Human Rights Activism Opportunities

  • Get Trained for the Resistance via @ShowUp4RJ

    the-first-task-of-whites-in-these-struggles-is-to-be-vocal-and-visible-anne-braden.jpg

    You're a listener of this show, so you’re already paying attention and you understand what the country is facing under a Trump administration. But if you've never taken the next step to get involved in activism in the past, we want to remind you today that you, of all people, at all the times in history - ESPECIALLY if you are white - have no excuse not to take action today.

    You cannot rely on the people who already consider themselves activists or the people who will be targeted to get in the streets, stand up for themselves and those under attack and fight Trump and his followers for the next four years. If you do, you will be complicit in America's downfall. Because it doesn't matter anymore if you voted for Bernie, Hillary, Johnson or Stein. We all lost on November 8th - even Trump voters. They just don't know it yet. And that's just the sick reality of it.

    In less than 70 days, Trump will be sworn in as president of the United States. But as you've heard today, his impact is already being felt. So what are you going to do? Here’s a better question - how will you be part of changing our culture so this can’t happen again? 

    Your first step is to go to ShowingUpforRacialJustice.org. Also known as SURJ, Showing Up for Racial Justice is a national network of groups and individuals organizing white people for racial justice. Through community organizing, mobilizing, and education, SURJ Action moves white people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for justice with passion and accountability. Their focus is inviting in those who are simply uneducated about racism instead of spending time calling out those ill informed people when they misstep. 

    White people elected Trump. So to write them off in our resistance movement would be absurd. We want the “moveable white middle” to join us. We want them to see the mutual benefits of equality for all races, genders, religions and abilities. That means engaging in a conversation with them and inviting them to join us in standing up for people of color, the LGBTIA+ community, immigrants, refugees, the disabled and women with mass demonstrations across the country.

    As civil rights activist Anne Braden once said...

    “The battle is and always has been a battle for the hearts and minds of white people in this country...We need to become involved with it as if our lives depended on it because really, in truth, they do.”

    On the SURJ Action website, you can get resources on organizing, find a SURJ chapter in your community or start one, and sign up for in person or on the phone direct action and organizing trainings. Right now, many SURJ chapters across the country are currently offering direct action trainings in their communities and the national office is offering training conference calls into December. 

    SURJ is about educating those who are new to activism. So if this is your first time, don’t be nervous - they want you to be prepared. Because when activists are prepared and organized, they are effective. And that has never been more important. 

    So if resisting racism, fascism and authoritarianism is important to you, then be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Getting Trained for the Resistance by Showing Up for Racial Justice via social media so that others in your network can take action too.

    So stand up. Fight back. There is no time to lose.

     

    TAKE ACTION

    Find a SURJ chapter near you (or start one) 

    Sign up for SURJ national training conference calls

    Get resources from SURJ 

    Sign up to volunteer with SURJ

    Find a SURJ action near you or post your own

    EDUCATE YOURSELF 

    White People Elected Trump. Now What?

    Finding Common Ground with Trump Supporters in Buffalo

     

    Posted November 18, 2016; Written by BOTL Communication Director, Amanda Hoffman.

     

    Hear the clip in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1059: "Hatred Unleashed"

  • Keep the Pressure on Congress to #BeBoldEndHyde via @AllAboveAll

    Ctob2h5WcAQuF9A.pngWe know this story all too well. Forty years ago, a rich white man wrote and passed a law that negatively impacted the health and welfare of women in poverty for decades to come…and of course, it disproportionately harms people of color, immigrants, the LGBT community, young people and rural communities.

    Thanks to Mr. Hyde and his “Hyde Amendment,” it is against the federal law for government funds to cover even one cent of the cost of a safe, legal abortion - effectively putting abortion out of reach for millions on Medicaid. As Maine state Senator Dave Miramant wrote this month, “The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed women’s rights to choose for themselves when to start a family back in 1973. But a right isn’t really a right when it’s dictated by how much money you make.”

    Right now, nearly one in six women of reproductive age are enrolled in the federal Medicaid program. Fifteen states currently have policies that provide state Medicaid coverage of an abortion, but 60% of women on federal Medicaid do not live in those states. And it’s important to note that Transgender people are living in poverty at four times the national average with Medicaid as their only option.  

    But Hyde is not just harming those on Medicaid. It has provided a path for anti-choice politicians to add abortion coverage and funding bans to appropriations language that restricts Medicare and Children’s Health Insurance Program enrollees, federal employees and their dependents, Peace Corps volunteers, Native Americans, women in federal prisons and detention centers - including those detained for immigration purposes - women who receive health care from community health centers, survivors of human trafficking and low-income women in Washington, D.C. 

    The organization All Above All is leading the fight to end the Hyde Amendment. Not only are they educating the country about the devastating impacts of Hyde with fact sheets, videos and articles, but they are taking direct action on the state and local level to pass resolutions that would allow abortion coverage. Visit allaboveall.org and click “Act” to sign up, find resources and join in on state and local actions near you. You can also engage by spreading All Above All’s resources and facts on social media and using the hashtag #BeBoldEndHyde to encourage politicians to stand up for the reproductive rights of those in poverty.

    For the first time, repealing the Hyde Amendment is part of the Democratic Party’s platform, but it is up to us to hold them to it. We encourage you to make fighting for reproductive justice part of your theory of change by getting involved in the long term with organizations like All Above All, Planned Parenthood, the Center for Reproductive Rights, NARAL Pro-Choice America and other organizations fighting to provide everyone with the reproductive healthcare access and coverage they deserve. 

    So if making sure people can make their own healthcare decisions is important to you, then be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Keeping the Pressure on Congress to Be Bold and End the Hyde Amendment via social media so that others in your network can take action too.

     

     

    TAKE ACTION!

    Get involved with All Above All actions on the state and local level

    Share All Above All resources on social media with #BeBoldEndHyde 

    EDUCATE YOURSELF

    What Women Do When They Can't Afford an Abortion (Broadly.vice.com)

    What are your state's laws when it comes to abortion coverage? (AllAboveAll.org) 

    All Above All's Hyde Amendment Fact Sheet (AllAboveAll.org)

    Term And Partial Birth Abortions: The Mythical Arch-Nemeses Of The Anti-Choice Movement (HuffingtonPost.com)

    Tim Kaine Now Backs Lifting the Hyde Amendment Banning Abortion Funding (NBCNews.com)

     

     Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman.

     

    Hear this segment in the context of the latest Best of the Left Edition #1052: The policies we have vs. the policies we need (Reproductive Rights)

     

  • #HikeforHealing to Support The #MonumentQuilt for Survivors of Rape and Abuse via @UpsettingRape (FORCE)

    quilt_square.jpg30 years ago, the AIDS Memorial Quilt was displayed on the National Mall in DC - visually representing the overwhelming devastation of HIV/AIDS and forcing the country to confront the crisis. Inspired by that first quilt, sexual assault activists have been stitching together what is called “The Monument Quilt” to achieve the same kind of awareness and action for survivors of rape and sexual abuse. 

    The organization behind the quilt is FORCE, a creative activist collaboration dedicated to “upsetting rape culture and promoting a culture of consent.” FORCE says the quilt will be a place of healing and that it resists the popular and narrow narrative of how sexual violence occurs by telling many stories at once, not just one.

    The project began in 2013 thanks to a kickstarter campaign and FORCE tweeted this week that the quilt has doubled in size in the last year - now covering a football field. FORCE plans to display the quilt on the National Mall in the spring of 2018, and a national, year-long tour will follow. You can learn more about the quilt, view quilt squares, get information on making a quilt square, sign up to host a workshop and volunteer at themonumentquilt.org.

    But this project needs materials and the corresponding workshops for healing and activism need resources to expand. That’s why on October 29th, FORCE, and local organizations fighting rape culture and sexual assault across the country, want you to join them in your community for “Hike for Healing.” Participants will hike or walk with others and raise funds for the completion of this quilt, while raising awareness about consequences of our rape culture.

    To find a Hike for Healing team near you or to start one in your community, go to crowdrise.com/hikeforhealing

    The Monument Quilt is about giving a voice to many to show survivors they are not alone. In that spirit, we also strongly encourage you to check out the powerful hashtag #WhyWomenDontReport on Twitter to read survivor stories and the reasons that hold women back from reporting assaults.

    As the Republican candidate for president continues to personify rape culture itself and politicians continue to defend him, we encourage you to make ending rape culture part of your theory of change by getting involved in the long term with organizations like FORCE, Ultra Violet, Planned Parenthood, No More, RAINN, and other organizations fighting to end sexism, sexual assault, domestic violence and abuse and upturn the rape culture we live in.

    If you or someone you know has been assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE. That’s 1-800-656-4673.

    So if making our country face and change rape culture is important to you, then be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about the #HikeforHealing to Support The #MonumentQuilt for Survivors of Rape and Abuse via social media so that others in your network can take action too.

    TAKE ACTION

    Find a Hike for Healing team near you or start one at https://www.crowdrise.com/hikeforhealing

    View quilt squares, get information on making a quilt square, sign up to host a workshop and volunteer at https://themonumentquilt.org

    Check out #WhyWomenDontReport on Twitter 

    EDUCATE YOURSELF

    Our quilt project shares rape survivors' stories (CNN.com)

    Trump's Campaign Embraces Rape Culture (ThinkProgress.com)

    Everyone's talking to their daughters about Donald Trump. They need to talk to their sons. (Mic.com)

    The Conversation You Must Have With Your Sons (HuffingtonPost.com)

    8 Societal Barriers That Make it Hard to Report Sexual Assault (EverydayFeminism.com)

    Women share stories of sexual assault to show Trump what rape culture looks like (HuffingtonPost.com)

     

    Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman.

     

    Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1051: "Consent is sexy"

  • Help Get a Recall of Rape Apologist Judge Aaron Persky on the Ballot in CA via RecallAaronPersky.com

    Here are the facts: Brock Allen Turner beat and sexually assaulted an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. He was caught red handed by not one, but two witnesses. When the two witnesses approached Turner and the victim, Turner ran away and had to be chased down and tackled. A jury unanimously convicted him of three felony counts. Turner will serve six months in prison for his violent crimes - three months, with good behavior. 

    There has never been any doubt in this case that Turner is guilty of sexual assault, but when it came to the justice system, Turner, who had already won the race, class and ability lotteries in his short privileged life, won one more…getting Judge Aaron Persky assigned to his case. 

    With each lax sentence that Persky dolls out, and his callous concerns for the assailant over the victim, he contributes to our rape culture and the honoring of white male privilege across the country. His decisions fuel the fire of other rape apologist judges like himself who somehow do not grasp the severity of Turner’s and other rapists’ horrific crimes. 

    This is why Stanford Law Professor Michele Landis Dauber, interviewed in the Democracy Now! clip featured in Best of the Left Edition #1024, launched a campaign to ensure that a recall of Persky gets on the ballot in California. Recalling Persky won’t just end his judgeship, it will send a clear and strong national message that cases of domestic violence, sexual assault and rape should be judged with the seriousness and gravity they deserve. 

    To recall a judge in California, there is a very specific process that must be followed to the letter. Although the recent Change.org petition with over 500,000 signatures calling for Persky’s recall was an excellent showing of public support and outcry, it’s important to know that it will not help get the recall on the ballot. 

    Dauber has assembled a highly professional group of experienced, A-Team lawyers and other legal advisors, including herself, and a steering committee has already been formed. They are committed to running this effort by the book, dotting every ‘i’ and crossing every ’t’, but this will be a time-consuming and expensive process.

    You can help by volunteering, donating, or signing up for updates related to the recall campaign by visiting RecallAaronPersky.com - the official online headquarters and action center for those who want to help Dauber’s team get the Persky recall on the ballot in California. You do not need to be a California resident to help. 

    Of their prospects, Dauber said, “There is no question in my mind that we will succeed.” 

    So, if stopping the propagation of rape apologists in our justice system is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about how to Help Get a Recall of Rape Apologist Judge Aaron Persky on the Ballot in California via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.

    We'd like to leave you with a few of the widely-shared words written by the victim that she bravely read to her assailant in the court room: 

     “The probation officer’s recommendation of a year or less in county jail is a soft time­out, a mockery of the seriousness of his assaults, an insult to me and all women. It gives the message that a stranger can be inside you without proper consent and he will receive less than what has been defined as the minimum sentence […] what I truly wanted was for Brock to get it, to understand and admit to his wrongdoing.”

      

     

    TAKE ACTION

    Visit RecallAaronPersky.com to volunteer, donate or sign up for updates to support the effort to get a recall of Persky on the ballot in California. 

    On social media, follow @RecallPersky - the official Twitter account of the campaign - and RT. Use the hashtag #RecallPersky when voicing your support. 

