Category Archives: Civil Rights Activists

Cambodian Activist Wants To Help Homeland From California After Release

Meach Sovannara’s life isn’t easy. It never has been. Cambodian residents who speak out against the government and other political dissidents can expect swift action if their words are heard by enough people. It happened to Sovannara in 2003 when he and his family had their lives threatened as a result of such protests. They made it safely to Long Beach.

That didn’t stop him from continuing the good fight.

In 2014 he was arrested for giving a speech as spokesman of the Cambodia National Rescue Party.

In 2015 he spoke at a protest alongside countless other demonstrators who were upset with their government. He was taken by the police. He was given a twenty year sentence for his part in the protest, to be served inside Prey Sar. It didn’t stop him. He wrote an article elaborating on his own thoughts about the government, then smuggled it out of prison. It was subsequently posted on Facebook where it made the rounds. His time inside only got worse once his overseers found out but by that point the damage was done and there was nothing they could do to stop it.

Jamie Meach, his loving wife, demonstrated for his release ever since the 2015 incarceration. She tried the legal route with lawsuits. She made personal appeals to Cambodian officials. She expected nothing to work, but something did. He was released from prison earlier this year, but he made it clear that we shouldn’t expect that to be the end of it.

It’s clear that Sovannara probably won’t be able to safely return to Cambodia, but whether he does or not won’t change the fact that he’ll continue to protest political corruption in Cambodia from his new home in Long Beach. After all, we live in an age that makes publication and dissemination of alternative views easier than ever. He plans to be active on social media when possible.

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Learning About The Women’s March Leadership Team

On January 21st, 2017, approximately one year after Donald Trump was inaugurated into office, roughly 440,000 women in the United States and over 5 million worldwide participated in the Women’s March on Washington. Considered the largest single-day protest in United States history, the protest was to advocate for women’s rights as well as immigration reform, health care reform, reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, and racial equality.

Tamika D. Mallory, Co-President 

Referred to as “a leader of tomorrow” by Valerie B. Jarrett (Senior Advisor to Barack Obama), Tamika is a social activist who advocates for civil rights, equal rights for women, gun violence and police misconduct. She also created the gun violence prevention program NYC Crisis Management System which provides funding for community-based efforts to stop gun violence in NYC.

Bob Bland, Co-President

Not a stranger to changing the paradigm, Bob’s mission since 2012 was changing the fashion industry. Creating Manufacture New York (MNY), the company’s goal was to create a sustainable and ethical supply chain for apparel and textile production.

Carmen Perez, Board Member 

For over 20 years, Carmen has been advocating for such things as civil rights, mass incarceration, gender equality, violence prevention, and community policy. She is most known for her work inside juvenile detention centers where she provides spiritual, cultural and educational events. Her efforts have led to legislative reform and alternatives to incarceration.

Linda Sarsour, Board Member 

Not afraid to fight for what she believes in, Linda, who was born in Brooklyn by Palestinian-American parents, successfully advocated closing NYC public schools on two important Muslim holy days: Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. She has led over 100 marches through 5 states. She also delivered a speech on the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March.

This is by all means not a complete list. To see all of the board members visit their website here: https://www.womensmarch.com/team/

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3 Activists You Should Be Following on Social Media

Activism has become more of a social media pursuit than a media-in-the-streets operation.

Hashtags and slogans will play a role in uniting people around the world in favor of a particular cause. It gives many a sense of belonging to something bigger than them, and there comes with it a belief that more and more voices on social media will be loud enough to generate change.

Some of that comes true, like the recent #MeToo movement about sexual harassment, which has led to changes in Hollywood and in the political arena, as serial sexual harassers are being brought out into the light in the hopes of cleaning up the environments in which they lived.

If you are someone who wants to activate against some injustice in your community and you are looking for an inspiration to help steel yourself for the battle and find worthy causes on social media, here are three Los Angeles-based activists that you really should follow on social media, if you’re not already.

  1. Feminism and Women’s Rights: Liz Plank

Going by the Twitter handle @feministabulous, Liz Plank works as a senior producer and political reporter at Vox.com, a popular left-wing media and blog site. She posts often about feminism and women’s rights issues, especially as they intersect in politics.

  1. Race, Environment and Social Justice: Aura Bogado

An outspoken writer who advocates for Native American rights as well as other immigration and social-justice topics, @aurabogado is an investigative reporter at Reveal, and also has written articles for left-leaning publication The Nation.

  1. Transgender Rights, Gender and Race: Kathryn Black

@kat_blaque has gained quite a following as a transgender activist who speaks her mind based on her unique perspectives about gender, transgenderism and race. She has a provocative approach and provides some personal experiences to help make her points.

Whether you want to get behind the #MeToo movement, support transgender or women’s’ rights, or stand up for any type of social justice issue, you can always follow any one of these three personalities or a number of others who have risen in L.A. in recent years and can inspire and motivate you to action in support of a cause which you deem worthy enough to put skin in the game.

Activism is about caring, is about having a passion for something bigger than you, and doing your part of create and inspire change. For a world that seems to like the status quo and “routine,” advocating for change is revolutionary, rebellious, and … let’s face it, sometimes something that needed to wake us out of our spell.  Activism is the un-routine.    

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Our Modern Day Black Activists

It’s February which means three things: Valentine’s Day, Presidents’ Day and the thing that we are the most excited about Black History Month. There have been amazing and life-altering activists that are important to understand and learn. People like Martin Luther King Jr, Harriet Tubman, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, Frederick Douglas, just to name a few. But why is no one celebrating the black activists that are fighting for black rights currently?

NOTE: We are not using the term African American because not all black people are from Africa. We fight for the rights for anyone who has felt prejudice or racism for the color of their skin whether they come from Africa, the West Indes or other areas in the Caribbean. 

We’ve put together this list of people who are attempting to make a difference in our country right now and who will one day hopefully be celebrated during Black History Month.

BRYAN STEVENSON

Putting his degree from Harvard Law School to good use, Stevenson founded and now serves as the executive director for the Equal Justice Initiative. He has many goals as a black activist but the most prominent being how the criminal justice system is biased towards the poor and minorities. Some of his accomplishments include handling court cases especially those who are faced with the death penalty and advocating for them. He also handles juvenile criminal cases (criminal cases for those under 18 years old) and advocates for them to not be given death penalty or life imprisonment without parole. The EJL’s goals include ending mass incarceration, excessive punishments and bringing to life the racial disparities in how the criminal courts treat minorities.

MICHELLE ALEXANDER

Back in 2010, Michelle released her book The New Jim Crow which also challenged the mass incarceration of the black community in the United States. She points out that even though the Jim Crow Laws (separate but equal) are no longer a thing, most of the black community lives their life behind bars stripped of their fundamental civil rights that the previous black activists we mentioned fought so hard for. Currently, she works for the ACLU and continues to shed light on how our criminal justice system is biased towards people of color.

MELANIE CAMPBELL

Although she has been a black rights activist for over 20 years, she’s still going strong. Her current efforts are running the Black Women’s Roundtable which provides black women with knowledge, skills, and resources that they need to help face the social issues that are happening in their community. These rounds tables help break down public policy, provide leadership training and contact civic education to empower black women. During her spare time, she works with the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation to help young black voters registaer to vote as wel las encourage them and prevent voter surpression.

As you can see, black activism is still alive and present in our country today. So although Black History Month is important to show how far we’ve come, the reality of the situation is that we still have far to go in order to be fully equal.

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The Silent Asian American Struggle

Sometimes as a white person, the idea of white privilege doesn’t necessarily hit us as hard as we might think. This is not to say we are ignorant of the concept of white privilege or that we believe that racism against minorities is some sort of myth. However, some of the aspects of racism are subtle enough to elude us. Sometimes all it takes is for us to perceive people in certain ways in order for them to conform to those notions as an entire ethnic group – and thus, a new form of racism may be born.

