November 30, 2011 / BY CAMPAIGN STAFF NOLA city council to vote on prison funding

On Thursday of this week, the New Orleans City Council will vote to determine how a new prison facility with be funded. ColorOfChange and more than 30 organizations have mobilized 2,200 New Orleanians to sign a petition calling for an end to the per diem funding structure-- a method that incentivizes longer lock ups and more prisoners.

More »
November 23, 2011 / BY CAMPAIGN STAFF Man who killed Oscar Grant back on trial

UPDATE: (12/01/11) Mehserle walks again in the 2008 case of alleged police brutality.

Beginning in 2009, ColorOfChange members mobilized in response to the killing of Oscar Grant, the young father who was shot dead by a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) police officer while lying facedown on an Oakland, CA train platform. In an act of police violence that was captured on camera for the world to see, BART officer Johannes Mehserle fired one round into Grant's back. Mehserle later claimed he thought he was firing his taser-- one of many unbelievable missteps that occurred that night at the Fruitvale BART station.

Just 11 months after being taken into custody, Mehserle was a free man. Many of us recognized this injustice as systemic, which is why we were not surprised to learn that Mehserle is currently standing trial for a separate case involving another incident of alleged brutality and misconduct he participated in while a member of the BART police force.

More »
November 22, 2011 / BY CAMPAIGN STAFF DNA database expands rapidly... That's a good thing, right?

Ten African-American men wrongfuly convicted of murder in Cook County, IL were exonerated last week. After spending the better part of their lives in jail, new DNA evidence was finally accepted by the state's attorney and the men were released. 

In Cook County, DNA evidence helped right a terrible injustice and led police to the actual killer. But some racial justice groups are concerned about forensic databases expanding rapidly without oversight. 

More »
November 21, 2011 / BY MATT NELSON Lift up, don't lock up New Orleans

New Orleans is the only major city in the United States that funds its jail based on a per diem system, billing the city $22.39 per day for every individual held at Orleans Parish Prison (OPP). Much like the model for private prisons, this has created a perverse incentive to keep more people in jail on a daily basis. More prisoners for more days equals more money for the Sheriff's budget. We're working with our New Orleans partners and allies to do something about this.

More »
November 18, 2011 / BY CAMPAIGN STAFF Black America and the 'Super Committee': What's at stake?

As members of the Congressional super committee negotiate behind closed doors, the future of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security hang in the balance. Our friends at CREDO Action have called on Harry Reid and the Democratic senators on the super committee to reject a plan that dissolves our social safety net, and ColorOfChange has joined them. For Black folks and all Americans, austerity measures represent an assault on our dignity, not to mention a total neglect of the contributions we've made to this system for generations.

More »
November 17, 2011 / BY CAMPAIGN STAFF So voting is a privilege, not a right?

A Texas Tea Party group plans to host an event featuring a man who has argued that poor people shouldn't be allowed to vote.

According to conservative columnist Matthew Vadum, “It is profoundly antisocial and un-American to empower the nonproductive segments of the population to destroy the country...”

Check out the full Talking Points Memo report here. And check out ColorOfChange on the voter ID laws that threaten to disenfranchise millions of voters here.

More »
November 16, 2011 / BY MATT NELSON VICTORY: Justice in Cook County

Today a Cook County judge vacated the convictions of a group of men, known as the Englewood 5, who were falsely arrested and harshly prosecuted for crimes they did not commit. This decision and the Nov. 3 exoneration of the Dixmoor 5 in a separate but similar case show that evidence, hope, and tireless legal and community advocacy can overcome long-standing injustices.

More »
November 15, 2011 / BY CAMPAIGN STAFF CoC flooding MSNBC with phone calls: Fire Buchanan

Since more than 86,000 ColorOfChange.org members called on MSNBC to fire Pat Buchanan there has been no sign of the right-wing correspondent on the airwaves. Last week, we delivered more than 275,000 petition signatures to MSNBC from ColorOfChange and CREDO Action members. But MSNBC refuses to say whether Buchanan will return, and they seem to think they can hide him away for a while and let this blow over.

Right now, ColorOfChange members are flooding MSNBC with phone calls, demanding that MSNBC break its silence and fire Pat Buchanan.

More »
November 11, 2011 / BY CAMPAIGN STAFF CNN spotlights lack of diversity in Silicon Valley

This Sunday, CNN's Black in America series will broadcast its fourth installment: Silicon Valley, The New Promised Land. Chronicling the journey of eight African-American techies and aspiring entrepreneurs, CNN investigates what it means to be Black in this predominately white, male environment. Jobs for Black folks in the tech industry are important, but our rights in the digital age are being attacked on multiple fronts.

