214 weeks down, 4 weeks to Inauguration Day
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.
Top 3 actions this week:
If you only have five minutes to take action, do this week’s three priority actions.
- Action 1: Protect established sacred land from corporate abuse.
- Action 4: Prevent COVID-19 spread in prisons by reducing bail. (Corrected from Checklist on 12-6-20)
- Action 6: Give aspiring Americans enough time to find a lawyer.
Action 1: Protect established sacred land from corporate abuse. [Source: Alliance for Global Justice]
Write or call: Your two senators and one House representative (look up).
Script: Hello, I’m [WRITING/CALLING] from [ZIP] to condemn the fast-tracked exchange of sacred Apache land for copper mining. Along with local Indigenous communities and environmentalists, I am denouncing this action between the U.S. government and Resolution Mining. I would like [NAME] to immediately cosponsor the Save Oak Flat Act (S. 173/H.R. 665) to repeal the land swap.
Email: Your governor (look up).
Script: Infectious disease is spreading quickly in prisons, and I’m concerned for every person living and working in these facilities. I’m asking that you exercise your powers to mitigate harm to people by:
- Commuting sentences and granting clemency to release vulnerable people from incarceration, including those at high risk.
- Releasing nonviolent people and those with under two years remaining on their sentences.
- Implementing testing of the entire prison population, including correctional officers, staff nurses, and chaplains.
Action 3: Reduce COVID-19 spread in prisons.
Contact: Your state corrections department (look up).
Script: Infectious disease is spreading quickly in prisons, and I’m concerned for every person living and working in these facilities. With COVID-19 deaths on the rise in prisons, I’m asking that parole not be revoked for technical violations while we remain in a pandemic.
Action 4: Prevent COVID-19 spread in prisons by reducing bail.
Note: This action is corrected from the December 6 checklist. The correct contact is below. Two clicks can save lives.
Contact: Your district attorney (look up).
Script: Infectious disease is spreading quickly in prisons, and I’m concerned for every person living and working in these facilities. I’m asking that you reduce bail to $0 for all low-level, nonviolent offenses to reduce the number of new people entering the system during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Write: Your two senators and one House rep (look up).
Script: Hello, I’m writing because while schools and childcare centers remain closed, people are being forced to choose between curbing the spread of the virus and staying employed. To protect public health and keep the economy afloat, I am counting on [NAME] to advocate for working families, [FOR SENATORS: co-sponsor S. 4112,] and immediately pass a comprehensive COVID-relief bill which includes provisions for child care and emergency paid leave. Thank you.
Bonus: Send a letter to your local newspaper editor calling on your elected leaders to protect families and small businesses struggling during the pandemic.
Action 6: Give aspiring Americans enough time to find a lawyer. [Source: AILA]
Submit a written comment in your own words by December 28, 2020: Via the blue Comment button on Regulations.gov. The agency is only required to review unique comments, so use the following to personalize your comment by sharing your experience, expertise, and/or perspective on the impact that this rule will have if it is finalized. Please do not share any confidential information of those who are in immigration proceedings.
- Immigration judges could deny aspiring Americans who are in removal proceedings enough time to find an attorney and to prepare their cases if the Department of Justice (DOJ) Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) new regulation goes into effect.
- Before their merits hearing goes forward, people in removal proceedings often need extra time to request a “continuance” for critical matters like finding an attorney, gathering necessary supporting evidence, and preparing their case.
- With only about 14% of people in detention represented by counsel, and many detention centers located far from major cities, it can be hugely challenging for a detained person to obtain counsel.
- With counsel, a detained aspiring American is 10% more likely to prevail in his or her merits case.
- Under the proposed rule, immigration judges would not be required to grant even a single continuance to obtain a lawyer, so long as 30 days had passed since the Notice to Appear was served.
- If implemented, this regulation will seriously impede aspiring Americans who are in removal proceedings from getting continuances—including continuances to find a lawyer or adequately prepare their cases.
- It would fall especially harshly on people in detention, who already face huge obstacles in finding attorneys and preparing their cases.
Action 7: Call again for the release of people from ICE detention during the pandemic. [Source: Detention Watch]
Email: Your state governor (look up).
Script: Hello, I’m writing (again) from [ZIP] about the danger of a pandemic in taxpayer-funded ICE detention centers. Confirmed COVID cases there are rising and people are dying. I am confident you share my concern for the welfare of all people, including those ICE detainees. I urge you to save lives by using your emergency powers to evacuate all detention centers in [STATE] immediately. Thank you.
Decent people everywhere are speaking up and working together. Just look. #GoodNews
- Rep. Deb Haaland of New Mexico is nominated as Interior Secretary by the incoming administration, a historic first for a Native American.
- Voters in Oregon, Alaska, Missouri, and Baltimore County, MD, pass campaign finance reform ballot initiatives.
- Starbucks names Mellody Hobson as the head of its Board of Directors, the only black woman to lead a Fortune 500 company’s board.
- The United States Olympic Committee pledges not to sanction athletes who choose to kneel or raise a fist for racial justice while on the medal stand.
- Cleveland’s Major League Baseball team plans to drop its racist name.
- The District of Columbia Council approves a permanent version of the Sanctuary Values Act, restricting cooperation between local agencies and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
- At a Dairy Queen in Minnesota, one man paid for the car behind him, starting a chain reaction of 900 people doing likewise for over two and a half days.
- At a Walmart in Mississippi, an anonymous donor paid off all the layaway items.
- In Georgia, where almost 1.2 million people have requested absentee ballots for the Senate runoff, more than 200,000 voters have already turned in those ballots.
- Gov. Cuomo (NY) signed the Protect Our Courts Act into law. “ICE can no longer arrest people going to or leaving from state, city, and municipal courthouses without judicial warrants.” It “provides immigrants the peace of mind knowing they can access our justice system without fear of deportation.”
- Rep. Paul Mitchell of Michigan publicly disassociates from the Republican Party and will support candidates/campaigns that align with his values, not his party.
- Major League Baseball will incorporate the 1920-48 Negro League statistics into its official record.
- See more good news at Women in the World, Small Victories, Good Black News, and What Went Right.
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