127 weeks down, 80 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.
Reminder: Next week (and every 4th Sunday), the AoCC team takes a break from research and activism for renewal of heart and spirit. We hope you will, too.
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: Support people being denied the right to due process. [h/t AILA]
Email: Your two senators and one House rep (look up). Email makes it easier to share the resource links.
Script: I am from [ZIP] and concerned about how we’re treating asylum seekers. The American Immigration Lawyers Association, the National Association of Immigration Judges, and Federal Bar Association all advocate for creating an immigration court that operates independently of the Department of Justice. I want [NAME] to support creating an independent Article One immigration court to give asylum seekers basic respect and a speedy hearing. Here is a link for more information: http://www.fedbar.org/Image-Library/Government-Relations/CH16/Proposed-Article-I-Immigration-Court.aspx. Thank you.
▢ Action 2: End prison gerrymandering. [h/t Prison Policy Initiative]
Call: Or write your state legislators (look up), except in CA, DE, MD, or NY, where laws have been enacted.
Script: Hi. I’m calling from [ZIP] to support accurate representation in the census across our state. Right now, the Census Bureau counts prisoners based on where they’re confined, so communities with prisons receive undue resources and political power. I’m asking [NAME] to sponsor a bill requiring prisoners to be counted by their home address, using The Prison Policy Institute’s model legislation. Thank you.
▢ Action 3: Advocate for equality in the military. [h/t GLAD]
Call: Your two senators and one House rep (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m calling from [ZIP] to affirm the dignity of my transgender neighbors. Anyone who meets military standards should be able to serve, including our 15,000 transgender troops. Congress must reverse the president’s discriminatory ban. I urge [NAME] to co-sponsor S. 373/H.R. 1032.
▢ Action 4: Speak up for economic justice. [h/t MomsRising]
Call: Or write your House rep (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m calling from [ZIP] to express anger at the continuing harm caused by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Working families who rely on tax refunds for major purchases or to pay debts are feeling the pain of receiving less back or even owing more, while the wealthy get big breaks. [Personalize as appropriate.] Now the administration wants to cut healthcare, education, and nutrition programs to pay for it. I’m asking [NAME] to introduce a bill to repeal this law.
Bonus: Sign the MomsRising petition.
▢ Action 5: Advocate for clear, thoughtful ballot design. [h/t U.S. EAC]
Call: Write your state’s election official (look up). Copy/paste text below.
Script: I’m a constituent from [ZIP], writing to express my concerns about the impact of ballot design on the voting process. Problems with election materials can lead to incorrectly marked ballots and result in votes being invalidated. The solutions to preventing this are simple and clear. I encourage you to consult the design guidelines from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, at https://www.eac.gov/election-officials/designing-polling-place-materials/, and the Center for Civic Design, at https://civicdesign.org/fieldguides. With 2020 elections coming up quickly, I appreciate your time and attention on this important issue.
Bonus: Donate to the Center for Civic Design.
Call: Otay Mesa Detention Center Assistant Field Office Director James Dobson at 619-661-3829.
Script: Hello, I’m [NAME]. I’m calling to urge the release of the Bangladeshi minors currently being held in the Otay Mesa Detention Center in San Diego. They’ve provided ample evidence to show their status as minors, yet they continue to be treated as adults. Release these kids now. Thank you.
▢ Action 7: Support automatic voter registration. [h/t Brennan Center]
Verify: Does your state have Automatic Voter Registration (AVR)? (look up)
Call: Your two state legislators (look up) and state elections official (look up).
Script 1 (for states without AVR): Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and I support automatic voter registration. A new report documents the huge impact of AVR, showing that it can increase voter registrations from 9% to 94%. AVR also empowers citizens with disabilities to exercise their right to vote. What is [NAME] doing to pass legislation to implement AVR in [STATE]?
Script 2 (for 16 states with AVR): I’m so glad that [State] has Automatic Voter Registration. Thank you for supporting voter participation, especially for our neighbors with disabilities.
Call: Your one House rep and two senators (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and I’m calling to express my concern that people who have served a prison sentence are excluded from electing their own representatives. States vary in their approach to voting rights, leaving millions of Americans without the right to vote, including 13 percent of African American men. I would like [NAME] to co-sponsor the Democracy Restoration Act (H.R. 196/S. 1068), which would give returning citizens the right to vote in federal elections.
