• The Jesuits Sold 272 Enslaved People. Georgetown Benefited. We Demand Reparatory Justice.
    Georgetown University almost went bankrupt in 1838. Why didn’t it? Because the Jesuits sold 272 enslaved Africans (the GU272) to benefit Georgetown. Without this sale, Georgetown would not have become the robust and academically strong university it is today. The Jesuits and Georgetown tore those men, women and children from the land that, although enslaved, they had called home and literally sent them “down the river” to Louisiana — one of the cruelest places for enslaved people in the United States. Many of the GU272’s descendants remain in Louisiana, some impoverished and in various states of ill-health, while others live throughout the country. Upon learning their ancestors’ fate, some descendants are asking Georgetown and the Jesuits to “do the right thing” and provide them with reparatory justice. The Jesuits and Georgetown have a historic opportunity to demonstrate how engagement with the descendants can lead to true racial healing – a healing that takes place among equals – rather than the racial subordination that led to the enslavement of the GU272 and other African peoples.
    2,251 of 3,000 Signatures
    Created by Legacy of the GU272 Alliance Legal Team
  • Sheriff Clarke's Racism and Hate Has No Place in New York State
    We are disgusted and outraged to learn that David Clarke, the highly controversial former Sheriff of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin from 2002 to 2017 will be the keynote speaker at your May 9th, 2018 at an event being hosted by the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police at the Capital Center in Albany, NY. According to the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police website, Sheriff Clarke speech topics include, “the preparedness of law enforcement in political protests and riots, and the impact of criminal justice reform in an era that has seen the rise of domestic political extremism including from groups such as Antifa and Black Lives Matter.” David Clarke completely ignores the reality that the perpetrators of violent extremism in the United States include white supremacists; anti-government groups; groups with extreme views on abortion and federal ownership of public lands. Most of the terrorist attacks carried out in the United States are committed by white, far-right violent extremists. According to the United States General Accounting Office (GAO), there were 85 violent extremist attacks in the fifteen years following 9/11. Sixty-two of these were by far right extremists. None were by Black Lives Matter because Black Lives Matter is not an extremist or violent organization. Clarke’s focus on Black Lives Matter is dangerously misplaced. It is part of a false narrative that people who protest against police killings of unarmed black people are a threat. New York’s Chiefs of Police should be meeting to discuss how to lessen hostility between police and communities of color. Instead, by inviting Clarke, NYSCOP is inflaming tensions between police and communities and encouraging more hostility by police forces. Sheriff’s Clarke’s divisive and extreme racist rhetoric and actions are offensive and morally reprehensible. His extreme prejudiced views are not only unwelcome in New York, they pose a danger to New York residents by misinforming law enforcement of the real threats to our society. Community groups and political leaders in New York are actively working to end mass incarceration by exposing the injustices and inequities in our criminal justice system. Sheriff Clarke on the other hand, talks about the “myth” of mass incarceration and he advocates for harsher sentencing for small amounts of drug sales. While he was Sheriff in Wisconsin he cut all programs like GED in his jails. New York’s law enforcement leaders should not be taking directives from Clarke’s reckless beliefs.
    5,745 of 6,000 Signatures
    Created by Citizen Action of New York Picture
  • #MuteRKelly on local Kansas City, MO radio
    By continuing to listen to and purchase R. Kelly music, we not only fund his predatory crimes and behavior but we are saying that we condone his behavior. Further, it sends a message that our black girls don’t matter! #MuteRKelly #blackgirlsdomatter
    420 of 500 Signatures
    Created by Nancy George Picture
  • Bring Back Good Time in Michigan's Prisons (HB 5666)
    Twice in April Michigan’s Good Time Bill, HB 5666, was not to voted on by legislators as expected. The Good Time Bill that was originally introduced in the House at the end of February and was scheduled to vote April 10th and was rescheduled for April 17th, legislators still have not voted on the matter and we cannot wait another election cycle for Good Time to be reintroduced again. Michigan is suffering from a clear problem and its hitting us hard. Michigan state keeps inmates much longer in comparison to other states. These extra years of men and women staying in prison is socially and economically expensive, driving up prison costs by millions and millions of dollars a year with incarceration consuming over a quarter of the state’s general fund. Not only is this problem costly economically on a state level but costly on a community level as African American families are heavily effected with over 44% of the states entire prison population being made of of non-white men. That’s almost half! Its more than disappointing, its disgusting to see the lack of the representatives’ interest in the demands of the people on correcting this gross issue. This Initiative petition requires at least 252,523 valid signatures by May 30th in order for the proposed legislation, the Good Time Bill, to override the legislators voting process. After the successful collection of signatures the bill must be put for a vote by legislators to be either adopted or rejected within 40 days. If the proposed bill is not immediately adopted and is rejected by legislators then it is given another opportunity to become a law by moving forward to proposed to the people in the state of Michigan’s next general election which would be November 6, 2018. This is our opportunity to bring Good Time back in the State’s prisons so that rehabilitated prisoners can rejoin society to support their families and communities. Whether the bill is adopted by legislators or voted into law in a general election, it is important that we give this bill a chance to become a law by showing our overwhelming support for the Good Time Bill. There are more than 40,000 men and women incarcerated in the State of Michigan whose sentences deserve to be reassessed according to the magnitude of their good behavior during their incarceration. Michigan is one of the very few states currently that don’t incorporate Good Time policies to allow a rehabilitated inmate to be released after effectively serving a portion of their sentence, this is a policy that is even instituted at a Federal Level. There is absolutely no reason why a person should lose more of their life just because of their misfortune of being incarcerated in Michigan.
