Civil rights, immigration, climate change, and the economy - all are connected and tied directly to the issues of justice and human rights.
At the Sanders Institute Gathering, Dr. Jim Zogby moderated a panel on civil rights, immigration, and human dignity with Dr. Radhika Balakrishnan, Representative Tulsi Gabbard, Susan Sarandon, and Ben Jealous. The panelists talked about how climate change and economic injustice are creating conflicts across the world and contributing to mass migration. This in turn has impacted several countries fostering xenophobic far-right movements. They discussed the importance of judging a country's economy, not on how large it is, but on whether it is just and meets the test of providing equal opportunity for all. And they talked about the history of the United States and how genocide against indigenous peoples, indentured servitude, slavery, and disenfranchisement defined the United States' beginning and still shapes our social and our political realities.Read More
Senior Policy Advisor for the Carter Center, Karin Ryan, reads a letter to Jane O'Meara Sanders and David Driscoll supporting the Gathering. She reads: "I send my best wishes for a successful conference. It is gratifying to know you have brought together some of the world’s eminent experts to generate new ideas and action strategies to advance human well-being… We must build a world together that rests firmly on a foundation of the enduring principles found in the Declaration of Human Rights. That every person is equal in dignity and rights and that we can face every challenge and solve the most intractable problems, as long as we stay true to this universal creed. Rosalynn joins me in sending our best wishes for success in your efforts.”Read More
20.8 million households pay more than 30% of their income on rent, and 11 million pay more than 50% of their income on rent.
47.7% of renters in metropolitan areas, and 38% of renters across the U.S. experience rental burden in 2015 (latest numbers available)
On average, low-income families (lowest 20% of income) spend 56% of their income on rent.
553,742 people experienced homelessness on a single night in 2017
The United States is facing a housing crisis.Read More
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard received the Ho’ola Na Pua Advocacy Award on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018, for her dedication to serving and empowering human trafficking survivors in Hawai‘i.Read More
Actor Danny Glover, speaking at America's Black Holocaust Museum in Milwaukee, equates a woman from his childhood needing care to today’s society. Mike De Sisti, Milwaukee Journal SentinelView Page
The EU has taken the lead in responding to abuse by the likes of Facebook, thanks to its new privacy standards and proposed greater taxation of peddlers of online personal data. Yet more is needed and feasible.Read More
The next time you hear someone repeating pro-gun NRA propaganda, respond with these five points.Read More
To mark the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, special correspondent Charlayne Hunter-Gault sits down with one of his closest friends, artist and activist Harry Belafonte, who remembers how they met and what made King so special, as well as why he says America is more racially divided than any other moment in his life.Read More
If King were alive today, his words would threaten most of those who now sing his praisesRead More
Too often, when you raise the issue of guns in this country, it sparks highly divisive rhetoric with both sides drawing lines in the sand and pointing their arrows at each other. Caught in the middle, we see the faces and hear the voices of children who’ve witnessed the slaughter of their friends and teachers and who are crying out for action. The question is, will we hear them? Will we care enough to do something about it?Read More
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Votes Against Bill that Undermines Civil Rights Protections for Americans with Disabilities
“For more than 25 years, the ADA has been instrumental in expanding and protecting fair, equal opportunities for disabled Americans. H.R. 620 unravels this progress, making it easier for employers to skirt around discrimination laws and requiring people with disabilities to jump through hoops for the equal access protections to which they are entitled. I’ve heard from many community organizations in Hawai‘i that shared how this legislation would hurt our more than 210,000 disabled residents. I stand with them in strong opposition to this harmful legislation.”Read More
This article from Vox answers the question: "Why does the US have such a high rate of gun murders, by far the highest in the developed world? Is it because of guns, or is there something else going on?"
It finds that America does not have a higher crime rate than other developed countries, the issue is that the crimes are much more lethal - "American criminals just kill more people than do their counterparts in other developed countries. And guns appear to be a big part of what makes this difference."
Specifically, "when people have a handheld tool that is specially engineered for killing efficiently, escalation to murder becomes much, much more likely."
