Human Rights Activism Opportunities

  • 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

  • #4EACHOfUs to #EndHyde via @AllAboveAll @NLIRH — 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 Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance Act.

    This legislation — which has the unfortunately trans-exclusionary nickname “the EACH Woman Act” — is the first national legislation to explicitly affirm the right to abortion care. Roe v Wade may have decriminalized abortion, but the complete lack of anything resembling an affirmative right in the legislature or from the Supreme Court is what has allowed 231 abortion restrictions to pass in just the past four years — not to mention practically perpetual investigations of Planned Parenthood.

    Coverage bans — restrictions on whether a patient’s health insurance provider is allowed to reimburse for abortion care — are the height of every kind of discrimination I rail against on this show. The poor, communities of color, immigrants, people living on reservations, the undocumented — basically all the people who already have barriers to healthcare and significant economic disadvantages — are hit the hardest.

    Grassroots organizing lead by the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity (or URGE), and the National Network of Abortion Funds along with new polling commissioned by All* Above All showing Americans — by a 24-point margin — think politicians shouldn’t be able to deny abortion care to someone just because they’re poor came together to create a historic press conference this summer. More than 70 members of Congress signed on to co-sponsor the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance Act introduced by Representatives Lee, DeGette, and Schakowsky. Many stood in front of cameras to declare that abortion is a right and demanded an end to this dangerous discrimination.

    Even if this legislation can’t get past the GOP’s dangerously anti-choice leadership, having a coalition this size put their names on a bill that doesn’t shy away from the word “abortion” is a huge deal and those members of Congress deserve your support. You can encourage your representatives to sign-on through the form at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health website — LatinaInstitute.org. If your reps are already supporters, likely All* Above All has included them in their “All In” social media campaign, so post the graphic at AllAboveAll.org thanking them to your networks with the inclusive hashtag #4EACHOfUs. Show favorite Barbara Lee’s graphic is up in our feeds if you don’t have a congressman of your own to thank.

    TAKE ACTION:

    Add your name in support of #4EACHOfUs: "Write your member of Congress today!” via the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

    Thank the #4EACHOfUs co-sponsors via All* Above All’s 100 Days For Coverage Campaign

    Sources/further reading:

    "Widespread Public Support Bolsters Bill to End Restrictions on Abortion Coverage” via Truthout

    "New Year, Same as the Old Year? 2015 Reproductive Rights Preview”

    Hear the segment in context:

    Episode #952 "The battle rages whether you pay attention or not (Reproductive Justice)"

    Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich

  • #HungerActionMonth via @FeedingAmerica — 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: Hunger Action Month.

    One in six Americans struggles with hunger. As highlighted before on this show, that number hardly fluctuates no matter what’s happening with job numbers, the stock market or the economy. Our capitalist system has created a sizable class of people — an estimated 49 million right now — who can’t take for granted that they’ll eat tomorrow. Until we can fundamentally change this system, people will go hungry.

    Hunger Action Month is the perfect time to push back on all the right-wing and center-left poverty shaming tropes. Feeding America — a fantastic organization that provides over 3 billion meals annually and reaches nearly every community in the country — has fantastic graphics, memes, educational materials, and social media campaigns available to share with your networks.

    Feeding America has also rebranded September: #Spoontember. To raise awareness and encourage people to volunteer, Feeding America is calling for selfies with a spoon balanced on your nose. We all know silly works on social media: buckets of ice water raised over $100 million for ALS research, after all. So take a selfie, tag @FeedingAmerica on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, and include the stats on the campaign page at FeedingAmerica.org in your post.

    You can also support the Thunderclap scheduled for Hunger Action Day Thursday, September 3rd by clicking the link in the segment notes and in the Feeding America Facebook and Twitter feeds. It only takes ten seconds and your social media post will go out as a blast alongside other supporters, potentially reaching millions by helping the hashtag go viral.

    If you’ve been meaning to volunteer, but like most of us, forget or are reluctant to get involved with something new, take the opportunity during a month when many of the other volunteers will be new as well. You can all be unsure of yourselves together — and what better cause than feeding hungry people. FeedingAmerica.org will connect you to your local food bank, or, if in-person engagement isn’t viable for you, help you run a virtual food drive.

    You can also ask your members of Congress to visit a food bank from the Feeding America home page. There’s no expiration date on this action as residents of all 3,143 U.S. counties experience food insecurity — making this an epidemic in the richest nation on the planet.

    Whatever level of involvement you’re able to take makes a difference in helping end stigma, raise money, and push toward a better, more sustainable system.

    TAKE ACTION:

    Join one (or all!) of @FeedingAmerica’s #HungerActionMonth campaigns.

    Take TEN SECONDS to support Feeding America’s #Spoontember Thunderclap!

    Sources/further reading:

    "Hunger and Poverty Fact Sheet” via Feeding America

    "49 Million Americans Live With This — So Why Are We So Uncomfortable Talking About It?” via .Mic

    "Our Perceptions About the “Unworthy Poor” Haven’t Changed” via TalkPoverty

    Hear the segment in context:

    Episode #949 "Throwing away food while people starve (Poverty)"

    Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich

  • Preserve Anonymity, Stand Up For Domain Privacy via @EFF — 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: Preserve Anonymity, Stand Up For Domain Privacy.

    People prefer to be anonymous online for a number of reasons — not all of them so that they can troll and leave comments without reprisal. Groups and individuals who do the majority of their social justice organizing and fundraising don’t link their personal information — names, addresses, etc. — to their websites to prevent targeting by opposition and law enforcement.

    Business like Time Warner and Walt Disney — claiming they need recourse for copyright infringement — have lobbied the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (or, ICANN) to end the proxy registration of domains that keeps people’s information private. According to Buzzfeed, the entertainment industry sees proxy registration as a way to covertly steal content while privacy advocates see identity concealment as a way to enable free speech.

    The Online Abuse Prevention Initiative is particularly concerned about the way this potential rule change would affect groups like: women indie gamers who sell their products online, freelance journalists and authors, small business owners who work out of their homes, activists who take donations — especially those who live under totalitarian surveillance states, and people who crowd fund medical procedures using their personal stories to solicit donations.

    The affect on marginalized groups and those without financial resources to protect themselves through the legal system or fight harassment after it’s already begun could change the landscape of online organizing and commerce as well as open up even more people to being doxed.

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation is, of course, leading the effort to fight the proposal. Their "Preserve Anonymity, Stand Up For Domain Privacy” petition to ICANN is up at their website, EFF.org, under the “Take Action” tab. By signing their petition, you’ll be asking for ICANN to not only reject the change, but to go further to protect people’s online privacy by creating less costly, easier ways to withhold personal identifying information from online domains.

    TAKE ACTION:

    SIGN: "Preserve Anonymity, Stand Up For Domain Privacy” via the Electronic Frontier Foundation

    Sources/further reading:

    "Icann plan to end website anonymity 'could lead to swatting attacks’” at The Guardian

    "Proposed Domain Name Rule Threatens Website Owner Anonymity” at Buzzfeed

    Hear the segment in context:

    Episode #946 "What will it take to reverse this trend? (Privacy Rights)"

    Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich