Posts tagged with "voting"

Oprah Winfrey Virtual Town Halls

Oprah Winfrey announced plans Monday to host virtual town halls in states that look to play a large role in the upcoming election.

As part of OWN’s OWN YOUR VOTE get-out-the-vote initiative, the town halls will be a non-partisan effort to encourage, inspire and support voters across the country before Nov. 3.

The events are free and open to the public, and you can register in advance by clicking right here.

She will host an event for voters in Wisconsin Oct. 26, voters in North Carolina Oct. 27, voters in Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Pennsylvania Oct. 28 and voters in South Carolina Oct. 29. All of the town halls will begin at 8 p.m. ET.

Winfrey will speak with local voters in an effort to acquire adequate resources, information and inspiration to create a more informed voting base. Local voters, national thought leaders, voting rights experts and others who can provide insight and resources to voters will join her.

Speakers at the town halls include Brittany Packnett Cunningham, Representative Gwen Moore, Kristen Clarke, Vi Lyles, Kamilia Landrum, Andrea Hailey, Tameika Isaac Devine, Arisha Hatch, Tamika D. Mallory and Sherrilyn Ifill.

Representatives from women’s organizations will also attend, like Dr. Glenda Glover, Beverly E. Smith, Melanie Campbell, Glynda Carr, Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole, Dr. Kimberly Leonard, Rasheeda S. Liberty and Valerie Hollingsworth Baker.

For this event, OWN YOUR VOTE has partnered with the following organizations: 

Advancement Project National Office

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated

AME Church Social Action Commission

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated

Fair Fight Action

Higher Heights Leadership Fund

Joseph and Evelyn Lowery Institute for Justice and Human Rights

The Kapor Center

The King Center (Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Inc.)

Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

The Links, Incorporated

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF)

National Council of Negro Women

National Urban League

Power Rising

Power to the Polls

Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated

Sistahs in Business Expo

Vote Run Lead

Vote.org

VoteAsIf.org

When We All Vote

Woke Vote

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated

You can also learn more about OWN YOUR VOTE by clicking right here.

Mina Tocalini, 360 Magazine, Mail-in Ballots

People For the American Way’s Latinos Vote! Radio in Iowa

People For the American Way’s Latinos Vote! Program announced a Spanish-language radio ad buy in Iowa, focused on Senator Joni Ernst’s failures, disastrous record on health care, the importance of protecting Iowans with pre-existing conditions and the call to vote her out in November. People For’s Latinos Vote! program was one of the first groups to air Spanish-language ads about Ernst’s record.

“Seguro médico,” a 60 second ad, which began airing last week, will air several times a day, through October 25, across the state on Spanish-language radio stations including stations in Des Moines, Sioux City, and Cedar Rapids.

The ads begin airing amid growing concern about the lack of outreach to Latino communities during this 2020 presidential election cycle. There are an estimated 32 million eligible Latino voters nationwide and an estimated 67,000 eligible Latino voters in Iowa, which represents 3 percent of all eligible voters in the state–enough to turn the tide in a state where polling suggests both Joni Ernst and Donald Trump are losing ground. This year Latino voters will be the largest racial or ethnic minority participating in a presidential election. Only 12.65 million Latino voters went to the polls in 2016.

“For nearly four years, Latinos in Iowa have watched Joni Ernst stand behind Donald Trump’s hateful, bigoted policies and rhetoric while simultaneously working to dismantle their health care,” said President of People For the American Way Ben Jealous. “Now, in the midst of a global pandemic, Joni Ernst has indicated she will vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett, a notoriously anti-health care judge, to the Supreme Court. Enough is enough. These ads are a reminder of what another term with anti-health care, Trump-enabling Joni Ernst looks like.”

“Latinos in Iowa and across the country, who have felt a disproportionate impact from the coronavirus pandemic, count on their health care”  said People For the American Way board member, civil rights and labor leader Dolores Huerta. “Joni Ernst has worked with Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, end protections for pre-existing conditions, and make it harder for Iowans to get the health care they need. It is time for her to go.”

RADIO SCRIPTS

English:

Raquel: Pablo – I’m worried about dad’s healthcare insurance. He has pre-existing medical conditions and the Republicans don’t seem to care about covid! He’s not up to date with his medications and he could get ill with the virus! Little brother, we have to do something!

Pablo: Raquel I know. Republican Senator Joni Ernst has failed us so much. She values money and her millionaire friends more than the community. She voted against people with pre-existing medical conditions … all to make more millionaire friends.

Raquel: That’s why we have to vote for Teresa Greenfield because she will advocate/fight so that all of us have access to healthcare in order to have medical insurance for our families. Have some spirit little brother! To improve things, we must vote for Democrat Teresa Greenfield for the Senate!

Disclaimer: People For the American Way is responsible for the content of this advertising. Paid for by People For the American Way independent of any candidate or candidate committee.

Spanish:

Raquel: Ay Pablo – Me preocupa el seguro médico de papá. Tiene condiciones médicas preexistentes y a los republicanos parece no impórtarles lo del covid! No está al día con sus medicamentos y se pueda enfermar con el virus. Hermanito tenemos que hacer algo!

Pablo: Lo sé Raquel. La Senadora republicana Joni Ernst nos ha fallado tanto. Ella valora más el dinero y sus amigos millonarios que a la comunidad. Ha votado en contra de personas con condiciones preexistentes médicas…todo para hacer más millonarios a sus amigos.

