Allow Transgender People Into the U.S. Military
On Wednesday, July 26, 2017, Donald Trump announced that transgender individuals would no longer be accepted or allowed into the U.S. Military because their cost is a "burden." This is extremely disgraceful and an insult to all those who have already given their lives for this country. This is not equality, and this is not "supporting the LGBT community," as he said he does. This is utterly transphobic. Many people who served are going to be left jobless, and many others will no longer be able to fulfill their dreams. This is not okay, and this should not be legal. Trans people are still people.
Urge FDA to approve new treatment for Carcinoid Tumors
Hi. My name is Kerry and I’m a zebra. Now, before you think I'm crazy, I hope you'll please let me have a minute of your time to explain. In medical school, doctors-to-be are often taught the adage “If you hear hoof beats, think horse”. In other words, the most obvious answer is usually the right answer. But sometimes the hoof beats come from something rarer: a zebra perhaps. For nearly 5 years, doctors heard hoof beats as they looked at scans of my liver and saw some small “things” taking up residence. And, for nearly 5 years, they thought horse. They did blood tests, colonoscopies, upper endoscopies; all of the tests you would do looking for the “normal” cancers such as colon cancer, but the tests were negative. So they concluded that my liver had some benign growths on it. Nothing to worry about. In January of 2016 a biopsy of my liver resolved the mystery. I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Carcinoid or Neuroendocrine Tumor (NET). The disease is so rare it is referred to as the zebra of cancers and represents only about 2% of cancers treated each year. In honor of its rarity, the zebra has been adopted as the official mascot of those who suffer from it and we, the patients, are called zebras. In my desperate quest for solutions to my problem, I read about a treatment called Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy, or PRRT for short. It has been available in Europe for more than a decade and clinical trials here in the United States have recently concluded. The results have been very promising. According to one of the doctors who participated in the phase 3 clinical trial, “The findings were, in my opinion, extraordinarily impressive, the median progression-free survival improved by nearly 80%, which is fairly unprecedented in oncologic studies. The finding is important because limited therapeutic options exist for such patients, who comprise 20% to 45% of neuroendocrine tumor cases.” (1) As you can imagine, I have been following these trials with great interest as I am their target patient: my tumors are inoperable and are known to respond to the drug being used in the treatment. Earlier this year, there was hope the treatment would be approved by mid-year 2016. Then it was sometime in the fourth quarter of 2016. The latest timeframe for approval is now early 2017. I understand and appreciate the fact that the FDA has to perform their due diligence to insure that new drugs are safe and effective. None of us want unsafe drugs to be hurried to market. In the case of PRRT, it appears to have proven its worth, both in US clinical trials as well as in more than 10 years of use in Europe. I don’t profess to know or understand what the holdup is in obtaining approval. I’m certainly not a doctor. What I do know is that every day that passes without this treatment being approved thousands of us zebras get sicker and closer to the point where treatments won’t matter any longer. Will you please join me in urging the FDA to keep the approval of PRRT at the top of their priority list? I’m only 55 years old and I’m not ready to leave this world yet. I and my fellow zebras thank you. Kerry (1) Full article discussing PRRT can be found online at http://www.carcinoid.org/2016/05/03/one-step-closer-us-peptide-receptor-radionuclide-therapy-prrt-neuroendocrine-cancers/
Ask Betsy DeVos to keep students safe and enforce Title IX
The same year I was raped by another student in high school, I overheard elders at my mosque share their experiences with racial profiling and their fear of an informant at our Friday prayers. The result? I became terrified of the only institution I knew I could report to about my assault—the police—and told no one at all. Instead, I dropped out of high school and spent my next two years taking coursework online. At the time, I did not know that outside of a criminal system that itself enacted violence, Title IX provided survivors with the civil right to access the resources they need—free counseling services, extensions on papers, or getting moved out of a class shared with a rapist—to stay in school. As the former Executive Director of Know Your IX, a national survivor organization empowering students to end sexual and dating violence in schools, I now hear every day from young survivors about why they too didn’t report to the police, and why Title IX—and all of its protections—have provided a desperately needed alternative to help them stay in school. Title IX mandates that schools prevent sexual harassment and violence on campus and promptly and equitably address it where it occurs. Given that schools routinely shirk these obligations, the Department of