Category Archives: Social Justice

World to Flint Kids: We Still See You

An 11-year-old social media celebrity collects thousands of encouraging letters from around the globe to remind her Flint schoolmates they are not forgotten.

By . Published 8-29-2018 by YES! Magazine

Eleven-year-old Mari Copeny helped raise funds to purchase 15,000 backpacks, which she and her team will stuff with school supplies and distribute to Flint children this week. Photo courtesy of Mari and her family

About 15,000 Flint children will return to school next week with new backpacks stuffed with goodies, some including letters of encouragement and support from people across the globe.

Dear Flint Kids: It’s the start of a new school year, which means it’s a new start for you … I feel really special that my letter would reach such a special person like you …

Dear Flint Kids: It’s the start of a new school year and anything is possible. Believe in yourself …

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‘Massive Victory for the Whole Internet’ as California Passes Nation’s Strongest Net Neutrality Bill

“AT&T and Comcast spent enormous amounts of money lobbying to kill SB 822. They almost succeeded more than once, but we fought back.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-31-2018

“We did it. We passed the strongest net neutrality standards in the nation,” Democratic state Senator Scott Wiener, the primary author of SB 822, said in a statement. (Photo: Fight for the Future)

In a major victory for the open internet that could have ripple effects throughout the United States, the California Senate on Friday thwarted aggressive lobbying by the telecom industry and passed the strongest, most comprehensive net neutrality bill in the nation.

“The passage of SB 822 in California has huge implications for our fight to restore neutrality nationwide,” declared the advocacy group Fight for the Future (FFTF) following Friday’s vote. “We also need to harness the momentum from this huge victory to put pressure on our elected officials in Congress.” Continue reading

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Just Hours After Ordering Pay Cut for Millions of Public Workers, Trump Proposes $100 Billion Gift to Richest 1%

“Trump wants to send another kiss to the rich—unilaterally, without any approval from Congress. He ignores the law, governs for the top one percent, and doesn’t give a hoot about the rest of us.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-31-2018

“Hours after cheating millions of middle class workers, Trump wants to send another kiss to the rich—unilaterally, without any approval from Congress,” Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) wrote on Twitter late Thursday. (Photo: Timothy Krause/cc/flickr)

Hours after he launched yet another “direct attack” on workers by canceling a modest pay raise for around two million federal employees, President Donald Trump told Bloomberg on Thursday that he is considering a regressive and possibly illegal plan to use his executive power to hand the rich another $100 billion in tax cuts by indexing capital gains to inflation.

“There are a lot of people that love it and some people that don’t,” Trump said of the plan, which would disproportionately reward the top 0.01 percent of Americans. “But I’m thinking about it very strongly.” Continue reading

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Amid ‘Epidemic’ of Campus Sexual Assault, Women’s Groups Decry Rollback of Protections by ‘See No Evil Betsy Devos’

“These new rules further protect abusers in a system that is already rigged in their favor.”

By Common Dreams. Published 8-30-2018

USC students protest the University’s handling of rape and sexual assault cases. (Kylie Nicholson/SCAR)

Women rights groups and victim advocates expressed outrage on Thursday following reports that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has plans to weaken federal protections for sexual assault survivors on U.S. campuses—reducing liability for school administrators and increasing protections for accused sexual predators.

The proposed rules, first reported by The New York Times, narrow the definition of sexual harassment to mean “unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex that is so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it denies a person access to the school’s education program or activity.” Continue reading

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Legal Analysis Exposes Kavanaugh’s Long History of Siding With Corporate Power Over the Common Good

“The most eye-catching conclusion,” says the author, is the Trump nominee’s inconsistent reasoning coupled with an “overwhelming tendency to reach conclusions favorable to corporations.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-29-2018

Critics of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh protested at Foley Square in New York City on Aug. 26. (Photo: Ivan Pereira/Twitter)

Bolstering calls for the Senate to block President Donald Trump’s deeply unpopular U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, an analysis out Wednesday reveals that Kavanaugh has overwhelmingly sided with corporate power over public interest while serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit over the past 12 years.