Raquel: Es por eso tenemos que votar por la Teresita Greenfield, porque ella si va a luchar para que todos tengamos cuidado de salud accesible y podamos tener seguro médico para nuestras familias. Animo hermanito. Para mejorar las cosas, votemos por la demócrata Teresa Greenfied para el Senado!

Disclaimer: People For the American Way es responsable por el contenido de este anuncio. Pagado por People For the American Way independiente de cualquier candidato o comité de candidatos.

ABOUT LATINOS VOTE

People For the American Way’s Latinos Vote! program exposes and counters anti-immigrant, anti-Latino rhetoric and policies. Through electoral work and issue-based campaigns, we hold groups, leaders and influencers accountable for the harm they do to immigrant and Latino communities. For nearly ten years, we’ve run bilingual paid and earned media campaigns in swing states where the Latino vote can be decisive.

El programa Latinos Vote! de People For the American Way expone y combate la retórica y las políticas anti-inmigrantes y anti-latinos. Nuestro programa se organiza mediante trabajo electoral y campañas basadas en temas especificos. En estas areas hacemos responsables a los grupos, líderes y a personas de influencia por el daño que causan a las comunidades inmigrantes y latinas. Por casi diez años, hemos realizado campañas pagadas y logrado campañas ganadas en medios bilingües destinadas a ganar en los estados claves donde el voto latino puede ser decisivo.

ABOUT PEOPLE FOR THE AMERICAN WAY

People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and build a democratic society that implements the ideals of freedom, equality, opportunity and justice for all. We encourage civic participation, defend fundamental rights, and fight to dismantle systemic barriers to equitable opportunity. Learn more: HERE.

Gabrielle Marchan illustrates Dianne Morales for 360 MAGAZINE

Dianne Morales

As of late, one of our team members had the opportunity to sit down with New York City mayoral candidate Dianne Morales for an interview. After eight years under Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York City will see someone new in the position in 2021, and Morales, a member of the Democratic Party, is jumping at the opportunity.

360: What are the major points of inspiration throughout your life, so far, that have led you to where you are today?

Morales: At my core is a commitment to community, and I learned community at home. I am the youngest of three girls and the daughter of Puerto Rican parents. My mother, a secretary for the Leather Workers’ Union, and my father, a building manager on the waterfront, created a working-class life for us in Bed-Stuy. But our home was not just for me and my sisters. My grandmother, Mami, lived with us my whole childhood. In fact, she and I shared a bed until the day that I left home for college. Our home was a resting place, a layover, a transition point for whoever needed it. There was always someone new sleeping on the couch or joining us at the dinner table. Whether they had just arrived from Puerto Rico, were in between jobs, had just returned from the military or from being incarcerated, there were always other people staying with us while they “got back on their feet.” My parents opened their arms and their front door to whoever needed it. I never questioned this way of life. I was taught, “If you have, then you provide.” We took care of each other. I saw, firsthand, the opportunity created when we each take responsibility, not just for ourselves, but for our neighbors and for our communities. This belief has spurred me on through 30 years in the public sector, as an educator, a foster care worker and a leader of nonprofits.

As I established my own home in Bed-Stuy as a single mom, my children and I recreated the dynamic my parents had built. We always have a few extra people living in our home – whom we often refer to as our “chosen family.” These extended family members have filled my home with love and reciprocal support. In a twist of fate, since the pandemic hit, I have shared my home with my parents and my children. I envision a New York City where we take care of each other, where everyone is welcome to the dinner table, where neighbors provide more support than extra sugar and all of us have a warm place to rest our heads. Although NYC is vast with diversity, we are all inextricably bound together and are only as strong as our most vulnerable link.

360: How can a mayor, as opposed to any other civic official, lead unique positive changes for equity?

Morales: Over the past several months there is a mantra I have been repeating consistently: a budget is a reflection of our values. The mayor has executive power over what gets funded in the city and by how much. Funding for services that contribute to true public safety (access to housing, medical/mental healthcare, economic stability, job training, education) will provide access and opportunity to those who have historically been left behind by our elected officials. Line by line, the budget reveals the values of a city and government. The NYC budget passed in June was a failure. It failed the residents of NYC, who have been raising their voices in protest and demanding a divestment from law enforcement since May 29. It failed those whose lives have been lost at the hands of the NYPD. It failed communities of color that have been disproportionately impacted by violence and brutality.

The budget highlights the need for NYC leadership to put New Yorkers first by investing in communities. The NYC Mayor also has the ability to work to desegregate public schools and impact the quality of education provided to over 1.1 million students, many of whom are students of color living in poverty. This alters the course of a student’s life and provides an entry point to economic mobility and a true career trajectory. New Yorkers deserve a bold, transformational leader who is unapologetically committed to prioritizing justice in the budget’s bottom line. I fundamentally believe that those closest to the problem are closest to the solution. Our city needs a mayor that is in tune with her people and provides a vision for and direction for what is possible.

360: What are some of the most pressing or urgent issues that need attention within New York City, and how would you address them?

