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We use direct actions to interrupt the status quo and bring awareness to key issues and different forms of state violence affecting the root causes of the plight of black and brown people around the world.,


We stand against the many forms of state violence: police killings, mass incarceration, poverty and others.  We stand for justice for Tony Robinson and ALL Black lives lost at the hands of the state. We stand for community and self determination. We will not stop until we are free.

Lew Blank

YGB raising awareness and building community

Lew Blank

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This July, the Oregon legislature passed a bill that would charge first-time users of small amounts of heroin, cocaine, and MDMA with misdemeanors instead of felonies, a major advancement in the fight to soften punishments on drugs.


The goal of this initiative is to remove resources from mass incarceration and reallocate them towards restorative and effective drug treatment, a process that will reduce both mass incarceration and racial disparities in jails, as drug-related charges are much more likely to be inflicted upon people of color. In the words of Oregon Senator Jackie Winters, “we are trying to move policy towards treatment rather than prison beds.”


Non-violent drug offenders are people, not criminals, and by giving them strategies to eliminate their addiction instead of locking them in cages, we can actually attack the root of the problem. It’s also noteworthy the economic effects of a felony charge can be causes of substance abuse themselves. This is especially true without access to housing and employment, as poverty can often be a cause of drug addiction.


We must support Oregon’s effort to decrease punishments on non-violent drug offenders and stand for even more radical steps to shift our criminal justice system from punishment to rehabilitation. Here in Madison, we must fight for the same goal until we see a Madison community where people of color are given help - not jail time - for possession of drugs.

Dear YGB Community,

Tonight, we will gather to attend a public hearing and speak out against the new Dane County Jail proposal. There, we will be able to register and testify against the new jail proposal and make our voices heard by Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney and a host of Dane County Supervisors.

To learn more about how the proposed new Dane County Jail will expand solitary confinement, please click here:

Come to register and/or testify:
Today (Wednesday, July 12) at 6pm
Fitchburg Community Center (5510 Lacy Rd. in Fitchburg)

If you cannot attend the public hearing tonight at 6pm, please contact your Dane County Supervisors by clicking on this link:

We know that mental health and economic resources are the solution to the problems we face in our community - not new jails. That's why Mead and Hunt's proposal to expand the Dane County Jail is so disastrous. Not only would the new jail cost $100 million in taxpayer dollars, but it would expand the inhumane practice of solitary confinement. There are still no signs that this proposal will attempt to downsize the jail or take steps to end Madison's long history of mass incarcerating its Black population.

That's why we must resist the new jail proposal and urge the city to end solitary confinement - not expand it.

On Wednesday, June 21, the Wisconsin State Assembly passed an anti-heckling law with a vote of 61-35 and zero Democratic votes. Proposed by Assembly Republicans, the law will crack down on heckling and protests against speakers on Wisconsin campuses, threatening those who resist such speakers with harsh punishments like expulsion.


Although the bill claims to protect free speech, it actually infringes on it. Of course, if there is someone in the crowd that is attempting to violently or permanently silence a speaker from getting his or her word out, security personnel should be allowed to intervene to allow the speaker to convey his or her message. But shouts, chants, rallies, and boos that allow the speaker to speak but also make it clear that his or her message will be countered with resistance should not only be permitted, but encouraged. Verbal disagreement is vital to having an open discussion and a functioning democracy in general, and it's only fair that dissenting opinions have a voice too - not just the dominant narrative.


Of course, speakers should have the right to have their voice heard on campus. But protesters should have the same First Amendment right to resist. People with conservative opinions should be allowed to speak, but dissidents should have the same right to oppose and resist their arguments. The heckling bill fails to make this vital distinction, and that’s what makes it a disastrous piece of legislation.

Support YGB when you purchase Kindred.


Kindred by Octavia Butler begins when a twenty-six year old woman is celebrating her 26th birthday in California in the 1970s, but suddenly she is kidnapped from her home and whisked away to the South. There, she finds herself in a time period over 150 years earlier - 1815 - the times of the slaves. This science fiction novel delves deep into the racial climate then and now.


Support YGB when you purchase Kindred with the Amazon link below.

If you would like to see our entire list of book recommendations, please click here.


From Nino Rodriguez:




Community members have questions, and want answers!

Why are Dane County’s elected officials about to spend $99 million to more than doublethe jail's capacityto cage people—mostly Black people—in solitary confinement?


The conclusion that the jail proposal will drastically increase the capacity to cage people —especially Black people—in solitary confinement is based on a careful review of the floor plans and cell descriptions in the old Option 1 plan, as adjusted by the new Option 3 plan.

The following are key questions that community members need answered, along with the best answers currently available:



Q: What is “solitary confinement”?

A: Caging a person, isolated, without meaningful social interaction, more than 22 hours per day.



Q: In the current jail, how many cells are used for solitary confinement?

A: 44 cells, according to the Sheriff’s Office, as of July 2015. See page 3:



Q: In the new jail proposal, how many cells are designed to hold one person?

A: 114 cells are “single cells” designed for single occupancy.



Q: Will the new jail cells’ doors eliminate bars, which have been a safety hazard?

A: Yes, all new cells will have solid doors. This means that all 114 single cells could be used for solitary confinement because the doors can be completely sealed.



Q: How many new cells are designedto be used for solitary confinement?

A: At least 50 of the new cells are designed for isolation, with high-security doors, and slots for food. These cells are designed to isolate people as much as possible, including during meals. Additionally, there are at least four "safety cells" with “rubberized” surfaces, but no sink or toilet.



Q: Who will be most impacted by this increase in solitary confinement?

A: Black men and women. 72% of people in “segregation” in June 2015 were Black people; see: In the new jail design, female areas have proportionally more single cells.



Q: Didn’t the County Board commit to reducing the use of solitary confinement?

A: Yes, Resolution 556 stated “BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the County Board supports... eliminating or reducing solitary confinement.” See page 11:



Q: What can community members do to stop solitary confinement?

A: Demand that Dane County elected officials immediately stop all jail construction plans, and instead make a significant capital budget investment in planning effective jail alternatives, such as transitional housing, a restoration center, and community-based mental wellness facilities.

Support YGB when you purchase Octavia’s Brood.


Octavia’s Brood by Walidah Imarisha explores the connection between fiction - be it sci fi, fantasy, or horror - and actual movements for social change against war, prisons, and capitalism. Says Jeff Chang, the author of Who We Be, to summarize the book, “our job begins with speculative fictions that fire society's imagination and its desire for change.”


Support YGB when you purchase Octavia’s Brood with the Amazon link below.


If you would like to see our entire list of book recommendations, please click here.

Dear YGB Community,

We're grateful for your support in helping YGB attend the WiLD Organization and Leadership training. There, we'll strengthen our capacity to meet Black needs, Build Collective Analysis, and Advocate for real solutions. If you haven't already, please find out how you can support and share at

In the meantime, please show up and show out to the following July events.


Protest Paul Ryan

Friday, July 7, 11:30am - Sheraton Madison (706 John Nolen Dr)

On Friday, Paul Ryan will be receiving an award from the Boy Scouts of America at the Sheraton Madison. Be there at 11:30am to protest. More info here.

Emergency Rally Against the Muslim Ban
Friday, July 7, 6pm - Corner of Howell and Layton in Milwaukee

This Friday, nearby the Milwaukee airport, we will gather to protest the Supreme Court’s devastating and xenophobic decision to push forward parts of Trump’s de facto Muslim Ban. More info here.

5th Annual Love Water Not Oil Tour
Sunday, July 9, 6pm - Majestic Madison (115 King St)

This year, the Love Water Not Oil tour will come to Madison, featuring Nahko, Annie Humphrey, and more in a concert with a powerful message. More info here.

Mass U.S. Imprisonment: Then and Now
Tuesday, July 11 - From 2-4pm at Fountain of Life Covenant Church (633 Badger Rd) and 6-8pm at First Unitarian Society (900 University Bay Dr)

Sam Mihara is a former prisoner at Heart Mountain Camp in Wyoming, one of America’s racist Japanese internment camps. On July 11, Mihara will speak about mass incarceration, one of the few people former internment prisoners to speak about the experience.

Reception: Faces of Incarceration
Saturday, July 22, 6pm - Overture Center (201 State St)

The artists of Atwood Atelier in Madison have spent hours studying the faces of those who have been incarcerated and have recreated them on canvas to encourage compassion and empathy for the formerly incarcerated. View this powerful exhibition in the Overture Center and, at 8pm, listen to a panel discussion featuring formerly incarcerated participants and criminal justice experts. More info here.

Support YGB when you purchase How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America.


How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others In America by Kiese Laymon is a fictional novel that details Laymon’s personal story with contemporary American life in Mississippi. It touches on a wide variety of topics including family, race, violence, music, and writing.


Support YGB when you purchase How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others In America with the Amazon link below.


If you would like to see our entire list of book recommendations, please click here.



Support YGB when you purchase The Bluest Eye.


The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison is a fiction book about a young Black girl who prays every day for beauty. She is told by her white peers that beauty requires blonde hair, blue eyes, and light skin, but throughout the book she must learn to love and appreciate her Black skin, curly hair, and brown eyes. This book is Morrison’s powerful message about the perils of white beauty standards that proliferate today’s media.

Support YGB when you purchase The Bluest Eye with the Amazon link below.

If you would like to see our entire list of book recommendations, please click here.



