Cartoon headphones on the Earth from the NSA

What Can We Call a Victory for Privacy Rights?



By Elise Sugarman

On June 2, one day after the Patriot Act expired, the Senate passed the USA Freedom Act to renew three parts of the Patriot Act, including the controversial Section 215. Despite keeping the section which allows the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to require all professionals and companies, including doctors, universities, restaurants, etc., to share their customer and/or clients’ records, the legislation ended the National Security Agency’s (NSA) phone collection program. This program granted the NSA the authority to collect records and information on terrorist suspects through their phone calls. Furthermore, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals determined on May 7 that the program was unconstitutional as it represents a shift in the government’s approach to combating terrorism. Specifically, the court ruled that the program is illegal because it does not fall under the clear language of the law. Read more…

Child playing with a handgun

How We Can Help Protect our Kids with a Simple Question



Your calendar on June 21 is probably marked for a few things: it’s Father’s Day, the summer solstice and the longest day of the year. Yet this year, we’re marking our calendars for something perhaps just as important: National ASK Day. ASK, or “Asking Saves Kids,” is a campaign to keep children safe from accidental gun violence by empowering parents to ask if there is an unlocked gun in the homes where their kids play. Read more…

As Israel’s New Coalition Government Gets Underway, New and Old Conflicts Arise



Last month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu formed a coalition government after his Likud Party’s resounding victory in the March elections. As positions in the government have been given out to coalition partners, and agreements made about government priorities, we’ve started to get a sense of what this government coalition will mean for Israel. While laws have yet to be passed, political parties—and the Members of Knesset in them—are starting to stake their claims for how they want the government to respond to challenges throughout its term. Here are some of the developments we’ve been watching: Read more…

The Tragedy and Horror of the Charleston Church Shooting



Last night, 9 people were killed at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina when a 21 year old man opened fire. The tragedy has shaken the country and reminded us that violence and hatred know no boundaries, and can reach us even within the walls of a house of worship. RAC Deputy Director Rachel Laser shared the following statement: Read more…

Marriage Equality and the RAC

Court Case to Ban Conversion Therapy Proceeds in New Jersey



At the end of last year, Leelah Alcorn, a trans teen from Ohio, committed suicide, citing her parents’ rejection of her gender identity, their refusal to let her transition and her feelings that things will not get better as some of the reasons for her decision. Leelah’s suicide highlighted attempts to “change” the gender identity of trans people and resulted in a petition on We The People asking the administration to “enact Leelah’s Law to ban all LGBTQ+  conversion therapy.” Several months ago, the Administration responded to the petition and came out in opposition to conversion therapy, and earlier this month a court case began against a Jewish conversion therapy provider.

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Reaffirming the Value of All Lives on World Refugee Day



This Saturday, June 20, is World Refugee Day. According to the United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention, a refugee is someone who fled his or her home and country due to “a well-founded fear of persecution because of his/her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.” Many refugees are also in exile to escape the effects of natural or human-made disasters. Read more…

Woman in combat

Senate Fails to Advance Justice for Servicewomen



It’s impossible to ignore the potential of risk of joining the Armed Forces: risk of serious physical, emotional or mental harm, and of the ultimate sacrifice. But rape and sexual violence, especially within the ranks, should never be a threat for Americans in uniform.

Yesterday, the Senate voted not to advance critical legislation to reform the military sexual assault adjudication system—a moral failure to address the alarmingly high rate of assault against service members, by service members. The legislation, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-NY) Amendment 1578 to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), would remove the decision whether to prosecute sexual assault cases from the military chain of command. When 75 percent of service members who have been sexually assaulted lack the confidence in the military justice system to report the crimes committed against them, we know change is long overdue. Read more…

Paid Leave Laws Support All Working Parents, Including Dads!



This Father’s Day, when we take some time to celebrate the fathers in our lives, be they our dads, grandpas, uncles, brothers, cousins or friends, we thank these fathers for everything they do for their families. This special time of year is also an opportunity to reflect on fatherhood today and the challenges facing working parents.

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