Category Archives: Civil Rights Activists

Google Employees Are Fighting Sexual Harassment Non-Disclosure Agreements

The tech industry has been in an uproar for the past year. Remember last year when YouTube employee Claire Stapleton publicly revealed that former Google Executive Andy Rubin had gotten away with numerous claims of sexual misconduct after their board of directors decided to funnel a whopping $90-million into his bank account? Stapleton wasn’t too happy about that — and neither were a number of other Google employees.

Before long they demanded that Google’s board do something to make such cases more transparent. They asked for an end to mandatory arbitration, an involuntary clause included in many companies’ employment contracts. It guarantees that employees with a bone to pick cannot take their complaints to civil court. Arbitration occurs outside court and behind closed doors, and both parties are forced to abide by whatever the outcome.

Not long thereafter, Google showed no sign of having heard these calls for change — so 20,000 workers walked out of the company doors for a short-lived strike. But the implications have been felt all over the world.

And the demands didn’t stop there.

One of the most important side effects of the protests was the demand for Google to put a halt to facial recognition sales, the software for which had been handed over to law enforcement in what some people believe to be a major invasion of private citizens’ privacy. 

Protests like these have also occurred at other big tech companies like Amazon and Microsoft. Apple had allowed access to one of its more controversial apps to those protesting in Hong Kong, and the company CEO Tim Cook was ripped apart for it during a vain effort to defend himself.

Right now, workers at Google aren’t yet unionized — but that could change soon. Protesters within the company are asking the federal government to step into the arbitration fight, and it’s anyone’s guess where that could go. Especially with Trump’s pro-business government still in power. 

Before these back and forth interactions between employers and employees at Google became hostile, both groups believed it was a great place to work. Not only did Google provide their greatest minds space and time to develop on their own, but people were proud of the company’s fondness for taking controversial stances on contemporary issues facing the whole of society.

Today, the mood has shifted a great deal.

According to a Google spokeswoman, “We’ve heard that employees want clearer rules of the road on what’s OK to say and what’s not. Our culture of open discussion has mostly worked well for us, and it’s something we want to preserve as we grow, so we are evolving to make sure our open discussions are still serving their original purpose and bringing us together as a community.”

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Should We Provide Support To Child Activists?

It seems odd to some of us that a question like this need even be asked at all. But the answer to the question generally depends on your own “adult’s” perspective. If your child wants to become a writer, musician or actor, you will generally have one of two responses: “Well, little Jimmy, you have my full support!” OR “Come now, little Jimmy, you need to be more pragmatic in life than that — it’s a desk job for you!”

Apparently, we treat activism the same way.

Greta Thunberg is a 16-year old activist who has amassed an enormous following of like-minded people who share her growing concerns about the fragility of the world’s environments. They’re breaking down, she says, while the adults play adult games involving money and economy, but act without real foresight of the inevitable disasters to come.

Many who don’t believe in man-made climate change have attacked her relentlessly (and by the way, as Neil deGrasse Tyson says, facts are facts whether you believe in them or not). They say she should go back to school and keep her mouth closed. They say that she’s been brainwashed by the “radical” liberal left. They say she’s an idiot. They say older people are exploiting her for political gain.

All nonsense.

She’s smarter than all of them, of course, and she’s consumed more than her fair share of information related to man-made climate change. Those who contend she has lots of good things to say, but that her facts are skewed, are perhaps even more misguided than those who attack her outright — at least the latter group proves that there are few arguments to face her wrath of words. The former group of people is blissfully and willfully ignorant, at best.

How can we ask whether or not we should provide support to child activists? Child support is almost a staple of our society — we would give everything to keep them safe — so why is it a question of whether or not we lend credence to their views or listen to their ideas? They are the future — and that means they have merit whether you like it or not.

It’s difficult to argue that people should not follow their dreams. It seems equally difficult to argue that people shouldn’t follow their hearts. Those who understand the gravity of mankind’s greatest struggle also understand that young people need to be allowed to speak their minds. This is especially true if the next generation is to be at peace with what is happening — at least they tried to stop it, which is more than anyone can say of the current generation of “adults” who deny, deny, deny.

If you haven’t heard of Greta Thunberg, then you owe it to yourself to learn her name. If you haven’t heard her speak, then you owe it to yourself — and the rest of us — to listen to her words.

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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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