Landmark Charlottesville Lawsuit Holds Accountable Neo-Nazis and White Supremacist Leaders Jury in Charlottesville, Virginia ‘Unite the Right’ trial reaches partial verdict. A Virginia jury awarded nine plaintiffs $26 million in damages against the white supremacists who organized the rally. The monetary damages provided some recompense to the Charlottesville victims and their families, but the trial was about more than the injuries suffered by the plaintiffs. It was also an effort to confront the growing threat of the violent white supremacist movement. The attorneys who brought the case—Karen Dunn and Roberta Kaplan—are high-profile lawyers with BigLaw backgrounds. Dunn and Kaplan brought tremendous firepower to the case, which was backed by Integrity First for America, a civil rights nonprofit organization that funds litigation costs and evidence collection.
However, the “jury could not agree on the most serious claims that the defendants— about two dozen white supremacists, neo-Nazis and key organizers — engaged in a conspiracy to commit violence under federal law.”
In spite of the partial verdict, statements from two of the lead plaintiff attorneys stated that “We feel that justice was served today,” and “…the verdict sent a message that this country doesn’t tolerate violence based on racial and religious hatred in any form.” Read more. Learn more about the case at Integrity First for America or watch the short summary video about the case above! – The Washington Post and Today’s Edition.
|Statement from President Joe Biden | The White House|
Ahmaud Arbery’s killing is a devastating reminder of how far we have to go in the fight for racial justice in this country. He should be here today…but the guilty verdict ensures that those who committed this crime will be punished.
What the Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan will mean for Michiganders
According to The Gander Newsroom, the historic bipartisan “Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act” that President Biden signed this week, will bring projects to our state that Governor Whitmer stated “will make a huge difference in people’s lives.” Some of those improvements include:
- “Fixing those Damn Roads” — Michigan will no longer have to rely on just quick fixes for roads and bridges. The infrastructure bill will bring the single largest investment in bridges since the construction of the interstate highway system.
- Clean Drinking Water — There will be funding directed towards replacing lead pipes and improve overall water infrastructure.
- Charging the Future of Electric Vehicles — Investment in building a network of electric vehicles across the state. This will be part of a national network of chargers to improve long-distance travel.
- High-Speed Internet — With more than 1.2 million households in Michigan without permanent internet access, and 300,000 – 400,000 students lacking access during the pandemic, this investment in internet access is essential. Rural areas are particularly impacted by lack of broadband coverage.
- Shifting Weather Patterns — Extreme weather events and climate change caused $5 billion in damage between 2010-2020. Funding will be provided to improve preparedness measures and overhauling infrastructure.
- Making Commuting Easier and Healthier — Michigan is expecting to see about $1 billion over five years that will be directed towards improving public transit across the state.
Visit the PEG website to view the comprehensive listing of Upcoming Events!
Things to do
Watch this Video in honor of Native American Heritage Month
This November marks 31 years since former President George H.W. Bush expanded “American Indian Week” to the full month of November. Both Republican and Democratic presidents have issued proclamations in the past thirty years to encourage the remembrance and preservation of Native culture. Native Americans and Indigenous People represent many different cultures unified by their shared history since the arrival of Europeans. As we celebrate Thanksgiving, we also hold space for this day of mourning for our land’s first inhabitants. Below is a video connecting poetry and politics from the national Native American Heritage Month website featuring U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo and Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland.
Vot-ER brings voting registration into the healthcare setting
They help healthcare spaces and healthcare providers to support their colleagues and patients to register to vote. In the last year Vot-ER has partnered with over 300 health institutions and 100 national organizations and associations across the country to bring voting into the healthcare setting. If you are involved in healthcare, or know someone who is, and are interested in making voter registration services available to people visiting your facilities, check out “Vot-ER.”
