Calls to Action for Wednesday, July 25

1. URGENT GUN ISSUE. Email ddtcresponseteam@state.gov Feel free to use/tweak mine:

To State Department,

I urge you to stop the special exemption allowing functioning guns to be downloaded and 3-D printed on demand. This is insane, as this provides guns to anyone, including those who couldn’t pass a background check such as terrorists, felons, and domestic abusers. Furthermore, guns would be printed entirely in plastic, so metal detectors won’t catch them. I cannot imagine the destruction this would unleash in society. I’m begging you to use common sense and stop this madness. Thank you.

More info:

2. Contact your CA State Assemblymember to vote yes on AB 931, which will update California’s deadly use of force standards – call to action provided by member Danae C.

“I am contacting you as your constituent to respectfully urge your support for important legislation to keep California communities safe. AB 931 will save lives by ensuring that police only use deadly force against civilians when absolutely necessary. Studies show that officers in departments that have adopted such policies kill fewer people and are less likely to be killed or assaulted in the line of duty.”

CA State Assemblymember:

  • Kansen Chu: (510) 440.9030
  • Evan Low: (408) 446-2810
  • Marc Berman: (650) 691-2121
  • Ash Kalra: (408) 277-1220

More info:

Under AB 931, police would only be allowed to use deadly force if there were no reasonable alternatives available and if there was an imminent threat to the officer or another person’s safety.

Police kill more people in California than in any other state. In 2017, officers shot and killed 162 people in California, only half of whom were armed with guns, and killed more than 20 others using other types of force. Of the 15 police departments with the highest per capita rates of police killings in the nation, five are in California: Bakersfield, Stockton, Long Beach, Santa Ana, and San Bernardino. Police in Kern County have killed more people per capita than in any other U.S. county.

AB 931 will update California’s deadly use of force standards, which are woefully out of date, to prevent Californians’ unnecessary deaths at the hands of law enforcement. Studies show that officers in departments that have adopted such policies kill fewer people and are less likely to be killed or assaulted in the line of duty.

By | 2018-07-25T12:25:18+00:00 July 25th, 2018|Call to Action|0 Comments

TWWSJ-member teachers join divestment lobby

This letter was delivered to CalSTRS this morning with 341 unique signatures from members all over the state, from over a dozen unions.

To: CalSTRS Administration
P. O. Box 15275
Sacramento, CA 95851-0275

Dear CalSTRS administrators:

We the undersigned, contributing members of CalSTRS, demand an immediate, comprehensive report on the strategies and results of CalSTRS’ “engagement” with CoreCivic Inc. and the GEO Group. If you have no data on any benefit from this “engagement,” then shares in these companies must be sold immediately. Multiple news reports and investigations have documented the suffering of immigrants held in for-profit prisons owned by these two companies. GEO group and CoreCivic have used teachers’ money — our money — to profit from the separation of families at the border.

CalSTRS’ policy includes twenty-one “Risk Factors” in determining investments. CoreCivic Inc. and the GEO Group violate several of these factors including “Respect for Human Rights,” “Respect for Civil Liberties,” “Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Disability, Language, or Social Status,” and “Worker Rights.” And yet substandard medical care at Adelanto Prison, owned by GEO group, has led to permanent disability and even death of immigrants being held there (Human Rights Watch, 2017). Adelanto Prison was deemed the “Deadliest Prison of 2017” (Detention Watch Network, 2017). Inmates — immigrants awaiting asylum — went on hunger strike multiple times last year to protest the lack of medical care and the multiple year backlog in getting their cases heard (KQED, 2018). As teachers who have worked all our lives to serve children and families, that CalSTRS invests our money in corporations which profit from the destruction of communities — oftentimes the communities we serve — is appalling.

The morality of investing in for-profit prisons is being increasingly scrutinized. New York and Philadelphia recently divested from both GEO Group and CoreCivic, liquidating $48 million and $1.2 million, respectively. Our own University of California system has also already divested $25 million from for-profit prison corporations. CalSTRS’ stated policy of “engagement” over “divestment” sounds noble, but what has this “engagement” actually accomplished? How is it being measured? At what point are the methods and operations of for-profit prisons acceptable? Could this “engagement” be better described as enabling corporate wrongdoing?

Simply put, we do not want our retirement funds used to support this unconscionable system. We urge a full and transparent report, with actionable metrics that show progress over time, on CalSTRS’ involvement with these companies since initial investment. This report should be posted on the CalSTRS website and included in the quarterly newsletter. Should “engagement” with these companies not change their practices, these stocks and any others with similarly destructive practices must be divested.

