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ENDING ASYLYUM: Last week the Trump administration announced its plans to END asylum in the United States. The proposed regulation would apply to people seeking asylum at the border AND those who come to the US on a visa and seek asylum. Worse, this regulation may even apply to people who have already applied for asylum. This could impact thousands. The period for making a public comment in opposition to this inhumane regulation is only open through JULY 15. https://thehill.com/opinion/immigration/502881-the-end-of-asylum-for-now Let’s use this information from the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project (ILAP): https://ilapmaine.org/ilap-news/2020/protect-asylum, and then leave a comment here: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/06/15/2020-12575/procedures-for-asylum-and-withholding-of-removal-credible-fear-and-reasonable-fear-review?fbclid=IwAR1M4Xa5Xn5dcUY2-l0ek4bD0GflGjtR2R8AH9LULs_XzTUGoXYrYOs4tuc
FEDERAL FUNDING FOR COVID TESTING: We all know Trump’s fear of COVID-positive numbers and his flawed reasoning that with less testing the national numbers would be lower. We were reassured by Dr. Anthony’s Fauci’s Congressional testimony this week that, in fact, testing will be expanded. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/fauci-says-u-s-will-expand-testing-not-slow-it-n1231877 However, concern heightened yesterday with the report that federal funding for “13 coronavirus testing sites, which are currently located in five states: Illinois, New Jersey, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Texas” will soon end. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/24/coronavirus-federal-government-to-end-funding-some-covid-19-test-sites.html This came on the same day that “across the United States, more than 36,000 new infections were reported by state health departments on Wednesday — surpassing the previous single-day record of 34,203 set on April 25.” https://politicalwire.com/2020/06/24/u-s-coronavirus-cases-hit-new-daily-high/ As Chuck Schumer tweeted: “The admin has $14 billion for testing and tracing that they haven’t spent. But President Trump thinks the right move is to pull federal support for testing out of hotspot areas!?” While it appears that states will take over these testing sites, let’s make sure that our MoCs know that we want the federal government to use these funds to assist states which are already so over-burdened by COVID.
PROTEST DEPORTATION AIRLINE BAILOUT: While most of the major passenger airlines are struggling during the pandemic, Omni Air’s business is booming because it specializes in “high-risk” deportations for the Department of Homeland Security. Nevertheless, the airline received $67 million of taxpayer dollars in coronavirus bailout funds. https://news.yahoo.com/deportation-airline-secures-67-million-in-coronavirus-bailout-161219076.html. The company’s parent group, ATSG, has been a major donor to the Republican party. Let’s protest this unethical and unnecessary bailout to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin (202-622-2000; 1500 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20220; Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ustreasury/; Twitter: @stevenmnuchin1) and also ask our MoCs to investigate this and similar breaches of ethics.
PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICIALS THREATENED: Public health officials are being driven from their posts amid increasing online attacks—and in the midst of a pandemic, when we need them more than ever. “A review by Kaiser Health News and The Associated Press,” the NY Times reports, “finds at least 27 state and local health leaders have resigned, retired or been fired since April across 13 states”: https://khn.org/news/public-health-officials-face-wave-of-threats-pressure-amid-coronavirus-response/ or https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2020/06/12/us/ap-us-virus-outbreak-invisible-army.html While we cannot protect them from harm, we can make our support of public health officials clear by contacting Lori Tremmel Freeman, CEO of the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) at 202-507-4271 or 1201 Eye Street, NW, 4th Floor, Washington, DC 20005 and by urging our state or county public health agencies to see that these “essential” workers have whatever they need to stay safe. We can also counter the hateful messages directed at public health officials on Facebook and other social media on those same platforms.
JUSTICE FOR BREONNA TAYLOR: It took three months, but the officer who shot Breonna Taylor was fired. https://apnews.com/175f81ff1598e248da77180a84254493 It does not seem enough for the senseless death of an innocent young woman in her own home. It is time for legal action. Let’s all use some of the options for action here: https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/breonna-taylor-demand-justice-1015060/
PROTESTOR SAFETY: As people across the U.S. protest systemic racism and police violence against Black people, police are using tear gas, a chemical weapon that is banned in warfare, as a means of crowd control. The aerosolized chemical is not only damaging to the human body in its own right, but even more so as we face a pandemic that is attacking people's respiratory systems (https://bit.ly/2YvqsH6, https://nyti.ms/2B6vFwb). Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Mark Takano, Pramila Jayapal, and Chuy Garcia have introduced a bill (H.R. 7221) "To prohibit law enforcement officers from using chemical weapons in the course of policing activities." Let's contact our representatives in the House and ask them to cosponsor and support this bill.
SYSTEMIC RACISM/POLICING IN SCHOOLS: One of the ways that the U.S. perpetuates the school-to-prison pipeline is via policing in schools (https://n.pr/381pKof). The presence of police in schools has been shown to criminalize the behavior of and disproportionately affect black children and students with disabilities. Let's use this resource from The Firecracker Foundation to learn about how we can achieve police-free schools, what the alternate solutions are to school resource officers, and how we can more effectively address behavioral issues inside schools. Then let's use the templates available to send letters, emails, and tweets to our local, state, and federal officials.
2020 ELECTION CALENDAR: This resource is searchable by date and state - https://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/2020-state-primary-election-dates.aspx
REMINDER- CHECK VOTER REGISTRATION STATUS: Let’s make sure to regularly check our voter registration status. States are purging voters routinely--we don't want to get caught off guard. Take 1 minute and check right now: I Will Vote Then, let’s check how to vote by mail in our state. Many rules have changed due to the pandemic and we may be able to vote with a mailed ballot. We can find our state's latest voting rules here: How to Vote By Mail in Every State
TUESDAY ELECTIONS: Next Tuesday, June 30 three states have primaries: Colorado, Oklahoma, and Utah. If we live there, let’s vote!
131 DAYS TILL ELECTION DAY—THINGS TO DO:
- Ignore the polls. If popularity determined the election, Trump would surely lose. https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/trump-approval-ratings/voters/ But the presidential election will be decided by electoral swing states, where the race is uncomfortably tighter, https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-latest-swing-state-polls-look-good-for-biden/ . Let’s commit to taking action that will help elect Joe Biden for President by signing up at https://joebiden.com/
- Go big. Is it pie-in-the-sky to try to win the White House, keep the House, and gain a 60-seat Democratic majority in the Senate? Maybe. But now is when we have the chance to make it happen. After Election Day, it’s too late. Let’s commit to taking action that will give us advantages in the Electoral College and in Senate races by signing up with Reclaim Our Vote: https://actionnetwork.org/forms/reclaim-our-vote-signup, Swing Left’s Super State Strategy: https://swingleft.org/p/super-state-strategy, and Vote Forward’s The Big Send: https://votefwd.org/bigsend.
- Be strategic & look to the future. State races matter enormously. When Democrats control state legislatures and governorships, the benefits are many. Millions of Americans gain the protections of progressive legislation (see, for example, Virginia, https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/07/politics/virginia-progressive-legislative-session/index.html). Democratic voters gain fairer representation in Congress as extreme Republican gerrymandering is squashed. And a deeper, wider bench of future Democratic leaders emerges. Let’s commit to taking action to elect Democrats in the States by signing up with Flippable: https://flippable.org/ , Sister District Project: https://sisterdistrict.com/ , and the National Democratic Redistricting Committee: https://democraticredistricting.com/, or Vote Forward: https://votefwd.org/
- Advance racial justice. We may be in a moment when Republicans will not be able to use race as a wedge issue against Democrats. https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/republicans-and-democrats-increasingly-agree-on-the-protests-but-not-why-people-are-protesting/ We can use this moment to push for the election of Democrats who will make racial justice legislation among their highest priorities. Let’s commit to supporting grassroots organizations of color that are working hard to get out the vote: Center for Common Ground: http://centerforcommonground.org/main/, Black Voters Matter: https://www.blackvotersmatterfund.org/, Woke Vote: https://wokevote.us/, Movement Voter Project: https://movement.vote/.
ALL: DEMAND THE RELEASE OF IMMIGRANT DETAINEES: A letter signed by 100 immigrants in detention in Florida, to a federal judge in response to a lawsuit, which was recently released to the public states, please come see us immediately or send investigators” because “we were served spoiled food, we’re starving, bathrooms are bad, violations of rights… beds are two feet apart and not six feet apart.” Immigrants also allege that COVID positive patients aren’t separated from COVID-negative inmates, further contributing to the spread of the disease. ICE’s response to these accusations acknowledges that they have totally failed to keep people safe. https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/immigration/article243736647.html The problem is even worse in private prisons run by organizations like GEO Group and Core Civic. https://www.sacurrent.com/the-daily/archives/2020/06/22/members-of-congress-blast-treatment-of-immigrants-in-private-detention-sites-near-san-antonio?utm. Let’s make sure to let our municipal officials, sheriffs, and governor know that these violations are common and widespread and ask them to release detainees.
ALL: FIND HOW MUCH OF OUR CITIES’’ BUDGET GOES TOWARDS POLICING
As we look into reforming or defunding our police departments, it’s useful, and sometimes quite surprising, to know how much of our cities’ resources are currently used to fund the police. Action Center on Race and the Economy (ACRE) has built a police budgets calculator tool that breaks down the police budget in 300 US cities. We can click here to find what percentage of our cities’ budget goes to the police, then use and share this information to demand more equitable use of our resources from our local governments. https://costofpolice.org
CA: ASK STATE SENATORS TO PASS CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM AND VOTING RIGHTS BILLS: Two important bills for criminal justice reform and voting rights are coming up soon, AB 2054, the CRISES Act, which would fund community alternatives to police crisis response, http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200AB2054 and ACA 6, the Free the Vote Act, which would restore the right to vote for people on parole. https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200ACA6 We can read more about them here, then can call our State Senators and ask them to support criminal justice reform bill AB 2054, the CRISES Act, and ACA 6, the Free the Vote Act, restoring parolees’ right to vote.
VOLUNTEER TO ADOPT A BATTLEGROUND STATE FOR 2020 VICTORY: The election may hinge on six key states and a Vote Save America has just launched a strategy to win them. The Adopt a State Program is brand-new remote mobilization program that will help us directly support the work of organizers and candidates in these six key battleground states that will be most important to winning a progressive majority on Election Day—no matter where we live. After months working with the most effective state parties, political strategists, and progressive organizations on the ground in Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin to find out where we can help the most, they will only send us actions that will make a real impact. We’ll get first rate training to become part of the best group of digital organizers out there. This custom live training series will include four sessions on Thursday evenings in June, curated to help make us the most effective organizers we can be. When we sign up, we’ll learn the messaging that works best, and the remote and in-person opportunities that will help us make the biggest possible impact on the outcome of its races: https://votesaveamerica.com/subscribe/
LEARN TO WRITE AN OP-ED: "In this hour-long webinar, we’ll look at some letters that hit the mark and others that miss it. We’ll talk about word-length, finding your newspaper/audience, developing a relationship with an editor and how to time your letters. Mostly, though, the focus will be on the writing itself, the tone, the message. Every story coming out of Washington these days is an opportunity to respond as a Democrat. Every letter we write could mean another American abroad voting in November." This is a workshop designed for Democrats Abroad, but is useful for anyone who wants to help remotely. We can RSVP here for the Saturday, June 27 (2-3 pm, EDT) event: https://bit.ly/37W6WXx
MY BLACK RECEIPT: My Black Receipt builds on the protests that are happening now addressing police brutality and the mistreatment of black people in the U.S. Part of this mistreatment comes from how wealth has been distributed historically in the US. My Black Receipt will redistribute wealth to the black community by supporting black businesses. Over one month starting on Friday, June 19, My Black Receipt will focus on a different business sector each week and ask everyone to support black businesses in all their purchases in that sector. Let’s support this protest and help amplify the message through social media on June 19 through July 4, using the hashtag #MyBlackReceipt and on Instagram: Official Black Wall Street.
GET TRAINED TO VOLUNTEER VIRTUALLY FOR BIDEN: The upcoming 2020 Presidential Election will be crucial in deciding the fate of our country and our democracy. After 2016, we know we cannot be complacent, but must do everything possible to defeat Trump and get our country back on track. One way to start is to help Joe Biden's campaign which is looking for volunteers right now. We can click here to join an Action Center trainings (which will be offered 75 times between May 27 and November 1) and learn how to use our online organizing hub to volunteer virtually for Joe: https://www.mobilize.us/joebiden/event/149561
‘We may die and are afraid’: Federal judge makes public letters sent to him by ICE detainees - https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/immigration/article243736647.html
How the Supreme Court Undermined the Black Vote - https://www.yesmagazine.org/democracy/2020/06/16/supreme-court-undermined-black-vote/
Justice in June cultivates a community rooted in truth, inspires action and is committed to awareness - https://justiceinjune.org/
Report: Michigan hospitals shorted $130K per COVID-19 patient in federal aid - https://www.bridgemi.com/michigan-health-watch/report-michigan-hospitals-shorted-130k-covid-19-patient-federal-aid
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