188 weeks down, 19 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 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: Vote in your state’s upcoming primary election. [h/t Vote.org]
Option A: For residents of CT, DE, KY, LA, NJ, NY, or PR, take the following steps to participate in your state’s upcoming primary election:
Check: HealthyVoting.org has information about voting alternatives (early voting, voting by mail) and tips for safe visits to the polls in each state.
Check: Whether your state recently expanded access to voting by mail.
Check: Vote411.org/coronavirus for real-time state-by-state updates to primary election dates, mail voting, early voting, and more, published in both English and Spanish.
Check: Ballotpedia’s list of changes to election dates and procedures (updated every weekday).
Option B: If you live in the other 44 states, help voters in states with voter ID laws by making a donation to Spread the Vote. Donate here: https://www.kindest.com/donate/spread-the-vote (and, if you do, mention that you’re from AoCC!).
Action 2: Share accurate information about voting by mail. [h/t Brennan Center]
Script: Hi, I’m from [TOWN] and I’m requesting that you report accurate information about the safety of voting by mail. Studies show that it is safe from fraud. It has overwhelming approval across the nation. Voting by mail increases voter participation across parties and reduces costs. Asserting otherwise weakens public trust in our democratic process. Thank you.
Bonus: Help change minds. Share on social media: Voting by mail is safe, secure, less expensive, and increases participation of all parties. Americans overwhelmingly support it during the pandemic. (link to this article)
Action 3: Support effective elections in your state. [h/t Brennan Center]
Email or write: Your state election official (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and am asking you to ensure adequate resources for a safe and accessible November election by taking the following measures:
- Employ additional poll workers to account for potential absences due to COVID-19.
- Stock extra provisional voting materials in all required languages to prepare for a surge in provisional voting due to pandemic-related delays in registration processing.
- Commit to additional training for poll workers on provisional voting procedures.
- Prepare for an increase in mail-in voting.
Thank you for all you’re doing to ensure every person can vote.
Email: The president of 1-3 colleges in your area.
Script: Hi. I’m from [TOWN] and I’m asking [SCHOOL] to promote voter participation among your students. Although young voters have increased in voter turnout recently, they are still the lowest participation demographic of eligible voters. To increase those voting numbers, please:
- Join the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge.
- Sign on to the Higher Education Presidents’ Commitment for Full Student Voter Participation.
- Add the Ask Every Student model to your campus.
Action 5: Provide educators with resources for young adult voters. [h/t When We All Vote]
Email: Your local high school principal.
Script: Hi, I’m from [TOWN] and I’m asking you and your staff to participate in the My School Votes program. Only 46% of eligible voters aged 18 to 29 participated in the 2016 election, the lowest participation rate of any group, but teaching high school students how to vote increases young voter participation. Please take this opportunity to encourage civic participation in your students this summer. 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.
Email or call: Your two senators and one House rep (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m calling from [ZIP] with concern for people in roles now deemed essential. For too long, many have been overworked and underpaid, relying on aid programs before the pandemic. This is a systemic problem that hurts women and people of color. I’m asking [NAME] to support the Closing the Meal Gap Act (S. 3719/H.R. 1368), which increases SNAP benefits to support our vulnerable neighbors and boost the economy.
Email or call: Your two senators and one House rep (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m calling from [ZIP] to express concern for disabled people and older adults, who have been disproportionately harmed by COVID-19 and now face added risk from a hurricane season predicted to be severe. The Real Emergency Access for Aging and Disability Inclusion for Disasters Act (H.R. 3208) would include their voices in federal emergency planning, and I’m asking [NAME] to support it.
Action 8: Advocate for equality for LGBTQ+ Americans. [h/t Lambda Legal]
Email or call: Your two senators (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m calling from [ZIP] because I support protecting all Americans from all forms of discrimination. While the recent landmark Supreme Court decision is welcome, the Equality Act (H.R. 5) protects our LGBTQ neighbors from discrimination in education, housing, credit, and many federal programs. I’m asking [NAME] to press the Majority Leader for a vote on this bill and to support its passage.
Action 9: Speak up for police reform. [h/t ACLU]
Email or call: Your one House rep (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m calling from [ZIP] because I believe our nation must address and end police violence. H.R. 1714 would end the transfer of military equipment to local police, and H.R. 2927 would create national standards for use of deadly force and require police academies to teach de-escalation techniques. Can I count on [NAME] to co-sponsor this legislation?
Action 10: Protect civil and voting rights in the judiciary. [h/t Leadership Conference]
Email or call: Your two senators (look up).
Script: I’m writing to oppose Cory Wilson’s nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit on the basis of his support for discrimination against LGBTQ Americans and suppressive voter ID laws. I value a judiciary that protects civil and voting rights for all, and I’m asking [NAME] to vote against his confirmation. Thank you.
