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Demanding Annual Chemical Toxicity Testing in all U.S. Public SchoolsThirty K-12 schools in New Jersey's largest metropolitan city, Newark, have officially been identified as contaminated sites by state and city officials. According to environmental experts, the sites contain high levels of lead, well past federal EPA's chemical release quota for emergency cleanup. In light of recent discoveries of lead-water contamination in Flint, Michigan, Newark officials have established a policy of routine water testing throughout the city. On their first go-around, they discovered that the water in 30 public schools, including 5 charter schools, was contaminated with lead. Since the discovery, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and the school superintendent Christopher Serf have declared 30 public schools in a state of emergency. Each school morning, trucks filled with bottled water conduct drop offs to over 20,000 students, teachers, cafeteria staff and custodial so that they all have access to clean, usable water throughout the day. Lead is a heavy metal that has been federally regulated since the 1970s, once its properties were revealed to cause developmental defects and neurological degeneration. In Newark, New Jersey, 20,000 students in 30 different schools drink it each day. While we commend Newark officials for acting immediately upon discovery, we condemn them for their tardiness and years of neglect towards the health and safety of the children they are responsible for educating and protecting. Water quality experts estimate that Newark water banks have been severely contaminated for up to six years. According to some sources, the water contamination began in 2012, in the aftermath of New Jersey's most disastrous storm, Hurricane Sandy. Others claim that that presence of heavy metals like lead and mercury in Newark's water banks is a part of a larger problem, tracing back to over spills and cross-contamination during a storm in 2010. Newark students and parents are enraged. Having been left in the dark about years of water poisoning, and still, trapped in their current schools through the binds of former superintendent Cami Anderson's One Newark Program, Newark students are in an extremely dangerous and potentially deadly situation that they have no way out of. Most of the affected schools are considered "failing," and are set to close down while the buildings are to be sold to private contractors and incoming charter schools. Four of the affected schools are formerly public turned charter institutions. Three schools have been recently transformed into alternative schools for the misbehaved and special education institutions for the mentally challenged. And still --there is no official plan for cleanup. While bottled-water distribution companies maximize profits, and NJ city and state officials minimize responsibility, it is the students of Newark who bear the burden of years of lead-water poisoning. New Jersey Representative Donald M. Payne Jr. has developed plans to propose a nation-wide bill to Congress -- to create a federal budget for yearly toxicity testing and evaluation in public schools throughout the U.S. The legislation would require schools to test drinking water, including water from faucets used for food preparation, sinks in bathrooms, and water fountains. Testing would be required at least biannually at schools built prior to 1996 and at least annually at schools built in 1996 or after, when regulations were extended to restrict the amount of lead in school faucets. The TEST for Lead Act would also require local education agencies with jurisdiction over the schools to notify parents, the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the state within 48 hours if a level of lead that exceeds a lead-action level, as identified by the EPA, is discovered." - NJ Rep. Donald M. Payne Jr. Although water testing is a long ways from clean-up, and even longer from treatment -- it's a start towards recovery that lies within the means of the existing federal budget. It is imperative that we stand by NJ legislators in their primary initiatives towards health accuracy and ecological justice in Newark and vulnerable cities across the U.S. Sign this petition. Hundreds of thousands of students in Newark, New Jersey, Flint, Michigan, and a host of other cities are counting on you. "I align myself with New Jersey Representative Donald M. Payne Jr. in his proposal of the TEST for Lead Act, which ensures that annual toxicity testing is conducted in public schools, nation wide."
Stop Military Demonstration TeamsThese military demonstration teams draw tens of thousands of visitors to an already overcrowded city during the annual Cherry Festival. The planes emit tons of CO2, violate the city noise ordinance, disturb the young, old and those with PTSD and they cost taxpayers over $100 million per year. Further, the crowds overextend our first responders and overtax our limited infrastructure. Finally, these aircraft are war machines - they are not entertainment. Stand with me in asking the city commission to restore a measure of purity to our town.
End Legal Slavery in U.S. PrisonsThe 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.