There are over 2.2 million families in America for whom the holiday season is extremely difficult. As co-workers, fellow parishioners, friends and colleagues wish them happy holidays and inquire whether they will be getting together with family, they cringe and struggle to respond in a way that does not reveal that for them the holidays are a harsh reminder of the pain, separation and loneliness that incarceration means for them. For them, there is no holiday dinner at a nice restaurant, shopping outing for gifts, decorating a tree or attending a religious service. On New Year’s Eve they will not share a kiss at midnight or hold each other tightly. In fact, the words “Happy New Year” ring hollow and reopen the wounds of separation.Read More
In 1964, when they were both 37, Harry Belafonte and his friend Sidney Poitier traveled to the town of Greenwood, Miss. As the two entertainers made their journey to meet with members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, they were chased and shot at by the Ku Klux Klan. But they succeeded in their mission. They hand-delivered a doctor’s bag filled with $70,000, money collected in a series of small fundraisers, to help with the student committee’s voter registration effort.Read More
Ahead of giving remarks at the opening night of the Women's Convention, a Women's March-organized conference held in Detroit, Michigan, Turner spoke to Cosmoplitan.com about channeling your "inner man" to run for office and why she thinks it's important to incorporate men in the fight against institutionalized sexism.Read More
Nina Turner is one of the most energizing, sharpest, and effective figures representing the progressive movement. At a time when Republicans are waging a class war and the Democratic Party still seems intent on ensuring that the needs of Wall Street, the health care lobby, and its corporate donors are a priority, Turner is a loud clear voice on the left who fights for Medicare For All, a $15 per hour minimum wage, and other similar policies.Read More
The former Ohio State Senator and current president of Our Revolution addresses the controversy over Bernie Sanders' upcoming speech to the Women's March convention; Trump's new sabotage of Obamacare; the finale of "The Nina Turner Show," and more.Read More
Lt. Gen. Jay B. Silveria, superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy, addressed cadets on Thursday in a powerful speech about treating one another with “dignity and respect” after racial slurs were written outside five black cadet candidates’ dorm rooms.
Philosophy professor at Harvard and Founding Fellow of the Sanders Institute Dr. Cornel West debates Trump supporter Paris Dennard on Tuesday's edition of CNN's 'Anderson Cooper 360' about the president's feud with NFL and what role race plays in the culture war.Read More
On CNN State Of The Union with Jake Tapper, Political Commentators Bakari Sellers, Rick Santorum, Nina Turner discusses President Trump's Charlottesville, Virginia comments, removing statues and flags across the country, the firing of Chief White House Strategist, Steve Bannon and a divided America today under Trump's White House.Read More
Harry Belafonte is a living legend. As a close associate of Martin Luther King Jr., Belafonte played an instrumental role in many of the crucial moments of the civil rights movement. On Oct. 18, he will speak at the Shubert Theatre in New Haven for the 50th anniversary fundraiser of Christian Community Action, a New Haven-based anti-poverty organization.Read More
In this roundtable discussion hosted by Democracy NOW, Dr. Cornel West speaks about his experience at the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. As thousands of neo-Nazis, KKK members and other white nationalists descended on the city to participate in the "Unite the Right" rally, thousands of counterprotesters met in Charlottesville, including clergy, students, Black Lives Matter activists, and protesters with the anti-fascist movement known as "antifa."
In this episode of The Nina Turner Show on The Real News Network, Danny Glover tells Nina Turner how he became an actor and activist, and calls for a global movement that raises expectations of itself and of the world.Read More
On July 18th, 2017, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Danny Glover delivered remarks to the General Assembly on International Nelson Mandela Day. Mr. Glover highlighted the legacy of Mandela as a reminder that "nonviolent resistance paired with sustained activism, is the key to transforming a potential dead end into a new beginning."Read More
Month's after the Women's March, this video lays out the difference between the wealth and income gap. They explain that while women earn 79 cents to the dollar that men earn, there is an even larger gap between how much women own: “Women own only 32 cents on the dollar that men own, and black and Latina women own pennies on the dollar compared to white men and white women”
This large wealth gap exists for a number of reasons, including:
1) Women make less than men
2) Women are more likely to work part time (usually because women are caring for family members)
3) Women often can't access tax subsidies that encourage savings (because of the way they are structured)
Robert and Elena call to keep pushing for pay equity, affordable childcare and, paid family leave to address this disparity. Ultimately, they advise that whenever your local area, state, or national government is considering legislation, it is important to ask: "who benefits?" Ultimately, legislation that benefits women, benefits all of the United States.Read More
At the 2017 People’s Summit, Nina Turner talks to organizers from West Virginia and Ohio about the challenges of living and affecting change in rural America.Read More
Consumer Watchdog hosts the Rage for Justice Awards to honor the heroes and heroines of the public interest movement. The awards are named after Congressman Phillip Burton, one of the most productive and driven progressive legislators in American history. His story is told in John Jacobs’ acclaimed book A Rage for Justice.
