What to do this week of December 31, 2017
Americans of Conscience Action Checklist
By Jen Hofmann
60 weeks down, 44 weeks to mid-term elections.
This checklist features clear, hype-free actions for Americans who value democracy, equality, voting, and decency. Additionally, we practice gratitude, self-care, and celebration to stay engaged. Urgent actions are highlighted in yellow.
I believe I can make a difference in our democracy.
The beginning of a year is a good time to step back and plan. In fact, this is how our efforts to advocate for democracy, voting, and each other will succeed.
Action: Take the New Year Activism Challenge
Choose from one of these three ideas to decrease stress and increase courage in 2018.
Action: Make an activism plan.
Action: Make an activist self-care plan.
Pour a yummy beverage, print out this worksheet, and spend ten minutes planning how to support your well being this year.
I value equality.
Stand with your rainbow of neighbors from every religion, race, ethnicity, culture, gender, sexual orientation, economic status, age, and ability. Out of many, we are one.
Action: Stand with the Ramapough Lenape Nation in opposing oil development.
New York is already divesting from fossil fuels; this petition asks Gov. Cuomo to refuse a new, habitat-endangering and unnecessary pipeline through the state.
Action: Stand with women who’ve been assaulted by the president.
Write: Your 2 senators and 1 House rep (local offices) (look up).
Script: Hi, I’m from [ZIP] calling about the numerous and credible allegations of sexual assault by the president. I would like the Justice Department to lead an investigation into his conduct. What is [name] doing to ensure this happens?
Action: Oppose SiriusXM Radio hiring Steve Bannon for Breitbart News Daily (h/t).
Write: Scott Greenstein, President, ℅ SiriusXM, 1221 Avenue of the Americas, NY, NY 10020
Script: I am writing to oppose the “Patriot Channel’s” recent addition of Steve Bannon as host of several daily and weekend programs. Bannon isn’t a patriot, and Breitbart isn’t news. While his name may be profitable in some circles, giving this man a platform is a disservice to American democracy. [If you are a subscriber, communicate whether you’ll be boycotting or canceling your membership.] I will look for all my music and media needs from other outlets in the future. Name, State
Action: Oppose a federal judge appointee with a history of condoning race-based voter suppression.
Call: Your 2 senators asap (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] calling about the nomination of Thomas Farr to a lifetime appointment to the US District Court. His history of defending voter suppression and targeting Black voters makes him unfit for this position. I would like [name] to oppose Farr’s appointment. Thanks.
I value secure, convenient voting and fair elections.
Democracy thrives when all citizens can freely elect those who represent their values. November is coming.
Action: Limit Russian influence. Advocate for transparency in political ads.
Call: Your 2 senators and 1 House rep (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] calling to ask [name] to support the Honest Ads Act. Americans deserve to know who is paying for political ads, and this bipartisan effort improves transparency in online advertising. I would like [name] to cosponsor S. 1989/H.R. 4077 while still in committee. Thank you.
Action: Advocate for the ability to vote by mail nationally to prevent some forms of voter suppression.
Call: Your 2 senators and 1 House rep (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m calling from [ZIP] to advocate for all Americans being able to vote by mail. Four states already do this and enjoy increased voter participation, decreased costs, greater convenience, and better security. I would like [name] to support the Vote by Mail Act (S. 1231/H.R. 2669). Have they already co-sponsored this legislation? (If not, will they?) Thank you.
I value the ethical treatment of all people, regardless of immigration status.
In 2018, the checklist focused on opposing constitutional violations and inhumane treatment of immigrants by ICE, and providing caring outreach to detainees.
Action: Advocate for a clean Dream Act. Even if you already have before.
Call: Your 2 senators and 1 House rep, red and blue (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and am calling to ask [name] to support the Dream Act without funding a border wall or increased enforcement. The president must not use human lives as leverage for his racism. Thank you.
Action: Oppose intent to deter asylum seekers by separating parents and kids.
Write: Honorable Kirstjen M. Nielsen, Secretary of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C. 20528
Script: Dear Sec. Nielsen, The White House and ICE have already approved the practice of separating legal asylum-seekers from their children as a strategy to decrease border arrivals. Both the Women’s Refugee Commission and Amnesty International oppose this inhumane practice which violates US and international standards for family unity. I ask you to reject this proposal on your desk. America is a place of welcome where legal asylum-seekers desire our respect and protection. You have the power to grant both. Name, State
Action: Advocate for the reunion of José and baby Mateo directly.
While the Pueblo Sin Fronteras petition has 65,000 signatures, speak up more visibly by filling up the inbox.
Write: Director Gregory J. Archambeault, ℅ ICE San Diego Field Office, 880 Front Street #2232, San Diego, CA, 92101 or SanDiego.Outreach@ice.dhs.gov
Script: I’m a citizen from [State] requesting your assistance in the reunion of José Fuentes and his son Mateo. The practice of separating children from their parents violates US and international policies for family unity. These legal asylum-seekers are not a threat to America’s safety, and the lifelong trauma of their separation rests on those who are “just following orders.” I entreat you to do everything in your power to restore humanity to the US immigration system and reunite these young families today. Sincerely, Name
Action: Reach in to an ICE detention center to uplift a fellow human.
Write: Sherpa Duk, A# 208-603-576, P.O. Box 248, Lumpkin, GA, 31815
Note: Thanks to volunteer Susan K., we have a chance to bring some light and encouragement. Sherpa is a Nepali man who, according to Susan, has been “on a long, long journey” and “feels worn down.” Send Sherpa a letter or card with stories, drawings in marker or crayon, or heartfelt messages to lift his spirits. (Send no money or gifts.)
Deep breath innnnnnn… Deep breath ouuuuuut… We can do this together, one step at a time.
Acts of Gratitude
Ready? Get out your stamps, postcards, and sparkle markers for some gratitude mail.
Thank Deb Haaland, candidate for Congress (AZ NV-1), for her clear voice opposing the president’s policies. I’m excited to see the first Native American woman in the House, and wish you luck in your campaign. Your leadership is exactly what our country needs.
Address: P.O. Box 25443, Albuquerque, NM 87125
Thank Maine Secretary of State, Matthew Dunlap (D) for taking issue with the secrecy of the president’s Commission on Voting Integrity. Your complaint, lawsuit, and WaPo article were excellent displays of statesmanship on behalf of democracy and transparency. Thank you for your leadership. Maine is fortunate to have you as SoS!
Address: 111 Sewall St #4, Augusta, ME 04330
Thank Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for expressing a desire for bipartisanship in 2018. As a [Dem/Ind/Rep], I am eager to see a return to democratic norms and regular order in Congress. The time has come to value those across the aisle as competent allies and together pass legislation that upholds American values.
Address: 601 W. Broadway, Room 630, Louisville, KY 40202
Thought-provoking, in-depth reading that’s worth your time.
- Encouraging developments for democracy in Rhode Island (HuffPo).
- Small win: Although still separated by ICE, baby Mateo’s whereabouts are now known to his asylum-seeking parents, and their plight featured in a NY Times article.
- Children’s Health Insurance Program is now funded through March 2018 after much pressure (thanks to you!).
- A federal judge blocks the administration’s restrictions on reuniting refugee families and partially lifts a ban on refugees from 11 mostly-Muslim countries.
- A federal judge blocks the president’s military transgender ban on recruits.
- A federal judge rules that the president’s “voter integrity” commission must share its documents with all members.
- A federal judge orders HUD to follow order giving low-income citizens access to housing in neighborhoods with better schools and lower crime rates.
- Good 2018 election news for moderates and progressives in a new poll.
- The US tribal jobs program becomes permanent.
- A women-led coalition of Native activists convinced many that the Washington NFL team had eliminated its controversial name.
- Christine Sage becomes the second woman ever elected to Southern Ute Tribal Chair.
- Puerto Rico’s governor plans to organize Latino voters for the 2018 elections.
- Twitter suspends accounts of high-profile racist groups.
- 87 civil-rights and faith groups speak up for DACA recipients.
- In 2017, League of Women Voters volunteers signed up 25,000 new citizens to vote.
- 3-judge appeals court upheld ruling that an Oregon company illegally discriminated against a lesbian couple.
- The thirty largest US cities see violent crime decrease.
- Guatemalan teen gets a second chance at her dream thanks to school superintendent and family.
- Want a huge rush? Check out a whole year’s worth of wins at Small Victories.
- See more good news at Marla’s Good News, and What Went Right.
Tweet: Happy New Year! Resolve to fuel the fire of our democracy with @AoCChecklist https://goo.gl/qTZCNu
Email and Facebook: Happy New Year! The Americans of Conscience checklist brings you self care, focus, and passion to fuel the fire of our democracy. https://goo.gl/qTZCNu
- Americans of Conscience Action Checklist now has its own twitter account! Follow @AoCChecklist
- Sign up here to receive this message by email weekly.
- Click if you have a question, correction, or action suggestion. With thanks!
- To see archives of past Action Checklists, click here and scroll down.