Domestic (In)justice Activism Opportunities

  • Fight to Pass the George Floyd Act, BREATHE Act, & Take LOCAL Action!

    George_Floyd_Act__._BREATHE_Act.pngThere are a few things you need to know upfront about the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act: it is not enough, it is not perfect, it will not come close to fixing everything, and it faces a steep uphill battle to get passed by the Senate.

    That said, the bill is still historic and sweeping legislation in a country that has done next to nothing legislatively to stop police brutality. The bill includes the creation of a national database of police misconduct, bans federal law enforcement from using chokeholds and from using no-knock warrants in drug cases, criminalizes officer sexual misconduct against detainees, and more.

    The key clarification here is that, if passed, the bill would mostly impact federal law enforcement. We’re talking about ICE, ATF and DEA officers, U.S. Park Rangers and police officers and many, many more law enforcement officers working under the federal government. But, as we know, police abuse and brutality happen frequently in these federal ranks and so the bill's potential impact should not be understated.

    Two provisions in the bill that would definitely affect local and state police forces are the end of qualified immunity - which currently protects officers from individual liability - and limiting transfer of military equipment to local police departments. It’s important to remember that this bill is also still a work in progress and proposed amendments are still being made. You can help shape this bill by calling and writing to your members of congress.

    The BREATHE Act is a project by The Movement for Black Lives unveiled in July 2020. This bill that aims to realign America’s moral compass by reallocating its massive investments in racist injustice systems, prisons and war toward incentives for decarceration, community-led approaches to public safety, and environmental, economic, health, education and housing justice. It’s basically “Defund the Police” on a national scale and an effort to acknowledge and right many of the wrongs committed over centuries. It is being called a visionary Civil Rights bill for the modern era. (See our segment from August 2020)

    However, without an end to the racist Senate filibuster, any legislation like this is already stalled. Sure, you can force a vote and put people on the record, but Democrats have the power to end the filibuster and it is their duty to do so. Making sure that happens is an essential first step to any legislative fight right now.

    So, should we keep fighting to improve and pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act? Yes. Should we keep fighting for the BREATHE Act from the Movement for Black Lives, which goes farther to address root causes of police brutality and its disproportionate impact on Black and Indigenous communities? Yes, and yes again.

    But remember that in this gridlocked political landscape the local and state level fight for change is powerful and essential. You can get involved by joining a local action group or national organization local chapter fighting police brutality where you live. If you want a starting point to understand the approach to fighting police abuse and brutality locally, the ACLU Fighting Police Abuse Community Action Manual is a great resource.

    From the halls of congress to your local city hall, tap into that local people power and make the change we need.

    So, if upending our culture of police brutality is important to you, be sure to tell everyone you know about Fighting to Pass the George Floyd Act, BREATHE Act, & Taking LOCAL Action so that others in your network can spread the word too.

     

    TAKE ACTION!

    Fight to improve & pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

    Fight to pass the BREATHE Act (Movement for Black Lives) (BOTL segment from last summer)

    Join a local organization or chapter fighting police brutality: some suggestions

    Explore the ACLU's "FIGHTING POLICE ABUSE: A COMMUNITY ACTION MANUAL"

    EDUCATE YOURSELF & SHARE

    George Floyd Justice in Policing Act Explained (Note: Headline updated) (Vox)

    Now is the time to revolutionize policing (BREATHE Act) (Vox)

    Movement for Black Lives opposes George Floyd Justice in Policing Act (PBS)

    Why Police Brutality Is a Public Health Issue (Self)

     

    Posted March 28, 2021; Researched and written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman

    Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1407: Reclaiming the Streets (Defunding the Police and the Sarah Everard Outcry)

  • Voting Is Not Enough: FINAL PUSH! GOTV & DONATE STRATEGICALLY!

    Final_Push_GOTV_and_Donate.pngNext week, exactly seven days from now (Oct. 27th), America will watch the election results roll in. And chances are it will take days, possibly weeks, maybe even months until we know who won.

    Your actions this week can build the giant turnout we desperately need to overwhelm gerrymandering, make up for voter suppression and deliver a decisive victory for Biden. Maybe that doesn’t sound exciting to some of you - and I get that - but this is what it will take to have a chance at protecting peoples’ rights and fighting for progressive ideas.

