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Days Until Election


3/31/20

NATIONAL ISSUES


Contact all Federal Members of Congress
(includes contact info and links to social media)

Fax legislators for free:

Or use Resistbot:  https://resist.bot/

Or use StampsLicked to have messages hand-delivered to our own legislators:  https://stampslicked.org/



TRUMP/COVID: On Sunday, President Trump indicated that he thought holding the line at 100,000 COVID-19 deaths in the United States would be a “very good job”:  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/30/trump-says-keeping-us-covid-19-deaths-to-100000-would-be-a-very-good-job  Let’s let our MoC know that we expect them to stand up to a president who shows so little regard for our lives.

COVID LEGISLATION GAPS THAT NEED TO BE ADDRESSED:  The first three COVID-19 bills started the relief process for our country. Congress is now on recess through at least April 17 and more likely through at least the end of April, although Senator McConnell has indicated that they will monitor the situation and could return earlier. Members and their staff are already working remotely on a fourth bill.  https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/03/30/824150299/house-looks-at-4th-coronavirus-aid-package-pelosi-says-she-wont-get-test  Let’s tell all our MoCs that we want them to continue supporting all Americans who need help during these unparalleled times. 

LEGISLATIVE REMOTE VOTING:  The House and Senate have a lot of work ahead to get us through this pandemic, with talk already beginning about what will go into the next relief bill. It's going to be hard to do without either putting the lives of our elected officials at risk or reducing their accountability by relying on things like voice voting, which is why members on both sides of the aisle are calling for Congress to adopt remote voting to get us through the crisis. https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/23/congress-remote-voting-coronavirus-144119  Let's call our representatives in Washington and tell them we want them to make this transition until the worst is over. 

TELL JAILS TO RELEASE IMMIGRANT DETAINEES: Immigrant detainees, who are in crowded situations with limited access to sanitation are at high risk for COVID-19, and infections have already been reported.  https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2020/03/24/immigrant-detainees-are-sitting-on-a-covid-19-time-bombfirst-infection-reported/. The New Sanctuary Coalition is calling on people to make direct calls to jails. They have a script and a small list of detention centers they are targeting. We can also use this site to contact the corrections departments and individual facilities in our state. Let’s put pressure on the jails now to release detainees, as well as other non-violent incarcerated individuals.   

RELEASE MIGRANT CHILDREN FROM DETENTION: Four migrant children have tested positive for COVID-19 and a judge has ordered the government to “make continuous efforts” to release them from custody. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/29/us/coronavirus-migrant-children-detention-flores.html. Let’s ask our MoCs to prioritize this issue and put pressure on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to comply. We can also contact these organizations directly. (HHS Comment Line: 202-205-5445; https://www.facebook.com/HHS/; Twitter: @HHS.gov; ORR: 202-401-9246; Office of Refugee Resettlement, Administration for Children and Families, Mary E. Switzer Building, 330 C ST SW Room 5123, Washington, DC 20201.

RESIST DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ATTACKS ON CIVIL LIBERTIES: The Department of Justice has asked Congress for “coronavirus emergency powers,” which among other things would allow them to detain someone without trial.  https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/21/doj-coronavirus-emergency-powers-140023. This is a scary attack on our civil liberties from an administration that has already tried to broaden executive power. Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has warned us to remember our long history of governments using emergency powers to curtail civil rights and called the request abhorrent. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/justice-department/aoc-slams-reported-doj-effort-indefinitely-detain-people-during-emergency-n1166031. Let’s make sure our MoCs know that we’re aware of this backdoor effort to restrict our civil liberties and insist that they stand strong in rejecting these changes. 

SUPPORT AMAZON, INSTACART AND WHOLE FOODS WORKERS STRIKE: Workers at Amazon and Whole Foods are going on strike due to unsafe health conditions related to COVID and unsupportive paid leave policies. https://techcrunch.com/2020/03/30/amazon-warehouse-whole-foods-workers-strike/. At Whole Foods, the CEO, John Mackey, has asked workers to donate their paid time off to a sick bank, rather than cut into his or the corporation’s profits. And Whole Foods is owned by Amazon, whose CEO, Jeff Bezos, is one of the richest people in the world.  https://www.businessinsider.com/whole-foods-ceo-employees-donate-vacation-coronavirus-report-2020-3. Let’s contact Amazon, Instacart and Whole Foods and tell them we support their workers’ very reasonable demands and we will seek other delivery options until these demands are met.  

NATIVE AMERICAN RIGHTS: Interior Secretary David Bernhardt has ordered that the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe's reservation be disestablished and the land to be taken out of trust (https://wbur.fm/2wCaqAp). The action could have far-reaching consequences, not only in requiring the tribe to pay back taxes, closure of its court and police department, and the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe's complete inability to decide how to regulate its own land and natural resources, but it could also mean that the Interior Secretary could disestablish any tribe's land on a whim (https://wbur.fm/2UvU8lM).  This will benefit many as we follow the money:  https://democracylabs.kumu.io/pandemic-land-grab  First, let's contact Secretary Bernhardt and tell him that this needlessly cruel act is a mistake and he should reverse his decision. Mailing address: Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street, N.W., Washington DC, 20240, Phone: (202) 208-3100. Then, let's contact our senators and tell them that we want them to pass the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Reservation Reaffirmation Act (H.R. 312), which has been stalled in the Senate since last year. We can find a sample letter to send to our senators here: https://www.heron-hill.org/post/disestablish-reservation-land

HEALTH & SAFETY FOR INCARCERATED PEOPLE: The pandemic is an especially terrifying prospect for people who are currently incarcerated. Close quarters and unsanitary conditions means that there is an increased risk of COVID-19 spreading throughout jails and prisons. Essence has published a resource where we can find No Kids in Prison and Community Justice Exchange's demands to increase the safety and health of incarcerated people. Let's check it out, then contact our city and state officials and tell them that we expect them to take these demands seriously to ensure humane treatment and promote public health.

