End Legal Slavery in U.S. Prisons
The 13th Amendment (1865) ordered the abolition of slavery in the United States, except as punishment for a criminal conviction. In other words, federal law permits the use of prisoners and incarcerated persons for free labor by state officials as well as the private sector. From the late 1800s until now, unpaid prison labor has been the pattern, practice, and collective mindset of various states across America. Southern states have taken particular advantage of the wording of the 13th Amendment, and in turn, current resistance movements have risen out of prison-dense states like Texas and Alabama, where units are often compared to plantations. Over the past few weeks, prison activists in Texas and Alabama have organized a series of prison-labor strikes -- where they refuse to work their assigned jobs in protest of unpaid labor compounded with toxic and unsanitary working conditions. The prison-labor strikes have led to prison lockdowns, starvation tactics and brutality by guards. Thus far, three prison units in Alabama and fourteen units in Texas (including a women's unit) have been placed on lockdown in reprisal for a collective work-stoppage. RootsAction stands in solidarity with these prison activists fighting for their human rights, and we urge you to do the same. Prisoners, like all other human beings, should be compensated for their labor, whether with wages or with reduced sentences. Paying prisoners for their labor enables them, not only to better provide for themselves while in prison, but also to pay outstanding bills and unpaid court fees that have accumulated over time (and that may have landed many of them in prison in the first place). Compensating prisoners for their labor through a legitimate "Work Time" system that reduces their sentence grants hardworking prisoners the opportunity to be reviewed early by parole boards and released back into society. This system also relieves state taxpayers, through the simple fact that an earned early release is one less prisoner to pay for. END PRISON SLAVERY NOW Sign this petition to demand that Congress revisit the 13th Amendment and propose a new amendment to the Constitution that abolishes free prison labor and applies the federal minimum wage to all labor in the U.S. and its imperial territories.
Put a Peace Pole in Charlottesville
A peace pole is a popular means of expressing a desire for peace around the world, including in the United States, where peace poles are found in public plazas and parks in many locations: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_pole A registry of peace sites lists none in Virginia*: http://www.peacesites.org/sites/map A peace pole can be purchased for $200 with "May Peace Prevail on Earth" written on four sides in four chosen languages: http://stores.bigwaterhosting.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=peacepoles&Category_Code=peace_poles One idea would be to have 6 sides including English, Spanish, and the languages of Cville Sister Cities: Italian, French, Bulgarian, and one of the many languages from Ghana. Or 8 sides with some left blank to be filled in later. Charlottesville's monuments to wars, including the Native American genocide, the defense of slavery, and the slaughter of 3.8 million Vietnamese, dominate public space. Removing them would be ideal. An easier method of quickly displaying our city's support for peace would be to create a peace pole. Charlottesville's city council has spoken up repeatedly over the years for peace, for reduced military spending, for transition to peaceful industries, and for a halt to particular wars. But a visitor to Charlottesville cannot observe any of that anywhere on the landscape. Charlottesville has four sister cities, and signs indicating them are visible in Charlottesville. But the motto of Sister Cities International, "Peace Through People," is nowhere to be found. There is no location set aside to celebrate these relationships, as there could be in combination with a peace pole. Promote this page with this link: http://bit.ly/cvillepeacepole *There are peace poles in Warrenton, Va., and at the Pentagon (which is of course a travesty that injures the whole project). There is a peace pole at a church in Charlottesville and a small pole reading "Peace" at an elementary school. What we're proposing is a public peace pole. THIS PROJECT IS ENDORSED BY: RootsAction.org WorldBeyondWar.org Pax Christi Charlottesville Amnesty International Charlottesville Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice
Support the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty
The use of nuclear weapons, either intentional or accidental, will cause untold suffering to millions of people and may be a threat to the existence of humankind. The United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is a legally binding treaty to eliminate nuclear weapons. The Treaty prohibits, among other things, the possession, use or threat of use of nuclear weapons. [To see the Treaty: http://undocs.org/A/CONF.229/2017/8.]