    Last time, we highlighted the get out the vote campaigns Swing Left, Field Team 6 and Vote Save America. This week we’ll add Indivisible to that list at 2020.indivisible.org. Handwringing doesn’t help, but talking to likely voters might actually make you feel better. For our full list of volunteering opportunities, voting resources, and much more, visit our Voting Is Not Enough: 2020 Election Action Guide at BestoftheLeft.com/2020action.

    Today, we’re going to focus on how you can strategically and effectively donate in this final, critical week before the election. We know these are hard times for many people, so if you can give - please, please do.

    SwingLeft isn’t just getting out the vote, they’re also making it easy to donate strategically. The Swing Left Immediate Impact Fund sends 100% of your donation to the candidates in the closest races among the 12 Super States - the most important states to help flip the White House, the Senate and state houses key to rolling back Republican gerrymandering. Or, donate to one of the Super States and 100% of your donation will support close races up and down the ballot just in that state. Go to SwingLeft.org/fundsto donate.

    If you want to help the Democrats keep control of the House, the DCCC has established what they’re calling a Frontline Member donation fund. These are House members who won tight House races and flipped districts in the 2018 midterms and are vulnerable in 2020. Go to DCCC.org/frontline to see the list of candidates and scroll all the way down to click to donate. It’s worth noting that this list includes Sharice Davids from Kansas - one of the first two Native American women elected to congress, as well as the first openly gay person elected to congress from Kansas. Lauren Underwood from Illinois -  the youngest and first black woman to win in her district. Abby Finkenauer - the first woman elected to congress from the state of Iowa and nearly tied with AOC for youngest member of the House. And Jahana Hayes - the first black woman to represent Connecticut in congress. We don’t want to lose these 2018 gains in diversity and political outsiders.

    If you want to help flip more House seats, donate to the DCCC’s Red to Blue program at redtoblue.dccc.org. That list includes Kara Eastman in Nebraska’s 2nd district, who was endorsed by AOC’s Courage to Change PAC and Justice Democrats in the primaries. She was within 2 points of winning in 2018. This could be her year.

    (Not in on air segment) If you want to help flip state houses, you don't have to know about every state legislative seat that's in play. EveryDistrict does that for you. Read their blog post - complete with action buttons - about how they can help you strategically donate to help flip state legislatures.

    And don’t forget about governorships, which will be critical to protecting civil rights laws and implementing public health measures to fight against COVID-19. Right now, Utah and Montana have an open seat for Governor, while Missouri’s Republican incumbent is in a close race. Indiana, North Dakota, New Hampshire, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia all have Republican governors up for re-election. Head to DemocraticGovernors.org to donate.

    As we get closer to election day, remember that if you or someone you know encounters a problem when trying to vote, call Election Protection at 866-OUR-VOTE or visit 866OurVote.org. If you want to help voters, sign up to assist with Election Protection’s nonpartisan poll monitoring program at ProtectTheVote.net.

    Don’t get complacent. Trump could still win this thing. Republicans could still hold on to the Senate or erode the gains in the House. No one wants to wake up on November 4th wishing they had done more, so take action now. Voting is not enough, folks….it’s just not.

    So, if giving liberal candidates the resources they need to WIN this thing is important to you, be sure to tell everyone you know about Voting Is Not Enough: GET OUT THE VOTE & DONATE STRATEGICALLY FOR THE FINAL PUSH! so that others in your network can spread the word too.

     

    TAKE ACTION!

