What to do this week of April 15, 2018
Americans of Conscience Checklist
By Jen Hofmann
75 weeks down, 29 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 checklist takes the 4th Sunday off (next week). Back on April 29!
I value democracy.
Action: Make an activism self-care plan.
Self care planning is vital to maintaining long-term resilience. Grab a pen and spend ten minutes with this worksheet.
Action: Advocate for fair, unbiased local news.
Write: The Honorable Makan Delrahim, Assistant Attorney General, US Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC, 20530-0001
Action: Stay informed, but keep breathing.
I’m recommending folks visit indivisible.org for actions regarding the Syria bombing and possible Rosenstein firing. And then take a break for self care.
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 women and LGBTQ people by opposing biased nominees.
Call: Your 2 senators (look up). Time sensitive.
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP], calling to support the rights of my LGBTQ and female neighbors. We have five judicial nominees with long histories of discriminating against LGBTQ citizens: Sen. Mark Norris (R-TN), Kyle Duncan, Howard Nielson, Gordon Giampetro, and Michael Brennan. Another nominee, Wendy Vitter, avoids questions about her pro-life bias and basic civil rights. Please ask [name] not to reward discrimination with a lifetime appointment. Thank you.
Bonus: While you’re on the phone, ask your senators to hold Chuck Grassley accountable for disregarding the process of choosing judicial appointments.
Action: Stand with your Muslim neighbors.
Write: The State Department a postcard. Time sensitive.
Script: In this country, all people may worship free of discrimination. The Administration’s nominee to lead the UN International Organization for Migration, Ken Isaacs, has made comments that vilify Muslims. His ability to be impartial toward our neighbors is in question. I am writing to request that Ken Isaacs’ nomination be withdrawn.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 your neighbors who are hungry.
Call: Call your 2 senators and 1 House rep this week (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m calling from [ZIP], concerned about new barriers to our neighbors receiving food assistance. I want [name] to reauthorize SNAP without decreasing benefits—and without adding work requirements or drug-testing requirements. With the Farm Bill up for debate next week, it is urgent that [name] advocate so that the poorest [staters] can eat. Thank you.
Action: Stand with people, not profiteers.
Write: Your mayor and city councilor (search for their name and address).
Script: Dear [name], I am a resident of [city/your district] writing to express my concern that [city] is supporting for-profit prisons. Geo Group and CoreCivic Inc. are profiting off American taxpayers, getting unfair tax breaks, and spending millions to lobby Congress to fill the prison pipeline. In turn, they operate dangerous facilities under inhumane conditions that violate our Constitution. Our neighbors of color are already disproportionately incarcerated. I don’t want my tax dollar to fund companies that profit from making their lives worse. I would like [city] to join the numerous US cities withdrawing investments from for-profit prisons. Enlaceintl.org has a useful step-by-step guide. Thank you. Name, address.
Action: Stand with people at risk of discrimination based on religious beliefs.
Call: Your 1 House rep (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP], calling about the US Dept. of Health and Human Services division that condones discrimination against our own citizens. Denying medical treatment is unconscionable and risks our neighbors’ lives. Providers who discriminate should not receive government money. I would like [name] to co-sponsor H.R. 5123 a new bill that abolishes this department.
Action: Stand with families vulnerable to lead poisoning.
Michigan residents: Hi. I’m a Michiganian, calling to ask Gov. Snyder not to terminate the bottled water program for Flint residents. We have an obligation to provide lead-free water to all residents, especially children. I would also like him to accept a meeting with Flint Mayor Karen Weaver. Thank you.
Call: 517-335-7858 (Constituent Services)
Non-MI: Donate to United Way of Genesee County. 100% of donations buy bottled water for Flint residents: http://www.unitedwaygenesee.org/flintwaterfund
Action: Stand with Black Americans by advocating for slavery history education.
Write: Your local school district (lookup).
Script: Dear Board of Ed., I am a resident of [town] and would like the board to consider evaluating the school district’s curriculum covering America’s history of slavery. Recent research by the Southern Poverty Law Center shows that the average high school senior cannot answer basic questions about this painful period in our country’s history. Please review the SPLC’s report and consider the importance of preparing our students for leadership in a diverse world. Thank you.
Action: Stand with people vulnerable to predatory and discriminatory lenders.
Call: Your 1 House rep (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] calling about The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). I can’t understand why Mick Mulvaney would dismantle an agency that protects consumers from fraud and abuse. S. 2155 passed in the Senate, and I’m counting on [name] to vote against its passage in the House. Thank you.
Action: Stand with people in need of medical care.
Call: Your governor’s office (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m a resident of [state] and want to let Gov. [name] know that I oppose Medicaid work-for-service and lifetime caps. I pay taxes because I want my vulnerable neighbors to receive support and medical care. I am asking [name] to ignore the president’s agenda and do what’s right for [staters].
Bonus: Residents of AZ, KS, UT, ME, and WI (lifetime limits) or AL, AZ, AK, ID, KS, KY, ME, MI, NC, OH, UT, and HI (work requirements), also call your 2 state legislators to oppose these changes (look up).
I value secure, convenient voting and fair elections.
Democracy thrives when all citizens can freely elect those who represent their values.
Action: Advocate for verifiable voting to prevent hacking.
Call: Your state elections office (look up).