Education’s work has been essential in holding schools accountable and helping ensure that students know about—and therefore, are able to advocate for—these rights. The current Administration is planning to weaken the enforcement of Title IX, a move that would be devastating for students especially those who are LGBT and of color. Survivors and our allies across the country are coming together to ask Education Secretary DeVos to listen to survivors, keep students safe, and enforce protections Title IX has long provided. Join Know Your IX and End Rape on Campus and ask DeVos to commit to the following : Maintain the Department of Education’s guidance documents clarifying schools’ legal responsibilities to prevent and address sexual harassment under Title IX Continue to recognize preponderance of evidence (i.e. "more likely than not") as the appropriate standard of proof in campus sexual harassment investigations; Maintain federal transparency in Title IX enforcement by continuing to publish lists of schools under investigation for Title IX violations and those who have claimed religious exemptions allowing them to discriminate against LGBT, pregnant, and parenting students DeVos will have the power to enforce Title IX protections and ensure that every student is able to attend school without fear of violence. It's up to us to make sure that she does. Mahroh Jahangiri Former Executive Director, Know Your IX
Ban Conversion Therapy on Minors in Tennessee, US
Conversion Therapy is a serious issue that can affect all people. Children are being tortured and harassed so they "turn" straight or cisgender. All children deserve to feel safe in their homes. People shouldn't be afraid of expressing their love or their gender. Tennessee hasn't banned Conversion Therapy on Minors and that needs to change. Children are the future and they need to know they are valid. We aren't broken, there is nothing to "fix". For the senators of this state to advocate for LGBT rights would pave a way to a better tomorrow. We need all citizens to be protected. Organizations such as "Love in Action" and "Journey into Manhood" are abusing minors. Keep children safe by banning Conversion Therapy
We Demand that the U. S. Senate not confirm Andrew Puzder as Secretary of Labor
Andrew Puzder is among Trump's more controversial Cabinet picks because he has publicly opposed the overtime rule and various other Department of Labor regulations, and because the fast-food industry, from which Puzder hails, is a top wage-theft enforcement target at the department. Puzder is CEO of CKE Restaurants, which includes Carl’s Jr. and Hardee's. It’s actually very hard to imagine a worse choice for Labor Secretary than Andy Puzder. The Labor Secretary’s job is to look out for American workers. Trump's Labor nominee has opposed increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour and efforts to expand eligibility for overtime pay. It would be kind of funny if it wasn’t so serious. During the election, Trump made a lot of promises to create good jobs. But he’s filling his cabinet with CEOs and right-wing billionaires who have spent their lives undermining working people’s rights to come together in unions, while fighting minimum wage increases, paid sick leave and family leave policies. The evidence clearly demonstrates that protecting the rights of the people who work at Puzder’s company or its franchisees doesn't seem to be his priority. Puzder has run a business model that has produced widespread labor abuses at the companies. According to data compiled by Bloomberg BNA, over the previous seven years, about 60 percent of all Labor Department investigations of Carl's Jr. Restaurants found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. While working people at his fast food chains sometimes were making below minimum wage, Puzder was taking big compensation packages. In 2012, he made 291 times as much as workers at his restaurants. Now, he could be in charge of enforcing our nation’s labor laws—from ensuring workplace safety to investigating wage theft. His companies had the fourth highest incidents of wage theft reported to the government. ‘Wage theft is a rampant, everyday problem in the fast-food industry: Nearly nine out of 10 fast-food workers across the country report having money stolen from their paychecks by their boss,’ Kendall Fells, the Fight for $15 national organizing director, told Bloomberg BNA via e-mail. Bloomberg reported. “Fells referred to a 2014 poll commissioned by the campaign of more than 1,000 fast-food workers nationwide. The survey documented such common worker complaints as being forced to perform tasks before clocking in or after clocking out, having the cost of uniforms deducted from their paychecks, and not receiving breaks during long shifts.” Puzder’s Carl’s Jr. restaurant chain also has a history of sexist television. He thinks it’s appropriate to peddle sex to kids if it sells the product. “We believe in putting hot models in our commercials, because ugly ones don’t sell burgers,” said the CEO in a 2011 press release, according to Fortune. “We target hungry guys, and we get young kids that want to be young hungry guys.” Let’s target Puzder’s nomination instead. Just Say No Puzder at Labor. This petition will be delivered to the full Senate and to the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee of the U.S. Senate
