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Ben Head's blog

Action Steps 9/14/17

IL-9 Action Newsletter 9/13/17

 

5 Things To Do This Week to Resist from the IL-9

 

Hit the Pavement

 

We can never take it for granted that progressive Democrats will be on our election ballots, even in a part of the country that historically has plenty of Democrat activity. Volunteers are needed to go out and garner petition signatures aimed at ensuring Jan Schakowsky and other Democrats will be on our 2018 ballots. Upcoming times for circulating petitions are this weekend, and you can sign up to help on Jan’s website.

 

Support DACA Renewals

 

The president’s executive order travel bans over the winter brought out a flood of immigration lawyers stationing themselves at airports to be able to help travelers in need. Now a similar type of support is needed for DACA recipients (a.k.a. Dreamers) whose current DACA status is set to expire between now and March 5, 2018. Lawyers—regardless of whether they have immigration law experience—are needed between now and October 5 for DACA clinics that will assist current Dreamers with their renewals. Fill out this volunteer form at The Action Network if you’re a lawyer, and share with the lawyers in your life. Let none of our neighbors be forced to leave the country they call home due to our own inaction.

 

At least 10,000 Illinois Dreamers need to renew their DACA status before the October 5 deadline. Did you know that the renewal application includes a $495 fee? That cost can be prohibitive for many Dreamers, especially considering the short timeframe in which they must come up with the money to submit their application. The Protection for All movement is currently crowdfunding to cover renewal fees so that Dreamers in need will be able to submit their applications. Even if you can only spare $5, consider donating to the DACA Renewal Emergency Fund for Chicago Dreamers who need quick financial assistance to get their paperwork complete.

 

Get Active

 

One of the many major issues impacting a huge number of individuals and families in our country is the minimum wage. Simply put, the current minimum wage isn’t a living wage—those who make the minimum wage cannot afford simple necessities without constant worry of financial crisis. The Fight for $15 initiative advocates for a federal minimum wage of $15 per hour, which would have a significant impact on the lives and opportunities afforded to workers. Join the movement by signing onto the Forty for $15, a pledge to spend forty hours between now and the 2018 midterm election engaged in action for a higher minimum wage. Once you’ve signed on, you’ll be prompted throughout the next year with actions you can take to support workers.


We all know how important voter registration is when it comes to having a more progressive slate of elected officials. Soon you can be deputized to register voters in Cook County by attending an upcoming Deputy Voter Registrar Training. The training, hosted by Niles Township Democrats, will take place on Tuesday, October 17, from 7-9 p.m., at Oakton Park Community Center in Skokie. To register for the training, you must be registered to vote in Cook County and fill out this registration form. More information is available with the form.

Action Steps 9/6/17

IL-9 Action Newsletter 9/6/17


5 Things To Do This Week to Resist from the IL-9


Support Dreamers


While the president and his administration announced on Tuesday that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program will expire in six months, there’s still plenty you can do to support affected dreamers (the 800,000 immigrants currently on student or work permits through the DACA program) while legislators work to pass a law protecting their status in the United States. Take a look at this resource from the organization Here to Stay and share publicly the ways that current dreamers can legally continue their education and work. Make sure that every dreamer in your community knows their rights and that you stand alongside them.


Raise Awareness


Did you know that the current administration has slashed the advertising budget for the Affordable Care Act by 90%? That’s right—since he couldn’t see the ACA repealed through the legislative process, the president is now trying to make the healthcare program look like a failure by keeping Americans who rely on the ACA from knowing when it’s time to enroll in the program. Don’t allow the president’s disgraceful tactics to succeed; make sure every American who counts on the ACA knows they can enroll in the program this fall between November 1 and December 15. Share enrollment dates and info on Twitter and Facebook, and consider making flyers to post in publicly visible spaces so that any neighbor needing the information can find it.


Demonstrate Character


On Wednesday, September 13, over 100,000 groups across the world will participate in Character Day, a global endeavor to engage in discussions about what it means to be a person of character. In these starkly partisan times, when much of the news feels mired in fear, spite, and antagonism, we can all benefit from taking some time to talk to one another about what it means to be the type of people we want to be. Check out resources for the fourth annual Character Day from Let It Ripple.


Be Prepared


Despite the majority of news coverage focused on Hurricane Harvey, North Korea, and DACA in recent days, resistance groups haven’t forgotten about the antagonism the president has shown toward Robert Mueller and the investigation he’s leading looking at possible Russian interference and collusion in the 2016 election. These groups are taking rumors that the president might fire Mueller as potential fact, and they’re preparing a massive response. Look for local groups who will be demonstrating in the event Mueller is fired by the president for doing his job.


Islamophobia remains a significant issue in our country, and Chicagoland is no exception. Be prepared to put your values of welcoming everyone into practice by exploring ways you can be an ally to Muslim women, who face verbal and physically harassment on a regular basis. Watch this short video with six tips for being an ally to Muslim women.

 

 

Get Democrats on the Ballot!

Jan Schakowsky and our exciting team of progressive Democratic candidates need our help to circulate petitions and get on the ballot!  Every candidate, even incumbents, need to circulate petitions to appear on the ballot in 2018 and they need your help to do it!

 

Action Steps 8/30/17

IL-9 Action Newsletter 8/30/17

 

5 Things To Do This Week to Resist from the IL-9

 

Add Your Name

 

The president has threatened a government shutdown if he doesn’t get the funding to build the wall along the US/Mexico border as he boasted in his campaign—essentially threatening a tantrum if he doesn’t get what he wants, despite the fact that most Americans and elected officials don’t support the wall in the first place. Add your name to this petition aimed at making sure legislators know the public does not support the wall.

 

The president has also threatened to eliminate DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which allows undocumented residents who came to the United States as children to receive two-year, renewable permits allowing them to work in the country, contributing to our economy. In Illinois alone, elimination of the DACA program would result in over $2 billion annual losses to our state GDP—and that’s just a fraction of the $460 billion loss to GDP that would occur nationwide. Add your name to a petition to demand legislators protect DACA from white supremacists who would eliminate the program.

 

Grab Your Wallet

 

In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, local organizations are doing a giant’s share of work to ensure that residents displaced from their homes are able to have safe, dry shelter and vitals like food and clean water. The Houston Food Bank is one such organization, and they’re accepting donations so that they can more effectively respond to the needs of the tens of thousands of people displaced and affected by the hurricane. The Houston Diaper Bank is another great local organization working to ensure young children have hygienic, fresh diapers. Give what you can.

 

The president’s pardoning of former Phoenix Sheriff Joe Arpaio sends a clear message to Latinx in Arizona: discrimination against them is perfectly acceptable to our commander in chief. Regardless of the message being sent by our president, there are local organizations working to protect and support the Latinx community and abused children who were negatively impacted by the former sheriff’s racist and illegal procedures. Take some time to learn about, then donate to, local organizations like Puente Arizona, which works for human rights, and Defenders of Children, which protects minors in abusive situations.

 

Get Involved

 

Common Cause is a nationwide organization dedicated to open, honest, and accountable government throughout our country. A major issue for the organization right now is fair elections, in particular ending dismantling gerrymandered district maps before the 2018 midterm election. Take a look at the resources and volunteer opportunities offered by Common Cause Illinois; lend some time to the pursuit of more fair, democratic elections in our state.

Action Steps 8/23/17

IL-9 Action Newsletter 8/23/17


5 Things To Do This Week to Resist from the IL-9


Get Trained


The organizers behind the Women’s March will be hosting a training webinar on Thursday, August 24, at 7 p.m., on the topic of Daring Discussions. The webinar aims to equip participants to dismantle white supremacy through embracing discomfort and having important, meaningful conversations with fellow community members of all backgrounds. Improve your skill set in this area by participating in the free webinar.


We’re all aware of the supreme importance of every eligible voter both registering to vote and exercising that right on election days. We’re just about a month away from National Voter Registration Day, which will take place on September 26. That means it’s the perfect opportunity to learn about how you and organizations with which you work can partner in efforts to help members of the community to register to vote. The National Voter Registration Day website has resources and training tools for becoming involved. Use your networks to help ensure every eligible citizen can exercise their right to vote in the next election.


