Tag Archives: Obama news and events black people

Ferguson … justice for only some? a repost

Corinne Ball, MoveOn.org Civic Action

Many of us have wrestled with intense emotions—sadness, anger, shock, and more—as we’ve followed the ongoing situation in Ferguson, Missouri.

The police killing of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown has ignited weeks of demonstrations. Even though most protesters have been peaceful, police appeared armed with military-grade equipment.1 Reporters have been threatened and arrested by police while trying to report the story.2 The whole country has been watching what’s happening in Ferguson.3 

Many of us have asked: What can we do to ensure justice for Michael Brown? What is this awful situation revealing—or reminding us—about racism in America, police militarization, and the way our criminal justice system too often fails communities of color? 

Many of us have been moved to take action. Nearly 150,000 MoveOn members joined ColorOfChange.org to call on the Department of Justice to intervene in the investigation into Michael Brown’s death. That petition will be delivered next week in Washington, DC.

Tens of thousands of us added our names to MoveOn member and Missouri State Senator Jamilah Nasheed’s petition calling for an independent prosecutor in the case. And many of us have made phone calls, joined community protests and vigils, and more.

MoveOn member and Missouri State Senator Jamilah Nasheed delivered tens of thousands of MoveOn member signatures in St. Louis this week, and her campaign has drawn coverage from CNN to the Wall Street Journal and beyond.4

The vigils and national outcry have already had an impact in Ferguson. Attorney General Eric Holder—who came to meet with Ferguson residents in person—is overseeing a Department of Justice investigation.5 The FBI is conducting an investigation into civil rights abuses by the Ferguson police department.6 And a grand jury has been convened to determine if charges will be filed against Officer Darren Wilson.7

We still have much left to do and many complex issues to address before Ferguson—and America—can heal and move forward. There is no quick fix. But there are things we can all do right now to get involved in the push for justice.

One step you can take—if you haven’t already—is to sign Senator Nasheed’s petition calling for a special prosecutor to investigate the shooting death of Michael Brown. Faith leaders and local residents have joined Senator Nasheed in expressing serious doubts about whether the prosecutor in St. Louis County, who previously failed to charge officers for murdering two unarmed black men, will objectively investigate the officer responsible.8

There’s also a huge amount of thoughtful online commentary that’s been sparked by this tragedy. Whatever you’re reading about Ferguson now, consider passing it along to a friend to keep the conversation going. Here’s one option: This piece from MSNBC’s “All In With Chris Hayes” puts the story in a broader perspective in a conversation with Marq Claxton, a retired New York Police Department detective, and Phillip Agnew, founder of the young activist group Dream Defenders:

Together, let’s continue to reflect, to speak out, and to take action.

Thanks for all you do.

–Corinne, Maria, Anna, Mark, and the rest of the team


1. “A Former Marine Explains All the Weapons of War Being Used by Police in Ferguson,” The Nation, August 20, 2014

2. “6 more journalists arrested in Ferguson protests,” CNN, August 19, 2014
3. “A Movement Grows in Ferguson,” The New Yorker, August 17, 2014
http://www.moveon.org/r/?r=300415&id=100249-17809870-7a_RFkx&t=9  4. “Concerns arise about prosecutor in Michael Brown case,” CNN, August 20, 2014
http://www.moveon.org/r/?r=300425&id=100249-17809870-7a_RFkx&t=10“Missouri Governor Won’t Replace Prosecutor in Michael Brown Probe,” Wall Street Journal, August 21, 2014
http://www.moveon.org/r/?r=300426&id=100249-17809870-7a_RFkx&t=115. “Jay Nixon: Missouri Highway Patrol Will Take Over Supervision Of Security In Ferguson,” Associated Press, August 14, 2014
http://www.moveon.org/r/?r=300416&id=100249-17809870-7a_RFkx&t=126. “FBI Will Investigate Death of Black Teenager in Missouri,” The Washington Post, August 11, 2014

7. “Holder visits Ferguson as grand jury hearings begin,” Los Angeles Times, August 20, 2014

8. “Protesting the Prosecution,” Slate, August 21, 2014

Want to support our work? MoveOn Civic Action is entirely funded by our 8 million members—no corporate contributions, no big checks from CEOs. And our tiny staff ensures that small contributions go a long way. Chip in here.


ACTION:Turn On The Water … it’s the right thing -reminder

Thousands of low-income Black Detroit residents have already had their water shut-off risking both public health and personal safety. What’s worse — the city plans to resume shut-offs tomorrow.
Water is a human right.ImageTell the panel: turn the water back on in DetroitTake Action

Thousands of low income Black Detroit residents have already had their water shut off, risking both public health and personal safety. What’s worse — the city plans to resume shut-offs tomorrow.1

Just weeks ago, under pressure from organizers in Detroit and thousands of supporters online, Governor Rick Snyder’s hand-picked Emergency Manager returned control of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) to the duly-elected mayor.2 While a small victory for local control, the move was ultimately a political ploy to provide cover for Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr. Mayor Duggan’s “10 Point Plan” does little more than offer better customer service while continuing the inhumane and unjust practice of shutting off water.3

The solution is the Water Affordability Program (WAP) passed by the city council back in 2005. The WAP would provide relief to thousands and create a safety net that allows low income residents to pay on a sliding scale, based on their income. A 3-judge panel is holding a hearing on August 29th during which they could order the WAP back into effect and end the shutoffs once and for all.

Sign the petition: tell the panel to turn the water back on and implement the Water Affordability Program.

