What to do this week of October 13, 2019
168 weeks down, 55 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: Restore the vote to returning citizens. [h/t Campaign Legal Center]
If you or someone you love has a past conviction, visit RestoreYourVote.org (en Español: Recuperesuvoto.org) to find the status of your/their right to vote. You may find that your/their voting rights have been restored, and you/they can get help even if your/their state’s laws are confusing. You can also share these links or this printable flyer to show how much everyone’s participation in our democracy matters.
▢ Action 2: Advocate for a crucial safeguard against election fraud. [h/t Verified Voting]
Call: Your two state legislators (look up).
Script: Hi, I’m calling from [ZIP] because I want security around [STATE]’s elections to be public and trustworthy. Nonpartisan experts agree that a specific type of post-election oversight called a risk-limiting audit (RLA) is the strongest and most cost-effective defense against malfunctioning or hacked voting systems. Can I count on [NAME] to support mandatory RLAs in [STATE] beginning with the 2020 presidential primaries? Thank you.
Bonus if you live in CO, NV, RI or VA, which already require RLAs: Donate to Verified Voting here to work for reliable election systems.
▢ Action 3: November 5 is Election Day. Are you prepared?
Even if you believe you’re registered to vote, recent voter purges of more than 17 million Americans show that it’s important to double-check your registration status, which you can do at Vote411.org. Research what’s on your ballot at BallotPedia.org, and set up email or text-message election reminders for yourself at TurboVote.org.
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: 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 my deep frustration that the Senate still has not acted on the Violence Against Women Act, lapsed now for more than a year. As a result, Native American women in particular are even more vulnerable to assault and rape. I’m asking [NAME] to support the complete House version (H.R. 1585) and call for an immediate vote on it.
▢ Action 5: Support menstrual equity. [h/t Black Women’s Health Imperative]
Access to menstrual hygiene products is an essential, albeit often overlooked, aspect of women’s rights. Women and girls in poverty regularly miss work or school for lack of tampons and pads, items not eligible for purchase under the SNAP program.
Donate: To the Black Women’s Health Imperative’s Positive Period Campaign to provide menstrual cups to girls in Atlanta, GA and Kigali, Rwanda.
▢ Action 6: Advocate for a path to permanent citizenship for aspiring Americans under temporary status. [h/t United We Dream]
Call: Or write your two senators (look up).
Script: Hello, I’m from [ZIP] and I’m calling to express my support for the Dream Act of 2019. There are around 2.5 million people living in the U.S. under temporary statuses, such as DACA, TPS, and DED. Many of these individuals have lived in this country since they were children, and their statuses are now at risk of expiring or being terminated by the current administration. I would like [NAME] to support the noble aim of S. 874 to make DACA, TPS, and DED status permanent, and to urge Senator McConnell to allow the bill to proceed to the floor. Thank you.
Acts of Gratitude
Get out your stamps, postcards, and sparkle markers for some gratitude mail.
Thank NBA Commissioner Adam Silver for affirming employees’ individual rights to freedom of expression. [Share why you appreciate upholding American values despite threatened or real negative financial consequences.]
Address: Olympic Tower, 645 5th Ave., New York, NY 10022
Decent people everywhere are speaking up and working together. Just look. #GoodNews
- A federal court issues a temporary injunction against the administration’s “public charge” rule, which would limit aspiring Americans’ ability to receive green cards should they need to utilize public assistance.
- Congressional report highlights the growing role the Latino community plays in developing a thriving America.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves a new HIV-prevention drug that may offer fewer side effects than current versions of the medication.
- CA becomes the first state to allow pharmacists to provide HIV prevention pills without prescriptions.
- CA Legislature passes a law allowing college athletes to be financially compensated for their work by signing endorsement deals and licensing contracts.
- CA: Gov. Gavin Newsom signs the Building a Better Early Care and Education System Act, which enables childcare providers to formally unionize.
- CA: A new law permits cities and counties within the state to establish public banks, which use public funds to provide capital at lower interest rates than commercial banks.
