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“Moms for Liberty” seeks to ban MLK Jr. book- Tennessee Ed. Dept refuses

The group appears to suggest slavery and Jim Crow were “positive achievements, like unity and the overall improvement of our country”

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Robin Steenman, head of Moms for Liberty’s Williamson County chapter (Screenshot via CBS News)

By David Badash | NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Dept. of Education is refusing to investigate a far right group’s claims that a second grade curriculum which includes books about Black Civil Rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is “anti-American” and “anti-white” – but on a technicality.

The Williamson County, TN chapter of the group Moms for Liberty had filed an 11-page complaint with the state, claiming that the “classroom books and teacher manuals reveal both explicit and implicit Anti-American, Anti-White, and Anti-Mexican teaching,” as The Tennessean reports.

“The relentless nature of how these divisive stories are taught,” the group’s complaint continues, “the lack of historical context and difference in perspective, and the manipulative pedagogy all work together to amplify and sow feelings of resentment, shame of one’s skin color, and/or fear.”

The complaint is signed by the local group’s chairperson, Robin Steenman, who Reuters has called “an Air Force veteran and white mother of three.” It claimed the Williamson County Schools district is violating the law:

Steenman also appears to suggest slavery and Jim Crow were “positive achievements, like unity and the overall improvement of our country.”

Her comments to some may sound straight out of a Fox News or right wing media reports. They claim the curriculum amounts to a “heavily biased agenda,” one that “makes children hate their country, each other, and/or themselves.”

Rather than be concerned that these events actually happened, Steenman appears to be suggesting teaching they happened is anti-Americanism:

ThinkProgress and Popular Information founder Judd Legum:

The Tennessean reports “the department declined to investigate the allegations because the lessons occurred during the 2020-21 school year.”

The department is only authorized to investigate allegations that have occurred during the 2021‐ 2022 school year and subsequent school years, according to the letter sent to Steenman by Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn on Nov. 23.

Which means the complaint could be filed again.

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David Badash (@davidbadashis the founder and editor of The New Civil Rights Movement, an award-winning news & opinion site.

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The preceding article was first published by The New Civil Rights Movement and is republished by permission.

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Politics

Disney donating all profits from pride merch to help LGBTQ+ community

“Disney has a long history of supporting LGBTQ+ organizations & charities- the Pride Collection is showing our support for the community”

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The Disney Pride Collection courtesy of The Walt Disney Company

BURBANK – The Walt Disney Company announced Monday that it is donating all of the profits of its pride merchandise to charities that help the LGBTQ community. The announcement comes over the company’s battles with Florida’s Republican political leadership over the passage of the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ measure and more recent government actions that removed the self-governing law over Disney-held properties known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District.

In a post on the company’s blog, Disney Senior Vice President, Global Marketing Lisa Becket, who identifies a member of the LGBTQ+ community herself wrote:

“Disney has a long history of supporting LGBTQIA+ organizations and charities around the world, including GLSEN in the U.S. This year, we are further deepening our support. We will be donating all of our profits from the Disney Pride Collection sales now through June 30, 2022, to organizations that support LGBTQIA+ youth and families. This includes merchandise from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars.

In the U.S., profits from the collection will benefit GLSEN,  PFLAGThe Trevor ProjectZebra CoalitionLos Angeles LGBT CenterLGBT Center Orange CountySan Francisco LGBT Center and Ali Forney Center. Profits from other regions around the world will continue to support local charities in those countries. You can learn more about these organizations and their incredible, impactful work by visiting TWDCPrideCollection.com

I’m proud to share just a bit about what we are doing for the LGBTQIA+ community and to joyfully celebrate Pride not just for the month of June, but all year-round.”

The Disney Pride Collection courtesy of The Walt Disney Company
The Disney Pride Collection courtesy of The Walt Disney Company

The company also noted:

“The Disney Pride Collection is just one way Disney Parks, Experiences and Products is showing our support for the LGBTQIA+ community during the month of June. There’s plenty to celebrate at our theme parks and resorts, from entertainment and art displays to festive décor, Disney PhotoPass Service photo opportunities, and themed food and beverage offerings. We’ll also be highlighting inspirational and celebratory stories about our guests, cast and community on the Disney Parks Blog and across our social media channels.”

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California Politics

Thousands gather for ‘Bans Off Our Bodies Rally’ in DTLA

Angelenos joined the hundreds of thousands of Americans- women, men, kids- Black, Latino Asian, LGBTQ+ marching across the nation Saturday

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U.S. Senator Alex Padilla addresses 'Bans Off Our Bodies Rally' (Photo by Samuel Garrett-Pate)

LOS ANGELES – Several thousand Angelenos joined the hundreds of thousands of Americans including women, men, kids- Black, Latino Asian, LGBTQ+ marching across the nation Saturday to protest the potential overturn of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision after the leak of the U.S. Supreme Court’s draft opinion.

Screenshot/KCBS 2 Los Angeles

The crowds were joined by politicians and dignitaries including U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who gave a speech to the rally, LA Mayoral candidate Congresswoman Karen Bass, (D-37), California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, the First Partner and wife to California Governor Gavin Newsom, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, Tony Hoang, the Executive Director of Equality California and the President of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America Alexis McGill Johnson.

Jennifer Siebel Newsom, Alexis McGill Johnson, Commissioner Ricardo Lara, & Senator Alex Padilla
(Photo by Samuel Garrett-Pate)

In his speech Padilla delivered remarks on the importance of defending access to safe, legal abortion at the federal level.

The “Bans Off Our Bodies” was a daylong event organized by groups including Women’s March, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, UltraViolet, MoveOn, the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Abortion Rights Action League.

From Pittsburgh to Pasadena, California, and Nashville, Tennessee, to Lubbock, Texas, tens of thousands participated in “Bans off our Bodies” events. Organizers expected that among the hundreds of events, the largest would take place in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and other big cities, the Associated Press reported.

LA Mayoral candidate Congresswoman Karen Bass, (D-37) (Photo by Samuel Garrett-Pate)

“If it’s a fight they want, it’s a fight they’ll get,” Rachel Carmona, executive director of the Women’s March, said before the march.

Saturday’s rallies come three days after the Senate failed to muster enough votes to codify Roe v. Wade. Sponsors included the Women’s March, Move On, Planned Parenthood, UltraViolet, MoveOn, SEIU and other organizations.

Tony Hoang, the Executive Director of Equality California & Senator Alex Padilla
(Photo by Samuel Garrett-Pate)

At the Chicago rally, speaker after speaker told the crowd that if abortion is banned that the rights of immigrants, minorities and others will also be “gutted,” as Amy Eshleman, wife of Out Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot put it, the Associated Press noted.

“This has never been just about abortion. It’s about control,” Eshleman told the crowd of thousands. “My marriage is on the menu and we cannot and will not let that happen,” she added.

Thousands gather in DTLA to protest potential overturn of Roe v. Wade:

KTLA event report:

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California Politics

Newsom’s May budget revision on spending record California surplus

Newsom’s proposal provides relief from inflation, ensure public safety, address homelessness & combat climate change

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Office of the Governor of California

SACRAMENTO – As global inflation and war in Europe drive up costs across the country, California Governor Gavin Newsom is proposing a $300.7 billion budget to provide relief from rising inflation, ensure public safety, address homelessness, transform public education, and combat climate change.

The Governor’s proposal includes an $18.1 billion inflation relief package to get money back into the pockets of Californians and bring down costs for families. 

Led by GDP growth of 7.8 percent, the Blueprint includes a $97.5 billion surplus. The Governor’s proposal ensures that this year’s spending will not hamstring future budgets, calling for $37.1 billion in reserves including $23.3 billion for the state’s Rainy Day Fund, and spends 94 percent of surplus revenues on one-time expenditures.  

Newsom intends to funnel some of the money to address pressing issues such as abortion rights, climate, education, inflation and crime. His plan spans both long-term investments and immediate rebates, largely made possible by the $97.5-billion tax surplus through next summer. 

“Backed by a robust surplus and grounded in our unshakable values, we’re paving the California Way forward to prosperity and progress for all. With historic investments, we’re doubling down on our formula for success and making sure no one is left behind – supporting working families and businesses, tackling climate change, expanding health care access, making our communities safer, and more,” said Newsom. “While gridlock persists in Congress and right-wing fanatics turn statehouses across the country into laboratories of hate and oppression, here in California, we’re putting in the work to grow our economy and implement real, inclusive policy change to create a brighter future for all.”

  • $18.1 Billion Inflation Relief in direct payments to help address inflation, help people pay their utility bills and rent, and reduce costs like health care and child care. 
  • $47.1 billion climate commitment – an increase of $32 billion this year – to tackle pollution, build climate resilient water supplies, reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires, ensure grid reliability and accelerate clean energy solutions, and protect communities from extreme heat. 
  • $660 million to ensure public safety with funding for new officers and mental health support for law enforcement, support for victims of sex trafficking, cracking down on internet crimes against children, and tackling the opioid crisis. 
  • $14.7 million to confront homelessness and the mental health crisiswith investments to help get people off our streets and into the services and care they need, focusing particularly on Californians who suffer from mental health and substance use disorders.
  • $37 billion to rebuild Californiawith money for infrastructure including broadband and new housing, as well as a historic investment of $128.3 billion to transform public education.
  • Billions of dollars to invest in Californians and the Governor’s pro-life agenda, including funding to: 
    • Improve our education systems with universal preschool, after school and school meals; and expanded, more affordable child care
    • Make health care more accessible and affordable through Medi-Cal expansion and subsidies, increased reproductive health care access, home visiting, and support for black infant health, youth mental health and suicide prevention, and addressing adverse childhood experiences. 
    • Clean up our environment by tackling pollution, particularly in disadvantaged communities that bear the brunt of its impacts.  
    • Ensure our communities are safe with violence prevention programs, expansive gun buyback programs and getting fentanyl and other opioids off our streets. 

As previously announced, the governor is proposing spending $11.5 billion for tax refunds in the form of $400 checks sent to every eligible registered vehicle owner.

Californians who have more than one vehicle registered to their name would get $800. That’s because the payments are capped at two vehicles per person, officials announced previously.

Legislative leaders have announced different plans to help Californians with cash rebates that puts Democrats in the California Senate at odds with Newsom. They will need to reach a compromise.

In response to the Governor’s May budget revision, Out Senator Scott Wiener, (D-SF) noted;

“While the Governor’s budget proposal has an awful lot to like — for example, rent and utility relief, expanded childcare subsidies, and important infrastructure investments — the proposal to send $400 per car is short-sighted. It will undermine our ability to make transformational investments with long-term benefits, as opposed to a short-term sugar high.

“Instead of sending money to car owners who may or may not be struggling, let’s provide targeted relief to those most in need while deeply investing in our deteriorated schools, water systems, and transportation systems and massively investing in the housing we so desperately need.

“With this temporary, massive budget surplus, we have a unique opportunity to deeply invest in California’s future in a way that makes people’s lives better for generations to come. Let’s not lose that opportunity.”

Equality California, the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, released the following statement from Executive Director, Tony Hoang: 

“At a time when far-right extremists like Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott are attacking our LGBTQ+ students and transgender youth and their families, we are grateful to Governor Newsom for continuing to stand with our community, support our kids and invest in the fight for full, lived LGBTQ+ equality.

“The governor’s revised budget will help to build an inclusive, safe and empowering future for all and serves as an example for other states to work to prioritize the needs of the most vulnerable members of our communities in this critical inflection point for the nation.”

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