- 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
- Open Internet
- Police Accountability
- Political Power
- Pop Culture
- Private Prisons
- Right Wing Racism
- School-to-Prison Pipeline
- Voting Rights
- Wrongful Imprisonment
Keep Pre-existing Conditions Covered under Health InsuranceThis affects everyone in the U.S. who rely and depend on proper health care for a sustainable life. Keeping pre-existing conditions covered under all insurance plans will stop people from being charged rates they can not afford. Making two markets for people who've had pre-existing conditions, and for people who have not would make insurance unaffordable for some, and useless for others. Anyone can become sick or injured, covering pre-existing conditions is the only way to make sure that we're all covered when we may need care. By taking away coverage for pre-existing conditions we're making insurance for everyone less useful. There's no reason to go back to the way things were with people getting thrown off of their insurance because of rescission. Keeping pre-existing conditions covered under our health insurance programs is important for Black folks. Our access to health care is important to battle the inequality in life outcomes that sees our people consistently dying younger than everyone else.
Let NYC Dance: Repeal No-Dancing Law to Create Safe Spaces for Black NYers!New York City brands itself as an entertainment capital, but uses a 90-year-old Cabaret (No-Dancing) Law to keep Black New Yorkers out of dancehalls and to retaliate against restaurant and bar owners who welcome Black patrons. Black New Yorkers are already over-policed in public spaces, and with few private spaces to call our own, we are constantly battling for safe spaces. New York City was built on the creative genius of Black folks, but the city council's enforcement of this law effectively demotes Black people to second class citizens. The Cabaret Law bans dancing in venues that do not have licenses, which are nearly impossible to come by. As of 2016, the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs reported that of NYC's more than 25,000 bars and restaurants, only 118 had Cabaret Licenses. This means that venue owners that support Black culture and allow us dancing without a permit run the risk of being fined, harassed or shut down. These days, because of the No-Dancing Law, Black New Yorkers have even fewer safe spaces. The result: Black people are painted as perpetual “outsiders,” and that puts us in stiffer competition for space in the rapidly gentrifying boroughs. The No-Dancing Law suggests Black people, who are severely over-policed, have just as little right to occupy private space as they do to public space. It implies that Black people are bad for a business’s image or are a financial burden. It also discourages business owners from welcoming Black patrons and encourages hostile behavior toward Black customers. The 1926 Cabaret (No-Dancing) Law The Cabaret Law was originally enacted in 1926 to crack down on African American jazz clubs and kill a legitimate, money-making culture of the Harlem Renaissance. In the 1990s, former mayor and Trump-supporter Rudy Giuliani used the law to crack down on Black and Latino safe spaces as part of his racist “Quality of Life Campaign.” Giuliani wanted to grow the city’s tourism industry and attract more real estate investors, so he he weaponized these laws against Black communities to make out of towners feel "comfortable" Today, the law is a reminder that the City Council and racist mayoral leadership sabotaged Black New Yorkers’ opportunities to create safe spaces for themselves. The law was bundled with a multitude of racist regulations that have since been repealed (or found unconstitutional). But the core of the Cabaret Law is still on the books, and Mayor de Blasio is still enforcing. We are asking our council members to repeal the Cabaret Law and lift this ban on dancing; furthermore, lift the unspoken ban on Black people in private spaces in New York. We are asking the New York City Council to repeal the Cabaret Law and lift this ban on dancing. It's hard to believe that our city government bans an act of expression as basic and universal as dancing--it sounds like the behavior of a repressive regime and certainly has no place in a city as tolerant, diverse, and respectful of human expression as ours is. That’s why we are asking our government to repeal it immediately. Let's take one more step towards becoming the progressive cultural capital all New Yorkers can believe in.
