February 4th, 2005

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Forum on Community Police Relations

In 2000, after the Nader campaign was over, I was part of a small group of Greens and NAACP members that launched a campaign to start a citizen's police review board in Champaign, Urbana, and Champaign County. This group has been working since then for 5 years gathering petition signatures, getting endorsements from organizations and churches, gathering the stories of those who have had run ins with the police, and lobbying city council members.

This Tuesday, we're having a coming out party. In the Urbana City Council chamber and broadcast live on UPTV (insight cable channel 6) we'll be having a community forum to discuss community/police relations. It is vitally important to the political success of this project that we pack the council chambers. Many candidates for city council will be at this meeting and if we can show them that there is a lot of community support for this initiative that will have a MAJOR impact on our ability to make a citizen police review board reality in Urbana.

Please come on out to this meeting to observe, to discuss, to tell your story, to learn about the issues, to meet city council candidates. The primary election in Urbana is February 22nd so it's an important time to be gathering information on this stuff.

Forum on Community/Police Relations
When: February 8 at 8PM
Where: Urbana City Council Chambers, 400 S. Vine, Urbana

Be part of a live discussion on the Community/Police Relations in the city of Urbana. Speakers will discuss the current strengths and weaknesses of the relationship between police and the community in Urbana, suggest alternatives, and encourage citizens to get involved. The Coalition for Citizen Police Review will share the results of a survey of city council candidates on their view on Citizen Police Review Boards. Candidates from all Urbana City Council races are invited to speak to voters and share their views on this topic.

Speakers include

- Mark Krug, Director of Court Diversion Service
- Carol Ammons, C-U Citizens for Peace and Justice
- Rev. Zernial Bogan
- Ricky Baldwin, Volunteer for the Coalition for Citizen Police Review.

Anyone is welcome to attend. The audience will be encourage to share their stories and comments. The forum will be taped and played at a later date on UPTV.

More information on Citizen Police Review Boards is available at www.prairienet.org/cprb
See also:
http://www.prairenet.org/cprb
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NY Supreme Court: Gays Must Be Allowed To Marry

What a crazy time we live in. Just last night I was reading a Press Release about the legal troubles that Green Party Mayor of New Paltz, New York Jason West has been involved in since he's been performing gay marriages. This morning I read an article in the latest Slingshot (the issue I was reading #84 is not online yet) calling for radicals to perform "polyamorous gender traitorous orgies in the streets" as a diversionary tactic so that the folks fighting for gay marriage would be seen as the moderate mainstream compromise position rather than the radical position. This afternoon wendywoohoo posts this great news!
From ABC:
(New York -WABC, February 4, 2005) — We have breaking news. According to Lambda Legal, which filed a lawsuit on behalf of same-sex couples, a New York State Supreme Court judge has ruled same sex couples must be allowed to marry.

A spokesman for the court system has confirmed that a ruling has been issued in the landmark case on gay marriages in New York.

Lambda Legal called it "a historic ruling that delivers the state Constitution's promise of equality to all New Yorkers."

Susan Sommer, supervising attorney at Lambda Legal and the lead attorney on the case, added that "The court recognized that unless gay people can marry, they are not being treated equally under the law. Same-sex couples need the protections and security marriage provides, and this ruling says they're entitled to get them the same way straight couples do."
EDIT - Note that in New York state the "supreme court" is NOT the highest court in the land, it is more like a "circuit court". There are still 1 or 2 levels of appeals available in this case.