YOUNG PEOPLE GIVE US HOPE FOR THE PLANET!

It may have been particularly hard to see the good news this week after another horrific mass shooting sparked by hatred but this is the place to have your moment of positivity, because inspirational things did happen.  People across the world came together and showed their love, acceptance, and support for muslims in their time of need. The New Zealand government promised to pay for burial and support for the victims and their families and swift legislation to expand gun control.  The youth around the world came together to demand action on climate change to save the earth they will inherit.  While all that was going on, the courts and in-session state legislatures were busy making things better for all of us with decisions and new laws.  There is a lot more great legislation still making it’s way through the legislative process that I did not cover this week that hopefully will see the light of day soon.  The other highlights this week are;

  • #ClimateChangeStrike Another state joined the U.S. Climate alliance and Maryland came one step closer to ending unnecessary Styrofoam use.
  • #MeToo Oregon and the Federal Judiciary will now have to take sexual harassment a lot more seriously, rape-kit backlog declining and testing bringing results, and Utah says no to some child brides.
  • #FightFor15 Free college tuition in Tennessee, a higher minimum wage in Denver, meatless Mondays in NY, and rules to stop racism in special education services became the future.
  • #BlackLivesMatter No death penalty in California, Kentucky and Florida take steps forward on reforming criminal justice, and another officer was taught that Black Lives do Matter.
  • #NeverAgain Dicks Sporting Goods just got even better and Connecticut courts put gun makers feet to the fire.
  • #FairFight Mississippi has to fix their gerrymandering, some Texas and Georgia counties will make polling more accessible to disabled and students, voter ID in North Carolina delayed, and FEC imposes big fines for campaign violations.
  • #NoH8 Indiana and New Mexico just got more transgender inclusive, more school districts protecting LGBTQ students right to be safe and happy while learning, and South Africa courts rule the right way on same-sex marriage.
  • #BlueWave2020 Democrats held onto seats in Arizona, Texas, Maine, and Pennsylvania in special elections.

AND MORE SO READ ON

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OUR DEMOCRATIC HOUSE CONTINUES TO TURN UP THE HEAT!

Congress is issuing more subpoenas and holding more hearings.  We had great decisions protecting immigrants, those in need of mental health services, blocking immigration questions on the census, and more.  We even saw progress on gun control.  It also feels like almost everyday now that acts of racial, ethnic, gender, religious, and LGBT discrimination are receiving media and congressional coverage with demands for accountability, change, and protections.  Thank you for all you do as we continue on this long road to change and please don’t loose hope. This week’s list of the good includes;

  • #StandWithImmigrants Immigrants can now appeal U.S. immigration asylum decisions, those from the South Sudan with TPC can stay, lawyers are suing to get the same protection for Liberians, thousands more children are added to the ACLU suit against family separation, Illinois, Westchester and Milwaukee  are making immigrants feel more welcome with rally, translation services, and stopping I.C.E cooperation.
  • #FightForFifteen United Behavioral Health must now actually pay for the behavioral health services they are required to provide, New Hampshire may have to pay for medical marijuana, Virginia is protecting kids from tobacco and nicotine at school and Maryland is trying to help opioid users, and Philadelphia is standing up for the un-banked.
  • #RedForEd West Virginia is on the verge of making community college free, Kentucky teachers walked out again for schools, and one Olympic medalist brought swim lessons to low-income students.
  • #CivilRightsForAll Supreme court says no at the moment for government funding to preserve churches, the NSA will stop some of their spying on Americans, Utah joins the 21st century and decides it is not illegal to have sex outside of marriage, and LA will treat the homeless with a little more dignity.
  • #CareNotPrisons One bank is getting out of the business of private prisons, North Dakota is improving sentencing laws, officers are indicted and convicted for wrongful behavior, and students stand-up against police violence.
  • #GreenNewDeal Some protections against pesticides actually became law as did plastic bans in some Vermont towns, a Trump golf course found to have broken the law, one legislature got creative, and New Mexico is standing up for clean water against the military, and Finland and the Netherlands are doing their part to help stop climate change.
  • #MeToo U.S. women soccer players and Adidas are making a stand for equality, 21 states are trying to save Planned Parenthood and birth control, women may join men as part of the draft, Chef Mario Batali and one restaurant learned 80,000 and more reasons for not allowing and subjecting women to sexual harassment, gender pay reports are returning, and one exposed breast may no longer lead to criminal charges.
  • #NeverAgain New Mexico and Illinois took steps forward on gun control and one woman stopped Arkansas from taking a step back.

