- Afropunk Army
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Tell WalMart to stop locking up Black haircare products!A Walmart in Las Vegas, Nevada has decided to lock down haircare products marketed to and predominantly bought by its Black customers. Loss prevention is fine but Walmart locked up Black hair products sitting on shelves while keeping white hair goods out in the open. Outside of haircare, but even costlier items, like golf clubs and kitchenware, aren’t locked up. To have a two-tiered security system targeting Black hair products is disrespectful of Walmart’s Black customers. This Walmart decision is bizarre and racist. Black people make up less than 10% of Nevada’s population and they are forced to endure these microaggressions constantly. Not to mention, Black people constitute 21% of Walmart’s American workforce. Locking up products that are advertised and purchased heavily by Black shoppers and workers sends a message saying that Black people are petty thieves and that even those closest to the company cannot be trusted. Keep in mind: there is no company-wide policy on securing Black hair care products. Walmart does not have to lock up these products. And just as its store manager decided to have the goods selectively sealed away, they can have the good unlocked too. Walmart may have a right to protect its merchandise, but it does not have the right to discriminate! Changing the rules around how Walmart and other corporate giants treat Black people begins with identifying and pressuring Walmart in our neighborhoods. Below is the letter we will send to the Walmart leadership in Nevada on your behalf:
Protect Baldwin Hills Elementary Pilot School from Charter GrowthWe are concerned community members of Baldwin Hills Elementary Pilot, a school doing amazing things with and for our Black and Brown babies, 80% Black. 1. Local, Black District officials (one of whom went to Baldwin) and local, Black LAUSD Board office heads are laying low, doing nothing to protect our school’s programs. 2. Charter school needs space, wants to move to another LAUSD campus with space, while LAUSD is actively NOT pursuing this alternate agreement to move the charter. 3. What space on Baldwin Hills campus does LAUSD want to give to the charter? a). Our music room b). Our arts room c). Our technology lab d). Our parent run after school childcare room, where one our mothers pays LAUSD rent, to house her program on our campus for our families 4. What makes Baldwin Hills a special place, one worth preserving? a). 2 out of 3 students score near/at/above standards in mathematics b). 3 out of 4 students score near/at/above standards in language arts c). We’re a Pilot school with autonomies to innovate. We focus on culturally responsive teaching, STEAM, and project based learning. d). We are a highly rated arts program school. e). Multiple Excelling Magnet Awards f). National Board Certified Teachers alongside LAUSD Rookie of the Year Teacher 5. We’re doing this with children that nationally are underserved and underperforming: Black and Brown students. So, while the District lays low, we stand up! Do what's right! Move the charter to another site! #westandupforbaldwinhills #whoarewebhep
SIGN NOW, TELL MAYOR DUGGAN: Stop Illegally Kicking Black Detroit Families Out through ForeclosuresBecause BLACK CITIES MATTER. Displacement through Development and Gentrification is racial violence targeting Black people across this nation. Mayor Duggan, the City of Detroit, and greedy developers have their eye on Detroit and are working to push out Black and Brown families who have been the lifeline of this great city through thick and thin. Illegal Property Tax Foreclosures are being used to “clear out” working-class Black and Brown families in Detroit to make room for white gentrifiers. TELL MAYOR DUGGAN TO STOP EVICTING FAMILIES IN TAX FORECLOSURES From 2011 to 2015, the Wayne County treasurer foreclosed upon about 1 in 4 Detroit properties for nonpayment of property taxes. The Great Depression was the last time in American history that we experienced this record numbers of property tax foreclosures. According to the Michigan Constitution, no property should be assessed at more than 50% of its market value. But, between 2009-2015, the City of Detroit assessed 55% to 85% of its properties in violation of its state constitution. Since property taxes were based on these ridiculous and illegally inflated numbers, it is no surprise that residents weren't able to pay. As a result, over 100,000 working families have lost their homes, and many Detroit neighborhoods have been devastated. Black people in Detroit have been hit hardest of all by illegal property tax foreclosures. Tell Mayor Duggan to do right by Black Detroit families and communities of color who face homelessness without due process or justice in unscrupulous, illegal foreclosures.
