A call to protest on 15 July

I urge you to join me in reading, adding your name to, and joining in these protests July 15th across the country.

On July 15, 2017:
To all who agonize and rage at what’s being done to the people, protest and demand:
THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO!
In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!

IMMIGRANTS ARE FULL HUMAN BEINGS, not “illegals” or criminals, to be demonized, terrorized, hunted down, locked up, and thrown out. NO! We will not accept the cruel and brutal future of the Trump/Pence Regime … they must GO!

MUSLIMS AND REFUGEES ARE FULL HUMAN BEINGS, not people to be shunned, banned, and cast out to be swallowed up by oceans and wars. NO! We will not accept the cruel and brutal future of the Trump/Pence Regime . . . they must GO!

WOMEN AND LGBTQ PEOPLE ARE FULL HUMAN BEINGS, not objects to be grabbed, demeaned, victimized, and denied their fundamental right to control their reproduction, and how they choose to live. NO! We will not accept the cruel and brutal future of the Trump/Pence Regime . . . they must GO!

BLACK AND LATINO PEOPLE ARE FULL HUMAN BEINGS, not people to be denied the right even to live, gunned down by the police with impunity, incarcerated in genocidal numbers, and denied basic rights. NO! We will not accept the cruel and brutal future of the Trump/Pence Regime . . . they must GO!

THE PEOPLE OF EVERY COUNTRY ARE FULL HUMAN BEINGS, and not collateral damage to be subjected to massive bombing, invasions, occupations, the danger of nuclear war, and a program of “America First” that would bludgeon them into submission. NO! We will not accept the cruel and brutal future of the Trump/Pence Regime . . . they must GO!

THE CHILDREN, ELDERLY AND POOR of this country, as in every country, should have food for sustenance, health care to live, homes to live in, and not be denied with cruel calculation for the benefit of the few. NO! We will not accept the cruel and brutal future of the Trump/Pence Regime . . . they must GO!

THE EARTH AND THE SPECIES WHO INHABIT IT – including humanity – should sustain life and not be despoiled by ignorance, greed, and the disregard of science. NO! We will not accept the cruel and brutal future of the Trump/Pence Regime . . . they must GO!

IN THE NAME OF HUMANITY: THE TRUMP AND PENCE REGIME MUST GO! Only the people acting together in the streets and public square can force this demand before the world. Should we fail to do so, the future and values we aspire to could be brutally cut short by the actions of the Trump/Pence Regime.

The Trump/Pence government has been step by step criminalizing dissent and bludgeoning the truth with worse to come. Stripping away basic rights and the rule of law is at the core of fascism. Group after group is demonized and targeted along a trajectory leading to real horrors. We must not let this be normalized. History has shown that fascism must be stopped before it becomes too late.

The demand: “The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go,” can unify people and our resistance. There are different programs of struggle against the multiple attacks of the Trump/Pence regime, people have diverse views for how to achieve a better future, and all of this should be aired, shared, and debated. But, if we don’t stop the consolidation of fascism by organizing together to demand that the Trump/Pence regime must go, people’s lives here and around the world, and the earth itself will face greater catastrophe.

Now is the time to act. The scandal and turmoil the regime faces is an opening through which the mass action of the people could burst through and make our demand resound throughout the country, in the halls of power, and around the world.

On July 15th “The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go,” must be spoken, shouted, and acted on with fiercely creative determination. We have righteously marched for women, for science, for the climate, for immigrants, for Black Lives, for LGBTQ Pride. Now the resistance must pull together to drive this regime from power.

July 15th must be a day when every person, every group – religious, community, service, political organization – all who feel the tremendous threat to humanity posed by the Trump/Pence regime – stand together showing the world that people here are determined that this regime must go … not in two years or four, but now.

July 15th must mark a leap to more sustained struggle, inspiring people to see the possibility of ousting this regime through unleashing the tremendous power of the people – aiming for the time when millions can be moved to fill the streets of cities and towns day after day and night after night, declaring this whole regime illegitimate – Demanding, and Not Stopping, Until The Trump/Pence Regime Is Driven from Power.

On July 15, with conviction and courage, overcoming fear and uncertainty, we will act together to resist and say NO!… Not for ourselves alone, but in the name of humanity.

Sign this statement, find a protest in your area, or add your own here: refusefascism.org/2017/06/09/july-15-2017-in-cities-across-the-country-demonstrate/

(from Sunsara Taylor)

LAST CHANCE TO STOP TRUMPCARE

In May, Congress passed the AHCA; the bill that will, if passed in anything close to the form in which Congress passed it, leave millions of Americans without affordable healthcare so as to give the richest of Americans a break on their taxes. The bill is currently being argued out by the Senate – who won’t tell anyone what changes they’re making or what they’re currently planning to vote into law. All we know is that they’re almost certainly going to be holding this vote within the next few weeks. (The planned timeline has the Senators holding the vote by June 30th, less than a fortnight away.) If the bill goes through at that point, Americans could end up stuck with a bill that could have a disastrous impact on the most vulnerable of their people – without even the chance to know in advance what’s in it.

However, the bill has not gone through yet, and that means you still have just enough time to fight it.

 

How?

By contacting your Senators and putting pressure on them. They need to hear the strength of feeling on this one, and they need to know that if they support the AHCA they’re going to be very, very unpopular with a lot of Americans.

And they need to hear this not just via social media or e-mails, but via people – lots of people – phoning their offices directly. Because, when your switchboard is going crazy with calls, that’s a lot harder to ignore than e-mail.

If you can show up in person, better yet. If you can show up with others for a protest or sit-in (after reading the links below on how to do this effectively), even better! But if you can’t do those things – still, if you possibly can, call. And ask everyone you know to call too. Because it does make a difference.

But my Senator is a Democrat and is already against the AHCA!

Great! Phone them! If they hear how strongly their constituents feel on the matter, that’s really helpful ammunition that they can use when debating the GOP on the subject.

Also, there are specific things that senators who object to the AHCA can do to throw a spanner in the works of and make it harder for this act to go through – see below.

But my Senator is a jerk who would never listen to a thing I say against the AHCA!

Boo! Phone them! That jerk of a Senator is going to want to announce that his constituents are obviously happy with the AHCA, and he would love to be in a position where he can say that no-one’s calling him to object to it. If he is getting those calls, it’s a lot harder for him to say that (however much of a jerk he is, he still probably wants to avoid being in a position where constituents of his know damn well he’s a liar and can call him out on it). You may not change his position – but at least you’ve weakened it.

But what should I say when I call?

So glad you asked! Here are some helpful links I found:

Indivisible: the Stop Trumpcare in June action plan. An invaluable guide to what to ask for and how to go about it. Covers not just phone calls but also letters to your local paper and sit-ins. This is also the link that specifies what you can usefully ask of a Democrat senator in terms of practical opposition to the AHCA. Indivisible have also given sample scripts for Republican and Democrat senators.

Political staffer Celeste Pewter has tweeted some very helpful advice on how to call your representatives. (She’s also tweeted another helpful list on the AHCA fight specifically, here.)

And Bustle highlight an important point: If you have a personal story of how the AHCA would impact you, include that. The staffers answering the phone are human beings. It’s pretty hard to remain unmoved when you’re hearing stories like ‘My child needs lifesaving treatment for [chronic illness] and, under the AHCA, I won’t be able to keep affording that.’ Of course, most stories won’t be quite that dramatic; but still make them heard. Don’t be overdramatic, but do let the staffer you speak to know. (And anyone else you can. People need to hear how the AHCA will impact actual people they know.)

