IMMIGRANT PROTECTIONS HOLDING FIRM NO MATTER WHO’S IN CHARGE!

Week after week, we keep fighting, advocating, winning battles, and seeing the results of taking back state legislatures and governorship.  This week was no different. Some highlights are;

  • #Immigrants Some Haitians in the U.S. get to keep their protections for the moment, many immigrant children from Central America may get to safely reunite with their parents and those with DACA protections in Arkansas get more employment and education opportunities.
  • #FightFor$15 Arizona made occupational licensing more equitable and Little Rock is helping the homeless with dignity.
  • #UnionStrong Stop and Shop employees are striking to save their wages and benefits and Illinois governor took a strong stand to back unions,
  • #GreenNewDeal The city of Cambridge improved bike commuting and New York is reducing plastic.
  • #BlackLivesMatter Colorado and Dallas took major leaps forward on bail and criminal justice reforms.
  • #NeverAgain Colorado Governor signed “red flag” gun laws
  • #WeWillNotGoBack  Georgia is giving some low-income women free menstrual supplies and Kentucky is speeding up rape-kit testing.
  • #NoH8 Arizona repealed anti-LGBTQ+ laws.

AND MORE SO READ ON

🧕 STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS

  • Thanks to years of hard work by the International Refugee Assistance Project a legal settlement was reached with the administration that will allow almost 2,700 children living in Central America to safely reunite with their parents, who reside in the U.S. under protected status, by allowing them to apply for refugee status without having to travel through dangerous conditions to reach the United States border.
  • A second U.S. federal judge is blocking the U.S. Department of Homeland Security from forcing tens of thousands of Haitians to return to Haiti by ending their temporary legal protection.
  • Life just got a little better for DACA recipients in Arkansas with the governor signing two bills allowing them to access nursing licenses and in-state tuition rates at public universities.
  • A group of dedicated activists in Rhode Island took the time to stand up and stand outside for immigrants and pressured the Wyatt Detention Center to end their contract with I.C.E.  Volunteer groups like the Angry Tias and Abuelas are continuing to help the flood of asylum seekers released by I.C.E. get to safe and welcoming destinations. In Tennessee, TIRRC, stopped legislation requiring verification of parent’s immigration status on birth certificates.

⚖️ THE INTERSECTION OF CIVIL RIGHTS, RACIAL EQUALITY, ECONOMIC FAIRNESS, AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE

EDUCATION  

  • Community residents in L.A. beat back efforts by the mega-sized charter school company, Kipps Bay, from opening another school in their neighborhood.
  • MiraCosta College (CA) is expanding its free tuition program to include a second year for full-time students as part of the The MiraCosta College Promise Program.
  • Arizona Gov. signed legislation making the state the first in the nation to automatically grant occupational licenses to anyone who moves there with an unblemished credential from another state, removing barriers to low to high wage occupations from doctors to manicurists.
  • New York saw an increase in the number of students qualifying for free tuition under the new program for middle-class families started two years ago. And with one year under its belt, the NY Times did a report on how Lebron James’s support of a new public school has led to significant improvement in achievements for the young children left behind by other schools.

UNION STRONG

  • Not only have thousands of Stop and Shop workers in the northeast gone on strike to demand better compensation from a company that made $2 billion in profits last year and got a $225 million tax cut, but teamsters, firefighters, store customers, and local communities are respecting the picket lines.  The Cleveland Symphony also remains on strike.
  • Backing union efforts, the Illinois governor signed into law a bill that bars local governments from establishing anti-union “right-to-work” zones.
  • Another union effort succeeded, this time it was employees at the Vermont state attorney’s office.

HEALTH AND WELLNESS

  • Little Rock started a Bridge to Work program that pays homeless people in the city minimum wage to pick up trash as part of a trial program to help them transition out of homelessness.
  • Rite Aid, one of the biggest U.S. pharmacy chains, is putting children over profits and will stop selling e-cigarettes and vaping products because of the evidence that they are causing an increase in tobacco use among teens.

