fresh voices from the front lines of change








Tim Wilkins

On The Freedom Side At The Nevada People’s Presidential Forum

The Nevada People’s Presidential Forum was filled with insights, but it was also a celebration – it ended with a dance party, as PLAN Action organizer Champagne Clark led the crowd gathered at the East Las Vegas Community Center in an enthusiastic call and response. “What side are you on, my people?” she asked from the stage. “We’re on the Freedom Side!” came the cheer, without a moment’s hesitation.That, in its essence, was the spirit of Saturday’s forum – a gathering of People’s Action members with presidential candidates Julián Castro, Bernie Sanders and Andrew Yang. It’s also the belief that motivates the work of PLAN Action and other groups in the People’s Action network. At events like this, real people take center stage, and get to ask the hard questions of the candidates. On Saturday, real Nevadans like Hope Morning Star Dresser and Joseline Cuevas welcomed – and challenged – presidential candidates in the second in a series of People’s Presidential Forums hosted by People’s Action in early-voting states. Members of PLAN Action and other People’s Action affiliates from across the West and Southwest – including GroundGameLA an SF Rising from California, LUCHA from Arizona, ONEAmerica from Washington State and United Vision for Idaho – who gathered for the event, and thousands more watched the event via livestream. “Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum,” said Leslie Ann Turner, an organizer with PLAN Action’s mass liberation project, “you always align yourself with those people on the ground, who are closest to the problem. Because those closest to the problem are… what?” She asked the audience.  “Closest to the solutions!” the crowd of PLAN and People’s Action members shouted back enthusiastically, again without a moment’s hesitation.

Rep. John Conyers Dies At 90

John Conyers Jr., who represented Michigan for 5 decades, dies at 90. NPR: "John Conyers Jr., who represented Michigan in Congress for more than five decades, has died at the age of 90. His death was confirmed Sunday by the Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office in Detroit. Conyers was the longest-serving African American lawmaker in congressional history, a co-founder of the Congressional Black Caucus and a fierce champion for civil rights. But he would leave office at the age of 88 amid allegations of sexual harassment. Conyers was first elected to the House in 1964. Among his signature efforts in Congress was his battle for reparations for African Americans. Beginning in 1989, Conyers would introduce a bill at the beginning of each session of Congress that called for a 'congressional study of slavery and its lingering effects as well as recommendations for 'appropriate remedies.'' Conyers also helped lead the charge for the creation of a federal holiday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Four days after King was assassinated in 1968, Conyers introduced a bill to establish the holiday. It would take another 15 years of trying until the legislation was eventually signed into law by President Ronald Reagan."

Bolton Deputy Ignores Subpoena

Former deputy national security adviser declines to show for impeachment inquiry deposition Monday. CNN: "President Donald Trump's former deputy national security adviser Charles Kupperman defied a congressional subpoena Monday, failing to appear for a closed-door deposition before House impeachment investigators and throwing a new hurdle into Democrats' plans to quickly gather evidence in their inquiry. But Democrats said that attempts by Kupperman and others not to comply with subpoenas will not delay their impeachment investigation, regardless of whether they decide to go to court to try to enforce the subpoenas. 'We are not willing to allow the White House to engage us in a lengthy game of rope-a-dope in the courts,' House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said Monday after Kupperman did not appear. Schiff said that he was confident the House would ultimately prevail in court, though he did not say whether the House would pursue that route — given that any court process is likely to take weeks, if not months, to resolve."

Getting Rich Separating Migrant Families

The amount of money being made ripping migrant families apart is staggering. The Nation: "Microsoft, however, is not alone in corporate America when it comes to enabling ICE and Customs and Border Protection operations. In fact, corporations like Accenture, Boeing, Elbit, G4S, General Dynamics, IBM, L3 Technologies, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Palantir (with software provided by Amazon), Raytheon, and UNISYS are among the hundreds of companies who are facilitating the migrant detention and deportation machine—and have been raking in, from 2006 to 2018, more than a combined $45 billion, dispersed among nearly 100,000 separate contracts with CBP and ICE. Besides being an enormous expenditure of taxpayer dollars, this sum also represents an unprecedented and ever-increasing reliance on for-profit companies in carrying out the government’s immigration
Immigration enforcement budgets have ballooned from $350 million in 1980, to $1.2 billion in 1990, to $9.1 billion in 2003, to a whopping $23.7 billion in 2018, all going into what has become our border industrial complex. Those budgets then annually funnel $2.32 billion back to the private sector through federal immigration, corrections, and detention contracts."

Why McConnell Got Snubbed At Cummings' Funeral

A man went viral for snubbing Mitch McConnell at Elijah Cummings’s memorial. He says there’s more to the story. WaPo: "Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) cocked his right arm, ready to deliver a handshake. A man in a navy suit, who had been working his way down the line of leaders gathered for the late congressman Elijah E. Cummings’s memorial Thursday at the Capitol, was fast approaching. Instead of stopping to acknowledge McConnell, though, video showed the man walking straight past the Republican senator to address House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). While the man and Pelosi chatted, a stoic McConnell stared ahead, clasping his hands in front of him. This fleeting moment, immortalized in a now-viral clip, prompted many to dub the man — later identified as Bobby Rankin, a close friend of Cummings — as their “hero” for casting “well-deserved shade” at McConnell. By early Monday, the 16-second video had been watched nearly 6 million times as a number of people said that they, too, would have passed on shaking McConnell’s hand."

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