Secular and Progressive Friends,

 

Prior to the November 2020 Election, our Political Action webpage listed Democratic incumbents and challengers vying for seats in the United States Senate and House of Representatives. Links to their campaign websites were provided, and visitors to this site were encouraged to support their candidacies by contributing to them financially. But the election has now come and gone.

 

Fortunately, there are a variety of significant ways in which secular progressives can continue to participate in the political process. For example, we can contact our government officials to urge them to vote as we prefer on proposed legislation. Or we can take part in letter writing campaigns, participate in phone banks, canvass door to door, march, or attend street protests.

 

Below you will find columns in which preeminent advocacy groups will inform us of political matters calling for action. From left to right, the first three such groups are the American Civil Liberties Union (commonly known by its acronym, ACLU), Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, and the Freedom From Religion Foundation. The fourth column, to the far right, will present postings on a rotating basis from other similar entities. I invite you to express your values and to make your voice heard by making good use of this indispensable information. -- Gary M. Linscott

American Civil Liberties Union

(ACLU)  

________________________________

March 2, 2021

 

THEY ARE PEOPLE!

ACCESS TO ACCURATE IDs NOW

 

Over the last four years, we've seen the government intentionally and cruelly cut out trans and non-binary people – from the trans military ban to rollbacks in health care protections to so many others.

 

The new administration has assured us they will work to undo this damage, so we must hold them accountable to their words.

 

There's one important action Biden-Harris can take right away to show that they respect and support our trans communities: Give us access to accurate identification. 

 

Specifically, we are pushing in the first 100 days for an executive order directing all federal agencies to implement two critical changes.

 

First, allow self-attestation of gender markers – meaning you can affirm your own gender identity without needing medical verification.

 

Second, add a gender neutral "X" designation to all federal IDs and records – which allows non-binary and other people to have a more appropriate gender marker than the "M" or "F" options.

 

Currently, to update a gender marker in the social security system, on a passport, on immigration documents, or on any other federal ID or record – an applicant must submit a letter from a medical doctor attesting to appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition.

 

Not only are such burdensome requirements costly, complicated, an invasion of privacy, and entirely unnecessary, but they prevent many trans and nonbinary people from getting an updated ID to move through the world.

 

These harmful barriers particularly impact the safety and wellbeing of trans people of color – most especially Black trans people – who are more likely to face harassment when presenting an ID that does not match their presentation.

 

With one stroke of the pen, President Biden can issue this order to provide a common-sense solution to access accurate IDs, and send a critical message to transgender people across the country: Our government sees you as exactly who you say you are, and wants you to be supported and included in this country.

 

Trans and non-binary people belong, and everyone should have IDs that accurately reflect who they are:

 

Ask the Biden-Harris Administration to take action.

______________

The American Civil Liberty Union needs grassroots supporters like YOU to help achieve its critical goals.

 

We here at Secular Progressive Outreach encourage you to contribute to the ACLU by visiting their website, clicking on the Donate button, and following the instructions provided.

ACLU

(aclu.org)

____________

February 26, 2021

 

If the 2020 election showed us anything, it's that ensuring the right to vote, particularly for voters of color, is absolutely urgent

 

Congress can start by passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act – and you can make sure they act now.

 

The attempts to disenfranchise Black and Brown voters in this last election were egregious – from attacks on vote by mail to cuts to early voting periods to unnecessary ID requirements. It arguably culminated on January 6, as white supremacists wielding anti-Black and anti-Semitic symbols stormed the Capitol to try and overturn election results.

 

Suppressive tactics like this are not new. Systematic efforts by politicians to erect voting barriers and discriminate against voters of color have been used in attempts to tip the balance of power for centuries.

 

It's time to put an end to voter suppression. 

 

The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act would begin to root out racially-driven voting barriers. Tell your representative to act now.

 

The deep racist history of targeting voters of color persists and continues to grow – even in a deadly pandemic. In the wake of record levels of turnout last year, we're seeing proposals in many states seeking to cut back on voter access. There are currently 165 bills in 33 states to restrict access to the ballot.

 

The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act would restore critical elements of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that were gutted by a landmark Supreme Court decision in 2013 – a decision which has allowed states to engage in such racism-fueled voter suppression with impunity.

 

That's why we must urge Congress to act now: 

 

Send a message to your representative urging them to pass VRAA today.

 

Thank you for taking action,

 

Sonia Gill

Senior Legislative Counsel, ACLU

_______________

Americans United for the Separation of Church and State

_________________________________

February 24, 2021

 

AU is Tracking Private School Voucher Bills in

States Across the Country.

 

Right now there are 89 “high priority” bills threatening public schools and secular education.

 

AU’s policy experts and advocates are working hard to organize opposition to as many of these proposed bills as possible, but with urgent support from you today, they can do even more.

It’s plain to see what inspired this new proliferation of private school voucher schemes:

 

Given that all voucher programs must now allow funding for religious schools alongside secular schools (after the Supreme Court's Espinoza decision), state legislators are more eager than ever to create or expand voucher programs.

 

Taxpayers should not be forced to fund private religious education, especially when doing so drains much-needed resources from America’s public schools. And, let’s not forget that vouchers have their roots in efforts to evade integration orders and fund segregation academies specifically designed to keep black and white students apart.

 

Today, studies show that private school vouchers continue to increase rates of segregation in America’s schools.

 

Protecting public education is a church-state separation issue, one that Americans United has worked on since our founding in 1947. It’s also an issue that is deeply connected to the unmet ideals of equality and inclusion that generations of civil rights advocates have fought for.

Please click here to make a special gift in support of our efforts to keep public funds where they belong: in public schools.

 

Thank you for your support at this crucial time.

 

In solidarity,

 

Rachel K. Laser
President and CEO

_______________

If you, as a visitor to this site, are in agreement with any or all of the principles stated above, we at Secular Progressive Outreach encourage you to call your Congressional Representative or your state's Senator in Washington to express your approval and support, and to encourage our public officials to act in accordance.

 

You may also wish to contribute to Americans United for the Separation of Church and State by accessing their website. clicking on their donate button, and following the instructions provided there.

 

Americans United

(au.org)

_______________

December 17, 2020

 

Agenda to Restore & Protect Religious Freedom

 

Religious freedom means that everyone should be able to practice their religion or no religion at all – without government interference, preference, or disfavor – so long as they don’t harm others. But over the last four years, President Trump manipulated religious freedom in unprecedented ways to sanction discrimination, deny access to health care, require taxpayers to fund religion, and allow houses of worship to endorse political candidates.

 

The Biden-Harris administration has the opportunity and the moral obligation to right the wrongs of the Trump administration and build a better future – one that values religious freedom and equality for all. We call on the Biden-Harris administration to take immediate action to restore the separation of church and state, a core constitutional principle and the cornerstone of religious freedom.

 

Here are the 10 things the Biden-Harris administration must do to protect religious freedom:

 

1. Repeal the Muslim Ban. T

he Muslim Ban is a breach of the American promise of religious freedom for all. We must ensure that no one is banned from our country because of their religious beliefs. President Trump’s Muslim and African bans have led to families being separated, people being denied access to medical treatments, students and researchers denied permission to study here, and doctors and medical professionals who could help care for COVID-19 patients being prohibited from entering the U.S.

 

2. Sign an Executive Order to Restore and Protect Religious Freedom for All Americans.

The Trump administration has misused religious freedom to score political points, cause harm, discriminate, and divide our country. The Biden-Harris administration must sign an executive order setting out principles of religious freedom that reflect current law, including the do-no-harm principle of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The order will guide agencies as they adopt policies to right the wrongs of the Trump administration and revoke policies that justify discrimination.

 

3. Protect the Religious Freedom of People Who Use Government-Funded Social Services.

The government often funds faith-based organizations to deliver social services – such as food banks, homeless shelters, and elder care. President Trump proposed rules to strip religious-freedom safeguards from vulnerable people who use these services, and even allowed foster care agencies to use religion to discriminate against potential parents. The Biden-Harris administration must implement robust religious-freedom protections for people seeking these taxpayer-funded services.

 

4. Protect Federally Funded Employees from Religious Discrimination. President Trump’s policies allow taxpayer-funded contractors and grantees to use religion to discriminate against their employees. The Biden-Harris administration must ensure that no one is disqualified from a taxpayer-funded job because they are the “wrong” religion.

 

5. Ensure People Are Not Denied Health Care Based on Someone Else’s Religion. The Trump administration advanced policies that allow health care workers to cite their religious beliefs to deny Americans – particularly women and LGBTQ people – the health care and health insurance they need. The Biden-Harris administration should rescind the policies so that no one is denied access to health care because of someone else’s religious beliefs.

