Petition to St. Louis Mayor: Protect protesters, investigate cops.

[CONTENT NOTE: white supremacy, racist police violence (no images).]

Please sign and signal boost if you are willing and able. Thank you.

via Color of Change:

Police are out of control in St. Louis, and the Mayor has done nothing to stop them. Over the weekend of protests following the not-guilty verdict absolving Jason Stockley of accountability in the killing of Anthony Lamar Smith, police have taunted protesters saying Ferguson-era chants like “Whose streets? Our streets?”1–in the same manner of neo-nazi terrorists in Charlottesville2–and police even trampled over an older woman and pepper-sprayed the people who tried to help her.3

Mayor Lyda Krewson still has not condemned the rampant excessive force police are using to suppress the peaceful protesters she claims to support. After the verdict came down, Krewson was quick to express her disappointment and also made a statement in support of the peaceful protest.4 And today she said internal affairs division of the St. Louis police would investigate misconduct. But we know we can’t rely on the police to investigate themselves. We need Krewson to take REAL action to protect protesters. That’s why we’re calling on her to widely condemn any use of excessive force against protesters and call an independent commission to investigate the actions of police during this time. She won’t have a choice if enough of us join together in making the demand. Will you sign the petition?

Tell the St. Louis Mayor: Take a stand against police violence. Protect the right to protest in your city.

This weekend’s events are history repeating itself again and again since the dawn of the Civil Rights Movement. When Black people gather to demand an end to state violence, the state doubles down on the violence people were there to protest in the first place. We saw the St. Louis Police Department’s militarized response to protest in Ferguson in 2014, and we’re seeing it again today. St. Louis police department has one of the highest rates of police-involved killings.5 And instead of encouraging peaceful protest, St, Louis police invoked fear and provoked the confrontation. Using tear gas and riot gear, the police in St. Louis have arrested over 100 people since Friday that the police chief called “criminals.”6

In fact, the St. Louis Police Department has been overstating the supposed crime and vandalism to excuse their overly aggressive actions against mostly peaceful protests. Just yesterday, the police department tweeted a picture of a spray bottle filled with apple cider vinegar–a remedy protesters use to alleviate the symptoms of tear gas–and called it a “chemical agent” they confiscated from people trying to use it “against police officers.”7 The truth is that St. Louis police agitated protesters, and none of their actions were centered in de-escalation. They came dressed for a riot. And it’s what they got. Taunting at protesters is not how police officers should be engaging during this time.

It’s unacceptable. Mayor Krewson has said she wants to come together as a united St. Louis–and that means speaking out against behavior that seeks to divide us and push back against the change our communities need. Protest is a right that should be protected. And the actions of St. Louis police need to be investigated by an independent commission immediately.

Sign the petition.

Until justice is real,

— Arisha, Rashad, Scott, Clarise, Anay, Malaya, Enchanta, Katrese, and the Color Of Change team

References:

1. “St. Louis officers chant ‘whose streets, our streets’ while arresting protesters,” Washington Post, 09-18-2017

2. “A new generation of white supremacists emerges,” Louisiana Weekly, 08-21-17

3. “St. Louis cops trample, arrest woman at protest,” New York Post, 09-16-2017

4. “Mayor Krewson’s statement on verdict,” Twitter @LydaKrewson, 09-15-2017

5. “Letter to Mayor Krewson re: Police Conduct at Sunday Night Protest,” ACLU of Missouri, 09-18-2017

6. “St. Louis protests continue, police arrest more than 100 people and vow: ‘This is our city,'” Washington Post, 09-18-2017

7. “St. Louis Police Claim an ‘Unknown Chemical’ Labeled ‘Apple Cider Vinegar’ Maliciously Used Against Them,” The Root, 09-19-2017

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Color Of Change is building a movement to elevate the voices of Black folks and our allies, and win real social and political change. Help keep our movement strong.

Squirrel rescuers: the worst of the worst.

[CONTENT NOTE: disgusting images of baby squirrels, descriptions of wildly inappropriate human-squirrel interactions.]

Goddammit.

Twenty years working wildlife rehab, and Kevin Barton has seen it all. Or he thought he had. At least until Hurricane Irma tore through Florida this week. It wasn’t the variety of species that grabbed his attention. It was the volume. Of utterly common critters, like bunnies and squirrels. Mainly squirrels.