CONSUMER PROTECTIONS

  • Net neutrality is not dead, the Colorado Gov. is expected to sign net neutrality a bill the legislature passed banning internet service providers from receiving taxpayer money if they slow down internet access or unfairly speed up certain websites.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM

  • The Colorado legislature unanimously passed a bill that would ban judges from setting monetary bail for traffic offenses and petty crimes unless a defendant chooses to pay instead of waiting for a bond hearing and now it awaits the governor’s signature.
  • Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot laid out sweeping reform policies he is implementing including reduction in cash bail, no longer prosecuting most misdemeanor marijuana possession or trace amount of drug possession, diversion for mentally ill/homeless facing criminal trespass, and so much more.
  • The New Hampshire legislature voted to end the state’s death penalty, but this time they did so with the two-thirds majority necessary to override the Governor’s threatened veto.
  • It is amnesty week in Gardendale Alabama, where anyone who is facing warrants for their failure to appear or pay for fines, costs, fees, or other charges in response to a subpoena, summons, or order issued by the Municipal Court, will be allowed to settle their cases without being incarcerated all because of a class action lawsuit brought by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
  • One well-informed judge in Lakewood, Ohio has stopped using a fixed schedule to set bail because he believes it can be unfairly applied and result in the needless jailing of poor defendants.
  • Bail reform and other criminal justice initiatives were so effective in Manchester New Hampshire that the superintendent of the Valley Street jail requested a budget reduction for 2020 because staffing and prison expenses went down due to less people waiting for trial, shorter sentences, and more diversion to mental health and substance abuse programs.

CIVIL RIGHTS

  • Inmates in Washington state prisons will still get to receive and read used books from non-profits after officials were shamed into reversing their initial ban by public uproar.
  • As a result of good investigative journalism and advocacy, a report by City Lab on the use of electronic ankle monitors with microphone and speaker capabilities in Chicago led to Cook County officials ending their use by juvenile probation officers pending further review.
  • New York City agreed to pay $700,000 to three black NYPD Detectives who alleged race based discrimination in promotions in the department’s Intelligence Bureau in a class-action lawsuit.
  • The black lives matter flag with fly at a Vermont High School.
  • JBS trucking company has agreed to pay $250,000 and to stop discriminating against the disabled in their hiring practices as part of an EEOC lawsuit.
  • The New York City Council passed legislation that would bar many New York City employers from testing prospective job candidates for marijuana as a condition of employment.

🌎SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT

  • A federal judge ruled that the administration failed again to justify its reversal of a regulation, this time for gas leases on federal land.
  • The newest bike friendly city is now right here in the U.S., with Cambridge (MA) passing the The Cycling Safety Ordinance, the first city to mandate construction of permanent, protected bike lanes.
  • New York City’s mayor issued an executive order prohibiting city agencies from buying any unnecessary single-use plastics, including straws, cutlery, cups and plates.
  • Netherlands made train travel free for one day for anyone that traveled carrying a copy of the novel Jas van Velofte (“Jacket of Promise”) which was a also a free book written especially for the occasion to serves as a token for travel anywhere in the country. Norway’s oil fund, the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, has decided to invest billions of dollars in wind and solar power.
  • Whales, fish and coral will have a better chance at survival. Belize and Indonesia expanded marine protection areas and the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service committed to proposing a rule acting on the Center for Biodiversity petition for orca habitat protection off Washington, Oregon and California.
  • When you mess it up, you clean it up in Vermont, so the state reached an agreement with a plastics manufacturer to provide clean water to homes whose wells they contaminated with PFOA.

👩#MeToo And WOMEN’S RIGHTS

  • Of all the places you would least expect it, Georgia has included money in the state budget to provide women and girls with free menstrual pads and tampons at schools and community centers located in low-income areas.
  • With the help of the ACLU, one woman in Illinois won $190,000 for pregnancy discrimination on the Frankfort Police Department and new policies governing how they treat pregnant employees.
  • Kentucky announced they will begin using a new technology that allows law enforcement to get test results on sexual assault kits within hours instead of the months long wait with the current process.
  • The New York Times gave due respect to one woman fighting to close a loophole in the Minnesota marital rape laws with a moving article on her story and accomplishments.
  • The New Orleans City Council established the Equal Pay Advisory Committee.
  • Women in Korea are celebrating a big win with the Constitutional Court striking down the country’s laws prohibiting abortion. Women in Australia can access abortions with dignity, respect, and safety with the countries High Court upholding safe access zone laws, which prohibit harassment outside abortion clinics.  Over in Italy, the country’s highest court overturned a decision where the judge said a woman was too “masculine” to be raped,
  • Allison Mack pled guilty to federal sex trafficking charges for NXIVM.