This year's honorees included Bernie & Jane Sanders, Chris Spagnoli, and Jackson Browne.Read More
Truth Seeking, Democracy, and Freedom of Thought and Expression - A Statement by Robert P. George and Cornel West
The pursuit of knowledge and the maintenance of a free and democratic society require the cultivation and practice of the virtues of intellectual humility, openness of mind, and, above all, love of truth. These virtues will manifest themselves and be strengthened by one’s willingness to listen attentively and respectfully to intelligent people who challenge one’s beliefs and who represent causes one disagrees with and points of view one does not share.Read More
"Let us be brave and forceful in standing up for each other’s rights to live and worship freely and let us not be afraid to say that whoever threatens that right for any one of us will have to face all of us together."
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard delivered the keynote address at the 10th Annual Prophet Muhammad Day event at Rutgers University. "The event, hosted by Muslims for Peace, is focused on bringing communities together to celebrate the legacy of compassion, mercy, and justice of the Prophet Muhammad, and to stand together against anti-Muslim rhetoric and policies."
Gabbard focuses on the need for faiths all across the country and the world to come together to respect and protect each other. She draws from personal experience when political opponents attempted to use her religion as a reason not to vote for her, and sites many instances of crime and discrimination against certain religions.Read More
There has been a significant amount of discussion about Social Security. Many are concerned that the current model for Social Security is not sustainable and it will eventually not be able to pay benefits out to retirees.
The Social Security payroll tax currently in place is capped at the same level for everyone, regardless of how much they make. In 2017 the maximum wage earnings that are taxed by the payroll tax is $127,200. This means that if you make any amount over $127,200, that extra money is not taxed. Ultimately this leads to a "regressive" tax structure where those making up to $127,200 are paying a higher percentage of their income than those who make more that that amount.
This article looks at the effect that raising or eliminating the cap would have on income earners across the country. Based on its data " the vast majority of workers would not be impacted." This is because "roughly 1 in 18 people, or 5.4 percent of workers, earn more than the current cap and would be affected if it were eliminated."
On Saturday January 14th, 2017, former Ohio State Senator Nina Turner delivered a speech in front of the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in Washington D.C. at National Action Network's We Will Not Be Moved rally.
She calls on the crowd to not be discouraged by the situation that they find themselves in. Rather, they should look back at where they and their ancestors have come from and gain courage from that struggle and many of the successes that have led to a better (but not yet perfect) world.
Senator Turner also mentions other groups including the LGBTQ community as well as the hispanic and latino community that are with the African American community fighting for "social, economic, and political justice." She states that: “We may not have gotten here on the same ship but we are in the same boat right now.”
This article from the Social Security Administration answers some key questions that many have about Social Security.
The questions range from historical questions:
Q: When did Social Security Start?
Q: Is it true that life expectancy was less than 65 back in 1935, so the Social Security program was designed in such a way that people would not live long enough to collect benefits?
Through questions about its revenues and future viability:
Q: Has Social Security ever been financed by general tax revenues?
Q: How much has Social Security paid out since it started?
Q:Has Social Security always taken in more money each year than it needed to pay benefits?
To logistical questions:
Q: Is there any significance to the numbers assigned in the Social Security Number?
Q:Are Social Security numbers reused after a person dies?Read More
This report from Representation 2020 looks at female representation at the federal, state and local levels of government.
"This report finds that women are underrepresented at the national, state, and local level, and that parity for men and women in elected office is unlikely to occur without structural changes in recruitment, electoral, and legislative rules"
It reaches this conclusion through using a "Gender Parity Index" created by Representation 2020 to analyze the representation of women in office, giving more weight to more prominent offices, such as positions in Congress or Governorships. The scale ranges from 0 to 100 where 0 is no representation of women, and 100 is full representation of women. Representation 2020 suggests that states should aim for a score of 50 for equal representation.
Ultimately, states in the Northeast and West receive better scores than many states in the South that "lags behind." New Hampshire is the state with the most gender parity with a slight over-representation of women in elected office (55 points in the gender parity index) , while Mississippi scores the worst with only 6.4 points. The report states that "Mississippi is the only state that has never elected a woman to the governor’s mansion or to the U.S. Congress."
This video from Vox begins with the often cited statistic that women make 79 cents for every dollar that men make.
