This weekend’s Women’s Marches were a source of inspiration. To see hundreds of thousands people come out in cities and towns all across the country to show that a year later our voices have not be silenced and we will not sit idly by and watch our rights and our democracy be dismantled was awesome. This year’s march was all about power to the polls as it kicked off a swing state get out the vote and voter registration drive with a rally in Las Vegas. But not only did we march this weekend, but there were also a lot of other good things that happened this week. The highlights are;
- ELECTION WIN Democrat Patty Schachtner won the special election for the Wisconsin SD10 state senate seat flipping a solidly republican held seat. #bluewave2018
- GUN CONTROL NJ passed a law banning the sale or possession of bump stocks. #GunControlNow
- STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS Washington State will no longer release personal information from the Department of Licensing to federal immigration authorities without a court order unless required by law. #IStandWithImmigrants
- NOT STOPPING THE FIGHT FOR NET NEUTRALITY Attorneys general from 22 states filed a lawsuit to stop the FCC’’s repeal of net neutrality. #SaveNetNeutrality
- BAIL REFORM Delaware moved one step closer to bail reform with the legislature sending a bill to the democratic governor that encourages judges to first consider using other pretrial release conditions as opposed to money bail and to use a risk-assessment tool to determine the appropriateness of those options for the defendant. #BailReform
🌍SAVING THE PLANET California adopted new regulations that mandate no farm employee under 18 years old can handle any pesticide or even be on a field after application of a pesticide for a period of time. Surfrider Foundation announced it is suing the U.S. Steel Corporation for allegedly polluting waters in violations of the Clean Water Act. The EPA withdrew its approval of Ohio’s decision to keep Lake Erie off a list of impaired bodies of water. Anchorage started the trial period for its first electric bus, which is estimated to cut greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 250,000 pounds per year compared to the current diesel buses being used. After pressure from environmental groups, Toyota withdrew from talks with the EPA to provide the EPA with management services to overhaul internal management practices at the EPA, because who wouldn’t want the fox designing the hen house? Arkansas now has the nation’s strictest rules on the use of the herbicide dicamba after the state adopted the regulatory agencies proposed rules. Environmental groups sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to block construction of a 162-mile-long oil pipeline across Louisiana alleging they violated the Clean Water Act in approving it. Coca-Cola announced it will help collect and recycle a bottle or can for each one it sells by to consumers by 2030.
🌏OTHER COUNTRIES SAVING THE PLANET London announced that as a result of new pollution control measured they reached the the third week of January without breaching legal limits for toxic nitrogen dioxide air pollution in modern times. The European Commission released its Strategy on Plastics in the Circular Economy to combat single use and microplastics. Belize announced a moratorium on oil activity in all its waters to protect its barrier reef, the second largest in the world.
👐HELPING PEOPLE IN NEED The UK announced the creation of the Minister of Loneliness to combat the growing problem. While some may snicker at this, it as a step in the right direction for destigmatizing mental health issues and finding ways to combat them. In the convoluted, but good law case this week, Nevada’s Supreme Court ruled payday lenders can’t sue borrowers who take out and default on secondary loans used to pay off the balance on an initial high-interest loan. In plain language they said lenders can’t force borrowers onto extremely high “debt treadmills.” An anonymous donor made a $100-million gift to Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
🔏 RIGHT TO PRIVACY A U.S. Circuit Court ruled the Justice Dept. must provide documents regarding policies guiding prosecutors in obtaining authorization to use electronic surveillance and tracking devices for criminal investigations in a case brought by the ACLU. Aetna agreed to pay $17 million to settle a class-action lawsuit after the health insurance company mailed out envelopes that revealed thousands of patients’ HIV status.
👩🏿⚖️CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM The ACLU filed a lawsuit over an Albuquerque limits on panhandling ordinance. Maryland’s Court of Appeals reported that recent changes to bail rules have result in a significant decrease in the number of defendants being held because they can’t pay bail.
