• Free Nipsey’s Friend Kerry Lathan
    Ermias “Nipsey Hussle” Asghedom was a beloved rapper, community member and Black entrepreneur who was gunned down in cold-blood in front of his store, while trying to make sure his friend, Kerry Lathan, newly out of prison after a decades-long sentence, had the right clothes to see a family he had been separated from for nearly twenty years. What happened next prompted the mourning of an entire nation - both Nipsey and Kerry were shot multiple times after a dispute with another man who felt shunned by Nipsey. Nipsey did not survive the shooting, and on Thursday his memorial service brought thousands of Los Angelenos out into the street to celebrate the life of a family man and artist who was well-known for pouring resources and positivity back into his chronically-underserved community. Shortly afterwards, Kerry Lathan, who because of his injuries has been relegated to a wheelchair, was arrested at the half-way house he now lives in. The reason? According to authorities, by associating with Nipsey Hussle, “a known gang member” Kerry was in violation of the terms of his parole. Across the nation and the world, well-respected artists and leaders, including former President Barack Obama, have offered condolences to Nipsey’s family and loved ones and have lauded his contributions to art and to the culture of Los Angeles. According to Obama, “He set an example for young people to follow and is a legacy worth celebration.” Nipsey was renowned for his music, which chronicled the violence that he grew up with as a child and teenager in an area plagued by poverty and structural racism. He was honest about the systems he participated in to survive and used his success to cultivate a different set opportunities than the ones that were available to him for the young people growing up in his neighborhood. That he was killed helping a friend who grew up in similar circumstances is a testament to the strength of his commitment to community. The arrest of Kerry Lathan, days after he was the victim of an extraordinary act of violence, has made a mockery of that commitment - sending a clear message that in the eyes of LA authorities, Nipsey was nothing more than a “gang member.” The cruelty of the logic behind a decision like this one is astounding. Kerry is still recovering from grievous injuries, and was ready to begin his life outside of prison when the unthinkable happened. Parole terms like this one in a state that has one of the highest prison populations in the nation, reflect a commitment not to accountability or rehabilitation, but to the incarceration of Black people whose every movement and relationship is surveilled and then criminalized. This is not what justice looks like. Kerry and Nipsey’s friendship represented a bond of care and a commitment to one another’s survival We cannot allow LA authorities to use that care as the very justification for Kerry’s reimprisonment. Take action now. Demand that Governor Newsom and the Division of Adult Parole Operations not revoke Kerry Lathan’s parole, and that he release him immediately.
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  • #DontMuteDC
    Small business owner, Donald Campbell, has been playing go-go music - a musical form that owes its development to D.C.’s native, Black, cultural traditions - from his Metro PCS storefront in Shaw for nearly 24 years. However, after residents of a new, neighboring, high-rise condominium made complaints last month, T-Mobile ordered Donald to stop playing the music that has so defined the city’s rich history. Anyone who is familiar with Shaw is familiar with Donald’s music, which he plays during business hours and which, by his storefront commissioner’s own admission, does not violate local sound regulations. Yet, despite the fact that generations of residents and students have grown up gathering on his block to listen and to commune, T-Mobile has insisted that he “get rid of the music” or lose his livelihood. Black cultural norms and traditions are under attack in large, metropolitan cities like Washington D.C., where rates of gentrification and displacement are skyrocketing. As the cost of rent shoots up in neighborhoods like Donald’s, many residents and local store owners are being forced out of the only place they have ever known and criminalized for participating in the very cultural practices that they have inherited. And as more and more people move away, lose their businesses, and even, in many cases, their places of shelter, actions like T-mobile’s underscore a larger message to long-time Black residents of the neighborhood: you are no longer welcome in your own home. This is unacceptable. Members of the local Advisory Neighborhood Committee say that in the long history of his business’s operation, Donald’s music has never been a problem. But a few complaints from wealthier residents who are new to Shaw and to its traditions have been enough for T-Mobile to threaten the cultural integrity of a community that Donald’s music has always brought together. We demand that T-Mobile put an end to their criminalization of Black culture and art in Washington D.C. We demand that T-Mobile allow Donald to bring his music back!
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  • Bring Abdi Home! #FreeAbdi
    On December 13, 2017, Abdi was traveling home to his family in Columbus, Ohio when he was detained at JFK airport. Abdi, a legal permanent resident, had just passed through two levels of customs and immigration inspection, and his passport was stamped "admitted" when he was stopped by an officer who asked if he was from Mogadishu. CBP officers detained Abdi for fifteen hours and interrogated him without a Somali interpreter, even though he repeatedly asked for one. During his interrogation, Abdi was surrounded by armed CBP officers and threatened with years of imprisonment and deportation. Abdi was then transferred to Elizabeth Detention Center where he has been detained ever since, ten hours from his family. Due to Abdi’s unjust detention, his wife has been forced to raise their two baby daughters by herself, without his support. Despite being admitted with a green card, Abdi is now forced to fight for asylum to save his life. On November 12, 2018, three days before one of his multiple immigration hearings, Abdi was sent to a hospital in New Jersey because he was in excruciating pain, unable to get out of bed to eat, use the bathroom or see a doctor. Abdi had complained of pain in his chest to the medical staff at the detention center for eight months, but was only given pain medication and antacids. During his ten-day hospitalization, Abdi was chained to the bed by his legs and an arm, with two armed guards at the door at all times. His lungs were drained several times. Without an interpreter, he understood the doctors to be telling him he had a lung infection. He was tested and diagnosed with active TB. Had ICE doctors properly treated Abdi, they could have easily avoided this result. Instead, Abdi is now on a course of TB medications, some of which have serious side effects including fatal liver damage. None of these risks were explained to him. Abdi is back at the Elizabeth Detention Center, but his wife and attorneys are concerned that he is being held in the same place he developed his condition. He has not received the proper follow-up care as directed by the hospital. Despite the fact that the hospital recommended he get daily blood tests to check his liver function, Abdi does not know if he’s had his liver tested, and he has only had blood drawn a few times since leaving the hospital more than 125 days ago. As of now, neither ICE nor CoreCivic have been held accountable for Abdi’s lack of medical treatment. He has permanent scarring in his lungs, and still feels pain in his chest -- a pain he could live with for the rest of his life, thanks to ICE’s neglect. We’re asking that you and your organization consider signing on to our letter of support for Abdi to demand he be released to his family so that he may receive that life saving care he needs. You can sign our petition bit.ly/BringAbdiHome as an individual. If your organization is interested in supporting you can sign our statement of support bit.ly/Letter4Abdi
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  • Demand Governor Northam fund a full count!
    The Trump Administration, with help from the Virginia Republicans, will sabotage the Census, which determines funding for programs like Head Start, Medicare and Pell grants, unless Governor Ralph Northam acts to fund a full census count now. The 2020 Census is being sabotaged by the Trump Administration and Virginia Republicans. Conservatives are refusing to fully fund the census in an attempt to deny Black communities federal funding. Governor Northam is the only person who can make sure Black people in Virginia are fully counted. The Trump administration has limited census outreach funds forcing the Census Bureau to operate on a budget so tight it is impossible for them to get an accurate count--prompting the NAACP to file a lawsuit. Virginia Republicans voted against using state funds to supply the needed money. Now, Gov. Northam must act to make sure we are counted. Even in 2010, when there were more federal resources, Black and Latinx residents were undercounted and thus robbed of resources that could make our communities healthier and safer. And in 2020, there will be even less federal funding and a real effort to discourage our communities from participating. If Governor Northam doesn’t act to fund a full count now thousands of Virginians will not be counted and communities will lose millions of dollars their communities needs. By signing our petition you are putting Governor Northam on alert -- he cannot allow our communities to be overlooked by the. In response, states must pick up the slack on funding census outreach. Gov Northam has a duty to ensure census data is accurate. The more accurate the count, the more appropriate funding will be allocated to Virginia. Sign now and demand Governor Northam promises to fund a full census count in Virginia.
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  • #RememberFlint
    For nearly five years, the state and city government have doled out symptomatic solutions to a problem that remains unsolved. Contaminated water flowing through our residential pipes caused irreparable damage that comes with an average bill of $15,000 to replace interior plumbing and water heaters. This is a financial burden that countless Flint residents simply cannot bear. Clean water cannot flow through the pipes until all of the poisonous systems are replaced. This, coupled with the harsh reality that many residents faced of turning their water completely off after trying to pay exorbitant water bills and fighting liens against their homes for not paying their water bill during the water crisis, is not acceptable. Five years later we still keep cases of bottled water stacked in our houses, we cannot brush our teeth using tap water or run clean bath water. The water relief credits, water drives and city programs were a bandage that has yet to stop the bleeding. It’s time to take responsibility for failed government. Flint residents continue to foot the bill on an issue caused by the government that we elected to protect us. As the FAST START program begins to fix the issue, it doesn’t go far enough to address the corroded residential piping. The water crisis is a gross administrative failure and Flint residents should not be held accountable for damages to their pipes from the water crisis. Therefore, we demand that you use your authority to solve this piece of a multi-layered problem and ensure that clean water flows through the city of Flint again. Restore the City of Flint’s faith today by replacing all corroded pipes from the water crisis inside our homes and outside.
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  • Thank You For Pledging “No Executions in California”
    On Wednesday, March 13, California Governor Gavin Newsom made history by announcing that he would not allow the state to execute anyone on his watch. “Our death penalty system has been – by any measure – a failure...And as governor, I will not oversee the execution of any individual.” Sign our message to Gov. Newsom, thanking him for championing criminal justice reform, and join social justice, faith, and human rights leaders in calling on other officials to follow suit. This is a historic step. With 738 people, California has the largest death row in the Western Hemisphere. 738 people were waiting to know if and when the government would execute them. Two out of every three prisoners on death row are people of color. At least one-third have serious mental illnesses. More than half were 25 or younger when they committed their crimes. Many of them may be innocent. Many more come from just a small handful of counties that happen to have bloodthirsty District Attorneys. No one should be sentenced to death – let alone executed – under such circumstances, and Gov. Newsom ensured that will never happen as long as he is in office. Governor Newsom’s order gives indefinite reprieves to all 738 people on death row. It also withdraws the state’s lethal injection protocol, and instructs officials to close the execution chamber at San Quentin prison. This is an example of just and moral leadership, and one that the country badly needs in this time of division and anger. While many in power call for reactionary and oppressive policies – often accompanied by thinly-veiled racism and calls to vigilante violence – Gov. Newsom is charting a more just and humane course.
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  • Sign now: We #StandWithIlhan
    We need to continue to support the elected officials that are risking their livelihoods to stand up for justice.
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  • #Free21Savage Stop the Deportation of She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph
    The hundreds of ICE assaults and detention of Black immigrants is an endemic in the United States, and is too often carried out with the assistance of local law enforcement. On February 3rd in the early afternoon, organizers were alerted to the arrest and detention of rapper, father, community activist and friend She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph -21 Savage. The circumstances of Mr. Abraham-Joseph's detention stand as a testament to the consistent and historically under-reported harassment and targeting of Black immigrants. The US' violent history of criminalizing Blackness intersects with its deadly legacy of detaining and deporting Black and Brown immigrants. This needs to stop today! There are around 4.2 Million Black immigrants in the U.S. - 619,000 are undocumented. Mr. Abraham-Joseph has been in the United States since he was a young child. Atlanta is his home. He has no current or prior criminal convictions and he is beloved by his friends, fans and family. It is shameful that he and so many Black immigrants are separated from their families on a daily basis as part of the US's heartless and racist immigration policies. Demand that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) stop the deportation of She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph - 21 Savage NOW!
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  • Stop Los Angeles From Building a $4 Billion Mental Health Jail
    The #JusticeLA campaign, a broad coalition made up of local and national stakeholders and community members and born from the work of family members in Los Angeles who have had loved ones harmed and killed by the Los Angeles jail system has been struggling with the Board of Supervisors on their dissonant plan to invest at least $4 billion dollars into jail expansion in Los Angeles County for almost a decade. The #JusticeLA campaign is partnering with health workers from across the spectrum of service and health advocacy to demand the long overdue end to caging as a response to public health issues. Jails and all forms of incarceration are bad for human health. Achieving humane, high quality and accessible health care for the roughly 170,000 people who are incarcerated every year in Los Angeles, the largest jail system in the world, is an urgent task, specifically because jails and other forms of incarceration are not health care institutions. On the contrary, jails are fundamentally harmful to human health. Understanding people inside primarily as criminals, not patients, jails isolate people from their families and communities, deprive people of control and agency over their bodies, subject people to unsafe environments and cause long-lasting trauma. Recent scholarship has outlined many of these harms on incarcerated people and their communities, showing, for example, how incarceration worsens mental health disabilities (Schnittker 2015) and shortens lives (Nosrati et al 2017). The previously approved $4 billion jail plan poses a significant and urgent threat to the health of those most criminalized, including Black and Latinx people across Los Angeles. The county is already home to the largest mental health facility in the country, Twin Towers jail. Eighty percent of the current jail system population is either Black or Latinx and an alarming 70% of the current jail population reports having a serious medical, mental health disability, or substance use condition. Over one thousand people per year die in local jails across the country. Half of all deaths of people incarcerated in local jails are the result of some type of illness including heart disease, liver disease, and cancer. As the largest jails system in the world, the Los Angeles County jail system contributes to all of these trends as reported by incarcerated people, their families, and by health workers themselves who provide services in the jails and as loved ones return home. Expansion of the function, scope, geography, or size of the current jail system will continue to result in both the reproduction of these harmful trends and/or the reliance of law enforcement contact and justice system involvement for what has historically proven to be inadequate and harmful “treatment.” Negative health outcomes in jails disproportionately affect marginalized communities. For example, roughly one out of every three deaths of Black people in local jails is the result of a heart attack which could be prevented in community-based treatment. While Black people make up less than 9% of the Los Angeles County population, Black people constitute 30% of the County jail population and 43% of those incarcerated with a serious mental health disability. Additionally, 75% of incarcerated women in Los Angeles are women of color. In the seven-year period between 2010 and 2016, Black women were sentenced to 5,481 years of jail time for charges that can be solved using public health strategies that build our communities rather than law enforcement which often undermine them. The construction of a women’s jail will exacerbate these trends and other negative health outcomes as incarcerated women of color will be further isolated from their families and communities. On Febraury 12th, The County has a historic opportunity to break away from the public health crisis of criminalization and incarceration by stopping this jail construction plan and diverting resources towards community-based alternatives that prioritize the dignity and wellbeing of our families and loved ones throughout Los Angeles.
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  • Tell Mayor Bill de Blasio to End Arrests, Summons, and Juvenile Reports in Schools
    New York City (NYC) must reverse policies that have proven ineffective at creating safe and supportive environments for students. Policing in schools promotes the exclusion and criminalization of Black and Latinx students, rather than their education. NYC should end arrests, as well as the issuance of summonses and juvenile reports, in schools for non-criminal violations and misdemeanors. Research shows that policing in schools fails to make schools safer or reduce bullying or fighting. The presence of police criminalizes typical adolescent behavior, such as disorderly conduct, which is the number one reason for summons in our schools. Experiencing an arrest for the first time in high school nearly doubles the odds of the student dropping out, and a court appearance nearly quadruples the odds of the student dropping out. Police in NYC schools largely police low-level offenses, including normal youthful behavior. In the last year, nearly 85 percent of all arrests, summonses, and NYPD juvenile reports of young people in NYC schools were for misdemeanors and violations. For Black and Latinx students our schools continue to be an on-ramp into the criminal justice system. Policing in schools creates extreme and persistent racial disparities. -Black girls are 10.4 times more likely to be arrested and 6.3 times more likely to be issued a summons than their White peers. -Black boys are 5.6 times more likely to be arrested and 9 times more likely to receive a summons than White boys. -Black and Latinx students account for 92% of all summons and 89% of all arrests. To end racial disparities in arrests, summons, and juvenile reports, the city must commit to ending these practices altogether. Instead of criminalizing young people, New York City should invest in supportive services like restorative justice, mental health supports, guidance counselors, and social workers.
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  • Protect California's Public Schools
    It’s time to put our resources and support behind the educators and schools which continue to teach the overwhelming majority of California’s school children. As you make staffing and personnel choices, we urge you to get the foxes out of the henhouse at the California Department of Education (CDE). The current configuration of the CDE devotes a disproportionate amount of staff and resources to a movement and agenda funded largely by billionaires which is underperforming, unaccountable, segregationist, rife with financial waste, and undemocratic.
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  • De-prioritize low-level marijuana arrests in Buffalo #BuffaloLLEP
    New York state decriminalized possessing small amounts of marijuana 40 years ago, but a disproportionate number of black people continue to be arrested in Buffalo every year. The unequal enforcement is a result of the "war on drugs." Exposure to the criminal justice system has severe impacts on employment, mental health, family stability and financial security. Mayor Byron Brown has the ability to make marijuana the LLEP, or "lowest level enforcement priority" for the Buffalo Police Department. This means that instead of arresting black and brown folks for marijuana, police will be able to focus on building positive, trusting relationships with communities of color, making us all safer. On the commemorative year of decriminalization, tell Mayor Brown that you support him in LLEP (#BuffaloLLEP)!
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