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We were floored by this story about 80 people who formed a human chain to rescue a drowning family, and we immediately thought of Rebecca Solnit’s essay comparing the conservative ideology of isolation to the reality of our communion with each other and the world:

“The modern right may wish that every man were an island, entire of himself, but no one is wholly independent. You can’t survive without taking air into your lungs, you didn’t give birth to or raise yourself, you won’t bury yourself, and in between you won’t produce most of the goods and services you depend on to live. Your gut is full of microorganisms, without which you could not digest all the plants and animals, likely grown by other people, on which you rely to survive. We are nodes on intricate systems, synapses snapping on a great collective brain; we are in it together, for better or worse.”

Your weekly songspiration


1. The links between the Trump team and Russia continue to pile up.  While this journalist was none too pleased when Jr. released his emails for all to see, we can’t help but think this is an important revelation into the Russia investigation.

2. Two weeks ago, Connecticut’s governor signed a new law to reform their bail system. It prohibits cash-only bail, bars judges from assigning bail except in certain instances, shortens the amount of time in which courts are required to have a bail hearing, and initiates a study of the predatory bail bonds industry in their state.

The movement to end cash bail is gaining momentum, both legislatively and through direct action, and connects to larger work to dismantle the prison industrial complex. If you want to learn more, check out this powerful two-minute video about the urgent need for bail reform.

3. In a vote of 122 to 1, the U.N. voted to ban nuclear weapons for the first time. Of course, none of the nine countries with nuclear weapons, including the U.S., voted at all, but this interview explains why the vote is a meaningful victory for the future, even without nuclear powers’ current adoption.

4. Democrats won two Oklahoma special elections, including a surprise victory in a district that’s been Republican since the 1990s. (Thanks for sending, Kat!)

5. Oregon residents have a lot to smile about after their state passed two incredible new laws. Thanks to the Pro-Choice Coalition of Oregon, the state now requires insurers to cover free reproductive health services, regardless of patients’ income, citizenship status, or gender identity. In addition, all Oregon employers must now give their employees advance notice of their work schedules and at least ten hours of rest between shifts—kudos to Oregon’s Working Families Party for helping make this happen. ?

6. Hollywood, Florida city commissioners voted to rename streets originally named after Confederate generals, including a KKK leader. This is only possible thanks to the work and bravery of local organizers who rallied and spoke out, despite risks to their personal safety.

And while it’s decidedly not a victory that the KKK held a rally in Virginia, we want to recognize the 1,000 counterprotesters that outnumbered the 30 Klan members. To quote Jalane Schmidt, a professor calling for the removal of a Confederate statue:

“It is important for me to be here because the Klan was ignored in the 1920s, and they metastasized. They need to know that their ideology is not acceptable. I teach about slavery and African American history, and it’s important to face the Klan and to face the demons of our collective history and our original sin of slavery. We do it on behalf of our ancestors who were terrorized by them.”

7. An initiative to discriminate against transgender people didn’t get enough signatures to be included on the Washington state ballot in November. Thank you to the No on I-1552 Coalition for all of their work, and to Sadie for letting us know!

Washington also became the fifth state in the country to pass a law guaranteeing paid family leave. The movement for paid family leave follows in the footsteps of paid sick leave—we love this timeline of victories. #progress!

8. After pretty much every state pushed back, and the ACLU, EPIC, and other groups filed lawsuits, the Trump administration suspended their voter data request and asked at least one state to delete the data it already submitted.

9. Another week, another Fight for $15 victory—this time in Minneapolis!

10. A Utah judge ruled that the state’s “ag-gag” rule was unconstitutional, so animal rights activists can now film conditions at slaughterhouses or factory farms without fear of prosecution. (Thanks for the heads up, Sharyn!)

11. After local organizers and community members in a small Ohio city spoke out, the city council voted to expand protections for LGBTQ people. Also, we hope this man has learned a valuable lesson.

12. With support from Lancaster Against Pipelines, nuns set up an open-air chapel in the path of a proposed pipeline, to halt its construction.

Small Victories Issue 28

13. Thanks to the hard work of groups like Caring Across Generations and Faith Action for Community Equity, Hawaii passed a new law that will provide financial assistance to caregivers who also work, so they can keep their jobs and still care for their loved ones. ?

14. A U.N. panel called for the U.S. to pay reparations to black people. (If you missed it at the time, Ta-Nehisi Coates also made the case in a brilliant essay a few years ago.)

15. People can now file class-action lawsuits against banks, thanks to a new rule from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

16. Global gains toward equality continue: Malta legalized same-sex marriage, Scotland became the first country to provide free sanitary products to low-income women, and Saudi Arabia announced that their public schools will offer physical education to girls for the first time.

As we head into the weekend, we’re celebrating our own office-wide victory; supporting this campaign to raise awareness about the violence female politicians endure (because we can’t fix it unless we all start talking about it); and gearing up for the return of badass women fighting for the seven kingdoms. #theydontplaygames

P.S. When you act, you feel more powerful—take it from this woman.

P.P.S. This new series looks ????.

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