Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Telling It Like It Is


Telling It Like It Is
by C.A. Matthews

Before I go any further, please watch the following short "Honest Government Ad" produced by The Juice Media:



This brilliant piece of satire is scathing, and yet it could be argued that nothing presented in its three minutes is unduly exaggerated or misrepresented. The cold hard facts are just that bleak, that bloody awful. Our friends in Australia at The Juice Media did their homework well.

The three main points of the video are summed up as follows:


1.)    The Trump administration has completely (and possibly purposefully) mishandled the COVID-19 crisis, causing (at latest count) over 158,000 unnecessary deaths in the US with a fatality rate of 3.38%. There's no end to the COVID deaths and suffering in sight, since little to no national effort has been made to enforce stricter methods to contain the virus and universal health care (such as Medicare for All) has yet to be enacted.


2.)    Any so-called "relief packages" passed by the Trump administration and the current Congress have been woefully inadequate to address the needs of the American populace. Instead, our leaders in Washington have further enriched the billionaire class and showered more tax breaks and free money on banks and corporations rather than helping out small businesses and families. Many Americans now face imminent eviction and hunger--if they're not already among the many millions unemployed.


3.)    Our rights to peaceful protest and free speech have been abridged by a federal policing force akin to Nazi Germany's SS snatch squads. Hints that our upcoming presidential election could be cancelled or delayed have been dropped in late night Tweets. Instead, blame has (once again) been leveled at minorities and protesters rather than on our corrupt system of policing and governance in the US. All this under the guise of "patriotism" and "saving democracy" while, for all intents and purposes, effectively thwarting those cherished ideals.


Not too bad for a short satirical parody video, right? It really packs a punch!


The main reason I wanted to feature this "Honest Government Ad" was to emphasize the point that those who dare "tell it like it is" are often maligned, sometimes threatened (physically, financially and psychologically), and almost always ridiculed or ignored until it becomes apparent that these prophets' vision of reality was true all along. No doubt many will try to tear down the facts presented in the video or explain how Trump and Congress couldn't possibly be so cold-hearted. Still, how do you explain the thousands of unnecessary deaths and untold suffering that could have been prevented if anyone in Washington DC had an ounce of compassion for us ordinary Americans?


Nina Turner, former Sanders campaign surrogate and Our Revolution president, is one such brave soul not afraid to speak truth to power. She recently left the Democratic Party, and it was not a decision she took lightly. The lies, corruption, manipulation and plain old-fashioned greed of the DNC finally convinced her that playing their game wasn't going to bring about Bernie Sanders' "future to believe in." She felt she could no longer spend precious energy and effort on covering for a losing cause--a party that supports it corporate backers above all else. Nina has moved on to support the Movement for a People's Party. 


They are lucky to have her.


Will Nina be maligned, ridiculed, ignored and threatened? Of course she will be! She has been treated similarly in the past, and so the future will hold no surprises for her in that area. But Nina will at last be able to tell it like it is without looking over her shoulder in fear, worrying what the party naysayers are saying and doing behind her back. Her newfound freedom may cost her dearly in her future political career, but in the end, I think it will be worth it.  Nina's voice of truth and passion will never be tainted by association with the self-aggrandizing hypocrites of the DNC.


Telling it like it is can be both scary and liberating. "Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house," as it says in the Bible. But, in the end, truth telling is what keeps many of us sane and capable to act and able to look ourselves in the eye in the mirror during these insane times.


And we need all the sanity we can get because...
The following are examples of activists who aren't afraid of  telling it like it is. Watch and share their videos with others who are seeking the truth.

