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Hey Teen Resisters!
It kinda seems like we say this every time, but it is always true: it has been a very busy two weeks. From record-breaking low temps in the Midwest to a humanitarian crisis at a Brooklyn prison to infinite tensions in Washington (and more!), we hope to make digesting everything a little easier for all of you. Before we start, we wanted to highlight a few key recent news items that we don't mention later on:
2) Updates on the Trump Investigation. In response to Trump's (threatening) declaration during his SOTU address that "If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war" or "ridiculous partisan investigation," the House has continued to expand its Russia inquiry. Here are a few key happenings:
3) The Shutdown ended without any money for the wall! After 35 days, and over 800,000 government employees going home without pay
checks, President Trump signed a bill agreeing to reopen the government on Friday, January 25. Despite the government being open, more than half of the government employees still went home unpaid. Trump announced that he only intends for the government to remain open for three weeks unless border wall funding is secured
What Happens now?
- There will be lots of negotiations and debate over the security of the nation's border and the need for a wall.
- Democrats and Republicans will try to reach a consensus on a security plan. If a decision is not made, President Trump is threatening to shut down the government, or even declare a national emergency. It seems like Dems are not budging on the wall right now, but we'll see where things go.
what went down
After the public became informed and outraged, over a hundred supporters gathered on the steps of the jail to demand change. Some of the protesters stayed overnight, vowing to wait until power was restored. Hand warmers and hundreds of blankets were sent from the city and accepted by MDC, but were never given to inmates by the federal employees in the prison. Protesters communicated with inmates by asking questions on a speaker system and receiving replies through banging. Eventually, families of inmates began directly communicating with their loved ones through the speaker system as incarcerated men gripped window bars to see and speak to their girlfriends, wives, aunts, fathers, and mothers. After families stormed the prison demanding to see their loved ones, authorities used pepper spray and slapped phones out of protestors hands to try and keep people away. Additionally, social visits had been canceled and visitors have been unable to see their loved ones. After leadership from local and federal politicians as well as the fierce work of NYC Justice League and Federal Defenders, visitation rights were restored and so was heat and electricity, and multiple lawsuits and investigations are underway.
However, there are many unanswered questions about the situation, and it seems that some of the medical issues are worse than we had imagined. Since the heat has been turned back on, corrections officers have allegedly used high heat, hoses, and pepper spray against inmates. Here is an article detailing the intensity of the situation. In general, this situation highlights the intense injustice of our prison system. The refusal to address the situation is just one example of how much our prison system devalues the lives of poor Hispanic and Black people. Each small step towards justice brings us closer to running this antiquated system into the ground. Look out for a mass incarceration feature coming soon.
Click here to view our coverage of the protests outside MDC from our co-director Sonia who was at MDC on Saturday and Sunday.
What you can do:
What can you do?
Kansas is also expected to introduce two bills to legalize medical marijuana. One will be sponsored by Rep. Gail Finney, D-Wichita, and it is partially the result of efforts on the part of Bleeding Kansas, an advocacy group working to get Kansans better health care.
Finney’s is expected to be more liberal than the other, sponsored by Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City. Holland says that his bill is “simpler” and therefore more likely to pass through Kansas’s conservative legislature.
Illinois is going even further: Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, and Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, plan to introduce a bill to legalize recreational marijuana. Illinois residents aged 21 or older would be able to purchase and possess up to 30 grams (or half that amount for nonresidents), and could grow up to five marijuana plants per household. Criminal records of low-level possession or dealing of cannabis would be erased, and tax money raised by a recreational-marijuana program would be used for development of lower-income neighborhoods.
What You Can Do:
Note: We covered marijuana legalization once before in Golden Fights, Moments, and Globes, and here is an article explaining marijuana legalization from a racial justice standpoint, in case you are interested or want to know more before deciding how/if to act on this topic. Reminder that we are not here to tell you what to do, but to give you the tools to impact the change you want to create!
