Fearful and quiet meets kind and powerful in Virginia this week

There’s a lot of chaos, discrimination, and fear swirling around Virginia and the country. But it’s not all bad. Here are some things that made our team at Progress Virginia happy this week.

News In Virginia

Women won

Women had a victory this week. The Birth Control Access Act passed the Senate, previously approved in the House, and is moving to the governor’s desk for signature. This bill allows pharmacies to dispense women a full year’s supply of birth control at one time, should a doctor prescribe it.

Women lead busy lives and going back and forth to the pharmacy every few weeks to get the birth control they need isn’t necessary. Our communities benefit when women can take control of their bodies, and passing this bill is a step in the right direction.

Setting the tone on religious discrimination

Our first amendment rights live to see another day thanks to Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring. He argued, last week, how Trump’s immigration order violates the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits government actions that unduly favor one religion over another

A Virginia judge ruled on Donald Trump’s #MuslimBan, diving deeper into the religious discrimination implications of the executive order. The previous ruling had focused on due process, while Judge Leonie M. Brinkema spent more time spelling out the illegality of religious discrimination.  

A lesson on consent

A bill passed in both chambers would require sex education classes in Virginia to include a mandatory lesson on consent. The original version of this bill included broader education about dating violence, sexual harassment, and domestic abuse. Bit by bit we are taking steps in the right direction. Teaching students about consent is an important tool to help combat the number of sexual assaults and unhealthy relationships.

A day without immigrants

Protests continue! The #DayWithoutImmigrants protest shut down restaurants and businesses across the country, showing America how many people, families, and cities rely on immigrants every day. Families are sharing their stories. Companies are sharing their stories. We encourage you to read some of them. After all, most of our families came to this country from somewhere else.

Power of People

Working Americans had a huge victory with fast food executive Andy Puzder withdrawing his nomination for labor secretary. Fight for $15 rallied outside Puzder storefronts nationwide and worked with other labor associations to launch an aggressive social media campaign that illustrates precisely how Puzder is against working Americans. Fight for $15 efforts and actions prove the power of working everyday people who get out and stand up.

Kids do the cutest things

Journalists at The Washington Post and The New York Times received this Valentine’s card:

Remember this. Our kids are watching the news; they talk about Donald Trump in their classrooms, they see friends hurt by immigration policies. We can teach them to be fearful and quiet, or be kind and powerful. I want our kids to be encouraging, like the kids from Key Elementary School. I want our kids to be respectful of our differences, like the kids at Key Elementary School. I want our kids to be ambitious, like the kids at Key Elementary School.

Let’s take these small doses of progressivism, continue to strengthen the progressive movement in Virginia, and make this a state where everyone can succeed–no matter their background. Join us.