What to do this week of April 7, 2019
125 weeks down, 82 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 work to create a nation that welcomes all people, expands freedoms, and upholds the Constitution.
▢ Action 1: Defend the privacy of our disabled neighbors. [h/t Talk Poverty]
Call: Or write your two senators and one House rep (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m calling from [ZIP] to support privacy rights for disabled people applying for Social Security benefits. The administration’s new budget proposes monitoring people’s social media accounts as part of determining eligibility. Since the SSA’s own analysis finds fraud in only 1% of disability payments, this practice would invade privacy and waste limited resources. I’m asking [NAME] to publicly denounce invading citizens’ privacy and hold OMB Director Mick Mulvaney and SSA Commissioner Nancy Berryhill accountable.
Bonus: OH and PA residents, thank Sens. Sherrod Brown and Bob Casey for leading public opposition.
▢ Action 2: Support prevention of hate crimes. [h/t Muslim Advocates]
Write: FBI Director Christopher Wray, FBI Headquarters, 935 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC, 20535-0001
Script: Dear Director Wray, I am greatly concerned about increasing violence by white nationalists against houses of worship. I support stricter enforcement of existing law to address to this public safety threat. I urge you to meet with religious leaders who wish to advocate with you directly in the near future. My neighbors’ lives are [or my life is] at stake. Thank you.
▢ Action 3: Speak up for your hungry neighbors by April 10 (extended!). [h/t Off Kilter Show]
Note: This site is now working again. People were reporting difficulties.
Write: A comment on the Federal Register.
Select from points below, but use your own words: Cut-and-paste comments are not counted.
- The Agriculture Department has proposed new limits on states’ ability to waive work requirements for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, even when not enough jobs are available.
- Last fall, Congress rejected this provision that would deny food to 755,000 people, many of whom work in low-wage, unstable occupations.
- I want my tax dollars to assist my neighbors in need.
- I support a robust SNAP program for adults because [share why you believe stricter time limits are harmful].
- Cite SNAP strengths.
- I oppose new SNAP rules that would increase hunger and poverty in communities across the nation.
- State (not federal) government is best qualified to determine when local employment conditions warrant a change to work requirements.
Last week, the Washington Department of Corrections banned nonprofits from sending free, used books to prisoners to prisons.
Sign: Books to Prisoners’ petition which they’ll present to the DOC.
▢ Action 5: Advocate for equality in the military (before April 12). [h/t GLAD]
Call: Your two senators and one House rep (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m calling from [ZIP] to affirm the dignity of my transgender neighbors. The president’s discriminatory ban is set to take effect April 12, and Congress must act to stop it. Anyone who meets military standards should be able to serve, including our 15,000 transgender troops. I urge [NAME] to co-sponsor S.373/H.R.1032.
▢ Action 6: Support reliable and verifiable election systems.
Verified Voting’s mission is “Safeguarding elections in the digital age” and they support hand-marked paper ballots. Donating helps communities around the U.S. strengthen their election security.
Donate: To Verified Voting.
Twelve transgender women are eligible for release from Cibola County Correctional Center, but need to post bond. The Santa Fe Dreamers Project is working on their cases directly.
Donate: To SFDP’s bond fund for their release.
▢ Action 8: Insist on impartial courts and judges. [h/t AILA]
Call: Your two senators (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and I’m calling about immigration judges. When their performance appraisals are connected to case quotas, they are vulnerable to political interference and manipulation. Our country needs independent judges in our courts. I would like [NAME] to support and co-sponsor the Immigration Court Improvement Act of 2019 (S. 663).
▢ Action 9: Support a path to citizenship for our neighbors. [h/t ACLU]
Acts of Gratitude
Get out your stamps, postcards, and sparkle markers for some gratitude mail.
Thank Sens. Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) for introducing the Immigration Court Improvement Act of 2019. [Share why you value impartial judges.]
MH: 300 Ala Moana Blvd., RM 3-106, Honolulu, HI 96850
CCM: 400 South Virginia Street, Suite 902, Reno, NV 89501
JM: 500 Liberty Street SE, Suite 320, Salem, OR 97301
Thank Joaquin Castro, chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, for his clear objections to Sec. Nielsen’s letter and request to meet with her. [Share why you appreciate holding the president’s cabinet members accountable.]
Address: 727 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd, Suite B-128, San Antonio, TX 78206
Thank Tricia Newbold, security administrator, Office of Administration (White House), for providing the U.S. House Oversight Committee with information about security clearance irregularities that could threaten national security. [Share your appreciation for putting public safety over personal interest.]
Address: c/o Edward H. Passman, Passman & Kaplan, P.C., Attorneys at Law, 1828 L Street, NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036
Thank Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) for sharing her personal story of domestic violence to support reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. [Let Rep. Porter know what sharing her personal story means to you].
Address: 2151 Michelson Drive, Suite 195, Irvine, CA 92612
Decent people everywhere are speaking up and working together. Just look. #GoodNews
- Farm workers testify before U.S. House Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship in support of the “Blue Card” which would allow immigrant farm workers to remain in the country by continuing to work in agriculture.
- Three more states (CO, DE, NM) join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.
- The House Oversight and Reform committee authorizes subpoenas on White House security clearances., US Census citizenship question, and the full Mueller report.
- CA district attorneys collaborate with technology company, Code For America, to clear up to 50K marijuana convictions.
- UT enacts its first comprehensive and inclusive hate crime law.
- CA Attorney General says unauthorized immigration should be decriminalized.
- MS college student’s research exposed racial gerrymandering and prompted new legislation to redraw three districts.
- NY: New law allows residents to take up to three hours of paid time off to vote on election day.
- Lori Lightfoot becomes the first black woman and openly gay person elected to serve as mayor of Chicago.
- New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell will issue a formal proclamation to apologize for the 19th century mob lynching of 11 Italian immigrants.
- New England charter school reverses dress code rules that disproportionately affected minority students.
- Puerto Rico corrects over 100 transgender citizens’ birth certificates
- Three Texas teens kickstart a board game to raise awareness of gerrymandering and sent copies to all Supreme Court justices.
Business, groups, and organizations
- Motel 6 settles a second lawsuit for racial profiling and violating customer’s privacy and will stop sharing customer’s information to ICE.
- The ACLU’s “Rights for All” campaign begins with the goal of getting all presidential candidates on the record about their support for civil rights and civil liberties.
- UC Irvine has increased its Latino student populations to 34% and increased the six-year graduation rate to 95%.
News with heart
- Tanitoluwa Adewumi, an 8-year-old Nigerian refugee, wins the 52nd New York State Scholastic Chess Championship tournament for K-3rd-grade—and a new home.
- Objecting to conditions at a FL child detention camp, protesters project messages of freedom and encouragement onto prison buildings.
- 100s of separated families have been reunited thanks to Miles4Migrants, Al Otro Lado, and people who donated air miles for this purpose.
- Brad Paisley and Kimberly Williams-Paisley build a free grocery store for their hungry neighbors.
- Jay-Z and Beyoncé are awarded GLAAD’s Vanguard Award for their support of the LGBTQ community.
- See more good news at Women in the World, Small Victories, Good Black News, and What Went Right.
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