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.
Florida Housing Complex Forced to Stop Illegally Evicting Black Families
Last January we launched a rapid response campaign following a wave of evictions at Holly Court Apartments in Tampa. Victoria Lee, a tenant there, used our OrganizeFor platform to mobilize thousands of members and amplify tenant demands to fix the plumbing, honor leases, and support tenants who’d been illegally pushed out. Many families were given eviction notices on New Year’s Eve for no reason at all and given just 30 days to find a new home. One mother reported having to go to the corner store to use the bathroom as raw sewage backed up in her tub. Management all but ignored calls for help and she had to call out of work for days because she couldn’t shower. After the online petition and a sleep-in protest, Palm Communities agreed to honor residents’ leases, provide temporary housing for displaced residents, and resolve maintenance issues. Housing is a human right, but far too often greed and profit trump the needs of Black and low-income residents who live in buildings owned by private equity firms. Your calls and text messages kept residents in their homes!
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AT&T Pulls Funding from White Nationalist Network
With your help, we pressured AT&T to stop funding the far-right network One America News. OAN was a major vehicle for Trump, and has continued to provide a “friendly” platform for his allies. We've seen correspondents use racial slurs, call for the execution of election officials, suggest shooting unhoused people – all without consequence. OAN consistently promotes hate-filled content, and disseminates dangerous misinformation about the 2020 elections and safety of the COVID-19 vaccine, with the goal of provoking their audience. Research revealed a major reason for the network's success was support from AT&T. AT&T should know better. So thousands of Color Of Change members wrote to AT&T CEO John Stankey, and we were heard. One America Network has been removed from DirectTV. This is another step towards making sure the media isn’t allowed to amplify racist lies that lead to real-world violence against Black people.
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Biden Grants Clemency to 70 People on Home Confinement
Throughout the pandemic, we’ve fought to get incarcerated people who pose no risk to their communities but could fall deathly ill with COVID sent home. On April 26, 2022, nearly 150,000 Color Of Change members helped convince President Biden to free 70 people on home confinement. That means they can live independently, pursue their dreams, spend time with friends and family without electronic monitors or other dehumanizing conditions of confinement. It is historic for a president to grant so many clemencies in their first term. But thousands more people deserve to be free – and risk being sent back due to minor technicalities or bureaucratic errors. People on home confinement have had to turn down jobs or miss funerals because they’re outside of the range they’re allowed to travel. Biden promised he'd end mass incarceration and cut the prison population in half. Help us hold him to that.
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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.
Randal Reid spent 6 days in jail after being stopped in Atlanta and falsely accused of stealing purses in Louisiana, a state he’s never even been to. His case reveals issues with facial recognition software. While they appear neutral on the surface, they can be used to imprison the innocent and prop up already racist practices in law enforcement. It’s a case of mistaken identity that traces back to the sheriff department’s contract with Clearview AI; artificial intelligence conflated Reid’s face with the one on the security footage. Rashad Robinson, president of Color Of Change, says we shouldn’t brush such incidents off as honest mistakes. New technologies, he says, can exacerbate already existing racist tendencies. “If facial recognition was misclassifying white people, white men or white women, it would not be on the shelf. Some of us and some of our communities are expendable.” That’s what the group is fighting to change.
Since Elon Musk took over Twitter last October, many big-name advertisers have paused spending on the platform. Ads historically make up 90% of Twitter’s revenue. Many blame the lack of confidence in Musk to control and moderate what’s spread on the platform. Major corporations don’t want to jeopardize their “brand safety” by being associated with openly racist, sexist, or hateful content. Color Of Change has launched a campaign pressuring advertisers to drop Twitter because platform continues to promote harmful content while Musk turns a blind eye, or worse, contributes to the slurs and conspiracy theories. COC President Rashad Robinson is quoted, “What we hear from Elon every single day gives us new outreach and entree to advertisers.”
Color Of Change helped #StandWithTracy reach a volume that neither the media nor New York City politicians could ignore. In the end, the DA dropped all charges against Tracey, hopefully changing how domestic violence survivors are treated by the criminal justice system going forward. Tracy’s initial supporters raised money, contacted the DA’s office, and held social media power hours. But Color Of Change had donated to DA Bragg’s campaign, and held his feet to the fire. COC Vice President Sakira Cook says, “We worked with Survived and Punished for 10 months to hold Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg accountable.” They putan ad in the New York Times, produced videos, and organized a petition that with 21,000 signatures. Still, getting the case dismissed was no small feat. According to the ACLU, there’s serious bias baked into self-defense laws. A man who kills a female partner will serve 2-to-6 years while women on average serve 15. She says, “This is the part of the system we are trying to change.”
Color Of Change President Rashad Robinson contributed to this op-ed on the DOJ’s move to investigate Memphis police for their abuse of force, which led to the death of Tyre Nichols. Unnecessary traffic stops kill Black people all the time. Of the more than 1,000 people killed by police each year, 10% involve traffic stops. Nearly half are for issues as minor as a broken taillight or tinted windows. There’s no reason to send armed cops to deal with these issues. Rashad writes with the presidents of the Vera Institute for Justice and Center for American Progress, “As three Black men, we know firsthand the worry of whether the everyday act of driving will end in tragedy for ourselves, our brothers and sisters, or nieces and nephews and children… Changing the way traffic stops happen in this nation is foundational to any discussion about police reform. By reforming them, federal, state and local leaders can save countless lives.”
23 people including a legal observer were arrested at ongoing protests at “Cop City” and charged with domestic terrorism. For years, Color Of Change has been raising the alarms that residents overwhelmingly oppose the $90M mega-police training complex being built outside Atlanta — and that elite police forces lead to the kind of violence that killed Tyre Nichols. Color Of Change Sr. Campaign Director Kyle Bibby says, “We have a problem in the United States with how deeply unimaginative our leaders are in addressing crime. All we do is increasingly militarize our police. We increase funding, but that doesn’t actually address real systemic issues that lead to crime. People in the community would like to see that money go towards housing, education programs, violence prevention, mental healthcare.” Meanwhile the controversy around Cop City continues. In January, a 26-year-old environmental activist was killed by officers at the protest there.
Twenty people were arrested and charged with domestic terrorism for protesting “Cop City,” a huge police training facility being built near Atlanta. Police shot and killed 26-year-old environmental activist Manuel Esteban Paez Terán during a raid of the protest encampment there in January. Color Of Change has been working alongside activists in Atlanta to make the case that the facility will only harm Black communities and that militarizing law enforcement makes us all less safe. Color Of Change President Rashad Robinson is quoted, “This just takes up a lot of space in a Black community … and it provides more access, more tools, and more resources to an institution that actually needs more accountability.” Those arrested for violence in connection with the protests face a felony sentence of up to 35 years in prison if convicted.