• #FreeMichaelDuvall: My Brother Is Innocent
    The wrongful yet systematic incarceration of Black people in this country has weakened our community for decades; it’s slavery by another name. This system is causing Michael and others like him, to be jailed while waiting for their case to come to trial. Sometimes, that takes years to happen. Michael has already refused to plea to anything because he is not guilty. The scary thing is; this is the same thing that happened to Kalief Browder. He didn’t want to plead guilty to a crime that he didn’t commit, so this system took his life away in so many ways. I don’t want that to be the case for my brother or anyone. My heart is broken and a part of me is being held in the Upper Marlboro Detention Center with my brother. It is important that we take a stand against this type of abuse from the criminal injustice system so that others in our community do not fall victim to this type of pain and torture.
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    Created by Roxane Johnson Picture
  • #RenameKeithFamilyYMCA in Honor of Ramona Brant, a Proud Black Woman & Prison Abolitionist
    I need your help taking down the Keith Family name -- notorious prison profiteers and conservative “pay-to-play” cronies--off of a Charlotte YMCA branch. I was at Mecklenburg County Jail North when I noticed the “Keith” logo on prison staff uniforms matched the “Keith” on the YMCA where I worked as a fitness instructor. Yup, that’s right. The Keith Family YMCA in Charlotte is named for prison profiteers. Help me rename the Keith Family YMCA to honor my friend Ramona Brant who died recently, who fought tirelessly for prisoners even after she was unjustly locked up for two decades. The name of a powerful Black woman and prison abolitionist, Ramona Brant -- not the greedy prison-profiteering Keiths-- deserves to be uplifted in our community. “We are not considering a name change at this branch”. That’s President & C.E.O. of YMCA-Charlotte, Todd Tibbits response to us yesterday when Color of Change and I reached out on renaming the Keith Family YMCA. Todd doesn’t get why naming a YMCA Charlotte branch after prison-profiteers like the Keith Family and taking donations built on blood prison money is bad for Black families. Tell Todd: “The YMCA should not be uplifting people who built their wealth on Black pain and the devastation of prison industry on the Black community.” The Keiths, since 1999, have aggressively pursued private maintenance contracts in North Carolina state prisons where Black people represent 22% of the population yet make up 55% of state prison population.1 As of 2016 in Mecklenburg County where The Keith Corporation is headquartered, Black people represented 31.2% of the county population2 yet make up 67% of the Mecklenburg County jail population.3 The Keith Family has also been embroiled in controversy for political cronyism that sparked a federal investigation. The YMCA, a place where our children play, shouldn't stand for the devastation that the prison industry, and prison profit-buddies like the Keith Family. Sign now to tell YMCA Greater Charlotte to remove their affiliation with the grossly unjust prison industry. Ramona Brant. Say Her Name. Ramona Brant -- not the Keiths -- is the embodiment of the YMCA’s stated mission of transformative social change and a commitment to families and communities. Ramona, after former President Obama commuted her sentence, only knew two years of freedom after surviving two decades behind bars. In 1995, federal prosecutors unjustly sentenced Ramona to a life sentence without parole for simply being in relationship with someone who dealt drugs.4 In the end, white supremacy and the prison industrial complex took a toll on her life. But, she spent those two years as a powerful voice for change in Charlotte-- fighting for housing, living wages, jobs, and inclusion for those like her reentering society after incarceration. Black women, like Ramona Brant, are too often discarded and disrespected. It’s time we put some respeck on her name and give Ramona the love and honor she deserved when she lived. Too often the experiences of Black women being targeted and swept up by the prison industrial complex--fueled by the profit-greed of people like the Keiths--are erased. Ramona Brant’s name on a community institution that serves Black families in Charlotte does justice to her legacy and is a powerful reminder of the unwavering strength of Black women in opposing oppression. It’s time to take the Keith Family name down. Remember Ramona Brant. In her name and until justice is real for all those who are wrongly incarcerated, Patrice Funderberg
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    Created by Patrice Funderburg Picture
  • STOP Criminalizing Poverty Through Use of Criminal Justice Fines, Fees, and Penalties
