- Bank Accountability
- Ban the Box
- Community Control
- 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
- Justice for Mike Brown
- Media Accountability
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- Open Internet
- Police Accountability
- Political Power
- Private Prisons
- Right Wing Racism
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- Voting Rights
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Serving Life w/ Hard Labor w/o Parole for $20 of MarijuanaIn conjunction with a Youth Community Center in Los Angeles, I'm mentoring a marijuana drug prevention film project. "Fate Vincent Winslow" was the decided topic. Fate Vincent Winslow A 47-year-old African-American homeless man who acted as go-between in the sale of two minuscule bags of cannabis (worth $20 total) to an undercover cop, Winslow was sentenced to life in prison without parole based on other “strikes” that were 14 and 24 years old, respectively, one of which he received was a drug-related charge at 15 years of age. Another person was also involved in the transaction but he was white and was also identified by the undercover officer however, he was never charged even though he was found with police evidence; a marked $20 bill. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/27/homeless-life-in-prison-weed_n_6769452.html We were able to obtain the court case document from an appeal easily and with articles, we decided to do a short film to deter youth from marijuana drug used based on Fate -- racial profiling and ridiculous sentencing such as Fate's and many others. I reached out to Fate at Angola and the Assistant Warden got involved. He told me he wouldn't allow me to talk to Fate and that he was saying no to any media. He then began a series of untruths that created red flags. I became concerned for Fate after that conversation and started calling his former lawyers and the ACLU for help and answers. I want to get this man out and others like him. Join me in demanding that the Louisiana Department of Corrections free Fate Vincent Winslow immediately! Thousands of inmates remain in federal prison for nonviolent drug charges, many of them holdovers from the draconian sentencing laws that came out of the war on drugs. In 2011, then-Attorney General Eric Holder announced a new clemency initiative, claiming that 10,000 inmates "were potentially going to be released" as a result. But 562 is a far cry from that. And as Mother Jones has reported, dozens more are serving life sentences without parole for marijuana-only crimes, a group of people whom advocates view as an obvious choice for the kind of clemency reform that's been promised. (One marijuana lifer, Ramon Gonzalez, had his sentence commuted...)" http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/08/obama-just-freed-another-214-inmates ACLU Blurb Fate Vincent Winslow was homeless when he acted as a go-between in the sale of two small bags of marijuana, worth $10 in total, to an undercover police officer. During an undercover investigation in Shreveport in September 2008, an undercover officer approached a white man named Mr. Perdue and Winslow, who is Black. The officer asked Winslow for two dime bags of marijuana worth $10 each and promised a $5 commission for Winslow, who says he accepted the offer in order to earn some money to get something to eat. Winslow says he bought two $5 bags of marijuana from Perdue and sold them to the undercover officer as dime bags worth $10 each. The undercover officer testified that he witnessed a hand-to-hand transaction between Winslow and Perdue and that he paid Winslow with a $20 bill and a $5 bill. When officers arrested Winslow, he only had the $5 bill on him. Officers found the marked $20 bill on Perdue (the white supplier), but did not arrest him. According to Winslow, at trial, the 10 white jurors found him guilty of marijuana distribution, while the two black jurors found him not guilty (the state of Louisiana does not require a unanimous jury to convict and instead allows convictions by 10 out of 12 jurors). He was sentenced to mandatory life without parole as a fourth strike offender. His prior convictions were for a simple burglary committed in 1984, when he was 17; simple burglary in 1994, when he was 27 (he was accused and convicted of opening an unlocked car door and rummaging inside without taking anything); and possession of cocaine in 2000, when he was 37 (an undercover officer tried to sell him cocaine, which he says he did not purchase) "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?" -Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Stop Voter Suppression in GA-6 Congressional District!On June 20, 2017, there will be a runoff election to fill the vacancy in Georgia's 6th Congressional District left when Tom Price was confirmed as Secretary of Health and Human Services. We are demanding that the Secretary of State comply with federal law and set the voter registration deadline for no more than 30 days before the runoff election! The voter registration deadline for the April 18th election was March 20th, approximately 30 days from an election, which is in alignment with the National Voting Rights Act. The runoff will be held on June 20th. The NVRA requires the VR deadline to be on or around May 22nd. GA's SOS has set the VR deadline for the June 20th election as March 20th. This means eligible voters in GA's 6th congressional district are blocked for 90 days from registering and participating in an important election. This is what modern-day voter suppression looks like. Setting a VR deadline for 90 days before the election is an attempt to keep the electorate as small as possible. This is not what democracy looks like. As Georgia's "Chief Elections Officer" Secretary Kemp's job is to use his office and the law and technology to remove barriers to voting not construct them!