Happy New Year Teen Resisters! After a brief break, we're back with our biweekly lists, and there's a lot to cover! If you don't know, the government is currently shut down. More on that later, but that's (partially) why everything's been so chaotic.
We wanted to point out two things before the list starts:
- We're sure you've seen the video of the MAGA boys and the indigenous elder. Please check out the Issues Affecting Indigenous Peoples section on our Index by the Issue page for all of the lists where we highlight issues of indigenous rights & actions.
- Just as an update: so far, here is who has officially announced candidacy for president in 2020 or an exploratory committee for a 2020 campaign. We've linked their campaign videos or websites:
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D, MA)
Julian Castro, former mayor of San Antonio and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (D, TX)
Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D, HI)
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D, NY)
Senator Kamala Harris (D, CA)
John Delaney, former Rep for Maryland (D, MD)
Richard Ojeda, former State Senator from West Virginia (D, WV)
President Donald Trump (R)
Now let's jump in!
What Went Down:
*URGENT* The Government Shutdown, Explained:
Today, January 21, 2019, marks the 30th day of President Trump’s petulant government shutdown. This shutdown officially started on December 22 of last year, when President Trump refused to sign any appropriations bill (AKA a federal spending bill) that wouldn’t allocate $5.7 billion to the funding of his Mexico-United States border wall.
Already the longest in U.S. history, this shutdown has adversely affected millions -- 4 million government contractors have been laid off. 800,000 direct U.S. government workers have been furloughed, and of those, 420,000 are still being forced to work without pay. The maltreatment, including missing their first paycheck of the year, has brought some workers to the breaking point -- a number of government employees, including many TSA agents, have quit. Additionally, small businesses have been denied loans by the U.S. SBA, federal courts are running out of money, and private companies have refused to go public, leading to a significant decrease in 2019’s overall economic growth. According to the President of the U.S. Federal Reserve, this will likely lead to an overall 1% less of an increase in our Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which amounts to over a third of our annual economic growth lost because of Trump’s shutdown. Other problems include a lack of quality food testing, native reservations struggling due to a lack of government funds, and some government workers have been forced to ration medical necessities like insulin in the face of no pay.
The House of Representatives has already passed a spending bill that would end the shutdown and allow formal debate on immigration to reopen, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) refuses to bring it to the floor. This is clearly only as a deterrent -- the exact same spending bill passed the Senate with unanimous bipartisan support just weeks before. Negotiations are still in full force -- just two days ago, President Trump offered a three year cessation in deportation attempts for DACA recipients (immigrants brought into the U.S. illegally as children) in return for his $5.7 billion in wall funding. Speaker of the House Pelosi (D-San Francisco) refused. There’s an important reason that Democratic Congressional leadership has refused to make any deals with President Trump during the shutdown -- if he sees that using millions of government workers as a bargaining chip works as a political strategy, the President is going to shut the government down every time he wants a policy change. Majority Leader McConnell needs to grow a spine and introduce the spending bill; our politicians need to stick to their guns and fight for what’s right -- ending this government shutdown as soon as humanly possible. As Senator Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi have stated, debate on immigration should be happening in a government setting and should not require a shutdown or presidential temper tantrum where hardworking Americans are the collateral damage.
What You Can Do:
CALL! YOUR! SENATOR! This spending bill has to pass the Senate. Even if you don't think it matters because your senators are super liberal or super conservative, it really does. This thread explains why.
Hi, my name is ______, I’m from _____, and I'm calling to ask Senator ______ to vote to take up and pass the bills to reopen the government that passed the House last week, and to insist that the government be reopened before long-term negotiations on border security or immigration continue. The millions of furloughed employees and lack of funding for vital programs should be prioritized over politics. I urge you to use your conscience in making your decisions on this topic. Thank you.
