September 04, 2013 / BY CAMPAIGN STAFF ACTION: Help us take down the private prison industry

The number of people detained in for-profit prisons has grown by 1,664% in the past twenty years and the human impact has been devastating. Private prisons report some of the most abusive and inhumane conditions — cutting back on staff training, rehabilitative programing, and health care in order to maximize profits. Last year, a federal judge transferred all prisoners out of GEO Group's Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility after finding it to be a "a picture of such horror as should be unrealized anywhere in the civilized world."

For years industry giants like CCA, GEO Group and MTC have successfully lobbied for legislation that puts more people behind bars, and for longer. But we have the power to stop this. ColorOfChange has just launched our private prison divestment campaign and we need your help. Join our campaign to end for-profit prisons.

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August 29, 2013 / BY LYLA BUGARA 8 years later: Hurricane Katrina and the power of our community

Eight years ago today Hurricane Katrina pummeled the Gulf Coast, submerging 80% of New Orleans and killing more than 1,800 people. In the aftermath, thousands of low-income Black folks were left stranded in sweltering heat, with basic needs like food and water in short supply for weeks. The horror of this tragedy showed how a lack of economic and political power, along with abject government neglect, has life-and-death consequences for Black folks. It was in the wake of this tragedy that ColorOfChange.org was founded. 

Today, this struggle is far from over. Half of the Black population initially displaced by the storm never returned, and the Black NOLA residents that remain in the area continue to encounter systemic racial and economic barriers. In the past 8 years, unemployment has increased, public housing has been decimated, and public schools have been privatized. Nearly half of all Black New Orleanians are living in poverty. Black folks are also earning almost 50% less income than the city's white residents.

On this anniversary we look back on the important work of our online family and recognize all that remains to be done in order to make government, corporations, and institutions fully responsive to the voices of Black folks. Since Katrina, ColorOfChange has grown to nearly 900,000 members, capable of bringing about real and significant change. Our members will continue to leverage their voices around key issues effecting the Black community, but we will never forget those impacted by the storm, then and now.

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August 19, 2013 / BY LYLA BUGARA National tour of Mumia Abu Jamal documentary continues

After an initial debut in February, the documentary Mumia: Long Distance Revolutionary continues to play across the country, inciting important conversations and organizing efforts along the way. The film honors Mumia's prolific activism and scholarship, which he has continued to produce despite serving three decades in solitary confinement after a trial Amnesty International described as "manifestly unfair and failed to meet international fair trial standards."

Previous films have focused largely on the highly contested details of his conviction, but this latest piece takes a different path and showcases Mumia as an individual, family member, prolific journalist, and radical activist. The film's national tour has re-ignited public awareness of his continued imprisonment at a time when the recently launched "Mumia free in 4!" campaign is kicking the movement for his ultimate release is into high gear.

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August 14, 2013 / BY JAMAR HOOKS VICTORY: Stop and Frisk dealt unprecedented blow

For more than a year, thousands of ColorOfChange members and our partners at Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) have demanded an end to the discriminatory Stop and Frisk policing tactic which targets Black and brown New Yorkers and subjects them to suspicion-less stops. As a result, our partners at the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a class action lawsuit arguing that the policing tactic violates the constitutional rights of New Yorkers.

Last week, Judge Shira A. Scheindlin, who presided over the two-month Floyd v. City of New York trial, ruled that Stop and Frisk as implemented by the NYPD violates the constitutional rights of New Yorkers. In her 195-page decision, Judge Scheindlin noted that officers routinely disregarded the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments by subjecting New Yorkers to searches without reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing.

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July 31, 2013 / BY JAMAR HOOKS NEWS: Mayor Bloomberg vetoes anti Stop and Frisk bills

After thousands of ColorOfChange members and our partners at the Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) demanded an end to the NYPD's discriminatory and unlawful Stop and Frisk policing tactics, a veto-proof majority of the City Council passed two out of the four bills included in the Community Safety Act (CSA). The CSA would finally begin to address the deeply discriminatory policing tactics employed by the NYPD. One of the bills establishes long overdue protections for New Yorkers against discriminatory and racial profiling. The other bill creates an inspector general, an official with broad and independent authority to review Police Department policies, procedures and tactics.

Last week, as predicted Mayor Bloomberg vetoed both bills, claiming the bills are "dangerous and irresponsible" and "would make New Yorkers less safe."

While the bill is necessary, legislative intervention can only go so far in reshaping the deeply racist, brutal culture of the NYPD. That's why working closely with community-based partners, we’ve launched copwatchnyc.org, a mobile-friendly website that empowers New Yorkers to safely and lawfully observe, record and report police officers engaged in abusive or unprofessional behavior, misconduct or discrimination. Join Cop Watch NYC today to build community power and help us hold the police accountable.

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