Weekly e-Newsletter 6/1/2022

Art of the Week

Everything hurts,
Our hearts shadowed and strange,
Minds made muddied and mute.
We carry tragedy, terrifying and true.
And yet none of it is new;
We knew it as home,
As horror,
As heritage.
Even our children
Cannot be children,
Cannot be.

Everything hurts.
It’s a hard time to be alive,
And even harder to stay that way.
We’re burdened to live out these days,
While at the same time, blessed to outlive them.

This alarm is how we know
We must be altered —
That we must differ or die,
That we must triumph or try.
Thus while hate cannot be terminated,
It can be transformed
Into a love that lets us live.

May we not just grieve, but give:
May we not just ache, but act;
May our signed right to bear arms
Never blind our sight from shared harm;
May we choose our children over chaos.
May another innocent never be lost.

Maybe everything hurts,
Our hearts shadowed & strange.
But only when everything hurts
May everything change.

Take Action: Send an impactful letter against gun violence to your elected officials

Credit: Heather Mount, Unsplash

Since the Friday shootings in Uvalde, TX, there have been 12 more mass shootings according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Are you angry? Frustrated? Overwhelmed? 

Good news: Pressure is mounting on politicians to pass legislation. You can help change state and national policy by sending your own impassioned letter or email, based on this powerful template from Alliance intern Eric Yu.

You can reach your federal and state elected reps here.

Sustainability Tip: DIY cleaning products for a sustainable home

While we enjoy the convenience of commercial house-cleaning supplies, a recent study shows that they can be toxic to human bodies and the environment.

According to the  Environmental Working Group, chemicals like 1,4-Dioxane (found in detergents), “quats” (spray cleaners), and chlorine bleach (bathroom cleaners) can be harmful to the lungs and asthma-triggering. Some chemicals can also result in water and air pollution, which also harms wildlife. 

Can we clean our houses safely and cheaply? Yes, with DIY cleaners using common household ingredients! Baking soda, unscented soap, lemon juice, white vinegar, vegetable oil, alcohol, and cornstarch can be mixed together to create sustainable cleaning materials. Learn how to combine these materials for specific cleaning purposes with Eartheasy.

What to Watch: PBS’ Police on Trial

Minneapolis city surveillance video of police taking George Floyd into custody May 25, 2020.

The Frontline documentary Police on Trial draws on unique on-the-ground reporting and filming, including struggles for Minneapolis police accountability and reform.

Calendar

Highlights

– Take Action: Send an impactful letter against gun violence to your elected officials
Art of the Week: Hymn for the Hurting by Amanda Gorman
– Inspiration: Latina LGBTQ activist and trailblazer Sylvia Rivera
– Sustainability Tip:
DIY cleaning products for a sustainable home
– Good News:
Biden’s call for real climate costs survives court challenge
Bad News: Anti-trans legislation at all-time high
What to Watch: PBS’ Police on Trial

Thanks to TIME Magazine for its cover asking When are we going to do something about gun violence and showing the hundreds of communities that have endured mass shootings

At the Alliance

We are continuing to feel deep grief and anger about the horrific shootings of children in Uvalde and Black people in Buffalo. In addition to the blatant lack of police action to save the lives of children in Uvalde, we are angered about the lack of meaningful Federal action to stop gun violence.

At the same time, our anger is felt so widely across America that there is an opportunity to finally pressure Congress to take some first baby steps to address gun violence. But that will only happen if we speak up. Please join us and use our Take Action to send a personal letter or email to your Federal and state elected officials. Together, we can make a difference.

As we celebrate Pride Month, we’re deeply concerned by a growing number of states passing anti-Trans legislation (see article below).

On a more positive note, this Sunday, June 5 is World Environment Day, the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations’ first-ever environmental conference in Stockholm. It also marks the 30th Anniversary of the historic 1992 U.N. World Environmental Summit in Rio. The Alliance was there and worked with more than 100 NGOs and various countries to have sustainable agriculture adopted as a goal by all 179 countries, which was included as Chapter 14 of Agenda 21, the bold action plan for the 21st century.

While we face so many difficult challenges today, it reminds us that our voices matter and how together we can bring about fundamental changes. Please help us continue to do that by supporting the Alliance’s work.

Inspiration: Latinx LGBTQ activist and trailblazer Sylvia Rivera

Sylvia Rivera, a Latinx transgender woman, fought for transgender rights until the day she died. Born in New York in 1951, Rivera participated in the Stonewall Riot at 17. Though an advocate for LGBTQ rights, Rivera was discouraged from participating in gay parades as a transgender person. However, she turned her anger into motivation and “fought against the exclusion of transgender people from the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act in New York,” according to Emma Rothberg. 

At the age of 19, Rivera fought alongside trans activist Marsha P. Johnson and started an organization called the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) in 1971. It provided a safe space for transgender people to share experiences and find consolidation. In 1997, she collaborated with the gay rights movement and sought to include broader gender diversity.

Rivera died in 2002 at the age of 50, but her legacy remains. The Sylvia Rivera Law Project continues to work on gender liberation and low-income justice through increasing their political visibility and voice. Learn more about Rivera through the National Women’s History Museum

Good News: Biden's call for real climate costs survives court challenge

Credit: USA Today

If you care about the climate, here’s some good news about a complex topic that really matters. When we make decisions about any climate-related issue, a key element is calculating the cost of the environmental damage from greenhouse gases (GHGs).

Republicans have sought to minimize the costs to almost nothing, and thereby allow the fossil fuel and auto industries to avoid regulation.

Fortunately, “on his first day in office, Biden issued an order that restored the cost estimate to about $51 per ton of carbon dioxide emissions after the Trump administration had reduced the figure to about $7 or less per ton,” according to PBS Newshour.

In a win for our climate and environment, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans unanimously upheld Biden’s order and the US Supreme Court just backed their decision.

Bad News: Anti-trans legislation at all-time high

LGBTQ rights supporters gather at the Texas Capitol to protest efforts to pass anti-trans legislation. Credit: Tamir Kalifa, Getty Images

More than 300 anti-LGBTQ bills have been proposed in various states in 2022, according to the Human Rights Campaign. At least 93 directly target transgender people according to NPR. You can find the status in your state and Take Action.

Idaho is considering one of the most draconian bills, which makes providing medical care to trans youths a felony punishable with up to life in prison.

In another outrage, “Texas Gov. Greg Abbott directed that state’s Department of Family and Protective Services to open child abuse investigations into parents who pursue gender-affirming health care for their trans children,” writes Emily St. James in an excellent and comprehensive piece for Vox.

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