Ask United Nations members to fund 4th EstateOVERVIEW Please consider putting your name to this petition. It calls for United Nations members to recognise the Global Journalism Crisis and support rapid expansion of emergency funding. An initial target is 0.7% of global aid spending, amounting to US$1.4 billion. This is equivalent to 14,000 global news positions. BACKGROUND Global aid targets aim for 0.7% of Gross Domestic Product, worldwide. The Journalism Agenda 2025 narrows that target by calling for 0.7% of global aid to go towards globalising the 4th Estate. Why? News media have suffered increasingly severe cutbacks ever since the Pentagon Papers, and Watergate. GLOBALISATION Journalism has fallen far behind globalisation. Evidence for this comes in the form of a war on terror started on misleading information, and a global financial crisis missed completely by news media too busy cheerleading “free” markets. Averting global collapse of social cohesion requires strong, independent journalism not tied to corporate and/or political interests. INDUSTRY TARGET Longer term, the agenda targets the communications industry to share 0.7% of their own communication spending, to go towards independent, investigative journalism. Ethics-based, solutions-focused and forward thinking, JA2025 applies multiple layers of crowd-sourced media accountability systems. Ranging from Facebook likes, Twitter retweets, and LinkedIn thumbs up, JA2025 adds survey or wizard-based responses to each story for complaints, praise, corrections or fresh details. FINE-GRAIN GROUND-TRUTH As an additional layer of accountability, these surveys can then also be compared with existing reputation rankings via social networks, e.g. pwik, opendns, klout, and/or the web of trust. Such an approach enables a finer-grain response to each issue, enabling journalists to build ground-truths into the institutional memory of the 4th Estate. This is an example of JA2025 proposals using open newsroom standards. JA2025 is platform neutral – no proprietary software means we can network with anyone, anywhere, using their tools not ‘ours.’ POLICY EQUITY Creating policy equity with legislators, executives and the judiciary, @jagenda2025 drafts out a 10 year plan to rescue journalism, and rebuild the 4th Estate into a worldwide institution. Journalism aid could include investing a recommended ratio towards a permanent trust fund. To put that in context, the US alone has fired 20,000 journalists since the Global Financial Crisis. There are now just 39,000 journalists left in the United States. The US figures suggest an estimate of 50,000 or more also being sacked, worldwide. WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT Journalism was a public good. No longer functioning as the 4th Estate, journalism cannot hold power to account and protect human rights, anywhere. Newsroom pay rolls began shrinking in 1990, beginning a 25 year decline in journalism jobs. WHY JOURNALISM IS A PUBLIC GOOD A strong, independent press is the globe’s best chance of responding to looming challenges from climate change. Informing the public is the most sacred duty of our local, national, regional and international representatives. There can be no public unless there is public media. Publicly or privately owned, news media are a public service. WHAT IT IS We, the undersigned, petition world authorities to fund independent, investigative journalism. JA2025, the global journalism agenda, calls for at least 0.7% of aid to be quarantined for news media. That slice equals aid funding of US$1.4 billion, representing equivalent spending on 14,000 new journalist positions, about 10% of newsroom jobs lost worldwide since 1975. CHALLENGE A challenge will be issued to NGOs, governments and companies to match this funding. This challenge calls for another 0.7% sliver, of all communications, public relations and other corporate messaging, a further US$3.6 billion in funding for independent, investigative journalism. SOURCES Pew Institute, state of the media US Census figures European Journalism Centre Media Rights Agenda (Africa) Asia-Pacific Association of Press Clubs Media, Arts and Entertainment Alliance (Aus, NZ) Pacific Freedom Forum
Ban offshore bankingIt has been estimated that over a trillion dollars in profits earned by the largest and richest Fortune 500 corporations are being deposited in offshore banks in the Cayman Islands and elsewhere in order to avoid paying U.S, income tax. This deprives the U.S. Treasury of billions of dollars in tax revenue; money that could go toward infrastructure, healthcare, and education.
Release All Nonviolent Offenders in disaster zones immediately!Easing overcrowding immediately under federal directive would... Lower risk of lawsuits related to sanitization from both inmates and employees... Allow an immediate influx of willing cleanup workers into these disaster zones... Have little to no risk of VIOLENT offense because ONLY the release of Nonviolent Offenders is called for on this petition. To understand the most basic definition of "Nonviolent Offender" https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/ascii/pnoesp.txt
Pressure Donald Trump to release his tax returnsHe said on the popular morning show Good Morning America that he fights “very hard to pay as little tax as possible.” His claim to wealth has also been called into question.The best way for this refusal to hurt his campaign is to get news outlets to cover the issue. Urge multiple highly popular news companies to step up their game and start seriously pressuring Donald Trump to release his tax returns.Trump is never going to release his tax returns unless there are consequences for not doing so. You have a responsibility to keep important political candidates like this honest. We demand that you start adequately covering Trump’s failure to release his returns and continue putting on the pressure until he does so. The future of the entire nation is at stake.
Eliminate fines for wrongdoing on banks' tax returns as "business expenses"It's almost a joke that the current corporate tax code basically rewards banks that are fined for wrongdoing, even felonies, by allowing these institutions to claim them as "business expenses", and that allowance needs to be eliminated, NOT incentivized!