What to do this week of February 3, 2019
116 weeks down, 91 weeks to the presidential election.
The AoC Checklist features clear, well-researched actions for Americans who value democracy, equality, voting, and decency. To stay engaged through challenging times, we practice gratitude, self-care, and celebration.
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: Support neighbors affected by the government shutdown.
▢ Action 2: Speak up with our neighbors with disabilities. [h/t ADAPT]
Write: Or call 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. To support humane and cost-effective strategies, I’m asking [NAME] to co-sponsor the bipartisan Disability Integration Act (H.R. 555/S. 117) so decision-making rests with those needing care. Thank you.
Call: Your two Senators (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and I’m calling to oppose William Barr for Attorney General. The country needs a Justice Department dedicated to protecting civil rights for all Americans. William Barr’s track record shows he won’t. I’m asking [NAME] to vote against his nomination.
▢ Action 4: Close the gender pay gap. [h/t National Women’s Law Center]
Call: Your two Senators and one House rep (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and I’m calling because I believe in equal pay for equal work. All women, but especially women of color, still make less than men in the same jobs despite existing legal protections. The Paycheck Fairness Act would close remaining loopholes. Can I count on [NAME] to co-sponsor H.R. 7/S. 270?
I value voting as a foundation of a healthy democracy.
The clock is ticking for the 2020 elections. These actions ensure that every citizen can vote and that every vote is counted.
▢ Action 1: Advocate for bipartisan cooperation and voting rights. [h/t Brookings]
Call: Your one House rep (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m a constituent from [ZIP], concerned about Senate Majority Leader McConnell’s objections to H.R. 1. Our leaders should support fair and accessible voting for all Americans. Can I count on [NAME] to support voter participation and H.R. 1?
▢ Action 2: Ensure fair, adequate representation in Congress. [h/t Brennan Center]
Call: Or write your one House rep and two senators (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP], concerned about the president’s successful strategies to underfund and undermine the U.S. census. We must provide funding for a “full, fair, and accurate count.” I am asking [NAME] to support adequate funding for the 2020 Census in the 2019 budget.
▢ Action 3: Protect the integrity of the 2020 Census. [h/t The Census Project]
Call: Or write your one House rep (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and although I’m relieved that a census “citizenship question” was struck down in federal court, now the president is interfering, asking the Supreme Court to add it. We must protect the integrity of our census and our citizens from discrimination. I would like [name] to co-sponsor H.R. 732.
▢ Action 4: Restore voting rights to returning citizens.
Do you know someone who is returning to life after serving time in prison? Reach out with this link to say how much their participation in our democracy matters.
Action for WI, PA, OH, FL, NC, AZ, GA, NJ, MO, TX, SC, AR, and CA.
Email: Your Secretary of State (look up) and county election official (look up).
Script: Hi. I live in [state/region] and am writing to urge our state to use handmarked paper ballots. Please reject unreliable barcode voting and touchscreens (except for ADA use). Please let me know about our state’s plans to switch to secure, hand-marked paper ballots.
Bonus: If you don’t live in the states above, share this action with friends who do.
I value decency.
Call: House Appropriations Committee Chair Nita Lowey (D-NY).
Script: Hi. I oppose the president’s border wall. I want Rep. Lowey to know I also oppose Democrats’ support for increasing surveillance and DHS funding. With news of ICE force-feeding people, and Border Patrol responsible for the deaths of at least 83 people in 8 years, I echo RAICES in insisting that DHS receive no additional funding. Thank you.
Call: Your one House rep and two Senators (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP], calling to express my support for giving experienced farmworkers a path to citizenship. Their workfeeds our nation. I would like [NAME] to co-sponsor the Agricultural Worker Program Act of 2019 (S. 175/H.R. 641). #WeFeedYou
▢ Action 3: Support constitutional freedom from search. [h/t ACLU]
Write: Dave Leach, CEO, ℅ Greyhound Lines, Inc, P.O. Box 660691, MS 470, Dallas, TX 75266-0691
Script: Greyhound is allowing Border Patrol to violate citizens’ 4th Amendment rights. Please start protecting your customers and say no to illegal searches and racial profiling.
Deep breath innnnnnn… Deep breath ouuuuuuuut… Speaking up matters.
Acts of Gratitude
Get out your stamps, postcards, and sparkle markers for some gratitude mail.
