Americans of Conscience Checklist, Week of January 13, 2019 Posted on January 15, 2019 by Linda Clark Submitted by Judy Sullivan, USH Social Justice Chair Americans of Conscience Checklist, Week of January 13, 2019 By Jen Hofmann 113 weeks down, 94 weeks to the presidential election. The AoC Checklist features clear, well-researched actions for Americans who value democracy, equality, voting, and decency. We practice gratitude, self-care, and celebration to stay engaged. 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 1: Speak up for our neighbors facing eviction. [h/t NLCHP] Call: Your two Senators (look up). Script: Hi. I’m calling from [ZIP] to express alarm that more than 1,000 private HUD contracts just expired due to the government shutdown, leaving some of our poorest neighbors vulnerable to eviction. I want [NAME] to insist the Majority Leader hold a vote on legislation to reopen the government while continuing border security negotiations. Bonus: Call Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and ask him to hold a vote on reopening the government. ▢ Action 2: Support our neighbors’ safety. [h/t HRC] Call: Your two Senators and one House rep (look up). Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and I’m calling to support background checks for all gun buyers as a step toward reducing gun violence in this country. House reps: Will [NAME] co-sponsor H.R 8 to help make this happen? Senators: Can I count on [NAME] to propose legislation mirroring the bipartisan House version introduced last week? ▢ Action 3: Support the dignity of hungry students. [h/t FRAC and Talk Poverty] Write: Your two state legislators (look up). Script: I’m concerned about the harmful impact of school lunch debt. Some districts have policies that deny food or humiliate students in front of their peers. I’d like [state] to follow New Mexico’s model and pass the Hunger-Free Students’ Bill of Rights. [Share why students need caring environments and/or how this affects you personally.] Thank you. I value voting as a foundation of a healthy democracy. Each citizen must be able to freely and fairly elect those who represent their values. ▢ Action 1: Support American citizens who have no representation or vote. [h/t DC Statehood51] Call: Or write your one House rep and two senators (look up). Script: Hi, I am a constituent from [ZIP], concerned that residents of Washington, DC have no voting voice in Congress, despite paying taxes like all other citizens. I would like [NAME] to support DC statehood and the rights of the 700,000 Americans who live there. (House reps only: Will [NAME] co-sponsor H.R. 51?) I value decency. Our nation has a moral and legal obligation to welcome people seeking asylum and refuge. We support showing decency toward this vulnerable community. ▢ Action 1: Support the release of an activist in ICE custody. [h/t NILC] Immigration rights activist Eduardo Samaniego is being detained in precarious health and appears to have been targeted for his work. #FreeEduardo Sign: Petition by Pioneer Valley Workers Center. ▢ Action 2: Advocate for reopening the government without wall funding. Call: Today. Your one House rep and two senators (look up). Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and I would like to see the government reopen, but without funding a wall with our tax dollars or disaster relief money, or a “tech wall” that involves surveillance of citizens. I want our nation to respect its laws to provide refuge and asylum to people in need. What is [NAME] doing to pass a budget without border wall funding? Acts of Gratitude Get out your stamps, postcards, and sparkle markers for some gratitude mail. Let’s thank some good people doing positive things for our communities! Thank Mayor Jim Darling (R) for sharing honestly about how a border wall would negatively impact your community. [Share why you appreciate Republicans focusing on compromise and/or publicly disagreeing with the president]. Address: 1300 W Houston Ave #220, McAllen, TX 78501 Thank Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt (R) for supporting an end to modern-day debtors’ prisons by questioning counties’ authority to count jail debt as a court cost or fine. [Share why you support fairness in fines that disproportionately impact low-income citizens.] Address: Missouri Attorney General’s Office, Supreme Court Building, 207 W. High St., P.O. Box 899, Jefferson City, MO 65102 Thank Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) for demanding answers from the FBI and Bureau of Indian Affairs for their 13-day delay in announcing the disappearance of a Native teen. [Share why supporting the rights and protection of Native women matters to you.] Address: 2900 4th Ave N, Suite 201, Billings, MT 59101 Thank Governors Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) and Tony Evers (D-WI) for banning discrimination against LGBTQ people as one of their first acts in office. [Share your fair treatment of all gender identities and sexual orientations matters to you.] Addresses: GW: P.O. Box 30013, Lansing, MI 48909 TE: 115 East State Capitol, Madison, WI 53707 Thank reporter Julia Ainsley for your article fact-checking the administration’s false and exaggerated claims about the number of known terrorists stopped at the southern border. [Share why reporting the truth and/or immigration matter to you.] Address: NBC News, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, N.Y. 10112 Good news Decent people everywhere are speaking up and working together. Just look. #GoodNews National Congress’s first Native American women, Reps. Deb Haaland and Sharice Davids, embrace after being sworn into office. The House rules package passedby the 116th Congress bans employment discrimination against LGBTQ staffers and jobseekers. Congress passes legislationto improve the process for congressional employees to report sexual harassment, hold lawmakers financially responsible, and increase transparency. Two Muslim women are sworn inas new members of the U.S. Congress on the Quran. Congressional rule change allows head scarves, religious headwear on House Judge blocks ICEfrom conducting raids on Cambodian immigrants. Grace Meng (D-NY) will introduce legislation that halts presidential emergency declarationsused to force funding of unnecessary projects. State ND: Ruth Buffalo becomes the state’s first Native woman to be a legislator (unseating the legislator/authorof ND’s voter ID law). WA: Gov. Inslee plans to pardonthousands convicted of minor marijuana possession charges. FL: 1.4 million Floridians are now eligible to vote and can register online at gov. MI and WI: Governors sign executive orders protecting LGBTQ state workers & beneficiaries from discrimination. MA: Spikes deterring the homeless are removedfrom underneath a bridge in Arlington. MI: Equal payis now law. NY: Under a new law, all new and renovated restrooms must have changing tablesin both women’s and men’s rooms. MD: Courts will allowparents concerned about deportation to designate guardians for their children. CA: A new law gives farmworkers overtime payafter 9.5 hours and double time if working on a seventh consecutive day. CT: Federal employees affected by the shutdown get help collecting unemployment benefits. Local Eligible Denver residents can now applyto have marijuana convictions expunged. Multiple incoming reform-minded prosecutorstook office this month. Dallas DA promisesthat petty criminals will not be punished “because they’re poor.” Groups and organizations 150 civil society groups call on the administration to end the inhumane asylum ban. Golden Globes display inclusion and women’s empowerment. Women in entertainment industry celebrate one year anniversaryof the Time’s Up movement. National Women’s Law Center publishes Let Her Learn, a free toolkit for parents, students, and educators to change policies that treat girls of color unfairly. News with heart TN Gov. Haslam grants clemencyto Cyntoia Brown. (This is huge. Let’s pause a moment to honor her and all the people who’ve worked for her freedom more than 15 years). A homeless veteran cleans up the Vietnam Memorialduring the shutdown. Muslim youth clean up national parksduring government shutdown. Global Cafe, an international food hall in Memphis, TN founded by an immigrant, offers authentic, affordable dishesprepared by refugee food entrepreneurs from different countries. San Francisco therapist offers compassionand care to families released from ICE detention. Adam and Amber Briggle, members of Parents for Trans Equality Council, write a moving letterto trans and non-binary young people. Canada vows to receive one million moreimmigrants and refugees.