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.More »
Today, telecom giant Verizon will argue in the D.C. Circuit Court that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has no power whatsoever to regulate the Internet. The company's lawsuit, Verizon v. FCC, seeks to strip the agency of its ability to review any Internet-related issues, including protections for consumer privacy, redress for fraudulent billing practices, and enforcement of commitments to providing universal broadband access.
Want to know what the Internet would look like — and cost — if Verizon and its buddies in Big Telecom and the cable industry have their way? Check out The Internet Must Go, a new video launching today featuring our Executive Director Rashad Robinson, our friends at Free Press and Public Knowledge, Sen. Al Franken, comedian John Hodgman, and many more.More »
UPDATE: Thank you for taking action to protect Marcus books! Efforts to save this legendary cultural site are ramping up! Please join us tomorrow at Marcus books for a rally, letter writing campaign and press conference! WHEN: Saturday, June 22nd 12-3pm WHERE: Marcus Bookstore 1712 Fillmore St., San Francisco. Let us know in the comment section if you plan to attend, we hope to see you there!
Marcus Books in San Francisco is the oldest Black bookstore in the country. For over fifty years, Marcus Books has served as a literary and cultural center for books "by and about Black people everywhere." It has hosted thousands of authors and celebrities including Rosa Parks, James Baldwin, B.B. King, Toni Morrison, Malcolm X, and Harry Belafonte. On Tuesday, June 18th, this community institution will face eviction unless we convince real estate investors to sell the property back.
The eviction of Marcus Books would mean an end to a historical legacy longer than the bookstore itself. Can you make a call to and urge Nishan and Suhaila Sweis — real estate investors to sell back the property. It only takes a moment.More »
Last week, workers at Walmart stores across the country walked off the job, beginning the first ever "prolonged strikes" in the history of the immensely profitable company. Like the Black Friday strikes of last November, which ColorOfChange members supported, these strikes are a response to consistent management retaliation towards workers attempting to organize for better working conditions. Walmart is notorious for keeping wages low and denying workers full-time or even regular hours.
Around 100 of the striking workers have joined OUR Walmart's "Rides for Respect." Inspired by the Freedom Rides of the Civil Rights Movement, workers from across the country joined caravans to Walmart's headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas this week. The workers are joining labor and civil rights leaders to call national attention to Walmart's unfair labor practices ahead of the company's annual shareholders meeting on Friday.More »
President Obama's recent budget proposal includes a number of dangerous austerity measures that stand to harm poor and middle class families and threaten the economy. Reflecting the destructive idea that we can fix our economic crisis by weakening social programs key to a healthy economy, the plan suggests grave cuts to Social Security.
That's why we've launched a campaign demanding that President Obama and Congress negotiate a final budget that doesn't include unnecessary austerity measures. We need a budget that grows the economy through job creation, sound investments in education and infrastructure, and a system of increasing revenue that doesn't take from those who are the least able to pay. Check out the original email we sent and join us after the jump.More »
This week, we submitted nearly 25,000 public comments from ColorOfChange members all over the country to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which is considering implementing rules to crack down on price gouging in the prison phone industry. The Huffington Post reported on our campaign, highlighting corruption in the industry that allows phone companies, corrections agencies and private prisons to strike deals that make them the most money, while leaving the families and loved ones of incarcerated individuals struggling to pay artificially inflated rates.
As a testament to the powerful voices of ColorOfChange members, over 3,300 of the comments we collected were from everyday people moved to share personal stories of their experiences with outrageous phone charges or other reasons why the campaign is important to them — and these voices are making a difference. After the jump, take a look at some of the member comments we found particularly compelling, and let us know in the comments if you've been impacted by the high cost of prison phone calls.More »
For the millions of families with an incarcerated loved one, exorbitant prison phone rates make staying in touch a serious financial burden — and for some, just not an option. All across the country, phone providers and prisons reap profits in the millions from hiking up phone rates, while people like Martha Wright, an 86-year-old grandmother, are forced to choose between medication, food, and speaking with her grandson.
Public corrections agencies and private prisons strike deals that will benefit them the most, and in some states commissions on phone calls — kickbacks — can make up as much as 60% of phone charges. The burden of this explicitly exploitative practice weighs heavily on Black families, whose communities are disproportionately policed and targeted for incarceration. Maintaining family bonds while in prison is key for mitigating the countless challenges of imprisonment, and is known to greatly decrease recidivism and facilitate re-entry.
Now, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering capping prison call prices in line with rates available to the public, and will be accepting public comments through Monday. After the jump, check out the email sent to our members, and don't forget to sign the petition calling on the FCC to step end the predatory phone rates.More »
Big Telecom fears any real regulations by the Federal Communications Commission that might prevent it from exploiting customers for astronomical profits. Our Executive Director, Rashad Robinson, recently published an op-ed in The Root, exposing what's really behind the industry's attack on "government regulation" — and how AT&T and Verizon are responsible for the biggest threat to the open Internet we've seen yet. Rashad explains:
Every monthly cable bill is a fresh reminder of how a lack of competition keeps us tied to underperforming, unresponsive telecom monopolies primarily dedicated to price-gouging their customers. Without the FCC serving as a watchdog — protecting our right to all access the same Web, no matter what telecom market we live in — broadband providers would be working overtime finding new ways to charge us even more for even less.
UPDATE (03/08/13): After more than 1,500 Georgia ColorOfChange members rallied to action, Georgia's House resoundingly rejected HB 282 on a bipartisan 70-94 vote.
Today, the Georgia House of Representatives is voting on a bill to ban local governments from creating broadband Internet networks even when most residents have no option for private broadband service. HB 282 is being pushed by Big Telecom, and got its start as a "model" bill from the corporate bill mill the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
We're urging Georgia lawmakers to reject this giveaway to the telecom industry and protect the right to connect for all communities. Read the email we sent to our members after the jump, and if you live in Georgia please urge your Representative to vote NO on HB 282.More »
Today, ColorOfChange launched a campaign exposing Congress' role in pushing the U.S. Postal Service to the brink of bankruptcy. House Republicans are using the USPS's financial crisis as an excuse to try to privatize it — they forget to mention that the post office would be profitable if it weren't for Congressional interference. The Bush-era Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) contains an outrageous provision requiring the USPS to pre-fund its retiree benefits 75 years into the future — a burden imposed on no other government agency or private corporation.
House Republicans are cheering Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe's recent announcement that he plans to end Saturday mail delivery in order to cut costs, knowing this would result in dramatic workforce reductions and mail delays that make it easier to justify dismantling the entire postal system. We're urging Congress to stand up for postal workers and the public by protecting six-day mail delivery, and by adopting meaningful postal reform that ends the PAEA's unfair pre-funding requirement. Read the email we sent to our members after the jump and be sure to take action here.More »