Ratify the Equal Rights Amendment
This is the year 2016. Isn’t it time women had equal rights in America? Will you join me by signing a petition compelling your lawmakers to vote to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment? “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” The Equal Rights Amendment, first introduced in 1923 by Alice Paul, is an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that affirms that all citizens deserve equal rights under the law regardless of sex or gender. Seems self-evident, right? Do you think that women’s equal rights are guaranteed by our constitution? Sadly, they are not. The ERA never passed, leaving women’s rights up for interpretation. This imbalance has been demonstrated time and time again in the highest courts in the land, where women often lose even when clear bias is shown. Women’s rights are seemingly at the mercy of whoever is in office or on a judicial bench at any given time. Here is what one of our most influential Supreme Court justices said on the matter of sex discrimination: "Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn't." —Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia While we in America may think that women are doing fine, the rest of the world does not. The United Nations has deemed the United States to be a country that does not adequately protect women’s human rights. The Equal Rights Amendment may seem unnecessary to some, but the truth is American women do not have explicit rights under The Constitution. There are dozens of areas where a lack of equal rights negatively affects women and the families they support. Here are just a few: • America is the only nation in the world with a rising maternal mortality rate. • 10,000 abused women are turned away from shelters daily, a total of 3.65 million denied requests per year. When looking specifically at the gender pay gap: There is a direct correlation between underpaying mothers and child hunger. It is estimated that half of the 33 million women and children living in poverty in the United States would not be if women were paid their full dollar. Is it any wonder that 1 in 5 children in America go hungry? Seventy-five percent of all African American children are being raised by full time working single mothers who are paid .60 cents on the dollar. Latinas earn .55 cents on the dollar, and white women make .78 cents compared to their white male counterparts. Our transgender sisters are faring even worse. They are four times as likely to have a household income under $10,000 and twice as likely to be unemployed. Over the course of her working life, an American woman will lose between $400,000 and two million dollars due to wage discrimination. The Equal Rights Amendment would provide an express constitutional basis to challenge sex-based discrimination. It would also ensure that laws and government actions that treat women differently are reviewed by the courts with the strictest of standards. With the upcoming 2016 election we need to intensify the conversation around women's issues and compel our lawmakers to protect the basic civil and human rights of American women by passing the ERA. It is time that we finally make this happen for ourselves, our daughters, and for the future of our nation. If even Supreme Court justices don’t believe the Constitution protects women from discrimination, let’s pass an amendment that will. Please join me along with Kamala Lopez, the director of the upcoming documentary “Equal Means Equal,” the ERA Coalition, and Noreen Farrell of Equal Rights Advocates, to sign this petition for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment #EqualMeansEqual —Patricia Arquette
Minnesota to secede from the United States of America and join the nation of Canada
With the recent election of Donald Trump for President of the United States, we, the people of the State of Minnesota, feel it is against our state's better interests to remain in the Union of the United States under such leadership. It is the people's opinion that this State now has more in common with the Nation of Canada than the United States when the President-Elect is sworn in. President-Elect Trump has a history of comments and potential policies that will openly discriminate against a large portion of Minnesotans that are of minority decent. This could include thousands of unlawful deportations or severe bullying and harassment of Minnesota citizens, families, and children. Mr. Trump also has several potential policies and opinions that are against the State's own laws of water and conservation, and game and recreation that could have significant impact to the western prairies and northern forests of this State. Culturally, the State of Minnesota is one of the most open and accepting States in America; with huge diversity in race, religion, and gender, in which Minnesota is leading the nation in equality for all. With Donald Trump as President, the State would be forced to recognize a man who is against such diversity and could force the State to backtrack on much of the progress it has made. We, the people of Minnesota, urge our State's leaders to consider the possibility of leaving the United States and join Canada. This would allow us to better maintain a way of life for all Minnesotans in terms of society, environment, and equality.
Stop bowing down to law enforcement and stand up for patients!
