• Take the Black Census Project Survey Now.
    I would like to introduce you to the Black Census Project survey (https://www.blackcensus.org/) -- an important and historic undertaking from my organization, the Black Futures Lab. Your pledge to participate in the Black Census Project survey will shape more relevant, more impactful policy for our community. Black people are often spoken for, but rarely spoken to. And, elected officials often make policies about us, without us. With your help, we would like to reach 200,000 Black people online and offline, through active outreach to members of our community who are often left out of the conversation. The Black Census Project Survey will be the largest survey of Black people done since Reconstruction. Better policies depend on honoring the full diversity of our communities, and engaging us not just during elections, but between elections as well. ABOUT US The Black Census Project is brought to you by the Black Futures Lab (founded by Alicia Garza, Black Lives Matter Global Network) in partnership with Color of Change, Socioanalytica Research, and Demos. To learn more about the Black Census Project, visit https://www.blackcensus.org/.
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  • Tell Amazon & Apple: Reject Racism and Say No to North Carolina’s Racist Attacks on Voting Rights
    Apple says, “The best way the world works is everybody in. Nobody out.” And Amazon says, “It’s not only that diversity and inclusion are good for our business. It’s more fundamental than that — it’s simply right.” But if they’re willing to move their headquarters to a state that makes a habit of discriminating against eligible Black voters, it’s clearly just a talking point. THE NCGA'S VOTER ID OBSESSION IS RACIST. Prior to 2013, North Carolina had been an example of expanding the freedom to vote. Black folks were gaining political power and increased in participation in successive election after elections. But then in 2013 as part of the "monster voter suppression law" passed by the NCGA, voter ID was required, which Black voters were least likely to have – and that's what they're trying to make part of the constitution now. That 2013 law also eliminated the first seven days of early voting - the exact period that it was used most by Black voters. It cut Sunday voting, a "souls to the polls" tradition used by Black churches to get folks to vote. It eliminated out-of-precinct voting, a rule that allowed working Black voters who couldn't get to their home precinct to at least vote in the same county. In 2014, the NC GOP even moved polling locations further away from Black neighborhoods! Making it harder for Black people to vote wasn't an accident, it was intentional. IT'S UNCONSTITUTIONAL. When a U.S. federal court struck down the voter ID law in 2016, it said: "If discriminatorily motivated, such laws are just as abhorrent, and just as unconstitutional, as laws that expressly discriminate on the basis of race...the General Assembly unconstitutionally enacted the photo ID requirement with racially discriminatory intent.” IT'S BAD BUSINESS. Apple and Amazon both articulate a belief that having a diverse set of perspectives on the team ultimately benefits their company’s ability to do business. If they are hoping to attract Black workers at their new HQs, they should pick a state that thinks their Black workforce deserves the right to vote. Millennials and Gen Z workers care about what their employers stand for and want to live in states that reflect the diversity and inclusion they value. THE BOTTOM LINE I want North Carolina to be a home for both of these wonderful companies, and in addition to taking this step, there are many ways both Amazon and Apple can show true commitment to our communities.* One way Amazon and Apple can demonstrate a real commitment to espoused values of diversity is by making it clear that they won’t move their headquarters to a state that is rapidly sliding backward on racial oppression and voting rights. In 2018, we need to demand that major companies stay on the right side of the law - and the right side of history. ABOUT WILLIAM MATTHEWS William Matthews was raised in Raleigh, NC. William is known around the world as a singer - songwriter and popular recording artist. William's passion is artistry and advocacy. He seamlessly blends music, cinematography and political messaging around themes like racism and climate change which have been highlighted by CNN & Yahoo. In his music, documentaries and podcast work on The Liturgists, William has interviewed prominent religious and thought leaders, songwriters, scientists and global political figures. You can check out his body of work at WilliamMatthewsMusic.com or follow him on Twitter at @WilliamMatt22. SOURCES https://www.ca4.uscourts.gov/Opinions/Published/161468.P.pdf https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/15/us/politics/voter-id-laws-supreme-court-north-carolina.html https://www.apple.com/diversity/ https://www.geekwire.com/2016/jeff-bezos-email-reaffirms-amazons-commitment-tolerance-diversity-trump-win/ https://www.fastcompany.com/3046358/millennials-have-a-different-definition-of-diversity-and-inclusion *https://medium.com/@acrecampaigns/amazons-racial-inequality-prime-fe6ba15fe2d5
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  • Stop Children from Dying During Divorce and Custody Proceedings
    A mother who is a veteran had to return home from Iraq and fight the battle for her children. The children were taken from her safe and sustainable home, and 50/50 custody order. The mother was falsely arrested. The charges where dismissed but the ramification lingered. Nine years later the mother and her children have no relationship. The children were forced to live full-time with their abusive father leaving them vulnerable to mental, physical and emotional abuse at critical developmental stages in there lives. The court's decision has traumatized the mother and placed the children in danger. As of September 24, 2018, at least 657 children have been murdered by a parent involved in a divorce, separation, custody, visitation, or child support situation in the U.S. since 2008. Abusive parents are often granted custody or unprotected parenting time by family courts—placing our nation’s children at ongoing risk. Researchers who interviewed judges and court administrators following some of these tragedies found that most believed these were isolated incidents. Needed reforms have not been implemented. Many court-related child homicides occurred after family courts granted dangerous parents access to children over the objections of a protective parent. We recognize that the women's right's movement is still a work in progress. Marginalized women face multiple oppressions, and we can only win freedom by bringing awareness on how they impact one another. The women of color need a national movement to uplift the needs of the most marginalized women and children. As women of color we need to stand for our human rights to parent the children we have in a safe and sustainable community.
