Hundreds arrested as activists pick up where Martin Luther King left off

The Poor Peoples campaign kicked off 40 days of nonviolent protest on Monday, resurrecting Kings anti-poverty efforts and demanding action

Hundreds of low-wage employees, religion leaders, civil right organizers and liberal activists were arrested in demoes in Washington and outside statehouses across the US on Monday as they resumed the run Martin Luther King left unfinished.

Fifty years after King launched the Poor People’s Campaign against economic inequality, militarism and racial injustice, demonstrators resurrected that fight, kicking off 40 days of nonviolent action.

The new effort, The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, is being led by co-chairs William Barber, a clergyman at Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, North Carolina, and Liz Theoharis, an ordained minister and anti-poverty campaigner from New York City.

In Washington, different groups collected on the lawn outside the US Capitol to hear Barber declare:” Something’s wrong in America .”

Their action on Monday, Barber continued, was not just a commemoration of King’s anti-poverty efforts, it was a new call-to-arms.

” We are here to have a reconsecration and a re-engagement because you do not celebrate the death of[ a] prophet ,” Barber told, his voice build as he spoke.” You go to where they were killed, reach down in the blood, pick up your baton and carry it the next round of the route. Now who’s ready ?”

The crowd parted and Barber and Theoharis led a procession of activists trained in civil disobedience toward the street, where they were prepared to be arrested. Two-by-two the demonstrators walked, representing virtually three-dozen states and Native American reservations.

The group sang hymn and chanted their demands as they marched toward the police, who had formed a blockade. Barber, in his purple robe, was the first to breach the line and was arrested. Dozens more followed as hundreds more cheered them on from the steps of the Library of Congress. Theoharis was the last to be arrested.

Similar scenes were replicated across the country in North Carolina, Missouri and California. In total, the Poor People’s Campaign said 1,000 activists were arrested nationwide.

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‘I’ve been to the mountaintop’: an excerpt from Martin Luther King’s final speech – video

The group hopes their action will draw attention to what they say is an urgent need to alleviate poverty and improve living conditions for millions of Americans. In 2016, nearly 41 million Americans lived in poverty, according to the US Census. But the organizers point to research by the Institute for Policy Studies that discovered virtually 140 million people are either poor or low-income when other factors are considered, including expenses on food and housing.

The campaign’s listing of demands are long and aspirational. It includes federal and country minimum wage laws” commensurate for the 21 st century economy”, relief from student-loan debt, a repeal of the 2017 GOP tax cuts legislation, restoration of the Voting Rights Act, an end to mass incarceration, a fracking ban, protection of public lands, a cessation of US military involvement and universal healthcare.

The original Poor People’s Campaign of 1968 was organized by King in the months before his assassination. The centerpiece of the campaign was a mule-drawn caravan from Marks, Mississippi, which at the time was the poorest township in the poorest district of the poorest state in the nation. The procession arrived on the National Mall in Washington to join a national protest in Washington, where thousands of impoverished Americans occupied the National Mall for six weeks in a camp named as Resurrection City.

The protesters will return each Monday for the next 40 days. Every week will focus on a different group of marginalized people. This week the protests and activities will focus on child poverty, women and people with disabilities. Other topics include racism, veterans, war and the environment.

At the end of the 40 days of protest, on 23 June, the activists from around the country will gather in Washington for a mass demo at the US Capitol. Organizers say the 40 -days of action are simply the beginning of what they hope will be a multi-year campaign that will include voter mobilization and other efforts.

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US Teacher of the Year stages silent protest as Trump awards prize

Mandy Manning, who works with refugees and immigrants, wears Womens March and trans equality pins at White House

A teacher who results a classroom for teenage refugees staged a silent protest by wearing several overtly political badges while receiving an awarding from Donald Trump at the White House.

Mandy Manning works at the Newcomer Center at Joel E Ferris High School in Spokane, Washington, which specialises in English language development for new refugees and immigrant students.

Trump presented her with the National Teacher of the Year award in the East Room and praised her” incredible devotion “. The US president told:” Teachers like Mandy play a vital role in the wellbeing of our children, the strength of our communities and the success of our nation .”

