128 weeks down, 77 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: Empower 196 future voters. [h/t Spread the Vote]
Spread the Vote and its Project ID initiative helps citizens obtain IDs for required voting. For 2019, we set an audacious goal to support 300 future voters. At $40 per ID, AoCC subscribers have already raised enough for 104 people to get IDs ($4,188)! You can help your neighbors vote in 2020.
Donate: To Spread the Vote here.
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 2: Advocate for equal protection from discrimination. [h/t ACLU]
There will be a full House vote this week on the Equality Act.
Call: Your one House rep, red or blue (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP], and I value civil rights for all. The Equality Act is up for a vote this week, and I am asking [NAME] to support it. All citizens should be protected from firing, eviction, and denial of public services. Can I count on [NAME] to vote yes on H.R. 5?
▢ Action 3: Advocate with your LGBTQ neighbors for housing protection. [h/t HRC]
Write: Or email your two senators and one House rep (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and I support housing access for all. Right now I/my LGBTQ neighbors are more likely than other people to be denied a mortgage or have rental inquiries ignored. The Fair & Equal Housing Act (H.R. 2402/S. 1246) protects against discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation, and I’m asking [NAME] to co-sponsor this bipartisan legislation.
▢ Action 4: Speak up for patient-centered health care. [h/t National Women’s Law Center, National Center for Transgender Equality, Transgender Law Center]
Call: Your two senators and one House rep (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m calling from [ZIP] to advocate for a health system that centers patients who need care. The administration’s so-called Conscience Rules undermine this principle by expanding permission for individuals and institutions to refuse services to people in need of care. A system based on provider preference rather than patients will cause harm to me/my family/many vulnerable people. I would like [NAME] to publicly oppose these rules and introduce legislation to overturn them.
Bonus: Call or write your two state legislators (look up).
Script: Hi, I’m a constituent in [ZIP] alarmed by the administration’s new so-called “Conscience Rules” that expand health care providers’ ability to refuse care. I’m asking [NAME] to introduce legislation to protect vulnerable communities and require providers in our state to disclose in advance the services they do and do not offer. Additionally, I’d like the state to educate us about how to navigate this new system and plan for our care. Thank you.
▢ Action 5: Support a humanitarian response at our southern border. [H/T RAICES]
Call: Your one House rep and two senators (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and calling as part of the Defund Hate campaign. I would like [NAME] to oppose the president’s supplemental funding request. Passing it would use $4.5 billion in taxpayer dollars to maximize harm to people arriving at the border by building and expanding deadly immigration jails. This is not a humanitarian response. [NAME] must publicly oppose and reject the president’s request. Thank you.
▢ Action 6: Support people’s right to a lawyer. [h/t RAICES]
In Texas, ICE’s Karnes Detention Center is preventing RAICES from meeting with individuals detained, denying them their right to legal aid.
Call: Deborah Achim, Deputy Field Office Director, 210-283-4723.
Script: Hi. I’m a taxpayer from [STATE] calling to ask you to restore legal access to people detained at Karnes. Thank you.
Acts of Gratitude
Get out your stamps, postcards, and sparkle markers for some gratitude mail.
Thank Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) for re-introducing the Exercise and Fitness for All Act to reduce barriers that disabled Americans face in accessing fitness facilities. [Share why equal access to physical and emotional wellness opportunities matters to you.]
TD: 230 South Dearborn Street, Suite 3900, Chicago, IL 60604
BC: 2000 Market Street, Suite 610, Philadelphia, PA 19103
RB: 90 State House Square 10th Floor, Hartford, CT, 06103
Thank Alex Cora, Boston Red Sox manager, and team members Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley, Jr., Rafael Devers, Christian Vazquez, and Hector Velazquez for their solidarity with Puerto Rico hurricane survivors by declining to participate in the team’s White House visit. [Share why you appreciate those who use fame to highlight injustice.]
Address: c/o Boston Red Sox, 4 Jersey Street, Boston, MA 02215-3496
Thank Eva Longoria for speaking out against the treatment of refugee families seeking to enter the U.S. [Share your appreciation for using fame to highlight injustice].
Address: Eva Longoria Foundation, 2708 Wilshire Blvd. #369, Santa Monica, CA 90403
Thank Pat Shanahan, Acting Secretary of Defense, for saying publicly that the military should move away from the border to focus on its primary missions. [Share why you appreciate his honesty.]
Address: 1000 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1000
Decent people everywhere are speaking up and working together. Just look. #GoodNews
- ACLU challenges the administration’s decision to halt bond hearings for asylum-seekers.
- Government Accountability Office report urges federal agencies to consult tribal leaders so that Native voices shape infrastructure that affects their health, culture, and sovereignty.
- Acting Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan questions border troop deployment.
- 10 transgender women seeking asylum win their immigration cases.
- Congress approves over-the-counter hearing aids, reducing cost and hassle for those who need them.
State and local
- AZ: Democratic congressional members ask Homeland Security to appoint crisis coordinator to assist migrant families.
- OH: Bipartisan panel unanimously rules as unconstitutional the state’s current congressional district map and orders that it must be redrawn before the 2020 elections.
- CA: Appeals court upholds a law prohibiting prosecution of children younger than 16 as adults.
- VA: Gov. Ralph Northam will no longer sign any legislation that imposes new mandatory minimum sentence requirements.
- Thirteen states are developing strategies to address prison reform.
- Albuquerque city council approves $250K in humanitarian aid for asylum seekers.
- NYC becomes the first major U.S. city to make phone calls free for people in custody.
- GEO Group, a for-profit private prison company, wrote to the SEC that its business model was in jeopardy due to protests and divestment.
- LEGO Group introduces bricks with studs that correspond to Braille letters and numbers to make learning Braille reading easier.
- Volkswagen launches an initiative with disability communities to ensure accessibility in the design and functionality of its autonomous vehicles.
- More than 200 leading companies join the Human Rights Campaign Business Coalition in support of the Equality Act.
- In response to feedback of exclusion, Sweetgreen and Amazon Go reverse their cashless purchasing policies.
Groups and organizations
- Slay the Dragon, a documentary, shows the effects of gerrymandering.
- National Lawyers Guild condemns secret U.S.-Mexican list of journalists and advocates documenting and providing humanitarian aid at the border.
- Black Latinas Know seeks to affirm the experiences of Black Latinas within Latino/a/x studies.
- Southern Borders Community Coalition compiles a list of partner organizations helping immigrant families across the southern border and in Mexico.
- Fortune Society supports returning citizens in preparing for the job search process.
News with heart
- Americans of Conscience subscribers (you!) have already donated $4,188 to Spread the Vote, putting us at 104 IDs toward our goal of 300 for 2019. StV sent us a love note on Twitter!
- Last week, AoCC subscribers donated 170 books to people in prison, and donated $620 to support the work of Prison Book Program. From Director Katie Vhay: “We’re so excited to see all these great books coming in and can’t wait to share them with readers in prison. Thank you so much for your support! It’s amazing to see small acts of kindness adding up to make a big difference in people’s lives!”
- A patriotic necktie travels from eBay vendor to a new citizen’s ceremony.
- AZ high school students walk out in protest of CBP’s detainment of a classmate.
- National Bail Out’s #FreeBlackMamas fundraiser to support bail for jailed black mothers raised more than $82,000 for Mother’s Day.
- At Transgéneros Unidas, Latinas find refuge and fellowship.
- Profits from Unilever’s The Right to Shower line are being donated to support mobile shower organizations.
- See more good news at Women in the World, Small Victories, Good Black News, and What Went Right.
Sharing is caring
Know someone who could use some good news and clear actions? Please share!
Tweet: Underneath the noise and negativity are kind people showing up for one another in difficult times. Read more and join us: https://americansofconscience.com/5-12-2019/
Post on Facebook: Underneath the noise and negativity are kind people showing up for one another in difficult times. Read more and join us: https://americansofconscience.com/5-12-2019/
Print: The Americans of Conscience Checklist flyer to share at in-person events.
- Sign up for the Americans of Conscience Checklist: Here.
- Open call for volunteers: Would you like to join our volunteer team? Today’s the last day to apply. Learn more here.
- Gratitude: It takes many hands, hearts, and minds to create this publication. Shout out to JEB and the Production Team, our Social Media volunteers, Research Sous Chefs, and Team Captains. Thanks also to the amazing angel patrons whose support makes it all possible.
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Jennifer and the AoC Team:
Another great job this week. Thank you very much!
Re: action item #6, I ended up mailing a letter only because in the past I haven’t had success reaching them by phone. Below is the address I used but refrained from including my return address:
“We strive to provide quality service to people in our custody, their family, friends, and to their official representatives. If you believe that we have not lived up to this commitment, we would like to know. If we have met or exceeded your expectations, please let us know that as well. To comment on the services provided at this office, please write to:
Field Office Director, Enforcement and Removal Operations
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
1777 NE Loop 410
San Antonio, Texas 78217”
But I added “ATTN: Deborah Achim, Deputy Field Office Director” and addressed my letter to Deborah.
Thanks for this, Jacob. Getting a full in-box is indeed frustrating.
As a rule, all actions in the AoC Checklist directly echo the original call to action from the source referenced in the hat tip. This is how we support the communities calling for the actions.