Stand with the Students to Demand Real Gun Regulation: Call. March. Boycott. Vote. via @AMarch4OurLives #NeverAgain
The high school student mass shooting survivors from Parkland, Florida are showing us who we need to be. They are angry, grieving and traumatized and have immediately channeled those emotions into a national call to action that has had more impact in two weeks than most movements see in years.
They have held the mainstream media’s fleeting attention on gun control for weeks. Dozens of companies that once offered discounts to NRA members have ended those programs. After the rally Parkland students organized in Tallahassee, the GOP-controlled Florida legislature is actually considering gun control measures that would never have been entertained before. They have even pushed Trump to order a crackdown on bump stocks and propose more thorough background checks. Even Betsy DeVos is calling for Congressional hearings.
Of course, these teenagers have already become targets of extreme right-wing groups and media outlets, including the NRA, but they are laser focused and have had no problem calling out every hypocrite and shutting down every troll touting talking NRA points. This is just the beginning of course, but it’s powerful and hopeful. Parkland students’ success may be partly a combination of their whiteness and affluence and the final straw for Americans exhausted by years of nearly constant mass shootings…but these kids are also naturally savvy activists fighting for their lives.
They have barely finished burying their friends, but they are organizing school walkouts and a major rally in DC, establishing a strong social media presence, giving moving speeches, writing OpEds for major publications, and speaking concisely and plainly to the media to make their points. They have said over and over that they do not want the deaths of their 17 classmates to mean nothing.
So, today’s activism comes directly from the Parkland student activists who have outlined the ways people can support them and the Parkland community in the wake of this tragedy.
Mark your calendars to stand with young people at the March for Our Lives in DC, or the sister rallies around the country, on Saturday, March 24th. Go to MarchforOurLives.com for details and to donate to support the national organizing efforts.
The movement’s hashtag may be “Never Again,” but the student organizers have also explicitly said that this is not just a social media campaign. They want to move everyone, especially young people, to “vote for our lives” in the 2018 mid term elections….and that requires making sure students who are turning 18 this year are registered to vote. They ask that you write and call your members of congress about gun control, make sure you are registered to vote, help get others registered to vote, and, of course, actually go vote in the midterm elections to stop NRA-backed politicians.
Additionally, many companies and banks have been called out in the press as having ties to the NRA or world of guns and ammunition producers and the students are calling for divestment and boycotts. You can help push the movement further by putting pressure on those institutions and withholding your business until they make changes.
The students have also asked that you consider supporting the Victims Fund, the fund for their upcoming Benefit Concert, and the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Journalism Program.
So, if striking while the iron is hot to demand the gun regulation we so obviously need is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Standing with the Students Demand Real Gun Control via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Donate to support the organizing efforts for the marches nationwide
Call and write your members of congress about gun control and VOTE!
The Parkland Students Aren't Going Away (The Atlantic)
How the Survivors of Parkland Began the Never Again Movement (The New Yorker)
Key Gun Violence Statistics (The Brady Campaign)
The NRA is being supported by these companies (Think Progress)
These are the banks financing the assault weapons industry (Think Progress)
Posted February 27, 2018; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1167: The kids are alright and they are leading the way again (Parkland Shooting)
Demand Your MoCs Defend Dreamers and Pass a Clean #DreamActNow via Dreamer Pledge Project @IndivisibleTeam @UNITEDWEDREAM
Activist groups have come together to defend Dreamers and demand a clean DREAM Act, and now they have made it incredibly easy for you to do the same.
Groups including Indivisible, United We Dream, the National Immigration Law Center, Democracy Spring, NRDC, Credo Mobile, and many more, have banded together to launch DreamerPledge.org. This website is essentially a simple and effective one-stop-shop tool for voters to find out how their members of congress voted when it comes to Dreamers and provides call scripts to help you either thank them, or tell them just how furious you are.
There are scripts for talking to Republican and Democratic members of congress and they’re written to specifically respond to the passage of the most recent Continuing Resolution bill that did not include the DREAM Act. As you’ve already heard, Democrats said they would not vote for that bill unless it included the DREAM Act, and then…many of them caved. The call scripts help you clearly demand that your Democratic and Republican members of congress vote against the upcoming February 8th Continuing Resolution unless it protects Dreamers in order to avoid complicity in Trump’s racist policies.
