What to do this week of April 5, 2020
177 weeks down, 30 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.
Note: Since many government offices are closed or staff are working remotely, all of our calls to action encourage you to email rather than call or write a postcard.
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 1: Speak up for freedom from gun violence at home. [h/t Moms Demand Action]
Email: Your governor (look up).
Script: Dear [NAME], I’m from [ZIP] writing to express concern about the increased risk of domestic violence during stay-at-home orders. For the safety of partners and children and to avoid further stress to the healthcare system, I’m asking you to designate gun stores a nonessential business during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you.
Bonus: If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the free, confidential National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233 for resources 24/7.
Action 2: Support civil rights. [h/t Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights]
Email: Your two senators (look up).
Script: Dear [NAME], I’m from [ZIP] writing concerned that a recent nominee to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, Cory Wilson, has opposed LGBTQ rights and access to healthcare, especially reproductive services, and supported discriminatory voter ID laws. I’m asking you to vote against appointing him to this lifetime position. Thank you.
Email: Your two senators (look up).
Script: Dear [NAME], I’m from [ZIP] and disturbed that the Interior Secretary chose to disestablish the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s reservation. This unnecessary decision results in loss of land, critical funding for healthcare, housing, and other community programs, and is especially egregious during a pandemic. I’m asking you to co-sponsor S. 2808, H.R 312 and H.R. 375 (which both passed in the House) which clarify the legality of moving land into trust and reaffirms existing Indian trust lands. Thank you.
Bonus: Retweet the two links above with the hashtag @StandWithMashpee
Write postcard: Chad Wolf, Acting Secretary of the Dept. of Homeland Security
Department of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C. 20528
Call or email: Matthew T. Albence, Deputy Director and Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, via Office of Public Affairs: 202-732-4242 or email@example.com.
Script: Hello, I’m writing/calling from [STATE] concerned about the safety of people that ICE is currently detaining during a pandemic. Numerous positive cases among detainees and staff are evidence that limited space and resources in detention detention centers make proper hygiene and social distancing impossible. I am joining with thousands of medical professionals and human rights advocates to ask for a moratorium on all ICE raids and immediate release of all non-violent people from custody. Thank you.
Bonus: Ask your two senators and one House rep to make a public statement calling for the immediate release of detainees (look up).
Action 5: Speak up with immigrant healthcare workers. [h/t National Immigration Law Center]
Write postcard: The Honorable Scott S. Harris, Clerk of the Court, Supreme Court of the United States, One First Street NE, Washington, D.C. 20543
Script: During the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot afford to lose any trained professionals in the field, let alone actively send them away. Roughly 27,000 US healthcare workers are DACA recipients With our country currently facing a shortage of healthcare workers I join physicians and practitioners in asking you to circulate this request (bit.ly/2Jz8WJU) to all SCOTUS justices. Voting to vacate the decision to terminate DACA will save lives. Thank you.
Action 6: Support solutions to public health hazards in immigration system. [h/t American Immigration Council]
Write postcard: James McHenry, Director, U.S. Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review, 5107 Leesburg Pike, 18th Floor, Falls Church, VA 22041
Write or call: Matthew T. Albence, Deputy Director and Senior Official, ICE, 202-732-4242 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Script: Hello, I’m writing from [ZIP] because I am appalled that immigration courts are still operating in-person during the COVID-19 pandemic. Forcing aspiring Americans, attorneys, and judges to appear in court—and provide their own personal protective equipment—threatens lives. I am joining over 100 advocacy organizations in asking you to immediately authorize remote options for attorney-client meetings and immigration court appearances.
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 and fairly elect those who represent their values.
Action 7: Advocate for a People’s Bailout. [h/t Indivisible]
Email: Your House rep and two senators: (look up).
Script: Dear [NAME], I’m from [ZIP] writing to thank you for acting quickly to pass three recent coronavirus-related stimulus packages to help all Americans. As Congress considers a fourth bill to support infrastructure nationwide, it is crucial to focus on everyday Americans affected by the ongoing pandemic and resulting recession. With over 6.5 million Americans filing unemployment claims in three weeks, the need is present and urgent. Specifically, I would like you to support:
- An emergency OSHA Standard to protect frontline workers.
