Human Rights Activism Opportunities

  • Help Get a Recall of Rape Apologist Judge Aaron Persky on the Ballot in CA via RecallAaronPersky.com

    Here are the facts: Brock Allen Turner beat and sexually assaulted an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. He was caught red handed by not one, but two witnesses. When the two witnesses approached Turner and the victim, Turner ran away and had to be chased down and tackled. A jury unanimously convicted him of three felony counts. Turner will serve six months in prison for his violent crimes - three months, with good behavior. 

    There has never been any doubt in this case that Turner is guilty of sexual assault, but when it came to the justice system, Turner, who had already won the race, class and ability lotteries in his short privileged life, won one more…getting Judge Aaron Persky assigned to his case. 

    With each lax sentence that Persky dolls out, and his callous concerns for the assailant over the victim, he contributes to our rape culture and the honoring of white male privilege across the country. His decisions fuel the fire of other rape apologist judges like himself who somehow do not grasp the severity of Turner’s and other rapists’ horrific crimes. 

    This is why Stanford Law Professor Michele Landis Dauber, interviewed in the Democracy Now! clip featured in Best of the Left Edition #1024, launched a campaign to ensure that a recall of Persky gets on the ballot in California. Recalling Persky won’t just end his judgeship, it will send a clear and strong national message that cases of domestic violence, sexual assault and rape should be judged with the seriousness and gravity they deserve. 

    To recall a judge in California, there is a very specific process that must be followed to the letter. Although the recent Change.org petition with over 500,000 signatures calling for Persky’s recall was an excellent showing of public support and outcry, it’s important to know that it will not help get the recall on the ballot. 

    Dauber has assembled a highly professional group of experienced, A-Team lawyers and other legal advisors, including herself, and a steering committee has already been formed. They are committed to running this effort by the book, dotting every ‘i’ and crossing every ’t’, but this will be a time-consuming and expensive process.

    You can help by volunteering, donating, or signing up for updates related to the recall campaign by visiting RecallAaronPersky.com - the official online headquarters and action center for those who want to help Dauber’s team get the Persky recall on the ballot in California. You do not need to be a California resident to help. 

    Of their prospects, Dauber said, “There is no question in my mind that we will succeed.” 

    So, if stopping the propagation of rape apologists in our justice system is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about how to Help Get a Recall of Rape Apologist Judge Aaron Persky on the Ballot in California via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.

    We'd like to leave you with a few of the widely-shared words written by the victim that she bravely read to her assailant in the court room: 

     “The probation officer’s recommendation of a year or less in county jail is a soft time­out, a mockery of the seriousness of his assaults, an insult to me and all women. It gives the message that a stranger can be inside you without proper consent and he will receive less than what has been defined as the minimum sentence […] what I truly wanted was for Brock to get it, to understand and admit to his wrongdoing.”

      

     

    TAKE ACTION

    Visit RecallAaronPersky.com to volunteer, donate or sign up for updates to support the effort to get a recall of Persky on the ballot in California. 

    On social media, follow @RecallPersky - the official Twitter account of the campaign - and RT. Use the hashtag #RecallPersky when voicing your support. 

    Sign the Change.org petition that demands Stanford University publicly apologize to the survivor of Turner's sexual assault, offer to pay for her counseling and other supportive services, increase resources for sexual assault prevention on campus, increase counseling resources for all survivors, and administer a national survey about sexual violence occurring in fraternities.  

    Read and share the powerful words the survivor read to her assailant.

    Hear the segment in context: 

    Edition #1024: "Privilege and injustice: A case study"

    Written by BOTL Communications Director Amanda Hoffman.

  • Support the Women’s Health Protection Act to Counter TRAP Laws via #ActforWomen Campaign

    In the last four years alone, states including Texas, Utah and South Carolina have enacted over 250 new restrictions on access to safe and legal abortion - all under the guise of “protecting” women’s health. In response to years of relentless assaults on women’s health, safety, and constitutional rights, the Act for Women Campaign is urging support of the Women’s Health Protection Act - federal legislation that would not only counter TRAP laws, but enforce and protect the right of every woman to decide for herself whether to continue or end a pregnancy, regardless of where she lives.

