Americans of Conscience Checklist: Week of July 28, 2019

Americans of Conscience Checklist
These checklists feature clear, well-researched actions for Americans who value democracy, equality, voting, and decency. We also practice gratitude, self-care, and celebration to stay engaged. Click HERE for past checklists. -Submitted by Judy Sullivan, USH Social Justice Chair; Source: https://americansofconscience.com/

156 weeks down, 66 weeks to the presidential election.

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: Engage your elected officials during the August Congressional recess.

Many Members of Congress will be visiting constituencies during the August recess. Encourage them to hold town hall meetings as well.
Call: On Monday, your one House rep and two senators’ local offices (look up)
Script: Hi. I’m a constituent from [ZIP]. Can you tell me when [NAME] is holding town hall meetings in [TOWN] during the August recess?
— If no meetings planned, add: It’s important for [NAME] to meet with their constituents. Can you let me know when they plan to hold the next town hall?
— If meetings planned: Thank you! I plan to be there.

Action 2: Demand tougher federal election security measures. [h/t Verified Voting]

Call: Your two Senators (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and I’m calling because foreign governments are threatening the integrity of America’s elections, yet Senate Majority Leader McConnell won’t allow a vote on crucial election security legislation. I am asking [NAME] to cosponsor S. 2053, the Secure America’s Federal Elections (SAFE) Act (which already passed the House as H.R. 2722), and insist that Majority Leader McConnell bring the bill to a vote.
Bonus: Donate to Verified Voting here

Action 3: Advocate for public, transparent election funding. [h/t Fair Elections NY]

Call: Your two state legislators (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and I’m part of a bipartisan majority that wants big money out of politics. I would like [MY STATE] to follow New York’s lead in requiring publicly financed elections. Can I count on [NAME] to advocate for a transparent independent commission to explore the public financing of elections?

Action 4: Ask election officials to update vulnerable software.

Call: Or write your state’s election official (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m a resident of [STATE], and I want to know whether our voting machines use Windows 7, which is outdated and dangerously vulnerable to hacking.
— If yes, I urge you to update the machines to use more secure software.
— If no, thank you for your hard work to ensure election security.

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 5: Advocate for your LGBTQ+ neighbors’ health by Aug. 13. [h/t Human Rights Campaign]

Tell the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) what you think of the administration’s proposal to remove nondiscrimination protections for gender identity from the Affordable Care Act regulations. 

Submit a commentOn the Federal Register using these tips: 1) Introduce yourself, 2) State why you oppose the proposal based on your values, and, if applicable, 3) Share a personal story about about how you or a loved one are impacted by gender-based discrimination in health care. Review this article to personalize the points below. To be counted, comments must be unique and individual, not scripted.

  • Up to 1.4 million transgender adults and 150,000 transgender teens ages 13 to 17 in the U.S. would be affected by the rule change, according to research by UCLA. 
    • Studies have shown that 56% of lesbian, gay, and bisexual patients and 70% of transgender patients have experienced discrimination from a healthcare provider, including refusal of care, harsh language, and physical roughness.
    • Denial or delay of treatment can have long-term health impacts and even result in death.

Action 6: End corporate investment in private prisons/concentration camps. [h/t MomsRising]

Write: The CEOs of Barclays and PNC Banks.
Script: I’m a [citizen and/or Barclays and/or PNC customer] concerned about continued investment in detention giants CoreCivic and GEO Group, companies that have documented histories of human rights abuses. [Share your personal reasons for opposing mass incarceration and/or concentration camps.] I urge you to join SunTrust, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and JPMorgan Chase in cutting financial ties to these harmful enterprises. Thank you.
Addresses:
Barclay’s: Jes Staley, CEO, Barclays Bank PLC, 1 Churchill Place, London, E14 5HP [Note: international postage required]
PNC: William Demchak, CEO, PNC Bank, 300 Fifth Ave.,Tower at PNC Plaza, PIttsburgh, PA 15222-2401

Action 7: Advocate for your hungry neighbors by Sept. 23. [h/t Food Research Action Center]

Tell the Department of Agriculture your views on the administration’s proposed new limits on who can receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Plan (SNAP) benefits that are contrary to recent legislation.
Submit a comment: On the Federal Register, using these tips: 1. Introduce yourself, 2. State why you oppose the rule change based on your values, and, if applicable, 3. Share experiences with SNAP or hunger. Review this article and/or cite SNAP strengths to personalize the points below. To be counted, comments must be unique and individual, not scripted. 

  • More than three million Americans, mainly working families with children, seniors, and individuals with disabilities, are likely to lose nutrition assistance under this proposal.
    • The bipartisan 2018 Farm Bill preserved states’ ability to continue SNAP benefits for people who begin working, to allow time for savings and stability, a program adopted by 43 states. 
    • In families who would lose SNAP benefits, the children would then no longer receive free lunch and breakfast at school, impacting 265,000 children.

