Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, June 14, 2021

pride_june_2021.pngOur opportunities for activism are ranked around Juneteenth, a Saturday of celebration anchoring a week that’s also at the heart of Pride Month, including our PM Pride Logo which you may notice across our website and social media.

Our gains in health and safety in Maryland, plodding but real, bring us closer to the wider organizing options we’ve been waiting for. We will increasingly find our fulfillment in high-impact mobilizing for progressive change. THAT’s the new, better normal. This and much more in the Memo.



 

Thank you for being part of this movement. 

In Solidarity,

The PM Team

Quick Actions:

Statewide Updates:


Statewide Justice Task Force

Make calls to support community oversight in policing! Join us for our next Virtual Phonebank, happening next Wednesday, 6/23 from 5:30pm–7pm. We’ll be making calls to folks in Southern Maryland, talking with them about the importance of community oversight in policing, and asking them to hold their legislator accountable. We will start with a brief training on the script, and then make some dials. RSVP here!



Economic Justice Campaign

Governor Hogan’s decision to end emergency Unemployment Insurance payments prematurely will leave tens of thousands of Marylanders and their families at risk during a time when the economy is still not even close to full recovery. People are still trying to stabilize their financial and living situations. The additional federally funded weekly UI payment of $300 provides some security and safety. Read the recent opinion piece by Maryland  Attorney General Brian Frosh:https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/06/10/maryland-gov-hogan-is-wrong-cut-extra-unemployment-benefits/

Make your voice heard, too.Call Gov. Hogan today 410 974-3901 and tell him to reinstate the payments!



The New Era Project

We’re a year away from the June 2022 Primary! Help us field a team of progressive candidates and a powerful voter contact program for the critical 2022 elections. Support our New Era Political Action Committee (PAC)! Your dollars fund a political fellows program this summer; organizing training; and the development of more diverse candidates and campaign staff getting involved in campaigns for city, county and state legislative offices. Support the PAC.



Healthcare Justice Campaign 

Global Vaccine Equity:

We’re planning more in-person community events to educate and activate Marylanders on this critical issue.  Contact Josh or Patty for more details and to let us know if you can table in your community. We are getting postcards to President Biden urging him to urge the WTO to waive the barriers to vaccine production and allocation around the world. Our actions now will help save and protect thousands of lives, especially in the global south. To learn more about what’s at stake join us next Tuesday, June 22 at 8:00 https://actionnetwork.org/events/end-vaccine-apartheid?source=direct_link&

 

Medicare For All: 

Want to learn more about what Medicare for All is and how it will benefit our families, our workplaces, and our communities? Have questions about the Improved Medicare For All Legislation, HB 1976? Or about our grassroots organizing campaign? Then join us for a Teach-In June 24!

 

Live in Montgomery County? The County Council will take up a local resolution for Medicare For All next month. Please sign our petition and share.

 

Drug Policy Task Force:

The Progressive Maryland Drug Policy Task Force invites you to join us on Thursday, June 17, 6:00 - 8:00 pm to commemorate the 50 year anniversary of the start of the War on Drugs. The schedule for the event will include knowledgeable, impassioned speakers commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the start of the War on Drugs. After enduring 50 years of the War on Drugs and witnessing its devastating effects on our communities, we feel it is   important to change this policy now and pursue a public health and harm reduction approach. We will discuss the harm that the War on Drugs has done to our liberties, communities, and families. 

On June 17, 1971, President Richard M. Nixon, playing on fears of the uncertainty of many American voters surrounding race uprisings and demonstrations against the war in Vietnam, declared a “War on Drugs.”  As a result of the declaration of “war,” the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) was formed to target anti- war protesters for the use of marijuana and black people for use of heroin. John Ehrlichman, Nixon’s Domestic Affairs Advisor and White House Counsel,  admitted in an interview  that the “war” was aimed at “anti- war left and Black people. You can read the full quote here.

The global War on Drugs has influenced how the public and the government look at people who are addicts. By focusing the government's time, energy and funding on framing drug use as a criminal issue instead of a substance abuse/mental health issue, the so-called  “War on Drugs” has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals, families, and in our communities.  It has been an embarrassment, racist, and ineffective for the American people.  Drugs are killing Americans in record numbers. 

On January 13th, a report from Maryland’s Opioid Operational Command Center and the Maryland Department of Health found that there was a 12% increase in overdose deaths in the first nine months of 2020, compared with the same period a year earlier: 2,025 versus 1,806 in 2019. Nationally, opioid deaths are up over 38%, while deaths from cocaine overdose are up by 26%, and methamphetamine by 35%. Over the last 50 years, the United States has spent trillions of dollars to eradicate drugs and drug use.

