On Monday, news surfaced about a miscarriage of justice against Philadelphia rapper Robert Williams - better known as Meek Mill. The 30 year old was sentenced to 2 - 4 years and immediately taken into custody, over a non-existent parole violation for an offense that happened when he was 18.
The judge who is presiding over his case, Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Genece E. Brinkley, has an obsession towards Mr. Williams and this case, and the documentation of her unprofessionalism, her overreach and her fixation on Mr. Williams has been concerning for some time now. To highlight just one example of appalling behavior, a few years ago the judge made a request of Mr Williams and then-girlfriend Nicki Minaj to record a duet - a remake of a Boyz II Men song - and dedicate it to the Judge. (Yes, you read that right!!) She also suggested strongly that Meek and Nicki sign with her personal friend - who also happened to manage Boyz II Men. Not satisfied with inserting herself into Meek’s professional life, she had a habit of showing up at his personal charitable appearances - while he was working with homeless people or youth.
Let us be clear - this is not just about one man and one bad judge. Meek’s fame and his success didn’t stop him from being victimized by the same system that over-incarcerates and over-criminalizes people of color - especially young black men. Due to the egregiousness of this injustice, Justice League NYC felt it was urgent to make an effort to bring this case to light and have the Governor of Pennsylvania and the Attorney General immediately recuse and replace the judge in Meek’s case so he can get a fair hearing and hopefully have this case dismissed. And we are encouraging an investigation into the judge, so that we can make sure she doesn’t have this kind of impact any longer.
What has been made clear is that wealth and/or social status cannot protect people of color from historically racist institutions that grant individuals so much power over our lives. This is not new, and it sends a signal to Meek's young black and brown fans that incarceration is all they deserve. But maybe, by using Meek's platform to highlight these patterns of injustice, we can help change the system.
We have created an online campaign that will send letters to the Governor and other Pennsylvania officials with power to recuse Judge Brinkley. You can read the letter and sign up to have them sent from you by clicking here.
And Change.org has an online petition also going to the Governor, which can be signed onto by clicking here.
Additionally, our friends at RocNation and Tidal created this awareness video, which we hope you'll watch.
On September 22, 2017, onstage at a bizarre campaign rally in Huntsville, Alabama, Donald Trump delivered what could only be described as a wholly unhinged tantrum - during which he called Colin Kaepernick - and anyone who chooses to exercise their constitutional rights to peaceful protest - a "son of a bitch" and suggested they be fired.
The next day he doubled down with a pathetic tweet about disrespect, ending like a sad clown, with his trademark "you're fired" - and disinviting Stephen Curry from the White House.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's response was vague and insufficient.
As a reminder - Donald Trump referred to Nazis and KKK members after a young woman's public murder as "fine people", yet calls athletes advocating for human rights "sons of bitches".
Let that sink in.
THE TIME FOR STAYING ON SIDELINES IS OVER. NOW MORE THAN EVER, WE MUST SPEAK OUT AGAINST BIGOTRY, INEQUALITY AND VIOLENCE. HERE ARE 3 WAYS FOR YOU TO JOIN US IN SUPPORTING COLIN AND THIS BRIGHT, BEAUTIFUL MOVEMENT FOR RACIAL EQUALITY- AND SPEAK OUT AGAINST INJUSTICE:
1. #TAKEAKNEE - Send a message to Donald Trump, the NFL and their advertisers by posting a video of yourself taking a knee and telling us why - and sharing with your networks. Use the trending hashtag #TakeAKnee
2. BOYCOTT THE NFL! Don't watch, don't go online and read sports scores, don't follow in any way. But during games, DO engage your networks by tweeting @NFL and their advertisers like @Verizon and letting them know why you're boycotting! Some boycott hashtags: #NoKaepernickNoNFL #NFLBoycott
3. SIGN & SHARE THIS PETITION: Click this link to sign on to our petition to the NFL letting them know you support Colin's right to peaceful protest.
Donald Trump leveled a moronic series of un-American attacks on NFL players who have exercised their Constitutional rights to freedom of speech and expression. And boy did that backfire! Millions around the world have shared the #TakeAKnee hashtag, and #TakeAKnee headlines have been circulating in our feeds - and we count this as a win for our Movement, organizers and allies. As of now, every single NFL team that's played a game today has protested. Some even included owners, coaches and staff. Some teams kneeled, others locked arms, several teams even stayed in the locker room for the National Anthem entirely. And nearly every NFL team owner and NFL union published a critical response to Trump's statements and sentiments.
