Human Rights Activism Opportunities

  • STOP TRUMPCARE via @IndivisibleTeam and TrumpcareToolkit.org

    Kill_the_bill.jpgJust because it feels like everyone knows how utterly awful this dressed-up bill of tax cuts for the wealthy is, doesn’t mean it won’t become law. The pure fact that it is a reconciliation bill was a strategic way to get this through the Senate with only 50 Republican votes. 

    Thankfully, it looks like they’re coming up a little short. 

    After the Congressional Budget Office released their report revealing that this Senate bill is no less cruel than the House bill, a few Republican Senators are showing reservations. Those reservations must be cemented into “no” votes. And to do that, those Senators need to hear from you. 

    As of the air date of this show, Mitch McConnell has postponed the vote until after the July 4th recess. That means we have time on our side, and a big point to make on America’s birthday.

    The Center for American Progress Action Fund has created a website listing the fifteen Republican Senators who are most likely to vote against Trumpcare, along with their phone numbers and the ability to Tweet at them with a graphic showing the number of people in their state that will lose coverage if the Senate bill passes. Go to TrumpcareToolkit.org to check it out and take action. 

    For more detailed information on what this bill will do and call scripts to help you get the message across to your Senators, head over to IndivisibleGuide.com. Their Stop Trumpcare toolkit has been updated to provide all of the details and resources you need to fight against the Senate bill. These resources also include a layman terms explainer on why the bill STILL fails people with pre-existing conditions by allowing backdoor discrimination. And that’s important, since the architects of this bill are working hard to mislead the public on that very point. 

    If the lines are busy, try using one of our favorite calling tools: Stance. Stance allows you to record your message and delivers it directly to your Congressperson’s phone lines when call volume is low. 

    And finally, if you can, show up at your Congress person’s local office and go to town hall meetings. If your Congress person isn’t hosting a town hall, then consider hosting a citizen-lead town hall and invite your Congress person. This tactic has proven to be effective mostly because being represented by an empty chair is never good optics for a Congress person dodging their constituents. Go to TownHallProject.com or visit your congress person’s website to see if there is a town hall near you during the recess.  

    I probably don’t need to remind you, but I will, that Medicaid as we know it is on the line. Affordable coverage for those who actually need it is on the line. Lifetime coverage caps and limitless out of pocket expenses will return. Even quality employer sponsored insurance coverage is at risk. So please take action right now. I am not exaggerating in the slightest when I say millions of lives are at stake. 

    So, if you’re fed up with attacks on the most vulnerable among us to pay for tax cuts for the rich, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about STOPPING TRUMPCARE via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.

     

     

    TAKE ACTION

    Call & tweet at the 15 Senators most likely to vote against Trumpcare with Trumpcare Toolkit 

    Get info and call scripts on Trumpcare from Indivisible Guide's Stop Trumpcare Toolkit 

    Find a Town Hall with TownHallProject.com

    EDUCATE YOURSELF 

    CBO Analysis Endangers GOP Health-Care Bill (The Atlantic) 

    The Latest: 5th GOP senator opposes debate on health bill (MSN.com)

    Senate GOP health-care bill's tax cuts would be a big boon for the rich, analysis says (CNBC)

    The most devastating passage in the CBO’s report on the Senate health bill (Vox)

    The Senate Health-Care Bill Is Morally Indefensible (The Nation)

    Republicans Spent the Weekend Lying Their Faces Off About Health Care (The Nation)

    Police drag away protesters in wheelchairs from Mitch McConnell’s office (Salon)

    Sean Spicer: America Either Passes GOP Plan or Adopts Single Payer (The Ring of Fire)

    Opinion: The GOP says its healthcare bill will protect those with preexisting conditions. Um, no it won’t (LA Times)

     

    Posted June 27, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman

    Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1116: An enormous tax cut for the rich disguised as health care

     

  • Learn How to Effectively Fight & Report Hate in Your Community via @SPLCenter

    SPLC.jpgThe recent horrific events on a train in Portland, Oregon have left us all unnerved. And while there is kindness and love in this story, there is also the reminder that this is not an isolated incident. Across the country, hate groups have been rising and growing in their ranks for the last decade, and having Trump in the White House has only emboldened them.

    If you’re feeling helpless in trying to stop the neo-nazis, white nationalists and other extremists advocating for violence and white supremacy, you should know there are solid steps and actions you and your community can take.  

    Seven years ago, the Southern Poverty Law Center produced the publication Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide.” Despite its age, it is still extremely relevant. The guide sets out ten principles for fighting hate, along with a collection of inspiring stories of people who worked to push hate out of their communities. Read it. Share it. Discuss it. Practice it. 

    If you witness or are the victim of a hate crime, first, call the authorities. Then, help Southern Poverty Law Center monitor these incidents by submitting the details in a form on their website at SPLCenter.org/reporthate. You can also use the hashtag #ReportHate to share the link to this form with others and call out hate crimes on social media.

    And finally, Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hatewatch blog monitors and exposes the activities of the American radical right with articles about the latest news and headlines regarding hate crimes and hate groups, as well as updates on the organization’s pending law suits. One of the more recent articles highlights the disturbing surge in frequency of noose hate crime incidents, including two incidents in and near the African American History Museum in DC.  

    Look, this is not the kind of news most people seek out. This is a dark, viscous side of our country that the privileged among us can easily pretend does not exist. But we have to push past feeling uncomfortable and get to the part where we ask ourselves what we can do to counter the message of hate. Go to SPLCenter.org to educate yourself and gather the tools we all desperately need to take up this fight. 

    So, if standing up for each other and fighting hate is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Learning How to Effectively Fight & Report Hate in Your Community with Southern Poverty Law Center via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.

     

    TAKE ACTION

    Read and share SPLC's "Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide"

    #ReportHate crimes to SPLC at splcenter.org/reporthate 

    Stay informed about hate-fueled incidents across the country via SPLC's Hatewatch 

    EDUCATE YOURSELF

    SPLC Hatewatch: Headlines for 6/7/2017 (SPLC Hatewatch)

    Defiant Alt-Right “Patriots” Encounter Portland’s Simmering Anger After Train Killings (SPLC Hatewatch)

    As Hate Crimes Rise, The Trump Administration Blocks Funding to Fight Domestic Extremism (Right Wing Watch)

    Why Taking Down Confederate Memorials is Only a First Step (The Conversation)

    Protest in the Era of Donald Trump (Huffington Post)

     

    Posted June 7, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman.

     

    Hear Best of the Left Edition #1110: The rise of hate in America (White Supremacy)

     

  • 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)