Petition to Mike Honda, U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, Mike Honda
Save the Perkins Loan Program
Please note that collection of your street address is strictly for the purpose of notifying your representative of your support for the Save Perkins Now petition. We do not harvest or collect address or other contact information for the purpose of sending unsolicited emails, unsolicited communication, or selling or trading contact lists. STUDENTS, PARENTS, HIGHER EDUCATION ADVOCATES, ADMINISTRATORS AND SUPPORTERS Did the Federal Perkins Loan Program help you afford a college education? Have you worked with or do you know students that have benefited from a Perkins loan? If so, please help save the Perkins Loan Program by signing our petition today. This proven and longstanding loan program is in jeopardy. In order for the program to continue beyond the 2016-17 award year, Congress must reauthorize the program or extend the September 30, 2017 sunset date. Perkins Loans provide critical support to students with economic need, offering low-cost loans with flexible repayment terms and generous forgiveness options that are public-service oriented. In 2013-2014, close to 500,000 students with need were awarded nearly $1.1 billion in Perkins loans, with an average amount of $2,014 awarded per student. This funding is critical to students who may not qualify for any other financing options, including more costly private loans, and therefore would be unable to complete their education.
Petition to U.S. House of Representatives
Change the Selective Service requirement for Transgender People Assigned Male at Birth
I am a 24-year-old transgender nonbinary individual born biologically male. I reside in the Portland metro area here in Oregon. I am living at home with family who is low-income, so I have limited resources when it comes to getting vocational opportunities. I am totally blind and hard-of-hearing. Although I am petitioning a problem that has been around for a long time, I am not arguing on the basis of disability. About six years ago, when I graduated high school and attempted to get federal student aid through the FAFSA web-site in the fall of 2012, I was informed by a community college financial aid office that I wouldn’t be able to make progress until I had registered with selective service. What is Selective Service? The Military Selective Service Act, passed and signed on May 18, 1917, was designed to require people who identify as male, or are assigned male at birth to register upon reaching the age of 18 and no later than their twenty-sixth birthday. Why did Congress pass this law, and why did they only require males to register? At the time that this went into effect, people who identified as female had little freedom to work outside the house and perform manual labour. At that time, it was believed that females were incapable of fulfilling combat roles the way males could. So, the military began putting restriction on these roles for females. Given the ten major wars we fought, our country has developed strategies to call people to do their duty for Uncle Sam, even if they didn't agree with it. Failure to register for Selective Service would result in a huge fine, or five years imprisonment. Also, considering the recent wars in Vietnam and Korea, some people expressed their beliefs that the draft has been overused rather than being reserved for actual emergencies. Although this is my opinion, I feel that we as a country have lost almost every good value today. The only thing we're good at is war. If there hasn't been a draft in a long time, why should males still have to register? Certain benefits are gained by being registered for Selective Service. If you got a job at a federal government agency, you might be required to register for selective service. Likewise, if you attempted to get financial aid to attend college, you will most likely be required to register, as well. Since I do not consider myself to be male, even though I am still considered to be male by the government, I decided, from this point forward, that I would boycott financial aid and other services that depend on Selective Service until they either A. Eliminate the selective service Act altogether, or B. Require that everyone sign up no matter what sex or gender they were assigned at birth. Here's some of the problems we're dealing with, at the moment. The federal government is still based on the gender binary. Oregon, and probably Washington, are two of the first states to legally recognise gender non-binary individuals. I changed my gender on my new state ID card to reflect this new law early this year.The other problem is that this society, like most societies, is male-dominated, especially by cisgender heterosexual males, which means that this is probably going to be harder to fight. Before making this petition, I attempted to find out whether I would have a legal argument to file litigation with the Selective Service or any other branch of the United States government on the basis that selecting, picking out, or subjecting a specific group of individuals on the basis of sex and gender constituted as discrimination, which is illegal in almost all jurisdictions. In this last round of contacting different legal organisations, an attorney informed me that this matter of a substantially similar nature has already been addressed by the United States Supreme court in the case of Rostker v. Goldberg, 448 U.S. 1306, 101 S.Ct. 1, 65 L.Ed.2d 1098 (1980). This is part of what my attorney said.At that time, the Court held in a six to three decision that Congress's decision to exempt women from registration 'was not the "accidental by-product of a traditional way of thinking about females"'. The Court found that men and women, because of combat restrictions on the latter, were not 'similarly situated' for the purposes of draft registration. The Court also upheld Congress's judgment that the administrative and military problems that would be created by drafting women for noncombat roles were sufficient to justify the Military Selective Service Act. Although the military has been relenting on this position in recent years, there is no legal precedent stating that the Constitution requires it to do so. One of the members of the National Centre for Transgender and Intersex equality informed one of the queer resource centre's coordinators a year ago that there have been some effort made by congress to eliminate Selective Service, but as of today, it still remains unclear what the future will hold. They might either eliminate it, or expand the registration to females. They might forget about it and keep things as they are. I decided that if they weren't going to change this policy, we would have to petition them. So, What's the next step? I think that you (and I) as private citizens, should come together and make our voices heard and redefine what America was meant to be, a country where all human beings, not men, are created equal. The supreme court ruled in favour of same sex marriage in 2016, and as a result, people of the same sex can legally marry in all fifty states including the territories.. Judges have been working on blocking Trump’s attempts at banning transgender service members from joining the military. We would need to work at lifting the combat restrictions on female soldiers so Congress would be forced to reconsider mandatory registrations for everybody. The only time people should be excluded or exempted is if they were full-time parents or if they had a disability or chronic illness, but it should never be based on gender or sex. Those belong in the nineteenth century, and it's already the twenty-first century. A little over a hundred-one years and we're still dealing with this problem. If we can change this for future LGBTQIA community, you can help me out by being one of the first to help make change to allow anyone, not just transgender individuals, who are male or were assigned male at birth, to attend the college of their choice and receive financial student aid, if they can't afford paying for college, without having to worry that they will have to sign up for selective service simply because they were told that only males are required to register. If Selective Service is here to stay, then people should get assurance that everyone would be required to register. If jury duty does not discriminate on the basis of sex or gender, Selective Service ought to be the same. I had a great chance to go to college and pursue a career in biotechnology to help develop new methods for transgender reproduction and reassignment several years ago, but because of this unequal treatment and ideologies I disagree with, all of my plans came to naught. I don't want others in my position to experience what I went through. For now, I plan to make a living by being an advocate for my people and my community. Please share his petition far and wide. Get the media involved. Send this to any political advocacy organisations and help bring this to victory.