🕬 GUN REFORM

🏳️‍🌈LGBTQ

  • Massachusetts “health care providers” can no longer subject minors to “gay conversion therapy” now that the Gov. signed into law a bill banning such torture, making them the 16th state to do so.
  • The Medicaid program in Illinois will now cover gender reassignment surgery.
  • Arizona also made the state more supportive of the LBGT+ community by  repealing a sex education law that banned programs that promoted a homosexual lifestyle and barred HIV instruction that taught safe-sex methods for homesexual sex or portrayed homosexuality as a positive lifestyle.
  • Tasmania’s transgender community is celebrating after efforts led to passage of laws that make gender optional on birth certificates, removes the requirement for people to have surgery in order to have their gender recognised, allows those 16 years or older to change their registered gender without parental approval, and clarifies laws that protect the right of an individual to express their gender without discrimination.
  • A tire company in Colorado learned the $60,000 reasons why you don’t discriminate against transgender people and put their new understanding in an apology letter as a result of a U.S. E.E.O.C. lawsuit.  While a town clerk in New York state was also required to give a public apology to a gay couple she refused a marriage license to as a result of the settlement of their lawsuit, which also included a $25,000 payment for the violation of their rights.
  • One celebrity put her riches to good use and donated $113,000 to fight anti-LGBT bills in Tennessee, thank you Taylor Swift.
  • The good news coming out of Baltimore is the city’s Public School board of commissioners approved a policy allowing transgender students to use the names, pronouns, and bathrooms aligning with their gender identity.
  • The San Jose City Council voted to surround the anti-LGBTQ restaurant at the city’s airport with pride flags.
  • Dutch transgender children under the age of 16 can now change their gender on passports in ‘extreme circumstances’.
  • In a first of it’s kind ruling a court in Russia ruled that a transgender woman was fired illegally after she transitioned while working in a job that under Russian law can only be performed by men.
  • Morehouse College, a historically black all-men’s school, will begin admitting transgender students who identify as men.
  • More than 70 employers, including corporate giants, came to a job fair for transgender and gender nonconforming individuals in L.A.

🕫🗳️FAIR AND ETHICAL VOTING  

💓STOPPING THE SPREAD OF HATE

  • The Neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin cannot avoid the consequences of his actions after a federal judge ruled that he must appear in person for a deposition in a lawsuit alleging he unleashed a dangerous anti-semitic troll storm on a jewish realtor in Montana.
  • Students at Georgetown University voted to add a new fee to their tuition bill, with the proceeds going to support education and health care programs in Louisiana and Maryland, where many of 4,000 known living descendants of slaves live that the university sold nearly two centuries ago to save the school from financial problems.

ELECTION RESULTS

  • Run for Something candidate, Sarah Ullman was elected to the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council.
  • Victor Angry won the special election for Prince William County Supervisor and will be the first black supervisor. .

ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST: It sucks to be related to the cheater-in-chief, as Maryanne Trump Barry found out. She has retired as a federal appellate judge in order to end an investigation into whether she violated judicial conduct rules by participating in fraudulent tax schemes with her siblings.

A GREAT WEEK FOR CHICAGO AND PENNSYLVANIA AND A BUSY WEEK FOR THE U.S. HOUSE!

