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Started 10 petitions
Tell Beaverton School District: Student Teachers Shouldn't Be Fired Over Sexual Orientation
UPDATE: Thank you to everyone who signed this petition! After more than 5,000 emails, the Beaverton School District announced that they made a mistake in removing Stambaugh from the classroom, and have worked with administrators at Lewis & Clark College to place him back inside the classroom. Thanks to all who took action! For more information, check out this piece. A gay student teacher in Oregon was removed from the classroom by the Beaverton School District because he told a student that it was illegal for same-sex couples to get married in the state. According to this article from The Portland Mercury, Seth Stambaugh was asked by one of his students whether he'd get married someday. Stambaugh responded that it was illlegal for him to get married, because same-sex marriage is illegal in the state of Oregon. When the student followed up by asking if that meant Stambaugh liked hanging out with men, Stambaugh responded yes. After this conversation, a parent caught wind of the story and reported it to school officials. Afterwards, school officials approached Stambaugh, as well as his college (Lewis and Clark), and told him that he'd have to seek a student teaching placement elsewhere. His conversation, according to the Beaverton School District, was "inappropriate." Is this the culture that Beaverton officials want to integrate into their schools? Where a teacher can be removed from the classroom solely for owning up to their identity, and being honest with a student? Send the Beaverton School District a message that they were way out of bounds here, and shouldn't be disciplining student teachers on the basis of their sexual orientation. It's unprofessional, wrong, and a detriment to the culture of integrity that school districts should be looking to foster for their students.
Tell Sen. Saxby Chambliss' Office to Apologize for "Faggots Must Die" Remark
After every single Republican voted to filibuster and prevent "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" legislation from moving forward in the U.S. Senate, a staff person from Sen. Saxby Chambliss' Georgia office took to the gay blogosphere, and left a comment on popular blog Joe.My.God. That comment, left under the name "Jimmy," went a little something like this: "All Faggots Must Die." Joe Jervis, who writes the Joe.My.God blog, touched base with his readership and together folks were able to sleuth out that the IP address of the commenter belonged to someone inside Sen. Chambliss' Georgia office. Three cheers for gay people in the IT field! But a huge, jaw-dropping look of awe and disgust for Sen. Saxby Chambliss. This type of rhetoric is unacceptable in any form, let alone coming from someone employed by the federal government. Email Sen. Saxby Chambliss' office right now, letting Sen. Chambliss know that he must address this incident, and that it's his job to create a culture within his office where no one feels like they can get away with expressing a "gays must die" sentiment.
Demand Ontario Libraries Stop Filtering Gay Social Networking Web Sites
Gay social networking sites like www.gaycanada.com have been seemingly banned from some Ontario public libraries in Canada, filtered as part of a policy to keep "offensive" Web sites from being accessed on library computers. But many of these Web sites aren't offensive; rather, they're social networking spaces for LGBT people to connect with one another, similar to Facebook. The President of Chatham-Kent Pride in Ontario, Sarah Fraleigh, tried to access gaycanada.com at a local public library, before finding out that the word "gay" was filtered, labeled as offensive. "The GayCanada site is a way for gay people to contact people who are similar and for many it's their only way to communicate, as many of us live in smaller communities in this municipality and may not have many people we can talk to where this site offers us the chance," said Fraleigh. "These sites are no different in nature than Facebook, and I can certainly say it's much better in content than several other sites that can be accessed through the public library." Indeed, other terms, including curse words and many sexually-suggestive words, are permissible under the library's filtering system. But the word "gay" is not. Send a message ot the Chatham-Kent library system, as well as to Ontario's Minitry of Culture, letting them know that filtering the word "gay" at libraries is not only censorship, but it prevents people from accessing communities and friends.
Major Lenders Make Greener Loans But Not PNC Bank
Victory! PNC Bank has just joined six other major banks — including Bank of America, Citi, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Credit Suisse — in issuing a new policy on MTR coal mining. This is a big victory for the massive coalition that has been working to stop the deliberate destruction of Appalachia that has been occurring one mountain at a time at the hands of some of the most rapacious companies on Earth. Thank you for adding your voice. Read more here. Mountaintop removal coal mining is one of the dirtiest energy extraction techniques on earth, one that major financial institutions increasingly want to stop financing. In fact, several major lenders, including Bank of America, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo, have already responded to pressure from activists and adopted greener lending standards to screen out, reduce or cut ties with Appalachian coal companies that engage in this practice, There is one major laggard in this greener lending trend: Pittsburgh-based PNC Bank has so far refused to disengage from financing mountaintop removal projects. That makes PNC currently the largest U.S.-based financier of mountaintop removal (MTR) projects, according to a Solve Climate article. PNC has provided $500 million to the coal industry, with $80 million going directly to MTR. What's more, unlike several other banks, PNC has also refused to cut ties with Massey Energy, the mining company responsible for the deaths of 29 workers in a catastrophic underground mine explosion this April. The Steel City bank has earned an "F" grade from the Rainforest Action Network and the Sierra Club for their banking practices earlier this year. A bank's decision whether or not to lend money is a powerful tool for change. Eventually, if enough banks will take a stand, there will be no one left to cut dirty coal companies a check. That's why it's important to tell PNC to join this growing green lending trend. Please sign the petition below.