One of the most popular podcasters in the history of You Tube most certainly tells it like it is:

https://youtu.be/8h9CTXNujN0

"If you're an employer who pays a non-living wage, then you're not a job creator--you're a poverty exploiter. ...We live in a failed state." --Jimmy Dore

Another voice crying in the wilderness--Lee Camp--points out how our government seems to have an addiction to killing people.


 https://youtu.be/Ox5rs4evx7k

An outsider who takes a closer look into what's happening in America and not afraid to share his views--The Rational National, Canadian pundit David Doel.


https://youtu.be/hpPQsn5Qaj

Jordan Chariton of "Status Coup" has made a name for himself by covering  stories the mainstream media reporters tend to forget--like how there's still lead in the water in Flint, Michigan.  https://youtu.be/q0A54XtpK0A



The Humanist Report's Mike Figueredo is an indie voice who doesn't  hold back on the truth, no matter whose toes he may step on. https://youtu.be/OUzbdO5Vpgo




***
 From NRDC:

Tell the EPA to Stop Undermining Clean Air Protections During COVID-19

At a time when we should be strengthening clean air protections, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency—against the advice of its own scientists—has decided not to enhance critical safeguards to better control dangerous air pollution. This inaction means up to 12,500 more people will die prematurely every year—and Black and Latino people, as well as low-income communities, bear a disproportionate share of the air pollution burden. The continued assault on our nation’s clean air safeguards is unconscionable, especially now, in the middle of a global pandemic that directly impacts respiratory health. Tell the EPA to step up and protect people’s health.


Take Action
Share   Share on Facebook   Share on Twitter   Share on Email
***
 From Color of Change:

It has happened again. 

This time, in Detroit. A Black man was ruthlessly murdered by rogue cops. And the officers are still employed two weeks later. 

On July 10, Hakim Littleton’s friend was being arrested by a swarm of cops -- and in the process, Hakim drew a gun, shot at an officer, and ultimately missed.1 After Hakim was tackled, disarmed, and lay face down on the ground, he was repeatedly shot, and one officer even shot him in the back of the head at point-blank range.

We’ll never know why Hakim drew the gun. He will never be able to tell what was going through his mind as officers swarmed them that day. But we do know that Hakim should still be alive. He did not deserve to be executed at point-blank range by the very people who “swear to protect” us.
Hakim’s murder was a public execution. We demand accountability for the officers, the police chief, and the entire Detroit Police Department for our Black brother. 

Add your name to the petition to demand #JusticeforHakim.

Despite how carelessly the cops sprayed bullets at Hakim, Detroit police chief James Craig has spewed lies to the media, misrepresented what happened the day Hakim was murdered, and continues to conspire against Hakim by referring to the officers as “heroes.” The department even tried to hide the additional video footage that clearly shows Hakim was shot multiple times from behind as he lay face down on the ground. The video wasn’t released until local activists and community members demanded the footage more than a week later. 

This callous behavior is nothing new for the Detroit Police Department. 

The Detroit police were once the most deadly and notorious police department in the country.2 They lead the nation's largest cities in the rate of fatal shootings by police -- in just a five-year span from 1995-2000, they murdered 40 people. While that number has decreased, it was only due in part to the federal oversight they were placed under due to the overwhelming amount of police violence. And more recently, the city of Detroit has had to pay out tens of millions of dollars in police misconduct lawsuits, as a result of persistent police brutality. 

#JusticeforHakim: Sign the petition to hold the entire Detroit Police Department accountable for murdering Hakim Littleton.

At Color Of Change, we have run far too many campaigns against the Detroit police department -- and that’s a testament to how violent their police force is. Just a few weeks ago while protestors rallied to put an end to police violence, Detroit police drove their SUVs into the crowd of protestors, showing a blatant disregard for their lives.3 

Even against the backdrop of a global uprising against police violence, Detroit officers won’t stop abusing and murdering people. 
We deserve to breathe and live free of persistent police violence. We deserve to have our loved ones come home at the end of the day. We are tired. Black Detroiters are tired. We demand accountability and we’re demanding it at every level. 

That’s why we’re calling on Mayor Mike Duggan, Prosecutor Kym Worthy, and Attorney General Dana Nessel to 1)  release the officers’ names, 2) fire them, 3) launch an independent investigation, and 4) Mayor Duggan to fire Chief James for his handling of the case.

Add your name now to demand justice.

