AoCC: You make a difference: May 2020 Impact Report

Speaking up makes a difference

We know these are hard, scary times, so here’s a reminder that together our goals of respect, decency, and kindness are still moving forward because we keep showing up and speaking up. It matters. And it makes an impact.

Impact 1: Empowering voters

Over the past couple of years we have asked you to support Spread the Vote and its Project ID initiative. This initiative gives a voice to disenfranchised people by ensuring they can obtain ID that will enable them to vote—in many cases for the first time. Obtaining an ID is just the beginning, as many clients are able to use their new IDs to search for housing and employment and open bank accounts.

You have been so generous with your support of Spread the Vote through notes of gratitude and support as well as making donations. Last year alone, the AoC community helped to raise over $17,000 to provide almost 400 new IDs to allow citizens to vote.

In the May 17, 2020 checklist, we asked you support Spread the Vote as they celebrate their three year anniversary. Many of you gave generously and mentioned AoCC when you donated. They’ve received 256 donations to date, and 161 of you have marked that you have taken this action! You are changing lives and helping to provide a critical need to enable citizens to vote.

If you have not donated and would like to, please do so here (and mention that AoCC brought you):

Impact #2: Safe Shopping for SNAP recipients

In the April 19, 2020 checklist we asked you to support safe shopping for SNAP recipients during the pandemic. At the time, only 11 states were participating in the Department of Agriculture’s program to allow online SNAP shopping.

We requested two actions. The first was to email your governor to request that they work with the USDA Food and Nutrition Service regional office to expedite the online purchasing option. The second was to contact your two senators to ask them to co-sponsor the Food Assistance for Kids and Families During COVID-19 Act (S. 3563), which would allow SNAP and WIC benefits to be used for grocery delivery and extend WIC benefits for children and postpartum women.

What a difference a few weeks make! As of today, the participation in the Department of Agriculture’s online shopping pilot program has increased from 11 states to 18 states plus the District of Columbia. In addition, 18 additional states have been approved to move forward with the pilot when ready.

With respect to the support of the Food Assistance for Kids and Families During COVID-19 Act (S. 3563), 5 senators have signed on as co-sponsors as of May 7, 2020.

So many times it seems to take months or years to see the impact of our actions, but in this case we are seeing much faster action during this critical situation. As you’ll see in our Action Stats below, 216 of our subscribers checked off this action (and likely others took action as well). Thank you for being part of driving positive change for our neighbors.

Impact #3: Making it your own

A couple of weeks ago, AoCC’s creator, Jen Hofmann had the opportunity to meet virtually with an amazing group in Mt Vernon, WA called Coffee ‘n Cards. Established over three years ago, this group started around a dining room table inspired to start taking action in response to the policies of the new administration.

Coffee ‘n Cards has moved from the dining room table to an established location where they’ve been meeting every Monday to write cards. “AoCC is our backbone,” they told Jen. 10-12 individuals typically join the weekly meeting and more when guest speakers are brought in. In three years, they have sent over 10,000 cards and created a place where city council members, candidates for mayor or county commissioner, state representatives and senators have come to speak.

In addition to AoCC actions, they also write about local and state actions. The AoC Checklist has inspired this group to do additional research to address issues important to the group and educate themselves on issues that impact their community.

In turn, they have been amazed at the responses they have received, which confirms the impact they are making. One member took AoCC’s suggestion to express gratitude in her community. “I left a note on my communal mailbox for the mail carrier, which prompted her to write back, ‘This means so much to me. I’m just doing my job.’ They receive a benefit in thanking others for their kindness, good deeds, and courage.

Even as COVID-19 has impacted their in-person meetings, Coffee ‘n Cards continues to meet virtually and write e-mails. In talking with different Coffee ‘n Cards group members I heard how AoCC “keeps the group centered”, “provides a national overview”, “acts as a lesson plan”.

We commend their commitment to participating in their democracy and banding together in new ways. Perhaps sharing this will spark someone to start a similar group in their community. We make a difference individually, but when we come together we truly are a force for good.

