Help the community recover in Hawaii, resist an illegal police raid on a newspaper, make EV infrastructure accessible, and more!
Contact all members of Congress:
- By phone: (202) 224-3121
- By email: democracy.io
- By US mail: Representatives / Senators
- By fax: Representatives / Senators
- By Resistbot: Resist.bot
Contact White House or other federal agencies:
- HOW TO HELP HAWAII WILDFIRE RELIEF
Last Tuesday, Maui and the Big Island of Hawaii experienced their deadliest natural disaster in history when multiple wildfires, made worse by high winds and climate change-intensified drought, broke out on each island. Authorities have confirmed 93 deaths so far with hundreds still missing, thousands of residents have been left without homes, the historic town of Lahaina was largely destroyed, and the damage to structures is estimated to be in the billions. Let’s join in the effort to offer relief to those impacted by these wildfires: the Honolulu Civil Beat, Hawaii News Now, the San Francisco Chronicle, and Maui Nui Strong have compiled resource pages that link to relief funds, mutual aids, food banks, and more. From the last site, we can also find ways to offer services, volunteer, or find donation centers. For those of us who have been impacted by the wildfires, we can find resources and assistance at the Maui Nui Strong support page. Let’s also acknowledge that global warming will continue to exacerbate these disasters if we don’t get serious about protecting ourselves and the planet, and ask our members of Congress to work harder on passing laws that address our growing crisis.
- ILLEGAL POLICE RAID ON A KANSAS NEWSPAPER
On Friday, police in Marion, Kansas launched an illegal and unprecedented raid on the local newspaper, the Marion County Record, seizing computers, cellphones and reporting materials from the paper’s office, reporters and the publisher’s home – taking everything they needed to put out their next issue and injuring at least one reporter. This raid was triggered by false accusations of identity theft by a restaurant owner who they had accurately written had the police kick them out of a meeting with their congressman, and subsequent reporting by independent journalist Marisa Kabas has revealed that the paper was also investigating Marion Police Chief Gideon Cody over sexual misconduct allegations at his previous job with the Kansas City Police Department. To make matters worse, the Record’s 98-year-old co-owner Joan Meyer was badly traumatized by the raid and died on Saturday. This is a tragedy, and a dangerous assault on press freedom that demands a nationwide response. Here’s some steps we can take: a) contact Chief of Police Cody at 620-382-2651 or GCody@marionks.net; Marion County Sheriff Jeff Soyez at 620-382-2144 or email@example.com; and Judge Laura Viar who signed off on the warrant at 620-767-6838, option 1 to let them know American patriots condemn their actions and insist they return the seized materials to the Record; b) reach out to Marion Mayor David Mayfield and members of the city council to urge them to exercise their authority to rein in this out-of-control police department; c) contact the U.S. Justice Department and Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach and add our voices to those calling for a full investigation of this raid; d) reach out to the Kansas City Police to urge them to be transparent about any allegations against Chief Cody; and e) finally, let’s consider showing our solidarity to these journalists and help them keep the doors open by subscribing to the Marion County Record.
- RESIST THE GUTTING OF WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY
The Republican war on higher education is taking an ominous turn in West Virginia, where the leadership of the state’s flagship university is now proposing devastating program and staff cuts – discontinuing 32 majors and firing 7% of the faculty. Along with deep reductions in graduate studies, this would include the entire World Languages Department – WVU students would no longer be able to get a foreign language bachelor’s degree, the first flagship university in the country not to offer such a program. These measures come after years of falling enrollment, financial mismanagement by President Gordon Gee and the WVU administration, and funding cuts by the legislature created a $45 million budget shortfall, and were developed in part by the higher education consultants at the RPK Group. If this disinvestment in the humanities succeeds in West Virginia, other states may follow suit. The WVU Board of Governors is set to vote on these recommendations on September 15th. Let’s reach out to President Gee at Gordon.firstname.lastname@example.org to urge him to turn back from this path; sign this open letter to the Board of Governors or contact them directly via Special Assistant to the Board of Governors Valerie Lopez (Valerie.email@example.com) and ask them to reject these cuts; and add our names to this petition to protect the World Languages department. We can also check out this list of RPK Group clients and, if we’re associated with one of the schools or live in a state whose public universities have hired them, reach out to these institutions and our lawmakers and urge them not to follow the same path. Finally, if we’re in West Virginia, let’s urge our legislators and governor to step in.
- DEMAND HIGHWAY SIGNAGE FOR EV CHARGERS
As this Boston Globe report explains, more electric cars means fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and encouraging people to purchase and drive electric vehicles requires that they be confident that they can find charging stations on federal highways. But regulations instituted under the Trump administration made it harder to post EV charger signage on federal roads and highways. Let’s tell the White House and Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt (202-366-2240), that we want the rules changed so that people driving electric vehicles can find the charging stations that are being installed across the country.
- MASS CLEMENCY ON LOUISIANA DEATH ROW
Lawyers for men on Louisiana’s death row are trying a new tactic to save their clients: a request for mass clemency from the governor, one of the biggest in American history. Governor John Bel Edwards, a conservative Catholic Democrat, has announced that he opposes the death penalty, and his term ends in January. Advocates have argued this dramatic step would serve both those on death row and acknowledge the deep systemic problems with capital punishment. Let’s add our voices to the call for justice and mercy. We can contact Governor Edwards in support of the mass clemency request here, and the Board of Pardons and Parole, who will need to favorably recommend those making the request for clemency, here.
- WHO IS BEHIND EXTREMIST SCHOOL BOARD POLICIES?
Red Wine & Blue is teaming up with Democracy Forward for a virtual community event to learn from Democracy Forward’s legal tam about the radical right-wing extremist groups that are pushing school boards across the country to ban books and diversity programs and to attack trans youth. Called “The Inside Scoop: Who Is Behind Extremist School Board Policies with Democracy Forward,” the event takes place online, August 17, 2023, at 7:30 p.m. Let’s attend. We can sign up here.
- CA – NEW PROTECTIONS FOR FAST FOOD WORKERS
Fast food corporations and trade groups have spent nearly $4 million lobbying against AB1228, a bill that would hold the corporations responsible when fast food franchise owners break the law. This could be a crucial tool protecting some of our most vulnerable workers against wage theft, harassment and other labor law violations. This bill has already passed the assembly. Let’s tell our state senators and Governor Newsom to ignore the corporate lobbying and pass this measure into law.
AND FINALLY, SOME GOOD NEWS
- LAST WEEK’S WINS
This was a week marked by hardship and loss to both authoritarianism and climate change, but we can take comfort in knowing we earned a number of victories all the same. Here’s a summary of some of the best news from the last week from our wonderful friend Jessica Craven at Chop Wood, Carry Water, including Native Americans and environmentalists securing a new national monument in the greater Grand Canyon area, the Supreme Court reinstating (for now) the Biden Administration’s regulation of ghost gun kits, and the White House restoring the strength of the Davis-Bacon Act to ensure folks working on public projects will make a fair wage.
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