Until justice is real,
Scott, Rashad, Arisha, Erika, Malachi, Marybeth, Madison, Leonard, Ernie, McKayla and the rest of the Color Of Change team



References:

1. "Protesters gather in Detroit after police shoot and kill man who officers say shot at them first." The Washington Post. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/257704?t=9&akid=44314%2E3399430%2Efu-83T

2. "How the roots of Detroit's police department helped spawn 1967 rebellion." NPR. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/257705?t=11&akid=44314%2E3399430%2Efu-83T

3. "Detroit police SUV drives through crowd after protesters climb on hood." Detroit Free Press. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/257706?t=13&akid=44314%2E3399430%2Efu-83T

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

The Only Difference Is The Uniform

Portland mom being snatched by "federal agent" (photo by Tommie Sunshine)

It's been a harrowing week--at least if you follow independent media pod casts and web sites. The images of peaceful protesters being gassed, shot, beaten and abducted are the subject of horror stories. Historians and pundits alike have concluded that Trump has taken a page right out of the fascists' playbook. Most of the elected officials in Washington DC give their silent nod of approval to this sending of federal troops into American cities through inaction. When will we wake up from this nightmare? Who knows, but until then keep an eye on the men tossing the pepper spray bombs into a line of brave moms... because the only real difference between these troops and Hitler's thugs is one of fashion sense.


The Only Difference is the Uniform
by Coast Watcher


The Battle for Portland, Oregon, has lasted for over fifty days and counting. Stemming from the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis PD, the Black Lives Matter protests have rocked this liberal city in the Pacific Northwest to its foundations. Most of the protests are peaceful; however, the response by the Department of Homeland Security at President Trump’s orders has been out of all proportion.

The Department of Homeland Security Rapid Deployment Force entered Portland in response to what were termed "increasingly violent attacks" according to Federal Protective Services regional director Gabriel Russel. According to documents obtained by Portland journalists, there are currently 114 federal law enforcement officers deployed to protect federal buildings, which also includes statues and monuments according to Trump. Personnel drawn from the Federal Protective Service (FPS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement, US Marshals Service and US Customs and Border Protection make up the contingent—yet knowledgeable sources have also identified mercenaries prowling the streets including some from Triple Canopy, a descendant of the infamous Erik Prince’s Blackwater mercenary corporation.

Videos and photographs are circulating showing these and other "federal" personnel using unmarked vehicles to arrest protesters without warrant or explanation and taking them to undisclosed locations. In one attack, a van used as a first aid station for protesters had its windows smashed out by troops. In another, a professor of European Studies (ironically a specialist in the rise of fascism) at Lewis and Clark University suffered a severe head wound from a baton round during a peaceful demonstration on public land.

None of the heavily-armed personnel involved in these outrages against the First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments displayed identification, as is required of law enforcement agents. There is little difference between these overly militarized personnel deployed by Trump and the gray uniformed SS "snatch squads" used as an instrument of terror by Heinrich Himmler in Nazi Germany. Similar snatch tactics causing the "disappearance" of protesters were used in Chile during Augusto Pinochet's regime in the 1970s.


Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler suffered a tear gas attack on the streets of his own city. During this episode Wheeler called the federal intervention an abuse of power and accused the FPS of escalating the violence, which included the tear-gassing and use of baton rounds on peacefully protesting women known as "the Moms." Oregon’s Attorney General filed a lawsuit against the federal authorities citing its snatching of citizens from the streets and their retention under arrest without due process. Mayor Wheeler’s response has been oddly weak. Instead of ejecting the FPS, he’s making statements that fall short of telling the feds to get the hell out of his city.
 

The FPS remains unrepentant. Senior official Ken Cuccinelli stated they will remain on the streets of Portland, and other cities where required, "until the violence recedes." Trump has also threatened to deploy more so-called federal units to Chicago, Detroit, New York, Philadelphia and other urban centers across the country.

Documents show that the FPS spends $1 billion of taxpayers’ money per year on these hired security thugs. It must be noted that the FPS has a long and troubling history of failing to properly vet and adequately monitor these mercenaries or even ensure they have proper training and certifications. In other words, the taxpayers are effectively paying for their own government to oppress them and their fellow citizens. This travesty of justice is happening in a time when a virulent disease has the world and the US in its grip. The economic consequences of COVID-19 with its mass unemployment and threatened homelessness by eviction are still playing out.

