• Stop Vigilante Justice against Black Children
    Stop Vigilante Justice against Black Children District Attorney Faith Johnson is caving to the outrage of a lynch mob. Six black kids are the target of this hatred. We demand that this vigilantism end immediately The District Attorney’s Office recently announced that it will seek to try the teens accused of car theft and robbery as adults, after the victims demanded “aggressive” retribution and organized more than two thousand people in Dallas around one goal: trying and locking up children as adults. Vengeance doesn't work as criminal justice policy. And it is not going to make our community safer. We know that kids tried as adults are more likely to commit new crimes, commit them more frequently, and commit more violent offenses than kids treated like the kids they are. Children are fundamentally different from adults. Research shows that kids who commit even serious crimes can and frequently do grow out of intransigent behavior as their brains mature. It is not a matter of leniency - youth need a system designed to rehabilitate youth. DA Johnson’s decision is not about justice or community safety. Rather, it is about obeying the demands of those who have the power and social capital to demand we throw away the lives of children. If these children were rich or white, would the outrage be as swift and the demands so damning? It is District Attorney Faith Johnson’s job to recognize and follow the course of action that protects everyone and best serves the interest of our community, not to respond to the demands of her rich constituents at the expense of black children. Racist mob action has no place in our justice system. D.A. Johnson must do her job and take a principled, common-sense approach to community safety, one that treats children like children. We demand that D.A. Johnson withdraw her motion to transfer these children to adult court. *Joe Estelle is a member of the Texas Organizing Project, and sits on their Right 2 Justice committee.
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  • Pledge to abolish Louisiana's non-unanimous jury
    This fall the state of Louisiana has an opportunity to guarantee a fairer criminal justice system for the people of Louisiana. The Louisiana State Legislature has approved a ballot initiative to end split jury verdicts, requiring a unanimous jury decision to secure a felony conviction. Split jury verdicts in Louisiana is a policy that traces its legacy back to Jim Crow, now we can act to abolish this law. After years of organizing from community advocates the Louisiana Senate has placed a referendum on the ballot that would require a unanimous jury verdict for a conviction, now it is our responsibility to end this Jim Crow policy. Louisiana is one of only two states that do not require a unanimous jury for a felony conviction. Prosecutors in Louisiana have been taking advantage of this law born out of racism and unsurprisingly the result is a state that sees Black people incarcerated at terrible rates. This fall the people of Louisiana will be able to dismiss this policy born of Jim Crow. This Fall presents a historic opportunity for the Black people here in the state now. 48 other states and the federal government require unanimous verdicts and we should, too. This fall we can make sure Louisiana moves past the policies of Jim Crow. We can vote this Jim Crow policy out this fall, sign now to take the pledge and make sure to tell your family and friends to do so as well. Get registered and help us make Louisiana a more just place for everyone.
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  • Tell U.S. Attorney Berman - Drop the Charges Against Therese Patricia Okoumou!
    I, the undersigned, am aware that Therèse Patricia Okoumou was found guilty at her trial on December 17th of three federal misdemeanors: trespassing, disorderly conduct and interference with government agency functions. Despite the real prospect of spending 18 months in prison, “We stand on the right side of history. I am not discouraged,” Patricia said after being sentenced. Our Lady Liberty remains steadfast in her mission to continue campaigning against the immoral and inhumane family separation policies of the Trump administration. Since Patricia's trial, new information has revealed that the extent of the Trump Administration's outrageous “zero tolerance” policy, which it has consistently LIED to the court and the American people about, is even worse than previously known. The federal government has ripped apart tender-aged children from nursing mothers. It has flown thousands of young children across the country away from their families and placed them in cages. Some of The Children are being forcibly drugged and others sexually molested in internment camps. There have been deaths of asylum seekers, as young as 7 years old, under the care and custody of border patrol agents and Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE). As part of our basic right to protest, outlined in the constitution, Patricia climbed the Statue of Liberty to increase awareness of this injustice, and I stand in solidarity with her! When we fell low as a country, Patricia went as high as she could to raise consciousness about these atrocities.
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  • Because I Overcame Homelessness, They Denied Me A Scholarship. Help Me Appeal.
    Hi, I am Zaviona woodruff and I live in Kalamazoo Michigan. My family has overcome so much such as homelessness and the Kalamazoo Promise scholarship will make a college education for me a reality. I learned that I will not be reviving the Kalamazoo Promise scholarship because my family experienced and overcame homelessness only to learn that we were mislead about still living in the Kalamazoo district. Even though I still went to Kalamazoo Public Schools and should have been eligible, Kalamazoo Promise Executive Director Bob Jorth denied my scholarship on a technicality even though they look at each student on a case by case basis. Without the Kalamazoo Promise which gives students like me who went to Kalamazoo public schools to have their tuition completely, or partially, paid off, I can't afford my college dream on my own. My dad is a single father to my two younger sisters and me. He never graduated high school; in fact he went to Loy Norrix and dropped out but went back for his GED. He did not go to college but has always stresses the importance of it. He has jumped from job to job trying to make a safe, stable home for us though sometimes we have hardly enough to get by. While we have always had a roof above our heads,sometimes my dad just didn't have enough for much else. College, always his dream for us, is going to be something I will have to find a way to pay for myself. In the middle of my 10th grade year, my family and I lived in a homeless shelter after we were evicted from our home. At the homeless shelter we were, thankfully, still in the KPS District and had a bus to and from school. We spent about 2-4 months at the homeless shelter. We even spent Christmas there. Stay at the shelter was an experience that has taught me that people can not take for granted the possessions that they have. I had to share a room with my father and two little sisters. Imagine-if you have siblings- sharing a room with them and your parents. There we two bathrooms one upstairs one downstairs. These bathrooms were shared with everyone in the shelter. After a certain time you had to in your room, lights off really. No more roaming around or getting cold water from the refrigerator. After staying in the shelter for those months, my dad found an apartment complex called Big Bend. He applied for a three bedroom, two bathroom apartment for the four of us. The leasing agent employee there assured my dad that the apartment complex was indeed in the KPS district. They lied. Big Bend is not in the Kalamazoo Public Schools District; these apartments are in the Comstock District. Imagine our disbelief and disappointment when we were denied a bus to and from school and were told at registration for enrollment in KPS that we lived in the Comstock District. That was my Junior year and I knew that at that point I would be losing the one thing that was going to help me get through college: the Kalamazoo Promise. Even though my family was lied to, that i continued to go to KPS, that I continued to bust my ass in school I don't get any money to help with college. I was planning on attending Oakland University this coming fall but I don't know anymore. Taking out loans could hurt me more than help me. I just wanted to share this with someone. Anyone who could help. I have so many teachers backing me up, some many people who would give recommendations. I don't know what to do.
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  • Black Mamas Matter! Demand Justice for Crystle Galloway.
    We're the parents of Crystle Galloway. Help us get justice for our daughter, Crystle. The paramedics have their disciplinary hearing this upcoming Tuesday, July 31st. Let Fire Rescue and Hillsborough County know that they should be fired. We also hope they take steps to make sure this doesn't ever happen again to anyone. Our daughter's life is worth more than them being suspended -- Crystle might have been with us and with her two daughters and her baby son now if they had treated her like any other person. She died leaving behind a newborn after paramedics failed to give her standard care and take her in an ambulance. She was suffering complications after just giving birth. But after calling 911, she didn't get the medical help she should have had. The paramedics failed to check her vital signs. Later, they even falsified what happened by logging the call using a code meaning "Non-transport/no patient found". They should be fired, not just suspended. Our daughter had just given birth and was having complications just days after. My 7 year old granddaughter found her unconscious, slumped over. When we called 911, the paramedics didn't want to take her because they "thought we couldn't afford it". They didn't even ask if we had insurance (which we do). This is racism. When the paramedics came, they took one look at our skin color and decided they didn't want to touch her. We had to rush her ourselves but it was too late. They didn't think she looked "critical". What color do we have to be to get help? https://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/Hillsborough-suspends-four-paramedics-in-treatment-of-stroke-victim-30-who-later-died_170253710
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  • Tell KTVU to Fire Racist Editor & Create a Policy to Ensure This Never Happens Again
    On Sunday night, Nia Wilson and her sister Letifah, were traveling home from a family event when they were viciously attacked by John Lee Cowell, a 27-year-old white male with a history of violence, at the BART MacArthur Station. "I looked back and he was wiping off his knife and stood at the stairs and just looked. From then on I was caring for my sister," said Letifah as she held her sister for the last time. Nia Wilson died at the scene. Nia had just graduated from Oakland High School. Her family said she was interested in pursuing a career in criminal justice or law. She was also a lover of makeup and dance. Letifah, described her younger sibling as "the most sweetest person on the earth" and reiterated that "she didn't do nothing to nobody" to provoke the attack. The narratives that news outlets craft about black victims of crime and the incident that claimed their lives matters. We've seen this countless times before, the power that news outlets wield in portraying victims based on images they select, influences societal perception and the actual case itself. Portraying black victims of crime as "thugs" or criminals has become standard media protocol and we are sick and tired of this shameful and despicable media tactic. We will no longer accept half-hearted apologies, we demand accountability with the firing of the editor responsible for choosing to depict Nia Wilson as a "criminal" & the creation of a new policy to ensure this never happens again. Pease sign if you agree.
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  • Demand Democratic National Committee stop profiting off separating families
    In recent news, we have seen children separated from their families at the border and taken, sometimes shackled in tinted buses, to places across the country. In our own neighborhoods, Black people are whisked away in broad daylight in the back of police cars. Private prisons like GEO Group and CoreCivic have made billions separating people from their families for decades and we’re going to put a stop to it. This year, as politicians vie for elected office across the country, we remind them that we aren't asking for "change" or "hope," we are demanding ACTION; that our elected representatives put our families and safety before corporate profits. It’s time for all politicians to stop taking money from the for-profit imprisonment industry--responsible for separating families from the border, to Miami, New York, L.A, Baltimore, Detroit, and all over the country. On Sunday, July 1st, The Florida Democratic Party passed a resolution to refuse contributions from GEO Group, CoreCivic and their representative PACs and lobbyists after a months long campaign by Dream Defenders to have candidates sign a Freedom Pledge which declares candidates opposition to private prisons and immigrant detention facilities. We celebrate this win in Florida, and are now partnering with Color Of Change to make this a reality all over the country. No politician should gain political power by accepting money from companies that are responsible for separating our families.
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  • Appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the fatal shooting of Mike Brown
    My name is Lezley McSpadden, the mother of Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on August 9, 2014. As lawyers, scholars, and commentators around the country have noted at length, my son’s killing was not properly investigated and Michael did not get the justice he deserved. Over the course of three months, my family and I waited as the St. Louis County prosecutor’s office presented my son’s case to a grand jury before the police investigation was even over. So with less than half the evidence, the St. Louis County Prosecutor still chose to move full speed ahead and present evidence selectively designed to evade any criminal indictment of the killer of my 18-year-old son. Since then, a provocative and revealing documentary titled ‘Stranger Fruit’ made its national television debut on Starz Network. “Stranger Fruit” unveils the untold factual account about what really happened to my son and the lack of any legitimate or honest investigation performed by Bob McCulloch and St. Louis County Police Department. My legal team is now asking for Governor Parson to review the case again because of the recent revelations uncovered by the documentary “Stranger Fruit.” It reveals both questionable judgment and failure to honestly pursue justice for my son and our family. In addition to allegations of mishandling the investigation, a lawsuit was also filed by one of the grand jurors detailing challenges and exposing their experiences on the grand jury. The case has been reopened and is set to be heard soon here in Missouri. To add to the disturbing list of disclosures, Bob McCulloch made an astonishing public admission after the grand jury failed to indict. He actually admitted that he knowingly allowed witnesses that he knew were NOT telling the truth to testify before the grand jury! In this case, you don’t have to just take my word for it. These egregious revelations have now come to light and the people of St. Louis County deserve to see equitable systemic practices in the criminal justice system as much as I need to see justice for my son! To members of the public, I hope that you will consider signing this petition to re-open the local investigation of my son’s case. If you were a parent of a child who went through what Michael went through, you would never stop fighting for his justice. And you would do everything within your reach to ensure that our citizens experience fair treatment and equal justice under the law. Will you help me continue to fight for justice for my son? Together we can ensure our government reflects the accountability, integrity, and interest of the people they are in place to serve. With Love, Lezley McSpadden-Head
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  • Justice for Anthony Wall
    On May 8, a 22-year-old Mr. Anthony Wall, a Black man who is openly gay, escorted his younger sister (age 16) to the prom. Later, he took her and her friends to a local Waffle House in Warsaw, NC. After sitting down at a table that had not yet been cleared, staff members got into a heated argument with Mr. Wall and his teenage sister. According to Mr. Wall and witnesses at the scene, Waffle House employees began using offensive racial and homophobic slurs and threatened to inflict physical harm on them. They called him the N-word and f**got and one staff member went so far as to take his shirt off readying himself for a fight. The police were called and when Officer Frank Moss of the Warsaw Police Department arrived on the scene, he began choking Mr. Wall and throwing him against the window. He then violently threw Mr. Wall to the ground and placed him under arrest. The traumatic incident was captured on video with a cell phone and it has since gone viral. The video captures the officer choking and slamming Mr. Wall against the outdoor glass and then onto the pavement. During the violent exchange, Mr. Wall screamed that he could not breathe and pleaded for his safety with other officers who were on the scene. It is evident from the video footage, that because of what he had just been through, he was fearful for his physical safety and his life. When he was being handcuffed, Mr. Hall requested to be transported with any officer, but not with Officer Moss, who had just brutally assaulted him. His requests were ignored, and not only was he forced to ride with the same officer who inappropriately and unprofessionally handcuffed him, but there was an aggressive police canine accompanying them inside the vehicle. Mr. Wall has since been charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Eric Sutherland, Warsaw police chief, said that an officer can use physical force on a subject if the person is not complying. Notably, Mr. Wall was not only unarmed but the officer was more than twice his size. The Mayor of Warsaw released a three-and-a-half minute statement in support of Officer Moss, attempting to justify the treatment of Wall during the arrest. We will be closely monitoring the response from not only the Warsaw Police Department but also District Attorney Ernie Lee with the State Bureau of Investigation; the FBI; and the N.C. Department of Justice's Law Enforcement Training and Standards Commission which we understand are also investigating the incident. As a civil and human rights community, we demand answers and a thorough investigation of what has transpired and that the results of this investigation be made fully available to the public. No human being should endure the type of verbal and physical abuse that Mr. Wall experienced and any charges against him should be dropped immediately. Please join us in signing this petition to ensure justice for Anthony and Chikesia. Remember none of us are free until all of us are free!
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  • 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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