Contact all Federal Members of Congress(includes contact info and links to social media)https://www.contactingcongress.org/
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White House contact: https://www.usa.gov/federal-agencies/white-house
CONFISCATED PPE: The lack of a national response to COVID-19 has states competing with each other for supplies and has them seeking supplies from foreign markets which is usually not their task. On top of that, hospitals and agencies are having their shipments confiscated by FEMA to be distributed in a non-transparent way. It is becoming clearer, however, that states with a good relationship with Trump are having their medical needs met at a better rate. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/political-influence-skews-trump-s-coronavirus-response-n1191236and https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-24/medical-masks-auctioned-for-huge-markup-while-hospitals-run-out Let’s tell our MoCs that this is not how a response to a pandemic should be handled and ask what they can do about it. Let’s also let FEMA know they should not be playing politics: General Operator: (202) 646-2500 / Mailing Address: Federal Emergency Management Agency, 500 C Street S.W., Washington, D.C. 20472
NEXT COVID-19 RELIEF BILL: Congress has now passed four relief/stimulus bills. The most recent one included roughly $480 billion in funding, $380 billion of which is dedicated to small business loan programs, $75 billion to hospitals, and $25 billion to establish testing programs. The bill did not, however, include additional funding for states and cities that are struggling financially during this crisis; funding for the US Postal Service; funding for states to implement Vote by Mail; election security; more money for SNAP (food stamps); more healthcare funding; additional payments to suffering unemployed Americans and essential workers; protections for frontline workers; and help for the homeless, prison populations, disabled community, farm workers, and immigrants. https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/494861-mcconnell-senate-will-return-on-may-4-to-start-next-coronavirus-relief-bill Let’s contact our MoCs to let them know that we want these needs addressed. (h/t CFAA)
SMALL BUSINESSES STILL WITHOUT RELIEF: Although it received $310 billion in new funding, the small business loan program, according to the Washington Post, came “under immediate pressure Monday, as many bankers complained about new technology glitches and fresh questions were raised about the mostly anonymous list of beneficiaries,” which included the LA Lakers to the tune of $4.6 million, since returned. Some say this new money will be exhausted within 72 hours. Nearly 80% of the small businesses that applied for the first round of funds have yet to receive an answer, and the Small Business Administration (SBA) refuses to disclose the recipients of these taxpayer-backed loans, though some companies have disclosed voluntarily: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/04/27/ppp-small-business-loans/ Let’s let the SBA know what we think of their administration of and their secrecy about these loans: 1-800-827-5722
CANCEL TRUMP SPEECH AT WEST POINT GRADUATION: While most colleges and universities across the country are cancelling commencement ceremonies due to COVID-19, West Point is calling back 1000 cadets so that Trump can give a commencement speech to a live audience with total disregard for social distancing. https://www.10tv.com/article/west-point-bring-back-1000-cadets-graduation-trump-commencement-address-2020-apr.In fact, Trump said he hoped the look of the ceremony would be “nice and tight.” https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/24/us/politics/coronavirus-trump-west-point.html. Let’s tell West Point that this is an extremely bad error in judgment that is putting the lives of its students at risk.
TELL DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION TO STOP BARRING IMMIGRANTS WITH DACA STATUS FROM RECEIVING EMERGENCY GRANT AID: Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has taken it upon herself to interpret ambiguous guidelines around COVID-19 emergency grant aid in a way that would bar immigrant students who have protected status under DACA from receiving emergency funds. https://www.forbes.com/sites/wesleywhistle/2020/04/21/devos-blocks-daca-students-from-coronavirus-emergency-grant-aid/. Let’s tell the Department of Education to stop discriminating against DACA students 1-800-872-5327; 202-401-3000; 400 Maryland Avenue, SW; Washington, D.C. 20202) firstname.lastname@example.org
RELEASE IMMIGRANT DETAINEES DUE TO UNSAFE MEDICAL CONDITIONS: There have been many protests and hunger strikes from coast to coast in various detention centers due to unsafe medical conditions. https://www.propublica.org/article/ice-detainee-says-migrants-are-going-on-a-hunger-strike-for-soapand https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/immigration/story/2020-04-17/covid-19-concerns-prompt-hunger-strikes-protests-inside-otay-mesa-detention-center, and recently a California assemblywoman’s donation of 1000 masks was rejected by ICE. The Women’s March–Florida has designated April 29th as a national day of action to call for the release of detainees. Let’s check out their toolkit and get more information on the situation and how we can participate at their site. Even if we miss April 29th, calls and letters to public officials and escalating media coverage will still be important until these detainees are released.
