Richard Collins murdered by a white supremacist days before his college graduation

University of Maryland’s Black Student Union just started a petition titled: “Honor Richard Collins III and punish hate speech at University of Maryland.”

Here’s why this is important: 

We are saddened and frightened by what happened to Richard Collins III when he was visiting our campus at University of Maryland. Collins, was waiting at a bus stop for his uber when a white UMD student and member of “Alt-Reich” a neo-nazi Facebook group, Sean Urbanski, approached him and stabbed him to death.

With Trump, and his team of white supremacists in the White House emboldening racists to act upon their hate we sadly are not that surprised by such fatal and racist actions like this. But, when they happen so close to home, on your campus a place where you are supposed to feel safe it is absolutely frightening. We send our condolences to the family of Richard Collins III who was graduating from college, at Bowie State this week.

In mourning this hateful murder we are also organizing and asking that the University of Maryland administration take steps to make campus safer for Black students and less of a safe haven for neo-nazis, and white supremacists like Sean Urbanski.

Join UMD students as we continue to pressure the administration to expand the consequences for hate speech and make the Code of Student Conduct in regard to hate speech less vague.

Students in UMD’s Black Student Union, NAACP, Political Latinxs United for Movement and Action in Society, Community Roots, Ethiopian-Eritrean Student Association, National Pan-Hellenic Council, Muslim Political Alliance, American Indian Student Union and Pride Alliance have been pressuring the administration to make it clear that hate speech is not welcomed on UMD’s campus. However, the university has not responded to demands for policy changes that would show a commitment to making the campus safer for Black students and other minority groups.

When consequences for hate speech are not strong it tells students like Sean Urbanski that hate and bigotry is okay. It makes white supremacist students comfortable on campus, validated, and creates space for violent, racist attacks like what happened to Richard Collins III to occur.

Unfortunately multiple racially charged events have occurred over the past few years on UMD’s campus and we have voiced our concerns to the administration, but they’re being dismissed by the President’s office, the Provost’s Office and Student Affairs. Due to this the organizations listed above along with other student activists came together to form a group called Protect UMD, but as we can see with the murder of Richard Collins III UMD is not yet the safe campus that we want it to be.

While University President Wallace Loh has expressed his condolences and sadness over the murder of Richard Collins III it is not enough. That’s why we are calling for actions. Join us in demanding that UMD take hate speech seriously and punish those students who engage in it under the Code of Student Conduct

Richard Collins III was killed on campus Saturday night because of the color of his skin. If the university continues to be unresponsive to the demands of Black students, and other students of color, and doesn’t seriously listen to our concerns and grievances we are worried that hateful acts like this could become the norm.

President Loh has continuously reinforced an environment that tolerates hate speech by reducing student organizing efforts and instead encouraging more discourse. Not all situations require more discourse, some call for action! It’s time for Loh to recognize that. We need a president that supports diversity, acknowledges threats, and implements preventive policies that cultivate a safe and secure environment for all students on campus — not just white ones.

Students at UMD have been organizing for years to change the way the university is run so that Black students, and other students of color, can feel safe on campus. We did not want it to get to this. The university must respond with action now!

Racism is not out of the ordinary for UMD’s campus: 

  • In 2007 a noose was found hanging outside the Black cultural center, Nyumburu Cultural Center
  • In 2014 students protested the university’s police department’s hyper-militarization. campus police weaponry includes a $65,000 armored truck, 50 M16 rifles, two transport vehicles, and 16 12-gauge shotguns. However, all of the police weaponry remains
  • In 2016 UMD campus police broke up an off-campus party of mostly Black students using excessive force and pepper-spray
  • Just a few months ago, on March 13th, white nationalist posters were posted around campus
  • Racist rhetoric like “deport dreamers” and “build a wall” have been written in chalk outside of the Student Union building
  • On April 27th, 2017 a noose was hung on campus inside Phi Kappa Tau’s fraternity house, a mostly white fraternity

Racism is a trend at University of Maryland and the administration has allowed it to fester! It allows people like Sean Urbanski to thrive and for Black students on campus, whether visiting or part of the student body, to feel scared and know that they are unsafe!

Join us in demanding that UMD’s President Loh increase the punishment for students engaging in hate speech and make the Code of Student Conduct in regards to hate speech more explicit.

Thank You,

University of Maryland’s Black Student Union

Richard_Collins

Defend Venezuela

http://iacenter.org/4716/defend-venezuela/

According to a May 3 Reuters article, “An influential group of Republican and Democratic U.S. senators introduced sweeping legislation … to address the crisis in Venezuela, including sanctioning individuals responsible for undermining democracy or involved in corruption.”

The quote cited needs translation, as it really means: Some top Senate millionaire hawks want to grab workers’ taxes to overthrow the elected, popular government of Venezuela.

That U.S. imperialism works to undermine the Bolivarian government in Caracas is nothing new. Washington even promoted a military coup against Hugo Chávez in 2002. The Venezuelan people smashed the coup and strengthened Venezuela’s revolution.