Thank Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) for opposing Thomas Farr’s nomination to a federal court, in spite of pressure from your own party. [Share why you appreciate people who use their authority to oppose racism.]Address: 1901 Main Street, Suite 1425, Columbia, SC 29201
Thank six Republican Senators for refusing to treat federal workers like bargaining chips and voting to reopen the government without wall funding. [Share why you appreciate senators putting constituents first.]Addresses:
Susan Collins: 202 Harlow St, Bangor, ME 04401
Lamar Alexander: 3322 West End Avenue, #120, Nashville, TN 37203
Lisa Murkowski: 510 L Street, Suite 600, Anchorage, AK 99501
Mitt Romney: 125 S. State Street, Suite 8402, Salt Lake City, UT 84138
Johnny Isakson: One Overton Park 3625 Cumberland Blvd Suite 970. Atlanta, GA 30339
Cory Gardner: 400 Rood Avenue, Federal Bldg., Suite 220. Grand Junction, CO 81501
Thank four House reps: I join with RAICES in thanking you for taking a principled position on the administration’s decision to put profits before people and rhetoric before the lives of immigrant children. [Share why welcoming asylum seekers matters to you.]Addresses:
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: 229 Cannon HOB, Washington, DC 20515
Rep. Ilhan Omar: 400 South 4th St Suite 401-200, Minneapolis MN 55415
Rep. Ayanna Pressley: 1700 Dorchester Ave, Boston, MA 02122
Rep. Rashida Tlaib: 1628 Longworth HOB, Washington, DC 20515
Decent people everywhere are speaking up and working together. Just look. #GoodNews
- The 116th Congress includes a record number of Congressional Black Caucus members. 55!
- House Intelligence Committee is adding investigative and subcommittee staff to bolster its probe into the administration’s ties to Russia.
- House Oversight Committee requests compliance with prior document requests regarding violations of the Emoluments Clause, child separations at the border, and the water crisis in Flint, MI.
- 98% of comments oppose a citizenship question on the census.
- A majority of Americans oppose the president’s ban on transgender people serving in the military.
- Fast-track processing is back on for H-1Bs, skilled guest worker visas, submitted in lottery.
- Experts challenge administration’s rhetoric about human trafficking at the southern border.
- NY legislature approves a bill offering undocumented students access to state financial aid and scholarships for higher education.
- ME governor rejects Medicaid work requirements and will expand job training programs for Medicaid recipients.
- MD Board of Public Works votes unanimously to erect bronze statues of Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass in the Maryland State House.
- CA irrigators, previously exempt from overtime laws, are now eligible because of a new law.
- ME withdraws from a state lawsuit challenging the DACA program.
- AZ Department of Transportation agrees to issue driver’s licenses to anyone with a federal Department of Homeland Security Employment Authorization Card.
- IA judge strikes down part of a 2017 voter ID law that made it easier for some absentee ballot requests to be rejected.
- RI is piloting risk-limiting election audits to ensure more secure elections.
- NY Governor Andrew Cuomo signs legislation allowing early voting and closing a campaign finance loophole.
- KY: Two-thirds of Kentuckians support restoring voting rights to returning citizens in their state.
- WI: Nearly three-quarters of Wisconsinites want a nonpartisan commission to redraw fairer legislative district maps.
- SC election officials request funding to update voting machines before the 2020 elections.
- TX Secretary of State acknowledges that a list of 95,000 possible noncitizens who are registered to vote may include naturalized citizens who are indeed eligible to vote.
- Reform-minded prosecutors were elected in Cook County, IL, Orange and Osceola Counties, FL, and St. Louis County, MO.
- Seattle looks to replicate Atlanta’s strategies to convince landlords to rent to homeless tenants.
- Oklahoma City nonprofit designs a school to meet the unique needs of homeless children.
- FL cities vote to stop using unpaid prison labor.
- D.C. housing development works to address the needs of “grandfamilies.”
- SD lawmakers stopped a bill that would have required trans student athletes to compete according to their sex assigned at birth.
- Detroit judge orders ICE to return Iraqi-American man, mistakenly deported to Iran, to the U.S.
Groups and organizations
- Smith College overhauls its policing policies after one of its students was racially profiled.
- Youth-led activists marched in Washington, D.C. to press for Secretary Devos’ support of “menstrual equity” in schools and colleges.
- Jay-Z and Meek Mill found the Reform Alliance to influence probation and parole laws.
- Berklee College professor Julius P. Williams becomes first African-American president of the Conductor’s Guild.
- Out-of-state doctors commute to provide abortions in states where providers are scarce.
- Pediatrician Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, founder and CEO of San Francisco’s Center for Youth Wellness, is named California’s first-ever Surgeon General.
- The furor set off by the travel ban has had a profound impact on U.S. law schools, and interest in immigration law is surging.
News with heart
- In recent polling, more than 7 in 10 Americans favor laws to protect LGBT people against discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations.
- A Lafayette, IN 911 dispatcher helps a worried fifth-grader with his math homework.
- Out-of-work coal miners train as beekeepers to earn extra money.
- Kevin Durant invested $10 million to create an after-school program to offer low income students academic, financial, and social-emotional support.
- This week marked the 45th birthday of the 24th Amendment, prohibiting poll tax collection in federal elections.
- Muslim woman is the first to force government to reverse a mistaken placement on a no-fly list.
- Hoda Katebi announces the creation of America’s first clothing cooperative run by women with refugee and immigrant histories.
- Syrian refugee whose falafel shop was named the “Nicest Place in America” feeds government workers during shutdown.
- See more good news at Small Victories, Good Black News, and What Went Right.
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