What happened this week in progressive action?
As Congress took a recess this week a constant stream of protest manifested in congressional districts across the country. Town Halls were packed with concerned citizens; however, numbers showed that fewer representatives, particularly Republicans, held Town Halls during this recess than in previous years. Representatives also chose to hold more contained and highly managed “Tele-Town Halls” via conference call. Some constituents held meetings without their representatives, like in Pennsylvania where Senator Toomey didn’t attend.
Activism around #ResistanceRecess was supported by the Town Hall Project and local Indivisible groups. Indivisible, which originated via a guide to resisting the Trump agenda by engaging Congress, now includes 5,000 local groups across every congressional district in the country.
The week of resistance was punctuated by rallies and marches that took place on Monday, President’s Day, under the anti-Trump mantle of “Not My President’s Day”. Several dozen cities saw protests.
Deportations took on heightened concern this week as documents released by the Department of Homeland Security revealed the broadened scope envisioned by the Trump administration. The policy expands deportation to all illegal immigrants, not just those that have committed crimes, as well as ‘expedited removal’, i.e. the program that lets law enforcement bypass due process protections. The faith community is reinvigorating the Sanctuary Movement; some churches, synagogues and mosques are sheltering people who are undocumented.
Fights on a range of issues — media, alternative facts, Standing Rock, transgender student rights, anti-semitism –continued in many forms:
- The Mainstream Media Accountability Survey was released on the Republican National Committee’s website late last week, asking Trump supporters to weigh in on the media’s bias against him and his policy positions. The survey went viral on social media and progressives sought to disrupt the results by also responding to the survey. In related news, a Quinnipiac University Poll found that Americans trust the media more than they trust Trump.
- Museums and libraries took up arms to fight against alternative facts, using the hashtag #DayofFacts last Friday to share truths via Twitter. Posts from institutions all across the country had the hashtag trending by midday.
- Ongoing protests at Standing Rock faced orders from the North Dakota governor and Bureau of Indian Affairs to evacuate the camps. Protesters began to leave, with some continuing to stand their ground. Encampments as bases for pipeline resistance are ongoing in at least four other states.
- This week the Department of Education and Department of Justice rescinded Obama administration guidance to schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms of their choice. It is expected that not much will change in the short term — activists hope that schools will choose to themselves keep supporting transgender students’ rights. Pressure is now on school boards to either support or rescind protections.
- As part of an ongoing rise of hate groups, a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis was vandalized over the weekend with over 180 gravestones toppled. An online fundraiser encouraging Muslims to donate to repair the damage raised more than $100,000, far exceeding the goal in just over 24 hours.
Taken from “The Pulse”, a bird’s eye view of trends on progressive issues in America published every Friday by the Clearinghouse for Progressive Action. Sign up to receive our weekly newsletter, including The Pulse, at http://myprogressiveaction.net/.