176 weeks down, 47 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.
Support the dignity of your rainbow of neighbors from every religion, race, ethnicity, culture, gender, sexual orientation, economic status, age, and ability.
▢ Action: Raise your lamp high.
Our team nominated this list of organizations doing good work in American democracy. Help us spread light this season.
▢ Action: Support your neighbors’ health. [h/t Human Rights Campaign]
Post on every social media account you have:
Enrollment for 2020 health insurance is open until December 15. Note: 1. The cost may be lower than you expect. 2. The ACA prohibits discrimination against LGBTQ people. 3. Healthcare.gov provides complete plan information. To get no-cost help signing up, call 1-800-318-2596 or visit localhelp.healthcare.gov.
▢ Action: Advocate with people impacted by mass incarceration. [h/t ACLU]
Call: Your two senators and one House rep (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m calling from [ZIP] because I’m concerned that our legal system imprisons so many people of color for minor drug offenses. The MORE Act, just passed by the House Judiciary Committee, would help address the situation by decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level and requiring courts to expunge some of these convictions. Can I count on [NAME] to support this legislation (H.R.3884/S.2227)?
▢ Action: Oppose white supremacy. [h/t Hatewatch]
Write: The President, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington D.C, 20500.
Script: Dear Mr. President, I’m writing to demand that Stephen Miller be removed as your senior advisor. A collection of emails by Mr. Miller revealed his active support for white nationalist ideas, prompting justice advocates to call for his firing. I join them in insisting that hateful ideas risk fueling hateful acts and have no place in our government. [Share your personal concerns and values about equality.] Thank you.
▢ Action: Advocate for permanent residency opportunities with families across America . [h/t National TPS Alliance]
Call: Your two senators (look up).
Script: Hello, I’m calling from [ZIP] to express my support for the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program in America. It is our constitutional responsibility to provide refuge to those seeking sanctuary in our country, yet people with TPS status who have lived, worked, and paid taxes in the U.S. for years experience perpetual uncertainty as their protected status is repeatedly threatened. I’m asking [NAME] to pick up where the House left off and promote legislation to save the TPS program and create permanent protections for current TPS holders.
▢ Action: Support migrants of African descent seeking protection in the U.S. [h/t BAJI]
The Mexican government is holding migrants against their will as they attempt to seek asylum in America. These individuals and families have been forced to flee violence and unrest in their home countries, and instead of providing them the security and relief that they are legally entitled to, the current administration has actively abandoned them, as have many European governments
Donate: To the Black Alliance for Justice Immigration (BAJI) DonorBox campaign, which will directly fund meals and drinks, hygiene products, tents, translators, and affordable and accessible legal services to Black migrants being forcibly held in Mexico.
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, securely, and fairly elect those who represent their values.
▢ Action: Restore the Voting Rights Act this week: [h/t League of Women Voters]
Call: Your one House rep (look up).
Script: Hi, I’m a constituent from [ZIP], and I want all citizens to be able to exercise their right to vote. The Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2019 would curb the sharp increase in discriminatory voter suppression laws by restoring key provisions of the Voting Rights Act (which has always had strong bipartisan support). Can I count on [NAME] to vote YES on H.R. 4 when it comes to the House floor this week? Thank you.
▢ Action: Advocate for secure voting machines.
If you live in IN, KS, KY, LA, MO, NJ, TN, or TX: Call your state’s election official (look up) and two state legislators (look up).
Script: Hi, I’m a resident of [ZIP], asking you to replace the dangerously vulnerable electronic voting machines in [STATE] before the 2020 presidential primary election. New machines must meet modern security standards, which include allowing voters to hand-mark their ballots (with accommodations for disabled people) and verify that their vote is counted. Thank you.
Acts of Gratitude
Get out your stamps, postcards, and sparkle markers for some gratitude mail.
Thank Sacha Baron Cohen, comedian and 2019 Anti-Defamation League International Leadership Award winner, for challenging the proliferation of hate speech and misinformation in social media. [Share why you appreciate drawing a distinction between reasoned opinion and falsehoods intended to discriminate and harm.]
Address: C/O Sunshine, Sachs & Associates LLC, 720 Cole Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038-3606
Thank Laura Landerman-Garber for organizing a holiday card drive that sent more than 160,000 personalized greetings to military service members. [Share why you appreciate creating connection and compassion between civilians and deployed military service members.]
Address: 400 Amherst Street, Suite 407, Nashua NH, 03063
Decent people everywhere are speaking up and working together. Just look. #GoodNews
- Congress passes and the president signs the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which requires the U.S. to impose sanctions against Chinese and Hong Kong officials responsible for human rights abuses.
- Federal court enjoins the federal government from applying the asylum ban aspiring Americans metered at ports of entry under “Remain in Mexico” before July 16.
- CBP abandons its plans to require facial recognition scans for Americans traveling abroad due to public opposition.
- A federal appeals court temporarily halts the first federal execution in 17 years.
- Federal court issues a temporary restraining order stating a specific family cannot be sent back to Mexico under the “Remain in Mexico” policy without a lawyer present for their non-refoulement interview.
From the Department of Democracy-Is-Still-Working
- More than 100 representatives and over 20 senators demand Stephen Miller’s resignation from the White House following revelations of his blatant racist views.
- Jury finds Roger Stone guilty on seven felony counts for lying to Congress and obstructing a congressional investigation.
- Federal court of appeals rules that Deutsche Bank must comply with Congress’s subpoenas for the president’s financial records.