Justice League NYC has been extremely proud to work with Colin Kaepernick for nearly two years, supporting his important and historic stand against police brutality and racial injustice. We've been honored that our Executive Director Carmen Perez has been a personal advisor -- and a Know Your Rights Camp trainer.
We believe in his clear vision for justice, and the authenticity of his commitment to racial healing.
So we were on a mission.
While Trump and his surrogates were out in force - trying to suggest that this was a protest abouthim - let us remind the current resident of the White House why this protest really began. We hope you'll watch and share this video, using the hashtags #TakeAKnee and #NoKaepernickNoNFL.
We encouraged our communities, allies and networks to #TakeAKnee in solidarity, and share photos of your personal protest. Within hours #TakeAKnee was the #1 Trending Topic on Twitter.
While Donald Trump was busy tweeting, our team came together "like Voltron," formulating a rapid response strategy for the next phase of the campaign to #StandWithKap. And so we worked around the clock to get #ImWithKap tee shirts printed and delivered to our new friend -Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills (pictured, right - to distribute to his team for pre-game warm-ups this morning.
But we're not done. As we speak, shirts are being shipped and delivered to athletes and artists across the country so they can express their solidarity.
While it's heartening to see such solidarity around the country today - this is just one day. And we cannot sleep on injustice. So please - sign and share this petition telling the NFL you #StandWithKap and the #NFLBoycott.
The Women's March on Washington was a historic day with over 5 million people of all races, gender identities, religions, sexual orientations, and more marching on every continent around the world. The march, preceded by a program of dynamic speakers and performers aimed at educating and elevating, has been hailed across the globe as sparking a movement of resistance in the face of hatred. As the sponsoring organization, The Gathering for Justice played a very central role in making this march come to be. We are proud to note that our fearless executive director, Carmen Perez, led this movement by serving as one of 4 national co-chairs for the march alongside our sisters in the movement Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour, and Bob Bland. Additionally, our incredible founder Harry Belafonte served as an honorary co-chair alongside Angela Davis, Dolores Huerta, and Gloria Steinem providing much desired guidance, mentorship, and expertise towards making this a reality.
But what ultimately makes us most proud is that our entire team of staff, volunteers, and interns came together to make the march and its follow up actions as intersectional, sustainable, meaningful, safe, and impactful as possible. From heading up our communications team to coordinating partnerships to facilitating the policy table to working on the program to handling credentials and security to logistics on the day of, there was no facet of the Women's March on Washington that we did not work hard to support and make happen. It was our honor to not only work toward January 21st, 2017 but to also work diligently following the march in coordinating actions focused on resisting divisiveness and bigotry.
We did this work in the spirit of all work that we do here at The Gathering: because it is our duty to fight for our freedom and because it is our duty to win. We will love and protect one another because we have nothing to lose but our chains.
Women’s March EMPOWER is an initiative of Women’s March Youth through a coalition with PeaceFirst, Rise To Run, The Gathering For Justice, Rock The Vote and Teen Vogue and is supported by Emerge America and the Women’s Media Center. Women’s March EMPOWER upholds the Unity Principles of the Women’s March platform and our goal is to provide young people with the tools needed to create high school and college chapters that guide students in making a positive impact on their communities. We believe that the single most powerful act we can do is prepare young people with the skills and commitments to take actions around causes that matter to them with courage, compassion and collaboration.
Using the six principles of Kingian nonviolence as the foundation for all aspects of our work, we at The Gathering and Justice League NYC specialize in several areas:
Through Women's March EMPOWER, The Gathering for Justice will provide young activists the tools, guidance, and historical background needed to launch campaigns on all levels both local and national. As Dr. King once said, “nonviolent resistance provides a creative force through which [people] can channelize their discontent.” Whether addressing policies at your school or campus, raising awareness for inequality in your hometown, or advocating against federal policies, we are here to help you on your journey from collective anger to united action.
In direct response to the impactful work of the Women’s Convention, Women’s March EMPOWER will further the dialogue developed over the weekend through actionable steps that seek to embolden young people to action.
