You might notice that many of this week’s victories focus more on long-term organizing than concrete wins, so you might ask—are they really victories? Our answer: a resounding yes. When people choose to work hard for the greater good and persevere despite setbacks, that’s exactly what will lead to concrete victories in the future. We’re turning to the powerhouse that is Rebecca Solnit for inspiration:
“Taking action is the best cure for despair… This activism needs to be sustained, and it needs to be strategic. It needs to address voting rights, and midterm elections, and it needs to remember all the powers and possibilities that lie in activism beyond electoral politics as well. So far so good.
“People like to predict the future, often a dismal future, but the future is not written. It is ours to write. In this moment of utter turmoil, civil society must be the counter to a rogue administration, one whose victory is a surprise equaled by its myriad defeats ever since.”
Image by Anthony Burrill
Your weekly songspiration!
1. The super-secret Senate health care bill, written by a whole bunch of white dudes, is out, and as expected, it’s disgusting. But before the ink could dry, people began fighting back. We were moved to tears by the bravery of ADAPT members who staged a die-in at Mitch McConnell’s office. The videos and photos of these heroic protesters (many of whom have disabilities or are in wheelchairs) being arrested are worth watching and sharing in solidarity.
But that’s not all—so many people across the country are taking action against Trumpcare in amazing ways. When their senator wouldn’t hold a town hall, Ohioans followed him to Washington, D.C. and demanded answers. Indivisible chapters in Colorado and Arkansas held sit-ins at their senators offices—and the Denver group multitasked by making phone calls while protesting. From New York City to rural Washington (we see you, Indivisible Whidbey!), groups have organized 24-hour vigils to support health care as a human right. This incredible West Virginia mother and people in Idaho, Maine, Utah, D.C., and beyond have all kept the pressure on their senators to vote no. Supporters in 20 states held more than 60 Pink Out the Night rallies to defend Planned Parenthood. And crowds gathered at DCA airport to confront Republican senators flying home for the weekend.
2. Thousands of Black Lives Matter protesters marched for days in Minnesota demanding justice for Philando Castile after his murderer was acquitted. (Chicago and New York also held solidarity marches.)
3. The Congressional Black Caucus said said no to a meeting with Trump (which would basically amount to a photo-op) after their offers to work with the administration to support black families fell on deaf ears.
5. Yes, Republicans won the Georgia and South Carolina special elections, but that’s not the end of the story. In November, Republicans won each district by more than 20%, but this week, Democrats came within 4% of victory in both races. As Indivisible and Gabriel Valdez pointed out, people’s massive organizing efforts and incredible dedication nearly flipped deeply-red districts in just seven months—seven months!—so imagine the future possibilities as this movement continues to grow. We love this quote from Nick Martin, a Lancaster Stands Up organizer:
“I feel like everything we have done up until this point is reactive. Now we are actually going on the offensive and building political power… Our goal is to use visionary politics to build a long-term mass-scale organization.”
6. Organizations including Color of Change and the Movement for Black Lives, as well as this new father of twins, raised money to bail out incarcerated fathers so they could celebrate Father’s Day, Juneteenth, and Pride with their families. If you want to support the effort to end cash bail, check out the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund.
7. When funding for adult literacy classes was in danger of being cut from the NYC budget, New York City Coalition for Adult Literacy and Make the Road New York members mobilized to save it—and succeeded.
8. The handmaids are back—this time in Albany, standing up for reproductive rights.
9. Global goodness for the week: Bosnian students protested segregated schools, South Korea’s president promised to end their use of nuclear power, and a group of Canadian bikers protected an indigenous child from bullies.
10. Jeff Sessions is trying to crack down on medical marijuana in Colorado, but both Democrat and Republican lawmakers are publicly supporting an existing law that bars the federal government from interfering on this issue.
13. New York confirmed its first openly gay judge for the state’s highest court.
P.P.S. Another dose of positivity!
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