Human Rights Activism Opportunities

  • #OscarsSoWhite; Watch #JusticeForFlint Instead via @UnitedBlackout — Best of the Left Activism

    You’ve reached the activism portion of today’s show. Now that you’re informed and angry, here’s what you can do about it. Today’s activism: the Justice For Flint livestream alternative to the Oscars.

    April Reign’s #OscarsSoWhite hashtag criticism is getting a reboot this year. All 20 acting nominees are, AGAIN, white. This year’s awards are even more egregious. The movie “Straight Outta Compton” received a lot of industry support at SAG-AFTRA as well as a Best Picture nomination from the Producers Guild — but its only Oscar nod went to the white screenwriters for Best Original Screenplay. “Creed” has been praised basically everywhere also only received one nomination: Sylvester Stallone for Best Supporting Actor.

    In response, the Oscar backlash has gone well beyond Twitter. While they aren’t exactly calling it a boycott, Spike Lee, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Will Smith aren’t attending amidst the demand to diversify nominees and the industry in general. In a country where people’s exposure to those outside their communities and understanding of what’s “normal” and “acceptable” often comes from the entertainment industry, it’s important to support the efforts to fund and produce films that better represent our population and experiences.

    So, this year, instead of watching the Oscars, tune in to the #JusticeForFlint fundraiser taking place in Flint, Michigan and live streamed at Revolt.TV. “Creed" director and co-writer Ryan Coogler, Ava Duvernay, director of “Selma,” singer Janelle Monáe, Grey’s Anatomy star Jesse Williams and others are putting on this guaranteed-to-be-entertaining, free event presented by Coogler’s org Blackout for Human Rights. You can get the full line-up at the BlackOutForHumanRights Tumblr, then tune in at 5pmEST Sunday night.

    During the broadcast you can text JUSTICE to 83224 to donate to the victims of the ongoing Flint Water Crisis and follow the #JusticeForFlint hashtag. Exclusive event announcement rights were given to Buzzfeed; so in addition to posting the Black Out For Human Rights Tumblr page on social media, Buzzfeed’s article "The Director Of “Creed” Is Throwing A Star-Studded Free Event For Flint On Oscars Night” has all the correct info.

    For those who listen to This Week in Blackness, but may be behind on podcasts, they’ve nixed their Oscar broadcast so as not to draw anyone away from the #JusticeForFlint fundraiser.

    TAKE ACTION:

    #JusticeForFlint from Blackout for Human Rights

    Additional Activism/Resources:

    "How to help people hurt by the poisoned water in Flint” via Mashable

    Sources/further reading:

    ”Meet April Reign, the Black Woman Behind #OscarsSoWhite"

    "The 17 Biggest Surprises Of This Year’s Oscar Nominations — #OscarsSoWhiteTheSequel” via Buzzfeed

    "These 10 Actors, Directors & Executives Can Reverse #OscarsSoWhite” at RevoltTV

    "Creed Is The Rocky Film 21st-Century America Needs” at The Establishment

    Hear the segment in context:

    Episode #994 "Who gets a seat at the table (Culture)"

    Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich

  • Make #Poverty an #Election2016 Priority w/@VoteToEndHunger — Best of the Left Activism

    You’ve reached the activism portion of today’s show. Now that you’re informed and angry, here’s what you can do about it. Today’s activism: Vote to End Hunger.

    Vote to End Hunger is a coalition of organizations that includes Bread For the World, Feeding America, and the Food Research and Action Center. They joined together ahead of the 2016 election cycle to — in their words — "make hunger, poverty and opportunity a higher political priority, so that the next President and Congress take action that will put our nation and the world on track to end hunger by 2030.”

    This is an ambitious, but important goal as debates come and go with numerous references to the middle class, but virtually no questions from moderators or pivots from candidates to the 14.8% of the country — 46.7 million people — living in poverty. If we can’t even talk about it, how are we ever going to to anything to address it?

    At VoteToEndHunger.org you can sign and share this pledge:

    "I believe we can end hunger in America and worldwide by 2030. Ending hunger is not a partisan issues and requires public policies that expand opportunity and reduce poverty. This election, I will Vote to End Hunger and to make hunger, poverty, and opportunity a higher political priority, so that the next President and Congress take actions that will put our nation and the world on track to end hunger.”

    The website also has videos from ten of the presidential candidates explaining what they would do to address systemic poverty and hunger — giving us an easy way to hold them accountable as the primary season progresses. For those who want to engage candidates at town halls and other events, Vote To End Hunger has a well-done webinar with tactics and talking points. During debates, you can follow their twitter feed as they encourage moderators to ask questions about poverty and hold candidates accountable for their answers.

    Primary season is the perfect time to demand issues that matter become part of the national conversation and legislative priority because candidates are the most movable. Use the tools at VoteToEndHunger.org to let those courting your vote know that you don’t accept poverty as an inevitability and you expect them address it.

    TAKE ACTION:

    SIGN & SHARE: Pledge to end hunger by 2030

    GET INVOLVED with Vote to End Hunger

    Sources/further reading:

    "Pathologizing the Poor Reinforces Stigma While Deterring Advocacy and Public Policy” via Truthout

    ”Hunger is a Significant But Solvable Problem, Both in the United States and Internationally” via Vote to End Hunger

    ”Presidential Candidate Videos” via Vote to End Hunger

    Hear the segment in context:

    Episode #986 "The trouble with extreme wealth inequality (Economics)"

    Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich

  • Tell RNC Chair @Reince: Denounce GOP candidates’ Islamophobia via @lsarsour & @CAIRNational — Best of the Left Activism

    You’ve reached the activism portion of today’s show. Now that you’re informed and angry, here’s what you can do about it. Today’s activism: tell RNC chair Reince Priebus to denounce his party’s Islamophobia.

