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SUNDAY, December 16th

Welcome back to #PlatformWeekly. This newsletter is produced by Platform, a political training and lobbying organization for and by young women-identified, non-binary, and femme folx dedicated to advancing feminist dialogue and policies. Our mission is to ensure that the voices of all who identify as young women are heard in the rooms where decisions about our bodies, our lives, and our futures are made.

 
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What we're focused on this week 

Happy Sunday! I hope everyone is recovering from their office holiday parties and working hard to internalize the emotional and physical repercussions of an open bar!! This week, Senate Minority (almost Majority) Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Minority Leader (Soon to be Speaker) Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12) went to the White House to meet with the Toupeed Terror and his sidekick. What was supposed to be a photo-op for Trump turned into his meltdown on national television. Did Pelosi break? Absolutely not. That badass kept her cool while THE PRESIDENT threw a literal temper tantrum. Major BDE, Ms. Nancy. He said he would get his STUPID wall funded “whatever it takes.” Oh whatever it takes? You mean besides a compromise and acceptance of what Congress is willing to offer you? That’s like me saying “I’m going to avoid a hangover at all costs” and the doctor says, “well stop drinking,” whilst I’m mid-sip from my hip flask. Some pundits said perhaps the statement “whatever the cost” was maybe a nod to potential compromise. In fact, they’ve interviewed at least 20 panels trying to decode that word vomit. HA! That’s like me trying to unpack a 1am text from a fuckboi that says “sup girl. wyd” Could Chad and I end up together in relationship of mutual love and respect? Anything is possible, but the panels of friends I’ve interviewed say definitely not and ask me to have a little respect for myself because they know my worth! Yes. I am EXTREMELY blessed in the friend department. As the end of the year draws to a close, I’ve realized that adulthood is basically just talking about how we can’t believe it’s the holidays again and commenting how quickly time passes. Congress is tying up some loose ends before they go on vacation, including “striking a deal” to tighten sexual harassment rules in the Capitol. Let’s break it down.

Here's what you need to know: (New York Times

  • After months of stalled negotiations, lawmakers in the House and Senate reached a compromise on legislation that would overhaul the burdensome procedures for handling sexual harassment and discrimination claims in Congress.
  • When #MeToo hit Congress like a ton of bricks last year, the House came up with an attempt to catch up with the 21st century. The compromise would require members to personally reimburse misconduct settlements related to harassment or retaliation claims based on sex, ethnicity or race, rather than rely on a taxpayer-financed settlement fund. Good to know my tax dollars aren’t going to some perv who couldn’t keep his hands to himself.
  • Under this new compromise bill, all settlements or awards involving a member of Congress would be publicly disclosed, even if the lawmaker has left office. HOWEVER, members would not be financially liable for discrimination claims, as they would have in the harassment legislation that passed the House. 
  • The bill would streamline the cumbersome claims-reporting process established in the 1995 Congressional Accountability Act. Those ancient standards included mandatory mediation and the “cooling off period,” where complainants have to wait a certain amount of time before submitting an official complaint. Hmm...cooling off so they can be intimidated to not report? The new standards would also protect interns, congressional fellows, and employees in district offices. 
  • The sneaky Office of Compliance has paid has paid $199,000 through a controlled fund to settle four sexual harassment claims. It will still exist under the new bill, but it would be required to establish an electronic system for accepting, tracking and reporting filed claims. SoOo I can see exactly which member of Congress is getting my tax dollars for asking one of his staff members to carry his child?
  • Final written language for the legislation has yet to be released, but lawmakers said they expect a vote in both chambers ASAP. 

Here’s the Feel-Good Five to lift you up:

Movies Starring Women Earn More Than Male-Led Films, Study Finds
Transgender Activist Raquel Willis Appointed Executive Editor At Out Magazine
The National Gallery of Art will have a female director for the first time in its history
Meet The All-Brown Cast of ‘Mira, Royal Detective,’ Disney’s Upcoming Animated Series
Director Deborah S. Esquenazi's New Production Company Tells Stories Of Queer Women Of Color

 

Other stories we're talking about

Green$ Get Degree$
In an effort to help graduate students pay off debt, U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV.) and Gary Peters (D-MI) introduced legislation that would help attract recent graduates to communities that have high poverty rates. Thanks! The bipartisan bill, called the Workforce Development through Post-Graduate Scholarships Act would allow private foundations to help graduate students pay off their student loan debt through scholarships. The scholarships would be non-taxable to the student and count as a charitable donation for the foundation. By providing a tax-exempt grant to pay off a portion of a graduate’s loans, charitable organizations across the country can serve their communities by encouraging grads start their careers in areas where their skills are most needed. This bill will also help to address the growing student debt crisis. Could this be solved by working to make universities more affordable instead of making a necessary degree so expensive? Sure. (WDMV)

Wage Against the Machine
FINALLY, mere weeks before the blue wave crashes over the Congress, the Republican controlled Congress scheduled a hearing to debate raising the federal minimum wage up from $7.25. GASP! Will we finally have a livable wage?? That would be nice considering Congress hasn't passed a minimum wage increase in a decade. But surprise, surprise, the hearing was a no-go. The hearing was slated for Wednesday before a subcommittee of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. It would have been the first hearing or markup devoted to the policy issue since Republicans won the House in 2010. While Republicans have avoided minimum wage discussions AT ALL COSTS in their 8 years of power, states have been raising minimum wages on their own. More than 29 states now have a wage floor above $7.25. Passing a bill to raise the minimum wage is expected to be a priority for Democrats in the new House, even if it’s bound to meet resistance in the GOP-controlled Senate and the White House. (Huffington Post)

The Wrong Solution
The Michigan state legislature passed two school safety bills involving active shooter training and violence reports. So 6 years after 26 innocent lives were robbed of their futures, as innocent students keep getting gunned down in class, and people of color are shot in their neighborhoods at the hands of police, this is the solution? Instead of focusing on curtailing this epidemic of violence, states are passing bills like House Bill 5852, which would require law enforcement to take active shooter trainings. House Bill 5851 would require schools to submit annual reports to police of attempted violence incidents and threats made towards the school, students, or staff. The Senate judiciary committee added a measure to the bill that would make school districts ineligible for school safety grants for a fiscal year if they fail to submit the reports. Both bills were originally introduced in a package with four other bills addressing school safety in April in response to the Feb. 14 deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. (Holland Sentinel

The latest news within Platform

NEW POLICY PACK: Year in Review 
It's been a little over a year since we released our first Policy Pack on the experience of 4.8 million student parents. Since then, we've covered immigration rights, gun violence prevention, disability rights, sexual violence prevention, ending racial profiling and criminalization of women & girls of color, equal pay, college affordability, voter suppression, and climate change. In the months since each of those packs were released both a whole lot and a whole lot of nothing has changed. Check out our Year in Review Policy Pack to catch up on where our policies stand as we head into the new Congress.

Holiday Apparel Sale
Give the gift of empowerment for this new year. Platform’s Holiday Apparel Market is open for business. The best part: A portion of every purchase directly benefits the Platform community. Check out our “Our Bodies. Our Lives. Our Futures.” t-shirt, water bottle, and tote bag on sale now.


RASHI'S VOICE: White Men Who Lost
Contributor Rashi writes about The Pink Wave crashing over Congress in January and how the media still seems fixated on men like Beto running in 2020. 

Bring "Channel Our Stories Into Change" Workshop to Your Community 
At Platform, we know you don't have to be an expert in politics to change policy or an expert in lobbying to change minds. Because you are an expert in your story and that's more than enough to create legislative change. During our workshop, you will learn how to share your story so that your lawmakers listen and act. Interested in bringing it to your community? Email jennifer@platformwomen.org

Start a Community or Campus Platform Chapter
We're working with young leaders around the country to mobilize our campuses and communities into Platform chapters. Our chapters are youth-led, feminist lobbying organizations dedicated to making change happen locally. Email aklima@platformwomen.org to join the team of chapter leaders. 


Blog It
We know you have something to say. Let us amplify your thoughts and ideas. How? Join us as a blogger! You can submit a singular piece or start a blog/vlog series. Contact us at media@platformwomen.org and we will get you ready to write! 

What our friends are up to

#WomensWave: Time to March Again
It's time to march again. And this time, the Women's March is coming back with an agenda. On January 19, 2019, we’re going to flood the streets of Washington, D.C., and cities across the globe. The #WomensWave is coming, and we’re sweeping the world forward with us. Learn more about the March here

Empower DC 
Join AAUW on January 24 at 6:00 pm in DC for an event to provide women with the leadership skills and networking opportunities necessary to succeed in their careers. The evening will begin with words of wisdom from a local leader, break into an intensive one-hour professional development workshop, and close out with networking with more than 50 professional women over drinks. Reserve your spot!

Hands Off IX
DeVos has issued new regulations on Title IX through a process known as “notice-and-comment.” Through notice-and-comment, members of the public have the opportunity to provide their input on proposed regulations. Want to learn more about the process and how to submit a good comment? Know Your IX and End Rape on Campus (EROC) are here to help! Visit their Hands Off IX campaign site to learn how to get involved. 

Apply to Be A Young People For Fellow
Young People For (YP4) is now accepting applications for the 2019-2020 Fellowship class. YP4 is a national long-term leadership development program for college-aged folks, that aims to identify, engage, and empower young people who are historically left out of the leadership development pipeline to take action in their community. The Fellowship provides you with the resources and training to develop a community action plan called a Blueprint for Social Justice to address a need in your community. Apply here by December 31st!

Know Before You Go

  • The fight for our planet isn't just up to Congress. That's why students across the country are demanding their colleges and universities divest from fossil fuels and Puerto Rican debt. At Yale, nearly 50 students were arrested while hundreds protested for change. 
  • Justice for Cyntonia Brown. The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled Brown, a sex-trafficking victim, must serve at least 50 years in prison for the first-degree murder of her abuser. Governor Bill Haslam is considering clemency. Call his office to ensure he does more than just consider it: (615) 741-2001. 
  • Just over a month after an anti-Semitic gunman took the lives of 11 people at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, anti-Semitic pamphlets were found around the city. 
  • It is illegal in New York (and should be everywhere) to shackle someone who is incarcerated while they are pregnant. NYPD officers didn't care. Jane Doe's ankles were shackled together while she was giving birth, despite doctor's calls for their removal. 
  • "These were women affected by administration policies who had literally made Mr. Trump’s bed." Victorina Morales accepted tremendous risk to come forward and talk about being undocumented and working for the man intent on criminalizing all who share her immigration status. 

Women Supporting Women

To create lasting change, we need to invest in this generation of women-identified folx. We need to invest in resources and opportunities for young leaders to influence the decisions made about our bodies, lives, and futures. Platform is dedicated to creating those resources and providing those opportunities, but we can't do it without your support. Show you stand with us and invest in the future we can create together. Make a gift today.
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