Topic

Racial Justice

455 petitions

Update posted 8 hours ago

Petition to U.S. House of Representatives, Clinton Foundation, Michelle Bachelet, CNN, Amy Goodman

Hands Up Act

My name is Travis Washington. I will be graduating with an M. A, degree in Higher Education and Administration from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in May 2019. I have been politically involved, from registering people to vote, to work in the Springfield Capitol (as an Alexander Lane Fellow, January to May 2017). We know how so many people of cultural minorities are in constant fear of leaving their household. This fear in our lives far too often comes from individuals working in public safety who harm people. Every single week we hear about another unarmed innocent vulnerable human being shot by the police. This has increased the trauma and fear that has made people of color scared to leave their homes. We need legislation now that prohibits police officers from shooting unarmed citizens. If there isn’t a weapon found after someone has been shot (therefore, unarmed) by a police officer, then I propose that the officer should receive a mandatory 15-year prison sentence. We have seen over and over police officers get off, even with videotape footage of citizens having been shot by police officers. This is a new form of lynching. I am pleading with you to propose a bill that protects people who have every right to feel threatened by law enforcement. We always say we need more training for those involved in public safety, and there are increasing policies and laws that mandate that police officers have “body cameras” on them. Those measures do not address the whole problem, not when the individual officers who shoot unarmed victims aren’t punished. Senator, we are in a crisis where relationships between people of color and police officers are deteriorating, beyond the critical level. In order to build any sort of positive relationships again, we need laws to keep a balance in the lives of all the public. I might even suggest this as a title for this proposed legislation: the Hands UP ACT. I will be emailing this to the all of your colleagues in the U. S. Senate, members of Congress, State Governors; Democracy Now, the Huffington Post, ThinkProgress; and to other appropriate organizations across the country. Once this petition receives enough attention. My goal to speak before the House of Representatives or United Nations during a committee hearing to bring attention to this policy.  Thank You !!  

Travis Washington
419,989 supporters
Update posted 3 days ago

Petition to Todd Spitzer (Orange County Supervisor 3rd District), California Governor, Tony Rackauckas, Loretta Sanchez, Loretta Lynch, Kamala Harris, Barack Obama, DIane Feinstein, Alex Padilla

Exonerate Kenneth Clair: DNA Evidence Points to Someone Else.

On November 15, 1984, 5-year-old Jerrod Hessling witnessed the beating, rape, and stabbing death of his babysitter. When asked to describe the killer, he said, without hesitation, that it was a white male. Another child present during the murder saw a white man’s tattooed arm reach inside the house to open a sliding glass door. Yet somehow, the lawyers in the case determined that Kenneth Clair, a dark-skinned African-American homeless man who had been squatting next door, was the killer. When Jerrod saw him on the witness stand and insisted they had the wrong man, the prosecution chalked it up to youth and trauma and pursued the death penalty for Kenneth Clair. To this day, 31 years later, Mr. Clair sits on San Quentin’s death row, awaiting his execution date. [UPDATE: I was recently made aware that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals secretly overturned Mr. Clair’s death sentence and changed it to life in prison without parole. This is mixed news -- his life is spared, but he no longer has the right to an attorney under habeas corpus laws, and he has not been granted a retrial. That means the exonerating DNA evidence will NOT be seen in court. We now have to focus our energy on asking Governor Jerry Brown and California State Attorney General Kamala Harris to investigate the case and exonerate Kenneth Clair for this crime he did not commit. It is Mr. Clair’s only remaining chance for justice. ] But that’s not the biggest bombshell in this case -- in 2008, forensic testing revealed that DNA found on the murder victim did not match Clair’s. DNA taken from a glove found at the scene also did not match. It matches another individual, but the Orange County District Attorney insists that “confidentiality is required” concerning this evidence, and for 7 years now, the identity of the person whose DNA does match the swab has remained a secret. In the interest of justice, we must call on the Orange County DA and California state lawmakers to demand that the DNA evidence be turned over to Kenneth Clair’s defense. Since his conviction, Clair has struggled with ineffective counsel. He wanted his lawyers to work at investigating the crime, rather than simply trying to free him from death row, but they never did. His plea for substitute counsel even made it to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012, and he did eventually receive a switch of counsel. Finally, he is being represented by people who are dedicated to his exoneration. But their hands are tied without this crucial DNA evidence, and more of Clair’s precious life is wasting away in prison as they fight to obtain it. Please sign my petition: Obviously the Orange County District Attorneys office, with their current district attorney Tony Rackauckas will continue withholding exculpatory evidence from the defense. The only alternative is to both Mr. Rackauckas out of office. So our goal now is to fight this battle both by rallies and at the voting box. If you cannot vote, we still need your donations and also your time if you can volunteer. OUR MAIN MESSAGE IS THAT THE DNA IS NOT KENNETH CLAIR'S. WE DO NOT CARE IF THE DA'S OFFICE CONTINUES TO WITHHOLD THE RESULTS ANY MORE........  NOW OUR MISSION IS TO EXONERATE KENNETH CLAIR. "IF THE DNA SAYS NO .........YOU HAVE TO EXONERATE AND LET KENNETH CLAIR GO......."  

C. J. Ford
163,510 supporters
Started 1 week ago

Petition to Central Catholic High School

Petition to lift the ban of braids, locks, and twists at Central Catholic High School

My name is JD Younger and I am a student at Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh. I’m starting this petition in support of my friend who was told to change his hair or go home. This isn't the first time this threat has been made. It's been told to my other friends too, and even me. The ban on ethnic hairstyles in my school’s handbook has created an issue with African American male students like me. It is a ban that perpetuates racial bias and stigma that disproportionately affects African Americans.  The handbook states that “hair must be its natural color, clean, neatly combed” and that “hairstyles with designs, patterns, lines, weaves, spikes, braids, locks, twists, or ponytails are not permitted.” This policy shows a lack of regard for ethnic and natural hair.  While it is reasonable for my school to expect some degree of conventionality and neatness in hairstyles, these expectations ought to consider the diversity of natural hair textures people have. The problem is, hair that isn’t straightened doesn’t fit the white cultural norm.  In the black community, hair has roots in our idea of blackness and self-esteem. Depriving me and other young adults of their cultural identity can have long term effects on one’s psyche.  My friend is not the only person who has experienced this type of discrimination. In New Jersey, high school wrestler Andrew Johnson had to cut his dreadlocks ringside before being allowed to compete. In Florida, a 6-year old boy was denied entry to his school because of his dreadlocks.  Central Catholic is a place where kids from all walks of life in the city of Pittsburgh come together and form a brotherhood. I love my school, but I can’t ignore this issue. The fact that kids have to worry about being able to express themselves while getting an education is a problem. We don’t need regulation, we need education. If more education was done on this issue, we can start to break down the stigma that our hair is unprofessional.  California, Maryland, and New York have been recent advocates in protecting our natural hairstyles with The Crown Act, which hopefully will set a national precedent. We sincerely hope that administration and staff at The Pittsburgh Central Catholic and Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh can consider this matter at hand and that one day the students in our schools will be able to express themselves to the extent of their naturally ethnic ways.

JD Younger
51,617 supporters