There are a lot more mothers home today to celebrate Mother’s Day with their children thanks to national activism to bail out moms and that is something to rejoice in. Along with lots of happy and free mothers it was not hard to find the good this week. A surprising number of states, both conservative and progressive stepped up to protect and help their people and the land that sustains them; Even a few members of Congress, whom you may not have expected, attempted to help immigrants. Not to mention those fine people in West Virginia decided not to put a convicted criminal on the Republican ballot at the same time a lot of voters selected a number of women, people of color, and other underrepresented groups in primaries and local elections. Now moving on to the highlights;
- #FairDistricts Ohio voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot initiative to reform the state’s redistricting process, creating a mandate for bipartisanship in the mapping process and to prevent gerrymandering.
- #NoChildBrides Delaware became the first U.S. state to completely ban child marriage when the governor signed a bill setting 18 as the minimum age for marriage.
- #RedForEd Colorado’s first teachers’ strike in 24 years ended after five days with the Pueblo teachers winning a long-sought 2 percent pay hike.
- #BailReform Georgia Gov. signed criminal justice legislation that reforms misdemeanor bail practices, including increased flexibility and transparency, provides judges with more opportunities to utilize community service and educational advancement as alternatives to fines or as part of probation, and signed a bill legalizing the use of medical marijuana for some conditions.
- #ClimateChangeIsReal California became the first state to mandate home solar power use when the California Energy Commission passed rules requiring that most homes built after 2020 have solar panels.
- #B99 The ground-breaking comedy show Brooklyn Nine Nine, whose main cast/ characters includes, two strong Latina actors, two commanding non-stereotyped African-American men, and one gay and one bisexual character, that addresses issues of discrimination in its own unique way was picked up by NBC after social media outcry when it was cancelled by Fox. Why is a TV show a highlight you ask? Well for one, it is a favorite show of mine, and second, TV serves as a great commentary on society and this tackled important ones in a special way.
SOME POSITIVE ELECTION RESULTS FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY
- Twenty-two democratic women candidates won their primary races in Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio and West Virginia, including three black women candidates in North Carolina. Avery Crump was the first woman elected Guilford County (NC) District Attorney. Lori Barnett Dodson was elected Garland (TX) first female mayor in 30 years.
- A high heel wearing, gay, Latino, veteran, was elected mayor of Del Rio, a small Texas border town. 10 LGBTQ Ohioans won primary elections, as did LGBTQ allies Richard Cordray and Betty Sutton.
- Jose Matthews is the first Latino elected to the Red Clay Consolidated School Board (DE). Two African Americans were elected as Sheriff and District Attorney in Mecklenburg Police Department for the first time. Euless (TX) elected the first minority ever to the Euless City Council, Salman Bhojani, a Muslim and a Pakistani immigrant. Andre Sayegh, was elected the first Arab-American mayor of Paterson.
- Satana Deberry won the Democratic primary against the incumbent for Durham County District Attorney (NC), on a platform of significant and rapid criminal -justice reform, and is running unopposed in November.
- We may see even more women win in the future now that the Federal Election Commission has approved a request by a female candidate to use campaign funds for childcare.
🧕🏻STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights announced its “Renew and Secure It” campaign to offer DACA applicants free legal consultations, renewal processing services and payment of the renewal fee. Germany has restored rules to allow asylum-seekers to apply for relatives to join them, after suspending the rule two years ago. The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice amended their pending federal lawsuit against the termination of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to include the Hondurans, the most recent group of immigrants to have this status cancelled. Three moderate, pro-DACA, republicans made a procedural move intended to force a vote on immigration reform in the House. The ACLU sued the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, for failing to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request for records of raids, arrests and detentions.
⚖️ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL JUSTICE PROTECTING AND HELPING STUDENTS AND TEACHERS The Massachusetts high court says colleges have a duty to try to prevent a student’s suicide in certain circumstances. Maryland Gov. signed a bill to provide low- and middle-income students free community college tuition. A growing number of North Carolina school districts are closing on May 16th because they expect most of their teachers to be out at a statewide rally for better pay and working conditions. ADDRESSING THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC Walmart pharmacies will limit the supply of first-time opioid prescriptions for acute pain to seven days. PAYING A FAIR WAGE Washington Supreme Court ruled that agricultural employers must pay piece-rate workers separately with an hourly wage for time spent not directly picking or pruning. STOPPING DISCRIMINATION Fair housing advocates sued the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development for postponing a rule designed to prevent segregation and compliance with the Fair Housing Act. The U.S. EEOC sued Aviation Port Services for religious discrimination and retaliation after it allegedly fired six female Muslim employees, who sought to wear long skirts at work.
👨🏿⚖️SEEKING RACIAL AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE BY TACKLING BAIL INEQUITIES Google and Facebook announced they are banning ads for bail bonds on all of its platforms due to ethical concerns about the predatory nature of the industry and particularly its effect on those living in poverty and communities of color. HOLDING POLICE OFFICERS ACCOUNTABLE A jury found two California police officers liable for damages in the shooting death of a black man in 2015. HELPING PRISONERS Federal officials reversed a policy that made it harder and more expensive for federal inmates to receive books by banning direct delivery through the mail from publishers, bookstores and book clubs and requiring inmates to order books only through a prison-approved vendor and pay an extra 30 percent markup. A U.S. District Judge finalized a settlement that requires Texas to install air conditioning at the Wallace Pack prison, where temperatures inside can reach 100. As part of National Black Mamas Bail Out Day, big and small organizations across the country, like those in Bexar County, GildaPapoose Collective, BYP100 DC, and Progressive Maryland in Maryland, and Southerners On New Ground in Nashville, to name just a few, bailed mother’s out of jail in time for Mother’s Day. IDENTIFYING BIAS Connecticut Gov. announced Connecticut will be the first state to participate in a national database aimed at identifying racial bias in policing.
🌎SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT MPLX, a pipeline company, agreed to pay a fine and to upgrade emissions equipment at 300 facilities in Ohio and Pennsylvania as part of a settlement of a case against them for operating without a license by the EPA and the state of PA. 🌲OTHER COUNTRIES HELPING TO CARE FOR THE PLANET The Welsh Government agreed to work with the environmental group City to Sea to develop the Refill campaign to make drinking water more available and implement a behavioral change campaign to encourage people to use tap water. The Norwegian Parliament announced it was making the fjords zero emission zones.
👩#MeToo Another serial abused taken down by brave women who had the courage to speak out publicly. NY Attorney General Schneiderman, an outspoken opponent of the-hush-money-payer-in-chief and ironically a supporter of the #MeToo movement, resigned in disgrace after being accused of abusing women, and has been replaced by a very intelligent, experienced, and very competent woman, Barbara Underwood. Attorneys in California can now face disciplinary action for having consensual sex with their clients under a new ethics rule approved by the state Supreme Court. The Kansas governor signed a bill banning police officers from having sex during traffic stops. Crooks, who alleged the leech-in-chief sexually assaulted her, won her Democratic primary in Ohio
🗽BECAUSE MONUMENTS AND NAMES MATTER Protesters rallied to remove a confederate monument outside the DeKalb County courthouse in Georgia. Lakeland City Commissioners (FL) decided to move a Confederate monument from the center of Munn Park to Lakeland Veterans Memorial Park. Colorado University will ceremonially present a diploma to the first African-American woman who graduated in 1918 but was denied the opportunity to publicly receive her diploma.
🕬 GUN REFORM AND ACTIVISM CONTINUES as the Connecticut Gov. announced he plans to sign the bill that just passed the legislature that bans bump stocks and other gun enhancements that increase the rate of fire for semiautomatic weapons. Lloyd’s of London is terminating all insurance made available through the NRA. The Dallas restaurant that received much media attention after a run-in with the NRA during their convention for a pro-gun reform message they put on receipts, not only saw huge lines, but is now making a sizable donation to a group dedicated to reducing gun violence. In Florida, Orange County Commissioners passed a new ordinance that goes against state law and makes it more difficult to buy a gun by creating a 3-day waiting period and background checks for gun purchases.
🏳️🌈LGBTQ PROGRESS Kelly Holstine, is the first gay teacher named Minnesota Teacher of the Year. Enrique Sánchez, the first openly gay man elected to Costa Rica’s Legislative Assembly was sworn in. The first legal trans-couple were wed in India. The New Hampshire Gov. is expected to sign a bill that bans discrimination based on gender identity. Pakistan’s parliament passed legislation that gives its transgender population fundamental civil rights for the first time. The Texas teacher who was suspended after speaking about her sexual orientation to her students has sued the school district for discrimination. Ontario has issued the first non-binary birth certificate in the Canadian province.
🗳️VOTING RIGHTS Dallas County Republican Party will have to pay more than $51,000 to Dallas County Democrats for attorney fees incurred in defending the GOP’s attempt to remove dozens of Democrats from election ballots.
💓STOPPING THE SPREAD OF HATE Tennessee State University announced it has established a scholarship named for its alumni James Shaw Jr. The University of Florida has placed the faculty member who pushed mostly African American graduates off stage during a commencement ceremony has been placed on administrative leave while they investigate. Spotify removed R. Kelly from its playlists under the terms of a new public hate content and hateful conduct policy.
PERSONAL FREEDOMS A federal court refused to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the U.S. government’s practice of conducting warrantless digital device searches at borders and airports.
👩🎓BREAKING BARRIERS The Citadel in South Carolina has named its first ever woman regimental commander. Tuskegee University has named its first woman president. Becky Hammon is the first woman to even be interviewed for an NBA head coaching job. Now that Terry Clements was sworn in this week after a recent special election, the Westchester County Board of Legislators has its first female majority in history, and a record high of five African-American representatives. The documentary about Ruth Bader Ginsburg grossed an impressive $560,000 in its initial limited release.
🙂FOR YOUR INFORMATION While Rudy Giuliani continues to spew lies, contradictions, and crazy legal theories on news shows, he will not remain at his law firm, as they have parted ways, so he can focus on the bully-in-chief, but only days later he was seen representing a woman in a Florida criminal case. Meghan Markle will break with longstanding U.K. tradition by having her mother travel with her in the carriage to her wedding, so she is included in the wedding ceremony. The convicted coal baron lost his bid to be the Republican candidate in West Virginia.
🧟ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST Only one loss this week, and it was Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer from the National Security Council and the top White House official responsible for leading the U.S. response in the event of a deadly pandemic, who resigned.