Newsletter

Together We Stand

Spring 2016


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. We welcome you to our family.
Since our last newsletter Together We Stand has grown to over 1,500 social justice advocates. As we grow, the number of cases we receive each day grows as well. In order to keep up, we have been actively recruiting volunteers and much of our success is directly related to the time, love and energy our team gives each day.


Special Thanks


Together We Stand would like to acknowledge the following people and groups for their outstanding contributions to social justice and their support of Together We Stand in the past few months:


The Tracy Fort Show!!

We are new, but growing!! Covering an array of topics, but most will all come back to how we treat other on this earth as humans! I hope you will listen in to our show! Follow us at @tracyfortshow on Twitter, The Tracy Fort Show page on Facebook, and you are welcome to e-mail the show at thetracyfortshow@gmail.com. Thanks for coming along for the ride!
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thetracyfortshow

MJA Inc. Mja Inc Investigations 

Missing Persons & Unsolved Crimes
Is a Search & Rescue & Investigative Group that works on: Missing Person & Unsolved Criminal Cases.
http://mja--inc--investigations.webs.com/

Black Youth N’Action

Black Youth N' Action is dedicated to liberation through the education and empowerment of our people. By providing Bay Area Youth with the tools to formulate their own opinions and individual selves, they respond with creative solutions and showcase their ideas through art, community involvment, and ability to pass along their knowlege in every aspect of their lives unapologetically.
Together We Stand is excited to be a source of support for these amazing young people. We hope to have Black Youth N’ Action as an integral part of our Youth Social Justice Center development.
http://blackyouthnaction.wix.com/blackyouthnaction

Beaumont Local Organizing Committee B.L.O.C. and Geary Seniguar Jr.

B.L.O.C. is the epitome of people walking the walk. These citizens recognize the struggles of their fellow African Americans and work diligently to affect change. Through community organizing and networking, members of B.L.O.C. are making a difference. We appreciate their support with our call to action events, petitions, and letter writing campaigns. B.L.O.C. has taken an active role in seeking justice for Demarcus Brown and we are pleased to provide support of their efforts.

Advocacy

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:

Loreal Tsingine:

Loreal, 27, 5’ tall, less than 100 lbs., shot 5 times by Winslow, Arizona police officer Austin Shipley. Shipley, a body builder, had a record of using force to control suspects. In his three-year career at the Winslow Police Department, Austin Shipley held a suspect at gunpoint five times, drew his Taser four times and used physical force in at least three situations, according to documents provided from his personnel file.
Shipley was twice suspended for a day without pay: once in 2013 after he was found to have violated the department's code of conduct for using vulgar language with a 15-year-old girl, and a second time in 2016 for violating the department's Taser policy for shocking a 15-year-old girl as she walked away from him.
In a letter of disposition, Shipley received six months of disciplinary probation and was required to enroll in department-mandated training on the use of force and Taser deployment.
Shipley is on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation by the Arizona Department of Public Safety. TWS was in touch with the leaders of the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission within 24 hours of Loreal’s death. We have attempted on many occasions to reach the Winslow Police regarding why officer Shipley still has a job and we have received little information. We believe that given officer Shipley’s history, he should not only be terminated, but also charged with the murder of Loreal. We also will work to see that the policies that allowed an officer with such a history of violence to continue on the job until things escalated to him taking a life, be reevaluated and replaced. Law enforcement should be held to the highest of standards given they are armed and charged with the protection of our communities.

 

David Joseph:

David Joseph was shot and killed by police officer Geoffrey Freeman who responded to a disturbance call, where Joseph appeared high, was naked and fleeing. Rather than wait for back up, as per policy, he pursued the youth, shot and killed him.. TWS contacted Chief Acevedo and the Citizens Review Board pushing for the immediate termination and indictment of officer Freeman. The officer was fired. Police Chief Art Acevedo, was disciplined with a loss of five days pay for controversial remarks he made concerning the shooting. The police union felt Freeman wouldn't receive a fair hearing. The grand jury heard the case but failed to indict Freeman.
Together We Stand has worked with Chief Acevedo in past cases as well and he has shown himself to be a person willing to do the right thing regardless of the potential reactions he may face. TWS will continue to explore avenues to see that officer Freeman face charges. We also plan to push for ongoing training for officers regarding protocol, and procedures that will allow them to work effectively with the mentally ill, not only in Austin, but nationwide.

