• Demand that Zoom immediately create a solution to protect its users from racist cyber attacks!
    I'm a Black, first-generation college graduate from the Southside of Chicago, who worked diligently to get to March 26th - the day I would finally get to defend my dissertation and earn my doctorate of education degree from California State University, Long Beach. Due to the social distancing during the Coronavirus pandemic, my university transitioned to Zoom Video Conferencing for these types of presentations. The chair of my committee made the introductions and I started presenting. I spent the first 10 minutes gliding through my presentation. It was truly a moment I felt ready for. As I ended the historical analysis section on Black oppression within the American education system, I noticed a red mark on my computer. For a brief second I thought someone else was sharing their screen at the same time as mine, but then more red marks appeared. Soon, more marks were made to create the shape of a penis. I stopped my presentation and asked my zoom facilitator if they could remove the marks. Seconds later, the letters N-I-G-G-E-R were written on the screen followed by pictures and videos of pornography. Like everyone else, I was shocked. My university’s technology personnel and college department members began to scramble. They were trying to figure out what was going on and how to take the cyberattacker out of the Zoom meeting. Minutes later, I along with my committee members, began to apologize to the audience members for what has happened. I then continued with the presentation as if nothing had happened. After I was done with my presentation and my committee said congratulations, "Dr. Dennis Johnson," I said thank you but I couldn’t enjoy the moment. Truth be told, no matter how much I brushed it off, my moment had been taken and there was nothing I could do about to get it back. On one of my most remarkable moments of my life, I was called a "nigger". My mother, grandmother, sister, spouse and many others were shown images of pornography. On Zoom’s website, the only help offered is an article on "How to Keep the Party Crashers from Crashing Your Zoom Event". That is a slap in the face to me. I've never been to a party where I was called a Nigger. These are racist cyber attacks; not innocent party crashers just stopping by to say hey. I never want anyone to experience what happened to me. Unfortunately, this is not the first time this has happened. Over the past few weeks, Black people have been targeted disproportionately on Zoom by trolls who have yelled “nigger” during children’s storytimes and professor’s open office hours. The University of Southern California even issued an email to professors warning them that Zoom classes had been disrupted by “racist and vile language.” It’s time for Zoom to create a real solution to this problem! Ruha Benjamin, an associate professor of African American studies at Princeton University, who has also experienced Zoombombing, has publicly called on Zoom to change its default setting to “off” for screen sharing to limit the potential for Zoombombing, which I support. Other solutions we propose include: 1. Upon entering a Zoom meeting, Zoom should post a message saying that it does not condone discriminatory and other unlawful acts, and that those who display such behavior will be banned from using its services. 2. Hire a Chief Diversity Officer to mitigate issues of discrimination and inequity on Zoom’s platform. 3. Add technology that auto-detects and flags those who post discriminatory language and images, and have them removed. Relying on individuals to fully understand the software’s platform demonstrates Zoom’s unwillingness to simply create a systemic change to protect its users, instead of relying on the user to protect themselves against these cyber attacks. 4. Revise the Zoom guide on preventing “party crashers.” What was done to us was not the act of someone crashing a party, but a direct racist attack on who we are as people of color, and this has to be named. They posted those images and wrote the N-word while I was giving a historical analysis of Black people in the United States. Therefore, Zoom needs to be more intentional with its language. It’s not a party crasher, it’s a racist/ discriminatory person(s) displaying unlawful behavior via the internet, that should be held accountable. 5. A formal apology to myself and those who have become victims to a trend that Zoom has failed to publicly acknowledge and address accordingly. Sign my petition to demand that Zoom immediately finds a solution to prevent classrooms, organizations, POC, especially Black people from being attacked on its platform! - Dr. Dennis L. Johnson, Jr.
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    Created by Dr. Dennis Johnson Picture
  • Tell Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammel to put OUSD students first!
