Black Caucus member intros bill to allow weed in public housing. Read more.
Black Caucus member intros bill to allow weed in public housing. Read more.
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June 21, 2018
Nydia Velázquez Hears the Music, Michelle Obama Heads to Scotland, and Alex Acosta Pulls Out of Latino Conference
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THE ORDER AND THE CHAOS… With the well-being of more than 2,300 children hanging in the balance, the president signed an Executive Order meant to end family separations at the border. We break it down below. WHITEWASHED… Donald Trump met with lawmakers on Wednesday to discuss immigration policy. The Beat DC will give $100 to the first person who can identify one lawmaker of color in the meeting. THE ART OF THE MERGERThe White House plans to propose a reorganization of the federal government today that includes a possible merger of the Education and Labor Department. They also plan to reshuffle other domestic agencies to make them easier to cut or revamp. THE ART ON THE WALLPictures of Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un now decorate the walls of the White House. BEEN THERE, DONE THATDenver withdrew its bid to host the 2020 Democratic National Convention despite being in the running. The city says the July 13th through 16th dates coincide with other plans. BIG APPLE’S BIG SPENDER... Former NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to spend at least $80 million to help Democrats gain control of the House in 2018. CONTEMPT OF COURTThe Elections Director for Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach told county clerks in a conference call on Tuesday to continue enforcing a proof of citizenship law that a federal judge ruled unconstitutional. YOU’RE TOYING WITH US, RIGHT? Former HUD Secretary Julián Castro was blocked from giving toys to detained kids on Tuesday. THE MOUSE CHASES THE FOXWalt Disney raised its offer for 21st Century Fox Inc.’s entertainment assets to $71.3 billion, outbidding Comcast in the battle for one of the media’s industry’s biggest enterprises. THE RISING MAJORITY… The number of white people in the U.S. decreased for the first time in the nation’s history between 2015 and 2016, according to new figures released this morning by the Census Bureau. The nation’s white population is aging rapidly and communities of people of color are growing much faster, hastening a demographic shift that has been decades in the making.  WHITE SUPREMACIST RALLYAn organizer of last year’s deadly white-supremacist gathering in Charlottesville, VA has received initial approval from the National Park Service to hold a rally across from the White House on August 12th -- the anniversary of last year’s event. We’re kicking off the first day of summer with this...
  • Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) intros bill to allow weed in public housing.
  • Native American farmers still underrepresented in USDA Census of Agriculture.
  • Senator Bob Menéndez (D-NJ) and Congressmen Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD) have questions about a Trump loyalty list.
  • Harvard Professor tapped to lead new health firm.
  • Barack Obama the sea creature??
  • Actress suing Trump wants NDA tossed.
 Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA) and The Daily Show host Trevor Noah discussing immigration policy on Monday night.
ABC News’ Victor Oquendo, Sunny Hostin, and Gio Benitez on Thursday on-set of Good Morning America in NYC.
The Order and the Chaos
The president signed an executive order meant to end the separation of families at the border by detaining parents and children together for an indefinite period. This comes after claiming for days that only Congress could resolve the issue and even specifically saying to reporters “you can’t do it through executive order.” The four-page order says that officials will continue to criminally prosecute everyone who crosses the border illegally, but will seek to find or build facilities that can hold families instead of separating them while their legal cases are considered by the courts. The order does not say where the families will be detained, and it does not say whether children will continue to be separated from their parents while the facilities to hold them are located or built. Trump's order could mean families will be together in detention purgatory indefinitely. But where will they stay? Family immigration detention centers could be at capacity within days. ICE-run centers have a capacity of 3,335 beds. As of June 9th, the three facilities had nearly 2,600 of those beds occupied. Meanwhile, some data says 420 parents and children are crossing the southern border in family groups on a daily basis. A federal judge could refuse to give the Trump administration the authority it wants to hold families in custody for more than 20 days, which is the current limit because of a 1997 court order. The most pressing question? What happens to the more than 2,300 children already in the custody of the government? Officials initially said those children would not be immediately reunited with their families while the adults remain in federal custody during their immigration proceedings. Staff working on the behalf of the Office of Refugee Resettlement are routinely drugging detained child migrants with psychotropics without their parents’ consent, according to legal filings. And immigrant children as young as 14 housed at a juvenile detention center in Virginia say they were beaten while handcuffed and locked up for long periods in solitary confinement, left nude and shivering in concrete cells. Congress could change the dynamic today when the House votes on several bills that include language that would permanently end family separations. However, with Republicans in the House and Senate pursuing different approaches, no legislative breakthrough seemed imminent. A so-called “compromise measure” would provide $25 billion for Trump’s border wall, offer a pathway to citizenship to “Dreamers,” and keep migrant families together. A competing, hard-line bill by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) would not guarantee “Dreamers” a path to permanent legal residency and includes controversial enforcement measures such as the mandatory use of a worker verification program. More here.