Script: Many states have no auditable paper trail to verify election results. A system that includes a verifiable paper component preserves the integrity of our vote. As a [state] voter, I urge you to replace our hackable electronic voting machines as soon as possible. Thank you.
Action: Make sure you’re ready for the fast-approaching 2018 primaries.
- 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 it here.
- Is your polling place in the same place? Check here.
I value treating people with respect and dignity, no matter where they were born.
People who immigrate to the US make our country stronger. As our neighbors and as fellow human beings, they are entitled to basic respect and dignity.
Action: Stand with people facing deportation without due process.
Call: Your 2 senators and 1 House rep (look up).
Script: I am calling from [ZIP] about the Department of Justice forcing case quotas on immigration judges. Tying performance to cases means people may not receive a fair trial. We need fewer ICE arrests, not case quotas. I would like [name] to make a public statement in support of due process and basic decency toward immigrants.
Action: Stand with a professor facing deportation.
Here legally on asylum for 26 years, Dr. Wenyama faces personal danger if deported to Nigeria on July 4, 2018.
Recommended actions: https://www.mzenga.com/projecto-1
Action: Stand with our neighbors who are being targeted by ICE.
Sign: ACLU petition telling Greyhound to stop putting ICE on the bus.
Sign: Advocate for the release this immigration advocate from detention.
Deep breath innnnnnn… Deep breath ouuuuuuuut… We’ve got this.
Acts of Gratitude
Get out your stamps, postcards, and sparkle markers for some gratitude mail.
Thank Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) for their letter to the FCC opposing the merger of Sinclair and Tribune. I appreciate your support of truly local news and encouraging an investigation into Sinclair’s practices. Thank you!
Address (PM): 950 Pacific Avenue, Ste. 650, Tacoma, WA 98402
Address (MC): 915 Second Avenue, Suite 3206, Seattle, WA 98174
Thank Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) for supporting Americans with disabilities. I appreciate your clear, joint letter (with 42 other senators!) to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Thank you for working to protect the Americans with Disabilities Act and block a vote on the ADA Educational and Reform Act (H.R. 620). And welcome to the world, Maile Pearl!
Address: 230 South Dearborn Street, Suite 3900, Chicago, IL 60604
Tweet: Thank you @serenamaria36 and @TostadaMagazine for your story highlighting the origins of the “lazy Mexican” trope and ways we can stop contributing to oppression.
Decent people everywhere are speaking up and working together. Just look.
- “The Court also rules that, because transgender people have long been subjected to systemic oppression and forced to live in silence, they are a protected class.”
- Over 100 DOJ alumni issue a statement supporting the rule of law, Rosenstein, and Mueller.
- The US Supreme Court gains its first-ever Native American law clerk.
- Two former Secretaries of Commerce, one Democrat, one Republican, joined to write an op-ed opposing a census citizenship question.
- Sen. Tammy Duckworth becomes the first sitting senator to give birth and advocates for babies being with parents at work for their first year of life.
- A US District Court ruled that police departments cannot be denied federal funds for not cooperating with ICE.
- NAACP is suing the Census Bureau over inadequate preparations for the 2020 Census.
- Some 2018 candidates are calling for abolishing ICE.
- There are now more state-level bills across the country expanding voting rights than restricting voting access.
- In NJ, lawmakers vote to stabilize healthcare costs by reinstating the ACA individual mandate.
- GA residents collaborated to defeat an unAmerican, anti-immigrant bill.
- Conservative columnist George Will wrote in support of restoring the vote to returning citizens released from prison.
- OR governor, Kate Brown, refuses order to send National Guard to US-Mexico border.
- Returning citizens may now receive food assistance in AR, LA, ND, and MD.
- FL must create a non-partisan system to restore voting rights to former prisoners by April 26.
- For the eighth year in a row, the Nebraska legislature blocks legislation requiring voters to show photo ID.
- NJ is poised to become the 12th state to implement automatic voter registration.
- PA must have paper-record voting systems no later than December 31, 2019.
- Alaska elections officials are exploring vote by mail after Anchorage’s first vote-by-mail elections broke voter-turnout records.
- Coleman Federal Prison reverses its decision restricting books to inmates.
- Leon County, FL closes gun-show loophole with 3-day waiting period and background checks.
- Chicago’s kids are working for better schools over a new police academy.
Groups and organizations
- The first Native Women’s Business Summit took place this month in Albuquerque, NM.
- Volunteers are helping register LA County inmates to vote—many for the first time.
- Southern Poverty Law Center filed a federal lawsuit arguing that Mississippi’s treatment of citizens returning from prison is unconstitutional and discriminatory.
- Journalist Kevin Necessary tells a mixed-immigration family’s story in a 3-part illustrated series.
- ACLU sends DHS a strongly-worded letter about plans to ensure compliance with new requirements for humane treatment of detainees.
- Faisal Khalaf won a suit against Ford for discriminating against his background and accent.
- Apple CEO, Tim Cook, speaks up in support of Dreamers.
News with heart
- Travel companies are making it easier to help hurricane-affected islands.
- You just have to read about Hector Barajas-Varela’s life and advocacy for deported vets.
- Brown University offers tuition-free Master’s Degree to DACA recipients.
- Although it can’t change the past, the teen behind the Parkland shooting wants to donate his inheritance to victims’ fund.
- Muslim, Jewish, and Christian leaders advocate for striking down the travel ban.
- See more good news at Small Victories, Marla’s Good News, and What Went Right.
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