Jacqueline Bediako

Imagining a Safe Haven for Our Children

Arrive on the scene. Shoot. Bang. Dead child. Gone forever. Mother crying. Blood pressure, spiked. Doom, imminent. Siblings, distraught. Funeral. This predictable chain of events is what seems to happen when police officers arrive on the scene. Calling the police doesn’t seem to protect Black children, in fact it does quite the opposite. We’ve seen children killed by police. Back in 2014, 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot while playing with a toy gun in a park in Cleveland, Ohio. The officer opened fire within seconds of arriving on the scene. In 2012, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot by a neighborhood watch officer near his home in Sanford, Florida. At the time of his murder, Trayvon was unarmed and carrying a bag of Skittles and a can of Arizona Iced Tea.

Continue Reading...
Leo Gerard

A Shining ‘City On a Hill’ Must Treat Immigrants Humanely

By signing an executive order ending forced separation of immigrant families, President Donald Trump has admitted that this cruel practice was his administration’s policy and that he could have stopped it at any time. Despite having the power to stop taking children from parents, the Republican administration enforced the practice since April, splitting more than 2,300 youngsters, some just months-old babies, from their mothers and fathers. The administration continued to enforce it even after photographs showed toddlers wailing, audio recordings revealed young children sobbing and pleading for their Mami and Papa, a 30-year-old Honduran father torn from his wife and three-year-old son killed himself in a jail cell, and some parents were deported without their children and without information about how to find or reunite with them.

Continue Reading...
Tim Wilkins

How I Met Detained Minors on My Flight to McAllen

I first saw them sitting as a group in Terminal B at Dallas International Airport. Clean-cut young teens in matching sweatsuits – must be a volleyball team from a private middle school, I thought. They looked weary, but so was I – we’d just found out that our American Airlines flight wouldn’t leave for McAllen until after midnight. Detained minors, McAllen Airport, June 17, 2108. Photo credit: Tim Wilkins / PA / cc Once we finally got on our plane, two of them sat down in row 26, immediately in front of me. When the young man in the window seat raised his hands to cradle his head, I noticed a green plastic wristband, with the last name “Lopez” written in Sharpie. That’s odd, I thought. Why would a volleyball player need a hospital wristband? Scanning the Cabin I scanned the plane, and noticed the six young people scattered around the cabin, seated in pairs.

Continue Reading...
Jeff Bryant

New Report Reveals Which States Are Abandoning Public Schools

Having a democratically governed local school, accessible to all students and fully accountable to the public for how its spends taxpayer money, has been a given for most American families since segregated schools were outlawed, but a new report finds most states have been abandoning the traditional public system in favor of schools that are privately operated, less accessible to all children, and less accountable to taxpayers and democratic governance. The report contends the shift in emphasis from public schools to privately managed alternatives is not only an attack on public education, but also an attack on equal opportunity and civil rights.

Continue Reading...
Brandy Brooks

How We Can Transform Our Communities Now

“What qualifies you to run for office?” That’s a question I get a lot as I meet voters in my campaign for Montgomery County Council’s at-large seat. To me, it hits at the heart of why I’m running. I’m a working class, Black Latina living in a multi-racial, multi-generational household. My family moved to Montgomery County to find an affordable home where we could live together and support one another. But it takes the full- and part-time incomes of four adults to make our housing “affordable.” I’ve been an executive director and senior manager at nonprofits, but I’ve also been a waitress, a secretary, and an IT help desk assistant. I’m a woman of color who has faced sexism and racism in the workplace. I’m a renter who uses public transportation. I’m the daughter of a single parent, and I had to work as a teenager to help support my family.

Continue Reading...
Tim Wilkins

Children Say NO! to Family Separations by ICE

Every child understands the pain losing one’s loved ones – even for a moment – can cause. So children have plenty to say about the U.S. government’s separation of thousands of migrant families, with no promise to parents or children they’ll ever see each other again. “My message to these children, in these detention centers, is to stay strong,” said Leah, a twelve-year-old from Florida, outside the Ursula Border Patrol Processing Center in McAllen, Texas on Sunday. “Because I am out here, fighting for them to have the right to be with their families, to be happy.” Leah with Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX). Photo credit: Tim Wilkins / PA / cc Leah traveled to McAllen with other children to demand an immediate end to these detentions, and to meet with Congressional Democrats who traveled from across the country to observe conditions at the facility.

Continue Reading...
Leo Gerard

Where’s that $4,000 Raise the GOP Promised Workers?

When Republicans in Congress passed a big, fat tax break bill in December, they insisted it meant American workers would be singing “Happy Days Are Here Again” all the way to the bank. The payoff from the tax cut would be raises totaling $4,000 to $9,000, the President’s Council of Economic Advisors assured workers. But something bad happened to workers on their way to the repository. They never got that money. In fact, their real wages declined because of higher inflation. At the same time, the amount workers had to pay in interest on loans for cars and credit cards increased. And, to top it off, Republicans threatened to make workers pay for the tax break with cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. So now, workers across America are wondering, “Where’s that raise?” It’s nowhere to be found. The U.S.