    The Act for Women action toolkit, available for download from www.actforwomen.org, suggests the following ways to engage with the campaign and raise awareness and support for the legislation: 

    • Write a letter to the editor about the Women’s Health Protection Act
    • Attend a Town Hall meeting and ask about the Women’s Health Protection Act
    • Connect the Women’s Health Protection Act to your state work 
    • Schedule an in-district lobby visit to discuss the Women’s Health Protection Act
    • Amplify the voices of your state and local lawmakers

    ...and...

    • Use the hashtag #ActforWomen online 

    Additionally, on Monday, June 20th, PBS will air “TRAPPED,” a highly praised documentary by filmmaker Dawn Porter, who we heard interviewed today, about the abortion access crisis in America. The Center for Reproductive Rights, a member of the Act for Women Campaign, is encouraging all to spread the word and/or host a watch party.

    While the primary focus of the Act for Women Campaign is maintaining access to safe and legal abortion care, the campaign recognizes that the fight does not end there, saying…

    “Women of color, young women, transgender and gender non-conforming persons, low-income people, and immigrant communities often encounter additional barriers to obtaining health services. The campaign supports and encourages parallel efforts to remove all obstacles to accessing affordable, non-discriminatory, and quality sexual and reproductive health care.” 

    So, if protecting access to reproductive healthcare is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about how to support the Women’s Health Protection Act via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.

    Resolve to make the choice each day that can never be taken away: the choice to fight back.  

     

     

    TAKE ACTION

    Learn more about the Act for Women Campaign and the Women's Health Protection Act at http://www.actforwomen.org

    Download the Act for Women Campaign Tools & Resources http://www.actforwomen.org/tools-and-resources/

    Find out where and how to watch "TRAPPED," the documentary at http://www.trappeddocumentary.com

    Use the hashtag #ActforWomen on social media and tweet at your congressperson to urge them to support the Women's Health Protection Act. 

    Follow the Center for Reproductive Rights on Twitter @ReproRights 

     

    Hear the segment in context: 

    Episode #1020: "A right delayed is a right denied

     

    Written by BOTL Communications Director Amanda Hoffman 

     

  • #FlushDiscrimination via the National Center for @TransEquality

    In case anyone has been distracted by election year, horse-race politics, it’s Pride Month - and we want to take this time to remind you that the anti-transgender law in North Carolina is still on the books. As you heard today, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced that the US Justice Department is counter-suing the state of North Carolina in a supportive and powerful speech drawing obvious and direct parallels to the civil rights movement.

    But North Carolina isn’t the only state that has passed, or is considering passing, these kinds of laws and you can help fight this reaction to fear and ignorance across the country with resources and the Flush Discrimination campaign from the National Center for Transgender Equality (or NCTE).

    The organization’s North Carolina Action Center and National Action Center give you all the tools you need to fight anti-trans bills in your state and beyond, as well as resources to protect yourself or your loved ones. 

    Here’s the latest status on anti-trans legislations across the country: Kansas’s bill passed in the state Senate, Michigan’s is in committee, North Carolina’s and Mississippi’s have been signed into law, New York’s has been referred to Governmental Operations, Oklahoma’s is up for vote in the state Senate soon, and in Washington an anti-trans ballot initiative has been filed. Visit www.transequality.org/action-center to access links to resources under each state to help you tell those in power that these bills will not be tolerated. 

    If you want to get engaged on social media, take part in the NCTE’s “Flush Discrimination" campaign. Sign the pledge at www.transequality.org/flush, take a photo or video of yourself holding their downloadable “Flush Discrimination” sign, and use the hashtag #FlushDiscrimination when posting to social media platforms. Show everyone that you won’t stand for mandatory government discrimination in North Carolina - or anywhere else.

    So, if making sure the civil rights of transgender people are protected is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about how to #FlushDiscrimination via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.

     

     

    TAKE ACTION 

    Learn how to fight HB2 with NCTE's North Carolina Action Center

    Learn how to fight anti-trans bills in states across the country with NCTE's National Action Center

    Take part in NCTE's #FlushDiscrimination Campaign to show you support of the trans community

     

    Hear the segment in context:

    Episode #1020: "The damage we're doing

     

    Written by BOTL Communications Director Amanda Hoffman 

  • Fight Anti-Whistleblower Ag-Gag Laws via @ALDF #STOPAgGag #FIGHTAgGAG

    In episode #1014, we focused on the benefits of moving toward a meatless diet and basically ignored the topic of animal suffering to resonate with those who don’t feel as motivated to change by animal rights as others. So, we flipped our activism on its head as well by focusing on the impact of Ag-Gag laws on humans.

