Hey, there. How’s everyone doing? We know it’s been a tough couple of weeks (hence last week’s inspirational Good News Edition), but we hope that you’re still standing, still fired up, and still willing to be involved in whatever way you can. To help fuel your fight for democracy and all that is decent, this week we’re back to our usual overview of all the happiest headlines we can get our hands on. It’s way too easy to get mired in all the doom and gloom out there (much of which, we admit, is completely warranted), but like Mister Rogers always said, “Look for the helpers.” And—man—there are SO many helpers out there doing such great work.
Enjoy your weekend, your loved ones, and this brief respite from the battle.
We look forward to linking arms and heading into the fray again on Monday. (Maybe start by making some calls to repeal some archaic anti-choice laws that are on the books right here in MA.)
Thank you for all you do.
In local good news:
- Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) passed in the House by a vote of 130 to 20. Now, on to the Senate!
- Baker Signs “ERPO” (Extreme Risk Protection Order) Legislation to Strengthen Gun Laws in MA
- Baker also signed a bill to gradually increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2023. The bill will also require paid leave for workers, mandate an annual sales tax holiday in August, and institute a paid family leave program, allowing workers up to 12 weeks of paid leave to care for a sick family member or baby and up to 20 weeks for care for their own medical needs.
- Massachusetts House bans ‘conversion therapy’ for gay youth. Now, on to the Senate!
- State Senate OKs Bill To Allow Gender ‘X’ On Driver’s Licenses. Next stop – The House.
- On July 1, 2018, an updated Massachusetts Equal Pay Act (MEPA) will go into effect. It’s the first update to the law since 1945 – the year when Massachusetts became the first state in the country to pass any sort of equal pay legislation.
We will also be sharing more personal stories from our various members to provide a little insight into what everyone is working on. Our ATMA group was very proud to be a co-sponsor of last weekend’s Boston rally to liberate all families. We also hosted a remote rally for Families Belong Together that drew 1,200 members and generated 243 posts, 540 comments, and 7,000 reactions. ATMA Southeast also hosted a powerful march and rally at Bethel AME Church that showed that Families Belong Together!
In addition to the many ATMA members who attended local rallies (including this one in Andover) around Massachusetts, several of us also journeyed to D.C. for the rally there. Here’s is an account from the indomitable Bambi Snodgrass, activist extraordinaire:
Chris and I decided to go to DC for the Women’s March Action on 6/28 after seeing the kids being moved in the middle of the night; planes arriving in NYC between 11PM and 5AM; the kids being moved unaccompanied in cars. I honestly had no idea what to expect when we got there. They had training in civil disobedience, really more to orient people to the idea of disobeying and making that more comfortable for folks that were intimidated. I decided a while back that I am not afraid because fear can be paralyzing (and risking arrest is NOTHING compared to risking immigration or living as an African American in the US). This action was for women only (mostly), so Chris played a support role. The next morning, when we started the march and moved to the DOJ—shutting down the street and listening to stories of people impacted by this horrific policy, the energy was fierce. We moved on to the Senate building, and—honestly—when we started the action of chanting ‘WE CARE’ and then sitting with our mylar blankets it was the MOST AWESOME & INSPIRING thing I have ever done! We were POWERFUL. The women who dropped the banners, and those who led the chants and songs, the elected officials who showed up (Warren, Markey, Gillibrand, Rayapal, etc.) just added to the sense that THIS IS THE WAY FORWARD. We have to be willing to put something on the line in order to start the wave that will stop this administration. The arrest itself was nothing—not scary, not anything. Met many wonderful women from all over (NYC, VA, NH, San Fran, Idaho, NC, FL, TX, OH and IL), and we all had each others’ backs. We stood together in power and we were warriors. The next day Chris and I went to the Newseum while waiting to pay bail. There is an exhibit with part of the Berlin wall and lots of news clips as well. If you remember, when the wall came down people were in the streets, on the wall, ripping it apart, and streaming through to the other side. THAT is what this action felt like. And I do believe that women have to lead the way—especially black women—because women have compassion, we are strong and resilient, we are wise, connected, and unstoppable!
Ocasio-Cortez’s “Audacious and Bold” Commitment to Climate Action Is Just What the Planet—and the Democrats—Need—The candidate declared before her primary victory, “We need more environmental hardliners in Congress.”
- Not that his replacement is any kind of improvement, but we’re still happy to see Scott Pruitt step down as EPA head after ethics, management scandals. Now, if someone could please just convict him on some of these crimes and put him away for a while.
- Seattle Becomes The First Major American City To Ban Plastic Straws And Utensils – The ban there marks a major milestone in the movement against disposable plastics.
- And, locally, Treadwell’s Ice Cream of Peabody posted: Even though we are just one small business, we are ready to do our part! As of today, we will no longer be providing plastic straws. We have decided to go with paper straws to be part of the #noplasticstrawsmovement!
