Last month, 200 activists from the disability rights organization ADAPT put their bodies and lives on the line yet again to fight for justice.
Demanding support for a critical civil rights bill called the Disability Integration Act, or DIA, activists demonstrated outside the offices of policy influencer organizations in DC, including AARP. They blocked AARP employees from leaving in their cars, risking injury and arrest to be heard. The standoff lasted six hours with temperatures in the 90s before police intervened. No one was arrested, but police carried away a man in a wheelchair and took the key from another’s powered wheelchair, effectively paralyzing them.
It’s important to remember that it was disability rights activists that made the news last summer as the Affordable Care Act and Medicare were under attack. The images of people in wheelchairs being physically dragged from the Capitol and from Mitch McConnell’s office had the desired effect. Those valiant efforts were critical in a down-to-the-wire victory where millions of Americans - both able-bodied and disabled - would’ve been affected.
Now the disabled community, which makes up nearly 19% of the population, is demanding their former healthcare allies, like AARP, return the favor. In a ThinkProgress article, ADAPT organizer Bruce Darling said, “People for the first time on national television saw disabled Americans being dragged away and disappeared, but that for us happens everyday. They are taken from their homes and forced into institutions. We are just dramatizing the conflict.”
Darling is referring to an unfortunate gap in the Americans with Disabilities Act: the need to make it easier for people who require long-term care - or Long Term Services and Supports - to stay in their homes and communities instead of being institutionalized against their will.
The Disability Integration Act is civil rights legislation that would address that gap, building on the 25 years of work that ADAPT has done to end the institutional bias and provide seniors and people with disabilities home and community-based services as an alternative to institutionalization. Despite a favorable Supreme Court ruling in 1999 and increased Medicaid funding through the ACA to address this problem, unwanted institutionalization is still rampant in the vast majority of states. The DIA would not amend the ADA, but would strengthen the Supreme Court integration mandate and create federal civil rights laws for those in institutions.
Unfortunately, as with everything, the political struggle to pass the DIA comes down to money in politics. Republicans receive donations from the owners of these institutions and Democrats receive donations from the unions within the institutions. Both have received major donations from the nursing home industry. Even though providing home care services is dramatically cheaper for a state than institutionalization, campaign contributions continue to trump good economics and civil liberties.
So what can you do? Call your members of Congress today to let them know you support the DIA. Spread the word about the DIA and the injustice of forced institutionalization on social media using the #DIAToday. And get involved with ADAPT by visiting ADAPT.org.
To learn more about the Disability Integration Act visit DisabilityIntegrationact.org.
And finally, The National Organizing Project, a collaboration between ADAPT & National Council on Independent Living, is collecting personal stories that they can use on Capitol Hill when talking with legislators. To share yours, go to AdvocacyMonitor.com.
So, if defending the civil rights of all Americans is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Telling Congress to Support the Disability Integration Act via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
These disability rights activists protested to change a senator’s mind — and won pic.twitter.com/sg9n52PSXS— NowThis (@nowthisnews) May 18, 2018
Call Congress: Tell Congress to Support the DIA!
Help Sway Congress: Call for Stories: Snapshots of Our Lives
Spread the word on social media with #DIAToday
Posted June 5, 2018; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1188: "Impoverished, Imprisoned and Invisible (Disability Justice)"
In a time where a month of the news cycle feels like a year, the Parkland student activists have continued to hold court.
On March 14th, the one month anniversary of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, students across the country - even some elementary school students - took part in a National School Walkout. Some students took part despite threats of suspension and detention by school administrators. In Pennsylvania, over 200 students were given Saturday detention for participating in a walkout and then performed a sit-in at that detention while wearing Parkland victims names.
Ahead of the walkout, the admissions departments of many colleges and universities publicly announced that retribution students face in response to peaceful, lawful activism would not negatively affect their applications. This, of course, only gives solace to college-bound students, though it was a positive sign of general support.