To summarise the important points:

  • Be prepared to give your address/zip code first off (they will want to check you’re actually a constituent; stick to calling your elected representatives)
  • Once you’ve done that, ask to speak to the staffer in charge of health (there will be a specific one).
  • Be polite but firm.
  • Ask for your senator’s position on the AHCA.
  • Be specific in your requests. (See the Indivisible links above for more useful details on this, but, in summary: If they’re against it, let them know you don’t find that acceptable because X, and you need them to support it. If they’re unsure or trying to dodge the question, same thing. If they’re for it, ask them to work actively to slow the bill down as much as possible, in the ways given in the ‘Democrat senator’ link above.)
  • Let them know any ways in which the bill would personally impact you. If it wouldn’t, give a one-sentence summary of your general concerns (‘This bill would leave millions without affordable healthcare’, for example).

 

Finally, if you really can’t phone – and I know there are good reasons why not everyone can – is there anything else you can do? Letters and e-mails may carry less weight than phone calls, but they still count for something, and the more communications representatives get by whatever means, the more they know the strength of feeling on the matter. Spreading the word to other people – even if it’s just sharing the information on your Facebook page – means more people potentially willing to join the list of those calling and taking part in other actions.

Good luck to all.

PETITION: Help save our oceans.


underwater photo of sea turtle encountering plastic bag(image via Avaaz)

Next week (June 5-9) the United Nations is hosting The Ocean Conference to support the conservation and sustainable development of the world’s oceans, seas and marine resources.

The Conference aims to be the game changer that will reverse the decline in the health of our ocean for people, planet and prosperity.

You can read more about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 14 here.

The Avaaz global campaign network has undertaken an ambitious petition drive with the goal of a million signatures to increase public pressure on the planet’s biggest contributors to the plastic waste polluting our oceans. If Avaaz reaches a million signatures, the Head of the UN Environment Programme will highlight the petition from the UN conference podium, and assist the Avaaz campaign to ban single-use plastics. (Links to more information about the plastic threat are at the end of this post.)

As of this writing 883,364 have signed. Let’s deploy our godless heathen superpowers and help Avaaz get to a million.

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boy on a beach covered in plastic debris

100 MILLION plastic bottles are thrown away every day, choking our oceans in plastic waste. Governments meet in days to outline clean ocean commitments. If a million of us call on top polluters to stop the flood of plastics, the Head of the UN’s Environment Programme will announce our petition to the plenary and use our voices to help oceans breathe again.

Dear friends,

By 2050, our oceans will have more plastic trash than fish.

It’s shameful. Half of the plastic made we use just once and throw out, choking our seas and all the animals in it.

But in days, our governments can stem this tide when they meet at a historic summit to outline their clean ocean commitments. Public pressure just got #2 polluter Indonesia to commit to a 70% reduction in plastic waste! Now we need to go after the other top polluters.

If one million of us get behind a global call, the Head of the UN Environment Programme will announce our petition from the summit podium and work with us to push countries to ban single-use plastics and let oceans breathe again. Add your name:

Click to save our oceans!

No matter where we live, each breath we take connects us to our oceans. Most of our oxygen is generated by them. They regulate our climate and weather, turn water into clouds that give us rain. And oceans provide a home for near 80% of all living things on earth. We can’t live without our oceans.

But now, our oceans can’t live without us.

Humans have destroyed ocean health and we need to fix it. The good news is, more than half the plastic trash in our oceans come from just five nations. If we focus global attention on the biggest polluters now, we can create global system-change for plastic-free seas. What’s missing is the motivation — and that’s where we come in.

Let’s build a massive call on our governments to stop suffocating our oceans. Once we reach a million signers, Avaaz will launch targeted campaigns on the top polluters to ramp up the pressure for them to act.

Click to save our oceans!

Our community has fought fiercely to protect magnificent rainforests and vast areas of our oceans. Now time is running out to kill plastic pollution before it kills us.

