98 weeks to the Presidential Election
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, take our top three suggested actions:
- Action 1: Object to rising antisemitism and hate.
- Check out our giving guide.
- Celebrate this year’s progress, then rest.
In this edition of the AoC Checklist:
- Action 1: Insist your MoCs object to rising antisemitism and hate.
- Check out our Giving Guide
- Celebrate the actions YOU took this year
- Help us succeed in 2023
- Our favorite Good News from 2022
- Permission to rest
- How you can support and share the AoC Checklist
One action this week
Action 1: Insist your MoCs object to rising antisemitism and hate.
Join the 0 Americans of Conscience who have completed this action by checking the tally box!
Call: Call or email your MoCs (House Rep and both senators; look up).
Script: I am opposed to the hateful language of people like Kanye West, Nick Fuentes, and a Republican presidential candidate. With hate crimes rising, the time is now to publicly condemn any and all scapegoating of Jewish people; people who are lesbian, bisexual, or gay, people who are transgender, and people immigrating to the US. We already know where this rhetoric can lead. During this holiday season, I urge you to issue a clear, unequivocal statement of support for Jewish Americans, the LGBTQ+ community, and immigrating families, and to affirm our shared humanity. Thank you.
Don’t know what to get the person who has everything? Consider making a donation to a good cause in their name. We offer this giving guide to non-partisan pro-equality, pro-democracy organizations for your consideration.
- American Indian College Fund invests in Native students and tribal college education to transform lives and communities. (Suggested by Julie D., Social Media Teams)
- Prison Book Program supports people in prison by sending them free books and print resources that meet their specific needs and interests. (Suggested by Jen Hofmann, AoCC Executive Director)
- SOWEGA Rising is facilitating Southwest Georgia’s rise from the bottom to the top of quality of life metrics by empowering individuals and revitalizing communities. (Suggested by Jen Hofmann)
- Street Sense Media provides economic opportunity for and elevates the voices of people experiencing homelessness by producing journalism, film, theater, photography, audio, illustration, and more. (Suggested by Elizabeth Arlotti-Parish, Equality Research Team)
- We Need Diverse Books advocates for essential changes in the publishing industry to produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people. (Suggested by Julie D., Social Media Teams)
- A Better Way Grocers drives food into southwest Georgia’s food deserts for healthier communities. (Suggested by Jen Hofmann, AoCC Executive Director)
- Apiary supports groups that provide logistical assistance (e.g. transport, child care, medical expenses) to people seeking abortions. (Suggested by Elizabeth A-P., Equality Research Team)
Donate to your local practical support organization: https://apiaryps.org/pso-list
- SisterSong improves institutional policies and systems that impact the reproductive lives of marginalized communities. (Suggested by Julie D., Social Media Teams)
- ARC Southeast provides funding and logistical support to ensure Southerners receive safe and compassionate reproductive care, including abortion services. (Suggested by Samantha W., Good News and Gratitudes Writer)
- Yellowhammer Fund works for abortion advocacy and reproductive justice, serving Alabama, Mississippi, and the Deep South. (Suggested by Julie D., Social Media Teams)
- The Trevor Project saves lives by helping LGBTQ+ youth reach out to a counselor if they’re struggling, and offers allies the tools they need to help others. (Suggested by Julia Figliotti, Social Media Co-Captain and Immigration Research Team Writer)
- Carry the Future unites a loving, global community with refugee children and families to bring dignity, care, and awareness to the refugee journey. (Suggested by Bethany M., Social Media Co-Leader)
- RAICES: The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services defends the rights of immigrants and refugees, empowers individuals, families, and communities, and advocates for liberty and justice. (Suggested by Dianna L., Equality Team Researcher)
- Al Otro Lado provides holistic legal and humanitarian support to refugees, deportees, and other migrants in the U.S. and Tijuana through a multidisciplinary, client-centered, harm reduction-based practice. (Suggested by Samantha W., Good News and Gratitudes Writer)
- Tewa Women United supports environmental health and justice, embodying courageous spaces that center Indigenous women and girls to connect with ancestral knowingness, healing strengths, and lifeways for the well-being of all. (Suggested by Elizabeth A-P., Equality Research Team)
- Union of Concerned Scientists uses rigorous, independent science to solve our planet’s most pressing problems and develops practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future. (Suggested by Julie Mathison, Equality Team Writer)
