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.

__________
*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 that fund conservatives like AT&T. They offer pretty much all the same deals on phones, contract buyouts, incentives, fees, etc.

How to deal with fascism denial

I attended a local meeting of Indivisible in which regressive Tea Party followers were scattered throughout the audience. They were kept under control by the organizers, but near the end, one comment stirred up a ferocious (and frustrated) frothing by one of the Tea Partiers — someone mentioned that Trump was building a fascist regime, which led to much indignation and insistence that no, he was nothing like Hitler.

This will happen to you, too, in conversations with Trump followers. Prepare yourself by reading Sunsara Taylor’s article, Why It’s Not Just Right, but Highly Illuminating and Very Necessary to Compare Trump to Hitler. In this instance, the Trump defender was shut down to prevent him from disrupting the meeting, but you might have to explain this situation to someone else.

First, let’s get something out of the way. History never repeats itself exactly. During Hitler’s rise, Germany was coming out of defeat in World War 1, was in the throes of a major depression, and faced a popular communist movement and broad sections of very combative and progressive working people. The U.S. ruling class does not face that situation. But it does face an international situation increasingly fraught with challenges to its geopolitical, military, and economic domination. It does face a situation in which different sections of the ruling class are sharply divided over the “legitimating norms” of society—that is, the common set of values and morality around which the society is broadly understood, held together, and cohered.

Quite a bit of this crisis flows out of the conflict between the foundational and structural character of the U.S. as a white supremacist society, and the way this has been challenged over the past 50 years—both through righteous liberation struggles and through major demographic changes, like the growing number of immigrants. And while the U.S. does not face a major depression right now, there is no work for huge sections of the working class (speaking here of the multinational U.S. working class, made up of Black, Latino, Arab, Asian, and other nationalities, as well as white), living standards and future prospects have gone significantly down for sections of the working class that do have jobs, and large sections of the middle class also face great uncertainty.

So, no, the U.S. does not face the exact circumstances of Germany; but the contradictions and problems it DOES face have proven extremely intractable. In the face of this, there have been increasingly strong fascist currents brought forward over a whole period of decades. In this situation, Trump has been able to cohere forces and come to power determined to carry out a fully fascist restructuring of society. And let us not fail to notice, Trump has already inherited—and has vowed to massively strengthen—a repressive apparatus that goes far beyond what Hitler inherited when he came to power. And, Trump—unlike Hitler—has unchecked personal control over the world’s largest nuclear arsenal and is clearly itching to use it. During a briefing, he asked three times, “If we have nuclear weapons, why can’t we use them?”

Don’t dismiss the comparison out of hand. There are differences, but also deep similarities. We are seeing a racist, nationalist regime coming to power, and you can’t ignore it by telling us that Trump doesn’t have a toothbrush mustache.

A Global Letter to Trump…

Dear

Avaaz has a global letter going, and they’d like to get 6 million signatures. I’ve signed. Please, sign yourself, and boost the signal! We can make our voices heard.

With the Muslim ban, Trump has shown that the worst fears about his Presidency are true. Add your voice to the open letter below to join the resistance — then spread it far and wide:

—-

Dear Mr. Trump,

This is not what greatness looks like.

The world rejects your fear, hate-mongering, and bigotry. We reject your support for torture, your calls for murdering civilians, and your general encouragement of violence. We reject your denigration of women, Muslims, Mexicans, and millions of others who don’t look like you, talk like you, or pray to the same god as you.

Facing your fear we choose compassion. Hearing your despair we choose hope. Seeing your ignorance we choose understanding.

As citizens of the world, we stand united against your brand of division.

Sincerely,
[Add your name!]

Please sign and share!

National Strike: February 17th.

Demonstrators block an escalator at the international terminal as protests against President Donald Trump's executive order banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries continue at San Francisco International Airport, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Olga Rodriguez).

Demonstrators block an escalator at the international terminal as protests against President Donald Trump’s executive order banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries continue at San Francisco International Airport, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Olga Rodriguez).

In a column for the Guardian on Monday, American writer Francine Prose called for a “nonviolent national general strike” to demonstrate “how many of us there are, how strong and committed we are, how much we can accomplish.”

She wrote: “Let’s designate a day on which no one (that is, anyone who can do so without being fired) goes to work, a day when no one shops or spends money, a day on which we truly make our economic and political power felt.”

Calls to do just that have been circulating online recently, with activists setting Feb. 17 — the Friday before President’s Day — as the day for a #nationalstrike against the presidency of Donald Trump.

No one working, no one buying anything, for one day. I realize not everyone will be able to blithely ignore their job for one day, but if you can get away with it, please, please, do. Affinity will be closed for the strike on Friday, February 17th, and I will post a reminder prior to the day. Pretty sure most people can manage to forgo shopping for one day. Be ungovernable.

The full, in-depth story is at News.Mic.

Trump to put the Swastika on his Forehead?

Word from Reuters is that Trump is planning to remove white race terrorists from the sights of the “Countering Violent Extremism” program. Racists are not being shy about taking this as a nod of approval from the muffuckin’ POTUS. As I was saying elsewhere, the one thing Trump could do to defy expectations the hardest, to make the world a better place in an executive capacity without selling out his Robber Baron cred, would be to make hate groups a law enforcement priority. This is the opposite of that. If this comes to pass, it is the equivalent of branding the swastika into his forehead.

Of course, having Bannon in charge of national security – a man who thinks “american jews” are trying to sell us out to the mooslims what’re gonna somehow magically conquer the USA? Intentionally omitting jewish people from the offical observance of Holocaust Remembrance Day? That biz from back in 1990 where Trump had someone saluting him with “heil Hitler” and he was keeping a book by Hitler in his nightstand?  I dunno.

Tired of living in a world where any of this can happen.  Not to sound legit suicidal, I hope everyone who has those feelings finds a way past them.  Much love.