Two weeks ago, Congress passed - with bipartisan support - a Senate version of a bill that gives $4.6 billion to the very immigration agencies committing human rights abuses at the border and in detainment centers across the country. This version did not include any of the humanitarian safeguards that many House Democrats demanded in order to support the House version of the bill. Despite this, Speaker Pelosi still brought the toothless Senate version to the House floor where it passed with more Republican support than Democratic.
The only string that remained somewhat attached to that giant pile of money was that members of congress must be allowed to visit and inspect the migrant detention facilities - but only with two days advanced notice. However, that opened the door for a congressional delegation to visit some of these detention centers the following week, bringing back first-hand-account horror stories. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said that even in the presence of members of congress, the Customs and Border Patrol officers at the El Paso detention center told detained migrant women asking for water to drink from the toilet. She also said migrant women reported being subjected to what they called “phycological warfare” by being woken up at odd hours for no reason and being called “whores.” Just before the congressional visit, Pro Publica exposed a private Facebook group of over nine thousand current and former Customs and Border Patrol agents which was filled with racist and violent language and photos about immigrants, Hispanic people, and even AOC herself. In response, AOC said, “This isn’t about a few bad eggs. This is a violent culture. How on earth can CBP’s culture be trusted to care for refugees humanely?”
On the same trip, Representative Joaquin Castro bucked the bullshit rules and snuck his cell phone in to capture video. A group of women from Cuba agreed to be filmed who had had been sleeping on a concrete floor with no running water in the room for over 50 days. They hadn’t showered in over 15 days, hadn’t received the medication they needed, and some had been separated from their children.
Right now, these accounts are one of the few tools we have to expose the truth about what is going on inside these camps and to demand action and accountability. Call your members of congress today and demand that they visit the detention centers, bring back their first-hand accounts to share publicly, and block any further funding for this state-sanctioned abuse and torture. Remember: seeking asylum is not against the law and the Department of Homeland security has multiple alternatives available to manage asylum seekers besides detaining them. Trump has chosen to manufacture a crisis for political gain at the cost of human life.
Together & Free has published a comprehensive guide outlining all the ways you can help. Read it and choose one or more things to do and enlist friends and family to join you.
And finally, on the heels of the “Close the Camps” rallies across the country last week, this Friday, July 12th, people around the world will be taking part in Lights for Liberty. This action is a global candlelight vigil founded in the belief that all human beings have a right to life, liberty and dignity. Lights for Liberty is sponsored by over 150 international, national, regional, local and community organizations, including Code Pink, Indivisible, and Jewish Voice for Peace. Over six hundred worldwide events are scheduled thus far. You can visit LightsforLiberty.org to find an event near you or register one yourself. Follow the event on Twitter @Lights4Liberty and via the same hashtag, #Lights4Liberty.
So, if treating all humans with care, dignity and respect is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Demanding an End to US Concentration Camps via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Demand your members of congress visit the camps & bare witness with public testimonials
Demand your members of congress withhold further funding unless strict humanitarian safeguards and guardrails are attached
Attend a Lights for Liberty vigil near you on Friday, July 12th
EDUCATE YOURSELF & SHARE:
What The Hell Is Nancy Pelosi Doing? (Huffington Post)
Posted July 9, 2019; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1288:
This Pride Month also celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. And while Pride is a celebratory time, it continues to be the protest it always was as the Trump administration attacks the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community on multiple fronts.
There was a bright spot in May when the Equality Act passed the House with bipartisan support.
Currently, anti-discrimination protections for the LGBTQIA+ community have to be fought for state by state, but 30 states still lack full protection for LGBTQIA+ people.
The Equality Act would expand current federal civil rights law to protect LGBTQIA+ people from discrimination in the workplace, in housing, in the classroom, in public accommodations, retail stores, transportation, and more.
