Issue #191, 2021 Week 16

Hey everyone,

There is so much going on these days and reminders that just because the people in office are different doesn’t mean everything got fixed.  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 week was A Lot, and I think we’re all pretty weary. Suffice to say, a new government is not a perfect government, and we have work to do. I’m here if anyone needs anything.

Events to Know

New Voting Suppression Laws (cont). Outlets are beginning to report that the corporate backlash in Georgia created by the state’s oppressive voting law is shaping the discourse in several other key states around the country. As we’ve discussed before, these laws are part of a concerted, organized attempt to curtail voter turnout in subsequent elections. Now companies in other states are counter-organizing, eager to avoid the profit loss created by responses like the sudden departure of Major League Baseball, and it should make for a more complicated fight on this front overall.

Key links:

  1. CBS – Georgia Has Changed Its Voting Laws. Which States Will Be Next?
  2. Washington Post – More Than 100 Corporate Executives Hold Call To Discuss Halting Donations And Investments To Fight Controversial Voting Bills

Dismantling the Deportation Machine? Immigration is an area where the executive branch does have a lot of power, and unfortunately, this was another bad week for immigration news. At the time that I type this, there are still 445 kids separated from their parents due to the Trump zero tolerance policy; there was also a story about a deported unaccompanied minor getting kidnapped that is highlighting the unique risks of mass deportation of minors. Nonetheless, the number of unaccompanied minors keeps increasing, and hit record numbers last month–though March 2021 was also the highest number of border detentions in two decades in general. President Biden also never finished dismantling the 15,000 person refugee cap, which is putting us on track to have the lowest number of refugee resettlements in American history, and inside sources say this is purely because he doesn’t want the political optics of changing it. And Biden also reportedly is considering the Tuscon police chief to head CBP.

Key links:

  1. New York Times – A Court Filing Says Parents Of 445 Separated Migrant Children Still Have Not Been Found
  2. Washington Post – Migrant Boy Found Wandering Alone In Texas Had Been Deported And Kidnapped
  3. Politico – Biden Administration: Child Arrivals At Southern Border Hit Record Number In March
  4. International Rescue Committee – President Biden Could Admit The Lowest Number Of Refugees In History
  5. Biden Picks Tucson Police Chief To Run U.S. Customs And Border Protection

Infrastructure Week (cont). Almost immediately after unveiling his infrastructure plan last week, President Biden signaled that he would be open to reducing its scope, presumably because Joe Manchin is being a Joe Manchin about both the infrastructure bill and, more broadly, the idea of removing the filibuster. Since a new Senate ruling creates a workaround on the filibuster issue, Biden is stuck working with Manchin on the filibuster issue.

Key links: 

  1. New York Times – Biden Says He’s Willing To Compromise On His Infrastructure Plan, But Will Not Tolerate ‘Doing Nothing.’
  2. Washington Post – Manchin Says There Is ‘No Circumstance’ Where He Would Vote To Get Rid Of Or ‘weaken’ The Filibuster In Blow To Biden Agenda
  3. New York Times – Senate Ruling Gives Democrats A Back Door Around The Filibuster

Recent Resilience

Recent State Resilience. Though there are some scary pieces of legislation brewing in statehouses right now, we actually saw a couple of cool laws this week that deserve their own mention. In Kentucky, legislators voted to expand voting rights, making some of the state’s COVID-related changes more permanent. Meanwhile, Maryland voted to expand police accountability considerably, which is a welcome step in the correct direction especially given the police shooting news below.

Key links:

  1. New York Times – Why Kentucky Just Became The Only Red State To Expand Voting Rights
  2. Washington Post – Maryland Enacts Landmark Police Overhaul, First State To Repeal Police Bill Of Rights

Things to Watch

State of the COVID-19.   COVID news remains a mix for yet another week.  On the negative side: 1) Johnson and Johnson is only releasing 700,000 doses next week, and won’t make their April goal, and had to pause administration anyway because the vaccine can cause blood clots as a rare side effect; 2) Vaccines are still not reaching all demographics equally, and immigrants are facing particular barriers3) The Supreme Court has struck down another pandemic restriction on in-person services; 4) News broke that Trump officials were definitely changing CDC guidelines for political reasons last year; and 5) the more virulent UK strain is now the dominant COVID strain in the U.S., creating a plateau on viral containment.  But on the more positive side: 1) All adults in the U.S. will be eligible for vaccination on April 19; 2) We vaccinated a record number of people today; and 3) The Biden administration is creating a new fund that will cover burial costs for families.
Key links:

  1. New York Times – The Wealthy Are Getting More Vaccinations, Even In Poorer Neighborhoods
  2. Washington Post – Supreme Court Strikes Another Pandemic-related Restriction On Religious Service
  3. CNN – Trump Appointee ‘bragged’ About Influencing CDC Reports On Covid-19, House Committee Says
  4. NPR – CDC Says More Virulent British Strain Of Coronavirus Now Dominant In U.S.
  5. Associated Press – Biden Makes All Adults Eligible For A Vaccine On April 19
  6. Washington Post – Biden Administration To Launch Massive Funeral Assistance Program For Covid Victims

Gun Violence Updates.  The Biden Administration also tackled responsible gun rules this past week, passing six executive orders on the subject and calling our current legal structure “an international embarrassment.” Though it’s a good start, the orders also highlight the ways in which his jurisdiction is limited on this issue; though the President can do things like limiting ghost guns, it’s really up to Congress to pass meaningful reform.

Key links:

  1. Politico – Biden Lays Out Executive Orders To Curb ‘International Embarrassment’ Of Gun Violence
  2. Associated Press – Biden Orders Gun Control Actions — But They Show His Limits
  3. Vox- Senate Democrats Need GOP Help To Pass Sweeping Gun Reform; They Are Unlikely To Get It

Black Lives Still Matter.  This was another terrible, painful week regarding police violence against Black Americans. The ongoing Chauvin trial increasingly highlights police aggression, though I think a unique low point was hit when Chauvin’s defense team claimed that saying “I can’t breathe” is a form of resisting arrest. But even as the Chauvin trial continues, we saw another fatal police shooting in Minneapolis this week during a routine traffic stop, this time with the police officer claiming that she meant to tase the decedent instead of shooting him. And in Chicago, a newly-released video shows police fatally shooting an unarmed 13-year-old boy. Understandably, protests are ongoing in Minnesota and Illinois as I type this. As Rev Jacqui Lewis put it, “We can’t even finish trying one police officer before another murder.” Then, just to punctuate the other two stories, the Biden administration put its proposed police oversight commission on hold yesterday.

Key links:

  1. Boston Globe – Defense Claims George Floyd Saying, ‘I Can’t Breathe,’ Was A Form Of Resisting Arrest
  2. Washington Post – Police fatally shoot man, 20, in suburban Minneapolis, sparking protests
  3. ABC 13 News – Police: Minnesota officer meant to draw Taser, not handgun
  4. Politico – Biden White House Puts Its Police Oversight Commission On Ice

Actions for Everyone

This nation can stand real heavy on your shoulders sometimes. I feel like I don’t have enough words left to express the sadness of losing more black and brown people by the hands of the ones that are supposed to protect us. Rest In peace and power, you lovely souls. I can only hope and dream of a better future for others like us/you.

Shame – Jonathan Mattingly; one of the policemen that shot and killed Breonna Taylor in Kentucky just landed a book deal. It’s disgusting and tragic. He is trying to benefit from the death of an innocent black woman. He is trying to publish his side of the story. This is shameful. It’s shameful for the whole situation to be actually happening and it’s shameful that a publishing company is giving this man a book deal.

What can we do? Email the publishing company Simon & Schuster.I. ’m sure they will like to hear your thoughts.

This is their corporate email: Corporate.Communications@simonandschuster.com

COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act – In an overwhelming bipartisan move, the Senate has voted in favor of moving forward with the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act. According to U.S. News, “the bill would require Attorney General Merrick Garland to appoint a Department of Justice official to expedite a review of reported hate crimes during the coronavirus pandemic. The bill would also direct Garland to provide guidance for state and local law enforcement agencies for establishing online reporting, “culturally appropriate” public education campaigns and data collection.”  Only 6 senators voted against the measure, all republicans.

These are the senators that voted against the bill:

Cotton (R-AR)

Cruz (R-TX)

Hawley (R-MO)

Marshall (R-KS)

Paul (R-KY)

Tuberville (R-AL)

We should start calling the Senate to voice our support of this bill being passed and if your live in Arkansas, Texas, Missouri, Kansas, Kentucky or Alabama; ask your senators why they voted against this bill.

This is the number to call: Senate Switchboard (202)-224-3121

Changes to the Supreme Court – Congress introduced a bill this week that proposes changes to the Supreme Court adding 4 new justices. This bill could help control the damage done by the four years of a Trump administration where three conservative Justices were appointed to the court. This bill was just introduced and it will probably be a long time till it is ready for a final vote but we must keep an eye on this important and transformative legislation. You can read more about it here.

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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