Contact Federal Government Officials
1. “Although Trump signed a clean farm bill in December, his administration plans to impose work requirements on SNAP recipients through executive order — potentially disqualifying 755,000 beneficiaries. The Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 authorized the structure and funding for SNAP (still known as food stamps), but the proposed rule would limit benefits to three months for unemployed and underemployed persons without dependent children. This would undo a central feature of the farm bill. Scores of advocates for the needy intend to express opposition to the proposal during a public comment period through April 2.” https://thehill.com/opinion/civil-rights/429508-trumps-usda-threatens-food-security-for-hard-working-americans and https://www.clasp.org/blog/power-public-comments Let’s leave a public comment here to tell them to leave the SNAP program alone and how Congress voted it to be: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/02/01/2018-28059/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-requirements-for-able-bodied-adults-without-dependents
2. “A 45-year-old undocumented immigrant from Mexico died in Border Patrol custody Monday after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border into Texas, marking the third person to die in the agency's custody since December.” https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2019/02/18/third-migrant-dies-border-patrol-custody-texas/2906286002/ Let’s ask our MoCs that we want the proper care of these immigrants to be a given as they are seeking asylum. These deaths are on our hands.
3. As human rights abuses at ICE detention facilities continue to surface, over 70 detainees in Boston have launched a hunger strike. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/hunger-strike-detainees-ice-immigration-and-customs-enforcement-boston-suffolk-county-house-of-a8783826.html. Now strikers are being punished and moved into solitary confinement. Let’s call Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker (617-725-4005) the Suffolk County House of Corrections (617-635-1000--press 3 for immigration) and demand that they release all the strikers from solitary confinement, listen and engage with the strikers’ demands, and provide proof of (questionable) authorization for holding inmates for more than 90 days. We can also post on Governor Baker’s social media accounts: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CharlieBakerMA/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/massgovernor; Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/massgovernor/.
4. The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) provides financial compensation for those "who suffered physical harm or was killed as a result of the terrorist-related aircraft crashes of September 11, 2001 or the debris removal efforts that took place in the immediate aftermath of those crashes." However, it has been determined that there is not enough funding to reimburse the claims that have been filed, and as a result, payouts will be cut by as much as 70% (https://www.npr.org/2019/02/16/695481252/9-11-victims-compensation-fund-cuts-payouts-by-as-much-as-70-percent). Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has announced that she will be reintroducing legislation to fully fund the VCF, and make it permanent (the current expiration date is December 2020). While the bill has not been introduced yet, let's still contact our senators and tell them that we want to see the VCF receive full funding, and to cosponsor and support Senator Gillibrand's bill as soon as it becomes available.
5. CREW—Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington—has uncovered that “the Trump administration has failed to release a travel report, due more than 10 weeks ago. As a result, we remain in the dark about the extent to which outside groups have been funding the travel of top White House staff between April 1 and September 30, 2018.”
https://www.citizensforethics.org/white-house-travel-report-late/ Let’s tell our MoCs that we expect the White House to comply with ethics laws, and to investigate this failure of the Trump administration to provide the Office of Government Ethics with travel reports as required by law.
6. Meanwhile, the ability of citizens and journalists to monitor the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has been severely hampered since early January, when the system for managing on-line Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests went dark. https://www.propublica.org/article/hud-system-for-processing-public-records-requests-died-during-the-shutdown Let’s tell our MoCs that we expect transparency from HUD and we want them to see to it that a new public records management and tracking system for FOIA requests of HUD is instituted immediately.
7. Last week, the Senate unanimously passed the Justice for Victims of Lynchings Act, S488, which makes lynching a federal hate crime. Let's read more at The Hill. The bill now goes to the House. Let's contact our representatives to let them know we want them to pass this bill; it's long over-due.
8. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported last week that in 2018 it issued so-called "emergency" approvals to spray sulfoxaflor—an insecticide the agency considers "very highly toxic" to bees—on more than 16 million acres of crops known to attract bees. Nathan Donley, a senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity, says "The EPA is routinely misusing the 'emergency' process to get sulfoxaflor approved because it's too toxic to make it through normal pesticide reviews." Let's read more at Ecowatch. Let's contact the EPA to express our displeasure and also let our MoC's know that the more we learn about the essential value of bees, we oppose bee-killing pesticides.
9. The DC chapter of March For Our Lives (March For Our Lives DC) has launched a new campaign to put pressure on the Senate to pass S.42 (the universal background checks bill in the Senate). MFOL DC is collecting hand-written letters from constituents all over the country urging their Senators to support S.42. MFOL DC (with the help of any interested volunteers/organizations) will hand deliver all of the letters on March 25th (the day after the anniversary of the March For Our Lives). If we would like our organization to partner on the campaign, we can sign up here:
https://marchforourlivesgw.wixsite.com/wri…/become-a-partner (Current partners include Team ENOUGH, Future Coalition, 50 Miles More, and the Brady Northern Virginia Chapter in addition to over 5 other March For Our Lives chapters.) If we want to help deliver letters in DC, we can sign up here:
We can also check out the website here:
We can also check out the website here:
1. Our understanding of the depth of the North Carolina election fraud in the November 2018 9thdistrict Congressional race grew on Monday with testimony from people involved in the fraudulent actions:
https://www.apnews.com/b22d63b4215d4816a264ff93d011e163. As the North Carolina Board of Elections mulls what to do, let’s take a moment to let them know that the eyes of the world are on them and we expect a fair outcome: email@example.com
2. If we attended one of the 275 national protests on Monday regarding Trump’s declaration of a national emergency (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-protests/presidents-day-protests-decry-trumps-emergency-declaration-idUSKCN1Q70XX) , let’s take a moment to thank the organizers of the one we attended.
3. A black student exercising his legal right not to say the Pledge of Allegiance has been arrested and charged with two misdemeanors which occurred after he was provoked by a substitute teacher who did not know the rules. The school did not press these charges against this child. https://www.nbc-2.com/story/39980611/florida-middleschooler-arrested-for-not-saying-pledge-of-allegiance We can join Color of Change asking that these charges be dropped, and that this young student not face a lifetime of negative consequences for exercising his legal rights. When we click on this link, we will find more about the situation and a petition we can sign: https://act.colorofchange.org/sign/Black_boy_pledge_protest/
4. Once upon a time, “plastics” was a punchline from the 1967 film, “The Graduate.” Today, plastics, which are made from fossil fuels, are a menace to the environment. Let’s check out this blog to see what each of us personally can do to minimize the use of plastics in our lives:
5. The Alabama Press Association has suspended the membership of the Democrat-Reporter following its publication of an editorial calling for the Ku Klux Klan to "night ride again." https://www.al.com/news/2019/02/alabama-press-group-censures-goodloe-sutton-over-kkk-editorial-suspends-democrat-reporter.html Let’s thank the group: https://www.alabamapress.org/contact/
6. The US Chamber of Commerce issued sharp criticism of the declaration of a national emergency on the border, saying the move would "erode" the country's system of government. More at The Hill. The US Chamber of Commerce is a generally conservative organization so let's tell them that we agree with them.
1. MOST: California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has led the charge to file suit along with fifteen other states against Trump’s declaration of a national emergency: https://www.apnews.com/c417fb4477404b83b822d21141a26dfd The other fifteen states in addition to California are: Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Virginia. If our state is on this list, let’s take a moment to thank our attorney general and if not, ask him/her to join the suit: https://www.naag.org/naag/attorneys-general/whos-my-ag.php
2. MOST: “[S]ome ‘nonprofit’ charter schools take public money and pay their owners with it. When this happens, it creates an enormous incentive to overpay for facilities and supplies and underpay for things like teachers and student services.” Let’s share this article:
https://theconversation.com/charter-schools-exploit-lucrative-loophole-that-would-be-easy-to-close-111792 with the editors of our regional newspapers of record, and let’s tell our state legislators to investigate the charter schools in our states and close loopholes that permit financial abuses of public funds. https://openstates.org/
3. CO: The Colorado State legislature, which flipped blue last November, is moving on gun safety legislation. Lawmakers have introduced HB19-1177, which "would empower family members and law enforcement officers to ask a court to issue an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) temporarily blocking an individual's access to firearms when they pose a risk to themselves or others." Let's contact our state representatives and ask them to support this bill, here: https://act.everytown.org/sign/colorado-needs-extreme-risk-protection-orders
4. MI: One of the ballot proposals that was passed in November included no-reason absentee voting (https://bit.ly/2BK3oIW). Absentee voting applications for the May 2019 election are now available, along with instructions: https://www.michigan.gov/documents/sos/AVApp_535884_7.pdf Let's help spread the word to Michiganders that more of us can take advantage of this option and encourage our communities to participate in every election.
Marches/events/webinars/Tweetstorms to attend/organize
1. On Friday, February 22, from 9:00 AM to 2:30 PM (EST) DemLabs is holding a Digital Storytelling workshop in Washington, D.C. Experts will review their storytelling projects and the apps used to create them. The workshop is free, but space is limited. RSVP here.
2. On February 26, from 5-7PM (PST) Showing Up For Racial Justice (SURJ) is offering a webinar on “Understanding Antisemitism and its Intersections with White Supremacy & White Nationalism”. This webinar is aimed at strengthening our collective movements for liberation. Our goals are: 1) to enable people to recognize anti-Semitism 2) learn how antisemitism intersects with white supremacy and white nationalism 3) develop a shared commitment to ending anti-Semitism alongside all oppressions. We can find more info here: https://www.facebook.com/events/280149326014879 and register here: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_GfSJz_tbTqyVqXn7RNkAFw
3. On March 15 there will be Youth Climate Strikes all over the world. Let’s keep an eye on this site for updates of where and when we can attend and help: https://www.youthclimatestrikeus.org/
1. Trump can’t run the Mueller playbook on New York feds - https://www.politico.com/story/2019/02/18/trump-new-york-mueller-investigation-1173346
2. Nothing to declare: Why U.S. border agency's vast stop and search powers undermine press freedom - https://cpj.org/reports/2018/10/nothing-to-declare-us-border-search-phone-press-freedom-cbp.php
3. Gilded Age 2.0: U.S. Income Inequality Increases to Pre-Great Depression Levels - http://fortune.com/2019/02/13/us-income-inequality-bad-great-depression
4. Did Russia Affect the 2016 Election? It’s Now Undeniable - https://www.wired.com/story/did-russia-affect-the-2016-election-its-now-undeniable/