You can help fight to advance and pass this legislation in the Senate, where it has 46 co-sponsors in addition to Sen. Jeff Merkley who introduced it. The only Republican on that list right now is Susan Collins, while the rest are crying “religious liberty” and have a sudden concern for women’s sports…both of which, of course, would not be impacted by this act.
Call your members of congress today and keep the pressure on by sharing your stories through letters, tweets, and letters to the editor, and by educating your friends and family on the Equality Act so they can fight for it too.
At the same time as the Equality Act is moving through Congress, trans people are still fighting for basic health care rights. The Trump Administration is undermining the ACA’s Health Care Rights Law, which protects people accessing health care from discrimination by providers or insurers. This law is essential for transgender people, as they face dangerous health care discrimination on a regular basis - from being ignored in the examination room to ridicule and lack of care after calling for an ambulance.
To play to their base, Trump and Pence have had the Department of Health and Human Services propose a regulation that says discrimination against transgender people is legal in the name of religious liberty. Specifically, the regulation claims that “gender” or “gender identity” should not be covered under discrimination based on sex. The problem is that they can’t change existing law that easily, so the new regulation only acts to confuse patients, providers and insurers and puts the health of transgender people in jeopardy.
The public comment period for this proposed regulation is open now through August 13th. The Transgender Law Center and the National Center for Transgender Equality have made it easy to make your comment. Go to protecttranshealth.org for more information, commenting tips, and a form to easily submit your comment.
So, if protecting your family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors, and/or yourself, from bigoted discrimination is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Demand the Senate Pass the Equality Act and Protect Trans Health Rights via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
EDUCATE YOURSELF & SHARE
7 maps show the mess LGBT laws are in the USA (USA Today)
The Senate should stand up for all Americans and pass the Equality Act (Rep. Patrick Maloney in The Hill)
A Transgender Anti-Discrimination Law Won't Mark The End Of Women's Sports (The Atlantic, Deadspin)
A History of Federal Non-Discrimination Legislation (93rd - 114th Congress) (Human Rights Campaign)
Why Trump Is Rolling Back LGBTQ Health-Care Protections (The Atlantic)
Official government page for the new Trump regulation (The Federal Register)
Posted July 2, 2018; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1286: The Rise of Christian Nationalism
We all understand that the latest state legislative assaults on reproductive rights are the final steps of a 40 year, long-game strategy on the right. It’s easy to look at this moment and already feel defeated, but how we choose to respond in this moment will make all the difference.
So, let’s get right down to it.
First, let’s not forget that, for now, abortion is still legal in every state, so throw your energy into protecting those exercising their legal right to this medical procedure.
If you have time to give, consider becoming an abortion clinic escort. Escorts are volunteers who accompany those seeking reproductive care on the walk from their transportation to the clinic, a journey often filled with anti-abortion protestors who hurl shame or aggressively try to make patients question their choice. The National Abortion Federation and the Abortion Care Network have maps to help you find clinics near you. Reach out to clinics where you’d like to volunteer to see what help they need. Escorts not only help provide a supportive environment for patients, but also help de-stigmatize abortion.
There are also organizations working across the country to help people access reproductive care, such as the National Network of Abortion Funds. The Cut has curated a list of these organizations, along with local organizations in states with already extremely limited access to abortion, like Missouri, Kentucky, and Mississippi.
Excerpt from The Cut article "What You Can Do to Help Women in States With Extreme Abortion Bans":
• Access Reproductive Care - Southeast: ARC is a volunteer organization that helps families in 12 states across the southeast access reproductive care.
• National Network of Abortion Funds: NNAF is a network of more than 80 funds in at least 38 states that seeks to eliminate economic barriers for low-income individuals seeking an abortion.
• The Yellowhammer Fund: Based in Alabama, Yellowhammer not only provides funding for abortions at one of the city’s three clinics, but also helps with other barriers to access patients may face, such as travel or lodging. (Yellowhammer is part of NNAF.)
• Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund: Run entirely by volunteers, the Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund helps people access abortion, and provides both support and resources to parents.