With hope and determination,

Dalia, Lisa, Alice, Carol, Danny and the entire Avaaz team

MORE INFORMATION:

The Oceans Are Drowning In Plastic — And No One’s Paying Attention (Huffington Post)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/plastic-waste-oceans_us_58fed37be4b0c46f0781d426

The Arctic Ocean Is Clogging With Billions of Plastic Bits (The Atlantic)
https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/04/the-arctic-ocean-is-filling-with-billions-of-plastic-bits/523713/

Even your sea salt is almost certainly contaminated with plastic (Quartz)
https://qz.com/979101/sea-salt-is-likely-to-contain-microparticles-of-plastic-according-to-a-new-study/

Full scale of plastic in the world’s oceans revealed for first time (The Guardian)
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/dec/10/full-scale-plastic-worlds-oceans-revealed-first-time-pollution

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Avaaz is a 44-million-person global campaign network that works to ensure that the views and values of the world’s people shape global decision-making. (“Avaaz” means “voice” or “song” in many languages.) Avaaz members live in every nation of the world; our team is spread across 18 countries on 6 continents and operates in 17 languages. Learn about some of Avaaz’s biggest campaigns here, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

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PETITION: Tell Congress to ban conversion therapy.

Via CREDO* Action (email):

Tell Congress: Being gay is not an illness. Ban conversion therapy now.

The petition to Congress reads:

“Being gay is not an illness. Pass the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act of 2017 to ban conversion therapy nationwide.”

Add your name: Sign the petition

Dear Iris,

Being gay is not an illness.

Leading medical and mental health experts describe so-called conversion therapy, which practitioners claim can force a change in a person’s gender identity or sexual orientation, as dangerous, ineffective and unnecessary.

Conversion therapy is based on the false and hateful lie that being LGBTQ is a defect or disorder that needs curing. It is rooted in anti-gay and anti-transgender bigotry and based on lies that have been disproven again and again.

Recently, the Supreme Court let California’s ban on conversion therapy for minors stand.1 Now progressive champion Rep. Ted Lieu, who pushed for the crucial protections in California, has reintroduced a bill to ban conversion therapy nationally by calling it what it is: fraud.

Tell Congress: Conversion therapy is fraud. Protect LGBTQ people by passing the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act of 2017. Click here to sign the petition.

Nearly every major medical, psychological, psychiatric, social work and professional counseling organization in the country has publicly discredited conversion therapy.2 The practice is based on hateful lies and uses controversial practices like “violent role play, reenactment of past abuses, and exercises involving nudity and intimate touching.”3 Multiple studies have found people who undergo conversion therapy to be at higher risk of depression, alienation from family, anxiety and suicide.4 Children forced to go through the therapy are at even higher risk.5

The Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act is simple, Rep. Lieu said.

“It says it is fraud if you treat someone for a condition that doesn’t exist and there’s no medical condition known as being gay. LGBTQ people were born perfect; there is nothing to treat them for. And by calling this what it should be, which is fraud, it would effectively shut down most of the organizations.”6

States like Oregon, Vermont and New Mexico have already banned the practice for minors.7 The practice is dangerous for anyone who is subjected to it. With the recent Supreme Court ruling, we have momentum on our side to build awareness of the dangers of this practice and political support to ban it. If we can help spread understanding of how dangerous and fraudulent conversion therapy is, we can undermine the credibility of the those who practice and promote it and keep LGBTQ people safe.

Tell Congress: Conversion therapy is fraud. Protect LGBTQ people by passing the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act of 2017. Click the link below to sign the petition:

https://act.credoaction.com/sign/conversion_therapy_fraud

Thank you for standing up for the LGBTQ community,

Tessa Levine, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Add your name: Sign the petition

References:
1. Greg Stohr, “Gay-Conversion Therapy Ban Survives as Supreme Court Rejects Appeal,” Bloomberg, May 1, 2017.
2. The Southern Poverty Law Center, “Conversion Therapy,” accessed May 3, 2017.
3. Ibid.
4. National Center for Lesbian Rights, “#BornPerfect: The Facts About Conversion Therapy,” accessed May 3, 2017.
5. Ibid.
6. Amy B. Wang, “Supreme Court upholds California’s ban on gay ‘conversion therapy,” The Washington Post, May 2, 2017.
7. Movement Advancement Project, “Conversion Therapy Laws,” accessed May 3, 2017.

