- 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
- Music Industry
- Open Internet
- Police Accountability
- Political Power
- Private Prisons
- Right Wing Racism
- School-to-Prison Pipeline
- Voting Rights
- Wrongful Imprisonment
Free The Children of Kiarre HarrisIn November of 2016, Kiarre Harris, an African-American single mother, chose to homeschool her children and remove them from a failing school in Buffalo, New York. Ms. Harris properly withdrew her children from the public school and fully complied with NYS regulations regarding homeschooling. The Buffalo Public Schools District notified Child Protective Services that the children were not attending school. Without the knowledge or notice to Ms. Harris, Child Protective Services secured a removal order from a Family Court Judge---based on educational neglect. When police first notified Ms. Harris of the removal order (which they did not provide a copy of), Ms. Harris refused to turn her children over to the police. She was arrested for obstruction. Two days later, on January 18, 2017 the children of Ms. Harris were taken away from her and placed into foster care. An ongoing Family Court has now been triggered and Ms. Harris has been granted only limited supervised visitation of her two children. This entire incident began with Ms. Harris' decision to homeschool her children and the Buffalo School District calling Child Protective Services with baseless allegations of educational neglect. Jailing a mother who has complied with the law; taking her children away, and subjecting the family to ongoing legal proceedings can not be allowed to happen. This sends a chilling message to parents who choose to fight for the betterment of their children's education. We need to make it clear: the policies and practices of the Erie County unit of Child Protective Services are racially discriminatory and adversely impact parents of poor and minority children. Kiarre Harris should be admired for doing all in her power to make sure her children have the best education possible. #KiarraHarris #HandsOffHarrisChildren
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.
Divest from Wells Fargo! University of California (UC) Prison Divestment!We, the undersigned community members and justice seekers, are excited by the Afrikan Black Coalition's recent victory in getting the University of California to divest $25 million from the private prison corporations Corrections Corporations of America (CCA), The Geo Group, and G4S. The victory was historic because private prisons have exacerbated America's mass incarceration regime, are implicated in gross human rights violations, and should be outlawed. However, we share the Afrikan Black Coalition's outrage and frustration resulting from the UC system's startling $425 million investment in Wells Fargo, one of the largest financiers of private prisons. According a report from Enlace, Wells Fargo facilitates access to over $1.2 billion capital for private prisons. As of their latest filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Wells Fargo owned nearly 1.5 million shares in private prisons. It bears noting that Wells Fargo is a bank that practiced discriminatory lending and maneuvered people of color (primarily Black and Latino) into subprime mortgages that led to the financial meltdown of 2007-2008; and in response to accusations of racial discrimination in its lending practices, Wells Fargo settled for $175 million in 2012 with pending litigations from several U.S cities (Los Angeles and Oakland) about discriminatory practices. It is for these reasons that we stand in solidarity with the Afrikan Black Coalition in its call for justice for those who are systematically dehumanized by an unforgiving and unfair judicial system that continues to criminalize Black and brown bodies. We acknowledge these cases illustrate the evolution of America's legal institution to uphold race, gender, and class hierarchies. By investing in Wells Fargo Bank, the University of California is actively supporting a legacy of historical emphasis on profit margins at the expense of human beings, and the continued mass criminalization of Black existence. It is an ethical embarrassment and a clear disregard for Black and immigrant lives for the UC to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in Wells Fargo as a financier of private prisons. In the age of Black Lives Matter and a reinvigorated Black Freedom Struggle, the UC should NOT be bankrolling the inhuman mass incarceration regime that has gripped America.
URGE THE FCC TO CLOSE THE DIGITAL DIVIDE!Lifeline is a federal program that has connected millions of qualifying low-income households to telephones for more than 30 years. It was established in 1985 to ensure that every resident in the country could access a telephone in the home. At the time, telephones were viewed as an essential utility, like electricity or water. Lifeline, through a modest subsidy, ensures that every family who can’t afford a telephone connection, can do so through this program. In 2005, the program was updated to include cell phone services. Now, with more and more people relying on the Internet to meet many of their personal needs, Lifeline must be expanded to include broadband access. Low-income communities deserve an Internet that is affordable, reliable, and accessible and supports their ability to participate in society. In a society where it has become a requirement that job applicants, employees, students, patients, bank customers, and consumers use the Internet for basic services, broadband is no longer a luxury but a necessity. That's why we're calling on the FCC to treat it as such and ensure that low-income families have access to this vital service through updated Lifeline rules. As a Lifeline subscriber, I know how important this program is to helping connect people to the tools they need to communicate. I live in New Orleans, LA and have a son who is incarcerated in Texas a 10 hours drive away from me. The only way I can communicate with him is through a landline telephone in my home. He can't call my cell phone because the prison telephone operator won't allow it. With my other expenses, affording an additional telephone was going to be a challenge but then I heard about the Lifeline program. Lifeline helps low-income families by subsidizing a portion of their telephone or cell phone bill. It helped me be able to afford a landline in my home. The Lifeline program is now being expanded to help families connect to the Internet. For me this is important because I use the Internet everyday for school. I'm currently taking online courses and pursuing a degree in criminal justice. The Internet is also a place where I find resources to send to my son. As a mother and a student, the Internet is so important but it is also expensive. I know the Lifeline program can help people like me who need the extra help to get ahead. Please consider supporting this petition because the Federal Communications Commission will soon vote on whether to reform the Lifeline program.
Accused of Stealing from Walmart? Pay $500 or Go to Jail!Walmart is the largest employer in the nation, with over 1.5 million U.S. employees. In Minnesota alone, there are 69 Walmart locations. In fiscal year 2016, Walmart made $14.7 billion in profits, yet still relies on taxpayer-funded law enforcement in their stores. In 2016, Twin Cities-area Walmart stores made 4,958 calls for police service at a cost of more than $3 million to local taxpayers .Walmart’s solution to offsetting this cost to taxpayers is to hire private precharge companies like Corrective Education Company (CEC) to implement Walmart’s “Restorative Justice” program for suspected shoplifters. This program is currently in one third of all Walmart U.S. stores. CEC's program allows for a private security guard to identify a suspected shoplifter, lead them to a back room, collect their information, take their fingerprints and mugshot, and run their personal information through a private database to determine if they are eligible for their program. Eligibility for CEC's program is based on several factors, including whether the suspected shoplifter is a first time or repeat offender. CEC’s program is presented as a choice to enroll in and costs $400 if paid in full ($500 if in payments). The suspected shoplifter must sign an admission of guilt, which can be turned over to the police at any time by the retailer if the person does not complete the program or pay the fee in full. There are additional penalty charges for late payments and failure to pay can result in CEC turning information over to debt collection. Some retailers that contract with CEC are given a percentage of CEC’s fee, typically $40 per case, but there have been claims that retailers can make up to $100 per case. Criticism of this program is extensive, including claims that this program violates constitutional due process, utilizes coercion and extortion tactics, and employs racial profiling to identify suspected shoplifters. There is also concern over CEC’s private database that maintains all personal information for each suspected shoplifter “indefinitely.” In November 2015, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera sued CEC for extortion, unfair business practices, false imprisonment, and more. The case is set to go to trial in October 2017.
Stop Shaming Our Communities, Take People's Mugshots Off Of FacebookWe've just learned that the Philadelphia Police Department is putting mugshots of people charged with crimes - almost exclusively accused of selling drugs - on their Special Operations Facebook page. This is a public shaming of Black people, and other marginalized people, who have only been charged with a crime, and follows a long history of law enforcement abusing community trust to imply guilt before trial. Each close-up photograph, tagged with the person's name, age, race, gender, and where they were arrested - is fully public, available for searching and sharing, and available for nasty and ridiculing Facebook comments.This maintains a steady drumbeat of fear for the continued criminalization of our communities! Public shaming of people charged with crimes is an invasion of their privacy, keeps no one safe, and it is not a way that police departments can build trust with the communities they are sworn to protect and defend. Shaming people charged with crimes on social media technologies puts them and their families at risk of major harassment and injury, both online and off. Posting mugshots of people who are only charged with crimes also contribute to biased thinking that implies guilt simply through contact with a racist criminal justice system - especially when shared with social media. While the legislature seeks to protect police who use their weapons, the police themselves are violating the privacy of our communities - in ways that no way protect or expand public safety. Pennsylvania public officials have pushed to keep private the identities of police officers who use their weapons in the line of duty. The statehouse wants to protect officers who use force from the prejudice and shaming that they are weaponizing against Black people. While the Pennsylvania legislature seek to protect those who should be held to a higher standard, the Philadelphia Police Department is putting mugshots of people accused of crimes into a social media spotlight that can only hurt them and their families This kind of public shaming has no place in our communities!
Do Not Attend Donald Trump's Inauguration: Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim ScottDear Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, On Friday, January 20th, in Washington, D.C., Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States of America. Congressman John Lewis— longtime ally to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.— announced Saturday that he will not be attending Donald Trump's inauguration. Like many who watched Donald Trump fear-monger throughout his campaign, Lewis asserted "I don't see this President-elect as a legitimate president." For the first time in 30 years, Lewis plans to boycott a presidential inauguration, adding he "cannot be at home with something that [he feels] is wrong." While some will argue attending this inauguration ceremony is tradition, we the people of South Carolina, ask that join Lewis and other Congress members in boycotting this celebration of tyranny and racialized violence. More than 30 members of Congress— Barbara Lee (CA), Katherine Clark (MA), Jared Huffman (CA), Luis Gutiérrez (IL), Earl Blumenauer (OR), and Nydia Velazquez (NY)— have already committed to boycotting the inauguration but they have not yet been joined by peers in the Senate. In her statement on attending the inauguration, Congresswoman Barbara Lee warns: “We need look no further than the team he is assembling to find signals that the era of Trump will be one of chaos and devastation for our communities.” “[He named] a white nationalist as his chief strategist, nominated [an] Attorney General, [with a] long career of opposition to civil and human rights, and expedited the process to repeal the Affordable Care Act and make America sick again.” “Donald Trump has proven that his administration will normalize the most extreme fringes of the Republican Party. On Inauguration Day, I will not be celebrating. I will be organizing and preparing for resistance.” Now we’re asking you to join your peers. Like us, they agree that Trump’s campaign to seize the White House relied on repeatedly insulting and villainizing Black, Muslim and Latino communities. This is not the kind of leadership we welcome in South Carolina or in this country, so it should be no surprise that we are asking you, a representative of our beloved South Carolina, not to attend Trump’s swearing in. Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, we need you to send a clear message to Donald Trump: I do not support your tyranny. When Trump proclaimed himself the “law and order candidate,” he began dog-whistling to conservatives that he would handle all problems occurring in Black and Latino inner cities with an iron first. And to appease his racist constituency, Trump decidedly instigated violent attacks on Black, Muslim, and Latino protesters at his rallies. And on his mark, Trump’s supporters joined in beating, threatening, and forcefully ejecting Black and Latino people from his rallies. The former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke has publicly supported Trump and has partially financed his campaign. That’s why it’s no surprise that Trump’s hate speech, misogyny, anti-Muslim bigotry and racism have ignited a national culture of violence and terror— a culture wherein genocide becomes the solution to a “problem.” His intolerance has fueled an alarming rise in the number of hate crimes committed against Muslims, as well as significant increases in membership to white supremacist groups. Let us be frank, senators: This is not our vision of democracy! Trump’s platform is rooted in racism, misogyny, and xenophobia. His swearing-in marks a grave turnover in power and a shift in political culture that negates the progressive momentum this country has gained over the years. Make no mistake: by attending Donald Trump’s inauguration, you are supporting an administration that seeks to normalize hate. There is no reason to celebrate the transfer of power to a despot. Trump’s hate cannot be contained. But we can firmly and strategically oppose it whenever and wherever it appears. When anti-Black, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, or anti-woman forces show up in democratic institutions, voters and community members need to know that you will stand up to hate and bigotry. Boycotting Trump’s inauguration is a strong step toward earning the trust of the people of South Carolina. As sitting officials, your decision to skip Trump’s inauguration sends a critical message: We, Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, will not celebrate the destruction of the values and institutions the American people hold dear. We are asking that you stand in with South Carolina. We, the undersigned, respectfully ask that you do not attend the 58th U.S. Presidential Inauguration.
#StopGimenez And Stand Against Hatred & Racism in Miami-Dade CountyWe won’t stand for hatred and racism in our city. Last week, Trump signed an executive order threatening to withhold federal money from “sanctuary cities,” cities that do not use their resources to enforce national immigration laws. Trump wants a world where any officer or municipal employee can ask about a person's immigration status. Miami-Dade County became the first county to bow to Trump as Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez signed his own executive order directing county jails to “fully cooperate” with Trump’s orders. Miami is the poster child for the touted diversity of the United States, holding the second largest number of immigrants in the country. We must protect our communities and our families from these dangerous and divisive orders. Tell the Miami-Dade County Commission to stand up against Mayor Gimenez and Trump. Because of racism and mass incarceration, Black immigrants and immigrants from Caribbean and Central American countries are more likely to come in contact with police and U.S. Immigration and Customs (ICE) officials, get misdemeanor and felony conviction and thus increase their chances of being deported. We should crack down on developers who displace communities - not on immigrants and the people. We cannot continue business as usual, we must hold our elected officials accountable now. In 2013, the county commission adopted a resolution directing the mayor to not honor detention requests unless the federal government would be paying for the jail time. Commissioners had it right the first time. Tell the county commission: #StopGimenez, stand against Trump, and reinstate the county commission policy of no detainers. The commission will meet this Tuesday, February 7th, but commissioners haven’t revealed any attempt to overturn the mayor’s order. Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava has hinted at revisiting the policy. Take a stand for all immigrants. Sign the petition. This country was founded by people seeking refuge from political and religious persecution. Immigrants, along with native people and people of color, helped to build this country. Now they are being told that they have no place here. Let’s take a stand and demand the county commission fight and resist Mayor Gimenez and Trump. To: Commissioner Dennis Moss, Commissioner Sally Heyman, Comissioner Barbara Jordan and Comissioner Bruno Barreiro CC: Mayor Gimenez