Posts tagged with "politics"

Biden Harris illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Biden × Harris

Kamala Harris Will be First Vice President to be Immortalized by Madame Tussauds Wax Museum

Madame Tussauds New York Releases Clay Head Sculpture Images of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in Honor of Their 100th Day in Office

Kamala Harris made history when she was sworn in on January 20th becoming the first woman, first Black person and first Asian American vice president. Madame Tussauds New York is adding another first to Harris’ list of achievements by creating a wax figure in her likeness; an honor that has never-before been extended to a vice president. It’s tradition for Madame Tussauds to create a wax figure of each U.S. president. President Joe Biden’s figure was announced following the 2020 presidential election.

Madame Tussauds shared the news by releasing work-in-progress images of Biden and Harris, just ahead of their 100th day in office. The clay heads were created by a team of studio artists based in London and represent meticulous detail captured by researching hundreds of images to achieve an exact likeness of the famous U.S. leader’s faces. The heads took six weeks to sculpt, and the figures will take between four to six months to complete. “We’re honored to create a figure for Vice President Harris and reflect this significant moment in U.S. history for guests inside Madame Tussauds New York,” said Brittany Williams, spokesperson for Madame Tussauds.

President Biden and Vice President Harris’ figures will be wearing replicas of the outfits worn at the 46th presidential inauguration ceremony. President Biden’s figure will be dressed in a midnight blue Ralph Lauren suit, white dress shirt with a French cuff and a lavender tie. Madame Tussauds designers also included small, yet noteworthy details including navy and gold cufflinks with the words ‘U.S. Senator’ and a United States flag lapel pin.

The outfit for Vice President Harris’ figure was created custom for Madame Tussauds New York by Christopher John Rogers, the designer of the symbolic and elegant purple coat and dress worn at the inauguration. The look created for the figure is a replica of the blazer and dress worn by Vice President Harris on Inauguration Day for her indoor appearance and swearing in of the senators. Her gold and pearl necklace, pearl earrings, bracelets and rings will also be replicated to complete the authentic look.

Madame Tussauds plans to unveil the figures later this year and place them in the “Oval Office” experience at Madame Tussauds New York where guests can make their own history posing with Biden and Harris up close. 

The Nation cover illustration by Heather Skovlund (Original cover art Illustration by Barry Blitt) for 360 Magazine

Elie Mystal × The Nation

Can Biden Fix the Courts That Trump Broke?

There is no progressive future without a serious fight to reclaim the judiciary from the grips of conservative judges.

In The Nation’s latest cover story, justice correspondent Elie Mystal explains:

“While previous Republican administrations tried to break government, Donald Trump tried to break democracy. He did this boldly and brazenly, by attacking elections, and he did it less boldly but no less brazenly, by working alongside Mitch McConnell to take over the unelected branch of government that sets the rules for all the others: the federal judiciary. That branch is now stuffed with conservative ideologues masquerading as jurists.”

Making the case that there is no progressive future without a serious fight to reclaim the judiciary from the grips of conservative judges, Mystal evaluates whether Biden can fix the courts that Trump broke: Happily, there is a solution, and that solution is to expand the lower courts.

Congress has used its constitutional authority throughout history to expand the federal judiciary. Historically, these lower court expansions were bipartisan: As the country grows in population, so does the number of lawsuits. Adding judges is just a thing we used to do to keep the judiciary running smoothly. But since 1990, when the last judgeship bill was passed, the US population has grown by a third; the number of district court cases has grown by 38 percent; and the number of cases involving a felony defendant has grown by 60 percent. The number of judges has not changed.

“I absolutely believe that if Trump had won reelection and McConnell had hung onto the Senate, Republicans would be working on court expansion right now,” writes Mystal. “There just aren’t a lot of vacancies left in the federal judiciary. Republicans can always find some casus belli for stacking the courts with conservative judges. The only question is whether Democrats will ever realize there’s a war, and they’re losing it.”

“To balance out decades of inequity, Biden’s judicial appointments shouldn’t ‘look like America;’ they should overrepresent the kinds of Americans routinely excluded by Republican administrations,” he continues. “You can’t balance a seesaw by standing in the middle when an elephant is sitting on one side.”

Read the full cover story here. Mystal, who covers the courts, the criminal justice system, and politics for The Nation, has also recently reported:

Biden’s Supreme Court Commission Is Designed to Fail

Biden’s recently announced commission to study court reform isn’t designed to offer solutions—it’s designed to be an excuse to do nothing.

How the Supreme Court Gave Cops a License to Kill

Derek Chauvin’s defense team is hoping that the 1989 Graham v. Connor ruling will be his ticket to acquittal.

The Blue Wall of Silence Is Crumbling Around Derek Chauvin

For one of the first times in memory, police are testifying against one of their own. But will it lead to an actual conviction?

ABOUT Elie Mystal

Elie Mystal is The Nation’s justice correspondent—covering the courts, the criminal justice system, and politics—and the force behind the magazine’s monthly column, “Objection!” He is also an Alfred Knobler Fellow at the Type Media Center. A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, Mystal was previously the executive editor of Above the Law and a former associate at Debevoise & Plimpton. He’s a frequent guest on MSNBC and Sirius XM. 

