Ben Head's blog

Action Steps 7/19/17

IL-9 Action Newsletter 7/19/17


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


This week is all about arming yourself with knowledge—about the civic process, items in the news, and the ways in which our habits, no matter how progressive, may be fueling the dichotomous political landscape currently rampant in our country.


Get Trained


The Northside Democracy for America will be leading a two-day Campaign Academy on July 29 and 30 downtown. Registration is open for this event, which will cover all aspects of campaign and volunteer strategy, messaging, fielding, and reporting. Registration fees are discounted for multiple individuals signing up together.


Raise Your Consciousness


You’ve been hearing frequent stories about missile tests out of North Korea. If you’ve been wondering why these recent tests are such a big deal, why missile range always comes into play, and some of the history of our two countries’ nuclear landscape, give this piece from Time magazine a read.


You’ve been hearing about the president’s Election Integrity Commission, which seeks to root out nonexistent voter fraud. But are you aware that a significant percentage of Americans who are legally eligible to vote currently don’t get to exercise that right due to voter suppression tactics? As we resist the demands of the president’s commission, it’s important to recognize all the ways in which the voting landscape is already weighted against many Americans. Give this article from Time magazine about voter suppression a read.


You may have read about privilege—white privilege in particular. If you’re white, however, there’s a good chance that despite any reading and reflection you’ve done, you’re still harboring conceptions about racism that are impeding your ability to be a true racial ally and activist for racial justice. Spend some time with this piece from On Being about recognizing and confronting the racism that is inherent in an American cultural upbringing, even for people with the best of intentions.

When’s the last time you had a conversation with a friend, neighbor, or family member who views the world through a vastly different political lens than you? We’re talking real conversation, in person—not just responding to comments online and then closing your browser window in a righteous huff. Having deep, thoughtful conversations with people who hold different beliefs than you do is vital to American democracy. Read this article from The Atlantic on how our tendency to talk politics in echo chambers is ultimately doing the entire country a disservice, then make a plan to engage in conversation across ideological lines with the intent to hear and understand.

Action Steps 7/5/17

IL-9 Action Newsletter 7/5/17


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


Make a Call


Governor Rauner still has not signed HB 40 into state law, despite the measure passing in both the state house and senate. Use this resource from the ACLU of Illinois to reach out to Rauner to express how vital it is he sign this legislation into law to protect the reproductive rights of Illinois residents.


Add Your Name


The current administration has proposed eliminating Amtrak long-distance passenger service, a move that would cut off small towns across the country from connection to commuter routes and their final remaining option for low-cost public transportation. Add your name to the petition asking Congress to reject this proposal and allow Americans to continue to stay connected via Amtrak.


Commit yourself to being a compassionate and supportive member of your community. Sign the Pledge of Allegiance to Each Other, a pledge to honor the dignity in all humans and to join together in community and fellowship.


Stay Informed


Unsure of what to do now that the Supreme Court has allowed aspects of the Muslim Ban to go into effect? Take a look at this infographic, which includes ideas for standing against the ban and standing up for our Muslim neighbors.


In continuing to speak out against the proposed American Health Care Act, the current Republican legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, it’s vital to have knowledge of how the AHCA would adversely affect people. Use this resource from Indivisible, which crunched the numbers on the increased costs and decreased coverage that the AHCA would bring to Illinois residents.

Action Steps 6/28/17

IL-9 Action Newsletter 6/28/17


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


Make a Call


The White House has reduced press briefings and made other changes that drastically limit the ability of the American people to learn what the administration is doing. This unprecedented move is undermining a core tenet of American democracy. Read up on the threats associated with decreased access to White House briefings, then call the White House comment line at 202-456-1111 to demand that open press briefings be held on a regular basis so that Americans may stay informed about the activities of the executive branch.


Add Your Name


While Illinois residents across the state have been inundating federal legislators with demands to preserve health coverage guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act, our governor has not made any comments on the House and Senate attempts to repeal ACA provisions and leave hundreds of thousands more uninsured. Add your name to a petition demanding that Governor Rauner speak out against proposed bills that would leave Illinois residents without health coverage.


Join Community


People across the country will be hosting Resistance Summer Cookouts this weekend, including at locations in Chicago and Skokie. RSVP to attend a cookout where you can meet others in the resistance, swap strategies for persisting in standing against the current administration, and build stronger community. A full list of cookout dates, times, and locations is available on the Resistance Summer website.


