Change for Trayvon: Stand Your Ground laws must be reviewed
Our son Trayvon Martin was stalked, chased down and killed by George Zimmerman, and Zimmerman faced no punishment whatsoever. That's in large part because Florida is one of at least 21 states with some form of "Stand Your Ground" law, which enables people like George Zimmerman to claim self-defense. We're calling on 21 governors whose states have some form of Stand Your Ground's laws to review those laws and amend them so that people who instigate conflicts -- people like George Zimmerman -- won't be able to use these laws to get away with murder. 'Stand Your Ground' was never meant to give aggressors the opportunity to get away with murder, but that is what happened when our son, Trayvon Benjamin Martin was killed. After Trayvon's death, law enforcement used the law as an excuse to refuse to arrest George Zimmerman. Even worse, the jury in the case was instructed to think of what Zimmerman did as self-defense, even though Zimmerman ignored instructions from the police and instigated conflict with our son, who was just trying to get home to his father. We are shocked and heartbroken by the jury's decision to allow our son's killer to go free. Despite our despair, we must honor Trayvon's legacy by doing all that we can to protect other young people from being targeted, pursued, and senselessly murdered. We are not the only ones calling for Stand Your Ground laws to be reviewed. President Obama spoke out on the need for review, and prominent Republicans like Senator John McCain have joined him. This is not a Democrat or Republican issue, it's not black, or white issue, it's a wrong and right issue. This is a matter of making sure that no other family will ever have to go through what we have been through. No parents should ever have to know what it feels like to watch your child's killer walk free. Here in Florida, we are pushing for an amendment to Florida's Stand Your Ground law. Sign our petition to call on all at least 21 governors to review their laws and consider similar amendments so that they can protect children in their states, just as we wish Florida would have protected Trayvon. We want to say thank you to all of you who have stood up for our son. Because of all of your efforts, Trayvon's life is celebrated all over the world. Please continue to stand with us as we fight to ensure that his legacy is to leave behind a safer and more peaceful world for all our sons and daughters.
Ratify the Equal Rights Amendment
This is the year 2016. Isn’t it time women had equal rights in America? Will you join me by signing a petition compelling your lawmakers to vote to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment? “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” The Equal Rights Amendment, first introduced in 1923 by Alice Paul, is an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that affirms that all citizens deserve equal rights under the law regardless of sex or gender. Seems self-evident, right? Do you think that women’s equal rights are guaranteed by our constitution? Sadly, they are not. The ERA never passed, leaving women’s rights up for interpretation. This imbalance has been demonstrated time and time again in the highest courts in the land, where women often lose even when clear bias is shown. Women’s rights are seemingly at the mercy of whoever is in office or on a judicial bench at any given time. Here is what one of our most influential Supreme Court justices said on the matter of sex discrimination: "Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn't." —Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia While we in America may think that women are doing fine, the rest of the world does not. The United Nations has deemed the United States to be a country that does not adequately protect women’s human rights. The Equal Rights Amendment may seem unnecessary to some, but the truth is American women do not have explicit rights under The Constitution. There are dozens of areas where a lack of equal rights negatively affects women and the families they support. Here are just a few: • America is the only nation in the world with a rising maternal mortality rate. • 10,000 abused women are turned away from shelters daily, a total of 3.65 million denied requests per year. When looking specifically at the gender pay gap: There is a direct correlation between underpaying mothers and child hunger. It is estimated that half of the 33 million women and children living in poverty in the United States would not be if women were paid their full dollar. Is it any wonder that 1 in 5 children in America go hungry? Seventy-five percent of all African American children are being raised by full time working single mothers who are paid .60 cents on the dollar. Latinas earn .55 cents on the dollar, and white women make .78 cents compared to their white male counterparts. Our transgender sisters are faring even worse. They are four times as likely to have a household