On Saturday, hundreds of thousands of people around the world attended March for Our Lives events to call for commonsense gun reform and action by elected officials to reduce gun violence in America. Although Washington D.C. had the largest turnout, cities around the world—from a town with 2,000 people in New York to a city in the Mississippi Delta—had a diverse group of people show up in force. Some of the most memorable speeches came from Emma Gonzalez, who was at the podium for 6 minutes and 20 seconds (the duration of the Parkland shooting), and Naomi Wadler, an 11-year-old who drew attention to the “African American women who are victims of gun violence, who are simply statistics instead of vibrant, beautiful girls full of potential.” And people did more than march and speak. Across the country, thousands registered to vote, so they will have the opportunity to voice their frustration and anger at the polls in November.
So, what’s next for the #NeverAgain movement? After the march, people turned to voicing their outrage at the National Rifle Association, which continues to see some of its lowest levels of public approval. If you marched this weekend, get ready to do it again on April 20 for the National School Walkout. And make sure you turn your marching into action by advocating for these six measures that would reduce gun violence in America.
ACTION OF THE DAY
Share Your Story. In this turbulent political climate, a lot of things are at stake. Whether it’s environmental policies that put your family’s health at risk or the #TaxScam that has left many middle-class Americans wondering where their benefits are, Trump’s policies are having an impact on families across the country. We want to hear your voice—share your story with us today!
Expelled. This morning, the Trump administration “ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian intelligence and diplomatic officers in New York and Washington and the closure of the Russian Consulate in Seattle.” The move comes as an act of solidarity with the UK, as 14 EU nations expelled Russian diplomats as well. The Administration’s actions this morning stand in bizarre contrast with Trump’s own words last week, when he called to congratulate Putin on his fraudulent re-election, didn’t even raise the attack in London during the conversation, and scolded those who wanted him to denounce Putin. Regardless of the reason, the actions by the Trump administration may be too little, too late.
Same Ban, Different Day. Despite his directive being blocked by federal courts in four separate cases and calls from Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and other high-ranking officials to allow transgender people to serve in the military, the Trump administration announced a plan to implement its transgender ban on Friday. Don’t be fooled by any claims that this ban is different—it would still ban most transgender individuals from serving in this country’s armed forces. If the military is not leading this charge to ban transgender people, then who is? It turns out that this has become Vice President Mike Pence’s pet project, and he drafted most of the plan. This blatant, reprehensible attack on the transgender community will now face the courts.
Discrimination at HHS. Tomorrow, the comment period closes for an HHS proposed rule that would allow health care providers, hospitals, and support staff to refuse care to patients based on religious or moral objections. This blatantly discriminatory rule prioritizes religious and moral beliefs over the lives of patients and could “allow workers to opt out of procedures like abortion, assisted suicide and sterilization.” Submit your comment here and here by tomorrow to help speak out against discrimination and ensure everyone has access to comprehensive, quality health care. And read this column by the Center for American Progress for an additional perspective on how religious exemptions are being used to chip away at access to contraception.
UNDER THE RADAR
Underwater. For many of us, the impacts of climate change still seem like nebulous threats that aren’t affecting us directly. For the small Alaskan village of Newtok, these threats are real and happening right now. The village loses approximately 70 feet of land per year due to coastal erosion and has repeatedly requested help from various levels of government to assist with relocation. With the passage of last week’s $1.3 trillion spending bill, $15 million was allocated to begin the relocation process; this is a fraction of the total projected cost. There are over 30 other coastal villages in Alaska “at risk due to erosion and climate change,” and communities in other coastal states will face the same dangers. If the Trump Administration refuses to take urgent action to mitigate the worsening impacts of climate change, more communities like Newtok will be forced to uproot their lives – assuming, of course, they can secure the necessary funding.
Pride. In late February, a city in Mississippi drew national attention when its Board of Alderman voted to deny a permit for a pride parade. That city, Starkville, has made headlines once again, and this time, it’s for a more joyous reason. The Board of Alderman reversed their decision in early March, with a tie-breaking vote from Mayor Lynn Spruill. The parade was held on Saturday, and it was the largest parade in city history. Nearly 3,000 people attended the peaceful event, and for the LGBTQ community in the South, this was an incredible accomplishment and chance to celebrate their pride.