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Last Tuesday were the much anticipated Midterm Elections. We've been providing actions about them for some time now. Here's our recap of what went down.
Before we dive in, we want to highlight a couple more standout races. In one major upset, Democrat Kendra Horn turned Oklahoma City blue for the first time in almost 50 years, defeating Republican incumbent Steve Russell in Oklahoma’s 5th district. And in New York’s 11th Congressional District, which covers Staten Island and a sliver of Brooklyn, Democratic veteran Max Rose beat Trump-endorsed incumbent Dan Donovan. Although a FiveThirtyEight polls gave Rose only a 1 in 4 chance of winning and rated the race “Likely Republican,” Rose won by an astounding six percentage points. And overall, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and California—Democrats flipped either three or four seats in each—were key to this representation of the Blue Wave.
10 seats remain uncalled, so Democrats have the chance to pick up even more seats as final results continue to trickle in. Of those uncalled seats, Democrats have a lead in four.
Democratic control of only one house of Congress might seem like a disappointment, but the House of Representatives alone can do a whole lot of good. Admittedly, progressive legislation that passes the House is unlikely to become law facing opposition from both the Senate and the White House. But a House controlled by Democrats means…
In a major Democratic victory, though, Teens Resist candidate Jacky Rosen beat Republican incumbent Dean Heller to win the seat in Nevada. And, after a very drawn-out race, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema emerged victorious over Republican Martha McSally in Arizona, flipping another seat blue. In Florida, however, a recount is ongoing, presenting a potential opportunity for Democrats (if they win) to limit the Republican net gain to only one seat. The recount is taking place due to the difference between the top two candidates being within Florida’s recount margin of one half a percent.
The chance of a Democratic win in the Senate was highly unlikely, given the fact that Democrats had to play defense in many races and had only a handful of opportunities to win Republican-held seats, many of which were in heavily rural, red states. Sinema’s and Rosen’s victories in Arizona and Nevada are significant in their location in the west, which once was thought of as a bastion of conservatism. Though the 'blue wave’ may not have entirely come to fruition within the Senate, a blue ripple has definitely occurred.
Last week, Democrats made impressive gains in gubernatorial races during the midterm elections. The first regular election in all but three states since 2014, the gubernatorial primaries were held in 36 states and three territories. Incumbent state governors running to be reelected included 14 Republicans, 5 Democrats, and 1 independent. Winning 49.4% of the popular vote, Democrats flipped seven Republican strongholds, while Republicans lost six seats on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Notably, in Kansas, one of the most conservative states in the nation, Democratic State Senator Laura Kelly won in a decisive victory over current Kansas Secretary of State (and ruby-red Republican) Kris Kobach. Similarly, in the gubernatorial race in Illinois, Michigan billionaire J.B Pritzker (Dem) unseated first term Governor Bruce Rauner (Rep), who supported the suspension of Syrian refugees into our nation. In Wisconsin, Democrat Tony Evers narrowly beat incumbent Republican Scott Walker largely by running on a platform of education. The highly contested race in Florida is currently being recounted, although Democrat Andrew Gillum is lagging slightly behind his opponent. Check the GA/FL section below for more info on those races!!
The combination of tireless activism, grassroots efforts, and passionate lobbying across the country will result in substantial progress for the Democratic party. Almost all the governors elected last week will still be in office in 2021, when the next cycle of congressional redistricting begins. This is significant because the 2022 midterm elections will feature new boundaries for House districts based on the 2021 census. In 37 states, the legislature approves these maps, and in the majority of those states, the governor can veto the redrawing of legislation maps. In general, the gains Democrats made could also mean significant liberal policy change, tighter gun laws, and looser marijuana laws.
ONGOING RACES IN GA AND FL
There are a few races that still do not have a winner as of right now (Monday, November 12th at 3:30 PM). We’re spotlighting the ones that have to do with voting rights and voter suppression.
One highly publicized race is the Georgia governor’s race. The candidates are Brian Kemp, a Trump-endorsed ruby-red conservative who currently serves as Georgia’s Secretary of State, and Stacey Abrams, an Obama-endorsed candidate known for her liberal beliefs and bipartisan compromises who has served as the Georgia Assembly’s Democratic Minority Leader since 2010. If Abrams wins, she will be the first Black female governor in United States history.
Controversy has been present since the election’s beginning—Kemp’s responsibilities as Secretary of State include overseeing elections, meaning that he would be responsible for the fairness of the race he was a candidate in (pretty backward, right?). As we previously covered, an “exact-match” voting policy was introduced in the fall, which demanded that people’s voter registration documents match their Social Security or driver’s records letter for letter and hyphen for hyphen. The policy was meant to combat mostly nonexistent “voter fraud” and (big surprise) disproportionately affected Black and Latinx voters in Georgia. Justice groups affiliated with the Abrams campaign sued and the policies were relaxed a little.
On Election Day, Georgia voters were faced with three hour-long lines (the time allotted off from work to vote is two hours), malfunctioning equipment, and confusion over absentee and provisional ballots. Kemp won the majority of votes on election night, but Abrams refused to concede. On election night, three counties had reported only some of their mail-in ballots, and four counties had reported exactly zero of them. Those counties lean Democratic. Since then, Kemp has self-coronated himself, while Abrams has continued to fight, saying that she will not concede until every single vote has been counted. The Abrams campaign has filed lawsuits to count late ballots delayed by Hurricane Michael and other similar voting discrepancies. After around-the-clock legal work, the Abrams campaign has found that at least 30,823 ballots have yet to be counted, and the campaign is confident that a runoff election or recount is possible. Kemp has stepped down as Secretary of State, meaning he would not be overseeing a runoff election if that were to happen.