Artiles has gotta go! Tell FL Senator who used N-word to describe colleagues to step downVarious news sources are reporting that Miami Republican Sen. Frank Artiles has once again been using disgracing and hateful language, this time to his colleagues. In a private conversation on Monday, choice words included calling Senator Audrey Gibson a “fucking asshole,” a “bitch” and a “girl,” while explaining that he had criticized her bills in a committee hearing as an act of political retribution. He also dropped the n-word to describe other members of the Senate. This is not the first incident involving Senator Artiles who in 2015 was accused of punching a college student in the face at a bar only a few doors down from where this most recent incident occurred.He was also recorded in August of 2014 talking about the extermination of "hajis." This type of misogynistic and racist vitriol is unacceptable behavior for anyone, especially someone charged with representing the best wishes of the people of Florida. State Senator Artiles should resign immediately as he has clearly demonstrated he is unfit to lead.
Support The Safer Officers And Safer Citizens Act Of 2015 with Zeta Phi BetaI am writing to urge you to support S.1897, the Safer Officers and Safer Citizens Act of 2015. I know this bill has the potential to save not only my life, but also those of my family, friends, and neighbors. Senators, my entire community can benefit from this bill, which is why I cannot overstate its importance. The bill, as drafted by the National Bar Association and supported by the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., will help to prevent some of the unnecessary confrontations that occur when unarmed citizens- both Black and white- are being detained and arrested by law enforcement officers. Between 2003 and 2009, 4,813 people died while in police custody or in the process of being arrested. Proportionally, African-Americans and other minorities take a heavy toll in many of these incidents. However, it should be noted that whites too experience ill consequences while being arrested and are at risk of losing their lives. In a study done in California in 2012, body cameras resulted in a 60% reduction in use of force, and an 88% decline in the number of complaints against officers. In closing, I urge you to support this legislation and to bring the powers of your office to bear. With your help, we can end this senseless violence and death at the hand of law enforcement. Our society and our judicial community is better than this and we must work together to end this vicious cycle of violence. Our communities are begging for your assistance.
Fair Voting Districts Now !North Carolina has a long history of lawmakers drawing voting districts in ways that weaken the political power of voters, especially Black voters. Drawing bad districts can disenfranchise voters, just like the Jim Crow poll tax and North Carolina’s recent election changes that a court said “target African Americans with almost surgical precision.” The current NC General Assembly districts were drawn to pack Black voters into a small number of districts and also separate them from progressive whites to prevent “fusion” coalitions from winning more seats in the legislature. A growing coalition is fighting back, just as we are fighting against North Carolina’s voter suppression laws. Right now, Black legislators and their allies have introduced multiple bills in the NC General Assembly that would reform the redistricting process. The bills complement the litigation and grassroots organizing for fair districts. We must support this effort to make sure voters can pick their political representatives, not the other way around. We urge the NC General Assembly to adopt a redistricting process that: -Abides by the federal Voting Rights Act and avoids racial or partisan bias; -Provides for deep involvement from local communities to ensure that all voices are respected. -Uses best practices from across the nation to draw district maps that reflect NC's diverse population. By following these principles, North Carolina lawmakers can protect our voting rights, ensure that Black voters are fairly represented, and create a state that values all voices.
End Cash Bail In PhillyWe must end cash bail if we want to significantly decrease Philadelphia's overreliance on incarceration. Every day, there are thousands of people held in Philadelphia's jails solely because they cannot afford to pay for their release. Over 75% of people in Philadelphia's county jails are being held pretrial, often for many months, denying their fundamental right of the presumption of "innocent until proven guilty". Removing this barrier of cash bail allows a person to pursue their own legal defense while minimizing potential collateral consequences of their arrest. As bail reform sweeps the country, we want to see our city step up and put an end to the human rights violation of cash bail. The Department of Justice has already announced that our nation's current money bail system is unconstitutional, and our neighbors are leading the way for us -- New Jersey recently passed comprehensive bail reform policies, and Washington DC ended their use of cash bail years ago. Other cities have successfully changed their pre-trial detention process without an adverse impact on public safety, while at the same time protecting the rights of the accused and providing accountability to ensure appearance in court. Cash bail only serves as a tool of oppression against the poor and against Black and Brown people who are disproportionately impacted, and perpetuates the machine of mass incarceration. We believe nobody should have to pay for their freedom, and we urge Philadelphia City Council, Mayor Kenney and the District Attorney's Office to take action now to put an end to cash bail.
