fresh voices from the front lines of change








Sean Broadbent, Cheng-Sim Lim, Sasha Rappaport

What It Takes To Win Medicare For All In Los Angeles And Beyond

On Tuesday, November 5th, the Los Angeles City Council voted ten to one in favor of a resolution in support of the Medicare for All Act of 2019. Los Angeles is now the largest city in the United States to do so, joining Tampa, Detroit, Seattle, Chicago’s Cook County in this growing movement. Getting the resolution passed was the culmination of months of advocacy. We were entirely grassroots, and knowing no one in the City or County government, we decided to look into the closest entry point to local government – the Neighborhood Council. If we could present the bills to the Neighborhood Councils to endorse, we thought, might there something they could do to push the City to pass a resolution? Within a month, nine Neighborhood Councils had approved our initiative, and people at City Hall were starting to take notice. Advocates met with Los Angeles City Councilmembers to ask them to introduce a resolution, citing this support within the community. Community outreach works. Listening and sharing stories works. Get to know who your elected officials are at any level of government. It seems basic, but make it to a City Council or Neighborhood Council meeting. Find out how they work and find a way to get involved. Most importantly, don’t do it alone. You’ll appreciate the support and camaraderie. What we’ve learned most of all is that healthcare touches every one of us, and sharing our collective stories can catalyze action in response. The City of Los Angeles heard our stories, and responded. The City now stands with us on the side of health justice. To those Senators and Representatives yet to join the fight for Medicare for All, hear us too.

Guide To Impeachment Hearings

Who will testify and how the questioning will work.NPR: "Public impeachment hearings begin Wednesday, and the first round of witnesses include three career public servants who have testified behind closed doors that President Trump did link military aid and a White House meeting for Ukraine with a promise to investigate one of the president's domestic political opponents. 'The American people will hear firsthand about the President's misconduct,' Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said of the open hearings. The first hearing is on Wednesday, beginning at 10 a.m. ET. The second hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. ET on Friday. You can watch live on and listen to special coverage on many local public radio stations. Schiff is using this week's hearings to focus on the testimony from officials who handled U.S. policy in Ukraine. All three have already appeared in closed-door interviews and backed up the complaint filed by an anonymous whistleblower that set off the impeachment inquiry. Transcripts of those interviews have already been released."


Dreamers hold their breath as Supreme Court takes up future of 800,000. NBC:
"The Supreme Court is hearing arguments Tuesday on a Trump administration challenge to lower court rulings that blocked the administration from ending the program, which President Donald Trump announced he would do in 2017. Administration officials argue the program interferes with its immigration enforcement efforts and sanctions the violation of federal law, but they have been challenged in court by civil rights, legal and immigration groups. A number of national groups will rally outside the Supreme Court as Democratic lawmakers, including the Congressional Hispanic Caucus will be holding a press conference and a prayer breakfast with national leaders in support of the program as the oral arguments begin inside the Supreme Court."

70,000 Kids In U.S. Detention

U.S. held nearly 70,000 migrant kids in custody in 2019, government data shows. Newsweek: "The 3-year-old girl traveled for weeks cradled in her father’s arms, as he set out to seek asylum in the United States. Now she won’t even look at him. After being forcibly separated at the border by government officials, sexually abused in U.S. foster care and deported, she arrived back in Honduras withdrawn, anxious and angry, convinced her once-beloved father abandoned her. He fears their bond is forever broken. 'I think about this trauma staying with her too, because the trauma has remained with me and still hasn’t faded,' he said days after their reunion. This month new government data shows the little girl is one of an unprecedented 69,550 migrant children held in U.S. government custody over the past year, enough to overflow the typical NFL stadium. That’s more kids detained away from their parents than any other country, according to United Nations researchers. And it’s happening even though the U.S. government has recognized detention can be traumatic for children, putting them at risk of long-term physical and emotional damage."

U.S. Must Provide Mental Health Services To Traumatized Families

U.S. must provide mental health services to families separated at border. NYT: "A federal judge has ruled that the government must provide mental health services to thousands of migrant parents and children who experienced psychological harm as a result of the Trump administration’s practice of separating families. The decision, issued late Tuesday, marks a rare instance of the government being held legally accountable for mental trauma brought about by its policies — in this case, border security measures that locked thousands of migrant parents in detention while their children were placed in government shelters or foster homes. Judge John A. Kronstadt of the United States District Court in Los Angeles ordered the federal government to immediately make available mental health screenings and treatment to thousands of families forcibly separated under the policy, which was primarily carried out in 2017 and 2018 — though hundreds of similar separations still occur. In his ruling, Judge Kronstadt referred to previous federal cases that found that governments can be held liable when with 'deliberate indifference' they place people in dangerous situations. In the past, the 'state-created danger' doctrine has been applied when a police officer ejected a person from a bar late at night in very cold weather, or when a public employer failed to address toxic mold that caused workers to fall ill. In this case, the judge said, the Trump administration could be held accountable for the enduring psychological harm brought about by forcibly taking children from their parents at the border with no guarantee of when or how they would be reunited. Thousands of parents spent months in often agonizing limbo, plaintiffs in the case argued, unable to communicate with their children and in many cases not knowing even where the children were being held."

Hedge Fund-Backed GOP Group Attacks Warren

Hedge fund-backed GOP group coordinates campaign against Warren. The Intercept: "America Rising — which is affiliated with a political action committee, a public relations firm, and a for-profit research company, as well as several news websites — has been backed over the years by Republican donors, including hedge-fund billionaires Paul Singer and Ken Griffin, private equity investor John Childs, and banker Andrew Beal. America Rising did not respond to a request for comment. The organization did not claim direct responsibility for the Warren story, but touted the documents as soon as they appeared online via an allied conservative website called the Washington Free Beacon. Free Beacon is also funded by Singer. America Rising is known for attempting to dig up dirt on politicians, journalists, and activists on behalf of donors’ interests. The group went after journalist Jane Mayer, shopping negative information about the New Yorker writer following the publication of her book “Dark Money.” In 2016, America Rising focused on environmentalist Bill McKibben, dispatching its team to obtain thousands of documents from McKibben’s past and to follow the Vermont-based writer, filming him at public events, as well as while grocery shopping and sitting in a church pew. This year, Definers Public Affairs, an affiliate of America Rising that shares the same staff, decided to rebrand following revelations that the company had been retained by Facebook to orchestrate a campaign to smear its critics."

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