How you can join in and Oppose First Step Act! JLUSA, NCC and CCF opposition letter and other things to do! Tell All!

Hi All,

A few of you have asked what can you do if you oppose this bill?
Here are some ideas – and please feel free to share with others! 
“If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair” – Shirley Chisholm
As per Sen. Grassley’s (R-IA) list of supporters -this is a list of Senators both Republican and Democrat who have publicly said they will vote yes for this bill there are 36:  18 Republicans; 17 Democrats; 1 Independent
That leaves 64 Senators who are either undecided or not willing to publicly tell the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senate Whips those who count votes, the media or YOU their constituents that they are voting YES for this bill if so their names would be on this list.
Every Senator in the Senate should hear from YOU! Even the ones who are on this list as voting Yes because they have not cast that vote yet!
It is you right to voice your opinion to your Senators at anytime.
***Remember – this is NOT the last time to do Criminal Justice Reform!
That is what Congress is here to do – legislate and the new Congress with all of that amazing potential that everyone is so excited about is set to take this on – WHY?  Because we will demand that they do so!
See the list of  supporters for this bill: 
Here is an opportunity for Organizations to sign onto a letter of opposition – the due date is early Monday.
Please feel free to send this to any state, local or national organization you know would like to sign on.
There is a link to the letter below.
To sign on as an Organization please go to the link to for organizational signatory.
From the letter: 
The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC), JustLeadershipUSA (JLUSA), College & Community Fellowship (CCF)
As formerly incarcerated persons, civil rights, immigrant and human rights advocates, and communities of faith intricately and intimately connected to the community that is both inside and outside of the prison system, we urge you to step back and consider a true reformation bill.
From JLUSA:
Following up on our recent discussions about First Step and the inclusion of even more carve outs in the bill I wanted to share the opposition letter we are circulating. Please feel free to share and if any orgs are interested in signing the letter please have them email me. Here is the link to the organizational signatory form which also includes a link to our letter. 
#Powertothepeople #AllPowertothepeople – here is what you can do as an individual!
You have a voice as well! You can contact both of your Senators (Sorry my fellow DC residents but one day WE WILL BE A STATE! If you are a transplant to DC like me contact your home-state Senators)
You can find your Senators contact information here: https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact
            *There will be a link to there websites that will give you their contact information – DC and home offices; as well as their phone numbers and social media handles!
In this day and age contacting your Senators is done in multiple ways please do them all:
        *Call their offices – DC and State offices
        *Use social media Tweet, IG,  all others
         *If you live near your Senators home office (address is on your Senators website) stop by and tell that staff – the offices are probably closed on the weekend but they will be there Monday morning – and if possible take the neighborhood with you!
          *If your Senator is having an event in your area this weekend -stop by at that Holiday Toy and Community outreach they are doing this weekend and talk with them and their staff
Media: Please reach out to your media outlets
If you live in an area that still has a local newspaper or even if you live in a city like that has a large paper – call the editors desk and tell them of your opposition. These papers are also on social media so send them a message there.
Radio stations and programs – reach out to your favorite radio station, news show and news personalities – CNN,MSNBC and all the others -and tell them of your opposition so they can talk it about it on their shows!
  *Call-in
  *Tweet, IG all other social media outreach
They thought they had victory in July of 2017!
If you think that this is over and not worth trying to stop please remember what happen on July 28, 2017!
The late Sen. John McCain voted NO on the Health Care Bill set to dismantle the ACA!
Watch: The Moment John McCain voted no on the Health Care Bill – from Los Angeles Times

Sen. John McCain’s thumbs-down recalled as a ‘watershed moment’ in U.S. health care

This is what democracy looks like!
Dara
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DNC stop being Opportunist – move over and let there be change!

In the past two weeks since the historic 2018 midterm elections there have been several groups and people taking the accolades for getting the vote out and putting the Democrats into a position of leadership in the House of Representatives. What has not been discussed yet again is the powerful magnitude of the people who voted for the change! As usual “the old White guard” is taking claim and pushing aside the feelings of the people. The freshmen class of the 116thCongress is made up of more women of color than any other class in history yet those voices are being suppressed before they even get into office.

Why is it that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) continuously ignores the people who actually keep this party going? Why is it that “the old White guard” remains at the helm and with power? Why is it that these same people are hell bent on what tradition says and that they are entitled to power? “Progressive Left” Democrats continue to spout that they want to create a better country for their constituents yet they will not step aside and let those people lead. The people have spoken as they did in November 2016. When will this party learn that it is time for change? When will they admit that the supreme White movement is also alive and well within the DNC?

In early 2014 there were “fake rumors” going around that Hillary Rodham Clinton (HRC) was considering running for President in the 2016 elections. This was a lie she was most definitely going to run. It was said by many White voters, specifically White women voters, that this is amazing. Why because “It is Hillary’s turn to be President.”

I thought what the hell? Do these people see what is going on in this country? What does this mean? I wrote a blog about it back then titled: “HRC …..this is not a Monarchy” https://thewiyatt.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/hrc-fansthis-is-not-a-monarchy/

The DNC was hell bent on making HRC not only the front-runner but the only candidate on the bench to go for the highest office in the land. When people discuss the DNC the number one thing asked is: “Do they have a strategy?”

The answer is a defiant and all to sad – “NO!” Well not a strategy to end White supremacy, patriarchy, misogyny, racism, all discrimination or creating any form of abolitionism for our horrific justice and prison system. They have only one thing in mind – keeping “the old White guard” in power while acting like they are completely different from the Republic National Committee (RNC)! Well they are not!

