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Petitioning city of anderson, South Carolina State Senate, South Carolina State House

Petition to replace the Confederate monument in Anderson with a Chadwick Boseman memorial

On August 28, 2020, the world was informed of the untimely passing of actor Chadwick Boseman. Mr. Boseman spent his life uplifting the stories of Black Americans both real and fictional. Throughout his career, he has brought to life such historical figures as James Brown, Jackie Robinson, and Thurgood Marshall. However, most notably he was known for playing T'Challa the King of Wakanda also know as the Black Panther. This film, along with his entire body of work, has uplifted and inspired many Black Americans especially during the turbulent times our nation is going through. In addition to his illustrious film career, Mr. Boseman made it a mission to give back to his community. Not only with his appearances at his alma mater Howard University but financially as well. Upon the release of his film Black Panther, Mr. Boseman took it upon himself to rent out a theatre in his home town of Anderson South Carolina to show the film for free. So that young boys and girls could be inspired by the film without the financial barrier. Mr. Boseman is without question an American treasure and his accolades go on and on. It is only fitting that his work is honored in the same place that birthed him. Earlier this year efforts were made by local residents to remove a Confederate monument located in the town square of downtown Anderson. Unfortunately, this effort gained no traction due to current South Carolina law. It is currently illegal to remove or alter monuments dedicated to confederate war efforts in the state of South Carolina,(SECTION 10-1-165). This has made any effort to remove the statue impossible. Many will agree that Mr.Boseman is without question worthy of such a monument in his home town, but I would like to go a step further. I believe that Mr.Boseman is worthy of the spot that is currently occupied in the town square. For those unfamiliar with Anderson, where the confederate monument is currently located is in the center of the town. One cannot go downtown with seeing or passing by this monument. I know from personal experience. I am not just a fan of Mr.Boseman but so happened to attend college in his hometown and went on to become the first Black graduate from BFA Acting program at Anderson University. For the past four years, every day as I walked to my class downtown the eyes of this monument would be the first thing I see. As I left and entered my classroom, I faced a monument erected to a man and an ideology that believed that I was inferior. At first, it did not affect me. It was simply a statue. But as time went on and the hate in our country once again reared its ugly head the statue became a reminder of how little progress has been made. As I saw the desecration of Black lives and the rights of Black Americans, this statue was no longer a reminder of the past but a warning of the future to come. For four years I decided to make Anderson my home. I've met the wonderful people there and have seen their hearts for change. Right now our great nation is divided into those who want to move forward and those who want to remain still. For many Americans, this is more than a  difference in politics but is quite literally a fight for our lives. As we are moving towards change, people must be given the opportunity to change their communities. It is unfair and undemocratic that the residents of Anderson County cannot even assemble to vote on whether or not this statue should remain. Under the current state law, even if the removal was placed on the local ballot and the residents voted for removal it would not be allowed. The statue has been placed on public land and is maintained by taxpayer dollars it only makes sense that the people should have a say on what goes on this land. The function of a government is to serve all of its people. Section 10-1-165 must be repealed. We must move past the tragedies of our past in this nation and celebrate new heroes. Mr. Boseman is a hero to this nation but more importantly a hero to the town of Anderson. His legacy was one of excellence and equality. As fellow citizens go about their day they should have a face that sees all people as equal. That sees all citizens regardless of outward appearance as a member of the Anderson community.  To move forward into a brighter day Section 10-1-165 must be repealed.  And upon the removal of a monument to the past I can think of no better person than Mr. Chadwick Boseman as a monument to the future. Thank you so much for your time and I encourage you to show your support by sharing and signing the petition.

DeAndre Weaver
242,999 supporters
Petitioning Terence Roberts, South Carolina State Senate, South Carolina State House, Henry McMaster

Replace the Confederate Monument in Downtown Anderson with a statue of Chadwick Boseman

