Joe Kennedy III … An act of malice

Organizing for Action
Friend —


It is about how we care for the least among us — not how we treat the powerful.

It calls on us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and comfort the sick.

It is kindness. It is grace.

There is no mercy in a system that makes health care a luxury. There is no mercy in a country that turns its back on those that are most in need of protection: the elderly, the poor, the sick, and the suffering.

There is no mercy in a cold shoulder to the mentally ill.

There is no mercy in a policy that takes for granted the sweat, the tears, and the sacrifice that working Americans shed every day so that they might care for their families’ basic needs: food, shelter, health, and hope for tomorrow.

So when Speaker Ryan called his repeal bill “an act of mercy” last week, I knew I had to speak out.

It is an act of malice.

We, as Americans, are better than this. Every working family deserves better than this. And when millions of people have their access to health care put on the chopping block, we have to stand up to this.

Join OFA and show congressional leaders they must stop this catastrophic and merciless path toward destroying the very lifeline so many Americans depend upon.

Get involved in the fight now.

Thank you.

Congressman Joe Kennedy III

Tai’s story could be my story

Brave New Films

I have a confession, when I was younger, I was with my best friend when she got caught stealing bathing suits from a department store.

We were lucky, the outcome of this event could have been drastically different. My friend got a slap on the wrist, I was not charged as an accomplice, and we both continued a normal life without a criminal recordBut we all know this is not the case for so many other Americans caught up in the criminal justice system.

On July 16, 2016, Tai Sherman, a 20-year-old from Oakland California, found herself in a similar situation to me when she didn’t know her friend was shoplifting. The difference is that Tai and her friends were charged, and Tai was slapped with $100,000 bail. A year later Tai is still picking up the pieces of her life, collateral damage of an unfair and rigged system.

We are telling Tai’s story, and we need your help. Will you donate $10 so we can continue to tell this story? With every donation, big or small you will get a free link to the film we made about Tai when it is officially released next week.

Tai’s story is featured in a short film series, The Bail Trap, which was produced as part of a major campaign to end the unjust and ineffective system of money bail. Her story is a classic case in point of what is wrong with money bail and illustrates the racial and economic bias so rampant in our criminal justice system. With your support, we’ve already organized over 100 screenings of this film. Right now, we need resources to continue telling this story.

Please consider donating $10 right now. With every donation, big or small you will get a free link to the film we made about Tai when it is officially released next week.

Thank you for your support.

Kimber Kissel, Development Associate

P.S. Help us get to 150 Screenings of The Bail Trap. Click here to screen the film.

on this day … 7/21 1957 – Althea Gibson became the first black woman to win a major U.S. tennis title when she won the Women’s National clay-court singles competition. 

1733 – John Winthrop was granted the first honorary Doctor of Law Degree given by Harvard College in Cambridge, MA.

1831 – Belgium became independent as Leopold I was proclaimed King of the Belgians.

1861 – The first major battle of the U.S. Civil War began. It was the Battle of Bull Run at Manassas Junction, VA. The Confederates won the battle.

1925 – The “Monkey Trial” ended in Dayton, TN. John T. Scopes was convicted and fined $100 for violating the state prohibition on teaching Darwin’s theory of evolution. The conviction was later overturned on a legal technicality because the judge had set the fine instead of the jury.

1930 – The Veterans Administration of the United States was established. 

1931 – CBS aired the first regularly scheduled program to be simulcast on radio and television. The show featured singer Kate Smith, composer George Gershwin and New York City Mayor Jimmy Walker.

1931 – The Reno Race Track inaugurated the daily double in the U.S.

1940 – Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia were annexed by the Soviet Union.

1944 – American forces landed on Guam during World War II.

1947 – Loren MacIver’s portrait of Emmett Kelly as Willie the Clown appeared on the cover of “LIFE” magazine.

1949 – The U.S. Senate ratified the North Atlantic Treaty.

1954 – The Geneva Conference partitioned Vietnam into North Vietnam and South Vietnam.

1957 – Althea Gibson became the first black woman to win a major U.S. tennis title when she won the Women’s National clay-court singles competition. 

1958 – The last of “Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts” programs aired on CBS-TV.

1959 – A U.S. District Court judge in New York City ruled that “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” was not a dirty book.

1961 – Captain Virgil “Gus” Grissom became the second American to rocket into a sub-orbital pattern around the Earth. He was flying on the Liberty Bell 7.

1968 – Arnold Palmer became the first golfer to make a million dollars in career earnings after he tied for second place at the PGA Championship.

1980 – Draft registration began in the United States for 19 and 20-year-old men.

1997 – The U.S.S. Constitution, which defended the United States during the War of 1812, set sail under its own power for the first time in 116 years.

1998 – Chinese gymnast Sang Lan, 17, was paralyzed after a fall while practicing for the women’s vault competition at the Goodwill Games in New York. Spinal surgery 4 days later failed to restore sensation below her upper chest.

2000 – NBC announced that they had found nearly all of Milton Berle’s kinescopes. The filmed recordings of Berle’s early TV shows had been the subject of a $30 million lawsuit filed by Berle the previous May.

2002 – WorldCom Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. At the time it was the largest bankruptcy in U.S.history.

2004 – White House officials were briefed on the September 11 commission’s final report. The 575-page report concluded that hijackers exploited “deep institutional failings within our government.” The report was released to the public the next day. 

2007 – The seventh and last book of the Harry Potter series, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” was released.