Morales: New York’s problems all stem from structural oppression by Race, Gender and Class, so our solutions must go deeper, all the way to the root causes. Too many New Yorkers are living in a time of scarcity, and that’s been going on since long before the virus hit. The are working two jobs, just barely surviving and always one misfortune away from losing everything. Instead of this “Scarcity Economy,” we need a “Solidarity Economy,” and that requires bold action. First, transforming public safety in the city by providing access to the same critical resources found in wealthy communities will be a critical step toward creating the long-term change we need for all to live in dignity. True public safety includes ensuring that every New Yorker has access to “life essentials,” like quality transportation, affordable housing, excellent and equal education and human-centered healthcare. All New Yorkers deserve access to these fundamental resources in order to live in dignity, and it is the necessary floor needed to break through glass ceilings.

Next, we must enhance and overhaul vital infrastructure requiring multi-part, creative solutions that address the deeper issues embedded in the fabric of NYC. To break the racist cycle of poverty that divides our city into the “haves” and the “have-nots,” we will establish a guaranteed minimum income. We will push for universal healthcare and eliminate inequities in the health system faced by women, and especially women of color. We will work to address the persistent segregation of our schools and disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline by replacing school safety officers with trained mental health professionals. The driving force behind all policy initiatives is the experiences, needs and voices of women of color. Particularly, Black women. As the Combahee River Collective wisely wrote in its 1977 statement, “If Black women were free, it would mean that everyone else would have to be free since our freedom would necessitate the destruction of all the systems of oppression.” We know that if New York does right by Black women, the entire city will be better for it.

360: How can you use your personal experiences with serving as a single mother and observing the many other challenges that face New York City residents to enact policy reform?

Morales: So many of New York’s problems have impacted me directly, and so much of who I am and what I know comes from being a mom. My greatest joy is being the mother of my two children, Ben and Gabby. They constantly push me, teach me and nourish me. As a single parent, I share experiences with hundreds of thousands of other New Yorkers. A 2018 study found that single-parent households are the second largest household type in New York City. I navigated New York City’s systems – economic, health and education – on my own. I balanced a budget for my family each month, figuring out how to make it work. My greatest challenge was parenting my children through the NYC education system. The rigid and unforgiving education that my children received did not allow any space for their learning differences. They did not see themselves in the white-centric curriculum and we struggled to find support during their developmental years. Advocating for my children was a full-time job on top of my paying-full-time-job. Again and again I have stood with parents for a more equitable and life-affirming education for our kids. It is with this same community spirit of coalition building, advocacy and bettering of our social safety nets that I will push for policies that support all types of families in NYC.

360: What is one of the most significant components of your background or experiential knowledge that separates you from any other candidate?

Morales: I am, in so many ways, the average New Yorker. I was born and bred in Bed-Stuy. I am an Afro Latina single-mom of two children who survived the New York City public school system. I am a first generation college graduate who came back home to my city after school. I am a woman of color who discovered that I was not being paid the same as my white male counterparts. I’ve watched my neighborhood change, I’ve seen Starbucks replace the corner bodega, and I have spent my weekends marching side by side – 6 feet apart – with my fellow New Yorkers demanding justice for those killed at the hands of a racist policing system. Because I am the average New Yorker, my voice reflects the voices of thousands of others. We share our lived experiences, frustrations and joys. I love New York City because I see our full potential for all of us.

360: How does your previous extensive work with social service nonprofits inform your motivations and goals to serve as Mayor?

Morales: For decades, I worked within the community to address structural inequities burdening communities of color. I worked alongside those experiencing the symptoms of our broken system most acutely – poverty, lack of access to education, homelessness and mental health services. I witnessed firsthand the day-to-day struggles of New Yorkers that are perpetuated by cycles of poverty and oppression. I worked from the ground, up and from the inside, out. But as I hammered away, I recognized these structural and institutional barriers, and began to ask, “So how do we burn them down?” It felt as though I was only tinkering around the edges of the problem and providing Band-Aid solutions to deep, deep wounds. The core, perpetuating issues were centralized and foundational. I realized that if I want to create lasting, effective change, I must address these systemic and political problems at the root. As Mayor, I would carry with me the voices of those I have served.

360: In outlining your points of action and reform for New York City, how does the COVID-19 pandemic affect any of these potential strides for change?

Morales: As we know, COVID-19 is a catastrophe that illuminates all of the cracks and splinters in our broken systems. At first, many claimed the COVID-19 was a “great equalizer,” affecting all people, regardless of race, class or gender. Instead COVID-19 disproportionately impacts people of color and low-income communities. This is not a coincidence or personal failing, but rather the direct result of racist systems, putting structural oppression in stark relief. While some New Yorkers are able to escape crowded areas, arm themselves with personal protective equipment and work remotely, others, namely people of color, are on the front lines providing essential services to our city.

As COVID-19 has had devastating consequences that will leave a lasting impact for years to come, it has also provided us with a unique moment. As we saw after the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police, being homebound and isolated forces us to pay attention. We have paused. We have slowed down. With fewer distractions and a center of focus, folks all across the country have had the veil lifted. People are noticing the interconnected webs of oppression I have lived with and that I have been fighting to dismantle my entire life. In this moment, we need leaders in office who are of, by and for the movement for social change. There is a momentum and hunger for justice that can no longer be ignored. As we overcome the challenge of the disease, I will never let the city forget who is truly essential. Together we will create a world in which front-line workers are truly valued as indispensable. A world where we accompany our applause and platitudes with a livable wage, unquestionable dignity and real community power.