Governor Mark Dayton is holding up the medical marijuana bill in Minnesota because he is worried it will upset his friends in law enforcement. This is simply unacceptable. Please sign our petition calling on Gov. Dayton to show some backbone and get this important legislation passed. Seriously ill Minnesotans deserve legal access to medical marijuana. Rep. Carly Melin temporarily pulled her medical marijuana legislation, HF 1818, from the House Government Operations agenda this week after her good faith efforts to compromise with law enforcement fell on deaf ears. Gov. Dayton has said he will only support a bill that has law enforcement officials’ approval, but they have steadfastly refused to support workable medical marijuana legislation. Help us send Gov. Dayton a message. Tell him to stand up for patients and stop catering to law enforcement's unreasonable demands and stalling tactics.
Having the Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament be a state holiday in Minnesota
We as Minnesotans like our events, for example the Minnesota State Fair. Minnesota is the State of Hockey, and we all know as students, workers, as Minnesotans, that the State High School Hockey Tournament is probably the biggest. Let's be honest, how many students, as well as workers, are watching it more than what they are supposed to be doing when it is on? I don't see it as a bad thing, but I have heard from MANY people when asked about The Tourney, say something like "It should be a state holiday" or "We shouldn't even have school." So I am asking that The Tourney become a state holiday so that all of us Minnesotans can relax and enjoy themselves, their family, as well as their fellow classmates and friends, for those three days we all love SO much. Students don't have to worry about school and workers get time off. It would be another "great Minnesota get together" we would all enjoy!
Tell blue states to form an interstate single-payer healthcare system for their residents
We call on Governors Jerry Brown of California, Andrew Cuomo of New York, Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, Dannel Malloy of Connecticut, and governors of other Democratic states to explore the possibility of forming an interstate, single-payer healthcare system for their residents. Ideally, this system would provide ALL residents of these states equal, quality health coverage which would be accepted in any of these states. It would be funded by the collective healthcare budgets of these states, as well as reallocated federal funding for programs such as Medicaid. According to a Gallup poll published on May 16, 2016, 58% of Americans say that they would prefer to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with a federally funded healthcare system that provides insurance for all Americans. However, Congress has been in a deadlock on this issue for decades. Switching from the current system -- a hodgepodge of employer-based and subsidized care for the most needy -- to single-payer has for many seemed too drastic a change for Congress to successfully implement nationally. A few states, including CA, MA, VT, and CO have discussed or tried to establish single-payer systems confined to their own states. But such systems have been bombarded with budget concerns and do not create a clear path to single-payer on the national level. In light of this, we propose that by first forming an interstate single-payer system among a few powerful blue states, the country can gradually and steadily replace the current system with an efficient, potentially national, single-payer system as more and more states, including red states, will want to join in years to come if they see it is working well. Call it AmeriCare? Furthermore, we believe it would be in the interest of our states to be part of initiating this project. If acted upon, it would uniquely provide all the benefits of single-payer to residents and businesses, and show that our states are leading the way in reform on this important issue. FAQ: Why CA, NY, MA, and CT? I want my state in too. The author of this petition has lived in the four states mentioned, hence why they were selected, but governors of other states are on this petition's list of recipients. And residents of all states are welcome to sign and encourage their states to join too! Is this constitutional? It appears so. This would likely be an interstate compact, which Congress has the power to allow. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstate_compact
Initiate Hands Free Driving in Minnesota