Impact 4: Supporting tribal advocacy

In the May 3, 2020 AoC Checklist, we amplified the Native American Rights Fund efforts to ensure that COVID-19 relief funds intended for tribal governments were distributed to legitimate tribal governments, not non-Natives. Seventy-five of you checked off this action.

We’re happy to report that the US Treasury released initial allocations in early May. Additionally, the Interior Department’s inspector general will investigate whether a high-ranking government employee violated ethics rules who stood to gain from relief allocations to a Alaska Native corporation.

While this movement and accountability are positive steps, Alaska Native communities are struggling while the US government withholds their funds, pending court cases. Look for an action in next week’s American’s of Conscience Checklist to give direct support to struggling Alaska Native communities.

Action stats

Actions taken for April 19, 2020 AoC Checklist: 3,213!

  • Action 1: Make a self-care plan ー 194
  • Action 2: Learn how to vote by mail in your state ー 590
  • Action 3: Be counted ー 798
  • Action 4: Advocate for safe polling places for Native Americans ー 202
  • Action 5: Check your state’s voter ID requirements and primary dates ー 306
  • Action 6: Support safe shopping for SNAP recipients ー 216
  • Action 7: Speak up for the health of people currently incarcerated ー 133
  • Action 8: Call for additional pandemic protections ー 163
  • Action 9: Show support for releasing children from ICE detention ー 12
  • Action 10: Advocate for the release of detained asylum seekers ー 113
  • Action 11: Advocate for the wellbeing of detained children ー 85
  • Action 12: Call for adequate safety measures in ICE facilities ー 122
  • Action 13: Advocate for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for asylum seekers ー 83
  • Gratitude 1: Thank Beth Ford, CEO of Land O’Lakes, for removing imagery from the brand’s label that was culturally insensitive towards Native Americans ー 68
  • Gratitude 2: Thank Reps. Eddie Bernice Johnson and Alcee Hastings for leadership in ensuring the CARES 2 package includes aid for people experiencing homelessness ー 42
  • Gratitude 3: Thank Reps. Eliot L. Engel, Jerry Nadler, and Bennie Thompson for their letter advocating for the right to seek asylum ー 31
  • Gratitude 4: Thank Gov. Gavin Newsom, for agreeing to distribute $500 checks to aspiring Americans ineligible for federal stimulus checks ー 55

Actions taken for May 3, 2020 AoC Checklist: 2,266!

  • Action 1: Make a self-care plan ー 192
  • Action 2: Tell Congress to fully fund election safety and security ー 605
  • Action 3: Advocate for expanded voter registration in your state ー 154
  • Action 4: Keep track of the primary election in your state and vote! ー 234
  • Action 5: Call for additional pandemic protections ー 171
  • Action 6: Protect health care and civil rights in the judiciary ー 202
  • Action 7: Support tribal advocacy for just COVID-19 aid distribution ー 75
  • Action 8: Advocate for equal protection from discrimination ー 106
  • Action 9: Advocate against proposed process revisions that would burden immigrant families in America ー 120
  • Action 10: Call for fair compensation of all essential farm workers during the pandemic ー 71
  • Action 11: Support access to COVID-19 resources for everyone in the country ー 88
  • Action 12: Call (again) for the release of all detained aspiring Americans as COVID-19 spreads ー 94
  • Action 13: Sew masks for aspiring Americans released from detention ー 11
  • Gratitude 1: Thank Sec. of State Bev Clarno (R–OR) for certifying that vote-by-mail is secure and popular with Oregonians ー 53
  • Gratitude 2: Thank Gov. Larry Hogan (R–MD) for praising the life-saving efforts of immigrant workers during the pandemic ー 49
  • Gratitude 3: Thank CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman and his family for producing Kindness 101 ー 41

In on month, your total reported actions total was 5,479! A new record!

The progress may seem incremental and slow, but it’s still present when we look. Thank you for speaking up!

— Jen Hofmann and the AoCC Team

P.S. A big thanks to our Impact Team for putting this research together to encourage us to persevere. Thank you!

P.P.S. You’re invited to Sunday Spark! 

Join me today for the rescheduled Sunday Spark session to work on the May 17 Checklist together. There’s no cost to attend, and gathering intentionally matters more than ever. Click for full details about the Sunday Spark session