Some say this is Trump’s rehearsal for when he declares himself dictator, possibly if he loses the election in November. Analogies with the Nazi  SA "Brown shirts" and Mussolini’s fascisti are clear to see. The ammosexuals--who stockpile thousands of firearms against the day they have to stand against a tyrannical government--have been strangely silent. Some side with Trump. While these gun-lovers cower, mothers and daughters stand tall with interlocking arms against the unconstitutional oppression inflicted by their own government via tear gas and rubber bullets.

Whatever happens in November, whether a second civil war begins or an outright revolution erupts, the experiment in democracy that is the United States will never be the same.

Sources:
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-global-race-portland-valor/court-documents-reveal-secretive-federal-unit-deployed-for-operation-diligent-valor-in-oregon-idUSKCN24N2SH


https://medium.com/@wkc6428/the-lead-federal-agency-responding-to-protesters-in-portland-employs-thousands-of-private-db137349f8b0


https://www.britannica.com/biography/Augusto-Pinochet


BIO: Coast Watcher can't help but draw parallels between current events and Nazi Germany. It's like Trump is taking cues from Mein Kampf--supposedly a book he kept on his nightstand and read to fall asleep. Explains a lot.


Related links:

Federal Agents in Portland Tear Gas the Press (video)
https://youtu.be/wTp-Sj4bZPQ

Portland Protests Escalate! Chicago Mayor Welcomes Federal Goons! (video)
https://youtu.be/Q4YMoeOquaU 

"Wall of Veterans" Arrives in Portland to Protect BLM Protesters From Trump's DHS Troops
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/wall-of-veterans-arrives-in-portland-to-protect-black-lives-matter-protesters-from-trumps-dhs-troops/ar-BB17bnpZ?ocid=sf

Navy Veteran Beaten by Feds in Portland Fears that Trump's Deployment Will Lead to Copy Cats in Combat Fatigue
https://www.businessinsider.com/christopher-david-navy-veteran-beaten-by-feds-speaks-out-2020-7

Trump Plans to Expand the Federal Invasion of American Cities
https://www.motherjones.com/anti-racism-police-protest/2020/07/trump-border-patrol-cities-portland-chicago/

America "Staring Down the Barrel of Martial Law" Oregon Senator Warns
https://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/318-66/64212-america-staring-down-the-barrel-of-martial-law-oregon-senator-warns


From Facebook:


"It dawned on me when I was in the ER, and had a chance to catch my breath (post tear gas): my government did this to me. My own government. I was not shot by a random person in the street. A federal law enforcement officer pulled a trigger that sent an impact munition into my head."

Professor Maureen Healy is the chair of the history department at Lewis and Clark College. She teaches Modern European History, with a specialization in the history of Germany and Eastern Europe (and the rise of fascism). She was shot in the head by federal agents on Monday night and is recovering from the injury and the concussion, but shared a statement of her experience, and gave permission to share this.
--
Statement by Maureen Healy, July 22, 2020
For Immediate Release 


Since June, I have been attending peaceful protests in Portland neighborhoods in support of Black Lives Matter. I have gone with family and friends. 

I am a 52-year-old mother. I am a history professor. 

I went downtown yesterday to express my opinion as a citizen of the United States, and as a resident of Portland. Of Oregon. This is my home. I was protesting peacefully. So why did federal troops shoot me in the head Monday night? 

I was in a large crowd of ordinary folks. Adults, teens, students. Moms and dads. It looked to me like a cross-section of the City. Black Lives Matter voices led the crowd on a peaceful march from the Justice Center past the murals at the Apple store. The marchers were singing songs. We were chanting. We were saying names of Black people that have been killed by police. We observed a moment of silence in front of the George Floyd mural. 

I wanted to, and will continue to, exercise my First Amendment right to speak. Federal troops have been sent to my city to extinguish these peaceful protests. I was not damaging federal property. I was in a crowd with at least a thousand other ordinary people. I was standing in a public space. 

In addition to being a Portland resident, I am also a historian. My field is Modern European History, with specialization in the history of Germany and Eastern Europe. I teach my students about the rise of fascism in Europe. 

By professional training and long years of teaching, I am knowledgeable about the historical slide by which seemingly vibrant democracies succumbed to authoritarian rule. Militarized federal troops are shooting indiscriminately into crowds of ordinary people in our country. We are on that slide. 

It dawned on me when I was in the ER, and had a chance to catch my breath (post tear gas): my government did this to me. My own government. I was not shot by a random person in the street. A federal law enforcement officer pulled a trigger that sent an impact munition into my head. 

After being hit I was assisted greatly by several volunteer medics. At least one of them was with Rosehip Medic Collective. To take shelter from the teargas I was hustled into a nearby van. Inside they bandaged my head and drove me several blocks away. From there my family took me to the ER. I am grateful for the assistance, skill, and incredibly kind care of these volunteer medics. 

We must take this back to Black Lives Matter. Police brutality against Black people is the real subject of these peaceful protests that have been happening in my city and across the country. What happened to me is nothing. It is nothing compared to what happens to Black citizens at the hands of law enforcement, mostly local police, every day. And that is why we have been marching. That is why I will continue to march.

From the web:

First they came for the Muslims,
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Muslim.
Then they came for the immigrants,
And I did not speak out
Because I was not an immigrant.
Then they came for the Black Lives Matter protesters,
And I did not speak up,
Because I was not a BLM protester.
Then they came for me,
And there was no one left
To speak for me.
(Based on the post WWII poem by Reverend Niemoller)


Paul Rippey of Portland, Oregon, wrote two new verses to A Policeman's Lot Is Not a Happy One:

When you signed up to defend our southern border,
Detaining people mostly black and brown,
You could not anticipate that you'd get orders
To teargas folks in our beloved town.
Now you're beating up on people who speak English,
And their cell phones capture all that you have done.
Ah, take one consideration with another,
A policeman's lot is not a happy one.

When the kids aren't marching in a demonstration
They live their happy lives from day to day,
And they do not feel the threat of deportation
'Cause most are from the good old USA.
In fact you might see one who is your brother,
Your sister, or your daughter, or your son.
Ah, take one consideration with another,
A policeman's lot is not a happy one.

*** 


We’ve been busy all month with our Cops & Capitalism: A Summer Webinar Series along with our partners at LittleSis and we’ve gotten amazing responses from those who have joined us. If you’d like to join us for our next webinar happening this Wednesday, RSVP here!
 
On our first webinar, we explored our groundbreaking research on cities’ use of Police Brutality Bonds, the bonds issued to pay for police brutality settlements which ultimately allows Wall Street to profit from police violence. Those on the webinar learned how bonds work and how to research police budgets in their own cities. 

Then, we dove deeper into the demand to defund police and took a closer look at relationships between corporations and policing. We know that cutting the police budget is a first step towards the world we want to see but in order to fully fund our communities and invest in the things we need we must also redirect funding from the institutions that support policing. Participants on the second webinar also had a chance to follow along with our complimentary How To Guide and ask questions. (If you haven’t had a chance to join any of our previous webinars, you can watch the recordings on our website.

And now it's time for the third installment! Join us for our next webinar happening this Wednesday July 29th at 1pm ET.




On this webinar, we will explore how billionaires and corporations like Wells Fargo, Amazon, and Target use police foundations to fund and prop up the police. Police foundations--nonprofits that fundraise money from wealthy donors and corporations for local police departments--help maintain the racist policing status quo. We’ll discuss how directly pressuring corporations to cut ties with police foundations can strengthen fights to defund the police and invest in Black and Brown communities, as well as ensure that police departments’ public funding is not replaced by similarly enormous private funding. 

Participants will learn how to research which corporations support their local police foundations and hear examples of demands activists are making around corporations and police foundations in local campaigns. 

