What to do this week of September 15, 2019
164 weeks down, 59 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: Check your voting registration status and set up reminders about the November 2019 elections. [h/t Vote411]
On November 5, voters in three states (Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi) will be choosing governors, and many local offices and issues will be decided nationwide. Go to Vote411.org to register to vote or to check or update your registration, and set up email or text-message election reminders for yourself at TurboVote.org.
▢ Action 2: Change the way the House of Representatives is elected. [h/t FairVote]
Call: Your one House rep (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP], calling to express my support for the Fair Representation Act of 2019 (H.R. 4000), which would require independent commissions to create multi-member districts whose representatives are elected via ranked-choice voting. Can I count on [NAME] to cosponsor this important bill?
Bonus: Call your two senators (look up) and ask them to introduce identical legislation in the Senate.
▢ Action 3: Advocate for secure voting machines.
Script: Hi, I’m a resident of [ZIP], asking you to replace the dangerously vulnerable electronic voting machines in [STATE] before the 2020 presidential primary election. New machines must meet modern security standards, which include allowing voters to hand-mark their ballots (with accommodations for disabled people) and verify that their vote is counted. Thank you.
If you live in any other state: Donate to Verified Voting 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 4: Advocate against the torture of detained asylum-seekers. [h/t Detention Watch]
Write: Field Office Director Corey Price, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, El Paso Field Office, 11541 Montana Ave. Suite E, El Paso, TX 79936
Script: I’m writing to express my outrage at the unethical treatment of asylum seekers who are on hunger strike while being detained at your facility. Force-feeding is unethical and, according to both the World Medical Association and the American Medical Association, is a clear human rights violation. As an American citizen and a human being, I urge you to stop the force-feeding of these asylum-seeking hunger strikers in ICE custody, and release them from detention immediately.
▢ Action 5: Promote the compassionate treatment of Bahamians in America after Hurricane Dorian. [h/t BAJI]
Write: Your two senators and one House rep (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and I’m writing to express my support for offering Temporary Protected Status to Bahamian nationals residing in the U.S., and for waiving visa requirements for those seeking refuge from the devastation of Hurricane Dorian. It is our duty as a humanitarian country to offer sanctuary to those affected by natural disasters in their time of need. I would like [NAME] to join Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio in calling for TPS and a visa waiver for Bahamian nationals.
▢ Action 6: Support the liberty of your disabled neighbors. [h/t ADAPT]
Call: Your two senators and one House rep (look up).
Script: If no: 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, so decision-making rests with those needing care. Thank you. If yes: Hi, I’m calling from [ZIP] to thank [NAME] for co-sponsoring the Disability Integration Act. [Either way, share why you value equality for disabled people.]
Acts of Gratitude
Get out your stamps, postcards, and sparkle markers for some gratitude mail.
Thank comedian Hasan Minhaj for testifying to congress about exorbitant increases in college tuition and systemic problems in student lending. [Share why you appreciate prioritizing support for students over unregulated private-industry loan servicers.]
Address: c/o Haven Entertainment, 6310 San Vicente Blvd. Suite 101, Los Angeles, CA 90048
Thank Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) for working to ensure our votes are secure. [Share why you appreciate persistence over politics to ensure that voting is secure, fair, and auditable.]
Address: 1015 North Broadway Ave., Suite 310, Oklahoma City, OK 73102
Thank television journalist Lester Holt for humanity in reporting from inside prison walls on the lives of incarcerated people. [Share why you appreciate criminal justice reporting that centers on the profound impact of incarceration on human beings.]
Address: c/o NBC Nightly News, Studio 3A, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10012
Decent people everywhere are speaking up and working together. Just look. #GoodNews
- House passes two bills banning new offshore drilling along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and the Florida Gulf Coast.
- The House Judiciary Committee advances legislation that would ban high-capacity magazines, flag hate crime offenders who try to buy weapons, and implement a national red flag law.
- U.S. Departments of Labor and Veterans Affairs collaborate with the Interagency Council on Homelessness to expand a reintegration program for homeless veterans.
- The House Judiciary Committee votes to formalize the parameters of their presidential impeachment inquiry, as they investigate potential illegal activity that poses a threat to democracy.
- CA legislature passes a bill requiring app-based companies, such as Uber and Lyft, to treat contract workers as employees, providing workers with more stringent labor law protections.
- CA legislature passes a bill banning private prisons, including ICE detention centers, from operating in the state.
- IL cities Carbondale, Glen Carbon, and Woodstock repeal unconstitutional anti-panhandling ordinances.
- ME will use ranked-choice voting in the 2020 general election.
- NJ’s Secretary of State’s Office and Federal Homeland Security officials work together to address weaknesses in the state’s voting systems and procedures.
- PA residents will be able to apply online for absentee ballots starting September 16, 2019.
- Twelve state governors call on the president and Senate majority leader to take action on gun policy reforms.
- Nashville Mayor David Briley signs an executive order stating the city will challenge the constitutionality of Tennessee’s ban on sanctuary cities.
- Superintendent Nikolai Vitti of Detroit’s public school system commits to protecting students’ safety and right to an education and will not allow ICE agents on school campuses.
- Comcast joins with the American Association of People with Disabilities to fund the creation of digital literacy training programs to address the needs of low-income people in the disability community.
- Facebook bans future ads from a media outlet that bypassed the social media site’s political advertising transparency rules.
- 145 business leaders representing the U.S.’s leading corporations advocate for gun safety, urging the Senate to pass red flag and background check legislation.
- People seeking refuge find housing through Guilford College’s Every Campus a Refuge program.
Groups and organizations
- Aspiring Americans in the Nashville area find support and protection through the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, Neighborhood Health, local schools, and other community members.
- New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia volunteers accompany people to immigration court and other government meetings, providing solidarity and comfort.
- The Human Rights Campaign will host a CNN Democratic presidential town hall focused on LGBTQ issues on October 10 (the eve of National Coming Out Day).
- Muscular Dystrophy Association awards more than $6.6 million in grants for research into a variety of neuromuscular diseases.
- The Flamboyan Foundation, which raised $15 million with a special run of Hamilton performances in San Juan, provides grants to Puerto Rican arts organizations in need of funding assistance following Hurricane Maria.
- Young leaders of upcoming New York City Youth Climate Strike list their demands for action, including accountability from entities responsible for climate change and ending fossil fuel consumption.
- A Brennan Center for Justice study finds that registration rates increased in every state that implemented automatic voter registration policies.
- Hands for Hunger provides hurricane relief for Bahamians.
- The National Institute on Aging awards a $53.4 million grant to Brown University and Hebrew SeniorLife to research how to improve the quality of life for people living with Alzheimer’s and similar diseases, as well as for those caring for them.
- Celebrity chef José Andrés serves over 100,000 free meals to Bahamian survivors of Hurricane Dorian through World Central Kitchen.
News with heart
- Eleven parents deported without their children can return to the U.S. to reunite with their families and pursue asylum after a federal judge rules the deportations unlawful.
- Alejandra Barrera is released after 21 months in ICE detention with no medical attention for a progressive illness or her unique medical needs as a transwoman.
- Twelve-year-old Kaytora Paul reunites with her family after being separated from them by CBP in Miami following their evacuation from the Bahamas.
- Americans volunteer in a multitude of ways to help survivors of Hurricane Dorian with evacuation, family reunification, funding, and housing.
- Jeanne Socrates, 77, sails around the world on a non-stop solo voyage, becoming the oldest person to do so.
- Following the city’s recent mass shooting,1,200 people attend the El Paso Firme Music Fest, a healing musical event intended as a call to action against white supremacy.
- Canada enacts new regulations to ensure prescription medications are affordable.
- Hong Kong withdraws contentious extradition bill following months of pro-democracy protests in the city.
- Scotland creates an official tartan to honor its Muslim citizens and their contributions as members of Scottish communities.
- Two-time WNBA champion Lisa Leslie will be honored with a statue in her likeness outside the Staples Center, becoming the first woman athlete to be celebrated there.
- Thebe Magugu of South Africa receives fashion’s LVMH Prize, the first person from Africa to do so.
- Edward Carpenter, 19th-20th century LGBTQ+ activist and poet, will be honored with a sculpture in Sheffield, England.
- Fifteen-year-old Jack Andraka invents a pancreatic cancer testing device that is faster, more accurate, and less expensive than current testing methods.
- Influential recording artist Jackie Wilson receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
- NFL players Demario Davis and Josh Norman pay the bail of a college student held in ICE detention for 89 days.
- Scientists develop a promising new cure for a deadly strain of tuberculosis.
- PBS debuts Molly of Denali, the first nationally distributed children’s series with a Native American protagonist.
- Six-year-old Jermaine Bell pays for food and water donations for South Carolina hurricane evacuees with his birthday money.
- See more good news at Women in the World, Small Victories, Good Black News, and What Went Right.
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