Human Rights Activism Opportunities

  • Showing Up For Racial Justice @ShowUp4RJ — 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: Showing Up For Racial Justice.

    As has been discussed on this show fairly regularly, members of marginalized groups are called on continually to do the “101-level” explanations of their issues and teach people how to be allies. This work is thankless, exhausting and often takes valuable time away from real movement and liberation work.

    But to achieve equality in any real way, majority groups must participate in the efforts to recognize and solidify immigrant rights, women’s rights, trans rights, gay rights, and rights for people of color — just to name a few of the current fights for justice. So, how do movements engage the majority without ceding the mic or spending resources they don’t have teaching allyship?

    Enter Showing Up For Racial Justice — or SURJ. This national network of groups and individuals does the work of organizing white people for justice. On their “About” page they explain their role through a quote from Alicia Garza, a community organizer and co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement: "We need you defecting from White supremacy and changing the narrative of White supremacy by breaking White silence.”

    SURJ helps train white people to play supportive roles in the campaigns driven by people of color and how to take a racial justice focus back to their other organizing efforts — in climate, economic, political, LGBTQ, voting rights, feminist campaigns and movements. One of the most important things white people can do to challenge white supremacy is to speak up in typically white, privileged spaces.

    ShowingUpForRacialJustice.org has a great “Action” tab with local events across the country. There are affiliated chapters in almost every state; you can also sign up to start one in your area. They need volunteers to help with social media, fundraise, write for the blog, do graphic design and web layout, plan actions, and facilitate training. Basically, whatever skills you have are needed and useful.

    Katie participated in the “White People Take Action For Charleston” conference call/webinar last week. 500 people were on the call and the suggestions — like pushing back on right-wing media and engaging anyone carrying an “All Lives Matter” sign at an event so black organizers don’t have to — were fantastic and designed to keep white allies in the background while being visible support.

    SURJ also provides a handy redirect for people of color tired of going through the 101 racism and White Supremacy explanations. It can be hard — if not impossible — to tell if people approaching you online or in your daily lives are asking questions in good faith and with real interest; the beauty of referring them to a resource like SURJ is that those truly looking for a way to understand and get involved will be appreciative and those who aren’t are quickly dismissed.

    TAKE ACTION:

    Volunteer and/or participate in actions around the country with Showing Up For Racial Justice

    Follow SURJ on Twitter and like the on Facebook

    Additional Activism/Resources:

    #TakeDownTheFlag

    AskAWhitePerson.com

    Sources/further reading:

    "12 Ways to Be a White Ally to Black People” by Janee Woods at The Root

    "White Supremacy Culture: From Dismantling Racism: A Workbook for Social Change Groups” via SURJ

    "Take Down the Confederate Flag—Now” by Ta-Nehisi Coates at The Atlantic

    "Calls to Drop Confederate Emblems Spread Nationwide” via The New York Times

    "Before Charleston, Not Many People Wanted To Take Down The Confederate Flag” via FiveThirtyEight.com

    Hear the segment in context:

    Episode #933 "The long shadow of southern white supremacy (Racism)"

    Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich

  • #FightBackTX with @FundTexasChoice — 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: Fight Back Texas with Fund Texas Choice.

    With 35% of U.S. women of reproductive age living in the 87% of counties without an abortion provider, Texas is certainly not the only area where the phrase “undue burden” applies. However, as the second largest state in population — with nearly 27 million people — and the second largest physically — topping 268,000 square miles, the impending clinic closures put the population with the the highest percentage of uninsured adults in the country in immediate crisis.

    Thanks to the Fifth Circuit, unless the Supreme Court steps in with an emergency stay, half the clinics in Texas will close. Again. Depending on whether a couple can comply with a handful of specific provisions in HB2, on July 1st there will be only 8 to 10 clinics to serve the entire state — with none in the expansive western half and likely no abortion provider at the clinic in the Rio Grande Valley should it remain open.

    Patients who were already having to travel hundreds of rural miles will now be competing for appointments with city residents or going out of state at great expense. Clinics in New Mexico and Oklahoma are the next closest options — 500 miles from central West Texas and 200 miles from Dallas-Ft. Worth respectively. With overnight stays due to ultrasound, mandatory counseling, and waiting period laws, a trip for even a simple, five minute first trimester procedure or to procure the abortion pill easily becomes a four or five day trip with all the expenses of travel, time off work, and child care.

