What to do this week of July 14, 2019
155 weeks down, 68 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: Empower returning citizens to vote in Florida. [h/t We Got the Vote, Brennan Center, ACLU of Florida]
Floridians restored the vote to returning citizens, then state legislators ignored the will of the people by passing a new, oppressive law requiring all fees and fines to be paid before these citizens can exercise their right to vote.
Donate: Contribute to returning citizens’ fees and fines directly, enabling them to vote, by making a tax-deductible donation to We Got the Vote.
Donate: To support a legal challenge to Florida’s racially discriminatory law, make a tax-deductible donation to any of the organizations that filed the lawsuit: ACLU of Florida, the Brennan Center, or the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
▢ Action 2: Provide required IDs for new voters. [h/t Spread the Vote]
Spread the Vote and its Project ID initiative help citizens obtain IDs required for voting. We set an audacious goal to support 300 future voters in 2019, and AoCC subscribers have already raised enough for 344 people to get IDs (a whopping $13,758)! Since we’re only halfway through the year, help us get to 600!
Donate: To Spread the Vote here.
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 3: Advocate for the closing of concentration camps in America. [h/t United We Dream]
Write: Or email your two senators and one House rep (look up).
Script: Hello, I’m a constituent of [ZIP] and writing because I am horrified by the appalling conditions in ICE concentration camps across the U.S. CBP is holding children and adults seeking asylum and citizenship in unsanitary, overcrowded cells, forced to drink out of toilets and live without adequate food, medical care, or exercise. I would like [NAME] to visit an ICE detention facility in [STATE] to witness the inhumane treatment of our neighbors at our government’s hands, expose the atrocities taking place, and work to close them now. Thank you.
▢ Action 4: Speak up with victims of hate crimes for more accurate data collection. [h/t SAALT]
Call: Or write your two senators and one House rep (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and I’m calling to express my support for the bipartisan Khalid Jabara – Heather Heyer NO HATE Act. Hate crimes in America have reached epidemic proportions in recent years, primarily targeting minority and underrepresented communities. It is the responsibility of our leaders to address this surge in violence and discrimination, so I would like [NAME] to cosponsor S. 2043 / H.R. 3545 and advocate for the accurate tracking and reporting of hate crimes.
▢ Action 5: Spread awareness as ICE conducts community raids. [h/t Freedom for Immigrants]
ICE is preparing for community raids across the U.S., targeting undocumented families seeking American citizenship. Each of us can support our neighbors by understanding their rights and helping protect those rights.
Share on social media: Read the Know Your Rights Community Toolkit [link: https://www.nyic.org/know-your-rights-community-toolkit/]
▢ Action 6: Advocate for reproductive rights. [h/t Women’s March]
Call: Or email your two senators and one House rep (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m calling from [ZIP] because I believe access to reproductive services is a basic human right that is under growing threat. So far this year, 28 states have implemented new abortion bans. The Women’s Health Protection Act (S. 1645/H.R. 2975) would provide federal safeguards against such actions at the state level. Can I count on [NAME] to support it?
▢ Action 7: Speak up with Native American women. [h/t National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center]
Call: Your two senators (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m calling from [ZIP] to express dismay that Senate inaction has caused the Violence Against Women Act to lapse for the first time in 26 years. Its protections are critical, particularly for Native women who experience more violencethan other groups. I’m asking [NAME] to support the complete House version (H.R. 1585) and call for a vote on it.
Deep breath innnnnnn… Deep breath ouuuuuuuut…
Acts of Gratitude
Get out your stamps, postcards, and sparkle markers for some gratitude mail.
Thank Jessica McClard for creating community and fulfilling need with the Little Pantry movement of volunteers building, stocking, and maintaining small community pantries. [Share why you appreciate a grassroots, neighbor-focused approach to meeting community needs.]Address: c/o Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 2925 N Old Missouri Rd., Fayetteville, AR 72703
Thank California state officials Gov. Gavin Newsom, Sen. Toni Atkins, and Rep. Anthony Rendon for expanding healthcare to all young people in the state. [Share why you appreciate healthcare policy that doesn’t discriminate based on where people are born.]Addresses:
GN: 1303 10th Street, Suite 1173, Sacramento, CA 95814
TA: 1350 Front Street, Suite 4061, San Diego, CA 92101
AR: 4909 Lakewood Blvd, Suite 400, Lakewood, CA 90712
Thank Esi Eggleston Bracey, Unilever Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President for her black beauty advocacy. [Share why you appreciate corporate support for equality and acceptance of natural beauty.]Address: 800 Sylvan Avenue, Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632
Thank Julián Castro, presidential candidate, for amplifying support specifically for reproductive justice. [Share why you appreciate a justice focus on reproductive autonomy and healthcare access.]Address: P.O. Box 501, San Antonio, TX 78292
Thank Megan Rapinoe, U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team Co-Captain, for courage on and off the field to support equality, inclusiveness, and equal pay for women. [Share why you appreciate using personal victory to amplify the beauty and strength of diversity and community.]Address: ℅ Reign FC, 2502 S Tyler St, Tacoma, WA 98405
Thank Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) for continued opposition to family separation. [Share why you appreciate persistent advocacy to end state-sponsored child abuse.]Address: 4929 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 650, Los Angeles, CA 90010
Thank Rachael Rollins, Suffolk County (MA) District Attorney, for declining to prosecute protestors demonstrating against ICE detention. [Share why you appreciate state respect for lawful demonstration against federal immigration policy.]Address: One Bulfinch Place, Boston, MA 02114
Thank Jenn Budd, former Senior Border Patrol Agent, for resisting the culture of abuse, racism, and sexism at the federal Customs and Border Patrol agency. [Share why you appreciate sharing hard truths to advance human dignity and equality.]Address: ℅ Alliance San Diego, PO Box 12266, San Diego, CA 92112-3266
Decent people everywhere are speaking up and working together. Just look. #GoodNews
- Advocates file federal class-action suit against DHS over changes in asylum policy on behalf of children seeking asylum.