income under $10,000 and twice as likely to be unemployed. Over the course of her working life, an American woman will lose between $400,000 and two million dollars due to wage discrimination. The Equal Rights Amendment would provide an express constitutional basis to challenge sex-based discrimination. It would also ensure that laws and government actions that treat women differently are reviewed by the courts with the strictest of standards. With the upcoming 2016 election we need to intensify the conversation around women's issues and compel our lawmakers to protect the basic civil and human rights of American women by passing the ERA. It is time that we finally make this happen for ourselves, our daughters, and for the future of our nation. If even Supreme Court justices don’t believe the Constitution protects women from discrimination, let’s pass an amendment that will. Please join me along with Kamala Lopez, the director of the upcoming documentary “Equal Means Equal,” the ERA Coalition, and Noreen Farrell of Equal Rights Advocates, to sign this petition for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment #EqualMeansEqual —Patricia Arquette
Hear Oklahoma House Bill 1362
We are a group of mothers, fathers, students, and concerned citizens in Oklahoma. We urgently need your help to make sure that a crucial bill to help stop the rape and victimization of young girls in our state is heard in the Oklahoma State House. HB 1362 is a vital bill that will ensure that victims have support, that school officials are trained to handle these situations, and that our students are effectively taught about consent and proper boundaries. It is essential that this bill is passed, not just for the safety of Oklahoma’s students, but also as a signal to the rest of the country that this type of legislation is needed to protect all of our young people. House Bill 1362 successfully made it out of the Common Education Committee on Tuesday, February 24th -- but now the real fight begins. The next step is a vote on the house floor, and if the bill is voted down it will be two more years before this essential legislation can be reintroduced. Last fall, we organized the group Yes All Daughters after three teenage girls in our hometown of Norman, OK were raped by the same classmate and then bullied out of school after they reported their assaults.We organized a peaceful protest and the school district responded by creating a task force to address issues related to victimization and bullying. The perpetrator was arrested following our protest and is currently awaiting trial on First Degree Rape charges. HB 1362 was introduced as a direct result of the assaults on these three girls, and our work to bring their stories to light. But the work is not done. There is no guarantee that the Oklahoma State House will pass this legislation, even though the rape and sexual assault of minors is still an enormous problem in Oklahoma. Last week, in the town just over from Norman, four more students (all aged 18 and 19) were arrested for the alleged gang rape of a girl under the age of 16. We cannot continue to let this problem go unchecked in our state. Girls ages 16-19 are four times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault, yet this bill was not on the agenda until our last-ditch effort compelled legislators to read it in committee. We must demand that House Bill 1362 become a priority among the Oklahoma State Legislators. Sign the petition. Stand with us against sexual violence. No more silence. No more shame.
Help families combat the addiction epidemic
There is an epidemic of addiction sweeping the United States and we need every tool available to save our kids. A powerful tool is Casey’s Law. The law, recently passed in Kentucky and Ohio, allows families to petition the court to get treatment for a loved one who has refused to get help on their own. Addicts often refuse help, spiraling out of control until it is too late. That is what happened to Charlotte Wethington’s son, Casey. He died of a heroin overdose. Charlotte felt had she been able to get Casey court ordered treatment, he’d still be here. She is fighting to get Casey’s Law passed at the federal level. In the meantime, people across the country are trying to get Casey’s Law passed state-by-state. Too many people are not getting the help they need, and when you are in the middle of fighting a disease like addiction, it’s hard to make the right decision. Families and friends need Casey’s Law so they can intervene and save the life of someone they love. Without the law, all we can do is watch helpless as we lose more people to this epidemic. I started this petition to help bring Casey’s Law to all 50 states. This petition is calling on the state of Oklahoma, my home state, to pass Casey’s Law. No matter where you live, your support matters. The more states that pass the law, the more likely other states will follow. In turn, we hope it will inspire Congress to pass a national Casey’s Law.