With Chadwick Boseman’s early passing, it is important that we honor a true local legend my immortalizing him in stone in front of the courthouse. The Confederate Monument belongs in a museum, but has no right to be displayed there. I believe the community should come together to honor someone from Anderson, South Carolina that was able to change the movie industry. He opened many doors for many young black people with his leading roles in movies such as Black Panther or Marshall. It is only natural that his hometown honors what he did. There is no need for political controversy in this decision. The old statue need not be destroyed; however, with the engravings on the base, it is beyond time for its retirement. The Anderson County Museum should be the permanent home to the Confederate Monument. It should be accompanied by the history of the monument and the reasoning for its relocation. It should preserve history, but not honor the ideals for which the Confederacy stood. I suggest that the Anderson City Council decide to replace the statue as soon as they possibly can. It would need to go through to South Carolina Senate as it is illegal to remove said Confederate Monument due to the Heritage Act (which was created as a compromise when the Confederate flag was taken down from the Statehouse). With help from the signers of this petition, I hope that it becomes apparent how popular this idea is. It is time to unify Anderson around a true local hero and time to honor all South Carolinians, not just the ideals of a few. The Heritage Act needs to be repealed and it should be up to the citizens of the town to decide whether or not the statues remain. I hope that the government of South Carolina see that the fate of said statues should be in the people's hands, not just government officials. The monument represents the idea that the South was justified in their war; therefore, the South was justified in owning living human beings. Etched into the stone reads "The world shall yet decide, in truths clear, far-off light, that the soldiers who wore the gray, and died with Lee, were in the right." Regardless of political party, one must recognize that the morality of the Confederate States was flawed and simply cannot be justified as "right" by today's standards. Anderson needs to honor a citizen that inspired millions. Anderson needs Chadwick Boseman, may he rest in peace. (Note: This statue will only go up if it is approved by the city as well as the Boseman family. There are two separate causes in this petition. One of removing a monument that people believe shouldn’t be there and another of replacing the space left empty with a monument to a local person with a large cultural impact on the world. The notion to remove the confederate monument stands regardless of its replacement with another statue.)   

Anderson Citizen
109,819 supporters
Victory
Petitioning South Carolina State Senate

Remove the Confederate Flag from the State House Grounds

UPDATE:  I started this petition BEFORE the terrible hate crime was committed in Charleston.  That horrific event has become the catalyst for my petition gaining so much attention.  Also, Gov. Nikki Haley has changed her position from when I started this petition, but I do not want to change my original message. We have some great momentum now, but the job is not yet complete... Please keep sharing this petition until the Confederate flag comes down from the grounds of the South Carolina State House! PETITION: As a South Carolina resident, my heart broke when I heard about the senseless killings of nine African-American churchgoers during prayer in Charleston. As we mourn and search for answers, I can’t help but turn my attention again to how our state leaders continue to stand by a symbol that represents similar acts of hatred and racism. The Confederate flag is proudly displayed and flown at South Carolina’s State Capitol. Why are we intentionally sending a message of support of terror and oppression to our citizens and the rest of the country? I’m a former teacher who has taken my kids to visit the State House. I was sick to see that the Confederate flag was displayed right at the building’s front door. That’s right, the first thing you see upon entry is a definitive symbol of African-American hatred. What does that teach my children? It tells them that our leaders support bigotry and choose to feign ignorance in order to obtain votes. I can’t stand by and let that happen any longer. The suspect in this tragedy, Dylann Roof, was known to associate with the Confederate States of America -- an organization eager to return to a white supremacist era. He even had a Confederate Flag license plate. While some defend the flag as a symbol of our state’s history, they fail to recognize that elements of our past are not worth glorifying. I don’t believe that taxpayer dollars should support what is a very poor representation of our state. I like Governor Nikki Haley, but I don’t support her defense of the Confederate flag on public grounds. I am asking her and our elected leaders to take the overdue and necessary step to take down the flag for once and all. When I visited the State House, I asked an African-American man exercising on the building’s steps what he thought of the flag. He said it didn’t matter because it would never change. Many people here accept the status quo out of fear nothing will change. We don’t have to accept that reality. We know that the flag appeals to a very specific group of people, but it otherwise serves little to no purpose for most South Carolinians. Let’s make this change. What we saw on June 17 was a premeditated act of mass murder likely fueled by hate. Let this be the last such act that takes place in our state under a flag that stands for such violence and inequality. It’s time for Gov. Haley and the state’s legislature to remove the Confederate flag from the State House once and for all.

N A
59,814 supporters
Petitioning South Carolina State Senate, South Carolina State House, Bill Chumley

Victoria's Law for Department of Social Services and Child Protective Services Reform

In March of 2020 Victoria Rose Smith age 3 was placed in an adoptive home with her 2 biological brothers. It appears from the start of them being in this home they were abused severely.  On January 14 2021 emergency services were called to the adoptive home by the adoptive parents and Victoria was found unresponsive.  She was taken to a local hospital where she died from her injuries.  The coroner's report said that the cause of death was multiple blunt force traumas.  The brother's were removed from the home and placed into foster care and 5 days later the adoptive parents were arrested for homicide by child abuse and are currently being held without bond.  It is apparent that DSS and CPS did not do the due diligence needed to truly safe, healthy home.  Photos posted on social media appear to show the children always recovering from bruises on their head, neck and arms.  Most of them on Victoria.  We are calling upon the State of South Carolina to pass the bill to be name Victoria's Law which will call for reform of the current screening process to become not only an adoptive parent but as a foster parent as well.   We want there to be frequent non-scheduled home visits to the foster and adoptive parents and even after adoptions are finalized.  We want Guardian Ad Litem's and case workers to talk privately with children in these homes so that they have the chance to ask for help if they need it.   By signing this petition for change you are saying fix DSS and CPS system so that our most venerable and innocent citizens don't go through what Victoria, her brothers and countless other's in the SC DSS and CPS are going through.  