    It Is Time for Clark County to Stop Criminalizing Poverty Through Its Systematic Use of Criminal Justice Fines and Fees. Courts throughout Clark County, armed with state statutes and local ordinances, have imposed a variety of fines, fees, and assessments that punish the poor for offenses as trivial as jaywalking. Municipal courts in Las Vegas, Henderson, and North Las Vegas, as well as the Las Vegas Justice Center, are tasked with handling traffic violations and misdemeanor offenses. They have used fines and fees to fund their own systems on the backs of those least able to pay for it. They disproportionately harm communities of color, locking them into a cycle of poverty and perpetuating mass incarceration. They also have a uniquely damaging effect on juveniles and their families. Defense attorneys have challenged the fines and fees in court, and advocates and lawmakers have proposed legislation aimed at reducing these injustices. Nevertheless, officials have resisted reforms. It is time for Clark County to stop penalizing the poor through its systematic use of criminal justice fines and fees. The Las Vegas Criminal Justice System Imposes a Series of Fines and Fees on Anyone Who is charged with a Crime. ● Individuals convicted of crimes—even low-level misdemeanors and traffic violations—often must pay fines, which are monetary penalties meant to punish someone for the crime. The average fine is $300-$400. ● Between 2010 and 2015, the Las Vegas Municipal Court collected $130 million from traffic violations alone. This amounted to approximately 89% of its total revenue, pointing to the troubling reality that the municipal court system has essentially been built on these fines and fees. ● Individuals who are unable to pay the full amount of their debt are given the option of a payment plan, which comes with a $50 fee for financial counseling. Individuals on a payment plan automatically have a warrant issued for their arrest if they miss a payment. The threat of jail time is accompanied by a “warrant fee” that can range from $85-$200 depending on the number of missed payments. The average person goes into warrant at least once. And as time goes on and a defendant continues to miss payments, fees can become exponentially more than the fines. For instance, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that one individual ended up paying $1,500 on a $187 speeding ticket. ● Defendants who are completely unable to pay their fines may do community service. This also comes with a $50 fee. For every hour of community service, there is a $10 credit toward their fines. Using the example above that correlates to 19 hours of community service (almost 3 full time work days), in a community where most people work 2 or 3 part time jobs just to make ends meet. Excessive Fines and Fees Lock Communities of Color in a Cycle of Poverty and Perpetuate Mass Incarceration. ● In Las Vegas there is currently no official mechanism in place to allow for an individualized determination of a defendant’s ability to pay the fines. As a result, many people leave the justice system with crushing debt that can make it even harder for them to get back on their feet. Or, in many cases, they are jailed for their inability to pay fines as little as $100. In 2014, law enforcement officials arrested over 16,400 people for failing to pay fines for offenses ranging from jaywalking to illegal parallel parking. ● A Las Vegas Review-Journal analysis of nearly 39,000 court payment plans between 2009 and 2015 revealed gross racial and economic disparities in the impact of Las Vegas’s fines and fees, where residents in the poorest areas, who are predominantly black and Latino, owed over six times more than residents in the richest areas. These communities are subject to over policing, resulting in higher rates of violations. ● Nevada statutes also impose a wide array of fines and fees on families and children when children are deemed delinquent. According to the Juvenile Law Center, 76% of Nevada families reported that they were unable to pay. Failure to make these payments plunge families into debt, increases the need for court appearances causing children and family members to take time away from school and work, and risks incarceration for juvenile offenders. The impact of these fines and fees have the perverse effect of leaving families worse off, and feed the school to prison pipeline at disproportionate rates. Let's keep families together and stop criminalizing the poor.
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    Created by Clark County Black Caucus Picture
  • The Children Are The Future
    The youth in this country are being short-changed and given a subpar education. The curriculum isn't relevant to what will help them succeed in today's society and is taught in the same way it has been for the last 100 years. If the children of today are going to run this country, they need to be taught to learn and evolve, not to take tests.
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    Created by Maya Hampton
  • Bring Dameon Brome and David Lahoz home
    David Lahoz and Dameon Brome were incarcerated as children and have spent 26 and 30 years in prison, respectively. Each of them has demonstrated rehabilitation, redemption, and remorse. Despite exemplary disciplinary records while incarcerated and plans to continue helping people when they were paroled, both men were recently denied parole on the same day by the same parole hearing examiners. Any review of these men's files will reveal that this is horrible mistake. Dameon and David are rehabilitated and should have been paroled. We call on Board of Probation and Parole Chairman Leo Dunn to correct this error. David and Dameon were juvenile lifers. Montgomery v. Louisiana was a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that declared Dameon and David’s sentence unconstitutional. The ruling in that case stated that juvenile lifers needed to be treated as individuals and, if they were not permanently incorrigible, given a chance to come home. After their resentencings last year, both David and Dameon were made immediately parole eligible; but unfortunately Leslie Grey and Mark Koch denied them parole and told them they would need to wait five years before the board would hear their cases again. David and Dameon have appealed and Leo Dunn, the Chairman of the PA Board of Probation and Parole, can overrule their parole denial and allow them to come home to their families and communities. David was once a lost soul running around in the streets of North Philly living a life that was very disruptive. He believed he was destined to die or get locked up; he was sentenced to life without parole as 17 year-old. After a rocky start to his incarceration, he has been active in a lot of programming: playing sports and learning multiple trades. His passion is being a mentor to young people through softball and basketball. David has worked for years to better himself and to help those around him. He has been misconduct free for 15 years and he had institutional support for his parole. Dameon has spent the greater portion of his life incarcerated but refused to accept that it was what would define him. He decided that he would find a way to grow even within the confines of prison. He acquired his GED and worked briefly tutoring others. He's worked in various positions within the institution from the Cook for Specialized Diets to the Law Clerk in the library helping others with legal problems. He has founded, been part of, and facilitated numerous groups to change the hopeless, lost, or disenfranchised perspectives of other incarcerated people, while simultaneously trying to advance his own education and understanding of what it means to be human. He took to Mechanical Drafting and CAD and studied Print Media. Dameon has written books and stories not just to "fill a void I saw that existed" but also to try to show other incarcerated people that there was another way and more possibilities for them even behind bars. Both Dameon and David have loving and supportive families and both plan to continue helping people and bettering the world if released. Their parole denials each listed multiple errors. For example, Dameon’s denial states that he lacked a home plan but he submitted an 11-page home plan. He planned to be paroled to a halfway house in Philadelphia, something the Department of Corrections has encouraged for juvenile lifers but he was questioned about this decision and believes this plan was held against him. They went on to say that Dameon was denied due to misconducts and poor institutional adjustment. Dameon hasn’t had a misconduct in over 9 years and hasn’t had a misconduct relating to fighting in over 23 years. David’s denial stated that he needed to get a GED but he received a GED in the Department of Corrections. His denial went on to say that he had a misconduct at his minimum which was one year ago. He hasn’t had a misconduct in 15 years. A modern professional parole board shouldn’t be making these mistakes. We call on you, Chairman Dunn, to correct them and do the right thing. We believe that Dameon and David should be with their families and communities on the outside. They are rehabilitated. We call on you to grant parole for Dameon Brome and David Lahoz and grant them relief after decades of incarceration.
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    Created by Kris Henderson
  • Designate Moses African Cemetery as Historic!
    Moses African Cemetery in Bethesda, MD is the final resting place of the bodies of 1st generation freed enslaved Africans and their descendants. In the 1960s this cemetery was desecrated and paved over by developers who forcibly displaced the once-thriving African American community on River Road. New development plans threaten to permanently desecrate this sacred ground. The people buried there deserve dignity and respect, as they were denied it in life and are now denied it in death. We are calling on the county to designate this land as historic, which would bring legal protections from planned development and ensure its preservation. Black lives matter in life and in death, and this historic wrong must be made right.
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    Created by Showing Up for Racial Justice Montgomery County, MD chapter
  • Get the Corrupt Bail Industry Out Of Maryland Politics
    Everyday, thousands of people who haven't been convicted of a crime are separated from their families as they languish in jails just because they can't afford to pay bail. The commercial bail industry will go to any length to undermine reform and now they being implicated in an FBI bribery investigation. The news about bail-bonds industry lobbyists offering illegal bribes to Sen. Oaks and at least one other target in the state legislature underlines the corrupting influence that the industry’s money has had on the legislative process. These illegal bribes are in addition to the hundreds of thousands of dollars that the industry has spent in Maryland on campaign contributions, as detailed last year in a report by Common Cause report. All of this money - reported and under the table - is intended to reverse the progress Maryland can make under a new Judicial Rule intended to have more people released without subjecting them to the debt-trap set up by the bail industry. Maryland is one of the top states for campaign donations by the bail industry coming in behind only California and Florida. In order to get this corrupt industry out of our lives and communities, we must disrupt the dangerous relationship between the bail industry and elected officials.
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    Created by Progressive Maryland Picture
  • Stop Racist Advertising
    This is important because this contributes to racial stereotypes and racial bias found throughout the world. This continues to spread the false message that black men are dangerous due to their inherent nature, and says that black men are inferior to other races, especially to white people. This advertisement sends the message that black men are a danger to society and that they must control themselves in order to be “normal”. Historically, this has been said of black men-that they are violent predators (especially of white women), and because of this, people tend to have more fear when walking down the street and encountering a black man. This is why people are more defensive and and tend to react more violently when they believe, falsely or not, that a black man is a threat to themselves. This was seen in the George Zimmerman case, and has been seen in many cases of police brutality across the country. I saw this sign in Hong Kong just last week, but have not seen it where I live in the US, and this may be because they do not think people in Hong Kong would care about something like this or notice. While Adidas is a German company, they still have a lot of influence here in the US and, I am assuming, around the world. While historically this has been the portrayal of African American men in the US specifically, this same racial stereotyping and bias occurs throughout the world, and this kind of advertising needs to stop.
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    Created by Kelly Ng Picture
  • H&M - Hire Black Executives, Now.
    Yesterday, a user on noticed that H&M UK was using a Black boy to model a hoodie reading “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle.” H&M selling a hoodie that says "Coolest Monkey in the Jungle" is insult enough. They went on to ensure their message was clear when they put the hoodie on a little Black boy in order to advertise it. There is no excuse for H&M to continue to trade in that imagery in our current times, there’s a long history of Black people being compared to monkey in order to dehumanize us. H&M must show a commitment to diversity and hire Black executives to stop propagating racism. Join us if you believe that H&M must hire Black executives. This is a failure on every level. The stylist, photographer, marketing manager, site administrator all failed to stop and think of the implications of dressing a little Black boy in an outfit calling him a monkey. Or they thought of the implications and moved forward anyway. Hoping to capitalize off of the controversy they knew this would engender. This is a result of a fashion industry steeped in racism and lacking Black voices. This knowing exploitation of racism only reifies stereotypes and bigotries that have dominated our society. We cannot divorce the image of a Black kid as a "monkey" from the image of a Black kid being so different from white people that they're seen as an inherent threat. We've seen Adidas attempt to release shoes with ankle shackles, referencing the painful history of slavery and the dehumanization we were subjected to as a result. We've seen fashion magazines like Vogue use Blackface to be "edgy" and controversial. Each of these decisions serve to further entrench the image of Black people as an "other." This image of the Black person as an "other" is seen in the makeup of the fashion industry so severely lacking empowered Black voices to prevent the continued dehumanization of Black people. Dressing a Black kid in a shirt calling him a monkey isn't "hip" or "ironic." We cannot allow "rebranded" racism to flourish. The racism of the fashion industry is reflected in the lack of Black designers, brands, and models. Clearly, H&M needs Black executives who are empowered to prevent this from reoccurring. They need to hire Black executives now.
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    Created by Kibwe Chase-Marshall Picture
  • NYCHA ignores serious repair complaint in order to focus on gentrification
    NYCHA has been assisting investors with gentrification and aiding them in denying Section 8 tenants their Rent Stabilization rights.When the City and State Retirement Fund is invested into the property- New York Public Authority Law 2429-rentals should apply; which gives the Section 8 tenant rent stabilization rights. NYCHA moves to evict the tenant using HQS because a Section 8 tenant doesn't have the Private Right of Action and isn't 3rd party to the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract; and therefore the eviction can't be challenged in a court of law.