Petition to Bill Gates, Snoop dogg, The Jim Henson Company, Jeff Dunham, Steven Spielberg
Master's Degree Programs in Puppetry at All U.S. Universities
This discussion has been on the table for quite some time. The demand for highly qualified puppeteers in today's U.S. workforce is rapidly growing. Currently, there are only two accredited universities in the U.S. that offer an MA/MFA degree program in the art of puppetry. The dearth of concentration in higher education for exceptionally talented students of puppetry has been one of the main factors responsible for the 24 percent increase in the national suicide rate since 1999 (National Center for Health Statistics). Each year, thousands of highly selective puppetry positions are unable to be filled because the applicants lack the necessary education. Starbucks recently raised its pay by 5% to help thousands of struggling underqualified puppeteers working as baristas pay off their student loans--do you really want to pay an extra 30 cents for coffee? Many puppeteers must resort to auditioning for small-scale community theaters where waiting lists can span into the next decade. We ask those who may be aspiring to fulfill an advanced degree in puppetry to please sign this petition. We also ask those of you who may know someone--whether it be family, friends, or the homeless person with no teeth you walk past every day who resorts to putting on puppet shows with worn out tube socks full of holes--to please find a way to sign this petition. The future is on your hands.
Petition to U.S. Senate
Allow Federal Financial Aid for Students with Prior Drug Offenses
The United States incarcerates people at a higher rate than any other nation, with over two million people incarcerated and nearly five million more under supervised release at any given time. While the problems associated with widespread and often disproportionately-severe direct consequences of conviction have come into increased focus, more troubling still are the largely unnoticed collateral consequences of conviction, which often affect formerly incarcerated people for the rest of their lives. Currently, over 65 million people in the United States have some type of criminal record. The systems of federal, state, and local laws used to revoke certain civil rights and impose other barriers for people with a criminal history are known as the collateral consequences of conviction, and can create insurmountable barriers to employment or a return to full civic life, which many argue increases recidivism. A 2013 report commissioned by the Justice Department cataloged a staggering 44,000 collateral consequences nationwide. One particularly troubling example concerns the effects of a drug conviction on financial aid eligibility. Since 1998, amendments to the Higher Education Act have blocked individuals with drug convictions from receiving federal student aid, including grants, loans, and work study, for periods ranging from one year to indefinitely. More than 200,000 applicants have been denied since these changes took effect, and studies have shown that these laws do not deter young people from committing drug felonies. This year, Senators Bob Casey [D-PA] and Orrin Hatch [R-UT] introduced Senate bill S. 2557, the SUCCESS Act, which intends to restore eligibility for federal financial aid to these students and calls for a revision of the FAFSA form to remove questions about applicants’ convictions for drug offenses. If implemented, the SUCCESS Act would increase access to higher education for students with drug convictions, leading to better outcomes for those individuals and society. There are several things that I know to be true based on my experiences and those of individuals I have met: People absolutely can—and do—change their lives; to accomplish this, motivation and resiliency are not enough—people require both formal and informal supports during such an undertaking; the barriers to reintegration are higher for minorities, individuals with limited education, and those of low socioeconomic status; and, if the successful reintegration of former offenders into the community remains the ultimate goal of society, then legislators and the public must do a better job of facilitating that reintegration. If you, too, believe in equal access to higher education for all people who are striving to be productive members of society, please sign this petition and contact your legislators to urge their support of the SUCCESS Act.
Petition to Souderton Area School Board
Support Souderton Area Public Schools
UPDATE: Here is information that is part of the public record concerning the charter school's financial impact on the disctrict http://bit.ly/1RyhelJ Please show your support for the Souderton Area traditional public schools and all they have to offer by signing this petition. If the charter school expansion is approved, money that is needed for OUR children in the district will be taken away: $2 million! If the charter school is not going away (costing us $2.5 million per year) we can at least prohibit its expansion. $2 million will need to come out of our district's budget this coming school year to pay for the expansion, and it will continue to cost us in the coming years. The last time budget cuts were needed, the district cut the 3rd grade instrumental program, kindergarten busing, school sports and other activities among many other things. Imagine even more of these programs being cut in order to support a larger charter school that only benefits a handful of students - some who do not even live in our distrtict! This expansion will not only affect all SASD families, but all taxpayers in the Souderton area if taxes have to be raised to support this expansion! Souderton School District prides itself on all it has to offer to its tax paying citizens. They are doing the best they can despite the State budget freeze for education (55% of the state funding has not been paid yet this year). We can not take on an additional burden of expanding the charter school. Please sign this petition to show your support for our traditional public schools! If you agree we do NOT need to pay for charter school expansion, please also plan to attend an important board meeting on March 31st at 7pm at the Souderton High School. The more people who attend this meeting to support public education, the better!