AND MORE SO READ ON Continue reading

CONGRESSIONAL HEARINGS – A JUICY TASTE OF WHAT’S TO COME!

This week I took some time to travel to Washington D.C. to explore the National African American History Museum and it definitely lived up to the hype.  I highly recommend a trip there if you ever have the chance. It is a monument to a thoughtful and thought provoking look on over 600 years of history. I did have to sacrifice time researching and writing this week’s summary so I ask my readers to add their pieces of good news for the week in the comments for actions or accomplishments that I may have missed.  Now here is your short list of what went right this week;

  • #StandWithImmigrants The democratic U.S. House is holding the administration accountable for how they treat people and the fake national emergency, one more democratic governor stops national guards at the border and New Hampshire dems stop bad legislation.
  • #RedForEd Oregon gives big leg up for tenants rights, Kentucky teachers stand up for themselves again, and Fox takes a hit for their illegal ways.
  • #CivilRights  New York says no to racial hair discrimination and new Democratic Attorney General in Michigan shakes things up.
  • #GreenNewDeal The Atlantic Coast pipeline still isn’t going anywhere, Lake Erie has new protections, the World Bank must protect the world not destroy it, U.S. Steel can’t keep polluting and Costa Rica doing its part to save the planet.
  • #MeToo Men and women can now both be drafted, Wynn to pay steep fine for decades of sexual harassment, and one charter school learned the hard way that equal pay is the law of the land.
  • #BlackLivesMatter San Francisco is taking back 9,300 wrongs on the war on drugs, Michigan jails are being forced to change their ADA violating ways, New Mexico bail reform stands firm, and those with dementia don’t get put to death.
  • #NeverAgain Bump stock ban holds up under legal challenge and red flag laws expand to New York.
  • #WeWillNotGoBack  A Missouri transgender student will get his say in court, a 1971 gay marriage is recognized and Walmart is pissing off conservatives with their cute gay couple ad.
  • #FairFight Texas stopped from their voter suppression registration purging and North Carolina takes legal action against ballot stealing.
  • #NoH8 Politicians in Maryland and West Virginia continue to learn there are consequences for racist and anti-muslim speech.
  • #OscarsNotSoWhite this year and Chicago will get its first female African-American Mayor in April .  AND MORE SO READ ON

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AND THE WINNER FOR BEST INSPIRING ACCOMPLISHMENT THIS WEEK GOES TO…..

The OSCAR are coming but let’s not forget to honor all the great work that ordinary people, organizations, communities, and others do everyday to help save our democracy and make this a livable and just country for all.  Some of the movies nominated remind us how far we have come and how far we still need to go for equality and justice. This past President’s day protest and so many other actions show us that we are not alone, that we have not given up the struggle, and we will continue to make progress on the issues we fight for.

  • #StandWithImmigrants New jersey is holding those who run detention facilities accountable for what goes on in them and Wisconsin is not selling state facilities to help grow detention centers, groups are holding noise protests to support detained immigrants, and courts are treating citizenship the same for LGBTQ families.
  • #RedForEd Teachers in West Virginia ended their strike after stopping charter schools, teachers at some Chicago schools win big, and Oakland teachers on strike.
  • #FightFor15 Boston is building affordable housing, New Jersey expanding paid leave, Illinois raising the minimum wage, CA and Maine standing up for ripped off truck drivers and consumers, and Wisconsin is not getting bad idea tax cuts.
  • #GreenNewDeal We are taking back public ownership of our shorefront, banning the use of harmful styrofoam in MD, agreeing to reduce harmful emissions and coal production in the EU and coal generating plants in Alabama.
  • #MeToo Thanks to lawsuits, complaints and investigations IHOP and KFC franchises will pay for allowing sexual harassment, federal prosecutors are being held accountable for not protecting underage sexual abuse victims, and one high school will give dignity back to its female students.
  • #BlackLivesMatter Bail bondsman in New Orleans stopped from cheating clients and bail reform working in PA and started in Berkshire County,
  • #PoliceReform Houston police to stop no-knock attacks on citizens, LA and New York City must release police records.
  • #CriminalJusticeReform The Supreme Court stopped states from excessive fines and forfeiture of property and LA stopped the use of pepper spray on children.
  • #CivilRights A topless protester is set free, Tree company and staffing agency to compensate African-Americans and Latinos for discrimination, PA won’t keep private prisoner mail, Chicago to delete gang database.
  • #FairFight Santa Monica and Idaho were stopped from political and racial gerrymandering, North Carolina gets new election for House seat due to republican fraud along with their voter ID and tax caps struck down, dark money disclosure in Montana will continue, and the NAACP’s novel approach to end racial gerrymandering in CT got the thumbs up to continue by the courts.
  • #NoH8 Feds stop white supremacist terror attack, Utah catches hate crime perpetrator, Indiana tried to curb hate crimes, Alabama editor calling on the KKK to ride again is out and so is a homophobic officer in Florida.
  • #FakeNationalEmergency Sixteen states suing over the Fake National Emergency declaration and they are not alone.  The ACLU representing the Sierra Club and the Southern Border Communities Coalition, a group of about 60 organizations along the southern border, CREW and Public Citizen, have also field suit.  The U.S. House is due to take it on this week. And citizens took to the streets all across the country to demand action to stop this unconstitutional power grab.