Founded by abolitionists in 1865, The Nation has chronicled the breadth and depth of political and cultural life from the debut of the telegraph to the rise of Twitter, serving as a critical, independent, and progressive voice in American journalism.

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

Cemetery illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Covid-19 Funeral Assistance

FEMA’s COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Task Force Undertake a Historic Endeavor

National Funeral Directors & Morticians Association Partner with FEMA to Reimburse Funeral Expenses

The National Funeral Directors & Morticians Association, Inc (NFDMA) has partnered with FEMA to provide support for the agency’s COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Task Force to undertake a historic endeavor: reimbursing eligible funeral expenses to those who incurred them in 2020 as a result of COVID-19. FEMA will begin accepting applications for Funeral Assistance on Monday, April 12, 2021 through their dedicated call center.

Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, FEMA will provide financial reimbursement for COVID-19 related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020. The NFDMA, and additional stakeholder groups, will give FEMA their input on the best ways to provide this assistance and help with outreach to families and communities. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought overwhelming grief to many families. The NFDMA is dedicated to fulfilling FEMA’s mission to help before, during and after disasters and are dedicated to helping ease some of the financial stress and burden caused by the virus.

African American funeral directors have had a vast involvement with many historical events, and the COVID-19 pandemic has been no exception; said Dr. Hari Close, NFDMA President and Owner of Hari P. Close Funeral Service. I am honored to worked with FEMA to provide some relief for the thousands of families and community members we have helped through this difficult time.

COVID-19 Funeral Assistance will reimburse expenses to individuals that paid out of pocket or with life insurance for funeral services and interment or cremation. Potential applicants with any receipts received for expenses that are not related to funeral services will not be determined eligible expenses. Eligible expenses for funeral services and interment or cremation may include but are not limited to transportation, transfer of remains and headstone.

Those needing assistance are asked to call the COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Line Number at 844.684.6333, TTY: 800.462.7585, starting April 12th 8am-8 pm CT Monday through Friday.

Click here for more information on the assistance program and eligibility.

About National Funeral Directors and Morticians Association: As the only African American National Funeral Association, whose members consist of professional funeral directors and morticians and embalmers; NFD&MA was organized under the name of the Independent National Funeral Directors Association in 1924 under the leadership of R.R. Reed. It was organized by a group of licensed funeral directors seeking to maintain high professional standards for the benefit of the public and their own business community. More information available here.

About FEMA: FEMA’s mission is to help people, before, during and after disasters. For more information, please visit the FEMA website.

LGBTQ+ illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Corporate Leaders × Anti-Lgbtq Bills

Corporate leaders: Companies should work against anti-LGBTQ bills in Texas, other states 

Chris Adamo, vice president of Federal and Industry Affairs at Danone North America; Brad Figel, vice president of Public Affairs North America at Mars, Inc.; Molly Fogarty senior vice president of Corporate & Government Affairs at Nestlé USA; and Tom Langan, North America director of Sustainable Business & External Affairs for Unilever:

  • “As four of the largest food companies and major employers in the United States, we view the growing number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills under consideration in state legislatures, including those that target transgender people and particularly children, with increasing alarm.
  • “These bills are bad for families, for communities, for businesses and for the U.S. economy, all still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic…This motivates us to continue using our influence to advocate for policies that establish full equality at the federal and state levels, including swift Senate passage of the Equality Act.
  • “Discriminatory legislation — in threat and in practice — directly and negatively impacts the ability of our businesses to compete. It undermines our ability to recruit our future workforces and retain existing talent in states like Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Texas and others enacting and considering draconian legislation.”
  • “Such policies are out of step with the views of most Americans. The overwhelming majority of Americans support full equality for LGBTQ+ people, according to recent data released by the Human Rights Campaign.”
  • Companies have a responsibility to actively work with federal and state legislators to advocate against bills that harm our employees and our customers, and to advance fairness and equality for all Americans”

We condemn dangerous, discriminatory legislation that serves as an attack on LGBTQ+ individuals, particularly transgender and non-binary people.

As four of the largest food companies and major employers in the United States, we view the growing number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills under consideration in state legislatures, including those that target transgender people and particularly children, with increasing alarm.

These bills are bad for families, for communities, for businesses and for the U.S. economy, all still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic.

We condemn dangerous, discriminatory legislation that serves as an attack on LGBTQ+ individuals, particularly transgender and nonbinary people. Such laws not only threaten hard-won progress to bring greater awareness, support and equality to transgender Americans, they also threaten the livelihoods and safety of their communities and their families.

This motivates us to continue using our influence to advocate for policies that establish full equality at the federal and state levels, including swift Senate passage of the Equality Act.

Member companies of the Sustainable Food Policy Alliance, including Danone North America, Mars, Inc., Nestlé USA and Unilever United States, urge the entire U.S. business community to do the same.

This issue is not political. Providing the same basic protections to LGBTQ+ people as are provided to protected groups under federal law is the right thing to do for businesses and for society.