STOP TRANSFERS OF TEENAGE MIGRANTS TO FULL-SCALE ICE DETENTION CENTERS: Many migrant teens in detention are aging out and being transferred to full-scale ICE detention centers, instead of being paroled quickly to a group home, sponsor, or foster family. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/23/us/politics/coronavirus-teenage-migrants-ice.html?This is unconscionable at any time, but worse now, during COVID. Judge Dolly Gee recently ruled that migrant children must be released. https://www.kpbs.org/news/2020/apr/25/l-judge-orders-release-migrant-children-custody/. Let’s tell our MoCs that we expect them to pull out all the stops to put pressure on ICE and make sure that children are released from custody within 20-days in compliance with the Flores agreement, and not held so they can be transferred to adult detention on their 18th birthday.
U.S. POSTAL SERVICE: Donald Trump has continued his attempts to destroy the U.S. Postal Service. With USPS needing help to stay afloat and continue delivering a crucial public service during this pandemic, he is threatening to block an emergency loan unless they quadruple shipping prices for online retailers (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-trump-postalservic/trump-threatens-to-block-aid-for-us-postal-service-if-it-does-not-raise-prices-for-amazon-idUSKCN226367). This would put postal service prices above FedEx and UPS, exacerbating the challenges USPS faces and hurting rural communities and small businesses that rely on their work. Let’s call our members of Congress and tell them that in they need to include the funding the Post Office requires in the next stimulus package, and give Trump no power to block it.
FREE MENTAL HEALTH SCREENING—As we socially isolate ourselves during the coronavirus crisis, we may find that we need to check in with our selves about our own mental health. Mental Health America https://screening.mhanational.org/ offers online mental health screening tests, https://screening.mhanational.org/screening-tools , and follows up with information and resources. Let’s try it, and spread the word.
ENSURE INTERNET ACCESS FOR ALL QUARANTINED STUDENTS: With an estimated 9 million quarantined students lacking internet access at home, America is experiencing a national education emergency. To address this, the House is considering a bill to fund high-speed internet access for students and teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Emergency Education Connections Act of 2020 https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/6563/committees gives 2 billion dollars to the FCC E-Rate program to help ensure all K-12 students and teachers have reliable home internet connectivity and connected devices like computers or tablets. Now, we need to keep the pressure on to ensure this bill is part of the next COVID-19 relief funding package, and Stand for Children: http://stand.org/ is ready to help. We can use their link to email leaders in the House now and urge them to support internet connectivity so all students can learn. https://p2a.co/bbomgA3 . We can also call our House Members directly and demand they include this bill in the next COVID-19 relief bill.
SEND MASKS TO THE NAVAJO NATION: The Navajo Nation has the third highest per capita infection rate in the country right now (https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/navajo-nation-hit-hard-by-covid-19-comes-together-to-protect-its-most-vulnerable). and is in desperate need of masks. Masks can be sent here if we use the USPS: Window Rock Wellness Center, PO Box 3748, Window Rock AZ 85515. If we use FedEx or UPS: Window Rock Wellness Center, Bldg. 4496 State Highway 264, Window Rock AZ 85515 If we make masks, or can share this information with someone who does, we can send masks and help save lives. We can also spread the word about this on social media.
STRATEGIC LAWSUITS AGAINST PUBLIC PARTICIPATION (SLAPP): That’s something frightening in Trump’s “noble” tweets: more threats to sue news organizations for holding him accountable. Trump of course has filed libel lawsuits against CNN, the Washington Post and the New York Times. While these suits will clearly fail due to free speech protections, they may deter smaller news organizations without resources for long legal battles from running negative coverage – which is exactly their purpose. (https://thehill.com/homenews/media/486273-trump-escalates-fight-against-press-with-libel-lawsuits). These so-called “SLAPP” (strategic lawsuits against public participation) suits are illegal in 30 states and Washington D.C., but not nationally, and the level of protection varies even in states with laws on the books. Let’s contact 1) our members of Congress and urge them to pass a national anti-SLAPP law, 2) research our own state laws and urge our legislators and governors to support strengthening them, and 3) and follow the Public Participation Project on Facebook and Twitter to get updates on their efforts against SLAPP suits federally and in our states.
GET YOUR POLITICAL NEWS FIX: “Have a busy a.m.? We understand. You need a short morning email that highlights the main political stories of the day. The Daily Brew is designed with your busy morning in mind: always brief and straight to the point.” Ballotpedia offers a “Weekly Brew” as well. We can sign up for this reliable news source (and toss them a donation if we can) right here: https://ballotpedia.org/Ballotpedia%27s_Daily_Brew
UNFOX MY CABLE BOX: If we pay for cable or satellite TV, we’re subsidizing Fox News whether we watch it or not. Our cable or satellite TV provider pays a subscriber fee to carry Fox News. That cost is passed directly on to US. Fox News makes approximately $1.8 billion per year from hidden subscriber fees–twice as much as CNN and three times as much as MSNBC. Let’s sign up to find out how we can unwind Fox from our own TV-provider subscriptions at https://unfoxmycablebox.com/. We can also read this Markin Report article: How to Force Fox “News” to be More Truthful. Let’s share this information with others and work together to squeeze the truth out of Fox News.
POSTCARDING OPPORTUNITIES: From one of our own: You can find this week’s postcarding write-ups here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1RbqxNuyjAYMF8TMZbhRikRQMHFpTG7fRJfBSXhOjUuk/edit?usp=sharing Thank you for making our time in isolation meaningful by speaking truth to power. As always, please use/share/distribute in any way you see fit.
HOW TO VOTE BY MAIL IN EVERY SINGLE STATE: Voting by mail is becoming more of a necessity. Let’s check our own states and see what we have to do: https://politicalcharge.org/2020/04/10/how-to-vote-by-mail-in-every-single-state/
EXPANDED VOTE BY MAIL IN EIGHT STATES:https://politicalcharge.org/2020/04/27/checking-in-on-the-8-states-that-just-expanded-voting-by-mail/
VOTE BY MAIL: The status of vote by mail ranges among states from full vote by mail to absentee balloting only via cause to no-cause absentee balloting where no reason need be provided. Unless our state is already fully vote by mail (Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, and Utah) then we will face logistical challenges in the expansion of the process and political challenges in the will to get it all done effectively: https://www.politico.com/news/2020/04/25/states-mail-voting-surge-207596Let’s take a moment to contact our own Secretary of State and state legislators to say that the time to expand the processes, fund the efforts, plan for the increased volume, and learn from exemplars is now.
PHONEBANK FOR CHRISTY SMITH: There’s a House seat on the line on May 12th, where voters will decide whether the California 25th will be represented by Democratic State Assemblywoman and education policy analyst Christy Smith or Mike Garcia, a defense contractor executive who describes himself as “more conservative than most Republicans” (https://www.dailynews.com/2020/04/24/christy-smith-mike-garcia-face-off-in-online-forum-for-northern-la-county-seat-in-congress/). Let’s help Christy keep this seat blue – we can sign up to make calls for her from home here.
TOOLS FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS TO ORGANIZE DIGITAL VOTER REGISTRATION DRIVES—The Civic Center offers information and resources to guide high school students toward organizing digital voter registration drives. Our young people have lots of time on their hands right now, and are craving to do something meaningful. Let’s share this with them, and be their mentors if they ask for help: https://thecivicscenter.org/
VOTER PERSUASION THROUGH DEEP CANVASSING: VIRTUALLY: Changing the Conversation, https://www.ctctogether.org/ , an organization dedicated to training and deploying citizens as deep canvassers to bridge political divides and help elect Democrats, is continuing its work virtually ahead of the 2020 election. Let’s learn what it takes to persuade not through argument, but through real human connection, and use those skills to become deep canvassers ourselves: https://www.eventbrite.com/o/changing-the-conversation-together-17257670949
ENCOURAGE VOTE BY MAIL. Postcards to Voters‘ volunteers continue their quest to reach all registered Democrats in Florida not yet signed up for Vote By Mail. Florida elections are managed by county. We are now writing to voters in Santa Rosa County. (Milton is the county seat; just northeast of Pensacola in the panhandle.) Let’s request 5 addresses today to assist this effort.
CA: PROTECT CALIFORNIA FROM FURTHER FOSSIL FUEL POLLUTION: Fracking pollutes our air, our water and increases our risk of dying from Coronavirus, but Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Geologic Energy Management team (CalGEM) have still granted 24 new fracking permits. Further endangering public health during a global pandemic is completely irresponsible and must be stopped. The Last Chance Alliance, a California-wide coalition of hundreds of environmental justice and community organizations, is asking us all to contact Governor Newsom and make sure he takes leadership not only on confronting the public health crisis posed by COVID-19 but also to address the crises posed by climate disruption and fossil fuel pollution. As new health and safety rules regulating oil production are being written, we can urge Newsom and CalGEM to stop all new oil permitting in California, drop existing production through a just transition that would protect the livelihoods of fossil fuel workers, and initiate the process by rolling out 2,500 foot health and safety buffer zones between where oil drilling can happen and where communities live, work and play, when we sign this petition: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/gov-newsom-protect-public-health
NY: PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY CANCELLED: On Monday, New York became the first state to cancel entirely its presidential primary. The Republican members of the Board of Elections had already cancelled their primary because only Trump qualified; now, the Democrats have cancelled theirs, citing the coronavirus pandemic and the fact that Bernie Sanders has withdrawn from the presidential contest. Some say this lays the groundwork for Trump, as Joe Biden has predicted, to use the virus to postpone the general election; others think that this move will deter younger voters and lead to attacks on the Democratic Party because it will be seen as an effort to suppress the Party’s progressive wing: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/27/us/politics/democratic-primary-canceled-coronavirus.html and https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/494857-ocasio-cortez-blasts-new-york-elections-board-for-cancelling-presidential Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has blasted the decision, saying “If N.Y. doesn’t want to risk possibly millions of people voting in-person, we need to mail everyone a ballot. Not an application for one,” as Governor Cuomo has directed. New Yorkers need to tell the NY Board of Elections–518-474-8100 or 40 North Pearl St., Suite 5, Albany, NY 12207-2729—what we think of this decision; everyone, everywhere, needs to make sure their state boards of election don’t provide Trump with a template for using the pandemic as an excuse for cancelling elections.
ANTI-RACISM WEBINAR: On Wednesday, April 29th, racial justice activists will be hosting “How can white folks take anti-racist action in a time of COVID-19?” on Zoom. The webinar will address how to interrupt racist scapegoating, and how to get involved in the anti-racist movement. Let’s read more about the webinar and who will be hosting the event, then sign up to attend here.
POOR PEOPLE’S CAMPAIGN: A NATIONAL CALL FOR MORAL REVIVAL: “The second of our digital mass meetings will be this Thursday, April 30, at 8.30pm ET/ 5:30 pm PT. Please join us for the Poverty Amidst Pandemic: Everybody’s Got A Right to Live Digital Mass Meeting, featuring testifiers from Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wisconsin.” Let’s learn more about this Facebook Live event: https://www.facebook.com/anewppc/posts/2886584201437736
ACLU SMART JUSTICE CAMPAIGN WEBINAR: The ACLU Smart Justice campaign has decided to host a digital day of action titled “Uniting for Pretrial Reform” in May. It will be online, and it will be throughout the day on May 27th. Some of the sessions include a Q&A with ACLU staff, a tele-townhall with multiple legislators (on the topic of pretrial reform), a storytelling panel in the afternoon, and throughout the day there will be multiples ways to engage our elected officials. Here’s a registration link to sign up! https://zoom.us/webinar/register/1415859446055/WN_Wb92iZkTRGmkTJlHepNcIg We want to make sure that people feel their voices can be heard even during this new normal phase we currently we find ourselves in and that we advocate for the most vulnerable of us.
‘No Evidence’ Yet That Recovered COVID-19 Patients Are Immune, WHO Says – https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/04/25/844939777/no-evidence-that-recovered-covid-19-patients-are-immune-who-says
After Wisconsin, these four states’ Supreme Court elections are key for stopping GOP gerrymandering – https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/4/22/1937550/-After-Wisconsin-these-four-states-Supreme-Court-elections-are-key-for-stopping-GOP-gerrymandering
Saving Your Health, One Mask at a Time– https://www.linkedin.com/content-guest/article/saving-your-health-one-mask-time-peter-tippett-md-phd/
Mapping Corruption in the Executive Branch – https://billmoyers.com/story/mapping-corruption-in-the-executive-branch/
U.S. says will not take part in WHO global drugs, vaccine initiative launch – https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-who-usa-idUSKCN2261WJ
Major US meat producer warns ‘food supply chain is breaking’ – https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/apr/27/tyson-foods-coronavirus-food-supply-chain
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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