demand Representation! Call A Special Election for Michigan's 13th Congressional DistrictGov. Rick Snyder is denying the people of Michigan’s 13th Congressional representation. Instead of valuing the right to representation of the people living in Michigan’s 13th Congressional District Rick Snyder has decided it is too expensive to respect their right to representation, he has cited costs as his reason to delay any special election for this congressional district. In 2012 Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed legislation calling for voter ID in Michigan, earning praise while Michigan was redrawn into one of the most gerrymandered states in the United States. Our voting power was diluted to the point that a voter ID law wasn’t necessary to suppress our power. Now Gov. Snyder is following in the Republican model and simply refusing to hold an election because he believes he wouldn’t like the outcome. Everyday we are not represented, we are without an advocate for the needs of our community. Our tax dollars are being collected while without a representative of the people to have any input in how they are to be applied. Constituent services are not being carried out to answer the needs of Black people who must interact with any number of federal agencies here in Detroit. We need a representative who will advocate for our community in the face of an unprecedented assault. We must show Gov. Snyder that we will not quietly allow him to deny our right to representation and force him to call a special election now. Gov. Snyder’s decision to deny the people of the 13th district of Michigan representation is un-democratic. We continue to see Republicans across the country bend, break, or simply invent rules to try and create a political system where they can’t lose. We have fought for our right to voter freedom throughout every iteration of these bigoted attacks and we will not stop now. Together we will send a message to Gov. Snyder and the entire nation, our voices will not be silenced.
#FREESADAT: Demand the release of a Gay Black Asylum Seeker from DetentionSadat Ibrahim is a young gay man from Ghana where homosexuality is a crime punishable by three years in prison. Sadat had been brutally attacked by a homophobic vigilante gang back in Ghana, the ‘Safety Empire’, that hunts down, beats up and kills gay people. Fearing for his life, he planned a long escape route, and finally made it to the Mexican/U.S. border and presented himself at the border requesting asylum. An asylum officer agreed that Sadat had a credible fear of persecution. His family sent videos supporting his claim to Sadat in detention in Georgia, but not only did the officers in the detention center not give Sadat this critical evidence, they never even told Sadat that the evidence had arrived. Without the corroborating evidence, the judge denied Sadat asylum. Sadat faces deportation back to the same situation that may see him incarcerated, attacked and/or murdered for being gay, as his asylum claim was denied. Had Sadat been able to share the video evidence that ICE withheld from him until after the hearing, we believe the judge should have granted asylum to Sadat, and likely would have done so. Sadat’s legal team has managed to win him a temporary stay of removal so why is he still being detained?
#NoJusticeNoDealWe are concerned about ongoing negotiations over a new police contract between the City and County of San Francisco and the San Francisco Police Officers Association (POA). We are requesting that Mayor Farrell direct the Department of Human Resources to negotiate a Memorandum of Understanding that prioritizes public safety and police accountability and represents the needs of communities most impacted by over-policing, racial profiling, and police violence. We support workers and unions. Many of us are union members. The POA, however, is not like other unions that focus exclusively on wages and benefits and reasonable working conditions for their employees. The POA exerts far more power and control over the City’s residents and visitors. Further, the POA consistently uses labor law to exert enormous influence on public policy and public safety by blocking or delaying common-sense reforms that would make San Francisco safer. Examples include using meet-and-confer to negotiate a weaker body camera policy and suing the City to block the vastly-improved and unanimously-passed use-of-force policy. The POA has taken hardline stances and used inflammatory tactics that destroy trust between residents and police. It regularly and publicly attacks police accountability champions—including elected officials, prominent athletes like Colin Kaepernick, and its own police members who don’t toe their line. The following represent important priorities that we urge the City's negotiators to consider and incorporate: Given the city charter’s timeline that necessitates negotiating a new MOU prior to the unexpected June 2018 mayoral election, the current MOU should be extended and renegotiated in 2019 once an elected mayor is in office and after current reform efforts are farther along. If a new MOU is negotiated this year, it should be approved for a one-year term and renegotiated in 2019. Given the stated commitment of former Mayor Edwin Lee to implement all of the recommendations of the U.S. Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) report, the immense investment of time and resources the San Francisco Police Department, many of us, and now the California Department of Justice will have devoted to this implementation process, and the express support for the recommendations offered by POA leadership, any new MOU should require that the POA facilitate the implementation of these recommendations. Specifically, the City should demand that the POA agree not to invoke meet-and-confer or interest arbitration related to any policy arising out of this reform process. The City should demand in any new MOU that the POA agree not to invoke meet-and-confer or interest arbitration when the Police Commission passes any Departmental General Orders related to the following topics: *Use of force *Tasers *Body cameras *Civilian complaints *Police misconduct and discipline Given the aggressiveness with which the POA has resisted the City’s reform efforts, a new MOU should not require the City to pay any portion of the POA President’s salary. This type of payment is not a standard provision in public sector labor agreements. Given the challenges the Police Commission and Chief have faced in keeping police officers accountable for misconduct, a new MOU should not limit consideration of evidence in an officer’s personnel file for purposes of promotion, transfer, or discipline (within the boundaries of state law). This includes removing the current provision preventing the use of evidence over five years old. There is important precedent demonstrating how communities and their elected representatives can work together to increase public safety in the context of MOU negotiations. The Austin City Council recently voted to reject a proposed new contract with their police union after the city’s negotiators failed to address the community’s concerns. And it worked: the police union there announced on January 30th that it would return to the bargaining table to discuss the community's non-economic demands. Over the course of the current San Francisco MOU, we’ve paid our officers among the highest salaries in the country and, in return, the public deserves a professional police force that reflects community values. Police violence, racist and homophobic texts, and rape scandals are not consistent with our values. Instead of acting as a partner to modernize police practices, the City has faced resistance from the POA at every turn. We can’t afford to repeat these mistakes for another decade. #NoJusticeNoDeal
Animals In PrisonsThere are people who are in jail for very long periods of time, as well as people who will never see how outside looks a day in their lives. There is also a overpopulation of cats and dogs who have no place to go. By giving long term and permanent inmates with good behavior the choice of having and caring for a pet during their time, we can get animals off the streets, as well as a person to care for and love them. This would benefit the jails, due to these animals being a sense of calmness and love the inmates would not feel so hostile all the time and rates of crime in prison would decrease.
Equal Pay for Black WomenBlack women are being exploited by their employers. Black women are still earning $0.63 for every dollar a man is paid, despite being America's most educated people. We are attaining education at a rate unmatched by any other demographic by both race and gender, a higher percentage of black women are enrolled in college than any other group, topping Asian women, white women, and white men. Despite this, our work is not rewarded with the same wages as the other groups. We demand the Chamber of Commerce act in a decisive manner to guarantee its members end this racist, and sexist, exploitative condition. It is important that Black women are paid equally because we know we must work harder to reach our goals. We are navigating the listed requirements of our jobs while also providing labor to make sure our presentation conforms to racist and sexist standards. Our work is stolen and our words are appropriated while we get a fraction of the compensation men receive for work that would not exist without us. People still think a "man" can do a better job than a woman largely because men keep stealing the work of women. By demanding pay equity we are also demanding that the work of Black women is finally recognized for its value and that we are recognized for the labor we render to make it so. The Chamber of Commerce is the organizing body for America's businesses and it is past time they take responsibility for their members racist, misogynist policies. We will band together and force the Chamber to acknowledge the exploitation of Black women as the first step towards justice. Once we make the Chamber acknowledge the systemic racism and sexism of their member's current policies, we will demand that they take substantive steps to address Black women being exploited by demanding their members audit their payroll data and review pay disparity between their current employees. We will also demand they offer paid family and medical leave, paid sick days, and affordable childcare to all of their employees. In addition to these steps, an audit and regular study using member payroll data would be necessary to ensure ongoing efforts are successful.
Demand DA Faith Johnson Support Bail ReformThe cash bail system in Dallas County discriminates against poor Black people in the most harmful ways. Black families are stripped of community, financial resources and a sense of basic human dignity. Black people remain in cages for weeks, months and sometimes years at taxpayer expense. And oftentimes, Black people are jailed with no evidence they have committed a crime. This is a crisis that can no longer continue. In the past, I have had many family members who were forced to serve time simply because they did not have the money to make bail or were not given enough time to produce the money. In many cases, the amount requested for bail did not fit the crime. Families in the Dallas community like mine are tired of losing their loved ones to the criminal “injustice” system. To make matters worse, District Attorney Faith Johnson is routinely locking up Black people for crimes of poverty. It has been reported by multiple sources that Johnson has received thousands of dollars from the bail industry and even sits on the board of the Dallas County Bail Bond Board. Her silence on the bail reform cannot be tolerated. By pressuring District Attorney Faith Johnson to renounce the bail industry and to refuse political donations from these corporations we get one step closer to ending money bail’s exploitation of poor, Black people in Dallas County. There are many in our community who, not only believe in ending money bail, but are also working to make this come true. It is time for Faith Johnson to do right by her constituents. Join us in demanding Faith Johnson to renounce the bail industry and return all political contributions to bail corporations!