We employ tens of thousands of people in communities across the country. We embrace diversity in our workforces. Inclusive principles already guide the way we work, run our successful businesses, and engage with our employees and communities.

Discriminatory legislation — in threat and in practice — directly and negatively impacts the ability of our businesses to compete. It undermines our ability to recruit our future workforces and retain existing talent in states like Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Texas and others enacting and considering draconian legislation.

In Kentucky, for example, proposed legislation would allow health care providers to turn away LGBTQ+ and other patients, and bar trans youth from K-12 public school and university sports. Similarly, in Texas, legislators have proposed bills that would ban transgender girls from youth sports.

When states legislate this way, not only do they create an environment where not everyone feels safe and welcomed, they endorse it. Such environments deny transgender and nonbinary people the opportunity to fully contribute to the economies in places where they work and live. This harms them and their families and hinders businesses and local communities.

We applaud Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s decision this week to veto legislation that would have banned gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth. Unfortunately, the Arkansas legislature overrode the governor’s veto Tuesday.

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves signs a bill in March 2021 to ban transgender athletes from competing on girls or women’s sports teams.

Such policies are out of step with the views of most Americans. The overwhelming majority of Americans support full equality for LGBTQ+ people, according to recent data released by the Human Rights Campaign.

Legislation hurts states’ economies

The ramifications of these discriminatory bills on states’ economic and financial health are also well-documented. A UCLA study found that the social, economic and health effects of stigma and discrimination against LGBTQ+ people negatively impact Texas’ economy by tens of millions of dollars each year. Another study by the Texas Association of Business estimated that discriminatory legislation could result in an estimated economic loss to Texas’ gross domestic product ranging from $964 million to $8.5 billion.

The impacts of such bills are not limited to the states where they are passed. Researchers that studied 39 countries found a clear link between LGBTQ+ discriminatory practices and legislation and the corresponding loss of potential economic output. For LGBTQ+ youth, the study found that discrimination harms their learning, resulting in increased dropout rates and, consequently, reduced participation in the workforce.

We acknowledge that words are powerful. But for companies to engage new generations of workers and consumers, while fostering an environment good for people and for business, we must move beyond only public statements of support for LGBTQ+ issues.

Companies should protect employees

Companies have a responsibility to actively work with federal and state legislators to advocate against bills that harm our employees and our customers, and to advance fairness and equality for all Americans.

We four SFPA companies are committed to stepping up and taking action, including through our advocacy on this important issue. Doing so will support an environment in which all people can grow, thrive, compete and succeed as their true, authentic selves.

Chris Adamo is vice president of Federal and Industry Affairs at Danone North America. Brad Figel is vice president of Public Affairs North America at Mars, Inc. Molly Fogarty is senior vice president of Corporate & Government Affairs at Nestlé USA. Tom Langan is North America director of Sustainable Business & External Affairs for Unilever.

Corporate leaders: Companies should work against anti-LGBTQ bills in Texas, other states

Transgender Sports illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

NCAA LGBTQ OneTeam

NCAA LGBTQ OneTeam facilitators publish open letter condemning anti-transgender legislation

The NCAA LGBTQ OneTeam, a group of NCAA- trained facilitators at colleges across the country published an open letter condemning the actions taken by 28 states across the country to introduce, pass, and sign anti-transgender legislation. 2021 has been a record year for anti-transgender legislation, with 93 anti-transgender bills introduced across the country, the vast majority of which attempt to ban transgender women and girls’ participation in girls’ sports or ban transgender youth from accessing medically necessary, gender-affirming health care.

Laws have been signed banning transgender women and girls’ participation in girls’ sports in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas, with Executive Orders being signed to the same effect in South Dakota.  Legislators across the country have failed to provide examples of issues in their states to attempt to justify these attacks, laying bare the reality that these are attacks on transgender youth that are fueled by discrimination and not supported by fact.  Collegiate and professional sports organizations have had trans-inclusive policies for years without incident, and there is no reason any state would need a ban on transgender participation in sports.

The NCAA LGBTQ OneTeam open letter reads as follows:

An Open Letter in Support of Transgender Student-Athletes

We, the undersigned, are facilitators of the National Collegiate Athletics Association’s (NCAA)Division III LGBTQ OneTeam Program, which is a national training program that fosters LGBTQ+ inclusion in NCAA Division III athletics, and members of the NCAA’s Division III LGBTQ Working Group. Given the recent rise in legislation that is focused on excluding transgender people from athletics across the country, we have decided to use our collective voice to condemn such actions. We call on elected officials across the country to immediately halt legislation that is aimed at excluding transgender youth and young adults from equal and equitable participation in sport.

In our role with the NCAA’s LGBTQ OneTeam Program, we train coaches, athletics administrators, and student-athletes across the whole of Division III athletics. This program is aimed at helping to understand the importance of LGBTQ inclusion in college athletics, while also identifying strategies and best practices for institutions and conferences to better ensure that all student-athletes–regardless of their sexuality, gender identity, and/or gender expression–can participate in an inclusive and safe athletic climate. We cannot, in good conscience, fail to speak out at this critical moment.