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*CREDO Mobile is a lefty activist mobile company: every month it allocates a portion of its revenue to various activist non-profits, as voted and allocated by its customers. (CREDO is, for example, Planned Parenthood’s largest corporate donor.) Consider switching to CREDO as your mobile carrier, and stop funding anti-democratic donors like AT&T that fund conservatives. They offer pretty much all the same deals on phones, contract buyouts, incentives, fees, etc.

PETITION: Urge DHS not to appoint David Clarke.

[CONTENT NOTE: state violence, brutality and death]

Apropos my post earlier today about state violence-supporting, authoritarian fascist douchebro David Clarke, here comes a timely petition (via Presente.org):

Dear Iris:

On Wednesday, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke told right wing radio he will resign to take a job in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under Donald Trump.1

Will you sign the petition and tell DHS Secretary John Kelly to not hire Sheriff Clarke?

Clarke’s resignation is great news for Milwaukee County, but if he really is being appointed to DHS, that’s terrible news for the country. That’s why we’re joining forces with our partners at Voces de la Frontera to stop Sheriff Clark and hold the DHS accountable.

Amazingly, DHS has not confirmed that they actually offered Clarke the job he claims. There’s still time to sign the petition urging DHS Secretary John Kelly to not appoint Sheriff Clarke to any position.

Click here to sign! Don’t forget to share it on social media!

Clarke is incompetent and corrupt. He has abused his power by attacking political opponents. He has enriched himself by acting as a media mouthpiece for white supremacists. He is unfit for any office and should face criminal charges for the deaths and human rights abuses at the Milwaukee County Jail.2

If Clarke is appointed to this position, his job would be to bully other local law enforcement nationwide into enrolling in the 287g program to deputize officers as Immigration agents, as he has tried to do in Milwaukee.3 That is unacceptable!

Click here to sign!

Thank you for all you do and ¡adelante!

– Matt, Favianna, Erick, Reetu, Oscar, Erica and the Presente.org team.

P.S. Can you donate $5 to support our work? We rely on contributions from people like you to see campaigns like this through.

Sources:
1.“Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke says he’s taking job in Department of Homeland Security.”Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. May 17, 2017.
2.“4 People, Including A Baby, Have Died In A Jail Run By Potential Trump Nominee Sheriff David Clarke.”Huffington Post. November 29, 2016.
3.Bice: Letter details Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke’s plan for immigration enforcement.”Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. March 16, 2017.

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URGENT Petition to Dept. of Labor, deadline Monday April 17.

Via The Nation (email):

Dear Iris,

In February, President Trump ordered a review by the Department of Labor of an Obama-era regulation that would require retirement advisors to give their clients investment advice that’s in their best interest. The rule, called the fiduciary rule, was scheduled to go into effect this spring, but is now delayed pending a review by the DOL.

It may seem obvious that financial advisors should act in your best interest. But currently many are only required to suggest investments that are “roughly suitable” for their client—not necessarily what’s best for them. They are even able to suggest investments in products that they may have a personal stake in bolstering. Under the Obama administration, the White House Council of Economic Advisers estimated that this greedy financial practice lost Americans $17 billion a year.

The DOL is accepting comments on the fiduciary rule until April 17th—giving us less than a week to convince them to side with current and future retirees over Wall Street bankers.

Can you take a minute to send the DOL a letter telling them why they need to protect the fiduciary rule?

Financial groups and institutions are fighting hard to make sure they can continue defrauding investors on their best interests—and the Trump administration and Republican party are behind them.* In January, Congressman Joe Wilson (R- SC) introduced a bill that would delay implementation of the rule for a full 2 years with the hopes of eventually revoking it altogether.

But the public is on our side. As of mid-March, the DOL had received over 178,000 letters in support of the rule, with only about 15,000 against.

