Auditi Guha is the race and justice reporter for Rewire. She has uncovered corruption, injustice, discrimination and fielded death threats in her career from India to Boston. She most recently worked at The Standard-Times in New Bedford and was previously a crime reporter for The Cambridge Chronicle and Somerville Journal where she was one of 12 national Guggenheim criminal justice fellows in New York in 2012. Formerly a food blogger and beat reporter at several Massachusetts weeklies, Guha has won several awards from the New England Newspaper & Press Association (NENPA). She has a master’s degree in journalism from Emerson College, is founding member of the Boston chapter of the South Asian Journalists Association (SAJA) and a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. Her work has appeared in the The Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Huffington Post and Associated Press, among other publications.
Following on the heels of a successful campaign to bail out more than 100 Black women last month, about 25 organizations around the country are now seeking to bail out Black fathers and LGBTQ and gender-nonconforming people.
“With the passage of this bill, every community with a police force will become potential collateral damage for a vision of America painted by racists,” said Ashley Yates, a Black Lives Matter organizer.
It seems like common sense that women of color are the best suited to articulate solutions to the issues that directly affect them and their communities, but that doesn’t mean they’re centered in conversations among lawmakers about those issues.
Racial justice organizations have worked with public defenders, communities of color, and faith or spiritual institutions to bail out Black mamas, some of whom are queer, trans, immigrants, and/or disabled.
“One thing is clearer than ever—the fight for women’s equality is inextricably linked to realizing the needs of immigrant women and women of color,” stated the authors of Trump’s First 100 Days: Immigrant Women and Families on the Frontlines.
The coalition, dubbed The Majority, "will be taking action across the country to not only challenge local government to expand their definition of sanctuary, but to divest from community institutions, such as policing, that undermine the dignity of Black people."
“Racism is systemic and no university is truly exempt from that," one 18-year-old Hofstra University student told Rewire. "It’s clear that this is happening because a lot of closeted bigots now see no reason to remain closeted."
The list of cases compiled by the “Why Cops Shoot” report shows that in many cases, the victims were unarmed, running away, or shot in the back. This is a pattern seen time and again across the United States.
“I think there has been a long struggle to dignify wages for Black and brown people. If we are not paying all people enough to lead full lives then we are thwarting democracy,” said Kayla Reed with the Movement for Black Lives.
“There are some that would falsely claim that low-income communities would rather be tracked by AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon in order to get discounts online than have their constitutional right to privacy protected—but that's utterly ridiculous and insulting,” said Malkia Cyril, executive director at the Center for Media Justice.
“The racist implications of social media surveillance technology are not surprising," said Nicole Ozer of the ACLU of Northern California. "We know that when law enforcement gets to conceal the use of surveillance technology, they also get to conceal its misuse."
“This movement has evolved into a powerful global phenomenon highlighting the necessity to respect Indigenous Nations and their right to protect their homelands, environment and future generations. Now it’s time to take this to the doors of the White House.”
“The City of Memphis is declaring war on its lowest paid workers, most of whom are black,” said Edie Love, a leadership member of Standing Up For Racial Justice Memphis. “It appears Memphis and its Police Department are still stuck in the days of Jim Crow.”
“Illegally forcing this project through is an obvious example of corruption as well as a gross violation of Indigenous rights, a direct threat to peoples' water, and a denial of climate science," said Kendall Mackey, a Keep it in the Ground campaigner with 350.org. "Trump is putting people and water at risk in order to line the pockets of the fossil fuel industry."
It is “an undisputed fact” that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and Flint “failed or refused to use corrosion control," according to a class action lawsuit filed against the Environmental Protection Agency.
Filed by the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, the filing states the underlying intention of Trump’s order is “to initiate the mass expulsion of immigrant and non-immigrant Muslims lawfully residing in the United States … based solely on their religious beliefs.”
“Make no mistake: resistance to the toxic Keystone XL pipeline will only grow stronger. We will mobilize, fight back, and resist the Keystone XL pipeline,” said Indigenous Environmental Network organizer Dallas Goldtooth.
“From defunding ‘sanctuary cities’ to expanding detention centers for undocumented immigrants to ordering a ban on refugees and immigrants from Muslim-majority countries, Trump is moving forward with a plot against America, selling off American values just so he and his friends can make a buck," said Rashad Robinson, executive director of Color Of Change.
"Trump took the oath, but he didn't take the steps necessary to ensure that he and his family’s business interests comply with the Constitution and other federal statutes,” said Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union.
States across the country are proposing new measures that will increase penalties for protesters who picket or block roadways and will decrease liability for motorists who hit an activist engaged in a protest.
As the nation is on the verge of inaugurating a president who many have called openly racist for his cabinet picks and his campaign rhetoric against marginalized groups, the Movement for Black Lives has mobilized for a #Resist&Reclaim week of direct action.
Karina Petri, founder of Project Flint, said grassroots organizations like hers are struggling to find a voice for residents who have given up, some of whom have gone back to using the tainted water because they no longer care about the health consequences.
A report from the investigative news organization 100Reporters throws light on complaints of a parent sexually or physically abusing a child being routinely rejected at family courts around the country.
“This isn't the end of the fight by a long shot, but it's a brief respite between battles and a sign of how far we've come thanks to the indigenous leadership and water protectors at Standing Rock," said water protector Andy Pearson in a Facebook post. "Let's celebrate and reflect and keep fighting."
Faced with dropping temperatures and continuing opposition, some water protectors provided food and warm clothes for law enforcement. “We are dropping off donations because we are self-sufficient and we still respond with love and compassion in the face of all their brutality,” said one demonstrator.
“Americans are united around our desire for a better future for our kids and an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top,” said Betty Douglas, a McDonald’s worker from St. Louis, Missouri, in a conference call last week announcing the action.
About 400 protesters in North Dakota faced officers from the Morton County Sheriff’s Department in a standoff Sunday night. By midnight, there were reportedly more than 160 injured, including a 13-year-old hit in the face and two people who suffered cardiac arrests.
“We’ve argued that they are not doing enough to proactively monitor employment practices and mandates, which have an impact on outcome, and now we fear they may do even less,” Rinku Sen, executive director of Race Forward, said of the federal government.
“Women of color-led coalitions are coming together in the first 100 hours after electing a new president to support an agenda for Black lives, immigrants, Muslims, Latinas … against rape culture and a sexist, racist, xenophobic policy,” said Agunda Okeyo, an activist, organizer, and African immigrant in New York City.
Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and Washington passed ballot initiatives Tuesday to increase the minimum wage. And in South Dakota, voters rejected a measure to decrease the minimum wage for workers under 18.
"What is unfolding before our eyes is a systematic process of cultural mutilation and annihilation of land and land rights, a policy that has been enforced for hundreds of years by the colonizing forces around the globe," said Reshmi Dutt-Ballerstadt, a professor of postcolonial literature at Linfield College.
"Our hope is that the next president will focus more attention on youth incarceration so that these often overlooked members of society get the fair shot at opportunity that all Americans deserve," said Liz Ryan, president and CEO of Youth First.
The latest confrontation comes less than a week after more than 80 people were arrested in the months-long standoff over activists' occupation of land that was recently purchased by the pipeline developer, but which tribal leaders claim is treaty land.
Jesse Hagopian, a history teacher at Garfield High School and one of the lead organizers of the Black Lives Matter effort, told Rewire it is hard to put into words how “huge and impactful” the action was.
Kandi Mossett, an activist who grew up on a reservation in North Dakota and has been fighting the Dakota Access pipeline there, told Rewire, “We don’t need a report to tell us what we have known for decades. We’ve been talking about it long before these reports. If you want to know the truth, ask us.”
Civil rights advocates have long maintained that excessive police force negatively affects communities of color. A study published this year found that Black Americans report crime less often after police violence in their communities.
“It's disappointing that the Department of Justice wants to get serious about data collection and reporting with about 100 days left in this administration,” said Kanya Bennett, legislative counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union.
“Visiting the epicenter of the current movement and not speaking about police brutality, militarization, systemic racism was a clear choice—a shun that seeks to disregard the power of the movement and the plight of oppressed persons in this nation," said Ashley Yates, an early on-the-ground organizer in Ferguson originally from St. Louis, in an email to Rewire.