 

6. Support the Do No Harm Act.

The Trump administration has misused the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) to justify many of its harmful and discriminatory policies. The Do No Harm Act, sponsored by Vice President-elect Harris when she served in the Senate, is designed to restore RFRA to its original intent. It will preserve the law’s power to protect religious freedom, such as the right to wear religious attire and observe religious holidays, but also clarify that it may not be used to harm others.

 

7. Fund Public Schools—Not Private Schools—with Public Funds.

Open to all students, public schools help unify our diverse society. Private school vouchers, historically rooted in efforts to evade desegregation orders after Brown v. Board of Education, undermine this vital function by diverting public resources to fund private, often religious schools. Forcing taxpayers to fund the religious education of others violates core principles of religious freedom. Yet, President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos wrongly prioritized private school vouchers and other funding for private schools, even exploiting the pandemic to do so.

 

8. Protect and Enforce the Johnson Amendment. The Johnson Amendment is a provision in the tax code that protects the integrity and autonomy of tax-exempt organizations, including houses of worship, by ensuring they do not endorse or oppose political candidates. The vast majority of Americans support the Johnson Amendment. Yet, President Trump has falsely bragged that he “got rid” of the Johnson Amendment and has stopped enforcement of the law.

 

9. Ensure that Our Government Reflects Our Nation’s Religious Diversity. The Trump administration surrounded itself with members of one particular segment of a single faith – conservative evangelical Protestants – and elevated their opinions and political interests above all others. President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris should build an administration that mirrors the religious diversity of our nation and maintains expertise in church-state separation.

 

10. Nominate Federal Judges Who Respect the Separation of Church and State. Federal judges are confirmed for lifetime appointments, and judges who decide constitutional questions must respect the separation of religion and government and have a record that demonstrates they will uphold the principle that religious freedom should never be used to harm others. During the Trump administration, 220 federal judges were confirmed, many of whom have demonstrated that they will undermine this principle.

Maggie Garrett
Vice President of Public Policy

_______________

November 17, 2020

Secular Friends,

 

As an organization founded on respect for constitutional democracy and our nation’s unfulfilled vision of equality and freedom, we know that limiting the right to vote limits all of our freedoms.

It’s as simple as this: We strengthen our democracy, our Constitution, and our values when every ballot counts.

While we await the official results of this momentous election, AU’s work to protect religious freedom and church-state separation can’t be put on hold.

 

On the morning after the election, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Fulton v. The City of Philadelphia, a case involving a taxpayer-funded child-placement agency contracted to provide government foster-care services that claims a “religious freedom” right to discriminate against qualified families who are LGBTQ.

We're proud to report that in oral arguments, Philadelphia’s attorney directly referenced the facts of our Aimee Maddonna case to explain to the Court that the Fulton verdict could expand religious exemptions for discrimination and exclusion.

AU filed a friend-of-the-court brief in this case on behalf of four prospective foster families, each of whom were rejected because they failed to pass the religious litmus tests of the agencies contracted by the government to find homes for foster children in the custody of the government.

No matter what the final election results are, AU will never stop fighting to protect the separation of religion and government and end the misuse of religious freedom to discriminate.

Please help us continue to fight all attempts to misuse religious freedom to discriminate. I encourage you to support our work with a donation today.

We will stay in touch as events unfold in the days to come. For now, please know how much we value being in community with you.

In solidarity,

 

Rachel K. Laser
President and CEO

________________

Freedom From Religion Foundation 

(FFRF)

__________________________________

 

March 1, 2021

 

Take Action: Urge Congress

to Pass the Do Not Harm Act

 

Members of Congress have reintroduced the Do No Harm Act, a crucial bill to curb the disastrous Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). 

 

Please take a moment to help ensure the bill makes a big splash by urging your representatives in Congress to support it.

When it was passed into law nearly 30 years ago, RFRA was purportedly intended to shield those with minority religious beliefs from the domination of the religious majority. As the Freedom From Religion Foundation predicted at the time, however, the Religious Right has hijacked this law as an unfettered license to discriminate on behalf of the majority religion.

The Do No Harm Act is a common-sense bill that limits the laws RFRA applies to in order to make certain religious liberty cannot be wielded as a weapon to discriminate.

For instance, RFRA would no longer exempt believers from the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Violence Against Women Act. It also wouldn’t provide believers exemptions from laws that require employers to provide wages and other compensation or from laws that require coverage for any health care item.

 

The Do No Harm Act, if enacted, could undo the damage caused by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision in 2014. That ruling allows employers and for-profit corporations to deny women workers contraceptive coverage on the basis of religious offense. 

Religious freedom is already protected under the First Amendment. The Do No Harm Act will bring us one step closer to restoring true equality by preventing discrimination in the name of religious belief. With the federal judiciary packed full of President Trump-appointed judges who were hand-selected for their support to redefine religious liberty, it is more important than ever that Congress take this important step.

We are proud that Congressional Freethought Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, and member Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee, are two of the lead sponsors of the bill.

 

Please share this information on social media. Consider writing your own online post or letter to the editor on this topic to further influence public opinion.

If you wish to contribute to the Freedom From Religion Foundation by accessing their website. click on the link below and follow the instructions provided there.

 

Freedom From Religion Foundation
 

https://(ffrf.org)

 

_______________

January 8, 2021

Our Response to the Attack

on the U.S. Capital

While we all watched in horror as our democracy came under direct attack on January 6th – powered  in part by an exceedingly dangerous white Christian Nationalist movement – we at the Freedom From Religion Foundation have continued our work to promote reason and defend our secular Constitution. This week has certainly been a dark one, but we echo the sentiments of Congressional Freethought Caucus co-founder, Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin: “American democracy will prevail.”

 

In light of the armed insurrection of the U.S. Capitol, a direct result of encouragement by President Trump, FFRF immediately joined the calls to impeach Trump and remove him from office. 

“There must be consequences for any U.S. president who behaves like a strongman dictator and who continually voices his refusal to honor election results and our nation’s unbroken history of peaceful succession,” we wrote. “Congress needs to take action now.”

 

Christian Nationalist Insurrection

In our editorial we drew attention to the connection between his terrorism and the growing threat of Christian Nationalism. Rioters carried signs dotted with bible verses and phrases like “Jesus 2020.” This exposes, we asserted, why religion needs to be kept out of government entirely. We also called out politicians on both sides of the aisle for continuing to mindlessly mix religion and government in the aftermath of the melee.

 

Trump’s base is white evangelicals, 81 percent of whom voted him into office, with the majority of Protestants and Catholics voting for him in his re-election bid. We cannot understand what is happening now without understanding the growing threat of Christian Nationalism.

Two of the public officials involved in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection are folks FFRF has tussled with in the past.

We call on Senator Josh Hawley to resign after he was shamefully captured by news photographers holding his fist up in a sign of support as mobs assembled. And we’ve asked for an investigation of Eric Barber, who until recently was a member of the Parkersburg, West Virginia City Council, which we and local plaintiffs are suing over its practice of insisting on beginning its public meetings with a prayer. “Now we know just how dangerous some of these Christian Nationalists are,” FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor remarked.

 

Barbara Alvarez, FFRF Reproductive Rights Intern, has written a sharply perceptive blog tracing the genesis of the riot, stating that the “warning signs of this type of violence have been around for years .... Abortion clinic providers and patients alike have experienced terrorism for decades,” she concludes. “Unless we embrace secularism as a hallmark for American democracy, these violent acts will only continue.” 

________________ 

November 17, 2020

 

Fellow Freethinkers,

URGENT: Action Alert

Pass the ROE Act in Massachusetts!

 

The Massachusetts Legislature is currently considering Amendment 759, which would remove medically unnecessary barriers to abortion care and improve access for reproductive health care throughout the state. Please tell the Senate Ways and Means Committee to include Amendment 759 — known as the ROE Act — in the final budget.

 

The amendment would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to make their own reproductive health decisions without court intervention. Furthermore, Amendment 759 provides care for later pregnancies in cases of lethal fetal diagnosis.

As a secular nation, our laws related to health care, including reproductive health care, should reflect science. Amendment 759 is a bold and important step toward providing medically accurate and science-based reproductive health care for the women of Massachusetts.

 

Please contact Michael Rodrigues, chairman of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, and urge him to ensure that Amendment 759 remains in the final budget.

TAKE ACTION!

_____________

A horrifying Supreme Court Justice
There’s been undeniably enough taking place to scare us all recently. The Senate confirmed Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, and we strongly condemned it.