Info on the 2020 Census Citizenship Status Question: Every 10 years the US government takes a census, a means of recording how many people live in the country and get a general understanding of their demographics. The Trump administration moved to add a question to the 2020 census about whether or not the resident in question is a legal citizen of the United States. Many believed this would discourage non-citizens from partaking in the census, therefore misrepresenting the number of minority members living in the US.
Earlier this week, Judge Jesse Furman, a Federal judge in New York prohibited the Commerce Department from making this addition to the 2020 census, writing that that "[Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross'] decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census -- even if it did not violate the Constitution itself -- was unlawful for a multitude of independent reasons and must be set aside." The Trump administration then appealed this ruling to the Supreme Court, who, on January 18th, decided to drop the case. This implies that SCOTUS agrees with Judge Furman’s initial ruling, a major blow to the Trump administration and a major win for organizations like the ACLU and others supporters of undocumented immigrant rights.
Peace & Power,
Hey Teen Resisters!
Wow. Where to start? First off, we hope that those of you on (a much-needed) break from school and/or celebrating any holidays are enjoying yourselves! An incredible amount has happened in the month since our last list; we took a short break (because of our two features--The First Trans Prom King and The Cure Campaign, which you should check out ASAP) but we're back at it again! Before you dive in, make sure to glance at the two urgent updates/actions below. Happy activisting!
1) PARTIAL GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN
If you've even glanced at the news in the past few days, you have most definitely seen the headlines about the partial government shutdown that is currently ongoing. In case you're at all confused, here's what's happening, very basically: Congress needs to pass a bill giving the government enough funding for it to keep running, and the latest extension expired on Friday night before more funding could be passed. Trump refused to sign a bill that did not allocate $5.1 billion to his proposed border wall, but Democrats refused to include this money in the bill, and Democrats' votes are needed for the bill to pass. Neither side has yet expressed a willingness to compromise. (Do you see the problem?) Check out this article if you want a more detailed description of what is happening (and why).
2) DEATHS AT THE BORDER
This month alone, two children have died in U.S. custody: On December 8th, 7-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin died of dehydration and shock at an El Paso hospital, and on December 24th, 8-year-old Felipe Gomez Alonso died after being moved from facility to facility in the six days between his arrival and death. Both children were Guatemalan. The situation at the border is disgusting and inhumane--too much so for us to say it with words--and our government needs to start taking more concrete, comprehensive action to fix it.
What can you do?
what went down
What can you do?
Foreign involvement in this war is a key aspect. The U.S., along with other European powers like the United Kingdom and France, have provided the Saudi-led coalition with intelligence and weapons. Due to the recent killing of Jamal Khashoggi, this assistance has come into question. Additionally, the U.S. military has claimed (though Iran denies it) that Iran has been sending arms to the Houthi rebels. This has only perpetuated the ongoing tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia. At the beginning of December, attempts at peace talks were made, resulting in the exchange of 5,000 prisoners. These are steps in the right direction, but Saudi blockades around Houthi controlled areas have hindered the distribution of vital food and medical assistance by aid organizations.
Check out this New Yorker article about U.S. involvement in the war if you want more info!
What can you do?
The bill was backed by a bipartisan group of senators. Republican Jeff Flake, one of the strongest proponents of the bill, argued that it was necessary in the wake of President Trump’s appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general. Whitaker, who oversees the Mueller probe, has been openly critical of the investigation, causing widespread worry about the safety of the probe. Opposition among the GOP Senate caucus has been strong, although some Republican leadership has indicated that it would give into Flake’s demand that the bill be brought to vote.
The current government shutdown means that Senators will have a lot on their plate already, so it’s important not to let this key bill go unaddressed. The Senate may be adjourned until Thursday, but you can still call their offices in the meantime, even if just to leave a message. It’s critical that the bill be brought to a vote (and passed!) before the New Year, when the new Congress will meet, including a Senate with a higher Republican majority. If we want Mueller’s probe to be protected (and a constitutional crisis averted!) now is the time to pass this bill.
