Racial Justice

411 petitions

Started 23 hours ago

Petition to Joe Negron, Dennis Baxley

Bypass Baxley: Support the Slavery Memorial in Florida

Florida HB 27 seeks to establish a Slavery Memorial in Florida, but it is being held by Sen. Dennis Baxley, who believes that we should only "memorialize" the "successful." Below is a statement of a group historians, academics, and citizens calling for immediate action to bypass Sen. Baxley's prejudicial posturing: -----  We write, as a group of concerned scholars and faculty at universities throughout Florida as well as concerned and informed citizens of the state, to voice our opposition to and condemnation of state Senator Dennis Baxley’s comments regarding the proposed Florida Slavery Memorial. Sen. Baxley seems to understand neither the central place of slavery in the history of the United States nor the function of memorials as markers of public memory. It should be impossible to understand the history of the United States without acknowledging and studying the place of slavery. Indeed, from the development of a racial caste system to the expansion of slavery to the ways in which freedom was both imagined and practiced, slavery was always determinative. Moreover, in order to understand the present conditions of both the state of Florida and wider nation, mired as they are in persistent and growing racial and economic inequality, one must understand the place of slavery. A memorial will not solve these issues, of course, but it would serve as a public marker of that history, a symbol around which to mobilize public discussion and collective memory. Memorials do not simply exist to celebrate that which people like Sen. Baxley perceive to be positive; they serve, instead, as sites of collective, public memory, and that memory, in the United States, should be inextricably tied to chattel slavery Of course, Sen. Baxley’s choice of words, - especially “defeat” and “adversity” – reveal his agenda. A vocal supporter of public displays of Confederate propaganda and symbols, Sen. Baxley would much rather celebrate those that created adversity for African Americans. If we are to memorialize adversity, should we not do so through figures such as Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs, who challenged systems of oppression and adversity, rather than figures like Jefferson Davis, who in themselves are monument to the creation of adversity? Moreover, if Sen. Baxley will not tolerate memorials of “defeat” then should he not vehemently oppose Confederate memorials? We urge, indeed, insist, that the Florida legislature make the right decision, set aside Sen. Baxley’s ill-informed objections, and approve the Florida Slavery Memorial.  For more information, see this article:

Aaron Walker
31 supporters
Update posted 2 days ago

Petition to Bill Haslam, Tennessee Governor

Exonerate Lawrence McKinney who spent 32 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit.

I first met Lawrence McKinney nearly two years ago, when I wrote a story about his case. I already knew who he was -- I had watched him from afar every Sunday morning as he sat across the church we both attend. He may just be the most faithful person I know. And it’s that faith that got him through 31 years, nine months, 18 days and 12 hours of a wrongful 100-year sentence in Riverbend Maximum Security Prison. DNA evidence ultimately led a judge to overturn McKinney’s rape and burglary conviction, and he was released in July 2009. But his battle wasn’t over. The struggle to clear his record took another 5 years. And there’s still one arduous legal step in McKinney’s path to freedom: exoneration. With it will come the final clearing of his name and a chance for compensation for his time spent in prison. Only a governor can exonerate a person, and McKinney’s application for exoneration is currently in Governor Haslam’s hands. We, the many supporters of the upstanding and inspirational Lawrence McKinney, are calling on the Tennessee Board of Parole and Governor Haslam to exonerate him immediately so that he may start a much-deserved new chapter in his life. In Haslam’s six years as governor, he has yet to exonerate anyone. But Lawrence reminds us that we must have faith. He is currently working toward becoming a preacher, because, as he says, “With my situation, I feel like people could get the hope to make it through anything.” All of us in his community and his church are angry about what happened; we feel vengeful. But he does not. He says he doesn’t have time. It’s amazing. Please, let’s show our support for Lawrence McKinney so that his name can finally be cleared and he can move on fully with his life. I’m calling on Governor Haslam to do the right thing and make Lawrence McKinney the first exoneree on your watch.

Jared Felkins
11,839 supporters