Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Is It Possible For The Left To Unite?

I Rise, Toledo--Unity March 2018
words and photos by C.A. Matthews

It's been a tough year, but it's also been a productive one for many progressive groups. The second annual "Unity March" in Toledo, Ohio, organized by the YWCA was a success. Even with dense fog earlier in the day and a misty rain all afternoon, there was a good turnout. The march began at the "Toledo Loves Love" wall and continued down Adams Street to historic Trinity Episcopal Church.

Dozens of progressive organizations held a resource fair at the march's end, and Food Not Bombs provided delicious food for all.  There were groups concerned about health care (Ohio SPAN), women's reproductive rights (Planned Parenthood), gender rights (U.R.G.E.), racial justice (BLM) and political activism (Move To Amend and gerrymandering reform). Petitions were passed around and signed, pamphlets and brochures shared, and new members recruited.
No matter what the mainstream media says about the Left, there seems to be more agreement than discord among diverse groups, at least locally. And perhaps that's all that is really needed--cooperation at the local level. It's where most of our everyday governance come from and where we can make the most immediate impact.
Take courage from these happy marchers. They're taking action to protect their best interests and make the world a better place for all. Do likewise and encourage others to join you in your work. It's always better together.

Is It Possible For The Left To Unite?
by C.A. Matthews

Is it possible for the Left to unite and defeat the powers of corporatism, a.k.a. fascism? 

It's a question that haunts many progressives, and I'm no exception. For every successful "unity event" I've witnessed, I've also experienced a catty remark  from someone whose opinion boils down to  "It's my way or the highway." In other words, not everyone wants to build a future to believe in if it's not done in a manner they feel is best. They'd rather we all suffer together if they can't see their vision come to pass with their chosen candidate or through their particular plan of action. Selfish but true.

For instance, the drive to reform the Democratic Party from within. Groups such as Our Revolution and Justice Democrats have done their best to whip up support and increase progressive membership in the party. However, the same corporate-owned politicos remain entrenched in the highest positions, and they don't act like they're open to progressive newcomers in their ranks. The more things change, the more things seem to stay the same in the DNC. 
Still, you can't fault people for trying. It's better to say you tried and failed than you never gave the Dems a chance to reform themselves. But is it worth it to continue spending time, energy and resources to change a party that doesn't want to change? Can the Left unite around a party that wants to remain on good terms with their corporate paymasters? Wouldn't it be better to unite around the progressive ideals that Bernie Sanders and the Greens have espoused and wave good-bye to the DNC? Wouldn't it possibly be better to start a whole new party, a people's party?

For every progressive you meet, you'll get a different answer to these questions. So, we might as well agree to disagree on how we view the effectiveness of trying to reform an establishment party. Once we acknowledge that we hold slightly different takes on what it means to be a progressive, then we can build a coalition to work on the major building blocks of that future we all believe in--universal health care, free education from daycare through college, environmental protections, the development of clean energy sources, taking big money out of politics, among others. 

If everyone on the Left side of the political spectrum focuses on tackling these issues one by one, and puts all posturing aside, then we will be strong enough to create a united front against the fascists. We will have the power to put them out of business once and for all. 

It is possible to unite the Left. Anyone who fights against that unity is on the other side. Don't listen to them. Unite anyway. We have important work to do.

Look what happens when we work together...
From the Hightower LowDown--Ordinary People Working Together to Win Elections:

Beanstock's World takes a look at the advantages of voting on paper ballots and how it could strengthen democracy:

Why we need to work together, now more than ever:
Inequality Is Killing America's Children

Democracy is under attack in Ohio! Read on to learn more:

House JointResolution 5 (HJR 5), introduced in fall 2017 in both houses of the Ohio General Assembly, would dramatically change the already-difficult process to amend the Ohio Constitution and is stealthily making its way through the Ohio General Assembly.

