171 weeks down, 52 (!) 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.
▢ Action 1: Dismantle language-based barriers to voting.
Contact: Your state-level voting official (look up).
Script: The Voting Rights Act requires that jurisdictions with significant communities of people whose first language is not English be provided ballot information, instructions, and voting support in their language. Even if communities in [STATE] are below the required threshold of 5% or 10,000 voters, I urge you to proactively welcome all voters to the polls with familiar-language ballots and instructions. Thank you.
Bonus: Use the script above to write a letter to the editor of your local paper.
▢ Action 2: This Tuesday is Election Day! Make a plan to vote—and support automatic voter registration for all. [h/t Brennan Center]
On November 5, voters in three states (Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi) will be choosing governors, and many local offices and issues will be decided nationwide. Double-check your registration status at Vote411.org, research what’s on your ballot at BallotPedia.org, and set up email or text-message election reminders at TurboVote.org. Then advocate for automatic voter registration:
If you live in AL, AZ, AR, DE, FL, HI, ID, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NH, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, WI, or WY: Contact your two state legislators (look up).
Script: Hi, I’m a resident of [ZIP] and I’m calling because automatic voter registration (AVR) has been shown to increase voter registration, save taxpayer dollars, and increase the accuracy of voter rolls, regardless of a state’s size or partisan makeup. Can I count on [NAME] to support AVR legislation in [STATE]? Thank you.
If you live in AK, CA, CO, CT, DC, GA, IL, ME, MD, MA, MI, NV, NJ, NM, OR, RI, UT, VT, WA, or WV: Your state (or district, in the case of Washington, DC) has already adopted some form of AVR. Donate to the Brennan Center here to fund their advocacy for AVR and other voting rights issues.
▢ Action 3: Help more new voters before the 2020 primaries. [h/t Spread the Vote]
Spread the Vote and its Project ID initiative help citizens obtain the IDs they need in order to vote. We exceeded our original 2019 goal of 300 IDs early on. Now, thanks to AoCC subscribers who have already donated an amazing $15,000+ this year (you rock!), we’re getting closer to our amended goal of helping 600 new voters (every $40 donated provides an ID for one new voter).
Donate: To Spread the Vote here.
▢ Action 4: Support congressional representation for all Americans. [h/t 51stDC]
Call: Your one House rep and two senators (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP], calling to encourage [NAME] to co-sponsor legislation that would give DC residents a voice in Congress. Every tax-paying citizen should have the right to elect people to represent their values. Can I count on [NAME] to support H.R. 51/S. 631? Thank you. [If not, inquire about reasoning.]
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: Amplify tech employees advocating against selling their software to agencies guilty of human rights abuses. [h/t Never Again Action]
Write: Tableau’s CEO and Chairman of the Board:
Adam Selipsky, CEO, Tableau, 1621 N. 34th St., Seattle, WA 98103
Christian Chabot, Chairman of the Board, Tableau, 1621 N. 34th St., Seattle, WA 98103
Script: As a leading tech company in America, you have the power to set a strong example for what corporate responsibility looks like. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have been using your software and technology to target, detain, and deport families and individuals immigrating to America. I am asking you to follow your employees’ lead and join the movement to provide #NoTechForICE or its racist, amoral agenda.
▢ Action 6: Join medical practitioners in demanding an end to human rights violations in detention centers. [h/t Detention Watch]
Sign: This petition if you are a medical practitioner in the U.S.
Licensed physicians in Texas are violating the ethical values of their field by force-feeding detainees on hunger strike to protest the dangerous and unsanitary conditions ICE is forcing them to live in. Both the American Medical Association and World Medical Association have categorized this practice as not only unethical, but a human rights violation as well. By collecting signatures from U.S. medical practitioners, End Force-Feeding Now aims to urge the Texas Medical Board, Texas Academy of Family Physicians, and American Academy of Family Physicians to conduct reviews of their members who are inflicting this form of torture, and to condemn the act of force-feeding people on hunger strike.
Call: Your one House rep and two senators (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and I’m calling to express my concern that people who have served a prison sentence are excluded from electing their own representatives. States vary in their approach to voting rights, leaving millions of Americans, including more than 1 in every 10 African American men, without the right to vote. I would like [NAME] to co-sponsor the Democracy Restoration Act (H.R. 196/S. 1068), which would give returning citizens the right to vote in federal elections.
Acts of Gratitude
Get out your stamps, postcards, and sparkle markers for some gratitude mail.
Thank Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Sen. John Thune (R-SD) for defending the integrity and reputation of individuals who speak their truth. [Share why you appreciate an evenhanded and professional demeanor regarding current impeachment proceedings.]
LC: 2120 Capitol Avenue, Suite 8005, Cheyenne, WY 82001
RB: Thomas F. Eagleton U.S. Courthouse, 111 South 10th Street, Suite 23.305, St. Louis, MO 63102
JT: 5015 South Bur Oak Place, Sioux Falls, SD 57108
Thank Davidson County (TN) Sheriff Daron Hall for prioritizing local criminal justice concerns. [Share why you appreciate local law enforcement that focuses resources on crime, not federal immigration policy.]
Address: 506 2nd Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37201
Decent people everywhere are speaking up and working together. Just look. #GoodNews
- House passes the SHIELD Act to protect American elections from foreign interference.
- House passes a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide of 1915, which claimed the lives of 1.5 million Armenian people.
- House unanimously passes a bill honoring RI abolitionist and women’s rights champion Elizabeth Buffum Chace.