Perspective on the Freedom to Vote Act and the Filibuster
The Freedom to Vote Act remains in suspended animation in the Senate as Joe Manchin has failed to convince a single Republican to support the Act. The situation will not change unless and until the Senate carves out an exception to the filibuster for voting rights legislation. A group of scholars representing dozens of universities has published a statement urging the Senate to modify the filibuster to pass the Freedom to Vote Act. See New America, “Statement in Support of the Freedom to Vote Act.” The Statement describes how the filibuster was instrumental in allowing Southern states to impose 75 years of voter suppression after the Civil War. The Statement is worth your time and consideration.
The filibuster is an abomination and perversion of democracy. I agree wholeheartedly that the filibuster should be abolished (or modified) so that the Freedom to Vote Act can be enacted. But I disagree with the implication in the Statement that the failure to pass the Freedom to Vote Act will “undermine the minimum conditions for democracy [and] likely result in an extended period of minority rule.” We can win even when the deck is stacked against us. For example, Republican state legislatures dominated the redistricting process in 2010 but Democrats have controlled the House for two of the five election cycles following that redistricting. Whatever advantages Republicans granted themselves through gerrymandering in 2010 did not result “in an extended period of minority rule.”
We should demand that the Senate pass the Freedom to Vote Act. (Contact your members of congress now.) But if we cannot convince Manchin and Sinema to modify the filibuster, all is not lost. We still have the ability to show up at the ballot box in vast numbers and overwhelm the efforts of Republicans to prolong their hold on power by denying equal representation to voters. –Robert B. Hubbell Today’s Edition
It is the final 45 day review period for these 10-year maps
See NextVote’s recommendations for Congressional, MI State House, and Senate Maps.
There are only a few meetings left and three ways to comment.
- Send comments online.
- Participate in the Meeting of the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission in person.
- Participate in the Meeting of the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission virtually.
We encourage you to watch the video, (below), of Conversations! Host Chuck Newman interviewing guests Yalcin Yanikoglu and Bob Chunn (of Wave Michigan and NextVote) on Michigan’s Independent Redistricting Commissions maps. The program was instrumental in understanding how the maps work so citizens can knowledgeably comment on them while there is still time. Review the 15 maps and share comments at https://www.michigan-mapping.org/
Don’t forget! Proposed rule for DACA – Comments are due November 29
On September 28, 2021, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services published a proposed rule for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to protect the program from future legal challenges. According to United We Dream, the largest immigrant youth-led network in the country, the rule would be helpful but falls short of laying out a pathway to citizenship and ensuring work permits. There is a 60-day comment period on Regulations.gov. (Be sure to read the rules for comments, including, for example, not using scripted sentences.) United We Dream encourages comments which:
*support and expand eligibility for DACA which provides deportation protection and work permits for nearly 600,000 Dreamers;
*advocate for a clear pathway to citizenship so Dreamers can live in this country without the stress of biannual renewals and fear of deportation;
*include work authorization into the DACA protections, to ensure DACA recipients aren’t blocked from obtaining work permits in the future.
According to the NY Times, a federal judge in Texas ruled in July that the DACA program was unlawful because the Obama administration “had not taken the proper steps in establishing the program, running afoul of the Administrative Procedure Act.” DHS has consequently continued to accept renewals but has not approved any new applications for the program. This new rule would go into effect after the administration considers public input during the 60-day comment period.
ACTION: Submit your comments in support of DACA to Regulations.gov by November 29, 2021!
PEG is a (mostly) non-partisan volunteer organization whose mission is to assure that our government will treat all Americans with equality and acceptance. PEG’s work is primarily done by recruiting, educating and nurturing supporters for worthy organizations, actions and events that reflect our beliefs. The weekly PEG Newsletter typically goes out each Thursday. To subscribe to this free newsletter, go to our website by clicking here. To share with your friends and networks, use the sharing buttons at the top of the email or just “forward” from your email browser.
|A special thanks to our Newsletter contributors: Bernie Banet, Ellen Halter, Mieko Preston, Leslie McGraw, Leslie Kamil, Lisa Kamil, Richard Gaeth, Susie Ayer, Bette Cotzin, and Chuck Newman for their contributions and help preparing our newsletters. Write us at email@example.com if you would like help create our weekly newsletter OR if you would like to be a guest contributor! It’s fun and no ongoing commitment is required.|
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