Make no mistake, this is a direct attempt to thwart direct democracy by the people of Ohio. It is an attempt to make sure that only the state legislature has the power and ability to pass laws that WE must follow. It is an effort to make sure the people cannot propose legislation that the general assembly refuses to pass OR repeal legislation that the people find unjust or oppressive. Remember the people repealed SB5 in 2011.
This is a direct attack on the constitutional check and balance that the people of Ohio have over the state legislature. Here are the highlights (or lowlights) of this proposal:
·         Raise from 10% to 12.5% the number of petition signatures of Ohio’s registered voters (in the last gubernatorial election) to put a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot. Based on turnout for the 2014 election for governor, about 318,000 valid signatures presently are needed to put an issue on the ballot, but the 12.5% requirement would raise the total by 79,000 additional signatures, to about 394,000 valid signatures.
·         Raise from a simple majority (50% + 1 vote) to 60% the total number of votes required to pass an amendment to the Ohio Constitution, or to pass a law proposed by the people. In 2017, about 1,600,000 people voted on the victim’s rights constitutional amendment, and 50% + 1 votes, roughly 800,000, would suffice to pass it. The proposed 60% super-majority requirement would make it necessary for 150,000 to 170,000 additional votes to pass a constitutional amendment or a new statute proposed by the people. Instead of about 800,000 votes, nearly 1,000,000 votes would be required. Funny how this 60% rule doesn’t apply to candidate elections to office.

·         Raise from 3% to 3.75% the number of registered voters’ signatures to propose legislation to the Ohio General Assembly, an increase of about 24,000 signatures. Currently about 94,000 valid signatures are needed. The proposed change would increase the requirement to about 118,000. The proposed legislation would require, first, obtaining an additional 3.75%, instead of the current 3%, of registered voter signatures, followed by a vote by a 60% super-majority.
·         Prohibit payment of any compensation to a petition circulator for gathering signatures. 

About the sponsor of this resolution:

State Representative Niraj Antani (R-Miamisburg) released the following statement regarding the announcement of the potential initiative constitutional amendment for the adult consumption of recreational marijuana:

"The initiative constitutional amendment proposed today is yet another ill-conceived ballot initiative with dishonest intentions, amplifying the need to pass House Joint Resolution 5, which I introduced recently. This is another proposal attempting to use the Ohio Constitution as a means for a special interest to make a profit at the expense of the taxpayers of Ohio, a gross misuse of our democratic process. HJR 5 would preserve the integrity of our state’s founding document and prevent moneyed special interest groups from buying our ballot. Today’s proposal is exactly what I am trying to stop with HJR 5. We must pass HJR 5 to stop this additional attempt for a moneyed special interest to hijack our ballot and buy their way into the Ohio Constitution.”

This misleading statement is appalling for many reasons—
·         Representative Antani wants to make it more difficult for the people to have a check on a state legislature that is bought and paid for by corporate special interests, while he presents the amendment as being in the best interests of the people.
·         Representative Antani has received campaign money from First Energy, Dayton Power and Light, Nisource, the Automobile Dealers Association and other corporate interests. He, like most of our elected officials, are beholden to and represent the interests of corporations over the interests of the people of Ohio.
·         If Representative Antani was serious about special interests hijacking our ballots and buying our Constitution, then he would be sponsoring legislation limiting corporate lobbyist donations to issues and candidates. He would be proposing a Fair Elections constitutional amendment along the lines of what Youngstown tried to get on their local ballot, until the state blocked it. http://www.protectyoungstown.org/fair-elections.html
·         If this is so important to protect the people, why, without any public debate, is this being proposed for the May 8 ballot in Ohio?
·         If this proposal gets on the ballot, it will only need 50% + 1 to become a law that will limit and stifle democracy forever after to a “super majority” of 60%.
We the people of Ohio cannot continue to allow a corrupt state legislature to slowly take away the people’s voice in governing decisions. Our democratic rights are being sabotaged, and we the people must say NO and say it loudly. We must support initiatives and organizations that are attempting to reverse this corporate state agenda and put democracy back in the hands of the people who will be affected by the laws that are passed. We must recognize that we the people are following laws written by and for corporations, and work to reverse this so that we the people are writing laws that corporations must follow.