Stop Degrading "Labia Lift" Searches in Colorado Prisons
VICTORY! Colorado prisons will no longer be engaging in degrading "labia lift" strip searches. Female prisoners in Colorado are now forced to spread open their labia so that guards can peer into their genitals at close range. Does this strike anybody else as overkill? Colorado already had an invasive policy of "bend over, squat, spread and cough" for anal cavity searches, but this new addition takes the standard prisoner strip search to a new level of humiliation and violation. This is especially troubling given that 80% of female prisoners have a history of sexual abuse and some suffer from PTSD as a result. Flashbacks can be triggered by being forced to lift their labia and sometimes clitoral hoods so that a guard can leer in from inches away with a flashlight beam. Prisoners who have tried to refuse compliance have been threatened with pepper spray. This "degrading, gratuitous and unconstitutional" policy, in the words of the ACLU, is being used in searches where guards don't even have any suspicion that the prisoner is trying to hide contraband. Tell Ari Zavaras, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Corrections, to rescind the new policy immediately. Photo credit: paper or plastic?
Election Day Climate Showdown: Spread Word To Defeat Calif. Prop. 23
Victory! Prop 23 went down at the polls this Election Day, largely due to a powerful organizing effort that overwhelmed its Big Oil backers. A thanks to Change.org members who spread word on the "No on 23" campaign. Read more here. Since Congress isn't acting to curb climate change, it's now up to the states. So that's where big oil companies are now taking their cash to stall global warming legislation. A test-case battle is now taking place in California this November. Texas-based oil companies Valero and Tesoro have poured millions into financing Proposition 23, an Election Day ballot measure that would effectively repeal California's landmark 2006 global warming law, known as AB 32. They falsely claim this will help the state's flagging economy. In reality, abandoning the law will only help their profits; Overall, it would kill jobs by crippling the state's emerging clean energy sector. Worse, it would stymie the bill's efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution; Already, the law has has saved thousands of lives. Don't think this doesn't matter if you don't live in California. If oil companies can buy their way out of new regulations in such a progressive state, that doesn’t bode well for Capitol Hill, where Big Oil employs a small army of lobbyists to maintain their stranglehold on our nation's energy policy. So how about this. Pledge now to take a stand in this battle. If you live in California, that means you promise to go to the ballot in November and vote "no." No matter where you live, take the pledge to spread the word. Forward this letter or this blog post. Call all of your friends in California and tell them to do the same. Let Californians hear a national chorus calling for a defeat of this measure.
Create a Vegan-Friendly Food Pyramid
USDA is working on a revision of the food pyramid, which is used as a guideline for how people should ideally eat and to educate people about nutrition. However, it continues to emphasize meat and dairy products without providing alternatives for those who choose a plant-based diet for health or ethical reasons. In a recent report, the USDA itself called for a shift toward a more plant-based diet, however, the well-publicized food pyramid continues to pander to the interests of animal agriculture. Urge the USDA to incorporate a list of healthy alternatives to animal-based foods in their 2010 food pyramid. Photo credit: adactio
Tell Citibank to Stop Offering Discounts on Shark Meat
Update (7/23/10): More than 75 Change.org readers petitioned Citibank Singapore to stop offering cardholders discounts on shark meat. In fewer than 24 hours, the company responded and agreed to cancel the promotion. Get the full story here. Shark populations are in hot water. A global appetite for shark fin soup has caused some species of the swimmers to decline by as much as 99 percent. Every year, 100 million sharks are killed, oftentimes through "finning," a brutal process where fishermen catch the fish, slice off their fins, and throw the sharks back into the water to die. Despite sharks' precarious survival, Citibank Singapore offers its cardholders a 15 percent discount at Imperial Court Shark Fin's Restaurant, which serves up shark fin and other seafood dishes. Tell Citibank it needs to stop providing incentives to the detriment of the world's oceans. Sign our petition asking Citibank Singapore to stop running its shark fin promotion.
Demand CBS Reverse Decision Declaring Pro-Marijuana Ad “Too Political”
CBS, which recently ran a superbowl ad sponsored by the extreme right-wing group Focus on the Family, has just rejected an ad by NORML calling for the legalization of marijuana. The ad was supposed to run on Times Square billboards owned by CBS in New York City. The slogan at the end of the ad was simply “Legalize Marijuana – Billions in Taxes.” CBS previously rejected ads from a variety of progressive organizations including MoveOn and the United Church of Christ by saying that it didn’t accept “advocacy” ads at all. In response to the controversy surrounding the Focus on the Family ad, however, the company claimed it changed its policy and would now accept “responsibly produced” advocacy ads. An email from the ad buying company NORML used told the organization “that If CBS changes their morals we will let you know.” CBS is clearly acting in bad faith as it accepts conservative political ads but not progressive ones. The company is not only banning NORML’s message, it is implicitly endorsing Focus on the Family at the same time. Send an email to CBS and tell them to accept the NORML ad now!
Tell Louisiana: Oral Sex Doesn’t Make You a Sex Offender
In Louisiana, sex workers convicted of performing oral or anal sex are subjected to felony charges, longer jail time, and forced to register as sex offenders after their prison sentence is over. Louisiana has an outdated “crimes against nature” law still on the books that add these harsher punishments. A first time conviction for prostitution is a misdemeanor, but a “crimes against nature” conviction is a felony, subject to up five years in prison a $2000 fine and sex offender registration. All of this ends up presenting additional dangers and struggles to an already vulnerable population. In New Orleans, the city police report that women commit only 4% of sexual assaults, yet they account for about 25% of registered sex offenders because of this law. These women who often turned to sex work to escape poverty are then turned away from many regular social services including safe housing and hurricane storm shelters because of their sex offender status, and end up forced to share shelter spaces with people who have committed sexual assault and rape. Further, because of the felony status of the charge, these sex workers aren’t able to access many benefits like food stamps that could otherwise help them survive. Send a letter to the Governor of Louisiana and the state legislature telling them that “crimes against nature” laws are unfair, outdated, and not helping to keep our communities safe. photo: clagnut