Welcome to the Inaugural Edition of The Take Back: the newsletter of resistance for people of color.

People of color have always been “the resistance” in the United States; they have been the moral conscience pushing us toward equal justice through long-fought struggles. Each edition of The Take Back is an effort to update you on this resistance, share resources and highlight the work of the Movement.

Advancement Project's racial justice work with grassroots organizations across the country has positioned us to uplift the work. Read and share the stories of the incredible efforts happening on the ground, to inspire, and deepen your commitment to the work that lies ahead.

Channel Orange:

4 Ways in Which the Administration Let Us Down in 2017

Let’s take a look at some of the most disappointing moments of the year to people of color & how on-the-ground organizers and advocates fought back. Disclaimer: This list by no means implies that these were the most important moments.

45 Attempts a Trans Military Ban

Last year, 45 decided he would have a say in whether transgender people could serve in the military. In a series of tweets, he fueled a dangerous homophobic rhetoric. His actions forced nearly 250 people to change their gender identity in the military's database shortly after. The proposal took place a little more than a year after Obama lifted a ban on transgender military service allowing troops to openly identify as trans without repercussion.

Since then: Federal Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly blocked part of the discriminatory ban from taking place. She wrote, “There is absolutely no support for the claim that the ongoing service of transgender people would have any negative effect on the military at all. In fact, there is considerable evidence that it is the discharge and banning of such individuals that would have such effects."

Firing FBI Director James Comey: The Man Who's Not the Homey

Last May, 45 surprised us all with the firing of FBI Director James Comey. At the time, Comey was looking into opening an investigation to see if the administration was involved with Russia in undermining the 2016 election. The move spoke volumes.

Since then: Robert Mueller, was appointed to the Department of Justice's Special Counsel in the Russia probe. In November, Mueller’s efforts came into the public spotlight when 45's campaign adviser George Papadopolus plead guilty to lying to the court about his interactions with foreign officials. The administration's connection to Russian interference continues to add right on up as the investigation continues.

As for Comey, HBCU Howard University appointed the former FBI Director to serve as the Gwendolyn S. and Colbert I. King Endowed Chair in Public Policy. During his first speaking engagement on the university's campus, students protested his arrival chanting things like "Get out Comey … You are not my homey" and "I love being Black." Taking credit for it? HU Resist, a student organizing group that was displeased with the university’s decision to hire a man who believes in the "Ferguson Effect," a debunked theory set to undermine the Black Lives Matter movement. In a written statement following the event, HU Resist wrote: “It is clear that James Comey is not an ally to Black liberation. His development of the 'Ferguson effect' theory undoubtedly influenced a recently leaked FBI intelligence assessment which classified Black Lives Matter activists as Black Identity Extremists and domestic terrorists."

The End of DACA and TPS

The decision to phase out the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals Act (DACA) was announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in September–by far, one of the most inhumane policy decisions of this presidency. DACA gives protection to nearly 800,000 children from deportation. Giving youth opportunity to work and go to school legally without fear.

Before there was DACA, Temporary Protective Status (TPS) was enacted as a relief program to provide refuge for countries plagued by war or natural disaster. For 59,000 Haitians residing in America, that protection ended in November when 45 decided to terminate the program leaving people 18 months to leave the country. This decision came after 2,500 Nicaraguans learned that their TPS would end in January 2019.

Read more below, to find out why you should care about these policy decisions.

Since then: Immigrants are being purged from the US, country by country. Haitians were targeted at the end of the year, and just this month, 45 ended TPS for those originating from El Salvador. This recent move brings the total of those stripped of protection to more than one million people.

A Fatal Slap in the Face During 2017’s Hurricane Season

Last year's hurricane season served as one of the most devastating series of natural disasters in years. Hurricane Harvey's destructive path came through Houston. Shortly after, Irma hit parts of Florida, and the Caribbean. The storm displaced thousands and will take years for the Caribbean to recover. Hurricane Maria took a tremendous toll on Puerto Rico, knocking the power out for thousands and displacing many.

As we step back and look at the series of catastrophes that occurred, one connecting theme appears: Black and Brown people were hit the hardest.

There exists clear disparities in those who received emergency aid and resources. Texas families forced to evacuate returned to their homes with an eviction notice waiting for them – a cruel practice that Louisianans know far too well following Hurricane Katrina.

Since then: Advancement Project led an effort to send a letter signed by a host of national partner organizations to the House and Senate calling for more assistance in Puerto Rico. Despite 45's reports of salvation, 38% of Puerto Ricans were reported to still have no power and the official death toll came in at 64, while those on the ground reported more than 1000.

On The Ground:
What Power Really Looks Like

Each election year, Advancement Project staff are stationed at voter protection command centers across the country. This year was no different. Two teams were stationed in St. Louis, MO, and Arlington, VA, ensuring voters understood their rights and were free from voter intimidation. Read more about how we showed up here.

Stay Woke/Stay Well

The Podcast List You Didn’t Know You Needed

We are totally here for the ways in which Black podcasts are taking over. Here are the six podcasts that you have to listen to right now. Not tomorrow, or tonight … right now. Of course, when we say right now we mean after you finish this newsletter – and tell your friends to subscribe. Don’t know where to start? Here are a few of our favorite episodes to get you started. You're welcome!

Never Before with Janet Mock – Maxine Waters

Why Should You Care About Temporary Protective Status (TPS) and Immigration Policy

Black people are more likely to be detained or deported than any other community. Temporary Protective Status (TPS) gives individuals from designated countries permission to work and live in the United States. Started in 1990, the temporary immigration status is a protection for those who have been affected by conflict or natural disaster. For Haiti, that means providing refuge for those impacted from the deadly earthquake of 2010 and Hurricane Mathew in 2016. Today, recovery efforts are still in dire need; for many, areas are still unsafe. Haiti makes up one of 13 countries who are designated for TPS. The move to end TPS is another attempt made by this administration to dehumanize people of color and showcase the brutality of white supremacy.


On Tuesday, January 30th at 9:00 PM ET, Trump will deliver his first official State of the Union Address. Follow along with Advancement Project on Twitter as we provide response and analysis in real time.

ICYMI: Recent Updates from Advancement Project's National Office