The OHCRN is proposing two constitutional amendments to do just that. The Ohio Community Rights Amendment and the Initiative and Referendum for Counties and Township Amendment. Visit our website at http://ohcommunityrights.org/projects/statewide-constitutional-change/ to read both proposals full text and contact us to find out how you can help.

Join us in the effort to “legalize” and protect democracy by the people in Ohio.

Tish O'Dell

CELDF Ohio Organizer

OHCRN State Coordinator, www.ohiocrn.org

 Tree Media presents We the People 2.0 – The Second American Revolution, a film featuring the new democracy movement building across the United States. 

Support OHCRN. Make your contribution today.  Thank you!


 Donald Trump has made a political career out of demonizing people like me.
He announced his presidential campaign by calling Mexicans rapists, criminals and drug dealers. Just last week, he called Haiti and nations in Africa “shithole countries,” saying we should accept more immigrants from Norway instead. 

Beyond these racist words, Trump and his administration are rapidly advancing hateful policies. The day before his “shithole countries” comment, ICE raided more than a hundred 7-Eleven stories across the country. 

Faced with Donald Trump and the Republican Party’s relentless attacks on immigrants of color, it may be tempting to give up. To let their words define me and my family.
But I choose hope. I’m in this fight because, like my mother, I have hope that the power of the people will change our country. 

My name is America Reyes. I’m a Mexican immigrant who migrated to the US when I was 5 years old. I’m a leader with the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, a People’s Action member organization. 

My parents brought me here with a dream. They wanted a better life for me. Just like them, I work every day to fulfill my dreams and thrive without fear of deportation again. I’ve been an active community member advocating for immigrant communities. I hope to become a lawyer and a judge one day. I want to have the power to carry justice forward and to continue the legacy of generations before me.
I also want to set an example for my younger sisters — I want them to know that we can win when we fight for our dignity. And I fight for a clean Dream Act to honor the fights my parents have gone through to be able to dream. 

Every day, about 122 young people like me lose their Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status. That means there are over a hundred youth each day at risk of being torn from their families and the country they call home. 

This is a moment of crisis for my family, as it is for so many families across the nation. 

I fear for how my younger sisters will feel being torn apart from their big sister. I worry for how my parents will fare having their daughter stolen from them. 

I am young woman with rights and dreams. And I deserve to see them through. 

Congress is negotiating the fate of 700,000 Dreamers this week. You can call 888-778-6856 and be directly connected to your member of Congress.
The stakes couldn’t be higher. Please join me in making the dreams of hundreds of thousands of young immigrants come true. Call Congress today and demand they pass a clean DREAM Act. 


America Reyes
Leader Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada and People’s Action

From Credo:

There is a massive new threat to fragile bee populations, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the power to stop it.
Syngenta, the Swiss-based agro-chemical rival to Monsanto, is seeking government approval to spray its bee-killing pesticide thiamethoxam on more than 165 million acres of American crop land.1

If the Scott Pruitt-led EPA under Donald Trump’s regime approves the company's application to apply massive amounts of this toxic pesticide on popular crops like wheat, barley, rice, alfalfa and potato, we could see even more dramatic and rapid declines of bee colonies. We must urge the EPA to deny Syngenta's application immediately.

Tell the EPA: No mass spraying of toxic, bee-killing pesticides. Click here to sign the petition.

In recent years, bee populations have plummeted significantly due in large part to the expanded use of bee-killing pesticides. More than 700 North American bee species are at risk for extinction, and in 2016-2017 alone, beekeepers lost 33 percent of their bees, yet the EPA has failed to take significant steps to limit pesticide use.2,3 In fact, just before Donald Trump took office, the EPA publicly acknowledged that neonic pesticides pose a significant risk to honeybees but backed away from a proposed rule to limit their use.4

Incredibly, this proposal by Syngenta to significantly ramp up its use of this toxic chemical on crop land fell on the very same day the EPA released a stunning new report detailing the dangers neonicotinoids such as thiamethoxam pose to animal life, including birds of all sizes.5 This most recent EPA study comes on the heels of numerous studies detailing the risks neonics also pose to invertebrate aquatic life.

As Lori Ann Burd, director of the Center for Biological Diversity's environmental health program, put it:

"If the EPA grants Syngenta's wish, it will spur catastrophic declines of aquatic invertebrates and pollinator populations that are already in serious trouble."6
Activism to protect bee populations works. Hundreds of thousands of CREDO members have mobilized in recent years to pressure the EPA to restrict expansion of Monsanto's bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides. But with Trump occupying the White House and Pruitt leading the EPA, we need to double down our efforts to keep these toxic pesticides from dramatically worsening the bee crisis.

Tell the EPA: No mass spraying of toxic, bee-killing pesticides. Click the link below to sign the petition:

Thanks for all you do.
Josh Nelson, Deputy Political Director CREDO Action from Working Assets

Add your name:

Sign the petition ►

  1. Grace Guarnieri, "EPA Might Let Bee-Killing Pesticide Be Sprayed On 165M Acres of Farmland," Newsweek, Dec. 21, 2017.
  2. Justin Worland, "More than 700 North American Bee Species Are Headed Toward Extinction," TIME, March 2, 2017.
  3. University of Maryland, "American beekeepers lost 33 percent of bees in 2016-17," May 25, 2017.
  4. Center for Biological Diversity, "Same Day: EPA Acknowledges Proven Dangers of Bee-killing Pesticides But Refuses to Restrict Them," Jan. 12, 2017.
  5. Center for Biological Diversity, "EPA Considers Allowing Bee-Killing Pesticide to Be Sprayed on 165 Million Acres of U.S. Farmland," Dec. 19. 2017.
  6. Ibid.

From Social Security Works:
As all eyes are focused on a potential government shutdown, the Senate is attempting to sneak through Alex Azar. He’s Donald Trump’s new pick for Secretary of Health and Human Services, the cabinet post that oversees Medicare and Medicaid. And he might be even worse than Trump’s first HHS Secretary, Tom Price.
Azar is the former president of pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly USA. During his tenure, Eli Lilly more than tripled the price of life-saving insulin medication―protecting drug company profits over patient care.

Alex Azar is the definition of the “revolving door” in Washington. He used his time serving in George W. Bush’s Department of Health and Human Services to cater to big pharma’s whims, auditioning for a cushy corporate job. He then spent nearly a decade personally profiting off of an industry he once regulated. And now he wants back in at HHS.

At a time of skyrocketing drug prices, we need a health secretary who will take on the drug companies, not pad their pockets!

Thank you for taking action today.
Michael Phelan
Social Security Works


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Just Not That Into Politics?

You say you're just not that into politics? Maybe you should be. 
Still Bernin' gives us the score.

So...You Say You're Just Not Into Politics?
by Still Bernin'

 I was a different person three years ago.

Three years ago, I hadn't met Bernie Sanders yet or seen the light of a future to believe in. I can't say my life has improved materially much in the last three years since I "got into politics," but at least I know the why of how things got so screwed up in our country and a little more on what we should be doing to fix things.

Things got messed up big time for America because of the greedy people called the one-percent and their kiss-ups, the corporate-owned politicians of the so-called "two major parties." Four years ago, I wouldn't have known how practically identical the Democratic and Republican Parties are. Now I see them as they really are--as henchmen for the billionaires and wannabe millionaires. 

Neither "party" really cares who wins the White House. That's not their game. All you have to do is look back at the elections featuring Al Gore and Hillary Clinton. They both gave in easily when the actual vote count might have said otherwise. They couldn't be bothered contesting the outcome because they knew they'd receive their reward if they didn't cause a fuss. 

Don't know what I mean? Al and Hill are not hurting for money nowadays, are they? Obviously, they did as they were told by their super-wealthy puppetmasters in the one-percent. And the $400,000 speeches to Wall Street banksters just keep rolling in, and the laws get changed to benefit those very same banksters...

