An artist’s job is to slow down, look hard and listen closely.
I became an artist. I looked and listened hard – and what I learned is that mostly: Folks are doing the best they can. And still, so many suffered.
I wanted to help, so I became a philanthropist. We founded Together Rising. Along with you we’ve raised 11 million dollars in 6 years for suffering folks abroad and at home – folks like refugees, veterans, single dads, sick babies, homeless teens, addicts, trafficked mamas, prisoners, foster kids – you know how long the list is.
The Together Rising team and I spent six years frantically and relentlessly connecting suffering people with every resource in our grasp: money, services, sisterhood, hope. The needs: Endless.
As we worked, this question lived in the back of my mind: Why? Why are all of these people who are trying so hard – still hurting so badly?
And then, one day, I read this:
There comes a point where we need to stop
Just pulling people out of the river.
We need to go upstream and find out
Why they’re falling in.
And on that day: I became an activist.
For the rest of my life, if I’m lucky enough: My Love Work in the world will be AND/BOTH.
I will put on my Together Rising hat daily and we will pull folks out of the river but you better believe that every single day I will also put on my activist hat, look upriver and confront the Ones Pushing Them In.
YESTERDAY, TOGETHER RISING ASKED YOU HELP US SOME PULL SOME DROWNING FAMILIES FROM THE RIVER.
TODAY, I ASK YOU TO LOOK UPRIVER WITH ME AND CONFRONT THE ONES PUSHING THEM IN.
Yesterday, we gave our children Love.
Today, we give our lawmakers Hell.
Who’s Coming With Us?
We have a Four-Step Advocacy Plan below – All of which you can do in 20 minutes today:
1) Learn the names and phone numbers of your Members of Congress
2) Call your Representative
3) Call your Senators
4) Post on Social Media the leaders you called (and their contact numbers), what you told them, and encourage your people to do the same.
NOW – We want to make sure to be completely clear about the objectives. Our three objectives are:
1) Voice our outrage and demand that the people in Washington who work for us take decisive action to combat the horrendous practice of tearing families apart based on unauthorized border crossings.
To do this, we are asking them to introduce legislation to combat the administration’s zero-tolerance policy (which makes every unauthorized border crossing a crime – even those of asylum seekers). This 100% criminalization of unauthorized border crossings is what is leading to the immediate separation of families. We are asking our leaders to introduce legislation that will protect families crossing the border from being torn apart, even if they are still subject to civil liability for the unauthorized crossing.
2) Ask our Representatives in the House to sign on to the DACA Discharge Petition. But first, some background:
- WHAT IS DACA?
- DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) was a program that shielded some young undocumented immigrants —who often arrived to the U.S. at a very young age in circumstances beyond their control—from deportation. The recipients of DACA – so-called “Dreamers” — are young people who have grown up as Americans, identify themselves as Americans, and many speak only English and have no memory of or connection with the country where they were born. Recipients had to come to the U.S. before reaching their 16th birthday, have to be in school, have a diploma or the equivalent or be an honorably discharged veteran and not have been convicted of a felony, or be a public or national security threat.
- WHAT HAPPENED TO DACA?
- On the orders of President Trump last September, Attorney General Jeff Sessions declared that DACA would end March 5. The administration said the deadline would pressure Congress to come up with a substitute for DACA. There are multiple bills that are proposed replacements for DACA in the House, but Speaker Paul Ryan refuses to bring any of the bills up for a vote. It is suspected that he and leadership are trying to avoid going on record on these “tough votes” prior to the November election. As a result, nearly 535,000 Dreamers are in legal limbo regarding their right to remain in the only country they’ve ever known.
- WHAT IS A DISCHARGE PETITION & WHY DO WE WANT IT?
- House leadership is not allowing the bills to replace DACA out of committee – again, because leadership is trying to protect members from making “hard” stands on the record prior to November elections. Discharge petitions allow rank-and-file members to go around leadership and the committee process to force a floor vote. They are hardly ever successful. But we need just FIVE MORE VOTES (for a total of 218) on the DACA Discharge Petition to force a vote on the as many as four “replacement” bills. This path toward a DACA fix (at least one bill gives a path to citizenship for the Dreamers), and force representatives to go on record with their positions – which will allow us to make informed decisions in the November elections.
- BUT THESE BILLS DON’T DEAL DIRECTLY WITH FAMILY SEPARATION AT THE BORDER SO WHY DO WE CARE?
- Correct, these bills do not deal directly with tearing children from their parents at the border. But they do relate very clearly to keeping families of Dreamers together, including Dreamers who are the parents of U.S. citizens. Also, bringing these bills to a vote forces our elected officials to go on record with their votes – to do their jobs – and not hide behind a committee so they don’t have to explain their votes during the November election. They need to know that we expect them to do their jobs, just like the rest of us, that we are watching them and if our Representatives are too afraid to vote, we will vote them out.
