Archive for July, 2016

In today from Enchanta Jackson of ColorofChange.org. This is very important to sign on to this petition.

A week ago, I was chained to the door of the Fraternal Order of Police for 13 hours with Movement for Black Lives activist in unison with protesters across the country to expose the FOP for who they are: the most dangerous fraternities in America.1 The Fraternal Order of Police is one of the driving forces behind the cynical and divisive legislation known as “Blue Lives Matter” -a bill threatening the movement to hold police accountable.

From its name to the legislative details, Blue Lives Matter laws are intended to antagonize and discredit efforts for racial justice and police accountability by dividing the American people with a fallacious choice between protecting Black lives or police officers.

Will you stand with us to end the bill that pretends to protect cops, but only villainizes peaceful protesters?

Underneath the mask of lies, Blue Lives Matter distracts from real solutions that will keep police and communities safe – like civilian review boards, ending racial profiling, and investing into community oriented policing solutions. Instead of protecting law enforcement, Blue Lives Matter bills silence the movement to hold police accountable.

There are  state and federal legislative push for Blue Lives Matter bills. The federal is called the Back the Blue Act and has the backing of GOP leadership, but both federal and state laws are fundamentally the same. They group the occupation of the police officer with historically oppressed identity groups in order to classify any harm inflicted onto police officers as a hate crime.2 Here’s the problem: being a police officer is an occupation, not an identity.3 This is a slap in the face to the decades of fighting advocates have done to procure hate crime protections for marginalized groups, and as we’ve seen in recent protests, police are known to embellish their claims of confrontation with Black folks.

Activists have already faced constant backlash from law enforcement –government surveillance, excessive jail time, tear gassing, and being physically beaten by police. In the hands of local law enforcement, these new laws could mean more trumped up charges and longer sentences for protesters.

The FOP spends hundreds of thousands of dollars to promote its dangerous agenda. This is why on Wednesday activists in DC, Oakland, New York, and Chicago blockaded the entrances to police union offices –including the FOP’s national legislative office that I was chained to on Capitol Hill, to halt their legislative agenda for the day. We succeeded and held them off for a day, but it will take all of us to stop them for good. Will you stand with us?

Protest! Protest! Tell your member of Congress to say no to ‘Blue Lives Matter’ laws.

Until Justice is Real,

Enchanta


References:

  1. “Why the Movement for Black Lives is Shutting Down DC and NYC Police Union Headquarters,” Mic 07.20.2016 https://act.colorofchange.org/go/6551?t=6&akid=6045.1901838.-u-hYb
  2. “The Blue Lives Matter Bill is Bullshit,” MTV News 05.26.2016 http://act.colorofchange.org/go/6552?t=8&akid=6045.1901838.-u-hYb
  3. “Louisiana will pass ‘Blue Lives Matter’ bill classifying police attacks as hate crimes,” NY Daily News 05.21.2016 http://act.colorofchange.org/go/6553?t=10&akid=6045.1901838.-u-hYb

Advertisements

In from Scott Roberts of ColorofChange.org

He was on his back. Unarmed. With his hands in the air, yelling “don’t shoot.” But North Miami Officer Jonathan Aledda shot Charles Kinsey, a 47 year-old behavioral therapist helping an autistic patient, anyway. When Kinsey asked why he’d been shot in the leg, the officer replied “I don’t know.”1

It’s yet another case showing the world what Black people already know: all you have to do to be considered a threat is be Black.

The department just suspended without pay Commander Emile Hollant–the officer who radioed in misinformation that the patient was loading a gun and later lied about it.2 It’s a small step, but neither of these officers should be able to put on a uniform again. However, Florida police union contracts and lobbying have made it almost impossible for police officers to be held accountable.3

Even the local SEIU, caregivers union, recognized the need for police unions to stop defending dangerous cops.4 It’s a huge precedent for a labor union to call police unions out. And after a week of protests5,momentum against police unions–the most dangerous fraternities in America–is growing and we have to make sure they can’t keep protecting the worst among them.

Sign the petition: Fire the officer who shot Charles Kinsey.

Charles Kinsey was helping his autistic patient who had run away from a treatment center. He calmly told Officer Aledda the patient had a toy truck in his hands–not a gun–and there was no need for firearms. The officer still shot him in the leg, and it’s scary to think of what could have happened had the bullet went a few inches further.

Now the local police union is saying Aledda meant the bullet for Kinsey’s patient because he feared he would harm him and that “did what [he] had to do.”6 It’s outrageous. Charles Kinsey’s life matters. His patient’s life matters. And the story that the officer was trying to protect Kinsey doesn’t match up with what the officer did after shooting him. Instead of responding as if he’d made a mistake, Officer Aledda turned Kinsey over while he was bleeding and handcuffed him and the patient–though they had done nothing wrong.

Add your name and stand up to police union bullies who defend bad cops. 

The police union defense of this officer is indicative of the poisonous ‘good ol’ boys’ culture of policing. In Florida, negotiated contracts and an “Officers’ Bill of Rights” have made it almost impossible to hold police officers accountable when they commit crimes.7 They ensure police officers can appeal any disciplinary action and win. And on a national level, right-wing politicians are working to solidify those efforts and further criminalization at the same time with ‘Blue Lives Matter’ bills that seek to silence the movement for police accountability.8 It’s time we truly expose police unions and the role they play in making sure police get away with murder. 

We can do that by showing massive support for the termination of these officers. Charles Kinsey didn’t deserve this–and if we can hold Aledda and Hollant accountable, it will set a precedent against police union protection of bad cops.

Sign the petition.

Until justice is real,

–Scott, Rashad, Arisha, Clarise, Enchanta and the rest of the ColorOfChange team.

References:

1. “The Most Disturbing Part About the Charles Kinsey Shooting,” The Huffington Post, 07-21-2016
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/6541?t=7&akid=6016.1901838.p_MJk3

2. “North Miami cop suspended for misleading probe of Charles Kinsey shooting,” Miami Herald, 07-22-2016
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/6542?t=9&akid=6016.1901838.p_MJk3

3. “In Florida, Cops Flout the Law and Continue Working,” The Miami New Times, 06-07-2016
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/6543?t=11&akid=6016.1901838.p_MJk3

4. “Statement in Response to the North Miami Police Shooting of Caregiver Charles Kinsey,” 1199 SEIU, 07-21-2016
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/6544?t=13&akid=6016.1901838.p_MJk3

5. “Young Black Protesters Blockade Police Facilities Across the Country,” Truthout.org, 07-21-2016
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/6545?t=15&akid=6016.1901838.p_MJk3

6. “Bullet that struck caregiver was meant to protect him, police union prez says,” Miami Herald, 07-21-2016
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/6546?t=17&akid=6016.1901838.p_MJk3

7. “In Florida, Cops Flout the Law and Continue Working,” The Miami New Times, 06-07-2016
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/6543?t=19&akid=6016.1901838.p_MJk3

8. “Trump and other Conservatives Embrace ‘Blue Lives Matter’ movement,” NBC News, 07-23-2016
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/6547?t=21&akid=6016.1901838.p_MJk3

This is an excellent post. Speaking right from our queer hears and minds.

Orlando, Dallas & the

Failure of LGBTQ

Single Issue Politics

The Orlando shooter was the son of Afghan immigrants who had fled their war-torn country; he was resentful of what the U.S. had done to his homeland. The gunman from Dallas was a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan; he was killed by a remote control bomb developed for and battle-tested in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The link between all these is the continuing U.S. war in Afghanistan. But you would be hard pressed to find any mention of that from LGBTQ NGO “activists” talking about Orlando, or from anyone talking about Dallas.

Yet many self-professed “progressive” LGBTQs are loud in their support of “intersectionality,” a term which means the finding of common cause within and among groups of the oppressed. Yet aside from pointing out the obvious, that most of the Orlando victims were LGBTQ and Latino, and to lesser extent, that people shouldn’t scapegoat Muslims in the U.S., their response to the Orlando massacre abjectly failed the test of genuine intersectionality.

Instead, it was the same old tunnel vision, the familiar nationalist myopia of LGBTQs in the U.S. thinking only about “our issues,” with the rest of the world, gay and non-gay, as a distant after-thought at best.

The result is that tragedies like the Pulse nightclub attack are hijacked by the professional political class for crass political gain. Consider the Democrats’ phony Congressional sit-in to force Republicans to take up the issue of gun control: Rather than address the conditions that give rise to violence, the Democrats promoted the most reactionary, anti-civil libertarian, pro-national security state “reforms” under the rubric of gun control. Anyone on the executive branch’s national security “watch list” — with no oversight of the selection criteria used and no due process procedure for getting off the list — is denied the right to own a gun.

To say that this reinforces a horrible precedent is an understatement. It unconstitutionally augments the government’s unilateral power to penalize those, particularly people of color, who it designates as “security risks,” with implications far beyond gun control and freedom of movement.

In diverting an anti-LGBTQ tragedy into reactionary legislation, the Congressional sit-iners were in familiar territory. After the 1998 murder of Wyoming college student Matthew Shepard, Congressional Democrats ignored the hate-inducing, anti-LGBTQ legislation that they had played the primary role in promoting – Bill Clinton’s 1996 Defense of Marriage Act and his 1993 Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law. Instead, they promoted “hate crimes” legislation that only served to promote Clinton’s mass incarceration binge which was already devastating communities of color. (more…)

In today from Mara Keisling of the National Center for Transgender Equality.