Abrams has said that no matter the outcome, it is important for every vote to be counted for the sake of democracy, and has urged Kemp to support her campaign’s efforts to count every vote. Abrams garnered unprecedented support and received 4 percent more of Georgia’s population of white voters than Hillary Clinton did in 2016. She also received half of the votes of white, college-educated women, while Clinton received only a third.
A similar situation is occurring in Florida, where progressive Democrat Andrew Gillum is running for governor and Bill Nelson is running for Senate. The races were razor-thin, and the Florida Secretary of State announced that a recount would take place for the gubernatorial, Senate, and agricultural commissioner’s races. This development came after Gillum revoked his concession and various lawsuits were filed. Here is a more detailed description of recounts in the state, if you’re interested.
In a major move to combat voter suppression (in future elections), the state also passed a ballot measure that will give over 1 million individuals previously convicted of felonies in Florida the right to vote in the future.
BIG FIRSTS & DEMOGRAPHICS!
Some notable facts about voter demographics in the two-party U.S. House vote:
If you want more detailed info and statistics, check out this article and this article! Since the elections were fairly recent and there’s a lot of data still coming in/being analyzed, this is obviously an overview of who voted how. If you’re interested, make sure to do some googling in a couple weeks!
Hello Teen Resisters!!
These past two weeks might be the craziest that 2018 has seen thus far (three shootings. midterms. bomb threats. foreign elections. the constitution threatened by a president. the list goes on.)
That's why we decided to format this list a little differently to make things less overwhelming. We've separated the list into three main sections: Key News Items (really important things that happened but that we can't really do much about, other than being informed); News Linked to Actions (things that happened that relate to some main issues/ideas that we can act upon); and Actions, which ties together "what can you do" into a shorter list.
Before you jump in, check out our two urgent topics below!! (I'm sure you can guess what at least one of them is...election day is near)
Sending all of our love, support, and passion!!
URGENT UPDATE 1: MIDTERMS!!!
They are tomorrow. Tell everyone you know to vote. Phonebank, text, canvass, volunteer, post on social media. Check out these past lists (list/descriptions of featured candidates, update and guide to phone banking, update and voter suppression) for ways to get involved and for races to watch.
For further reading, here are:
Everything you need to know (NYT)
Senate races to watch (FiveThirtyEight)
House races to watch (NYT)
Midterms road map (CNN)
URGENT UPDATE 2: TRUMP ANTI-TRANS MEMO
Last list, we reported on the horrible new anti-trans policy that the Trump administration wants to implement. You can refer back to that, and check on some of these articles for more recent developments:
what went down: key news items
The beginning of Bolsonaro’s campaign included numerous challenges, including running against former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who was president for 8 years. During the campaign, da Silva was sent to prison for corruption charges. Bolsonaro’s opposition was Fernando Haddad, who served as a stand in for da Silva. In addition to facing Haddad as a challenger, Bolsonaro experienced a hectic campaign, during which he was stabbed in the abdomen at a rally this September. Despite this being a physical setback, Bolsonaro’s popularity only increased as a result of the stabbing. Bolsonaro has often said that he will reverse the status quo in Brazil and focus on reducing the crime rate, which has included a record high in homicides over the past year. As president, Bolsonaro claims that he says that he will increase the power of military leaders, allow the police in Brazil to kill suspects, make it easier for the public to obtain guns, and decrease the age of criminal responsibility.
Across the board, Bolsonaro is attempting to fight violence with violence. Bolsonaro’s presidency has the power to set precedent for global politics, as well as encourage a worldwide shift to the right.
Links to articles for a more comprehensive and in depth look at this topic:
Jair Bolsonaro Wins Brazil’s Presidency, in a Shift to the Far Right
Bolsonaro wins Brazilian presidency
Bombs Sent to Democrats
Over the course of a week, 14 packages containing explosives were sent out to various prominent Democratic figures. Fortunately, none of the pipe bombs detonated, and no one was injured as a result of the mailings.
So, why was what tied the targets together so significant? Each target has expressed an opposition to Trump in the past, exposing a clearly political motive. The first package was delivered to George Soros, a billionaire and liberal campaign donor. Explosives were also sent to Hillary and Bill Clinton’s house and to Barack and Michelle Obama. The bombs sent to the Clintons and the Obamas were both caught by the Secret Service before arriving at their final destinations. The other bombs were sent to CNN offices in New York City, to Maxine Waters, a Democratic politician from California, to actor Robert De Niro, to Joe Biden (a former vice president), to Cory Booker, a Democratic senator from New Jersey, to James Clapper, the former Director of National Intelligence, to Tom Steyer, a liberal donor, and to Democratic Senator Kamala Harris of California.
Four days after the first bomb was discovered, the FBI arrested 56-year-old Cesar Sayoc after DNA evidence. Sayoc was arrested in Plantation, Florida, and a white van covered with pictures of President Trump and of Vice President Mike Pence and a “CNN Sucks” sticker was found in Plantation. Sayoc was very active on social media, showing his strong support for President Trump and his administration. His social media became overrun with his political views, and he seemed to have particular interests in immigration, Islamist terrorism, and anti-Democrat conspiracy theories. Sayoc has a history of arrests, including a bombing threat from 2002.
