News Fix: Trans Delegates and #BlackLivesMatter Organizers Push for Progress at the DNC

The Democratic National Convention

+ A piece on Sarah McBride and other trans delegates at the DNC!

For Laura Calvo, a trans superdelegate from Oregon, the change in representation is an important one on a policy and personal level. When Calvo first became involved with the Democratic party in Oregon, she said “there was nobody else like me.” “I was always the one person in a crowd of, you know, 600, one thousand people who was openly identified as trans,” said Calvo, who now sits as the vice-chair of the DNC’s LGBT caucus. “And now it’s really wonderful to see that I’m not the only person there, and that we do have a diversity of delegates from around the country.” This year, there are 28 openly transgender Democratic delegates, and moreover, they’ve seen a breakthrough in the party’s platform, too: for the first time, it uses the word “transgender.”

+ On the BLM protests of the DNC in Philly.

Protesters held signs and banners expressing opposition to the DNC, to systemic racism and to police brutality, with messages such as “End stop and frisk”; “We are not starting a race war; we are trying to end one”; “Stop killing black people”; “We have nothing to lose but our chains!”; “Hillary has blood on her hands” and more.

Law and Order

+ The Alaska Supreme court struck down a new state law that required parental notification of teens seeking abortion, ruling the law unconstitutional. Justice Daniel Winfree, writing for the majority, said the court was not deciding whether abortions should be allowed for minors but if the abortion notification law violated the state’s equal protection provisions. In a concurring opinion, Justice Dana Fabe disagreed the law violated the teens’ equal protection rights but believes the law violated their fundamental privacy rights.

+ A federal appeals court has struck down North Carolina’s voter ID law, saying that “we can only conclude that the North Carolina General Assembly enacted the challenged provisions of the law with discriminatory intent.”

+ A federal court has set a November trial date for dueling lawsuits over North Carolina’s anti-trans bathroom law, HB2.

+ Fort Worth ISD made detrimental changes to their guidelines pertaining to transgender students last week after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton concluded the original, nondiscriminatory guidelines violated state law. The original version outlined how the district should respect and accommodate student’s gender identity and instructed teachers and administration not to out students to their parents without their consent. Paxton concluded the guidelines violated “a statute that prohibits a school district employee from ‘encouraging or coercing’ a child to withhold information from the child’s parents.” His decision was non-binding but the school district changed the guidelines anyway, which is now chiseled down to say school personnel are to work with parents and guardians on individual education plans on a case-by-case basis.

+ Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe has bypassed a court ruling in order to restore voting rights to 200,000 formerly incarcerated people in his state.

+ On how bathroom bills like HB2 harm disabled people, including disabled trans people and disabled people of all genders who may need someone to enter a bathroom with them to assist them.


+ Two Austin police officers are under investigation for dragging and body slamming Breaion King, a black school teacher last summer. Dash cam footage of the violent arrest was released last week. Charges against KIng were dropped after prosecutors watched the video footage.

+ Ohio attorney Andrea Burton refused to remove her “Black Lives Matter” pin when Youngstown Municipal Court Judge Robert Milich asked her take it off in his courtroom. He said she was in contempt of court and sentenced her to five days in jail, but Burton has been released on a stay while the appeal is underway.

+ Charges have been dropped in the remaining three police officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray, ruled a homicide. State’s attorney Marilyn Mosby said “There was a reluctance and an obvious bias that was consistently exemplified not by the entire Baltimore Police Department, but by individuals within the police department in every state of the investigation which became blatantly apparent in the subsequent trials.”

+ On July 24, 37-year-old Ottawa man Abdirahman Abdi was killed in what police called a “confrontation;” Abdi’s neighbor described police beating Abdi when he was already on the ground and then cuffing him as he lay bloodied before paramedics arrived and began administering CPR. When Abdi was taken to the hospital, doctors there said that he had already been dead 45 minutes before receiving medical attention. Although Abdi was killed on a Sunday, his family wasn’t notified of his death until Monday afternoon.

Indigenous In/Justice

+ Earlier this year Berta Cáceres, indigenous environmental activist, was assassinated by a group of armed men at her home in Honduras. Cáceres co-founded the organization Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras that fought for the environment, women and indigenous people. She worked tirelessly to fight against a company trying to build a hydroelectric dam on the Gualcarque River. Before her death, Cáceres blamed Hillary Clinton — former Secretary of State and now Democratic presidential nominee — for her role in the 2009 Honduran coup. Since the coup, Honduras has become one of the most violent places in the world. Berta’s daughter, Laura Zuniga Cáceres, along with 20 different organizations, protested the Democratic National Convention in honor of Berta. The activists are trying to gain support and get H.R. 5474, the Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act, passed. The legislation calls for the suspension of US security to Honduras.

“We don’t want the money of the United States to support this violence that is taking our lives,” Laura said, speaking to a crowd. “My mother’s life is a symbol of struggle; it’s a symbol of resistance. And her assassination is a symbol of the violence that we’re living today. She’s not the only one. But she is the one on flags, with which we’ll move forward together.”

+ The Army Corps of Engineers is going to build a 1,172-mile-long pipeline through the Midwest, over the protests of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nations. The Indigenous Environmental Network has issued a statement:

“We are saddened to hear of this permit approval but knew the writing was on the wall. The Corps has a long history of going against the wishes and health of Tribal nations. This decision will not deter the resistance against the dirty Bakken pipeline. This decision merely highlights the necessity for the Corps of Engineers to overhaul the Nationwide Permit No. 12 process, which has been used by Big Oil to further place our lands, Indigenous rights, water and air at greater risk for disaster. We demand a revocation of this permit and advocate for the rejection of this pipeline.”

+ In Saskatoon, the Muskoday First Nation has declared a state of emergency after an oil spill has deprived the community of access to safe drinking water.

Mass Violence

+ Kabul, Afghanistan saw a horrific suicide attack that ISIS has claimed responsibility for this week, with more than 80 dead.

+ In Tokyo, a 26-year-old man killed 19 people and injured more than 20 in a stabbing attack at an assisted care facility. The attacker, Satoshi Uematsu, had formerly been an employee of the facility, and reportedly told police “It’s better that the disabled disappear.”

+ Fort Myers police believe the club shooting at a teen party that left two teenagers dead and 18 injured may have been gang-related violence. “There are multiple shooters. There are multiple locations they were shooting from. Exactly what triggered it, we do not know,” said Fort Myers interim police chief Dennis Eads.

Grab Bag

+ A Hilton ad features a same-sex couple, and predictably, conservatives are mad about it.

+ The World Health Organization is considering how it can change its diagnostic classification of trans people and move away from the medical and cultural understanding of trans identity as a mental illness while also still allowing trans people to access the care they need through insurers and healthcare providers, many of which require a diagnosis of a “gender-related mental disorder” for access to transition-related care.

+ Teju Cole on the superhero photographs of the Black Lives Matter movement.

+ On Donald Trump’s fractured, contradictory stance towards LGBT people.

It’s worth asking, however: When do the lives of LGBT people matter to Donald Trump? His support for LGBT protections appear to extend solely to terrorist attacks. Take heart: If you, as a queer person, should be targeted by ISIS, Trump is on your side. But that’s about it. Should you want to be able to marry your partner, patronize a business without being openly discriminated against, be out at work without the fear of losing your job, adopt children, get HIV medication, or escape the horror of conversion therapy as a minor, Trump represents a profound threat to your basic human rights.

+ Christina Xu used Twitter to organize an open letter from young Asian-Americans to their families about why they need to care about police violence against Black Americans.

+ Unsurprisingly but still significantly, a study found that schools with gay-straight alliances had fewer incidences of bullying and students felt safer.

+ Six more city officials have been charged in connection with the Flint water crisis, bringing the total number of people charged to nine.

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Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. It always hits home to me when someone with the same last name as me passes away, specially in an act of violence. Yes, Middle Eastern Jew vs African Muslim, but I still it’s not the most common name in either culture and I feel my family could be target because of our name and heritage. Ugh

  2. I’ve been away all weekend so haven’t been able to comment until now, but I just wanted to say thank you for including the link about Abdirahman Abdi’s death in Ottawa. Up here in Canada, we all like to pride ourselves on not being as bad as the US in terms of race relations and gun violence and police brutality (among a million other things) but his death really helped to prove that, no, it’s NOT better up here. This is NOT just an American problem. Now hopefully this will be a catalyst for some change.

    Also, it’s worth mentioning, but the police constable who shot and killed 18-year old Sammy Yatim on a streetcar in Toronto in 2013 has been sentenced to six years in prison. Some argue it’s not enough time, but it’s a hell of a lot better than Freddie Gray’s murderers got.

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