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Sunday, February 26, 2012

"Kill every last gay person"

Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill has been re-introduced. Citibank and Barclays wield significant influence in the country, but have so far been silent. Tell the two banks to speak up now and help stop the terrifying bill from becoming law.
Sign the Petition
Citibank and Barclays could save the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Uganda.
The Ugandan legislature could vote any day on a so-called “Kill the Gays” bill that could result in legalizing the death penalty for any LGBT person in the country. But Citibank and Barclays together have hundreds of millions of dollars invested in Uganda and wield significant influence in the country, just as banking lobbyists wield influence with Congress in the US. If Citibank and Barclays speak out against the "Kill the Gays" bill, Ugandan legislators will take notice in a hurry.
Citibank and Barclays are both big supporters of LGBT rights for their own employees, yet they invest money with a government that is threatening to execute LGBT people. "I expect Citibank and Barclays to live up to the values of equality and fairness, not just list them on their websites," Collin says.
If Citibank and Barclays speak out against the "Kill the Gays" bill, Ugandan legislators will see that they are risking the business relationships that keep their government afloat.
Thanks for being a change-maker,
- Eden and the Change.org team

Coal's Human Toll | Suing the EPA | Upcoming Evening with RFK, Jr.


Our members are invited to join us June 21 in Charlottesville, Va., for an evening with Robert Kennedy, Jr., and other special guests to help us celebrate our 15th year!
Stay tuned for details...
Not a member of Appalachian Voices yet? For as little as $10 per month you can become a member of Appalachian Voices -- Join us today!

Blue Mountain BreweryProudly Crafting Tradition
Blue Mountain Brewery, from Afton, Va., is a farm brewery, growing their own hops, and proudly craft real American beer inspired by thousands of years of tradition but not limited by convention and serve fresh local foods. Visit them online!

/ COMING UP IN 2012 /
A View from the Mountaintop
Renowned author Barbara Kingsolver and Grammy-award winning singer Kathy Mattea celebrate Appalachia and bring awareness to mountaintop removal mining at the Bijou Theatre, 5 p.m. March 11. Tickets $25
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Week in Washington Registration Begins March 1
Join The Alliance for Appalachia in Washington, D.C., June 2-6 to lobby for an end to mountaintop removal coal mining. Check the iLoveMountains website after March 1 to register!
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Appalachian Treasures Tour 
We're going to the West Coast this March and April to spread the word about mountaintop removal.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
We Can't Wait for
Clean Water!

March 22 is World Water Day, and Clean Water events are being planned in Asheville, Charlotte and Wilmington, N.C.
Stay tuned for details. 
Appalachian Voices Annual
Membership Meeting

June 21, 2012
Charlottesville, Va.
Details coming soon!
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Dear _______,

A white cloth emerges from the Cuyahoga River dripping with oil in 1964. Photo courtesy Cleveland Press Collection, Cleveland State University Library
"Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom."
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
One of America's most popular laws — the Clean Water Act — was passed 40 years ago when thousands of people demanded that we stop dumping waste into our water and our politicians listened.
Enforcement is another matter. It's not surprising that an industry that will blow up the Appalachian Mountains for greater profits will also defy law to pollute our mountain streams. But the failure of state agencies to enforce the law is astonishing. Appalachian Water Watch has exposed tens of thousands of water violations in central Appalachia, where living near mountaintop coal mining shortens life spans, increases birth defects, and increases cancer risk (see The Human Cost of Coal below).
In the drought-prone Southeast, where two-thirds of all water withdrawals are used to cool electric generating plants and the majority of our waterways have unsafe levels of mercury pollution, we are working for protections through the Red, White and Water campaign. The only way to ensure our water is safe is to continue the struggle and work for our freedom.
Thank you for standing with us.
Willa Mays
Executive Director

The Human Cost of CoalThe Human Cost of Coal

Appalachian Voices and The Alliance for Appalachia's innovative new tool aggregates revealing scientific evidence against mountaintop removal coal mining. The new "Human Cost of Coal" interactive map uses current data to plot increased health problems, lowered life expectancy and higher poverty rates in areas with mountaintop removal mining in Central Appalachia.

