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Tag: human rights

‘Beyond Movement Silos’: How Advocates Are Showing Up For Those In The Texas Legislature’s Crosshairs

Posted in Austin, Journalism, and Rewire

The halls of the Texas State Capitol are no strangers to protests, but for organizers witnessing a resurgence of grassroots advocacy and activism, it’s a heartening sign after a series of discouraging years.

Thousands joined the 2013 “people’s filibuster” against HB 2, the omnibus anti-choice bill that eventually made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, but then momentum faltered with the defeat of Wendy Davis (and other Democratic candidates) in the 2014 election, followed by more setbacks in the intervening years of elections and Republican-led legislative sessions.

After the 2017 legislative session, Texas Republicans ensured that crucial funding bills remained unpassed, forcing lawmakers to return for a special session that costs taxpayers thousands of dollars per day. The Republicans hope to use this opportunity to build on new restrictions on abortion and a “Show Us Your Papers” anti-immigrants’ rights law, both subject to ongoing lawsuits, while forcing through unpopular and discriminatory legislation that failed to pass during the regular term.

‘An Unjust Law Is No Law At All’: Philadelphia Councilperson Helen Gym On Immigration & Texas Bill SB4

Posted in Austin, Creative Commons, Journalism, and Video

Helen Gym, vice-chair of Local Progress, a nonprofit representing progressive elected officials from around the United States, and a member of the Philadelphia City Council, spoke to a crowd of activists and other elected officials at the Texas Legislature on July 28, 2017. The rally gathered in opposition to SB4, the recently signed law which would overrule local protections on undocumented immigrants and force law enforcement officials to actively participate in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) actions. It’s been compared to a “supercharged” version of Arizona’s infamous “Show Us Your Papers” law.

Over 150 elected officials signed off on a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott opposing the law.  In her speech, Gym compared SB4 to similar bills that have been introduced in other parts of the country.

Do We Owe Politicians Our Respect? (Respect Is Earned #GonzoNotes)

Posted in Creative Commons, Gonzo Notes, and Journalism

If they won’t let us dream, we won’t let them sleep

Time and again, one of the resounding criticisms of activist movements from the right and from the center-left is our lack of decorum.

While we sometimes acknowledge that acts of resistance can be effective, we’ve sanded all the rough edges off of our memories of these moments. Frequently cited are the successes of the Black Civil Rights movement, but in the popular imagination their victories were won by respectful, soft-spoken men and women dressed in suits, calmly advocating for their rights.

Using Able-Bodied Privilege To Defend Healthcare & Human Rights

Posted in Act Out!, Creative Commons, Journalism, and Video

They’re loud, they’re fierce, and they’d rather risk death than see their — and your — health care get cut.

You’ve probably seen stories about protesters torn from their wheelchairs as they shut down Senators’ offices, resisting the devastating new Republican “health care” plan that would push even more people into ill health, bankruptcy and death.

To give you a rough idea of how many — there are currently about 29 million people uninsured under the ACA — although many who are insured still suffer from the economic burdens of trying to stay alive. That number may drop a bit by 2026 but under the proposed AHCA, revised or not, more than 50 million people would be uninsured. And we’ll get to what third option would leave no one insured but first, let’s circle back to these protests.

Organized under the hashtag #ADAPTandResist, they have spread across the U.S., from Capitol Hill to legislator’s offices around the country. We’ve all been justifiably horrified to see people defending their right to health care literally dragged to jail, and sometimes bloodied in the process. But as with anyone who places their body squarely in the path of the powers that be, these protesters don’t want our pity, they want our solidarity — because this is a struggle we should all take part in.

They also aren’t new to this struggle either — actually, disability rights advocates from groups like ADAPT are some of the fiercest, and most effective activists around, and they’ve literally transformed the world you live in, to everyone’s benefit.

Religious Liberty, Bathroom Bigotry (Traitor Radio Podcast)

Posted in Audio, Journalism, LGBTQIA, and Traitor Radio

Increased visibility has become a double-edged sword for transgender, intersex and non-binary Americans, who are increasingly targeted by religious conservatives and Republican lawmakers. You’ve probably heard of “bathroom bills” like HB 2 in North Carolina, which force people to use public restrooms according to the gender they were assigned at birth. But in addition to playing bathroom police, politicians are also championing “religious liberty” legislation — bills that are, in actuality, just about letting people discriminate against trans, intersex, non-binary and other queer folk if they claim Jesus told them to.

We’re at a pivotal political moment, and allies must support trans, intersex, non-binary and queer activists in their fight for freedom. On this episode of Traitor Radio, we talk about how.

While The U.S. Prepares To Crush Net Neutrality, Other Countries Have Made It A Basic Human Right

Posted in Journalism, and Lee Camp

Many countries have made net neutrality a basic freedom. Yet now, the FCC is planning to make sure the U.S. is not one of those countries.

Today, the internet is classified as a “common carrier” in the U.S., which forces telecommunications companies and internet service providers to treat all content more or less equally. If Ajit Pai, chair of the FCC and former Verizon lawyer, has his way, the internet could be reclassified by the end of the summer, replacing internet freedom with a corporate free-for-all of greed and political corruption.

Though the internet was born in the U.S., our ISPs are also slower and more expensive than other countries, so maybe it’s no surprise that we’re behind the curve in net neutrality, too.

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