More »
November 10, 2011 / BY CAMPAIGN STAFF For-profit education industry weakened by regulations

Looks like regulations put in place this year to protect students are taking a toll on the for-profit college industry. Ever since ColorOfChange members, our partners at CREDO Action and a broad coalition demanded that Congress and the U.S. Department of Education enact the 'gainful employment' rule, the industry has faced low stock ratings, low enrollment, and the resignation of one key company's CEO.

More »
November 10, 2011 / BY MATT NELSON Senate upholds net neutrality protections

Today the Senate rejected an effort to kill net neutrality by voting down a measure that would have given telecom corporations more power to limit Internet users' free speech. The measue would have allowed companies to block or discriminate against content and web applications. Yesterday, Louisiana ColorOfChange members called on Sen. Landrieu to do the right thing and she did-- joining the majority to stop the resolution.

More »
November 10, 2011 / BY DANI MCCLAIN November brings advances in criminal justice reform

Last Tuesday, more than 270 formerly incarcerated and convicted people met in Los Angeles in advance of the International Drug Policy Reform Conference. Their mission? Continue building a new front in the movement to end over-incarceration. The days of policy and advocacy organizations reaching out to people who have done time when they need a spokesperson or someone to hold a sign at a rally are numbered, they say. Instead, it’s time for people with records to be decision-makers and leaders in their own right.

A 14-point platform guides their work, and a provocative question called out from the cover of the program for last week’s gathering: “Am I a human being if most rights are denied me and most privileges are inaccessible to me as a formerly incarcerated and/or convicted person?”

Check out the rest over at Loop21.

More »
November 08, 2011 / BY CAMPAIGN STAFF Voter ID laws: The new poll tax

For anyone who thought legal disenfranchisement was a thing of the past, think again. The 2012 campaign season -- which will pick up speed in the wake of the elections held around the country today -- may well bring the harshest attack on voting rights in decades. A blitz of new voter identification restrictions have flooded state legislatures, threatening to disenfranchise millions of voters who don't have the money, transportation or paperwork to secure necessary IDs. A report from the Brennan Center for Justice finds that the majority of these voters are from groups traditionally viewed as part of the Democratic base. But whatever their party affiliation, the new legislation stands to limit the participation of millions of African-American, Latino, young and elderly voters.

More »
November 07, 2011 / BY CAMPAIGN STAFF Can Black America move Its money?

Last week ColorOfChange urged members to participate in "Move Your Money Day" on November 5, 2011. The push on Saturday was part of an ongoing international campaign to get as many people as possible to move their money from large corporate banks to local banks and credit unions.

More »
November 04, 2011 / BY CAMPAIGN STAFF Who tells the story of prison profits?

What happens when corporate media tells the story of America’s prisons? You could end up with a kind of commercial for the industries that rely on prison labor. That's what happened recently when CNBC ran a segment that characterized incarcerated workers in rural Colorado as a “little-known but profitable workforce.”

More »
November 01, 2011 / BY CAMPAIGN STAFF Occupy Education: OWS moves forward

New York City's Panel for Education Policy (previously known as the school board) is not exactly Wells Fargo or Bank of America. But on October 25th, Occupy Wall Street protestors left their downtown encampments to confront the PEP at a public forum. For much of the movement, toppling unjust financial practices and predatory banks has been the chief goal. But as Occupy efforts grow, participants are picking new targets and new messages — all in a quest to demand democracy where it appears to be sorely lacking.

More »
November 01, 2011 / BY CAMPAIGN STAFF Good news in the fight to end mass incarceration

When we saw this article in the Huffington Post we knew we had to share it. News like this is a powerful reminder of how significant our members' advocacy can be. We all know that the so-called war on drugs has proven to be an all out war on communities of color across the nation. But victories in the battle against discriminatory drug policies are slowly paying off. Today new federal sentencing guidelines for crack cocaine become permanent, and next week more than 1,000 federal inmates become eligible for immediate release. 

ColorofChange.org members consistently pressured Congress to eliminate the disparity in sentencing for crack and powder cocaine offenses, so news of a halt in prison population growth is of particular importance to our community. Low-income Black and Latino communities have been devastated by discriminatory drug policies -- policies that have contributed to placing in one in nine Black men between the ages of 20 and 34 behind bars. Victories in the past year have begun to turn the tide. Before Congress passed the Fair Sentencing Act in the summer of 2010, there was a 100-to-1 disparity in sentences for crack and powder cocaine offense. Now there's an 18:1 ratio. 

More »