• Protect Communities from Police Violence in West Memphis, Arkansas
    On November 17, 2019, West Memphis police officers accosted and attempted to arrest Shawanda Brookshire, a 33-year-old Black woman who had lost her 4-year-old daughter in a car accident the day before. The incident occurred while Shawnda stood outside a LaQuinta Hotel in West Memphis, Arkansas - mere hours after she’d seen her daughters body for the first time at a local funeral home. Officers drove up to Shawnda, who was on the phone, grieving - demanding proof of stay. Shawnda complied - showing her hotel key card, informing the officers that her daughter had just died and that she wanted to be left alone. The offending officers then demanded identification, which she said she left in the hotel room. The officers exited their vehicles, began to intimidate and surround Shawnda, prompting her to panic and call her family for assistance. One of the officers threatened arrest when she began to scream in fear. He then attempted to trip her and he fell to the ground. Aggravated, a second officer slammed Shawnda to the ground, handcuffed her, and placed the weight of his knee on her back. When Shawnda’s family and hotel staff attempted to intervene, verifying her residency at the motel and the circumstances surrounding her grief, they were threatened with arrest and ignored. Shawnda was thrown in the back of a police car while her family insisted she committed no crime and demanded her release. The United States has a long history of police violence against innocent civilians, particularly in impoverished Black and brown communities. The distrust resulting from the unequal treatment of minorities within the criminal justice system has spurred a rising tide of anger, frustration, and despair among people of color, especially the poor and working class. The city of West Memphis, Arkansas, is 61.4% Black, and Black people constitute 2 out of 5 of West Memphis residents living below the poverty line. These socioeconomic factors increase the likelihood of harmful interactions with law enforcement, which in turn reinforce the social and economic disenfranchisement--and consequently, the dehumanization-- of poor Black families. This incident is far from unique. What should have been a short, routine interaction respecting Shawnda’s civil rights, as well the dignity that a grieving mother deserves, in fact resulted in the isolation and assault of a woman in her most vulnerable emotional state. We demand accountability from the West Memphis PD. Shawnda deserves justice.
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  • #FreeBlackMamas - Justice for DV Survivor Tondalao Hall
    Tondalao Hall is a domestic violence survivor sentenced to 30 years behind bars under a "failure to protect" law. Tondalao was punished for not leaving her abuser quickly enough, before he could inflict physical abuse on their children. The abuser, Robert Braxton, was released back to the streets the day he was sentenced for child abuse, with only 8 years of probation to serve. He admitted to breaking the ribs, toe, and femurs of the two youngest children. Tondalao, the adult victim of his abuse and mother of his children, is now serving her 15th year behind bars. While we haven’t had much to celebrate in the quest for Tondalao’s freedom, this time is slightly different than others. Here’s how: 1. The Pardon and Parole board voted UNANIMOUSLY in a 5-0 vote to move her case to the next round. 2. Four out of five board members were appointed within the past year. 3. After years of organizing, District Attorney David Prater finally wrote a letter of “support" calling for Tondalao’s release. Oklahoma has the highest rate per capita of incarcerated women than any other place in the word. Hall is 1 of 28 women sentenced across 11 states under “Failure to Protect” laws who are serving more time than the abuser himself. Hall’s appeal for justice could have broader implications for the lives of women across experiences. ​Courts must not use Failure to Protect laws to further victimize survivors of domestic violence by scapegoating them for their batterers’ crimes. Failure to Protect laws must not hold domestic violence victims with children to an impossible standard of choosing between risking their lives (and their children's’ lives) and risking their freedom. After 13 years behind bars, Tondalao has served enough time for a crime she didn't commit. We must do better to protect and #FreeBlackMamas.
