What to do this week of April 14, 2019
126 weeks down, 81 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 kindness, fairness, and equality.
With respect and collaboration, we work to create a nation that welcomes all people, expands freedoms, and upholds the Constitution.
▢ Action 1: Engage your elected officials at town hall meetings this week.
Call: Your one House rep and two senators’ local offices on Monday (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m a constituent from [ZIP]. Can you tell me when [NAME] is holding town hall meetings in [TOWN] during recess this week?
— If no meetings planned, add: It’s important for [NAME] to meet with their constituents. Can you let me know when they plan to hold the next town hall?
— If meetings planned: Thank you! I plan to be there.
▢ Action 2: Advocate for children experiencing homelessness. [h/t School House Connect]
Call: Your House rep (look up).
Script: Hi, I’m calling from [ZIP] to express my concern that young people experiencing homelessness are falling through the cracks of HUD’s definitions and data. The bipartisan Homeless Children and Youth Act would address these flaws and make HUD programs more responsive to local conditions. Can I count on name to sign on as a co-sponsor of H.R. 2001?
▢ Action 3: Advocate with your LGBTQ neighbors for equal protection. [h/t Human Rights Campaign]
Call: Your two senators and one House rep (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m calling from [ZIP] to support the Equality Act. Right now my LGBTQ neighbors are vulnerable to being legally fired, evicted, and denied services without recourse. A coalition of CEOs has endorsed the this legislation which would extend protections to all Americans. Can I count on [NAME] to co-sponsor S. 788/H.R 5?
▢ Action 4: Support the liberty of your disabled neighbors. [h/t ADAPT]
Call: Your one House rep and two senators (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m calling from [ZIP] to support the right of disabled people to receive long-term care services at home rather than an institution. 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.
▢ Action 5: Support fairer elections with a comprehensive solution: HB 1.
Call: Your two senators (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP], and I value fair and accessible voting. Stacking districts prevents fair representation in Congress. We must also stop corporate money from deciding elections over the will of the people. Now that H.R. 1 has passed in the House, can I count on [NAME] to support voting fairness?
▢ Action 6: Support fairer elections with ranked-choice voting. [h/t FairVote]
Look up: Does your state have pending legislation on ranked-choice voting (RCV)?
If yes: Write or email your two state legislators (look up).
Script: Hi, I’m a constituent from [ZIP], concerned about how [STATE]’s elections can better represent its residents. Properly implemented, ranked-choice voting guarantees that the winner of an election always gets a majority of the popular vote, instead of merely a plurality. This would make the electoral college system fairer to all constituents. I am asking you to support ranked-choice voting legislation in [STATE]’s elections. Thank you.
If no, donate: Make a tax-deductible donation to FairVote.org.
▢ Action 7: Support equal representation in presidential elections. [h/t Equal Votes]
EqualVotes.us has filed lawsuits to oppose states’ nonrepresentational, winner-take-all method of allocating electoral college votes and will appeal all the way to the Supreme Court.
Donate: To EqualVotes.us
▢ Action 8: End the practice of drawing district lines that alienate voters. [h/t Brennan Center]
Call: If you don’t live in AZ, CA, CO, ID, MI, MO, OH, UT, or WA, write your two state legislators: (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and I’m writing about gerrymandering. My concern is that districts drawn by legislatures discourage competition, protect incumbents, and alienate constituents. I want to gerrymandering to end. Can you tell me what you are doing to support independent commissions to oversee redistricting? (NY and CO: Can you tell me what you’re doing to make sure the independent commission’s decision is final and not subject to overrule by the legislature?)
Bonus: If you do live in AZ, CA, CO, ID, MI, MO, OH, UT or WA, write your two state legislators (look up) to thank them for ensuring that your voice is heard by using independent commissions for redistricting.
Call: Your one House rep and two senators (look up).
Script: Hi, I’m calling from [ZIP] to support religious tolerance and welcome toward new Americans. The NO BAN Act would repeal the president’s Muslim, asylum, and refugee bans—and limit the authority used enact them. This administration’s anti-immigrant agenda is un-American and must be addressed by Congress. Can I count on [NAME] to co-sponsor this new bill (H.R. 810/S. 246).