- GA: The Georgia Dignity Act goes into effect in all women’s prison facilities, ensuring basic necessities like menstrual supplies as well as banning harmful practices such as solitary confinement and shackling for pregnant, birthing, and postpartum people .
- MI waives tuition to public community colleges and universities for Native American students.
- NV restores provision-free voting rights for returning citizens, effective July 1, 2019.
- VT will allow young adults aged 18-20 with criminal charges to remain in the juvenile court system, providing them with age-appropriate services and allowing them to avoid a life-altering criminal record.
- Hot Springs, AR, in partnership with local crisis center Jackson House, offers people experiencing homelessness a work program that also connects them to other support services.
- Los Angeles voids nearly two million warrants, fines, and citations that have trapped people in cycles of poverty and homelessness.
- Steven Reed is elected mayor of Montgomery, AL, becoming the first black individual to hold the position in the city’s nearly 200-year history.
- Washington, DC City Council approves legislation to rename the second Monday in October Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
- Dick’s Sporting Goods destroys $5 million worth of its semi-automatic weapons stock.
- Members of the Sicangu Nation gain the majority of seats on the board of directors of the Cherry-Todd Electric Cooperative, which supplies the Nation’s electricity, for the first time in 70 years.
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission rules that companies violated civil rights laws by limiting which Facebook users were able to see the companies’ job postings on the site.
- Nestlé replaces plastic KitKat packaging in Japan with origami paper.
- Instagram introduces their new Restrict feature, providing users with more control over how harassers interact with their content.
- Lynda and Stewart Resnick gift $750 million to Caltech for climate-change research.
Groups and organizations
- The #HomeIsHere campaign will rally on October 26 in cities nationwide to support DACA and TPS in advance of upcoming Supreme Court proceedings to decide the programs’ fate.
- United We Dream collects video biographies and stories from 27 DACA recipients as part of its historic amicus brief filed directly with the Supreme Court in support of the DACA program.
- The Five Foundation launches in New York, bringing together multiple international organizations to mobilize against the practice of female genital mutilation.
- Human Rights Campaign announces expanded initiatives dedicated to equality and justice for the trans community with a focus on economic empowerment, reducing anti-trans violence, and educating the public about trans-related issues.
- ACT will permit students to retake individual test sections, rather than the entire test, if they would like to try to improve their scores.
- Impact Justice creates the Homecoming Project, which matches returning citizens with people who have an extra room to lease.
- Never Again Action offers free and anonymous career support for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement workers seeking to leave the agency.
- Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Welcoming Schools program shares five ways to cultivate ally behavior and prevent bullying among students.
- The Oahu Youth Action Board, comprised entirely of young adults who have experienced homelessness, creates a plan to address the housing, employment, and safety needs of vulnerable populations using federal grant money.
News with heart
- Protesters at a Georgetown University Law School event shout the (now-former) acting Secretary of Homeland Security off the stage for his complicity in violating the human rights of aspiring Americans.
- Former president Jimmy Carter works at a Habitat for Humanity build one day after experiencing a fall.
- A record number of colleges and universities eliminate ACT and SAT testing requirements in the face of criticism that test scores don’t accurately reflect a student’s skills or knowledge.
- Siesta Key Oyster Bar donates $14,000 gathered from dollar bills pulled from their walls to Hurricane Dorian relief.
- A floating ocean cleaning device succeeds in removing plastic from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch for the first time.
- Arizona State University’s women’s robotics team places first in the country, third in the world.
- “Extinct” Formosan clouded leopards are spotted in Taiwan.
- Fourteen-year-old Shay Crowley of Ireland is honored for saving two friends from drowning.
- Simone Biles wins her 21st gymnastics world medal, breaking the previous female record.
- Scientists at the University of Rhode Island are awarded grants to assist efforts to restore wild oyster populations.
- See more good news at Women in the World, Small Victories, Good Black News, and What Went Right.
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