In the past several weeks, actions–which are aimed at excluding transgender youth and young adults from equal and equitable participation in sport–have been taken by elected officials inseveral states, including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia. At the time of this writing, the Governors ofArkansas,Idaho,Mississippi, andTennessee have already signed such dangerous legislation into law. 

Legislation aimed at categorically banning transgender people–and particularly transgender girls and women–from sport is inherently discriminatory. Such legislation is often “informed” by hate and misinformation rather than science, and it is most certainly “informed” byfear instead of fact. Conversely, trans-inclusive policies, such as those established by theNCAA and theInternational Olympic Committee (IOC), are better informed by the current scientific evidence, and this evidence shows that transgender women do not have an inherent competitive advantage over cisgender women.

Furthermore, discriminatory legislation that is aimed at excluding transgender people from sport has a number ofserious consequences for transgender students. Such legislation dehumanizes transgender students, refuses them the opportunity to participate equally and equitably in athletics, undermines their support in educational settings, damages their mental health, and ultimately harms these students, while also contributing to an exclusionary athletic environment and a more hostile school climate for all students.

We immediately call for 1) an end to such legislation in all states and 2) a repeal of such laws in Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi, and Tennessee. And finally, we also encourage our legislators to better consider theNCAA best practices and importance of an inclusive athletic environment for all student-athletes.

Sincerely,

The Undersigned

Timothy R. Bussey, Ph.D.

Pronouns: they/them

Associate Director, Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion | Kenyon College

Kayla Hayes, M.Ed.

Pronouns: she/her

Associate Head Women’s Basketball Coach Dept. of Athletics | Denison University

Kyrstin Krist, Ph.D.

Pronouns: she/her

Associate Professor of Kinesiology and Faculty Athletic Representative | Methodist University

Melynda Link, M.B.A.

Pronouns: she/her

Director of Athletic Facilities & Game Day Operations, Dept. of Athletics | Haverford College

Kathleen M. Murray

Pronouns: she/her

President, Office of the President | Whitman College

Jess Duff

Pronouns: she/her

Assistant Athletic Director for Student Athlete Services & Internal Operations Dept. of Athletics | Bates College

Jessica Weiss

Pronouns: she/her

Head Field Hockey Coach, Dept. of Athletics | Randolph-Macon College

Jennifer Dubow

Pronouns: she/her

Executive Director | Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC)

Maura Johnston

Pronouns: she/her

Head Field Hockey Coach, Dept. of Athletics | Fairleigh Dickinson University

Scott McGuiness

Pronouns: no pronouns

Director of Athletics, Dept. of Athletics | Washington & Jefferson College

Danielle Lynch, M.S.Ed.

Pronouns: she/her

Senior Woman Administrator and Head Track and Field/Cross Country Coach Athletic Department | Penn State University – Harrisburg

Melissa Walton

Pronouns: she/her

Senior Associate Athletic Director Athletic Department | Albion College

Amy Reed

Pronouns: she/her

Senior Woman Administrator and Head Women’s Basketball Coach Dept. of Athletics | Rochester Institute of Technology

Donna M. Ledwin

Pronouns: she/her

Commissioner | Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC)

Donnesha Blake, Ph.D.

Pronouns: she/her

Director of Diversity and Inclusion Dept. of Student Affairs | Alma College

Tim Wilson

Pronouns: he/him

Assistant Track and Field Coach, Dept. of Athletics | Stevens Institute of Technology

Anne Kietzman

Pronouns: she/her

Head Field Hockey Coach, Dept. of Athletics | Washington College

Ashley Crossway, D.A.T., A.T.C.

Pronouns: she/her

Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Clinical Education Dept. of Kinesiology | SUNY Cortland

Melissa Brooks

Pronouns: she/her

Head Women’s Basketball Coach Athletic Department | Fairleigh Dickinson University – Florham 

Tiffany Thompson

Pronouns: she/her

Associate Director of Gender and Sexuality Initiatives, Intercultural Center | Swarthmore College

Kirsten Clark

Pronouns: she/her

Associate Athletic Director, Dept. of Athletics and Recreation | Clark University

Kate Levin

Pronouns: she/her

Assistant Sports Information Director Dept. of Athletics | Ramapo College

Cori Collinsworth

Pronouns: she/her

Head Softball Coach, Athletic Department | Hanover College

Bethany Dannelly

Pronouns: she/her

Associate Director of Athletics, Dept. of Physical Education and Athletics | Washington and Lee University

Jennifer Childress-White, M.Ed.

Pronouns: she/her

Assistant Athletic Director and University Title IX Coordinator Dept. of Athletics | Pacific Lutheran University

Elise Fitzsimmons, M.S., A.T.C.

Pronouns: she/her

Assistant Athletic Trainer, Dept. of Athletics| SUNY Oswego 

Amanda Walker

Pronouns: she/her

Athletic Program Coordinator Athletics Department | Lake Forest College

Danielle O’Leary

Pronouns: she/her

Senior Woman Administrator and Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach Athletics Department | Mount Aloysius College

Crystal Lanning

Pronouns: she/her

Director of Athletics, Dept. of Athletics | University of Wisconsin – River Falls

Neil Virtue

Pronouns: he/him

Assistant Director of Athletics and Head Swimming Coach | Dept. of Athletics, P.E., and Recreation Mills College

Jose’ Rodriguez, M.Ed.

