white house task force

San Francisco's Official Response to the Election of Trump

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors recently passed a resolution, introduced by Board President London Breed, in response to the election of Donald Trump. The resolution reads as follows:

WHEREAS, On November 8, 2016, Donald Trump was elected to become the 45th President of the United States; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That no matter the threats made by President-elect Trump, San Francisco will remain a Sanctuary City. We will not turn our back on the men and women from other countries who help make this city great, and who represent over one third of our population. This is the Golden Gate—we build bridges, not walls; and, be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That we will never back down on women’s rights, whether in healthcare, the workplace, or any other area threatened by a man who treats women as obstacles to be demeaned or objects to be assaulted. And just as important, we will ensure our young girls grow up with role models who show them they can be or do anything; and, be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That there will be no conversion therapy, no withdrawal of rights in San Francisco. We began hosting gay weddings twelve years ago, and we are not stopping now. And to all the LGBTQ people all over the country who feel scared, bullied, or alone: You matter. You are seen; you are loved; and San Francisco will never stop fighting for you; and, be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That we still believe in this nation’s founding principle of religious freedom. We do not ban people for their faith. And the only lists we keep are on invitations to come pray together; and, be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That Black Lives Matter in San Francisco, even if they may not in the White House. And guided by President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, we will continue reforming our police department and rebuilding trust between police and communities of color so all citizens feel safe in their neighborhoods; and, be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That climate change is not a hoax, or a plot by the Chinese. In this city, surrounded by water on three sides, science matters. And we will continue our work on CleanPower, Zero Waste, and everything else we are doing to protect future generations; and, be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That we have been providing universal health care in this city for nearly a decade, and if the new administration follows through on its callous promise to revoke health insurance from 20 million people, San Franciscans will be protected; and, be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That we are the birthplace of the United Nations, a city made stronger by the thousands of international visitors we welcome every day. We will remain committed to internationalism and to our friends and allies around the world—whether the administration in Washington is or not; and, be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That San Francisco will remain a Transit First city and will continue building Muni and BART systems we can all rely upon, whether this administration follows through on its platform to eliminate federal transit funding or not; and, be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That California is the sixth largest economy in the world. The Bay Area is the innovation capital of the country. We will not be bullied by threats to revoke our federal funding, nor will we sacrifice our values or members of our community for your dollar; and, be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That we condemn all hate crimes and hate speech perpetrated in this election’s wake. That although the United States will soon have a President who has demonstrated a lack of respect for the values we hold in the highest regard in San Francisco, it cannot change who we are, and it will never change our values. We argue, we campaign, we debate vigorously within San Francisco, but on these points we are 100 percent united. We will fight discrimination and recklessness in all its forms. We are one City. And we will move forward together.

Justice Department Says No To Funding Vote On Puerto Rican Statehood 

Adrian Carrasquillo at BuzzFeed News:

WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice Thursday sent a letter to Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló denying a $2.5 million appropriation for nonpartisan voter education and a plebiscite vote that would allow Puerto Ricans to vote about what they want in terms of their status as a territory.

Puerto Rican government officials told BuzzFeed News they will still likely move forward with the plebiscite vote June 11. A Department of Justice spokesperson said their role in the matter was limited to the issue of whether to appropriate funds.

Most of the issues raised by DOJ in the letter related to the goal of the President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status that the popular will of the people of Puerto Rico be ascertained in a clear way. The letter argued that the 2012 plebiscite vote, in which a majority rejected the current status and chose statehood, was “the subject of controversy” and much had changed in five years politically, economically, and demographically on the island, which means it is unclear that residents reject the status quo territory option. (The upcoming plebiscite as written only gives “statehood” and “free association/independence” as the two options, not the current territory option.)

In a series of tweets, Puerto Rico’s governor said it was “unacceptable” to include a “colony” option in an effort to decolonize Puerto Rico. The Trump administration’s position, he said, is contrary to the will of the Puerto Rican people who have rejected a continuation of a colonial system that is wrong.

“I think that this is an attempt by the attorney general to singlehandedly go against what has been the policy of the U.S. for the last 25 years,” said Kenneth McClintock, Puerto Rico’s former secretary of state, who said that there is no dispute that the island is a territory of the United States. “Therefore present status can not be part of the options to resolve — resolve means solutions, an alternative to the problem itself.”

Puerto Rico has in recent years been felled by a financial and health care crisis. McClintock said the 2011 White House task force came to the conclusion that in order to resolve Puerto Rico’s economic problems “you have to address the political status problem or the economic situation will not improve.”

The DOJ letter also took issue with how the 2017 plebiscite is worded, including the description of statehood as the only option that guarantees American citizenship by birth in Puerto Rico and the description of “free association,” which the agency said could be misleading.

The DOJ declined comment beyond the letter.

Puerto Rican officials said that in calls before and after the decision was made, DOJ officials remained open to working with the Puerto Rican government. Officials said they will study the DOJ recommendations but fully intend to move forward with the plebiscite, though there is concern that the vote will not be recognized by Congress moving forward. Still, Governor Rosselló called the June 11 plebiscite the most important vote that will reveal the will of the people.

But in conversations after the decision came down, statehood supporters were sharply criticized Sessions individually.

“He’s almost acting on this holy Thursday evening as a Judas who is being traitorous to longstanding American policy on Puerto Rico,” McClintock said.

Spanish/Español: Departamento de Justicia Dice No Para Financiar Voto Sobre Estado de Puerto Rico

History Lesson for Hillary

There’s a lengthy video of Hillary Clinton talking to BLM advocates that could be paraphrased into these two sentences: “I have no idea how to help you. Help me help you.”

Here’s a history lesson I learned from reading an article on Republican George Romney (Mitt’s dad) in a vintage magazine (Either LIFE or Saturday Evening Post…) a couple years ago:

So segregation was enforced throughout the 1960s until MLK Jr’s assassination, then the Fair Housing Act of 1968 was signed making it illegal to discriminate against buyers and renters based on race, religion, etc. But because many white families did not want black people in their neighborhoods, this law was met with a lot of opposition. And because Nixon was arguably one of the most insecure presidents ever, he went with what the white American public wanted and undermined the Fair Housing Act (despite it being federal law). 

And every time a task force at the White House got the idea to bring federal aid to low income households, he nixed it (punintentional) because it promoted racial integration. It was actually George Romney of all people who strongly advocated for racial integration and worked to lessen the economic gap. There are few genuinely decent people in history; who knew George Romney was one of them? His “Open Communities” program for subsidized housing received a lot of protest and unfortunately Nixon nixed that too. 
In fact, white middle class families were actually GIVEN housing loans by the government -I repeat- financially-stable white families received free money from the government as one of the ways of maintaining segregation, economic dominance, and to ensure that white families got first access to the best schools, the best hospitals, the best jobs, etc.–systematic racism in the works.

To this day, neighborhoods are segregated, and the ones with a heavy population of ethnic minorities (no matter how safe) are informally classified as “ghetto.” To this day, the Fair Housing Act is not always enforced, and to this day, mortgage discrimination exists, and ethnic minorities are statistically more likely to be denied housing–black households being the most affected. To this day there is great economic disparity between black and white households and gentrification is just one clear sign of it.

If Hillary took a second to look at the cause and effects of history, wouldn’t she have some sort of idea how to fight institutional racism? Like maybe housing loans for low-income minority households, more rent control to protect residents from gentrification, affirmative action and programs to bring diversity not just to schools but to the workplace (especially the police force)…anything that will combat the harmful effects of segregation and close the economic gap… 

Like in history, anything that threatens white economic dominance will be met with opposition by a lot of folks so if Hillary wants to make change, she can’t be anything like Nixon–fuck. 

Proof that “rape culture” is a feminist myth

The nation’s largest and most influential anti-sexual-violence organization is rejecting the idea that culture - as opposed to the actions of individuals - is responsible for rape.

“Rape is as American as apple pie,” says blogger Jessica Valenti. She and her sisters-in-arms describe our society as a “rape culture” where violence against women is so normal, it’s almost invisible. Films, magazines, fashion, books, music, humor, even Barbie - according to the feminist activists - cooperate in conveying the message that women are there to be used, abused and exploited. Recently, rape-culture theory has migrated from the lonely corners of the feminist blogosphere into the mainstream. The White House asserted that we need to combat campus rape by “[changing] a culture of passivity and tolerance in this country, which too often allows this type of violence to persist.”

Tolerance for rape? Rape is a horrific crime, and rapists are despised and put in prison. We have strict laws that Americans want to see enforced. Though rape is certainly a serious problem, there’s no evidence that it’s considered a cultural norm. Twenty-first century America does not have a rape culture; what we have is an out-of-control lobby leading the public and our educational and political leaders down the wrong path. Rape-culture theory is doing little to help victims, but its power to poison the minds of young women and lead to hostile environments for innocent males is immense.

On college campuses, obsession with eliminating “rape culture” has led to censorship and infantile hysteria. At Boston University, student activists launched a petition demanding the cancellation of a Robin Thicke concert because the lyrics of his hit song “Blurred Lines” allegedly celebrate “systemic patriarchy and sexual oppression.” (The lyrics may not exactly be pleasant to many women, but song lyrics don’t turn men into rapists. Yet, ludicrously, the song was banned at more than 20 British universities.) Activists at Wellesley recently demanded that administrators remove a statue of a sleepwalking man: The image of a male in his underwear could “trigger” memories of sexual assault for victims. At Harvard Law School, feminist students demanded that their professors must not teach any laws concerning rape or sexual assault. Works such as The Great Gatsby, Metamorphoses and Mrs Dalloway have all been banned from university reading lists simply because some self-absorbed students find the content emotionally challenging. 

Meanwhile, a growing number of young men find themselves accused of rape, named publicly and brought before campus judicial panels informed by rape-culture theory. In such kangaroo courts, due process is practically nonexistent: guilty because accused. They are not allowed to know who has made the accusation against them, they are not entitled to any defense. Yet many of these cases eventually turn out to prove that the male student is innocent but by then it is too late, his life has already been ruined and he will continue to face the stigma of a rapist. 

Rape-culture theorists dismiss critics who bring up examples of hysteria and false accusations as “rape denialists” and “rape apologists.” To even suggest that false accusations occur, according to feminists, is to engage in “victim blaming.” But now, rape culturalists are confronting a formidable critic that even they will find hard to dismiss.

RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is America’s largest and most influential anti-sexual-violence organization. It’s the leading voice for sexual-assault victim advocacy. Indeed, rape-culture activists routinely cite the authority of RAINN to make their case. But in RAINN’s recent recommendations to the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, it repudiates the rhetoric of the anti–“rape culture” movement:

In the last few years, there has been an unfortunate trend towards blaming “rape culture” for the extensive problem of sexual violence on campus. While it is helpful to point out the systemic barriers to addressing the problem, it is important not to lose sight of a simple fact: Rape is caused not by cultural factors but by the conscious decisions, of a small percentage of the community, to commit a violent crime.

RAINN urges the White House to “remain focused on the true cause of the problem” and suggests a three-pronged approach for combating rape: empowering community members through bystander intervention education, using “risk-reduction messaging” to encourage students to increase their personal safety and promoting clearer education on “where the ‘consent line’ is.” It also asserts that we should treat rape like the serious crime it is by giving power to trained law enforcement rather than internal campus judicial boards.

RAINN is especially critical of the idea that we need to focus on teaching men not to rape - the hallmark of feminist activism. Since rape exists because our culture condones and normalizes it, feminists say, we can end the epidemic of sexual violence only by teaching boys not to rape.

No one would deny that we should teach boys to respect women. But by and large, this is already happening. By the time men reach college, RAINN explains, “most students have been exposed to 18 years of prevention messages, in one form or another.” The vast majority of men absorb these messages and view rape as the horrific crime that it is. So efforts to address rape need to focus on the very small portion of the population that “has proven itself immune to years of prevention messages.” They should not vilify the average guy.

By blaming so-called rape culture, we implicate all men in a social atrocity, trivialize the experiences of survivors, and deflect blame from the rapists truly responsible for sexual violence. RAINN explains that the trend of focusing on rape culture “has the paradoxical effect of making it harder to stop sexual violence, since it removes the focus from the individual at fault, and seemingly mitigates personal responsibility for his or her own actions.”

Moral panic over “rape culture” helps no one - least of all, survivors of sexual assault. College leaders, women’s groups and the White House have a choice. They can side with the thought police of the feminist blogosphere who are declaring war on music, magazines, statues and children’s dolls. Or they can listen to the sane counsel of RAINN, as they don’t listen to anyone else.

On March 31, the White House held the first-ever briefing on the issues faced by transgender women of color, featuring a panel of nine trans women of color from different states, communities and fields. March 31, of course, is the International Transgender Day of Visibility (and the last day of Women’s History Month), and the White House and the National LGBTQ Task Force joined forces to uplift the voices of trans women of color in this forum. 

The panelists were: Tracee McDaniel from the Juxtaposed Center for Transformation, Inc.; Ruby Corado from Casa Ruby; Mattee Jim from First Nations Community HealthSource; Bamby Salcedo from Trans-Latin@ Coalition; Dr. Ayana Elliott, FNP from The Elliott Group, LLC; Raffi Freedman-Gurspan from the National Center for Transgender Equality; LaLa Zannell from the New York City Anti-Violence Project; Kylar Broadus from the National LGBTQ Task Force; and Cecilia Chung from the Transgender Law Center.

Here’s a report-back from the Task Force’s Kayley Whalen, herself a Latina trans woman who attended the panel:

Each of the speakers, many of whom had personally experienced anti-trans violence, were an example of the resiliency and vibrancy of our community. Each of those present is working as an advocate to change the narrative about transgender lives – that our lives matter, that we are hirable, that we deserve good jobs, education, healthcare, safe housing and loving relationships free from violence. Trans people’s lives need to stop being criminalized; we are tired of being profiled and harassed by police; we are tired of being imprisoned simply for trying to survive; we are tired of being detained by immigration authorities when we come to the U.S. to escape from violence; we are tired of being harassed, assaulted and being denied medical care in jails, prisons and detention centers; and we are sick and tired of having to prove that we are human beings who deserve dignity and respect.

This is an incredible step for trans visibility, inclusion, and affirming our movement’s commitment to tackling the systemic violence and oppression trans women of color endure. That said, it is a step, not a solution – we need more than White House recognition in order to make change happen, and we must listen to the voices and experiences of trans women of color every day, not just on the days when they’re featured at the White House. 

Read Kayley’s full account of the experience, including a groundbreaking kickoff for the new national office of the Trans Women of Color Collective (TWOCC) and Casa Ruby’s new TransLife Center that took place the day after the panel, over at the Huffington Post

White House issues rules to combat campus rapes

New York Times: The White House on Monday released guidelines that colleges should follow, including recommendations that administrators conduct anonymous surveys of sexual assault cases. The White House is likely to ask Congress for measures that would enforce the recommendations.

The guidelines are contained in a report by a White House task force that President Obama formed early this year.

The report will also urge universities to better ensure that sexual assault reports remain confidential. Sometimes fears that reports will not remain confidential can discourage victims from coming forward.