Act of Resistance 6-14-2018

Hey there, Resistors!

Today I called my Senators about Senator Feinstein’s Keep Families Together Act. I chose to call instead of email because this is a very important and time sensitive issue . Every minute we wait these kids are still in detention centers separated from their parents. Every minute we wait more kids are separated from their parents.  I urge you to make calls TODAY!

Here’s a link to a Tweet with a script for calling your Senators to ask them to support Feinstein’s bill: Keep Families Together Script

Here’s a link if you need help finding your Senators and their phone numbers: US Senators

Please, if you do one Act of Resistance this week, make it about this issue. (Though there are still plenty of important issues, so just resist where you can!) And phone calls mean more than emails. I know I send emails all the time, mainly due to phone anxiety and the huge list of issues I want to comment on. But phone calls on this are extremely important!

Thank you! And keep resisting!

Advertisements

Act of Resistance 5-30-2018

I’ve decided to change the headings to my blog posts to Act Of Resistance instead of Letters to My Representatives. Though most of the time these posts will in fact be letters to my reps, they aren’t the only acts of resistance I participate in, so I decided a heading change was in order.

This week’s post will encompass the last three weeks, as I didn’t post the last two.

On May 16th I wrote Postcards to Voters. This time it was for Jesse Salinas, running for Yolo County Clerk-Recorder/Assessor in California. Please consider visiting their site and getting involved. It’s an easy way to help increase voter participation. Here’s my tweet thread on how it works.

Postcards to voters

Last week I sadly didn’t do anything specific besides sharing information on Twitter and Facebook. It’s not enough, but some weeks that’s all you have to give and we need to allow ourselves a break now and then.

But we also need to understand that even small acts of resistance are needed right now. People tweeting about Roseanne Barr’s comments about Valerie Jarret forced Disney and ABC to cancel her show. Maybe they would have done it anyway, but I doubt it. If everyone had just ignored the racist and disgusting comments Barr made, ABC would have ignored them too. It’s not like they didn’t know who Barr was from the beginning. They hired her to do a reboot of the show even knowing pictures like this were out there:

Barr

This week I wrote to my representatives and the letters will be below. As always, the scripts came from I Called My Reps and you can find more info and scripts on their website. If you are so inclined, I know they are just a couple of people keeping that site up and it’s a lot of work, so visit their Ko-Fi and show them a little monetary support so they can keep this up!

Dear Senator Stabenow,

I ask that you vote against the Ronald Mortensen nomination to the State Department. Mortensen has been nominated to a position he knows very little about – he has little to no knowledge of refugees. Additionally, his demonstrated record of being anti-illegal immigrant, could very well influence how he chooses to tackle refugee related-subjects.

I ask that you condemn Secretary Nielsen’s comments about separating families at the border, during her 05/16 testimony in front of Senate Homeland Security. I also demand that you vehemently oppose the Trump Administration’s decision to expand on the existing policy to separate families at the border. I am also concerned and would like an open investigation into ICE’s practices of abusing young kids and teens in their care. This has been going on for several years, and Congress needs to stop overlooking their practices.

I ask that you condemn the Trump Administration’s decision to pull out of the Iran Nuclear deal based on false pretenses.  According to the IAEA and the Trump Administration’s own intelligence officials, there is no evidence of a nuclear program in Iran since 2009. They are in compliance with the terms of the 2015 deal, and Trump has been unable to clarify what he means by saying Iran is in violation of the “spirit” of the deal. This decision was a dangerous, carelessly thought-out decision by the Trump Administration made on false pretenses. It will absolutely create further chaos in the Middle East, and I expect you to condemn the decision AND any further military action that may occur in the area.

I ask that you demand Scott Pruitt’s resignation. The scandals that keep coming out of the EPA are absolutely unacceptable. Not only is he repeatedly committing ethics violations, he clearly doesn’t spend enough time doing his job, verses defending his job. Of course he’s not very effective at doing his job either.

I demand that you take action on the gun control legislation stalled in the Senate, including Feinstein’s Act 21 changing the purchase age for assault weapons, and Senator Murphy’s S. 2009 /background check expansion act. The continued epidemic of mass shootings is a clear indication that action needs to be taken now! I also ask that you publicly declare that you will not support Concealed Carry Reciprocity as it is rumored that the Senate plans to take up this legislation this summer.

I object strongly to Trump’s aims to target abortion education.

Please support the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act to protect Robert Mueller, as introduced by Senators Tillis, Boons, Booker, and Graham. I fear Trump will attempt to end the investigation. The investigation has support from not only Democrats, but also prominent members of the GOP and we need to ensure that Mueller is allowed to do his work.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Austin

 

Dear Representative Moolenaar,

I ask that you condemn Secretary Nielsen’s comments about separating families at the border, during her 05/16 testimony in front of Senate Homeland Security. I also demand that you vehemently oppose the Trump Administration’s decision to expand on the existing policy to separate families at the border. I am also concerned and would like an open investigation into ICE’s practices of abusing young kids and teens in their care. This has been going on for several years, and Congress needs to stop overlooking their practices.

I ask that you condemn the Trump Administration’s decision to pull out of the Iran Nuclear deal based on false pretenses.  According to the IAEA and the Trump Administration’s own intelligence officials, there is no evidence of a nuclear program in Iran since 2009. They are in compliance with the terms of the 2015 deal, and Trump has been unable to clarify what he means by saying Iran is in violation of the “spirit” of the deal. This decision was a dangerous, carelessly thought-out decision by the Trump Administration made on false pretenses. It will absolutely create further chaos in the Middle East, and I expect you to condemn the decision AND any further military action that may occur in the area.

