What to do this week of March 11, 2018
Americans of Conscience Action Checklist
By Jen Hofmann
70 weeks down, 34 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 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 students and their civil rights.
Write: Your local school district (look up)
Script: Dear Board of Ed., I’m writing to express my concern over Betsy DeVos’s changes to the Office for Civil Rights Case Processing Manual. These changes prevent appeals by parents and students who disagree with investigators’ findings. They also make it harder for students to provide information on civil rights complaints. I would like the Board to stand with students and challenge these changes. Please ensure every student’s rights are protected. Thank you.
Action: Stand with your neighbors vulnerable to discrimination.
Call: Your 2 senators (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m calling from [ZIP] to stand with LGBT groups who oppose the judicial nominations of Kyle Duncan and Thomas Farr. People hostile to equal rights and voting access don’t deserve lifetime appointments. Should these nominees come to a vote, can I count on Sen. [name] to oppose them?
Action: Stand with your Muslim neighbors.
Write: The State Department.
Script: The Administration’s nominee to lead the UN IOM, Ken Isaacs, has tweeted several comments that vilify Muslims. In this country, all people may worship free of discrimination. Because his statements raise concern over his ability to be impartial toward a large percentage our neighbors, I am writing to request that Ken Isaacs nomination be withdrawn. Thank you.
Address: Office of Public Engagement: PA/PL, Rm. 2206, U.S. Department of State, 2201 C Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20520
Action: Stand with kids who want to grow up peacefully and not be be shot.
Script: As capable adults, we have a moral obligation to protect kids. Training babies to hide in closets and be quiet isn’t a solution. Arming every underpaid, overworked teacher isn’t viable. It comes down to competent adults deciding whether young lives are more important than profit. I am writing to ask [company] to follow the moral, courageous lead of Dick’s Sporting Goods. Stop selling assault-style weapons. Raise the minimum age. Focus on giving 19 kids every day the future they deserve. Thank you.
2500 E. Kearney
Springfield, MO 65898
CEO John Schaefer, Sportsman’s Warehouse
7035 S. High Tech Drive
Midvale, UT 84047
CEO David Pratt, Freedom Roads/Camping World
250 Parkway Drive Suite 270
Lincolnshire, IL 60069
Action: Stand with women and LGBTQ people to ensure they get medical care.
Read: Statements of opposition to a new DHS rule expanding discriminatory, “moral exemptions” by the National Women’s Law Center, National Center for Transgender Equality, and People for the American Way.
Comment: Go to the Federal Register to object to this new rule.
- Copy/paste: “RIN 0945-ZA03 or Docket HHS-OCR-2018-0002”
- Share how this rule would affect you personally and/or economically.
- Explain why you object and suggest alternatives.
- If you work in medicine, mention this.
I value secure, convenient voting and fair elections.
Democracy thrives when all citizens can freely elect those who represent their values.
Action: Encourage your legislators to hold town meetings during recess.
Senators and House Reps will be out of session from March 26 to April 6, 2018.
Call: Your 2 senators and 1 House rep (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m a constituent from [ZIP], calling to see if [name] is planning to hold any town meetings during the March 26-April 6 recess. [If no meeting planned yet] Please encourage Senator/Representative to visit with his/her constituents. [If meetings are planned] Thank you for this information; I plan to be there.
Action: Ensure you’ll have a ballot for 2018 primaries and midterms.
- Assume you’ve been removed from your state’s voter rolls (verify here).
- Ensure that you meet your state’s voter ID requirements (check here). If you need help with getting ID or transport, go here or here.
- Put your state’s primary dates in your calendar (check here).
- Make sure your polling place hasn’t been moved (check here).
- Important: Share these steps on social media so your friends vote too.
I value showing respect for all people, no matter where they were born.
People who immigrate to the US make our country stronger and build our economy. As our neighbors and as fellow human beings, they are entitled to basic respect and compassion.
Action: Stand with your neighbors, the Dreamers.
Donate: To United We Dream.
Thousands of Dreamers face increased risk of deportation and losing the ability to work and drive. In the uncertainty, Dreamers hesitate to pay the $495 renewal fee. Help them make the leap.
Defend: Call your 3 MoCs: “I want legislation that gives Dreamers permanent status without building a wall or breaking up families.” (look up)
Acts of Gratitude
Get out your stamps, postcards, and sparkle markers for some gratitude mail.
Thank Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI), during Senate Judiciary Committee, for continuing to ask judicial nominees, under oath, if they have a history of sexual assault or harassment. I am so grateful to you for highlighting this important issue.
Address: 300 Ala Moana Blvd, Rm 3-106, Honolulu, HI 96850
Thank Evan Rachel Wood, Actor, for standing up for survivors of sexual assault by testifying about her own experiences before Congress and supporting Sen. Shaheen’s Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act. I appreciate your courage.
Address: Twitter: @evanrachelwood
Thank Sen Ron Wyden (D-OR) for asking the biggest manufacturer of voting machines whether remote-access software is enabled on its systems. Thank you for repeatedly asking tough questions about securing American voting technology, and recognizing that securing elections is not a partisan issue. You rock!
Address: 911 NE 11th Ave. Suite 630, Portland OR, 97232
Thank Al Hoffman, [real estate developer and major Republicans donor] for saying “enough is enough.” Refusing to donate to politicians unless they support a ban on the sale of military-style firearms will save lives.
Address: 12530 Seminole Beach Road North Palm Beach, FL
Thank Governor Gina Raimondo (D-RI) for creating a Red Flag Executive Order to keep firearms out of the hands of those with records of committing violence and/or abuse. You’re setting a trend for the rest of the country’s leaders to follow.