OKLAHOMA LAWMAKERS: MAKE OUR KIDS' SAFETY AND HEALTH A PRIORITY. PASS SB 1383 & HB 2959
In the fall of 2014, we organized the group Yes All Daughters and led a protest after multiple teenage girls in our hometown of Norman, OK were raped by the same classmate and then bullied out of their school. Oklahoma has again made national news for sexual assault cases involving high school students. These are not isolated incidents. Last year, as a direct result of our efforts, our governor signed legislation addressing Sexual Assault Prevention Education in Oklahoma. THIS IS ONLY THE BEGINNING. Girls between 16-19 are four times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault. 44% of sexual assaults happen before the age of 18. Oklahoma ranks among the worst states for sexual violence, and 1 in 10 Oklahoma students will be a victim. WE CAN DO BETTER. Yes All Daughters has worked with Oklahoma lawmakers to introduce two pieces of legislation to address Oklahoma’s abysmal record on sexual violence, teen pregnancy, and STD infections. Both of these bills are at risk of not being read in committee or making it to the House and Senate floor. Senate Bill 1383 would allow for the development of age appropriate programs on safe relationship behavior. These programs would teach students to recognize and prevent relationship violence, including physical and emotional relationship abuse. They would also address education regarding relationship communication skills, emotional health, and accountability. Federal funds are available for safe relationship education to be implemented at the state level. A White House Council on Women and Girls Report estimates the cost of rape to be as high as $240,776 per incident, including medical services, investigations, loss of productivity, and quality of life. House Bill 2959 is a bill to address parent-child communication training through Oklahoma’s Safe School Committees. Each school district would be required to offer an annual fact based, medically accurate, body-positive communication training on safe and healthy relationships, pregnancy prevention, abstinence, and STD/STI/HIV prevention. Oklahoma ranks second worst in the nation for birth rates among teens aged 15-19, and STD rates are highest among ages 15-24. Teen births in Oklahoma cost taxpayers an estimated $169 million annually. HB2959 is funding neutral through already established Safe School Committees and community based non-profits, and will give parents and guardians the tools and knowledge to effectively communicate with their children on these important health issues. Educating teens about issues of consent, healthy relationships, and pregnancy & STD prevention is essential to reversing these horrifying statistics. WE NEED YOUR HELP. SIGN OUR PETITION AND DEMAND THAT OKLAHOMA LAWMAKERS MAKE OUR CHILDREN’S HEALTH AND SAFETY A PRIORITY BY PASSING THESE IMPORTANT BILLS. EDUCATION IS PREVENTION. Sign Our Petition. Call and email your legislators. Stand with us against Sexual Violence. No more Silence. No more Shame.
Justice for Terence Crutcher
On Friday, September 16, Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby shot and killed 40-year-old Terence Crutcher on a Tulsa highway. He was unarmed and did nothing to deserve being murdered in cold-blood. Betty Shelby, the responding officer, says she feared for her life when she arrived "because he appeared to be on PCP". More stories are now being told that Terence had PCP residue/vials left in his car after they searched it, quickly trying to find a "justification" for murdering a man without allowing him the due process, violating his rights in the constitution AND his human rights, before even asking if he needed assistance. We need justice for Terence. He did not deserve to die. Sign this petition to call on the indictment of Betty Shelby for discrimination and murder. Police brutality is nothing new, but with thanks to technology, the disgusting abuse of power by those sworn to uphold our laws is now beginning to come to light. In one of the MANY executions committed by a law enforcement agency in America, an unarmed man, stopped in the road due to car troubles was approached by officers on the way to another call. They pulled up.Shot a man to death.collected their paychecks.Went home and slept soundly. Five officers surrounded Terrence Crutcher, one deployed their taser and Betty Shelby pulled her trigger, murdering him in cold blood and then refusing offer an medical aid or assistance. This woman is a criminal and murderer and needs to be brought to justice immediately. Failure to do so is an egregious violation of human rights, and a very clear demonstration that our legislature and government cares very little about the worth of human life. Let it be an example. My brothers and sisters, let us first take the first step and force the Tulsa County Prosecutor, the Oklahoma Governor, and our administration to finally be responsible for the unlawful practices of their law enforcement officers in these "free" United States of America. But the only way to do this is if we come together as one. Let us do this, and raise our collective voice until they can hear it, and pound the podium until they can feel the conviction in our voices that WE WILL NOT REST until justice and the law is corrected in America. Sign this petition to support justice for Terence through indictment of Betty Shelby.
State of Oklahoma: Kill SB32
If passed, SB32 will overturn existing Oklahoma law which currently prohibits breed discrimination. SB32 will allow cities to restrict ownership of any breed of dog by citizens within municipal limits. This will create breed-specific legislation (BSL) in Oklahoma.
Stop Senate Bill 1187 (School Deregulation Bill) and HB 3156.