School District of Philadelphia Ban Suspensions of Our Earliest LearnersAccording to Pennsylvania’s most recent Safe Schools Report, the District suspended 615 Kindergarteners, 1081 first graders, 1779 second graders, 2192 third graders, 2295 fourth graders, and 2260 fifth graders during the 2015-16 school year. Worse, the District disproportionately suspends Black students, even though Black students are not more prone to misbehavior. According to the most recent Civil Rights Data Collection (“CRDC”) published by the U.S. Department of Education, Black students (male and female) in the District are 2.65 times more likely to be suspended at all, and 3.08 times more likely to be suspended multiple times, than their white peers. Last year, the School Reform Commission agreed to stop pushing our youngest learners out of the classroom by banning the suspension of Kindergarten students. Although there has been a dramatic reduction in the suspension of Kindergarten students, problems remain. The District continues to suspend Kindergarten students despite their own discipline policy, and has refused to extend the ban to other early learners. It is evident that this disproportionately affects households that live close to or below the federal poverty rate. Parents in these cases, often employed in low wage hourly positions subject to poor scheduling, non existent sick and personal leave policies, and little to no benefits, forfeit the family's income to care for their child. This creates economic instability and injustice for working parents who are attempting to provide for their families and build wealth, and therefore a cycle of disadvantaging the poor.
No HUD Cuts!Donald Trump and Paul Ryan are threatening to cut more than $7 billion in HUD funding and plan to eliminate the CDFI fund. These programs are essential to supporting low-income people across the country. These cuts will specifically target low-income people, especially people of color and immigrants living in public housing or receiving rental subsidies. The cuts are mainly toward public housing, but programs like Housing Choice Vouchers, CDBG, and HOME that low-income people in both rural and urban areas rely on will also be targeted. Treasury's CDFI fund that helps low-income people become homebuyers will be completely eliminated. For specific data how these cuts will affect your city: https://affordablehousingonline.com/FY18-hud-budget-cuts#1 For more information: nocutscoalition.org How you can get involved (besides signing this petition): 1. Call or email your Senators and Representatives for your region. http://whoismyrepresentative.com/ 2. Join us for the Tenant March on Washington on July 12th! https://goo.gl/EgMq3n
Justice For Jocques: Fire Officer Lippert!The officer who killed Jocques Scott Clemmons, Joshua Lippert, is still collecting a pay check from the Metro Nashville Police Department. Lippert was let off from charges after a very questionable investigation by MNPD and the TBI. Nashville's District Attorney, Glenn Funk, decided that the killing was justified. Joshua Lippert has been suspended several times within his five years of being a police officer in Nashville. We have to make sure he is terminated from the Metro Nashville Police Department. He has proven that he is not capable of being a "Nashville Guardian." Our community cannot risk allowing him or any other officer who continues to attack, harass, disrespect, and target black communities to go freely. We cannot allow him to continue to be compensated for killing Jocques and attacking us in the streets.
Boycott NFL & Sponsors if Kaepernick is not SignedAs a national organization of Black Law Enforcement Professionals, we have always supported Colin Kaepernick stance on bringing awareness to social justice issues of Black people. It is our duty as peace officers and members of Blacks in Law Enforcement of America to continue the battle for freedom, justice, and equality for all citizens. After reading the USA Today article: “What does it say about the NFL, and about us, when at least a half-dozen men who have been accused of physical or sexual assault have been welcomed into the NFL over the past week, while Colin Kaepernick still has not? While some NFL teams were busy drafting names from the police blotter last weekend, Kaepernick was standing outside a New York City parole office, handing out two boxes of his own custom-made suits to men who needed them for upcoming job interviews. He has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to charity. In March, it was reported by several news media outlets, including USA TODAY Sports, that Kaepernick will not protest the national anthem this coming season. And yet he’s still a free agent, so far unwanted by all 32 NFL teams.