A federal judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of California ordered the Trump administration to reunify separated immigrant families within 14 days for children under the age of five, and within 30 days for all children. As of earlier this week, the government reported that there were still over 2,000 children in federal custody. More than 600 women were there. The Women’s March organized the act of nonviolent civil disobedience with the Center for Popular Democracy Action and CASA in Action. The protesters draped themselves in silver thermal blankets — evoking images of migrant kids in shelters — and chanted “Abolish ICE” and “We care.” arrested at the Senate’s Hart Office Building Thursday after staging a sit-in to protest family separation and detention. Protestors “draped themselves in silver thermal blankets — evoking images of migrant kids in shelters — and chanted “Abolish ICE” and “We care.”’
Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement from the Supreme Court this week, effective July 31. Though a staunch conservative, Kennedy provided a swing vote on key cases relating to women’s reproductive rights (though Kennedy allowed many abortion restrictions to stand, effectively chipping away access to abortion, he defended the core of Roe v. Wade), gay rights (among other cases, Kennedy wrote the ruling affirming the right of same-sex couples to marry), affirmative action (Kennedy voted to uphold affirmative action in college admissions), racial discrimination (a more conservative court might require racial discrimination cases to prove intent, which would make it virtually impossible to enforce civil rights legislation), and criminal justice (Kennedy voted to ban the death penalty for juveniles). Kennedy’s announcement followed on the heels of several Supreme Court decisions that weakened public-sector unions and upheld President Trump’s travel ban, declined to strike down several racially gerrymandered districts in Texas, and struck down a California law that would have required crisis pregnancy centers – which do not provide abortions and frequently withhold information or present false information – to inform patients of their options for abortion care and whether the crisis pregnancy center had medical credentials.
Fair housing groups filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against Bank of America, claiming the lender’s failure to maintain and market foreclosed homes in black and Latino neighborhoods contributed to crime, decreased quality of life, and economic harm. The Washington Post reports that the complaint is “based on an eight-year investigation conducted by the Washington-based National Fair Housing Association and several housing groups nationwide, which examined the conditions of more than 1,600 Bank of America-owned foreclosed homes across 37 metropolitan areas including Prince George’s County and Baltimore. The lawsuit also names as a defendant Safeguard Properties Management, the company that has been in charge of preserving and maintaining properties owned by Bank of America.”
The Atlantic reports that some Seattle residents have co-opted Amazon’s ‘Find it Fix It’ app -- designed to allow community members to report infrastructure and neighborhood issues -- to report and remove homeless enclaves. Seattle is undergoing a worsening homelessness crisis due in part to the 2012 tech boom and affordable housing crisis. While the city cannot meet the need for shelter, community members can still report new encampments through Find it Fix it, enabling the city to ramp up policing and displace thousands of homeless residents, most of whom are people of color.
A budget trailer bill passed this week in California would block cities and counties from passing new taxes on sugary drinks until 2030—part of a back-room deal where the beverage industry promised to remove a ballot initiative that would have required a 2/3rds majority to raise any local taxes or levies, including school and park bonds. PI’s Juliet was quoted in a California Healthline article: Soda taxes “are one of the most effective tools communities have to reduce the consumption of sweet and sugary beverages,” said Juliet Sims, program manager at the Prevention Institute, a nonprofit based in Oakland that promotes community health solutions. “When soda taxes are proposed, the industry will spend tens of millions to oppose them.”