    Sign the Change.org petition that demands Stanford University publicly apologize to the survivor of Turner's sexual assault, offer to pay for her counseling and other supportive services, increase resources for sexual assault prevention on campus, increase counseling resources for all survivors, and administer a national survey about sexual violence occurring in fraternities.  

    Read and share the powerful words the survivor read to her assailant.

    Hear the segment in context: 

    Edition #1024: "Privilege and injustice: A case study"

    Written by BOTL Communications Director Amanda Hoffman.

  • Support the Women’s Health Protection Act to Counter TRAP Laws via #ActforWomen Campaign

    In the last four years alone, states including Texas, Utah and South Carolina have enacted over 250 new restrictions on access to safe and legal abortion - all under the guise of “protecting” women’s health. In response to years of relentless assaults on women’s health, safety, and constitutional rights, the Act for Women Campaign is urging support of the Women’s Health Protection Act - federal legislation that would not only counter TRAP laws, but enforce and protect the right of every woman to decide for herself whether to continue or end a pregnancy, regardless of where she lives.

    The Act for Women action toolkit, available for download from www.actforwomen.org, suggests the following ways to engage with the campaign and raise awareness and support for the legislation: 

    • Write a letter to the editor about the Women’s Health Protection Act
    • Attend a Town Hall meeting and ask about the Women’s Health Protection Act
    • Connect the Women’s Health Protection Act to your state work 
    • Schedule an in-district lobby visit to discuss the Women’s Health Protection Act
    • Amplify the voices of your state and local lawmakers

    ...and...

    • Use the hashtag #ActforWomen online 

    Additionally, on Monday, June 20th, PBS will air “TRAPPED,” a highly praised documentary by filmmaker Dawn Porter, who we heard interviewed today, about the abortion access crisis in America. The Center for Reproductive Rights, a member of the Act for Women Campaign, is encouraging all to spread the word and/or host a watch party.

    While the primary focus of the Act for Women Campaign is maintaining access to safe and legal abortion care, the campaign recognizes that the fight does not end there, saying…

    “Women of color, young women, transgender and gender non-conforming persons, low-income people, and immigrant communities often encounter additional barriers to obtaining health services. The campaign supports and encourages parallel efforts to remove all obstacles to accessing affordable, non-discriminatory, and quality sexual and reproductive health care.” 

    So, if protecting access to reproductive healthcare is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about how to support the Women’s Health Protection Act via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.

    Resolve to make the choice each day that can never be taken away: the choice to fight back.  

     

     

    TAKE ACTION

    Learn more about the Act for Women Campaign and the Women's Health Protection Act at http://www.actforwomen.org

    Download the Act for Women Campaign Tools & Resources http://www.actforwomen.org/tools-and-resources/

    Find out where and how to watch "TRAPPED," the documentary at http://www.trappeddocumentary.com

    Use the hashtag #ActforWomen on social media and tweet at your congressperson to urge them to support the Women's Health Protection Act. 

    Follow the Center for Reproductive Rights on Twitter @ReproRights 

     

    Hear the segment in context: 

    Episode #1020: "A right delayed is a right denied

     

    Written by BOTL Communications Director Amanda Hoffman 

     

  • #FlushDiscrimination via the National Center for @TransEquality

    In case anyone has been distracted by election year, horse-race politics, it’s Pride Month - and we want to take this time to remind you that the anti-transgender law in North Carolina is still on the books. As you heard today, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced that the US Justice Department is counter-suing the state of North Carolina in a supportive and powerful speech drawing obvious and direct parallels to the civil rights movement.

    But North Carolina isn’t the only state that has passed, or is considering passing, these kinds of laws and you can help fight this reaction to fear and ignorance across the country with resources and the Flush Discrimination campaign from the National Center for Transgender Equality (or NCTE).

    The organization’s North Carolina Action Center and National Action Center give you all the tools you need to fight anti-trans bills in your state and beyond, as well as resources to protect yourself or your loved ones. 

    Here’s the latest status on anti-trans legislations across the country: Kansas’s bill passed in the state Senate, Michigan’s is in committee, North Carolina’s and Mississippi’s have been signed into law, New York’s has been referred to Governmental Operations, Oklahoma’s is up for vote in the state Senate soon, and in Washington an anti-trans ballot initiative has been filed. Visit www.transequality.org/action-center to access links to resources under each state to help you tell those in power that these bills will not be tolerated. 

    If you want to get engaged on social media, take part in the NCTE’s “Flush Discrimination" campaign. Sign the pledge at www.transequality.org/flush, take a photo or video of yourself holding their downloadable “Flush Discrimination” sign, and use the hashtag #FlushDiscrimination when posting to social media platforms. Show everyone that you won’t stand for mandatory government discrimination in North Carolina - or anywhere else.

    So, if making sure the civil rights of transgender people are protected is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about how to #FlushDiscrimination via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.

     

     

    TAKE ACTION 

    Learn how to fight HB2 with NCTE's North Carolina Action Center

    Learn how to fight anti-trans bills in states across the country with NCTE's National Action Center

    Take part in NCTE's #FlushDiscrimination Campaign to show you support of the trans community

     

    Hear the segment in context:

    Episode #1020: "The damage we're doing

     

    Written by BOTL Communications Director Amanda Hoffman 

  • Fight Anti-Whistleblower Ag-Gag Laws via @ALDF #STOPAgGag #FIGHTAgGAG

    In episode #1014, we focused on the benefits of moving toward a meatless diet and basically ignored the topic of animal suffering to resonate with those who don’t feel as motivated to change by animal rights as others. So, we flipped our activism on its head as well by focusing on the impact of Ag-Gag laws on humans.

    Thanks to Big Ag lobbying and money in politics, we are all at risk of losing a critical piece of our first amendment rights because of Ag-Gag laws. As you’ve heard today, Ag-Gag laws usually contain one or more of three provisions designed to suppress whistleblowing:

    • the ban of photography or video documentation on facility premises
    • the criminalization of securing a job under “false pretenses,” and
    • mandatory reporting of documented abuse within a short and arbitrary timeframe

    Though a number of states have struck down or overturned these laws due to pressure from animal rights defense groups and federal rulings, Kansas, Montana, North Dakota, Iowa, Utah, Missouri and North Carolina still have Ag-Gag laws on the books. These unconstitutional laws threaten animal welfare, workers’ rights, food safety, and the environment - but they also take away whistleblower rights across the board. Ag-Gag laws actually help set precedents to punish the worker or undercover journalist who exposes neglect and abuse at a retirement home, or misconduct at a daycare center, or spying by our government on its own people. Then these laws go one step farther by protecting the illegal practices and the company that performs them. 

    The Animal Legal Defense Fund Ag-Gag action allows you to send a message to Kansas, Montana, North Dakota, Iowa, Utah, Missouri and North Carolina to demand that these laws be repealed. Those who live in these states will be routed to their state representatives, and people outside of these Ag-Gag states will be routed to the governors of all seven states. Visit the Animal Legal Defense Fund website at ADLF.org and search for “take action to stop Ag Gag” in their search field, or click here, to find the action page and send your message.  

    So, if protecting the first amendment and whistleblower rights is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about how to Fight Anti-Whistleblower Ag-Gag Laws via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.

    In the end, Ag-Gag laws force us to fight for our rights and our health, something the animals at the mercy of Big Meat will never be able to do for themselves. The irony shouldn’t be lost on anyone. 

     

      

    TAKE ACTION

    Write to legislators and governors in states with Ag-Gag laws via Animal Legal Defense Fund's “Take Action to Stop Ag Gag” and demand they be repealed.

    Other Actions

    Sign the Last Chance for Animal's Change.org petition to fight Missouri's Ag-Gag Law

    Sign the Food Integrity Campaign's petition to fight Ag-Gag Laws 

    Sources/Further Reading: 

    No More Exposés in North Carolina (via NYTimes.com)

    In the Belly of the Beast (via RollingStone.com) (WARNING: THIS IS IMPORTANT, BUT GRAPHIC)

    Ag-Gag Legislation by State (via ASPCA.org)

    Undercovered: 'Ag-Gag' Laws - How Big Agra Tries to Muzzle Journalists (via Mediate.com)

    Big Agriculture Bullies and Lobbies to Keep Americans In the Dark (via Forbes.com)

    Groups Sue Over North Carolina's Ag Gag Law, Saying it Violates The Constitution (via ThinkProgress.org)

    Ag Boards Think They Should be Exempt From the Freedom of Information Act (via MFAblog.org)

    Mercy for Animals Legal Advocacy (via MercyforAnimals.org)

     

    Hear the segment in context:

    Episode #1014: "The Human Impact of Animal Agriculture"

    Written by BOTL Communications Director Amanda Hoffman.