360: What are some of the most rewarding takeaways you have gained from leading several momentous organizations?

Morales: I’ve learned firsthand about the barriers and challenges that people have to overcome in order to gain access to opportunities that are alleged to be available to everyone. I also have watched as community members care for one another to bridge the gaps in access to those opportunities. This is testament to the power of our communities to be true partners in determining the solutions they face when given the resources to do so. Finally, I have been able to bear witness to what is possible when people finally gain access and opportunity and how that has the potential to change the trajectory of people’s lives and transform families and communities.

360: Regarding the national and global movement, Black Lives Matter, how will you utilize your unique identity to empower minorities in the City of New York?

Morales: Like many people of color, I have lived years of my life trying not to take up space. I have seen the ways that my identities – my Blackness, my Latina roots, my politics, my womanhood – make people, namely white people, uncomfortable. In these spaces I would constantly ask myself, “Do I seem too opinionated, too articulate, too aggressive?” I would contort and deflate myself to fit into tight corners and small boxes. I would shrink myself so that others could feel big. When making the decision to run for Mayor of NYC, I decided it was important for me to run as my full, unadulterated, unapologetic, multi-hyphenated self. There would be no more shrinking, questioning or self-doubt. I recognize that by the very nature of stepping into this space, I am opening up a path of possibility. As the first Afro-Latina running for mayor of New York City, I recognize the awesome responsibility I hold. I know that when I speak, unfairly or not, I am representing all Afro-Latina women. Missteps become mass stereotypes. Accolades become communal achievements.

This is both beautiful and deeply terrifying. But in moments of fear, I am guided by a greater purpose to bring with me those whom have been devalued and made to feel small, as I have been; to elevate the voices of those with shared experiences and claim our rightful place in democracy and representation in leadership. People like me, individuals and communities of color, women of color, we must be at the forefront of our politics and policies. I am deeply committed to divesting from racist systems and investing in Black and Brown communities. I am committed to reimagining public safety on our streets and in our schools. I am committed to shifting wealth opportunities to those who have been historically marginalized. I am committed to redressing and repairing the wounds of oppression that scar our city. I am in this race to stand taller in the face of a world that tells me to shrink. I am here to tell them that Black lives are beloved. We matter today and every day forward.

360: To all of the NYC citizens following your efforts to better numerous communities, what are some of the best ways individuals can support your campaign?

Morales: The best way to help me is to join the campaign with a small contribution. I am not a career politician, and unlike other candidates, I have not spent decades cultivating a war chest of people, networks and resources to kickstart my run for mayor. I want to be responsive to the people, not the special interests.. My campaign was born out of my home in Bed-Stuy, out of conversations with my neighbors, friends and colleagues. Our campaign is 100% powered by the people, not the 1%. We are an intersectional coalition of Black and Brown, Latinx, LGBTQIA and working class New Yorkers. We are backed by the people being hit the hardest at this moment in time. I am so incredibly humbled that in the middle of a pandemic, without employment, people are finding a way to donate to our campaign. I know what is at stake and the choices they have had to make to do so. If donating to our campaign is not possible for you during this financially uncertain time, we understand. Visit my website, dianne.nyc, for information and volunteer opportunities. Spread our mission to your fellow New Yorkers. Reach out to join our team. Remember me in November 2021.

To learn more about Dianne Morales, you can click right here. To learn more about her stances and solutions, you can click right here. To support Morales through donations, you can click right here. You can also support her on Twitter and Instagram.

Kamala Harris illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

Joe Biden × Kamala Harris

Presidential candidate Joe Biden has declared California Senator Kamala Harris his Vice President running mate. Former Vice President Joe Biden’s selection of Senator Kamala Harris Harris shows Biden doubling down on his long history of excessive law enforcement and support for the war on drugs. 

In a year of national uprising against police violence, Kamala Harris who spent 25 years in law enforcement is an ironic selection. Her campaign for president ended quickly as she dropped out of the race two months before the Iowa Caucus and three days before the filing deadline to be on the ballot in her home state of California, where she was behind in the polls. Part of her decline was caused by voter dismay at her reversal on Medicare For All, when she flip-flopped to a policy that subsidized private health insurance and misleadingly continued to call it Medicare for All.

While Joe Biden was the principal legislative architect of the drug war and mass incarceration from his time on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Harris’s record as a prosecutor and Attorney General was as a foot soldier in the drug war and mass incarceration. As the San Francisco District Attorney drug-related prosecutions increased from 56 percent in 2003 to 74 percent in 2006. In 2019, she admitted smoking marijuana in college but while Attorney General of California from 2011-2017, Harris sent at least 1,560 people to prison over marijuana-related offenses. In 2014, a week after the New York Times called for legal marijuana, Harris laughed when asked if she supported it. Now, she supports ending federal laws against marijuana, a position not held by Biden.

While Biden sponsored mandatory sentencing, Harris defended one of the worst mandatory sentencing laws in the US, California’s ‘three strikes law’ that also applied to “minor” felonies. She campaigned against a voter initiative that would have reformed this to require serious or violent felonies for life sentences. Harris did not take a position on two ballot initiatives in 2012 and 2014 that would have reduced punishment for low-level crimes and given judges more flexibility at sentencing. Both initiatives passed without her support.

After the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, police accountability was on the agenda in the California legislature. Harris refused to take a position on racial profiling by police. As Attorney General she refused to investigate highly questionable police shootings in Los Angeles 2014 and in San Francisco in 2015.

