There was so many good things going on this week that I just didn’t have time to pay attention to meaningless televised speeches or memos so there will be no mention of them anywhere here. Instead, as you know I try each week to show important it is to not just take back Congress, but state houses and city and county governments so that we can achieve change in our communities and win back fair election districts. Please consider helping the good people of Florida and Sister District elect Margaret Good for the Florida House in the Feb 13th special election. With that bit of request for you to take action out of the way, here are some highlights for this week of what the resistance can be proud of are;
- San Francisco and San Diego District Attorneys announced their offices will retroactively apply California’s marijuana-legalization laws to past criminal cases, expunging or reducing convictions going back decades, without those convicted having to pursue the expungement on their own. #SupportLegalMarijuana
- A U.S. District Judge ruled Florida’s process for restoring voting rights to ex-felons, where partisan officials have extraordinary authority to withhold the right to vote from hundreds of thousands of people without any constraints, guidelines, or standards, is unconstitutional. #VotingRightsForAll
- The Arizona House voted to expel Rep. Don Shooter for “dishonorable behavior” as a result of proven sexual harassment and they confiscated his gun. #MeToo
- Senate Democrats blocked a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks and a U.S. District Judge issued a temporary injunction against a Texas law that required medical providers to bury or cremate fetal remains from miscarriages and abortions and banned a common second-trimester abortion procedure widely known as a D&C. #MyBodyMyChoice
- A New York Appeals court held that a same sex couple is entitled to the same presumption as a heterosexual couple, that a child born during a marriage is presumed to be the two spouses’ child, and refused a paternity petition by the sperm donor. #LoveisLove
- A U.S. District Court judge ruled the abrupt detention of an undocumented immigrant at his check-in prior to the date of his stay of removal unconstitutional and cruel, saying he was entitled to the freedom to say goodbye, and that those who have lived without incident in this country for years, have not and should not, be subjected to treatment we associate with regimes we revile as unjust, where people may be taken without notice from streets, home and work and sent away and woe be the day that we become that country under a fiction that laws allow it. #WeAreAllImmigrants
👩🏾⚖️CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM happening, as the Philadelphia City Council passed a resolution pushing the district attorney and First Judicial District of Pennsylvania to reduce cash bail reliance. New York state prisoners will all be given free (non internet capable) tablets and one of the most important things they can use it for is to file grievances against abusive officers.
🗳The fight for FAIR ELECTIONS continues as a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an Austin (TX) rules limiting campaign contributions to $350 per donor in an election cycle and no more that $36,000 total from donors who live outside of Austin.
🏫Wish we could have CIVICS FOR EVERYONE like a new Arkansas law that requires students take and pass the civics test that is “identical” to the test that is used by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for naturalization purposes in order to graduate HS or earn GED.
👩🎓WOMEN keep BREAKING GLASS CEILINGS. Marin Alsop was appointed the first woman artistic director of the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra. Victoria Chun has been named as the first woman Athletic Director for Yale. Jane Hulon was selected as the first woman president of Copiah-Lincoln Community College. The 145 year old Cincinnati May Festival will have its first concert conducted by a woman. Canada is one step closer to changing the national anthem to be gender neutral now that the Senate passed the law to do so.
🏳️🌈LGBTQ PROGRESS hasn’t stopped. Steven Anderson, a U.S. preacher who has called for gay people to be killed was banned from entering Jamaica; he was previously been banned by South Africa, the U.K. and Canada and deported by Botswana. Same-sex marriage was legalized on the island of Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands lying between the UK and France. El Salvador’s Supreme Court blocked a constitutional change that would bar same-sex marriage on technical grounds. The New York City Dept. of Ed hosted the city’s first Gender and Sexuality Alliance summit for 630 high school students.
💗 We continue to OVERCOME HATE. A white, Appalachian State, tennis team player was suspended indefinitely after a black player reported he made on-court statements like “at least I know my dad” and other racist sayings during their match. Eleven countries have agreed to advance their annual contributions to the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees to help it fill the shortfall after a partial cut-off of U.S. funding. The Tallahassee community showed up to counter-protest a rally held by white supremacist, outnumbering the haters one hundred to 1. An Air Force sergeant who posted a video of her racist ranting on social media was suspended from her leadership role.
👮♀️Many still care about PROTECTING THE PEOPLE FROM HARM. Scotland passed the Domestic Abuse bill, which prohibits “abusive behavior in relation to a partner or ex-partner,” including psychological and physical abuse. Governor Hogan announced he would sign legislation sent to him that enables courts to strip parental rights from rapists.
