• 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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  • #GardenTrustforUs Eliminating Tampa Food Deserts Through Community Gardens
    The West Tampa area is a historically African American community and is in serious need of healthy food access. The recent transformations taken place over the last 3 years have placed residents in a food desert situation. Most residents do not have access to healthy food options. According to the US Dept. of Agriculture, there are 2.3 million people who live more than 1 mile away from a grocery store and do not have access to a vehicle. Here in Tampa, the communities of West and East Tampa neighborhoods have limited access to grocery stores with affordable healthy food options. At present, there's an average of 3 miles between the closest grocery store offering fresh produce in the East & West Tampa areas, creating barriers to healthy food access for a large portion of the community members who lack reliable transportation. If the City of Tampa can allocate $4 million over the past two years to the maintenance of three public golf courses, surely they can allocate funds to provide our community's most underserved constituents access to healthy food cultivation practices, education, and consumption. A collective of community members and local organizations such as the Tampa Heritage Initiative have collaborated to build a plan to implement community garden development, education programs and food delivery within underserved areas. With the funds allocated to the Garden Trust, the City of Tampa will be providing sustainable healthy food access and practices to historically underserved communities. In this, creating part-time employment, local business partnerships and teaching opportunities for members of the Tampa Bay community. Join us in calling on Mayor Jane Castor and Councilman Guides to establish a Special District Garden Trust for the purpose of eliminating food deserts in the underserved communities of West and East Tampa. **Special districts provide specialized services to persons living within the designated geographic area and may contract to provide services outside the area. Special districts often cross the lines of towns, villages, and hamlets but less frequently cross city or county lines. --Resources-- https://www.ers.usda.gov/webdocs/publications/42711/12716_ap036_1_.pdf?v=41055 https://www.tampagov.net/sites/default/files/budget/files/FY2020-budget1.pdf
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  • Stop Using Voter Attendance to Purge Voter Registration #LetGAVOTE
    How and when a person votes is a personal decision and is their right to exercise how and when they choose. As an activist I've worked with grassroots organizations to register voters and increase voter turn out. In order to increase voter turn out, it is important to understand why registered voters aren't voting. After simply asking this question to several citizens, it is clear that some people choose not to vote because candidates aren't speaking to issues they feel are important. That is their choice and their right! The right to vote is granted to citizens by the Constitution of the United States. It should not be taken away, suspended, or revoked because the Secretary of State has determined that a citizen does not vote enough. When the Secretary of State decides to purge voter registrations, the responsibility to remedy the problem is placed upon the citizens. The citizens often don't know a problem exists until they go to vote and are denied their right, which ultimately leads to voter suppression. This practice speaks to a broader discriminatory history within the country of using a person's past to discriminate and oppress. Federal law does require voter rolls to be maintained for accuracy. However, other states have found more equitable ways to do this without disenfranchising specific populations. Please share and sign this petition to let Brad Raffensperger, GA Secretary of State, know that we need to end the practice of using past voter participation to clean up voter rolls. If one citizen is denied their constitutional right to vote, that is one too many.
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  • #SaveAmericanBeach: Preserve the local heritage, culture and lifestyle of American Beach
    I can remember countless weekends that my dad took my family to American Beach. So many people from around the area have so many memories and still traditionally go to the beach - which is why when I heard a man chained himself to the beach in protest to what Nassau County is, in essence, privatizing the beach, I became upset. I realized that with so much history that surrounds that beach for my family, that if the county succeeded it would shut out any future generations in my family to enjoy the beach as well. But not only does America Beach have a history in my family, but the beach also has a deep history rooted in the Black community as well. The tradition of African Americans camping on American Beach dates back to the inception of the community in 1935. We’ve been hosting campouts at Burney Park on historic American Beach since 2015. Other groups such as the Night Sanders and Florida Beach Cats have been camping as far back as 1998. This beach is a historic landmark, because Abraham Lincoln Lewis, Florida's first Black millionaire, purchased 200 acres, which is now American beach. His company the Afro-American Life Insurance Company designated American Beach as a place for people of color to have a space to come for relaxation without humiliation. Over the years the beach has brought so much economic development to the area and joy for so many families. It means so much to many, so much so that A.L. Lewis' great-granddaughter, affectionally known as the "Beach Lady," gave tours and taught about the history of the beach until her death in 2005. Limiting the access and privatizing American Beach will be another way Black people will be locked out of cultural inheritance and way to erase rich Black history. July of 2019 we hosted our largest gathering to date. Over 100 men, women, and children gathered to camp, commune with nature and learn about American Beach’s rich history. It was a beautiful, peaceful gathering without incident. A focal point of the weekend was, as always, respect for and stewardship of the natural environment of American Beach. Soon after the July campout, we discovered the beach committee, formed at the request of Nassau county commissioners to address complaints regarding differing issues at Nassau counties four beach access points. We were shocked and dismayed to discover the conversation leaning towards major changes in beach ordinances that would severely impede our ability to carry on a long tradition of campers on American Beach, although the vast majority of the complaints related to incidents at Peters Point, another Nassau County beach. Up until the September 26th meeting we had been led to believe that an actual system would be put in place to manage beach camping, parking, driving, etc. At the September meeting however, an abrupt change in the dialogue occurred and a decision was made to abdicate the responsibility of managing these issues and instead the proposed solution was put forth to recommend to the county commissioners the elimination of ALL camping, night driving and parking on ALL four access points, from 9 pm to 6 am by unanimous vote. Click to read the minutes and agenda of the beach committee meetings https://www.nassaucountyfl.com/DocumentCenter/Index/958 The rights of citizens to camp overnight on Nassau County Beaches are at risk. While we are concerned with camping rights on American Beach, the beach committee recommendation and upcoming BOCC vote and decision will affect a variety of beach issues on all four beach access points; such as driving, camping, parking, fines, etc.
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    Created by Torrance Toomer Sr.
  • #JusticeForGary
    My son, Gary White, should be at home with his wife and his three little girls right now. Instead, he is serving a 20 year prison sentence after an investigation full of police misconduct that happened under supervising Officer Brian Seyfarth’s watch. On a night in November 2017 on his way to the store, my son, Gary White accidentally hit a white woman, Megan Gunter Smith, who had just run straight into traffic. Multiple witnesses stated they would've hit the woman as well since she ran directly into traffic. Not realizing he hit a person (he thought it was an animal), Gary parked his car in a nearby Walmart parking lot. He went back to the scene, called his family, then stayed at the scene until the police arrived. But once they arrived, Officer Thomas Borum illegally drew Gary’s blood without his consent. He then stored that blood in a police locker for days, a clear mishandling of evidence. Officer Borum’s supervisor, Officer Brian Seyfarth, is running for election as Adams County Sheriff next week and intends to represent the people of Natchez, Mississippi. Yet, he has yet to make a public statement about why he allowed this police misconduct to happen under his supervision. In March of 2019, the courts used the blood that Officer Borum illegally drew from Gary to pile on additional charges, bringing his sentence from 2-3 years to 20 years. Gary is now in jail. His family has had no rights to visit him in county jail for almost 7 months and he was being deprived of water, food and air conditioning in his cell. As of last week, Gary has been moved to the Parchman State Penitentiary. The situation will most likely only get worse in Parchman. This conviction comes on the heels of 2 recent accidents in which black citizens in Natchez were killed by white motorists with no charges and no trial. But when a white woman was killed in an accident that several eyewitnesses have come forward to say wasn't Gary's fault, the punishment was swift, severe, and and completely life-altering. The message that this racial disparity in law enforcement sends is clear: Black people's lives matter less that anyone else's in Natchez, Mississippi. Mississippi has the 3rd highest incarceration rate in the country. Mass incarceration, over-policing and wrongful convictions of Black and brown communities in Mississippi are part of the systemic issues that have led to such a high statistic. We need to demand transparency and accountability in these cases to bring about a fair trial. As Officer Borum's supervisor, Officer Seyfarth failed to live up to his responsibility to ensure that evidence was not mishandled in the pursuit of justice. Let him know that no one who turns a blind eye to racist corruption in his own department is fit to serve in public office. Demand that Officer Brian Seyfarth make a public statement about the mishandling of evidence that happened under his watch immediately!
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  • Make Stacey A Moderator!
    Black people are suffering the consequences of a sustained and concerted effort to deny them their right to representation in states all over the nation. As we saw here in Georgia these efforts have resulted in concrete harm to Black communities. These attacks on democracy allow politicians to continue to target our communities for exploitation and neglect. We need someone who will make the candidates answer to the long-running campaign to damage our democracy by denying Black people their right to representation. We need a moderator who will make the candidates answer the unique challenges of people who are facing multiple aspects of oppression as they navigate their lives and participate in society. Stacey Abrams knows the tactics used by officials like Brian Kemp in Georgia to deny Black electoral power. Sign today and demand the President of MSNBC and Editor-In-Chief of The Washington Post, name her as a moderator in the Georgia debate on November 20th. With Stacey Abrams as a moderator we can guarantee candidates will be forced to propose solutions for everyone in Georgia.
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  • Ask about #metoo!
