Americans of Conscience Checklist: Week of June 7, 2020 Posted on June 9, 2020 by Karolina Wojtysko 186 weeks down, 21 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. I value democracy. With respect and collaboration, we work to create a nation that welcomes all people, expands freedoms, and upholds the Constitution. Each citizen must be able to freely and fairly elect those who represent their values. Action 1: Make an action plan. If you want to help, but don’t know where to start, complete the AoCC Action Worksheet. If you completed this action, check the box to add yourself to our tally! I took this action! Action 2: Make a self-care plan. If you’re fatigued, you’re not alone. Self-nourishment is vital. Make a cuppa, grab a pen, and spend ten minutes with this worksheet. If you completed this action, check the box to add yourself to our tally! I took this action! Action 3: Vote in your state’s upcoming primary election. [h/t Vote.org] If you live in CT, DE, GA, KY, LA, NJ, NY, PR, or WV, take the following steps to participate in your state’s upcoming primary election: Check: HealthyVoting.org has information about voting alternatives (early voting, voting by mail) and tips for safe visits to the polls in each state. Check: Voter ID requirements in your state (also available in Spanish). Check: Whether your state recently expanded access to voting by mail. Check: Vote411.org/coronavirus for real-time state-by-state updates to primary election dates, mail voting, early voting, and more, published in both English and Spanish. Check: Ballotpedia’s list of changes to election dates and procedures (updated every weekday). If you live in the other 42 states, help voters in states with voter ID laws by making a donation to Spread the Vote. Donate here: https://www.kindest.com/donate/spread-the-vote (and, if you do, mention that you’re from AoCC!). If you completed this action, check the box to add yourself to our tally! I took this action! Action 4: Support effective local elections. [h/t Center for Tech and Civic Life] Email or write: Your local (county or town) election official (look up). Script: Hi. I live in [COUNTY or TOWN] and am writing to offer encouragement as you prepare for the November 3 election. There is still time to prevent polling-place confusion and labor/materials shortages like those seen in some primary elections. These free, nonpartisan resources can help you and your staff prepare for a safe and accurate election: The Center for Tech and Civic Life is producing 12 free webinars (recordings and slides are also free) for election officials, on topics including virtual training of election workers, managing surges in mail ballot requests, organizing mail ballot dropoff locations, and public health guidelines for polling places. ElectionTools.org has a collection of free resources to educate voters and allocate resources to polling places. The Brennan Center’s report on securing the 2020 elections during the pandemic includes detailed recommendations on polling place preparation, resource planning for a surge in provisional voting and absentee voting, and much more. Thank you for all you’re doing to ensure every person can vote. If you completed this action, check the box to add yourself to our tally! I took this action! Action 5: Complete our election priorities survey. Americans of Conscience Checklist is launching a pro-voting campaign in July. We would like your input on focusing its priorities. Please complete by June 13. Complete our survey (5-7 minutes, anonymous): https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSe0WWN8Wy-NwRJ1tgmAq-wrg5ePIAp1_o7oaoHi0m9HD7Aouw/viewform?usp=sf_link If you completed this action, check the box to add yourself to our tally! I took this action! 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 6: Speak up for Breonna Taylor. [h/t African American Policy Forum] Write or call: Louisville Metro Police Dept.: 633 W. Jefferson St., Louisville, KY 40202 or 502-574-7111 Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, 527 W. Jefferson St., #600, Louisville, KY 40202 or 502-574-2003 Script: I’m contacting you to ask that charges be brought against the officers involved in the death of Breonna Taylor. She was brutally killed by mistake in a raid that should not have happened, and those responsible must be held accountable. Thank you. If you completed this action, check the box to add yourself to our tally! I took this action! Action 7: Advocate for police reform. [h/t Leadership Conference, Campaign Zero] Part 1: Email your two senators and one House rep (look up). Script: I’m writing from [ZIP] to support the police reform measures outlined by the Leadership Conference and their 430 partner organizations in a recent letter to Congress. We cannot wait for substantive solutions that end police brutality. I want you to take responsibility today for creating federal standards that limit the use of deadly force, eliminate no-knock warrants, and end distribution of military equipment to local police. Thank you. If you completed this action, check the box to add yourself to our tally! I took this action! Action 8: Support health for Alaska Native people. [h/t Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium] Because of pending court cases, Alaska Native communities have yet to receive federal COVID relief funds, endangering elders and vulnerable people. Alaska Native people are impacted by health risks at much higher rates than other Americans yet have less access to care. Healthy Alaska Natives Foundation is providing direct care right now and needs help purchasing COVID19-monitoring kits that include an oximeter, thermometer, and printed guidance on exposure prevention. Donate: To Healthy Alaska Natives Foundation. In the drop-down menu, choose “Area of Greatest Need” to direct funds to their COVID response. Feel free to mention AoCC when you donate. If you completed this action, check the box to add yourself to our tally! I took this action! Action 9: Support health care for aspiring Americans. [h/t Southern Poverty Law Center] Email: Your two senators (look up). Script: I’m writing from [ZIP] because I believe in decency toward aspiring Americans. Federal policies currently risks lives and worsens the pandemic by restricting access to programs like Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. The Health Equity and Access under the Law (HEAL) for Immigrant Women and Families Act (H.R. 4701) would remove many of these barriers to coverage, and I’m asking you to support it. If you completed this action, check the box to add yourself to our tally! I took this action! Action 10: Protect unemployment insurance for women out of work. [h/t MomsRising] Email: Your two senators (look up). Script: I’m writing from [ZIP], because I’m concerned that women represent a significant proportion of job losses in industries most impacted by COVID-19 closures. I’m asking that you to ensure that unemployment insurance provided by the CARES Act be extended beyond its current date of July 31. Thank you. If you completed this action, check the box to add yourself to our tally! I took this action! Action 11: Support reopening efforts with dependable child care services. [h/t National Women’s Law Center] Email: Your one House rep (look up). Script: The economy cannot fully reopen without child care, and the field is in serious jeopardy due to pandemic closures. The Child Care is Essential Act (H.R. 7027) would provide funding to ensure child care is available for essential workers, eliminate cost burdens for parents, and provide resources to enable child care facilities to reopen safely. I’m asking [NAME] to co-sponsor this legislation. Thank you. If you completed this action, check the box to add yourself to our tally! I took this action! Action 12: Speak up for your community’s hungry children. [h/t Food Research & Action Center] Email: Your local school superintendent. Script: I’m writing out of concern for hungry children in our community. The Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer Program (P-EBT) provides additional funds so that children eligible for free or reduced school meals can continue to eat while they’re closed. In order for families receive their benefits as quickly as possible, I ask that you ensure that school eligibility records are accessible. Our community’s kids are counting on us. Thank you. Bonus: Check to see if your state is one of a handful not enrolled in the P-EBT program. If not, contact your governor to urge him or her to act without delay. If you completed this action, check the box to add yourself to our tally! I took this action! Action 13: Support readers and learners in prison. The Prison Book Program is a volunteer-run nonprofit that sends free books to people in prison in 44 states. Incarcerated people respond with touching letters about how much this support means, and more now under quarantine lockdowns. Buy requested books online: Wellesley Bookstore or Amazon. Fund shipping costs: Donate here. If you completed this action, check the box to add yourself to our tally! I took this action! Action 14: Help a family needlessly devastated by COVID-19. [h/t AoCC ally who regularly sends us ICE CTAs] A family is grieving for husband and father, Santiago Baten-Oxlaj, a 34-year-old community member from the Atlanta, GA area. After contracting COVID-19 in an unsanitary ICE detention center and a hospitalization of over five weeks, he died from complications. His wife and three children need support for rent, bills, and food. We can help. Donate: https://www.gofundme.com/f/nzgdm-help-for-bills If you completed this action, check the box to add yourself to our tally! I took this action! Action 15: Advocate for the rights of asylum seekers in detention. [h/t American Immigration Council] Write a postcard to: Chad Wolf, Acting Secretary, Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC 20528. Email: Matthew T. Albence, Deputy Director and Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement via the Office of Public Affairs: email@example.com Script: Hello, I’m writing from [STATE] to express my concern about the length of time that ICE detains aspiring Americans, especially as COVID-19 continues to spread. Refusal to release asylum seekers wastes taxpayer dollars and violates U.S. obligations under human rights and refugee laws. The average length of detention for those currently held in ICE captivity has continued to increase. I am joining with immigrant rights groups, human rights advocates, and thousands of medical professionals in urging you to release all people seeking asylum to friends or family to await hearings. Thank you. If you completed this action, check the box to add yourself to our tally! I took this action! Action 16: Advocate for COVID-19 relief for all people in America. [h/t United Farm Workers] Email: Your two senators (look up) and copy/paste the following script. Script: I’m from [ZIP], expressing my strong support for the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, recently passed in the House. I’m asking [NAME] to support these provisions: Protections for farm workers who continue to harvest our food during the pandemic, including sick pay, pandemic hazard pay, and legal protection from deportation during this critical time. Funds for housing, including $11.5 billion in homelessness assistance, $100 billion for emergency rental assistance, and $10 billion in long-term housing vouchers. Expansion of SNAP, including a 15% expansion