We Have to Do Both
Updated: Jun 6, 2020
“We have to do both. We have to mobilize to raise awareness, and we have to organize and cast our ballots to make sure that we elect candidates who will act on reform.” ~ Barack Obama
Greetings Activists ~
We hope you are having a safe, secure, and healthy week.
We’ve watched so many disturbing, hurtful, demoralizing scenes is the past few days, not to mention the incendiary statements from the White House. These seemingly unending images break our hearts and worry us about the state of our country. It’s been a tough few days and we deserve to feel a bit down.
But we know what to do. We know what works. We took action and made the midterm elections happen. November can’t come soon enough. And we won’t stop until we vote them out.
But today let's take a moment to think about where we are and how we can help build a better present and future for our country.
You’ll find resources to help understand more about what our Black communities face and what we can do to lend solidarity on our website here. The ways in which any of us can take action and make a difference are almost too numerous to mention, and we offer a few below.
Be a partner –
1. Find ideas on what racial justice partners can do in this article 75 Things White People Can Do For Racial Justice.
Vote and get others to vote
1. You can read President Obama’s moving yet practical advice in his essay on Medium. He implores us to do two things at once –
* Mobilize to raise awareness; and
* Organize and vote, and make sure that we elect candidates who will act on reform.
Importantly, he reminds us to focus not just on federal elections, but on state and local elections too, to elect officials who will enact better criminal justice systems and other reform programs with the biggest impact on our communities.
2. We can take advice from the plea of George Floyd’s brother, Terrence Floyd. Yesterday at a prayer vigil for George, he told the crowd: “So let’s do this another way. Let’s stop thinking our voices don’t matter. Let’s vote. Not just for the president, but for everybody. Educate yourself and know who you’re voting for.” If in his grief he could focus on what will make the change we seek, we can too.
If you can, donate and subscribe:
2. Subscribe to a local newspaper or other media outlet. (Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Tribune, WHYY, Philly Magazine, others). If you needed more reason to support local media, one of our esteemed WHYY reporters was under siege yesterday by the police.
3. Support the Philadelphia Community Bail Fund here. Donations are used to post bail for our neighbors who cannot afford to pay.
CALL TO ACTION
This week we ask you, if you have the capacity or the ability, to invest your time and energy to take action in defense of Black lives.
WHAT YOU CAN DO LOCALLY:
1. Less money for police, more money for community. Call our local officials and tell them to reduce funding to our local police department and invest those funds in resources people need, especially for Black communities, Indigenous communities, and communities of color. This is what local and national Black-led organizations are asking – that local governments commit to cutting funding for the police and investing it in Black community-led education, health, and safety programs (such as funding for schools, treatment for opioid abuse, and conflict intervention programs that don’t rely on the police).
Right now, Philadelphia City Council is about to do exactly the opposite of this and give a $14 million budget increase to the police department while other city departments, including schools, libraries, rec centers, which are being asked to take dramatic budget cuts. This is not how to improve the lives of city residents. Call and tell the Mayor and your city council member to not only vote against increasing funds for the police department but to vote for a reduction in their budget and use the money fund for schools, libraries, treatment for opioid abuse, and programs that help less fortunate people.
Mayor Kenney’s Office – 215-686-2181
City Council President Darrell Clarke – 215-686-3442
Find your City Council Members’ contact info here.
2. Remove Rizzo – Call Mayor Kenney and demand he have the Rizzo statue removed. Here is a good explanation of Frank Rizzo’s legacy and what this statue means to our communities of color.
Mayor Kenney’s Office – 215-686-2181
[UPDATE: The statue has been removed! Protests and direct actions can have real impact.]
WHAT YOU CAN DO NATIONALLY
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
1. Condemn Police Violence – Ask your Representative to co-sponsor the Omar-Pressley resolution. Reps. Ilhan Omar (MN-5) and Ayanna Pressley (MA-7) have introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives condemning police violence. Call our representative and demand that they co-sponsor the resolution and speak out publicly about the need for the House to pass it without delay.
2. End Military Hardware for Police – Call your Representative to demand they support legislation with bipartisan support to end police force access to surplus military hardware. Read more about it here.
HAVE YOU VOTED YET?
Today is Primary election day. If you didn’t sign up to vote by mail, please vote safely – wear a mask, use hand sanitizer, maintain physical distance, wash your hands. If you did sign up for VBM, Governor Wolf has extended the deadline for your mail-in ballot to be received by one week, until next Tuesday. BUT you still need to take action by TODAY no matter how you vote:
TODAY you must to one of these to vote:
Drop your ballot in a election drop box; OR Vote at the polls; OR Mail your mail-in ballot
Join a Zoom postcard party (we love to see you!) or write cards at home on your own. It all helps! We couldn’t be more thrilled that you are part of this work. The details are below.
We’ve been writing to voters in critical states to remind them to double-check their voter registration status. We’re also writing to voters to tell them to sign up to vote by mail. We’re not doctors but we know this is guaranteed to relieve your anxiety. It’ll give you confidence you are making a difference!
Here’s how it works:
– Step One: Order postcards from the Postal Service at this link. They are 39 cents each, including the stamp, and are the cheapest way to buy cards and stamps.
– Step Two: Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know you want to write cards and we’ll get you all the information you need.
– Step Three: We will send you addresses, a script and instructions for you to write the cards. We’ll replenish your supply of addresses as needed.
Our weekly virtual postcards parties are listed below, each on Zoom so we can write postcards “together.”
Virtual Postcard Events
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 – see you tomorrow!
Sign up for any Wednesday – Pick the date you want when you sign up, 11 am to 1 pm (stay for as long as you want). Sign up here.
Virtual Cards & Cocktails – Every Thursday
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.
Stay home. Stay safe. Wash your hands. We'll see you soon.