Left-Wing Activists: Amazon is Failing on Racial Justice

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Amazon has been criticized for firing Black workers, providing surveillance tech to police, claim left wing activists

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Amazon Has Failed To Advance The Cause Of Racial Justice

NATIONWIDE -- In the wake of Amazon's announcement that it would put a temporary halt to police use of its facial recognition technology Rekognition, racial justice advocates and fired Amazon workers will hold a press call tomorrow to provide context on the news and explain how Amazon has failed to respond to the moment by taking actions that meaningfully advance the cause of racial justice.

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Speakers will address how Amazon has fueled the surveillance and over-policing of Black people and explain what steps the company must take to respond to the national movement to dismantle an unjust policing system.

Amazon’s responses to the uprisings have been criticized as little more than PR stunts that do little to fundamentally change Amazon’s business model, which at its core is built on a system of surveillance and control that suppresses Black workers and communities. Even Amazon’s Rekognition announcement has been derided by civil rights groups, who have noted that the changes won’t affect the hundreds of partnerships with police that Amazon holds through its ownership of Ring or its AWS contracts, nor put limits on its ability to pursue Rekognition partnerships with federal agencies and ICE, which help the agency to track, target, and deport immigrants.

WHAT: Press briefing featuring Amazon workers and racial justice advocates

WHO:

  • Brandon Forester, National Organizer for Internet Rights and Platform Accountability, MediaJustice
  • Jacinta Gonzalez, Field Director, Mijente
  • Gerald Bryson, former Amazon worker, JFK8 fulfillment center, Staten Island, New York
  • Bashir Mohamed, former Amazon worker, MSP1 fulfillment center, Shakopee, Minnesota
  • Maurice BP-Weeks, Co-Executive Director, Action Center on Race and the Economy (Moderator)

WHEN: Friday, June 12 -- 1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT

To RSVP for the press call, please email Asya Pikovsky, [email protected], or Jason Schwartz, [email protected]

Amazon Profiteering Off The Oppression Of Black Communities

In the wake of nationwide protests over the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless other Black men and women at the hands of the police, Amazon has come under the microscope for profiteering off the oppression of Black communities. Just this week, a coalition of racial justice organizations launched a petition demanding Amazon cut all ties with police departments and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). On Saturday, racial justice advocates in Northern Virginia, where Amazon plans to construct its HQ2, held a protest demanding the tech giant end its cooperation with police departments.

Amazon has aggressively pursued partnerships with police departments across the country through its AWS cloud services and subsidiary Ring, a surveillance company that has long been criticized for contributing to the criminalization of Black communities. Amazon has repeatedly dismissed demands from racial justice and civil liberties organizations to halt these practices and, today, the company maintains Ring partnerships with more than 1,360 police departments in the United States.

Through its AWS cloud computing service, Amazon has also helped fuel the separation and deportation of Black immigrants by helping to power and host systems used to monitor, surveil, and target immigrants.

Amazon’s discriminatory practices extend to its workforce and its attitudes toward small businesses.  It has consistently forced workers into inhumane conditions, refusing requests for the most basic protections on the job. All of the warehouse workers Amazon retaliated against for speaking up about unsafe working conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic have been Black.


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