By midweek, the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center of Venice had accepted 140 baby squirrels, from week-old hairless “pinkies” to unweaned juveniles.

ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY FUCKING SQUIRRELS. Yes, that’s what people rebuilding their lives from Irma’s devastation in Florida really need right now… more squirrels.

%$#@*&!

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Multiple squirrel attacks reported in New Orleans. UPDATED.

UPDATED BELOW.

[CONTENT NOTE: vicious squirrel violence.]

This is no way to start my morning. In a terrifying echo of July’s assaults in Brooklyn, residents of New Orleans are suffering unprovoked attacks by the enemy rodent menace:

Squirrels attack Lake Vista residents in at least 4 incidents

NEW ORLEANS – In the Lake Vista neighborhood of New Orleans, neighbors live along lush, tree-lined lanes in harmony with nature.

But, this week nature attacked.

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I approve this message.

Today is primary day in NYC, and in a happy turn of fate, my polling place happens to be the amazing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center on 13th Street. As soon as I exited after voting, I spotted one of those big package drop boxes plastered with a graffiti tag and a big blue sticker with white block lettering:

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Petition to Las Vegas PD: Release the video.

[CONTENT NOTE: white supremacy, racist police violence.]

Full disclosure: I have no idea who Michael Bennett is. I loathe men’s sportsball with the burning intensity of ten thousand suns. This campaign is the only reason I know that Bennett is a black man—but of course that is the only thing that matters to far too many police officers in this country. Please consider signing this petition, and signal boosting. Thank you.

via Color of Change:

bennetCampaign created by
Patrisse Cullors-Brignac, Black Lives Matter Global Network

Release the names of the officers and footage from the police assault on NFL player Michael Bennett on Saturday, August 26, 2017.

Why is this important?

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Excellent news.

I just heard Florida governor Rick Scott say – TWICE in a brief live interview – that the single most important thing the state needs right now is everyone’s thoughts and prayers.

excellent-news-the-first-truckload-of-your-thoughts-and-prayers-has-just-arrived

Right now I am sick with worry about my friends in Florida, including one in the Panama City area, and my oldest, dearest friend sheltering in the home of a couple he knows in Pinellas County, 20 miles inland from his house on the Gulf Coast. Both of my friends are nonbelievers. I’m sure they take great comfort in knowing the state government has its priorities straight.

I can’t even.

Medical misogyny.

[CONTENT NOTE: misogyny, torture, extreme hostility to pregnant people.]

Rewire has a new piece by Amy Littlefield that details the unconscionable withholding of medical care from patients in Catholic hospitals.

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Disciplining Luther.

resort1Paradise.
While it lasted…

Sometimes I can’t even believe my life. While everyone else was very busy fighting Nazis (?!#%*&@?!), I was busy vacationing luxuriously in the Caribbean, blessedly unaware of the stateside shitshow. And by “in the Caribbean” I mean literally in the Caribbean, alternately swimming, snorkeling and floating effortlessly in impossibly warm and clear waters for hours on end. We are enthusiastic snorkelers, my lover and I, and we had finally fulfilled a long-ago promise and purchased our own fins and masks for the trip. (Did you know you can get swim goggles with corrective lenses? TRUE FACT.)

A natural coral jetty divided the resort’s two sandy coves, and there were spectacular reefs very close to shore. It felt like a dream, really, and everything was going so wonderfully…

Until that little fucker Luther showed up.

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Petition: Tell ABC and Tom Llamas to apologize.

[CONTENT NOTE: Anti-black media reporting, anti-black violence.]

via Color of Change (email):

Dear Iris,

He called the police on them for trying to get food.

ABC News anchor, Tom Llamas, in Houston to report on Hurricane Harvey, spotted Texans who had recently lost everything entering a grocery store. Instead of reporting on the desperate circumstances with compassion, he actually diverted first responder resources that could be used to save stranded families–and called the police.1

That’s right. Houstonians desperately searching for uncontaminated food and water in order to survive were not only shamed and blasted on social media, but confronted with police as they fought for their lives.

