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How You Can Help the People of Ferguson September 21, 2014

Donate to Keep the Children Fed

Schools closing in Ferguson due to rioting and violence means many children go without lunch, which may be their only meal of the day.

Donate here.

Donate to the Family of Mike Brown

Mike Brown, the young man whose murder prompted the protests, is a victim of police brutality. Donating to his family will help pay for his funeral and burial expenses, as well as the legal and travel costs of the family’s search to bring justice to their son and punishment to his killer, Darren Wilson.

Donate here.

Sign the petition for the Mike Brown Law.

This law will require all state, county, and local police to wear a camera. In a Californian city, this law has been enacted (this happened before Mike Brown was killed.). Crime has dropped by 60% and complaints have dropped by 80%.

If you can’t sign this petition, get your parents or family members to. Don’t just promote it online- take someone to the computer, sit them down, and show them how important this is.

Sign the petition here.

Advocate for the removal of the Pentagon’s “1033 Program.”

This provides local police departments with ‘billions of dollars worth of surplus military weapons at no charge’ (quoted from The Huffington Post). Without such military weapons as tear gas, tanks, and rubber bullets, police wouldn’t have been able to inflict the incredible amounts of violence upon the people of Ferguson as they did. By lobbying for its program’s removal, we can ensure that police brutality the likes of which went on in Ferguson will not happen again.

Sign a petition asking for its removal here.

Sign the Amnesty International Petition requiring federal law officials to be held accountable for violence here.

Send messages of support to Mike Brown’s family here.

Donate to the Ferguson Municipal Public Library and their efforts to support peaceful learning. Learn more here.

Donate to looted businesses in Ferguson. Donations can be made to North County Regional Development Association, 350B Village Square Drive, Hazelwood, MO 63042.

Support Wellspring Church, who are giving Ferguson’s children a safe place to learn, here.

Get involved with the St. Louis Food Bank here.

Get involved with the Ferguson Fund, counseling for affected residents of Ferguson, here and here.

Tweet @STLCountyPD to demand #JusticeforMikeBrown.

Public pressure needs to be put on the Ferguson Police Department to bring Officer Darren Wilson to punishment. If you don’t feel safe directly tweeting them, you can join in with the hashtag.

Donate to the Legal Support Fund for Ferguson here. Contact them at join@organizemo.org.

Sign the petition to protect citizens and communities from police brutality here.

Read these Tips to Remember When Planning An Action here.

And finally, don’t forget about Ferguson. Remind people that Mike Brown did not deserve to die. Remind them that racism and police brutality are still very relevant and very terrifying, and they must be stopped. Share the news everywhere you can. Remember Mike Brown, and remember Ferguson.

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Police Brutality in Ferguson September 9, 2014

Filed under: Human Rights,Public Safety — mochi @ 10:05 pm

I’m sorry that the return of this blog has to start off with a tragedy, but this is an incredibly important issue that needs to be addressed immediately.

Warning: What follows is incredibly disturbing, violent, and worst of all, true. I’ll give you a short summary of the events- an 18yo African American boy named Michael Brown was shot to death by police officers in uniform for allegedly stealing candy. People gathered in the streets to protest his murder, and chaos ensued as the police force brought in attack dogs, tear gas, and rubber bullets. The police force of Ferguson is trying to keep this quiet, but I urge you- please spread the news of the tragic events going on in Ferguson right now.

On to the details.

On Saturday, August 9th, of 2014, Michael Brown was shot 10 times by police officers in St. Louis, Missouri. According to witness Isaac Daniels, “He was shot in the chest twice by a cop that was shooting from his vehicle. The young man [referring to Mike Brown] then threw his arms in the air & said please don’t do this repeatedly until he was shot in the head.” This was posted on Isaac Daniels’ Facebook page. The murder took place right outside Daniels’ apartment. The candy store that it was rumored Michael stole from had experienced no theft. Reports were later placed saying that Mike Brown was unarmed and had been shot for jaywalking.

Let me repeat that.

Shot. For jaywalking.

My friends and I jaywalk on the streets around school, and I have done so many times with family as well. I would never be shot for jaywalking, however, and there are two reasons for this: First, the police force in my area is not nearly as corrupt, and second, because I’m Caucasian. Murders of African Americans by police men are a disgusting pattern that is unfortunately growing in America, and it boils down to racial profiling and the blatant racism and corrupt state of America’s law enforcement.

The racism continued as peaceful protests began in the streets on August 10th. The protesters chanted, “No justice, no peace” but the media turned them into lies and claimed they were chanting “Kill the police.” They were doing no such thing, of course, but police men took to the unarmed crowds with attack dogs, shotguns, and tear gas. Tear gas is a chemical weapon that is banned in war, yet the police in Ferguson are using it on peaceful protesters. No 911 calls were answered in Ferguson.

After days of police brutality against the protesters, Captain Johnston stepped in to stop the violence. He told the protesters he would march with them.

On April 17th, however, he broke his promise. He had insisted in a press conference that methods such as tear gas, rubber bullets, and military vehicles would not be used, but instead the police force instituted a curfew, and when protesters were caught after dark, the police shot them with CS smoke.

Journalists and photographers in Ferguson have also been attacked. A journalist operating a livestream for people to document Ferguson caught on camera a cop threatening to shoot him in the face.

They’re tear gassing children out there. They’re tear gassing neighborhoods of people who haven’t been involved with protests. 

On August 23rd it was realized that the People of Ferguson have the power to fire the entire police force… whatever that means. We’re still confused. Honestly, I hope they do.

Mike Brown was a hero. The police force is trying to paint him as a criminal. Witnesses state that Mike Brown told his friend to run while he took the bullets. This boy was two days away from college. He was shot because of Darren Wilson, a racial profiler, corrupt policeman, and Darren Wilson is now currently on paid leave. Paid for murdering a young man.

Now, schools are banning discussions of Mike Brown’s death. News stations are calling him a young criminal thug. Police outside of Ferguson are being incredibly disrespectful by letting dogs urinate on Brown’s memorial sites.

Post this weekend will be about what you can do to help.

 

 

Spotlight on Website: New Moon Girls June 30, 2013

This is a rather different spotlight than we’ve had previously, but it goes with the theme of inner beauty from my previous post. New Moon is a fun, feminist website where girls pre-teen+ can safely connect and have fun, all while boosting their confidence and sharing their creativity. New Moon also presents a bimonthly magazine  with articles by girls and featuring their artwork and writing. It’s fun, but best of all, it’s activism- New Moon has worked extensively on changing Barbie’s unrealistic figure, which helps promote eating disorders, and de-color-coding Target’s sexist, stereotypical blue-and-pink toy aisles. The website, newmoon.com, requires a paid subscription, but it’s definitely worth it for girls. They’ll make friends, learn to promote feminism and equality, and show their creative side doing it. Plus, there’s nothing better to boost your confidence and happiness than having your work published in the magazine. The message boards have sections for debates, roleplays, condolences for those grieving, and there’s even two whole message boards dedicated to changing the world, which is awesome! New Moon is great and helps promote inner beauty. I’m a member of the Girls Editorial Board (I work on the magazine), and I love the whole thing. If you are a teenage girl, join New Moon today! If you’re not, tell the young females you know. :3

 

Ceej

 

The Problem with Microwave Popcorn May 19, 2013

You probably already know that microwave popcorn is full of fat and salt, not to mention the fake butter. In my opinion, I find it to be absolutely disgusting, but the reasons why you shouldn’t eat it are much more serious than that. Workers in the factories making and packaging the popcorn have developed an incredibly rare form of lung cancer. The cancer has been caused just by inhaling the fumes- think of what can happen when you’re eating what produces those fumes! And if that’s not bad enough, the lining of the bag is made with PFOA, or  perfluorooctanoic acid, which is also linked to cancer and other conditions such as infertility.

Good news, though. Since raw kernels (meant to be popped on the stove or in a special popper) aren’t made with all those dangerous chemicals, they’re a-okay to eat, and can even be considered a health food. Air popped corn has a very low calorie count, while stovepopped corn with oil can raise that count, but not by too much. It contains fiber, as well as complex carbohydrates.

Not only is it bad for us, the consumers, but it is too late for the workers in the factories- they have already gotten the cancer. The companies and manufacturers that created such an unhealthy recipe should have made one healthier, so it would be safer for the factory workers and the buyers.

I did a bit of research on microwave popcorn brands and came across a site that advertised its popcorn as being ‘healthy and full of fiber.’ Granted, they also have PFOA-free bags, but that’s just one step towards creating food that is safe for those who come in contact with it. Microwave popcorn is full of dangerous chemicals and if you value your health and the health of factory workers, I suggest you stay far, far away.

Ceej

 

Spotlight on Website: Sevenly Clothing May 14, 2013

Filed under: Human Rights,Spotlight on Website — mochi @ 3:28 am

Not only does Sevenly have some of the most beautiful and unique clothing I’ve ever seen, each week, they donate a portion of their money to a different cause. They also offer natural baby products made of organic muslin, and send email updates on which causes are coming up next, or what’s on sale. While I’ve being subscribed for a small while, I’ve seen this company cover deadly diseases, disabled children, brain damage, sex trafficking, and cleft palate disorders. They sell artful and awesome clothing that donates to a good cause. Buy now and don’t forget to follow the Sevenly blog!

http://blog.sevenly.org/tagged/sevenly

http://www.sevenly.org/

Enjoy your clothing. Next time I won’t be late with the post!

 

Pros of Immigration April 15, 2013

Disclaimer: these are the views of one Bonsai staff member, not all of them, and not the blog. They are not expected or required to share the views of other members. If they do, fantastic, if they don’t, fantastic. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I wrote this for a Social Studies debate. 🙂

Without immigration, America would not have come as far as it has today, for America is a country of immigrants, and each has a culture to share, a story to tell. Native Americans first owned the land, but when immigrants came, cultural exchange flourished. America would not carry such a rich ‘melting pot’ culture if not for immigrants.

Furthermore, it can help with population distribution. Immigrants may move to an area of the country that is small and lacking in economic growth. Their cultural experience from their former country can add new and innovative ways to build economic growth and add culture to the small place.

the Border

The Border

There are more people to pay for goods and services when one lives in an immigrant country. Something sold to Americans may be seen as ‘old’, but in a different country, it could be the coolest thing, and so sellers may still make a profit out of it. Immigration also provides a larger workforce, which can fill the necessary jobs others find undesirable. More people are paying taxes, which gives the government a larger budget for their projects.

Legal immigration has a very good impact on the receiving society, as well as the people coming from their old country to start a new life.

Ceej

 

Outlawing Capital Punishment March 10, 2013

(Disclaimer: This post is not made because all of Bonsai is opposed to the death penalty. This post is merely pointing out the cons of the death penalty, and was originally a persuasive piece for Mary’s class. Not all of the staff at Bonsai is necessarily opposed to the death penalty, and I do not expect them to be, and if you do not want to be, you shouldn’t either.)

States without the death penalty have had consistently lower homicide rates than states that do in the past 20 years. This shows that the death penalty does not have as large of an effect on rates of crime as it is supposed to, Overall National Murder Rates of Death Penalty and Non-Death Penalty Statesand therefore is unnecessary. The death penalty should be outlawed in the United States of America for this and many other reasons.

First of all, it is very easy to put innocent people on death row. Since 1973, over 130 people have been released from death row because they were proven innocent. At any time, any of these 130 people could have been executed even though they committed no crime. Wrongful accusations are often made just because of bad legal representation, since people who are put on death row usually cannot pay to have a good lawyer to represent them in court. Some other reasons for innocents to be accused are police misconduct, prejudice, wrongful discriminating testimonies, misinterpretation of evidence, and the pressure on officers to solve a case quickly.

Secondly, the death penalty costs a lot more than life in prison. At a median price, executions cost $1.26 million dollars, while life in prison costs $740,000, which is considerably less. In Maryland, capital punishment costs three times more than life in prison, and in California, the law system would cost $11.5 million dollars instead of the $137 million it does if there was no death penalty.

Another thing to consider is that the death row system is highly prejudiced. The victims of murder resulting in executions/death row are overwhelmingly white (77% percent) and over half the time, the people put on death row for these murders are African-American. A study made by the US General Accounting Office found that a defendant was several times more likely to be found guilty if the victim was white. Another report sponsored by the American Bar Association found that one-third of the inmates on death row who were African-American would not have been found guilty if they were white. African-Americans are also treated more harshly during court and are valued less than white inmates during death row.

Furthermore, executing people with mental problems goes against the constitution. However, several people have been put on death row even if they are known to have mental illness. James Colbourn was accused of  murder and found guilty even though he had extreme schizophrenia and was extremely sedated during his trial. He was executed a few years later. Several other people have had similar cases, such as Charles Singleton and Kelsey Patterson. Both men both had known mental illness but were executed anyway.

Lastly, the court accusing people of death penalty can be highly random. Co-defendants on trial for the same crime may receive very different punishments. One might get several years in prison while the other is put on death row. Also, only two percent of people who commit crimes eligible of death penalty actually receive it. Overall, it doesn’t matter what you did — what really matters is where you are, who is prosecuting you, bargaining, and chance.

The death penalty does nothing to help the United States run smoothly, and should be outlawed. The United States will be a much better place to live in if we didn’t kill a person for a person, and we should abolish it for all of these reasons.

 

 

 
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