Make Your Demand!
Happy Thursday, Activists,
We hope you've had a safe and secure week.
131 DAYS UNTIL THE ELECTION
Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. ~ Frederick Douglass
For the past few weeks we’ve been talking about the disproportionate use of police violence against Black and Brown people, and other racial justice issues. There is still so much work to be done, now and over the long haul, as we demand that police budgets be re-allocated to better qualified resources that will actually help people and take police knees off the necks of Black and Brown communities. This week we have a trifecta of racial justice demands – City, State, and National. Make your demand.
MOVIE NIGHT – JULY 15TH 7:00 PM
We'll learn the background for some of these realities at our next Movie Night.
Thank you to everyone who voted in our survey about our next Movie Night! The results are in and the winning movie is Ava DuVernay’s stunning documentary 13th, which examines the direct connections between slavery and modern-day mass incarceration. We’ll be watching “together” using Netflix Party, allowing us to sync up the experience and "chat" during the movie. It's easy! You'll just need to install Netflix Party in your Chrome browser on your laptop or desktop (sorry, tablets and phones won't work).
Sign up to watch it together on July 15 at 7:00 PM and we'll send you the simple instructions to get set up!
CALL TO ACTION
1. CITY –
Across the country police departments have outsize power and especially police unions. Let’s start in our own house. The Philadelphia police union has amassed huge power over the years, resulting in little accountability for police abuse. Read about in this Inquirer article. You can read more background in last week’s newsletter here and from the week before here.
We won’t stop until they #DefundThePolice
Last Wednesday night, City Council approved a watered-down budget and then attempted to spin it by claiming they cut the police budget by a whopping $33 million. That $33 million did include a cancelled $19 million proposed police budget increase. BUT the other $14 million was simply moved out of the police department and into the managing director’s office to continue funding crossing guards and public safety officers. That’s just a shell game, not a real decrease. And none of this will change unless we demand it.
When we said #DefundThePolice we meant fewer officers on the street terrorizing Black and Brown residents. We meant moving away from the racist system of criminalization and penal punishment, and moving toward community-led public safety methods and programs.
Our demand– Call our Philadelphia elected officials (find them here and here). Tell them the City’s budget must move more money from the police budget and into Black community-led education, health, and safety programs that fund schools and youth homelessness services, solutions to the opioid crisis, among others. Mayor Kenney’s Office is at 215-686-2181.
AND demand they endorse the People’s Bailout – In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, we know that many communities are suffering from the disparate impact of the virus and the city’s and nation’s reaction to it. We need a People’s Bailout that gives higher protections, paid sick leave, and expanded unemployment for workers; healthcare available for all, and rent and mortgage relief and protected housing. Read more here.
2. STATE –
Yesterday, the PA State House passed two bills that are a tiny step forward in police reform. One would require employers to disclose employment information to law enforcement when it does a background check and the other would strengthen office training when dealing with people of diverse racial backgrounds and some other training. As you can see, these are tiny baby steps in reform. Read more here.
The full Senate is expected to vote on these bills next week. Meanwhile, the Senate has two bills of its own that would create a database of police misconduct and the other would ban chokeholds used to detain people.
Our demand – Call your State Senator and demand they vote yes on House bills HB 1841 and HB 1910 and demand they vote YES on the bills currently in the Senate, SB 945 and SB 1205.
3. NATIONAL –
Sen. Casey – Phila office 215-405-9660; D.C. office 202-224-6324; email link
Sen. Toomey – Phila office 215-241-1090; D.C. office 202-224-4254; email link
Rep. Evans – D.C. office 202-225-4001; Phila. office (215) 276-0340; email link
Rep. Boyle – D.C. office (202) 225-6111; Phila office (215) 335-3355; email link
Statehood for the District of Columbia
The 700,000 Americans living in the District of Columbia lack equal voting rights compared to their neighbors across the country. In fact, D.C. residents lack a voting representative in the House and have no representation in the Senate at all.
D.C. statehood is also a racial justice issue. A historically Black city, D.C.’s lack of statehood is a remnant of Reconstruction when racist white politicians sought to prevent the District’s majority-Black residents from gaining political power. TOMORROW we have a chance to correct that mistake: The House will vote on D.C. statehood again for the first time since the 1990s.
Our demand– Call our Representatives and demand they vote YES on D.C. statehood.
Call our Senators and demand they co-sponsor the D.C. statehood bill. Check out our resource about why D.C. statehood is a racial justice issue here. Demand that Senator Casey make a loud noise about this.
If you’ve wondered how popular voting by mail would be for people who sign up (hint: it's popular), check out this article describing voting patterns in the primary.
NEW! We are starting new VBM postcard “Office Hours.” Every Sunday at noon we’ll meet on Zoom to chat. You can drop in just to say hi, you can write postcards, ask some questions about the project, shoot the breeze, have brunch with us, whatever. And if you haven’t signed up yet you can stop by and ask what it’s all about. We’ll be there!
Every Sunday 12:00 to 2:00 PM. Sign up here.
Join our program to get out the vote in Philadelphia. We’re writing postcards to at least 50,000 Philadelphia Democratic voters to encourage them to Vote By Mail (VBM).
We have over 300 volunteers writing postcards with us so far! And we’ve sent them over 28,000 voter addresses so far! Thanks to all of you! But it’s 2020 we need all hands on deck! Click this link to sign up.
Here’s the plan.
We are targeting areas with low VBM sign-up rates. These are typically underserved communities of color and areas of high COVID-19 rates as well. We believe these are areas we can have the most impact.
Here’s how it works:
1. You buy pre-stamped postcards from the Postal Service either at your local post office or online at this link. They are 39 cents each and we recommend you buy at least 100 postcards.
2. We will send you the instructions for writing the postcards, the script, and the addresses.
3. You’ll write the postcards and mail them as they are completed.
4. We’ll have Zoom postcard parties you can join if you want, Zoom office hours to say hi and answer questions, and some other fun stuff along the way. See below.
So are you in?
Click this link to tell us you want to win in November.
Virtual Postcard Events
These are twice per week and the Zoom meeting link will be at the bottom of your confirmation email. For easy access, all of our events are at this link.
Virtual Cards & Coffee – Every Wednesday
Sign up for any Wednesday – Pick the date you want when you sign up, 11 am-1 pm (stay for as long as you want). Sign up here.
Virtual Cards & Cocktails – Every Thursday – See you tonight!
Sign up for any Thursday – Pick the date you want when you sign up. 6-8 pm (stay for as long as you want). Sign up here.
OTHER IMPORTANT ITEMS
Fundraiser for Bucks County State House Candidates - Sunday 6-7 PM
Remember our February meeting focused on GOTV, when we also heard from three fantastic candidates in Bucks County? Two of those candidates – Ann Marie Mitchell and Marlene Katz – are holding a fundraiser this Sunday 6-7 PM, and you can be there. Some real superstars will be there too, like Congresswomen Madeleine Dean and Chrissy Houlahan, and A.G. Josh Shapiro. Here is the link to sign up. See you there!
Vote for Broad Street Ministry!
Broad Street Ministry has been named one of four finalists (out of 200 applicants) in the Wawa Foundation Hero Award. The winner will receive $50,000! Voting closes June 29, so vote for this essential organization now! Go to www.thewawafoundation.org/hero-award to vote and help the people Broad Street Ministry serves.