Join those over 178,00 Americans in telling the Department of Labor to stand with current and future retirees, not Wall Street.

All the best,
Sarah Arnold

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*It should surprise no one that Republicans are behind barring implementation of the fiduciary rule. But just ponder for a moment that in the two years after the apex of the financial crisis (2008), Democrats held the presidency and both houses of congress—and yet they somehow did not manage to implement this simple, basic, ethical, commonsense regulation of Wall $treet. If it’s not because they couldn’t, well…I’m sure you can do the math. –Iris.

Petition to Florida State Attorney Melissa Nelson: drop all charges against the Jacksonville protesters.

Via Color of Change:

Dear Iris:

Freedom of speech is becoming even more of a crime under Trump’s reign. This weekend during an anti-Syrian war protest, a Trump supporter antagonized peaceful protesters, storming the speakers’ platform and physically assaulting them to start a fight. Instead of helping, four police officers tackled and brutalized the action organizer Connell Crooms, one of a few Black protesters present, and hit him so hard they knocked out his hearing aid. Bystander video footage shows officers beating him while he flailed helplessly and handcuffed on the ground. One officer punched Connell five times while other officers pinned him down.1

Connell was hospitalized and, along with other protesters, charged with inciting a riot and battery on a police officer. The Trump supporter who started the violent confrontation walked away scot free. Pinning bogus police endangerment charges onto protesters is exactly the outcome Trump desired when he introduced his Blue Lives Matter Executive Order in February.2 Trump and his supporters, like the Fraternal Order of Police, are using scare tactics to stifle peaceful protest. But we will not be silenced!

Demand Duval County State Attorney Melissa Nelson drop all charges against the Jacksonville protesters.

What happened to Connell exposes the long-standing intolerance and deep hostility Jacksonville has for protesters. When watching the footage, if it weren’t for their uniforms, it would be difficult to even tell the police from counter-protesters because the physical attack on Connell matched the verbal attacks being thrown at him by Trump supporters.

Just a few weeks ago, the city’s Sheriff was exposed for using internet software to surveil residents as they exercised their right to protest. Police tracked people using words like “protest” and “Black Lives Matter” on social media. Officers would even go as far as videotaping demonstrations and taking facial pictures of those in attendance. Jacksonville law enforcement appears to have forgotten that peaceful protest is a first amendment right in this country–not a crime. 3

Tell State Attorney Nelson: Protect Florida’s right to protest!

Last election cycle, State Attorney Nelson beat out incumbent Last election cycle, State Attorney Nelson beat out incumbent Angela Corey, who sentenced domestic violence victim Marissa Alexander to 20-60 years in prison for firing a warning shot at her abusive ex in a desperate attempt to protect herself and children.4 Corey sentenced Marissa to 20 years in prison, but her case was overturned and Marissa was eventually forced to take a plea deal in order to gain her freedom. By ousting Corey last November, Floridians made it clear that they are tired of Black people being criminalized instead of protected by police. And Nelson must take heed of this message.

Remind State Attorney Nelson that she works for the people, not the police!

Sincerely,

Rashad and the rest of the Color of Change team
________
References:

1. “6 arrested, 1 hospitalized after Jacksonville anti-war protest erupts in violence” Jacksonville.com, March 24, 2017

2. “Presidential Executive Order on Preventing Violence Against Federal, State, Tribal, and Local Law Enforcement Officers” White House, February 9, 2017

3. “Monitoring Dissent: How the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office spied on protesters” Jacksonville, March 24, 2017

4. “Florida woman in ‘warning shot’ case released from jail” Reutuers, January 27, 2017

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Color Of Change is building a movement to elevate the voices of Black folks and our allies, and win real social and political change. Help keep our movement strong.

Petition to North Carolina Officials: Free Dontae Sharpe.

Via Color of Change:

Dear Iris,

Time and time again the criminal justice system in the United States continues to disappoint and traumatize Black communities — ripping families apart and leaving communities to deal with the consequences of the lack of accountability from police officers, prosecutors, and judges. In North Carolina, we are confronted daily with a morally corrupt criminal justice system that destroys people’s lives, people like Dontae Sharpe.

