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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.
Minimal Sentencing for Wriply Bennet of the #BlackPride4On June 17th, 2017, four Black queer and trans people--now known as the BlackPride4--were violently arrested while peacefully protesting the Columbus Pride Parade to draw attention to the disproportionate murder of trans women of color and the non-indictment of Philando Castile’s murderer, Minneapolis Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez. After months of widespread outrage at the police brutality against the #BlackPride4 and their subsequent arrests, three of them have gone to trial and were found guilty on February 12th, 2018 of charges ranging from disorderly conduct to resisting arrest. With a quickly approaching sentencing date of March 13th, 2018, we must continue the fight to #FreeTheBlackPride4. Their lives and futures hang in the balance, and Judge Ebner is the sole gatekeeper to their freedom. Wriply Bennet and her lawyer have suggested that folks all over continue to show their solidarity in hopes that the Judge is lenient. We really need to keep these Black trans activist home and free from any jail time -- sign the below petition to urge Judge Ebner dole out minimal sentencing to Wriply of the #BlackPride4! -- Here's the petition! Dear Honorable Judge Ebner, We write today in support of Ms. Wriply Bennet and to urge you to deliver the most minimal sentence to her. Ms. Bennet is an asset to our community. Columbus will benefit by Ms. Bennet being allowed to continue the great work she is involved in the community, and our entire community will feel the negative impact should she be required to serve jail time. Ms. Bennet is a nationally recognized artist who has organized around community service efforts for years. In addition, Ms. Bennet has acted as a consultant for local organizations (like Kaleidoscope Youth Center and the Trans/Queer Racial Justice and Transformation Network of the OSU Sexuality Studies Program and others), providing much-needed support to groups working to better our communities. We know that it would be most beneficial to our city and country if she had the opportunity to continue investing her skills and leadership directly into the community instead of serving jail time or navigating restrictive supervision. We respectfully request that you also consider that incarceration is particularly dangerous and traumatizing for Black trans women, who are already faced with the looming threat of violence in their day-to-day lives. For recent context, Ashley Diamond, a Black trans civil rights activist in Georgia, was assaulted, placed into solitary confinement, and denied her medication while incarcerated in 2015. As a direct result of the conditions she experienced, Diamond currently suffers from PTSD and other mental health issues that have hindered her integration back into her communities. We as individuals, join with numerous local and national organizations that have publicly supported Ms. Bennet. In the past eight months, groups from all over Columbus and beyond have offered vocal and material support for the #BlackPride4, from releasing public statements (Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization, Equality Ohio) to being present during the week of trial (including BQIC, TransOhio, People’s Justice Project, Showing Up for Racial Justice, Yes We Can Columbus, and former 2017 Stonewall Columbus Pride Planning Committee members who resigned from the Planning Committee due to Stonewall Columbus’ response to the Pride protest). This coordinated, community support demonstrates the interest that has been taken in their case, both locally and nationally, as well as in the defendants’ futures as free people. We understand that as the presiding judge in the case, you have a duty to honor the verdicts given in a court of law. We believe it is imperative that our community’s constitutional rights to peaceful assembly and free speech be protected. Our First Amendment rights enabled so many before us to call attention to social issues and spark lasting change. In light of those interests, the vast network of support for Ms. Bennet, and her history of community service, we urge you to give the absolute minimum sentencing to Ms. Bennet.
Eliminate Cholera In Haiti!Now that Donald Trump’s budget bill has passed through Congress, the Budget Appropriations Committee has a month to decide where the money will be allocated. The Budget Appropriations has a moral obligation to include $12 million towards the UN’s Haitian cholera fund. Appropriations Committee Representatives Sen. Lindsey Graham and Rep. Hal Rogers, as key decision makers in this, should vote yes in supporting this funding and help save thousands of cholera victims in Haiti. The rest of the world is looking to the U.S. for leadership around providing aid to cholera victims in Haiti who have been unnecessarily affected by this lethal virus. Over the past seven years, hundreds of thousands of Haitians have fallen victim to cholera due to the United Nations reckless sewage disposal on their peacekeeping base in 2010. Cholera is an infectious and often fatal bacterial disease, typically contracted from infected water supplies and causing severe vomiting and diarrhea. Today, at least 10,000 Haitians have died, and over 800,000 had been sickened, after years of the U.N. denying and covering up what they did. Cholera has ruined Haiti’s poorest communities, leaving families who lost breadwinners destitute and children orphaned. The epidemic continues to ravage Haiti today and still spikes following large rainfall, such as during Hurricanes Irma and Matthew. In 2016, the then United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon finally acknowledged their responsibility in the outbreak of cholera in Haiti and issued a public apology to the Haitian people. Unfortunately, an apology will not bring 10,000 people back to us, it will not bring mothers and fathers back to the children and it certainly will not provide treatment for the thousands still suffering. Public health actors on the ground strongly believe that with enough funding, the cholera virus can be eliminated in Haiti this year but we need UN member states to step up, including the U.S. The U.N. has proposed a New Approach to Cholera in Haiti, which seeks to eliminate the virus and provide assistance for people who have been directly affected. However, only 4% of the funds have been generated to make this “New Approach” a reality. If the New Approach continues to be underfunded, there could be another outbreak of the devastating disease . The United States has an opportunity to set the tone for the rest of the world by granting money to the U.N’s fund. This money will save the lives of so many Haitians and put an end to this deadly epidemic. Please join us in this fight to eliminate cholera in Haiti.
Boycott Companies that Advertise on Fox News: Who support racism in exchange for profitAs a person of color, my life is regularly made more difficult and unpleasant due to the nature of the content propagated by Fox News. Fox News brings out the worst in people by preying on their fears and prejudices, bolstering people's preexisting stereotypes, and espousing and encouraging racist, homophobic, islamophobic, misogynistic, and ignorant behavior. I will not support any company that supports an entity such as Fox News that seems to be in direct opposition to all of my values and thinks of me--and tries to convince others to think of me--as lesser, dangerous, lazy, and unintelligent due to the color of my skin. People may think it is not worth it and they are only making their own lives harder by boycotting because so many companies advertise on Fox News and nothing will change that, but my life is already made difficult by Fox News, including all the companies that support it, so I have no problem taking it upon myself to make decisions that align with my self-interest and may be difficult. If we do nothing, what is going on in society and politics will only continue, so we might as well speak up for ourselves and hit the companies where they'll notice it: the wallets!
Support the Secure Elections Act: Paper ballot back-up to preserve valid electionsOur election process is threatened by our election records not being backed up with paper ballots. Our digital ballots could potentially be hacked leaving our system vulnerable. History has shown us election outcomes coming under question leads to Black voter freedom being attacked and restricted. When Trump distracted from questions about his election he did so by accusing Black communities of voter fraud and launching a commission designed to substantiate his lie and restrict Black people's freedom to vote. The "Secure Elections Act" has been introduced by a bipartisan group of Senators led by Republican Senator James Lankford, and Democratic Senator Kamala Harris. It will provide states with the funding they need to make sure ballots have paper records that can't be hacked and we are able to be audit our elections. With this legislation, we will make sure that our election results are legitimate and Black voters are more secure in their freedom to vote. To ensure the validity of our elections, we need to safeguard the ballot by having paper records for elections. Without this, we will have widespread doubts about the validity of any election we hold, and history has shown that Black voter freedom will be targeted for restriction. As Congressional testimonies have shown the government has done nothing to secure our elections. While we ignore the common sense calls to move to paper ballots states like Arkansas are passing updated voter ID laws. Instead of working to push the lie that we need to Voter ID laws aimed at Black voters, we need to pass legislation aimed at the actual threat to our elections. The Secure Elections Act is the bare minimum we could do if we want to make sure our elections are secure against actual fraud. Donald Trump has done absolutely nothing to make Americans feel more secure about their elections instead he has been pushing a narrative to throw them further in doubt, it is time for the Senate to act. Black people understand the importance of free and fair elections as we are still fighting to have our freedom to vote fully recognized. Tell the Senate to pass the "Secure Elections Act" to safeguard the ballot we are still fighting for.
