Dear PAGE activist,
On August 21, prisoners across the US launched the National Prison Strike, to demand basic human rights, an end to modern day slavery of incarcerated workers, and reform of the injustices across the US prison system. While it’s impossible not to follow the ongoing legal actions around Trump, we must maintain our focus on real people and real problems – the unjust and oppressive prison system that enslaves 2.3 million Americans who are disproportionately poor and people of color, and the 500+ children who are still separated from their families. This week, we’ll respond to their calls for solidarity and support.
But instead of focusing on the strike and ongoing separations, the news this week has been all about the unindicted co-conspirator currently occupying the White House, President Donald Trump. The Internet and media are abuzz with the “i” word (impeachment!), but Republican members of Congress have made no moves to hold our president and his administration accountable for their corruption and misdeeds.
True accountability will only come only from we the people, and this week we focus on actions that will hold our leaders accountable for the violence (current and future) they inflict on society’s most vulnerable. This week, we take action to redress the wrongs of family separation and unpaid and involuntary prison labor, and demand that our Senators refuse a hearing on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, whose antipathy to LGBT+ folks and reproductive rights would threaten our basic access to justice and control over our bodies and lives.
As always, our actions are curated for US Americans abroad and global citizens. If you’re new to PAGE, get in touch with us at email@example.com, or check out our website and updated toolkit. Please help us spread the word about PAGE by forwarding this email to friends, family members, and like-minded acquaintances, where they can join our community by clicking on this link to our sign-up sheet.
Progressive Action, Global Exchange
Poster by Melanie Cervantes for the National Prison Strike (CC BY-SA 4.0)
1. Support the National Prison Strike. Over 6 million people are incarcerated in the United States, where they suffer sub-standard, often inhumane conditions, and are often forced to work for as little as 4 cents an hour, or even nothing at all. That is why advocates are calling prison labor a form of modern slavery, and a profitable one at that: the caging of human beings is a $2 billion industry in the U.S. The Nationwide Prison Strike, from August 21 to September 10, protests the injustices of the mass incarceration system and demands humane living conditions, an end to slavery, and reforms to sentencing -- in response to the spring 2018 riot in the Lee Correctional Institution and prison staff’s refusal to intervene or provide medical care, leaving people dead. Learn about the history of the strike here.
Read the strikers’ demands. The prisoners have put together a list of demands here - check them out and think about a system that forces prisoners to strike to demand an end to slavery, racially unjust charging and sentencing, and the denial of basic services. You can also listen to an interview with Jailhouse Lawyers Speak organizers.
Call prisons in the U.S. to demand human rights for prisoners and email your MoC. The Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee has put together scripts & phone numbers to pressure the Crossroads Correctional Center in Missouri and McCormick facility in South Carolina to restore personal property and end degrading practices. Call them and ask for an end to the abuse of prisoners’ rights.You can also message your Members of Congress with this easy tool from Roots Action.
Write a letter to a prisoner striker to show solidarity. A number of prisoners are facing retaliation for organizing or participating in the National Prison Strike. Write one or more of these prisoners a letter to recognize their humanity - guidelines and addresses here.
Donate to the strike fund. As of this weekend, the strikers are within striking distance of raising $40,000 to support their effort. Contribute what you can by clicking here, and share your donation on social media to spur others to join you!
Join or plan a solidarity action!
2. Speak out about Family Separation. To date, over 500 migrant children remain separated from their parents, 23 of whom are 5 years or younger. Yet to date, no member of the Trump Administration has been held accountable, despite increasingly damning evidence of the terrible human damage done by this policies.
Stay indignant. Don’t let the family separation issue fall off your radar - listen to the recent New York Times Daily podcast (Part 1 & Part 2) to learn about the horrible, cruel damage being done to families under these policies. If you have less time, watch this 20-second video captured by the ACLU of a traumatized child being reunited with his mother, and think about what our country has done to these children and families.
Sign the petition. The ACLU is working to oppose Jeff Sessions’ declaration that he will not consider asylum seekers fleeing domestic violence. You can oppose this stance and support the ACLU’s work to fight it by signing here.
Donate to this week’s spotlight campaign. Each week, Families Belong Together works with groups doing the important work of protecting and advocating for families who have been separated. This week, you can help Elmer, Ludin, Elmer Jr. & Katie get settled in a new home - click here to donate.
Demand accountability at local level. Research coverage of this issue in your local hometown newspaper, and write a short letter demanding accountability from your lawmakers. At the very least, call your Member of Congress and tell them your next vote for them depends on taking action to reunite families and repair the damage that has been done.
3. Pressure your Senator to say NO on Kavanaugh. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell & the GOP are pressing forward with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, aiming for a vote by early October. But only a tiny fraction of the documents from Kavanaugh’s public service have been released and if he’s confirmed, he’s sure to act to gut Roe v. Wade and criminalize abortion, among other regressive measures. As Kamala Harris also points out, “Kavanaugh may be given the power to let Trump off the hook for federal crimes … Nomination hearings must be delayed until more is known about Trump’s criminal liability.” A few senators have already said they won’t meet with Kavanaugh, but not enough.
Find out where your Senators stands on Kavanaugh, and act accordingly. Resistbot has created an easy (and fun!) way to find out where your Senators stand on the Kavanaugh nomination using Twitter, Messenger, Telegram on U.S. cell phone. Click here to find out, then call your Senators using this script from 5calls.
Know anyone in DC? Tell them about “Cancel Kavanaugh,” a non-violent, women-led direct action starting Sept. 4 in our nation’s capital.
Know anyone in Maine? Get in touch & them to call Senator Susan Collins every day about this issue. Don’t forget to share the script from above!
4. Get Out the Vote continues! Just 71 days until the midterms - our best chance to hold Trump & our political system accountable. Let’s make every day count.
What are you doing to GOTV among US-Americans abroad? VoteFromAbroad.Org has the info you need to register your friends abroad - but you should still consider attending our global training on registering voters on Wednesday, Sept. 5 - email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up! In the meantime, reach out to schools, universities, churches, clubs, and other groups bringing together US-Americans where you live, and ask if they need help registering. Don’t forget to use this form to organize and track the number of people you register to vote and tweet us @PAGEofdemocracy to tell us about your efforts, using #NotTooFarAwayToVote!
Join our GOTV organizing crew! Pick a person from your group to join our GOTV Abroad WhatsApp group to get tips and tricks to register people from wherever you are. Send us an email at email@example.com with the point person’s WhatsApp contact number, and we’ll add them to the group.
Make a pledge to GOTV when it matters most! Studies show the most effective way to get potential voters to actually go to the polls is via conversations on the weekend before Election Day (this year, Nov. 2-5). A coalition led by Swing Left is organizing #TheLastWeekend, where activists have already pledged over 10,000 volunteer hours to GOTV that weekend. How many hours can YOU give to save our democracy? Sign up here!
Sign up to phone bank with Democrats Abroad! According to DA, voters who are contacted from abroad are more than 3 times as likely to request a ballot! First, sign up for an account with Democrats Abroad. Then, click here to get in their system and sign up for the level of commitment that works for you. You’ll be set up to call other voters to help them register.
Primaries are kicking into full swing. Postcards for Voters has put together a helpful list of primaries and ways that you can send postcards to voters in states with primaries happening soon. If you haven’t already, take a look and learn about when your next election is coming up!
**** Thank you for your progressive action ****