While none of us have been looking, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been quietly rolling back provisions that help combat racism and discrimination.
The Justice Department’s most recent move is to cut 25 “guidance provisions,” many issued during the Obama Administration. These deregulatory rollbacks were instated on December 21 and scrap provisions that, among other things, attempt to mitigate discrimination based on citizen status and integrate people with disabilities into state and local government positions.
Sessions’ actions also revoke an Obama-era letter that urges “state and local judges not to impose fines and fees in a way that locks poor people into cycles of debt and prison.” This letter was written after it was discovered that the city of Ferguson used absurdly high fees to discriminate against and impoverish Black people for misdemeanors like jaywalking...JAYWALKING! Now, this common sense, anti-racism letter has been withdrawn by the Trump Administration. WHY?
These moves signify Sessions’ and Trump’s commitment to preventing low-income people - especially people of color - from advancing in society and escaping America’s racist and classist mass incarceration system.
Dear YGB Community,
There is currently a 14 year old boy who is in need of clothing. He wears the following sizes:
Shoes/boots: Size 10
Shirts/Sweaters/Jackets/Coats: Adult Medium
Pants/Jeans: Size 30x32
PEOPLE Power helped us create change in our community. Let’s create change for this young man.
If you have anything to donate to this child in need, please do so by clicking here.
Thank you for your support!
Dear YGB Community,
As we continue to fight state violence and build community, we need your voice to keep the fight alive.
Please attend the events below, and make sure to follow the Free the 350 Bail Fund on Twitter!
Solutions & Strategies 2017
Saturday, December 2, at 10am - Madison College Truax Campus (1701 Wright St), Room D1630
This Saturday, a Madison365-led panel discussion and Q&A will be held to discuss issues facing communities of color over the past year, and what solutions we should consider. For more info, click here.
Liberation Publication - Public Meeting
Tuesday, December 5, at 5pm - Michelangelo’s Coffee House (114 State St)
Liberation is a grassroots feminist newspaper based in Madison. Come learn about Liberation’s goals and hear its most recent updates at Michelangelo’s next Tuesday! To learn more, click here.
Undocumented In Dane County
Tuesday, December 5, at 6pm - Temple Beth El (2702 Arbor Dr)
Join Fabiola Hamdan, a bilingual social worker, to learn about the day-to-day struggles that undocumented immigrants experience in Dane County. The event comes with a dinner. To buy tickets and learn more, please click here.
Ad Hoc Committee Meeting
Wednesday, December 6, at 5pm - 545 W Dayton St
We know that putting police in schools won’t solve our community problems and will instead enforce the school-to-prison pipeline. This Wednesday, meet with Freedom Inc. to speak out against police in schools at an Ad Hoc committee meeting. For more info, click here.
Intersectionality & White Privilege Training
Saturday, December 9, at 10am - AFSCME Wisconsin Council 32 (8033 Excelsior Dr)
Next Saturday, Groundwork will conduct a powerful training about intersectionality and white privilege, allowing participants to understand systemic racism and enhance their allyship for people of color. Get tickets and learn more about the event by clicking here.
Heather Bruegl Lecture on Native American History in Wisconsin
Saturday, December 9, at 2pm - Civil War Museum (5400 1st Ave in South Kenosha)
Next Saturday in South Kenosha, historian Heather Bruegl will present a lecture on Native American history, past and present, in Wisconsin. To learn more, click here.
A Peaceful Reconciliation After Sikh Temple Attack
Sunday, December 10, at 1:30pm - Monona Terrace Convention Center (1 John Nolan Dr)
On August 5, 2012 in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, a white supremacist killed six people at a Sikh temple in a disgusting act of hatred and bigotry. On December 10 at Monona Terrace, there will be a free public event to reflect on the incident. Please RSVP on Facebook by clicking here.
Art For Clean Water
Monday, December 11, at 6pm - Daisy Cafe and Cupcakery (2827 Atwood Ave)
This year’s VHP art sale will send all proceeds to providing clean water to Lweza, Uganda. Enjoy art and cupcakes for a good cause! What could be better? For more info, click here.
Madison Vigil To End Gun Violence
Monday, December 11, at 7pm - Madison Mennonite Church (1501 Gilbert Rd)
This December marks five years since the Sandy Hook shooting, and a vigil will be held to remember the horrific event and advocate for ending gun violence. For more info, click here.
Youth (Re)Engagement Fall 2017 Visioning Session
Tuesday, December 12, at 4:30pm - McGovern Park Senior Center (4500 W Custer Ave in Milwaukee)
On December 12 in Milwaukee, participants in this session will work together to brainstorm solutions to create a more just Milwaukee. To learn more and RSVP, click here.
Hidden Voices: African American Writers in Wisconsin
Saturday, December 16, at 2pm - Fitchburg Public Library (5530 Lacy Rd in Fitchburg)
On December 16, three African American writers from Wisconsin - Fabu, Sherry Lucile, and Catrina Sparkman - will discuss poetry and prose in a way that sheds light on what it means to be African American in Wisconsin today. For more info, click here.
Women Your Mother Worried About - Resistance and Resilience
Saturday, December 16, at 3pm - High Noon Saloon (701 E Washington Ave)
This afternoon event will feature trans women and AMAB non-binary writers in the country who will speak stories from the heart. For more info, click here.
Dear YGB Community,
As the new jail plan progresses and Trump continues to advance a racist agenda, we must do everything we can at a local level to fight racial injustice and state violence. One way to keep the movement alive is to attend the events below:
Free the 350 Bail Fund Panel Discussion
Tuesday, November 7, 6pm - UW Law School (975 Bascom Mall) Room 2260
On Tuesday, November 7, the Free the 350 Bail Fund will hold a panel discussion to hear from local Madison activists and UW Law Professor Michele LaVigne about their perspectives on the Free the 350 Bail Fund and the constitutionality of cash bail. Light refreshments will be provided. To donate to the bail fund, please click here.
Personnel and Finance Committee Meeting
Wednesday, November 8, 5:30pm - City-County Building (210 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd) Room 351
On November 8, the Personnel and Finance Committee will hold a meeting on the upcoming budget, which includes the jail proposal. This will be our last opportunity to give public testimony at such a meeting, so be sure to show up and show out to advocate against the new jail and in favor of rehabilitative alternatives.
How Can Madison Build More Great Neighborhoods?
Tuesday, November 7, 6pm - High Noon Saloon (701 E Washington Ave)
As Madison continues to grow, we must rethink how we design our neighborhoods. Next Tuesday at the High Noon Saloon, we will brainstorm how to create thriving communities with crucial amenities like grocery stores, led by a local panel of experts. This will be a free event, followed by a discussion session. For more info, click here.
Fight to Win: Shrinking Prisons / Strengthening Communities
Saturday, November 11, 12pm - Trinity United Church of Christ (400 W 95th St in Chicago)
On November 11 in Chicago, the “Fight to Win” event will be held. Here, there will be a discussion on organizing strategies for leading successful campaigns against jail construction, money bail, and our racist incarceration system. For more info, click here.
Malcolm X Free Screening
Thursday, November 16, 5:30pm - UWM Union Cinema (2200 E Kenwood Blvd in Milwaukee)
On the UW Milwaukee campus, enjoy a free screening of the film Malcolm X, starring Denzel Washington and directed by Spike Lee. For more info, click here.
Report Police Misconduct Here
There is a new Facebook page where you can report police misconduct, created by Police the Police. If an officer mistreats you, send the group a message. You can access the page by clicking here.
The following is a piece written by Eric Upchurch.
We are defined by our struggle, which is why - in some cases - we subconsciously perpetrate it in our effort to hold on to our identity. We proudly carry the torch of our oppression, like the validation of an emotionally abusive partner. We are Torch Bearers - continuously marching on each other. How can we expect White folks to “get it right” when we violate our own damn selves?! Here, we are Reflecting the Movement.
I’m talking about how the “burns” we’ve survived have become flames we religiously wield in a subconscious ritual to protect ourselves.
Dr. King said that the White Liberal that thinks they understand is the most dangerous enemy to the movement; but in that same spirit of thinking, what about People of Color and allies who think they can’t be a part of the problem? Where do they fit? Oh, because they definitely have a place in this.
It’s practical knowledge that there are sexists fighting for racial justice, racists fighting for healthy climate and polluters dedicated to ending sexism. There are abusive people “fighting” abuse, and racists “fighting” racism - sexists “fighting” sexism.
Search your feelings. You know it to be true. You’ve seen it happen in your work, but no one is in a hurry to raise their own hand in noble guilt. No one is willing to say, “I am a part of the problem in this way.” And this begs the question: Is it You Too?
THEY BEARED TORCHES
Once during some political education on sexism, I asked some gender non-conforming friends why I couldn’t be considered a Trans-Man. Their response was that I was a straight male and I didn’t fit the definition of a Trans-Man - which is defined as being born (assigned) female and transitioning to male; and I couldn’t help but think of how often they must have heard that same reaction, “You don’t fit the definition of a man (or woman). You don’t belong there.” Inflaming words?
They went on to tell me how they and their loved ones had been persecuted - burned - for their identities and that it wasn’t something that could just be adopted. They cursed me for my comparison. They beared torches.
Is the goal for everyone to be accepted for the identity they choose? Or for us to add different genders to the list of things people cannot be? The torch of exclusion and rejection must be put down in every way possible to make room for the light of acceptance and inclusion. We can’t exclude our way into an inclusive world.
….we cannot oppress our way out of oppression.
I had a boss once. She was so oppressive and racist with her wielding of title power, that at times, it was a running joke between coworkers just how terrible she was. What’s more is that one of the organization’s goals was to make sure that this kind of shit didn’t happen; and here was the fearless “leader” proudly lighting the way with a flaming torch.
I later found out that she had a troubling home life, with kids that didn’t listen to or respect her, and a lack of acknowledgement and intimacy with her partner. Her lack of power at home was balanced by her abuse of power at work - waving her torch in a panic as if to shake it out. She was burned and so...burned.
She was unable to hear the cries of her employees as her cries had also gone unheard. She’d taken up the torch in her effort to light her way out of her own oppression; and she wasn’t putting it down for anybody. Still, we cannot oppress our way out of oppression.
She became her torch.
I was working with a person of color who I came to call friend. We were the only two people of color on an equity project covered in white people who controlled all of the funding. Despite my support of this person - always having their back, they never hesitated to criticize, or ridicule or throw me under the bus. Sometimes, it felt like they had a problem with me personally.
When I shared my feelings with her, I found out that she’d been burned by so many fellow coloureds in the past who treated her with the same criticism. In order to survive, she reconciled a changed even to her very values to the point where she no longer believes that people of color should look out for each other in white spaces. She beared a heavy torch. She became her torch.
Had she lived in a world where people of color looked out for each other, she would not have been hurt this way. But because she carries her torch with her - because she is defined by it and the hurt it caused her, she causes others the same.
I have to wonder what I’m holding because of it.
There’s no doubt about it. We’ve done good work as a community. All of those community, cause driven, protesting, program building, beloved game changing comrades in the struggle toward better, we’ve done good work. But we’ve also failed.
In our very serious and impactful work to make this world a better place, we are duplicating dynamics that give rise to many of the very isms we claim to be fighting. We are fighting ourselves with a subconscious ritual that we hope leads to success, but instead supports the continuation of our struggle in gross and subtle ways.
So how does it end?
An intellectual understanding of your habit doesn’t mean you’ve changed it. Practice, Practice, Practice, Dammit!
I’m not here to say that there’s only one way to put down the torch, nor am I saying that I bear no torches. What I can say from my own experience is that you can’t intentionally stop yourself from doing harm if you’re not willing to consider the possibility that you might be doing harm.
There has to first be an openness to the possibility that there might be a torch nearby...in the hand area.
Secondly, is a deep dive with a healthy environment to unpack the torch. What’s there and where does it come from? How does it show itself? Who does it impact? Listen, Linda.
Third, there must be a commitment to a reflective practice over time that helps us reverse the habit of picking up that torch. We think that because we notice a habit of ours, that it just goes away or doesn’t show itself in other ways. But an intellectual understanding of your habit doesn’t mean you’ve changed it. Practice, Practice, Practice, Dammit!
What works for me is meditation, focusing on a sensory perception, like the breath, and allowing all other thoughts and sensations to come and go as freely as the breath. This helps me practice not reacting to thoughts and influences - not being controlled by my reactions. This gives me sharper eyes to see myself and little by little, put down my own torches.
I wish the same for all of us on this journey toward real and lasting change.
This is one installment of a series of Reflections of our movements that I hope will be helpful to those that find value.
Love and Peace,
Eric U. II
Dear YGB Community,
As we at YGB continue to develop our Needs Surveys to support our three track focus, Black Needs, Collective Analysis and Advocacy, we need YOU to keep the fight for racial justice alive!
Please attend the following October events to stay engaged and make your voice heard.
Derail the Jail: Housing Not Jails
, at - 1202 Williamson St., Madison WI
YGB’s first rally in 2014 led right into the City County Building, chanting, “Build the People, NOT the jail!” The new Dane County Jail is set to cost $76 million over the course of 20 years - a whopping $504 per Madison household. here., we’ll gather to discuss better ways to spend the $76 million that don’t involve locking people of color in a cage. For more info, click
People Over Pipelines: Protecting Our Homes and Water
, at - Hotel Marshfield (2700 S Central Ave in Marshfield, WI)
Near Marshfield, Wisconsin, Enbridge is looking to push an oil pipeline through the heart of Wisconsin, threatening our beautiful rivers, our climate, and our communities. On here., we will come together to learn from those who would be threatened by the new pipeline, and examine the pipeline fights of the past to prepare for our resistance to Enbridge. For info and registration, please click
2017 Racial Justice Summit
- Monona Terrace (1 John Nolen Dr)
This year’s YWCA Racial Justice Summit will focus on building collective liberation and how to work towards an end to state violence and racial profiling. For more info, please click here.
Tu Voz: Latinx Intersectionality
Tuesday, October 3, at - UW Madison Multicultural Student Center (716 Langdon St)
here., “Tu Voz”, a Latinx/Chicanx support and discussion group will meet to discuss the intersectionality between race, gender, sexuality, and other factors. For more info, please click
Women and the Construction of Peace In Colombia
- Predolin Hall 115 (at Edgewood College)
On October 3, come to experience a presentation and participatory workshop with Carol Rojas, an educator working with the Feminist Antimilitarist Network. Carol will demonstrate for us the importance of “antimilitarist working class feminism and the commitment towards the democratization of the Colombian state” at this event.
Fighting Fascism and Oppression: A Marxist Approach
Tuesday, October 3, at - Union South (1308 W Dayton St.)
here., IMT (International Marxist Tendency) Madison will hold a discussion on the IMT approach to fighting fascism and oppression, from the attacks in Charlottesville to swastikas in James Madison Park. For more info, please click
Safe and Thriving Community - Public Meeting
, at - Warner Park Community Center (1625 Northport Dr)
At this event, meet the Northside’s Neighborhood Navigators and learn about their efforts to engage the community and stop youth violence. For more info, click here.
Ritt Deitz Concert - Fundraiser for Refugee Assistance
, at - Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ (2401 Atwood Ave)
This week in Madison, singer-songwriter Ritt Deitz will perform a concert with a suggested $20 donation to support the Mercy Corps Syria Crisis Response program, which is providing vital necessities like food, water, and clothing for Syrian refugees. For more info, click here.
