Posts tagged with "lawmakers"

Transgender illustration by Heather Skovlund (Original Photo Credit: Pixabay) for 360 Magazine

Parents Open Letter to Lawmakers

1,500+ Parents of Transgender, Non-Binary, and Gender-Expansive Youth Condemn Anti-Trans Bills in Open Letter to Lawmakers

More than 1,500 parents of transgender, non-binary, and gender-expansive youth — from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico — signed a letter imploring elected officials to oppose anti-transgender bills under consideration in state legislatures across the country.  

The letter — organized by the Human Rights Campaign’s Parents for Transgender Equality National Council — was sent to elected officials Monday morning.

The letter comes in response to a fast and furious effort led by national groups aiming to stymie LGBTQ progress made on the national level and in many states. There are currently more than 200 anti-LGBTQ bills under consideration in state legislatures across the country. Of these discriminatory bills, 106 directly target transgender people, including efforts to ban transgender girls and women from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity and prohibit evidence-based, life-saving health care for transgender youth.

“Transgender kids all across the country are listening to what you say and watching what you do. The act of writing bills like this, holding hearings, and later casting votes sends a direct message to them: ‘You aren’t real to us. We don’t believe you when you tell us who you are. Your existence is dangerous to the other kids around you. We are okay if you feel lonely, isolated, and unwelcome. We are willing to take away even the smallest concessions that have been made for you because we have power and you don’t,’” the parents wrote. “Transgender folks are so tired, tired of fighting for their existence. And parents like us are tired of begging you to see our kids and treat them as full and equal members of society.”

“Transgender children are children. They deserve the ability to play organized sports and have access to medically necessary care, just like all children. These bills are cruel — and parents are not going to be silent when elected officials attack their children through discriminatory legislation,” said Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David. “Transgender, non-binary, and gender-expansive youth impacted by these bills are among the most vulnerable to experience depression and engage in self-harm, including suicide. Legislators must realize the seriousness of this issue and remember that they were elected to lead — not call into question whether certain children have the right to exist, to be happy, or to live authentically.”

“As a trans person, I know what it means to have lawmakers try to write me out of existence — imagine being a trans child trying to cope with this reality. There is a coordinated attack on transgender, non-binary, and gender-expansive youth being waged in state legislatures across the country and it is having a devastating impact on the mental health of kids, who just want to be kids,” said Jay Brown, Senior Vice President, HRC Programs, Research & Training. “Parents will not back down when it comes to protecting their children, and they will not tolerate their elected officials using their positions of power to harm and further oppress them. We will never give up hope that if people — including elected officials — hear from people at the center of the policy debate, and their loved ones, that their hearts will open, and their minds will change.”

The full letter is below.

April 12, 2021

Dear Elected Officials,

Many of you are sponsoring, co-sponsoring, or considering voting for legislation that would force transgender children to participate in sports based on a letter on their birth certificate rather than who they are – or not participate at all. Some of you are also sponsoring, co-sponsoring, or considering voting for bills that would criminalize best-practice, evidence-based, life-saving health care that transgender youth need (and deserve!) to thrive. 

Parents of transgender, non-binary, and gender-expansive youth like us have called you, sent you emails, and have showed up in the midst of a global pandemic to testify about how devastating these bills are…not only if or when they pass and become law, but also right now because, by whipping up a firestorm of attacks on our kids, they have already caused damage to our families.

Parenting during a pandemic is hard enough. The fact that these bills exist at all—that the lives of our children are up for debate in any state in this nation—adds a layer of worry to an already fraught time. Let’s be clear: the impact of these bills goes far beyond sports and medical care; they call into question whether our children have the right to exist, to be happy, to live authentically. The answer is yes. They absolutely do.

We have shared studies with you explaining that trans youth are more susceptible to struggle with anxiety or depression, not because they are transgender but because of stigma and discrimination. You have heard that being able to participate in sports and being on a team with friends and classmates can improve their mental health. You have heard adolescents tell you how afraid they are of experiencing the wrong puberty or how terrified teenagers are of having their medically-prescribed hormones denied to them. 

