Fight for the Future


Chelsea Manning Begins Hunger Strike to Protest Bullying by Prison and US Government

Posted 16:21 EDT on September 9, 2016

For Immediate Release: September 9, 2016
Contact: Christina DiPasquale, press@balestramedia.com

UPDATE: Fight for the Future has launched a petition supporting Chelsea in her hunger strike. See the petition here. 

Today, after years of requesting the care she needs for gender dysphoria, Chelsea Manning has released a statement about the start of her hunger strike.

Chelsea is demanding written assurances from the Army she will receive all of the medically prescribed recommendations for her gender dysphoria and that the “high tech bullying” will stop. “High tech bullying,” is what Chelsea describes as “the constant, deliberate and overzealous administrative scrutiny by prison and military officials.”

Following her sentencing, Chelsea has respectfully requested that the US Government give her treatment for her gender dysphoria. Over a year later, Chelsea filed a lawsuit in September of 2014, where she sued the government to get a battery of treatments. As a result, she began hormone therapy in February of 2015.

However, the military has been making her cut her hair to the male length and grooming standards. As part of her treatment, her doctors recommended that she follow the military prison’s female hair grooming standards. In September of 2015 she amended her lawsuit, asking that the government allow her to grow her hair. The government’s response in December 2015 was “no.” The case is still active before a DC District court judge.

Statement from Chelsea Manning:

“I need help. I am not getting any. I have asked for help time and time again for six years and through five separate confinement locations. My request has only been ignored, delayed, mocked, given trinkets and lip service by the prison, the military, and this administration.”

“I need help. I needed help earlier this year. I was driven to suicide by the lack of care for my gender dysphoria that I have been desperate for. I didn’t get any. I still haven’t gotten any.”

“I needed help. Yet, instead I am now being punished for surviving my attempt. When I was a child, my father would beat me repeatedly for simply not being masculine enough. I was told to stop crying—to "suck it up.” But, I couldn’t stop crying. The pain just got worse and worse. Until finally, I just couldn’t take the pain anymore.“

"I needed help, but no one came then. No one is coming now.”

“Today, I have decided that I am no longer going to be bullied by this prison—or by anyone within the U.S. government. I have asked for nothing but the dignity and respect—that I once actually believed would be provided for—afforded to any living human being.”

“I do not believe that this should be dependent on any arbitrary factors—whether you are cisgender or transgender; service member or civilian, citizen or non-citizen. In response to virtually every request, I have been granted limited, if any, dignity and respect—just more pain and anguish.”

“I am no longer asking. Now, I am demanding. As of 12:01 am Central Daylight Time on September 9, 2016, and until I am given minimum standards of dignity, respect, and humanity, I shall—refuse to voluntarily cut or shorten my hair in any way; consume any food or drink voluntarily, except for water and currently prescribed medications; and comply with all rules, regulations, laws, and orders that are not related to the two things I have mentioned.”

“This is a peaceful act. I intend to keep it as peaceful and non-violent, on my end, as possible. Any physical harm that should come to me at the hands of military or civilian staff will be unnecessary and vindictive. I will not physically resist or in any way harm another person. I have also submitted a "do not resuscitate” letter that is effective immediately. This shall include any attempts to forcibly cut or shorten my hair or to forcibly feed me by any medical or pseudo-medical means.“

"Until I am shown dignity and respect as a human again, I shall endure this pain before me. I am prepared for this mentally and emotionally. I expect that this ordeal will last for a long time. Quite possibly until my permanent incapacitation or death. I am ready for this.”

“I need help. Please, give me help.”

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NEW VIDEO: celebrities, comedians, musicians, speak out against Trans-Pacific Partnership on Rock Against the TPP tour

Posted 11:45 EDT on September 6, 2016

For Immediate Release: September 6, 2016
Contact: Evan Greer, 978-852-6457, press@fightforthefuture.org

Organizers of the nationwide Rock Against the TPP celebrity concert tour––which seeks to harness the power of music and culture to sound the alarm about the anti-democratic Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement––have released a new video featuring footage from recent stops in Seattle and Portland where the tour drew large crowds, and performances and interviews with well known artists including hip hop icon Talib Kweli, comedian Hari Kondabolu, Navajo punk band Sihasin, and Danbert Nobacon of UK sensation Chumbawamba.