- The Sidewalk School provides children of displaced communities access to quality education regardless of their political status. (Suggested by Amy L., Immigration Research Team)
- Donors Choose creating a nation where students in every community have the tools and experiences they need for a great education. Support a classroom or project. (Suggested by Rebecca M., Equality Research Team)
- Buffalo String Works provides rigorous music instruction and a creative home for refugee, immigrant, and historically marginalized youth to ignite personal and community leadership. (Suggested by Rebecca M., Equality Research Team)
Voting and Democracy
- Spread the Vote collaborates with businesses, corporations, and nonprofits to get the documents required for clients to obtain valid state IDs. (Suggested by Jen Hofmann, AoCC Executive Director)
Donate to support their bill to implement a national ID program: https://www.idforid.org/
- League of Women Voters works for election protection, democratic reforms, and equal access to the ballot—all while maintaining a commitment to non-partisanship and fostering an informed electorate. (Suggested by Denise C., Voting Research Team)
- Ballotpedia is the digital encyclopedia of American politics, and the nation’s resource for neutral and unbiased information on elections, politics, and policy. (Suggested by Denise C., Voting Research Team)
- The Brennan Center for Justice works to build an America that is democratic, just, and free—for all. (Suggested by Janet Z., Voting Research Team)
A report on the actions YOU took this year
Together, AoCC subscribers and volunteer team accomplished a lot in 2022! (Huge thanks to Marissa B. for compiling this report!)
- More ways to get involved! This year, the Americans of Conscience Checklist included 13% more actions than in 2021, a total of 266.
- More people did each action! An average of 99 people reported completing each action, an increase of 4.21% over 2021.
- Doing more actions! This year, we saw the total completed actions increase by 9.68%, to a total of 25,642 actions!
The Second-Half Slide slid less! While reported actions are higher from January to June, actions tend to drop off July to December. This year, total actions taken dropped off less; in fact, you took 52.30% more total actions compared to last year!
Join the 0 Americans of Conscience who have completed this action by checking the tally box!
Support us in 2023: The Americans of Conscience Checklist provides tools that encourage engagement and strengthen American democracy and social justice. We’re only $400 shy of meeting our monthly operating budget on Patreon. Help us succeed in 2023: https://americansofconscience.com/support/.
This is a list of the AoCC team’s favorite good news in 2022. Did we miss one you’re happy about or celebrating? Add it in the comments below!
- Karine Jean-Pierre became the first Black woman and the first openly LGBTQ+ person to serve as White House press secretary.
- Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson is the first Black woman to serve on the SCOTUS in U.S. history.
- Congress passed and the president signed the Emmett Till Antilynching Act into law, making lynching a federal hate crime for the first time in American history.
- Dr. Patricia Nez Henderson (Navajo Nation) was elected to serve as president of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, becoming the first Navajo American president of the public health research society.
- Charlotte Sweeney became a U.S. district judge for the District of Colorado—making her the first openly lesbian judge west of the Mississippi to serve on a federal court.
- Mary Peltola became the first Alaska Native to represent the state in the U.S. House of Representatives.
- Milwaukee elected its first Black mayor, Cavalier Johnson.
- Niecy Nash and Jessica Betts were featured on the cover of Essence, becoming the first queer couple to appear together on the magazine’s cover.
- The ten tribes of the Intertribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council regained control of Tc’ih-Léh-Dûñ (Fish Run Place), part of North America’s ancient redwood forests.
- The Snoqualmie Tribe regained 12,000 acres of their ancestral forest land.
- Amber Ortega (Tohono O’odham) was found not guilty after being charged for protesting border barrier construction near the sacred Quitobaquito Springs.
- Indigenous students across the U.S. may now attend certain colleges tuition-free.
- Native students who are members of federally recognized tribes and residents of California may now attend the University of California tuition-free.
- The reauthorized Violence Against Women Act includes strong tribal provisions advocated for by Indigenous rights organizations, including the restoration of tribal jurisdiction over non-Indians for certain crimes.
Social justice (race, religion, class, gender)
- Via executive order, President Biden formally made sexual harassment in the U.S. military a crime.
- President Biden pardoned everyone with federal convictions for marijuana possession, urged governors to follow suit on state possession charges, and called on his administration to review how the drug is classified under federal law.
- President Biden issued 78 pardons and sentence commutations for nonviolent offenses and proposed an administration strategy to help formerly incarcerated people secure employment.
- Chief Mutáwi Mutáhash (Many Hearts) Marilynn “Lynn” Malerba (Mohegan Tribe) was appointed Treasurer of the United States.
- DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel affirmed Congress’s power to remove the seven-year timeline for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, clearing the path toward the ERA’s inclusion in the Constitution.
- The USDA addressed historical discrimination in farming via a program that will make available $2.2 billion to farmers who have faced discrimination from the agency in the past.
- The Violence Against Women Act was reauthorized as part of the omnibus spending bill.
- The House passed and the president signed legislation to make lynching a hate crime.
- Congress passed and the president signed the Inflation Reduction Act which:
- Includes the largest climate investment in U.S. history.
- Enables Medicare to negotiate the prices of certain prescription drugs.
- Extends expiring healthcare subsidies for three years.
- Includes a 15% minimum tax on large corporations and a tax on stock buybacks, revenue from which will be used to lower the national budget deficit.
- Congress passed and the president signed the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act.
- The Senate passed legislation to make Amache, a former Japanese internment camp, part of the National Park System to ensure future generations can prevent repeating history.
- NJ now requires Asian American history to be taught in public schools.
- MN: The former Minneapolis police officers responsible for the death of George Floyd were found guilty of violating Floyd’s civil rights.
- Students, alumni, parents, and educators in PA’s Central York School District successfully reversed their school board’s freeze on various books and resources on people of color and racism.
- After years of consumer advocacy, Citi banks eliminated overdraft fees that unfairly punish society’s most vulnerable.
- HBCU Paul Quinn University will now accept up to two family members of accepted students who meet certain requirements.
- Yale Law School will provide full-tuition scholarships for 45 to 50 students in its J.D. program whose family income falls below the federal poverty line for three years.
- Denver expanded a successful pilot program that dispatches mental health teams, instead of police officers, to certain 911 emergency calls.
- A study published in JAMA Surgery found that trans people who undergo at at least one gender-affirming surgery have significantly lower odds of psychological distress.
- Black Lives Matter Global Network and cultural architecture firm Trap Heals held their UPLIFT art and concert series in celebration of Black Futures Month.
- The latest edition of Scrabble’s official dictionary does not include 200 slurs and other offensive words.
- U.N. passed a resolution condemning any denial of the Holocaust and urged all nations and social media companies “to take active measures to combat antisemitism and Holocaust denial or distortion.”
- The White House announced new commitments to support safe pregnancies, childbirth, and postpartum care as part of the first-ever Maternal Health Day of Action.
- Attorney General Merrick Garland asserted that states cannot ban mifepristone, an FDA-approved medication used to end pregnancy before 10 weeks of gestation.
- States rallied to protect abortion access by protecting abortion providers and clients from legal action in CA, CT, MA, MN, NY, CO, DE, ME, NC, NV, RI, and WA.
- States blocked bans and restrictions on abortion in FL, LA, UT, and MN.
- Illinois ensured minors can make decisions about their bodies without parental consent.
- Planned Parenthood opened their first mobile abortion clinic to expand access to care in places where patients can’t exercise their reproductive autonomy.
- Free The Pill celebrated the first-ever application submitted to the FDA for an over-the-counter (OTC) birth control pill.
- A record number of LGBTQ candidates won their elections in November’s midterms.
- Passport applicants can now select the gender neutral “X” marker on their forms.
- NYU Nursing School now offers a new course that focuses on “affirming and inclusive” LGBTQ+ health to provide better care for LGBTQ+ people.
- The U.S. Air Force now offers medical and legal help to members’ families affected by state laws discriminating against and endangering LGBTQ+ children.
- Disney paused political contributions in FL after the state passes a discriminatory anti-LGBTQ+ education bill.
- Ukrainians in the U.S. were invited to apply for temporary protected status (TPS), shielding them from deportation and allowing them to obtain work permits.
- Approximately 75,000 people from Afghanistan residing in the U.S. were granted temporary protected status.
- A new DHS regulation ensured that aspiring Americans can access healthcare, food assistance, and other federal programs without affecting their immigration applications.
- The Biden administration dedicated $1 billion to clean and restore sites around the Great Lakes, a major source of drinking water.
- The EPA created a national office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights, focusing billions of dollars on helping BIPOC communities fight pollution and the climate crisis.
- The U.S. Army released its first-ever strategy to address climate change including slashing its emissions in half by 2030.
- The Dept. of the Interior is expanding wind energy projects.
- The EPA reinstated the Clean Air Act waiver that allows states to enforce vehicle tailpipe standards that are stronger than federal standards.
- A federal court invalidated a gulf oil and gas lease due to the projected negative climate impact.
- Farming conglomerate Monsanto pleaded guilty to pesticide-related crimes and must pay $12 million in fines.
- A European court ordered countries to respond to a lawsuit from young climate activists, upholding the progress of a landmark climate case that could hold governments accountable for unhelpful or dangerous environmental policies.
- The federal government erased $415 million in debt for nearly 16,000 students defrauded by for-profit colleges.
- Through a variety of channels, nearly $13 billion in student debt was forgiven by January 2022.
- Orange County Schools Board of Education voted to keep three books regarding racism, segregation, and gender identity on school library shelves indefinitely, citing the books’ literary and social value to students.
- Congress passed and the president signed new gun safety legislation that keeps firearms from abusers and expands background checks for young people.
- The families of five adults and four children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 received a $73 million settlement from gun manufacturer Remington Arms.
- The USDA issued new rules and funding to support independent meat processors and ranchers and curb exploitative tactics by large meat and poultry companies.
- St. Vincent Hospital Nurses’ union secured a contract providing significant improvements in staffing, patient care, wages, and benefits.
- Workers from Trader Joe’s, Apple, Starbucks, and Amazon take steps to unionize.
- Target raised workers’ minimum wage to as much as $24 per hour.
- All 50 U.S. states redistricted before midterms using 2020 census data; in some states, non-partisan or bi-partisan committees redrew the maps.
- 2022 had one of the better turnouts in midterm history, with 48.6% of eligible voters casting a ballot.
- Federal employees got time off to vote and volunteer as poll workers.
- In 21 states, people convicted of felonies now automatically regain their right to vote upon their release from incarceration.
- KS: Court struck down portions of a new state law criminalizing the distribution of advance mail ballot applications.
- NV lawmakers approved an additional $2.2 million to improve the state’s switch to primarily mail-in ballots.
- UT’s voting system retains default mail-in voting despite legislative attempts to return to default in-person polls and make voting less accessible.
- Shelby County (TN) criminal court ordered a new trial for Pamela Moses, who was sentenced to six years in prison for unknowingly trying to register to vote while ineligible.
- The Philadelphia School Board approved a resolution ensuring that all students have access to civic engagement and voter registration education.
- In the midterms, voters nationwide did not elect candidates who questioned the security of the 2020 election; this was particularly true of Secretary of State races where those elected have authority over election proceedings.
- DOJ and 35 states filed a suit against Apple for violating antitrust laws.
- Treasury Dept. enacted transparency rules for shell companies in order to limit illegal and corrupt actions.
- Attorneys Bob Bauer and Ben Ginsberg created the Election Official Legal Defense Network, which provides pro bono legal advice to election officials facing threats.
- After midterms, the percentage of women serving in state legislatures went up to 31.9%, 2% higher than 2021.
- 19,000 new citizens participated in more than 235 naturalization ceremonies across the nation during September.
News with heart
- Lucas the penguin received custom orthopedic shoes to treat a condition called bumblefoot.
- The NBA held no games on election day, and teams used their games the day before to share election and voting information.
- Madison County, MS Library System received $110,000 in donations after facing a loss of city funding.
- The Smithsonian Museum launched “North Star,” a new webpage where students grades 6-12 and educators can explore African American history using the museum’s collection.
- Eighth grader Joslyn Diffenbaugh created a book club for local teens to read and discuss books about race, gender, and sexuality in the face of increasing censorship.
- Dana Boone, an Orlando third grader, created a Periodic Table of Black History for Black History Month.
- Kyle Hedquist participated in his first election after 28 years in prison, a result of reforms implemented in recent years to restore the rights of over a million voters.
- Medical student and aspiring pediatric neurosurgeon Chidiebere Ibe created anatomical illustrations featuring Black bodies.
- After he noticed grassland ecosystems in north Alabama dwindling, Kyle Lybarger’s effort to collect seeds has grown into a full-time endeavor.
- When their flight to Tennessee got canceled, 13 strangers rented a van together and drove more than 10 hours from Florida.
- Residential households in the U.S. can once again order one set of four free at-home COVID-19 tests. Get yours here.
Permission to rest
Sam W., the AoCC Good News and Gratitudes Writer, said recently, “Caring people tend to worry that they’re not doing enough to help, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a break is a bad idea.The holidays are a time for resting and fun things before the slog of the rest of the winter (and also maybe a difficult Congress depending on what happens with the House). I can’t speak for our subscribers, but my overwhelming feeling directly following an election is that I need and want a break from politics.”
Taking a break is healthy. We’re sharing some of our team’s end-of-year plans in hopes it inspires you to rest up too:
- In December, I’m channeling my inner European by unapologetically carving out two whole weeks for rest. I’m looking forward to doing crafts, working on my memoir, and snuggling up with a book and a mug of cocoa. I hope to succeed at staying off social media too! – Jen Hofmann
- Hopefully reading more books and being on my phone less! – Bethany M.
- Reading, physical therapy, and exercise (shoulder, hip, knee), find a good series on Netflix and/or PBS to binge, more sleep. – Julie D.
- Meditate daily—as a “rest” from my mind, rather than another item on my to do list! More reading for pleasure. And taking time to really tune into my almost-grown-up kids before they head off into the world. – Julie M.
- I’ll be taking time off from work while my sister’s family is in town. To me, the holiday season feels like a regular old day-to-day with added chaos and expenses, so having intentional time away from my computer and with loved ones I don’t often see will help me experience the season as truly special, and not just a reason to stress out more than usual. – Julia F.
- I will allow my own preferences to guide my holiday activities, rather than being pulled in various directions by others’ invitations. – Denise C.
- Enjoying whatever the holiday has to offer this year, playing Skyrim, and exercising every day and getting outside to keep the endorphins going. – Dianna L.
- I am organizing drawers and closets, and donating, recycling, and throwing away things that are cluttering up my house. When I get rid of clutter, it frees up my mental space. – Janet Z.
- I’m enjoying family activities now that my son is home from college for the holiday break, and I’m glad the four of us (me, husband, our two children) are together. – Wendy C.
- No social media or work email Dec. 23-26 and Dec. 31-Jan.1. See friends I haven’t seen in a while; spend time doing something creative and walking each day. – Amy L.
- Celebrating the holidays (and several birthdays!) with as many people I care about as possible. This means multiple gatherings with various branches of family and friends, all of which include food, gift exchanges, themed activities, and frivolity. I’ll also make sure to catch a couple light displays, both formal (at the zoo!) and informal (in the neighborhood!). – Sam W.
What will you do to restore the end of this year? Feel free to share below!
- Jen’s message: Read this week’s Inspiring Message with messages of hope for 2023.
- Gratitude: Publishing and sharing over 20 editions of the Checklist this year would not be possible without the amazing team behind it. A huge thank you goes out to everyone who makes it so awesome and meaningful to work in community. A special thanks to all who suggested ideas and research this week. Thanks also to our amazing patrons and donors whose sustained support helps us persevere.
- Sign up: Get the Americans of Conscience Checklist here.
- Share: Follow us and share the Checklist on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
- Schedule: There’s a new Americans of Conscience Checklist every first and third Friday of each month.
My continued thanks for your work, your checklists, suggested actions, items of gratitude, and good news. I think all of us subscribers probably take even more actions than you’re able to count, than get “clicked” on the checklist. You help keep me hopeful.
Hi Jen. MoveOn is encouraging us to tell our reps to speak out upon swearing in of electeds, requiring we abide by the Constitution and NOT allow those who committed sedition on Jan 6 to serve in such roles. I hope AoC does, too!
Thanks for ALL you do.