$650,000,000,000 to fight Covid Worldwide


IMF Approves $650 Billion in Emergency Currency to Combat Pandemic

Posted: 03 Aug 2021 06:23 AM PDT

By Olivia Engling

The IMF Board of Governors convened a special virtual session for final approval of US $650 billion in emergency reserve currency or Special Drawing Rights (SDRs). Countries will receive their share of Special Drawing Rights on August 23rd.

“More than $200 billion of these new reserve funds will go to developing countries to support pandemic relief and recovery efforts,” said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network. “While these resources are needed, developing countries must receive more aid to get beyond the crisis.”

More than $400 billion of the emergency currency goes to wealthy countries. Wealthy countries can donate their SDRs to developing countries directly, or through initiatives from the IMF or development banks.

“Most wealthy countries don’t need their share of Special Drawing Rights and they need to donate them quickly to developing countries struggling with the health and economic crisis,” stated LeCompte.

Read Jubilee USA’s IMF COVID response letter calling for Special Drawing Rights aid with nearly 270 signatories here.

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‘Enough is enough’: Vigil held for 15-year-old killed in shooting at Sycamore Park

NEWS

by: Sharifa Jackson

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The community came together Thursday evening to remember a teenager who was killed at a south Kansas City park earlier this week.

A vigil was held for 15-year-old Terrell Bell who was shot Tuesday afternoon at Sycamore Park.

Friends and family at the vigil spoke of the aspiring football player and good student they all loved.Police say juvenile arrested and charged in killing of 15-year-old at Sycamore Park in south Kansas City 

“He was talking about going pro and going to college. He had a future on him. He had a future. I just wish that he was still here with us,” said Ruskin High School football teammate, Kenderal Webber. “I lost a lot of friends, but I was real close with Terrell. I wouldn’t never thought this would happen.”

Bell was described as a stand-out athlete at Ruskin High School. Many of his classmates, teachers and even coaches came to show their respects.‘It’s got to end’: Kansas City family devastated after 15-year-old shot, killed at park 

“He was like another little brother. I see him and my cousins running around. He was a good person and ya’ll took him from everybody now,” said Bell’s friend, Tyisha Peak.

Earlier this week FOX4 spoke to the teen’s pastor, Dennis Lester who said the teen was active and faithful member at the neighborhood church, Bethel Family Worship Center.

The pastor shared his grief and called for unity in the community.Victims identified in three fatal shootings in Kansas City Tuesday 

At the vigil, there were also calls for change and peace.

Local gospel artist Christian Fly delivering an emotional plea before the crowd.

“Enough is enough. Until we teach our kids that their neighbor is deserving of the same respect of those in their household. This going to continue to happen,” Fly said. “We got to teach them better problem-solving skills. Until pain hurts you enough to make you want to change, we are going to keep going through things like this.”

A juvenile has been arrested and charged in Bell’s death.

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Juvenile charged with second-degree murder in connection to fatal shooting of KCMO teen

Terrell Bell was shot Tuesday near Sycamore Park

https://www.kshb.com/news/crime/juvenile-arrested-charged-in-connection-to-fatal-shooting-of-kcmo-teenshooting-of-kcmo-teen

KCPD announced the arrest in Terrell Bell’s death Thursday night as family and friends gathered to honor the boy’s life.

Bell, who attended Ruskin High School, was shot Tuesday afternoon near Sycamore Park.

He initially suffered life-threatening injuries, but was pronounced dead a short time later.

Police did not identify the juvenile, who currently is detained at the Jackson County Juvenile Detention Center.

Bell was one of four people who died Tuesday due to gun violence.

Kansas City teen homicide victim remembered at vigil
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Gun Survivor’s Week in Review


Dear Kevin,

National Gun Violence Survivors Week is about elevating our voices and stories, because after living through terrible tragedy, we have found the strength to speak out to help prevent others from experiencing the same pain. It is an emotionally intense week, and after reading and sharing so many stories, I hope you will continue to practice self care and explore resources with the Everytown Survivor Network.  

I also wanted to share some of the incredible things you accomplished in the third year of National Gun violence Survivors Week.

Field Events: Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers organized close to 95 virtual events with more than 1700 in attendance, including the first ever NGVSW student summit. Thank you to all of you who organized and spoke at events to ensure survivor voices were heard across the country: from panel discussions to acts of service such as blood drives and book drives, it had a powerful impact. 

A moving event lead by California Survivor Engagement Leads

Social Media: Thousands of survivor stories were shared on social media, including 55k mentions of the hashtag #GVSurvivorsWeek and related terms. I was honored to be a part of the Survivor Twitter team — a truly powerful force — who were sharing stories of survivors in the Network all throughout the week to reach more Americans with the urgent message that we must address our country’s gun crisis. If you haven’t already and would like to, you can join the Survivor twitter team here, which engages on campaigns throughout the year. 

Federal, State, City Leaders: More than 370 survivors of gun violence released an open letter to the 117th Congress highlighting the shared life-changing trauma of gun violence, which we shared with elected officials and on social media and media during the week. Thank you to all of you who signed the letter. 

Our partners in Washington responded by lifting up your voices through social media, virtual conversations,  press releases, and floor speeches, including Ambassador Susan Rice, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Rep. Dwight Evans (D-PA-03). The week was even featured during floor speeches in both chambers of Congress by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Rep. Dwight Evans (D-PA)

Beyond the federal government, dozens of mayors and state officials from across the country shared your stories on social media and issued mayoral proclamations. Everytown’s research team also put together a fact sheet for local government leaders on “Community-Led Services for Survivors.”

Partnerships: Over 65 partners, including nearly every gun violence prevention organization, national membership groups, non-profit organizations, and faith partners across various issue areas, joined the effort to lift stories and facts about the impact of gun violence. 

In the week leading up to Survivors Week, PEOPLE Magazine released People Features: Gun Violence Survivor Athletes, a virtual roundtable where members of the Everytown Athletic Council shared their personal experiences with gun violence.

Throughout the week, there were many media clips in which survivors spoke out about the impact of gun violence across the country. Here are just a few of them:

Aurora Cox,   Gun safety education is vital

Crystal Turner: Everything just changed:’ Jacksonville mom who lost 2 children works to change gun laws

DeAndra Dycus, Shot in 2014, my son still fights to live. Here’s what I want more than sympathy.

Jessica Curran-Lameroux, We need to change our laws so other families aren’t hurt by gun violence

John Owens, As a survivor of a point-blank shooting, a plea to see the gun epidemic we’re ignoring

Joshua Harris-Till, I grew up amid gun violence. We don’t have to live like this

Lisa Lowman, Survivors Lend Their Voices to Movement to Fight Gun Violence Crisis – Maryland Matters

Mollie Peterson, My Abusive Husband Had a Gun; Michigan Can Keep Others Safe

Neca Allgood, Survivors of gun violence know we don’t need HB60

Pastor Lorenzo Neal, I’m a pastor, gun violence survivor: I preach, pray that no family goes through such pain

Pam Simon, For Survivors of the Jan. 8 Tucson Shooting, Every Week Is National Gun Violence Survivors Week

Sharon Risher, Guns are white supremacy’s deadliest weapon. We must disarm hate

Taina Patterson, I am a survivor of gun violence, but it took me years to realize it. Here’s wh

An enormous thank you for all that you do. 

Together we care,

Debbie 

P.S. If you have feedback on National Gun Violence Survivors Week, we want to hear from you. Please fill out this brief feedback form.

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America Can Still Help Save the World


America’s extra vaccine doses could be key to global supply
Data: Duke Global Health Innovation Center. Chart: Michelle McGhee/AxiosThe Biden administration’s purchase of 200 million additional Pfizer and Modern doses means the U.S. could fully vaccinate 300 million people with just those two vaccines — and 355 million more people if four additional vaccines gain FDA approval, Axios World editor Dave Lawler reports.Why it matters: The White House says the U.S. will eventually donate excess doses to other countries, but it hasn’t released a plan to do so.Between the lines: Sources in the administration emphasize that despite the bulk orders, only two vaccines have been approved and supplies remain scarce.Most of the 1.2 billion doses of six vaccines currently on the books were purchased as part of the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed.Keep reading.
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Facial Recognition Wars


 Coming conflict over facial recognition
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
 
Efforts to restrict facial recognition are gathering momentum around the country, including the investigation of the Capitol insurrection, Axios Future author Bryan Walsh writes.Why it matters: With dozens of companies selling the ability to identify people from pictures of their faces — and no clear federal regulation governing the process — facial recognition is seeping into the U.S.Driving the news: The Minneapolis City Council voted yesterday to bar its police department from using facial recognition technology, Axios Twin Cities’ Nick Halter reports.Minneapolis will join other cities that have restricted the technology, including Portland, San Francisco and Boston.Keep reading.
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Has Impeachment failed us Again?


 What history will say about Impeachment II
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) greets Jason Miller, adviser to President Trump, at the Capitol yesterday. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty ImagesHistorians are already drawing lessons from Impeachment II, Axios managing editors David Nather and Margaret Talev report:The power of impeachment: That’s pretty much gone. Historian Douglas Brinkley says if former President Trump is acquitted, it’ll be clear impeachment is a political process, not a legal one.America’s changing demographics: Renee Romano, an Oberlin College professor who specializes in the field of historical memory, says that outcome would raise the question: “Can America ever truly be a multiracial democracy?'”Congress leaves the field: With a Trump acquittal, the Senate would have passed on two chances to hold a president accountable for undermining the authority of Congress, said Andrew Rudalevidge, expert on presidential power.Share this story.
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Nonprofit and AARP to Offer Online Tech Classes for Older Adults


AARP Joins With Nonprofit to Teach Tech to Older Adults

Alliance allows OATS/Senior Planet to offer its free classes across the country

by Linda Dono, AARP, February 8, 2021 |

Image result for AARP Joins With Nonprofit to Teach Tech to Older Adults

OATS/SENIOR PLANET

En español | A nonprofit organization that specializes in teaching technology skills to older adults is uniting with AARP to offer its courses to even more older adults nationwide — for free.

Senior Planet and its parent organization, Older Adults Technology Services (OATS), have been working with AARP on projects for a decade or more, including a How to Use Zoom class early in the coronavirus pandemic that drew more than 10,000 participants, says Tom Kamber, executive director of OATS/Senior Planet. Now OATS has joined forces with AARP as an affiliated charity, like AARP FoundationLegal Counsel for the Elderly and Wish of a Lifetime.

OATS will continue to offer its programs independently. AARP will support OATS in expanding its offerings and making them known to a wider audience through AARP’s new Virtual Community Center. The relationship with AARP allows both organizations to help more people learn the computer skills they need now more than ever because so many activities and events are available only online.



Before the pandemic, nearly three-quarters of adults in the United States had high-speed internet access at home, according to recent Pew Research Center data. But that number misses differences among age groups. About 4 of 5 adults ages 50 to 64 had high-speed internet then, higher than the U.S. average, but only 3 of 5 people 65 and older had the same access.

More than a quarter of people 65 and older told Pew researchers that they never went online. Past Pew studies have shown that online use drops even more among those 80 and older.

Tech anxiety transformed

In many cases, older adults lack confidence in their ability to use new devices and software designed to make their lives easier, the Pew researchers found. They watch from the sidelines as younger family members easily adopt new technology, potential employers use code words for age bias to target “digital native” job candidates, and the pandemic increases their isolationbecause of the COVID danger that meeting friends face to face may bring.

Jolynn Bailey, 67, a retired teacher who lives in Clifton, Texas, was a reluctant convert to technology. She had used a computer at work and for her grade books, but only because her school required it, she says. She used the computer her daughter bought her only to look at email and log on to Weight Watchers’ website.