#BreakSilenceBreakCeilings: End Employment Discrimination Against Black DesignersBlack designers continue to face systemic employment discrimination within the mainstream fashion industry. This renders them generally incapable of landing upper management and executive roles, and—as evidenced by H&M’s “Coolest Monkey in The Jungle” hoodie photographed on a young Black boy—often allows for the irresponsible dissemination of insensitive, insulting, and/or exploitative depictions of Blackness within advertising. I recently launched a social media campaign, #breaksilencebreakceilings to address just these issues. Attention around the campaign, resulted in me publishing a game-changing op-ed “Why Aren’t There More Black Designers”, last week in the Business of Fashion. Not content with merely listing complaints throughout the piece, I delivered actionable steps toward dynamic change, charging the Council of Fashion Designers of America and American Vogue to partner on initiating a 3-pronged plan to engage the fashion design and recruitment communities in greater transparency and more equitable hiring practices. The proposed initiative aims to reform an industry that has normalized the exclusion of Black professionals. Design and recruitment industry participants would be availed of comprehensive bias mitigation training and hiring-practice audits. By signing this petition, you will amplify this call-to-action directed at the CFDA and Vogue, organizations that have a responsibility to no longer turn a blind eye to the fashion industry's marginalization of Black talent. Collectively, our signatures will #breaksilencebreakceilings, declaring that time's up for employment discrimination against Black designers. Proposed CFDA/Vogue Partner Programme: 1. Design Purpose: address the non-meritocratic appraisal of design talent that most consistently disadvantages Black professionals. - Design-studio racial stats disclosure. - Immersive hiring manager bias elimination training. - Pledge of commitment to creating equitable inroads for Black talent via meritocratic hiring practices. 2. Headhunting & Recruitment Purpose: address the consistent denial of fair access and representation for prime opportunities for Black design talent. - Compliance with auditing of recruitment and headhunting practices by contracted third party. - Pledge of commitment to creating equitable inroads for Black talent via meritocratic representation. 3. Talent Pool & Academic Communities Purpose: bring greater visibility to consumers, students, talent pool and media regarding overall industry commitment to change regarding inroads for Black design professionals. - Annual disclosure/endorsement by CFDA/Vogue of participating brands, along with statistics regarding the racial composition of their design teams. - Annual disclosure/endorsement of participating headhunters and recruitment firms.
Stand up to racism & cyberbullying in our schoolsThe community, the school & the district need to stand behind them & demonstrate that Black students matter. We must hold all students to the district code of conduct, or none of them. This was not an isolated incident. This is a culmination of many incidents being brushed off & ignored. This pattern must end. Without consequences, it will not. Black Mothers Forum of Chandler, AZ asks that anyone able to attend please come to the board meeting on January 24th at 7:00pm - 6:30pm to sign in to speak - to show support & speak out on this matter. 1525 W. Frye Rd, Chandler, AZ https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/chandler/2018/01/17/chandler-santan-junior-high-school-students-chant-racial-slur-n-word-snapchat-video/1034846001/#_=_ http://www.boarddocs.com/az/chandler/Board.nsf/goto?open&id=ACWUZ87E7265
#FreeMichaelDuvall: My Brother Is InnocentThe wrongful yet systematic incarceration of Black people in this country has weakened our community for decades; it’s slavery by another name. This system is causing Michael and others like him, to be jailed while waiting for their case to come to trial. Sometimes, that takes years to happen. Michael has already refused to plea to anything because he is not guilty. The scary thing is; this is the same thing that happened to Kalief Browder. He didn’t want to plead guilty to a crime that he didn’t commit, so this system took his life away in so many ways. I don’t want that to be the case for my brother or anyone. My heart is broken and a part of me is being held in the Upper Marlboro Detention Center with my brother. It is important that we take a stand against this type of abuse from the criminal injustice system so that others in our community do not fall victim to this type of pain and torture.
