This week we saw women leaders elected, women declared Time’s person of the year, and the harassers of women continuing to be held accountable. Change is a marathon not a sprint and women continue to make progress. The weekly summary comes with some added colorful emoji’s (it is the extent of my artistic abilities) in my effort to follow along with the holiday decorating momentum. I hope you enjoy it. The highlights from this week are;
- PUTTING A DEMOCRATIC DENT IN GEORGIA Democrat Jen Jordan won a Georgia Senate seat vacated by a republican, ending the Republican super majority in the State Senate.
- WOMAN LEADING THE WAY 👩 The California State Senate picked Democrat Toni Atkins as the first woman to lead the chamber. Iceland chose its second woman Prime Minister, Katrin Jakobsdottir a progressive of the Left-Green Movement.
- HONORING HEROES IN THE FIGHT FOR JUSTICE 🥇 Colin Kaepernick received the Courageous Advocate Award from the ACLU and Time magazine named the women behind the “Silence Breakers” and the #MeToo movement as person of the year.
- LEGALIZING SAME SEX MARRIAGE AROUND THE WORLD 🌈 Austria’s high court ruled that barring a couple from marrying on the grounds of sexual orientation is discriminatory and following the national mail-in survey, Australia’s Parliament voted to legalize same-sex marriage.
- GETTING SOME MUCH NEEDED RACIAL JUSTICE 👊White Officer Michael Slager, was sentenced to 20 years in jail after pleading guilty to shooting a black man in the back while he was running away from a traffic stop in South Carolina.
- KEEPING UP THE FIGHT FOR DREAMERS 👪 DREAM Act activists staged nationwide protests and about 10,000 people rallied on Capitol Hill at one of the largest immigration rallies this year. #DreamActNow
- MAKING THE HARASSERS PAY 💲 U.S. Rep Blake Farenthold (R-TX) who used taxpayer money to pay a $84,000 sexual harassment settlement announced he would personally reimburse the money.
The rest of the summary of the good news includes;
🗳 HISTORY MAKING ELECTION WINS – Salisbury (NC) City Council elected Al Heggins as mayor and David Post was elected mayor pro tem, the first African-American woman mayor and the first Jewish mayor pro tem. The Worcester County Commission Maryland elected the first black woman as the Commission President. Big wins for women and democrats in Georgia; Women were elected president of the Atlanta City Council and Mayor of Roswell. Smyrna elected its first black member of the city council and two women won seats on the Marietta City Council. In New York, Errol Toulon Jr. became Suffolk County’s sheriff and Long Island’s first African American nonjudicial countywide elected official and democrat Sam Dyer won the Beekman town supervisor’s race by one vote, replacing the outgoing republican. Phillip Garcia was elected as an Election Judge in his Philadelphia district because he received one vote, his own as no one else voted. Every vote matter. Democrat Jeanne McNeill won a special election to the PA House of Representative.
STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS – Pilots across Germany are stopping planned deportations of rejected asylum seekers by refusing to fly when informed they are aboard their flight with the total cancelled flights at about 140 so far.
🍕 REAL VOTERS GET TO EAT FREE PIZZA AND FAKE GOP VOTERS GO TO JAIL- The Boulder (CO) District Attorney’s Office concluded that New Era Colorado did not violate election laws in offering free rides to the polls and free slices of pizza to prospective voters. In a piece that is particularly noteworthy to me, a GOP leader had the audacity to blame his filling out, signing, and mailing his ex-wife’s mail in ballot on a “diabetic blackout.” Just to set the record straight, I am not a doctor but I will unequivocally state as a type 1 diabetic for 31 years, that this is BULL#%#^! He was found guilty.
🏢 SOME GOOD STILL HAPPENING AT FEDERAL AGENCIES – The EEOC reached a settlement with one of New York City’s largest contractors, Laquila Group where they agree to pay a $625,000 settlement for racial discrimination. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission requested an extension to consider a proposal to prop up coal and nuclear power plants, citing an unprecedented volume of more than 1,500 comments as one of the reasons for the needed additional time. The VA has killed a plan to shift money from a major homelessness program in response to a wave of protest from veterans’ advocates, HUD and state officials.
🌎SAVING THE PLANET WITHOUT THE EPA’S HELP – Dozens of mayors from around the world signed the “Chicago Climate Charter” at the North American Climate Summit, which was organized to bring people together to work on climate change in the absence of federal action. In Nairobi, world leaders committed to a pollution-free planet at the UN Environment Assembly, with resolutions and pledges to clean up our air, land and water, which would lead to 1.49 billion more people breathing clean air, 30 per cent of the world’s coastlines being clean, and making $18.6 billion for research and development programs to combat pollution available. Arlington (VA) solicited bids for rooftop solar panel systems on five schools for the largest such project in Virginia. Google announced it purchased 3 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity, equal to what all of its offices and data centers around the world use annually.
👮BRINGING ABOUT REAL CRIMINAL JUSTICE – Three Dallas police officers were indicted on criminal charges for their actions leading to the death of a mentally ill unarmed man who called 911 for help. A New York City judge found the NYPD in contempt after they ignored a court order to hand over surveillance records of Black Lives Matter protests. Los Angeles voted to legalize marijuana. The SPLC and other groups filed a lawsuit against Corinth, Mississippi and a Municipal Court Judge for unlawfully jailing poor people for their inability to pay bail and fines. The ACLU sued to block executions in Nebraska, arguing the referendum that passed restoring the death penalty is void. The ACLU sued the Pierce County Jail system (WA) alleging inmates with mental illnesses are denied basic treatment and illegally restrained. A police officer who made Facebook comments mocking the death of a counter protester at the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville was fired.
📰 JUST PLAIN GOOD AND INTERESTING NEWS – New York City issued a stop-work order on Paul Manafort’s brownstone. Nike announced it is closing its store in a Trump property in NYC to move to a new location just a few blocks away. Brown University will replace loans with scholarship in an effort to make the school accessible for all income groups. After the NAACP issued a “travel advisory” against American Airlines they announced that all employees will complete annual anti-racism training. Florida has barred James O’Keefe, the founder of Project Veritas, the group that tried to trick the Washington Post with a fake story but instead got caught trying to pedal the fake news, from fundraising in the state,
⚖ SUING TO STOP INJUSTICE – Lower East Side People’s Federal Credit Union sued to remove Mulvaney as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. A coalition of 15 state Attorney Generals filed another lawsuit against the EPA, this one for failing to meet the Clean Air Act’s deadline for designating areas of the country impacted by unhealthy levels of ground-level ozone (smog) and many are suing to stop the national monument reduction.
💰 SOME CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY Outdoor gear company Patagonia is suing over the administration’s move to dramatically shrink national monuments in Utah and is promoting a campaign to save it. I’m guessing there are going to be a lot of Patagonia holiday presents this year. Exxon Mobil came out against an American Legislative Exchange Council proposal to demand the administration to rescind a federal finding that greenhouse gases are harmful.
👥PROGRESS FOR WOMEN AND PEOPLE OF COLOR Lubaina Himid, is the first woman of color to win the Turner Prize, the UK’s top contemporary art prize. The first female musician was allowed to perform at a sold out public concert in Saudi Arabia.
🗽BECAUSE MONUMENTS AND NAMES MATTER Lakeland Florida is moving a Confederate monument out of a prominent downtown park. In an effort to have a more diverse group, Denton County Commissioners (TX) appointed five women to the Confederate Soldier Memorial Advisory Committee. The University of South Carolina unveiled two prominent plaques on campus recognizing the role of slave labor in the development of the college. Somersworth (NH) will fly an atheist flag next to a monument of the Ten Commandments to celebrate diversity.
🏃SOME REPUBLICANS TRYING TO RUN AWAY FROM MOORE A Maryland GOP exec said he requested a refund of his donation to Moore after a group made his donation public. Senator Flake and two GOP strategist made public their contributions to Jones.
🚪THE REVOLVING DOOR ADMINISTRATION Deputy national security adviser Dina Powell announced she will be stepping down from her position. Who will be next? Come back next week to find out.
🙋📣AWESOME ACTIVISM Hundreds of people rallied in Richmond (VA) to protest two proposed natural gas pipelines that would cross the state. Iowans organized by Iowa Citizen Action Network and others descended on Chuck Grassley’s offices to deliver empty bottles of alcohol to mock his quote about hard-working people wasting their money on booze, women and movies #ChuckSoDrunk. Protesters demonstrated outside Verizon stores and MoC offices from coast to coast to rally against the end of net neutrality. A group of protesters spelled out “GO HOME TRUMP” with their bodies on the lawn of the state capitol in Salt Lake City, UT ahead of a visit by 45. A gay man denied a marriage license is running against Town Clerk Kim Davis who went to jail for refusing to issue the license. The Resistance Revival Chorus played a moving concert to a sold out house at City Winery in New York City. A father in Australia found a creative way to call out his daughter’s school for sexism. Not to mention the couple of hundred of us who braved the snow and the cold for a #MeToo protest outside Trump Hotel in NYC. And shout out to all you resisters, I received an email from Indivisible that no more volunteers were need for the Doug Jones GOTV texting campaign because they had more than they could use.