Democracy in Chains: An Evening Talk w/ Nancy MacLean
, at - Madison Labor Temple Room 201 (1602 S Park St.)
Join historian and author Nancy MacLean as she talks about her new book, Democracy In Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America, which details the anti-democracy and anti-government politics that have plagued the modern American political system. For more info, please click here.
Concert Fundraiser in the Wake of #CVille
- Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center (953 Jenifer St)
WNPJ Community Energizer and Fundraiser
- Robinia Courtyard (827 E Washington Ave)
Please join the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice (WNPJ) on here.for a community energizer to build community and meet other activists and organizations from around the area. The event will feature dancing, DJs, food, poetry, awards, and great networking opportunities. To buy tickets, click
Free Skool Series on Non-Violent Struggle and Direct Action
, at - Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center (953 Jenifer St)
This event will discuss Mark Bray’s new book, Antifa: The Anti Fascist Handbook, with John Peck of Family Farm Defenders. For more info, click here.
Dear YGB Community,
With a 16:1 arrest disparity, we know that cops in schools are just another way for the criminal justice system to put Black bodies into jails. This monumental waste of our tax dollars instills fear in our kids, disproportionately arrests and suspends children of color, and enforces the school-to-prison pipeline.
Tomorrow night (Wednesday) at 5pm, we will join Freedom Inc. to demand #NoCopsInSchools! At that time, the Madison School Board’s Education Resource Officer (ERO) Ad Hoc Committee will hold a meeting, and we need to make it heard loud and clear that we need our schools to be demilitarized!
The meeting will be held at the Doyle Administration Building (545 W Dayton St), and it is vital that we show up and show out to demand Community Control Over the Police and #NoCopsInSchools!
Dear YGB Community,
In the face of the xenophobic, anti-immigrant policies of our president, we must continue to fight for immigrant rights.
Please call your legislators and tell them to attend the upcoming hearing and to protect immigrant rights.
It’s vital that we raise voice to protect the 800,000 children that have been targeted and marginalized by Trump’s rescinding of DACA. To do this, it is vital that we pressure the Wisconsin legislature to abandon Assembly Bill 160, which attempts to ban sanctuary cities in Wisconsin, allowing the police to violate the rights of immigrants even further.
On Wednesday, September 27, at 10:30 a.m. at the Wisconsin State Capitol, we will meet to hold a public hearing on immigration reforms and fight back. The hearing, which will be held in Room 411 South, will feature dairy farm workers, DACA recipients, and many others. In the afternoon, you will have the opportunity to speak about why immigrant rights are important to you.
In addition to showing up and showing out next Wednesday, please call your legislators and tell them to attend the hearing, to listen to the stories of these speakers, and to protect immigrant rights.
Dear YGB Community,
We must fight back. Please call your legislators and tell them to uphold free speech.
There are three bills currently being debated in the Wisconsin Legislature - AB 395, 396, and 397 - that are attempting to restrict the right to assemble for peaceful protesters in Wisconsin, regardless of whether or not they are acting violently. These proposed laws, which are in direct violation of freedom of speech and the First Amendment, and yet another vicious attempt by the status quo to silence the voices of dissidents.
Of course, speeches at rallies and protests can be strong, intense, and invigorating. But the right to communicate this way is integral to our democracy and vital to the life-or-death needs of those who are protesting. Accordingly, the ACLU of Wisconsin has come out strongly against these bills.
We must fight back. Please call your legislators and tell them to uphold free speech.
Dear YGB Community,
We know all too well how the arrest disparity perpetrated by Madison Police creates more harm than good in our community. What's more, they are arresting folks for crimes of poverty.
Just recently, a homeless Black man in Madison was arrested due to crimes of poverty, and it is vital that we understand that a stronger social safety net, better public housing resources, and policies in place to end racial disparities, could have stopped this from happening.
This man should not be punished - the system that put him into that situation should be punished. But instead, this man is now locked in a cage with a $2,000 bail that he cannot afford, and ZERO resources to help change his situation.