Read up on the positive things that happened this week ending 6/2/17 while you were all busy with covfefe. I promise there are many.
AMERICANS STANDING UP FOR PARIS CLIMATE ACCORD – Mayors, Governors, philanthropists, and major CEOs are standing with the planet, pledging to do the right thing on behalf of all Americans.
- Bloomberg has offered $15 million to UN efforts to tackle climate change to replace US funding.
- Several of the largest U.S. companies, including Apple, IBM, GE, Pepsico, Exxon Mobile and Ford have pledged to stick to the climate accord and continue cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
- The CEOs of Tesla and Disney both left the President’s advisory councils after the announcement (and consequently were also removed from the grabyourwallet.org boycott).
- The Governors of CA, WA and NY formed the United States Climate Alliance aimed at meeting the U.S. climate goals and providing a means for interested states to coordinate on climate change.
- 187 Mayors have signed on to Climate Mayors agreement representing 52 million people.
- A group representing 100 cities, 3 states, 100 companies and 80 Universities are preparing to submit a plan to the UN pledging to meet the US emissions targets under the Paris accord. The three states alone make up about a fifth of U.S. population and GDP, and produce about 11% of U.S. emissions.
SAVING THE PLANET – Goldwin America, a Chinese wind-turbine manufacturer began a free training program for wind farm technicians for unemployed coal miners in Montana. A Ninth Circuit panel ruled the U.S. EPA failed to follow its own rules when it approved the use of the new pesticide, nanosilver, on a short term basis unanimously siding with the NRDC. A new first of its kind, carbon capture plant, is now sitting on top of a waste incineration facility in Switzerland sucking CO2 out of the air to sell.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM – The ACLU has sued Lexington County in SC alleging it jails poor people who can’t pay fines for minor crimes and trying to put an end to “modern-day debtors’ prison.” Cleveland fired the police officer who killed Tamir Rice.
LGBTQ PROGRESS – Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields came out during a magazine interview, making her the department’s first openly gay chief. Ireland’s ruling party, Fine Gael, elected its first openly gay leader, Leo Varadkar, who is also the son of immigrants.
CITIES AND STATES STAND UP FOR THEIR CITIZENS – The democratic Governor of Minnesota vetoed the Republican Legislature’s effort to prevent cities from setting their own stronger labor rules for things like paid time off and minimum wage hikes, which would be greater than required by the state. San Antonio has joined the lawsuit brought by Austin to challenge the constitutionality of the Texas’ anti-sanctuary-cities law. NYC became the largest U.S. city to guarantee some scheduling rights for fast food workers, requiring restaurants to schedule their workers at least two weeks in advance or pay extra for shift changes. A bipartisan group of 30 state Attorney Generals urged Congress to reject the administration budget proposal to eliminate funding for civil legal services for low-income Americans.
DEFENDING IMMIGRANTS – IKEA launched an initiative to provide jobs for refugees by starting a line of textiles made by Syrian refugees in partnership with local non-profits. A unanimous SCOTUS ruled that an immigrant convicted of consensual sex with his under-age girlfriend was not eligible to be deported, finding that for the purposes of immigration law a minor must be under 16 for the crime to be deemed serious enough for deportation. The New Castle County NH Executive signed an executive order barring law enforcement officers from asking about citizenship status or making an arrest because of it.
WINNING IN COURT – The US Court of Appeals for the 7th Ct ruled in favor of a transgender student’s challenge to a Wisconsin school district’s policy limiting his restroom usage and leaves in place the preliminary injunction against the policy. Rosebud’s Restaurants will pay $1.9 million to settle a federal race discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. EEOC and pledged to make 11 percent of its workforce black in the future. The Islamic Society in Bernards Township NJ may now build its planned mosque after the town agreed to the zoning permission and $3.25 million payment in settlement of federal lawsuits.
STRONG WOMEN – Teaneck Township NJ hired Ashley Hahn, as the first female firefighter for the 102 year old department Jesse Graf went further on America’s Ninja Warrior realty competition than any other woman in series history, it was just plain awesome to watch. Both Oberlin College and St. Petersburg College picked their first African American women presidents in their school’s history and for St. Petersburg it was also their first woman president and for Oberlin their second. Wonder Woman, the first superhero move focused on one female character in 10 years, and directed by woman, took in $11 million in previews, the best ever for a movie directed by a woman and by Saturday had earned $97.1 million.
FOR YOUR AMUSEMENT – When constituents showed up outside Representative Issa’s office in CA he ran away from them and hid on the roof of the building. Newsweek reported that 45 is so desperate to be popular that he paid to have 15 million fake followers (51%) of his twitter account. Now that’s some real fake news.
AWESOME ACTIVISM – Hundreds of protests interrupted the legislative session in Texas to oppose the new law cracking down on ‘sanctuary cities’, forcing the legislature to stop the session. Showing us they do things bigly in Texas to make our voices heard. Activists descended by foot and kayak on the Trump Golf Course in VA to protest the PGA’s decision to hold a championship there. While Muslims ate and prayed together in protest outside Trump Tower in NYC, a group of Jewish activists showed solidarity by forming a protective circle around them as they did. But true heroism are the two men who died, and one who was injured, standing up to hate in Portland.
It’s important that we not allow ourselves to get distracted by stuff like covfefe. Stay focused on the bigger picture. To help combat activism fatigue and stay focused try moving your protest meetings outside to a park or make them into picnics. Don’t forget to comment to save national monuments and if you’re thinking of running for office Ballotpedia and Run for Something post deadlines, and many are coming up fast for 2017 elections.