The AVP Action Brief tracks actions of the Trump administration that impact our communities’ safety and rights and offers concrete steps that we can take to stand up for safety and justice. We are here for you and we are in this together.
Civil rights, not Sessions’ rights
Yesterday, Senator Jeff Sessions was sworn in as Attorney General. Sessions has a disturbing record of opposition to laws protecting the civil rights of LGBTQ people, people of color, immigrants, people with disabilities and more. He has voiced his support for the First Amendment Defense Act—a bill that would allow individuals or organizations to discriminate against LGBTQ people under the guise of religious freedom. Sessions also voted against the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 2013, which includes protections for LGBTQ, immigrants, and Tribal communities. These protections, which NCAVP, a program of AVP, fought for in coalition with domestic violence and sexual violence organizations nationally, are vital for survivors of violence, including LGBTQ survivors who still face extreme barriers when accessing services.
As Attorney General, Sessions is responsible for enforcing all federal laws—whether he supports them or not—and for protecting the civil rights of every one of us. We saw this responsibility in action when Acting Attorney General Sally Yates instructed the Justice Department not to defend President Trump’s Muslim Ban, and as a consequence was fired. In the months ahead, we will continue to work to protect the rights of LGBTQ people and call on Sessions to do the same: to protect our laws and rights as is the responsibility of the Attorney General.
We need police reform!
One day after Sessions’ confirmation, President Trump issued three new executive orders prioritizing federal laws and grant-making that protect and bolster law enforcement. With people of color, immigrants, and LGBTQ people being historically and presently criminalized, once again the Trump administration has put the rights and protections of police over the constituents they should be protecting. LGBTQ communities, especially LGBTQ youth, LGBTQ people of color and transgender and gender non-conforming people, are often profiled by and experience violence at the hands of police. And a new study by the Williams Institute found that lesbian, gay and bisexual people are incarcerated at disproportionately high rates, and more likely to experience mistreatment, harsh punishment, and sexual victimization once incarcerated. Locally, AVP is working in coalition with Communities United for Police Reform on issues of police reform like the Right to Know Act and we will work to hold law enforcement accountable to our communities locally and nationally.
Yesterday, a federal appeals court unanimously denied the government’s request to allow it to enforce Trump’s travel ban executive order. This means that the temporary restraining order protecting refugees and visa holders from the travel ban is still in place. In the court decision, the three federal judges hearing the case questioned the government’s national security justification for the ban and the constitutionality of the executive order itself, noting that the ban targets 7 Muslim majority countries and therefore a specific religious group. We will not stand for Islamophobia and we will resist alongside our allies in the judicial system: all are welcome here with us.
- Call your senator at (877) 959-6082 and voice your support for federal LGBTQ protections and funding for those protections
- Call your local New York City elected officials and encourage them to support the Right to Know Act
- AVP is OPEN on February 17th so that you can join the GENERAL STRIKE! RSVP here and join us 10 am to 2 pm that day for legal intakes, volunteer opportunities, letter writing to elected officials, and more!
- Attend and share info about our free LGBTQ Legal Clinics focused on immigration, ID and document change and more.
- Report LGBTQ or HIV-related violence that you experience or witness online or to AVP’s 24-hour English/Spanish hotline at (212) 714-1141.
- Forward this email to a friend. Ask them to sign up for the AVP Action Brief to stay informed and activated, too.
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Vox: How “Blue Lives Matter” went from a reactive slogan to White House policy