April 16, 2021
It’s natural to want to fix what’s broken, to replace what can’t be fixed. This plays out in our individual day-to-day lives and our broader, more interconnected lives. We knew the previous guy was breaking America and filling our lives with misery and despair. Our self-preservation instincts kicked in and saved us from that trajectory.
Here we are today, still with a series of problems no less serious than before. But unlike before, we have more than our basic survival instincts to save us. We have allies in high places who appear to hear us, understand our concerns, and take seriously the privilege we bestowed upon them to make things work for us.
We’ve gone from a Putin-puppet-potus to a Russia-sanctioning potus. More of us can return to work or move about beyond a five-mile radius thanks to vaccinations. Those of us in need of jobs have more hope of finding one. The economy is in recovery. We even have an anti-Asian hate crime bill with bipartisan support. Things are starting to make sense again.
But when a bullet from a gun fired by a police officer hits a 13-year-old boy in the chest while his hands are up in the air and kills him, there is simply no way to have that make sense. And as much as we grieve young Adam Toledo’s death, while the trauma of Atlanta and Boulder and Knoxville and Daunte Wright are still so fresh, add to that the latest mass shooting at a FedEx site in Indianapolis just last night, nothing and no one is giving us a reason to believe that this will be the last. We have come to live with this knowledge everyday.
This must change. Gun violence is not inevitable. It’s unnatural and does not fix what’s broken or adequately replace what can’t be fixed. It does not have to be our cross to bear. Those who defend it, who vote against sensible gun reform, who bend over backwards to accommodate the NRA, and who abuse their power by pulling the trigger on unarmed victims need to remember one thing: none of them would want a bullet to kill their child or their grandchild or themselves, accidentally or intentionally.
Firing a gun or a rifle at another human being is a choice, not an instinct we’re born with, that does not need to be so easy to make. It’s not clear how or when, but we will put a stop to gun violence. We have come so far in our journey and have survived so many more powerful forces than we ever thought possible. We are stronger, wiser, and far more informed on this issue today than we've ever been. We have all that we need to figure out how to end this public health crisis.
“Democracy is not simply a license to indulge individual whims and proclivities. It is also holding oneself accountable to some reasonable degree for the conditions of peace and chaos that impact the lives of those who inhabit one’s beloved extended community.” – Aberjhani, Splendid Literatum: A Treasury of Stories, Aphorisms, Poems, and Essays
Susie T. Buell
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...
After a backlash from Democrats and human rights activists, the White House abruptly reversed course on Friday on the number of refugees it will allow into the United States. New York Times
Why do tasers look like guns anyway? Intelligencer
Florida's new ban on transgender students in sports would allow schools to subject minors to genital inspections. The Hill
An Arizona bill allowing parents to opt their children out of lessons that teach about the lives of LGBTQ+ people or their contributions to society is currently headed to the governor’s desk. Them
Texas House lawmakers advanced a package of restrictive abortion bills that, if passed, could ban abortions as early as six weeks without exceptions for rape or incest, and eventually bar the procedure almost entirely. Texas Tribune
Arizona’s attorney general wants to finish his term with a rush of executions. Los Angeles Times
New data shows that more Americans died of drug overdoses in the year leading to September 2020 than any 12-month period since the opioid epidemic began. Axios
In Brazil, an alarmingly high number of babies and children are dying of COVID-19. NBC News
GOOD NEWS, VICTORIES, & HEROES
The Biden-Harris Administration
More Good News
TAKE CARE, FIND JOY, HELP OTHERS
Here's every website you can use to book a vaccine appointment in California. SFGate
The Disaster Distress Helpline (1-800-985-5990) provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters. SAMHSA
Information on COVID-19 for survivors, communities, and domestic violence/sexual assault programs. Futures Without Violence
CALLS TO ACTION
1. Join the movement to end gun violence
America’s gun violence crisis has been on full display in the past week; we’ve seen countless horrific acts of gun violence across the country, including at the hands of law enforcement. Last night, 8 people were shot & killed at a FedEx warehouse in Indianapolis. Eight people went into their place of work yesterday & had their lives cut short by gun violence, several more were wounded, and an entire community has been forever traumatized. A police officer in the Minneapolis area shot and killed 20-year-old Daunte Wright, less than 10 miles away from the courtroom where Derek Chauvin, the police officer who killed George Floyd, is currently on trial. The city of Chicago released a video of police fatally shooting 13-year-old Adam Toledo, revealing that Adam had his hands up, and shows no indication that he was holding a gun when he was shot. Maryland police shot and killed Peyton Ham, a 16-year-old boy, in the same week that an off-duty Pentagon police officer shot and killed two people—32-year-old Dominique Williams, and 38-year-old James Lionel Johnson—in Takoma Park, Maryland. This week, the Austin-East Magnet High School community in Knoxville, Tennessee, mourned a fifth student fatally shot since the beginning of this year. This week we learned that two trans women were recently shot and killed in hotel rooms in Charlotte, North Carolina—Jaida Peterson, who was Black, and a woman whose name has not yet been released. It has also been exactly one month since the hate-fueled shootings at Atlanta metro spas that took the lives of eight people, six of whom were Asian women. It’s been 25 days since the mass shooting at a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, where ten people were killed, and 11 days since an entire family was fatally shot in Allen, Texas. And today marks 14 years since the mass shooting at Virginia Tech, where thirty-two students and educators were killed, and over a dozen more were wounded in the deadliest school shooting in modern American history. We do not have to live this way. A future free from gun violence is possible, and worth fighting for.
Join the movement to end gun violence: text ACT to 644-33.
