What to do this week of October 11, 2020

by Oct 12, 2020What To Do This Week0 comments

204 weeks down, 23 days 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 voting as a foundation of a healthy democracy.

The actions below ensure three things: that our votes are secure, that every citizen can vote, and that every vote is counted.

Action 1: Pledge, prepare, and vote. [Sources: When We All Vote and League of Women Voters]

Research shows that prospective voters who pledge to vote are more likely to actually cast a ballot. Use that psychological boost!

Step 1: Pledge to vote. When We All Vote and the League of Women Voters each have online pledges.

Step 2: Prepare to vote. If voting by mail, find the laws for your state, read all the instructions thoroughly, and avoid common mistakes.

Step 3: Vote! Mail your ballot no later than October 20, or follow our safe voting checklist if voting in person (early or on Election Day).

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Bonus: Encourage your friends to pledge to vote, and share the fact that you pledged on your social media accounts.

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Action 2: Advocate for gun-free polls. [Source: Amnesty International]

If you live in AZ, CA, DC, FL, GA, LA, or TX: Your jurisdiction already prohibits guns at polling places. Consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Education Fund to Stop Gun Violence.

If you live in any other state: Contact your state’s governor (look up).

Script: Hi, I’m a resident of [ZIP] and I believe [STATE]’s voters should be free from armed intimidation. While private militias and armed law enforcement are barred from polling places, individuals are still permitted to bring guns to polling places. I urge you to follow Amnesty International’s recommendation and issue an executive order banning guns at and near polling places. Thank you.

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Action 3: Crowdsource post-election audits. [Source: Protect Our Votes]

Post-election audits provide evidence that election results are valid. Although audit requirements differ from state to state, citizens have the right to observe audits. You can help verify election results, submit Freedom of Information Act requests, collate information on local election and media policies, and more.

Learn more about election audit volunteer opportunities from at home and online: 

Protect Our VotesAudit USASMART Elections, and Scrutineers

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Action 4: Report voter intimidation and polling place problems. [Source: Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law]

If you experience or witness any type of voter intimidation at polling places or ballot drop locations, report it immediately. Every informed citizen can play an active role in making elections safer.

Call: Election Protection phone hotlines:

English: 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683);

Spanish/English: 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (1-888-839-8682);

Asian Languages/English: 1-888-API-VOTE (1-888-274-8683);

Arabic/English: 1-844-YallaUS (1-844-925-5287)

Submit an online report: SeeSay2020 

Report to your local elections officials (look up).

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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 5: Support Indigenous sovereignty over unceded land. [Source: Indigenous Environmental Network]

Write: David Long, CEO, Liberty Mutual Insurance, 175 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116 or David.Long@LibertyMutual.com

Script: I’m writing in solidarity with the Oceti Sakowin leaders to ask that Liberty Mutual end its business relationship with the TC Energy Corporation based in Calgary, Canada. Its KXL pipeline will directly impact the treaty rights, cultural & natural resources, and water rights of tribal nations along its route. As such, this tar sands pipeline, and by extension Liberty Mutual’s connection to it, threaten Indigenous land and the people who depend on it. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. 

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Action 6: Increase public input on drilling in national forests. [Source: Natural Resources Defense Council]

Submit a commentOn the Federal Register by November 2 using these tips: 1) Introduce yourself. 2) State why you oppose the administration’s proposal to ease requirements for issuing oil and gas leases that would also minimize public input. and if applicable, 3) Share a story of how you benefit from and/or value national forests. Review this article and *personalize* the points below (scripted comments are not counted): 

  • The public would be cut out of the process under the new rules, which would especially harm Indigenous people.
  • The new rules remove explicit U.S. Forest Service confirmation as a required step of issuing oil and gas leases; limit protection to specific, named natural resources instead of wild places within forests; and remove environmental considerations as criteria for approval of plans.

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Action 7: Support comprehensive anti-bias training for federal employees. [Source: Americans of Conscience Checklist]

Call: You two senators and one House rep (look up).

Script: Hi, I’m calling from [ZIP] in response to the administration’s new, narrowed parameters on how race and sex stereotyping may be addressed in federal diversity training programs. I believe full engagement with such topics is more important than ever to grapple with past and current inequities. I’m asking [NAME] to publicly endorse the Congressional Tri-Caucus Chairs’ statement on this executive order and join their call for reversing it. Thank you. 

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Action 8: Protect healthcare. Oppose Amy Coney Barrett for SCOTUS. [Source: National Homelessness Law Center]

Call: Your two senators (look up).

Script: Hi. I’m calling from [ZIP] to ask that [NAME] oppose Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court on the basis of her past critiques of the Affordable Care Act. More than 100 million people would lose coverage due to pre-existing conditions if the ACA is overturned, now an even greater threat because of the pandemic. I believe healthcare is a human right. Please vote against her confirmation. Thank you. 

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Action 9: Advocate for inclusive COVID-19 relief. [Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]

Call: Your two senators (look up).

