On Friday, Hurricane Harvey made landfall as a Category 3 storm, and its destructive power hasn’t let up. Because the storm is slow-moving, Hurricane Harvey will continue to dump record amounts of rainfall in Texas and along the coast. In some places, rainfall totaled 30 inches in just two days. The National Weather Service stated that such rainfall “is beyond anything experienced before.” Another 15 to 25 inches is expected before the week’s end.
We know that climate change plays a role in increasing and intensifying extreme flooding weather events like Hurricane Harvey. Hurricanes feed off of warmer water, hotter air makes rain heavier, and sea level rise makes storm surges worse. This storm is consistent with the trend of the last decade, with nine of the past 11 years of Atlantic hurricane seasons producing more storms than normal.
The catastrophic flooding is forcing thousands of Texas residents to flee and seek other shelter, and officials are estimating that 30,000 people will need shelter in the weeks ahead. While FEMA and other federal agencies are on the scene—and Mexico and Canada have both pledged to help—more assistance is needed. Want to help? Here are just a few organizations that are lending a hand in Texas: the American Red Cross, All Hands, Global Giving, Greater Houston Community Foundation, SBP, Houston Humane Society, local food banks, and the Covenant House.
ACTION OF THE DAY
#DefendDACA. Despite promises made to dreamers, Trump appears to be nearing a decision to end—or “phase out” (still code for ripping the floor out from nearly 800,000 young people)—DACA. With so many young immigrants at risk, it’s critical that we make our voices heard TODAY! Use this easy tool to call key elected officials, and urge them to defend DACA. You can also call your own representative here. Share the powerful stories of brave dreamers. And then, learn about how DACA helps the whole economy!
Sued. The ACLU, OutServe-SLDN, Lambda Legal, Human Rights Campaign, National Center for Lesbian Rights, and GLAD have now all filed lawsuits against the Trump administration for its ban on transgender service members. On Friday, Trump officially signed the discriminatory order, citing the de-bunked canard of military readiness as the reason behind his decision, repeating the lie to try to hide their bigotry. The Department of Defense’s own study found that allowing transgender personnel to serve openly had no impact on readiness or unit cohesion. Keeping new recruits out and firing those currently serving wastes their skill, experience, and talent, and this discrimination will cost taxpayers millions.
“I Have A Dream.” 54 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have A Dream” speech at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The speech remains relevant today, as King called for an end to police brutality, inequality in wages and earnings, and voter restrictions. His words offer important reminders for today: “With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.”
Militarized Police. President Trump intends to end an Obama-era order that placed necessary commonsense requirements on police departments that receive federal military equipment, such as “high-caliber weapons and grenade launchers.” This comes after intense lobbying from police organizations, and an effort by the Sessions Department of Justice to undo progress made on police accountability and criminal justice reform.
Arpaio. Speaking of law and order…On Friday night, Trump pardoned former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was federally convicted of contempt of court for continuing to racially profile. Arpaio became known around the country for his cruel, inhumane treatment of prisoners, especially immigrants. To learn more about Arpaio’s abusive, racist history, check out our video here.
Expanding Voting Rights. Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has signed into law a bill that creates an automatic voter registration system. Just a month ago, Rhode Island took similar action. Automatic voter registration is a step in the right direction in increasing voters’ access to the polls, and “will help a large number of eligible Illinois residents from diverse backgrounds engage in self-government by using existing information and technology in an innovative way.”