Raise Your Consciousness


With the acquittal of the police officer who shot Philando Castile, the list of unarmed black men and women who have been killed by police without judicial consequences continues to grow. Until Americans recognize the extent of systemic racism in our country, and reckon with its centrality to American history and the stories we tell of our nation, this desecration of black bodies without consequence will continue to occur. Read this five-part series on police brutality by Shaun King, then investigate what your community is doing to ensure that “protect and serve” applies to all residents and not just white ones.

Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke at the American Library Association Annual Conference in Chicago on June 27. Watch Secretary Clinton’s speech in which she touts the ways in which libraries add vital services to their communities, then visit your local library to sign up for summer reading, offer to volunteer, or talk to a librarian about strategies for combating fake news.

Action Steps 6/21/17

IL-9 Action Newsletter 6/21/17


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


Boots on the Ground


Come to the Federal Center downtown to greet the Truth Tour bus as it completes its route around Illinois and stand in solidarity with the millions of Illinois residents who rely on the Affordable Care Act for their health care coverage. The Truth Tour demonstration against repealing the ACA for the poor replacement AHCA will take place Thursday, June 22, from 2:30-4 p.m.


A candlelight vigil in memory of Nabra Hassanen, a Muslim teen girl killed over the weekend, will take place on Thursday, June 22, from 6-8 p.m. downtown. Join members of the Muslim community and allies in standing against hateful and racist rhetoric that is contributing to the normalization of harassment and killing of Muslim Americans.


Sunday, June 25 is the annual Chicago Pride Parade. Plan to attend and celebrate in solidarity with LGBTQ Chicagoans and those who recognize their inherent human dignity. Check out the Chicago Pride website for a full listing of events.


Join Community


June 25 is the Day of Dinners nationwide, with ordinary citizens across the country gathering together to share a meal with neighbors both familiar and new. Based on the tenet that our sharply partisan political sphere calls for people to get together, talk, and recognize the humanity in one another, the Day of Dinners offers opportunities for both hosts and attendees to gather around common tables. For information on events near you, visit the website and register.


Raise Your Consciousness


While the current administration doubles down on unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud in the United States, it has recently come to light that Russian hackers perpetrated a cyberattack on the U.S. electoral system and voter information during the 2016 presidential election. Take some time to read up on these hacks so you’re prepared to talk about real issues of voting security.

Action Steps 6/14/17

IL-9 Action Newsletter 6/14/17


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


Support Immigrants and Refugees


Chicago’s Welcoming City Ordinance, enacted in 2012, was a step toward making Chicago one of the most immigrant-friendly cities in the nation. A rally in support of the ordinance, including a call for the closing of loopholes in its language, will take place on Thursday, June 15, at 11 a.m., across the street from City Hall downtown. Stand in solidarity with this pro-immigrants’ rights action.


June 20 is World Refugee Day. To mark the day, visit the webpage of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and familiarize yourself with the work they do. Print off copies of their “Know Your Rights” card, which has rights information in English, Spanish, Korean, and Polish as well as contact info for families experiencing crisis. Keep a copy in your bag, share one at your local community center, and think about other places where this information might be accessible to immigrant and refugee families who need it.


Raise Your Consciousness


Get a head start on preparing for the 2018 gubernatorial race by taking some time to review the bios of those who have declared they’ll run to challenge Gov. Rauner. Read statements from:

Daniel Biss

Bob Daiber

Chris Kennedy

Alex Paterakis

Ameya Pawar

JB Pritzker


It’s okay to disagree with people who hold different views than your own—but it goes too far to dehumanize them for simply having different beliefs. Take some time this week to read this Vox piece by Brian Resnick exploring the ways we dehumanize those who live, worship, or vote differently from us, and the negative toll it takes on both our country and our minds.


Need a reminder of why it’s important to get your news from a variety of sources—or, at the very least, not just from a single source? Take a look at this piece from The Washington Post showing what MSNBC, CNN, and Fox included in their coverage of James Comey’s testimony. All three outlets drew from the same primary source, and yet each crafted a unique perspective of the story. Use this example as a motivator to do an audit of your current preferred news sources and to add some new ones to the mix.

Action Steps 6/7/17

IL-9 Action Newsletter 6/7/17


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


Boots on the Ground


While demonstrations and marches have been a cornerstone of the resistance since the inauguration, protest is a right that can be exercised by people of all viewpoints—including those who would demonstrate their hate and racism. Drown out the planned anti-Muslim protesters downtown this Saturday, June 10, at 9 a.m., as part of Counter-Protest: Chicago Resists Islamophobia. Show your solidarity with Muslim neighbors while denouncing hate.


