USA 2020 Elections Activism Politics Race The World Inequality

Uplifting Black people is the best way to thank Stacey Abrams

Thanks to the efforts of Black organizers and activists, the state of Georgia has made many historical wins regarding their recent Senate races. Notably, it’s been almost 30 years since Georgia was a blue state. Reverend Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff won in their respective races, on Tuesday night, to tie the United States senate 50-50 between Demoract and Republican seats. This means when the Senate votes on important political issues, Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris will break ties if there is one, becoming the deciding factor on what policies get approved or thrown out.

Additionally, Rev. Warnock will be the first Black senator to represent Georgia, the eleventh Black senator overall to serve in America, and the second Black senator from the south since The Reconstruction Era. In his victory speech, Warnock acknowledged the historical significance of his win stating, “The other day, the 82-year-old hands that used to pick somebody else’s cotton went to the polls and picked her youngest son to be a United States senator.” In addition, 33-year-old Ossoff will be the youngest person to hold a seat in the senate since Joe Biden won Deleware in 1973 at 30-years-old.

Needless to say, Black women came through for the Democratic party. Again. As has been highlighted many times, Stacey Abrams has been fighting against voter suppression since her governor loss in 2018 and has since registered an estimated 800,000 Georgia citizens to vote. Stacey Abrams’ organization Fair Fight that emphasizes voter empowerment for Black people along with others such as Black Voters Matter, The New Georgia Project, and The People’s Agenda carefully and tirelessly strategized to advocate for Black voters in the south. 

So, these monumental Democratic wins for Biden, Harris, Ossoff, and Warnock are a result of the groundwork Black people did, fighting to take back our democracy since Donald Trump’s unsavory presidential win in 2016. These major wins also further highlight how Black women are indeed the backbone of the Democratic Party as well as the importance of political groundwork, in-person interaction, and community care to progress the political framework of the American government. 

Black organizers have been focused in Georgia for years before the rest of America invested attention in the state after it became a battleground in the 2020 presidential election. However, it’s been noted the way Black female political figures tend to become idealized by white Americans after the rest of the country can reap the benefits of Black women’s work. 

For example, people praised Kamala Harris during her vice presidential debate with Mike Pence last October when she continuously asserted her will by not allowing him to speak over her. And people are now praising, in a hyper-romanticized sort of way, Stacey Abrams, similar to the way they did Kamala, for all of the work she’s done for the Democratic Party. The praise in itself isn’t the problem; however, it is uncloaking a pattern of behavior rooted in misogynoir.

It feels as though white people will only allot praise to Black women when our efforts are beneficial to them. Whereas Black women elsewhere still tend to get talked over, overlooked, and accused of being angry, difficult, or combative when we advocate for or defend ourselves. Abrams herself has denounced this sentiment of being a magical savior for the Democratic Party in a New York Times article stating, “I chafe at this idea that we then objectify one group as both [the] savior and as [the] responsible party.”

Democrats won those senate races in Georgia because Black women organizers and activists fought hard through voter suppression and historical disenfranchisement to ensure Black people’s voices were heard. Political efforts on the ground from Stacey Abrams, Felicia Davis, Helen Butler, Nsé Ufot, and other Black women across Southern states aided in numerous crucial Democratic wins. White liberals were ready to give up on Georgia when Abrams lost in 2018, but she stayed to fight the suppression that cost her the governor seat.

The many successes for Democrats are after years of racism, disenfranchisement, and oppression on the Black community. So, don’t romanticize our work, offer to support us instead. 

Black people are often forced to move mountains with little resources. People must seek to financially support Black grassroots organizations, create or donate to scholarships for Black youth, and/or aid in investing in community care benefitting the Black community. Also, head how the Black women in your lives are treated. Uplift the voices of your Black female colleagues or friends when they need it. It’s likely that as you praise the likes of Abrams and Harris on social media for their strength, the Black women in your lives are being chastised for the same reasons.

Furthermore, Black women continue to do standout work in American politics, but we are also not your political work mules to be praised only when it benefits others. Rather, we are people who are oppressed and in search of freedom however we can get it. The best way to thank Stacey Abrams and other Black female organizers for their efforts is by continuously showing up and being an ally for Black people everywhere and in anyway way you can. As I’ve said before, the work of achieving true equality continues, and the road towards liberation will be made easier if and when we are all engaged in this work together.

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USA 2020 Elections Politics Race The World

Black women deserve more from the Democratic party

Throughout the course of an excruciating election week, many Black activists, community organizers, journalists, and political commentators, on social media highlighted the vital contribution of Black voters in key states like Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Nevada. Notably, and more specifically, it was the all-too-often thankless work from Black women providing substantial amounts of support for the Democratic party that helped Biden pull out a win in this election.