🧕So many are STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS. The Fairfax County Sheriff‘s Office (VA) announced they will not renew their agreement with ICE when it expires in May under which the Sheriff held inmates in jail up to 48 hours after they finished serving their sentence if ICE asked them to. Without the agreement, the Sheriff will release inmates when their time is up unless ICE provides them with a criminal detainer issued by a court. Temporary Protected Status for Syrians was extended by 18 months. A U.S. District Judge held that 50 undocumented Indonesians must be given time to reopen their immigration cases to argue that the conditions in their home country have changed. In a first of kind decision, a U.S. District Court judge ordered the release of the New York immigrant rights activist Ravi Ragbir who was detained during a routine check-in. The NJ Gov. announced that he is committed to creating an Office of Immigration Protection, which could help undocumented immigrants facing arrest and deportation. The NY Gov announced the state would fund medicaid for DACA recipients even if it expired without renewal.
⚖️ECONOMIC EQUALITY takes a step forward with Stockton (CA) beginning a “Guaranteed Basic Income” experiment, under which a select number of low-income families will receive a no-strings attached $500 a month grant, for up to 18 months in partnership with Economic Security Project. Bank of America announced they will stop asking job applicants for their past salary history. New York, New Jersey, and Maryland are organizing a multistate coalition to challenge the constitutionality of restrictions on the federal deduction for state and local taxes.
🏦FINANCIAL PROTECTIONS ARE STILL A THING thanks to the U.S. Court of Appeals ruling the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s structure is constitutional in a blow to opponents of the agency. In one of the strongest actions against a bank since the financial crisis, the Federal Reserve Board is restricting the growth of Wells Fargo and ordering the replacement of four of its board members. The US Dept. of Justice settled charges of illegal market manipulation against UBS, HSBC and Deutsche Bank under which they will pay a total of $46.6 million in fines.
🗽BECAUSE MONUMENTS AND NAMES MATTER to the people who see them, North Carolina is allowing online and mail-in comments regarding moving 3 confederate monuments from the old Capitol grounds to a Civil War battlefield. Canada is also rethinking monuments, with Halifax removing a statue of a military founder who led an extermination campaign against the Mi’kmaq. Occupy Jacksonville kicked off “Take ‘Em Down Jax” campaign with a large rally. A new snapchat app lets you add monuments for Black History Month in your photos. The Cleveland Indians will no longer use the offensive Chief Wahoo logo on their uniforms.
🌎To help SAVE THE PLANET Ten U.S. states and D.C are challenging a decision by the the EPA to drop a requirement that Harley-Davidson Inc spend $3 million to reduce air pollution under settlement the Obama administration approved. Nine states are working as part of a coalition to bring carbon pricing to their states to reduce pollution. The Navajo Nation is expanding a solar energy farm in Kayenta (AZ) which is expected to produce about 27 megawatts, enough to power 18,000 homes.
🚪DON’T LET THE DOOR HIT YOU ON THE WAY OUT. The Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, resigned after 6 months when reports she traded tobacco stocks while the director emerged. Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) announced they will not seek reelection. Up to date count of those not seeking re-election, 3 republican Senators and for U.S. House members it is 33-R and 15-Ds. The Republican chairman of the Illinois Lottery Control Commission resigned after a Twitter post calling East St. Louis, IL, the “sh–hole of the universe!” DIDN’T EVEN MAKE IT THROUGH THE DOOR as two nominees for Ambassador positions tanked when Victor Cha was dropped as a nominee for South Korea after publicly disagreeing with the administration and K.T.McFarland withdrew her nomination for SIngapore because even Republicans thought her too controversial.
🏆GRAMMY NOTES The Resistance Revival Chorus performed at the Grammys. The Recording Academy announced the formation of a task force to address gender bias in the music industry after the Academy president made insensitive remarks about women. I loved the Grammy skit of Hillary Clinton reading from Fire and Furry and hope that she does the audio book so she can win for best spoken word next year.
🕬ACTIVISM At the predominantly white Montpelier High School in Vermont the school decided to raise the Black Lives Matter flag to show their committed to both dialogue around and work for equity and racial justice in the school system. The number of Democratic candidates and counties with democratic primaries in Kentucky has nearly doubled in number from 2016. The Legal Aid Society of New York has started a book drive to buy copies of “The New Jim Crow” for their hundreds of clients throughout the NYS jail system now that it is no longer banned. 12 Democratic members of Congress boycotted the State of the Union address. Protesters showed up at the republican retreat. The White House Petition Website has been reopened. Time to make good use of it!!!!!!!!!!!! What should we ask for first?