What to do this week of September 16, 2018
97 weeks down, 50 days (seven weeks) to midterm elections.
The AoC 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: Advocate for fair and trustworthy elections.
If you only have time for one action this week, make it this.
Print: This important letter to your local elections official.
Send: Mail it this week to give your local officials time to ensure trustworthy election results in your district.
Call: Your two senators (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m calling from [ZIP] to ask [name] to oppose Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court. As an appellate judge, Kavanaugh upheld a South Carolina law requiring voters to show an ID in order to vote, even though the law violated the Voting Rights Act and disproportionately affected minority voters. I support legal efforts to make public his complete record as well as pursue allegations that he lied under oath. Our democracy requires truth and transparency. Thank you.
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: Support our neighbors with disabilities. [h/t]
Call: Or write your two senators and one House rep (look up).
Script: Hi, I’m calling from [ZIP] to support the right of people with disabilities to receive long-term care services at home rather than an institution. It’s more humane and cost-effective when the decision rests with an individual needing care. The bipartisan Disability Integration Act addresses this. Can I count on name to co-sponsor S. 910/H.R. 2472?
▢ Action 2: Speak up for the health of all our neighbors. [h/t]
Call: Your two senators and one House rep (look up).
Script: Hi, I’m calling from [ZIP] about the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill (S. 3158/H.R. 6470). Besides keeping programs that serve people with HIV/AIDS, STD and hepatitis C, more funding for research is needed, because the opioid epidemic is causing these infectious diseases to rise rapidly. Please ask [name] to only support a final bill that addresses both retaining programs and research.
▢ Action 3: Support Native American equality. [h/t]
Write: Muriel Bowser, Washington DC Mayor, and/or Phil Mendelson, DC City Council Chairman.
Script: I’m writing from [state] to urge the District of Columbia to require the city’s NFL team to change their name before discussing any plan to return to the RFK stadium site. The current mascot is a racial slur and deeply offensive. If DC retains this derogatory image, I will choose not to spend my entertainment dollars on football during my next visit. Thank you for doing the right thing.
I value secure, convenient voting and fair elections.
Democracy thrives when all citizens can freely elect those who represent their values.
▢ Action 1: Support your neighbors who can’t afford a voter ID.
▢ Action 2: Get ready for midterms (just 50 days away).
1 min: Share on social media: Sign our Midterm pledge to vote on November 6, 2018: https://goo.gl/forms/jbridWNIVRs8UbVg1.
3 min: Watch to avoid falling prey to foreign trolls and bots in this short video.
1 hour: Participate in When We All Vote’s Week of Action.
1 day: Plan to serve as an unbiased, neighborly poll worker on Election Day.
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: Support our country’s greatest strength: diversity. [h/t]
Call: Or write your one House rep and two senators (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP]. I’m have a specific request regarding Jeff Sessions’ appalling anti-immigrant agenda. I am asking [name] to propose legislation for an Article 1 immigration court system, independent of the Department of Justice. The current AG hand-picks biased judges, restricts asylum, insults lawyers who uphold due process rights, and calls the president’s family-separation policy “legitimate, moral, and decent.” Diversity is our strength. People must be able to seek asylum and refuge free of Sessions’ anti-immigration agenda. Thank you.
▢ Action 2: Celebrate Citizenship Day.
The Central American Resource Center-DC supports immigrants through the citizenship process. Unfortunately, USCIS cut funding for instruction offered in any language other than English. A donation provides legal and citizenship services in Spanish.
▢ Action 3: Support the silenced.
Call: Or write your one House rep and two senators (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m calling from [ZIP] to ask whether [name] is aware of the fivefold increase of children in US detentions centers. In May 2017, there were 2,400. Today, it’s 12,800. Can you tell me precisely what [name] is doing to stop the concentration of asylum-seeking children into taxpayer-funded prisons?
Call: Or write your one House rep and two Senators, red or blue (look up). This bill is already out of the House committee.
Script: Hi. I’m calling from [ZIP] to ask [name] to reject any funding increase for immigrant detention. The Homeland Security (DHS) budget has increased by almost a billion dollars over the last two years despite well-documented fiscal manipulationand mismanagement. DHS now seeks to increase their detention budget in fiscal year 2019. I want my tax dollar to fund services like healthcare, education, and housing. I’m asking [name] not to approve expanded immigration detention in the DHS Appropriations Act (H.R.6776/S. 3109) nor the ICE continuing resolution. Thank you.
