Racial Justice

270 petitions

Update posted 1 day ago

Petition to Missouri State House, Missouri State Senate, Shawn Rhoads, Don Rone, J. Eggleston, Elijah Haahr, Michael Butler, David Gregory, Jack Bondon, Fred Wessels, Dan Houx, Deb Lavender, Courtney Allen Curtis, Lindell Shumake, Travis Fitzwater, Noel J Shull

HCR86: Renounce the Dred Scott Decision Today. #drawtheline

HCR 86 is a resolution bill for the State of Missouri to formally denounce the Historic Dred Scott decision. It is impossible to speak of American history without acknowledging the centrality of the State of Missouri’s role in creating and perpetuating our nation’s historic racial divides. The 1820 Missouri Compromise set the boundaries between slave states and free states. In 1852, at the 8th Circuit Court in downtown St.Louis, the Missouri Supreme Court denied an enslaved Dred and Harriet Scott the freedom that was legally theirs. In the Court's opinion, Justice John Ferguson Ryland called the pursuit of emancipation and the abolitionist sentiments in other states "a dark and fell spirit". He then accepted the generational consequences of the injustice being committed. "Since then not only individuals but States have been possessed with a dark and fell spirit in relation to slavery, whose gratification is sought in the pursuit of measures, whose inevitable consequences must be the overthrow and destruction of our government. Under such circumstances it does not behoove the State of Missouri to show the least countenance to any measure which might gratify this spirit. She is willing to assume her full responsibility for the existence of slavery within her limits, nor does she seek to share or divide it with others. As to the consequences of slavery, they are much more hurtful to the master than the slave. There is no comparison between the slave in the United States and the cruel, uncivilized negro in Africa.... we are almost persuaded, that the introduction of slavery amongst us was, in the providence of God, who makes the evil passions of men subservient to His own glory, a means of placing that unhappy race within the pale of civilized nations." The case went from there to the U.S. Supreme Court. The outcome in 1857 essentially stripped the Negro race of legal recognition not only as citizens, but as actual humans. In the beginning of the SCOTUS majority opinion, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney wrote:  The question is simply this: can a negro whose ancestors were imported into this country and sold as slaves become a member of the political community formed and brought into existence by the Constitution of the United States, and as such become entitled to all the rights, and privileges, and immunities, guarantied by that instrument to the citizen, one of which rights is the privilege of suing in a court of the United States in the cases specified in the Constitution?  Concluding he says:  In the opinion of the court, the legislation and histories of the times, and the language used in the Declaration of Independence, show, that neither theclass of persons who had been imported as slaves, nor their descendants, whether they had become free or not, were then acknowledged as a part of thepeople, nor intended to be included in the general words used in that memorable instrument.* * *They had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in socialor political relations; and so far inferior, that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the Negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit. He was bought and sold, and treated as an ordinary article ofmechandise and traffic, whenever a profit could be made by it. This opinion was at that time fixed and universal in the civilized portion of the white race. It was regarded as an axiom in morals as well as in politics, which no one thought of disputing, or supposed to be open to dispute; and men in every grade and position in society daily and habitually acted upon it in their private pursuits, as well as inmatters of public concern, without doubting for a moment the correctness of this opinion.* * * Now recognized as the most embarassing SCOTUS decision in our history, it laid the foundation for over 100 years of terror in the Jim Crow South and set an ideological precedent for classifying whole groups of people as less than human. It concluded that the best way for the dignity afforded by "all men were created equal" to be restricted to the white ruling class, was to remove the humanity of the Negro people. This ideology (the dehumanization of a person, class, or group of people) has had devastating and far reaching implications well beyond the boundaries of black and white racial tensions.  From zoning laws, violent crime, homicide, healthcare, jobs, education, mass incarceration, to the opioid crisis, sex trafficking, physical/sexual abuse, gender equality, etc. The 13th and 14th Amendments stripped this decision of it's legal power, but did not remove it's social or cultural impact. But we were created in the image of God. On the basis of that understanding, our oppressed foremothers and forefathers persevered. They pursued the manifestation of a society on the earth that reflects the dignity and the worth that has been ascribed to us in heaven. While there are social and political debates about what injustices persists today; American legislative, judicial, and social history is replete with examples of the systemic violation of that core reality.  What has been much harder to acknowledge and pinpoint today is the psychological, emotional, and spiritual impact of these violations. Due to unhealed wounds from an all too present past, Missouri continues to experience flashpoints of racial unrest that have become national tipping points. Justice John Ferguson Ryland invited the consequences of these decisions into the land and 162 years later, the generational pain of his words landed in the city of his namesake: Ferguson. Missouri's injustices have contributed nationally to the historic and present day pains of American race relations. Yet because of this grievous history, I am filled with great hope for a glorious future. I'm starting this petition to support the legislation that Representative Mike Moon introduced to the House Judicial Committee. In hopes that as a state, we can play a key our role in the healing of our national wounds through a wholistic approach to restorative justice. It is in this arena of the heart, the mind, the spirit that we must all (black, white, hispanic, asian, republican, democrat, etc.) win dire victories together if we are to hope for any form true healing, reconciliation, or justice.  In post-apartheid South Africa, Bishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela understood the power of intentionally righting the historical wrongs beyond legislative change. Therefore they established a federal truth and reconciliation commission to explore the wholistic impact of their history on both the oppressed and the oppressor. Simply adopting HCR 86 as a resolution, is a small act that would be a major step toward the Truth and Reconciliation that we need, in concert with the various pursuits of justice that are happening in our state. It is somewhat common for modern governments to formally denounce past laws that no longer reflect the ethos or sentiment of present day society in order to ensure that the law is no longer referred to as a precedent or standard for future law-making. It also adds to the record, that the present governmental system is not in agreement with that past tradition. Missouri has never done that, so in effect, even if subconsciously, this ruling still holds influence in Missouri.  I am confident that bringing resolution to this generational desolation in the state of Missouri; closing this door that his been open 160 years too long, will help to bring salve to an infected wound that is festering not only here in our state, but across the nation. For our call to action, we need this legislature with it's history of drawing DIVIDING lines, to draw a UNITING line that everyone can stand on. Taken from line #46 of the bill, we are asking them to DRAW THE LINE between our unjust past and our present inequities, to make way for a much more equitable future. Here is a link for you to read the actual bill: HCR 86 . I'm hoping to secure at least 1,000 signatures to show our state legislature that the people of Missouri and others across the nation are eager to shut this door. UPDATE: ROUND ONE VICTORY! On Tuesday, May 1, 2018 HCR 86 PASSED through the Judiciary Committee in a unanimous 9-0 vote. But the push has only just begun. UPDATE #2: ROUND TWO VICTORY. On Monday, May 7th, HCS HCR 86 passed through the House Rules-Legislative Oversight Committee in a unanimous 11-0 vote. Now it will go to the House floor for debate and a vote. THEN we will need your help to contact our senators.  For today, please sign the petition and share it with friends!   Special Thanks to those legislators serving on the following committee's for standing on the right side of history! Missouri House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Missouri House of Representatives Rules-Legislative Oversight  Committee        

Jonathan Thomas
641 supporters
Started 4 days ago

Petition to California Governor

Grant Commutation for Incarcerated Survivor Christina Martinez!

SUMMARY Christina Martinez is an incarcerated survivor of domestic violence who has been in prison for nine years as a result of her abuser’s lethal violence. Christina was only 19 years old when, under the abusive duress of her boyfriend, she drove him and his friends to a house where, without her knowing, they committed a robbery that resulted in a death. Christina’s boyfriend then threatened to kill her if she told anyone. By the time she was convicted and sentenced to Life Without Parole in her early 20s, Christina suffered from the long-term effects of severe psychological and sexual abuse. Join us in asking Governor Jerry Brown to commute Christina Martinez’s sentence from Life Without Parole to a parole-eligible sentence. BACKGROUND Christina Martinez is an incarcerated survivor of abuse from childhood through adulthood. At age two, Christina was sexually abused. Christina also experienced domestic violence in her household throughout her childhood. By the time she was 18 years old, Christina’s boyfriend was psychologically, physically, verbally, and sexually abusing her. In July 2004, Christina was 19 years old when her boyfriend/abuser forced her to drive him and two of his friends to the store. During the drive, Christina’s boyfriend/abuser changed his plan and threatened her to follow his directions. Christina thus drove him and his friends to a house she did not know. Under coercion and fear, Christina went to the house with her boyfriend/abuser and his friends. After she witnessed that they forced themselves into the home, Christina rushed back to the car terrified, not knowing that a robbery was taking place and that it resulted in someone’s death. Still unsure of what happened, her boyfriend/abuser returned to the car with his friends and shouted at her to drive, telling her “I’ll kill you if you ever speak of this day.” By 2005, Christina was 20 years old and pregnant with her first child, worked full time at a bank, and continued to experience daily abuse from her boyfriend. Continuing to control her and her daily activities, Christina’s boyfriend/abuser demanded she bring him activated bank cards and he started withdrawing money. Ultimately the bank initiated an investigation and, in fear for the lives of her children and her own, Christina took full responsibility for the bank card fraud. By 2008, Christina pled guilty to all the fraud charges and she was sentenced to home detention due to her pregnancy with her third child. Christina’s taking responsibility for this incident - even though under duress - was another example of her attempts to survive under constant threat to her life and that of her children and family. In 2009, 23-year-old Christina was arrested in Sacramento for her believed involvement in the 2004 robbery-murder incident, which was eventually consolidated with the bank card fraud incident. Both Christina and her boyfriend/abuser were charged with murder: the felony murder rule was used to hold them both equally culpable, even though Christina did not murder anyone. Awaiting trial at Sacramento County Jail, her boyfriend/abuser - who had throughout their relationship demanded “obedience” under threat of harm - sent messages threatening violence, including killing their children, if she testified against him. These messages reflected the extent of her boyfriend/abuser’s terror, cruelty, and control even throughout Christina’s legal proceedings. Ultimately, at the age of 26, Christina was sentenced to Life Without the Possibility of Parole. Since then, Christina has devoted her time in prison to seeking healing while advocating with and supporting other incarcerated survivors. Christina describes the positive journey she has been on since entering prison, as she continues to participate in many programs, including restorative justice programs like Bridges to Life, Walk to Remember, and Pattern for Change. She is also a peer educator for groups like Beyond Violence, a Healing Trauma facilitator for newly incarcerated people, and a lead instructor for Living Outside Violence Everyday. Most importantly to Christina, she is proud to be a mother to her three children who are now 9, 11, and 12 years old. As an incarcerated mother, Christina does her ultimate best to parent her children and teach them about life experiences. Survivors of domestic violence should be strongly supported and affirmed rather than punished for violent acts committed by their abusers. Join us in asking Governor Jerry Brown to commute Christina Martinez’s sentence from Life Without Parole to a parole-eligible sentence.

Survived & Punished
67 supporters
Update posted 5 days ago

Petition to Tony Martinez, Jessica Tetreau, Cesar de Leon, Joel Munguia, Ben Neece, Ricardo Longoria, Rose Gowen

MOVE Jefferson Davis Monument to Museum

Many cities across the United States of America are removing statues/memorials from public spaces and renaming roads and buildings that honor Confederate leaders. Brownsville has had numerous racist incidents in the past. Our biggest one happened in 1906. Please Google: Brownsville Black Raid. The Brownsville Herald was biased in its reporting. The soldiers involved were later exonerated by President Nixon. We also had a bridge known as "N" bridge and it appeared on local maps with the racist slur. We can only imagine what took place on that bridge. Yes, we are a city full of history and we're proud of it. We can't deny that we were part of the Confederacy. But, what is the purpose of keeping the Jefferson Davis Memorial at Washington Park? It was originally on the corner of Elizabeth Street and Palm Blvd. It marked the Jefferson Davis Memorial Highway which never really took off. It was then moved to Washington Park in the 1970s. Hundreds of families enjoy this park, especially during big community events like Sombrero Festival and Cyclobia. What do you think the monument tells families when they are enjoying the park? We have a growing population of African-Americans in this community. This monument does not welcome the descendants of those who were enslaved and oppressed in the past. Our nation fought to unify our country during the Civil War. Sadly, many people did not obtain full rights until the 1960s. We don't need reminders of a bygone era in a space that should be welcoming. We need to stop kissing up to the Sons and Daughters of the Confederacy! They claim that it is heritage. Their heritage believes that it was a God-given right to own people. Washington Park currently has three monuments dedicated to: Miguel Hidalgo, Jose Marti, and Jefferson Davis. The first two were liberators. Davis was the opposite. He fought to keep human beings enslaved. He was not a liberator! He also saw mestizos (mixed European and Native American) as inferiors. The majority of Brownsville is mestizo. We don't want it destroyed. We are asking the City of Brownsville and the Brownsville Historical Association to place it in a museum. For many people, this monument represents HATE and feel that it doesn't belong in a public park. Washington Park should be welcoming to ALL people! Please VOTE on relocating it to the Historic Brownsville Museum.

Antonio Castillo
5,621 supporters
Decision maker responded 6 days ago

Petition to LaToya Broughton

Justice for Michael Parks, Jr.

On November 26, 2012, there was an alleged encounter involving the Miami Police Department, my brother Michael Nathaniel Parks, Jr. and a deceased party by the name of Lebron Warren at the U.S.A. Flea Market located at 3015 NW 79th Street in Miami, FL. From what we were told by one of the detectives from the Miami Police Department, the incident occurred in the afternoon around 1:00 p.m. The vehicle that was driven by Mr. Warren was supposedly involved in some type of home invasion or robbery that occurred near the area of the U.S.A. Flea Market. My brother Michael Nathaniel Parks, Jr. met the deceased individual at the Flea Market and then proceeded to depart with Mr. Warren to get a ride home. Upon departing from the Flea Market, there was an alleged victim who pointed out and stated that the vehicle Mr. Warren was driving was at the crime scene of the robbery and stated he was the suspect and told the police who were on site. There were officers who allegedly worked as undercover officers who approached the vehicle and Mr. Warren who was the driver placed the vehicle in reverse to leave and the cops then opened fire shooting them both while inside the vehicle. My brother Michael Nathaniel Parks, Jr. had no involvement in the alleged robbery or invasion that occurred earlier. He came to the U.S.A. Flea Market to get his hair cut and met up with Mr. Warren while there. They felt they were being robbed by the disguises of these officers. Unfortunately, the officers somehow felt "threaten" and upon shooting at the vehicle, Mr. Lebron Warren was shot 10 times died on the scene, my brother was shot nine times. Uncertain details as such shows that something occurred where the police didn't have to open fire on these young men. What my brother has gone through was traumatic, insensitive and unjust. There were days where we would called the Jackson Memorial Trauma Unit to check on my brother's health status.  Every time our family attended court, the dates are rescheduled every three months, for what? When we want to have discussions with the Prosecutors and Public Defenders to fully understand the charges he's currently facing, there's no information, but on November 26th and November 27th of 2012 the media sure had a bunch of things to say with the information they were given by the Miami Police Department. On July 28, 2016, Judge Dava Tunis sentenced Michael Nathaniel Parks, Jr. despite his request for a speedy trial. She automatically knew in her mind that Michael committed all the crimes that he was allegedly charged with, she stated he was guilty and immaturely sentenced him to 30 years and an additional 5 years for the charges.  On August 29, 2017, Michael Parks, Jr. was acquitted by a jury on all charges and shortly thereafter was transported to the South Bay Correctional Facility in West Palm Beach, FL Alleged Defendant's Name: Michael Nathaniel ParksCase Number: F12029627 Charge: Robbery/Armed/Firearm or Deadly Weapon (Where's the weapon he had? When did he commit a robbery? Where was the scene of the robbery? Will the victim point him at the crime scene?) Jury's returned verdict "NOT GUILTY" Case Number: F12029268 Charge: Resisting Officer with Violence to His Person (How was he resisting arrest after being shot nine times? How did he become violent when he couldn't breath properly and was asking for help through hand and body gestures?) Jury's returned verdict "NOT GUILTY" Case Number: F12029910 Charge: Murder 2nd Degree/Felony (How can he be charged with the murder of the deceased party? He didn't have any weapons? He did not initiate any encounter with the police? THE OFFICERS SHOT AND KILLED MR. WARREN. THIS WAS A HOMICIDE BY THE OFFICERS OF THE MIAMI POLICE DEPARTMENT) Jury's returned verdict "NOT GUILTY" Case Number: F10006731 Charge: Grand Theft 3rd Degree/ Criminal Mischief | Warrant Case (No explanation on what this particular charge was given for... Michael was not involved in any robbery? When did he commit a robbery? Where was the scene of the robbery?) Jury's returned verdict "NOT GUILTY" There was a total of seven (7) charges against Michael Nathaniel parks, Jr and ALL CASES ARE CLOSED! MICHAEL NATHANIEL PARKS, JR WAS FOUND NOT GUILTY ON ALL COUNTS. WE RESPECT THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM OF THE UNITED STATES, IN PARTICULAR MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, BUT MY BROTHER IS INNOCENT AND HAS BEEN INNOCENT SINCE DAY ONE!  As previously stated I would like to ask or know how do I go about receiving some type of legal assistance or obtain some type of counselled knowledge in understanding what I can do for my brother Michael Nathaniel Parks, Jr. Thank you in advance. Sincerely, A concerned sister and citizen of Miami, Florida LaToya R. Broughton

LaToya Broughton
145 supporters