Your Guide to Meaningful Action
In a 2012 survey by the Center for Urban Economic Development, 23 percent of domestic workers and 67 percent of live-in domestic workers interviewed earned less than minimum wage. On top of the paltry pay, though the workers reported regular abuse and violations, a full 91 percent admitted that they didn’t complain about poor working conditions for fear of losing their job. In recognition of this grim state of affairs for many low-wage workers, Hawaii recently followed New York’s lead and became the second state to pass a Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, a historic law guaranteeing core rights previously denied to workers in some of the fastest growing, and most poorly-paid, occupations in the country.
Both the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the Domestic Workers United are campaigning for legislation protecting domestic workers in each state nationwide. Implore your state representatives to fight for a Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights in your state. (If you live in New York City or Hawaii, tell your reps that you appreciate living in a state that takes care of its own.)
The Invisible and Unregulated World of Domestic Work, the first national survey of domestic workers in the US, breaks ground by providing an empirically based and representative picture of domestic employment in 21st century America.
This video, featuring domestic workers discussing their work and lives, makes clear why the human stakes are so high in this fight.
Every day in the United States, young people under the age of eighteen are held in solitary confinement, a form of punishment in which inmates are placed alone in a cell for 22 to 24 hours a day with little or no human contact. The practice of solitary confinement is associated with high rates of severe mental illness and suicide and the effects are compounded in young people, who are still developing emotionally, physically and psychologically. While the growing use of the practice in our prisons is cruel and unjust for all inmates, the need to end its use among youth is particularly urgent.
Add your name to The Nation's open letter in support of a call by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture and the ACLU imploring Attorney General Eric Holder to ban the practice of holding young people in federal custody in solitary confinement.
This ACLU report is based on interviews and correspondence with more than 125 young people in 19 states who spent time in solitary confinement while under age 18 as well as with jail and/or prison officials in 10 states.
Young people are held in solitary confinement in jails and prisons across the US, often for weeks or months at a time. The isolation of solitary confinement causes anguish, provokes serious mental and physical health problems, and works against rehabilitation for teenagers.
On May 1, the Obama administration’s Justice Department appealed a court ruling directing the Food and Drug Administration to listen to the recommendations of its own scientists and make emergency contraception—otherwise known as Plan B or the morning after pill—available over-the-counter for all women and girls with no age restrictions. The science on emergency contraception is clear. It is safer than many painkillers and cough medicine already sold over the counter and there is ample evidence that young women are capable of taking it safely. While President Obama has spoken eloquently about the right to reproductive healthcare, his administration refuses to lift this clearly political impediment on the health and bodily autonomy of women and girls.
Sign our open letter to President Obama and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius imploring them to abide by the federal court ruling and to make emergency contraception available over the counter to women and girls of all ages with no restrictions.
In this post, Jessica Valenti cautions against letting our discomfort with teen sex trump young people’s right to reproductive health.
The politics of expanding access to ec are complicated by the many misconceptions people have about the drug. This video breaks it down.
More than three months into President Obama’s second term in office, 166 men are still imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay, the majority of them held for more than eleven years without any charge or fair trial. While President Obama has rightly argued that Congress is standing in the way of his fulfilling his promise to close the prison, human rights groups have pointed out the many meaningful actions he can take.
The Center for Constitutional Rights is calling on the President to end his “self-imposed moratorium” on releasing Yemeni detainees, to resume prisoner transfers and to appoint a senior official to “shepherd the process of closure.” Sign The Nation’s open letter and implore President Obama to take these steps and to fulfill his promise to close Guantánamo Bay. To amplify your voice, call the White House at 202-456-1111.
In the new issue of The Nation, editors explain why 100 Guantánamo prisoners are so desperate that they’re risking death by refusing food.
In this Democracy Now! interview Pardiss Kebriaei, senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, explains what President Obama can unilaterally do to redress human rights abuses at Guantánamo.
We applauded Congress’s recent defense of Saturday delivery at the United States Postal Service and the USPS’s subsequent decision not to cancel it. However, the story didn’t end there. As John Nichols reported, the USPS still suffers from attempts to weaken the public institution and privatize its services. To preserve and modernize the USPS well into the twenty-first century, Senator Bernie Sanders and Congressman Peter DeFazio have introduced the Postal Service Protection Act, a package of reforms designed to give this critical institution a fighting chance.
The fight to protect the USPS is critical to stemming the tide of austerity and protecting our public institutions. Contact your representative and implore them to support the Postal Service Protection Act.
In a recent post, John Nichols explained how nowhere has the austerity threat been more evident than in the attempt by Postal Service managers—and their allies in Congress—to eliminate Saturday delivery.
This episode of Democracy Now! explored critics’ claims that a manufactured crisis is being used to push a privatization scheme on the USPS.