▢ Action 10: Support greater oversight of ICE. [h/t Latino Rebels]
Call: Your one House rep (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and I’m calling to express my support for greater oversight of DHS and ICE. For too long, these agencies have been acting independently to harm communities and violate constitutional rights. I would like [NAME] to support and cosponsor H.R. 2203. Thank you.
▢ Action 11: Advocate for the release of a Somali man with tuberculosis . [h/t BAJI]
Abdikadir Mohamed, who is from Somalia, was detained on arrival in the U.S. in December 2017, and has been separated from his wife and two children (all U.S. citizens) ever since.
Call: Deportation officer Teresa Violano, 908-282-5714.
Script: Hi. I’m a concerned citizen calling for the immediate release of Abdikadir (ab-di-ka-dir) Mohamed. His A-number is 065-868-710. He has been diagnosed with tuberculosis and is not receiving the medical attention he needs. He poses no threat and is not a flight risk.
Bonus: Email email@example.com if you get a response.
Acts of Gratitude
Get out your stamps, postcards, and sparkle markers for some gratitude mail.
Thank Oprah Winfrey for donating $2 million to Puerto Rico to aid recovery and cultural revitalization after Hurricane Maria. [Share what supporting Puerto Rico means to you].
Address: Oprah Winfrey Network, 1041 N Formosa Ave, West Hollywood, California 90046
Thank Brian Moynihan, Bank of America CEO, for raising its minimum wage to $17, freezing health care costs for lower-wage workers, and raising minimum wage to $20 in the two years. [Share why this matters to you.]
Address: 100 North Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC 28255
Address: 221 N. Kansas Street, Suite 1500, El Paso, TX 79901
Decent people everywhere are speaking up and working together. Just look. #GoodNews
- Ruling: Asylum seekers must receive a bond hearing within seven days of requesting one.
- Ruling: Cities cannot criminalize homelessness.
- Ruling: Court issues a preliminary injunction ending the practice of sending asylum seekers back to Mexico to wait for their case to be heard.
- House votes to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act and close the “boyfriend loophole.”
- Senators urge administration to ease policy on detaining pregnant migrants.
- A new lawsuit spotlights illegal donations to the president’s campaign by GEO Group, the government contractor imprisoning immigrants.
- CA: National Guard leader plans to use exceptions and waivers to continue to welcome transgender service members.
- MA joins 15 other states, D.C., and Puerto Rico in banning conversion “therapy” for LGBTQ youth.
- Private companies invest in stability to help Denver break the homelessness-jail cycle.
- Atlanta, Chicago, New Orleans, and Bergen County, NJ, develop innovative, home-grown solutions to address homelessness.
- After the Washington Post published an article humanizing one couple’s experience with homelessness, the public responded to support them.
- After an audit by LA Police Dept. inspector general, LA Police Chief will discontinue a program that purports to use data to predict which individuals are more likely to commit violent crimes.
- Bank of America raises minimum wage to $17 effective May 1st, freezes health care costs for lower-wage workers, and raises its minimum wage to $20 in the next two years.
Groups and organizations
- Social change organizations are bringing communities inside writers’ rooms.
- Define American works with Hollywood TV writers to portray more accurate immigrant storylines.
- Rio Bravo Comics released “El Peso Hero: Borderland” the first comic book narrative featuring the realities of unaccompanied children in detention facilities.
- ACLU files a lawsuit in CA asking to block the administration from building border wall using funds obtained through national emergency declaration.
News with heart
- Men on death row create community and work together to end the death penalty.
- Atlanta’s Dignity Museum—the first-ever museum dedicated to homelessness—works to build empathy between its visitors and the homeless community.
- Yo-Yo Ma will perform on the Gateway to the Americas International Bridge, calling attention to how much unites American and Mexican culture.
- American Corbin Kunst and Mexican Jamie Marrufo slack-lined across the border between the U.S. and Mexico to highlight “connection, trust, and … common passion”.
- Dolores Huerta, Mexican-American activist, was honored in CA for her leadership in the farm workers’ movement.
- See more good news at Women in the World, Small Victories, Good Black News, and What Went Right.
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