Manning wore six badges on her black dress. According to a pooled report, they included one with a poster for the Women’s March that followed Trump’s inauguration, one that told ” Trans Equality Now” and one in the shape of an apple with a rainbow.

The badges also represented the educator of the year program, National Education Association and Peace Corps, where she began her teaching career.

Handing her the clear glass, apple-shaped awarding on a podium, Trump did not appear to notice the badges. He smiled as he and Manning posed for photographers. The education secretary, Betsy DeVos; the labor secretary, Alex Acosta; and the Peace Corps director, Jody Olsen, seemed on.

Manning told the Associated Press after the ceremony that she used a private moment with Trump to give him stacks of letters written by her students and members of the Spokane community. She said she told Trump she hoped he would read them, and she encouraged him to visit her school.

” I just had a very, very brief moment so I made it clear that the students that I teach … are dedicated and focused ,” Manning said in an interview.” They attain the United States the beautiful place that it is .”

Manning said the letters give important messages about what coming to the US meant to the immigrants and refugees.

The long-running annual event took place against the backdrop of teachers’ strikes in Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, Oklahoma and West Virginia amid grievances over stagnant pay.

Trump has cracked down on both legal and illegal immigration and suspended the US refugee programme for a period. He has demanded that a wall be built on the Mexican border to keep out murderers, medications gangs and other crooks.

The Associated Press contributed reporting

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Justice in the factory: how Black Lives Matter breathed new life into unions

As Black Lives Matter and other social justice campaigns focus more on economic inequality, unions assure an opportunity

Erica Garner, Black Lives Matter activist, dies aged 27

Bernie Sanders and Bill de Blasio among those to pay tribute to Eric Garners daughter, who was in hospital for a week after a heart attack

The Black Lives Matter activist Erica Garner has died, after a week in hospital following a heart attack. She was 27. Garner was the daughter of Eric Garner, a human who died in a police chokehold in New York in 2014.

Among tributes, Senator Bernie Sanders said that although Garner” didn’t ask to be an activist, she responded to the personal misfortune of seeing her father succumb … by becoming a leading proponent for criminal justice reform and for an end to police brutality “.

Announcing Garner’s death in New York on Saturday morning, the Rev Al Sharpton said she was ” a warrior to the end” and said ” her heart was transgres when she didn’t get justice … the[ heart] attack simply dealt with the pieces that were left .”

Four months ago, Garner gave birth to a son who was named for her parent. She also had an eight-year-old daughter. In a recent interview with the webshow Like it or Not , she talked about the difficulties of life as a parent and an activist.” I’m struggling right now from the stress of everything ,” she said,” because the system, it beats you down .”

Her mother, Esaw Snipes, told the New York Times earlier this week her daughter learned during her recent pregnancy that she had heart problems. Snipes said Garner had a heart attack after an asthma episode and was placed in a medically induced coma.

On Saturday, Snipes told the Hour:” The only thing I can say is that she was a warrior. She fought the very best fighting. This is just the first fight in 27 years she lost .”

A message on Garner’s official Twitter account, which was run by family and friends after she became ill, said:” She was human: mom, daughter, sister, aunt. Her heart was bigger than the world. It really really was. She cared when most people wouldn’t have. She was good. She only pursued right , no matter what. No one dedicated her justice .”

Eric Garner, who was 43, died in Staten Island in July 2014 after a white police officer subdued him with an illegal chokehold, during an apprehend over the alleged sale of untaxed loose cigarettes. He also suffered from asthma. His last word,” I can’t breathe“, became a slogan for activists protesting police barbarism against African Americans.

The officer, Daniel Pantaleo, was not charged and remains employed by the New York police department. The decision not to press charges led to major protests in New York City.

Erica Garner became an activist and novelist, including for the Guardian. In July 2016, she met privately with Barack Obama, after protesting during a town hall event on race. She also campaigned on behalf of the members of Sanders in his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

In his statement, Sanders said:” Erica Garner was an exceptional young woman. She was a loving daughter, sister, mother, friend .”

He added:” I had the honor of to know Erica and I was inspired by the commitment she made working towards a more just world for her children and future generations. She was a fighter for justice and will not be forgotten .”

Erica
Erica Garner at a Bernie Sanders campaign event in 2016. After her demise, Sanders called Garner’ a fighter for justice’ Photograph: Jim Young/ Reuters

A message on Garner’s Twitter account referred to the Democratic New York mayor Bill de Blasio and said: “… explain how she died with no justice .”

In a statement, de Blasio said:” Erica Garner’s death is a horrible misfortune. I am praying for her family, who have already been through so much. This city will miss her unshakable sense of justice and passion for humanity .”

In 2015, the Garner family settled a civil wrongful demise suit with the city of New York for $5.9 m.

Other Twitter messages from Garner’s account said” out of respect to Erica please do not request commentary if the journalist is not Black” and” please share all video and photos of Erica you have “.

In a statement, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People( NAACP) said Garner took” a stand when so may others sat” and thanked her” for resulting the charge when so many others faded into the background “.

Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said Garner” showed unbelievable courage and remarkable resolve” and” bravely transformed her unspeakable personal pain in[ to] political power as she became a leader in the fight for police reform “.

Lieberman also mentioned Eric Garner’s mother, who has also campaigned on the issue of police barbarism, when she said:” Our thoughts are with Gwenn Carr and the rest of Erica’s family, who once again must endure the loss of a loved one who died much too young .”

Tina Luongo, attorney-in-charge of the criminal defense practice at the Legal Aid Society, said Garner” set a greater spotlight on … the need for sweeping criminal justice reforms “.

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5 Calls debuts what may be the easiest way to call your reps yet

A growing number of political activist websites have popped up in recent days to help those opposed to the Trump administrations policies and agenda to take action. But a new one, 5 Calls, has just launched its simple online tool that makes the more cumbersome process of getting in touch with your representatives a lot easier than before.

The site, created by a team of volunteers, isnt very fancy, but its certainly efficient.

The idea is that if you have 5 minutes to spare, you can place 5 calls something thats far more effective in terms of influencing your representatives and getting your voice heard than emailing is said to be.

And, yes, thissite has an anti-Trump, left-leaning agenda, but its worth notingits creators haveopen sourced the code. While this was done largely because of the way the team operated during their free time, from different locations it placesthe code in the public domain. And thatmeans others including those on the opposing side of the political spectrum couldbuild their own version of 5 Calls, if they were motivated to keep such a site updated.

5 Calls also offersa good case study in terms of user interface and user experience.

A glance on the homepage shows you how many calls are needed per action item. Then, when you click on an item, the site offers the phone number(s), the reason why its important, and the script to use while on the call. Thesite is also personalizedto your location, if you enter your address or zip code.

When youre finished with the call, you click another button to register your call result (e.g. made contact, left voicemail, etc.). The site will track call results to help them understand the impact theyre having, and where to direct future efforts. However, no personal information about the sites users is being recorded.

Calls are marked off to-do list style, so you can keep track of what youve done, and the site will be updated daily, were told.

Since its launch last week, 5 Calls has seenover 20,000 phone calls placed, as of the time of writing, according to the homepage tracker. That number is growing quickly, as news of the site is beginning to spread.

5 calls is a volunteer effort from Nick ONeill, Rebecca Kaufman, Mike Monteiro, Stewart ScottCurran,Liam Campbell, Matt Jacobs, Krishnan Ananth, and others. Kaufman helped with pulling data and other issues, Scott-Curran did the logo, and Monteiro designed the site, while the rest worked on either the front end or backend code.

Were a group of like-minded volunteers, mostly friends who met in San Franciscoat some point in time, though more distributed around the U.S. now, explains ONeill. This is all side-project, working nights and weekends, he notes.

The idea came about after he and Kaufman spentthe last few weeks of the election working at a Clinton campaign field office. After the election, they felt they needed to do something.

