November 17, 2017

#METOO Hits Capitol Hill, Country Music Stars Faith Hill and Tim McGraw Call for Bi-Partisan Support for Gun Control, and Our First Years Close In On Finishing Graded II!

Congresswoman Jackie Speier held a press conference to call attention to sexual harassment in Congress. Without naming names, Speier took a bi-partisan approach by noting that there were two major culprits, one Democrat and one Republican. Joined by several other congressional members, Speier also introduced a bipartisan bill that would overhaul the complaint and review process to better protect victims. The bill is entitled the “Member and Employee Training and Oversight on Congress Act,” or the METOO Act, an homage to the popular social media campaign, #METOO, that promotes the sharing of stories of sexual harassment.

Country music icons Faith Hill and Tim McGraw also hopped on the bipartisan wagon when they made a public appeal for “common sense” gun control. The popular couple made their remarks in a Billboard interview after the Las Vegas massacre that took the lives of 58 attendees at a country music festival. The Country Music Association (CMA) tried to sidestep the issue by imposing a media ban on the topic of gun control just prior to the CMA Awards. That decision was reversed within two hours of a negative tweet by host Brad Paisley. The annual show – watched by millions worldwide – included a touching appeal by both Paisley and co-host Carrie Underwood referencing the upturn in senseless violence as well as other tragedies recently affecting America. Paisley and Underwood mentioned not only the Las Vegas massacre and the slew of hurricanes battering Puerto Rico, Texas and Florida, but also the events at Charlottesville. The CMA Awards included several other open appeals for inclusion, including Paisley rocking a tee-shirt bearing the simple message “UNITY.”

On the local front, Loyola’s first-years are closing in on their final major legal writing assignment for the fall semester. And midterms / finals are just around the corner. Congrats to all for studying so hard and still managing to find time to fight for equality and equity for all. 

Editor’s Note: Kudos to Paisley, Underwood and the CMA Awards for promoting inclusion. Gotta say, this writer also really liked the music!

November 7, 2017

Diversity Wins Big at the Ballot Box, Women’s March 2018, and a Great LLS Screening / Panel on Criminal Justice on November 13/14.

History was made today as Danica Roem became the first openly transgender person to be elected to a state legislature. Ms. Roem beat out Virginia incumbent Robert Marshall who both dubbed himself the “chief homophobe” and authored a since-defeated bathroom bill that would have required transgender persons to use a bathroom that corresponds to the sex designated on their birth certificate. Joining Ms. Roem in this incoming class are Elizabeth Guzman and Hala Ayala, who will be Virginia’s first Latina legislators. Similarly, Kathy Tran became the first Asian-American woman elected to the Virginia assembly and Dawn Adams will be the first open lesbian to serve. Across the nation, diverse candidates similarly ousted non-diverse incumbents. The long list includes Ashley Bennet, a woman of color from New Jersey who decided to run for her position when a white male incumbent mocked the 2017 Women’s March on social media.  

And speaking of the Women’s March . . .  Did you get your email? The organizers of the original Women’s March announced plans via email for a second march to take place on January 20, 2018. As before, the focus will not only be on issues affecting women, but also on discriminatory practices affecting other oppressed minorities. There will be an additional push to promote advocates to not only make their voices heard at the ballot box, but also to run for office.

On a local note, mark your calendars for two related presentations on juvenile justice hosted by La Raza de Loyola. On Monday, November 13, 2017, you can catch a screening of the documentary “They Call Us Monsters” in Cassasa 403 at 5:30 p.m. (Dinner will be provided.)  The screening will be followed by a panel discussion on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 at noon in the Burns Lounge.  (Lunch will be provided.)

As always, speak up for equality and equity for all whenever you get a chance. And maybe, just maybe . . .  think about running for office!!!