Links for a more in depth look at this topic:
Cesar Sayoc’s Path on Social Media: From Food Photos to Partisan Fury
A Timeline of the Pipe Bomb Scare
Trump and Birthright Citizenship
By definition, birthright citizenship is “a legal right to citizenship for all children born in a country's territory, regardless of parentage.” In the U.S., it’s one of the most famous parts of the Constitution. Citizenship’s meaning has certainly changed since it was created just over 200 years ago, notably in 1868, when the 14th Amendment—declaring that U.S. citizens are “all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof”—was passed. Today, it holds true that any children born on US soil is automatically a citizen, regardless of heritage or parental immigration status. Just last week, President Trump challenged this notion (that is, in fact, the literal law). He claimed that the U.S. is the only country in the world that honors birthright citizenship, which is blatantly false—there are well over 30 other countries worldwide who do as well. Trump also claimed he can change with an executive order (which, in fact, he can’t. Not exactly). Essentially, an executive order on his part would make a case in court, but it is ultimately up to the Supreme Court to decide whether they still honor and interpret the fourteenth amendment’s statement of every person. Essentially, the abolition of birthright citizenship would be awful--it’s a tenant of America, and it is incredibly important to millions of immigrants who make this country what it is (and to their children). Read more here and here.
what else went down: news linked to actions
The attack was heartbreaking for American Jewish people who have witnessed a rise in anti-Semitic acts since the 2016 election. Since the shooting, anti-Semitic incidents have spiked around the country, particularly in Brooklyn, where two incidences of anti-Semitic graffiti and seven incidences of arson occurred in the past week. Anti-Semitism has also shown up in midterm campaigns around the nation. Also since the shooting, Jewish people and allies have come together for vigils and protests, and for #ShowUpForShabbat, which took place this Saturday. The Jewish community has received incredible allyship from the Muslim community and other minority groups since the shooting.
An important way to react to this shooting is to make sure you do what you can to understand anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism is one of the oldest forms of hatred, and functions in a cyclical way that differs in nature from other forms of systemic hatred. Therefore, it is both very invisible and very dangerous, as it relies in part on people’s belief that it does not exist. It also forms the ideological core of white nationalism, which places Jews in a puppet-master position in which they are responsible for Black people, Latinx people, and other hated groups' ability to thrive in society. In your daily life, it’s important to do research about this and also show solidarity to Jewish people and environments in your life. American Jewish life often thrives off of bonds with other communities.
Here are a few articles for more information on Pittsburgh and anti-Semitism:
Maurice Stallard, 69, and Vickie Lee Jones, 67, were murdered by a white nationalist last weekend at a supermarket in Louisville, Kentucky. Prior to the shooting, the shooter almost entered a predominantly African-American church but was blocked from entry. When that attempt failed, he went to a nearby Kroger grocery store, where he shot and killed Stallard and Jones. The crime is currently being investigated as a hate crime, although it is very difficult for crimes to be classified as hate crimes in the United States.
Stallard’s son serves as the mayor of Louisville’s chief equity officer, and Stallard was a veteran and former GE employee. Jones was a fixture at her church choir meetings and volunteered in women’s and youth ministries. Both victims were beloved, and key parts of their communities.
The shooting is another example of how guns can turn racism into racist violence. We must fight the dual-pronged spear of gun violence and white nationalism with all of our might.
North Carolina Shooting
Last Monday, October 29th, a student at a high school near Charlotte in North Carolina shot and killed 16-year old sophomore Bobby McKeithen. According to officials, the shooting was a result of bullying that had "escalated out of control." This event--one of three shootings that happened within a week--is another devastating representation of the ways that America's lack of gun control is one of its most pressing issues. The Red Flag law (see Actions section) below is especially relevant to this event.
All of this information, including the story, went viral on social media with its own hashtag and fueled public outcry from various activist groups.
Melissa Mckinnies, a prominent activist herself, in an active protestor in the Black Lives Matter movement. It’s important to mention that there is a pattern involving activists tied to, or involved with, the protests in Ferguson, MI. Her son was the fourth person known to be involved in the Ferguson protests to die under “suspicious” circumstances, and it goes without saying that this is not a coincidence. Mckinnies and many others hope that the exposure of Danye’s story will urge officials to see his death for what it is: murder. And, according to her, she is more than ready to keep fighting for her community and her son.
The biggest thing? GET OUT THE VOTE TOMORROW! We know you know tomorrow is one of the most important elections of our lifetime. If you can vote, vote! If you can’t vote, call, write, stand by subways, and tell every single person you know to vote.
Voting is by no means a remedy for the deep problems in America. But it’s a pretty substantial start because the truth of the matter is that we give a lot of power to the people we elect into office and they can do a lot with that power.
Gun reform scripts:
Do all you can to rail against white nationalism. Campaign against white nationalist candidates. Support and keep track of organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups. Speak about it on your social media and in your communities. Amidst all the noise, it is an enemy for any minority group and anyone who believes in democracy.
Organizations to support:
Support DoSomething, this organization is a non-profit in the US who focus on helping young people to become educated and involved. They offer great resources to stay informed on everything going on, and they also have easy ways to take action against a large number of various issues.
Support Everytown for Gun Safety, an amazing organization that seeks legislative gun reform in order to reduce gun violence in America, by spreading their mission, and, if you can, donating to the cause today.
and, of course, the puppy vid.
Hello Teen Resisters! This week has been chock full of important and complex news. We're here to unpack it all and give you some guidance.
We've included a briefing and action at the beginning about the recent news of the Trump admin's new anti-trans efforts. In addition to sending these resources your way, we are sending love and support to our trans and gnc family. We hope that you are taking care of yourself and doing ok in the face of all of this media, both the bigoted parts and the performative ones.
So let's jump in:
*The briefing on the trans memo was written by Kai Franks. They are not a staff writer and therefore do not have their name on the website, so this is to give them credit where (brilliant) credit is due.*
What Went Down:
Don't forget to take care of yourself after all this unfortunate news! Sending love and light.
Hey Teen Resisters!
These past two weeks have been more tumultuous and emotional than ever. Here, we’ve laid out some key happenings: the Violence Against Women Act, family separation updates, climate change developments, and the recent passing of Indigenous Peoples' Day. We are sending infinite amounts of support and love; sometimes, things like Kavanaugh's confirmation can seem like defeats--and they're really, really tough--but they don't define resistance or make it pointless in any way. Keep calling, signing, campaigning, and protesting!!
p.s. We're honored to publicize a super cool opportunity for NY State high schoolers: start a chapter of Coalition Z at your school! As defined by their website, Coalition Z is a national, youth-led, peer-to-peer network of chapters taking political action and engaging young people in our democracy. Their work involves traveling for lobbying and campaigning, planning and running events and initiatives, and more. If you're interested even the slightest bit, DM @coalitionz.hchs on Instagram or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!!
