Our biweekly lists lay out notable issues in the news and tell you what you can do about them.
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Hello Teens Resisters!!
These past few weeks have, like all the other ones, been crazy. We hope that this distillation of some of the main events will allow you all to focus on what you want to take action on and do so. Just FYI, this list will include some hopefully easy-to-digest info the recent Crown Heights shooting, the new Russia sanctions, and immigration.
Peace and power,
In addition to a couple of our usual news briefings and action, we have decided to include a brief feature on the topic of sexual assault and harassment in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
“She was asking for it, with what she was wearing.”
“Well, then, she shouldn’t have had that much to drink.”
“She shouldn’t have been walking alone at night.”
“It’s her fault.”
These phrases are ones that we hear in our daily lives and see so often in the media that they sometimes become normalized or maybe even internalized. But sexual assault is a scary, awful, disgusting reality, and recognizing it is the first step to decreasing it.
Here are some statistics:
And just so that we all remember, here’s something else: the president of the U.S. was recorded boasting that he grabs women “by the pussy,” that women are “beautiful pieces of ass,” and that you have to “treat ‘em like shit.” The list goes on. And on.
This list has a more detailed layout of actions to take, recent movements, and more. But here are some basic things you can do to decrease sexual assault in your daily lives:
Stop. The. Rape. Jokes. It’s hard and uncomfortable and sometimes you might have to hurt a relationship to do it, but the normalization of sexual assault and harassment is what allows it to survive and thrive so unchecked in our day-to-day lives.
Try to support survivors around you. This might be very difficult-- often, people don’t share experiences like these ones, and sometimes there is little you can do. But try to get them to professionals or other trusted figures, and let them know that they’re not alone. Even just making eye contact with someone you see being catcalled on the subway can make a world of difference.
Support amazing organizations like Planned Parenthood, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, and RAINN.
This hopefully goes without saying, but actively campaign against/never support public figures, politicians, or even people in your own community who are perpetrators of sexual harassment or assault. If a teacher is making inappropriate comments to a student, talk to that student and possibly later that teacher’s superior. Try to never to let sexual assault go on where you can see it.
WHAT ELSE WENT DOWN:
Crown Heights Shooting: On April 4th, yet another black man was fatally shot on the streets of Crown Heights. Shaheed Vassell was a 34-year old man who was believed to have had a gun in his hand. The NYPD says officers responded to multiple 911 calls about a man aiming a gun at residents just before 5 p.m. on Montgomery Street. Additionally, surveillance video shows Vassell approaching a number of people on the street and pointing a metal object (which turned out to be a silver pipe) at them. Soon, police were dispatched and, once in contact with him, four of them fired a total of 10 shots. He was treated for gunshot wounds at the scene, but when taken to Kings County Hospital, he was pronounced as dead.
Vassell is a unique case, as he was diagnosed with bipolar disease. Eric Vassell, Shaheed's father, said that his son had been admitted into hospitals multiple times in recent years, sometimes after encounters with police. Around the neighborhood, he was known to be a loving father who would beg for money at the subway station and pick up odd jobs to support his family. Adding to Eric’s statement, many of the area residents knew he had a mental illness and believed that many of the local police were familiar with him and his bipolar disease. In fact, police have said that they have arrested him before and the officers in question have identified him “as an emotionally disturbed person” in interactions leading up to the shooting. As we know, this is not the first time black men have been shot because the police “thought” they were in possession of a gun. This also isn’t the first time someone has been shot due to an inconsideration regarding one’s mental illness. With the growth of gun reform, it’s important to also fight for and alongside the Black Lives Matter movement.
What can you do?
Sanctions Against Russia: On this past Friday, April 6th, the Trump administration levelled sanctions against seven Russian oligarchs and seventeen senior officials in the Russian government. Although preceded by the H.R.3364, a law passed with bipartisan support in the House and Senate which mandated that President Trump punish Russia for human rights abuses, corruption, and arms transfers, Trump’s most recent sanctions still fail to fulfill the ones outlined by Congress. The job of the executive branch, of which President Trump is the head, is to execute the laws that Congress passes. In willfully disregarding his duty to enact laws that Congress sets forth, President Trump is (once again) neglecting his responsibilities as the President of this country.
As is evident in his failure to perform sanctions against Russia outlined in H.R.3364, President Trump clearly rejects the notion that Russia should be penalized for the grievances it has committed against the global community. So then why legislate sanctions against Russia now, especially if they’re ineffective? President Trump has likely enacted these sanctions to mitigate political pressure. As Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, closes in on President Trump’s connections to the Kremlin, suspicion has mounted. These sanctions, despite failing to castigate Russia fully, will be seen by the public as a sign of President Trump’s opposition to Russia.
What can you do?
Call your representatives and tell them to hold the President accountable for his lack of real action against Russia. Don’t let Trump get away with appearing to oppose Russia while at the same time failing to fulfill his charge as President of the United States. The H.R.3364 passed nearly unanimously with both Republicans and Democrats, so call your representative regardless of their political affiliation.
Use this script: Hi, my name is [your name] and I’m calling because I believe that sanctions against Russia are a real and pressing issue, and I think [rep name] should, too. President Trump recently announced his new Russian sanctions, which are a greatly watered down version of those passed in Congress with the H.R.3364. On a basic level, Trump is hiding behind ineffective legislation while disregarding his duties as President of the United States and allowing Russia to continue its reprehensible activities. This is completely unacceptable. I’m asking [rep name] to hold Trump accountable for his lack of action and push for legislation that will fully penalize Russia. Thank you.
Trump, Immigration, and DACA: Things you should know right now
Learn more about the specifics of DACA here.
Despite longtime military opposition, Trump ordered the National Guard to patrol and secure the Mexico-US border and do what he believes current immigration authorities in place are not.
At the beginning of last week, Trump released aggressive and unfounded tweets, venting about “dangerous caravans” of migrants on their way to the Mexico-US border (not fully true), labeled US immigration policy as an “Obama joke,” and condemned the inefficacy of current immigration policy in the US.
Later, Trump also Tweeted: “DACA is dead because the Democrats didn’t care or act, and now everyone wants to get onto the DACA bandwagon.” Why is this so wrong? Not everyone can simply jump on the “DACA bandwagon,” given that the program only applies to immigrants living in the US before 2007. Additionally, the Tweet suggests that he no longer has any interest in following a DACA bipartisan deal as he had previously stated.
If DACA does “die,” as our president so eloquently put it, it will result in the deportation of over 800,000 dreamers and their families.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Visit www.weareheretostay.org to hear the stories of who Dreamers really are.
And of course, your puppy video: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1rtE4jLGG8Q
have a good week!
These lists include featured organizations, scripts, numbers, news updates and inspirational activists.