We have James Shaw to prove that a good guy doesn’t need a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun; Teachers showing us that threats of firing and jailing can’t stop them from standing up for the rights of students to have a quality education and educators a living wage; Moms Demand Action groups going to NRA, A+ rated Republican held state houses demanding and getting gun reform passed; and Democratic candidates giving republicans a run for their money and winning seats all over the country. Yes, there are heroes. Who were your heroes this week?
This week’s HIGHLIGHTS of the inspiring news are;
- #BlackLivesMatter The National Memorial for Peace and Justice commemorating 4,400 black people who were slain in lynchings and other racial killings between 1877 and 1950 opened in Alabama.
- #MuellerTime The Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation to protect special counsel Robert Mueller thanks to four Republicans voting for the bill.
- #BlueWave2018 Democrats in New York held on to two State Senate seats and flipped a State house seat that had been held by republicans for more than thirty years, making it the 40th legislative flip since the inauguration.
- #DreamActNow A third federal judge ordered the administration to continue DACA renewals, and is the first judge to also ordered the administration to accept new applications as well.
- #ClimateChangeIsReal A federal appeals court ruled the administration cannot delay a regulation that increased automakers’ fines for cars that violate fuel efficiency standards.
- #JamesShawIsMyHero Not only did James Shaw, an unarmed black man single-highhandedly stop a white man with an assault rifle from killing more black people, but he also helped raised over $165,000 for the victims and their families.
🧕🏻STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS took place in New Mexico, New York, and Connecticut. Albuquerque’s Mayor signed the legislation that prevents immigration officers from using city facilities to detain or question people about their immigration status and prevents city officials from investigating a person’s immigration status. Connecticut passed a law allowing undocumented students without legal status to be eligible for institutional financial aid at state-run colleges. New York’s Gov. sent a cease-and-desist letter to ICE saying their actions in the state are “reckless and unconstitutional enforcement actions.” The ACLU launched a celebrity-filled campaign to help immigrants know their rights in interactions with federal agents, which feature the phone number for rapid response teams to flag immigration raids and help immigrants get legal representation.
Immigrants and their supporters organized a two-day “emancipation march” to the Minnesota State Capitol, protested outside a Dept. of Homeland Security office in Grand Rapids, and when ICE showed up at Staten Island Criminal Court to detain a defendant suspected of entering the country illegally lawyers there staged a protest outside the courthouse.
⚖️ECONOMIC JUSTICE is being fought for by Hundreds of teaching and research assistants at Columbia University who went on strike over the schools refusal to negotiate a contract. The #RedForEd movement in Arizona continued into the second day of state-wide walk out of teachers, with 50,000 protesters at the Arizona Capitol demanding increased education funding and promising to be back next week. Colorado teachers also took to the state house in their quest for better education money/pay. The Western Springs Village Board (IL) reversed its decision and will now opt-in to county regulations raising the minimum wage and requiring paid sick leave to private sector employees. FEMA extended the hotel stays of 1,700 families who evacuated Puerto Rico and relocated to mainland U.S. states after Hurricane Maria that were due to end.
👨🏿⚖️CRIMINAL JUSTICE reform was led by New York City this week when they began providing free daily buses for those seeking to visit an inmate at the city’s main jail, which had been difficult and time-consuming for most, in an effort to help inmates stay connected to family and reduce recidivism. NYC also announced the creation of a new bail payment system to reduce jail time by allowing bail to be posted online, by phone or by kiosk rather than the current costly and time-consuming trip to a correctional facility. Activists protested in Chicago for bail reform in response to a lawsuit against the Cook County Sheriff for holding a detainee for 60 hours after bail was posted. Roanoke Jail Solidarity is holding a benefit concert at Dumas Center to raise money to bail out mothers for Mother’s day. The ACLU filed a lawsuit against Joplin (MO) alleging the city’s new panhandling ban is unconstitutional. Corinth (MO) is seeking court approval of their settlement with the Southern Poverty Law Center, in which they agree to guarantee arrested individuals see a judge within 48 hours, to release most people without requiring bail, determine if people accused of violent offenses can afford bail, and offer installment plans or perform community service for those who can’t afford fines, instead of jail time.
🌎SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT Michael Bloomberg announced he will pay the $4.5 million to cover this year’s US commitment to the Paris climate agreement. New York City owned buildings will have to be completely powered by green energy by 2050 under a bill passed by the City Council. A Georgia County Superior Court Judge ordered the state Environmental Protection Division not to allow construction of a parking lot on top of a stream. Maryland ordered a hydropower facility to reduce nutrient pollution passing through the dam or pay $172 million a year for someone else to do it.
🌲OTHER COUNTRIES HELPING TO CARE FOR THE PLANET The European Union is banning the world’s most widely used insecticides from all fields due to the serious danger they pose to bees. More than 40 companies, including Britain’s biggest supermarkets, Coca Cola, Nestle and Procter & Gamble promised to eliminate unnecessary single-use plastic packaging in the UK by 2025. Sweden unveiled a new road that charges electric cars while they drive. The world’s first passive plastic collection device is going to be deployed in the Pacific Ocean in an attempt to address the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Even small steps help, Grand Designs Live Expo in London will not sell plastic bottles or straws and will use biodegradable cutlery.