This isn’t the first time. We tried telling you all of this a year ago before the pandemic thankfully cut many legislative sessions short and these bills floundered. After hearing some of these concerns last year, a senator in Missouri was quoted dismissively saying “We can’t be responsible for everyone’s mental health.”

We are pointedly telling you now that you actually are responsible for the mental health of these kids. We are holding you personally responsible for the amount of stress, anxiety, and fear our precious children are currently struggling with. We are holding you responsible for how some of our children are crying themselves to sleep every night, asking why so many people hate trans kids and want them to suffer. You are the reason they are asking to move somewhere where they will be protected, because their home doesn’t feel safe anymore with you in charge of creating its laws.

You were elected to your positions to lead. And leaders understand that in our great but imperfect system of government, we favor the concept of “majority rule, minority rights.” Leaders do not use their positions of power to harm and further oppress a struggling and hurting minority.

Transgender kids all across the country are listening to what you say and watching what you do. The act of writing bills like this, holding hearings, and later casting votes sends a direct message to them: “You aren’t real to us. We don’t believe you when you tell us who you are. Your existence is dangerous to the other kids around you. We are okay if you feel lonely, isolated, and unwelcome. We are willing to take away even the smallest concessions that have been made for you because we have power, and you don’t.”

Transgender folks are so tired, tired of fighting for their existence. And parents like us are tired of begging you to see our kids and treat them as full and equal members of society. 

Here is a powerful quote from Nomi Ruiz, a Puerto Rican trans woman, artist and performer, that we’d like you to take time to think about…

“The outside world will never truly understand the magnitude of the trans experience, especially that of a child who has an undying need to live in truth despite being ostracized for it. The only way for trans children to thrive is to allow them to live freely in the face of a society that abuses them for it.”

Stop abusing our kids by creating legislation that targets them. Kill these bills now and leave our kids alone.

Justifiably angry,

Parents of Transgender, Non-Binary, and Gender-Expansive Youth

Poor People's Campaign illustrated by Mina Tocalini for 360 MAGAZINE.

Poor People’s Campaign

The Poor People’s Campaign will demand a moral policy agenda to heal America in a congressional briefing Thursday as it follows up on its digital Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington that drew millions of viewers.

Legislators and other political leaders from both sides of the aisle have been invited to attend the digital briefing, where campaign leaders will lay out the specifics of the Moral Policy Agenda to Heal America: The Poor People’s Jubilee Platform

The agenda is grounded in constitutional and moral values and offers concrete solutions to end the ongoing, concurrent crises of the five interlocking injustices: systemic racism, systemic poverty, militarism, ecological devastation and the false moral narrative of extreme religious nationalism.

“It’s time that we lift from the bottom, which requires us to address all five of the interlocking injustices,” said Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, president of Repairers of the Breach and co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. “We cannot put more money in systemic racism, corporate interests and the war economy than we do in living wages, health care, public education and guaranteeing equal protection under the law. Poverty is lethal; systemic racism is lethal; COVID-19 is lethal. This agenda demands what must be now and after the election to heal the nation.”

Also invited to attend are the tri-chairs from the 45 states where the Poor People’s Campaign is organizing, along with the campaign’s national partners and faith partners.

The briefing follows the campaign’s digital justice assembly on June 20th, when millions of people tuned in to the digital justice gathering to hear the reality facing 140 million people who are poor or low-income in the wealthiest country in the world and where 700 people die each day from poverty — even before COVID-19.

Also on that day, the campaign’s coordinating committees from 45 states and over 200 organizational partners, labor unions and religious denominations came together around the moral policy agenda to heal America.