But maybe most encouraging of all was a meeting that took place earlier this month with Parkland students and students from inner city Chicago. Parkland student activist Emma Gonzalez tweeted the following about the meeting:
“Yesterday, the members of A March For Our Lives got to meet up with some of the most wonderful and most strong spoken students of Chicago. "Florida's safest city" and one of the cities in America most affected by gun violence came together to share stories, ideologies, and pizza. Those who face gun violence on a level that we have only just glimpsed from our gated communities have never had their voices heard in their entire lives the way that we have in these few weeks alone. Since we all share in feeling this pain and know all too well how it feels to have to grow up at the snap of a finger, we were able to cover a lot of ground in communicating our experiences. People of color in inner-cities and everywhere have been dealing with this for a despicably long time, and the media cycles just don't cover the violence the way they did here. The platform us Parkland Students have established is to be shared with every person, black or white, gay or straight, religious or not, who has experienced gun violence, and hand in hand, side by side, We Will Make This Change Together.”
As far as legislative progress, Florida has increased the age limit for purchasing a gun from 18 to 21, implemented a 3 day waiting period for all firearm purchases, and banned bump stocks. But at the same time, the legislature funded arming some public school employees and refused to ban semi-automatic weapons - even just the AR-15. The Parkland students have expressed their frustration saying they feel like they only got “one point” in a game.
Again, a reminder that this has all happened in only one month.
The March for Our Lives is this Saturday, March 24th and there are now over 800 events taking place worldwide. Though the largest march will be in DC, if you can’t make it there you can easily find a sibling march near you by going to MarchforOurLives.com and entering your country or zip code.
Besides marching, perhaps one of the best things you can do to support this movement is by donating to help support the logistics of this demonstration so that more people can make their voices heard. If you personally know students who want to take action, consider paying for their gas, driving them there yourself, offering your home as a safe place to stay if they have to travel to march, or taking them to pre-register or register to vote. Remember that these are kids and they still need support from adults in their communities. We’ve failed them on gun reform before they came into this world, let’s be damn sure we don’t fail in helping them make real change now.
So, if helping the youth continue to seize the moment on gun reform is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Helping Students March for Their Lives on March 24th via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Find a March for Our Lives event near you
Support the March for Our Lives - Donate
Purchase the song “Shine” written and performed by members of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Drama to support Shine MSD - a nonprofit founded to encourage survivors of violence to express themselves through art.
The Students of Stoneman Douglas (60 Minutes)
Posted March 20, 2018; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1172: The cultural legacy from the way The West was won (Gun Culture)
Stand with the Students to Demand Real Gun Regulation: Call. March. Boycott. Vote. via @AMarch4OurLives #NeverAgain
The high school student mass shooting survivors from Parkland, Florida are showing us who we need to be. They are angry, grieving and traumatized and have immediately channeled those emotions into a national call to action that has had more impact in two weeks than most movements see in years.
They have held the mainstream media’s fleeting attention on gun control for weeks. Dozens of companies that once offered discounts to NRA members have ended those programs. After the rally Parkland students organized in Tallahassee, the GOP-controlled Florida legislature is actually considering gun control measures that would never have been entertained before. They have even pushed Trump to order a crackdown on bump stocks and propose more thorough background checks. Even Betsy DeVos is calling for Congressional hearings.
Of course, these teenagers have already become targets of extreme right-wing groups and media outlets, including the NRA, but they are laser focused and have had no problem calling out every hypocrite and shutting down every troll touting talking NRA points. This is just the beginning of course, but it’s powerful and hopeful. Parkland students’ success may be partly a combination of their whiteness and affluence and the final straw for Americans exhausted by years of nearly constant mass shootings…but these kids are also naturally savvy activists fighting for their lives.
They have barely finished burying their friends, but they are organizing school walkouts and a major rally in DC, establishing a strong social media presence, giving moving speeches, writing OpEds for major publications, and speaking concisely and plainly to the media to make their points. They have said over and over that they do not want the deaths of their 17 classmates to mean nothing.
So, today’s activism comes directly from the Parkland student activists who have outlined the ways people can support them and the Parkland community in the wake of this tragedy.
Mark your calendars to stand with young people at the March for Our Lives in DC, or the sister rallies around the country, on Saturday, March 24th. Go to MarchforOurLives.com for details and to donate to support the national organizing efforts.
