191 weeks down, 16 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 equality.
Action 1: Support people seeking safety and refuge in the U.S. to the United States’ asylum system by Wednesday, July 15th at 11:59pm EST. [h/t AILA]
Submit a written comment in your own words: Go to Regulations.gov via the blue “Comment Now!” button, stating why you oppose the proposed asylum changes.
- The Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have published a new regulation that drastically limits refugees’ and asylum seekers’ ability to obtain asylum in the U.S.
- Our nation has a constitutional responsibility to accept individuals and families from other countries who are seeking refuge and safety.
- These proposed changes will make it nearly impossible for individuals fleeing threats such as domestic violence, “honor” crimes, and harms associated with gender identity and sexual orientation to obtain humanitarian relief.
- The regulations would allow judges and asylum officers to more easily throw out asylum requests, leaving those applying for asylum with little chance of due process.
- The proposed changes include arbitrary eligibility criteria, including limitations to what defines “persecution,” more stringent application submission timelines, and limitations based on an asylum-seeker’s number of layovers on the way to the U.S.
- A representative from the American Immigration Council concludes: “The goal of this asylum regulation—far from reshaping the system to improve it—is to make asylum impossible to win.”
Script: Hello. I’m calling from [ZIP] to express my concern about the possible separation of detained children from their parents due to COVID-19.
While I support the judge’s order to release all children who have been held in ICE Family Residential Centers more than 20 days, I’m worried that this will result in parents being forced to sign guardianship documents without legal counsel or choose between detention with their children or the release of their children alone. I am asking [NAME] to join their peers in urging ICE to release families together to waiting sponsors or family members.
I value democracy.
Stronger elections, empowered voters in 2020
This month, AoCC gives you 22 actions to support voting expansion and voter empowerment in time for November.
Acts of Gratitude
Get out your stamps, postcards, and sparkle markers for some gratitude mail.
Thank Gov. Tate Reeves (R–MS) for agreeing to a prompt removal of the Confederate emblem from the Mississippi state flag. [Share why inclusive symbols of America are important to you.]
Address: P.O. Box 24355, Jackson, MS 39225
Thank Gov. Gina Raimondo (D–RI) for helping to facilitate a COVID-19 relief fund for aspiring American Rhode Islanders. [Share why emergency assistance to all U.S. residents is important to you.]
Address: Office of the Governor, 82 Smith Street, Providence, RI 02903
Thank Merriam-Webster for updating their definition of “racism” to include systemic oppression. [Share why an accurate definition of racism is important to you.]
Address: Merriam-Webster contact form
Decent people everywhere are speaking up and working together. Just look. #GoodNews
- Federal court orders ICE to release children held for over 20 days in immigration detention.
- Court rules that the administration’s “third-country” asylum ban is illegal, restoring the right for most people to claim asylum in the U.S. under the Immigration and Nationality Act.
- Statehood for the District of Columbia moves forward, as the US House becomes the first chamber of Congress to approve of establishing the nation’s capital as the 51st state.
- House passes a joint resolution to prevent banks from redlining communities of color.
- Senate passes an extension of the application deadline for small businesses to apply for Paycheck Protection Program loans.
- Federal court rules that it violates the law to transfer unaccompanied minors from ORR custody to ICE detention on their 18th birthday.
- Circuit court rules that the use of military funds to construct a physical barrier on the U.S.-Mexico border is illegal.
- SCOTUS rules that a Louisiana law requiring abortion providers have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals is unconstitutional.
- Court orders that the Dakota Access pipeline must shut down for additional environmental review.
- GA passes its first hate crime bill, joining 46 other states with hate crime laws on the books.
- IL: Gov. Pritzker signs a measure requiring election officials to send vote-by-mail applications to everyone who voted in recent elections while also expanding voting access.
- MD creates the position of Special Education Ombudsman as a resource for students, parents, and teachers regarding special education services.
- MS will remove the Confederate emblem from the state flag.
- OK voters approve Medicaid expansion.
- PA: Judge is sentenced to jail time for accepting bribes from juvenile detention center developers.
- RI bans the possession, manufacturing, and sale of 3d-printed guns, “ghost guns,” and other untraceable and undetectable firearms.
- VA expands absentee ballot access, extends early voting, and repeals a voter photo ID requirement.
- Virginia is having a banner civil rights moment as several new laws go into effect July 1:
- Removing unnecessary abortion regulations.
- Preventing driver’s licenses suspension over unpaid court fees.
- Ending the requirement of principals to report to police misdemeanors committed at school.
- Limiting to $50 what health insurers can charge for insulin.
- Extending to aspiring Americans in-state tuition at public colleges and driver privilege cards.
- Banning discrimination against LGBTQ individuals in employment and housing.
- Banning the practice of so-called “conversion therapy” on minors.
- Decriminalizing cannabis possession.
- Philadelphia City Council approves a 2021 budget that reallocates $33 million dollars from the police department to healthcare, affordable housing, anti-poverty efforts, and other measures.
- Los Angeles reallocates $150 million from the LAPD towards services for disenfranchised communities.
- Unhoused Philly residents move into vacant homes owned by the Philadelphia Housing Authority.
- Richmond, VA Mayor Levar Stoney initiates the removal of various Confederate monuments from the city.
- Philadelphia delays the reopening of landlord-tenant court due to the pandemic.
- Hennepin County, MN declares racism a public health crisis.
- Prince George’s County, MD approves additional funding for an initiative providing legal representation to all county residents detained in ICE custody.
- Washington, D.C. implements a new family leave policy on July 1.
- The Atlanta Hawks, the Detroit Pistons, and the Milwaukee Bucks offer their facilities to serve as socially-distanced voting sites during the pandemic.
- Princeton removes Woodrow Wilson’s name from the School of Public and International Affairs and Wilson College, citing his racist views and policies.
- Multiple companies cease advertising on Facebook in protest of hate speech on the platform.
- Reddit removes thousands of community message boards for violating hate speech policies.
- YouTube terminates multiple channels run by high-profile white supremacists and supremacist groups.
- MIT permanently removes their 80 Million Tiny Images dataset rife with racist and misogynistic content.
- Google removes fraudulent ads fishing for voters’ money and personal data.
Groups and organizations
- In conjunction with immigrant rights groups, artists create sky messages of protest and solidarity with aspiring Americans held in inhumane detention conditions.
- Lambda Legal sues the administration over the elimination of LGBTQ anti-discrimination rules in healthcare.
- Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Foundation, and elected officials launch a COVID-19 relief fund for residents ineligible for government relief due to their immigration status.
- In commemoration of Juneteenth, Montgomery Bail Out Fund and the Movement for Black Lives bail out nine individuals from jail in Alabama.
- Pennsylvania Immigrant Family Unity Project receives $200,000 in additional funding to further provide free legal counsel for aspiring Americans.
- UnidosUS awards $750,000 to 30 of their affiliated community-based organizations in response to the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the Latino community
News with heart
- 24 aspiring Americans win release from the Wyatt detention center.
- Native American protesters lead a demonstration affirming Sioux proprietorship of the Black Hills.
- Seven-year-old Miguelito is released from immigration custody into the care of his aunt.
- Janis Shinwari, who served nine years as a translator for U.S. forces, acquires his U.S. citizenship.
- Catherine Fitzpatrick leads the Women and Gender Studies program at Rutgers-Newark, becoming the first openly transgender woman in the country to head up such a program.
- Kennedy Mitchum successfully petitions Merriam-Webster to update its definition of “racism” to include systemic oppression.
- Harry Potter fan sites MuggleNet and The Leaky Cauldron take steps to affirm and welcome trans and non-binary fans of the series.
- Quarantined celebrities recreate The Princess Bride one scene at a time.
- Neighbors create a street’s worth of public art after a family’s outdoor sculptures were stolen.
- China codifies sexual harassment as a legal offense.
- Tattoo artists Ryun King and Jeremiah Swift cover up hate symbol tattoos for free.
- 64K endangered green turtles lay their eggs on shore near the Great Barrier Reef.
- Michaela Munyan, age nine, sews and donates over 500 masks.
- Scotland votes to stop exporting crowd control gear to the U.S. following American police abuse of the equipment against protesters.
- Archie Williams performs on America’s Got Talent after being exonerated and released from prison.
- Jen’s Message: Read this week’s Inspiring Message.
- 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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