“With your support, the Freedom From Religion Foundation will continue to champion the First Amendment in the courts and fight Christian Nationalism and the union of state and church in the court of public opinion,” we vowed. “Our fight has never been easy and it just got a lot harder. We are up to the challenge, but we need your help.” 


In her blog this week, FFRF Anne Nicol Gaylor Reproductive Rights Intern Barbara Alvarez chronicles the ongoing deterioration of women’s rights both in Poland and the United States.
 

“Since the U.S. Supreme Court has significantly changed in the last few years, most recently with Amy Coney Barrett replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg (a champion of abortion rights), the future of Roe v. Wade is in greater danger than ever before,” Alvarez writes. “Barrett has laid bare her willingness to impose her religious convictions into courtroom decisions.” 

A decision affirming our secular public education system.
There was better judicial news later in the week to offset the Barrett nightmare. An appellate court judgment upheld the secular nature of the Maine public education system in a case in which we filed an amicus brief.

“The 1st Circuit has engaged in a sound defense of our Constitution,” said FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “We hope other courts and jurisdictions will sit up and take notice.”

 

_________________

 

Other Recommended

Political Actions

_________________________________

From Bernie Sanders

 

President Biden's

American Rescue Plan

 

March 11, 2021

Elections have consequences. And I'm proud to tell you that because of the great work done by the Congressional Progressive Caucus and many of us in the U.S. Senate, we have just passed the most significant piece of legislation for working families in the modern history of our country.

 

The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan will provide significant help to those who need it most. But it will also do something more. At a time when many Americans are giving up on democracy it will help restore faith among the American people that we can have a government that works for all of us, not just the wealthy and the powerful. This legislation is a great victory for the progressive movement and the struggling working class of our country, and it is enormously popular. According to a recent Pew poll, 70% of the American people support the legislation, including 94% of Democrats. And we did this without one Republican vote.

 

This is a 628-page bill, so I can't tell you everything that is in it. But here are some of the most important provisions. It will ...

  • Increase direct payments to $2,000 for working class families — 85% of American households will receive a direct payment check. Under the last COVID relief bill passed in late December, working people received $600 in direct payments. Now, under this new legislation, they will receive $1,400 payments. Individuals making up to $75,000 and couples making up to $150,000 will be eligible, and additional payments of $1,400 will be provided per dependent child.

  • Extend supplemental unemployment benefits of $300 per week through September 6. Benefits were set to expire on March 14 and now they will be extended for another 25 weeks. This will be a huge relief to unemployed workers who were worried about losing their only source of income. They will also be eligible for a $10,200 tax exemption for unemployment payments.

 

  • Cut child poverty in half by expanding the Child Tax Credit from $2,000 to $3,000, and increasing it to $3,600 for kids ages 5 years old or younger. In the United States today, we have one of the highest rates of childhood poverty of any major country on earth. By expanding the Child Tax Credit, we will be able to substantially reduce child poverty.

 

  • Provide housing assistance to millions of Americans who are struggling to pay their rent, utilities, or mortgage payments. When the moratorium on evictions ends, people will get the assistance they need to stay in their homes. This bill will also confront the homelessness crisis in America.

 

  • Provide substantial funding for vaccine production and distribution to produce the quantity of vaccines that we need and get them into the arms of our people as quickly as possible. We have started to make progress in this area, but we still have a ways to go for businesses and schools to be able to reopen safely.

 

  • Offer significant relief for restaurants and small businesses who have been devastated as a result of this crisis.

 

  • Provide nutrition assistance to the 24 million adults and 11 million children who currently suffer from food insecurity. In the wealthiest country in the history of the world, we can no longer tolerate hunger and the long bread lines that have stretched mile after mile during the pandemic.

 

  • Protect pensions for millions of workers by providing financial support for pension plans that are severely underfunded. Workers have earned those pensions, and they must receive them in full upon their retirement.

 

  • Prevent mass layoffs of public-sector workers at the state and municipal level with strong funding for state and local governments.

 

  • Provide funding for schools so they can reopen safely, including a major increase in funding for after-school programs and summer enrichment programs.

 

  • Double funding for community health centers so that people can get the health care they desperately need. Community health centers provide primary, dental, and mental health care, as well as low-cost prescription drugs, to millions of Americans, the majority of whom are people of color and low-income people.

 

  • Ensure our veterans receive the health care they have earned and deserve by increasing funding at the VA.

 

But let us be clear. While this legislation is a major victory for economic, racial and social justice, much more needs to be done.