SB 1187 allows school districts to request an exemption from the State Board of Education from all statutory requirements and State Board of Education rules of which charter schools are currently exempt. HB 3156 is a similar bill. HB 3156 does the following: A school district shall be allowed to become exempt from all statutory requirements and State Board of Education rules from which charter schools are exempt, as provided for in the Oklahoma Charter Schools Act. In case you didn't know, Oklahoma ranked 48th in the nation for Education. As a current school psychologist, this low ranking is more likely caused by the large class sizes, stress and pressure in passing the Oklahoma Core Curriculum Tests, low pay, lack of training in behavior management, pressure in teacher evaluations, and lack of respect by the community. Instead of paying our teachers more, reducing class sizes, and providing more support for our teachers, the passing of the SB 1187 bill will do the following: Elimination of the teacher's minimum salary schedule. Elimination of the requirement for school districts to participate in the Oklahoma Teacher's Retirement System (OTRS). Elimination of school district provided health insurance. Elimination of criminal background checks on school employees. Elimination of teacher evaluation and due process protections. Elimination of payroll deduction. Elimination of due process protections for support staff. Elimination of all certification requirements for all school district positions. Elimination of negotiations between a school district and employees. Elimination of student curriculum requirements. Elimination of required continuing education for local board of education members. Please sign and let our senators, state representatives, and governor know that we do not support this bill. Thank you everyone!
End or Reform Topix.com (
There is a dangerous, at times criminal, cyberbullying/hate-filled website on the internet called Topix.com that has been allowed to fly under the radar for far too long. Topix, which falsely claims to be a news aggregator (when in fact many of their forums contain virtually no news whatsover), is out of control throughout the United States and other countries. Topix is making a profit off of the very serious issues of bullying, harassment, drug sales, racism, and sexual predators with no accountability. Their lack of conscience is particularly alarming due to the growing number of suicides, cyberstalking victims, and people who have lost their reputations through the behavior of those who hide behind a keyboard. The way Topix functions is every town and city are given their own Topix site. For example, you can google Van Buren, Missouri topix and then click on the section which says forums. Topix allows hidden posters, without required registration, to post anything they want. This means that in many areas, especially small towns, people are libeled and defamed relentlessly and without moderation. The company claims they will remove abusive posts within 72 hours that are reported, but that rarely occurs. It should not be the responsibility of users to police the site when Topix are the ones making a profit. Topix has no desire to remove particularly popular posts, because they fear it will cost them website hits even if it destroys others. Topix has mocked freedom of speech. Libel, defamation and forums that promote incest and drug sales are not protected by the first amendment. Many innocent people have been called anything from drug users to pedofiles, or are accused of other things. This can destroy a reputation and much of the hatred is targeted toward children with no conscience or morality displayed by Topix management. We encourage you to do a search and find your own town or city's site and you will be horrified by much of what you see. There are also other Topix forums not dedicated to communities such as the human sexuality and AFAM forums that promote racism, incest, and even rape! This is not what the framers of our Constitution meant by the first amendment. Over 30 attorney generals two years ago sent a letter to the CEO of Topix, Mr.Chris Tolles, and he continues to make excuses. The company has even claimed that speech is more important than the victim. That is morally deplorable. In lieu of numerous complaints, Topix even changed their Terms of Service to become even more vague, making their site worse than ever. People are being forced to move to different towns and there have been incidents of violence because of the Topix website. Please sign the petition and ask for the forums section to either be completely removed if the forums are not going to be better moderated with accountability for those who slander and libel other people's names. Remember it takes a lifetime to build your reputation but only seconds for someone or a cowardly company to destroy it.
We need 16K Signatures!
Protect Oklahoma Nursing Home Funding #protecttheelderly
The crisis is real.Legislators need to hear from us! WE NEED 16,000 SIGNATURES. 1 for every elderly Oklahoman that will be devastated by the proposed 25% cuts! We all have a special senior in our lives...a mother or grandmother or aunt or a friend. Think of that special person as you hear about the proposed 25% cut to Medicaid in Oklahoma. As a concerned citizen or caregivers, join us in sending a message to our legislator that says "Wake up...we cant cut funding for our elderly, frail and disabled." These cuts would create a humanitarian crisis and cannot be ignored. Join our movement today to #protecttheelderly: SIGN this petition JOIN our grassroots email listCLICK HERE Help us send a clear message to our legislators that cuts to Medicaid funding for Nursing Homes is NOT OK!! Thank you!