- Congressman Jason Crow and his staffers will inspect the ICE detention facility in Aurora on a weekly basis to ensure enforcement of health and safety standards.
- Federal judge rejects the administration’s bid to swap out lawyers for census case on citizenship question.
- U.S. asylum officers ask federal court to block “remain in Mexico” policy due to safety concerns for people seeking asylum.
- Federal judge blocks the administration’s plan to deny bail to jailed people seeking asylum.
- Second circuit court rules that it is unconstitutional and a violation of the First Amendment for the president to block critical followers on social media.
- Federal court rules that the First Amendment protects sharing food with homeless people.
- State Department intelligence analyst Rob Schoonover resigns in protest after the White House blocked parts of his climate change testimony to Congress.
- House passes bill ensuring funding to care for 9-11 victims; Senate Majority Leader McConnell will bring it to the Senate floor before August recess.
- Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta resigns following pushback over his involvement in sexual abuse plea deal.
- CA: Gov. Gavin Newsom signs budget bill expanding Medi-Cal, increasing health care access for Latinx communities and others.
- CA: The state passes the CROWN Act to protect its residents from discrimination over natural hair styles; NJ and NY have similar legislation pending.
- FL: Department of State approves over $2 million in funding for election security.
- IL: Gov. J.B. Pritzker signs executive order creating a task force to study the rights of transgender students, aiming to ensure welcoming, inclusive environments in Illinois schools.
- MD: State’s voter registration forms will allow for non-binary gender identities.
- NY: Applications for the DREAM program, which provides access to grants and scholarships for aspiring American college students in the state, go live.
- OR: FBI and ICE are denied access to state driver databases for use in facial recognition sweeps.
- RI: State passes legislation freeing natural hair braiding practitioners from inapplicable, burdensome hairdressing license standards.
- UT: All state counties make the switch to universal mail voting.
- Twenty states to file a friend-of-the-court brief in Flores border patrol conditions case, supporting the children’s right to humane conditions.
- Houston father José Escobar, formerly deported to El Salvador, returns to U.S. for good.
- DA Rachel Rollins will not prosecute 18 protesters arrested at Boston’s ICE detention center.
- The majority Black neighborhood surrounding Detroit Renewable Power, the largest municipal trash incinerator in the U.S., celebrates the plant’s closure after decades of protest against its air pollution.
- After 13 years in business, Denver’s non-profit SAME Cafe (So All May Eat) expands by launching a food truck.
- Voting rights activist Vernon Dahmer to be honored with a statue in his likeness at the Forrest County Courthouse in Mississippi.
- Parents of Newtown shooting victims win lawsuits against hoax conspiracy theorists.
- Chicago public school teacher Nora Flanagan co-authors a toolkit for school communities to recognize and address white nationalism in schools.
- Shirley Chisholm State Park in Brooklyn honors the first African-American woman in Congress.
- Prosecutor drops charges against Alabama woman Marshae Jones who lost a pregnancy following a shooting.
- Bank of America will stop lending to detention centers and private prison firms.
- SunTrust Banks, Inc. will stop financing companies that manage private prisons and detention facilities.
- Amazon stops selling books by anti-LGBTQ+ pseudo-scientist as well as other books promoting so-called “conversion therapy.”
- Marriott and Choice hotels refuse to house ICE detainees following raids.
- France’s BNP Paribas will no longer finance private prison operators, becoming the first foreign bank to distance itself from the practice.
Groups and organizations
- Custom Collaborative Training Institute is offering education in design, sewing, and fashion sales to low-income women and women who have moved to the U.S.
- Force for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment (FIRE), a Dallas-based activist group, provides “know your rights” training to counter fear about the administration’s ICE sweeps.
- University of Maine adds Penobscot language to signs across campus in acknowledgement of the university’s location on occupied Penobscot Nation land.
- A University of California Berkeley study finds that a $15 federal minimum wage won’t decrease the number of available American jobs.
- ACLU files a preemptive lawsuit to stop the administration’s mass arrests and deportations of aspiring Americans.
News with heart
- Over 700 Lights for Liberty vigils are held in cities across the U.S. and internationally in protest of ICE and CBP’s inhumane detention practices.
- Spanish-language reporter Manuel Durán is released from custody while his case proceeds after being detained and facing deportation for covering a protest 15 months ago.
- Newly invented device could provide clean water and solar power to millions globally.
- With a team comprised of 19 players of Dominican background, Gregorio Luperón High School baseball team makes history this month by winning the PSAL AAA Baseball Championship .
- High school graduate braves sensory overwhelm to walk at graduation and receives a silent standing ovation.
- In Northern Ireland, members of Parliament vote to extend abortion rights and same-sex marriage rights.
- Melody and Russ Stein hire fellow deaf employees at their San Francisco pizzeria to combat stigmatizing stereotypes about deaf individuals’ capabilities.
- The children’s book Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 is re-released for its 50th anniversary with revised gender-inclusive language.
- 24-year-old biochemist Camille Schrier wins the Miss Virginia pageant by conducting a science experiment for the show’s talent portion.
- See more good news at Women in the World, Small Victories, Good Black News, and What Went Right.
One final action: Spread the word
Do you know anyone who could use some good news and clear actions? Please share!
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