Learn online

AARP has two places where you can sign up for free online classes and workshops:

• Senior Planet’s upcoming events

• AARP’s Virtual Community Center

Then the pandemic left her alone in her studio apartment with poor TV reception and a few DVDs — unable to go to the nearby gym, head to Weight Watchers meetings in Waco or meet with friends. Her daughter, who works for a tech company in California, found out about Senior Planet in April and suggested she try it. She waited three months, becoming more and more desperate for things to do.

“The first time I went on Senior Planet I was hooked,” Bailey says. “It gave me my world back and more than that, a whole new world.” Now she joins stretch or chair yoga classes to keep fit; participates in the virtual book club; and takes tech classes, even learning how to use an HDMI cable so she can watch YouTube videos from her computer on the bigger TV screen. She’s in Senior Planet discussion groups where she’s met people from across the country and often takes part in several workshops each day.

The idea for OATS/Senior Planet began when Kamber was working on part of the project to revitalize Lower Manhattan after 9/11. An 87-year-old woman in the area called him after learning about his website launch related to the project. But she didn’t have a computer and didn’t know about the internet. 

Kamber ended up tutoring her in his office. 

OATS was founded in 2004 in New York City as an outgrowth of those lessons. It now has Senior Planet physical centers in five additional cities: Palo Alto, California; Denver; Rockville, Maryland; Plattsburgh, New York; and San Antonio. Classes are entirely online during the pandemic, which allows anyone from across the country to participate, but in-person instruction will resume when it’s safe to do so.

Engagement erases isolation

Senior Planet programs are designed to teach adults 60 and older basic computer skills — including how to start, stop, mute, skip ads and enlarge a YouTube video — and more advanced options. Its interactive online classes, offered in English, Spanish and Chinese, are free to anyone of any age. About 50 classes are on the schedule each week.

“A lot of Latino adults aren’t up to date with technology. Some don’t even have internet access,” says Braulio “Brad” José Veloz Carvajal, a 73-year-old retiree in San Antonio who found out about the Senior Planet classes through his membership in the Pride Center San Antonio. He knew how to use a computer but retired from his job at the Pentagon in 2003, so he wanted to learn all about Google, Facetime and Zoom.

“With what I learned, I was able to talk to my family in Corpus Christi and San Antonio. That made me so happy.”— Brad Veloz, 73, of San Antonio

“With what I learned, I was able to talk to my family in Corpus Christi and San Antonio. That made me so happy,” he said after the months of lockdown because of the pandemic. “I hope Senior Planet teaches technologies that can provide a way to talk to other seniors in the Latino LGBT community and start support groups.”

Class participants can decide to just listen, speak up with questions or type comments in the chat area. Most sessions aren’t archived for future playback, although some how-tos are posted to Senior Planet’s YouTube channel, but popular courses are offered frequently.

“In some of our classes, we find that they come early and stay late to talk to each other,” Kamber says. “Our trainers seek out opportunities to engage people. They draw people out.” Follow-up with students has shown that participants are using their newfound knowledge.

Technology topics include a range of how-tos such as shopping on Amazon, using Google Maps and hosting a Zoom meeting. Some workshops focus on helping participants struggling with tech issues or learning how to keep their personal information secure. Better balance, chair yoga and stretching sessions are among Senior Planet’s fitness offerings.

“If I can Zoom, you can Zoom,” says Bailey, who decided to become a member of Senior Planet to go along with her 17-year AARP membership. “It’s not that complicated. You just need somebody to guide you through it. And that’s what Senior Planet knows how to do.”

Monica Bentivegna contributed to this story. Linda Dono is an executive editor for AARP. Previously, she served as a reporter and editor for USA Today, Gannett News Service and newspapers in four states, including The Cincinnati Enquirer.

AARP Virtual Community Center opens

Though anyone can register for most of Senior Planet’s free online classes on its website, some of the AARP-affiliated nonprofit’s most popular courses are being offered through AARP’s new Virtual Community Center, including these, which all start at 1:30 p.m. ET:

  • Feb. 15, All Things Zoom
  • March 1, Protecting Your Personal Info Online
  • March 15, Online Health Resources
  • March 29, Streaming and Smart TVs

The Virtual Community Center uses Zoom and a few other online platforms to allow users with common interests to learn together. As with Senior Planet’s offerings, these events are live and allow for interactivity — speaking or typing — with others in attendance. It’s not on-demand video.

“The Virtual Community Center is designed in many ways to be like an in-person community center. You sign up for a class and go to it” online, says Heather Nawrocki, AARP’s vice president of fun and fulfillment.

Events on a wide variety of topics, including books, fitness, history, music and screenings of AARP Movies for Grownups, are available now for signup. All are free, have no age restrictions and don’t require AARP membership to participate. Although the programs initially are in English, AARP is looking at expanding the signup platform as well as course offerings for Spanish speakers.

More on Personal Technology

Join the Discussion

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Recently, the United Kingdom appointed a Minister of Loneliness to attend to the growing public health crisis of loneliness reported by 9 million people in their country


“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”

-Luke 15:20

Recently, the United Kingdom appointed a Minister of Loneliness to attend to the growing public health crisis of loneliness reported by 9 million people in their country. Our culture has mastered the art of relational distance. Too many of us are content to view one another from a long way off. Our past hurts, pains, disappointments and biases keep us so isolated and alone. But like this father who saw his son and became proximal to him, we are being nudged to close the chasm of difference and remember our shared humanity.

Pastor Michael McBride (known as “Pastor Mike”) is a native of San Francisco and has been active in ministry for over 20 years. Pastor McBride’s commitment to holistic ministry can be seen through his leadership roles in both the church and community organizations. A graduate of Duke University’s Divinity School, with a Master of Divinity with an emphasis in Ethics and Public Policy, Pastor McBride founded The Way Christian Center in West Berkeley, where he presently serves as the Lead Pastor.

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Stephen King on Trump’s Fanatics:“Jesus, man ….You act like the Red Chinese army was invading.”– “They’re just a bunch of scared and hungry people…”


From commons.wikimedia.org: Stephen King {MID-320340}
Stephen King
(Image by commons.wikimedia.org)
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Bestselling author Stephen King on Monday weighed in on President Trump’s recent warnings to the migrant caravan moving through Mexico toward the United States. King’s criticism came in response to a tweet Trump shared on Sunday stating that “full efforts are being made to stop the onslaught of illegal aliens from crossing our Souther (sic) Border.” “Jesus, man,” King said in response to the tweet. “You act like the Red Chinese army was invading.” “They’re just a bunch of scared and hungry people,” the author said.

Read the rest of the story HERE:

At thehill.com
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A Dad’s Work to Stop Superbugs


The Pew Charitable Trusts
Antibiotic Resistance Project
Inside NIH’s Fight Against Superbugs
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, addresses some of the greatest superbug threats—and what the agency is doing about them.
EXPERT Q&A
In Superbug Fight, ‘Victory Is Not at Hand’
“It’s a long road from exciting things happening in the lab to getting through a clinical process to the patient’s bedside,” Kathy Talkington, director of Pew’s antibiotic resistance project, explains in a Chicago Tribune editorial.
READ ON
A Dad’s Work to Stop Superbugs
For Men’s Health Month—June—get to know Chris Linaman. After his heartbreaking superbug experience, he’s working to help others avoid the trauma he endured.
WATCH
IN THE MEDIA
Antibiotics Weren’t Used to Cure These Patients. Fecal Bacteria Were.
THE NEW YORK TIMES
Superbugs Could Render Even the Most Routine Procedures Deadly, Warns Chief Medical Officer
THE TELEGRAPH
Stanley Falkow, Microbiologist Who Studied Bacteria and the Diseases They Cause, Dies At 84
THE WASHINGTON POST
Antibiotic-Resistant UTIs Are on the Rise Around The World
COSMOPOLITAN
Antibiotics May Raise the Risk for Kidney Stones
THE NEW YORK TIMES
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Antibiotics are fundamental to modern medicine, essential for treating everything from routine skin infections to strep throat, and for protecting vulnerable patients receiving chemotherapy or being treated in intensive care units.

Pew’s antibiotic resistance project is working to ensure both the prudent use of existing drugs and a robust pipeline of new drugs in order to meet current and future patient needs.

SaveAntibiotics.org

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Even if John Stewart is Gone, We all Need to Keep taking on FOX and all the Media


I am going to put a lot of John Stewart videos in the comment section, like this one:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YO_om3iK9kE

You probably heard the great news – after a few years of progressive activism, FOX finally cancelled Glenn Beck’s show–but the Boycott Must Go On!!

Ten years ago, Media Matters launched with a revolutionary mission: to systematically monitor the U.S. media for conservative misinformation every day, in real time. We’ve been calling out right-wing lies for a decade — and we’re not done yet. Will you contribute now to help us raise $10,000 for our 10th anniversary?

Media Matters Timeline

For ten years, we’ve successfully fought back against the bad actors that poison our media with right-wing lies and smears. It’s been an amazing beginning, and we couldn’t have done it without your support.

We’re in this for the long haul. Make an anniversary gift today to kickstart the next ten years of media accountability.

Dear Kevin,
You probably heard the great news – after two years of progressive activism, FOX finally cancelled Glenn Beck’s show.
Beck was targeted after he slandered President Obama by saying, “This president has exposed himself as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for white people, or the white culture, I don’t know what it is… This guy, I believe, is a racist.”
Activists at ColorOfChange, Media Matters, StopBeck, FoxNewsBoycott, and of course Democrats.com responded with a boycott of advertisers on Glenn Beck’s show. Ultimately over 300 advertisers pulled their ads from Beck, costing FOX over $40 million.
Advertiser boycotts work! And it’s time to boycott all FOX News advertisers:
http://www.democrats.com/boycott-proactiv
We’re starting our boycott of all FOX News with Proactiv, which sells acne medicine to teenagers and young adults. Why?
First, there are lots of other acne treatments. Second, young adults above all are hurt by FOX News, which promotes right-wing policies on race, education, healthcare, the environment, and war. Let’s get our future leaders to lead the fight against FOX News!
Sign the petition to Proactiv and enter the email address of every young adult over 18 you know:
http://www.democrats.com/boycott-proactiv
Beyond President Obama, FOX regularly slanders nearly everyone: Democrats, unionized workers, the unemployed (including veterans and 99ers), environmentalists, feminists, blacks, Hiics, Jews, Muslims, progressives, scientists, and any other group it disagrees with.
FOX News broadcasts rightwing extremist slander, incitement to violence, political propaganda, and outright lies to promote its rightwing political agenda. This is not “news,” but rather a never-ending “war on news” – and it’s all documented in our petition.
Why would any decent company want to fund it? Tell Proactiv to stop advertising on FOX News:
http://www.democrats.com/boycott-proactiv
Thanks for all you do!
Bob Fertik

GLEN BECK ADMITTED in 2007, “I Am RACIST and Barack Obama is very White” THIS MAKES Boycotting FOX NEWS needed NOW

By Kevin Stoda

Dear, American supporters of the Fascist Oddball Xenophobic (FOX) news networks.

AMERICANS are getting less tolerant of your racism and stronghold on our major media.

For example, we have noted that in his 2007 TV program from FOX (See on You-Tube), Glen Beck admitted he himself was racist. Further, Beck then, in contrast to 2009, called Barrack Obama much more white than black. (Apparently, Beck now he has other nonsense to mush men’s minds.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0tgvWxC_6A

Using a major news platform to promote racism and to tell people to disrespect a whole presidential administration through mixed truths, outright lies, and xenophobia, is not to be tolerated any more.

On Democracy Now today, Amy Goodman asked Benjamin Jealous of the NAACP what he thought of Wal-Mart’s pull-out from advertising on the Glen Beck program on FOX.

