Good news for people who want to do good: Week 61


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 the Obamas to make you smile.

March for Our Lives brings millions to the streets

There's no way you missed it, but in case you want to relive the incredible day, the March for Our Lives on Saturday was a stunning and massive display of student-led activism.

And the crowd photos at events across the nation make it clear that this movement is only growing.

As Rachel, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, told Shareblue Media's Dan Desai Martin the evening before the march, "Love outweighs the hate."

The movement spread worldwide, with over 800 marches and rallies. But the young people leading the way aren't done yet — not when there are midterm elections to get ready for.

Oh, and one more thing:

(Photo by Diego Diaz/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)

Retired Army captain explains why assault weapons don't belong in the hands of civilians

The epidemic of gun violence in the United States is growing more dire seemingly by the week. And it is largely fueled by the availability of assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.

Jason Kander, a retired Army National Guard captain and former Missouri state representative and secretary of state, lays out just why these tools of war have no place in our communities.

As he notes, the purpose of a weapon like the AR-15 is "to be able to inflict as many casualties as possible, kill as many people as possible in the shortest period of time."

There is zero justification for such a weapon — "essentially the same weapon I carried in Afghanistan," Kander notes — being in the hands of a civilian walking the streets of our cities and towns.

Superstore Fred Meyer will stop selling firearms and ammunition

Joining a growing list of companies bucking the NRA, superstore Fred Meyer recently announced it would stop selling all firearms and ammunition in its stores.

Fred Meyer "made a business decision to exit the firearms category" after "evaluating changing customer preferences [and] softening consumer demand."

The company operates stores in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, with a revenue of nearly $5 billion. Noting the new policy against selling weapons as a "business decision" makes it pretty clear that common sense moves on gun safety are the right way to go on all fronts.

ACTION ALERT: Share your story!

The Center for American Progress wants to hear from you — yes, you!

"Your story is powerful. It can build bridges where some only see walls. It can hold our representatives accountable to the reality of our lives. It can shine a light on communities that have fought and are fighting for a fair shot going forward. We want to hear your voice—will you share your story?"

Your lived experience — on issues from taxes to health care, from immigration to environmental justice, from reproductive rights to criminal justice reform — is vitally important. So go tell your story and make your voice heard.

Toni Atkins becomes first woman and first openly LGBTQ lawmaker to head California Senate

State Sen. Toni Atkins made history this month when she was sworn in as the new president pro tempore of the California Senate.

Atkins is both the first woman and the first openly LGBTQ lawmaker to hold the position. In her own words, "It's about time."

Notably, she was elected unanimously to the post. And she recognized the meaning behind that, too.

"I will never stop striving to earn the trust you’ve placed in me," Atkins said. "Nor will I ever take for granted the gravity of this gavel."

ACTION ALERT: Speak out to protect immigrant families!

The ACLU puts it plain and simple: Separating families is inhumane.

Under this administration, the overly-aggressive ICE, Border Patrol, and other agencies are ripping children away from their parents in immigration raids. It's time to tell them enough is enough.

Sign the petition to demand that this cruel and unconstitutional practice stop now.

Washington state governor signs five bills to improve and broaden voter access

Washington Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee is working to ensure that everyone in his state is able to exercise their right to vote.

Inslee signed five bills all aimed at improving access to the ballot and strengthening democracy.

Three of the bills focus on making it easier to register to vote — including allowing same day registration, letting 16- and 17-year-olds "pre-register," and implementing automatic registration for citizens obtaining a driver's license or state identification card.

Another bill allows district-based and other alternative voting systems to best suit each community, while a fifth bill "requires nonprofit organizations that donate more than $10,000 a year to political campaigns to register with the state’s Public Disclosure Commission and publicly report their contributions."

"I’m proud to be able to say that Washington state is doing everything we can to help make sure that every community, every voice and every vote counts," Inslee declared.

Record number of black women candidates running in Alabama

About three dozen black Democratic women are running for office in deep red Alabama, in another sign of the massive changes happening around the country.

And Alabama is particularly significant, given Democrat Doug Jones' victory in the special election to fill Jeff Sessions' Senate seat.

Black women fueled Jones' victory, with 98 percent voting for him. And now they are ready to make their own way into the political arena.

"It’s so important that we step up, that we show the nation that we can lead," said Jameria Moore, an attorney running for a judgeship on a county probate court. "We're ready to lead our state into the future."

Alabama may seem an unlikely place for it, even after Jones' win, but that doesn't mean it's impossible.

"This place that was so resistant to change, where, now, a group of women who were looked down upon and dealt first-hand with the vestiges of slavery and segregation are the ones who can lead us forward — it’s monumental," said Quentin James, founder and director of the Collective PAC, which recruits black candidates in statewide and local races across the U.S.

"Where better to demonstrate the progress being made than in Alabama," he added.

ACTION ALERT: Gina Haspel is a torturer. Don't let Trump give her a promotion.

Trump wants Gina Haspel to head the CIA — a woman who personally helped torture detainees in a secret CIA-run prison during the George W. Bush Administration, and tried to cover up her work afterward.

There is zero justification for putting someone like that in charge of such a massive and important agency.  Senators must vote against her confirmation — and you can help. Indivisible has the guide and scripts you need to make your voice heard about this horrifying nomination.

Democrats release interactive maps to shine a light on the tax scam

The GOP's tax scam bill became law in December, but that doesn't mean the fight against it is over. And Democrats in Congress continue to lead the charge.

Democrats on the Joint Economic Committee launched interactive maps to make sure that all Americans know exactly how this scam impacts them and their families.

Under the new law, the top 0.1 percent of earners will get a tax cut of $193,000. These maps show how much middle-income Americans could benefit from that same amount of money — showing how many years of median household income, health insurance premiums, utility bills, and so on this amount would represent for the average family.

The maps serve to counter the spin put out by Trump and the GOP. "As the evidence mounts that the Republican tax law serves large corporations and the wealthy, this initial map will display how the tax bill is affecting American families throughout different states and regions," noted ranking member Martin Heinrich, Democrat of New Mexico.

ACTION ALERT: It's town hall time!

Congress is in recess, so you know what that means: Time to head out to the town halls and make sure your lawmakers know exactly what you think of their performance.

Town Hall Project makes it a snap to find any and all events your elected officials will be holding over the recess.

The Obamas wrote a poignant letter to survivors of the Parkland shooting

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama wrote a heartfelt and moving letter to the young survivors of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The handwritten letter was full of praise for these student activists, and admiration for their dedication and strength even in the darkest of moments.

"We wanted to let you know how inspired we have been by the resilience, resolve and solidarity that you have all shown in the wake of unspeakable tragedy," the Obamas wrote.

"Not only have you supported and comforted each other, but you've helped awaken the conscience of the nation," they added.

And like one of the survivors himself noted, the Obamas declared that "throughout our history, young people like you have led the way" in movements like this. And they stated that they have "no doubt" about the difference these young people will make.

"And we will be there for you."