News you actually want to know, and what you can do to make a difference.
Welcome to your weekly roundup of good news about good people, how you can help make a difference — and a picture of President Obama to lift your spirits.
Common-sense gun safety reforms are urgently needed now. And Democrats in the New York state Senate are challenging their Republican colleagues to finally step up and do what's right.
In order to force a vote on specific gun control bills — such as banning "bump stocks" and strengthening background checks — which Republicans have stonewalled, Democrats will introduce the proposals as "hostile amendments," tacking them onto other unrelated legislation that is slated for a vote.
"My colleagues on the other side of the aisle have not brought these bills to the floor," state Senate Democratic Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins told The New York Post. "There are things we can do besides offer condolences and prayers and then stand idly by."
"These are not radical proposals," she added.
Republicans in New York will now be on the hot seat, and will have to prove once and for all if they care more about their constituents' lives than they do about their ratings from the NRA.
The Democrats' fight for gun safety in the Empire State isn't limited to the Senate. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is also taking a vehement stand against gun control opponents.
Specifically, de Blasio had a very pointed message for NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre, who has lashed out at the mayor in recent days.
"This country would be a lot safer without the influence of Wayne LaPierre," de Blasio said bluntly — and accurately.
Wayne LaPierre and the @NRA leadership can attack me all day long. I'm not worried about that. But for them to dodge responsibility and try to shift the blame to the FBI and law enforcement is sick. This country would be a lot safer without the influence of Wayne LaPierre. pic.twitter.com/ECEZfZaUXG
— Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) February 23, 2018
The NRA is receiving a well-earned deluge of powerful pushback from all sides, particularly in the wake of the horrific mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14.
Run For Something, a group that recruits and supports young progressive candidates, wanted to make sure Floridians know exactly what the NRA is all about — and which elected officials are happily doing the organizations bidding over the will of their constituents.
So Run for Something placed a full page ad in the South Florida Sun Sentinel making it plain as day:
The epidemic of gun violence will not stop as long as the NRA keeps its dangerous hold on the nation's politics.
So it's time to break the grip. Take the pledge yourself, and urge your candidates to do the same, and say: No NRA money!
The Democratic Governors Association announced that it will invest $20 million dollars in 2018 in gubernatorial races that could impact the future of gerrymandering around the nation.
These races will determine what party has control over the next round of electoral boundary drawing in 2021. Republican wins in 2010 gave the GOP control in the last once-a-decade round, and it has had a damaging impact ever since.
The Brennan Center for Justice estimated that Republicans have control of at least 16 congressional seats thanks to gerrymandered districts. The fight against the Trump agenda requires pushing back against those continued efforts.
"There is a cancer on our democracy right now, and it’s called gerrymandering," said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, the current DGA chairman. "And we know that there has to be a cure to that. And we know that the best cure is to elect Democratic governors who can stop this assault on democracy."
And unlike their counterparts, Democrats have pledged to use redistricting power to make maps more fair for everyone, not just for themselves and their party.
"This is not about our desire to rig the map," said Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy. Instead, they will work to undo the rigged districts that Republicans have enjoyed to the nation's detriment.
Voting should be easy, and Indivisible wants to help make it so.
You can sign up for TurboVote to find out when elections are happening in your area, how to get registered or sign up for absentee voting, and have all the information you need to exercise your right to the ballot.
In an unprecedented ruling, the Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit declared that the 1964 Civil Rights Act bans discrimination against gay people in the workplace.
"We now hold that sexual orientation discrimination constitutes a form of discrimination ‘because of ... sex,’ in violation of Title VII [of the Civil Rights Act of 1964]," the Court said on Monday.
The ruling comes after Trump's Department of Justice had tried to argue that the law only prohibited discrimination based on gender, and did not encompass sexual orientation.
But the judges smacked that down.
"A woman who is subject to an adverse employment action because she is attracted to women would have been treated differently if she had been a man who was attracted to women," the majority wrote in the opinion led by Judge Robert Katzmann. "We can therefore conclude that sexual orientation is a function of sex and, by extension, sexual orientation discrimination is a subset of sex discrimination."
Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair Tom Perez and DNC LGBT Caucus chair Earl Fowlkes praised the ruling in a joint statement for pushing back against Trump and Jeff Sessions, who have "wielded [the DOJ] as a weapon of injustice."
"Despite their best efforts, the LGBTQ community and their allies have prevailed in federal court today," they added.
Indivisible Lumpkin delivered a donation of "thoughts and prayers" to their Republican representative
Republican lawmakers offering their "thoughts and prayers" — and nothing else — after episodes of gun violence has become almost a cliché.
So Indivisible Lumpkin, in Dahlonega, Georgia, decided to show Republican Rep. Doug Collins exactly what those hollow words are worth.
Stand — and walk — in solidarity with survivors of the school shooting in Florida. Students there will be walking out of class on April 20 to protest inaction on gun safety by lawmakers.
And wherever you are, you can join the movement. Use Indivisible's guide to find a walkout in your area, and join your fellow citizens in speaking out against gun violence.
If you find yourself missing First Lady Michelle Obama's presence in the White House and on the national and world stage, well, you are surely not alone.
But soon you'll be able to get a much-needed trip down memory lane, as her first memoir will be published in November.
The book, titled Becoming, was a "deeply personal" writing experience, First Lady Obama said.
"I hope my journey inspires readers to find the courage to become whoever they aspire to be," she added.
The publisher, Penguin Random House, described the book as "warm, wise, and revelatory."
"Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations — and whose story inspires us to do the same."
She'll also be heading out on a book tour after publication, in case you want to start blocking out time in your calendar for it now.