The movement’s hashtag may be “Never Again,” but the student organizers have also explicitly said that this is not just a social media campaign. They want to move everyone, especially young people, to “vote for our lives” in the 2018 mid term elections….and that requires making sure students who are turning 18 this year are registered to vote. They ask that you write and call your members of congress about gun control, make sure you are registered to vote, help get others registered to vote, and, of course, actually go vote in the midterm elections to stop NRA-backed politicians.
Additionally, many companies and banks have been called out in the press as having ties to the NRA or world of guns and ammunition producers and the students are calling for divestment and boycotts. You can help push the movement further by putting pressure on those institutions and withholding your business until they make changes.
The students have also asked that you consider supporting the Victims Fund, the fund for their upcoming Benefit Concert, and the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Journalism Program.
So, if striking while the iron is hot to demand the gun regulation we so obviously need is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Standing with the Students Demand Real Gun Control via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Donate to support the organizing efforts for the marches nationwide
Call and write your members of congress about gun control and VOTE!
The Parkland Students Aren't Going Away (The Atlantic)
How the Survivors of Parkland Began the Never Again Movement (The New Yorker)
Key Gun Violence Statistics (The Brady Campaign)
The NRA is being supported by these companies (Think Progress)
These are the banks financing the assault weapons industry (Think Progress)
Posted February 27, 2018; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1167: The kids are alright and they are leading the way again (Parkland Shooting)
Demand Your MoCs Defend Dreamers and Pass a Clean #DreamActNow via Dreamer Pledge Project @IndivisibleTeam @UNITEDWEDREAM
Activist groups have come together to defend Dreamers and demand a clean DREAM Act, and now they have made it incredibly easy for you to do the same.
Groups including Indivisible, United We Dream, the National Immigration Law Center, Democracy Spring, NRDC, Credo Mobile, and many more, have banded together to launch DreamerPledge.org. This website is essentially a simple and effective one-stop-shop tool for voters to find out how their members of congress voted when it comes to Dreamers and provides call scripts to help you either thank them, or tell them just how furious you are.
There are scripts for talking to Republican and Democratic members of congress and they’re written to specifically respond to the passage of the most recent Continuing Resolution bill that did not include the DREAM Act. As you’ve already heard, Democrats said they would not vote for that bill unless it included the DREAM Act, and then…many of them caved. The call scripts help you clearly demand that your Democratic and Republican members of congress vote against the upcoming February 8th Continuing Resolution unless it protects Dreamers in order to avoid complicity in Trump’s racist policies.
Let’s take this moment to remember that Senators Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have been promising to reach a deal with Trump to protect Dreamers since last September. Well, now it’s February and DACA expires just one month from now. Trump has vowed to deport DACA recipients when the program ends on March 5th, so there is no time to be congenial and make concessions. The Trump agenda is not business as usual and members of congress, especially Democrats, need to respond appropriately.
It’s baffling that Democrats have wavered since they know full well that Trump and Republicans have miscalculated this one. According to multiple recent polls, the vast majority of Americans support allowing Dreamers to stay in the U.S. According to a Politico/Morning Consult Poll conducted last September, over 69 percent of Republicans and 84 percent of Democrats think Dreamers should be allowed to stay in the U.S. They differ only on wether they should be allowed to become citizens or just legal residents.
The only thing that can stop Trump from ripping lives apart is passage of the DREAM Act. So head over to DreamerPledge.org and tell Congress to defend Dreamers today before it’s too late.
So, if stopping Congress from complying with racist policies is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Demanding Your Members of Congress Defend Dreamers and Pass a Clean Dream Act Now via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Use DreamerPledge.org tools and scripts to demand your MoCs protect Dreamers
REMINDERS: DACA ends March 5th! Next Continuing Resolution deadline is Feb. 8th!
Dreamers are Americans Too (TIME)
Posted January 26, 2018; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1162: The economics of immigration and demonization
Voting rights and women’s rights are inextricably linked.
The gutting of the Voting Rights Act enabled vast voter disenfranchisement and restrictions that directly impacted the results of elections across the country, including, of course the 2016 presidential election. State by state, we saw voter suppression laws pop up wrapped in a fraudulent defense of democracy and disenfranchise the young, the old, the disabled, and minorities. And while Alabama was an example of what can happen when grassroots organizations work around-the-clock to overcome this injustice, that can’t be the new status quo. We need to address the root of the problem.