Let’s take this moment to remember that Senators Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have been promising to reach a deal with Trump to protect Dreamers since last September. Well, now it’s February and DACA expires just one month from now. Trump has vowed to deport DACA recipients when the program ends on March 5th, so there is no time to be congenial and make concessions. The Trump agenda is not business as usual and members of congress, especially Democrats, need to respond appropriately.
It’s baffling that Democrats have wavered since they know full well that Trump and Republicans have miscalculated this one. According to multiple recent polls, the vast majority of Americans support allowing Dreamers to stay in the U.S. According to a Politico/Morning Consult Poll conducted last September, over 69 percent of Republicans and 84 percent of Democrats think Dreamers should be allowed to stay in the U.S. They differ only on wether they should be allowed to become citizens or just legal residents.
The only thing that can stop Trump from ripping lives apart is passage of the DREAM Act. So head over to DreamerPledge.org and tell Congress to defend Dreamers today before it’s too late.
So, if stopping Congress from complying with racist policies is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Demanding Your Members of Congress Defend Dreamers and Pass a Clean Dream Act Now via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Use DreamerPledge.org tools and scripts to demand your MoCs protect Dreamers
REMINDERS: DACA ends March 5th! Next Continuing Resolution deadline is Feb. 8th!
Dreamers are Americans Too (TIME)
Posted January 26, 2018; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1162: The economics of immigration and demonization
We are witnessing a full fledged attack on immigrants in this country.
Upticks in ICE raids and arrests throughout 2017. The Muslim ban. Changes to the H1B visa program. Announcing the end DACA, and now the end of Temporary Protect Status for Salvadorians. With every action, Trump is ripping apart families, destroying futures, and striking massive blows to the American labor force all to pander to the extremists and bigots in his dwindling base.
According to United We Dream, every day that Congress fails to pass a clean Dream Act, 122 young immigrants lose their DACA status and become exposed to deportation. 260,000 Salvadorians who have lived and worked in the US and raised children here for 20 years now face an uncertain future.
Just those two groups alone make up over one million people whose lives and livelihoods in America are now at risk. These are neighbors, friends, classmates, and coworkers. These are taxpayers, business owners and community members. These are children who have only known America as home.
This week, a federal court in California blocked the Trump Administration’s decision to end DACA, but the decision will soon be appealed. Lives are still in limbo and time is running out.
United We Dream is an action organization lead by immigrant youth that has been at the forefront of the fight for a clean Dream Act and the fight against immigrant injustice. Their grassroots action campaigns have included…
- 1,500 immigrant youth blocking the tunnels that Congress members use to get from their offices to the Capitol building in DC in December
- the occupations of 30 different congressional offices - Republicans and Democrats - with sit-ins
- and a massive sit-in on the Capitol lawn with a jumbotron, called the DreamActTron, broadcasting immigrant’s stories 24 hours a day for an entire week in December
Their digital campaigns include making it easy to tweet at members of congress deemed the “Dream Killers” and the “Deportation Caucus” - yes, Democrats are included - to publicly shame them for their terrible votes on immigration issues.
This fight is far from over and these activists need your support and calls to your members of congress. To learn more, get involved and/or donate to United We Dream’s actions and campaigns, go to WeAreHeretoStay.org.
And one last note…
As we were putting together this show, United We Dream reported that while immigrant youth were visiting Congressional District offices in Lost Angeles, California they were followed by a mob of angry Trump supporters who shouted “White Power!” and racial slurs at them and then tried to violently board their Dream Act bus. Actor and activists Alyssa Milano captured the incident on video. These kids are beyond brave. They are standing up to hate and putting their lives on the line to fight to stay in America, their home. There is no question that they make this country better.
So, if you are disgusted by the assault on immigrants in America, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Passing a Clean Dream Act NOW via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Get involved with and support United We Dream
Posted January 13, 2018; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1157: Policy without humanity (Immigration)
In a thinly veiled attack against women and full on pander to the religious right, the Trump administration announced last month that it would roll back the ACA birth control mandate. With that rule gone, employers and institutions are no longer required to provide insurance coverage for birth control for their employees or students, if they site moral and religious objections.
And companies and universities are already taking advantage. Notre Dame has announced it will no longer provide birth control to students using university health insurance coverage in 2018 unless they have proof of “appropriate medical necessity as shown by a treating physician.” Even then, they would still have to pay a co-pay. Law suits have already been filed on behalf of three Notre Dame students.
This rollback is a regressive and archaic move to assert control over women while claiming a win for religious freedom. On the same day, Jeff Sessions also issued sweeping guidance on religious freedom that has the potential to damage civil rights protections for the LGBTQ plus community. As you might expect, Paul Ryan said it was “a landmark day for religious liberty.” The fact is, expanding rights of a powerful few to allow them to suppress, dictate and control the personal lives of many is a further perversion of the idea of freedom in America and nothing less than straight up bigotry and misogyny.
In addition to the pending law suits by organizations like the National Women’s Law Center, the Women’s Equality Center has launched a multi-faceted campaign to fight back. The “Keep Birth Control Copay Free” campaign allows you to look up the cost of your birth control without insurance coverage and send Trump the invoice for your would-be expenses. Additionally, the campaign makes it easy for you to send your comments to the Department of Health and Human Services, provides a toolkit on speaking out at your local town halls and contacting members of congress, and infographics about birth control to spread the word and educate on social media. The hashtag Hands Off My BC has become the rallying cry online.
Go to KeepBCFree.com today to get involved and take action to protect co-pay free birth control. The ruling goes into effect at the end of November, so for the sake of yourself, your loved ones, and all those you don’t even know who will be impacted, make your voice heard.
So, if you’re sick and tired of Republicans playing political football with women’s healthcare, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about the Keep Birth Control Copay Free Campaign via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Take multiple actions with the Keep Birth Control Copay Free campaign:
- Send Trump an invoice for your birth control costs
- Write to the Department of Health and Human Services to defend free birth control
- Get the Toolkit to speak up at Town Halls and put pressure on Congress
- Share infographics to educate on birth control & share the campaign video
- Join the conversation with #HandsOffMyBC
Trump Administration Rolls Back Birth Control Mandate (New York Times)
The Economy Can’t Grow Without Birth Control (New York Times Op-Ed)
Trump Be Damned: States Are Fighting to Make Birth Control Over-the-Counter (Finally) (Mother Jones)
Not religious freedom, but the freedom to hate women (The Griffin)
Posted November 11, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1145: A government small enough to get inside your body (Reproductive Justice)
By now, you’ve probably seen The Onion headline from years ago that gets re-published and shared widely every time there’s a mass shooting in America:n “‘No Way to Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.”
That about sums it up.
We have 42 percent of the world’s civilian-owned guns, yet Americans make up just 4.4 percent of the global population. And we didn’t need statisticians to tell us this, but since they did all the work anyway, it turns out literally all the evidence shows that places with more guns have more homicides. But if statistics didn’t matter before 2017, why should they matter now?
Every time another mass shooting happens, we get to relive the pathetic excuse for a public gun control debate in America. Some people are asking questions like “isn’t our right to not get shot while just living our normal lives more important than our right to easily access guns?” Meanwhile, the other side is throwing toys from the pram, stocking up on ammo, and screaming obscenities in defense of the 2nd amendment. So, you know, it’s going about as well as every other political conversation right now.
But right before a middle-aged white guy caused the deadliest mass shooting in American history in Las Vegas, two new pieces of legislation deregulating guns were already working their way through Congress. Republicans and the NRA were hoping to push them through without a whole lot of hoopla.
The first measure is buried inside another laughably named bipartisan legislative package called the Sportsmen Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act - or the SHARE Act. You see, those good old Republicans care. They care about your hearing, well, not your hearing (obviously) but sportsmen’s hearing. And they would just like to protect those sportsmen’s auditory senses by making it easier for everyone to buy and use silencers on their firearms.
Maybe Hollywood is to blame for the image problem, but silencers don’t seem like the sort of thing that non-murderous assassins need. What sportsmen need are ear plugs. As Everytown for Gun Safety points out, “the distinctive noise that a gun makes is one of its most important safety features: when people hear a gunshot, they know to run, hide, protect themselves or notify law enforcement.”
