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. For a hundred years, Newton was the “washing machine capital of the world.” It was home to the Maytag Corporation and is where the modern washing machine was invented. In between Maytag’s world headquarters and washing machine plant, the company employed most of Newton’s adults. That was until Maytag sold out to Whirlpool in 2006, and their executives decided to move all production to Mexico. Pretty much everyone in Newton lost their jobs overnight. The bottom line is, shit happens, and that shouldn't rob kids like me of a chance for our future. For some of us – and for our country, under President Trump – really bad shit happens. In small-town America, we’ve watched our jobs, our hopes, and our path to the middle class vanish. That’s some pretty bad shit. My generation got hit by a triple whammy: our parents were bankrupted by the Great Recession, we can’t even get entry-level jobs without a college degree, and earning that degree will put us in debt for the rest of our lives. That’s why, as a member of Iowa Student Action, part of the People’s Action national network of grassroots groups, we’re holding presidential hopefuls accountable for our generation’s future. Because if we don’t win education, clean energy, and a sustainable economy, we won’t have a future. Neither will you.

Chris Simmons is a graduate of Des Moines Area Community College and a member of Iowa Student Action. He will ask leading presidential candidates how they plan to address our nation's education crisis at the Iowa People's Presidential Forum tomorrow, September 21 in Des Moines from noon to 5 p.m. CST. Click here to watch our free livestream.</i

Global Climate Strike Today

23 reasons to climate strike today. The Nation: "Ayear ago, inspired by Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg, young people around the world began climate striking—walking out of school for a few hours on Fridays to demand action against the global warming that darkens their future. In May, when 1.4 million kids around the world walked out of school, they asked for adults to join them next time. That next time is September 20 (in a few countries September 27), and it is shaping up to be the biggest day of climate action in the planet’s history. Everyone from big trade unions to a thousand workers at the Amazon headquarters, and from college kids to senior citizens, are setting the day aside to rally in their cities and towns for faster action from our governments and industries. You can find out what’s happening in your community at But it will only be a success on the scale we need if lots of people who aren’t the regular suspects join in."

U.S. Communities, Schools Strike For Climate Action

U.S. Communities Strike From School and Work to Demand Transformative Climate Action. " Hundreds of thousands of people in the United States are leaving school and work today to demand that leaders in the U.S. and across the world take action to address the climate crisis. The demonstrations today represent the largest climate strike in U.S. history and kick off a week of sustained international actions to call for transformative changes to climate policy. Hundreds of thousands of people are striking in over 4500 locations across the globe with large turn outs already in Sydney, Dhaka, Manila, and across Europe. New York, Boston, Washington D.C., and San Francisco are expected to have the largest turnouts, with thousands of people attending in each of those locations. But the Strike itself is nationwide, with more than 1,000 locations in all 50 states, Washington DC, Puerto Rico, and Guam. There were more than a dozen strike locations in Puerto Rico alone, commemorating the second anniversary of Hurricane Maria. The Climate Strike earned the support of elected leaders, businesses, and schools. Companies like Patagonia. Lush Cosmetics, and Ben and Jerry’s are closed today to encourage employees to join the strike. The UN Secretary General applauded the action, days before world leaders gather the UN Climate Action Summit to discuss climate action."

Millions Attend Climate Strike In Europe, Asia

Millions attend global climate strike. BBC: "A global climate strike is under way, with millions of people protesting for 'an end to the age of fossil fuels and climate justice for everyone.' The event was sparked by teenage campaigner Greta Thunberg, who is attending the New York protest, where 1.1m children have been allowed to miss school to join the march. Here are pictures of marches across the world."

Trump Cuts Emissions Standards, Accuses Homeless Of 'Polluting'

Trump cuts emissions standards while accusing homeless people of “polluting”. Truthout: "The policy bowl of rancid jellybeans was overflowing again this past week, but one cluster of events stood out in stark relief. On Tuesday, Trump winged his way to a big-dollar fundraiser in the tech-heavy San Francisco Bay area. While in California, Trump made a point of denouncing the problem of homelessness, not because of the toll it takes on human beings, but because he sees homeless people as an eyesore for the landed gentry. 'We have people living in our best highways, our best streets, our best entrances to buildings,' he told journalists in between fundraising stops, 'where people in those buildings pay tremendous taxes, where they went to those locations because of the prestige.' On Wednesday, Trump announced the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would issue the city of San Francisco a violation because, he argued bizarrely, homeless people there are supposedly polluting the oceans by dropping needles into storm drains. Medical waste washing up on beaches in places like California and New Jersey is a definite concern, but a vast majority of the needles in the water arrived there by way of illegal dumping. Homeless people polluting the ocean is, pardon the pun, a drop in the bucket of this particular problem."

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