Several Ferguson, Missouri officials have now resigned after the release of a scathing Department of Justice (DOJ) report on that city’s police department that documented a widespread pattern of racial discrimination. What is now needed is implementation of criminal justice reforms not only within Ferguson but also nationwide.
I spend much of my Amnesty International time working on Iran, but I just had to go to Selma, Alabama for the 50th anniversary commemoration of “Bloody Sunday” March 7, 1965—the day that about 600 peaceful African-American protesters attempting to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in their campaign for voting rights were attacked and brutalized by state troopers and others.
I was privileged to be part of an Amnesty International delegation to the Selma Jubilee, headed by Executive Director Steve Hawkins, and including about 50 activists and staff from the Chicago area, St. Louis, Atlanta, New York and DC. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
This post was originally published on Ebony.
I’m riding with folks from St. Louis on a nine hour trip to Selma. A fellow activist, Tiffany, asks the group, “When did you realize you were Black?”I thought about that question and imagined how different this ride would have been in 1965. The fear of being pulled over by a police officer on a back road and beaten to death while being called “boy,” “monkey” or “nigger.”
We are still dealing with the fear of interacting with police today. Black people are being targeted by law enforcement at an alarming rate and a “routine” traffic stop can still become a death sentence. “This ain’t no walk in the park,” fellow St. Louis native, activist, and comedian Dick Gregory tells me as we stand in the warm sun waiting for President Obama’s arrival.
The U.S. surveillance machine is thwarting Amnesty International USA’s ability to protect people from human rights violations: including governments that torture, kidnap and extrajudiciallly kill people for their non-violent protest, dissent and activism.
That’s why Amnesty International USA is in court today, represented by the ACLU–because in a world under threat of constant, all-encompassing surveillance, our work to protect human rights is made much harder.
On Monday, February 23, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry appointed Randy Berry as the first ever Special Envoy for the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Persons worldwide. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
There’s a superstitious part of me, and a worried part of me. And both parts of me fear this Saturday: it marks thirteen years since Shaker Aamer was airlifted to Guantanamo.
My fear is that in Congress, the fear-mongers who are seemingly relentless in their drive to keep Guantanamo open forever—and to keep Shaker Aamer in detention without charge until he dies. They are encouraging public panic and anxiety over the prospect that anyone at Guantanamo might either go free or face a fair trial.
By Noor Mir, Field Organizer for Amnesty International USA
This Valentine’s Day, survivors of torture and other ill-treatment, from Jeddah to Chicago, will not be celebrating.
You can make a difference right this minute. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
In the early morning of November 2, 1983, Darrell Cannon was taken from his home by a battery of now notorious white Chicago police detectives to a remote area on the far southside of Chicago where he was interrogated about the murder of a drug dealer… When Cannon persisted in denials, the detectives forced him into the back seat of their car, pulled down his pants, and repeatedly shocked him on his genitals with an electric cattle prod.
The physical and mental scars that the victims like Darrell Cannon carry will never be healed, but with this reparations ordinance, at least they will finally begin the path to closure. Instead, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and several other Chicago Alderpeople will not support the reparations efforts.
As the death penalty declines across the US, a small number of states are taking drastic measures to keep their death chambers active.
In light of last year’s three gruesomely botched executions, Ohio and Oklahoma (responsible for two of them) are taking the precaution of putting executions on hold. But that’s a little too cautious for Utah and Virginia, two states that appear willing to do just about anything to continue executions.
“As far as I’m concerned every last one of them can rot in Hell, but as long as they don’t do that they can rot in Guantanamo Bay.” – U.S. Senator Tom Cotton
I don’t know if it was just me, or if it was everyone, but the room seemed oddly quiet after Senator Cotton said these 28 words at today’s Senate hearing on Guantanamo. Behind me were dozens of high school students, there for some kind of civics lesson. In front of me were protestors in orange jumpsuits, seated and rapt. For the moment, we were all quiet.