NOTE: Goodman had simply asked , “The whole attack by Glenn Beck that drove this (resignation)? In your response from the NAACP to Van Jones, it says, ´The only thing more outrageous than Mr. Beck’s attack on Van Jones is the fact that there are sponsors that continue to pay him to provide this type of offensive commentary.` Do you support the continued boycott of companies like Wal-Mart of Beck’s show on Fox?”

http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/8/white_house_environmental_adviser_van_jones

This is a particularly important point because Glen Beck´s HATE CAMPAIGN ON THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION led recently to a great American policy maker, Van Jones, quitting the government this week.

http://thinkprogress.org/2009/09/06/van-jones-resigns/

Mr. Jealous said, “We certainly support them (Walmart) choosing with their dollars who they’re going to support. I mean, it’s—Glenn Beck is somebody who’s told a seven-year-old girl, a seven-year-old black girl, that he would buy her a ticket back to Africa, that she needed to go back to Africa. And then he comes out, and he says that healthcare is the beginning of reparations. I mean, this guy plays the race card on a weekly basis. He does it very aggressive—you know, in a very hateful way.”

Recall, first, that Van Jones is one of the most important and thoughtful men in America—however, the FOX (Fascist Oddball Xenophobic) news network chose to support a man, like Glen Beck, rather than seeing that tens of millions of Americans need to get health care from promoters like Jones and that our America economy needs to move starting today to the kind of economy that its competitors worldwide are already doing.

http://www.alternet.org/environment/95963/what_will_the_green_economy_look_like/

Let’s quote the wisdom and influential words of Van Jones on the absolute necessity to green the American economy NOW!

“I think it’s really important to point out that we’re sort of at the end of an era of American capitalism, where we thought we could run the economy based on consumption rather than production, credit rather than creativity, borrowing rather than building, and also, most importantly, environmental destruction rather than environmental restoration.”

Jones continued, “We’re trying to make the case in this book that that era is over. We now have to move in a very different direction. And key to that will be basing the US economy not on credit cards, but based on clean energy and the clean energy revolution that would put literally millions of people to work, putting up solar panels all across the United States, weatherizing buildings so they don’t leak so much energy and put up so much carbon, building wind farms and wave farms, manufacturing wind turbines. We argue you could put Detroit back to work not making SUVs to destroy the world, but making wind turbines, 8,000 finely machine parts in each one, twenty tons of steel in each wind tower, making wind turbines to help save the world.”

Finally, Van Jones wisely noted, “So we think that you can fight pollution and poverty at the same time. We think that you can actually power our way through this recession by putting people to work, but we’re going to have to start building things here and re-powering, retrofitting, retooling America, and that that’s the way forward both for the economy, for the earth and for everyday people.”

Note: These statements came from a program on DN from October of last year:

http://www.democracynow.org/2008/10/28/van_jones_on_the_green_collar

Van Beck has written a book of the same title, The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems.

http://www.harpercollins.com/books/9780061650758/The_Green_Collar_Economy/index.aspx

America needs such voices as Van Jones in government leadership in America—not Fascist Oddball Xenophobic (FOX) types.

Clean up the American airwaves of all its fascism and racism, today.

http://www.pittsburghurbanmedia.com/a-petition-against-fox-conservative-host-glenn-beck.aspx

NOTE: One way to change the noise of Fascist Oddball Xenophobic (FOX) media moguls is to support alternative media organizations

http://aan.org/alternative/Aan/index

and alternative monitoring websites.

http://americas.mediamonitors.net/content/view/full/64380

Another way, is to demand that local radio and TV channels put better programming on, such as Democracy Now or news sources promoted by serious progressive journalists:

http://www.tacomapjh.org/progressive_news.htm

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National Hispanic Heritage Month


Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month

Buscas esto en espaňol, lo puedes encontra aqui.

Each year, we want to recognize the achievements and contributions of Hispanic Americans who have inspired others to achieve success. It’s always celebrated from September 15 to October 15.

Flag of the Hispanic People

The Official Flag of the Hispanic People (open Source)

In the USA and many other countries, Hispanic culture is everywhere you look. From architecture and the arts to sports and popular culture, Hispanic heritage has been adopted and embraced everywhere it goes. But, culture is nothing without people! We pulled together a list of a few amazing Hispanic people to give you some inspiration. Whether you teach English, Art, or STEM, there’s so many ways to bring Hispanic Heritage Month into your curriculum.

Hispanic VIPs in…

Fine Art

It would be impossible to talk about great Hispanic artists without mentioning the Spanish-born Pablo Picasso.

Before Picasso turned apples into Rubix cubes, however, another famous Hispanic person was pushing the boundaries of art.

Despite being struck by a bus at eighteen and mainly left unable to move, Frida Kahlo became one of the twentieth century’s most famous and prolific artists.

Her passion for her art has made her an inspiration for ill and differently-abled artists around the world for over a hundred years.

Civil Service/Politics

Sonia Sotomayor is an inspiration for thousands as a Latina who overcame many obstacles and rose to hold one of the top positions of power in the United States.
Hailed as ‘a role model of aspiration, discipline, commitment, intellectual prowess, and integrity’ for her ascent to the federal bench from an upbringing in a South-Bronx housing project.” Her life is an inspiring tale for Americans from all walks of life.

Helen Rodriguez-Trias was a physician who worked for women’s and children’s healthcare. Originally from Puerto Rico, she was the first Latina director of the American Public Health Association and received the Presidential Citizens Medal for her work.

Antonia Novello is the first woman AND the first Latin-American to serve as Surgeon General of the United States. Throughout her career, she worked to improve AIDS education, educate Americans about the dangers of smoking, and help vulnerable women and children across the United States.

Engineering

It was a Mexican who invented color TV. When he was just SEVENTEEN years old, Guillermo Camarena invented the “Chromoscopic adapter,” which suddenly made TV rainbows a lot more interesting!

Ellen Ochoa is an engineer and was the world’s first Latina astronaut, following a long and impressive career at NASA. Originally a music major, she has played the flute in low-Earth orbit, 2,000 km above the Earth’s surface!
She flew four missions in space, is in the Astronaut Hall of Fame, and now works as the Director of Flight Operations at the Space Center in Texas.

English/Literature

Miguel De Cervantes is the author of the world’s first novel; The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha. In this comedic tale, the aging knight Don Quixote embarks on an ill-fated adventure to restore glory and chivalry to the world. He doesn’t quite succeed, but he does battle a windmill!

Gary Soto is a prolific Latino writer whose work includes poetry, novels, children’s books, and more. He won the Academy of American Poets Prize, the American Book Award, and the Hispanic Heritage Award for Literature. He famously said, “This is what poetry means—language that surprises and keeps us on our toes.”

Jorge Ramos is a bilingual Mexican journalist. He is the most well-known and influential news anchor in the United States among Spanish- language news programs. He was famously quoted saying, “When journalists forget that our job is to question and annoy those in power, there can be huge consequences.”

Fashion

Oscar de la Renta was an internationally recognized fashion designer. Several U.S. first ladies wore his gowns at inaugural events and other places, from Jacqueline Kennedy to Laura Bush.

Music

Christina María Aguilera is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and television personality. Known for her powerful voice, four-octave vocal range, and ability to sustain high notes, she has won five Grammy awards throughout her career.

Carlos Augusto Santana Alves is a Mexican-born American guitarist. He rose to fame in the late 1960s and early 1970s with his band Santana, which pioneered a fusion of Rock and roll and Latin American jazz. He has been cited as an influence for modern musicians, from Stevie Ray Vaughn to the late, great Prince.

Science

Sabrina Gonzalez Pasterski is a Cuban-American physicist whose research led to the discovery of the “spin memory effect” for evaluating the effects of gravitational waves, and she’s not even thirty years old yet!

France Córdova is an astrophysicist who became the youngest person and the first woman ever named chief scientist at NASA. France Córdova is known for her work and research with X-rays, gamma rays, and space instruments. As she described it,

Sports

Oscar de la Hoya is a Mexican-American boxer who competed in the U.S. for 16 years. He won ten world titles, including an Olympic gold medal when he was just nineteen! This impressive feat earned him the nickname “The Golden Boy.”

Some of the greatest players to ever play soccer are Hispanic. Diego Maradonna, Lionel Messi, and Maribel Domingez all hold impressive soccer records. Maribel Domingez is known as MariGOL(goal)l in her home nation of Mexico for scoring 46 goals in 49 games!

Laurie Hernandez is an American gymnast, one of only a few Latina Olympian gymnasts to represent the USA. In the 2016 Olympics, she won an individual silver medal for the balance beam and was a member of the women’s “Final Five” team that won gold for the United States.

Stage and Screen

Lin-Manuel Miranda is insanely talented, having succeeded as an actor, composer, producer, rapper, singer, songwriter, and teacher! He famously wrote the genre-bending Broadway sensation Hamilton, which won him a Pulitzer prize!

Guillermo del Toro is a Mexican-born filmmaker and author. Known for his distinct visual storytelling style, he has directed award-winning films in both Spanish and English. He directed the Academy Award-winning fantasy films Pan’s Labyrinth and The Shape of Water, winning the Oscars for Best Director and Best Picture for the latter.

Óscar Isaac Hernández Estrada is an Guatemalan-born American actor. Known for his versatility, he has been credited with breaking stereotypes about Latino characters in Hollywood. He recently gained critical acclaim for portraying multiple characters in Marvel’s Moon Knight.

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Don’t Let GOP Flip Nevada’s Latina Senator


Hi Kevin –

This is Catherine writing to you. My husband, Paul, and I just finished up dinner. We had a nice chat about memories over these last 23 years together – including standing on stage together the night I became America’s first Latina senator. He’s doing the dishes now, so I thought I’d get a quick note out to you ahead of tonight’s midnight fundraising deadline.

I remembered something important in talking about memories with my husband tonight: First, I’ve been fortunate to have Paul by my side during two challenging battleground races for U.S. Senate. But I’ve been doubly fortunate, Kevin, because I also have you and this amazing grassroots team fighting hard alongside me.So, I trust I can be upfront with you: I’m in the political fight of my life, and our country’s future is at stake. After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Republicans are scheming to pass a national ban on abortion. They only need to flip one seat to take back Senate control and impose their radical agenda on our country – and CNN just named me the most vulnerable Democratic senator in America. With polling that shows me 1 point behind my GOP opponent, I simply cannot afford to fall short of critical goals like this.

That’s why I have to ask: Will you help me retake the lead and defend our Democratic Senate majority by rushing a grassroots donation, split between me and Jacky Rosen? Please use this link: https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/rosenfornevada_ccm
¡La lucha sigue! The fight continues!

Catherine
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Relationship Skills –Social-Emotional Learning


Social-Emotional Learning Part IV: Relationship Skills

Catlin Tucker |

August 25, 2022 |

1

The previous posts in this social-emotional learning series focused on self-awarenessself-management, and responsible decision-making. These skills fall under the umbrella of intrapersonal skills. Intrapersonal skills are cultivated inside a person. We’ve explored strategies designed to help students:

  • Manage their emotions.
  • Practice stress management strategies.
  • Set academic, personal, and behavioral goals.
  • Evaluate the urgency versus the importance of tasks to prioritize items on their to-do lists.
  • Weigh the benefits and consequences before making decisions.
  • Reflect on how their actions impact themselves and the people around them.

This post on relationship skills shifts the focus to interpersonal skills, which require a person to interact with others. Interpersonal skills include our ability to communicate and collaborate, engage in negotiation and compromise, manage conflict and listen actively, and understand another person’s experience and feel empathy for them.

Relationship Skills

What are relationship skills?

CASEL defines relationship skills as the ability “to establish and maintain healthy and supportive relationships and to effectively navigate settings with diverse individuals and groups.” Relationship skills include the ability to:

  • Clearly communicate ideas and listen actively to others.
  • Work collaboratively with diverse groups of people to accomplish a task.
  • Engage in conflict resolution and be willing to compromise when working as a team.
  • Ask for help and provide support, assistance, and/or leadership when needed.

To help students cultivate relationship skills in classrooms, educators should consider the following questions:

  • Am I explicitly teaching communication skills (e.g., how to engage in an equitable conversation, respectfully offer a different perspective, and listen actively)?
  • How often am I designing learning experiences that require diverse groups of students to work collaboratively?
  • How can I help students resolve conflicts in a kind and respectful way?