• Women Have Options: This Ohio-based organization provides financial assistance and support to low-income patients seeking reproductive care, abortion included.
• National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum: NAPAWF is a multi-issue community-organizing and policy-advocacy organization that fights for policy changes that would benefit women, transgender, and non-binary Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
• Gateway Women’s Access Fund: Based in Missouri, Gateway provides both educational and financial support to people in the state who can’t afford the full cost of an abortion.
On a national level, many on the right are practically giddy with anticipation that one of their barbaric state laws will go to the Supreme Court and be upheld. But they don’t seem to be looking beyond the end of Roe. Those on the Left should be.
We can raise the alarm along with solutions that will make the right to reproductive freedom even stronger than Roe v. Wade ever did. Multiple Democratic presidential candidates are behind passing the EACH Women Act, which would prohibit abortion restrictions on private insurance, and an end to the Hyde Amendment, which restricts federal dollars from paying for abortion services.
Senator Elizabeth Warren’s multi-point plan to protect choice includes both of these legislative moves plus…
- creating federal, statutory rights that parallel the constitutional right in the Roe v. Wade decision,
- passing laws that preempt state efforts to limit reproductive health care,
- guaranteeing reproductive health care coverage as part of all health coverage, including Medicare for All, and
- ensuring equal access and reproductive justice by providing access to contraception, sex education, maternity care, adequate wages, and more.
Remember that even if you live in a blue state, reproductive rights may still be under threat. So, no sitting on the sidelines.
And finally, we want to emphasize that talking about this issue with family and friends, and sharing your own personal experience with abortion can change hearts and minds. We also encourage you to check out the #YouKnowMe to read other’s stories and share them in your online communities.
So, if protecting quality reproductive health care and justice is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Defending and Strengthening Reproductive Justice Beyond Roe vs. Wade via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
*REMINDER: Abortion is still legal in all 50 states*
Become an abortion clinic escort:
- Find a clinic near you via National Abortion Federation & Abortion Care Network, and ask what help they need.
Support organizations helping people access reproductive care:
Excerpt from The Cut article "What You Can Do to Help Women in States With Extreme Abortion Bans":
- Access Reproductive Care - Southeast: ARC is a volunteer organization that helps families in 12 states across the southeast access reproductive care.
- National Network of Abortion Funds: NNAF is a network of more than 80 funds in at least 38 states that seeks to eliminate economic barriers for low-income individuals seeking an abortion.
- The Yellowhammer Fund: Based in Alabama, Yellowhammer not only provides funding for abortions at one of the city’s three clinics, but also helps with other barriers to access patients may face, such as travel or lodging. (Yellowhammer is part of NNAF.)
- Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund: Run entirely by volunteers, the Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund helps people access abortion, and provides both support and resources to parents.
- Women Have Options: This Ohio-based organization provides financial assistance and support to low-income patients seeking reproductive care, abortion included.
- National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum: NAPAWF is a multi-issue community-organizing and policy-advocacy organization that fights for policy changes that would benefit women, transgender, and non-binary Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
- Gateway Women’s Access Fund: Based in Missouri, Gateway provides both educational and financial support to people in the state who can’t afford the full cost of an abortion.
Push politicians and candidates to support:
Talk to friends and family about this issue, share your story & check out the #YouKnowMe hashtag.
EDUCATE YOURSELF & SHARE
The corporations backing Alabama's war on women (Popular Information)
When life begins and ends (Washington Post)
Posted May 31, 2019; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1277: We have entered a new stage of attacks on abortion
In the latest blow to reproductive justice, over the last few months the Trump Administration has made radical changes to Title X, which is the only federal program exclusively dedicated to providing low-income people with affordable birth control and reproductive health care.
In addition to redirecting federal funds away from actual health care providers and restricting providers from delivering medically accurate and essential information to their patients, the changes could put more than 40% of the more than 4 million Title X patients at risk of losing access to care.