COMPLETE THE CENSUS ONLINE:  The US Census happens every ten years and the data are used for so many programs on which we rely.  The data gathered determine the amount of funding a community receives (for schools, hospitals, fire departments, etc.), how a community plans, and its representation in government.  https://www2.census.gov/about/partners/general/2020-faqs.pdf  Whether we’ve received the mailing with our Census code, we can complete it online in a short amount of time.  Let’s all make sure we do this to make sure we are counted:  https://my2020census.gov/

SAVE THE USPS: The current crisis is pushing the United States Postal Service to the edge: all they got in the stimulus package was a $10 billion loan, rather than a grant of $25 billion as was requested. Trump, who has wanted to privatize the USPS for a long time, had a hand in that: https://www.wusa9.com/article/news/politics/national-politics/congressman-says-trump-directly-involved-in-removing-stimulus-funds-for-postal-service/65-b6d16a3b-c10e-4404-acaf-f8b245145567 We cannot let this issue fall out of sight, not least because a functioning USPS is vital to our elections. Let's call our electeds to ask them how they'll ensure the future of our public, treasured, and efficient postal service.

COVID-19 RESOURCE HUB: From Pod Save the People: "Today we launch #WhileAtHome, a resource hub for anyone impacted by COVID-19. Get tested. Find grants & loans. Tools for teachers. Find job or apply for benefits. Organize. Tips for parents. Repair your small business. Volunteer. & much more." Let's check it out: https://whileathome.org/

SOURCE PPE, MEDICAL, AND SANITATION SUPPLIES FROM OUR SCHOOLS:  A New Jersey School district just collected all PPE, gloves, masks, goggles, medical supplies, as well as anti-bacterial wipes from every science department, nursing office, school security, school district building and grounds crew.  Partnering with local colleges, their 3D printing lab is also making face shields.  https://twitter.com/ZywickiR/status/1243168019691589641?s=19 and     https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/oak-park/ct-oak-oprf-ppe-donation-tl-0402-20200330-6g64b4qmwngrdklxcbtistskqm-story.html and https://www.telegram.com/news/20200323/central-mass-schools-donate-medical-supplies-to-hospitals  Let’s see if our schools can help gather and donate medical supplies too!

SUPPORT INDEPENDENT BOOKSELLERS: If we need to order books to help keep our minds occupied while we're home, let's consider ordering from an independent bookseller. Independent booksellers are struggling during this time. We can read this uplifting story about how readers put Powell's bookstore employees back to work at KATU.  We can find our local independent booksellers at IndieBound.org    

BECOMING A "SHOPPING ANGEL" FOR THOSE WHO CAN'T SHOP FOR THEMSELVES: The threat of coronavirus puts many older people and folks with compromised immune systems in an impossible spot - it's dangerous for them to be out of their homes, but there are some things they just can't live without. A pre-med student in Nevada has responded to this by creating "Shopping Angels," a network of volunteers to pick up their groceries for them (https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/17/us/coronavirus-student-volunteers-grocery-shop-elderly-iyw-trnd/index.html). Let's join the Shopping Angels on Facebook, and promote the service to those who want to help and those who could use it:  https://www.facebook.com/shoppingangelsinc/.

GE WORKERS DEMAND THAT THE COMPANY MANUFACTURE VENTILATORS: Workers at General Electric are demanding that the company rehire laid-off employees to manufacture desperately needed hospital ventilators, and improve protections for employees against the coronavirus.  https://www.bizjournals.com/boston/news/2020/03/30/labor-unions-demand-ge-make-ventilators-using-laid.html Let’s 1) contact H. Lawrence Culp, Jr., Chairman and CEO, General Electric Company, 5 Necco St, Boston, MA 02210; 617-443-3000, and tell him to support the workers’ demands on both counts, and 2) thank the workers’ union for advocating for the manufacture of ventilators and express support for the health and safety of GE’s employees. https://www.iue-cwa.org/contact

THERAPIST PROVIDES COPING SKILLS FOR THE CORONAVIRUS QUARANTINE: A therapist who has seen many patients understandably anxious about the coronavirus has put together a list of her best advice for coping with this difficult time. We can read through this to find strategies and coping skills that work for us, then share this info with family and friends who are interested: http://www.sfu.ca/olc/blog/my-ssp/mental-health-wellness-tips-quarantine

COVID-19: HOW TO BE SAFE AND RESILIENT: Northeastern University is offering a free online course, accessible to everyone, described as a “‘one stop shop’ of credible, digestible collection of skills to help manage and survive the pandemic.” We can find the course and other information, here: https://news.northeastern.edu/coronavirus/how-to-be-safe-and-resilient/