Follow Kamala Harris: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Follow Joe Biden: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

U.S. Postal Service In Danger

By Eamonn Burke

The coronavirus has ravaged the United States in the past six months, hitting small private businesses, especially minority -owned, very hard. There is also a major public service that has taken a devastating hit from the pandemic, and now from debates over mail-in voting.

A comprehensive detailing of the damages done to the Postal Service by the New York Times, including a daunting warning that the agency could run out of funds by the fall. The decision of whether to aid the service financially became a partisan one, in which the differing opinions on government interference came into play.

“The Postal Service is a joke,” said President Trump, who’s administration called off a potential $13 billion relief bill for the USPS and believes that the agency is responsible for its own financial issues, unless they comply with a series of alterations that would benefit private competitors.

Democrats were backed by large corporations that benefit from the USPS in their fight to save it. “We are for the public having the Postal Service meet the public interest, not some special interest” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.

It may not be as divisive an issue as it seems, however. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka pointed out that the benefit on both sides of the aisle from the USPS would indicate that the fight to save it may not be so evenly split between the two parties.

Delays in mailing have been experienced throughout the country since the pandemic broke, in cities like Philadelphia. Mail workers in the city say that the new pressures to cut spending, staff, and work hours are causing backlogs of mail. These can be a huge problem when the mail contains essential items like food or medicine. “I try to stay by him and pray for life that I have what I need to take care of him,” says Valerie Rice of her young grandson whom she orders medicine for. Meanwhile, a USPS spokesman assures that the agency is “flexing our available resources to match the workload created by the impacts of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic” and that they “appreciate the patience of our customers.”

The public has started to act, helping to fund the service indirectly through purchases of stamps and other USPS goods from the UPS gift shop. Hashtags like #SaveUPS and #DontDefundUPS have gone around Twitter.

The latest development surrounding the USPS is the controversy over mail-in voting, which Trump has sworn will rig the outcome of the election in November, even though evidence has proven this claim wrong. The new guidelines imposed by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy are opposed by the union as they slow down mail and have been criticized as a way for Trump to impair mail-in voting.

As a public service that cannot conserve funds by decreasing production, the agency is in a tough spot and faces an uncertain future.

Jaden Smith illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

Jaden Smith × Vote for the Earth

Future Coalition, the creators of Earth Day Live, one of the largest digital mobilizations in history held in April 2020 that garnered 5 million views worldwide – announced the “Vote For the Earth” livestream series. The series unites Black and Indigenous youth leadership and calls on young people to tackle systems of oppression by turning out the vote in November. In partnership with Earth Guardians, We Stand United, Hip Hop Caucus and the International Indigenous Youth Council, the event will air on Future Live, Twitch, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. 

Vote For the Earth will reach a broad audience and leverage the best civic engagement technology and frontline and digital tactics to register new voters. It will encourage voters to access absentee ballots and to Vote For the Earth to build a sustainable future for the next seven generations. 

The livestream series features stories of power, resilience and movement-building on the ground from frontline community members, along with musical performances and speakers such as Jaden Smith and Van Jones. Speakers will share messages on the intersectionality of social justice and climate justice, while also sharing the many resources available from the climate movement. 

Vote For the Earth aims to contribute to a 55 percent youth voter turnout in the November election, while also aiming to reach 2 million Black and Indigenous youth eligible to vote. The series will also facilitate partnership building with Black and Indigenous organizers to diversify the climate movement and allow for partnerships with universities and organizations to register voters.

“Protecting our communities from systemic racism and violence and the climate emergency go hand in hand,” said Thomas Lopez, Partnerships Coordinator of the Climate Strikes with Future Coalition. “The youth vote is critical to turning the tide in the November presidential election, and Vote For the Earth will help us accomplish that.”

The 2-hour livestream will start at:

5 p.m. PST / 8 p.m. EST on Wednesday, August 12

To tune in, sign up at https://votefortheearth.us/

Featuring musical and spoken-word performances from artists involved in climate activism and social justice movements, including:

  • Xiuhtezcatl Martinez
  • Leala Pourier
  • Portugal the Man  
  • Zakaria Kronemer
  • Jasilyn Charger
  • Tokata Iron Eyes
  • Cody Looking Horse
  • Anjelah Johnson
  • The Grand Alliance – Sur Ellz , Kayla Marque & Crl Crrll
  • Van Jones
  • Simone Johnson
  • Reverend Lennox Yearwood
  • Kaylah Brathwaite
  • Jaden Smith
  • UMI
  • Supaman
  • Ayoni
  • Antoine Edwards & Nattaanii Means

The second and third livestreams of the series will air on September 16 and October 14. For more information, visit https://votefortheearth.us/

About March On: March On is a political organization composed of women-led political activist groups that grew out of the women’s marches of January 21, 2017. They have come together as a united force to take concrete, coordinated actions at the federal, state and local levels to impact elections and take our country in a better direction. March On is not affiliated with Women’s March, Inc. For more information, visit wearemarchon.org

About Future Coalition: Founded by youth activists for youth activists, Future Coalition is a network and community for youth-led organizations and Gen Z and young millennial leaders from across the country that came into being as a project of March On in the fall of 2018. The Future Coalition works collaboratively to provide young people with the resources, tools, and support they need to create the change they want to see in their communities and in this country. For more information, visit futurecoalition.org

About Earth Guardians: Earth Guardians began in 1992 as an accredited high school in Maui, Hawaii, focusing on environmental awareness and social justice issues. Seeing the need to empower and amplify the voice of a wider audience,Since then, Earth Guardians has become a global movement providing a platform for hundreds of youth crews in over 60 countries to engage in some of the greatest issues we face as a global community. Earth Guardians continues to inspire and train diverse youth to be effective leaders within the climate justice and environmental movement worldwide. For more information, visit https://www.earthguardians.org/.

