Justice Updates Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Kindness is everywhere. Watch some on this 5-minute video called Laundromat.

Everyone deserves to be counted. The national CENSUS which occurs every 10 years will begin next April 2020. The goal of the census is to count every person living in the U.S. The data is used to make planning decisions about where to provide services for seniors, build new roads and schools, locate job training centers, allocate funding for neighborhood improvements, public health, education, transportation. Over $800 billion in annual federal funding will be distributed based on the 2020 Census. This is why it is so important that all individuals are counted whether they are documented or not, citizens or green card holders, urban, suburban, or rural.

This administration has proposed to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census which will likely decrease the number of undocumented persons responding to the census because of fear that it will be used to deport them.  Undercounting this population will reduce the monies available for towns and states to help them.  Arguments for and against this citizenship question were recently heard in the Supreme Court.

In order to ensure that the citizenship question is NOT included on this census, a bill has been introduced in the House called the 2020 Census IDEA (Improving Data and Enhanced Accuracy Act). This Act will prohibit the Department of Commerce from implementing any major operational design features that have not been researched, studied, and tested for at least three years before the date of the census or include on the census questionnaire any subject, type of information, or questions that were not submitted to Congress. (The citizenship question was kind of snuck in by the Department of Commerce so it hasn’t been tested which is the common approach to changes in the census.) Please call your representative and urge them to support H.R. 732.  To see the co-sponsors of the IDEA Act or if your representative is backing the bill, click here:

You can also add your name to this petition from Faith in Public Life to keep the citizenship question off the census questionnaire.

Why should we be concerned about the 2020 Census? Faith in Public Life explains why.

  1. Everyone deserves to be counted. Our shared faiths teach that every person is created with equal dignity by God. That means everyone deserves to be counted by their government.
  2. The Census is completely confidential. When you fill out the Census survey, your personally identifiable information will not be shared outside the Census Bureau with any other government agencies. Everything is confidential and protected by ironclad laws. Personal census information is only public after 72 years, and historians often use those data for important research.
  3. The 2020 Census is the first high-tech Census with an online response option. However, you will have the option to respond by telephone or with a paper questionnaire.
  4. Our community benefits from everyone being counted. Over $800 billion in annual federal funding is distributed based on the 2020 Census.
    • Federal agencies use census data to allocate billions of dollars at the state and local levels for vital community services such as hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, job training centers, senior centers and police departments.
    • It also determines how many Representatives each state has in Congress.
    • Our Congressional and state legislative districts are redrawn using census data.
    • If we get under-counted, we get underfunded and underrepresented.
  5. As a consequence of systemic racism, people of color have historically been under-counted in the Census.
    • In the 2010 Census, 3.7 million African Americans and 3.8 million Hispanics were not counted.
    • The legacy of racist systems that have privileged white communities with access to capital and education have contributed to people of color being harder to count.
    • Ensuring everyone is counted in the 2020 Census is a matter of racial justice long overdue.
  6. We have a legal and moral responsibility to participate in the Census.
    • Part of looking out for our community is ensuring that we have the resources we need to thrive. We have a responsibility to participate in the Census.
    • Our families, children and neighbors are counting on us. We have to work together to ensure that everyone in our community is counted.
  7. Completing the Census is easy and you can get help or support. The 2020 Census will be the first high-tech Census with an online response option. 80% of households will receive a postcard from the Census Bureau in the mail including a link to the official 2020 Census website and a unique identification code. With the identification code, you can answer the 11 questions online. If you do not respond online or by phone, a paper questionnaire will be sent to you which you can fill out and mail back to the Census Bureau. If you do not respond to that, individual Census workers may come to your door to collect your responses. The other 20% of households, mostly those with older adults and low broadband access and internet usage, will be sent the actual survey to be completed and returned by mail along with a unique identification code to respond online. (Faith in Public Life Toolkit)

The re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (H.R. 1585) passed the House of Representatives in April.  Now we need the Senate to reauthorize it.   Some additions to the act include gun safety measures to decrease firearm-related domestic homicides, protecting families living in federal housing from evictions when abusers act violently, and addressing the reality that Native women and children endure domestic and sexual violence at rates higher than the national average by providing legal avenues for holding non-Native abusers and predators accountable.

VAWA has had a profound impact on survivors’ lives by providing funding for programs and services to support close to 50,000 survivors and provide over a million victim services between 2014 and 2016 alone.

Please call your Senators and urge them to pass this legislation.  Here is some suggested language for your call:

The Violence Against Women Re-authorization Act of 2019 (VAWA) is an important piece of legislation that provides tens of thousands of survivors of domestic and sexual violence and their families with critical resources. It is imperative that you reauthorize VAWA with all proposed improvements and with NO amendments that would exclude certain groups of providers and survivors as they seek justice, healing and safety. Survivors’ lives depend on VAWA.

 More on the border.  The administration continues to take actions to stop the flow of asylum seekers at the southern border.  The only action that will really stop this is to fix the systemic problems in their home countries that force asylum seekers to flee to America to save themselves and their children.  One tactic is to force them to remain in Mexico until their hearing. It called the “Remain in Mexico” Policy. Here is information about this program.

You can send an email to the Department of Homeland Security asking them to rescind the “Remain in Mexico” policy by clicking here.

Read about Morena Mendoza and her 11-year-old son, Antonio, who fled El Salvador, fearing gang violence in their native country.

Why boycott Wendy’s?   Want to know more about the Fair Food Program or the boycott of Wendy’s or Krogers?

Watch this 1 minute video to know more about the Fair Food Program.

Here are letters you can give the managers to explain why you are boycotting their businesses.    Kroger Letter   Wendy’s Letter

Please let me know if you take this action.  Thanks.

It’s not too late…to save the planet. We have all heard the dire news about what humans are doing to the planet.  Those warnings are legitimate and we can all make a difference to slow down the destruction. According to the Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystems Serves (IPBES), a UN committee reported on the rate of species extinction. They recently released a report written by 145 experts from 50 countries.

Despite the ominous picture “it is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level from local to global,” said Sir Robert Watson, chair of the committee, adding that this would require an overhaul of economic systems and a shift in political and social mindsets.

For an overview of the report click here.


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