To learn more about Women’s March EMPOWER, email email@example.com and join the Women’s March email list to get updates. For more information on Women's March EMPOWER see here or download our toolkit here.
For those of you who joined us for the #NoEqualityNoEconomy boycott we thank you and hope you felt the power of holding - or directing - your personal worth for the Movement. We are pleased the initiative received national attention and we are current assessing the impact of the boycott, and planning the roll out for Phase 2.
The next step is to examine the practices of individual companies as they relate and participate in the private prison industrial complex. If you haven't seen this short information video on the pathway of our marketplace dollars to racially-biased policing and mass incarceration, please check it out below, then visit www.noequalitynoeconomy.com to find out how you can join!
Voice your support of the NYPD12 by calling, emailing or tweeting at NYPD Commissioner William J. Bratton and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio. Following is a sample script you can use to call or email:
"I fully support the NYPD12 in their effort to bring to light the disturbing and egregious practices by the NYPD to target communities of color, and believe there should be an end to the racist quota system once and for all. Additionally, I believe that senior leadership within the NYPD need to stop promoting those officers who enforce racist quotas within the Department."
.@CommissBratton I fully support #NYPD12 & ask u 2 end racist quotas targeting communities of color & stop promotng those who support quotas
.@BilldeBlasio I fully support #NYPD12 & ask u 2 to end racist quotas targeting communities of color & stop promotng those who support quotas
To email or call:
May 8, 2017
We are a group of leaders of vibrant and diverse racial justice, immigrant rights, and interfaith movements who support and stand in solidarity with Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian-American and Muslim organizer and an international champion of civil and human rights.
Since the City University of New York School of Public Health extended Linda an invitation to be the 2017 commencement speaker, she has become the target of a vicious smear campaign and character assassination led by two elected officials - New York State Assemblymember Dov Hikind and New York City Council member Rory Lancman. In an op-ed published in The New York Daily News on April 28, 2017, Hikind called Linda a "terrorist sympathizer," an accusation he reiterated in a video he released on May 1, 2017. Lancman has repeatedly endorsed the claim of his colleague on social media and elsewhere. These claims are false and hateful. They are intended to discredit and intimidate Linda and her many allies and supporters.
Linda will not be intimidated. Nor will we. An attack on Linda is an attack on us all.
For nearly two decades, Linda has fought for the rights of the dispossessed, marginalized, and underprivileged. She has stood by those who have faced persecution in the United States and abroad. We have all had the privilege of working closely with Linda, and we know first-hand that she is a dedicated organizer who brings communities together.
Just this year, Linda was one of the National Co-Chairs of the Women's March on Washington, an event that drew over 1.2 million people in Washington and over 6 million across the globe. Her work has been honored and celebrated by countless community organizations, the highest levels of government, and popular culture. Former President Barack Obama named Linda a Champion of Change and Time Magazine recently recognized her as one its most Influential People of 2017. Linda's record and character are impeccable and beyond reproach.
We call upon the City University of New York School of Public Health to stand with Linda. We call upon leaders in the New York State Assembly and the New York state government to condemn the false and hateful claims made by Hikind and Lancman. We also call upon people of conscience to support Linda by contacting the offices of Hikind and Lancman and condemning their attacks, by urging the CUNY School of Public Health to honor their commencement speaker invitation, and by visibly expressing your support (#IStandWithLinda) on social media.
Aarti Kohli, Advancing Justice | Asian Law Caucus
Ahmad Abuznaid, Take On Hate
Ai-jen Poo, National Domestic Workers Alliance
Aisha al-Adawiya, Women In Islam, Inc.
Alicia Garza, National Domestic Workers Alliance, Black Lives Matter
Alida Garcia, INCLUSV
Allison Brown, Communities for Just Schools Fund
Anna Galand, Move On.Org
Anu Joshi, New York State Immigrant Action Fund
Angelo Pinto, The Advancement Project/Justice League NYC
Arjun S. Sethi, Boards of Grassroots Leadership, Charity & Security Network
Audrey Sasson, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ)
Baher Azmy, Center for Constitutional Rights
Billy Easton, Alliance for Quality Education
Bishop Dr. Raymond H. Rufen-Blanchet, The Clergy Campaign for Social & Economic Justice
Bishop Gene Robinson, The Episcopal Church
Bob Bland, National Co-Chair, Women's March on Washington
Carmen Perez, The Gathering for Justice/National Co-Chair, Women's March on Washington
Charlene A. Carruthers, Black Youth Project 100
Cindy Wiesner, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance
Cristina Jimenez Moreta, United We Dream
Dante Barry, Million Hoodies
Deepa Iyer, Center for Social Inclusion
Diane Steinman, Micah Faith Table
Donna Lieberman, New York Civil Liberties Union
Donna Nevel, Network Against Islamophobia
Dorian T. Warren, Center for Community Change
Dr. Ahmad Jaber, Chair, Arab American Association of New York
Elder-Elect Kirsten John Foy
Erica Ford, LIFE Camp, Inc.
Glenn Harris, Center for Social Inclusion
Gregory A. Cendana, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO
Gustavo Rivera, New York State Senator
Harry and Pamela Belafonte
Hassan Jaber, Take On Hate
Hazel N. Dukes, NAACP (New York State)
Hina Shamsi, American Civil Liberties Union
Imam Al-Hajj Talib 'Abdur-Rashid, The Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood
Jasiri X, 1Hood
Javier H. Valdés, Make the Road New York
Jessica Wisneski, Citizen Action of New York
Johanna Puno Hester, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO
Jose Antonio Vargas, Define American
Judith Browne Dianis, Advancement Project
Judith LeBlanc, Native Organizers Alliance
Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, MomsRising.org
Laura Briggs, Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies, University of Massachusetts
Lena K Gardner, Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism
Leslie Mac, Ferguson Response Network
Macky Alston, Auburn Seminary
Margaret Fung, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
Marielena Hincapié, National Immigration Law Center
Marisa Franco, Mijente
Melissa Harris-Perry, Anna Julia Cooper Center
Michael-Ray Mathews, PICO National Network
Michael Blake, New York Assembly
Michael Skolnik, The Soze Agency
Mohammad Khan, Campaign Director, MPower Change
Monifa Bandele, MomsRising.org
Murad Awawdeh, Muslim Democratic Club of New York
Mysonne The General, Hip Hop Artist/Justice League NYC
Natasha Capers, NYC Coalition for Educational Justice
Nihad Awad, Executive Director, Council on American Islamic Relations
Opal Tometi, Black Lives Matter and Black Alliance for Just Immigration
Peter Heltzel, Micah Institute at New York Theological Seminary
Peter Nagy, NY Communities for Change
Rabbi Barat Ellman, Professor, Bard Prison Initiative; JFREJ
Rabbi Ellen Lippmann
Rabbi Justus Baird, Auburn Seminary
Rabbi Simkha Y. Weintraub
Rameen Aminzadeh, Beats Rhymes & Relief, Freddie Gray Project
Ramzi Kassem, CUNY School of Law
Raoul Roach, Sankofa.org
Rashad Robinson, Color Of Change
Rev. Angel Kyodo Williams, newDharma Community
Rev. Adolphus C. Lacey, PhD, Bethany Baptist Church, Brooklyn, NY
Rev. Chloe Breyer, The Interfaith Center of New York
Rev. Dr. Clyde Kuemmerle, Ecclesia Ministries of New York
Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis, Senior Minister, Middle Collegiate Church
Rev. Dr. Brian D. McLaren, ConvergenceUS.org
Rev. Dr. Katharine Rhodes Henderson, Auburn Theological Seminary
Rev. Dr. William Barber II, Greenleaf Christian Church
Rev. Khader El-Yateem, Salam Arabic Lutheran Church
Rinku Sen, Race Forward
Rosa Clemente, 2008 Green Party Vice Presidential Candidate
Sarab Al-Jijakli, President, Network of Arab American Professionals
Seema Agnani, National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development
Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, NETWORK, Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
Steve Choi, New York Immigration Coalition
Stosh Cotler, Bend the Arc Jewish Action
Tamika Mallory, National Co-Chair, Women's March on Washington
Umi Selah, The Dream Defenders
Valarie Kaur, The Revolutionary Love Project
Vanita Gupta, Leadership Council for Civil and Human Rights
Vince Warren, Center for Constitutional Rights
Zahra Billoo, CAIR San Francisco Bay Area
DAY OF EMPATHY
50 STATES + WASHINGTON DC
On March 1, 2017 Americans impacted by the criminal justice system nationwide will meet with lawmakers to share their experiences.