WHAT TO DO: Call your Senators at 202-224-3121.
Call script: Hello, my name is _______ and I’m a constituent from _______ (city). I’m calling to urge Senator _____ to support the bill protecting Robert Mueller in the case of his firing. In the light of President Trump’s appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting Attorney General, and his threatening rhetoric towards the investigation, it is clear that the threat of Mueller’s firing is both very real and imminent. The Mueller probe is critical in protecting democracy, and this bill is vital toward ensuring that the President is not treated as immune to the law. I strongly urge Senator ______ to agree to bring this bill to the floor for a vote and to vote for its passage. Thank you.
If the bill became a law, physicians who induce abortions would have to give the pregnant women state-published information about “alternatives” to abortion, as well as submit a report to the Department of Health. The people who perform an ultrasound to determine if the fetus has a heartbeat would, if a heartbeat is detected, have to give the pregnant woman a chance to hear it. The Departments of Health and of Job and Family Services would publish and offer information pertaining to family planning, childbirth, and adoption—but not abortion. In other words, even if an abortion was technically legal (i.e. no heartbeat detected) the bill would still attempt to stop the woman from having the abortion.
HB 258 passed both the House and the Senate. However, it was vetoed by Ohio governor John Kasich, who was concerned that the bill would be immediately struck down for violating Roe v. Wade. The Senate lacked the two votes needed for an override of Kasich’s veto, though the House had a three-fifths majority in support of the bill.
Kasich, however, signed SB 145, which bans a certain abortion procedure called dilation and evacuation, or D&E. 95% of second-trimester abortions are performed using this method. Physicians who perform “dismemberment abortions” (as D&E is referred to in the bill) risk being charged with a fourth-degree felony and spending up to eighteen months in prison, unless the mother’s life is at risk.
What can you do?
And, finally, the puppy vid:
We are so excited to partner with The Cure Campaign and share The Cure's message, work, and vision for a better future! The writer of this piece is Ava Monroe. Check out more at thecure.world or on Instagram @thecurecampaign.
When I was ten years old, my mom was diagnosed with Stage Two invasive Breast Cancer. She was thirty-nine. My young, beautiful, brave, brilliant mother: riddled with malignant tumors in both breasts. But when she told me and my siblings, she did not cry. Instead, she made us a promise: I will not die. Although her outcome was something no one could possibly predict, she wholeheartedly believed she would survive. And she did, but that’s not why I started The Cure Campaign. It was sitting in the hospital after my mom’s double mastectomy, later watching her unable to eat dinner after a chemotherapy treatment and feeling crippling fear while waiting to hear the results from her blood test—being there, watching my mom suffer, and feeling an ugly combination of helpless and terrified—that propelled me into action. I was lucky; I still have my beautiful, brilliant mom. I started The Cure for the little girls who don’t. For the people who saw it all, just like I did, but were not so lucky.
The Cure is a national campaign to pass legislation increasing the wildly underfunded National Cancer Research Budget. As of right now, Cancer Research is funded around $5 billion each year. While $5 billion may sound like a lot, compared with the $590 billion for Defense, it’s wholly inadequate. Our goal is to allocate funds in the direction of the future, a future in which cancer is no longer a death sentence. Along the road to congressional approval, we’ve been working on a few projects. The #everybodyknowssomebody social media movement is an initiative to show the American public that cancer is, unfortunately, something that unites us all. Everybody does know somebody, whether they are a patient, survivor, or someone who is no longer here, and it's for those individuals that we fight—for a cure for them. By promoting the universal need to fight for cancer research, we can, as a youth-led-movement, attempt to unite America behind a common enemy: cancer. Everyone can participate—simply use the hashtag, alongside your connection with cancer, and post.
