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Remove Monument to Genocide that Welcomes People to UVA“George Rogers Clark, Conqueror of the Northwest" is a massive sculpture that was put up in the 1920s, just like the Charlottesville statues of Lee and Jackson (and the one of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark). It was paid for by the same racist gazillionaire who paid for the statues of Lee and Jackson (and the one of Lewis and Clark). It involved the same level of democratic decision making by the people of Charlottesville, namely none. It, too, depicts a white man on a horse, dressed for war. It, too, might remain a war monument, and therefore protected by state law, completely independent of whether we should decide we dislike it. However, Clark’s post-revolutionary wars are not in the list of wars that the state of Virginia says must have their monuments protected. Often wars on Native Americans are not counted as real wars, and that may have a benefit here, unless a case can be made that the monument is to the American Revolutionary War which is on the list. UVA may have the power to remove this monstrosity. It certainly has the ability to try. And it has the indisputable right to block it from view with something preferable. There are differences from the statues of Lee and Jackson. In this case, Clark has a couple of other men with guns behind him, and he’s reaching back for a gun. There are three Native Americans in front of him. The UVA student newspaper celebrated the statue when it was first created as “explaining the futility of resistance.” The base of the sculpture calls Clark the “Conqueror of the Northwest.” The Northwest means the general area of today’s Illinois. Conquering means basically genocide. One of the three Native Americans appears to be carrying an infant. I don’t want to diminish the horror tied to the monuments to the Civil War or the War on Vietnam or World War I or any of Charlottesville’s and UVA's monumental paeans to mass murder, but only this particular artistic perversion openly depicts deadly violence against civilians with unalloyed pride and sadism. Robert E. Lee could be riding in a parade for all anyone can tell from his monument. Not Clark. He is depicted engaged in what he explicitly advocated for and acted upon: the indiscriminate murder of Native Americans in pursuit of their elimination. George Rogers Clark himself said that he would have liked to “see the whole race of Indians extirpated” and that he would “never spare Man woman or child of them on whom he could lay his hands.” Clark wrote a statement to the various Indian nations in which he threatened “Your Women & Children given to the Dogs to eat.” While some might object even to a less graphic monument to this murderer, one in which he stood or rode alone, Charlottesville doesn’t have one of those. It has a monument to genocide, shamelessly depicting genocide. Charlottesville/UVA also has monuments to Thomas Jefferson, who, as Governor of Virginia, sent Clark west to attack Native Americans, writing that the goal “should be their extermination, or their removal beyond the lakes or Illinois river.” Clark killed the captured and destroyed the crops of those he was sent by Jefferson to exterminate or remove. Clark later unsuccessfully proposed further military expeditions to Virginia Governor Benjamin Harrison in order to demonstrate “that we are always able to crush them at pleasure.” Clark was considered a hero because his beliefs and actions were widely accepted or supported. His bit part was played in a broad and long-lasting genocidal assault on the native peoples of this continent. Every assertion about and quote of Clark above is documented in a new book from Yale University Press called "Surviving Genocide" by Jeffrey Ostler. Ostler shows that U.S. officials developed the policy that “wars of extermination” were “not only necessary, but ethical and legal.” Causes of decline among Native peoples included direct killing, other traumatizing violence prominently including rape, the burning of towns and crops, forcible deportation, and the intentional and non-intentional spreading of diseases and of alcoholism to weakened populations. Ostler writes that the most recent scholarship finds the devastation caused by European diseases resulted less from Native Americans’ lack of immunity, and more from the weakness and starvation created by the violent destruction of their homes. In George Rogers Clark’s day, John Heckewelder (a missionary and author of books on the customs of Native Americans) noted that frontiersmen had adopted “the doctrine . . . that the Indians were the Canaanites, who by God’s commandment were to be destroyed.” In our day, we make Clark’s monument central to our public life in Charlottesville, where it greets those arriving from downtown to the campus of the University of Virginia. Here is an article from the 1921 dedication that approvingly describes the woman in the memorial as having to beg for mercy for her baby: http://www2.vcdh.virginia.edu/lewisandclark/students/projects/commemoration/katie/alumninews10.jpg Here is then-UVA President Alderman crediting George Rogers Clark with stealing large amounts of territory for an empire -- the empire of Virginia: http://www2.vcdh.virginia.edu/lewisandclark/students/projects/commemoration/grpamp3.html A successful 1997 application to put the statue on the National Register of Historic Places reads, in part: "She kneels in front of Clark holding a covered cradle board aloft as if to plead for a papoose within." https://www.dhr.virginia.gov/VLR_to_transfer/PDFNoms/104-0252_George_Rogers_Clark_Sculpture_1997_Final_Nomination.pdf284 of 300 SignaturesCreated by David S.