About International Indigenous Youth Council: The International Indigenous Youth Council (IIYC) is a social justice non-profit that serves Indigenous and POC youth in their journeys as young leaders. IIYC provides education-based resources and training in direct action, resistance art, spiritual practice and civic engagement. IIYC was started and led by womxn and two-spirit peoples during the Standing Rock Indigenous Uprising of 2016 while peacefully protecting the Cannonball and Missouri Rivers against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. In 2017 IIYC extended the reach of the organization through a chapter model which serves youth across Turtle Island in areas including Chicago, Denver, New Mexico, Southern California, South Dakota, Texas (Yanaguana Chapter), Twin Cities Minnesota and Washington DC. The IIYC is a completely youth-led organization serving young people up to the age of 30. For more information, visit https://indigenousyouth.org/.

About We Stand United: We Stand United is an organization of award-winning artists, activists, political strategists and communications experts working together to protect our democracy and to advance social, economic, and environmental justice across the United States. https://wsucampaign.org/.

About Hip Hop Caucus: We link culture and policy to make our movements bigger, more diverse, and more powerful. We exist for everyone who identifies with Hip Hop culture to come together for positive change. Being part of Hip Hop Caucus means you can use your cultural expression to shape your political experience. For more information, visit https://hiphopcaucus.org/.

Follow Jaden Smith: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube

Mina Tocalini, 360 Magazine, Mail-in Ballots

Rice University × VotingWorks

Rice University researchers are teaming with nonprofit VotingWorks to validate and improve open-source technology for voting by mail, work that will give local elections officials an important option if they’re flooded with applications from voters asking to cast mail ballots in November due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The project is funded by a National Science Foundation Rapid Research Response (RAPID) grant that will allow Rice’s team to collect thousands of hand-marked ballots through the mail to field test VotingWorks’ Vote-by-Mail. VotingWorks, the only nonprofit supplier of voting machines and systems, is developing its system as a turnkey offering that local elections officials can quickly adopt to carry out all aspects of voting by mail, including ballot preparation and mailing, collection, signature verification and tabulation.

Rice’s team includes Claudia Ziegler Acemyan, Michael Byrne, Philip Kortum, Robert Stein, Elizabeth Vann and Dan Wallach. The same group was awarded one of the first grants from Rice’s COVID-19 Research Fund in April to survey Harris County voters and poll workers about how likely they are to cast ballots or volunteer for work at polling locations during the pandemic. Harris County elections officials are using the group’s results as they design and evaluate changes to in-person voting for November.

“We want to kick the tires really hard on VotingWorks’ vote-by-mail system to make sure we find any problems well before November,” said Wallach, a professor of computer science, e-voting expert and co-principal investigator on the RAPID grant.

Wallach is on sabbatical from Rice and spending a year working with VotingWorks. Acemyan, Byrne and Kortum are faculty members in Rice’s Department of Psychological Sciences. Stein is Rice’s Lena Gohlman Fox Professor of Political Science, and Vann is the director of programs and partnerships at Rice’s Center for Civic Leadership.

Wallach said the federally funded research will help protect the safety of voters while ensuring a good turnout in November. And because VotingWorks uses off-the-shelf printers, scanners and other equipment, Wallach said it also has the potential to significantly reduce costs for conducting vote-by-mail elections, which could be important given the tight budgets of local elections administrators. 

“Many jurisdictions around the country don’t have the infrastructure they will need to respond to unprecedented demand for vote-by-mail,” said Ben Adida, executive director of VotingWorks and co-principal investigator on the grant. “Rice’s team has an incredible depth of expertise in areas ranging from voter attitudes and behaviors to voting security and voter interactions with technology, the human factors side of technology research. Rice’s help will be invaluable in making sure Vote-by-Mail is ready for the fall.”

Wallach said the project will enroll thousands of volunteers, and Rice undergraduates from the Center for Civic Leadership will play an instrumental role in administering and managing study volunteers. Volunteers will print their own test ballots, fill them out and mail them in. Returned ballots will be used to test VotingWorks ballot-reading hardware and software, and they’ll be useful in other ways as well.

“Having ballots that have been generated and handled by real voters, making their own unique marks, and then returned through the U.S. Postal Service will yield important data that can improve the design of the overall system,” Wallach said. 

The ballots will allow the team to probe a range of questions to evaluate the overall system and see how it compares to other voting technologies. Questions they hope to explore include: Did voters fill out the ballot according to the instructions? Were voters able to accurately vote the slate they were given? Did voters leave some options blank? Did voters accurately follow instructions to sign and return ballots within the specified time period? 

Wallach said the federal grant will allow the team to collect enough test ballots to identify potential problems that smaller scale tests might miss. 