The new report (pdf), authored by Public Citizen president Robert Weissman, found that Kavanaugh ruled against public interest 87 percent of the time for more than 100 split-decision cases involving consumer and regulatory issues and administrative law, environmental protection, worker rights, alleged police or human rights abuses, and antitrust enforcement. Continue reading

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Eyeing Landmark Verdict in Roundup Cancer Case, Vietnam Demands Monsanto Be Held Liable Over Agent Orange

“We believe Monsanto should be responsible for compensating Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange for the damages caused by the company’s herbicides”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-27-2018

A man wears a shirt calling for justice for Agent Orange victims during the March Against Monsanto in San Francisco on May 23, 2015. (Photo: Peg Hunter/flickr/cc)

In the wake of a U.S. court ordering Monsanto to pay $289 million in damages to a man who says its weedkiller Roundup caused his cancer, Vietnam has called on the agrichemical giant to pay reparations to Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange.

“This case is a precedent that rejects previous arguments that the herbicides supplied to the U.S. military by Monsanto and other U.S. chemical companies during the Vietnam War are not harmful to people’s health,” spokesperson for the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Phuong Tra said to reporters last week. Continue reading

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Lawyers Turn to Activism as Civil Liberties Come Under Attack

A new generation of social justice attorneys has risen to defend against the hard-line policies of the Trump administration, from immigration and abortion access to voting and gender rights.

By . Published 8-6-2018 by YES! Magazine

To train a new generation of lawyers to fight for the rights of immigrants after the 2016 elections, Claire Thomas started an asylum clinic at the New York City law school where she taught.

In Seattle, Michelle Mentzer retired five years early as an administrative law judge so she could volunteer as an attorney with the ACLU.

And in Texas, Anna Castro traded her full-time job for contract work so she could prepare to attend law school to better serve her community. Continue reading

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South African Officials Among Many Denouncing Trump’s “Disgusting” White Supremacist Talking Point on Land Reforms

“Tucker Carlson is acting as a direct pathway communicating narratives between white nationalists and the president of the United States.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-23-2018

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa rejected President Donald Trump’s attempt to insert himself into the debate of land expropriation in South Africa, using debunked white nationalist talking points. (Photo: GovernmentZA/Flickr/cc)

After apparently tuning in to Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Wednesday evening, President Donald Trump waded into the affairs of the South African government, pushing a talking point favored by white nationalists regarding the country’s land reforms—and angering South Africans as well as others who understand South Africa’s history of racial oppression.


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With Sixteen “Guilty” Verdicts All in a Row, Hundreds of Thousands Ready to Hit Streets If Trump Issues Pardons or Moves Against Mueller

“Manafort could spend the rest of his life in jail, and Cohen could be headed there too. This raises the threat that Trump will try to pardon his way to obstruction of justice. If he does, we will take to the streets.”

By Common Dreams. Published 8-21-2018

“If Trump pardons Paul Manafort, 350,000 Americans in more than 900 cities are ready to take to the streets to assert that nobody is above the law.”

In response to the admission of guilt to eight charges by President Donald Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen and the eight guilty verdicts against his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort on Tuesday afternoon, the national progressive advocacy group MoveOn.org issued a blistering thread on Twitter in which it said the developments prove the Special Counsel’s office, led by Robert Mueller, is “on the right track” and also vowed that its millions of members are standing ready to defend the probe against any interference by the president. Continue reading

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Trump’s Drastic Cuts to UNRWA Spell More Poverty, Hopelessness, and Radicalization in Palestine

In an attempt to pressure the Palestinian people to accept his “deal of the century,” Trump decided to drastically cut the annual U.S. contribution to UNRWA from about $350 million to $65 million and pressured other countries, including Britain and Australia, to reduce their contributions as well.

By Hisham H. Ahmed, Ph.D. Published 8-17-2018 by MintPress News

Schoolgirls at the UNRWA Rimal Girls Preparatory School in Gaza. Adel Hana | AP

UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees, was established in December 1949 by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 302 to address the basic humanitarian needs of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who became refugees in the first Arab-Israeli war in 1948.

As its name reveals, UNRWA’s mission was centered on providing relief rations, basic healthcare, education and employment opportunities for the refugees who lost all of their livelihood. Underlying UNRWA’s establishment was the goal to integrate refugees into the neighboring Arab host countries, so as to diffuse tensions and promote regional peace and stability. Continue reading

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