“Biblically, the Year of Jubilee was a time to release people from their debts, release all slaves and ensure that all people have what they need to thrive, not just barely survive,” said Rev. Liz Theoharis, director of Kairos Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice and co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign. “Our Justice Platform provides a way for this country to do the same with policies and budgets that lift people out of poverty and revive the economy with the promise of a brighter future for all.”

The sweeping platform offers a roadmap for lawmakers to take seriously the moral and constitutional principles upon which this country was founded: to establish justice, promote the general welfare, ensure domestic tranquility, secure the blessings of liberty and provide for the common defense.

In addition to Barber and Theoharis, the policy director for the Kairos Center and the Poor People’s Campaign, Shailly Gupta Barnes, will address the briefing. The briefing begins at 1 p.m. and lasts until 2:30 p.m. Thursday. It’s open only to the media and invited guests. Reporters can register here.

The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral  Revival, is building a broad and deep moral fusion movement rooted in the leadership of poor people to unite our country from the bottom up. We demand that both major political parties address the interlocking injustices of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, militarism and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism. Our updated agenda, the Poor People’s Moral Justice Jubilee Policy Platform addresses these issues.

America can’t address the moral crisis of poverty without addressing healthcare. Some 140 million people in the U.S. – or more than 43 percent – live in poverty or are low-wealth” Rekindling a Prophetic Moral Vision for Justice, Social Change and Movement BuildingFollow Poor People’s Campaign: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube

Chris Tucker to Host EBONY Power 100 Gala

EBONY Magazine announces the host for its annual EBONY Power 100 Gala and this year’s special award recipients.

Acclaimed actor and comedian Chris Tucker will steer the star-studded event.

Distinguished industry leaders to be recognized with the EBONY Icon Award and Inaugural Chairman’s Award

Following the recent unveiling of its prestigious annual EBONY Power 100 List in celebration those whose work and heroism continue to inspire and influence society, EBONY magazine has announced the host for this year’s highly anticipated EBONY Power 100 Gala, presented by Nationwide, taking place in Los Angeles at the Beverly Hilton on Nov. 30.

EBONY is also pleased to announce the recipients of this year’s coveted special awards which will be presented during Hollywood’s star-studded spectacle.

Helming the celebration of the 2018 EBONY Power 100 list honoring crusaders, innovators, disruptors, business titans, entrepreneurs and MVPs who are making a difference in the community at the EBONY Power 100 Gala is international award-winning actor Chris Tucker. Once a frequent stand-up performer on Def Comedy Jam in the 1990s, Tucker is best known today for playing Det. James Carter in the Rush Hour film series. Chris is currently returning to the stage on his stand-up comedy tour that has received rave reviews all over the world, while spending much of his spare time traveling and working with his foundation.

EBONY Media Operations CEO Michael Gibson will present the inaugural Chairman’s Award to former BET Chairman and CEO Debra Lee. The trailblazing business dynamo joined BET as executive vice president and general counsel in 1986, was promoted to president and COO of the network that reaches approximately 78 million homes in March 1996 and to chairman and CEO in 2005. She guided much of the 38-year-old network’s growth beyond music and into entertainment, news and public affairs programming, including original movies, late-night talk shows and concert specials, with successes such as bringing to cable The Game in 2014 and the miniseries. The New Edition Story in 2017, the launch of BET.com and the acquisition of the television rights to Black Girls Rock!

This year’s prestigious EBONY Icon Award will be presented to Motown Records. There simply isn’t a name in music more synonymous with era-defining hits, star-making, and innovation than Motown. Started in Detroit with a dream and an $800 loan, Berry Gordy’s Hitsville USA became a cultural behemoth that swiftly hooked pop culture with a brand new beat. The unmistakable, irrepressible sound of young America didn’t just dominate the charts–it crossed the racial divide during the social upheaval of the 1960’s. The hits and cultural influence doesn’t stop as Motown and its family of imprints explore new genres in partnerships with labels including Quality Control Music, which set the stage for signings of Migos and Lil Yachty. In recognition of the brand’s iconic relevance and impact, EBONY is pleased to honor Motowns decades of success. The award will be accepted by Motown President, and EVP of Capitol Music Group. Ethiopia Habtemariam, who is also honored in the Women Up category for her outstanding leadership in the music industry.

