- Campaign Finance Reform
- Civil Liberties / Surveillance
- Civil Rights
- Economic Justice
- Government Accountability / Whistleblowers
- Gun Violence Prevention
- Law Enforcement
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Protect Bethesda African CemeteryThis community built the main thoroughfares in the county. It manufactured building materials and provided the manpower building the bunker under the White House. By around the 1850s free Africans owned property in Bethesda but were confined to a small area by covenants preventing them and Jews from living elsewhere. A community once thrived there. That history has been erased, but needs to be preserved. A museum could provide the archive for that history as well as serve as the vehicle for conveying the story to future generations. Washington Post death notices, County plat and plot maps, oral histories, aerial photos and other historic materials substantiate the existence and location of the cemetery. No documentation of bodies being disinterred has ever been produced. Currently there is a Sector Plan that seeks to place a parking garage and housing units on top of what is now a parking lot that was placed on top of the African Cemetery (allegedly at least in part to prevent erosion from exposing the remains). History of the enslavement of Africans is American history. More importantly, the triumph of Africans against enslavement in a living museum and memorial will be an ongoing testament to these people, their heritage and their legacy.
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.
Giving politics back to the peopleNo corporations, non-profits, superPACS, churches, political action committees, or any other entity is allowed to donate. This government is of the people, by the people, and for the people and the PEOPLE should be the only ones allowed to donate. That way our representatives can no longer be bought and paid for my corporate America and/or wealthy individuals. Our representitives will no longer be beholden to their wealthiest donors and they will actually be beholden to the will of their constituents. One person, one vote.
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.
Extend Temporary Protected Status for Haitians Impacted by 2010 Haiti EarthquakeHaitians across the United States are in a collective state of anxiety, worried that they will soon lose protection from detainment and deportation. In 2010, the Obama administration granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to close to 50,000 Haitians after the earthquake disaster that killed 300,000 people and displaced approximately 1.5 million. Created in 1990, TPS is a federal immigration relief program granted to citizens of certain countries with deteriorating conditions caused by armed conflicts, natural disasters, or health epidemics. The program grants residency, work permits, and driver's licenses to refugees who had started living in the U.S. before or within a year after the earthquake. For the past seven years, the United States has renewed the TPS program for Haitian citizens in 18-month installments. Under the Trump administration, however, that temporary protected status is set to expire on January 22, 2018. “Haiti still hasn’t fully recovered from the earthquake. There are still people living in tents. People are living in caves. They’re dying of malnutrition.” -- Steve Forester, Immigration Policy Coordinator at the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti In addition to recovering from the earthquake aftermath, people in Haiti are fighting a cholera epidemic that was brought into the island by a United Nations peacekeeping mission in 2010. Hurricane Matthew hit seven months ago, exacerbating the cholera crisis and severely damaging infrastructure projects as well as Haiti’s agricultural sector. This resulted in a food crisis that has some Haitians living outdoors and suffering from hunger. To date, about 9,000 people have died from cholera since the epidemic began and 780,000 others have been affected by the disease, according to the United Nations. It would be irresponsible for the United States to send tens of thousands of people back to a recovering country where they haven’t lived or worked for years. Many of these families have U.S.-born children, making deportation both cruel and extremely disruptive. If the United States government wants Haitian refugees to return to their homeland, it should focus immigration policies on helping Haiti to recover instead of forcing people back to a country unable to support them. Ending temporary protected status for 50,000 Haitian citizens would have disastrous effects in many ways. Internationally, it would create the potential for a new immigration crisis. In the United States, it would fuel the engine of the prison-industrial complex by immediately criminalizing many thousands of Haitian citizens throughout the country after January 22, 2018, making it illegal for them to work, drive, keep housing, or continue to live in the United States at all. Please sign this petition to ask Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to extend Temporary Protected Status to qualifying Haitian citizens who were displaced or drastically impacted by the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
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.
Impeach Trump and Republican agendaTrump will not release his tax returns. Trump refuses to divest himself of his vast business interests. That creates obvious conflicts of interest, especially when it come to overseas matters. That is forbidden under Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution and is grounds for impeachment. Trump should not be allowed to enrich himself and his family through sweetheart deals. Need I say more?
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.
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 inmates 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 vendor contracts, and before the lives of 60,000 inmates and their families are changed for the worse. Written by families and friends of inmates from the Women’s Facilities of NYS, presented by Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee
Was Darren Rainey Tortured and Killed by Prison Guards at Dade Correctional Institution in Florida?On June 23, 2012, Darren Rainey, a mentally ill black man serving a two-year prison sentence for drug possession, was killed by four prison guards at Dade Correctional Institution in Florida. The Florida correctional officers kept Darren Rainey locked in a shower for two consecutive hours with the water turned up to a scalding 160 degrees — even though Florida state law mandates 120 degrees as the highest available temperature allowed. According to the assigned medical examiner, when Mr. Rainey was removed from the shower, his skin was falling off of his body. Darren Rainey entered the shower around 7:30 p.m. on June 23, 2012 and was pronounced dead around 10:00pm later that night. One prisoner said he heard Rainey screaming, begging to be let out. Another stated that he helped clean up chunks of Rainey's skin from the shower the following morning. Multiple inmates have revealed that the shower was used against them too, as a torture device. Last week, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle's office revealed that, after a five-year legal dispute, no charges will be filed against the four prison guards who allegedly tortured and killed Darren Rainey. In addition, the four accused guards will be allowed to keep their jobs as Florida correctional officers. Prosecutors concluded that Rainey's death was an "accident,” stating that he died from a combination of factors, including health complications of his mental disorder, heart disease that had gone undiagnosed, and what they described as "confinement in a shower." According to prosecutors, the medical examiner's report played a key role in their decision not to press charges against the four prison guards. The Miami-Dade prosecutor's office maintained that the DCI medical examiner report reveals no burns on Darren Rainey after discovering him in the shower, and that any deformed skin was a result of skin "slippage" from being in the shower for too long. When that same medical examiner's report was reviewed by investigators at HuffingtonPost, however, it was discovered that Britney Wilson, a licensed practical nurse at DCI, examined Rainey’s body approximately 10 minutes after he was found, and noted “1st degree burns to 90% of his body.” An additional medical examination conducted by Lt. Alexander Lopez, a firefighter and paramedic with Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, reported that Darren Rainey was found “with 2nd and 3rd degree burns on approximately 30 percent of his body." This obvious cover-up is not just an attack on the neglected prisoner community — it is a blatant disregard for the families and communities of anyone who is black, poor, disabled, elderly, and/or lacking health-care and incarcerated. We should all be disturbed, not only by the horrific death of Darren Rainey, but by the failure of the state of Florida to protect him and hold those who are responsible accountable for their actions. The four accused correctional officers are: Sgt. John Fan Fan, Officer Cornelius Thompson, Officer Ronald Clarke, Officer Edwina Williams. Harold Hempstead, former prisoner at FCI, first reported Rainey's death and was a key witness in Darren Rainey's case. http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/op-ed/article140015793.html Hot Water Temperature Laws: Anti-Scald Regulations (Florida) http://inspectapedia.com/plumbing/Hot_Water_Temperature_Laws.php#FL The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Report on Darren Rainey’s death. https://cbsmiami.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/darrenraineyincustodydeathcloseoutmemo.pdf Investigation of evidence conducted by HuffingtonPost http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/darren-rainey-inmate-death-dade-correctional-institution_us_58d94c9fe4b03692bea82e1b?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Officials%20Ruled%20Inmates%20Boiling%20Death%20An%20Accident%20But%20Documents%20Show%20They%20Omitted%20Key%20Details&utm_content=Officials%20Ruled%20Inmates%20Boiling%20Death%20An%20Accident%20But%20Documents%20Show%20They%20Omitted%20Key%20Details+CID_8215adfc57846c1e7159b4870e1301a9&utm_source=Email%20marketing%20software&utm_term=Read%20More&ncid=newsltushpmgnews Other Sources: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/special-reports/florida-prisons/article56108525.html