#RenameKeithFamilyYMCAThe YMCA of Greater Charlotte should not be uplifing prison profiteers! In March 2017, the University City branch of the YMCA of Greater Charlotte, under the approval of its board of directors, was dedicated and renamed to the Keith Family branch, in honor of a family who, since 1999, has aggressively pursued private maintenance contracts in North Carolina state prisons where Black people represent 22% of the population yet make up 55% of state prison population. In Mecklenburg County, where privately held company, The Keith Corporation, is headquartered, Black people represent 30% of the county population yet make up 67% of the Mecklenburg County jail population. Graeme Keith, Sr., a Charlotte developer and retired banker held three contracts totaling $3M in 2014. During October of that year, Pat McCrory, then NC Governor and longtime friend of Keith, convened a meeting at his Charlotte office where Keith told prison officials and McCrory that “he had been working on ‘private prison maintenance’ projects for over ten (10) years and during that time he had given a lot of money to candidates running for public office and it was now time for him to get something in return.” He further stated that he had worked with state legislators to expand private maintenance to additional prisons and seemed very pleased that he no longer had to go through the NCGA to expand his business. His blatant use of quid-pro-quo political tactics to influence lawmakers to privatize prison maintenance contracts is both reprehensible and illegal at best. Although a federal investigation of the governors office concluded in 2016, just months before the branch was renamed, there remains no known legal action against Keith. His continues to profit from prisons. In the University City area surrounding the Keith Family YMCA, residents are mostly non white: 40% Black, 9% Hispanic, and 8% Asian, whereas Whites represent 43%. Communities of color in Charlotte would rather see representations of the great contributions made by African Americans and other people of color adorn neighborhood institutions like the YMCA. In a city that ranked last in economic mobility according to a 2014 Harvard study, bold actions that challenge the generational hierarchy of white supremacy and structural racism should be embraced and modeled regularly, and not idolized and rewarded. We will no longer stand on the sidelines and allow our families to be subjected to legacies of wealth and power made off the backs of marginalized communities of color. The name must come down. References: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article42020100.html http://media2.newsobserver.com/static/content/multimedia/interactive/prison/prison-summary.pdf http://www.doc.state.nc.us/admin/page1.htm https://www.prisonpolicy.org/profiles/NC.html https://universitycitypartners.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/UCity-Market-Area-Demographics.pdf
STOP Criminalizing Poverty Through Use of Criminal Justice Fines, Fees, and PenaltiesIt Is Time for Clark County to Stop Criminalizing Poverty Through Its Systematic Use of Criminal Justice Fines and Fees. Courts throughout Clark County, armed with state statutes and local ordinances, have imposed a variety of fines, fees, and assessments that punish the poor for offenses as trivial as jaywalking. Municipal courts in Las Vegas, Henderson, and North Las Vegas, as well as the Las Vegas Justice Center, are tasked with handling traffic violations and misdemeanor offenses. They have used fines and fees to fund their own systems on the backs of those least able to pay for it. They disproportionately harm communities of color, locking them into a cycle of poverty and perpetuating mass incarceration. They also have a uniquely damaging effect on juveniles and their families. Defense attorneys have challenged the fines and fees in court, and advocates and lawmakers have proposed legislation aimed at reducing these injustices. Nevertheless, officials have resisted reforms. It is time for Clark County to stop penalizing the poor through its systematic use of criminal justice fines and fees. The Las Vegas Criminal Justice System Imposes a Series of Fines and Fees on Anyone Who is charged with a Crime. ● Individuals convicted of crimes—even low-level misdemeanors and traffic violations—often must pay fines, which are monetary penalties meant to punish someone for the crime. The average fine is $300-$400. ● Between 2010 and 2015, the Las Vegas Municipal Court collected $130 million from traffic violations alone. This amounted to approximately 89% of its total revenue, pointing to the troubling reality that the municipal court system has essentially been built on these fines and fees. ● Individuals who are unable to pay the full amount of their debt are given the option of a payment plan, which comes with a $50 fee for financial counseling. Individuals on a payment plan automatically have a warrant issued for their arrest if they miss a payment. The threat of jail time is accompanied by a “warrant fee” that can range from $85-$200 depending on the number of missed payments. The average person goes into warrant at least once. And as time goes on and a defendant continues to miss payments, fees can become exponentially more than the fines. For instance, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that one individual ended up paying $1,500 on a $187 speeding ticket. ● Defendants who are completely unable to pay their fines may do community service. This also comes with a $50 fee. For every hour of community service, there is a $10 credit toward their fines. Using the example above that correlates to 19 hours of community service (almost 3 full time work days), in a community where most people work 2 or 3 part time jobs just to make ends meet. Excessive Fines and Fees Lock Communities of Color in a Cycle of Poverty and Perpetuate Mass Incarceration. ● In Las Vegas there is currently no official mechanism in place to allow for an individualized determination of a defendant’s ability to pay the fines. As a result, many people leave the justice system with crushing debt that can make it even harder for them to get back on their feet. Or, in many cases, they are jailed for their inability to pay fines as little as $100. In 2014, law enforcement officials arrested over 16,400 people for failing to pay fines for offenses ranging from jaywalking to illegal parallel parking. ● A Las Vegas Review-Journal analysis of nearly 39,000 court payment plans between 2009 and 2015 revealed gross racial and economic disparities in the impact of Las Vegas’s fines and fees, where residents in the poorest areas, who are predominantly black and Latino, owed over six times more than residents in the richest areas. These communities are subject to over policing, resulting in higher rates of violations. ● Nevada statutes also impose a wide array of fines and fees on families and children when children are deemed delinquent. According to the Juvenile Law Center, 76% of Nevada families reported that they were unable to pay. Failure to make these payments plunge families into debt, increases the need for court appearances causing children and family members to take time away from school and work, and risks incarceration for juvenile offenders. The impact of these fines and fees have the perverse effect of leaving families worse off, and feed the school to prison pipeline at disproportionate rates. Let's keep families together and stop criminalizing the poor.