What to do this week of May 13, 2018
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.
Action: Register to vote in your state’s primary elections.
- Alabama: Register by Monday, May 21 online with required docs.
- California: Register by Monday, May 21 online with required docs.
- Iowa: Register by Friday, May 25 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.
- Maryland: Register online by Tuesday, June 5 with required docs.
- Nevada: Register by Tuesday, May 15 with printable form or Tuesday, May 22 online and required docs.
- Oklahoma: Register by Friday, June 1 with printable form with required docs.
- South Carolina: Register Sunday, May 13 online; or Monday, May 14 with printable form and required docs.
- South Dakota: Register by Monday, May 21 with printable form and required docs.
- Utah: Register online by Tuesday, June 19 with required docs.
- Virginia: Register by Monday, May 21 online 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: 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.
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
Decent people everywhere are speaking up and working together. Just look.
- Centrist Republicans make strategic move to force a vote on DACA.
- North Korea frees three Americans.
- The House chaplain gets his job back.
- Some TPS holders will get to stay in the US.
- Immigrants start up 20% of US small businesses.
- 25 gun safety bills have been signed into law in 15 states since Parkland.
- NJ governor orders regular reports showing which states contribute to NJ gun crime.
- OH citizens pass a new redistricting process that limits the potential for gerrymandering.
- MD is offering free tuition at state community colleges.
- CO State Legislature creates a bipartisan solution to solve gerrymandering.
- NH passes transgender anti-discrimination protections with bipartisan support.
- An IN county must establish at least two early voting locations ahead of midterms.
- Kids are suing Gov. Rick Scott to force Florida to take action on climate change.
- PR governor launches effort to organize voters, targeting U.S. elections.
- ND officials and Native Americans discuss a voter ID lawsuit to find common ground.
- A new program helps Native American women who have been victims of sexual assault.
- 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
- Patagonia, AZ becomes the 34th city to adopt the No Border Wall Resolution.
- Two mayors hug across the border to honor sister cities agreement.
- National Black Mama’s Bail Out raises money to bail out moms in time for Mother’s Day.
- Hair stylists in Buffalo, NY give free monthly haircuts and a meal to homeless neighbors.
- This young Somali woman went from a refugee camp to graduating with a degree in chemistry in 5 years.
- Art design lab Amplifier features climate advocates as comic superheroes.
- L.A. graffiti artist gives back to his community.
- Despite an uncertain future, DACA kids are graduating from college.
- A veteran shares how she perseveres.
- 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!
Post on Facebook: Every day, good people are showing up to save our democracy. Join us: https://goo.gl/n63KU3
- 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: Big thanks to the JEBinator, Week 2 social media volunteers, the Research Sous Chefs teams, and to the amazing angel patrons who make it possible.