Have you been interested in showing up to demonstrate for the resistance, but the events at Charlottesville earlier this month have caused you to second guess yourself? While it’s entirely natural to have concerns for your personal safety after seeing an event like Charlottesville, you can prepare yourself to participate in demonstrations and protests safely. Take some time to peruse and bookmark this great checklist resource from My Civic Workout, which provides sensible, easy-to-follow tips for before and during a protest, whether it’s your first or your fiftieth.


Raise Your Consciousness


Hateful rhetoric and the continued tacit presidential support for white nationalist groups and ideologies means it remains imperative for all of us in the resistance to learn how we can combat hate as we see it in our own communities. The Southern Poverty Law Center has updated their publication Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide, making it an incredibly timely and relevant resource. Spend some time perusing the ten strategies they lay out for decreasing instances of hate in our community.


Have you been hearing people—not just white nationalists, but conservative apologists of every ilk—talk about a so-called “alt-left” movement and the supposed “terrorist” Black Lives Matter movement? These are two fallacy arguments at work here. First, the argument that because an alt-right exists there must also be an alt-left is inherently false; the existence of one entity does not imply the existence of its counter. Secondly, even if some activists under the Black Lives Matter banner use violence, that does not mean the movement is inherently violent. These are two fallacies that have been spreading widely, ultimately making the vile worldview and actions of white supremacists seem less vile. Read up on why these attempts at dismissing the evil of white supremacy by constructing a false counterpoint are harmful, and prepare yourself to respond when you hear these arguments made.

 
 
 

Action Steps 8/16/17

IL-9 Action Newsletter 8/16/17


5 Things To Do This Week to Resist from the IL-9


Add Your Name


This past weekend’s gathering of white supremacists in Charlottesville, and the violence against and casualties of counter-protestors that resulted, is a clear demonstration that our country is still very much mired in our foundation in white supremacy and a legacy of racism. As you stand in solidarity with Charlottesville, consider signing this petition from Color of Change that calls for the removal of all Confederate symbols and monuments across the country. All of these symbols and monuments simply serve to preserve our culture of white supremacy; it’s hard enough to dismantle white supremacy as is, but even harder when images of that culture pollute our communities.


Whether or not you personally know someone who depends on the protections of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, now is the time to speak up to elected officials and attorneys general across the country to demand that this vital program be maintained. Add your name to this petition from United We Dream, then share with family and friends information about what DACA brings to our country using the hashtag #DefendDACA. Use this link to share on Facebook, or this one to share via Twitter.


The FCC has extended the period for public comments regarding net neutrality. Net neutrality protections ensure that all internet traffic is considered equal and that internet service providers cannot make access to particular websites or services either faster or slower than others. The current administration and Republican majority have signaled an interest in overturning net neutrality—in essence allowing corporations to purchase “fast lane” access for their sites and products. Eliminating net neutrality would have significant negative impact on both access to information and intellectual freedom. Use this tool from the American Library Association to add your comments in support of maintaining net neutrality. Commenting is open through August 30.


Raise Your Consciousness


A number of major organizations in the resistance, including MoveOn, People’s Action, Color of Change, and Indivisible, will be pooling their efforts and expertise for a nationwide training call scheduled for Sunday, August 20, at 7 p.m. This call will explore white supremacy, its history, and its impact on America; opportunities to fight against bigotry and white supremacy; and strategies for talking to people in your life about white supremacy and to combat it in your community. The call is open to anyone, with registration available at this link.


While you’re contemplating the events at Charlottesville last weekend and the disgustingly milquetoast response from our commander in chief, now is a good time to revisit the difference between being non-racist and being anti-racist. This video from The Guardian, featuring award-winning author Marlon James, explores the difference, highlighting that only through anti-racist work can we actually dismantle the systemic oppressions and white supremacy inherent in our country.

 
 
 

Action Steps 8/16/17

IL-9 Action Newsletter 8/16/17


5 Things To Do This Week to Resist from the IL-9


Add Your Name


This past weekend’s gathering of white supremacists in Charlottesville, and the violence against and casualties of counter-protestors that resulted, is a clear demonstration that our country is still very much mired in our foundation in white supremacy and a legacy of racism. As you stand in solidarity with Charlottesville, consider signing this petition from Color of Change that calls for the removal of all Confederate symbols and monuments across the country. All of these symbols and monuments simply serve to preserve our culture of white supremacy; it’s hard enough to dismantle white supremacy as is, but even harder when images of that culture pollute our communities.