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  • Stop empowering racists & silencing Black people who tell the truth
    The University of Alabama has seemingly pushed for the resignation of its dean of students and assistant vice president — a Black man who had been in the job just seven months — for past tweets that made honest, straightforward statements about racism in America. It’s outrageous. Dr. Jamie Riley was apparently forced to resign after the “alt-right” website Breitbart — a favorite of white nationalists, known for its racism, antisemitism, and dishonest smear campaigns — published an article with Dr. Riley’s old tweets. Instead of standing up against this racist hit job against a prominent Black leader at the university, the University of Alabama threw him under the bus. It looks like an effective firing, with the university refusing to give details, only saying that there was “mutual agreement” around his resignation. . While Riley’s tweets might make some people uncomfortable, they’re based in fact and well within the mainstream conversation about racism. Here are two of them: • "The [American flag emoji] flag represents a systemic history of racism for my people. Police are a part of that system. Is it that hard to see the correlation?" • "I'm baffled about how the 1st thing white people say is, 'That's not racist!' when they can't even experience racism? You have 0 opinion!" When the dean of students can lose his job for a couple of old tweets about racism that many people would agree with, the message sent to Black students and faculty couldn’t be clearer: if you want to keep your job and stay at the university, you better keep your mouth shut. It’s chilling, and it conveys a lack of interest in protecting the academic freedom of Black people at the university and an unwillingness to protect Black members of its community when racists come after them with baseless accusations. At the same time, the University of Alabama recruits Black athletes and makes millions in profits from their unpaid labor (anchoring an athletics program that brings in $170+ million in revenue per year). The university wants to profit off of Black peoples’ unpaid work, but it wants us to keep our mouths shut about racism. Making money off of black students while suppressing their speech makes the University of Alabama seem more like a modern day plantation than a modern university. If the University of Alabama doesn’t want to be known as a racist institution, it needs to act quickly to reverse this mistake by rehiring Dr. Jamie Riley immediately.
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  • Police Accountability Monitoring Program & Enforcement Reform (PAMPER)
    COPWATCH AMERICA INCORPORATED HAS A PRIMARY GOAL TO MINIMIZE & ELIMINATE UNJUSTIFIED DEATHS DUE TO ILLEGAL ACTIONS OF LAW ENFORCEMENT IN AMERICA AGAINST CIVILIANS. COPWATCH AMERICA INCORPORATED USES UNITED STATES/STATE LAWS, FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT, CIVILIAN COMPLIANT REVIEW COMMITTEES, POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY MONITORING PROGRAMS, AND OTHER FORMS OF RESOURCES & ACTIONS TO ESTABLISH TRANSPARENCY & ACCOUNTABILITY IN EACH AND EVERY LAW ENFORCEMENT DEPARTMENT/AGENCY IN AMERICA.
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  • Fire LAPD Officers Ryan Lee and Martin Robles for the Murder of #GrecharioMack
    Grechario Mack was 30 years-old and suffering a mental health condition. He was allegedly talking to himself and holding a standard kitchen knife, inside a crowded Crenshaw-Baldwin Hills Mall (Los Angeles "Black mall"). Witnesses affirm that he was not attacking or threatening anyone. It is unclear who called the police. Upon arrival, LAPD officers reportedly bounded up the escalators "with every gun blazing" to the second floor where Mack was standing. Two officers, Ryan Lee and Martin Robles, began firing upon Grechario. They didn't even bother to clear the mall. Videos, photos, and reports from the scene include strewn baby bottles and strollers; store windows were shot out, as was the glass railing that secured the second floor of the mall. It is a wonder that mall patrons were not shot in the process. Then-Chief Charlie Beck acknowledged that the officers should have used "less-lethal" force. Grechario fell to the ground but survived the first shots. As he laid there, officers fired additional rounds into his body, killing him. In a rare ruling on March 19, 2019, the murder of Grechario Mack was found "out of policy" by the Los Angeles Police Commission, the civilian oversight body. However, the current Chief of Police, Michel Moore, has indicated that he will not fire or discipline the officers. Since the ruling, community organizations, including Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles, have met with the Chief, sent letters, and launched a call campaign demanding that he fire the officers. Grechario's family has attended Police Commission meetings and spoken directly to the Chief. There have been marches, banner drops, and news stories. Moore has been unresponsive. We know that Grechario was viewed as a threat, not as a man suffering an illness, because he was Black. We also know that the mall patrons' lives were endangered because they were predominantly Black. Police who murder our people must be held accountable. It's the only way that these killings will ever stop. Sign the petition and tell Chief Moore that Black lives are not expendable. #BlackLivesMatter Grechario was a loving father of two daughters.
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  • Tell Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) to Dump Trump
    “Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!” These are the words that the crowd at Trump’s most recent Make America Great Again rally started screaming after Trump denigrated Congresswoman Ilhan Omar yet again with racist, Islamophobic rhetoric. The President of the United States not only continues to abuse the authority of his office to brutalize Black migrants across the country, but he is intentionally targeting one of the few Black politicians of immigrant experience brave enough to take a public stance against his vicious, dehumanizing policies. And by hosting his next upcoming rally at U.S. Bank Arena, AEG is giving him the stadium he needs to do exactly that. Two years into his presidency, we know Trump’s script. When he is challenged, he responds predictably -- tweeting attacks at his opposition that rely on blatant lies and organizing rallies where he can spew the kind of racist language that has empowered his base to carry out acts of violence against Black people across the country. When Trump tweeted that the four Congresswomen of color known as “the squad” should “go back to their countries” he knew what he was doing. As some of the only public representatives willing to call Trump out for the injustices he is carrying out, organizing rallies that rely on racist and xenophobic logic is part of a larger strategy. By galvanizing his base around hate, he intends to undermine the voices of the many people who share his opposition’s values of justice, fairness, and equality for all. Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) has the ability to say no to Trump. In January 2017, Dan Beckerman told his employees that "both diversity and sustainability are two of the core values that we here at AEG live every day and are wholly committed to fostering in our workplace and throughout the world." Yet, he is willing to profit from rallies that are based on normalizing racist attacks on our neighborhoods and families. By hosting his rally, U.S. Bank has demonstrated that they are on board with Trump’s message -- and that they believe Black people have no place or home in this country. With 2020 fast approaching, the least that we should be demanding of the corporations that serve us is that they divest from hate. Join me in demanding that they do the right thing and dump Trump now.
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  • Investigate the Flint Water Crisis
    In 2014, news broke that the people of Flint, Michigan faced toxic lead poisoning from a contaminated water supply. Being one of the largest scale examples of environmental racism in our country, the consequences were devastating: more than 100,000 residents were exposed to elevated lead levels, including over 10,000 children, which could lead to a lifetime of developmental and physical ailments. The 2016 presidential campaign came and went, with this issue coming up repeatedly on the campaign trail. Flint was a celebrated cause for many public figures. But that didn't bring a solution. Three years later, today, the people of Flint are still at risk. Pipe replacement hasn't been completed in all impacted homes. Charges have been dropped against public officials who were in charge with no clear timeline for a new investigation. And we're still trying to figure out how the crisis got this bad. It's time for a broader national intervention by the EPA, to get to the bottom of the Flint water crisis, and for Congress to make things right. The residents of Flint, who are majority Black and almost half live in poverty, deserve answers now. Sign the petition: Demand Congress and the EPA investigate the Flint water crisis, and then get involved to ensure every resident of Flint has access to clean, safe drinking water.
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  • Paint down Washington High School's racist mural!
    Sign now to stand with the Black and Native youth & families who are working to take down the racist "Life of Washington" mural at the SFUSD high school at 600 32nd Ave. in the “Richmond District”, which is on unceded Ramaytush Ohlone Territory. The large-scale painting at this school depicts George Washington standing over the bodies of dead Indigenous people, it depicts Black people as enslaved and docile, and it is a symbol of white supremacy that Black and Native students are forced to walk past every day. It is a, it is a constant reminder that the institution, that is supposed to care for and educate Black and Native youth, them glorifies the genocide, colonization and enslavement of their people. Over three years ago, Amy and Kai Anderson, parent and student at the school that contains the murals, reignited the “Take It Down” campaign. It first started in 1968, with the school's Black Student Union and the SF Black Panther Party demanding that the district remove the racist murals. During that time, in protest, ink was thrown upon the fresco murals and can be seen there to this day. For the past few years, the American Indian PAC listed the removal of these murals as one of their top priorities. As a result the district established a “Reflection and Action Committee” to decide how, not if, the murals were to come down. The committee met and studied the issue for months and voted to have the murals digitally archived and painted over before the first day of school in the fall of 2019. San Francisco’s diverse school board courageously listened to Black and Native students and believed them when they testified about the trauma these murals create for them. The board voted unanimously to follow the committee’s recommendations and paint down the mural (or cover it with panels if it takes more than 3 years to paint down). We are so proud that our school board centered directly impacted student’s voices and voted to “Paint It Down” & give youth a clean slate. However, the work of giving students a clean slate is just beginning. The Washington Alumni Association has vowed to file lawsuits and use ballot initiatives to try to overturn and silence the decisions of youth, families and electeds of color. White nationalist publications like Breitbart have bashed the decision, using the same logic being used to preserve Confederate statues and symbols across the nation. The opposition is hoping that by pushing the School Board to put wooden panels over the mural instead of destroying it, they can one day remove the panels altogether so that things remain exactly the way they are now. We call on the San Francisco School Board to show up for Black and Native youth, to tell them that we hear their voices, we believe them, and we’ll continue to show up for them until we get the clean slate they deserve. Sign this petition to let the board know that you pledge to work with these youth and their families, to show up online or in person as needed, and to lift up and amplify their voices until they get the clean slate they are demanding and that they deserve.
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  • Affordable Insulin NOW!
    Antavia-Lee Worsham should still be here. Instead, two years ago at the age of just 22 years old, she passed away because she could no longer afford her insulin, a medication that costs companies less than the price of a sandwich to produce. Before Antavia’s death, she was covered under her mother’s high deductible health plan, but aged off of Children with Medical Handicaps (CMH), a Government funded program secondary insurance that covered all of the medication and equipment that she needed to manage her Type I diabetes. This could at times be as costly as $1000 a month. She began borrowing insulin from her grandfather, and then her sister, before they could no longer afford to share their medication with her. It was after she started rationing her own insulin that one day she died in her home as a consequence of diabetic ketoacidosis also known as DKA. Each and every day, millions of people across the country depend on insulin to survive. While insulin has been around for decades, pharmaceutical companies are getting away with charging astronomical prices that place insulin out of reach for millions of Americans. Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi, three of the nation’s largest insulin manufacturers -- are responsible for some of the worst price gouging the industry has seen in recent times, raising their prices by 150 percent in just the last five years. In fact, they are facing a class action lawsuit right now from over 60 plaintiffs who hope the case will expose these companies’ deceptive pricing practices and corporate greed. If you've ever talked to someone who's said they have “the sugars,” then you know which community is impacted by diabetes at the most disproportionate rates. According to the U.S. Department of Health, Black American adults are 80% more likely than non-Hispanic white adults to have been diagnosed with diabetes by a physician; 3.5 times more likely to be hospitalized for lower limb amputations; and twice as likely to die from diabetes. While Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi continue to make millions of dollars in profits from arbitrary insulin prices that keep going up, it’s our aunties & uncles, our grandparents & cousins, and our brothers & sisters who are forced to make the dangerous decision to ration life-saving medication, or to go without it in the first place. Enough is enough. It is completely within these companies’ power to reduce their prices dramatically while still maintaining healthy profits. Yet, at every turn they have denied the fact that they are unnecessarily hiking their own prices, and have refused to comply with the public’s demand that they be transparent about their costs of production. That’s not business -- it’s an abuse of power that needs curbing immediately. The fight for fair, transparent pricing in the insulin industry is the fight for the dignity, health, and safety of the Black community and of our loved ones. Take action to demand that Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi be transparent about their costs of production and lower their prices now! Sign our petition and demand Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi lower the price of insulin now.
