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Meek Mill and Jay-Z Launch REFORM, Criminal Justice Reform Organization

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Meek Mill and Jay-Z have partnered with various industry leaders to launch REFORM Alliance, a criminal justice reform organization. Their hope is to change the system that currently controls the lives of 6.6 million human beings.

Horrific Injustice

In the United States, incarceration is synonymous with slavery. For 2.2 million people, their lives consist of forced labor in an abusive system of racial control. 4.4 million parolees experience partial freedom, their lives heavily monitored even in their own homes. Caught in a cycle of physical abuse and psychological tyranny, many prisoners succumb to the leading cause of death in prisons, suicide. Meek Mill became a victim of the system at the age of 18. Following his release from prison on April 24th, 2018, Meek made a vow to shine a light on the atrocities of the criminal justice system.

Bringing moguls from the business, music, and sports worlds together, REFORM’s goal is to “dramatically reduce the number of people who are needlessly trapped in the system.” Focusing first on “disabling the revolving door of probation and parole”, REFORM started with fighting Meek Mill’s re-imprisonment.

The Spark

In November 2017, Meek was sentenced to two-to-four years for a probation violation. His unjust sentencing sparked the #FreeMeek movement which was immediately supported by Jay-Z. Gaining national attention because of the status of the incarcerated, discussion surrounding the need for prison reform spread like wildfire. Many hada brief knowledge of the mistreatment of prisoners in the American justice system, but Ava Duvernay’s 13th further educated viewers on their plight.

Citing the creation of REFORM as “one of the most important things” he has ever done in his life, Meek has brought together an elite team. The current board of directors is comprised of:

  • Michael Rubin, CEO of Kynetic, co-owner of Philadelphia 76ers, and Fanatics executive chairman
  • Robert Kraft, Owner of the New England Patriots and Kraft Group CEO
  • Robert Smith, Founder of Vista Equity Partners
  • Daniel Loeb, Founder of Third Point LLC
  • Michael Novogratz, Founder of Galaxy Digital
  • Clara Wu Tsai, Co-owner of Brooklyn Nets, Advisor for Taobao

Together, they have committed to changing probation and parole policies. In a statement, Meek said,:

“If you thought my case was unfair, there are millions of others dealing with worse situations and caught up in the system without committing crimes. With this alliance, we want to change outdated laws, give people hope and reform a system that’s stacked against us.”

Collectively pledging $50 million to the cause, the founding partners are united in their mission to #FightDifferent.

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For The Culture

#MyWhitePrivilege Spotlights Further Racial Disparities

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#MyWhitePrivilege

Employing the hashtag #MyWhitePrivilege, Twitter users have shed light on the various ways they’ve survived interactions that frequently claim the lives of Black or brown people.

Everyone knows that the justice system unfairly prosecutes Black and brown people at a rate far harsher than their white counterparts. But the extent to which white people avoid experiencing the treatment people of color face in America is vast. One user described their experience growing up in a small town with no Black population:

“Growing up in a small town with no Black folks meant that the poor were often scapegoated. Anytime something happened or went missing, the cops were at our house looking for my brother. We survived all of those interactions though.”

As unsurprising as their experience was, they continued with details that truly highlight disparity in racial treatment with regard to the prison industrial complex. Not only did their brother evade prison, they received rehabilitation, therapy to deal with their traumas, and suffered no loss of education or employment opportunities. Throughout the thread of tweets, other users shared similar experiences with the law where despite their behavior or knowledge of their criminal history, they avoided punishment.

As Black Twitter users read the replies, some were struck with awe and others reflected on the struggles they faced. Many lamented over the difficult conversations they prepared to have with their children. The nearly 20K replies contain experiences with law enforcement through local authorities, TSA, Immigration officers, and even school police.

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Not On Our Watch! Howard Uni President Bans Campus Colonizers

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As a response to student reports of unauthorized use of The Yard, Howard University President, Wayne A.I. Frederick has released a statement demanding pet owners respect the campus.

An email sent to Howard University staff and students notified them of the President’s decision to mark the private institution’s grounds off limits. Calling the quad a “treasured site”, Frederick affirmed the community’s desire to keep the area “pristine and symbolic of all that Howard University represents.” Acknowledging the history of residents’ visitation to the campus, Frederick referenced the community relationship before making a formal decision.

“At the beginning of my presidency we held regular meetings that included students, faculty and members of the Advisory Neighborhood Committees to cultivate a town and gown relationship. I recently reached out to our local ANC and Councilwoman to engage in a dialogue. We recognize that service animals are a necessary aspect of modern-day life and we will accommodate them as needed. We appreciate pet owners respecting out campus by not bringing pets onto the private areas.”

Last week, reports of residents from gentrified surrounding areas mistreating the northwest Washington D.C. school made waves on social media. Insensitive comments regarding who was privileged to access the campus sparked public outrage among those who wanted to protect Howard’s 152-year legacy.

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Keep Walking, Colonizer! Howard University Students Say Neighbors are Disrespecting The Yard

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White people’s sense of entitlement knows no bounds and has now extended to the campus of famed HBCU, Howard University. The 152-year-old private educational institution located in D.C. has been misused by residents who believe The Yard should be accessible to them as a dog park or outdoor gym.

Students of Howard University have taken offense to colonizers and gentrifiers in northwest Washington D.C in recent years. As wealthy, White residents continue to flood areas surrounding the university, they take liberties they have neither earned nor deserve on the school grounds. Students say they “find it very disrespectful” and have noted a marked increase of such behavior throughout their attendance.

Where students would have seen one or two out-of-place dog walkers on campus in a week, they see two each day. Graduating senior, Briana Littlejohn, spoke with The DCist, about the residents’ use of the campus, stating, “You know this is a university. You know this is a historically Black university. And you feel so entitled that you’re just going to walk your dog there?” Many other attendees feel the same, but their outrage has recently been met with unreasonable alternatives by residents.

Speaking with Fox 5 correspondent, Tisha Lewis, Sean Grubbs-Robishaw who lives in the Bloomingdale neighborhood said the following:

“So, they’re in part of D.C. so they have to work within D.C. If they don’t want to be within D.C., then they can move the campus. I think we just need to work together and I don’t think it should be a he or there or here…It’s our community and that’s how it should be.”

Sean Grubbs-Robishaw,

Grubbs-Robishaw admits to using the grounds as a shortcut to get to the McMillan Reservoir, a popular spot for walking/running. But his argument conveniently glosses over the fact that Howard University is a private institution while also disregarding its status as a historically Black university.

The campus has been mistreated by those new to the area as a location for picnics and other abuses. The university has yet to directly state that such activities are prohibited by residents, Alonda Thomas, a spokesperson, has said there is no policy prohibiting dogs and that the campus is “open”, meaning anyone has access to it.

Do you think the disrespect that Howard University campus is receiving is related in any way to the #DontMuteDC protest? Do you think the campus should be closed to the public?

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