“ As a national organization of Black Law Enforcement Professionals, we have asked that same question, but we already know the answer. The NFL is sending a serious message to the rest of their Black athletes that they better not cause any more trouble, even if you’re bringing awareness to the many injustices to your own people. As Black Law Enforcement, we recognize this tactic; it’s even used in Law Enforcement when Black Officers stand up against the institution for police brutality and civil rights violations of our people. The NFL is also broadcasting a message to people throughout the world that Black issues do not matter. It is uncommon that our children see athletes standing up for issues in their communities, especially for the many black men that have been unjustly killed by Law Enforcement. As conscious persons, we must send the same message to the NFL and their Sponsors that our dollars matter by boycotting the NFL and their products for basically punishing Kaepernick for his position on social justice issues. We are asking all Black Law Enforcement Organizations, civil rights organizations, grass root organizations to do the same. NFL SPONSORS TO BOYCOTT Anheuser-Busch, Barclaycard US, Bose, Bridgestone, Campbell’s Soup Company, Castrol, Courtyard Marriott, Dairy Management, Inc. (DMI/National Dairy Council), Dannon, Extreme Networks, FedEx, Gatorade, Hyundai Motor America, Mars Snackfood, McDonald’s, Microsoft (XBOX, Surface and Windows), Nationwide, News America, Papa John’s, Pepsi, Procter & Gamble, Quaker, SAP Americas, TD Ameritrade, Verizon, Visa,
#CelebrateJuneteenth: Make It A National HolidayOn Monday, June 19th, we encourage you to get together with family and friends to celebrate the day the last group of enslaved Black Americans learned they were emancipated. On this day in 1865, Union soldiers in the American Civil War read General Order No. 3 in Galveston, Texas. The order abolished chattel slavery in Texas and brought emancipation to all enslaved Black people throughout the Confederate states. Around the country, Black folks celebrate Juneteenth, sometimes called “Emancipation Day”, with food, song, dance, games, and storytelling. At some of the very first Juneteenth festivals, formerly enslaved Black Americans took turns reciting the Emancipation Proclamation to recall and invoke the spirit of freedom. These days, some examples of Juneteenth celebrations are family barbeques, parades, festivals, and fairs. In some communities, local DJs are even hosting late-night dance parties to bring Juneteenth to more crowds. Independence Day, which celebrates the succession of the former U.S. colonies from British control, overlooks the fact that Black people in America were still enslaved when this holiday started and are still in the fight for basic human rights in this country today. Juneteenth, on the other hand, commemorates the sacrifices of our ancestors and offers a moment to reflect on the work ahead of us. The work that get us ALL free. Texas made Juneteenth a state holiday almost 40 years ago, but government workers are still asked to work on the day of honor. Institutions like the Smithsonian and the Henry Ford Museum have begun to back Juneteenth-centered festivities. Support from major national organizations speaks to the undeniable cultural significance of this day to the entire American community. This Monday, I will be lifting up the people who make me feel courageous and free, and it my hope that you will too. Sign to add your name to this petition to encourage friends, family, and other Color Of Change members to do the same and call for federal recognition of Juneteenth as a National Holiday!
Tell Gov. Cuomo: No more racist Parole Board!New York's Parole Board is devastating the lives of tens of thousands of people. In 2015, the Board denied release to over 80 percent of parole applicants, despite the fact that the majority of the applicants were ready for release and posed no risk to public safety.¹ Fewer than one in six Black or Latino men was released at his first parole hearing, compared with one in four white men, according to an analysis by The New York Times of thousands of parole decisions from the past several years.² Three of the five commissioners whose terms expire this year were appointed decades ago by Republican Governor George Pataki, whose racist “tough-on-crime” policies led to today’s mass incarceration crisis. The Parole Board is keeping thousands of parole-ready people locked up indefinitely, and it’s happening on Governor Cuomo’s watch. ------ 1. http://www.doccs.ny.gov/Research/Reports/2016/Parole_Board_Dispositions_2015.pdf 2. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/04/nyregion/new-york-prisons-inmates-parole-race.html
Stop College Administration From Unjustly Punishing Student ActivistsClaremont McKenna College is currently investigating and attempting to charge student activists with conduct violations for their alleged participation in a nonviolent campus protest. This will punish student protesters on campus and infringe on their right to expression and to association. This investigation is in a response to a group of students protesting a talk by Heather Mac Donald at the College on April 6, 2017. Mac Donald had previously published books that support and justify the hyper-criminalization and extrajudicial killings of Black folks, which made students concerned for their safety and lead to a campus protest for the duration of her scheduled talk. The College should drop all charges and immediately cease this Conduct Investigation and Review against student activists for the following reasons: 1. Students have a right to organize, protest, and demonstrate under the US and California Constitutions. 