*If you are overwhelmed by the rich opportunities to make your voice heard and your actions significant, pick one or two items that you think will have the most impact or which are most important to you personally.
WEEKLY INITIATIVES for week of 5/14
This week, if you do nothing else, ESTABLISH A NETWORK: Bipartisan support is what is really needed to make movement on any issue, which is something that those of us whose MoCs are Democrats can’t influence much directly. So this week, identify at least 2 (but the more the merrier) like-minded friends or family members who have Republican Members of Congress, or are in red or purple states, and commit to sharing the actions below in the “National Actions” section with them every week. I’ve been doing this for a few months with a friends in Ohio, Georgia, and Tennessee. All you have to do is copy and paste – easy!
Now, on to the actions!
1. CALL your 3 Members of Congress to advocate for an independent investigation *and* a special prosecutor. CALL EVEN IF YOU HAVE DEMOCRATS FOR MoCs – we need ALL our reps to know that this is a priority (From Jen Hofmann’s Weekly Checklist for Americans of Conscience) Call: Both senators, red or blue (look yours up here: https://www.contactingcongress.org). Not sure where your MoCs stand on investigating Trump’s ties to Russia? Check out this NYT’s infographic about responses to Comey’s firing:
Script: Hi. I’m from _ZIP_ and am deeply concerned about the firing of the FBI Director by Trump. I would like my senator to support both an independent commission and a special prosecutor. Thank you.
2. CALL your 3 MoCs to Oppose the new, federal Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. We can’t win in 2018 if the votes of those who vote Democrat are even more suppressed than they are now. Not sure how bad this is? Read This recent article (https://www.nytimes.com/…/…/politics/trump-voter-fraud.html…) and background (https://www.washingtonpost.com/…/57ad18d2-eaed-11e5-b0fd-07…) on Kris Kobach’s past efforts to suppress voters in Kansas. (From Jen Hofmann’s Weekly Checklist for Americans of Conscience)
Script: Hi. I’m a constituent from _ZIP_ and am calling to express my concern about Trump’s new election integrity commission. Considering the lack of support for claims of widespread voter fraud, this panel is a huge waste of taxpayer money. What is _NAME_ doing to oppose this panel?
3. CALL the Senate & House Intelligence Committee members about James Comey being fired. Indivisible Arlington VA has created a nation-wide action form for calling all members of the Senate & House Intelligence Committees about the firing of FBI Director Comey. See https://goo.gl/sFT83H. There's also real-time automated reporting on the calls made at https://goo.gl/t0Z0IC. Please feel free to use it and share it.
4. CALL your two senators to Advocate for thorough vetting of 45’s federal court appointments.
DO THIS WHETHER YOUR SENATORS ARE REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRAT Script: Hi. I’m a constituent from _ZIP_, calling about Trump’s ten federal court appointments. I am asking Senator _NAME_ to assure they are thoroughly vetted by the Senate, Aerican Bar Association, and approved in the home state of each senator. In light of recent events, this issue is vital to our democracy. (From Jen Hofmann’s Weekly Checklist for Americans of Conscience)
5. CALL and DONATE to reunite a family torn apart by deportation
Last week, Jonatan Palacios was taken into custody by ICE in Pennsylvania. Jonatan had no criminal record, was married to a US Citizen, was a star college student, and was here for more than a decade, and had filed a I-130 immigration application to start the legal process of adjusting status (ironically and terribly, his submitting this paperwork to adjust status is how he got caught up in the system – not through breaking the law, but by trying to make things right). He came here at the young age of 16 from Honduras. It's outrageous. Please be ready to make calls on Monday and all week until the family is reunited!
Congressman Dwight Evans Phone: 215-276-0340 FAX: 215-276-2939 Senator Bob Casey Phone: 215-405-9660 (constituent services: 717-231-7540) FAX: 215-405-9669
SCRIPT: "Hi my name is _______. I am calling on behalf of Jonatan Palacios-Euceda (A# 099 648 524) who was detained on 5/11/17 in Haverford, PA. I am asking that (--whoever you are calling--) please release Jonatan. He has no criminal history. He is married to a US Citizen. He has filed immigration paperwork to adjust status in the legal system."
You can also donate for legal fees here: https://www.youcaring.com/jonatanpalaciosandlilliewilliams-…
6. WRITE to request a special prosecutor to look into Trump’s ties to Russia. Go to justice.gov, the Department of Justice's website, click on Contact. In the next page click on Contact Us. At the topics drop-down, scroll down to the bottom to find Messages to the Deputy Attorney General and ask him to appoint a special prosecutor to look into ties to the Trump Campaign/Administration and Russia. Do it now and ask everyone you know to do it.