The following is a message from Amelia Royko Maurer.


Dear All -  
Our alders need your support.
Did you know, for a civilian to have a chance of successfully filing a complaint with the police and fire commission it would cost them between $30,000 and $60,000?  The Council has introduced new ordinance to make the PFC process accessible to all people by reimbursing legal fees for those who file successful complaints and It isn’t too late to help them.  Please write your alder as soon as possible.  
Chief Koval, Dan Frei (Madison Police Union President) and Alder Skidmore are misrepresenting this proposed ordinance as one that would allow the council to veto PFC decisions (not possible under current state law) and would encourage people to file frivolous complaints with the PFC and therefore deter officers from applying to MPD.  This accusation is, once again, absurd.  Currently, it costs a civilian anywhere from $30,000-$60,000 in attorney’s fees to go through the whole PFC process.  Under the proposed legislation, if their complaint is dismissed, they pay their attorney fees.  Does Chief Koval really think someone is going to assume that financial risk with a frivolous complaint?  And any officer that would not apply to MPD for fear of being held accountable or because it upsets them that a civilian with a legitimate complaint would be reimbursed their attorney fees isn’t a cop we want in the first place.   
In reality, this proposed ordinance would make the PFC accessible to people who have legitimate complaints.  It's still a big risk for the civilian but the policy makes the process a bit more fair.   Additionally, this policy just reaffirms the council’s statutory power to use their discretion on reimbursing a police or fire chief.  If the chief is found to have committed a violation as charged in a PFC complaint, the council may use their discretion on whether or not to reimburse attorney fees for that charge.  They already have this statutory power but they are wanting to add it the city rules.
Can you help support the council in passing this ordinance? 
Goal: Make filing a legitimate complaint with the Police and Fire Commission affordable and accessible to all people.
Action: Please write This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and include your full address in the email body.  Thank you!
Letter Template:
Dear Alders, 
Please make the PFC process accessible to people of all means and support the ordinance put forth by sponsors Shiva Bidar-Sielaff, Maurice S. Cheeks, Denise DeMarb, Rebecca Kemble, Larry Palm, Matthew J. Phair, Marsha A. Rummel, Ledell Zellers that includes:
1. Reimbursement of legal fees for civilians who successfully file a police and fire commission complaint against an officer.
2. Reimbursement of city employees who successfully defend themselves against a complaint and by successful we mean he or she is fully exonerated, if the charges are dismissed (for any reason), or if the complaint is otherwise withdrawn or discontinued. 
3. If the City employee or official is successful as defined herein, but the PFC found some violation of a legal standard (such as a code of conduct) by the City employee or official, the Council may make a reasonable adjustment in the reimbursement for such findings. 
4. Similarly, if the employee or official is successful on some charges but not others, the Council may make a reasonable adjustment in the fees and costs to be reimbursed. 
Please include and vote in favor of these proposals/observations as well:
5. Court Actions. This ordinance does not apply to any proceedings in court, reimbursement for which will continue to be considered under existing state law and any agreements with employee associations. If a court reverses or modifies any ruling of the PFC, the Council may consider such a decision in determining whether to reimburse for all proceedings before the PFC. 
6. Request for Reimbursement. A separate resolution shall be introduced upon the conclusion of matters before the PFC, providing for reimbursement for any person under this ordinance. The separate resolution is needed to determine if the person qualifies under this ordinance and to appropriate the funds for reimbursement. 
7. Authority. This ordinance is adopted pursuant to the authority granted under Wis. Stats. §§ 62.09(7)(e), 62.11(5) and 895.35. The Council is determining that it will reimburse under the circumstances set forth in this ordinance. In all circumstances not covered by this ordinance, the Council retains the rights to reimburse or not reimburse as provided by state law.” 
Section 6.18 entitled “Reimbursement of Legal Fees Before the Police and Fire Commission” of the Madison General Ordinances is created to read as follows: 
• The Fire Department employees including the Fire Chief are covered by the reimbursement standards of Sec. 5.15, MGO.” 
• Resolution RES-16-00697 (Legistar # 44195), the City of Madison Police and Fire Chiefs Reimbursement Policy, is hereby repealed. 


YGB needs your voice in order to get an investigation by the United Nations as we elevate the conversation of of racial disparities in Madison and fight for justice for Tony Robinson, the unarmed black teen murdered at the hands of officer Matt Kenny of the Madison Police Department  



YGB demands that Matt Kenny, the murderer of Tony Robinson, be fired. Far to often are killer cops left unpunished, and we want Kenny off the streets.



The Young Gifted and Black Coalition is a circle of young leaders determined to end state violence and raise the voice of communities of color. We are young Black Women, Queer Folks, Straight Folks and Feminist Men who are fighting for Black Liberation. Our focus is on the low income black communities that our core members call home. 




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