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Release Kevin "Rashid" Johnson From Solitary Confinement ImmediatelyKevin “Rashid” Johnson has been a Virginia prisoner (#1007485) since 1990. During his imprisonment, he became a human rights advocate and a journalist. His journalistic work in particular exposes abuses by prison administration and staff. His related steps toward litigation have resulted in his being “interstate compacted” or transferred to prisons in different states. Currently, Rashid is being held in solitary confinement with no legitimate security justification at Sussex I State Prison in Virginia. Between 2012 and June of 2018, Kevin "Rashid" Johnson was transferred to prisons in three other states (Oregon, Texas, and Florida) before being returned to Virginia. He was kept in solitary confinement in Texas and Florida, where he witnessed and suffered many acts of abuse by prison staff. All this, in reprisal for his political and journalistic activity. Each state prison transfer has subjected Rashid to serious abuses -- including, while in northern Florida last January, being caged for over a week in a freezing cold cell without heat or a blanket. Over the years, Rashid has had his life threatened by corrections officers and has endured explicit, violent retaliation for exercising his First Amendment right of protected free speech. Rashid expects to be transferred again soon and fears being subjected to extreme isolation. Kevin Rashid Johnson does not call for violence or illegal activity and has not been charged with anything of the kind during his imprisonment. He is not a threat to the Virginia Department of Corrections – he is an imprisoned journalist and human rights advocate – and should be released from solitary confinement immediately. Solitary confinement has been increasingly recognized by courts and society as a form of torture. This punitive measure has been imposed on Kevin Johnson not because of any violent conduct on his part but because of his relentless exposure of abuses by prison officials, his willingness to challenge those abuses through the legal system, and his efforts to educate fellow prisoners and encourage them to challenge by peaceful means the unhealthy and humiliating conditions to which they are subjected. Using solitary confinement as a tool to silence someone who exposes prison abuses and advocates for prison reform is a human rights abuse and unconstitutional. We call for the immediate release of Kevin Johnson from solitary confinement and for the VADOC not to transfer him again out of state.
#SaveChristopherYoungIn 2006, 21-year-old Christopher Young was sentenced to death for the 2004 murder of 55-year-old convenience store owner Hasmukhbhai “Hash” Patel. In his 12 years of incarceration, Chris has transformed himself into a thoughtful, peaceful man with a desire to help others. He has committed his final moments to sharing his story of transformation and asking for clemency from death. You can read/watch his story here: http://lawatthemargins.com/death-row-saved-my-life/ “I’m truly sorry for the crime I committed. There’s nothing I can do to bring back Mr. Hash Patel. If I knew taking my life would do that, I’d volunteer for it without any complaints. But that’s not going to do it. I can teach others to think about their actions. I’m sure I can stop something like this from happening again.” – 32-year-old Christopher Young, June 2018 Young’s attorneys are challenging the conviction itself and seeking a new trial based on what they consider a violation of his rights under the “free exercise” clause of the First Amendment and “equal protection” clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Chris’ lawyers claim that religious discrimination occurred during the jury selection process of his trial, and in 2016 over 500 religious leaders signed a statement saying he deserved a new trial. “Unfortunately, the state court issued a ruling saying it is acceptable to exclude someone from serving as a juror in a death penalty trial merely because of the church that person belongs to,” said David R. Dow, Young’s attorney. “We hope the Supreme Court will agree to review the case and reaffirm that our Constitution and our nation’s commitment to religious liberty means that an individual’s membership in a church does not automatically disqualify that person from acting as a juror.” Sadly, the United States Supreme Court turned down Young’s latest appeal in January 2018. In his final days, he seeks clemency. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles has the power to recommend clemency. Together, we must send a strong message to the members of the board and to Texas Governor Greg Abbott (who can accept or reject the board's recommendation) that Chris deserves mercy. Take action today to save Christopher Young’s life. Sign the petition.