Boycott United AirlinesOn Sunday night, United Airlines ordered security guards to remove a Chinese passenger traveling on Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville. When passenger David Doa refused to give up his seat to standby passengers, United Airlines security pulled Doa from his seat, punched him unconscious, and dragged his limp body down the plane aisle to eject him from the aircraft. Moments before Chicago Department of Aviation Security Officers ripped Doa out of his seatbelt, Doa told fellow passengers that he felt that he was selected because he is Chinese. Dao, a doctor flying from Chicago O’Hare airport to Louisville, protested saying that he needed to be on that plane to see his patients the next day. Join me in calling for a boycott of United Airlines! While what happened to David Dao may feel like an isolated incident, it is not! It represents a trend in the excessive use of force being used by police, security guards, in this case Chicago Department of Aviation Security Officers, and other departments that are said to keep the public safe. In addition to asking you to Boycott United Airlines we also demand that United Airlines: - Pay reparations to David Dao - Fully reimburse all customers who were on Flight 3411 and had to witness such violent and racially charged treatment of a customer - Fire all security guards involved David Dao was punched, knocked unconscious, and then dragged through the aisle creating an absolute violent spectacle. Not only is this wrong it was racist, it’s what happens when police and security guards feel like they have the right to use excessive force and when they know that they will not be punished for doing so. United Airlines must be stopped, join me in boycotting this airline until all of our above stated demands are met! The response from United Airlines President about this incident was so bizarre that it seems like their might be a more systemic problem here. CEO Oscar Munoz said "This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United. I apologize for having to re-accomodate these customers...". Mr. Dao was forcibly removed from the plane, bloodied, and publicly embarrassed. This is not what "re-accommodating" looks like! Black folks know all to well the violence that police forces inflict on people, police forces and violence should not be used for corporate profit! Join me in boycotting United Airlines until they are truly held accountable for this racist and violent action toward David Dao!
Demand that corporations denounce U.S Court ruling banning dreadlocks in the hiring processA recent court ruling has now made it legal to ban dreadlocks during the hiring process in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. This all started when Chastity Jones was offered a job with Catastrophe Management Solutions in Mobile, Alabama. However, her offer was later rescinded when a Human Resources Manager told Chasity that they would not hire her due to her dreadlocks, stating that dreadlocks “tend to get messy, although I’m not saying your’s are, but you know what I’m talking about”. Chastity Jones then filed a lawsuit claiming that refusing to hire someone based on appearance is in violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which would not have been passed if it weren't for the work of Black people fighting and organizing! However, Chasity's claim was denied. The United States Court of Appeals for the 11h Circuit, covering Alabama, Florida, and Georgia, stating that banning dreadlocks during the hiring process is a “race neutral policy” and therefore not covered under the Civil Rights Act, which outlaws discrimination based on race, sex, color, religion, and national origin. Sign our petition today to demand that corporations take a stand against discrimination in the hiring process and workplace, and that they make a public statement denouncing this court ruling. We have been here before. We know this game all too well and we will not let it play out again. Not hiring someone for wearing dreadlocks is outrightly racist and we must hold corporations accountable and demand that they not abide by this racist law. This court ruling is not just about dreadlocks it is about our freedoms as Black people! For centuries dreadlocks have been an expression of deep religious and spiritual beliefs for those who practice the Rastafarian religion. The term “dreadlock” comes from the Rastafarian culture and originated in eastern Africa; and for Rastafarians wearing dreadlocks is a way to be connected to the Rasta god. We know that dreadlocks are not only worn by Rastafarians but is a popular hairstyle worn by many Black people who view dreadlocks as a sign of their African identity or simply as a hairstyle that they like to wear. Dreadlocks are not a “race neutral hairstyle” as Catastrophe Management Solutions has claimed. Dreadlocks have historical significance and are deeply rooted in Black culture globally. Today many white people, have appropriated dreadlocks and chose to wear their hair in locks however, the hairstyle is racialized and it is Black people who suffer from that- it is Black people who are denied jobs, and banned from attending schools due to wearing dreadlocks, not white people. This court ruling says loud and clear that in the workplace, and public spaces in general, Black people, our culture, and religious beliefs are not accepted. And that white culture is the only thing that is allowed- and you either assimilate to that or you get fired. However, we will not assimilate we will resist and be unapologetically ourselves- unapologetically Black! This court ruling takes us back 50 years and we, and those before us, have fought too hard to let that happen. We will not let our bodies be controlled by white American norms, sign today and demand that corporations denounce this racist court ruling!
#SaveDemitriusDemitrius Manderfield is being tortured in a Michigan jail and may potentially die if he does not receive help. Demitrius is 20-years-old and is suffering from the painful and chronic illness sickle beta thalassemia. He has not been convicted of any crime, yet has been caged behind bars for three months now. To make matters worse, he’s jailed at Midland Federal Correctional Facility and they have been denying him access to proper healthcare for three months now. His judge, Judith Levy, promised that she would release him for treatment if his medical needs weren’t being met in jail. But it’s been weeks and nothing has been done. His health is steadily declining and his family desperately needs your help. Jails in the United States are known to be danger zones for people with disabilities --especially Black folks. Sandra Bland, Darren Rainey, and Ralkina Jone have all died behind bars because jail workers and jail health practitioners have no empathy for Black people who are perceived as criminals. By refusing to provide chronically ill inmates with medical treatment, jails are literally sentencing people to the death penalty before a judge has even charged them with a crime. Demitirus’ court date is in 14 days, but his mother and family worry his illness may not even allow him to live long enough to stand before Judge Levy again.