The second Budget Reconciliation bill that we have to pass must address the broader, structural challenges our nation faces. Among the many other issues we must confront is the need to combat climate change by transforming our energy system away from fossil fuels and into energy efficiency and sustainable energy. We must also rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and create millions of new units of affordable housing.

Today, let us acknowledge this important step forward for our movement. We fought, we stood together and we improved the lives of many millions of working families.

Thanks for all you are doing.

In solidarity,

Bernie Sanders

***

 

March 2, 2021

 

Walmart Opposed to Paying $15 Minimum Wage to Its Employees

 

At a time of massive income and wealth inequality, with the very rich getting much richer while working families face increased desperation, Walmart and its owners, the Walton family, have become the poster children for corporate greed. And it is time that we stood up to that greed and the unfettered capitalism which sustains it.

 

Here is the reality. The Walton family is the wealthiest family in the country and is worth more than $200 billion, which is more than the bottom 40 percent of Americans combined. Yet somehow, they continue to oppose the idea of paying their workers a living wage of $15 an hour. They think the taxpayers in this country should have to subsidize the needs of their low wage workers who are forced to go on food stamps, Medicaid and other forms of public assistance.

This is a family that has made more than $50 billion during the pandemic – yet many of their workers reported going into work without the protective gear they needed during that same pandemic, and few have any paid leave they can use.

 

This is a family whose eldest son has spent more than $225 million on an antique car collection, including Ferraris, Porches, Maseratis, and a 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic that won top prize at the The Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award in Paris — yet 55 percent of Walmart’s hourly workers have reported struggling with hunger.

This is a family with another heir to the Walmart fortune, Alice, who has amassed a private art collection worth an estimated $500 million, a $25 million two-floor condo on New York’s Park Avenue with 52 windows overlooking Central Park, and a $22 million 4,400-acre ranch in Texas — yet tens of thousands of Walmart workers are forced to rely on food stamps and public housing in order to survive.

 

Now, I have never understood how one family could have so much money and feel the desperate need for even more. I would think that with all those cars and homes and cash, they might just be able to raise the wages of their employees to a living wage and still afford to get by.

Because the greed described above just scratches the surface of the Walmart family’s pathology.

 

In 2005, Walmart was forced to settle a child labor law case. That same year, they paid a settlement for denying workers meal breaks.

In 2016, they were found to have used sweatshop labor.

In 2017, they were sued by female employees for discrimination based on gender.

And here is something else you may not know: The Walmart family — despite all of their wealth — is the largest welfare recipient in the country.

 

While they make these huge profits, buy their cars, their art, their homes, and more, they pay their workers wages that are so low that Walmart workers need distressing levels of public assistance just to get by.

 

A 2020 study by the Government Accountability Office found that in Arkansas, where Walmart was founded and has its headquarters, 1,318 workers receive SNAP benefits, which is 3.1 percent of the state’s total SNAP recipients. And another report showed that in 2013, Walmart cost taxpayers more than $6 billion in taxpayer-funded public assistance — and just four years later, for good measure, Walmart gave more than $8 billion in stock buybacks. This is all possible because of the low wages they pay their workers, and compliments of U.S. taxpayers.

 

So to the Walton family, I say to you, maybe you cannot understand what it is like to make $11 or $12 an hour in this country, but your workers need a raise. No one can live in dignity working a full-time job at those wages.

 

Amazon raised its minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Costco has raised its minimum wage to $16 an hour.

And it’s time for Walmart to do the right thing as well.

As Americans, we must ask ourselves one fundamental question, and that is whether or not this is the kind of country and economic culture we are comfortable with.

 

I am not comfortable with it. And I don’t believe you are either.

Please do this for me: Go to my website link below and sign my petition. Tell the Walton family that their greed has got to come to end — pay your workers a living wage of at least $15 an hour.

Here's the link:

 

https://act.berniesanders.com/signup/fobs-walmart-living-wage/?source=em210301-1-30&refcode2=8627.561902.4F5BZH&akid=8627%2E561902%2E4F5BZH

Thank you for making your voice heard.

 

In solidarity,

 

Bernie Sanders

__________________

Building a Democratic Party That Can Speak to the Working Class

February 26, 2021

 

To Fellow Progressive Voters,

The next four years will determine whether our country continues as a democracy or whether we elect another president like Donald Trump who permanently puts us on the path towards authoritarianism.

