Category Archives: events

Black Chicago Activists Fly ‘Chicago Stands with Laquan, Hillary Stands with Rahm’ Banners Across City Skyline

Black Chicago Activists Fly ‘Chicago Stands with Laquan, Hillary Stands with Rahm’ Banners Across City Skyline

Chicago, IL — This afternoon, as primary voting is underway in Illinois, airplanes are flying across the Chicago skyline towing banners linking Hillary Clinton with unpopular Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, with whom Emanuel covered up the 2014 Chicago PD’s killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald while campaigning for his own re-election.  The arial banners read

Chicago Stands with Laquan, Hillary Stands with Rahm — #ByeAnita #ByeRahm

“Tell me who you know, and I’ll tell you who you are,” said Tess Raser, an organizer with Assata’a Daughters, the group coordinating today’s banner actions. “To this day, Hillary Clinton has yet to condemn Chicago’s anti-black mayor. Mayor Emmanuel has conspired with State’s Attorney Alvarez during his own re-election campaign to cover up the police murder of Laquan McDonald —a life that to Emmanuel, Alvarez, and Clinton did not matter.  Any politician who supports Emanuel should consider themselves implicated in his misconduct. Anti-black politicians are not welcome in Chicago whether they are running for State’s Attorney or President of The United States.

“Yesterday we dropped 16 banners calling for Anita Alvarez to be ousted from office. 16 banners for the 16 shots CPD fired that killed Laquan McDonald. It took moments for CPD to steal Laquan’s life and nearly a year before evidence of that moment would surface. Anita Alvarez has cosigned on CPD’s wanton disregard for Black life and has conspired to suppress evidence of this disregard. Anita Alvarez does not care about Black people, and she must go.”

Photos and Video will be made available HERE

About Assata’s Daughters
Assata’s Daughters is an intergenerational collective of Black women and girls. This demographic represents both the largest growing prison population and those leading protests against state violence in Chicago.

On Eve of GOP Debate Carolinians Gather for Vigil at Mosque to Counter Xenophobic Rhetoric

On Eve of GOP Debate Carolinians Gather for Vigil at Mosque to Counter Xenophobic Rhetoric

Charleston, SC — Local Carolinians will hold a candlelight prayer vigil at the Central Mosque of Charleston {1082 King St, Charleston, SC} to pray for the GOP Presidential hopefuls on the eve of the debate. The group, comprised of members of South Carolina’s queer, muslim, christian, women’s rights, and latino communities, will gather at 5:45pm to pray for them to “know, experience and share God’s love rather than human hate, greed and hostility.”

“We come from different faith traditions, but we all recognize love and compassion as key tenants of our respective faiths,” said Pastor Thomas Dixon. “Today, we pray for the candidate’s running for President, that God will protect them and show them the way to encourage love, compassion and community and to reject hate, prejudice, violence and greed.”

WHO: Activists with Lowcountry Peace and members of South Carolina’s Queer, Muslim, Christian, Women’s Rights, and Latino Communities

WHAT: A Candlelight Vigil and Prayer Service

WHEN: Today (Wednesday) 5:45pm-6:15pm

WHERE: Central Mosque of Charleston, 1082 King St, Charleston, SC 29403

Hundreds of Activists to Protest Construction of Underground Animal Research Facility at The University of Washington

Hundreds of Activists to Protest Construction of Underground Animal Research Facility at The University of Washington

Seattle, WA — This Saturday, April 25, 2015, at 2pm PT, hundreds of activists are expected to take the streets to protest The University of Washington (UW) and Skanska Construction, who are attempting to construct an underground animal research facility designed to expand the University’s cadre of primate and canine subjects exponentially.

Creative actions and protests, coordinated in part by the No New Animal Lab campaign, have intensified scrutiny regarding UW’s animal research, including the 2014 USDA findings that they improperly cared for their animals.

Saturday’s protest is part of the World Week For Animals in Laboratories international week of action.

What: Mass protest and rally against The University of Washington

When: Saturday, April 25th,at 2pm PDT

Who: No New Animal Lab campaign and northwest animal advocates

Where: University of Washington Campus, Red Square near Kane Hall, 4069 Spokane Lane, Seattle, WA 98105

For more information visit http://nonewanimallab.com

Photo Credit: Jo-Anne McArthur, WeAnimals

Communities Organize After Grand Jury Decision, Vow Nonviolent Protest in Ferguson & Beyond

Communities Organize After Grand Jury Decision, Vow Nonviolent Protest in Ferguson & Beyond

FERGUSON, MO — At 8PM CT, Ferguson Action issued the following statement in response to the St. Louis County Grand Jury’s failure to levy charges against Darren Wilson for the August 9th killing of Michael Brown Jr.

