Make Your Voice Heard

In the political world you must work to have your voice heard. The path to representation is clear but is often fraught with the missteps of miscommunication. The video below encourages you to find your representative and speak to them about issues that you hold dear. You can email, call, text, message over social media, or protest your elected officials. The only thing you can’t do is refuse to participate. Our lives are political from the pillows you wake up from, to your mode of transportation, to your healthcare when you are ill, to the family you leave behind in death are all regulated by your elected officials. Let them know what you feel about certain issues so that you can make your voice heard. The video below will help you to accomplish these objectives.

Who Cares What Bathroom You Use?

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There is not a single, reasonable assertion that should stop individuals who are transgender from using the bathroom of their choice. To do so, is discriminatory and wrongful as a human being. Every single person in the U.S. (unless they have portable restroom that only they use everywhere they go) has at one point used a bathroom that a person of a different gender identity has also used. The bathrooms in our homes are gender neutral, single person restrooms at rest areas, businesses and schools are also gender neutral; just because we don’t label them as such, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. There are co-ed bathrooms in colleges across the nation, and I have used the opposite gender’s bathroom when the one that corresponds with my identity is too busy. The assumption of violence and threat from such people is a harmful stereotype asserted by fear, and it makes the Trump administration’s ruling a severe miscarriage of justice.
On Feb 22, 2017, the Trump administration decided to rescind the Obama administration’s memos regarding transgender student rights.

The Obama era memos said that restricting a transgender student from using facilities that align with their gender identity violates federal anti-discrimination laws. The U.S. Department of Education notes that under Title 9, schools who receive federal funds may not discriminate based on a student’s sex, including a student’s transgender status.

The decision to revoke these justified distinctions was made due to apparent “legal confusion”. There are a variety of arguments for and against the decision by the Trump administration. In some states, the revoked measure wont do anything. In Colorado, state lawmakers passed legislation in 2008 that prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

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For some the ruling is more personal. Gavin Grimm, a 17-year-old boy in Virginia, sued his school board for the right to use the male restroom, after a policy was passed requiring students to use facilities that corresponded with their “biological sex”. Up to that point, he had been using the male restroom without notable incidents.
Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New York, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming all introduced Anti-Transgender Bathroom Bills in the 2017 legislative session.

There has been some backlash to these measures. When North Carolina passed similar legislation in 2016, companies like PayPal refused to build and artists Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas pulled concerts out of the state. When we refuse to contribute economically to discriminatory measures, then we send a message that these decisions are not justified.

Visit The National Center for Transgender Equality
to help fight against such legislation both locally and nationally.

A State of Instability

The Travel (Don’t-call-it-a-muslim) Ban

When President Trump enacted the travel ban executive order on Jan 27, 2017, the administration sent a clear message to anyone who didn’t see representation of themselves in the White House. That message was one of hate and fear, regardless of how chaotically and confusingly it was implemented. While the EO targeted individuals as “others”, this administration has failed to represent the safety and security of all American people. We must understand that this ban is nothing more than a desperate attempt to further divide this nation with notions of racism and fear. We can not be complicit in these actions.

Confusion and Chaos

There are a lot of people who feel uncertain after the bombardment of the EO’s. Not only is the ban confusing but many agencies have chosen to act in different ways. While the majority of chaos reigned at airports in the wake of the order, there were good people, lawyers, protestors and politicians who scrambled to help those stranded at airports, after being mid flight when the EO went into full effect. A federal appellate court did rule a temporary block on the travel ban. Melanie Evans of the Wall Street Journal notes the uncertainty after the travel ban for hospitals making residency decisions, citing 1000 doctors who applied for U.S. residency slots are from the seven countries included in the ban. This is only a small cross section to a larger overwhelming problems as there as been multiple news stories about students and families being held abroad and refused travel back to the United States.

The Threat of Raids

As Twitter now seems to be the hub for news gathering of the age, we still need to fight against too much degradation of news into bite sized tidbits for our consumption. This week and the last has seen a lot of reports from individuals using the social media to warn of ICE raids happening in various neighborhoods or checkpoints on streets. While the checkpoints haven’t been verified, there has been a surge of ICE raids on immigrant family in many major cities.  CNN reported on one family in Brooklyn who despite becoming naturalized citizens over a decade ago are still in fear that they could be next. The family state they they try to act American to avoid calling any undue attention to themselves. They have outlined their measure, one of which is to carry their passports with them at all times, so that they have proof of their allowed existence here. We can’t ignore the dichotomy that this is not the first time immigration round ups have happened, but this is the first time such fear has been held captive under this new administration. Vox news pointed out that what ICE is doing now isn’t radically different from what has happened under past administrations, specifically Bush’s and Obama’s.

A Day Without Immigrants

On February 16, we experienced a day without immigrants. Across the nation, protestors were stepping out to highlight the importance of migrants to the core of this economy. Business owners in many major cities have signified solidarity with the protestors by closing up shop on this day to really show everyone how our lives would be impacted if we started to erase diversity from our communities. Immigrants have helped to build this nation and these efforts help to show that these people are an integral part of this nation. The protest is modeled after a national march in 2006 under the same name. There were close to a million people that day who marched against reforms that called for criminalizing assistance to illegal immigrants. Bourree Lam of the Atlantic points out that the restaurant industry has a good reason to worry with nearly 2.3 million foreign born workers making up nearly 23 percent of the industry.

Diversity and Change

The real meaning behind of all of this is that America is made up of diversity, and that is what makes us strong. This travel ban is not about keeping us safe from terrorist, despites its purported message. The ban, and the administration that ordered it into existence is meant to divide American citizens into an “us versus them” mentality. As the United States was built solely on immigrants that arguably, came here illegally then it is imperative that all citizens stand together to face this injustice.

A Call to Action

Here are some websites that help immigrants in need, consider donating or volunteering your time to these organizations.
Go to American Civil Liberties Union
Go to National Immigrant Law Center