 

This will in part be decided by how well the Democratic Party, with control of the White House, the House of Representatives and the Senate, does at enacting policies that make a difference in the lives of working people.

 

It is also dependent on building a Democratic Party that can truly speak to the working class of our party — Black, White, Latino, Native Americans and Asian Americans. The party must reach out and organize all Americans who believe in the principles of economic justice, racial justice, social justice, and environmental justice. It must be a party that has the courage to stand up to the powerful special interests who have so much control over the economic and political life of our country. Finally, it must be a party driven by grassroots activism, not one that serves the interests of well-paid political consultants.

 

During this unprecedented moment in American history, we must make it clear that we will not return to the same old establishment politics. We cannot continue to ignore the needs of tens of millions of working families. And we cannot accept government policy which enables the very rich to get much richer while a majority of Americans live in economic desperation.

 

Unbelievably, over the past ten years, an increasingly reactionary Republican Party has become the party of the working class. A recent poll shows that since 2010 there has been a 12 point increase in the percentage of white blue-collar workers who identify as Republican, a 13 point increase among Latino blue-collar workers and a 7 point increase among Black blue-collar workers. In all, the percentage of blue-collar voters who identify as Republican has grown by 12 points and those who identify as Democrats has declined by 8 points.

 

And, in 2020, while Joe Biden won a convincing victory over the least popular president in modern history, Republicans did better than expected in races for U.S. House, U.S. Senate and state legislatures.

Simply stated, the way we will regain support from working class voters is by acknowledging their very real pain, by reaching out to them and by advancing an agenda that addresses the realities of their lives.

 

If we've learned anything from the recent runoff election in Georgia, it is that the future of the Democratic Party must be focused on grassroots organizing. Instead of spending hundreds of millions of dollars on 30-second TV ads two weeks before the election, we have got to invest heavily in organizations and people who are working in their communities 52 weeks a year. The party must continue to bring more young people and working people into the political process, and we must begin communicating with Americans in every state in this country — including those who have never voted before.

 

This is going to require an enormous amount of work, and the path forward will not be easy. There will be many powerful special interests, including some in the Democratic Party, who will try to stop us.

But what we have got to do in order to be successful is mobilize the people that powered our presidential campaign. We are going to use the tools we deployed contacting voters and use those same tools to begin educating and mobilizing our friends and our neighbors.

 

It is going to require all of us working together to transform this country and move the Democratic Party in a more progressive direction. I cannot do it alone, which is why I need to ask:

 

Can you make a contribution to help launch the organizing effort required to create the transformative change our country needs at this moment? I would not ask if it were not so important.

 

The truth is that the crises we face in this nation are enormous, and we have got to think big, not small.

What history has told us is that two years after President Obama won the presidency in 2008 and two years after President Clinton won in 1992, Republicans did phenomenally well. And the reason they did so well was because Democrats had the power, and they did not exercise that power to help working families.

We cannot make that mistake again, which is why it is imperative that we come together around a bold, progressive agenda.

We must join every other major country on earth and grant health care to all of our people as a basic human right.

 

We must take on the incredible greed of the pharmaceutical industry and not force the American people to pay higher prescription drug prices than everyone else.

 

We must raise the minimum wage to a living wage of $15 an hour and guarantee equal pay for equal work.

 

We must combat systemic racism and pass comprehensive immigration reform.

 

We must make public colleges and universities tuition-free and forgive student debt.

 

We must create millions of jobs by rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and confronting the climate crisis.

 

This agenda is not some kind of wild, radical idea. It's what the American people want, and it's where the Democratic Party has got to go.

 

We have made tremendous progress in recent years in our efforts to transform this country, but it is a fight that is far from over.

That is why I am asking you directly:

Please make a contribution to help build the kind of organizing effort we’ll need to advance a bold, progressive agenda that will aggressively address the needs of our people during this unique moment in American history.

 

Now is not the time for business as usual. We need a grassroots movement which forges a new vision for America and creates a government based on the principles of justice, not greed.

 

Thank you for adding a contribution today to show you are a part of that effort.

 

In solidarity,

Bernie Sanders

If YOU are a visitor to this website and are in agreement with the progressive political and social goals espoused by Bernie Sanders (and others like him), we encourage you to contribute financially to his cause by clicking on the link below. It will take you directly to Bernie's website. Just click on the Donate button and follow the directions indicated.

Donate Here:

https://berniesanders.com/ 

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