Pronouns: he/him

Chief Diversity Officer, Office of University Diversity Initiatives | Cabrini University

Karen Moberg, M.Ed., L.A.T., A.T.C.

Pronouns: she/her

Associate Athletic Trainer, Athletic Department | Macalester College

Yishka Chin

Pronouns: she/her

Coordinator for Tutoring Services and Trailblazer Program Director, Dept. of Student Success | Notre Dame of Maryland University

Renee Bostic

Pronouns: she/her

Director of Athletics & Wellness Dept. of Athletics & Wellness | Notre Dame of Maryland University

Megan Cullinane

Pronouns: she/her

Assistant Athletic Director and Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Athletics Dept. of Athletics and Recreation | University of Massachusetts – Boston

Maureen Harty

Pronouns: she/her

Executive Director | College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW)

Stephanie Dutton

Pronouns: she/her

Commissioner | North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC)

Sharia Marcus-Carter

Pronouns: she/her

Senior Woman Administrator and Director of Compliance, Athletics Department | Brooklyn College

church illustration by 360 Magazine

Montana’s Religious Refusal Bill

Montana House Sends Religious Refusal Bill To Governor Gianforte’s Desk

RFRA bill similar to controversial Indiana law signed by then Gov. Mike Pence

Today, the Montana House passed passed anti-LGBTQ Senate Bill 215, an expansive religious refusal bill that could grant a license to discriminate against Montanans and visitors, including LGBTQ people, people of faith, and women, across a wide range of goods and services in the state. The bill now heads to Governor Greg Gianforte for signature or veto. In 2015, then-Governor of Indiana Mike Pence signed a similar piece of legislation into law that encouraged widespread discrimination from medical providers, businesses, government officials and taxpayer-funded entities. Mississippi also passed a RFRA in 2016. In the wake of Indiana, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed a RFRA bill at the urging of Senators John McCain, Jeff Flake, and Mitt Romney, saying that it would have “unintended consequences” and divide the state. The Arizona bill faced serious business opposition, including Apple, AT&T, Delta Airlines, Major League Baseball, and the Super Bowl House Committee.

As reported by The 19ththis is among 36 anti-LGBTQ “religious freedom” measures coursing through state legislatures as part of a national flood of anti-LGBTQ legislation and an effort by national, far-right extremist groups to sow fear and division for political gain. This represents the fourth anti-LGBTQ bill sent to a governor’s desk this session, and just the second RFRA bill. Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David issued the following statement in reaction to today’s House vote:

Governor Gianforte was elected in part on the promise of bringing new businesses and industries to Montana. He should seriously consider vetoing this legislation, which would not just discriminate against LGBTQ people, but threaten to ward off the very businesses he is hoping to attract. In 2015, then-Indiana Governor Mike Pence saw a steep decline in revenue and loss of business that hurt Indiana. Montana could resign themselves to the same fate if this bill becomes law. The people of Montana believe in religious liberty and LGBTQ equality — those two values are not mutually exclusive. Rejecting this legislation is crucial for the equality of all and for the future of the state. In trying economic times and in the midst of a global pandemic, discrimination should not be on the agenda.

Indiana passed a similar bill which cost them $60m in lost revenue

  • The backlash from the business community and voters was swift, and Pence soon became a national disgrace. Pence’s discriminatory bill had enormous consequences for Indiana’s economy and reputation. Indianapolis’s non-profit tourism agency estimated that in their city alone, Pence’s anti-LGBTQ bill cost up to 12 conventions and $60 million in lost revenue
  • The State of Indiana had to spend $365k of taxpayer money on a PR firm to help dampen the backlash and attempt to restore the reputation of Indiana
  • A reported by the Associated Press detailed that “12 out-of-state groups were surveyed and all said that the state’s controversial religious objections law played a role in their decision to hold their events elsewhere.”

Voters strongly disapproved of Indiana’s religious refusal law and punished Pence for signing it

  • And polling conducted by HRC after the 2015 fight found that 75 percent of Hoosiers said the law was bad for the state’s economy, and 70 percent of those surveyed said they opposed it.
  • Following the embarrassing fallout, his approval ratings tanked with voters and Pence decided not to run for re-election. Yet, his appalling record on LGBTQ equality won him a place on the ticket with Trump as his running mate. Now, Pence has been working behind the scenes at the White House to push his own disgraced values onto the national stage.
  • A poll conducted by the Indianapolis tourism department showed that the city was still facing the lingering repercussions of the reputational harm it incurred as a result of the legislation a year later

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organizations working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

Digital Divide illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Digitally Disconnected

DIGITALLY DISCONNECTED

13 TIPS FOR HELPING BRIDGE THE DIGITAL DIVIDE FOR CHILDREN DURING COVID-19

While social, racial, and economic disparities have always existed within the educational system, the COVID-19 pandemic is exasperating these inequities and widening gaps between students at a drastic rate. For families who can’t afford home computers, laptops, or high-speed internet access, remote learning is nearly impossible, and for students who already found themselves struggling before the pandemic, the prospect of more than a year of lost classroom time is a devastating blow. However, there are steps parents can take to shrink this digital divide, and there are resources available via schools, non-profits, and government initiatives that can help children access the technological tools they need to succeed. Indeed, Dr. Pamela Hurst-Della Pietra, President and Founder of Children and Screens, notes that “the inclusion of 17.2 billion dollars for closing the ‘homework gap’ in the recently passed American Rescue Plan is a watershed moment for digital equity.”   
 
Several of the leading figures in the fields of public health, education, psychology, and parenting have weighed in with their suggestions on the best ways to combat the digital divide, and many will participate in an interdisciplinary conversation and Q&A hosted by Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development on Wednesday, March 24, at 12pm ET via Zoom. Moderated by the Director of Internet and Technology Research at the Pew Research Center Lee Rainie, the panel will engage in an in-depth discussion about the digital divide and actionable steps we can all take to bridge the gap. RSVP here.
 
1. DON’T WAIT, ADVOCATE 

While schools across the country are doing everything they can to make sure that children have access to the technology and connectivity they need for remote learning, the unfortunate reality is that many families still lack adequate resources. If your family is among them, says author and MIT Assistant Professor of Digital Media Justin Reich, know that you’re not alone and that there are steps you can take to advocate for what your children need. “Start with your school staff,” Reich recommends. “They’re often overwhelmed during this challenging time but be polite and persistent. If you run into a dead-end with your school system, consider reaching out to school libraries and youth organizations like The Boys and Girls Club or the YMCA to see what kind of support they might be able to offer.”
 
2. SCALE DOWN 

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro Professor Dr. Wayne Journell agrees, pointing out that sometimes, despite their best efforts, teachers and administrators may not always know which students are struggling with connectivity issues. “Let teachers know if you have slow internet at home,” says Journell. “Sometimes detailed graphics and animations that look cute but have little relevance to the actual lessons being delivered can cause problems for students with unreliable internet. If teachers are aware, then they can scale down the ‘frilly’ stuff and still get the important content across.”
 
3. STAND UP FOR YOURSELF  

While it’s important for parents to speak up on behalf of their children, RAND Senior Policy Researcher Julia Kaufman, Ph.D., highlights the importance of encouraging children to express their needs, as well. “If your child does not have access to technology at home and is falling behind, make sure your child’s teacher knows the obstacles they’re facing and ask what accommodations will make it easier for your child to do assignments offline,” says Rand. “At the same time, help your child feel comfortable expressing any technology concerns or confusion to their teachers, including cases where they have the technology but cannot use it well.”
 
4. CHECK YOUR ASSUMPTIONS 

One critical step that educators and policymakers can take in addressing the digital divide is to check their assumptions. They cannot – and should not – assume that students do or do not have access based solely on demographics such as family income level. “In addition, they cannot assume that providing access alone creates equity,” adds Dr. Beth Holland, a Partner at The Learning Accelerator (TLA) and Digital Equity Advisor to the Consortium of School Networking (CoSN). “This is a complex and nuanced challenge that needs both a technical and a human solution to ensure that students not only have access to sufficient high-speed internet and devices but also accessible systems and structures to support their learning.”

5. SURVEY AND MODIFY  

For teachers who are on the ground and in the classroom, checking your assumptions can be as simple as asking a few basic questions at the start of the term. “Survey students to determine the percentage of your population that doesn’t have home Internet access,” recommends former AAP President Dr. Colleen A. Kraft, MD, MBA, FAAP. “Once you know the divide, you can address it,” adding, “When planning 1:1 projects and choosing devices, for example, you can consider a device’s capacity for offline use. For those without Wi-Fi, a public library in the child’s neighborhood can also be an excellent resource.”

6. VOTE FOR CHANGE 

That parents and teachers need to worry about the digital divide at all is a failure on the part of our elected leaders, says Bates College Associate Professor of Education Mara Casey Tieken. “Contact your elected officials—local, state, and federal—and complain,” she suggests. “Write letters, call their offices, attend their legislative sessions, and make your voice heard. Join with other families whose children are impacted by this divide to amplify your message and use your vote to support lawmakers who understand the impacts of this divide, have a clear plan to address it and are willing to take action.”
 
7. MAKE BROADBAND A UTILITY  

Reich agrees, reminding those families who already have their needs met that they share in the responsibility to advocate for the less fortunate. “It’s our job as citizens to demand that we as a society give families and children the tools and resources that they need for remote learning now and in the future,” says Reich. “We need to advocate for a society where broadband is treated as a utility rather than a luxury good, and young people enrolled in schools and educational programs have access to computers for learning.”

8. CONCRETE INITIATIVES  

Angela Siefer, Executive Director of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, advocates four concrete initiatives. “Establish a permanent broadband benefit, increase access to affordable computers, digital literacy and technical support, improve broadband mapping (including residential cost data), and support local and state digital inclusion planning.” By implementing these changes, Siefer says, policymakers can start to mitigate the digital divide. 

