What to do this week of January 12, 2020
165 weeks down, 42 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.
▢ Action: Demand due process for aspiring Americans. [h/t Human Rights First]
Call: Your two senators and one House rep (look up).
Script: Hello, I’m calling from [ZIP] to express my opposition to the unconstitutional Migration Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as the Remain in Mexico (RIM) policy because it forces vulnerable individuals and families seeking sanctuary in the U.S. to wait for months in notoriously dangerous parts of Mexico for their cases to move forward. In violation of U.S. laws and treaties, trials are being held via video conferencing in makeshift tent courts with no translators or legal representation available. I expect [NAME] to do what is right and humane by taking action to defund RIM and end its unlawful and unethical practices immediately.
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: Make a 2020 civic engagement action plan.
Complete the AoCC Action Worksheet (or Kelly Wooten’s pocket-sized version).
▢ Action: Make a self-care plan for your own well-being.
Make a cuppa, grab a pen, and spend ten minutes with this worksheet.
▢ Action: Oppose further judicial confirmations until impeachment proceedings are complete. [h/t The Leadership Conference]
Call: Your two senators (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and calling in solidarity with a coalition of human and civil rights organizations urging Leader McConnell and Judiciary Chairman Graham to pause the federal judicial confirmation process during impeachment. The House has determined the president should be removed from office for abuse of power and obstruction of congress. Proceeding with lifetime judicial nominees would be an abdication of the Senate’s role in the separation of powers that protect our liberty. Until the Senate holds a fair trial and exonerates the president, it should confirm no further judicial nominees. Thank you.
Bonus: Send a postcard with the script above to both Sens. McConnell and Graham.
Sen. McConnell: 317 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510
Sen. Lindsey Graham: 290 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510
▢ Action: Help your county participate in the 2020 census. [h/t Association of County Commissioners of Georgia]
Look up: Does your county have a Complete Count Committee (CCC)?
If no, call: Your county administrators (look up).
Script: Hi, I’m a resident of [COUNTY] and I want to make sure that our community is not undercounted in the 2020 Census. Accurate census data affects communities’ political power and financial resources. I urge you to follow the Census Bureau’s recommendations to establish a Complete Count Committee. Thank you.
If your county has already established a CCC, consider donating to the Census Project, a coalition of national, state, and local organizations that support an inclusive and accurate 2020 Census.
▢ Action: Advocate for a federal Election Day holiday this November. [h/t Common Cause]
Call: Your one House rep (look up).
Script: Hi, I live in [ZIP] and I’m part of a bipartisan majority that supports making Election Day a national holiday to make it easier for all citizens to vote. Can I count on [NAME] to cosponsor H.R. 294, the Election Day Holiday Act of 2019? Thank you.
▢ Action: Dismantle barriers to college students voting. [h/t Campus Vote Project]
As voter participation surges among college students, they also face new methods of voter suppression. Campus Vote Project and its Voter Friendly Campus initiative provide support and recognition to campuses that help students register and vote.
Donate: to Campus Vote Project here.
Acts of Gratitude
Get out your stamps, postcards, and sparkle markers for some gratitude mail.
Thank StoryCorps for featuring the story of two women healing racially-motivated violence. These are the stories that give us hope in challenging times. I am grateful to you, these brave women, and your staff for telling them.
Address: StoryCorps Headquarters, 2nd Floor, 80 Hanson Place, Brooklyn, NY 11217
Thank the 19 Republican Governors who will continue to offer respite from discrimination and violence by receiving refugees, despite political pressure to deny opportunities for those seeking safety and resettlement in the United States in 2020.
Kim Reynolds (IA): State Capitol, Des Moines, IA 50319
Doug Ducey (AZ): 1700 West Washington St., Phoenix, AZ 85007
Kevin Stitt (OK): 2300 N Lincoln Blvd., Oklahoma City, OK 73105
Bill Lee (TN): 1st Floor, 600 Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. Blvd. Nashville, TN 37243
Doug Burgum (ND): 600 East Boulevard Ave., Bismarck, ND 58505-0001
Kristi Noem (SD): 500 East Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501
Chris Sununu (NH): 107 North Main St., State House-Rm 208, Concord, NH 03301
Gary Herbert (UT): 350 North State St., Suite 200, P.O. Box 142220, Salt Lake City, UT 84114-2220
Pete Ricketts (NE): P.O. Box 94848, Lincoln, NE 68509-4848
Jim Justice (WV): 1900 Kanawha Blvd. E. Charleston, WV 25305
Eric Holcomb (IN): Statehouse, Indianapolis, IN 46204-2797
Phil Scott (VT): 109 State St., Pavilion, Montpelier, VT 05609
Charlie Baker (MA): Massachusetts State House, 24 Beacon St., Office of the Governor, Room 280, Boston, MA 02133
Mike DeWine (OH): Riffe Center, 30th Floor, 77 South High St., Columbus, OH 43215-6117
Asa Hutchinson (AR): State Capitol Room 250, 500 Woodlane Ave., Little Rock, AR 72201
Mike Parsons (MO): P.O. Box 720, Jefferson City, MO 65102
Brad Little (ID): State Capitol Building, 700 W. Jefferson St., Boise, ID 83702-0057
Larry Hogan (MD): 100 State Circle, Annapolis, MD 21401-1925
Mike Dunleavy (AK): 3rd Floor, State Capitol, P.O. Box 110001, Juneau, AK 99811
Decent people everywhere are speaking up and working together. Just look. #GoodNews
- The recently passed National Defense Authorization Act includes a provision that extends permanent residency status for eligible Liberians and opens a pathway to U.S. citizenship.