    Thanks to Big Ag lobbying and money in politics, we are all at risk of losing a critical piece of our first amendment rights because of Ag-Gag laws. As you’ve heard today, Ag-Gag laws usually contain one or more of three provisions designed to suppress whistleblowing:

    • the ban of photography or video documentation on facility premises
    • the criminalization of securing a job under “false pretenses,” and
    • mandatory reporting of documented abuse within a short and arbitrary timeframe

    Though a number of states have struck down or overturned these laws due to pressure from animal rights defense groups and federal rulings, Kansas, Montana, North Dakota, Iowa, Utah, Missouri and North Carolina still have Ag-Gag laws on the books. These unconstitutional laws threaten animal welfare, workers’ rights, food safety, and the environment - but they also take away whistleblower rights across the board. Ag-Gag laws actually help set precedents to punish the worker or undercover journalist who exposes neglect and abuse at a retirement home, or misconduct at a daycare center, or spying by our government on its own people. Then these laws go one step farther by protecting the illegal practices and the company that performs them. 

    The Animal Legal Defense Fund Ag-Gag action allows you to send a message to Kansas, Montana, North Dakota, Iowa, Utah, Missouri and North Carolina to demand that these laws be repealed. Those who live in these states will be routed to their state representatives, and people outside of these Ag-Gag states will be routed to the governors of all seven states. Visit the Animal Legal Defense Fund website at ADLF.org and search for “take action to stop Ag Gag” in their search field, or click here, to find the action page and send your message.  

    So, if protecting the first amendment and whistleblower rights is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about how to Fight Anti-Whistleblower Ag-Gag Laws via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.

    In the end, Ag-Gag laws force us to fight for our rights and our health, something the animals at the mercy of Big Meat will never be able to do for themselves. The irony shouldn’t be lost on anyone. 

     

      

    TAKE ACTION

    Write to legislators and governors in states with Ag-Gag laws via Animal Legal Defense Fund's “Take Action to Stop Ag Gag” and demand they be repealed.

    Other Actions

    Sign the Last Chance for Animal's Change.org petition to fight Missouri's Ag-Gag Law

    Sign the Food Integrity Campaign's petition to fight Ag-Gag Laws 

    Sources/Further Reading: 

    No More Exposés in North Carolina (via NYTimes.com)

    In the Belly of the Beast (via RollingStone.com) (WARNING: THIS IS IMPORTANT, BUT GRAPHIC)

    Ag-Gag Legislation by State (via ASPCA.org)

    Undercovered: 'Ag-Gag' Laws - How Big Agra Tries to Muzzle Journalists (via Mediate.com)

    Big Agriculture Bullies and Lobbies to Keep Americans In the Dark (via Forbes.com)

    Groups Sue Over North Carolina's Ag Gag Law, Saying it Violates The Constitution (via ThinkProgress.org)

    Ag Boards Think They Should be Exempt From the Freedom of Information Act (via MFAblog.org)

    Mercy for Animals Legal Advocacy (via MercyforAnimals.org)

     

    Hear the segment in context:

    Episode #1014: "The Human Impact of Animal Agriculture"

    Written by BOTL Communications Director Amanda Hoffman.

  • #OscarsSoWhite; Watch #JusticeForFlint Instead via @UnitedBlackout — Best of the Left Activism

    You’ve reached the activism portion of today’s show. Now that you’re informed and angry, here’s what you can do about it. Today’s activism: the Justice For Flint livestream alternative to the Oscars.

    April Reign’s #OscarsSoWhite hashtag criticism is getting a reboot this year. All 20 acting nominees are, AGAIN, white. This year’s awards are even more egregious. The movie “Straight Outta Compton” received a lot of industry support at SAG-AFTRA as well as a Best Picture nomination from the Producers Guild — but its only Oscar nod went to the white screenwriters for Best Original Screenplay. “Creed” has been praised basically everywhere also only received one nomination: Sylvester Stallone for Best Supporting Actor.

    In response, the Oscar backlash has gone well beyond Twitter. While they aren’t exactly calling it a boycott, Spike Lee, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Will Smith aren’t attending amidst the demand to diversify nominees and the industry in general. In a country where people’s exposure to those outside their communities and understanding of what’s “normal” and “acceptable” often comes from the entertainment industry, it’s important to support the efforts to fund and produce films that better represent our population and experiences.