2. Demand your Representative support D.C. statehood
D.C. statehood would enfranchise more than 700k residents, a plurality of whom are Black, giving equal representation to these residents and overturning hundreds of years of voter suppression and racism. This bill would also rectify the unique oppression that D.C. residents face as a result of their territory status. Most recently, the right-wing, white supremacist coup at the Capitol Building left the mayor of D.C. unable to respond to the violence in her city. The federal government (meaning trump at the time) controls D.C. National Guard, which trump took full advantage of by declining support for hours. Contrast this with trump’s militarized, violent response to D.C.’s peaceful Black Lives Matter protests over the summer, and you see how a lack of statehood can be weaponized against the residents of D.C. Without a functional democracy in which everyone is included and represented, we can’t achieve any of our other progressive goals. All the issues we care about deeply: health care, immigration, ending wars, racial justice, climate change—fixing these things requires a democracy that is responsive to the people, not the powerful and wealthy.
Fill out this form to be connected you to your Representative. Tell them to do everything in their power to pass D.C. statehood and make D.C. the 51st state.
3. Help protect African wildlife and stop poachers from your home
You can help protect African wildlife and stop poachers, all without leaving your home — here’s how. South Africa's Balule Nature Reserve is setting up camera phones that livestream videos of the park around the world. Viewers can take pictures and report any signs of poaching. The initiative will help the Black Mambas, an all-women, unarmed anti-poaching unit, keep watch over the park at all hours and assist on their patrols.
Learn more here.
An Evening of Allyship and Solidarity with Secretary Clinton and AAPI Women Leaders
Please join Secretary Hillary Clinton, Onward Together, and Public Wise for a conversation with a group of amazing AAPI women leaders including Margaret Cho, Michelle Kwan, Padma Lakshmi, Lucy Liu, and more. This event will benefit the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), the only national organization focused on building power with AAPI women and girls.
Wednesday, April 21st
4:00pm PT/7:00pm ET
Women Against the Recall
Join our kickoff meeting on Earth Day to be part of a grassroots movement to protect California’s progressive democratic agenda – including leading the fight against climate change. It is urgent that we stop the effort by right-wing extremists to recall Governor Newsom. If this recall is successful and a Republican Governor is elected, many of our fundamental rights and values are at stake. For women, communities of color, immigrants, and the LGBTQ+ community, in particular, the stakes couldn't be higher — a Republican governor will reverse many gains we have made in social equity and racial justice, gender and economic justice, civil rights, the environment, health, and public safety. Join our all-hands-on-deck meeting to defend the governor’s seat and defeat the Republican attack.
Thursday, April 22nd
RSVP to Nolice Edwards at email@example.com
A Women’s Leadership Forum Conversation with DNC Chair Jaime Harrison and Rep. Katie Porter
The Women’s Leadership Forum of the Democratic National Committee cordially invites you to a conversation with DNC Chair Jaime Harrison and Rep. Katie Porter (CA-45) moderated by the DNC’s Communications Outreach Director Danai Pointer. In 2020, DNC Chair Jaime Harrison ran for the U.S. Senate from South Carolina and shattered the fundraising record for the most money raised by a Senate candidate. Prior to that, he was appointed by DNC Chair Tom Perez as an Associate Chair of the DNC. In 2013, Chairman Harrison was elected the first African American chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party. He is also a former high school teacher and he served as an aide to South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn. Rep. Katie Porter was elected in 2018, flipping a Republican-held U.S. House seat that had never previously been held by a Democrat. During her time in the House Rep. Porter has established herself as a leader who is not afraid to speak truth to power as she advocates for the needs of everyday Americans. In March 2020 she got former CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield to commit to providing free COVID-19 testing for all Americans, regardless of insurance coverage. Prior to that, Rep. Porter gained attention for her tough questioning of the CEO’s of both Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase. Rep. Porter is up for re-election in 2022.
Wednesday, April 28th
4:15pm PT/7:15pm ET
Senate Representation Matters
Please join Congresswoman Barbara Lee and our Host Committee for Senate Representation Matters featuring Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and special guest Senator Carol Moseley Braun (ret.). Senators Cortez Masto and Duckworth both made history when they were elected in 2016 – Senator Cortez Masto as the first Latina, and Senator Duckworth as the first Thai American and first woman with a disability ever elected to the U.S. Senate. Both Senators Masto and Duckworth are up for reelection in 2022. Congresswoman Barbara Lee is currently the highest ranking woman of color in Congressional Leadership and has represented the people of CA-13 since 1998. Senator Carol Moseley Braun represented Illinois in the U.S. Senate from 1993 to 1999. She was a trailblazer in the U.S. Senate in several ways, including being the first African-American elected to the U.S. Senate, the first African-American U.S. Senator from the Democratic Party, the first woman to defeat an incumbent U.S. Senator in an election, and the first female U.S. Senator from Illinois.
Wednesday, April 28th
4:30pm PT/7:30pm ET
Virtual Reception Honoring Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi
Last month Speaker Pelosi’s leadership in the House delivered the American Rescue Plan – which has been called one of the most impactful pieces of legislation in decades – for President Biden’s signature. Please join us on Thursday, May 6th at 5:00pm PT for a virtual reception honoring Speaker Pelosi and her stewardship of House Democrats. Speaker Pelosi has served as a U.S. Representative from California since 1987. She is the 52nd Speaker of the House of Representatives and she is the first woman ever elected to hold that position. Speaker Pelosi had led House Democrats for 16 years and she previously served as House Democratic Whip.
Thursday, May 6th
5:00pm PT/8:00pm ET
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IMAGE OF THE WEEK
Publisher & Inspiration Generator: Susie T. Buell
Editor: Belinda Muñoz • Content Manager: Patricia Szafranski-Berens
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