7. WRITE Mitch McConnell to Voice your objection to the all-male senate healthcare group. (From Jen Hofmann’s Weekly Checklist for Americans of Conscience)
Sen. Mitch McConnell
317 Russell Senate Office Building,
Washington, DC 20510
Script: Not everyone is at the table to discuss health care, Sen. McConnell. 51% of the US population is female. 37% is not white. 19% has a disability. More than 3% is LGBT. By these statistics, your committee should have six women, four minorities, two disabled people, and one gay person. A group of white, straight men could harm those excluded from the conversation. Please make it right.
STATE & LOCAL ACTIONS:
1. CALL [STATE] or WRITE Cuomo, your State Senator, and Assembly person to demand voting reform in NY (from Easy Elections NY)
Find your state senator and assemblyperson here: http://act.commoncause.org/site/PageServer…
Cuomo: 518-474-1041 (press 2)
SCRIPT: I’m a NY resident from [city, zip]. I believe elections are the lifeblood of our democracy and it should be easy for New Yorkers to register & vote. It’s ridiculous that NY doesn’t have Early Voting, Automatic Voter Registration, Electronic Poll Books, that you have to change your party registration six months before a primary, and that parolees can’t vote. Supporting a bill is not the same thing as passing a law. Will [Rep’s Name] advocate for passage of Easy Elections laws this year?”
WRITE – find a sample letter here: https://static1.squarespace.com/…/1493666…/WriteYourReps.pdf
2. DONATE [LOCAL] for this fundraiser to support Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence CAAAV has been on the front lines supporting Asian communities through all of the insanity of the past few days/weeks/months/years. Next Saturday, there will be a CAAAV Karaoke Battle 2017: Another World is Possible. You can donate here: https://www.crowdrise.com/house-of-the-rising-p…/…/armandomc You can find out more about CAAAV here: http://caaav.org/
3. SIGN [STATE] this petition asking NY Attorney General Schneiderman to investigate the NY Senate GOP and IDC members for “lulus” On the 9th, the New York Times reported that IDC Senators Jose Peralta, Diane Savino and David Valesky received stipends or "lulus" for vice chairmanships on committees, in possible contravention of Legislative Law 5-a, which does not permit payments for vice chairs. (Read article here: http://nyti.ms/2ptMSsz). On May 12, they reported that Senate Republicans staff members have repeatedly sent false information about these payments to the NY State Comptroller. They certified that Senators Peralta, Valesky and Savino were chairs of their respective committees, when in fact they were vice chairs. (Read article here: http://nyti.ms/2qBnuBb) This has to stop! Please sign True Blue NY's letter to Attorney General Schneiderman urging him to investigate the IDC, GOP and their respective conference leaders, Klein & Flanagan: https://goo.gl/forms/TJvVrtcciNhCJEjJ2
4. EVENT [MEETING – LIC] Queens Action Council Monthly Meeting WHEN: Monday, May 15 at 6 PM - 8 PM WHERE: Long Island City YMCA, 32-23 Queens Blvd, Long Island City 11101
WHAT: We are following up on our recent Western Queens Climate march with what promises to be a critical QuAC gathering. Community members, groups and stewards will meet to share our vision for the local food system in Queens; one that underlines equity in communities of color and treats people and earth with care. Food co-ops? Urban gardens? CSAs? Expanding the role of our Parks' groups? Building community knowledge, pride and engagement? Local farm visits? You name it! Come with ideas, good vibes and willingness to collaborate! --------------------------
Some of the things already on our horizon that we'll discuss: 1. Building a research team for food co-ops and the use of City government housing spaces for food programs 2. Status of our local farmers' markets 3. Transcending traditional outreach strategies and inclusion of communities of colors in all QuAC programming 4. Discuss 2017 Participatory Budgeting winners and begin to think of food and climate justice capital projects to explore for next year's ballot 5. Petition sharing and signing. Lets support common policy priorities MORE INFO: https://www.facebook.com/events/1302697116493380/
5. EVENT [TOWN HALL – LIC] Talk to Tish: PA James Long Island City Town Hall WHEN: Tuesday, May 16, 7 PM - 9 PM WHERE: CUNY School of Law, 2 Court Sq, Long Island City 11101
WHAT: Join Public Advocate Letitia James for a conversation about issues in Long Island City and NW Queens. There will be an opportunity to ask questions and engage in a discussion with your Public Advocate, CongresswomanCarolyn Maloney, Senator Michael Gianaris, Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, and Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer RSVP here: http://bit.ly/2mXWBV3 MORE INFO: https://www.facebook.com/events/227158837762893/
6. EVENT [MEETING – Astoria] Community Board 1 meeting WHEN: Tuesday, May 16, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM WHERE: Astoria World Manor, 25-22 Astoria Boulevard, Astoria, NY
