The first thing I have to say is thank you. More than 140,00 people — including you — have signed my petition to help save the life of my friend Andrea Sloan.
Andrea is in desperate need of a new cancer drug made by pharmaceutical company BioMarin, but they say she’s “not eligible” for any of their current trials. Andrea needs access to the drug under a “compassionate use” program, and because of our petition, it’s looking like that could really happen.
Just last week, a leaked internal email from BioMarin proved that they are taking this petition seriously and really considering helping Andrea.
We are so close to getting Andrea the medicine she needs. She has dedicated her life to helping others — I know we can do what it takes to help her.
Lake Dallas, TX
|Black literature is under attack.Demand Randolph County reverse its ban on Invisible Man at tonight’s meeting.|
It took just one letter from an angry parent to convince a North Carolina school district to remove Ralph Ellison‘s Invisible Man from school libraries in the county. A short board meeting prompted by a single letter — describing one of the most significant pieces of Black literature in American history as “filthy” — was all that five members of the Randolph County Board of Education needed to feel justified in voting to ban the novel last week.1 It’s just the kind of quiet injustice — and officially-sanctioned bias — that happens behind closed doors in towns across the country all of the time. But this time, we have an opportunity to push back.
Just days after Randolph’s decision made national headlines, the school board called an emergency special meeting for tonight regarding the ban.2 If a couple of bad press hits is enough to make Randolph reconsider, imagine how powerful thousands of our voices can be.
This isn’t the first time in recent months that books by Black authors depicting American racism have been attacked. Earlier this month, the president of the Ohio Board of Education called Toni Morrison‘s The Bluest Eye “pornographic.”3 And in July, a Detroit-area school district came under fire for dumping a collection of over 10,000 volumes of invaluable Black books and artifacts.4 Enough is enough.
Banning Black stories not only alienates Black students, it denies all students the opportunity to engage with and discuss important themes like racial enmity in society and the development of personal identity. For elected officials concerned with the education of our young people, it’s particularly perverse that Randolph’s school board failed to recognize the irony of banning a book that’s about silencing critical voices and the ways in which racist culture restricts individuals from reaching their full human potential.
Thanks and Peace,
–Rashad, Arisha, Matt, Kim, Hannah, Johnny and the rest of the ColorOfChange team.
September 25th, 2013
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1. “Invisible Man Banned: Ralph Ellison’s Landmark Novel Banned From School Libraries,” Huffington Post, 09-19-13
2. “Board to reconsider its ‘Invisible Man’ ban,” Asheboro Courier-Tribune, 09-20-13
3. “ACLU to Ohio schools leader: Toni Morrison’s ‘The Bluest Eye’ not porn,” News Channel 5, 09-12-13
4. “Discarded Black history books incite protests in Detroit,” Amsterdam News, 08-10-13
Yesterday, a group of courageous people just like you were arrested in the belly of the beast: TransCanada’s U.S. headquarters in Houston, Texas. These were mothers, fathers, grandfathers, great grandmothers, scientists, and teachers who staged a peaceful sit-in with a clear message: No Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
At RAN we have a policy never to ask you to take an action, online or offline, that we don’t believe will make a strategic difference and have an impact that is worth your time. What I’m about to ask you to do might be one of the most important political acts you take this year.
Right now President Obama and his State Department are weighing their decision on whether this disastrous dirty energy pipeline is in our national interest. Our job must be to show enough opposition to the pipeline to ensure the president stands on the right side of this historical moment. That’s why we need you to join those standing up against Keystone XL in protest.
More than 75,000 people, including many of you, have signed RAN, Other 98% and CREDO’s Pledge of Resistance to the Keystone XL pipeline—pledging to participate in peaceful civil disobedience, to risk arrest if necessary, to stop this dangerous tar sands pipeline.
This is our next big step in the Pledge of Resistance together. This summer, after months of hard work and organizing, more than 400 volunteers have stepped up to lead acts of dignified protest in towns and cities across the country.
To be clear, this is a serious request of your time, your passion and, potentially, your liberty. We’re asking now because it’s critical.
These actions are coming together because of months of work by literally hundreds of people. A group of seasoned direct action organizers built a training curriculum and traveled to cities around the country to teach people like you how to plan and lead a safe, strategic sit-in. Hundreds of activists stepped up to attend these rigorous two-day weekend trainings, and then went home to put that training into action. Now we’re asking: Will you join them?
The dates for these local actions have not been set, but the dates of action trainings have. We’re asking everyone to get in touch with local action leaders so we can prepare for action now and are ready to respond if President Obama signals his intention to approve the pipeline. That is our most strategic window to have the biggest impact.
Soon after you sign up for an action, you’ll be contacted by your local action leader, who will send out a time for your group to meet in person, get trained up, and move forward to put together everything you will need for a local sit-in action. There will be roles for everyone: those risking arrest and those not risking arrest.
The location for these actions will be relevant to your town. Likely locations will be: Administration buildings like State Department, EPA and Federal offices, oil industry contractor offices, and branches of TD Bank, a major investor in tar sands development.
P.S. Got questions? Check out http://nokxl.org/why-pledge-resistance/.
Speaking as one could get more done
By Sean Murphy
The recent failure of a bid to get countervailing shrimp duties in the United States shows foreign exporters are as powerful as ever. If the domestic industry wants to fight back, moves toward regionalization may be the best way to get what it needs from Washington.
Dr. Susan Marshall
The Science Group Leader for Processing and Marine Products at The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Limited talks about the exciting opportunities for New Zealand seafood bi-products in the nutraceutical industry. Marshall will be one of the featured speakers at the New Zealand Seafood Industry Conference on 1 October.