If you care about the ability to organize and speak your minds in the streets, read this report. After visiting the US, UN Special Rapporteur and expert on Freedom of Assembly and Association Maina Kiai delivered strong words about how police discretion, militarization and racism have gradually eroded our ability to assemble peacefully and not have our lives, records or views threatened by disproportionate force at protests.
On Sunday, March 13, Donald Trump held a massive rally at Boca Raton's Sunset Cove Amphitheater. The rally itself was peaceful and largely uneventful, but a video posted to Facebook that evening seemed to show that Trump's campaign had purposely denied admission to black activists and that police were complicit in the discrimination. The clip showed a deputy from the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office, Ken Sluth, blocking black members of Broward's Black Lives Matter Alliance from entering the rally, despite the fact that the activists had tickets to the event. He admitted a white activist with a ticket, though.
Yesterday, two civil rights groups — including the National Lawyer's Guild, the nation's first racially integrated bar association — condemned the sheriff's office for "selectively suppress[ing] the speech of people of color."
"Black youth who had tickets for the event were singled out in line for denial of admission by officers," the guild said in a letter addressed to Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw and county Mayor Mary Lou Berger. "Conversely, a white individual was allowed to pass and enter the security line at the same moment without incident — even after stating to the officer that his purpose was to protest the event." The guild wrote the letter in tandem with Miami's Community Justice Project, a legal aid group that represents "low-income communities of color."
In response to racially discriminatory treatment and harassment of attendees by Palm Beach County Sherriff's deputies at recent Donald Trump for President campaign event, Community Justice Project & the National Lawyers Guild South Florida Chapter sent a letter to Mayor Berger & Sheriff Bradshaw condemning the deputies' actions and demanding that law enforcement immediately cease enforcement of the campaigns' racially discriminatory policies.
"Racial discrimination and the suppression of political speech should never be taken lightly. We cannot condone the above actions by PBSO deputies, state actors who selectively suppressed the speech of people of color at an event where the candidate is known to preach hate against Muslim, immigrant, and other oppressed communities. The PBSO deputies’ actions are an unconscionable violation of both the First and Fourteenth Amendment. While Mr. Trump may have his own First Amendment rights to express this hateful rhetoric, it does not justify the Sheriff’s Department’s proactive steps to bar young people of color from the event. "
To learn more about the work of Black Lives Matter Alliance Broward, visit them on facebook.
Footage from the event can be seen below:
It’s been 350 days since Lavall Hall was killed by police, but his family has not stopped its call for action.
The 25-year-old man was having what his mother refers to as “an episode” — possibly brought on by his schizophrenia and bipolar disorder — when she called Miami Gardens officers for help.
A week earlier, when Catherine Daniels called police to help her son, they escorted him to a mental health facility. This time, he was wielding a metal-tipped broomstick. He was shot and killed.
“If I’d have known that would have happened like that, I wouldn’t have called them,” she said. “I called them for help, and look what it caused — my child’s death.”
A confrontation in which Hall left an officer “bleeding profusely” from the head, had a 10- to 15-second fistfight with another and was unsuccessfully shocked with a Taser, ended with Officer Eddo Trimino firing at Hall several times.
Last week, state prosecutors decided not to charge Trimino. The report said he “fired his service pistol in order to protect his life and that of others.”
On Monday, December 28, Cuyahoga County prosecutor Timothy McGinty announced that the grand jury accepted his recommendation and will not indict the officers responsible for killing 12-year-old Tamir Rice. The reality that after more than 13 months these officers continue to be paid from city coffers and will face no criminal charges in the death of Tamir, is a demonstration that this system offers no justice to Black families and was not built to.
Law4BlackLives, a collective of law students, legal workers, and attorneys, offer our profound condolences to the family of Tamir Rice and the community of Cleveland, as they are forced to endure yet another gross miscarriage of justice. Last week’s announcement validated the Cleveland community's lack of faith in McGinty. The process reiterated the fact that prosecutors in this country answer to no one. It is essential that McGinty and his office be held accountable to the community that they are supposed to serve.
We join the family and countless other voices in demanding an immediate federal civil rights investigation into Tamir Rice’s death. However, our experiences, from Ferguson to New Orleans, tell us that a federal investigation, while necessary, is not sufficient.
Longtime residents, business owners and civic leaders gathered in Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood on Thursday to deliver a message about their rapidly changing community: “We want to stay.”
Residents and activists, many carrying hand-written signs declaring “Little Haiti is not for sale” and “Say no to gentrification,” said real estate developers and speculators are buying up land and pushing out the people and small businesses that give the neighborhood its distinct Caribbean character.
A delegation of the human-rights arm of the Organization of American States received an earful Monday from alleged victims of police abuse in Miami-Dade County, during the first leg of a fact-finding mission into racial discrimination and police violence in the U.S.
The testimony came during a two-hour community meeting coordinated by the Community Justice Project at the St. Thomas University School of Law.
A small but vocal group of protesters marched through Miami late Friday afternoon, chanting “black lives matter” and saying they were upset about alleged police brutality.
They said they were particularly upset about a recent incident in which cell phone video was posted on social media earlier this month that showed a man who appeared to have been punched by a Miami Police officer after he was handcuffed and placed in to the back of a police car.