    #AskaboutMeToo at the November 20th debates in Atlanta. Two years ago, we raised our voices in the name of courage and accountability. 19 million of us showed up for ourselves and showed up for each other, and we’re not turning back. We believe that healing is a form of action, and taking action helps us to heal. Two years later we continue to call on political leaders to demonstrate their commitment to survivors by putting forth solid policy proposals that will aid in survivor’s healing, provide necessary services and benefits, and expand the laws to ensure that they cover all survivors- no matter what kind of sexual violence they have experienced, where they have experienced it, by who or when. We want to hear candidates address ending sexual violence as an epidemic during the debates. We want all presidential candidates to layout specific plans to address sexual violence, including harassment, and supporting survivors.
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  • #SafeSchoolsForAll: Wake & Johnston County Public Schools Must Act Against Hate Speech
    As a Mother, Grandmother and Great Grandmother that resides in Wake County I am very disturbed that more action has not been taken around the situation this young lady experienced entering her 1st year of High School. Cenayia Edwards, an African American freshman at East Wake High School was informed by one of her friends that some of her classmates were apart of a racist group chat where they advocated for the killing of African Americans, used hate language such as “kill ni**ger babies” and the hashtag #BringSlaveryBack. Cenayia was able to gain access to this exclusive chat room where these racial slurs and offensive hate speech was being exchanged and encouraged. Immediately, Cenayia and her parents reported this hate group to her principal and other school administrators in order to bring their awareness to this unacceptable behavior by her peers and fellow students. To date, the family has not received a response from either school district regarding their intention to prevent and condemn this egregious behavior. We cannot remain silent on the broader issue of racial discrimination and intolerance because silence is compliance. Some continue to say that we are living in a post-racial society and if that is true, how can this type of hatred have been shared in a group chat in 2019. Please sign this petition and help make our Schools Safe for ALL CHILDREN. Policies that address hate speech must be a critical element for all school districts.
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  • Bring Our Voting Precinct Back
    The voting precinct in the Anderson Center, which is located on the campus of Winston-Salem State University, had been a longtime voting site prior to the 2014 election. After the Board of Elections changed to majority republican, the voting site was removed from the University. Since then, Winston-Salem State has had a continuous population increase. Freshman aren't allowed to park on campus and construction on the highway has permanently closed the interchanges with Diggs Boulevard and Vargrave Drive. This forces residents and students to take a longer route to go vote. The nearest precinct is now the Sims community center, which is on the west side of the highway. Many students do not have access to transportation to go vote. How do our representatives and the Board of Elections expect us as young black students to participate in our democracy, if there is not a polling site that is accessible to all students on the campus of Winston-Salem State University? We deserve the right to have our voices heard!
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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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  • ITS BIGGER THAN GM!!!!
    On September 15th at 11:59PM more than 45,000 United Auto Workers (UAW) in 10 states went on strike. No state feels the brunt of this more than Michigan, the American auto capital. And as we know, black union workers always end up with the shortest end of the stick. The UAW went on strike to demand that GM increase wages, offer wage progression for new hires, improve healthcare and prescription drug benefits, and provide better overall job security. GM's current CEO, Mary Barra, makes $22 million dollars a year while GM’s temporary employees who have been there more than 4 years, get paid less than $16 dollars an hour. GM's announcement on September 17th to cut the healthcare coverage of of any UAW worker on strike is just one of its latest scare tactics to prevent workers from exercising their basic human rights: demanding better pay. It is our right to protest and this problem is bigger than GM. Those workers on strike are only being paid $250 a week. No one person can live off $250 dollars a week let alone someone with a family. Stand with UAW workers in Michigan and demand that the Vice President of General Motors North America Labor Relations Scott Sandefur support the workers that supported GM during the bail out by providing healthcare coverage! Sign the petition today!
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    Created by Latiana Fisher
  • Protect Bahamas Hurricane Survivors - They Have No Home to Return to
    The road to recovery in Bahamas is just starting and will take long. With on-going exposure to the elements and contamination from chemicals, dead livestock, and more than half of the houses on the islands destroyed, temporary relocation is a key element of the humanitarian response. In times of overwhelming catastrophe, the United States has historically given protected status (TPS) to people who cannot return safely to their homes. This can be one of those times. Sen. Rubio and Gov. Rick Scott have called on Trump to waive the restrictions. Rep. Maxine Waters has called for action, and Reps Yvette Clark, Stacey Plaskett, and Barbara Lee joined by dozens of co-sponsors have presented a bill in the House of Representatives urging Temporary Protected Status in the House. This petition will be delivered to Members of Congress and the Trump administration by New Florida Majority, the Florida Immigrant Coalition, Making the Homeless Smile and the Family Action Network Movement.
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    Created by New Florida Majority NewFM