Script: Hi, I’m among the 74% of voters who support prompt Senate action on the updated Heroes Act (H.R. 8406) passed in the House. Millions of Americans continue to struggle from the pandemic, and this bill includes critical provisions for preventing homelessness and covers immigrants who were excluded from the last bill, many of whom work in frontline jobs. Please vote for its passage.Thank you. 

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Action 10: Support Native Americans’ health. [Source: Americans of Conscience Checklist]

Call: Your two senators (look up).

Script: Hi, I’m calling in solidarity with Native leaders and advocates to support reauthorization of the bipartisan Special Diabetes Program for Native Americans that is set to expire on November 30th. The disease is prevalent among the Native community, and continued treatment and prevention resources are critical for vulnerable people during this pandemic. I’m asking [NAME] to support passage of S. 3937. Thank you.

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Action 11: Oppose obstruction of court hearings for asylum seekers. [Source: Immigration Justice Campaign]

The Department of Justice is proposing new rules that would effectively end asylum in the U.S. These rules entail hurdles–including a 12-page application in English and a $50 fee within 15 days (down from 365) of their first court hearing. 

Submit a comment by 11:59pm ET on October 23rd: Via Immigration Justice Campaign (click Take Action) or directly on the Federal Register

Only unique comments are counted. Use some of the talking points below to personalize your message:

  • A 15-day deadline does not give an asylum seeker enough time to obtain legal representation.
  • It takes most asylum seekers, even those with a lawyer, weeks to complete an application, deliver fees, and collect medical records, police reports, and other crucial documentation.
  • Many people seeking asylum do not speak English, and are more likely to make mistakes that could invalidate the application.
  • This new regulation would impact tens of thousands of aspiring Americans each year, and would lead to the deportation of thousands of asylum seekers without a meaningful review of their cases.
  • The rule would allow judges to submit their own evidence while diminishing the credibility of key sources, such as independent human rights organizations.

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Action 12: Defend America’s long history of welcoming those in need. [Source: Refugee Council USA]

Call: Your two senators and one House representative (look up).

Script: Hello, I’m calling from [ZIP]. With almost 30 million refugees around the world, I believe the U.S. has a legal and moral obligation to welcome people fleeing violence, persecution, and war. I don’t support the president’s attempts to cut refugee resettlement admissions to 15,000 in 2021. I would like [NAME] to reject the administration’s historically low proposal for 2021 and commit to rebuilding the refugee resettlement program to 95,000 admissions. Thank you.

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Acts of Gratitude

Get out your stamps, postcards, and sparkle markers for some gratitude mail.

Thank Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) for protecting community health by pushing to delay Supreme Court confirmation hearings until it’s safe for COVID-positive committee members to appear in person. [Share why you appreciate prioritizing community health over politics.]

Address: Leo O’Brien Building, Room 827, Albany, NY 12207

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Thank David Lapan, retired U.S. Marine colonel and former Department of Homeland Security press secretary, for advocating to protect the legal rights of aspiring Americans. [Share why you appreciate honoring and preserving the legal rights of aspiring Americans.] 

Address: 1225 Eye Street NW,  Suite 1000, Washington, D.C. 20005

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Thank Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA) for protecting the health, well-being, and right to consent to treatment of women held in ICE custody. [Share why you appreciate advocacy that demands human rights and basic decency for all people.]

Address: 302 W. Fifth Street, Suite 201, San Pedro, CA 90731

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Thank Rep. Gerry Connelly (D-VA) for advocating against human rights abuses. [Share why you appreciate holding human rights violators accountable for their atrocities, regardless of their political relationship to the U.S. government.]

Address: 4115 Annandale Road, Ste. 103, Annandale, VA 22003 

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Thank Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) for protecting the health of aspiring Americans currently in ICE custody. [Share why you appreciate heightened health protections for people enduring confinement during the global pandemic.] 

Addresses

JM: 121 SW Salmon Street., Ste. 1400, Portland, OR 97204

MB: Cesar E. Chavez Memorial Building, 1244 Speer Boulevard, Denver, CO 80204

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Good news

Decent people everywhere are speaking up and working together. Just look. #GoodNews

National

State

Local

Corporate/business

  • University of Maryland renames their Women’s Studies department in honor of Harriet Tubman.
  • Facebook removes ads from the president’s reelection campaign spreading false claims regarding coronavirus and individuals from abroad.
  • Facebook flat-out bans all accounts related to a prominent conspiracy theory group across its platforms.

Groups and organizations

  • Immigrant Defense Project compiles resources for journalists to report nuanced, informed coverage of immigration topics.
  • Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection publishes fact sheets for all 50 states outlining what to do if private militia groups or armed individuals illegally intimidate anyone at a polling place or voter registration drive.
  • Sharon-Franklin Brown is named board president of the nonprofit Christopher Street West, becoming the first Black transgender woman to serve in the position.
  • Casa de Paz provides shelter, meals, transportation, and other support to aspiring Americans released from detention.
  • Movimiento Cosecha redistributes more than $1 million to thousands of immigrant families in 38 states.
  • Amnesty USA condemns serious human rights violations on the part of Palantir Technologies, Inc., a soon-to-be publicly traded software corporation with lucrative ICE contracts.

News with heart

Housekeeping

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