This week there was a lot of orange for Gun Violence Awareness Day and nationwide protests against the separating of immigrant children from their parents to bring activists together yet again. It is heartwarming to see that so many are still taking to the streets to fight for what is right. We may not know if the North Korean summit is on again or off again, but we do know that a lot of other good happened this week. The highlights are;
- #ConstitutionRules The Supreme Court limited the scope of police searches, ruling that officers must have a warrant to go through a vehicle parked at a home or on its surrounding property.
- #NeverAgain Rhode Island Gov. signed into law a pair of bills banning bump stocks and allowing law enforcement to temporarily confiscate guns from people determined to pose a threat to themselves or others.
- #HumanRightsForAll Connecticut instituted a new policy to legally allow transgender individuals to be housed in prisons that align with their gender identity, the first state to do so.
- #MyBodyMyChoice Federal Judges for cases in Iowa and Kentucky have temporarily blocked restrictive abortion laws from taking effect in those states.
- #LoveTrumpsHate ABC cancels the show “Roseanne” saying Roseanne Barr’s statement on twitter is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with their values. While the Ambien maker clarified that racism is not a side effect of the medication that Roseanne blamed for her tweet.
- #WomanPower The island of Barbados elected its first-ever woman prime minister.
🧕🏻STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS ACCOMPLISHMENTS Homeland Security authorized a portion of the $1.7 billion in grants to “sanctuary cities” that do not enforce federal immigration laws, as required by the court order that prevents the federal government from withholding funding. ACTIONS FOR CHANGE Protesters gathered in more than two dozen cities across the country to condemn the administration’s practice of separating all immigrant parents and children at the Southern border. A coalition of rights groups submitted a complaint to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights asking it to stop the human rights crisis perpetrated by the U.S. by separating families at the border. A group of 21 immigrant rights advocacy organizations initiated the 5th lawsuit challenging the administration’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
⚖️ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL JUSTICE ACCOMPLISHMENTS New Jersey Gov. signed into law a bill requiring residents carry health insurance or pay a penalty. Duluth, Minnesota passed a law requiring private employers to provide employees with paid sick leave. Connecticut Governor signed a law aimed at eliminating gender pay discrimination by prohibiting employers from asking about salary history. The Virginia legislature approved a bill to expand Medicaid for low-income adults under the Affordable Care Act, and now it awaits the Governor’s signature, which is expected to happen. A federal Judge ruled that the U.S. Dept. of Ed change to a new “tiered relief.” instead of full relief, for students defrauded by for-profit colleges, was a violation of federal rules. EAH Housing announced a multi-million in-kind donation of solar power from Everyday Energy for production to 16 affordable housing properties.
TAKING ACTION FOR CHANGE The largest union representing federal workers sued the administration to block a new executive order that restricts the time employees may spend on union activity. A California union is suing Facebook and other companies alleging using a Facebook ad algorithm to selectively show job ads to people in specific age categories, gender, and race constitutes employment discrimination. Five former NFL cheerleaders sued the Houston Texans for alleged harassment and unfair pay practices. The ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice filed a lawsuit against North Carolina on behalf of residents whose driver’s licenses were revoked because of unpaid traffic fines arguing they are criminalizing poverty and are unlawfully taking away a life necessity.
👨🏿⚖️SEEKING RACIAL AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACCOMPLISHMENTS Florida judge ruled the state’s ban on smokable medical marijuana is unconstitutional, saying residents “have the right to use the form of medical marijuana for treatment of their debilitating medical conditions as recommended by their certified physicians.” Federal prosecutors were forced to drop their cases against seven people charged with rioting during the inauguration after a D.C. judge determined the government intentionally misrepresented information and withheld evidence from the defense. NOVEL ACTION The First Congregational Church of Oakland issued a declaration that “We can no longer tolerate the trauma inflicted on our communities by policing,” and said the church and many of its white members promise to never call the cops again unless it is a matter of life and death. Thoughts on this approach?
🌎SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT Lowes announced they will stop carrying products with methylene chloride and NMP, toxic chemicals known to cause cancer. Michigan state regulators released a report that showing that the state’s worst air polluter of toxic sulfur dioxide, Consumer Energy’s J.H. Campbell coal power plant, reduced sulfur dioxide emissions nearly 62 percent from 2016 to 2017. World Health Organization, United Nations Environment Program, and WMO launched a new climate change coalition. Two separate lawsuits, one filed by attorneys general in the states of California, Maryland, and New York, and another by Earthjustice and Farmworker Justice seek to stop the EPA’s decision to delay the implementation of training requirements designed to protect farmworkers. The EPA’s Science Advisory Board agreed to review a controversial proposal from Pruitt that would block the agency from using scientific studies that do not make public the raw data used in research. The European Commission proposed banning single-use plastic products such as cotton buds and plastic straws and putting the burden of cleaning up waste on manufacturers.
👩#MeToo AND WOMEN’S RIGHTS The Illinois legislature voted to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, albeit decades after Congress’s deadline to ratify the measure.
🏳️🌈LGBTQ PROGRESS The Tennessee Court of Appeals dismissed a lawsuit brought by the Family Action Council that attempted to limit same-sex marriage in Tennessee. The NJ legislature sent three transgender rights bills to the Governor that would make it easier for residents to change the gender on their birth certificates, requiring death certificates reflect the decedent’s gender identity, and establish a Transgender Equality Task Force. Major League Baseball and the NFL will participate in this year’s New York City Pride March for the first time ever. Hawaii’s Governor signed into law a ban on “gay conversion therapy.” California banned state-funded and state-sponsored travel to Oklahoma in response to the state’s anti-LGBTQ adoption bill.
🤰🏽WOMEN’S RIGHT TO CHOOSE Another federal judge blocked the administration from prematurely cutting off funding from the Dept. Health and Human Services for science-based programs aimed at reducing teen pregnancy in Washington State. A coalition of 16 attorneys general filed an amicus brief opposing the administration’s decision to roll back the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that employers include birth control coverage in their health plans.
🕫🗳️FAIR AND FREE ELECTIONS A federal judge denied a request for a preliminary injunction barring the use of ranked-choice voting in the Maine Republican Party’s primaries. The Maryland Gov signed a bill requiring social media platforms and websites with significant traffic to track all political ads and record which users are being targeted and allow officials to access that data to detect foreign interference or track bad actors. The ACLU filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a change in Nebraska election law that has virtually blocked independent petition candidates from gaining access to the statewide ballot. The League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa and an Iowa State University student sued Iowa over a new voter ID law. Parkland students and HeadCount organized voter registration drive started with more than 1,000 schools in 46 states participating.
💓STOPPING THE SPREAD OF HATE, FEAR, AND LIES Starbucks closed all their stores for an afternoon of racial sensitivity training. Pharmacy chain CVS Health said it will no longer donate to the pro-Trump nonprofit America First Policies. DSW said it has dropped the Ivanka Trump fashion line. Rudy Giuliani was soundly booed by Yankee Fans when celebrating his birthday at a Yankee game. The Alabama State Board of Education cleared the records of Alabama State college students who were expelled and faculty members who were fired for their civil rights activities in 1960.
👩🎓BREAKING BARRIERS Khadijah Al-Aminwere was sworn in as a City Council member, she is the first Muslim woman to ever win elected office in Chester County. In the recent elections in Georgia, a Bangladeshi immigrant defeated the 14-year incumbent in the democratic primary for a state House seat and he has no republican challenger and Gwinnett county elected their first African-American judge. The West Virginia state House of Delegates elected its first female sergeant at arms. James Snyder was installed as the first openly gay President of the Illinois Judges Association. The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce named Maria Salinas as its new chief executive, the first Latino and first woman to lead the organization. The Mets hired its first woman to be one of their two new public address announcers for Citi Field.
🧟ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST Rep.Thomas Garrett (R-Va.) announced he will not run for reelection. Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R) resigned amid a sexual assault – harassment- blackmail allegation and other charges.
Next week’s post will be a short top ten list due to summer vacation scheduling, but will return in full the week after.