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We Demand REAL Community Oversight of the Oakland Police DepartmentIn Oakland, we know far too well the outcomes of an unchecked police force. From the COINTELPRO attacks of the 1960s, the current Negotiated Settlement Agreement stemming from the Rider's case, and the more recent child rape case of Jasmine Absulin (also known as Celeste Guap), accounts of corruption, scandal, and violence are all too familiar and can have deadly outcomes. These outcomes can occur when elected officials at the highest levels of city government know what's going on but turn a blind eye to police abuse. They ignore the intrinsic criminality of police behavior while calling for more cops to address crime on the street. It is the height of hypocrisy. Measure LL's Police Commission is supposed to address the lack of oversight of the OPD. It is supposed to put civilians in roles to hold the department accountable for misconduct. But how does this occur when the selection panel appointed to choose commissioners has a bias toward violent officers? District 3 City Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney’s recent appointment of Sarah Chavez-Yoell to the police commission raises considerable red flags. Chavez-Yoell is the wife of former OPD Lieutenant Mike Yoell, an officer with numerous incidents of violence. His "checkered past" includes excessive force, hitting a teen with a car, sexual harassment and "many other high-profile incidents”. The Anti Police-Terror Project and the Oakland Justice Coalition request your support in demanding that Oakland City Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney: 1.) Immediately withdraw her appointment of Sarah Chavez-Yoell from the Oakland Police Commission's selection panel due to a conflict of interest. 2.) Select an individual from community who can objectively make decisions based on the needs of community. 3.) Create a community-centered vetting process for the replacement appointee prior to actual selection "Conflicts of interest are the number one thing that can and will tank the credibility of the Oakland Police Commission. That process has begun with the appointments to the Selection Committee." - Cat Brooks
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.
Acknowledge and Expose Black History in SchoolsSchools do not go very in depth to the things that actually affect the communities we live in. Without the proper education, our generations of children will loose intelligence over time. Increasing the level of exposure for big topics like Black History will open the minds of students, enhancing their positive skill sets and outcomes. For example, when I was in my World History class at Center High School in Kansas City, Missouri, my History teacher, Mr. Chambers showed the class articles and videos and books that exposed the truth and reality of Black History. When we witness what was shown, we became more mellow, respectful, and responsible than how we were in the beginning of the year. It is very important for our students, (children, and young adults), to know about the slavery, segregation, integration, Civil Rights, police brutality, White on Black crime, and Black on Black crime throughout Black History, and everything that made up the evilness with in the Black communities over time. Doing so will give students a better understanding of what the past was like for Black, (African American), people, and why Black people protest, retaliate, and die in our communities and nation. Students must be taught the truth about all of the things that Black people have gone through and accomplished to be equal citizens of this nation, and to be treated like equal citizens of this nation. Accomplishing these goals of acknowledging and exposing Black History in schools will make a better tomorrow for everyone.
Karl Oliver has gotta go! Tell MS Rep. who advocated for lynching to step down.Yesterday, Republican lawmaker, Karl Oliver— representing the community where Emmett Till was hanged— made it clear that anyone advocating to remove Confederate statues “should be LYNCHED!” and vowed to do everything in his power to keep up these shrines to slavery in Mississippi. Oliver’s tirade, posted to his personal Facebook account, came hours after the City of New Orleans celebrated the removal of its last Confederate statue, one of the notorious Robert E. Lee. Oliver’s conduct is not only disgraceful to his district and its history, the State of Mississippi, and the legislature. He must resign! . The Mississippi State flag bears on it a Confederate banner, and over the years much debate around making changes to the symbol has spiked. Oliver’s comments have turned a national spotlight onto Mississippi, and now the state’s Legislative Black Caucus has begun calling for Karl Oliver’s resignation. Caucus chair Rep. Sonya Williams-Barnes told Mississippi Today that Rep. Oliver’s “shameful, but seemingly extremely comfortable, choice of words were offensive to me as the act of lynching was commonly used and most targeted toward African American men, women and children in the south and especially in our state.” Rep. Williams-Barnes elaborated to note that Oliver’s conduct will forever blemish the work of leaders in Mississippi to reconcile the state’s sordid history of racial violence. Oliver’s unprofessional behavior goes further than his racist threats. When a constituent wrote to Oliver to express her concerns around a new tax-cut bill, Oliver responded: “I appreciate you going to the trouble to share [your views] with me, but quite frankly, and with all due respect, I could care less. I would, however, recommend that there are a rather large number of like minded citizens in Illinois that would love to see you return.” To echo Legislative Black Caucus chair Williams-Barnes points out, lawmakers already wrestle with “working across party, racial and gender lines.” Oliver represents the kind of inflexibility that so many other legislators are trying to overcome in order to shape a stronger Mississippi. Please sign this petition to demand Karl Oliver resign immediately. Mississippi deserves better!
Fighting for Our Lives: Say NO to Replace and Repeal of the Afforable Care ActPresident Trump and Congress, including Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey have stated clearly that their first target is our access to healthcare. For the past seven years, Republicans have attempted to erase the progress we made to provide healthcare to everyone. The Affordable Care Act has lowered the rate of the uninsured, shrinking the gap in access to healthcare coverage between Black and white Americans. Republicans intend to repeal the ACA without replacing it with an adequate replacement. Republicans also to undermine all Medicaid and Medicare programs by replacing them with vouchers that would simply be a coupon in an unregulated market. The result of these plans to strip healthcare access will be chaos in our healthcare system, rising rates, with poorer coverage, and healthcare being put out of reach for millions of working class, poor, and Black families - all so they can give the richest Americans a big tax cut.
Justice for Oakland Students: Hire Local, Long-term SuperintendentPlease join us in this effort by: 1) Signing this petition and 2) Sharing this link with the hashtags: #newoaklandsuperintendent #justice4oaklandstudents #J4OS The revolving door of Superintendents in OUSD has resulted in the majority of African American, Latino and other under-served students failing to get the supports they need to thrive. We can’t afford more of the same – we need a new kind of Superintendent (non-Broad trained) who will turn this district around so all of our students graduate college and career ready. It is critical our next leader has the courage to take a stand against the anti-Black, anti-immigrant political climate fostered in by Trump and “the Right”. We need a leader who will work to end the criminalization and displacement of low-income, working class youth of color and their families in Oakland. We need a leader who understands that power, resources, support and decision-making – when put in the hands of those most impacted at the school sites – results in better outcomes for students. Our Board of Education needs to know our community is stepping forward to hold them accountable for: 1) Engaging the community in the hiring process: Establish a Board committee with the responsibility to engage all stakeholders (students, parents/families, educators) in defining Superintendent hiring criteria and in the interview process. 2) Selecting a new permanent Superintendent who: • Will bring a vision and system-wide plan for real results for African-American, Latino, and all High-Need students, based on the priorities set by students and families. • Will ensure budget equity by prioritizing direct funding to schools, not in high salaries in Central office. • Is committed to principles of: social justice, meaningful engagement of students and parents, and democratic decision-making and shared governance. • Will end the proliferation of charter schools, provide more oversight of existing charter schools and reinvest in making all in-district schools excellent. • Believes schools are part of community transformation and will work towards transforming OUSD as a quality full-service community school district. • Will retain and support teachers by: Increasing pay, training and diversity. • Will end criminalization of youth by: Divesting from the school police budget and reinvesting in Restorative Justice and real school safety. • Is local (deeply knows and loves Oakland) and will stay long-term (at least 5 to 10 years). • Has a demonstrated track record of improving student outcomes in OUSD and is able to work effectively with the Oakland Board of Education and all stakeholders. We have an urgent need to get this on everyone’s radar. You can do this by: • Signing this petition to make your voice heard now and get updates • Share this information with others! Repost the infographic and petition to your facebook page • Email and call board members to demand accountability to this vision • Mobilize to Board meetings and community forums – to ensure we get the right leader for our district! The Justice for Oakland Students Coalition: Is a group of deeply concerned students, parents/families, educators, and community organizations - including Oakland Kids First, Parent Leadership Action Network (PLAN), Black Organizing Project (BOP), Parents United for Public Education, and other groups – who came together to demand a new Superintendent that will ensure Black, Brown, and all High-Need students in OUSD get the high-quality education they deserve. http://tinyurl.com/hmvb2gk