In her debut for the Washington Post, Taylor Crumpton wrote of Black women’s saving grace for the Democratic party- once again. Regarding Black women’s continued overall contribution to liberation efforts Crumpton states, “Black women’s civic and political engagement extends beyond the polls — we’re organizing for a future where Black women don’t have to vote for the “lesser of two evils,” but none at all.”

The “lesser of two evils” narrative has been a reoccurring one amongst American elections; correspondingly, Joe Biden was dubbed the lesser evil compared to Donald Trump in this presidential race. Many democratic voters, especially Black women voters, supported Joe Biden despite his shortcomings as a candidate. Namely, Biden’s many sexual assault allegations, his treatment of Anita Hill during her testimony before congress in 1991, and his history with oppressive crime reform.

Nevertheless, regardless of whatever reservations we had about Joe Biden as a candidate, Black women didn’t just simply vote for him, but rallied behind him. In addition, Black organizers and activists across the United States strategized and mobilized to advocate for marginalized communities and fight against voter suppression, often with less resources and funding than establishment run organizations. 

Even more, it was the combined efforts of Black Lives Matter, the cosign Joe Biden received from highly respected social justice activists within the Black community like Angela Davis and John Lewis, and community organizers across the country – especially in the south – that provided Joe Biden the opportunity to claim victory in such a crucial presidential race. Not to mention the efforts of Stacey Abrams, who registered an estimated 800,000 Georgia citizens to vote since her governor loss in 2018, that changed the dynamic of Georgia’s voter turnout and party support.

It’s time the Democratic party rightfully acknowledges the persistent work Black people are doing for their party. A party which notably continues to center white, moderate political figures and centrist politics that simultaneously condescends progressive and grassroots movements.

Some of the largest and most influential movements have been created from the labor of Black women and Black queer individuals. Therefore, if we collectively decided to reserve our right to be selfish, advocating only for ourselves, civil rights progress would be nearly non-existent. Of the many societal short-comings highlighted this year, it’s been noted that despite our consistent efforts towards equality and equity, Black women and queer folks are still the most marginalized and at risk demographics in the world.

The recent cases of Megan thee stallion, Oluwatoyin Salau, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade (a Black trans man killed by police this year), and so many more, illustrate how much work still needs to be done to protect the most vulnerable within the Black community.

During Biden’s first address to the American people Saturday night after his win, he recognizes how “The African American community stood up for me. [They’ve] always had my back, and I’ll have [theirs].” It’s true, Joe Biden has a lot of work to do in advocating for the Black community earnestly. In fact, showing up for the countless and nameless Black organizers is imperative going forward. Most of the time, Black grassroots organizations are underfunded. So, here are some organizations that do direct groundwork in urban and rural parts of America for under-privileged communities to support, donate to, or amplify:

Additionally, the state of Georgia is having runoff races for essential senate seats. Democratic nominees Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock need to win their election races to tie the senate with republicans. This would mean a Republican majority senate couldn’t immediately dismiss Joe Biden’s policies towards environmental justice and repair, affordable healthcare, and more.

Click here to directly support organizers in Georgia. Similarly, click here to donate to Ossoff’s campaign and here to donate to Warnock’s campaign.

Going forward, there needs to be more of an emphasis on community care, progressivism, and protection for those who continue to show up for everyone else. Trump is out of office, and the democrats pulled off an impressive victory; however, the necessary fight for true equality persists.

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USA Editor's Picks 2020 Elections Politics The World

The Democratic Party owes its Presidential election victory to BIPOC organizers

This is it, folks. After a nerve-wracking and close race, Joe Biden has won the presidency, with Kamala Harris as the Vice President-elect. Biden also received the most votes ever cast for a U.S. presidential candidate, in a race that saw a historically high voter turnout. As we look back upon a polarizing election season and the bitter years that preceded it, it is important to acknowledge the hard work of grassroots organizers, youth leaders, and volunteers who ultimately flipped the vote in critical swing states. In particular, Black, Indigenous, and other people of colour (BIPOC) played a key role in mobilizing communities and countering disinformation and voter suppression to make every vote count.

Grassroots BIPOC Organizers made a huge difference 

Key electoral gains in states like Arizona – which hasn’t voted for a Democrat since 1996 – Michigan, and Pennsylvania can be largely attributed to meticulous grassroots organizing at the county-level, challenging the Trump administration’s repeated attempts to delegitimize votes, declare premature victory, and cast doubt even as ballots were being counted.

Black, Indigenous, and other people of colour (BIPOC) played a key role in mobilizing communities and countering disinformation and voter suppression to make every vote count.