Earlier this year, Congress also introduced a bill they're calling "concealed carry reciprocity.” If passed, this bill would force all 50 states to recognize the concealed carry laws of other states, no matter how weak their standards. This bill is backwards in two ways: first, someone from a state with weaker permit restrictions would be able to legally carry a concealed weapon around in a state with more robust permit restrictions. But also, states don’t have to give out permits just to their own residents. So, under this law, everyone - whether under age or with a criminal conviction - would likely be able to obtain concealed carry permits from the state with the lowest permit restrictions without ever setting foot in the state where the permit was issued. In fact, this is already the case among 32 states, with Utah currently winning this stampeded to the bottom. But this new law would open it up nationwide, regardless of your state’s laws. So much for “state’s rights.” Of course, right after Las Vegas, the NRA began pushing their allies in Congress harder than ever to pass this bill.
So, once again, pick up the phone and call, or get on your Stance app. Tell your members of Congress - and your governors - that you oppose lifting restrictions on gun silencers and want the measure removed from the SHARE Act. Tell them that you also oppose the concealed carry reciprocity bill that would completely undercut states with strict permit laws. Maybe throw in that you’re sick and tired of politicians who answer to the creeps at the NRA instead of the people.
It’s a tough time for the gun control movement, but Everytown for Gun Safety is going full steam ahead. if you haven’t already, check out Everytown.org, sign up for text action alerts, look for actions and meetings taking place near you, and take part in their “Don’t Gut Our Gun Laws” postcard campaign. The pre-written letter for the postcard can also double as a call script for the issues we’ve highlighted today.
So, if protecting the few effective gun laws we have is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Telling Congress Not to Gut our Gun Laws via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Tell Congress that you oppose the concealed carry reciprocity bill.
Find an Everytown for Gun Safety action or meeting near you
Sing up for Everytown action alerts via text
H.R.38 - Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 (Congress.gov)
H.R.3668 - SHARE Act of 2017 (see Sections 1502-1507) (Congress.gov)
Why a Congressional Ban on Bump Stocks Is Unlikely (The Atlantic)
How I Got Licensed to Carry a Concealed Gun in 32 States by Barely Trying (Mother Jones, 2013)
Posted October 13, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1139: In the wake of the Las Vegas shooting (Gun Control)
Tell President Trump and Congress to Provide Hurricane Relief and Recovery Assistance to Puerto Rico via @pricanagenda #UnitedforPuertoRico #UnidosPorPuertoRico
Remember the summer of 2016? Feels like forever ago. But that summer, in the midst of election brouhaha, Obama signed the controversial PROMESA law, which provided a way for Puerto Rico to restructure it’s debut but also created a financial control board to oversea the island’s financial affairs.
A month later, on the 118th anniversary of the US invasion of Puerto Rico during the Spanish-American War and the 64th anniversary of the creation of the commonwealth of Puerto Rico - which both happened to coincide with the 2016 Democratic National Convention - a new group called the National Puerto Rican Agenda made their presence known with a rally outside City Hall In Philadelphia.
The NPRA is an advocacy group empowering Puerto Rican communities across the mainland US to be a voice on behalf of their Puerto Rican family and friends on the island who can’t vote and don’t have direct access to those in power. The group is made up of state-side Puerto Rican elected officials, community leaders and activists and was formed to address Puerto Rico’s humanitarian and economic crisis.
In the wake of Hurricane Maria’s devastation, the NPRA is calling for major federal support and emergency assistance to the island that has been languishing for weeks in the aftermath. They have launched an action website to power a national letter drive campaign with a provided letter that outlines the details of their concerns and demands for the federal government’s response. Once on the site, you can make modifications to the letter and fill in your information to have it automatically sent to your members of congress and, of course, Trump.
But you can and should go further by picking up the phone, or getting on your Stance app, and calling your members of congress to demand that these obvious and critical asks be met. The bulleted list of demands in the letter template can certainly double as a call script.
Once you’ve taken action, don’t forget to share this campaign using the hashtag #UnitedforPuertoRico or #UnidosPorPuertoRico. And if you’d like to learn more about NPRA, go to puertoricanagenda.org.
