85 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.
If you only have 10 minutes…
These three actions are this week’s top priorities:
- Action 6: Support housing security during the ongoing pandemic.
- Action 7: Oppose ID requirements for COVID vaccine
- Action 10: Support our neighbors’ path to citizenship.
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: Support investigation of voting machine manufacturers. [Source: Free Speech for People]
Call: U.S. Election Assistance Commission: 866-747-1471 (toll free) or 301-563-3919
Or write: U.S. Election Assistance Commission
633 3rd Street NW, Suite 200
Washington, DC 20001
Script: Hi, I’m calling from [ZIP] to ask that you strengthen oversight of the testing process for voting machines. A 2020 investigation by a Texas election official showed that voting machine manufacturer ES&S was “self-certifying” software checks instead of allowing state officials to independently perform them. I’m asking the EAC to publicize a list of states affected by this insecure security procedure, and require independent software certification of all voting machines. Thank you.
Action 2: Encourage debate and end gridlock in the Senate. [Source: Brennan Center]
Call: Your two senators — especially Republican senators (look up).
Script: Hi, I’m calling from [ZIP] to voice my support for amending filibuster rules. Elected senators have an obligation to represent their constituents and engage in democratic collaboration on issues. It is anti-democratic for a minority to block popular and bipartisan House-passed legislation. I’m asking [NAME] to support the “talking filibuster,” where senators would have to publicly explain their objections to proposed legislation. 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 3: Support Georgia’s Asian American community. [Source: Advancing Justice ATL]
Last weekend, the Asian American community experienced traumatic loss. The Atlanta chapter of Asian Americans Advancing Justice is collecting donations to support those affected by these acts of violence and support crisis interventions.
Donate: To the victims and their families through AAAJ.
Sign: This community-centered statement from Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta and the Georgia NAACP.
Action 4: Advocate for freedom from gender-based violence. [Source: The Leadership Conference]
Contact: Your two senators (look up).
Script: Hi, I’m from [ZIP], [CALLING/WRITING] to express my support for the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act. This bill, which was previously in effect from 1994-2018, ensures legal protections against domestic violence and gender identity discrimination, protects survivors from predatory billing practices, and introduces support programs for LTBTQ+ survivors. In response to the recent rise in domestic violence, I would like [NAME] to vote yes on H.R. 1620 when it comes to the Senate floor. Thank you.
Action 5: Advocate for nations unable to access COVID vaccines. [Source: AoCC]
Contact: President Biden (contact form).
Script: I’m writing to thank you for making vaccinating Americans a priority and to ask you to help stop the pandemic worldwide. Rich countries are buying up vaccines, leaving 130 nations with none. We are all endangered by viral mutations. In addition to sharing with Mexico and Canada, I urge you to generously support global vaccination to give us all a future.
Action 6: Support housing security during the ongoing pandemic. [Source: National Low Income Housing Coalition]
Write: Secretary Marcia Fudge, U.S. Dept of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th Street S.W., Washington, DC 20410
Script: Hello, I’m writing to express my support for the eviction moratorium, which has kept millions of people stably housed during the pandemic. Wrongful evictions risk lives, push families into deeper poverty, and undermine public health, so I am joining thousands of organizations and elected officials in calling on you to:
- extend the moratorium through the duration of the pandemic;
- make the moratorium’s protections universal and automatic;
- close loopholes exploited by some landlords; and
- direct federal agencies to enforce the moratorium’s protections.
Sign: Project ID’s petition allow vaccination without ID. (Go to petition.)
Call: Your two senators (look up).
Script: Hello, I’m calling from [ZIP] in support of amending the language in H.R. 6, the American Dream and Promise Act of 2021. Immigrating people encounter a racist criminal legal system that disproportionately targets Black and brown communities. I support the bill, but am joining the growing chorus asking to remove criminal barriers from the Dream and Promise Act before voting yes. Thank you.
Action 9: Defend the constitutional right to seek asylum. [Source: Aldea – PJC]
Call or Write: Alejandro Mayorkas at (202) 282-8495 (DHS comment line) or
Secretary of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
245 Murray Ln. SW,
Washington, DC 20528
Script: Hello, I’m [CALLING/WRITING] from [ZIP] concerned that President Biden’s administration has already denied asylum to over 1,300 individuals, families, and children and deported them back to Haiti, even though the country is currently in a violent state of political and social turmoil. It is a constitutional right of people to seek asylum. I am joining bipartisan lawmakers in asking Secretary Mayorkas to fulfill the DHS’ responsibility and immediately approve TPS for all Haitians seeking asylum in the U.S. Thank you.
Action 10: Support our neighbors’ path to citizenship. [Source: United Farm Workers]
Call: Your two senators (look up).
Script: Hello, I’m [CALLING/WRITING] from [ZIP] to support a path to citizenship for aspiring Americans working in agriculture. I am calling on [NAME] to vote yes on the Farm Workforce Modernization Act (H.R. 1603) when it comes to the Senate floor, to establish a path to citizenship for farm workers, young aspiring Americans, and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders. Thank you.
Action 11: RESOLVED!
Oppose the impending deportation of a small business owner. [Source: Make The Road NY #FundExcludedWorkers]
Call: ICE Deportation Officer King at (212) 863-3425 and Supervisory Deportation Officer Boyd at (212) 863-3511.
Script: Hello, I’m calling from [ZIP] to express my support for the release of Edward Alonso Castillo from ICE custody. Alonso—who has a history of strokes and chest pain, and wears a cardiac monitor—qualifies for Fraihat release and recently won his stay of removal, yet ICE continues to hold him in detention. I am asking [NAME] to release Edward Alonso Castillo back to his family and community, so he may seek the medical care he needs.
Bonus: Sign the petition through Make The Road New York.
Acts of Gratitude
Get out your stamps, postcards, and sparkle markers for some gratitude mail.
Tell Gov. Ralph Northam (D–VA) why you are grateful to him for restoring voting rights to returning citizens.
Address: P.O. Box 1475, Richmond, VA 23218
Tell President George W. Bush why you’re grateful to him for sharing his alarm over the Jan. 6 Capitol attack and for affirming the integrity of the 2020 election.
Address: P.O. Box 259000, Dallas TX 75225-9000
Decent people everywhere are speaking up and working together. Just look. #GoodNews
- Congress passes and the president signs an extensive COVID-19 relief plan that will provide funding for:
- stimulus checks for individuals
- unemployment assistance
- state and local aid
- nutrition assistance
- tax credits for families and workers
- paid sick and family leave
- education and child care
- health insurance subsidies and Medicaid
- small business
- COVID-19 vaccines and testing
- rural hospitals
- House passes the American Dream and Promise Act, which would provide Dreamers the opportunity to receive permanent resident status and eventual citizenship.
- House passes the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which would improve the current farm worker visa program and create a pathway to temporary protected status and later permanent resident status for agricultural workers.
- House passes gun control bills to close background check loopholes and lengthen the amount of time authorities have to complete background checks.
- Deb Haaland (Laguna and Jemez Pueblos) is sworn in as Secretary of the Interior, becoming the first Native American to ever lead a cabinet department in the U.S.
- SCOTUS dismisses appeals over the previous administration’s “public charge” rule that would have made it harder for low-income aspiring Americans to obtain green cards.
- Federal court mandates the appointment of an independent third party to oversee immigration custody releases following ICE noncompliance with orders to release medically vulnerable people from detention.
- HHS and DHS terminate an 2018 agreement that intimidated would-be sponsors of immigrating children and then sign a new memorandum to promote safe and timely transfer of children to vetted sponsors.
- Federal court rules that DOJ must temporarily suspend a rule preventing immigration courts from hearing valid claims of people facing deportation.
- ICE states in a court filing that it is transitioning family detention centers to short-term centers meant to release aspiring Americans after no more than 72 hours.
- Biden pledges 4 billion for vaccine access in less-affluent countries
- FEMA assists aspiring American children at the southern border with food and medical care.
- USDA extends free meals to children through summer 2021.
- The FCC provides monthly discounts on internet bills for low-income U.S. residents.
- CDC reviews public-health guidance issued during the pandemic to ensure that all information is accurate and free from political interference.
- The Biden administration establishes the White House Gender Policy Council to advance equal rights and opportunity for women and girls and directs the Dept. of Education to review its gender equity policies.
- DOJ pledges to address hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
- CA: Gov. Gavin Newsom grants nine pardons, one commutation, and 10 medical reprieves for incarcerated people.
- GA Chamber of Commerce supports accessible voting and election integrity and transparency.
- NM: Gov. Lujan Grisham signs a bill repealing a 1969 statute criminalizing abortion.
- VA: Gov. Ralph Northam takes executive action to restore voting and civil rights to Virginians with felonies after their sentences are completed.
- WA Supreme Court voids most drug possession cases in the state.
- Various TX counties and cities keep COVID-19 mask mandates in place despite the governor lifting the statewide mandate.
- 70 mayors from both major parties commit to conserving 30% of U.S. lands by 2030.
- Uber and Lyft create a ride-share industry safety program that relays information about drivers removed from their platforms due to committing harassment or violence.
- More than 50 companies commit to be carbon-neutral by 2040.
- Walmart donates $50,000 to create Black history curriculum in RI schools
Groups and organizations
- The Catholic Parish Priests Initiative vow to bless any loving couple regardless of gender.
- Michelle Obama and the Partnership for a Healthier America launch the Pass the Love campaign with the goal of providing more than a million meals to families in need.
- The International Women’s Media Foundation spearheads a Coalition Against Online Violence to offer support and resources to journalists facing online attacks and harassment.
- The National Center on Disability and Journalism and the New York Times create a fellowship program to provide fellows with mentorship and specialized training on covering disability-related topics.
- Al Otro Lado provides “know your rights” presentations to people seeking asylum at a port of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border.
- Two vulnerable clients of Al Otro Lado receive good news of their own.
News with heart
- Standing Rock water protector Red Fawn Fallis (Oglala Sioux) is released from federal prison.
- Elliot Page uses his platform to advocate against dangerous state-level legislation that is harmful to transgender kids and teens.
- Hundreds of thousands of people from Venezuela can remain in the U.S. and apply for temporary protected status.
- People from Burma can remain in the U.S. and apply for temporary protected status.
- People with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms can access monoclonal antibody treatments.
- Weekly COVID-19 cases at skilled nursing facilities have decreased from about 34,000 to 1,474 (a 96% decrease) since vaccinations began.
- According to the Pew Research Center, 69% of U.S. residents intend to get a COVID-19 vaccine, a 9% increase from November 2020.
- Cases of flu during the 2020-2021 flu season are at the lowest they’ve been in 25 years, according to the CDC.
- The Si family finds support from their neighbors in the wake of racist harassment.
- Young adult fiction website Riveted by Simon Teen publishes a list of recommended books by AAPI authors.
- Best friends Betty Grebenschikoff and Ana María Wahrenberg reunite 82 years after being separated in the Holocaust.
- France returns a Klimt painting to the family of Nora Stiasny, a Jewish woman forced to sell it under duress under the Nazi annexation of Austria.
- The band Phish donates funds raised from a concert screening to the National Immigration Law Center.
- Community fridges appear in neighborhoods hit hard by COVID-19 to help those in need of food.
- Parents from diverse backgrounds show off their kids’ diplomas.
- See more good news at Women in the World, Small Victories, Good Black News, and What Went Right.
- Jen’s message: Read this week’s Inspiring Message with FIVE really good developments.
- Gratitude: Big thanks to our editor Jennifer Brunton, to our team of writers and researchers, and to our happy gnome farm of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram volunteers. Thanks also to our amazing patrons and donors who make creating Checklist sustainable.
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