As long as voting restrictions are in place, women, especially women of color, and the critical issues impacting their lives and their families will be underrepresented. And, as we know, when policies provide more choices for women and protect their rights, society as a whole reaps the rewards.
So, with the mid terms right around the corner, we have no time to lose. We need to start critiquing candidates and calling them out for their record on voting rights now. If you’re not sure where to start, check out Let America Vote.
Let America Vote was founded by former Missouri Secretary of State, and recent congressional candidate, Jason Kander. The organization aims to answer a simple question: what if politicians were actually held publicly accountable for supporting voter suppression?
Through online and grassroots organizing, an aggressive earned media strategy, and advertising, Let America Vote wants to play a crucial role among the existing network of organizations fighting for voting rights.
Head over to LetAmericaVote.org to get involved by signing up for updates, volunteering to knock on doors, call or email legislators, write letters to the editor, host a voting rights house party, and more. While you’re there, check out the interactive map of the U.S. that highlights each state’s current and pending voter suppression laws and tactics. You can also follow the organization on Twitter: @Let_America Vote.
So, if ensuring women’s voices are heard in every election is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Raise Women’s Voices By Fighting Voter Suppression with Let America Vote via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Hold officials accountable for their voting rights record with Let America Vote
Follow Let America Vote on Twitter: @Let_America Vote
In NC, Voter Suppression Hits Women & People of Color Hardest. (Southern Coalition for Social Justice; 2014)
Posted January 26, 2018; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1160: Backlashes (#MeToo and the Women's Movement)
We are witnessing a full fledged attack on immigrants in this country.
Upticks in ICE raids and arrests throughout 2017. The Muslim ban. Changes to the H1B visa program. Announcing the end DACA, and now the end of Temporary Protect Status for Salvadorians. With every action, Trump is ripping apart families, destroying futures, and striking massive blows to the American labor force all to pander to the extremists and bigots in his dwindling base.
According to United We Dream, every day that Congress fails to pass a clean Dream Act, 122 young immigrants lose their DACA status and become exposed to deportation. 260,000 Salvadorians who have lived and worked in the US and raised children here for 20 years now face an uncertain future.
Just those two groups alone make up over one million people whose lives and livelihoods in America are now at risk. These are neighbors, friends, classmates, and coworkers. These are taxpayers, business owners and community members. These are children who have only known America as home.
This week, a federal court in California blocked the Trump Administration’s decision to end DACA, but the decision will soon be appealed. Lives are still in limbo and time is running out.
United We Dream is an action organization lead by immigrant youth that has been at the forefront of the fight for a clean Dream Act and the fight against immigrant injustice. Their grassroots action campaigns have included…
- 1,500 immigrant youth blocking the tunnels that Congress members use to get from their offices to the Capitol building in DC in December
- the occupations of 30 different congressional offices - Republicans and Democrats - with sit-ins
- and a massive sit-in on the Capitol lawn with a jumbotron, called the DreamActTron, broadcasting immigrant’s stories 24 hours a day for an entire week in December
Their digital campaigns include making it easy to tweet at members of congress deemed the “Dream Killers” and the “Deportation Caucus” - yes, Democrats are included - to publicly shame them for their terrible votes on immigration issues.
This fight is far from over and these activists need your support and calls to your members of congress. To learn more, get involved and/or donate to United We Dream’s actions and campaigns, go to WeAreHeretoStay.org.
And one last note…
As we were putting together this show, United We Dream reported that while immigrant youth were visiting Congressional District offices in Lost Angeles, California they were followed by a mob of angry Trump supporters who shouted “White Power!” and racial slurs at them and then tried to violently board their Dream Act bus. Actor and activists Alyssa Milano captured the incident on video. These kids are beyond brave. They are standing up to hate and putting their lives on the line to fight to stay in America, their home. There is no question that they make this country better.
So, if you are disgusted by the assault on immigrants in America, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Passing a Clean Dream Act NOW via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Get involved with and support United We Dream
Posted January 13, 2018; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1157: Policy without humanity (Immigration)
In a thinly veiled attack against women and full on pander to the religious right, the Trump administration announced last month that it would roll back the ACA birth control mandate. With that rule gone, employers and institutions are no longer required to provide insurance coverage for birth control for their employees or students, if they site moral and religious objections.