Show your support of and celebrate Chicago’s LGBTQ community on Sunday, June 11, at 11 a.m., at the Chicago Equity Rally at Andersonville Midsommarfest. RSVPs are requested for this event, which will mobilize community members and allies in confirmation of LGBTQ rights and humanity. This rally is in solidarity with The Equality March for Unity and Pride happening in Washington, D.C., the same day.


Make Some Noise for Climate Action


The biggest administration news since the last action newsletter was the president’s announcement that the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement—making us one of only three nations globally that will not participate. Make it clear to CEOs of major corporations who are serving on the president’s Advisory Council that this decision is unacceptable and dooms the future of the planet. Reach out via social media and email to demand that these CEOs resign from the council and commit their companies to serious action to combat human-caused climate change.


In the wake of the news that the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, a handful of governors have announced that they will lead their states in upholding the standards of the agreement even without federal support. Give Governor Rauner a call and demand that he commit Illinois to honoring the standards of the Paris Climate Agreement.


Take Some You-Time


Active resistance requires energy, which is why it’s important to take time to recharge your batteries on a regular basis. Take advantage of the calming benefits of coloring by printing off and making beautiful these resistance-themed coloring sheets just released by Planned Parenthood. Share with a friend, color with a kid, and add your finished product to your fridge so you feel invigorated each time you see it.

Action Steps 6/1/17

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


Boots on the Ground


While news has been happening at a breakneck pace since the 2016 election, one feeling prevails: there are so many conflicting accounts of what’s happening in the news that it’s hard to keep track of what’s true. Join the Chicago March for Truth on Saturday, June 3, at 11 a.m. at Federal Plaza at Adams and Dearborn, one of many Marches for Truth that will be happening across the country this weekend. The march platform includes calls for an independent commission, non-partisan and with Congressional funding, to investigate recent behavior of the Trump campaign and administration around Russia.


Moms Demand Action - IL is a local group dedicated to demanding that legislators, companies, and educational institutions act to create common-sense gun reforms. On Saturday, June 3, from 12-3 p.m. at Harold Washington Park, the group will be hosting Wear Orange 2017: Party for Peace. The event is intended to bring together community members in favor of ending gun violence through common-sense reform. There will be food, music, and games, and RSVPs are appreciated. Don’t forget to wear orange!


Peter Roskam, the Congressional Representative for the IL-6, has not been holding town halls—and that’s after he snuck out the back door of a scheduled constituent meeting during the winter in order to avoid interacting with those of his constituents who demanded answers for his seeming agreement with the policies of the new presidential administration. Residents of the IL-6, however, are organizing their own town halls. In what they’re billing as an “Adopt a District Town Hall,” the Coalition for a Better Illinois 6th will be hosting a town hall with special guest Rep. Jan Schakowsky on Saturday, June 3, from 5-6:30 p.m. in Palatine. Residents of the IL-9 can attend in support of their neighbors in the IL-6.


Wear Orange & Share a Photo


June 2 is Gun Violence Awareness Day, and for the second year in a row people across the country will show their commitment to ending gun violence by wearing orange—a bright color that demands to be seen and that signals there is more work to be done to end gun violence. Wear orange on Friday, June 2, and take a selfie. Share and tag photos #WearOrange to demonstrate your support, then visit Wear Orange online to learn what actions you can take to help bring gun violence to an end.


Share a Story


When legislators argue against the policies and proposed budget cuts being put forth by Republicans and the administration, their arguments are all the more powerful when they amplify the experiences of the everyday Americans all elected officials represent. That’s why it’s so important to share your stories and experiences with services that may be on the chopping block, like healthcare, public education, and environmental protections. Hands Off, a project with over fifteen partners including and Planned Parenthood, is providing a forum for Americans to share their experiences with core services. Take some time this week to share your own stories so that your representatives may better advocate for services that you and millions of other Americans rely on.


Join the Coalition for A Better 6th for a Town Hall with Special Guest Jan Schakowsky!

The Coalition for A Better Illinois 6th Hosts Adopt-a-District Town Hall with Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky on Saturday, June 3rd at Fremd High School!

Sign up at

Saturday, June 3rd
Doors open 4:30PM

Fremd High School Auditorium
1000 S Quentin Rd
Palatine, IL

Join the Coalition for a Better Illinois 6th as we host Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky for the first open town hall meeting with a sitting Member of the U.S. Congress in Illinois’ 6th congressional district in a very long time! Everyone is encouraged to attend, whether you live in the Illinois 6th or not.

Whether you want to learn about what’s going on in Washington, express your opinion about a national or local issue, find out where to sign up to get involved, or just ask your adopted Member of Congress a question, this is your opportunity!