I ask that you demand Scott Pruitt’s resignation. The scandals that keep coming out of the EPA are absolutely unacceptable. Not only is he repeatedly committing ethics violations, he clearly doesn’t spend enough time doing his job, verses defending his job. Of course he’s not very effective at doing his job either.

I demand that you take action on the gun control legislation stalled in the Senate, including Feinstein’s Act 21 changing the purchase age for assault weapons, and Senator Murphy’s S. 2009 /background check expansion act. The continued epidemic of mass shootings is a clear indication that action needs to be taken now! I also ask that you publicly declare that you will not support Concealed Carry Reciprocity as it is rumored that the Senate plans to take up this legislation this summer.

I object strongly to Trump’s aims to target abortion education.

Please support the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act to protect Robert Mueller, as introduced by Senators Tillis, Boons, Booker, and Graham. I fear Trump will attempt to end the investigation. The investigation has support from not only Democrats, but also prominent members of the GOP and we need to ensure that Mueller is allowed to do his work.

I want you to support Senator Markey’s Net Neutrality petition, and to also encourage House leadership to take up and support the petition. 60-80% of Americans do not support the roll back of Net Neutrality regulations, and I am one of those constituents. I expect you to take a stand for the rights of their constituents.

Please support the DACA discharge petition. An overwhelming number of Americans support a permanent solution for DACA recipients, with 9 in 10 Americans polled in January 2018 in favor of legal protections for said recipients. Now is the time to act and I support the discharge petition. I expect you to do the same.

I hope you and the House are working on the much needed Farm Bill, but be assured if it contains anything regarding work requirements for SNAP or increased production on forest lands I will not support it.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Austin

We are all immigrants

flags-292774_640

On the 4th of July, Americans celebrate our independence from Great Britain. We barbecue and light off fireworks and attend parades to commemorate the fact that . . . we are all immigrants. Well, unless you’re Native American, in which case your ancestors probably emigrated thousands of years ago, but in any case, most of our ancestors came from some other place. Yet, I think most of us seem to forget this. In light of the current debate on immigration, I think most of us definitely seem to forget this.

I guess we could debate whether this is what 4th of July is about. It’s not. It’s about all men are created equal. It’s about liberty for all. It’s about a how lot of things that come back to my original point: We are all immigrants.

Which is why I’d like to tell you a story. A true story. One about remembering what it really means to be an American.

Several years ago, I believe my daughter was a sophomore in high school, I attended one of her basketball games. It must have been the first home game of the season. I was sitting alone as my husband was home with Minion #3 who was only a baby at the time and I hadn’t really made a lot of friends in our new town even though we’d lived there for four years. (I’m a bit of a loner!) Anyway, I was sitting quietly, waiting for the game to start, observing the the people around me. There were quite a few parents I knew, said hello to, and continued to keep my own company.

Nearby, was a particular father I had seen on many occasions. His daughter, only one year younger than my own, had played soccer and basketball with Minion #1 for years. The girls were friends, and my husband and I sat by her parents during countless sporting events. I wouldn’t say we were friends, really, but they were very nice people and I believe they felt the same way about us.

This night, we were both alone, nodded our hellos, but honestly, I wasn’t in the mood to be social. I’m like that sometimes, er, a lot. So I was only too happy to hear the announcement, “Please stand for the National Anthem.” Like my fellow Americans, I stood, found the flag, and fixed my eyes upon it waiting for the music to start.

I’d like to say I make a point of always singing our National Anthem. Even when it means inflicting my less than  stellar voice on those around me. Usually we have a recording that is in a key much too high for my voice, but this was different. The key was still too high, but the song was not a recording. It was sung by the young girl I had previously mentioned. Her name is Haleemah.

Haleemah’s clear, sweet voice rang through the gym. The words of the Star Spangled Banner have always brought tears to my eyes. I’m sentimental like that. But that night was even more poignant. You see, Haleemah’s parents were not born Americans. Palestinian I believe. I don’t know. I’ve never asked. Seems like a bit of a fail on my part right now. Though the children were all born here, and speak perfect English, their parents still have the heavy accent they brought from the home country. I’m not criticizing. I can’t speak Arabic after all.

The beauty of a first generation Palestinian-American singing the words to our National Anthem in a gym filled with predominantly white, Christian Americans whose families had been in not only America, but this very town, for generation after generation was not lost on me. Tears stinging my eyes, I glanced at Haleemah’s father, and there he was, proudly watching his youngest daughter. But he was also singing. Every word. Right along with her.

Looking around the bleachers at the people sitting near me, I took in my fellow white, Christian Americans. You know, the ones I mentioned whose families dated back 150 years in this very small town. The ones who had enjoyed the advantages of political and religious freedoms their whole lives. Who benefited from a free education, from a country not bombed, terrorized, or rent by warfare. I didn’t see a single lip moving. Not even lip-synching. Just  me, Haleemah, and her Palestinian-born father.

It was a touching scene, though I felt like only a few of us were truly seeing it for what it was. We have an unbelievable gift in this country, and we need to appreciate it every day. Sing the anthem, say the pledge, honor the flag, honor our soldiers. It doesn’t take much. And maybe those things are superficial compared with the inner gratitude we should experience. I’m guessing many of the people around me that day do appreciate the freedoms we enjoy in this country. But I feel it is important to express that in meaningful ways. It’s not enough to just say to yourself, “I love my country.” Because there are people out there everyday who love it too, but they have something else to compare it to.

Haleemah went on to sing our National Anthem at nearly every boys and girls home basketball game for four seasons. She graduated this year, so we’ll probably go back to the recording, but I will always treasure hearing her sing. And I will always remember the sight of her father, hand on his heart, singing the words of a song he was not born to love, but came to love by choice, by hard work and by sacrifice.