We knew there weregoing to be a lot of upset citizens feeling like they didnt have an outlet for resisting the incoming administrations plans, ONeillsays. Rebecca [Kaufman] drew inspiration from the HRC call tool to think about how we could provide a more general purpose tool for people to get involved.

5 Calls is another example a growing trend where technologists are comingtogether to quickly code and launch new services aimed at encouraging political activism likeTrack Trump, Call To Action, and Swing Left, to namesome recent examples.

Given that much of thetech community leans left, its not surprising to see the rapid launchof so many new resources like this, and specifically those operating inthe progressive realm.

Asmore tools become available, the more likely theyll be adopted by todaysarmchair activists, whose political activism pre-election may have been limited to Facebook likes and retweets.

5 Calls is available on the desktop web and via a mobile-optimized website.

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Hillary Clinton launches political action group Onward Together

Former presidential candidate objective speculation about her role in political life and the Democratic party with organisation dedicated to progressive causes

Hillary Clinton is out of the woods and back in the game.

Clinton on Monday announced the launch of Onward Together, a political action organization that is dedicated to supporting progressive causes, objective months of speculation about whether the vanquished presidential nominee would return to political life.

From the Womens March to airports where communities are greeting migrants and refugees to town hall meetings in all communities, Americans are speaking up and speaking out like never before, Clinton wrote in an email to advocates.

The challenges we face as a country are real. But theres no telling what we can achieve if we approach the fights ahead with the passion and determination we feel today, and bring that energy into 2017, 2018, 2020, and beyond. Onward!

Clinton constructed the proclamation in a series of tweets on Monday afternoon, starting with a playful reference to her post-election, meditative hikes in the timbers near her Chappaqua home.

The last few months, Ive been reflecting, spend some time with family and, yes, taking walkings in the timbers, she wrote. Next she tweeted: Were launching Onward Together to encourage people to get involved, organize, and even run for office.

Hillary Clinton (@ HillaryClinton)

The last few months, I’ve been reflecting, spend some time with familyand, yes, taking walkings in the woods.

May 15, 2017

Clinton said in the email that the organization is dedicated to advancing the vision that earned nearly 66 million elections in the last election. The figure is a reference to her popular election victory over Trump, a fact that apparently continues to irritate the president.

On Twitter, Clinton told Onward Together would start by supporting a handful of liberal organisations, including the prominent Swing Left and Indivisible, which are Democratic groups focused on winning the House in the 2018 midterms. She also quoth Color of Change, which is focused on criminal justice reform, Emerge America, which trains Democratic girls to run for office, and Run for Something, which helps recruit and supporting millennials running in down-ballot races.

In its mission statement, Onward Together, which is an iteration of her campaign slogan, Stronger Together, said it will help fundraise for the organizations as well as amplify their political message.

Clintons loss shattered the Democrats, who have sought to move past the divisions sewed during a bruising election. But Trumps victory set of a wave of liberal activism that party leaders are scrambling to harness this energy into electoral victories in 2017 and 2018.

Activists are divided on whether Clinton, who has sat at the helm of Democratic politics for decades, should have a say in the partys future. But with the launch of this political organisation, Clinton has made clear that she will remain an active leader in the party at the least for the foreseeable future.

The verdict to her proclamation Monday from the Republican National Committee was withering.

GOP (@ GOP)

If at first you don’t succeed, repurpose your failed branding. pic.twitter.com/ hC3CsZ766J

May 15, 2017

The announcement on Monday wasnt entirely a astound. Clinton has been hinting at a return to politics for months. In March, she told a roomful of women in Scranton, Pennsylvania, that she was ready to come out of the woods.

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Pussy Riot’s Masha Alyokhina on Putin, Trump and Brexit: ‘It’s useless to be afraid’

Set to headline Australias Dark Mofo in Hobart, the activist speaks about imprisonment, fear and discovering her son is infringing the regime of school

Are you able to keep calling her later today or late tonight? Maria Alyokhinas representative asks me, panicked. Or could you try any other day? In fact, he adds woefully, any scheduled interview with Masha is a risky idea.