Serving Life w/ Hard Labor w/o Parole for $20 of MarijuanaFate Vincent Winslow was arrested in the Fall of 2008 for making $5 commission for delivering $20 worth of weed. The man he was delivering weed to was an undercover cop and when asked why Fate Vincent Winslow agreed to deliver $20 worth of weed he said because he wanted to use the $5 commission to buy food. Three months later, Winslow was found guilty of selling a Schedule I Controlled Dangerous Substance. Another three months and the sentence lands: life imprisonment at hard labor with no chance for parole. Winslow will now die in prison for being tricked into selling $20.00 worth of weed to a plainclothed undercover cop in Louisiana, the world’s prison capital. Join me in demanding the Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards Free Fate Vincent Winslow immediately! When asked about his sentence Fate Vincent Winslow responded, “life for two bags of weed...people kill people and get five years”. Winslow’s case is one of the most egregious for marijuana violations, but it’s far from an anomaly. The Louisiana Prosecutor who handed Winslow’s case, Prosecutor Brown, views Winslow’s case as a major victory in what he calls “pro-active law enforcement”. A system that uses lesser crimes to lock up people whom he, and other Prosecutors, assume to be guilty of more violent crimes. This goes completely against the way the criminal justice system is supposed to work. Fate Vincent Winslow is currently serving life in prison for a very minor offense, selling weed, a substance that is now legal or at least decriminalized in many states, and something that White people do often without facing any repercussions. Winslow, according to Prosecutor Brown, is also in jail for being suspected of committing other crimes, which there is no evidence of. Fate Vincent Winslow, a 47 year old Black man who was homeless at the time of his arrest is another victim of the unjust criminal justice system that is strategically used to over incarcerate the Black community. Join me in demanding that Fate Vincent Winslow be freed! Winslow wrote about life in prison stating that “there is no life in prison. Just living day by day waiting to die in prison”. Winslow does not deserve to spend another day in prison, we demand that he be freed! Thank You, Korstiaan Vandiver "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?" -Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. References: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/27/homeless-life-in-prison-weed_n_6769452.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 NegronWe are outraged and deeply disturbed by the events of May 9, 2017 in Bridgeport, CT when 15 year old Jayson Negron was shot by Bridgeport police officers and left handcuffed face down on the street to die. During the incident, 21 year old, Julian Fyffe, a friend who was driving with Negron, was shot in the shoulder. According to their own account of events, Bridgeport police escalated what was originally a non-violent situation into a fatal tragedy and the hospitalization of another young member of the Bridgeport community. Numerous eye witnesses maintain that the two young men were stopped and complaint when the police opened fire, despite police claims to the contrary; and a video released a few days later appears to show Jayson handcuffed on the ground and still. Our experience forces us to distrust police accounts when they brutalize, shoot, and kill members of our community. This is yet another case where the police have carefully crafted a story to justify their brutality, regardless of verifiable facts, eyewitness accounts, and video evidence. As community members gathered in protest on the day of the events, Jayson's body lay in the street for 6 hours. At this point, we do not know how long Jayson laid there with his hands bound. According to WFSB, Jayson died as a result of "gunshot wounds to the torso and upper extremities." It is unconscionable and unjustifiable that Jayson was left bound in that position to die in the street. This apparent lack of compassion shown by the officers involved in this shooting is unacceptable and should not be tolerated in Bridgeport or anywhere. Initial accounts of the incident given by Bridgeport police have been thrown into question over the past several days by eyewitness accounts, photos, and videos taken of the aftermath. It now appears that the Bridgeport PD lied to the families of Jayson and Julian and to the community they've pledged to protect and serve. All of this comes just weeks after the Bridgeport police shot 18-year-old Austin Carr in the face --Austin Carr was allegedly carrying a toy gun. The community of Bridgeport in solidarity with a coalition of groups across the state of Connecticut are coming together to demand justice for Jayson Negron and all victims of police brutality in Bridgeport and across the state of Connecticut. The police are not supposed to hold court in the street. They are not supposed to charge, try, convict and execute our youth. We have seen this happen countless times in the state of Connecticut and across the country. We cannot and will not continue to stand by and accept this as normal and acceptable behavior. We demand that Bridgeport police department, and police departments across the state and country, be truly accountable to the communities they serve. We do not pay the police to gun down our young people and wreak havoc on our communities. We will continue to work to hold the police accountable to their oath to protect and serve.