Free Marzieh HashemiMarzieh Hashemi (she is a US citizen), when returning from Iran was arrested, without charges, at the St. Louis, Missouri Airport and then taken and put in detention in a prison in Washington D.C. as a 'material witness.' Actually she is an Anchor woman on Press TV. Since when does the US jail 'material witnesses?' This is another travesty against journalists, and the MSM isn't even covering it. Educate yourselves on this. As a material witness whom is she going to testify against---The US gov't, Britain, France and Israel for their ongoing mass murder around the world?672 of 800 SignaturesCreated by Charles A.
Demand that Indiana DOC Restore Kevin "Rashid" Johnson's Access to His PropertyKevin “Rashid” Johnson (IDOC# 264847) – a Virginia prisoner – was transferred to Indiana on November 4. His transfer was authorized under the Interstate Corrections Compact, commonly used to ship prisoners out of state. Virginia is one of several states that make use of this practice as a tool to repress and isolate prisoners who speak up for their rights. These transfers are extremely disruptive, and serve as an opportunity for prison officials to violate prisoners’ rights, especially regarding their property. This is exactly what has been done to Rashid. Rashid has 24 boxes of personal property. These are all of his possessions in the world. Much of these 24 boxes consist of legal documents and research materials, including materials directly related to pending or anticipated court cases, and his list of addresses and phone numbers of media contacts, human rights advocates, outside supporters, and friends. At Pendleton Correctional Facility, where Rashid is now being kept prisoner and in solitary confinement, only one guard is in charge of the property room. This is very unusual, as the property room is where all of the prisoners’ belongings that are not in their cells are kept. The guard in charge, Dale Davis, has a dubious reputation. Prisoners complain that property goes missing, and their requests to access their belongings – that by law are supposed to be met within 7 days, or if there are court deadlines within 24 hours – are often ignored, answered improperly, or what they receive does not correspond to what they have asked for. Despite having a need for legal and research documents for pending and anticipated court cases, his requests to receive his property have not been properly answered. The property officer, Dale Davis, is supposed to inventory the prisoners’ property with them (and a witness) present, according to IDOC regulation 02-01-101-VIII; this was never done. When Rashid did receive some property, it was a random selection of items unrelated to what he asked for, brought to the segregation unit in a box and a footlocker and left in an insecure area where things could be stolen or tampered with. On December 19th, Rashid received notice that Davis had confiscated various documents deemed to be “security threat group” or “gang” related from his property. Rashid has no idea what these might be, as (contrary to the prison regulations) he was not present when his property was gone through. Rashid does not know how much or how little was confiscated, or what the rationale was for its being described as “gang” related. None of Rashid’s property should be confiscated or thrown out under any circumstances, but it is worth noting that the way in which this has been done contravenes the prison’s own regulations and policies! Dale Davis has been an IDOC property officer for 8 years. He has boasted about how he does not need any oversight or anyone else working with him, even though it is very unusual for just one person to have this responsibility. Prisoners’ property goes “missing” or is tampered with, and prisoners’ rights – as laid out by the Indiana Department of Corrections – are not being respected. Rashid is not asking to have all of his property made available to him in his cell. He is willing to accept only having access to some of it at a time, for instance as he needs it to prepare court documents or for his research and writing. After two months in Indiana, he has still not been supplied with his documents containing the phone numbers and addresses of his loved ones and supporters, effectively sabotaging his relationships on the outside. Rashid is not asking for any kind of special treatment, he is only asking for the prison property room to follow the prison’s own rules. We ask that you look into this, and make sure that Mr. Johnson's right to access his property is being respected, and that something be done about the irregularities in the Pendleton property room. We ask that the rules of the Indiana Department of Corrections be respected. Call the Pendleton Correctional Facility and to ask to speak to the Warden or to someone in the Warden’s office. Also, call the Indiana Department of Corrections and ask that they intervene to make sure Rashid gets access to his property. In each case, please be prepared to give a name and phone number for them to call you back, if needed. Please make phone calls to: Indiana Department of Corrections Stephanie Lightfoot (317) 232-5711 - press 2, press 3, press 2 You may get a voicemail, in which case please leave a detailed message. Pendleton Correctional Facility (765) 778-2107; press 3 and then press 1 You will get a receptionist; explain that you would like to convey your concerns to the warden or to someone in charge, about problems Kevin Johnson is having accessing his property. For updates on Rashid and to access his writings, go to http://rashidmod.com/5,867 of 6,000 SignaturesCreated by Jamani M.
Help Free an Unfairly Prosecuted Man from PrisonTruthout reports: "Hamilton was imprisoned with a man named Darnell Thompson, who claims he was threatened by police into pinning the crime on Hamilton. In an affidavit reviewed by Truthout, Thompson said that homicide detectives and prisoner Olivera Rico Cowen conspired to pressure him into testifying against Hamilton. Thompson, who was 18 at the time, says he was coerced into signing a statement against Hamilton, but he later refused to testify against Hamilton in court. But Thompson’s statement, as well as Cowen’s testimony and testimony about Hamilton’s character by a neighbor, were enough for a jury to convict Hamilton to a maximum of 80 years in prison." Lacino Hamilton has said, "There was no physical evidence for the crime I was accused of -- only manufactured by detectives, detectives who wrote a script for them to perform at trial. And when the prosecutor’s office was approached by several attorneys with credible evidence that this was a common police practice, the prosecutor’s office simply forged ahead. I was convicted and sentenced to 52 to 80 years. They just threw me away, like I was garbage." Affidavits, courthouse transcripts, letters and internal memos obtained by Truthout suggest that Darnell Thompson – who is now long deceased – was in fact part of a ring of jailhouse informants – or “snitches” – that allegedly received lenient sentences as well as other monetary and special privileges from detectives in the Detroit Police Department’s homicide division in exchange for making false statements against dozens of prisoners eventually convicted of murder, Lacino just being one of them... “Informants lie primarily in exchange for lenience for their own crimes, although sometimes they lie for money,” according to an article in Golden Gate University Law Review. Testimony from a single jailhouse informant is enough to convict a person for a charge as serious as murder, according to Valerie Newman, assistant defender in Michigan’s State Appellate Defender Office. Hamilton says the reason his original defense attorney did not challenge the prosecutor’s use of an informant speaks to some of the reasons Black communities across the country suffer at the hands of the state: neglect and an assumption of disposability. After being sent to prison, Lacino spent four of his first six years in solitary confinement. It was there that he began to read, think critically and write about the many ways the U.S. criminal justice system perpetuates values of anti-black violence, coercion and oppression. “How some of us live is not a mistake; neither is it the product of a broken system,” he wrote from prison. “We live like that because it is profitable to a lot of people[‘s] businesses…. “I am locked in a windowless cell measuring 10×8 feet, 23 hours per day. For one hour every other day, I am handcuffed, chained around the waist and allowed exercise and a shower in a small cage. I am not allowed to interact with others, or to participate in any educational, vocational, or employment programs. All meals are delivered to the cell. I have no access to a phone.” After nearly two decades of wrongful imprisonment, Hamilton spends most of his time reading and writing about the experience of incarceration. He also spends his time working tirelessly to plead his case and affirm his innocence. After writing to thousands of journalists, lawyers and colleges to plead his case, Hamilton was able to get in touch with Claudia Whitman from the National Death Row Assistance Network, who supplied Truthout with most of the documents behind his story. Whitman also made contact with Christopher Brooks, the prisoner who says he knows who really killed Hamilton’s foster mother. With Whitman’s help, Hamilton was able to convince an attorney to work pro bono to overturn his conviction. The Conviction Integrity Unit of Wayne County, Michigan must do everything in its power to investigate and reverse this wrongful conviction. The Conviction Integrity Unit of Wayne County investigates claims of innocence, to determine whether there is clear and convincing new evidence that the convicted defendant was not the person who committed the conviction offense. As stated in the American Bar Association standards, Rule 3.8(h), "When a prosecutor knows of clear and convincing evidence establishing that a defendant in the prosecutor's jurisdiction was convicted of an offense that the defendant did not commit, the prosecutor shall seek to remedy the conviction." In the case of The People of the State of Michigan vs. Lacino Hamilton, there is clear and convincing new evidence that the convicted defendant was not the person who committed the conviction offense. In accordance with Rule 3.8(h), it is the duty of the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office to investigate and reverse the conviction of Lacino Hamilton. Lacino Hamilton needs your help to affirm his innocence. After nearly two decades of wrongful imprisonment, he deserves immediate justice. Background: > Truthout: Ring of Snitches: How Detroit Police Slapped False Murder Convictions on Young Black Men https://truthout.org/articles/ring-of-snitches-how-detroit-police-slapped-false-murder-convictions-on-young-black-men Write a letter of support to Lacino: Lacino Hamilton, Inmate ID: 247310 Marquette Prison 1960 US Highway 41 South Marquette, MI, 498553,375 of 4,000 SignaturesCreated by Jamani M.
Academic Institutions Must Defend Free SpeechAcademic institutions are restricting free speech, due mainly to organized pressure campaigns. This is destructive to academic activity and to free pursuit of ideas in the institutions and the wider societies which they serve.3,416 of 4,000 SignaturesCreated by PAUL L.
No Kristallnacht in the USTrump wants to find out what he can get away with. If he gets away with attacking people seeking asylum, he will take it as license to get even more extreme. This is what Hitler did in 1938. Things only got worse because most Germans looked away. We must preserve our national honor and not let it happen here.3,107 of 4,000 SignaturesCreated by Leon K.
