Reasons to Celebrate in 2010
Solar Energy Time!
After various “Shine-Ins” , The White House agreed to install solar panels and solar hot water heaters. This comes at a time when Western Washington University researchers are pioneering a way to gather light from the whole spectrum, enabling panels to generate energy on overcast days. The increased efficiency will cut the cost of solar panels by as much as 90%! Yesmagazine.org
Electric Cars & Charging Stations Hit the Road
Car manufacturers are rolling out new models such as the Nissan Leaf and new Ford Focus, that will go about 100 miles on one charge. The Electric Vehicle Project will install 15,085 electric vehicle charging stations in six states by 2013. yesmagazine.org
Public housing goes green
Throughout the last year, green public housing projects have been built or proposed in several major cities, including New York, Chicago, Boston, and San Francisco. greensource.construction.com
Wind Energy on the Move in the USA
“It’s the shot heard ’round the world for American clean energy.” Ian Bowles, secretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, on the approval of the nation’s first offshore wind farm in Nantucket Sound. triplepundit.com
Let’s Go Ride A Bike!
New York City is preparing to set up the largest bike share system in the nation. The city is issuing a request for proposals for one-way, short-term bike rentals, a system that has augmented the transportation network in dozens of European cities as well as in Denver, Minneapolis, and Washington, DC. wnyc.org
Climate Change Action Reaches Record Levels
350.org Global Work Party featured over 7000 events in 188 countries! The entire planet is engaged! 350.org
Britain Community Says Bye Bye Carbon!
Llangattock Britain's first ''carbon-negative community'' by 2015. This is no new eco town, but an established settlement alongside the River Usk with a mixture of traditional hill farms and 20th-century bungalows commondreams.org
Jimmy Heath House Opens For Chronically Homeless
Over the Rhine Community Housing marks a new era for addressing homelessness in Cincinnati with the opening of the Jimmy Heath House, a new “permanent supportive housing” development with of apartments for 25 chronically homeless individuals, offices for case managers and public meting spaces for the residents. The project is based on the “housing first” principle, the idea that chronically homeless people can become clinically and socially stable faster when homelessness is eliminated. otrch.org
Go Interfaith Worker Center Go!
After a process that lasted several years, 357 workers won a settlement against the temporary stafﬁng agency Laborworks and the company Schwan’s/Red Baron Pizza for $75,000. See more exciting victories at www.cworkers.org
Court Says Town Can’t Crackdown on Immigrants
A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that Hazleton, Pa., may not enforce its crackdown on illegal immigrants, dealing another blow to 4-year-old regulations that inspired similar measures around the country. Yesmagazine.org
“It's a combined voice saying we will not tolerate bigotry. Justice sometimes has to be served in putting aside profits.” Serj Tankian, singer, explaining why he’s joining Sound Strike, the musician’s boycott of Arizona. Tankian joined Conor Oberst, Rage Against The Machine, Kanye West, Ben Harper, and a growing list of artists refusing to perform in Arizona until the state’s anti-immigration law is repealed.www.thesoundstrike.net
START Treaty Ratified!
New START treaty was ratified, reducing the number of allowable nuclear warheads in the United States and Russia by thousands. \While this treaty is only a modest step toward the nuclear-free future we need, the next steps wouldn’t be possible without taking this one.
Maryland Protects Student Info from Recruiters
After years of organizing, In April 2010, Maryland became the first state to prohibit the automatic release to military recruiters of student information gathered as a result of the administration of the Armed Service Vocational Aptitude Battery Test in the state’s high school. www.nnomy.org
San Diego Limits Recruiter Access to Students
On Nov. 30, the San Diego school board passed a policy to regulate and restrict recruiting in the district's many schools.
This policy was developed over the last year by students, in consultation with Project YANO. The campaign was waged by the Education Not Arms Coalition, which includes students, parents, teachers and community groups. There were no changes in the proposed policy by the school district: it was adopted as written. projectyano.org/educationnotarms/
Peace Groups Permanently Shut Down Army Experience Center in Philadelphia
Army announcement made just days before planned protest. Several large demonstrations and regular vigils contributed to its demise. shutdowntheaec.net
Protecting Students in Oakland
Thanks to there efforts on a two year Youth Manifesto Campaign, Oakland unified School District is now the first and only district in the country to have a policy offering students the chance to OPT OUT of the private recruitment database known as JAMRS. baypeace.org
Parent Occupation Saves Community Space
A 37-day protest by parents in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood ended in victory. Whittier Elementary’s Field House (La Casita community center) had been scheduled to be demolished. But Whittier parents occupied the building and demanded that the $350,000 demolition money instead be used to convert the field house into a school library yesmagazine.org
More states may create public banks
By 2011, only one state will have escaped the credit crunch that is pushing other states toward insolvency: North Dakota. North Dakota is also the only state that owns its own bank. The state has its own credit machine, making it independent of the Wall Street banking crisis that has infected the rest of the country. Now, several states are either studying the prospects of a state-owned bank or are considering legislation to make one possible. yesmagazine.org
Participatory Budgeting Builds Community
One of the boldest exercises in citizen involvement is playing out in Chicago's 49th Ward. Every ward receives $1.3 million a year to spend on roads, sewers and other infrastructure. Alderman Joe Moore let residents choose exactly where they want the money to go. Neighborhood committees were formed, drafted a list of projects they wanted to fund and put it to a vote. www.watsonblogs.org/participatorybudgeting
Appeals Court Rules Inmates Entitled to Voting Rights
A federal appeals court in January ruled that felons incarcerated in Washington State have been illegally barred from voting. A panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said the state’s prison system is “infected” with racial discrimination and therefore violates voting laws. yesmagazine.org
Aung San Suu Kyi was freed !