Keep the water on in BrightmoorBlack people in Brightmoor are suffering as a result of the city's decision to deny them water. Brightmoor is a Black community here in Detroit that has seen the pressure of gentrification and lack of economic support lead to longtime Black residents without secure housing. Residents in Brightmoor without secure housing prospects are only further punished when the city takes their water away. While the people of the community are forced to pay ever-rising rents, they are also being pushed out by the city who is denying them utilities they need to live.1 With thousands of residents across Detroit being denied water, we know Black communities like Brightmoor will be hit the hardest. Without water Black people in Brightmoor find themselves falling further behind the eightball as they search for jobs that can allow them to afford to live in the community they’ve known their entire lives. Water and Sewerage Director Gary Brown and Mayor Mike Duggan have the power to stop the shutoffs now. This is not the first time Detroit has caused thousands of Black people to suffer without water. Despite being told that water cutoffs are a public health risk Mayor Mike Duggan and Water and Sewage Director Gary Brown directed the city water department to shut off water for more than 76,000 people in Detroit between 2014 and 2016.2 Director Brown has gone on record as saying that no one should have their water cut off in Detroit, now Black people in Brightmoor and throughout Detroit are being threatened with just that. The city of Detroit’s water cutoff policy leaves the people of Brightmoor with few options when searching for fresh water to drink, bathe and cook. Students in households who had their water cutoff had to find a way to learn while also worrying about staying clean and avoiding the attention of their peers. People working or searching had to find a way to keep their clothes clean or risk their only option to get current on their bills and restore their water. Without access to clean and safe water, people are exposed to a greater risk of contracting Hepatitis A. Residents throughout the community rely on water from community partners, We The People and the Brightmoor Connection food pantry, putting an incredible strain on the resources needed to address other areas in dire need of help. Changing the water policy to end cutoffs would allow Black people who make-up Brightmoor and Detroit as a whole better cope with rising rent pushing people out of the only community they’ve known. Director Gary Brown and Mayor Mike Duggan can help Black people in Brightmoor and Detroit by ending the policy to deny people water service. It is the only equitable option for a city that is interested in assisting residents who have been the backbone of the city as they face growing financial pressure from gentrification. Join us in demanding that he keeps the water on in Brightmoor.
Coca-Cola is putting stocks over students. Tell them to stop funding the NCAA.Selection Sunday is coming- the kick off for March Madness and that time of year when we all gather to see bracket busters, buzzer beaters and more memorable moments. This is also a time when the NCAA will heavily feature, promote and make money off a number of student-athletes- an overwhelming number of them Black, and kids from low-income families. Athletes that according to the NCAA, should be treated as prison labor.1 That's right, just last month, the NCAA- in an effort to maximize their own profits and limit the ability of athletes to profit from their own images- filed a motion with the court arguing that the 13th amendment should be applied to college students playing sports. The 13th amendment forbids slavery and involuntary servitude, “except as punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted," a loophole which has since been exploited to sustain our criminal justice system by targeting Black communities today2. The NCAA is pushing this insulting argument to keep what amounts to billions of dollars of advertising from sponsors like Coca-Cola3. Students across the nation are demanding the NCAA to treat them fairly but it is clear that money takes precedent over students. It is time to tell Coca-Cola to withdraw funding from the NCAA until they agree to pay student-athletes. Corporations are supporting the NCAA as they fight to exploit student athletes by comparing them to prisoners. The NCAA is trafficking in a tradition of racist laws criminalizing Black people preventing better treatment and wages in America4. Black codes after the Civil War forced Black people to work as sharecroppers and restricted movement, and the modern criminal justice system targeting Black communities5. Funding from corporations like Coca-Cola provides the rationale and resources for their exploitation. The NCAA exploits student-athletes and reinforces the system of exploitation Black people must face throughout the nation. Only through the active support of companies like Coca-Cola can the NCAA continue to push arguments that support our current system of incarceration and continued exploitation of students. The comparison between prisoners and athletes shines a light on the way the policy against player pay is rooted in our larger system of exploitation. Coca-Cola should not be allowed to continue to profit from this exploitation of Black athletes. They are building on precedents currently targeting Black communities throughout the nation. The NCAA is comparing players to prisoners in court. Tell Coca-Cola to stop their continued support for the NCAA. While supporting the NCAA with funding as a corporate sponsor Coca-Cola has also positioned themselves as a corporation concerned with their social responsibility touting their “perfect score” in the corporate equality index6. Coca-Cola has even spoken directly to the issue of unpaid/slave labor since accusations of the practice have been made overseas7. Coca-Cola has promised to reform any practices forced labor practices associated with their company touting their "human rights due diligence tools"8. Why would this not include the student-athletes exploited by their partners at the NCAA? We will not let Coca-Cola have it both ways. We are joining together to tell Coca-Cola, to end their support for the NCAA unless they agree to pay players. We must tell Coca-Cola that support for the NCAA is not acceptable, while they make dollars off of the back of Black athletes. With our collective voices, we can send a message to the Coca-Cola that we are watching and will not accept support for exploitation.
Affordable Housing for Miami Families Affected by SlumlordsIn 2014, low-income residents forced to live in slum-like conditions due to lack of resources began to organize for their rights to affordable, dignified housing and formed the "Smash the Slumlords" campaign. The women organized community meetings, educated other residents about their rights, garnered support from the city mayor and sought out legal action against slumlords. Conversations focused on the collective need and partnership with other grassroots organizations recruited allies from outside their community and helped bring the campaign into public light. Legal action against one slumlord led to his prosecution and the City of Miami placed his property under their control. Afterwards, the residents of Liberty City rightfully demanded that the slumlord face greater consequences and that the buildings be repaired. However, when it became apparent that the buildings were so woefully neglected that they could only be condemned and destroyed, the City faced a new challenge: where to relocate the families in a city where there is a chronic shortage of affordable housing stock? In response to this dilemma, SMASH has tasked itself with developing expedited affordable housing units for these families on a Community Land Trust (CLT). Unlike other affordable housing projects, this one would be unique for its prioritization of extremely low-income families, and the community driven design and management process through the CLT model. This would not only provide the slum affected families of these buildings with the transitional housing units they need, but it could also be re-used for every set of families that find themselves in similar circumstances. Once they are relocated, their original buildings can be condemned, destroyed and rebuilt into permanent affordable housing where the families have a right to return.
Veto Bill to Fund Militarization of Florida SchoolsThe state of Florida needs change to prevent more tragedies, but it will not come with more children staring down the barrel of a gun. Three weeks ago, 17 students and school staff were murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and Florida was shaken to its core. The Florida legislature followed Governor Rick Scott's lead in drafting "solutions" that involve filling Florida schools with even more guns. Our state's elected officials have approved a bill that provides funding to arm school staff, including teachers, coaches, librarians and counselors, while dramatically increasing funding for police and high level surveillance security in schools. At Governor Scott's direction, this bill will make Florida schools a lot scarier for students, particularly students of color, across the state. After Columbine, 10,000 school police officers were hired to prevent another mass shooting. Two decades later and more police presence in school has not proven to be an effective solution and has not stopped a single mass shooting. Instead, police in Florida have locked up 1 million children, mostly black children, for routine behavior disruptions, like talking back to a teacher or getting into schoolyard scuffles. The proposed bill allots $400 million to make our schools feel more like prisons when they should feel sanctuaries. This bill will have catastrophic consequences for insurmountable numbers of black, brown and poor youth in Florida. Our representatives have a responsibility to act in a way that keeps all Florida children safe. Tell Governor Rick Scott to veto any bill to allocate resources for more police and guns in schools. Supporters Dream Defenders Power U Center for Social Change Advancement Project National Office Color of Change Florida’s Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 1199 New Florida Majority Miami Worker's Center Alliance for Education Justice National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
Florida State Rep. Kimberly Daniels Needs to ApologizeKimberly Daniels dishonored her ancestors when thanking God for slavery. They suffered unspeakable and inhumane racial terrorism at the hands of European slave traders, the effects of which continue to haunt our lives today. Through our forced participation in the transatlantic slave trade, African Americans played a crucial role in America's emergence as an economic world power. While it is imperative that we take pride in having survived such historical atrocities, thanking God for slavery is a major step in the wrong direction; one we simply cannot accept from anyone. Kimberly Daniels' reckless choice of words portray a blatant lack of knowledge of traditional African spiritual practices, and disregard for the experiences of our ancestors. As African American descendants of slavery, and global peoples of African descent who are proud of our heritage, we cannot stand by and allow such irresponsible sentiment from our own people.