According to a statistic gathered by Clio Chang, 73 percent of the adult Asian American population in the United States was born in another country. First of all, a startling statistic in itself when you consider that, as of 2010, the Asian American population in the United States was over 17 million and has peaked over 20 million as of 2015, according to Pew Research. But, after that, consider the historical significance of the Asian American population. Historically speaking, Asian Americans seem to have one of the quieter backgrounds. African Americans had loud outcries of historical significance during the likes of the American Civil War and in the 1960’s during the fight for civil liberties. Hispanic minorities have had a tumultuous run in recent years, particularly regarding immigration policy and all the racism that has very likely stemmed out of that. Even the Muslim population has faced bitter persecution in the form of flagrant accusations regarding terrorist attacks and this persecution has recently been renewed with vigor in the Trump presidential era in the form of travel bans.

But when we consider the historical struggle of Asian Americans, the history doesn’t seem nearly as turbulent. Yes, there were the internment camps during World War II, where Japanese Americans were rounded up for the sake of “American protection” or whatever the propaganda may have said at that time to justify it. But the history books trail off after that. Is it because Asian Americans had an easier time in the post-World War II era than other minorities? And if so, what did they do differently to avoid our wrath as the racial majority? There was obviously a massive influx of Asian immigrants in this time period if 73 percent of the Asian American population weren’t even born here.

Consider the stereotypes that Asian Americans might carry with them. We’ve all heard the jokes regarding mathematics and music. Clio Chang alludes to the perception of a hard-working people who are known almost predominantly for keeping their heads down. But is this by accident? Chang’s research also uncovered remnants of a newspaper called Gidra that covered extensively the goings-on during the Vietnam War (which also make mention of one or two ugly displays on the part of whites) and the need for the Asian American population to stand up in some form of solidarity.

The fact is that Chang stumbled onto something rather fascinating; there haven’t been many political or social activists of Asian descent in American history. A phenomenon that Andrew Sullivan ironically explains rather well while commenting on airline victim, Dr. David Dao.

Today, Asian Americans are among the most prosperous, well-educated, and successful ethnic groups in America. What gives? It couldn’t possibly be that they maintained solid two-parent family structures, had social networks that looked after one another, placed enormous emphasis on education and hard work, and thereby turned false, negative stereotypes into true, positive ones, could it?”

While many of these points may or may not be true, it also brings to light America’s indirect influence upon the Asian American people. And Chang suspects that creating such an identity may have had a long-lasting impact with negative implications that could affect the history and ability to affect history on the Asian American population. It emphasizes a community that, courtesy of an apparent need to appeal to the racial majority, has been threatened to lose its own identity and ability to speak out regarding issues that are pertinent to itself. And while it may have had a voice at some point in time (the Gidra newspaper, for example), the voice has become so silenced historically that those who would benefit from hearing it might, as Chang so eloquently says, “not even remember they existed at all.”

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The Biggest Civil Rights Cases In The United States

Many of the rights that we have today were won through the courts. A number of major civil rights gains happened because of court decisions. Below, you’ll find information on some of the biggest civil rights cases in the United States, which have had a lasting influence on every city in the country, from Palm Beach to Seattle.

Brown vs. The Board of Education

In 1896, the Supreme Court ruled that segregation was legal in the controversial Plessy vs. Ferguson ruling. That ruling was overturned in 1954. The Supreme Court ruled that it was illegal to segregate public schools.

At the time, many schools in the United States were heavily segregated. Because of this decision, many students had to change schools. It was difficult for many students to attend the schools they were assigned to; in spite of the court’s decision, protestors fought back against black students attending traditionally white schools. However, civil rights workers worked to ensure that students were able to get the education that they were entitled to.

Shelley vs. Kraemer

In the 1940s, it was difficult for many minorities to purchase or rent property. Many people were turned down when they put in an offer on a home or applied to rent an apartment. In 1948, the Shelley vs. Kraemer case declared that it was illegal to enforce covenants that kept people of a certain race from renting or owning property.

