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C elebrate! Here are some recent advocacy victories we can rejoice in. Send news you want to celebrate to KKomarni@eastern.edu. Nearly half (48 percent) of private-sector workers—and a whopping 78 percent of food and public accommodation workers—are denied even one paid sick day. But thanks to the advocacy team at MomsRising.org, who garnered thousands of emails and calls from paid sick day supporters, Connecticut is now the first state in the nation to guarantee hundreds of thousands of service workers the ability to earn paid sick days to care for their own health or the health of a family member.    Since this legislative victory, campaigns for paid sick days have flared up across the nation. Paid sick days help contain healthcare costs through prevention, early detection, and treatment of illness. Additionally, presenteeism, when workers come to work sick, costs the national economy about $180 billion a year in lost productivity versus absenteeism.     

The Endangered Species Act provides agencies with the power and authority to protect fragile species. On July 27, the US House of Representatives voted to uphold the Endangered Species Act. When the Interior Appropriations bill came to the House floor, it included provisions that would have prevented the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) from placing new species on the Endangered Species Act's threatened or endangered list. It would also have prevented designation of critical habitat for already listed species. These damaging provisions were opposed by many, including several former Fish and Wildlife Service directors, the Society for Conservation Biology, and Ecological Society of America—as well as thousands of earth-loving Christians, like those rallied by RestoringEden.org, who spoke out on behalf of God’s creatures. 

NBC cancelled their exploitative new drama series Playboy Club after just three episodes. According to Dawn Hawkins, executive director of Morality in Media, key NBC advertisers left the show after receiving more than 20,000 emails through Morality in Media’s advocacy site, ClosetheClubonNBC.com.  “The efforts of Morality in Media, Parent’s Television Council, Gloria Steinem, and many others led to the public outrage and ultimate cancellation of the show.” Learn more at PornHarms.com and ParentsTV.org.

September saw several important victories against the gun lobby. The advocacy work of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence (BradyCenter. org) made the following achievements possible:

In April internationally acclaimed Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was arrested in what was clearly a response to his high-profile criticisms of the government. After 80 days in prison and a massive campaign by leading global art museums, Ai Weiwei was finally freed in June. This was an unprecedented campaign. “In less than three months leading global art institutions and artists from all over the world came together to recruit more than 140,000 supporters in 175 countries,” said Ben Rattray, the founder of Change.org.

• A federal judge blocked enforcement of an unprecedented new NRA-backed law in Florida that would have restricted healthcare providers, including pediatricians, from warning or advising patients about the risks posed by firearms.  • A federal judge in Texas dismissed an NRA challenge to the federal Gun Control Act’s prohibition on licensed dealers selling handguns to people under 21. • A federal judge in New York upheld the state’s strict laws on concealed weapons, dismissing a gun lobby lawsuit challenging them under the Second Amendment. This decision is the latest in a string of court decisions rejecting gun lobby arguments that the Second Amendment right provides a broad right to carry guns outside of the home, in public places.

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Celebrate!