Archive for September, 2016

Why TLC is suing Indiana Gov. Mike Pence
 
This month, Transgender Law Center joined MALDEF to file a lawsuit The Wall Street Journaldescribed as “bringing together two of the country’s hottest political issues” – transgender rights and immigration.
It’s true that much of the heated rhetoric, discriminatory legislation, and violence that has marked this year has centered on questions of gender and citizenship. “No men in women’s restrooms” and “build that wall” are currently battling it out for bigoted catchphrase of the year.
But for people like our plaintiff, these aren’t two hot-button political issues. They’re his life. Along with his roles as a husband and a father, they make up his identity, the daily facts and fears of his existence – stamped large on an Indiana State ID that uses his female birth name and thus outs him as transgender person every time he presents it.

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We Won’t let them turn us back!

Posted: September 30, 2016 in Call to Action

—as told to furbirdsqueerly

Let’s start this with a song, one of our all time favorites. We especially like the line, Vacations with pay, take the kids to the seashore. “Talking Union” is a talking blues song written by members of the Almanac Singers. The song tells of the common struggles that a union organizer faces while starting a new labor union. The song was written in 1941 and the struggle still goes on.

Richie Poor was thinking about this song yesterday when the new company that had taken over the old company came out with their new handbook. The new regime the same as the old, no worse.  Well I’ll be damned, they took away our vacations with pay and have replaced it with some shit they call anniversary bonuses. That bonuses for anyone who works a 40 hour week will be the whopping sum of $200.00.

“Bull shit,” said Little Eva, “I’ve worked for this place for 20 years and now I am expected to give up my hard earned vacations?” “No way,” said Jose. “I was planning on taking mine next month when I go to visit my mom in LA. ” Too bad boys and girls if you don’t like our way of doing things the door is right over there,” said fat pig with the big cigar. There are plenty of people out of work who would line up 10 thick to get a job here. They would be glad to have what you got regardless of the pay, no vacations, paid holidays, personnel days. (Well sick days no buster you can’t take that away from us that’s law no matter how weak the law is we got something.) So Eva, Ritchie and Jose say, “Let’s call up the union and ask them to step in and help us. You know this company has gotten so fucking big now buying up all the smaller ones and soon they will control the market. Then what with no competition the workers will be really screwed.” Very few companies deny their workers the very basic benefit of paid vacations. Most understand that rest and relaxation away from the job is very important to a persons well being. The workers know this and on Monday morning we hear workers say, Gee I wish it were Friday, I can’t wait for the weekend. Just to breath, breath our own life, not theirs or anyone else. You know we give 40 hours a week of our life to these companies and some time more shouldn’t they be a bit grateful and give us time off with pay? That’s basic. Time to throw their pig shit back at them. No whining no excuses. Nope not standing up about this will certainly cause the company to think they can do anything they want to the workers.

But you know there are always those someones who are afraid of the boss, afraid of losing their jobs if they make a peep. There are always those who will see this activity as a way to get a close up with the boss and get fucked some more. Tom told the union supporters, “Unions are no good, they protect the lazy worker and we have to pay dues every month, they call strikes and then we have to go out on the picket line, nope not for me.” “Well,” said Eva, “I heard that 32 BJ of the Service Employee Union that represents the janitors also represent many security officers up and down the east coast. Yes you pay dues but you get paid vacations, personnel days, your birthday off with pay and the best of all after a long hard fight, a fight that went on for many years, a fight that Joan my wife was in, a fight that they finally won free medical, dental and vision insurance. Well folks you can’t beat that. What the heck do you have without a union, no vacations, no personnel days, Boss man can fire you if he doesn’t like you. Bose’s nephew has started college down the street and needs a part time job. I wonder who is going to lose theirs? One of us will. The new company states in their handbook at employment with them is “AT WILL”  At-will means that you or your employer can terminate your job on a moment’s notice for any reason, whether good, bad, indifferent or for no reason at all. (1) Let’s hope that if it happens to you that you can prove them wrong, that it was illegal for them to fire you and you can win a case against the employer. Hard to do I have heard it is. But lucky for the worker good shit can happen but who wants to depend on lucky in the workplace? Not any of us.

How about your pay Tom? Its stuck at $10.00 dollars an hour. How many years have you been here now? How many years without a decent raise? I hear the Security officers who work for the state saw their pay go up from $10.25 to $14.00 after they unionized. You know Tom you always are complaining about all the workers you have seen come and go, you know don’t you think that with a union with good benefits, wages and respect on the job that a higher caliber of people would be lining up at the door to get a job here. Respect towards the workers would go a long way in retaining. Tom you are full of shit, don’t try to block us in or attempts to organize, don’t become a scab or a snitch to the boss and remember there are more of us together than there are of you alone. Last but not least Tom, why are you so fucking hostile to the only game in town that will actually help you, why do you dislike the very group that will represent you against this large company who has begun to take away from you? “Ok, Ok enough said,” Ritchie, Jose come on over to my apartment and we will go over this handbook with a fine tooth comb. You game for this weekend? (more…)

Weekend music enjoyment.

Posted: September 30, 2016 in Weekend Music Enjoyment

Ain’t Done Nothing If You Ain’t Been Called A Red

Faith Petric and Mark Ross.

Check out this excellent article.

For a NYC elected civilian review board

A visionary campaign to fight for genuine police accountability

Jed Holtz
October 2016

Activist groups including Freedom Socialist Party and Radical Women expressed outrage at police violence and a demand for community control at New York City’s 2016 Pride March. Credit: FSP-NYC Facebook page

Ferguson. Baton Rouge. Milwaukee. As this goes to press, another Black body falls to police bullets. Rage has sparked protests across the country, reminiscent of the fire-filled street rebellions of the ’60s. For African Americans, the murder of their sons, daughters and neighbors at the hands of police has long been a bitter reality.

As Ta-Nehisi Coates writes to his son inBetween the World and Me, “The police departments of your country have been endowed with the authority to destroy your body. … The destroyers will rarely be held accountable. Mostly they will receive pensions. … All of this is old news for black people.”

What is new is that now the outcry is often louder and immediate. Cell videos have exposed the brutal reality of police violence in graphic detail. Through Twitter and social media messages of anger are instantly shared. Over two million posts on racism are tweeted daily, according to a recent Pew poll.

But as the list of victims multiplies, it’s clear that to #staywoke is not enough. The issue is — how can this anger focus on making changes that will protect people from police bullets?

What to do? The movement is starting to figure it out. Between the protests and speak-outs, activists are meeting to carve out new reforms to fight police violence.

One such effort is New York City’s Campaign for an Elected Civilian Review Board. Initiated by grassroots activists and organizations including the Freedom Socialist Party, the campaign is fighting to create an independent, elected body of paid community members with power to investigate misconduct and discipline police, including firing them. This board would have a Special Prosecutor, independent of the District Attorney, who would work in tandem with board members to investigate and prosecute crimes by cops. (more…)

In from Color of Change

BREAKING: Charlotte Police Chief, Kerr Putney, just made a partial release of dash cam and body cam footage of Keith Lamont Scott’s murder. And it’s devastating to watch. 

None of the video shows definitive evidence of Keith Scott holding a gun as police have claimed–and after police shot and killed Keith Scott, they handcuffed his lifeless body. To make matters worse, Putney has still refused to release the full video, claiming it is not relevant to the shooting. A partial video release is not enough, but if this killing happened a week from today, even this would be impossible. 

A new North Carolina law goes into effect on October 1st, and will prohibit any body-cam or dash-cam footage from being released to the public. It’s infuriating and a slap in the face to Black people who’ve been in the streets demanding transparency and reform.

In just a few hours, over 33,000 Color of Change members have signed a petition calling on the Department of Justice to take action against this law–will you join them?

We have to make sure North Carolina police can’t hide behind a blue wall of silence any longer.

Then we have this: HB972 Prohibits body and dash cam footage from being released to the public.

Charlotte is on fire. And Black people are in pain yet again as the news of Keith Lamont Scott’s killing hit less than 24 hours after news outlets plastered the video of Terence Crutcher’s murder on tv screens across the country.1

According to his family, Keith Lamont Scott, a 43-year-old disabled man, was sitting in his car reading a book and waiting to pick his son up from school when he was shot and killed by Charlotte police. Yes, a book. They say he didn’t have a gun. And in a live video immediately after the incident, Keith’s daughter yelled at investigators not to plant a gun in his car. “Because that’s what the f**k y’all do,” she said.2

Charlotte police had no regard for Keith’s life and are telling a completely different tale of events leading to Keith’s killing. But a new North Carolina law could mean the public will never see the body cam footage.

North Carolina just passed a law, HB 972, that prohibits body and dash cam footage from being released to the public.3 And while the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief, Kerr Putney, has the authority to release the footage of Keith Lamont Scott’s death before the law goes into effect in October–he won’t. But the good news is that the Department of Justice has the authority to push them to do the right thing, and hit Charlotte police where it hurts–their pockets. Soon, the Justice Department will be announcing winners of their federal grant programs. If the DOJ refuses to award any new grants to North Carolina while this law is in place, they could force the state to reverse it. Will you sign the petition?

Tell the DOJ: Don’t reward North Carolina police with new grants until it overturns HB 972. (more…)

smash-captial

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) compiles lists of challenged books as reported in the media and submitted by librarians and teachers across the country.

Find out which challenged books made the 2015 list, which was released as part of the 2016 State of America’s Library Report.