    So, this year, instead of watching the Oscars, tune in to the #JusticeForFlint fundraiser taking place in Flint, Michigan and live streamed at Revolt.TV. “Creed" director and co-writer Ryan Coogler, Ava Duvernay, director of “Selma,” singer Janelle Monáe, Grey’s Anatomy star Jesse Williams and others are putting on this guaranteed-to-be-entertaining, free event presented by Coogler’s org Blackout for Human Rights. You can get the full line-up at the BlackOutForHumanRights Tumblr, then tune in at 5pmEST Sunday night.

    During the broadcast you can text JUSTICE to 83224 to donate to the victims of the ongoing Flint Water Crisis and follow the #JusticeForFlint hashtag. Exclusive event announcement rights were given to Buzzfeed; so in addition to posting the Black Out For Human Rights Tumblr page on social media, Buzzfeed’s article "The Director Of “Creed” Is Throwing A Star-Studded Free Event For Flint On Oscars Night” has all the correct info.

    For those who listen to This Week in Blackness, but may be behind on podcasts, they’ve nixed their Oscar broadcast so as not to draw anyone away from the #JusticeForFlint fundraiser.

    TAKE ACTION:

    #JusticeForFlint from Blackout for Human Rights

    Additional Activism/Resources:

    "How to help people hurt by the poisoned water in Flint” via Mashable

    Sources/further reading:

    ”Meet April Reign, the Black Woman Behind #OscarsSoWhite"

    "The 17 Biggest Surprises Of This Year’s Oscar Nominations — #OscarsSoWhiteTheSequel” via Buzzfeed

    "These 10 Actors, Directors & Executives Can Reverse #OscarsSoWhite” at RevoltTV

    "Creed Is The Rocky Film 21st-Century America Needs” at The Establishment

    Hear the segment in context:

    Episode #994 "Who gets a seat at the table (Culture)"

    Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich

  • Make #Poverty an #Election2016 Priority w/@VoteToEndHunger — Best of the Left Activism

    You’ve reached the activism portion of today’s show. Now that you’re informed and angry, here’s what you can do about it. Today’s activism: Vote to End Hunger.

    Vote to End Hunger is a coalition of organizations that includes Bread For the World, Feeding America, and the Food Research and Action Center. They joined together ahead of the 2016 election cycle to — in their words — "make hunger, poverty and opportunity a higher political priority, so that the next President and Congress take action that will put our nation and the world on track to end hunger by 2030.”

    This is an ambitious, but important goal as debates come and go with numerous references to the middle class, but virtually no questions from moderators or pivots from candidates to the 14.8% of the country — 46.7 million people — living in poverty. If we can’t even talk about it, how are we ever going to to anything to address it?

    At VoteToEndHunger.org you can sign and share this pledge:

    "I believe we can end hunger in America and worldwide by 2030. Ending hunger is not a partisan issues and requires public policies that expand opportunity and reduce poverty. This election, I will Vote to End Hunger and to make hunger, poverty, and opportunity a higher political priority, so that the next President and Congress take actions that will put our nation and the world on track to end hunger.”

    The website also has videos from ten of the presidential candidates explaining what they would do to address systemic poverty and hunger — giving us an easy way to hold them accountable as the primary season progresses. For those who want to engage candidates at town halls and other events, Vote To End Hunger has a well-done webinar with tactics and talking points. During debates, you can follow their twitter feed as they encourage moderators to ask questions about poverty and hold candidates accountable for their answers.

    Primary season is the perfect time to demand issues that matter become part of the national conversation and legislative priority because candidates are the most movable. Use the tools at VoteToEndHunger.org to let those courting your vote know that you don’t accept poverty as an inevitability and you expect them address it.

    TAKE ACTION:

    SIGN & SHARE: Pledge to end hunger by 2030

    GET INVOLVED with Vote to End Hunger

    Sources/further reading:

    "Pathologizing the Poor Reinforces Stigma While Deterring Advocacy and Public Policy” via Truthout

    ”Hunger is a Significant But Solvable Problem, Both in the United States and Internationally” via Vote to End Hunger

    ”Presidential Candidate Videos” via Vote to End Hunger

    Hear the segment in context:

    Episode #986 "The trouble with extreme wealth inequality (Economics)"

    Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich