Weekly Resistance: 5 Ways to Take Action Aug 14-20

Gentle readers, I’m sure many of you are furious and heartbroken by the recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia. White supremacists overrode the town, terrified residents and engaged in repeated acts of violence. These included a terrorist attack in which a man drove a car into a crowd of demonstrators, killing Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others. Two state police officers also lost their lives when their helicopter crashed on the way to the protest site.

At times like these, it can be easy to feel helpless, disempowered and unsure about what to do next. The good news is that there are concrete actions you can take in response to the events in Charlottesville and beyond — and you can empower your friends to do the same.

Check here to find and contact your representative, and you can find your senators’ contact information here. Looking for local officials? This tool will help you locate them.

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1. Take Action on Charlottesville

A “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville this weekend involved a torch-lit march on Friday night, as well as demonstrations on Saturday that erupted into violence. White supremacists — some heavily armed, thanks to open carry laws — appeared with Nazi regalia, Klu Klux Klan iconography and other racist gear. Counter-protesters, including clergy from a range of faiths, gathered to oppose their message of hate. One such demonstrator lost her life.

Know:

  • “Alt-right” is a sanitized phrase, and while it has been adopted by the media, it’s inaccurate. The people involved in this weekend’s demonstrations could be better described as white nationalists – and, in some cases, as Nazis.
  • Heather Heyer, the woman who was murdered, was 32. She was a paralegal, a resident of Charlottesville, an anti-racist activist and an outspoken advocate for equality. This was her first protest, and Heyer briefly considered not attending because she was concerned about her safety.
  • Even if you don’t live in Charlottesville, there are a number of actions you can take to support victims and demand accountability.

Contact:

  • Your legislators: Ask them to hold Attorney General Jeff Sessions accountable in his civil rights investigation into Heather Heyer’s death. Press for a broader investigation into the violence at the demonstration, including the brutal beating of Deandre Harris right next to the police station.
  • Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer, who sharply condemned white supremacy in the Trump Administration. Consider dropping him a letter or postcard to express condolences and solidarity. You can reach Signer care of City Hall: 605 East Main Street, Charlottesville, VA 22901.
  • Your local officials: Does your town have a Confederate monument? Ask for it to be removed. A park named after a Confederate official, general or battle? Push for a name change — consider referencing local Native communities or anti-racist leaders.

Support: Numerous organizations in Charlottesville work on race and other social justice issues, and they greatly value contributions to help further their work. Our starting point for resources can be found here. And remember to support anti-racist groups wherever you live. Help build connections, strength and solidarity so you can mobilize quickly in response to threats to your community.

Write: Consider signing these Care2 petitions:

Protesters supporting Black Lives Matter

Photo credit: Quinn Dombrowski

2. Put the Brakes on Escalation with North Korea

Donald Trump and North Korea both upped the tenor of their rhetoric last week. North Korea threatened missile launches, while Trump claimed the U.S. military was “locked and loaded.” Some fear these verbal threats signal further deterioration of diplomatic relations with North Korea.

Know:

  • Soft power — the use of diplomacy — mitigates similar crises all over the world. This strategy can help nations find common ground, save face and back down from a conflict.
  • Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, at the direction of the president, is responsible for shaping the tenor of diplomatic negotiations with North Korea.
  • The U.S. and North Korea are both nuclear powers, with weapons in their arsenal and the ability to inflict great harm. Cooler heads than those visible in the media are working hard behind the scenes to avert that outcome, which would be catastrophic for both nations, and the world.

Contact: your federal legislators. Ask them to push the Trump administration — particularly the president, secretary of Defense and secretary of State, to pursue a diplomatic solution to the tensions between the two nations. This could include asking China or Japan to help mediate conversations. Urge your lawmaker to provide constituents with a public statement condemning Trump’s rhetoric and providing accurate information about the situation with North Korea to dissipate fear and misinformation.

Support: Veterans for Peace works on North Korea and a host of other issues, drawing on the real-world experience of former service members who want to put an end to war. The Arms Control Association promotes policy changes on arms control in North Korea and elsewhere.

Write: Consider signing the following Care2 petitions:

3. Push for Opioid Action

The fallout from the opioid crisis is only spreading, despite a variety of efforts to address the issue, provide treatment and develop prevention tools. This isn’t a problem that can be solved overnight, and it requires the participation of everyone — from local health departments to members of the Trump administration.

Know:

Contact: your legislators. Ask them to protect coverage for addiction treatment in any health insurance reforms, and press them to request more money to aid your district if you’re in a region hard-hit by the crisis. Urge them to push the administration to declare a national emergency, allowing free money and personnel resources for treatment across the U.S. Consider also contacting your local officials to discuss harm reduction practices, like needle exchanges and equipping all first responders with Narcan — a life-saving medication that can treat immediate overdose symptoms.

Support: The Harm Reduction Coalition develops tools to protect the health, welfare and dignity of drug users. Advocates for Opioid Recovery promotes evidence-based approaches to substance abuse treatment.

Write: Consider signing these Care2 petitions:

A protester holding up a sign opposing racist white nationalist rhetoric

Photo credit: getfree_360

4. Head to a Town Hall

Recess is still in session, and — some — lawmakers are holding town halls across the country. In some cases, this includes not just your federal lawmakers, but also your state legislators. These events provide an opportunity to meet with legislators face-to-face and make your voice heard.

Know:

  • All constituents have the right to attend a town hall. Some may be ticketed, so check in beforehand.
  • Some town halls may limit protest signs or eject people deemed “disruptive.” If you are planning civil disobedience, read the rules of conduct and prepare accordingly before you go.
  • The format for asking questions varies: You may be asked to submit them ahead of time or in writing at the event. In other cases, you may be able to sign up to speak and ask whatever you like.

Contact: your federal and state legislators to find out when their town halls are scheduled. If there’s not one in your area, consider carpooling to a nearby event. If no town halls are scheduled, ask why not. Remember: The staffer you get on the phone may not be responsible for the event schedule, so stay friendly!

Support: The Town Hall Project is tirelessly compiling information on town halls — with your help!

Write: Consider signing these Care2 petitions:

5. Put Scientists Back on the Agenda

You may have heard that Donald Trump is trying to replace top EPA officials with business leaders instead of scientists — but the EPA isn’t the only agency facing this unsettling reality. A pending appointment to the USDA, which relies on evidence-based research to promote agricultural policy, would similarly show scientists the door in favor of businessmen.

Know:

  • Sam Clovis, Trump’s pick for a top science position at the agency, is not a scientist: He’s a former conservative radio host.
  • He has a history of racist comments, including supporting “birtherism” and denigrating then-Attorney General Eric Holder.
  • Clovis doesn’t believe in climate change — under the Obama administration, the USDA viewed climate change issues very seriously, but information about the issue is slowly being stripped from the agency’s website.

Contact: your senators. Ask them if they are planning to oppose or support Clovis’ confirmation. If opposing, encourage them to reconsider. Draw a connection between USDA policy and your state’s agricultural industry, and note that climate change and crop science should be nonpartisan issues given the huge stakes. Express concerns about whether someone with a history of divisive commentary is a good fit for a high-profile public-facing position.

Support: The Union of Concerned Scientists works closely with climate change issues. Meanwhile, the Rural Advancement Foundation International addressed agricultural issues.

Write: Consider signing these Care2 petitions:

Take on a mini-challenge: Write a letter to the editor! Check your newspaper’s website — if it has one — or ask the desk staff about the guidelines. Speak out about an issue that matters to you!

Photo credit: Tiffany von Arnim

42 comments

Margie FOURIE
Margie FOURIE26 days ago

Thank you

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ERIKA S
ERIKA SOMLAIabout a month ago

noted

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Peggy B
Peggy Babout a month ago

TYFS

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Janis K
Janis Kabout a month ago

✔ BRAVO! Your answer has made it possible to offer 1 cm² of additional cover.

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Nancy B
Nancy Babout a month ago

thank you

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Beryl L
Beryl Ludwigabout a month ago

bookmarked to take time later to do these actions. I hope others will do same.

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heather g
heather gabout a month ago

Thank you - a timely article.
Septembers W. Your C2 page indicates that you're here 'to fight a cause'.

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Septembers W
Septembers W.about a month ago

Blacks who were never slaves, fighting whites who were never Nazis, over statues erected by democrates, and it's Trump fault???

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Kay M
Kay Mabout a month ago

noted.

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Pamela Dubsky
Pamela Dubskyabout a month ago

I am so disgusted with Trump-HE has no intelligence or Empathy, and excuses the White Supremacists! He should be IMPEACHED, or forced 2 RESIGN!

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