PEG 6th Congressional District Newsletter 307
Wednesday, March 8th was International Women’s Day
It’s a day that celebrates the social, economic, cultural, & political achievements of women globally. The theme for this year is DigitAll: Innovations and technology for gender equality with the aim being an emphasis on the importance of technology in bringing gender issues to light. The day also highlights a call to action to accelerate gender parity. Read the press release, including chilling stats, here.
Tell Politicians to stop banning books and Censoring Educators
Classroom Culture Wars
There have been widespread attacks on educational censorship in both higher education and K-12 through legislative infringements on free expression in the classroom. The subjects and books that are at risk are race, gender studies and diversity. The majority of books targeted as well as the extent of content that can be taught mostly reflect the diverse experiences of students of all races, all abilities, and all religions. It’s no coincidence that the books under attack are often written by Black, brown, and LGBTQ+ authors. Also read Teacher Fired After DeSantis says Bookshelf video was ‘Fake Narrative”. It is certain that if you restrict free inquiry and open conversation in the way that these laws would do, “you’re going to have a citizenry that is unprepared to engage in the democratic process. And so, this really is a democracy attack.”
Rights to an Equal Education
All kids living in the United States have the right to a free public education. The Constitution requires that all kids be given equal educational opportunity no matter what their race, ethnic background, religion, or sex, or whether they are rich or poor, citizen or non-citizen. In addition to this constitutional guarantee of an equal education, many federal, state and local laws also protect students against discrimination in education based on sexual orientation or disability, including pregnancy and HIV status. Even if you are in this country illegally, you have the right to go to public school.
Thus, every student deserves the freedom to read age-appropriate books that represent them. The National Education Association (NEA) created Read Across America to help connect every student with books that encourage them to be who they are and prepare for their future.
Legislation regarding race: A Synopsis
At least 18 states, including Florida, have laws or policies that restrict the teaching of race. Typical restrictions include barring teachers from suggesting the United States is a racist country or elevating one race or gender over another, as well as outlawing “indoctrination” and teaching of critical race theory, an academic construct that holds systemic racism is baked into American law and institutions.
Other proposals in the mix in Florida include eliminating college majors in gender studies, abolishing diversity efforts at universities and job protections for tenured faculty, strengthening parents’ ability to veto K-12 class materials and extending a ban on teaching about gender and sexuality — from third grade up to eighth grade. Another bill introduced, House Bill 1, renders all parents eligible to receive state funds to send their children to private school, stripping away a previous low-income requirement, although low-income families would still be prioritized.
The Advanced Placement course on African American studies, developed by the College Board, covers a wide range of Black history and cultural topics. The course is being piloted in about 60 classrooms nationwide this year and will be widely available in fall 2024 — unless states block their schools from offering it. Many states are currently reviewing the content. The revised course presented in February 2023 dropped various lessons and authors disliked by conservative politicians, such as lessons on Black Lives Matter and on reparations for the harms of slavery and racial discrimination, as well as suggested readings. In addition, the word “systemic” , as in systemic racism, had been removed from the course.
Legislation regarding LGBTQ: A Synopsis
The ACLU is tracking 378 anti-LGBTQ bills in the US.
At least 31 bills, in Missouri, one of the largest number in any U.S. state, have been introduced by the Republican supermajority, targeting youth participation in competitive school sports, the ability to revise gender on birth certificates, gender-affirming medical treatments and other rights of LGBTQ people. Similar bills have been introduced in at least 11 states.
The measures that frighten families the most would classify any efforts to support children and teens seeking medical treatment to help them transition to their preferred gender as child abuse. The legislation would carry criminal penalties for providers and possibly parents. Last week Mississippi became the fifth state after Alabama, Utah, South Dakota and Arkansas to pass legislation restricting minors seeking gender-affirming care.
What happens when education is censored, free speech denied and history whitewashed?
At this point, teachers do not have a clear understanding of what can actually be taught or how and what to teach. Therefore, many teachers are quiet on these subjects. Clearly an injustice to students and the nation!
Book burnings mark the beginning of fascism. U.S. Holocaust Museum states “[I]t matters little whether the removal literally takes the form of burning or consists of storing the books in basements and warehouses.”
One of the worst repercussions is that our future leaders will not learn how to fully participate in the life of this nation.
These actions are frightening and strip students of their right to a robust and truthful education. We cannot allow these laws and arcane principles to permeate our schools. Join us in the actions below! Full Story with links here on PEG website.
Actions – Be Vocal! Act Now!!
SCHOOL and LIBRARY BOARDS
- Attend meetings and make your opinions known
- Help retain/recruit good potential school and library board candidates
- Participate in school and library board campaigns
WRITE/CALL/EMAIL your legislators
SIGN the National Education Association’s (NEA) petition and pledge to tell politicians to stop banning books.
CONTACT Friends and Family who live in Florida, Mississippi, Texas and other states that impact free education and encourage them to contact their legislators
Help Michigan Resistance make calls
They will be calling constituents to ask Michiganders to call their senators and representatives to support common sense gun legislation bills over the next few weeks. If you’re interested in helping, text Terryl Sperlich at 810-516-0923 and tell her A2D2 sent you. Ann Arbor inDivisible for Democracy
Voice Your Opinions and Concerns – It’s Easy to Email your Representative
The Democracy Labs provides information on how to determine and contact your state representative to voice your opinion/concerns. There is even an email for you to copy and send.