▢ Action 9: Secure a path to citizenship for aspiring Americans. [h/t United We Dream]
Call: Your two senators (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and I’m calling to express support for extending a clear path to citizenship for my neighbors protected by DACA, TPS, and DED. Recipients of these protections need stability, and so do their U.S.-citizen families, co-workers, and communities. I would like [NAME] to co-sponsor the bipartisan Dream and Promise Act of 2019 (DACA recipients) and the SECURE Act (for TPS and DED recipients). [Thank them if they already have–this is important.]
▢ Action 10: Offer a symbol of love and welcome to immigrant families. [h/t RAICES]
Families served by the RAICES Bus Station Project for El Día del Niño often come from detention without any personal belongings. New or gently used toys are a symbol of welcome. Donations must arrive by April 26–no play weapons or batteries.
Deliver or mail: Donations to the RAICES North Flores Office, 1305 N Flores, San Antonio, TX 78212
Deep breath innnnnnn… Deep breath ouuuuuuuut… Here comes the good stuff.
Acts of Gratitude
Get out your stamps, postcards, and sparkle markers for some gratitude mail.
Thank Reps Lauren Underwood (D-IL) and Alma Adams (D-NC) for shining a light on racial disparities in maternal health care by creating the Black Maternal Health Caucus. [Share why health care equity is important to you.]
LU: 40 W310 LaFox Road, St. Charles, IL 60175
AA: 801 E Morehead Street, Suite 150, Charlotte, NC 28202
Thank the Honorable Steven J. Milliken, founder, CEO and board member of JusticeAid, for addressing racism, criminal justice, and immigration through the arts. [Express why you appreciate bringing joyful noise to equality and justice.]
Address: 2120 Kalorama RD NW, Apt 3, Washington, DC 20008
Thank Mayor Jenny Durkan (Seattle, WA) for welcoming all people who may be sent to “sanctuary cities” upon entering the U.S. [Share why you share respect for human dignity and/or opposing the president’s intolerance.]
Address: PO Box 94749, Seattle, WA 98124-4749
Thank cellist Yo-Yo Ma for unifying humanity through culture and music with 36 free concerts and a day of action. [Share why music, service, and/or highlighting our common ground matters to you.]
Address: c/o Silkroad, 175 North Harvard Street, Boston, MA 02134
Democracy is surviving and people everywhere are speaking up. Just look. #GoodNews
- After being mistakenly deported alone, 11 year old Laura Maradiaga-Alvarado gets a second hearing and is now reunited with her mom and sister.
- AG Barr releases Robert Mueller’s report to the public. Its redactions appear to imply further ongoing investigations. The House Judiciary Committee chair issues a subpoena for an unredacted version.
- Ruling: Federal judge finds administration did not follow the law in Haiti TPS cancellation.
- Thanks to immense collaboration, detained hunger-strikers Jasvir Singh and Rajandeep Singh have been released to their family in California.
- House Elections Subcommittee hears from native tribal members in ND to strengthen and update the Voting Rights Act.
- Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan Authorization Act, a multi-state, multi-tribe agreement, passes by acclamation in both chambers of Congress.
- AR: Governor signs bill giving Arkansas DACA recipients in-state tuition for state schools and access to nursing licenses.
- IL: Ban on private immigration detention facilities passes state House.
- KY passes the Pregnant Workers Act and becomes the 25th state to pass legislation protecting pregnant employees at work.
- AZ: Lawmakers repeal anti-LGBTQ sex-education curriculum law.
- Asheville (NC) Police Dept. works to revamp its policies about police officers’ use of force.
- Activist and scholar Ruth Wilson Gilmore makes a convincing argument for abolishing prisons.
- ACLU releases a video in seven languages instructing migrants and allies how to prepare for encounters with ICE.
News with heart
- NFL players Josh Norman and Demario Davis bring supplies to people at the border–and do a second run when they realize how much need there is.
- A fun image shows how most Easter traditions are thanks to immigrant families.
- Father and 10-year-old son separated at border reunite after 326 days.
- Newly-arrived Muslim teen finds welcome: “We will never be disconnected as long as we are being kind-hearted to each other.”
- See more good news at Women in the World, Small Victories, Good Black News, and What Went Right.