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)
You know what’s at stake and you understand the immorality of Trump’s decision to end DACA. So, we're going to cut right to the chase: This is what you can do right now and over the next 6 months to defend DACA recipients and all Dreamers in the United States.
Go to WeAreHeretoStay.org. This campaign site is powered and updated by United We Dream, the first and largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation. The “Take Action” tab on the website is a one-stop-shop for the most effective actions you can take to defend Dreamers, and includes critical resources for those now at risk and information about the impacts of this cruel decision.
As you might expect, the primary focus of this campaign right now is an immediate and clean passage of the Dream Act of 2017. No border militarization amendments, no bargaining-chip political maneuvers, just a clean passage of a bipartisan sponsored bill to save 800,000 people from being forced to leave the lives they’ve built and, for many, the only home they’ve ever known.
You can put pressure on Congress to do this by clicking the “Call Congress” action button on the action page at We Are Here to Stay dot org. There you’ll find phone numbers and call scripts for the key decision makers: House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Representative Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Representative Senator John Cornyn of Texas and Representative Raul Labrador of Idaho.
To add more pressure, you can also click the “Tweet at Congress” button and use the campaign’s tool to flood vulnerable Republicans in Congress with tweets demanding that they stand on the right side of history and pass the Dream Act without amendments.
The action page also has an “Attend an Event” button that will bring you to a comprehensive, searchable map with rallies and events happening around the country and hosted by various organizations. Find one near you ASAP so you can join. This page also provides the ability to sign up to host an event, as well as a list of members of Congress - Republicans and Democrats - that are potential targets for your actions.
The more pressure we put on Congress right now, the more likely we are to avoid a gap in protection for young immigrants. All of these actions must continue to happen until the Dream Act is passed. Time is of the essence, so we urge you to go to WeAreHeretoStay.org right now, get familiar with these actions, sign up for updates and share the resources. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #HereToStay when sharing.
The decision to end DACA has wreaked havoc on hundreds of thousands of our neighbors, friends, coworkers and classmates. If you or someone you know is impacted and having a hard time in the wake of this news, please check out the mental health resources and the mental health emergency toolkit available at WeAreHeretoStay.org. You can also RSVP for the campaign’s community calls about health insurance and workplace rights for DACA recipients by texting "DACACall" to 877- 877.
So, if protecting people from Trump doing the bidding of white nationalists is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Telling Congress to Pass the Dream Act Now via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Take action right now & sign up for updates at WeAreHereToStay.org
- Find an event near you
- Call Congress
- Tweet at Congress
- Resources (Including Mental Health Emergency Toolkit)
You can also call and tweet Congress with DreamActToolkit.org
The Dream Act of 2017 (National Immigration Law Center)
Black, Undocumented And Fighting To Survive (Huffington Post)
How Higher-Education Leaders Are Fighting for DACA (The Atlantic)
Relatives of Undocumented Children Caught Up in ICE Dragnet (Mother Jones)
DACA Pits Trump Against His Own Administration (The Atlantic)
Posted September 12, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1132: 800,000 hostages (Immigration and DACA)
Send a Letter: It’s Time to Take Down Confederate Monuments via @splcenter - Best of the Left Activism
Our nightmares are coming true. Beyond the threat of nuclear war, unmasked white supremacists and Nazis waving their flags in broad daylight and murdering counter protesters is the worst-case-scenario America we all feared under Trump.
The only thing we can be grateful for is that this vile public display of hate, racism and violence has backfired….despite having an active defender in the Oval Office.
After Charlottesville, cities and towns across the country not only declared zero tolerance for anyone planning to come to their cities with an agenda of hate, but many finally began taking down their Confederate statues….many months after the last Confederate statue in New Orleans came down.
Just days after Charlottesville, Baltimore’s City Council voted unanimously to immediately remove their Confederate statues. They were gone by the next morning, taken away in the middle of the night without speeches or news cameras to draw attention. Now, Lexington, Kentucky’s statues are expected to be removed. In other cities, like Durham, North Carolina, citizens are taking statue removal into their own hands. Though it’s worth noting that these statues should come down legally so that there is no question over their removal.
The Confederate statue take down bandwagon is one that you want your town, city and state officials to jump on. No matter how late they are to the party, the momentum and pressure right now is strong and can and should be effectively used by citizens to make lasting. positive change in their communities.
The SPLC is encouraging everyone in those states to help keep the Confederate monuments tumbling by writing a Letter to the Editor to your local newspaper to take down the Confederate monuments in your community. SPLC has provided sample language on their “It’s time to take down Confederate monuments” campaign page at SPLC.org, but the organization highly suggests using your own words. After you’ve sent your letter, go to the campaign page to fill out a form letting SPLC know where you’ve sent your letter. If you’re not sure if there are Confederate monuments near you, check out the interactive map of the monuments around the U.S. on the same campaign page. Some of their locations may surprise you.