Demand FL State Attorney Arrest & Charge Gardner Kent Fraser for the murder of DJ BroadusOnce again, our community in Macclenny, FL is reeling from another loss of Black life. Dominic Jerome Broadus II, a father, son, musician and our family’s storyteller, met an untimely death at the hands of a racist neighbor. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) continues to disrespect our family with non-answers and heavily redacted statements, further demonstrating a complete lack of regard and interest to thoroughly investigate this case. To this day, my family has not received any information about what happened to DJ and continues to suffer. In numerous cases, from Trayvon Martin to Keegan Von Roberts, racist killers are allowed to walk free and families are expected to move on without any closure. The persistent denial of justice causes communities to live under a cloud of racist terror. Most fear retaliation from local law enforcement each time a new story of state-sanctioned violence occurs. In spite of it all, the community is coming together to say, no more. State Attorneys can shift this paradigm and demand accountability from police departments instead of enabling the continued disregard for Black life. Cervone can begin to set a precedent by righting this terrible wrong and bringing justice to my family.
African American History IS American HistoryIn 1926, after lobbying with schools and organizations, Carter Godwin Woodson launched the 1st annual Black History week. His mission was to illuminate the contributions African Americans have made to our society in hopes that one day this information would be incorporated into American History. Years later, we now get a month dedicated to Black History, which still isn't enough. Textbook American history highlights the accomplishments of Europeans. Meanwhile, the African American narrative is downplayed - summed up by slavery, Black Codes (Jim Crow), and Civil Rights. Studies show this angle does nothing to promote equality. In fact, it does just the opposite - promote white supremacy and increases low self-esteem in African American children. All children, especially those of African descent, need to hear and learn that there is more to Black life than slavery and the Civil Rights movement. While we're thankful for the Civil Rights leaders, and in no way discount their efforts, there's more to our history than this small section. What about African American surgeons, philosophers, biologists, psychologists, attorneys, educators, entrepreneurs and so on? What about the history of nations and empires in Africa? Where's the positive representation of African American culture in American history books? European American history is narrated gloriously and pumped into our children from elementary to high school. On the other hand, African Americans must first attend college. Then, elect to enroll in African American Studies or Culture...that is if it's offered, in order to gain a different perspective. If we truly want to see a change in Black communities and in society as a whole, this is where we need to start. We've got to change the narrative. Sign my petition and demand that McGraw-Hill incorporate material from suggestions from African American Studies and History scholars with a full picture of Black people. As the largest schoolbook manufacturer based in the United States McGraw-Hill is in the position to lead to widespread adoption of curriculum to counter racist narratives that erase our contribution and encourage inferiority.
Justice for Chance David Baker NowBeing mentally ill and Black in public is not a crime, nor is it a justification for murder. A life-and-death decision was carried out by Sgt. Goodman within 155 seconds, this points to the undoubtable prejudice against Blackness and mental illness. This is the very prejudice that causes a non-violent Black 22-year-old with a BB gun to be murdered whereas a White 19-year-old who killed 17 people be taken alive by police. Nikolas Cruz was characterized by his lawyer and media as a “broken child,” that “lacks impulse control.” In this country white terrorists are offered the fullest humanity and reprieve because white supremacy has institutionalized their superiority and protection. White Police Officers like Goodman benefit from white supremacy as well. How is a decorated officer trained in de-escalation, who murdered two people allowed to remain on active duty? His only consequence to date was administrative leave. Officer Goodman has served for 15 years and is trained in de-escalation. It is within reason to believe a trained officer would take appropriate measures to connect Chance with Portland Police mental health liaisons. This is not an isolated injustice. It speaks to the on-going realities of police brutality and criminalization of Black bodies in this country. In fact, Sgt. Goodman's actions reflect the violent training of officers: “There is no such thing as ‘we’re going to shoot the gun out of their hand or shoot them in the thigh,’” said Portland Police Chief Sauschuck. “I’m not training them to, nor do our policies and procedures state that they should wound somebody. They are trying to hit this individual in a lethal location,” Sauschuck. (BDN, Feb. 22, 2017) The police continue to mistreat, terrorize, and murder people of color and are able to walk away free. We need to talk about Chance, share pictures of his sweet smile, and remind each other what we continue to lose when we uphold a system that won’t punish people who kill Black children and adults. We affirm that all Black lives matter. We affirm that Chance David Baker’s life matters. We stand in solidarity with Chance’s family and community. And as his concerned community, we demand Attorney General Mills release a report and find Sgt. Goodman guilty for the reckless murder of Chance David Baker. We will not settle for task forces or body cameras, we want justice and we need it NOW.