👩#MeToo Bill Cosby was found guilty of sexual assault against Andrea Constand, one of the many brave women who came forward to hold him accountable for his actions. The ACLU sued Chicago on behalf of a mother who was told to use the men’s restroom when she needed to use a breast pump while reporting for jury duty. Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA) announced he is resigning from Congress effective immediately rather than serve out the remainder of his last term and that he would reimburse the govt for the $39,000 that was paid to a former staffer he sexually harassed. The U.S. EEOC recommended the Michigan Dept. of Corrections improve its sexual harassment training after determining the state department violated a female employee’s civil rights.
🗽BECAUSE MONUMENTS AND NAMES MATTER to those that see them so check out two new murals one in Santa Cruz, “Unify, Decolonize, Thrive” mural and “Justice is Blind” mural now unveiled at the Jefferson County Courthouse in Alabama to reflect diversity and to balance two racist murals that it joins. A statue of the “Oh! Susanna” songwriter with a slave sitting at his feet was removed from a Pittsburgh park.The Austin City Council voted to take the names of Confederate leaders off two roads and rename them after Azie Taylor Morton, the first African-American U.S. treasurer, and William Holland, an African-American Texas state legislator. Boston is renaming Yawkey Way by Fenway Park because it is named for the Red Sox owner who resisted integration of the league. Millicent Fawcett’s statue was finally unveiled in London’s Parliament Square.
🕬 GUN CONTROL AND ACTIVISM CONTINUES IN FULL SWING The Delaware legislature unanimously passed a “red flag” gun control bill allowing police to temporarily seize firearms from someone deemed a danger to themselves or others by mental health professionals and is awaiting the governor’s signature. Hawaii passed legislation banning bump stocks and the Governor announced he supports it. While expected, it is nice to see it official that the Maryland Gov. signed the recently passed three new gun regulations into law. Kansas governor signs law limiting abusers access to guns. More than half a dozen governors announced plans to launch an multi-state consortium to study gun violence as a public health issue. Google, Microsoft, Facebook and other tech giants are ditching their handgun emoji and using a water gun in its place.
🏳️🌈LGBTQ PROGRESS Hoboken (NJ) ordered all city-owned, single-occupancy restrooms to be gender neutral. A republican candidate for a Texas School Board who claimed that public school preschool programs would make children gay was defeated.
🤰🏽WOMEN’S RIGHT TO CHOOSE A third federal judge has now blocked the administration’s early end of grants for some organizations participating in a federal teen pregnancy prevention program.
🕫🗳️VOTING MOBILIZATION AND VOTING RIGHTS A Texas judge dismissed a lawsuit by the GOP to remove more than 80 Democrats from the November general election ballot. Arizona Democrats blocked Republican concocted plans to keep McCain’s seat in republican hands for two years without an election. A federal judge ruled that Marion County Indiana must establish at least two early voting locations ahead of the November midterm elections in a case brought by Common Cause and the NAACP alleging unequal ballot access. A Colorado court blocked incumbent Rep. Doug Lamborn’s (R) from the ballot for signature collection irregularities.
💓STOPPING THE SPREAD OF HATE Syracuse University has permanently expelled a fraternity over a video that was “racist, homophobic, ableist, sexist and anti-semitic. About 60 out of the 200 or so Olympians are choosing not to attend the White House reception in their honor this year. The University of Virginia has banned Jason Kessler, the organizer behind the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, from all university property. NYC bars are a tough place to be for haters… a judge dismissed a lawsuit against one New York City bar for discrimination by a man who was thrown out for wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat saying the law doesn’t protect against political discrimination and “supporting Trump is not religion;” and the infamous hater, Milo Yiannopoulos was run out of another bar, with chants of “Nazi scum get out!” Richard Spencer has ended his cancelled his campus tours and dropped his lawsuit against the University of Cincinnati.
👩🎓BREAKING BARRIERS Paramount announced that S.J. Clarkson will be the first woman to direct a “Star Trek” film, Star Trek 4. This self-admitted Trekkie could not be happier. More female firsts include newly elected leader of Germany’s centre-left Social Democrats party, general secretary of the top U.S. board of the Assemblies of God, the director of the Nebraska Law Enforcement Training Center, head of the USC medical school, head of Montana’s Forestry Division, and the Superintendent of the Smithville School District (TX). Two female South African environment activists who helped stop a secret $76 billion dollar nuclear power deal with Russia won the prestigious 2018 Goldman Environmental Prize.
🙂FOR YOUR INFORMATION Michael Cohen asserted his Fifth Amendment rights in the lawsuit against him by Stormy Daniels and the judge placed the case on hold finding that he was likely to face a criminal indictment as a result of the raid. A federal judge tossed out Paul Manafort’s lawsuit challenging the scope of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
🧟ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST The director of the Interior Department’s Bureau of Indian Affairs resigned after only six months on the job. Ronny Jackson withdrew as the nominee to lead the Department of Veterans affairs. Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) seat is now vacant. Two NY State Senate Republicans announced they are not running for reelection, giving democrats a chance to really control the State Senate.