Richard J. Durbin
Richard J. Durbin
Net Neutrality Awareness (Illinois)
Despite the fact that millions of Americans use the internet each day, the issue regarding net neutrality still remains almost unheard of to the general population. The basic principle of net neutrality is that internet service providers should provide unrestricted access to all content, applications, and website regardless of where it is coming from. This means that internet service providers are required to provide unbiased service to all customers without discrimination such as the slowing of speeds from certain sources or protocols. This issue is currently being debated and voted on throughout the country. This year, after Chairman Pai of the F.C.C. heavily pushed to undo the Net Neutrality laws put in place by the Obama administration. He aims to reduce the amount of regulation on the businesses that provide internet to users, leaving the industry without strict rules. This could lead to companies giving unfair treatment to certain websites and services, effectively harming the online experience for users all over the country. This may seem like an issue that is out of your hands, but there is always something that you can do to fight against the repeals to net neutrality. In order to raise awareness, contact or write to your respective senator or the FCC. By doing this, you can bring your voice into this debate and show that you care about this issue. Help us raise awareness in order to defend net neutrality and protect internet users, not only in Illinois, but across the country.
Prevent Illinois from killing their police dogs.
In Illinois, a police dog trainer is threatening that legalizing marijuana in the state will lead to the euthanization of police K9 dogs — and an Illinois Sheriff is agreeing with him. This is a horrible attempt to use animal cruelty to stop marijuana legalization. In March, voters in Cook County, Illinois where Chicago is located passed a measure in support of legalizing marijuana. Marijuana is now legal in nine states and Washington, D.C. and 61% of Americans now favor of legalization. For Illinois law enforcement to say that they will kill dogs they no longer need for smelling marijuana is awful. No other state has done this and it is completely cruel and unnecessary. They are using these dogs as a scare tactic for the public so they won’t have legal marijuana. Join in me in calling on Illinois Governor and lawmakers to stop any attempt to kill police K9 dogs. These police dogs can absolutely be retired or trained of focus on more harmful drugs.
Put Intersex and Transgender Education into Sex Ed Curriculum
Transphobia is rampant in our current society. In the BLM movement, transgender black women are the most targeted for hate crimes. Black transgender women have an average lifespan of thirty. In 2019, AT LEAST 27 deaths of transgender people were recorded, with a majority of black transgender women. Consider this stat with the understanding that transgender people only make up 1% of the population. It is clear we need change on both fronts. As we fight for justice within our judicial system, we must also consider how all of this came to be. Understanding that lack of education can cause fear and hate towards a group of people is the first step to uprooting culturally ingrained hated. Violence and discrimination towards transgender people, or those who were born outside of the realm of the binary genders, is a learned behavior based on ignorance. By teaching to unlearn these behaviors, we can begin to make change. In health class, previously and presently, students learn about the anatomy and science of their genitalia and how to have protected sex. That being said, it is statistically proven that 1.7% of people are intersex. That means at least one person each school year is not getting an education. That is nearly one million high school students as of 2020 who are not getting a proper sex education. Add on those who are transgender, and it becomes 1.53 million in the United States. This does not account for those whose lives were detrimentally affected by a lack of education, and now spend their lives with an internalized hate towards these groups. Educating students on their transgender and intersex peers will be a significant and important step in erasing hatred from our schools. Proposed topics of learning include: The different ways someone can be biologically intersex, the affects of hormones on the human body, the science of gender dysphoria including non-binary transgenders, the difference between social and physical dysphoria, the difference between sexualtiy and gender, and gender confirming clothing items, procedures, and/or hormones and hormone replacement therapy. It is not the education systems job to teach why someone might want to change their gender, but it is their job to give children a Sex Education, whatever their gender or sex may be. If we do not begin change in our schools, this problem will continue. Transgender and intersex hate crimes will continue. We need change to begin at the start of these learned behaviors and remove the ignorance on the subject, so that hate towards these groups will subside. It is imperative to add to the Sex Ed and Health curriculum some part that acknowledges both of these groups, because we want to have a progressive curriculum. If you are not apart of this change, then you are allowing this to continue. Please support intersex and transgender rights by giving your students the rights to an education.
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/