THE 2017 YEAR IN REVIEW
As part of my end of year review, I read over my prior posts and was reminded of the resourcefulness, ingenuity, and unity we showed during this difficult year. Places that I never expected to see progressive activism, surprised me, some acts made me simile like tying up the new ICE Alien hotline with reports of Space Aliens and some so moving and touching it brought me to tears, such as the woman who is the designated guardian for 1,800 U.S. children should their parents be deported. Communities from Alabama to W. Virginia that I never expected to elect democrats, people of color, immigrants, and those from the LGBTQ community, surprised with their votes. So many people, companies, courts, organizations, communities, states, and countries did so many good things to make the world a better and more fair world this past year that to include them all would make this a novel. I believe I have grown stronger, more resilient, and more committed than ever, even if I have the occasional day when I Google “How to move to Canada” and I hope you feel the same, because we need each other now just as much as we did a year ago.
Activists showed all kinds of perseverance and creativity in expressing their views, in addition to the millions of phone calls, emails, postcards, letters, twitter messages, and pizza and cake messages, when other forms of mail were rejected.
- Hanging inspiring resistance banners in awesome places on land and sea, such as D.C. cranes, the statue of liberty, Trump properties and boats by golf courses. Projecting words of resistance on the outside of prominent buildings, along with billboards, mobile messaging vans, and even videos in front of the Washington monument. Hundreds of people using their bodies to spell out protest sayings in different places to be seen from the air.
- Citizens broke records attending and holding Town Hall meetings in every state, with and without the appearance of their representative, with many meeting videos going viral. Civic engagement gave rise to millions of comments on multiple rules on the federal rules website during comment periods, record-breaking calls and faxes to Congress.
- Showing up in the rain, sleet, snow, and heat across the country for protests big and small almost every day since the election. We saw anti-hate activists put their lives on the line to come out against white-supremacists at marches in multiple cities outnumbering the hate. And let’s not forget the biggest coordinated world-wide march for women’s rights this planet has ever seen as well as the largest Tax and Science marches.
- We saw #NeverTheLessShePersisted #ReclaimingMyTime #BareArms from democratic MoC and NFL players #TakingTheKnee against racial inequality
THE POWER OF THE PROGRESSIVE WALLET The new GRABYOURWALLET movement used boycotts to get major retailers to stop selling trump branded merchandize and hundreds of advertisers to pull out from advertising on shows when they promoted hate, fake news, and right-wing garbage (Hannity and O’Reilly included), and SLEEPING GIANTS got over 3,000 advertisers to stop placing ads on Breitbart and Google changed policies making it easier for advertisers to prevent their ads from appearing on offensive sites.
NEW TOOLS AND ORGANIZATIONS for organizing and making our collective power heard harnessing the power of technology, including, 5 CALLS, RESISTBOT, DAILY ACTION, the RESISTANCE CALENDAR, PEOPLE POWER, and more, to make it easier for people to stay informed and to take quick actions. Groups formed or expanded to help us organize and win at the ballot box, such as Indivisible, Sister District, Flippable, Run For Something, Run Everywhere, Emily’s List and more, with over 22,000 reaching out to them for help running for office, and the Resistance Revival Chorus to bring us music. Feel free to add in your favorite new organization or tool.
MAJOR ELECTION WINS starting with Stephanie Hansen in Delaware, progressives in red states and red counties saw that people all across the country are there to support them by showing up for them with their feet and their wallets. SO LET’S RECOUNT a few of our biggest wins, Governor of New Jersey and Virginia, Alabama elected Doug Jones to replace Jeff Sessions, won trifectas in Washington and New Jersey, record number of women ran and were elected as mayor, council members, school board members, and other elected officials, 7 cities in Utah alone saw first time women mayors as did New Orleans. Dozens of gay candidates elected across the country as were 8 transgendered candidates. We saw the first Sikh mayor elected in New Jersey and first Sudanese American in Iowa.
WE STOPPED THE ACA REPEAL FROM HAPPENING IN 2017!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
WE SHOWED THAT IMMIGRANTS ARE WELCOME HERE by STOPPING THE FIRST AND SECOND VERSIONS OF THE TRAVEL BAN through the use of our vital donations to the ACLU and others, by showing up by the thousands to protest at major international airports across the country and having hundreds of volunteer lawyers provided on the spot legal representation. Advocates and communities fought and won the release of many undocumented immigrants with U.S. families, disabilities, and no criminal convictions from being deported. New York State and Chicago were among the jurisdictions to substantially increase funding for representing residents facing deportation. Many cities and towns, and the State of California officially declared themselves “sanctuary cities” and the courts said the federal government cannot withhold funds because of this status
ABORTION IS STILL LEGAL AND AVAILABLE IN EVERY STATE AND WOMEN STILL HAVE A RIGHT TO INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR BIRTH CONTROL. Thanks to Planned Parenthood, AG’s and others, Courts blocked a lot of legislative threats to a woman’s right to choose and access to birth control, including laws in bastions of liberalness such as Arkansas, Mississippi, and Indiana. States passed legislation to protect or expand access to birth control or strengthen access to abortion including Oregon, Colorado, Nevada, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Delaware and Alaska. The federal courts have so far stopped the repeal of the requirement for birth control coverage from the ACA for religious reasons.
IN THIS MIST OF ALL THIS POLITICAL ACTIVISM THE #METOO MOVEMENT finally gained traction and brought the spotlight on the pervasiveness of sexual harassment and took down big names in politics, entertainment, news, law, education, and corporate America, and I think we are only getting started.
BABY STEPS ON GUN CONTROL HAPPENED the Maryland ban on assault weapons and California limits were upheld.
THE PLANET HAS NOT YET BEEN ABANDONED The Sierra Club, NRDC, and many others brought lawsuit after lawsuit, to stop the EPA, the Dept. Of the Interior, and others from harming the planet. After the administration announced withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, hundreds of cities and States organized themselves into Climate alliances to agree to abide by the accord regardless of national policy and many fortune 500 companies and Universities pledged to do the same. Maryland banned fracking. A number of companies announced the closing of coal mines and coal-based utility plants and states expanded solar and wind power plans. Other countries stepped up and replaced lost U.S. funding with grants of their own. States and cities expanded their protections of their own environments, like Oregon putting a stop to Nestle taking spring water.
SEEKING REAL ONE PERSON ONE VOTE FOR 2018 AND BEYOND as gains were made in the fight against gerrymandering in Wisconsin, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Texas and North Carolina voter ID’s laws were struck down. The Presidential Voter Suppression Panel has accomplished nothing and has hardly even met they are so bogged down in lawsuits. Social media sites added rules to show who is funding political ads. Groups continue to fight voter suppression in the courts and statehouse.
LGBTQ PEOPLE MADE GAINS IN ACCEPTANCE including the election of multiple transgender candidates at local and state-wide offices. The first of the states and Districts to allow a gender “x” on state id’s included Oregon and Washington. The fist all LGBTQ city council was elected as were many first time LGBTQ candidates in their districts. The attempt to ban transgender military members has so far been blocked by the courts. California added LGBTQ studies as part of their education curriculum.
STOPPING HATE AND THE MONUMENTS TO THEM – Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites have upped the policing of their sites for racist and other unacceptable forms of speech and began deactivating those that violate these policies. Cities began removing confederate monuments and other forms of honor to those who fought for slavery and Georgetown University set the bar high for how to make amends and admitted their first undergraduate student under their new policy to not only give the descendants of the slaves they owned admission to the University, but dedicated the resources to research to track down those descendants.
AROUND THE WORLD Iceland made equal pay a requirement, France, the Netherlands, South Korea, and Iceland elected progressive leaders and a record number of women won seats in England’s parliament, Serbia selected the first female and openly gay prime minister, and Germany, Australia, and Malta legalized same sex marriage.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE WAS FOUGHT FOR AN AND WON IN STATES AND IN THE COURTS The Supreme Court expanded what is racial bias in a jury, placed more restrictions on the death penalty for the mentally impaired, required the automatic return of criminal fees when found not guilty of a crime, The SPLC and others won in efforts to stop some localities from running modern day versions of debtor’s prisons as well as large awards for people subjected to police and judicial wrong doing. Marijuana was decriminalized in a number of local jurisdictions and New Hampshire. Forms of bail reform was passed or went into effect in Connecticut, New Jersey, New Mexico, Illinois, Louisiana, Montana and Mississippi.
ON THE EDUCATION FRONT – The Supreme Court expanded the scope of special education rights, Arkansas passed a law requiring more coverage of civil rights in schools. New York made four-year college free for low and middles class families and Tennessee made two-year college education free.
MANY RIGHT-WING, UNQUALIFIED, AND CONFLICT-RIDEN NOMINEES FOR HIGH LEVEL POSITIONS WERE FORCED TO WITHDRAW and MANY WHO MADE IT DIDN’T LAST LONG starting with some now long forgotten names such as Andy Puzder, convicted felon Sheriff Clark, the Trump family wedding planning, and federal court judges who had never been in a federal courtroom. With probably the largest revolving door administration in history, the blood loss started with Michael Flynn at only 10 seconds and includes favorites such as Steve Bannon, Sean Spicer, the “Mooch”, Reince Priebus, and Tom Price.
LET’S NOT FORGET THE LAUGHS WE HAD ALONG THE WAY the Melania-baby-man-hand swat (twice), the epic handshake battles, the creepy Pope photo, the “Mooch” (thought I forgot him didn’t you?) and all things Covfefe, as we watched the trump name come off of multiple Trump managed buildings because no one wanted to live, stay, work, or shop there.
There were so many other accomplishments on issues such as school lunch shaming, child brides, EEOC and consumer protection, increasing minimum wage laws and paid sick time at the local level, women and people of color breaking barriers and gaining leadership positions that are just too numerous to include. Groups like Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, saw huge increases in donations and millions was raised for community bail funds and DACA renewal fees. Take a perusal through the past posts if you need more reminders of WHAT WENT RIGHT.
While we may have lost some battles, I truly believe that not only those who stand for progressive causes, but those who stand for humanity and fairness, are more united, more energized, more active, and more willing to put their money and their bodies were their mouths are and will continue to fight every day to save this country from hate and inequality until their last breath. Thank you all for reading and sharing my small contribution to trying to keep our spirits up and inspire us to keep on fighting every day.