And companies and universities are already taking advantage. Notre Dame has announced it will no longer provide birth control to students using university health insurance coverage in 2018 unless they have proof of “appropriate medical necessity as shown by a treating physician.” Even then, they would still have to pay a co-pay. Law suits have already been filed on behalf of three Notre Dame students.
This rollback is a regressive and archaic move to assert control over women while claiming a win for religious freedom. On the same day, Jeff Sessions also issued sweeping guidance on religious freedom that has the potential to damage civil rights protections for the LGBTQ plus community. As you might expect, Paul Ryan said it was “a landmark day for religious liberty.” The fact is, expanding rights of a powerful few to allow them to suppress, dictate and control the personal lives of many is a further perversion of the idea of freedom in America and nothing less than straight up bigotry and misogyny.
In addition to the pending law suits by organizations like the National Women’s Law Center, the Women’s Equality Center has launched a multi-faceted campaign to fight back. The “Keep Birth Control Copay Free” campaign allows you to look up the cost of your birth control without insurance coverage and send Trump the invoice for your would-be expenses. Additionally, the campaign makes it easy for you to send your comments to the Department of Health and Human Services, provides a toolkit on speaking out at your local town halls and contacting members of congress, and infographics about birth control to spread the word and educate on social media. The hashtag Hands Off My BC has become the rallying cry online.
Go to KeepBCFree.com today to get involved and take action to protect co-pay free birth control. The ruling goes into effect at the end of November, so for the sake of yourself, your loved ones, and all those you don’t even know who will be impacted, make your voice heard.
So, if you’re sick and tired of Republicans playing political football with women’s healthcare, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about the Keep Birth Control Copay Free Campaign via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Take multiple actions with the Keep Birth Control Copay Free campaign:
- Send Trump an invoice for your birth control costs
- Write to the Department of Health and Human Services to defend free birth control
- Get the Toolkit to speak up at Town Halls and put pressure on Congress
- Share infographics to educate on birth control & share the campaign video
- Join the conversation with #HandsOffMyBC
Trump Administration Rolls Back Birth Control Mandate (New York Times)
The Economy Can’t Grow Without Birth Control (New York Times Op-Ed)
Trump Be Damned: States Are Fighting to Make Birth Control Over-the-Counter (Finally) (Mother Jones)
Not religious freedom, but the freedom to hate women (The Griffin)
Posted November 11, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1145: A government small enough to get inside your body (Reproductive Justice)
By now, you’ve probably seen The Onion headline from years ago that gets re-published and shared widely every time there’s a mass shooting in America:n “‘No Way to Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.”
That about sums it up.
We have 42 percent of the world’s civilian-owned guns, yet Americans make up just 4.4 percent of the global population. And we didn’t need statisticians to tell us this, but since they did all the work anyway, it turns out literally all the evidence shows that places with more guns have more homicides. But if statistics didn’t matter before 2017, why should they matter now?
Every time another mass shooting happens, we get to relive the pathetic excuse for a public gun control debate in America. Some people are asking questions like “isn’t our right to not get shot while just living our normal lives more important than our right to easily access guns?” Meanwhile, the other side is throwing toys from the pram, stocking up on ammo, and screaming obscenities in defense of the 2nd amendment. So, you know, it’s going about as well as every other political conversation right now.
But right before a middle-aged white guy caused the deadliest mass shooting in American history in Las Vegas, two new pieces of legislation deregulating guns were already working their way through Congress. Republicans and the NRA were hoping to push them through without a whole lot of hoopla.
The first measure is buried inside another laughably named bipartisan legislative package called the Sportsmen Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act - or the SHARE Act. You see, those good old Republicans care. They care about your hearing, well, not your hearing (obviously) but sportsmen’s hearing. And they would just like to protect those sportsmen’s auditory senses by making it easier for everyone to buy and use silencers on their firearms.
Maybe Hollywood is to blame for the image problem, but silencers don’t seem like the sort of thing that non-murderous assassins need. What sportsmen need are ear plugs. As Everytown for Gun Safety points out, “the distinctive noise that a gun makes is one of its most important safety features: when people hear a gunshot, they know to run, hide, protect themselves or notify law enforcement.”
Earlier this year, Congress also introduced a bill they're calling "concealed carry reciprocity.” If passed, this bill would force all 50 states to recognize the concealed carry laws of other states, no matter how weak their standards. This bill is backwards in two ways: first, someone from a state with weaker permit restrictions would be able to legally carry a concealed weapon around in a state with more robust permit restrictions. But also, states don’t have to give out permits just to their own residents. So, under this law, everyone - whether under age or with a criminal conviction - would likely be able to obtain concealed carry permits from the state with the lowest permit restrictions without ever setting foot in the state where the permit was issued. In fact, this is already the case among 32 states, with Utah currently winning this stampeded to the bottom. But this new law would open it up nationwide, regardless of your state’s laws. So much for “state’s rights.” Of course, right after Las Vegas, the NRA began pushing their allies in Congress harder than ever to pass this bill.
So, once again, pick up the phone and call, or get on your Stance app. Tell your members of Congress - and your governors - that you oppose lifting restrictions on gun silencers and want the measure removed from the SHARE Act. Tell them that you also oppose the concealed carry reciprocity bill that would completely undercut states with strict permit laws. Maybe throw in that you’re sick and tired of politicians who answer to the creeps at the NRA instead of the people.
It’s a tough time for the gun control movement, but Everytown for Gun Safety is going full steam ahead. if you haven’t already, check out Everytown.org, sign up for text action alerts, look for actions and meetings taking place near you, and take part in their “Don’t Gut Our Gun Laws” postcard campaign. The pre-written letter for the postcard can also double as a call script for the issues we’ve highlighted today.
So, if protecting the few effective gun laws we have is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Telling Congress Not to Gut our Gun Laws via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Tell Congress that you oppose the concealed carry reciprocity bill.
Find an Everytown for Gun Safety action or meeting near you
Sing up for Everytown action alerts via text
H.R.38 - Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 (Congress.gov)
H.R.3668 - SHARE Act of 2017 (see Sections 1502-1507) (Congress.gov)
Why a Congressional Ban on Bump Stocks Is Unlikely (The Atlantic)
How I Got Licensed to Carry a Concealed Gun in 32 States by Barely Trying (Mother Jones, 2013)
Posted October 13, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1139: In the wake of the Las Vegas shooting (Gun Control)
Tell President Trump and Congress to Provide Hurricane Relief and Recovery Assistance to Puerto Rico via @pricanagenda #UnitedforPuertoRico #UnidosPorPuertoRico
Remember the summer of 2016? Feels like forever ago. But that summer, in the midst of election brouhaha, Obama signed the controversial PROMESA law, which provided a way for Puerto Rico to restructure it’s debut but also created a financial control board to oversea the island’s financial affairs.
A month later, on the 118th anniversary of the US invasion of Puerto Rico during the Spanish-American War and the 64th anniversary of the creation of the commonwealth of Puerto Rico - which both happened to coincide with the 2016 Democratic National Convention - a new group called the National Puerto Rican Agenda made their presence known with a rally outside City Hall In Philadelphia.
The NPRA is an advocacy group empowering Puerto Rican communities across the mainland US to be a voice on behalf of their Puerto Rican family and friends on the island who can’t vote and don’t have direct access to those in power. The group is made up of state-side Puerto Rican elected officials, community leaders and activists and was formed to address Puerto Rico’s humanitarian and economic crisis.
In the wake of Hurricane Maria’s devastation, the NPRA is calling for major federal support and emergency assistance to the island that has been languishing for weeks in the aftermath. They have launched an action website to power a national letter drive campaign with a provided letter that outlines the details of their concerns and demands for the federal government’s response. Once on the site, you can make modifications to the letter and fill in your information to have it automatically sent to your members of congress and, of course, Trump.
But you can and should go further by picking up the phone, or getting on your Stance app, and calling your members of congress to demand that these obvious and critical asks be met. The bulleted list of demands in the letter template can certainly double as a call script.
Once you’ve taken action, don’t forget to share this campaign using the hashtag #UnitedforPuertoRico or #UnidosPorPuertoRico. And if you’d like to learn more about NPRA, go to puertoricanagenda.org.
So, if helping other humans in need because it’s the right thing to do is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Telling President Trump and Congress to Provide Hurricane Relief and Recovery Assistance to Puerto Rico via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Demand Federal relief for Puerto Rico via National Puerto Rican Agenda's letter campaign
Learn more about National Puerto Rican Agenda
Why Is María’s Death Toll in Puerto Rico Being Underreported? (Latino Rebels)
Obama Signs PROMESA Bill, Imposing Control Board on Puerto Rico (DemocracyNOW!)
Posted October 3rd, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1137: A perfect blend of colonialism, racism and disaster capitalism
Desmond Tutu famously said, “Hope is being able to see the light despite all of the darkness.”
And it sure has been dark lately. But this month, as historic hurricanes and earthquakes added a new level of panic to an already frightening political landscape, the announcement of Bernie Sander’s Medicare for All bill was a much needed bright spot.
The significance of this announcement is getting lost in the mainstream media news cycle, so let’s lay it out here: This is the beginning of a major movement for a progressive idea that even just a few years ago was still seen as radical in the U.S. but now it actually has a chance at becoming law. It is an idea that will save lives, help counter growing income inequality, save us all money in the long run, and bring us up to speed with other first world nations. It embodies so much of what we stand for as progressives, and that’s why we need to get ready for the long and arduous battle against special interests with power and money to make sure it succeeds.
We’re including links to groups and organizations you should get involved with in the show notes, but right now - other than the hashtag #Medicare4All and the videos Bernie is putting out - there is no formal, interactive, fancy campaign page to send you to yet.
So, today’s activism is going to be a little different than usual. Today, we aren’t going to send you somewhere else, or tell you to call people (that should be a given), we’re just asking you to ask yourself: “What can I do?” when it comes to the fight for Medicare for All.
Maybe you’re part of a church or synagogue or mosque where you have discussion groups. If so, ask them to have discussions about healthcare and Medicare for All.
Maybe you go to every single town hall your politician hosts - and the ones they don’t. Make sure you, your friends and family attend together and put pressure on those politicians to support Medicare for All.
Maybe you have a personal story to share about you, a family member or friend, that illustrates just how much we need a single-payer system in this country. If so, make a video and share it or write about it in a letter to the editor of your local papers - or both.
If you want to start small, have your friends listen to this episode and then organize a get together to talk about it. Try a few different groups of friends or family, and be sure to include those who might not agree with you.
Maybe you’re a great organizer. You can pull together regular Medicare for All support rallies at the statehouse or in front of your representative’s local office and invite local action groups, doctors and nurses, and community leaders to take part.
Perhaps you’re the kind of person who always knows the right people. If you have access to politicians or influential public figures in your community or beyond, use those connections, engage those people on this topic and see if you can convince them to be an ally in this fight in a public way.
Of course, these are all just examples of things you could do. You might come up with something completely different. But all we’re asking is for you to take the time today to think about what you can bring to the table. Each one of us has something to offer in this fight and you don’t need to wait for a campaign to tell you what to do to start making progress. This issue effects every single one of us and it will only be won with a major, overwhelming grassroots movement. That’s you.
There are few opportunities to make such significant, lasting change in this country. So after listening to this show today, make a list of at least 3 things you might be able to do, long term, to help Medicare for All become law. Then, call into our voicemail line at 202-999-3991 to share your ideas and inspire others. Together, we can do this.
So, if you believe healthcare is a human right, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about identifying what you can do to support Medicare for All via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Why does Norway rank so much higher than the U.S. on health outcomes? These Norwegian doctors explain: pic.twitter.com/zfvLEbfQKD— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) September 29, 2017
What are the top 3 things you can personally do to contribute to the movement to support #Medicare4All?
Call the voicemail line at 202-999-3991 and tell us your ideas to inspire others
Some other ways to get involved:
Our Revolution groups (Sen. Sanders’ action organization)
Health Over Profit (nonprofit grassroots org fighting for Medicare for All)
Fight4Medicare.com (grassroots #Medicare4All action campaign)
Social Security Works (nonprofit defending our social programs)
Truth Out “Medicare for All” Series (independent media outlet looking to focus on Medicare for All coverage)
The Loss of Morality in America’s Healthcare Debate (Washington Post)
Posted September 29, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1136: Doing the Right Thing After Exhausting All Other Options (Medicare for All)