“Scale is important because you need a large number of sample ballots to identify low-probability problems, like ballots getting damaged in the mail,” he said. “That probably won’t happen very often, but if millions of ballots are collected by mail, we want to do a large enough test to see how often it happens and how to best address it.”

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Covid and health illustration

PFCD × Antimicrobial Resistance

The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) today announced a new initiative to advance awareness on the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR, aka “superbugs”) and to drive action for policy changes to address the threat AMR poses to our health.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 2.8 million drug-resistant infections occur in the U.S. each year and more than 35,000 people die as a result. The COVID-19 crisis has increased public awareness on the importance of having the right treatments available to treat public health crises as they arise. The threat of AMR looms large as an existing and growing public health need.

In addition to educating and drawing attention to AMR as a pressing public health issue, the Partnership to Fight Infectious Disease (PFID) will:

* Advocate for policy changes to encourage research and development of new treatments and therapies for infectious diseases, * Motivate broad change in the way antimicrobial treatments (e.g. antibiotics, antifungals) are developed, distributed, and consumed, and * Reinforce awareness about the value of antimicrobial treatments, the impact to the practice of modern medicine, and the threat to individual health.

“The launch of PFID is an extension of PFCD’s work for over a decade to advance a vision for a healthier future. The significant impact of the current COVID-19 pandemic on the millions of Americans living with one or more chronic conditions is a long-overdue wake-up call that demands an answer,” stated PFCD Chairman Ken Thorpe. “PFCD stands committed to our goals of addressing the burden of chronic disease, motivating calls for change, and challenging policymakers to create sustainable progress for both chronic and infectious disease threats that exact a heavy human and economic toll in America.”

According to a recent national poll of 1,000 likely voters, there is considerable urgency around and support of policy changes on issues related to AMR.

“The level of concern voters have about antimicrobial resistance is intense and remarkably consistent across the country,” said Celinda Lake, President of Lake Research Partners. “They want this issue to be a high priority for policymakers.”

When presented with some background on AMR, 85 percent of respondents said they were very or somewhat concerned about the issue and 76 percent believe that the development of new antibiotics should be a top or high priority.

More than 50 percent of respondents strongly agree that the government, universities, and drug companies need to all work together to deal with antimicrobial resistance. The strongest predictor of concern for this issue is if a voter has been impacted by COVID-19.

Fifty-nine percent of those who have been seriously impacted by COVID-19 are much more likely to say they are very concerned about AMR, and are also more likely to feel the development of new antibiotics should be a top or high priority (87%) compared to those who haven’t been seriously impacted (64%).

Levels of concern were notably higher among people of color and older Americans, those most impacted by the current pandemic. Further, supporting a candidate who makes the development of new antibiotics a priority was a likelihood for many, and a strong majority believe investment in antibiotics is too low.

“Everyone needs antibiotics to work, whether you are living with chronic disease, are having a routine surgery or undergoing cancer treatment or dialysis. Antibiotics are the safety net of modern medicine, and every procedure becomes more dangerous if we lose them,” said Kevin Outterson, Executive Director of CARB-X, a global non-profit partnership that funds the early development of new antibiotics, vaccines, and rapid diagnostics urgently need to treat superbugs. “There are solutions. We need to invest in new antibiotics to address drug-resistant pathogens.”

While the causes for the existing shortfall are many, the PFID initiative will prioritize prevention and translate knowledge into action by stakeholders across the health care continuum – patients, providers, employers, policymakers, payers, pharmaceutical companies, and many others. In doing so, the end goal is to cultivate collaboration among both public and private stakeholders to expand education and awareness of the issues and related impact areas, and to encourage and support innovation and development of quality treatments and therapies that can address the health threats of today and protect patients at large into the future.

“Without effective antibiotics many of the advances of modern medicine are in jeopardy. We must curtail the overuse and misuse of antibiotics that is driving the development of resistance and invest in new antibiotics that can treat superbugs. IDSA welcomes the PFID partnership to help drive the policy changes we need,” stated Amanda Jezek, Senior Vice President, Public Policy and Government Relations, Infectious Diseases Society of America.

For more information about the PFID and efforts to address AMR throughout the U.S. and across the globe, click HERE.

The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) is an international coalition of hundreds of patient, provider, community, business, and labor groups, and health policy experts, committed to raising awareness of the number one cause of death, disability and rising health care costs: chronic disease.

Nurses Congratulate L.A. Teachers

Registered nurses with the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU) applaud news that—as the result of a historic strike—30,000 educators represented by United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) have reached an agreement, ratified in voting last night, with the L.A. Unified School District (LAUSD).

“This is a huge victory for the children, families and hardworking teachers of Los Angeles. The courageous teachers and community supporters have proven that when working people stand together, they can move mountains,” said CNA/NNU Executive Director Bonnie Castillo, citing the L.A. strike as the latest example, along with a wave of historic teachers strikes in 2018, of workers rising up in collective opposition to corporate attacks and the defunding and corporate privatization of our public institutions— in this case, our public education system.

“No one has taken advocacy to the streets of America in the past year the way the teachers have done, from West Virginia to Los Angeles. We are so proud of what our UTLA sisters and brothershave accomplished through their solidarity, and their unwavering demand for justice, in the face of corporate greed,” said Castillo.

Nurses say they especially congratulate teachers on winning a reduction in class sizes.