The hearing was followed by an insufficient and brief FBI investigation that consisted only of nine interviews (not including ones with either Kavanaugh or Dr. Ford). Despite Dr. Ford’s testimony, recognized as credible by a multitude of senators and other individuals, Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court. Following the confirmation, protestors stormed the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court, and 164 of them were arrested by U.S. Capitol Police.
All of this leads to this question: how could Kavanaugh become dangerous? His past actions indicate that he could potentially endanger Roe v. Wade, the ruling that legalized abortion nationwide. Kavanaugh’s other stances include increasing the power of the executive branch and reducing gun control. The decision to confirm Kavanaugh shows a disregard for women and for survivors, one that has been echoed by President Trump’s remarks throughout the entire confirmation hearing process. Trump has gone as far as to mock Dr. Ford’s testimony, and has made such statements as, “It’s a very scary time for young men in America.”
What You Can Do:
Vote (or tell everyone you know above 18 to vote)! On November 6th, every seat in the House of Representatives and a third of seats in the Senate will be up for reelection. A great way to show your support for a candidate even if you can’t vote is to volunteer by calling. Check out this TR list to find some candidates that we support and how to call them.
Expiration of the Violence Against Women Act:
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is a piece of federal legislation that was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in September of 1994. The VAWA is largely seen as the aftermath of Clarence Thomas’s hearing to be a Supreme Court judge, during which Anita Hill accused him of sexual harassment. The VAWA is legislation that expands the funds and the judicial tools available to fight violence against women and to give protection to women who have experienced sexual abuse. The reauthorization of the act in 2013 was largely opposed by conservatives. The Act was going to expire September 30th, 2018, but was extended and is now set to expire on December 7th, 2018. Expiration of the VAWA will result in a large loss in funds for social service agencies that help victims of sexual violence. Cases of sexual violence against women will become much harder to prosecute in the absence of this act.
What You Can Do:
Call your representatives! Ask that they sign on as a co-sponsor of the Violence Against Women Act. You can find your representative by using this link, and you can see if they have signed on to support the VAWA by using this link.
On a separate but also horrifying note, more than a thousand children who arrived at the border as unaccompanied minors have been shipped to a tent city in Tornillo, Texas, which is relatively unregulated and doesn’t provide any formal education to its residents. The move is an attempt to manage the record of more than 13,000 immigrant children who are in government custody right now, straining the capacity of the shelters and foster homes. The problem was made worse by a new policy that orders potential sponsors of immigrant kids—many of whom have tended to be undocumented immigrants themselves —to submit fingerprints in order to have a child placed in their care. This deters potential foster parents from coming forward out of fear of their own status being discovered. This policy has resulted in the inhuman situation that’s currently ongoing, and it’s unacceptable.
What you can do:
These problems are emergency issues that demand immediate, short-term solutions, but they’re also symptoms of a broader problem: a strained immigration system incapable of carefully and humanely receiving the countless migrants that come to our borders every year, and a slate of politicians far too disinterested in caring for them as people—often families—in need of help. The best thing we can do to try to find a sustainable solution (besides running for office, when we can!) is to replace racist, xenophobic, or just lethargic politicians with leaders committed to making America a refuge for immigrants. So… the midterms are in four weeks (!) - check out our various features and updates on the midterms to take action!
*Information on this figure is difficult to determine, due to varying numbers offered, and the fact that things could have changed since the publication of most readily available articles.
And here’s what you can do:
For one, North and South America were already occupied by a multitude of Native tribes, meaning that Columbus “discovering” America is a notion so false it’s almost laughable. In fact, his arrival in 1492 began the exploitation and genocide of Native Americans that is still ongoing to this day. Columbus and his crew stole land from the Arawak and Taino tribes, in addition to exploiting them, colonizing their land, pillaging and wrecking their communities, uprooting them, forcing them to assimilate Christianity, raping their people, enslaving them, and murdering them. The mistreatment, exploitation, and displacement of Native Americans in America is still rampant today.
This “Columbus Day” and every second Monday of October to come, you can celebrate Indigenous People’s Day (as declared by many counties in the US already since 2017!) by doing the following:
On that final note, happy Indigenous Peoples' Day to everyone!
In lieu of our puppy vid this week, we're linking to SNL's Kavanaugh-themed cold open (it's clearly an incredibly serious topics, but sometimes humor can make things, however awful, feel just a tiny bit better).
Hi Teen Resisters! We hope your school years have started off fantastically. These past couple weeks have been chock full of news swirling around us. It's been a lot to stay on top of, so we've got you covered with what you should be paying attention to this week, including two ongoing and urgent topics.
What Went Down:
Cat Video (switching it up this week!): Click here.
Wishing you all a productive couple weeks!
Peace and Power,
Hello Teen Resisters!
School has finally started, it kind of felt like fall today, and we're ready to get back into the rhythm of the year (hopefully, your summers were fulfilling and revitalizing). As always, so much has happened these past few weeks, and it's important to remember that everything you do counts-- every call, every protest, every donation, and every social media outcry will make a difference. We've included some urgent action (midterms! Kavanaugh!), in addition to two regular briefings/action bullets on the death of Mariee Juarez and on Betsy DeVos's new sexual misconduct policies! Good luck with the start of the year, and remember do some self-care when necessary :))
Something Exciting: We recently were given the opportunity to write about TR in Teen Vogue! We're incredibly excited to get the word out in this article-- be sure to check it out. much love!!
