Aaron Swartz — Internet activist, RSS co-author and Reddit co-founder — committed suicide in New York on Friday, reported The Tech, MIT’s newspaper.
Swartz’s uncle and attorney both confirmed the news to the publication.
“The tragic and heartbreaking information you received is, regrettably, true,” said Elliot R. Peters of Kecker and Van Nest, Swartz’ attorney, in an email to The Tech.
Swartz was a co-founder of the digital activist organization Demand Progress, which was one of the Internet freedom organizations instrumental in the fight against SOPA and PIPA. He was also a co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.
In July 2011, Swartz was charged with allegedly downloading and distributing more than 4 million documents — many in the public domain — from MIT and journal archiving service JSTOR.
He was charged in September 2012 with 13 counts of felony hacking.
Demand Progress had said at the time that the Justice Department’s indictment of Swartz was like ”trying to put someone in jail for allegedly checking too many books out of the library.”
He pled not guilty in September 2012, but still faced possible prison time, ZDNet reported, noting that his financial woes generated during his struggle against the Justice Department were no secret.
Cory Doctorow, co-editor of the blog Boing Boing and a friend of Swartz, wrote a personal tribute to Swartz early Saturday morning.
PublicResource.org, a non-profit organization dedicated to publishing and sharing public domain materials in the U.S., also turned its homepage into a tribute to Swartz.
“BE FREE,” reads the homepage.
“When the right to communicate was imperiled by tyrants and profiteers, the Postmaster General changed his frank from “Free, B. Franklin” to “Be Free, Franklin,” it said.
“Aaron Swartz made our world more free,” it said. “Be Free, Internet. Thank you, Aaron, for what you gave us.”
The rent strike started two years ago when Sara Lopez woke up early one morning. No one sleeps much in these three buildings — in the winter there’s no heat, in the summer there’s no electricity, and all year there are rats and cockroaches scurrying in the walls — but that morning Lopez had slept even worse than usual, and she was mad.
“I thought and thought and decided that I needed to do something,” she said. “So I knocked on 51 doors because I got mad of so much injustice.”
At each door she and Trelles spread a clear message: Stop paying rent. It wasn’t an idea born out of an ideology regarding private property or capitalism or self-governance. Instead, Lopez — a retired public employee who says she still has faith in the power and intentions of the local government — was espousing a radicalism born from necessity and experience. She knew that tenants could run the buildings better than Petito, whom she called un payaso, which means “clown” in Spanish but sounds far more poisonous than that when hissed in her Honduran accent. In the winter of 1982, after a former landlord simply abandoned the buildings without heat, Lopez brought the buildings’ families together, and they governed themselves — collecting money to pay the bills and replace the boiler, and forming teams to clean the hallways, put the trash out and make repairs.
Read the article in its entirety, it’s so good. These ladies know what’s up.
I hope everybody knows by now that PETA is an awful bunch of people, but I thought I’d collect some of the reasons together for anyone who doesn’t.
Flood the lines at DPS!!! Please Share Widely!!
Because I’m not the greatest at transcription, i’m going to just copy and paste an email i got which basically states what is stated above. the first document above is in english, the second document is in spanish. if anybody can transcribe the spanish one or can translate the email below into spanish, please feel free to add on!
PLEASE CALL IF YOU CAN!!!!
We need your help right away.
On Wednesday, April 25 in Detroit, hundreds of Western International High School students walked out in solidarity with fellow students from nearby Southwestern High School to protest the state-imposed Emergency Manager’s decision to shut down Southwestern at the end of the school year.
Students from both schools gathered peacefully in Clark Park in a jubilant speak out and celebration of their demand for quality education for all Detroit students.
Today at least 100 students (possibly more than 180) at Western International High School and 20 students at Southwestern were suspended—some for up to ten days—for the walk out. A large proportion of those suspended are Latino, in a city where the immigrant population is under constant assault over status issues. Many of the youth and their families are fearful for what the near term future will bring.
Consistent with their demand to receive a quality, relevant education, students from both schools are forming the Southwest Detroit Freedom School in Clark Park, which holds its first class this morning at 10:55 a.m. (consistent with the time of their joint walkouts).
The students are now asking all of us, as their allies, to contact the following Detroit Public Schools officials immediately to demand:
(1) that the suspensions of the Southwestern and Western International High School students be rescinded;
(2) that public schools be kept open; and
(3) that spaces are created for students, families, and community members to have legitimate dialogue about decisions concerning their schools.
Roy S. Roberts, Emergency Manager, Detroit Public Schools
Phone: (313) 870-3772
Fax: (313) 870-3726
Steve Wasko, DPS Chief Communications Officer
Phone: (313) 873-4892
Fax: (313) 873-4565
Karen Ridgeway, DPS Superintendent of Academics
Phone: (313) 576-0050
Fax: (313) 873-6446
Please share and forward this message broadly.
The students’ direct facebook page:
Some extra links to news articles:
This is a big deal. Please reblog.
On June 5, 2011, a young African American, transgender woman survived a violent attack motivated by racism and transphobia in South Minneapolis, Minnesota. After one of the attackers was stabbed and died at the scene, CeCe McDonald now stands falsely accused of two counts of felony murder. CeCe fought back in self-defense, yet today the only person arrested and sitting behind bars is the victim, CeCe McDonald. First the target of a racist, transphobic assault and since, the hostage of a legal system incapable of fairly serving transgender people and people of color, CeCe needs support from the community in order to achieve justice.
Trans author and activist Leslie Feinberg has asked me to help organize for CeCe’s release from prison, and I am asking you to do the same. I stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Leslie on this, and heart-to-heart with CeCe McDonald.
Individual and organizational endorsement of a letter of support calling for the charges against CeCe to be dropped could free CeCe and end this tragedy.
While there are varied accounts of what happened that night, CeCe and her companions all agree on the following details. Late at night, CeCe was walking to a grocery store with some friends, all young African Americans, and queer or allies. As they passed a local bar, a group of older white people standing outside the bar’s side door started hurling racist and transphobic slurs at them without provocation. These slurs included the “n” word, “faggot,” “chick with a dick,” and “Go back to Africa.” One of the white women smashed her glass into CeCe’s face, puncturing her cheek all the way through and lacerating her salivary gland. One of the group even said that Ms. McDonald was dressed as a woman in order to rape Dean Schmitz, one of the attackers. During the incident, Mr. Schmitz was fatally stabbed. CeCe was unarmed, but she saved her own life with a sharp tool that she carried in her purse needed for one of her classes. If she hadn’t defended herself, CeCe McDonald would be just another statistic in the horrible accounting of trans women of color murdered – nearly one each day – and a name on the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance list.
CeCe continues to prepare for trial set for April 30, and her supporters across the nation and throughout the world continue to demand that CeCe be freed and the injustices against her be stopped. The CeCe McDonald Support Committee and I are asking you to sign a letter addressed to Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman, requesting that charges against CeCe be dropped.
To review a copy of the letter, to endorse with your name and organizational affiliation, or if you have questions, please email Billy Navarro Jr., at: email@example.com. In addition to the letter demanding that charges be dropped, there is a petition you may sign on Change.org and, for more information, a FreeCeCe Mcdonald Facebook page. To endorse, sign the petition, donate, write to CeCe in jail, and for more ways to help, go to: supportcece.wordpress.com.
On April 30, a rally and civil disobedience are planned outside the Hennepin County Courthouse.
Please join with CeCe and her supporters to bring an end to this tragic injustice, which began months ago with an unprovoked hate crime that resulted in the death of Dean Schmitz and has only continued to worsen as 23-year-old CeCe has been denied the opportunity to pursue her education, heal, and move on with her life.
Your organization’s endorsement of the letter insisting that Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman drop the charges against CeCe is essential to achieving justice in this case and to creating a Minneapolis that is safe for trans people of color. Free CeCe!
* Bet Power is the President of the Sexual Minorities Educational Foundation, Inc. and the Executive Director/Curator of the Sexual Minorities Archives, a national collection of LGBTIQ literature, history, and art located in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Nationwide? I haven’t seen it…
This is a message I just received in my inbox.
A group called “Genocide Awareness Campagin” is at my university in Massachusetts right now with their giant billboards showing miscarried fetuses and aborted fetuses and the University is refusing to remove them from University grounds. At least 200 people have had to contact crisis centers because of triggering. We have staged a small counter-protest but the pro-lifers have surrounded the area we have set up a banner for people to sign and support reproductive rights, but these people decided to crowd in close around where the banner was and to scream obscene things at people who stopped to sign it and pick up a sticker saying “I Support Reproductive Freedom”, they even tried ripping it down a few times and shoved pamphlets full of graphic images of mostly miscarried fetuses and pushing their “message” of genocide. Mind you; I live in Lowell, which has a large Cambodian population…the largest outside of Cambodia who were rightly offended by these people misusing the word “genocide”. Also, tomorrow is the University’s Holocaust Remembrance Day…and this pro-life group is still going to be there touting their “abortion is genocide” crap on a day when we are supposed to remember a REAL genocide. This is so many kinds of offensive I can’t even describe the whole of it. I was hoping you could work your tumblr magic and get some attention paid to this problem at my University. We need media attention on this to pressure the University to throw these people out and to punish the student body responsible for inviting them because free speech has nothing to do with it anymore…just this evening the protesters were reading the names of people on campus who have had abortions and showing pictures of them to the people there. I’m hoping you will show this to your followers so we can get some support…our counter-protest is lagging now and we’re all getting tired…we still have two more days to go.
Thanks for your time, ladyatheist. The University is University of Massachusetts Lowell.
Long story short, there is a “pro-life” group on the University of Massachusetts Lowell’s campus triggering people, harassing them, and spreading lies. THIS SHIT HAS GOT TO STOP! If you are in the area, please show the people on campus fighting against this offensive bullshit whatever support you can. Contact the school and let them know you won’t stand for this. Go to the campus and show those “pro-lifers” you will not stand for their hatred, harassment, and ignorance. Pass this post around and spread the word that this type of behavior is not acceptable.
BOOST IT PEOPLE
Or maybe just contact the Chancellor of UMass Lowell?
Office of the Chancellor
Allen House, UML South, Two Solomont Way, Lowell, MA 01854 .
Phone: 978-934-2201 Fax: 978-934-3000 - Email: Marty_Meehan@uml.edu
California’s transgender community is mourning the loss of one of its most accomplished and revered leaders this week.
A number of media outlets are reporting that Alexis Rivera, 34, died March 28 of complications related to HIV in San Francisco. Officials for the Transgender Law Center, where Rivera had worked as a policy advocate since 2007, wrote in an email statement:“Alexis advocated for statewide policy change and trained hundreds of transgender community members to build relationships with their elected officials. During this time, Alexis was also a leader of the Transgender Law Center’s Health Care Access Project and helped secure affordable transgender health care services in several counties across California.
Alexis received many awards and honors in recognition of her leadership, including the Trans-Unity Trailblazer and Spirit Awards, the Latino Caucus on HIV Prevention Leadership Award, and the first QUEST Advocacy Pageant sash in 2002.”
A blogger identifying themselves only as “Alexis’ sister” also wrote, “Alexis was an amazing community activist. She was also a mother. She also became a grandmother a month before she died. She was also a sister, a daughter, a grand-daughter and and an aunt. She was a mentor to so many, and a friend to many, many more.”
Added Masen Davis, Executive Director of Transgender Law Center, in a statement: “She understood that we are stronger together, and she kept organizing until the very end. Alexis’ death is a reminder that the fight for equality — and against AIDS — is far from over.”
In describing her commitment and passion for her community, Rivera is quoted as having stated, “My activism is rooted from love.”
Memorials for Rivera will be held this weekend in both Los Angeles and San Francisco. For more information, click here.
I hope this marvellous woman gets as many tributes as Adrienne fucking Rich has. Something tells me i’m hoping in vain, however.
Video courtesy of the Huffington Post.
My thoughts are with the family and friends of this strong, beautiful, fierce woman.
This just sucks
34 is so young. So tragic.
Was there one and I missed it?
Is there going to be one?
Million Hoodie March in NYC for Trayvon Martin.
Bottom picture: Trayvon Martin’s parents, at the same march. Credit: AP/Mary Altaffer
Save Wiyabi Project
“Wiyabi” is Assiniboine for “Women”. This project is dedicated to bringing awareness to the epidemic of sexual and domestic violence towards Native American women. In the United States, Native women are more likely to be raped and physically assaulted than any other group. We encourage you to support the Re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act and the SAVE Native Women Act.
You can now follow us on Twitter at @SaveWiyabi and on Facebook at Facebook.com/Save.Wiyabi.Project
Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about something I’ve started calling the “Activist industrial complex,” which can be understood as any combination of the following -
- When someone participates in activism solely to be recognized by others as an ‘active’ or ‘good’ person
- When someone disguises their actions as activism when the true purpose is personal gain, such as making money or adding to a resume
- When someone tries to invalidate another person’s activism because it does not match up with their own definitions (example: people that criticize bloggers for not being “real” activists, people whose definitions of activism do not include survival/caring for one’s self, family, and friends/etc.)
- Hypocrisy in recognizing actions as activism (see this Patricia Hill Collins quote for an example)
- Claiming to be an advocate for all people of an oppressed group, yet only caring about those in that group with other privileges (for example, the It Gets Better Campaign and it’s focus on the experiences of white gay youth)
- Acting for/on behalf of another person or group without taking into account their voices and experiences - examples here are endless, but some include non-Muslim women advocating to ban the burqa or a white man writing a paper on women of color without ever talking to woc or citing their work
- Priding oneself on being an ‘activist’ for participating in action that allegedly raising awareness or supports a cause/group - changing your profile picture to a picture of a ribbon of whatever color, wearing a purple sweater to support LGBTQ youth, or updating your Facebook status to the color of your bra to raise awareness about breast cancer
- The hypocrisy of the “going green” movement (see more at this Racialicious post)
- Rhetoric of protection (man saves woman, white person saves poc, etc.)
I just created a rally for the arrest of George Zimmerman. Can’t say I’m not nervous.
I wonder if we can make one of these in NYC. Anyone interested?
Boston people! this needs to happen.
“On Saturday, February 18, 2012, the Frederick Douglass Foundation of New York presented the first Spirit of Freedom award to Jada Williams, a 13-year old city of Rochester student. Miss Williams wrote an essay on her impressions of Frederick Douglass’ first autobiography the Narrative of the Life. This was part of an essay contest, but her essay was never entered. It offended her teachers so much that, after harassment from teachers and school administrators at School #3, Miss Williams was forced to leave the school.We at the Frederick Douglass Foundation honored her because her essay actually demonstrates that she understood the autobiography, even though it might seem a bit esoteric to most 13-year olds. In her essay, she quotes part of the scene where Douglass’ slave master catches his wife teaching then slave Frederick to read. During a speech about how he would be useless as a slave if he were able to read, Mr. Auld, the slave master, castigated his wife.Miss Williams quoted Douglass quoting Mr. Auld: “If you teach that nigger (speaking of myself) how to read, there will be no keeping him. It will forever unfit him to be a slave. He would at once become unmanageable, and of no value to his master.”Miss Williams personalized this to her own situation. She reflected on how the “white teachers” do not have enough control of the classroom to successfully teach the minority students in Rochester. While she herself is more literate than most, due to her own perseverance and diligence, she sees the fact that so many of the other “so-called ‘unteachable’” students aren’t learning to read as a form of modern-day slavery. Their illiteracy holds them back in society.Her call to action was then in her summary: “A grand price was paid in order for us to be where we are today; but in my mind we should be a lot further, so again I encourage the white teachers to instruct and I encourage my people to not just be a student, but become a learner.”This offended her English teacher so much…”This offended her English teacher so much that the teacher copied the essay for other teachers and for the Principal. After that, Miss Williams’ mother and father started receiving phone calls from numerous teachers, all claiming that their daughter is “angry.” Miss Williams, mostly a straight-A student, started receiving very low grades, and she was kicked out of class for laughing and threatened with in-school suspension.There were several meetings with teachers and administrators, but all failed to answer Miss Williams’ mother’s questions. The teachers refused to show her the tests and work that she had supposedly performed so poorly on. Instead, the teachers and administrators branded her a problem.Unable to take anymore of the persecution, they pulled her from School #3. Wanting to try another school, they were quickly informed that that school was filled and told to try “this school.” During her first day at this new school, she witnessed four fights, and other students asked her if she was put here because she fights too much.Long story short, they took an exceptional student, with the radical idea that kids should learn to read, and put her in a school of throwaway students who are even more unmanageable than the average student in her previous school. To protect their daughter, her parents have had to remove her from school, and her mother has had to quit her job so she can take care of Miss Williams.To date, the administrators of School #3 have refused to release her records, even though she no longer attends the school, and they have repeatedly given her mother the run around. We at the Frederick Douglass Foundation have contacted school administrators in regards to this situation and have also been told to hit the pavement.
That’s what we intend to do. If this school will sacrifice the welfare of an above-average student whose essay, that they asked her to write, they find offensive, we intend to make everyone aware of this monstrous injustice. The school has a job, and it is not doing it. We would like as many folks as possible to call the Principal of School #3 and complain about this injustice. Her name is Miss Connie Wehner, and she can be reached at (585) 454-3525. This treatment of Jada Williams cannot stand.
Last summer, CeCe McDonald, a young African American transgender woman, was violently attacked in the heart of South Minneapolis. As she and several friends, also African American and queer or allied, were walking to the grocery store, a group of white adults standing outside of a bar started shouting racist and transphobic insults at them, calling the youth “faggots,” “niggers,” and “chicks with dicks”. Tragically, the violence did not stop there- one of the white adults slashed CeCe across the face with a broken bottle, cutting all the way through her cheek, and another of the attackers was fatally stabbed. Amazingly, in the aftermath of this racist and transphobic attack, the only person facing charges is CeCe McDonald- the victim. Michael Freeman, the Hennepin County Attorney, has charged CeCe with two counts of second degree murder. Because of these charges, she has been unable to recover from the attack and prevented from continuing her studies at the Minneapolis Community Technical College. Considering that County Attorney Michael Freeman has dropped charges in similar situations this year and that he has advocated strongly for programs to keep kids in school, arguing “We all know that when kids miss school they don’t learn,” why is Michael Freeman ruthlessly going after this young student? We refuse to allow racism and transphobia, on Minnapolis streets or in Minneapolis courts. We support CeCe. We are waiting for County Attorney Michael Freeman to honor his committment, in his words “to serve all of our citizens with understanding, dignity, and respect” by dropping the charges against CeCe McDonald. (via Petition: FREE CECE: We’re Looking at You, Michael Freeman: Drop the Charges Against CeCe McDonald | Change.org)
Can anyone explain to me how if one person was fatally wounded, she can be charged with two counts of second degree murder? I’m genuinely confused and I generally understand charges dealing with homicides, but this doesn’t make sense to me?
…I too would like to know this.
I have no idea. I read this story from Racialicious, and it says one of the attackers was stabbed (this says so too), and I guess they died. But it doesn’t even say that CeCe did it. Even if she did, it would have clearly been self-defense.
So either way, this is bullshit.
This petition needs a LOT more signatures than it has. This case hasn’t been getting nearly enough media attention, and we can’t just let it get swept under the rug (which is exactly what prosecutors want).
I’m having some trouble with the website - I’ll try again later.
Everybody else, Please sign the petition and forward this around.