I knew our subscribers (you!) were amazing, but even this surprised me.
First a little backstory: In January, I decided to champion one specific nonprofit organization in 2019. I chose Spread the Vote because I believe in their goal to provide ID to people who literally cannot afford one and cannot vote without it (an injustice of constitutional proportions). On average, Spread the Vote has found it costs $40 to obtain an ID and the legal documents required to prove one’s identity.
So, taking a leap of faith, I hoped we could raise enough in one year to cover 300 IDs—that’s $13,000. A lot of money. Every month since, we have requested you make donations to their site. We also featured them as our number one action in the June Voter Empowerment Project.
Well, I am excited to share with you the very words from Spread The Vote’s director, Kat Calvin. “OMG AMAZING NEWS YOU HAVE RAISED $13,757.50 SINCE FEBRUARY!!! I’m totally floored. You’re amazing.”
Yes, in just seven months, we have passed our 12-month goal! In the process, we have lifted up incredible people doing hard-but-important work and helped 344 people vote (so far) and to participate meaningfully in their communities. So, pause a moment to notice—whether you donated a little or a lot or shared the AoC Checklist with your friends—you made that happen. Together, we did this. I am so, so proud of us.
Why we’re no longer calling them detention centers.
After covering immigration for over two years, it brings so much encouragement to see it getting headline coverage lately and a national peaceful protest. Rest assured that, like always, this week’s AoC Checkist includes several actions to advocate for decency, welcome, and justice on behalf of our newest, most vulnerable neighbors.
You will also notice that we are officially calling these facilities concentration camps, and it’s important to share why. As you may know, our publication strives to use non-inflammatory, non-polarizing language and instead advocate for commonly-held values like justice, democracy, respect, community, and equality. However, it is also our goal to amplify underrepresented communities without whitewashing their words. A number of immigration-rights groups, including United We Dream, are calling ICE facilities by this term.
Based on this and on reports of unsanitary and unsafe conditions and indefinite detention (among other egregious offenses), we are honoring this community by amplifying their precise words. We understand if this is uncomfortable, and we invite you to read the many quality sources linked in those actions to become more informed about why this terminology is relevant and accurate. Then join us (and millions of others) in speaking up to change the administration’s agenda.
A reminder of why we’re here
In creating the Americans of Conscience Checklist, our purpose is to provide concerned people with clear ways to create change. Anyone tired of partisanship and polarizing rhetoric will find an oasis here. Our team of researchers vets calls to action from over 100 groups. In turn, our publication provides simple, clear actions to speak up for immigration rights, voting rights, and equal rights.
We believe in kindness and being a good neighbor. So even as we advocate for changing entrenched, oppressive systems, we practice gratitude. We write to thank brave people who use their power to liberate. We also pause to count and celebrate the big and small things people do to make positive change. Celebration is an antidote to relentless breaking news. Through all of this, we strive to bring hope.
If you’re new here, welcome. If you’ve been here since the beginning or somewhere in between, welcome. We are united in our belief that our nation can be an accepting, welcoming, and truthful community. So, let us (re)commit today to creating a more perfect union—one call, one letter, one celebration at a time.
P.S. Ready to speak up? Open this week’s Americans of Conscience Checklist.