December 15, 2013

ALEC exposed

by Brian Washington


Sign the petition and tell ALEC to stop cashing in on kids! CLICK HERE ›
Local reporters across the nation are starting to ask questions about the American Legislative Exchange Council(ALEC) following a report last week that the conservative, right-wing group, known for promoting the agenda of rich fat cats over the rights of American workers, is facing some serious financial troubles.
Reporters are also taking a closer look at the State Policy Network (SPN), a web of local affiliates that promote themselves as independent “think tanks” but, in reality, are really some of the most active members and largest sponsors of ALEC.
ALEC and SPN squash democracy by scheming with corporate CEOs and right-wing, conservative politicians to push its “model legislation” in state legislatures across the country. However, the media is starting to catch on. Check out some of the negative press ALEC and SPN are generating across the country:
Some of the policies that undermine middle-class families and shortchange students that are being promoted by ALEC and SPN include legislation that would do the following:
  • Privatize public education
  • Deny workers a voice on the job
  • Defund public services; and
  • Disenfranchise communities of color.
Last week, a large group of protesters rallied in support of students, working families, and public education outside the Grand Hyatt hotel in Washington, DC, the site where ALEC held its annual meeting.
Check out the topic page on Education Votes dedicated to ALEC, where you can learn more about ALEC and SPN, including how both are working to drive more students into poverty and rob them of the chance to get a quality public education.
TAKE ACTION:  If journalists in your area have not reported on ALEC and its destructive, corporate agenda, call them up and find out why.

December 5, 2013

Amnesty International

Imagine being imprisoned for voicing a New Year's Eve wish for peace and democracy.

That was one of the reasons Ethiopian authorities sentenced iconic dissident journalist Eskinder Nega to 18-years in prison on charges of terrorism and treason.

Free speech is not a crime - it's a human right. Help us defend it. 

Join Amnesty in calling for Eskinder Nega's immediate and unconditional release.

Eskinder is one of 10 urgent human rights cases highlighted in Amnesty International's 2013 Write for Rights campaign, the world's largest and most effective letter-writing event.

Every day that Eskinder and other journalists remain imprisoned, the dark cloud of oppression in his country grows more menacing. 

Eskinder and his family have endured arrest and harassment from authorities for years. In 2006 and 2007, Eskinder and his wife, Serkalem Fasil, along with 129 other journalists, opposition politicians and activists, were detained and tried on treason charges in connection with protests following the 2005 election. 

Serkalem gave birth to their son Nafkot while in prison. 

Show solidarity with Eskinder and Serkalem - raise your voice to defend theirs.

The crackdown on free speech in Ethiopia has intensified since early 2011 - a number of journalists have been imprisoned on trumped-up charges of treason and terrorism while others have fled the country to avoid jail time. Newspapers have been closed down and last year, printers were ordered to remove any content that may be considered illegal by the government. 

The independent media, and freedom of expression itself, has been dismantled in Ethiopia. Eskinder has been prosecuted at least 8 times for his journalism. His words have done no harm. His writings are a lawful expression of his human rights. 

Free speech needs more champions today. Be one of them.

In solidarity, 

Jasmine Heiss
Campaigner, Individuals and Communities at Risk
Amnesty International USA

PS - Write for Rights is about writing letters and connecting people who care about human rights. Chances are, there is a Write for Rights event happening near you. You can host your own event (public or private) or attend one in your area - sign up now to Write for Rights!