Benefits of Developing Relationship Skills

Strong relationship skills are fundamental to the healthy functioning of any group or learning community. Positive relationships “create an environment in which children feel competent, independent, and akin to others, which increases their motivation” (Thijssen, Rege & Solheim, 2022). Research indicates that developing relationship skills impacts:

  • Student engagement with the learning activities
  • Academic outcomes
  • The student’s ability to adjust to changes in their learning environment
  • The quality of the student’s relationships with one another and the overall classroom management (Hamre & Pianta, 2001; Klem & Connell, 2004; Roorda, Koomen, Spilt & Oort, 2011; Thijssen, Rege & Solheim, 2022)

So, how do we help students develop relationship skills?

3 Strategies Designed to Help Students Develop Relationship Skills

Strategy #1: Academic Discussions

When students engage in academic discourse, they have an opportunity to exchange ideas, ask questions, and make meaning as part of a learning community. However, the whole group, teacher-led discussions are not equitable. They do not allow all students a voice in the class dialogue. Instead, I would encourage teachers to explore small group, student-led discussions, and online asynchronous discussions.

Synchronous Small Group Discussions VS. Asynchronous Online Discussions

The benefits of discussion include:

  • Connection to a learning community.
  • Exposure to different perspectives.
  • Opportunity to make connections between ideas shared.
  • Drive deeper thinking around topics, texts, and issues.
  • Improve understanding and retention.
  • Practice in-person and online communication skills.
  • Shifts students from consumers of other people’s ideas to producers of their own ideas.

4 Corner Conversations

Teachers can use a “4 Corner Conversations” strategy for in-class small group discussions. As the name suggests, each of the four corners of the classroom has a small group of 6-9 students engaged in a conversation. The teacher can supply the discussion questions or ask students to write a couple of questions they would like to discuss in the small group. When they join their discussion group, the expectation is that students will:

  • Sit in a circle
  • Bring materials, annotations, and notes (if needed)
  • Take turns asking questions
  • Spend time discussing each question
  • Finish with a short self-assessment of their participation

4 Corner Conversations give every student a chance to participate in the discussion without each idea being filtered through the teacher. This helps students develop their communication skills while also improving their grasp of the topics they are studying.

Online Discussions

Online asynchronous discussions can be text-based in a learning management system (LMS) or video-based with a platform like Flip. Online discussions, unlike in-person conversations, allow everyone an equal opportunity to participate. Students who are shy, need more time to process, or are managing social anxiety may find it easier to respond thoughtfully to a discussion prompt and reply to peers online.

Below are four tips to ensure your online discussion questions are engaging and provide multiple entry points into the conversation for learners at different levels.

If students are going to be successful engaging in small group student-led discussions or online discussions, they need explicit instruction, modeling, and practice, practice, practice! These discussions will take time to develop depth, but the payoff is students who are able to communicate effectively in order to learn with and from each other.

Strategy #2: Collaborative Group Challenges

Collaboration and teamwork are critical relationship skills. Students need regular opportunities to work together around shared tasks that require creative problem-solving, social negotiation, and clear communication. As pictured in the table below, there are several strategies teachers can use to engage students in collaborative tasks designed to position them at the center of the learning experience.

Jigsaw ActivitiesThis cooperative learning strategy requires each person in a “home group” to become the expert on one aspect of a topic or one section of a text. All students in a class assigned the same subtopic or section of text work together to build their expertise. Then they return to their home group so each member can share out what they learned and teach their group members.
Reciprocal TeachingThis instructional activity asks groups of students to engage in a reading session where each person focuses on employing a different strategy as they read the text together. The four strategies or roles include summarizing, questioning, clarifying, and predicting.
Building BackgroundInstead of transferring information to students via a lecture or mini-lesson, a building background activity positions the students to work in small groups researching a topic, moment in history, famous person, scientific phenomenon, literary movement, etc.

Students work collaboratively to make sense of the information they are finding online and create an artifact to share their learning (e.g., digital document, slide deck, infographic, or artistic timeline).
Real-world ChallengesLinking student learning to real-world problems, issues, or challenges makes learning more relevant and interesting. Real-world challenges encourage groups of students to tackle complex and often messy problems using strategies and processes they have practiced in the classroom.

For example, a quirky website called YummyMath.com has a huge collection of bizarre math problems. They are perfect for encouraging students to apply their mathematical thinking to real-world situations. 

Strategy #3: Conflict Resolution Role Playing

Conflict is unavoidable. Students bring their past experiences, cultural norms, personalities, and personal preferences into the classroom. It is essential to help students build empathy for each other and resolve conflicts in a kind and constructive way.

Role-playing exercises position the students as active agents in the learning process and provide them with the opportunity to be creative. Role-playing also encourages students to evaluate situations and consider how they might respond.

Step 1: Group students and have each group write a scenario where two or more students encounter conflict. What is the situation? Who is involved?
Step 2: Ask groups to exchange scenarios and practice performing a short skit or scene acting the scenario out.
Step 3: After each group performs their skit or scene, encourage each group to huddle up and discuss the scene. What was causing the conflict? What information did the different people involved need to understand the other perspectives? What misconceptions or assumptions were causing the conflict to escalate? What would have helped the people involved to understand and empathize with each other?
Step 4: Allow each group to share their thoughts about the scene and what was really happening. Then brainstorm a list of strategies the participants could have used to avoid the conflict or work through it in a kind and constructive way.
Step 5: Encourage students to spend a few minutes reflecting on the exercise and what they learned.

These routines and strategies help students develop the skills they need to interact with other members of the learning community in a kind, constructive, and productive way. Developing these relationship skills creates learning communities where students are comfortable sharing their ideas, engaging in collaborative tasks, and taking academic risks.

My next blog post will focus on the final competency of social awareness!

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16 Quotes for Coping With Sadness


‘Hope Is the Thing’: 16 Quotes for Coping With Sadness

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Every one of us, inevitably, encounters the occasional downswing in life. Sadness can manifest so differently for each of us — sometimes we want to get through it quickly, by pushing the feelings down, while other times we may not even see a way out. So how do we move through the gray-skied moments in life without ignoring the emotion behind them?

While it might be uncomfortable in the moment, sadness isn’t altogether a bad thing. It’s normal — part of the human experience, really — to feel low or melancholy for a while. With time and practice, we can start to accept these moments as they come, and as what they are: temporary, and in some ways, necessary. Not only can darker times help highlight the sweeter moments that follow, they are also a crucial part of self-growth. Letting ourselves feel sorrow helps us examine and understand the source of the pain, so we can come out the other side of sadness stronger, more self-aware, and better prepared to face whatever comes next.

Here, we’ve gathered wisdom from writers, leaders, and creators to help you move through sadness without judging yourself — and to remind you that this, too, will eventually recede.

If it’s a broken part, replace it / If it’s a broken arm, then brace it / If it’s a broken heart, then face it
— Jason Mraz, singer/songwriter

Don’t be ashamed to weep; ’tis right to grieve. Tears are only water, and flowers, trees, and fruit cannot grow without water. But there must be sunlight also. A wounded heart will heal in time.
— Brian Jacques, novelist

You are allowed to feel messed up inside and out. It doesn’t mean you’re defective — it just means you’re human.
— David Mitchell, comedian and writer

Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.
— Vicki Harrison, author

To weep is to make less the depth of grief.
— William Shakespeare

Someone I loved once / gave me a box full of darkness. / It took me years to understand that / this, too, was a gift.
— Mary Oliver, poet

Sadness is more or less like a head cold — with patience, it passes.
— Barbara Kingsolver, author

Sadness is but a wall between two gardens.
— Khalil Gibran, poet

It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.
— Lena Horne, singer and actress

There is no despair so absolute as that which comes with the first moments of our first great sorrow, when we have not yet known what it is to have suffered and be healed, to have despaired and have recovered hope.
— George Eliot

There you go… let it all slide out. Unhappiness can’t stick in a person’s soul when it’s slick with tears.
— Shannon Hale, author

You can’t keep the birds of sadness from flying over your head, but you can keep them from nesting in your hair.
— Sharon Creech, author

Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer.
— Denis Waitley, motivational speaker

The place which may seem like the end may also be the beginning.
— Ivy Baker Priest, politician

Night has always pushed up day / You must know life to see decay / But I won’t rot / Not this mind and not this heart, I won’t rot
— Marcus Mumford, musician

Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul – and sings the tunes without the words – and never stops at all.
— Emily Dickinson

Photo credit: Hayri Er/ iStock

Author image

About the Author

Paola Bennet

Paola Bennet is a writer based in Brooklyn, NY. She writes a fortnightly newsletter that treasures the mundane, called Small Histories. Find her on Instagram @paolafbennet.

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Amazing Kids at Work



Money

Sumer Strawbree inspires in return to 2nd annual Kid$ Bi$ Children’s Business Fair

Two kids at a business fair.
Sumer Strawbree shares the spotlight with 4-year-old author Sameer Jani at his booth showcasing his “Chocovela” books at the Kid$ Bi$ Children’s Business Fair in Orlando, Florida. Photo: Cristóbal Reyes/MCT 

By Tribune Content Agency, adapted by Newsela staff

Published:08/30/2022

Word Count:721

The past year has been life-changing for Sumer Strawbree. She released her first coloring book filled with encouraging words for girls of color. In July, she returned to the children’s business fair where she first showcased it.

The 13-year-old’s real name is Lauryn Jones. She stood proudly at her booth at the Kid$ Bi$ Fair. She wore a pink blazer and strawberry earrings. She gave out signed copies of her first book, along with her two most recent books. Her first book, “Black, Brown and Beautiful,” sold more than 5,000 copies last year.

“It’s life-changing for me,” Sumer said. “I think it’s great to help change girls’ self-esteem and I’ve reached a big audience so far. It’s been a very exciting year.”

Sumer’s book was the success story of last year’s Kid$ Bi$ Fair. This year, the fair was even bigger. There were 80 booths packed inside the gym at a Florida school. Kids showcased their products from Boba tea and books to custom woodwork.

The fair is organized by Orlando Bal Vihar. The group provides a platform for young entrepreneurs. They are able to show off their brands and learn what it takes to operate a business. Sumer’s father has seen his daughter grow from a child bullied at school to a confident young businesswoman.

A boy standing in front of wooden signs.
Image 1. Jonathan Ponce, 11, showcases his woodworking business, JP Designs, at the Kid$ Bi$ Children’s Business Fair in July 2022 in Orlando, Florida. Photo: Cristóbal Reyes/Orlando Sentinel

Sumer’s Work Resonates With Others

“She’s taking that energy and running with it,” said Everett Jones. “Seeing her walking in her purpose at 13 is amazing.”

As her books grow more popular, Sumer said she’s heard stories from other kids who have been bullied. They feel understood by her work.

“It’s pretty surprising,” she said. “I didn’t ever think I’d be sharing my story with other people, and it was great to learn that I wasn’t alone.”

Organizers of the fair hope Sumer’s success story is the first of many.

Four-Year-Old Has Published Three Books

Adity Gandhi is president of Orlando Bal Vihar. Sumer has been an inspiration for other kids, she said. She has created a brand for herself through socializing in person and on social media.

One of the kids Sumer has inspired is 4-year-old Sameer Jani. With his mother, he has self-published three books. They are about an alligator named Chocovela who overcomes fear as he learns how to surf and play soccer and tennis.

Chocovela comes from Sameer’s imagination. His mother, Zalina Jani, brings it to life on the page. The books also come with a vocabulary list for kids learning how to read and increase their vocabulary.

The message of the books is every child can succeed in whatever they dream, said Jani. Sameer also had a chance to meet Sumer, who partly inspired the books.

