One of our favorite small victories this week comes after nearly two decades of work: A House Committee unexpectedly passed Rep. Barbara Lee’s amendment to repeal the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). Rep. Lee was the only member of Congress to vote against the AUMF in the days after September 11, 2001, arguing that it gave the president a “blank check” to go to war. Despite death threats and attacks from the press, she continued to fight against this resolution, while it was used to justify an ever-expanding war around the world.
Finally, after 16 years, a bipartisan committee passed Rep. Lee’s repeal—to applause, no less. As she put it, “I’ve been working day and night for many, many years with Democrats and Republicans to get to this point. It’s been quite a journey… Today was a remarkable victory, I think, for the American people.”
Your weekly songspiration!
1. While this guy definitely got some sun during the July 4th holiday, other people fulfilled their patriotic duty by fighting Trumpcare. Mainers were out in force, Hoosiers had stories to tell, Missourians played dead—and local newspapers across the country did not mince words. Disability rights advocates at ADAPT again led the way, and their actions directly inspired groups including the Democratic Socialists of America, the Working Families Party, Democracy Spring, and Our Revolution to organize 26 protests in 21 states on Thursday, culminating in about fifty arrests. #SitInSaveLives
We’re starting to see more Republican Senators criticize the bill, and Mitch McConnell even suggested it may be in jeopardy, but we’ll believe it when we see it. Until then, we’re inspired by everyone continuing the fight to #ProtectOurCare.
2. Nearly every state has come out against the Trump administration’s request for voter data in some capacity. As of this morning forty-five states, plus D.C., have pushed back publicly, and we’re hoping that number will hit fifty very soon. In Illinois, the Board of Elections made it clear that callers from Indivisible Chicago made the difference.
And in good news for voting rights, Rhode Island’s governor is about to sign their automatic voter registration bill into law. This movement only began in 2015, but it’s grown quickly—it’s soon to be law in ten states (including Illinois), plus D.C.
3. The Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted to begin taking steps toward divesting from Wells Fargo, due to their support of the Dakota Access Pipeline. L.A. is now part of a larger divestment movement, and if you want your city to join in, check out this handy guide made by organizers who successfully pressured Seattle to divest.
4. Thanks to the work of Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America and the Rhode Island Coalition To Stop Gun Violence, the Rhode Island House of Representatives voted to prevent domestic abusers from owning guns for up to six years after being convicted. (Thanks, Carolyn!)
5. After settling a lawsuit filed by the NYCLU, a New York county jail can no longer place juveniles in solitary confinement for weeks on end for minor offenses, and is now required to let teenagers work toward earning high school credit or a GED. (While we don’t think this goes far enough, we’re inspired by every small step toward criminal justice reform.)
6. Volvo is going electric by 2019, becoming the first carmaker of its kind to say goodbye to vehicles powered solely by internal combustion engines. (Thanks, Jess!) And over in France, in direct response to Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, they’re taking it a step further by banning petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040 AND offering financial assistance to low-income households to help them purchase environmentally friendly vehicles.
7. The bad news continues for Betsy DeVos. Attorneys general from 18 states, plus D.C., are suing DeVos after she delayed a new Department of Education regulation that protects students from predatory colleges.
8. After environmental groups like the Center for Biological Diversity have been sounding the alarm, California added a chemical in Monsanto’s weed killer Roundup to a list of cancer-causing agents, and will now require the product (and others with the same ingredient) to carry a warning label.
9. Philadelphia is launching income-based water bills, granting financial assistance to low-income households, indefinitely freezing existing debts, and potentially forgiving past penalties and interest.
10. The United States Conference of Mayors adopted resolutions to fight climate change, support community development initiatives, encourage the federal government to invest in our country’s infrastructure, and a whole lot more. It’s worth reading this piece by USCM President Mayor Mitch Landrieu, where he outlines the importance of the work happening at that local level.
12. Michigan’s governor vetoed a license plate that would have raised money for an anti-reproductive rights group. (Thanks for sending, Alisa!)
13. After ten thousand people wrote concerned comments, the Coast Guard suspended a project that would have transported oil on the Hudson River.
14. Hobby Lobby will return thousands of ancient artifacts that they (astoundingly) smuggled out of Iraq. #artsandspycraft
We’ll leave you with this moving essay from Gavin Russom, a member of previous Small Victories songspiration’s LCD Soundystem, about coming out as transgender.
P.S. Must see monuments—the U.S. could learn a lot from these.
P.P.S. Best makeup tutorial ever.
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