in the maximum SNAP benefit and more flexibility around how SNAP benefits can be used. Support for disabled people at home, including uninterrupted access to critical supplies and comprehensive paid leave to include all caregivers/chosen family, as well as emergency paid sick leave to include all workers even if they need more than two weeks to recover or protect their health. Release into community supervision people in federal prisons who are at greater risk due to health issues, pregnancy, or age, unless they pose a violent threat to the community. Free COVID-19 testing and treatment for all people in our nation, including undocumented people. Financial assistance for families with mixed immigration status left out of previous relief packages. Extend employment authorization for DACA and TPS recipients, many of whom are operating as essential workers during this pandemic. Emergency funding for the USPS. Election security grants of $3.6 billion to states from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. I value protection for all people during the pandemic. I am counting on you to vote in favor of the HEROES Act (H.R. 6800) and urge the Majority Leader to bring it to the Senate floor. Thank you. If you completed this action, check the box to add yourself to our tally! I took this action! Acts of Gratitude Get out your stamps, postcards, and sparkle markers for some gratitude mail. Thank Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, for fact-checking the president’s tweets and not exempting him from Twitter’s code of conduct. [Share why online fact-checking and accountability are important to you.] Address: 1355 Market Street, Suite 900, San Francisco, CA 94103 If you completed this action, check the box to add yourself to our tally! I took this action! Thank Gov. Mike DeWine (R–OH) for stating that wearing face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic is an apolitical public health measure. [Share why sharing accurate public health information is important to you.] Address: Riffe Center, 30th Floor, 77 South High Street, Columbus, OH 43215-6117 If you completed this action, check the box to add yourself to our tally! I took this action! Good news Decent people everywhere are speaking up and working together. Just look. #GoodNews National Stay-at-home orders in large U.S. cities saved 232,878 people from dying of the coronavirus and prevented 2.1 million people from requiring hospitalization. 67 members of the House demand the administration end the further forced separation of aspiring American families under a “binary choice” policy. 21 senators urge the DOD to refrain from using military force to suppress nationwide protests. Federal district court orders ICE to release 14 people from immigration detention. House Judiciary Committee announces actions to hold AG Barr accountable for the improper politicization of the DOJ. House leaders demand the administration stop rushing through deportations of asylum-seeking children. FBI opens an investigation into the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor by Louisville police officers. Federal district court finds conditions in Arizona immigration detention centers pose an unreasonable risk of COVID-19 transmission, violate the due process rights of aspiring Americans, and “serve no legitimate government objective.” Supreme Court will not force states to reopen churches amid the COVID-19 pandemic before state officials make the decision to do so. U.S. Navy grants first waiver for a transgender service member to continue to serve despite a 2019 policy. James Miller resigns in protest from the DOD Science Board following the president’s order to disperse protesters near the White House using violent crowd control tactics. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper states that active duty troops should not be used against protesters. U.S. Commission on Civil Rights unanimously votes to address anti-Asian racism and xenophobia amid the coronavirus pandemic. The number of positive COVID-19 cases among the Navajo Nation begins to decline. State FL: Court rules all Florida voters with past felony convictions can vote without first paying outstanding fines or fees. GA: Court rules that the case against the three men charged with the murder of Ahmaud Arbery can advance to trial court. MN: AG Keith Ellison charges the police officer responsible for George Floyd’s death with second-degree murder while charging the three other officers involved with aiding and abetting murder. State of MN files civil rights charges against the Minneapolis Police Department. MO: Court rules that the state health department wrongfully blocked the license of the only in-state health center providing abortion services, which can now continue to provide care. TN: Court rules that all Tennessee voters must have the option to cast mail-in ballots during the coronavirus pandemic. VA: Court upholds expanded absentee ballot access to statewide voters. WA institutes safety standards to help protect the health of farm workers during the coronavirus pandemic. 23 states and several cities file suit against the administration’s weakening of fuel efficiency standards for vehicles. Local Minneapolis public school board terminates its contract with the city police department. Ella Jones is elected mayor of Ferguson, MO, becoming the first black person and first woman to be elected to the position. NYC Council leaders demand an independent investigation of the NYPD’s inhumane conduct towards protestors. On June 3, NYC reports zero confirmed deaths due to coronavirus for the first time since March. Protesters successfully convince Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin to remove a Confederate monument from a public park. Philadelphia removes a statue of a racist former mayor/police commissioner. Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, DC end nightly curfews while communities continue to protest the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor, as well as the wider system of violence against black people and communities. Corporate/business Shareholders of Thomson Reuters urge the financial conglomerate to end ties with ICE over the agency’s human rights violations. Ben & Jerry’s releases a statement calling for the dismantling of white supremacy in the wake of several recent deaths of Black people at the hands of police. At least six Facebook employees condemn Mark Zuckerberg’s decision not to remove a post by the president encouraging violence against protesters. Walt Disney Company pledges $5 million to support nonprofit organizations that advance social justice, including the NAACP. Sesame Street compiles kid-friendly COVID-19 resources. CNN and Sesame Street host “Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism,” a televised town hall for children and families. Snapchat stops promoting the president’s account so as not to amplify the incitement of racial violence and injustice. Brian Cornell, Chairman and CEO of Target, releases a statement of support for Minneapolis-area protesters and organizes company donations of first aid equipment and essential supplies to demonstrators. Groups and organizations RAICES creates a social media toolkit to help raise awareness of the family separations still being perpetrated by ICE. Immigration rights organizations NAKASEC and Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement declare May 31 the first annual Trans Immigrants Day. White Coats for Black Lives calls for health institutions to be held accountable for complicity in police brutality and institutional racism. ACLU files two separate lawsuits against Minneapolis police over their violent targeting of protestors demonstrating against the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers and the journalists covering those demonstrations. ACLU Border Rights Center launches the Border Community Watchline, enabling border residents to submit confidential reports of Border Patrol activity. Minneapolis bus drivers refuse to work with police or transport protestors to jail; ATU Local 1005 issues a statement of solidarity with protesters and Black communities. #NamingTheLost holds a 24-hour live stream vigil for those who have died of COVID-19. Health experts decry the administration’s border closure, stating that there is no public health rationale to the move. The New York Times dedicates the entire front page of its May 24 edition to the 100,000 U.S. residents who have died of the coronavirus. News with heart People are giving generously to Darnella Frazier, the teen who carried the burden of capturing George Floyd’s murder on video, in support of her peace and healing. Protesters demonstrate in all 50 states and several countries in support of Black lives and against police killings of Black people. Mass nationwide protests result in a flood of financial donations to racial equality organizations and community bail funds. Liyah, an aspiring American incarcerated for defending herself against violence, is granted bond. Rahul Dubey opened his home and sheltered 60 protesters overnight. After 181 days apart, 5-year-old Aliana, reunites with her father Esvin at the southern border. Colin Kaepernick offers to pay for defense lawyers for arrested Minneapolis protesters. Jay-Z, in partnership with families who have lost sons and daughters to police violence, takes out full-page newspaper ads across the country dedicated to George Floyd. Military veterans call on members of the National Guard to refuse to deploy against protesters. 70 percent more Latinx students in the U.S. earned degrees in the past ten years than any previous decade, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Journalists Emily Green, Molly O’Toole, and the staff of This American Life win the Pulitzer Prize for their reporting on the detrimental impact of the “Remain in Mexico” policy. Restaurant owners across the country support protesters with food and supplies. Zoe Amira sets up a YouTube video of art by black creators to generate ad revenue that will go towards bail funds for protesters and organizations like Black Lives Matter. Nonprofits create the #ImmigrantsAreEssential art campaign to share artworks that put a face to essential workers of diverse countries of origin. Ireland reports no new coronavirus deaths for first time since March 21. New Zealand discharges its last coronavirus patient from the hospital on the fifth consecutive day it reports no new cases of COVID-19. Muslims near Frankfurt, Germany find a safe, welcoming space to celebrate Eid thanks to an Ikea branch offering their parking lot. See more good news at Women in the World, Small Victories, Good Black News, and What Went Right. Housekeeping Read this week’s Inspiring Message from guest writer, Crys Wood. Sign up: Get the weekly Americans of Conscience Checklist here. Get inspired: Complete the Self-Care Worksheet. Stay focused: Complete the Action Worksheet (or Kelly Wooten’s artistic version). Share: Follow us and share the Checklist on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Merch: Spread the word with stickers, magnets, and more. Gratitude: Big thanks to JEB and the Production Team, Social Media volunteers, Research teams, and to the amazing angel patrons who make it possible. Note: The AoC Checklist is always ad-free and no-cost. We’re in particular need of small, monthly contributions as we’ve lost some patrons due to economic hardship. If you’re able, please support our efforts on patreon or paypal.