Saturday, November 10, 2018

The mid-terms are over, now what?

Bioneers Pulse – updates from the Bioneers Community
Greetings fellow Bioneers! 
The results of this week's Midterms gave us so many reasons to be hopeful. We're thankful to the young people who stepped out to vote when their voices were needed the most. We're thankful to the record number of women and members of underrepresented populations who ran for local and national offices. We're thankful to all of you who have stayed civically engaged despite a very difficult two years.

We see a bright future for America, and we see spots where work still needs to be done. Read on for news and reactions from our community, as well as ideas for how you can get involved in making the next two years (and beyond) more just.

The Big Question: Shattering the Status Quo

The 2018 Midterms broke barriers for several widely underrepresented groups in our government. A record 96 women won House races, and 31 of them were newly elected. (The other 65 were incumbents.) Two of those newly elected women are Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland, who made history this election. But it wasn't just their gender that made their wins notable. Why are we, and so many others across the country, celebrating their upcoming presence in Congress?

(Read to the bottom of this email to find the answer.)

Wise Words

“We didn’t launch this campaign because I thought I was special or unique or better than anyone else. We launched this campaign because in the absence of anyone giving a clear voice on the moral issues of our time, then it is up to us to voice them. We launched this campaign because no one was clearly and authentically talking about issues like the corrupting role of money in politics, like the disturbing human rights violations being committed by ICE, by the fact that no one was giving voice to the notion that an entire generation is graduating with crippling loads of student loan debt, a ticking time bomb for our economy. No one was talking about these issues. And when no one talks about them, we have the duty to stand up for what is right."
—Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who, at 29 years old, has become the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. Read Amy Goodman's post-election interview with Ocasio-Cortez at Democracy Now!
Take action: Ocasio-Cortez's grassroots campaign made headlines for its rejection of support from big money. But the vast majority of politicians accept large donations from special interest groups, which often means money has a louder voice in our government than individuals. American Promise is a nonprofit with the singular mission to write and ratify a 28th Amendment that would stop this corruption. Learn more about their work, get involved and support their cause here.

What We're Tracking: When Will We Vote for the Environment?

While not all post-Midterms news was negative, many of the outcomes related to environmental initiatives were disappointing.'s Bill McKibben wrote in the New York Times:

"The new head of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology is likely to be Eddie Bernice Johnson, a black woman who — and this is a large change — actually believes in science. That’s wonderful too, but new legislation emerging from the House would have to somehow get through the Senate, which became redder on Tuesday, and through the president, and then it would somehow have to survive review by the courts, which the president can continue to pack with hard-right ideologues.

And most devastatingly, in those places where activists tried to take matters into their own hands and pass truly serious changes, the money power of Big Oil simply crushed them."

As we know by now, it will take a massive collaborative effort among countries throughout the world to halt global climate change before catastrophes threaten much of humanity (and the planet's other inhabitants). So the question remains: What will it take to organize politicians and voters around environmental justice?
Take action: Two Bioneers partner organizations, and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, are putting much of their energy behind mitigating global climate change immediately. Learn more about their work, support it and get involved to join the fight.

Book to Read: Brown Is the New White

Written in 2016 but still largely applicable today, Steve Phillips' Brown Is the New White describes how astronomical population growth among people of color within the U.S. has resulted in a demographic revolution—one that progressives can and should understand in order to establish political success.

"Hundreds of millions of dollars are being wasted in the futile pursuit of winning back White swing voters," writes Phillips, "when a permanent progressive governing coalition could be established by investing those same millions in organizing the diverse communities that make up the New American Majority."

Seeds of this idea are beginning to sprout throughout U.S. politics (Ocasio-Cortez, above, is just one example), and it's time for activists and political leaders to take note. Read an excerpt from Brown Is the New White here.
Take action: Recognizing and speaking to all Americans is only a bright campaign strategy if all eligible voters are able to have their voices heard. Georgia's gubernatorial race is still in the news because of broad suspicion of voter suppression, largely impacting minority groups. The ACLU has been active in Georgia and throughout the U.S. this year, holding suppressors legally accountable and fighting for more equitable elections, but their job is far from done. Get involved and support their work here.

The Big Question, Answered: Shattering the Status Quo

Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland will become the first Native American women ever elected to U.S. Congress. Davids won in Kansas over GOP Rep. Kevin Yoder, and Haaland will replace New Mexico Democratic Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who vacated her seat to run for governor. That's a big piece of good news, deeply needed, as Native voter suppression was a hot-button issue again this election cycle.
Take action: Young voters stepped up for the Midterms this year. Turnout was up from 2014, especially for early voting. We know our young leaders tend to vote more progressively, pushing toward rights for oppressed populations and environmental action. Each year, Bioneers provides scholarships to youth leaders so that they can attend our annual conference, organize with their peers, learn and grow into the leaders of tomorrow. By supporting our organization, you're supporting our ability to bring more youth leaders to this important event.

Shoutout to the Barrier-Breakers

We're lifting up the names of women of color who made history this year:
  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: one of the two youngest women ever elected to Congress
  • Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar: the first Muslim-American women ever elected to Congress
  • Ayanna Pressley: the first Black woman elected to represent Massachusetts in Congress
  • Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia: the first Latinas elected to represent Texas in Congress
  • Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland: the first Indigenous women ever elected to Congress
  • Young Kim: the first elected Korean-American congresswoman
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