Together We Stand
Together We Stand is more than a Facebook Group, more than an organization, it is a Movement. Our mission is to proactively dismantle racism, discrimination and police brutality through education, advocacy and legislation. This is our very first newsletter, and we welcome you to our family.
2015 In Review
I started this group with the hopes of creating a forum where people could have open, honest and respectful dialogues on the difficult issues surrounding racism in this country. Never could I have imagined what was to come. Since our inception in August, Together We Stand, (TWS) has evolved from one person, into a group of over 1,200 amazing members, all of whom have shown their commitment and dedication to ending racism, discrimination and police brutality.
We have advocated on behalf of many, some who are no longer here to advocate for themselves, and some who needed others to join in their fight for equality and justice. Here is a list and brief summary of a few of the cases we have assisted in:
The murder of Laquan McDonald by officer Van Dyke, and the subsequent handling of the case by the police, prosecutors, and local government was nothing less than abhorrent. We have called for the resignation of both Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Prosecutor Anita Alvarez and are following the campaign of Prosecutor Alvarez in 2016 and plan to continue challenging her throughout. TWS sent out numerous letters to state and local government along with law enforcement, denouncing the terrible racial injustices that plagued not only this case, but the city of Chicago.
The acquittal of officer Thomas Webster IV in the assault of Lateef Dickerson was an absolute injustice to Mr. Dickerson and a blow to the morale of his community. We reached out to Mayor Christiansen, Police Chief Bernat and President of the Dover County NAACP Mr. Dunn, asking for the termination of officer Webster and offering our assistance in helping their community work through this and develop preventative measures so occurrences like this won’t happen again. Our follow up committee is still working on this as of March.
This case is particularly close to us as we have Family of Corey’s in TWS. Corey was killed on the side of the road after his car broke down. Corey was shot 3 times by plain clothed officer Officer Nouman Raja. Officer Raja claimed he believed the van to be abandoned and was then confronted by an armed suspect. There was no evidence to back up this claim. TWS along with several other organizations vpushed for there to be an independent investigation into this case. The officer was placed on administrative leave and subsequently fired in November. The family made the following statement:
“While we are pleased that the city of Palm Beach Gardens has terminated the employment of the officer who gunned down Corey Jones, we maintain that the officer in question must also be held criminally liable for his reckless actions that night,” the statement read. “Our family remains hopeful that the outside agencies brought in to investigate Corey’s killing will soon begin to yield factual information about how and why this officer acted so callously.”
Rosella “Rose” Kaquatosh was wearing a Menominee medicine pouch when a kitchen employee at Gresham school allegedly demanded she take it off, citing tobacco products were not allowed on school property. After being taken to Principal Keary Mattson, he allegedly examined the pouch and removed some of the tobacco, which was culturally inappropriate and insensitive. She was in tears and the actions on the part of the school were not only culturally insensitive, but also disrespectful. TWS wrote the school board and principal demanding an apology and a safe environment for all students to practice their diverse beliefs. During a follow up conversation, we are pleased to say that a provision to allow such religious and spiritual items is now in place and the staff has undergone diversity and cultural sensitivity training.
We have written letters to the state and local authorities calling for an independent investigation into the death of Sandra Bland as well as prosecution of the arresting officer. We have also circulated a petition asking Vanita Gupta the Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division to open an investigation. We are pleased that the arresting officer Brian Encinia, was finally terminated, yet we still continue to push for criminal charges against Encinia and those involved in the death of Ms. Bland and the subsequent cover up that ensued.
John Carroll University:
TWS member Brittany Kincaid, a student at John Carroll and part of the university’s African American Alliance, was involved in a movement on campus demanding structural changes to staff and curriculum to make the campus a more inclusive and culturally diverse environment. TWS wrote to president Niehoff on behalf of the AAA, stating our full support of their demands and asking that he take any and all necessary steps to rid the community of racist vitriol. We also asked that a safe space for students of color to express their needs be provided. We look forward to assisting other universities in creating and maintaining an atmosphere of Trust Respect Empathy and Ethics.
2016 A Look Ahead
We have hit the ground running this year! We receive many requests everyday for assistance in cases across the nation and are pleased that word of our organization is spreading to those in need. We also want to thank our members who diligently report issues and cases to us, we appreciate your dedication. Here is a peek at some of the work we have done so far this year::
After Mayor of Superior, Wisconsin, Bruce Hagen, posted anti Islamic rhetoric on social media, TWS assisted one of our group members, Kym Young, in her work to demand his resignation. We reached out directly to the mayor and also to state representative Milroy. We truly believe that there is no place for racism, oppression or discrimination in our country and specifically within our government. To see our elected officials act in such hateful and inciting ways is totally unacceptable. We will be campaigning against Hagen in the upcoming election.
