Human Rights Activism Opportunities

  • #TacoOrBeerChallenge

    It turns out “hash tag activism” is real activism with concrete results in the “real world.” It can raise awareness as well as money while changing culture and bringing people together internationally — even when the hashtag itself was initially started as a joke.

    Andrea Grimes — a reproductive healthcare activist and senior political reporter for RH Reality check — had been watching the “Ice Bucket Challenge” make its way around and thought tacos and beer sounded more fun.

    So, Grimes issued a new challenge via video on Tumblr: The Taco Or Beer Challenge. (That’s heavy on the “or,” by the way, to be inclusive to everyone’s dietary needs and restrictions.) She wrote the following for RHRC:

    "What do ice buckets have to do with ALS? I don’t know. What do tacos and beer have to do with abortion? I don’t know that either.

    What I do know is that eating tacos and drinking beer is more pleasurable than getting doused with ice water, and that lawmakers around the country are passing increasingly restrictive anti-abortion access laws. Which means abortion funds are now more necessary than ever as legal abortion becomes harder than ever to access—especially for those of us who don’t live in major urban centers.

    Tacos and beer, of course, remain as vital to our human happiness as they ever were. The solution is clear: Eat tacos, drink beer, and donate to abortion funds.”

    Since the start of the Taco Or Beer Challenge, the National Network of Abortion Funds has reported a major spike in first time donors. Celebs like Dan Savage, Martha Plimpton, Sarah Paulson and more are snapping pics and videos of themselves with a beer and/or a taco while donating to the abortion fund of their choice. Many are choosing to give to funds in New Orleans and Texas where recently passed laws are going into effect.

    Participating is easy and delicious. There’s no minimum contribution. You can toss two dollars to your local abortion fund — which you can find at FundAbortionNow.org — and you’ve completed the challenge! TacoOrBeerChallenge.tumblr.com has a submission link and you can put it up on Twitter where right-wingers are freaking out over the abomination of “American” favorites like tacos and beer being used to fund healthcare for patients in need.

    The average caller to an abortion fund receives assistance in the neighborhood of one to two hundred dollars, which means your modest contribution goes a long way. Because the hotlines are volunteer run, 100% of your donation goes to save a person who needs it because this basic, safe medical procedure is singled out by politicians and rarely covered by insurance.

    So have a taco. Or a beer. Or both! Ice cream tacos, root beer, vegan quesadillas — all taco and beer-like substances are accepted. And then enjoy angering hysterical right-wingers and their hypocritical need to regulate your bedrooms and your doctor’s offices.

    TAKE ACTION:

    Take the Taco Or Beer Challenge via Andrea Grimes

    Additional Activism/Resources:

    Find your local abortion fund through The National Network of Abortion Funds and follow NNAF on Twitter

    Follow #TacoOrBeerChallenge and use it to challenge your friends/followers!

    Sources/further reading:

    #TacoOrBeerChallenge, Two Weeks In

    NNAF Spotlight: New Orleans Abortion Fund h/t @nolaAbortionFnd

    "Meet The Woman Who Refuses To Stop Fighting Against Texas’ Abortion Restrictions” by Tara Culp-Ressler at Think Progress

    "Whole Woman’s Health Opens its Doors in New Mexico, Starts Advocacy Initiative” via Whole Woman’s Health

    "Abortion Provider Expands to New Mexico in Response to Texas Anti-Abortion Law” by Andrea Grimes at RH Reality Check

    "Federal Court Blocks Part of Texas Abortion Law Preceding Immediate State Appeal” by Andrea Grimes at RH Reality Check

    WATCH: "What It’s Like Inside One of Texas’ Last Abortion Clinics”

    Hear the segment in context:

    Episode #858 The fight for fundamental equality (Abortion Rights)

    Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich

  • The Jim Collins Foundation

    The Jim Collins Foundation raises money for those transgender people who need gender-confirming surgery as an important step toward becoming their true selves, but are without the financial means to access care. The founders and the board recognize that not every transgender person needs or wants surgery. Their mission is to aid those who do by abating the despair that comes with realizing the monetary hurdle is too high to clear. Finding surgery unattainable can result in hopelessness, depression and sometimes suicide.

    Allies who are moved to help can certainly do so by donating to this worthy non-profit, but also by checking to see if your own insurance company discriminates. Until the trans community is granted the same access to medically necessary care and protections from discrimination under the law, they will remain marginalized. Pressuring insurance companies and elected officials to actively move toward full equality is action we can — and must — all take.