Address: Office of the Governor, 82 Smith Street, Providence, RI 02903
Thank Governor Kate Brown (D-OR) for signing legislation that improves safety for abuse survivors from people under restraining orders or convicted of domestic abuse. I’m grateful you’re setting a trend for our country’s leaders to follow.
Address: Office of the Governor, 900 Court St NE, Salem, OR 97301
Thought-provoking, in-depth reading that’s worth your time.
- What happens when you get all your news from newspapers (NYT).
- It’s time to abolish ICE (The Nation).
- Feel the anger, but practice kindness too (Washington Post).
Decent people everywhere are speaking up and working together. Just look.
Successes for the Americans of Conscience Checklist
- We sent our friend Sherpa Duk in ICE detention over 300 letters of encouragement (featured in December).
- We sent more than 280 books (including GED prep and job-training guides) and donated $1,110 for books to people in prison. Prison Book Program volunteers are overjoyed and full of thanks (featured 3/4).
- Molly Gordon is now the 5th subscriber to say they’re now helping their local school district include better information about slavery US history (mentioned on 2/4).
- Jen’s patrons just reached a new goal, supporting the weekly checklist creation at half time. This means better quality, more teamwork, and less stress. Huge, huge gratitude.
- 526 women are running for office in November.
- The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a federal law banning sex bias in the workplace and also prohibits discrimination against gay employees.
- The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Civil Rights Act prohibits employment discrimination against transgender people and that employers may not use “religious freedom” to discriminate against LGBTQ workers.
- Candidates from both parties are running for office in record-breaking numbers.
- 64% of non-NRA gun owners support higher age limits for gun purchases.
- CA Attorney General and 19 other state AGs formally oppose a census question that could decrease participation and hurt social programs.
- The ACLU filed a class-action lawsuit accusing the U.S. government of broadly separating immigrant families seeking asylum.
- Texas voters participated in record numbers in the March 6 primary election.
- Washington’s state legislature passed 3 voting-rights bills to allow automatic and same-day voter registration and pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds.
- Washington’s state legislature passed a bill protecting LGBTQ youth from “conversion therapy”.
- In Kansas, Kris Kobach’s claim of voter fraud is on trial with national implications for voter suppression.
- The New Jersey Senate voted to make it easier to change birth certificates to reflect how people identify themselves.
- US District Court ruled that Idaho will issue accurate birth certificates to transgender people who wish to correct them.
- Hudson County, NJ ends its collaboration with ICE and increases public safety.
- A CA judge ruled that mail-in ballots can’t be rejected without notifying affected voters to correct discrepancies. This ensures more votes will be counted as valid.
- Lyft is offering free rides to students attending the DC March for Our Lives.
- Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is taking steps to actively address employee gender disparities.
- The Dallas Independent School District has unveiled a new website for DACA recipients and their families to prepare families in case of an immigration raid.
- In Arlington, Virginia, people are donating to help immigrants prepare and pay for their citizenship tests.
Groups and organizations
- 8,700 protests in 2017 involved 2.8% of the US population. Sustained non-violent protests with 3.5% of the population are almost certain to be successful.
- There’s a good chance Texas will send two Latina women to Congress next year.
- Four states challenge the constitutionality of giving 100% of electoral votes to the most popular candidate.
- Canada’s doctors protest their own raises.
- Spain grinds to a halt as 3 million women strike for gender equality.
- Fabric art is a tool of free speech at this year’s QuiltCon.
- A little girl thinks Michelle Obama is a queen.
- Philando Feeds the Children, a charity honoring shooting victim Philando Castile, has paid off the lunch debts of students at 56 schools in Saint Paul, MN.
- After traveling 7 hours to see his hero commemorate the 1965 march, this 4th-grader got to cross the bridge beside Rep. John Lewis.
- 10-year-old Mari Copeny asked for $5,000 for Flint kids to see Black Panther. People donated $17,000. The extra will now send kids to see A Wrinkle in Time.
- Striking West Virginia teachers ask for financial support—Americans have already donated over $330,000. (And they won!)
- Jordan Peele becomes the first black American director to win an Oscar. He was also nominated in three other categories.
- Lupita Nyong’o and Kumail Nanjiani, two actors born in other countries, advocate for immigrants at the Oscars.
- Mexican director Guillermo del Toro, wins an Oscar for Best Picture for Shape of Water saying, “The greatest thing that art does, and our industry does, is to erase the lines in the sand. We should continue doing that, when the world tells us to make them deeper.”
- Powerful PBS documentary about Wilma Mankiller, first female Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation and winner of Presidential Medal of Freedom.
- The trailer for the documentary about Ruth Bader Ginsburg looks amazing.
Know someone who’d like to get involved?
Please share the AoC Checklist with people you value, red or blue.
Email and Facebook: If you’re concerned for our democracy, make a positive difference with this clear, bi-partisan checklist of democracy to-dos. Your voice matters. https://goo.gl/dUTW8F
- Sign up: Subscribe to the weekly Americans of Conscience Checklist here.
- Stay inspired: Complete the Self-Care Worksheet.
- Stay focused: Complete the Action Worksheet (or Kelly Wooten’s artistic version).
- Connect: If you have a question, correction, or action suggestion. With thanks!
- Get answers: Here’s the FAQ page.
- Nerd out: See archives of past AoC Checklists here and scroll down.
- Gratitude: Big thanks to the JEBitor, Juana G., Week 2 social media volunteers, the Research Sous Chefs teams, and to the amazing angel patrons who make it possible.