So you never know who you touch. You never know how or when you’ll have an impact, or how important your example can be to someone else. ~Denzel Washington
Yesterday I had a meeting with three gutsy women who are doing some amazing things in our resistance world. We gathered at a coffee shop off of a highway in a traditionally red district. We were busy theorizing and strategizing and catching up, and upon reflection we were probably talking too loud.
Honestly, I didn’t think much of it.
Then I felt a presence over my shoulder. I looked up from our conversation to see an older gentleman wearing a black leather jacket.
“Are you all … political?” he asked quietly.
But after shooting worried glances at one another we admitted – yes, we’re political and we’re working hard to register voters, get the word out about elections, and limit the influence of money in politics. Among other things.
I braced myself, expecting him to yell and scream and call us banshee feminists and generally cause a ruckus.
But instead, he sighed, and looked relieved. “Oh good. I thought so, I heard you talking…”
And then he went on to tell us about himself, his wife and his son – who are all fed up with this administration but a bit rudderless about what to do about it and how they can help. His son, 43, has never voted in his life, but now follows the news religiously and has said that he’ll never again miss an election.
We spent a good 15 minutes speaking with him, giving him ideas on how he and his family can pitch in and get involved. We gave him postcards. We gave him our own business cards.
And I think we gave him hope.
When he left, we looked around at one another, a little stunned.
We thought we were just having a working meeting at a coffee shop in a red district.
Instead, we were motivating and inspiring someone who was sitting behind us, quietly soaking it all in.
So, friends. You never know who you’ll meet, or where you’ll meet them.
You never know who you’ll touch – even if you’re not intending to.
So keep working.
There are folks out there who are counting on us.
Let’s get to work.
Tuesday: Oppose HR 3299
On Wednesday, the House will vote on HR 3299 – legislation that is opposed by the National Consumer Law Center and 152 national and state organizations dedicated to protecting consumers. As the NCLC explains, “[t]he sole purpose of this bill is to enable nonbank lenders to use bank partnerships to override state interest rate limits.” Because it makes it easier for payday lenders and other nonbanks to evade state interest caps, it “poses a serious risk of enabling predatory lending and unsafe lending practices.”
This bill is actually on the calendar for Wednesday – so we need to call Tuesday or early Wednesday to let our Reps know that they should be opposing this bill. You can see if your Rep is a cosponsor here.
Script: Hi, my name is ____ and I’m a constituent at ____. I’m calling because I want the Congressman/woman to vote against HR3299, which would make it easier for nonbank to use bank partnerships to override state interest rate limits. I believe that states should have the power to create usury laws for their own states, and I don’t believe the federal government should be making it easier for payday lenders to charge higher interest rates than the state would permit.
Wednesday: Oppose HR 620
We’ve got another terrible bill up this week – this one on Thursday.
HR620 would make it more difficult for people with disabilities to lodge complaints against on-complying businesses. If you think that seems like a step in the wrong direction, you’re not alone.
As the ACLU expertly describes H.R. 620, if it passes, “businesses would no longer automatically have to comply with ADA. Instead, the bill requires that people with disabilities research the code, write a highly specific and complicated letter to businesses, and then wait six months or longer to get actual access. . . . The truth is that this bill is intended to benefit businesses at the cost of people with disabilities.”
There’s no real rationale for this bill. It purports to protect small businesses from frivolous lawsuits, but as the president of the National Federation for the Blind notes, this is a solution in search of a problem.
Bottom line – the bill undermines the ability people with disabilities to ensure equal access and opportunity. So we should oppose it.
Script: Hi, my name is ___ and I’m a constituent at ____. I’m calling to ask the Congressman/woman to oppose HR620. We shouldn’t be making it more difficult for people with disabilities to ensure equal access and opportunity, and this bill does just that. I have seen a pattern in the priorities of this Congress – taking actions that will benefit businesses at the expense of regular people, including those with disabilities. I hope that I can rely on Congressman/woman ____ to stand up for his/her constituents and vote no on this bill. Thanks!
Wednesday (Yes, two actions for Wednesday!): Send a Love Note!
Wednesday is Valentine’s Day! I think of Valentine’s Day as a second Thanksgiving. It’s a day that we spend thinking about people we care about, and letting them know that we appreciate them.
I’m sure you can remember a time when someone gave you an ‘atta girl/boy and made you feel appreciated. It’s a wonderful gift, and it’s so easy to do.
So take a moment or two today and reach out to a fellow activist or friend. Let them know that you see and appreciate their efforts. I promise, it’s going to feel great to them … and to you, too!
Friday: Keep Battling for Net Neutrality
I know, I know. This is one of those issues is starting to feel evergreen. But here’s a new resource that’s super helpful. Go to www.battleforthenet.com. When you select your state from the drop-down menu, you’ll see a color-coded chart of your Senators and Representatives, making it really easy to see where each lawmaker stands. Click on their image, and you’re given a ready-made tweet to send to push them in the right direction. Or you can use their dial-up feature (which also gives you talking points – yay for simplicity!) so they can log the calls to each MOC. Leave it to net neutrality defenders to come up with such a simple way to advocate!
Thank you for reading. Thank you for writing. I read and respond to every e-mail. (Really! I really do!) We’re in this together.
If you want one more quick action, make someone’s day and send this pep talk to a friend or two.
If you’d like to sign up to get this pep talk and action list in your in-box each week, you can do that here. Welcome, friend!
Lastly, if you’d like to support this work (thanks to those who have done so!), you can become a supporter here.