What to this week of March 18, 2018
Americans of Conscience Checklist
By Jen Hofmann
71 weeks down, 33 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.
Reminder: The AoC Checklist takes a Week 4 break next Sunday.
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 domestic violence survivors.
Call: Your 1 House rep (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP], calling to ask [name] to support passage of a clean Fix NICS bill (H.R. 4477) to protect domestic violence survivors and strengthen the nation’s background check system. However, I object to combining it with a second bill allowing concealed carry across state lines (H.R. 38). Protecting people from gun violence should be our priority. Thank you.
Action: Stand with your neighbors vulnerable to discrimination in banking.
Call: Your one House rep (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] calling to express my concern about people of color being denied loans or being charged more for them. With JP Morgan settling a $55M discrimination case and BancorpSouth a $10.6M case, transparency in this sector is vital. S. 2155 has already passed in the Senate. One aspect of this bill makes it easier to hide these discriminatory lending practices. I would like [name] to oppose this aspect of S. 2155 and advocate instead for transparency and protecting citizens from discrimination. Thank you.
Action: Stand with your female friends and LGBTQ neighbors.
Call: Your 2 senators (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] calling to oppose Gordon Giampietro’s nomination as a federal judge. He has no experience as a judge. Worse, his comments against the LGBTQ community and fierce opposition to marriage equality, birth control, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 make him unfit to lead. I ask that [name] reject this nominee.
Action: Stand with senior citizens who need medicine.
Call: Your 2 senators and 1 House rep (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] calling to ask [name] to resist pressure from drug makers to change the closure of the Medicare prescription “donut hole” from 2019 to 2020. This will be part of the March 23 budget session and therefore this issue is urgent. Can senior citizens rely on [name’s] support?
Action: Stand with your Muslim neighbors and LGBTQ neighbors.
Call: Your 2 senators (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m calling about the appointment of Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State. He received the highest award from a Muslim hate group. Pompeo profiles Americans by religion, supports online privacy invasion, and advocates for torture. I also oppose his replacement at the CIA, Gina Haspel, whose torture history is well-documented. I want [name] to support decency and equality by voting against these extreme appointments.
Action: Stand with your neighbors who are jailed for being poor.
Call: Your 2 state-level legislators (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP], and I’m calling because I’m concerned that although the US outlawed debtors’ prisons in 1833, poor [staters] may be being jailed for inability to repay private and criminal-justice debt. The Obama Administration halted the practice, but Jeff Sessions recently reinstated it. I don’t think we should fund law enforcement with fines. It’s unjust to keep poor people in jail who can’t afford to pay. I would like [name] to address the issue of debtors’ prisons by introducing legislation in [state].
Action: Stand with your neighbors who are subject to unfair sentencing.
This week, your action is to learn who your DA is and why they’re important. April’s checklist will have an action regarding your county DA.
Background: In the next election, you may have a District Attorney running unopposed. In most counties, the District Attorney is an elected official who decides how severe sentencing is and how fairly people of color are sentenced.
- Your county’s DA. Google “district attorney _____ county”.
- How strict your DA is. Google “[name] district attorney news” and review.
I value secure, convenient voting and fair elections.
Democracy thrives when all citizens can freely elect those who represent their values.
Action: Encourage your 17-year-old friends to register to vote.
Text or message: You might be able to preregister to vote! Check here: https://www.headcount.org/think-youre-young-register/
Action: Empower Latino voters to register and participate in upcoming elections.
Almost 43% of eligible Latinos are not registered to vote. Counter voter suppression efforts by supporting groups mobilizing Latino voters.
Bonus: Share on social media: “Your vote is your voice. Tu voto es tu voz. https://www.mifamiliavota.org/”
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 legal immigrants seeking safety from danger.
Email: Your 2 senators’ and 1 House rep’s local offices (look up).
Script: I am from [ZIP] and concerned about how we’re treating legal asylum seekers. Both the National Association of Immigration Judges and Federal Bar Association advocate for creating an immigration court that operates independently of the Department of Justice. Attorney General Sessions intends to prevent victims of gang violence, domestic violence, and other violent crimes from qualifying for asylum. I want [name] to support creating an independent Article I immigration court to give asylum seekers a speedy decision and basic respect. Here is a link for more information: http://www.fedbar.org/Image-Library/Government-Relations/CH16/Proposed-Article-I-Immigration-Court.aspx Thank you. Name, address
Action: Stand with young people who call this country home.
Call: Your 2 senators and 1 House rep (look up).
Script: Hi, I’m from [ZIP] concerned about protecting those who call this country home. With voting on a spending bill coming to a deadline, I would like [name] to support standalone legislation for Dreamers. We cannot continue to gamble their future or trade their security for racist immigration policies. Can you tell me if [name] will support these young Americans through proactive legislation?