Last month, the administration had announced it would be giving as much as $5.2 million in Title X funds over the next three years to a California organization called Obria Group. It’ll come as no surprise that Obria is a nonprofit crisis pregnancy center funded by allies of the Catholic Church that describes itself as being “led by God” and pro “natural family planning,” with unabashed aims to divert patients and money away from Planned Parenthood.
Of course, that’s also the aim of the Trump administration. In February, the Department of Health and Human Services rushed through a gag rule that blocks Title X funding from going to healthcare providers that perform abortions or give their patients referrals to get abortions elsewhere. This is a work around to disqualify Planned Parenthood from receiving any federal funding, even though the Hyde Amendment already prevents federal dollars from being used for abortions.
Since Planned Parenthood serves 41% of the 4 million people who rely on Title X for reproductive health care, most of whom are people of color under 30 years old, more than a million and a half people would lose reproductive care. A lawsuit has already been filed by Planned Parenthood. California, and a coalition of 21 states including D.C., are also suing the administration over the Title X changes.
Like many other issues, people of color and those in poverty will be disproportionately and negatively impacted by these new restrictions. The left needs to get collectively louder about the damage being done and there are a few ways you can help amplify that message:
- First and foremost, call and write your members of congress to tell them to support the EACH Woman Act, which aims to end the Hyde Amendment’s blockade on federal funds going toward abortion costs. After first introducing the Act in the House in 2015, Congressional Pro Choice Caucus cochair Barbara Lee re-introduced it in March. The Senate version is being led by Senators Tammy Duckworth, Mazie Hirono, Patty Murray and Kamala Harris.
In an interview, Senator Duckworth said, “…we should all agree that what’s legal for a wealthy American shouldn’t be illegal or inaccessible for a poor American or a person of color—and that’s what this bill is about: fairness, equality, and equal opportunity.”
- Title X has also been at the mercy of funding cuts. Nearly every state has experienced federal funding cuts to the Title X family planning program since 2010. So, we also encourage you to check out NationalFamilyPlanning.org’s interactive map to find out how Title X impacts your state and share this important data and information with your networks.
- You can also help amplify the benefits of Title X by downloading the “Save Title X” graphics created by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and sharing them on social media. If you happen to be a physician, check out the other actions this organization encourages you to take.
This conversation is also happening on Twitter with the hashtag #ProtectX if you’d like to learn more or engage.
So, if protecting quality reproductive health care and justice is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Protecting Title Ten via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Call & write your members of congress to tell them to support the EACH Woman Act via Center for Reproductive Rights
Explore & share this NationalFamilyPlanning.org’s interactive map on Title X data and impact by state
Learn more about how Title X changes impact care at istandwithpp.org/no-gag-rule
EDUCATE YOURSELF & SHARE
Radical Attempts to Ban Abortion Dominate State Policy Trends in the First Quarter of 2019 (Guttmacher Institute)
Supreme Court Sides With California Anti-Abortion Pregnancy Centers (NPR, June 2018)
Posted April 5, 2019; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1262: Waiting for the Roe to drop (Reproductive Justice)
It’s been 9 months since Bernie Sanders - flanked by a dozen Democrats - officially announced his Medicare for All bill. Though numerous political fires are all raging at once these days, the single-payer movement is alive and well and still building steam.
Last week, medical professionals, politicians, activists and leaders of the Medicare for All movement held their annual Single-Payer Strategy Conference in Minnesota. The conference, jointly sponsored by the Labor Campaign for Single Payer and Healthcare NOW!, aimed to construct a national campaign to make Medicare for All a reality by building momentum through the 2020 elections.
If you’re interested, you can watch some of the conference on the Social Security Works Facebook page via their posts from June twenty second to the twenty-forth.
Although this conference helped shape the launch of a national campaign, that campaign will be executed on the ground locally. And that means you can help by taking the time now to get engaged with your local organizations fighting for single-payer.
