Hello from Tanya at Center Action Network:
Although kindness is recognized as an important virtue, sometimes it is incredibly difficult to be kind. In fact, sometimes it's easier to be unkind, especially when we feel like the world is working against us. But simple acts of giving - smiling at a stranger, offering a coworker a word of encouragement, putting down your phone and listening to your loved one talk about their day - result in an emotional uplift for others and for ourselves.
Studies have demonstrated that the psychological benefits of kindness are reflected in the circuitry of the brain too. When we regularly engage in acts of kindness, we create neural pathways that enhance the flow of feel-good endorphins and mood elevating neurotransmitters. With research to back it up, it seems clear that doing good for others can also do good for us. Don’t forget to take care of yourself too! Listen to your body, validate your needs, and treat yourself as you would a dear friend.
Chaos surrounds us in many forms: political, environmental, and social. I’ve been making a more conscious effort to be kind to myself and to those around me during these turbulent times. I ask you to do the same. Because together we CAN make a difference.
Center Action Newsletter – Friday October 6th, 2017
Gun Violence: Sunday October 1st brought the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. 58 people lost their lives and 489 suffered injuries while attending the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) told reporters Tuesday that multiple bump stocks were found in the hotel room used by the shooter On Wednesday October 3rd, Senator Dianne Feinstein, along with 24 other co-sponsors introduced a bill that would ban the sale and possession of bump-stock equipment and other devices that essentially turn a semiautomatic weapon into an automatic one. The bill also makes clear that its intent is to target only those accessories that increase a semi-automatic rifle’s rate of fire. Legitimate accessories used by hunters would be exempt. Also included are exemptions for lawful possession of these devices by law enforcement and the government. The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence is asking people to sign an ecard for the victims of the Los Vegas shooting. Add your name by clicking here.
Transgender Rights: Attorney General Jeff Sessions is reversing course on the Justice Department's policy that a 1964 civil rights law protects transgender individuals from discrimination. Title VII specifically bars employers from discriminating against employees based on sex, race, color, national origin and religion. “Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination encompasses discrimination between men and women but does not encompass discrimination based on gender identity per se, including transgender status,” said Sessions. But several federal courts have ruled that Title VII's protections extend to gender identity as well.
The administration also asked the courts to dismiss a legal challenge to the transgender ban on military service this week. In the government’s motions to dismiss the case and oppose the plaintiffs’ request for emergency relief, officials claimed transgender individuals have not yet suffered harm from this policy. Several organizations who are set to respond to the government’s motions in court later this month reiterated the compelling need to put an immediate halt to the ban: transgender Americans seeking to enlist are not able to do so, and currently-serving transgender servicemembers have been demeaned and stigmatized, denied health care, and are facing the loss of their professions, livelihoods, health care, and the post-military retirement they have worked hard to earn.
The transgender community needs our support! Call Attorney General Jeff Session’s office at 202-353-1555 and tell him transgender rights stem from human rights – and those are fundamental rights belonging to every person.
Immigration: The White House is close to sending a proposal to Congress that would demand strict immigration measures in exchange for helping people enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The plan would cut legal immigration in half over the next decade and dramatically ramp up punishments for immigrants living illegally in the U.S. Members of Congress are pushing for a “clean" DREAM Act that would allow undocumented immigrants brought here as children to stay without being coupled with spending for a wall with Mexico, or any other strings. Sign the petition to keep the DREAM Act clean.
Puerto Rico: LGBT centers across the country have been asking how to support CenterLink family member Centro Comunitario LGBTT de Puerto Rico. CenterLink has set up a fundraising page for those wishing to make donations. Funds collected will be used to provide relief efforts to the clients this center serves. If you wish to send items directly, they are in need of flashlights, batteries, and non-perishable food items: Centro Comunitario LGBTT de Puerto Rico, Attn: Cecilia La Luz, P.O. Box 9501, San Juan, PR 00908.
LGBT Older Adults: This week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services gave notice that they will be withdrawing a rule proposed in 2014 on the treatment of same-sex couples in long-term care facilities. Though at first glance it seems that CMS is saying that same-sex couples might now be vulnerable to discrimination, the rule had never been finalized and the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell addresses the core issues. Because of those protections, the withdrawal is not a significant or discriminatory action. Additionally, the vast majority of long-term care facilities are already covered under Section 1557, which provides protections for LGBT people in federally-funded health care programs. The real threat to the LGBT community comes from any attempts to undermine those protections through a new rule or new religious exemptions that enable discrimination. Currently nondiscrimination protections under the Affordable Care Act are still on the books, so we need to be vigilant and ensure those protections stand. Looking to learn more about our LGBT elders? The National Resource Center on LGBT Aging offers a free 30-minute webinar on understanding the issues of LGBT older adults.