A delegate with the human-rights arm of the Organization of American States is traveling to Miami next month on a fact-finding mission into police abuses of African Americans in the United States
Lawyers and activists from across the country are convening in Harlem from Friday for a conference aimed at strengthening the legal strategy of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Three women — Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi — founded the Black Lives Matter project in 2013 following the acquittal of George Zimmerman, who shot and killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager, in 2012. The movement began as a online campaign to raise awareness and organize responses to what it said was racial profiling and police brutality but soon grew into an influential coalition of activists, rallying around the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. Now with Black Lives Matter chapters popping up across the nation, advocates are seeking to “build a stronger, more cohesive legal arm” of the young but growing movement.
“One of the aims is to unify efforts across the country. Usually, there’s a last minute scramble to formulate a response and identify lawyers immediately after a tragedy,” Carl Williams, a conference organizer and racial justice attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, told Al Jazeera.
August 4, 2015
WASHINGTON (NNPA) — The United Nations Human Rights Committee has given the U.S. a series of failing grades on human rights, including failing to meet international human rights standards on gun violence; the uneven implementation of controversial Stand Your Ground laws; violating personal privacy; and doing a poor job of caring for victims of gun violence.
“The human rights community also pays attention to disparate effects of these laws,” said Meena Jagannath, who testified in Geneva and is the co-founder of the Florida-based Community Justice Project, Inc.
“In our reports, we tried to highlight that there are strong interest groups that have been behind the proliferation of these laws. We’ve also strongly emphasized that SYG laws disproportionately impact Black and Brown communities because of inherent racism in the U.S. justice system, and because they allow for people to use deadly force based on their subjective fears.”
In the coming days thousands of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian Descent could be stateless! As the horrific moment in our history continues to unfold much of the international community has remained completely silent on the inhumane treatments of Blacks in the Dominican Republic. It is time that we stand with our sisters and brothers to DEMAND that the Dominican Government STOP THE MASS DEPORTATIONS! Tomorrow, we will join cities across the country, including, New York, Washington, DC, Chicago, Los Angeles and Boston for a National Day of Action to stop the deportations of Dominicans of Haitian descent and Haitian migrants.
Join us this Wednesday, July 1st at 10:30am. We will be hosting a press conference from Fanm Ayisyen Nan Miyami, Inc (FANM), Haitian Women of Miami’s, office at 181 NE 82nd Street #101. We will then descend to the Dominican Republic Consulate 1038 Brickell Avenue at 12pm to request a meeting with officials to present a resolution demanding that the Dominican government take action to protect the rights of Dominicans of Haitian descent and Haitian workers in the Dominican Republic.
It was a big week for the movement in S. Florida. From standing up to private prisons like Florida-based GEO group, to speaking out against structural racism in policing in Ft. Lauderdale, and rising up in solidarity with Baltimore, grassroots leaders like the Dream Defenders, FLIC, and Power U Center for Social Change are keeping justice in the public eye. Check out some news coverage of their work:
CJP was proud to stand with the Broward Squad of the Dream Defenders on March 25, 2015 as they fought for justice for the family of Lavall Hall, who was killed by Miami Gardens Police.
Geneva- Human rights advocates from the U.S. met Friday in Geneva with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, to call for support for human rights advocates in the U.S. who face police harassment, arrest and other state violence for their efforts to stand up for their rights and the rights of others. The advocates were part of a U.S. Human Rights Network delegation in Geneva that is educating the UN Human Rights Council about rights violations in the U.S. in advance of its review of the U.S.’ human rights record in May. ....
“We are pleased that the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders is taking note of the harassment that people in the U.S. face, simply for standing up for human rights,” said Meena Jagannath, attorney with the Community Justice Project based in Miami, which works with the Dream Defenders and helped submit a report to the UN Committee Against Torture on behalf of the parents of Mike Brown and Ferguson-St. Louis groups last November. “We hope the global community can impress upon the U.S. government the importance of respecting the right to dissent.”
Shockingly, for South Florida, the United Nations included in its report a scathing indictment of a police killing that occurred in Miami barely a year ago. Included in its concluding observations, the Committee on Torture wrote that it was “appalled at the number of reported deaths after the use of electrical discharge weapons, including the recent cases of Israel ‘Reefa’ Hernández Llach in Miami Beach.” Electrical discharge weapons are commonly known as tasers.
Miami attorney Meena Jagannath brought Hernandez’ case to Geneva last month to give testimony in front of the United Nation’s Committee on Torture on behalf of Hernandez’ family and Dream Defenders. Jagannath testified along with activists from Ferguson, Missouri and Chicago.
“Clearly, we have a problem in communities across America that must be addressed with urgency and deliberate purpose,” said Miami attorney Marlon Hill, in an emailed response. “It’s time for institutions to change,” said Alana Greer who works with Jagannath in Miami’s Community Justice Project. “We’re asking for accountability.”
Meena Jagannath, Community Justice Project, Florida Legal Services described the non-indictment of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for killing Brown “a nail in the coffin” of the bloody history of state-sponsored and sanctioned violence against “disenfranchised people.”
“I think it’s a game changer for the whole country” said Jagannath especially in Miami given its history.
WASHINGTON (NNPA)—The fight for justice in Ferguson has gone global.
Tara Thompson, a corporate project manager who has been protesting and organizing in Ferguson since the summer, puts it this way: “It is unbelievable that I am staring down at a sniper rifle, pointed at me, that was paid for with my taxes. The United States should be outed. They police the world, telling everyone in other countries how to treat their citizens, how to implement democracy, and their own backyard is not clean.”
Thompson recently delivered this message to the world as a member of the Ferguson to Geneva delegation, which traveled to the world capital of peace for the 53rd session of the United Nations Committee Against Torture.
For Further Coverage on #FergusontoGeneva check out: