On Thursday night, the Maryland Senate Judical Proceedings (JPR) Committee voted 6-5 in favor of approving SB276— the bill that would repeal the death penalty. Previous repeal bills have failed to get out of the JPR committee in 10 of the last 12 General Assembly sessions. Thanks in part to the hard work of Maryland ColorOfChange members making calls, sending tweets and signing a petition in support of the bill, Maryland is closer to repealing the death penalty than it has been in 30 years.
The bill now heads to the full Senate for floor debate. It is crucial that the bill pass the Senate without additional amendments. Please take a moment and call your Senator to tell them you support the death penalty repeal bill without any further amendments.More »
In his final State of the City address last Thursday, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that beginning in March, most people arrested in NYC for possessing small amounts of marijuana will be released and ordered to return to court, rather than being held overnight. That's good news for the more than 600,000 mostly Black and Brown people that have been arrested for marijuana possession during the last 15 years in New York City. Bloomberg also indicated support for Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposed law to make small possessions of marijuana a violation rather than a misdemeanor.
The Mayor was right to institute this stop-gap measure, but it shouldn't distract from the real remedy to racially-biased marijuana currently waiting for a vote in the State Legislature. ColorOfChange members and our allies have been fighting for a deeper resolution. Please join us in calling on New York state legislators to end discriminatory and illegal marijuana arrests.More »
Today, both chambers of the Maryland General Assembly are holding hearings on the bill to repeal the death penalty. ColorOfChange submitted written testimony including the names and comments of nearly one thousand Maryland members who signed our petition urging repeal.
Leading the testimony will be Governor Martin O'Malley, a staunch supporter of repeal. He will be joined on a panel by Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker, NAACP President Ben Jealous, and the bill's chief sponsors — Senator Lisa Gladden and Delegate Sandy Rosenberg in their respective chambers.More »
Former New York City Police Commissioner, Bill Bratton, has been one of the most ardent proponents of the NY Police Department's discriminatory Stop and Frisk program. Now Bratton wants to spread Stop and Frisk to other cities. Last week, Bratton was overwhelmingly approved by the Oakland City Council to serve as a consultant to the Oakland Police Department. Previously, Mayor Jean Quan proposed hiring him to help enhance the city's public safety plan. Bratton has already hinted that the revised safety plan may include the discriminatory Stop and Frisk policing tactic.
Bratton's approval in Oakland is a clear example of how the tactics and training of the NYPD can have serious consequences for the rest of the country. Check out this short video from the Oakland City Council meeting and then join us in demanding Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Kelly end the discriminatory program in New York City.More »
Two weeks ago, Maryland ColorOfChange members joined families of murder victims and civil rights organizations for a rally in Annapolis to repeal the death penalty. The rally follows a recent victory — Senate President Mike Miller, finally put aside his personal opposition and promised a full Senate vote on the bill to repeal the death penalty, SB0276.
Watch the clip above from the rally and then add your voice to our petition to repeal the death penalty in Maryland.More »
Forty years after they were wrongly convicted by a jury for firebombing a grocery store in Wilmington, North Carolina, civil rights activists who became known as the "Wilmington 10" were officially pardoned by out-going Governor Beverly Perdue.
After reviewing the cases, Governor Perdue determined the convictions were "tainted by naked racism" and as a result granted pardons to every member of the Wilmington 10. According to Perdue, the key evidence that led her to grant pardons were a series of notes from the prosecutor who picked the jury. The notes showed the prosecutor intentionally selected white jurors who who were known members of the Ku Klux Klan and one Black juror who was described as an "Uncle Tom."More »
On Saturday, Bay Area filmmaker, Ryan Coogler accepted the U.S. Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award for U.S. dramatic film at the Sundance Festival, for his original work: Fruitvale. Fruitvale centers around the life and murder of Oscar Grant, the young father who was shot dead by a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) police officer while lying facedown on an Oakland, CA train platform.
The 2009 incident of police brutality was captured on camera for the world to see, BART officer Johannes Mehserle fired one round into Grant's back. Mehserle later claimed he thought he was firing his taser -- one of many unbelievable missteps that occurred that night at the Fruitvale BART station.More »
On January 8, Federal Judge Shira Scheindlin issued a ruling demanding an end to the use of Stop and Frisk outside of "Clean Halls" buildings in the Bronx. Operation Clean Halls permits police to patrol, interrogate, frisk, and arrest suspected "trespassers" in 16,000 private residential buildings disproportionately located in Black and brown communities. Judge Scheindlin's ruling orders the NYPD to stop performing trespass stops outside clean halls buildings in the Bronx unless officers have reasonable suspicion beyond a "hunch".
This is the first time a federal court has found a portion of Stop and Frisk to be unconstitutional, paving the way for further legal action. But Stop and Frisk won't go away by itself — we're ready to continue our efforts in 2013. Please join our campaign to demand an end to Stop and Frisk.More »
Last Wednesday, the Maryland General Assembly began its 2013 session. One major issue that the General Assembly may take on this session is a bill to repeal the death penalty. It's been a long road for advocates of a repeal. In 10 of the last 12 General Assembly sessions, bills have been introduced to repeal the death penalty but have not made it to a full vote. This year members in both chambers are expecting the bill will reach the floor for a full vote.
Proponents of overturning Maryland's draconian death penalty law appear to be within one or two votes of gaining enough political clout to push repeal through the State Senate where previous efforts have failed in years past.More »
For decades, the NRA and ALEC have worked hand in glove to pass legislation designed to increase gun sales — regardless of the human cost. In the wake of the shooting tragedy in Newtown, the NRA has unabashedly called for even more guns in our communities, recommitting itself to blocking commonsense efforts to reduce gun violence.
That's why today ColorOfChange launched a campaign highlighting ALEC's relationship with the NRA and renewing our call to ALEC's corporate funders to cut ties with the group. It's time these corporations draw the line: continuing to fund ALEC helps push NRA-drafted gun access laws that devastate our communities, and elevates gun industry profits over human lives.
Check out the email we sent to ColorOfChange members today, and join us here.More »