We also have a section on our website entitled Inspiring Youth Advocacy, where we publish articles written by kids that encompass the impact of cancer in America. Some have chosen to write about their personal experience; others have written about new technology in the cancer research field. However, you can write about anything revolving around cancer—the underfunded cancer research department, highlighting a cancer research doctor/hospital, etc. The idea is to create a space in which we can show politicians that cancer research funding is an issue that the youngest generation of Americans care about, something that kids are willing to take time to research and write about. It’s these voices that we want heard, the voices of tomorrow’s voters. You can submit your own article by emailing us at the account listed in our bio on Instagram (firstname.lastname@example.org).
We are are currently working on some new projects in addition to the #everybodyknowssomebody and Inspiring Youth Advocacy campaigns, including: a promotional video, meetings with politicians to develop legislation, our continuing “Fact A Day” social media campaign geared towards educating our followers, exciting partnerships and press, a merchandise line in which half of each individual profit goes to a local cancer research institute, creating a step-by-step process for nationwide branches, a potential march, and more! We are also in the process recruiting new members—if you want to get involved, just fill out the Google Form in our Instagram bio and check out our latest post. After filling out our Google Form, we will contact you and schedule an interview. We are always excited for new members to join the team!
The Cure is an Incorporporated, 501(c)(4) Nonprofit Organization, staffed by minors, with a mission to change America. We are children with a beautiful concoction of intellect, passion, and maybe a bit of recklessness, and we are ready for battle. Everyone on this team has someone their fighting for; everyone in this country has someone they can fight for. Passing major legislation in our current political climate is seemingly impossible. But if America stands with The Cure, we can succeed. Join the movement because—I promise—this is just the beginning.
If you want to learn more, follow us on our Instagram (@thecurecampaign), check out our website (thecure.world), or simply post with the #everybodyknowssomebody. Email us at email@example.com with more questions!
We are honored to be one of 30 global youth platform partners in the launch of an initiative by @ChimeForChange (CHIME FOR CHANGE) and @weareirregular (Irregular Labs) to explore gender and our fluid future through the lens of Gen Z. We're so excited to share this story of an incredible young person, Alan Belmont. Check out the other content and partner platforms in the link below. The writer of this piece is Mackenzie Wagoner.
Full report: https://www.irregularlabs.com/gender
Last spring in Indianapolis, then 17-year-old Alan Belmont made history when he became the nation’s first transgender prom king. If Belmont’s campaign seemed like a long shot — he ran for prom king in, of all places, the conservative Midwestern birthplace of Mike Pence — his win is the canary in the coal mine for the deeply gendered high school ritual, and the billion dollar industry that supports its binary traditions.
In between his freshman college classes, Belmont hopped on a call to talk about who has the right to the titles of prom king and queen, and what prom attendees of the future will be wearing. Hint: it’s not your average penguin suit.
Why did you decide to run for prom king?
I think a lot of people would call prom king and queen a popularity contest, and I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with that. I don't think I ever was popular until I won prom king. I'm a trans guy. When you think of the popular kid, a trans person is never in your mind. The main thing that I wanted to say by running was: Yes, this is something that has never happened in our school. And this could be a historical, great moment, but I don't want a trans person running for prom king to be the most amazing thing in the world. It’s just prom king and queen. It’s just high school prom, everyone does it.
Tell me about your transition — when did you know that you identified as male?
I started thinking about gender my sophomore year when I met someone agender online. They educated me on they/them pronouns and what a trans person really is and what it all means. I went into the library and I got this book called Beautiful Music for Ugly Children. I started reading it and relating to the feelings that the trans guy in the book was talking about having. I went to a meeting that the gay straight alliance at my school was having where this guy was talking about the spectrum of gender and what it means to be trans. He had a full beard and had a deep voice, and I didn't realize he was trans until after the presentation even happened. I was so shocked and amazed, and it was that presentation that really got me questioning my own identity. And that's when I realized how valid all the feelings I was feeling were. I asked my friends if they would shorten my name and call me Al. I wanted to see how it felt.