- Provide monthly direct cash payments to all individuals and families regardless of immigration status.
- Place a moratorium on student loan payments, evictions, foreclosures, repossessions, and utility shutoffs, and prohibit debt collection.
- Immediately begin a special enrollment period to let people enroll in health care coverage.
- Expand SNAP (nutrition assistance) to low-income families and Social Security payments to seniors.
- Increase federal funding for Medicaid and other health programs that cover low-wage people and communities of color.
- Extend unemployment insurance for all, including immigrants.
- Extend universal paid sick leave at 100% of wages, no matter the size of the business.
- Require corporations who take bailout money to maintain 100% of payroll.
This pandemic is devastating our community, and I’m counting on you to ensure that every individual, worker, and family in our state gets the support they need. Thank you.
Email: Your one House rep and two senators (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] writing to asking you to co-sponsor the Resilient Elections During Quarantines and Natural Disasters Act [H.R. 6202 /S. 3440], to include these protections in the next coronavirus relief package with $2 billion in funding for vote-by-mail programs and poll safety. Please take action today. We cannot afford to put the November election at risk. Thank you.
Email: Your governor (look up) and two state legislators (look up) if you live in AL, AK, AR, CT, DE, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, NE, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VT, VA, WV, WI, WY.
Script: Dear [NAME], In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m writing to ask that you support statewide vote-by-mail and remove all barriers to voting in [STATE]. Specifically, 1. Eliminate a required “excuse” to request an absentee ballot. 2. Switch over to vote-by-mail systems. 3. Expand online and/or automatic voter registration. Please take action today. We cannot afford to put the November presidential election at risk. Thank you.
Action 10: Prevent the U.S. Postal Service from shutting down.
Email: Your one House rep (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and I’m calling to ask you to support emergency funding for the U.S. Postal Service to ensure delivery of crucial supplies and mailed election ballots. Can I count on you to support H.R. 6379, the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act? Thank you.
Action 11: Register and vote in your state’s 2020 presidential primary election. [h/t Vote.org]
Check: Is your polling place open (important due to rapidly changing coronavirus-related closures)?
- Alaska: In-person voting canceled; mail-in ballots for the Democratic presidential primary must be received by the election office by April 10.
- Connecticut: Primary election postponed to June 2. Register online or by mail by May 28, or in-person by June 1.
- Delaware: Primary election postponed to June 2. Register online, by mail, or in-person by May 8. Early voting is available April 18-26. Voters must have a valid reason to request an absentee ballot, and concern about coronavirus is a valid reason.
- Georgia: Primary election postponed to May 19. Register by April 20. Early voting is available April 27-May 15. Anyone can vote by mail if requested by May 15.
- Indiana: Primary election postponed to June 2. Register online, by mail, or in-person by May 4. Early voting is available May 5-June 1, and anyone can vote by mail.
- Kentucky: Primary election postponed to June 23. Register online, by mail or in-person by May 26.
- Louisiana: Primary election postponed to June 20. Register by mail or in-person by May 20, or online by May 30. Early voting is available June 6-13.
- Maryland: Primary election postponed to June 2. Register online or by mail by May 12, or in-person at the polls on June 2. Early voting is available May 21-28, and anyone can vote by mail if requested by May 26.
- Nevada: Primary election postponed to June 9, and will be conducted entirely by mail (all registered voters will automatically receive mail ballots). Register online by June 4, or at polling places on election day.
- New York: Primary election postponed to June 23. Register by mail or in-person by May 29.
- Ohio: Primary election postponed to April 28. Registration deadline of February 18 has passed, but all registered voters can now request mail-in ballots, which must be postmarked by April 27.
- Pennsylvania: Primary election postponed to June 2. Register online, in-person, or by mail by May 18. Anyone can vote by mail if their application is received by May 26.
- Rhode Island: Primary election postponed to June 2. Register online, by mail, or in-person by May 23. Any registered voter can vote by mail if the request is
- received by May 12.
- West Virginia: Primary election postponed to June 9. Register online, by mail, or in-person by May 19. Anyone can vote by mail if requested by June 3. Early voting is available May 27-June 6.
- Wyoming: In-person voting canceled; Democratic Presidential mail-in ballots must be received by April 17.
Bonus: Call up your friends in these states and remind them to vote in upcoming primaries!
Acts of Gratitude
Get out your stamps, postcards, and sparkle markers for some gratitude mail.
Thank Sir Tim Berners-Lee for bringing attention to how people harass and abuse women online and calling for internet users to make it a safe environment for women and girls. [Share why equality and safe online spaces are important to you.]
Address: World Wide Web Foundation, 1110 Vermont Ave NW #500, Washington, DC 20005
Thank Chef José Andrés for advocating for mobilizing restaurant workers to address the potential food crisis that COVID-19 may cause. [Share why access to food for everyone is important to you.]
Address: ThinkFoodGroup, 717 D Street, NW, 6th Floor, Washington, DC 20004
Thank Timothy Boyle, CEO of Columbia Sportswear Company, for cutting his salary while ensuring that employees, including those in currently closed retail locations, continue to receive regular pay. [Share why executives acting in their employees’ best interest matters to you.]
Address: Columbia Sportswear Company, 14375 NW Science Park Dr., Portland, OR 97229
Decent people everywhere are speaking up and working together. Just look. #GoodNews
- Congress passes and the president signs the CARES Act, which provides some economic aid to individuals, families, and businesses amid COVID-19 disruption.
- Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, HUD suspends evictions and foreclosures through April for homeowners with Federal Housing Administration-insured mortgages.
- U.S. postpones tax filing deadline to July 15 due to the pandemic.
- Reps. Bennie Thompson and Kathleen Rice call on ICE to use alternatives to detaining aspiring Americans in the face of the coronavirus.
- ICE cancels its request for 45,000 N-95 medical masks after Congress members cite healthcare workers’ vital need for the equipment.
- Federal court orders immigration officials to release detained children and families “without unnecessary delay,” citing unprecedented health threats posed by COVID-19.
- Federal court presses USCIS to release families in detention and directs authorities to report within a week on release efforts.
- Brooklyn Defender Services wins the release of 10 detained people after a Federal court finds ICE deliberately indifferent to basic needs.
- Sault Ste. Marie Tribe wins a court victory in litigation over the tribe’s reclamation of its homelands.
- USCIS will not consider testing, treatment, or preventative care related to COVID-19 in an aspiring American’s public charge determination.
- Federal court orders an environmental risk review of the Dakota Access Pipeline in a victory for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
- Supreme Court broadens the scope of when federal courts can review deportation orders.
- CO passes law preventing civil and immigration-related arrests at courthouses.
- FL: Court rules that the state government must create a consistent method of returning voting rights to people with former felony convictions.
- MA Public Health creates an Emergency Task Force on Coronavirus and Equity to develop policy recommendations to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on marginalized communities.
- MI: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer expands absentee voting via executive order for the state’s May 5 primary election .
- MD: Appeals court temporarily denies the administration’s request to restrict federally funded family planning clinics in Maryland from referring clients for abortions.
- MT: Chief Justice issues a directive asking judges to aid in preventing the spread of COVID-19 by reviewing their jail rosters and releasing, without bond, as many people as possible.
- WA passes the Courts Open to All Act, which bans immigration agents from arresting aspiring Americans in and near courthouses without a judicial warrant.
- WI extends the deadline for primary election absentee ballot requests to April 5, as well as extending the ballot return deadline to April 13 and eliminating a witness requirement.
- San Miguel County, CO tests everyone for COVID-19.
- Orleans Parish, LA judges order the release of certain jailed individuals amid coronavirus safety concerns.
- Harris County, TX court calls for the release of about 60 people detained and facing charges for nonviolent state felony offenses.
