Today, we review last week’s posts, along with news on coming actions & events and a tribute to Rep. John Lewis whose legacy should inspire us all. Then, a bonus video: The Chicks (formerly Dixie Chicks) take on Trump.
Tuesday, July 21, 6:30-8 pm: Redistricting, Gerrymandering and the Political Forces Preventing an Independent Commission in NM. Panelists will be Senators Gerry Ortiz y Pino and Mark Moores, along with Dick Mason, NM League of Women Voters, and Kathleen Burke, Fair Districts New Mexico. For decades, legislation that would create an independent redistricting commission has run into a brick wall every year. What’s up with that? It would seem that we now have the opportunity to get it done: Democrats in charge of everything. Learn why this may not make a difference. Find out how gerrymandering has diminished the political power of communities of color. Find out who is pulling the strings to prevent an independent redistricting commission.
You must pre-register to ensure a room in the zoom room. Click here to register.
Get a preview of Tuesday’s Zoominar by watching Saturday’s Retake Conversation with Dick Mason, NM League of Women Voters, and Kathleen Burke, Fair Districts New Mexico:
Election 2020 in NM
We’ve worked with allies throughout the state to identify six high-priority races that are critical to continuing the transformation of the NM State Legislature. Click here to find out which races are critical and how you can help ensure the best political chemistry possible in the 2021 legislative session.
John Lewis, RIP: A Tribute to a Life Well-Lived &
to the Notion of “Good, Necessary Trouble”
It is fitting that John Lewis lived to see the current protests against racism, with so many Americans participating in “good, necessary trouble.” We clearly face a steep climb with the threats from the extreme right, in NM with Cowboys for Trump and other vigilantes, and from the President who is now deploying Secret Service agents in unmarked cars to detain protesters. And so, we are lucky to have had John Lewis for 80 years. May we continue to be inspired and motivated by his words and actions. He never gave up, and neither can we.
“Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”John Lewis— A tweet from June 2018
“Freedom is not a state; it is an act. It is not some enchanted garden perched high on a distant plateau where we can finally sit down and rest. Freedom is the continuous action we all must take, and each generation must do its part to create an even more fair, more just society.”John Lewis
The clip below offers more than a trailer for the movie, John Lewis: Good Trouble, it offers brief excerpts of speeches and historic video depicting his courage and his commitment to justice.
It’s fitting that the last time John and I shared a public forum was at a virtual town hall with a gathering of young activists who were helping to lead this summer’s demonstrations in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Afterwards, I spoke to him privately, and he could not have been prouder of their efforts — of a new generation standing up for freedom and equality, a new generation intent on voting and protecting the right to vote, a new generation running for political office. I told him that all those young people — of every race, from every background and gender and sexual orientation — they were his children. They had learned from his example, even if they didn’t know it. They had understood through him what American citizenship requires, even if they had heard of his courage only through history books.”Barack Obama
A Look Back at Last Week
There is no question which of last week’s post is most important: the first one below on reparations. Based on comments from readers of this post, it appears that some people view reparations as something many populations deserve: women, immigrants, indigenous peoples, or other communities of color. Some comments expressed recognition that many poor whites have also suffered from our economic and political policies. Some felt that however much reparations are warranted, it would seriously divide the country. Finally, others felt strongly that the time was overdue to discuss this.
If you haven’t read it yet, I’d ask that no matter how you think you feel about reparations, you read this post. Nicole Hannah-Jones, the NY Times writer who assembled the analysis, does an excellent job of laying out just exactly how perniciously racist US policy has been and how little we’ve done to actually address the centuries-long impact of those policies. She also explains how current policies subtly sustain the intent of Jim Crow. It will help you see and feel racism in a more robust and personal way.
At the end of the post are a few suggested forms that reparations could take, most about implementing bold policy going forward than about providing checks. You will also be interested in reviewing the comments from readers that appear at the end of the post. Once you’ve read the piece, please share it with friends and start a conversation.
When Saying You’re Sorry Isn’t Enough.
Do We Owe Reparations?
Tuesday, July 14. This is an important post to read, discuss, and share, whether you firmly believe reparations are justified and essential or if you feel that they are impractical or unwarranted. Through a piece by Nicole Hannah-Jones, we examine the historic realities that justify reparations. It is time to have this discussion.
I am interested in seeing comments on this post. I’ve seen the concept of reparations discussed here and there over the years, but never in such a sustained and compelling manner as in Nicole Hannah-Jones NY Times Magazine’s cover story from June 28, “What Is Owed?” As I read Hannah-Jones’ piece I realized that I knew most all of what she described, but somehow as she moved from one theme to the next, it all cohered into an irrefutable conclusion. It is time to seriously reflect on the impact of our racism, our colonial assumptions, and our own hubris in refusing to take seriously our need to repair the damage.
A Chance to Get Redistricting Right in NM & Our 2020 NM State Election Candidate Priorities & ToolKit
Thursday, July 16. Historically, redistricting has been a highly partisan battle for power, with the party in power making every effort possible to concoct safe districts for themselves. The result? Lawsuits, ill will, and gerrymandered districts that are astonishing.
In this post, we focus on gerrymandering by examining how our current NM state boundaries were created in 2011 when the legislature and Governor Martinez could not agree and the courts drew up the boundaries. For a decade, the NM state legislature has failed to pass legislation to create a commission. So in 2021, a Democratic legislature and Governor will have a free hand to draw the boundaries over the voices of a heavily outnumbered GOP. We examine how, by creating an independent commission to draw the boundaries, we can do things more sensibly and fairly. At the end of the post we offer a hilarious John Oliver video laying out the gerrymandering process.
Gas & Oil: Huge Pay Bonuses Days Before Declaring Bankruptcy, Massive Methane Leaks Left Behind
Saturday, July 18. First, we analyzed a piece on how G&O companies are going bankrupt right after paying execs multi-million dollar bonuses while leaving thousands of unplugged wells, spewing methane. There is a lesson here for New Mexico.
We also provide links to stories covering how other corporations outside of gas and oil are also using COVID bailouts to pay huge exec bonuses before declaring bankruptcy. The post also includes an inspirational one-minute speech by AOC on corporate COVID giveaways.
In solidarity & hope,
Paul & Roxanne