Things That Matter

Two Republican Senators Post Photos Of Elijah Cummings While Honoring John Lewis

This weekend, the U.S. lost one of the greatest Civil Rights icons in history. Rep. John Lewis died July 17, 2020, and tributes poured out for the long-running congressman.

Congressman John Lewis leaves behind a legacy of racial justice and activism for civil rights.

Rep. Lewis was a major leader in the Civil Rights movement in 1960s Alabama. On March 7, 1965, Lewis led a group of people marching to Montgomery, the Alabama capital, in order to vote. As the group tried crossing the bridge, state troopers attacked the protesters. Lewis sustained a cracked skull during that attack. Every year after, Lewis crossed that bridge on the anniversary to commemorate the fight.

Tributes poured in on social media praising the congressman’s legacy of fighting for justice.

Rep. Lewis was relentless in his fight for justice and for racial equality. He was arrested several times throughout his life while fighting the injustices he wanted to change in this country. The activism eventually led him to a life of politics. The 80-year-old politician was first elected to Georgia’s 5th congressional district in 1987 and he served his district until his death.

On the eve of his death, the Supreme Court announced a decision that barred 1 million former felons from having their right to vote restored. This was something for which Rep. Lewis started with his fight for justice. He fought for the right of people to vote and would always remind people of their duty to vote in honor of those who fought for the right. The decision was a reminder that his fight was not over.

“There is no person more associated with the sacred right to vote in our lifetime than John Lewis,” Michigan Representative Dan Kildee told the Atlanta Journal Consitution. “To be able to execute his vote — to cast his vote for him — is an honor I will be able to keep with me until the day I die.”

Kildee was chosen by Rep. Lewis to cast his votes for him while he was in hospice. Rep. Lewis was ill from pancreatic cancer during his last days serving the people of Georgia’s 5th congressional district.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio offered his condolences but used the wrong picture.

Rep. Elijah Cummings died in October 2019 of complications from health issues. People are stunned that Sen. Rubio, who has worked with both Cummings and Lews in the past, would mix the two up.

The very uncomfortable mix up was exacerbated when Senator Dan Sullivan made the same mistake.

That’s right. Two senators made the mistake of posting a photo of themselves with Rep. Elijah Cummings. Rep. Lewis knew very well that this confusion was a long-running issue and made jokes about it in the past. On April 1, 2019, Rep. Lewis released a statement on how he was going to start ming sure people can tell them apart: a beard or head tattoo.

“I considered getting a tattoo on the back of my head, just to clear things up. I tried to convince Elijah to get one too, but that didn’t go over so well.,” reads Rep. Lewis’s statement. “I guess being mistaken does have its advantages, though. Elijah’s younger than me, so I guess being mistaken for him is kind of a compliment. Maybe one day when I have a schedule conflict, I’ll see if he wouldn’t mind sitting in a hearing for me. You think anybody would notice?”

Sen. Rubio eventually tweeted the correct image but not before the damage was done.

The tweet corrects the mistake but is a little too late considering the speed of screengrabs. At least he did take the steps to change the tweet and admit that he did post the wrong image.

Of course, people took the time to turn the narrative and misidentified both Sullivan and Rubio.

Those are fellow Republican senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz of Texas. The mix up is an embarrassing reminder of the racial microaggressions still alive and well today. The moment has reminded people of the trope that all Black people look alike and that is something we are hyperaware of in the current political atmosphere and cultural shift.

READ: Over 60 Politicians Are Boycotting Trump’s Inauguration

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Joe Biden Promises To Fight For Dreamers If Elected In November

Things That Matter

Joe Biden Promises To Fight For Dreamers If Elected In November

Biden For President / Flickr

An overwhelming majority of Americans support protecting Dreamers. Hundreds of thousands of young adults rely on the protection from deportation and work authorization to live with dignity and out of the shadows. Presidential nominee Joe Biden wants to make sure they stay protected.

Dreamers are looking to a Biden administration to finish what an Obama administration started.

Credit: Biden For President / Flickr

According to the official Biden campaign website, the presidential nominee will work with Congress to reinstate DACA protections and to create a pathway to citizenship. DACA was won by undocumented activists putting fear aside and publicly fought to change the minds of Americans and politicans.

“Undocumented ‘youth’ are no longer youth,” says Moises Serrano, DACA activist and the man profiled in the documentary “Forbidden.” “DACA recipients and undocumented immigrants have been living in fear and instability for decades now. We survived eight years under the Obama administration and four years under the Trump administration. Immigration reform was promised under the Obama-Biden platform; a promise that is still unfulfilled.”

He added: “We hope that President Biden puts an end to the instability in our lives once and for all, or we are ready to hold him accountable in the same way we held Obama accountable in our fight for Administrative Relief.”

Biden’s policy proposes protecting Dreamers and helping them advance in this country.

Credit: Biden For President / Flickr

Biden promises to reinstate DACA to protect Dreamers and will be looking into ways to protect their families. The policy put forth by a potential Biden administration is pivotal in giving those who are DACA recipients a chance to live without fear and with all of the rights as their fellow citizens.

“After living through a deep loss in 2016 after losing my second mother and only being granted access to be on her deathbed in Mexico through my ability to get advanced parole through DACA I learned that no loss would ever be greater than that,” said Cindy Nava, a DACA recipient, political operative and policy advocate. “However, November rolled around and another loss took place. One that impacted my life, that of my family and my community.”

DACA is a very important issue as hundreds of thousands of Dreamers are on the line.

Credit: Biden For President / Flickr

People like Nava are hopeful that a Biden administration will bring that dignity back to the immigrant community. It is a community that is vibrant and has contributed vastly to American culture. A BIden administration would be a chance for Nava to see herself reflected in government.

“I am hopeful to see the daughter of immigrants, a woman of color, and a woman I can finally feel represented by be sworn in as the first woman VP of this country,” Nava says. “I will look forward to an administration that listens to the communities it intends to represent. An administration that empowers the entire country to work with each other to support, strengthen, respect and uplift each other each and every day. An administration that values and is grateful for the contributions that immigrants bring to the foundation of our country each and every day.”

Nava wants to see an immigration reform that puts immigrant humanity at the forefront. One that understands the needs for people to seek refuge and a better life in a foreign country.

“No immigrant seeks to find a fix on a silver platter. Nor do they believe that this will be an easy task,” Nava says. “The only thing our families ask for is a chance. Una oportunidad para recordarle a este pais that their lucha and determination comes from a deep sense of ganas to create a life filled with more opportunities than they ever had.”

The battle over DACA is far from over but it is clear that the Trump administration is on the wrong side of public opinion. Biden’s plan would strengthen DACA and restore the program to its full functionality.

READ: Trump Administration Limit DACA Renewals, Blocks New Applications

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Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation: A Road Map To What’s At Stake For Women’s Health And Gay Rights

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Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation: A Road Map To What’s At Stake For Women’s Health And Gay Rights

Photo by HILARY SWIFT/AFP via Getty Images

We are heading into day two of the confirmation hearings that will decide whether of not Amy Coney Barret will fill the vacant spot on the U.S. Supreme Court. The vacancy was left when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away on September 18th.

The lead up to the hearings has been wrought with controversy, as it was Ginsburg’s dying wish that she wasn’t replaced until after the upcoming election. But President Trump and the rest of GOP hastily pushed through a nomination anyway.

Although Amy Coney Barret is a woman, the similarities between her and the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg mostly end there. After her nomination, media outlets quickly discovered that Amy Coney Barret holds extremely conservative personal views–ones that may affect her future rulings. Here is what is at stake is Amy Coney Barret is confirmed:

What is at stake: A woman’s access to a legal, safe abortion.

Barret holds notoriously conservative views on abortion, which she has previously stated was “always immoral“. In 2006, she signed an advertisement that called Roe v. Wade a “barbaric legacy”. When she was a federal judge, and ruled in favor of further restricting access to abortion rules. Namely, she advocated for a parent to be informed if their minor child wanted to have an abortion.

Some critics of her nomination argue that her extreme devotion to the Catholic faith make her biased against more progressive issues. What Democrats and Pro-Choice groups both fear is that Barret might side with overturning Roe v. Wade, thus stifling abortion rights on a national level.

What is at stake: Access to affordable healthcare for everyone–including those with pre-existing conditions.

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Considering the Affordable Care Act is on the dockets for Supreme Court review a week after election day, Americans who support the Affordable Care Act are worried that Barret will give conservatives the vote they need to cut the program.

Barret has dropped clues of her thoughts about healthcare in the past. In 2012, Barret signed a statement arguing that the Obamacare was “a grave violation of religious freedom and cannot stand.” She has also previously argued that Chief Justice John Roberts loosely interpreted the law in order to keep the ACA intact.

What is at stake: Laws protecting the LGBTQ+ community from discrimination.

During the ongoing confirmation hearing, Barret has already said that she “would never discriminate on the basis of sexual preference”. Critics quickly took issue with her word-choice, arguing that sexuality is not a “preference” but something one is born with.

Her record on LGBTQ+ issues isn’t exactly promising. In 2015, she signed a letter entitled “Letter to Synod Fathers from Catholic Women”. Part of the letter read: “We give witness that the Church’s teachings…on the meaning of human sexuality, the significance of sexual difference and the complementarity of men and women…and on marriage and family founded on the indissoluble commitment of a man and a woman provide a sure guide to the Christian life.”

She was also was a legal fellow at Alliance Defending Freedom–a group that notoriously opposes LGBTQ+ rights. She has since denied she knew of their homophobic stances.

Considering that a high profile case is on the docket that will decide whether churches can discriminate against gay, it is no wonder that gay rights activists are worried.

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