When you were getting ready for prom, how did you decide what to wear?
I learned a lot about how men dressed through being in show choir because we would have dress up days where guys would come in wearing suits. So for prom I got this really nice like $300 suit because I thought, you know what, I'm running for prom king. I went to a department store and I got a pair of dress pants, a suit jacket separate, a white collared shirt and a tie. I didn’t know what a fitting was. I got fitted at a regular tux shop in the mall, just like any other guy would. And they were like, "Okay, here's your cufflinks and your bow tie and your button cover.” I was like, "Oh my god. This is a lot more than what I thought it was.”
Who did you take with you? And what did it feel like to win?
I went with my ex-girlfriend. When I found out I won, the crowd was cheering and I knew they really supported me and were looking out for me.
If you could go to prom again, what would you wear?
My boyfriend is a senior in high school still. He's probably going to go to prom this year. And he's like, "I don't want prom to be the girls in cool, crazy dresses and all the guys just in black suits. We should go to prom this year in some cool outfit.” And I was like, "Okay, let's do it”. Platform heels and dress pants and a collared shirt, but with a cool jacket — it’s not necessarily suit and tie. Now, with social media being something that everyone is a part of and with fashion and culture being more normative, a lot of people are now going to start wearing things that are more out there to prom. I think guys will get involved in it, too.
Where do you look for fashion inspiration?
Mitch Grassi from Pentatonix is very fluid in his gender expression. It really helped me when I was coming out. I learned that it's okay to present yourself as feminine even if you are a guy. And that applies to trans people, too. Just because I'm trans and I was born as a girl, doesn't mean that that should be taken away from me. I do drag, for example.
A lot of people think that's weird — they’re like, "Hold on a second. You were born a girl, right? And you're a guy, but now you're dressing as a girl again?" It has nothing to do with dressing as a girl. It is a way for me to express a side of femininity that I couldn't if I was just wearing feminine clothes, because that would make me feel weird. I can put on huge lashes and this big wig and these ridiculous clothes and still be viewed as a guy. And it's something that's so freeing for me to do. If a cis guy were to put on makeup like James Charles or Jeffree Star —they do it all the time and no one questions it. Makeup is a form of expression and it’s something that I want to participate in. Just because I’m trans, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have to.
Tell me why it’s important for you to be able to express a spectrum of gender:
Gender identity and gender expression get mixed up a lot. My gender identity is a man, but I express my gender in a lot of different ways. I don't always wear super masculine clothes. I do because I want people to acknowledge me as male. I would say that my gender expression coincides with my gender identity in the same way that how I express myself does not define who I am.
How do you think the future of prom can support more fluid gender expressions and identities?
I would love to see a prom with a lot more cool clothing. But I also want to see, at least from my school, a trans girl do the same thing that I did. In Indiana, people are not as open about gender expression and gender identity. This is where Mike Pence is from. In my community, there’s a lot less open acceptance of trans women than there is of trans men. It seems nearly impossible for trans women and trans women of color to gain acceptance among cis normative people. It is a lot easier for me to pass. It has a lot to do with the way that hormones affect bodies. I cannot wait for a trans woman in Indiana to make a name for herself and to be unapologetically herself. To live as herself, for herself, and to make representation more valid. I just can't wait to see that happen.
Hello Teen Resisters! We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We're ready to dive in to some of the biggest issues of the week.
Also to take note of:
- the Green New Deal proposed by new House Dems in response to the climate crisis. It's pretty fantastic.
- The current situation at the border, which we are not covering until next list because of its undeveloped nature. If you have questions about it, feel free to email us or DM us on Instagram. For now, here's a good article.
So let's jump in!
What Went Down
Aaand your puppy video. Click here. Have a fantastic week!
Peace and Power,
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).
These lists include featured organizations, scripts, numbers, news updates and inspirational activists.