Issue #189, 2021 Week 13

Hey everyone,

There are still things that need fixing.  Want to be part of the change. Let us help. Read on to make sure that you’re staying informed!
As always, please reach out (activism@patrothfuss.comwith any tips, suggestions, questions, or concerns!

Thanks,
The Activism Team

This past week was a rough reminder that racial equity still has so far to go in this country. We’ll do our best to summarize, and as always, we’ll include ways to help in the Actions for Everyone section below.

Events to Know

Dismantling the Deportation Machine?  Much like last week, the administration is still struggling to meet the needs of unaccompanied minors and holding them longer than is legally permissible. I am not unsympathetic to the uniquely difficult position faced by the administration when unaccompanied children arrive in unprecedented numbers, and I do appreciate that Biden is negotiating supports for Guatemala and Mexico. But the fact remains that between confusing messaging and legally questionable detention practices, the administration appears to be floundering right now, and I’m not encouraged by today’s decision to make former prosecutor Kamala Harris the point person at the border. Legislation like the bills outlined below help somewhat, but they’re ultimately a bandaid on a deep cultural wound–we need more comprehensive reform if we’re to build a better system.

Key links:

  1. The Hill – Border Crisis Creates New Risks For Biden
  2. New York Times – Surge In Migrants Defies Easy Or Quick Solutions For Biden
  3. ABC – White House Officials To Visit Mexico, Guatemala To Address Root Cause Of Migrant Surge
  4. Axios – Ice Securing Hotel Rooms To Hold Growing Number Of Migrant Families
  5. New York Times – House Passes Bills To Create Path To Citizenship For Some Undocumented Immigrants

Congressional Updates. Congress this week is… a mixed bag, shall we say.  We did have several promising developments: 1) the Senate began deliberation on the For the People Act (which we’ll talk more about below); 2) the House passed two bills that create paths to citizenship for Dreamers and farm workers; and 3) DC statehood is being seriously considered on Capitol Hill. But some victories are nonetheless concerning; the House barely gathered the votes to renew the previously-uncontroversial Violence Against Women Act and twelve Republicans voted against the movement to honor Capitol police that protected them two months ago. That last one, by the way, is because they objected to the word “insurrectionists” being used to describe the people who violently stormed the capitol and literally erected a gallows on-site for Mike Pence. (Remind me why these people are allowed to govern again?) And Congress is likely to consider more gun legislation at President Biden’s urging after yet another mass shooting in Boulder brings us to seven mass shootings in one week–but more on that below.

 

Key links: 

  1. CNBC – Schumer Says ‘everything Is On The Table’ To Pass Voting Rights Legislation In Senate
  2. Politico – House Passes Scaled-back Immigration Measures As GOP Support Wanes
  3. NBC – Democrats, Republicans Clash Over D.C. Statehood Effort
  4. Roll Call – House Votes To Reauthorize, Expand Violence Against Women Act
  5. Stars And Stripes – A Dozen Republicans Voted Against Congressional Gold Medals For Police Who Protected Them On Jan. 6
  6. NPR – Biden Urges Immediate Action From Senate On Gun Bills After Colorado Shooting

Racial Violence in the United States.  This was a painful week for racial violence in America.  On Tuesday evening, an armed white man hit three different massage parlors in Georgia, ultimately fatally shooting eight people–six of whom were women of Asian descent.  The incident highlights violence against Americans of Asian descent that has been on the rise all year, stoked repeatedly by Trump first while he was in office and again as recently as the night of the attack.  This incident is also inextricably tied to violence against women and fetishization of women of Asian descent.  As I type this, groups all over the country are organizing town halls, vigils, bystander intervention trainings, donation efforts, and other forms of support for our AAPI; there are many things we can be doing to help. Actions are particularly needed because official response to the incident has been itself appallingly mismanaged.  First, a local police official stated the crime wasn’t racially motivated despite overwhelming evidence otherwise, claiming that the perpetrator was “tempted” by sex work and was having “a really bad day.”  (Unsurprisingly, it took about five seconds for news outlets to begin noting that this police officer shared racist memes on his social media account.)  More recently, news outlets began reporting that the Latino husband of one of the deceased was held in police custody as a suspect for hours without even being told what had happened to his wife.  But perhaps it is unsurprising that the incidents were mishandled this badly, because the New York Times also reported this week on a bevy of comprehensive reports which outlined exactly how badly police forces mismanaged situations during Black Lives Matter protests all over the country from an administrative perspective.