“We are devastated that the grand jury has failed to indict Darren Wilson in the killing of Mike Brown,” said Montague Simmons Chair of The Organization for Black Struggle.  “All this community wanted was simple justice. Wilson killed an unarmed man and should face a trial by jury. Instead, he benefited from a highly unusual grand jury process, led by a prosecutor with whom the local community pleaded to step down or be removed from the case. Mike Brown was a young man with his entire life ahead of him. He could have been any of us. In fact, since his murder, we have seen more police killings of unarmed Black people. In the last week alone, the killings of Akai Gurley in New York City and Tamir Rice in Cleveland have served as stark reminders that the problems with policing in Ferguson are rampant throughout the country.”

“In this moment, we all have a choice to make,” said Tef Poe, Co-Founder of Hands Up United, “We can stand by while police and their apologists in prosecutors’ offices and city halls continue to kill, harass and criminalize our communities – or stand up in this moment to demand that our elected officials lead and finally deal with our broken policing system.”

“In Ferguson, St. Louis, and in cities throughout the country, people will be taking to the streets to demand justice for Mike Brown and an end to the nonstop criminalization of people of color by police,” said Michael McPherson Co-Chair of The Don’t Shoot Coalition, “As Americans we have a moral obligation, and a constitutionally guaranteed right, to stand up to injustice and oppression. Protest, including nonviolent civil disobedience, is a longstanding American tradition that has been indispensable in transforming this country for the better – especially in gaining equal standing for communities of color. We have every intention of fulfilling this commitment in our protests, and we demand that our rights be respected.”

“In preparation of exercising the right to air our grievances, we have trained hundreds of people in non-violent direct action,” said artist and St. Louis community organizer Damon Davis. “We have organized people around the country to stand up to this injustice that was, sadly, so predictable. This grand jury decision will not deter us. It is a start, not an end. We are all Mike Brown, and Ferguson is everywhere. We need a justice system that protects us all, and we will direct our moral outrage into nonstop, nonviolent action to win meaningful change.”

“This refusal, once again, to ensure Black Americans and the family of Mike Brown the due process granted by our citizenship should be every Americans call to action to demand genuine changes for this failing system,” said Ashley Yates, Co-Creator of Millennial Activists United. “Racial prejudice has no place in society and definitely should not be tolerated in policing or judicial process. The time for change is now.”

Cecily McMillan Presser

Cecily McMillan Released from Rikers Island: Uses Platform to Challenge Systemic Injustices Incarcerated Women Face Daily

[NEW YORK, NY] Imprisoned Occupy Wall Street activist Cecily McMillan was released from Rikers Island on Wednesday morning, July 2nd, after serving 58 days. She spoke publicly at a 1pm press conference outside the jail’s outer gates on Hazen Street.

This was the first time she was able to speak publicly after testifying in her trial. Cecily’s controversial trial garnered international media attention. She was supported by elected officials, community leaders, and celebrities. While serving her term at Rikers Island she was visited by members of Russian rock group Pussy Riot, themselves unjustly imprisoned in 2012.

The Following is Cecily’s Statement as read to members of the press at 1pm EST:

“Fifty nine days ago, The City and State of New York labeled me a criminal. Millionaires and billionaire–who had a vested interest in silencing a peaceful protest about the growing inequalities in America–coerced the justice system, manipulated the evidence, and suddenly I became dangerous and distinguished from law-abiding citizens. On May 5th, the jury delivered its verdict, the judge deemed me undesirable, and officers drove me across that bridge and barred me within. On the outside, I had spent my time fighting for freedom and rights. On the inside, I discovered a world where words like freedom and rights don’t even exist in the first place. I walked in with one movement, and return to you a representative of another. That bridge right there, that divides the city from Rikers Island, divides two worlds – today I hope to bring them closer together. Crossing back over, I have a message to you from several concerned citizens currently serving time at the Rose M. Singer Center.

“Incarceration is meant to prevent crime. Its purpose is to penalize and then return us to the outside world ready to start anew. The world I saw at Rikers isn’t concerned with that. Many of the tactics employed are aimed at simple dehumanization. In the interests of returning the facility to its mission and restoring dignity to its inmates, we, the women of Rikers, have several demands that will make this system more functional. These were collectively drafted for me to read before you today.