A girls serving customers boba tea.
Image 2. Isabella Contreras, 10, (right) prepares an order of Boba tea for a customer for her business, The Boba Team, at the Kid$ Bi$ Children’s Business Fair in Florida. Photo: Cristóbal Reyes/Orlando Sentinel

Kids Interact With Eager Customers

Jonathan Ponce is an 11-year-old woodworker who learned the craft from his father. He first learned how to use tools at 8. His first order was received last year for his company, JP Designs. He makes custom signs, dog bowls and key chains.

As his father watched from a distance, Jonathan charmed customers. He told them about his process and taking orders. He says the designs take about three to seven days to make. By the end of the day, he made hundreds of dollars.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the gym was a group of friends led by 10-year-old Isabella Contreras. Her company, The Boba Team, prepared drinks for lines of eager customers. The children, dressed in colorful hats and aprons, got to work.

The group had been making Boba for several months. It’s a chance, Isabella said, to put smiles on people’s faces.

Kids also learn how to expand their ideas once the event ends. Many of them will return next year. Sumer hopes to start working on animation and music as her books are becoming more popular.

“I’ve already sold books in 39 states, Germany, Sweden and Canada,” Sumer said. “I want to reach girls from all over the world.”

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Fighting Gun Violence: Oak Park Neighborhood


They used to call it Family Fridays.

It started with Derrick Davis firing up his red charcoal grill on the front lawn of the family home on Benton Boulevard in Kansas City’s Oak Park neighborhood. Inside the house, his mother prepared the side dishes as brothers, cousins and other relatives showed up to eat, drink and chat.They did it every week, even when the weather grew cold and snowy. It was Davis, his mother Cynnita Oliver said, who kept the family together.And in the summer of 2020, the 28 year old had something more to look forward to — a baby.

The child would be Davis’ second daughter.But just hours before she was born, someone shot and killed the expectant father inside the house.Family Fridays came to an abrupt end. After that, the family barely kept in touch, Oliver said.Davis was one of dozens of people killed in recent years in Oak Park, long one of the city neighborhoods most plagued by gun violence. Stretching 16 blocks from Prospect to Jackson avenues and from Linwood Boulevard south to Emanuel Cleaver II Boulevard, it has been a hot spot for homicides.

In 1 square mile of the neighborhood, 27 people have been killed in the past three and a half years. The victims were as young as 15, as old as 60. Nearly all — 26 of the 27 — were shot.Now Oak Park is a test case for a new violence prevention strategy imported from an unlikely source — Omaha, Nebraska. Local nonprofit leaders and the Kansas City Police Department have said they are rolling out a pilot program called KC 360. It is the latest in a series of efforts that have come and gone over the years, some announced to fanfare and then fading into obscurity, others failing and another scrapped by KCPD after some success.But Oak Park residents are hesitant that KC 360 will work without community input, and point to other solutions, instead.

Read more of this story from The Star’s Katie Moore and Ella McCarthy.Oak Park has recorded six homicides so far this year. Here’s where they happened.Have you been a victim of gun violence? These KC groups are providing support.

Check out today’s eEditionAnd support local journalists with a subscription
LOCAL
A new gun violence plan starts in KC’s Oak Park neighborhood. What’s different this time?A Kansas City neighborhood hit by some of the city’s worst gun violence will be a test case for a new strategy imported from Omaha. Some local leaders are doubtful, and have their own ideas.
CRIME
Have you been a victim of gun violence? These KC area groups provide help and resources“We are able to cover pretty much any aspect of life and have processes that we can help people solve conflict peacefully,” the head of one KC organization said.
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10 YEARS: REPRESENT US


WE THE, UNITERS, CHANGE-MAKERS, DOERS , COLLABORATORS BUILDERS, BADASSESPEOPLE

10 years. 161 victories. Millions of Americans.
A decade of RepresentUs.

Play Video

WHAT AMERICA WILL
OUR CHILDREN INHERIT?

That question has been foremost in my mind since Josh Silver and I co-founded RepresentUs a decade ago.

We, the people, will ultimately provide the answer. It is the actions we take today — and every day — that will determine the America we leave for generations to come.

Eleanor Roosevelt once wisely observed that “it takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.”

Clearly, the days of wishing our democracy better have passed.

To that end, RepresentUs is focused on a strategic plan aimed at a clear goal: To make America the world’s strongest democracy by 2050.

Three pillars to progress

To get there, we’re building on our 161 wins and dozens of breakout moments over the past decade to address emerging challenges and engage more Americans from across the political spectrum in our fight.

This strategy stands on three key pillars:

Win victories in states and cities to build momentum for national change: History tells us that local wins lead to national change. We’ll continue to identify opportunities in strategic locations and build, nurture, and lead campaigns to pass high-impact laws.

Win the hearts and minds of the American people: Durable change happens when there is broad public support for it. We’re committed to elevating the voices of our supporters and spokespeople, producing provocative messaging, and making a clear, compelling case for supporting democracy that resonates across the political divide.

Put country over party: In order to pass and protect laws that will last, democracy needs the support of a majority of voters, spokespeople, and lawmakers across the political spectrum. We’re working outside the constraints of the two-party system, activating people, building campaigns, and sharing messages that unite unlikely allies towards common purpose.

A call to action

No doubt, the road ahead is fraught with danger. Our democracy is under relentless attack. The angry and armed mob that stormed our Capitol on January 6, 2021 has metastasized into an anti-democracy, un-American mob of Big Lie believers scheming to hijack our elections.

Meanwhile, politicians cynically gerrymander voting districts, moneyed interests reign supreme, and the two party duopoly blocks any competition that would threaten its power. It adds up to a virtually uncontested road to power that solidifies minority party rule and emboldens would-be autocrats, while leaving whole communities unrepresented in Congress.

It’s pushing our democracy to the brink.

But, together, we can — and will — push back.

As the leading voice uniting people from across the political spectrum, RepresentUs exists to make real and lasting change to strengthen American democracy.

From exposing and stopping the worst gerrymandering, to helping pass comprehensive anti-corruption and pro-democracy reforms in dozens of states, we’re reminded that the case for optimism endures.

My hope is that this 10-year report serves as a call to action. From sharing one of our videos, to making a donation, joining us in reaching voters, contacting elected officials, and leading campaigns for change, it all matters. And every action makes a difference.

What America do we want our children to inherit? Ask yourself that question. And join us in saving our democracy.

We’re 10 years in. And we’ve only just begun to fight.

Joshua Graham Lynn
CEO and Co-Founder

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WINNING

ACROSS THE USA

161

FOR VOTERS
AND
DEMOCRACY

WINS

37

RANKED CHOICE VOTING WINS

15

ANTI-GERRYMANDERING WINS

64

ELECTIONS WINS

73

ANTI-CORRUPTION RESOLUTION WINS

9

ETHICS WINS

47

ELECTION / VOTING WINS

18

CAMPAIGN FINANCE WINS

14

VOTING ACCESS WINS

STATE WINS BY ISSUE

  • Landmark Win
  • Ethics
  • Voter Registration
  • Vote by Mail
  • Anti-Gerrymandering
  • Money in Politics
  • Ranked Choice Voting

REPRESENTING YOU

THE PEOPLE BEHIND REPRESENTUS

Over a decade of working to save democracy, the numbers start to add up. And every number you see on this page has been powered by people. People like you, your friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Heck, even the folks that you may disagree with on everything except the belief that American democracy is worth fighting for.
Together, united, we can do this!

24,588

VOLUNTEERS

CO-FOUNDERS
IN 2011

UNMATCHED

ENGAGEMENT

The RepresentUs recipe for online success:

  1. Take a complex topic and make it simple and accessible.
  2. Employ a catchy and creative approach.
  3. Engage a well-known, trusted American to deliver the message.
  4. Add emotion, a twist of humor, irony or satire.
  5. Promote the message where lots of people can find and share it.

From the beginning, RepresentUs has taken the fight to save democracy right to the people’s smartphones and computers, setting the organization apart through cutting-edge branding and creative videos amplified by social media.

Prime example: Our short film series: Unbreaking America.

Starring Academy award-winning actor Jennifer Lawrence, our 2019 Unbreaking America, Solving the Corruption Crisis, breaks down flaws in our political system. It has been viewed nearly 10 million times across social media channels and motivated more than 4,000 first-time donors to contribute to RepresentUs.

Jennifer, who also serves on RepresentUs’ Board of Directors, joins an all-star cast of high-profile celebrities, decorated military veterans, artists and ordinary folks who have lent their time, talents and creativity to delivering our message in fresh, clever and compelling ways.

We try to have some fun — but underlying all of our messages is the starkly serious business of saving democracy.

We’re not done yet — so stay tuned.

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1 BILLION

SOCIAL MEDIA
IMPRESSIONS

10 MILLION

VIEWS OF
UNBREAKING
AMERICA

1,618

MEDIA HITS
IN 2021

Supporting For the People Act
Oakland, California
August 2021

WE THE

CHANGEMAKERS

THE MAKING OF A MOVEMENT

From a coffee shop conversation, RepresentUs has grown to a democracy-saving force

Before RepresentUs existed. Before the viral videos viewed by millions. Before “badass grandmas” from North Dakota took on the system and won.

And before our grassroots movement caught fire to pile up more than 160 wins in cities and states nationwide.

Before all of that, Josh Silver and Joshua Graham Lynn would meet sometimes for morning coffee at the Cup & Top cafe in Northampton, Massachusetts. Between cups of coffee and corralling their toddlers, their conversations inevitably turned to the fragile state of America’s democracy.

Then one day Silver shared an idea with Lynn, sliding a few pages of a draft strategic plan across the table, an analysis and antidote to the threats facing American democracy.

“So, I show Josh the document I’ve been working on,” Silver recalls. “He reads it, and says something like, ‘You’ve got something here, but I’m bored. If you want people to care about the solution, they need to understand the problem’.”

Telling a different story

“I told him that change on that scale would need a movement. And building movement requires inspiring people,” says Lynn, who was an executive in marketing at the time.

“Great ideas often come with a very complicated narrative. To get people to change their behaviors, we had to tell a different story.”

Together they expanded on the idea, charting a roadmap that showed people from across the political spectrum that they had the power to take action.

RepresentUs was born.

Silver worked with policy experts to craft the American Anti-Corruption Act, an aspirational framework for reform that remains a blueprint for securing democracy.

Lynn focused on growing the RepresentUs community by making American democracy, and American corruption, easier to understand … and therefore easier to change.

“We broke down the issues, developed policy and organizing tools, and expanded the idea of what’s possible when we all work together,” Lynn says. “We still do that, to prove that American democracy doesn’t have to stay broken. When we unite, we can reshape the system to truly represent us.” He laughs. “I mean, there’s the name, right there.”

RepresentUs scored its first big victory in 2014, when it played a pivotal role in helping volunteers in Tallahassee, Florida to pass an anti-corruption ballot initiative. Tallahassee offered proof of concept that would evolve into Campaign Accelerator, RepresentUs’ tool for targeting resources and funding to campaigns.

Building for the future

RepresentUs has helped secure 161 victories, and counting, over the last decade. But there is much more work to be done.

Voting rights are under attack across the United States. Politicians routinely twist states into gerrymandered shapes to protect their own power, and the January 6 insurrection offered a stark reminder of what’s at stake when extreme conspiracy theories are left unchecked.

RepresentUs will not back down. We’re committed to putting country over party, uniting unlikely allies from across the political spectrum to form a more perfect union.

From a coffee shop in Massachusetts, to kitchen tables in North Dakota, from the Tallahassee city hall to the halls of the U.S. Congress, RepresentUs has achieved so much in the past 10 years. The following pages tell just some of the stories that have blazed a path to a future we can, and must, build together.

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2014 – OUR FIRST WIN!

The RepresentUs vision looked good on paper.

But could it become reality?

Exhibit A: Tallahassee, Florida.

In 2014, RepresentUs’s local leaders led the way for voters in the Sunshine State’s capital city to approve by 2 to 1 the first citywide Anti-Corruption Act in the United States.

The win was fueled by a coalition of unlikely allies consisting of progressives, conservatives, and independents.