Action 11: Advocate for your transgender neighbors’ health. [h/t National Center for Transgender Equality]
Script: Dear [NAME]: I’m writing to support transgender Americans’ health in light of the current administration’s egregious decision to remove their nondiscrimination protections. [Share your personal values/experiences in relation to transgender equality and/or health care access.] I’m asking [COMPANY NAME] to 1) Make no changes to coverage and services in response to this rule. 2) Explicitly prohibit gender identity discrimination in your nondiscrimination policies. 3) Continue to provide individuals with full notices of their nondiscrimination rights. Thank you.
Action 12: Oppose the exposure of asylum seekers to hazardous chemicals. [h/t United We Dream]
Email: Matthew T. Albence, Deputy Director and Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement via the Office of Public Affairs: email@example.com
Script: Hello, I’m writing to oppose the frequent use of HDQ Neutral to disinfect detention centers in California, Texas, and Florida, and to urge the release of nonviolent people there. HDQ is toxic if inhaled or swallowed, and several people in detention have already reported reactions including blistering, nosebleeds, burning eyes, and trouble breathing. I’m outraged that my tax dollars are paying to endanger lives, and I join citizens and social justice groups in calling for an end to the use of HDQ Neutral in detention facilities, and for the immediate release of all nonviolent detainees. Thank you.
Call: Otay Mesa Detention Center at 619-671-8724 and CoreCivic Investor Relations at 615-263-3024
Script: Hello, my name is [NAME] and I’m calling because I’m concerned about the intentional obstruction of access to advocacy groups for those being held in the Otay Mesa Detention Center. People detained in Otay Mesa need to have access to the outside world and deserve the ability to voice their concerns to these advocacy groups. I’m asking you to stop silencing people, and unblock the phone numbers of Otay Mesa Detention Resistance and Pueblo Sin Fronteras.
Action 14: Honor World Immigrant Day (6/18) by posting bond for aspiring Americans. [h/t Freedom for Immigrants]
Our immigration system currently forces aspiring Americans, including refugees, families, and children, into unsanitary detention centers as they await their hearings. The likelihood of being released depends on whether they can pay the bond amount set by ICE or immigration judges. Once bond is paid, however, these individuals become eight times more likely to win their immigration cases, and those odds increase when they receive continued support following release. You can help.
Donate (tax-free): To Freedom for Immigrants to support their efforts to cover bond and post-release services for aspiring Americans being held in detention.
Acts of Gratitude
Get out your stamps, postcards, and sparkle markers for some gratitude mail.
Thank Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R–OH) for approving funding to send every Ohio voter an absentee ballot request form. [Share why access to mail ballots is important to you.]
Address: 22 North Fourth Street, 16th Floor, Columbus, Ohio 43215
Thank Linda Findley Kozlowski, CEO of Blue Apron, for providing employees a paid day off on Election Day. [Share why employers making voting accessible to employees is important to you.]
Address: Blue Apron, 28 Liberty St., New York, NY 10005
Thank Quaker Foods VP Kristin Kroepfl and her team for removing racist depictions and product names from their branding. [Share why anti-racist cultural awareness is important to you.]
Address: Quaker Foods North America, PepsiCo, Inc., 700 Anderson Hill Rd., Purchase, NY 10577
Decent people everywhere are speaking up and working together. Just look. #GoodNews
- Supreme Court rules that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act bars employers from firing employees over their gender identity or sexual orientation.
- Supreme Court blocks the administration’s attempt to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
- Supreme Court declines to hear a case challenging the legality of sanctuary city policies, for now leaving such policies intact.
- Federal court strikes down a permit to construct the Dakota Access Pipeline in a legal victory for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
- Court orders the administration to distribute COVID-19 relief funds allocated to Alaska Natives and Native American tribes.
- Dept. of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management approve a plan for the largest solar power project in U.S. history.
- Congress passes a bipartisan resolution to protect tens of thousands of defrauded college students.
- Federal court temporarily blocks the deportation of a teenager from Honduras while the ACLU challenges the administration’s asylum ban, which is allegedly based on pandemic concerns.
- District court rules against a Dept. of Education rule prohibiting DACA community college students in CA from receiving CARES Act money.
- The U.S. Embassy in South Korea displays a huge banner to show their support for Black Lives Matter and protests against racism.
- GA voters set a new record for primary voter turnout.
- MA offers no-cost COVID-19 testing for people who were in close contact with large groups.
- MI: The state’s daily confirmed COVID-19 cases decreased 89% since April 7.
- NC Supreme Court rules that the repeal of the Racial Justice Act cannot be applied retroactively, meaning that over 100 incarcerated people of color on death row may still appeal for a non-lethal sentence.
- NJ judge is permanently removed from the bench for making demeaning comments to plaintiffs.
- NY: Court blocks ICE from making arrests at in-state courthouses after ruling the practice illegal.