9. USE TECH FOR GOOD 

There are many reasons to consider equitable solutions along a “digital continuum” rather than the “digital divide;” a binary description leaves less room for nuanced and customized interventions. It may be imperative to fortify existing institutions, implement new governance structures and promulgate policies to confront disparities regarding working families. Antwuan Wallace, Managing Director at National Innovation Service, suggests that legislators consider a Safety and Thriving framework to increase family efficacy to support children with protective factors against the “homework gap” by utilizing technology to train critical skills for executive functioning, including planning, working memory, and prioritization. 
 
10. LEVEL THE FIELD 

Emma Garcia of the Economic Policy Institute emphasizes that guided technology education will be of great value after the pandemic. She says, “it will need be instituted as part of a very broad agenda that uses well-designed diagnostic tests to know where children are and what they need (in terms of knowledge, socioemotional development, and wellbeing), ensures the right number of highly credentialed professionals to teach and support students, and offers an array of targeted investments that will address the adverse impacts of COVID-19 on children’s learning and development, especially for those who were most hit by the pandemic.”
 
11. APPLY FOR LIFELINE 

Research also shows that the digital divide disproportionately affects Latino, Black, and Native American students, with the expensive price of internet access serving as one of the main obstacles to families in these communities. “Eligible parents can apply for the Lifeline Program, which is a federal program that can reduce their monthly phone and internet cost,” suggests Greenlining Institute fellow Gissela Moya. “Parents can also ask their child’s school to support them by providing hotspots and computer devices to ensure their child has the tools they need to succeed.”
 
12. GET INVOLVED 

Learning remotely can be difficult for kids, even if they have access to all the technological tools they need. Research shows that parental encouragement is also an important aspect of learning for children, notes London School of Economics professor and author Sonia Livingstone. “Perhaps sit with them, and gently explain what’s required or work it out together.” She adds that working together is a great way that parents with fewer economic or digital resources can support their children. “And if you don’t know much about computers, your child can probably teach you something too!”
 
13. NO ONE SIZE FITS ALL 

When it comes to encouraging your children, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. “Reflect on the more nuanced ways your children learn and leverage accessible resources (digital and non-digital) to inspire their continued curiosity,” says University of Redlands Assistant Professor Nicol Howard. Leaning into your child’s strengths and interests will help them make the most of this challenging time.
 
While the move to remote learning may seem like an insurmountable obstacle for families that can’t afford reliable internet or dedicated devices for their kids, there are a variety of ways that parents can help connect their children with the tools they need. For those privileged enough to already have access to the necessary physical resources, it’s important to remember that emotional support is also an essential piece of the puzzle when it comes to children’s educational success, especially during days as challenging as these. Lastly, it falls on all of us to use our time, energy, and voices to work towards a more just world where the educational playing field is level and all children have the same opportunity to thrive and succeed, regardless of their social, racial, or financial background.
 
About Children and Screens
Since its inception in 2013, Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development, has become one of the nation’s leading non-profit organizations dedicated to advancing and supporting interdisciplinary scientific research, enhancing human capital in the field, informing and educating the public, and advocating for sound public policy for child health and wellness. For more information, visit Children and Screens website or contact by email here.
 
The views and opinions that are expressed in this article belong to the experts to whom they are attributed, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development, or its staff. 

Trans Rights illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Gov Noem × Anti-Trans Sports Bills

South Dakota Gov. Noem Exposes Vulnerabilities for All States Considering Anti-Trans Sports Bills

On Friday, March 19th, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem issued a style-and-form veto of HB 1217, the anti-transgender sports ban bill that she had previously expressed excitement about signing. Having made several substantive changes to the legislation, including striking collegiate-level provisions from the bill, it will now be sent back to the legislature. This backtrack, by even an extreme governor with national political aspirations, exposes the economic, legal, and reputational threats these bills pose to states considering anti-transgender legislation and has sparked an uproar amongst conservative groups who see Governor Noem playing politics and trying to have it both ways. 

Gov. Noem’s winding path from “excited to sign” to a veto

Today, Noem held a press conference standing alongside known anti-LGBTQ extremists to justify her veto

  • Today in a press conference, Governor Noem announced the creation of a coalition to “Defend Title IX Now” which appears to be a national list-building exercise by Noem, with a website created yesterday by someone in Ohio (coincidentally, Governor Noem’s campaign website was created by Ohio political consultants The Aventine Group). This website’s “paid for by” disclaimer refers to a committee that is not yet registered with the Federal Election Commission or the South Dakota Secretary of State’s office.
  • When asked in today’s press conference why she was pressing a ban on transgender student athletes when there are no transgender players currently competing in secondary school sports in South Dakota, Gov. Noem replied “it’s an issue because people are talking about it and for the future.”
  • Among the speakers in today’s press conference was former NFL player Jack Brewer who, in March of 2020, said that he opposed President Barack Obama for “normaliz[ing] the black gay culture.”
  • Noem said of HB 1217, that it was a “trial lawyer’s dream” that would open the state to litigation in its current form and expressed concern for NCAA repercussions, saying “if we’re going beyond [K-12] to the collegiate level…just know that we could face retaliation — it’s more than likely, and at that point, we would have to sue, which is a cost to the taxpayers.” 