Press already fumbling 2024 election
There is time to change their approach, but it will require a level of self-awareness and self-criticism that has been all too rare in political journalism. At present they don’t seem up to the task of covering the 2024 election. Haven’t they learned the lessons of 2016 and 2020? Early signs are not promising.
It’s only a few months into the Republican Primary and the political media’s worst habits are already rearing their ugly heads. Once again, there is a disturbing trend of normalizing dangerous behavior, prioritizing balance over accuracy, and ignoring or missing important information simply because it is uncomfortable to cover.
Plenty of great, hard-hitting journalism correctly calls out and contextualizes the dangers of extremist Republicans. But those are exceptions to the rule. Every day brings countless examples of deeply naive journalism that ignores and normalizes the threat.
Learn more HERE. –The Message Box
Our Democracy Is Threatened by Escalating Antisemitic Attacks
Last month Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel was targeted by a “heavily armed” man who threatened to injure or kill Jewish representatives. According to CNN, the “alleged threat to kill Jewish government leaders in Michigan reflects two of the most dangerous, and interlocking, menaces in American politics and society – an alarming spike in antisemitism and escalating threats against elected officials.”
Are the lessons of the Holocaust being forgotten?
The rise of antisemitism is pernicious and threatening to millions of Americans. And “history shows that antisemitism, which is attractive to unhinged conspiracy theorists, is often an early warning sign or a symptom of deepening threats to democracy.” A survey by the Anti-Defamation League found widespread antisemitic views in the US. In addition, a recent Washington Post poll found that 34% of Americans – and 41% of Republicans – think violent action against the government is sometimes justified.
Democracy depends on elections, but who is willing to run for political office when they are potential targets?? –CNN
At a Town Hall in 2019 (VIDEO above), she explained her reasoning for voting for Trump’s impeachment to her constituents.
Elissa Slotkin Announces Senate Run in Michigan
Representative Elissa Slotkin, a Michigan Democrat and former C.I.A. analyst who has notched several high-profile victories in a challenging district, said last week that she would run for the Senate seat being vacated by Senator Debbie Stabenow, a Democrat.”
Representative Slotkin is one of the House’s more competent and hardworking members. Since 2018 Slotkin has successfully represented a split district that became more so after the 2022 redistricting. She also was one of only seven House Democrats to win a district that voted for Trump.
Along with other issues, a Slotkin advisor said, ‘expect a campaign message that emphasized American manufacturing, “jobs with dignity” and labor protections.’ And “growing and strengthening Michigan’s middle class.” – Freep
Think Twice About Patronizing Walgreens!
In 2000 the US FDA approved the use of mifepristone in combination with misoprostol to end pregnancy up to the 10th week of pregnancy. Last month, attorneys general in at least 21 Republican-led states warned of legal actions if they sell abortion pills by mail, based on an 1873 law that prohibits sending “indecent” materials through the mail. Walgreens confirmed to Politico last week that it will not sell the abortion medication mifepristone in those 21 states, even though abortion remains legal in some of them, such as Alaska, Iowa, Kansas and Montana. – AP
Walgreens response has gone further, as it also pledged not to provide mifepristone in brick-and-mortar stores in addition to not shipping them by mail. (Forbes) Numerous other pharmacy chains have remained quiet about the issue. Clearly, denying the drug will have an especially harsh effect in rural areas and areas without access to pharmacies.
Walgreens’ decision has sparked significant pushback and protests. California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) saying on Twitter Monday, “California won’t be doing business with Walgreens — or any company that cowers to the extremists and puts women’s lives at risk … We’re done.” Others are calling for a boycott. Though Walgreens tweeted on Monday that it will “dispense medication in any jurisdiction where it is legally permissible to do so,” it is legal in some of the states where they’ve said they won’t dispense it.
Consumers have many choices available for drug stores. Consider your priorities and your options!
Michigan Gun Owners Give support to Gun Reform Legislation
As noted in last week’s PEG Newsletter, there is an “undeniable sense that things must be changed and can be changed” in terms of the gun violence epidemic. He terms this “RESOLVE.”
Evidence of this “RESOLVE” was seen at a press conference last week by End Gun Violence Michigan, a group of firearms owners and proponents of Second Amendment rights strongly supported several gun reform bills introduced by Democrats to the Michigan Legislature including 1) universal background checks for all guns, 2) requiring gun owners to safely store firearms that could be accessed by minors, and 3) permitting a court to order the temporary removal of firearms from someone who may be a danger to themselves or others. President Jon Gold of Giffords Gun Owners for Safety said the legislation, “This shouldn’t be a hard vote for anybody. This is an easy vote.”
An MSU’s student’s grandfather who is a gun owner, hunter and retired carpenter posed this question, ““How have we sat back and let this [mass shootings] happen again and again?” Others criticized the NRA and the gun culture that “supports profit over safety.” Gold said, “I’m so glad we have the leaders in this Legislature. We have champions of gun safety, and we finally have the opportunity to hold this hearing and have this vote.” – Michigan Advance
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