- OH: Secretary of State Frank LaRose approves funding to send every Ohio voter an absentee ballot request form.
- OK passes anti-discrimination legislation preventing elderly and disabled people from being billed extra for or denied healthcare.
- OK Supreme Court rules as constitutional a ballot initiative petition calling for incarcerated people to vote as constituents of their home cities.
- OR governor seeks to make Juneteenth (June 19, the date commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S.) a state holiday and creates a police accountability task force.
- Fulton County, GA district attorney announces charges of felony murder and aggravated assault against the police officers responsible for the death of Rayshard Brooks.
- Los Angeles invests millions in minority communities, reallocating funds from the city police department.
- Los Angeles implements a moratorium on use of the discriminatory CalGang database.
- Louisville, KY, Metro Council passes Breonna’s Law, named in honor of Breonna Taylor, outlawing no-knock warrants.
- NYC lifts the curfew it had instituted in light of protests against police violence.
- San Francisco implements trained, unarmed professionals, rather than the police, to respond to calls for help with mental health emergencies, school discipline, neighbor disputes, and people experiencing homelessness.
- Minneapolis City Council pledges to dismantle the city police department, long accused of racism, in favor of a new system of public safety resources.
- Huntington, WV designates Juneteenth as a legal holiday.
- Philadelphia designates Juneteenth 2020 an official holiday, closing city offices and facilities in observation.
- Blue Apron will close on Election Day in November and provide a paid day off for employees.
- Newspaper chain Gannett will capitalize “Black,” consistent with how many Black communities and publications describe the people and descendants of the African diaspora.
- Gannett also removes mugshot galleries contributing to negative stereotypes of people of color.
- NBC News publishes a list of trans-inclusive fantasy and sci-fi books.
- Band-Aid launches bandages for diverse skin tones.
- Walgreens and CVS stop the practice of storing multicultural hair and beauty products behind locked cases.
- U.S. Soccer Federation repeals the league’s ban on kneeling during the national anthem.
- A&E stop production on Live PD amid ongoing protests against police brutality.
- NASCAR bans the Confederate flag from all of its events and properties.
- Google launches the Accessible Places feature in Google Maps, which shows locations that are wheelchair accessible.
- Google bans conspiracy theory website from its advertising platform over the site’s violation of Google’s anti-racial discrimination policies.
- Prominent NFL players assert their right to protest in a pointed video, resulting in the NFL apologizing and admitting it was wrong to stifle on-field protests.
- Netflix introduces a Black Lives Matter category.
- Famous breakfast brand changes its name and imagery in recognition of the current branding’s basis in racist stereotypes.
Groups and organizations
- Filmmaker Ava DuVernay creates the Law Enforcement Accountability Project (LEAP) to fund artistic projects spotlighting police brutality and the effects of systemic racism.
- LeBron James and other celebrities create More Than a Vote, an organization aiming to inspire African-Americans to register and cast a ballot in November’s election.
- Nonprofit Change Comes Now donates pandemic safety supplies and essential goods to a Florida women’s prison.
- University Rebuild, a grassroots community group of theater artists, uses their stagecraft skills to support and repair businesses of color in Minneapolis.
- The nonprofit Protect Democracy files an amicus brief on behalf of 1,187 former federal prosecutors who argue that judges have the authority to scrutinize DOJ’s move to end the Michael Flynn case.
- U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet calls for reparations to make amends for the violence of slavery and colonialism.
News with heart
- Anmol Narang graduates from West Point Military Academy, becoming the first observant Sikh to do so.
- Protesters with disabilities lead hundreds in a more accessible demonstration against police violence in Milwaukee.
- Country band Lady Antebellum changes their name to Lady A to remove associations with slavery and other racist aspects of the pre-Civil War period.
- Lead actors from the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films release affirming statements in support of trans and non-binary individuals.
- New Zealand eradicates COVID-19.
- Evidence suggests between 230,000 and 450,000 COVID-19 cases may have been averted by wearing face masks, according to a study by researchers at the University of Iowa’s College of Public Health.
- 38 Minneapolis families gain ownership of their five apartment buildings from a negligent landlord who tried to evict them.
- Dhruv Pai and Matt Casertano create the Teens Helping Seniors volunteer network to deliver groceries to older community members for free.
- CNN airs primetime special honoring the class of 2020 in light of cancelled in-person graduation ceremonies due to the pandemic.
- Fourth grader Ryan Golditch 3D prints ear savers and mask hooks for doctors & nurses at Landmark Medical Center.
- Costa Rica legally recognizes same-sex marriage, becoming the first central American country to do so.
- Kathy Sullivan, the first American woman to complete a spacewalk, becomes the first person to walk in space and reach the deepest point in the ocean.
- Jen’s Message: Read this week’s Inspiring Message.
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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.