Abolish the SSDI work credit law for lifelong illness patients
Hi my name is Nikki and I currently live with Cystic Fibrosis. I decided to write this petition because I need your help to fight for our well being. I was born with CF. There has never been a day where I was not sick. I had few opportunities to work in high school because trying to balance high school and a terminal illness was hard enough. I was in and out of the hospital for 2 weeks at a time, 3-4 times a year. I was forced to get my GED. But that's not the problem here. Being that I never worked, I never earned credits towards Social Security Disability. I never had the opportunity to. And I still don't. So when I hit 18 and my mom's income no longer counted for me, I was stuck getting a minimal Supplemental Security Income check monthly (which is for people of "low income") of $650. If you haven't worked a certain amount of years, then you do not qualify for disability checks. And we all know that $650 barely enough to pay for 2 utility bills. Especially here in TN. I have tried to work. When I do, they cut my SSI. Then when I'm in the hospital and can't work I'm stuck living without income until the SSI office can catch up with it. Which takes 2-3 months. I can't keep a job long enough to earn SSDI credits. So I'm stuck. Like many, I will forever be stuck. A majority of Cystic Fibrosis patients were diagnosed at birth. So they are in the same sinking ship that I am. Unlike most typical disability cases, we didn't work 20 years then go out on disability for a hurt back. We were always sick and always will be. But the last time I checked, we are in fact DISABLED but apparently that's not enough to earn a disability income. And SSI is simply not enough to sustain ourselves. It's especially important to make sure we have enough money for when we undergo and recover from a lung transplant which a majority of us will get. During this time a CF patient will not even be able to leave the hospital for weeks even months. How can we fight to get out of this everlasting circle of poverty? We must find a way for Cystic Fibrosis patients and other terminal illnesses from birth to get a different consideration when it comes to social security. There must be a way we can get a bill passed that allows us to receive more than what we do, without work credits, since we're not given the chance to earn them ourselves. Please sign this petition so we can start a conversation with the law makers about the changes that need to be made. We need your help. We want a chance to live a normal life like everyone else, but are unable to because of this Social Security Disability law.
Designate the Nolichucky as a National Wild and Scenic River
The Nolichucky River is one of the last major free-flowing rivers in the Southeast. From its origins high on the slopes of North Carolina's tallest peaks, the 'Noli' carves its way through one of the deepest river gorges in the Eastern US before joining the French Broad River in Tennessee. A 7.2 mile section of the Nolichucky Gorge between Poplar, NC and Unaka Springs, TN was recommended by the US Forest Service for protection under the Wild and Scenic River Act in 1994. Unfortunately, a bill has never been introduced to congress to finalize a Wild and Scenic River designation. The Noli is known for it's outstandingly remarkable scenic, recreation, geologic, and ecological values. It is home to several endangered or threatened species of animals and plants such as the Appalachian Elk-Toe Mussel and Virginia Spirea. The river is a major destination for whitewater enthusiasts who venture into the gorge to challenge themselves in the class II-IV rapids. It's also popular among anglers, hunters, and hikers. Thousands of visitors pass through the Noli Gorge every year with whitewater rafting companies and fishing guide services. This tourism generates great economic benefits for the local economies. The Nolichucky Gorge stretches through parts of Mitchell and Yancey Counties in North Carolina, as well as Unicoi County in Tennessee.There is a rich human history in the area, yet the gorge remains largely untouched by development with the exception of a CSX rail line that parallels the river. In the last year, traffic on the line has dramatically decreased and will likely continue to do so in the future. While there have been problems with water quality in the Nolichucky in the past, it is improving as upstream communities become more aware of the effects of pollution and sedimentation on downstream resources. Designation of the Nolichucky as a Wild and Scenic River will invigorate the local economies through increased tourism while giving permanent protection to this unique resource and ensuring it's enjoyment for future generations. Realizing the dream of a Wild and Scenic Nolichucky River will take widespread community engagement and support from our elected officials. As the 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act approaches in 2018, there is no better time than for building a movement around the Nolichucky Gorge. Let's get a bill passed through Congress. Please support the permanent protection of the Nolichucky River Gorge as a National Wild and Scenic River. https://www.facebook.com/nolichuckyriver/
US Department of Labor: Don’t hurt hardworking moms with costly regulations!