 

Key links: 

  1. New York Times – Suspect In Atlanta Spa Attacks Is Charged With 8 Counts Of Murder
  2. NBC – Anti-asian Hate Crimes Increased By Nearly 150% In 2020, Mostly In N.Y. And L.A., New Report Says
  3. Guardian – Georgia Officer Condemned For Saying Atlanta Shooter Was ‘Having A Bad Day’
  4. Washington Post – An Atlanta victim’s husband survived the attack, but police detained and handcuffed him for hours
  5. New York Times – In City After City, Police Mishandled Black Lives Matter Protests
  6. Hollaback – Bystander Intervention Training To Stop Anti-Asian/American And Xenophobic Harassment

Recent Resilience

Recent COVID Resilience. We did see some good COVID news this week. President Biden noted this week that the U.S. is on track to surpass 100 million administered doses by Friday. Our vaccine supply rate remains so high that although AstraZeneca was found to be effective by Phase III study, the U.S. might not need any doses. And early research suggests that vaccinated pregnant women may pass antibodies onto their babies.

Key links:

  1. Politico – Biden On Track To Pass 100m Vaccinations, With Time To Spare
  2. NPR- Astrazeneca Vaccine Can Prevent Covid-19, Late-stage Study Says
  3. Washington Post – Vaccinated Mothers Pass Covid Antibodies To Babies In Utero And Through Breastmilk, Early Studies Show

Things to Watch

Filibuster Fighting.  The For the People Act hitting the Senate is forcing a showdown on changing the filibuster, and this promises to be a fascinating fight.  Mitch McConnell has been hitting the ground running, promising A Scorched Earth Senate if anybody else uses the nuclear option that was literally last used by him in 2017.  Meanwhile, Chuck Schumer is calling him out in response.  At this point, even President Biden has come out in favor of reforming the rule, though that might just be his way of telling Mitch McConnell where to take his opinions.
Key links:

  1. Axios – Senate To Introduce Comprehensive Voting Reform, Anti-Corruption Bill
  2. CNN – Mitch Mcconnell Warns Democrats That Overhauling Filibuster Rules Will Lead To ‘Completely Scorched Earth Senate’
  3. ABC – Biden Says He Supports Reforming Senate Filibuster In ABC News Exclusive Interview
  4. Washington Post – ‘Shame, shame, shame:’ Sens. Schumer, McConnell spar over GOP efforts to roll back voting access

State of the COVID-19.  The CDC is changing its suggested social distance practices in education, recommending three feet between students instead of six–which apparently is making some teachers’ unions nervous. Nonetheless, four in ten healthcare workers are not vaccinated, despite their early access. Taxes are now due in May to help people struggling financially during the pandemic. And this week’s “I can’t even make this up” award goes to the Republicans suing over the stimulus bill because it can’t be used to fund state tax cuts.

Key links:

  1. Associated Press – CDC Changes School Guidance, Allowing Desks To Be Closer
  2. Washington Post – More Than 4 In 10 Health-care Workers Have Not Been Vaccinated, Post-KFF Poll Finds
  3. New York Times – I.R.S. Pushes Tax Deadline Back One Month
  4. The New York Times – Republican Attorneys General Press Biden Over Restrictions On State Aid In Stimulus Plan

Actions for Everyone

This week finds us hurting as a nation once more, after another mass shooting occurred in Boulder, Colorado. It’s never easy to write about these events that have become part of the fabric of our society. When will we see change coming from our elected officials? The people who have the power to make the right decisions have constantly failed us.

Gun Safety and race-based violence: I wrote about these bills a few weeks ago but they are still up for a vote in the Senate. The House already passed the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021 and the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021. These bills would expand the cases in which a background check is needed to get a firearm, closing the “Gun Show Loophole” and also close what is known as the “Charleston Loophole”;a gap in federal law that lets gun sales proceed without a completed background check if three businesses days have passed. Congress must address the obvious problem this country has with firearms. You know what to do, call your senators! 

And while you’re at it, tell them your support and expect them to vote in favor of the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act, which would increase oversight of Coronavirus related hate-crimes, provide support for state and local agencies and provide information about hate crimes to the Asian American community. President Biden supports it.

PBS recently made their series Asian Americans available for free streaming online, you can watch it here.

Covid-19 Vaccine!: It’s increasingly hard to get a Covid vaccine appointment so I thought I could list a couple of resources to even your odds. Vaccine roll outs are happening at a faster rate than the Biden administration anticipated and this is a great thing, but it can get frustrating and after a year of quarantine, our patience is low. But we’re getting there! Slowly but surely. Having vaccine doubts? Check out this cool article by Scientific American.

Vaccine Spotter:  This website has a list of every state and it updates every minute.

CDC Vaccine Finder: Search engine for vaccines near you.

Do you know how to code? This article may be helpful to you.

We hope this newsletter left you feeling more informed and more energized to go out there and make a difference in whatever way you can.

We’d love to hear from you, not only for tips or suggestions (though they’re always welcome), but also to hear about how the activism has been going. Do you have any success stories? Did anything surprise you that you weren’t expecting? Let us know at activism@patrothfuss.com and hopefully we can use your stories to help encourage and educate others!

Best,
The Activism Team

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