Since Tallahassee, RepresentUs has continued to draw from the winning blueprint to score another 161 local and statewide victories.

“Tallahassee provided proof of concept,” says RepresentUs CEO Joshua Graham Lynn. “It affirmed that a nonpartisan coalition with a passion for democracy could rise above party politics to enact meaningful change.”

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Democracy 911 march
Washington, D.C.
September 2019

WE THE

DOERS

POWERED BY THE PEOPLE

Donors and volunteers across the U.S. have joined with RepresentUs in the fight to save democracy

From day one, RepresentUs has empowered Americans from all walks of life and from across the political spectrum with the information, resources, and inspiration to build a powerful grassroots movement.

The people at RepresentUs are always eager to help. They seem to have their own internal spring of optimism and energy.

Justin Whitty, RepresentUs Volunteer

RepresentUs volunteer Justin Whitty got involved after viewing our 2015 video “Corruption is Legal in America.” The video details how our dysfunctional political system encourages politicians to push legislation that favors special interests, rather than backing laws favored by a vast majority of Americans.

“You have to have the belief that something can change,” Justin says. “I think that it’s a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy for people to say that nothing will change so there’s no point in getting involved. There’s dozens of things that you can do today if you have the political will.”

Partnering with RepresentUs staff has helped keep Justin motivated.

“The people at RepresentUs are always eager to help,” Justin says. “They seem to have their own internal spring of optimism and energy.”

Donors making a difference

RepresentUs supporters and volunteers do whatever it takes to secure these wins. Donors are vital to fueling the 161 wins over the past decade.

All told, in 2021 alone, nearly 39,000 supporters made donations ranging from $2 to $2 million, contributing more than $13 million combined to strengthen democracy.

Those donations help fund our Campaign Accelerator’s on-the-ground resources to support volunteer texting campaigns and phone banks as well as organizing rallies, contacting lawmakers, and spreading the message via social media.

‘People with a heart like ours’

College student Julia Lin of Maryland was attracted by RepresentUs’ steady commitment to nonpartisanship. Living in one of the country’s most ridiculously gerrymandered districts, Julia says RepresentUs helps give her a voice.

“I live where my political opinions are not reflected in my community, especially during the very divided times of 2020,” Julia says. “I found that the people with RepresentUs were really willing to have those conversations with others, even with those who have completely different political opinions.”

Halfway across the country in Nebraska, lawyer Wes Dodge works with RepresentUs to help ensure his children and grandchildren will “have a workable, representative government.”

His message to others looking to get involved?

“Persevere,” he says. “People with a heart like ours know what democracy is supposed to be about.”

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FINDING THEIR VOICE

For years, Rich and Lena Eng were disengaged conservative voters who steered clear of politics.

Yet when they saw how our broken political system increasingly threatened democracy and weakened America’s middle class, the Wisconsin couple knew they could no longer stay silent, or still.

Lena and Rich took action, volunteering with RepresentUs to help make calls to legislators, launch text campaigns to recruit more volunteers, and organize in-person events.

“We volunteer with RepresentUs to imagine a better future, where Americans feel their voices are heard, and their elected officials truly represent all of us, not big money donors,” Rich says.

Whether it’s health care or immigration, we’re never going to make any progress on the thorny issues of our time until both sides work together.

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Unrig Summit
New Orleans, Louisiana
February 2018

WE THE

COLLABORATORS

NONPARTISAN BY DESIGN

Uniting unlikely allies, RepresentUs remains committed to country over party

When they launched RepresentUs, Joshua Graham Lynn and Josh Silver saw a center lane in the American democracy movement. A lane with virtually no traffic.

We weave this nonpartisan thread through everything we do.

Joshua Graham Lynn, CEO and Co-Founder

“We focused from the start on being nonpartisan,” Silver says. “Up until RepresentUs, that just never happened. We were the first organization, in both rhetoric and action, to bring together all Americans in support of structural changes to democracy.”

For Lynn, this approach was logical. After all, only about one-quarter of Americans identify as liberal or progressive, but most pro-democracy efforts come from the left. Further, Lynn’s real-life experiences didn’t jibe with the conventional wisdom that the partisan divide was unbreachable.

“I’ve never bought the idea that you can’t possibly have something in common with somebody who votes across the aisle,” Lynn says. “There isn’t a monopoly on good ideas, and people on both sides often share common beliefs. The challenge is they lack the common language to see the opportunity for collaboration.”

RepresentUs has stayed true to its nonpartisan roots. In doing so, we’ve consistently, and often cleverly, changed the tone and substance of the conversation in ways that resonate beyond political affiliation or ideology.

We weave this nonpartisan thread through everything we do, from videos and messaging that keep the focus on attacking a flawed and corrupt system to establishing programs and supporting campaigns that seek to unify across artificial political lines.

Navigating a deepened divide

No doubt, the nonpartisan path has hit some turbulence in more recent years. The January 6 insurrection and the Big Lie have, to put it mildly, complicated matters.

But RepresentUs doesn’t exist to appease those on the fringe extremes.

“The reality is, there are some constituencies that are lost to us,” says Jen Johnson, RepresentUs’ movement director. “If you still believe in the Big Lie, then you likely aren’t interested in what we have to say.

“But there is a larger group of voters, regardless of party, who believe in free and secure elections. Our strategy is focused on making sure there are messengers from across the political spectrum willing to speak out against authoritarianism.”

Tapping trusted voices

To that end, RepresentUs has been increasingly intentional about engaging a broad range of trusted voices and uniting unlikely allies behind a common cause.

This includes recent initiatives such as our collaborative 2020 VoteSafe campaign, which set the record straight on safe, secure mail-in voting and accessible in-person voting options. VoteSafe was co-chaired by former swing-state governors: Pennsylvania Republican Tom Ridge and Democrat Jennifer Granholm from Michigan.

The effort is further amplified by Count Every Hero, a program chaired by retired four-star generals and admirals from all branches of the military, enlisting veterans to defend democracy and fight political corruption as a continuation of their oath to serve. RepresentUs is also formalizing a new coalition, The Board of Democracy, which equips business leaders to advocate for democracy reforms.

“Ultimately, this is a cultural movement, in addition to a political one,” Lynn says. “That is what draws people to RepresentUs. There’s an abiding understanding across America that something is broken in our system, and we need to band together to fix it.”

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TRUSTED VOICES

Retired four-star generals and admirals from all branches of the military have united to chair Count Every Hero, an effort to enlist veterans to defend democracy and fight political corruption as a continuation of their oath to serve.

Former Republican Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge (pictured here) co-chaired VoteSafe, with former Democratic Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm. VoteSafe, aimed to battle misinformation and advocate for secure mail-in and accessible in-person voting options.

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DEFEATING

GERRYMANDERING

REPRESENTUS TAKES A STAND AGAINST GERRYMANDERING

“A broken-winged pterodactyl” is how one Maryland judge once described a Congressional district sprawling around metro Baltimore.

In Ohio, one ridiculously drawn district resembled a sea monster snaking hundreds of miles along the shores of Lake Erie.

And down in Texas, it’s as if politicians used an Etch-a-Sketch to craft a horseshoe-shaped district wrapping around three sides of Houston.

These districts are often cited among the most brazen examples of gerrymandering. While 2020 redistricting has led to some reconfiguring of districts such as these, they represent only a fraction of a larger threat to our democracy. Just as insidious are the many more subtle schemes by politicians to draw maps that stack the deck in their party’s favor.

For years, RepresentUs has been sounding the alarm on gerrymandering, creating educational campaigns aimed at increasing public awareness, while developing tools to keep politicians accountable and voters informed and activated.

This is one issue virtually everyone can get behind. Our national polling shows that nine out of ten voters – regardless of party affiliation – oppose gerrymandering.

Tracking the threats, taking action

With your support and through key partnerships, we’ve been able to push back.

In 2018, we won a series of five statewide victories that led to the creation of independent redistricting commissions, proven to generate fairer maps.

That success created a strong foundation to prepare for the gathering storm triggered by the 2020 census, which required all 50 states to redraw voting maps.

RepresentUs was ready.

We partnered with Princeton to develop the Redistricting Report Card, an interactive tool that relies on a powerful and unique set of analytics to grade each state’s newly-drawn maps during the redistricting process to help the media and public identify gerrymandered maps.

Concurrently, RepresentUs launched the Gerrymandering Threat Index, a 50-state research effort to help the public understand the risks of gerrymandering in each state. The report found that 27 states were at “extreme risk” for gerrymandering, with eight states close behind at “high risk.”

Looking 10 years ahead

The quest to eradicate gerrymandering is far from over. That’s why we’re committed to seeing anti-gerrymandering campaigns through to completion as a key priority in our 2022 Election Protection program.

We’ve also developed an in-state organizing infrastructure to guide us through the next 10 years of election reform, and lay the groundwork to pass commissions in more states to be ready for for the 2031 redistricting process.

We’re in this fight for the long haul. We won’t relent until gerrymandering goes the way of the pterodactyl.

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9

OUT
OF

10

VOTERS,
REGARDLESS
OF PARTY
AFFILIATION,
OPPOSE
GERRYMANDERING

FEATURED VICTORIES

Colorado:

A bipartisan coalition rallied behind two anti-gerrymandering initiatives to form an independent commission to oversee federal and state map drawing. RepresentUs members joined the cause and helped inform voters and get out the vote. Because of all that hard work, Colorado voters approved of the amendments and put an end to partisan gerrymandering.

Michigan:

In 2016, a 27-year-old, self-described political novice named Katie Fahey posted to Facebook, calling for a volunteer effort to end gerrymandering in Michigan. Thousands heeded her call, gathering 425,000 signatures to place an initiative on the ballot that would create an impartial citizen commission to draw district lines. Michigan voters approved Proposition 2 and put an end to gerrymandered districts in Michigan.

Missouri:

In 2015, the legislature refused to vote on the Missouri Anti-Corruption Amendment, proposed by conservative State Senator and RepresentUs Advisory Council member Rob Schaaf. Three months later, a right-left coalition kicked off a signature drive for the Clean Missouri Amendment that ensured no political party is given an unfair advantage in map-drawing. Missouri voters approved Amendment 1 in 2018.

Ohio:

Voters passed a law forcing bipartisan agreement about where district lines are drawn, requiring public input on maps, and requiring that districts cannot be drawn to favor or disfavor a political party or its incumbents.

Utah:

This voter-approved initiative created an independent commission to propose state legislative and congressional voting district maps that must be geographically compact without unfairly favoring one party over another.

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GERRY’S PIZZA

RepresentUs delivers.

Literally.

Always on the lookout for creative ways to raise awareness, we launched Gerry’s Partisan Pizza, our ‘cheesy’ campaign to target the serious business of gerrymandering.

The campaign connected with those hungry for change. Over two weeks on the road, Gerry’s Pizza Truck traversed nearly 5,000 miles, and served up thousands of pizza slices.

The effort generated news coverage from local and national media outlets coast-to-coast. Most importantly, Gerry’s delivered scores of new volunteers from all walks of life to join in the fight against gerrymandering.

Play Video

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ACROSS THE

FINISH LINE

RepresentUs’ Campaign Accelerator fast-tracks democracy-saving wins

Saving democracy requires tough choices and strategic precision.

Campaign Accelerator allows us to quickly shift into high gear to build real momentum.

Rob Booth, RepresentUs National Field Director

That’s why our Campaign Accelerator program focuses on where we can have maximum impact, zeroing in on campaigns that carry the dual promise of political viability and policy impact. Put another way: Can we win? And if we do, will that win make a meaningful difference?

“We look for ways to organize and energize early-stage campaigns, while for more developed campaigns, we focus on the best ways to drive them over the finish line,” says RepresentUs National Field Director Rob Booth. “Campaign Accelerator allows us to quickly shift into high gear to build real momentum.”