VIRTUAL POSTCARDING PARTIES:  Let’s get together with our postcarding friends on Zoom or some other virtual online platform and write some postcards:  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1rxbqxGfel8aArHHkgZc74Tlb0hlf0NwATSx368cf8tY/edit?usp=sharing

ELECTION/VOTING

VOTE BY MAIL:  Now we know that the GOP is fearful of election results with more user-friendly voting reforms. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/mar/30/trump-republican-party-voting-reform-coronavirus Voting-by-mail makes a lot of sense, particularly under pandemic conditions.  From Postcards for America: Here is a web site that sets out rules for voting by mail in each state, along with links to request vote-by-mail (absentee) ballots. Request vote-by-mail status now, and you won't be in a quandary if we're still social distancing in November. And if you have a vote-by-mail ballot, you're much less apt to wind up missing the election if an emergency of some kind arises (car trouble, sick cat, food poisoning...).  Let’s check it out here:  https://www.postcardsforamerica.com/vote-by-mail.html

14 PRIMARIES POSTPONED. New York is the latest state to postpone its primary, moving it from April 28 to June 2. (CBSNews.com). We can check out a summary on all 14 states at CNN.  If we are voters in these states, let's mark the rescheduled date on our calendars.

ENCOURAGE VOTE BY MAIL. The Postcard To Voters' campaign to reach every Florida Democrat not yet signed up for Vote By Mail (VBM) continues. The current campaign is to reach voters in diverse and populous Miami-Dade County. (#FLDemsVBM) Let's request 5 addresses today to support this campaign.

STATE/LOCAL

ALL:  URGE STATE LEADERS TO FOLLOW UNITED STATES OF CARE PRIORITIES CHECKLIST: Andy Slavitt, Obama’s former ACA head, now runs United States of Care, a task force on battling the Coronavirus in the US. They have just released their Best Practices guide, aimed at all Governors, but especially those in states not fully hit by the virus yet.  We can read this COVID-19 Priorities Checklist then press our state leaders to take actions: https://unitedstatesofcare.org/covid-19/priorities-checklist-for-state-leaders/

CA: RELIEF FOR UNDOCUMENTED WORKERS: Undocumented workers are among the hardest hit during the Coronavirus crisis, but now there is some aid available for who have lost their jobs or income as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak, Legal Aid at Work has compiled a list of relief funds. They also have information on legal rights on their page and all of the information is available in Spanish as well. We can check out these financial and legal resources for undocumented workers then share through social media, concerned groups, or wherever we think can spread the message:  https://legalaidatwork.org/blog/relief-funds/

MI: BE A VOLUNTEER: The State of Michigan has created a website where we can all find ways to help pitch in to fight against COVID-19. From former healthcare workers, to blood donors, to community members willing to pitch in time, there is something that we can do. For those of us who are at-risk and in need of help, we can also visit the website to request assistance. Let's check it out and learn how we can each help: http://michigan.gov/fightcovid19

NY: MOUNT SINAI COVID-19 PLASMA PROJECT—Mount Sinai Hospital needs plasma donations from those who have recovered from covid-19. The hospital will use the antibodies to treat critically ill patients with the disease. If we are in NY and have recovered from covid-19, let’s see how we can donate our plasma and perhaps save lives:  https://inside.mountsinai.org/blog/mount-sinai-to-begin-the-transfer-of-covid-19-antibodies-into-critically-ill-patients/

RALLIES/GATHERINGS/TRAININGS/GROUP ACTIONS/TWEETSTORMS

READING/WATCHING


What Coronavirus Actually Does to the Human Body - https://laughingsquid.com/what-coronavirus-does-to-human-body/

Dr. Fauci Answers Trevor’s Questions About Coronavirus: The Daily Social Distancing Show:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8A3jiM2FNR8&feature=youtu.be

The missing six weeks: how Trump failed the biggest test of his life - https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/mar/28/trump-coronavirus-politics-us-health-disaster

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We can stay up to date on Congress by checking out their schedules. a) The House publishes a weekly schedule at The Weekly Leader (published and dated Friday) as well as daily schedules at The Daily Leader. b) The Senate updates their schedule daily at the Senate Floor Schedule






3/30/20

On Mondays, Rogan’s List features a listing of proposed rule and regulation changes that are currently accepting public comment.  Commenting is the way to show government agencies how we feel about these proposed changes. Our comments also become part of a record that will be reviewed by courts if and when a reg change is contested. Courts use comments to judge whether an agency is acting arbitrarily and capriciously.

    Organization

Closing Soon
Recent   
Section I - ICE, DHS, DOL, NLRB
Section II - everything environmental - EPA, BLM, DOE
Section III - Civil rights, housing, education, healthcare
Other: More on regulations (tracking the trackers/general information)  

(Note: After a couple of weeks items are moved from “Recent” and “Closing soon” into the Roman numeral sections. A note on regulatory processes: there are three stages - Notice, Proposed Rule, and Rule. There’s usually a time lag of a few months to a few years between them, and they must be published in the Federal Register before appearing on Regulations.gov. Comment time varies from 10 days to 2 months, sometimes with extensions.)

Here is this week's list - Right now, regulations.gov is a moving target because of the coronavirus emergency. One concern federal employee unions have is lack of protection for them, suspension of rules - in the "recent" section there are numerous changes enacted/proclaimed because of the pandemic - it goes across agencies. Some deadlines extended. Some offices close - some actions are by letter rather than proposed reg or notice - that takes a while to do. I’ve made the ‘tracking the trackers’ part a link to reduce size. There is a lot of stuff, and it's a moving target.




3/26/20

NATIONAL ISSUES


Contact all Federal Members of Congress
(includes contact info and links to social media)

Fax legislators for free:

Or use Resistbot:  https://resist.bot/

Or use StampsLicked to have messages hand-delivered to our own legislators:  https://stampslicked.org/



THIRD CORONAVIRUS BILL:  The Senate voted last night 96-0 to approve the current coronavirus rescue package.  https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/25/senate-vote-coronavirus-rescue-package-deal-148135  While the bill has many welcome positives, it is concerning that it will not be enough for New York, which is our epicenter of the virus.  https://www.marketwatch.com/story/gov-andrew-cuomo-says-2-trillion-stimulus-bill-is-terrible-for-new-york-2020-03-25  This bill will now move to the House.  Let’s call our MoCs and remind them that we are counting on them to make sure we are all protected as much as possible.

HUMAN LIVES VS BUSINESS PROFIT:  Trump is getting nervous about the stock market crash and the failing economy and is now saying that he would like to ease restrictions on social distancing, send the country back to work, and see packed churches by Easter, which is barely three weeks away. https://www.chicagotribune.com/coronavirus/ct-nw-coronavirus-trump-restrictions-reopen-20200324-mgnfnxy3xvgpzapcynflxouaga-story.html and  https://time.com/5808541/coronavirus-donald-trump-economy-public-health/ This goes against all recommendations from public health officials and would likely lead to a spike in the number of coronavirus deaths because hospitals would be overwhelmed. And some of his cronies are saying even worse things, like the Lieutenant Governor of Texas, Dan Patrick, who said that senior citizens should sacrifice their health so that younger people can have access to an America they have always known. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/03/24/covid-19-texas-official-suggests-elderly-willing-die-economy/2905990001/  The Director of The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security addresses the notion of loosening social distancing measures, spelling out and warning against what that would mean:  https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1242232846900756482.html   Let’s call the White House and our MoCs and tell them we’re not giving up our grandparents for Lent. We refuse to sacrifice the lives of our elderly loved ones or anyone else to preserve the stock market. Let’s also call our governors and ask them to institute or retain social distancing measures, despite what the president does.

DEFENSE PRODUCTION ACT: Although Trump has invoked the Defense Production Act (DPA), he has yet to actually use it (https://n.pr/2Jbbb69). Meanwhile, medical workers are running out of personal protective equipment (PPE), and are forced to ration and reuse gear, or use supplies that offer inadequate protection from COVID-19 (https://bit.ly/2WGhNBd). This not only puts these care workers at risk personally, but also puts other patients in danger and increases the likelihood that we will lose healthcare workers as the coronavirus spreads. Were Trump to use the power of the DPA, he could demand that businesses manufacture the equipment needed to fight COVID-19, rather than relying on the goodwill of a few companies. Bipartisan members of Congress in both the House and Senate have introduced the Medical Supply Chain Emergency Act, which would force the president to utilize the Defense Production Act to require the production of medical equipment. The bill has yet to be published or numbered, but let's still contact each of our MoCs and tell them that we support the Medical Supply Chain Emergency Act and want the president to use the DPA immediately.

IMMIGRATION AND DETENTION: Over 160 organizations have signed onto a letter to Attorney General William Barr, asking him to "halt immigration prosecutions and stop bringing charges of unauthorized entry against immigrants at the border" in order to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect public health. This is part of a larger push to not only halt prosecutions, but to also release detained immigrants and prevent the spread of the coronavirus in detention facilities, which are ill-prepared to handle any health crisis (https://n.pr/3ajs36r). Let's read through the letter, then let’s contact the Department of Justice Comment and ask that they halt prosecution and detainment of immigrants:  https://www.justice.gov/contact-us We can also join medical professionals in asking ICE Acting Director Matthew T. Albence to release detained individuals and families: Acting Director Matthew T. Albence, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, 500 12th St. SW, Washington, D.C. 20536

LINK CORRECTION:  RELEASE HELD UP COVID FUNDS ALLOCATED TO THE AMERICAN INDIAN HEALTH SERVICE: Funds from the first coronavirus relief bill that were designated for Native American tribes have been held up due to bureaucratic snafus. In the meantime, the American Indian Health Service is dangerously low on medical supplies and equipment. https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/20/coronavirus-american-indian-health-138724  Let’s make sure that the Native American Community knows we have their back and put pressure on our MoCs to solve this problem.  

MUTUAL AID GROUPS POPPING UP: “As lockdowns and layoffs sweep the U.S., mutual aid groups are forming to protect and provide for the vulnerable, including the elderly, incarcerated, undocumented and unhoused. We look at the incredible community networks across the country that are coming together to protect their neighbors during the coronavirus pandemic — and how you can get involved.”  https://www.democracynow.org/2020/3/20/coronavirus_community_response_mutual_aid and https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2020/3/24/21188779/mutual-aid-coronavirus-covid-19-volunteering  Local areas are creating Facebook groups, protocols, and documents to help during this time.  Here is an example of what one small county produced:  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1FYcqcbY2qMuuy75GIIM9UuqvFR_-YlVKfFcrqJOy9mw/edit  Let’s see if our area has one of these and how we can help. 


TELL GOVERNORS OF TEXAS AND OHIO NOT TO USE COVID-19 AS AN EXCUSE FOR RESTRICTING ABORTIONS: Using the excuse of recent directives to delay elective procedures so that hospitals are not overwhelmed during the coronavirus pandemic, the governors of Ohio and Texas have included abortion in their list of non-essential surgeries. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/23/us/coronavirus-texas-ohio-abortion.html. The problem is, abortion cannot be delayed, and it is safest when done as early in a pregnancy as possible. Let’s tell Governor Greg Abbott and Governor Mike DeWine that abortion is a basic women’s right and to stop playing politics with our health. 

CLOSE ALL IMMIGRATION COURTS NOW:  While many state and federal courts have been closed, the decisions on whether or not to close immigration courts are being made directly by the Department of Justice in consultation with the White House, and many of these courts are still open for business, creating unnecessary high risk for exposure to coronavirus for immigrants, their attorneys, and anyone who works in the court system (as well as anyone they subsequently come in contact with.)  https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/immigration/article241335126.html?. Let’s call the Department of Justice (202-353-1555; 950 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC, 20530-0001; website form; Facebook; Twitter: @TheJustice Dept.) now and demand that all immigration courts be closed and all those in detention awaiting hearings be released until the pandemic threat has passed.

DIY SURGICAL MASKS UPDATE:  All over the world people are answering the call for more surgical masks for health professionals.  https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/24/us/sewing-groups-masks-coronavirus-wellness-trnd/index.html  The best advice is to remember that homemade masks are only rated to be "better than nothing for drop protection" by the CDC. They are in no way "CDC-approved,” “equivalent to N95 masks,” or anything like that, and that it is important to make the type your local health professionals want, unless you’re making them for friends/family, then do whatever. There are many versions of the mask instructions available, for example, Here’s the chosen mask style for Ventura County, CA:  https://indivisibleventura.org/2020/03/23/mon-3-23-its-time-to-do-more/ They like this one because it’s ferociously strong, (they estimate needing them for 5 months) and it doesn’t have elastic, which would dissolve in the hospital laundry and could trigger latex allergies. Let’s contact our local hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, nursing homes, etc. to find out what they need, then keep sewing!

ENGAGING MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS IN ACTIVISM: If we are looking for ways our Middle and High School students can develop their activist abilities, we can check this Zoom meeting next Tuesday. The Empower And Help Global Awareness Challenge 2020 is holding weekly Zoom sessions to discuss their upcoming Global Challenge and Online Volunteering Opportunities for middle and high school students. Sessions will be held on Tuesdays starting March31 at 4:00PM – 5:00PM EST. We can fill out the contact form below to register for the discussion and learn more about online student volunteering opportunities for middle and high school students, and the Empower And Help Global Awareness Challenge where they can research and design solutions to global problems:  https://empowerandhelp.com/students-volunteer-online/

ABORTIONS BARRED IN TEXAS, MISSISSIPPI, AND OHIO: Texas and Ohio have calculatedly used the coronavirus pandemic to end surgical abortions.  In Texas, they have been deemed "not immediately medically necessary"; in Ohio, the excuse is that such abortions, being elective and nonessential, must cease in order to preserve personal protective equipment:  https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/03/25/coronavirus-abortions-elective-surgery-nonessential/5077665002/ Let’s tell TX Governor Greg Abbott at 512-463-2000, OH Governor Mike DeWine at 614-644-4357, and MS Governor Tate Reeves at 601-359-3150 that we are not so gullible or stupid as to believe that they are not exploiting the pandemic crisis to further their anti-abortion agendas and doctors need to make this call.

COVID-19—HOW TO PUT AWAY GROCERIES: Michigan family physician Jeffrey VanWingen, MD, created a public service announcement showing how to keep our groceries from spreading coronavirus in our homes. Let’s watch and share his video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjDuwc9KBps&feature=share

PROTECTING THE VOTE IN THE TIME OF COVID-19—Nearly 200 organizations are urging Congress to include in forthcoming coronavirus economic stimulus package $2 billion in protections for voting in the 2020 primaries and general election. Let’s read the letter, http://civilrightsdocs.info/pdf/policy/letters/2020/COVID-19-TF-Co-Chair-Funding-Letter-FINAL3.22.20.pdf , and let’s send the link with a message of our support and approval to our Members of Congress.

ELECTION/VOTING

STATE/LOCAL

ALL:  WATER SHUT-OFFS: Governors have the power to stop all water shutoffs and to order the restoration of water service to any household previously denied water for nonpayment of water bills. Despite the unremitting public health directives to wash with soap and water, many governors haven't taken this critical step to protect their constituents: https://www.propublica.org/article/some-towns-still-havent-halted-utility-shut-offs-for-unpaid-water-bills-during-coronavirus-even-as-federal-lawmakers-demand-it  If our governor has not taken this essential action, we should demand that they do it immediately.  By phone, or by using the tool for writing the governor provided by Food & Water Watch: https://secure.foodandwateraction.org/act/governors-no-water-shutoffs-during-pandemic

CA: DONATIONS NEEDED FOR UNDOCUMENTED WORKERS: Undocumented workers, a major part of our restaurant and food service workforce, are often the hardest hit in any crisis and this one is no exception. They cannot work during the shutdown, nor qualify for government bailouts to help them out,so  Los Angeles’ Va’La’ Hospitality has started No Us Without You. Using their former workspace as a pantry, their goal is to provide families with a weeks’ worth of food. We can find out more about this project to help feed undocumented workers out during this crisis, and access a link to donate if we are able to: https://www.lamag.com/digestblog/no-us-without-you-undocumented/

NY: PEOPLE RECOVERED FROM COVID-19 NEEDED AS PLASMA DONORS TO FIGHT THE DISEASE: If we have recently recovered from COVID, the city needs our help saving lives. Mount Sinai Health System tells us that, "Patients recently recovered from COVID-19 have high levels of immunity in the form of antibodies in their blood that can be transfused into very sick COVID-19 patients in our hospitals. This treatment is known as “human convalescent plasma” and has been used in previous pandemics. We are ready to start treating patients later this week, but need your help. If you have recently recovered from COVID-19, please volunteer to have your blood tested to see if you have high levels of antibodies. If your antibody levels are high, we will work with you to see if you are both willing and qualified to donate plasma at a nearby blood donation center. You could save a life. If you can help, please email us at COVIDSerumTesting@mountsinai.org."

RALLIES/GATHERINGS/TRAININGS/GROUP ACTIONS/TWEETSTORMS

READING/WATCHING

Court sides with tribes in Dakota Access Pipeline case, ordering full environmental review - https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/489488-court-sides-with-tribes-in-dakota-access-pipeline-case-ordering

That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief - https://hbr.org/2020/03/that-discomfort-youre-feeling-is-grief

The Promise and Paradox of Community - https://margaretwheatley.com/articles/paradox.html

Heather Cox Richardson’s First Weekly Politics and History Chat - https://www.facebook.com/heathercoxrichardson/videos/608333999748366/

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We can stay up to date on Congress by checking out their schedules. a) The House publishes a weekly schedule at The Weekly Leader (published and dated Friday) as well as daily schedules at The Daily Leader. b) The Senate updates their schedule daily at the Senate Floor Schedule




3/24/20

NATIONAL ISSUES


Contact all Federal Members of Congress
(includes contact info and links to social media)

Fax legislators for free:

Or use Resistbot:  https://resist.bot/

Or use StampsLicked to have messages hand-delivered to our own legislators:  https://stampslicked.org/



CORONAVIRUS BAILOUT:  As of Monday afternoon, things are evolving or devolving by the hour in the Senate’s efforts to pass a bailout package: 
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/23/coronavirus-us-bailout-what-you-need-to-know  The GOP is focused on corporations more than individuals. As Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) tweeted over the weekend, “We need a bill that does more for the working folks who are struggling the most, not no-strings bailouts for corporations. The Senate will get something done for the American people, but we need to stop wasting time on political games.”   https://twitter.com/SenDougJones/status/1241885771755331584  Let’s contact our MoC to say that we need a people-based bailout and no one that lines the pockets of corporations with slush-funds.

NO SURGICAL MASKS FOR ICE: With hospitals and health centers all over the country feeling the acute shortage of protective medical gear, and health care workers being told to re-use masks or make cloth ones, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/19/coronavirus-medical-supplies-138290, ICE has recently ordered 45,000 surgical masks so that agents can be protected when they round up undocumented people.  https://beta.sam.gov/opp/b34a20873ba141619348b52223702570/viewLet’s tell the person who made this order, amanda.stought@ice.dhs.gov, 202-732-2544 that at this time of crisis, we need to prioritize getting medical equipment to health care workers, and ICE should do the right thing and cancel this order. Let’s make sure our MoCs are aware of this inappropriate request. 

RELEASE DETAINED IMMIGRANTS AND ALL NON-VIOLENT INCARCERATED OFFENDERS: 38 people have already tested positive for COVID-19 in New York City Jails. https://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/38-positive-coronavirus-nyc-jails-including-rikers-69731911. And the close conditions and limited access to basic sanitary supplies result in a much higher risk for those who are incarcerated. These populations include undocumented residents of our communities, people awaiting trial who have no money for bail, and people whose offenses are non-violent and whose release does not present a public threat to our communities. https://www.npr.org/2020/03/21/819275605/growing-calls-to-close-immigration-courts-and-release-detainees-as-virus-spreads. Let’s call our governor, the corrections departments in our state, and our state and local legislators and demand that anyone who fits these three categories should be released now in order to minimize the spread of the virus. 

RELEASE HELD UP COVID FUNDS ALLOCATED TO THE AMERICAN INDIAN HEALTH SERVICE: Funds from the first coronavirus relief bill that were designated for Native American tribes have been held up due to bureaucratic snafus. In the meantime, the American Indian Health Service is dangerously low on medical supplies and equipment. https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/20/coronavirus-american-indian-health-138724 Let’s make sure that the Native American Community knows we have their back and put pressure on our MoCs to solve this problem.  

DEFENSE PRODUCTION ACT:  Despite desperate pleas from governors of states hard-hit by the coronavirus, Trump refuses to use the powers of an act designed for precisely this kind of situation; claiming he has “invoked” the act, he has nevertheless not required that companies prioritize the production of “scarce and critical material” much less used the “allocation authority” granted him under the act to tell firms they must give the government the right to purchase above anyone else. Instead he has conjured up Venezuela-style “nationalization” of industry—not possible under this act—to frighten already frightened Americans:  https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/03/23/819926854/fact-check-trump-compares-defense-production-act-to-nationalization  Just as we must expose all the other lies about this pandemic, we must expose and deplore Trump’s doublespeak—"invoking” but not using the Production Act, l calling mandatory production in an emergency "nationalization".  Let’s tell our Congresspeople to demand that Trump employ the power he has so blithely relegated to himself.  This is not a moment to depend on industrial voluntarism; it’s a moment to force the production of life-saving medical supplies.

FOOD BANKS & COVID-19: Your local food bank is most likely experiencing shortages of volunteer help as well as funding. Many of the folks who've lost their livelihoods during this crisis are going to need their help. Let’s look them up online and contribute our time or money if you can, or contribute to this large and reputable organization: 

PROTECT MAIN STREET: Most family & small businesses are the foundations of our local communities. They operate and support our local economies. The losses our family & small businesses are about to endure are going to be profound.  Project Main Street is working for a grant program of these businesses.  We can follow them on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/protectmainstreet/ and sign this:  https://www.change.org/p/congress-protect-main-street-family-small-business-grants-to-stabilize-america

NATIONAL CLEARINGHOUSE HELPS DISTRIBUTE MEDICAL EQUIPMENT TO FIGHT COVID-19: Hospitals are in desperate need of masks and to other medical equipment to safely fight against the spread of COVID-19 and save lives, while the Trump administration is dragging its heels. To help out, The National COVID-19 Medical Equipment Clearinghouse is working with governments, suppliers and hospitals to get badly needed PPE to our frontline healthcare teams. Right now, rapid response teams are coordinating with manufacturers globally with the capacity to produce. Within weeks, millions of units of personal protective equipment (PPE) should be available for distribution.  https://www.forbes.com/sites/tjmccue/2020/03/22/project-n95-launches-to-battle-2020-shortage-of-n95-masks-during-coronavirus-outbreak/#6e6efac0445e    If we are hospitals looks for supplies, manufacturers looking to help, or state or local governments looking to help coordinate, we can learn more and sign up here:  https://www.projectn95.com/

COVID-19/DISABILITY RIGHTS: Disability rights are consistently being left out of conversations about relief packages, by politicians across the political spectrum (https://ampr.gs/2QDGNVV). For the next COVID-19 spending bill, let's make sure that Congress no longer neglects the disability community. Let's check out the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network's COVID-19 action alert, which has specific things that we can ask our members of Congress to include in the next bill, as well as contact info and tweets we can send out: https://autisticadvocacy.org/2020/03/action-alert-covid19-relief/

COVID-19/HEALTHCARE ACCESS: United We Dream has created a resource for undocumented people who are in need of healthcare. Community healthcare centers are listed for all fifty states, plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. Let's be sure to share this resource so that everyone in the country can feel safe when seeking medical assistance: https://unitedwedream.org/2020/03/healthcare-access-for-undocumented-folks-in-the-time-of-covid19/

COVID-19/MENTAL HEALTH: Dealing with a global pandemic, fears about job security, and financial instability, among other worries, is creating or exacerbating anxiety in so many of us. Let's make sure that we are taking care of ourselves during this crisis. We can start by working through the strategies and framework detailed here, then if we need more help, check out the resources listed at the bottom of the article: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/mar/19/coronavirus-anxiety-mental-health-wellbeing

HEALTHCARE/BLOOD SHORTAGE: The coronavirus has taken a foothold in each state, and in order to follow CDC guidelines and practice social distancing, the Red Cross has canceled more than 5,000 blood drives. The U.S. is now facing a blood shortage (https://bit.ly/2Uab295). Still, the FDA has not lifted its ban on donations from men who have had sex with other men in the past year. Let's contact FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn and tell him that this discriminatory, outdated rule needs to end and that we want him to lift the ban. We can reach him via e-mail: CommissionerFDA@fda.hhs.gov, on Twitter @SteveFDA or by mail to Dr. Stephen M. Hahn, Commissioner of Food and Drugs, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061 Rockville, MD 20852

PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH:   “Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) just confirmed that he went about his daily business as a U.S. senator for a week while there was a possibility he had coronavirus. Turns out, he did test positive — meaning that Paul brought the virus right into the halls the U.S. Capitol. Paul’s decision has real legislative impacts. Utah’s GOP Sens. Mike Lee and Mitt Romney both said they would self-quarantine now after spending time with Paul over the past few days. Congress has no way to vote remotely, though some lawmakers are trying to change that. That means Paul, Lee and Romney won’t get to vote on the relief package. That tightens Senate Republicans’ margins to get it passed.”  https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/03/23/what-was-rand-paul-thinking/
While we are following the social distancing rules and many more in mandatory shelter in place rules, the senate and congress need to follow these rules as well.  Let’s remind our MOCs to practice the same precautions we are doing.  We are all needed to flatten the curve. 

VOTE BY MAIL: Amidst the Coronavirus crisis, instituting vote by mail is the only way to keep our elections equitable and on track.  Several bills have been introduced to assist states in expanding vote-by-mail for this November’s election. https://thehill.com/policy/technology/488334-democratic-senators-introduce-bill-to-promote-mail-in-voting-during and https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2020/03/18/coronavirus-pandemic-america-vote-by-mail-2020-election-column/5068527002/ Let’s contact our MoCs to demand they fight to include the Natural Disaster and Emergency Ballot Act (not yet numbered) and/or the Resilient Elections During Quarantines and Natural Disasters Act of 2020 (S. 3440/H.R. 6202)   in the next coronavirus relief package. We can contact them through this handy form prepared by Indivisible:  https://indivisible.org/demand-your-senators-ensure-safe-secure-elections-during-covid-19-outbreak

MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS LOOKING FOR REMOTE VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES:  If we are looking for remote help with NON-POLITICAL volunteering activities, students from EmpowerandHelp, a social good humanitarian platform, are looking to get involved to help remotely. There are many students who would like to help remotely in the times of global crisis we are facing right now. Please comment with your need and will see if we can find the match to help. These students are middle or high school students.  We can send an email with our volunteer needs to contactus@empowerandhelp.com and they will try to match us with middle and high school students eager to help.

HEATHER COX RICHARDSON DOING WEEKLY INFORMATIVE FACEBOOK LIVE PRESENTATIONS:  The author of the daily Letters from an American, historian Heather Cox Richardson, is starting two weekly Facebook Live sessions to share her knowledge:  1) at 4:00 EST on Tuesdays, she will answer questions people have asked about politics and history, and 2) at 1:00 EST on Thursdays, she will take us on a trip through American history, loosely based on her new book.  Let’s join in:  https://www.facebook.com/heathercoxrichardson/

POSTCARDING OPPORTUNITY:  From one of our own:  We may be forced to isolate from one another, but we can still raise our voices together! Please use/share/distribute these write-ups however you can. We can be LOUD!   https://docs.google.com/document/d/1LwGoBWwcXZh0NwFY5canuA-Y7BgolRy5lgWq78v2VQY/edit?usp=sharing

MASKS FOR WORKERS:  From one of our own:  My cousin Liz is a neonatal intensive care nurse and an amazing seamstress. Here's her pattern for sewn-at-home mask covers. They're needed everywhere right now. Pull out your fabric stash, choose some uplifting prints, and get going!  https://costumecrazed.me/2020/03/20/diy-fabric-mask-cover-covid-19-ppe-helper/  or https://www.makevictorymasks.org/ Then, let’s find out where they are needed in our community:  hospitals, pharmacies, etc.

ELECTION/VOTING

PRIMARIES POSTPONED. In addition to the states that announced their postponements last week (info at CNN), the following have announced postponements: a) Connecticut: from April 28 to June 2. (The Hill); b) Indiana: from May 5 to June 2 (Politico); c) North Carolina runoff election: from May 12 to June 23 (SpectrumNews); d) Puerto Rico: from March 29 to [no earlier than] April 26. (Politico). Let's mark our calendars now the new dates. 

CRAFTIVISM TIME! Creating postcards to help get out the vote can be a fun, family activity! Young activists can create fun drawings and older activists can help with writing and addressing. We can look at Postcards To Voters (P2V) for ideas. If we are already approved volunteers, let's request 5 addresses for an open campaign today. If we are new the P2V effort, we can sign up here

STATE/LOCAL

MI: SCHOOL PAY/FORGIVENESS: From the Michigan Education Association: "The Michigan House and Senate met last Tuesday to handle matters related to the coronavirus -- but Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey adjourned his chamber before taking action on critical legislation to keep ALL school employees paid and forgive school districts for the days of education missed due to the ongoing school closures caused by the COVID-19 outbreak." Let's contact our state MoC and tell them that we want them to pass the School Aid Supplemental bill (SB 373) immediately. We can also contact Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and ask him to reconvene the Senate ASAP to pass this bipartisan bill: (517) 373-5932 

MI: LGBTQ RIGHTS: Fair and Equal Michigan has launched a petition drive to get a measure on the 2020 ballot prohibiting discrimination against LGBTQ individuals by including sexual orientation and gender identity or expression in the definition of "sex" under the Michigan Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act of 1976. With the heavy presence of COVID-19 throughout the state, however, Michiganders must practice social distancing, making it all the more difficult to collect the more than 340,000 signatures required to get the proposal on the ballot (https://bit.ly/2WHaoBX). Fortunately, those of us who are registered voters in Michigan can now request petitions directly from Fair and Equal Michigan. Let's request a petition, then wash our hands before and after filling it out:

RALLIES/GATHERINGS/TRAININGS/GROUP ACTIONS/TWEETSTORMS

READING/WATCHING

‘I’m going to keep pushing.’ Anthony Fauci tries to make the White House listen to facts of the pandemic - https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/03/i-m-going-keep-pushing-anthony-fauci-tries-make-white-house-listen-facts-pandemic


Please Stop Treating Me Like I'm Disposable When You Talk About the Coronavirus - https://www.huffpost.com/entry/disabled-immunocompromised-people-coronavirus_n_5e6a6acfc5b6dda30fc51c2f


Why we’re not overreacting to the coronavirus, in one chart - https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2020/3/20/21179040/coronavirus-us-italy-not-overreacting

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We can stay up to date on Congress by checking out their schedules. a) The House publishes a weekly schedule at The Weekly Leader (published and dated Friday) as well as daily schedules at The Daily Leader. b) The Senate updates their schedule daily at the Senate Floor Schedule