And when we asked Tom Llamas to apologize for his biased and possibly dangerous treatment of Hurricane Harvey victims; instead of owning up to it, he blocked us on Twitter.

Tell ABC News and Tom Llamas to issue an apology now!

Tom Llamas didn’t only wrongfully criminalize disaster victims– he put them in harm’s way. Local authorities recently announced that anyone found “looting” will be faced with mandatory jail time.2 And the District Attorney has escalated burglary charges all the way up to life imprisonment–of course this disproportionately affects poor and Black people who may not have had the money to purchase goods in advance, and will be on the hunt for clean water and food.3

In times of emergency and natural disaster, television news is often the only way that bystanders can ascertain what’s happening. News media has the sacred duty of framing tragedies in an honest, unbiased, and compassionate manner. Unfortunately, we saw this same dishonest and biased reporting during Hurricane Katrina, when thousands of Black families were shamed and criminalized as “looters” while trying to feed their families. Meanwhile, white families were simply characterized as searching for food. And and we know that media representations can have a profoundly negative impact on the ways that people in positions of power and privilege interact with Black people. Research has shown that negative media portrayals can engender antagonism toward people of color and lead to higher tolerance for race-based societal disparities.

Tell ABC News, Tom Llamas to apologize now!

The victims of Hurricane Harvey need compassionate and unbiased reporting in the wake of this horrific natural disaster–not criminalization and unnecessary police intervention. It’s time for Tom Llamas and ABC to stop running and apologize.

Sign the petition.

Until justice is real,

— Brandi, Arisha, Rashad, Anika, Jade, Evan, Corina, the rest of the Color Of Change team

References:

  1. “ABC News reporter covering Hurricane Harvey gets slammed online after reporting alleged looters to police.” Business Insider, 28 August 2017. http://act.colorofchange.org/go/8690?t=9&akid=7843%2E2505660%2Eyv_d6J
  2. “In Houston, Authorities Are Toughening Penalties As Warning To Would-Be Looters.” NPR, August 2017. http://act.colorofchange.org/go/8691?t=11&akid=7843%2E2505660%2Eyv_d6J
  3. “Race and class are the biggest issues around Hurricane Harvey.” The Root, 31 August 2017. http://act.colorofchange.org/go/8692?t=13&akid=7843%2E2505660%2Eyv_d6J

Color Of Change is building a movement to elevate the voices of Black folks and our allies, and win real social and political change. Help keep our movement strong.

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If you want to know why this is so urgent and important, here’s why [h/t Alyssa Gonzalez]:

Armed Fascists Are Roaming Texas Floods Looking For Looters

Armed right-wing paramilitary groups are patrolling parts of Texas affected by Hurricane Harvey under the guise of helping hurricane victims.

A group of “Proud Boys” — a men’s rights group with fascist leanings — photographed themselves wading through flooded neighborhoods with assault weapons and flashing a hand signal associated with extremist militia groups. They refer to themselves as an “anti looting patrol.”

Of course they do. And that headline should read: Armed White Men Are Roaming Texas Floods Looking For Black People To Shoot. See, starving white people are not looters by definition. They’re simply “finding food.” Starving black people? Well, not so much.

Ladies and gentlemen, behold the power of YOUR LIBERAL MEDIA.

Sign the petition.

Dances with trolls.

[CONTENT NOTE: casual ableism]

Our troll story today begins as they almost always do: with an unprompted comment on an oooooold post. Behold my Facebook status from November 10, 2016:

irisselfieGLAM

Iris Vander Pluym
November 10, 2016 

JUST TO BE CRYSTAL CLEAR: If you voted for Donald Trump, or you live in a swing state and voted for a third party candidate or declined to vote entirely, UNFRIEND ME. You are now and always will be dead to me.

Now I thought I was being clear and fair. Kind, even, if not particularly nice. I felt that not only was I was doing a service to myself and my own online spaces, but to those who would interact with me, or decide not to. I then went ahead and proactively blocked some people, and apparently I did a pretty good job since only one Trump voter slipped by:

[Former IRL “friend”] Really

Iris Is a dead person trying to communicate with me? No, that cannot be. I don’t believe in ghosts. (Unfriended/blocked)

THE END.

Oh, wait no. NOT the end. Eight months later:

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