Congress is issuing more subpoenas and holding more hearings. We had great decisions protecting immigrants, those in need of mental health services, blocking immigration questions on the census, and more. We even saw progress on gun control. It also feels like almost everyday now that acts of racial, ethnic, gender, religious, and LGBT discrimination are receiving media and congressional coverage with demands for accountability, change, and protections. Thank you for all you do as we continue on this long road to change and please don’t loose hope. This week’s list of the good includes;
- #StandWithImmigrants Immigrants can now appeal U.S. immigration asylum decisions, those from the South Sudan with TPC can stay, lawyers are suing to get the same protection for Liberians, thousands more children are added to the ACLU suit against family separation, Illinois, Westchester and Milwaukee are making immigrants feel more welcome with rally, translation services, and stopping I.C.E cooperation.
- #FightForFifteen United Behavioral Health must now actually pay for the behavioral health services they are required to provide, New Hampshire may have to pay for medical marijuana, Virginia is protecting kids from tobacco and nicotine at school and Maryland is trying to help opioid users, and Philadelphia is standing up for the un-banked.
- #RedForEd West Virginia is on the verge of making community college free, Kentucky teachers walked out again for schools, and one Olympic medalist brought swim lessons to low-income students.
- #CivilRightsForAll Supreme court says no at the moment for government funding to preserve churches, the NSA will stop some of their spying on Americans, Utah joins the 21st century and decides it is not illegal to have sex outside of marriage, and LA will treat the homeless with a little more dignity.
- #CareNotPrisons One bank is getting out of the business of private prisons, North Dakota is improving sentencing laws, officers are indicted and convicted for wrongful behavior, and students stand-up against police violence.
- #GreenNewDeal Some protections against pesticides actually became law as did plastic bans in some Vermont towns, a Trump golf course found to have broken the law, one legislature got creative, and New Mexico is standing up for clean water against the military, and Finland and the Netherlands are doing their part to help stop climate change.
- #MeToo U.S. women soccer players and Adidas are making a stand for equality, 21 states are trying to save Planned Parenthood and birth control, women may join men as part of the draft, Chef Mario Batali and one restaurant learned 80,000 and more reasons for not allowing and subjecting women to sexual harassment, gender pay reports are returning, and one exposed breast may no longer lead to criminal charges.
- #NeverAgain New Mexico and Illinois took steps forward on gun control and one woman stopped Arkansas from taking a step back.
AND MORE SO READ ON
🧕 STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS
- A federal appeals court ruled that immigrants who cross the border without authorization may appeal a decision by U.S. immigration authorities to deny them asylum in court, a decision which could mean they can stay in the U.S. while their appeals are pending. This decision could have widespread positive implications if upheld.
- A federal judge ruled that thousands more migrant families who were separated at the southern border under the “zero tolerance” policy should be added to an existing class-action lawsuit.
- The Temporary Protected Status holders from South Sudan were granted an 18-month extension.
- The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and Lawyers for Civil Rights sued the administration on behalf of Liberian immigrants over the decision to end a humanitarian program that allows them to live and work in the U.S.
- The Milwaukee County Sheriff’s office announced that they would stop providing information to I.C.E. about individuals detained in its jail.
- A coalition of more than 100 organizations kicked off their pro-immigrant “Welcoming Illinois” campaign with a rally at the state house.
- Westchester County will translate all vital county programs and services information into several languages under an executive order signed by the county executive.
- A federal judge blasted United Behavioral Health for focusing on the “bottom line as much or more” than patients’ health, saying the insurer illegally denied treatment to thousands of people.
- Virginia Governor signed a bill requiring all local school boards to develop and implements a comprehensive tobacco-free policy banning the use and distribution of any tobacco or nicotine products.
- The New Hampshire state Supreme Court ruled a state appeals board was wrong under state law when it denied an injured worker’s request to be reimbursed for medical marijuana, and sent the case back on the question of applicable federal law.