So, if helping other humans in need because it’s the right thing to do is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Telling President Trump and Congress to Provide Hurricane Relief and Recovery Assistance to Puerto Rico via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Demand Federal relief for Puerto Rico via National Puerto Rican Agenda's letter campaign
Learn more about National Puerto Rican Agenda
Why Is María’s Death Toll in Puerto Rico Being Underreported? (Latino Rebels)
Obama Signs PROMESA Bill, Imposing Control Board on Puerto Rico (DemocracyNOW!)
Posted October 3rd, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1137: A perfect blend of colonialism, racism and disaster capitalism
Desmond Tutu famously said, “Hope is being able to see the light despite all of the darkness.”
And it sure has been dark lately. But this month, as historic hurricanes and earthquakes added a new level of panic to an already frightening political landscape, the announcement of Bernie Sander’s Medicare for All bill was a much needed bright spot.
The significance of this announcement is getting lost in the mainstream media news cycle, so let’s lay it out here: This is the beginning of a major movement for a progressive idea that even just a few years ago was still seen as radical in the U.S. but now it actually has a chance at becoming law. It is an idea that will save lives, help counter growing income inequality, save us all money in the long run, and bring us up to speed with other first world nations. It embodies so much of what we stand for as progressives, and that’s why we need to get ready for the long and arduous battle against special interests with power and money to make sure it succeeds.
We’re including links to groups and organizations you should get involved with in the show notes, but right now - other than the hashtag #Medicare4All and the videos Bernie is putting out - there is no formal, interactive, fancy campaign page to send you to yet.
So, today’s activism is going to be a little different than usual. Today, we aren’t going to send you somewhere else, or tell you to call people (that should be a given), we’re just asking you to ask yourself: “What can I do?” when it comes to the fight for Medicare for All.
Maybe you’re part of a church or synagogue or mosque where you have discussion groups. If so, ask them to have discussions about healthcare and Medicare for All.
Maybe you go to every single town hall your politician hosts - and the ones they don’t. Make sure you, your friends and family attend together and put pressure on those politicians to support Medicare for All.
Maybe you have a personal story to share about you, a family member or friend, that illustrates just how much we need a single-payer system in this country. If so, make a video and share it or write about it in a letter to the editor of your local papers - or both.
If you want to start small, have your friends listen to this episode and then organize a get together to talk about it. Try a few different groups of friends or family, and be sure to include those who might not agree with you.
Maybe you’re a great organizer. You can pull together regular Medicare for All support rallies at the statehouse or in front of your representative’s local office and invite local action groups, doctors and nurses, and community leaders to take part.
Perhaps you’re the kind of person who always knows the right people. If you have access to politicians or influential public figures in your community or beyond, use those connections, engage those people on this topic and see if you can convince them to be an ally in this fight in a public way.
Of course, these are all just examples of things you could do. You might come up with something completely different. But all we’re asking is for you to take the time today to think about what you can bring to the table. Each one of us has something to offer in this fight and you don’t need to wait for a campaign to tell you what to do to start making progress. This issue effects every single one of us and it will only be won with a major, overwhelming grassroots movement. That’s you.
There are few opportunities to make such significant, lasting change in this country. So after listening to this show today, make a list of at least 3 things you might be able to do, long term, to help Medicare for All become law. Then, call into our voicemail line at 202-999-3991 to share your ideas and inspire others. Together, we can do this.
So, if you believe healthcare is a human right, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about identifying what you can do to support Medicare for All via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Why does Norway rank so much higher than the U.S. on health outcomes? These Norwegian doctors explain: pic.twitter.com/zfvLEbfQKD— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) September 29, 2017
What are the top 3 things you can personally do to contribute to the movement to support #Medicare4All?
Call the voicemail line at 202-999-3991 and tell us your ideas to inspire others
Some other ways to get involved:
Our Revolution groups (Sen. Sanders’ action organization)
Health Over Profit (nonprofit grassroots org fighting for Medicare for All)
Fight4Medicare.com (grassroots #Medicare4All action campaign)
Social Security Works (nonprofit defending our social programs)
Truth Out “Medicare for All” Series (independent media outlet looking to focus on Medicare for All coverage)
The Loss of Morality in America’s Healthcare Debate (Washington Post)
Posted September 29, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1136: Doing the Right Thing After Exhausting All Other Options (Medicare for All)
You know what’s at stake and you understand the immorality of Trump’s decision to end DACA. So, we're going to cut right to the chase: This is what you can do right now and over the next 6 months to defend DACA recipients and all Dreamers in the United States.