From praise to condemnation from anti-equality extremist groups

  • When announcing her support for signing the legislation, Noem quote-tweeted the American Principles Project.
  • But only weeks later, American Principles Project shared their condemnation of Governor Noem’s style-and-form veto of HB 1217, saying that she “[broke] her word,” “[froze] out advocates of HB 1217 and instead [took] advice from the bill’s most vocal critics,” and that “[b]y standing with Joe Biden and the radical left against protecting women’s sports, Noem has irreparably damaged her standing with both her own constituents as well as Americans nationally… This betrayal will have political consequences.”
  • The Alliance Defending Freedom, a Southern Poverty Law Center-designated hate group, went from support to condemnation as well, saying in a statement that Governor Noem “abuse[d]” her veto power to “cave to ‘woke’ corporate ideology.” They similarly called Noem’s actions a “betrayal” and characterized today’s press conference as damage control to rehabilitate her “credibility and political image.”
  • In reaction to today’s press conference, Sean Davis, co-founder of the conservative publication The Federalist tweeted: “Stop making excuses and insulting everyone’s intelligence and sign the bill already. This is embarrassing.”
Agriculture illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

USDA Announces Investment

USDA Announces $218 Million Investment in Land and Water Conservation

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the USDA Forest Service will invest more than $218 million to fund Great American Outdoors Act projects to conserve critical forest and wetland habitat, support rural economic recovery, and increase public access to national forests and grasslands.

Leveraging the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) provided by Congress, this investment will improve public access by funding strategic land acquisitions. Funds will also support work with state agencies to encourage private forest landowners to protect their land through conservation easements or land purchases.

“These investments reflect President Biden’s commitment to supporting locally-led conservation efforts from coast to coast and to honoring and building on the proud private land stewardship traditions of farmers, ranchers, and forest owners,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The investments will not only protect our natural heritage, but they will also create jobs, expand access to the outdoors, and help tackle climate change.”

The Forest Service administers two LWCF programs: The Forest Legacy Program and the Land Acquisition program. Together, these programs conserve critical and strategic lands across the nation’s forests on both private and public lands. The Forest Service will invest more than $94 million to fund 28 projects under the Forest Legacy Program and $123 million to fund Land Acquisition Program projects, including projects for recreation access and other needs.

Land Acquisition Program highlights include:

  • $6.4 million in FY 2021 to acquire 8,590 acres for the Lolo Trails Project in Montana. This project aims to mitigate the effects of climate change by providing the cold water that federally listed bull trout and other species need to sustain healthy populations in a warming climate.
  • $3.7 million to acquire 1,550 acres in the Yakima River Basin for the Washington Cascades Project. Supported by a wide coalition of public, private and non-profit partners, this project seeks to ensure a long-term water supply in the face of climate change.

Forest Legacy Program highlights include:

  • Protecting 12,500 acres of habitat, water and timber on the Ceylon Forest in Georgia. 2.5 million people depend on the Ceylon for drinking water that flows from and through the forest. As a working forest, the Ceylon supports a local wood-based economy that includes 121 mills, with a $1.69 million payroll impact. Once completed, the area will also become part of a much larger Wildlife Management Area and serve as an ideal hunting and fishing destination for sportsmen across the Southeast.
  • The East Grand-Weston in Maine builds on a century-old tradition of sustainable forestry and expands recreation opportunities over more than 4,300 acres. The property supports a thriving local recreation industry by protecting lands, waters and trails while also providing sustainable wood products to up to 15 mills. The property will remain in private hands while continuing to be managed for public benefits.
  • The second phase of the Kootenai Forestlands Conservation Project will permanently protect nearly 28,000 acres of land in northwest Montana. The project area belongs to the Stimson Lumber Company and contributes to the local economy while allowing free public access as a recreation destination for hunting, fishing, skiing, hiking, snowmobiling and more. The project will also protect the area from further residential development, reducing future firefighting costs by more than half.

Background

The Forest Service has been administering LWCF projects since 1964 along with the Department of the Interior. The fund supports Forest Service-led conservation projects including acquisition of critical non-federal lands within the boundaries of national forests and grasslands. Now, with full and permanent funding through the Dingell Act and the Great American Outdoors Act, the Forest Service is poised to strengthen its conservation program and provide greater recreation access to national forests and grasslands.

The agency worked with partners, considered multiple criteria and used established competitive processes to select projects for fiscal year 2021. During the review, the agency evaluated the environmental, social, and economic benefits of proposed projects and whether they contributed to other conservation initiatives. The Forest Service also considered local recreation access needs, the level of local support for strategic land acquisitions and how likely it would be for project areas to be converted to non-forest uses.

For more information on the Great American Outdoors Act and related projects, visit the website.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration under Secretary Vilsack, USDA is committed to transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit USDA.