Activist Marching Orders – April 19
Written by Natalie Davis on April 19, 2016
The following are links to progressive-issue action alerts that found their way to The Armchair Activist’s inbox. We share them with you in the hope that you will get busy: Take action for a better world. And remember the words of Alice Walker: “Activism is the rent [we] pay for living on this planet.”
Today, we have an opportunity to show gratitude to those who helped bring about the end (for now) of the right wing Tennessee legislature’s threatened anti-transgender legislation, a call-out for electoral justice to Volunteer State superdelegates, one last chance to demand the closure of Tennessee’s health care coverage gap, a way to help those caught in the devastation of the Ecuador earthquake, and a petition to stand for sexual assault victims at Brigham Young University.
- The ACLU of Tennessee is in celebration mode following Monday’s news that right wing Tennessee State Rep. Susan Lynn withdrew the harmful and discriminatory bill that would have prevented transgender students from using the restrooms and other facilities that match their gender identity. The civil liberties group says what they are calling a victory wouldn’t have happened without the courage and tenacity of two transgender Volunteer State high schoolers: Henry Seaton and Jennifer Guenst. Over the past month, Henry and Jennifer spent countless hours testifying before legislative committees, engaging in conversations with lawmakers, and sharing their stories with the media and the public. Their message was clear: this legislation would stigmatize and hurt them and their friends. These brave teens led the charge, supported by a growing chorus of voices including parents, clergy, doctors, business leaders, musicians, educators, entertainers, and more who all opposed this bill. We justice devotees owe these young people a debt of gratitude. Join the ACLU in thanking Henry and Jennifer.
- Progressive Kick and MoveOn.org have a petition focused on the contentious (and perhaps rigged for the establishment) Democratic presidential contest. Due to Bernie Sanders’ victories in eight out of the last nine primaries and caucuses, the number of earned pledged delegates for the establishment candidate and Bernie is getting closer. A number of polls now show that nationally, the Vermont senator has gained significant ground, and in some cases, a lead. But if superdelegates (essentially politicians, state party chairs, and unelected bigwigs) are allowed to vote for whomever they choose rather than the winner of their state’s popular vote, the results could be skewed unjustly. Secretary Clinton won in Tennessee, but the principle remains the same. We need Tennessee’s nine superdelegates to cast their votes honorably. Please sign the petition asking Tennessee superdelegates, right now, to honor the voters’ choice. The people should choose their potential president – not party elites.
- From the Tennessee Justice Center comes a call to action: Tomorrow is the last day of the 2016 Tennessee Legislative Session. In 24 hours, our legislators will be on their way home. So in the next 24 hours, we all need to get on our phones and make phone calls. Right now, call these five people: Speaker Beth Harwell, 615-741-0709; Rep. Cameron Sexton, 615-741-2343; Rep. Matthew Hill, 615-741-2251; Rep. Roger Kane, 615-741-4110; and Rep. Steve McManus, 615-741-1920. Whether you reach a live person or voice mail system, give this message: “Thank you for stepping up to tackle this problem. We need to create a plan that closes the coverage gap, and offers 280,000 Tennesseans affordable health care coverage.” They need to hear from us today and tomorrow. It’s our last chance to catch them before they leave office until 2017, so let’s make the most of it. If you want to read more about talking points, and read a profile of each of the five representatives, go here for more information. Then join TJC Wednesday, April 20, at 11 am outside of TPAC, where we’ll hold a banner asking our legislators to close the coverage gap – RSVP here. It will be the last visual they have of Nashville as they go back home for the year. Check your email tomorrow for final details.
- Altruism Alert: The 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Ecuador this weekend destroyed homes, injured more than 2,500 people, and tragically killed at least 400. Many needy families served by humanitarian group Heifer International are in the center of this disaster, and they need a helping hand. The earthquake’s epicenter was about 16 miles from Muisne, an area where Heifer is actively working. Reports say the village of Santa Rosa—where many Heifer families live—has been destroyed. Heifer wants to raise $50,000 to help these people, our brothers and sisters, rebuild their lives. The need is urgent : Please give what you can to Heifer’s rapid response fund—every dollar raised goes directly to Ecuador.
- Care2 shares a young woman’s shocking, sad story: “I was raped, and I waited four days to report it because I was so terrified about my standing at Brigham Young University. BYU has a strict honor code that prohibits actions such as premarital sex, alcohol or drug use, and even being in the bedroom of someone of the opposite sex. I am a survivor of rape, and now BYU has put my academic future on hold due to their allegations that I broke the Honor Code in the circumstances of my assault.” The student says she sought out resources from the university following the reported assault only to have the Title IX coordinator tell her there wasn’t enough proof of the assault to grant her any help — despite the fact that the case is going to trial and, according to the victim, “my rapist has confessed in a recorded phone call.” It’s horrifying to hear that the person whose job it is to help victims is instead doling out doubt, hostility, and threats. This college student is fighting back with a Care2 petition asking BYU to give sexual assault victims immunity from the Honor Code so that they don’t feel afraid to report. She asks you to add your signature.