Two dangerous new “Riot Bills” that would punish people for peacefully protesting are making their way through Wisconsin. They are retaliation for last year's racial justice protests -- and would give police the power to criminalize anyone at a "riot" with a $10,000 fine and up to 9 months in jail. We have to stop this!
Today tech is dominated by a few mega-companies. We’ve watched Facebook, Google, and Amazon get bigger and bigger. These monopolies leave us at risk; it's why we still have to deal with misinformation and voter suppression online. It's time for antitrust reform!
Police foundations are a threat to democracy and Black lives. And you know their sponsors: Verizon, Walmart, Starbucks, Amazon, Bank of America, Target, AT&T, Uber among others. We can't let companies say they support Black people while giving to those who hurt us.
14 people have lost their lives in NYC jail custody this year. 64-year old Victor Mercado caught COVID-19 and died from it in jail because he couldn't afford the $100,000 bail set for his case. This is a humanitarian crisis. Tell Manhattan DA Cy Vance to free people from Rikers now.
By funneling private money into policing without oversight, police foundations bankroll violence against Black people. A year after the NYPD promised to disclose its contributions, we still don't know how much they get through the NYC Police Foundation.
Monopolies are why healthcare and medication costs continue to skyrocket, why misinformation is still rampant on Facebook, and why small Black-owned businesses struggle to compete. We're asking Congress to invest in antitrust laws that will help promote racial justice.
Republicans have unleashed a serious attack on voting rights across the country. Democratic Senators need to pick a side: protect the Jim Crow filibuster or the voting rights of the Black people who got them elected. Pass the Freedom to Vote Act.
Color Of Change has long supported trailblazing Olympians in their fight to dismantle oppressive policies that silence Black athletes. So we applaud the decision by the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee to allow political expression like raised fists and kneeling during the anthem in Tokyo this summer. We met with the committee staff, sent letters, launched a campaign — and now athletes can don phrases like “Black Lives Matter” “equality” and “justice.” In 2016, we stood up for Colin Kaepernick taking a knee. Today we're asking corporate sponsors to stand with Gwen Berry, the Pan-American gold medalist who was abandoned by sponsors and lost 80% of her income after she raised her fist on the awards podium. And we'll keep fighting for Black athletes’ right to raise their voices without sacrificing their careers — demanding the International Olympic Committee drop Rule 50, the rule punishing athletes for speaking out. This is an important marker towards justice and equality within sports.
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Proud Boys Defunded & Kicked Off Social Media
A few days before a pro-Trump mob broke into the Capitol, Stripe processed $100,000 in donations to the Proud Boys, the white nationalist group Trump gave a shout-out to on live TV during the debates. Stripe put profit over public safety – funneling money to the group that funded interstate travel, tactical gear, and legal expenses. But after tens of thousands of Color Of Change members took action, Stripe decided to permanently suspend donations to the Proud Boys and indefinitely ban all accounts affiliated with the hate group. Our No Blood Money campaign to stop financial companies from profiting off of hate continues as we make sure Stripe keeps its promise to working with violent hate groups and GiveSendGo, the fundraising site used by white nationalists like Kyle Rittenhouse and Officer Derek Chauvin.
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Social Media Sites Ban Trump
Last week, Twitter, the social media site instrumental to President Trump’s rise, permanently banned his account. This is huge. For the last 4 years, Trump has turned to Twitter to spread misinformation and lies, incite violence, announce ad hoc policies, and antagonize those who disagree with him. For years, Color Of Change has been working to hold Twitter and Facebook accountable for white nationalist organizing on their platforms. And for weeks, groups like the Proud Boys were plotting their attack on the Capitol on social media. Finally, tech execs are listening. After Trump’s armed followers broke into the Capitol and Congress had to be evacuated, we reached out leaders at both companies, telling them to shut Trump down. Facebook has suspended Trump until the end of his term. This is where real accountability begins. For too long, we'd been warning this was bound to happen. We cannot afford to let Americans live in two realities, undermining the sovereignty of our elections, peddling hate for profit, and enabling armed revolt against peaceful leaders.
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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.
The Recording Academy announced next year’s Grammy Awards will be produced using an inclusion rider, an important step toward making the awards more diverse. An inclusion rider is a contractual requirement designed to ensure equity and inclusion at all levels of production. Color Of Change President Rashad Robinson, who helped created the #ChangeMusic initiative and is promoting the new inclusion rider, is quoted. “There are a lot of unwritten rules in the entertainment industry that create racial exclusion, and at Color Of Change, we know that to change society you have to change the rules. This inclusion rider is a written rule that will change the culture of hiring at the Grammys, and will make inclusion the norm.”
After years of getting next to nowhere with Mark Zuckerberg, rights groups like Color Of Change and the Anti-Defamation League are shifting strategy – turning from corporate engagement toward legislation to stop hate and misinformation on social media. Color Of Change President Rashad Robinson says years of conversations haven’t led Facebook to make substantive changes, and there is “nothing worse than to go and beg a billionaire to stop hurting us.” So now advocates are increasingly pushing Congress and the Biden administration to force tech companies to take more aggressive steps to moderate their sites for bigotry, misinformation, voter suppression and discrimination, rather than pleading with the companies.
Alarmed by a wave of bills sweeping state legislatures and a Supreme Court decision many say will dismantle voting rights, Black women are taking courageous steps to fight back. Over four days of collective action, leaders held a town hall, rally, and protest on Capitol Hill. After being arrested and released, some of the women sat down with Vice President Kamala Harris about the “moral” and “spiritual” imperative to protect voting. Rep. Jackson Lee underscored that the filibuster was not part of the Constitution – and instead was created specifically to block equal rights and voting rights as far back as the 1800s. Color Of Change continues to lead a campaign to get rid of the filibuster, which has been invoked time and again to stop laws affirming the rights of Black and Brown people.
Congressman Hank Johnson was arrested with Color Of Change President Rashad Robinson, and Cliff Albright, founder of Black Voters Matter for protesting the Senate’s failure to protect voting rights. Their protests are meant to direct attention to the For the People Act, Democratic legislation blocked by Senate Republicans as GOP lawmakers in a number of states pass a series of voting restrictions. Rashad is quoted, “It was worth the risk to use our power to demand voting rights protections for Black people, and all communities, in our country.” Seven states have passed laws to expand officials’ ability to purge voters from registration rolls or put voters at risk of having their names improperly removed – all swings state where Black people turning out has changed the outcome of elections.
Olympian Gwen Berry says her actions are often misunderstood. Berry believes her intentions are misunderstood. By raising her fist or turning around during the national anthem, she says, “I’m not saying I’m not proud to represent America. If anything, I am being extremely American by stating my rights. By exercising my constitutional right to say, I believe in freedom and justice for us all. I am protesting for America to be good for everybody. And just not for the elite or the white supreme.” After the 2019 Pan American Games, Berry lost her sponsors – and the majority of her salary – for speaking out. Recently, with help from Color of Change, Berry got a $15,000 sponsorship from Puma.
Gwen Berry has a track record of speaking out on injustice. Two summers ago, after winning gold at the 2019 Pan-American Games in Peru, she raised a fist on the podium and was slapped with a yearlong probation for violating international rules that prohibit protests inside stadiums and during ceremonies. It cost Berry her sponsors, including Nike. Color of Change eventually stepped in, pressuring companies to support Berry so she could continue being a professional athlete. Puma recently backed her with a $15,000 paycheck, equipment and apparel, and a campaign called “She Moves Us.” When this year’s Olympic track and field trials kicked off, she greeted the crowd with a raised fist and a t-shirt reading “athlete activist.”