fresh voices from the front lines of change








Afua Atta-Mensah

We Must Empower, Not Just Praise, Black Women In Politics

This election cycle, I want everyone to stop praising Black women for our votes — ask us what we actually want and help us empower Black women in politics. It’s up to us to take to the streets and to leverage our cultural forms of civic engagement — our churches, our sororities, our sister circles, homecoming and Juneteenth. Sacred places and celebrations where we engage our community. There are countless examples of Black women organized for political action to meet our community’s needs when no one else will. That’s why on April 26, my organization, Community Voices Heard (CVH), part of the People's Action national network, launched Follow Black Women--A Survey for the Frontlines, a survey for Black women by Black women, working to uncover what drives some Black women to the polls and what prevents others from getting there. CVH was started in a Harlem church basement in 1994 by eight Black women on welfare who were fed up with how the system was failing them. When they realized that fighting to advance criminal justice reform required mass education and base building, which could only work with political power, they hit the streets and built support for policies that would benefit their families and communities. It’s time for a new era of politics where we meet people where they are to better ensure everyone, especially members of marginalized communities, is engaged in our democracy.

MoveOn Names Epting As New Director

Liberal group MoveOn taps Rahna Epting as executive director. AP: "The grassroots liberal group MoveOn is naming its chief of program, Rahna Epting, as its next executive director. Epting has worked for the organization for nearly three years, including heading up its 2018 election program. She will take the helm in the fall. In an interview with the AP, Epting said she is focused on the rise of several specific threats, including white nationalism, misinformation efforts and voter suppression, and wants MoveOn to tap into 'a political awakening of people who had never been politically engaged before.' 'I want MoveOn to be a community for anyone in this country who wants to take the agency they have to build a better country for everyone,' Epting said by telephone ahead of the announcement. 'It should be very easy for anyone to go to their computer or go to their phone and be able to connect with us, and we should be able to find a place and a role for them.'" As a black and Iranian woman, she will be the first person of color to fill MoveOn's executive director role in its 20-plus-year history."

Trump Escalates Border Clash With Mexico

Trump says U.S. to impose 5 percent tariff on all Mexican imports beginning June 10 in dramatic escalation of border clash. WaPo: "President Trump on Thursday said he would impose a 5 percent tariff on all goods entering from Mexico unless it stopped the flow of illegal immigration to the United States, a dramatic escalation of his border threats that could have sweeping implications for both economies. After the 5 percent tariffs are imposed on June 10, the White House said it would increase the penalties to 10 percent on July 1 and then an additional 5 percent on the first day of each month for three months. The tariffs would stay at 25 percent “until Mexico substantially stops the illegal inflow of aliens coming through its territory,” a statement by the president said. The economic consequences of Trump’s new plan could be swift and severe. Tariffs are paid by companies that import products, so U.S. firms would pay the import penalties and then likely pass some costs along to consumers. White House officials did not immediately explain how driving up the cost of Mexican goods might stem the flow of migrants. If the tariffs damaged the Mexican economy, more of its citizens would try to cross the border to find work in the United States, experts said."

AOC Backs Housing As A Human Right

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Just Gave a Passionate Speech About Why Housing is a Human Right. Mother Jones: "Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) spoke with New Yorkers about her efforts in Congress to increase access to affordable housing at a town hall in the Bronx Thursday evening. Housing, she says, should be legislated as a human right. 'What does that mean? It means that our access and our guarantee to having a home comes before someone else’s privilege to earn a profit,' said Ocasio-Cortez. The town hall, hosted by Housing Justice for All, a coalition of housing advocates in New York that includes People's Action groups Citizen Action of New York, Community Voices Heard, VOCAL-NY and Picture The Homeless, brought together tenants who are pushing for a package of housing bills that could implement universal rent control in the state. Ocasio-Cortez says that with a Democratic majority in the house, she’s working at the federal level to disassemble the tax breaks that have incentivized companies to ignore residents. She also plans to re-introduce the Fair Chance at Housing Act in the House that would ease restrictions to federally-subsidized housing, particularly for tenants with previous criminal convictions."

Illinois Legislature Tables ALEC Anti-Protest Bill

HB 1633 tabled after public outcry. Capitol Fax: "HB 1633 was a completely unnecessary attempt by the fossil fuel industry and secretive groups like ALEC to divide the progressive movement at the exact moment when we most need to mobilize quickly toward real solutions to climate change. Over 50 civil rights organizations, labor unions, and grassroots groups worked together to defeat this bill. Nearly 6,000 witness slips opposing the bill were submitted compared to a paltry 215 by the bill’s proponents. Our collective message was clear: Illinois does not need such a harmful and unnecessary law on the books. We are pleased Sen. Hastings listened to our concerns and wisely chose to table this bill. We need elected officials who are champions for people and the planet. We need our lawmakers fearless in the face of oil and gas money in politics. We need them believing the science, telling the truth, and speaking out for their constituents over corporations. Sen. Hastings did the right thing by tabling HB 1633, not just for the state, but as an example that shows that we the people need a healthy democracy to protect our planet.”

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