Pro-democracy hero Aung San Suu Kyi, who was unconditionally released from seven years under house arrest.
Historic Financial Reform Passes!
On Thursday, two years after the financial meltdown that has spiraled into the worst economic crisis in a generation, the Senate finally votedto approve the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform & Consumer Protection Act. This financial reform bill takes some key steps towards breaking the control that Wall Street has over our country. This important victory is just the beginning.
Amendment Adopted to Open the Fed’s Books
Under pressure from community organizations, the US Senate adopted the Sanders amendment to the banking reform bill that has brought about the first ever audit of the Federal Reserve. This is a major step towards accountability, as Fed Head Ben Bernanke has repeatedly refused to tell even members of Congress which financial institutions received trillions of dollars in low or no cost loans from several “special” programs.
Student Aid Reform
This bill will take away subsidies given to loan companies and invest them into programs such as the Pell grant and community colleges. “Students across the country were able to see their amazing direct-action organizing payoff with comprehensive student aid reform becoming the law of the land,” said USSA President Gregory Cendana. “This is especially critical for working class students and families who have struggled the most in affording their education.”
Oregon says Don’t Cut Services, Raise Taxes on Wealthy
The Yes for Oregon campaign, led by the AFL-CIO & SEIU with a coalition of 250 groups statewide, preserved funding for education and essential services with the passage of two ballot measures. The first tax increase in Oregon since the 1930s, was a historic step toward fairness-although many Oregonians agree that the tax structure needs more change to make it stable and fair. labornotes.org
Healthcare Legislation Passes Congress
Pre-existing conditions be gone! Free preventive care, Patient Bill of Rights, extension of family insurance through the age of 27, tax creditsto help small businesses afford health coverage for their employees. A step in the right direction.
Vermont Leading the Way On HealthCare
For more than two years , the Healthcare Is a Human Right Campaign. This campaign won legislation in the 2010 legislative session which commits the state to implementing a new healthcare system which meets the human rights principles of universality, equity, accountability, transparency and participation.Dr. William Hsiao, who designed Taiwan’s single-payer system, is designing three options for the state, one of which will be a single-payer system and all of which must meet the human rights principles. www.workerscenter.org/healthcare
Excluded Workers Unite to Expand the Right to Organize
At a time when Republicans in several states are threatening to eliminate the right of workers to organize and collectively bargain, representatives from 9 different sectors release “Unity for Dignity: Expanding the Right to Organize to Win Human Rights at Work,” a report highlighting ongoing efforts to dramatically expand workers’ human right to organize and collectively bargain. excludedworkers.org
Victory for Express Scripts Workers!
After a months-long struggle with Express Scripts, Inc., SEIU workers, Missouri Jobs with Justice, St. Louis Area Workers' Rights Board and other activists have forced Express Scripts Inc. (ESI) to reverse their decision to close plant; 400 family-supporting, union jobs saved. Jwj.org
After community pressure, Hugo Boss reopens plant!
Campaign to save 300+ jobs at a Hugo Boss plant in suburban Cleveland resulted in victory when the company reversed their decision toshutter the plant! Jwj.org
Jobs Victory in Miami!
With unemployment in Miami at over 14%, labor and community came together to say that in these harsh economic times: If you cut one of us, you cut us all. A network of labor and community allies stood together to fight the loss of 1,200 public sector jobs and a 25% cut in funding for community based organizations. Forty community based organizations and twenty unions signed on to a Letter of Unity published by the Miami Herald , staged rallies and won!! Jwj.org
First Ever Law Protecting Domestic Workers’ Rights
In August, New York Governor Patterson signed into law the first-ever U.S. law that upholds domestic workers’ rights. 200,000 nannies, housekeepers, and elder caregivers in New York will be covered under a law that provides guaranteed sick days, overtime pay, a day of rest, protection from discrimination, and notice before termination. Jwj.org
Go Coalition of Immokalle Workers Go!
The second victory was the agreement reached between for the Coalition of Immokalee workers, the Student Farmworker Alliance, and giant food service provider Aramark. Aramark becomes the 8th major food corporation to agree to work with the CIW to improve wages and root out modern-day slavery in its tomato supply chain! ciw-online.org