social justice

115 petitions

Update posted 2 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
599 supporters
Started 4 days ago

Petition to Mark Zuckerberg, Cheryl Sandberg, David Wehner, Chris Cox

A Petition to Change Facebook's Political Algorithm and Protect American Politics

This year, all high school students across our nation will have their futures decided by the 2018 Midterms. Even though we don’t get the chance to vote ourselves, policies and legislation that will dictate the course of our lives will be decided by the people our parents and friends and neighbors put in office. It's really important to note that at least 51% of liberals and 36% of conservatives use Facebook on a daily basis, not to mention the millions of other nonpartisan users that are open to the influence of the type of news that appears in their feed.  Exposed by the Wall Street Journal in 2016, Facebook used a selective algorithm that fed already liberal voters exclusively liberal information and conservative voters only conservative news. Even worse, Facebook decides based on what kind of information you search and like whether you should be categorized as moderate, liberal, or conservative, and based on that categorization, determines what kinds of information you should be exposed to. That means that Facebook is only serving to perpetuate political polarization within the United States, which ultimately influences our election process.  Thus, Facebook only serves to reinforce views that voters already hold without allowing them to see what's actually trending or pertinent in the news, which undermines the purpose of media in the first place. Facebook continuously modifies their algorithms, but wouldn't the integrity of the news be restored if it stopped fiddling with our news feed altogether? 

Liana S-E
45 supporters
Update posted 1 week ago

Petition to Kelli Linville, April Barker, Gene Knutson, Daniel Hammill, Whatcom County Council, Bellingham City Council, Michael Lilliquist, Pinky Vargas, Terry Bornemann, Roxanne Murphy

Bellingham Publicly Owned Fiber Optic Network

Publicly Owned Fiber Optic Internet Bellingham is hurting. Like many other cities nationwide we have high unemployment, low wages, and a host of economic, social and environmental problems. This inexpensive solution would help us address all of them, and maintain net-neutrality by creating a public, net-neutral option. In fact over 450 other cities have already implemented solutions like this, but our leaders are reluctant to even give our citizens access to the resources they've already paid for, much less prepare our city for the future.  As other cities embrace high-speed fiber broadband, Bellingham is getting left far behind. Our city has underutilized public fiber resources and several net-neutral local Internet Service Providers eager to deploy high speed broadband, like they have in Mount Vernon, yet this is held back by rules and regulations that have not kept pace with technology. Fiber would: Create an opportunity for a public access component to make ultra high speed internet broadly accessible in public spaces, provide higher quality low-income connections to those in need, and guarantee a level of internet access to all. Give Bellingham a strong standing among Washington cities, and create valuable infrastructure that we could continue to build on in the long-term. Create jobs: Fiber would draw companies to the city, provide jobs for construction and maintenance, create new internet service providers and other innovative businesses that are made possible by ultra-fast broadband. Reduce Our Impact on the Environment: Fiber would reduce the need for travel to take place for meetings. It is also very durable and usually requires less maintenance than old infrastructure wiring, like copper wiring.   Increase property values: Wiring for fiber-optics has been shown to increase property value approximately 1% Provide a network our government could leverage to deliver data from current and future ‘smart grid’ sensors including those used for parking management, resource monitoring, air quality, muni and other needs. Over the long term smarter management could save the city money and increase our tax base without increasing taxes by reducing unemployment and creating good jobs. This petition asks for the city to give the public access to the broadband resources we've already paid for, expand our critical publicly owned broadband infrastructure, establish a Dig Once Policy for Bellingham and Whatcom County, allow multiple providers into multi-unit dwellings, and provide high quality internet access to all residents that truly address our Digital Divide issues. 

Jon Humphrey
1,369 supporters