2. Student activists maintained a peaceful, nonviolent protest, despite facing physical violence from professors and other students, most notably by Professor Anthony Fucaloro. The Student Life (the Consortium’s student news publication) has video evidence of Fucaloro physically assaulting students. To our knowledge, the College has not investigated or taken action on any of these incidents. 3. The College is investigating students through a “Conduct Investigation and Review.” According to the Student Conduct Process, this procedure is “reserved for the most significant and serious cases,” which include “physical injury or threatening to harm another and distribution of illegal drugs.” 4. The College has been denying the students’ rights to due process and violating its own policies and procedures throughout this conduct case. This includes an unprecedented attempt to prevent graduating seniors from participating in Commencement and a notation on student transcripts that indicates that students are currently involved in a conduct case. Neither of these actions are listed under the Student Conduct Process. 5. The College knew about the protest beforehand, as evidenced by campus communication, but did not issue a dispersal order or inform students that they could be facing a potential conduct violation before and during the protest. Therefore, the administration gave the impression that the students were engaged in permissible action and properly exercising their First Amendment rights. 6. The College has a history of institutionalized racism and of antagonizing students of color, including recent deaths of two students of color at Colleges in the Consortium and negligence in fully investigating a death threat against students of color in December 2015. This pattern of behavior must be stopped. The College is still moving forward with the Conduct Investigation and Review. Our goal is to make sure that the College does not continue their attempt to punish students for protesting by sending the administration a petition that addresses these concerns. Here is the petition that we will send on your behalf: “Dear President Chodosh and the Claremont McKenna Board of Trustees: I am writing to you to protest the punishment of student activists, and I urge you to drop all charges and the investigation against students involved in the conduct case for the Mac Donald protest. I find it distressing that the College is resorting to punitive measures to resolve issues resulting from their own negligence. I believe that there will be significant consequences if the College chooses to continue with a Conduct Investigation and Review, including an impact to the public reputation of the College. The College should be encouraging civic engagement from its students, instead of attempting to curtail student protests by penalizing their participation, especially if it claims “to educate its students for thoughtful and productive lives and responsible leadership.” We hope that the College responds to this matter appropriately by prioritizing the humanity of these students and by removing them from this investigation. Sincerely, [YOUR NAME]”
Justice for Jayson: Demand an End to Police Terror in BridgeportOn May 9th, 2017, 15 year-old Jayson Negron was fatally shot by Bridgeport police. In its initial account, officers claimed that Jayson had been shot in the head and died instantly at the scene. In truth, it appears that he was shot in the chest, handcuffed, laid atop his wounds, and left to bleed out on the pavement where his body remained for 6 hours. Multiple pedestrians were witnesses of this horrific act. Facing community outrage, Chief A.J. Perez and Mayor Joe Ganim expressed regret that Jayson's body was left in the street for 6 hours. At the same time, they have maintained their support for officers who shot an unarmed teen and left him handcuffed atop his wounds to die. On July 26th, the Bridgeport PD invited members of the press to see a demonstration of fatality shields, which would be used to hide bodies from public view. Meanwhile, they have continued to engage in dangerous high speed pursuits like the one that killed 61-year-old Susan Tomcyzk, and seriously injured two other bystanders on August 10th. Neighbors reported that even when they are not chasing suspects, police have been known to drive down their residential street at speeds exceeding 70 miles per hour. When Bridgeport police take action to shield the evidence of their brutality from public view and, at the same time, continue engaging in high speed chases that put community members at risk we question the department's commitment to public safety and respect for a community in mourning. For these reasons, we have updated our list of demands, including a call for the immediate removal of Officer Boulay and Chief Perez from the Bridgeport Police force. Bridgeport’s experience with police violence is shared by cities across Connecticut and the United States. This pattern of state sanctioned violence is a manifestation of institutional racism and white supremacy and must be stopped immediately. We demand that police brutality and murder end now in Bridgeport. The Bridgeport Police Department will be held accountable to this outcome. Please join us as we seek justice for Jayson Negron and an end to police terror in Bridgeport.