    3,198 of 4,000 Signatures
    Created by Amani Sawari Picture
  • Tell Corporations to Stop Funding Prison Expansion in California
    California is facing an extremely serious threat to criminal justice reform. This prison tax and expansion proposal misleadingly named The Reducing Crime and Keeping California Safe Act, backed by law enforcement and the subject of an active signature-gathering operation in the field, represents a dangerous step backward for the state and a threat to future reform. This measure is essentially a tax to expand prisons, an effort to increase law enforcement budgets and defund investment in intervention and prevention. Raleys, Costco, and Ralph’s have donated to the signature gathering effort and has indicated that they will donate more if the prison package were to qualify for the ballot this year. Join us in sending a clear message to Safeway that we will boycott their stores if they do not (1) demand that their donations be returned ASAP, and (2) publicly oppose this prison expansion proposal! - - - GET THE FACTS New Ballot Measure Proposal Increases Prison Spending What is the so-called “Reducing Crime and Keeping California Safe Act of 2018?” This proposed initiative for the November 2018 ballot would do four main things: make repeat thefts with a value of $250 or more prosecuted as a felony (which would be among the very lowest felony theft thresholds in the nation), authorize law enforcement to collect a person’s DNA upon arrest for misdemeanors, make it easier to incarcerate someone for a technical violation of parole or probation, and limit the number of people in prison that can earn a parole hearing by completing rehabilitative and educational programming. All of these will increase taxpayer spending on prisons, reduce rehabilitation and drive the prison population up – at a time when California has been working to right size it’s bloated prison population and rebalance public safety spending priorities. The initiative is being pushed primarily by Sacramento Assemblyman Jim Cooper and Sacramento County District Attorney Anne-Marie Schubert, as well as key local and statewide law enforcement associations that have opposed justice reform for years, including the Association of Deputy District Attorneys for Los Angeles County and the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs. Proponents of the initiative need to secure over 365,000 valid signatures by June 1 in order to qualify the initiative for this November’s ballot and they are actively in the field collecting signatures. Myths and Facts About the Proposed Initiative MYTH: Recent criminal justice reforms have caused crime in California to skyrocket FACT: Crime rates in California are currently at historically low levels. Statewide violent crime rates have declined by nearly 50 percent since 1992, and statewide property crime rates have decreased by nearly 42 percent, despite significant increases in California’s population during the past 25 years. More recent trends also reflect the fact that crime in California is continuing to go down. Between 2010, the first year before Public Safety Realignment was effectuated, and 2016, the last year for which complete data is available, statewide property crime rates decreased by three percent, with 34 of the state’s 58 counties seeing overall property crime declines during this period. Statewide violent crime rates are essentially flat during this time period. And during the first half of 2017, a majority of California cities with populations of 100,000 or more saw overall decreases in violent and property crime when compared to the first half of 2016. MYTH: Law enforcement is now prevented from stopping low level crime. FACT: Proposition 47 maintains California state laws that provide law enforcement authority to arrest and book into custody individuals suspected of committing misdemeanor offenses. California law also authorizes detention for individuals in misdemeanor cases, including Proposition 47 offenses, when officers have probable cause to believe a suspect has committed a crime and it is in the best interest of public safety to detain. The maximum penalty for misdemeanors in California law is one year in county jail. An individual that is convicted of multiple misdemeanors may be sentenced to multiple years in jail. Additionally, judges can sentence misdemeanants to treatment, supervised misdemeanor probation, and community service among other options. Importantly – even before California’s era of justice reform – the vast majority of low-level crime is not reported or prosecuted. Thus, arrest and prosecution strategies alone cannot effectively stop the cycle of low-level crime. Innovative approaches to bring community, businesses and law enforcement together can go further to prevent and detect low-level crime problems. Law enforcement can partner with local leaders to develop diversion programs and neighborhood problem solving strategies that address the drivers of crime. MYTH: Violent and dangerous individuals are being automatically released back into the community en masse FACT: There is no automatic release under Proposition 57. Rather, an individual who completes rehabilitative and educational programming can earn eligibility for a parole hearing, at which the parole board reviews the case and must still deem that person to be a low risk to reoffend before the person can be released. If a parole board determines that someone with a qualifying non-violent offense is at risk of committing additional crimes, that person will remain incarcerated. As of January 31, 2018, 80 percent of the parole hearings held under Prop. 57 have ended with release being denied. Investments in rehabilitation support public safety by addressing the root causes of criminal behavior and reducing a person’s likelihood of reoffending. Research shows that successfully completing rehabilitation programs significantly reduces the likelihood that an individual will reoffend upon release.
    4,051 of 5,000 Signatures
    Created by Ben McBride, PICO California
  • Remove Confederate Imagery from Fort Myers Public Spaces
    We 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.
    567 of 600 Signatures
    Created by Showing Up for Racial Justice of Southwest Florida Picture
  • Sign Onto The People's Budget: Break The Cages, Fund The People
    On 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.
    514 of 600 Signatures
    Created by Philadelphia Coalition For a Just DA
  • Protect Baldwin Hills Elementary Pilot School from Charter Growth
    We 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
    9,828 of 10,000 Signatures
    Created by Concerned BHEP Community
  • SIGN NOW, TELL MAYOR DUGGAN: Stop Illegally Kicking Black Detroit Families Out through Foreclosures
    Because 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.
    108 of 200 Signatures
    Created by Roslyn Ogburn
  • Keep the water on in Brightmoor
    Black 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.
    38,849 of 40,000 Signatures
    Created by Roslyn Bouier
  • 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.
    23,287 of 25,000 Signatures
    Created by Frank Derry
  • Affordable Housing for Miami Families Affected by Slumlords
    In 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.
    42 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Adrian Madriz Picture