Ireland took a big leap forward and voted to legalize abortion, democrats selected the first African-American woman nominee for governor of Georgia and the first openly gay, Latina, candidate for Texas Governor, and the court stopped He-I-Can’t-name from blocking people on Twitter. While the North Korea/South Korea talks may be on again/off again, someone has stopped threatening to blow them up with nuclear weapons. As you reflect on the meaning behind Memorial Day, let’s not forget to reflect on all the good things happened because we worked for them.
- #RepealedThe8th Ireland votes to legalize abortion in a landslide election.
- #Tweet A Federal Court ruled that twitter is a public forum and that the creepy- tweeter-in-chief cannot block people from his twitter feed or stop people from replying with differing view because it violates the First Amendment in a case brought by the Knight First Amendment Institute
- #TransRightsAreHumanRights Two different federal courts ruled in favor of transgender rights, one found that a Pennsylvania school district can allow transgender students to use the bathroom/locker room of the sex with which they identify and it was not a violation of other student’s privacy rights and another ruled that the school district who denied transgender student Gavin Grimm the right to use the bathroom of his gender identity violated his constitutional rights.
- #WeAreAllImmigrants California Governor signed a law preventing lawyers from revealing the immigration status of crime victims and witnesses in open court unless a judge rules the information relevant to the case.
🗳️Election There was another round of primary elections, this time in Georgia, Kentucky, Arkansas and Texas and a number of progressive and women came out ahead;
- Stacey Abrams won her primary to be the first democratic African-American candidate for Governor in Georgia.
- Amy McGrath, a former Marine fighter pilot, who upset Mayor Jim Gray of Lexington in a primary in a U.S. House seat in Kentucky.
- Lupe Valdez, won the primary to be democratic nominee for Governor of Texas, and is the first openly gay and Latina candidate for the governorship.
- Other LGBTQ candidates in Texas fared well with Gina Ortiz Jones, a gay Air Force veteran, won her primary in Texas for a congressional seat as did Eric Holguin.
- There is also one republican primary that is significant. A high school math teacher defeated the Kentucky state House majority leader and key player in passing the bad for teacher’s pension bill, in the GOP primary for his seat. A number of far-right Republican candidates were also defeated, including the guy running using his “deportation bus”.
🧕🏻STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS The Acting Director of the Boston Office of ICE told a federal judge that agents are no longer arresting undocumented immigrants visiting federal offices when there during the process to obtain legal status after the judge found such action was a violation of due process. A disabled Yemeni girl whose exclusion from the U.S. was one of the cases examined by Supreme Court justices while reviewing the travel ban was issued a visa and arrived in the U.S. The ACLU sued ICE for records about the agency’s use of license plate reader technology, after they failed to turn over records following multiple requests. The Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee and the Minnesota Poor People’s Campaign rallied for an end to mass deportations and other anti-immigrant policies, at the Federal Building and were arrested for blocking traffic.
⚖️ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL JUSTICE Uber announced they will begin providing free insurance to cover loss of income from illness, injury, or birth of a child to drivers in the UK and Europe. Estonia will make public transport free in the whole country after their successful 5 year implementation of free transportation in the capital of Tallinn. The Minneapolis City Council raised the age for buying tobacco to 21. A former cheerleader for the Houston Texans filed a federal lawsuit against the team alleging the cheerleaders were forced to work unpaid overtime and were verbally harassed and unnecessarily criticized about their bodies. Vermont passed a law allowing for import of prescription drugs from Canada if approval granted by U.S. Health and Human Services.
👨🏿⚖️SEEKING RACIAL AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE The Allentown Mayor signed a recently passed bill decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana. The New Hampshire legislature passed a bill providing for no-cash bail for some misdemeanors and limiting bail for others unless a judge determines they are a danger to themselves or the community, hoping the Governor signs it. A recent report shows that Maryland has seen a 9.6% drop in prison inmates in 2017.
📰FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND RELIGION The ACLU filed a lawsuit against Arkansas for re-erecting a 10 Commandments monument at the Capitol. Minnesota Gov vetoed a Republican-backed bill to increase penalties for protesters who clog up traffic. Jets Chairman said the team would support players who choose to kneel in violation of the new NFL rules and not issue any team fines. Demonstrations occurred at the NFL’s headquarters calling on them to reverse its ban on player protests during the national anthem. The ACLU demanded records related to social media surveillance of immigrants and U.S. citizens under the current administration.
🌎SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT Vineyard Wind won the right to negotiate a 20-year state contract to build an 800-megawatt wind farm south of Martha’s Vineyard, bringing the project closer to reality. The Pittsburgh City Council approved a new climate action plan with goals to cut energy and water use 50% by 2030, to turn its operations to 100% renewable energy, to adopt a 100% fossil fuel-free vehicle fleet, and divest from fossil fuel companies.
🌲OTHER COUNTRIES HELPING TO CARE FOR THE PLANET German cities are now allowed to ban older diesel cars from their roads. The UK’s biggest supermarket chain, Tesco, will ban all non-recyclable plastic by 2019. The UK will spend £21.5 million to fund an innovative new Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage technologies with Mexico and Saudi Arabia. Twenty-two large cities adopted the Tokyo Declaration, through which they committed to reducing waste and tackling air pollution by sharing technologies and knowledge.
👩#MeToo AND WOMEN’S RIGHTS The Victoria Advocate, a local Texas newspaper, filed a lawsuit arguing that the Calhoun Port Authority violated state law when it hired disgraced ex-Congressman Blake Farenthold as a lobbyist without giving notice of action and opportunity for public comment or even posting the new position. Harvey Weinstein turned himself in at a NYC police precinct on criminal rape charges and had to post one million dollars in bail. The president of the University of Southern California is resigning over public outcry at his mishandling of the sexual abuse of students by a University gynecologist. Paige Patterson was removed as president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for his comments that women should try to look more attractive and stay with abusive husbands. The Gov. of Tennessee signed a law prohibiting the marriage of minors under the age of 17. Eataly is severing ties with Mario Batali over sexual harassment. Fight for $15 and the TIMES UP Legal Defense Fund is suing McDonald’s on behalf of 10 women alleging sexual harassment who have worked at the fast food restaurant in nine cities.
🗽BECAUSE MONUMENTS AND NAMES MATTER Oberlin College is renaming its main library for civil rights activist and women’s suffragist, Mary Church Terrell, who graduated from the college in 1884.
🕬 GUN REFORM AND ACTIVISM CONTINUES IN FULL SWING Everytown for Gun Safety took out full-page ad in a Houston Newspaper with a letter signed by 40 students asking for change. Missouri and Louisiana Moms Demand Action helped defeat NRA bills with 1,500+ calls, thousands of emails, and turning out by the hundreds in the capital. Texas Gov. canceled plans for his reelection campaign to give away a shotgun days. Die-in and public and social media protests by #NeverAgain Parkland student group led to Publix announcing it was suspending political donations and re-evaluating its giving process after it was made public they made large contributions to NRA supported candidates. Rhode Island passed two gun reform bills to allow for the court-ordered seizure of firearms from individuals deemed dangerous and a ban on modifications to guns, allowing them to shoot off bullets at a higher rate, will the governor sign?
🏳️🌈LGBTQ PROGRESS “God Made you That Way and Loves You This Way” Pope Francis says to a gay man. The Michigan Civil Rights Commission ruled that existing protections against sex discrimination applies to sexual orientation and gender identity. will the Department of Civil Rights will begin investigating these types of claims The ACLU of Oregon reached a settlement on behalf of current and former North Bend High School students which removes the Principal from his job, requires the school district develop new policies and training, and remain under Oregon Dept. of Education supervision for five years. Idaho approved a $75,000 payment to the attorneys who successfully represented two transgender women born in Idaho who sued to overturn the state’s law forbidding any changes to the gender listed on a person’s birth certificate. A Canadian judge in Saskatchewan found portions of The Vital Statistics Act were which does not allow for the removal of gender markers from a birth certificate a violation of human rights. Albany (NY) banned “gay conversion” therapy. Southern Legal Counsel continues to provide help for transgender community.
🕫🗳️VOTING MOBILIZATION AND VOTING FAIRNESS The ACLU and others filed a federal lawsuit to strike down Ohio’s Republican gerrymandered congressional district map by the 2020 election. Florida voters sued the state alleging that the Florida Ballot Ordering Law, listing Republican Candidates First on Ballot, Violates the U.S. Constitution because of proven positional bias that creates towards republicans and for making it more difficult for young people to vote by preventing early voting at public buildings on state university campuses. The ACLU is suing to get a democratic candidate back on the ballot after being kicked off because Georgia says she wasn’t a citizen of Georgia until she became a citizen of the U.S. and disallowed those non-U.S. qualifying years for candidacy. A federal judge ruled that a class action brought on detainees held in an Indiana jail pre-trial and not yet convicted of any crimes were prevented from voting by Allen County Sheriff can proceed. A federal appeals court held that a Montana state law to increase campaign reporting and disclosure is constitutional. Twitter and Ballotpedia partnered on a new feature where Twitter will identify general election candidates for gubernatorial and Congressional races with special icons and the district and location of their office.
🌐NET NEUTRALITY AND INTERNET PRIVACY While the U.S. may not have done much on internet data privacy, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation went into effect, forcing companies to give full disclosure about what they do with the data they collect and offer users more control over their information, among other things, and some companies are applying the new rules to all users and not just EU one.
💓STOPPING THE SPREAD OF HATE Robert De Niro has banned the liar-in-chief from his empire of Nobu restaurants. Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in California refused to serve a white man who verbally attacked a Muslim woman in the shop. A diverse community came out in droves to barbecue in a park where a racist called police to complain about a family “barbecuing while black.”
👩🎓BREAKING BARRIERS Fremont (CA) appointed the first female and openly gay police chief. The Newark Episcopal Diocese elected the first African American, and the first woman, bishop. The first-ever female CEO of Revlon was chosen. The American College of Radiology elected its first ever woman chair of the board. Danica Patrick will serve as the first woman host for this year’s ESPYs. United Continental Holdings has selected its first woman to chair the company’s board of directors. Defying industry norms, Maya Cinemas opened its 5th movie theater in a Hispanic neighborhood, continuing to fill movie theater deserts in latinx communities. Breaking a big financial services glass ceiling is Stacey Cunningham, who became the first woman to head the 226-year-old New York Stock Market
🙂FOR YOUR INFORMATION Michael Cohen’s one-time business partner, Evgeny Freidman entered into a plea deal with state prosecutors on criminal tax fraud violations and it is reported that he is cooperating with the government.
🧟ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST Only one loss this week, the director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons resigned reportedly after clashes with WH.