- Congress appropriates money for gun violence research for the first time in more than 20 years.
- Senate unanimously passes a resolution formally recognizing the Armenian genocide.
- House approves a $7.25-million increase for the National Endowment for the Arts, the NEA’s largest funding increase since 2013.
- 161 representatives and 36 senators file a bicameral amicus brief in the case of June Medical Services LLC v. Gee in a declaration of support for an individual’s right to abortion.
- Supreme Court affirms that cities may not criminalize conduct that is an unavoidable consequence of experiencing homelessness.
- Federal court rules that an individual’s right to due process is violated by asking a bond-eligible aspiring American to prove they are neither a flight risk nor a threat to the community.
- Federal appeals court rejects the administration’s motion to overturn an injunction blocking the implementation of a policy that could deny permanent resident status to aspiring Americans who utilize public benefits.
- U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims rules that veterans exposed to radiation from a 1966 nuclear disaster can sue for disability benefits.
- 25 Jewish members of Congress call on the president to remove Stephen Miller for amplifying white nationalist organizations.
- CA: A law barring landlords from discriminating against low-income renters with Section 8 vouchers goes into effect January 1.
- CA: A law enacted to address racial disparities in the criminal justice system by expanding jury pools to include people with felony convictions goes into effect January 1.
- KY: Gov. Andy Beshear signs an executive order returning the right to vote to Kentuckians with nonviolent felony convictions who have completed their sentences.
- MD: Gov. Larry Hogan issues written consent to allow the state to continue accepting people seeking refuge in response to the administration’s executive order allowing state and local leaders to block their admission.
- MO: Court grants final approval of a settlement ensuring that children in foster care in Missouri are administered psychotropic medications only when necessary and safe.
- NJ: Aspiring Americans in New Jersey can get driver’s licenses under a new law passed by the state assembly.
- NY: A panel of judges rules that a lawsuit alleging that the president sexually assaulted a former Apprentice contestant can be heard by New York State’s highest court.
- RI launches new central voter registration system, furthering the security of the state’s voter rolls.
- VA: Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn is unanimously elected speaker of the Virginia House, becoming the first woman and first person of the Jewish faith to hold that role.
- VA state Senator L. Louise Lucas is named Senate president pro tempore, making her the first woman and first African American to hold that chamber’s second-highest office.
- 24 states raise their minimum wage in 2020.
- Shelby County, TN commits to continue welcoming people seeking refuge in response to the administration’s executive order allowing state and local leaders to block their admission.
- Danielle Outlaw is named police commissioner of Philadelphia, becoming the first black woman to serve in the position.
- Evanston, IL will pay reparations for the city’s black residents using money from taxes on legalized cannabis.
- CEOs from Accenture, CVS Health, Intel, Microsoft, Voya Financial, and Walmart urge Fortune 1000 companies to participate in the Disability Equality Index, the leading corporate tool for advancing disability equality.
- Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Johns Hopkins University, and Columbia University cancel their contracts with CBP and ICE.
- Aldi grocery stores offer local charity organizations the opportunity to collect unsold food on Christmas Eve to be distributed to food banks and communities in need.
- Facebook removes and bans nearly 700 fake accounts for “coordinated inauthentic behavior on behalf of a government or foreign actor.”
Groups and organizations
- Western Pennsylvania Continuum of Care identifies and houses any veteran experiencing homelessness in its 20-county region.
- The world’s first Global Refugee Forum results in more than 770 pledges from participating governments and organizations to provide help for people seeking refuge.
- Etowah Visitation Project’s volunteer visits to detained aspiring Americans resume due to advocates’ pushback following the program’s cancellation by the Etowah County sheriff.
- Advocacy group Define American consults with entertainment industry professionals to help them develop more realistic characters of diverse national origins and create more nuanced immigration-related narratives.
- Working Films releases their Stories Beyond Borders project, five short films lifting up the strength and resilience of aspiring American communities in the face of attacks on their rights.
- Janet Mock receives GLAAD’S Stephen F. Kolzak Award for her work as an LGBTQ media professional promoting the acceptance of the LGBTQ community.
- A Brennan Center for Justice lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of the administration’s policy requiring visa applicants to register their social media handles.
- Seattle’s Eagle Village serves Native American, Alaskan Native, and Pacific Islanders experiencing homelessness with culturally responsible housing.
News with heart
- Hundreds of aspiring American women who were suddenly transferred from detention in Texas to detention in Mississippi, many with serious medical issues exacerbated by detention’s abusive conditions, are all granted bond.
- Anthology series Little America, featuring true stories about new and aspiring Americans, premieres January 17.
- After living for years in sanctuary in local churches, Ingrid Latorre is pardoned by Gov. Polis.
- Pope Francis urges nations to welcome and assist people seeking refugee in his annual Christmas speech.
- Pakistan extends government-provided health insurance to transgender people for the first time.
- Dr. Dairon Elisondo Rojas provides full-time medical care for 2,500 asylum seekers while they await a decision in a makeshift encampment in Mexico.
- Incarcerated individuals express themselves through their work as writers and photographers for Inside Scoop, a monthly newspaper that is part of their facility’s education program.
- Eighteen-year-old high school student Mario Aguilar is granted asylum and released from detention after an outpouring of support from his teachers and classmates.
- Edgar, an aspiring American father of four, is released from detention and granted a one-year stay of removal, allowing him to care for his childrens’ serious medical and educational needs.
- See more good news at Women in the World, Small Victories, Good Black News, and What Went Right.
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