Friends,

Exciting news! The Solidarity Pledge is joining forces permanently with The Daily Resist Boston. Welcome to all of you Resisters – we look forward to standing in solidarity with you!

We will be retaining our weekly format and mix of nationally- and locally-relevant action items – but now we are even more, and even stronger together.

This week, we have five action items for you, as well as a bonus mini-action item. Do as many as you can!

And remember to recruit more people to take the pledge both in person and online. If you like the work we’re doing, please tell a friend! (If you don’t like it, please tell us. And if you really like it, tell everyone!)

1) It’s Town Hall Time (again)!

2) Say No to Islamophobia

3) March for Truth!

4) Voting Rights, Part 4: Gerrymandering, directly and indirectly

5) [MA-specific] Push for a Progressive Democratic Party Platform

Bonus mini action-item:

Check out Democracy Now’s interview with Yale historian Timothy Snyder, author of the now-famous Facebook list of 20 lessons on fighting tyranny (and the full book version thereof) – lessons which have become increasingly relevant in the last 6 months. The interview is approximately 30 minutes long.

—–

1) It’s Town Hall Time (again)!

No rest for the wicked – with a few more days of Congressional recess, it’s time to show up and hold our members of Congress (MoCs) accountable for their [in]actions!

This recess, there are a plethora of policy issues to talk to your members of Congress about. Pick your preferred issue, show up, and either thank them for their action, or give them a hard time for not doing more! Remember that nothing beats in-person presence for pressuring your representatives.

What you can do:

    • Find your MOCs’ town hall meetings through the Town Hall Project.
      • If they’re refusing to hold a real town hall meeting, check out Indivisible’s guide for what to do.
    • Find where your MoCs stand on various issues using GovTrack.
      • If your MoC has already taken the position you favor, thank them for doing so!

 

  • If your MoC has taken a position you disagree with, express your disapproval (politely!).

 

      • If your MoC has not taken a public position on the issue, call on them to do so.

 

  • Pick an issue, and go and engage! A few suggestions for what to ask of them:

 

    • For senators in particular, tell them to stand up for our healthcare by protecting the ACA (see previous email here for details).
    • Oppose Trump’s disastrous budget proposal (see previous email here).
    • Call for an independent commission investigation into Trump’s Russia connections (see previous email here).
    • Support continued US participation in the Paris Climate Accord, which is crucial for our futures and which Trump is poised to quit.
  • Check out Indivisible for more resources and sample questions to ask your MoCs.

2) Say No to Islamophobia

Last Friday, two good men in Portland, OR were killed by a white supremacist as they tried to stop an Islamophobic attack. A third was severely injured. The stabbings were the latest in a long history of acts of terror against innocent Muslims. Even now, even now, a coalition of hate groups is planning anti-Muslim protests across the country for next weekend. With the Muslim holy month of Ramadan starting, there’s no more appropriate time to stand against Islamophobia.

What you can do:

    • Learn a bit about the history of Islamophobia in America:
    • Donate to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a civil rights advocacy group for Muslims.
      • You can also donate specifically to the victims of last Friday’s attack. Find a centralized list of donation pages here.
    • Be a good friend – check out some really simple tips on Ramadan etiquette for non-Muslims.
    • Be a good ally.
      • Check out this simple guide on effective bystander intervention against Islamophobic harassment.
      • Or get more extensive bystander intervention training – many universities and other large organizations offer such trainings (check out MIT’s here).

 

  • IMPORTANT: in light of last week’s attacks, we do not make these suggestions lightly. The stakes and risks of action have never been clearer. But just as in the face of any other terror, we must not let our sense of justice be cowed by fear or hatred. Take care of yourselves – but stand together also, strong and without fear.

 

3) March for Truth!

This Saturday, June 3rd, join the nationwide March for Truth to support the transparency that undergirds our democracy.

What you can do:

4) Voting Rights, Part 4: Gerrymandering, directly and indirectly

It’s been a little while since our last update on voting rights, but two recent events mean that it’s time to revisit the topic. First, the Supreme Court ruling against the state of North Carolina; and second, the resignation of the US Census Bureau director.

First, the Supreme Court ruled last week against the state of North Carolina, striking down two congressional district maps as unconstitutional racial gerrymanders.  The decision on the District 1 map was a unanimous, more technical 8-0 decision, while the District 12 map resulted in a more factual, contentious 5-3 decision.  (President Trump’s appointee, Justice Gorsuch, abstained because he wasn’t at the court yet when the case was argued.)  

In a somewhat unusual configuration, the generally conservative Clarence Thomas sided with the court’s four most liberal justices to form the majority on the District 12 map decision.  The other conservatives said that the racial gerrymandering was permissible under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which encourages states to form “majority-minority” districts.  Recalling our prior discussion of “packing and cracking,” Section 2 was intended to prevent “cracking” up minority constituents so that they were outvoted in every district and therefore had no representation.  However, North Carolina used Section 2 as an excuse for “packing,” cramming so many minority voters into a few districts that they would win a few elections by landslides but lose all of the rest.

The liberal justices found that North Carolina had shaped the districts with impermissibly racist motives, while Justice Thomas was opposed to taking race into account at all in districting.  This unusual team made up a majority that sent North Carolina back to the drawing board.  But the battle is not over.  North Carolina Republicans have shown again and again that they will tenaciously, shamelessly cling to their supermajority power over a purple state.  (The Supreme Court has been hearing challenges to North Carolina’s attempts at gerrymandering these two districts since 1993.) And they have already vowed to keep fighting.

Second, the U.S. Census Bureau director, John H. Thompson, resigned earlier this month.  The Census Bureau was already facing a funding shortage.  The U.S. Census is incredibly important because it is a key factor in determining representation in the House of Representatives. It stems from a constitutional requirement under Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution that the House of Representatives be apportioned between states based on an “Enumeration” of their populations every ten years.  This enumeration is not a statistical sampling, but a true count, with very limited error correction.  As a result, any population that is less likely to respond to the census questionnaires will be undercounted and therefore underrepresented.  Nonwhites and renters tend to be the most undercounted, and therefore the most underrepresented.  Second only to equal representation, the census also matters for fair allocation of federal funding.

It may disappoint (but not surprise) you to learn that Republicans aren’t interested in spending the money necessary to address this problem.  Instead, they hounded Census Bureau Director into early retirement with complaints about costs, leaving it leaderless amid the leadup to the 2020 census.  In the words of a former aide to Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, a politicized or underfunded U.S. Census unable or unwilling to track down poor and minority voters could “shift representation and money from blue states to red states.”

What you can do:

  • Pay attention and stay engaged! The better you understand these issues now, the better you’ll be able to explain them to others and the more ready you will be to act when the time comes.
  • Demand that Congress fully fund the Census Bureau’s requested budget – see item 1 above on making these demands in person, and last week’s item on the budget proposal.

5) [MA-specific] Push for a Progressive Democratic Party Platform

This Saturday, our friends in Our Revolution Massachusetts aim to make a splash at the MA Democratic Platform Convention, with eight platform amendments on healthcare, climate, housing, and other progressive issues.

Placing each platform amendment onto the Convention Agenda requires 250 signatures from convention delegates. Our Revolution MA is looking for volunteers to go to Worcester to canvass and collect the signatures needed, as well as help with talking to media outlets and promoting the organizing on social media.

What you can do:

  • Sign up to volunteer with Our Revolution MA here
  • For folks coming from the Boston area, sign up for carpooling to Worcester here
  • If you have any questions, email Adam Hasz at hasz@mit.edu!

—–

That’s all for this week – we hope you find these helpful and inspiring! As usual, keep encouraging people to take the pledge, and please share any thoughts or questions with us at solidarity@mit.edu!

Yours in solidarity and resistance,

Solidarity MIT

solidaritypledge.com

 

 

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