WHAT: The Community Boards play an important role in improving the quality of life for all New Yorkers. The purpose of each New York City Community Board is to encourage and facilitate the participation of citizens within City government within their communities, and the efficient and effective organization of agencies that deliver municipal services in local communities and boroughs. Queens Community Board 1 covers all of Astoria, parts of Long Island City, and Woodside, Queens. Our boundaries are: North – East River, Bowery Bay, East – 81st Street, Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, South – Queens Plaza No., Northern Boulevard, LIRR Tracks and West – East River. MORE INFO: http://www1.nyc.gov/site/queenscb1/about/overview.page
7. HAQ EVENT [Training- Astoria] Upstander Intervention/De-escalation Training WHEN: Wednesday May 17, 7 PM - 9 PM WHERE: Mas Ibn Sina Center, 46-1 20th Ave,, Queens, New York 11105
WHAT: Hate crimes have risen 50% this year compared to last year citywide. What would you do in such a situation? Join Hearts Across Queens and the Center for Anti-violence Education for this group training session in which you will learn verbal and non-verbal techniques and tactics to de-escalate conflict, as well as the four Ds of upstander intervention: direct, distract, delay, delegate.You are welcome to join us even if you have attended one of our previous workshops. This training will be offered in English with Spanish and Arabic translation available. Donations will go to the Center for Anti-violence Education and the Muslim American Society Ibn-Sina Center. MORE INFO: https://www.facebook.com/events/1179225252186605/
8. EVENT [DISCUSSION – LIC] The ABCs of the IDC WHEN: Wednesday May 17, 7 PM - 8:30 PM WHERE: John Brown Smokehouse, 10-43 44th Dr, Long Island City 11101
WHAT: Learn more about the IDC and how it effects New York State politics. Speakers include Senator Michael Gianaris and founders of No IDC NY. Leave with actions you can take to help make New York truly a Blue state. MORE INFO: https://www.facebook.com/events/303418060091161/
9. HAQ EVENT [VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY- ASTORIA] VOLUNTEER OP: Community Garden WHEN: Thursday, May 18 at 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM WHERE: Two Coves Community Garden, 8th Street & Astoria Blvd, New York, New York 11102
WHAT: Getting involved with your local community garden is a great first step to making environmental change and effecting change in your community. Thursday, two coves is getting a compost delivery from The Big Reuse, NYC compost project. They need a lot of volunteers to help unload the compost for the garden. All help is appreciated and there are never too many volunteers. If we get enough volunteers, they will be able to get a 2nd delivery. (Which usually doesn't happen) MORE INFO: https://www.facebook.com/events/124445511448831/
10. EVENT [DISCUSSION – ASTORIA] Loving Connections WHEN: Saturday, May 20 at 1 PM - 4 PM WHERE: 2720 Ditmars Blvd
WHAT: Thia Reggio and Kim will be leading another workshop about connect with those around us in a way that facilitates open dialogue & conversation. In March, we ran our first workshop and there was much talk about how you approach talking to friends and family on the opposite side of the aisle. We also opened a conversation about a new way and approach to resisting. The idea of utilizing non-threatening subject matter to connect with others was a huge focal point. Things like music, cooking, the arts. It was healing and helpful. This time around we will expand on these ideas while working together in Thia's new, soon-to-be, garden space. Again connecting, building community and creating a safe space for open conversation. MORE INFO: https://www.facebook.com/events/1272159992898377/
11. EVENT [POTLUCK – ASTORIA] Potluck Picnic at Two Coves Community Garden WHEN: Sunday, May 21 at 12 PM - 3 PM WHERE: Two Coves Community Garden, 8th Street & Astoria Blvd, New York, New York 11102
WHAT: Please join us for our annual It's My Garden! Day Potluck Picnic: Gardeners, friends of gardeners and local community members are all invited. Please bring a potluck item to share, if you can! Help needed for set up, at noon. MORE INFO: https://www.facebook.com/events/1948275758727277/
12. EVENT [POTLUCK – SUNNYSIDE] Queens Diversity Potluck WHEN: Sunday, May 21 at 1 PM - 4 PM WHERE: Sunnyside Community Services, 4331 39th St Ste B, Sunnydside, New York 11104
WHAT: We are a group of Sunnyside residents organizing a community potluck to celebrate the incredible diversity of Queens. Queens has been called "the most diverse place on the planet". Our residents speak hundreds of languages, including 59 endangered languages. Given the current political climate, we want to make it clear that people from all cultural backgrounds - regardless of citizenship or immigration status - are welcome in Queens. The Queens Diversity Potluck aims to promote inclusivity, connect immigrant and refugee families with local service providers, and celebrate our community's rich cultural heritage with food. Please join us and bring a dish to share! If you can't make it but would still like to contribute, you can donate at: https://www.gofundme.com/queens-diversity-potluck. Funds will be used to cover venue costs and purchase supplies for the event. MORE INFO: https://www.facebook.com/events/1358244994212792/