Small Victories Issue 77

Originally posted on the Small Victories website

After hearing the news of Justice Kennedy’s retirement, we spent the next few hours feeling something like this:

Small Victories Issue 77

And then we remembered these wise words from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who, not even 24 hours earlier, had delivered a stunning win in her Democratic primary after running on an extremely exciting platform.

Watching that video again made us hit the reset button. Yes, technically, Trump and the Senate may get to decide the landscape of the Supreme Court for decades to come, but it’s actually up to us to demand our legislators do better.

For once, we agree with our least favorite senator, who said this only two years ago:

“The American people are perfectly capable of having their say on this issue, so let’s give them a voice. Let’s let the American people decide.”

We think it’s time for him to have a taste of his own medicine. We’ve already been marching in the streets (and into public office), making phone calls, and disrupting the normal course of business. If enough of us keep it up, we stand a chance at saving SCOTUS—here’s how you can help.

And it’s T-minus 123 days until Election Day. (Yes, we’re counting!)

-Alison & Stephanie


1. Scott Pruitt is OUT! After months of scandals and stories we honestly couldn’t believe were true because they were so nuts, the guy is finally gone. While his replacement is a huge problem, this is still a victory in our eyes.

And while we’ll probably never know if this mother helped turn the tide, we love that she said everything we’ve been thinking for so long—to his face.

2. We saw more exciting primary election wins in New York, Utah, Oklahoma, Maryland, and Colorado:

👏DSA member and Bernie organizer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won overwhelmingly against a 10-term incumbent. This piece on why she won is a worthwhile read, and this video of her on election night is pure joy. The same moment from her campaign office is equally fantastic:

👏Former NAACP President Ben Jealous won his gubernatorial primary in Baltimore.

👏And all three Indivisible-endorsed candidates won their June 26th primary.

3. The Democratic Socialists of America gained 1,000 new members within 24 hours of Ocasio-Cortez’s win—their highest jump in membership ever. 🌹

4. Democrats have seen a greater increase in voter turnout than Republicans since the last midterm election cycle in 2014, which we’re hoping is a good sign for this fall. #GetOutTheVote!

5. Even extreme heat couldn’t stop hundreds of thousands of people in all 50 states from joining over 600 marches to protest the administration’s cruel immigration policies. Special shoutout to a tiny New York town that held their first rally in living memory!

6. A federal judge ordered a temporary stop to family separations at the border, and called for those already separated to be reunited within 30 days.

7. And a district court ruled that asylum seekers should not be arbitrarily held in detention and instead ordered that each case receive a fair review.

8. People around the country mobilized to combat the administration’s zero tolerance policy:

💓Therese Patricia Okoumou, a naturalized U.S. citizen from the Democratic Republic of Congo, scaled the Statue of Liberty on the fourth of July.

💓Hundreds of people protested near the tent city housing immigrant children in Tornillo, TX, and United We Dream members shut down traffic at the port of entry.

💓Before the nationwide protest, more than 2,000 women marched through D.C.

💓And nearly 600 women were later arrested during a sit-in at the Hart Senate Office Building—including Rep. Pramila Jayapal. #WomenDisobey

9. People in Carbondale, IL blocked a Greyhound bus over the company’s cooperation with ICE, and in McAllen, TX, protesters tried to block an ICE bus transporting families to a detention center.

10. University librarians and historians at Columbia University created an interactive digital archive of all the ICE facilities and detention centers around the country as a resource to help reconnect families who have been separated at the border.

11. Buzzfeed is partnering with ProPublica, Univision, and others to help track down separated families.

12. Organizations like RAICES (who received a huge influx of donations), the Vera Institute of Justice and New America, Freedom for Immigrants, and the Texas Civil Rights Project have all been working around the clock on reunification.

13. People across the country have been occupying ICE facilities—even shutting down one facility in San Diego.

14. And now more and more elected officials are calling to abolish ICE.  

👍From Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Elizabeth Warren

👍To Representatives Mark Pocan, Jim McGovern, and Earl Blumenauer

👍Not to mention New York City’s mayor.

