The Supreme Court continues to erode our rights and protections, like the gutting loss of Roe v. Wade last year. Now financial connections to conservative donors and activists have surfaced. It's time Congress include more voices on the Court and increase the number of justices.
Recently 40 protestors have been charged with domestic terrorism for opposing the $90M police training facility known as Cop City. Three face “felony intimidation of an officer" for placing flyers on mailboxes, and dozens sit in jail on trumped-up charges. Demand DA Sherry Boston drop the charges against them.
Ralph Yarl, a 16-year-old high school star, was shot in Kansas City. While picking up his siblings from their friends’ house, he accidentally went to the wrong house and rang the bell. He was met by bullets, shot in the head, and suffered serious injuries before being helped by neighbors who found him in the street. It's time to repeal Missouri's Stand Your Ground law.
A 30-year-old unhoused Black man was killed on the subway. After he started experiencing a mental health breakdown, a white vigilante put a chokehold on him for 15 min, killing him. Despite this violence in broad daylight, media outlets are echoing police language, treating him like a suspect rather than asking why the NYPD isn't pressing charges.
There is no war on the police. Yet Congress is going out of its way to protect police officers, giving them the same protections federal hate crime laws use to protect marginalized groups. We need Congress to focus on the real issues and to promote policies to keep our communities safe.
The Community Safety Legislative Agenda outlines solutions that invest in people and communities — not police and prisons — to keep us safe. It includes the Break The Cycle of Violence Act for violence intervention, and the Mental Health Justice Act, to dispatch mental health professionals to respond to people in crisis.
This year we’ve worked tirelessly to hold Facebook accountable – persuading them to conduct their first civil rights audit and pressing them to adopt stronger policies against white supremacist content. We’ve held dozens of meetings, drawing their attention to how the platform has been used to censor Black activists and allow ads that discriminate against Black people. The fight continues. But Facebook has begun restricting racial targeting in ads, removing posts by white nationalists, and taken down posts meant to suppress voting.
social list opener
COC Members Save Disney’s Black Princess
We persuaded Disney not to whitewash their popular Black character Princess Tiana. When we saw early drawings of Tiana from the sequel to Wreck-It Ralph, it was clear they had straightened her hair, thinned her nose, and lightened her skin. Our members spoke out and persuaded Disney to keep Tiana a beautiful Black princess – part of our ongoing work to improve representation of Black characters in film and TV and make sure all children see heroes who look like them onscreen.
social list opener
NYPD Officer Fired for Murdering Eric Garner
Five years after the tragic and unnecessary death of Eric Garner, NYC mayor and police commissioner fired Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who put Garner in a chokehold and refused to let him go. COC members were part of a powerful coalition with dozens of groups around New York demanding justice. Though Garner’s death was ruled a homicide, until now the officers who restrained him had walked away with no consequences and their jobs intact.
social list opener
Color Of Change helps people respond effectively to injustice in the world around us. As a national online force driven by 7 million members, we move decision makers in corporations and government to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people, and all people. Until justice is real.
After George Floyd, many Democratic voters and politicians found themselves getting a crash course in racial inequality. Biden, who was responsible for the 1994 crime bill that spurred mass incarceration, is now vowing to make confronting systemic racism and uplift Black people a tenet of his administration. Color Of Change President Rashad Robinson is quoted in this New York Times’ article on how Biden is evolving with the country when it comes to race and justice. “Biden is actually being Biden by being inside of all of the ways in which the current landscape is sending him messages. That is good, but I don’t want to be classifying this as some sort of out-front radical leadership. That would really not represent everything that could be possible if we leaned in more.” There’s still so much at stake from overhauling policing and investing in public safety to student loan forgiveness.
Only 4% of Black-owned businesses in the U.S. survive past the startup stage, even though 20% of Black Americans start businesses, according to a new report by McKinsey and Company. The pandemic has forced many businesses to close their doors, and about 58% of Black-owned businesses were at risk of financial distress before the pandemic. This is consistent with what Color Of Change’s survey found last year: 40% of Black businesses said they could only last another six months, compared with 55% of their white business owner counterparts. The wealth gap, Color Of Change explains is reinforced by many factors from access to capital, bank loans, and relief programs like PPP that mean Black entrepreneurs have a much tougher time sustaining their businesses.
Salon reports how corporations including AT&T, Target, and Starbucks have embraced racial justice rhetoric while continuing to funnel millions of dollars to police. While claiming to stand with Black employees, corporations pour money into law enforcement through police foundations. Because they are nonprofits, police foundations can raise unregulated slush funds from undisclosed sources, which they often use to buy special weapons and equipment not covered by city budgets. Color Of Change Vice President Arisha Hatch says, “Police foundations are really good at hiding what they’re actually spending their money on. These foundations exist completely off the books.” It’s a problem.
Last year, the academy announced a plan requiring films to meet diversity criteria to be eligible for a best-picture nomination, starting in 2024. Still, those who have been critical of the way the film industry operates are not ready to heap too much praise on the academy. Rashad Robinson, behind Color Of Change’s #ChangeHollywood initiative is quoted. “What we have to constantly recognize is that an institution like the academy didn’t give anything to Black people. What the academy has done over the years is have a system and a set of rules that has stalled Black careers and prevented people from being fully seen. Now that they are working to make some changes, let’s acknowledge those changes but let’s not give them any awards that they haven’t earned.”
This is accountability, but not justice many have said in the wake of the guilty verdict against Derek Chauvin for killing George Floyd. Common Dreams surveyed leaders at 20 organizations fighting for change. Color Of Change President Rashad Robinson is quoted saying, “Nine minutes and 29 seconds will forever be supplanted in our hearts and memory… we use this moment to push for real change because the fight for accountability and justice in America is far from over. The Chauvin trial may be over, but what comes next will be the consequential moment in our history. We need to do more than raise our voices; we must demand action now.”
A new survey by the Anti-defamation League reveals that Asian and Black people are experiencing serious increases in harassment online, while LGBTQ+ people face the highest rate. Color Of Change President Rashad Robinson said the results of the study were “unsurprising”, as it’s proven that online hate disproportionately affects communities of color. “For 5 years, Color Of Change has campaigned to bring attention to this growing threat, and we’ve implored Facebook to prioritize addressing the dangers of hate proliferating on their platform. At this point, only sweeping oversight and enforcement from the federal government will force Facebook to change its broken business model and violence-driven algorithm that incentivizes hate for profit.”