    GOTV: Swing Left | Field Team 6 | Vote Save America | Indivisible

    Swing Left Immediate Impact Fund & Super States (White House, Senate & State Level)

    DCCC Frontline Fund (Protect Vulnerable House Dems)

    DCCC Red to Blue (Flip More Red House Seats)

    EveryDistrict (Flip state legislatures)

    Democratic Governors Association (Support Incumbents & Flip Red Governorships)

    Voting Problems? Call 866-OUR-VOTE

    EDUCATE YOURSELF & SHARE

    The Battleground States Biden and Trump Need to Win 270 (The NY Times)

    How Biden — or Trump — could win 270 electoral votes (Vox)

    Stop giving your money to presidential campaigns, donate to local races instead (Business Insider)

    Vision 2020: How soon will we know the US election outcome? (AP)

    US Election 2020: When will we get a result and could it be contested? (BBC)

    A Night of Firsts: The Candidates Who Made History in the 2018 Midterms (The Guardian, 2018)

     

    Posted October 27, 2020; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman

    Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1377: Building a Solidarity Economy for a More Resilient Future

  • Voting Is Not Enough: GET OUT THE VOTE!

    Get_out_the_vote_final_2_weeks.pngIt’s crunch time, folks. There are less than 2 weeks until election day. Just 13 days (as of Oct. 21).

    And, yes, there is some positive news floating around regarding polling and fundraising…but, you know what?

    Ignore it.

    Dig deep and remember way, way, waaay back to 2016 when all that good pre-election news did not stop Trump from winning. Remember that every single day the GOP is working at the local level and through the courts to suppress votes. Remember that they may get their Supreme Court nominee through in time for the court to call a close election in favor of Trump. Remember that the right has been spending billions pushing a massive disinformation campaign to help reelect Trump and he has personally invited his supporters to practice voter intimidation at the polls. And beyond all of that, you should know that Republicans are now saying they are hopeful because they’ve seen a spike in Republican voter registrations in key states like Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. In fact, they are calling these registrations their “secret weapon.”

    So, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT get complacent. Getting Trump out is still a major uphill battle and right now - the the last two weeks before the election - we need all hands on deck. If you haven’t made volunteering a priority yet, please, please, please do it now. Even a couple hours a week can make a big difference.

    There are many volunteer opportunities out there, but today we’re just going to re-highlight a few of the big ones. To see a longer list of volunteering opportunities, and much more, visit our Voting Is Not Enough: 2020 Election Action Guide at BestoftheLeft.com/2020 action.

    First, you can volunteer from anywhere with Swing Left and help them continue implementing their Super State Strategy. This strategy focuses on 12 states that are each critical to the flipping the White House, the Senate and the state houses key to rolling back Republican gerrymandering. Go to TheLastWeekends.org to instantly find and sign up for phonebook and textbank shifts during the final two weekends before the election.

    In addition to volunteering, SwingLeft also lets you donate strategically. The Swing Left Immediate Impact Fund sends your donations to the candidates in the closest races among the Super States, or you can choose a Super State and your donations will support races up and down the ballot in that state. Go to SwingLeft.org/funds to donate.

    Next, you could get involved with Field Team 6 - a west coast-based get out the vote organization that strategically partners with over 100 state and national organizations to make the most impact. With multiple, remote phone banking and text banking events and trainings held every single day of the week, there is just no excuse to not get involved.

    Head to fieldteam6.org to check their Calendar of Events and sign up for a shift. If you’re not on the west coast, just a note that Field Team 6 lists the Pacific time first for all events, so adjust accordingly.

    And finally, there is Vote Save America, the get out the vote effort from Crooked Media, which allows you to volunteer from anywhere in six key battleground states. You can also Adopt a State and receive updates on everything you need to know to support the work of organizers and volunteers in that state. Go to VoteSaveAmerica.com to learn more.

    Voting is already underway, so if you or someone you know encounters a problem with ballot drop boxes, early voting, absentee ballots, or something else, remember that help is available. Call Election Protection at 866-OUR-VOTE or visit 866OurVote.org. If you want to help voters, sign up to assist with Election Protection’s nonpartisan poll monitoring program at ProtectTheVote.net.

    So, if building massive voter turnout that categorically throws Trump out of office is important to you, be sure to tell everyone you know about Voting Is Not Enough - GET OUT THE VOTE so that others in your network can spread the word too.

     

    TAKE ACTION!

    TheLastWeekends.org

    SwingLeft.org/funds

    FieldTeam6.org

    VoteSaveAmerica.com

    Voting problems?

