equal rights for all

15 petitions

Update posted 21 hours ago

Petition to Coppell School District, The Superintendent

Designate Diwali a Professional Development Day for Coppell School District (No Classes)

Esteemed Coppell School Board Members and Superintendent, We’re writing to you to respectfully request that Diwali, an important holiday for Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, and Sikhs, be designated a Professional Development Day for Coppell School District so that the learners can stay home with their families and celebrate the festival. Based on the Hindu lunar calendar, Diwali is on Wednesday Nov 7th (2018) and on Sunday Oct 27th (2019). Asian students account for 47.4% of total students in Coppell School District -- South Asian, Indian, and Hindu making up a large majority (although the exact number of Hindus is not made available by any US Census, as religion is not a demographic criterion for the process).  When Diwali comes around each year, often times on a weekday, too many students are faced with a difficult decision -- observe this religious holiday and risk missing important school work and activities, or forego their observance altogether because the curricular cost is simply too much.  While schools are not required to close on a particular religious holiday, there is a matter of administrative convenience given a large number of students that would likely be absent on Diwali. For instance, schools are closed on Good Friday as a "Weather Day." Even if a child wishes to observe the holiday, their families, known to emphasize education as a top priority, hesitate. At best, too many families squeeze in a rushed celebration -- fit in between the end of after-school activities, homework, studying, and bedtime. Diwali is a time for renewal and reminds celebrants about the inherent goodness of life.  People clean, renovate, and decorate their homes and offices ahead of the holiday, which traditionally is five days. On the main day, the day of Diwali, people light diyas (earthen lamps) inside and outside their homes and participate in family or community puja (rituals). After the puja, fireworks follow, and friends and family often gather, hold feasts, and an exchange of gifts. Diwali also marks a time for charity, as well as a major shopping period in nations where it is celebrated. People of Northern, Southern, and North-Eastern India celebrate it in various forms. Aside from the well-being of Coppell ISD students and families, there are several other factors that we believe Board Members and the Superintendent should consider: 1. A number of school districts across the US have adopted Diwali (with Eid and Chinese New Year) as an official school holiday (as "professional development" or "weather" day).  The number of students who would benefit from Diwali being an official school holiday in Coppell ISD is actually significantly greater than in many of the districts listed below.   New York: East Meadow School District, East Williston Union Free School District, Half Hollow Hills Central School District, Herricks Union Free School District, Hicksville Union Free School District, Jericho School District, and Syosset Central School District New Jersey: Glen Rock School District, Millburn School District, West Windsor-Plainsboro School District, Piscataway School District, Passaic City School District, Edison Township, and South Brunswick School District Others: Unionville-Chadds Ford School District (PA), Harvard Public Schools (MA), and Howard County District (MD) Syosset, New York, has only 26% Asians (compared to more than 47% in Coppell ISD). Its high school is ranked 173rd nationally (Coppell High School is at #463 in US News High school ranking). With only 632 signatures for its Diwali petition, the school board agreed to put "Professional Development Day" for Diwali (and other holidays for Muslims and Chinese Cultures). In Howard County, Maryland Asians numbers are at 21.2% (compared to more than 47% in Coppell ISD). Its high schools are ranked at 226, 258, and 373 in the US News ranking (compared to CHS at #463). They too agreed to put Diwali on their calendar (with other holidays) as "professional development day" with only 1300 signatures (including many from outside their school district). 2. Teaching about Diwali is part of the Texas State's Curriculum Standard (for §113.18. Social Studies, Grade 6, Beginning with School Year 2011-2012, at 19B). Following this Texas State guideline, we are asking for only one Hindu holiday for Diwali (although there are two festivals listed for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in this standard). 3. The Diwali Mela (fair) in Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas boasts an attendance of 50,000 people every year with Dallas Mayor and other officials in attendance. In 2009, San Antonio became the first U.S. city to sponsor an official Diwali celebration including a fireworks display. The City of Coppell held its first major Diwali celebration on Tuesday, Oct 17th, 2017. 4. In 2016, Diwali was commemorated for the first time at the United Nations in NYC. The White House has been celebrating Diwali for nearly a decade -- a tradition that was started by fellow Texan, President George W. Bush and continued by President Obama and President Trump. 5. The United States Postal Service (USPS) issued a first-ever Diwali postage stamp on October 5, 2016. It’s since become one of the best-selling stamps in the history of USPS. Canada issued another stamp on Sept 30, 2017. 6. Diwali is celebrated around the world, particularly in countries with significant populations of four cultures: Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs. These include Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Myanmar, Bhutan, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Mauritius, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and other Caribbean nations. Diwali is also celebrated in the Netherlands, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and the United States. Diwali is a well-known and widely celebrated holiday.  We respectfully request that the Coppell ISD Board take the lead in embracing and recognizing the culture of a large number of its students. We strongly believe that such a designation by Coppell ISD will go a long way in demonstrating the commitment of our educators to the well-being of our diverse students and families.   We thank you in advance for your due consideration. Sincerely, Students and Parents of Coppell ISD Organizations Supporting the Petition: Art of Living Dallas Chinmaya Mission DFW DFW Hindu Ekta Mandir Global Hindu Heritage Foundation Karya Siddhi Hanuman Temple Overseas Volunteers for a Better India Radha Govind Dham Radha Kalachandji (ISKCON) Temple Sri Guruvayurappan Temple Samskrita Bharati Sanatana Dharma Foundation Hindu Mahasabha of America Hindu Congress of America Hindu Coalition Nying Je Ling --Universal Compassion Buddhist Congregation DFW Tamil Foundation

Celebrators of Diwali
1,757 supporters
Started 2 days ago

Petition to Trey Gowdy, Matt Gaetz, Paul Ryan, Elizabeth Warren, Nancy Pelosi, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, Marco Rubio

No pay for elected federal officials during government shutdown.

Every year those who are federal employees grit their teeth with the fear that their place of employment will go unfunded and they will not be able to pay bills or place food on their tables. The legislative branches failure to agree on a budget means that millions across the country will no receive pay when they need it. This petition is created to ensure that our elected representatives are treated the same as every other government employee. If there is no funding for others why is it that elected officials that work for "the people" still receive pay? This petition aims to receive national recognition in order for all three branches of government to not receive pay for the period that there is no agreeable budget.  Failure to pay serious attention to this subject matter will show the American people that lawmakers truly do not support those who elected them. When it hits the pockets of lawmakers as hard as it hits the pockets of federal employees (which includes the military) they will all no longer play politics and use us as weapons in their political games. This petition will bring lawmakers to more equal footing so that they truly understand how we are ALL affected during times of their disagreement and gridlock.  No pay for those elected to serve in an official capacity in the U.S. government by the people of the united states during a government shut down!

Gary Allsbrook
124 supporters
Update posted 3 months ago

Petition to Staff Parish Relations Committee

Trinity UMC: A Plea for Reconciliation, Restoration, and Recovery

Dear Members of Trinity United Methodist Church SPRC, The past month at Trinity United Methodist Church has left a shameful stain on the history of our church. Not only has Jesus’ call been forsaken and the Book of Discipline (BOD) ignored; but a member and Christian servant of our church as been humiliated, harassed, bullied, and discriminated against in the name of what is being called "love" and "protection". The injustice that has occurred against Ryan Mould is appalling and disturbing, to say the least.  We, the people of the church, understand that Ryan was terminated because of a line under 161.G in the BOD that was grossly taken out of context. The 2016 BOD does not forbid gay or lesbian persons from being employed by, being a member of, or being in leadership positions of any sort within a congregation. Neither does it have any language about or concept of "spiritual leaders" or any real or imagined standards that such "spiritual leaders" might be held to. Through the trials, harassment, and humiliation that Ryan has endured, the following sections of the BOD have been violated:  ¶ 161. II. THE NURTURING COMMUNITY The community provides the potential for nurturing human beings into the fullness of their humanity. We believe we have a responsibility to innovate, sponsor, and evaluate new forms of community that will encourage development of the fullest potential in individuals. Primary for us is the gospel understanding that all persons are important—because they are human beings created by God and loved through and by Jesus Christ and not because they have merited significance. We therefore support social climates in which human communities are maintained and strengthened for the sake of all persons and their growth. We also encourage all individuals to be sensitive to others by using appropriate language when referring to all persons. Language of a derogatory nature (with regard to race, nationality, ethnic background, gender, sexuality, and physical differences) does not reflect value for one another and contradicts the gospel of Jesus Christ.       A forum was created for church members to publicly insinuate that Ryan is a pedophile, an abomination, and unable to enter Heaven. He has been alienated, embarrassed, and emotionally flogged. Additionally, an atmosphere that perpetuates abuse was created. A) Culture and Identity—We believe that our primary identity is as children of God. With that identity comes societal and cultural constructions that have both positive and negative impacts on humanity and the Church. Cultural identity evolves through our history, traditions, and experiences. The Church seeks to fully embrace and nurture cultural formation and competency as a means to be fully one body, expressed in multiple ways. Each of us has multiple identities of equal value that intersect to form our complete self. We affirm that no identity or culture has more legitimacy than any other. We call the Church to challenge any hierarchy of cultures or identities. Through relationships within and among cultures we are called to and have the responsibility for learning from each other, showing mutual respect for our differences and similarities as we experience the diversity of perspectives and viewpoints.         Although current Trinity UMC leadership has misled the church into believing there is only one Biblical view of homosexuality, many different Biblical interpretations about homosexuality exist. In refusing to share the other views and interpretations with the congregation, this clause has been betrayed; many within the church have been alienated; and Ryan has been harmed under the guise of "love".  G) Human Sexuality—We affirm that sexuality is God’s good gift to all persons. We call everyone to responsible stewardship of this sacred gift. Although all persons are sexual beings whether or not they are married, sexual relations are affirmed only with the covenant of monogamous, heterosexual marriage. We deplore all forms of the commercialization, abuse, and exploitation of sex. We call for strict global enforcement of laws prohibiting the sexual exploitation of children and for adequate protection, guidance, and counseling for abused children. All persons, regardless of age, gender, marital status, or sexual orientation, are entitled to have their human and civil rights ensured and to be protected against violence. The Church should support the family in providing age-appropriate education regarding sexuality to children, youth, and adults. We affirm that all persons are individuals of sacred worth, created in the image of God. All persons need the ministry of the Church in their struggles for human fulfillment, as well as the spiritual and emotional care of a fellowship that enables reconciling relationships with God, with others, and with self. The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching. We affirm that God’s grace is available to all. We will seek to live together in Christian community, welcoming, forgiving, and loving one another, as Christ has loved and accepted us. We implore families and churches not to reject or condemn lesbian and gay members and friends. We commit ourselves to be in ministry for and with all persons.        Complete disregard was given to guidelines that call for the full inclusion of gay and lesbian persons. Ryan's human and civil rights have not been protected against violence. The church has demonstrated that Ryan, because he is gay, is not of sacred worth. Since his wrongful termination, Ryan has received no spiritual or emotional care from Pastor Steve Smith or members of SPRC. Instead of welcoming, forgiving, loving, and accepting him as a member of Christ's Holy Church, he has been rejected, shamed, discriminated against, humiliated, abused, and condemned, all while being denied to serve others in the name of God. J) Sexual Harassment—We believe human sexuality is God’s good gift. One abuse of this good gift is sexual harassment. We define sexual harassment as any unwanted sexual comment, advance, or demand, either verbal or physical, that is reasonably perceived by the recipient as demeaning, intimidating, or coercive. Sexual harassment must be understood as an exploitation of a power relationship rather than as an exclusively sexual issue. Sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to, the creation of a hostile or abusive working environment resulting from discrimination on the basis of gender. Contrary to the nurturing community, sexual harassment creates improper, coercive, and abusive conditions wherever it occurs in society. Sexual harassment undermines the social goal of equal opportunity and the climate of mutual respect between men and women. Unwanted sexual attention is wrong and discriminatory. Sexual harassment interferes with the moral mission of the Church.        The discussions about and treatment of Ryan’s private sex life and sexual preference are demeaning and intimidating. Pastor Steve and SPRC hold extreme power in the church. This power has been exploited many times in the last month: Pastor Steve’s initial meeting with Ryan regarding a new ministry idea; the subsequent meeting with Pastor Steve, Cindy Chlomoudis, and Ryan; SPRC meeting; e-mail sent to Children’s Ministry families which led some of them to believe Ryan had been arrested; three sermons on October 15th; Congregational meeting.  R) Bullying—Bullying is a growing problem in parts of the connection. It is a contributing factor in suicide and in the violence we see in some cultures today. We affirm the right of all people, regardless of gender, socioeconomic status, race, religion, disability, age, physical appearance, sexual orientation and gender identity, to be free of unwanted aggressive behavior and harmful control tactics. As the Church, we can play a pivotal role in ending this problem. We urge churches to seek opportunities to be trained in responding to the needs of those who have been bullied, to those who perpetrate bullying, and to support those in authority who may witness or be called to intervene on behalf of those who have been bullied. Churches are urged to connect with community associations and schools in this outreach. We encourage churches to adopt a policy of zero tolerance for bullying, including cyberbullying, within their spheres of influence; stand with persons being bullied; and take a leadership role in working with the schools and community to prevent bullying.          The actions Pastor Steve and SPRC have taken are the very definition of bullying. We, as a church body, are standing up against this destructive behavior.  ¶ 162. III. THE SOCIAL COMMUNITY The rights and privileges a society bestows upon or withholds from those who comprise it indicate the relative esteem in which that society holds particular persons and groups of persons. We affirm all persons as equally valuable in the sight of God. We therefore work toward societies in which each person’s value is recognized, maintained, and strengthened. We support the basic rights of all persons to equal access to housing, education, communication, employment, medical care, legal redress for grievances, and physical protection. We deplore acts of hate or violence against groups or persons based on race, color, national origin, ethnicity, age, gender, disability, status, economic condition, sexual orientation, gender identity, or religious affiliation. Our respect for the inherent dignity of all persons leads us to call for the recognition, protection, and implementation of the principles of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights so that communities and individuals may claim and enjoy their universal, indivisible, and inalienable rights.       Ryan has been singled out, made to feel less than, and been treated in the most undignified manner. His rights have not been upheld. J) Equal Rights Regardless of Sexual Orientation—Certain basic human rights and civil liberties are due all persons. We are committed to supporting those rights and liberties for all persons, regardless of sexual orientation. We see a clear issue of simple justice in protecting the rightful claims where people have shared material resources, pensions, guardian relationships, mutual powers of attorney, and other such lawful claims typically attendant to contractual relationships that involve shared contributions, responsibilities, and liabilities, and equal protection before the law. Moreover, we support efforts to stop violence and other forms of coercion against all persons, regardless of sexual orientation.       Because of Ryan's sexual orientation, he has been denied civil liberties. The church has failed in treating him with the same grace and love that we show all other members of Christ's Holy Church.  The mistreatment of our brother in Christ, Ryan, must end now. You, SPRC, have the ability to rectify this wrong. Aside from Ryan, many individuals and families in our church have also been left feeling violated, disheartened, and angry. We implore you to seek counsel above Pastor Steve in order to bring resolution and reconciliation to our congregation and create a caring and loving environment for generations to come. We, the church, call for the following steps to be made in effort to right the wrong that has been done: 1. Immediate reinstatement of Ryan as Children’s Choir Director. Support Ryan as he nurtures our children and community musically and spiritually. 2. A humble apology to Ryan by Pastor Steve and all members of SPRC. Allow Ryan and members of the church to see that you accept Ryan for who he is and that you are making a genuine effort to reconcile this vicious attack. 3. Creation of a policy that will forbid this treatment from ever happening again. We insist that Trinity UMC be an employer and church that will never deny a homosexual a paid or volunteer position ever again. 4. Allowance of a Reconciling Ministries Community to be formed out of Trinity UMC. 5. The formation of a Unification Committee comprised of equal membership from different viewpoints, dedicated to moving the church through turmoil into unity.  If SPRC chooses not to grant the wishes of the church as outlined above, we firmly request that an explanation in writing be given to us all by November 10, 2017 so that we can understand why you have chosen to move forward with this destructive behavior.  

Friends of Reconciliation- Trinity UMC
436 supporters
Update posted 4 months ago

Petition to Jerry Brown, Richard Bloom, Sam Liccardo, Ken Rosenberg

Equal application of rent control for all California renters & owners

The California Constitution states in Article 1, Section 7B:  "A citizen or class of citizens may not be granted privileges or immunities not granted on the same terms to all citizens." Yet, we have a 22 year old law in California, known as Costa-Hawkins, which violates this basic tenet of equality.  Costa-Hawkins allows cities to grant rent control privileges to some tenants and not others.  It also gives immunity from rent control to some property owners and not others.  Costa-Hawkins was paid for, and kept in place, by large, corporate rental owners through generous campaign donations.  It allows them to charge ever-higher market rents to their tenants while at the same time economically squashing their smaller mom & pop landlord competitors through local rent control. It is time to repeal Costa-Hawkins and replace it with a law which REQUIRES cities to apply rent controls equally and fairly to ALL rental properties regardless of property size, year built - or campaign contributions made. Tenants and small property owners can unite and fight for a common cause to create a fair and equal market place in the rental market.   If the legislature won't act, we shall create a voter referendum to carry out the will of the people, demanding fair and equal treatment of all tenants and property owners.

Dean H
122 supporters