What to do this week of November 17, 2019
173 weeks down, 50 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 equality.
Support the dignity of your rainbow of neighbors from every religion, race, ethnicity, culture, gender, sexual orientation, economic status, age, and ability.
Share this on social media (especially since the government is not): Enrollment for 2020 health insurance is open until December 15, and the cost may be lower than you expect. Healthcare.gov provides complete plan information. For free help, call 1-800-318-2596 or visit localhelp.healthcare.gov.
▢ Action: Advocate for ICE’s release of a woman recovering from cancer [h/t United We Dream]
Call: Your two senators and one House rep (look up).
Script: Hello, I’m an American citizen from [ZIP] calling on behalf of Tania Romero, A# 095-087-219, who is detained in ICE custody at Irwin County Detention Center. Ms. Romero is in recovery from Stage 4 cancer and should be granted the opportunity to heal in a safe and healthy environment. Please join Tania’s family and community in calling for her release, so that she may process her case in restorative conditions.
▢ Action: Advocate for your hungry neighbors by Dec. 2. [h/t Food Research and Action Center]
Tell the Department of Agriculture (again) that you support the SNAP program, this time by voicing opposition to a standard, national formula for factoring utility costs into benefit eligibility, rather than continuing to let states use actual costs.
Submit a comment: To be counted, comments must be unique and individual, not scripted. On the Federal Register, using these tips: 1. Introduce yourself, 2. State why you oppose the rule change based on your values, and, if applicable, 3. Share experiences with SNAP or hunger. Review this article and/or cite SNAP strengths to personalize the points below.
- An estimated 19 percent of SNAP households would experience a reduction in benefits.
- The cuts would mostly impact northern states due to the change in the way heating costs are calculated.
- Elderly people and people with disabilities would be disproportionately affected.
▢ Action: End corporate investment in private prisons/concentration camps. [h/t MomsRising]
Write: The CEOs of Citizens Bank, Regions Bank, First Tennessee Bank, Synovus Bank, and Pinnacle Bank
Script: I’m a [citizen and/or a customer] concerned about continued investment in detention giants CoreCivic and GEO Group, companies that have documented histories of human rights abuses. [Share your personal reasons for opposing mass incarceration and/or concentration camps.] I urge you to join PNC, SunTrust, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and JPMorgan Chase in cutting financial ties to these harmful enterprises.
Citizens: Bruce Van Saun, CEO, Citizens Financial Group, Inc., 1 Citizens Plaza, Providence, RI 02903
Regions: John Turner, CEO, Regions Bank, 1900 Fifth Ave. North, Birmingham, AL 35203
First Horizon (recently bought First Tennessee): Bryan Jordan, CEO, First Horizon National Corp., 165 Madison Ave., Memphis, TN 38103
Synovus: Kessel Stelling, CEO, Synovus Bank,1111 Bay Ave., Columbus, GA 31901
Pinnacle: Terry Turner, CEO, Pinnacle Bank, 150 3rd Ave. South, Nashville, TN 37201
▢ Action: Oppose dangerous and unlawful practices at the border. [h/t AILA]
Call: Your two senators and one House rep (look up).
Script: Hello, I’m calling from [ZIP] to express my concern about the expansion of the Remain in Mexico (RIM) policy, which denies vulnerable people their legal right to sanctuary in the U.S. Families and individuals are forced to wait in dangerous conditions, usually without legal representation, until they’re called to appear in makeshift tent court that, unlawfully, does not allow public access. I want [NAME] to take action to end RIM and, in the meantime, demand that these tent courts be opened to the public.
▢ Action: Urge closure of child detention centers across the country. [h/t RAICES]
Call: Your two senators and one House rep (look up).
Script: Hello, I’m calling from [ZIP] because I am horrified that our government is still separating and detaining children at the American border. So far in 2019, the United States government has held nearly 70,000 children in custody whose families were legally seeking asylum or paths to citizenship. I would like [NAME] to denounce this practice and take action to shut down all ICE detention centers.
I value democracy.
With respect and collaboration, we work to create a nation that welcomes all people, expands freedoms, and upholds the Constitution. Each citizen must be able to freely, securely, and fairly elect those who represent their values.
▢ Action: Restore the Voting Rights Act this week. [h/t League of Women Voters]
Call: Your one House rep (look up).
Script: Hi, I’m a constituent from [ZIP], and I want all citizens to be able to exercise their right to vote. The Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2019 would curb the sharp increase in discriminatory voter suppression laws by restoring key provisions of the Voting Rights Act (which has always had strong bipartisan support). Can I count on [NAME] to vote YES on H.R. 4 when it comes to the House floor this week? Thank you.
