What to do this week of May 13, 2018

by May 14, 2018Opinion, What To Do This Week0 comments

Americans of Conscience Checklist

By Jen Hofmann

79 weeks down, 25 weeks to mid-term elections.

This checklist features clear actions for Americans who value democracy, equality, voting, and decency. Additionally, we practice gratitude, self-care, and celebration to stay engaged.

I value democracy.

Action: Ask about perseverance.

If we are to persist through the 2020 election, adding new skills now is key. Ask someone you respect how they persevere through difficult times. Share their responses here if you wish.

Action: Support a free press.

Research shows that not consuming local news decreases democratic participation and increases support for the current president. Local news outlets are struggling as the media landscape changes. Support free press.

Subscribe: Subscribe a friend to their local publication. #stealthactivism

Action: Engage with the democratic process.

Call: Your one House rep and two senators (look up).

Script: Hi. I’m a constituent from [ZIP], calling to see if [name] is planning to hold any town hall meetings during the May 28-June 1 recess.

  • If no meeting planned: Can you let me know when s/he plans to meet with his/her constituents?
  • If meetings planned: Thank you—I plan to be there.

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 LGBTQ people.

Call: Your two senators (look up).

Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP], calling to express my view that judicial nominees who oppose equality do not deserve lifetime appointments. Sen. Mark Norris, Kyle Duncan, Howard Nielson, Ryan Bounds, Gordon Giampietro, and Michael Brennan have long histories of discriminating against LGBTQ citizens. Neither Brennan nor Bounds secured blue slip endorsements from their states’ Senators. I ask [name] to support equality and oppose these nominees.

Action: Stand with a pregnant mom jailed for exercising her 2nd Amendment rights.

Write: Gov. Rick Snyder, P.O. Box 30013, Lansing, MI 48909

Script: I am writing to advocate for commuting the sentence of Siwatu-Salama Ra. When endangered, she acted within her right to concealed carry and according to Michigan’s Stand Your Ground law. Ms. Ra’s two-year sentence is a miscarriage of justice. Worse, her incarceration engangers her unborn child. Your pen can free her. Our country is looking to you to right this wrong. Thank you.

Bonus: Send a note of encouragement to Siwatu-Salama Ra in prison.

Action: Stand with our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico.

Call: Or write your governor’s office.

Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] concerned about our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico. 20,000 people there are still without power, and FEMA has ordered the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to leave by May 18th. I know Governor [name] is under pressure to send National Guard troops to the border with Mexico, but I would prefer we sent them to Puerto Rico to help them rebuild.

Bonus: Ask your three congresspeople to advocate for allowing Army Corps’ power crews to stay (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 https://www.gofundme.com/2p6d338.

Action: Advocate for transparent voting.

Call: Your state elections office (look up).

Script: Hi. I’m a resident of [state] calling to inquire whether [state] provides voter-verifiable voting with paper records that allow for accurate recounts.

  • If yes: Awesome! Thank you!
  • If no: Being able to verify whether votes are counted properly and recounted accurately increases voter confidence. I would like [name] to make this issue a priority before midterm elections.

Action: Be an informed voter.

Primaries are here! Look up your local candidates’ backgrounds on Ballotpedia.

Action: Register to vote in your state’s primary elections.

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: Help your neighbors understand their constitutional rights.

Our neighbors have constitutional rights. The tools below communicate those rights so ICE can’t get away with violating them.

Visit: https://www.ilrc.org/red-cards.

Print: Or order ILRC’s “Know Your Rights” Red Cards.

Pin: On community bulletin boards in grocery stores, congregations, coffee shops, libraries, and other public places.

Ask: Business owners if you can leave a stack on the counter.

Action: Help reduce the detention of non-violent people.

Call: Your two senators (look up).

Script: Hi, I’m calling from [ZIP] about ICE, the only law enforcement agency with a detention quota. With ICE detention costing $134 per day per bed, people who pose no risk to the public can be monitored at much lower expense to taxpayers outside of these facilities. The bed quota enriches private prison operators without making us safer. I am requesting that [name] work to end this mandate that warehouses legal asylum seekers. Thank you.

Action: Stand with children and families at our border with Mexico.

Call: Your one House rep and two senators (look up).

Script: Hi, I’m from [ZIP] and outraged at the inhumane practice of separating children from parents at the border—including those legally seeking asylum protection. I am asking [name] to do everything in their power to stop this practice that hurts children.

Bonus: Sign the ACLU petition (remember to opt out of fundraising emails).

Deep breath innnnnnn… Deep breath ouuuuuuuut…You’re speaking up for those who cannot.

Acts of Gratitude

Get out your stamps, postcards, and sparkle markers for some gratitude mail.

Thank Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) for holding Kirstjen Nielson accountable for false information linking immigrants to terrorism. In a time when voices advocating for truth are few, I appreciate your choice to press this issue. Thank you.

Address: 199 Main Street, 4th Floor, Burlington, VT 05401

Thank Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) for advocating for humane treatment of families immigrating to the US. What ICE is doing to parents and their young children is unacceptable, and I appreciate you pressing Kirstjen Nielson to change this policy.

Address: 10 North Post Street, Suite 600, Spokane, Washington 99201

Thank CNN for its thoughtful coverage of Gabriela Hernandez and her children. Telling the story of people seeking asylum in the US and the dangers they face helps Americans understand their plight. In a time of increasing intolerance, your stories touch the heart and remind us of our common humanity. Compliments to Khushbu Shah and Leyla Santiago for their reporting. Thank you.

Address: 10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

Thank Reps. Carlos Curbelo and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Will Hurd (R-TX), and Jeff Denham and David Valadao (R-CA) for breaking with their party’s leadership to file a discharge petition. I appreciate your efforts to protect Dreamers from deportation.


CC: 12851 SW 42nd Street, Suite 131, Miami, FL 33175

M D-B: 8669 NW 36th Street, Suite 100, Doral, FL 33166

WH: 1104 West 10th, Del Rio, TX 78840

JD: 4701 Sisk Road, Suite 202, Modesto, CA 95356

DV: 2700 M Street, Suite #250B, Bakersfield, CA 93301

Thank Sens. John Hoeven (R-ND), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) for passing a resolution designating May 5th as the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls (#MMIW / #MMIWG). I appreciate you dedicating $132 million to tribal support resources for survivors.


JH: 220 East Rosser Ave., Rm 312, Bismarck, ND 58501

HH: 228 Federal Building, 220 East Rosser Avenue, Bismarck, ND 58501

EW: 2400 JFK Federal Building, 15 New Sudbury Street, Boston, MA 02203

Thank Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) for stating he will compel if necessary the DOJ official responsible for the proposed 2020 Census citizenship question to attend House Oversight Committee hearings. I appreciate your effort to hold officials accountable for their actions.

Address: 104 South Main St. Greenville, SC 29601

Thank Sens. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) for making election security a priority during the confirmation hearing for head of the Homeland Security department. I appreciate your efforts to safeguard critical infrastructure and the integrity of our elections in these uncertain times.


CM: 5850 Delmar Blvd., Ste. A, St. Louis, Missouri 63112

RJ: 517 East Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 408, Milwaukee, WI 53202

Good news

Decent people everywhere are speaking up and working together. Just look.




  • Tech companies are suing to retain H-1B visas.
  • Google will no longer allow predatory ads for bail bond services after July 2018, noting that they typically target low income neighborhoods and communities of color.  
  • Facebook will conduct an audit to determine its role in propagating bigotry and discrimination.

News with heart

Spread the word

Know someone who could use some good news and clear actions? Please share!

Print: Share our new Americans of Conscience flyer at in-person events.

Tweet: Every day, good people are showing up to save our democracy. Join us: https://goo.gl/n63KU3

Post on Facebook: Every day, good people are showing up to save our democracy. Join us: https://goo.gl/n63KU3


Note: This checklist is always ad-free and no-cost. If you’re able, support Jen’s time on patreon or paypal.