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Progressive Roundup: Eased Debt, Rochester Ranks Second In Nation.

progressive roundupcapitolwhiteEvery week, Alliance for a Better Minnesota will highlight the important work being done in the progressive community. Focusing on issues that impact Minnesotans’ lives, this important work helps Minnesota continue moving forward.

‘Occupy Movement’ Group Abolishes Others’ Student Loan Debt: This year marks the third anniversary of the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement, and in order to observe that milestone, the group launched the ‘Strike Debt’ initiative. This initiative began to ease the massive amount of student loan debt our country currently faces. Although the group is unable to purchase the majority of the $1.2 trillion students owe because that debt is backed by the federal government, the group has been able to relieve $3.8 million in private student loan debt in 2014. The group’s method of paying off debt is to purchase the debt for pennies on the dollar from debt collectors, and then simply forgive the money owed rather than collect it.

Federal Study On Police Racial Bias To Be Launched: Last week, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Department of Justice has hired a team of criminal justice researchers to study racial bias in law enforcement agencies in five (yet to be determined) U.S. cities. The catalyst for the study was the shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri this past August, which sparked national conversation about racial bias and injustice within the law enforcement system.

Hillary Clinton Aims To End Gender Violence: In response to the increasing amount of gender-based violence occurring at the hands of terrorist groups such as ISIS and Boko Haram, Hillary Clinton called for a “unified strategy” amongst American politicians and public opinion. Clinton said that combating violence against girls and women is something that we should have already done by the 21st century. “Girls and women deserve to be at the center of American foreign policy,” she said at the “Women and Girls Rising” conference last week.

Rochester: Second Best City In U.S.: Out of the top 100 places to live in the country, Rochester scored spot #2 last week. Livability describes how the vibrant arts culture combined with the city’s internationally recognized healthcare facilities and booming economy help to place Rochester so high on the list. Rankings were based on economics, housing, amenities, infrastructure, demographics, social and civic capital, education and health care, as well as surveys of residents.

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