    I am the mother of a 12 year old special needs student. Since school closed, I have been creating learning opportunities at home. As a full-time massage therapist and mom, I know my struggle is similar to that of other parents. Schools are doing the best that they can in these times, but it’s not enough. I strongly urge Oakland Unified School District Superintendent, Kyla Johnson-Tramell to create a plan to expand the district’s WiFi network access so that all district families can use the service at home, provide mobile devices for all students and create a multi-disciplinary capstone project at all grade levels in order for students to demonstrate mastery or growth. These capstone projects should not be dependent upon WiFi access or the use of technology. As a life-long educator and Oakland native, I appreciate her deep roots in the community and urge Superintendent Johnson-Tramell to live up to the district’s equity value to “provide everyone access to what they need to be successful”. On Friday, March 13, 2020, many schools across the nation dismissed for two weeks without providing long-term resources to students and no clear plan for what would happen when social quarantines were extended beyond the recommended two weeks. Oakland Unified School District serves over 50,000 pupils with more than 70% of students eligible for free and reduced lunch. The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing students and parents to make alternative learning plans, largely shifting the focus to online learning. Unfortunately, many students from low-income families will suffer due to the digital divide. For at-risk students impacted by poverty and inequality, this virus has the potential to widen the achievement gap, therefore, deepening the consequences. Slow responses to the coronavirus from national leaders have already exposed the structural deficiencies within our communities. I recognize the effort that local educators have put into planning a thoughtful response for district families, but OUSD must go farther and do the most for those that matter most -- our students, our future. This pandemic, while challenging, presents a new opportunity for students and teachers to demonstrate creativity and promote learning through discovery and experimentation. As a distinguished leader in education, Superintendent Johnson-Tramell can set a new national standard by ensuring that students make progress and that plans for long-term distance learning are accessible for everyone. Kyla Johnson-Tramell often tells people, “My success is your success. We have to work together.” We must demand that she continue her long standing commitment to Oakland students and families and encourage her to work with educators, parents and students to set a new national standard. During this pandemic, we need bold solutions that promote equity and ensure students and parents have the necessary tools and resources to adjust to the demands of the current crisis. This is also a pivotal moment for students to discover new ways to learn beyond the classroom, allowing space and time for imagination and experimentation. The time is now to create a new national standard with Oakland educators leading the way. I strongly urge Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Tramell to uphold OUSD’s core values and make the district’s resources accessible for ALL students. Taking action to increase access, bridge the digital divide and promote student growth would demonstrate her commitment to shrinking the achievement gap. Thank you, Tanosha Redman
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    Created by Tanosha Redman
  • COVID-19 is A Threat to Our Youth - Tell Maryland to #BringOurKidsHome
    Maryland incarcerates hundreds of children across seven youth jails centers and six state-run youth prisons. Like adult jails and prisons, juvenile facilities are inherently high-risk environments where the disease can spread quickly. Children are housed closely together in units or dormitory-style housing, precisely the kind of conditions that have led to the closure of universities all over the country. Even in well-run facilities, the social distancing recommended by the CDC is simply impossible. In such a setting, most of what we can do to protect against the spread of the virus is detrimental to children’s well-being. DJS stopped allowing visitors weeks ago, meaning lawyers can’t visit their clients and families can’t visit their children. School and other programming is cancelled. The use of solitary confinement, which is deeply traumatizing for a child and yet, DJS is already using increased isolation in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19. All of these factors not only put a child’s emotional health at risk, they also jeopardize their long-term rehabilitation. Research by health care experts shows that incarcerated populations are most at-risk during a public health crisis. COVID-19 spread quickly in enclosed spaces such as cruise ships and nursing homes and it will spread just as quickly in detention centers, prisons, and jails. Contagious viruses such as COVID-19 spread much faster in detention centers and prisons as incarcerated youth are in close quarters and sometimes in unsanitary conditions. Behind bars, youth are not able to participate in proactive measures to keep themselves safe, such as social distancing, frequently washing hands, or staying in sanitized spaces. Infection control is a challenge in these situations as incarcerated youth are often in large congregate and communal settings. Even if youth are in individual cells, ventilation is often inadequate. Further, youth jails and prisons are unlikely equipped to meet the medical needs of youth if a COVID-19 outbreak inside juvenile detention or correctional facility should occur. Youth will not have many options to stay away from other youth if they become ill and there are limited infirmary beds. If staff become ill, it will be difficult to provide care and support to youth and if lockdowns are utilized, it will only intensify virus infection rates. The J.S. Weese Carter Center was already forced to close when a vendor could no longer service the facility. To stave off a public health emergency in our juvenile jails and prisons, we must immediately and dramatically reduce the number of children who are incarcerated. For those who remain in custody, we must do all we can to protect their health, safety, and constitutional rights. To that end, we call on state and local officials to take swift action. To protect our young people, those who work in these facilities, and the broader community, we must immediately reduce the number of young people in custody as quickly as possible. We are all feeling fear and uncertainty about the future. Imagine how that terror is magnified for families separated from their children by prison bars. Our youth are the future of our nation and, recognizing that the majority of young people in detention and correctional facilities across Maryland are removed from their communities for non-violent charges and pose no threat to community safety, it is unacceptable to allow children to be separated from their families during this global crisis. No one is sure when this crisis will end. But we know that most kids grow out of delinquent behavior without any system involvement. It's time for Maryland to give young people a chance and #BringOurKidsHome.
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    Created by Jenny Egan
  • Tell FL Governor Ron DeSantis to freeze Rent, Mortgage, Bills & Tolls during Corona Virus.
    Our goal for this petition is to help all of Floridians during the Corona Virus outbreak who are facing hardship such as immobilization due to hospitalization, sickness, being laid off without severance package or permitted to use PTO. The businesses receive government relief before its people- leaving people vulnerable. It'll take weeks even months before our constituents receive the stimulus. The stimulus distribution will only help cover human necessities (replenish food, medicine, gloves, masks, gas, etc) not to pay rent, mortgage, bills, and tolls.
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  • Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis - Please freeze rent, mortgages, and utilities
    "If people cannot work, they cannot afford to pay bills". Recently, thousands of people have been laid off and are left unemployed yet people are still required to pay their bills. In particular, most college students rely on one source of income and now there is no money flowing in to pay our bills. Due to the spread of the Coronavirus, people are faced with very hard and confusing decisions: in some instances, people cannot work because of their own immune system and their family household situations. Some organizations and businesses are lucky to resort to online or work-from-home situations but the food and retail industry cannot resort to that option rather they are closing. For example, people have lost their jobs in restaurants, gyms, and bars due to the recent closures. Some are fighting for hours for the stores still open but their paychecks will be negatively affected. Many people are left with no income. Please comment your own situation to raise awareness and to show the importance of this matter.
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    Created by Hannah Hammond
  • Governor of Kentucky Andy Beshear Please Freeze Rent, Mortgages, Car Payments and Utilities
    In the past 2 weeks thousands of residences in Kentucky have been laid off do to their employer closing and most won’t be able to pay bills including rent, mortgages, car payments or basic utilities. College students have been forced go home because they don’t have a roof over their head during these hard times! We need our governor more than ever to stand with us and help us get through this. Thank you!
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    Created by People Of Kentucky
  • DECARCERATE ARIZONA: CRIMINALIZATION AND INCARCERATION ARE NOT PUBLIC HEALTHCARE SOLUTIONS!
    Thousands of incarcerated people being caged together in small spaces with no real options for quarantine are far more susceptible to the COVID-19 pandemic than most other populations. Due to substandard medical care, incarcerated people suffer disproportionately from chronic health conditions that make them more vulnerable to the virus which will have disastrous effects. COVID-19 outbreaks in prisons and jails are a risk to the entire community. To slow the cycle of people in and out of jail, we must drastically reduce jail and detention center admissions. Less people in jails and detention centers is a definite way to prevent the spread of disease. Public officials must reduce the prison, jail, and detention center's population size to ensure cells are not shared, there are sufficient medical beds for anyone who may need one, and adequate numbers of prison staff to ensure safety for staff, those incarcerated, and visitors. And for those currently in prison, the only public health solution is RELEASE! Arizona cannot afford a failed response to COVID-19!
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  • Urge Arizona Governor Doug Ducey to freeze rent, mortgage, and bill payments during COVID-19 Crisis
    Petitioning has the potential to enact real change, but it’s also your fundamental right as an American citizen, and an opportunity to connect with a community of like-minded people who are invested in making a change. Ideally, running a petition is just the start of something bigger — a long-term, robust form of civic engagement. “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
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  • Kym Worthy-COVID-19 Demands
    The decarceral guidelines below are designed to prevent three things: social spreading, jail “churn,” and the deaths of vulnerable people. Social Spreading In order to prevent the rapid growth of COVID-19 from overburdening our health-care system and claiming lives, both those in secure facilities and the people who work in them, it is the responsibility of decision-makers at every level to prevent and contain the spread of the virus by taking action to promote the most effective strategy in abating the pandemic: social distancing in order to slow “community spread.” The Particular Issue of Jail and Prison “Churn” Jails and Prisons combine the worst aspects of a cruise ship and a large public gathering and, thus, can be the perfect breeding ground for the spread of COVID-19. People are constantly booked into and out of jail and prison facilities and each night guards, vendors, and other jail staff are going home while others are coming in- which results in a massive turnover. For example, more than half of the people in jail are only in there for two to three days. Further, enclosed structures like jails can cause COVID-19 to spread like wildfire and introducing just one person with it can lead to it impacting not just everyone inside the jail or prison but anyone leaving the facility—whether a person who is released or staff returning back to their homes— who then interact with their communities. Preventive Measures Cannot Be Taken in Jails and Prisons. Experts recommend that to protect the people most vulnerable from death or serious illness from COVID-19 that they are appropriately separated through social distancing. Yet separating sick people from well people to prevent the disease from spreading can be nearly impossible in prison due to logistical considerations.
