Our biweekly lists lay out notable issues in the news and tell you what you can do about them.
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Hi everyone! First of all, happy Juneteenth! Juneteenth commemorates that on June 19, 1865, enslaved people in Galveston, TX were alerted that they were free from slavery. It is widely acknowledged as commemorating the abolition of slavery in the US and celebrating Black liberation. However, in the words of Bryan Stevenson, "Slavery didn't end in 1865, it just evolved." Part of celebrating Juneteenth is a recommitment to fighting the systemic racism of the United States criminal justice system, education system, medical system, etc. We'd also urge you to use this form to urge Congress to make Juneteenth a national holiday!
To our Black community members, we're wishing you a joyful day of celebration!
We're back to our biweekly list schedule for now, but please be aware that our past two lists have resources that are relatively current and will continue to be helpful.
Hopefully everyone is wrapping up their school years well. We're wishing everyone a wonderful start to summer.
We're going to jump right in but will outline the list first so you can jump around:
Let's jump in!
As always, if it's your first time doing some of these actions, feel free to check out our Basics page and Index by the Issues for background help. You can also watch our IGTV for an explainer of calling reps.
Say Their Names
Oluwatoyin “Toyin” Salau: Toyin was a 19-year old Black woman on the front lines of the Black Lives Matters protests. Toyin was found dead on June 13th in the home of Aaron Glee Jr, who has been arrested before, in Tallahassee, Florida. A week earlier, on June 6th, Toyin had gone missing a few hours after she tweeted that she had been sexually assaulted that morning. Toyin’s close friends said that she had been assaulted a few days earlier as well and had spoken to a lawyer and police about it. Toyin was a powerful activist and spent her final days fighting for Black liberation and for Black trans liberation following the murder of Tony McDade in Tallahassee.
- Petition for full investigation into Toyin’s murder: http://chng.it/wG8zDRQX57
- Donate to Justice For Black Girls, an organization which started the Oluwatoyin Salau Freedom Fighters Fund, which provides funds to young Black women fighting for change: https://www.justiceforblackgirls.com/oluwatoyin-freedom-fighters-fund
- We also urge you to read this article, "We All Failed Oluwatoyin Salau," by Clarkisha Kent.
Na’kia Crawford: On June 14th in Akron, Ohio, Na’kia Crawford, an 18-year old young Black woman, was shot while she was driving to run errands with her grandmother. Na’kia had graduated high school just 2 weeks earlier. Na’kia’s family believes that the incident was racially motivated. No matter the final conclusion, Na’kia’s death is a reminder that this country systematically puts the lives of black women at risk every single day. Na’kia Crawford had just graduated high school would be a freshman at Central State University studying computer science in Fall 2020.
- Sign the petition here.
- GoFundMe here.
Dominique “Rem’Mie” Fells: Dominique “Rem’Mie” Fells, a 27-year old Black transgender woman, was found on the banks of the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, brutally attacked and murdered. Authorities have identified a suspect in the case. The Humans Rights Campaign cites Rem’Mie as the 13th transgender or gender non-conforming person murdered in just this year. We mourn Dominique's life and will honor her with justice.
- GoFundMe started by Rem’Mie’s family: https://www.gofundme.com/f/dominiquefells
- Petition for justice for Rem’Mie: http://chng.it/mCcvBY6xc5
- There is an extensive list of places to donate to in support of Black trans lives at the end of this list.
Riah Milton: Riah Milton was a 25 year old Black trans woman and home health aide who attended the University of Cincinnati. Riah was shot and killed during a robbery in Liberty Township, OH. Two people have been arrested and charged with her murder. She and Dominique Fells were murdered within the same 24 hours, a dangerous reminder of how at risk Black trans women are in our nation. The life expectancy for trans women of color in the United States is 35 years old.
- The official GoFundMe made by Riah's family has now completed, but you can donate to an organization that protects Black trans people-- we have an extensive list at the end of this list.
- Petition for justice for Riah.
Rayshard Brooks: On Friday, June 12th, 2020, Atlanta police murdered Rayshard Brooks. They had been called because of a report of a man sleeping in his car in a Wendy’s parking lot. After an altercation, they shot him twice in the back, injuries from which he later died. His family later said that his daughter was excited to see him the next morning for her skating birthday party. Though the video is widely available, you don’t need to see the graphic, sensationalized footage of his death in order to empathize. The officer who shot him was fired and charged with felony murder. The Atlanta Police Chief resigned.
- Petition here.
- More details and updates here.
- GoFundMe here.
