Contact all Federal Members of Congress(includes contact info and links to social media)https://www.contactingcongress.org/
Fax legislators for free:Reps: https://faxzero.com/fax_congress.phpSenate: https://faxzero.com/fax_senate.php
Or use Resistbot: https://resist.bot/
Or use StampsLicked to have messages hand-delivered to our own legislators: https://stampslicked.org/
White House contact: https://www.usa.gov/federal-agencies/white-house
COVID-19 TESTING: The US is woefully behind the rest of the world in testing for COVID-19. https://www.propublica.org/article/how-south-korea-scaled-coronavirus-testing-while-the-us-fell-dangerously-behindWe refused the test kits from the World Health Organization (WHO) with the current administration wanting kits to be US-made. https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/health/a31431716/coronavirus-tests/ It cost us time and lives. Then, we learned that Trump shamefully tried to lure away a German vaccine so that the claim could be made that was a US initiative. https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-administration-tried-to-pay-germans-scientists-for-coronavirus-cure-2020-3 It now appears that testing will soon be ramping up, but with less than the desired number of test kits, the emphasis will be on “Healthcare workers and first responders, as well as those who are 65 and older with a respiratory symptom and a fever of at least 99.6 degrees.” https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/03/15/coronavirus-testing-new-phase-us-health-officials/5055998002/ Unfortunately, evidence from South Korea, which tests everyone, shows that there it is young adults with the highest infection rates. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/03/15/coronavirus-testing-new-phase-us-health-officials/5055998002/ We know that our usual preparedness teams were disbanded: https://apnews.com/ce014d94b64e98b7203b873e56f80e9aFortunately, we have Dr. Anthony Fauci at the helm of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to keep us on track when Trump takes us off track. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2020-03-15/coronavirus-outbreak-the-worst-is-ahead-for-us-says-fauci-video Let’s thank Dr. Fauci for his persistence: https://www.niaid.nih.gov/global/contact-us Let’s also tell our MoCs that we need more testing kits ASAP.
DEMAND RELIEF FROM EFFECTS OF CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC FOR ALL WORKING FAMILIES: The language in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (HR 6201), recently passed by the House of Representatives, includes provisions for paid emergency medical leave, but it does not apply to people who work for large employers, many of whom are now in difficult situations as schools across the country are starting to close. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/14/us/politics/congress-coronavirus-bill.htmland https://www.rollcall.com/2020/03/13/agreement-reached-on-coronavirus-stimulus/We need to tell our Senators to pass this bill, but also to do more. Senator Charles Schumer has just called for $750 billion to fight coronavirus, most of which would go directly to increased assistance to medical centers and families. https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/487845-schumer-to-propose-at-least-750-billion-to-combat-coronavirus. Let’s tell our Senators to pass HR 6201 immediately and then to do more to make sure that all working families won’t be subject to economic crisis as this pandemic unfolds.
STOP ALL DEPORTATIONS DURING THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC: While international travel is severely restricted and people are advised to avoid all air travel in order to stop the virus from spreading, people every day are shackled and put on planes to Guatemala, under the bogus “Safe Third Country Agreement.” https://www.npr.org/2020/03/11/814602596/asylum-seekers-reaching-u-s-border-are-being-flown-to-guatemala.Not only is this cruel and illegal, it’s now dangerous to everyone’s health and risks further spreading the virus. Let’s contact DHS (202-282-8495; DHSSecretary@hq.dhs.gov; https://homelandsecurity.ideascale.com/; Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/homelandsecurity/; Twitter: @DHS.gov)and our MoCs and demand that all deportation flights be postponed until the coronavirus pandemic is officially over.
CLOSE IMMIGRATION COURTS UNTIL CORONAVIRUS EPIDEMIC HAS PASSED: While various courts across the country have closed, and even the Supreme Court has postponed oral arguments, Immigration courts are still open, https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/hamedaleaziz/immigration-court-coronavirus-demand-closed-lawyers-judges, and if an immigrant in a removal case fails to show up for court, they can automatically be deported. This is forcing immigrants and their attorneys to risk the spread of coronavirus for the entire population, which goes directly against CDC recommendations and leaves everyone who works in the court system: attorneys, security guards, officers of the court, judges, as well as the high volume of people in ICE check-in waiting rooms and courtroom waiting rooms especially vulnerable. On the Department of Justice’s Twitter site, it says the immigration court hearings have been postponed, but this is just referring to the master calendar hearing, not the subsequent hearings in which cases are decided. Let’s ask the Department of Justice (202-353-1555; 950 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC, 20530-0001; website form; Facebook; Twitter: @TheJustice Dept. and our MoCs to do something about this practice right now for the sake of the public health of everyone in the country.
