Human Rights Activism Opportunities

  • Stop HR 620: Tell Congress to #ProtectADA via @NDRNAdvocates

    No_way_not_my_ada_edited.pngThere is little enforcement of the nearly 27 year old Americans with Disabilities Act, also known as the A.D.A. Every time their civil rights are infringed upon, citizens with disabilities must fight to defend those rights in court. That’s not an ideal situation, but it’s often the path that produces more immediate results in the society we live in. 

    The reality is that businesses, even after 27 years, continue to blatantly ignore ADA compliance. And now, a bi-partisan backed bill has been re-introduced by Representative Ted Poe of Texas that will weaken the one tool available to people with disabilities fighting for their civil rights, and the primary way the ADA is enforced. 

    HR 620, or the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017, was born out of complaints from business owners that a cottage industry of legal firms has popped up to capitalize on the ADA by filing a multitude of what they deem to be “frivolous” law suits that hurt businesses.

    So, in an attempt to “protect business owners” who are already violating the law, HR 620 puts even more of a burden on the person whose rights are being violated. If this bill passes, a disabled person must first be denied access; then must determine that violations of the law have occurred; then must provide the business with specific written notice of which provisions of the law were violated and when; and finally, the aggrieved person with the disability must afford the business a lengthy period to correct the problem. The person whose civil rights are being ignored would have to endure and do all of this before they could even file a lawsuit. 

    The legislation failed to pass the House last year due to successful activism from the disability community to squelch it, but under a new administration it has reared its head again.

    In a letter to lawmakers, the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities wrote, “If, after 27 years, a business has continued to not comply with the requirements of this legislation, why should a person have to wait more time for enforcement of their civil rights? Should an individual who is not allowed to enter a restaurant because of their race, gender or religion, have to wait before seeking to enforce their civil rights?” 

    You can help kill this bill again, and perhaps for good, by calling your legislators today and telling them you will not stand for legislation that weakens the ADA and puts more burden on the very people it aims to protect, while businesses continue to violate a 27 year old civil rights law. Get up to speed on the bill, read the statements from the disability community, and watch and share videos about the importance of the ADA and how we can build on it, on the National Disability Rights Network website at NDRN.org

    So, if defending civil rights for all is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about telling congress to protect the Americans with Disabilities Act via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.

     

     

    TAKE ACTION 

    Visit the NDRN website to read up on the response to HR 620 and learn what you can do to protect the ADA

    Call Congress, especially the 14 co-sponsors of HR 620 (7 Republicans, 7 Democrats) 

    Learn more about disability culture and experiences through personal stories via Disability Visibility Project and about the importance of disabled people in public service via #CriptheVote.

    EDUCATE YOURSELF  

    HR 620: ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 (via Countable.us) 

    Overview of Concerns on HR 620 (via NDRN.org)

    Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Letter of Opposition for ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017, HR 620 (via NDRN.org)

    People with Disabilities Battle Trump (via Workers World)

    Denham bill would fight ADA lawsuit abuse (via Central Valley Business Journal)

     

    Posted April 11, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman 

     

    Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1094: An identity group that any one of us might join at any time (Disability Rights)

  • Tap Into the Tools for ‘The Resistance’

    Tech_for_Resistance_Image.pngThis activism update is about taking advantage of some of the tools that are helping make that Resistance movement strong, efficient and agile. Some of these tools have been around for a while while others sprung up after the election, but all of them are helping more informed voices be heard more often. Here are a few of our favorite websites and apps that can help you get informed, contact legislators and make change. 

    5Calls.org is all about simplicity and speed. The site gives you everything you need to make up to 5 calls to elected officials in 5 minutes. The most urgent progressive issues that need attention are listed on the left side of the screen and when you click the one you’re interested in, you’re instantly provided with a description of the issue, the name and phone number for the first elected official you need to call based on your zip code, and a call script. With 5Calls.org, you can be an active participant in The Resistance before your lunch is done reheating in the office microwave. 

    Countable.us focuses on information. Countable was born out of the idea that it shouldn’t be so hard to understand what your elected officials are up to and it should be even easier to hold them accountable for their votes. The nonpartisan site provides clear, succinct summaries of upcoming and active legislation, allows you to directly tell your lawmakers how to vote on the issues, and makes it easy to follow up on how your lawmaker actually voted. They also streamline the process of contacting your lawmaker on every issue you read about and allow for easy social sharing. You do have to create a login to take action on this site, but if you want to really know what’s going on on the floor of Congress, it’s worth it. If you work for a progressive organization, you may also want to check out their embeddable advocacy widget for your website. 

    If you want to know when it’s time to get in the streets, you can stay up to date on the latest direct actions happening near you with ResistanceCalendar.org. This is basically the unofficial online calendar of The Resistance at the local level. Just search the keyword for an issue you care about, or the city you live in, and select the month and you’ll see a pinboard of related events. You can also view the results in chronological order and in full calendar view. Got an event you’re planning? You can also easily submit it to the Resistance Calendar.

    Next, if you’re feeling like you might need a little more guidance to flex your activism muscles, you’ll find it at ResistanceManual.org, a project by Stay Woke. If the site looks like a Wikipedia page, that’s because it is. It’s Wikipedia for activism. They are crowdsourcing resources, information and tools to create a robust, curated go-to resource for The Resistance. Don’t worry - everything is reviewed and approved before it goes live. The site is full of updates on the latest Trump atrocities and how you can resist, but they also have a section called “Tools of Resistance” that includes tips and resources on contacting elected officials, organizing, planning events, and even self-care tools. 

    We haven't scratched the surface of what is out there. So if you want to find more tools, we recommend heading over to ActionAlliance.co, a collaboration of call-to-action websites and apps. It is a simple, one page website that has categorized and linked to a wide variety of online tools - including some of the ones mentioned above - that are helping The Resistance stay on top of the issues. Find the ones that are right for you and make them part of your Resistance plan. 

    So, if keeping The Resistance efficient, effective and informed is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Tapping Into the Tools for ‘The Resistance’ via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.

     

    TAKE ACTION

    5Calls.org 

    Countable.us

    ResistanceCalendar.org

    ResistanceManual.org

    ActionAlliance.co

    READ: "Your Guide to the Sprawling New Anti-Trump Resistance Movement" (via The Nation)

     

    Posted March 31, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman. 

     

    Hear this segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1091: Progressives fighting on multiple fronts (The Resistance)

  • Demand the Trump Administration Take Action to Fight Anti-Semitism via @ADL_National

    No_place_for_hate.jpgLast week, all 100 members of the Senate sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and the FBI calling on them to address the string of bomb threats made against Jewish Community Centers, Jewish Day Schools and Synagogues, and desecration of Jewish cemeteries, across the country. Around the same time 100 leaders of Jewish Community Centers wrote to Jeff Sessions expressing their frustration at the lack of federal level involvement in the investigations. 

    Days later, the Department of Homeland Security finally pledged to investigate these crimes. Though their more than two month delayed response has been duly noted by all. 

    The lack of any serious action by Trump and the Feds prompted the Anti-Defamation League to basically do the work for them. In a post on the ADL Blog and Medium, the CEO and National Director of the ADL, Jonathan Greenblatt, proposed a nine point plan of action for the Trump administration to address anti-semitism, while also calling out Trump for his reluctance to address it.

    Greenblatt wrote, “Whether invective is coming from the Extreme Right or the Radical Left, it is irresponsible for leaders to shrug aside the slander and write off hateful threats or bomb scares as “empty hoaxes.” In an environment where there is no price to be paid for prejudice, bigots will continue to turn up the dial.”

    The ADL plan includes the appointment of a new White House coordinator for fighting hate, a DOJ directive encouraging state and local law enforcement agencies to train officers on handling hate crimes, clarification from DHS on its Countering Violent Extremism program to ensure it encompasses all forms of extremism, increased Department of Education funding for anti-bias, anti-hate content in schools, and more. 

    You can make sure the Trump Administration is forced to address these proposed actions by sharing this plan widely on social media, as well as with your local Representatives, and especially your Senators, who all signed on to the letter to DHS, DOJ and the FBI. To see the post, go to the ADL Blog under the “News” tab on ADL dot org, or get the link from our show notes.

    Again, we want to ask that you help us in our work to amplify the most effective activism. If you have come across an action or a new organization that is doing great work getting people engaged to resist the Trump agenda, please share it with us by emailing Amanda@bestoftheleft.com.  

    The segment notes include all the links to this information as well as additional resources and, as always, this and every activism segment we produce is archived and organized under the activism tab at Best of the Left dot com. 

    So, if fighting hate in all its forms is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Demanding the Trump Administration Take Action to Fight Anti-Semitism via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.

    There’s no better time to take a page out of Anne Frank’s Diary: “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” 

     

     

    TAKE ACTION

    Share the ADL's 9 step plan for the Trump administration to fight anti-semitism on social media

    Send the plan to your Representatives and Senators and demand they fight for action 

    EDUCATE YOURSELF

    President Trump: Time for a Plan of Action to Fight the Surge of Anti-Semitism (ADL.org)

    Anti-Semitism in the United States (ADL.org)

    Letter from Senate to DOJ, DHS and FBI (Peters.senate.gov)

    Homeland Security Finally Vows To Fully Join Investigation Into ‘Hate-Inspired Attacks’ (Huffington Post)

    After a new wave of anti-Semitic attacks, White House appears skeptical about anti-Semitism (Vox)

    A Sixth Wave Of Bomb Threats Has Hit Jewish Centers Around The United States (BuzzFeed News)

    Muslim Fundraiser to Repair Jewish Cemetery Raises $100k (NBC News)

     

    Posted March 10, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman. 

     

    Hear this segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1086: Unleashing the demons (Anti-Semitism)