- ICE check-in facility in Miramar, FL closes during COVID-19 pandemic after weeks of pressure from immigration rights advocates.
- Hertz provides free car rentals to New York City healthcare workers through April 30.
- Independent retailer Powell’s Books rehires over 100 laid-off workers after a surge of online orders.
- Texas Roadhouse founder and CEO Kent Taylor forgoes his annual salary for 2020 in order to pay front-line workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Hockey equipment manufacturer Bauer produces protective shields to help protect healthcare workers from COVID-19.
- Google Play Store removes conspiracy theorist’s app over false coronavirus claims.
- MLB and jersey manufacturing company Fanatics partner to produce hospital gowns and protective masks for healthcare workers in short supply of personal protective equipment.
- STAPLES Center donates 7,000 pounds of food that would have been wasted due to the recent suspension of events at the arena to local charitable organizations.
- Netflix pledges $100 million in relief to out-of-work film and television production professionals as well as nonprofit emergency relief organizations.
- Audible offers free children’s audiobooks for the duration of school closures.
Groups and organizations
- Through support from RAICES, nine aspiring Americans leave detention on bond and can safely quarantine at home with their families.
- Boston Alliance of LGBTQ Youth provides direct aid for LGBTQ+ people 25 years and under who face hardships due to COVID-19.
- Chef José Andrés’s World Central Kitchen provides fresh food for quarantined cruise vessel passengers and crew.
- Al Otro Lado launches COVID-19 Humanitarian Migrant Fund to provide emergency funds to aspiring American families, including those living in camps under the administration’s illegal “Remain in Mexico” policy.
- 763 NGOs call on ICE to immediately release all people from detention, cease enforcement operations, eliminate check-ins and court appearances in light of COVID-19 safety concerns.
- Brave Space Alliance provides monetary assistance and food goods to Chicago-area LGBTQ+ individuals affected by COVID-19.
News with heart
There are so many wonderful examples of people working to lift each other up, stay home, work hard (and safely), connect in spite of social distance rules, and adjust their lives for the common good. Here are a few:
- Creative Americans write encouraging messages and thank yous throughout the nation for the #ChalkTheWalk campaign.
- New Yorkers applaud nurses, doctors, and first responders every evening at 7pm to thank them for their work during the current pandemic.
- Ambulances from all over the US line up in a Queens parking lot waiting to respond to calls.
- Sikh community cooks free meals for over 30,000 people in social isolation in New York City.
- Disability Justice Culture Club compiles and delivers coronavirus safety kits to vulnerable populations in the Bay Area.
- Neighborhoods place teddy bears in their windows for local kids to find on “bear hunts.”
- Veteran Milton Eatchel celebrates his 90th birthday with a drive-by party.
- NBA players donate money to cover the salaries of arena employees who are out of work due to the suspended basketball season.
- The Metropolitan Opera streams free opera performances nightly for audiences to enjoy at home.
- National Theatre streams free taped productions for worldwide audiences.
- Mike Birbiglia streams conversations with other comedians via Instagram to raise money for comedy club employees who are out of work due to closures.
- An artisan coalition works to make personal protective equipment for healthcare workers.
- Natividad Medical Center in CA produces PSA videos with up-to-date information about COVID-19 in indigenous Mexican languages.
- Three aspiring American children reunite with their father after spending months alone in detention.
- A seven-year-old asylum seeker and her father reunite with their family after 250 days in detention.
- Lorén Spears (Narragansett/Niantic) publishes a guide for allies who seek to make indigineous land acknowledgements at public events.
- Since efforts began in 1987, new study shows that the ozone layer is healing.
- Jen’s Message: Read this week’s message that includes an invitation.
- Sign up: Get the weekly Americans of Conscience Checklist here.
- Get inspired: Complete the Self-Care Worksheet.
- Stay focused: Complete the Action Worksheet (or Kelly Wooten’s artistic version).
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- Gratitude: Big thanks to JEB and the Production Team, Social Media volunteers, Research teams, and to the amazing angel patrons who make it possible.