AND MORE SO READ ON…

🧕 STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS

  • County officials in New Jersey will be holding a hearing on unsanitary conditions at a migrant detention facility uncovered by investigators.
  • A federal judge ruled that children of married, same-sex parents, one American, and one non-American regardless of their biological relationship, are eligible for citizenship from birth and that there is nothing in federal citizenship law to support the State Department’s policy for requiring DNA testing.
  • Wisconsin’s Democratic Gov. blocked the sale of a former state prison to a private company to operate federal immigration detention center by the republican controlled state legislature.
  • Activists held a noise demonstration  outside of a Boston I.C.E. detention facility in support of the immigrants inside on a hunger strike over conditions.

⚖️ECONOMIC JUSTICE  

  • The Boston Mayor announced that more than $26 million has been allocated to support affordable housing projects.
  • New Jersey expanded paid family leave under a new law, which doubles paid time period, increase payments, includes caring for siblings, in-laws, grandparents, grandchildren and more, covers victims of domestic violence or sexual assault, and more.
  • Illinois governor signed legislation raising the state’s minimum wage.
  • The Federal Trade Commission and the Maine Attorney General’s Office reached settlements with two companies who both falsely marketed weight loss supplements that will result in nearly $3.5 million in refunds going to consumers affected by the alleged scam.
  • A California Court of Appeal granted class certification to a group of truck drivers alleging wage fraud by Dark Horse Express Inc.
  • Wisconsin Democratic Gov. vetoed a GOP bill to cut taxes because it did not limit tax cuts to wealthy companies.

🏫🕮 EDUCATION  

👨🏿‍⚖️SEEKING RACIAL AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE

  • The Supreme Court ruled the constitution’s prohibition on excessive fines applies to state and local governments, limiting their abilities to impose financial penalties and seize property and continuing ability to “police for profit” through the practice of seizing cash, cars and other property from those convicted, or even suspected, of committing a crime.
  • L.A. supervisors approved a “phased elimination” of pepper spray use by staff at juvenile facilities.

💰BAIL REFORM   

  • Bail bondsmen in Orleans Parish were ordered by the Louisiana Insurance Commissioner to issue refunds to about 50,000 clients at a total cost of $6 million, for overcharging them on bonds for years .
  • Philadelphia DA announced that the bail reform efforts of the DA’s office led to fewer defendants sent to jail before their first hearing, a 23 percent decrease in defendants released without bail, defendants with bail amounts of $5,000 or less dropped by 41%, and the number of eligible defendants spending at least one night in jail dropped by 5% all without any noticeable increase in crime or defendants failing to appear for their court dates.
  • Berkshire County district attorney’s office (MA) implemented a model of bail reform.

👮POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY

🧑🏿ENDING THE DEATH PENALTY

  • The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Texas continued to use factors that  have no grounding in prevailing medical practice and invite lay stereotypes to guide assessment of a defendant’s disability in determining whether the death penalty can be applied and they reversed the death penalty sentence for a 59-year-old intellectually disabled man.
  • Another state takes baby steps in the right direction, with the Ohio Gov. halting all executions in the state until a new method of executions that is constitutional can be developed.

☮️ CIVIL RIGHTS

  • The Asplundh Tree Expert Co., working as a federal contractor settled charges by the U.S. Dept of Labor for discriminating against African-American job applicants and will pay $55,000 in back wages and offer some application positions.
  • A Virginia Judge who initially ordered a political protester who went topless held without bail (in a case not likely to even result in jail time) reversed course after public outrage and agreed to release her on a $1,500 bond.
  • The ACLU and PA have reached a tentative agreement to stop the Dept. of Corrections from copying and storing inmate correspondence with their attorneys.
  • The Cook County Board voted to destroy the controversial gang database.
  • Four staffing agencies agreed to pay $475,000 to settle a U.S. EEOC complaint that alleges they abused workers in an Alabama poultry processing plant because of their race and ethnicity.

🌎SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT  

  • The U.S. Supreme Court allowed an Indiana Supreme Court decision to stand that the state owns the shoreline to the ordinary high water mark and holds it in trust for all residents and did not allow residents to extend their property rights all the way up to the Lake Michigan shoreline.
  • The Anne Arundel County Council (MD) passed legislation banning food service businesses from using polystyrene containers.
  • The European Union agreed to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) from new trucks and buses by 30 percent
  • Mining giant Glencore has pledged to cap its coal production and develop Paris Accord-consistent strategies for growth.
  • Alabama Power Company announced it was permanently retiring one of their coal power generating plants.

👩 WOMEN’S RIGHTS   

🗽BECAUSE MONUMENTS AND NAMES MATTER Saint Elmo Brady, the first African-American to receive a Ph.D. in chemistry, was honored with a National Historical Chemical Landmark dedicated to him on the University of Illinois campus.

🏳️‍🌈LGBTQ

🕫🗳️FAIR AND ETHICAL VOTING   

  • A California State court ruled that Santa Monica’s at-large election system is in violation of the California Voting Rights Act and the California Constitution and ordered the city use the map drawn by an expert for the plaintiffs and that the City hold a special election for all seats on the City Council using the new district map.
  • The North Carolina State Board of Elections voted to call a new election in the state’s 9th congressional after extensive evidence of voter fraud by the republican candidate.
  • A North Carolina state court voided two constitutional amendments which would impose a photo voter ID requirement and lower the state income tax cap after ruling that the North Carolina General Assembly did not have legal authority to place constitutional amendments on the ballot prior to Nov 2018 because it did not act with the full will of the people. Why not full will you ask? Because the United States Supreme Court found the state’s legislative districts had been illegally drawn along racial lines and therefore they were not representative of the people until the new districts were used. What a brilliant approach by North Carolina NAACP, the Southern Environmental Law Center, and Forward Justice and win for North Carolina.
  • A judge ruled an NAACP federal lawsuit can proceed challenging Connecticut’s practice of “prison gerrymandering” where they count incarcerated people as residents of the legislative districts where they are held, rather than in their home districts, increasing the balance of power in white rural areas where the prisoners can’t actually vote.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court let stand Montana’s 2015 Disclose Act, a campaign finance reform law that seeks to make public “dark money groups” more transparent and require more public reporting on spending by political groups.
  •  An Idaho bill that would have allowed republicans to control redistricting was stopped by democrats threatening to bring all legislative business to a halt over it.

💓STOPPING THE SPREAD OF HATE  

  • Federal investigators stop white supremacist planned terrorist attack.
  • David Duke’s longtime political adviser was sentenced to 5 years in prison.
  • Indiana tried to curb hate crimes by passing a water-down hate-crime bill that will “allow a judge to generally consider bias when determining the severity of a sentence.”  It’s a step in the right direction for a state with no hate-crime protections at all.
  • The owner of a local Alabama newspaper who called on the KKK to ride again in an editorial has resigned and hired a black woman as editor and publisher to replace himself.
  • Members of the Ole Miss basketball team kneeled in protest of the pro-Confederate march taking place on campus.
  • A Broward County (FL) officer who posted homophobic slurs on Facebook was fired.

🙂 A VERY QUICK LOOK AT RUSSIA ETC…

☑️ ELECTION RESULTS  Democrats held on to the District 86 seat in a special election for  the Virginia House of Delegates.

And here you can find inspiring actions and events from just a few of the groups working to protect the people like Moms Demand Answers, Sister District,  Coalition Better Il 16, Little Lobbyists, North Carolina Poor People’s Campaign, Let NY Vote, Poor People’s Campaign, Sunrise Movement, Indivisible Il 9, New Mexico Dream Team, Restore Justice, Campus Vote Project, March For Our Lives, Get Organized Brooklyn, and so many more this list could be pages long.