Dontae has been incarcerated since the age of 19. He has now spent 22 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.1 Dontae has spent decades behind bars despite a complete lack of evidence against him, recanted witness testimony and mounting evidence of misconduct by police and prosecutors in Greenville, NC.

In the face of such grave injustice, we must act on the moral imperative to repair the harm to Dontae, his family and community. In this holy week, we must not forget that the Bible reminds us of our moral responsibility to proclaim liberty to the prisoner.2 For more than a year the North Carolina NAACP has called on the government of North Carolina to free Dontae Sharpe.  Now, along with Dontae’s mother, Sarah Blakely, I am asking for the support of Color Of Change members to bring him home.

Help bring Dontae home. Tell North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper,  Attorney General Josh Stein and Pitt County District Attorney Kimberly Robb to free him now.

Dontae was convicted of a murder connected to a drug buy in 1994 but the case quickly fell apart. The prosecution’s key witness recanted her testimony within two months of the trial and a detective from the case has come forward to admit that Dontae was wrongfully convicted and that evidence in the case was selectively documented to build the case against him.

Yet, Pitt County Prosecutor Kim Robb refuses to reverse course. The actions of the Pitt County District Attorney’s Office have convinced us that Robb has lost her way — focused on avoiding accountability for a grave misdeed, while Dontae is sacrificed in the name of maintaining the status quo. She knows that Dontae’s freedom exposes crookedness in the Pitt County Criminal justice system that continues to this day. It is time for her office to take responsibility and right this wrong, or declare a conflict in this case.

Dontae has spent over half of his life behind bars because he maintains his innocence. If he’d confessed to the crime he was convicted of he would be home today. His case is a tragic example of the deep-rooted brokenness of our criminal justice system where prosecutors and police can exploit racism and inequality to try and extract guilt from innocent people.

Demand North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, Attorney General Josh Stein and D.A. Kim Robb overturn Dontae Sharpe’s conviction.

We know these are not isolated cases. In North Carolina and all across the country, there are thousands of cases where Black people have been wrongly convicted and harshly sentenced to prison for crimes they did not commit and that were never properly investigated.3 Some have been exonerated but many more remain in prison and even on death row.

There is a long history of Black people enduring the pain of being mistreated by the judicial system. From coerced confessions to ineffective eyewitnesses, misconduct by police, mishandling of DNA evidence, to biases from judges and prosecutors, Black communities suffer from a criminal justice system that repeatedly discriminates against them.

But I believe we can correct these harms by joining together to call on those in power to do what’s right. Last year, in a troublingly similar case, we were able to help free Kalvin Michael Smith, after he was wrongfully imprisoned for 19 years by pressuring the Attorney General to show leadership.5 We can do the same for Dontae.

Dontae’s youth, freedom, and life are being stolen by the criminal justice that should have been protecting his innocence. Governor Cooper, Attorney General Josh Stein, and D.A. Kim Robb can now correct the mistakes made by the courts 2 decades ago— they can overturn this wrongful conviction and unite Dontae with his loved ones and return him to his community. We can’t wait another decade. We can’t wait another day. 

Tell North Carolina Governor Cooper, Attorney General Josh Stein, and D.A. Kim Robb to overturn Dontae Sharpe’s conviction.

Until justice is real

Rev. William Barber II

President, NC NAACP State Conference
Architect of the Forward Together Moral Movement

References:

  1. “Lacking evidence, recanting witness suggests another look necessary in Sharpe conviction” wnct.com, 03.10.2016. http://act.colorofchange.org/go/7741?t=6&akid=7250.2505660.cJvWIi

  2. Luke 4:18
  3. “Don’t stop fighting: Wrongfully convicted man free after 32 years” CNN, 03.17.2017. http://act.colorofchange.org/go/7742?t=8&akid=7250.2505660.cJvWIi

  4. “Troy Anthony Davis,” TroyAnthonyDavis.org 09.21.2011. http://act.colorofchange.org/go/7745?t=10&akid=7250.2505660.cJvWIi

  5. “Uncovering the truth Kalvin Michael Smith has been released from prison,” MTV.com 11.10.16. http://act.colorofchange.org/go/7746?t=12&akid=7250.2505660.cJvWIi

Color Of Change is building a movement to elevate the voices of Black folks and our allies, and win real social and political change. Help keep our movement strong.

