As you have probably already been told after this week’s Supreme Court vote, don’t despair, channel your anger into making change happen in November. What more can I say? With that attitude in mind, between now and the November election this weekly list may get shorter. Not because there are fewer actions and accomplishments by those seeking to save our democracy, but because I am using more of my time to help bring on a 2018 Blue Wave this November. Some of my new favorite ways of helping from home in spare minutes, when I am not out working with groups like Sister District is text-banking with OpenProgress.com, phone-banking with Indivisible and post card writing with PostcardsToVoters.org. So if I miss anything you think worthy of a mention, please share in the comments for others to know about. To remind you that all was not bad this week, here is the inspirational list of actions and accomplishments.
🚶🚶🏿🚶🏼ELECTION PARTICIPATION Ballotpedia compiled a ,state by state comparison of voter turnout in primary elections that is worth a peruse. It shows Democratic voters increased by 77 percent between 2014 and 2018, Republican voters increased by 25 percent between 2014 and 2018, and the total number of primary voters increased by 48 percent between 2014 and 2018. Over 800,000 people, a record number, registered to vote on National Voter Registration Day, surpassing the previous record set during the 2016 presidential campaign. Polls show that voter enthusiasm is slightly higher among voters who favor Democratic candidates and overall 61% of all registered voters say they are more enthusiastic about voting than in past congressional elections, higher than at any point during midterms in the past two decades.
💵 ELECTION FUNDRAISING The Crowdpac campaign to find the unnamed Democratic challenger to Senator Collins is now at 3.4 million dollars. Eleven Democratic House candidates have reported raising more than 2 million in the last three months, ahead of the October 15th federal reporting deadline.
🧕🏻STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS A federal judge granted a preliminary injunction blocking the administration from ending the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) that allowed immigrants from Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti and El Salvador to live and work legally in the United States. Another federal judge ruled San Francisco’s sanctuary laws comply with federal law, and attempts to deny federal funding based on them are unconstitutional. The San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium launched “The Borderlands Get Free Bond Fund” to help immigration detainees who can’t pay bond and there was an Interfaith Immigrant Prayer Vigil in Manchester.
⚖️ECONOMIC JUSTICE Starting with WAGES AND INCOME Amazon announced it is raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour for all US employees effective November 1, and it applies to full-time, part-time and temporary workers. Emory University agreed to raise wages for graduate workers to the equivalent of $15 an hour for year-round, full-time work, a 29% wage increase for many. A Chicago city worker union and the Mayor agreed to a deal to give thousands of unionized city workers raises totaling 10.5 percent over the next few years. The Westchester County Board of Legislators (NY) passed a bill requiring private employers with 5 or more employees to provide up to 5 paid sick days. Atlanta Mayor announced the city will increase police pay by 30 percent over the next three years. A new guaranteed-income initiative was announced, the Magnolia Mothers Trust, which will provide African-American mothers with an average annual income of $11,300 living in public housing in Jackson (MS) with $1,000 per month for a year, no strings attached starting in December. The Fight for 15 is spreading and workers in Detroit are striking for better wages.
Along with EDUCATION The University of Montana was fined $966,614 for reporting “inaccurate and misleading” crime statistics in violation of The Jeanne Clery Act which requires colleges and universities that receive federal funds to report crime statistics so the public can assess campus safety. CONSUMER PROTECTION A national teachers union sued Navient, a student loan servicer, for allegedly misleading borrowers in public service professions in ways that prevented them from accessing a federal loan forgiveness program. The Kentucky Supreme Court’s banned the practice of requiring prospective workers to sign agreements that would require binding arbitration instead of lawsuits should they try to leave under duress. UNIONS Marriott hotel workers went on strike for better wages and benefits. A federal appeals court ruled an Illinois suburb does not have the right to establish a right-to-work-ordinance (FYI right-to-work laws are union busting efforts if the reference is confusing to you) and that only the state can enact those laws
☮️ SOCIAL JUSTICE Including NET NEUTRALITY California Gov. signed a bill restoring net neutrality protections that the FCC struck down last year, and which prohibits internet service providers from blocking or slowing access to legal online content, demanding special fees from websites to prioritize their traffic or charging customers for special exemptions to caps on their data use. AND BEACHES The Supreme Court rejected an appeal by California billionaire’s to keep a local beach to himself challenging a state law that says beach access is a fundamental right guaranteed to everyone.
