Protests Work: Minneapolis Police Defunding Begins and More

Democracy happens in the streets.

Every single person who has supported the Black Lives Matter movement, or has shown support for social justice in a direct way, has helped make change happen in America. The conversation about racist police and blatant police brutality is getting more attention now than ever before; subsequently the idea of defunding the police has reached more people.

This week Minneapolis has started the process of defunding their police. It’ll years, but it’s started. Other successes from the past couple of weeks can be found in corporate America with IBM no longer offering general purpose facial recognition or analysis software to track people (they realized it entrenches bias and racism).

The current pressure on government and racists is working in the USA keep it up!

Go out there and protest, support the protesters, and have conversations with your friends! Just remember to be safe, wear a mask, and stay physically part to not spread COVID.

“We are going to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department,” tweeted Council Member Jeremiah Ellison on June 4, pledging to “dramatically rethink” the city’s approach to emergency response. In a TIME op-ed published the next day, Council Member Steve Fletcher cited the MPD’s lengthy track record of misconduct and “decades-long history of violence and discrimination”—all of which are subjects of an ongoing Minnesota Department of Human Rights investigation—as compelling justifications for the department’s disbandment. “We can resolve confusion over a $20 grocery transaction without drawing a weapon or pulling out handcuffs,” Fletcher wrote.

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Unsure of what defunding is about? Read on:

Is dismantling different from defunding?

Dismantling implies abolition of the current structure. Defunding refers to shaving the budget.

Behind both is the idea of shifting resources from a paramilitary police force to education and social services with the aim of reducing socioeconomic disparities.

What would replace the police?

The idea generally would be to have a social services-based approach, possibly using the fire department to handle drug overdose calls, health care and social services professionals to tend to mental health matters instead of militaristic, uniformed officers with guns.

But even the council members who want to dismantle the police aren’t yet articulating detailed agreement on a new approach.

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Protesting Works

protest

Democracy is messy and in order for it to function many voices need to be heard, when some groups can’t be heard they peacefully take to the streets. Despite a history of protesting for a good cause resulting in beneficial societal change there are people who doubt the efficacy of such movements. There is a long history of groups getting together and rallying behind a common cause which we take for granted today, like weekends and liberty. Given what is happening this week in the USA it’s high time we all show our support (in a non COVID-19 spreading way) for those fighting for human rights and eradicating racism.

In 1911, 146 workers were killed by a fire in an unsafe factory. At the time, workers often dealt with extremely hazardous working conditions. The tragedy prompted a march on New York’s Fifth Avenue of nearly 80,000 people. This march helped to pass new laws to ensure workplace safety and helped the growing union movement. This eventually led to laws that we still use today, like the minimum wage requirement and the right to collectively bargain as a union.

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Amazon Workers Protest How Amazon Treats the Amazon

happy workers in a factory

Amazon’s growth has been surprising to many, and their reach into markets seems endless. This expansion means they can greatly influence markets and the global environment. Companies like IKEA are trying to make their systems more efficient so they harm the environment less, and this eco-strategy is gaining popularity amongst other responsible companies. Amazon has done nothing.

The company’s environmental neglect is being noticed by everyone including their employees. And unlike the executives at Amazon, the workers are sick of the company’s negligence.

Employees at Amazon have increasingly criticized the company in recent years for its contracts with large oil and gas firms. In spring 2019, more than 8,700 employees signed an open letter to the CEO, Jeff Bezos, urging him to take bolder action on climate change. The presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have also offered support of employees for speaking out.

The employee activism is part of a broader trend in the tech industry of employee walkouts and protests against corporate policies. Google workers staged internal protests over sexual harassment policies in 2018 that continued into 2019 and gig workers at Instacart and Uber have organized strikes to fight for better pay and benefits. In June 2019, workers at the online furnishings retailer Wayfair walked off the job to oppose the company’s contracts with detention centers for immigrants.

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Global Climate Strike Starts Strong

The climate crisis has gotten out of hand. Young people have seen the science and are terrified that they’re inheriting a dead planet killed by their parents and grandparents. Obviously the trajectory the planet’s ecosystem is on is a bad one – and it’s all out fault. It’s now time to own up to our mistakes and correct our errors. This is the time to speak up and tell everyone that a dead planet isn’t what you want. Millions around the world are doing this just that and it’s not too late to join the movement!

Today is just the start, the strike lasts for a week and will culminate in mass action next Friday. Join in the action!

Our house is on fire. The climate crisis is an emergency but we’re not acting like it. People everywhere are at risk if we let oil, coal and gas companies continue to pour more fuel on the fire. Our hotter planet is already hurting millions of people. If we don’t act now to transition fairly and swiftly away from fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy access for all, the injustice of the climate crisis will only get worse.  We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart.  But it’s going to take all of us working together to succeed. Join the Climate Strikes starting on September 20 – three days out from the UN’s climate emergency summit and continuing on September 27.   Millions of us will walk out from home, work, school or university to declare a climate emergency and show our politicians what action in line with climate science and justice means. The climate crisis won’t wait, so neither will we.

Join in!

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