Change The Name of Dixie School DistrictIt's time to lose the lost cause in Marin County. Dixie is a synonym of the Confederacy and the national anthem of the Confederacy. The school district should have a name that welcomes all students regardless of the color of their skin. We are all stakeholders in Dixie School District. 78% of their funding is from state and federal funds. We should teach our children the historical meaning of words like Dixie. Changing the name is a simple gesture for respect, equity and inclusion.376 of 400 SignaturesCreated by Kerry P.
Israel Military Must Release Gaza Medical Supplies from Gaza FlotillaFor 31 consecutive Fridays, Palestinians have gone to the border with Israel demanding the end to the horrific Israeli blockade of Gaza. According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights on October 28, Israeli snipers have killed 168, wounded by gunfire 9073 including 1586 children, 247 women, 116 journalists and 128 paramedics. Among those wounded, 498 are in serious condition and 76 persons' lower or upper limbs were amputated. Thousands of others suffered tear gas inhalation and sustained bruises. The Gaza health facilities need the 114 boxes of medical supplies from the Gaza Flotilla. Two boats of the 2018 Gaza Freedom Flotilla carried 114 boxes of medical supplies — sterile gauze and sutures — for the Gaza health system. By international law, Israel must deliver them to the Gaza border. One month has passed since the Israeli military hijacked the boats, arrested, imprisoned and deported 34 persons on the boats. While the amount of medical supplies is small compared to the massive need, it is critical to force Israel to abide by international law and let medical supplies into Gaza. Please sign the petition to put pressure on the Israeli government to deliver the 114 boxes of medical supplies to the Gaza health system. And call the Israeli Embassy in your country and your Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Department of State demanding the release of the medical supplies. In the U.S., call the Israeli Embassy at 202-364-5500 and the Department of State at 202-647-4000 and ask for the Office of Israel/Palestine Affairs.8,175 of 9,000 SignaturesCreated by Ann W.
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.11,018 of 15,000 SignaturesCreated by Jamani M.
#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.7,204 of 8,000 SignaturesCreated by Jamani M.
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-act10,521 of 15,000 SignaturesCreated by Jamani M.
Undo Unconstitutional Life-Without-Parole Sentence for Bobby BosticBobby Bostic was only 16 years old when he was sentenced to 241 years in prison for non-fatal crimes. He is now 38, and will not be eligible for parole until he is 112 years old. Despite two recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings that determined life without parole sentencing for juveniles who have not been convicted of murder to be unconstitutional, the state of Missouri has repeatedly refused to offer Bobby an appeal. We must stand with Bobby in his effort to take his appeal, if necessary, to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1995, Bobby Bostic and an older accomplice were convicted of 18 crimes stemming from an armed robbery and carjacking. While the older accomplice pleaded guilty and took a plea bargain for a 30-year sentence, Bostic took the case to trial. He was found guilty on all counts and was given the maximum possible sentence: 241 years. "Your mandatory date to go in front of a parole board will be the year 2201," the judge said. "Nobody in this room is going to be alive in the year 2201." At the time, Bobby was just 16 years old. "Two of the Supreme Court's rulings in recent years have barred judges from imposing sentences of life without parole for juveniles who haven't killed anyone," reports Riverfront Times. "But Missouri is one of a small number of states arguing that doesn't apply to defendants who aren't technically sentenced to life without parole — even if their sentences add up to just that." In addition, the Missouri Supreme Court has defended its ruling by claiming that the U.S. Supreme Court rulings pertain only to defendants convicted of a single charge, not multiple charges added together. "In practice, that means Bostic would have been better off committing a single act of murder than being convicted of multiple, non-fatal crimes," noted Doyle Murphy, a journalist at the Riverfront Times. Bostic's sentence also violates the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a treaty to which every single nation on earth other than the United States is party, and which is therefore international law. The treaty states: "Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed for offenses committed by persons below eighteen years of age." While Bobby Bostic awaits his parole date in over 100 years from now, his accomplice will be eligible for parole next year. The case of Bobby Bostic illuminates the punitive nature of the U.S. criminal justice system. Instead of managing prisons as spaces of rehabilitation, the U.S. Department of so-called Corrections has made it a point to punish offenders in the most retributive ways possible, depriving juveniles like Bostic of any meaningful opportunity to obtain release. According to the ACLU's state legal director, Tony Rothert, "Bobby Bostic should get a chance to show that crimes he committed as a teen do not define him. The Constitution demands nothing less." Background: Riverfront Times: Bobby Bostic, Sentenced as a Teen to 241 Years, Appeals to U.S. Supreme Court https://www.riverfronttimes.com/newsblog/2017/12/21/bobby-bostic-sentenced-as-a-teen-to-241-years-appeals-to-us-supreme-court13,276 of 15,000 SignaturesCreated by Jamani M.