What to Do This Week of May 21, 2017
Action Checklist for Americans of Conscience
By Jen Hofmann
28 weeks down, 76 weeks to mid-term elections. Fired up?
The intention of this weekly document is to make clear, hype-free suggestions for action backed by well-considered research for Americans who care about democracy and justice.
Did someone send you here? Sign up to receive this weekly checklist.
I believe I can make a difference.
Action: Create an activism plan.
- Get the worksheet: Plan your activism strategy with my Action Worksheet (or Kelly Wooten’s pocket-sized version). Print either to get started.
- Get Stance: This app makes calling elected officials easier and less stressful.
I believe in equal rights for all Americans.
Action: Oppose excessive, ineffective, expensive, and discriminatory sentencing of low-level drug offenders.
Script: I oppose Sessions’ ineffective, expensive policies to penalize low-level drug offenders. He is wasting taxpayer money on stricter sentencing that doesn’t deter drug offenders. I am calling on the Justice Department to rescind Session’s memo immediately and create fiscally-responsible alternatives.
Action: Oppose ICE funding until it has more oversight (hat tip).
Script: I am calling from _ZIP_ to express concerns about Immigration and Customs Enforcement. ICE’s tactics are making communities and workplaces less safe. This is unacceptable. This agency needs oversight and accountability in its duties, and clear deportation priorities. I am asking _NAME_ to not approve any funds to ICE until these two changes are made. Thanks.
I believe in a quality education for America’s youth.
Terminology action: Gutting public schools is not “school choice.”
DeVos’ voucher system uses your tax dollars to fund religious education, gut public schools, and abandon kids. Stop using the phrase “school choice” if you want to change the direction of education.
Instead, advocate for quality public education—pre-K through MBA. Read on.
Action: Advocate for kids’ rights to a quality public education.
Script: Hi. I’m a constituent from _ZIP_ concerned about public education in the upcoming budget. I am calling to let _NAME_ know I want three things:
- That no taxpayer money funds any religious education.
- That we honor all agreements to students working off loans in service programs.
- And that we increase funding to high-poverty schools and after-school programs. Thanks!
I believe in a government led by qualified, trustworthy representatives.
Action: Advocate for a bipartisan commission in addition to new special counsel.
Script: Hi. I’m from _ZIP_ and believe that we need an independent, bipartisan commission to prevent future election interference. I’m asking _NAME_ to support H.R. 356, the Protecting Our Democracy Act. Will _NAME_ join Republican Representatives Walter Jones and Justin Amash in signing the discharge petition? (Hat tip)
Action: Advocate for consumer protection.
Script: Hi. I’m from _ZIP_, calling about H.R. 10 the “Financial CHOICE Act” which weakens aspects of Dodd-Frank, including consumer financial rights, the integrity of financial institutions, and credit card processing for retailers (Share story about why this matters to you). The Federal Reserve does not support this bill, and I’m asking Rep. _NAME_ to oppose it as well.
Action: Advocate for bipartisanship.
Write: A postcard to your 3 MoCs (lookup).
Script: Riff on this sentiment: Americans are tired of polarization and nastiness. Your constituents are counting on you to lead with character and courage, which means reaching across the aisle to collaborate and compromise. Stop trying to win and start serving your constituents.
Action: Support Democratic representation in traditionally Republican regions.
Help Montana elect Rob Quist (donate or volunteer). Election: May 25.
Help Georgia elect Jon Ossoff (donate or volunteer). Election: June 20.
I believe in quality, affordable healthcare for all Americans.
Action: Comment on the fiscal aspects of the ACHA by May 23 (hat tip).
Script: Write Orrin Hatch, chairman of the Senate Finance committee, starting with, “I am a stakeholder as a (patient, provider, employer, or thought leader).” Then give your opinion on healthcare-related taxes, health savings accounts, Medicaid, and tax credits to buy health insurance.
Action: Tell your senators what you do want your health coverage to include.
Script: Hi. I’m from _ZIP_ calling about healthcare. The current bill is not healthcare, so I want my senator to fight for five important things:
- No gender discrimination.
- No lifetime caps.
- To cover all pre-existing conditions.
- To cost less than $X per month per person.
- And to insist health insurance companies decrease costs.
Tell a story about why one of these is important to you, personally.
Finally, if Sen. _NAME_ supports Republican plans to repeal the ACA, I will work hard to elect his/her opponent in the next election cycle. Thanks!
Deep breath innnnnnn… Deep breath ouuuuuuuut…
I believe in creating a healthy planet for future generations.
Action: Commit to making a big change for the climate crisis.
Each of us is personally changing the climate. No guilt. Just truth. Since climate policy is glacial, here are some impactful things you can stop the cycle.
- Stop eating red meat.
- Stop running single-destination errands.
- Stop ordering stuff online.
- Stop flying.
- Stop using the dryer.
I believe I am my brother/sister’s keeper.
Action: Send a postcard to a special young man.
Nestor is a 27-year-old DREAMer who has been at Stewart Detention Center in Georgia for nine months. Originally from South Carolina, he was full of life, a 5K runner, and a college graduate with honors. Now he is in medical detention, feeling lonely and scared. Nestor’s loving parents are not able to visit. While he awaits news about his health and his future in the US, let Nestor know he matters with a kind, colorful, encouraging, or funny postcard. (No money or gifts. Just hugs via mail.)
Address: Nestor Daniel Avila Miranda
P.O. Box 248
Lumpkin, GA 31815
Acts of Gratitude
Get out your stamps, postcards, and sparkle markers for some gratitude mail.
Thank Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) for suggesting penalties for Russia’s aggression.
Address: 290 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510
Thank Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) for calling for an independent commission or special prosecutor.
Address (LM): 522 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510
Address (AK): 2245 Rayburn HOB Washington, DC 20515
Address: 2310 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515
Thank Sen. Patrick Toomey (R-PA) for his bipartisanship in suggesting the White House get its act together and to appoint a Democrat to lead the FBI.
Address: 248 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510
Thank Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) for putting country ahead of party by signing the discharge petition in support of releasing 45’s tax returns. I appreciate your integrity and leadership.
Address: 2333 Rayburn HOB, Washington, DC 20515
Thought-provoking, in-depth reading that’s worth your time.
- What the US needs to have a healthy healthcare system (HBR).
- How 45 might successfully wiggle out of special counsel’s scrutiny (Reuters).
- Long game: The true impact of activism isn’t felt for a generation (Guardian).
- Stay woke and share far-left conspiracy theories with caution (Vox).
Please keep taking care of yourself. Your wellness matters as much as your activism.
- Double win: We now have special counsel for the Russia investigation, and he’s a professional, ethical human.
- The EPA received over 55,000 comments—a majority of which oppose repealing protections for people and planet.
- Rep. Ted Lieu proposed legislation to make the president reimburse self-profiting expenses from travel.
- 45 has made journalism great again.
- Official plans announced to fix VW diesel engines.
- LA mayor will uphold Paris Agreement, even if the US backs out.
- A former inmate helps women rebuild their lives.
- Military museum in SC honors dogs who serve.
- Even more celebrations at Peace is Loud.
If you found this checklist useful, please spread the word!
Tweet: Come for the activism, stay for the self-care. Get this week’s list of clear actions from @inspiredjen: goo.gl/AqCXXS.
Email and Facebook: Here’s this week’s list of clear actions for Americans of Conscience from Jen Hofmann. Come for the activism, stay for the self-care: https://goo.gl/AqCXXS.
Be well and keep taking good care of yourself. We’re stronger together!