This effects of this decision were limited; the Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc. vs. The United States case in 1964 argued that hotel owners should be able to choose their tenants. However, the court determined that hotels did not have the right to restrict guests based on race.

Loving vs. Virginia

Interracial marriage was legal in parts of the United States for a long time. While interracial relationships still existed, a number of these relationships were conducted in secrecy.

After the Supreme Court heard the Loving vs. Virginia case in 1967, prohibitions against interracial marriage were declared to be unconstitutional. At the time, there were still 16 states that had laws against interracial marriage on the books, including Virginia. Thanks to this decision, those states had to revise their laws.

Many people fought hard for the rights that we have today. Civil rights are something that a number of people take for granted. It’s important to familiarize yourself with some of the biggest civil rights cases in United States history. Looking at the decisions of the past can help us to fight for a better future.

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Civil Rights Activism In Los Angeles

Los Angeles has always been a center of civil rights activism. From the Watts riots, to Rodney King, to Black Lives Matter, Los Angeles is a great place to be if you are interested in civil rights. Lost Angeles has a large black population and many black residents feel left out of the prosperity that they see all around them.

This feeling of being left out leads to many sorts of social problems and the pockets of lower income black neighborhoods have often fallen into disrepair and the unemployment rate is often high in these neighborhoods as well. There is often a lot of unrest and unhappiness in these neighborhoods.

There is institutional racism as well. The police are often antagonistic towards members of the black community and members of the community feel oppressed. Civil rights leaders in Los Angeles are helping to right the wrongs in the black community and hold police and government accountable to the problems that are happening in Los Angeles.

People are dying and they don’t need to be. The Watts riots started to bring the nation’s attention to the problems that were happening in the black community. The issue really exploded during the Rodney King riots. The Rodney King riots showed how deeply divided the police and the black community were. The entire nation could see it.

The Rodney King riots caused over a billion dollars worth of property damage and over 60 people were killed during the riots. The riots brought lots of positive changes to Los Angeles Police Department and the police made lots of reforms to the department. Civil rights leaders are working hard to bring change to Los Angeles and help people in disadvantaged communities rise up so they can move up the economic ladder.

Civil rights leaders in Los Angeles are constantly lobbying for change and coming up with innovative programs to help the black community in many ways. Leaders are coming up with educational programs, outreach programs that connect people in the black community to medical and legal help, and programs to help members of the black community own their own homes.

There are plenty of legal programs that are designed to help incarcerated black youth challenge their legal issues and help them with rehabilitation when they get out of prison. Los Angeles has plenty of civil rights leaders that are helping their community in many ways.

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All About Lucretia Mott

In this article, we will discuss the life of the woman named Lucretia Mott. Born in the year of 1793, Lucretia was an American Quaker, as well as a women’s rights activist and abolitionist.

Born Lucretia Coffin in Nantucket, Massachusetts, Lucretia was believed (as did the majority of Quakers) that slavery was evil. Because of this belief, she abstained from items that were produced by slaves. In the year of 1821, Lucretia Mott became a Quaker minister, and in her sermons, she frequently mentioned her belief in abolishing slavery. In fact, the American Anti-Slavery Society was formed in part by herself and her husband, James Mott.

Lucretia Mott was known for budgeting for her household in such a way that hospitality could be extended to guests that included fugitive slaves. As an active abolitionist, she and other activists that were female would raise funding and awareness through the use of anti-slavery fairs.

Not only did Lucretia Mott fight for the rights of enslaved individuals, she fought for the rights of women. The activists for women’s rights that included herself advocated a plethora of issues such as women’s rights to their earnings, their property, and even their rights toward equality in the marriage arrangement. During the time that Lucretia Mott lived in, divorce for any reason was very unusual. And if a divorce was granted, the father was nearly always granted custody of any children the marriage had produced. This was something that women’s rights activists fought to change.

Lucretia Mott was a pacifist, which means that she believed in peace without the use of violence. One of the issues that she was passionate about was ending war and violence. In the year of 1866, the Universal Peace Union was formed and Lucretia Mott had a strong part to play within this organization.