Michelle Urps
44,846 supporters
Petitioning Donald Trump, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, Department of Veterans Affairs, Alabama State Senate, Alabama State House, Alabama Governor, Florida State Senate, Florida State House, Flo...

Congress: Let all children of U.S. military service members unite with their families!

I’m Jenifer Bass, a U.S. Navy veteran, who served for 10 years, one-third in the Asia-Pacific region. It was due to my travel between ports in countries like Japan and Thailand that I first encountered amerasian children, and descendants, of U.S. service members and civilian contractors previously stationed overseas. Filipino Amerasians are abandoned and neglected biracial children of Filipino mothers and American fathers (mostly members of the US armed forces). In the Philippines alone, more than 52,000-plus children were born and left behind after the U.S. Navy withdrew the last of its military personnel in 1992. Right now, the U.S. government won’t legally recognize them as U.S. citizens, despite having been born to an American parent. The Philippine Embassy won't help them either. As a former US colony between 1898 and 1946, the Philippines was home to millions of US soldiers and their dependents, even after its independence. Until 1992, the country hosted two of the largest US military facilities outside the US – Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base, which played major roles during the Vietnam and first Gulf wars. In 1982 US Public Law 97-359, or the Amerasian Act of 1982, allowed children from Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Kampuchea, or Thailand to move to the US and eventually become American citizens, but those who were from the Philippines were excluded from the law, an exclusion which was upheld by the US Senate on the basis that many Filipino Amerasians were “conceived from illicit affairs and prostitution”, and were born during peacetime. Today, there are estimated to be more than 250,000-plus children. Many amerasians are caught in a no-man’s land of discrimination and poverty -- most left behind by U.S. service members who are unaware that they’ve fathered children overseas. My friend John Haines is one of these sailors. In 2011, John discovered he was the father of a half-Filipino daughter, Jannette. He attempted to unite with her through the American Homecoming Act -- but was frustrated to learn that the Act did not apply to Filipino children of U.S. service members. Today, all John wants is to be united with his daughter and grandchildren. He, like so many other veterans are living with a “hole in their hearts” as they search for ways to unite with their children. There is hope. The Uniting Families Act of 2018, HR 1520, creates a specialized visa allowing military veterans and eligible civilian contractors to sponsor their children and grandchildren for U.S. citizenship. Currently, blood relationship must be proven by DNA test and the total number of visas granted will be capped at 5,000 each year. The issue takes on more urgency as so many of our veterans from our wars in Southeast Asia are getting older and dying each day -- without the chance to connect, or in some cases, reconnect with their own children. John’s daughter Jannette has already undertaken the DNA testing process, conclusively proving her relationship to her American father. All she’s waiting for is the opportunity to permanently unite with her father. There is a PBS documentary, "Left by the Ship" (2010), documenting a day in the life and the personal struggles as a Filipino amerasian on the never ending search for identity and their struggles to connect to their American military families. Please sign this petition to tell Congress that these families cannot wait another day. Pass the Uniting Families Act of 2017, HR 1520, now!

Terra Jackson
34,680 supporters
Petitioning Robert L Caslen, The University of South Carolina, South Carolina Governor, South Carolina State Senate, South Carolina State House

Rename the Strom Thurmond Center at The University of South Carolina

This petition is to rename the Strom Thurmond Wellness and Fitness Center at the University of South Carolina. I am an alumni of this University and am embarrassed after a quick Google search of the name of one of the most frequented buildings on our campus.  Although Thurmond was known for other things outside of his racism, we can not put racists on a pedestal or on the side of buildings if we want to become an anti-racist University and student-body.  Here is a little bit of background on Strom Thurmond:  He wrote the first version of the Southern Manifesto, announcing Southern disagreement with the 1954 U.S Supreme Court decision in Brown v Board of Education which ruled that public school segregation was unconstitutional. Strom Thurmond was a Segregationist Politician who served 48 years as a U.S. senator for South Carolina. In 1948, he ran for president of the United States on a platform that opposed the civil rights of African Americans. He was the leader of the Dixiecrat Revolt - The Party opposed racial integration and wanted to retain Jim Crow laws and white supremacy in the face of possible federal intervention Thurmond filibustered for more than 24 hours to prevent passing the Civil Rights Act of 1957. "Strom Thurmond, Foe of Integration, Dies at 100" was the headline of a 2003 New York Times article about his passing.  After his passing, Essie-Mae Washington-Williams revealed she was Thurmond's daughter. Washington-Williams mother was an African American who was employed as a domestic worker at Thurmond's family home - she was 16.  The word "Strom" is heard numerous times daily for students at USC, and it's time to change the name of this building to someone that we are proud to represent and promotes an anti-racist future for The University of South Carolina, its students, faculty and alumni.  Thank you.  