Marcus Merritt Sr.

Together We Stand has been working with Royce Eckley for the past few months seeking answers in the death of her son. From start to finish, nothing in this case was handled correctly, from securing the scene, preserving evidence, taking photos, taking X-rays, checking for gunshot residue, toxicology reports, or performing an autopsy. Nothing was done by the book, and a mother has been left grieving with no real answers to why her son died. The coroner in Marcus' case never even saw the body! His body went straight from the site of death to the funeral home. The mattress he supposedly died on was taken and burned by his estranged wife and family the next day!
Royce is a mother on a mission for justice. She contacted over 500 people asking for help in the three years since the death of her son. Many tried to help, but none were successful. TWS started a petition on moveon.org and organized a Call to Action. The Call to Action was held on what would have been Marcus's birthday, May 25th. We targeted: Major Doug Cain - Louisiana State Police, Joseph Noel - Leonville Chief of Police, Russell Pavich M.D. - Coroner St. Landry Parish, Bobby J. Guidroz - Sherrif St. Landry Parish, Elbert Lee Guillory - State Senator District 24, Earl B. Taylor- District Attorney St. Landry Parish and Detective Mark Fournet – Louisiana State Police. We asked for an exhumation and autopsy of Marcus's body so the cause of death and the events that took place surrounding his death could finally be clear.
We are pleased to say that within one week of our Call to Action, the Louisiana State Police exhumed Marcus's body and performed an autopsy. We are currently awaiting the results.

Together We Stand owes a very special thanks to the Tracy Fort Show for providing an invaluable platform for us to get the word out. Tracy spent hours on May 25th broadcasting Marc’s story. Without that exposure the Call to Action wouldn't have been as successful and we are so pleased to have Tracy as a part of the TWS family. She has kindly offered her show as a resource whoever needed and we are forever grateful.
We also need to extend our gratitude to Mark Harper of MJA Inc. Investigations and Patricia Caristo of the Resource Center for Victims of Violent Death. Both spent a great deal of time over the past three years investigating Marcus's death and advocating for his mother Royce. They each took time to share their experiences on the Tracy Fort Show and provided listeners with much needed information on the case.
Together We Stand will continue to support and advocate for Royce as we move through the next phase in this process. Again, we thank Everyone who participated in the Call to Action. We had hundreds of people across the country step up and take part. Every voice counts!

Robert Chambers:

At 19 years old, Robert Chambers was shot in the back of the head by deputy Steven Glidden of the Houston County Sherrif's office police, and he became one in a mounting number of Black men in this country to lose their lives unnecessarily at the hands of those charged to protect and serve. There were fingerprints that were never analyzed, a gun that didn’t match up to reports, and another possible suspect in the burglary he was a suspect in, among other inconsistencies. By his own admission, Glidden says he didn’t see a gun on Chambers as he ran.
With mounting evidence of police misconduct and a coverup, civil rights attorney's for Robert’s mother, Sharese Wells, have filed paperwork to bring this case to trial. The Judge denied their request and the attorneys have since appealed.
TWS is planning a Call to Action for June 30th. It is easy to help just go to the link below and follow the instructions for emailing anytime on the 30th. If you RSVP, TWS will send you a reminder that day.

https://www.smore.com/97y6k-call-to-action-for-robert-chambers

Please sign this petition asking Loretta Lynch and GF Peterman of the Department of Justice to bring civil rights or criminal charges against the officer so that Robert's loved ones can have a chance at justice. At 19 years old, Robert Chambers was shot in the back of the head by deputy Steven Glidden of the Houston County Sherrif's office . With mounting evidence of police misconduct and a coverup, civil rights attorneys for Roberts mother, Sharese Wells, have filed paperwork to bring this case to trial.
http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/justice-4-robert-chambers?source=c.em&r_by=1488871

Rougely:

In May a 12 year old African American girl sustained severe rope burns around her neck while attending an overnight school outing. Sandy Rougely, the girl’s mother has retained a lawyer to press a personal injury claim against Live Oak Classical School, the private school where her daughter is enrolled in Waco, Texas.
“It looked like somebody had ripped her neck apart and stitched it back together," stated the mother.
In a statement, school trustee Jeremy Counseller said the girl was injured accidentally by a rope swing and accused Rougley's attorney of exploiting the accident for financial gain.
Together We Stand is in contact with the attorneys in this case and will be working in conjunction with them to insure that something like this cannot happen again. We are examining the policies in place that allowed this to happen without immediate emergency attention and the contacting of all parents whose children were involved and how new procedures can be implemented for the future safety of the students. We also plan on insisting the school participate in extensive diversity and inclusion training, and will push to have a multicultural and accepting curriculum be integrated.