One final note, I wish that more towns had pre-teen girls like the editor of the Orange Street News.

THOUSANDS GEARING UP TO PROTEST THE PRESIDENT’S FAKE EMERGENCY ON PRESIDENT’S DAY!

Indivisible, Move On, and many other groups are urging people to attend emergency rallies on President’s Day to protest the fake emergency declaration, so look up an event near you at www.crisisresponse.us/.   Make your voices heard so that there is more good news to report on next week.  If you spent hours yelling at your TV this week like me, this week’s list is here to remind you that our democracy is not lost and to have hope. Here is the brief summary, followed by the full list, in a new version of the blog I am trying out.  Let me know your thoughts. Don’t forget to like the post and share it to help spread the good news with others.

  • #StandWithImmigrants Another state withdraws their National Guard from the border, judges ruled cities don’t get punished for not working for I.C.E and asylum seekers rights can’t be restricted, and Las Vegas, the ACLU, Pennsylvania, and a small North Carolina community are helping to protect and support immigrants.
  • #RedForEd Teachers in Denver settled their strike while those in Oakland are just about to get started, Charlotte is supporting minority owned businesses, and California is making workers whole again.
  • #CareNotPrisons LA County and a Judge in Alabama are standing up for those with mental health issues, Virginia and Chicago gave civil rights and freedom back to felons and some are working on it in Mississippi, Dayton decriminalizes marijuana while Huston is expanding public defenders and Bennington is watching over the police.
  • #ACLU A legislator learned you can’t block on constituents on Facebook, UPS can’t discriminate based on religion, and the govt must treat those with HIV fairly.
  • #GreenNewDeal Two coal-fired plants will close, another state joins the Climate Alliance, LA is protecting animals and cutting back on natural gas use, a judge is standing up for public beach access, new electric buses are coming and more nuclear power on the way out.
  • #MeToo Women are free to be free of their tops, a company learns workers win judgements when you sexually harass them, and predatory priests can’t stay hidden.
  • #BlackLivesMatter Dallas and Richmond remove hate and add respect.
  • #NeverAgain Exposing NRA money and holding Sheriff’s accountable for enforcing gun laws.
  • #WeWillNotGoBack LGBTQ community gets an inclusive emoji, protection and consequences for hate crimes, hate speech, and conversion therapy in NYC, Tennessee, and Florida, better protections in San Bernardino prisons, and the right to transition health care and the bathroom in Iowa.
  • #FairFight Virginia. Mississippi, and Ohio move a stop forward towards fairer maps, better voting machines coming to Indiana, voter registration forms going to Ohio voters, campaign money allowed for childcare, and a judge says no to voter suppression in Florida.
  • #NoH8 Karma for those who spread hate and middle schools are learning not to allow hate or suppress free speech.

AND MORE … Continue reading

STACEY ABRAMS INSPIRED WITH HER SOTU RESPONSE!

What brought me joy this week was seeing Stacey Abrams give a powerful Democratic response to the SOTU speech, as the first black woman to ever do so.  And thanks to state and local elections having real consequences, the new democratic Michigan AG is withdrawing the state from many federal cases seeking to undermine reproductive rights, environmental protections, the separation of church and state, civil rights, and more.  The new progressive and democratic governors, legislature, district attorneys, city councils, etc. continue another week of marching forward with the tangible changes promised during their campaigning. States matter!  Here is all the news you can read without cringing for this week and a view of a Fair Fight SOTU watch party.fair fight.JPG

🧕 STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS by not using state troops for a fake crisis at the border or state police to intimidate and arrest undocumented immigrants, treating naturalized service members with respect, standing up for vulnerable residents in Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Baltimore, and the Netherlands. #StandWithImmigrants
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The Super Bowl Sunday Roundup of Super Inspiring News!

It is Super Bowl Sunday and your team may or may not be in the game, and you may or may not care about who wins, or you are saying to yourself what is the Super Bowl and it it today?  But no matter your thoughts on the game, there is good news, and only good news, that you can count on in this week’s roundup of What Went Right for those of wanting this country to be a more healthy, just, welcoming and equitable place to call home.   And if you are looking for a non-sports show then you can tune in to the Rachel Maddow Show.  It is now the number one non-sports show on all of cable, not just just news programming.  Now onto the weekly list; Continue reading