Go to WeAreHeretoStay.org. This campaign site is powered and updated by United We Dream, the first and largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation. The “Take Action” tab on the website is a one-stop-shop for the most effective actions you can take to defend Dreamers, and includes critical resources for those now at risk and information about the impacts of this cruel decision.
As you might expect, the primary focus of this campaign right now is an immediate and clean passage of the Dream Act of 2017. No border militarization amendments, no bargaining-chip political maneuvers, just a clean passage of a bipartisan sponsored bill to save 800,000 people from being forced to leave the lives they’ve built and, for many, the only home they’ve ever known.
You can put pressure on Congress to do this by clicking the “Call Congress” action button on the action page at We Are Here to Stay dot org. There you’ll find phone numbers and call scripts for the key decision makers: House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Representative Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Representative Senator John Cornyn of Texas and Representative Raul Labrador of Idaho.
To add more pressure, you can also click the “Tweet at Congress” button and use the campaign’s tool to flood vulnerable Republicans in Congress with tweets demanding that they stand on the right side of history and pass the Dream Act without amendments.
The action page also has an “Attend an Event” button that will bring you to a comprehensive, searchable map with rallies and events happening around the country and hosted by various organizations. Find one near you ASAP so you can join. This page also provides the ability to sign up to host an event, as well as a list of members of Congress - Republicans and Democrats - that are potential targets for your actions.
The more pressure we put on Congress right now, the more likely we are to avoid a gap in protection for young immigrants. All of these actions must continue to happen until the Dream Act is passed. Time is of the essence, so we urge you to go to WeAreHeretoStay.org right now, get familiar with these actions, sign up for updates and share the resources. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #HereToStay when sharing.
The decision to end DACA has wreaked havoc on hundreds of thousands of our neighbors, friends, coworkers and classmates. If you or someone you know is impacted and having a hard time in the wake of this news, please check out the mental health resources and the mental health emergency toolkit available at WeAreHeretoStay.org. You can also RSVP for the campaign’s community calls about health insurance and workplace rights for DACA recipients by texting "DACACall" to 877- 877.
So, if protecting people from Trump doing the bidding of white nationalists is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Telling Congress to Pass the Dream Act Now via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Take action right now & sign up for updates at WeAreHereToStay.org
- Find an event near you
- Call Congress
- Tweet at Congress
- Resources (Including Mental Health Emergency Toolkit)
You can also call and tweet Congress with DreamActToolkit.org
The Dream Act of 2017 (National Immigration Law Center)
Black, Undocumented And Fighting To Survive (Huffington Post)
How Higher-Education Leaders Are Fighting for DACA (The Atlantic)
Relatives of Undocumented Children Caught Up in ICE Dragnet (Mother Jones)
DACA Pits Trump Against His Own Administration (The Atlantic)
Posted September 12, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1132: 800,000 hostages (Immigration and DACA)
Send a Letter: It’s Time to Take Down Confederate Monuments via @splcenter - Best of the Left Activism
Our nightmares are coming true. Beyond the threat of nuclear war, unmasked white supremacists and Nazis waving their flags in broad daylight and murdering counter protesters is the worst-case-scenario America we all feared under Trump.
The only thing we can be grateful for is that this vile public display of hate, racism and violence has backfired….despite having an active defender in the Oval Office.
After Charlottesville, cities and towns across the country not only declared zero tolerance for anyone planning to come to their cities with an agenda of hate, but many finally began taking down their Confederate statues….many months after the last Confederate statue in New Orleans came down.
Just days after Charlottesville, Baltimore’s City Council voted unanimously to immediately remove their Confederate statues. They were gone by the next morning, taken away in the middle of the night without speeches or news cameras to draw attention. Now, Lexington, Kentucky’s statues are expected to be removed. In other cities, like Durham, North Carolina, citizens are taking statue removal into their own hands. Though it’s worth noting that these statues should come down legally so that there is no question over their removal.
The Confederate statue take down bandwagon is one that you want your town, city and state officials to jump on. No matter how late they are to the party, the momentum and pressure right now is strong and can and should be effectively used by citizens to make lasting. positive change in their communities.