    Fund Texas Choice is the abortion fund dedicated to helping patients navigate and afford the logistical challenges of accessing this vital medical care. In-state check points and buses that are regularly swept for people without papers exacerbate an already challenging road to the doctor for many Texans. Fund Texas Choice already sends over one-third of their clients out of state, sometimes costing thousands of dollars just in travel. You can help lessen the burden and increase their ability to help bridge these gaps by donating at FundTexasChoice.org and following them @FundTexasChoice on Twitter.

    Their “Texas Abortion Clinic Map” page has an updated list of clinics that are open and/or providing abortion care. They also link to the orgs that help patients fund procedures — Lilith Fund, TEA Fund [just said like “tea”], and West Fund. You can also give directly to Whole Woman’s Health — the independent clinic chain spearheading many of the lawsuits attempting to overturn harmful laws — at WholeWomansHealth.com under the “Abortion Care — Financial Assistance” tab.

    TAKE ACTION:

    Follow and support Fund Texas Choice

    Additional Activism/Resources:

    Follow and support the other Texas abortion funds:

    Lilith Fund

    TEA Fund

    West Fund

    Whole Woman’s Texas Action Fund

    Sources/further reading:

    "State Facts About Abortion: Texas” via The Guttmacher Institute

    "Fifth Circuit Upholds More HB 2 Provisions, Dares the Supreme Court to Step In” by Jessica Pieklo at RH Reality Check

    "Court Upholds Texas’ ‘Devastating’ Anti-Choice Omnibus Law” by Andrea Grimes at RH Reality Check

    "Plaintiffs appeal to 5th Circuit Court, Supreme Court following ruling on HB 2” at The Daily Texan

    "Fifth Circuit Refuses to Stay Ruling That Could Immediately Shutter All But 9 Abortion Clinics in Texas” via The Center For Reproductive Rights

    Hear the segment in context:

    Episode #932 "Moving the goalposts on "undue burden" (Reproductive Justice)"

    Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich

  • #FreePurviPatel via @rhrealitycheck — 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: Free Purvi Patel.

    By now you’re probably wondering when during the show an expert or an advocate will explain how a person can be charged and convicted of both feticide — the killing of a fetus — and neglect of a dependent — which presumably would be a child with a birth certificate and a birthday and all the necessary markers that come with entry into the world. Welcome to the current state of reproductive healthcare and the criminalization of anyone who dares walk around with a uterus.

    Before the red state shaming of Indiana kicks back into gear, you should know that as of April 1st, there were 332 abortion restriction provisions making their way through 43 state houses. So, not just red states or southern states or fly over states. Basically, unless you live in proactive Oregon or California, your state is at the very least stalled on extending care to those who need it or actively attempting to legislate basic healthcare until it's out of reach for poor and marginalized people.

    People like Purvi Patel.

    Our friend Imani Gandy at This Week in Blackness is also senior legal analysis at RH Reality Check — and she can describe, but not make sense of either the charges or the conviction. As she so succinctly put it, "A charge of feticide requires a dead fetus, while a charge of neglect of a dependent requires a live birth.” The state’s inability to create or present evidence of a self-induced miscarriage — which is illegal in every state, by the way — or evidence that an attempted miscarriage resulted in a live birth should have meant Patel went home.

    Instead she’s expected to serve 20 years in prison.

    RH Reality Check is calling for the State of Indiana to overturn the conviction and eliminate criminal liability for pregnancy outcomes. You can find, sign, and share their petition at RHRealityCheck.org — the graphic and the link are on essentially every page.

    We shouldn’t need for an injustice to be in our backyard to care about it; but for those who do, legislation that monitors and criminalizes pregnant people is setting records this year from coast to coast. Stopping the wave and demanding existing laws be overturned is a fight we can’t afford to skip out on; lives are at stake — right now, today.

    TAKE ACTION:

    SIGN ”Overturn the #PurviPatel Conviction; Repeal Indiana’s Feticide Law” via RH Reality Check

    Sources/further reading:

    "Purvi Patel Sentenced to 41 Years for Feticide and Neglect of a Dependent” by Imani Gandy at RH Reality Check

    Read RH Reality Check's extensive coverage on Purvi Patel’s case

    "How Indiana Is Making It Possible to Jail Women for Having Abortions” by Lynn Paltrow of National Advocates for Pregnant Women

    "So Far, 2015 Is On Pace to Set Abortion Restriction Records” by Katie Klabusich at Truthout

    Hear the segment in context:

    Episode #916 "The history and current state of abortion (Reproductive Justice)"

    Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich

  • Federal LGBTQ Bill of Rights via @GetEqual — 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 Federal LGBTQ Bill of Rights.

