fresh voices from the front lines of change








Chris Simmons

College For All Means Dignity For All

My name is Chris Simmons, and I want to tell you why we need – I need – Free College For All now. I grew up in Newton, Iowa, a small city east of Des Moines. This is the was home to the Maytag Corporation, the "washing machine capital of the world." The company employed most of Newton’s adults, until Maytag sold out to Whirlpool in 2006, and executives moved all production to Mexico. Pretty much everyone in Newton - my father, grandfather and all of our friends’ fathers - lost their jobs overnight. Nobody had any money, and there was a lot of tension. That's why, when I was accepted to attend Iowa State University, I was excited: Ames is just two hours from Newton, but it felt a world away from the despair that had gripped my hometown. But there was no way I could afford it. Most people don’t realize how many college students, like me, are in distress. You’d be shocked to learn how many are homeless or have to choose between books and meals. And even if we graduate, we’ll still have loans to pay for the rest of our lives. That’s why, as a member of Iowa Student Action, we welcome Senator Bernie Sanders' College For All Act, which would make four-year public college tuition and debt-free for everyone. But we're also holding Sen. Sanders and other presidential hopefuls accountable: because if we don’t win education, clean energy, and a sustainable economy, we won’t have a future. Neither will you. Sen. Sanders calls the crippling cost of college a “national disgrace.” I agree. So is our nation’s failure to offer health care and housing, because everyone deserves a hopeful and dignified life. And the first step towards that life is a fair and free education.

Sanders Proposes Canceling $1.6t In Student Debt

Sanders to propose canceling entire $1.6 trillion in U.S. student loan debt, escalating Democratic policy battle. WaPo: "Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will propose on Monday eliminating all $1.6 trillion of student debt held in the United States, a significant escalation of the policy fight in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary two days before the candidates’ first debate in Miami. Sanders is proposing the federal government pay to wipe clean the student debt held by 45 million Americans — including all private and graduate school debt — as part of a package that also would make public universities, community colleges and trade schools tuition-free. Sanders is proposing to pay for these plans with a tax on Wall Street his campaign says will raise more than $2 trillion over 10 years, though some tax experts give lower revenue estimates. Sanders will be joined Monday by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), who will introduce legislation in the House to eliminate all student debt in the United States, as well as Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, who has championed legislation to make public universities tuition-free."

Mass Arrests Of Migrants Delayed

ICE raids delayed ahead of ‘Latinos for Trump’ rally. PBS: "Days before the launch of his ‘Trump for Latinos’ campaign in Miami, President Donald Trump postponed immigration raids today planned to begin Sunday on migrant communities across the country. Immigrant advocates, the families and people they aim to protect, law enforcement officials and governments across the nation had all been preparing for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, to conduct large-scale raids, after Trump threatened to 'deport millions,' earlier this week. Then in tweets on Saturday, Trump first maintained that only people who were given notice to leave because of their status would be detained, then dropped plans entirely, citing a two-week deadline for U.S.-Mexico border policy. Vice President Mike Pence was scheduled to be in Miami, one of the 10 cities where ICE planned to conduct its operations, for the 'Trump for Latinos' campaign to embrace Hispanic voters."

Unsanitary Conditions IN Border Camps

#CloseTheCamps trends as news of inhumane treatment in camps spreads. Newsweek: "#CloseTheCamps is trending on social media, with users largely rebuking the administration of President Donald Trump and its treatment of migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers in the United States. Newsweek: "Last Monday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) called the nation's detention facilities for migrants "concentration camps." On Tuesday, she tweeted a link to an Esquire article, in which Andrea Pitzer, a historian of concentration camps, was quoted making a similar claim, saying that "mass detention of civilians without a trial" was what made the camps concentration camps. Ocasio-Cortez's full tweet said: 'This administration has established concentration camps on the southern border of the United States for immigrants, where they are being brutalized with dehumanizing conditions and dying. This is not hyperbole. It is the conclusion of expert analysis.' Actress Patricia Arquette replied to President Trump in a tweet, goading him to 'deal with your child abuse riddled detention centers? Get those kids, diapers, toothpaste and toothbrushes, showers, hair brushes, food that is healthy. Blankets and Matresses, toilets, showers and clean clothes. NOW.'"

Border Wall Talks At Impasse In Congress

Congress unlikely to reach deal on Trump border bill before break. The Hill: "President Trump's request for more border funding is running into another stumbling block on Capitol Hill. The administration’s $4.5 billion spending request got a shot in the arm earlier this month when leadership in both chambers said they wanted to get a bill to the president’s desk before the July Fourth recess. But lawmakers appear all but guaranteed to miss that deadline, with the House and Senate set to take up dueling bills. Congress is expected to start leaving town Thursday for the one-week recess and return in early July. The two bills largely align on the amount of funding but differ on a number of key provisions, such as funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Defense Department. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said a conference committee, where the House and Senate will have to reconcile their bills, was all but inevitable."

Dem Candidate Debates Begin

‘Get down to the real business’: Debates kick off clash of ideas. Politico: "The progressive group Indivisible tried something almost quaint last week, just after raucous clashes about the party’s 'corporate wing' and engaging with segregationists: It circulated a 'debate-watching kit' informing members of candidates’ positions on key issues. Even the best-informed activists could be forgiven for needing it. For months, the Democratic primary has been defined by top-tier contenders who broadly agree on most Democratic policy priorities — and by an electorate less interested in what those candidates believe than whether he or she can defeat President Donald Trump. “The bottom line is first and most importantly, who in this race can beat Trump, and policy, in poll after poll, has taken a back seat to that,” said Doug Herman, a Democratic strategist. But that approach is starting to evolve as 20 of the 23 main Democratic candidates head into their first debate this week. Policy disputes are rearing up in fits and starts — a feud over taxes and Medicare for All, bursts of attention surrounding immigration, big tech and the voting rights of felons. In recent weeks, Democrats have released a barrage of proposals on issues ranging from climate change and immigration to housing and electoral reforms."

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