“Teachers cannot do their job when they are overloaded with students. Nurses had to fight hard in California to win our own safe staffing protections—and are still fighting at the national level, so we are very pleased to see this particular win,” said Castillo. “Students deserve to learn in conditions where teachers are able to give them the attention, time, energy and resources to help them flourish.”

RNs also cheer news that the agreement includes the hiring of nurses, to provide a full-time nurse at every school, five days a week.

“Nurses know that when kids are not healthy, they’re not able to learn,” said Castillo. “Students today show up at school with a wide variety of complex and serious health conditions—especially since many of them may not have adequate health care outside of school. It is imperative that a nurse be on site to care for them.”

CNA/NNU registered nurses have voiced support for the teachers throughout the strike, which began January 14. RNs say they shared educators’ concern that with a pro-charter school majority on the LAUSD board, and pro-charter businessman Austin Beutner acting as superintendent, equal opportunity to education was impossible.

“The effort of billionaires to erode the public education system and push public resources to charter schools is a blatant attack on our democracy. Los Angeles teachers said, ‘Enough is enough!’—and took a huge stand for public schools, which serve high numbers of children of color and low-income children. What they have accomplished is a victory for equality in society,and for quality education for all,” said Castillo.

“Social determinants, such as the educational opportunities or level of schooling a person receives, greatly influence the health of our patients. So nurses thank the teachers for their righteous fight, which is a win for a healthier society. We want the teachers to know the nurses will continue standing with them to protect education as a public good—today, tomorrow and always.”

12th Annual VIZIO Top Value Performer Award

Today, VIZIO announced the finalists for the 12th Annual VIZIO Top Value Performer Trophy, an award given to the NFL player who’s on-field performance most-exceeds the value of their contract. This year’s program features 5 strong candidates who have all had incredible performances on the field this year. From an undrafted rookie running back who lives in his parents’ basement to a young defensive stalwart helping turnaround the defensive of one of the league’s most popular teams, each of these players provided a tremendous amount of value and not only contributed to their teams’ success in 2018, but showed that the future is bright for each of them and teams they play for.

Here is the full lists of nominees for this year’s award:

  • Tyler Boyd, Bengals
  • Chris Carson, Seahawks
  • Kenny Golladay, Lions
  • Phillip Lindsay, Broncos
  • Blake Martinez, Packers

The Top Value Performer is completely decided by fan votes, allowing fans to really rally behind their favorite candidate and vote as often as they’d like at VIZIO.com/TVP.  Voting is open now, until Sunday, Jan 20 at 11:59 PM PT.

Previous Winners:

2017 – Alvin Kamara

2016 – Spencer Ware

2015 – Allen Robinson

2014 – Kenny Stills

2013 – Russell Wilson

2012 – Russell Wilson

2011 – Victor Cruz

2010 – Stevie Johnson

2009 – Steve Smith

2008 – Matt Cassel

2007 – David Garrard

MORE ABOUT THE 2018 FINALISTS

Tyler Boyd, Wide Receiver, Cincinnati #83

Now in his third season, Tyler Boyd has emerged as one of the focal points of this year’s passing attack in Cincinnati. After missing games last year due to injury, Boyd has bounced back in 2018 and is showcasing why he is one of the league’s top young wideouts. This season, Boyd was the most targeted receiver in Cincinnati and produced a career-high in receptions, yards and touchdowns. A second-round pick in the 2016 Draft and with a salary of $787,179, Boyd is a TVP candidate to keep on your radar. 

Chris Carson, Running Back, Seattle #32

In his second season, Chris Carson has quickly developed into a star for Seattle. After playing in just four games as a rookie, Carson burst on to the scene this year and established himself among the league’s top running backs. With multiple games this season over 100 rushing yards, Carson has been an integral part of Seattle’s offense and ranks among league leaders in total rushing yards. As a seventh-round draft pick in 2017 with a base salary of $550,000, Carson is very strong candidate for this year’s TVP award.

Kenny Golladay, Wide Receiver, Detroit #19

In just his second season, Kenny Golladay has proven that he is one of the most dangerous wide receivers in the league. A major part of Detroit’s passing attack, Golladay posted impressive numbers and set career-highs in nearly every receiving category. With multiple games of at least 100 receiving yards, the gifted receiver is on track to record his first career 1,000-yard season. A third-round pick in the 2017 draft and with a base salary of $586,000, Golladay is a candidate to keep an eye on for this year’s TVP award.

Phillip Lindsay, Running Back, Denver #30

Born and raised in Denver, Phillip Lindsay is not just an amazing story playing for his hometown team, but one of the league’s most dangerous running backs in 2018. With incredible speed and quickness, Lindsay continues to lead Denver’s rushing attack as he is on pace to eclipse 1,000 rushing yards in just his first season. An undrafted rookie, Lindsay is also a major threat in Denver’s passing attack. With a base salary of just $480,000, Lindsay is a definitely a TVP candidate worth consideration.

Blake Martinez, Linebacker, Green Bay #50

In his third season, Blake Martinez is already making his case as one of the best linebackers in the league. With a knack for being around the ball and making plays, Martinez continues to lead the much-improved Green Bay defense. With multiple games of having 10 or more tackles, Martinez has easily eclipsed 100 total tackles this year and is on pace to finish among the league leaders in that category. With a base salary of just $630,000, the 2016 fourth-round pick is a worthy candidate to capture this year’s TVP award.