Each day that Congress delays passing comprehensive immigration reform, an estimated 1,100 undocumented immigrants are deported, leaving spouses, siblings and even children behind. These families are torn apart despite the fact that, if the “Gang of Eight” immigration reform bill or similar legislation passes, many of them could be eligible for legal status and a path to citizenship. Although President Obama has been a vocal advocate of immigration reform, his administration has deported a record 1.5 million people.
While Congress debates, President Obama could make a real difference in the lives of the 11 million undocumented immigrants who have made their home in the United States. Sign our open letter developed in partnership with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network and join the many immigrant rights groups, unions and politicians calling on the President to place a moratorium on the deportation of prospective citizens.
The NDLON’s anti-deportation toolkit offers useful background and context for understanding why current deportations are so inhumane and provides people in deportation proceedings, community advocates and organizers with tools, resources, and templates to organize public campaigns to stop individual deportations.
This video was produced by the National Day Laborer Organizing Network as part of the the #Not1More series which works to halt deportations.
In April of 2012, four leading scientists briefed Congress on the environmental and health impacts of mountain top removal (MTR) mining in Appalachia. Their findings were damning: mountain top removal, the practice of clearing mountain tops of trees and topsoil and then blasting them with explosives to reveal the coal seams underneath, is polluting the Appalachian watershed, decreasing organism diversity, increasing flooding and contaminating ground water. Meanwhile, people living in the affected areas are experiencing high rates of cancer, heart and respiratory disease, along with rising birth defect and mortality rates.
Members of the Appalachian Community Health Emergency Campaign, along with numerous Democratic representatives, are pushing for the Appalachian Community Health Emergency Act (ACHE Act, H.R. 526), which would allocate funds to research the affects of mountain top removal and to protect Appalachian families. Contact your elected reps today and urge them to pass this vital legislation.
Laura Flanders makes clear why the stakes are so high in this call to support the ACHE Act.
This video details the growing health crisis in Appalachian communities where coal is removed by blasting mountains down to piles of rubble with the use of toxic explosives directly above peoples homes.
As the Senate approaches a vote on gun control legislation, amendments and changes in language threaten to hinder any attempts at meaningful reform. Right now, Senator Tom Coburn is advancing a change to the rules regarding background checks that would undermine much of the bill's intent.
The Senate is expected to start debate on the bill as early as April 17. Write your Senators now and implore them to ensure any legislation includes meaningful background checks. Then, use the Congressional switchboard at 202-224-3121 to amplify your message.
In a new post, George Zornick reports: "Senator Tom Coburn is pushing a ‘compromise’ that renders background checks virtually meaningless: transferees could use an online portal to self-check themselves, print out the approval, and bring it to a firearms dealer. It would also forbid any records of these checks."
This episode of Democracy Now! explores one of the most extreme local legislative efforts to address gun violence: Nelson, Georgia's so-called Family Protection Ordinance, which, far from requiring background checks, mandates a gun in every home in order to "provide for the emergency management of the city" and "protect the safety, security and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants."
It's still entirely unclear if the Keystone XL pipeline can be built and managed safely. Moreover, its construction would delay the critical conversion to a non-fossil fuel based economy on which our future depends. Secretary of State John Kerry, who once spoke out bravely against the Vietnam War and who has stressed the dangers of climate change, could stop it. Sometime in the next couple of months, the State Department will issue a final environmental impact statement on the pipeline, followed by a determination on whether it is “in the national interest."
Join Bill McKibben and many others in signing The Nation's open letter urging Secretary Kerry to consider his legacy and to find the courage to reject the Keystone XL pipeline. After that, take the opportunity of the State Department's official public comment period on the Keystone XL Pipeline to inundate officials with letters of opposition. The eco-advocacy group 350.org is collecting comments and will deliver them directly to the State Department.
In his recent Nation article, Bill McKibben examines John Kerry's Fateful Decision on the Keystone Pipeline.
If you know someone who doesn't know about Keystone, this is a good video to send their way.
On April 11th and 12th, while the Indiana University Board of Trustees holds its annual meeting, students and staff throughout the statewide system will walk out of class and off the job to protest critical issues plaguing higher education across the country—from sky-rocketing tuition costs to privatization schemes to barriers facing undocumented students.
Add your name to The Nation's open letter supporting the strikers' demands and imploring Indiana University to refrain from punishing students who choose to strike. Student activists are also asking supporters to write a letter of solidarity to the Indiana Daily Student at email@example.com and to make a small contribution to help them out with much-needed supplies.
In his post for StudentNation, James Cersonsky details the reasoning behind the strike.
Focusing on a parking privatization plan that could increase student parking costs by as much as 32 percent annually, students at Indiana University and Purdue University at Indianapolis created a video that warns against the "zombification" of the student body as important university decisions are outsourced to private companies.