I receive the harried message just before I am due to speak to Alyokhina, the balaclava-wearing, punk-spouting Pussy Riot activist. Its well past mid-morning. But Masha, as she is known, is asleep.

When I finally get through its after midnight in Moscow. Alyokhina is all apologies. I only have no idea how I didnt hear these hundreds of alarms.

I first gratified Alyokhina in London last summertime for the premiere of her production Burning Doors. Its hard not to like her. In person, shes warm and candid, with a wry, wicked sense of humour and elfin lookings. Yet talking to her again, it strikes me now, as it did then, that she is strung with steel. This is a woman who doesnt change herself for anything or anyone. That includes sleeping habits.

As one of the most famous faces of the Russian activist motion, at the least she has an excuse. Since Alyokhina was released from jail in a flurry of media attention in 2013, life has been busy. The punk-feminist singer now travels the world performing anti-Putin anthems, are active in anti-Putin plays, and dedicating anti-Putin talks a job all the more pressing since Trump, stained with implications of Russian interference in the US election, came to power.

Now Alyokhina is travelling to Australia with Pussy Riots Alexandra Lukyanova, also known as Sasha Bogino, and Russian filmmaker Alexander Cheparukhin , to appear at Hobarts Dark Mofo festival in June for a Q& A and DJ set. Shes also releasing her debut volume, Riot Days, in September: an account of her arrest and abuse at the hands of the Russian state.

Its Pussy Riots story, my tale, Russias story, she tells me. Its a tale of selection. I wrote it because I think that I believe there are no heroes, and every person has a tale to tell and I wanted to show that anyone can be Pussy Riot.

Alyokhina, 28, is an advocate of standing up and being heard even at the cost of individual freedom. In her occurrence, punishments in her near two-year stint in jail included brutal and humbling gynaecological tests( inmates called it to be let through the chair) and five months in solitary confinement.

[ In jail] how they keep the power? People work for 20 hours per day, the food is rotten, there is a thousand captives. How they stop the protesting? she asks in accented English. Very simple. They say if you will strike our regime, we will put you in solitary confinement. They call it prison inside prison. What they dont realise is that it doesnt matter what is around you. Where you keep your freedom is inside you.

Pussy
Anyone can be Pussy Riot: Pussy Riot stage a protest at Red Square in Russia. Photo: Pussy Riot

Still, imprisonment took its toll not least for Alyokhinas son Filip, who was just five when she was arrested.( Alyokhina is close to Filips father, but wont define their relationship, saying we are not about matrimony ). Originally she was barred from watching Filip altogether. When he was allowed to visit, after four or five months, it was in a supervised room, with mother and infant separated by a thick sheet of glass. The only route to talk was via telephone. That was one of the hardest and painful moments I suppose during the whole sentence, she says.

It isnt only in Russia, though, where activists need to be counted. Trump and Brexit, she insists, are a wake-up call. The main thing about my fight is to overcome the indifference of people.

Recent motions across the world ten-strike Alyokhina as dangerous. Its a very short route from democracy, where you have elections and a chance to choose[ for] instance like Russia, where you lose this opportunity very fast. It takes only several years to take everything away destroying is always faster than building.

Trump it is not just a political leader, but a symptom, she adds. I am sure that Trump and Putin have much in common, but it is more important to remember what we have in common in the community of the individuals who disagree with them.

So does Alyokhina feel fear? For herself and their own families in a country where anti-Kremlin journalists, members of the political opposition, and dissenters are routinely imprisoned or killed? No, Im not afraid, she insists. I think its useless to be afraid, actually I believe that when you do things, when you choose an action, any fear going on around here because action is stronger than fear.

Back in Moscow there are more mundane problems to worry about. Alyokhina has to go and visit the school administration because her son, who turns 10 this month, has built some kind of a gang. I receive call from school and they say he is violating the regime. She laughs. Then sounds perplexed. Its really funny to hear these terms but the reality[ is] I dont know what to do.

