Contact Federal Government Officials
1. With a President who has demonstrated clear disrespect for our rights, it’s more important than ever to put a check on the surveillance capabilities of the U.S. government. Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which allows for warrantless spying on conversations between people in the U.S. and foreign countries, is set to expire on December 31st if Congress does not reauthorize it (https://www.lawfareblog.com/predicting-support-section-702-senate). Let’s contact our members of Congress, especially if we are the constituents of the senators listed as “interesting to watch” in this article, and let them know it’s time to let this authority die.
2. While Trump undoubtedly enjoyed his photo-op in Texas, he nonetheless reversed the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard ten days before Harvey hit Texas at the behest of powerful real estate developers and builders: https://www.thenation.com/article/how-donald-trump-and-elaine-chao-bartered-flood-control-policy-to-the-highest-bidders/Always one to distract from his consequential decisions, the announcement of this reversal was lost amid the Charlottesville press conference rant. Experts “across the political spectrum say much of the federal money sent to Texas is likely to be wasted on construction that will insufficiently protect against the next storm”:
http://www.businessinsider.com/trump-reversed-obama-flooding-regulations-before-hurricane-harvey-2017-8 We need to tell Trump and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao that we will not tolerate their disregard for our safety. Let’s call the White House 202-456-1414 and the DOT at 202-366-4000 or US Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Ave, SE, Washington, DC 20590
3. The United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants has written a form letter that we can send to our members of Congress, asking that they help save DACA by supporting the House and Senate versions of the DREAM Act of 2017
http://refugees.org/act/tell-congress-support-daca-immigrant-youth/ Let's also make sure that we've called our MoC directly to make sure that they cosponsor and support these important pieces of legislation https://5calls.org/issue/recq0O67VoMFFRQZo
4. "President Donald Trump is promising billions to help Texas rebuild from Hurricane Harvey, but his Republican allies in the House are looking at cutting almost $1 billion from disaster accounts to help finance the president’s border wall. The pending reduction to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s disaster relief account is part of a spending bill that the House is scheduled to consider next week when Congress returns from its August recess. The $876 million cut, part of the 1,305-page measure’s homeland security section, pays for roughly half the cost of Trump’s down payment on a U.S.-Mexico border wall. It seems sure that GOP leaders will move to reverse the disaster aid cut next week. The optics are politically bad and there’s only $2.3 billion remaining in disaster coffers." https://www.apnews.com/83e6782d48e04993a741b834771c078b Let's make sure the GOP does reverse the disaster aid cut to fund the wall. We know climate change makes these disasters so much bigger. Call you reps and ask them to reverse this cut. NO WALL FUNDING.
5. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is halting Trump’s plans for transgender ban in military pending further study: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/348484-mattis-halts-trump-transgender-policy-pending-study Let’s thank Mattis for reducing the chaos for transgendered military personnel and ask him to not let the military be a face of discrimination against those ready, willing, and able to serve our nation: Secretary Jim Mattis, Secretary of Defense, 1000 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1000
6. After Greg Gianforte body-slammed Guardian report Ben Jacobs on the eve of the special Montana election a few months ago, he agreed to do an interview with Jacobs and his staff have made that impossible to schedule. Jacobs released a statement about this: http://money.cnn.com/2017/08/29/media/ben-jacobs-greg-gianforte-interview-dispute/index.html Let’s remind Gianforte that we expect him to follow-through on his commitment: https://gianforte.house.gov/contact
7. “"It's not just about these 800,000 young people, but young people who are working, paying taxes, going to school and serving in the military," said Franciscan Action Network executive director Patrick Carolan told NCR. "The question is, what kind of nation are we? Can we be a moral nation when we're talking about deporting people like this?"” https://www.ncronline.org/news/justice/catholic-leaders-get-personal-over-threat-daca Let’s let our MoCs know that this is how we feel about the DREAMers and ask them to continue supporting DACA. It is right for them and for our country.
8. Senator Peters (D-MI) has just signed on as a co-sponsor to the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2017 (SB 1417). https://www.hrc.org/resources/voting-rights-advancement-act Let’s check to see if our senator has signed on. https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/1419 If so, let’s give out some thanks and, if not, start asking why and telling them that we want them to do so.
1. ALL: Child marriage—it happens right here in the US. From 2000-2015, 200,000 children under age 18—the vast majority of them girls, some as young as 13—were married off to adult men who were often decades older. Child marriage can disrupt or end a girl’s education. It is linked to maternal and child mortality, domestic and sexual violence, human trafficking, and HIV infection. The Tahirih Justice Center http://www.tahirih.org/ , which fights violence against women and girls, has released a new report on child marriage in America: http://www.tahirih.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/TahirihChildMarriageReport.pdfCheck it to see where your state is on this issue, and then tell your state reps to pass a law setting your state’s minimum marriage age at 18, without exceptions. Find your state reps here: https://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/
2. MA: Campaign finance reform! The group Pass Mass Amendment https://passmassamendment.wikispaces.com/HOME+PAGE is seeking to get two measures on the November 2018 Massachusetts ballot. One would limit the amount of money from out-of-state individuals in elections involving candidates or ballot initiatives to $500 per election cycle. The other would require the disclosure of contributions by foreign nationals and businesses in which non-US citizens have a sizable ownership stake. http://www.newburyportnews.com/news/activists-seek-to-limit-outside-campaign-money/article_80d03840-8653-59b1-8a02-804522a01a89.html Get email updates here https://passmassamendment.wikispaces.com/CONTACT%21 and follow on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/PassMassAmendment
1. From Sun, Sand, & Second Grade: I know many of us are saddened and heartbroken about the devastation taking place in the Houston area right now. Here is a way you can start to help! Get your students and their families involved and consider adopting a classroom that has been affected by Hurricane Harvey. The idea is that your classroom will help collect basic supplies or gift cards to help setup students with tools to get their classroom back on its feet. To sign-up: https://goo.gl/forms/nG0fFvnjeJrBXkyf2 For more information: http://bit.ly/2vpmYJp Please share this so we can help as many classrooms as possible!!! Are you a Texan teacher who needs help? Please sign-up to be an adopted classroom on the link above!
2. National Bail Out’s efforts to fight money bail and free folks who are only behind bars because they don’t have the money to get out are continuing (https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/04/the-dangerous-domino-effect-of-not-making-bail/477906/). They are marking Black August with another round of bailouts. We can donate to get more people out of jail at this link: https://nomoremoneybail.org/.
3. ProPublica, an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest, is investigating how Facebook handles hate speech, and is looking for input from Facebook users: "If you or someone you know reported a hateful post, or had one flagged as hateful, we’d like to hear about it, regardless of the outcome. Screenshots, links and exact wording are especially helpful, but please share whatever you have." Responses can be sent to the ProPublica bot via Facebook Messenger, or users can participate in ProPublica's survey. We can check out more information on the investigation, as well as how we can respond here: http://bit.ly/2vp0Z5s
4. United We Dream - Houston (UWD) and Pantsuit Republic (PSR) have started a campaign to offer direct aid to specific undocumented families who are unable to access FEMA through citizen household family members. UWD is an organization led by undocumented immigrant youth. PSR is a progressive Texas ally. These families will invariably bear the burden of Harvey harder and longer than others, with fewer resources for disaster recovery and as they concurrently grapple with SB4, a racist and anti-immigrant law set to take effect this Friday, September 1. In the same week that Harvey has temporarily displaced our families, SB4 threatens to permanently displace them. More on the convergence of these storms here: http://bit.ly/undocuhopevideo The Houston Mennonite Church, a 501(c)3 community partner in Deportation Defense, has agreed to serve as our fiscal sponsor. 100% of funds raised will directly benefit undocumented immigrant families. Let’s see how we can help: www.youcaring.com/undocuhope We can also take part in this Twitterstorm tonight at 8pm EDT: https://www.facebook.com/events/350636098703589/
5. From Postcards from Kate: The Islamic Society of Greater Houston is sheltering displaced residents in mosques and distributing goods to people in need. Read more here.
Thank ISGH President M. J. Khan for his service to the community: ISGH President M. J. Khan, 3110 Eastside Dr., Houston, TX 77098
6. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which among other good works tracks hate crimes in the U.S., has put together a handy guide for community resistance groups to use. The guide, downloadable as a PDF, "sets out 10 principles for fighting hate in your community." Item 1 on the list: "ACT." https://www.splcenter.org/20170814/ten-ways-fight-hate-community-response-guide Let’s find out what and how we can work against hate.
7. “The Response to Hurricane Harvey by Members of the Clinton Foundation Community; Ways to Support” Let’s check out these other ways we can help Texas: https://medium.com/clintonfoundation/the-response-to-hurricane-harvey-by-members-of-the-clinton-foundation-community-ways-to-support-d93449f31d61
8. From Indivisible: “In our introduction to inclusivity, we set out why we all need to make inclusivity a core focus of our advocacy and set out some practical steps on how to embed inclusivity into our groups. This document will set out guidelines for how to build inclusive partnerships, including who you can and should be reaching out to, and how to build trust and show respect when reaching out.” Let’s read up on this and starting doing it with our own groups: https://www.indivisibleguide.com/resource/build-inclusive-partnerships/
9. Sick of Trump/Republican lies and propaganda? Good news, everyone! There’s an Indivisible-like guide for fighting back! Written by writer/journalist Guy Bergstrom, we can download the handbook “Truth & Liberty: 33 Ways to Fight Lies, Propaganda & Oppression” from https://33ways.org/ . Pass it on!
1. Let’s tell Congress to fund FEMA, not the wall: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/937/783/998/fund-fema-not-the-wall/
2. We stand with the DREAMers. Let’s show Trump and Congress how many of us want DACA to stay: https://petitions.moveon.org/sign/i-stand-with-immigrant?source=homepage
Marches/events/teleconferences to attend/organize
1. Today, Thursday August 31st, Organizing For Action will be hosting a webinar which will focus on climate policy. We will be updated on progress that has been made at the national level, then discuss actions we can take at the state and local levels. Let's sign up to learn how we can become more involved in supporting policies which address climate change http://bit.ly/2woco2t
1. This Washington Post article itemizes Trump’s rule changes to date. Worth using up one of our free WaPo allowances for: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2017/08/24/what-trump-has-undone/
2. “'Antifa' violence in Berkeley spurs soul-searching within leftist activist community” - http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-far-left-violence-20170829-story.html
3. A bit of good news from a very difficult situation: 19 people have been indicted for attacking protestors during Erdogan’s visit in May: https://apnews.com/c024e1ccf1134ea9bae11b3e7a334fd4/19-indicted-for-attacking-protesters-during-Erdogan-US-visit Thank you to all who demanded justice for those attacked.