What to do this week of June 25, 2017
Action Checklist for Americans of Conscience
By Jen Hofmann
33 weeks down, 71 weeks to mid-term elections.
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.
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I believe I can make a difference in our democracy.
Create an activism plan.
- Get the activism planner: Get focused with my Action Worksheet (or Kelly Wooten’s pocket-sized version).
- Get Stance: This app makes calling elected officials easier and less stressful.
I believe in equal rights for all Americans.
Action: Insist that our elected representatives condemn acts of violence against Muslims.
Write: A postcard/letter/email to your three MoCs (lookup).
Script: Hi. I’m a constituent from [town, ZIP] and heartbroken about the increasing attacks on Muslims, Jews, and Sikhs in our country. Worse, our president refuses to acknowledge these events publicly, giving the impression that it’s okay to hurt fellow Americans because of their religion. I am writing to ask Sen./Rep. [name] to use her/his media channels to loudly and clearly condemn these attacks when they happen. Even if our president fails to set a good example, your constituents need to know you are offended by and oppose this violence. Thank you. Name (and address, if you want a reply).
Action: Advocate for the rights of Americans and for civility toward immigrants.
Call: Your governor’s office (lookup).
Script: I am deeply concerned about ICE’s increasing aggression in our communities throughout the state. In Virginia, for example, ICE is stopping legal citizens to ask for proof of citizenship because of how they look. This creates a hostile environment for citizens and immigrants–and makes us all less safe. I am calling to request that Gov. [name] contact Homeland Security Sec. Kelly and express his/her desire to “insure domestic tranquility.”
Action: Help deprive Breitbart.com of advertising revenue.
If you’re on twitter, Sleeping Giants has instructions on how you can help.
I believe in a quality education for America’s youth.
Action: Oppose Sec. DeVos’ efforts to exclude LGBTQ kids from quality education.
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] calling to express my concern about Betsy DeVos’ agenda to exclude LGBTQ kids from receiving a quality education. As Sen/Rep [name] knows, sexual orientation is not a legally protected status in the US. So when DeVos says she’ll uphold the current law, this means she can legally discriminate against gay kids in education. That’s not okay. (Share story if you have a LGBTQ family member or friend.) America can’t afford to abandon our kids. Will [name] work to be sure all kids receive a robust, quality education?
I believe in a government led by qualified, trustworthy representatives.
Action: Advocate for strict sanctions against Russia.
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and am calling to support strong sanctions against Russia for their aggressive actions during our country’s elections last fall. When I see legislators trying to weaken sanctions, I fear for my country’s future. This is not a Republican or Democratic issue. This is about protecting our country from foreign aggression. Will [name] work hard to penalize Russia for their actions?
I believe in the Constitutional right to free speech.
Action: Advocate for open, frequent press briefings.
Read: What we lose if the president curtails press briefings more than he has.
Call: The White House Comment line 202-456-1111 (or email).
Script: Hi. I am concerned about the lack of open press briefings at the White House. I think a free press is essential to our democracy. I would like open, televised briefings from the president on a regular basis. Thank you.
Call/email: A news outlet you subscribe to or watch (list).
Script: Hi. I’m a subscriber/viewer and am concerned about the lack of open press briefings at the White House. I think a free press is essential to our democracy. Can you tell me what [org] is doing about this issue?
I believe in quality, affordable healthcare for all Americans.
Action: Advocate for patients’ rights against corporate abuse this week.
Script: Hi! I’m from [ZIP] calling about HR 1215 which intends to strip patients’ rights and increase medical corporations’ protections from lawsuits. When it comes to medical neglect, abuse, and malpractice, patients rights need to come first. Does Rep. [name] support violating the 7th Amendment of the US Constitution? Please ask him/her to vote against HR 1215.
Action: Advocate to Democratic senators to use legislative actions to stop AHCA.
This is a modified script from Indivisible.
