What to do this week of July 8, 2018
Americans of Conscience Checklist
By Jen Hofmann
87 weeks down, 17 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 believe in democracy.
Guided by respect and collaboration, we create a government for the people, by the people.
▢ Action 1: Narrow your activism focus.
Overwhelm leads to fatigue. Complete the Action Worksheet this week.
▢ Action 2: Make an activism self-care plan.
Fatigue leads to giving up, so prepare to persist with this worksheet.
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 1: Stand with our Muslim neighbors. (h/t)
Write: Rep. Steve King (R-IA), 526 Nebraska Street, Sioux City, IA 51101.
Script: I love my Muslim neighbors. I love that our Constitution’s 1st Amendment grants Muslims the right to worship freely. I love that our country’s Equal Opportunity Employment laws protect Muslims from employment discrimination. As an [my] elected public servant, you should love these too.
▢ Action 2: Stand with new moms and dads by July 11. (h/t)
Call: Your two senators and one House rep (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and I’m calling to express my support for the FAMILY Act (S. 337/H.R. 947) that provides for family leave. However, this Wednesday, the Senate Social Security, Pensions and Family Policy subcommittee will debate alternate family leave legislation that forces new parents to draw down their earned Social Security savings. I would like [name] to co-sponsor the FAMILY Act as written, and reject alternatives that compromise retirement. #FamilyAct #PaidLeave
▢ Action 3: Advocate for a fair, moderate SCOTUS this week. (h/t, h/t, h/t)
Call: Your BLUE senators—especially Sens. Manchin (WV), Heitkamp (ND), and Donnelly (IN)—and any RED senators of conscience (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and am asking [name] to commit to opposing SCOTUS nominee, Brett M. Kavanaugh. His opposition to the rights of the LGBTQ community, of women to reproductive medicine, of health care and his connection to Clinton conspiracy theories makes him unfit for the highest court. Does [name] believe that we need a fair and moderate Supreme Court? Will s/he vote against an extreme Supreme Court nominee?
▢ Action 4: Stand with our Native American neighbors.
I promised myself every time the president mocked Sen. Liz Warren’s heritage, I’d donate to an organization that upholds Native American rights. Join me?
Donate: American Indian Law Alliance.
No cash? No problem. Follow Native American news source, Indianz, on twitter.
I value secure, convenient voting and fair elections.
Democracy thrives when all citizens can freely elect those who represent their values.
▢ Action 1: Urge six states to apply for election security funds by July 16. (h/t)
If you live in GA, Guam, ME, NV, PR, or WY (corrected from last week).
Call: Your state/local elections official (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and calling to express concern that [name] has not yet submitted a budget to apply for HAVA Election Security Funds. [State] has until July 16 to submit a budget, and I want [name] to make this a priority. Can you let me know what their plans are?
▢ Action 2: Oppose a citizenship question in the 2020 Census. (h/t)
Note: This is an especially important action if your citizenship status is secure. People with vulnerable citizenship are at greater risk of targeting by the current administration. Use your privilege to support our neighbors.
Comment: On the Federal Register by Aug 7, 2018.
Script: Use your own words, but include any of the following:
- Supporting accurate census count, increased participation, accurate dispersal of funding, and fair congressional representation.
- Opposing citizenship question on the 2020 census form.
- Opposing inadequate testing of added questions.
- Opposing sharing citizenship data with National Conference of State Legislatures.
- Opposing changes to Public Law 94-171 Redistricting Data File.
▢ Action 3: Advocate for paid time off on Election Day.
Write: Your employers’ key decision maker(s).
Script: Dear [name], I’m inspired by Patagonia’s recent decision to give their employees a paid day off on November 6th. As I’m sure you know, Tuesday is not a convenient day for voting. Especially for people working hourly, unpaid time off can create a hardship that prevents taking part in this important civic obligation. I hope that you will consider implementing a policy similar to Patagonia’s. Let me know if I can be of assistance in this effort. Thanks.
▢ Action 4: Give your vote more power. (h/t)
Step 1: Look up how much your senators & House reps’ campaigns raised.
Step 2: Look up whether your MoCs support limiting corporate “speech” through political contributions. If they don’t…
Call: Your MoCs who are not listed on the above Move to Amend site (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m a constituent calling from ZIP. Since the 2016 election, Americans’ faith in democracy has been fading. Running a clean, unbiased campaign builds trust. I would like to ask [name] to publicly decline corporate donations, and add his/her name to the growing list of elected officials supporting an amendment to the Constitution that limits corporate contributions. Would [name] be willing to do this? [If yes, refer to movetoamend.org]
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 1: Advocate for more nuanced media coverage of immigration.
Email: Use news media companies’ online contact forms.
Write the company next to your last initial (or do all):
A-D ABC News
E-H CBS News
P-S FOX News
Script: Hi. I’m concerned about immigration and the need for nuanced coverage about what’s happening in our country. Immigration is not a simple, either-or issue. The media can play a powerful role in framing and discourse. I entreat [company] to look more deeply and make Americans think. Please review this report on effective strategies media can use to cover immigration:
▢ Action 2: Stand with naturalized citizens. (h/t, h/t)
Call: Your one House rep and two senators, red or blue (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and I’m concerned about the president’s new task force seeking to deport naturalized citizens. It’s a dangerous trend: First DACA and Dreamers. Then legal refugees and asylees. Now passport-holding citizens. Our 20 million naturalized citizens are Americans. Why is my tax dollar funding this anti-immigrant, mass-deportation agenda and what is [name] doing to stop it? (Breathe and wait for an answer.) Immigrants are my neighbors and friends. [Name] must halt this deportation agenda.
▢ Action 3: Stand with children and families being separated by ICE. (h/t)
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. As a taxpayer funding this egregious neglect of duty, the inhumane practice of separating children from parents as an immigration deterrent must stop. I urge you to take action to reunite these families immediately. Sincerely, [name, state]
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, D.C. 20201
Deep breath innnnnnn… Deep breath ouuuuuuuut…
Acts of Gratitude
Get out your stamps, postcards, and sparkle markers for some gratitude mail.
Congratulate Kat Calvin (Spread the Vote) on winning a grant from New Media Ventures. I also see the good work you do every day, putting IDs in the hands of people disenfranchised from voting. Thank you for all you do. I am proud to stand with you.
Address: Spread the Vote, 7423 W Manchester Ave, #4, Los Angeles, CA 90045
Thank Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) for standing up to bullying on behalf of all Americans—even those who don’t currently need her help. You inspire me to keep working for justice, fairness, and a better America.
Address: 10124 South Broadway, Suite 1, Los Angeles, CA 90003
Thank Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor for her dissent of the SCOTUS majority decision allowing discriminatory Proclamation 9645 to stand. I appreciate your thoughtful and passionate attention to this decision and its impact on Muslim communities and constitutional freedoms.
Address: US Supreme Court, 1 First St NE, Washington, D.C. 20543-0001
Thank Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) for her continued public opposition to the “zero tolerance” policy, and calls for immigration reform that abolishes ICE. I know this position isn’t popular, but we stand with you and all immigrants’-rights groups calling for the same. Thank you for using your position to amplify this cause.
Address: 1904 3rd Ave., Suite 510. Seattle, WA 98101
Thank Anti-Defamation League Center on Extremism CEO Jonathan Greenblatt for tracking white supremacist propaganda on college campuses. I appreciate your organization’s courage and persistence in the face of growing intolerance. Incidents are increasing, but I stand with you in working for acceptance and liberty.
Address: Anti-Defamation League, 605 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10158
Thank Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) for introducing the Fairness for Farmworkers Act to provide US farmworkers with overtime protections when working more than 40 hours a week, and eliminate exemptions to the minimum wage for farm workers. Thank you for working to extend basic standards to those who produce our sustenance. No farms, no food!
KH: 333 Bush Street, Suite 3225, San Francisco, CA 94104
RG: El Pueblo Community Center, 101 W. Irvington Road Buildings 4&5, Tucson, AZ 85714
Decent people everywhere are speaking up and working together. Just look.
- Five Latin American countries could force US president to treat immigrants humanely.
- 102,440 DACA renewal applications have been approved—and ~28,000 are pending.
- Attended Families Belong Together marches: Sens. Mazie Hirono and Cory Booker, and Reps. André Carson, Barbara Lee, Debbie Dingell, Joe Kennedy, and Jan Schakowsky.
- The Senate passed a bill requiring senate candidates to file campaign finance reports electronically, thus giving the public immediate access to the information and saving nearly $900,000 per year.
- Ruling: A lawsuit regarding proposed citizenship census question may proceed, citing administration’s “bad faith.”
- Ruling: The government cannot default to detention when considering the application of asylum seekers who have shown credible evidence of fleeing persecution.
- Ruling: Arbitrary detentions of asylum seekers blocked, allowing the granting of humanitarian parole as long as stringent requirements are met.
- A federal judge ordered Tennessee to stop revoking driver’s licenses (and reinstate up to 100,000 previously revoked) from those who can’t pay court fees, restoring required photo ID to voters in poverty.
- A federal judge ordered the dissolved presidential voter fraud commission surrender all records to the Maine secretary of state.
- Automatic voter registration passes in the Massachusetts house with veto-proof majority, moves to the state senate for consideration.
- New York and Virginia become the first states to require that a mental health curriculum be developed for use in public schools.
- Martha Lee Waters becomes first female chief justice on Oregon’s Supreme Court.
- Denver City Council negotiated a legal defense fund to support refugee and immigrant families during deportation or other legal challenges.
- Williamson County commissioners decided to end their Intergovernmental Services Agreement (IGSA) with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and its operations at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center (detention center).
- Patagonia makes November 6 a paid day off to enable all employees to vote.
- D’Arrigo Bros. signed a new union contract on Thursday that will help more than 1,500 members with pay raises and medical benefits.
Groups and organizations
- Our friends at Spread the Vote were chosen out of 700 applicants for a grant award!
- 12 tribes receive language immersion grants to prevent extinction and increase fluency.
- Law enforcement leaders urge alternatives to family detention.
News with heart
- New Yorkers stand with their immigrant neighbors in court.
- An anonymous donor offered to pay the mortgage and bills for the next two years for children whose parents were deported.
- Irish dads surprise their adult queer kids by taking them to Dublin Pride.
- The kind people of twitter share their own good news, and it is so heartwarming!
Spread the word
Know someone who could use some good news and clear actions? Please share!
Tweet: Feel empowered in spite of daily concerning news. This week’s @AoCChecklist helps you speak up: https://goo.gl/reLwZb
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Print: Our new Americans of Conscience flyer to share at in-person events.
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- 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.
Note: This checklist is always ad-free and no-cost. If you’re able, support Jen’s time on patreon or paypal.