Deep breath innnn… Deep breath ouuuut… Remember that we’re doing this together.
Acts of Gratitude
Get out your stamps, postcards, and sparkle markers for some gratitude mail.
Thank John Zimmer and Logan Green, Lyft co-founders, for providing free rides to students who are attending the March for Our Lives rallies against gun violence on March 24th.
Address: 185 Berry St., San Francisco, CA 94107 or https://www.lyft.com/
Thank Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) for her continued commitment to protect American consumers by releasing a set of 17 amendments to the Senate Bank Deregulation Bill to prevent big banks from exploiting consumers and hurting the economy. Thank you for your leadership.
Address: 2400 JFK Federal Building, 15 New Sudbury St., Boston, MA, 02203
Thank Maggie Toulouse Oliver, New Mexico Secretary of State, for authoring (with 18 other SoSs) a letter opposing the presence of armed Secret Service agents in polling places on Election Day. I appreciate your advocacy for normalcy.
Address: New Mexico Capitol Annex North, 325 Don Gaspar, Suite 300, Santa Fe, NM 87501
Thank Larry Krasner, Philadelphia District Attorney, for implementing strategies that make more humane and effective use of the justice system and are more fiscally responsible for taxpayers. I hope all district attorneys follow your lead. Thank you for setting an example.
Address: Philadelphia District Att’y, 3 S Penn Square, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Thank Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) for writing legislation that prevents spending American tax dollars on the president’s properties. Thank you for your ingenuity and leadership.
Address: 51 Monroe St., Suite 507, Rockville, MD 20850
Decent people everywhere are speaking up and working together. Just look!
- James Schwab resigned as ICE spokesperson after being pressured to misrepresent facts to the public.
- Court rules in favor of fired transgender funeral director.
- UN women’s commission opens annual session at ‘pivotal moment’ for gender equality movement.
- A group of immigrants are suing the government over threatened loss of Temporary Protected Status of several hundred thousand people.
- Kids, teens, and supportive adults around the country walked out for 17 minutes to advocate for curbing gun violence.
- Rep Tim Walz (MM) offers Andrew McCabe a job to save his pension.
- Red Lake Tribal Council votes to remove Enbridge-owned pipelines.
- A bill has passed in the GA state Senate authorizing replacement of touch screen voting machines with a paper ballot system.
- A new California law will pre-register eligible 16- and 17-year-olds to vote when they apply for or renew a driver’s license or state ID card.
- Oregon’s Secretary of State will implement federal recommendations to safeguard elections against foreign hacking and other dangers.
- National Geographic acknowledges, apologizes for, and takes a critical look at its past racist coverage.
- An inspiring teen in Salem, OR is fundraising for a teen homeless shelter.
- A park in Baltimore previously dedicated to confederate generals has been re-dedicated to Harriet Tubman.
- DC mayor pledged to fund DC Fair Elections Act, to curb “the influence of big money and promote racial, economic, and gender equity in our elections.”
Groups and organizations
- Seeking to stop ICE from arresting people in courthouses, MA advocates petition State Supreme Court.
- Women march across the US to fight for equal rights.
- The ACLU is pushing for information about the TSA’s practice of searching domestic passengers’ phones and laptops without a warrant.
- In two weeks, we donated 384 books and $1,327 to the Prison Book Program!
- Asylum-seeking mother and 7 year old daughter reunite after 4 months’ ICE separation.
- When Eric Bain, a gay high school student in Ladue, Missouri, attracted the attention of the Westboro Baptist Church, the community turned out to counterprotest.
- When I asked my Twitter followers about good news in their own lives, they shared some really happy things.
- See more good news at Small Victories, Marla’s Good News, and What Went Right.
Please share with people you like!
Tweet: Every week, this simple checklist from @AoCChecklist helps me get inspired and stay engaged. Check it out and RT. https://goo.gl/9WqNdR
Email and Facebook: Every week, this simple checklist from Jen Hofmann helps me get inspired and stay engaged in our democracy. Check it out: https://goo.gl/9WqNdR
- Sign up: Subscribe to the weekly Americans of Conscience Checklist here.
- Get focused: Complete the Action Worksheet (or Kelly Wooten’s artistic version).
- Stay inspired: Complete the Self-Care Worksheet.
- Connect: If you have a question, correction, or action suggestion.
- Nerd out: See archives of past AoC Checklists here and scroll down.
- Gratitude: Big thanks to the JEBitor, Juana G., Week 3 social media volunteers, the Research Sous Chefs teams, and to the amazing angel patrons who make it possible.