Good news for people who want to do good: Week 71


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 make you smile.

Indivisible launches 50-state, 435-district midterm project

It'll be November before you know it, and Indivisible is already gearing up for the midterm battles. The grassroots group has launched Indivisible435, its 50-state political program aimed at making real change from coast to coast and border to border.

As the group says, while resistance is powerful, it's not enough on its own. "We also have to win elections. Indivisible435 is how we do it — in every state, in every congressional district across the country."

The plan involves building tools for thousands of local Indivisible groups around the nation and engaging millions of voters in order to target 73 key races in 13 crucial states, including Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Ohio, and others.

The group is clear about its ambitious goal: "Change what’s politically possible so that no seat will ever be 'unwinnable' again."

Sounds like a plan — and not a moment too soon!

ACTION ALERT: Join millions of Indivisible members in the fight!

If you want to be part of this massive midterm effort, it's just a few clicks away.

Sign up here for Indivisible's messaging list to stay up-to-date on the 50-state project and other important topics you need to know about. And go here to find your local chapter — or set one up yourself!

Women are poised to make history in the House

Women candidates are not just reshaping the Democratic Party — they're also set to make some major change in the House of Representatives.

In 2018, primary elections have thus far produced 72 women nominees for House seats in 66 districts. That's a massive jump from the 41 House nominees in 2016 and 36 in 2014.

Most of these women have never even run for office before, and yet they're proving that political experience is not a requirement for making political change.

"Many of them come from a wide range of fields, including medicine (nurses and doctors), education and law and several of them are veterans," NBC News First Read notes. "And most of them are citing that 'real world' experience as one of their key qualifications."

In 51 of the 66 districts with a female nominee, the seat is currently held by a man. So the House could be about to see not just a blue wave, but a woman-powered one.

Young adults are ready to head to the polls

Young adults have been registering to vote in 2018 in far greater numbers than ever before. And they're planning to follow through.

In a poll conducted by AP-NORC and MTV, when voters up to age 34 were asked about their likelihood of voting this November, 56 percent rated it as a 6 on a scale of 1-10. And 32 percent said they were "certain to vote."

And it's no surprise what is motivating a lot of these young folks.

"The issue most ages 15-34 say they are concerned about is gun laws, followed by the economy (including jobs, debt, poverty, and cost of living). Twenty-one percent cited gun laws (including school shootings) when asked the open-ended question '[o]f all of the issues facing the country right now, what concerns you the most?'"

Kentucky valedictorian defies school's attempt to silence his speech

Christian Bales, the valedictorian of Holy Cross High School in Crestview Hills, Kentucky, had some major political points to make in his speech — points his conservative Catholic school did not like.

"After reading a copy of Bales’ speech, the school determined it was 'political and inconsistent with the teachings of the Catholic church,'" CBS News reported.

Bales, as well as a friend who was also slated to give a speech, said he was told the statements were "too confrontational, too angry, too personal, and [not] appropriate." Bales' speech touched on recent school shootings like that in Parkland, Florida, and repeated the phrase "the young people will win," coined by survivors of that massacre.

Notably, the school had also asked Bales' mother to ensure that Bales, who is openly gay, wore men's clothing and no make-up to the ceremony.

But Bales didn't let the school's action silence him. Instead, he grabbed a megaphone and read his speech on the lawn outside the school after the ceremony.

The kids are alright, folks.

ACTION ALERT: #EndFamilySeparation!

The Trump administration's policy of separating children from their undocumented immigrant parents as a supposed "deterrent" is nothing short of barbaric and inhumane.

Sign the ACLU's petition to Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen to demand that this practice be stopped immediately. And help spread the word on Twitter by calling on the White House to #EndFamilySeparation.

Parkland parents form PAC to fight the NRA

It's not just the students from Parkland, Florida, who are taking action for gun safety. Their parents are getting involved, as well.

Months after the horrific shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, some parents from the community have formed the Families Versus Assault Rifles political action committee. The organization aims to "remove the NRA from our political system" and fight for common sense gun safety reforms.

And as Jeff Kasky, father of Parkland survivor Cameron Kasky, put it, these parents have the greatest motivation one could imagine.

"We don’t have any skin in this game other than the actual skin of our kids and our families," Kasky said.

Democratic governors will sue if Trump defunds Planned Parenthood

Trump is predictably taking aim at funding for health clinics like Planned Parenthood. But the nation's 14 Democratic governors are ready and willing to stand up to him if he follows through.

"If this reckless policy is finalized as written, we will have no choice but to explore all possible avenues, including legal options, to block it from harming the women in our states," the Democratic Governors Association declared in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

Under the "gag rule," clinics that perform abortions or even refer patients to abortion providers would be ineligible for funding. 73 percent of Americans oppose such a draconian policy.

It's nothing more than an attempt by the federal government "to interfere in the doctor-patient relationship [and] gut access to family planning services," the governors wrote.

ACTION ALERT: Stop the gag rule!

You can do your part to join the fight in support of reproductive freedom.

Join Planned Parenthood Action Fund and submit an official comment to the Department of Health and Human Services, explaining why you oppose this dangerous policy.

Blue states defy Trump by protecting Obamacare

Trump and the Republican Party will not stop their attacks on Obamacare. But blue state governments are doing everything they can to protect their constituents' health care.

State like California and Maryland are aiming to limit short-term plans, which the Trump administration wants to expand, because the wider availability may cause massive premium spikes for other plans under the ACA.

And Vermont and New Jersey have passed their own individual mandate laws, to compensate for the federal mandate being done away with in the Trump tax scam bill.

"States are determined to safeguard the gains they’ve achieved," said Stan Dorn, a senior fellow at the advocacy group Families USA.

Those states have some serious Republican sabotage to counteract — and they're ready to do it.

Break out the rainbow parkas: Antarctica is holding its first-ever Pride event

June is LGBTQ Pride month, with parades, rallies, and concerts held in celebration under the warm Spring sun.

And, for the first time ever, the not-so-warm Antarctica skies.

The frozen landscape has won the title of "first gay-friendly continent," and employees at McMurdo Station, a research facility 900 miles from the South Pole, plan to mark that honor in colorful style — frigid temperatures be damned.

Employees at McMurdo Station in Antarctica mark the continent's first-ever Pride celebrations. (Photo by Mike Miksche)
Employees at McMurdo Station in Antarctica mark the continent's first-ever Pride celebrations. (Photo by Mike Miksche) Mike Miksche via Twitter

As Mike Miksche noted at NewNowNext, the photo had to be taken back in April, because by June, "there would be only two days remaining before the sun left the sky entirely, and the South Pole [would enter] into four months of darkness, apart from moonlight."

Approximately 10 of the 133 employees stationed at McMurdo during the winter (which goes from March to September at the South Pole) identify as part of the LGBTQ community.

But 10 is plenty for a Pride party — and the Antarctic scenery could certainly use the pop of color from those rainbow flags.