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The House Takes a Step towards Banning Guns for Domestic Abusers

Last week, Congress moved closer to passing legislation preventing domestic abusers and stalkers from purchasing or possessing guns, as Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI-12) and Rep. Robert Dold (R-IL-10) introduced the Zero Tolerance for Domestic Abusers Act (H.R. 3130). The bipartisan bill would close a loophole in federal law that allows some perpetrators of domestic violence to access firearms. Crucially, it would expand the definition of “intimate partners” to the definition used in the 2012 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act: someone who has been in a romantic or intimate relationship with the abuser. The bill also adds convicted stalkers to the list of those prohibited from purchasing and possessing guns. Read more…

Equal Work Deserves Equal Pay

Wage Discrimination Continues to Cast a Shadow

Even in 2015, equal pay for equal work for women is not a reality in the United States and it’s no different for female professional soccer players. The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) only pays its players between $6,000 and $30,000 per year, while Major League Soccer (MLS) players earn a minimum salary of $50,000 per year. These low salaries act as a serious deterrent to players starting the game. Jazmine Reeves, 2014 Rookie of the Year for the NWSL’s Boston Breakers, had to leave the world of professional soccer because she was unable to get by on her $11,000 salary (that’s less than annual earnings on the U.S. minimum wage!).
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Keep Abortion Safe and Legal

Update on the State(s) of Abortion Access

Over the past year, I’ve followed a slew of state-level abortion laws, which are advancing and passing at alarming rates. In the first half of 2015, states enacted 51 new abortion restrictions, bringing the total number of restrictions passed to 282 in the past five years.

Though legislative activity is generally quiet in the states in July, with most state legislatures having completed their session for the year, it’s still an important time for state-level abortion policy. In many states, the new fiscal year begins July 1, meaning that any new abortion laws—or anti-abortion laws, in most cases—passed in the most recent legislative session were set to take effect earlier this month. Read more…

Praying With Our Feet: America’s Journey for Justice

Beginning in August, the Reform Movement will join the NAACP on America’s Journey for Justice—an historic 860-mile march from Selma, Alabama, to Washington, D.C. The Religious Action Center is organizing hundreds of rabbis in partnership with the NAACP for the Journey, which will mobilize activists and advance a focused advocacy agenda that protects the right of every American to a fair criminal justice system, uncorrupted and unfettered access to the ballot box, sustainable jobs with a living wage, and equitable public education. The Journey for Justice partnership between the Reform Movement and the NAACP reflects the long history of collaboration between our communities. Read more…

Combatting Injustices in the Public School System

Although it is summer, as stationary stores and commercials tell us, it’s already time to start thinking about the fall and what the school year brings along with it. As we sharpen pencils and preemptively pack our backpacks, it’s hard not to take a moment to reflect on why we go through this ritual every year. Education is seen as a pathway to the American dream, and is key to lifting Americans out of poverty.

About 20% of our country’s children live in poverty, and this rate is further exacerbated when looking at children of color. 38% of African American children, 36.8% of American Indian and Native Alaskan Children, and 33% of Hispanic children are living in poverty, showing how disproportionately certain communities are impacted. For all children, education is especially crucial to create opportunities, but for many students of color, this promise is not necessarily their reality. A child of color is over twice as likely to be poor as a white child. Millions of students go to schools that are underfunded and that lack important resources. Schools where the majority of students are African American are two times as likely to have teachers who are less experienced than a school with a majority of white teachers, which therefore leads to even more inequalities in the classroom.

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Celebrating the Progress and Promise of the ADA

by Curtis Ramsey-Lucas

Twenty-five years ago, on July 26, 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA and the subsequent ADA Amendments Act, signed in 2008 by President George W. Bush, expanded opportunities for Americans with disabilities by reducing barriers and changing perceptions.  As a result, our society is more open and accessible to people with disabilities today than it was just a generation ago.

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Workers protesting low wages with a sign saying "Hard work deserves fair pay!"

Learning from the Past to Create a More Economically Just Future

In this week’s Torah portion, Devarim (and the beginning of the book of Deuteronomy), Moses begins his recounting of the Israelites’ forty-year-long journey in the wilderness from Egypt to the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 1:1-21). Moses’ reflection on the past as the Israelites’ time of wandering comes starts to end offers a timely lesson for us to take stock of where we are in our journey towards economic justice.

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LGBT Flag in front of congress

Historic Bill to End LGBT Discrimination Introduced

When I came out to my parents in high school as gay, I was fortunate enough to have their full acceptance and love. However, I remember my mom saying early on that she was saddened to know the difficulties I would now have to face because of my identity. But I was already aware of some of those challenges: bullying and homophobia, the inability to get married in most states and a ban on serving in the military.

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