Midterm follow up:
As discussed in our last list, we are feeling pretty hyped about midterms and super dedicated to helping Democratic candidates win in key races. We outlined the most accessible and effective ways to help (calling! texting! canvassing!), and specified 6 candidates we think deserve your help: Zellnor Myrie, Lucy McBath, Stacey Abrams, Gina Ortiz-Jones, Beto O’Rourke, and Jacky Rosen. It’s still a priority for you to help them out. They each have big elections coming up, all on November 6th, except for Zellnor Myrie, whose big election is the New York State primary on Sept. 13th.
Each of them is in close races, within a few points of their opponents. They need your support! Please check out last week’s list for a full list of ways to help. And if you have the means, consider donating a bit of money to their campaigns: any amount helps, even $3. Finally, keep on calling!!!
Kavanaugh (Kava-NAH) follow up:
Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s nominee to fill the space left by Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court bench, is currently undergoing confirmation hearings in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee that will determine whether the vote is taken to the Senate floor. After the Senate votes, a simple majority would cause Kavanaugh’s confirmation--an outcome which would be disastrous. Previously, Justice Kennedy was the swing vote in the Supreme Court; now, the very conservative Kavanaugh will become the deciding factor on essential cases (if confirmed, he very likely will vote to overturn Roe. v Wade, among others). Read more about him in our last list (link).
And, recently, Republican Senate leaders have refused Democratic colleagues’ multiple requests to see more than one million documents covering his years as White House staff secretary under President George W. Bush.
Kavanaugh needs to be stopped. Call your senators using this script (regarding their plans to support or oppose his nomination), and sign this petition and any others you find. Remember: there are two Republican senators--Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Susan Collins (R-Maine)--who are pro-choice. If every Democrat, both Independents, and both of these Republicans oppose Kavanaugh, he won’t be confirmed, but barely. So every single call makes a difference.
Inform yourself: here to learn about the senators who will be most likely be deciding factors in the vote, here to learn about the likelihood of confirmation or opposition by Collins and Murkowski, and here to learn about why the ongoing confirmation hearings are so incomplete.
what went down
Just earlier this month, an investigation—yet to be closed—was launched into the allegation that a child died after leaving the residential center in Texas. While Mariee herself isn’t specifically mentioned, ICE issued the following statement: “ICE is committed to ensuring the welfare of all those in the agency’s custody, including providing access to necessary and appropriate medical care. Comprehensive medical care is provided to all individuals in ICE custody.” The agency also tweeted, “Reports that a child died in ICE custody at Dilley are false.” Currently, Juarez’s legal team is working with Mariee’s family to fight for the injustices faced by her and her mother.
What you can do:
So this is all pretty bad. But the policies are yet to be adopted; there’s still time! Take the following measures to make sure that victims of sexual violence on college campuses are protected by the school institutions and courts around them:
And, finally, the puppy vid.
Hi Teen Resisters! It's been an eventful summer!
We hope you've all been able to relax and refresh (though hopefully while avoiding plastic straws!). This month has been news-packed, as you all know! Right now, there's a lot happening with legal and criminal things related to the administration, such as Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen's convictions (as well as lots of other rigmarole) and we encourage you to stay educated and understand what's going on. In this list, we have a couple of regular briefings and then a larger ongoing action we urge you to commit to. So let's jump in!
What Went Down
MIDTERMS! + Ongoing Action
Midterm elections don’t sound glamorous. For those of us who care deeply about social activism but have little interest in red-and-blue district maps, midterm elections are unforgivingly political - often a battle of strategy, compromise, and mathematics as much as idealism. And many of us don’t even get the excitement of casting our own ballots. But the fact remains: it is more efficient and more effective in the long run to change the people in power than to convince people already in power to change the way they use it. If we want to really change this country for the better, as least as far as legislation can reach, and if we want to change it in the long term, we have to throw ourselves into electing the right candidates. And we have that opportunity this year!
On November 6th, the entire House of Representatives and a third of the Senate will be up for reelection, and Democrats have a shot at taking control of both chambers. Momentum from special elections that have turned deep-red districts blue and a general grassroots energy from Democratic voters all around give us real hope of what’s been called a coming “blue wave.”
But it won’t be easy. We can’t let our guard down. (Hate to mention it, but remember 2016?) We have to put everything we have behind these coming races, and then, maybe, we’ll have a chance to clean the House and Senate floor of hatred and bigotry. Not only that, but important local and gubernatorial (governor) races will change a lot for a lot of people.
There are a few ways to really push for a successful election season:
- Vote (DUH!), if you can, and get your friends and family to do the same. Midterm elections (including primaries) are vitally important, but very poorly attended. Change that this year! Before the elections come around, remind friends and family of the dates of the elections and their polling location.
- If you have the means, donate to campaigns!
- Canvass for people. Find local candidates near you that you could spend a day knocking on doors for. Check out Swing Left to find one near you.
But our biggest initiative centers around a pretty common action effort on this site: calling! One of the best ways to impact an election is to volunteer, something you can easily do from the comfort of your own home with calling. Calling can be done with friends, is incredibly easy, and can be tons of fun! You can interact with voters while growing a passion for candidates. We think it should be a priority for Teen Resisters this fall.
We've selected 6 candidates running in various races in various parts of the US, who we'll bio and explain more about shortly. We encourage you to check out their websites. They all have different ways for you to call/textbank, or even volunteer if they're in your area. Generally, we're aiming to spotlight these incredible candidates that we strongly believe deserve your support. Stay tuned for other developments on how TR will encourage your help with these campaigns.