Family members who have lost loved ones to violent crime, formerly incarcerated people, children of incarcerated parents, individuals who have overcome addiction, and many others will join together, across demographics and party lines.
Together, we will highlight the urgency of reforming a system that has grown too big, too brutal, and too unfair.
Featuring panel discussions, keynote addresses, spoken word and performances with Van Jones, Carmen Perez, Tamika Mallory, Mysonne, Angelo Pinto, Ebro Darden, IMPACT Repertory Theatre, Shaun King, elected officials and more.
November 25, 2016
JUSTICE NOW! COALITION BEGINS ECONOMIC SHUTDOWN 2.0 WEEKEND WITH DEMONSTRATIONS INSIDE MAJOR RETAILERS IN NEW YORK CITY
Congressman Charles B. Rangel Kicks Off Justice Now! By Joining Clergy Members and Activists to Call for Firing of Officer Responsible for the Death of Eric Garner
The Justice Now! Coalition held its first action of the weekend, the “Economic Shutdown 2.0” at 8:00 am on the day known as Black Friday, November 25, 2016. Congressman Charles Rangel joined Justice Now! Coalition members Justice League NYC, Reverend Calvin A. Butts of the historic Greater Abyssinian Church, Reverend Adolphus Lacey of Bethany Baptist Church in Brooklyn, Rev. Dr. Peter Hetzel of the New York Theological Seminary, and other faith leaders and community activists before the demonstration which interrupted holiday shopping on what is well-known as the busiest day of the year for retailers.
The Justice Now! Coalition is a multi-faith effort calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to fire Officer Daniel Pantaleo, the NYPD officer responsible for the death of Staten Island grandfather Eric Garner. Two years after violating NYPD protocol by applying a chokehold which resulted in the tragic and unnecessary loss of Mr. Garner’s life, Officer Pantaleo still holds his job and collects a $120,000-per-year, taxpayer-funded salary. Mayor de Blasio has the power to fire Officer Pantaleo, yet has failed to do so amid pressure from the Patrolmen’s Benefit Association, the union representing NYPD officers.
“Our communities cannot feel comfortable in New York City while Officer Daniel Pantaleo still has a job,” said Carmen Perez, co-founder of Justice League NYC, one of the activist groups involved in the coalition. “It is important that the Mayor take action to restore trust by firing the officer for the unjust death of Eric Garner.”
This weekend, the Justice Now! Coalition has additional actions planned, including a noon Vigil and Rally for Eric Garner and All Victims of Police Brutality, occurring Saturday, November 26 at the African American Burial Ground in lower Manhattan. On Sunday, November 27, the coalition is planning a “Call to Service” action in partnership with over a dozen houses of worship in New York City.
Dear President Obama,
We write to you today as national organizers forced by our humanity to address the unmitigated disaster that is the Flint Water Crisis. We would have sent this letter to you personally, but we weren’t sure you would ever receive it. So we publish it publicly in hopes that the message finds its way to your desk.
With all due respect, your leadership on this government-caused public health crisis has been painfully neglectful. We all heard your passionate speech proclaiming “I know that if I was a parent up there, I would be beside myself that my kids' health could be at risk”.
Well Mr. President – these ARE your children and WE are beside ourselves.
Why are you not in Flint, Mr. President?
Justice League NYC has been working on the ground in Flint for five weeks – the residents of this city are suffering - they are literally sick and tired. It is deeply disheartening to us, given the severity of the situation, that you have not put your feet on this soil. As volunteers, we, and many other organizations and individuals, have been traveling here week after week – using our own resources to do what we can to help what can only be described as a national disaster.
After spending weeks meeting with Flint families, faith leaders, policy makers, scientists, local organizers, national organizers and more, we can say without hesitation that the local, state and federal response and information system in the region is beyond criminal. Although we know a criminal investigation is under way, the people of Flint cannot be forced to wait for adequate aid. There is tremendous government-caused destruction at every level of this situation and the very people charged with addressing the crisis are the ones who caused it – exacerbating what’s already a dangerous health and human safety situation on the ground.
Here are just a few facts that are simply beyond comprehension at this point and time:
• To be clear – there is NO safe level of lead. The EPA sets a limit of 15 parts per billion (ppb), and classifies water tainted above 5,000 ppb as “hazardous waste”. VA Tech researchers found lead contamination as high as 13,200 ppb in Flint.