Victor School District:
After being notified that a bilingual educational aide for Victor Elementary School District was posting racist pictures and rhetoric we spoke to the Superintendent and the person in question was informed that her behavior was not appropriate or acceptable. We believe in the first amendment, but we do not believe it is a pass to tout racist or hateful rhetoric. Clearly we cannot go after everyone who does this, but given the person in question was working with children of color in a school, we felt it important to say something.
The death of Gynnya McMillen, at the Lincoln Village Juvenile Justice Center still remains a painful mystery for her family. The cause and circumstances surrounding her death have not been made available. The family has asked the public for help in finding answers. We have contacted the Principal of the detention center as well as the Mayor of Elizabethtown, Kentucky demanding answers. We will continue to follow up and support the family in whatever way we can.
This case is one that hits us all hard given it was a child, Tamir Rice, who was killed so senselessly. A grand Jury failed to indict the officers in this case and it has been an impossible injustice to accept. TWS has been in touch with the City Council, Mayor, and Chief of Police regarding the impact this has had on the community, and how we can work collectively to insure this doesn’t happen again. We are also calling for Prosecutor McGinty to resign. His clear bias has tainted this case and his handling of it all but guaranteed there would be not Justice for Tamir or his family. He is up for reelection this year and if he does not resign, we will fight to make sure this is his last year in office.
Judge Olu Stevens:
Judge Stevens is an example of someone in our criminal justice system who is doing this right and unfortunately because of that he has become a target. Within the last year, Judge Stevens repeatedly has made national headlines, most notably for dismissing juries that were not racially diverse. Jefferson Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine had asked the Kentucky Supreme Court to decide whether Stevens has the authority to dismiss juries for having too few black members, as the judge has done twice. The state Judicial Conduct Commission is investigating Stevens for insinuating on Facebook that Wine is racist and wanted “all-white juries.” TWS is investigating Wine’s history and plan to write his office denouncing his action against having diverse jury pools. We are also contacting the Chief Justice John Minton regarding this case and his removal of Judge Stevens from cases because of his stance on diverse juries and for speaking out against Tom Wine’s motives. It is important that we support those who do the right thing in the face of adversity.
We have written the North Carolina Parole Commission on behalf of the family of Felicia Huston who was murdered by Robert Hinton, asking that his parole be denied and he be forced to continue his life sentence.
Flint Water Crisis:
TWS is working in conjunction with Stanley Plumbers and Crossing Water to secure home water filtration systems for 200 of Flint’s most needy. The filters are in the process of being tested to insure they will properly filter out the high levels of lead and iron found in the water supply.
If you would like to donate money to the residents of Flint please do so through Crossing Water at https://www.crowdrise.com/crossingwaterworkingforflint
Special thanks to Stanley Plumbing and Michael Hood of Crossing Water for your collaboration.
Three Strikes Reform Act:
We are joining Choose1.org and TWS member LaTease Levye in supporting the Three Strikes Reform Act of 2016. To read about the initiative and volunteer to help, please visit http://www.choose1.org
Everyone knows that to start a nonprofit organization there must be fundraising! We have a few ways that you our supporters can help us grow our organization and in turn assist us in not only advocating for people on a larger scale, but also in our efforts to train youth to become social justice leaders. We have two crowd funding campaigns and the links are below. For those who cannot donate monetarily, we always need volunteers! If you would like to volunteer time please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
As of the publishing of this letter we have received $620 from some of our members and we’d like to thank you all!
Toya Marie, Edwin Harris, Julie White, Rhonda Leath, Eva Caraher, Julie A. Fernandez, Amber Kerr, Rahel Smith, Eva Cohen, Tyler Gage, Caroline Gage, Yolanda McInnis, Dwight Ford, Don Scott, Daniel Schuette, Nancy Slocum and Lori Thames!!!!!
TWS wants you all to know that your assistance is so meaningful! With the funds we have raised so far we were able to get help with our logo, get our website going and get our filing fee for incorporation paid.
We recently launched two fundraising campaigns selling TWS shirts and Hoodies. This was a time limited campaign and we were unable to meet our minimum sold to go to print, but we want to thank everyone who did order and let you know that if you’d still like to support us you can do so at the links below!
Sevgi has been running groups and workshops for many years with her company Diverse World Coaching. Last fall she began the first of a series of workshops by TWS that she hopes to bring across the country, Unite Against Racism:Breaking Down Walls and Building Community. The series ran from November-February and covered some of the following topics:
• White Privilege
• Conversations with my Black Child
• Examining Bias
• Police Brutality
The next series will focus on Political Action, specifically looking at groups like the Black Panther Party from the past, and Black Lives Matter today. What works, what doesn’t, and how do we move Together We Stand into a position to affect change in 2016 and beyond.