Pass the Equality Act to Protect LGBTQ Americans from DiscriminationWhile the groundbreaking Marriage Equality Act expanded marital protections for LGBTQ people in 2015, there is still much to be done to ensure non-discrimination protections and equal treatment under the law. Federal law and the majority of states lack explicit non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people at work, at school, and elsewhere, leaving them vulnerable to discrimination. In other words, a person can be fired from their job, evicted from their home, denied access to housing, credit, loans, hotel services, and even jury duty on the strict basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The Equality Act would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other key federal non-discrimination laws to provide clear, explicit federal protection against discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing, credit, federally funded programs (including education), and federal jury service. The bill would provide clear, explicit federal protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the following six areas: ● Employment: The Equality Act would explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment and in the workplace. ● Federally funded programs and activities: Any program that receives federal funds would be prohibited from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. This provision would protect LGBTQ people from discrimination by institutions that receive federal funds – including schools, hospitals, domestic violence shelters, and police departments. ● Housing: The Equality Act provides explicit protections for LGBTQ people against housing discrimination. ● Public Spaces and Services: LGBTQ people would be protected from discrimination in “public accommodations,” including stores, restaurants, hotels, transportation, and healthcare services. ● Banks and Credit: The Equality Act would explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in credit, financing, and lending. ● Federal Jury Service: The Equality Act would explicitly prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ people in selecting federal juries. All LGBTQ Americans deserve a fair chance to live, love and provide for their families without the burden of legalized discrimination. This bill will help ensure that no one is fired, evicted from their home, or denied basic services because of who they are or whom they love. Urge your members of Congress to support this critical piece of legislation. H.R. 2282, The Equality Act https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/2282?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22Equality+Act%22%5D%7D&r=1 Human Rights Campaign: Why the Equality Act? https://www.hrc.org/resources/why-the-equality-act
Support OperationPUSHJanuary 15 marked the beginning of a month-long work stoppage organized by prisoners throughout the Florida Department of Corrections demanding an immediate end to unpaid labor and inhumane working conditions at their facilities. The strike, announced in late December, aims to force corrections officials to pay prison laborers monetary compensation for their work as opposed to “the current slave arrangement,” in which they are paid in time deducted from their sentences. In written statements to news media, the strikers have also demanded increased access to parole, cheaper and more reasonable prices for basic food and hygiene items, voting rights for former felons, and an end to prison-guard brutality. The organized strike began on Martin Luther King Jr. Day — and is named #OperationPUSH, after civil rights leader Jesse Jackson’s 1970s-1990s campaign to improve economic conditions for African Americans. Almost a third of Florida inmates are black, compared with fewer than 17% in the general population. Florida has the nation’s third-largest prison system in the United States, with 97,000 inmates. Prison work inside Florida correctional facilities consists of doing laundry, cooking, cleaning, maintaining the facilities, and even growing food for the inmate population. Before the strike began, one organizer wrote that “[the strike’s] goal is to make the Governor realize that it will cost the state of Florida millions of dollars daily to contract outside companies to come and cook, clean, and handle the maintenance, [which] will cause a total breakdown." Outside of the prison, incarcerated laborers work in “community work squads,” providing free labor to state offices such as the Department of Transportation, the Division of Forestry, and the Department of Environmental Protection. According report by the FDOC, “community work squads” worked over 3.15 million hours in 2017 alone and saved the state more than $38 million in payroll expenses, including flooding and debris cleanup work after Hurricane Irma. Ironically, these same incarcerated workers are barred from employment at the state-level upon release, due to their criminal records. Another incarcerated organizer wrote that Florida prisoners “want to create an environment where someone can do their time, be rehabilitated, and enter into society with some type of hope…that would be helpful for society instead of creating a revolving door where you lock people up and just set them up for failure so that they keep coming back.” In fear of retaliation, these organizers have asked to remain anonymous. One week into the month-long work stoppage, internal sources