Banning Mountaintop Removal in Tennessee

Watch our new Video ad for Governor HaslamAppalachian Voices is helping to promote a bold bill in the Tennessee legislature that would ban surface mining on peaks over 2,000 feet in elevation, and has bi-partisan support in both houses. [ Watch our TV ad targeted at Governor Bill Haslam and learn about our work on another groundbreaking Tenn. bill ]

Illegal Vote Heats Up Coal Plant Battle

The fight to stop a massive power plant in Surry County, Va., took a surprising turn when local zoning approved for the project was deemed illegal and must be attempted again -- providing us with additional chances to oppose the proposal at every step! Join us at the upcoming hearings in Dendron, Va., to help fight this unnecessary plant. [ Learn more or RSVP to the hearing ]

Hey EPA: Get Your Coal Ash in Gear

Asheville Coal PlantWith the EPA slow to answer a nationwide call for regulations of coal ash, Earthjustice, Appalachian Voices and ten other environmental groups have sued the federal agency to set a date for dealing with the toxic muck. But opposition in Congress is strong, including a bill that would prevent the EPA from ever regulating the billions of gallons of ash stored in unlined ponds across the country.
[ Join 7,500+ people already taking a stand for clean water ]
Allegheny Unitarian Universalists Church donating to Appalachian Voices

Sharing The Plate in Pennsylvania

Thanks to the wonderful philanthropy of a congregation in Pennsylvania—and one special supporter named Shane Freeman—Appalachian Voices was the proud recipient of Allegheny Unitarian Universalist Church's Share the Plate program in 2011. [ Read about their generous gift ]
February 25, 2012 ~ Vol. 4, No. 2
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Boone, N.C. • Charlottesville, Va Appalachian Voices Washington, D.C. • Nashville, Tenn.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Triple violation of an innocent woman

Dear friends across India,

A woman in Kolkata was raped and then abused by the police and the state's Chief Minister. Let's take a stand now on behalf of this victim and all the women in India who face violent assaults. Sign the petition asking the CM to publicly apologise, punish the police and ensure safety for women:
Last week, a mother of two was raped at gunpoint in Kolkata and then dumped on the roadside bloodied. When she went to the police for help they jeered at her and then the Chief Minister shamefully stated the victim was just playing politics. Only a national outcry now can turn the tide on violence and intimidation against women across India.

This disgraceful treatment of a rape victim is not a one off -- India is the world's third worst country for rape cases, and most women are afraid to report what has happened to them. If we all now rally behind this victim and make it a national political issue, we could get the police reform we need.

In the last few days the Kolkata police have made arrests, but one of the attackers is still free and the Chief Minister has not withdrawn her remarks. Let's all call on CM Mamata Banerjee to apologize publicly, punish the errant police officers and demand a national police reform to improve safety for women. Sign the petition now and send it to everyone:


After the 37 year old was raped on her way home, she was reluctant to come forward to report the crime. When she decided to seek justice she was verbally abused by two male police officers who questioned her morals and mocked her. The investigation then froze when the Chief Minister of the state, Mamata Banerjee, openly ridiculed her and the commissioner of police claimed that it was an attempt to malign the police and the government.

The victim then took justice into her own hands, scanning social networking sites to find her attackers. She took their photos to the investigating cops who again rubbished her claim. But this brave victim did not give up -- she went to the media to bring her case directly to citizens across the country. This pressure exerted by one woman is already making waves -- two of the police officers have been suspended and some arrests made.

If we pile in to support this innocent woman in her struggle to get justice against massive official odds we can begin the fight back against the violence and intimidation faced by women across India every day. Sign the petition now, and tell everyone:


A progressive society is defined by the way it treats women. Let's act together to stand with the victim and ensure justice is done.

With hope,

Alex, Shibayan, Alice, Shivendra, Benjamin, Ricken, Kya and all of us at Avaaz


Mamata terms rape claim of Anglo-Indian is cooked up (India Today)

Rape: Govt's response premature, says NCW (Zee News)

Report recommends suspension of policemen in Kolkata rape case: sources (IBN Live)

Mamata Banerjee raps cops for cracking rape case (Times of India)

Its official: India 3rd worst offender in rape cases (Indian Express)

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that works to ensure that the views and values of the world's people shape global decision-making. ("Avaaz" means "voice" or "song" in many languages.) Avaaz members live in every nation of the world; our team is spread across 13 countries on 4 continents and operates in 14 languages. Learn about some of Avaaz's biggest campaigns here, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

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Certain death---Tell world leaders: Stop China from sending North Korean refugees to their deaths

Tell world leaders: Stop China from sending North Korean refugees to their deaths
Sign the Petition
Moses Bak's* childhood friend faces imminent execution, but with your help, he can save her.
She and two dozen North Korean refugees in China are in a terrifying limbo -- the Chinese government wants to deport them back to North Korea, where the new "Supreme Leader" Kim Jong-Un is cracking down by shooting defectors on sight and vowing to kill "three generations" of their families.
Moses escaped the nightmare of surveillance, intimidation, human rights abuses and famine in North Korea -- he's a refugee now living in Seoul, South Korea. But a young woman he’s known since they were kids in North Korea is in the group currently being detained in China.
"We have cried our eyes out," Moses and his friends say, certain the young woman will be executed if she's returned to North Korea. Moses's only hope is that international pressure can save her -- he started a petition on Change.org calling on world leaders including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the EU's Catherine Ashton to do everything they can to stop China from deporting his friend and others back to North Korea.
North Korea's young leader, Kim Jong-Un, is ruthlessly cracking down to assert his new authority since his father, Kim Jong-Il, died. In December, Kim Jong-Un told border guards to shoot defectors on sight rather than sending them to reeducation camps and decreed defectors' families would also be killed.
But one deadline for the deportation of these refugees has already passed, signaling that China knows it will have blood on its hands if it follows through. China may be bending to international pressure, but needs to hear more from other global leaders to release the refugees to South Korea.
Already, more than 30,000 people have signed Moses's petition. In November, 35,000 people signed a petition on Change.org asking Secretary Clinton to call for the release of political prisoners in Burma -- and she did. She also spoke out for women’s right to drive in Saudi Arabia after receiving a Change.org petition. If every person who cares about human rights signs Moses's petition, world leaders like Secretary Clinton will listen again.
Thanks for being a change-maker,
- Sarah and the Change.org team

*Moses Bak is a pseudonym to protect the petition creator’s identity and safety.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Dangerous Energy

Click here to save the Nuclear Liability Act
It’s close to a year, but many who left Fukushima, Japan, after the nuclear disaster and high radiation levels, can’t go home.
A year since Fukushima and we still have not learnt our lesson. Our government is still keen on nuclear energy. Now they even want to dilute a clause in the Nuclear Liability Act, which holds suppliers of nuclear technology responsible in case of a nuclear accident.
The rules to dilute this Act, could be presented in the upcoming session of Parliament.[1] Our government is succumbing to foreign pressure and compromising on our safety. Stop them before they expose our lives to the risk of a nuclear accident.
Listen to the stories of the survivors of the nuclear accident in Fukushima and then ask the heads of political parties to stop the dilution of the Nuclear Liability Act.
If the government succeeds, the foreign nuclear suppliers will get away by paying a small compensation in the case of a nuclear accident. The bulk of the cost will be borne by us - the Indian tax payer.
Pressure from lakhs of people and the opposition parties made the government pass a strong supplier liability clause.[2] We need to do this again.
Thanks a billion!
Picture of Karuna Raina
Karuna Raina
Nuclear campaigner,
Greenpeace India.
PS: Greenpeace is an independent organisation funded by individuals like you. Your contribution will help further the struggle to save our food. You will also get a Greenpeace organic cotton grocery bag to carry your non-GM, organic groceries as a thank you for your contribution. Click here to chip in.
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Major news! Supreme Court could revisit Citizens United.

Suddenly, the U.S. Supreme Court has an opportunity to re-consider its ruling in Citizens United v. FEC, a ruling that has threatened our democracy.  We need your help to seize this moment, and urge the Court to reverse the Citizens United decision, by sending a letter to your local news editor now.

       Click here to send a letter to your news editor.

The Court is now faced with a recent case from Montana, about that state’s century-old Corrupt Practices Act, which bars corporate spending on campaigns there.  The Montana Supreme Court recently upheld the law, with our support. (Free Speech For People led the filing of a friend-of-the-court brief in favor of this decision.)  On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court put a stay on that state court ruling, allowing corporate money to flow unabated in Montana this year. 

But Justices Ginsburg and Breyer made an extraordinary statement along with that stay, essentially calling on their fellow Justices to treat the Montana case as their opportunity to re-consider Citizens United:

“Montana’s experience, and experience elsewhere since this Court’s decision in Citizens United... make it exceedingly difficult to maintain that independent expenditures by corporations "do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption." ... A petition for certiorari will give the Court an opportunity to consider whether, in light of the huge sums currently deployed to buy candidates’ allegiance, Citizens United should continue to hold sway.”
The upshot is that there’s suddenly a real chance that the Supreme Court could revisit Citizens United.  With your help, we’ll do everything we can to make the most of this opportunity.

We’re organizing a rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington tomorrow, along with our friends at Common Cause and the Coffee Party, and with help from numerous other reform groups.

Most of us live too far from Washington to get there, but don’t let that keep you silent.  One of the best ways to make your voice heard is to send a letter to the editor of your newspaper or your news site.

       Click here to send a letter to your news editor.

We know writing a letter sounds like a lot of work, but we’ve actually made it really easy, with suggested talking points you can mix and match in just seconds to create a compelling letter and then send it, right from our site.

Please take a moment now to send in your letter.   Now is the time to speak up.

Thank you!

- John

John Bonifaz, Executive Director
Free Speech For People
Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

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How much blood before the world helps Syria?

Amnesty International
How much blood do the people have to shed before the world helps?
You have heard the stories on the news -- Syrian cities are being besieged, and civilians are dying in droves at the hands of their own government. Just today, a U.S. journalist and a French photographer were killed while covering the violence in Homs. I want you to know that Amnesty International is on the Syrian border, collecting stories for the world to hear.

Amnesty's Syria campaigner Maha talked with a group of women from the village of Tasil, including a young mother:
"One day before we left Tasil I was looking out from the window and saw security forces chasing a man in the farms near the village. They were shooting at him and I thought no doubt they would kill him. When I looked closely I realized that that man was actually my husband. Thank God he managed to escape."
Maha heard that 8 deaths occurred in Tasil in one week -- including a woman shot and killed while putting her laundry out on the roof.

Donate to help Amnesty shine a light on the abuses being committed in Syria and around the world.

Those arrested in Syria face unspeakable torture.

Neil, an Amnesty researcher, spoke with individuals from the city of Dera'a. Dozens have been killed in the last week, their homes looted.

Neil is hearing accounts of torture unlike anything he has seen in 9 years working on Syria at Amnesty International. A refugee named Abu Suhaib tells Neil what he's truly scared of, "I've seen many beside me be shot and killed but I'm not afraid of dying. What I fear is being arrested."

Neil talked to Jihad, a 34-year-old clothes shop worker arrested last December. Like others, he was subjected to extremely cramped conditions, electrocuted several times, and sometimes violently beaten. Also, like many, he had his religious beliefs denigrated by the security guards.

After refusing to recognize Syrian president Bashar al-Assad as his god, Jihad was kicked down two flights of stairs. Jihad unwrapped the bandage around his left hand and told Neil what happened next. "He then ordered that I be restrained in the crucifix position, and have a piece of dynamite the size of a pen tied to my left palm. 'Boom', it exploded and half my hand blew off. Blood flowed everywhere."

Jihad was taken to a hospital from where he was able to escape and later find his way to Jordan. After he fled, the security forces gave his family a document stating that if captured he will be executed.

Neil and Maha continue to uncover accounts of violence and torture. How much blood do the people have to shed before the world helps?

Amnesty International is campaigning for governments to take action individually and through the United Nations to protect Syrians from their government's brutality. We need your help.

Donate today to fund Amnesty's work to expose human rights abuses -- and push the world community to act!

Sanjeev Bery
Advocacy Director, Middle East North Africa
Amnesty International USA

Donate Now

Due to the Syrian authorities' refusal to allow independent international human rights monitors into the country, Amnesty International has been unable to independently verify the testimony of people who fled Syria.
 Unprecedented levels of brutality

graphic image
Jihad, a 34-year-old clothes shop worker from Dera'a city, had his hand destroyed by dynamite during torture by Syrian security forces
Fight for basic human rights for all.

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© 2012 Amnesty International USA | 5 Penn Plaza, New York, NY 10001 | 212.807.8400