If I hadn't gotten into politics with Bernie, I might have acted like I did four years ago--I might have played into the duopoly's hands and voted for one of their rotten candidates for president. But the 2016 DNC primary demonstrated they're not the people's candidates, and our input isn't wanted or needed. The party bosses pick the candidates, not the people. The bosses just want our money and our volunteer time. Unless we write those big, fat checks for hundreds of thousands we know where we're supposed to go in these corporate-owned parties--quietly to the back of the bus.

Three years on in my "awokeness," I know exactly what sort of games these politicos are playing--and I want nothing to do with them. I want to support only progressive candidates who have ordinary Americans' needs and interests at heart.

I've discovered the very active world of third parties since I got into politics. I've found a party that aligns well with my personal beliefs and morality--the Green Party. I have faith that the candidates the Greens sponsor care about everyday folks like us and want to create a cleaner, greener, safer and saner world. I like their Four Pillars of Social Justice, Peace, Democracy and Ecology. 

Added bonus: Greens don't accept corporate cash. They're not into running for office in order to land a gig  later making millions giving speeches to Wall Street banksters--they just want to be "public servants" and actually serve the public. What a refreshing concept!

So, Mr. or Ms. "I'm-Just-Not-That-Into-Politics" this is what I've got to say to you:  You're living in denial if you think you will continue on at the same standard of living for much longer. 

The weather isn't going to "normalize" without drastic change in our lifestyles and energy usage choices and  the massive clean up of our environment. The water isn't going to magically appear in the desert or become cleaner just because you close your eyes and wish it so. You might not have the right to marry the person you love or find a decent public school for your children if you continue to close your eyes and hum. You might actually (gasp!) lose your private health care coverage someday and become part of the growing number of Americans who can't afford to go to the doctor. What will you do then?
It's too late to roll over and play possum. It's time for you to wake up and get out there and make your voice heard with the rest of us. If you don't let the one-percent and their puppets know how much you despise their blatant greed and manipulation of our elections, then you'll get what you deserve--a world and future not worth living in. 

See how lame your excuse for not becoming involved in what's happening in politics is now?
BIO: Still Bernin' feels like there's not enough "woke up" voters in America yet to bring about the political revolution we need. It's up to us progressives to keep waking them up and giving them coffee--not covfefe!

P.S. This meme is my response to those who wonder why I don't go along with "Let's clean up the Democratic Party from the inside" rationale. It just doesn't work for me. It's irrational to think a corrupt organization making billions of dollars from the corporatocracy will ever change or even want to change. I'm sure progressive individuals within the party would like it to change and keep hoping it will. But the overall DNC doesn't appear too open to change, and those with control of the money will always trump any outliers who want to do differently, so it's a losing battle.  I say join the "rebellion," progressive Dems! You'll be glad you did. --Still Bernin'  #DemExit #GoGreen


Other ways to "get into politics" this week...
From Friends of the Earth:

The Trump Administration is trying to open up large swaths of public lands in the Western U.S. to Big Oil.

Standing in its way are protections for an imperiled species -- the sage grouse. So now it wants to gut those protections and clear the path for the fossil fuel industry to drill.

The Forest Service wants to know what you think about this plan. So we need you to speak up now!
Help us reach 30,000 comments: Tell the Forest Service not to hand over our public lands to Big Oil!

The sagebrush habitat sits on top of fossil fuel resources that the oil industry is desperate to get its hand on.

Drilling in this area could wipe out an entire ecosystem of species -- not just the sage grouse, but the golden eagle, elk, pronghorn and mule deer. What’s more, it would pollute our environment and bring us closer to climate chaos.

The Forest Service should protect our wild places over Big Oil’s profits. We can’t let it strip protections for the sage grouse and open the door for oil companies to destroy our environment!

Take action NOW: Stop Big Oil from destroying the sagebrush ecosystem!

Trump wants to open up millions of acres of our public lands -- places that belong to you and me -- to Big Polluters and other special interests. They’re more concerned with the fossil fuel industry’s profits than with protecting wildlife, public health and a safe climate.

Our public lands belong to the American people, not Big Oil. They should be preserved for the wildlife that call them home. And we should be able to explore them without seeing and smelling coal mines and oil wells.

Public pressure has stopped the Trump Administration from handing over our public lands before. After Friends of the Earth members like you sent in more than 300,000 comments, you stopped the Trump Administration from rolling back protections for Colorado’s Canyons of the Ancients, Idaho’s Craters of the Moon and Washington’s Hanford Reach. Now, we need your help to do it again.

Stop Trump from destroying our wildlife and our climate: Add your comment now!
Standing with you,
Ben Schreiber,
Senior political strategist,
Friends of the Earth

From Sum of Us:

This is outrageous: A judge just ruled that Nestlé can keep taking more water from the tiny township of Osceola, Michigan -- against the wishes of Osceola’s elected leaders.

But if Nestlé thinks this brave community of 2,000 is ready to give up, it’s wrong.

They just reached out to SumOfUs to ask for help to fund this crucial appeal of the court’s decision -- and they can’t do it without your support. Legal appeals are expensive and time-consuming, but if a few of us chip in a few dollars, we can help - or entirely cover - the town’s legal fees.

Can you chip in help stop Nestlé’s greed?

If you've saved your payment information with SumOfUs, your donation will go through immediately:

Donate a different amount
Osceola Township is a tiny community of under 2,000 people, just up the road from Flint, Michigan where residents still don’t have access to clean water after one of the most notorious water crises of the century.

And when Osceola Township voted against allowing Nestlé to set up a pumping station, Nestlé sued the township and challenged their democratic right to decide what to do with their water.

Unfortunately, the judge ruled against Osceola Township and granted Nestlé a special land use permit to build a pumping booster station along a water pipeline that feeds a tanker loading dock in Evart even though it violates the township zoning ordinance.

But the fight isn’t over. With our help, they are going to fight this appeal until they win.

SumOfUs members from around the world have already donated an amazing $30,000 USD to cover legal fees for the township. Without this critical money, the township would’ve likely had to declare bankruptcy and they would have had to drop the lawsuit. Instead, they have been able to defend their democratic right to protect their water and have just appealed.

Your critical support can ensure they can continue the fight. Will you make a donation now to cover legal fees to take on Nestlé and keep fighting this awful decision?

SumOfUs has shown, time and again, that when we fight water giants, like Nestlé, we win. This fight isn’t over. With your donation, we can cover the legal costs of this appeal and make sure that we finally stop Nestlé from stealing this community’s water.

Donate a different amount
Thanks for all that you do,
Emma, Angus, Amelia and the team at SumOfUs

More information:
Michigan township votes to continue court battle with Nestle, MLive, 4 January 2018
Osceola Township will appeal Nestle decision, Cadillac News, 3 January 2018
From Our Dream:
Last night a federal judge in San Francisco took a stand against the Trump administration. Issuing an injunction against the executive order made by Trump that would end DACA the federal judge ordered the Trump administration to reinstate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This ruling is a huge step forward because courts are reaffirming what we already know: Dreamers shouldn’t hang in limbo. Undocumented youth need permanent protection and cannot continue to wait on broken partisan politics and reckless back and forth legal strategy. Congress has the overwhelming support of voters and the time is now to resolve this issue once and for all. 

Democrats must use this ruling as a springboard for action. They have the leverage and ability to ensure permanent protected status for DACA recipients is included in the budget by Friday, January 19.

This isn’t a choice for Dreamers: we either pressure Democrats to include DACA in the spending bill or we lose our status by March. Democrats hold the power to shut down the government if a clean DREAM act is left out of the spending bill, the rest is up to us. Join us as we continue the fight for permanent protection for undocumented youth.
We cannot let the lives of Dreamers be swept under the rug - we must escalate and take action now! In the first week of December the Fight for Our Dream campaign organized more than 30 successful actions across the country, and in D.C.. We saw lawmakers across the country respond to the pressure we brought upon them, but a continuing resolution was passed to extend the deadline for the spending bill.