have reported the participation of strikers in at least eight different Florida facilities in the FDOC. Internal sources have reported that many of these strikers have been placed into solitary confinement by correctional officials. In solidarity with prisoners, marches and protests have been organized throughout the state, and more than 135 civil rights and activist groups, including local chapters of the NAACP and the Florida Women's March, have voiced their support for #OperationPUSH. At a speech at Florida State University, civil rights leader Angela Davis said there is "no better way to keep the legacy of Dr. King alive than by supporting the prisoners' strike." Will you sign the petition to support #OperationPUSH and to demand an immediate end to unpaid labor and inhumane work conditions in Florida prisons? Sources: Movement Against Prison Slavery Ramps Up With OperationPUSH in Florida https://shadowproof.com/2018/01/11/operation-push-movement-against-prison-slavery-florida/ Florida Prisoners Set to Strike January 15th Against Prison Slavery https://itsgoingdown.org/florida-prisoners-set-strike-january-15th-prison-slavery/ Striking Florida Prisoners Thrown in Solitary Confinement, Activists Say http://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/striking-operationpush-florida-prisioners-placed-in-solitary-activists-say-10006900
Tell Charlottesville: No Weapons at RalliesActivists, including nonviolent peace activists, are often forbidden to carry posters on sticks, having to use hollow carboard tubes, at events around the United States. Yet in Charlottesville, Va., in August 2017 a group threatening violence and having engaged in it the night before was allowed to assemble in a public space with guns, sticks, and other weaponry. The results were brutal. There is no reason that Charlottesville cannot, under existing laws, do what many other localities do and set the terms of public rallies to forbid the possession of weapons. Here’s an expert legal opinion that forbidding weapons is legal. http://www.dailyprogress.com/news/local/free-speech-expert-restricting-weapons-at-virginia-rallies-could-be/article_75548987-1529-5deb-ae11-19d2e5a7c9ac.html Here is a report on Richmond, Virginia, forbidding weapons at a rally. http://www.dailyprogress.com/news/state/richmond-police-plan-weapons-ban-at-pro-confederate-protest-saturday/article_db0447fe-c0fc-509c-912d-2b85a0959b1f.html There is nothing to be gained by trying to ban rallies of particular political viewpoints, or by trying to ban all public rallies. Either would be in stark violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. There is no need for new laws. Charlottesville can and must commit to forbidding weapons from rallies. ********** UPDATE: Here's a list of items banned from an event in Gainesville, Florida, with hatemonger Richard Spencer. It includes all conceivable weapons, and even open flames of any kind. http://www.police.ufl.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Richard-Spencer-Speaking-Engagement-Prohibited-Items-List.pdf Here's an NBC 29 report on our petition to ban weapons from public rallies in Charlottesville. http://davidswanson.org/petition-asks-charlottesville-to-keep-weapons-out-of-rallies/ It seems to focus on this Virginia state law, which bans loaded guns from public places in a list of localities that does not include Charlottesville. https://www.lawserver.com/law/state/virginia/va-code/virginia_code_18-2-287-4 The intent in citing this seems to be to claim that Virginia state laws allowing "concealed" and "open" carrying of guns cannot be overridden in any way except in the list of localities found in that law. Yet, Richmond, which is in that list, apparently decided it could ban every type of weapon except guns. http://www.richmond.com/news/local/city-of-richmond/richmond-police-say-they-can-t-stop-unpermitted-confederate-rally/article_c25223b6-4d05-54c1-9b88-8289a0dfb90b.html Still, here is a list of weapons banned in Gainesville that nobody in Charlottesville has yet proposed, as far as I know, any justification whatsoever for not banning from the fascist rally in August or any future rally: simulated firearms, tasers, knives, sharp objects Lighters, matches, torches or open flame Any athletic equipment or other items which could be used as a weapon Masks of any kind, goggles, bandanas/scarfs, neck gaitersFlag Poles, bats, clubs, sticks (including sticks on signs) Aerosol/pressurized cans, mace Chains, padlocks, bicycle locks Shields Fireworks Backpacks, bags, purses, clutches Signs made of anything other than cloth, paper, foam core, cardboard Cans, metal or glass containers, premixed beverages or alcoholic beverages water bottles of any kind Perhaps some of the items above go overboard. Certainly the rest of the list not reproduced here does. And of course it seems crazy to ban non-gun weapons while allowing guns. But we are asking the City of Charlottesville to ban guns, knives, and sticks, and it has yet to produce any excuse for not banning knives and sticks. And the city will only be moved to pursue banning guns from public rallies if we keep up the pressure.
Stop the Dakota Access pipelineThe U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had failed to conduct a proper environmental and cultural impact study. ... The Standing Rock Sioux tribe believes that the pipeline would put the Missouri River, the water source for the reservation, and the local environment at risk.
You Must Impeach Trump for War Crimes & Bust the Military/Industrial Complex!Our country was founded on the idea that our government would be instituted under the “rule of law” rather than the political whims of kings and queens as England was ruled in the 1700’s. Our Constitution states Congress must pass a declaration of war before the US military and president can take action against another nation, except in the case America is attacked by another nation. America has NOT been attacked by any of the nations in which our military or CIA forces are fighting today. Furthermore, no declarations of war have been approved by Congress. Thus these wars are illegal under the American Constitution and laws. They are illegal under the UN Charter and various treaties America has signed. Mr. Trump’s threatening preemptive nuclear war and aggression against N. Korea and threatening war of aggression against Venezuela are established war crimes. Trillions of dollars have been spent illegally drowning our Nation in debt and prohibiting the domestic public investments necessary to help our people and environment. Today we have a vast complex comprised of military/industrial/intelligence/elected officials. This complex is an old boys club with each group helping the other get public tax dollars and get richer becoming ever more powerful. This complex spends trillions of dollars on preparation for wars, on actual illegal wars of aggression and sends millions of American soldiers into harm’s way. The result of these illegal wars has been: millions of people have died, been wounded or made ill or homeless by these Wars on Terror. Thousands of American troops have died and hundreds of thousands wounded physically, mentally or emotionally. We must break the back of this “complex.” The impeachment and removal from office of President Trump for war crimes will initiate, hopefully, the dismantling and demise of this “complex” by Congress and future administrations. Why? Because the next president Vice President Pence, or another person, will have to obey the rule of law or he/she will be the next person impeached. Future presidents will think twice before they commit illegal actions. Additionally, once the president has been impeached, the following impeachments of military and intelligence leaders for their violations of their oath of office and the laws of our land will become easier. The American military/industrial/intelligence/elected official complex is possibly the greatest threat to world peace and to the future of America that exists. It must be dismantled and the perpetrators punished and removed from power. We, the below members of Veterans for Peace, are co-sponsors of this petition. We urge you to please sign the petition, share it with your friends and hopefully help save our future! Peace! Philip Anderson, VFP Chapter 80 Duluth-Superior, WI US Army 1975-78 retired-Army & Navy Reserves Buzz Davis, VFP Ch. 13 Tucson, AZ, US Army 1967-70 S. Korea Kay Davis, Assoc. Member VFP Ch. 13 Tucson, AZ Brad Geyer, Ch. 175 Janesville, WI USAF 1989-93 WI ANG 1993-03 Gulf War Dan Luker, VFP Ch. 9 Boston, MA, US Army 1968-71 Vietnam John Spitzberg, Chs. 099/160, Willow, AK, US Army & Air Force 1958-72 Germany Jean Rawson, Assoc. Member VFP Ch. 25 Madison, WI Joshua Shurley, VFP Ch. 180 Fresno, CA, US Army 1993-01 Carroll Nast, VFP Ch. 122 Colfax, CA, USAF 1969-79 Vietnam Wayne Beverly, VFP Udonthani, Thailand USMC Sgt-Vietnam 1966-67 Paul Gessler, VFP Ch. 178 Northern CO USAF 1970-73 ICBM Support Jim Wohlgemuth, VFP Nashville, TN George Newell, Pres. VFP Ch. 120 Boulder, CO USMC 1968-1973 VFP Chapter 120 Boulder, CO Daryl K. Sherman, VFP Ch. 25 Madison, WI US Army Special Forces Sgt. 1956-62 Berlin 60-62 Cynthia Heil, Assoc. Member, VFP Ch. 099 Asheville, NC
Close the Disgraceful California Rehabilitation Center in Riverside CountySign this petition to ask California Governor Jerry Brown to shut down California Rehabilitation Center at Norco in Riverside County. A recent report from the California State Department of Public Health revealed shocking conditions at CRC-Norco, a medium-security state prison. This prison houses an astonishing 3,400 prisoners in unsafe and unsanitary conditions that include broken floor tiles, rat and cockroach infestations, and standing pools of water. With a population capacity of 2,491 people, the facility is both overcrowded and structurally neglected. "CRC-Norco is dilapidated and unsafe…. We have known for years that this prison is in terrible shape," said California State Senator Loni Hancock. In 2012, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation publicly acknowledged the unsafe conditions at CRC-Norco and set forth a plan to close the facility by June 2016. One year later, however, prison administrators suspended the deadline, stating that a federal court order to ease crowding in California’s already overcrowded prisons mandated the CDCR to keep the facility open until further notice. That decision was reaffirmed in January 2016 when Governor Brown released the CDCR budget proposal for the 2016-17 cycle, which reflected an extended continuation of operations at CRC-Norco. It is unconscionable for Governor Brown and prison officials at the CDCR to continue to house incarcerated people at a facility that is publicly known to be infested with vermin and structurally unsafe. Keeping the prison open and operating creates a host of health and safety hazards for both the inmates and employees. In addition, it reflects an extraordinary disregard for the human rights of the 3,400 people who are forced to live at the overcrowded, decaying facility. CRC-Norco should be shut down immediately.
Natural Resource POWER PLANTIn order for humanity to thrive we have to be willing to change our destructive economy. Working with nature is the answer. Helping people while growing business should be the bottom line of any business. Allowing society to embrace healthy ways of living while living in luxury is possible. Power Plant has many great ideas of changing our world for the better. From paper to fuel to plastic, we can still go about our daily lives and have all the necessities its just time to support new resources and companies willing to do so.
No Spy Planes Over Miami-DadeIf the MDPD has its way, whenever you step outside -- on your way to the store, to the beach, or even just into your backyard -- you could be filmed by a plane flying over the county. It’s a radical new surveillance technology that will create an oppressive and stigmatizing environment in the communities that are targeted.
California Prisoners Bear the Brunt of Statewide Water ShortageIn the wake of the state’s most severe drought in memory, California Governor Jerry Brown issued mandatory statewide water restrictions that require all public agencies to reduce their water consumption by 25 percent. Officials at the 34 prisons operated by the California Department of Corrections have responded by restricting inmates' showers, ability to flush their cells' toilets, and access to laundry services and clean clothes, according to interviews with inmates. Showers are running only three days a week (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday) for a total of four hours, providing a little over an hour for hundreds of prisoners to take turns bathing on shower days. Any prisoner caught in the showers for more than 5 minutes, washing clothes while showers are running, bird bathing or flushing the toilets in their assigned cell could face disciplinary action, including 30 days added to their prison sentence (CDC-115 Rules Violation Report). Prison officials have been instructed to shut off water fountains, outdoor showers, and to stop hosing down sidewalks. As a result, California prisoners are denied water-breaks throughout the day and are refused the hygienic practice of washing off sweat after a workout. Women's prisons in particular have struggled with sanitary upkeep since the implementation of CDCR’s water conservation program. Shower and toilet restrictions affect female prisoners on their menstrual cycles most directly. CDCR’s water conservation program began in 2006 with a pilot project to install flush-restricting valves on toilets at nearly one-third of all California adult institutions, resulting in a host of unsanitary conditions ranging from foul odor to overflowing toilets. Water conservation methods have only grown more aggressive within the recent decade and California prisoners have borne the brunt of health and safety hazards associated with aggressive yet inadequate conservation planning. If California is serious about water conservation and water-use reduction in its prisons, state officials should consider developing policies that promote the depopulation of overcrowded state facilities -- starting with releasing disabled people, the elderly and non-violent offenders. Reducing the numbers of people incarcerated unnecessarily could result in significant water savings and help to make the prison environment more adaptable and suitable for rehabilitation. Other methods of reducing water waste, without violating the human rights of the imprisoned, can include updating sinks, toilets, showers, and appliances with advanced water-saving fixtures. Sign this petition to California Governor Jerry Brown asking him to immediately end all water conservation methods that violate the human rights of people in prison. Sources: http://www.latimes.com/local/political/la-me-ff-to-save-water-california-turns-off-prison-showers-20150709-story.html https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/california-prisons-are-restricting-shower-and-toilet-use-to-fight-the-historic-drought-626 http://www.insidecdcr.ca.gov/2010/04/california-prisons-reduce-water-consumption/ http://www.inmate.com/prison-articles/california-prisoners-affected-by-drought.htm
No Package Restrictions for NYS Prisoners!Visitation packages are a crucial part of subsistence in the prisons. New York State’s prison system that houses over 60,000 men, women, and children, all of whom are under fed, under nourished, and are not able to meet hygiene needs without purchasing products. Packages brought in by visitors allow prisoners to sustain themselves while they suffer the “slow death” of the prison system. They receive books, hygiene products, stationery, religious objects, underwear, shoes, shirts and blouses (which allow people to regulate their body temperature). All of these objects are crucial for survival for inmates. The proposal to revise the package directive 4911 by adding 4911A to restrict packages to a small selection of prison vendors will severely restrict what prisoners can have (which is already extremely restrictive) and raise costs for family members who already have an extra burden to bear taking care of their loved ones in and out of prison. Currently, visitation packages can be purchased from bulk stores, which allow families to keep costs down. We can be assured that packages purchased through vendors will be more expensive. In addition to increasing costs for families who are already financially struggling, this directive will put even more money into the hands of the prison industry, which is already a multi-million dollar a year industry that thrives of other people’s immiseration. Meanwhile, prisoners are working for slave wages, making 10-16 cents an hour, and are completely reliant on outside support to supplement their starvation diets served in prison. Furthermore, the justification for restricting packages is that visitors are allegedly smuggling drugs through packages. However, as investigations show, it is often corrections officers who smuggle drugs, and who are the ones allowing in tainted packages. Instead of monitoring the COs--there are currently no cameras in the package room--DOCCS is instead punishing prisoners and their families. In addition, suicide in prison is often a result of alienation, deprivation, and lack of stimulation, which will all increase with a new package restriction. The only things that this directive will be taking out of the prisons if it is implemented are prisoners’ human dignity, will, and incentive for good behavior. We are asking that the new directive, 4911A, be repealed immediately, before the NYS prison system wastes time and money on further roll-out, and before the lives of 50,000 incarcerated people and their families are changed for the worse. Written by families and friends of people incarcerated in Women’s facilities of NYS, presented by Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee