Topic

Racial Justice

277 petitions

Update posted 3 days ago

Petition to Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Oberlin Alumni Office

Create scholarship fund and award B.M. degree for Austin bombing victim Draylen Mason

On the 12th of March 2018, Double Bassist and East Austin College Prep senior Draylen Mason was killed by a terrorist’s bomb in Austin, Texas. While only seventeen years of age, Draylen devoted his life to the pursuit of music: he was the Bassist at Interlochen Center for the Arts, Principal Double Bass at Austin youth Orchestra, and Principal Bassist at Austin Soundwaves, and had even applied to study at the Oberlin conservatory of Music as a member of the class of 2022. This past Friday we found out he had been accepted. While the majority of the targets were people of color, and while the bomber was a conservative white Christian male, the investigating agencies have yet to uncover the exact reason why he targeted who he did. What we do know is that Oberlin and its students have a rich history in the fight against inequality and racism in the United States. Our college played a role in the Underground Railroad; one of the earliest Obies, Mary Jane Patterson, broke gender and racial barriers by getting her bachelor’s degree; and Oberlin students spent their summers and winter terms working to register voters with the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party during the Freedom Summers. And yet, we also know that people of color continue to be appallingly underrepresented in the musical arts. A student who was clearly up for the challenge, Draylen would have been entering the world of music without many mentors who look like him. His entry into musical academia would in itself be a radical action, and for his sake, and for those who are put off by the lack of representation, this needs to change. As a proud Oberlin Conservatory Alumnus, and person of color in the arts industry, I call on the Oberlin Conservatory of Music to recognize Draylen Mason and his family’s struggle by awarding him a Posthumous Bachelor of Music Degree. But most importantly, I challenge them to set up a fully funded scholarship in his name (with the permission of his family) for people of color to attend the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, continuing our institution’s role in changing the status quo around race in our profession, and our country. Sincerely, Joshua Blue Oberlin Conservatory of Music Class of 2016

Joshua Blue
26,276 supporters
Started 6 days ago

Petition to MI: State Board of Education, Cassandra Ulbrich, Richard Zeile

URGENT: Say NO to far-right rewrite of Michigan K-12 social studies standards.

The Michigan State Board of Education is considering revisions to K-12 social studies standards that endanger not only our past, but our future. By altering the standards for teaching history in Michigan, they cut many people out of history - and silence the work of those who have worked to fulfill the American promise of liberty and justice for all. The changes would severely cut references to the movement for civil rights, the women's movement, and the movement for LGBT equality. They would eliminate references to climate change, and remove discussion of America's "core democratic values." More details are available at this link:    https://www.bridgemi.com/talent-education/history-gets-conservative-twist-michigan-social-studies-standards  (June 12, 2018) The article gives a link to the proposed changes to the Standards, information on 5 public hearings across the state in June, and a link to the official page where you can give your comments in detail. The revisions were spearheaded by State Senator Patrick Colbeck (R-Canton). In his original statement urging the revisions, Colbeck made the astonishing claim that the Ku Klux Klan was not a white supremacist organization. This statement is contrary to all historical evidence. It is crucial that the children of Michigan receive a comprehensive, accurate and inclusive picture of our history and heritage as a state and as a nation. The proposed revisions endanger that goal. The proposal attempts to not only rewrite standards, but rewrite history. If approved, the standards would do lasting damage to our state, by undermining the historical ground on which we stand. We urge the Board to reject the proposed standards, and approve a set of standards that reflect the history of all Michiganders.  Please sign now to signal your disapproval of these proposed changes. See related Facebook Page:  www.facebook.com/Defend-MI-History-462220947558113/

Jeff Gaynor
3,912 supporters
Update posted 6 days ago

Petition to Arie Slob

Stop the Dutch government subsidizing blackface on children’s television.

I didn’t realize that children associated blackface with people of color until my, then, nearly 3 year old did it.  She pointed at a black man in the bus and shouted “Zwarte Piet, Zwarte Piet!”  During her time at kindergarten,  my child had learnt to associate black people with a sort of clown . This is racism- and happened because kindergartens, schools and children's television in the Netherlands promote a specific racist caricature as part of their annual national tradition: Sinterklaas.  This has got to stop! Zwarte Piets, or Black Petes, are characters in a children’s television show, played by people in blackface wearing Afro wigs.  The Black Petes are portrayed as child-like, silly people, who belong a wise, old, white boss. Working for the wise, old, white boss is their only real reason for being, and the wise, old, white boss gives them the guidance they need. That associations are made between these subservient buffoons and regular people, merely based on having a dark skin color and Afro hair, is alarming.  This Dutch tradition is even more offensive because the Black Petes wear clothing resembling the uniforms of enslaved 17th century Africans.  There are many paintings featuring enslaved Africans of that era, which confirm this. Every year children and adults of color, especially people of African descent, endure ridicule connected to Black Pete.  It is a humiliating affront to their dignity.  People literally dread the weeks leading up to 5th of December, because the racist caricatures are to be seen everywhere. The daily children’s television series which is central in showcasing the Black Petes, is called: Het Sinterklaasjournaal.   The vast majority of elementary schools in the Netherlands air the television series to their pupils. The NTR television company,  which makes the blackface series, also generate income by selling lesson material to elementary schools. The Dutch government continue to subsidize this racist, yet popular children’s television series despite various human rights reports recommending the removal of discriminatory elements in Black Petes appearance.   The Dutch children’s ombudswoman also recently included the aforementioned advice in her position on the subject.  Despite this, blackfacing in schools and in the media, including an annual minstrel show: Het Sinterklaasfeest, is also subsidized by the Dutch government. People should be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of the colour of their skin.  Blackfacing in schools and in the media is supported by government subsidy, and is a form of institutionalized racism.  Tell the Dutch government to stop subsidizing blackface.

J. van L.
12,523 supporters
Update posted 1 week ago

Petition to Chuck Grassley, Bob Goodlatte, Dianne Feinstein, Jerry Nadler

Congress: Continue the Conversation on Race. Hold the Hearing.

Over the past few weeks, stories of black people in America engaging in normal everyday activity, being racially profiled, and having police called on them - from Airbnb, to Starbucks, to Yale - has gripped the national consciousness. These recent highly-publicized incidents are part of a history of racism and profiling in this country - from public and private actors - that often leads to the implicit or intentional weaponization of 911 to exclude black bodies from white spaces, with police encounters leading to degradation, incarceration, and in some cases, death. Recent events have brought this issue back into the fore. A national dialogue about an American problem, the next and necessary venue to further it is in Congress, where legislators, experts, and citizens can publicly examine the issue and prescribe solutions that enforce accountability. Without taking this next step, the "conversation on race" effectively fades away. Read the letter and add your voice calling on Congress to continue the conversation and hold the hearing. Share the link with your networks using the hashtag #HoldTheHearing  Read the full letter here: https://medium.com/@loladesiyonbola/congress-continue-the-conversation-on-race-hold-the-hearing-952200200bb4 CALL Sen. Chuck Grassley, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman: (202) 224-3744 CALL Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member: (202) 224-3841 CALL Rep. Bob Goodlatte, House Judiciary Committee Chairman: (202) 225-5431 CALL Rep. Jerry Nadler, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member: (202) 225-5635  

Darren Martin
1,397 supporters