Advance Registration Preferred


Action Steps 5/24/17

IL-9 Action Newsletter 5/24/17


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


Boots on the Ground


Immigrant rights continue to be under attack due to the current presidential administration. Local governing bodies are taking steps to protect the rights of all their residents, however, including SB 31 in the Illinois House—legislation, called the TRUST Act, that would set sensible, constitutional limits on how local police forces in Illinois interact with federal immigration officials. Contact your state representative as soon as possible to ask for their support of the TRUST Act and in preserving rights of all residents of Illinois. The legislation will come to a vote sometime before May 31, so call soon.


Have you considered running for office? Working on a campaign you believe in? More and more people are interested in standing for elected office as the resistance continues, which means trainings are popping up to help equip those interested with the skills and strategies to be successful. Northside Democracy for America will host a two-day training on July 29 and 30, with registration now open. The training will take place at the Irish American Heritage Center in Chicago, and it will cover topics like planning, finances, messaging, and getting out the vote.


Add Your Name


Despite years of research demonstrating that mandatory minimums for drug offenses—a core tenet of the War on Drugs—is ineffectual, inequitably applied, and racist, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is doubling down on the problematic policy. A unilateral return to mandatory minimums would be catastrophic for Illinois families and communities. Add your name to this ACLU petition against Sessions’s plans to return the United States to failed drug policy.


Proposed cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency would include a reduction of the funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The GLRI, launched in 2010 with bipartisan support, is the major player in restoring and protecting the Great Lakes, which is the largest surface freshwater source in the world. Add your name to this petition to demonstrate the importance of the Great Lakes and the continued need to protect them through the GLRI.


Raise Your Consciousness


On June 19, cities across the country will participate in a Juneteenth Day of Action organized by the Black Land & Liberation Initiative and supported by the Movement for Black Lives. This event includes substantial planning and critical goals, as well as important historical context for understanding the action. Plan to join an informational call about the event on Wednesday, May 24, at 7 p.m., to get prepared for the nationwide Juneteenth Day of Action.


Action Steps 5/17/15

IL-9 Action Newsletter 5/17/17


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


Boots on the Ground


Children’s education and wellness are at risk due to policy decisions of the current Republican administration—and children are vulnerable both now and in the future, as effects of policy impact their rights and opportunities as they grow. Saturday offers an opportunity to involve youth in the resistance (or to show support for the youth in your life regardless of whether you have kids): the Chicago Children’s March for the Future will take place May 20, from 10-11:30 a.m., at Daley Plaza.


Too many Americans live paycheck to paycheck, unable to save for a stronger financial future or to respond to unplanned expenses like a health crisis or a car accident—all because the minimum wage in this country is too low to support the typical worker, let alone a family. Regardless of the numbers on your own paycheck, make a plan to stand in solidarity with workers demanding a minimum wage that is also a living wage. The March on McDonald’s, part of the nationwide Fight for $15, will take place Tuesday, May 23, from 4-6 p.m., at Daley Plaza.


Add Your Voice, Share Your Story


Both the Illinois House and the Illinois Senate have passed HB40, which would guarantee women’s reproductive rights and access to vital reproductive health care even in the event of federal legislation removing existing guarantees. Yet Gov. Rauner has threatened to veto the bill. Rauner’s threat is purely political and extremely disgraceful—despite running for office on a pro-women’s health and choice platform, the governor is now willing to sacrifice women’s health to court more conservative voters. Call the governor to make it known that he should sign the bill into law and defend the rights of women in Illinois. Reach Gov. Rauner at his Springfield (217-782-0244) or Chicago (312-814-2121) office.


When the president charged Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review national monuments, one of those included in the review was Bears Ears National Monument in Utah. Bears Ears National Monument is on land of great cultural significance for a number of Native American tribes, including over 100,000 individual cultural sites of importance. If you or someone you know has visited Bears Ears, or if you’re simply willing to add your voice to the calls to honor Native American tribes and traditions, add your support for maintaining the monument before the public comment period ends on May 26.


Raise Your Consciousness


If you continue to have questions and concerns about treatment of immigrants and refugees under this administration, make plans to attend an event put on by the Chicago Action Alliance and the 47th Ward Democrats on Monday, May 22, from 6:30-8 p.m., at Conrad Sulzer Regional Library in Chicago. “Land of the Free? The State of Immigration in Illinois” will feature a panel including a state representative, the executive director of the ACLU of Illinois, and attorneys active in immigrants’ rights in Illinois. Learn more about travel bans, ICE, and deportations from experts on how these policies are impacting Illinois.