Prior-Lake High School:

Youth in the Twin Cities were receiving messages via social media from Prior Lake High School students, both during and after school hours, including racial epithets, images of nooses hanging from swing sets, vague threats of sexual violence. These messages were received on both Twitter and Facebook in response to a youth woman of color posting on social media her concern and disappointment with the cultural appropriation that occurred during a Prior-Lake choral performance.
In speaking with residents in Savage and Prior Lake, we were also notified of an incident that occurred in January of 2015, where an African American Prior Lake High School student received racially charged and highly offensive snapchat messages from two students who also attend the High School.
We are pleased that Prior Lake High School principal, David Lund, and Superintendent, Dr. Teri Staloch responded swiftly and in a transparent fashion upon receiving notice of the behavior of their students in this most recent incident. They provided a space for a meeting where representatives from our organization and two of the youth of color, who were targeted via social media, were able to share our concerns and hopes for the future of the school, which is very much appreciated. However, moving forward, it is our request that accountability be in place to ensure that the Savage-Prior Lake Public School District follow The Model Student Bullying Prohibition Policy and uphold their responsibility to engage in necessary training, education and supervision to continue to change the climate of Prior Lake High School to truly allow ALL students a safe and equal space for learning.
It is of the utmost importance to TWS that moving forward, the district take all necessary steps to assure this not happen again. We are now contacting the Minnesota Department of Education in hopes that with their assistance this issue can be examined further and the culture in the schools that is fostering this behavior be addressed. To sweep this under the rug is unacceptable and would be a disservice to all children involved.

Ryan Turk:

Ryan Turk, 12, was arrested and charged with larceny for taking a carton of milk which he was entitled to as a recipient of the free lunch program. This occurred at Graham Park Middle School in Virginia. A Prince William County police officer stationed at the school confronted Ryan and subsequently handcuffed him in front of his peers. Prosecutors wanted Ryan to admit to larceny and take diversion classes to avoid prosecution.
Together We Stand contacted the the Chief of Police and the School Superintendent on behalf of Ryan's family insisting that all charges be dropped and he be allowed to return to school immediately. Although Ryan missed 30 days of school before this was over, all charges were dropped.
Together We Stand will continue to pressure the school to change the policies in place that allowed this to happen. Certainly many things are amiss if a child's life can be impacted in such a serious and damaging way. We are also pushing to have the officer involved banned from working in any school environment until extensive training on working with children is complete. We hope to have a district wide policy instated that would require any officer that works on school campuses with youth, be required to have special training.

Morehouse/Spelman Sexual Assault:

Morehouse and Spelman are among the 100+ colleges in the US under investigation for civil rights violations of the Title IX law. The law prohibits sex discrimination in education. It addresses sexual harassment and violence, including attempted rape, rape and sexual assault. Schools must take steps to prevent the violence and have procedures for handling complaints. The school must have a manager who handles the complaints. Morehouse has been accused of covering up numerous assaults including gang rape of a Spelman student. Recently a Spelman student tweeted about her assault by a Morehouse student but refused to come forward because of the history of both colleges lack of responses to sexual assaults. Together We Stand has both written letters and offered our workshop services to both Morehouse and Spelman. We are staunch advocates for victims of sexual assault and trafficking.

Corey Jones:

This case is particularly close to us as we have Family of Corey’s in Together We Stand. Corey was killed on the side of the road after his car broke down. Corey was shot 3 times by plain clothed 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. Together We Stand along with several other organizations pushed 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."
Update*
Nouman Raja was arrested and charged with man slaughter and attempted murder.

Gynnya McMillen:

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.
Update* TWS continues to pursue policy change both within the child welfare system and the juvenile justice system in Kentucky, both of which failed this child.

Announcement:

Why Black Lives Matter Too – Book Launch- June 19, 2016
I am so pleased to be a part of an incredible project that is coming to fruition. Not only am I humbled to be a contributing author, I am pleased to say that several of our TWS members are a part of this as well. Sevgi Fernandez
Spearheaded by the amazing Mary Ann Canty Merrill PhD., other TWS contributing authors are: Tamera C.J. Baggett, Susan Oldberg Hinton, Autumn Lubin, Bee Schrull, Dawn Amber, Valerie Stephens, Nicole Lattery, Ian Frank (Photographer), Judy Shepard, Laurie Baker and Candidly Nic. Each of the 50 authors bring a unique and authentic perspective to the complex issues surrounding race in this country.
Why Black Lives Matter (Too)! This multi-contributor anthology comprises curated essays written by 50 social justice advocates from across the nation and releases on June 19, 2016—also known as Juneteenth—a holiday commemorating the announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas in June 1865, and more generally the emancipation of African American slaves throughout the Confederate South.
All proceeds will benefit The Sentencing Project, a leader in the effort to bring national attention to disturbing trends and inequities in the criminal justice system through the publication of groundbreaking research, aggressive media campaigns and strategic advocacy for policy reform. Our gift to the organization will support their efforts to promote reforms in sentencing policy, address unjust racial disparities and practices, and advocate for alternatives to incarceration.
*Ian Frank provides in photography what most cannot say in volumes of books. Awe inspiring and gut wrenching images. We are grateful to have him as a part of TWS, sharing his unique perspective with us and the world.
http://www.ianfrankgallery.com/

Nonprofit-

Fundraising

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 twstherevolution@yahoo.com
Many thanks to our latest donors:
Royce Eckley, Carolyn Ryan, Kristi Corbett, India Daniels, Paola Verde, Jessie Bryant, Ty Anderson, Hana Mahmoud, Kimberly Bateman and Daniel Schuette!!
Together We Stand wants you all to know that your assistance is so meaningful! With the funds we have raised so far we were able to keep our website going, create much needed promotional materials, and promote our successful call to actions!!! If you would like to donate you can do so at:

Gofundme:
https://www.gofundme.com/TogetherWeStand1

Generosity:
http://igg.me/at/1xGsMVwExcU

Workshops

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 Together We Stand 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.

Social Media

TWS has a main Facebook group of over 1,500 members in which we discuss pertinent topics surrounding racism, discrimination and police brutality. We have recently started the Together We Stand Community Action/Advocacy FB group which is comprised of members who volunteer to assist with our cases. We can always use more help, so if you have a few hours a week to spare for social justice work, please let us know. People can also visit our website and volunteer there as well.

Meet our Board of Directors

Sevgi Fernandez/President

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 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 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

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/Secretary

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 Together We Stand doing endless work behind the scenes assisting with administrative work and research.

TWS is pleased to welcome to our Board of Directors:

Dr. Kimberly Bateman
Kimberly Bateman is a Licensed Psychologist specializing in working with children and adolescents in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul). She is a community activist joining forces with activist organizations fighting for race and economic equity, education justice, LGBTQ rights, and criminal justice reform. Kimberly is passionate about empowering youth and organizing for change.

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!

#TogetherWeStand
#TheRevolutionIsHere
Follow us on Twitter @Twsrevolution
Visit us at Togetherwestand.nationbuilder.com
Call us at 1 800- 528-1084

 

 

Together We Stand

Winter 2016

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:

Laquan McDonald

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.

Lateef Dickerson:

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.

Corey Jones:

This case is particularly close to us as we have Family of Corey’s in Together We Stand. 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.”

Gresham School:

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.

Sandra Bland:

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:

Together We Stand 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. Together We Stand 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

Advocacy

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::

Mayor Hagen:

After Mayor of Superior, Wisconsin, Bruce Hagen, posted anti Islamic rhetoric on social media, Together We Stand 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.

Gynnya McMillen:

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.

Tamir Rice:

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.” Together We Stand 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.

Felicia Huston:

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:

Together We Stand 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 Together We Stand 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

Nonprofit

Fundraising

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 twstherevolution@yahoo.com

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!!!!!

Together We Stand 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 Together We Stand 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!

Gofundme:

https://www.gofundme.com/TogetherWeStand1

Generosity:

http://igg.me/at/1xGsMVwExcU

Workshops

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 Together We Stand 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 Fernandez/President

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/Chaplain

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/Secretary

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!

#TogetherWeStand

#TheRevolutionIsHere

Follow us on Twitter @Twsrevolution


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