There was a lot of good to come out of big elections this week in Chicago and Pennsylvania.  But there were also smaller wins in local elections for candidates supported by Run for Something and Postcards to Voters. We may not succeed every fight but we can’t stop trying, because you have to be in it to win it.  The Democratic house is picking up steam in living up to their obligation to investigate and hold the administration responsible for their actions. And of course the field of qualified and intelligent democratic candidates for presidents just keeps growing to bring us great choices. I have yet again scoured the news for you so you can have this one place to read about all the positive happenings this week. My highlights are;   

  • #StandWithImmigrants  Motel 6 will pay for call I.C.E. on customers and some asylum seekers get more due process.
  • #RedForEd Union backed candidates won seats on the Milwaukee School Board and LA is making sure every high school student gets to take the SATs.
  • #CareNotPrisons Judge says city can’t criminalize homelessness.
  • #GreenNewDeal Wetlands and forests on the west coast get more protections and Maryland band styrofoam takeout.
  • #BlackLivesMatter New York and Mississippi pass criminal justice reform.
  • #NeverAgain Colorado passes red flag law and Pittsburg says no to automatic weapons.
  • #FairFight New York gets early voting and online voter registration.
  • #NoH8 Utah expands hate crime laws.
  • #BlueWaveDemocrats flipped an important seat in the PA legislature, and Chicago elected its first black lesbian Mayor, among other wins.

AND MORE GREAT STUFF SO READ ON Continue reading

MARCH GOODNESS IS SAVING THE ARCTIC OCEAN, STOPPING BUMP STOCKS, PROTECTING THE HEALTH CARE WE HAVE, AND MORE!

March madness for me is all the good that came out the legislatures in states newly controlled by democrats or democrat leaning like New Mexico, Maryland, and New York.  The New York budget negotiations wrapped up this weekend and it will take me a few days to sum up all the good in the first budget under a state fully controlled by democrats, so expect it to be in the next roundup, but it does so far appear to include criminal justice reform, a plastic bag ban, and congestion pricing.  My highlights for this week are;

  • #StandWithImmigrants Liberians get a reprieve from deportation and two California counties get out of the immigration detention business.
  • #HealthCareForAll  Judges blocked Medicaid work rules and some junk insurance plans.
  • #FightFor15 Maryland is the next state to have a $15 minimum wage and McDonalds will stop wasting their time fighting it.
  • #GreenNewDeal Courts blocked drilling in the Arctic and makers of Roundup are paying the price for selling a product that causes cancer.
  • #NeverAgain The ban on bump stocks take effect.
  • #WeWillNotGoBack A judge rules girls can’t be forced to wear skirts to school, North Carolina can’t restrict abortions, and Utah says get you can get your birth control without a doctor’s prescription.
  • #FairFight One more state to get same day voter registration.
  • #NoH8 Facebook will ban white nationalists at the same time that HUD charges them of offering discriminatory ad choices.

AND MORE SO READ ON Continue reading

THE GOOD NEWS REPORT YOU CAN READ NOW!

Since other reports that may be of interest to you are not yet available you can get your fill of good reading with this weekly summary of some of the inspiring actions and accomplishments from across the country and the globe of those trying to save our democracy.  The British took to the streets to demand a reconsideration of Brexit, New Zealanders continued to show love and support to those mourning their lost love ones, and across the U.S. big and small local groups protested and descended on their state legislatures that were in session to demand progressive legislation and to try to stop regression on so many issues.  You can also follow WhatWentRight.org on Twitter at @WhatWentRight_ to get additional daily good news posts and information about actions and activities that you can participate in.  Some highlights from this week’s are;

  • Minnesota and Pennsylvania agreed to take better care of their prisoners.
  • Harmful chemicals in paint stripper and oil and gas drilling on some federal lands were blocked.
  • Facebook will change the discriminatory nature of many of their ads.
  • Baltimore and Virginia put a stop to bad gun laws that were proposed.
  • Michigan will stop funding adoption groups that ban LGBTQ parents.
  • The Virginia governor stood up for immigrants.
  • Judges put a temporary stop to two different abortion bans in Kentucky and Ohio.
  • And it was a very good week for Native Americans with the U.S. Supreme Court upholding the terms of an 1855 treaty with the Yakama Nation, Washington state making it easier for them to vote and Texas prisons now allowing them to grow their hair long as part of their religion.
  • READ ON TO FIND OUT ABOUT SO MANY MORE GOOD THINGS Continue reading

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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