Last month, seven courageous Dreamers and one ally were arrested for peacefully sitting in at congressional offices in DC. They risked detention and deportation by holding a jail strike.Thanks to efforts like this and the events held in solidarity nationwide, we were able to radically influence key Senate votes. Just a month before, in November, we only had four Senators committed to vote no on any spending bill that didn't include a clean Dream Act. On the December 21st vote, 30 Dems voted against it. 

Join our growing coalition effort as we tell key Senators #NoDreamNoDeal. We NEED 11 more Senators to take a stand to bring a clean Dream Act closer to being a reality, but we cannot do this without your voice and you taking action. We expect a vote by Friday, Jan. 19th, and we are calling organizations and individuals across the country to join us by organizing a local action.
We can win this, we’ve done it before! But only if undocumented youth & allies across the country rise to the challenge and, once again, use the power of nonviolent direct action, which won DACA in the first place. We are going to the offices of as many Representatives and Senators as possible to demand they make a choice: stand tall with Dreamers or be part of the deportation machine that will target 800,000 young immigrants. 

It's been a long struggle to secure safety, peace of mind, and the American Dream for so many. Please take action in whatever way you can now and let’s make history on January 19th

In solidarity,
Erika Andiola 

From the UCC:

Take a Stand Against Human Trafficking

Across the globe and right here at home, millions of people are being exploited for profit. Human trafficking, also known as modern slavery, affected some 24.9 million people in 2016 and is estimated to be one of the most profitable forms of transnational crime. Traffickers prey on those who are in vulnerable communities and then force them into labor, exploit them in commercial sexual enterprises, and/or move them across national or state borders against their will.

human-trafficking-by-Kay-Chernush-for-the-US-State-Department.jpgIn 2009 the UCC’s General Synod passed a Resolution which urges congregations to engage in action to end human trafficking and to recognize January 11 as Human Trafficking Awareness Day.
We have two opportunities to stand with the victims of human trafficking as we observe Human Trafficking Awareness Day this year:

  • Call on the House to reauthorize the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) - The Senate passed this important bill in September 2017 and it now sits in the House awaiting action.The TVPA establishes and reauthorizes critical programs to prevent human trafficking, promote justice for survivors, provide services to victims, and increase federal coordination to enhance the federal government’s response to the crisis of exploitation.
  • Stand with Native Women - Native women and girls are especially at risk of violence, abduction, and human trafficking. Savanna’s Act will provide federal resources so Tribal Law Enforcement can address the problem head-on.
Trafficking in persons is a crime against humanity and ultimately a sin. Act now - Urge your elected officials to fight human trafficking by supporting these bills.

President Donald Trump's bigotry was on full display again yesterday. Meeting in the Oval Office, he once again slandered the Haitian people, their country, and the people of African nations with no regard for the dignity, respect, and compassion that the office of president demands. Our Revolution rejects his claims, made out of personal ignorance and insecurity, and will oppose any effort to create division between the American people and our sisters and brothers in Haiti and countries across the world. There is no place in the political conversation for the words being reported on in the media.

Eight years ago today an earthquake ripped through Haiti, leaving more than 300,000 people dead and over 1.5 million displaced in the most calamitous natural disaster ever to befall the island nation. It is an American value to welcome people fleeing strife, turmoil, and tragedy into our country, and that is what Temporary Protected Status does.

There are 46,000 Haitian people in the United States with TPS status—a fraction of the people who lost everything in the Haiti earthquake. In addition to Haitian residents in the United States on TPS, there are hundreds of thousands more from El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Nepal, Syria, and Yemen. Over the course of our nation's history, we have answered the call to be a refuge to those whose homes have been lost to natural disaster or human strife.

The tragedy of this presidency can only be reconciled by a reinvigorated American people who will fight discriminatory immigration policies with a renewed dedication to justice. We need you in this fight.

In solidarity,

Nina Turner
Our Revolution