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  • Layleen Polanco: Enough is Enough Close Rikers NOW, No New Jails
    Dear Mayor Bill de Blasio, Layleen Polanco Xtravaganza, an Afro-Latina trans woman, died in solitary confinement. This PRIDE month I am saying enough. Layleen should not have been arrested by the NYPD. Even before her arrest as part of a predatory NYPD sting operation, she was struggling with homelessness. From there she was routed through every possible "progressive" criminal court and jail reform project: from a sex work "diversion" court to the Transgender Housing Unit in the Rose M. Singer Center on Rikers when a warrant was issued for her arrest after she missed a "supportive" service appointment. None of these "progressive" reforms that were designed to save her life worked. Layleen died in a cage on solitary after being criminalized for being trans, for being poor, and for engaging in sex work. Jails kill people. But now you are planning on keeping Rikers open until 2026, when the next mayor can keep the jails open indefinitely, after having spent $11 billion to build four new jails! We could close Rikers now without building a single new cage in NYC if we ended the unjust and dangerous practice of pretrial detention. Then, we could devote $11 billion to communities, not incarceration. The time is now. We must Close Rikers with No New Jails. Mayor De Blasio, we call on you to stop your jail plan and commit to closing Rikers with no new jails. I want $11 billion for Black trans women and all oppressed and criminalized communities, not for jails. Art Credit: Vienna Rye (@vrye)
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  • Justice for Lucca
    A 15-year old Black boy was brutally assaulted by Broward County Sheriff deputies in front of a McDonald’s in Tamarac, Florida -- for bending down to retrieve a friend's phone. Delucca “Lucca” Rolle was with a group of friends who gathered in front of a McDonald’s after their high school let out for the day when the police were called to respond to a fight happening on the corner. Although the fight had already ended by the time they arrived, police began arresting the young people who were still present. One of those boys was Lucca’s friend, whose phone slid out of his pocket as the deputies grabbed him and wrestled him to the ground. What happened next is all captured in horrifying detail on video. Instead of allowing Lucca to step back once he bent down to retrieve the phone, the police pepper sprayed him, body slammed him to the ground, and punched his head into the pavement, breaking his nose. Across the country, Black children continue to be brutalized by law enforcement both on and outside of school property with little to no repercussions. From Louisiana to Chicago, police attacks on Black minors have been well-documented but rarely result in consequences for the police in question. In his follow up report, Deputy Krickovich stated that as he and Sgt. LaCerra arrested Lucca’s friend, they saw Lucca “[take] an aggressive stance” and that he “feared for his safety.” The students who were there and the thousands who have seen the video since recognize the Deputy’s statement for what it is. A blatant lie. After his arrest, Lucca was charged with assaulting an officer and resisting arrest - charges notoriously levied against civilians who themselves are assaulted by the police. These charges have since been dropped -- but we know that this is not enough. As long as Deputy Krickovich and Sgt. LaCerra are allowed to remain on the force, there is little to stop them from continuing to brutalize the Black residents of Broward County, and their children, with impunity. The actions of the Broward County Sheriff Office have reinforced a hard truth. The police do not see Black boys like Lucca as children to be protected, but as threats to be eliminated. Demand justice for Lucca and accountability for our children now. Tell Sheriff Gregory Tony and the Broward County Sheriff’s Office to fire Krickovich and LaCerra immediately!
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  • #Free21Savage Stop the Deportation of She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph
    The hundreds of ICE assaults and detention of Black immigrants is an endemic in the United States, and is too often carried out with the assistance of local law enforcement. On February 3rd in the early afternoon, organizers were alerted to the arrest and detention of rapper, father, community activist and friend She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph -21 Savage. The circumstances of Mr. Abraham-Joseph's detention stand as a testament to the consistent and historically under-reported harassment and targeting of Black immigrants. The US' violent history of criminalizing Blackness intersects with its deadly legacy of detaining and deporting Black and Brown immigrants. This needs to stop today! There are around 4.2 Million Black immigrants in the U.S. - 619,000 are undocumented. Mr. Abraham-Joseph has been in the United States since he was a young child. Atlanta is his home. He has no current or prior criminal convictions and he is beloved by his friends, fans and family. It is shameful that he and so many Black immigrants are separated from their families on a daily basis as part of the US's heartless and racist immigration policies. Demand that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) stop the deportation of She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph - 21 Savage NOW!
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