Save Our Show: Keep the Hit Series "Underground" On-Air.Dear Craig Erwich, Television shows featuring Black character leads and exploring the experiences of Black people are being wiped off the air. The hit series Underground, which has consistently earned critical acclaim, is the latest show to be booted from WGN America’s roster. Sinclair Broadcast Group, a notoriously conservative media company that recently bought WGN America, chopped Underground. Craig, Underground is looking for a new home. And since Hulu already owns the streaming rights to the show, fans like me are urging Hulu to pick up Underground. Underground brought in great reviews, show after show, for two seasons. And last year, news sources reported that Underground’s popularity pushed WGN’s rating up %1000. Not only did the show meet the traditional benchmarks, but it also attracted an incredible social media following and all-around fanbase. Why would a network axe its star? In their own words, Sinclair executives argue that “despite Underground being a terrific and important series, it no longer fits with our new direction.” Translation: shows that depict Black people fighting against white supremacy and standing on the right side of history do not belong on our networks. Underground brings to life the stories of enslaved Africans and free Black Americans committed to equity and justice. Underground pushes beyond superficial storylines about enslaved African people in America by including multidimensional Black characters and affirming their individual experiences, intelligence, and desires. The series brought more Black heroes into our homes, and that kind of representation has major implications! Dehumanizing portrayals of Black people in the mainstream, or erasing them entirely, often support people’s racist behavior and thinking. That’s why inclusive, positive depictions of Black people are so important in countering the damage that years of televised anti-Blackness has wreaked. How we show up on television has consequences for our medical care, housing, employment and livelihood. So when networks begin to cherry-pick the kinds of Black characters they have space for on their rosters, they have a hand in deciding how doctors approach their Black patients complaints of pain, how realtors and lenders work with Black renters and homeowners, and how employers hire, treat and retain Black talent. Hulu has already had success with adopting shows that have been dropped from TV Networks, like “The Mindy Project.” At a Television Critics Association panel, showrunners Mindy Kaling and Matt Warburton boasted about the wealth of support they’ve received from Hulu. Kaling expressed that because Hulu did not interfere with the series’s creative direction, she and her partner could “take storytelling risks, find new ways to explore,” and “bring real emotion to the show.” A show like Underground needs to be on a network that allows its showrunners the freedom to tell stories that corporations, like the Sinclair Media Group, want to block. Stories about lionhearted Black people. Stories about commitment to justice and equity. Stories about righteous defiance. Underground needs a new home, and Hulu already owns the show’s streaming rights. Craig Erwich, will Hulu pick up Underground? Thank You, Erica Snowden
Appoint a Special Prosecutor NOW!Over and over we have seen state prosecutors put on weak cases to assure an acquittal when the defendant is a police officer. State prosecutors routinely work with police on cases to secure a conviction, but when the officer is the defendant, prosecutors have the delicate task of prosecuting the very people and agency that they work closely with daily. It is even more politically treacherous to prosecute an officer as the State Attorney General. Therefore, if the State wants to build confidence in the process and conduct an unbiased investigation, the prosecutor to handle this case must be independent of the District Attorney’s Office, the State Attorney General’s Office, or any other agency beholden to the state. The appointment of a special prosecutor is in the public’s best interest based on the amount of civil unrest that has ensued subsequent to the increased number of African American killings by white officers and the lack of (I would suggest lack of charges being brought against officers not convictions) convictions regarding these killings. Further, the appointment of a special prosecutor is crucial to bringing back integrity to the criminal justice system and to provide the level of professionalism and deference the Sterling family deserves, but was deprived of during the DOJ investigation and announcement. We were asked to have confidence in the criminal justice system and trust the process. However, we have lost confidence in the ability of agencies of justice to conduct investigations without prejudice, bias, or political conflict of interest. Given the growing number of protests, riots, and now, police murders, the time to set the tone for untainted justice is NOW. We are not dealing with isolated incidences of police officers’ mishaps and mistakes; we are dealing with a culture of racism, blatant acts of racism, and civil, criminal, and constitutional violations. We are at a critical juncture in this country and in our history, and one of the first steps in rectifying this overwhelming disproportionate number of violent deaths of blacks by white police officers is to appoint special independent counsel to investigate the death of Alton Sterling. We fear that without this appointment, this country will experience many darker days ahead, marked with an overwhelming rise in violent acts committed by both blacks and whites out of fear, frustration, retaliation, and just plain hatred, akin to what we have experienced since the death of Alton Sterling. Therefore, we believe the appointment of a special independent prosecutor is now warranted to restore civil order, ensure fairness and integrity, serve public interests, and ensure justice for each party involved in the death of Alton Sterling.