DEMAND CONGRESS NOT REINSTATE THE PATRIOT ACT: Now that the invasive spying provisions authorized by Section 215 of the Patriot Act have gone dark, Mitch McConnell is pushing hard in the Senate to revive them. The Patriot Act created a massive and deeply problematic surveillance infrastructure that law enforcement has repeatedly abused. It’s time for this violation of our privacy to end. We need to make one last push to ensure that our lawmakers do the right thing and let the Patriot Act expire for good. The Free Press https://www.freepress.net/ is here to help us do so, linking us right to our Senators when we call this number. We can call our senators at (202) 919-7073 and urge them to stop Mitch McConnell’s dangerous plan to reinstate the Patriot Act.
DEMAND THE RELEASE OF ICE DETAINEES TO PROTECT THEM FROM COVID-19: Acting ICE Director Matthew T. Albence has the power to order the immediate release of all people detained in ICE custody and he must use it NOW. An epidemic like COVID-19 could be devastating to people in crowded detention centers, denied flu shots and already gravely at risk. Social Distancing, the best preventative measure for reducing this pandemic, is impossible in these conditions. ICE must release all people from detention. We can sign and share this document to demand Acting ICE Director Matthew T. Albence to immediately release all people in ICE detention: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdM12oUrLacET8HpWJkkWcvOYogQ7C9-U62ZJ11tGz4hKTw1w/viewform
COVID-19 DANGER TO CONFINED: We know that the danger of infection (and the failure of care) is increased in the close quarters and, often, terrible conditions of American prisons and jails–https://www.npr.org/2020/03/13/815002735/prisons-and-jails-worry-about-becoming-coronavirus-incubators and https://kfor.com/health/coronavirus/ohio-jail-releases-hundreds-of-inmates-due-to-coronavirus-concerns/ And we know that homelessness and the conditions of US shelters likewise increase the risks of infection and spread–https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/coronavirus-poses-unique-threat-to-u-s-homeless-population1/ We must add to these others the migrants detained by ICE, who are living together in confined settings, completely unable to “self-quarantine” or to exercise the “social distancing” advised by health authorities. Like others confined by the state or by circumstances, they face extremely high risks in this worsening covid-19 outbreak. Let’s demand that ICE explain what they are doing about this: contact ICE Health Service Corps at (202) 732-4600
FILL OUT THE CENSUS ONLINE: Let’s make sure that our communities get the political representation and federal resources that they deserve. https://www.vox.com/recode/2020/3/12/21168139/2020-census-online-how-toLet’s fill out the 2020 Census online and urge others to do the same: https://2020census.gov/en.html
ACCESSIBILITY/DISABILITY RIGHTS: From Sleeping Giants: One of our followers, Iman, reached out to tell us she has spent the last three years developing a platform for disabled and chronically ill people to share anonymous reviews of accessibility conditions at the workplace. She says: “While the disabled community is the largest minority in the world, we are severely underemployed and overlooked. Right now, a lot of employers won’t give people paid sick leave and the online conferencing tools are inaccessible for a lot of people working from home. Accessibility effects EVERYONE and people are beginning to realize that. It is critical that companies offer paid sick leave as well as accessible remote tools.” This is a powerful accountability project that helps disabled people connect with accessible employers. It also reveals to us which companies aren’t offering basics like paid sick leave and accessible online conferencing. How can you help? Visit AccessibleEmployment.com to share an anonymous review of how your current or former employer is handling accessibility right now. If your employer won’t give you paid sick leave or if you’re working away from the office, but the online conferencing tools are inaccessible, be sure to include it.
ACCESSIBILITY/COVID-19: In order to increase safety for those who are more vulnerable to COVID-19, shopping chains in Australia have launched special shopping hours specifically for older adults and disabled people (https://ab.co/2TSuCqk). Let’s contact our local grocers and ask them to do the same to help protect and increase access for our community members who are more at-risk. We can also contact larger supermarket chains and ask them to do the same. Safeway: 877-723-3929, Kroger: 1-866-221-4141/(513) 762-4000, Meijer: (616) 453-6711/(877) 363-4537, Walmart: 1 (800) 925-6278, Aldi: (630) 879-8100
IMMIGRATION/COVID-19: On February 24th, the Trump administration’s public charge rule went into effect, allowing officials to deny green cards to immigrants who may need assistance from federal public benefits such as Medicaid, CHIP and Head Start (https://bit.ly/3d5rlvm). Last Friday, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that they would not consider testing, treatment, and preventative services for COVID-19 as part of the public charge rule (https://hrld.us/39Y5Wm6). Let’s make sure to share this information with our local immigrant communities. We can use this graphic from United We Dream: https://bit.ly/2UdNkYj
COVID-19 PRISON ADVOCACY: Color of Change, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, and other organizations have developed a policy platform for a COVID-19 response in public and private prisons. Let’s:
- Read the platform and sign the petition: https://humaneoutbreakresponse.org/
- Send the link to the policy platform to our governors and tell them that we want them to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks in jails and prisons, for the sake of those in prison, and for the sake of the wider public health, https://www.usa.gov/state-governor
- Ditto for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, https://www.bop.gov/contact/
SEIZING THE JUDICIARY: Mitch McConnell and the Senate Republicans are running out of federal court vacancies to fill, so they have been making overtures to sitting Republican-nominated judges who are scheduled to retire, urging them to step aside so they can be replaced while the party still holds the Senate and the White House: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/16/us/politics/mcconnell-judges-republicans.html and https://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/politics/2020/03/16/mitch-mcconnell-urging-judges-retire-ahead-2020-election/5060303002/It is crucial that we get McConnell out of the Senate leadership; insofar as we can, let’s lend our support his Democratic opponents.
COVID-19 RESOURCES: From posters in various languages to guidance for schools to emergency stockpiling checklists, the American Public Health Association has comprehensive resources on COVID-19. Let’s take a look, and share: http://aphagetready.org/coronavirus.htm
GUN SALES SOAR DURING CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK: “Sales of guns and ammunition are soaring across the US as fears of possible social unrest amid the coronavirus crisis are prompting some Americans to turn to firearms as a form of self-protection. On the west coast, long lines of customers were queueing up outside gun stores to stock up on deadly materials. At the Martin B Retting gun shop in Culver City, California, the queues stretched round the block throughout the weekend.” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/16/us-sales-guns-ammunition-soar-amid-coronavirus-panic-buyingLet’s tell our MoCs to put a ban on gun sales and ammunition until this is over. We all need to remain calm.
SEND GREETING CARDS TO ISOLATED NURSING HOME RESIDENTS: As most nursing homes have restricted visitors due to Coronavirus; life inside is even more isolated for their residents. A Lexington, Kentucky nursing home has asked for people to send their residents greeting cards to cheer them up. https://www.wkyt.com/content/news/Lexington-nursing-home-asks-for-greeting-cards-568781341.htmlWe can find out more about sending greeting cards to people isolated in this Kentucky nursing home. If we have friends or relatives in similar situations, we can also do the same for them and encourage others to join in.
HELP A STUDENT: Hundreds of thousands of college students are affected by campus closures from COVID-19. This fund has raised more than $16,000 so far to support students facing hunger and homelessness as a result. Let’s chip in here: https://www.studentrelieffund.org
PREVENT FACEBOOK-TRACKING: The web browser Mozilla Firefox has created an extension called Facebook Container. This extension makes it harder for Facebook to track our visits to other websites with third-party cookies. To use it, we can make Mozilla Firefox our default web browser for Facebook and adding the extension here: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/facebook-container/
ASK A SCIENTIST ABOUT COVID-19: This website has answers from scientists to questions about covid-19, and if we can’t find an answer to our question, we can ask and a scientist will respond. Let’s use it and share: https://covid19.fas.org/l/en
THIS WEEK’S POSTCARDING: From one of our own: This week’s postcarding write-ups can be found here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1lSZ1-gCeAiTCnHP8EVZcv8bC9KKXv0kHDcL5rqr0eYQ/edit?usp=sharing If you find yourself with free time due to social distancing, use it to speak your mind!
VOTING BY MAIL: “For many, the best way to vote while safeguarding your health during this time may be to vote by mail. It’s easy to request an absentee ballot and there’s still enough time to do so for most states with upcoming primaries.” Let’s see if/how we can vote by mail: https://www.aclu.org/news/voting-rights/keep-calm-and-carry-on-voting-how-to-vote-by-mail-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/
POSTPONED PRIMARIES DUE TO COVID-10: GA: from March 24 to May 19KY: fromMay 19 to June 23LA: from April 4 to June 20
IT’S POSTCARD TO VOTERS WRITING TIME! During this time of social distancing, postcarding parties are being cancelled. Postcards to Voters needs individuals to participate to continue to reach Democratic voters to get out the vote. The current open campaign to encourage Democratic voters in Florida’s Miami-Dade County to sign up for vote by mail is particularly relevant today. Let’s request 5 addresses today. If we are new to the effort, we can find out more at Postcards to Voters.
MOST: CANCEL STATE EDUCATION TESTS: Due to the disruption in the K-12 school schedule around the country, most will not be able to complete the state-mandated testing. This testing is often tied to teacher retention. Some states have already suspended testing. https://www.13wmaz.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/georgia-superintendent-suspends-state-testing-administration-due-to-covid-19/93-43256d36-7578-4999-b407-aa707c23efa8and https://www.gainesvilletimes.com/news/education/state-superintendent-suspends-state-testing-teacher-evaluations/and https://dianeravitch.net/2020/03/15/washington-state-all-standardized-tests-canceled-for-students-for-spring-2020/ If our state has not yet done this, let’s contact our state school superintendent and ask for the same in our state: https://www2.ed.gov/about/contacts/state/index.html
ALL: RESTAURANT SERVER RELIEF FUND: “A small group of Philadelphia-based activists and community advocates are raising money to help relieve some of the financial strain on restaurant servers living in Philadelphia in light of slow business, decreased hours, and restaurant closings as our region responds to the novel coronavirus.” https://www.facebook.com/donate/203932930857456/10222498093700220/Let’s work on replicating this where we live.
NY: FREE DELIVERY SERVICE FOR THOSE AT RISK FOR CORONAVIRUS
If we are in the high-risk group for coronavirus, or know someone who is, we can check out Invisible Hands’ free delivery service to receive food and supplies with minimal contact. We can check out www.invisiblehandsdeliver.com to get this delivery service. They are trying to spread the word as much as possible, so let’s share this with our friends on social media too.
DISINFORMATION LITERACY WEBINAR:DemCast has paired up with Disarm Disinformation to present a free webinar on disinformation literacy! On March 18 they will be covering the following topics: 1) What is disinformation and what does weaponized information look like? 2) How can disinformation so easily flourish on today’s social media platforms? 3) What forms is disinformation taking in 2020? 4) How can we fight back effectively as engaged citizens and activists? And 5) What could a network of disinformation-fighters look like? This is critical information we can all use in 2020! We can learn more and sign up here: https://demcastusa.com/2020/03/09/webinar-disinformation-literacy/(h/t Political Charge)
Light UP America: Mark your calendar for March 24 at dusk, and follow Vigil for Democracy to stay updated: Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/vigilfordemocracyand Instagram.com/VigilForDemocracy and Twitter.com/vigil4democracy. This is not another march or rally. It’s a thoughtfully designed non-violent direct-action campaign, put together by seasoned activists. While you wait, read George Lakey’s book How We Win, or browse his org’s website: wagingnonviolence.org
This Coronavirus Is Unlike Anything in Our Lifetime, and We Have to Stop Comparing It to the Flu – https://www.propublica.org/article/this-coronavirus-is-unlike-anything-in-our-lifetime-and-we-have-to-stop-comparing-it-to-the-flu
Meet the 17-Year-Old Behind a Website Tracking Coronavirus Cases That Is Now a Vital Global Resource – https://www.democracynow.org/2020/3/13/meet_the_17_year_old_behind
How to Cope With Anxiety About Coronavirus (COVID-19) – https://www.verywellmind.com/managing-coronavirus-anxiety-4798909
Leadership: A Study in Contrasts – https://politicalcharge.org/2020/03/13/leadership-a-study-in-contrasts/
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
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