Leadership tool: CHEJ’s Community Organizer Guide

CHEJ Organizer's Manual Screenshot
Fight to Win Leadership Handbook

by Center for Health, Environment & Justice

This is CHEJ’s first basic community organization manual. Although it is written for first time organizers, established leaders may find they learn a new trick or two. Topics covered include how to start a group, keep a group going, research opponents, organize your community, carry out an effective action, raise funds, and win!

America is grateful for Obamacare

Stephanie-Miller-Ohio-hugs obama

Daily Kos reports on the raving success of Obamacare across the nation and shows photographs of people lined up for blocks to get live help at on-site signup stations. We see one lady hugging Obama tearfully. Her sister died – needlessly – of colon cancer: a life that could have been saved easily if Sis had had health insurance to pay for treatments.
Stephanie-Miller-Ohio-hugs obama

President Obama received a hug from a tearful Stephanie Miller whose sister, Kelly Hines, died of colon cancer at the age of 37. “I thanked him for the getting the Affordable Health Act passed,” she said. “The President replied he would keep on fighting for us and that our fight is not over.” read more

“White feminists” want to determine what feminism is

Fabulous post by Betty Mamzelle on the white privilege of “White Feminism”.

Betty Mamzelle's guide to white feminismThis, in a nutshell, is about how white people feel they own the right to dominate a conversation (or a movement) and tell other people what can and cannot be discussed; who’s in and who’s out; what topics are allowable and which are not; and what’s important v. what is not … and how those beliefs extend to the battleground of feminism.

Even though feminism is supposedly about protecting women from other-abuse, “white feminists” feel perfectly comfortable browbeating or excluding women who don’t fit their concept of what feminism is supposed to be. Betty says, read more

Join Newark students in mass rally & boycott for local control on Mon. Nov 4

Newark Student Union/No ChristiebuttonsThe Newark Students Union (NSU) organized a massive 1,000 student walkout last April and on Monday Nov 4, they will stage another mass boycott demanding that quality education be returned to Newark. The students want Gov. Christie to fund schools at court ordered levels and to repair school buildings, which are currently unsafe – two legal obligations which Christie has refused to honor. Spread the word about the rally and be there if you can. The social media hashtag is #npsboycott.

Boycott & Rally to Protest Gov. Christie’s Control of Newark Public Schools
November 4 2013 @ 9am
30 Clinton Street in Newark NJ
read more

Issues, news and fact checking for NJ’s 2013 election season

THIS ELECTION VOTE YOURSELF A RAISE! Vote YES on the ballot referendum to raise the NJ minimum wage to $8.25/hr

Also in the 2013 election cycle, all of New Jersey’s state level positions are up for election including Assembly, State Senate seats and the governorship. Federal and state elected officials have the ability to make changes to improve, approve or eradicate the issues listed below. Your vote and your voice make them accountable so be sure to vote. (Download issues flyer).

Vision test - VOTE

  • Protect the constitutional right of every US citizen to have one vote and get it counted
  • Fund and enact The Amistad Act which calls for racially accurate history to be taught in NJ schools
  • Food justice: eradicate urban food deserts and barriers to home & community gardening; ban of genetically modified foods (GMOs); make college food healthier and more affordable
  • Reverse Citizens United ruling that gives corporations the status of personhood
  • Take big money out of general elections (see rootstrikers.org)
  • Save the open internet and protect it from takeover and control by corporate interests (see savetheinternet.com)
  • Ban prison based gerrymandering which causes prison inmates’ families to lose government resources in their home states and counties
  • Stop privatization of schools, prisons, nursing homes and food services
  • Moratorium on foreclosures to protect 1 in 4 Black &Latino families who are in danger of losing their homes
  • Hold banks accountable for wrongful foreclosures, charging Blacks and Latinos higher mortgage interest rates, refusing to renegotiate underwater mortgages; and failing to provide maintenance on foreclosed homes – which contributes to the creation of urban blight zones
  • Lower US prison population. We incarcerate almost 1% of American citizens, about 2.5 million individuals, whom are mostly Latinos and African Americans
  • Protect civil rights including: ban racial profiling, stop unfounded searches and halt incarceration of non- criminal undocumented immigrants
  • Achieve diversity of court justices on every level of the judicial system
  • Transition to a green economy and protect clean air, water and the environment. Prevent climate change.
  • Provide help to families with homes in foreclosure, the unemployed and the hungry
  • Protect women’s health, lives, career opportunities; and the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
  • Hold major corporation and government agencies accountable for diversity in hiring and the awarding of small business contracts
  • Make minimum wage equal a living wage and protect American jobs. Vote yes to the NJ 2013 ballot referen- dum to raise min wage to $8.25/hr!
  • Expand the scope of the new federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau which offers important protec- tions including: financial institutions may not enact excessive credit rate hikes or provide misleading informa- tion about credit terms and fees
  • Support for women and minority students wishing to enter STEM fields
  • Protect Obamacare and fund affordable community health centers
  • Continue the Deferred Action program & pass the DREAM Act for undocumented immigrant youth; enact comprehensive immigration reform
  • Increase support for Historically Black Colleges and Minority Serving Institutions and protect public education
  • End government subsidies to big banks and dirty fuel companies. Invest more in public education and health.
  • Maintain affordable interest rates on student loans (impacts 140,000 NJ students) and lower college tuition.
  • Increase the amount of Pell grant dollars available for low-income studentsTrack Congressional bills


Almost 1 in 100 jailed in US

Almost 1 in 100 Americans behind bars

Here are a few quotes and visuals to help us see what the United States’ almost 1% incarceration rate looks like – a phenomenon the ACLU condemnsin its new report Banking on Bondage: Private Prisons and Mass Incarceration.

