Topic

african american

14 petitions

Update posted 5 days ago

Petition to Donald Trump

Clemency for Chalana McFarland

http://www.candoclemency.com/chalana-mcfarland We are the family of Chalana McFarland and we are seeking support for her petition for Clemency from President Trump. Chalana, a first time non-violent offender, was sentenced in 2005 to 30 years in prison for her role as a closing attorney in a mortgage fraud scheme. The loan officers in the case received sentences of 24 months and 5 months respectively. Various other participants, including those with prior criminal records, received up 87 months. Chalana received nearly four times that of any other participant.  The judge in her case cited the need for her case to serve as an example to other attorneys who fail in their roles as gatekeepers against fraud. McFarland's sentence at the time was the longest in the history of the United States for a closing attorney. Other attorneys, sentenced by the same judge in cases after Chalana's, have received sentences ranging from 33-54 months. Chalana has currently served over 10 years (120 months) and has exhausted all of her appeals. Clemency is her last chance to return home to raise her daughter, now 15 years old. Her case is one in which the sentencing guidelines which are intended to provide sentences that are equitable and fair, has resulted in a sentence which is simply unjust.        From Chalana Remorse is a ghost that haunts my life. It is hard to express the sorrow I feel about the choices I made that led to my incarceration. I am ashamed of my actions. Its more than just mere embarrassment or regret. It is a deep hurt that makes me wonder if I will ever feel whole again. Countless days I have laid in my bunk reliving my mistakes over and over. If I could go back in time, I would do so many things differently. At first I laid the blame at the feet of all my co-conspirators. They duped me…they tricked me…they lied to me. Even though on many levels all of that is true, at the end of the day, I am responsible for the behavior that I chose to engage in. I, solely, am responsible for my incarceration. That fact was a bitter pill to swallow. At times, I wondered if I was worthy of redemption after all the pain and embarrassment I caused my family and the harm to my community. A recurrent nightmare I have is that my greatest fear comes to pass and everyone in my family dies off or forgets about me. I have seen countless friends and family members fall by the wayside over the past 12 years. My parents are in their 70s and their health is failing. I have one daughter, who at the age of 16, will soon embark on her own life. If I lose my parents, will my daughter consider me a burden? Will I miss her graduations, wedding, and the birth of her children as I have all the other events in her life so far? She was three years old when I was sent to prison to begin serving a 30-year sentence as a first-time nonviolent offender. I committed mortgage fraud and I will be 62 years old when I am released from prison. What kind of life would have when I am released as a senior citizen? I had hard choices to make about how I was going to survive incarceration. The first step was realizing that despite my fervent wishes, I cannot change the past. I decided to become the best person that I could be from that day forward. Prison strips you down to your true self. Every aspect of your individual identity is challenged. One must decide who one is and what one believes. Over the last decade, I have gotten to know my true self and I like her. I have learned that family is the most important treasure you can ever have in your life and I am so thankful for mine. I also came to the realization that the world owes me nothing. I owe a debt to my daughter that can never be repaid because my choices left her motherless. I know she loves me and I pray that someday when she is old enough to grasp it all that she will forgive me. When Pres. Obama’s clemency initiative was announced, I began to hope that somehow God might grant me a second chance. I celebrated with each of the ladies I knew that received clemency. I saw lives be restored and I wondered if someday I would also be granted a reprieve. All I need is another chance. I know that I will be able to move forward and be an asset to my family and community. I humble ask for your support and continued prayers as I seek clemency. We are asking you to forward Chalana's story to as many people as possible and to post your comments. Let's help bring her home.  

Latonya Berry
509 supporters
Update posted 4 weeks ago

Petition to Metro Nashville Council, Office of the Mayor, Tanaka Vercher, Colby Sledge

Save artist William Edmondson's homesite and park before Nashville sells to developers

UPDATE: Thanks to public outrcy, on June 19, Metro Nashville Council voted unanimously to stop the sale of the Edmondson Homesite and the adjacent neighborhood park and Community Garden. Why are we not declaring "Victory"? Because the land could still be transferred to agencies that are unaccountable to the people, and chopped up and dealt away. We ask you to continue to sign and share this petition, to send an unmistakable message: We insist on a community-lead process to determine the protection and public use of this land. No sale or land swap to unaccountable agencies or backroom deals that give the appearance, but not the reality, of community involvement. Read below for original language and details: ORIGINAL PETITION (important details included): Nashville's Mayor plans to immediately sell a neighborhood park, which includes the former homesite of William Edmondson, Nashville's most celebrated African American artist, to private developers to help balance the city budget. If this is approved by Metro Council on June 19, 2018, it will take precious parkland away from citizens, wipe away a historic site, accelerate the destruction of a historic middle- and working-class African American neighborhood, and eliminate a community garden that has served neighborhood families for generations. It will destroy a priceless historical and cultural site that should be preserved and enhanced instead. All with ZERO input from the neighborhood, the historical preservation community, or local or national arts and creative community. It also ignores and disrespects any and all previous land use policy conversations with the neighborhood. Instead of callously erasing this public land, Metro Nashville should be protecting it.  Metro Nashville Council votes on its budget, which will authorize selling the land, on June 19. If it passes, we may lose this precious site forever. If we can stop it, we can at least begin a rational discussion as to how to best preserve and develop the property responsibly, as a proper monument to a great artist and as a living legacy that serves all citizens. Therefore, we petition for the following: 1. Immediate halt of the sale of this public land to for private gain, and a commitment by the Mayor engage in a community-led process on its appropriate development as public greenspace. 2. Transfer to the Parks Department and implement a meaningful master planning process, led by the community, with involvement of all stakeholders of the site; for instance including themed playgrounds, integration with the adjacent branch library, a sculpture garden with landscaping, picnic shelters, and educational interpretive displays to share the stories of William Edmondson and other neighborhood heroes, such as pioneering musician Deford Bailey and early 20th century civil rights activist Callie House. 3. The specific section of the property where William Edmondson's house and studio stood is forever preserved and developed as a site honoring his art and life. 4. The land next to the homesite, which is now parkland and community garden, should be protected as such, and improved via the master planning process. 5. If any other portion of the site is eventually sold to private interests or moved to other governmental agencies such as MDHA, it must be done within a strict and binding community-led planning framework, including firm safeguards of appropriate zoning and land use policies, that will enhance the neighborhood, not further threaten it. BACKGROUND: Edgehill neighborhood is one of Nashville's oldest historically African-American neighborhoods. It began during the Civil War, as a camp for runaway slaves. Later, it became a self-sufficient working class and middle class neighborhood during the decades of segregation. Today, it is under intense development pressure from both private entities and public agencies, that threaten the neighborhood with extinction. Self-taught limestone sculptor William Edmondson was the first African American artist to receive a solo show at the Museum of Modern Art, in 1937. He is celebrated worldwide for his simple, but subtle, limestone garden sculptures, which are prized by collectors and sell for as much as $250,000. His work, and his story of vision, resourcefulness and faith, continue to inspire new generations of artists locally and around the world. Edmondson's former homesite, where he lived, created his masterpieces, and died, is currently part of a park that includes a playground, basketball courts, picnic area, and a 25 year old community garden that serves children and families with fresh air, fresh fruits and vegetables, and community interaction. Shockingly, Nashville's Mayor has suddenly announced plans to rezone and sell this property to private developers "to the highest bidder" to help plug a gap in the city's 2018-2019 budget. This likely means luxury high-rise condos or similar inappropriate development that will wipe away this treasured land, unless it is stopped. To date, there has been very little outreach by the city to the to the neighborhood to inform them, much less to invite participation in the future if the park. Nashville is booming. Development is proceeding at a feverish pace. Affordable housing is getting scarce. This area is already under tremendous gentrification pressure and the very survival of this historic neighborhood is at stake. The effect of eliminating the park in favor of incompatible development would be catastrophic. Loss of the park would be be a huge blow to the neighborhood's vibrancy. Loss of the Edmondson homesite would be an irreversible loss of Nashville's social, cultural, and artistic history. Imagine bulldozing the place where Picasso made his masterpieces.  The sale is part of the Budget that must be approved by Metro Council on June 19.  The eventual process of approvals is complicated and involves many city departments, but once the budget is approved, it becomes much harder to stop this reckless, shortsighted plan that was hatched in secret, and replace it with sound planning that respects the rights all of the citizens. William Edmondson's carved tombstones and garden sculptures spoke to the themes of faith, community, connection to the land, and remembrance. His own grave is lost, leaving his homesite --where he lived, worked, and died-- as the only physical place where he can properly be honored. This is hallowed ground. Please help us save it.    

Mark Schlicher
2,588 supporters
This petition won 3 months ago

Petition to Andrew Cuomo, Central Park, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Bill de Blasio

Racial Injustice: Honor African American Victims of Surgical Experimentation

     J. Marion Sims was a physician that lived in the 1800's.  Many medical scientists and doctors in healthcare today hail him as a modern hero, earning him the title, "Father of Modern Gynecology."  He is credited with the creation of a groundbreaking surgery to fix vesicovaginal fistulas in women.        What is not being talked about however, is the unethical and inhumane experimental surgeries he performed on African-American enslaved women and babies.                     Central Park is honoring a man for treating black slaves like animals.      Sims first began studying what he called "trismus nascentium," which is now known as tetanus bacteria.  A tetanus bacterium develops from horse manure, and enslaved infants had a higher rate of the disease, most likely from being in close contact with horses and horse barns.  His comments in the article are very clear about the way he viewed African Americans.  He says, "Wherever there are poverty, and filth, and laziness, or where intellectual capacity is cramped, the moral and social feelings blunted, there it [tetanus] will be found oftener...."      Sims bought black slave babies, and using a shoemaker’s awl, pried into the infant's skulls to fix what he called a "misalignment" of the head.            He bought these child slaves for the sole purpose of performing these surgeries.  After their death he would autopsy their bodies.                        He then began trying to develop a new surgical technique for vesicovaginal fistulas.  Once again, he purchased several black slaves.  His method was to perfect his technique on the slaves, and once he mastered it, treat the upper-class white women.  He set up a hospital in his backyard where he performed painful, dehumanizing, and inhumane surgeries on these women, none of whom were given anesthesia.  The youngest slave was only 17 years of age.  He would often round up other surgeons to watch this horrific procedure being performed, and after surgery he gave them very little food or water for several weeks. One woman alone, named Anarcha, had as many as 30 operations.                     After he had perfected his surgery, he began traveling extensively and treating elite class white women.  They were all given anesthesia, and all of them had a choice about whether or not they wanted the surgery.  He became a world famous doctor. The statue of him stands tall in the New York City Central Park.      The true heroes of this story are the slaves, and they are the ones that deserve a statue placed in the park in their honor.  We need to make sure that these brave and courageous women and precious infants are not forgotten.  Slavery is now a thing of the past, and we as a nation have come a long way.  We want Central Park to tell the entire story, and give credit where credit is due.      To honor a man like this is and ignore the true heroes is to disrespect an entire nation of people whose ancestors have suffered at his hands.                      Please join me in petitioning the Governor and mayor of New York, Central park, and speaker of the New York City council Melissa Mark-Viverito in asking that a similar statue be erected in honor of the slaves.      I am a student that is passionate about social equality and justice for a people nationwide. Placing this statue is the first step in paying respect to all of those slaves who had no voice. We are always appreciative to all the pioneers who developed modern medicine, but never at the expense of human test subjects. 

A C
26,171 supporters