What to do this week of October 7, 2018
100 weeks down, 29 days 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: Encourage your elected officials to hold town hall meetings.
Call: Your one House rep.
Script: Hi. I’m a constituent from [ZIP]. Can you tell me when [name] is holding town hall meetings in my area during the October 15-November 12 recess?
— If no meetings planned, add: It’s important for citizens to meet face-to-face with people who want our votes in November. Can you let me know when s/he plans to meet with his/her constituents?
— If meetings planned: Thank you—I plan to be there.
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 our hungry neighbors. [h/t]
Call: Your two senators (red or blue) or write their local offices (lookup).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP], calling about the Farm Bill. 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: Support our neighbors in Puerto Rico.
Call: Or write your one House rep and two senators (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP], calling to express my concern that an estimated 5,000 of our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico died as a result of Hurricane Maria. This was considerably higher than the official estimate. I am asking [name] to ensure PR’s citizens receive the same protection and support as US state residents. What is [name] doing to support Puerto Rico’s recovery?
▢ Action: Speak up for people impacted by mass incarceration. [h/t]
Call: Or write your two senators (look up).
Script: Hi, I’m calling from [ZIP] to support the bipartisan Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act. It would reduce costly mandatory sentences that are crowding federal prisons with nonviolent offenders, wasting our tax dollars. Will [name] co-sponsor and vote for S.1917? Thank you.
Call: Or write your two senators and one House rep (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m calling from [ZIP] in support of Muslims seeking to travel here from other countries. Although the Supreme Court allowed the administration’s ban, I believe it’s discriminatory and don’t want my tax dollar to fund its implementation. Can I count on [name] to make the policy illegal by co-sponsoring S.1979/H.R.4271?
I value secure, convenient voting and fair elections.
Democracy thrives when all citizens can freely elect those who represent their values.
For months, we’ve been advocating for safer, fairer elections, this month our sole priority is to show up for midterms. Let’s do this!
▢ Action 1: Check your state registration deadline and ID requirements. 30 state deadlines are imminent.
▢ Action 2: Pledge to vote.
▢ Action 4: Check today and weekly that your name isn’t purged from voter rolls.
▢ Action 5: Get a sample ballot (email not required) to check out your candidates’ records. Be sure to vet District Attorney candidates.
▢ Action 6: Check that your polling place is open and in the same place.
▢ Action 7: Offer (or request) a ride to the polls on your social media accounts. You never know who can’t afford the extra gas or who feels unsafe voting alone.
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.
Call: Your one House rep and two senators (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and I’m calling with concerns about detained people in ICE facilities who are not receiving adequate medical care. I would like [name] to demand investigation into reports showing a failure to provide basic care and deaths in detention. What is [name] doing to hold ICE and DHS accountable?
▢ Action: End corporate investment in US immigration detention. [h/t]
Script: I’m [a Chase customer and] concerned about JPMorgan Chase’s continued investment in the detention giants CoreCivic and Geo Group. These companies ignore federal regulations, leading to abuse, neglect, and death for people in their facilities. I stand with my immigrant neighbors in opposing the practice of profiting off victims, especially when xenophobic policies are driving up detention. I urge you to cut financial ties immediately to stop keeping these barbaric companies afloat. History will remember the decision you make. Thank you. Name, address
Snail mail: CEO Jamie Dimon, 270 Park Avenue, New York, N.Y 10005
Email: email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
▢ Actions: Support the dignity of aspiring Americans.
Call: Your one House rep and two senators’ local offices (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and I’m calling to ask [name] to ensure that Congress ends the unnecessary so-called “zero-tolerance” immigration policy and works to lower immigration bond amounts. We should reinstate the Family Case Management Program and use more humane, less-wasteful check-in methods. Thank you.
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 agenda to deport naturalized citizens. It’s a dangerous trend: First DACA and Dreamers, 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.
Deep breath innnnnnn… Deep breath ouuuuuuuut…
Acts of Gratitude
Get out your stamps, postcards, and sparkle markers for some gratitude mail.
Thank your State, District, or Territorial Attorney General (look up) for their bipartisan, unified demand for Congress to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Your letter highlights the importance of reauthorizing this impactful and essential legislation for victims and their families. Thank you for prioritizing the safety of those impacted by violence over politics.
Thank Ana María Archila and Maria Gallagher who held Sen. Jeff Flake’s elevator to ensure he heard of their and other survivors’ sexual assault experiences before he voted on whether to advance Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination process. Your patience and tenacity in speaking truth to power made a difference, and inspired me to continue to speak out against sexual assault wherever it is occurring.
