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Toni Van Pelt interviewed on First Coast Connect radio show hosted by Melissa Ross. Listen Now 
Dear Members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions: This is submitted on behalf of The Institute for Science and Human Values, a tax-exempt non-profit organization that promotes the well- being of society, the guarantee of various rights, including those of women, racial, ethnic, and other minorities, and supports education, health care, gainful employment, and other social benefits. We ask you to vote against the confirmation of Andrew Puzder as Secretary of Labor because we do not believe that Mr. Puzder will adequately discharge the primary duty of that post, which is to protect the rights of workers.  Grounds for that belief are based on his anti-employee public record.
Toni Van Pelt
Strong support for the critical Federal data sources Dear Chairmen Cochran and Frelinghuysen and Ranking Members Leahy and Lowey: We write to provide our perspective on, and to express our strong support for, the critical Federal data sources that inform and strengthen our nation’s world-leading economic, educational, democratic and civic institutions and successes.   Our Federal statistical and data systems provide information that is uniquely accurate, objective, relevant, timely and accessible. America’s families, firms and policymakers are able to make informed decisions because they have open access to this unbiased high- quality information.   We are concerned that a lack of appreciation for the critical importance of our Federal statistical and data systems may worsen, and are worried that, after years of insufficient funding, these systems face deeper funding cuts and further marginalization.
156 Civil and Human Rights Groups Call for Stronger Response to Hate Incidents WASHINGTON –The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and 155 civil and human rights groups today called upon the Executive Branch to respond more quickly and forcefully to hate-based incidents, which have been occurring at an alarming rate in recent months.  The statement follows: “Our diversity is part of what makes America great, and incidents motivated by hate are an affront to the values we share. No one should face acts of violence or intimidation because of their race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, disability, or national origin. Just this year, we have seen an alarming increase in accounts and reports of hate-based acts of violence and intimidation. Some recent examples include: The February shooting in Olathe, Kansas, where two Indian Hindu Americans were attacked, killing Srinivas Kuchibhotla; Four mosques burned in the past two months, in Texas, Washington, and Florida, and more defaced by acts of vandalism; Numerous bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers, synagogues, and ADL offices around the country; The recent shooting in Washington state of a Sikh American outside of his home;  Racist graffiti targeting African Americans in Stamford, Connecticut and at a high school in Lake Oswego, Oregon; An attack on a Latino man in Daly City, California, and an attack on a Hispanic woman in Queens, New York, with both targeted because of their ethnicity; The murders of seven transgender women of color, including six African Americans and one Native American. While we welcome President Trump’s remarks to the joint session of Congress, where he noted ‘we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all of its very ugly forms,’ it was the first public acknowledgement he had made on specific recent events.  It is clear that the President has been slow to respond to hate incidents, when he has responded at all.  We strongly believe the President has a moral obligation to use his bully pulpit to speak out against acts of hatred when they occur. (Read More)
CONSERVATIVE CHRISTIANS, ‘BEAUTY AND THE BEAST’ AND PROGRESS Disney’s film Beauty and the Beast  will star their first gay character. Not surprisingly, conservative Christians are not happy about it. Famous evangelist Billy Graham’s son, Franklin Graham, has called on Christians to boycott the film. The conservative Christian Website LifeSitenews.com started an online petition calling for a boycott of the film that has garnered 110,000 signatures. It is worth noting that, according to those in the know, the film that does not promote the so-called “Gay lifestyle.” It says nothing about same-sex marriage or LGBT rights. It merely implies that Gays exist and that they have the right to exist. The gay character is LeFou. He is not involved in a romantic relationship with a man. He is not a stereotypical flamboyant gay man. He simply seems confused about his attraction to the male character Gaston. This is all it takes to get conservative Christians riled. They vote for the most blatantly immoral U.S. president ever, but get a collective attitude when a Hollywood film simply acknowledges that Gays exist. (Read More)