We have a choice — to help move towards a socially responsible model of investment as a whole, or to propagate the status quo. Make no mistake. This is our money, and we do NOT want it used to line the pockets of businesses that undermine the families and youth we work for.

Very truly yours,

[undersigned]

A TWWSJ member wrote the letter, led the effort to collect signatures from teachers around the state, and attended the board meeting on July 20. She says, “The board meeting is PACKED!!! Dozens of teachers from unions all over the state are giving their testimony. Very moving and educational.” Facebook group members can follow the discussion over there.

Media coverage:

By | 2018-07-20T18:04:19+00:00 July 20th, 2018|Actions, Call to Action|0 Comments

Calls to Action for Tuesday, July 9

It’s only Tuesday, and we already have a month of issues to address. Help our nation by starting with these 3 actions.

1. VOTE IS WEDNESDAY 7/11/18 — Call on senators to oppose the nomination of Brian Benczkowski to head the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division.

Call senators and ask them to vote ‘NO’ on the nomination of Brian Benczkowski (Bench-Cow-Ski) to head the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division.

Benczkowski previously worked for Jeff Sessions in the Senate and served as head of the Trump transition team at the DOJ. He has no prosecutorial experience. He represented Putin-allied Alfa Bank which has been accused of a secret computer connection with the Trump Organization. All 10 Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have written a letter saying his nomination should be withdrawn.

Despite these objections, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved Benczkowski’s nomination and the full Senate is likely to vote on it this coming week. Benczkowski would be in a position to replace Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein if the campaign that House Republicans are waging to replace him succeeds.

Call:

  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein: (202) 224-3841 or (415) 393-0707
  • Sen. Kamala Harris: (202) 224-3553 or (415) 355-9041)

2. Call your senators to demand they oppose Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh spent 12 years on the D.C. Circuit appeals court, where he repeatedly issued extremist opinions. While the Supreme Court is intended to be apolitical, Kavanaugh also has a history of partisanship, even participating in the drafting of the Kenneth Starr report that laid the groundwork for Bill Clinton’s impeachment.

Kavanaugh’s history of advocating for positions that are outside of mainstream beliefs are deeply troubling. His position that a sitting president should be shielded from criminal and civil action makes clear that Trump is attempting to subvert checks and balances to avoid accountability for his actions.

3. Call Gov. Brown’s office and urge him to speak up regarding the reunification process proposed.

Six Democratic governors signed a letter Friday to Trump officials, saying they were “deeply concerned that wholly inadequate resources and procedures are in place to ensure children and parents are reunified safely and securely.”

The letter also states that during a June 29 meeting with governors’ offices, administration representatives “shared that reunification may include the placement of separate children with any long-term sponsor,” including long-term foster care.

“If true, this interpretation appears to blatantly ignore the terms of the court order,” the letter reads. Read the whole thing:

Thanks for all you do. It matters.

By | 2018-07-10T10:44:05+00:00 July 10th, 2018|Call to Action|0 Comments

Calls to Action for Tuesday, July 3

CONTINUE OUR ADVOCACY PARTY!

“If you are one of these folks who is watching cable news at your cocktail parties with your friends and you are saying ‘civilization is collapsing’ and you are nervous and worried, but that is not where you are putting all your time, energy and money, then either you don’t actually think civilization is collapsing … or you are not pushing yourself hard enough and I would push harder.” —Barack Obama

This week’s actions come from, or build on, Sunday’s TWWSJ VIP (Virtual/In-person) Advocacy Party. Pick any or all to start this week off right!

TODAY’S ISSUE: Call for a fair, unbiased judiciary, and defeat Trump’s SUPREME COURT pick.

What you can do:

1. Expect Trump and the GOP to move quickly to fill Kennedy’s seat ASAP! The folks at Indivisible have created a document outlining a 2-step strategy for trying to block Trump’s Supreme Court nomination. Basically, it comes down to ensuring that *all* Democratic senators oppose whomever is nominated, and trying to convince moderate Republicans to add their dissent, and then, in November, winning as many Senate seats as possible. In short: pressure the Senate and GET OUT THE VOTE. The document has specific scripts, depending on whether you’re in a blue state or red. Read it and encourage your friends in other states to read and act on it too.

