fresh voices from the front lines of change








Kenia Alcocer

Fund Head Start, Not Internment Camps

I came to this country from Mexico as a small child because my mother was escaping poverty and wanted to give my sisters and me a better life. She worked hard to make sure we had food on our table and a roof over our heads, often doing two and three jobs at a time. Because of poverty and systemic racism, undocumented families like mine must work multiple jobs and get paid under the table, and that often comes with mistreatment and discrimination on the job. To get by, people in our community have to develop our own survival methods, such as getting together with neighbors to share meals or take care of each other’s kids. This difficult situation is made worse by the threat of detention, deportation, and family separation. Reports of sickening conditions in children’s detention facilities, along with renewed threats by the administration to attack migrant families, have cast a dark shadow over the lives of families like mine. Immigrants contribute every day to this society — whether it’s the gardener mowing your lawn, the cook (like my mother) preparing your meal, the farm worker picking your fruits and vegetables, or the nanny helping to raise your children. Many of us, like myself, have become leaders in movements that unite poor people of all backgrounds to fight — not just to survive another day, but for the right to live a full and vibrant life. My mother crossed a desert to give me a life with dignity and basic human needs — a home, food, and education. I will continue to fight to make sure everybody lives without poverty, systemic racism, ecological devastation, and violent militarism. I hope our elected officials will too.

Congress Funds Border Aid, Overrules Progressives

House progressives cry ‘Betrayal’ and say moderate Democrats sold out detained children. Daily Beast: "House Democrats’ first major legislative defeat in their new majority unfolded sloppily on Thursday over legislation to address the humanitarian crisis on the southern border leaving the ascendant progressive faction of the party enraged and claiming they got thrown under the bus. They just couldn’t agree on who pushed them. House progressives had spent a week successfully fighting to put strings on $4.5 billion in special funding for a border package, in hopes of denying the Trump administration more resources to carry out elements of the immigration policy that Democrats loathe. The Senate had other ideas, and on Wednesday passed with an overwhelming, bipartisan majority a funding package without the progressives’ much-desired conditions. As Speaker Nancy Pelosi prepared to make a counter-offer, a faction of centrist Democrats revolted and forced a quick House vote on the Senate’s measure, which ultimately passed by a safe margin, leaving lawmakers free to jet home for the July 4 recess. The defeat left progressives stunned, fuming, and pondering how, going forward, they could effectively leverage Democrats’ House majority with an increasingly fractious caucus and a GOP all too eager to exploit their internal divides."

SCOTUS Washes Hands Of Gerrymandering, Census Fights

SCOTUS gives a victory to G.O.P. on gerrymandering and to Democrats opposed to census citizenship question NYT: "In a pair of decisions with vast implications for the American political landscape, the Supreme Court on Thursday delivered a victory to Republicans by ruling that federal courts are powerless to hear challenges to extreme partisan gerrymandering but gave a reprieve to Democrats by delaying the Trump administration’s efforts to add a question on citizenship to the 2020 census. The key parts of both decisions were decided by 5-to-4 votes. In the gerrymandering case, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joined his usual conservative allies. In the census case, he broke with them to vote with the court’s four-member liberal wing in preventing, for now, what advocates have argued would be a deterrent to immigrants from participating in the once-a-decade count. The gerrymandering decision was momentous, definitively closing the door on judicial challenges to voting maps warped by politics. The practice of redrawing the boundaries of voting districts is almost as old as the nation. Both parties have used it, but in recent years, Republicans have been the primary beneficiaries."

Trump Jokes With Putin About Election Meddling

Trump can't help himself when it comes to Putin. Politico: "At his first meeting with Putin since Robert Mueller's Russia probe concluded, Trump made light of the robust evidence showing Russia engaged in a 'sweeping and systematic' campaign to disrupt the election in Trump’s favor. After he was asked by reporter if he will talk to Putin about election interference — a topic he failed to mention himself, Trump responded: 'Yes, of course I will.' But he didn’t stop there. He turned to Putin, seated next to him, smiling and pointing his finger in the Russian president's direction, and said jokingly, "Don't meddle in the election, president. Don't meddle in the election." Putin, after appearing to hear the translation, laughed while Trump grinned. The episode at the G-20 conference, an annual gathering of the world’s 20 biggest economies, will do nothing to ease the long-standing perception that Trump is too friendly toward Russia — a relationship that has alarmed Democrats and Republicans alike and led to congressional investigations. But it could have been expected, according to his current and former advisers. Trump often bristles at being told what to say or do, they say. So when pushed, the president simply mocks what is expected of him, even when it comes to Russia."

Pregnant AL Woman Shot In Stomach Charged With Manslaughter

A pregnant woman shot in the stomach is indicted in her unborn child's death. CNN: "Once again, Alabama is at the forefront of a nationwide debate over the rights of pregnant women. This time, the controversy stems from the case of a pregnant woman who was shot in the stomach and is now charged with manslaughter for the death of her unborn child. 'The investigation showed that the only true victim in this was the unborn baby,' Pleasant Grove police Lt. Danny Reid told But that characterization incensed critics who say Alabama keeps prioritizing fetuses over women. That characterization incensed critics who say Alabama keeps prioritizing fetuses over women. Last month, the state passed the country's strictest abortion law, which makes virtually all abortions illegal. The law says doctors who perform illegal abortions could face up to 99 years in prison."

Sparks Fly In Democratic Debate

Democratic rising stars outshine Biden and Sanders on the debate stage. NYT: "The big question going into Thursday night’s debate was whether Joe Biden, the clear front-runner in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, would stumble. That turned out to be the wrong one. The right question was whether he had sufficient vigor in his stride. And the answer came in watching Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg — two of the event’s standout performers — run articulate and impassioned circles around him. n his determination to prove how coolheaded he could be, he frequently turned his temperature down too low. In his insistence on not getting tangled in grand promises or lost in the weeds, he too often kept to the side of the field. At one point, when candidates were asked to raise their hands if they believed that crossing the border without documentation should be a civil rather than criminal offense, his gesture was so tentative and ambiguous that one of the moderators, José Díaz-Balart, had to follow up: Was he indicating his assent or seeking permission to make a comment? That was a metaphor for his whole night. Other candidates demanded that America march forward. Biden kept looking backward. He repeatedly alluded to his decades of experience and even more pointedly reminded voters of his eight-year partnership with President Barack Obama, a towering and popular figure in the Democratic Party. While Bernie Sanders pledged a revolution, Biden promised a restoration. Will that make voters feel tingly enough? It’s possible, given the ongoing trauma of the Trump years. But the debate brought into vivid relief the shortcomings of his candidacy and the risks of graduating him to the general election."

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