Petition to U.S. House of Representatives
Racially Motivated Killings Still Murder 50 years Later! Renew Emmett Till Act NOW!
Dear Members of the House of Representatives: There are suspects still alive who are responsible for the racially motivated killings of many African American individuals and their supporters during the 1960s, in particular. We, the petitioners, seek your immediate action to vote in support of the bill already passed in the Senate: the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crimes Reauthorization Act of 2016. A group of civil rights organizations* are supporting the efforts of families who lost loved ones due to these hateful acts and who still seek justice. Despite their efforts, perpetrators continue their own lives undisturbed by the imposition of legal consequences. Families already listed on the FBI Unsolved Civil Rights Murders list, for example, the children of Wharlest Jackson, Corporal Roman Ducksworth, Frank Morris, Johnnie Mae Chappell and many more join on behalf of families not on the FBI list of unsolved civil rights murders (for example, Lee Roy Holloway, James and Marvin Walker, John Sterling and Lonnie Merrit of Atlanta, Georgia) urge you to continue and improve the work of the original Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act of 2007 which will sunset in 2017). This petition includes others who join with us to urge you to vote in support of the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crimes Reauthorization Act of 2016 before it is too late. There is much unfinished justice work to be done. The Reauthorization Act strengthens the resource availability for joint efforts between the Department of Justice, the FBI and local law enforcement. Those never held accountable for ordering the murders of hundreds of individuals may now, finally, face responsibility for their crimes. The Reauthorization Act also strengthens the original law by applying to racially motivated killings occurring after 1969. No one has ever undertaken a complete accounting of how many people died or simply disappeared as a result of the racist domestic terrorism of the previous and ongoing civil rights eras. The Emmett Till Act is an effort to seize this moment in history, to hold accountable those remaining killers, and to reveal the actual truth about the impact of the state supported institutions of racial violence and the failure of the legal system to promptly address these grievous inequities. We, the petitioners, seek your immediate action to vote in support of the bill already passed in the Senate: the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crimes Reauthorization Act of 2016. *The Coalition for the Emmett Till Reauthorization Act: The Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project at Northeastern University School of Law; Cold Case Justice Initiative at Syracuse University College of Law; Emmett Till Justice Campaign; Emmett Till Legacy Foundation; Georgia Civil Rights Cold Cases Project at Emory University; Leadership Council on Civil Rights; Mamie Till Mobley Memorial Foundation; NAACP, NAACP Legal Defense Fund; National Urban League; and the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Petition to Lee C. Bollinger, Jerome Davis, President
Establish an Obama Policy Institute
"...... When I leave, it's to build that next generation of leadership; organizers, journalist, politicians...... 20 year-olds, 30 year-olds who are just full of talent, full of idealism." Barack Obama 12/26/2016 Signers of this petition are interested in establishing a nonpartisan Policy Institute and Social Service Fellowship Program at Columbia University. The proposed institute would serve as an incubator for policy development & social service advocacy to continue & commemorate the legacy of the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama - Columbia University Class '83. What's the Mission?The proposed goal of the Institute is to: 1) place itself at the forefront of research and the development of public policy as it corresponds with the President's directive. 2) oversee a professional development fellowship program to develop a cadre of social service professionals. Why Columbia?Columbia's reputation of creating innovative research institutions and diverse policy programs has attracted and engaged the best minds in pursuit of greater human understanding and service to society. The University is a beacon in New York City and a national titan when it comes to producing some of our country's most devoted public servants and civil rights defenders. Many are aware of Alumni President Barack Obama and U.S. Founding Father Alexander Hamilton; however, few are cognizant of fellow public service alumni such as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg ( Law'59), and former Attorney General Eric Holder (CC'73 Law'76). With access to many of the nation's industry leaders and policy wonks, what better location than Columbia University? .... and all while having New York City as its backdrop! Who can sponsor initiative?This petition requests University President, Lee C. Bollinger (Law '71), in conjunction with all vested parties, champion the effort on behalf of the petition signers. President Bollinger is one of the country’s foremost First Amendment scholars, in addition to having led the historic Supreme Court case of Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger, which defined the importance of diversity as a compelling justification for affirmative action in higher education. Within the last decade and a half, President Bollinger aggressively established a network of eight Columbia Global Centers on four continents; led a sustainable (LEEDs) designated university expansion; and forged a $30mm faculty diversity program. Under his tutelage, the University could provide futile ground for developing a world-class institution and distinguished pool of young leaders.
Petition to Dr. Stuart Bell, Dr. Kevin Whitaker
To Dr. Stuart Bell, President of the University of Alabama: Rename Morgan Hall to Lee Hall
Currently, the University of Alabama's Department of English is housed in Morgan Hall, named after John Tyler Morgan. Morgan was a general in the Confederate Army during the Civil War, and post-war, a six-term senator from the state of Alabama. He was also a Grand Dragon in the Ku Klux Klan, and used his legislative power to promote racist policies and practices. He advocated sending African-Americans out of the United States and into Hawaii, the Philippines, or Cuba, all the while promoting racial segregation domestically as well. He worked to curtail the voting rights of African-Americans, hoping to repeal the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Upon the death of Harper Lee, who attended the University of Alabama from 1945-1949, the University has an amazing chance to show our support for racial equality, as well as to honor the legacy generally of a woman who promoted kindness and empathy for all. Lee was doubtless the University's greatest contribution to literature, and it would be more than fitting for our English building to bear her name, which reflects so much more accurately the values of the University of Alabama, than that of white supremacist John Tyler Morgan.
Petition to Andrew Prazuch
No New Youth Jail
King County plans to build a new youth jail costing $210 million. In response, community members, grassroots organizations, students, attorneys and activists have worked to stop the construction of a new youth jail and to bring an end to state violence against youth of color through the No New Youth Jail Campaign. Even Seattle’s City Council has passed a resolution against youth incarceration in response to the jail building and the protest movement opposing it. Why do so many people in King County oppose the building of the new youth jail? The juvenile punishment system in King County is severely racially targeted. According to a March 2012 report by the Task Force on Race and the Criminal Justice System, black youth are twice as likely as white youth to be arrested. Black and native youth are more than twice as likely as white youth to be referred to court and youth of color are less likely to be referred to diversion programs. Black youth make up only 6% of the Washington youth population but 21% of youth sentenced to Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration facilities. Towards the end of 2015, the King County Bar Association (KCBA), a voluntary professional association, made a controversial move in favor of the new youth jail. KCBA sent a message to all its members asking that they send an email to the Seattle City Council in support of the new youth jail. Additionally, KCBA trivialized the opposition to the jail project, writing, "as champions of an excellent justice system, the attorneys and judges of King County know that it's time to implement the will of the whole community, not just a small group of protesters." In response to KCBA’s actions in support of the new jail, Miguel Willis, a law student at SU Law and Chair of the school’s Black Law Student Association chapter, resigned as the SU KCBA representative. Janet Rodrigues, another law student at SU Law inspired by Miguel Willis and other community organizers opposing the new youth jail, renounced her KCBA Minority Scholarship. Janet renounced a scholarship that seeks rectify the consequences of racial marginalization, yet Janet refuses to be tokenized as a minority law student scholar while KCBA supports a jail building project that targets and harms communities of color in King County. Rather than supporting her principled leadership, SU Law has informed Janet she has to come up with the $3000 deficit. Sign this petition to support this campaign and send the letter below to the KCBA.
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: http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/stateroundup/meet-the-descendant-of-a-confederate-soldier-who-is-blocking-floridas/2322083
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.
Petition to Michael O'Malley
#Justice4Tamir, The fight for Justice continues
Petition to Pursue Justice for Tamir Rice To: Michael O’Malley, Law Director, City of Parma We, the undersigned residents, and registered voters of Cuyahoga County, ask that, upon taking office as Cuyahoga County Prosecutor in January, 2017, you immediately act to pursue justice in the unresolved case of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was shot and killed by two Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann, and Frank Garmback; while playing by himself in the picnic shelter outside Cudell Recreation Center on Nov. 22, 2014. Specifically, we ask that upon you taking the oath of office; that you release in full, the transcripts of the proceedings of the prior Grand Jury convened by your predecessor, Timothy McGinty. Second, we ask that upon taking office that, based on the finding by Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Ronald Adrine that probable cause exists to charge officer Loehmann and his partner Frank Garmback with serious crimes, including murder, that you convene a new Grand Jury to indict these officers and force them to defend their actions in open court. Unless police are held accountable for such unwarranted use of deadly force, and the violation of police policy and procedures; there is no question but that tragedies like this will continue to happen.
Petition to Florida Senate District 40 Residents
Annette Taddeo for Florida Senate District 40
Annette Taddeo Florida Senate District 40 has gone through a tumultuous past week with the sexist and racist remarks now, former Senator Frank Artiles said on Monday, April 17, 2017, toward the honorable Florida State Senator Audrey Gibson, an African American. Now that former Senator Frank Artiles has resigned, it’s time to move this diverse community past this scandal and heal the community and move to a new future with dignity and pride. We deserve a Senator that we can be proud of and will represent and respect all of us. Annette Taddeo has stood for civility her entire life. Let’s urge Annette Taddeo to run Florida State Senate District 40. Annette Taddeo was the former Chair of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party and Democratic Nominee for Lt. Governor