Mic Check: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand Writes For PolicyMic!

Trending In Our News Feeds Senator Kirsten Gillibrand writes for PolicyMic! Kirsten Gillibrand, the junior Senator from New York and the Chair of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel, is leading the fight to end sexual assault in the military. She published a powerful op-ed on PolicyMic discussing the need for change in the military justice system and the importance of electing women to high-level decision-making roles. Here are some of the highlights:
 
On the need to reform the military justice system: “The scourge of sexual violence in the military should be intolerable to all Americans and it’s time to bring it to an end once and for all… A system where fewer than 1 out of 10 reported perpetrators are held accountable for their alleged crimes is a system that is broken. We simply must do better. That’s why I’ve taken it upon myself as Chair of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel to crack down on perpetrators of sexual assault in the military and reform the way the military handles assault convictions.”
 
On her support for more women in Congress: “[Holding hearings on sexual assault in the military has] also reinforced for me the importance of having more women in Congress and in high-level decision-making roles… When women are at the table, different issues are discussed, it’s a broader agenda and it’s an agenda that looks out for all Americans, and oftentimes those who are voiceless. Women's voices are not better than men's, they're different and the broader perspective that we bring often leads to better results. That’s why I’ve been such an advocate for more women to run for office and make their voices heard.”
 
On the benefits of diverse military leadership: “By opening the door for more qualified women to excel in our military, we will have increased diversity in top leadership positions, thus improving response from leadership when it comes to preventing and responding to sexual violence.”
 
On the future of the fight against sexual assault in the military: “As Sexual Assault Awareness month comes to a close, we must commit ourselves not just to a zero tolerance policy, but we need to get to a point of zero occurrence. We owe it to the men and women who bravely join the military. While they join knowing the risks involved in serving, sexual assault at the hand of one of their peers should not be one of them.”
 
Make sure to read Senator Gillibrand’s entire story and share on Facebook.
 
First active player in a major American sport comes out. Basketball player Jason Collins set a major milestone for American sports yesterday when he became the first active player in one of the four major American sports to come out as gay. In a story published on SportsIllustrated.com, Collins wrote, “I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay.” Collins explains that the 2011 NBA lockout forced him to consider coming out by disrupting the training routines that usually distracted him from the issue. The Boston Marathon bombing reinforced his decision, making him realize that “things can change in an instant.” He isn’t too worried about any backlash he’ll receive from coming out, though: “If I'm up against an intolerant player, I'll set a pretty hard pick on him. And then move on.” Looking ahead, Jim Buzinski, the co-founder of a website dedicate to gays in sports, says that Collins’ announcement will lose its importance if he goes unsigned next season: “If he’s not on a team, he’s just another guy who did it at the end of his career, and he retired.”
 
The Internet exploded with messages of support. Kobe Bryant tweeted, “Proud of @jasoncollins34. Don't suffocate who u r because of the ignorance of others #courage #support.” Michelle Obama added, “So proud of you, Jason Collins! This is a huge step forward for our country. We’ve got your back!” PolicyMic’s Liz Plank collects the 10 most supportive tweets following Collins’ coming out, as well as the 10 most homophobic. In an awesome revelation, in turns out that Jason Collins and Jason Segel (of How I Met Your Mother Fame) were on the same high school basketball team (check out this photo).
 
Commercial spaceship breaks speed of sound. Virgin Atlantic has moved a giant step closer to offering commercial trips into space with a successful test of its SpaceShipTwo rocket. Yesterday, SpaceShipTwo broke the sound barrier, rocketing over the Mojave Desert at a speed of Mach 1.2. The test marks the first powered flight for the commercial spaceship, which will offer suborbital flights to space tourists within a year (and a ticket will only set you back $200,000). Wired caught the test on video.
 
Status Updates Big things are coming for Mic Check. I’m excited to be taking over Mic Check from PolicyMic co-founder Jake Horowitz. With your help, we will make Mic Check the best daily newsletter for millennials. This year, I plan on sending Mic Check to your inbox earlier, showcasing the most intelligent analysis of breaking news, and sharing the most interesting links from around the Web. But I can’t do it without your help. Mic Check is here for you, and I want to hear what you want out of your daily newsletter. Never hesitate to tell me if I missed a breaking story or share an idea for improving Mic Check. I look forward to reading the news with you every day.
 
Check out Jane Chiao’s Lobster “Aussie Hour.” As part of her bid to become Australia’s Chief Funster, PolicyMic pundit Jane Chiao organized an “Aussie Hour” at New York hotspot Luke’s Lobster. Check out her awesome footage from the event, and find out how you can help Jane get the coolest job in the world.
 
Are you active in politics, art, or business? Let us know what you’re up to and we’ll feature you in this section!
 
Must Reads From PolicyMic – ESPN Barely Covered the Jason Collins Coming Out Story, and That's OK (Sam Brounstein, @samthebearjew) – It took four hours for ESPN to focus on the Jason Collins story. And you know what? That's totally fine.
[13 Mics, 19 Comments, 10 Shares]
 
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and the World's Most Dangerous Pot Smokers (Sam Brounstein, @samthebearjew) – Even America's most prominent enemies are lighting up these days. Did you know North Koreans pass to the left as well?
[14 Mics, 4 Comments, 19 Shares]
 
The U.S. Commits Tragedies Worse Than the Boston Bombing Every Day (Uchechi Kalu) – The Boston Marathon bombing was sad, but we shouldn't feel too sorry for ourselves. American foreign policy wreaks havoc abroad, and Americans are too apathetic to care.
[13 Mics, 39 Comments, 0 Shares]
 
The U.S. Owes Undocumented Immigrants Citizenship (Kat Robinson, @katrobinson1) – As immigration reform heats up and the Gang of Eight looks to secure votes, we wonder: Is the U.S. obligated to provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants?
[7 Mics, 6 Comments, 3 Shares]
 
7 Reasons You Have to See 'The Great Gatsby' (Zainab Akande) – Baz Luhrmann’s Gatsby is going to be out of this world. Here are seven reasons you can’t miss this film.
[5 Mics, 2 Comments, 11 Shares]
 
What We’re SharingTrolling can wait. Now is the time to be happy for Jason Collins (Grantland).
 
No rich child left behind: Watch out, the education gap is growing (Opinionator).
 
The New York Times fears that millennials’ political “cynicism may become permanent.”
 
It looks like Biggie was wrong: Mo’ money, fewer problems (Slate).
 
900 professionals have finally agreed on the world’s 50 best restaurants (Restaurant).
 
Inside the ice-axe wielding fight on Mt. Everest's summit (Atlantic Wire).
 
Today’s awesome space photo: Saturn’s massive spinning vortex, “The Rose” (NASA).
 
This mom makes art out of her kids’ lunch napkins (Laughing Squid).
 
Dessert – Thanks to Jason Collins’ coming out announcement, Justice Scalia is never going to another N.B.A. game. Ever.
 
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