Habtemariam, whose former title, President of Urban Music & Co-Head of Creative for Universal Music Publishing, is responsible for revitalizing the storied label that boasts hit makers NE-YO and Erykah Badu. Habtemariam has ushered in a new generation of artists with acts like JAMESDAVIS, Lil Baby, City Girls, and BJ The Chicago Kid. Last summer, Billboard magazine recognized her as Universal Music Group’s Most Powerful African-American Woman.

“We are delighted to announce our celebrated host and award recipients for this year’s EBONY Power 100 Gala,” says Gibson. “Since unveiling our 2018 EBONY Power 100 List last month, the anticipation and buzz throughout the country has been very exciting to see. This year’s gala will surely prove to be the most memorable to date, and I would like to personally congratulate all our honorees.”

The 2018 EBONY Power 100 List recognizes the most influential and inspiring from the business, philanthropic, entertainment, and social activism communities in the following eight categories: Community Crusaders, Disruptors, Entertainment & Arts, Entrepreneurs, Innovators, MVPs, Power Players and the coveted Women Up.

Former President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama lead the Entertainment & Arts category, with a focus on Mrs. Obama’s book tour for her new memoir, Becoming. Barry Jenkins, director of the Academy Award-wining Moonlight and the upcoming If Beale Street Could Talk, is also being honored in the category for his achievements in the film industry, as Tony Award-winning actor Billy Porter is for his role in the television series Pose. Other notables being honored in the Entertainment & Arts category include the cast of Black Pantherand rappers Cardi B, Drake and Travis Scott. Athletes being honored in the MVPs category include Houston Rockets guard James Harden, Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry and professional WWE wrestler and superstar Thaddeus Bullard, aka Titus O’Neil.

The 2018 EBONY Power 100 List includes politicians and lawmakers who made the news over the past year, such as Stacey Abrams, the first Black Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nominee (recognized in the Disruptors category); Andrew Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, Florida, and the first Black candidate for governor of the Sunshine State (another Disruptors honoree); Keisha Lance Bottoms, the second Black female mayor of Atlanta (recognized in the Women Up category); and London Breed, the first Black female LGBT mayor of San Francisco (also honored in the Women Up category).

Other honorees run the gamut of industry, community activism and more. Civil rights activist Tarana Burke the Bronx, New York native who achieved global acclaim after starting the MeToo movement will be recognized in the Community Crusaders category. Group President and Chief Operating Officer Rosalind Brewer will be honored in the Women Up category as the first African-American woman to the hold that position as at Starbucks. March of Dimes President Stacey D. Stewart will be recognized in the Disruptors category as the first African-American female president to lead the charitable organization. Junior Flip Kids, honored in the Entrepreneurs category, is a company made up of six schoolchildren aged 7 to 13 years old who met with Oprah Winfrey before starting their business to transform distressed properties into renovated single-family homes in Washington D.C., and Maryland. Cheryl “Action” Jackson will be recognized in the Community Crusaders category as the founder of Minnie’s Pantry, an organization that has provided over 8 million meals to families in need.

Honorees are celebrated each year at the EBONY Power 100 Gala, presented by Nationwide. The event will take place this year in Los Angeles at the Beverly Hilton on November. During the gala, the prestigious EBONY Power 100 special award recipients will be recognized for their contributions to business and industry. The 2018 EBONY Power 100 Gala is hosted by EBONY Foundation and benefits Sickle Cell Disease Association of America. Learn more about sickle cell disease and to donate by texting “EBONY” to 91011 and using #SCDHOPEWINS. Follow #EBONYPower100 on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

The complete EBONY Power 100 List for this year can be viewed here!