ZELLNOR MYRIE: If you live in New York and care about gun reform, immigration, gentrification, education, or any one of the myriad of issues pertinent to New York State, you should be concerned about the IDC, or Independent Democratic Conference. While New York's State Senate is Democrat controlled, the decisions about bills being passed (or not being passed) are frequently not progressive. (Examples? Check out the three part video on Ilana Glazer's Instagram) That's because of the IDC (recently "disbanded"), a group of Democratic State Senators who always caucus with Republicans, but run as Democrats. They're the reason Red Flag Laws (which we're big fans of over here) have been so hard to pass in New York State. One such State Senator is Jesse Hamilton, who represents Brooklyn's District 20. Zellnor Myrie is a lawyer and activist who is running to unseat Hamilton in the State Senate. He's the son of immigrants from Costa Rica, and has been a qualified figure in the community for years. He's running an organized, grassroots campaign, and if he wins, there will be a very large, very positive impact for New Yorkers statewide.
More about Zellnor: Go to his website & watch his campaign video.
How to help Zellnor win: If you or anyone you know live in District 20 (or any other IDC controlled district!), PLEASE encourage them/do VOTE in the primaries on (this is tricky) THURSDAY, September 13th! It's so important that you do.
Can't vote yet? Zellnor's campaign needs your help. If you're from the NYC area and are down to knock on doors, do so. If you're not, volunteer by calling or text banking for Zellnor. Click this link to get involved, or call the office at (347)-326-1113. (347) 326-1113
LUCY MCBATH: Lucy McBath received a Bachelor's in political science in 1982, but her political career truly started in 2012, in the wake of her son's death. Her son, Jordan Davis, was shot and killed at a gas station in Florida, in a murder that is believed by many to have been a racially motivated crime. The murderer used Florida's lax gun laws to his advantage. Since then, Lucy has been a national spokesperson for Everytown and Moms Demand Action, and she has testified and lobbied Congress many times, as well as serving as a surrogate for Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign. Lucy's father was the Illinois Branch President of the NAACP, and as a child, she was taken to many demonstrations, and marched with organizations fighting alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for civil rights. Now, she's running against Republican incumbent Karen Handel, who infamously beat Democrat Jon Ossoff last year. Lucy is an incredible and passionate candidate.
More about Lucy: Visit her website.
How to help Lucy win: There's a Get Involved page on her website, that you can use to find volunteer opportunities.
STACEY ABRAMS: Stacey Abrams, if elected, would be the first Black woman governor in America. She has a long and fruitful political career, serving as the Minority Leader of the Georgia State House of Reps. She has also founded multiple nonprofit and business projects to benefit Georgians, including the New Georgia Project, and NOW Account. Not only that, she published 8 romantic suspense novels under a pen name (she is the coolest). Her grounding in civil rights and progressive values give her a clear-sighted vision, and her ability to reach across the aisle and carry bipartisan legislation to the finish line makes her an effective leader. Having already won the primary, Stacey is only going up from here- and she is a pretty incredible woman.
More about Stacey: Visit her website.
How to help Stacey win: On the Get Involved page, there are tons of ways to help Stacey: from hosting a house party to simply calling for her.
GINA ORTIZ JONES: Gina Ortiz Jones is running for House of Representatives in Texas, and has tons of qualities that make her an amazing candidate. If elected, she'd be the first openly gay Congresswoman of color from Texas. She was raised by a single immigrant mother, and experienced poverty and state-sponsored financial aid programs as a child. Later, when her mother developed colon cancer, she experienced the ins and outs of the American healthcare system. She's an experienced veteran, having served in the US Air Force in Iraq, as a gay service member under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Since then, she's worked as an adviser on national security, and held other positions as a civic servant. With such close proximity to the border, Gina will also have a lot of say on immigration.
More on Gina: Visit her website.
How to help Gina win: Gina's Get Involved page includes lots of ways to help.
BETO O'ROURKE: Beto O'Rourke is most famous right now for being the opponent of Ted Cruz, and he'd be a game-changing addition to the Senate if he takes Cruz's place. He's a fourth generation Texan, and has served on El Paso City Council and in the US House of Reps. He has an excellent voting record on lots of issues, a 100% approval rating from Planned Parenthood Action, and an F from the NRA- what we like to see! He's a staunch proponent of gun reform, and a champion on DACA.
More on Beto: Visit his website.
How to help Beto win: There are ample volunteer opportunities on his website.
JACKY ROSEN: Jacky Rosen is running for Senate against Republican incumbent Dean Heller in Nevada. She was the first in her family to graduate from college, and served as the president of Congregation Ner Tamid, the largest synagogue in Nevada. As president there, she led the team to construct the synagogue's solar array, cutting their energy bill by 70%. Since being elected as a Representative, she's been a champion of early-childhood STEM learning, especially for girls, environmental justice, bipartisanship, voting rights, healthcare, and immigration. She's also a bold advocate for women's reproductive rights. Jacky won her district despite it having gone for Trump, and the state of Nevada as a whole went for Hillary. We won't make you do the math, but that means she has a pretty great shot (knock on wood!).
More on Jacky: Visit her website.
How to help Jacky win: You can sign up to volunteer for her here.
We HIGHLY encourage you to call or text for one of these candidates, and make it an ongoing action. More than anything else, it will truly make a difference.
And for your dog video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSyI3SruMuU. Enjoy!
And enjoy the rest of your summer! We'll see you back here in September with our regular schedule (and on the campaign trail!).
All the best,
Hi Teen Resisters! As a brief interlude between our July and August lists, we're including this little activist guide from one of our favorite activists on Earth, the incomparable Maya Brady-Ngugi (she's also our Teen Resister of the Month). Her approach to activism is holistic, strategic, productive, and often takes inspiration from history. Her 5 step guide (which she says is "kind of like making a cake"), plus extra tips and recommendations, will have you thinking and planning all summer long (at your own pace!).
5 Step Guide to Becoming an Activist:
"Those are some principles that I find really helpful to activism. The Learn, Gather, Plan, Act and Share... are the bare bones, and activism gets a lot more complicated than that, but those are the things that I have learned," Maya said.