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  • Tell Chancellor Blumenthal to Remember Dr. Huey P. Newton
    Watch our video for UCSC Students: https://spark.adobe.com/video/gjYVChjDJ0MvY Chancellor Blumenthal named 2018 the "Year of Alumni" to honor the legacies and accomplishments of UCSC graduates. Since January our campus has been decorated with the faces and achievements of notable UCSC alumni, but one important name is missing: Dr. Huey P. Newton. Huey Newton earned his Ph.D in History of Consciousness at UCSC in 1980, after finishing his dissertation on the repression the Black Panther Movement faced at the hands of the state. UC Santa Cruz administrators and the UC system co-opt narratives of activism and "non-traditional thinking" while intentionally erasing the intellectuals who were thinking non-traditionally. The erasure of Dr. Huey P. Newton as an academic (at the university from which he earned his Ph.D) contributes to the social perception that Black people (especially those engaged in activism) are separate from/do not have a place in academia. We are asking Chancellor Blumenthal to rethink the erasure of Dr. Newton's academic career at UCSC, by naming College 10 in his honor and to uphold College 10's mission of social justice. Renaming the college Dr. Huey P. Newton College, will serve as a permanent reminder of Huey Newton's scholarly achievements and his dedication to his community/the public good.
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  • Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey Should Resign
    Many of the families of those killed by law enforcement in Los Angeles County, Black Lives Matter, White People for Black Lives, Centro CSO, March and Rally, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Los Angeles Community Action Network, Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, California for Progress, Youth Justice Coalition, Community Coalition, and 40 additional community organizations, and hundreds of individuals – your constituents – have been rallying outside of your office since October 2017. The call to date has been for you to prosecute the police who kill our people. We have attempted to engage you in dialogue; you have refused and we are regularly met with hostility and disrespect. We are now calling on you to step down for refusing to serve “The People” whom you are duty-bound to represent. We began our current efforts by delivering a petition signed by more than 10,000 Angelenos demanding that you prosecute the police who kill our people, beginning with the five officers who were dismissed from Inglewood Police Department after killing Kisha Michael and Marquintan Sandlin while they were sleeping in their car. We then requested a community meeting with you, an invitation that you initially tentatively accepted during a December 2017 phone call and then reneged. A townhall was held, to which you were invited, but did not attend (despite confirming availability), on January 21, 2018. We have submitted hundreds of faxed, mailed, emailed, and telephone requests asking that you engage the community. You have refused. Most recently, on May 30, 2018, we attempted to deliver a letter as part of the national #RealChange campaign to pressure District Attorneys to be accountable to the people. Despite following the delivery instructions negotiated with your office, the Sheriff proceeded to lock us out of the public building that you occupy. More than 400 Los Angeles County residents have been killed by law enforcement on your watch. You have refused to file charges against a single officer, even when they have been found to have acted “out of policy” (as with Ezell Ford), are disciplined or dismissed as a result of their actions (as with Kisha Michael and Marquintan Sandlin), when there is an apparent cover up (as with Wakiesha Wilson), and/or are recommended for charges by their law enforcement units (as with Brendon Glenn). Your record is shameful and is indicative of a clear unwillingness to act on behalf of the people. Moreover, your complete unwillingness to do your job endangers the community that you are supposed to serve. For these, and many other reasons, we call on you to immediately vacate your position as District Attorney of the County of Los Angeles.