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP], calling about the Senate healthcare bill. I know my senator will vote to oppose it, but the process needs to slow and open hearings on the bill must happen. I would like [name] to “withhold consent” on all Senate business and to “filibuster by amendment.” I know these seem extreme, but tens of thousands of lives are at stake if the AHCA passes. Is Sen. [name] willing to take these measures?
Bonus: Complete this form from Indivisible by Monday, July 26.
Action: Advocate to Republican senators to support healthcare for all Americans.
Lookup: Note what percent of your state’s residents reject/support the ACHA.
Script: Hi. I’m calling from [ZIP] about the healthcare bill. (Share a story about your health and how not having coverage would hurt you–don’t hold back). I would like Sen. [name] to urge Mitch McConnell to slow the process down and conduct open, transparent hearings so the senate can create a bill Americans actually support.
Action: Advocate for open debate instead of McConnell’s secret healthcare deals.
Script: I am calling Senator McConnell in his role as Senate Majority Leader. I am concerned that the secrecy and speed of the AHCA bill don’t serve the American public. These hasty actions are hurting your party. I would like Sen. McConnell to show Americans he values transparency and democratic debate by slowing down the process and having open, collaborative hearings that address the needs of all Americans.
I believe in creating a healthy planet for future generations.
Action: Ask your MOCs to support the Scientific Integrity Act. (Hat tip)
Script: Hello, I’m calling from [ZIP]. I want to make sure that researchers working for our government can release their findings without censorship. We need science without partisan influence, now and for the future. Can I count on [MoC] to support the Scientific Integrity Act (H.R. 1348/S. 338) by joining as a co-sponsor?
I believe in a vote for every American.
To gain democratic ground in 2018, we must start changing voting rights today.
Action 1: Curtail gerrymandering.
Script: I’m from [ZIP] and support fair voting and efforts to stop racially discriminatory gerrymandering. Although this issue is going to the Supreme Court, I’m calling to ask you to support HB711 to address this issue legislatively.
Action 2: Help Americans afford to vote.
Visit: spreadthevote.org/ and donate what you can until the laws are changed.
Action 3: Advocate for accessible voting locations, increased hours, and mail-in voting.
Call: Your Secretary of State (lookup), click on your SoS’ website link.
Script: I’m a resident of [state] and want to know what my Secretary of State is doing to increase voter participation. (pause) I would like to see our state copy Oregon’s model of voting by mail and automatic DMV voter registration. At the very least, I want better options for mail-in voting, more polling stations, and increased hours. What will it take for this to be on his/her agenda? (Put this in your calendar to call monthly about this issue.)
Action 4: Resist new federal-level efforts to weaken election oversight.
Visit: 2 Hours A Week (awesome resistance allies!)
Follow their excellent script on opposing federal-level voter suppression in the proposed Election Assistance Termination Act.
I believe in a woman’s right to safe, affordable medical care.
Action: Inform your MoCs of the US maternal death rate.
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] calling to express my concern about the maternal death rate in the US. I [am/would like to be/have a child who will be] a mother, and a report from ProPublica shows that American women die in childbirth more than in any other developed nation. I’m sure [name] shares my concern. (pause) Would s/he be willing to co-sign legislation to prevent these unnecessary deaths? The bill is the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act (H.R. 1318/S. 1112). Thank you.
I believe in being a good citizen of the world community.
Please don’t look away.
Action: Oppose US forces violating human rights in in Yemen.
Script: Hi. I am from [ZIP] and deeply disturbed by the AP report showing US forces are complicit in the torture and disappearances of detainees in Yemen. The story shows that US forces are questioning Yemenis, possibly after they’ve been tortured, and giving questions to Emirati officials who may ask them under torture. This is unconscionable and un-American. I am asking Sen./Rep. [name] first to speak to house/senate leadership about this issue, and secondly, to introduce legislation that requires “interrogation assignments” to require a classified briefing of Armed Services committee. Thank you.
Deep breath innnnnnn… Deep breath ouuuuuuuut… Thank you for being brave.
I believe I am my brother and sister’s keeper.
Action: Send a note to our friend Nestor Avila, a DREAMer in ICE detention.
Nestor’s volunteer told me he is so happy to hear from people and has gotten more mail in the last month than he has in his whole life. That’s thanks to you. He’s recently been put in solitary confinement because of his depression. He could use encouraging, funny, or colorful notes to lift him up, and also receive marker- or crayon drawings too (which he hangs on the walls). Send no money or gifts. Just hugs via mail.
Address: Nestor Daniel Avila Miranda
P.O. Box 248
Lumpkin, GA 31815
I believe that good self-care will help me stay engaged in the long term.
Action: Choose to attend an in-person event.
If you are able to go, you will feel inspired, invigorated, and encouraged by spending time with fellow advocates for justice. Show up at a local Indivisible meeting or attend a Resistance Summer Community Cookout.
Acts of Gratitude
Get out your stamps, postcards, and sparkle markers for some gratitude mail.
Note: International postage is $1.15 for postcards or letters.
Thank Sigmar Gabriel, German Foreign Minister, for calling Ivanka Trump’s presence at the W20 Summit exactly what it is: nepotism. Thank you for speaking the truth.
Address: Sigmar Gabriel, MdB / Platz der Republik 1 / 11011 Berlin GERMANY
Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, for expressing the opinion that our president shouldn’t visit London. Americans appreciate your integrity and hope that you know many of us oppose our president’s hateful words and actions.
Address: Mayor Sadiq Khan / City Hall / The Queen’s Walk / London, SE1 2AA
Thank Amy Paulin, NY State Assemblywoman, for sponsoring legislation that bans child marriage in NY. Thank you for your advocacy on this issue. Congratulations on your measure becoming law!
Address: 700 White Plains Rd. Suite 252, Scarsdale, NY 10583
Thank Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) for meeting with Sec. Kelly to discuss recent events where ICE officers have randomly stopped American citizens to ask about their legal status. I appreciate your honest, collegial way of handling this concerning issue.
Address: Common Ground for Virginia, P.O. Box 1475, Richmond, VA 23218
Thank Xavier Becerra, Attorney General of California, for standing up for civil rights. Banning CA state-funded travel to four additional states which passed discriminitory legislation against LGBTQ Americans is powerful way to send an important message. I appreciate your leadership and advocacy for equality.
Address: AG Xavier Becerra, CA Department of Justice, Attn: Public Inquiry Unit, P.O. Box 944255, Sacramento, CA 94244-2550
Thought-provoking, in-depth reading that’s worth your time.
- The collapse of the American identity–how it happened and what we can do (NY Times).
- How Republicans and Democrats became political enemies (NY Times).
- What happens in Mexico when the US deports Mexican citizens (Washington Post).
- Russians have Americans’ drivers license info and SSNs (Time).
- What to do about North Korea (The Atlantic).
- The FBI fired Sebastian Gorka for his anti-Muslim rants.
- A US District Court judge orders the DOJ to produce Sessions’ clearance form.
- Mexico says, “No way, Jose” to the president’s plan to deport non-Mexicans there.
- City of Atlanta raises minimum wage for city employees.
- Senators leaving town for recess were met by health care protesters at DC airport.
- Tennessee becomes the first state to offer free college to adults.
- The Congressional Black Caucus will decline invitation to meet with the president.
- Sanctuary cities are helping slow down ICE stings.
- NY Daily News sponsors an immigration hotline to answer questions in 40 languages.
- Brave Americans with disabilities protested AHCA outside McConnell’s office.
- Bishops, rabbis, and pastors are taking a moral stand against ACA repeal.
- This artist helps world leaders see the Syrian refugee crisis through new eyes.
- More really good news at Peace is Loud.
- Bonus inspiration: My talk, Dream Bigger, is on my blog to inspire and encourage you.
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