Racial Justice

388 petitions

Update posted 1 week ago

Petition to Gretchen Whitmer, Governor Whitmer

Forgive the state debt so that our staff/students may finally teach/learn in peace.

For years, public school students in Benton Harbor, Michigan have endured constant turmoil under Betsy Devos influenced policies. Michigan's failed education policies have driven high turnover, unfair testing practices, and cuts to essential programs. Marginalized communities have suffered the most. Ironically, the majority of the students here are descendants of slaves who never received promised reparations, yet their daily journey is darkened by a cloud of debt from which they never profited.  Under extreme debt, students and staff in cash strapped districts have functioned under the threat of shutdown nearly every year for nearly a decade. Imagine the stress of going to school not knowing if your school will even make it from one year to the next? Imagine your children's classes closing midyear and receiving incompletes though no fault of their own? Field trips cancelled, beloved teachers layed off, and the consistent trauma of staff trying to manage a district on a shoestring budget? It is time to give the children a fresh start and a fair chance. You can help. Since schools also serve as voting polls, closing targeted schools is a creul form of voter suppression that sacrifices school children as political casualties of war. Although strategists have fought to push through takeover strategies that mimic corporate level political sabotage, our children and schools may not be able to survive much longer unless the debt against them is completely forgiven. Our babies need this fresh start. Once the debt is forgiven, under our new state level administration that values public education and equity, our district will be able to bring back important student centered programs designed to help students thrive. Incoming dollars will go directly to educating students. To ensure fiscal responsibilty moving forward, we also encourage the state to require the district to use an online financial accounting dashboard that will enable the public to track financial progress dollar for dollar. I am a product of Benton Harbor public schools, a parent and a former teacher. My son graduated from Benton Harbor High School last year and I have another child entering next year. With the exception of the high school which hangs in the balance, I inconsolably watched every school I attended in this community forced to shut down at the most inhumane moments of the school calendar. I love my community and I believe that my children deserve a fair chance at education in our neighborhood schools. Please help us by signing the petition to call for a way overdue new beginning. Click here to view further details regarding issues relating to the previous administration's decisions and mandates.  Click here to view video of students advocating for a fresh start for better schools.

Elnora Gavin
3,762 supporters
Update posted 1 week ago

Petition to Ari B. Levy, Chris Birkinshaw

Aloha Poke Co, Remove "Aloha" and "Poke" From Your Name

Aloha Poke Co is a Midwest based restaurant that has aggressively threatened Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) families with legal action for the use of the word “Aloha” in their business or social media. Not only are they capitalizing on an Indigenous traditional dish that they have no rights to, but they also have the gall to try and bar our own people from using a word in our language that has deep cultural meaning and symbolism. A language that up until 1987 was illegal in schools in Hawaii. Aloha Poke Co.'s lawyers have sent cease-and-desist letters to small businesses demanding they "stop all use of Aloha and Aloha Poke in association with selling your food, products and services" as well as demanding the "removal of Aloha and Aloha Poke from any company name, domain name, Facebook page or other social media site." Aloha Poke Co. has yet to confirm how many of these cease-and-desist actions were undertaken by their lawyers. But two small businesses, including a native Hawaiian-owned restaurant, have been forced to rebrand their entire businesses due to this legal threat so far. The root base of aloha are the words ALO and HA. Alo means presence, or as some kupuna have described it, recognition. HA means the breath of life. Therefore when we as Kanaka Maoli say “Aloha” we are recognizing being in the presence of another person's breath of life. To threaten suit to Kanaka Maoli families who are simply trying to practice their generations old culture and feed the community? So that you can profit off of a culture and a people that are not yours to sell? That is what we call HEWA. We as Kanaka Maoli also stand in solidarity with the Algonquin peoples who are the First Peoples of Chicago and were driven from the land by settlers. This is still pertinent because not only do the Algonquin people still live and struggle today, we know from the struggles of working class Chicago peoples that Aloha Poke Co is a part of a progressive wave of gentrification, commodification, and cultural appropriation that is criminalizing and driving out poor and people of color from the urban core. We understand because half of our own people cannot afford to live in Hawaii due to the cost of living. We as Kanaka Maoli and all those who ally with us seek not only to be free from oppression, but to be free from the use of our culture in the oppression of others. As we struggle to cease the exploitation of our people, lands, culture and foods, so also do we refuse to have our language and culture participate in the gentrification of the homes of our allies abroad. We call upon Aloha Poke Company, LLC to “cease and desist” from the use of the words “Aloha”, “Aloha Poke” and “Poke" from all current and future businesses. We believe the words "Aloha" and "Poke" belong to the whole Hawaiian culture – not to a U.S. company in Chicago. We understand that this will come at some cost to you, but we think that cost to a multi-million dollar company is comparable to the cost that you have asked these small families to suffer when you have demanded they remove theirs.  Mahalo nui loa, (not copywrited, still not yours to have) The Kanaka Maoli peoples and ALL OUR relatives.

Kalamaokaaina Niheu
173,883 supporters