Across southern states, organizers and community leaders worked hard for years to build power in marginalized communities. Biden’s win in Georgia is significant – the state hasn’t supported a Democrat since 1992 – many credited his lead to Democratic Party’s Stacey Abrams and her lifelong work to address voter suppression. In 2018, Abrams became the first Black woman chosen as a major political party’s nominee for a state gubernatorial election in the country. Abrams lost the election to Republican opponent but her campaign then founded Fair Fight Action to empower marginalized voters in the state. Abrams worked alongside a host of other groups like the New Georgia Project who registered thousands of BIPOC voters and empowered them to exercise their political rights in and beyond the electoral cycle. 

Stereotypes about Republican-leaning southern states undermine how Black organizers – especially women – have fought for and engaged historically overlooked communities. The political and cultural shifts due to the hard work of these organizers may or may not translate into statewide electoral wins for the Democrats, but a blue wave in the elections cannot be the only indicators of progressivism in a state – community-level changes are just as important as national elections.

Reflecting on the importance of community organizing in southern states, Yasmine, 23, a volunteer with the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) said,  “Historically, the South is ignored and written off because of stereotypes. But it’s important to realize that the racist white people don’t define what the South is. It’s the BIPOC communities that have created environments for themselves where they care for one another, dismantle barriers to civic engagement, and advocate for everyone’s liberation.”

It’s the BIPOC communities that have created environments for themselves where they care for one another, dismantle barriers to civic engagement, and advocate for everyone’s liberation.

Progressive BIPOC-led organizing invested long-term in community coalitions and young voters, foregrounding critical issues like criminal justice reforms, mass incarceration, ICE detentions, climate change, and COVID-19 relief. Dream Defenders, a BIPOC youth-led power-building organization that was formed in response to the murder of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, are one of the many groups in Florida that worked to increase voter turnout, championing causes like defunding the police and minimum wage reform. In counties across Arizona, BIPOC groups helped Biden gain a lead in the state, despite being historically marginalized by the Democratic Party and the GOP. This was made possible by the advocacy of member-led grassroots organizations like Living United for Change in Arizona which have consistently mobilized working-class families and fought for social, economic, and racial justice. Mi Familia Vota engaged Latinx and immigrant communities in different states and advocated for stronger infrastructures for civic participation. 

In Arizona, Indigenous women community leaders fought to challenge years of voter suppression. Leaders like Gabriella Cázares-Kelly, a member of the Tohono O’odham Nation, ran to be the county recorder and co-founded Indivisible Tohono, a grassroots organizing group which made the voting process more accessible. 

lhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, who were re-elected to Congress in Minnesota and Michigan respectively, tirelessly rallied voters at the local level and ensuring Biden’s victory in their states. Community activist and nurse Cori Bush – who became the first Black woman elected to Congress from Missouri – was endorsed by the Sunrise Movement progressive political action committee Justice Democrats who previously endorsed Congress members Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and others. Run for Something, a political organization recruiting young progressives running for down-ballot offices, endorsed young progressive candidates like Mauree Turner who became the first Black Muslim nonbinary state legislator from Oklahoma. 

The summer’s Black Lives Matter protests should be credited for sparking conversations about structural injustices, and the importance of showing up to vote.

Black Lives Matter protests politicized the electorate

The summer’s Black Lives Matter protests should be credited for sparking conversations about structural injustices, and the importance of showing up to vote. Some studies even suggested that the protests were responsible for an increase in voter registrations. The protests also politicized many, particularly young BIPOC first-time voters, empowering them to understand the interconnected nature of oppressions that maintain the status quo in an unjust society. 

In Philadelphia during election week, protesters took to denounce Trump’s premature declaration of victory in the state. The protests converged with simultaneous BLM protests in response to the murder of a Black man, Walter Wallace Jr., by the Philadelphia police. Other protest organizers also called for the release of Philly for REAL Justice activist Anthony Smith. In this context, the demand to count all votes was framed as one of the means to the greater ends of protecting civil rights, challenging police brutality, and authoritarianism, and holding a racist criminal justice system accountable.

Volunteers and poll workers saved the day

In between social distancing laws and divisive political struggles, thousands of volunteers for the Democrats utilized digital resources and low-risk physical outreach methods to connect with voters. For Laura, an organizer working with the Chicago chapter of NAPAWF, information access for diverse communities was critical: “We put a lot of emphasis on making information accessible in multiple languages and canvassing. In Georgia specifically, we were able to get older South Asian women to help us phone-bank within their community. This was effective since most of them don’t speak English.” In many swing states, almost 200 NAPAWF volunteers for the Get Out the Vote campaign reached out to AAPI women voters in more than 15 languages, made over 40,000 calls and sent out over 12,000 texts. 

Elsewhere, during and after election day, poll workers risked their lives to count every vote. In Maricopa County, Arizona, poll workers were harassed by Pro-Trump supporters spurred by conspiracy theories of voter fraud and stolen votes, driven by merit-less claims peddled by Trump. Nonetheless, the workers persisted, and the county voted blue. 

It is undeniable that the bulk of progressive organizing was led by BIPOC leaders, but this labor, which is typically not compensated proportionally, should not be romanticized.

Organizers put in the work, what about the Democratic Party?

One of the most significant victories of this election cycle belongs to Kamala Harris, who became the first woman and Black and South Asian-American person to be elected Vice President. However, as many have noted, representation does not guarantee transformational justice. She has been critiqued at length for her controversial track record as district attorney. It is also ironic, that she was elected alongside Biden who, as a Senator, actively caused harm to poor Black communities through legislation.

All of this is to say that despite the impending end of the Trump presidency, the Democratic Party must address its own conservatism and how it continues to uphold oppressive structures through governance. If the Party wants to honor those who won them the election, it must take the voices of BIPOC communities seriously and commit to radically progressive agendas in policy-making. It is undeniable that the bulk of progressive organizing was led by BIPOC leaders, but this labor, which is typically not compensated proportionally, should not be romanticized.

Martha, 23, a volunteer with Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and the Sunrise Movement, stressed that political leaders and white voters should dismantle white supremacy: “Young organizers turned out the huge number of young Democrat voters in this election. But we also saw that more young white voters voted for Trump than any other young demographic. White people must reflect and actively work against our own roles that uphold white supremacy… Organizing without challenging this will only reproduce the racist systems of the past.”

A Biden Presidency is just the start of a long and difficult road towards such liberation. Perhaps the movement will pause and take a break to celebrate, perhaps it will shift and manifest in new and more powerful forms. Perhaps a better future is indeed closer than it seems. In the meantime, organizers will continue to hold space for the most vulnerable, reminding us that the fight goes beyond one election cycle.

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The Internet 2020 Elections Pop Culture

The best memes from the rollercoaster that was Election Week

The past few days, the world held its breath as the United States embarked on a nail-biting election week. Punctuated with an anxiety-inducing number of twists, the 2020 American election ended in a win for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Now, as we all sit back and relax, here is a roundup of some of the best memes from election week.

1. One of the few things that kept us going:

Anyone else’s screentime up 110% this week? Just me?

2. Literally everyone else in the world:

No matter where we’re from, we all put our lives on hold this week. I know I canceled all my appointments and got no sleep at all to obsessively check polls.

3. Election anxiety might’ve been getting to us juuuust a smidge:

I am walking anxiety at this point, but working on becoming a person again.

Get rewarded for everyday activity. $10 sign on bonus.

4. Meanwhile, this was happening and several points were made:

Honestly, poor Count Dracula. He gets enough bad rep without Trump weighing in.

5. Honestly this sounds good to me right about now:

I’m not an American citizen but do I qualify to get one? Please, Canada?

6. Unpopular opinion – Jake Ryan was the real visionary on Hannah Montana:

I confess I was Team Jesse back in the day, but I may be rethinking my stance all these years later.

7. Yeaaaah, Nevada’s not going to live this down for a while:

I guess they took “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” a bit too seriously.

8. I think we can all agree that Miranda Priestly would have wrapped this whole thing up with days to spare:

Miranda would’ve had Nevada running for her life.

9. #Knope2024 :

It’s happening!!!

10. UM, chills. Literal chills.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe just got a whole lot more interesting.

11. It’s the 100% accuracy for me:

It’s a coping mechanism, guys.

12. You and me both, Ben Schwartz. You and me both.


13. Until next time, Steve Kornacki:

If you have developed an irrational obsession with our boi Steve here, know that you are not alone.

14. They say a video compilation speaks a thousand pictures:

Good one, Daily Show.

15. And finally, the meme to crown them all:

This one just speaks for itself.

So we can breathe for a bit for now, but the fight is not over. Tomorrow we will wake up and we will continue to evaluate the work of the US government. But for now, we sleep (and laugh a bit more).

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The Environment 2020 Elections Inequality

President Trump’s four year long war on science needs to come to an end

The past four years have been irreversibly affected by efforts from the Trump administration to limit the use of science in policy making. During this administration’s tenure all of the progressive climate reforms made by its predecessors have been reversed – the United States removed itself from The Paris Agreement and the wildfires raging across the West Coast have doubled in size causing the forced evacuations of more than 90,000 residents. To make matters worse, these fires show no sign of slowing down as increased emissions from heat-trapping gases have led to warmer and drier conditions in the area. The flames which have torn across the West Coast thus far in 2020 indicate the most active fire season on record. As the climate warms, the wildfires will continue to grow larger and more frequent. Still, President Trump denies the enormity of the threat presented by climate change. Our nation cannot afford another four years of his environmental inaction.