That statistic is correct, but there is a lot more to it.
One element of the problem is that women are concentrated in lower-paying jobs. Another element is that men tend to get slightly higher paying jobs immediately.
However, this video focuses on the need for flexibility. It describes that the wage gap widens as women get older in their 20s and 30s but then starts to shrink. This is largely because women still take on a larger percentage of childrearing tasks than men, even if both parents are working full time. Jobs which are more flexible have lower wage gaps than jobs that have set hours.
The video ends with a simple idea to work towards shrinking the wage gap: "There are lots of jobs where hours can be more flexible than they are now. The more we can make that work, the more the wage gap will shrink."Read More
"Nothing is more important to me, and nothing was more important to our founding fathers, than freedom of religion."
In this article and speech transcript, Rep Tulsi Gabbard talks about the importance of religious freedoms. She laments the amount of divisiveness that exists in the U.S. - some of which she has personally experienced when her opposition in a race implied that her religion made her unfit to serve - and around the world.
Gabbard calls on Americans to come together against religious discrimination. She states that it is a core tenant of the Constitution to be open and welcoming to all religions: We have a great challenge that lies before us. Let us stand proudly as Americans. As defenders of our constitution. As defenders of freedom. Let us be inspired by the vision put forward by our nation’s founders, and challenge those fomenting religious bigotry to do the same."Read More
"America doesn't have a gun problem, it has several of them." This video from Vox takes a broad view of gun violence in the United States.
92 Americans die per day from guns.
The video begins with a description of the number of gun deaths per day - 92, and then breaks it down into the number of homicide deaths (30), suicides (58), accidental shotings, police shootings, and undetermined.
The video then compares gun deaths and laws in the United States to other countries and determines "Gun violence is a uniquely American problem"Read More
In his new book, Wages of Rebellion, Chris Hedges-who has long chronicled the malaise of a society in moral decline — investigates what social and psychological factors cause revolution, rebellion, and resistance. In what was a timely and thought-provoking conversation, Cornel West engaged Hedges’ on his message that popular uprisings in the United States and around the world are inevitable in the face of environmental destruction and wealth polarization and together discuss the moral imperative of revolt.
This conversation challenges and questions ideas of political correctness, anti-establishment movements, global climate change, and capitalism itself.
This TED talk by Michael Kimmel addresses the preconceived notions that society has about gender, privilege and feminism. Kimmel begins by saying that he is there to "Recruit men to support gender equality." He argues that this is necessary because by definition, privilege is invisible to the people who have it and therefore white men do not see their privilege.
He cites statistics that clearly demonstrate that gender equality is not only positive for women, it is positive for:
Countries: "Countries that are the most gender equal score the highest on the happiness scale.")
Companies: "Research has shown that the more gender equal companies are, the better it is for workers, the happier their workforce is, the lower levels of job turnover, lower levels of attrition, and easier time recruiting, higher rates of job satisfaction, higher rates of productivity."
Men: "The more egalitarian our relationships the happier both partners are."Read More
"The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else."
This article from The ADA National Networks gives a succinct summary of the ADA, what it is and who it covers. The different sections are as follows:
Title I: Equal Employment Opportunities for Individuals with Disabilities. "This title is designed to help people with disabilities access the same employment opportunities and benefits available to people without disabilities."
Title II: Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in State and Local Government Services. This title "prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in all programs, activities, and services of public entities."
Title III: Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability by Public Accommodations and in Commercial Facilities. This title "prohibits private places of public accommodation from discriminating against individuals with disabilities. Examples of public accommodations include privately-owned, leased or operated facilities like hotels, restaurants, retail merchants, doctor’s offices, golf courses, private schools, day care centers, health clubs, sports stadiums, movie theaters, and so on."
Title IV: Telecommunications. "This title requires telephone and Internet companies to provide a nationwide system of interstate and intrastate telecommunications relay services that allows individuals with hearing and speech disabilities to communicate over the telephone."
Title V: Miscellaneous Provisions. "The final title contains a variety of provisions relating to the ADA as a whole, including its relationship to other laws, state immunity, its impact on insurance providers and benefits, prohibition against retaliation and coercion, illegal use of drugs, and attorney’s fees."Read More
In this report, Ben Jealous and his colleague Ryan Haygood investigate the effects of the Supreme Court's 2013 decision Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder that "invalidated core protections in the Voting Rights Act"
They specifically look at 5 states that enacted laws that would have been, or were, considered discriminatory and therefore would not have been put into effect for the 2014 elections. These states are: Texas, Alabama, North Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia
The report finds that "it is clear that the number of people predicted to face increased difficulties in voting during this election either approaches or exceeds the margins of victory for competitive statewide races." In addition, "Consistent with a recent report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, or GAO, finding that photo ID laws lower voter turnout, especially among voters of color."