The SPLC is encouraging everyone in those states to help keep the Confederate monuments tumbling by writing a Letter to the Editor to your local newspaper to take down the Confederate monuments in your community. SPLC has provided sample language on their “It’s time to take down Confederate monuments” campaign page at SPLC.org, but the organization highly suggests using your own words. After you’ve sent your letter, go to the campaign page to fill out a form letting SPLC know where you’ve sent your letter. If you’re not sure if there are Confederate monuments near you, check out the interactive map of the monuments around the U.S. on the same campaign page. Some of their locations may surprise you.
If your state doesn’t have a Confederate monument, that doesn’t meant you can’t get involved. Right now, Robert E. Lee stands in the U.S. Capitol building Sanctuary Hall as the representative statue for the state of Virginia. Lee is actually one of 12 Confederate statues in the hall - a collection that does not have one single statue of an African American. Go to RootsAction.org to learn more about the campaign to change this and get involved.
And finally, check out the SPLC’s updated “10 Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide” to prepare, strengthen and heal your community in the face of hatred. And remember, as the response guide says, “More often than not, when hate flares up, good people rise up against it — often in greater numbers and with stronger voices.”
Your voice is always needed. Silence in the face of hate is never an option.
So, if standing up to hate is important to you…and we sure hope it is, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word that It’s Time to Take Down Confederate Monuments via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Locate Confederate monuments near you with SPLC’s interactive map
Write a letter to the editor demanding the removal of Confederate statues in your community
Get involved in the action calling for the removal of Confederate statues in the U.S. Capitol
Read the SPLC’s “10 Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide” to prepare, strengthen and heal your community in the face of hatred.
The Real Story Behind All Those Confederate Statues (Mother Jones)
Imagine if these people ever faced actual oppression. (Twitter thread by @JuliusGoat)
ACLU Will No Longer Defend Hate Groups Protesting With Firearms (Wall Street Journal)
Baltimore Takes Down Its Confederate Monuments (The Atlantic)
Posted August 22, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1128: White supremacy requires violence and there is more to come (Charlottesville)
You hear about Title IX a lot when it comes to athletics, but this 45 year old amendment covers so much more. It states that, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” So, it’s kind of a big deal.
Under the Obama administration, the Office for Civil Rights issued Title IX guidance in 2011, 2014, and 2016 that clarified the responsibilities of schools to prevent and address sexual harassment and assault and protecting transgender students from discrimination. That guidance has been instrumental in protecting equal access to education regardless of gender, gender identity, or gender expression, but the Trump administration overturned that guidance in February.
That doesn’t change the fact that Title IX still legally protects students from gender-based violence and discrimination. But it does take away a powerful tool that trans students and their families had to help them advocate for themselves, and also sends schools a chilling message that discrimination is okay.
It was reported that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos actually would have preferred the guidance stay in place, but Jeff Sessions got his way and DeVos fell in line. Whatever she really thought, now, she’s posing a full-blown risk to the future of Title IX. By saying the administration should relinquish the responsibility of enforcing Title IX to the states, students across the country are at risk.
Help fight this attack on vulnerable students by getting involved with the #DearBetsy campaign at dearbetsyix.com. There you will find the campaign’s demands, a social media toolkit to help you communicate why Title IX enforcement matters to you using the hashtag #DearBetsy, call scripts and phone numbers for calling the Department of Education, and other ways to get involved - such as lending your story to the campaign or writing an op-ed.
If you are in need of more guidance or assistance on Title IX and how the roll back of these guidelines may affect you or your child, we encourage you to visit the National Center for Transgender Equality’s School Action Center on their website at transequality.org.
So, if making sure an equal opportunity to education comes with protection from discrimination is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Calling for the Federal Enforcement of Title IX with the Dear Betsy Campaign via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Tell the Dept. of Ed that Title IX must be Federally enforced with #DearBetsy
Learn more about the impacts of the Title IX guideline roll backs with National Center for Transgender Equality’s School Action Center
Trump administration rolls back protections for transgender students (Washington Post)
The Trump administration is systematically dismantling Title IX (Think Progress)
Posted July 7, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1118: A look in at the TERF wars