Call: Your two senators (look up).
Script: Hi, I’m a constituent from [ZIP], and I want our elections to be safe from both foreign attacks and technological malfunctions. The House approved $600 million to increase election security, but the Senate version of the same budget bill only provides $250 million. Can I count on [NAME] to insist on the full $600 million in funding when S. 2524 comes to the Senate floor on November 21? Thank you.
Acts of Gratitude
Get out your stamps, postcards, and sparkle markers for some gratitude mail.
Thank former and current U.S. State Department Foreign Service officers Marie L. Yovanovitch, William B. Taylor Jr., George P. Kent and William V. Roebuck for providing requested congressional testimony despite significant personal and professional risk. [Share why you appreciate speaking truth in service of the rule of law.]Address: ℅ U.S. Department of State, HR/REE, 2401 E Street NW, Suite H-518, Washington, DC 20522
Thank Kathleen McLaughlin, executive vice president and chief sustainability officer for Walmart Inc. and president of the Walmart Foundation, for recognizing and taking action to avert the serious risks of climate change, which will disproportionately impact vulnerable communities. [Share why you appreciate corporate leadership regarding climate change.]Address: 702 S.W. 8th St. Bentonville, AR 72716
Decent people everywhere are speaking up and working together. Just look. #GoodNews
- Federal court rules that the government must provide mental health services to the thousands of children and families separated at the southern border to address their resulting trauma.
- Supreme Court allows a lawsuit to go forward brought by relatives of Sandy Hook shooting victims against the manufacturing company that produced the murder weapon.
- Federal court rules it’s unconstitutional to conduct suspicionless searches of international travelers’ phones and laptops.
- Federal court dismisses the president’s lawsuit against the House Ways and Means Committee’s pursuance of his tax returns.
- FL: Several returning citizens regain the right to vote after being cleared of financial repayment obligations by a state court.
- NY: Gov. Andrew Cuomo signs a bill entitling LGBTQ veterans who were discharged over their orientation or gender identity to receive state veterans’ benefits.
- RI: Gov. Gina Raimondo signs a similar bill entitling LGBTQ veterans who were discharged over orientation or gender identity to receive both state and local veterans’ benefits.
- Cape May, NJ raises funds to build a museum honoring Harriet Tubman and her work on the Underground Railroad.
- Princeton University and Microsoft support DACA recipients as the DACA case is heard by the Supreme Court.
- Unidos and Verizon provide $1 million in grants to improve tech career skills among Latino workers.
- Corona adopts edible 6-pack rings that feed fish and prevent harm to aquatic animals.
- Mastercard cardholders can use their chosen names on cards, even if their name has not been legally changed.
Groups and organizations
- The United Methodist Church’s Western Jurisdiction announces its Safe Harbor Declaration; it will not withhold or challenge the ordination of LGBTQ+ clergy members.
- Just Security compiles and curates all publicly available documents in the House’s presidential impeachment inquiry for Americans to read and explore firsthand.
- Research from the Center on Budget Policy Priorities shows that Medicaid expansion improves health and financial security as well as saving lives.
- GLAAD report finds that the number of LGBTQ characters on TV is at an all-time high.
News with heart
- According to the Pew Research Center, most Americans want aspiring Americans to stay in the U.S. and be provided a path to citizenship.
- 361 bipartisan state and local elected officials as well as 27 former high-ranking military officials encourage the administration to resettle at least 95,000 people seeking refuge next year.
- Melinda Menzer swims across the U.S.-Mexico border to raise money for aid organization HIAS and to express that “water connects more than it divides.”
- Study finds that a majority of U.S. border residents disapprove of the administration’s immigration policies.
- A mouse deer species not seen for nearly 30 years is found alive in Vietnam.
- Appeals court orders a halt of the deportation of a nine-year-old who was detained by ICE on her way to school.
- Berliners send the administration a piece of the Berlin Wall in protest of the president’s plans for a physical barrier at the U.S.-Mexico border.
- New Zealand passes a bill committing the nation to reducing its carbon emissions to zero by 2050.
- Students across the country walk out of school in support of DACA ahead of the case’s Supreme Court hearing.
- Steve Irwin’s family opens an elephant hospital in Indonesia, fulfilling one of his life goals.
- San Pedro La Laguna, Guatemala goes three years without utilizing plastic.
- See more good news at Women in the World, Small Victories, Good Black News, and What Went Right.
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