For centuries, police have acted as the muscle of racial capitalism, protecting the property and interests of the wealthy, and violently reinforcing systemic and racist disinvestment in our communities. Policing and mass incarceration has made it more possible for the finance industry and corporations to build their profit off our oppression. Because they are inextricably linked, we have to defund the police and tax the rich to fully fund and sustain the communities we want to live in. 

Hope to see you on the webinar! 

In Solidarity always,
Alyx Goodwin
Senior Organizer, ACRE

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Custer's Last Stand?


Custer's Last Stand?
words and photos by C.A. Matthews

The hometown of General George Armstrong Custer is located nearby to where I currently live. Monroe, Michigan, is a small city in Southeastern Michigan just across the Ohio/Michigan line. Custer wasn't born in Michigan, but he grew up in Monroe and met and married his wife, Elizabeth Bacon, there. "Libbie" and her father, a judge, were bigwigs in the community, so Monroe is where she wanted her late husband's statue erected in 1910. That's 34 years after Custer met his fate at the Battle of the Greasy Grass, also known as the Battle of the Little Big Horn. 

The delay from the date of Custer's death to the time of the statue's construction is telling in itself. The fact that the statue was moved not once, but twice within the city says something, too. It was moved in 1923 because of growing auto traffic near the courthouse. The second time the statue was moved was in 1955, during the Civil Rights era. The statue was moved this time because it had almost disappeared behind a wall of unkempt vegetation growing in the Soldiers and Sailors Park, and some townsfolk argued that the statue needed to be seen.  Today it stands at a very busy intersection next to the River Raisin.

The historical plaque beside the sculpture reflects upon Custer's Civil War experience and not his "Indian War" days in the US Calvary. He's wearing his Civil War era uniform, and the horse has all four feet on the ground, as Custer did not die in battle during that war. The fact that the historical plaque doesn't mention his death at the hands of Native Americans hints that perhaps not everyone approved of his later military service in the West or wanted to advertise it. 

Still, it hasn't stopped the controversy and repeated requests to retire the statue, according to locals I spoke with at a recent "Evict Custer" protest organized by Black Lives Matter activists and others.  A Native-led drum and dance group came to share their art. Signs and banners received honks of approval from passers-by. In spite of men like Custer, Native American culture still exists and flourishes on this continent and is appreciated by many.

Monroe residents shared with me how they were indoctrinated from grade school through high school about how great a man General Custer was. There was no way to refute this propaganda, either, according to a Native American woman who told me how she ended up more than a few times in the principal's office for speaking out about Custer's whole history. The public school system of Monroe seems intent of keeping the truth from their pupils and punishing those who know it.

So, why does Custer still stand at the corner of a very busy intersection in the city of Monroe? Is it any coincidence that many area white supremacists seem to be concentrated in this rural part of Southeastern Michigan? Is it any consequence that there's a statue of a soldier who was proud of his record of killing Native Americans located within the borders of Michigan, historic home of the Miami, the Ojibwe, the Potawatomi, and the Kickapoo? A state that currently has eleven (yes, eleven) federally recognized tribal groups/reservations. (http://www.native-languages.org/michigan.htm

I say there's no such thing as coincidence. Every decision (or non-decision) is a deliberate one. Face it--white supremacy exists in small town America. Racists tend to act like a bunch of children sticking out their tongues at Native Americans in general by preserving a statue of a known Indian killer. But there is nothing to be gained except contempt from people of color (and their allies) by keeping Custer's statue standing in Monroe, Michigan, in the year 2020.
Americans on the whole have moved on. Most feel only shame and regret at the horrible treatment our indigenous brothers and sisters have suffered--and still suffer--because of white supremacy. George Armstrong Custer, the poster child of an era full of genocidal actions taken against Native Americans, is no longer thought of as a hero or even a person of interest.

A statue of Christopher Columbus was recently removed from downtown Columbus, Ohio. There have been serious discussions about renaming the city to honor a Native American. Several other cities worldwide have also removed their Columbus statues. Confederate statues of generals and others are coming down faster than rain in some places in the South. Removing Custer from his ten foot tall stone plinth wouldn't stand out particularly in this current atmosphere of ridding our land of unwanted conquerors and unmerciful enslavers. The time to do it is now.