Earlier and much greater funding for the U.S. efforts at regime change — that is, counterrevolution — have been buried in the budgets of the CIA, AID and other organs of undercover imperialist intervention disguised as promoters of “democracy.” Now, Senate promoters of imperialist intervention like Republicans Marco Rubio and John McCain and Democrats Ben Cardin and Dick Durbin are giving the U.S. covert effort the Senate’s open blessing.

Anyone who thinks the Senate aims to save democracy should think again about its agenda. Soon, the Senate will reach some rotten compromise on the new “Health Care” Act. The millionaire senators will determine how many million U.S. residents too poor to pay medical costs should be kicked into the nearest grave.

Does the Senate really aim to stop governmental corruption? It could start by doing something to stop the Trump family gang from profiting on everything from casinos to golf courses to stays at hotels with the presidential brand.

No, what the Senate is taking aim at is Venezuela’s sovereignty and independence. The Senate hates any attempt by Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro to better the lives of the poor people of that country at the cost of the oligarchs and imperialism.

In collusion with Venezuela’s rich and reactionaries, U.S. imperialism has disrupted the country’s economy. In collusion with the corporate media, it has exaggerated the depth of the crisis to create a pretext for intervention. In collusion with the Organization of American States — another U.S. creation — it has targeted the Venezuelan government for “regime change.”

For those who want to defend the independence of countries to the south of the United States, it is essential at this time to defend the Bolivarian government of Venezuela from this imperialist attack.

Down with the Senate plan for sanctions!

U.S. hands off Venezuela!

¡Chávez presente! ¡Maduro presidente!

FotoMaduro

BDS: Support Mass Palestinian Hunger Strike, Advocate for a Military Embargo of Israel

https://bdsmovement.net/news/urgent-call-day-40-mass-palestinian-hunger-strike-advocate-military-embargo-israel

Hundreds of Palestinian political prisoners are now approaching their critical sixth week on hunger strike, and they have made an urgent appeal for international solidarity. As they hit Day 40 of their courageous Dignity Strike on May 26, the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) calls for intensifying global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns to amplify the prisoners’ legitimate and just demands.

ACT NOW. Click here or see below for some ideas on what you can do.

In particular, the BNC calls for immediate international action towards implementing a comprehensive military embargo on Israel, similar to that imposed against apartheid South Africa in the past. International bodies — including banks, private military corporations, research centers, universities and governments — must stop enabling Israel’s military and security apparatus, and stop facilitating the development of Israeli military technology. As long as military ties continue, the international community is effectively sending Israel a clear message of approval to continue its severe violations of international law, including its violations of basic prisoners’ rights.

This is a critical moment — with every passing hour, Palestinian hunger strikers are risking death. Their health is rapidly deteriorating as they maintain their commitment to assert their dignity and win their internationally recognized rights. A comprehensive military embargo on Israel is long overdue and as urgent as ever.

Palestinians have come together in remarkably strong support of the Dignity Strike. There have been two general strikes with mass participation across historic Palestine. The general strike on Monday, May 22 was the largest since the first Intifada (1987-1993). Rallies and creative actions are happening on a daily basis in Palestinian refugee camps across the region. Those living under Israeli military occupation are also demonstrating in the streets, shutting down Jewish-only settlers’ roads, bringing work and traffic to a standstill and refusing the entry of Israeli products into supermarkets. Across solidarity tents the slogan “boycott your jailer” rings loud.

International action is needed to support and sustain these inspiring grassroots mobilisations as Israel has responded with its predictable use of brutal military force and repression. At least one demonstrator, 23-year old Saba Abu Ubeid, has been killed by an Israeli sniper. A second young man at a solidarity march was shot in the head by an Israeli settler.

ACT to support the Dignity Strike. There are many ways. On May 26, Day 40 of the Dignity Strike:

  1. Join the #BDS4DignityStrike social media campaign. Share this image widely using the hashtag #BDS4DignityStrike.
  2. Organize a banner drop or street action in your community or campus to raise awareness about the Dignity Strike and call for a military embargo. Use #BDS4DignityStrike to share pictures from your action.
  3. Do your research and launch a divestment campaign. Your bank or pension fund are likely to have collaboration with Israeli military companies. Pressure them to divest.
  4. Start a campaign for your university to cut all ties with Israel’s military industry. Universities often conduct joint military or dual-use research with Israel or with weapons companies that supply the Israeli military.
  5. Write to your elected officials, multilateral bodies and the UN to raise the issue of the Dignity Strike and build pressure to exclude Israeli military companies from contracts and eventually impose a military embargo on Israel.
  6. Create your own BDS-related action. Don’t limit yourself to this list.

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) again and again reaffirms its full support for the Dignity Strike. We call on people of conscience and citizen groups to take urgent action, mainstreaming and escalating military embargo campaigns as an effective nonviolent means of holding Israel accountable to international law and ending its fatal impunity.

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) is the largest coalition in Palestinian civil society. It leads and supports the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Visit our website and follow us @BDSmovement

Palestine Hunger Strike