What to do this week of August 12, 2018
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
Decent people everywhere are speaking up and working together. Just look.
- Transparency wins as a legal loophole for anonymous money for political ads ends.
- To increase its pool of future cyber experts, the US Army taught ethical hacking skills to kids at DEF CON 2018.
- When the DOJ refused to turn over documents seeking detailed information on states’ voter rolls, the Brennan Center sued.
- A record number of LGBT candidates are running for office in November.
- Rashida Tlaib will be the first Muslim woman elected to US congress.
- When We All Vote, a non-partisan group devoted to voting rights and responsibilities, is launching a September 22-29 Week of Action in honor of the Voting Rights Act.
- 11 women have earned major-party gubernatorial nominations, including in ME, ID, GA, and SD, none of which have previously had a female governor.
- Falling recidivism rates in states using evidenced-based programs, multidisciplinary support teams, and modified sentencing structures (AZ, CO, GA, MI, NC, SC, and TX).
- AK prevents cyber interference by accepting ballots only by fax, mail, or in person.
- OK Office of Management and Enterprise Services showed the state saved more than $60 million by ending prison terms for drug possession and some property crimes.
- ND director of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is working to model the state’s prisons after “the world’s most humane prison.”
- MA becomes first state in US to require all state-funded or -licensed providers of services to older adults to complete training in LGBT elder care.
- MO overturned a Right to Work law (previously passed by the state legislature) restoring rights to workers.
- In a win for racial justice, Ferguson Councilman Wesley Bell upset the 28-year incumbent for St. Louis County’s Prosecuting Attorney.
- Ruling: The Criminal District Court of Orleans Parish, LA, must allow anyone owing fines and fees after conviction to plead poverty in a “neutral forum.”
- Philadelphia will issue municipal identification cards for residents to access services like food pantries, health care, homeless shelters, and schools.
- Gadsden County, FL, has roughly halved crime rates, and decreased juvenile arrests by over 75% thanks to Sheriff Morris Young’s focus on decarceration and citizen reentry.
- Facebook, Apple, Spotify, and YouTube remove Alex Jones and InfoWars content from their sites.
- The Boston Globe calls for a coordinated response to questions of media credibility.
Groups and organizations
- Gina Rodriguez, Always, and Feeding America are partnering to #EndPeriodPoverty.
- Grassroots activists in several states are successfully organizing to get anti-gerrymandering propositions on ballots in November.
- Philabundance collects milk waste from dairy farmers to make cheese that is distributed for free at food banks or sold to fund the program.
- Girl Develop It (GDI) is working in 63 cities across America teaching women web and software skills to improve their future job opportunities.
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!
- 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!
- 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.