    Take Action:

    Donate and spread the word about this great organization through their website: Jim Collins Foundation

    Additional Activism: Free CeCe, a documentary on CeCe McDonald

    More info:

    Listen to the source segment for this activism at BOTL Activism: The Jim Collins Foundation, episode #801 "If you're talking about genitals then you've missed the point (Trans* Rights)”

    Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich

  • The New Economy Coalition

    BOTL segment excerpt:

    Capitalism is integrated into every aspect of our lives, whether we know it or like it. It’s a massive system and it dictates how we interact with each other and how our government interacts with those outside our boarders. So if we find it problematic, what exactly are we supposed to do?

    From the New Economy Coalition:

    The stakes are high. Climate change is accelerating. Inequality is at historic levels. The financial industry continues to teeter on the brink of collapse, threatening the global economy. And all the while, our political system has proven incapable of effecting the structural transformations necessary to — quite literally — save the planet. The time is now for a new approach, a New Economy.

    Take Action:

    Visit the New Economy Coalition website to join up, add your expertise, offer your support.

    More info:

    Listen to the source segment for this activism at BOTL Activism: New Economy Coalition, episode #803 "Resistance is the only hope (Capitalism)”

    Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich

  • Stop Deportations Now

    BOTL segment excerpt:

    A federation of unions, who typically stand with the president on policy initiatives, took action this week to stand instead with those putting themselves on the line to save their families. The group projected a 60 by 90 foot video onto the AFL-CIO building, which faces 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, to tell the statistics and human stories behind the deportations.

    “We feel like the political debate about immigration has gotten old and tired, while the human dimension of the deportation crisis has unfortunately lost center stage,” said Jeff Hauser, a spokesman for the union federation.

    Text “Now” to 235246 to back the union federation’s campaign and use #Not1More to tweet at your representatives, respectfully, if you would. You can find your rep’s handles, along with the rest of their information, at ContactingTheCongress.org.

    You can also join with the AFL-CIO in sending solidarity to the hunger strikers at the White House. Text “Hunger” to 235246 and add your words to messages like this one: "Your work is so important. Thank you for putting your personal welfare on the line. I wish Congress could do the same. Solidarity!”

    Take Action:

    AFL-CIO: Stop Deportations Now, YouTube

    Tweet your legislators via ContactingTheCongress.Org

    More info:

    Listen to the source segment for this activism at BOTL Activism: Stop Deportations Now, episode #822 "It might have something to do with race (Immigration)”

    Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich

  • The Sex Workers Project

    BOTL segment excerpt:

    The Sex Workers Project is doing the hard work of advocacy on behalf of a stigmatized industry. They provide client-centered legal and social services to individuals who engage in sex work, regardless of whether they do so by choice, circumstance, or coercion. Their professional service providers are multi-lingual and non-judgmental, assisting clients to remain in stable housing, access safer working conditions and employment options, protect their legal rights in family court, clear criminal records, secure legal immigration status, fight police misconduct, and access long-term supportive therapy while creating best practices in a marginalized, but legitimate field.

    The “Not Your Rescue Project” hash tag was started in January by a coalition of sex workers and allies fighting back against stigma and the idea that they were all powerless women in need of saving by predatory NGOs. [just said “N-G-O”] Read the linked article by Andrea Garcia-Vargas published at “Bustle” on where the hashtag started and how to support the activists’ efforts. If you’re just becoming aware of the issue of sex workers rights, the stories and narratives you’ll find there will help break down preconceived notions and give you a way to engage with one of the most marginalized groups in our society. If they can be brave enough to speak, we should honor that by listening and learning to become allies.

    Take Action:

    No Condoms as Evidence

    emPOWER - a Celebration of the Sex Workers Project, June 5th, NYC

    Additional Activism:

    Follow #NotYourRescueProject

    The Best Practices Policy Project (BPPP): Take Action and Volunteer

    More info:

    ”Playing the Whore” by Melissa Gira Grant

    Listen to the source segment for this activism at BOTL Activism: The Sex Workers Project, episode #826 "Work is work is work (Wage and Respect Gap)"

    Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich

  • Yes 4 Elkhart

    BOTL segment excerpt:

    The parent — teacher — community campaign style of the Chicago Teacher’s Union has spread across the country. Parents and students stood with teachers in Boston earlier this year to oppose the expansion of charter schools. Thousands signed petitions and educated the community, mobilizing a network prepared to form a wall against outside, corporate monied interests.