Address: c/o The Center for Popular Democracy, 1730 M Street NW, Suite 1115, Washington, DC 20036
Thank Jason Kander, former Kansas City mayoral candidate who developed PTSD as a result of his service in Afghanistan, for elevating awareness of PTSD by withdrawing from campaigning to focus on his mental health. I appreciate your service and bravery in facing the continuing impact of combat trauma on your life. Be well.
Address: PO Box 413736, Kansas City, MO 64141
Decent people everywhere are speaking up and working together. Just look. #GoodNews
- The Justice Department is doubling funds to address violence toward Native American women.
- The Smithsonian is installing a memorial to honor US Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian veterans, designed by Harvey Pratt, a Southern Cheyenne chief.
- Minneapolis leaders actively seeking solutions for a homeless, mostly Native American community.
- More than 1,000 American Immigration Lawyer’s Association members demanded due process in immigration courts by requesting that AG Jeff Sessions remove Department of Justice performance quotas for judges.
- A federal court blocked a North Carolina law that prevented farmworkers from organizing and making collective bargaining agreements with employers.
- A record 61% of all registered voters in a recent national survey said they are more enthusiastic about voting than in past congressional elections, a higher percentage than at any point during midterms in the past two decades.
- Four men face charges for conspiracy to violate federal rioting laws because of their actions in Charlottesville in August of 2017.
- A bipartisan group of House members plans to introduce a bill to protect undocumented individuals who care for unaccompanied minor immigrants from ICE enforcement.
- An internal review by the Department of Homeland Security found that the administration’s zero tolerance policy at the border was not well planned, had multiple communication failures, and showed indifference to the separation of children and parents.
- A federal judge granted a preliminary injunction preventing the government from ending Temporary Protected Status for immigrants from Sudan, El Salvador, Haiti, and Nicaragua.
- A federal judge refused to dismiss a lawsuit for unreasonable detention brought by an American family against the US Customs and Border Patrol, rejecting the patrol’s argument that rights are suspended at the border.
- DC: Thanks to universal preschool, 90% of four-year-olds and 70% of three-year-olds are receiving an educational head start—and more of their moms can join the labor force.
- GA: An Aryan Brotherhood member was sentenced to 20 years in a Georgia prison for shooting at a black man whose car momentarily blocked a driveway.
- The federal minimum wage has stagnated at $7.25 since 2009, but in recent years 20 states and more than 40 counties have taken matters into their own hands.
- MS: Starting in December, 16 mothers in Jackson public housing will begin to receive $1,000 per month for a year as part of a pilot project to end intergenerational poverty.
- New research shows that Medicaid expansion can have major health and financial benefits in states that expand coverage.
- In five states, the Integrated Benefits Initiative is piloting a more streamlined, humane system for our most vulnerable neighbors to access needed resources.
- PA: The legislature voted to restrict gun ownership by domestic abusers, and the governor has stated he will sign the bill into law.
- IL: Decatur council repeals law that allowed homeless people to be arrested or fined for asking for help in public spaces.
- The Citizenship Project in Las Vegas helps nearly 1,000 individuals apply for naturalization annually.
- CA: Los Angeles County expanded the immigration unit of the public defender’s office five-fold.
- Effective November 1, Amazon will raise the minimum wage for US workers to $15 an hour, a move that will affect 250,000 full-time employees and 100,000 seasonal workers.
- Techstars, a Boulder-based incubator and accelerator, has proposed a change to its code of conduct requiring that startups joining its programs support diversity in the workplace and equal pay for equal work.
- Revivn, a company that repurposes electronics, has donated more than 20 Chromebooks to refugee and asylum seeking clients of HIAS in New York, and their service is available in cities across the country.
- RAICES and Southern Poverty Law Center are working together pro bono to represent immigrants detained in the South, including parents separated from their children.
- Since June, the RAICES Bond Squad, along with 30 partner organizations, has paid more than $2 million in bonds to reunite 256 families in 20 states.
- Dror Soref spent five months in prison with an enormous bail of $2.7 million until he could exonerate himself, and now he’s raising awareness about dysfunction in the criminal justice system.
- NC: A library volunteer created a book club for homeless people in Charlotte with life changing results.
- Because of vocal public support, ICE will permit Francis Anawana, a deaf and disabled Nigerian immigrant in Detroit, to remain in the US for at least another year.
- More than 187,000 immigrants have renewed their DACA status this year, courtesy of federal court orders preserving DACA.
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Know someone who could use some good news and clear actions? Please share!
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- Gratitude: Big thanks to JEBitor and the Production Team, our Social Media volunteers, our Research Sous Chefs for going the extra mile this week, and the amazing angel patrons whose support makes it possible.