    Call 866-OUR-VOTE or 866OurVote.org

    Help Voters: Volunteer at ProtectTheVote.net

    EDUCATE YOURSELF & SHARE

    The Billion-Dollar Disinformation Campaign to Reelect the President (The Atlantic)

    Behind in the Polls, Republicans See a Silver Lining in Voter Registrations (The New York Times)

     

     

    Posted October 21, 2018; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman

    Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1376: Tell Stories, Not Myths: America is a Force But Not Always for Good

  • Voting Is Not Enough: Fight Voter Suppression & Help Restore Native Voting Rights

    Fight_Suppression_-_multi_org_image.pngAs of the publishing of this episode (Oct. 13th), there are only 3 weeks left until Election Day. Just 21 days.

    Visit BestoftheLeft.com/2020action to explore our 2020 Election Action Guide, which we’re calling “Voting Is Not Enough.” Because…it’s just not.

    Voting is happening NOW in record numbers, but at the same time we’re also witnessing desperate attempts by the GOP to suppress votes in any way they can - legally and illegally

    We need to counter these voter suppression efforts with action. So, if you haven’t volunteered yet, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

    Help voters in voter ID law states get the IDs they need with VoteRiders.org.

    Phone-bank and text-bank with a get out the vote campaign and arm voters with the accurate information they need to ensure their vote is cast and counted. Go to TheLastWeekends.org to instantly find a shift for the final weekends before the election.

    And if you or someone you know encounters a problem with ballot drop boxes, early voting, absentee ballots, or something else, call Election Protection at 866-OUR-VOTE or visit 866OurVote.org. If you want to help, sign up to assist with Election Protection’s nonpartisan poll monitoring program at ProtectTheVote.net.

    It’s important to note that Native Peoples have not only been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus, but they are also disproportionately affected by voter suppression tactics. In fact, many barriers to the ballot uniquely target Native Peoples.

    Native Peoples are less likely to have a traditional street address making it more likely that their voter registration applications will get rejected, and many states with Voter ID laws just flat out don’t accept tribal IDs. Then there’s the closure of polling places and reducing ballot drop boxes in reservation counties, conflicting information from poll workers and lack of interpreters in states with high Native populations. The gutting of the Voting Rights Act in 2013 only made targeted voter suppression of Native Peoples easier for states like Arizona and Alaska and certain counties in North Dakota. (Source: Brennan Center for Justice)

    To help counter this suppression, nonprofits IllumiNative, Native Organizers Alliance and First Peoples Worldwide, have launched Natives Vote - a get out the vote effort providing detailed information on each state’s voting laws, registration dates, who to contact if issues arise, and more.

    In a release, IllumiNative Executive Director Crystal Echo Hawk said, “Exercising our grassroots political power is crucial to rebuilding what we’ve lost and preparing the future for the next seven generations.” Visit NativesVote2020.com to learn more.

    You can also help restore and protect Native voting rights by demanding your members of congress to support the Native American Voting Rights Act, which has already been introduced in both the House and Senate. Spearheaded by the Native American Rights Fund (2014), the Act would "create more communication channels between Washington and Native American tribes, direct states to accept tribal ID cards for voting purposes, and establish a clear pathway for Native communities to request federal election observers.”

    So, if making sure everyone can access the ballot - especially those we stole this land from - is important to you, be sure to spread the word about Fighting Voter Suppression & Helping Restore Native Voting Rights so that others in your network can spread the word too.

     

    TAKE ACTION!

    Help Voters Get IDs: VoteRiders.org

    Get Out the Vote!: TheLastWeekends.org

    Voting Problems? Call: 866-OUR-VOTE | Visit 866OurVote.org

    Volunteer as an Election Protector: ProtecttheVote.net

    Election Resources for Native Voters: NativesVote2020.com

    Tell Congress to Pass the Native American Voting Rights Act (2019-2020)

    EDUCATE YOURSELF & SHARE

    The State of Native American Voting Rights (Brennan Center)

    Native Vote Infographic (National Congress of American Indians)

    The 5 Million Americans that the 2020 Candidates Refuse to Talk About (Vox - First Person)

    How the Native American Vote Continues to be Suppressed (American Bar Association)

     

    Posted October 13, 2020; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman

    Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1374: Tell Stories, Not Myths: Columbus and the Centrality of Colonialism 

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