Robert Fuller: On Wednesday, June 10, Robert Fuller, a 24-year-old Black man, was found hanging from a tree in Palmdale, CA. His death was ruled a suicide by the Los Angeles County Sherrif’s Department, a determination which received lots of backlash from the community and Fuller’s family, who argue that Fuller was not suicidal. In the wake of recent and historic racist violence against Black men across the country, Fuller’s family, other members of the Palmdale community, and activists across the nation are calling for an independent autopsy. Officials from the city of Palmdale have supported the community (and more vocal protestors who have been demonstrating outside of Palmdale City Hall) in their demands. On Monday, June 15 the Sheriff's Department held a press conference in which they maintained their conclusion that Fuller’s death was a suicide (which came from their autopsy report) but alluded that further investigation may lead to a different outcome.
The public outcry against Robert Fuller’s death also drew attention to the death of Malcolm Harsch, a 38-year-old Black man whose body was found in a tree on May 31 in Victorville, CA, roughly 45 miles away from Palmdale. The similarity of the two cases drew suspicion and furthered both respective calls for justice.
- To read: this column from the LA Times.
- Petition here.
- GoFundMe here.
Justice for Breonna Taylor
This week, we saw the police who murdered George Floyd as well as Rayshard Brooks be charged with murder. We're still waiting for Breonna Taylor's killers to be charged. Here's how to take action:
Script: Hello, my name is [your name], and I’m contacting your office with regards to the murder of Breonna Taylor. I am demanding that you immediately arrest and charge Brett Hankison, Jonathan Mattingly, and Myles Cosgrove. We cannot continue to allow police to act with impunity, as they violently brutalize our Black siblings/us. Accountability is essential, and I want to remind you that the entire nation is calling on you to act and get justice for Breonna and her family. Thank you.
Gov. Andy Beshear: (502) 564-2611
Mayor Greg Fischer: (844)-298-2731
Sen. Rand Paul: (202)-224-4343 / (270)-782-8303
DA Tom Wine: (502) 595-2300
AG Daniel Cameron: 502-696-5300
When emailing, we advise paraphrasing the above script or writing a couple sentences on your own in case they are filtering forms like this one.
Daniel Cameron: https://ag.ky.gov/Contact-Us/Pages/default.aspx
Andy Beshear: https://governor.ky.gov/contact/contact-us
End the War on Children March Toolkit
We were proud to be a partner for the End the War on Children March, a youth-led action on Juneteenth organized by The Gathering for Justice.
If you couldn't make it (or even if you did), we’ve put together a toolkit with actions addressing each of the march’s demands. It's similar to our toolkit from last week with Coalition Z in that it's like a self-guided phonebank/action list.
1. DEMAND 1: Defunding the NYPD: cut $1 billion from the NYPD budget and redirect funds into safety nets and key needs for Black & Brown communities.
2. DEMAND 2: Police Free Schools: The City of New York and The Department of Education MUST cut all ties between the NYPD and New York City public schools. We demand the immediate removal of police and an end to routine police practices in New York City schools.
3. DEMAND 3: Investing in education: “New York State MUST adequately fund public schools by allocating the $4.1 billion dollars in Foundation Aid indebted to New York Public School students. The Department of Education should prioritize both physical and psychological safety by increasing access to counselors, social workers, nurses, and psychologists. As well as employing effective disciplinary policies that center restorative justice practices.”
TOolkit for Protecting Black Trans Lives:
We’ve adapted this section from this resource doc: Actions for Solidarity: #BlackTransLivesMatter. We have adapted some scripts and info for more of a step-by-step. Please check the full version out if you want more details!!
Some context--The current moment is a contentious one for overarching federal protections/regulations regarding gay and transgender individuals:
Some GoFundMes for Black trans lives lost this year: Nina Pop, Monika Diamond, Tony McDade, Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, TeTe Gulley, and Riah Milton.
JUSTICE FOR LAYLEEN POLANCO
Layleen Polanco was an Afrolatinx trans woman found dead in solitary confinement at Rikers’ Island last year. Last week, the NYC DOI concluded that staff members there were not responsible for her death. Here are some brief actions, via the Anti-Violence Project:
ORGS TO DONATE TO & SUPPORT
If you have the means, donate to one or more of these amazing organizations, which are laid out by topic. Otherwise, uplift their voices on social media and in your everyday life.
If you would prefer to make a mass donation to a variety of orgs: Split donations page to donate to support Black trans futures
Police Violence and Incarceration
Training Black trans women to be community leaders
Economic and Housing Stability
Intimate Partner Violence
**And, last but not least, voting** (ACTIONS, NOT JUST DONATIONS): this is part of how we fight systemic efforts by federal and state governments to strip the rights of trans individuals. Local elections are particularly important.
We're sending you lots of love and light!
Peace, power, and solidarity,
These lists include featured organizations, scripts, numbers, news updates and inspirational activists.