Have you seen the advance copy of our TV ad yet?

Last week, NCTE and our partners at Fairness USA launched a major public education campaign to raise awareness of the discrimination and need for protections for trans people across the U.S. The campaign features a television ad depicting the mistreatment and harassment that many trans people face when using a public restroom.

NCTE’s newly released survey data shows that 59% of trans people avoided bathrooms in the last year because they were afraid of problems like being confronted and 31% avoided eating and drinking so they didn’t have to. And, even more appalling, one in 10 of the trans people who did use a public restroom reported that they were harassed, attacked, or sexually assaulted.

We hope this ad will open some eyes and hopefully change some hearts and minds too. It debuts tonight on Fox News during the Republican National Convention and will air on MSNBC during the Democratic National Convention next week.

Watch the ad now. →

Share it with your networks. Start a conversation about it with your friends and family. Tell people how it feels as a trans person—or a family member or friend of a trans person—to be discriminated against, harassed, or excluded from restrooms or any other area of life. This ad only shows one person’s story. Add yours.

Thank you for all that you do,
Mara

Mara Keisling
Executive Director
National Center for Transgender Equality

P.S.  Please know that I too worry now about using the women’s room. Sometimes, when other women look at me there, I feel like I know what they are thinking—that I don’t belong. Thankfully, I’m rarely challenged by anyone. However, every time I have to use a public restroom, which includes every day I’m at work, I worry. I think about what I am wearing, how I look, and hope that I will just be left alone.

Found in Daily Kos this wonderful article written by Thandisizwe Chimurenga and the tribute to Mr. Castile brought tears to our eyes. We here at furbirdsqueerly send out so much love to Unity Autoworks.

Philando Castile, a St. Paul school cafeteria supervisor, in his uniform

Philando Castile was pulled over for a broken tail light on July 6, 2016, and subsequently shot by a police officer for complying with his requests.

Unity Autoworks in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, is offering to replace motorists’ bulbs in tail lights and license plates indefinitely, free, of charge, in honor of Philando Castile. Castile was shot four times on July 6 by a St. Anthony, Minnesota, police officer after reaching for his wallet during a traffic stop. The aftermath of the shooting was live streamed by his partner Lavish Williams on Facebook. According to Williams, the couple was pulled over for a broken tail light.

The automotive repair shop, located not far from the intersection where Castile was shot, first made the announcement on their Facebook page early on July 7:

Brandon Jefferson, the owner of Unity Autoworks, came up with the idea for the action:

“We can’t fix everything,” Unity Autoworks co-owner Brandon Jefferson explained to local alt-weekly City Pages, “but this is one less reason for people to get pulled over.”

Jefferson, who is black, told the paper that he himself had been pulled over by police for “questionable reasons,” but it was Castile’s shooting which prompted him to act—first at his autoshop, and most recently at a celebration in Rondo, St. Paul’s historically African American neighborhood, that was largely tempered by Castile’s death.

Castile had 45 prior traffic stops over “questionable reasons” before he was killed. Alleged traffic violations act not only as revenue generators for small cities and counties, but also as effective buffers from the haves and and the have-nots in certain neighborhoods.

Unity Autoworks has received an outpouring of support for the gesture.

They deserve every bit, and then some. You can see the auto shop’s original message below.

#FREEDOM NOW

Posted: July 20, 2016 in Call to Action

JUL21_EVERYWHERE01.png

Freedom Now Collective

During the DNC:
Demand freedom for political prisoners!

rsz_polpris.jpgSunday, July 24
5:00 p.m.

William Way LGBT Community Center (1315 Spruce Street)
Philadelphia, Penn.

RSVP on Facebook

Initial list of confirmed speakers:

  • Pam Africa – Founder and leader of International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal

  • Eddie Conway – Political prisoner for 43 years, Minister of Defense – Baltimore chapter of the Black Panther Party

  • Ralph Poynter – Leader of the Justice for Lynne Stewart Organization and a long-time activist for the freedom of political prisoners

  • Theresa Shoatz – Daughter of Russell Maroon Shoatz, member of the Human Rights Coalition and founder of Families and Communities United

  • Eugene Puryear – Party for Socialism and Liberation, author of “Shackled and Chained: Mass Incarceration in Capitalist America”

  • Noelle Hanrahan – Journalist with Prison Radio and producer and co-writer of the documentary “Mumia: Long Distance Revolutionary”

  • And more!

As the attention of the world is fixed on Philadelphia during the Democratic National Convention, political prisoners incarcerated in the United States – the so-called land of the free – need to be front and center. Join us for a convergence of political prisoner advocates from a wide range of individual cases on the eve of the convention. We will rally supporters old and new, give updates, strategize and raise the profile of this critical issue. (more…)