President Obama's recent budget proposal includes a number of dangerous austerity measures that stand to harm poor and middle class families and threaten the economy. Reflecting the destructive idea that we can fix our economic crisis by weakening social programs key to a healthy economy, the plan suggests grave cuts to Social Security.
That's why we've launched a campaign demanding that President Obama and Congress negotiate a final budget that doesn't include unnecessary austerity measures. We need a budget that grows the economy through job creation, sound investments in education and infrastructure, and a system of increasing revenue that doesn't take from those who are the least able to pay. Check out the original email we sent and join us after the jump.More »
This week, we submitted nearly 25,000 public comments from ColorOfChange members all over the country to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which is considering implementing rules to crack down on price gouging in the prison phone industry. The Huffington Post reported on our campaign, highlighting corruption in the industry that allows phone companies, corrections agencies and private prisons to strike deals that make them the most money, while leaving the families and loved ones of incarcerated individuals struggling to pay artificially inflated rates.
As a testament to the powerful voices of ColorOfChange members, over 3,300 of the comments we collected were from everyday people moved to share personal stories of their experiences with outrageous phone charges or other reasons why the campaign is important to them — and these voices are making a difference. After the jump, take a look at some of the member comments we found particularly compelling, and let us know in the comments if you've been impacted by the high cost of prison phone calls.More »
For the millions of families with an incarcerated loved one, exorbitant prison phone rates make staying in touch a serious financial burden — and for some, just not an option. All across the country, phone providers and prisons reap profits in the millions from hiking up phone rates, while people like Martha Wright, an 86-year-old grandmother, are forced to choose between medication, food, and speaking with her grandson.
Public corrections agencies and private prisons strike deals that will benefit them the most, and in some states commissions on phone calls — kickbacks — can make up as much as 60% of phone charges. The burden of this explicitly exploitative practice weighs heavily on Black families, whose communities are disproportionately policed and targeted for incarceration. Maintaining family bonds while in prison is key for mitigating the countless challenges of imprisonment, and is known to greatly decrease recidivism and facilitate re-entry.
Now, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering capping prison call prices in line with rates available to the public, and will be accepting public comments through Monday. After the jump, check out the email sent to our members, and don't forget to sign the petition calling on the FCC to step end the predatory phone rates.More »
Big Telecom fears any real regulations by the Federal Communications Commission that might prevent it from exploiting customers for astronomical profits. Our Executive Director, Rashad Robinson, recently published an op-ed in The Root, exposing what's really behind the industry's attack on "government regulation" — and how AT&T and Verizon are responsible for the biggest threat to the open Internet we've seen yet. Rashad explains:
Every monthly cable bill is a fresh reminder of how a lack of competition keeps us tied to underperforming, unresponsive telecom monopolies primarily dedicated to price-gouging their customers. Without the FCC serving as a watchdog — protecting our right to all access the same Web, no matter what telecom market we live in — broadband providers would be working overtime finding new ways to charge us even more for even less.
UPDATE (03/08/13): After more than 1,500 Georgia ColorOfChange members rallied to action, Georgia's House resoundingly rejected HB 282 on a bipartisan 70-94 vote.
Today, the Georgia House of Representatives is voting on a bill to ban local governments from creating broadband Internet networks even when most residents have no option for private broadband service. HB 282 is being pushed by Big Telecom, and got its start as a "model" bill from the corporate bill mill the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
We're urging Georgia lawmakers to reject this giveaway to the telecom industry and protect the right to connect for all communities. Read the email we sent to our members after the jump, and if you live in Georgia please urge your Representative to vote NO on HB 282.More »
Today, ColorOfChange launched a campaign exposing Congress' role in pushing the U.S. Postal Service to the brink of bankruptcy. House Republicans are using the USPS's financial crisis as an excuse to try to privatize it — they forget to mention that the post office would be profitable if it weren't for Congressional interference. The Bush-era Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) contains an outrageous provision requiring the USPS to pre-fund its retiree benefits 75 years into the future — a burden imposed on no other government agency or private corporation.
House Republicans are cheering Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe's recent announcement that he plans to end Saturday mail delivery in order to cut costs, knowing this would result in dramatic workforce reductions and mail delays that make it easier to justify dismantling the entire postal system. We're urging Congress to stand up for postal workers and the public by protecting six-day mail delivery, and by adopting meaningful postal reform that ends the PAEA's unfair pre-funding requirement. Read the email we sent to our members after the jump and be sure to take action here.More »
Last Tuesday, the head of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) finally admitted that his agency was under-prepared to deal with the lingering aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. The following day, Chairman Rhea went on to testify at a NYC Council oversight hearing that NYCHA dragged its feet after the storm. Rhea explained, "Some buildings, we got to five days after. Some buildings, we got to into the second week."
Admitting wrongdoing is an important symbolic step, but giving neglected New Yorkers the rent abatement they need and deserve is a concrete action Chairman Rhea must take.More »
GRITtv's Laura Flanders recently sat down with ColorOfChange Executive Director Rashad Robinson to discuss the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy and ColorOfChange's campaign — calling on NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA) Chairman John Rhea to immediately reimburse rent payments wrongly collected from storm-impacted NYCHA residents. On the eve of the President's State of the Union address, the conversation also touched on the need to recommit to justice for Black communities, whose wealth has been decimated by the housing crisis.More »
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is reporting that the current flu season has officially been designated an “epidemic.” Last year, only 4,400 New Yorkers were diagnosed with “severe” flu cases, but this season, that number has already risen to 15,000 — an explosive 250% increase.
New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Nirav Shah has advised New Yorkers to stay away from those who are sick, but that's easier said than done. Right now, more than a million mostly Black, Latino and immigrant workers in New York City are forced to go to work with the flu every day, without the benefit of any paid time off to care for themselves. This poses a serious threat to the economic security of working families and puts the health of all New Yorkers at risk.
Please join us to demand Speaker Quinn put away her political aspirations and bring the Paid Sick Time Act to a vote.More »
Last week, NYC Council Progressive Caucus Members joined ColorOfChange and partners to demand NYCHA Chairman John Rhea provide full rent abatements for public housing residents. The coalition held a press conference prior to a NYC Council oversight hearing discussing the New York City Housing Authority's (NYCHA) emergency planning and management in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.
Chairman Rhea was a no-show at the hearing -- it's the second hearing he has missed on the issue this week, a clear message that he can't be bothered to hear the rightful claims of NYCHA's tax-paying residents.
Watch the clip from the press conference above and hear from NYCHA residents in their own words. After you watch, join us to demand Chairman Rhea immediately reimburse rent wrongly collected from storm-impacted NYCHA residents.More »