👍And so many candidates are running on platforms calling to abolish the agency.

It’s starting to feel like the the beginning of the end of ICE. Others agree.

15. And if we needed more confirmation of where the majority of our country stands, a new poll shows that the percentage of people who think immigration is a good thing for America has risen from 63% in 2014 to 75% in 2018. And there’s this, too. 💥

16. Thanks to a new law in Rhode Island, Dreamers will now be able to obtain driver’s licenses.

17. Pennsylvania became the first state in the country to pass a clean slate law that will seal nonviolent criminal records after a decade—boosting opportunities for people to find jobs and housing, or attend college.

18. Transgender people in New Jersey will now be able change their birth and death certificates to reflect their gender identity without providing any medical records.

19. The owner of the Red Hen in Virginia asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave her restaurant. As Wilkinson explained,

“This feels like the moment in our democracy when people have to make uncomfortable actions and decisions to uphold their morals.”

20. Iowa’s Supreme Court ruled that imposing a 72-hour waiting period before an abortion is unconstitutional.

21. Trump may have used all caps on Twitter to push the GOP to pass an immigration bill last week, but both bills were defeated. We think the 10,000+ calls to members of Congress may have had something to do with it. 📲

22. Milo Yiannopoulos was kicked off PayPal and Venmo after doing and saying some absolutely despicable things.

23. In a 27-1 vote, the DNC voted to cut back the power of superdelegates by not allowing them to vote on the first ballot of the presidential nomination.

24. Rep. John Yarmuth from Kentucky said he’ll hold hearings on Medicare for All if we win the House this fall and he becomes Budget Chairman.

25. After the Supreme Court upheld Trump’s Muslim ban, a massive crowd of people instantly gathered together in New York to protest the decision.

26. Following yet another depressing Supreme Court decision, people took matters into their own hands and stood outside fake clinics to canvass and share information about real clinics providing comprehensive OBGYN services.

27. Delaware became the sixth state to give teachers and state workers 12 weeks paid parental leave, and New York City school teachers will also receive paid parental leave starting this fall.

28. Oklahoma voters legalized medical marijuana, becoming the 30th state to do so.

29. Hundreds of religious leaders in San Diego marched to the Otay Mesa Detention Center chanting “no estas solo” (“you are not alone”), and those inside heard them and cheered.

30. The Poor People’s Campaign rallied more than 10,000 people at the Capitol to engage poor and low-income people and empower them to get to the polls this fall.

31. After becoming frustrated with mistreatment by local transit authority leadership, DC Metro employees held a wildcat strike on the Fourth of July, delaying rail and bus schedules for the day.

32. A federal judge largely denied the administration’s request to block California laws that protect sanctuary cities.

33. Indivisible groups have been busy!

✊In Florida, they joined veterans to protest their rep’s stance on Medicaid and SNAP.

✊In San Diego, a massive group was out protesting ICE.

✊Groups in Vermont and Georgia were meeting and organizing for a better tomorrow.

✊And in New York and Virginia, they were writing letters and out in the streets, pushing to protect immigrant families.

34. After this Girl Scout sent companies powerful letters about the harm of plastic products, a healthcare provider, airline, and coffee company (just to name a few) are cutting way back on their plastic product use.  

35. Ikea announced that by 2020, they won’t sell any single-use plastic products or use them in their restaurants.

36. Scotland already cut their emissions in half since 1990, and now, through a new climate change bill, they’re aiming to reduce emissions by 90% by 2050.

37. All remaining charges against protesters at Trump’s inauguration have (finally!) been dismissed.

Gratitude Journal

This week, we’re inspired by this beautiful act by young Palestinians on the Gaza-Israel border, Hannah Gadsby’s comedy special Nanette (which we knew nothing about going into it, and are so happy we didn’t), and these 94 minutes of uninterrupted goodness.

+(from Alison)—I got married last week, so I would be remiss not to mention how grateful I am to my husband Alex for his love, support, and endless positivity. I can’t wait for all the years of marching, voting, and organizing with you ahead. One week down, a lifetime to go. ❤️

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Small Victories Issue 77

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