Dems Continue to Push Despite Executive Order
Former President Barack Obama made an impassioned plea in a Facebook post on Wednesday asking, “Are we a nation that accepts the cruelty of ripping children from their parents’ arms, or are we a nation that values families, and works to keep them together? Do we look away, or do we choose to see something of ourselves and our children?Congressman Lou Correa (D-CA) on Wednesday wrote a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen asking for the department’s plan to return children to their parents. “As if separating families was not traumatic enough, we are now learning that parents are being deported without being reunited with their families. Without an explicit plan, there is a grave risk that these parents and children may never be reunited again.” Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-NY) on Wednesday wrote to the president also asking about reuniting the currently separated children with their parents. All 24 Energy and Commerce Democrats sent a letter to full Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael Burgess (R-TX) demanding an immediate hearing on the wellbeing of the children being forcibly separated from their parents and families and placed into the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). “These children are at serious risk of suffering harm and severe trauma, and it is of utmost importance that we hear from all parties involved in their care to ensure that HHS is taking every step necessary to protect their safety and wellbeing.” Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) sent a letter to António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, requesting that the UN send humanitarian observers to the United States to investigate the administration for separating families on the border. Lee wrote, “I urge you to send experts from relevant UN agencies to observe conditions in both Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) facilities both at the border and throughout the more than 17 states around the country that are now housing children who have been separated from their families.” And Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX) reached out to Trump in hopes that the president and First Lady would join him “on a tour of one of the facilities where these separated children are being held so that you can see firsthand the impact this process is having on these innocent children.” More here.
Eleanor Holmes Norton Intros Bill to Allow Marijuana Use in Public Housing
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) on Tuesday introduced legislation that would permit marijuana use -- in states where it is legal -- in federally-assisted housing. The Sondra Battle Cannabis Fair Use Act was named after Sondra Battle, a DC resident who lives in Section 8 housing and uses medically-prescribed cannabis to treat her fibromyalgia. Currently, users of any controlled substance defined as illegal under federal law, including medical marijuana, can be barred from federally assisted housing. Federal law also allows landlords to evict current residents based on their use of marijuana for any purposes, including the use of medical cannabis by state-qualified patients. Norton’s bill would treat the use of marijuana similar to the use of smoking tobacco, and make it illegal for a person to be denied federally-assisted housing for the use of marijuana -- whether medical or recreational-- in jurisdictions where cannabis has been legalized. “Residents like Sondra should not fear eviction from federally-assisted housing simply for using cannabis to treat their medical conditions.  Our bill recognized today’s realities and proven needs. Individuals who live in states where medical and/or recreational marijuana is legal, but live in federally-assisted housing, should have the same access to treatment as their neighbors,” Norton said. More here
Nydia Velázquez Wants Students to Hear the Music
Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez (D-NY)
introduced legislation on Wednesday to make music education more affordable and accessible in America’s schools. The Guarantee Access to Arts & Music Education (GAAME) Act would expand Title I funds to help underserved elementary and secondary schools implement meaningful and enriching music education. Title I funding is part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and provides financial assistance to local educational agencies and schools with high numbers of children from low-income families. “The role of music and art in a child’s development cannot be forgotten—especially in schools where funding is limited and budgets are stretched,” said Velázquez. “Instead of putting arts education on the chopping block, we must recognize it for what it is—a vital public service.” In addition to introducing the GAAME Act, Velázquez is the author of the American Arts Revival Act, which offers student loan relief to artistic professionals who provide services for seniors, children, or adolescents. More on the GAAME Act here.
Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI) with actor and activist George Takei on Saturday at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii’s Sharing the Spirit of Aloha Annual Gala.
Congressman Rubén Kihuen (D-NV) visiting the U.S.-Mexico border, where his family crossed 30 years ago.
Amazon, Buffett, JPMorgan Tap Clinton Appointee to Lead Health Firm
Well-known author and Harvard professor Dr. Atul Gawande has been tapped to lead the healthcare venture formed by Amazon, JPMorgan Chase, and Berkshire Hathaway. The 52-year-old will lead an independent company focused on a mission they announced earlier this year: figure out ways to improve a broken and often inefficient system for delivering care. Employer-sponsored insurance covers about 157 million people, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. That’s nearly half the total U.S. population and the biggest slice of the country’s patchwork health insurance market. Gawande is a surgeon and professor at both Harvard’s Medical School and its T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Born in Brooklyn to parents who immigrated from India, Gawande earned an undergraduate degree in biology and political science from Stanford University in 1987. As a Rhodes Scholar, he received his MA from Oxford in 1989, completed Harvard Medical School in 1995, and earned an MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health in 1999. He worked on Al Gore's 1988 presidential campaign. He worked as a health-care researcher for Congressman Jim Cooper (D-TN) and, in 1992, became then-candidate Bill Clinton's healthcare lieutenant during the first presidential campaign. He later became a Senior Advisor in the Department of Health and Human Services after Clinton's inauguration. He also directed one of the three committees of the Clinton Health Care Task Force and defined the benefits packages for Americans and subsidies and requirements for employers. He said in a statement Wednesday that he has devoted his career in public health to building solutions for better care delivery, and that while the current system is broken, “better is possible.” More here.

Charter Adds to Policy Team
Charter Communications has added Christy Reap as Director for Policy Communications. She was most recently an Assistant VP for Corporate Communications at Frontier Communications, where she had been for nearly a decade serving as the lead external corporate spokesperson in the areas of operations, crisis communications, labor relations, government, and regulatory affairs. Before that, the 1993 Eastern Kentucky University graduate spent close to ten years working in Public Affairs for Verizon. Apple recently announced that Charter customers will soon be able to get an Apple TV through Charter, and the company will make their live and on-demand TV app available for Apple TV later this year. More about her here.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights' Vanita Gupta and criminal justice reform advocate Jason Hernández at #ACLUCon18 last weekend.
CBS News’ Gayle King on Tuesday picking up a few dresses from Ross while on assignment in Texas.
Michelle Obama Heads to Scotland
Former First Lady Michelle Obama is heading to Scotland next month to speak at the Hunter Foundation charity dinner. FLOTUS44 will speak about her time in the White House, and the cash raised from the event will be invested in charities across Scotland. Five-time Olympic medallist Dame Katherine Grainger will act as moderator of the conversation. The nonprofit organization, set up by philanthropist Sir Thomas Hunter, is asking young people aged 5-18 to submit a short essay, video, picture or poem on the theme: ‘If I ruled Scotland the one thing I’d change to enable more young people to succeed would be... and why that’s so important.’ One winner will be offered a seat at Obama’s table at the July 17th dinner in Edinburgh. More here.

Obama the Sea Creature 
A recently discovered ancient sea creature that roamed the Earth’s oceans 500 million years ago, today has an unusual honor: it has been named after former President Barack Obama. Well, kind of. The exact scientific name is Obamus coronatus, a name that honors Obama's passion for science. ("Coronatus" means crowned). The tiny, disc-shaped animal was about a 1/2 inch long, with raised spiral grooves on its surface. It spent its entire life embedded on the ocean floor, likely never moving, according to scientists from the University of California-Riverside. It’s one of the earlier animals to have existed on the planet. It was discovered in a remarkably well-preserved fossil bed in a southern Australia mountain range. More here.

#TBT
Actress Phylicia Rashad in the 70's who, incidentally, turned 70 on Tuesday.
Congressman Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) and his dad Ben Luján Sr. at a Boston Red Sox game in the late 70's.
Actress Who Did Hispanic Outreach for Trump Campaign Sues and Asks for NDA to be Tossed
Jessica Denson
, an LA-based actress who briefly oversaw phone banks and Hispanic outreach for the Trump campaign, asked a New York judge on Monday to deny the campaign’s request to force a non-disclosure case into arbitration. Denson filed a work-related lawsuit against the campaign in November, alleging that "she was discriminated against, harassed, and made subject to a hostile work environment, as well as defamed and subject to the intentional infliction of emotional distress." Denson, whose screen credits include the CBS crime drama Person of Interest, is attempting to seek damages and is representing herself in the case. The Trump campaign is seeking $1.5 million in damages from Denson for allegedly violating her NDA. Lawyers for the campaign have asked to force Denson into closed-door arbitration, saying she’s required by her contract to resolve disputes privately. Denson says she never agreed to mediate such allegations. More here.

Top Dems Want Answers About Trump Loyalty “Tests”
Senator Bob Menéndez (D-NJ)
, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, with Congressmen Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, on Tuesday demanded State Department documents related to reports that the Trump administration is vetting senior employees at the State Department and international organizations to determine if they are sufficiently loyal to Donald Trump. On June 13th, Foreign Policy reported that Mari Stull, a Senior Advisor to the Bureau of International Organizational Affairs, had been quietly vetting career diplomats and American employees of international institutions to determine whether they are loyal to Donald Trump and his political agenda. In a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the members demanded that the Department provide documents related to Stull’s efforts to categorize, research, and vet employees by their perceived political views. “These allegations track closely with the many reports our Committees have received over the past 18 months alleging political attacks on State Department career employees. We had hoped with your personal assurances ... that these attacks on career employees would come to an end ... Yet, despite these assurances, it appears the Trump Administration continues to deploy ideological loyalty tests on State Department employees,” they wrote. See the letter here.

Alex Acosta Pulls Out of NALEO’s Annual Conference 
Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, the administration's highest-ranking Latino, and RNC Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel pulled out of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) conference on Wednesday in the midst of the crisis over separating immigrant children from their families. “This organization is one of the few that brings together Republicans and Democrats to try to find common ground and understand each other’s perspective, and the leadership of the Republican Party is choosing not to have that kind of dialogue,” NALEO’s Executive Director Arturo Vargas said. “You can’t have a dialogue if people don’t want to participate.” An RNC official noted that they remain a sponsor of the event, for the second year in a row, and staff and volunteers will still attend and man a booth on site. DNC Chair Tom Pérez is not attending the conference but Vice Chair María Elena Durazo will speak in his place. The annual conference kicks off today in Phoenix, AZ. More here.
Celebrity chef Carla Hall and Democratic strategist and NBC contributor Cornell Belcher on Tuesday celebrating Juneteenth at a dinner in DC.
IMMVAC Regional Manager Madeline Moore visiting Congressman Raúl Labrador (R-ID) earlier this month, while representing ID at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association‘s Young Cattlemen’s Conference in DC.
Newsrooms Still Not Diverse
Nine out of 10 Editors of the country’s 135 biggest English-language newspapers are white and 73% are male. Almost a third have an advanced degree, and they attended private high schools at nearly twice the national rate. According to a 2017 study, people of color accounted for one person on the 11-person masthead of The Washington Post, three people on the 18-person masthead of The New York Times, one person on the five-person masthead of NPR, three people on the 14-person masthead of the Chicago Tribune, and one person on the 14-person masthead of the Los Angeles Times. When it came to the diversity of the general news staff, the study found 31% of WaPo’s newsroom people of color compared to 54% of the people who live in the DC metro area. The NYT’s newsroom is 78% white and 22% people of color, while the New York area is 53% people of color. The LA Times has a relatively diverse newsroom -- 66% white and 11% Hispanic, 14% AAPI, and 5% Black. The Beat DC? 100% people of color. More here.
Univisión Starts Buyouts
Univisión Holdings Inc. has been offering buyouts to employees at Gizmodo Media Group. The idea is to reduce Gizmodo’s budget for editorial employees by 15%. The NY-based company hasn’t determined how many employees need to accept buyout offers before it resorts to layoffs, according to a Bloomberg source. The cuts don’t affect other Univisión-owned properties, such as The Root, the Onion, and sister website Clickhole. More here.

Activist DeRay Mckesson, Oprah Winfrey, Under Armour's Kirby Bumpus, and Obama alum Deesha Dyer at the opening night of the #WatchingOprah exhibit at the NMAAHC. 
Lawyers' Committee's Kristen Clarke, NAACP-LDF's Sherilynn Ifill, The Leaderhip Conference's Vanita GuptaCongressman Darren Soto (D-FL), NAN's Rev. Al Sharpton, UniodsUS' Janet Murguía, and NUL's Marc Morial on Tuesday advocating to stop family separation.
Native American Farmers Underrepresented In USDA Census of Agriculture
Native Americans continue to be one of the most underrepresented groups in the Census of Agriculture, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. The Census of Agriculture provides comprehensive and impartial agricultural data for every county in the nation. The number of American Indian producers participating in the Census has increased tremendously since the questionnaire became the responsibility of the USDA in 1997, and especially since 2007 when every American Indian farm and ranch began reporting individually. But there’s still a lot of work to get everyone represented in the data. “When you’re considering the relationship that Native American producers have had with the United States government over the last 200 years, there are some well-reasoned historical arguments for not letting them know what you are doing,” said Zach Ducheneaux with the Intertribal Agriculture Council. He says, however, that the USDA is doing better at rebuilding trust and working with Native American producers. The 2012 Census data which showed that the 56,092 farms and ranches operated by 71,947 Native Americans sold a total of $3.24 billion in agriculture products. The average size of a farm or ranch operated by Native Americans is 200% larger than the national farm size average. Ducheneaux said Native American farmers and ranchers are producing more than what the statistics show. More here.

BLAH BLAH BLOGS
FOMO
Today, 1P: Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) will participate in a conference call briefing to discuss the House votes on immigration bills and the role of Senior White House Advisor Stephen Miller and his ties to white nationalists and anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant hate groups. The call-in number is 785-424-1667, and the password is "MILLER'S ROLE."
Today, 3P: "The Fight for Fairness: Building on the Progress of the Fair Labor Standards Act." Democratic leadership will hold a forum to discuss the best way to build the progress of the FLSA. Speakers include Congressmen Bobby Scott (D-VA), Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Mark Takano (D-CA), and more. 421 Cannon House Office Building, DC. 
Today - Sunday, June 24th: The Black Millennial Political Convention, which aims to increase engagement of Black millennials in the political sphere and shed a light on policy issues impacting black communities. This year’s theme is The Advocacy of Policy, Pipeline andPower for the People. Hyatt Regency, Crystal City, VA. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.
Monday, June 25th - Tuesday, June 26th: IGNITE National’s 2018 Young Women Run. Congresswomen Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA)Pramila Jayapal (D-WA)Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and others will train over 200 politically ambitious young women to run for office. AT&T Forum. 601 New Jersey Avenue N.W., DC. Click here for more information

Wednesday, June 27th, 8:30AThe Hill and The Hill Latino host their second annual "Latina Leaders Summit." Speakers include Congresswoman Norma Torres (D-CA), WH Director of Media Affairs Helen Aguirre Ferré, NPR's Lulu García-Navarro, and more. The Newseum. Knight Broadcast Studio. 555 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., DC. Click here to RSVP.
Friday, July 6 - Thursday, July 12th: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. 68th Boule. Houston, TX. Click here for more information.
Saturday, July 7th - Tuesday, July 10thUnidosUS’ 2018 Annual Conference. Speakers include Ilia Calderón, Co-Anchor of Noticiero Univisión, Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation, Marc Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League, Maria Teresa Kumar, President and CEO of Voto Latino, among others. Walter E. Washington Convention Center, DC. Click here to register.
Thursday, July 12th - Friday, July 20th: March On Washington Film Festival. Click here for more information.
Saturday, July 14 - Wednesday, July 18th: NAACP’s 109th Annual Convention. Henry B. González Convention Center. San Antonio, TX. Click here for more information.
Tuesday, July 17th - Wednesday, July 18th: The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) 2018 National Women’s Conference. Phoenix. Click here for more information.
Tuesday, July 17th - Saturday, July 21st: The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) 2018 National Convention and Expo. Phoenix. Click here for more information.
Friday, July 20 - Sunday, July 22nd: The 2nd Annual Black Campaign School, hosted by The Collective. Atlanta, GA. Click here for information
Wednesday, July 18th - Saturday, 21st: NAHJ International Training Conference and Career Fair. InterContinental Miami Hotel. 100 Chopin Plaza, Miami, FL. Click here for more information.
Wednesday, August 1st - Saturday, August 4th: The National Urban League's 2018 Annual Conference “Save Our Cities: Powering the Digital Revolution.” Columbus, OH. Click here for more information and to register.
Wednesday, August 1st - Sunday, August 5th: NABJ Annual Convention & Career Fair. Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center. 400 Renaissance Drive, Detroit, MI. Click here for more information
Monday, August 6th - Saturday, August 11th: 16th Annual Run&Shoot Filmworks Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival. Click here for more information.
Wednesday, August 8th - Saturday, August, 11th: AAJA National Convention. Marriott Marquis Houston. 1777 Walker St., Houston, TX. Click here for more information.
Friday, August 17th - Sunday, August 19th: Martha’s Vineyard celebrates Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s (D-CA) 20 years of service. Special guests include House Assistant Minority Leader Jim Clyburn (D-SC), Congressional Black Caucus Chair Cedric Richmond (D-LA), and more. Harbor View Hotel, 131 North Water Street Edgartown, MA. Kelley House, 23 Kelley Street Edgartown, MA. Click here for more information.
Tuesday, September 11th - Wednesday, September 12th: CHCI's Annual Leadership Conference. Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., DC. Click here for more information.
Thursday, September 13th: CHCI's 41st Annual Anniversary Awards Gala. Marriott Marquis Washington, DC. 901 Massachusetts Avenue N.W., DC. Click here for more information.
Wednesday, September 12th - Saturday, September 16th: Congressional Black Caucus Foundation 48th Annual Legislative Conference. Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Click here for more information.
Thursday, September 25th - Saturday, September 29th: NBMBAA 40th Annual Conference & Exposition. Detroit, MI. Click here for more information.
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