Minimal Sentencing for Wriply Bennet of the #BlackPride4On June 17th, 2017, four Black queer and trans people--now known as the BlackPride4--were violently arrested while peacefully protesting the Columbus Pride Parade to draw attention to the disproportionate murder of trans women of color and the non-indictment of Philando Castile’s murderer, Minneapolis Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez. After months of widespread outrage at the police brutality against the #BlackPride4 and their subsequent arrests, three of them have gone to trial and were found guilty on February 12th, 2018 of charges ranging from disorderly conduct to resisting arrest. With a quickly approaching sentencing date of March 13th, 2018, we must continue the fight to #FreeTheBlackPride4. Their lives and futures hang in the balance, and Judge Ebner is the sole gatekeeper to their freedom. Wriply Bennet and her lawyer have suggested that folks all over continue to show their solidarity in hopes that the Judge is lenient. We really need to keep these Black trans activist home and free from any jail time -- sign the below petition to urge Judge Ebner dole out minimal sentencing to Wriply of the #BlackPride4! -- Here's the petition! Dear Honorable Judge Ebner, We write today in support of Ms. Wriply Bennet and to urge you to deliver the most minimal sentence to her. Ms. Bennet is an asset to our community. Columbus will benefit by Ms. Bennet being allowed to continue the great work she is involved in the community, and our entire community will feel the negative impact should she be required to serve jail time. Ms. Bennet is a nationally recognized artist who has organized around community service efforts for years. In addition, Ms. Bennet has acted as a consultant for local organizations (like Kaleidoscope Youth Center and the Trans/Queer Racial Justice and Transformation Network of the OSU Sexuality Studies Program and others), providing much-needed support to groups working to better our communities. We know that it would be most beneficial to our city and country if she had the opportunity to continue investing her skills and leadership directly into the community instead of serving jail time or navigating restrictive supervision. We respectfully request that you also consider that incarceration is particularly dangerous and traumatizing for Black trans women, who are already faced with the looming threat of violence in their day-to-day lives. For recent context, Ashley Diamond, a Black trans civil rights activist in Georgia, was assaulted, placed into solitary confinement, and denied her medication while incarcerated in 2015. As a direct result of the conditions she experienced, Diamond currently suffers from PTSD and other mental health issues that have hindered her integration back into her communities. We as individuals, join with numerous local and national organizations that have publicly supported Ms. Bennet. In the past eight months, groups from all over Columbus and beyond have offered vocal and material support for the #BlackPride4, from releasing public statements (Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization, Equality Ohio) to being present during the week of trial (including BQIC, TransOhio, People’s Justice Project, Showing Up for Racial Justice, Yes We Can Columbus, and former 2017 Stonewall Columbus Pride Planning Committee members who resigned from the Planning Committee due to Stonewall Columbus’ response to the Pride protest). This coordinated, community support demonstrates the interest that has been taken in their case, both locally and nationally, as well as in the defendants’ futures as free people. We understand that as the presiding judge in the case, you have a duty to honor the verdicts given in a court of law. We believe it is imperative that our community’s constitutional rights to peaceful assembly and free speech be protected. Our First Amendment rights enabled so many before us to call attention to social issues and spark lasting change. In light of those interests, the vast network of support for Ms. Bennet, and her history of community service, we urge you to give the absolute minimum sentencing to Ms. Bennet.