See the new video here: https://youtu.be/9ugC4NG1Zoc

The tour kicked off in Denver in July and has stopped in San Diego, Seattle, and Portland. Upcoming stops include San Francisco this Friday at an event featuring revolutionary hip hop legends Dead Prez, followed by stops in Toronto, Boston, and Washington, DC. High profile participants in the tour have included Rage Against the Machine / Prophets of Rage guitarist Tom Morello, popular punk band Anti-Flag, golden globe nominated actress Evangeline Lilly, and more.

“Artists have a very special place because we have a platform we can voice the struggle. We can voice the people that dedicate their lives to the struggle. We can voice the people that’s on the front lines,” says hip hop legend Talib Kweli during his performance.

“As indigenous people, we’re kind of like the canaries in the coal mine. When there is environmental destruction, when there are corporations that are coming after our natural resources, as indigenous people we’re usually the ones on the front lines,” Jeneda Benally of the Navajo punk band Sihasin explains in her interview. Her brother, Clayson Benally, added, “When you give corporations total authority and power to change laws, that’s going too far. When they first come to strip away our rights, who’s next?”

“The TPP is a corporate protection agreement that increases the rights of corporations and supersedes existing laws in nations that bind themselves to the contract,” says Hawaiian slack-guitar legend Makana in the video, “it basically gives corporations a free pass to do whatever they want.”

“People are more willing to listen to a musician or a comedian or a poet because they appreciate other elements. They appreciate laughter, they appreciate the music, they appreciate how something is written,” said comedian Hari Kondabolu, “So if you’re somebody who’s already on board, it’s inspiring, right? People say you’re preaching to the choir, but sometimes the choir needs that. And then for folks who aren’t in the movement, who don’t see a lot of this stuff, to be in that space and actually question themselves in a way that they’re not being yelled at is another way to get the message.”

“It’s basically just a money grab,” said Danbert Nobacon of Chumbawamba, “it’s transferring wealth from the taxpayers to corporations who are not even in the same country.”

The TPP has little to do with trade, but instead grants multinational corporations extraordinary new powers to threaten jobs, the environment, affordable medicine, free speech, and food safety. The Rock Against the TPP tour brings together a broad coalition of supporters including digital rights groups, labor unions, environmental groups, and small businesses, and is sponsored by Backbone Campaign, Citizens Trade Campaign, Communications Workers of America (CWA), CREDO, Demand Progress, Friends of the Earth, the International Labor Rights Forum, Public Citizen, Sierra Club, SumOfUs, the Teamsters, and United Steelworkers.

The tour is organized by digital rights group Fight for the Future and Firebrand Records, the social justice fueled record label from Tom Morello and Ryan Harvey. Learn more at https://www.rockagainstthetpp.org

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Nationwide “Rock Against the TPP” celebrity concert tour comes to San Francisco to protest Trans-Pacific Partnership deal

Posted 09:34 EDT on August 30, 2016

For Immediate Release, August 29, 2016
Contact: Evan Greer, press@fightforthefuture.org, (978) 852-6457

Hip hop icons Dead Prez, actress Evangeline Lilly, punk legend Jello Biafra, Grammy winners La Santa Cecilia, and others to play free concert at Regency Ballroom on Friday, September 9th to protest anti-democratic TPP deal

SAN FRANCISCO, CA––On Friday, September 9th, as part of the nationwide Rock Against the TPP tour, prominent musicians will lead the charge in mobilizing to raise awareness about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the unpopular and anti-democratic deal that has been a contentious issue in the 2016 election. The tour, which is the largest mobilization against the TPP in U.S. history, comes to Regency Ballroom from 6pm - 11pm for a FREE event featuring legendary hip hop duo Dead Prez, actress Evangeline Lilly (Lost, The Hobbit, Ant-Man) punk icon Jello Biafra, Grammy winning latin-alternative band La Santa Cecilia, riot-grrrl cellist Bonfire Madigan, and Jeff Rosenstock of popular ska band Bomb the Music Industry.

See more details and a full lineup here: https://www.rockagainstthetpp.org/san-francisco-ca

The concert will be followed by a teach-in on “How to Fight the TPP” on Saturday, Sep 10th from 1pm - 3pm at 1999 Bryant Street, hosted by experts from a wide range of organizations opposing the TPP.

Organized by digital rights group Fight for the Future in partnership with legendary guitarist Tom Morello (Prophets of Rage, Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave) and riot-folk singer Ryan Harvey’s record label Firebrand Records  previous stops on the tour have featured high-profile participants including Talib Kweli, comedian Hari Kondabolu, legendary punk band Anti-Flag, Danbert Nobacon of the UK sensation Chumbawamba, Adult Swim comedian Eric Andre, and ANTI records songwriter Jolie Holland. The roadshow has already drawn large crowds in Denver, San Diego, Seattle, and Portland.

“The Trans-Pacific Partnership is not about ‘free trade,’ it’s about corruption,” said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future and lead organizer of the tour, “we’re harnessing the power of music and culture to sound the alarm about this corporate power grab and stop it in its tracks.”

The TPP has little to do with trade, but instead grants multinational corporations extraordinary new powers to threaten jobs, the environment, affordable medicine, free speech, and food safety. The Rock Against the TPP tour brings together a broad coalition of supporters including digital rights groups, labor unions, environmental groups, and small businesses, and is sponsored by Backbone Campaign, Citizens Trade Campaign, Communications Workers of America (CWA), CREDO, Demand Progress, Friends of the Earth, the International Labor Rights Forum, Public Citizen, Sierra Club, SumOfUs, the Teamsters, and United Steelworkers. Organizers plan to announce additional dates to the tour soon.

Additional performers at the September 9th event include SF indie rock darlings Built for the Sea, Taina Asili, Ryan Harvey, Evan Greer, bell’s roar, and local hip hop emcee Raw-G.

SEE PHOTOS AND VIDEO AVAILABLE FOR USE BY PRESS HERE.

For Interviews with Artists or Organizers, please contact Evan Greer at press@fightforthefuture.org or (978) 852-6457.

Learn more at https://www.rockagainstthetpp.org

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PHOTOS: Rock Against the TPP Celebrity Concert Tour Draws Large Crowds in Seattle and Portland to Protest Trans-Pacific Partnership

Posted 08:33 EDT on August 23, 2016

For Immediate Release, August 23, 2016
Contact: Evan Greer, 978-852-6457, press@fightforthefuture.org

Talib Kweli, Evangeline Lilly, Anti-Flag, Hari Kondabolu, member of Chumbawamba among participants, comedian Eric Andre makes surprise appearance

As the White House readies a final desperate push for the unpopular Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, large crowds turned out for “Rock Against the TPP” events in Seattle and Portland over the weekend as part of a nationwide protest tour featuring high profile celebrities including actress Evangeline Lilly, hip hop icon Talib Kweli, comedian Hari Kondabolu, and punk band Anti-Flag. TV’s Adult Swim comedian Eric Andre made a surprise appearance at the Seattle event at Showbox SoDo, while the outdoor Portland event featured a street march with an inflatable TPP “death star.”

See PHOTOS of the events available for use by press here: http://imgur.com/a/WMeQZ

Short VIDEO clips are available at the bottom of this post, professional video coming soon.

Both events also featured teach-ins hosted by Golden Globe nominated actress Evangeline Lilly (Lost, The Hobbit, Ant-Man), and a panel of local experts. The Northwest dates follow previous successful tour stops in Denver and San Diego.

Organized by legendary guitarist Tom Morello (Prophets of Rage, Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave), his new label, Firebrand Records and digital rights group Fight for the Future, the tour is sponsored by Backbone Campaign, Citizens Trade Campaign, Communications Workers of America (CWA), CREDO, Demand Progress, Friends of the Earth, the International Labor Rights Forum, Public Citizen, Sierra Club, SumOfUs, the Teamsters, United Steelworkers. The Northwest events were organized with support from the Washington Fair Trade Coalition and Oregon Fair Trade Campaign.

In addition to the large concert events and teach-ins, the tour has brought creative protests directly to lawmakers s by flying a 25 foot blimp over Congressional offices along the tour route. So far the blimp has been sited outside the offices of Rep Scott Peters’ office in San Diego and Rep Ami Bera’s office in Sacramento.

The tour stops next in San Francisco on September 9th at Regency Ballroom with an event featuring punk legend Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys), Grammy winning latin alternative band La Santa Cecilia, and riot-grrrl cello legend Bonfire Madigan. Additional tour dates are to be announced. For more information see https://www.rockagainstthetpp.org

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VIDEO CLIPS BELOW. Professional video coming soon. These clips are available for use by press. 

Crowd chanting “Hell No TPP” at Rock Against the TPP Seattle

Downtown Boys at Rock Against the TPP Portland

Taina Asili at Rock Against the TPP in Seattle

Crowd chanting at Rock Against the TPP Portland

Navajo Nation band Sihasin performs an honor song for volunteers and artists:

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BREAKING: Anti-TPP activists are flying a 25 foot blimp outside Representative Ami Bera’s Office protesting his support for unpopular Trans-Pacific Partnership deal

Posted 12:14 EDT on August 15, 2016

For Immediate Release: August 15, 2016      
Contact: Evan Greer, press@fightforthefuture.org, 978-852-6457
Contact on the ground: Tim Ellis, 773-458-0283

Bera faces backlash after recent comments in support of TPP. Activists fly blimp as part of awareness raising nationwide “Rock Against the TPP” tour featuring celebrities and musicians

SACRAMENTO, CA––8:00am PST: Activists involved with the nationwide Rock Against the TPP celebrity concert tour are now taking their message directly to local lawmakers, flying a 25’ inflatable blimp outside Representative Ami Bera’s office at 8950 Cal Center Drive, Sacramento, CA, protesting the Congressman’s recent statements in support of the unpopular and anti-democratic Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal.

See more PHOTOS and VIDEO of the blimp at the bottom of this post.

Activists will remain outside the office with the blimp until 11:00am PST, ensuring that it’s visible to Congressional staff as they arrive for work this morning. They will be available for interviews about the action and the TPP.

“Ami Bera turned his back on constituents when he voted to fast track the TPP.  We’re hoping a 25-foot blimp flying right outside his office makes it clear to him that supporting the TPP is betraying his constituents,” said Robert Longer of CWA Local 9421.

In January, Rep. Bera failed to secure the endorsement of the local Democratic Party for his re-election to Congress, in large part due to continued constituent anger over his 2015 vote in favor of “fast track” legislation that will allow the TPP to circumvent ordinary congressional review, amendment and debate procedures.  He is among a small minority of congressional Democrats not publicly opposed to the TPP.

“The TPP is a back-room deal designed to rig the global economy even further in favor of corporate elites instead of working families,” said Fabrizio Sasso, Executive Director of the Sacramento Central Labor Council. “Congress members who think they can side with Wall Street over their constituents on the TPP are going to be in for a rude awakening.”

The airborne protest is part of the Rock Against the TPP tour, a nationwide series of large-scale concert, protest, and teach-in events featuring high profile musicians and celebrities like Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine) Golden Globe nominated actress Evangeline Lilly (Lost, The Hobbit, Ant-Man), hip hop icon Talib Kweli, comedian Hari Kondabolu, popular punk band Anti-Flag, Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys, and Danbert Nobacon of Chumbawamba. The goal of the tour is to raise awareness about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, the unpopular and anti-democratic “trade deal” that has been a contentious issue in the Presidential election and at both of the recent political conventions.

Organized by legendary guitarist Tom Morello’s new label, Firebrand Records and digital rights group Fight for the Future, the tour is sponsored by Backbone Campaign, Citizens Trade Campaign, Communications Workers of America, CREDO, Demand Progress, Friends of the Earth, the International Labor Rights Forum, Private Internet Access, Public Citizen, Sierra Club, SumOfUs, the Teamsters, and United Steelworkers.

See photos and video from the tour kick-off event here.

The tour stopped in San Diego earlier this month, where activists flew the same blimp outside Rep Scott Peters’ office. The tour has upcoming stops in Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco.

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Contact: press@fightforthefuture.org for more info.

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