Whether or not you personally know someone who depends on the protections of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, now is the time to speak up to elected officials and attorneys general across the country to demand that this vital program be maintained. Add your name to this petition from United We Dream, then share with family and friends information about what DACA brings to our country using the hashtag #DefendDACA. Use this link to share on Facebook, or this one to share via Twitter.


The FCC has extended the period for public comments regarding net neutrality. Net neutrality protections ensure that all internet traffic is considered equal and that internet service providers cannot make access to particular websites or services either faster or slower than others. The current administration and Republican majority have signaled an interest in overturning net neutrality—in essence allowing corporations to purchase “fast lane” access for their sites and products. Eliminating net neutrality would have significant negative impact on both access to information and intellectual freedom. Use this tool from the American Library Association to add your comments in support of maintaining net neutrality. Commenting is open through August 30.


Raise Your Consciousness


A number of major organizations in the resistance, including MoveOn, People’s Action, Color of Change, and Indivisible, will be pooling their efforts and expertise for a nationwide training call scheduled for Sunday, August 20, at 7 p.m. This call will explore white supremacy, its history, and its impact on America; opportunities to fight against bigotry and white supremacy; and strategies for talking to people in your life about white supremacy and to combat it in your community. The call is open to anyone, with registration available at this link.


While you’re contemplating the events at Charlottesville last weekend and the disgustingly milquetoast response from our commander in chief, now is a good time to revisit the difference between being non-racist and being anti-racist. This video from The Guardian, featuring award-winning author Marlon James, explores the difference, highlighting that only through anti-racist work can we actually dismantle the systemic oppressions and white supremacy inherent in our country.

 
 
 

Action Steps 8/9/17

IL-9 Action Newsletter 8/9/17

 

5 Things To Do This Week to Resist from the IL-9

 

Make Some Calls

 

Do you have some time to spare on August 9th, 14th, or 15th? Those are the upcoming days when Niles Township Democrats will be phone banking for Illinois General Assembly SB1, an education finance reform bill that was vetoed by Gov. Rauner despite being evidence-based and in the works for two decades. Volunteers will gather at the Niles Township Democratic Organization in Skokie to call local constituents and urge them to ask their state legislators to override the governor’s veto. More information is on the sign-up form.

 

Grab Your Pen

 

Send a letter to the Illinois State Board of Elections this week to demand that our state withdraw from the voluntary Crosscheck partnership. Crosscheck is a system designed by Kris Kobach, now heading up the president’s election commision, that since 2005 has collected voter registration data including names, dates of birth, and the final four numbers of voters’ social security numbers. Despite the fact that this program includes gathering all this sensitive, private information, analysis of Crosscheck has demonstrated that the system results in millions of false positives--that is, instead of identifying actual voter fraud, the system produces unreliable data that has nothing to do with voter fraud. Yet this data is still used to purge voter rolls. Illinois voluntarily participates in the program, but a number of state officials have written a letter to the Illinois State Board of Elections to urge them to terminate the partnership later this month. Echo their sentiments in your own letter to the department, at 100 W. Randolph, Suite 14-100, Chicago, IL 60601.

 

Despite having heard from plenty of constituents that he should sign HB40 into law, Gov. Rauner is still equivocating on whether to sign or veto this bill that would preserve Illinois residents’ reproductive rights even in the event that federal legislation is rolled back. Use this ACLU tool to email the governor and demand that he sign into law a piece of legislation that impacts the lives of half the residents of this state.

 

Boots on the Ground

 

Have you amped up your civic participation since the 2016 election? Are you looking for additional ways to organize, work with like-minded resistance fighters, and overall better understand and navigate the landscape of civic action? Explore the resources from Act Local 2017, an initiative with partners from movements like Fight for $15 that will convene leadership training to take place in Fall 2017. It’s never too early to start planning your next big organizing move.

 

Get Informed

 

While the Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act is currently at an impasse, that doesn’t necessarily mean the issue is completely off the table. While we have a temporary respite from threats on our health care, take advantage of the appearance of the Save My Care Drive for our Lives tour bus in Chicago on Monday, August 14, at 12 noon at Daley Plaza. The bus, which has been traveling the country, features information and resources to ensure you’re informed about the Affordable Care Act, the medical coverage needs of Americans, and more.

