On this Fourth of July, the rest of us—and our wealthy white male allies—should be celebrating our ongoing struggles for freedom and not celebrating as if we are free. We should be celebrating our disobedience, turbulence, insolence, and discontent about inequities and injustices in all forms. We should be celebrating our form of patriotism that they call unpatriotic, our historic struggle to extend power and freedom to every single American. This is our American project.
In few U.S. cities is the burden of high utility bills more apparent than in Detroit, which conducted the largest residential water shutoff in the country’s history in 2014. Since then, some 140,000 local residents have faced water shutoffs due to skyrocketing water rates, a 35 percent poverty rate, and what the ACLU dubbed “sloppy billing practices” by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. Though COVID-19 has brought this crisis to a head, NRDC has been working with the local People’s Water Board coalition since 2017 to champion solutions such as income-based water rates, more sustainable payment plans, or a redistribution of infrastructure costs to the wealthier Detroit suburbs. Read more here.
Latino and African-American residents of the United States have been three times as likely to become infected as their white neighbors, according to the new data, which provides detailed characteristics of 640,000 infections detected in nearly 1,000 U.S. counties. And Black and Latino people have been nearly twice as likely to die from the virus as white people, the data shows.
The disparities persist across state lines and regions. They exist in rural towns on the Great Plains, in suburban counties, like Fairfax County, Va., and in many of the country’s biggest cities.
“Systemic racism doesn’t just evidence itself in the criminal justice system,” said Quinton Lucas, who is the third Black mayor of Kansas City, Mo., which is in a state where 40 percent of those infected are Black or Latino even though those groups make up just 16 percent of the state’s population. “It’s something that we’re seeing taking lives in not just urban America, but rural America, and all types of parts where, frankly, people deserve an equal opportunity to live — to get health care, to get testing, to get tracing.”Read more here.
In this time of pandemic and economic crisis, Congress is more out of touch than ever. With public health restrictions keeping lawmakers from meeting in-person in their communities, far too many are only seeing this crisis through the news. We at Town Hall Project are convinced that if our elected leaders were able to hold in-person town halls right now they'd see just how bad this crisis is -- and how much worse it could get. But in just four weeks, expanded unemployment benefits and other vital support will end -- unless Congress acts. So it's vitally important we lift up the stories of Americans at the front line of this crisis. If you, or a loved one, are unemployed and depending on expanded support to make rent, mortgage, or other basic needs, your story can make a real difference. Please: share your story today and we'll help elevate it -- in social media, in virtual town halls, and through the news media -- to make sure Congress understands.townhallproject.com mutualaidhub.org
Political and creative false choices dog this country: that books by Black people or about race are for didactic purposes only, separate from the demands of form, poetics, genius, and even delight. And so, as an antidote to all the political falsehoods, consumer pitfalls, and creative lapses that plague so many “Black Lists,” I bind a list that is restorative, not draining, one that centers Black excellence and joy. Read more here.
"These charges are mere retaliation in response to the critical work done by Louisiana Bucket Brigade," said Scott Eustis, community science director at HealthyGulf. "Formosa Plastics is a serial offender of the United States Clean Water Act, and discussing their criminal record with executives and government is essential work in this time of climate emergency, when Formosa Plastics seeks to derail all the good work for Coastal Restoration that Louisiana has accomplished."
Creative Justice - A Program for youth most impacted by the school-to-prison-(to-deportation) pipeline.
CREATIVE JUSTICE USES ART AS A VEHICLE TO:
Prepare young people to be leaders in community and the workplace;
Amplify youth voice as a source of community transformation;
Promote teamwork, collaboration, and community engagement;
Help lift up the power of young people of color, youth from low-income families, and LGBTQA youth;
Increase youth and community understanding of the histories and conditions that create racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism and other forms of oppression;
and Enhance skills that help young people reflect on their social position, choices, and personal power so they can stay out of jail.
Seattle’s history reveals many times when buildings have served as symbols for civil rights struggles. The current local movement, driven by Black Lives Matter demonstrators advocating for social and racial justice, echoes other times when multiracial coalitions claimed buildings and land as a form of direct action. Many such “takeovers” led to the creation of beloved cultural centers, including the Daybreak Star Cultural Center in Discovery Park, El Centro de la Raza on Beacon Hill and the Northwest African American Museum in the Central Area. Read more here.