2011 – Space Shuttle Atlantis landed at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It was the last flight of NASA’s space shuttle program.

OZLEM … Turkey just arrested Avaaz staffer ~ Set her free !

Turkey just arrested Özlem, an Avaaz staffer! She’s just one person caught up in a crackdown on civil society, but to us she’s so much more. If we make Özlem famous with a massive petition and media campaign, she’ll be more trouble than she’s worth for a government in political crisis. Add your name to the urgent petition and let’s set her free:


Turkey just arrested Avaaz staff member Özlem! Let’s set her free.

Özlem’s being held without charges after attending a meeting of human rights defenders.

To the Turkish government, she’s just one person caught up in a crackdown on civil society.

But if we build a massive international petition and use the media to make Özlem famous, she’ll be more trouble than she’s worth for a government in political crisis.

Our petition will be delivered to the EU foreign minister next week ahead of a crucial meeting with Turkey — so add your name urgently and let’s set Özlem free:
Turkey’s President Erdogan is arresting and firing thousands of people who don’t agree with his government. Now Özlem’s been caught up in the net, together with 9 other human rights defenders, but she isn’t a valuable target. As Turkey heads into critical meetings with the EU over a trade deal next week, the last thing Erdogan needs is an international headache over someone he’s probably never heard of.

But to us, she means so much. She works at Avaaz because she shares so many of our values. For years she’s worked so hard for a world where people can organise for peace, justice, and human rights without being sent to jail. She’s brought hundreds of our campaigns alive for Turkish Avaazers.

Now she’s being held under threat of ridiculous armed terrorism charges! The closest Özlem has been to any arms is the tear gas and the batons used AGAINST her in the countless times that she’s fought for justice.

It’s time we stand up for Özlem, and the others arrested with her, by shining our giant spotlight on her imprisonment. When a million sign, we’ll deliver our call directly to the EU foreign minister ahead of next week’s meeting to up the pressure — let’s set Özlem free:

Click to free Özlem!

Our community has stood alongside human rights defenders in places from Saudi Arabia to Morocco, from Canada to Indonesia. It’s at the very heart of what our movement’s about. But now, one of our own is in trouble — and depending on us to help. Let’s come together as never before for Özlem and her friends.

With hope,

Danny, Alex, Marigona, Luca, Emma and the rest of the Avaaz team

More information:

Turkey detains 10 at human rights meeting, U.S., EU concerned (Reuters)

Turkey crackdown: Rights groups outraged by latest arrests (BBC)

Turkey must free jailed human rights defenders (Amnesty International)

Rights defenders ‘must not be silenced,’ says UN office, urging Turkey to release activists (UN)

What we learned after meeting with Betsy DeVos

Her team has a LOT of work to do.


One week ago, we met with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Candice Jackson, along with survivors of sexual assault and other advocates, about the violence that too often goes unaddressed by schools. In that meeting, we urged DeVos to embark on a nationwide tour to meet with survivors and listen deeply to their experiences. We also urged them both to loudly reject myths about sexual assault.

Both of these urgent requests were made all the more critical after The New York Times published Jackson’s now-infamous comments disregarding the seriousness and prevalence of campus rape. She later apologized for being “flippant” about such a serious subject, but her comments reveal deep and troubling misunderstandings about campus sexual assault. Indeed, The Washington Post and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) have since called for Jackson’s resignation, citing her comments as further evidence that she lacks critical knowledge necessary to carry out one of her key job responsibilities: to hold schools accountable for protecting survivors’ civil rights.

These comments also left us worried about whether these stereotypes will drive actual policy decisions. And the choices in whom they’ve met with have not provided great comfort — they even welcomed anti-victim extremist groups into the department.

It’s abundantly clear that DeVos and her team have a lot of listening and learning to do in order to meet their moral and legal obligations to protect survivors by enforcing Title IX, the federal law the bans sex discrimination in federally funded schools.

Tell Betsy DeVos: Listen to more student survivors, and commit to preserving the Title IX guidance they need in order to stay in school.

Take Action

We all have a responsibility to address (and eventually, eliminate) sexual violence by supporting survivors and holding perpetrators accountable, and the U.S. Department of Education has an especially critical role in that process. But a department led by people who seem to believe most survivors are lying is ill-equipped to carry out such an important task.

At a minimum, DeVos and her team need to spend more time listening to survivors, to make up for the time they have spent absorbing rape myths spread by the anti-survivor organizations they’ve consulted. They should go on a listening tour, hearing from survivors of all school levels and types, from various towns, cities, and states, of diverse backgrounds. Meeting with survivors isn’t all they need to do, of course, but it’s an important first step toward developing a real understanding of their role in ensuring that student survivors get what they need in order to stay and succeed in school, and in ensuring that schools are safe places for all.

Tell Betsy DeVos to listen to more survivors and commit to enforcing Title IX.

Thanks for standing up for survivors,
Fatima Goss Graves
President and CEO
National Women’s Law Center

P.S. We and 57 other organizations have sent a joint letter calling on Assistant Secretary Candice Jackson to reject rape myths and meet with more survivors as well. You can read that letter here.

We the Resistance is our fight to protect our rights and freedoms and to defend the most vulnerable among us through powerful collective action. Every conversation you have with a loved one about the issues important to you, every call you make to Congress, every rally you attend is a part of that resistance. Join us — sign on to the We The Resistance manifesto.