It is heartwarming to see that as of Sunday morning the Facebook fundraiser started by a couple in California to raise money for RAICES, which provides help to immigrants, has raised over $20 million (and still growing) from over half a million people. And that is not the only fundraiser taking place. The news is abuzz with stories of so many individuals, communities, organizations, companies, politicians, and celebrities taking a strong stand against the policy of separating immigrant families that my entire roundup of inspiring actions and accomplishments could cover just that. But like every other White House created crisis that has happened, lots of folks were not fooled into distraction from the fight for many other fair, humane, and healthy causes. I will start with a reminder of some of the positive things done to help immigrants this week and move on to a shortened summer review of others;
🧕🏻STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS AN ABBREVIATED LIST;
- LOCAL OFFICIALS TOOK ACTION: The El Paso County sheriff prohibited his deputies from working off-duty at a temporary shelter housing migrant children. Atlanta Mayor blocked the city jail from accepting any new detainees from ICE.
- GOVERNORS TOOK ACTION: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New York, North Carolina, Colorado, Oregon and Virginia governors announced they will not send, or will recall those already sent, their National Guard from the border. The Gov. of NY, where more than 700 of the separated children were sent, ordered state agencies sheltering or caring for the children to release their names and those of their parents to the state.
- PEOPLE CAME TOGETHER: Round the clock protests at an ICE a regional office in Portland (OR) resulted in the agency temporarily shutting down the office. “Occupy ICE” protesters are now blocking an ICE loading dock in New York, have set up tents in front of an ICE facility in LA and are gathered outside of a detention center in Washington state. Children protested at Capital Hill, others protested at the NYC airport as children were expected to arrive and so many people protested in so many other places across the country. 600 Members of Jeff Sessions’ United Methodist Church filed a formal complaint against him, accusing him of child abuse, immorality, racial discrimination and the dissemination of doctrines contrary to the established standards of the Church.
- CONGRESS DIDN’T MAKE IT WORSE: The Senate voted down the conservative immigration bill.
- NONPROFITS ARE EXPANDING THEIR HELP: RAICES announced they will use the money raised to hire more outreach workers and attorneys, file applications for bonds, pay bonds to get people out of detention, and will launch a new “Post Relief Volunteer Project” to provide people with ongoing legal services and support once they’re released from detention.
- COMPANIES REACT: American, Frontier, United Southwest, Alaska, and Spirit Airlines publicly announced they asked the government to refrain from using them to transport immigrant children away from their parents. A top speaker booking bureau cut ties with Cory Lewandowski after his ‘womp womp’ comment about child with Down Syndrome who was separated from her mother after crossing the border.
- CREATIVITY ABOUNDS: Recording of the traumatized immigrant children crying and being made fun of by border control were blasted by protestors outside the home of the Homeland Security Secretary and at a GOP fundraiser at a Trump Hotel, and by Rep Lieu on the floor of the House. Activists turned a junk company billboard featuring a photo of a surprised child originally reading “We make junk disappear,” to read “We make kids disappear – I.C.E.”
- LAWSUITS PILE UP: Washington, Oregon, California, Maryland, New Mexico, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota announced they will be jointly suing over the new policies. Some Central American asylum seekers are suing the administration over its “zero tolerance” immigration policy, which forcibly split them apart from their children.
- SOME RESULTS: The child-abuser-in-chief reversed course on the family separation policy crisis he created after massive public outcry. About 500 of the more than 2,300 children separated from families since May have been reunited.
- RELATED Under U.S. immigration law allow people who have stayed in the U.S. illegally may be allowed to legally remain if they meet certain continuous residency requirements. The Supreme Court ruled the clock does not stop ticking on the accrual of time for those seeking relief from deportation unless their notice of hearing from DHS includes a date, time, and place, of the hearing.
- LOOKING TO THE FUTURE: Nationwide protests against immigrant families being torn apart have been planned for June 30th.
🗳️ ELECTION INFO While technically a nonpartisan election, the democratic supported candidate, Eileen Higgins won a seat on the Miami-Dade County Commission and defeated the former commissioner’s wife who resigned to run in a Republican primary. Ballotpedia.org reported that for the states whose data they have analyzed so far a total of 4 U.S. House races do not yet have a Democratic candidate and 41 U.S. House races do not yet have a Republican candidate. In big news for New York state, a court invalidated an agreement that a breakaway group of democrats, the IDC which caucused with the republicans keeping dems from having the full control that they should have, with a fundraising committee helping keep power in republican hands.
⚖️ ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL JUSTICE The Senate rejected the plan passed by the House to take back about $15 billion in spending approved by Congress earlier this year. GOP Sens. Burr (NC) and Collins (ME) joined the democrats in voting against it. A Circuit Court Judge struck down Kentucky’s new public pension law, which effectively cutback teacher pensions in a variety of ways, because it was passed so hastily and violated the constitutionally required process. United Federation of Teachers announced an agreement with New York City to provide six weeks of paid parental leave at 100 percent of salary for all city public school teachers and other UFT employees. The Delaware legislature approved a bill granting state employee 12-weeks of paid family leave and it awaits the governor’s signature. A New York court rejected new rules that would have let some charter schools certify teachers with less instruction and classroom practice than required by the state. NYC Mayor included half-priced transit cards for low-income New Yorkers in the upcoming city budget.
🌎SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT Trump Tower in Chicago is facing a possible lawsuit and public hearing on its failure to comply with EPA rules for its cooling system. Gov of Colorado ordered the state to adopt the stricter vehicle pollution rules enforced in California. The Senate blocked a measure that would have repealed the Waters of the United States rules that protect our water. A new report shows Australian homes and businesses have installed more than three million small-scale renewable energy systems.
👨🏿⚖️SEEKING RACIAL AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE A federal appeals court ruled that a woman can pursue a claim that a material witness warrant does not permit police the limitless ability to detain a witness under it. Hundreds of demonstrators shut down Interstate 376 by Pittsburgh to protest the fatal shooting by police of a 17-year-old unarmed black teen who was running from a traffic stop. Charleston City Council apologizes for role in slavery.
🌿 MARIJUANA DECRIMINALIZATION Bethlehem City Council (PA) voted to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana, making the penalty like a traffic fine. Canada became the second country in the world to legalize recreational marijuana.
📜CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS The Supreme Court ruled the government generally needs a warrant if it wants to track an individual’s location through cell phone records over an extended period of time.
👩#MeToo And WOMEN’S RIGHTS Cardinal McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington was removed from ministry after an investigation found credible allegations that he sexually abused a teenager. Fairfax County School Board (VA) approved changes to dress code that are more gender neutral, more sex education on birth control for girls, and a transgender curriculum. The Governor of NH signed the bill raising the marriage age in the state to 16.
🗽BECAUSE MONUMENTS AND NAMES MATTER Richmond (VA) school board voted to rename a school name for an Confederate General, J.E.B. Stuart Elementary, to the Barack Obama Elementary School. The Alexandria City Council (VA) voted to rename Jefferson Davis Highway to Richmond Highway. New York City launched ‘She Built NYC’, to commission public monuments and sculptures to recognize women’s history and you can make a nomination on the Women.nyc website
🕬 GUN REFORM EFFORTS CONTINUE American Outdoor Brands, which owns the Smith & Wesson, announced sales of the gun dropped by 25 percent compared to last year’s fourth quarter, and profit dropped by more than 70 percent for the same period.
🏳️🌈LGBTQ PROGRESS One of NYC’s prestigious private girls’ schools, The Brearley School, announced that they will accept application from anyone who considers themselves female, a student who no longer identifies as female after they enroll, they can continue at the school. Under Lakeview School District’s new policy (PA) students will be allowed to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. For the first time ever, Major League Baseball and the NFL will participate in the NYC Pride March. Pride parades are going on everywhere.
🤰🏽WOMEN’S RIGHT TO CHOOSE A coalition of abortion rights groups filed a lawsuit against the state of Virginia, seeking to invalidate a wide variety of restrictions imposed over the years through laws and regulations.
🕫🗳️VOTING RIGHTS The Interstate Crosscheck system, used for voter suppression efforts, was temporarily halted while the Dept. of Homeland Security conducts a security assessment following the programs accidental release of private information and was just sued by the ACLU for reckless maintenance and violation of privacy. Make the Road New York and New York Communities for Change sued the Islip (NY) for its voting system that they allege violates the Voting Rights Act by systematically preventing members of the Latino community from electing candidates of their choice to the Islip Town Board. A federal judge permanently struck down Kansas’s proof-of-citizenship voter registration law, and ordered Kris Kobach, to take additional continuing legal education classes for “repeated and flagrant violations” of federal rules. Federal court rejected a motion to dismiss a case against Missouri for voting rights violations.
💓STOPPING THE SPREAD OF HATE The superintendent of Boston Public Schools resigned following a lawsuit over alleging the district gave student information to ICE.
👩🎓BREAKING BARRIERS Denise Clayton was elected the first African American chief judge of the Kentucky Court of Appeals judges. Janet Mills won the Democratic nomination for governor of Maine following the nation’s first use of ranked-choice voting in a statewide election. Maine State Police bestowed the “Trooper of the Year” award on a woman for the first time. Knoxville Mayor appointed the first female police chief.
🙂 RUSSIA LAWSUIT/FALLOUT/ ROUNDUP A federal judge rejected Paul Manafort’s motion to dismiss a money laundering charge against and denied a request to suppress evidence seized from a storage unit by investigators for Robert Mueller. Michael Cohen stepped down as deputy finance chairman from the Republican National Committee.
RESTAURANTS IN THE AGE OF THE LIAR-IN-CHIEF A restaurant owner in Virginia asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave because she disagreed with current policies on LGBTQ rights. While the administration is busy locking up immigrant children from Mexico and Central America, White House adviser Stephen Miller was accosted while dining at a Mexican restaurant by a patron calling him a “fascist” and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was hounded out of another Mexican restaurant. Maybe they should reconsider their dining choices.
Please forgive any spelling and grammar mistakes, I am rushing to get my local pride parade. Happy Pride Month!