- Federal court rules that former White House counsel Don McGahn must testify in front of the House as part of its presidential impeachment inquiry into potential illegal activity.
- ID: Clara Campbell, Harriet Noble, and Mary Wright, the state’s first female legislators, have their commemorative plaque moved to the Capitol rotunda thanks to 11-year-old Anna Wiese.
- MI court rules in favor of Osceola township in case that could block Nestlé’s effort to privatize water.
- PA discontinues the practice of holding individuals sentenced to death in permanent solitary confinement.
- RI: Sites throughout the state offer donated winter coats for free to those in need on the annual Buy Nothing Day.
- VA: Gov. Ralph Northam says that Virginia will welcome more people seeking refuge, pointedly declining the president’s offer to let states and localities veto resettlements.
- People charged with non-violent misdemeanors in New York City can take art classes instead of appearing in court.
- Coachella, CA temporarily prohibits the siting of private prisons and ICE detention facilities with the aim of eventually banning them permanently.
- 88 cities across the U.S. receive perfect scores on the Municipal Equality Index for their LGBTQ-inclusive policies.
- Palatine, IL school district votes to allow students access to the restrooms and locker rooms that best align with their gender identity.
- Pittsboro, NC removes a Confederate monument from outside a courthouse.
- Rosa Parks receives a statue in her honor in Montgomery, AL commemorating her refusal to give up her bus seat and her work in the civil rights movement.
- Google bars political advertisers from targeting voters based on their political affiliation and tightens their ban on “demonstrably false claims” in ads.
- Carnegie Mellon students demand the university bar Palantir from campus over the company’s complicity in the inhumane treatment of aspiring Americans.
Groups and organizations
- Organizations working to resettle people seeking refuge sue the president, seeking to block a rule requiring state and local government approval of resettlement.
- U.S. and U.K. students rally against Palantir in a #NoTechForICE student day of action.
- Giving Machines, vending machines sponsored by the Mormon Church, allow people across the globe to donate food, medicine, hygiene items, and toys to those in need.
- Esther Dufflo receives the Nobel Prize for Economics, becoming the second woman to win the prize in that category and the youngest economics laureate ever.
- Metropolitan Inter Faith Organization receives a $5 million grant to enhance its services for families experiencing homelessness in Memphis.
- Hera Jay Brown is named a Rhodes scholar, becoming the first transgender woman selected for the program; the class of 2020 also includes two non-binary recipients.
- Dr. Christine Blasey Ford receives the Richard Baldwin Courage Award from the ACLU for testifying at last year’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings.
- The Brazilian Bar Association for Human Rights and the Arns Commission formally denounce President Jair Bolsonaro for crimes against humanity and incitement to genocide of the Amazon indigenous peoples.
- Michigan’s Indigenous Law and Policy Center receives the national Shanara Gilbert Human Rights Award for promoting social justice.
- More than 300 law scholars, students, librarians, and attorneys demand that companies Thomas Reuters and RELX stop selling tech to ICE.
- Sesame Workshop and the International Rescue Committee will launch their new Arabic language program designed to help children seeking refuge cope with the trauma of displacement.
- Never Again Action and over 80 other organizations demand Citizens Bank stop financing immigration detention centers.
- The National Bail Fund Network and RAICES post over $2 million in bond to free almost 200 aspiring Americans from immigration detention in a single day.
News with heart
- Four mothers who were detained with their children for two years at Berks family prison share their stories in the Michelle Angela Ortiz-directed documentary Las Madres de Berks.
- Fans toss over 45,000 teddy bears—all to be donated to children’s charities—onto the ice at a Hershey Bears hockey game.
- A new version of the wildly popular tune “Baby Shark” will be recorded in Navajo.
- Alfred Chestnut, Andrew Stewart, and Ransom Watkins are exonerated after serving 36 years for murder.
- Matthew Shepard receives an honorary plaque at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., 21 years after the hate crime that took his life.
- An asylum officer resigns for moral reasons, citing the administration’s deliberate cruelty to aspiring Americans in a detailed letter.
- Hospital surprises Mister Rogers’s wife Joanne on her World Kindness Day visit by dressing babies in tiny cardigans and ties.
- A Rowans Hospice patient and his family watch an early screening of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker thanks to Star Wars fans’ efforts in reaching out to Disney.
- Jonathan Van Ness features on the cover of Cosmopolitan, becoming the magazine’s first non-female cover star in 35 years.
- Mother and son Sharon Yellowfly and Corey Gray translate astrophysics into Blackfoot.
- Dutch knitting group creates over 400 mittens for koalas that have been injured during recent Australian bushfires.
- Humanitarian Scott Warren is acquitted of harboring charges after providing travelers from Central America with food, water, and a place to sleep last year.
- Aspiring American Zaid Renato Consuegra Sauza and his vegan restaurant are profiled in Bon Appétit magazine.
- Filmmakers Peter and Bobby Farrelly receive the Morton E. Ruderman Award in Inclusion for their efforts to include and accurately depict people with disabilities in film.
- See more good news at Women in the World, Small Victories, Good Black News, and What Went Right.
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As a subscriber to your checklist, I offer this organization that is working to assist migrants.
As a subscriber to AoC Checklist, I would like to propose this organization as one that is providing much help and assistance for migrants on the border.
The mission of Samaritans is to save lives and relieve human suffering in the Southern Arizona desert. The conditions at our border have changed since our founding in 2005 and yet we are still focused on this same mission.
I’d love to be in touch with you in the new year to learn more about your organization. Thank you for the important humanitarian work you do. – Jen Hofmann