If your state doesn’t have a Confederate monument, that doesn’t meant you can’t get involved. Right now, Robert E. Lee stands in the U.S. Capitol building Sanctuary Hall as the representative statue for the state of Virginia. Lee is actually one of 12 Confederate statues in the hall - a collection that does not have one single statue of an African American. Go to RootsAction.org to learn more about the campaign to change this and get involved.
And finally, check out the SPLC’s updated “10 Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide” to prepare, strengthen and heal your community in the face of hatred. And remember, as the response guide says, “More often than not, when hate flares up, good people rise up against it — often in greater numbers and with stronger voices.”
Your voice is always needed. Silence in the face of hate is never an option.
So, if standing up to hate is important to you…and we sure hope it is, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word that It’s Time to Take Down Confederate Monuments via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Locate Confederate monuments near you with SPLC’s interactive map
Write a letter to the editor demanding the removal of Confederate statues in your community
Get involved in the action calling for the removal of Confederate statues in the U.S. Capitol
Read the SPLC’s “10 Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide” to prepare, strengthen and heal your community in the face of hatred.
The Real Story Behind All Those Confederate Statues (Mother Jones)
Imagine if these people ever faced actual oppression. (Twitter thread by @JuliusGoat)
ACLU Will No Longer Defend Hate Groups Protesting With Firearms (Wall Street Journal)
Baltimore Takes Down Its Confederate Monuments (The Atlantic)
Posted August 22, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1128: White supremacy requires violence and there is more to come (Charlottesville)
You hear about Title IX a lot when it comes to athletics, but this 45 year old amendment covers so much more. It states that, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” So, it’s kind of a big deal.
Under the Obama administration, the Office for Civil Rights issued Title IX guidance in 2011, 2014, and 2016 that clarified the responsibilities of schools to prevent and address sexual harassment and assault and protecting transgender students from discrimination. That guidance has been instrumental in protecting equal access to education regardless of gender, gender identity, or gender expression, but the Trump administration overturned that guidance in February.
That doesn’t change the fact that Title IX still legally protects students from gender-based violence and discrimination. But it does take away a powerful tool that trans students and their families had to help them advocate for themselves, and also sends schools a chilling message that discrimination is okay.
It was reported that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos actually would have preferred the guidance stay in place, but Jeff Sessions got his way and DeVos fell in line. Whatever she really thought, now, she’s posing a full-blown risk to the future of Title IX. By saying the administration should relinquish the responsibility of enforcing Title IX to the states, students across the country are at risk.
Help fight this attack on vulnerable students by getting involved with the #DearBetsy campaign at dearbetsyix.com. There you will find the campaign’s demands, a social media toolkit to help you communicate why Title IX enforcement matters to you using the hashtag #DearBetsy, call scripts and phone numbers for calling the Department of Education, and other ways to get involved - such as lending your story to the campaign or writing an op-ed.
If you are in need of more guidance or assistance on Title IX and how the roll back of these guidelines may affect you or your child, we encourage you to visit the National Center for Transgender Equality’s School Action Center on their website at transequality.org.
So, if making sure an equal opportunity to education comes with protection from discrimination is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Calling for the Federal Enforcement of Title IX with the Dear Betsy Campaign via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Tell the Dept. of Ed that Title IX must be Federally enforced with #DearBetsy
Learn more about the impacts of the Title IX guideline roll backs with National Center for Transgender Equality’s School Action Center
Trump administration rolls back protections for transgender students (Washington Post)
The Trump administration is systematically dismantling Title IX (Think Progress)
Posted July 7, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1118: A look in at the TERF wars
Just 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.
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
CBO Analysis Endangers GOP Health-Care Bill (The Atlantic)
The Senate Health-Care Bill Is Morally Indefensible (The Nation)
Sean Spicer: America Either Passes GOP Plan or Adopts Single Payer (The Ring of Fire)
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
The 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.
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
SPLC Hatewatch: Headlines for 6/7/2017 (SPLC Hatewatch)
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)
They haven't repealed Obamacare. Not yet, anyway. And that horrifying bill that pandered to the extreme tea partiers is receiving a cold shoulder in the Senate. Now, behind closed doors, 13 old white men in the Senate are working on their own version of a health care bill. We can’t imagine that’ll be much better.
The forthcoming Congressional ping pong that holds the future of Americans’ health care in the balance could go on for a while, but we need to be holding our elected officials accountable and making our voices heard every step of the way.
In light of the AHCA passage in the House, the activism ground has been shifting. The folks over at Indivisible Guide have overhauled their online resources with a focus on Trumpcare. The new resources include links to a Die-In Planning Guide, call scripts to hold your Representatives and Senators accountable, talking points factually refuting Republican talking points, a list of the Top 10 Worst Things About Trumpcare, and more. Head over to IndivisibleGuide.com, click the “Resources” tab and select “Stop Trumpcare” in the dropdown.
