91 weeks to Midterm Elections
The AoC Checklist features clear, well-researched actions for Americans who value democracy, equality, voting, and decency. We are a big tent for all people who want a kinder, flourishing nation.
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 1: Restore American faith in elections. [Source: Alliance for Securing Democracy]
Contact: President Joseph Biden
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20500
or leave a message at https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/
Script: Hi. I’m from [STATE] and I’m concerned because polls show that 38% of Americans doubt the fairness of the 2020 presidential election, and two-thirds are concerned about voter suppression. In keeping with the call for unity you made in your inaugural address, I’m calling on you to restore Americans’ faith in our electoral processes by issuing an executive order to create a Presidential Commission on Election Resilience and Trust. Thank you.
Action 2: Secure the future of the USPS. [Source: AoCC]
Call: Your one House rep and two senators (look up).
Script: Hi, I’m calling from [ZIP] in support of the U.S. Postal Service. The USPS is viewed favorably by 91% of Americans across party lines, but cost-cutting measures imposed in 2020 threaten the timely delivery of crucial mail including medication, checks, and ballots. A new bipartisan bill will lift a pension-funding burden from the USPS, ensuring its financial survival. Can I count on [NAME] to cosponsor and vote for H.R. 695/S. 145? Thank you.
Action 3: Support voting rights in your state. [Source: Brennan Center]
As state legislatures begin their 2021 sessions, voting rights are on the agenda. In 28 states, 106 bills have been introduced to restrict voting rights, while 38 states have introduced 406 bills to expand voting rights (some states have introduced bills of both types).
Find your state’s pending legislation: This Brennan Center report identifies many state bill numbers. You can then search the NCSL’s database to find the bill numbers and text of relevant legislation.
Call: Your state legislator(s) (look up).
Script: Share your town or ZIP code to identify yourself as a constituent, and state your support for any bills, identifying the bill numbers, that expand voting rights. If your state is considering restricting voting rights, state your opposition to these restrictions. End with a thank-you.
If your state isn’t considering relevant legislation, consider a donation to Spread the Vote, which helps citizens obtain IDs in states with oppressive voter laws.
Action 4: Support congressional representation for DC residents. [Source: League of Women Voters]
Call: Your two senators (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP], calling to encourage [NAME] to co-sponsor and vote for legislation, supported by more than 60 civil rights groups, that would give DC residents a voice in Congress. Every taxpaying citizen should have the right to elect people to represent their values. Can I count on [NAME] to support S. 51, the Washington DC Admission Act? Thank you.
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: End the federal death penalty. [Source: The Action Network]
Call: Your one House rep (look up).
Script: Hi, I’m calling from [ZIP] to oppose the death penalty. Not only are death row prisoners disproportionately Black, but data indicates that a disturbing number are wrongfully put to death and that the death penalty does not improve public safety. At the former president’s whim, 13 people were executed in a six-month period last year. The federal government must join the 22 states and the District of Columbia to abolish the death penalty. Therefore, I’m asking [NAME] to co-sponsor both H.R. 97 and H.R. 262. Thanks.
Action 6: Advocate for equity in COVID-19 vaccine distribution. [Source: AoCC]
Call/write: Your state’s governor (look up).
Script: Hi, I’m calling from [ZIP] to support COVID vaccines for the most vulnerable. I’m asking that our state’s vaccine distribution plans include two things: 1) specific strategies to reach at-risk populations, including communities of color, homeless populations, farmworkers, and other undocumented people, and seniors and others without internet access, and (2) public reporting of COVID-19 vaccination data by race/ethnicity. Thank you.
Call: Your one House rep (look up).
Script: Hi, I’m calling from [ZIP] to support COVID vaccines for the most vulnerable. I’m asking [NAME] to either sign on to letters their colleagues have written to the COVID-19 Equity Task Force Chair and the Secretary-designate of Health and Human Services regarding uniform collection of vaccine administration demographic data and targeted outreach to communities with lower vaccination rates or make their own request. Thank you.
Action 7: Protect health care access for women and girls. [Source: Planned Parenthood]
Call: Your two senators and one House rep (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m calling from [ZIP] because I value the health of women and girls around the world. The president has lifted the global “gag rule” that greatly limited the reproductive services that organizations receiving U.S. aid could provide, even with non-U.S. funds, but I’m asking [NAME] to co-sponsor the Global HER Act (H.R. 556/S.142) to ensure the permanent repeal of this harmful policy.
Call: Your one House rep (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m calling from [ZIP] out of concern for those who are food insecure because of pandemic-driven unemployment. The WIC program has long been considered effective at improving women and children’s health, and I’m asking [NAME] to support the significant investment provided by the president’s relief bill to expand WIC’s reach and improve its efficiency.
Sign: Petition calling for the Kansas City Chiefs to change their name, mascot, and imagery.
Action 10: Advocate against the deportation of a Bronx community member. [Source: UnLocal, Inc]
Call: ICE NY Field Office Director Thomas Decker at (212) 264-4213, and your two senators and one House representative (look up) by Monday, February 8.
If you’re a resident of NYS, also call Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (look up).
Script: Hello, I’m calling from [ZIP] to express my support for releasing Javier Castillo Maradiaga (A# 095-487-963) from ICE custody and allowing him to return to his family. A U.S. resident for 20 years, Javier was turned over to ICE following a lapse in his DACA status, which was driven by our nation’s anti-immigrant climate in 2019. I am joining immigrant rights groups in asking [NAME] to cease all deportation efforts and release Javier back to his family.
Call: Your two senators and one House representative (look up)
Script: Hello, I’m calling from [ZIP] to express humanitarian concern about vaccinating all our nation’s residents. The recently-passed House budget did not include appropriate provisions to vaccinate aspiring Americans working in essential roles from healthcare to farming, risking their lives to support our communities in this time of crisis. Additionally, certain states are delaying vaccination efforts for essential workers who don’t have proof of residency. It is unethical and short-sighted to deny vaccination to essential, frontline workers. What is [NAME] doing to ensure all essential workers are prioritized for COVID-19 vaccination?
Bonus: Sign the petition.
Action 12: Oppose the impending deportation of a Virginia constituent. [Source: Free Them All VA Coalition]
Call: Sen. Mark Warner at (202) 224-2023, Sen. Tim Kaine at (202) 224-4024, and Rep. Don Beyer at (202) 225-4376.
Script: Hello, I’m calling to urge you to stop ICE from deporting your constituent, Edwin Garcia Rogel (A# 2000494), who has been detained at ICA-Farmville for almost a year. Due to his medical conditions, he qualifies for Fraihat release, but ICE is trying to deport him before his medical release is approved. I am asking [NAME] to call on ICE to cease all deportations, release Edwin from detention, and allow him to return to his family.
Acts of Gratitude
Get out your stamps, postcards, and sparkle markers for some gratitude mail.
LG: Logan Green, 185 Berry Street, San Francisco, CA 94158
DK: 1455 Market St #400, San Francisco, CA 94103
Tell Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D–NY) why you’re grateful that she shared firsthand details of her traumatic experience of the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Address: 229 Cannon HOB, Washington, DC 20515
Tell AG Xavier Becerra (D–CA) why you’re grateful that he launched a misconduct investigation into the LA County Sheriff’s Department.
Address: Attorney General’s Office, CA Dept. of Justice, P.O. Box 944255, Sacramento, CA 94244-2550
Decent people everywhere are speaking up and working together. Just look. #GoodNews
- President Biden revokes a problematic report downplaying slavery commissioned by the previous administration.
- The Biden administration reinstates the NSC Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense to focus on national and global biological threats, including the COVID-19 pandemic.
- President Biden issues an executive order calling on Congress and the Secretary of Homeland Security to grant permanent status and a path to citizenship for Dreamers.
- Approximately 10,000 people from Liberia can remain in the U.S. under a presidential executive order extending protection from deportation.
- President Biden issues an executive order formulating an ethics doctrine for those serving in the executive branch.
- 6,700 people from Syria can remain in the U.S. through 2022 with Temporary Protected Status, while 1,800 more may file new TPS applications.
- The Justice Department rescinds the previous administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy.
- An ICE deportation flight with individuals from Cameroon, Angola, and DRC is cancelled.
- President Biden forms a family reunification task force to identify and reunite families separated from each other at the U.S.-Mexico border.
- President Biden repeals the previous administration’s ban on transgender people serving in the military.
- The Biden administration directs the Dept. of Health and Human Services to lift strict work requirements for people with Medicaid coverage.
- Healthcare.gov opens for a special enrollment period (Feb. 15-May 15), allowing the uninsured in 36 states to enroll even if they are outside the window of 60 days from losing their job.
- President Biden repeals a ban on U.S. funding for foreign nonprofits that offer abortion care.
- President Biden signs an executive order taking steps to require federal contractors to pay a $15 minimum wage.
- Federal court eliminates a rule limiting the use of science to craft EPA regulations.
- The Lower Sioux Indian Community regains a portion of their rightful land from the State of Minnesota.
- The Justice Department drops an anti-affirmative action lawsuit against Yale University.
- Pete Buttigieg is confirmed as Secretary of Transportation, becoming the first openly gay cabinet member in U.S. history.
- House votes to remove a representative from committee assignments due to dangerous conspiracy theories.
- President Biden orders the DOJ to end the use of federally run private prisons.
- WhiteHouse.gov adds accessibility features.
- CDC issues a mask mandate for public transportation and planes to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- Federal government purchases 200 million COVID-19 vaccine doses.
- CA lifts driver’s license suspensions for over 400,000 people.
- CA Attorney General Xavier Becerra launches a civil rights investigation into the LA County Sheriff’s Department regarding excessive force, retaliation, and misconduct.
- All FL counties are required to make ballots and other election materials available in Spanish.
- MA senate overrides a veto and passes a law expanding abortion access.
- NY repeals an anti-loitering law that led to law enforcement discrimination against trans and gender non-conforming people of color.
- NC stops issuing and renewing license plates featuring the Confederate flag.
- Judge halts TX’s attempt to remove Planned Parenthood from its Medicaid program.
- Amazon will pay $61.7 million in settlement charges to delivery drivers after withholding drivers’ tips.
- Election technology company Smartmatic sues the FOX Corporation for defamation over false claims of election insecurity.
Groups and organizations
- The Interfaith Immigration Coalition compiles a list of actions people can take to help stop deportations of Black aspiring Americans and to help uplift their experiences on social media.
- The NAACP partners with Beyoncé’s BeyGood Foundation to offer grants for housing relief during the pandemic.
- An anonymous donor gives $40 million to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, enabling the scholarship to put 50 students through law school.
- Gilead Science, Inc. provides a $3.2 million grant to the Human Rights Campaign to fund HRC’s Transgender Justice Initiative and to address the HIV epidemic.
- Chamber of Commerce supports policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the U.S. economy.
News with heart
- Javier Castillo Maradiaga’s deportation flight is canceled.
- The late John Lewis will be honored with a memorial in Atlanta, replacing a Confederate monument at the memorial site.
- Activists protest near Newark Penn Station demand freedom and dignity for all aspiring Americans and humane treatment for those currently detained.
- Emerald Fennell, Regina King, and Chloe Zhao receive Golden Globe nominations for Best Director, marking the first time multiple women have been nominated in the directing category in the same year.
- Sen. Bernie Sanders raises money for Meals on Wheels through sales of a sweatshirt featuring a popular meme of himself.
- Print book sales rose 8.2% between 2019 and 2020, with positive outcomes for independent bookstores.
- José Chicas leaves sanctuary on church grounds after over three years living in fear of deportation.
- The Black Lives Matter movement is nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for their work addressing systemic racism.
- Stacey Abrams is nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her voting rights activism.
- Hunter Kahn donates over $2,000 worth of Nintendo Switches to Children’s Minnesota Hospital.
- The border-spanning Teeter Totter Wall, an installation designed to invoke shared humanity between the U.S. and Mexico, wins the Design of the Year award from London’s Design Museum.
- See more good news at Women in the World, Small Victories, Good Black News, and What Went Right.
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