225 petitions

Update posted 4 days ago

Petition to Hofstra University

Removal of the Thomas Jefferson Sculpture at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York

TW// mentions of slavery, rape, eugenics, anti-black racism. The Sondra and David S. Mack Student Center is one of the central points for on-campus life and student activities.   The Student Center houses several important offices and resources, including Intercultural Engagement and Inclusion, Student Access Services, the Office of Student Advocacy and Prevention Awareness, and the Dean of Students Office. Students daily walk through the Student Center for a quick cup of coffee or to cross the Unispan to get to class. For prospective students, this is one of the first buildings that they walk into when touring the university. At almost every single Admitted Students Day, families pose in front of the Student Center to take photos and share hugs and smiles after successful college visits. It is unfortunate then that a bronze sculpture of a 71-year-old Thomas Jefferson, gifted to the university by Hofstra Trustee David Mack, is right in front of the Student Center. Regarding this sculpture, Hofstra University Museum’s website reads, “ of Hofstra’s first architects credited Jefferson as one of his influences, as represented by the ‘quadrangle and great lawn’ between Hauser Hall, Memorial Hall and the Adams Playhouse, and Memorial Quad between Hofstra Hall, Calkins Hall, Brower Hall and Barnard Hall. Hofstra has continued the tradition of the quadrangle all over the campus.” While Jefferson’s architectural designs have gone on to inspire the designs of many American universities, Jefferson’s values aided in the construction of institutionalized racism and justified the subjugation of black people in the United States. Jefferson owned nearly 600 slaves in his lifetime, proudly embraced eugenics and raped countless enslaved black women and children and forced them to deliver his biological children. After the death of Jefferson’s father-in-lawn in 1773, Jefferson inherited 11,000 acres of estate and 125 slaves. When he died in 1826, he had acquired approximately 600 slaves. Jefferson raped many of his slaves and forced them to bear his biological children. Jefferson’s most famous victim is Sally Hemings. Hemings was only fourteen or fifteen when Jefferson first raped her and impregnated her with the first of five children. In 1998, a DNA study found a match between the Jefferson male line and a descendant of Hemings’ youngest son, confirming the terror the Hemings family endured. Jefferson embraced eugenics, citing that black people were genetically inferior in a number of his writings and speeches. Jefferson believed that Africans should be submitted to scientific analysis, including the “anatomical knife”, to confirm their inferiority. Justifying enslavement Jefferson explained, “It is not their condition, but nature...which has produced the distinction” between the slave and the slave master.  He went on to write, “...besides differences in color and hair, black people secreted less by the kidneys and more by the glands of the skin, which gives them a very strong and disagreeable odor“. In response to slave revolts in Haiti, Jefferson implicitly suggested a complete genocide of enslaved Africans, writing “if something is not done and soon done, we shall be the murderers of our own children”.   It is for these reasons that a sculpture honoring Thomas Jefferson should not be displayed on Hofstra University’s campus. Jefferson has been embraced as an icon by white supremacist and neo-nazi organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan and online white supremacist chat rooms such as Storm Front and Daily Stormer, a website domestic terrorist Dylann Roof actively used before committing a mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina in December of 2015. A sculpture like this belongs in a museum or archive with appropriate context, not displayed on a college campus, especially not in front of a hub of student life. I, Ja’Loni Owens, and the individuals who choose to sign this petition call on the administrators of Hofstra University to remove the sculpture of Thomas Jefferson from in front of the Student Center and to no longer display it on campus.

Jaloni Owens
619 supporters
Update posted 5 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.
12,477 supporters
Update posted 2 weeks ago

Petition to Lydia Polgreen

HuffPost: End Your Racist and Sexist Attack… on a Crime Victim’s Family

In 2016, a South Asian woman of color asked HuffPost’s editorial board for privacy for her fiancé. She requested they grant him a pseudonym in their article on a violent assault he survived years ago. Rather than a pseudonym, three white male HuffPost editors responded to this request by further updating the same article, adding even more personal details on the survivor. HuffPost Standards Editor Victor Brand, Editorial Director Danny Shea, and Senior News Editor Whitney Snyder all refused a woman of color the right to privacy and dignity for her family – a request that was granted to her fiancé, survivor of a violent assault, by 135 other news sites. This racist and sexist act was backed by yet another white male, HuffPost CEO Jared Grusd. The survivor is unable to secure work due to HuffPost’s updated content on the assault appearing at the top of Google searches of his name, greatly hurting his livelihood and his ability to provide for a family. Crime victims’ rights organizations have pleaded with HuffPost on multiple occasions to no avail. HuffPost has complied with these requests in many such cases. Why was it denied in this case? Clearly, HuffPost is an utterly racist and sexist publication hiding under the guise of being a liberal news media outlet. This is not the first time that the racist acts of HuffPost have been identified. In May 2016, one month after Victor Brand and the white male editors at HuffPost denied privacy to this victim’s family, it was revealed through this photo of their editors meeting, that women of color do not constitute HuffPost’s idea of diversity. HuffPost’s history of racism was further showcased when they continued to give Andrew Breitbart a platform on their front page. It was only after Color of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization, initiated a petition with over 43,000  signers requesting an end to their promotion of Breitbart, that HuffPost ceased this racist practice. Sign this petition now and tell HuffPost to end the suffering done unto a woman of color, her partner whom is an assault survivor, and their entire family.

Sheena Sharma
871 supporters