You’re right. It is concerning.
Lately, I’ve received an uptick in emails with the subject line: URGENT! I understand the sentiment. Yet it would seem that while Americans of Conscience Checklist focuses exclusively on restoring voting rights, some think we’re ignoring what’s happening in cities.
Allow me to address this and share some hope.
To be clear, forcing people into unmarked vehicles by a paramilitary force is deeply concerning. Detaining citizens while exercising 1st Amendment freedoms is wrong. At the same time, much of the outcry comes from white people unaccustomed this level of force. Black bodies experience this injustice every day. Similarly, what DHS is doing to protesters is the same thing it’s been doing to asylum-seeking families for nearly four years. Intimidation is wrong and excessive force is unjust.
What we see happening in our cities is a symptom.
This administration has communicated its values since day one. It values power, profit, and loyalty above all things. It does not respect women, Muslims, Jews, veterans, BIPOC, disabled people, the LGBTQ+ community, immigrants, asylum seekers, working poor, unemployed people, elderly folks, school children, or voters. In other words, this administration disregards all of us.
Yelling URGENT in my inbox is a sign that we don’t feel heard by those in power. This is not wrong. Everything this administration does is deeply troubling and unjust. Change is essential.
What we can do
Yelling over each other as things grow dire will not advance our cause.
Instead, we must pause and be disciplined. Let us acknowledge our shared struggle against strategic efforts to subjugate 99% of our nation. Even while we work in our various areas—asserting that Black lives matter, that the planet is in crisis, the rights of disabled people, or the concern over the upcoming school year—let us make a conscious choice to unite our hearts toward that common goal: respect for every resident of this nation and our common home.
To facilitate that change, one of the most potent tools we have available in our representative democracy is a ballot. When we use it, we get closer to the change we’re seeking.
While voting may be easy for you, dear reader, millions of Americans are forced into political silence because of an agenda to keep us from casting ballots. Among those strategies are closed polls, limiting voting by mail, purging voter rolls, and hobbling the US Postal Service to deliver ballots during a pandemic. So while we must vote, we must also ensure that every one of our neighbors can vote too.
A ballot is a sacred thing. So many Americans have died for the right to have one. If we lose our vote, American democracy ends, and the tyrannical actions we see today are just the beginning.
So we must act now with love to create the nation we have yet to become. While we each speak up for the specific issues most important to us, we must act together for the nation we know we can be.
This is why AoCC’s is focused on voting expansion this summer—to ensure that all people vote in November so we can create a more perfect union together.
Summer Voting Project
So far, our subscribers have taken 3,094 actions in our July Voting Project! This means we are more than halfway to our goal of 6,000 actions. To reach it, the #SummerVotingProject will continue through August 30th.
We’ve added new actions to this list (including several to benefit the USPS) from grassroots to the highest levels of government. Take time today to work through this list so that all Americans can cast a ballot this November and create the nation we know we can be.
Take action: Summer Voting Project: July-August AoC Checklist
And then rest
We have never lived through times like these. We are more depleted than we may realize. Every day brings confusion, anxiety, conflict, grief, anger, and uncertainty — all of it is HARD.
We can only persevere through this if we allow ourselves space and time to feel and be supported. Give your emotions breathing room. Give others that grace too. We must listen deeply to ourselves and each other to come through this stronger and more resilient.
To that end, the hardworking AoCC volunteer team is getting three weeks off this month. A few of us will be on very light duty (myself included). This break allows us to rest for the work leading up to November. If you could use some rest yourself, enjoy this message I wrote in February 2017…
Take good care of yourself and each other.
Jen Hofmann and the AoCC team
P.S. I’m reprising my four-part Art of Perseverance class in September. You can click here to be kept posted on dates and details.