Continue Reading...
George Goehl

Why I’m Going to the Border for Father’s Day

As more reports surface of children seeking asylum at our borders being separated from their parents, there has been much consideration of the impact and effect on children. As Father’s Day approaches, I can’t help but wonder how I would cope if my daughter was taken away from me. The thought of her feeling unprotected and abandoned is hard to fathom. Last weekend the Washington Post reported on the death by suicide of Marco Antonio Muñoz. Having crossed the border — fleeing violence and seeking asylum — Muñoz was forcibly separated from his wife and three-year-old son and detained. Within 24 hours, distraught and held in a padded isolation cell, the Honduran father had taken his own life. Many of us experience — and struggle with — a much more benign family separation.

Continue Reading...
Sam Pizzigati

Wage Theft: To Fight the Crime, Address the Motive

The American economy rests ultimately on trust, a mutual understanding between employers and employees that each side, in the end, will behave honorably. A fair day’s wage, as the classic formulation puts it, for a fair day’s work. This covenant gets broken, of course, on a regular basis. The most damaging betrayals? They come when employees put in that fair day’s work and don’t get paid a full fair day’s pay. Labor market analysts today have come to call these betrayals “wage theft,” and this thievery is thriving. The employer culprits include the predictable fly-by-night operators we would expect. But the culprits also include, as an alarming new report details, veritable pillars of Corporate America, billion-dollar companies that can clearly afford to honor their side of our core employer-employee bargain.

Continue Reading...
Jessica Juarez Scruggs

SCOTUS Just Took Away Your Right to Vote. Did You Notice?

The Supreme Court just gave a green light to racist voter purges. Their 5-4 decision to allow Ohio to take any voter off the rolls who hasn’t voted in two years and doesn’t return a postcard mailed to their house hands a dangerous new tool to the enemies of democracy in America. Granted, efforts to exclude the poor and people of color from voting – from only allowing white male property owners to vote, to poll taxes and night riders, are nothing new in the United States. But this Supreme Court decision will enable Ohio to disenfranchise thousands of voters every year – other states are sure to follow.

Continue Reading...
Jeff Bryant

Congress Hosts Charter Schools Roadshow, Ignores Black Parent

One of the more disturbing aspects of the push to create more charter schools was on full display during a Congressional hearing this week when charter proponents stacked the agenda with biased testimony and completely ignored the lone witness who could attest firsthand to the real impact these schools have on communities of color. The lone dissenting voice in the battery of speakers lined up to give glowing praise to these privately operated but publicly funded schools was Jonathon Phillip Clark, an Iraq War veteran and Black Detroit parent with seven children in the public-school system.

Continue Reading...
Miles Mogulescu

Why We Should Want Trump’s Hail Mary Pass on Korea to Succeed

Despite my contempt for Donald Trump, I’m rooting that his Hail Mary pass in the direction of Kim Jong-un succeeds. And I think other liberals and progressives should hope for the same. Yet even before Air Force One landed back in the U.S. from Singapore, much of the American left—including Democratic Senators and MSNBC pundits—attacked Trump’s Korean diplomacy, echoing many of the Republicans’ attacks on President Obama’s Iran nuclear deal. Listen – I despise our corrupt, narcissistic, lying, ignorant, racist, woman-groping excuse for a President as much as anyone, and support Tom Steyer’s impeachment campaign over the objections of Democratic Party leaders who wish talk of impeachment would just go away. But hopes for a more peaceful world should trump (no pun intended) short-term party politics.

Continue Reading...
Tim Wilkins

We The People: Watch Live

People’s Action joins Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal and many others in Washington, DC at 8:30-12 on June 13th for ‘We The People,’ a gathering of more than 1,000 grassroots organizers from across the country. Join us to imagine, set the terms of the public debate and lift up the issues we believe are at stake. We will challenge. We will fuse our energy and take action. And the America we build together will be a true land of opportunity for all people.

Continue Reading...
Mike Tipping

All MPA-Endorsed Candidates Win or Lead in Maine Primary

The Maine People’s Alliance endorsed five progressive women in contested legislative primaries and Rep. Jared Golden in the Second District congressional race. According to initial results from the Associated Press, all of these candidates have won or are significantly ahead in their races, with votes from some towns still trickling in. Rep. Rachel Talbot Ross won the race in House District 40 with 76% of the vote. Lori Gramlich won in House District 13 with 70% of the vote. Chloe Maxmin won in House District 88 with 80% of the vote. Michele Meyer in House District 2 is ahead with 63% of the vote with two-thirds of towns in the district reporting. Jan Collins in Senate District 17 is ahead with 62% of the vote with just over half of towns reporting. Rep.

Continue Reading...
Matt Brusky

Wisconsin Progressives Score Special Election Upset Victory

 Wisconsin progressives won an important state legislative special election last night in Senate District 1, with the victory of Democrat Caleb Frostman. Frostman was endorsed by Citizen Action of Wisconsin, a People’s Action affiliate. Members of Citizen Action’s Northeast Organizing Cooperative volunteered on phones and doors in support of Frostman. CA NE Cooperative member Renee Gasch canvassing for Caleb Frostman. Photo credit: CAWI / cc Not only does Frostman’s victory flip the seat from Republican to Democrat, it is a rebuke from voters to Wisconsin’s GOP Governor Scott Walker, who refused to hold an election to fill the vacancy before May, as required by state law. The National Redistricting Committee, let by former Attorney General Eric Holder, successfully sued to force Walker to hold the election.

Continue Reading...
Robert Suarez

Our Liberty Is Bound Together

Robert Suarez delivers these remarks on behalf of the  VOCAL-NY Action Fund at We The People, a forum of over a thousand activists from across the country with elected officials in Washington, D.C. on June 13, 2018. I want share a quote from Lilla Watson that many of you will know: “If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” Robert Suarez, VOCAL-NY. Photo credit: Heather Wilson / People’s Action / cc My name is Robert Suarez, and I’m a leader of VOCAL New York. I’ve come to Washington, D.C. to represent People’s Action with critical questions on healthcare and our nation’s overdose crisis. I lost my mother to the AIDS epidemic. She died in my arms. The reason? She contracted HIV through injecting drug use before syringe exchange was legal.

Continue Reading...
Emily Lee

The Fight for Real Solutions In San Francisco

To outsiders, San Francisco may look like a glittering city on a hill: an ethnically diverse metropolis, where tech dollars fuel a vibrant cultural scene and support progressive policies the rest of the nation can only dream about. Women, LGBTQ and ethnic communities have long played leading roles in city politics, and San Francisco was among the first to enact same-sex marriage, a $15 minimum wage and a “right to counsel” law for tenants. Yet at the San Francisco Rising Action Fund, we know our city’s progressive glitter is not gold. The dazzling wealth spawned by tech’s success has made the city virtually unliveable, especially for the working poor, as documented by U.N. special rapporteur Leilani Farha, who visited several Bay Area homeless encampments in January. San Francisco has at least 7,500 homeless.

Continue Reading...
Tiara Moore

Voting For Justice In Las Vegas

My name is Tiara Moore. I live in Las Vegas, where I’m a medical administrator, mother of five, and a voter. I’m also a felon. But that’s not going to stop me from using my vote to help others get what I never got – a second chance. When I was twenty, I lived in Madison County, Illinois. One day, the father of my children tried to hurt me, so I defended myself. The police were called, but when they came, they arrested me, even though I acted in self-defense. To tell the truth, I had no idea what was going on, or what was at stake – I was just a kid, and no one in my family knew anything about trouble with the law. They threw me in a cell, and the only thing I could think about for twenty days was my babies. So when they came and told me I could go home if I accepted a plea deal, I leapt at the chance. I had no money for a lawyer.

Continue Reading...
Jeff Bryant

Is the State Takeover of Jackson Schools a Step Forward or Back?

America’s ongoing saga to “reform” public schools is filled with stories of state officials taking over “underperforming” school districts. Recent presidential administrations, including Obama’s, have approved of such takeovers even though, in nearly every instance—New Orleans, Detroit, Newark—takeovers are carried out by white state officials accusing black and brown communities of being unable to care for their children. This story repeated itself recently in Jackson, Mississippi, where a state audit of the district’s schools gave justification for a series of hearings by the state accreditation board and education department to propose a takeover of Jackson schools. The mostly white state officials presented their cases for takeover in a room limited in seating and closed to the public except for invited guests.

Continue Reading...
Miles Mogulescu

Will South Korean Doves or Washington Hawks Prevail at Summit?

Donald Trump’s unprecedented summit meeting with North Korean President Kim Jong-un could lead to a more peaceful world, or a return to fire-and-fury tweets and provocative military action. It depends, in large part, on whether Trump listens to America’s ally, South Korean President Moon – who has a realistic sense of a process that could lead to peace on the Korean peninsula—or to his neoconservative National Security Advisor John Bolton, who seeks the overthrow of the North Korean regime. Trump’s Narcisissm Trump himself has no fixed policy views on Korea – or much else – and seems driven largely by his boundless  narcissism. On the one hand, this narcissism leads Trump to crave major a breakthrough with North Korea. He believes this would entitle him to a Nobel Peace Prize – Obama, after all, has a Nobel,  so Trump wants one, too.

Continue Reading...
1 2 3 581