    Indiana drew all the heat for the state legislature’s extra discriminatory Religious Freedom Restoration Act, but the Hoosier state is hardly the only place where firing, evicting, and even refusing to serve LGBTQ people is legal. Despite the wave of court mandated marriage equality wins and the cultural tide turning on the right to marry, only a federal affirmative right to be treated as fully equal human beings can protect all facets of life and liberty for LGBTQ people in all parts of the country.

    Rather than pushing for a patchwork of single-issue bills that would need to work their way through the legislature one at a time, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Representative David Cicilline (D-RI) are spearheading an all-encompassing fix. According to Sen. Merkely’s website, he and Rep. Cicilline “will be leading the legislative fight for a comprehensive nondiscrimination bill this spring. The legislation would be similar to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which outlawed discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.”

    The LGBTQ rights group GetEQUAL is in the midst of a campaign to both support this legislative effort and demand that it be comprehensive and uncompromising. At their NoAsterisks.org website, you can sign on to back the full LGBTQ Bill of Rights, which is described as "a guiding document, created with the input of thousands of LGBTQ folks across the country, that lays out what the community really needs.”

    From preamble, to conclusion, the GetEQUAL document details the fears and dangers experienced daily by LGBTQ people that should be addressed and alleviated by true protections at work, at home, at the doctor, at school, and in the eyes of the law and law enforcement.

    Visit NoAsterisks.org and support GetEQUAL’s call to action:

    "As we approach the 225th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution and the 224th anniversary of the Bill of Rights — the document that outlined the specific rights extended to (some) Americans — we demand that this country live up to the values espoused in the nation’s founding documents.”

    TAKE ACTION:

    SIGN to support GetEQUAL’s LGBTQ Bill of Rights

    Additional Activism/Resources:

    Use Get Equal’s bill tracker to stay up to date: WeCan’tBelieveThis.org

    Sources/further reading:

    The LGBTQ Bill of Rights via GetEQUAL

    "Cicilline Announces Upcoming Legislation to End LGBT Discrimination” via Rep. David N. Ciciline (D-RI)

    ”Civil Rights Bill Top Priority For LGBT Voters, According to New Poll” by Amanda Terkel via Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)

    "Resolution opposing RFRA passes City-County Council” via Wish-TV, Indianapolis

    ”Stop” — Indiana resident, activist, and writer Melissa McEwan’s take on #BoycottIndiana

    Indiana #RFRA Updates via Melissa McEwan

    "That Time I Ranted About #BoycottIndiana & Caring About All People” by Katie Klabusich

    Hear the segment in context:

    Episode #913 "Refusing to tolerate intolerance (LGBTQ Rights)"

    Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich

  • Jailbreak Your Phone For Security 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: Jailbreak Your Phone For Security.

    Jailbreaking phones used to be a way to switch providers without having to buy a new device. iPhones famously were only available on certain networks, but it was an industry-wide issue. Once the most visible evil corporate profit motive was alleviated as providers started letting you bring your old device to a new network, most of us forgot about or didn’t care whether or not jailbreaking was illegal under copyright law.

    But the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s latest campaign makes clear that the illegality of jailbreaking is a security prohibiting nuisance. Modifying the software on your phones and tablets can be a way to install security fixes making data collection more difficult or impossible. With the ongoing NSA Spying programs and whole warehouses being built to house our data “just in case” the government feels the need to mine it later, securing our ability to jailbreak is important.

    The “Take Action” tab at EFF.org has a link to their “Jailbreaking is Not a Crime” petition which sends a letter to the Copyright Office and the Librarian of Congress asking them to renew the exemption allowing us to legally modify our mobile devices. Join the more than 20,000 who have added their names already to preserve the right to protect ourselves. Regaining rights once they’re lost — as made clear by the fight to repeal all the provisions of the Patriot Act — can be a nearly impossible battle. Let’s do what we can to hang on to the privacy we still have.

    Also, a quick reminder that EFF’s website has a whole set of security tutorials to protect yourself on all your devices and networks. They can help you do everything from selecting good passwords to installing software to learning how to safely use social media.

    TAKE ACTION:

    SIGN the EEF’s petition: Jailbreaking is Not a Crime

    Additional Activism/Resources:

    Take advantage of EFF’s Surveillance Self-Defense tools.

    Sources/further reading:

    "EFF General Counsel Takes On NSA Spying”

    "Human Rights Watch Sues DEA Over Bulk Collection of Americans’ Telephone Records”

    "How to Jailbreak Your iPhone: The Always Up-to-Date Guide [iOS 8.1]”

    "Surveillance Techniques: How Your Data Becomes Our Data”

    Hear the segment in context:

    Episode #912 "Poking the watchful eye (NSA Spying) "

    Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich

  • Fighting the Patriarchy With Film: @thehuntinground & @theperfectvict — 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: Fighting the Patriarchy With Film.

    Survivors of rape and intimate partner violence share a fear of not being believed. Deeply rooted in the patriarchy that rules our culture and our institutions is a fundamental skepticism of anyone who comes forward to say they’ve been violated. We interrogate rape victims as they report and when they take the witness stand; we berate domestic violence victims with shaming questions like “Well, then, why didn’t you just leave?”

    A pair of documentaries seeks to put human faces out in front of the statistics in order to move the needle on the culture of blame. The subjects of “The Perfect Victim” and “The Hunting Ground” recount their stories in compelling fashion, demanding that viewers help address stigma and demand change to the legal hurtles that keep justice out of their reach.

    “The Hunting Ground” — in theaters now — is an indictment on college campus rape culture and the near complete refusal of administrators to address the issue or punish offenders. You can visit TheHuntingGroundFilm.com for show listings and to use the “Take Action” tab to get involved. Their “advocate” action takes thirty seconds and sends your representatives in Congress a note urging them to support the Campus Accountability & Safety Act.

    “The Perfect Victim” lays out the fallacy of the title through the stories of Shirley, Carlene, and Ruby — three women serving a collective eighty-five years in Missouri State prison for killing their abusive husbands. Each was denied the chance to tell their story at trial; each is hoping new council will help them find a path to justice.

    Beginning April 15th, The World Channel — which you can find at WorldChannel.Org — and Amazon Prime are both showing “The Perfect Victim” for free. You can find more information and get involved through the “Take Action” tab at ThePerfectVictim.Com.

    TAKE ACTION:

    Go see The Hunting Ground and visit their ”Take Action” tab to get involved.

    Go see The Perfect Victim and visit their ”Take Action” tab to get involved.

    Hear the segment in context:

    Episode #911 "Emasculation Nation (Rape and Intimate Partner Violence)"

    Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich

  • Student Aid Bill of Rights via @WhiteHouse — 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 Student Aid Bill of Rights.

    I’m running the risk of developing a reputation for being a White House shill, but it’s hard to disagree that second half of second term Obama is, indeed, the best Obama. It’s not all sunshine and roses — he is cheerleading the TPP after all, but some of the policies he’s dishing out are downright progressive. Enacting a Student Aid Bill of Rights is one of those policies.

    In his weekly address this past Saturday, President Obama unveiled a long-overdue proposal that builds on his State of the Union promise to provide two years of free community college to any American who wants to enroll and is accepted.

    The Student Aid Bill of Rights states that every student in America should:

    I. Have access to high-quality, affordable higher education.

    II. Be able to easily find the resources they need to pay for college.

    III. Be able to choose an affordable repayment play for student loans.

    IV. Receive quality customer service, reliable information, and fair treatment when repaying loans.

    It sounds simple — and it basically is. Currently, those who are able to go to college graduate with an average of $28,000 in debt; one in ten students graduates with more than $40,000; and “elite” degrees in law and medicine can cost upwards of $150,000 — if you don’t include undergrad. With federal student loans passing the $1 trillion mark — not to mention the private loans taken out by students and families, the debt our young people are saddled with before entering the work force is, as Forbes.com puts it, “crippling” the economy.

    Visit WhiteHouse.gov/CollegeOpportunity and add your name to the Presidential Memorandum, then use ContactingTheCongress.org to call, email, and tweet with the hashtag #CollegeOpportunity to let your representatives know you expect them to get behind this plan and take steps to enshrining the right to quality, affordable education into law.

    While you’re at it, let your state representatives know you expect them to implement the President’s plan for free community college. Even though it would be at no cost to the states, we’ve seen republican, split, and even some democratic state houses reject free federal money during this administration which means they need to hear from you.