Action 8: Tell the Senate Majority Leader to do his job. [h/t Indivisible KY]

Write: Sen. Mitch McConnell, 317 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510
Script: I value government that serves the people, and I’m upset that your obstructionist tactics as Majority Leader are destroying democracy and harming my neighbors. Nearly 200 pieces of legislation that have passed the House await Senate action, including H.R. 8, updating background checks for gun purchases and the Violence Against Women Act. I insist that you do your job: Organize the legislative calendar immediately to address the will of the people.
Bonus: Support democracy and unseat McConnell in 2020 by donating to support the campaign for Amy McGrath.

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 9: Advocate for the extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for people seeking sanctuary in America. [h/t CLINIC]

Call: Your two senators and one House rep (look up).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and I’m calling to express my support for extending Temporary Protected Status for Syrian nationals who have fled the violence and conflict in their homeland. America has an obligation to protect those who are unable to safely return to their country. I would like [NAME] to publicly advocate for an extension of TPS for Syria. Thank you. 

Action 10: Advocate for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for people seeking refuge in America. [h/t MomsRising]

Call: Your two senators (look up).
Script: Hello, I’m a constituent from [ZIP], calling to encourage the introduction of Temporary Protected Status for Venezuelan nationals seeking refuge in America. When a government commits human rights violations against its citizens and leads the country into political and economic crisis, we have a responsibility to offer a safe haven for those who need to escape. I would like [NAME] to support S.636 to grant Venezuela TPS during this humanitarian crisis. Thank you.

Action 11: Support military families’ right to stay in America. [h/t AILA]

Write: Your two senators (look up).
Script: Hello, I’m a constituent from [ZIP] and I’d like to express my anger and disgust at the current administration’s plans to terminate the Parole in Place (PIP) program. Active and veteran military members risk their lives in the name of our country, and they and their families deserve to live without the fear of deportation. I strongly urge [NAME] to sign on to Sen. Duckworth’s letter demanding the DHS and DoD to uphold Parole in Place for the families of military personnel. Thank you.

Action 12: Advocate for a fair and just court system for aspiring Americans. [h/t AILA]

Call: Or write your two senators and one House rep (look up).
Script: Hello. I’m from [ZIP], calling to express my support for an immigration court that operates independently from the Justice Department. Our current system encourages biased and rushed decision-making processes, undermining due process and judicial independence, and subverting the rights of aspiring Americans to a fair hearing. I would like [NAME] to join the American Bar Association, American Immigration Lawyers Association, Federal Bar Association, and National Association of Immigration Judges in demanding an independent immigration court. Thank you.

Acts of Gratitude

Get out your stamps, postcards, and sparkle markers for some gratitude mail.

Thank Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) for launching an investigation into the alleged abuses of migrant children detained in Yuma, AZ. [Share why you appreciate action to oppose state-sponsored child abuse.] 

Addresses:
DD: 2368 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515
FP: 237 Cannon HOB, Washington, DC 20515 

Thank IL Gov. J.B. Pritzker for using state money to replace $2.4 million in federal health funding that includes restrictions on abortion referrals. [Share why you appreciate advocacy for reproductive freedom.]

Address: Office of the Governor, 207 State House, Springfield, IL 62706 

Thank Larry Krasner, Philadelphia District Attorney, for asking the PA Supreme Court to declare capital punishment unconstitutional based on racial inequities of death row prisoners. [Share why you appreciate leaders who advocate for racial equality and a humane justice system.]

Address: Three South Penn Square, Philadelphia, PA 19107-3499 

Thank Natasha Cloud, WNBA Washington Mystics guard, for hosting Thurgood Marshall Academy students, Moms Demand Action members, and local gun violence survivors after a Mystics game to discuss gun violence prevention in DC. [Share why you appreciate using a personal platform to advance community concerns.]

Address: c/o Washington Mystics, Verizon Center, 3rd floor, 601 F Street, NW, Washington DC. 20004

Thank your Senators [except Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Mike Lee (R-UT)] for voting to re-authorize the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund. [Share why you appreciate continued support for victims of terrorism.]

AddressesLook up.

Thank Unitarian Universalist Justice Ohio for organizing volunteers to provide baby supplies, food, and personal items to immigrant families at bus stations as they travel through Ohio. [Share why you appreciate kindness and hospitality to all, especially people who are seeking asylum.]

Address: Rev. Joan Van Becelaere, Unitarian Universalist Justice Ohio, P.O. Box 980, Worthington, OH 43085
BonusDonate to support this work. 

Thank Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence, for appointing the first election threats executive to advise the intelligence community about election security and for forming the Election Executive and Leadership Board. [Share why you appreciate actions by leaders to ensure fair, accurate elections in 2020.]

Address: Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Washington, DC 20511

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Decent people everywhere are speaking up and working together. Just look. #GoodNews

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