⚖ EQUALITY FOR ALL New Jersey governor’s first act was to sign an executive order to support equal pay for women by barring managers in state government from asking job applicants about their previous salary. Amazon will also no longer ask prospective US employees about their salary histories. The ACLU sued Delaware alleging the state is violating a state constitutional requirement to ensure adequate education funding for disadvantaged students. New York City (NY) settled a class action lawsuit alleging the NYPD limits on beard length violated Muslim cops’ civil rights and agreed to follow a policy that allows for more flexibility on the beard length for religious reasons.
👥PROGRESS FOR PEOPLE OF COLOR As a result of the 2017 election, the Virginia General Assembly now has a newly formed Latino Caucus with three members. The Pasadena Tournament of Roses confirmed the first African-American President for the Tournament of Roses. Since being elected the first African-American Mayor elected in Camilla (GA) is fighting injustice head on from the inside, starting with literally demanding the keys to get into City Hall, demanding access to records, and bringing in civil rights lawyers to review the cities discriminatory policies and practices.
❤️STOPPING HATE Milwaukee Common Council terminated contracts worth nearly one million dollars with a small business whose workers were filmed at a city job site displaying KKK artwork and brandishing firearms. The University of Alabama expelled a student after she posted slur-laden videos.
🧕MORE STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS A U.S. Appeals court ordered immigration officials to reconsider the case of a Mexican mother who was deported, saying she showed credible evidence of threats to her safety, in a decision written by a 45 appointee. California’s AG issued a warning to California employers that the state will prosecute businesses that voluntarily give information about their employees to federal immigration officials in violation of state laws.
👩🏾🔬BREAKING GLASS CEILINGS NBC News announced Libby Leist would be the Executive Producer at the “Today” show, making her the first woman to lead program’s during that time period. Elizabeth Kiss was selected as the CEO of the Rhodes Trust and is the first woman to head the organization. The University of Cincinnati hired its first woman Police Chief. Nusrat Ghani became the first female Muslim minister to speak at the House of Commons dispatch box. Ruth Watkins was elected the first woman president of the University of Utah. Temple City Council (TX) appointed the first woman as top city administrator.
🗽BECAUSE MONUMENTS AND NAMES MATTER A new Civil Rights monument was unveiled in front of the Greene County (OH) Courthouse. A fence dividing black and white burial areas in a public cemetery in Camilla (GA) was removed.
🏢 CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY CVS announced post-production alterations of images in marketing materials, including print and online of beauty products at CVS starting with CVS brands.
🚪DON’T LET THE DOOR HIT YOU ON THE WAY OUT The administration’ appointee, Carl Higbie, resigned as chief of external affairs for Americorp after racist, sexist, anti-Muslim and anti-LGBT comments he made on the radio were reported in the media. A Franklin City (ID) Council member resigned over his derogatory remarks similar to the racist-in-chief’s about certain countries and Democrats on social media. Chris Christie, couldn’t keep the door hitting him on the way out as he was blocked from a VIP entrance at Newark airport and directed to stand in the TSA regular people screening lines .
🕬 CREATIVE ACTIVISM Nine of the twelve members of the U.S. National Park Service Advisory Board resigned in a letter stating that they did so in protest to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke unwillingness to meet with them. Shawnee Mission East High School chose to spread love and not hate by ignoring the Westboro Baptist Church protest of their school by performing a special morning welcoming to all students with signs and cheers, wearing shirts that symbolized LGBTQ support, as they stood with school officials and with the band playing and the community delivering handwritten notes of support from parents, teachers and advocates. In a sample of just a few of the protests/marches that occurred this week beside the Women’s marches, hundreds of Haitians protested outside Mar A Largo, thousands gathered in Seattle, Dallas and other cities on MLK day, and almost 200 Virginians demonstrated in favor of Electoral Justice. In addition to all the work by United We Dream, DREAMERS were also supported by eighty-two rabbis and activists who were arrested on Capitol Hill staging a sit-in. A genealogist and the creator of #resistancegenealogy, confronts anti-immigration public figures with their own family histories through public genealogy searches.