Moms who want to sell their items and volunteer at consignment events are now facing potential Department of Labor regulations that make it almost impossible for the events to continue. Sixteen years ago, I was a mom with three young kids who loved cute children's clothes but couldn't afford them. So I pulled out all the furniture and had a children's clothing consignment event in my living room! The events with friends and neighbors at my home became so popular over the years, I have since dedicated my entire career to organizing consignment events to help struggling families, and turned it into a company: Rhea Lana’s Children’s Consignment Events. Since that time Rhea Lana’s has grown to sixty-six events in twenty-two states! Moms everywhere love getting excellent children's items at an affordable price. Like organizing a really nice yard or garage sale for a community, consigning moms bring the items they’d like to sell, choose the prices for those items, help set up and host the events, and in return they earn a profit for the items they sell. Those who decide to volunteer by helping to put on the actual event not only make the event a huge success (and cause their own items to sell) but also get to shop early. Today there are thousands of events like mine all over the nation. There are probably one or more consignment event organizers like me serving families in your community. Maybe you have been a shopper or a consigner! In 2011 I worked with the Arkansas Department of Labor and have a Consent Agreement to continue operating in my home state. But that’s not stopping the U.S. Dept. of Labor from hurting my business. In January, the U.S. Department of Labor investigated my business and now says that the moms who help me set up and run the event must be my employees. This would hurt moms since the cost of taxes and red tape would cut the mom’s profits and event organizers would probably decline to hold consignment events any more out of fear of government intervention. That would be like requiring Build-a-Bear to consider children who come to their shop employees, or requiring neighborhoods that put on yard sales to consider each household that sells goods an employee--making all of those folks submit employment paperwork, taxes, etc. each time! What’s worse is that with this new Department of Labor classification, they could feasibly shut down the consignment event in your community this Fall-- just as parents are getting much needed clothes for the school year! Families across the nation depend on the children's consignment industry for quality clothing and other essentials in this very tough economy. Hardworking parents have the right to use their personal time to participate in Rhea Lana's consignment events without being considered employees. The Department of Labor wishes to change the way Rhea Lana’s operates, and in the process, take away shoppers’ freedom to buy and sell used clothing and sundries at their discretion by making them my employees. Moms and dads have had the freedom to put on and volunteer at consignment events for many, many years. There is no need for the government to regulate a parent’s personal time or the money they otherwise could spend on their kids. When families decide to help host these events they have an economic stake in the success. They are working for themselves - not the consignment event. Please sign my petition asking the Department of Labor to keep consigning the way it is for moms everywhere.
Support Legislation to Improve Response to Sexual Violence on Campus
Right after it happened, I made an appointment at the student health center. And then I canceled it. I was too afraid. By the time I came to terms with what happened to me, six months had passed. I was raped on my college campus during my first semester. Unfortunately, I’m not alone. One out of every six American women has been the victim of sexual violence. Many student survivors are left to deal with unclear reporting processes, delayed communication, and a lack of support services to manage the effects of sexual assault. I filed a formal complaint with the university Title IX Office against the perpetrator, and he was found in violation of sexual misconduct—but not sexual violence. The entire investigation, from complaint to final resolution, stretched 99 days. My university—and all campuses across the U.S.—need clearly established responsibilities and comprehensive policies for preventing and responding to sexual violence. This will help to ensure that others survivors who come forward and report incidents, like I did, receive the support they need and deserve. The Campus Accountability and Safety Act of 2015 (CASA) has the potential to improve how colleges respond to sexual violence on campus. This legislation holds schools accountable to provide support services for students, increase transparency, and establish procedures to better respond to sexual violence. Among other things, this legislation will: Expand transparency requirements, including standardized and anonymous annual campus-wide surveys, with results published online Create a system of confidential advisors on campus who can provide help and support to students following an assault Establish minimum training standards for on-campus personnel Require colleges to treat all student investigations equally, banning the practice of letting athletic departments investigate allegations against their own players Require new campus resources and support services for student survivors I have felt helpless—and I don’t want anyone else to feel this way. Join me in signing this petition and call on your lawmakers to pass the Campus Accountability and Safety Act of 2015 today. If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual violence, it’s not your fault. You are not alone. Help is available 24/7 through the National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800.656.HOPE and online.rainn.org, y en español: rainn.org/es.
#SAVEH2B: Save Small & Seasonal Businesses!
