Young people are refusing to let their efforts at, or even news coverage of, their push for gun reforms and safety at school fade away. Their call for a March 14th, 17 minute walkout led to actions across the country and around the world, from one student in North Carolina standing alone, to schools with full support. The images of their walkouts spread across the news, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms were heartwarming. These actions followed a day after Connor Lamb caused much angst to the Republicans party. It was another inspiring week of action for progressives and my highlights are;
- #BlueWave2018 Connor Lamb won the special election for a House seat in a PA district the twittler-in-chief, carried by 20 percentage points. While votes are being recounted, the recount is not likely to change the outcome.
- #ClimateChangeIsReal A U.S. District Court Judge determined that the EPA violated the law when it failed to announce by Oct. 1 which areas of the country were not in compliance with ozone pollution rules and ordered the EPA to publish the findings for the rest of the country by April 30.
- #BlackLivesMatter A jury awarded $33.5 million in damages, including $18 million in punitive damages, to the parents of a black man who was fatally shot by a California officer, finding he unreasonably detained the man, delayed medical aid, was negligent in use of deadly force.
- #ProtectDACA The Indiana Legislature passed legislation to lift a prohibition on “Dreamers” from obtaining state professional licenses and the governor says he supports the measure.
- #LoveIsLove Dean Trantalis was elected the first openly gay mayor of Fort Lauderdale Florida.
- #ImmigrationReformNow An ICE spokesman resigned and stated that he could not support the perpetuation of false and misleading statements made by Jeff Sessions and ICE’s acting director regarding the Oakland (CA) mayor’s warning about an ICE raid.
🧕🏻STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS In California, the Long Beach Values Act was passed expanding the cities sanctuary cities policies and an undocumented immigrant was named was appointed to statewide advisory committee on low-income college student California students. The Virginia Governor made clear he intends to veto anti-sanctuary cities law passed by the legislature. The ACLU sued the Administration on behalf of U.S. children whose parents from El Salvador had their Temporary Protected Status terminated challenging the termination as a constitutional violation of the children’s rights. The Westchester County Board of Legislators passed the Immigration Protection Act, which prevents Westchester County from using any of its resources to assist in federal investigations based on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity or national origin.
⚖️ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL JUSTICE The Florida Legislature approved a bill to limit opioid prescriptions and increase funding for treatment. The Food and Drug Administration took its first baby step to reduce nicotine in cigarettes to make them less addictive by announcing “advance notice of proposed rulemaking” on the issue.
🧗🏿RACIAL JUSTICE AND BREAKING BARRIERS With “Black Panther” in the top spot and “A Wrinkle In Time” at no. 2, it is the first time films by Black directors have earned those spots simultaneously, and let’s not forget that “Black Panther” has now surpassed the $1 billion mark worldwide. In its April issue, National Geographic, confronts its own history of racism and racially biased coverage of the world since it began. IHOP was forced to publicly apologized after a server in Maine demanded that a group of black teenagers pay for their meals before eating after other patrons stood up for them. Black police officers are suing Little Rock alleging age and racial discrimination. The Albany County (NY) Legislature established a Black Caucus.
👨🏿⚖️SEEKING CRIMINAL JUSTICE – The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled the Fourth Amendment protects driveways from warrantless searches. The Philadelphia DA issued a memo formally instituting sweeping changes including, no charges for marijuana possession no matter the weight, not charging sex workers unless they have more than two priors, retail theft under $500 is reduced to the lowest possible criminal charge down from a misdemeanor, suggesting probation at the lower end of the possible spectrum, and to start most plea offers at the low end of sentencing guidelines and not the high end.
🌎SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT – New York State petitioned the EPA for failing to address the movement of ozone from upwind states to downwind states and is demanding the EPA require large sources in nine states to reduce their pollution impacting New York. British Columbia, Oregon, Washington, and California met to identify opportunities to strengthen collaboration on the Pacific Coast Collaborative that included efforts to address climate change and environmental protection. The EPA settled six lead paint enforcement actions in California and Arizona for a total of $287,000. The Washington state governor signed an executive order to protect the Orcas and Chinooks. Conservation and public-health groups filed a notice of intent to sue the EPA for failing to ensure that Detroit, Indianapolis and other areas have valid plans for cleaning up sulfur dioxide air pollution. The Alabama Power Company is planning to shut down all of its coal ash facilities in order to comply with more stricker federal rules.