👨🏿⚖️CRIMINAL JUSTICE Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke was found guilty of second-degree murder in the 2014 shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. California Gov signed two new laws give the public access to internal police investigations and video footage of shootings by police officers and other serious incidents.
🌎SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT The Illinois Pollution Control Board refused to adopt a proposal by the governor to relax limits on pollution from the state’s coal-fired power plants. The EPA announced J.G. MacLellan Concrete Co. will pay almost $150,000 to settle alleged violations of the Clean Water Act in MA and NH. Nine nations and the EU agreed to halt commercial fishing in much of the arctic for the next 16 years. Denmark is banning the sale of new fossil-fueled cars starting in 2030.
👩#MeToo And WOMEN’S MOVEMENT The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to a Congolese doctor and an Iraqi woman who once was a captive of the Islamic State group for their work to highlight and eliminate the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war. California passed a law that makes the state the first to require corporate boards of directors to include women. In an unusual news release, the EEOC announced preliminary sexual harassment data for its 2018 fiscal year, sharing that it had filed 66 harassment lawsuits, including 41 with allegations of sexual harassment, a more than 50% increase over 2017. New charges filed with the EEOC alleging sexual harassment jumped by more than 12 percent over 2017, the first increase in at least 8 years. And the EEOC recovered nearly $70 million through litigation and other enforcement of sexual harassment issues in 2018, up from $47.5 million the year before.
BREAKING BARRIERS No matter the outcome of the election in November, the Montgomery County Board of Education (MD) will for the first time in the history be all female, since seven women are vying for four open seats on the board. The International Monetary Fund appointed Gita Gopinath its chief economist, making her the first woman appointed to the prestigious role. Frances Arnold won the Nobel Prize in chemistry, which only four other women in the world have won. Donna Strickland became the first woman in 55 years to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics and finally a Wikipedia page, which had previously been denied for lack of public recognition.
🗽BECAUSE MONUMENTS AND NAMES MATTER Atlanta Mayor signed a bill renaming three city streets with Confederate in their names. The Madison City Council (WI) supported the removal of a Confederate monument from a cemetery, overturning a decision by the Landmarks Commission.
🕬 GUN REFORM A federal court ruled that New Jersey’s ban on 15-round magazines is constitutional. Pennsylvania legislature passed a bill to require people with a domestic violence ruling against them to more quickly surrender their guns and Governor promised to sign it.
🏳️🌈LGBTQ PROGRESS New Jersey schools must accept a student’s stated gender identity, but don’t have to notify parents about the student’s gender decision under new rules from the state Dept. of Education.
🕫🗳️FAIR AND ETHICAL VOTING starts with ACCESS TO THE BALLOT BOX A federal district court ruled that Common Cause New York, represented by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, LatinoJustice, and others may proceed with its lawsuit challenging the New York state widespread voter disenfranchisement in the 2016 election. FULL DISCLOSURE OF POLITICAL INFLUENCE California also passed a new law that bans automated accounts, known as “bots”, from pretending to be real people to influence elections, without disclosing they are “bots.” AND THE 2020 CENSUS The Supreme Court declined the administration’s request to block Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross from having to give testimony in lawsuits challenging the addition of a question on citizenship to the 2020 U.S. Census, sending the issue back to a lower court.
💓STOPPING THE SPREAD OF HATE Peter Gemma resigned from the Sarasota (FL) GOP Executive committee after revelations he is linked to groups that are alleged to have racist, anti-semitic, and other extreme views. One woman stood up for others being harassed for speaking Spanish. Wikipedia banned Breitbart as a source of news. Four members of a racist and antisemitic group face federal charges of traveling to Charlottesville, Virginia, with the intent of rioting at the “Unite the Right” rally in 2017, and three were arrested. A court ruled that an American family that underwent a harrowing detention by U.S. Customs and Border Protection can sue the agency.
🙂 LAWSUIT ROUNDUP The Dept. Of Justice indicted seven Russian intelligence officers on federal charges for allegedly conducting malicious cyber operations against the United States and its allies.
In case you didn’t notice, PEOPLE ALL OVER THE COUNTRY ARE WORKING FOR THE #BlueWave2018. Here are some folks in California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Texas, Puget Sound, at movie theaters, teacher headquarters, and a democratic golf cart parades in the heart of republican country, doing their part. Over 300 Protests were held all over the country, men stood up to be arrested alongside women, people flew across country to be heard on the Supreme Court nominee.