Human Rights Activism Opportunities

  • Tell Congress to Support the Disability Integration Act #DIAToday via @NationalADAPT

    DIALogo-small.pngLast 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

    To learn more about the Disability Integration Act visit

    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

    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.




    Call Congress: Tell Congress to Support the DIA!

    Learn More About the Disability Integration Act

    Get involved with ADAPT & follow @NationalADAPT   

    Help Sway Congress: Call for Stories: Snapshots of Our Lives

    Spread the word on social media with #DIAToday


    ADAPT activists put their bodies on the line to gain support for Disability Integration Act (ThinkProgress)

    Disability Activists Fight for the Right to Live in Their Communities (Rewire News)

    VIDEO: Disability Rights Activist Changes Senator's Mind (Now This)


    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)"


  • Help Students March for Their Lives on March 24th via @AMarch4OurLives #NeverAgain

    EudhspDO_400x400.jpgIn 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 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.


    National School Walkout: Thousands Protest Against Gun Violence Across the U.S. (NY Times)

    Students from Parkland and Chicago unite to expand the gun control conversation (Vox)

    Florida passes gun control bill but fails to ban assault-style weapons used in Parkland school shooting (Independent)

    College and University Update on Disciplinary Actions (NACAC)

    Drive them to a march. Buy their gas. Whatever it takes, support all kids marching today (The Guardian)

    The Students of Stoneman Douglas (60 Minutes)

    Universities Tell Applicants That Protesting Gun Violence Won’t Affect Admissions (Huffington Post)


    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)

  • Demand Your MoCs Defend Dreamers and Pass a Clean #DreamActNow via Dreamer Pledge Project @IndivisibleTeam @UNITEDWEDREAM

    Dreamer_Pledge_logo.pngActivist 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 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 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 tools and scripts to demand your MoCs protect Dreamers

    REMINDERS: DACA ends March 5th! Next Continuing Resolution deadline is Feb. 8th!


    Do three-quarters of Americans support the DREAM Act? Nancy Pelosi says so (

    Senate Democrats cave, provide votes based on McConnell’s empty promise (Think Progress)

    Compromise or cave-in? Democrats' deal to end shutdown sows division (The Guardian)

    Dreamers are Americans Too (TIME)

    “Dreamers” could give U.S. economy – and even American workers – a boost (


    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


  • Raise Women’s Voices By Fighting Voter Suppression via @Let_AmericaVote



    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 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


    The Surprising Ways Voter Suppression Particularly Hurts Women (Alternet)

    Women's March 2018 Isn't About Trump —It's About Upending The Entire Political System (Newsweek)

    Voter Suppression Targets Women, Youth and Communities of Color (Issue Advisory, Part One) (

    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)

  • Pass a Clean Dream Act NOW via @UNITEDWEDREAM

    Featured_Slider_UnitedWeDream.pngWe 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

    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)


  • What Can YOU Do To Support the #Medicare4All Movement?

    What_can_you_do_medicare4all.pngDesmond 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.




    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

    Read the details of Sen. Sanders’ Medicare for All bill

    Some other ways to get involved: 

    Our Revolution groups (Sen. Sanders’ action organization) 

    Health Over Profit (nonprofit grassroots org fighting for Medicare for All) (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) Petition (do NOT let signing this be all you do!) 


    Bernie Sanders's new Medicare-for-all plan, explained (Vox)

    The Political Genius of Bernie’s ‘Medicare for All’ Bill (The Nation)

    Bernie’s “Medicare for All” actually is the pragmatic health care solution (Salon)

    The Loss of Morality in America’s Healthcare Debate (Washington Post)

    Sanders's Bill Electrifies Growing Single-Payer Movement (truth-out)

    "Medicare for All": A Uniting Call to Action in the Age of Trump (truth-out)


    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)

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