The United States drug policies never look at the big picture approach to the problem of drug overdoses. There has been too much focus on arresting drug dealers and not enough on treating the addiction that made drug dealing such a lucrative business. We need to take a long, hard look at the mental health of Americans and ask  ourselves why are they addicted to drugs and alcohol, depressed, as well as why there has been an increase in suicide and domestic violence.

Let's recognize human rights and reduce the barriers by taking the necessary steps to promote effective programs for overdose prevention. Overdose Prevention Sites (OPS) and supervised consumption treatment plans for individuals, which are the most effective interventions for reducing the risk of overdose.  OPS sites, which are staffed by health-care professionals, ought to be the number one priority in the State of Maryland, and available 24 hours, 7 days a week.

We welcome you to join us to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the start of the War on Drugs on Thursday, June 17, 6:00 - 8:00 pm

The Progressive Maryland Drug Policy Task Force

 

Local Chapter Updates:

Progressive Montgomery

Help us get our County Council to pass a Medicare For All local resolution. Please sign the petition and share. Want to help with outreach to Councilmembers and to other residents to build support for the campaign? Please contact Josh this week!

 

State and National News:  

What trends might be underway in Political Maryland as we open the week? Here are some news clues from The Week That Was.

Hogan cancels the federal $300 add-on for unemployment insurance benefits; sees much pushback.

(See Economic Justice Campaign, above) ...Over the weekend, “Workers outside the Baltimore Convention Center protested Gov. Larry Hogan’s decision . A labor advocate and an activist for families delivered similar sentiments in last week’s opinions..

House Committee Divided Over Hogan’s Ending Expanded Unemployment Benefits --  Hogan also resumes work search requirements while “Franchot is the latest publicly elected official to call on Gov. Larry Hogan to reverse his decision to cutoff $300 in federally funded weekly unemployment benefits and Meanwhile, jobless Marylanders continued to report problems all week with claiming unemployment benefits through the state’s online portal, even as the state said the system is working properly. The state Labor Department claims they finally caught up with the problem late in the week.

As the whole Assembly session takes shape in the rear-view mirror, observers found many glitches --

 “The backrooms became more exclusive as high-paid lobbyists had access that was not only unseen but also unheard and unobserved. And it was easier than usual for some legislators to pick and choose who they engaged or met with. …. Some committees, for example, live-streamed important workgroup sessions; others did not. Written testimony wasn’t publicly available online until a bill had already left committee, making it hard to assess the arguments being made for or against a bill” and …. “Engaged Marylanders watched in dismay as workgroup sessions ended with one version of a bill only to have another version when sessions resumed or [saw] hastily scheduled voting sessions taking place with no further opportunities for comment. This all suggested that real work was happening outside the public eye.”

New state education superintendent faces big chore. The Maryland State Department of Education, often criticized and the target of many changes inscribed in the Kirwan plan for school revitalization, has a new leader, and that plan’s implementation will be overseen by a board nominated by… a group that includes former members of the MSDE, as Gov. Hogan added his choices to the nominating group. Meanwhile, Kal Hettleman,  frequent voice of dissent on education (and a member of the Kirwan Commission) greets the new superintendent with some advice. How do we keep our teachers up to speed for this renewal project? A new report shows that opinions vary.

 

Pride Month Events 🌈:   

Parades, marches, and community events are taking place around the state in June (virtual and in-person). Show your pride and solidarity at one of these events.



NATIONAL ALERTS FROM PEOPLE’S ACTION

(PA is our national affiliate)

What is the Thrive Act and why do we need it? We have Biden’s infrastructure and family-support bills, and we know they will  be a heavy lift in this retrograde Senate. But the Thrive Act, which was introduced two weeks ago by legislators we know and trust, adds critical elements directly from  the Green New Deal and focuses on the frontline peoples otherwise downplayed in the Biden plan. Bringing these elements into the mix is just not something we can ignore as we move forward on the whole (incomplete) program. Read the fact sheet on the Thrive Act here.

 

Focus: Homes Guarantee National Tenants Bill of Rights: -- This explainer from the social media kit for the People’s Action NTBOR campaign has the scoop: “We as tenants don't have the power we need, especially compared to the people who own our homes. That’s why we’re launching a campaign for a National Tenants’ Bill of Rights, a critical stepping stone on the path to our North Star vision, a Homes Guarantee to build the power of the tenant movement, establish tenants as a political class of citizens, and ultimately transform the conditions for tenant organizing.” 

 

Democracy Throw Down: from People’s Action starts TODAY through June 21st. Phone bank for the For the People Act.  Phone banks will be Tues & Thurs from 6-9pm ET this week and next. And a continuing effort, Deadline for Democracy, goes on into July. 

ACTION GETS LOCAL FOR MARYLAND Thursday, June 24th is the #WeCan’tWait mobilization in DC for citizenship, climate, care, and jobs. See the social media toolkit here to boost turnout.

 

Events from our allies:   

Tuesday, June 15 

40 Acres and a Mule: Juneteenth Teach-in on Reparations7pm with Working Families Party

RSVP now »  Virtual event, join from anywhere



Wednesday, June 16 | 7pm

Prince George’s DSA monthly branch meeting -- follow link for access.

 

Saturday, June 19 -- Juneteenth!

The Greenbelt Black History and Culture Committee has planned activities for the 156th Anniversary of Juneteenth — the day in 1865 when enslaved people in Texas learned that they had been emancipated. The District of Columbia has celebrated Juneteenth for many years. For details about the Greenbelt activities, contact Lois Rosado at [email protected] or Greg Varda at [email protected].

 

Saturday, June 19, 2021 - 12-4 pm Juneteenth Celebration in Montgomery County

Please join Silver Spring Justice Coalition along with partners and friends for a Juneteenth Celebration at the Macedonia Baptist Church, 5119 River Road, Bethesda.  More details about the great line up of speakers and sponsors can be found at BethesdaAftricanCemeteryCoalition.net.

 

Monday, June 21

7 – 9pm | Reel & Meal Film Screening: Third Harmony

This month’s Reel & Meal film program features Third Harmony, a 2020 documentary that draws on interviews with veteran political and civil rights activists, scientists, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal and others to help portray what nonviolent protest is and how it works. Sponsors this month: Prince George’s County Peace and Justice Coalition. Registration at link

 

Tuesday, June 22

Virtual Town Hall with Senator Chris Van Hollen | 4pm sponsored by Maryland League of Conservation Voters to discuss American Jobs Plan bill. RSVP: here or at Facebook event page

 

Progressive Maryland BlogSpace:

We value creating space for our members to express their thoughts on any issues related to our campaigns. Have an idea for a blog post? You can submit writing, film, graphic design etc. to be published on our website to the blog moderator, Woody, at [email protected].  

June 08, 2021 Let's "check" what we are doing to make liveable communities in Prince George's

A high school history teacher who attended a recent rally in Prince George's against gun violence found himself "discouraged that some of the speakers at the gun violence event seem to blame Black people for gun violence without addressing the root causes of the violence." As he points out, the historic wealth gap between Black and White households has meant a lack of good-paying jobs, affordable health care and mental health access, and other evidence of disparities. "What good is it to have Black men 'checking' other Black men’s behavior when the real problem is a lack of resources?"

Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, June 7, 2021

Progressive Maryland continues to celebrate and advocate for the LGBTQ+ Community, this month and always. We are proud to honor the progress flag in our new PM Pride Logo which you may notice across our website and social media.

This and much more in the memo.

June 04, 2021 Housing advocates urge Hogan to fund legal aid for tenants in eviction

A new law gives tenants threatened with eviction a right to a lawyer -- but the companion bill funding the law  failed to pass in the 2021 Session.

Lawmakers and tenant advocates urge the governor to fund the law, leveling a playing field in which landlords generally, but tenants seldom, have representation. Maryland Matters has the coverage.

June 03, 2021 Hogan UI cancellation spurs Dems' focus on his vetoes, too

Though he was late to the game, Gov. Hogan's attempt to drive workers back to possibly unsafe jobs has galvanized the state's Dems. They were looking the other way from his outrageous late vetoes of progressive measures, but may have to focus on them after all. Lawmakers are reportedly asking about a special session.

 May 31, 2021 Gauntlet thrown as Senate GOP says "what insurrection?" on Jan. 6

The Senate GOP late last week bowed to the bidding of Mitch McConnell (and Trump) and blocked a bipartisan panel to seek the full story of the infamous insurrection at the US Capitol. That outrageous refusal to face facts fits into the larger right-wing plan to gain and hold power at the expense  of  democracy -- a plan outlined in the PM BlogSpace last week by analyst Sean Dobson. Here's a recap of that deep-diving, four-part series on "The Once and Future Takeover, published last week (see below).

May 29, 2021 The Once and Future Takeover IV -- Democracy advocates must take working class issues to heart

May 28, 2021 The Once and Future Takeover III -- plugging gaps in our institutions

May 27, 2021 The Once and Future Takeover II -- vulnerabilities and vengeance

May 24, 2021 The Once and Future Takeover

Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, May 24, 2021

-May 20, 2021 Maryland has many workers who cannot join a union. This must change.

-May 05, 2021 Looming eviction crisis as emergency ebbs brings multiple calls for official relief

-May 04, 2021 Progressive Maryland launches PAC to back progressive candidates with the mother's milk of politics