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  • Humanity Not Cages: Demand a Just and Humane Response to COVID-19
    It is not a matter of if but when the coronavirus will enter prisons and jails, according to health experts. The consequences of that eventuality will be devastating. COVID-19 outbreaks in prisons and jails will spread “like wildfire” due to close quarters, unsanitary conditions, a population that is more vulnerable to COVID-19, and the large number of people that cycle through the criminal justice system. The risk extends far beyond those who are incarcerated. COVID-19 outbreaks in jails and prisons threaten the larger public, as hundreds of thousands of individuals churn through jails on a daily basis and correctional, medical and other staff interact with the incarcerated population and circulate back into communities. With 2.3 million people in the United States in prison or jail on any given day, an outbreak in these facilities poses a threat to the entire country. If federal, state, and local officials take swift action, they can not only prevent the spread of COVID-19 inside prisons, jails, and detention centers and ensure the safety and wellness of our loved ones behind cages, but they can also have an enormous impact on the wellness of the rest of the country.
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  • Michigan Covid-19 Statewide Immediate Release of Vulnerable incarcerated People
    Covid-19 presents a threat to human life. We believe all human life is valuable, and are ensuring that those most at risk, like incarcerated individuals, are being granted the relief necessary to protect themselves and their families. The particularly vulnerable incarcerated community members and those currently being impacted by the system need support in this moment and not continued trauma. Action is crucially important now to avoid public health mishaps like the scabies outbreak at Huron Valley Prison in 2019. Now more than ever, we need transformative criminal justice action to limit the damage that the system can do during the pandemic outbreak.
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    Created by Tim Christensen
  • Release people incarcerated pre-trial in Forsyth County
    Even though public visitation has been suspended at the LEDC, all people incarcerated are still at high risk for infection due to their close-quarters living situation. Any guard, other staff, or newly processed detainee could potentially introduce the virus into the population, where it would rapidly spread. Staff members and at least one person incarcerated at multiple prisons in other states already tested positive for COVID-19. It is only a matter of time before it reaches the LEDC as well. Drastically reducing the jail population will limit the harm COVID-19 is able to cause. This is especially true when it comes to those already vulnerable—the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. The longer the jail continues to house people, the greater the risk grows to those individuals, their attorneys, their families, LEDC staff, and the community at large. Measures such as visitation lockdowns and segregation are not likely to be effective. The daily churn of potentially asymptomatic people—both incarcerated and employed—in and out of the jail will facilitate the spread of COVID-19 within the jail and the community at large. The fewer people present in the LEDC, the lesser the risk. Mecklenburg and Buncombe counties—in addition to out-of-state jails in and around LosAngeles, Cleveland, and New York City—have already begun releasing incarcerated people in the interest of public health. The Forsyth County Community Bail Fund urges Winston-Salem mayor Allen Joines, Forsyth County Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough, District Attorney Jim O’Neill, Chief Magistrate Denise Hines, Clerk of Superior Court Renita Thompkins Linville, Chief Probation/Parole Officer Sherri Cook, Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Hon. Todd Burke, and Chief District Judge Hon. Lisa Menefee to take necessary and immediate action to save lives. Signed, Forsyth County Community Bail Fund ACLU of North Carolina The Bail Project Community Justice Center Hate Out of Winston Prisoner Outreach Initiative Triad NC Socialist Rifle Association Wake Forest Baptist Church Winston-Salem Democratic Socialists of America Aramie Bloom Julie Brady Jen Oleniczak Brown - Fearless Winston-Salem Richardo Brown Jocelyn Bryant - Triad Central Labor Council President Chris Cecile - Triad Central Labor Council Vice President Nathan Davis Sara González Ricky Johnson Jr. Chris Lutz Pastor Lia Scholl Molly Morgan Lillian Podlog Cody Remillard Emily Thompson Brittany Ward
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    Created by Julie Brady