What to do this week of April 8, 2018
Americans of Conscience Checklist
By Jen Hofmann
74 weeks down, 30 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.
I value our democracy.
Action: Stand for freedom of the press.
Write: Your local station manager (search online for their address).
Script: A single media company controlling 72% of local TV stations is a threat to our constitutional right to free press. As a regular viewer, I’m asking you to stay committed to quality journalism for our local community and reject corporate political agendas. Thank you. Name, town.
Give paid subscriptions to friends and family. The biggest threat to Sinclair’s monopoly are readers of print media.
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 America’s 50,000 incarcerated kids.
Call: Your 2 state legislators (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m a constituent, calling to advocate for [state’s] incarcerated youth. I’m with the 78% of Americans who support shifting the youth justice system from punishment to rehabilitation. I disagree with Jeff Sessions’ plans to jail more young people. Can you tell me if [name] supports alternatives to youth prisons that reduce repeat offenses and meet kids’ physical, psychological, and educational needs?
Bonus: Donate books to incarcerated kids through Liberation Library.
Action: Stand with Americans who deserve equal access to public spaces.
Call: The local offices of your 2 senators (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and concerned about efforts to turn back the clock on the Americans with Disabilities Act. H.R. 620 is now in the Senate and would burden people with disabilities with fighting for their right to access public spaces. It is wrong, and I want to make sure that [name] will not support this bill.
Action: Stand with the Muslim community and our immigrant neighbors.
Call: Your 2 senators and 1 House rep (look up).
Script: Hi. I am calling because I oppose ICE’s plans to invade people’s online activity. Tech experts oppose extreme vetting as ineffective. Civil rights groups call it discriminatory, because it targets our Muslim, Latino, and African American neighbors. I want [name] to protect free speech, refuse to tolerate discrimination, and urge DHS and the State Department to stop this process before it starts.
Action: Stand with your neighbors who are 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 America’s youth.
Call: Or write your 2 senators (look up).
Script: I’m a constituent from [ZIP] calling to voice my support for common-sense gun reform. [If you are a hunter, in the military, or affected by gun violence, share this.] I am eager for [name] to take meaningful action to address gun violence. I would like two things. One is for [name] to oppose S. 446 which weakens protections from gun violence. Two, to oppose Howard Nielson for a lifetime seat on the United States District Court.. Thank you.
Action: Stand for life and justice.
Call: Your 2 senators (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m calling from [ZIP]. I generally oppose the death penalty as racially-biased, ineffective, and inhumane. However, I specifically oppose Jeff Sessions’ plans to kill people who sell drugs. Can you please assure me that [name] does not support his agenda? (Pause) Great. I’d like them to support and co-sponsor S. 1917 which is just out of committee.
Bonus: Contact your county’s District Attorney using the script above.
I value secure, convenient voting and fair elections.
Democracy thrives when all citizens can freely elect those who represent their values.
Action: Stand with your neighbors who can’t afford to vote.
In at least nine states, many people who have outstanding legal fees or court fines cannot legally vote. This modern-day poll tax is unconstitutional under the 24th amendment. People of color and the poorest Americans are often disproportionately affected, making the practice also discriminatory.
Action: Ensure you’ll have a ballot for 2018 primaries and midterms.
Your vote is your voice. Defend it.
- Are you on your state’s voter rolls? Check here.
- Do you meet your state’s voter ID requirements? Check here.
- Is your state’s primary date in your calendar? Get them here.
- Is your polling place in the same place? Check here.
Action: Share upcoming voter registration deadlines.
North Carolina: Register by Friday, April 13 with printable form.
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 asylum seekers fleeing imminent danger.
Call: Your governor’s office (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP], concerned about the president sending National Guard troops to serve as border agents. This misuse of our military wastes taxpayer dollars, escalates tension with our neighbors, and incites hostility toward legal asylum seekers. I would like Gov. [name] to publicly oppose this effort.
Action: Stand with those threatened by ICE.
Post about this tool on social media and among friends.
Deep breath innnnnnn… Deep breath ouuuuuuuut…
Acts of Gratitude
Get out your stamps, postcards, and sparkle markers for some gratitude mail.
Thank Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) for calling for Scott Pruitt’s resignation. I agree that his actions—including accepting a lobbyist’s condo at a lower cost—are unethical. Thank you for breaking with your party to stand up for ethical behavior.
Address (IR-L): 2206 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515
Address (CC): 1404 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515
Thank Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA) for supporting equal pay in the workplace. Gov. Inslee recently signed into law bills to close the gender pay gap, and to make it hard for employers to cover up workplace sexual assault and harassment. Thank you!
Address: Office of the Governor, PO Box 40002, Olympia, WA 98504-0002
Thank Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) for opposing National Guard deployment to the Mexican border, and pressing against the diversion of funds from the defense budget to border infrastructure. This is both fiscally responsible and commendable. Thank you.
Address: 411 N. Central Ave, Suite 150, Phoenix, AZ 85004
Thank Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) for authoring legislation that prevents the US Census from including a citizenship question. I appreciate your efforts to prevent bias and discrimination in our population count. Thank you.
Address: 1 Gateway Center #1100, Newark, NJ 07102
Thought-provoking, in-depth reading that’s worth your time.
- The world is a miraculous mess, and it’s going to be all right (YES! Magazine).
- How a census question helped send Japanese Americans to internment camps (WaPo).
- Environmental research supports Dr. King’s message that segregation harms all (NYT).
Decent people everywhere are speaking up and working together. Just look.
- The Interior Department responds to public comments by deciding not to raise fees in National Parks.
- In solidarity with the UK, 23 countries expel Russian diplomats.
- 17 DAs and seven cities legally challenge a citizenship question on the 2020 census.
- 6 Muslim Americans filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court to “show the heart-wrenching effect of government-sanctioned discrimination.”
- US District Court ruled that government cannot prevent teens in detention from obtaining an abortion.
- Ethics watchdog groups filed complaints with the FEC, FBI, and Department of Justice over John Bolton’s super PAC violating campaign and criminal law in Cambridge Analytica dealings.
- Hawai’i’s lawsuit to permanently overturn Muslim Ban 3.0 will be heard on April 25.
- Wisconsin voters reject an anti-equality candidate for their state supreme court.
- A federal judge ordered North Dakota elections officials to ease voter ID restrictions, making it possible for more Native Americans to vote.
- Teacher walkouts in Oklahoma, Kentucky, and Arizona are demonstrating teachers will no longer tolerate deep cuts to public education
- A federal judge ruled that Texas violated the Motor Voter Act and needs to comply, allowing more citizens to register and update their registrations.
- In Colorado, liberal, conservative, and unaffiliated voters promote two ballot measures designed to end gerrymandering.
- Louisiana is getting vendor proposals for new voting machines with auditable, voter-verified paper printouts and no internet connections.
- A court blocks Exxon’s efforts to conceal climate research and public statements.
- Two Eugene, OR news anchors refuse to recite the required Sinclair statement.
- Chicago is seeing a measurable decrease in lethal violence.
- NYPD must end spying on Muslim mosques, businesses, and cultural institutions.
- Fairfax Co., Virginia sheriff is prioritizing community safety and limiting ICE’s reach.
Groups and organizations
- Contemporary indigenous women are telling their stories and reclaiming matriarchy.
- A church in Manhattan NY offers sanctuary to protect families from deportation.
- Oklahoma Teamsters stop renovation work to stand in solidarity with striking teachers.
- The NBC production of Jesus Christ Superstar on Easter Sunday had a remarkably diverse cast, including John Legend as Jesus.
- For Passover, Jewish New Yorkers stood outside mosques to support and protect their Muslim neighbors.
- Inspired by businessman Amer Adi, who was deported after 40 years here, Nashville’s Tom Manche has just released Welcome Home (Song for Amer).
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- 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!
- Nerd out: See archives of past AoC Checklists here and scroll down.
- Gratitude: Seriously huge gratitude to JEB, Week 2 social media volunteers, the Research Sous Chefs, and the amazing angel patrons who make it possible.