What to do this week of May 6, 2018
Americans of Conscience Checklist
By Jen Hofmann
78 weeks down, 26 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 in democracy.
Action: Oppose torture.
The Senate’s vote on Gina Haspel for CIA Director is imminent.
Visit: For well-reasoned actions, visit haspel.indivisible.org.
Action: Advocate for fiscal responsibility and integrity.
Look up: On this list whether your rep and senators support Pruitt stepping down. If so,
Call: (Look up).
Script: Hi, I’m a constituent from [ZIP] calling to ask that [name] call for Scott Pruitt to step down as Administrator of the EPA and join the 39 senators and 150 representatives who have already done so. l support leaders who spend taxpayer dollars responsibly and protect environmental health. Thanks.
Bonus: Tweet your elected officials with the hashtag #BootPruitt.
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 Native American mothers.
In honor of Mother’s Day, help build a birthing center that improves health for babies and new moms while honoring Native traditions and women’s medicine.
Action: Stand with hungry families. By May 13.
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP], and I’m writing to oppose the proposed SNAP work requirements. [name] must understand how many hours of work, verification, and mandatory appointments it takes for the average hungry American to qualify for SNAP. The Farm Bill (H.R. 2) draft adds additional requirements to report work and hours. 1 in 8 Americans relies on SNAP. These changes will take food out of the mouths of children, elderly people, and people living with chronic illness. Please do not approve the Farm Bill with new hurdles for work requirements intact. SNAP should be a snap.
Email: Your 1 House rep (look up).
Action: Stand with people subjected to acts of hate.
Script: Hi. I’m a constituent from [town] concerned about the national increase in hate crimes. States without anti-hate laws are seeing the biggest increases in hate crimes. Only 11 states have laws that include gender identity. Connecticut has set the bar nationally for anti-hate legislation. I would like [name] to pursue similar legislation in [state] that strengthens protections for all groups from hate and holds people accountable for this violence. Here is the link to CT’s statutes: https://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/title_53a.htm. Thank you.
Email: Your 2 state-level legislators (look up).
Bonus: Report hate crimes to Communities Against Hate, a national initiative to document stories and respond to hate-related incidents.
Action: Stand with Native Americans.
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP]. I’m concerned about Native Americans’ access to health care services. I would like [name] to honor tribal sovereignty and support Native Americans’ access to Medicaid without the work requirement. Medicaid funding is needed, in part, due to the underfunding of Indian Health Services. I would like Sen. [name] to co-sponsor and support the passage of S.1250, the Restoring Accountability in the Indian Health Service Act. Thank you.
Call: Your 2 senators (look up).
Action: Stand with seniors, families, and people with high medical expenses.
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] calling to express my deep concern about HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s plans to triple rent costs for 4.7 million of our nation’s most vulnerable families. His proposal would disproportionately affect seniors, families with children, and people with high medical expenses. I want my tax dollar to support my neighbors in need, so I am asking [name] to oppose Carson’s plans and stand up for our vulnerable citizens.
Call: Your 2 senators (look up).
I value secure, convenient voting and fair elections.
Democracy thrives when all citizens can freely elect those who represent their values.
Action: Stand with a mom jailed for voting.
Texas mom Crystal Mason voted in the 2016 election, unaware that this was illegal while on parole. She received a five-year prison sentence and needs legal help to appeal the decision and return to her kids.
Donate: To Crystal’s legal fund htps://www.gofundme.com/2p6d338
Action: Be an informed voter.
Primaries are coming! Want a great tool to learn about your local ballot measures and candidates? Check out Ballotpedia for non-partisan rundowns.
Action: Vote in your primary (and tell all your friends).
- South Carolina: Register Friday, May 11 in person; Sunday, May 13 online; or Monday, May 14 with printable form and required docs.
- Nevada: Register by Tuesday, May 15 with printable form or Tuesday, May 22 online and required docs.
- Alabama: Register by Monday, May 21 online with required docs.
- California: Register by Monday, May 21 online with required docs.
- South Dakota: Register by Monday, May 21 with printable form and required docs.
- Virginia: Register by Monday, May 21 online with required docs.
- Maine: Register by Tuesday, May 22 with mail-in printable voter registration card; or Tuesday, June 12 in person with required docs.
- Iowa: Register by Friday, May 25 online with required docs.
- Oklahoma: Register by Friday, June 1 with printable form with required docs.
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 people seeking legal asylum at our border.
Script: Hi, I’m a constituent writing about a recent report finding that taxpayers have funded the payment of $60M in claims against Border Patrol due to the mistreatment, abuse, and death of immigrants at the border. Here’s the source: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/01/border-patrol-violence-us-paid-60m-to-cover-claims-against-the-agency. I’d like to know why my tax dollar is funding this gross incompetence. Is no one overseeing how agents do their jobs to prevent this expense? I would like assurance that [name] is being proactive to hold CBP and ICE accountable and advocating for the humane treatment of all immigrants. Thanks.
Email: Your 2 senators and 1 House rep (look up).
Action: Stand with six grieving orphans.
Script: Hi. I’m calling/writing in solidarity with United Farm Workers regarding the ICE car chase that led to the tragic deaths of Santos Hilario Garcia and Marcelina Garcia Profecto. I would like AG Becerra to launch an investigation into these deaths on behalf of their six orphaned children. We are counting on him to hold ICE accountable for its increasingly threatening behavior toward our neighbors. Thank you.
Write: CA Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Office of the Attorney General, Attn: Public Inquiry Unit, P.O. Box 944255, Sacramento, CA 94244-2550
Note: This issue is especially important for CA residents to complete.
Action: Stand with members of the refugee caravan.
Read: After traveling across Mexico, refugee families are being brought to US detention facilities and are vulnerable to separation. Communication is essential. This action comes from our allies at Pueblo Sin Fronteras.
Donate: $50 (or any amount) to purchase phones that help them stay in touch.
Deep breath innnnnnn… Deep breath ouuuuuuuut…
Acts of Gratitude
Get out your stamps, postcards, and sparkle markers for some gratitude mail.
Thank Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA), Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, for your group’s public condemnation of Sec. Carson’s plans to triple rents on poor families. I (and many Americans) share your view that we are called to care for our neighbors. Thank you for speaking up for our country’s most vulnerable. Name, State.
Address: 2021 Lakeshore Dr., Suite 309, New Orleans, LA 70122
Thank Reps. Mia Love (R-UT) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) for co-sponsoring the bipartisan ASPIRE-TPS Act of 2017. It is part of the American tradition to grant longtime visitors a path to legal, permanent status. Thank you for showing your support for people receiving TPS and their families.
Address (ML): 9067 South 1300 West Suite 101, West Jordan, UT 84088
Address (IR-L): 4960 SW 72 Ave, Suite 208, Miami, FL 33155
Thank Bryan Stevenson (founder of Equal Justice Initiative) for creating the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, and its twin organization, the Legacy Museum. I support your mission to confront the racial atrocities of the past in order to create paths toward racial reconciliation. Congratulations and thank you for your important work.
Address: 122 Commerce Street, Montgomery, Alabama 36104
Mandy Manning: Congratulations on the recognition of 2018 National Teacher of the Year! I was touched by your decision to share with the President letters from your immigrant and refugee students. Your dedication to your students and your message of connection over division is an inspiration to us all.
Address: ℅ Ferris High School, 3020 E. 37th Ave., Spokane, WA 99223
Thank Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) for signing a letter to Health and Human Services expressing concern about the harmful impact of refusing of Native American tribal requests for Medicaid work requirement exemptions, as well as the questionable legal argument upon which its refusal is based. I appreciate your leadership and advocacy.
Address: 510 L Street, Suite 600, Anchorage, AK 99501
Thank Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) for becoming the sixth Republican to co-sponsor the DREAM Act of 2017 (H.R. 3440). These young people are Americans in all ways but documentation. Thank you for supporting their future.
Address: 12851 SW 42nd Street, Suite 131, Miami, FL 33175
Thank Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) for denouncing Health and Human Services and Homeland Security for ongoing delays in fixing departmental problems. I share your view that abuse, trafficking, and neglect of unaccompanied minors immigrating to the US must end immediately. Thank you for speaking up on this issue.
Address: 37 West Broad Street, Room 300, Columbus, OH 43215
Thank Michael Ertel, Supervisor of Elections, Seminole County, FL for registering record-breaking numbers of teen voters through the county’s award-winning student voter registration program. Thank you for championing teen voter registration—and for demonstrating that voter empowerment transcends political affiliation.
Address: 31500 E. Airport Blvd., Sanford, FL 32773
Thank Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY), who—after his legislative proposal was rejected by the state legislature—will return the right to vote to over 35,000 people on parole by executive order. Thank you for giving a voice to our returning citizens.
Address: 3NYS State Capitol Bldg., Albany, NY 12224
- The #1 reason US citizens don’t vote is based on what erroneous assumption?
- In US history, have we ever before recovered from a partisan divide this bad?
- 1,200 Hondurans walked for a month across Mexico to flee what?
- What do the SCOTUS Muslim ban proceedings look like from an Iranian-American’s point of view?
Decent people everywhere are speaking up and working together. Just look.
- Jen got invited to give an interview on Soul Force Politics with Heather Mizeur.
- Federal prisons reversed course on plans to decrease access to books.
- US incarceration rate is at a 20-year low.
- 39 senators and 150 reps have called for Scott Pruitt’s resignation.
- Five federal appeals courts rule that discrimination based on gender identity violates federal laws against sex discrimination.
- A federal judge dismissed a challenge, ruling that Manafort may not use a lawsuit to thwart his prosecution.
- HI becomes the first state to ban sunscreen ingredients that harm coral reefs.
- States sue EPA to protect Obama-era fuel efficiency standards.
- MD General Assembly passed campus sexual assault bill that ensures a fair process for all students.
- RI Senate addresses pay disparities with overwhelmingly bipartisan support.
- NJ now has the strongest equal pay laws in the country.
- IL House votes for school mental health professionals instead of armed security officers.
- 18 States, DC, nine cities, and five counties have joined the lawsuit to remove a citizenship question from the 2020 census.
- A CO state senator pulled his own bill containing fines, firing, or jail time for teacher strikes.
- NJ becomes the 10th state to enact a paid sick days law.
- HI legislature passes a vote-by-mail pilot program.
- CT state legislature votes to join the National Popular Vote Compact.
- In ND, a federal judge makes voting easier and more fair for Native Americans.
- An AR circuit court granted a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of voter ID law.
- Police commissioner apologizes for arrest of two men. The men settle for $1 each and a $200,000 youth entrepreneurship fund.
- Dick’s hires a lobbying firm to push for stronger protections against firearm deaths.
- With timely teen advocacy and local collaboration, Nogales, AZ becomes the 34th city to adopt the No Border Wall Resolution.
- City of Chicago boosts pay equity by prohibiting asking applicants’ salary history.
- The New York City Council passes Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act.
- An IL high school retires its Native American mascot after a district-wide conversation.
- Woodburn, OR police come to the aid of residents being harassed by ICE.
- Teens register to vote in record-breaking numbers in a Florida high school.
Groups and organizations
- CREW has requested all emails to and from over-involved CIA director’s spouse.
- AIC files request for information on pregnant women in detention centers.
- ACLU creates #WeHaveRights, a plan for ICE encounters available in seven languages.
News with heart
- 4-year-old “President Austin” uses his allowance money to feed his homeless neighbors in Birmingham.
- With her parents’ help, Camila graduates from college.
- Caring medical staff makes a child’s cancer treatment more fun.
- An extinct Native language is revived—along with its culture—in Massachusetts.
- “Focus on the people who are counting on you, not the ones trying to drag you down.”
- See more good news at Small Victories, Marla’s Good News, and What Went Right.
Spread the word
Know someone who could use some good news and clear actions? Please share!
Print: Our new Americans of Conscience flyer to share at in-person events.
Tweet: Your voice alone might not seem like much, but our voices together will heal our struggling democracy. Use this week’s @AoCChecklist to join the choir. https://goo.gl/Lwhefy
Post on Facebook: Your voice alone might not seem like much, but our voices together will heal our struggling democracy. Use this week’s @AoCChecklist to join the choir. We need your voice. https://goo.gl/Lwhefy
- Sign up: Subscribe to the weekly Americans of Conscience Checklist here.
- Stay inspired: Complete this Self-Care Worksheet.
- Stay focused: Complete this 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: Big thanks to JEBud, Week 1 social media volunteers, the Research Sous Chefs teams, and the amazing angel patrons who make it possible.
Note: This checklist is always ad-free and no-cost. If you’re able, support the time Jen spends creating it with patreon or paypal.