While Detroiters suffer under policies implemented by an unelected emergency manager, corporations are protected and speculators are circling. Individuals with as little as $33 owed have had their water shut off without warning while the Palmer Park Golf Course which owes $437,714 still has water.4 The initial round of shutoffs were a tactic to make the city’s water rights a more attractive target to potential private investors. 5

Even with authority tenuously returned to the Mayor, his plan offers little hope to residents whose rates have risen 119% in the past decade.6 Under this scheme, relief is only available after putting down a large lump sum payment and there is no promise that the emergency manager will not seize back control and change the rules yet again.

The Water Affordability Program would provide relief to all residents living under 175% of the federal poverty line and reign in the out-of-control rates DWSD has charged.7 The WAP is the best way to restore water to thousands of residents in Detroit at reasonable rates.

Turn the water back on: Sign the petition to implement the WAP.

Water is a basic human right and denying access to water poses a dire threat to public health. To make matters worse, earlier this month there were historic floods in Detroit. A state of emergency was declared. The flooding has caused millions of gallons of sewage to back up into waterways and basements. 8 How are you supposed to clean sewage from your basement when the city has shut off your water?

Sign the petition: Turn the water back on in Detroit!

Thanks and Peace,

Aimée, Rashad, Arisha, Matt, Johnny and the entire ColorOfChange.org team.

Help support our work. ColorOfChange.org is powered by YOU—your energy and dollars. We take no money from lobbyists or large corporations that don’t share our values, and our tiny staff ensures your contributions go a long way.

1. “Duggan, DWSD to release updated plan on water shutoffs Thursday; moratorium extended until Aug. 25,” Metro Times, 8/4/14,

2.”Detroit’s drought of democracy,” New York Times, 7/29/14,

3.”Orr Dumps ‘Hot Mess’ of Water Shut-offs in Duggan’s Lap,” People’s Water Board, 7/29/14

4. “Detroit water department now sending shut-off crews to commercial customers,” Detroit Free Press, 7/14/14

5.”Detroit shuts off water to thousands of broke residents,” Think Progress, 6/20/14,

6. See reference 3.

7. See reference 3.

8. “Snyder declares flood disaster for southeast Michigan,” Detroit Free Press, 8/20/14,

Carbon polluters

NextGen Climate America   by Dan Lashof
Take Action

For far too long, the power sector, and especially coal-fired power plants, have had free reign to dump billions of tons of carbon pollution into the atmosphere — at enormous cost to our communities’ health and prosperity.

Thankfully, earlier this year the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a thoughtful, flexible, and comprehensive action called the Clean Power Plan, which proposes carbon pollution standards for states and their existing power plants.

While two-thirds of Americans support the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, the EPA faces misinformation campaigns and heavy pressure from the fossil fuel industry and their special interests in Washington, DC. That’s why we need you to show your support for the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, right now.

Tell the EPA that you support their efforts to reduce power plant pollution — it takes less than 30 seconds.

If we allow this country’s worst polluters to continue to dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into our atmosphere, we will see catastrophic repercussions — particularly among the nation’s most vulnerable communities. The EPA’s Clean Power Plan helps establish a level playing field for cleaner, affordable and more secure energy and will protect the health and safety of our communities for the next generation.

Speak out today to hold the most pervasive polluters in the country — coal-fired power plants — accountable for their actions.

Thank you for tackling this problem,
Dan Lashof
Chief Operating Officer
NextGen Climate America

One vote could save thousands

Just one country’s vote could end whaling in the South Atlantic forever. Tell Tanzania to be that country.Take ActionAsk Tanzania’s president to ensure that his country votes for whales at September’s International Whaling Commission meeting.

Take Action

greenpeaceThe fate of South Atlantic whales hangs in the balance. Just one country’s vote could save these whales — or doom them.

I’m heading to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meetings, where nations will vote on creating a whale and dolphin sanctuary of the entire South Atlantic Ocean from the Equator to Antarctica. The last time this plan was proposed, whales lost by one vote.

In the past, Japan has put intense pressure on other nations to vote in their interest, even giving bribes. This year, we need to convince at least one of these countries that living whales are worth more than Japan’s gifts. That country is Tanzania.

Greenpeace will soon be delivering Tanzania’s president a letter, outlining all the reasons that his country should support whales. But he also needs to hear from you.

Just one country’s vote could protect South Atlantic whales from whalers. Join us in asking Tanzania’s president, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, to support whales.

Why will Tanzania listen to us? This small country benefits greatly from tourists visiting the Serengeti and whale-watching in the Indian Ocean, which is already an IWC designated whale sanctuary.

Tanzania has taken incredible steps to protect its own wildlife — but two years ago, it voted against creating a sanctuary for whales in the South Atlantic Ocean. Tanzania’s vote was all about money. But together we can show them that voting with Japan is bad for their tourism industry.

This hypocrisy could be the only thing standing in the way of the South Atlantic whale sanctuary. If the Tanzanian government chooses to side with Japan — again — it needs to know that it risks losing tourism dollars from the thousands of nature lovers who visit their wildlife preserves and go whale watching in Tanzania every year.

The South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary would protect whales from Antarctica to the Equator. Tell Tanzania to give them a chance.

Together we’ve already won many victories for whales: the current global moratorium on commercial whaling, stopping dangerous seismic testing off the coast of California, exposing Japan’s vote-buying at the IWC and just recently having the International Justice Court rule against Japan’s “scientific” whaling program in the Southern Ocean. But as long as whales can be hunted in the South Atlantic, it leaves the door open for thousands to be killed in the future. Eventually it will be too late to save them.

If we can pressure Tanzania to vote the right way, we have a chance to make history at this year’s IWC and save thousands of whales from a brutal fate. Are you with me?

Ask Tanzania to make the right choice for whales and our oceans.

Make sure your voice is heard. We can protect these whales — forever.

For the whales,

Phil Kline
Greenpeace USA Senior Oceans Campaigner

P.S.  Let Tanzania know the world is watching. Sign our letter to President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete today asking his country to vote for the South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary.