What to do this week of June 10, 2018
Americans of Conscience Checklist
By Jen Hofmann
83 weeks down, 21 weeks to mid-term elections.
This checklist features clear, well-researched actions for Americans who value democracy, equality, voting, and decency. We also practice gratitude, self-care, and celebration to stay engaged.
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 your neighbors who endure the fear of hate crimes.
Write: Your local police chief or sheriff’s office.
Script: Dear [name], I’m a resident of [city] writing to advocate for awareness of hate crimes. Nationally, hate crimes are on the rise. Muslims and Jews, LGBTQ people, and immigrants are often targets. I’d like to know three things about our city’s police department: 1. Whether we’re tracking and reporting data on hate-motivated incidents, 2. If we are training officers on how to identify hate crimes, and 3. How our law enforcement staff are proactively supporting these communities. Thank you for your service and time. I look forward to your response. Name and address (h/t)
Action: Stand with all people terrorized by slavery and white supremacy.
Sign petition: here.
Bonus: Read an in-depth report on the meanings of southern symbolism.
Action: Stand with people who need help getting enough food to eat.
Call: Or email your one House rep (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP], and I’m writing/calling to oppose the Farm Bill’s proposed SNAP work requirements. It already takes many hours of paperwork and mandatory appointments for the average hungry American to qualify for SNAP. The Farm Bill (H.R. 2) only adds more punitive work and reporting requirements. We cannot take food from the mouths of over 2 million children, elderly people, veterans, and people living with chronic illness. Please do not approve the Farm Bill with work requirements intact. (h/t)
Bonus: See infographics with statistics about poverty and SNAP in the constituencies of 20 representatives who currently support the bill.
Action: Stand with Americans whose lives would be shattered by biased judges.
Call: Your two senators (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and I’m calling to oppose judicial appointments for those who fail to support equal rights for all people. We need appointees who hold American values of respect, equality, fairness, and impartiality. For that reason, I would like [name] to vote no on the following five appointees:
- David Porter (new!) to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals.
- Ryan Bounds to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
- Britt Grant to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.
- Thomas Farr to the US District Court, Eastern District of North Carolina.
- Patrick Wyrick to the US District Court, Western District of Oklahoma.
Action: Stand with non-violent people serving too-long sentences.
Call: Your two senators (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and I’m calling to request that [name] support the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act (S.1917). This bipartisan prison reform bill introduced by Senators Grassley and Durbin reduces unnecessary incarceration while keeping the general population safe. Now that this bill has passed out of committee, can I count on [name] to support it? (h/t)
I value showing respect for all people, no matter where they were born.
We oppose inhumane treatment of all people and the government agencies that perpetuate it. People who immigrate to the US make our country stronger and are entitled to basic respect.
Action: Stand with people detained in ICE facilities.
Call: Your one House rep and two senators (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m calling from [ZIP] concerned about the lack of oversight in detention centers where thousands of families, many with small children, are housed. To increase oversight and stop further construction of lucrative immigrant prisons, will [name] commit to co-signing the DONE Act (S. 2849/H.R. 5820)? Thank you.
Action: Stand with children separated from their families.
Call: Your one House rep (look up). Even if they already agree/don’t care.
Script: The administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy separates children from adults when they cross the border without authorizing documents or (legally) present themselves as asylum seekers. I would like [name] to support two bills to stop this inhumane practice.
- The Child Citizen Protection Act (H.R. 2508) would allow judges to decline any order separating a non-citizen parent from a citizen child.
- The HELP Separated Children Act (H.R. 5950) would require states to provide separated children with foster care through welfare agencies or community organizations and require DHS personnel to undergo child welfare training.
Action: Stand with children and families being separated by ICE.
Write: The appointed officials listed below. (Print out copies of this letter.)
Script: Our nation has a moral responsibility to protect children and treat them with basic decency, regardless of immigration status. The inhumane practice of separating children from parents as an immigration deterrent must stop. As a taxpayer funding this egregious neglect of duty, I urge you to take full and immediate responsibility for ensuring children’s well-being and safety. Keep families together. Stop locking them up. Sincerely, [name, state] (h/t)
DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen
Address: Secretary of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C. 20528
Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan
Address: Immigration and Customs Enforcement, 500 12th St. SW, Washington, D.C. 20536
HHS Secretary Alex Azar
Address: Office of Health and Human Services, 200 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20201
Acting Assistant ACF Secretary Steven Wagner
Address: Administration for Children and Families, 200 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20201
ORR Director Scott Lloyd
Address: Office of Refugee Resettlement, Mary E. Switzer Building, 330 C ST SW, Washington DC 20201
Action: Oppose ICE’s practice of targeting protest leaders.
Call: Seattle’s City Attorney’s office at (206) 684-7757.
Deep breath innnnnnn… Deep breath ouuuuuuuut… One more…
I value secure, convenient voting and fair elections.
Democracy thrives when all citizens can freely elect those who represent their values.
Action: Vote in your state’s June elections (h/t to Political Charge).
Montana’s primaries had 41% participation! Can your state top it?
- CO: June 26 (Tu); check CO voting requirements
- ME: June 12 (Tu); check ME voting requirements
- MD: June 26 (Tu); check MD voting requirements
- ND: June 12 (Tu); check ND voting requirements
- NV: June 12 (Tu); check NV voting requirements
- NY: June 26 (Tu); Congressional elections only; check NY voting requirements
- OK: June 26 (Tu); check OK voting requirements
- SC: June 12 (Tu); check SC voting requirements
- UT: June 26 (Tu); check UT voting requirements
- VA: June 12 (Tu); check VA voting requirements
- WI State Senate District 1 and WI State Assembly District 42: June 12 (Tu)** check WI voting requirements
** While a lawsuit finally mandated that these elections be held, we urged the WI governor to have them!
Acts of Gratitude
Get out your stamps, postcards, and sparkle markers for some gratitude mail!
Thank Jeff Merkley (D-OR) for demanding answers about the administration’s policy of separating families and its detention conditions for unaccompanied children. Thank you for using your position to uplift the silenced and highlight this wrong.
Address: 121 SW Salmon Street Suite 1400 Portland, OR, 97204
Thank Justin Trudeau for refusing to meet with the president about NAFTA with sunset preconditions. I’m grateful you understand the difference between our leader and the American people. We’re working hard for change. (Postage: $1.15)
Address: PM Justin Trudeau, House of Commons, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0A6
Thank Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) for working together to heal the culture of silence that feeds workplace harassment. Your bill, the Empower Act, gives people a voice to protect themselves. Thank you.
KH: 333 Bush Street, Suite 3225, San Francisco, CA 94104
LM: 510 L Street, Suite 600, Anchorage, AK 99501
Thank Kaiser Permanente CEO Bernard J. Tyson for advocating for stable housing as a precursor to physical and mental health. I commend your company’s $200 million investment to address housing stability and homelessness. Thank you.
Address: One Kaiser Plaza, 1550 Ordway, Oakland, California 94612
Thank Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) for protecting older Americans’ financial security. The senators authored the Senate version of the Senior Safe Act, included in the bipartisan banking reform package signed by the president.
SC: 202 Harlow Street, Room 20100, Bangor, ME 04401
CM: 324 Park Central West, Ste. 101, Springfield, Missouri 65806
Thank the Mexican American Legislative Caucus for organizing a June 5 hearing at the Texas Capitol to end family separation. I and many Americans are working hard to oppose this policy and appreciate your advocacy. Thank you.
Address: Westgate Tower, 1122 Colorado Street, Suite 107, Austin, TX 78701
Thank Al Otro Lado for representing and advocating for the rights of people seeking refuge and asylum in the United States. Americans all over the country stand with you and take action on the issues you share. Thank you for your leadership. Name, State
Address: 3363 Sierra St, Los Angeles, CA 90031
Decent people everywhere are speaking up and working together. Just look.
- Ruling: The ACLU’s challenge to the administration’s policy of separating asylum-seeking parents and children permitted to proceed.
- The president may be required to give testimony about influencing NFL hiring.
- Ruling: The president violates 1st Amendment and may not block people on Twitter.
- Family Health Centers funding extended to US territories including Puerto Rico.
- Tara Sweeney may become the first Alaska Native to serve as Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs.
- The US government approves 15,000 additional seasonal worker visas.
- The federal administration funds US “sanctuary cities”.
- IN law that purges voters from rolls blocked by federal judge.
- After win, Deb Haaland (NM) may become the first Native American congresswoman.
- SD Republican voters showed that #MeToo transcends political ideology.
- AZ Court of Appeals applied the Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling to reject a business’ right to discriminate against same sex couples.
- LA restores voting rights to some people convicted of felonies.
- NY Governor Andrew Cuomo reinstated voting rights for over 24,000 people on parole.
- WA will pay for all ballot postage to help boost turnout (bipartisan effort!).
- MigraCam gives border residents the power to document interactions with U.S. Border Patrol and ICE agents.
- More than half of the top American tech companies were founded by immigrants or the children of immigrants.
- Blind voters in Ohio can now read and complete ballots privately and independently.
- Stockton, California will test “basic income” to eradicate poverty and homelessness.
- Los Angeles has shown an 18% decrease in the number of homeless veterans.
- San Francisco voters passed Prop F, joining NYC in ensuring that tenants facing eviction have a right to free legal counsel.
- The School Committee in Kittery, Maine adopts a policy that protects and respects transgender and gender expansive students.
- LAPD strengthens bonds with undocumented people to create a safer community.
Groups and organizations
- Miss America drops the swimsuit competition and adds six women to its board.
- The Poor People’s Campaign continues to make a powerful statement through demonstrations of nonviolent protest around the country.
- Astraea awards $1M in grants to expand the intersections of racial, economic, and migrant justice movements.
News with heart
- This news was so heartening, I created a whole blog post about it.
- Family of economist donates proceeds from the auction of his Nobel medal to SPLC.
- Pew report: The more closely you follow the news, the less overwhelmed you feel.
- Research shows that taking a survey can reduce prejudice toward immigrants.
- RFK Human Rights recognizes youth movements including March For Our Lives and United We Dream.
Spread the word
Know someone who could use some good news and clear actions? Please share!
Paper: Our new Americans of Conscience printable flyer to share in person.
Tweet: The headlines are bad, but @AoCCheckist makes it easy to speak up. Do these 11 things to feel more hopeful: https://goo.gl/1ysKCL #Persist
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- NEW! Become an AoCC Ambassador. Help us spread the Checklist further!
- 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 JEBitor, Week 2 social media volunteers, the Research Sous Chefs teams, and to the amazing angel patrons who make it possible.
A note from Jen:
I love this work. I love the researching, writing, teamwork, strategy, and celebrating our successes. I love that this checklist helps you speak up and stay focused during this time of discord and chaos.
Although I run a small business as a writer, I want more than anything to do the checklist full time. By design, this checklist will always be ad-free and no-cost. If you’re able, please consider supporting my time monthly on patreon so I can give my full attention to this work that I love. Thank you.