Why did Kansas officials threaten opponents of jail expansion with a $3 million bond?

April 3, 2020. The Kansas City Star Editorial Board.

Douglas County Commissioners want to expand the jail in Lawrence, and they apparently won’t let anything stand in their way — not even opposition from the public.

And if citizens dare protest, they’ll be threatened with a $3 million surety bond.

In January, the county’s board of commissioners voted to add 112 beds to the Douglas County Jail, which currently has a capacity of 186.

A month later, attorneys for Justice Matters, a Lawrence-based activist group, submitted legal arguments requesting that Douglas County officials place the $30 million jail expansion in front of voters. Kansas law spells out a process to allow for a petition and ultimately force a public vote on projects involving the issuance of general obligation bonds.

Commentary: North Charleston Police Department still needs a racial bias audit

March 31, 2020. The Post and Courier.

In his recent op-ed, North Charleston City Councilman Ron Brinson said the city’s police department had a “mind-numbing wake-up call” nearly five years ago after the murder of Walter Scott by then-Officer Michael Slager.

For many black residents, the killing of Walter Scott was not a wake-up call but rather another example of their continued lived experience. And had a video of the shooting been held a few days longer, we likely would have witnessed yet another police department declaring as justified the shooting of another black man.

Local Group Calls For More Frequency Along CARTA Bus Routes

March 2, 2019. The Charleston Chronicle.

Last week, the Charleston Area Justice Ministry (CAJM) along with the ACLU of South Carolina, Citizens Climate Lobby, Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit, Charleston Climate Coalition, and the Center for the Study of Slavery Social Justice Working Group held a press conference at the Cherokee United Methodist Church to show support for increased bus frequency. The average bus in Charleston runs on a frequency of once every hour making life extremely difficult for the 11,000 people who rely on public transportation every day, the group contends.

Last year, thousands of people gathered under the banner of CAJM to push for more frequent buses – specifically on North Charleston routes with high transit-dependent ridership. They are carrying that campaign into 2020.

How the fight for racial justice pushed Charleston beyond the segregated hour

February 24, 2020. Religion News Service.

CHARLESTON, S.C. (RNS) — On a Monday night in April 2016, more than 2,000 people packed into Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston. The crowd included black and white Christians, both Protestant and Catholic, as well as Reform Jews, Unitarians, local activists and other community members. They weren’t there for worship but to confront racial bias in policing practices.

The gathering was the culmination of months of work by the Charleston Area Justice Ministry, which began in the intimacy of private homes the previous fall. People shared stories of the concerns that kept them up at night. A common refrain, particularly of black residents, was being stopped by the police for no apparent reason. The practice, known as an “investigatory stop,” had led to the murder of a black man named Walter Scott by a North Charleston police officer.

‘We are not going to go away.’ Faith-based group, superintendent in standoff over suspensions.

November 26, 2019. Kentucky.com

A disagreement between a Lexington faith-based organization and Fayette Superintendent Manny Caulk came to a head at this week’s school board meeting as group leaders repeated a charge that Caulk had ignored their requests to consider a proposed solution to the disproportionate suspensions of black students.

“We turned out tonight because we are tired of being ignored,” said Rev. Joseph Owens, co-President of the organization called BUILD, Building a United Interfaith Lexington through Direct-Action. BUILD members say they have been trying get a meeting with Caulk since January 2019.