Action Steps 8/2/17

5 Things To Do This Week to Resist from the IL-9

 

Boots on the Ground

 

The Pink Angels for Planned Parenthood will have a presence outside of Lollapalooza this weekend, on both Saturday, August 5, and Sunday, August 6, from 1-5 p.m. The group will hand out safe sex kits while showing support for Planned Parenthood and the vital health resources it brings to communities. Sign up to join the presence via the Facebook events.

 

Get Informed

 

The organizers of the Women’s March are determined not to have the momentum of the resistance slow during the Congressional August Recess. Rather, they’ve reclaimed the time as the August Reset—an opportunity to gain knowledge on issues like civil rights, reproductive rights, and worker’s rights, while gaining skills and resources to successfully lobby for the resistance to legislators. Check out their August Reset guide, which includes policy briefs on a range of topics as well as a useful worksheet for preparing for a meeting with a legislator.

 

You’ve probably heard plenty about how the appointment of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education is a travesty for our schools and youth. If you’re not quite sure why her inexperience and her beliefs are so terrible for American education, or if you’d like a refresher on why, specifically, the conservation panacea for education, school vouchers, shouldn’t be a legitimate option, take some time to read “The Racist Origins of Private School Vouchers” from the Center for American Progress.

 

Raise Your Consciousness

 

On Thursday, August 3, from 6-7:30 p.m., Gallery 400 in Chicago will be hosting a conversation between Robyn Hillman-Harrigan of Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter and Aislinn Borsini, Coordinator for Black Lives Matter Chicago. The two speakers will have a conversation focused on the relationship between space and power, with the gallery’s current exhibition, Black Light, as a backdrop. All are welcome at the event.


Are you concerned about continued attacks on the rights of transgender Americans by the president and by states across the nation? Educate yourself to better be able to support all transgender people in our community and our country. Start by exploring the National Center for Transgender Equality, which includes comprehensive information about trans issues as well as a place to sign up to receive local action alerts. Then spend some time watching episodes of We’ve Been Around, short films documenting the lives of transgender pioneers.

Action Steps 7/26/17

5 Things To Do This Week to Resist from the IL-9

 

Boots on the Ground

 

On Saturday, July 29, from 1-3 p.m., the Chicago rally of the nationwide #SavetheACA demonstration will take place downton. The rally aims to show the continued broad support for the Affordable Care Act, even as Senate Republicans aim to repeal the healthcare law without agreement on a replacement. Grab your friends and family and join the demonstration.

 

State Your Case

 

Earlier this year, the Illinois legislature passed House Bill 1785, which reforms the Vital Records Act to allow transgender Illinoisans to modify their birth certificates to reflect their gender identity without requiring proof of gender reassignment surgery. The bill has been sitting on the governor’s desk awaiting his signature. Use this ACLU of Illinois interface to send a message to Governor Rauner insisting he sign the bill into law to recognize and protect the rights of all Illinois residents.

 

The teen pregnancy rate in the United States is at an all-time low, thanks in no small part to federal funding that has been put toward teen pregnancy prevention over the past few years. Now Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price is calling to eliminate this funding a full two years ahead of schedule—in effect stopping current strategies right when they are being most effective. Write to Secretary Price (Secretary@HHS.gov) to say that his decision adversely impacts the lives and futures of girls in particular, and demand that funding be restored so we may fully understand and continue to decrease incidents of teenage pregnancy.

 

Get Trained

 

Have you ever considered running for public office? Even if the idea is the merest twinkling in the back of your mind, plan to attend this webinar from Run to Win on Monday, July 31, from 6-7:30 p.m. The webinar will guide anyone interested in running for office through the ins and outs of doing so. While the webinar is open to anyone who is interested, it will focus specifically on women running for office.

 

Raise Your Consciousness


Earlier this month, a Cook County judge issued an order stating that a defendant’s bail cannot be set at a level higher than what they can currently afford to pay. Read up on this victory for bail reform, which means that poorer people accused of crimes will not be disproportionately forced to remain in jail simply because of the amount in their bank account.