- A federal court rules that the Department of Justice must turn over former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s grand jury evidence to the House Judiciary Committee as part of the Committee’s presidential impeachment investigation into potential illegal activity.
- The administration withdraws huge fines for certain aspiring Americans finding sanctuary in churches.
- Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is held in contempt of court for violating a federal court order to stop collecting on student loans owed by students of a defunct for-profit college.
- Rep. Elijah Cummings is the first black lawmaker to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol.
- AL: Federal court temporarily blocks a law banning abortions, finding it unconstitutional.
- CA passes the Farmworkers Housing Act, which creates a process for construction of non-dormitory-style housing for agricultural workers.
- CA bans the sale and manufacture of fur products and bars most animals from circus performances.
- CA: Six individuals are granted clemency by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
- OK court temporarily blocks a law that would have forced doctors to pass on to patients the scientifically unproven claim that medication abortions can be reversed.
- Nashville ends contracts with the Federal Government to house aspiring Americans detained by ICE.
- New York City will erect a monument recognizing the abolitionist work of Albro, Mary Joseph, and Maritcha Lyons, a prominent family of educators from the city’s predominantly African-American Seneca Village community.
- Philadelphia and Mercy County, PA will launch a pilot of an election security audit following the November 2019 elections to check the accuracy of election outcomes.
- Over 100 musicians pledge to boycott Amazon until the company terminates its contracts with ICE and other abusive agencies, stops providing services to companies like Palantir that aid deportations, and ends projects that encourage racial profiling and discrimination.
- Glamour magazine recognizes RAICES activists for their legal defense of and advocacy for aspiring Americans.
- California state workers’ pension fund CalPERS pulls financial backing from GEO Group and CoreCivic over the private prison groups’ role in the inhumane detention of aspiring Americans.
- Homestead detention center, which housed thousands of children—including those separated from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border—will shut down.
- LGBT+ rights groups protesting Chick-fil-A’s donations to anti-LGBT+ organizations force the United Kingdom’s first Chick-fil-A restaurant to close.
- Purdue University waives ID card-replacement fees for a week, allowing students to update their university ID cards to a design compatible with Indiana voting requirements for free.
- Over 250 Facebook employees sign an open letter protesting the company’s policy of allowing false statements in political advertising.
- Twitter will ban all political advertising on its platform.
Groups and organizations
- NYC Bar Association calls on Attorney General William Barr to recuse himself from investigations into the president’s conduct with Ukraine, or else resign.
- Interfaith group of worshipers holds “They’re All Our Children” service to bring awareness to the illnesses and deaths of children in immigration detention, and to urge policy change.
- Students at Brown University demand the university cut its ties with Palantir, a software company that provides key tech products to ICE.
- The #HomeIsHere campaign provides resources for individuals receiving DACA protections to alleviate confusion ahead of the upcoming Supreme Court DACA case.
- Project South demands the Georgia congressional delegation investigate the Stewart Detention Center, where four aspiring Americans have died.
- A coalition of activist organizations form the New York Immigrant Freedom Fund to release as many aspiring Americans as possible from detention by paying their bond.
- On the U.S.’s first National Period Day, protestors rally across the country to demand equitable access to menstrual supplies for those often forced to go without pads or tampons, including aspiring Americans in immigration detention.
- As part of Australia’s Engineers Declare movement, thousands of engineers and 90 organizations sign a pledge to put climate considerations first when evaluating project plans.
- Blackjewel coal miners receive millions in back pay following months of protests.
- United Automobile Workers reach a tentative agreement with General Motors following weeks of striking for increased pay and improved benefits.
News with heart
- Filmmaker dream hampton pulls out of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit in protest of Kirstjen Nielsen’s inclusion in the event, citing Nielsen’s complicity in separating children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border during her time as Homeland Security Secretary.
- The Minneapolis Institute of Arts assembles the “Hearts of Our People” retrospective, the country’s first-ever exhibition devoted solely to the works of Native women.
- Artist Adam Sings In the Timber, Apsáalooke/Crow, creates the Indigenizing Colonized Spaces public art project in Bozeman, MT.
- YouTube channel YogaWithAdriene re-releases an instructional yoga video for dealing with menstrual cramps and PMS using gender-inclusive language.
- Burlington High School’s girls’ varsity soccer team wears “Equal Pay” shirts to highlight gender pay discrepancies in professional soccer, catching the attention of Olympian and World Cup winner Brandi Chastain, who furthered the team’s message on Twitter.
- According to the National Foundation for American Policy, a third of U.S. Nobel Prize winners in chemistry, medicine, and physics are people who immigrated to the U.S.
- Star Wars co-stars Adam Driver and Mark Hamill use their social media influence to find director Leos Carax’s family’s lost dog.
- Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wins the Berggruen Prize for Philosophy & Culture for her contributions to social justice and general equality.
- Leonard Pozner, the father of a Sandy Hook shooting victim, wins a defamation lawsuit against a conspiracy theorist.
- Opposing teammates huddle around soccer player to provide her privacy when her hijab slipped off.
- Actor-activist Alyssa Milano uses her celebrity platform to advocate for fair and humane immigration policies and to support the human rights of aspiring Americans.
- The legalization of same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland goes into effect.
- Monica Lewinsky launches @GoodnessBot, an automated Twitter account designed to take a stand against cyberbullying.
- See more good news at Women in the World, Small Victories, Good Black News, and What Went Right.
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- Gratitude: Huge and gushing praise for the entire AoCC team for running the Checklist operation while I (Jen) have been on pilgrimage the last eight weeks. We are what democracy looks like.