Go to Healthcare-now.org and click “Join a local action group” under the Action tab. There you will find a state-by-state list of local organizations working for single-payer healthcare across the country. You may even find that your state is in need of a local advocacy group, in which case, consider being the founding member. We are going to need 50 state coverage to win this.
And, of course, continue to put pressure on members of congress to sign on as co-sponsors to the Medicare for All Act in the House and Senate. If they haven’t seen the writing on the wall yet, come the midterms this November they certainly will.
So, if making Medicare for All a reality as soon as possible is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Joining Your Local Single-Payer Advocacy Group via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Honored to give the keynote speech @HCNow to a bunch of activists/heroes fighting for the *only* solution that will guarantee access to health care and bring down costs to what the rest of the developed world pays: #SinglePayer #Medicare4All pic.twitter.com/HW0sCRYE1V— Rep. Keith Ellison (@keithellison) June 25, 2018
CALL/WRITE/TWEET your members of congress to push them to publicly support the Medicare for All Act before the Midterms:
The Midterm Elections and Medicare For All (Healthcare NOW!)
Why So Many Democrats Are Embracing Single-Payer Health Care (The Atlantic)
Posted June 26, 2018; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1192: Fighting for Single Payer and against our neoliberal health system
First they came for the immigrants…
The news that children of asylum seekers are being forcibly taken away from their parents by ICE and Border Patrol and then kept in warehouse-style detainment centers around the country sparked an immediate outcry and public demonstrations.
Leading that movement is We Belong Together, a coalition of human rights, civil rights, immigrant rights and women’s rights organizations, which held demonstrations in early June under the banner “Families Belong Together.” They are calling for the end of Trump’s family separation policy and to defund Border Patrol and ICE, and you can find their petition, sharable graphics and protest posters for download at familiesbelongtogether.org.
We now know a little bit more about the treatment of these immigrants. After Senator Jeff Merkely's visit to a facility in Texas, he described children in “dog kennel-style cages, people crowded in with nothing but a space blanket.” Representative Pramila Jayapal met with immigrant women at a federal prison facility in Seattle whose children were taken away at the southern border. They described how agents used excuses, like a photograph or bath, to calmly take their child away. But the child was never returned. Some could hear their children screaming for them from the next room. The mothers are being prosecuted in criminal courts, not immigration courts, before they’ve had their asylum hearings. Many plead guilty to border crossing not fully aware that they now have a criminal record, disqualifying them for asylum - which is, of course, the whole idea.
While we’ve heard crickets from Republicans, Democrats do seem to be mobilizing quickly. Representative Jayapal is leading 108 of her fellow Representatives to demand that Congress stop Department of Homeland Security budget funds from being used for separation practices. In the Senate, California Senator Diane Feinstein and 31 other Senators have introduced the “Keep Families Together Act,” which prohibits any agency form separating children from families, unless it is a case of abuse, trafficking, or neglect. The bill was developed with input from child welfare experts and it’s sponsored by organizations including the Children’s Law Center, the Young Center for Immigrant Rights, and Kids in Need of Defense. That also happens to be a short list of organizations that could really use your financial support right now as they hire lawyers and counselors to help these detained children and reunite them with their families.
In the House, Representative Lucile Royal-Allard of California has introduced two different bills. The first is the renewed Help Separated Families Act of 2018, which aims to protect the parental rights of all immigrant parents, no matter their status, and ensures they have the right resources to try to place their children with family members or other caretakers while they are detained. The second bill is the HELP Separated Children Act, which aims to give certain legal protections to immigrant children separated from their families, allowing detained parents to participate in the family court system and ensuring that parents and children can still visit and contact each other while the parent is detained.
So, call your members of congress today to throw your support behind these bills. And of course, if you live in a red state, your persistent calls, emails, tweets, etcetera, are all the more important.