Both presidential debates last month included questions regarding climate change, prompting the candidates to speak on their plans to rectify the situation. But here’s the thing—there is no rectifying it. Global warming has worsened with every passing year since at least 1950. The only viable option left—apart from laying in the grave which has been dug for all living beings—is to try to slow down the progress of global warming and not allow the earth to become entirely unlivable for the future generations. Perhaps this is a classic case of too little, too late.

Since taking office President Trump has invalidated the well-known fact that carbon dioxide emissions are caused by human activities, labeling it “alarmist.” Instead, he has held onto the American coal industry as well as domestic oil production for dear life, therefore accelerating fossil fuel development. On the debate stage a few Thursday’s ago, the president proudly stuck up his faux green thumb and proclaimed that his fervent solution to save the environment is to plant more trees.

On the other hand, Joe Biden’s plan is only a little less ashy. His campaign promises a strict reduction of net carbon emissions through the creation of new energy-efficient homes and electric vehicle charging stations—but there is a big discrepancy. The former vice president cites support of the promotion of clean energy while simultaneously assuring voters that the jobs associated with natural gas production will remain secure. So, he must be lying to someone. A real transition from fossil fuels toward renewable energy will inevitably result in the elimination of the oil and coal industries. At the rate in which the world is warming, this elimination might need to come sooner than we’d expect, leaving millions of working class Americans out of work. But, at least it’s a step away from immediate and total destruction of the earth.

The hottest year ever recorded was in 2016, with 2019 coming in a close second place by less than one-tenth of a degree Fahrenheit. Right now, there is an increased urgency to implement real change because doom is impending. Whoever winds up in the Oval Office next must plan for the economic pitfalls that will come along with such a change—but nonetheless ensure that the change happens, and fast. That is why it is imperative that all U.S. citizens who are eligible to vote do so today. In more ways than one, we hold the fate of the world in the palms of our hands. 


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USA Editor's Picks 2020 Elections The World

How to effectively prepare for a stress-inducing election day

The 2020 Presidential election is now upon us, and many Americans are feeling the weight of what is possibly at stake for the next four years. Given such a highly anticipated, seemingly crucial, and perhaps downright confusing election, many could use some helpful tips on how to effectively prepare for tomorrow’s election. Some elements of concern for voters across the country include new voting procedures, potential misinformation from social media and other news outlets as well as worrying political division.

So, whether you’re wondering what the voting process looks like across the country due to the pandemic, how to constructively utilize social media or what are the best ways to unplug before bed on Tuesday- here’s how you can prepare yourself for tomorrow’s election: 

Learn the correct voting process for your state:

If you missed early voting, it’s important to learn the correct voting process for your state on election day. Understandably, given the unprecedented election rhetoric and processes from COVID-19, what voting looks like state to state may be a bit confusing. Some states are extending mail in votes, while others require in-person voting. Axios has provided a detailed article that illustrates when and how to vote in all 50 states. Click here to learn and understand how to vote in your state.

Know your voting procedures and stay in line

Before casting your ballot, you’ll be asked to present a form of acceptable identification and voter registration card. For voters 18 to 69, the presented identification cannot have expired more than 4 years ago. Voters 70 and older may use a form of acceptable photo identification that has expired if the identification is otherwise valid. While waiting in line, simply stay until you vote. 

Even if the polls close while you’re standing in line, you are still legally allowed to vote. A 2018 Mental Floss article states, “As long as you are in line at closing time, you have a legal right to vote. In fact, if someone does attempt to force you to leave, you are encouraged to call a voter protection hotline (such as 1-866-OUR-VOTE) or submit a complaint to the Department of Justice (1-800-253-3931).”

Be prepared to wait

Election days can see long lines with possibly hours long wait times. When going to vote, ideally, wear comfortable and warm clothes for standing outside, bring food to snack on and water to stay hydrated, and maybe even take headphones to listen to music or watch a couple episodes of your favorite show. Take whatever you need tomorrow to ensure you’re comfortable and able to withstand a long wait. Also, don’t forget to bring your mask!

Items to bring with you

As previously mentioned, it’s likely you may face long wait times on election day. To ensure efficiency and accuracy, bring the proper resources necessary to cast your vote. 

Most states require a photo ID, such as a driver’s license, military ID, or tribal ID, to vote. Other states allow people to use non-photo identification, like bank statements, to vote. Notably, your voter registration card is needed along with some form of identification. In cases when a voter cannot provide identification, there are two legal options. First being what is called a non-strict policy that lets people cast a ballot without further action from the voter or vote on a non-provisional ballot. Second being a strict policy that requires voting on a provisional ballot and takes additional steps after election day to ensure the vote is counted. For more information on voter identification laws and necessary materials to bring on election day, click here.