- Maryland state health officials plan to distribute thousands of kits that will allow drug users to test drugs for fentanyl in an effort to curb a spike in fatal overdoses that it is causing.
- Philadelphia passed a law outlawing cashless stores in an effort to protect low-income residents.
- The West Virginia legislature passed a bill giving state residents free community college, now it is in the governor’s lap to decide whether to sign it.
- Some school districts in Kentucky closed due to a statewide sick-out by teachers opposed to proposed cuts to public education funding.
- Olympic Gold Medalist Swimmer Simone Manuel‘s recent visit to LeBron James‘ “I Promise” school lead to the USA Swimming Foundation providing free swim lessons to every student at the school.
👨🏿⚖️SEEKING RACIAL AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE
- J.P. Morgan Chase will stop financing private prisons and detention centers.
- A former Baltimore police officer was indicted, and three current officers were suspended, based on allegations they helped plant a BB gun at a scene where another officer ran over a suspect.
- North Dakota Gov. signed legislation removing mandatory minimum sentences for certain drug crimes.
- Hundreds of high school and college students walked out across Sacramento and marched on the state Capitol to demand reforms on police use of force after the decision not to prosecute the killing of Stephon Clark.
- A former Florida police officer was found guilty of manslaughter and attempted murder in the fatal shooting of a black man in 2015.
☮️ CIVIL RIGHTS AND MORE
- The U.S. Supreme Court left in place a lower court ruling that blocked a New Jersey county from giving historic preservation grants to churches.
- The Los Angeles City Council agreed to settle a case brought by civil rights lawyers over a city ordinance that allowed the destruction of homeless encampments and limiting homeless people’s belongings to what would fit in a 60-gallon bag.
- The National Security Agency quietly shut down a system that analyzes logs of Americans’ domestic calls and texts implemented after the 9/11 attack.
- The Utah state legislature passed a law repealing laws that made sex outside of marriage illegal and now hoping the Governor signs it.
🌎SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT
- The Pesticide Registration Improvement Extension Act of 2018 was passed into law, which provides the EPA with more resources to evaluate pesticide registrations and protect workers and consumers who are exposed to pesticides.
- The Trump National Golf Club in Virginia was hit with zoning violations after local officials determined the property improperly removed trees from a designated floodplain, and may face fines.
- New Mexico sued the U.S. Air Force over water contamination at a base and arguing that the federal government has a responsibility to clean up the toxic chemicals.
- Activist lawmakers continue to show creativity, as we saw when Democratic Rep. Joe Cunningham blasted an air horn at a hearing to demonstrate how “disruptive” seismic airgun testing can be for marine animals.
- Burlington and Middlebury VT joined Manchester in voting to approve a single-use plastic ban.
- The Finnish parliament approved a proposal to ban the use of coal to produce energy from 2029.
- The Dutch government will close a coal-fired power plant four years earlier than originally planned.
👩#MeToo And WOMEN’S RIGHTS
- U.S. Women’s soccer is suing for equal pay.
- A coalition of 21 states announced they were suing to block changes to the Title X family planning program (the “gag rule”) that would shift tens of millions of dollars from Planned Parenthood toward faith-based clinics.
- A second federal judge has allowed a legal challenge to the male-only military draft.
- Christini’s Ristorante Italiano has agreed to pay $80,000 and implement remedial actions to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit where the bartender alleged she was asked to dress “sexy” and go on dates with patrons by the boss.
- Adidas announced it would ensure Adidas-sponsored players in the Women’s World Cup receive the same performance bonus payments as male players.
- Chef Mario Batali officially gave up his stake in all restaurants associated with him a year after multiple women accused him of sexual assault.
- Richmond (VA) is asking a judge to dismiss an indecent exposure charge against a woman who was arrested outside the Capitol while protesting in support of the ERA.
- A federal judge ruled that the administration must restore a rule requiring some employers to report salaries, broken down by race and gender.
🕬 GUN REFORM
- New Mexico’s Gov. signed a bill requiring background checks on almost all firearm sales in the state.
- The Illinois State Police announced sweeping changes to how they enforce gun licensing laws to make sure people that shouldn’t have Firearm Owner Identification Cards, don’t.
- An Arkansas lawmaker used the power of her voice as a black woman, during committee debate to stop the committee from putting forward a bill to eliminate the “duty to retreat” from self-defense laws in Arkansas.
- The Iowa Supreme Court ruled that transgender Iowans can use Medicaid funds to pay for transition-related care, including surgeries.
- The Sussex-Wantage Regional Board of Education (NJ) has taken a first step toward approving a revised, and more inclusive policy on transgender students to comply with state law.
- The Loudoun County School Board approved a policy affirming the equal opportunity for an equitable, safe and inclusive environment for students and staff on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
🕫🗳️FAIR AND ETHICAL VOTING
- A federal judge blocked the administration’s plan to include a citizenship question in the 2020 census, calling the proposal “arbitrary and capricious” and saying it would harm the state of California and be “contrary to the Constitution.”
- Two members of Maryland’s redistricting commission resigned after the Baltimore Sun reported that their appointment violated the rules establishing the commission.
🗽BECAUSE MONUMENTS AND NAMES MATTER
- A British museum has agreed to repatriate a ruler’s locks of hair cut from his corpse by a British soldier more than 150 years ago in Ethiopia.
- The University of Mississippi Student Body Senate voted to recommended that the university relocate the Confederate monument from campus to a Confederate cemetery.
- New York City has selected three black women to be honored by the city with monuments and include civil rights activist Elizabeth Jennings Graham, singer Billie Holiday, and activist and politician Shirley Chisholm.
- A Dallas commission voted to allow the city to take down a Confederate monument, deeming it as “non-contributing to the historic overlay district.”
💓STOPPING THE SPREAD OF HATE
- A North Carolina high school suspended a white basketball player for making racist comments on social media, after getting a game moved away from a mostly black opponent’s gym.
- The House passed a measure broadly condemning anti-Semitism and other forms of hatred.
- The Republican mayor of the second largest city in Maine, stepped down after emails and texts of leaked of him making racist comments.
- A South Carolina Confederate group was forced to dissolve and contribute money to the NAACP after a black mother sued the S.C. Secessionist Party over their posting images on social media of her children with the Confederate flag.
- A snowplow driver who’s facing charges after he allegedly intentionally splashed slush on anti-Trump protesters has been removed from the town’s list of contractors.
- A substitute teacher in Oregon will no longer be allowed to teach in the school district after the person reportedly told a fifth grade student to “go back to Mexico.”
- A fund created in response to the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue has raised more than $6 million for shooting survivors, families of victims and three congregations affected by the shooting.
- Chiquitta Evans became the first woman drafted into the NBA 2K League by the NBA’s Golden State Warriors.
- NASA announced that its first-ever all-female spacewalk will take place later this month.
- Valdosta Georgia appointed their first ever female Chief of Police.
🙂 A VERY QUICK LOOK AT RUSSIA ETC… Sources inside the WHite House are still leaking documents and information and hold your hats, another White House communications director is joining the former communications director support group.
🗹 ELECTION RESULTS
- Democrats held on to a Texas House seat and a Rhode Island State representative seat in special elections with the win by Christina Morales and June Speakman.
- In Rhode Island special elections Democrats in Concord and Nashua won municipal races, with Ben Clemons winning a seat on the Nashua Board of Aldermen and Zandra Rice Hawkins taking back a Concord City Council seat that Republicans held and Byron Champlin, winning a citywide seat on the council.
And here you can find inspiring actions from groups like Swing Left, Indivisible Oregon, Moms Demand Answers, Sister District, Chicago Climate Rally, Spread the Vote GA, Southern Poverty Law Center, Indivisible KC, Poor People’s Campaign, Beyond the Bars, Coalition Better Il 6, and so many more that I don’t have space and time to post.