🌲OTHER COUNTRIES HELPING TO CARE FOR THE PLANET An experimental mechanical pollution absorbing “tree” using moss, plants, and solar energy has been installed on a street in London (UK) and is expected to deliver the pollution reducing effect of 275 conventional trees. Crowne Plaza is the first hotel network to install Tesla destination charges at all of its properties in Australia and New Zealand. Albania is banning imports of cars made before 2009 to keep the higher air polluting cars out. France agreed to commit 700 million euros to the International Solar Alliance.
👩#MeToo The list of company executives, legislators, and so many others facing investigations and consequences for sexual harassment or ignoring harassment complaints continues to receive media attention.
🗽BECAUSE MONUMENTS AND NAMES MATTER Nashville’s Mayor proposed creating a memorial green space in the heart of the city to honor slaves who lost their lives in the civil war.
🕬 GUN CONTROL ACTIVISM CONTINUES IN FULL SWING Crosses memorializing the people killed in the Florida high school shooting were hung from a billboard advertising a local gun show in Kentucky by anonymous activists. An estimated 1 million students (out of the roughly 56 million children in pre-K through 12th grade in schools) at 3,000 schools nationwide, walked out of class for 17 minutes to honor the Parkland victims and demand action. Activists left 7,000 pairs of shoes representing the children killed since the Sandy Hook shooting and thousands stood in front of Congress. The Nickelodeon channel stopped programming for 17 minutes in solidarity with students protesting school violence. After vocal opposition by Moms Demand Action, bills aimed at dismantling Virginia gun permitting system were defeated.
🏳️🌈LGBTQ PROGRESS A Maryland high school’s policy of blocking a transgender student from using the boys’ locker room was ruled a violation of state and federal law against gender discrimination by a U.S. District Court Judge. The Oregon Supreme Court handed down a three year suspension, the longest suspension in its history, to a judge who refused to marry gay couples. The Southern Legal Counsel, created FloridaNameChange.Org, a website that generates pre-filled legal documents and leads transgender individuals in Florida through the process of filing court documents to legally change their names and update government-issued documents. Lambda Legal settled a lawsuit against the Texas Department of Criminal Justice resulting in changes in policy to improve the safety of LGBTQ prisoners. A community came out in droves to stand up for a gay high school football player in Missouri to outnumber the infamous Westboro church who showed up to express their hate for him. Framingham Public Schools (MA) created a new policy that guarantees students the right to play on sports teams that align with their gender identity.
🗳️VOTING RIGHTS AND MOBILIZATION A U.S. Circuit Court reversed a lower court’s dismissal of a case challenging Georgia’s voter purge law and sent the case back for a new hearing. Indivisible Georgia registered 218 high school students in just two days. A bill requiring all Kentucky voters to present a government issued photo ID in order to vote failed to pass a House committee, good work Kentucky resistance.
👩🎓BREAKING BARRIERS Pensacola (FL) Mayor announced he will appoint Ginny Cranor as the city’s first woman fire chief. Williams College announced that Maud S. Mandel will become the college’s first female president.
💗STOPPING HATE My initial news report was that the hateful Maine GOP candidate who called Parkland survivor and activist Emma Gonzalez a “skinhead lesbian” and another one a “bald faced liar” had a last minute democratic challenger. Now I can happily report that he has ended his campaign for the State House and I don’t think it is “with his head held high” as he claims. A black man brutally beaten at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville while defending his friend from an attack, who was eventually charged with assaulting a white nationalist, has now been acquitted of the alleged assault.
🧟ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST It should be no surprise that this week saw more departures, including one, let the door hit you on the way out tweet eliminating the next contestant on Survivor White House Edition, the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Followed by the let me throw you out the door into the cold, cruel world, without letting you get your coat for John McEntee, 45’s personal assistant, because an investigation into possible financial crimes. But don’t worry they saw the inhumanity in their ways and promptly gave him a new job as a senior adviser of to the campaign.