3) Lastly, to spread the word, and educate and empower our friends with the information they need to take these same actions today.
READY??? LET’S DO THIS. OUR FOUR-PART PLAN:
NUMBER ONE: WHO ARE THE PEOPLE WHO WORK FOR ME IN WASHINGTON?
1) WHO IS MY REPRESENTATIVE IN THE HOUSE & HOW DO I CONTACT THEM?
A. Click here to find out who the Representative is for your Congressional District & their phone numbers. (You can search by State and Congressional District to get the name and phone numbers of your Representative).
2) WHO ARE MY SENATORS & HOW DO I CONTACT THEM?
A. Click here for the names and phone numbers of your Senators. (You can use this website to search by your State if you don’t know who your Senators are).
3) SAVE THESE PHONE NUMBERS IN YOUR PHONE — WE WILL KEEP USING THEM.
NUMBER TWO: GREAT, NOW LET’S START WITH MY REPRESENTATIVE IN THE HOUSE: DID MY REPRESENTATIVE SIGN THE DACA DISCHARGE PETITION? Click here to find out whether your Representative signed on to the discharge petition. 213 Members have signed on – see if your Rep is on the list.
1)YES, MY REP DID SIGN THE DISCHARGE PETITION?
A. GREAT! Time to call your Representative and tell them what you think they are doing well and how you’d like them to do their job better. Here are some talking points for your consideration:
- I am a voter and constituent of Representative __________.
- I am calling to thank Representative __________ for singing on to the DACA Discharge Petition.
- I am also calling to voice my utter disgust and outrage about the terror of family separation at the Border, in which children as young as one year old are being ripped out of their mothers’ arms.
- I expect Representative ___________ to take clear and decisive action to stop this abhorrent practice. I understand this practice is contrary to historic U.S. policy and is a result of the new “zero-tolerance” policy, which vows to prosecute all unauthorized border crossings as criminal offenses – even for asylum seekers.
- I will be watching the Representative’s DACA votes closely if the bills are discharged from committee, as well as his/her decisive action on the atrocity of family separation. In preparation for the November election, I will be organizing within our District – either for or against the Representative – depending on his/her actions in connection with DACA and the torture of family separation.
2) NO, MY REP DID NOT SIGN THE DISCHARGE PETITION
A. OKAY! Time to call your Representative and tell them how you’d like them to do their job better. Here are some talking points for your consideration:
- I am a voter and constituent of Representative __________.
- I am calling to urge Representative __________ to sign on to the DACA Discharge Petition. I expect Representative ________ to do his/her job and make their constituents’ voices heard – not hide behind a committee in order to avoid taking difficult stands ahead of elections. If our Representative is too afraid to vote, we will vote them out.
- I expect Representative ___________ to take clear and decisive action to stop this abhorrent practice. I under stand this practice is contrary to historic U.S. policy and is a result of the new “zero-tolerance” policy, which vows to prosecute all unauthorized border crossings as criminal offenses – even for asylum seekers.
NUMBER THREE: I COMPLETELY NAILED THAT CALL TO MY REPRESENTATIVE,
NOW I’M CALLING BOTH OF MY SENATORS!!!
1)Here are some talking points for your consideration:
- I am a voter and constituent of Senator __________.
- I am calling to voice my utter disgust and outrage about the terror of family separation at the Border, in which children as young as one year old are being ripped out of their mothers’ arms.
- I expect Senator ___________ to take clear and decisive action to stop this abhorrent practice. I under stand this practice is contrary to historic U.S. policy and is a result of the new “zero-tolerance” policy, which vows to prosecute all unauthorized border crossings as criminal offenses – even for asylum seekers.
- I will be watching for the Senator’s decisive action on the atrocity of family separation, as well as the Senator’s DACA votes (if a Bill comes over from the House). I will be organizing within our state – either for or against the Senator – depending on his/her actions in connection with DACA and the torture of family separation.
NUMBER FOUR: I’VE MADE ALL THREE OF MY CALLS – I AM ON FIRE!!!
NOW, I WILL SPREAD THE WORD ON SOCIAL MEDIA!!!
1)YES! You are a Warrior!! Post on any social media you have – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. When you share, be sure to include:
- The names and phone numbers of the representatives you contacted
- A brief summary of what you said (feel free to copy and paste our talking points)
- Ask your people to do the same
- Tag your Senators and Representative in the social media post:
A. You can find Senators’ Twitter handles here.
B. You can find your Representative’s Twitter handle here.
C. You can find most Senators and Representatives’ Facebook handles here.
YOU ARE AMAZING!!!
LOOK WHAT YOU’VE DONE, WARRIOR!!!!
Author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller LOVE WARRIOR — ORDER HERE
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