The vote comes two weeks after the council, an affiliate of the national AFL-CIO, passed a resolution calling on SPOG to acknowledge and address racism within its ranks and law enforcement more generally, and to commit to negotiating collective bargaining agreements that do not evade accountability. Read more here.
AFTER KILLING OF 18-YEAR-OLD ANDRES GUARDADO, LA PROTESTERS STRUGGLE AGAINST THE LIMITS OF POLICE REFORM
Guardado was shot roughly a day after deputies killed Terron Boone — the half-brother of a Black man found hanged in a California park the week prior. Though Guardado’s death hasn’t generated as much national media coverage as other police killings have, it’s given new energy to the movement against police violence in Southern California, especially among Latinos. In California, Latinos make up 39 percent of the state’s population but represented 46 percent of the people killed by police between 2016 and 2018. Read more here.
Public Citizen Launching Democracy Defender Training Program to Protect the Vote - No Experience Required
While COVID-19 cases continue to rise in states across the country, too many states lack critical resources to ensure safe and accessible voting this fall. We know that ramping up vote-by-mail, expanding early voting, and offering safe in-person voting on election day is possible, but only if we secure resources and commitments from national, state, and local leaders. That’s why Public Citizen is launching our Democracy Defenders initiative, which will launch a coordinated effort to protect our elections from now through election day.
Apply now to become a Democracy Defender to receive training and resources to help you lead the local effort to protect our elections. No previous experience required!
Shepard is part of the National Black Environmental Justice Network (NBEJN), a national coalition of black environmental justice groups and grassroots activists founded in 1991. Although the network took a hiatus in 2006 after executive director Damu Smith passed away, the network just announced that it's making a comeback against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and renewed calls to fight racial injustice.
The network's mission sends a clear message: Environmental injustice is not a single issue. Rather, it's a constellation of issues including discrimination in housing, jobs, and healthcare.
Read more here.
Kimmons, who prefers to go by the name Queen, said what her neighborhood doesn't lack is pollution. Near North, where Queen lives, is one of several neighborhoods that make up north Minneapolis, an area that is predominately Black and is surrounded by a large number of polluting facilities and infrastructure, including roofing manufacturers, a trash incinerator, a metal recycling plant and several major interstate highways. St. John the Baptist Parish, which includes Reserve, lies within Louisiana's "Cancer Alley," a stretch along the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and New Orleans that is cluttered with petrochemical development and the pollution it brings. The Environmental Protection Agency's National Air Toxics Assessment, which uses emissions estimates to model health risks, estimates that the risk of developing cancer in Reserve is 50 times the national average, and that the five census tracts with the highest risk are all in the area. Bears Ears - The coalition's work focused on protecting red rock canyons and pinion-dotted desert containing hundreds of thousands of archaeological sites and areas of deep cultural significance to the Hopi Nation, Zuni Tribe, Navajo Nation, Ute Indian Tribe and Ute Mountain Utes.
Sunrise Movement, in recognition of the intersection between Black Lives Matter and Climate Change issues, has published a detailed 9-page guide for Taking Action for Black Lives. Included are ideas for how to support Black Lives Matter protests, talking points and how to be safe at protests. Access the guide here.
In addition, attend trainings at CHOP/Cal Anderson Park, Seattle
Non Violent Civil Disobedience Training w. Rev. Sekou (6/24)
Non Violent Civil Disobedience Training w. Rev. Sekou (6/25)
A new letter from Washington State economic and policy researchers makes a similar point, arguing strongly against austerity and for taxing the rich as the only responsible path to solving the crisis. Pointing out that “[s]ignificant cuts in government spending and investment in public projects and infrastructure will especially impact workers and families of color,” they conclude “tax and spending cuts often fail to stimulate spending as promised. Ensuring the wealthiest pay for investments is the most productive and effective way to kickstart economic recovery and rebuild the state’s economy.”
Read more here.
An estimated 8,000 demonstrators turned out for Friday’s Juneteenth Freedom March hosted by King County Equity Now. The march commenced from 23rd and Union in the Central District, near the Beauty salon of DeCharlene Williams, the Seattle businesswoman credited with organizing the first official Juneteenth Celebrations in Seattle. Demonstrators filled the streets — carrying signs declaring Black Lives Matter, and demanding an end to racism and police brutality. The march finished at Jimi Hendrix Park, adjacent to the Northwest African American Museum, where demonstrators were treated to music, speeches, vendors, and a salute to Black graduates.
Read and see more here.