2. Call your Senators and demand that no Supreme Court Justice be approved while a president is under investigation. Or you can use this script from YouLobby to argue that there should be no confirmation hearings until after the election:

“Hello, I’m ___________ from ___________. I’m very concerned about the new opening on the Supreme Court. We need a moderate justice. The Supreme Court’s decisions have a major impact for future generations on important issue surrounding abortion rights, LGBT rights, affirmative action, voting rights, and campaign finance. Senate Majority Leader McConnell set the precedent in 2016 of holding a vacant Supreme Court seat open during an election year to allow the American people to vote before a new justice is confirmed. Please do everything in your power to hold up any Trump nominee confirmations before the midterm elections. Thank you.”

Call:

  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein: (202) 224-3841 or (415) 393-0707
  • Sen. Kamala Harris: (202) 224-3553 or (415) 355-9041)

3. Already done what you can on the Supreme Court issue? Then call your Senators to oppose other biased, extremist, unfit appointments to the judiciary. Americans of Conscience suggests calling about these six nominees who discriminate against our LGBTQ neighbors: Sen. Mark Norris, Kyle Duncan, Howard Nielson, Ryan Bounds, Gordon Giampietro, and Michael Brennan.

4. Not a judiciary fight, but having to do with VOTING: California is one of seven states and two territories that has still not applied for election security funds, which are grants that states can use to do things like: replace voting equipment that only records a voter’s intent electronically with equipment that utilizes a voter verified paper record; upgrade election-related computer systems to address cyber vulnerabilities identified through Department of Homeland Security; implement established cybersecurity best practices for election systems; and fund other activities that will improve the security of elections for Federal office.

The deadline is JULY 16. Contact the Elections Division of the office of the CA Secretary of State by phone (916) 657-2166 or using the online form and use this script from Americans of Conscience:

“Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and calling to express concern that [name] has not yet submitted a budget to apply for HAVA Election Security Funds. California has until July 16 to submit a budget, and I want the Elections Division to make this a priority. Can you let me know what their plans are?”


Stay tuned! Tomorrow’s actions will be about Climate Change Action.

By | 2018-07-03T09:10:22+00:00 July 3rd, 2018|Call to Action|0 Comments

Calls to Action for Monday, July 2

CONTINUE OUR ADVOCACY PARTY!

“Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.” —Representative John Lewis

This week’s actions come from, or build on, Sunday’s TWWSJ VIP (Virtual/In-person) Advocacy Party. Pick any or all to start this week off right!

Today’s issue: Stand up for immigrants

What you can do:

1. Call your Senators and Member of Congress and urge them to stop funding abuse. You can use this script from Americans of Conscience and 5 Calls:

“With nearly 200 detention-related deaths and no accountability for safety and medical violations, ICE does not deserve further government funding. ICE perpetuates the lie that undocumented immigrants are dangerous criminals rather than vulnerable people seeking a better life. As a taxpayer, I don’t want another dollar spent on ICE or construction of more prison camps. Congress must advocate for an immigration enforcement structure that preserves immigrants’ due process rights and basic human dignity. [When talking to your MoC] I especially ask the Representative to support Rep. Pocan’s bill abolishing ICE.”

Call:

  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein: (202) 224-3841 or (415) 393-0707
  • Sen. Kamala Harris: (202) 224-3553 or (415) 355-9041
  • Rep. Zoe Lofgren: (202) 225-3072 or (408) 271-8700
  • Rep. Ro Khanna: (202) 225-2631 or (408) 436-2720
  • Rep. Anna Eshoo: (202) 225-8104 or (408) 245-2339
  • 1-844-USA-0234 to find your MoCs)

2. Already called about defunding ICE? Then call your Senators and Member of Congress and urge them to advocate for lowering immigration bond amounts. Currently those bond fees are higher than under previous administrations, up to $25,000 per person, which keeps people in detention longer and families separated.

While you’re at it, if you haven’t already donated to RAICES, that organization is focused on paying immigrants’ bonds to hasten family reunification.

3. Use Resistbot or the website comment form to contact Governor Jerry Brown and demand that California resources be used to bring families together under the process of asylum, not separate them. You can use this sample text:

“Please do everything in your power to push for the reunification of immigrant families and the protection of children being held in our state. California resources should be used to bring families together under the shelter of asylum, not to wrench them apart. Separating families creates lasting trauma and violence, which will affect all of us.”

4. Call the Dept. of Justice comment line (202-353-1555) to tell Attorney General Jeff Sessions not to restrict access to asylum for vulnerable people fleeing domestic and gang violence. And, more importantly, not to enact even more sweeping regulations that have apparently been proposed. Reportedly these new regulations would mean that anyone convicted of entering the US illegally would become ineligible for asylum (this is not currently the case), would penalize Central Americans who did not seek asylum in Mexico, and otherwise dramatically tighten the standards for asylum, making it impossible for most people to qualify.

5. Call your bank (or the bank issuing your credit card) and demand that they end their investments in U.S. immigration detention. A report last week names six main banks that have played the largest role in financing debt issued by CoreCivic and The GEO Group, the two largest private prison contractors in the U.S, whose stocks, unsurprisingly, are soaring. The six banks are: Wells Fargo, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, BNP Paribas (parent company of Bank of the West), SunTrust, and U.S. Bancorp (U.S. Bank).

You can use this script to email or write to urge divestment:

“I’m a ___ customer and am concerned about this bank’s continued investment in CoreCivic and Geo Group. These companies ignore federal regulations, leading to abuse, neglect, and death for people in their facilities. They are ruthlessly profiting off victims of our anti-immigrant policies. I urge you to cut financial ties immediately and end your investment in immigration detention. History will remember the decision you make.”

Here’s the contact information I was able to dig up:

6. If you’re a teacher, please check out this Facebook post about your retirement funds being invested in mass incarceration.


Stay tuned! Tomorrow’s actions will be about the Supreme Court and the need for a fair, unbiased, moderate judiciary.

By | 2018-07-02T09:01:39+00:00 July 2nd, 2018|Call to Action|0 Comments

Call to Action for Thursday, June 28

Sometimes, the news is so bad that it’s really difficult to know what to do for call to action items. Not surprisingly, this is one of those weeks. Channel your angst into two quick calls:

1. Contact our Senators: “No consideration of any Supreme Court justice until the new Senate is seated in January.”

  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein: (202) 224-3841 or (415) 393-0707
  • Sen. Kamala Harris: (202) 224-3553 or (415) 355-9041
  • Use Resistbot (text RESIST to 50409 or use Messenger)

 

By | 2018-06-28T11:14:36+00:00 June 28th, 2018|Call to Action|0 Comments

Calls to Action for Wednesday, June 27

Two call to actions about kids!

1. A great action item for children! Kids (or you, of course!) can write cards that will be delivered to separated immigrant children in a shelter near Chicago. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) delivered some cards recently and said it meant a lot to them. “I encourage kids across the country to show children who’ve been separated from their parents that we’re thinking of them and we care.”

Mail to:

UAC/ORR Program
ATTN: Cards for Kids
330 C Street, SW
5th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20201

More info and a short video from the Senator via Twitter.

2. Call both of your California state legislators about an upcoming bill about online privacy for kids.

“I’d like to leave a message for Senator/Assemblymember ______ urging him to vote yes on AB 375, the California Consumer Privacy Act. AB 375 will take a crucial first step in protecting consumers’ digital privacy and make sure that kids in particular have the special protections they need as the first generation growing up online.”

State Senators:

  • Sen. Bob Wieckowski: (916) 651-4010 or (510) 794-3900
  • Sen. Jim Beall: (916) 651-4015 or (408) 558-1295
  • Sen. Jerry Hill: (916) 651-4013 or (650) 212-3313

State Assemblymembers:

  • Kansen Chu: (510) 440-9030
  • Evan Low: (408) 446-2810
  • Ash Kalra: (408) 277-1220

Look up your state legislators here.

More info:

By | 2018-06-27T11:22:07+00:00 June 27th, 2018|Call to Action|0 Comments

Call to Action for Tuesday, June 26

SHOW UP THIS WEEK

1. #STANDWITHMUSLIMS Supreme Court just upheld Muslim Ban. MoveOn is organizing a protest TODAY at 5:00-7:00pm at Winchester and Stevens Creek Blvds. (map)

#StandWithMuslims

#StandWithMuslims

2. Join a Protest & Rally at the Federal Building on Thursday, June 28 in San Jose (map). See Facebook event for details.

3. Come to a Families Belong Together rally this Saturday, June 30. Over 600 rallies are planned nationwide. Here are some of the local ones:

  • San Jose: City Hall at 11:00am
  • Mountain View: Gateway Park in on the corner of El Camino and Castro at 7:00pm. Marching to Civic Center Plaza at 7:45pm. Candlelight rally 8-9pm – bring electric candles or wax candles in containers
  • Palo Alto: El Camino and Embarcadero near Town & Country Village (park at high school) at noon.
  • Fremont: Veterans Park at Superior Court House at 10:00am.

4. Have you signed up for Postcards to Voters yet? Now we’re writing for a special election in Ohio that could flip to blue and send another Democrat to Congress! Throw your postcards in the car so you can write when you have a few minutes!

By | 2018-06-26T15:41:16+00:00 June 26th, 2018|Call to Action|0 Comments
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