September 24, 2013 / BY KIM LEHMKUHL Yelp! joins ALEC in midst of Zimmerman murder trial

Yelp! chose to become a private sector member of ALEC (and a member of ALEC's Civil Justice Task Force) as recently as June 28 of this year. This has since been confirmed by Yelp!'s Director of Public Policy, Luther Lowe, who also admitted on Twitter that he "can't ignore" the damage ALEC has done.

Why would Yelp! voluntarily seek to join an organization with ALEC's well-documented track record of attacks on the fundamental rights of Black folks and other people of color — particularly after more than 50 other private sector members have chosen to cease funding ALEC and publicly disassociate themselves from the group?

Today, ColorOfChange is launching a new site that makes it easy to "Tell Yelp! No," and will deliver users' comments directly to Yelp!'s CEO Jeremy Stoppelman. Take a moment to let Yelp! know what you think of its decision to fund ALEC now.

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October 01, 2013 / BY JAMAR HOOKS Formerly incarcerated job seekers deserve a second chance

Today ColorOfChange launched a campaign urging California Governor Jerry Brown to sign "Ban the Box" legislation that would level the playing field for qualified California job seekers who've been formerly incarcerated. AB 218 would remove the deeply prejudicial checkbox disclosure of prior convictions from government job applications.

Black families and communities are disproportionately impacted by both overincarceration and the high unemployment that comes with it. Banning "the box" is a critical step towards curbing the hiring discrimination so many of us face, but ultimately everyone benefits when people with past convictions are no longer shut out of the workforce.

The bill applies only to government employers, but if California leads by example, it could prompt a larger effort to "Ban the Box" in all sectors of employment. Read the email we sent to our members, and join our campaign here.

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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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July 23, 2013 / BY CAMPAIGN STAFF Bronx D.A. seeks new indictment in Ramarley Graham case

Ramarley Graham was only 18-years-old when NYPD Officer Richard Haste unlawfully broke down the door of his family’s home and shot and killed him in his bathroom without cause, February of last year. Haste was indicted on two counts of manslaughter but the charges were outrageously dropped last month when a federal judge cited a procedural error. Ramarley's family and community supporters refused to accept the decision that would have allowed Haste to get off scott-free and demanded Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson reconvene a grand jury.

Now, in the wake of George Zimmerman's acquittal for killing Trayvon Martin, the District Attorney's office has responded to strong community pleas for justice and convened a new grand jury that will decide to either re-indict Haste or let him walk free. ColorOfChange Executive Director Rashad Robinson responded by commenting on the links between Ramarley's case and national efforts demanding accountability for affronts to the value of Black life:

"Whether it's Stand Your Ground or Stop and Frisk, we will continue to demand an end to racial profiling and policies that jeopardize the safety of young Black men like Trayvon Martin and Ramarely Graham...ColorOfChange members remain deeply committed to seeking justice for Trayvon and Ramarley. We will not be satisfied until George Zimmerman and Ramarley's killer — NYPD Officer Richard Haste – are both held accountable and until there's an end to racial profiling and the violence it creates."
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July 18, 2013 / BY CAMPAIGN STAFF Stopping the next Zimmerman

In the wake of George Zimmerman’s acquittal, ColorOfChange has just launched a campaign urging elected officials to show leadership by stopping "Shoot First" laws — known to supporters as "Stand Your Ground" laws — which undermine public safety and senselessly put the lives of Black youth in jeopardy. We all are deeply hurt by Trayvon's killing and George Zimmerman's acquittal. However, we have an opportunity to harness our outrage and energy to demand that these laws are abolished now, or we will continue to see more Trayvon’s — not just in Florida, but also in the 31 other states with similar deadly laws.

Following the murder of Trayvon one year ago, tens of thousands of ColorOfChange members raised their voices against these racially discriminatory laws. These laws have been spread around the country by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and their deep-pocketed supporters at the National Rifle Association (NRA). Since the launch of our campaign, more than 50 corporations and dozens of legislator have dropped their support for the shadowy corporate lobby, but these laws continue to threaten public safety, especially for Black people.

The movement is growing, but we need you to raise your voice with us. Read the email we sent to our members, and join us in dismantling these dangerous and deadly laws and help us hold those who want to keep them on the books accountable.

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July 17, 2013 / BY JAMAR HOOKS Unjust Zimmerman verdict unites protestors across US

Since Sunday, the day after George Zimmerman's acquittal on charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter in the killing of Trayvon Martin, people of all races and colors have been coming together to rally for justice for Trayvon.

In cities across the country, thousands are marching in the streets, demanding an end to racial profiling, police violence, and the criminalization of Black youth. These peaceful rallies and marches are helping us connect with each other to share our outrage, grief, and frustration, giving voice to a conversation that has been sorely lacking in the media's coverage of the trial. ColorOfChange staff attended rallies in Oakland and New York City, and you can check out our photos on our Facebook page.

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July 14, 2013 / BY JAMAR HOOKS George Zimmerman acquitted on all charges

The admitted fatal shooting of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin by self-appointed neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman last spring ignited a national debate on racial profiling and the criminalization of Black youth. Today, Zimmerman is a free man after he was acquitted of all charges by a mostly-white jury in Seminole County, Florida.

We're still fighting for justice for Trayvon — and we need your help. Together, we can turn our grief and frustration into a movement to hold the criminal justice system accountable. We're calling on US Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division to bring federal charges against Zimmerman. Read the email we sent to our members, and join the movement to end the senseless violence perpetrated by vigilantes and police due to racial profiling.

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July 10, 2013 / BY JAMAR HOOKS ACTION: Drop criminal charges against 14-year-old wrongfully and violently arrested for being black

UPDATE: 7-15-13 To our great relief the felony charges against Tremaine McMillian have been dropped! The voices of the more than one hundred ColorOfChange members who called the State Attorney and the video of Tremaine's violent arrest were all critical in stopping this grave injustice. As we saw in Tremaine's story, police brutality and discrimination is a national epidemic. We must continue to safely monitor police activity and hold officers accountable.

This past Memorial Day, while playing on the beach and bottle feeding his newborn puppy, Tremaine McMillian and his friends were stopped by police. Confused by the unprovoked police stop, Tremaine walked away only to be chased by Miami-Dade police officers who then violently tackled him to the ground, placed him in a suffocating chock-hold, and handcuffed him, causing Tremaine to urinate on himself in fear. The incident was filmed on a cellphone by Tremaine's mother who watched on in horror as police brutalized her son and then arrested him on charges of resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. Miami-Dade police immediately cited a "dehumanizing stare" as the reason for the violent encounter and arrest.

Outrageously, Tremaine still faces felony criminal charges with a trial date set for July 16th. There is still time to stop this henious attack on Tremaine's humanity and future, but officials need to know this injustice will not be tolerated.

The Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle has the power to drop the charges. Can you please take a few moments to call and urge her to drop this unfounded case immediately? And when you do please ask your family and friends to do the same.

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July 10, 2013 / BY JAMAR HOOKS Rachel and Trayvon are not on trial

In June, George Zimmerman finally went on trial for profiling, pursuing and killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin — after 45 days of protest as Sanford, Florida police refused to make an arrest. From the start of the trial, there's been no shortage of victim-blaming by irresponsible media outlets.

But last week, when key prosecution witness Rachel Jeantel — Trayvon's close friend who was was speaking to him by phone just moments before he was killed — took the stand, the dehumanizing media attacks reached a disturbing new low.

This trial should be about seeking justice for a young man's violent death, and about how racial stereotypes put the physical safety of young Black men in jeopardy. But the media's crude fixation on Rachel's speech and appearance has served to reinforce and magnify dehumanizing stereotypes around both race and class.

Have you been watching the Zimmerman trial? Let us know about harmful trial coverage when you see it, and help us build a more accountable media. You can also let others know that you #RepresentForTrayvon by adding a badge to your Facebook or twitter profile picture or changing your Facebook cover photo.

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