Kyle Borland

an imperial critic holding court on cannabis, cities, culture, and social justice. 

#TheCriticalCourt #ThirdCultureQueen

ACCESS: In Spades

Happy Tuesday, ACCESS! 

Forewarning, this is going to be a doozie of an update. As you might have noticed, I've added a couple more letters to our name and updated the curtains a bit. There will be periodic updates / tweaks to the brand but this will be last time we'll be making a substantial change, at least for awhile. Without further adieu, I give you....*drum roll*....

The ACES Coalition has evolved into the ACCESS Coalition. I started this coalition as a Facebook group immediately after Trump was elected. Shell-shocked by the Election, I wanted to create a forum among the people I knew who were passionate about taking action against the new administration. Fast forward several months and many iterations later, that Facebook group has grown some legs. 

Thank you to everyone who provided me with feedback on In Spades! It was invaluable. The main response I received was, "This is great but how does it all tie together?" It is no secret that I spend a good bit of time ranting about politics, injustice and all-around ignorance. When I sat down to try and piece those thoughts together, I kept coming back to the same values: accountability, connectivity, equity and sustainability. However, in order to create an organizing body, I was missing something. 

I knew I wanted this coalition to focus on the Access Gap. Whether it's voting, education, jobs, affordable housing, social equality, healthcare, infrastructure or more; access – and the different degrees to which communities have it – is where the spectrum of privilege lies. After the first week of the Trump administration it became abundantly clear to me what I missing: character and spirituality. Both have been warped in our country by some believing one signified the other, rather than being separate aspects of an individual. More to the point, I believe no organization or movement can be successful in America without the partnership of faith-based organizations. No one organizes quite like religion, haha. 

With our six values and goals as our guide posts, the Access Coalition will organize and support initiatives nationwide to bridge the gaps isolating American communities. Our values and goals are: 

  • Accountability → Gerrymandering and Term Limits

  • Character → Active Listening and Critical Thinking

  • Connectivity → Fair and Affordable Housing

  • Equity → Integration

  • Spirituality → Separation between Church and State

  • Sustainability → Universal Income

If you'd like to be an active member of the coalition and contribute to the development of our initiatives and platform, than join our Slack channel. Also, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. In Slack, we'll plan the next conference call where I'll answer y'all's questions about ACCESS, the values and goals, and what campaigns / initiatives we want to focus (spoiler alert: #StopPresidentBannon is tops on my radar). We'll also be going over Resistance Fatigue. Pace yourselves – this is a marathon, not a sprint. If you see an article you'd like to highlight to the ACCESS discussion (to be started in the Slack channel), please email suggestions to join@coalitionaccess.org. Thanks, y'all! – KGB

PS: Please share our social pages and In Spades with your friends and family. I'll be ramping up social and building out the website this week and next, let me know if you'd like to help out with the digital presence of the coalition. 

Calls to Action


Coalition Action: Follow Access Coalition on Facebook and Twitter

Coalition Action: Join the coalition’s Slack channel for instant action items, community discussion and organizational planning. If previous link doesn’t work, try this one.

Coalition Action: Brainstorm #StopPresidentBannon – Unfortunately, Bannon played us like a fiddle during the Lame Duck period and we failed to capitalize on our best chance of ousting him. There were people trying to focus us after the election, but Bannon has proven to be a master at manipulating the media to create smokescreens whenever he chooses. However, I believe ACCESS’ first major campaign should be to support and continue to legitimize the #StopPresidentBannon movement. Bernie has called for Bannon to be removed from the National Security Council, which in conjunction with the Twitter-storm over the weekend is a great start but we need to help grow the narrative to a fever pitch. BuzzFeed has more on exactly how Bannon weaseled his way here.  

Add your name: Two Democratic senators and five governors have not voiced opposition to Trump’s Muslim ban. Nothing strengthens President Trump more than Democratic silence on this issue. Add your name so no elected Democrat can stay silent on the Muslim ban. Every Democratic official must put themselves on the record in opposition to this executive action.

Donate: to the ACLU or a local / statewide civil liberties organization since the ACLU raised more than $24 million this past weekend

Donate: to organizations assisting refugees already here in the United States

#NoWallNoBan: Find out where your reps stand on the ban, here.

Run for Office: I’m serious. Check out this website to find out which open positions your eligible to run for near you!

Calls:

3 votes short of blocking Betsy DeVos – If you live in AK, GA, KY, KS, LA, ME, NC, SC, TN, UT or WY call your Senators and ask them to block her nomination. You can use 1-844-USA-0234 to call all your reps.

Flood Speaker Paul Ryan’s Obamacare phone poll – Call 202-225-3500. There will be a silence for about 30 seconds to a minute...DO NOT HANG UP. (You will think you called the wrong number. You didn't.) Press 2 and you'll a recording, then press 1 to support continuing the ACA, if you support it. 

Prevent the Confirmation of Jeff Sessions – Call 1-844-USA-0234 to tell your representatives to oppose Sessions’ confirmation.

Call White House, Inc. – aka any of Trump’s properties around the world, to voice your any number of your concerns. Until the president divests from his business interests, all his properties should be treated as satellite offices, accordingly.

5 Calls – If you have 5 minutes to spare, you can place 5 calls – makes the calls for you and provides a script. All you have to do is choose your topic of choice, enter your info and get calling!

Read: There are two alt-rights, and the alt-left is waking up – This is a #LongRead but definitely worth it. The author makes a clear distinction between the two powerful heads of the alt-right hydra and argues that their power grab ensures the rise of the alt-left. Matt Mecoli, of The Gay Skeleton (launching soon!), turned me onto the article. Feel feel to send me any #longreads or general perspective pieces at join@coalitionaccess.org.

Accountability → Gerrymandering and Term Limits


Trump Administration
An American Coup? It’s possible – And, they ran a dry run this past weekend. (Medium)

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember– Here’s the list for Week 11. (Medium)

Happy Day! Trump has pissed off the Koch Bros – “We have the courage to oppose bad policies that will only harm people’s lives, regardless of who proposes it,” Brian Hooks said. “Remember: A trillion-dollar government stimulus was a bad idea under Democrats. It’s a bad idea when a Republican proposes it.” Hooks, one of Charles Koch’s top aides, vowed that the Koch network would “hold all politicians accountable, regardless of political party.” Put another way: Stand with Trump at your own risk, lawmakers. (TIME)

Pax Americana is over – ”America was once a nation that was seen as actively arguing for the principles that made the country great — sometimes too actively for the taste of many around the world. We made the case for a free press; now the president assails the media, publicly attacks journalists as “the most dishonest people” on Earth, and thus sends a message to authoritarian leaders worldwide that he is a kindred spirit. We celebrated freedom of religion; now we have become a nation that has embraced Islamophobia and seems to be taking steps to punish individuals simply because of their religious beliefs. We opposed ethno-nationalism; now we have overnight emerged as an acknowledged leader and supporter of a global movement based on nationalism and fomenting hatred of “the Other.”” (Foreign Policy)

Trump pivots on NSC but leaves Bannon in place – ”On Monday, White House spokesman Sean Spicer announced that Trump will reinstate the director of the CIA as a regular Principals Committee member. But the President will keep his chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, as a regular committee member -- a move that came under fire -- while the director of national intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will not be regular attendees.” (CNN)

Character → Communal Capitalism


Corporate Leadership
Google creates $4 million crisis fund following Trump’s immigration ban – ”Google has created a $4 million crisis fund for those affected by President Donald Trump’s immigration ban, according to a report from USA Today. The $2 million fund can be matched by up to $2 million from employees, with all donations going toward four organizations: the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Immigrant Legal Resource Center, International Rescue Committee and UNHCR, the UN agency responsible for protecting refugees. According to USA Today, the humanitarian campaign is Google’s largest ever.” (The Verge)

Lyft donates $1M to ACLU, #DeleteUber explodes online – Uber and Travis’ role in the airport fiasco was a big misunderstanding...however, #DeleteUber is how everyone should feel, every day. In addition to being on Trump’s CEO Cabinet, his company treats its drivers like crap and steamrolls local governments. Plus, Lyft drivers are nicer. (The Hill)

Viber to enable free calling between US and countries impacted by Trump’s travel ban – When the service is implemented, Viber users will be place free calls to landlines and mobiles in the seven countries impacted by Trump’s executive order – Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya and Yemen. Similarly, users in those countries will be able to call numbers in the United States without having to pay. (The Next Web)

Connectivity → Fair and Affordable Housing


Rural + Suburban + Urban
I asked my student why he voted for Trump. The answer was thoughtful, smart, and terrifying – "The reason I used the Civil War and Reconstruction is because it isn't a secret that Reconstruction failed," Peter wrote. "It failed and left the South in an extreme poverty that it still hasn't recovered from." And besides, "slavery was expensive and the Industrial Revolution was about to happen. Maybe if there had been no war, slavery would have faded peacefully." As a historian, I found this remarkable, since it was precisely what all American schoolchildren learned about slavery and Reconstruction for much of the 20th century. Or rather, they did until the civil rights era, when serious scholarship dismantled this narrative, piece by piece. But not, apparently, in Peter's world. "Until urban liberals move to the rural South and live there for probably a decade or more," he concluded, "there's no way to fully appreciate the view."” (Mother Jones)

Is your city a sanctuary city? Check the map to see. (CIS)

#SueTheSuburbs: CA takes to the courts to fight its housing crisis – ”More recently, a group called the California Renters Legal Advocacy and Education Fund last year sued the city of Lafayette, another Bay Area suburb, for converting a multifamily housing project into a single-family development with fewer units. The group has also taken legal action against the city of Berkeley, prompting the city council to review a decision to deny construction of new housing.” (WSJ)
 

Equity → Integration


Criminal and Social Justice
The “Blood of Emmett Till” and the woman at the center of the Emmett Till case lied – “On the stand, she had asserted that Till had grabbed her and verbally threatened her. She said that while she was unable to utter the “unprintable” word he had used (as one of the defense lawyers put it), “he said [he had]’”—done something – “with white women before.’” Then she added, “I was just scared to death.” A version of her damning allegation was also made by the defendant’s lawyers to reporters. (The jury did not hear Carolyn’s words because the judge had dismissed them from the courtroom while she spoke, ruling that her testimony was not relevant to the actual murder. But the court spectators heard her, and her testimony was put on the record because the defense wanted her words as evidence in a possible appeal in the event that the defendants were convicted.)” (Vanity Fair)

Education
How high schools are demolishing the classroom – ”There’s been a whole lot more attention paid to high school design as of late, says Kris Magnusson, the dean of education at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, B.C.: “What that signals is we’re moving away from a rigid, one-size-fits-all idea. … By broadening the repertoire of what we count as educational experiences and legitimizing the different ways in which students learn, we open the door to a whole new world.”” (OZY)

Spirituality → Separation between Church & State


Faith
Catholic priest pleads with American Christians to live the Gospel – “At the Last Judgment, he will say to people, “I was a stranger and you did not welcome me.” And people will say, “When were you a stranger and we did not take care of you?’ And he will say, “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.”” (America Magazine)

Christian Leaders Denounce Trump’s Plan to Favor Christian Refugees – “By giving preference to Christians over Muslims, religious leaders have said the executive order pits one faith against another. By barring any refugees from entering the United States for nearly four months, it leaves people to suffer longer in camps, and prevents families from reuniting. Also, many religious leaders have said that putting an indefinite freeze on refugees from Syria, and cutting the total number of refugees admitted this year by 60,000, shuts the door to those most in need.” (NYT)

Pope Francis washes the feet of Muslim migrants, says we are ‘children of the same God’ – ”’All of us together, Muslims, Hindus, Catholics, Copts, Evangelical [Protestants] brothers and sisters — children of the same God — we want to live in peace, integrated,’ Francis said during his homily.” (Washington Post)

Humanity
I found God in a Gay Bay – ”I watched them dance, and thought this is life. I could feel Emmanuel, God-with-us. My friends were the most alive I'd ever seen them. They must have felt God too. With lifted hearts and heads, the room was filled with laughter, our entire beings, overcome with the joy of the Lord. Outside that bar, my friends are judged, cursed, and worse by so-called Christians who are "preaching the truth in love." But inside, they find a shelter from the storm, a community, peace, safety and love. There's really only one word to describe what they find in that club - God.” (AL.com)

Sustainability → Universal Income


New Economy  
Tech behemoths embattled in a power grab for AI talent with universities – ”In the past universities employed the world’s best AI experts. Now tech firms are plundering departments of robotics and machine learning (where computers learn from data themselves) for the highest-flying faculty and students, luring them with big salaries similar to those fetched by professional athletes.” (The Economist)

Bridge Alabama + California, Save the World

ACES: In Spades – January 27