We’ve all heard it before, “Don’t text and drive,” but many teens and adults don’t really take this statement to heart. As I was sitting at the stoplight at Minnetonka Boulevard and Highway 100 earlier this evening, I looked around to see if people were on their phones. Stunningly, every single person sitting in the driver's seat was looking at a phone. I was astonished that people young and old could not put down their phones for just a few minutes as they drove home from work or to their nightly activities. Is the text, email, or Snapchat really that urgent? If it is, please pull into a parking lot. As many of you know, Officer William Matthews recently died on the side of Highway 12, after being hit by a woman who was on her phone while driving. Although I never met Officer Matthews personally, I have heard he was a kindhearted man who loved his job and family. His wife Shawn works at our school and she never fails to brighten my day when I see her. We have seen each other nearly every day for the past four years, and she consistently greets me with a smile and asks, “Hi, how are you doing Katie?”. She checks in to see how my sports are going and is always encouraging and kind, even if I am disappointed. Shawn shows a genuine interest in my life, and it is people like her that make St. Louis Park a great place to grow up. My heart aches for Shawn and her son. She is young, but already a widow, living without the person she vowed to love for the rest of her life. Their son Wyatt will grow up without a father to read to with him at night, cheer him on at sporting events, see him graduate high school, or celebrate when he gets married and has children. Shawn and Wyatt will live through these moments and years with a void in their lives, for one reason: someone could not put down their phone while driving. It is unconscionable to prioritize a text message or Snapchat ahead of a lifetime of lost memories for a family. I vow to NEVER use my cell phone while driving, not even to change the song on the aux cord, or look at directions. If something is really that important, I will pull over. If I need directions, I will turn on the audio version before I begin driving. I will never hold my cell phone in my hand while I am behind the wheel. Driving comes with responsibilities and staying safe is number one. Now I ask something of each of you. Please join me. By making this pledge your name will be added to my petition asking Minnesota legislators and Governor Dayton to pass a hands-free law for drivers. Fifteen states and the District of Columbia already have similar laws. It is time for Minnesota to take this important step too. If we do, thousands of senseless tragedies can be avoided in the future. Please join me in petitioning the next session of the Minnesota Legislature to pass a hands-free bill. All you have to do is electronically sign your name using the link below. Your action and commitment to this cause can help prevent tragedies for people like Officer Matthews, or others in your own circle of family and friends. If at any time in the future you consider picking up that text message or Snapchatting while driving, please remember Officer Matthews’ widow Shawn and their fatherless son Wyatt. You do not want to be responsible for such a tragedy. Dear Legislators, Please pass the hands free driving bill proposed in the 2017 session, during the 2018 session of the Minnesota Legislature. Please remember Officer William Matthews when you vote on this important and life-saving bill.
DON'T ABOLISH PERPICH CENTER FOR ARTS EDUCATION
There is a bill in the Minnesota House of Representatives being introduced to have the "Perpich Center for Arts Education abolished". See: HF 1825 (90th Legislature, 2017 - 2018) This school has been an invaluable resource to thousands of children who want to make art the focus of their lives and/or future careers. Whatever problems there are within the inner-workings of the institution can and should be solved without totally refusing this center for arts education to future generations. Abolishing this unique school would be a true disservice to Minnesota's youth. I know the untold psychological benefits of this school personally because attending it in the late nineties introduced me to friends who I still collaborate on art projects with and saved me from a school which instead locked its students indoors and put great emphasis on sports *shudders*. We need more art schools, not less. Young artists don't have it easy, please don't limit their options but instead encourage them to thrive and wave that freak flag high.
End the Statute of Limitations for Sexual Violence in Minnesota
Over the past week, we've seen a growing number of women come forward accusing Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment and sexual assault. Last night, we saw women all across the United States speak out as survivors of sexual violence and harassment by saying, "#MeToo." It seems that while #YesAllWomen have been sexually violated or sexually harassed in their lifetime, we know that #NotAllMen are predators and perpetrators. (We also know it's not just women who are victims to sexual violence and not just men who are perpetrators). The point is that statistically, sexual violence is a pervasive crime often committed by repeat offenders. The statute of limitations for sexual violence in Minnesota prevents many survivors from ever having their experiences validated and from ever seeing their perpetrator held accountable. It denies those who were sexually abused or raped to report after a given number of years. It is what leaves in question whether or not perpetrators like Harvey Weinstein will ever see a day in jail. By ending the statute of limitations for sexual violence, we create the possibility that repeat offenders might some day be held accountable.
Make Partisan Gerrymandering Illegal.
"Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth." - Abraham Lincoln Whereas: We the PEOPLE are supposed to select our representatives in the government, not the other way around; Whereas: Gerrymandered districts encourage extremism & partisanship to win primaries, and discourage cooperation in the Government; Whereas: The majority of Americans want their voices to be heard accurately, and their parties NOT to be pulled to either wing leaving them with choices that feel like the LEAST BAD or no voting option at all; Whereas: When power is consolidated to a party, it discourages INTERNAL debate and stifles new ideas; Whereas: Gerrymandered districts allow incumbents to show more care for their party or personal position than the people they are supposed to be representing; Whereas: Non-partisan organizations have come up with a variety of ways to draw voting maps fairly and with accurate representations of the population; Whereas: Disenfranchised voters have no recourse when voting maps are skewed based on politics, since it is not illegal; Gerrymandering districts based on political partisanship, to protect incumbents, to consolidate power to ANY party should be illegal. This should cover not just future redistricting, but also all current districts. Any politician who is only keeping their seat because they have gerrymandered a safe voting population does NOT deserve to keep their seat. "My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." - John F. Kennedy
Stop The Statute of Limitations (SOL) on Sex Crimes - Sexual Assault, Pedophilia, Rape
My WWII hero father once said to me, “You should never take advantage of someone that is weak or vulnerable just because you can." Little did he know how much his simple words would one day mean to his beloved daughter as the 1st survivor of 10 (4 in SOL 6 outside of it) known victims to report a 15 yr active & violent serial rapist who continuously got off with slaps on the wrist. The time is NOW to Stop The Statute of Limitations on Sex Crimes for children and adults. Sign petition & share! http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/December-2016/Marc-Winner/ Please click link above about sadistic & emboldened rapist Marc Winner to understand the gravity of predators like him and read below to understand more why we must #StopTheStatute of limitations on sex crimes, once and for all. __________________________________________ Over 16 years, I hoped and prayed this day would actually never come, because although I knew he couldn’t stop-it was my greatest wish that he would, so no one else would be violently raped by him again. Painfully, that was not the case with 4 in the SOL and 10 total we know about in a 15 year period. The continuous promises made to me when they wanted me to be okay with the plea deal, were not kept. Woman after woman reported him only to be disbelieved and disregarded, because of archaic belief systems even within the justice system and Chicagoland Cook County City and Suburbs being on different computer systems. How senseless is that? This has not been an easy road. It’s actually been harder than I would ever be able to explain. My sister and brother survivors understand why sexual assault is the most under reported crime, because coming forward in order to protect others from a monster has no upsides due to the revictimization of stigma, harassment, a pretty inept and broken system, and those who want to make rape of all things about politics or shaming and blaming the survivor rather than stopping the perp. It’s been a long 16+ years with much joy after I came to terms with the unthinkable, but I really got thrown for a loop that invasion day almost two years ago now when I found out he was back or I should say never actually left. For he remained active and my reporting him, going to all our trial dates, and his slap on the wrist plea deal didn’t keep him from continuing his proclivity to do irreparable and permanent harm. I do not feel any of the unfounded shame or blame any longer. I could really careless what the ignorant callous bullies towards survivors of rape think or say either. I do however feel an immense responsibility to my sisters who survived him, all sister and brother survivors, and the community at large to see this through to the end-to finish this-and to help convict him anyway that I lawfully can so he never hurts another living soul again. Many confusingly mock and attack survivor activists who put it all on the line to stop criminals by using the term social justice warrior as a negative connotation on the internet and elsewhere. However, what they don’t seem to understand is that this is NOT a political issue and a violent despicable crime such as rape can never be referred to as “social.” It’s a matter of stopping a violent criminal from seriously hurting others in a way that the survivors receive a life sentence. Rape is actually a CRIMINAL JUSTICE issue-always has been, always will be. As a Criminal Justice issue, one way to end the emboldening of predators like Marc Winner, Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, James Toback, Kevin Spacey, Brett Ratner, Louis CK, Larry Nassar, Roger Ailes, the many that hurt Corey Feldman & Corey Haim, and Denny Hastert (to name only a small few) is to stop the SOL clock. Predators know very well that they have a time clock they can easily run out during the often decades of time it takes a victim to come forward and be a survivor. The time is NOW to #StopTheStatute of Limitations on ALL sex crimes such as Sexual Assault and Harassment in every state for children and adults once and for all. There are no statutes in different states on Forgery, types of Fraud, Murder, Manslaughter, Attempted Murder, Arson, types of DUI accidents, and even in a few on Rape, but a few isn’t good enough-Rape is a life sentence, so should be the time period it takes to report it (which remember does not mean the lack of burden of proof) in order to help deter. The system needs to give survivors the time they need to come to terms with the heinous violation to their body and spirit in order to get closure and justice-How can’t everyone have some common sense, reasonably understand, and get behind that? #metoo #Ibelieveyou#stopthestatute