If you live in a district of one of the 217 Representatives that voted for this cartoon villain-esque bill, you may also want to check out PaybackProject.org. A partnership of Indivisible, MoveOn.org, Town Hall Project and Women’s March, Payback Project is tracking and amplifying local groups and events that are targeting the 217 members of Congress who voted for the AHCA. This is the beginning of efforts to oust these politicians in 2018. Go to PaybackProject.org to find an event, submit an event, sign up for updates, check out local stories on the Accountability Wall and submit your own. You can also tag your local activism photos, videos and stories with the hashtag #PaybackProject on Twitter and Facebook to be amplified.
The tools, resources and organizations of The Resistance exist to help you be an insanely squeaky wheel because it works. So make it a habit to call and write to your members of Congress. Send faxes and letters with Resistbot. Leave voicemails with Stance. Take the time to write a letter to the editor of your local paper. And remember…even if Trump was impeached tomorrow, we would still need to fight for affordable access to health care, and every other progressive value.
So, if making sure all Americans have access to affordable health care is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Using ALL the Resistance Tools to Fight Trumpcare via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Use the new "Stop Trumpcare" tools and resources from Indivisible Guide
Amplify your local actions against the 217 pro-AHCA Reps with Payback Project
Here are the 217 Representatives that voted for the AHCA and their contact info (Project Payback)
If you will die under Trumpcare, you can send your ashes to Congress via Mail Me to the GOP
The Health Care Bill’s Insults to Women (New York Times)
Republicans duck town halls after voting for Trumpcare… (The Guardian)
Posted May 16, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear this segment in the context of Best of the Left #1104: What Trumpcare would mean and how we can do better
Despite all the right-wing smearing, Planned Parenthood is extremely popular among the American public. In 2015, an NBC News and Wall Street Journal poll revealed the health services provider was more popular than any presidential candidate, President Obama, both political parties, the Supreme Court and the NRA.
That same poll came out again this week and - surprise, surprise - Planned Parenthood is the second most popular out of the list of key politicians and institutions, with 50% responding positively. Only the FBI is more popular.
But spitting in the face of that popularity are the Republicans. Earlier this month, without any press or fanfare, Trump signed legislation that rolls back an Obama-era regulation requiring states to pass along family-planning grants to organizations who have the ability to provide Title X services, regardless of whether or not the organization offers abortion services.
Now, states can once again block Title X funding to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, even though about three percent of Planned Parenthood services are abortion-related. To get this through Congress, Republicans once again used the nearly forgotten Congressional Review Act, a law from 1996 that allows lawmakers "to overturn any regulation imposed during the final six months of the previous administration, with a simple majority vote in each chamber of Congress.” But they still needed Mike Pence to break the tie. Pence, of course, said it was his “honor” to be the deciding vote.
For this reason, and many more, the latest activism is focused on what is happening on the state level. Illinois, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio and Montana are all in the news. So today, we’re asking that you get involved right now with three of the most prominent and most effective organizations fighting to defend access to safe abortion and other health services.
- Planned Parenthood Action Fund is the activism arm of Planned Parenthood and is currently focusing on the fight for birth control access and defending the attacks on Title X, as well as encouraging supporters to host local events that include activism trainings and rallies. Head over to PlannedParenthoodAction.org to get involved and follow them on Twitter at @PPact.
- The Center for Reproductive Rights is like the ACLU for reproductive rights. Operating with the value that reproductive freedom is a fundamental human right that must be protected, their lawyers work in the courts to challenge laws that violate or inhibit access to this right in the US and internationally. Visit ReproductiveRights.org to get involved and follow them on Twitter at @ReproRights
- And finally, there is All Above All, an organization committed to overturning the Hyde Amendment, which, as you may know, blocks any federal funding from going to abortion services, leaving low-income individuals with limited or no access. Check out the #BeBoldEndHyde hashtag on Twitter and follow them at @AllAboveAll. To find local actions and get involved, visit All Above All.
All of these organizations are working to pass the the EACH Woman Act and the Women's Health Protection Act. The EACH Woman Act ensures a person’s decision about abortion is not based on their income or insurance, and the Women’s Health Protection Act is designed to protect a woman’s choice no matter where she lives.
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 protecting reproductive rights at the state level via social media so that others in your network can take action too.
Minnesota House backs ban on state dollars for abortion (StarTribune)
Women march outside as abortion bill debated inside (The State Journal-Register)
Who's Popular and Who Isn't? (NBC News)
The EACH Woman Act (Congress.gov)
Women's Health Protection Act (Congress.gov)
Posted April 24, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman.
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1098: Trump and Republicans take aim at women (Reproductive Justice)
There 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.
Call Congress, especially the 14 co-sponsors of HR 620 (7 Republicans, 7 Democrats)
HR 620: ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 (via Countable.us)
Overview of Concerns on 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)
This 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.
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)