Meet our Board of Directors
Sevgi founded Diverse World Coaching 8 years ago after many years working with high risk youth in the San Francisco Bay Area. She specializes in working with blended, cross-cultural and interracial families as well as individuals struggling with racial identity formation, anxiety and depression.
Sevgi has a successful blog covering that reaches readers in over 60 countries She is a published author and seasoned speaker. She offers workshops in the following areas:
• Racism and White Privilege
• Parenting Mixed Race Children: Understanding their Racial Identity Development
• Navigating the Blended Family
• Youth Empowerment through Community Action
Sevgi is the Senior Vice President of Race and Cultural Diversity at ARMCGlobal providing research, executive coaching and product development.
She did her undergraduate and graduate work in Psychology at the Western Institute for Social Research and now sits on their board of directors.
Sevgi is now embarking on what she believes is her life’s work in Together We Stand. Her vision of a movement that crosses the nation ending racism through education, advocacy and legislation is certainly going to be a challenging goal, but her life has prepared her for this moment, this movement.
Dr. John P Fernandez
Dr. John P. Fernandez is the founder and president of Advanced Research Management Consultants Global, LLC. He also works closely and in collaboration with Diverse World Coaching.
Prior to founding ARMC Global, John worked for 15 years at AT&T, becoming the first Black division level operations manager. Responsible for a division that had over 500,000 customers, John developed and enhanced processes for selling, construction, engineering, human resource management and technological innovation.Based on his extensive experience working with many corporate clients and issues, John has written and produced more than 36 videos on human resource management, leadership, cross-cultural teams, Diversity and Proactive Inclusion®, and GlobalTREE℠ from a global perspective. He has written and developed e-learnings for Bank of America, Citibank, GlaxoSmithKline, and Lucent.Dr. John P. Fernandez is the author of 10 books and has received critical acclaim as one of the world’s leading thinkers in areas of leadership, team building, diversity, childcare, eldercare, and human resource management. He is currently working on a new book about glass-ceiling phenomenon, and the global perception of female managers.After graduating Magna Cum Laude from Harvard, John received his Ph.D. from the University California at Berkeley. As a highly sought out speaker, John has appeared on CNBC, CNN and Marketplace on National Public Radio. John has taught at Yale, New York University, Antioch, and the University of Pennsylvania.
Carol Laborde/Outreach and Research
Carol Laborde received her BA in Sociology from Nyack College. Carol is retired now and has spent much of the last three decades volunteering her time and skills to various nonprofit organizations. She worked with the Rockland Family Shelter for battered women and children from 1988-2002. During that time she served as a Rape Crisis Trauma Counselor, was on the Board of Directors from 1988-2002, and served as President of the Board from 1998-2002. Carol also served on the Board of the Nyack Center, aiding at risk youth with breakfast club and after school mentoring. Carol currently heads up TWS advocacy communications and works as an Ambassador for Hope with Shared Hope International, an organization working to end sex trafficking.
Ty Anderson has his Associates in Graphic Arts as well as being a self taught artist.
Ty worked for the City of Rochester’s Public Library Promotions Graphics & Public relations department and also sat on the Quality Council Team which assisted in fairness and accountability between Supervisors and their employees. He is also a part of his community’s Neighborhood Empowerment Team/NET and currently works in Forestry as an Arborist.
Ty is an American of mixed European, African & Native-American heritage. The spirit of family, culture, ethnicity and inner accountability are things he takes great pride in which have fueled his passion for bringing people together. Helping others to discover their commonalities and celebrate their diversity is something he excels at and brings to TWS as our online moderator. Serving in the capacity of TWS Chaplin, Ty’s goals are to help keep the group moving in a positive and affirming direction, keeping our mission to educate and advocate, one of integrity based on Trust, Respect, Empathy and Ethics.*
*GlobalTree, Trust Respect Empathy and Ethics, ARMCG 2015
Rhonda Leath was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. Rhonda majored in Psychology and minored in Journalism at Los Angeles Trade Tech and Southwest College. Rhonda worked as a youth counselor in residential treatment and as an EMT on the Psych Emergency Team. She is a mother of 3 and a grandmother of 7 and is active in her community doing faith based and social justice work. Rhonda is a key member of TWS doing endless work behind the scenes assisting with administrative work and research.
In closing we want to welcome you to our TWS family and ask that you spread the word about who we are and what we do!
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