March is known for being a blustery month, and the winds of change are blowing strong! This week, we saw a noble effort by Democrats in the Missouri state senate filibuster to stop SJR 39, an anti-LGBT "right to discriminate" bill, for 39 hours. Unfortunately, the filibuster was unsuccessful despite the impassioned work of legislators and equality organizations, and the bill is now moving to the Missouri State House.
This is a moment for us all to remember that the fight for equality is far from over, and can be met with setbacks — but the work continues! There are still opportunities to stop SJR 39 (which I'll go into in this week’s forecast), and there's always a way for you to make a difference — and clear these dark skies to make a brighter tomorrow.
If there's something on the horizon in your area that you’d like to see featured in the MTV News Social Justice Forecast, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
All Month Long:
We'll start with a look at the hashtag that’s bringing the rain down on anti-LGBT legislation.
#NotInMyState is being used to express opposition to legalized bigotry against LGBT people. The hashtag has been invoked against anti-trans bathroom bills, Religious Freedom Acts (which actually defend discrimination), and other anti-LGBT legislation on its way to becoming law. Right now it’s bringing attention to the aforementioned Missouri bill, but this hashtag is built to travel, and can apply to whatever oppressive bills or laws you want to stop in your state.
We’ve got black power sunshine over Raleigh, North Carolina, this week, with a hurricane of young feminist leadership expected in Virginia. Look forward to high visibility for trans folks in Houston, Texas later in the month.
Saturday, March 12 - Monday, March 14
Arlington, Virginia: Attend the 2016 National Young Feminist Leadership Conference.
Beginning Saturday, young feminists will convene in Arlington, Virginia, to organize around the struggles of women in America and around the world. The conference will culminate with attendees going to the National Mall for a congressional visit on March 14. If you’re planning to attend this week and need information about the conference schedule, you can find more information at the NYFLC website.
Saturday March 12 - Tuesday March 15
Raleigh, North Carolina: Support black communities with the BYP100 National Convening.
Saturday is a good day for young leaders to come together and get some work done! It also kicks off the national convention for The Black Youth Project 100, which will host members of chapters from across the country to strategize around the goal of bringing power and positive transformation to black communities. Schedule details and specific locations are available to those who have registered; if you have questions about the conference or how to get involved with BYP100, you can contact them here.
Monday, March 14
Missouri: Sign the petition to stop LGBT discrimination in Missouri.
Missouri’s LGBT community is at risk of being subjected to the so-called religious freedom bill SJR 39. The bill has already passed through the state senate, and will now go to the house for a vote. Folks in Missouri are being asked to sign a petition by the advocacy group PROMO Missouri to urge House Speaker Todd Richardson to stop the bill before it goes any further. When Speaker Richardson goes into work on Monday, make sure he’s got a healthy snow drift of emails waiting for him.
Tuesday, March 15
Florida, Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, and North Carolina: Vote in the next round of presidential primaries.
Normally we don’t get into electoral politics in this forecast, but with the fate of everything from reproductive rights to LGBT equality to workers’ rights on the table, it’s crucial that we support presidential candidates who will defend the progress we’ve made and push for us to keep moving forward as a nation. On Tuesday, Florida, Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, and North Carolina have their chance to put their support behind the candidates they believe will best serve the interests of the people. While not everyone believes in the electoral process (and may work for change in other ways), if you’re registered and have the opportunity, get out and flood the polls with support for your candidate.
Thursday, March 17 - Monday, April 18
A theater near you: Watch or host a screening of Trapped.
Trapped is a powerful documentary about reproductive health clinics in the South facing ongoing shutdown attempts via Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers — a.k.a. TRAP laws. The next round of screenings is scheduled to start next Thursday with a single showing in Dallas, Texas, followed by longer runs in San Francisco, New Orleans, and several other cities. You can find a screening near you at the Trapped website, or apply to host one with your local reproductive rights organization or health clinic. The most powerful tool we have for any social justice struggle is through sharing stories and knowledge that can shine a light on the need for the change.
Thursday, March 31
Houston, Texas: Be seen at the TransVisible Project Launch.
Mixed Emotions Gallery
95 Tuam Street
Houston, TX 77006
Equality Texas is hosting the launch of a photography project featuring transgender and gender nonconforming Texans. The images and stories of transgender people used in the TransVisible Project will be part of a statewide campaign to reduce anti-trans prejudice through education. The launch event is free and open to the public, but people are asked to RSVP with Equality Texas. Close out the month by cutting through the fog of bigotry and increasing the visibility of transgender people.
As always, keep making a difference right where you are and stay informed about the changes on the horizon. Whether it’s bringing out the sun or calling down a storm, we need you.