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    Created by Loronda Faison
  • Our Voices Matter! Appoint Monique Baker McCormick, Wayne County Commissioner District 6
    Our voices Matter! We Matter! Our belief is that the ultimate authority in government whether it be national or local lies with the people. It is our understanding that the Wayne County Commission District 6 seat will be vacated by the Hon. Commissioner Burton Leland and an appointment will be made without public input. The people in Wayne County should have a voice on who governs us. We want someone who will stand-up for us like Monique Baker McCormick . She is the most qualified and experienced person for the position of Wayne County Commissioner in District 6. Ms. McCormick, a veteran of the U.S. Army is a lifelong resident and business owner in District 6 and for over 10 years has supported District 6 and fought for working families, for students and seniors, for jobs and small business growth and development in Detroit. In 2011, Detroit Public Schools (DPS) Emergency Manager tried to close down Ms. McCormick childhood school and one of the best middles schools in the State of Michigan, Ludington Middle School. Ms. McCormick, two daughters also attended Ludington and as President of the parent organization she organized and lead a protest of hundreds of parents and students to successfully keep Ludington open. Most recently in 2016, as President of Cass Tech Parent Title-One Organization, Ms. McCormick joined a class action lawsuit compelling DPS to improve conditions in all Detroit Public Schools. Additionally, Ms. McCormick has challenged voter and civil rights issues in Wayne County all the way to the Michigan Supreme Court. Ms. McCormick, has a wealth of community, social and political experience that would be of great value to this county. She is a member of Peace Peddler (army vets and police officers) and an honorary member of the Tuskegee Airmen. She is a graduate of District 6 Henry Ford High School and earned her Bachelor Degree in Business Administration from Davenport University and has a Master Degree in Business from Walsh College of Business and Accountancy (1996). In 2015 as a rising star in the Democratic Party, Ms. McCormick was nominated by Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence to represent the 14th Congressional District in the prestigious Congressional Black Caucus Leadership Institute in Washington, D.C. In addition, as a Young Democrat she worked for the Kerry-Edwards Presidential campaign helping win Michigan and was elected 13th and 14th Congressional District Vice-Chair. She has been an elected Precinct Delegate in the 13th Congressional District for over 15 years. Ms. McCormick has been actively involved in numerous boards and organizations, Matrix Human Services, Detroit Repertory Theatre Board of Trustees, Walsh College Alumni Board, Pathways Development Board and the Community Coalition. She is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc., Women Informal Network, Coleman A. Young American Legion Post 202, Citadel of Praise and honorary member of the Tuskegee Airmen. Our voices matter! Appoint the best person to the Wayne County Commission! Appoint Monique Baker McCormick as Wayne County Commissioner in District 6.
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    Created by Monique Baker McCormick Picture
  • #OurVoiceOurChief: Demand transparency and inclusion in Police Chief search
    A fair, open and transparent selection process that is guided by the needs, concerns and experiences of a broad spectrum of residents – particularly youth and people of color – will ensure that the City of San Diego hires a police chief who is equally committed to upholding the dignity of all San Diegans as s/he is with upholding the law. A 2016 SDSU study* on racial profiling determined that Black and Latino drivers were twice as likely to be stopped and searched by San Diego police officers, but less likely to have contraband than White drivers. SDPD is currently facing litigation** for illegally stopping a Black minor and obtaining his DNA without a warrant. These and other troubling issues of over-policing and unfairly biased policing are among the challenges our next Chief of Police must address. Building the necessary public trust to meet these challenges starts with how impacted communities are engaged in the selection process. Decades of secret back room deals and broken promises have eroded public trust and confidence in our elected representatives. If Mayor Faulconer is truly committed to the vision and values of “one San Diego,” he will ensure that members of impacted communities have a real voice and consequential role in this selection process. He will be transparent and inclusive by allowing concerned San Diegans, especially youth and people of color, to hear from the final candidates before a hiring decision is made. Mayor Faulconer: provide full transparency in the search for San Diego’s next Chief of Police and include the public from start to finish. * https://www.sandiego.gov/sites/default/files/sdpdvehiclestopsfinal.pdf ** https://www.voiceofsandiego.org/topics/public-safety/teenager-sued-sdpd-documented-gang-member-soon/
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    Created by Coalition for Police Accountability and Transparency