The imprisonment of human beings at record levels is both a moral failure and an economic one …

US incarceration rates 5 times world averagerefers to the reality that 750 people out of each 100,000 residents in the United States are being jailed. In mathematic terms, that equates to .0075% of our population (3/4 of a percentage point) meaning that it comes way too close to being 1% of our population (1 person out of every 100). read more

NAACP’s police interaction guide: The 411 on the 5-0

411 on the 5-0 pamphlet

411 on the 5-0 pamphletThe NAACP advises that the “war on crime” fought by police, sometimes results in innocent people needlessly surrendering constitutional and civil rights which they are not aware they have. The NAACP and its members support just and effective law enforcement, and also believes that people must learn how to exercise our constitutional rights to ensure that law enforcement, and law officers, work as they should: to protect all United States citizens and visitors regardless of race, ethnicity, immigration or economic status. read more

Racist Mountain Dew goat series commercial pulled

Racist Mountain Dew commercial

Racist Mountain Dew commercialFriend of a friend Sandi Baronvonsassypants Snipe summed this disgusting series of Mountain Dew commercial up much better than I can:

Uggg. I could go on and on about the many fuckeries this commercial promotes but then I would just cry.

Our mutual friend @bryanalexander posted this on Facebook with this note, “Here’s the full Mountain Dew goat commercial series. #3 is the killer. Wow.” And yeah, I found it not only racist, but quite unsettling. read more

HIPAA offers no privacy or protection to an ill child

Monkeys demonstrate HIPAA compliance

Monkeys demonstrate HIPAA complianceJoey Furlong is a Bethlehem, NY 4th grader interned in hospital for a life-threatening condition and awaiting brain surgery. This week, he was approached by one of the teachers employed by the hospital, who wanted the boy to take a standardized test. CBS News reports (Tami is Joey’s mom),

Tami’s husband was in the room when one of the teachers came in talking about the test but she wonders what would have happened had he not been, “I would like to hope she would not have taken his arm that has an IV and oximeter on it and put a number 2 pencil in it, I would like to hope that she would wait to talk to the family.” read more

New report shows ed reform is failing our kids

Market-oriented reform report cover

Market-oriented reform report coverThe report Market-oriented education reforms’ rhetoric trumps reality issued this month (April 2013) by the Broader, Bolder Approach to Education concludes that so-called education reforms have led to bigger gaps and lost ground, “for the students they were supposed to support” – low-income, low achieving and Abbot District students. Outcomes were measured in Chicago, New York City, and Washington, D.C. Market-driven education is a concept introduced by Milton Friedman in his 1962 book Capitalism and Freedom. read more

Pro-public education Board of Education 2013 candidates

Vote in 2013 BOE elections

Vote in 2013 BOE electionsBoard of Education budgets are typically 3 times as big as the entire budgets of the municipalities in which they’re located. Those hugs pots of money are why Big-Business supporter Gov. Chris Christie and his GOP colleague Mitt Romney are so eager to get their hands on public education funds. They can’t stand money being spent to actually improve the lives of vulnerable children, and students of color, across America when that money could go to make their own children and grandchildren richer. read more

Stop Your School from Being CLOSED by Paying Close Attention!

ALI 4/6 class flyer

ALI 4/6 class flyerWhen the district hands down the list of schools to be closed each year, most of the reactions from parents, staff and students come after the fact. As a result, many of the planned school closings occur and the people most impacted feel voiceless. Join us for a session that will teach you how to ask questions, examine data, and make sure the school has all it needs, which will both improve student outcomes and take your school off the “closing block”. Protests and Speaking are not enough to keep schools from being closed. Early preparation will work!   read more

Twins prove student performance no good for assessing teachers

Mother Crusader tells why she knows that student performance – as demonstrated by standardized testing – can never be accurately used to determine how good a teacher is: her twin children have been with the same teachers since pre-K and their student performance is radically different. Mother Crusader recommends that parents opt their children out of standardized testing, and cautions that in New Jersey it will be used against teachers beginning next year:

And here is a GREAT reason why to opt your kids out. One of the “high stakes” attached to state tests is teacher accountability. These tests are NOT designed to evaluate teacher performance, yet that is EXACTLY what they will be used for. read more

How to Stop Your School from Being CLOSED

ALI 4/6 class flyerSaturday, April 6, 2013
Rutgers University-Newark
Boyden Hall Room 100
195 University Ave.
Newark, NJ 07102
Cost: Free

When the district hands down the list of schools to be closed each year, most of the reactions from parents, staff and students are after the fact. As a result, many of the planned school closings occur, and the people most impacted feel voiceless. Join us for a session that will teach you how to ask questions, examine data, and make sure the school has all it needs, which will both improve student outcomes and take your school off the “closing block”. Protests and Speaking are not enough to keep schools from being closed. Early preparation will work!   read more