Take back your request to end federal monitoring of Juvenile Court! Protect OUR Children!We can't be silent while our children suffer! We need Juvenile Court to stop trying to avoid treating our children fairly and DO THE WORK to treat our children fairly. Our community’s children deserve better. Black children in Shelby County, Tennessee are being mistreated by the Shelby County Juvenile Court. Black children are STILL being arrested, detained and sent to adult court at higher rates than their white peers for the SAME actions. Our children need you – please sign this petition to make our county officials do right by our community’s greatest asset.... OUR CHILDREN! We will deliver this petition to Shelby County Mayor Mark H. Luttrell, Jr, Sheriff Bill Oldham, Shelby Juvenile Court Judge Dan Michael and all county commissioners. In 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice stated that, “We have reasonable cause to believe that JCMSC (Juvenile Court of Memphis Shelby County) fails to ensure due process for all children appearing for delinquency proceedings. In addition, we find that JCMSC’s administration of justice discriminates against Black children. We have reasonable cause to believe that JCMSC fails to ensure due process for all children appearing for delinquency proceedings. Further, we find that JCMSC violates the substantive due process rights of detained youth by not providing them with reasonably safe conditions of confinement." WHY NOW? Even though Shelby County Juvenile Court has fixed many problems with due process and safe confinement, it has not fixed the problem with discrimination. Nevertheless, Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell has asked the U.S. Department of Justice to end its federal monitoring of the county juvenile justice system. MLK50’s Wendi C. Thomas wrote that on June 9, Luttrell, Shelby County Sheriff Bill Oldham and Shelby County Juvenile Court Judge Dan Michael sent a letter to the Department of Justice. Her story also said that the Shelby County Commission was not notified about the letter. This letter was sent without any community input. We can not leave our children unprotected. We do not believe that a court that discriminates against our children – even when being watched – will do a better job when no one is watching. Remember, we need Juvenile Court to stop trying to avoid treating our children fairly and DO THE WORK to treat our children fairly. Our community’s children deserve better. WE ARE WATCHING! OUR CHILDREN MATTER! LEARN MORE: MLK50: Justice Through Journalism: Juvy Court’s discrimination goes on, but mayor wants federal oversight to end https://mlk50.com/juvy-courts-discrimination-goes-on-but-mayor-wants-federal-oversight-to-end-cc8e6af6f4a3 The Commercial Appeal: Mayor, sheriff seek end to federal monitoring of Shelby County juvenile justice system http://www.commercialappeal.com/story/news/local/2017/06/17/mayor-sheriff-seek-end-federal-monitoring-shelby-county-juvenile-justice-system/406385001/ December 2012 Department of Justice Press Release, “Department of Justice Enters into Agreement to Reform the Juvenile Court of Memphis and Shelby County, Tennessee”: https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/department-justice-enters-agreement-reform-juvenile-court-memphis-and-shelby-county-tennessee December 2012 Department of Justice Agreement with Juvenile Court: http://shelbycountytn.gov/DocumentCenter/Home/View/4255
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
#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!