What to do this week of January 6, 2019
112 weeks down, 95 weeks to the presidential election.
The AoC Checklist features clear, well-researched actions for Americans who value democracy, equality, voting, and respect. To stay engaged through challenging times, we practice gratitude, self-care, and celebration.
I value democracy.
With respect and collaboration, we create a government for the people, by the people.
▢ Action 1: Make an action plan for 2019.
Complete the Action Worksheet to get inspired and focused.
▢ Action 2: Make a self-care plan for 2019.
Spend ten minutes with this worksheet to stay inspired throughout the year.
▢ Action 3: Advocate for bipartisan cooperation and voting rights. [h/t Brookings]
Call: Or write your one House rep and two senators (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m a constituent from [ZIP]. Now that the 116th Congress has begun, I would like [name] to know my top two priorities. First, I would like [name] to cooperate in a bipartisan manner. Second, I want [them] to support restoring the integrityof our vote. (House rep only: Can I count on [name] to support H.R. 1?)
I value equality.
Support the dignity of your rainbow of neighbors from every religion, race, ethnicity, culture, gender, sexual orientation, economic status, age, and ability.
▢ Action 1: Speak up for neighbors impacted by the government shutdown. [h/t News and Guts]
Call: Your two Senators and one House rep (look up).
Script: Hi, I’m calling from [ZIP] to ask that [name] support efforts to end the shutdown without funding a border wall. A shutdown during tax season impacts our poorest neighbors, who file early for refunds to pay debts and make major purchases. Can you tell me what [name] is doing to support [their] constituents without funding a wall?
I value voting as a foundation of a healthy democracy.
Each citizen must be able to freely and fairly elect those who represent their values.
▢ Action 1: Bolster your state’s election security in advance of 2020 elections. [h/t Verified Voting]
Write: Your local election official (use this tool to look up).
Script: Dear [name], I’m a resident of [state] and am writing to ensure that we prevent security breaches in our voting systems. I’d like to know whether our state uses these 5 crucial strategies:
1. Systems that count a paper ballot.
2. Post-election audits.
3. Systems upgrades that prevent intrusion and vote manipulation.
4. Voting machines without wireless connectivity.
5. Security training for elections officials.
If we do not, I urge you to take immediate action to resolve these vulnerabilities before 2020 elections. Thank you for your time. Name.
I value decency.
▢ Action 1: Support accountability from U.S. immigration agencies. [h/t ACLU]
Call: Your two Senators and one House rep (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and calling because I find it unacceptable to detain children in overcrowded, substandard facilities. It is unacceptable that two children died in U.S. custody. It is unacceptable to use my tax dollar to jail children and families. What is [name] doing to ensure DHS, ICE, and Customs and Border Patrol are investigated and held accountable?
Deep breath innnnnnn… Deep breath ouuuuuuuut… Here comes the good stuff.
Acts of Gratitude
Get out your stamps, postcards, and sparkle markers for some gratitude mail.
Thank Rose Marcario, Patagonia CEO, for donating their $10M corporate tax break to benefit the planet. [Share what this action means to you and why it matters].
Address: Patagonia, 235 W. Santa Clara St., Ventura, CA 93001
Thank members of No More Deaths/No Mas Muertes for risking personal freedom to save lives in the southwest desert. [Share your gratitude for bravery to protect lives in the face of personal harm.]Address: ℅ Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson, 4831 E. 22nd St., Tucson, AZ 85711
Thank comedian Samantha Bee for shedding light on cruel border policies, and raising funds for humanitarian immigration efforts. [Share your appreciation for tackling complicated issues through humor and compassion.]Address: ℅ AGI Entertainment Media & Management, 150 East 58th St.-19th Floor, New York, NY 10155
Thank three Kansas state senators for following their moral compass. Changing party affiliation to support equality in our communities and oppose division in our country is courageous. [Share why you admire this decision.]Address for Sen. Barbara Bollier, Sen. Dinah Sykes, and Rep. Stephanie Clayton: Kansas State Capitol, 300 SW 10th St., Topeka, KS 66612
Decent people everywhere are speaking up and working together. Just look. #GoodNews
- Thanks to extensive bipartisan cooperation, the First Step Act—which will bring more justice and dignity to our communities—is now law.
- The newly-passed, bipartisan Improving Access to Maternity Care Act brings brings better care to communities across the nation.
- The Supreme Court upholds a block on the current president’s asylum ban.
- People fleeing domestic violence and gang violence may once again apply for asylum in the U.S., overturning the administration’s policy.
- The current administration announces a plan to ease onerous security requirements for sponsors of migrant children, increasing chances for reunification with family members.
- CA expands overtime pay for farmworkers.
- WA Department of Corrections and unions facilitate preferred entry for female inmates into paid apprenticeship programs after completing their sentences.
- LA teachers oppose tax breaks for Exxon and work to strengthen funding for school districts.
- Dallas: New District Attorney plans new approach to nonviolent cases to reduce mass incarceration and promises to end punishing people “because they are poor.”
- San Diego: Drag queens host a charity performance that raises thousands of dollars for LGBTQ asylum seekers in Tijuana.
- Clatsop County, Oregon’s new needle exchange program succeeds in helping people understand the opioid epidemic and has reversed at least 35 opioid overdoses.
- Los Angeles: A program that invites homeless young adults to live with families helps them transition to stability and changes perceptions of homelessness.
- Black movie directors create historic box office results in 2018.
- Cards Against Humanity purchases vacant land on the U.S.-Mexico border to hinder the proposed border wall using eminent domain.
- Dr. Bronner’s donates hygiene kits to LGBTQ asylum seekers at the U.S. border.
Groups and organizations
- The Anti-Defamation League compiles ten moments of hope in 2018.
- The Associated Press names LeBron James the male athlete of the year, recognizing his altruism and activism — and Serena Williams as female athlete for the 5th consecutive year.
- The United Farm Workers offers a free downloadable 2019 calendar.
- The NY Immigrant Family Unity Project finds that providing attorneys for detained indigent immigrants facing deportation resulted in 48% successful case outcome compared to 4% before the program began.
News with heart
- Texas school bus driver Curtis Jenkins bought a Christmas present for every student he drives to school.
- Michigan Nurses Association members cancel $8.9M in medical debt for 9,200 people.
- A bootstrap project to feed one family ends up feeding the world.
- “There are times you have wreckage all around you, but you can still win something.”
- Benedict College awards an honorary degree to Trayvon Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, to recognize her social justice work in the wake of her son’s murder.
- After 23 years in prison, Tyra Patterson is shining a light for others impacted by the criminal justice system.
- Community members serenade and feed hundreds of migrants released by ICE over the Christmas holiday at a Greyhound bus station in El Paso, Texas.
- Through stories and pictures, the New York Times shares the lives of several migrant families reunited after long separations at the border.
- The 2018 national teacher of the year is organizing a 24-hour “teach-in” for migrant children at a detention camp in Tornillo, TX.
- Three trans Latinx women start their own beauty shop co-op in response to discrimination.
- 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: In 2019, I’m committed to supporting equality, voting, and decency in our country. If you are too, use this clear, positive checklist to speak up for our democracy by @AoCChecklist: https://americansofconscience.com/1-6-2019/
Post on Facebook: In 2019, I’m committed to supporting equality, voting, and decency in our country. If you are too, use this clear, positive checklist to speak up for our democracy: https://americansofconscience.com/1-6-2019/
Print: The Americans of Conscience Checklist flyer and share at in-person events.
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- Merch: Spread the word with our stickers, magnets, and more.
- Gratitude: Big thanks to JEB and the Production Team, our Social Media volunteers, Research Sous Chefs, and Team Captains. Thanks also to the amazing angel patrons whose support makes it all possible.
A special note from Jen: Into each issue of the Americans of Conscience Checklist go hours of talent, time, and teamwork. I have big plans for the coming year. If you appreciate clarity and optimism, please consider supporting this labor of love as you are able so we can persevere through 2020.