• Over the last two weeks, Water Defense’s lead scientist Scott Smith did a series of tests – in residences, the Flint River, and a local hotel – testing for a number of toxins including chloroform, lithium and manganese. Dr. Smith has stated that he is the ONLY scientist that has tested the water for anything other than lead and copper. As Dr. Smith puts it “if you want to know what’s in the water you have to test for it” – and quite obviously, the EPA does not want to know what’s really in the water.
• The Water Defense toxicology report released to the press on March 7 shows dangerously high levels of all three of the above neurotoxicants - and many others. So although the community has been dealing with the fact that their government poisoned them with lead – NOW they will be dealing with the reality that the lead may be the least of their concerns.
• For the record, chloroform can be absorbed by the skin.
• On Sunday, the Public Health Advisor, Division of Policy & Data, at the U.S. HHC, Office of Minority Health, CDR Tracy Branch, MPAS, PA-C visited a well-known church in Flint and informed the Reverend and staff that a) the water in Flint is SAFE to shower and bathe in (!!!) and b) the fresh and clean and safe showers that are being donated so parishioners can shower should be rejected because “it sends the wrong message that the water is unsafe”. Mr. President – we believe the water is 100% absolutely completely unsafe period. And IF WE ARE WRONG, it is incumbent upon the American government to do all appropriate testing to absolutely ensure and promote the general welfare of these United States citizens.
• The citizens of Flint are still being charged for their poisoned water! Though the Governor has passed multi-million dollar water bill-reduction legislation, residents must be up to date with their water bill payments to receive the discount. And thousands of residents have been issued liens on their homes for lack of water payments. (And why should they be charged one penny for poisoned water?)
• We heard testimony from second-graders that in some of the elementary schools in Flint, the free bottled water being donated from across the country gets stocked in the vending machines and sold to the children.
• Undocumented people could not get water for weeks because they were being asked for IDs. And even now their access to free clinics is limited to 3 visits per year – which is clearly unacceptable considering the magnitude of the health concerns.
• Elderly people can’t get water because regularly staffed distribution centers are only at three firehouses in town – and they only give one case per day. The elderly need people to bring them water (many don’t drive, or they can’t carry a case of water by themselves) – but their own families and neighbors are prohibited from picking up extra water for shut-ins. So the elderly, poor, undocumented and other impacted people have to rely on the inconsistency of pop-up distribution spots – which are rarely publicized due to lack of capacity.
• It’s been months since Flint was declared a state of emergency yet the pipe replacement - the only effort that will make the water safe again - has barely begun. According to the Mayor of Flint, there are only funds to cover 250 replacements. More than 20,000 Flint homes (which is likely understated) will require pipe replacements.
• Finally, here is just a small sampling of the horrific health consequences of the Flint Water Crisis on children and adults: hearing loss, vision loss, hair loss, memory loss, seizures, hypertension, painful rashes, painful urination and rashes on genital area of young girls, bleeding from the ears, a drastically-elevated suicide rate, direct correlation between lead levels and juvenile crime rate, alarming cases of Legionnaire’s disease resulting in at least 10 deaths, aggression, loss of cognitive function, liver damage, kidney damage, behavioral deficits in children, jaundice, and gastrointestinal distress. We have personally heard testimony of every single one of these afflictions – each linked directly to the water. The long-term effects of the contamination won’t be seen for years, but there is no question there will be elevated rates of Parkinson’s, dementia and other neurodegenerative disorders – for generations.
The bottom line is that this national disaster has been treated from the beginning as a Public Relations problem, instead of a Public Health crisis. The situation rivals that of a third world country. And as one local pastor told us, we need the United States, the richest nation on earth, to have a first world response to a third world crisis.
It is only our hope that with your history as a Community Organizer, you can relate to the sense of urgency with which we appeal to you today. You have been in these communities, filled with a sense of obligation to right the injustices of a broken system. So you will understand when we say to you that Flint is a catastrophe of seismic proportions.
Enough with the public campaigns, Mr. President. We demand you:
1. GO TO FLINT and assess the situation.
2. TEST THE WATER – have the EPA and independent trusted researchers perform ALL the chemical tests that Water Defense has done. Test for carcinogens, neurotoxicants, other toxins – the people deserve to know the reality of their health and the health and well-being of their families.