Let this be Custer's last stand. Retire his statue to a museum or assign it to the scrap heap. History should never be bowdlerized or forgotten, but there's no need to glorify genocide or a man who carried it out against a people simply because they spoke a different language and had darker skin than those in power.

Related articles:

What if All US Treaties Were Upheld? 
https://theintercept.com/2020/07/17/mcgirt-v-oklahoma-indian-native-treaties/ 

Christopher Columbus Statue Removed Outside Columbus City Hall
https://nypost.com/2020/07/01/christopher-columbus-statue-removed-outside-columbus-city-hall/ 

Did You Protest Recently? Your Face Might Be in a Database
https://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/64067-did-you-protest-recently-your-face-might-be-in-a-database

List of monuments and memorials removed during George Floyd protests
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_monuments_and_memorials_removed_during_the_George_Floyd_protests


Strike For Black Lives! 

Solidarity--that's the best way to describe the coming together of many groups and individuals to make a difference, to keep the conversation going on a difficult topic. July 20 was a national day of strikes and protests emphasizing the rights of workers to a living wage, decent protection against the coronavirus, and the right to be treated equally. Toledo area health care workers took it to the street and made their voices heard, shouting: "Black Lives they matter here! What do want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!" And the fight will continue.

***



Remove the Robert E. Lee monument in Roanoke City and replace it with a lynching memorial


Sign now with a click
It is past time for us to remove a monument that memorializes the Confederate general, Robert E. Lee. Roanoke City should show its citizens of color that this is not a history that we want to commemorate.

As collective awareness grows that these sort of monuments were constructed to send an anti-civil rights message to the community, it has become clear that we need to send a new message today.

We propose that this monument be replaced with a memorial to the Black victims of lynching in Roanoke in the late 1800s.

"William Lavender and Thomas Smith were two black men who were lynched on separate occasions by white mobs in Roanoke. Both men were accused of assaults on white women that were never proved. Neither man stood trial. They were simply captured, beaten, hanged and murdered." - The Roanoke Times.

This piece of our history has been unrecognized and we must reckon with it. This is one simple step we can all take towards building a community in which every citizen can begin to feel equally valued, regardless of their skin color. 

***
Food & Water Action
The pandemic is making it clear that water access is critical for public health. But utilities continue to shut off water service for many, despite the threat to public health. We all deserve access to water to keep ourselves and our communities safe.

That’s why in May the House — as part of their next stimulus bill called the HEROES Act — passed a national moratorium on water shutoffs and $1.5 billion for low-income water aid. While the bill is imperfect, the water service elements are important and necessary.

We know that Mitch McConnell is drafting his own stimulus bill, and we need to make sure it includes the utility shutoff moratorium and aid from the HEROES Act.

Join us now in urging your senators to support a nationwide moratorium on water shutoffs.

With your help, Food & Water Action worked to stop water service shutoffs in about 700 communities, protecting approximately 240 million people. Unfortunately, at least three statewide and 41 local water moratoriums have already expired. This means that more than 12 million people have lost the protections we helped win. We need to fight for them again.

According to new research from The Guardian, two in five households struggle to pay for water. Black communities face some of the most unaffordable water bills in the country, and shutoff rates are higher in communities of color, as well as rural and low-income areas.

Households facing a water shutoff will struggle to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. They may be unable to protect their families because they will lack one key resource the CDC recommends to prevent or manage the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19): the water needed to to wash their hands frequently.

You’ve joined us in fighting water shutoffs since the beginning of this pandemic. You've probably already contacted your members of Congress on this issue, but we know the more we continue to pressure them, the more they will listen. So let’s keep the pressure up.

We need our federal government to step up and ensure that everyone's access to water is protected. Access to clean water is a human right. Period. We must guarantee access to clean and affordable water for all.

Send your message calling for the federal government to enact a national moratorium on water shutoffs.

Onward together,

Wenonah Hauter
Founder and Executive Director
Food & Water Action and Food & Water Watch