Petition to Congress: Stop Trump’s illegal war in Syria.

noblankcheck

Via CREDO* Action:

Tell Congress: Stop Trump’s illegal war in Syria

The petition to congressional leaders reads:

“Rein in Donald Trump’s illegal military strikes without congressional authorization now. Hold immediate and emergency deliberations on Trump’s illegal escalation of military engagement in Syria.”

Add your name: Sign the petition

Dear Iris:

Donald Trump has launched an illegal war in Syria.

Last night, he launched Tomahawk missiles into Syria without seeking any congressional approval. Since taking office, Trump has made a series of rash, hawkish and barbaric combat decisions that have already cost the lives of hundreds of innocent civilians and American military personnel. But this is worse than anything we have seen so far.

We need Congress to act quickly and decisively to rein Trump in. Trump has launched illegal military strikes. Now is not the time for congressional leaders to head out of Washington for spring recess. They must assert their constitutional authority and hold immediate and emergency deliberations on Trump’s continued reckless and unauthorized military actions in Syria.

Tell congressional leaders: Rein in Donald Trump’s unauthorized military strikes and hold immediate emergency deliberations on Trump’s illegal escalation of military engagement in Syria. Click here to sign the petition.

It is undeniable that Assad’s regime is responsible for triggering a catastrophic humanitarian crisis – but Trump is acting in his own best interests, not those of the Syrian people. As humanitarians confronting the horror of the Syrian civil war, we must consider how we can best protect civilians and end the violence. Rash, illegal acts of war are not the way.

The backwards step of instigating illegal strikes in Syria is horrifying on multiple levels. The current Authorization for Use of Military Force that Congress passed post-9/11 does not authorize this strike.1 This latest attack also violates international law. The Charter of the United Nations is crystal clear on when it is legal to go to war: in the case of self defense or when it is approved by the U.N. Security Council.2 Trump not only met neither of these conditions, he also did not give Congress a chance to debate and vote on this illegal escalation.

Donald Trump has never articulated a vision or endgame for our involvement in Syria. Throughout his racist and misogynistic campaign, he tried to present himself as an anti-war candidate. But since his election, he has failed to invest in staff or strategies that will lead to anything other than American and civilian bloodshed.

Escalating our military entanglement in Middle Eastern countries – with the inevitable escalation of civilian casualties that comes with it – has been shown to actually help terrorists with recruitment. Trump’s reckless action is nothing more than a publicity stunt and an attempt to boost his plunging poll numbers and change the narrative for a dysfunctional administration that appears to be in complete disarray. It is a reckless abuse of power that shows a complete disregard for both the law and human life, and Congress must hold him accountable.

Congressional leaders must assert their constitutional authority to rein in a rash, out of control so-called president putting the lives of American military personnel and innocent civilians at risk, and they must do it now.

Now is the time for Congress to check and balance Trump.

Tell congressional leaders: Rein in Donald Trump’s unauthorized military strikes and hold immediate emergency deliberations on Trump’s illegal escalation of military engagement in Syria. Click the link below to sign the petition:

https://act.credoaction.com/sign/Syria_War

Thank you for standing for peace,

Tessa Levine, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Add your name: Sign the petition

References:

John Nichols, “Trump Launched Missile Strikes on Syria Without Congressional Authorization,” The Nation, April 6, 2017.
Jack L. Goldsmith, “What Happened to the Rule of Law?,” The New York Times, Aug. 31, 2013.

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