- In a Big Win for Kids, EPA Finally Proposes to Strengthen Lead Standards – Stronger lead standards, prompted by Earthjustice litigation, will better protect thousands of children nationwide.
- North America’s Largest Coral Reef Is No Longer in Danger
- Monsanto faces its first trial over allegations Roundup ingredient caused cancer
- ‘We’ve Made History’: Ireland Joins France, Germany and Bulgaria in Banning Fracking
There’s also some good news on the elections front.
- Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, a Bronx-born community organizer and member of the Democratic Socialists of America, defeated Representative Joseph Crowley, a 19-year incumbent and Queens political stalwart who had not faced a primary challenger in 14 years.
- The Millennial Socialists Are Coming
- Mexico’s ‘Bernie Sanders’ Wins in a Huge Historic Landslide With Mandate to Reshape the Nation
And here are a few good things happening on the social, civil, and economic equality and justice fronts:
- The hard-line immigration bill floated by Rep Goodlatte (R-Va) failed in the House. And then the follow-up compromise bill also failed.
- More than 200 black female leaders (and many petition signers) are standing up to say that top Dems owe Rep. Maxine Waters an apology for failing to protecting her from ‘unwarranted’ Trump verbal attacks. We stand with you, Auntie Maxine! (Here’s Bambi, again, quite literally standing with Senator Waters!)
- Pope Francis Just Criticized Trump’s Immigration Policy Separating Migrant Children From Their Parents
- Former ICE lawyer switches sides: I want to protect immigrant children, not prosecute them
- Company Fires White Man Who Called Cops On Black Woman Using Pool (Don’t you love it when Karma is almost instant?)
- Booker: No Supreme Court vote until resolution of Trump investigation (Someone had to say it!)
- Therese “Patricia” Okoumou, the woman who climbed onto the Statue of Liberty on the 4th of July, spoke outside a New York City courthouse with her attorney, Rhiya Trivedi … and they rocked. More on Therese from The Grio.
- Principal forbids first black valedictorian from giving speech so City Hall steps in. One person’s intolerance resulted in this young man getting a much bigger stage. How’d that work out for you, Principal Munno?
- A group of Christians attended a pride parade to apologize for how they’ve treated the LGBT community
- Indianapolis church ‘detains’ Jesus, Mary and Joseph in protest of child separation policy – “A number of our congregants at the cathedral are first or second-generation immigrants and this situation is not abstract to them,” the Rev. Lee Curtis said.
- Transgender woman makes history by winning Miss Universe Spain
- Harvey Weinstein Faces Life in Prison on New Charges
We’re also hearing some promising news on the Russia/Stormy/Campaign Finance/etc. investigation:
- If you have patience for this level of detail, here’s a Twitter stream from Senator Durbin about Brian Benczkowski.
- In a move sure to have the White House feeling distinctly uncomfortable, Cohen adds ex-Clinton official to legal team
- Mueller Taps More Prosecutors to Help With Growing Trump Probe
- Russian charged with Trump’s ex-campaign chief is key figure
- Legal experts say Mueller team likely gained access to NRA tax filings
- Britain Has a Russia Collusion Scandal Now. It Looks Exactly Like Trump’s.
And in miscellaneous, fun, and slightly snarky good news:
- The Brits are getting ready for 45’s visit with a huge baby Trump balloon and whatever this is.
- Protesters confront Melania Trump with giant inflatable Donald Trump wearing a KKK robe
- Woman who told Pruitt to resign at restaurant: Hey Trump, ‘where are you going to lunch tomorrow?’
- Richard Spencer (you know – that awful neo-nazi dude) stopped by authorities while traveling in Europe
- Trophy hunters break into nature reserve to kill rhinos – get eaten by lions. Circle of life, man. Circle of life.
- Trump got a dose of Dutch bluntness from visiting prime minister
- After J.K. Rowling slammed 45 on Twitter for his completely false claim that he’s written many bestsellers, 45’s biographer joined the conversation to say that Trump didn’t write any of his books
- Here’s an interesting read from CNN: Trump’s worst enemy: Middle-aged moms
- Also, this from the NYT: Women Might Save America Yet
- Helpers: NFL Players DeMario Davis and Josh Norman Help Kids at the Border
- Trump sent a retired teacher a letter about gun policy. She fixed the grammar and sent it back.
- United Methodist Church uses sign near Capitol to call out Trump immigration policy
“Mass State House Dome”: Photo Credit: twiga_swala Flickr via Compfight cc“Planet Earth”: From Morguefile
“Planet Earth”: From Morguefile
“I Voted”: standing8 Flickr via Compfight cc
“Blind Justice”: Government of Prince Edward Island Flickr via Compfight cc
“Russia Sickle”: AK Rockefeller Flickr via Compfight cc
“Snark Kitty”: Gratisography