3. FIX THE PIPES – ALL of them. IMMEDIATELY. Why are you allowing a Governor and his woefully inept team of Emergency Managers to continue making decisions that further impact the lives of these victims? If they need $55 million or $195 million or $1.3 billion – get it done.
4. IMMEDIATELY DECLARE FLINT A NATIONAL DISASTER. No excuses, Mr. President, you wield the power of the Executive Order. No time for politics.
Clearly we are not the experts, Mr. President. But YOU are the Commander-in-Chief of ALL the experts. And YOU need to deliver for these still struggling and desperate people. We cannot allow another American city to be lost, nor this outrageous injustice to go unchallenged. Reports of lead are showing up in other cities across America, shouldn’t we learn from this now to mitigate the prospect of future similar tragedies?
The crisis in Flint needs human attention. We need – no, we demand – that you act with every power at your disposal to address this situation immediately. Because if we don’t fix Flint now, then Jacksonville, Mississippi is next. And Trenton, New Jersey. And Los Baños, California. And on and on and on and on.
For our part, Justice League NYC will continue traveling to Flint to distribute much-needed supplies like ready-made baby formula and baby food, diapers and skin ointment, while activating our network to build an active and ongoing protest movement in the streets. Our next stop is the State House in Lansing. And we promise we will not stop fighting for these people until they get the relief and recompense that they deserve.
Don’t take our word alone. There are numerous and incredible organizations doing work locally - like Flint Rising - who can provide you all the testimony and guidance required to act with urgency.
The people of Flint – the remarkable, tough, brave and beautiful “Flint stones” – are counting on you, Mr. President. And the rest of the country is watching to see how your administration will respond to these most vulnerable Americans. We can’t help but imagine what the response would look like if the same crisis had happened in the well-off Bloomfield Hills.
Mr. President, we urge you - go to Flint. Once you see the devastation with your own eyes, you’ll do the right thing.
Justice League NYC
p.s. if anyone reading this Open Letter would like to contribute vital supplies to the folks in Flint – please visit our Amazon “For the Love of Flint” Gift Registry. All purchases are shipped directly to our partner in Detroit and distributed weekly. See below for more information.
December 3, 2015 (New York, NY)--"We acknowledge those who express hesitancy toward our decision to escalate pressure on Mayor de Blasio today asking us to trust the process of the DOJ investigation. Movements toward justice require many strategies, players and tactics.
But let us be clear, just because we are young, does not mean we are naïve. The city of New York has stated publicly that it has the power to fire Officer Pantaleo, however, it chooses not to in light of the investigation.
It is completely rational for New Yorkers to have authentic concern and urgency around the lack of accountability this City has when police kill other people on our streets in broad daylight.
This is not new to us. All we have to do is look at what DOJ has not accomplished for Ramarley Graham and his dear mother Constance, who we love. It has been years and DOJ has delivered nothing.
Are we supposed to wait years for Eric Garner as well? Pantaleo’s own lawyer stated the investigation could last five years. Is that the type of accountability we’re supposed to just sit back wait and let crumbs of change trickle down over time?
Simply—It does not take a year to investigate something the entire world watched.
Over the last year, it’s made clear that “investigation” is just a word used for law enforcement and elected officials to hide behind slug-paced complacency. The speed of investigations indicate the sincerity of law enforcement and elected officials to achieve justice.
Daniel Pantaleo doesn’t need to be paid by New York taxpayers for years while Mayor de Blasio opts to sit back and dismissively wait for DOJ’s investigation to unfold. Firing Daniel Pantaleo doesn’t impede the ability to investigate. Firing him is just a tiny gesture that the Mayor can do to demonstrate he is accountable to the people of our City, yet Mayor de Blasio made the deliberate choice not to. For us, this is neither the moral leadership nor the sound economic management that we demand of our Mayor. And that is why you’ll see us at Gracie tonight."
Justice League NYC
Reverend Adolphus Lacey, Bethany Baptist Church
Carmen Perez, Executive Director, The Gathering for Justice
Linda Sarsour, Executive Director, Arab American Association of New York
Tamika Mallory, Board Member of The Gathering for Justice
Members of the clergy