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  • Make Juneteenth An Official Pennsylvania State Holiday
    Juneteenth Is The Oldest Celebration For The Emancipation And Freedom Of Enslaved Africans in the United States. In 1865 In Galveston Texas the last remaining enslaved Africans were told of their freedom two and a half (2 ½) years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. We the members of the Juneteenth Family Of Philadelphia are asking you to sign this petition to make Juneteenth an official state holiday. HISTORY OF JUNETEENTH http://www.juneteenth.com/history.htm
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  • The Jesuits Sold 272 Enslaved People. Georgetown Benefited. We Demand Reparatory Justice.
    Georgetown University almost went bankrupt in 1838. Why didn’t it? Because the Jesuits sold 272 enslaved Africans (the GU272) to benefit Georgetown. Without this sale, Georgetown would not have become the robust and academically strong university it is today. The Jesuits and Georgetown tore those men, women and children from the land that, although enslaved, they had called home and literally sent them “down the river” to Louisiana — one of the cruelest places for enslaved people in the United States. Many of the GU272’s descendants remain in Louisiana, some impoverished and in various states of ill-health, while others live throughout the country. Upon learning their ancestors’ fate, some descendants are asking Georgetown and the Jesuits to “do the right thing” and provide them with reparatory justice. The Jesuits and Georgetown have a historic opportunity to demonstrate how engagement with the descendants can lead to true racial healing – a healing that takes place among equals – rather than the racial subordination that led to the enslavement of the GU272 and other African peoples.
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  • Sheriff Clarke's Racism and Hate Has No Place in New York State
    We are disgusted and outraged to learn that David Clarke, the highly controversial former Sheriff of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin from 2002 to 2017 will be the keynote speaker at your May 9th, 2018 at an event being hosted by the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police at the Capital Center in Albany, NY. According to the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police website, Sheriff Clarke speech topics include, “the preparedness of law enforcement in political protests and riots, and the impact of criminal justice reform in an era that has seen the rise of domestic political extremism including from groups such as Antifa and Black Lives Matter.” David Clarke completely ignores the reality that the perpetrators of violent extremism in the United States include white supremacists; anti-government groups; groups with extreme views on abortion and federal ownership of public lands. Most of the terrorist attacks carried out in the United States are committed by white, far-right violent extremists. According to the United States General Accounting Office (GAO), there were 85 violent extremist attacks in the fifteen years following 9/11. Sixty-two of these were by far right extremists. None were by Black Lives Matter because Black Lives Matter is not an extremist or violent organization. Clarke’s focus on Black Lives Matter is dangerously misplaced. It is part of a false narrative that people who protest against police killings of unarmed black people are a threat. New York’s Chiefs of Police should be meeting to discuss how to lessen hostility between police and communities of color. Instead, by inviting Clarke, NYSCOP is inflaming tensions between police and communities and encouraging more hostility by police forces. Sheriff’s Clarke’s divisive and extreme racist rhetoric and actions are offensive and morally reprehensible. His extreme prejudiced views are not only unwelcome in New York, they pose a danger to New York residents by misinforming law enforcement of the real threats to our society. Community groups and political leaders in New York are actively working to end mass incarceration by exposing the injustices and inequities in our criminal justice system. Sheriff Clarke on the other hand, talks about the “myth” of mass incarceration and he advocates for harsher sentencing for small amounts of drug sales. While he was Sheriff in Wisconsin he cut all programs like GED in his jails. New York’s law enforcement leaders should not be taking directives from Clarke’s reckless beliefs.