Deep breath innnnnnn… Deep breath ouuuuuuuut…
Acts of Gratitude
Get out your stamps, postcards, and sparkle markers for some gratitude mail.
Thank Scott Heiferman, chair and founder of Meetup.com, for lifting up the vote and partnering with When We All Vote to encourage 10 minutes for voter registration at all Meetups. Thanks for amplifying this first cornerstone of our sacred responsibility to vote across a wide variety of interest areas and localities.
Address: 632 Broadway, New York, NY, 10012
Thank Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), for pledging that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee would not seek or use information obtained by hackers or foreign operators to influence an election. Votes should not be for for sale. Thank you for eliminating one source of troubling influence on American elections.
Address: 2231 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515
Thank Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), for releasing a document showing that the DHS diverted nearly $10 million meant for FEMA to ICE. We cannot undermine our ability to respond to catastrophic weather events, which disproportionately affect the poor and exacerbate economic disparities. Thank you for shedding light on this unethical use of my tax dollar.
Address: 121 SW Salmon Street, Ste. 1400, Portland, OR 97204
Thank Liz Weintraub, Senior Advocacy Specialist, for brave and moving testimony to the Judiciary Committee, describing the threat Brett Kavanaugh poses to the self-determination of people with disabilities. Your testimony paid homage to a lifetime of overcoming the limitations of others’ expectations. Thank you.
Address: Association of University Centers on Disabilities, 1100 Wayne Ave., Suite 1000, Silver Spring, MD 20910
Decent people everywhere are speaking up and working together. Just look. #GoodNews
- Ruling: DeVos unlawfully delayed student loan relief protections against predatory lenders.
- Sen. Angus King (ME-I) will vote no on Kavanaugh’s nomination.
- Aalayah Eastmond, a survivor from Parkland, Florida, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee at the confirmation hearing of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
- Tara Sweeney, the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, writes a tribute to John McCain highlighting his support for the rights of Native peoples.
- In response to lawsuits, hopeful signs of progress for separated immigrant families.
- Across the country, black women are organizing to mobilize voters and run for office.
- Parkland students have registered 10,000 voters using shirts with QR codes.
- Ruling: School district must allow transgender students to use the restroom that matches their gender identity.
- Ruling: Florida must provide Spanish-language materials to voters.
- CA: Law makes it illegal to charge defendants for the legal cost of a local ordinance violation.
- NH: Board of Immigration Appeals will now reconsider cases of Indonesian asylum-seekers who fled religious persecution.
- NC: A bipartisan Board of Elections unanimously voted to challenge a federal subpoena for more than 20 million voting records.
- NY: Candidate for AG, Tish James may become the first Black woman in statewide office.
- Atlanta’s mayor says it will no longer hold people detained by federal officials in city jails.
- Samantha Bee creates a game to engage apathetic voters.
- Yance Ford becomes the first openly trans filmmaker to win an Emmy Award.
- Tommy Orange, a citizen of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, is earning critical praise for his debut novel about urban Native Americans.
- Actor Frances McDormand starts a movement to diversify the filmmaking industry through inclusion riders. Warner Brothers studios joins them.
- Sharif Durhams becomes the first person of color elected to lead the National Association of LGBTQ Journalists.
News with heart
- Former gang members and L.A. police play a friendly game of softball.
- An airline captain serves pizza to his stranded passengers.
- 16-year old Sameer Jha publishes a teachers’ guide to making schools safer for LGBTQ kids.
- Seventh-grader Isabela Masrouga releases an award-winning film celebrating the dignity of all.
- Sister Norma Pimentel receives the Laetare Medal for her work at the Texas-Mexico border.
- Over 12 million children and adults in 175 countries celebrate International Dot Day.
- See more good news at Small Victories, Good Black News, and What Went Right.
Spread the word
Know someone who could use some good news and clear actions? Please share!
Tweet: There’s one thing you should really do for our democracy this week. Find it here: https://americansofconscience.com/9-16-2018/
Post on Facebook: There’s one thing you should really do for our democracy this week. Find it here: https://americansofconscience.com/9-16-2018/
Print: The Americans of Conscience Checklist flier and share at in-person events.
- Sign up: Get the weekly Americans of Conscience Checklist here.
- Get inspired: Complete the Self-Care Worksheet.
- Stay focused: Complete the Action Worksheet (or Kelly Wooten’s artistic version).
- Share: We post actions and good news on Facebook and Twitter. Follow us and share.
- Gratitude: Big thanks to the JEBitor, Week 3 social media volunteers, the Research Sous Chefs teams, and to the amazing angel patrons who make it possible.