Tell Nissan Its Time to Decide- Stop Advertising in BreitbartAs Brietbart News has emerged from the sewer of hatred to become the home of White Nationalism, many national companies have taken steps to pull their advertising dollars. Not so with Nissan. They've taken the rather mercenary position that put their advertising dollars where they think they can make the most money, period. Nissan needs to decide what side of history they will stand on. I'm not surprised. As the bi-vocational pastor of a small church here in Jackson, MS over the last 12 years., I've watched Nissan engage in abusive, exploitative, and militantly anti-Union labor practices in their Canton, Mississippi facility. At the same time Nissan tries to burnish their image by sprinkling charitable contributions around the community. The disconnect between Nissan's public image and actual corporate behavior was so great for me that I decided to get involved by joining the Mississippi Alliance for Fairness at Nissan. Now I'm asking you to get involved too. Tell Nissan to stop using their advertising dollars where hate is being promoted. Tell Nissan to stop the threats and let workers have a fair union election. Join me in adding your name to this petition. Nissan has chosen to take a page out of the playbook of Mississippi and intimidate workers against voting for a union. The U.S. is the only place in the world where Nissan operates non-union. So we pastors here say: "Why not Mississippi?" We call upon people of good will everywhere to say to Nissan stop advertising in Brietbart, but more than that: stop threatening your workers civil and human rights to organize a union here in Mississippi. Tell Nissan to stand on the side of democracy and decency- Sign the petition now. Tell Nissan to respect civil rights. Tell Nissan to stop advertising with Breitbart and tell Nissan to stop threatening their workers in MS! For additional Information please see: https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2017/02/21/breitbart-under-bannon-breitbarts-comment-section-reflects-alt-right-anti-semitic-language https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/11/30/kellogg-citing-values-joins-growing-list-of-companies-that-pledged-to-stop-advertising-in-breitbart-news/?utm_term=.a5c056a54597 http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/nation-now/2016/12/01/brands-pull-ads-breitbart-nissan-stays-put/94732782/ https://www.facingsouth.org/2013/10/nissan-is-violating-international-labor-standards-.html
Gov. Dayton: Protect Local Control, Veto Preemption!HF 600 / SF 580, taken directly from the playbook of corporate lobbyists, would greatly harm our democracy by preventing local governments from addressing the issues facing their communities. Cities need to be able to pass laws that meet their communities' diverse needs -- and only local government can address many of these needs. This bill is a blatant attempt to limit the power of workers of color, who have been organizing for and winning real gains in our cities to close our worst-in-the-nation racial disparities. And it has real consequences. It would roll back sick time protections for over 150,000 workers, making those workers once again have to choose between a paycheck and caring for their health and family. Communities have diverse needs that only local government can respond to. It's wrong for corporate interests to have final say when it's local families and communities that will suffer the consequences. Local governments know their communities best and must be able to make decisions for their communities. We call on Governor Dayton to veto the "local preemption" bill to protect our democracy and our families.
Block Neil Gorsuch from the Supreme CourtThe next Supreme Court Justice should be someone who we can depend on to uphold the rights’ of all Americans regardless of race, gender, religion, and legal status. Trump has shown such contempt for the power of the judiciary and the concept of checks and balances that we know he will prioritize judges who will defend his fascist white supremacist orders, constitutional or not. Gorsuch has been a long contender against the Affordable Care Act and reproductive rights. Neil Gorsuch authored the ruling, which the Supreme Court upheld, allowing Hobby Lobby to exclude the coverage of contraceptives under the Affordable Care Act and rescind the rights of over 13,000 of their employees. In Utah, he sided with Governor Gary Herbert’s attempt to defund Planned Parenthood. Gorsuch has protected police officers who are guilty and has given them more power to search people. After a school resource officer used a painful twist-lock on a 9 year old boy who stole an iPad, Neil Gorsuch issued a joint ruling that the officer didn’t use excessive force on the child. In 2013 Gorsuch ruled that in the death of Ryan Wilson of Lafayette, Colorado that the police officer who murdered him from a blow to the head with a stun gun did not use excessive force. Neil Gorsuch doesn’t understand what excessive force means and will stand with police no matter what their crime is. Trump's early weeks in office show that he plans to stop enforcing civil rights and further escalate the war on Black people, locking us up at higher and higher rates, placing unconstitutional travel bans on our community, and even hinting at martial law. He refuses to accept an independent judiciary, and will only pick judges that allow him to ram through his unconstitutional agenda. Minnesota's senators, Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar, are both on the judiciary committee and will be able to help shape his confirmation process. Tell them to filibuster his nomination.