Top Activist Books:
Favorite Documentary: Eyes on the Prize
Maya's Teen Resister of the Month Bio:
Meet our July Teen Resister of the Month, the amazing Maya Brady-Ngugi.
Maya is 18 and an experienced and passionate activist based in NYC, but is moving to Atlanta for college later this summer. She has been working in activism for years. She’s planned teach-ins at her high school in 2015, 2016 and 2017, and planned Black History Month events in ’17 and ’18. She’s run an academic and social mentorship program that connects high school students with struggling elementary school students. On the protest front, Maya has planned walkouts and rallies for Black Lives Matter, following Trump’s election, and for the March 14th ENOUGH Walkout. She also was a co-organizer of the April 20th NYC Says Enough rally in Washington Square Park, and currently serves as the NYCSE Head of Community Outreach. Maya also worked on a Dakota Access Pipeline divestment plan and raised money for protesters there. On top of that, she is on the Sexual Health Education Committee for the mayor’s office in New York City. If her credits weren’t enough, people who’ve worked with Maya know that she is constantly thinking and learning about activist theory, and that she tangibly applies the wisdom she has learned and thought of to the work she does.
Check back for her forthcoming TR list on solutions to police brutality.
Hey Teen Resisters!
A lot has happened in the past few weeks! We've decided to focus on two main, longer topics for this list--updates on family separation and the possible dissolution of ICE, as well as a breakdown of everything that is currently happening with the Supreme Court.
Recently, however, a lot has happened with primaries for the midterm elections. Specifically, the victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the 14th House District in the New York Democratic primaries was incredibly telling of the direction that the Democratic party seems to be going in. Ocasio-Cortez, a former campaign manager for Bernie Sanders, beat incumbent Joseph Crowley by about 15 percentage points. Read more about Ocasio-Cortez’s victory here, and get an overview of what has happened and what is coming up in terms of the midterm primaries as a whole here.
We are also honored to have the chance to feature the June 2018 Teen Resister of the Month, Gaia Gamboa! Gaia is a member of NYC Says Enough and an immigrant herself. The recent detainment and separation of thousands of children at the U.S. border is an issue that she has a personal connection with--in the near future, Gaia and her family hope to foster a child that otherwise would be detained. She also marched with Gays Against Guns at the Pride parade, as one of the 104 'Humans in White' which commemorates those who lost their lives to gun violence, specially the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting. Gaia lives in Brooklyn, and in her free time loves swimming and reading quality books.
Educate, involve yourselves, and resist!
WHAT WENT DOWN
Family Separation, Immigration, and ICE
Perhaps the most pressing issue of right now is family separation at the border. We’ve all seen the photos of the babies crying as they are torn from their mother’s arms, heard the testimonies from parents not knowing where their children are, and many of us marched at one of the hundreds of rallies across the country. But what exactly is the current situation on immigration? Here, we break it down:
But the reunification process is very complicated and will not be an easy fix:
After all this, will Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) be abolished? The idea of ending ICE has become very popular among activists, but politicians’ views are mixed. Many Democrats do indeed support the abolishment, such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (see __!), New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, but key leaders such as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, California Senator Kamala Harris, and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker support reforming the agency instead.
As for Republicans, Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have tried to argue that support for ending the agency equates to support for open borders, though Customs and Border Protection is tasked with monitoring the border, not ICE. This distinction is part of why many support eliminating the department.
What can you do?
Supreme Court-- Kennedy's Resignation, Muslim ban, and more
The Supreme Court recently ruled to uphold Trump’s Muslim ban. “Taking all the relevant evidence together,” wrote Justice Sonia Sotomayor, “a reasonable observer would conclude that the Proclamation was driven primarily by anti-Muslim animus, rather than the Government’s asserted national-security justifications.” The ban itself “indefinitely suspends the issuance of immigrant and nonimmigrant visas to applicants from the Muslim-majority countries Libya, Iran, Somalia, Syria and Yemen — plus North Korea and Venezuela.” Throughout his campaign, Trump thrived creating fear and bigotry. Assaults against Muslims in 2018 have surpassed levels seen in the past, and with this ban those numbers only stand to increase.
More worrying news came out of the Supreme Court recently in the resignation of swing vote Justice Anthony Kennedy. On Wednesday, June 27th, the justice announced that he would retire, giving President Trump the chance to nominate a new, most likely conservative, justice to fill the bench. Justice Kennedy, 81, has acted as a swing vote for nearly three decades. He showed liberal views on gay rights, the death penalty, and abortion, and conservative views on voting rights, gun control, and campaign spending. Filling his vacancy with a conservative would not only lead all future cases in a conservative direction but also endanger many landmark Supreme Court precedents where Justice Kennedy voted on the liberal side.
Roe v. Wade specifically was the landmark 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide, protected under the Fourteenth Amendment right to privacy. If it were overturned, regulation of abortion would revert to state legislatures. Four states would immediately ban abortions when the Supreme Court makes their decision; Mississippi, Louisiana, North Dakota, and South Dakota have “trigger laws” in place. Ten other states still have pre-Roe abortion bans that were never repealed. Trump is currently meeting with candidates, and said he would announce his nominee early next week.
What you can do:
And, finally, the puppy video.
Hello Teen Resisters!
It's that time of year! Pride Month.
Pride month is a time of pride (duh) for LGBTQI+ people, but also a time to remember that queer people are still oppressed around the world and in our own country. Pride was started as an act of resistance in the historical Stonewall riots (started by a Black trans woman, Marsha P. Johnson), and queer people's existence is still resistance in most places.
We've compiled this list so you can celebrate pride by resisting- and of course, with some glitter. We've selected just a few important issues.
Ready to jump in?