The fight against profiling by law enforcement is at a critical moment. Ben Jealous talks about racial profiling, the steps that have been taken to mitigate it, and the steps that still need to be taken to get rid of it.
Jealous states that "Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community are significantly overrepresented in all aspects of the penal system." The problem is even worse for LGBT individuals of color who face multiple types of discrimination. Jealous believes that this racial profiling demands a response from the federal government. He suggests that that the federal government:
1) Ensures that protections against all forms of profiling extend across the country by linking funding to the adoption of bans on profiling.
2) Encourage prosecutors to stop confiscating and citing possession of condoms as evidence.
3) End immigration-enforcement programs that encourage and expand the consequences of discriminatory profiling.
Jealous ends with the statement "We need to end institutionalized homophobia and transphobia, just as we need to end institutionalized racism. Let us be sure to leave no one behind."Read More
This article from Politico looks at the argument that "millions of gun owners successfully use their firearms to defend themselves and their families from criminals. Despite having nearly no academic support in public health literature, this myth is the single largest motivation behind gun ownership"
It describes the origin of this argument and then demonstrates why that argument is so wrong. First, the authors describe the bias in the original source survey, they then compare it to surveys that have been conducted since that original survey that have less bias and do not replicate the findings.
The article concludes "the evidence clearly shows that our lax gun laws and increased gun ownership, spurred on by this myth, do not help “good guys with guns” defend themselves, their families or our society. Instead, they are aiding and abetting criminals by providing them with more guns, with 200,000 already stolen on an annual basis. And more guns means more homicides. More suicides. More dead men, women and children. Not fewer."View Page
In this interview, Harry Belafonte reflects on his life as an activist, singer, and actor, and describes that to him, they are not separate career paths.
Belafonte explains that "What attracted me to the arts was that I saw theater as a social force, a political force."
He goes on to explain his relationships with some of the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, his friendship and connection with MLK. He even speaks about King's legacy beyond just the United States.
When asked about his connection to leaders around the world who have not consistently been seen as American allies, he defends his choice by saying that it is important to be open to people from all over the world who have different view points than ours.Read More
"The American people are frustrated."
In this article the Honorable Nina Turner looks at the frustration of the lower and middle class - those that have been worst hurt by the recession and slow recovery. She states "They are frustrated about the flat-lined economic recovery, the lack of jobs and the failed housing market. They are frustrated that while they struggle to pay their bills with stagnant or falling incomes those at the top have rebounded; surviving the crisis relatively unscathed." Turner argues that this frustration has shown itself in both the Occupy and Tea Party movement.
Turner offers examples of what the private sector and government can do to address these ails. Ultimately she argues that "to do nothing is to fall behind, but by making strategic investments now we can maintain our competitive edge and lay a foundation of prosperity for generations to come."
Americans "are fed up, and they have decided that they are not going to take it anymore."
Those who oppose gun control argue that gun control would never work: criminals would still be able to access guns and that crime rates would increase because criminals would know that law abiding citizens would not have guns. But what actually happens when guns are banned?
This article from the Harvard Bulletins investigates the effect of the 1996 National Firearms Agreement in Australia that "banned semi-automatic and pump-action rifles and shotguns, bought back more than 650,000 of these weapons from existing owners, and tightened requirements for licensing, registration, and safe storage of firearms."
It finds that "the NFA seems to have been incredibly successful in terms of lives saved. While 13 gun massacres (the killing of 4 or more people at one time) occurred in Australia in the 18 years before the NFA, resulting in more than one hundred deaths, in the 14 following years (and up to the present), there were no gun massacres."
The article concludes that "From the perspective of 1996, it would have been difficult to imagine more compelling future evidence of a beneficial effect of the law."View Page
Cornel West-a self-described intellectual freedom fighter influenced by the Baptist church, American transcendentalism, the Black Panthers and European philosophy—seeks to revive the best of liberalism, populism and democratic socialism. In this talk, West teaches that racial division fosters the poverty, paranoia, fear and distrust that undermine our nation's democratic process.