PLEASE ASK CONGRESS TO #SAVEH2B AND SUPPORT IMMEDIATE CAP RELIEF! American Small and Seasonal businesses are currently approaching their busiest season of the year and they will not be receiving their seasonal guest workers. Without these legal, temporary employees American businesses and workers are in jeaprody. The H-2B Visa nonimmigrant program allows employers to hire foreign workers to come to the United States and perform temporary nonagricultural services or labor on a one-time, seasonal, peakload or intermittent basis. H-2B workers are not considered immigrants. In order to qualify for an H-2B Visa, an employer must prove that there are not sufficient U.S. Workers who are capable of performing temporary services or labor. MYTH: H-2B WORKERS TAKE JOBS AWAY FROM AMERICANS.FACT: American workers are guaranteed first chance at every job later filled by an H-2B temporary laborer. By law, every open position must be properly advertised in the community and requires employers to hire any able and willing American workers to fill open positions. The fact is that H-2B temporary workers actually support American jobs and the U.S. economy. The H-2B program provides an opportunity for seasonal businesses to operate at a greater capacity, thereby retaining their full-time American workers and contributing more to their local economies. Additionally, temporary foreign seasonal workers help support many upstream and downstream jobs. According to the American Enterprise Institute study on Immigration and American Jobs, every H-2B worker creates or sustains 4.64 American jobs on average. MYTH: EMPLOYERS DON’T EVEN TRY TO HIRE AMERICAN WORKERS TO FILL THESE TEMPORARY HARD LABOR JOBS.FACT: Employers work extremely hard to hire American workers because 1) it is dramatically cheaper to do so, and 2) the law requires that employers demonstrate that every effort has been made to hire Americans before they can start the process of trying to hire a temporary foreign laborer. Again, the fact is that the vast majority of American workers are not interested in temporary seasonal manual labor jobs. Geography is a big obstacle for many employers; for example, many resort communities don’t have a sufficient local labor pool. And, in many cases, these types of seasonal jobs may not be appropriate for high school students due to the hours or labor laws that prohibit the use of heavy machinery by minors. MYTH: PAYING HIGHER WAGES WILL ENTICE AMERICAN WORKERS AND SOLVE THE SEASONAL TEMPORARY LABOR SHORTAGE.FACT: Hourly pay for these types of jobs have gone up significantly over the last few years because employers who use the H-2B program are required to pay their H-2B workers and similarly employed American workers a premiumwage dictated by the U.S. Department of Labor. These temporary manual labor jobs often pay considerably more than the minimum wage, but American workers still won’t take the positions. Sadly, in many cases, employers who obey the law and use the H-2B program are often competing against businesses that choose to illegally hire undocumented immigrants and pay those workers considerably less. If wages were raised even higher, seasonal employers who use the program would not be able to sustain their businesses or their American workers. MYTH: THE H-2B PROGRAM REPRESSES WAGES FOR AMERICAN WORKERS BY PROVIDING A CHEAPER LABOR SOURCE.FACT: Hiring H-2B workers is a much move expensive and risky option. In addition to the fact employers are required to pay H-2B workers and similarly employed American workers a premium wage that is often well above the federal minimum wage, complying with the H-2B program is extremely costly, complicated and wrought with uncertainty due to an overly restrictive cap and a constantly changing regulatory environment. Employers turn to the H-2B program as a last resort, after extensive efforts to recruit American workers. MYTH: H-2B WORKERS OVERSTAY THEIR VISAS AND EXACERBATE ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION IN AMERICA.FACT: According the U.S. Department of Homeland Security visa overstay in the H-2B program are rare. Workers who do overstay their visas are barred from using the program ever again. The fact is that the vast majority of H-2B workers and their employers are meticulous about compliance. Not following the strict program rules means the end of a well-paying seasonal jobs that allows these workers to provide for their families and still maintain their homes in their native countries – a risk these workers are not willing to take since they generally return to the same employer year after year. Additionally, when approving H-2B visas, the U.S. Consulate confirms workers’ ties to their home countries. Further, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security requires employers to promptly report any H-2B workers who do not report for work or who complete their work earlier in the season than anticipated. MYTH: THE H-2B RETURNING WORKER EXEMPTION IS UNNECESSARY.FACT: The H-2B program’s annual 66,000 cap (33,000 for each half of the fiscal year) is not adequate to meet the demands of a growing economy. The cap for the first half of the fiscal 2017 was reached on January 10. The second-half cap was reached on March 13, leaving many seasonal employers shut out of the program with no access to legal seasonal laborers. Without the returning worker exemption passed by Congress with bipartisan support and signed into law by the President, many companies will have to close their businesses, lay off American workers or turn away customers.This provision is essential to the survival of small and seasonal businesses across the country and should be made permanent. An H-2B returning worker exemption is a narrow solution to a seasonal workforce shortage that focuses on workers who are valuable to their seasonal employers and who have never violated the terms of their past visas or other U.S. laws. These workers do not pose a security risk and they are not taking away jobs from Americans. For more information please visit: https://www.SaveH2b.orghttps://www.h2bworkforcecoalition.com https://youtu.be/UTYVEirlu3o To contribute further, please contact your Congressmen/women and tweet using the hashtag: #SAVEH2B