2022 Civics Edition
Wednesday, November 30, 2022
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A View From the Ground

Reporting on politics, civics, government, participation, and civic engagement across the URL Media network to empower readers to improve democracy and society.
Minnesota State Sen.-elect Susan Pha at the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul on November 17, 2022. Credit: Drew Arrieta | Sahan Journal 
  • Sen.-elect Susan Pha plans to uplift Minnesotans of color: Susan Pha, a Hmong American who immigrated to the U.S. at 3, became the first person of color to serve on the Brooklyn Park City Council in Minnesota on Nov. 8. "I remember being a child at the age of six, going up to our local church to pick out clothes. They were used clothes, but I didn’t care because it meant that I had clothes to wear to school,” Pha told Sahan Journal. Eventually, Pha's childhood experiences would lead to community advocacy, policy change, and a seat in the state's most diverse Senate district.
  • In the news from Indian Country: Indigenous communities will receive nearly $150 million under President Biden's Infrastructure Law to clean up orphaned oil and gas wells. Currently, thousands of orphaned wells exist on tribal lands that are contaminating the environment around them, posing a threat to public health and safety. In addition, Native American Fish and Wildlife Society leaders visited Washington D.C. last week to urge Congress to pass the Recovering America's Wildlife Act, which provides $97.5 million for tribal conservation projects. Read more in this D.C. brief from Native News Online.

    +: Seven U.S. senators ask president to release Leonard Peltier 
  • Golden State could have a $25 billion deficit in 2023-24 fiscal year: Currently, California faces a major budget problem, reports Black Voice News. This January, the legislature will face a $25 billion budget shortfall, which Legislative Analyst Gabriel Petek says is not being viewed as a "budget crisis." 
  • 🎧 In an interview with Charles Ellison on WURD's Reality Check before the U.S. holiday, Legal Defense Fund (LDF) manager Amir Badat talked about LDF and the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia joining forces to file an amicus brief in Georgia state court challenging the Secretary of State Office's "official election bulletin" earlier this month. Badat explained how the bulletin's restriction on providing in-person early voting for Georgia's federal runoff election on December 6 disproportionately impacts Black voters.
  • Parents demonstrate for change to Child Protective Services (CPS) System in San Bernardino County: Families gathered outside a school near the San Bernardino County Juvenile Office and Juvenile Court earlier this month holding signs and messages about their children being taken away. They were joined by advocates and supporters who also condemned and critiqued Child Protective Services for stripping families of their parental rights and putting children up for adoption so quickly. Black Voice News reports nearly 6,000 children are currently living in the county's CPS system. 
  • How to be a good neighbor: Tips from Clean Up Crown Heights: In July 2020, a community-supported effort to keep Crown Heights clean in Brooklyn was launched, but now it serves as a model for other New Yorkers who care about their environment and want to do something concrete and effective to keep their neighborhoods clean as well. Epicenter-NYC reporter Andrea Pineda-Salgado caught up with Alex Bodnar, one of the leaders of Clean Up Crown Heights, about how residents of this volunteer-driven organization show up for clean-up shifts every Wednesday and Sunday. 
  • Aging with purpose and redefining strength for Black women: In an old episode of Our Body Politic (OBP), Farai Chideya sits down with Betty Reid Soskin, author of "Sign My Name to Freedom," who retired from her work as a National Park Ranger and community historian at the age of 100. Listeners then hear Tonya Mosley's podcast "Truth Be Told" where she speaks to Ayanna Brown, a mother who graciously discusses her cycle of loving, losing, grieving, and persevering. And on OBP's "Sippin' the Political Tea," Farai interviews Northwestern University professor, Dr. Mercedes Carnethon, and author, Elizabeth White, about aging well physically, mentally, and financially. 🎧 Listen to the full episode.
Uplift. Respect. Love. —Ariam Alula
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