Color of Change



Introduction


Color of Change (COC)[1] is a black advocacy organization headquartered in Oakland, California. Color of Change is primarily a web-based group that emails its members, writes petitions and lobbies politicians.


History / Mission


Van Jones and James Rucker co-founded Color of Change, whose motto is "Changing the Color of Democracy," in 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.[2] Color of Change was outraged with the government response to the disaster and saw race as a motivating factor.[3] The Color of Change website explains, "Hurricane Katrina made it clear that our lack of a political voice has life-and-death consequences. With no one to speak for them, hundreds of thousands of people - largely Black, poor, and elderly - were left behind to die."[4]

Color of Change is a 501(c)(4) advocacy organization. On its website, Color of Change state that it "exists to strengthen Black America's political voice. Our goal is to empower our members - Black Americans and our allies - to make government more responsive to the concerns of Black Americans and to bring about positive political and social change for everyone."[5]


Work


Color of Change uses its website (colorofchange.org) as its primary tool to reach media and followers and advance its primarily race-centric agenda. The Color of Change website states,"[u]sing the Internet, we keep our members informed and give them ways to act on pressing issue facing Black people in America."[6]

Color of Change garnered national attention with the Jena 6 case. On December 4, 2006, six black teens severely beat a white high school student in Jena, Louisiana.[7] After the black youths were arrested for the violent beating, Color of Change rushed to the black students' defense and claimed the charges against them were unjustified and accused the town of employing "Jim Crow Justice."[8] Color of Change issued a petition calling for all charges to be dropped and for Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal to investigate the prosecutor in the case.[9] Color of Change also raised funds for the Jena 6 legal defense.[10] Five of the teens eventually pled no contest to battery.[11] The Jena 6 episode tripled Color of Change's membership.[12]


Silencing Dissenting Opinion


Color of Change often works to silence conservative voices.

In November 2010, ABC News planned to have the conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart participate in an online mid-term election night town hall meeting. Liberal groups, including Color of Change, were outraged that Breitbart was going to participate, so they called on ABC to pull Breitbart from the event.[13] Color of Change wrote a petition demanding Breitbart's ouster and called Breitbart a "liar and race-baiter with a long history of pushing false stories to achieve his political ends."[14] ABC removed Breitbart from the event, and Color of Change's then-executive director James Rucker took credit for ABC's decision, calling it "a huge victory against Breitbart's brand of race-baiting propaganda and lies."[15]

Deneen Borelli, a full-time fellow for the Project 21 black leadership network, commented on this liberal hypocrisy when it comes to free speech saying, "[s]ilencing speech is the consistent theme used by progressives... now ABC News is experiencing the wrath of the left for inviting Andrew Breitbart to appear as a commentator on election night. Progressives will conveniently play the race card or launch smear campaigns in their desperate attempt to control conservative thought."[16]



Attacks on Fox News


Color of Change often attacks the Fox News Channel. Color of Change first went after Fox in 2007 when it pressured the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) not to host a Democratic Presidential debate on the network and for the Democratic National Committee not to sanction the debate. In a press release, Color of Change said, "[t]he CBC Institute's decision to embrace FOX was shamefully out of step with most Black voters, and now we are looking to the DNC to do the right thing."[17]

Color of Change also attacked then-Fox News host Glenn Beck. In 2009, Color of Change urged advertisers to pulls ads from Beck's show in response to Beck's comment that suggested President Obama has "a deep-seated hatred of white people."[18] Beck apologized for his statement,[19] however, Color of Change still stated that Beck is "repulsive, divisive and shouldn't be on the air."[20]

In October 2010, Business Week reported that Fox News lost no revenue from the boycott because advertisers simply switched to other Fox programs.[21]

In May 2010, Color of Change demanded that News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch fire Fox News contributor John Stossel.[22] Stossel, a libertarian, suggested the government repeal the Public Accommodation section of the Civil Rights Act. This idea is in line with libertarian thought that seeks less government intervention in markets, but as it doesn't align with Color of Change's position, the advocacy group sought to limit Stossel's speech.

In its 2008 990 federal income tax forms, Color of Change bragged that 100 of its members "joined hip-hop artist Nas to deliver over 600,000 petitions from member of Color of Change and partner organizations to Fox News at their headquarters in New York City. The petition confronted Fox for its pattern of what Color of Change considers race-baiting and, in particular, comments aired that likened then-Senator Obama to a terrorist, expressed a desire that he be assassinated, and maligned Obama's wife." [23] Rolling Stone magazine covered the event, saying in part, "About four hours after the announcement that his controversial, politically charged ninth album was number one in the country, Nas was on a small podium in front of Fox News headquarters in New York City protesting what he sees as racist attacks against Black Americans and presidential candidate Barack Obama. In a brief prepared statement, the multi-platinum rapper pointed out examples of what he and Color of Change see as a long racist smear campaign against the Obama family: The onscreen graphic that referred to Michelle Obama as the Senator's "baby mama"; Bill O'Reilly casually using the phrase "lynching party" to refer to attacks on the Senator's wife; referencing to the couple's infamous fist thump as a "terrorist fist jab."[24]


ALEC Pressure


In 2012, Color of Change publicly intimidated major corporate sponsors of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).[25] Color of Change objected to ALEC's promotion of voter ID laws and stand your ground laws, hysterically and falsely claiming, under the headline "Stop corporate-funded voter suppression," that "For years, the right wing has been trying to stop Black people, other people of color, young people, and the elderly from voting -- and now some of America's biggest companies are helping them do it. These companies have helped pass discriminatory voter ID legislation by funding a right wing policy group called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC's voter ID laws are undemocratic, unjust and part of a longstanding right wing agenda to weaken the Black vote. Major companies that rely on business from Black folks shouldn't be involved in suppressing our vote. Please join us in demanding that these companies stop funding ALEC."[26]

On April 17, 2012, Think Progress reported that ten corporations and one foundation had dropped support for ALEC as a result of "progressive" pressure. They were: McDonalds, Wendy's, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Mars, BlueCross BlueShield, Intuit, Reed Elsevier, ATS/American Traffic Solutions and Kraft.[27]


Controversial Leadership


Van Jones and James Rucker founded Color of Change in 2005. In September 2009, Van Jones was forced to resign from his position as "Green Jobs Czar" in President Barack Obama's Administration amid a firestorm over controversial statements.[28]

Just weeks after President Obama took office, Jones told a group of listeners that Republicans were stonewalling the President's agenda because they're "assholes."[29] Jones then laughed about his comment and said that he was going to "get a little uppity" in response to Republican opposition to President Obama's policies.[30]

Jones also promoted the allegation that then-President George W. Bush knew of the 9/11 attacks in advance and did nothing to prevent them.[31] In 2004, Jones signed a "thruther" petition that stated Bush "may indeed have deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext for war." [32]

After leaving the White House, Jones took a position at the Center for American Progress, a far-left non-profit that funded by George Soros.

Leadership (as of April 2012)


Rashad Robinson, Executive Director
Gabriel Rey-Goodlatte, Director of Strategy
Danny McClain, Campaign & Media Director
Arissa Michelle Hatch, Campaign Director
Fanna Gamal, Campaign Fellow
Matt Nelson, Manager of Strategic Initiatives


Contact Information



Colorofchange.org
5111 Telegraph Avenue #311
Oakland, CA 94609

Website: http://colorofchange.org


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  1. ^ Note that the group's legal name is "ColorOfChange.org."
  2. ^ "About," colorofchange.org, available at http://colorofchange.org/about/ as of April 18, 2012.
  3. ^ "About," colorofchange.org, available at http://colorofchange.org/about/ as of April 18, 2012.
  4. ^ "About," colorofchange.org, available at http://colorofchange.org/about/ as of April 18, 2012.
  5. ^ "About," colorofchange.org, available at http://colorofchange.org/about/ as of April 18, 2012.
  6. ^ "About," colorofchange.org, available at http://colorofchange.org/about/ as of April 18, 2012.
  7. ^ Wade Goodwyn, "Beating Charges Split La. Town Along Racial Lines," National Public Radio (NPR) - All Things Considered, July 30, 2007, available at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12353776 as of April 18, 2012.
  8. ^ "Justice for the Jean 6," colorofchange.org, available at http://orig.colorofchange.org/jena/main.html as of April 18, 2012.
  9. ^ "Justice for the Jean 6," colorofchange.org, available at http://orig.colorofchange.org/jena/main.html as of April 18, 2012.
  10. ^ Joe Garofoli, "Louisiana's Jena Six Beating Case Galvanizes S.F.'s 'Black MoveOn'," San Francisco Chronicle, September 22, 2007, available at http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2007/09/22/MNEISAVOE.DTL as of April 18, 2012.
  11. ^ "The Jena Six: Resolution," colorofchange.org, available at http://orig.colorofchange.org/jenaresolution/ as of April 18, 2012.
  12. ^ Joe Garofoli, "Louisiana's Jena Six Beating Case Galvanizes S.F.'s 'Black MoveOn'," San Francisco Chronicle, September 22, 2007, available at http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2007/09/22/MNEISAVOE.DTL as of April 18, 2012.
  13. ^ "Call on ABC News to Drop Andrew Breitbart," colorofchange.org, available at http://orig.colorofchange.org/abc/ as of April 18, 2012.
  14. ^ "Call on ABC News to Drop Andrew Breitbart," colorofchange.org, available at http://orig.colorofchange.org/abc/ as of April 18, 2012.
  15. ^ James Rucker, "Victory - ABC News Drops Andrew Breitbart," Huffington Post, November 2, 2010, available at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-rucker/victory - - abc-news-drops_b_777915.html as of April 18, 2012.
  16. ^ "Free Speech 'Schizophrenia': Left Claims to Support Freedom and Openness, Yet Up in Arms that Andrew Breitbart Might Express an Opinion on ABC News," The National Center For Public Policy Research - Project 21 Press Release," November 1, 2010, available at http://www.nationalcenter.org/P21PR-Breitbart_Media_Matters_110110.html as of April 18, 2012.
  17. ^ "Black Activists Call on DNC Not to Sanction FOX/ Congressional Black Caucus Institute Debate," colorofchange.org - Press Release, April 5, 2007 available at http://orig.colorofchange.org/cbci/dncdebates.html as of April 18, 2012.
  18. ^ "Stop the Race Baiting," colorofchange.org, available at http://orig.colorofchange.org/beck/ as of April 18, 2012.
  19. ^ Rachel Rose Hartman, "Glenn Beck Regrets Calling Obama a 'Racist'," Yahoo News, August 29, 2010, available at http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/upshot/glenn-beck-regrets-calling-obama.html as of April 18, 2012.
  20. ^ "Stop the Race Baiting," colorofchange.org, available at http://orig.colorofchange.org/beck/ as of April 18, 2012.
  21. ^ Lisa Lerer and John McCormick, "Why Business Doesn't Trust the Tea Party," Businessweek, October 13, 2010, available at http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/10_43/b4200066170117.htm as of April 18, 2012.
  22. ^ Matt McLaughlin, "Color of Change Blasts Stossel's Civil Rights Act Comments," Media Matters For America, May 22, 2010, available at http://mediamatters.org/blog/201005220004 as of April 18, 2012.
  23. ^ Tax information retrieved from Guidestar.org.
  24. ^ Christopher R. R. Weingarten, "Nas Delivers Petition to Fox News, Says Network Is 'Scared,'" Rolling Stone, July 23, 2008, available at http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/nas-delivers-petition-to-fox-news-says-network-is-scared-20080723#ixzz1sRRcN1B6 as of April 18, 2012.
  25. ^ Peter Bella, "Van Jones and Color of Change Should be Ignored," Washington Times, April 14, 2012, available at http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/middle-class-guy/2012/apr/14/van-jones-and-color-change-should-be-ignored/ as of April 18, 2012.
  26. ^ Color of Change, "Stop corporate-funded voter suppression," available at http://act.colorofchange.org/sign/alec as of April 18, 2012.
  27. ^ "Companies that have Stopped Supporting ALEC," Think Progress, available at http://pinterest.com/thinkprogress/companies-that-have-stopped-supporting-alec/ as of April 18, 2012.
  28. ^ Scott Wilson and Garance Franke-Ruta, "White House Adviser Van Jones Resigns Amid Controversy Over Past Activism," Washington Post, September 6, 2009, available at http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2009/09/06/van_jones_resigns.html as of April 18, 2012.
  29. ^ "White House Green Jobs Advisor Apologizes for Calling Republicans 'Assholes'," Foxnews.com, September 2, 2009, available at http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/09/02/white-house-green-jobs-adviser-apologizes-calling-republicans-assholes/ as of April 18, 2012.
  30. ^ "White House Green Jobs Advisor Apologizes for Calling Republicans 'Assholes'," Foxnews.com, September 2, 2009, available at http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/09/02/white-house-green-jobs-adviser-apologizes-calling-republicans-assholes/ as of April 18, 2012.
  31. ^ Garance Franke-Ruta and Anne E. Kornblut, "White House Says Little About Embattled Jones," Washington Post, September 5, 2009, available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/04/AR2009090403563.html as of April 18, 2012.
  32. ^ Garance Franke-Ruta and Anne E. Kornblut, "White House Says Little About Embattled Jones," Washington Post, September 5, 2009, available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/04/AR2009090403563.html as of April 18, 2012.