If keeping families together and protecting basic human rights is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Telling Congress to END Family Separation via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Since October, Trump has separated more than 1300 immigrant children from their parents. Come out this Thursday June 14 to say #FamiliesBelongTogether! Find an event close to you: https://t.co/6GPoqsOAjy @familiesbelong pic.twitter.com/xzic9TZulF— We Belong Together (@WomenBelong) June 12, 2018
Get involved with familiesbelongtogether.org & follow @womenbelong
Tell Congress to #AbolishICE & pass:
Give to organizations like:
Keep Families Together Act (Feinstein.senate.gov)
Posted June 12, 2018; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1189: Our dehumanizing, traumatizing, child-abusing immigration system
Last month, 200 activists from the disability rights organization ADAPT put their bodies and lives on the line yet again to fight for justice.
Demanding support for a critical civil rights bill called the Disability Integration Act, or DIA, activists demonstrated outside the offices of policy influencer organizations in DC, including AARP. They blocked AARP employees from leaving in their cars, risking injury and arrest to be heard. The standoff lasted six hours with temperatures in the 90s before police intervened. No one was arrested, but police carried away a man in a wheelchair and took the key from another’s powered wheelchair, effectively paralyzing them.
It’s important to remember that it was disability rights activists that made the news last summer as the Affordable Care Act and Medicare were under attack. The images of people in wheelchairs being physically dragged from the Capitol and from Mitch McConnell’s office had the desired effect. Those valiant efforts were critical in a down-to-the-wire victory where millions of Americans - both able-bodied and disabled - would’ve been affected.
Now the disabled community, which makes up nearly 19% of the population, is demanding their former healthcare allies, like AARP, return the favor. In a ThinkProgress article, ADAPT organizer Bruce Darling said, “People for the first time on national television saw disabled Americans being dragged away and disappeared, but that for us happens everyday. They are taken from their homes and forced into institutions. We are just dramatizing the conflict.”
Darling is referring to an unfortunate gap in the Americans with Disabilities Act: the need to make it easier for people who require long-term care - or Long Term Services and Supports - to stay in their homes and communities instead of being institutionalized against their will.
The Disability Integration Act is civil rights legislation that would address that gap, building on the 25 years of work that ADAPT has done to end the institutional bias and provide seniors and people with disabilities home and community-based services as an alternative to institutionalization. Despite a favorable Supreme Court ruling in 1999 and increased Medicaid funding through the ACA to address this problem, unwanted institutionalization is still rampant in the vast majority of states. The DIA would not amend the ADA, but would strengthen the Supreme Court integration mandate and create federal civil rights laws for those in institutions.
Unfortunately, as with everything, the political struggle to pass the DIA comes down to money in politics. Republicans receive donations from the owners of these institutions and Democrats receive donations from the unions within the institutions. Both have received major donations from the nursing home industry. Even though providing home care services is dramatically cheaper for a state than institutionalization, campaign contributions continue to trump good economics and civil liberties.
So what can you do? Call your members of Congress today to let them know you support the DIA. Spread the word about the DIA and the injustice of forced institutionalization on social media using the #DIAToday. And get involved with ADAPT by visiting ADAPT.org.
To learn more about the Disability Integration Act visit DisabilityIntegrationact.org.
And finally, The National Organizing Project, a collaboration between ADAPT & National Council on Independent Living, is collecting personal stories that they can use on Capitol Hill when talking with legislators. To share yours, go to AdvocacyMonitor.com.
So, if defending the civil rights of all Americans is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Telling Congress to Support the Disability Integration Act via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
These disability rights activists protested to change a senator’s mind — and won pic.twitter.com/sg9n52PSXS— NowThis (@nowthisnews) May 18, 2018
Call Congress: Tell Congress to Support the DIA!
Help Sway Congress: Call for Stories: Snapshots of Our Lives
Spread the word on social media with #DIAToday
Posted June 5, 2018; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1188: "Impoverished, Imprisoned and Invisible (Disability Justice)"
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)