    As long as the republicans control Congress, debt forgiveness is off the table. Let’s do what we can now to push the conversation to the left and keep student debt in the news and the forefront of the public consciousness so that during the primaries and 2016 presidential run, the ground work will be laid to make a trillion dollar infusion into the economy an obvious, politically viable plan.

    TAKE ACTION:

    Add your name: Student Aid Bill of Rights

    Let your reps know you support the plan through ContactingTheCongress.org where you can call, email, and tweet at your representatives using the hashtag #CollegeOpportunity.

    Additional Activism/Resources:

    Reminder that the states have to agree to implement the president’s community college plan. Even though it would be at no cost to the states, we’ve seen republican (and even some democratic) and split state houses reject free federal money during this administration. Let your state and congressional representatives know you back a plan to make community college available to everyone who wants to attend.

    Sources/further reading:

    Press Release: “A Student Aid Bill of Rights”

    “Your Weekly Address: A Student Aid Bill of Rights”

    "5 Reasons Not to Get a Law Degree” via CBS News

    "How The $1.2 Trillion College Debt Crisis Is Crippling Students, Parents And The Economy” by Chris Denhart at Forbes.com

    "The President Proposes to Make Community College Free for Responsible Students for 2 Years”

    Watch POTUS video on two free years of community college: The President Proposes to Make Community College Free for Responsible Students for Two Years

    "FACT SHEET - White House Unveils America’s College Promise Proposal: Tuition-Free Community College for Responsible Students”

    Hear the segment in context:

    Episode #906 "Crushing our potential with student debt (Education)"

    Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich

  • Gender Neutral Bathrooms — 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: Gender Neutral Bathrooms.

    Sometimes the answer to a problem is so simple, cheap, and easy to lobby for it’s a wonder it hasn’t already been handled.

    This show has talked about the violence perpetrated against trans people due to overt bigotry, misogyny, and discrimination. Because of that and other factors, trans people are more likely to commit and attempt suicide than any other group. (The information for Trans Lifeline — (877) 565-8860 — a suicide hotline staffed by trans people for trans people is listed below.)

    What we don’t talk about much is the day to day hassles and micro aggressions that feed the culture of violence against trans people.

    Parker Molloy, a Chicago-based trans woman writer, described what an afternoon of errands used to be like for her in an interview with The Chicagoist:

    "One thing that a lot of transgender people struggle with is...well, for me, there was a period in my life where I was started taking hormones, and if you saw me in public, you'd be like, 'I have no clue what you're even going for here. Man? Woman? What?' ...I kind of hit this weird androgynous phase. It was to the point where, if I walked into the men's room, I'd get a lot of weird looks, and if I went into the women's restroom, I'd get a lot of weird looks. And so, rather than continuing to do that, before one of the weird looks became a scream, or became violent, I just decided to use the bathroom at home. Which is super inconvenient and hard. I would sit there and schedule my errands for making sure I wasn't away from the house for more than a few hours… Which is really sad that that has to be an issue, but it is an issue.”

    The cities of Austin, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and West Hollywood have all taken a simple step to alleviate both the stress of those situations and the potential for violence by enacting ordinances to make single-use bathrooms gender-neutral. The fix is cheap — usually $20-$50 at a Home Depot for supplies to change the signs — and most patrons don’t really notice the difference. West Hollywood business owners have even discovered a handy side-effect: shorter lines because anyone can use any of their bathrooms.

    Kentucky State Senator CB Embry, Jr. is pushing legislation that would bar transgender students from using the locker rooms and bathrooms that match their identities — and he’s not alone. The easiest way to prevent new discriminatory legislation is to create a cascade of proactive, rights-affirming legislation. And the good news is you have loads of power at the local level where gender neutral ordinances are being introduced!

    Go to your next city council meeting, call your alderman or your city council member and connect with your local LGBTQ group to lobby for change where you live. If cities and states can go smoke-free in public places for health and safety despite the tobacco and business lobbies, swapping out a couple of signs should be an easy ask.

    TAKE ACTION:

    Call and write your local alderman/city councilperson to push for local gender neutral bathroom ordinances.

    Additional Activism/Resources:

    TransLifeLine is a crisis hotline staffed by trans people for trans people. Contact them via Twitter and phone: US (877) 565-8860, Canada (877) 330-6366

    Sources/further reading:

    "INTERVIEW: The Advocate's Parker Marie Molloy on Grantland, Piers Morgan, and More” at The Chicagoist

    "A trans advocate’s perspective on Trans 101 questions” at Transadvocate

    "TLDEF Condemns Kentucky Bill Targeting Transgender Students for Discrimination” via TransGender Legal

    "No label required on West Hollywood's gender-neutral bathrooms” at LA Times

    "Austin Makes Gender-Neutral Bathrooms Out Of All Single-Use Stalls, And Other Cities Should Take Note” at Bustle

    "My Transgender Coming Out Story” ebook by Parker Mollow

    Hear the segment in context:

    Episode #904 "Opt for compassion and inclusion (Transgender Rights)"

    Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich

  • Bolstering Unemployment Benefits with the 2016 Budget via @WhiteHouse - 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: Bolstering Unemployment Benefits with the 2016 Budget.

    I’ve had my differences with the president during his tenure in office, but I'm a pragmatic fan of good ideas. And fixing our busted unemployment insurance system is a very, very good idea. Building that kind of meaningful, benefit extending, life changing reform into the budget is even better than a good idea.

    As a whole, the budget is solid enough that the typically critical folks at Common Dreams are fans of what they’ve seen so far. Dave Johnson describes the White House’s move to the left and the end of the austerity mindset still reigning from the sequester this way:

    "President Obama is using his 'bully pulpit' to push the country in a new direction. The President has submitted a budget that calls for more public investment in vital areas, and pays for it with more taxes on the wealthy. He has drawn a dividing line between a Reaganomics era of 'trickle down' favors for the wealthy combined with cuts, austerity and intentional economic pain and harm, and a return to an era of a government that does things that make people’s lives better.”

    A large part of "making people’s lives better" is redesigning “triggers” that kick in unemployment insurance benefits so that they are available early enough in a downturn and don’t require action by Congress — which typically comes after a recession is in full swing. The unemployment reform even has bipartisan roots — something that may make you cringe, but is necessary with a Republican-controlled Congress. Also, the plan makes sense.

    As Danny Vinik writes at The New Republic:

    "The plan has two components. One would offer states financial rewards for changing the eligibility criteria so that more people who work part-time or who work on and off are eligible for benefits. The second part would encourage states to implement programs to promote reemployment…[S]tates could offer the unemployed relocation vouchers to move where jobs are more widely available, an idea that Republican Senator John Thune proposed in 2014. States could also support more extensive reemployment services and job training programs.”

    So if your job is actually GONE and not just downsized or restructured, you could get help learning new skills. And if your job hops a state border or too many towns over to commute, you could get a hand relocating. This seems like common sense not just because it’s helpful, but because getting people employed quickly is less expensive than long-term unemployment or social programs. It should be win-win from any perspective.

    Luckily, we have enough time before the budget will hit the floor to make the unemployment boost popular, giving opinion poll cover to the White House and creating a PR nightmare for conservative congress members who would lobby to nix it.

    Call the White House at 202-456-1111 and let the president know you support an un-compromised budget with none of the unemployment reform bargained away in the months to come. You can always tweet to @WhiteHouse and @BarackObama to leave a public comment that encourages others to do the same. Information on writing and emailing the White House can be found at WhiteHouse.gov/contact.

    Then, use ContactingTheCongress.org to let your representatives in Congress know you support this provision of the 2016 budget and you expect them to publicly do the same.

    TAKE ACTION:

    Let the White House know you support the unemployment provisions of the 2016 budget via phone (202-456-1111), email/mail and via Twitter to @WhiteHouse and @BarackObama

    Use ContactingTheCongress to let your reps know you expect them to publicly support the unemployment plan.

    Sources/further reading:

    Fiscal Year 2016 Budget of the U.S/ Government via The White House

    "Obama's Budget Proposes a Major Overhaul of Unemployment Insurance” by Danny Vinik at The New Republic

    "Right-Wing Media Use Flawed Study To Attack Unemployment Benefits” by Rachel Calvert at Media Matters for America

    "U.S. jobless claims fall as labor market gains momentum” by Lucia Mutikani at Reuters

    "Conservatives Cheer Research Saying Cuts To Unemployment Benefits Helped The Economy” by Arthur Delaney at HuffPo

    "Obama Budget Signals End Of Austerity, Return Of Sanity” by Dave Johnson at Common Dreams

    Hear the segment in context:

    Episode #901 "The wealth divide and the crumbling bridge across it (Economics)"

    Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich