What to do this week of August 12, 2018

by Aug 13, 2018Opinion, What To Do This Week0 comments

Americans of Conscience Checklist

By Jen Hofmann

92 weeks down, 12 weeks to mid-term elections. One dozen.

The August AoC Checklist has fewer actions so you and our team can rest up for fall. 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 democracy.

Guided by respect and collaboration, we create a government for the people, by the people.

Action 1: Do a little reflective reading.

Since the August AoC Checklists are lighter, take time to read up on science-based ways to grow and sustain political engagement.

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: Advocate for affordable housing. (h/t)

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

Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP], calling today about the national housing crisis due to rising rents. Millions of Americans are paying as much as 70 percent of their income for rent and the construction of affordable housing has stalled. I’m asking [NAME] to co-sponsor the bipartisan Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (H.R. 1661/S. 548), which stimulates housing construction and availability.

Action 2: Speak up for neighbors in need of food. (h/t)

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

Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP], calling about the Farm Bill now in conference committee. The Senate version that passed with strong support strengthened SNAP to provide critical nutrition to elders, people with disabilities, and low-income families. I’m asking that [NAME] only support a bill that maintains the Senate provisions. I want my tax dollar to help feed hungry families.

Action 3: Raise your awareness of private prisons. (h/t)

Read: The number of people held in private prisons has grown since 2000 with many reports of human rights violations.

Check: Are your state tax dollars are supporting private prisons?

I value secure, convenient voting and fair elections.

Democracy thrives when all citizens can freely elect those who represent their values.

Action 1: Make a pledge to vote in US midterm elections.

Sign: Our Midterm Pledge 2018 (created by the AoC Checklist).

Share our pledge with others: https://goo.gl/forms/niMkr2NQPSEw04fw2

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: Stand with asylum-seeking dads.

The good news: 79 men have passed their credible fear interviews and will be released from a Sheridan, OR correctional facility. They have nothing, and many have families to find. Let’s show some neighborly love (items by your last name).

A-E Pre-paid mobile phone, international calling cards

F-J LED flashlight, medication (pain, allergies, vitamins), writing paper

H-L Men’s clothing, shoes, socks, sunglasses

M-Q Toothpaste, toothbrush, toiletries

R-Z Water bottles, pens, pencils, gift cards

Address: Jai Singh, ℅ APANO, 2788 SE 82nd Ave., Suite 203, Portland, OR 97266

Note: Label box “For Sheridan Asylees”.

Deep breath innnnnnn… Deep breath ouuuuuuuut… We’ve got this, friends.

Acts of Gratitude

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

Thank Jim Kenney, Philadelphia’s mayor, for listening to his conscience and ending a contract with ICE that shares real time arrest information. I share your view that residents are safer and better served by separating law enforcement from immigration enforcement. Thank you for your leadership.

Address: Mayor Jim Kenney, City Hall, Office 215, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Thank actor Tim Robbins and The Actors’ Gang for facilitating drama workshops in California prisons. Thank you for providing an essential emotional outlet for participating inmates and that results in an 89% reduction in inmate infractions.

Address: 9070 Venice Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

Thank Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) for his unequivocal acknowledgement that covert social media interference in American elections by foreign countries, as took place in the 2016 presidential election, is a threat to all Americans and the sacred integrity of free and fair elections. Thank you for your leadership.

Address: Russell Senate Office Building, 217 Constitution Ave NE, Washington, DC 20510

Thank Gov. Tom Wolf (PA) for his executive order creating the Pennsylvania State Commission on LGBTQ Affairs, the first of its kind in the nation, dedicated to promotion of statewide equality measures. Thank you for caring about our neighbors.

Address: 508 Main Capitol Building, Harrisburg, PA 17120

Thank Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) for working on sentencing reform that has bipartisan support. Fair sentencing benefits low-level nonviolent offenders, taxpayers, and society overall. Thank you for your leadership.

Address: 721 Federal Building, 210 Walnut Street, Des Moines, IA 50309

Thank the Brennan Center for Justice for tracking the ongoing threats of voter purging, and clarifying steps each state can take to protect voters. Reliable research helps identify threats and develop tactics to protect voting rights. I appreciate your diligence and commitment to this vital issue. Name, State

Address: 120 Broadway, Suite 1750, New York, NY 10271

Thank these Members of Congress. You are among the seven senators and seven representatives who have pledged to refuse corporate PAC campaign donations. Thank you for placing the voices of your constituents above corporate influence.


Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI): 170 Westminster St, Ste. 200, Providence RI 02903

Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT): 1 Church St, 3rd Fl, Burlington VT 05401

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA): 2400 JFK Federal Building, 15 New Sudbury St, Boston MA 02203

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA): 915 Second Ave, Ste 3206, Seattle, WA 98174

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY): Leo W. O’Brien Federal Office Building, 11A Clinton Ave, Room 821, Albany NY 12207

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ): One Gateway Center, 23rd Fl, Newark NJ 07102

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA): 501 I St, Ste 7-600, Sacramento CA 95814

Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI): 1070 Main St, Ste 300, Pawtucket RI 02860

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA): 900 Lafayette St, Ste 206, Santa Clara CA 95050

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI): 300 Ala Moana Blvd., Rm. 5-104, Honolulu HI 96850

Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX): 303 N Oregon St, Ste 210, El Paso TX 79901

Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD): 44 Calvert St, Ste 349, Annapolis MD 21401

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA): 1904 3rd Ave, Ste 510, Seattle WA 98101

Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO): 1220 S. College Ave, Fort Collins CO 80525

Good news

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





Groups and organizations

News with heart

  • How a photographer, a great dog, and close community kept my friend from falling 2000 feet into the sea (story and video)–and are funding her medical expenses too.
  • Chicagoans sent hundreds of coloring books to women in prison just because.
  • The Veterans Service Corps is working on the US-Mexico border to create a 3-pronged plan to: walk immigrants to US soil to legally claim asylum, help deported veterans, and sponsor families in the US.
  • Master beekeeper Julia Mahood is teaching women at Georgia’s Arrendale State Prison to become beekeepers both for future jobs and experiencing community.
  • The Angry Tias and Abuelas have been making trips to the US-Mexico border with backpacks filled with food, clothes, and other supplies to many of those seeking asylum who have little to nothing.  
  • After completing his sentence, a Tennessee man restored his voting rights in time to vote in the May 2018 primaries and is helping educate others on how to restore their rights.

Spread the word

While our volunteers are getting a little break this month, we could use a little extra Checklist-sharing. Will you take a moment to post?

Tweet: I want to make a positive difference in our country, so I keep coming back to the @AoCChecklist. It’s clear, encouraging, and helps me speak up: https://goo.gl/xCd7GC

Post on Facebook: I want to make a positive difference in our country, so I keep coming back to the Americans of Conscience Checklist. It’s clear, encouraging, and helps me speak up: https://goo.gl/xCd7GC

Print: Our updated Americans of Conscience flyer to share at in-person events. Now with a handy QR code!


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