Heather Armel
20,260 supporters
Petitioning US Attorney General, state police, County Police, US House of Representatives, South Carolina State Senate, South Carolina State House, Tim Scott, Donald M. Payne, Jr., Corey Booker, Maxine Waters

CHANGE HOW POLICE RESPOND TO REPORTS OF MISSING CHILDREN! Support the Amenhotep Law

On April 5, 2021, in Lexington County, South Carolina, 15-year-old Sanaa Amenhotep was lured away from her home by someone she thought was a friend. She  left without permission and was gone for an extended period of time. Her mother contacted the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department to inform them that her daughter was missing. The mom said the first question she was asked was, “had she done this before’? Her response was “Yes, but it’s different this time”. Basic information was taken, but they took no action.  Sanaa and her mom had recently relocated from New Jersey and had limited family in the area. For days her mother and aunt went looking for her. On the 5th and 10th days of her missing, again her mother reached out to the Sheriff. Again, no action was taken. On April 30, 2021, after 25 days, Sanaa Amenhotep’s decomposing and bullet ridden body was found in a shallow grave less than 25 miles away from her home. Would things have been different if the police had taken action when the mother said, YES, BUT IT’S DIFFERENT THIS TIME? Almost daily we hear stories about teens who go missing, found as victims of trafficking and exploitation or assaulted and even murdered by a predator, like Sanaa. While those cases may generate headlines or brief flurries of media interest, what is sometimes missed is how their cases began and how we as first responders, call takers and investigators approached their case from onset. All too often those cases began as a report of a missing child who was either characterized by the family from the start as voluntarily missing or whose case was approached as a probable runaway by law enforcement. Sadly, many of those we “thought” were runaways or were voluntarily missing were actually abducted, lured away or not allowed to return by a predator, like Sanaa.  Regardless how they went missing, the bottom line is that their cases did not receive the same degree of attention or investigative resources that a reported abduction or endangered missing classification might have prompted, like the case of Sanaa Amenhotep.  CREATING A POLICY AND A CULTURE CHANGE In order to properly address the issue of runaways and voluntary missing in terms of how we respond and investigate, we must implement national policy and a culture change in law enforcement. In a vast majority of these cases the child is reunited with their family or comes home on his or her own. It is easy to see how we can become complacent to the fact that there are children in that group that will never come home, like Sanaa Amenhotep, without a law that requires a different public safety response.  One child’s death is one too many. While Sanaa Amenhotep’s abduction and murder are not the first case of this nature and sadly, probably will not be the last. But it should be considered the catalyst for change.  According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, NCIC, there are an estimated 460,000 children reported missing every year in the United States.  This, however, is only a snapshot of the problem. There are many cases that go unreported or treated as a runaway case, as the Lexington County Sheriff’s Office did with Sanaa Amenhotep.  It is time for a cultural shift in regard to runaways and implement a national policy and plan of action for public safety response. We propose the introduction of the Amenhotep Respond and Alert Law. 

Amenhotep Alert & Response Law commUNITY
16,948 supporters
Petitioning South Carolina State Senate, South Carolina State House, Henry McMaster, Brandon Newton

Banning Conversion Therapy on Minors in South Carolina

Conversion therapy is a dangerous and extreme action aimed to change one's sexual orientation or gender identity. A study done by the San Francisco State University found that LGBTQ+ minors who undergone extreme rejection from parents because of their sexual orientation/gender identity were eight times as likely to attempt suicide, almost six times as likely to report high levels of depression, more than three times as likely to take part in illegal drug usage, and more than three times as likely to be at high risk for HIV and other STDs, than LGBTQ+ minors whose parents accept their sexual orientation/gender identity. The American Psychological Association advises against conversion therapy and suggests "social support and educational services." The American College of Physicians opposes the use of conversion therapy. In 2012, the Pan American Health Organization, a regional branch of the World Health Organization, declared that conversion therapy lacks medical justification and is unethical. The World Psychiatric Association labeled conversion therapy as unethical and stated there is no scientific proof to conclude one's sexual orientation or gender identity can be changed. As of August of 2020, twenty-one states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico have some sort of ban or restriction on conversion therapy on minors. 50% of LGBTQ+ Americans live in a state with no laws banning/restricting conversion therapy on minors. South Carolina is one of the states that doesn't have legislation prohibiting or restricting the practice of conversion therapy on minors. More states are adopting legislation to ban conversion therapy on minors, the most recent being Virginia with its conversion therapy ban that took effect in July, 2020. South Carolina can be the next! Let's work together to ban conversion therapy in the state of South Carolina! Let's ban this damaging abuse which aims to "get rid of and cure" someone's love and identity! 

Vincent Baldassarri
12,117 supporters