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  • #MuteRKelly on local Kansas City, MO radio
    By continuing to listen to and purchase R. Kelly music, we not only fund his predatory crimes and behavior but we are saying that we condone his behavior. Further, it sends a message that our black girls don’t matter! #MuteRKelly #blackgirlsdomatter
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  • Bring Back Good Time in Michigan's Prisons (HB 5666)
    Twice in April Michigan’s Good Time Bill, HB 5666, was not to voted on by legislators as expected. The Good Time Bill that was originally introduced in the House at the end of February and was scheduled to vote April 10th and was rescheduled for April 17th, legislators still have not voted on the matter and we cannot wait another election cycle for Good Time to be reintroduced again. Michigan is suffering from a clear problem and its hitting us hard. Michigan state keeps inmates much longer in comparison to other states. These extra years of men and women staying in prison is socially and economically expensive, driving up prison costs by millions and millions of dollars a year with incarceration consuming over a quarter of the state’s general fund. Not only is this problem costly economically on a state level but costly on a community level as African American families are heavily effected with over 44% of the states entire prison population being made of of non-white men. That’s almost half! Its more than disappointing, its disgusting to see the lack of the representatives’ interest in the demands of the people on correcting this gross issue. This Initiative petition requires at least 252,523 valid signatures by May 30th in order for the proposed legislation, the Good Time Bill, to override the legislators voting process. After the successful collection of signatures the bill must be put for a vote by legislators to be either adopted or rejected within 40 days. If the proposed bill is not immediately adopted and is rejected by legislators then it is given another opportunity to become a law by moving forward to proposed to the people in the state of Michigan’s next general election which would be November 6, 2018. This is our opportunity to bring Good Time back in the State’s prisons so that rehabilitated prisoners can rejoin society to support their families and communities. Whether the bill is adopted by legislators or voted into law in a general election, it is important that we give this bill a chance to become a law by showing our overwhelming support for the Good Time Bill. There are more than 40,000 men and women incarcerated in the State of Michigan whose sentences deserve to be reassessed according to the magnitude of their good behavior during their incarceration. Michigan is one of the very few states currently that don’t incorporate Good Time policies to allow a rehabilitated inmate to be released after effectively serving a portion of their sentence, this is a policy that is even instituted at a Federal Level. There is absolutely no reason why a person should lose more of their life just because of their misfortune of being incarcerated in Michigan.
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  • Tell Corporations to Stop Funding Prison Expansion in California
    California is facing an extremely serious threat to criminal justice reform. This prison tax and expansion proposal misleadingly named The Reducing Crime and Keeping California Safe Act, backed by law enforcement and the subject of an active signature-gathering operation in the field, represents a dangerous step backward for the state and a threat to future reform. This measure is essentially a tax to expand prisons, an effort to increase law enforcement budgets and defund investment in intervention and prevention. Raleys, Costco, and Ralph’s have donated to the signature gathering effort and has indicated that they will donate more if the prison package were to qualify for the ballot this year. Join us in sending a clear message to Safeway that we will boycott their stores if they do not (1) demand that their donations be returned ASAP, and (2) publicly oppose this prison expansion proposal! - - - GET THE FACTS New Ballot Measure Proposal Increases Prison Spending What is the so-called “Reducing Crime and Keeping California Safe Act of 2018?” This proposed initiative for the November 2018 ballot would do four main things: make repeat thefts with a value of $250 or more prosecuted as a felony (which would be among the very lowest felony theft thresholds in the nation), authorize law enforcement to collect a person’s DNA upon arrest for misdemeanors, make it easier to incarcerate someone for a technical violation of parole or probation, and limit the number of people in prison that can earn a parole hearing by completing rehabilitative and educational programming. All of these will increase taxpayer spending on prisons, reduce rehabilitation and drive the prison population up – at a time when California has been working to right size it’s bloated prison population and rebalance public safety spending priorities. The initiative is being pushed primarily by Sacramento Assemblyman Jim Cooper and Sacramento County District Attorney Anne-Marie Schubert, as well as key local and statewide law enforcement associations that have opposed justice reform for years, including the Association of Deputy District Attorneys for Los Angeles County and the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs. Proponents of the initiative need to secure over 365,000 valid signatures by June 1 in order to qualify the initiative for this November’s ballot and they are actively in the field collecting signatures. Myths and Facts About the Proposed Initiative MYTH: Recent criminal justice reforms have caused crime in California to skyrocket FACT: Crime rates in California are currently at historically low levels. Statewide violent crime rates have declined by nearly 50 percent since 1992, and statewide property crime rates have decreased by nearly 42 percent, despite significant increases in California’s population during the past 25 years. More recent trends also reflect the fact that crime in California is continuing to go down. Between 2010, the first year before Public Safety Realignment was effectuated, and 2016, the last year for which complete data is available, statewide property crime