    Islamophobia is hardly new in this country, but it has intensified courtesy of a Republican party whose presidential candidates are unified in their blame and bigotry.

    Linda Sarsour, on behalf of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, has a petition at Change.org titled "The Republican Party must denounce the dangerous Islamophobia of candidates and officials” that is comprehensive and yet to the point. She writes:

    "I am a mother of three, a working woman, and a civil rights activist. I am also a Muslim. Since the November terror attack in Paris, we’ve seen an unprecedented rise in acts of discrimination, intimidation, and violence targeting American Muslims across the country. It makes me worry about my family, and our country. But, instead of calling for all Americans to rally together, a number of Republican presidential candidates and elected officials have been spreading baseless fear of Muslim Americans.”

    It doesn’t seem to matter how many studies are done that prove the real threats to American lives are guns and white, Christian-identified men. “Othering” minority religions and ethnicities is too easy for a party heavily invested in stoking fear to win votes. Sarsour makes the parallel between these individuals and ISIS who is attempting to start a religious war by making non-Muslims fear the peaceful Muslims like her living and working in their communities. She asks that you join the more than 30,000 who have already added their names to the CAIR petition to show the GOP and its leading presidential candidate Donald Trump that Americans will not be provoked into giving ISIS what it wants.

    "Hate-filled rhetoric and anti-Muslim attacks put American Muslim families like mine in real danger, and play right into Daesh’s (ISIS) plans,” Sarsour writes. "If such Islamophobic hatred and bigotry is not rejected outright by the GOP, it will be a part of the party’s legacy, and a part of our nation’s legacy for generations to come. That isn’t a legacy I want my children -- or anyone’s -- to have to live with.”

    Take one minute to sign and share CAIR’s petition and urge the Republican Party to denounce Islamophobia.

    TAKE ACTION:

    SIGN: "The Republican Party must denounce the dangerous Islamophobia of candidates and officials” via Linda Sarsour with The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) at Change.org

    Additional Activism/Resources:

    SIGN: Tell The News Media: Stop Obsessing Over Donald Trump via Media Matters For America via MoveOn.org

    Sources/further reading:

    "It’s Not Just Trump – Islamophobia Is Widespread In the GOP Field” — round-up of articles on GOP Islamophobia in Election 2016 via HillaryClinton.com

    "Who Will Stop Republican Islamophobia?” via The New Republic

    Book: "Terrified: How Anti-Muslim Fringe Organizations Became Mainstream”

    Hear the segment in context:

    Episode #982 "Trouble at the old pharm (Health Care)"

    Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich

  • The Prescription Drug Affordability Act of 2015 via @DemandProgress & @OpenCongress — Best of the Left Activism

    You’ve reached the activism portion of today’s show. Now that you’re informed and angry, here’s what you can do about it. Today’s activism: supporting the Prescription Drug Affordability Act of 2015.

    No matter your conspiracy or frustration-level with Big Pharma, everyone who’s ever filled a prescription knows the medication part of our health “care” system is seriously jacked.

    To address several of the factors that spike drug prices in the U.S., Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Elijah Cummings introduced legislation last month, aptly and simply named “The Prescription Drug Affordability Act of 2015.”

    The bullet points include:

    • Allowing U.S. residents to import lower-cost medications from Canada
    • Encouraging Medicare to negotiate medication prices with drugmakers — something private insurance companies do regularly, but Medicare does not
    • Requiring drug manufacturers to disclose prices for treatments they sell in other countries
    • Requiring drugmakers to submit annual reports detailing how drug prices are set — including research and development costs and such
    • And eradicating any existing market-exclusivity periods for medications that should never have been granted — i.e. that asshole you’ve heard about a ton in this episode.
    • And eradicating any existing market-exclusivity periods for medications that should never have been granted — i.e. that asshole you’ve heard about a ton in this episode.

    This legislation is better than spending-neutral; it would save the federal government money and provide better access to life-saving and life-improving health care. It should be a both-sides-of-the-aisle winner. Of course, that sort of thing is mostly a pipe dream these days without significant public pressure. And that means your voice is needed.

    You can click “support,” contact your legislators directly, & track the House and Senate bills through GovTrack.us. Progressive direct action group Demand Progress also has a petition in support of the legislation through the link in the segment notes — also posted on the Demand Progress social media feeds.

    It’s long past time people weren’t choosing between food and medication or housing and medication or doing without treatment with the power to vastly improve every aspect of their lives. There will be plenty left for the drug manufacturers after these reforms; we’re simply asking for them to conduct their business ethically.

    TAKE ACTION:

    Sign the Demand Progress petition to Congress: "Tell Congress to pass Bernie Sanders's bill to rein in prescription drug costs!”

    Track the legislation & contact legislators: in the Senate & in the House via GovTrack.us

    Additional Activism/Resources:

    Send your legislator a letter through OpenCongress.org

    Episode #958 "Where the market should not be allowed to tread (Health Care)"

    Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich