It was a scene meant to be reminiscent of the Civil Rights era: chants of “No segregation, no discrimination,” T-shirts emblazoned with the moniker “Freedom Keepers,” the sounds of “We Shall Overcome” emanating from the California state Capitol in Sacramento — except the protest was led by mostly white people from affluent backgrounds who think vaccines are dangerous, POLITICO reports.
The protesters, who are adherents of the anti-vax movement, drew fire from lawmakers who represent minority communities. One lawmaker, Assemblywoman and Legislative Black Caucus member Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-Los Angeles), said the rally was “borderline racist” and ignorant of history.
“This is misappropriation of a movement that really is not over and proves to be challenging to overcome,” Kamlager-Dove said. “The whole conversation around vaccinations is actually one about privilege and opportunity. It’s a personal choice. It’s a luxury to be able to have a conversation about medical exemptions and about whether or not you think your child should be vaccinated.”
Four years ago, California eliminated personal belief exemptions for vaccines that were commonly utilized by anti-vaxxers. Now, new legislation in the state is taking aim at the last refuge for those opposed to vaccines: medical exemptions.
According to the California Department of Public Health, the number of unvaccinated children in homeschooling has skyrocketed since the state banned personal belief and religious exemptions in 2015. Students with personal belief exemptions in California schools were predominantly white and wealthy, according to a study by the American Public Health Association in 2015. Medical exemptions, intended for children with weakened immune systems, have surged since then — and are disproportionately white.
Gov. Gavin Newsom gave the anti-vaccine movement a brief window of hope in the penultimate week of legislative session when he demanded late amendments to the main medical exemption crackdown bill, Senate Bill 276. But the governor ultimately signed two measures to implement the law, adding fuel to the anger of the anti-vaccine movement. Protests continued for four days after Newsom signed the bills, with rhetoric growing ever more extreme.
The new legislation doesn’t seek to eliminate medical exemptions all together; it only seeks to make the requirements for such exemptions stricter.
Making the civil rights era comparison all the more problematic are the demographics of anti-vaxxers, especially in Southern California. An analysis by POLITICO shows that while less than 25 percent of California public school students are white, an average of 55 percent of students are white in the state’s 50 least vaccinated schools.
According to Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), there’s another difference between the anti-vax protesters and the Civil Rights movement, and that’s “privilege.”
“I just want to point out, if constituents from my district waged months-long social harassment campaigns against a member, threatened them with death, harassed and threatened their family … then came to the Capitol and disrupted session for hours… they would definitely be arrested,” she tweeted.
UK’s Boris Johnson looks set for big win in ‘Brexit election’
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's ruling party appeared on course for a sweeping victory in Thursday's snap election, an exit poll showed, paving the way for Britain to leave the EU next month after years of political deadlock.
The Conservatives were forecast to win a thumping 368 out of 650 seats in parliament -- which if confirmed would be the party's biggest majority in three decades -- according to the survey published as polls closed.
The pound jumped by about two percent against the dollar on the projected results of what all sides had painted as the most momentous election in Britain in a generation.
Maddow reports on ‘a tide of major newspaper editorials’ drowning Trump’s impeachment defenses
On Thursday, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow noted the sheer volume of editorial boards from newspapers across America calling for President Donald Trump's impeachment and removal from office.
"The editorials that Steve Cohen introduced into the record there that Doug Collins from Georgia said he wanted to read and Steve Cohen said 'I'd love for you to read them,' they're part of a tide of major newspaper editorials that have come out all of a sudden in the last few days in favor of impeachment," said Maddow. "USA TODAY's editorial board saying, quote, 'Until recently we believed impeachment proceedings would be unhealthy for an already polarized nation, rather than simply leaving Trump's fate up to voters next November. But Trump's egregious transgressions and stonewalling in his thuggish effort to trade American arms for foreign dirt on Joe Biden resembled Richard Nixon. It's precisely the type of misconduct the framers had in mind when they wrote impeachment into the Constitution."
‘People died in Ukraine’: Democrat lectures Doug Collins for Trump’s abuse of power costing lives
During Thursday's impeachment hearing, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) laid bare the human cost of President Donald Trump's decision to withhold military aid from Ukraine to force them to hunt for dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden's family — something that ranking member Doug Collins (R-GA) spent the previous day denying.
"In my colleague's efforts to defend this president, you want him to be someone he's not. You want him to be someone he is telling you he is not," said Swalwell. "You're trying to defend the call in so many different ways, and he's saying, guys, it was a perfect call. He's not who you want him to be. And let me tell you how selfish his acts were. And ranking member Collins, you can deny this as much as you want. People died in Ukraine at the hands of Russia," said Swalwell. "In Ukraine, since September 2018 when it was voted on by Congress, was counting on our support. One year passed and people died. And you may not want to think about that, it may be hard for you to think about that, but they died when the selfish, selfish president withheld the aid for his own personal gain."