Where is the strategy in having no competition in candidates? Having no people who are on the bench preparing for the big election run in the future? Why is it that the many people of color in the DNC were and are constantly told “to wait your turn” for positions of leadership?

Fast -forward to 2017 and the DNC remains in a fog and a puppet to the Clinton machine. This country showed that HRC could not get into the Oval Office. People of color were yet again the ones who came out for the DNC and proved their loyalty. What does the DNC do?

It turns it back on the lead person of color to run for the DNC Chairmanship, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN). He is not only a Black man but the first Muslim to be voted into the House of Representatives. He used his Quran to take his oath of office. He is/was a well respected legislature and a leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. He proved himself many times over the years.

Yet because the Clintons were upset about his nomination, as he was Bernie’s choice for Chairman, they put forth Tom Perez to be the next leader of the DNC. My dad taught me that those who have experienced the same things are the best to assist in certain situations. Tom Perez has never run for a national public office in his career, yet this was the person the DNC wanted to be its leader. The DNC Chairman’s number one job is of course to fund raise. The second important task is to recruit people to run for office as Democrats.

Here’s a scenario, one that explains what my dad said about leadership. In the NBA during the national championship games Charles Barkley, retired NBA player reports from the booth. He is not on the floor asking current players questions about the game. Why? Because he has never played in the NBA Finals or won a championship and can’t relate to what is happening during this time of the season. Retired players like four time NBA Champion, Shaquille O’Neal are sent to the floor to have discussions with current players. He can say things like “I remember when we were in game 3 and down by 20 points how that felt!” Then ask his question. Barkley can not do this and therefore stays in the booth.

While Tom Perez is out recruiting people to run for office, those people new to this game will ask questions like: “How did you discuss this decision with your spouse?” “How did you raise money?” or “How did you protect your children?” As Tom has never done this before, he has no real answers and has to pass the baton to Rep. Keith Ellison. A man who can answer these questions and from the experience of being a Black Muslim male from the Midwest who has won his elections multiple times as he has been in office since 2006.

The DNC nixed the idea of a Black man who won his elections in the middle of the country for more than two terms to become a member of the House, to be the Chairman of the DNC. What experience does Tom Perez have that made him a better candidate? None. What he had was the pushing and forcefulness of “the old White guard” who did not want to see change!

This is a pattern with the DNC. One they do not like to admit nor do they want to enter into therapeutic (Truth and Reconciliation) conversations with those who do not feel but are in fact disenfranchised and most definitely disrespected by this party. Instead they ignore and patronize the millions of Black, Latinx, Native American and so many other marginalized groups who have put them in this new position of leadership for the 116th.

Why is it not even a thought or conversation that someone other than Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) who has been in office since 1987 (that’s 31 years) could be the Speaker of the House? Why is it described as a “non-starter” when a strong, educated, phenomenal Black Woman such as Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) in office since 2008 is put forth to be the Speaker of the House?

I have seen this in my work as well. In the disability community Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) a long time disability rights champion retired from Congress in 2014. His departure left a space that needed to be filled. Each community needs champions on the Hill (in Congress) and many need more than one. In the disability rights community “the leaders” who are mostly made up of “White stale, pale, straight, wealthy, males”, who also happen to be members of the DNC “old White guard”, made the decision of who they wanted to be the next “champion” for the work. It was all done very “hush-hush like” even holding a dinner one night with invitations going only to those thought to be important enough to be in the room.

Out of that gathering which was more like a coronation something like a scene from The Godfather or Good Fellas where all kissed the ring in complete agreement that this person should be the next disability rights leader in Congress. The person chosen of course is a “White, stale, pale, straight, wealthy, able-bodied male” with little to no experience in the disability community or with its issues. In fact he has on many occasions been on the wrong side of our causes. One such legislative fight is that for the ABLE Act and the ABLE Age Act preceding this as he did not push the legislation forward, he was a hindrance to its passing in the 114thCongress.  See here letter signed by 82 organizations disappointed by this: http://www.c-c-d.org/fichiers/ABLE-CCD-FS-TF-Senate-Final.pdf

The disability community is expected to gyrate every time this chosen leader makes a statement, creates legislation (usually bad) or shows up for an event. It is a fact that an Asian American, Vet, mother, with a visible physical disability who had been in the House and was heading to the Senate, was not even considered for this position of leadership. This is proof of the patriarchal misogynistic, racist “old White guard” that continues to have it’s hand on suppressing change within the disability rights community.

Why was this done? Why is this done in the DNC? Why in 2018 are we the people who are multi-marginalized and disenfranchised still trying to prove our worth to a party and group of “old White guard” who just don’t care? It is because they continue to try to create “smoke screens” for themselves so that they don’t have to face reality. Make no mistake we the voters are reality and see perfectly clearly. We are as many say “WOKE” and heaven help those who have awaken a hibernating bear.

Do you know the definition of Opportunist? Do you know the definition of activist? Do you know the definition of change-maker? What exactly is the DNC trying to do? What exactly is the “old White guard” trying to accomplish?

The DNC has proven time and time again that it is more consumed and concerned with tradition and coveting its own privilege and power. It is in no way serious about collective liberation. We are facing a despot in the White House. Lives are on the line. It is not a time to be an opportunist.

There are so many doing this work who define themselves as activists ready, willing and hopeful for change.  Get ready “old White guard” and all who are not willing to see this reality. For the times they are a changing and the change-makers are not backing down and most definitely WE are not going away.

Thanks for reading, please leave comments and subscribe today!

Definitions:

Opportunist: a person who exploits circumstances to gain immediate advantage rather than being guided by consistent principles or plans.

Activist: a person who campaigns to bring about political or social change.

Change-maker: One who desires change in the world

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