“First of all, we demand that we be provided with adequate, safe, and timely healthcare at all times. That, of course, includes mental health care services and the ability to request female doctors if desired at all times for safety and comfort. We often have to wait for up to 12 hours a day for a simple clinic visit, and occasionally 12 hours a day for up to a full week before we see anyone.

“The women of Rikers feel a special sense of urgency for this demand because of a particular event that occurred recently. About a week ago, our friend Judith died as a result of inadequate medical care. Judith had been in RSMC for a while, but was transferred to our dorm 4 East A, where I was housed, only a few days before her death. She had recently been in the infirmary for a back problem, and had been prescribed methadone pills for the pain for quite a while. A few days before she died, they decided to change the medicine to liquid despite her dissent. They gave her a dosage of 190mg, which any doctor will tell you is a dangerous dosage, far higher than what anyone should be taking unless it is a serious emergency. Judith was not allowed to turn down the medicine or visit the clinic to get the dosage adjusted.

“After three days on that dosage, Judith could no longer remember who or where she was and had begun coughing up blood, accompanied with what we believe were chunks of her liver. We attempted unsuccessfully to get her medical treatment for the entire day, at one point being told that this was “not an emergency,” despite the fact that Judith was covered in blood. That night they finally removed her to the hospital, where she remained in critical condition before passing away a few days later. This was a clear case of medical malpractice, both with the ridiculously high dosage of methadone and the refusal of adequate treatment. Stories like this are far too common in Rikers Island, and we demand that no more of our sisters be lost to sickness and disease as a result of inadequate medical care.

“Our next demand is that Corrections Officers should be required to follow the protocol laid out for them at all times, and that at some point soon that protocol should be examined to make sure that all rules and procedures are in the best interests of the inmates. We also demand that we have a clear and direct means to file a grievance that will be taken seriously and examined fully, so that Officers can be properly disciplined and removed from the area quickly when they abuse or endanger us.

“Recently my friend Alejandra went to file a grievance about being denied access to medical treatment for a concussion until she awoke one morning unable to move. When she met with the captain after filing the grievance, she was presented with a different sheet and a different complaint than the one she had provided and was forced to sign it. Inmates should be able to trust that situations like that will not concern, and that our safety and dignity be respected by those designated to supervise us. There is a clear protocol for officers already laid out in the inmate handbook, but it is seldom followed. Officers are allowed to make up the rules as they go and get away with it, which we find unacceptable.

“Our final demand is that we be provided with rehabilitative and educational services that will help us to heal our addictions and gain new skills, and that will make it much easier for us to adjust to the outside and achieve employment when we are released. Specifically, for our education we would like access to classes beyond GED completion, maintenance, and basic computer skills, access to a library, and English classes for those attempting to learn the language. We feel that the addition of these programs would significantly help us prepare for release and reentry into the world, which would lower re-incarceration rates.

“We also feel strongly that Rikers Island needs to have much better drug rehabilitation programs. Many women who come through here are addicts, and many women are imprisoned here because they are addicts. That’s the area in which reentry rates seems to be the highest. This is likely a direct result of the failure of the meager programs that we are given. Thus, it seems only logical that serious and effective drug rehabilitation programs be provided to those who need them, assuming that the Department of Corrections would like to help work to achieve a better, healthier society and keep as many people as possible out of jail.

“Working with my sisters to organize for change in the confines of jail has strengthened my belief in participatory democracy and collective action. I am inspired by the resilient community I have encountered in a system that is stacked against us. The only difference between people we call “law-abiding” citizens and the women I served time with is the unequal access to resources. Crossing the bridge I am compelled to reach back and recognize the two worlds as undivided. The court sent me here to frighten me and others into silencing our dissent, but I am proud to walk out saying that the 99% is, in fact, stronger than ever. We will continue to fight until we gain all the rights we deserve as citizens of this earth.”

Cecily McMillan is a New York City activist and graduate student wrongfully imprisoned for felony assault of a police officer after an incident at an Occupy Wall Street event on March 17, 2012. Officer Grantley Bovell grabbed her right breast from behind and lifted her into the air, at which other officers joined Officer Bovell in beating McMillan until she had a series of seizures. She was convicted on May 5th after a trial in which Judge Ronald Zweibel disallowed key pieces of evidence from the defense. On May 19th she was sentenced to a 90-day sentence and 5 years of probation after a large public campaign for leniency, which included an appeal to the judge signed by 9 of the 12 jurors, who thought she should be given no further jail time. The sentence on this charge is typically a term of 2-7 years of incarceration.