    Most of our country’s communities are smaller than Boston and Chicago, however. Many are without strong union support and wonder how they are to stand up to conservative governors and skeptical voters as they work to halt charter school development and fight budget cuts under already bare bones conditions. Teachers and parents in Elkhart, Indiana decided their students were worth fighting for despite the odds. “Yes 4 Elkhart” is a referendum to support the Elkhart Community School System’s more than 12,000 students by repairing aging facilities, increasing safety and improving transportation.

    No matter where you live, these are the grassroots efforts we should be amplifying. Let’s build on wins and repeat what works in school districts and cities from coast to coast. We do have power at the local level; find out what’s happening to the schools in your community and see if the Yes 4 Elkhart and Chicago Teacher’s Union efforts can changes conditions as we work to rebuild the foundation our of nation’s public education system.

    Take Action:

    Yes 4 Elkhart referendum

    Yes 4 Elkhart on Facebook

    More info:

    Listen to the source segment for this activism at BOTL Activism: Yes 4 Elkhart, episode #820 "More misplaced incentive structures (Education)”

    Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich

  • USA Freedom Act

    BOTL segment excerpt:

    The USA Freedom Act is a piece of legislation with bipartisan sponsorship and support. It is a comprehensive overhaul of the NSA spying program that repeals the surveillance state sections of the Patriot Act and FISA. The ACLU and Electronic Freedom Foundation are supporting it — and they’re not alone. The USA Freedom Act is even supported by Freedom Works — the national conservative group that helped launch the tea party (those were their buses you saw at rallies) while continuing to fund Rush Limbaugh & Glenn Beck.

    As the ACLU closes their plea for action: “Let's make sure our representatives in Congress hear us: We won't tolerate our own government spying on us any more. Let’s win this fight.”

    Take Action:

    Contact your legislators to support The USA Freedom Act via the ACLU and/or the EFF

    More info:

    Listen to the source segment for this activism at BOTL Activism: USA Freedom Act, episode #818 "Burn it to the ground (NSA Spying)”

    Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich

  • The Ali Forney Center

    BOTL segment excerpt:

    We have what can only be described as an epidemic of homelessness among LGBTQ youth in this country. According to Colorlines, though only 5 to 7 percent of youth overall identify as LGBTQ, as many as 45 percent of homeless youth are queer identified. A conservative estimate is that there are 200,000 homeless LGBT youth, but just 350 beds in 10 programs across the nation to meet that need.

    The Ali Forney Center was started in June 2002 as a response to the lack of safe shelter in New York City. They provide not only housing, drop in service, STI testing and treatment, substance abuse counseling and career assistance, but are "dedicated to promoting awareness of the plight of homeless LGBTQ youth in the United States with the goal of generating responses on local and national levels from government funders, foundations, and the LGBTQ community.”

    Take Action:

    The Ali Forney Center

    The Ali Forney Story

    More info:

    Listen to the source segment for this activism at BOTL Activism: The Ali Forney Center, episode #821 "The arc of history and the stumbles along the way (LGBTQ Rights)”

    Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich

  • The Freedom Center for Social Justice

    BOTL segment excerpt:

    The Freedom Center for Social Justice, located in Charlotte, North Carolina, is hard at work on the slate of these often ignored, vital issues. Their LGBTQ Law Center provides legal representation, education and advocacy to assist with name changes, divorce, marriage, custody, landlord/tenant disputes, powers of attorney, wills and employment issues. Their mission is "to enhance quality of life by increasing the number of healthy options & opportunities available to low income communities, communities of color, sexual minorities and youth.”

    The 2014 Transgender Faith and Action Network Conference is August 29 through 31 in Charlotte. Registration is open now for this networking and advocacy training opportunity. Organizers are gearing up for sessions on legal protections, health and wellness, employment and growing more inclusive faith communities.

    Take Action:

    The Freedom Center for Social Justice

    Transgender Faith and Action Network (Trans*FANN)

    Also, like Freedom Center For Social Justice LGBTQ Law Center on Facebook and Follow on Twitter

    More info:

    Listen to the source segment for this activism at BOTL Activism: Freedom Center For Social Justice, episode #817 "The power of words (Trans Rights)"

    Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich