Rainbows introduce us to reflections of different beautiful possibilities, so we never forget that pain and grief are not the final options in life. ~Abherjhani
Yesterday morning I nearly spit out my coffee.
There, right before me, splashed across the full header of a national newspsper was the headline. The Supreme Court had decided: LGBTQ+ Americans could not be discriminated against in the workplace on the basis of who they love, or who they are. Neil Gorsuch, of all people, penned the opinion.
It was enough to stir just that little bit of hope in the soul, wasn’t it?
It’s been a rough year, 2020. We started with a near miss with Iran (remember that?), and just as we were brushing impeachment dust off our shoulders we started hearing about a little flu bug making people sick on the other side of the world.
Maybe we should think about how to expand absentee voting, I remember saying to a political figure I know. He nodded, thoughtful.
Now here we are.
You know all the terrible-awful going on. You know all of the stressors. We all have them, and have been shouldering our own burdens in uniquely painful ways. But yesterday was such a cool drink of water. It was a reminder of what once was. Of who we are… – or who we were? – no, who we are.
It was such a good moment that I sat and reflected on it for a few minutes. About how wonderful it was to see such jubilation on the steps of the Court, rather than anger and horror and pain. Of how welcome it would be as a LGBTQIA+ person to feel the love of a nation, crying out for joy that you’re recognized for who you are.
Then my thoughts drifted to how glorious it would be to be back in a time when the Supreme Court’s ruling would be exciting, but unsurprising. When we’d smile and say – that’s great! Makes perfect sense. Of course they’d decide that that way.
Now it’s not the norm for things to be normal.
Nothing has made sense for so long that it’s shocking to see things going the way they should.
All the more reason to celebrate.
And all the more reason to take stock of how that win felt, and to save that feeling in a bottle to uncork during the fights that are to come. November is both near and far. Five months is a long time in 2020. In just the first six months of 2020 we’ve seen near-war with Iran, a worldwide pandemic, and a civil rights movement the likes of which we’ve not had in over 50 years. And of course I’m leaving out thousands of less existential threats that in any other time would be defining.
So, there’s little doubt that there will be a lot to endure in the next five months.
But when the going gets rough, maybe we can all think back to these moments when we’re reminded of who we are. So that we remember – it’s worth fighting for.
Let’s get to work.
Actions for the Week of June 16
Response to voter suppression in Georgia
Last week, Georgia primary voters faced long-lines, broken voting machines, and ballot shortages. If you haven’t seen footage of the lines, watch this video to visualize the severity of voter suppression. The polling places most severely affected by logistical problems were those serving voters in minority-majority districts, further suppressing the voices of thousands of minorities. The disaster in Georgia cannot be repeated this November. We must stop Republicans from codifying their anti-democracy tactics into law and push for legislation that protects all voters.
If you live in Georgia, Stacey Abrams’ organization, Fair Fight, has given you an action item: Call the Speaker of the Georgia State House, David Ralston, at 404-656-5020 and the State House Government Affairs Chairman, Shaw Blackmon, at 404-463-7852. While on the phone, express your anger about the chaos voters experienced during the primary. If you faced personal challenges or issues casting your ballot, share your story! Then, demand that they amend the provisions of S.B. 463 to address the failures of the current voting system. Right now, S.B. 463 leaves vulnerable counties without proper resources, fails to provide enough voting equipment, leaves voters wondering where to vote, fails to expand vote-by-mail access, and increases waiting times.
If you’re not a Georgia resident, call your Senators about Senator Kamala Harris’ VoteSafe Act. I’ve talked about it before, but federally-funded expanded access to vote-by-mail ballots is the key to a successful November election. Vote-by-mail is important for public health, election security, and voting accessibility. Senator Harris’ bill puts $5 billion towards expanding vote-by-mail across the country. Read this one-pager for a reminder on what the bill’s all about.
No cash from cops
The financial power of police unions and the Fraternal Order of Police is often connected to political power for their members. These institutions donate to political campaigns to maintain influence over elected leaders and law enforcement. This system preserves police brutality without accountability and derails justice. In order to move to a progressive form of community policing, we must support officials who are not beholden to police unions. Color of Change has organized a #NoCashFromCops campaign. The initiative calls for elected officials to “return and refuse political donations from police unions and the Fraternal Order of Police that have excused, defended, and encouraged police violence for decades.” Fill out the “tell your official to sign” page with your information to send a letter to your local officials demanding they cut ties with the FOP. Once they receive the petition, elected officials can sign the pledge on the website to declare that they reject political donations from police unions and the FOP.
Indivisible organized the Payback Project to target 11 U.S. Senators Democrats need to defeat in November. These 11 Senators have enabled and defended President Trump in inexcusable ways for four years. With grassroots activism, we can win these seats and flip the Senate. Click here to see the list of targeted Senators.
The four step plan of the Payback Project is 1) build awareness and accountability, 2) boost local political power, 3) organize to win, 4) get out the vote. There are several ways to get involved with this initiative, and I encourage you to check out the website for more information. For now, let’s all participate in step one: building awareness.
Sign up to text 100 voters in a target state through a peer-to-peer texting campaign! Here’s the link. Contacting voters early is an important part of a strong ground campaign.
Supporting Black Trans Lives
It’s Pride Month and we must celebrate the lives and the struggle of the queer community. The recent Supreme Court decision protecting gay and transgender workers is a major victory, but it should not overshadow the work that still must be done. This community-sourced Google Document is a wonderful resource to find actions to stand in solidarity with Black trans lives. I’ve pulled out two actions directly from the document you can do this week:
- Give to this ActBlue page to split a donation across organizations supporting Black trans liberation and survival;
- Read How We Can End the Violence Against Trans Women of Color by Raquel Willis.
WHEW! GO TEAM!
P.S.: Why don’t you make someone’s day and send this pep talk to a friend or two? I bet they need it.
If you’d like to sign up to get this pep talk and action list in your in-box each week, you can do that here. Welcome, friend!
Thank you for reading. Thank you for writing. I read and respond to every e-mail. (Really! I really do!) We’re in this together. Don’t you forget it.