Disproportionate Murder Rates for Trans Women of Color:
What’s Going On:
There is a murder epidemic going on in the community of transgender women of color, particularly Black trans women. In 2017, 26 transgender individuals were known to be murdered, making it the deadliest year for trans individuals in over a decade. All but two were people of color [Glaad]. This statistic, although overwhelming alone, does not take into account all the victims misgendered by family, friends, news reports, and the police. According to the Human Rights Campaign, “Transgender women are estimated to face more than four times the risk of becoming homicide victims than the general population of all women.” Additionally, out of the 102 trans people that were recorded victims of fatal violence since 2013, at least 87 of them have been people of color and 75% were under the age of 35. Gun violence continues to be the leading cause of death.
What You Can Do
Legal Protections for LGBTQI+ Individuals
What's Going On:
Many of us are familiar with the 2015 Supreme Court ruling that legalized gay marriage. This landmark civil rights case of Obergefell v. Hodges ruled that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same sex couples by both the Due Process Clause (protection of life and liberty) and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.
The Fourteenth Amendment was ratified after The Civil War and was originally designed to ensure legal equality for African Americans. Courts have interpreted the Equal Protection Clause to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender, religion, and disability. This 2015 ruling expanded the amendment to prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and required all fifty states to perform and recognize the marriages of same-sex couples on the same terms and conditions, with the same rights and responsibilities, as the marriages of opposite-sex couples.
The federal government does not have laws specifically protecting transgender, non-binary, or genderqueer people from discrimination, or allowing gender/name changes on identity documents (driver’s license, passports, birth certificates), but rather, these laws vary by state jurisdiction. Many politicians, namely Barack Obama, argue that the Equal Protection Clause should be extended to transgender and gender-nonconforming people. Obama issued executive orders prohibiting such discrimination in the federal workforce, and allowing public schools to let transgender students use the bathrooms matching their chosen gender identity. Unfortunately, when Trump took office, he rescinded those guidelines, arguing that states and public schools should have the authority to make their own decisions without federal interference. The federal law in question, Title IX, bans sex discrimination in education. Members of the Justice and Education departments are working to settle Title IX to extend these protections to a person’s gender identity. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, as of this month, 18 states and Washington, D.C, and more than 200 cities and counties have adopted laws prohibiting gender identity discrimination.
For specifics on where your state stands with discrimination, bathroom, and identity documentation, check out: https://www.aclu.org/know-your-rights/transgender-people-and-law
What You Can Do:
Under the First Amendment, we can urge elected officials to end discrimination and recognize gender and sexual identities, and to lobby to pass certain bills.
If you feel that your First Amendment rights have been infringed upon, or you are treated with unlawful discrimination, document it thoroughly and report it to the ACLU LGBT Project at 212-549-2627 or email@example.com. In addition to discrimination, you can also contact the project with any questions or concerns, specifically regarding LGBTQI+ parenting, marriage and relationships, youth and schools, gender identity, and HIV/AIDS.
LGBTQI+ Homeless Youth
What's Going On:
With LGBTQI+ identifying youth making up nearly 40% of all homeless youth while only accounting for an estimated 7% of all youth, homelessness is an issue which ravages LGBTQ+ youth at disproportionate levels. According to a 2012 study conducted by the Williams Institute, 46% of homeless LGBTQ+ youth ran away because of their family’s rejection of their sexuality or gender identity; 43% were forced out by their families, and 32% faced physical, emotional, or sexual abuse at home. Facing the risk of harassment, stigmatization, and abuse in shelters, LGBTQ+ youth are also more likely to live on the streets than their heterosexual and cisgender counterparts.
While acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community has generally increased, it is important to remember and support the multitudes of young people who face homelessness and instability in their lives daily.
What You Can Do:
Bias, Heteronormativity & Cisnormativity
Bias, Heteronormativity, and Cisnormativity in Society
Our society is intensely “normative” of the straight and cisgender individual, a perception which is created by the largely straight and cisgender figures and role models in every type of media. This bias is created in us essentially from the moment that we are born, starting with Disney movies and picture books and continuing in almost every aspect of our lives through adulthood.
Most surveys, for example, only give the option to check “male” or “female.” Gendered toys are still prevalent; bathrooms are clearly and unavoidably labeled. Bisexual individuals are written off as “confused,” and dating sites often only give the option to connect with members of the opposite gender. There are countless other examples of heteronormativity and cisnormativity present in our day-to-day lives that silence and push down members of the LGBTQI+ community. Sexual education in high school health classrooms is incredibly problematic in numerous ways, and it often enforces the idea that heterosexuality is “right” or “normal” and that all other sexualities are unnatural. A lack of information about how to have safe sex (whatever kind it may be) also leads to more STDs, a lack of awareness about diseases such as AIDS, and generally more risk-prone and less informed teens.
So: what can you do?
Global Persecution in Chechnya
What's Going On:
On April 28th, 2017, news broke of queer purges going on in Chechnya, Russia. The news detailed intense, state-initiated violence towards queer people, which involved coercion and torture. Many have been rounded up and not seen since, others were tortured and let go, and still more were handed over to their families to be killed in “honor killings.” The testimonies are harrowing- tales of forced suicide, genocidal killing tactics, and chilling capture, and are painful to listen to. Elena Milashina, the Russian journalist who broke the story, has said that for Chechen queer people, “it is not about the right to love, it is about the right to live.” In the past year, groups of American allies like Voices4 have mobilized to end the persecution of innocent queer people in Russia. Voices4 has a set of demands that includes a US investigation into the persecution in Chechnya, the acceptance of more asylum-seekers from the region, and more mainstream media coverage.
What You Can Do:
Happy Pride Everyone!! Take care of yourself and others.
All our love!
These lists include featured organizations, scripts, numbers, news updates and inspirational activists.