Lucretia Mott and her husband’s work influenced her children’s lives. The surviving five grew up to follow in the path of their parents when it came to reform movements and anti-slavery sentiments. After a long and fruitful life, Lucretia Mott died of pneumonia in her Pennsylvania home in the year of 1880. She left this world with a reputation that stretched far and wide as being the greatest American woman who lived in the nineteenth century. Lucretia Mott was truly a remarkable woman who faced many battles with the society in which she lived. We can all certainly learn a lot from the works of this remarkable woman.

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Famous LGBT Activists

The LGBT community has long been working on its image and what it can do to promote the rights of everyone.

This is something they have spoken of every step of the way whether it is as press conferences, events, parades, or any other location. This is the power of a good activist and what they can bring to the table for a group of people. So, who are the leaders in the LGBT community who are well-regarded for all that they have done?

There are a few of them and here are the ones you are going to hear about.

1) Laverne Cox

Yes, the famous transwoman who has become renowned for her work in “Orange is the New Black” continues to stamp her foot down on those who don’t fight for her people.

She is well-regarded for her work and is often seen speaking at large events.

She is often seen talking about key events in the community and what everyone should stand for as the world progress.

3) Dan Savage

It was a few years ago when Dan Savage and his husband decided it was time to help the youth who were going through with living in a society that wasn’t welcoming.

The project is called “It Gets Better” and revolves on spreading the word to the youth that society will get better and is getting better with time. This has helped thousands of children who are coping with things they find difficult to discuss.

These are the main LGBT activists who have gone a long way in promoting their image and helping people out who are in this situation. They are spreading the word about the rights of those who are in the LGBT community. Without these activists, it wouldn’t have been like it is right now whether it has to do with legal rights or general rights.

These LGBT activists are people who have put in the effort for those who need it the most and continue to do so to this day.

2) George Takei

The famous Star Trek actor has revealed himself as a gay man and often talks about the rights of the LGBT community.

In fact, his social media accounts are seen promoting positive content, and he loves spreading the message. In his eyes, the platform that has been afforded to him is a great way to spread the world and help people understand the plights of those in the LGBT community. You can watch a video of him speaking at USF Tampa below:

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Who Was Nelson Mandela?

Nelson Mandela has many different claims to fame. Most notably, he was a struggle icon and revolutionary against apartheid that plagued the Republic of South Africa for many years. He studied and practiced law before and during his years as a political activist.

As a result, he served 27 years in prison for acts of treason that he entered into primarily as the leader of the ANC (African National Congress) which at the time was a national liberation movement and has since become the ruling political party in South Africa. His sentence was later declared wrongful incarceration. 18 years of his incarceration were spent on Robben Island where he continued his education.

After this he was sent to Paulsmoor Prison with a number of his struggle comrades from where the process of negotiating peace and the end of apartheid began. He would complete his sentence under house arrest while continuing his efforts to attain equal rights for all citizens of South Africa.

This not only resulted in the abolition of the repressive apartheid structure but also awarded him the Nobel Peace Prize in conjunction with then President FW De Klerk who negotiated the peace process with Mr. Mandela.

After the first free elections in 1994, Mandela was voted in as President of the country for 5 years at the age of 84 years. During this time, he implemented many reforms to the government until he stepped down in 1999.

But his work as a human rights activist did not stop there except that his focus changed mainly in the direction of promoting the value of education. He was a philanthropist who started many of his own charities to promote education as well as health care for children and the poverty stricken, previously disadvantaged population of South Africa and those around the world.

He is also the only person who has had a day dedicated to his efforts to promote peace and reconciliation, gender and race equality, protection of human rights and much more. His birthday, 18 July was declared International Nelson Mandela day in 2009 by the UN Assembly. Every year on this day, people around the world are asked to find ways in which they can positively impact their own communities.

The import of the day was also extended to include the promotion of humane treatment of prisoners across the world as part of the UN resolution through the revision of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.

Nelson Mandela passed away on the 5th of December 2005 and will be dearly remembered for all his work by people across the world.

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