The roots of that momentum are RepresentUs’ relentless tracking and analysis of reform efforts in cities and states across the country. We’re able to flag the best investments of time, money, energy, and precious volunteer hours to deliver substantive and sustainable change.

Addressing persistent challenges

Campaign Accelerator has racked up key wins across the country, while steering clear of two historically challenging dilemmas:

First, the well-meaning efforts to pursue campaigns that have transformative potential, but politically are dead on arrival.

“Chasing these chew up time and resources,” says Megan Caska, political lead for RepresentUs. “And their inevitable demise can sap enthusiasm and dash hope for otherwise important policies.”

Second, are the likely “easy” wins that ultimately make little impact.

“These are tempting, but these scenarios risk a double whammy,” Megan says. “Those who benefit from the corrupt system fire up cigars knowing nothing really changed. At the same time, those who were pushing for change see their efforts resulted in the same old same old, discouraging them from trying again.”

Our winning strategies include:
  1. Grassroots mobilization
  2. Policy design, legal support and political strategy
  3. Branding communications and messaging
  4. Digital media and amplification
  5. Moderate and conservative voter engagement
  6. Hard-hitting accountability campaigns
Accelerating success

Once a viable and winnable campaign is selected for Campaign Accelerator, RepresentUs pivots into action mode, deploying a blend of six core services tailored to the most pressing on-the-ground needs.

Our track record of 161 wins and counting continues to affirm that Campaign Accelerator is among the democracy movement’s most effective programs when it comes to delivering results.

And we’re slamming pedal to the metal, strategically deploying Campaign Accelerator to deliver rapid-fire wins that make impact now, and build toward a movement so powerful it will reach a tipping point that unleashes a red-white-and-blue wave of victories at the local, state, and, ultimately, federal level.

“When you score a win in a state or city, you are making real immediate change, but it also has enormous effect in paving the way to broader reforms elsewhere,” says RepresentUs CEO Joshua Graham Lynn.

“To be clear, this is likely a decades-long fight. But we’re talking about democracy here, and when you look at our nation’s history, whether it was the fight for women’s suffrage or states leading the charge to lower the voting age from 21 to 18, we know that consistent progress ultimately builds towards a critical mass of revolutionary change.”

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KEYS TO THE

ACCELERATOR

  1. Focus on policies at the intersection of policy impact and political viability.
  2. Provide strategic political, legal, branding and media support.
  3. Mobilize grassroots, and engage voters across the political spectrum behind hard-hitting accountability campaigns.

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‘REPRESENTUS

AFFIRMS MY HOPE’

Q+A WITH JON DEVAAN

Former Microsoft executive Jon DeVaan remembers the precise moment in the mid-1990s when he came face-to-face with the ugly truth about money in America’s political system.

“At the time, Microsoft was being sued for antitrust by the federal government,” DeVaan recalls. “And Sen. Orrin Hatch, in veiled but clear language, basically tells Microsoft that if you had been giving your political contributions, you wouldn’t have any of this trouble now. That just struck me as so wrong on so many levels.”

The experience could have jaded DeVaan. Instead, it moved him to action. He started supporting efforts to fight the corrupt system ruled by dark money and special interest contributions. After retiring from Microsoft, he stepped up his involvement with RepresentUs, where he now serves as co-chair of the Board of Directors.

Why did you turn to RepresentUs?

I did my homework, and RepresentUs had the clearest message and simplest language around the Anti-Corruption Act and the defects in the political system. They also played a role in the passage of the Seattle Honest Elections Initiative, which included several key campaign finance reforms that shifted the power from lobbyists to the people. RepresentUs looked like it could get things done, and it’s proven to be the case.

RepresentUs has consistently focused on being nonpartisan. Is that more challenging an increasingly divided America?

There’s no doubt that it’s difficult when one party is pushing anti-democratic legislation, but the reality is, there are plenty of pro-democracy conservatives, and they remain critical to our work. Democracy should not be about your political ideology, but rather maintaining rules of the road that allow for honest debate and fair elections in which both sides abide by the outcome. That’s something that I think the vast majority of Americans believe in, regardless of their political affiliation.

How have you applied your past experience as a Microsoft engineering leader in your role with RepresentUs?

I am trying to use my skill set to help RepresentUs grow and be able to do more. There is a natural evolution that occurs from scrappy start-up to a more powerful and established organization, and we’re focused on navigating that in a way that allows RepresentUs to continue to make a bigger impact. One area where I think we have made real progress is the quality of our partnerships. There is no one single organization that can just swoop in and do it all. We’ve seen this make a difference in a lot of wins, including some really big victories in Alaska, North Dakota and Michigan.

With all the threats to democracy, how do you stay motivated?

You have to remember that there are many more pro-democracy conservatives and pro-democracy liberals than there are people who believe the Big Lie. A while back, I visited the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama, which is commonly known as the Lynching Memorial. There’s an inscription there of a saying that was used during the civil rights movement that states: ‘Hopelessness is the enemy of justice.’ That was really profound to me and inspiring, because that is what we have to believe if we are to maintain our hope. Whatever happens, you have to keep fighting for our rights and for our freedom. I refuse to lose our democracy. RepresentUs affirms my hope.

Jon DeVaan, RepresentUs Board Member, former Microsoft Executive, Social Activist

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‘SACRED ACT’

Q+A WITH DESMOND MEADE

RepresentUs Board member Desmond Meade knows what it’s like to have the right to vote stripped away, and the transformative power of getting it back.

For years, Meade was ineligible to vote in Florida because of a past felony conviction. He and more than 1 million other Floridians in similar circumstances were banned from voting for life.

Meade believes those who have served their debt to society deserve to have a voice in American democracy. So he took action.

As executive director of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, Meade in 2018 led the successful effort to pass Amendment 4, a grassroots initiative that restored voting rights to more than 1.4 million Floridians with past felony convictions.

The win marked the single largest expansion of voting rights in the United States in half a century and earned Meade a spot on Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2019. In 2021, Meade was named a MacArthur “genius grant” winner for his voting rights advocacy.

What was it that attracted you to RepresentUs?

The big thing is the nonpartisan focus, that is crucial to what we are trying to achieve. It’s so easy to point fingers at the other side, but where RepresentUs gets it right is to attack the flawed system. It’s the system that creates this hypertribalism. Here in Florida, our governor is trying to carve out extra seats for Republicans, but Democrats are doing the same in blue states. It needs to be less about partisan divide and more about Americans coming together for the sake of our democracy.

How did it feel to finally have the freedom to cast your vote?

Most people view voting as being a highly political act. But what I found when I had my right to vote restored is that voting is much deeper than just being political. When I was finally in that voting booth, I realized that I wasn’t voting as a Democrat or a Republican. I was engaging in a sacred act that people have given their life for. Being able to vote served as an affirmation of my humanity, my existence, and my place within a society.

What do you say to those who may feel daunted by the threats to our democracy?

You have to remain resilient. It’s easy to go down these rabbit holes, and there is plenty of justification to go down those holes. But you have to fight through that and keep focused. We cannot allow ourselves to get lost in chaos. You have to latch on to a guiding principle, hold on tight, and keep pushing forward, knowing that if you do that, you can break through.

What would your advice be to someone who wants to get involved with RepresentUs?

If you have the means, donate, because that funding is so vital to help us continue to do the work. Also, there are simple ways to get involved, whether that is signing petitions or phone banking or even just sharing RepresentUs videos and memes.

But most important is your willingness to look at this challenge from a nonpolitical, nonpartisan perspective. What do you want your democracy to look like? Do you always want one side to have an unfair advantage over the other side? We need to move beyond that. When you work with RepresentUs, you can help us get there.

Desmond Meade, RepresentUs Board Member and Executive Director, Florida Rights Restoration Coalition

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Desmond Meade, RepresentUs Board
Member & Executive Director, Florida
Rights Restoration Coaliti

Unrig Summit
Nashville, Tennessee
March 2019

WE THE

BUILDERS

FIXING A BROKEN SYSTEM

RepresentUs has a clear vision to fight corruption and save our democracy

Early in our existence, we proposed a policy blueprint, a collection of policies designed to restore power and influence to the people, and defang special interests and corrupt politicians. We called it the “American Anti-Corruption Act.”

“The Anti-Corruption Act represents our best thinking on how to fix the system and strengthen democracy,” says RepresentUs CEO Joshua Graham Lynn. “It serves as an organizing tool and a policy platform that underscores that if we were to achieve all these policies, we would have a strong democracy. We can present it to policymakers and allies, and say, ‘If you are looking for solutions, here they are.’”

The Act includes seven tenets that address the most pressing threats to democracy.

  1. Establish ranked choice voting: Voters can rank their top candidates, allowing them to support their top choice without fear of inadvertently helping elect the other party’s candidate. This makes it easier to elect independent-minded candidates not beholden to establishment special interests.
  2. End gerrymandering: The act aims to end gerrymandering by creating independent, fully transparent redistricting commissions that follow strict guidelines to ensure accurate representation for all voters, regardless of political party.
  3. Let all voters participate in open primaries: The act requires all candidates for the same office compete in a single, open primary controlled by voters, not the political establishment. This gives voters more control over our elections and more choices at the voting booth.
  4. Allow all Americans to vote absentee: Absentee voting, also known as vote by mail, gives every American the choice to securely vote from the comfort and safety of their home.
  5. Change how elections are funded: Most politicians are dependent upon, and therefore responsive to, a tiny fraction of special-interest donors. The Act offers every voter a small credit they can use to make a political donation with no out-of-pocket expense. Candidates and political groups are only eligible to receive these credits if they agree to fundraise solely from small donors. The Act also empowers political action committees that only take donations from small donors.
  6. Enact reasonable term limits: When elected officials are allowed to become career politicians, our elections become uncompetitive and new ideas have a harder time being heard. The act sets reasonable term limits of 18 years at each level of government so candidates focus on public service.
  7. Enact automatic voter registration: The act automatically registers all interested eligible voters when they interact with government agencies, whether they are registering their car, getting a hunting license, applying for food assistance, or signing up for the national guard. Voters can always opt out from being registered. Information is transmitted electronically and securely to a central source maintained by the state.

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ALASKA LEADS THE WAY

America’s ‘last frontier’ has moved to the front of the pack when it comes to securing American democracy.

In 2018 and 2020, Alaskan voters passed a suite of reforms that serve as the ‘gold standard’ for the other 49 states. RepresentUs was on the ground to help make it happen.

At the core of the reforms is a revamped voting system that gives Alaskans more choices at the ballot box. Starting in the 2022 midterm election, Alaska will be the first state to have the transformative combination of nonpartisan primaries, followed by ranked choice voting in general elections called Final Four Voting, along with improvements in ethics and transparency.

Why is this significant?

When it comes to primaries, the nonpartisan (or open-single ballot) system avoids the closed or semi-closed partisan primaries held by many states, which can disadvantage independent and unaffiliated voters, while also preventing Democrats and Republicans from voting across the aisle for a candidate they may prefer.

For the general elections, ranked choice voting allows voters to vote for their preferred candidate, even a Green Party or Libertarian candidate, without worrying that they are throwing their vote away or helping a candidate they don’t like win. It also ensures that the eventual winner has majority support.

In a ranked-choice election, voters rank as many candidates as they wish in order of preference. If one candidate receives more, this process continues until there is a majority winner.

Ranked choice voting saves money by avoiding expensive runoff elections. It also promotes less divisive campaigning, which, over time, holds the promise of narrowing our nation’s deep political divides and strengthening our democracy for the future.

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The Badass Grandmas accept their
Courage Award at the Unrig Summit
in Nashville, Tennessee.
March 2019

WE THE

BADASSES

GRANDMAS GET IT DONE IN NORTH DAKOTA

It’s not often that the words ‘badass’ and ‘grandma’ make their way into the same sentence.

But it makes perfect sense when you hear the story of a group of North Dakota grandmas who parlayed their daily coffee shop gripes about corrupt government into a historic victory for democracy in their state.

I remember just waking up every day, being stunned with gratitude and awe. RepresentUs kept delivering.

Ellen Chaffee, Badass Grandma

Led by two bipartisan baddies, Dina Butcher and Ellen Chaffee, the Badass Grandmas (a name coined by Chaffee’s 17-year-old grandson) worked with RepresentUs to capture 36,000 signatures supporting a constitutional amendment they drafted, and then generated enough support to pass it on Election Day.

The amendment, approved by North Dakota voters in 2018, formed one of the nation’s toughest ethics and transparency laws. It overhauled government ethics oversight, banned foreign money from elections, restricted lobbying, and created an independent ethics commission.

Standing up to special interests

The unlikely path to victory was anything but easy. The Badass Grandmas had to stand up to fierce opposition from oil companies ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips, as well other multinationals, trade associations, and political organizations who were hellbent on maintaining their control over the state’s lawmakers.

And then there was the peer pressure that can be exerted in North Dakota, where Chaffee quips “you always assume that the person you’re talking to is a relative of the person you’re talking about.”

Previous ethics proposals championed by the Democratic Party in deep red North Dakota faced swift deaths in the Republican controlled legislature.

As a result, the grandmas knew this effort needed to be multi-partisan for any chance of success.

Butcher, a Republican, and Chaffee, who has registered as both a Democrat and Independent over the years, made for the perfect public face for the group. Together, they formed an unassuming duo who delivered an anti-corruption, pro-transparency message that resonated in both red and blue households across the state.

Later, Butcher and Chaffee would recount their story at RepresentUs’ Unrig Summit in Nashville.

“Jennifer Lawrence was on stage and presented us with RepresentUs’ Courage Award,” Chaffee recalls. “That pretty much cemented our badass bona-fides with all our grandchildren.”

Following the RepresentUs roadmap

The women believe their campaign is a model for others who want to team up with RepresentUs to enact powerful change.

“Obviously, we never could have accomplished what we did without RepresentUs,” Chaffee says. “They gave us the network. They gave us the spine and encouragement when we were down. And they gave us a roadmap that helped us through to the end.

“I remember just waking up every day, being stunned with gratitude and awe. RepresentUs kept delivering. They kept teaching us and supporting us. Honestly, it makes me want to cry knowing there are people out there like those at RepresentUs. They’ll always have our greatest loyalty and gratitude.”

Totally badass.

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LESSONS LEARNED
FROM A NEIGHBOR

When the Badass Grandmas needed inspiration, and some key lessons learned, they merely needed to look to their sister state to the south.

South Dakota had a blueprint for much of what the Badass Grandmas hoped to achieve in North Dakota. That blueprint came in the form of the 2016 South Dakota Government Accountability and Anti- Corruption Act.

The sweeping measure, backed by people of all political backgrounds, increased transparency and accountability and empowered voters across the state.

Victory was sweet. But unfortunately, it was short-lived.

Turned out that the will of the people didn’t sit well with some of those in power and their special interest allies.

In 2017, establishment politicians repealed the law, and then funded a massive misinformation campaign that beat back an attempt in 2018 to re-establish key elements of the accountability and anti-corruption bill.

Democracy defenders in South Dakota haven’t given up. And their experience provided essential lessons learned for bringing about durable change in other states such as North Dakota, where reforms have held strong.

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Renaldo Pearson walks 600 miles to Washington D.C.
September 2019

WE THE

PEOPLE

DEMOCRACY 2050

A VISION FOR TODAY, AND TOMORROW

When it comes to saving our democracy, RepresentUs has a big, bold vision:

Make America the world’s strongest democracy by 2050.

Our vision focuses on ensuring your children, grandchildren and the generations of Americans to follow can thrive in a free and uncorrupted democracy.

Over the past 10 years we’ve made progress by building a fiercely nonpartisan movement. But winning lasting change requires us to redouble our efforts and bring together unlikely allies from across the political spectrum, and across the country, to join in our fight.

Our 2050 strategy aims to amplify our success in three key areas:

  1. Put country over party
  2. Build a movement
  3. Win impactful campaigns in states and cities nationwide

What will American democracy look like in 2050?

Imagine a nation where the best and brightest run for office and win. Where the best ideas, not the biggest wallets, determine political outcomes. Where elected officials serve the public interest, not special interests.

And a nation where We the People pursue life, liberty and happiness on behalf of this generation and the next.

That vision can become our reality, and our legacy.

Let’s get to work.

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NATIONAL FOCUS

RepresentUs is making our presence known in Washington, D.C.

In 2021 and 2022, RepresentUs moved closer than ever to realizing federal reforms we’ve been working towards for the past 10 years.

We’re committed to staying on the ground, and giving you a voice in Washington, D.C. To that end, we’re executing on federal strategies for 2022 and beyond to:

  • Build long-term relationships and bolster brand awareness to establish RepresentUs as a key federal partner.
  • Share expert research and policy analysis to guide future legislation before it’s even introduced.
  • Engage federal lawmakers to support pro-democracy campaigns in their states and districts to support a durable democracy.

We haven’t yet reached the pivotal tipping point when local and state momentum spills over into the halls of Congress. But we’re confident that day will come.

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3

WAYS YOUR DONATION
MAKES A DIFFERENCE
  1. DEFEND

Defend American democracy by protecting free and secure elections, cutting out political corruption, and fighting political extremism.

  1. EDUCATE

Educate everyday Americans about how our government is supposed to work, where it falls short, and what policies can ensure it actually represents us.

  1. INSPIRE

Inspire Americans to take action in their communities, and win, to make America the world’s strongest democracy by 2050.

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If Starbucks keep fighting unions, perhaps Russia will move into your country with STARS COFFEE


Stars Coffee

Now, Seattle-born Starbucks, the iconic coffee chain, has become the latest American institution to become “Russified.” On Thursday, one of Russia’s most popular rappers, Timur Yunusov—more commonly known as Timati—alongside restaurateur Anton Pinskiy, unveiled “Stars Coffee” as the replacement for Starbucks in Russia.4 days ago

Pro-Putin rapper buys Starbucks in Russia and ‘Russifies’ it …

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Starbucks Closes One of the First Union Organized Stores in Kansas City Area–is this a threat to all unionizing?


If it looks and smells like retaliation against unions? What do you think, KC?–KAS

BUSINESS

Starbucks location on Country Club Plaza closes permanently

by: Makenzie KochJohn Pepiton

Updated: Aug 23, 2022 / 02:01 PM CD

Can Starbucks legally closes Kansas City store for unionizing?

https://www.kansascity.com › business › article264813444

4 hours ago — After Starbucks closed its Plaza location, workers are saying its part of a union busting effort, not safety concerns.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Starbucks location on Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza has shut its doors.

The business posted a letter that it’s permanently closed as of 3:30 p.m. Monday. The letter did not provide a reason for closing. Read the full letter below.

FOX4 reached out to Starbucks for more information. A company spokesperson issued the following statement:

“We regularly open and close stores as a standard part of our business operations. We apply the same focus on safety at unionized and non-union stores and are closing non-union stores where we are similarly challenged in providing a safe environment for our customer and partner experience.”Whataburger aims for September opening for new Kansas City-area location

FOX4 also reached out to the Plaza, and a spokesperson had no comment on Starbucks’ safety concerns at this time.

Many frequent Starbucks customers were upset to learn the Plaza location closed.

“I thought it was kind of strange,” said Cameron Washington, a Starbucks regular. “I normally do it online on the way to work, and it seemed like there was kind of a glitch in the system. I ordered, paid, and then when I pulled up, there was a gentleman outside saying it’s been permanently closed.”

A Starbucks employee who was working Monday when the store closed said the only explanation from management was that the store was closing for “safety and security” reasons.

Both customers and workers have reported hearing and seeing gunshots fired outside the Starbucks last week.Ford announces it’s cutting 3,000 jobs worldwide

A Starbucks worker said employees told managers they didn’t feel safe.

“Workers feel unsafe all across America,” said Josh Crowell, a worker at the store. “Kansas City has a gun violence problem. And that’s part of what we’re saying here. Closing the store doesn’t make us safer because they’re going to ship us to 41st and Main, less than a mile up the road. That’s not going to be safer for us. Yeah, workers feel unsafe, but shutting down the store is not a solution to that safety concern.”

Kansas City police said officers heard gunshots near 47th and Wyandotte streets at 7 p.m. Aug. 14. Witnesses told police at least two individuals were shooting at each other and then left. Police said the shooting caused damage to one business nearby. 

Starbucks shut down 16 cafes nationwide last month over similar safety concerns. According to the Wall Street Journal, the concerns ranged from drug use to disruptions in cafes.

The Plaza location also was one of the first stores in the Kansas City area to announce plans to unionize, but the vote was a tie, which counts as a loss. It’s part of a nationwide movement of Starbucks employees organizing to be part of unions. Baristas have asked for better pay, benefits and treatment.FOX4 Newsletters: Get the latest headlines sent directly to your inbox

“I definitely believe that part of this is a union busting situation,” Crowell said. “I think Starbucks was tired of dealing with us, having a tight election and decided to just shut us down so that way they don’t have to worry about it moving forward.”

According to records from the National Labor Relations Board, over 300 U.S. Starbucks have petitioned to hold union elections since late last year. More than 220 of those stores have voted to unionize. 

Workers at Starbucks locations in Independence, Overland Park, and at 41st and Main streets recently voted to have unions represent them.

—————

The full letter posted outside the Plaza Starbucks reads:

Dear Starbucks Customers,

On August 22nd at 3:30 p.m., your Starbucks Country Club Plaza location at 302 Nichols Rd. will be permanently closing. We would like to thank you for being part of our store community; you are the heart of who we are at Starbucks. It has been a great pleasure to connect with you every day. We are very thankful to have played a role in your daily routine and that you have shared these moments of your life with us.

We hope that you will continue to visit us and allow us to serve you at one of our neighboring stores:

  • 41st & Main — 4101 Main St.
  • West 39th Street — 1701 W. 39th St.
  • 63rd and Brookside — 6304 Brookside Blvd.

To find your new favorite store, connect with your baristas to learn where they’ll be working after the closure of this store. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Eric Schmidt or Trena Cruz.

Sincerely,

District manager, Trena Cruz — tcruz@starbucks.com

Store manager, Eric Schmidt — US1848034@starbucks.com

Starbucks says it closed its Plaza cafe for safety worries, but …

https://www.kcur.org › news › starbucks-says-it-closed-…

5 hours ago — The store was the first in the Kansas City area to attempt to unionize. … see the closure as Starbucks retaliation for trying to unionize.

Starbucks Threatened to Shutter Stores Over Organizing …

https://www.bloomberg.com › news › articles › starbuc…

Mar 1, 2022 — Starbucks Threatened to Shutter Stores Over OrganizingUnion Claims. Group says company threatened to shut down Buffalo area stores.

Starbucks union claims company closed two cafes in retaliation

https://news.yahoo.com › starbucks-workers-union-clai…

7 hours ago — The Kansas City cafe is the second busiest in the area, the union said. The reason it was given for the closure was safety concerns.

The Starbucks union wave hits Kansas and Missouri

https://thebeacon.media › stories › 2022/06/30 › starbu…

Jun 30, 2022 — So far, five Starbucks stores have unionized in Missouri, with the 41st and Main streets location in Kansas City becoming the latest to win …

Perhaps the new Russian chain, STARS, will set up shop one day at this beautiful location in the Plaza. What do you think?

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SexEd Battle


STUDENT WELL-BEING

The Sex Ed. Battleground Heats Up (Again). Here’s What’s Actually in New Standards

By Sarah Schwartz — August 22, 2022  11 min read

Illustration of contraceptives and anatomical diagrams of internal reproductive organs and cells
Alisa Potapovich/iStock/Getty

When Judy LoBianco first started teaching health education decades ago, she leaned into what she called the “shock value.”

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Sarah Schwartz is a reporter for Education Week who covers curriculum and instruction.

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