In these hyperpartisan times, it can sometimes feel like we spend much of our energy on damage control. Last week demonstrated that our advocacy and lobbying is making real, impactful change.
First, the administration announced that it would end mid-air refueling support for the Saudi coalition in Yemen. The decision comes after months of pressure from grassroots advocates. We will continue to press for legislation that would end U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition as a matter of law, not simply as a matter of presidential discretion. But this is a significant step.
Second, the Senate Indian Affairs Committee unanimously advanced Savanna’s Act to the full Senate. The bill will help law enforcement officers respond to and track cases of missing and murdered Native women and girls. It is a strong step to reduce violence against Native women and girls—who face a murder rate ten times the national average. Quakers and Friends played an important role in advancing this legislation. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (ND) specifically mentioned FCNL as she entered our testimony into the official record
Finally, Sen. Chuck Grassley (IA) introduced a criminal justice reform package in the Senate, known as the FIRST STEP Act (S. 3469). The bill is supported by President Trump and other key Republican and Democratic leaders. It would reduce the application of mandatory minimum sentences, in some cases retroactively. As its name implies, this is just a first step—but it is a sign of building bipartisan momentum to fix our broken criminal justice system.
These small victories call to mind the quote by author Arundhati Roy, “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”
Each of these items felt immovable until last week. Because of the faithful, persistent work of advocates like you, they are advancing, one step at a time.