rates decreased by three percent, with 34 of the state’s 58 counties seeing overall property crime declines during this period. Statewide violent crime rates are essentially flat during this time period. And during the first half of 2017, a majority of California cities with populations of 100,000 or more saw overall decreases in violent and property crime when compared to the first half of 2016. MYTH: Law enforcement is now prevented from stopping low level crime. FACT: Proposition 47 maintains California state laws that provide law enforcement authority to arrest and book into custody individuals suspected of committing misdemeanor offenses. California law also authorizes detention for individuals in misdemeanor cases, including Proposition 47 offenses, when officers have probable cause to believe a suspect has committed a crime and it is in the best interest of public safety to detain. The maximum penalty for misdemeanors in California law is one year in county jail. An individual that is convicted of multiple misdemeanors may be sentenced to multiple years in jail. Additionally, judges can sentence misdemeanants to treatment, supervised misdemeanor probation, and community service among other options. Importantly – even before California’s era of justice reform – the vast majority of low-level crime is not reported or prosecuted. Thus, arrest and prosecution strategies alone cannot effectively stop the cycle of low-level crime. Innovative approaches to bring community, businesses and law enforcement together can go further to prevent and detect low-level crime problems. Law enforcement can partner with local leaders to develop diversion programs and neighborhood problem solving strategies that address the drivers of crime. MYTH: Violent and dangerous individuals are being automatically released back into the community en masse FACT: There is no automatic release under Proposition 57. Rather, an individual who completes rehabilitative and educational programming can earn eligibility for a parole hearing, at which the parole board reviews the case and must still deem that person to be a low risk to reoffend before the person can be released. If a parole board determines that someone with a qualifying non-violent offense is at risk of committing additional crimes, that person will remain incarcerated. As of January 31, 2018, 80 percent of the parole hearings held under Prop. 57 have ended with release being denied. Investments in rehabilitation support public safety by addressing the root causes of criminal behavior and reducing a person’s likelihood of reoffending. Research shows that successfully completing rehabilitation programs significantly reduces the likelihood that an individual will reoffend upon release.
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    Created by Ben McBride, PICO California
  • Remove Confederate Imagery from Fort Myers Public Spaces
    We the undersigned believe in creating a strong and healthy community, where the values of equal justice and equal opportunity are shared by all, regardless of race, ethnicity, color, or creed. Our community is not only one that is racially diverse; it is also one that includes seasonal residents, and vacationing families. All across the South, Confederate monuments that serve as painful reminders of a past where such a community would not have been possible are being removed and relocated. It is time that the City of Fort Myers joins this movement. There are many reasons to be a proud southerner, to be proud of our history, our struggles. When we focus all of that “pride” on the symbolism of the Confederacy, we are doing a disservice to ourselves, especially to those among us for whom these symbols represent a time when our ancestors were enslaved, counted as 3/5ths of a human, denied freedom, denied liberty. Furthermore, these monuments conceal the true history of the Confederate States of America and the seven decades of Jim Crow segregation and oppression that followed the Reconstruction era. The painting of Robert E. Lee that hangs in County Commission Chambers was commissioned by the Laetitia Ashmore Nutt Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, at the request of Sheriff F.B. Tippins. The painting was completed by Sheriff Tippins’ brother and unveiled in the courtroom of the Old Lee County Courthouse on January 19th, 1931. At the time the painting was unveiled, the courthouse was segregated. Black citizens were restricted to balcony seating. The courthouse remained segregated until 1963. The painting however, has remained and now looms over each item of business that comes before our County Commissioners. The bust of Robert E. Lee that stands in downtown Fort Myers was erected in 1966, by the Daughters of the Confederacy. We have heard the story of the creation of the memorial, and why it took until 1966 to see it to fruition. The Daughters of the Confederacy, on two separate occasions, generously donated their Robert E. Lee memorial fund to establish and expand a hospital in Lee County. Lee Memorial Hospital was established in 1915, in the 1940’s, the hospital needed to furnish a nursery, both times, the needs of the community were put ahead of the need for a monument to honor Robert E. Lee. Lee Memorial Hospital was segregated until 1966. Black patients were not given medical care there; it was a whites only hospital. Black people in need of care had to go to Jones-Walker Hospital, which was the black hospital in Lee County from 1924 until 1966. In addition to the racial segregation, only male doctors were allowed to practice medicine there. Lee Memorial Hospital only granted hospital privileges to a female physician for the first time in 1973. Times have changed. Fort Myers has changed. Just as a racially segregated courthouse and hospital have had to change along with the times, so should our outward expressions of who we are as a community. It is time to honor our past by recognizing that the painting and the bust of Robert E. Lee no longer represent our community. Not only are they a misrepresentation of the values we hold in our community, confederate monuments have become lightning rods for violence and conflict in other parts of the country. These relics of the past have become symbols of division and racism in our present and it is time that they come down.
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