Use social media wisely:

On election days, social media can be great for reassurance, community, and much needed humor; however, social media sites can also be a cesspool of misinformation and baseless claims. A recently published Washington Post article advises people “not to jump to any conclusions before a race is called by an official outlet, no matter how it looks on a news or social media site’s official map.” Tomorrow, make sure to check your sources while on social media sites and resist the urge to jump to inaccurate conclusions. In addition, don’t share news unless you’re confident the information is accurate and legitimate. And, finally, don’t forget to take social media breaks!

Find ways to unplug:

Whatever the outcome in tomorrow’s election, many people can attest to having some mild or severe anxiety leading up to Tuesday. Additionally, because of mail in votes, it’s likely we won’t even know the outcome of the election for perhaps another week. With this in mind, find helpful ways to unplug and relax before going to bed on Tuesday, and be prepared to upkeep this routine for a few days. I suggest prioritizing sleep, maintaining social connections with others who are just as anxious as you, or doing a stress-reducing activity: hot bath or shower, read, late night walk or watch an episode of your favorite Netflix show. Ultimately, in addition to election results, your wellbeing matters too.

Lean on friends or family for emotional support:

Finding comfort in those close to you can be very helpful on election nights. There are even emotional support groups specifically for Tuesday on social media sites like Facebook. Try engaging with like-minded individuals, within your friend group or family, on election night for an outlet of humor, support, or comfort to help you get through what is likely going to be a long, stress-inducing election process.

 All things considered, allow yourself to feel any and all complicated emotions during this time. Tomorrow’s election is unprecedented and feels to be one of the most divided elections in American history

Regarding post election preparation, Katyi Christian sums it up perfectly in her article for The Good Trade stating, “The most important thing we can do post-election is to stay engaged and to hold our leaders accountable. Even if your party won or the votes went the way you hoped, it’s up to us to ensure that legislation is passed and promised policies are fulfilled. Election day is not the ending, it’s the beginning.”

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USA The World

2020 Democrats are boycotting this year’s AIPAC conference, but it’s just an act

Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Pete Buttigieg, Jay Inslee, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Julian Castro have decided not to attend the 2019 American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference after the progressive advocacy group,, partnered with the activism startup, Mpower Change,  urged candidates to boycott the event. John Delaney, another 2020 runner, is also not attending but only due to scheduling conflicts.

AIPAC is a pro-Israel lobbying group and one of the most important players in promoting US-Israel relations. The organization provides bipartisan support for political campaigns and candidates and has received support from both parties as seen in its conferences (like in 2016 when both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump attended the event). Top Democrats like Nancy Pelosi will be in attendance, along with Republican politicians and Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

News of Democrats pulling out of this conference comes not too long after freshman lawmaker, Ilhan Omar, came under intense fire from both parties for her comments regarding AIPAC’s influence on American politics and her support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement. Top Democrats and Republicans called out Omar’s strings of tweets as being “anti-Semitic” in nature, perpetuating a narrative that inaccurately conflates the Israel-Palestine conflict as one of religious discourse rather than settler-colonialism and human rights violations against an indigenous people.

Warren, Sanders, and Harris have offered their support for Omar during the ordeal, defending her right to start conversations about the extent of the power pro-Israel lobbying groups like AIPAC have in influencing the US’s political and economic support to Israel.

O’Rourke has also recently come out to criticize Netanyahu on “openly siding with racists.”

But before we praise the prospective 2020 Democrats on their seemingly progressive stances, let’s take a moment to consider that the move to avoid AIPAC is a one devoid of any actual solidarity with Palestine.

Remember that Kamala Harris has spoken at AIPAC’s conferences in the recent past. Or that O’Rourke has offered criticisms of Netanyahu, but continues to describe himself as a “proud advocate of Israel.” And, when Omar commented that Israel’s failure to recognize other religions didn’t uphold the statutes of a democracy, Pete Buttigieg called it inaccurate despite he himself stating that Israel couldn’t be a democracy and also a solely Jewish state not too long ago.

Just a few days ago, House Democrats began to push legislation to condemn the global BDS movement, a campaign that looks to use various forms of boycott (mainly economic means) against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law.

Let’s break down exactly why this proposed legislation makes no sense.

To start off, there’s a significant violation of our First Amendment’s right to organize. Generally, BDS seeks to achieve the following goals: Hold Israel accountable for their illegally occupied territories and settlements, ensure equality for Arab-Palestinian citizens, return displaced Palestinian refugees to their homes, denounce state-sanctioned violence against Palestinians.

With all that in mind, it becomes clear that moves like refusing to attend an AIPAC conference are fraught with hypocrisy and performative solidarity.

Many of the Democrats boycotting the conference have expressed varying shades of criticism for the current administration in Israel, but continue to support it as an integral foreign ally. All of this takes place while they vehemently denounce movements like BDS, which are fighting for the rights of the Palestinian people.

This “boycott” will definitely continue to widen the growing rift between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to an overt, unwavering right-wing support of AIPAC.

As long as Democrats continue validating Israel’s statehood and crippling the movements fighting for the civil rights of Palestinians, they’ll remain a massive roadblock in the path to Palestinian liberation.

Gender & Identity Life

5 times that prove just how much men interrupt women

Simply put, there is a great term for the tendency of a man to interrupt a woman while she is talking.  It is called “manterruption.”

Essentially, when a woman is trying to talk about a topic or finish a sentence, her voice somehow gets lost in the midst of this manterruption.  She has to fight hard and stop being nice. I cannot count the number of times I have faced this in my own life. It happened to me most recently while giving a formal presentation that I did not get to finish because I was interrupted by the men in the room.

I eventually left the room feeling devalued.

Why does it happen and do men mean to do it? I am not sure about this one, and I am sure plenty of social psychologists may offer a better answer than I can. What I am sure of is that we have all seen some ugly instances of manterruption on live television.  Let’s take a look and analyze.

1. Lebanese presenter,  Rima Karaki, shutting down Muslim scholar Hani al-Seba’i on live television

Like me, if you watched this video a few years ago, you were cheering with excitement when Rima Karaki made it clear that she will not be spoken to with disrespect. If you watch the entire video, the scholar does everything to resist her very clear instructions: shut up and get to the point!

In his attempt to boost his own ego, he then proceeds to demean Ms. Karaki’s position as a woman and a news presenter.

He gets ugly, and I do not care what kind of scholar you are or how many people grovel at your feet on your daily basis. Nobody has to put up with that. The way she reminds him that this is her broadcast and that she will refuse to move forward if there is no mutual respect was GOALS for many women!

2. The 2016 US Presidential Election Debates

Whether you voted for Hillary Clinton or not is beside the point.

Watching Donald Trump never letting her finish on a national platform was embarrassing.  Maybe this is an indication of the child-like and reactionary antics of (gulp) the president himself, but everyone deserves his or her time to speak during a debate.

It sent a very clear message to young men in America: they are allowed to behave like this and can get away with it when called out.

3. Kanye and Taylor from the MTV Music Awards

Back in 2010, I watched an MTV Music Awards show after many years. Admittedly, I don’t think I have seen one since.

All I can remember is the way Kanye came up during Taylor Swift’s acceptance of an award to tell her that Beyonce had the “best video of all time.” Now, again, whether you like Taylor Swift or whether you thought this was a straight publicity stunt is not the point.

The point is it seems like common sense to let someone at least be able to begin their acceptance speech, and hey, maybe even finish it.

4. Indian politician Mahua Moitra trying to get her word in during Arnab Goswami’s rants

After spending what felt like an eternity saying “Please let me finish”  in this video, and having to get into a shouting match with Mr. Goswami, Ms. Moitra finally could make her point. Do not get me wrong, Arnab is like an Indian version of Bill O’Reilly, so perhaps this is not all that shocking.

Yet, one must wonder, if he will not let any woman speak, why bother inviting them on his show?

5. Male colleagues constantly interrupting Senator Kamala Harris when conducting testimony of Jeff Sessions

The interruptions began towards the last few minutes of the video. To provide context, Senator Harris employs cross-examination style of questioning commonly used in courtrooms. While Harris may have been grilling Sessions, it is not uncommon to do this in the chamber. Sessions was trying to make sure Harris’ time was running out, and being a difficult witness.

Instead of helping her out, other male senators stopped her and pretty much indirectly told her to “be nice.” Yet, when those same men employ these methods, they are playing by the rules of the chamber and doing their job.

You bet that Senator Harris made sure to call out her male colleagues out on it in the classiest way possible because this was not the first time this happened:

There you have it. Real-life, televised examples of manterruption.

The next time anyone wants to tell you that you imagined that situation at the meeting where yet another man interrupted you, refer to these examples. Also, try this cool new manterruption app!

Gender Policy Inequality

More than two-thirds of incarcerated women are mothers, but prisons are still charging them for having periods

Senators Kamala D. Harris, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, and Richard Durbin introduced the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act earlier this year, a bill that seeks to modify visitation guidelines and quality of treatment, among other aspects, for women in prison. The bill is meant to protect women, strengthen families, and address some of the glaring inequalities in the prison system.

The Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act has several components. The bill would require the Bureau of Prisons consider the location of children when placing incarcerated women in prisons, so that mothers and their children may be geographically closer to each other. The bill would also require the BOP to create better visitation policies for primary caretaker parents. Additionally, the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act would prevent pregnant inmates from being shackled and put in solitary confinement; would allow all pregnant women and primary caretaker parents to enroll in the Residential Drug Abuse program; would make tampons and pads free; would create an overnight visit program for women and children; and would make phone calls and video-conferencing free for inmates and their families. Read more about the proposals here.

The bill’s focus on family and the needs of children is excellent. More than two-thirds of incarcerated women are mothers, and a majority of these women have children under the age of 18. Free phone calls and video-conferencing will drastically reduce communication barriers due to previously low funds. Incarcerated women should not have to pay fees to stay in touch with their children. Furthermore, placing incarcerated women in prisons close to their children is important because it gives more opportunities for families to see each other – and this is important especially for young children in their formative years. Allowing all pregnant women and mothers to enroll in the Residential Drug Abuse Program is essential to changing our views on addiction, and treating it as a disease instead of a crime. This initiative will let mothers get the help they need to address substance abuse, which is important so that women can avoid recidivism and return to their families healthy and in a position to provide for their children.

More recently, the BOP made it mandatory for federal prisons to provide feminine hygiene products to inmates at no charge, a change that women’s rights activists and prison-reform activists praised. While this is a positive step forward, there is definitely more that can be done, and that’s why the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act is so important.

Many Americans recognize the gross injustices in the American prison system and the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act is a reflection of the concern politicians and the general public alike have for vulnerable communities behind bars. The Vera Institute for Justice claims that 86 percent of women in jail have suffered from past sexual assault and 77 percent have experienced domestic violence. Incarcerated women are often women of color and/or come from impoverished backgrounds. If we truly want to rehabilitate incarcerated women, we have to give them the humanity and support they need to address mental health, physical health, childcare, and essential life skills.

Politics The World

It’s time to tear down the walls keeping women of color outside of politics

Fresh off the frays of the last U.S. presidential election, women of color in 2017 have been inspired to run for political office in unprecedented numbers. From Andrea Jenkins, a Black trans woman running for Minneapolis City Council, to biracial activist and lawyer Nikkita Oliver running to become mayor of Seattle, women of color are taking political matters into their own hands.

Women of color were also easily one of the more positive outcomes from the 2016 general election, with the amount of women of color in U.S. Senate quadrupling. The election of newcomers like Kamala Harris, Tammy Duckworth and Catherine Cortez-Masto is showing promise for a Congress more wholly representative of the American people. The 115th Congress to date is also the most racially diverse Congress in U.S. history.

Despite the new makeup of Congress and the boom in political participation in 2017, women of color in political office are still disproportionately underrepresented. Women of color make up only 7.1 percent of the current Congress, and only 5.9 percent of the current 7,383 state legislators in the nation, according to the Center for American Women and Politics.

America’s leaders aren’t truly representative of its constituents. Aside from being overwhelmingly male, 81 percent of the current Congress is composed of non-Hispanic White members, even though only 62 percent of Non-Hispanic White people make up the nation’s population.

The path to political office isn’t as simple as some may believe, especially for women of color. In fact, there are deep structural factors behind it. We’re facing a democratic institution that was built by white men, for white men, and the path to success in political office is often stifled.

Women of color are so often excluded from leadership roles or having a voice at the table—the political arena is no different. Finding a successful pathway to political office goes beyond “leaning in” or plowing ahead despite systems and biases already working against women of color. Instead, we need to break down the forces keeping these women from positions of power in politics in the first place.

The political establishment itself doesn’t exactly favor women of color. Essentially “political power brokers,” as the Center for American Progress calls them, these party leaders, donors, and advocacy groups decide who’s viable and safe enough to invest time and money in winning political seats. Women of color also might be viewed as a “risky” choice because of race and gender-based biases, becoming more prone to scrutiny in the public eye.

Women of color also might not have access to this political clout because of socioeconomic status, as they tend to represent less affluent areas than their White counterparts. Without the support of strong donor networks or power brokers, getting people to invest in the political ambitions of women of color becomes tricky. Research has shown that Black female congressional candidates tend to get disproportionately less in campaign contributions than white, male counterparts.

Another prominent barrier to entry is incumbent men in political office, who have a huge advantage in holding onto their seats. According to the American Progress report, 97 percent of the incumbents who ran for seats again in the general election ultimately won them, leaving little room for opportunity for newcomers like women of color.

Despite these barriers, women of color are staying resilient in the political sphere. Organizations across the nation are making it their mission to not only get women interested in running for office, but they’re also making sure they’re successful in doing so. Emily’s List is easily one of the largest financial resources for women of color seeking federal office.

A group based in New York called ‘Women of Color for Progress’ has also made it their mission to get women of color politically engaged and assure that they are elected to public offices in New York. The group is also aiming to work with office-holders to craft legislation and break down barriers preventing more women of color from entering public service.

Bringing women of color into the national conversation on life-changing legislation is paramount. We’re living in a time where our most fundamental rights are being put into question by lawmakers out of touch with their constituents.  We need women of color in these spaces to assure that the voices of the marginalized across the nation aren’t being erased.