Tell DA Candidates: SHOW US YOUR RECEIPTS!!My name is Brittany and I am emailing you from Dallas, Texas on behalf of Faith in Texas, an organization that moves entire congregations to action through powerful policy campaigns. We are organizing a LIVE FREE DFW campaign to hold our District Attorney (DA) candidates accountable for making our criminal justice system just and fair. That is why we are demanding that all DA candidates SHOW US THEIR RECEIPTS! If their budget platform is moral then they need to make it public! But they need to hear from all Dallas County residents on and offline. Will you join our fight? As a community, we understand that a budget is a moral document that reflects a District Attorney’s priorities. The proposed budgets of our candidates will allow us to see clearly whether their priorities lie on programs that will restore our communities, or merely punish them. Is Dallas County's next DA seeking to fund restorative justice or merely the punishment of Black, Hispanic and poor people? This is why Faith in Texas has issued a clear message to each candidate: If your budget is moral, make it public! In addition to our petition, we are hosting an in-person action to speak with candidates directly. It is on Sunday, February 25th from 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM, can you join us? More details below: EVENT: Faith in Texas District Attorney Forum: Show Us Your Receipts! DATE & TIME: February 25, 2018 @ 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM LOCATION: St Luke Community UMC, 5710 E RL Thornton Fwy, Dallas, TX 75223. At the DA forum, Faith in Texas will present our Criminal Justice priorities and highlight what is at stake for ALL of our communities. You will also experience art, music and powerful messages from directly-impacted people and clergy leaders. Most importantly, Dallas County DA candidates have this opportunity to present their proposed budgets for the District Attorney's office, directly to the public, before the March Primary Election. LIVE FREE DFW is a campaign of Faith in Texas, working to bring an end to mass incarceration, community violence, and the targeting of black, brown and low-income people by our criminal justice system. Steps towards this include passing robust Fair Chance Hiring and Housing policies, passing policies that end arrests for low-level, non-violent misdemeanors, and scaling-down mass incarceration in the state of Texas. Do you believe in driving down mass incarceration for Black folks in Dallas?
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.
Tell NYC Mayor to Stop Tolerating Racism in SchoolsIt's been more than a month since the Daily News broke a story about a white teacher in the Bronx who, in a lesson on slavery and the Middle Passage, made Black students in several classes lay face down on the floor and even stepped on a female student while asking "see how it feels to be a slave?" It's been more than a month, and the city has still not taken any steps to ensure that this type of degrading and traumatic incident will not occur again. When asked by press about what the city is doing to make sure this type of incident never occurs again, Mayor de Blasio has said that the city already offers training on cultural competency. The truth is that those trainings are currently offered to just 450 out of 77,000 teachers - less than 1% of NYC teachers. For over a year, parents have been demanding that Mayor de Blasio provide leadership in our schools and implement a comprehensive program of Culturally Responsive Education, including cultural competency trainings for teachers and school staff, in order to avoid just this kind of traumatic incident. Now, the responsibility for this incident rests firmly on the Mayor's shoulders. We know that racism and bias in schools is a national crisis. " White teachers have lower expectations for students of color, and are significantly less likely to expect Black students to finish high school and college " School staff frequently perceive Black boys as threatening and dangerous for the same behaviors that are seen as innocent for White students. " In 2015, only 15% of children's books were written by African-American or Latino authors, or focused on African-American or Latino characters " Over 80% of public school teachers nationally are White women, though a majority of public school students are people of color. In New York City, for example, 266 NYC schools have 0 or just 1 Latino teacher, 327 have 0 or just 1 Black teacher, and 690 have 0 or just 1 Asian teacher Given these statistics, in how many other classrooms across the city are Black children are learning about slavery in a degrading way? And in how many classrooms across the city are Black children learning that their ancestors were kings and queens, fighters against enslavement, strategists and spies, scientists and inventors, doctors, healers and entrepreneurs? Culturally Responsive Education is a research-based strategy that helps teachers build social and emotional connections with their students across racial and cultural differences, and root learning in students' culture and prior experiences. It has shown to have impressive impacts on student achievement in Tucson, San Francisco, and other districts across the country. But Mayor de Blasio, who claims to be a national progressive leader, has dragged his feet and been slow and timid to embrace this approach. Parents need him to step up and take action, to get justice for those students in the Bronx, and to make sure no child has to experience that again.