At the very least, she reasons, she can lead by example. Growing up, Alyokhina, whose mothers were mathematicians( her father was an academic ), recollects asking what they did to fight repression in 1970 s Russia. They didnt have an answer, she says. I know that my son will be 20 or 25 someday and he will ask me, as well, what I was doing. And I want to have an answer.

Pussy Riot have just joined the lineup for Dark Mofo 2017 held in Hobart, Tasmania from 8-21 June along with GAIKA( UK ), LE1F( USA ), Nai Palm and more .

Riot Days, by Maria Alyokhina , is released this September

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Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi ad criticized for co-opting protest movements for profit

The commercial-grade, in which current realities TV whiz uses a sugary beverage to soothe tension between demonstrators and police, is exiting viral for all the incorrect reasons

Pepsi faced a backlash on Tuesday after releasing an ad in which world TV whiz and example Kendall Jenner uses a can of the sugary beverage as a peace offering to police during a protest.

The ad has been criticised for seemingly co-opting the resistance movement while framing a privileged, white-hot 21 -year-old supermodel with a can of soda as a pacifier between civil rights activists and police.

The two-and-a-half minute ad, soundtracked by Bob Marleys grandson Skip Marley, shows the Obstructing up with the Kardashians star walking out of a photo shoot decked in double denim to connect a complain where breakdancing and headscarf-wearing activists of all ethnicities carry mansions suffering peacefulnes represents and messages like connect the conversation and love.

As the rally contacts a line of police officers, its impossible not to be considered the murderous clashes between activists and police in the aftermath of several killings of unarmed people of color and the use of excessive force at recent demonstrates, includes the pepper spraying of Black Lives Matter backers.

No need to worry, however, as Kendall Jenner picks up a can of liquid corporate America and approaches the menacing line and hands it to the most photogenic polouse. Its a clear gesture to iconic complain likeness such as the serene woman at Baton Rouge following the lethal shooting of Alton Sterling by police and the anti-Vietnam struggle flower power protester residence carnations in rifles.

The

The Pepsi ad makes a visual similarity to this image of Leshia Evans as she is charged by riot police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Photo: Jonathan Bachman/ AP
But the police officer does not pepper spraying or film unarmed Jenner. Instead, he pauses for a moment before accepting the peace offering and opening the can of soda. The minute is captured by a hijab-wearing photographer, who emerges awed by Kendalls radical deed of fortitude. The mob becomes wild, Jenner has clearly regenerated peacefulnes and right to America. Finally, thanks to her and Pepsi, all is good in the world.

On Tuesday night, Pepsi said in a statement: This is a global ad that reflects parties from different feet of life grouped together in a tone of peace, and we think thats its significant meaning to convey.

At the time of writing, Pepsi was the top trending topic on Twitter for all of the incorrect reasons.

Ashley C. Ford (@ iSmashFizzle)

Y’all gonna sit here and act like MLK Jr. and Michael Jackson didn’t intent the LA Riots with a can of Pepsi, a catwalk, and a blonde wig?

April 4, 2017

reggie (@ 1942 bs)

I AM SCREAMING pic.twitter.com/ 3aWFdvmz5j

April 4, 2017

David Weiner (@ daweiner)

pic.twitter.com/ RQDv2lO 4w3

April 4, 2017

Karen Civil (@ KarenCivil)

If they are would have given the policemen a Pepsi .. pic.twitter.com/ gu1axy5Egv

April 4, 2017

Reality Inc (@ RealityInc)

Has anyone done this yet with the Kendall Jenner @Pepsi ad? pic.twitter.com/ 7naCKly6WH

April 4, 2017

Zito (@ _Zeets)

“Kendall please! Give him a Pepsi! ” pic.twitter.com/ IntFNmCpTr

April 4, 2017

Its not the first time that a sugary boozing brand has tried to capitalize on a meaning of peace and adoration at the scheduled time of complain. Coca-Colas 1971 Hilltop ad, made during the Vietnam War and immortalized in the Mad Men finale, pitched Coke as some kind of splendid unifying beverage.

Curated from: http :// www.theguardian.com/ us

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